Analysis of the Poem

The Qasida al-Burdah is in 10 parts and has 165 verses all of which end in the Arabic letter Meem, hence it is a “Meemiyya”. Beginning with an exquisite allusion to the subject matter (بواعد الاثتهلان) in accordance with the almost established custom of introducing poems with Love Description ( النسهب), the poem gives a short description of the woeful plight of a tender lover during his separation from his sweetheart (1-8). This kind of introduction being incongruous to the sublime and grave subject of the poem, the poet, in trying to avoid this uncongruity, artfully gives it a better turn by calling in the agency of the reproachers, who come to discover his secret love, betrayed by his tears and pale colour (9-12). Naturally availing himself of the opportunity to expostulate with the lover, he exhorts him to give upsuch light pursuits as being inconsistent with his old age (13- 16). While pointing out what the old age requires him to do instead, while showing the manner in which it peremptorily bids him refrain from the indulgence of lust and passions (17-25), and while proposing to himself to (براعه التخلص) make the best amends for the time he wasted therein (26-28), he slyly glides into his subject (29), viz.; the panegyrics of the Prophet (God’s Grace be with him).

Proceeding to mention how the Prophet abstained from wordly indulgences (30-33), how he called people to the worship of one God (34-37), how he excelled all the noble prophets that preceded him in social, moral and mental Qualities (338-40), how he was then as a reward, invested by God with the enviable rank of a favourite (41-42), the poet tells us how mankind, at all times, being at a Loss to comprehend his true nature, not with standing his kindly taking every care not to try them with anything, beyond their capacity, had to admit his claims to every greatness and excellence, short only of divinity, he being but a human being after all (43-56); and how, while he stood so high among the prophets, and commanded the best respect of the people, he was always extremely affable, polite, accessible and gentle to his people. (57-61)

The poet is here naturally led in a poetic strain to sing of the wonderful and supernatural incidents that occurred at the time of the Prophet’s birth and predicted his high mission (62-72),

He then sings of the few out of many miracles showed by him in support of the truth of his mission (73-94), the greatest of them being the glorious and the inimitable Quran (95-108) and the Ascension of the Prophet to the heavens (109-I 15), ending with his being invested by God with honours and ranks too high for any other prophet to attain (116-119).

Thus giving a short and lively description of the warlike deeds of the Prophet and of his noble disciples, who assisted him with their military achievements in support of his high mission (120-138) the poet assures us how ready and prompt he is in defending his own people against any calamities and in helping them in their distress .)139-143(

At this stage the poet, reflecting on his past life and regretting the waste of his energies in serving and eulogising wordly people, which would rather compromise his interest in the good of the next world, makes amends by devoutly offering the poem to the Prophet (144-149), and tenders his apology, feeling confident in the generosity of the Prophet and the promises held forth by him to his people, which leave him no reason for despair even in -153( )براعه المطلب( spite of the enormity of his sins (150-152). Then gently hinting at the object he asks for 154), and not coveting the gain of any wordly good (155), he invokes the promised intercession of the Prophet on his behalf on the Day of Judgement for the pardon of his sins and crimes, and thus consoles his despairing sinful conscience (156-160).

After a short prayer for himself (161-162) he finishes the poem (براعه الختام) very elegantly and appropriately, with invoking the eternal blessings of God on the head of the Prophet, his followers and his posterity, in well-rounded lines (163-165).