Qasida is a poetic form that was conceived and developed in pre-Islamic Arabia way before Islam was introduced. Nevertheless this art form was perpetuated in the world through the literary movement that accompanied Islam on its conquest of the world. Qasida is basically a laudatory and elegiac poem that is found in Arabic, Persian and Urdu literatures. An orthodox Qasida is an elaborately structured ode of 60 to 100 lines. It maintains a single end rhyme that runs through the entire piece; the same rhyme also occurs at the end of the first half-line of the first verse. It is strange that any kind of meter is acceptable in Qasida. To know more about Qasida, continue to read this insightful article on it.
History Of Qasida
The Qasida opens with a short prelude that is known as 'Nasib', which is elegiac in mood and is intended to gain the audience's involvement. After this conventional beginning follows the 'Rahil', this consists of descriptions of the poet's horse. It concludes with a piece on 'Fakhr', or self-praise, the main theme, called 'Madih', or panegyric. The Qasida has always been seen as a respectable Art Form. This art form saw a decline with the coming of Ghazal and Nazam. Thus, by the end of the 8th century the Qasida had begun to decline in popularity. Qasida were also written in Persian, Turkish, and Urdu until the 19th century.
Qasida al-Burda and Imam al-Busiri: Qasida al-Burda is composed by the Sufi mystic and writer called Imam al-Busiri of Egypt. Its title in English is ‘Celestial Lights in Praise of the Best of Creation’. This book is famous only in the Sunni Muslim world rather than the Shia. It is a poem dedicated to the praise and admiration of the Messenger of Allah as poet claims that he was cured of paralysis in his dream by being wrapped in a mantle or scarf by Muhammad himself. Al-Busiri is said to have descended from the North African Berber Sanhaja tribe of the Morocco region. His family was from the Hammad Citadel in Morocco and was a part of Banu Habnun tribe. Not much is known about his childhood except some of the facts. He received education by attending a Koran school. He was pushed into working to earn for his family from a very young age which proves that perhaps he came from a poor family. He pursued further studies from Cairo where he went to work. There he acquired education in Islamic sciences, Arabic language and linguistics, literature, history and the life history of Prophet Muhammad. He started writing poetry from a very young age but at that time he was not inclined towards writing religious poetries. On the basis of his poetries from his entire life, one can figure out his spiritual development as his experiences with various people, insights into life’s various events, complaints about life and appreciation of what is good is recorded in it. It is also quite visible from his work that how because of his short and slender stature he was a matter of constant ridicule by people since he was young. Such feelings of resentment and remorse are revealed in a number of satirical poems that he composed as a young man. He was famous for having a sharp tongue and he used to ridicule his contemporary enemies. He really had a bad reputation in courts of princes and viziers because of the way he used to attack people with his sharp words. He had majorly worked as a poet or a scribe for the local rulers in the regions like Delta, Cairo, etc. He was once offered a post of market inspector by a local ruler but he rejected it. The only positive characted of his that has been recorded by most of the historians is that he was of a generous nature.
Controversy On Qasida Burda: There’s some controversy that revolves around Qasida Burda, saying that it consists of ‘blatant shirk’ which goes against the oneness of Allah; his oneness in name and attributes and his oneness in divinity. But it has been established that it is not true as it does not actually contain any ‘shirk’ or any other derivations from the Islamic faith. Qasida is in fact a divine expression of deep and ardent love for the Messenger of Allah who is considered to be made of love and faith. It is regarded as the greatest ever existed documents of love for the Prophet by the mainstream Islamic scholars. It is recited by the Muslim followers with love and dedication towards the Messenger of Allah. Many great scholars have written various commentaries on Qasida and it has been always studied and recited all over the Islamic world from East to the West since time immemorial. Some of the verses in Qasida may give the idea of it containing any ‘blatant shirk’ because of its great depth and articulacy but the trick is to understand or interpretate it the way the author intended to.