Khubayb

By Hassan Ibn Thabit

(This poem in loving memory of Khubayb, is reputedly composed by the Muslim poet Hassan Ibn Thabit, and is hailed in Arabic literature as a masterpiece. The charm of the original language and its lilt is impossible to convey in translation)

 

The enemy allies have converged on me,
incited their clansmen to muster strength;
They've invited their women and children to see,
and tied me to a solid trunk.
To Allah I complain of my loneliness and suffering;
Of enemies who surround me to rejoice at my death.
O Master of the Mighty Throne, grant me strength ,
To bear what they are doing to me;
Piercing my flesh and tearing my limbs.
They gave me a choice to turn away from Thee,
But death is preferrable to that;
That very thought of which brings tears to my eyes,
Not the pain they inflict on me.
I am not afraid of death, for some day everyone has to die;
But I shudder out of fear for the fire of Hell,
for the fury of its flames.
These limbs of mine are a sacrifice for Allah,
Hoping He'll bless every limb offered in His way.
So long I die a Muslim, I don't regret a thing,
For My death will occur in Allah's way.


(At every piercing stab of their sharp spears he chanted:
La-ilaha-illal-aa Muhamma-dararasul-lah,
until his noble soul fled from his body in search of his Lord,
to complain of the tyranny of his tormentors.)

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