Ka'b bin Zuhayr

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Ka‘b ibn Zuhayr (Arabic: كعب بن زهير‎) was an Arabian poet of the 7th century, and a contemporary of the Islamic Prophet Muḥammad. He was the writer of Bānat Suʿād, a qasida in praise of Muhammad.[1] This was the first na'at in Arabic.[2] This is the original Al-Burda. He recited this poem in front of Muhammad after embracing Islam. Muhammad was so moved that he removed his mantle and wrapped it over him. This original Burdah is not as famous as the one composed by Imam al-Busiri even though Muhammad had physically wrapped his mantle over Ka'b not in a dream like in case of Imam al-Busiri.


Zuhayr started composing poetry as a child; his father - a renowned poet himself - prohibited him and suggested not to compose poetry till the strengthening of his ideas and speech. Nevertheless, he continued to compose poetry. At last one day his father Zuhayr took a hard test of him , when he succeeded in that hard test his father allowed him to compose poetry and Ka'b become a famous poet of that time.[3] When Islam came Ka'b and his brother Buzayr went out to Muḥammad but in the way ka'b's intention changed and he turned back. Buzayr went to Muḥammad and accepted Islam . When Ka'ab found out about his brother accepting Islam , he composed a satire of his brother and Muḥammad . After that Muḥammad declared about punishment for Ka'b. Then his brother Buzayr advised him to take pardon to Muḥammad. At first, he did not listen to his brother and started seeking help of others in the matter. But later he reached Muḥammad through Abu Bakr and accepted Islam. It was then that he composed the first na'at Bānat Suʿād.[2]


Ka'ab found environment of poetry at his home. Because of this he started composing poetry at a young age and become a famous poet. Critic Khalful Ahmar says that if Zuhayr had not said the long poetry through which he became famous , he wouldn't have considered him a greater poet than his son. Other critic says that if he had not composed his poetry using hard language then he could be a great poet as his father before him.[2]



  1. ^ Michael A. Sells and M. J. Sells, Bānat Suʿād: translation and introduction, Journal of Arabic Literature Vol. 21, No. 2 (Sep., 1990), pp. 140-154
  2. ^ a b c Tarikhul adab AL arabi by Ahmad Hasan zaiyaat, ISBN 9953850097.
  3. ^ Arbi adab ki tarikh by Muhammad Kazem