Ya Abed al-Haramain: The Story Behind The Song

madinah.jpg  Many of us have no doubt heard the classic Arabic nasheed known as “Ya Abed al-Haramain” – even for those like me who can’t understand the Arabic, just the sounds of the words and the way they’re uttered strike a chord within us.

Al-Hamdulillaah, I just recently found an English translation of the nasheed and – better yet! – the story behind the song. Here it is below, for those like me who love the great tales of the ‘abideen and mujahideen, whose histories are a shining inspiration for us all.

Ya Abed al-Haramain

In Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir (specifically his chapter on the last ayaat of Surah al-Imraan), he mentions the following story:

Al-Hafiz ibn `Asakir mentioned in the biography of `Abdullah bin al-Mubarak, that Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Abi Sakinah said,

“While in the area of Tarsus, `Abdullah bin al-Mubarak dictated this poem to me when I was greeting him goodbye. He sent the poem with me to al-Fudhayl bin`Iyad in the year 170:

Like this?
Get more of our great articles.

O Worshipper of the Two Holy Masjids!
Had you witnessed us in the battlefield
You would have known that, compared to our Jihad,
Your worship is child’s play.
For every tear you have shed upon your cheek,
We have shed in its place, blood upon our chests.
You are playing with your worship,
While worshippers offer your worship
Mujahideen offer their blood and person (life).
The smell of nice perfume of is for you,
And our perfume is the dust and dirt (which is more pure),
And it has reached us from the sayings of our Prophet,
The martyr is not dead,
This is a true correct saying, in which there is no lie.
The dust of the people of Allah is never equal,
To a thousand men, whilst the smoke is climbing.
This is the book of Allah between us,
The martyr is not dead – and this is no lie.

“I met al-Fudayl ibn `Iyad in the Sacred Masjid and gave him the leter. When he read it, his eyes became tearful and he said, ‘Abu `Abdur-Rahman (`Abdullah bin al-Mubarak) has said the truth and offered sincere advice to me.’ He then asked me, ‘Do you write the Hadeeth?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Write this Hadeeth as reward for delivering the letter of Abu `Abdur-Rahman to me.’ He then dictated,

‘Mansur bin al-Mu`tamir narrated to us that Abu Saalih narrated from Abu Hurayrah that a man asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Teach me a good deed that will earn me the reward of the Mujahideen in Allah’s cause.’

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Are you able to pray continuously and fast without breaking the fast?’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I cannot bear it.’

The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said,

‘By He in Whose Hand is my soul! Even if you were able to do it, you would not achieve the grade of the Mujahideen in Allah’s cause. Did you not know that the horse of the Mujaahid earns rewards for him as long as it lives?’” [Ahmad]

[youtube lXDnPeeJMME]

Note: The authenticity of the story is doubted; however, I thought it’d be interesting to mention it anyway considering it’s presence in Tafsir Ibn Kathir and the popularity of the nasheed itself.

16 / View Comments

16 responses to “Ya Abed al-Haramain: The Story Behind The Song”

  1. FearAllah says:

    The youtube video is “no longer available”

    it has been fixed jazakAllahu khayran

  2. Dawud Israel says:

    My palestinian friend keeps singing this song all the time…

  3. Saleem says:


    Its odd that we see some on MM post these inspiring stories witnessing the lofty position of Jihaad and the Mujahideen in the deen yet how little does it effect us as? How many will go forth to fight the enemies of Islaam let alone speak against them or aid the Mujahideen directly?

    Or are we to simply just say masha’allah then switch off and forget it all- back to blogging, etc?

    On MM we have several authors who are said to have ilm, let at least some from them break the mold.

    Wa Assalaam

  4. dsfsf says:

    or say masha’allah and go back to commenting on blogs?

    criticizing the people of knowledge as you do in the end of your post is not ‘constructive’ at all no matter how much you may think it is. unfortunately this is indicative of many of those who go around loudly proclaiming the banner of the mujahideen, they don’t do anything except go around criticizing people who are not 100% upon what they are on.

  5. Abu Hossan says:

    Jazaak Allaah khayr for your post. May Alllaah instill the love of jihad and the mujahideen in the hearts of Muslims. For verily as the Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever dies without participating in jihad or desiring to partake in jihad has died following one of the branches of hypocrisy.” [Sahih Muslim]

  6. Abu Hossan says:

    Br. Saleem: “On MM we have several authors who are said to have ilm”

    Ilm goes hand in hand with hikmah. Being reactionary is neither an expression of ilm nor of the love for jihad in the path of Allaah. Also, its not our place to judge others. Instead we ask ourselves what we’re doing to further the cause of Allaah.

