A Journey towards The Glory and Glorification of Na’atia Poetry!

A Journey towards The Glory and Glorification of Na’atia Poetry!

Dr. Saleem Ullah Jundran

“If I only had three words advice, they would be, tell the truth, if got three more words, I’d add, all the time.”
(The Last Lecture By Professor Randy Pausch)
Search for the best has been always a natural desire everywhere. Actually, the whole philosophy of life and death revolves around the objective of doing best. The Creator of life and death declares:
“He has power over all the things, who created death and life that He may test you as to which of you is best in deeds.” (Surah Al-Mulk: 1-2)
The same has been emphasized: “Surely We (Allah) adorned the earth with whatever is on it, so that We (Allah) may test them as to which of them is best in conduct.”(Surah Al- Kahf: 07)
The Quran witnesses to the fact: “Certainly human being has been created on the best nature.”(Surah Teen: 4)
Allah Almighty expects the best deed from everyone. Allah blessed us with the best and the perfect practical role model- an embodiment of the best (perfect) attribute in each and every walk of life, i.e., the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ). His each and every manner stands “Excellent” for all times to come. The Holy Quran verified:
“And surely, you possess the highest moral excellence.” (Al-Qalam:4)
Allah Almighty reveals for us:
“Certainly, you have an excellent model in following the Rasool (Messenger) of Allah. This is (ideal model) for the one who has hope in Allah and the last Day and remembers Allah too much. (Surah Al-Ahzab: 21)
Human body has been endowed with numerous faculties of head and heart. Speech faculty is one of the most distinguished faculties. The Creator Almighty teaches in the Holy Quran:
“And say to my devotees that they should (only) say those words that are the best.”(Surah Al-Isra: 53)
At another place, it has been advised:
“And speak good to people.” (Surah Al- Baqarah:83)
When a person intends to speak to the Holy Prophetﷺ, thereby, Allah Almighty specially ensures and particularizes the most respectful communicative content and style of the speaker:
“Do not speak aloud in his presence as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain while you are unaware.” (Surah Al-Hujurat: 02)
It has been strictly warned:
“O you who believe! Say not (to Allah’s Messenger) “Rai’ina” but say “Unzurna”. (Surah Al- Baqarah: 104)
It shows that the utterance of the slightest undignified word non-befitting for the highest status of the Holy Prophet ﷺ is totally forbidden, even, when insult is not intended. So, one should avoid using ambiguous words in respect of the Holy Prophet (صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ) which could give anyone an opportunity of causing any slander. Allah Almighty Himself is teaching us the most dignified manner of addressing the Holy Prophet ﷺ through His Divine Decrees. (Noor-ul-Irfan: English Commentary of the Holy Quran)
As a matter of universal principle, the Creator Almighty expects the use of best words in the best style from human being who has been created on the best nature. But, whenever, one is going to submit his/her oral or verbal communication into the most majestic court of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ whatever, may be the mode or medium, either prose or poetry, in any language, there is always extremely needed highest sense of reverence and respect in the selection and use of most appropriate words, style and tone syntactically and semantically. The precedence of the prestigious companions of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Zuhammad ﷺ in adopting the most respectful style of requesting or praising the Holy Prophet ﷺ is illuminating for all of us in both prose and poetry mode for all times to come.
Na’at is the praise of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ in the poetical medium. Ram Babu Saksainah as cited in Dr. Muhammad Hassan (2005), all languages of the world have taken their origin from the poetry (versification) which implies that occurrence of prose has been found in all languages next to poetry Abdul- Rehman (1995) quotes:


