On the commemoration of the demise of our Holy Prophet Muḥammad (saw), we present this humble translation of a famous qaṣīdah written in honor of our Holy Prophet by the Ṣūfī poet Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muḥammad bin Sa’īd al-Būṣīrī (1212-1294 CE). Al-Buṣīrī is known as the author of the famous Qaṣīdah al-Burdah, one of the most popular poems in the world written in praise of our Holy Prophet (saw).
This poem is highly unique, because each line starts with the name of the Holy Prophet and describes him with a different merit. The original full qaṣīdah is in fact organized on the order of the Arabic alphabet, but we have translated an abridged version here. The poem is often recited in Ṣūfī gatherings where the Holy Prophet (saw) is remembered. Although it has been translated before into English, this is the first attempt as far as we are aware to render it into rhyming English verse and meter. We have strived to maintain an ending “r” rhyme throughout the translation. We have also attempted to adhere as closely as possible to the original import, although precisely conveying the meaning within the bounds of meter and rhyme is not possible. Where some poetic license was required, we have furnished footnotes.
|الحمد لله مبدى الخلق من عدم
|To God be All Praise—from nothing The Maker
|ثم الصلاة على المختار فى القدم
|And on al-Mukhtār ever be His favor
|مُحمَّدٌ أشْرَفُ الأعْرابِ و العَجَم
|Muḥammad: most noble of people in nature
|مُحمدٌ خيرُ مَن يمْشِى على قدمِ
|Muḥammad: the best to walk with stature
|مُحمَّدٌ باسط المعروفِ جَامِعه
|Muḥammad: the spreader of goodness—its reaper
|مُحمَّد صاحِب الإحْسَانِ و الكرَمِ
|Muḥammad: of virtue and honor the keeper
|مُحمَّدٌ تاج رُسْل الله قاطِبة
|Muḥammad: upon God’s envoys the topper
|مُحمَّدٌ صادِقُ الأقوالِ و الكلِمِ
|Muḥammad: most honest to state or utter
|مُحمَّد ثابت الميثاق حافظُه
|Muḥammad: the steadfast in pact, its assurer
|مُحمَّدٌ طَيِّبُ الأَخلاق و الشِّيَمِ
|Muḥammad: most pure in ethics and temper
|مُحمَّدٌ رُويَتْ بالنوُر طِينته
|Muḥammad: whose clay was mixed into luster
|مُحمَّدٌ لم يَزلْ نورا من القِدَم
|Muḥammad: whose light existed since ever
|مُحمَّدٌ حَاكِم بالعَدْل ذو شرَفٍ
|Muḥammad: the wisest and most noble juror
|مُحمَّدٌ مَعْدِن الأنعام و الحِكم
|Muḥammad: in favor and knowledge the treasure
|مُحمَّدٌ خيْرُ خلق الله مِن مُضر
|Muḥammad: God’s best of designs from Muḍar
|مُحمَّدٌ خيْرُ رُسْل اللهِ كُلِّهِمِ
|Muḥammad: from all that God sent the best ever
|مُحُمَّد دِينُه حَق ندِين بهِ
|Muḥammad: whose creed we uphold with candor
|محمَّدٌ مُشرق حَقا على عَلَم
|Muḥammad: whose light still blazes grander
|مُحمدٌ ذِكْرُهُ رَوْحٌ لأنفسنا
|Muḥammad: his memoir fills us with rigor
|مُحمَّدٌ شكْرُهُ فرض على الأمَم
|Muḥammad: all nations must thank at his favor
|مُحمَّدٌ زينة الدنيا وبَهْجَتُها
|Muḥammad: the shine of this world, its flicker
|مُحمَّدٌ كاشِفُ الغُمات و الظلَم
|Muḥammad: of worries and troubles the clipper
|مُحمَّد سَيد طابتْ مَناقِبَه
|Muḥammad: the lord of merits that glitter
|مُحمَّدٌ صَاغه الرَّحْمَن بالنِّعم
|Muḥammad: by God so fashioned with favor
|مُحمَّدٌ صَفوة البَارى و خيرته
|Muḥammad: the choicest and best of the Maker
|مُحمَّدٌ طاهِرُ مِن سَائِر التُهم
|Muḥammad: the pure, beyond all conjecture
|مُحمَّدٌ ضاحِكٌ للضَّيفِ مُكْرِمُهُ
|Muḥammad: who smiles and welcomes the stranger
|مُحمَّدٌ جارُه واللهِ لَمْ يُضَم
|Muḥammad: who never wrongs his neighbor
|مُحمد طابت الدنيا ببعثته
|Muḥammad: whose mission bestowed this world honor
|مُحمَّدٌ جاءَ بالآيات و الحِكَم
|Muḥammad: who came with wisdom and augur
|مُحمدٌ يوم بعث الناس شافِعُنا
|Muḥammad: on Judgement Day our redeemer
|مُحمَّدٌ نورُهُ الهَادِى من الظُلَم
