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Ya Abed al-Haramain: The Story Behind The Song

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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

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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:

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]

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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.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

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