Meaning of Mawla in Hadith al-Ghadeer: A Literary Viewpoint – Part 4

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Wilayat in Hadith-e-Ghadeer from the viewpoint of poets and litterateurs is an ongoing topic from the previous editions and we delve on it further with more proofs to support our point.

Some points need reiterating:
Based on the traditions of the Holy Imams (a.s.) and the Shia scholars, the meaning of ‘Maula’ which the Arabs of the initial days of Islam understood followed by the subsequent generations is the same as what Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) explained as per divine orders.

The poets across eras have understood ‘Maula’ in the meaning that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) conveyed in Hadith-e-Ghadeer. The poets with appropriate rhyming were able to explain the historical event of Ghadeer with great emphasis. The infallible Imams (a.s.) have explained Maula in the same context in every generation. So, generation after generation both the infallible Imams (a.s.) and the litterateurs / poets understood and explained Maula in the same meaning as Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) conveyed in the plains of Ghadeer.

Before we move on to the main discussion, it is important to mention that content for this article is sourced from the book ‘Al-Ghadeer fi al-Kitab wa al-Sunnah wa al-Adab’ written by the great Shia scholar Shaikh Abdul Husain Al-Amini Al-Najafi (r.a.), famous as Allamah Amini. A detailed discussion on the book and its author has been made in 1441 AH (English edition).

Stature of poets according to scholars

Shia scholars and jurists have kept the flame burning when it comes to encouraging poetry in praise of Aal Muhammad by rewarding the poets and recording their merits in their books, sometime devoting entire books / chapters on merit of poetry / poets.Our holy Imams (a.s.) have praised these poets and motivated them with words and monetary rewards. They have narrated: One who recites a line of poetry in our praise, Allah rewards him with a house in Paradise.

In the previous editions, we have documented poets from the first century of the hijrah with their verses on Mawla / Ghadeer from a literary perspective. These personalities included Hassan Ibn Thabit, Qays Ibn Saad Ibn Ubadah (a close companion of Ali (a.s.)), Amr Ibn Aas in the Juljuliyyah poetry, Ali (a.s.) himself.

We now turn to poets of the second century as recorded by Allamah Amini (r.a.) in ‘Al-Ghadeer’ viz.

a. Kumait Ibn Zaid Asadi

b. Sayyed Ismail Ibn Muhammad Himyari

c. Abdi Sufyan Ibn Musab Kufi

1. Kumait Ibn Zaid Asadi – (60 AH – 126 AH)

Abu Mustahal Kumait Ibn Zaid Ibn Khunais Ibn Mukhalid Ibn Waheeb Ibn Amr Ibn Shabee Ibn Malik Ibn Saad Ibn Salabah Ibn Dawadaan Ibn Asad Ibn Khuzaimah Ibn Mudrikah Ibn Ilyas Ibn Muzir Ibn Nazar.

In Al-Aghani, Abul Faraj documents – Kumait was seen as a benchmark among poets that others were expected to emulate. He was an expert on Arabic lexicon and historical events. He was from the Muzir lineage of poets. He was partial to the Qahtaniyyah version (of Arabic) and was aware of the defects of poets. He was well-versed with the trials and tribulations of the time. He lived in the era of the Umayyads but did not survive till the Abbasid era. He was affiliated to the Hashemites which explains the large number of verses devoted to praise of the AhleBait (a.s.).

Maaz was asked – who is the best poet of all times.

Maaz – From the Jahiliyyah or Islamic era?


Maaz – Imr al-Qays, Zohair, Ubaid Ibn al-Abras,

Islamic era?

Farazdaq, Jurair, Akhtal, Raai

Why haven’t you named Kumait?

Maaz – He is in a league of his own, the best poet of all times.1

Number of verses

According to Al-Aghani and Muhad al-Tanous, Kumait compiled 5,289 verses. According to Kashf al-Zunoon basis Oyoon al-Akhbar, Kumait has over 5,000 verses to his credit which were compiled by Samee and organized by Ibn Miskeet. For further details on the subject, interested readers may refer to Al-Ghadeer (Arabic) v 2 and (Persian) v 4


Kumait’s best and most important poems are Hashimiyyah Qasidas, Qasidas in which the Ahle Bait (a.s.) ofthe Prophet are mentioned in lofty and reverential terms.Based on the rhyme, they were categorized as Qasida Maimiyya Hashimiyyah, Qasida Baiyya Hashimiyyah, Qasida Lamiya Hashimiyyah, Qasida Ainiyyah Hashimiyyah.

