Prophet- praising Literature (Eulogy) in Sudan

Mon, 26 Mar 2018


By A’amer Abugroun



Praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds, prayer and peace be upon the messenger of God the truthful and honest, the prophet who has been commended in the holly Quran; our master Mohammed, all his kinsfolk and companions and those who followed his path up to the day of religion.

It’s somewhat difficult, if not semi impossible, to speak or write about prophet praising literature in Sudan since the references about it are very rare. This original heritage was not properly collected, documented or published. It did not even meet sufficient editing or studying although it represents a basic branch and an easy means for calling to Allah. It’s worth mentioning here that the Presidency, upon a proposal from Arwiqa Organization for Culture and Sciences has been good enough to establish alBurai' Prize for prophet-praising literature since its main objectives were to collect, document, edit and study this literature. Since its establishment, it succeeded to document more than ten of the outstanding eulogists and narrators. This is considered a good start for anyone who attach importance to this heritage and publish and distribute it inside and outside the Sudan.


The popular prophetic literature has played, since the first appearance of the Islamic Call in Sudan and is still playing a dominant role in shaping the spiritual life as well as the profound religious understanding, as the prophetic literature, especially the popular eulogy has  formed a basic pivot in dealing with the concepts and objectives of the Call to Islam in this country as these poems carry the basis and main elements of the Islamic call; divine unity, creed and jurisprudence, dealings, ethics and the splendid prophet biography. You will find the prophet-praising poem either representing a unit of religion objectives or including several rules, stories and biographies. Several scholars and holy Quran memorizers have assumed this literature by writing this type of poetry in simple language, attractive melodies and sweet-sounding rhythm. By all these they made their Call with the utmost wisdom and heed following the verse: “ CALL THOU (all mankind] unto thy Sustainer's path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner- for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided” [1] what helped in the wide circulation of these objectives , dealings and biography of the prophet and his companions  was that they used the easy colloquial language  way to handle them, especially if take into consideration the illiteracy rate in Sudan. And so the Sudanese speak about these with deep knowledge and if you ask an illiterate Sudanese individual from where he got all this knowledge he would answer that he didn’t get it from a study group of scholar X or Y but he heard it in a prophet-praising poem chanted by this man or that.

For all these it should have been very important to take an interest in this literature which participated in the circulation of the Call to Islam.

In his book entitled “the praising of the messenger extracted from al Murshid Ila Fahmal Shi'ral Aarabi – the guide to the understanding of the Arab poetry” professor IbrahÌm al Qurashi says: the observer of popular prophetic eulogy in Sudan will find that it was introduced since quite a long time, together with the advent of Islam. No nation knows eulogy, loves and lives it like the Sudanese as eulogy is their camel driver and supplies. True religion and prophet biography has been circulated among them through eulogy more than any other means. Actually it was their contribution to the Islamic Call; through it they believed in the unity of God, honoured their prophet and knew his companions and studied his biography. All the laymen of the Levant don’t know what the Sudanese laymen know about the biography of the prophet through eulogy.

The Sudanese knew the classical - Arabic and colloquial eulogy as they learnt by heart “Burdatal Busairi” and chanted the fine poems of al Burai',al Yamāni and al Sarsari and theological and bacchanalian poems of Ibn A'rabi. They became as litanies where they perform them together with prophet birthday story every Monday and Thursday nights. Their poets wrote poetry in classical Arabic. We have seen the good poems of al Majā§Ìb and al Sammāniya from the families of Sheikh NŪral Dāyim and GarÌb Allah and the masterpieces of Sheikh Abd Allah Mohammed YŪnis etc.

The field of the Sudanese eulogists in which nobody can challenge or compete with them is the popular prophetic eulogy - the subject matter of this paper – you can count tens of divans and great eulogists. Those eulogists have innovated a virgin art, some of them, no doubt, depended on the classical type but, we can safely say that there are unique examples you can hardly find in other type of popular eulogy in any place else. We will prove this later in this paper.

Researchers found that the popular prophetic eulogy began before so many years, exactly with the spreading of the Sufi sects as they wrote poems to breach the citizen and perform them in their nights.