“if we look back to the primitive beginnings of any race, however, we see that poetry starts with some practical purpose in mind that can be called religious whether of praise, propitiation or incantation”. (P.316)
Donald A. Stauffer (1971) writes about the nature of poetry that “Poetry is exact” (P.469). Poetic exactness consists in the unique individuality of each complete poetic expression. Stauffer further states that poetry is intense and passionate. The significance of poetry is primarily a moral significance. Even, it may be considered as the most effective of moral agents. Poetry is also rhythmic. And finally, “poetry is formal” (P.471).
Samuel Johnson defines poetry as “the art of uniting pleasure with truth by calling imagination to the help of reason” (P.331).
Samuel Taylor Coleridge asserts: “the best words in the best order” (P. 331).
T. S. Eliot says about poetry: “not the assertion that something is true, but the making of that truth more fully read to us” (P.331).(Cited in X. J. Kennedy,1966)
Dr. Mahmudur Rehman (2004) writes that since the inception of Islam, fourteen centuries ago, Na’at has had been recognized as the crown of poetry. It is an undeniable fact that wherever the Muslims are found in this world and whichever language they use to speak, they have produced a variety of Na’at. For Example, in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Chinese, Urdu, Hindi Bangla, Pushto, Blochi, Sindhi, Saraiki, Punjabi, Kashmiri, etc.,etc. Na’ats of much high quality have been written. Even in English language, the poets have attempted most excellently to compose verses in praise of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
Mehdi Ali Siddiqi (Eng.Trans.,1987) notes that the term ‘Na’at’ is applied to a poetic composition eulogizing the personality of the Prophet ﷺin all its virtues and graces. Muhammad Ather Javed (1992) submits that Muslims all over the world have the deepest love and reverence in their hearts for the Holy Prophet ﷺ and they are constantly busy in paying their humble homage to him ﷺ. Poets all over the world have also been singing encomiums in his ﷺ praise. Professor Muhammad Saleem Bhatti (2000, November 15) most humbly relates that Hamd and Na’at is not as easy field to strive. It requires love, sincerity, devotion, and dedication to understand the nature of its sanctity and greatness of the highest degree which is measureless to human- being. He adds:
“But we are to make efforts, praising, singing and spreading our humble love, feelings and praises that we have for the most beloved personality whom Allah Almighty praises. This is never ending source of light for the character building, nourishment of innocent minds and without difference, young old and the oldest ones.” (PP VI-VII)
Because,
“Muhammad, for whom are all praises.
Our hopes in good destinies that it raises.” (P.48)
“Aziz, noble and dear to all
Ready to hold, those about to fall”. (P.53)
(Muhammad Arshad Chaudhary, 1993)
“Zaat hoi intikhab, wasf hooay lajawab
Nam hoowa Mustafa, tum peh karoaroan Durood” (Imam Ahmad Raza Khan)
(English Transliteration of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan’s Urdu Na’atia couplet by SU Jundran)
“You became the Elect One, with traits unmatched by anyone,
You were named the Chosen One, billions of blessings be upon you!”
(Versified English Translation: Aqib Al- Qadri, 2015) (P.54)
Linda Hess and Annemarie Schimmel (1987) used the term of “natiyah poetry” in the Encyclopedia of Religion under the title of “Poetry in Honour of the Prophet ﷺ. They explain that throughout the history of Islam and in all languages of the Islamic world, poets have expressed ardent praise and love for the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. It is being quoted from therein:
“As the love of the Prophet has been called the strongest binding force in Islam, the theme may provide an appropriate summation for this survey of Islamic religious poetry.” (P.388)
Hess and Shcimmel further state that all poetic styles and forms, from the simplest to the most sophisticated are called into service to extol Muhammad ﷺ , the supreme exemplar, “the radiance of both worlds.” (P.388)


