La Tahzan Wa La Khauf

Don't Be Sad My Friends

Use of Music during Travels:

Narrates Salama Ibn Al-Akwa‘: ‘We set off for Khaybar in the company of the Holy Prophet (sws) at night. A man from the group said to ‘Amir: ‘O ‘Amir, would not you let us hear your poetry?’ ‘Amir who was a Hida poet got down and started reciting for the people [the following verses]: ‘O God, were not it for your guidance, we could not have been able to offer the Salah and pay the Zakah. So please forgive our sins that [we have committed] and the ones we may commit in future. We are ready to offer our lives for your cause. Grant us perseverance when faced [with the enemy] and pour down your mercy upon us. [We are the people] who refuse to surrender when the enemy challenges us to fight. And [we leave them] to cry for help against us’.

The Holy Prophet asked: ‘Who is that signer?’ They replied: ‘‘Amir bin Al-Akwa‘’. ‘God bless him’, prayed the Holy Prophet (sws)9. (Bukhari, No: 3960)

We learn from the narrative that:
• The Companions were along with the Holy Prophet (sws) on his way to Khaybar.
• Some of the Companions requested ‘Amir (rta) to sing from his Hida (i.e. song sung primarily to drive camels, which correspond to their walk). He complied with the request and began his recitation with such a loud voice that the Holy Prophet (sws) could hear him.
• The Holy Prophet (sws) inquired about the singer approvingly.
• Since he had recited good verses the Holy Prophet (sws) prayed for him.

Hida is a form of the desert poetry. The verses in this kind of poetry are rhymed corresponding to the pace of the footsteps of the camels. Ancient Arab camel drivers would sing this kind of poetry while travelling through the desert. Though the primary purpose of this singing was to encourage the camels to walk speedily yet the camel drivers themselves enjoyed it a lot. Many Hadith narratives refer to this practice of the time and evidently prove that the Holy Prophet (sws) and his Companions would enjoy this kind of poetry.
According to other narratives on the same subject, the Holy Prophet (sws) had appointed Anjashah, who had a very pleasing voice, to serve as a Hadi (i.e. camel driver) during his travels in the desert. During one of the travels, the camels started to pace very quickly affected by the sweetness of his sound. The Holy Prophet (sws) stopped him lovingly from singing Hida. He asked the singer not to force the beasts to walk at a faster pace so that female riders do not fall down. ‘Anas Ibn Malik reports:

The Holy Prophet had a Had, Anjashah. He had a very sweet sound. [During one of his journeys] the Holy Prophet (sws) said to him: ‘Slow down, Anjashah, lest you should break the delicate goblets. Qatadah explained that the Prophet (sws) was referring to delicate women. (Bukhari, No: 5857)

According to the scholars Hida’ definitely is a type of singing. Dr. Jawwad Ali writes:

Hida is of the oldest type of singing in Arabia that was specifically used during travels and is still used in contemporary Bedouin society. Besides, since the Hida songs suit sorrowful situation, this type of singing was used in mourning etc. as well. The Holy Prophet (sws) got a Hida singer appointed for him called Al-Barra’ Ibn Malik Ibn Nadar Al-Ansari who would drive camels for male riders. Another Had of his was Anjashah who had a very melodious tone. He was a black slave of the Holy Prophet (sws) who was employed to serve as a Had for the camels of the wives of the Holy Prophet (sws).

He further writes:

Al-Hida’ actually is the singing used among the desert dwellers … this kind of singing corresponds with the tones cherished by the desert dwellers and also with their simple and natural mourning songs that please the nomadic tastes of these Bedouins.

Ibn Khaldun writes in his book, Muqaddamah, that the basic purpose of Hida was not only to please the caravan members but also to urge the camels to proceed faster.

This feeling of joy is even found in speechless animals not to mention humans. Therefore we see that the camels respond to the Hida of the riders, and the horses are affected by the whistles and shrill sounds. We already know that animals receive effects of the songs if they are rhythmical, and correspond to the rules governing the art of music.


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