The Occasion that led to the writing of this poem was an event in the life of the poet, which he describes as follows: The poet, according to his own account, happened to be affected seriously with paralysis, which deprived one-half of his body of its vital powers and motions. He then thought of offering another tribute of devotion to the Prophet and wrote the present poem. Invoking the help of the Prophet and his intercession, he fervently prayed to God the Almighty, with tears repentance and sincerity of purpose, to grant him a speedy relief from the disease. He continued reciting the poem with ardent zeal repeatedly until he fell asleep. In his dream, he saw Prophet Muhammad asked Busiri to read the ode the poet wrote for him. When he said, “O, Messenger! I wrote many eulogies for you; which one do you want,” the Prophet indicated this one by reciting the first verse. While Busiri recited the ode, the Prophet listened with pleasure, swaying from side to side. Again it is related that in order to reward Busiri, the Prophet took off his mantle and covered the sick poet who was lying down. Another narration states that the Prophet rubbed his hands over the paralyzed part of Busiri’s body. The poet woke up excitedly. While pleasurably trying to gather the dream together, he realized that his paralysis had vanished, and he was astounded with happiness. The cause of its compilation was described by the author himself, as follows:
“I was suddenly paralyzed down one side of my body by a stroke. I decided to compose this ode, the Burdah. I hoped that it would be a means unto Allah, by which He would cure me. So I recited it again and again, weeping, praying, and petitioning God. I fell asleep, and in a dream, I saw the Blessed Prophet (PBUH). He moved his noble hand across my face, and placed his cloak upon me. When I awoke, I found that I had recovered my health.”
At this time dawn and the time of morning prayer was approaching. When Busiri took ablution and started towards the masjid, he saw a dervish. The dervish wanted Busiri to give him the ode he recited in the presence of the Prophet the night before. Reciting the first line exactly, the dervish said that he saw it in a dream recited before the Prophet, who continued moving to and fro like atenderplant, as a mark of his approbation, and them invested the reciter with a ‘Mantle’. The poet gave him the poem, and the report of this incident spread out till it reached Bahauddin the Vazeer of King Tahir. He sent for the poet and, on obtaining the poem, took an oath to have it recited to him with bare head and naked feet. He and his people since then took great delight in its frequent recital.
It is said that Sa’duddin Fariqee, the seal-keeper of the minister, afterwards suffered severely from a serious opthalmia which threatened him with a total loss of sight. In a dream he saw someone bidding him go to the Vazeer and ask him to place the ‘sacred Mantle’ on his eyes for an immediate cure. The Vazeer, on being in formed of the matter, said that among the sacred relics of the Prophet in his possession, he had no such thing as a ‘Mantle’. But then recollecting that it probably meant the poem of Busiri, he took it and placed it on the eyes of Sa’duddin. Through its barakat Allah Ta’alaa granted him complete cure and restored his eyesight. Hence the ode came to be called Qasida tu’l Burda and received veneration among all Muslims as a qasida especially approved by the beloved Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam. Its verses are often learned by heart and inscribed on the walls of public buildings. It is congregationally recited in the majalis (spiritual gatherings) of the Zaakireen (those who remember Allah Ta’ala) all over the world. It cures diseases as well as purifies hearts if recited with love and devotion. Such are the circumstances related to have given birth to the poem, and to have given it the name of “The Ode of the Mantle” or “Qasida al-Burdah”.