Dr. Aziz Ahsan is a prolific Na’at Writer. His doctoral study and post-doctoral research works are related to Na’at literature.Ma sha’ Allah Ta’ala! His Na’atia poetry consists of voluminous Kulliyaat. Na’at Research Centre Karachi (Pakistan) has published his several research papers and research works. Locally and internationally, he is recognized in Na’at Circles. The Na’at poet Aziz Ahsan has produced particularly evaluative and judgmental literature pertinent to the quality and standard of Na’atia poetry. Definitely, quantity of Na’atia poetry is to increase by each passing day. Every heartbeat with the love of Holy Prophet ﷺ.Every eye seeks light for life of this world and hereafter from the footprints of the Holy Prophet sall-Allah-o-alaih-i-wa aalihee wa sallum. Every bosom finds enlightenment from the remembrance of the Prophet’s ﷺ attributes. Every tongue’s speech faculty becomes elevated when it gets glorified with the praises of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.Allah Almighty has promised to keep highly exalted his ﷺremembrance forever. That’s why the volume, the magnitude, the quantity and the literary asset of Na’at poetry is getting more popular, larger and richer by every coming moment.
“Excellence of Na’at: Conditions and Standards” by Dr. Aziz Ahsan is a realization call, respectful request, cordial invitation and Na’at poetry manual for all Na’at poets of all languages and all regions that they should have due regards and careful consideration for acquiring the excellence standards in their Na’at versification. This work also informs us about the warning of severe punishment if somebody shows even minutest or slightest sort of carelessness in the selection of words or style which are not befitting for the dignity and glory of the highest ranked personality,i.e.,Hazrat Muhammad sall-Allah-o-alaih-i-wa aalihee wa sallum.. This critic of Na’at literature has presented examples of Divine endowments upon the presentation and composition Na’at quoting from the most prestigious pages of the Quran and Hadith. Thereby the critic poet has presented in his book very strict conditions, standards, parameters and criteria laid down in the Quran and the Sunnah for the Na’atia poetry. The central chapters of this book entitled as “Principles of Composing General Poetry”, Quranic Teachings Pertainng to Poetry” and “Poetry’s Practical Examples Laid Down in Presence of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ serve the purpose of primary guidelines for Na’at poets. Towards the conclusion of his book, Dr. Aziz Ahsan mentions Mazhar Jan-e-Janan’s Persian Na’at couplets whose English translation he renders as:
“Allah سبحانہٗ تعالیٰ Does Not Expect any praise from us.
Muhammad ﷺ (also) does not wish to be praised (by us).
Allah سبحانہٗ تعالیٰ alone is sufficient to glorify His Messenger ﷺ.
Muhammad ﷺ is also enough for glorification of Almighty Allah سبحانہٗ تعالیٰ”. (P. 13)
Maulana Qasim Nanotvi submits in his Urdu Na’at:
“Who can adequately sing the praises of Muhammad.
O Allah,
On whom You bestow so much love,
O Allah” (P.103)
(Versified English translation by Dr.Ghulam Ali Allana,1987)
Thus, it is needed that all Na’at poets’ intention should be truly the pleasures of Allah Almighty and His most beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ). They should never ever show any touch of falsehood or exaggeration in their Na’at writings. Human Effort must reflect there upto optimal level for the usage of the best words in the best order for the glorification of the most beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلِہٖ وَسَلَّمَ). Hazrat Hamzah Bin Abd Al-Muttalib Bin Hashim (Razi Allah-o-anho) has said in his Arabic encomium of the Holy Prophet sall-Allah-o-alaih-i-wa aalihee wa sallum:


“He is exalted amongst us.
And so, he is obeyed.
Take care that no unkindly word.
Against him should be said.” (P.05)
(Versified English translation by Matlubul Hasan Sayyid, 1987))
The topic of Na’at is included into all languages subject from school to university level. It is also reflected into other Disciplines, i.e., History, Islamic Culture and Islamic Studies, etc. The evaluation or judgment of Na’at literature or the literary criticism of Na’at literature will promote the cause of Na’at literature adornment and excellence. Al Hamd-o-Lillah! Voluminous editions of Na’atia poetry are now available in the world of local and international literature. The research for the excellence in Na’at literature, in sha’ Allah Ta’ala, would be helpful for the classic development of Na’at writings. The excellent models of Na’at writings should be perused and consulted for this purpose.As an example, Na’at written by Hazrat Hassan Bin Sabit Razi Allah-o- anho has also been included into this book among many other Na’ats presented by the Sahabah (Razi Allah-o-anhum) of the Holy Prophet ﷺ. Those all Na’at specimens of excellent standard may be good guide for seeking excellence standard in Na’at writing. One has to observe certain prescribed conditions, parameters, yardsticks and criteria to reach at the quality level in any field of literature. The field of Na’at is very delicate and thoughtful in this regard.
Na’at-Academies,Circles,Councils,Foundations,Institutes,Publishing Houses,Research Centres and Study Centres should pay heed towards excellent standards of this classic genre.The literati of Na’at Literature should project the topic of Na’at Excellence in their writings.The curriculum developers and syllabus designers of Urdu, Arabic, Persian, English, Islamic Studies,History of Pakistan, Islamic Culture, Linguistics and Literature may include the study of this great genre within the domain and level of their Discipline or Subject. The specific use of a language for this specific purpose can be initiated. For example, English for Specific Purpose of Business, Science and Technology is already in practice. Why not English for Transmission of Islamic Culture (ETIC)! The use of words in any language is very much significant in view of its religio-socio-cultural context and psycho-linguistic perspective.
It has been well cited by Allama Kokab Norani Okarrvi in “Na’at Rang” Issue No. 18, Dec 2005, P. 359:
“Rah ber ki rah-e-Na’at mai(n) gar haajet hoa
Naqsh-e-qadam Hazrat Hassan buss hai.”
(English transliteration of Imam Ahmed Raza Khan’s Urdu Na’atia couplet by SU Jundran)
English Translation:
Anyone who is in need of guide on the path of Prophet’s Na’at,
For him, foot-prints of Hazrat Hassan are the best resort.
(SU Jundran)
It implies that whosoever is needful of guidance for the art of Na’at writing he may seek the light from the excellent models of Na’at written by Hazrat Hassan Bin Sabit Razi Allah-o-anho in the area of Na’at writing. It would boost up his passion, enhance his knowledge, enlarge his vision, illumine his thought, increase his love, enkindle his feelings and bring him glory and excellence in Na’at kingdom.
To sum up, it looks, and we wish this period as an era of Na’at! May it move towards excellence! In sha’ Allah Ta’ala, every new morning will glow with the praise of the Holy Prophet ﷺ in excellent word and excellent style! There is a great glad tiding for everyone who is in quest of excellence in every good deed.
Hazrat Ayesha Siddiqah Razi Allah-o anha reports that Holy Prophet sall-Allah-o-alaih-i-wa aalihee wa sallum stated:
“Allah Almighty likes it that whenever a person among you does some deed, he may do it in an excellent manner.” (Musnad Abu Ya’hla)
It would be highly desirable if Provincial and Federal Ministries of Religious Affairs and Pakistan Academy of Letters compile excellent specimens of Na’at from different eras of history in different languages of the world.World Literature Forums may publish some excellent selection from world Na’at literature.National University of Modern Languages can conduct linguistic cum literary research upon Na’at literature of Modern Languages for the quest of Na’at excellence.