But, the actual beginning of what we now know as the popular prophetic eulogy was with the introduction of the tambourine by a man called (anÌn al Maîri) as people say.

It’s very difficult to say the exact time of the first eulogist in Sudan but, traces indicate that eulogies were there towards the middle of the Sinnāri era. However, many researchers were of the idea that the first stage of the establishment of popular eulogy in Sudan was assumed by three great eulogists; ājal Nagar,al Sheikh Ali WadalÌb and GaddŪra. Gurashi Mohammed Hassan says[2] ” A researcher in the arts of popular eulogy would find that most of the Sudanese eulogists had come from the north of Sudan the thing that proves that eulogies were born,  lived and spread  in the other parts of Sudan. The other notable phenomena was that there were no eulogists from the western or eastern parts of Sudan although they were rich of other folk arts. The justification according to Gurashi is that “this is not strange for anybody who knows the nature of the inhabitants of these areas as they remained behind and semi-closed for generations while the north by being adjacent to the sources of Arabic culture has developed and Marawi, Sinnār and Khartoum were the meeting places for the cultural messages from Damascus, Beirut and Cairo as well as from Maghreb”

Gurashi continues[3] his research about the first eulogist who introduced the writing of popular eulogy in Sudan saying “ I have been searching since quite a long time for the first poet who introduced  popular eulogies in Sudan and I found that al Nagar, from GawzBadr near Shandi town, was the first man who create this art,  and the first who wrote popular eulogy was Ali Wad alÌb from the Shāygiya tribe. They were the first eulogists and then came GaddŪra who was buried in Rahadal Dindir.

So according to researchers the beginning is likely to be with al Sheikh ājal Nagar ibn al Sheikh Badrainibn al Sheikh Salmān Wad alA'wa¼hiya, buried in al Juwair, al Matamma locality. Hājal Nagar is buried in Gawz Rajab some thirty Kilometer north of alMatamma. The first eulogy (al Salāma) was composed by ājal Nagar towards the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century, below are extracts of it[4]:

I started the composition in the name of Allah the ever living

Allah is very old O learned and He is wealthy and not needy

O god we pray for safety O God we pray for safety

He enriches the poor and breathes life into bodies

Save us O the chosen one in this world and the doomsday

He created us and splint our broken bones

Save us from the grief of repentance and from the night dens

And from the hereafter and from the crowded graves and from the terrors of the doomsday


I reiterate with my bride the marked man the messenger my doctor the marked man

The Arabic messenger the chosen one he removes my fatigue the chosen one

Son of bintWahab the marked man

The noble descent the marked man

Of noble lineage the chosen one the polite man the marked man

Who never get irritated the marked man

He brings visitors the marked man

The best of the Arabs the marked man the honest who never lies the marked man

Eulogists always commence their nights with this al Salāma and when entering villages. It’s an announcement and promotion for the night to be held in the place and when people hear the hits of al Salāma they know there is an eulogy night to be held.

Simultaneously with the composition of al Salāma by ājal Nagar and what we now know as eulogy started in the River Nile State where the Ja’li tribe dwells there, ājal Nagar heard of the emergence of a great narrator and eulogist in the Northern State called Ali Wad alÌb (1719 -1784). He told his followers to send some verses and if he completed them then he’s a good eulogist and he wrote and sent the following two hemistich[5]:

Long and flowing hair it’s neither… nor curly

Wad alÌb replied as follows:

His eyebrow is like crescent the light of his forehead illuminates

And then he completed it as follows:

Blessings upon Ahmed our master

We start our project with the ever knowing the hearer of the call

The ever living old and one the angels kneel to

In this time and at the emergence of ājal Nagar in the area of the Jaa'li tribe followed by Ali Wad alÌb and his disciple ājal MāÊi (1789 -1870) and as the prophet-praising and biography culture is interesting as it’s associated with the love for the prophet, so it had to cover all the parts of Sudan in which the Sufi sects widely spread. The emergence of ājal Nagar in the River Nile State was accompanied by the emergence of Ali Wad alÌb in the Northern State.  One of the greatest eulogists, the Mastodon of the popular eulogy narrators al Sheikh Abd alGādir Mohammed Jabour (GaddŪra) 1745 – 1829, form the third side of the establishing period of the popular eulogy. He added a new rhythm of the known eulogy rhythms known as al GaddŪrābi.

