Society & Culture

The song of the jinn from a different point of view (2-2)

Siddinq Al-Mujtaba

The intent of Al-Tijani’s words does not go beyond anything other than that he wanted to say to the singer with the beautiful voice and charming music, “Destroy the legend of Dheryab and erase him from the memory of history,” and also obliterate the temple of the legendary musician, because the connection between them and the singer is excellence in singing performance and music only.
The religion of Islam is the seal of the messages. He did not touch it or erase it because its presence is confirmation of the seal and completion of the religion and its perfection with the message of our Master Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace. The poet’s statement has no relation to the event of the Night Journey and Mi’raj, and the meaning of the eras is not necessarily limited to the eras in which the messengers were sent to the previous nations, as it is not found in the text. It has a meaning that makes us restrict the symbolism of the word Al-Ahqab literally to give this meaning
This word is a temporal function that is frequently repeated in Al-Tijani’s poetry, especially in the poem “The Philosopher’s Heart.”
[Read the poem The Philosopher’s Heart, Diwan Ishraqa, Dar Al-Jeel, Beirut, 8th edition, p. 16, 1978] Al-Tijani, with the Mountain of Ahqab, symbolizes the accumulation of knowledge over the eras that became a huge mountain called the Mountain of Ahqab. The poet-philosopher appeared from it, holding the Book of Life on its face, and the Book of Life in it is a reference to the history of human knowledge since the creation of Adam. The one who carries this book is a philosopher searching for divine knowledge, not the existence of God or not.
The poet asked Al-Kanar to walk on Al-Ahqab and circumambulate Al-Marbad, which is a poetry market that arose since the caliphate of our master Omar ibn Al-Khattab in Basra and flourished during the era of the Umayyad dynasty.
Its symbolism in the poem does not take us to Jerusalem. Rather the poet’s interpretation takes us away from the atmosphere of the poem in which the poet asked for the canary to return to ancient times to convey this wondrous scene, addressing the poets and singers of those ancient times so that they could live with him those immortal moments.
The poet asked that his message be conveyed to the canary while he was in his nest because he could not listen to the conversation while he was flying in space because the sound dissipates due to the low density of the medium in which it travels. As for the canary in its nest, it can listen, respond to sounds, and sing. By “the nest” here means the shrine of the canary, not the shrine of the prophets, martyrs, and righteous people. This is a far-fetched interpretation that has nothing to do with the context of the meaning in the text.
The poet also asked this legendary canary to tell the Bedouins about the magnificence of that scene. The word Bedouins in the presence of their ancient markets in this text does not mean the people of Mecca to whom the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, conveyed the details of the Isra and Mi’raj journey and described the road from Jerusalem to Mecca. Then, Mecca was the capital of the Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula, “Umm al-Qura,” and its people were not called the Bedouins, which means Bedouins among them.
In the last stanza, the poet returns from his wandering through the eras to the scene whose events are taking place in front of him in the present time, and asks for that beautiful singer (the bird of youth).
Here the poet wanted to keep an image of the beauty of the scene and the magnificence of the singer imprinted on his nerves and drawn on his senses, and it contains an image of the beauty of the timid singer who kept ringing like a bell in his memory, and his sensitive and timid sense is what calls upon him from time to time and draws him to him like the ringing of a guard. This is a true explanation of the symbolism of the bell and the timid beauty that he mentioned. The doctor, with another interpretation, is the bell of the church that housed Tijani after he was expelled by the Scientific Institute and admitted to the Mission Hospital for treatment of chest disease. Al-Tijani did not suffer from chest disease immediately after his expulsion from the institute, but rather worked in various fields. It was not mentioned in Al-Tijani’s biography that he died in a church mission hospital. Al-Tijani was not a vagabond after his dismissal from the Scientific Institute. Al-Tijani worked for the Singer Company, the majority of whose customers were Jews and Christians. He was fired from it because he led the first work strike in protest against the reduction in wages of Sudanese workers, with the exception of their foreign counterparts during the economic crisis that struck the world in the 1930s.
