When I was a teenager whenever I did not feel well, I used to read poems written by Imam Al-Shafi’ii. Growing up, I never felt that Jordan was the place for me and always wanted to live in the US. Actually I decided that I wanted to live in the US when I was 4 years old. I think that Al-Shafi’ii’s writings had a lot to do with how I think and perceive the world.
الشافعي pronounced Al-shafi’ii is one of the most prominent religious figures in Islamic history. Along with being a religious scholar and one of the four Imams that most Muslims associate with, he was a great poet and his writings are filled with perils of wisdom and beauty. I found a couple of his poems and I’m posting them here. The first poem it titled “Its Time to Travel”. In summary, Al-Shafi’ii says that there is no point in staying in a place where you are under appreciated. He draws several examples to illustrate the value of travel and moving from one place to another. The first example says that running water is a lot better than still water (in taste and value). Still water accumulates dirt and does not taste good while running water is always fresh and rich with flavor. Then he says, if lions stay at home, they would never get any food, but they have to leave and seek their preys. Same as arrows, it will never hit the target unless it leaves the bow. Even gold has no value while its in the ground, only after it leaves its place and is extracted by people that it becomes of great value. People will get bored of the sun if it just stood in the same place the whole time, and only by moving and leaving that people miss it and long to see it again. The point is, keep on the move. The lyrics rhymes in Arabic. I love this poem.
I don’t have time to translate the second poem. Maybe I will visit it again in the future.
دعوة إلى التنقل والترحال
|ما في المقام لذي عـقـل وذي أدب||من راحة فدع الأوطان واغتـرب|
|سافر تجد عوضا عمن تفارقه||وانصب فإن لذيذ العيش في النصب|
|إني رأيت وقوف الماء يفسده||إن سال طاب وإن لم يجر لم يطب|
|والأسد لولا فراق الغاب ما إفترست||والسهم لولا فراق القوس لم يصب|
|والتِّبرُ كالتُّـرب مُلقى في أماكنـه||والعود في أرضه نوع من الحطب|
|فإن تغرّب هـذا عـَزّ مطلبـــه||وإن تغرب ذاك عـزّ كالذهــب|
|والشمس لو وقفت في الفلك ساكنة||لملها الناس من عجم ومن عرب|
وقفة الحر بباب نحس
|لقلع ضرس، وضرب حبس||ونزع نفـس، ورد أمـس|
|وقـر بـرد ، وقـود قـرد||ودبغ جـلـد بغيـر شمس|
|وأكل ضـب ، وصيـد دب||وصرف حب بأرض خرس|
|ونفـخ نار، وحمـل عـار||وبيـع دار بـربع فلـس|
|وبـيع خف ، وعـدم ألف||وضـرب ألف بحبل قلـس|
|أهون مـن وقفـة الحــر||يرجو نـوالا بباب نحـس|