Information about Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria, tomb and Burda

Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria located in Alexandria city, Egypt. Different biographers present slightly different versions of Imam Al Busiri’s life. Certain facts agreed upon by all North African to the Sanhaji tribe of Morocco. Historian al Maqrizi claimed that Al Busiri’s family was from Hammad Citadel in Morocco. Furthermore, it was a part of the Banu Habnun tribe. Little known about Imam Al Busiri childhood. It is although scholars surmise that he received the usual education for children of his time. He would have attended a Qur’an school and memorized the entire Qur’an.

Kilani asserts that Imam Al Busiri’s family was poor as he forced to search for work from a young age. Sometime during his youth, he made his way to Cairo, where he pursued his studies. There, he exposed to the important Islamic sciences. They are Arabic language and linguistics. They are also literature, history and the biography of the Prophet Muammad. Even as a young man, Imam Al Busiri began to compose poetry which was not of a religious nature. In 1240 at the age of 30, he composed a poem to petition the King Najm Al Din Al Ayyubi. It was when he failed to allot a generous endowment to Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptAn accomplished poet, he would often recite his poetry and give lessons at mosques in Cairo. Many young poets studied under him. They are such as Athir al-Din Muammad Ibn Yusuf Abu Hayyan al-Andalusi 1325 AC. And Abu al-Fath Ibn Sayyid al-Nas al-Yamari 1334 AC and Izz al-Din b. Jamaah 1335 AC. His best known for the deeply religious are Burdah and the Hamziyyah poems. Imam Al Busiri’s complete diwan is still extant. It includes poetry that reveals the transition from a rough and terse youth. It also include a mature man with a deeply spiritual disposition. Based on his poetry, one can map out his spiritual development. He records his experiences in life, interactions with people, complaints, and insights.

Imam Al Busiri’s short and slender stature led the people ridicule him. It led also to be the source of their jokes. Early on in his career, he wrote a number satire poems. They revealed his feelings about being ridiculed. He also had a hard time accepting criticism from other poets. Moreover, he even wrote a rebuttal of a poet, one Zayn al-Din who had insulted his work. He known to have a harsh tongue. Furthermore, he took pleasure in composing hijaa, or satire, poetry to insult his enemies. The historian al-Shehab Mahmoud wasa contemporary of Imam Al Busiri. He wrote that he was a misanthrope who would attack others with his words. He also added that he had a bad reputation in the courts of princes and viziers.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptImam Al Busiri lived in various locations in Cairo and in the Delta region. He worked primarily as a scribe and poet for the local rulers. At one time, a ruler offered him the position of a muhtasib, or market inspector, in Cairo, but he rejected it. From this job offer, we can find out that Imam Al Busiri had a decent knowledge of Islamic law. It is because the job requires a thorough knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence and law. He lived for a long time in the Lower Egypt town of Bilbis 1261-1265 AC. Moreover, he worked there as a scribe and manuscript copyist. He seems to skilled in accounting. That was although al-Maqrizi claimed that he made a lot of mistakes and was not competent in this skill.

Imam Al Busiri interested in religious polemics. He read the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and religious history of Judaism. He also read Christianity primarily. It was defend Islam and the position of the Prophet Muammad. Some of his colleagues at work were Jewish and Christian. In fact, he known to engage in fiery debates with them. He interested in proving to them that the Gospels did not indicate that Jesus was a god. And that it contained signs of the coming of the Prophet Muammad. He was also concerned with correcting what he believed to be mistakes. It was in the Hebrew Bible that told stories of the prophets and of their sins.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptIn addition to being a poet, Imam Al Busiri was also a fine calligrapher. He was also a composer of prose, although nothing of his writing or calligraphy is extant. It said at one point, he made a living designing the engravings for tombstones. In an attempt to make money, he also opened a Qur’an school for children in Cairo. But this venture failed and he forced to close it. As for his domestic life, his poems paint a hellish impression of living. It was with his constantly pregnant wife and gaggle of children. He talks of his wife conspiring with his sister-in-law. It was to get him to divorce her by hitting him and pulling out the hairs from his beard. Moreover, he also complains in detail about old age. He also does about his inability to provide his children with enough food and the problem he faced.

In fact, he could not provide his daughter with furnishings for her home for her marriage. Moreover, he spent some time in the central Delta town of al-Mahallah. It was where he was the poet and scribe for the mayor. He received a monthly wage for composing panegyric poems of the ruler. In al-Mahallah, Imam Al Busiri clashed with the local Christian scribes, copyists and poets. He wrote verses complaining of his treatment at their hands. Sometime during his stay in al-Mahallah, it seems he broke his leg. It was on a visit to the public baths and complained bitterly about his leg in many poems.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptHis relation with others was so bad that it reached the point where they wished he would die. Once, when he became very sick, a rumor quickly spread that he had died. Upon recovering from his sickness, he wrote a satirical poem. It was to mock his enemies who spread rumors of his death. The phrase was “I am not the one who would die before them”. I will survive them and weep over their graves. It’s true that I had almost lost my life but the generosity of this vizier gave me a new life.”

