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The Kashmiri Poets and the Naat Poetry Tradition in Kashmir; Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi's Reflections

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

16 November 2021

Excerpts from Prof. Hamid's Article on the Naat Characteristics in Kashmir

Main Points:

1.      A poem in honour and praise of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is known as Naat.

2.      Kashmiri poets have followed the Persian Naat tradition in praising the Prophet.

3.      Prof. Hamid highlights the Kashmiri poetic traits such as wajudi poetry, direct speech, theological, devotional, and religious overtones, praise of, and supplication to the Prophet.

4.      There are about 100 epic and comedy (razmia / bazmia) poems in Kashmiri that begin with hamd and end with Naat and Manqabat.

5.      The Kashmiri poets have depicted the Holy Prophet’s characteristics and perfections, as well as some key aspects of his biography.

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Naat Poetry

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Naat is an Arabic word that literally means praise. Among the Urdu speakers, a poem in honour and praise of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is known as Naat. The Naat genre among the Arabic speakers is known as ‘Madh’ or ‘Madeeh’. The first Naat was penned in Arabic during the Prophet’s lifetime (peace be upon him) and then it spread around the world from Arabic to Persian, Urdu, Turkish, English, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtu, Seraiki, and many other languages. In India, Naat poetry is as old as Urdu poetry itself. Almost every Urdu poet composed a couplet in honour of the final Prophet. Qutub Shah, Sauda, Mir Taqi Mir, Vali Dakani, Mirza Sauda, Maumin, Karamat Ali Shaheedi, Mirza Ghalib, and Imam Ahmad Raza, Ajmal Sultanpuri, and Bekal Utsahi are some of the prominent Urdu poets who wrote in tribute to the adored Prophet of Islam.

Naat does not have a set format. It can be written in any type of speech genre. Qasida and Masnavi are examples of this type of speech. The lyrical expression of the person and traits of the Holy Prophet is known as Naat. It appears to be simple, yet it is in fact complicated and delicate. Easy in the sense that the poet can compose his emotions and feelings arising from sincerity and love for the Holy Prophet in any genre of poetry, yet delicate and difficult in the sense that the poet must exercise extreme caution until his creative Naat poetry is completed. This is because it is a matter of praising the Holy Prophet's personality and traits, which has the status of high obedience in the eyes of Muslims and where there is no room for exaggeration or insulting discourse.

Several rhyming patterns of words can be easily arranged in other genres of poetry, but Naat is the only subject that cannot suffer even the slightest stain on its rhyming pattern and words that go against Islamic creeds. During their poetry composition, Naat writers must be very careful and aware of the importance of Naat. This is why Urdu Naat poetry has been looking for great poets like Hassan Bin Thabit, Khaaqani, Firdausi, Saadi, Nizami, Qudsi, Urfi, Jami, and Rumi in every era who managed pure thoughts in their poems as a result of their love and devotion towards the Holy Prophet until the end of the creative process, taking care of the difference, balance, status, and position between God and Messenger, Lord and servant, monotheism and servitude, creativity, humanity, nature, and psychology.

Prof Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi

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The tradition of Naat composing, particularly in Kashmir, will be discussed in this article. When did the skill of composing Naats begin in Kashmir? It's impossible to say, but according to Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi’s essay "Kashmiri Poets and their Naat Writing: Some Reflections" published on the website "Rising Kashmir," the process of composing Persian Naat in Kashmir began "with the arrival of Syed Ali Hamadani." To examine for signs of Naat literature, one should read Syed Ali Hamadani's book "Chahal Asrar."

According to Prof Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, Shaikh Nooruddin is the second writer of Naat and the first in the Kashmiri language. After that, he gives a sample of Nooruddin's Naat poetry:

"We are the sacrificial lot at the Prophet's (SAW) feet, who will take Ummah to heaven with him on the Day of Judgment." "The prophet and his four friends have to be taken seriously," Nooruddin says. He combines the names of Allah Almighty and the Prophet Muhammad's (saw), stating that the prophet will intercede on the Day of Judgment. He goes on to add that we should express greetings to the prophet and that we have already accepted his religion (Kalimah).

Prof. Rafiabadi argues that some Kashmiri poets have embraced the Wajudi trend in their Naat poetry and that one of them is Habibullah Nawasaharai, who addresses the Prophet as the light of Godhead and the Prophet's person as the adumbration of God's essence.

He goes on to add that Kashmiri poets have followed the Persian Naat tradition in praising the Prophet and that there are about 100 epic and comedy (Razmia/Bazmia) poems in Kashmiri that begin with Hamd and end with Naat and Manqabat. In Kashmir, the Naat thereafter became a part of the Mathanavi.