This is the first phase of the popular eulogy in Sudan. al Sheikh Mohammed bin amad AbuKasāwi, Ahmed Wad TamÌm, Ahmed al DagŪni, ājalĀ’agib and îāliÊal AmÌn from the Bādrāb appeared in the same period. However the second phase came at the end of this phase and overlapped with it.                 

The second phase:

The popular eulogy literature in Sudan has witnessed, in this particular phase a notable improvements and it was prosperity period for the art. It was the Mahdism period where the jihad poetry prevailed and several eulogists appeared such as al Sheikh Mohammed Hassan Wad Haja, Ahmed Wad Saa'd, Ahmed AbuSharÌa’, Mohammed ayāti, £ayfŪral DagŪni, Wad Muîðafa,, Abd al Malik, AbuKhshaiba, al Hassan al Baîri , some eulogists from TamÌm’s family, Ahmed al Gallaa', Mohammed Wad îāliÊ, Abd alGādir AbuKasāwi, Ahmed WadSulaimān, Mohammed Zain and Mukhtār Abu Kasāwi and others.

The sheikh of the eulogists of this period was Ahmed Wad TamÌm who wrote wonderful eulogies out of his refined culture and deep knowledge[6]

The third phase:

The contemporary narrators (Rāwi) who followed the method of the popular prophetic eulogy up to this day. The most outstanding eulogists of this trend were al Sheikh al Jaily AbuGurŪn, HāshimAbd al MahmŪd, Mohammed al îābŪnābi, Saa'd AbuGroun, Āwa¼al JÌd ibn al Khaddām, abd al RaÊÌm al Burai', Mukhtāral Marāir, Uthmānal Galobāwi, £āhaal afiān, al £ayibMukhtār and others.

The present young generation who did well in their works and sometimes in their performance, we can mention just as examples al Sheikh AbdAllaal Êibir, al Jaili Abu Eldikhairy, Sa'adal afÌd,  MahmŪdal ˆÌ'f, Dr. AmÌn Hassan al Jāk, I'krimaRabÌ'Sayid Ahmed Bashandi, engineer Abd al Muni'mShibrain and many others.

We can conclude that the development and graduation in the field of narration has remained unchanged up to the present time; the same old pattern, construction and rhythm of the prophetic eulogy. The accuracy and durability of the melodies, patterns and rhythms on which the founders based their works has made it possible to preserve this firmly established form of this heritage, no matter words and expressions change or not.

Rhythms in the prophet-praising poetry.

Tambourines in Sudan: the first man who introduced tambourines in eulogy was a man called anÌn al Maîry, as mentioned before in the seventeenth century and since that time they have been used in eulogy and sometimes in songs by some Sudanese tribes.

Ghurashi Mohammed Hassan, who checked/verified the divan of Wad Saa'd has divided the tambourine arts into six divisions (rhythms)[7] :

Muraba’, MakhbŪt, Mua'shar, Hambāti, arbi and Daglāshi. Popular eulogies and poems were named under these divisions and all eulogy meters have been composed depending on these divisions.

Gurashi has explained why these names were given:

1. The Murabba’ was called so because its hemistiches are four.

2.  The MakhbŪt was called so because it is composed of three hits.

3.     The Mua'shar was called so because the lines of the poem are composed of ten hits.

4. The Hambāti was called so because the tambourine hits are two similar to the hits of DallŪka. It is also called Banāti.

5. The Harbi was called so because the rhythm is ardent

6. The al Daglāshi was called so because the rhythm is light and dancing from the light Shāygi songs.

7. Gurashi mentioned what he called (arbiGaddŪra) and (Murbba’GadddŪra) he believed that he was the first to introduce al arbi and that it has two aspects slow and light and it has its own Murabba’ but I’m of the opinion that GaddŪra is distinguished by al arbial MagðŪ’. As for the usual arbi, it is known in all war eulogies. The Murabba’ rhythm of all narrators is the same.