Keeping in view the title of this book, it needs to be acknowledged here that terms, conditions, criteria, eligibilities, requirements and standards in any domain or discipline are determined and decided by the competent authorities of that domain or discipline. Primarily, the topic of this book, i.e., Na’at belongs to the domain of religion. So, the Quran and the Sunnah are the Competent Authorities to decide the pre-requisite conditions and standards for Na’at composition, Na’at presentation and Na’at recitation. Although fondness for Na’at is found in the deepest core of every Muslim’s heart. Several non-muslims’ fondness for Na’at has also been found exemplary. However, it becomes the duty and privilege of experts of Islamic Studies that they may derive a well-defined point-wise list of operational criteria and set of standards from the Quran and Sunnah which may work as a guidance manual for Na’at poets. Research can be conducted at M.Phil, Doctorate Level in the Universities Islamic Studies Department upon this plan. i.e., A Study of Standards Set for Na’at Excellence in the Light of Quran and Sunnah. This study would be very precious service for the Islamic literature of Na’at in all languages. The topic towards which Mr. Aziz Ahsan has drawn the attention of Na’at poets basically demands the special services of Islamic studies Experts both from the public and private sector. An initial work upon poetry selection criteria for Compulsory English Curriculum was accomplished at doctoral level in the Institute of Education & Research, University of the Punjab, Lahore in 2011. Thereby, a set of fifteen points criteria was developed from local and international literature for the selection of poetry for compulsory English curriculum. This doctoral project.,i.e., “The Selection of Poetry for Inclusion into Compulsory English Curriculum Grade Six to Ten” reached its completion under the supervision of Associate Professor of Education, Dr. Muhammad Saeed Shahid. This project contained the process of Delphi Technique for evaluation of poetry in three consecutive rounds through Delphi Ranking Forms furnished by the Poetry Evaluators. But, whenever, we are concerned with the matter of Na’at selection or Na’at evaluation upon the parameters of Na’at excellence, thereby, we would need the specialized services of Islamic Studies Experts, too.
Al-Hamd-o-Lillah! This globe is enriched with such multiple intellectuals, academicians, literati and artists who have specialized expertise in both areas, i.e., Islamic Studies and Literature (Poetry), too. They can deliver better skilled services. Otherwise, coordinated services from these both areas can be more beneficial in this perspective. So, further research in this regard can be initiated from the oriental languages and literature departments of Universities at M.phil or Ph.D level. Apart from degree awarding research fulfillment work, this desired task can be undertaken on honorary basis as a noble pursuit of pleasure, satisfaction and knowledge dissemination. It needs to be expressed here for the kind perusal of all those intellectuals, academicians, Na’at Scholars that journey towards Na’at excellence needs the teaching of Na’at Studies as a specialized subject at MS or M.Phil level. This specialized study will require the faculty position of Na’at Studies Lecturer or Research Associate in Languages and Literature Departments and Islamic Studies Departments.The proposed Course Outline of Na’at Studies Subject may contain the major topics like:
The literal and literary meanings of Na’at;
Primary objectives of Na’at;
Significance of Na’at;
Na’at into the annals of history.
An overview of Na’atia World Literature.
Na’at and Pakistan Movement.
Na’at literature development in Pakistan.
Inclusion of Na’at into prevalent curriculum (ECE to Ph.D level);
Na’at as an integral part of co-curriculum from school to parliament.
Versified translations of Na’at;
Impact of Na’at upon human character development.
Impact of Na’at upon overall literature enrichment.
And
Prominent Na’at selections from non-muslim authorship, etc.
So,it is wished, needed and prayed that this very tiny and very humble step towards the excellence of Na’at journey may soon have the blessed company of other fortunates to cover the distance up to the establishment of Na’at Excellence Centres in our universities where Permanent Professors of Na’at Studies Subject may look working as its path finders! Quite recently announced Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority and Universities Seerat Chairs can also render excellent services for this journey of Na’at excellence.
Although this work lacks narrative flow at some places, yet this work is highly need-based.
The respected author of this book (Honoured Aziz Ahsan) deserves heartiest congratulations.He has devoted his post-retirement life for the development of consecutive writings related to evaluation, judgment,standardization, adornment, embellishment and excellence of Na’atia Poetical Literature. Al- hamd-o-Lillah! Allah Almighty blessed me humble person, too, with the opportunity of making this humblest submission in the form of Foreword to this work of classic category.I truly feel very much pleasure upon this endowment of humble pennship for this meritorious task.
Boundless thanks to the Creator Almighty and countless Salutations to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ!
Best wishes for all respectable readers, writers, listeners, reciters, evaluators and researchers of Na’at genre,
I conclude this Foreword at quoting line from Noori (Sayyidah Musarrat Jahan Begum Shafique)’s Urdu Na’at :
“My faculty and speech are perplexed I have to and yet what can I pen” ⁇ (P.149)
(Versified English Translation by M.N.A. Baig,1987)
@Saleem Ullah Jundran
Saturday: 9th Rabiul Awwal 1443 Hijri
16th October 2021 A.D.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
٭( Saleem Ullah Jundran, Ph.D Education (PU), M.A. English (PU), M.A. Teaching of English as Foreign Language (AIOU), M.Ed. (PU)
Principal, Government High School, Dhunni Klan, Tehsil Phalia, District M.B.Din. (Punjab, Pakistan) Email: [email protected]). Bhoa Hassan, Tehsil Phalia, District Mandi Baha-ud-Din, Punjab (Pakistan)

Title Image by 5350755 from Pixabay

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