Mawlid Poetry from the Morisco Period of al-Andalus

The following are three devotional poems 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. The strange Spanish is a result of the direct transliteration from Aljamiado (a form of Spanish written in Arabic characters).

Poem 1:

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

Poem 2:

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my Beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Senor fazed alssala sobrel

O Lord, send your blessings upon him

I fejinos amor kon-el

And make us love him

Sakanos en su torobel

Make us join his suite

Jus la senya de Muhammad

At the sign of Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my Beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Pazed alssala de konosensiya

Make prayer with knowledge

Sobre la luz de la kereyensiya

Of the light of belief

I selado kon rreberensiya

Seal it with reverence

El-allsalaam sobre Muhammmad

And peace upon Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Tu palabra pelaghara luwegho

Your word will then come forth

I sera rresebido tu rruwegho

And your supplication will be heard

I far el-alssalam enteregho

And you will have full peace

Asi son los fechos de Muhammad

Thus are Muhammad’s deeds.

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Kiyen kiyera puwena bentura

Whoever wishes good fortune

I y-alkansar gharado de altura

And to attain great heights

Pospongha la torpeza en la noche oskura

Stop impurity in the dark night

I fagha alssala sobre Muhammad

And utter blessings upon Muhammad

Ya habibi ya Muhammad

O my beloved, O Muhammad

Wa-alssalatu ala Muhammad

May prayers and blessings be upon Muhammad

Poem 3:

Allah ya rabi

O God, my Lord

Ya Muhammad darabi

 O Muhammad, my guide

Ya verdadero annabi

O True Prophet

De arabi de arabi

Of the Arab and from the Arab

Es Allah solo i senero

God is Alone and One

De sin ninghun aparsero

None resembling Him

Y Muhammad su mensajero

And Muhammad is His messenger

Que todo fuwe verdadero

That all is true.

I el-alislam mi adin

And Islam is my religion

Allah ya rabi

O God my Lord

Ya Muhammad darabi

O Muhammad, my guide

Ya verdadero annabi

O true Prophet

De arabi de arabi

Of the Arab and from the Arab

(Poems 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)

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One thought on “Mawlid Poetry from the Morisco Period of al-Andalus

  1. […] by fasting, learning more about his character and life, and attending communal gatherings where songs and poetry are recited in his honor. For over 1400 years, Muslims have marked this time of year with special prayers, songs and foods. […]

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