8. Gurashi then mentioned what’s called al Muttāki and he traced it back to GaddŪra. He justified the name (al Muttāki) that it is similar to the rhythm used by the Shāygi Tribe.

Al MashtŪl: he attributed it to al DagŪnāb as they introduced it in al arbiAlgaddŪrābi. It was called al MashtŪl because it’s part of al GaddŪrābi and also because the rhythm is light, similar to the light Murabba’.

This is exactly what was mentioned by Gurashi in his famous book al Gurashi Collections, part 3 P.P.37 – 38.

The researcher Mohammed U'marBatari made a good statement[8]:

“al Sheikh Ali Wad alÌb started as a £ambŪr vocalist and this enabled him to perfect eulogy melodies and accordingly he is considered the first founder of a school with melody and performance controls in north Sudan competed with another schools such as Sheikh al Nagar school in the land of the Bādrāb (Ja’li area) and al Sheikh GaddŪra school in the southern areas (JazÌra)”

These three schools have laid the basis and arts of eulogy in Sudan and moved the people from the types of eulogy introduced by the Sufi sects; poem, safina and îayÊa.

These schools, says Bāðari, followed strict method with seven rhythms:

1. al Murabba’

2. al Mua'shar.

3. al Mugayad.

4. al MakhbŪt.

5. al Daglāshi

6. al Hambāti.

7. Alarbi

Each one might have its own rhythm. alDaglāshi was classified by the Shāigiya as al Dalaib rhythm but, it is lighter than it.

As for the melodies, Wad alÌb Muraba’a is called al A'ngaraib (bed) Eulogy as it is performed while eulogists are sitting on bed. This melody prepares the listeners to receive and understand the eulogy. This type is preferred by the scholars and the elderly for its high language and calm melody.

Then the sheikh continues to move the people between the different types of eulogy such as MakhbŪt and Mugayad and after that he guides them to stand up and enter the circle where hot eulogy and light melodies are performed using al Mua'shar, al Daglāshi and al arbi.

Professor IbrahÌm al Gurashi mentioned under the title Prophetic Eulogy Rhythms that[9]:

The foregoing outstanding eulogists had not moved away from the old composition of poetry on known and joint  poetry meters controlled by the known tambourine rhythms such as al Muraba’, al Makhbout, al arbi, al hambāti, al Daglāshi (al Mua'shar) and al Nahiābi which means the composition of prophetic eulogy on the meters of the couplet (Doubait).

Most of eulogy is performed using tambourine and after the emergence of the “agÌba” songs eulogists moved to light eulogies so they used the tambourine, triangle and small cymbals (cups) and before that they might have been using the sticks. The presence of music has attracted the youth to the eulogy but, those who used to hear eulogy with the tambourine rhythm don’t prefer this.

In analyzing all these opinions I find myself in full agreement with what professor al Gurashi had reached without any addition. I may only add the distinguished rhythms that distinguish some areas and narrators. For example the rhythms of the Shāygia area may be similar to the above mentioned rhythms but when we hear them we can’t add them to the same classification given the rules and hits. Even the tambourine used in the eulogies of the Shāygia (Wad alÌb, ājal MāÊi and others) are two Shatams (small tambourine) and one Razama (large tambourine while that of the other eulogists of the south is composed of two razamas and one Shatam). GaddŪra was distinguished by al arbiAlmagto’ and he excelled in rhythm named before him, al Sulaimāni.  It is similar to al arbi and is attributed to al Sheikh Ahmed Wad Sulaimān.

The Skeleton of the Popular Eulogy

for every form of art there are controls and principles according to which it is judged but, if we look into the art of popular eulogy in Sudan, because it started from cultural, technical and religious heritage on which it formed its contents and meanings we will discover that it depended on the basis on which the religious concepts have been established (preceded by prose and oratory). Accordingly, the skeleton of the popular eulogy was built on this method and that patter. The popular eulogy starts with praise, thankfulness and monotheism of the Lord then it prays upon the prophet blessings and peace be upon him as in oratory. The narrator then shift to the biography, characteristics, miracles, breaching and guidance and the other issues of the eulogy. The eulogy is concluded by the narrator signing his name and by this the popular eulogy is considered ahead of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which works on the encouragement of  creative activity, the promotion and protection of intellectual property throughout the world and particularly the rights of the author’s as well as the other neighboring rights.