|Muḥammad: through darkness his light is the leader
|محمد قائِم لله ذو هِمَم
|Muḥammad: who stands for God with his fervor
|مُحمَّد خاَتِمٌ لِلرُسْل كلهم
|Muḥammad: the seal of the Prophets, forever
 For instance, see here: https://hquk.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/qasida_muhammadiyyah.pdf
 The Arabic word “al-mukhtār” connotes one who has been chosen as the best and is one of the titles form the Holy Prophet. The phrase in Arabic “min al-qidam” (lit. “from eternity”) has two potential imports, depending on its grammatical referential: 1) that the Holy Prophet (saw) had been chosen by God pre-eternally; or 2) that salutations should be on the Holy Prophet forever. Both these meanings are appropriate here.
 In the original Arabic, the poet states that the Holy Prophet is the most noble of all Arabs and all non-Arabs (al-‘ajam) to emphasize that his noble lineage surpasses every other (al-ḥasab wa al-nasab). The meaning of qadam here can be understood either literally as “foot” in which case it would mean the Prophet is the best of all humans or as “station,” in which case it would mean he occupies the highest position among creation.
 These two lines allude to the Holy Prophet’s epithets of al-Ṣādiq (the truthful) and al-Amīn (the trustworthy).
 This is an intertextual allusion to the Qur’ānic verse, “And you are indeed upon excellent morals.” (68:4)
 The poet alludes to the First Creation of the Muḥammadan Light. Two verses of the Qurān are intertextually referenced here to refer to the Holy Prophet: “Indeed a light from God and a manifest Book has come to you.” (5:15) as well as “(We have sent you oh Prophet as) a blazing lamp.” (33:46) There are also several narrations in the ḥadīth literature that directly mention the Prophet’s clay being mixed with light.
 This is an allusion to the verse of the Qurān: “Nay by Your Lord, they will not be (considered) believers until they make you the arbiter of what they quarrel about between themselves…” (4:65)
 Muḍar ibn Nizār was one of the great grandsons of Prophet Ismā’īl (as) and is one of the great ancestors of the northern Arabs who settled in Makkah. The Holy Prophet (saw) descended directly from his line.
 Some scholars have noted that the light of the Holy Prophet is different from the Sun in two ways: 1) it never sets and instead continuously gives light to all; and 2) proximity to it does not cause any burn or injury, but rather causes only further illumination.
 In Arabic, the word “al-Raḥmān” is used to refer to God (lit. the Most Merciful). Due to the exigencies of meter, it was difficult to render this exact phraseology into the English translation.
 While we have rendered the expression as “smiles,” in Arabic the word used is ḍāḥik which literally means “the laugher.” The implication is that the Holy Prophet would become overjoyed when he had guests. In the sīrah literature, it is often described that the Holy Prophet’s laughter mostly consisted of smiling and that he did not ever guffaw.
 More literally, “Muḥammad: his neighbor, by God, is never wronged.” It is as though the poet is implying that once someone is honored by the Holy Prophet’s sanctity (saw), he is saved from oppression. This is perhaps an allusion to the aḥādīth wherein the Holy Prophet encourages the Muslim to be mindful of the rights of the neighbor.
 More literally, “with wisdom and āyāt”; this is a reference to the Prophetic Sunnah and the Holy Qurān.
 The meaning here is more literally, “The seal for the Messengers—all of them” as a reference to the Qurānic verse 33:40.
Muhammad Jaffer is a neurologist by profession, and his field of interest is Islamic literature. He enjoys translating Arabic poetry in particular.