One of my favourite Aqidah texts is the beginners poem on belief named ‘Aqidah al-Awam’ (The common/lay persons belief) written by Shaykh Ahmad al-Marzuqi al-Maliki. I obtained a useful commentary on this poem many years ago by the Muhaddith of the Haramayn: Sayyid Muhammad bin Alawi al-Maliki which was transcribed by his student Shaykh Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din from the teaching of this text in sacred city of Makkah in the late 1970’s.
I had been puzzled for some time why this wonderful work has seemingly been ignored by translators (not least as it is the first text studied by students of knowledge in many parts of the Muslim world) whilst other more detailed and complex works have been translated and offered to the English speaking public. I pray that we have the tawfiq to be able to present all of this brief commentary on this blog in the upcoming months, Ameen. Please find below an extract from pg 11-12 of Sayyid Malikis commentary compiled by his wonderfully named student (Muhammad Ihya Ulum al-Din). The commentary states:
The Reason For the Composition of This Poem
A unique story is reported from the author regarding the reason for his composing this poem which we will make mention of, and it is:
The author (Allah have mercy on him) saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions (Allah be pleased with them) standing around him (in a dream). He (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to him:
Recite the poem of al-Tawhid which whomsoever memorizes it will enter paradise, and will attain all that is desired from every good which is in conformity with the Book and the Sunnah.
He said to him:
What is that poem O Messenger of Allah?
The Companions said to him:
Listen to the Messenger of Allah to what he says. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: Say أَبدَأُ بِسْمِ اللهِ وَالّرَحْمن
So he said:
أَبدَأُ بِسْمِ اللهِ وَالّرَحْمن
To its end which are his words:
وَصُحُفُ الخَلِيْلِ وَالكَلِيم فِيْهَا كَلاَمُ الحَكَمِ العَلِيْم
Whilst the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) was listening to him. When he awoke from his sleep he recited that which he had seen in his dream and found that it was preserved with him from its beginning to its end. He then saw the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) a second time in a dream at the time before dawn, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to him:
Recite that which you have gathered (meaning in your heart).
So he recited it from its beginning to its end whilst standing in front of him (Allah bless him and give him peace) and his companions standing around him saying: ‘Ameen’ after every verse of this poem. When he had completed his recitation the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
May Allah (the Exalted) give you success to that which pleases Him, and accept that from you, and bless you and the believers, and benefit the slaves by it, Ameen.
The author was then questioned after people came to know of the poem, so he answered their question, and added to it the poem from his words:
كُلُّ مَا أَتَى بِهِ الّرَسُوْلُ فَحَقُّهُ الّتَسْلِيمُ وَالقَبُوْلُ until the end of the poem. This is what the author has informed regarding himself, and we have conveyed it exactly, and the responsibility is upon the narrator.