Al Madha ,The Spanish Mawlid Poem from 17th century

al madha

Al Madha  is a devotional poem commemorating the birth (mawlid) of the Prophet Muhammad from al-Andalus during the Morisco period (1500-1614). Since adherence to Islam was punishable by burning at the stake during this period of Spanish history, these poems are as much an example of resistance to the Inquistion and an assertion of Andalusi Muslim identity as they are indicative of the love of the Spanish Muslims for the Prophet Muhammad. 

This beautiful song is taken from a manuscript found hidden in a false ceiling when a Spanish house was restored in 1882. Written in the 16th century at a time when Muslims had to disguise their identity in Spain after the kingdom of Spain forced the removal of all Jewish and Muslim peoples in 16th century. 

Translated from an Arabic original, the poem may have had wide currency among the Mudejars, ancestors of the Morriscos.The poem has sonority and musicality and was sung to the accompaniment of musical instruments at festive and religious ceremonies. The following couplets  serve as an illustration:

Transliteration and Meaning of Madha-Spanish Poem

Ya habibi ya Muhammad
O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad
May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Debuwes de la loor a min senor ensalsado
After praising my exalted Lord

Farre alssala sobre alnnabi onrrado
I shall bestow my blessings upon the honorable Prophet

Alssala siyenbere seya alturado

May prayers and blessings always be raised

Sobre nuwestoro alnnabi Muhammad

Upon our Prophet Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Alssala ke seya esbandesido

May prayers and blessings be widespread

Ensiyelos i-yen tiyerras seya oyido

And heard in the heavens and the earth

Porque a nosotros seya meresido

So that we may deserve it

E ayamos el-amor de Muhammad

And find the love of Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved O Muhammad

Wa-alssaltu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Alssalaes ke no se puwedan kontar

Prayers that cannot be enumerated

Mas son ke la pulubiya i las arenas de la mar

For they are more than the rain and the sands of the sea

Porque bodamos biyen entarar

So that we may enter well

En la roghariya de Muhammad

In supplication of Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

No podiriyan todos los korasones

All hearts cannot

Lonparar todas las bendisiyones

Name all the benedictions

Ni kontar las donasiyones

Nor count the gifts

Ke fuweron dadas a Muhammad

That were bestowed upon Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Diso el senyor de la gharandiya

The Lord of Greatness said

No kiriyariya a noche ni diya

That He would not create night or day

Ni eskuredad ni luz no abriya

Nor darkness or light

Sino por el gharande amor de Muhammad

Had it not been for the great love of Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Ni aljanna ni jahannam no terniya

There would be neither Paradise nor Hell

Ni al-‘arshi ni alkursi no fariya

Nor Divine Throne

Ni siyels ni tieyrras no abriya

Nor Heaven nor Earth

Sino por la onnor de Muhammad

Had it not been for the honor of Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved O Muhammad

Wa al-ssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Ref 1 :(Poem and translations are taken from: Anwar Chejne, Islam and the West: The Moriscos, a Cultural and Social History [Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983], pp. 150-166)

About the book : Islam and the West: The Moriscos is the first comprehensive study of this long-neglected subject. Chejne surveys and analyzes the self-expression of the Moriscos and assesses their status as a minority struggling for survival, placing them in the social context of ideological conflict, the clash of religions and cultures, and differing perceptions. This book provides a more complete picture of the literatures and cultures of medieval Spain. Want to Read more ,Get this book from Amazon.

Ref 2 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_conversions_of_Muslims_in_Spain


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