Ka'b ibn 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 (Su'ād Has Departed), 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 the 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 Bujayr went out to Muḥammad but in the way Ka'b's intention changed and he turned back. Bujayr went to Muḥammad and accepted Islam . When Ka'b found out about his brother accepting Islam, he composed a satire of his brother and Muḥammad. After that Muḥammad declared punishment for Ka'b. Then his brother Bujayr advised him to seek pardon of 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 recited the first na'at Bānat Suʿād.[2] [4]In his book, Muhammad, Prophet of God, Peterson reveals a very touching portrait of the conversion of this initially rather sceptic man.


Ka'b 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 done the long poetry through which he became famous, he wouldn't have considered him a greater poet than his son. Another 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
  4. ^ Esat Ayyıldız, Klasik Arap Şiirinde Emevî Dönemine Kadar Hiciv. Ankara: Gece Kitaplığı, 2020. p.146-147.