  7. Ammar Diwan says:


    We all have the ability to make duaa for the warriors in the path of Allah, who are fighting for our deen and honor.

  8. AnonyMouse says:

    I found the translation of the nasheed here at Kalamullah.com

  9. Islamictruth says:

    Very interesting msah’aallah. But I always thought about his. How come the topic of jihad rarely ever comes up? Its very hard to see people posting up on blogs that talk about jihad and the love for jihad. Maybe if we can see some of those here insha’allah.

  10. Nihal Khan says:

    this is the first time im hearing this nasheed

  11. iMuslim says:

    Nice poem, masha’Allah…

    Jihad shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s been made one by the media, but we know the truth of it. If anything it’s our job to claim it back for what it truely is. If any Muslim calls to terrorism, and fear – that’s not jihad. Fighting to protect the innocent, and to liberate people from oppression – that’s jihad.

    Fighting in the path of Allah needs to be clarified, methinks. Not diluted, but explained. Why are US & British soldiers allowed to be called heroes, and honoured with medals and memorials after dying in the battle field? People in the US drive around with “support our troops” bumper stickers. Imagine if a Muslim drove around with a “support our mujahideen!” bumper sticker? Who would dare to?! I remember watching a recording of a speech by Reagen praising the brave Moojaheedeeen who were fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan. How times have changed, eh?

    It’s natural to feel pride of those who have given their lives for the protection of others. The true mujahideen are no different – except they are, cos they are not trained to commit the disgusting acts that we get wind of now and then, like Abu Ghuraib, and the video confession we posted the other day. For example, Ali, radiallahu anhu, refused to kill an enemy soldier he was fighting after he spat in his face, because he did not want to fight with the intention of revenge. That’s a real soldier, masha’Allah! A man of honour… Modern soldiers are trained to be nothing more than rabid killing machines. This recent entry on Suhaib Webb’s blog is very enlightening in that regard…

    Part of the job can be done by weapons training that actually lays down reflex pathways that bypass the moral censor. The long, grassy fields with bull’s-eyes propped up at the end give way to combat simulators with pop-up human silhouettes that stay in sight only briefly: fire instantly and accurately and they drop; hesitate and they disappear in a couple of seconds anyway. But conditioning the reflexes only does half the job; it is also necessary to address the psychological reluctance to kill directly. These days soldiers are taught, very specifically, to kill.

    “Well, first off, what is a mine? A mine is nothing more, privates, than an explosive or chemical substance made to destroy and kill the enemy…. You want to rip his eyeballs out, you want to tear apart his love machine, you want to destroy him, privates, you don’t want to have nothing left of him. You want to send him home in a Glad Bag to his mommy!

    Hey, show no mercy to the enemy, they are not going to show it on you. Marines are born and trained killers; you’ve got to prove that every day? Do you understand?”

    -Lecture on the use of mines, Parris Island, 1982 2

    I can’t stand the hypocrisy of the right-wing media… I understand pacifists looking down on jihad, cos they look down on all forms of warfare… but the right-wing media basically labels Moozlems as evil when they fight for their basic human rights in their own lands, and then praise US soldiers for fighting bravely to spread “democracy”. It’s a jihad for democracy, apparently. {eye roll}

    Okay, my rant ends here.

  12. IbnAhmed says:

    its a nice poem but, as mentioned, its authenticity is doubted and it has one problem: Abdullah bin Mubarak was a well know mujahid and scholar and he would not belittle a fellow peer’s worship. Jihad is the peak of Islam but i dont think a well respected scholar would belittle a friend’s efforts with it, even in the form of advice, and Allah knows best

  13. Amad says:


    W/r to “why don’t we write more on Jihad”.

    In fact, our Abu Aaliyah has written about Jihad, one of the great forms of it. Jihad cannot be limited to one definition, neither can it be stripped of others. It is a nuanced word with many shades.