Al-Tijani wrote his famous poem at that time, entitled “Revolution,” protesting against the injustice that occurred to Sudanese citizens working in the company and not their foreign counterparts.
Al-Tijani worked in journalism and became editor-in-chief of Omdurman magazine, which was published by the Sudanese historian Muhammad Abd al-Rahim, who was recruited by the Sudanese literature chapter in his book Firefly Blows in Literature and Sociology until he contracted tuberculosis and Muhammad Abd al-Rahim fired him from his job.
Al-Tijani corresponded with Sudanese and Arab newspapers and magazines, and his fame spread and he was known in literary circles in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
His eldest sister, Zainab Yusuf Bashir, who was close to him to the point that he used to tell her his secrets, said that it was Dr. Al-Tijani Al-Mahi who took Al-Tijani to the mission hospital for treatment for chest disease, but he only stayed there for a little while until he returned to his home and died in his room in the year 1937, when he was not more than twenty-five years old. The moments of his death were witnessed and documented by eyewitnesses in the family. I wrote about them in a paper I presented at the celebration of his centenary held by the Sudanese community in Bahrain. I presented an episode about the story of Al-Tijani’s last moments as part of a series of episodes on the Al-Umma station affiliated with the Sudanese radio. I hope it will be preserved in the radio archives.
Al-Tijani did not need the care of the church, and his home had the largest cell in Omdurman, where dozens of students attended to memorize the Qur’an. It had a hospice in which a large number of students lived, eating and drinking at the family’s expense. This retreat was established specifically in front of the Church of the Martyr Mar Harges in Al-Masalama after the Battle of Karari, in which Al-Tijani’s grandfather, his mother’s father was martyred. The family also lost two memorizers in the battles in the East after Othman Digna withdrew from the battle. Among them was the father of the great poet Muhammad Saeed Al-Kahrabji. The family was aware of its role in memorizing the Qur’an and opening cells in different parts of the country to confront Christianization campaigns to immunize children against the Christian proselytization that was active. After the demise of the Mahdist state, note that the family established another retreat in the Al-Ardah neighborhood, which was a camp and barracks for the Mahdist armies. Hundreds of them were martyred in the Battle of Karari, and the message of Al-Kutaybi’s retreat in that place was to protect the children of the Ansar from Christian evangelism.
The question remains: how can the Tijani family, while carrying out this great religious message, accept that one of its guardians and most prominent sons be thrown into the arms of the church? It is necessary, then, to reread and write the biography of Al-Tijani, which was written by his opponents in his time and those who continue to accuse him of infidelity until today and do not understand his poetry and prose. His courageous stances in confronting the foreigners.
[Read his article in his prose collection entitled “Al-Taqiyya.”] They became hostile to him and denounced him to the sheikh of the institute, Ahmed Abu Digin. They accused him of disbelief out of envy on their own behalf, and the story is well known, Al-Tijani mentioned this incident in his famous poem entitled “The Scientific Institute,” which was prescribed in the literature and texts curriculum for students in the second year of the general secondary stage.
Professor Khaled Abu Al-Rous told me that they used to ask Al-Tijani about his collection of poems, saying, “Hasn’t Harshaqa been published yet?” referring to the collection of Ishraqa, about which dozens of master’s and doctoral theses were written in a number of Arab and international universities. They said “Ishraqa” is a mockery of Al-Tijani, who suffers from a cough due to chest disease.
At the conclusion of this study, I would like to praise the effort made by the great professor Dr. Abdul Latif Saeed in his study, according to his interpretive doctrine, in reading the poem “The Song of the Jinn,” a mystical reading through which he tried to interpret what Al-Tijani wrote as a tortured philosopher and mystic. Mystics have their own esoteric readings of texts according to their impact on themselves, immersed in what is beyond the unseen.

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