In the Qasida Ainiyyah Hashimiyyah, Kumait declares:

He declared his Mastership (Wilayat) on the great day of Ghadeer Khum, but only if they had obeyed!’

This panegyric (Qasida) is the best poetical composition of Kumait – famous as Hashimiyyah – and as the author of the book, Al-Hadaiq al-Wurdiya has clarified, it comprised of 587 couplets, but dishonest hands worked upon it and expunged many lines from it. Like in case of other poets like Hassan, Farazdaq and Abu Nuwas and others. This panegyric was printed in Leiden in 1904, containing 536 couplets. Along with the commentary of Ustad Muhammad Shakir Khayyat it had 560 couplets and with the commentary of Ustad Rafei, only 548 couplets remain.

Shaikh Mufeed’s (r.a.) comment

Through the tradition of Ghadeer, the Imamat of Ali (a.s.) becomes obligatory and from the word of Maula, is proved his Islamic leadership. If the meaning of the word of Maula had not been explained, an expert of Arabic language like Kumait, would never have used it in that sense – because if it was allowed for Kumait, it was allowed for others as well and in this manner there would have been no use of lexicology and limiting only to the actual meaning of the words.2

Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) on Kumait’s verses

It is narrated by Karajaki in Kanz al-Fawaid (p 157) from his chain of narrators that Hannad Ibn Sirri relates – I saw Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in a dream requesting me to recite Kumait’s verses.

Shaikh Abul Fath writes in his Tafseer (v 2 p 193) that Kumait relates: I saw Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) in a dream and he said: ‘Recite your Qasida Ainiyya for me’. So, I recited it till – ‘He (s.a.w.a.) declared his Mastership (Wilayat) on the great Day of Ghadeer Khum, but only if they had obeyed!’ Ali (a.s.) said: You said the truth.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on Kumait’s verses

It is recorded by Biyazi Amili in his book ‘Al-Sirat al-Mustaqeem’ that Kumait’s son relates – I saw Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in a dream requesting me to recite my father’s verses. I recited them and he wept bitterly on listening to them. He prayed for my father at the end.

For brevity we have limited our discussion on Kumait’s verses. Interested readers can refer to Al-Ghadeer wherein Allamah Amini (r.a.) has devoted over 50 pages on the subject.

Infallibles (a.s.) pray for Kumait

Kumait was blessed with prayers of the infallibles (a.s.) on account of his brilliant verses on Ahle Bait (a.s.). We have already seen from Biyazi Amili’s narration Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) praying for Kumait.

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) prayed for him – O Allah, keep Kumait fortunate while alive and make him die a martyr and reward him in this world and bestow exceeding rewards in the hereafter.

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) has prayed for Kumait on multiple occasions in the Ayyam Tashreeq in Mina, near the Kaaba and sought forgiveness for him and said – Ruh al-Qudus is with you.

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) also prayed for him like other Imams (a.s.).3

Kumait’s life

Kumait was born in the year 60 A.H., the year of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.), grandson of Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). He led a good life in the world, the path which was pleasing to Allah; he taught this right path to others. So much so that through auspiciousness of the supplication of Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), he was honoured by martyrdom in Kufa during the caliphate of Marwan Ibn Muhammad, in the year 126 A.H.

There was considerable tumult during the reign of this king when Zaid Ibn Ali (a.s.) rose against the Umayyads. On occasion Kumait recited a few verses in the king’s court in praise of Zaid Ibn Ali. A group of soldiers fell upon him and stabbed him in the belly for reciting verses in defiance, without permission of the king. Kumait bled to death as a result.

His son Mustahal, was also a poet of immense talent and stature. His verses have been organized (diwan). He narrates – I was beside my father at the time of his death, while he was in a state of unconsciousness. When he regained consciousness – he remembered the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) progeny thrice. He instructed me to bury him in ‘Makran’ which today is known as the cemetery of Bani Asad.

1Al-Ghadeer (Persian) v 4 p 26-27 from Al-Aghani v 15 p 115, v 17 p 3

2Al-Ghadeer – Persian v 4p 6-7 from Al-Risalah of Mufeed’s compilations v 8 p 18

3Al-Ghadeer v 4 p 35-39

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