The Start

He (saws) said to ‘Amr{ra},

Islām wipes away sins,

Hijrah wipes away sins,

And Hajj{mabrūr}wipes away sins.”

Could this be per-chance

An ode to joy. I’m not to

Sing, dance & prance

About. Justice is due.

So ‘Amr took the oath

And pledged his alliance,

He took it in delight

Tis’ witness ‘til our convergence.

A masterful piece,

A statement of divinity.

Curls the tongue, softens the heart

And renders the body immediately

Into raising the name

Of Allāh, Risālah penetrated the hearts

The companions fortified that aim

What’s more important than the start?

“Lā illāha il-Allāh.”

Glossary & Context:

Hijrah = to emigrate (for the sake of God in this context)

Hajj = Pilgrimage to Mecca

Mabrur = Accepted. The Accepted Hajj, therefore is one that is done with absolute sincerity and perfection.

Risalah = Prophethood

The Start that I refer to is a reference of the testimony of faith, it is the first pillar of faith. To repeat these words with firm belief makes one Muslim. This poem is essentially a story about a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), his name was Amru ibn al ‘As. Below is a short narrative of his story.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jauziyah mentions in Kitab ar-Ruh:

Narrated Ibn Shumas Al-Mahri:

We went to ‘Amr bin Al-’As, and he was about to die. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall.

His son said, “O father! Did the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, give you the tidings of this?”

He turned his face (towards the audience) and said:

“The best thing which we can count upon is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Verily I have passed through three phases.

(The first one) on which I found myself an averse to no one else more than I was averse to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and there was no other desire stronger in me than that I should overpower him and kill him. Had I died in this state, I would have been definitely one of the denizens of Fire.

When Allah instilled the love of Islam in my heart, I came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘Stretch out your right hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ He stretched out his right hand, but I withdrew my hand. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘What has happened to you, O ‘Amr ?’

I replied ‘I intend to lay down some conditions.’

He asked, ‘What conditions do you intend to put forward?’

I said, ‘I should be granted pardon.’

He said, ‘Are you aware that Islam wipes out all the previous (misdeeds)? Verily, migration wipes out all the (previous) misdeeds. Verily, the pilgrimage wipes out all the (previous) misdeeds.’

And then no one was more dear to me than the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and none was more sublime in my eyes, than him. Never could I pluck courage to catch a full glimpse of his face due to its splendour. So if I am asked to describe his features, I cannot do that for I have not eyed him fully.

Had I died in this state I had every reason to hope that I would have been among the dwellers of Paradise. Then we were responsible for certain things (in the light of which) I am unable to know what is in store for me. When I die, let neither female mourner nor fire accompany me. When you bury me, fill my grave well with earth, then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may enjoy with your company and ascertain what answer I can give to the messengers (angels) of Allah.”

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