 If we trace what researchers have written on the skeleton of the popular eulogy we will discover that they all agreed on a unified skeleton except for few writers where some of them stated a different sequence and others omitted some items..Gurashi Mohammed Hassan in his collection”Algurashiāt”[10] which is considered an important reference in the subject stated that”there are some established principles followed by the eulogists in the writing of popular eulogy since long time and by these principle I mean the skeleton of the eulogy. For them the eulogy is composed of four elements:”

1. The first element: the opening verse. It is also called A'îātal MadÊa (the stick of the eulogy).

2. The second element: seconding as they say after the opening verse I iterate with the messenger

3. The third element: stating the signs and miracles

4. The fourth element: the conclusion. Always with prophet blessing and mentioning of his companions. The poet must put his name or nickname at the end of the eulogy, and this is good as it gives the author his rights and so that no other eulogist can attribute it to himself.

On the other hand we find the writer Ms. Maryam al £ayibBābikir has taken up this issue and discussed it in a full chapter entitled (Method of Eulogy) in her book “MadÊal MaÊbŪbWaMujārtal AÊibbā[11]”. She stated that the popular eulogy is mostly composed of sections known to many eulogists. I was impressed by her statement “people are acquainted with constant order but it’s not binding and eulogists are free to adopt it or not, according to the methods taken by the pioneer eulogists and the following generations. An eulogy can contain all these parts or part of them”

The writer stated the following sequence of the eulogy:

1. Part one: the opening verse

2. The second part: naming.

3. The third part: seconding

4. The fourth part: lightning and breeze

5. The fifth part: the signature

6. The sixth part: the conclusion and prophet blessing.

In a most recent book written by the Prophetic Eulogy researcher professor IbrahÌm al Gurashi entitled “ Madhal RasŪlal Mustal Min al Murshid[12] - The Messenger Eulogy Derived From al Murshid” he stated that narrators have a skeleton which most of them, if not all, are acquainted with on the basis of which they compose their eulogies. He writes under the title “the skeleton of the popular prophetic eulogy[13]”: the popular eulogy has a known skeleton and it begins by:

1. Al A'îāya (the stick): the opening verse. It is the verse repeated by al Zummāl (the chorus).

2.  Monotheism

3.  Praising: prophet praising.

4. Then the eulogist moves to the story of the birth day and the signs of Prophecy.

5. Miracles, characteristics and the good qualities of the prophet.

6. Then he mentions the prophet companions and their outstanding traits, particularly the orthodox caliphs.

7. The eulogists then enter the lightening which is tangible and abstract.

8. Then they conclude by the blessings.

If we analyze all these opinions we will find that all of them are right but some of them put only outlines while others went on details but I find myself attracted to the skeleton stated by professor IbrahÌm al Gurashi with some additions. My quarter a century practice and research in this field led me to value this as highly refined and interesting art with basics and branches and so when GaddŪra says “ my old seed is not from me it is from my cognizant elderly” he meant it.

We can title the second part of the skeleton, according to professor Gurashi, the Beginning as it is not necessary to speak about monotheism. Some of the eulogists starts (I mean The Beginning) with monotheism like GaddŪra, others with prayer like ayāti, others with erotic poetry like AbuSharÌa', others with ecstasy like ājal Ā'gib and others write on breaching and guiding and about the companions of the prophet. They don’t speak about monotheism so I think the monotheism part should be replaced by The Beginning as stated by professor al Gurashi.

I think that the real skeleton of the popular prophetic eulogy is that stated by professor IbrahÌm al Gurashi in number and sequence. The fact of the eulogy being long or short and differ in its meanings and content, depends on the culture and knowledge of the composer. The skeleton is not binding.

Let us take these three eulogies as examples of the skeleton of the eulogy.

The first one is GaddŪra’s “drive the camel’s O camel driver to the prophet of al RaÊmān”. The sequence is as follows:

1.  Al A'îāya (The opening verse):

Drive the camels O camel driver    to the prophet of al RaÊmān

2. The Beginning:

I started with mentioning the name of the unique   The One, The Benefactor.

