another poet whom Muhammad admired a lot. We will now briefly review the
contribution of this poet towards the authorship of the Qur’an.
Labid was the son of Rabiah ibn
Jafar al-Amiri. Dictionary of Islam
(Hughes Dictionary of Islam, p.282) reports that Labid died at Kufah in
at the age of 157. As told before, Labid was one of the 7 magnificent
poets of Muallaqat. Islamic
historians claim that Labid embraced Islam when he saw the first verse of
Sura al-Bakara (Sura 2) posted up at Ka’ba; he withdrew his verses and
embraced Islam. This claim, of course, cannot be true, as the first verse
of Sura al-Bakara is simply: Alif. Lam. Mim--the cryptic message which
even Muhammad claimed that only Allah knew their meaning. Labid’s verse
was: “Know that everything is vanity but God.” Muhammad said the same
to Labid—the truest poet.
Even if one accepts the assertion
that Labid became a Muslim after reading Muhammad’s verses then it is
more palpable that it was indeed Labid who helped Muhammad to construct
poetical verses that were, later, passed up as messages of Allah via
Gabriel. Those verses which Labid wrote on behalf of Muhammad were mostly
the verses dealing with piety, exhortation of good deeds, some narrations
of Arab practices… etc.
we find references of Labid. Here are some samples:
The most true words said by a poet
was the words of Labid…5.58.181
5, Book 58, Number 181:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The
most true words said by a poet was the words of Labid." He said,
Verily, Everything except Allah is perishable and Umaiya bin As-Salt was
about to be a Muslim (but he did not embrace Islam).
A true poetry testifies the
indestructibility of Allah…8.76.496
8, Book 76, Number 496:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The
truest poetic verse ever said by a poet, is: Indeed! Everything except
Allah, is perishable."
of course refers to the poetry of Labid.
The true word in Arabic poetry is
“Labid”. Apart from Allah everything is vain…28.5604
028, Number 5604:
Abu Huraira reported
Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The truest word
spoken by an Arab (pre-Islamic) in poetry is this verse of Labid:"
Behold! apart from Allah everything is vain."
I think Muhammad, in the
beginning, wanted to be a famous poet by simply mimicking the style, the
vocabulary and the rhythm of the poets of his time. However, his
illiteracy proved to be the major stumbling block, until he met Zayd ibn
Amr and Labid—his mentors who would completely change his course.
In the beginning, and before his
marriage to Khadijah, Muhammad was probably more inclined to be a poet. He
deeply admired the above three personalities, two of them were poets and
the third (Zayd b. Amr) a humanist in to-day’s language. Nonetheless,
after his marriage to Khadijah, and when he came in contact with several
personalities related to her who were well-versed in religions other than
paganism, Muhammad changed his mind. Now, he thought of introducing a new
belief system. In fact, the Qur’an narrates that the Quraysh considered
that Muhammad was trying to be a poet, but Allah scolded the Quraysh for
their wrong assumption.
Here are some sample verses on the
‘poetship’ of Muhammad:
Some people thought that Muhammad
was a poet...52:30
Or do they say:- "A Poet! we await for
him some calamity (hatched) by Time!"
People thought that Muhammad was a
dreaming poet; they wanted him to show them some miracles like the old
"Nay," they say, "(these are) medleys of dream! - Nay, He
forged it! - Nay, He is (but) a poet! Let him then bring us a Sign like
the ones that were sent to (Prophets) of old!"
Muhammad does not recite any
poetry; the Qur’an is a clear message…36:69
We have not instructed the (Prophet) in
Poetry, nor is it meet for him: this is no less than a Message and a
Qur'an making things clear:
Muhammad is not a poet possessed
but he confirms the messages of apostles sent before him…37:36-37
And say: "What! shall we give up our
gods for the sake of a Poet possessed?"
Nay! he has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (the Message
of) the messengers (before him).
