Filling the stomach with poetry?
“It is better for one of you to fill their stomach with pus than poetry.”
How authentic is this hadith?
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem.
Alhamdulillaahi was salaatu was salaamu `alaa Rasoolillaahi wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi wa man waalaahu, wa ba`d:
The Hadeeth is authentic. The narration in question is from Sunan At-Tirmidhi:
Hadhrat Sa`d Ibn Abi Waqqaas Radhiallaahu `Anhu narrates that Rasoolullaah Sallallaahu `Alayhi Wa Sallam said: “It is better for one of you to have his stomach filled with pus rather than filling it with poetry.” [i]
It is also reported in Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, Saheeh Muslim, Sunan Abu Daawood and many others, with a slight difference in wording.
This Hadeeth is not a blanket condemnation of all poetry; rather it’s a specific condemnation.
The condemnation applies firstly to pointless poetry (and when we say poetry then naturally Anaasheed are included as well) it then extends from there even to good poetry when a person immerses himself in it to the extent that he ends up spending more time on poetry than remembering Allaah, studying the Deen or reciting the Qur’aan.
There are many Islaamic books written in poetic form, be it on the science of Hadeeth like Al-Manzhoomatul Bayqooniyyah, or Tajweed like Al-Muqaddimatul Jazariyyah etc, such poems are fine because the purpose of it is to learn the Deen, the poem is just there as a support to make the memorisation easier.
Imaam As-Suyooti Rahimahullaah says in Ad-Deebaaj `Alaa Saheeh Muslim Ibn Hajjaaj commenting on this Hadeeth: “What is meant here is that a person spends most of his time on poetry, it seizes him to such a degree that it preoccupies him from the Qur’aan, the Islaamic sciences and the remembrance of Allaah.” [ii]
Putting this in a modern light we can say; It is permissible to listen to Anaasheed, however if a person only spends his time listening to Anaasheed and doesn’t take out the time for Dhikrullaah and recitation of the Qur’aan and other Deeni work, then such a person would fall under the purview of this Hadeeth
And Allaah knows best.
Ubaidullah Ibn Adam Aal-Ebrahim.
Sunday 6th Rajab 1436 – 26th April 2015.
[i] عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَاصٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لأَنْ يَمْتَلِئَ جَوْفُ أَحَدِكُمْ قَيْحًا خَيْرٌ لَهُ مِنْ أَنْ يَمْتَلِئَ شِعْرًا. – رواه الإمام الترمذي رحمه الله في سننه.