No partner no other one I hope He takes care of me

I praise the Giver I commend the ….

He breathed life into me   I knew that He has no place

3. Seconding:

I reiterate the descendent of A’dnān Mohammed the luminous

Who has been crowned by the most Merciful the intercessor of People

4. The birthday and prophetic signs:

Birth was given to the most beloved person   before all human beings

We heard of him before long time he extinguish fires

5. Miracles:

Our prophet never gets angry   he is lenient and not miserable

He pleases the miserable and depressed people and bring good news to them

6. The prophet companions:

You see al îi¼¼Ìg the lenient and Umar who calls for prayers openly

Uthmān who recites Quran and the lion- like Ali

7. The breeze:

The breeze blew from the House and burned and grilled my abdomen

I was ill for a long time but its smell made me well

8. Signature and Blessings:

GaddŪra the sufferer says  I thank the descendant of Adnān

His praise is in my tongue makes me very pleased

Blessings and peace go together

It reaches and pleases the most significant messenger

In the eulogy of Ahmed Wad Sulaimān “îalatiA'laik Ma’al TaslÌm”

1.  al A'îāya (The opening verse):

O the father of Ibrahim my blessing and greetings upon you that pleases your companions

2. The Beginning:

No God or Partner with You  award me Your consent till I meet You

 3. seconding:

My thanks goes to the lover of his lord the intercessor for the guilty when the disobedient cry

4. the birthday and prophetic signs:

Strong odor of musk diffused on his birthday and the palace tilted and collapsed

5. Miracles:

Since your early days you proved superior to your colleagues and anyone who wanted to be as you lacked behind

Trees called and greeted you the camel that came to you was set free

Wine, snuff and adulterers are waiting for you

And except for you O messenger we would have been wiped out

6. The prophet companions:

His companions mounting longing for Jihad if one person come he will defeat your enemies

7. The lightning:

The lightning flashed and brought to me your fragrance.

8. Signature and Blessings:

Blessings upon you the dweller of the town full of palm trees Ibn Suleimān has come to you as he always cries to see you

The third example is al alÌma by AbuSharÌa'

1.  al A'îāya (The opening verse):

O the most merciful enable me to meet the lenient immediately without delay

2. The Beginning:

O Who knows the secrets Your slave has come to You appealing for Your help

You are much forgiving and forbearing present him at the Presence

 3. seconding:

He always compose eulogy on the greatest Dear One

He help those were thrown to hell in the day of distress

4. the birthday and prophetic signs:

Birth was given to the most affectionate man

He came holding the reins of welfare

The globe has increased its gratefulness and Rudwān embroidered his paradises.

5. Miracles:

His hands were stretched forth and the world become moist from his generosity

To indicate his forbearance I will just mention the gazelle who set free

Clouds follow him when walking because rocks are under his feet

He gives by his right and left hands out of asceticism and not affluence

6. The prophet companions:

His companions walk with him if he is going or coming

Grandeur and dignity walks behind him and so veneration

7. The lightning:

When I saw the mid-night lightning  it deprived me from sleeping

I intend to go there after my weeping

8. Signature and Blessings:

AbuSharÌa’ dedicated his blessings obedience to the obedient

Remove my alarming worries and Prohibit him from what may lead to committing sins

And so most if not all prophetic eulogies go on this pattern

The content of the popular Prophetic Eulogies:

Popular prophetic eulogy dealt with the concepts, values, teachings of the true religion. It brought it down to reality with easy-to-understand phrases and language. We find the eulogist speaks about monotheism, creeds, jurisprudence, worshipping and the prophetic biography- which are the general core of prophetic eulogy- the dealings, ethics call for jihad and protection of religion, and honor, etc.

Some eulogies speak about one issue while others call for several values.