The Qur’an is neither the words of a poet nor that
of a soothsayer...69:41-42
It is not the word of a poet: little it is
Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is ye
Hasan b. Thabit was Muhammad’s
own official poet. He wrote the Diwan,
the anthology of ancient Arabian poetry. When Muhammad migrated to
he made Hasan b. Thabit his own poet. Nonetheless, Hasan b. Thabit had his
idiosyncrasies. Even though he was the personal poet of Muhammad he had a
deep dislike for the Muslims. On page xxviii of Sirat
Rasul Allah, the translator, Professor Alfred Guillaume writes,
“Hasan b. Thabit disliked the growing number of Muslims. He considered
the vagrant Muslims as unmitigated nuisance. He did not house any of the
Muhajirin, nor was a brother to one of them.”
Most likely, Hasan b. Thabit was a
hired poet (a kind of journalist) of Muhammad—paid to compose poetry as
per Muhammad’s specifications. This can be confirmed from Ahadith. Here are some examples:
Muhammad approved Hassan b. Thabit
to recite poetry in a mosque…4.54.434
4, Book 54, Number 434:
Narrated Sa'id bin Al-Musaiyab:
'Umar came to the Mosque
while Hassan was reciting a poem. ('Umar disapproved of that). On that
Hassan said, "I used to recite poetry in this very Mosque in the
presence of one (i.e. the Prophet ) who was better than you." Then he
turned towards Abu Huraira and said (to him), "I ask you by Allah,
did you hear Allah's Apostle saying (to me), "Retort on my behalf. O
Allah! Support him (i.e. Hassan) with the Holy Spirit?" Abu Huraira
unmistakably shows that Hasan used to construct poems for Muhammad to be
recited in the mosque. Can those poems not be some of the Suras of the
Muhammad instructed Hassan, the
poet to lampoon the pagans…4.54.435
4, Book 54, Number 435:
Narrated Al Bara:
The Prophet said to Hassan,
"Lampoon them (i.e. the pagans) and Gabriel is with you."
This Hadis demonstrates
that Hasan b. Thabit used to compose poems as per Muhammad’s likes and
dislikes—just the way the Qur’an is composed of Allah’s revelations
Hassan b. Thabit lampooned
the infidels excluding Muhammad…4.56.731
4, Book 56, Number 731:
Once Hassan bin Thabit
asked the permission of the Prophet to lampoon (i.e. compose satirical
poetry defaming) the infidels. The Prophet said, "What about the fact
that I have common descent with them?" Hassan replied, "I shall
take you out of them as a hair is taken out of dough."
Narrated 'Urwa: I started
abusing Hassan in front of 'Aisha, whereupon she said. "Don't abuse
him, for he used to defend the Prophet (with his poetry)."
Here are further evidence
that Hasan b. Thabit was a paid scribe—a Qur’an composer of Muhammad
Muhammad asked his poet Hassan to
abuse the B. Qurayzah Jews through his poetry...Sahih
5, Book 59, Number 449:
The Prophet said to Hassan,
"Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you (i.e, supports
you)." (Through another group of sub narrators) Al-Bara bin Azib
said, "On the day of Quraiza's (besiege), Allah's Apostle said to
Hassan bin Thabit, 'Abuse them (with your poems), and Gabriel is with you
(i.e. supports you).' "
demonstrates further that Muhammad commissioned Hasan b. Thabit to compose
poems as per his stipulations.
Abu Talha gave his valuable
property to his relatives, viz. Hassan b. Thabit and Ubayy b. Ka’b…5.2186
005, Number 2186:
Anas reported that when
this verse was revealed:" You will not attain righteousness till you
give freely of what you love," Abu Talha said: I see that our Lord
has demanded from us out of our property; so I make you a witness,
Messenger of Allah. that I give my land known as Bairaha' for the sake of
Allah. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Give
that to your relatives. So he gave it to Hassan b. Thabit and Ubayy b.
That was how Muhammad rewarded
Hasan b. Thabit for composing Qur’anic verses (via his poems, and helped
by Gabriel) for Muhammad.
