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Pre-Islamic poetry by a mother to her son on the sanctity of Ka’bah


 

Subay’a, daughter of al-Ahabb, spoke the following verses for her son Khalid b. ‘Abd Manaf b. Ka’b b. Sa’d b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib, telling him to avoid sinning in Mecca and reminding him what Tubba (Yemeni ruler) had done there:

 

“0 my son, in Mecca, neither do wrong to the young nor to the old.
Preserve its sanctity, my son, and let not conceit confuse you.
Whoever sins in Mecca, my son, meets extreme disaster.
His face, my son, shall be beaten, his cheeks consumed by fire.
I have tested this there, my son, and found those harming it perish.
God made it secure, though no towers are built in its courtyards.
God made its birds inviolate and also the white-footed crows on Mt. Thabir.
Tubba’* raided it but dressed its buildings with new, smooth cloth.

My God humbled his power there, so he made proper sacrifice,
Walking barefoot towards it, in its courtyard,
And offering two thousand camels,
Well-feeding its people the flesh of Mahry camels and cattle,
Giving them strained honey and barley-water to drink.
And God destroyed the army of the elephants, casting rocks amongst them,
Ending their rule in far distant lands, in Persia and Khazir.
So hear when this is told, and understand how things ended.”

 

*Tubban (Yemeni ruler) As’ad Abu Karib was asked to come and plunder Kabah as it contains pearls, chrysolite, sapphires, gold, and silver according to them. King asked two Jewish rabbis about this and they warned him not to go ahead with this plan as he would perish if he tries to destroy it. Instead, they asked him to respect it and do the same as those living there. He was the first to clothe the Ka’bah and made for it a door and a key.

 

[By Ibn Ishaq as mentioned in Al-Sira al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 1, pg. 14-15]

 

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