The most important prophet-praising poets:

We will give short biographies of the most leading and important eulogists so as to complete the picture of this high-ranking spiritual art which enriched and affected the formation of the conscience and civilized identity of the Sudanese people. We better start with the founding generation:

1. Sheikh Ali wad alÌb

Sheikh Ali Wad alÌb, a ShallŪfābiShāygi, was born in 1719 in the village of al Magal at the eastern bank of the river Nile to the north of Marawi and KarÌma. He remained there until he died in 1784 (some sources say 1804). His grandfather ShalÌf  was a grandson of Shāig. He was nicknamed Wad alÌb because his grandmother who loved him used to say ”Mohammed my beloved son is like milk (alÌb)” he coeval the eulogist of the Ja’lyÌn ājAlnagar and the eulogist of the JazÌra Sheikh Abd al Gādir Mohammed Jabor (GaddŪra). It was said that the father of ājal MāÊi was a colleague of him  and when ājal MāÊi was born he invited his friend to the A'qÌqah feast and putting some dates in his mouth. He told the father that āj al MāÊiwill be his successor in eulogy and he was right. He began a singer with a sweet voice. When he transferred his career to eulogy he wrote a lot of eulogy that made him together with ājal Nagar and GaddŪrah[14] the creator of this literature.  

  1. Haj Alnagar:

sheikhājal Nagar son of Sheikh Salmān Wad al Awa¼iya is Muslim saint well known in Jawar area in the rural area of Shandi town. He was one of the original creators of this literature. He was the coeval of Wad alÌb and GaddŪra. The three were the creators of this literature but it’s not known who came first. He either wrote few eulogies or his production was lost but, at least he is the poet of (MadÊat al Salāma) which one can hardly find a Sudanese eulogist not keeping it by heart, according to professor Ibrahim al Qurashi. As for ājal Nagar we knew of only three pieces one of them goes like this:

the breeze blew and brought Anbar

longing to the messenger has shaken the lover’s heart

he also says in it:

when the sun was turned and the market filled

and people are very crowded and disturbed

the crier says who will avoid this day

we say the good news is that Mohammed has come[15]

  1. Sheikh Abd al Gādir Mohammed Jabaur (GaddŪra)

Sheikh GaddŪra was born in wad Ramli area, Khartoum North (al Jaili locality) in 1158AH -1745. Then he moved to Wad al A'bbās at the eastern bank of the Blue Nile (State of Sinnār) he is the cousin of Sheikh Ahmed al £ayibal BashÌr. He is one of the creators of the popular eulogy. He had special way of chanting eulogy known as (al GaddŪrabia) he had many sons and grandsons the most famous of them is sheikh al ājabÌb Allah who wrote the well known eulogy of (al A'dnānial AmÌn Wad Macca). He died in 1829 at the age of 88 south of al awāta and people visit his shrine there[16].

  1. Mohammed ājal A'gib:

Mohammed al A'gib Son of Ahmed son of Sa’d, a KhraiîābiJa’li born in 1704, he lived in GauzBadr, a Shandi town suburb. He is the nephew of ājal Nagar. Educated at Khalwas and then he received some jurisprudence, adith and Arabic language sciences. He was pious and ascetic and his heart filled with the love of the prophet. He had some Divine inspirations and for his profound love to the prophet he was called (the young Burai') and he wrote masterpieces in this love. He died and buried in GauzBadr, 1779[17].

  1. Sheikh îālihal AmÌn:

îālih Son of al AmÌn son of al Tayib Son of al Sheikh Ahmed Son of al Sheikh Badr, from the Bādrāb tribe. He was nicknamed (îālih wad al AmÌn). Born in  1825 in GauzBadr of Shanditown in a family known for its knowledge, piety and love of the prophet. His grandfathers were al SheikhSalmān Wadal A'wa¼iya and ājal Nagar and ājal Ā’agib who lived with him. He died in 1888 and buried in GauzBadr[18].         

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Wad TamÌm:

He is Ahmed son of Fa¼lAlla son of Sulaimān son of TamÌm from the Ā’lyābJa’liyÌn tribe, born in 1709 in Ā’lyāb (Jiraif was Ā’lim). He migrated from his place to al aush area (JazÌra). He was known as (al Faki wad TamÌm). He was one of those who know Quran by heart. He established a school for the study of quran and teaching the young Muslims the principles of reading and writing and he was a scholar, piety, Sufist and popular eulogist. He wrote many eulogies but most of them were lost upon his death. He died in 1870 and buried in al aush[19].