Imam Al Busiri had enemies among Jews, Christians and among his coreligionists. In fact, he also had enemies among those closest to him, including his wife. He wrote satirical poems attacking anyone who criticized or insulted him. He recorded each event and rebuttal in a poem. According to al-Maqrizi, Imam Al Busiri would befriend important members of the court. It was such as the vizier Zayn al-Din. al-Zubayr. And would support them no matter if they were just or oppressive rulers. He supported the Mamluk rulers. He wrote zealous panegyric poems . The poems praised Turkish Mamluks that also affronted the local Arab population. The only positive characteristic of Imam Al Busiri recorded by al-Maqrizi. It was that he was generous.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptIt not known when exactly Imam Al Busiri became a disciple of Al Mursi Abu Al Abbas. It can posited that this happened later on in his life. Itis at least some years before the death of al-Mursi in 1287 AC. Imam Al Busiri seemed to have struggled to follow Sufi principles. He desired to live in isolation from people. In fact, he had a large family and was often unable to feed them due to his poverty. He said “If I were on my own, I like to be a disciple in a Sufi hostel”.

His later poetry consists mainly of panegyric poems praising the Prophet Muhammad. And he bears little similarity to that of his earlier satirical poems. Perhaps after becoming a Sufi disciple, he underwent a spiritual awakening. It seen in the form the Burdah and the accompanying story of its composition. Moreover, it also was from his previous harsh and misanthropic nature. It seems to be conflicting information about Imam Al Busiri ’s life. It seen in the biographies of non-Sufi historians. Furthermore, it also seen from hagiographies written by Sufi scholars. Sufi hagiographies always describe him as an older man with a head of white hair.

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Imam Al Busiri mosque Alexandria EgyptThe time line of Imam Al Busiri’s life is not clear. It known that as a grown man, he drawn towards Sufism. He joined the Shadhili order under the guidance of his Shaykh Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi. It was in Alexandria. And which at the time was a center for North African Sufis. At this time, the Shadhili Sufi order was still in its infancy and founded by al-Mursi. Imam Al Busiri was fond of Al Mursi Abu Al Abbas. He studied Sufi thought and practice under him. This background would have a strong influence on his later poetry. He was faithful to his order. He wrote poems full of praise of al-Shadhili and al-Mursi. They were in their spiritual attributes and ranking. Imam Al Busiri was the contemporary of Ibn al-Farid, the great Sufi poet and mystic.

It also said that he was a friend of Ibn Ata Allah Al Sakandari. Al Sakandari is Sufi scholar and jurists. He wrote the famous Hikam, or collection of Sufi aphorisms. It is as well as a spiritual biography of A Shadhili and Al Mursi. In Sufi hagiographies, Imam Al Busiri painted as a saint-like figure. It is the person who had reached the high spiritual station (maqam) of Al Ghawthiyyah Al kubra. They claim that when he walks down the street, the young and old come out to greet him. They also kiss his hand. It said that his bod has emitted a sweet scent. He wore fine clothes, had a head of snow-white hair and humble smile. He was ascetic in his lifestyle. Moreover, he also had a respectable and virtuous character.

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Kilani disregards these attributes of Imam Al Busiri based on his readings of his poetry. Imam Al Busiri was indeed an unpleasant person. It was for much of his life until he discovered Sufism. He mended his ways, and reached a high spiritual station. This station respected and acknowledged by his fellow Sufis. Imam Al Busiri’s praise poetry of the Prophet Muhammad divided into two periods. The first from before Imam Al Busiri’s Hajj and the second after his return from the Hajj. Imam Al Busiri did not perform his pilgrimage until at least after 1255 AC. Before going on Hajj, he composed many praise poems. Some of them referred to his longing to visit the tomb of the Prophet.

Upon his arrival to Madinah and Makkah, he composed poems revealing his joy. The joy is at the tomb of his beloved and other places which Prophet visited. Although buried in Alexandria, it not known if Imam Al Busiri spent his last years in Cairo or Alexandria. His official tomb located in Alexandria, there are some dispute about where he buried. Al-Maqrizi recorded that he died in al-Mansuri Hospital in Cairo. Al- Ayyashi is a North African traveler who visited Cairo in 1663 AC. He mentioned that he visited Imam Al Busiri’s tomb in the area of the jurist Imam al-Shafii’s tomb. It located in the southern cemetery of Cairo. Imam Al Busiri indeed buried at the foot of al-Muqattam hills. It is where historians presumably thought the younger poet Imam Al Busiri buried.

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