Prof. Rafiabadi’s article includes extracts from various couplets of Naat penned by Kashmiri poets, highlighting their poetic traits such as Wajudi poetry, direct speech, theological, devotional, and religious overtones, praise of, and supplication to the Prophet. Some of the most notable extracts are as follows:

“Oh Prophet (peace be upon him), remove my grief and heal me! Oh, Prophet (peace be upon him), your existence is sacred and you are a man of grace and are bounteous. All creations, angels and heavens, and earth are at your feet. If you don’t intercede on our behalf, we will suffer in that case and be doomed.” (Mahmud Ghami)

“Oh leader of the Arab (peace be upon him), we are at your sacred feet. Please listen to our supplications”. (Abdul Ahad Nazim)

“For the two worlds, the prophet (peace be upon him) is like a canopy as our prophet is light incarnated light.” (Rasul Mir Shahabadi)

“Oh Prophet, I am your permanent slave. You were the guest and honoured on Throne! Accept my salaam. Firstly Allah Almighty sent the light of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and religion became evident and religiousness also was widespread through it. Oh, holder of religion! Listen my supplication and salaam oh guest and honoured on the Throne.” (Rahman Dar)

“Oh, king of the Arabs (peace be upon him): Salaam (peace) on you. O the one who intercedes of the sins, peace be upon you. You are the pride of the Hashemite tribe and boast of the Quraish and you are from the family of Muttalib, Peace be on you. You are the flower of the branch of the garden of Ismael. Your family and genealogy is noble. Peace on you”. (Wahab Hahjini)

“Oh! The breeze of the morning, go to that place where the chosen one is taking rest and reveal my conditions and sufferings to him so that he may solve my problems and heal me from my ailments and miseries. Tell him that a person helpless and shattered has wandered he has burnt himself in your love and is cherishing the hope for your attention to him so that he may be forgiven” (Thanawullah Kareeri)

“Oh, the breeze of the morning, go any night towards the land of Madinah and find in the gardens of the Taiba him who is the beloved of Madinah. That place has turned worthier than a place where thousands of sons are shining due to the presence of The Prophet. The palace is such an abode where the moon-like face of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is bestowing his gracious glimpses”. (Maqbool Shah Kralwari)

Saifudin Taraballi, a well-known Sufi poet, expresses his thoughts toward the prophet and prays to Allah for his friend from Madinah to approach and arrive at his home, "who is the beloved of the creator and the crowned leader of the prophets." He might show up. He is the most gorgeous and graceful prophet we have ever seen. Is he likely to show up? He then murmurs in his heart that Saifuddin might come to Madinah as a hopeful visitor one day."

In one of his Naats, Shamas Faqir says that the doors of Makkah and Madinah are opened, and the prophet (peace be upon him) is welcomed at every moment by the beloved's circumambulations.

Abdul Ahad Nadim says “The Messenger Ahmad is the shadow of the merciful quality of Mercy and he is the unique founder. He is the mercy of two worlds. He is the mercy for the two worlds and he is the unique founder. He is the mercy of two worlds”.

Peer Azizullah Haqqani says in one of his naat poems, “Listen to my supplications. I've arrived at your sacred entrance. Oh prophet, you are the best of all Adam's sons. Oh God's prophet (peace be upon him)!"

In one of his naats, Haqqani says, "The universe has been graced with a new life by the grace and brightness of the prophet's sacred face, and the flowers have gotten their scent from the prophet's lights." Haqqani has arrived in the court of the prophet of Arabia with a slanted and bent waist, dust on his head, and a sad heart, cherishing the expectations [of compassion and intercession].

Muhyiddin Miskeen has written Naat in the common language of the people. He says that his beloved is unique and the name of Allah may be exalted for this reason also. He says he will sacrifice everything for him. The name of Allah may be exalted. He says, “I have a great desire and craving to reach to Madinah and there I want to sacrifice myself. The name of Allah may be exalted.”

Mahjur, one of the great poets of Kashmir, says, “I have reached your doorsteps, Oh Prophet. Listen to my wailings and supplications and fill my heart with the light of gnosis, Oh prophet (peace be upon him).”

Prof. Rafiabadi concludes his article by stating that that the Kashmiri poets, in addition to dealing with traditional subjects, never failed to highlight their own “agonies and miseries” in their Naats. They have conveyed their sincere affection and admiration for “this majestic figure of human history.”

https://www.risingkashmir.com/Kashmiri-Poets-and-their-Naat-Writing--Some-Reflections-95107

In the preceding paragraphs, a summarized sample of Naat poems by several Kashmiri poets was offered. There are hundreds of Naat composers who have expressed their affection for the Holy Prophet in addition to these. Saying Naat, writing Naat, and reciting Naat are all enjoyable activities. The lines of the aforementioned Kashmiri poets demonstrate that the flower of poetry has been grown in the setting of religious and spiritual values by the majority of Kashmiri poets.

The words of these Naat poets appear to be full of lovely and devotional poetry. The Kashmiri poets have depicted the Holy Prophet’s characteristics and perfections, as well as some key aspects of his biography. Their attention is drawn to the Prophet’s miracles. These poets have used not only emotions but also consciousness when mentioning the Prophet (peace be upon him). They have kept in mind the Holy Prophet’s teachings, whose spiritual worth can only be fully comprehended by those who love.

They have expressed passion, love, and devotion in addition to using Poetic characteristics. In the veils of creative virtues, their Naat poetry is bathed in sincerity and devotion. Despite the delicate concepts, the footsteps of respect do not go unnoticed. There is no doubt that Kashmiri poets produced Naat poems by immersing themselves in the Holy Prophet's love and devotion.

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A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is a Classical Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/books-documents/kashmiri-poet-naat-hamid-naseem-rafiabadi/d/125782


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