    The “fighting” jihad has been blogged about or discussed in many websites on a wide spectrum. One one side we have the wacky ultra-progressives who think such jihad never really existed and has no place in Islam. And on the other hand we have wacky keyboard jihadists who support thugs and terrorists animals that go around blowing up innocent men, women and children, such as al-Qaida, and other groups who do the same in the Muslim and non-Muslim world. And I bet these keyboard jihadist will be the last ones to leave their comfy chairs to join any “effort” (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are moles themselves to help attract other individuals into entrapment). The balanced position of jihad with its conditions and prerequisites is a difficult and complicated issue, which at least none of the staffers are qualified to discuss. So, we choose not to. And secondly, we write about what we feel is a priority for Muslims in the West. We write about what we CAN write about. It is not fair for people to expect us to write about everything they want to see written, especially when they can find the same information elsewhere.

    Why don’t our shayookh write about it? Well, the same question can be asked about a variety of Islamic issues… why don’t they write about intricate issues of Tawheed, or issues about hadith sciences, or issues about social responsibility… the point is that they are extremely busy and they write rarely (unfortunate but understandable). And they write about what they feel is a priority for the society they are residing in as well.

    I mean look around: many of our youth are leaving Islam, not just stopping its practice. Many of our youth and even adults are addicted to haram (check out the porn addiction post, one of the most popular on MM). Many of us don’t know the basics and fundamentals of our religion. Many of us don’t even take some time to do dawah to our neighbors and our non-Muslim acquaintances. Yet, we are ready to “sacrifice our lives”. Why don’t we first focus on straightening ourselves, our families, and our communities? Let’s work on the little change we CAN make, and then worry about changing the world.

  14. Ammar Diwan says:

    Edited. Ammar, you can direct questions to me via email. w/s

  15. Saleem says:


    Let me clarify a few matters as to my post.

    Akh dsfsf you for reasons unknown have not quoted me correctly for you say I said:

    ‘or say masha’allah and go back to commenting on blogs?’

    Which is untrue for as any can read from post # 3 in the comments thread in fact I stated:

    Or are we to simply just say masha’allah then switch off and forget it all- back to blogging, etc?

    Thereby alhamdulillaah this clarifies in fact I was general in meaning and application- as it happens to be the case that we (you, me, all believers) all seem to do this, some of us more so than others.

    Next you state:

    ‘criticizing the people of knowledge as you do in the end of your post is not ‘constructive’ at all no matter how much you may think it is. unfortunately this is indicative of many of those who go around loudly proclaiming the banner of the mujahideen, they don’t do anything except go around criticizing people who are not 100% upon what they are on.’

    This is again another dishonest assertion on your part for I in fact stated the following:

    On MM we have several authors who are said to have ilm, let at least some from them break the mold.

    Thereby where is the criticism and how is it not constructive? Is it not so that Br. Yasir Qadhi is said to have ilm? Don’t they say Br. Abu Yusuf is a Shaykh, etc? Thereby how on earth is it that you assume the worst of your brother is as though I am someone who apparently is he who is ‘loudly proclaiming the banner of the mujahideen, they don’t do anything except go around criticizing people who are not 100% upon what they are on.’

    Ajeeb, as Akh iMuslim stated ‘jihad has become a dirtied word’ thus if anyone proclaims it or speaks of virtues of this obligation some accuse others of ‘criticising’, not being ‘constructive’, and assume other believers ‘don’t do anything.’

    Akh Abu Hossan I never advocated for another to abandon hikmah and become ‘reactionary’ nor have I judged anyone here.

    Akh Amad I am not sure who it is you’re quoting to have stated as follows:

    “why don’t we write more on Jihad”

    For I never uttered as such (if you are indicating the matter) as one can see my post #3 above, as for you claiming the following:

    ‘Jihad cannot be limited to one definition, neither can it be stripped of others. It is a nuanced word with many shades’

    Then let us be clear and not water things down- the clear Shari meaning of jihaad refers to qhitaal (physical fighting), when ‘fee sabilillaah’ is referred to in the Qur’aan then thats the meaning we should understand from it i.e. ‘striving in the way of Allaah’ (loose translations of the like) mean physically fighting, if need be confirm this with the Sidi of al Kauthar/ Ibn Jawziyyah Institute.

    Let us be careful not to be of the ‘wacky ultra-progressives’ (as you refer to them) denying the essence of the matter (not that you do necessarily) who via covering the evident are in many ways responsible for ‘many of our youth are leaving Islam’ as you say.

    Wa Assalaam

    P.S. Please temper the underhand diggs at the Shayookh. “The sidi of al Kauthar/Ibn Jawziyyah” are Shaykh Abu Aaliyah and Shaykh Tawfique respectively. I am sure you know these names of course. -Editor

  16. since the comments have strayed from the original post (a nasheed) the comments will now be closed.