After Hassan b. Thabit went blind
he used to spend time at Aisha’s quarter. Aisha admired him as he used
to write satirical rebuttal on behalf of Muhammad…31.6077
031, Number 6077:
Masruq reported: I visited
'A'isha when Hassin was sitting there and reciting verses from his
compilation: She is chaste and prudent. There is no calumny against her
and she rises up early in the morning without eating the meat of the un-
mindful. 'A'isha said: But you are not so. Masruq said: I said to her: Why
do you permit him to visit you, whereas Allah has said:" And as for
him among them who took upon himself the main part thereof, he shall have
a grievous punishment" (XXIV. ll)? Thereupon she said: What torment
can be more severe than this that he has become blind? He used to write
satire as a rebuttal on behalf of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon
That was how Hasan b. Thabit saved
Muhammad and his Qur’an!
Here is another Hadis from Sahih Muslim
that even claims that Hasan b. Thabit’s poems were helped by divine
power (Ruh-ul-Quddus) and were similar to certain Qur’anic verses!
'A'isha reported that
Allah's Messenger (may peace be uport him) said. Satirise against the
(non-believing amongst the) Quraish, for (the satire) is more grievous to
them than the hurt of an arrow. So he (the Holy Prophet) sent (someone) to
Ibn Rawiha and asked him to satirise against them, and he composed a
satire, but it did not appeal to him (to the Holy Prophet). He then sent
(someone) to Ka'b b. Malik (to do the same, but what he composed did not
appeal to the Holy Prophet). He then sent one to Hassan b. Thabit. As he
got into his presence, Hassan said: Now you have called for this lion who
strikes (the enemies) with his tail. He then brought out his tongue and
began to move it and said: By Him Who has sent you with Truth, I shall
tear them with my tongue as the leather is torn. Thereupon Allah's
Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Don't be hasty; (let) Abu Bakr who
has the best know- ledge of the lineage of the Quraish draw a distinction
for you in regard to my lineage, as my lineage is thesame as theirs.
Hassan then came to him (Abu Bakr) and after making inquiry (in regard to
the lineage of the Holy Prophet) came back to him (the holy Prophet) and
said: Allah's Messenger, he (Abu Bakr) has drawn a distinction in vour
lineage (and that of the Quraish) By Him Who has sent you with Truth, I
shall draw out from them (your name) as hair is drawn out from the flour.
'A'isha said: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying
to Hassin: Verily Ruh-ul- Qudus would continue to help you so long as you
put up a defence on behalf of Allah and His Messenger. And she said: I
heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying: Hassan satirised
against them and gave satisfaction to the (Muslims) and disquieted (the
You satirised Muhammad, but
I replied on his behalf,
And there is reward with
Allah for this.
You satirised Muhammad.
The Apostle of Allah, whose
nature is truthfulness.
So verily my father and his
father and my honour
Are a protection to the
honour of Muhammad;
May I lose my dear
daughter, if you don't see her,
Wiping away the dust from
the two sides of Kada',
They pull at the rein,
On their shoulders are
spears thirsting (for the blood of the enemy) ;
our steeds are sweating-our
women wipe them with their mantles.
If you had not interfered
with us, we would have performed the 'Umra,
And (then) there was the
Victory, and the darkness cleared away.
Otherwise wait for the
fighting on the day in which Allah will honour whom He pleases.
And Allah said: I have sent
a servant who says the Truth in which there is no ambiguity;
And Allah said: I have
prepared an army-they are the Ansar whose object is fighting (the enemy),
There reaches every day
from Ma'add abuse, or fighting or satire;
Whoever satirises the
Apostle from amongst you, or praises him and helps it is all the same,
And Gabriel, the Apostle of
Allah is among us, and the Holy Spirit who has no match.
Muhammad rewarded this mercenary
poet of him by awarding him a pretty, young damsel Sirin, who, along with
Marriyah Kibtia, were presented to Muhammad by Muyaqis, the then governor
. Muhammad kept Marriyah, the prettiest lass as his concubine and donated
Sirin to Hasan b. Thabit to be used as his sex-slave. Ibn Ishaq (Ibn Ishaq,
p.652) writes that Sirin and Marriyah were sisters.
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