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Ali AldāgŪni:

He is Ahmed son of Ali al DagŪni, the first eulogist in his family (al DagŪnāb). He concludes his eulogies with Ibn al DāgŪn. Born in 1221 AH. His father was one of the scholars of his time; he kept Quran by heart and studied the SharÌa' science and became one of the stars of the Turkish era. He wrote a lot of eulogies collected in a collection of poems named (al DagŪnāb) throughout his lifetime he made very good contribution in the prophetic literature and the call to Islam. He died in 1295 and buried in al Ā’lyāb[20]

  1. Sheikh Mohammed assan Wad Haja:

Mohammed is the son of assan and Wad Haja is his nickname. He is from the Ja’litribe ,Musallamāb branch. For his seniority and moral status it was his right to be introduced with the second phase poets as he lived during the period 1221 – 1290 AH. Mohammed was born and died in the area of al Fādniya, northern Sudan. He received his first education in one of the Quran Khalwas which were then very common allover Sudan, where he learnt Quran by heart and received studies in Islamic jurisprudence, biography and language by the scholars of Sinnār culture. He lived during the Turkish era and he was famous for his quadruple rhythm with which the eulogists commence their nights. He was cotemporary with Mohammed ājal Ā’agib, îālihal AmÌn, Ahmed al DagŪni, Ahmed Wad TamÌm and ājal MāÊi who mentioned his name in one of his eulogies[21].

  1. Sheikh Mohammed AbuKasāwi (1117_1250 AH):

Let us first make a brief account about AbuKasāwi family (alKasāwāb). They have rich history in the popular prophetic eulogy as the case of the Bādrāb, Dāgounāb and tamimāb. History tells us that the grand grandfather of al Kasawāb is al SharÌf Rayāsh ibn al Sharif Mohammed Turaifi who lived near the holy sanctuary. He entered Sudan in 700 AH. The story behind the nickname Abu Kassawi was that their grandfather amad used to move from one place to another and after sometime he noted that people had changed their way and when he asked why the answer was that a lion stood in their way. amad killed the lion and when people asked who was the knight who killed the lion and as nobody knew him, the answer was that the lion was killed by the man who put on white cloths. He was then called AbuKasāwi. The eldest son of sheikh amad was Mohammed AbuKasāwi about whom we are going to give account.

He’s one of the pioneer prophetic eulogists. He was given the spiritual itinerary by sheikh A'wadal JjÌd of Wad I'faina, similar to sheikh Mohammed Badr. He used to have several meetings with the Grand Pole my master Sheikh al £ayeb ibn al BashÌr (the man of UmMarraÊi) as well as al Sheikh Altoum Wad Bannaga. He wrote many wonderful eulogies in praise of the prophet and his companions, and in values, ethics, breaching and behaviour. He’s considered the best of the eulogists of this category.

  1. Sheikh Ahmed AbuKasāwi:

Al Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed AbuKasāwi begot the eulogist Ahmed AbuKasāwii (1220-1304AH). His heart was filled with the reciting of Quran and the tunes of eulogy. He followed the steps of his father in writing eulogies who came to Um-Durman together with some of his colleagues to meet al Mahdi and support his call. He died in UmDurman1886 and buried there  A'r¼a north district. A tomb \was built on his grave to the north of Faiîal Mosque. He wrote national and religious odes[22].

  1. Sheikh AbdAlgādir AbuKasāwi:

In addition to the prophetic eulogy, Sheikh AbdAlgādir AbuKasāwi Sufi odes were famous among all the Gādiriya sects.

Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Hamad AbuKasāwi begot two sons who were considered great eulogists; Sheikh Mohammed Zain AbuKasāwi and Sheikh Mukhtār AbuKasāwi.

  1. Sheikh Mohammed Zain Abu Kasāwi (1265-1325AH):

The poet and eulogist Mohammed Zain Ibn al Sheikh Ahmed Ibn al Sheikh Mohammed AbuKasāwi. Upon the death of his father he became his successor and became a star in the prophetic eulogies. He wrote so many eulogies.

  1. Sheikh al MukhtārAbu Kasāwi (1279-1335):

He was the younger brother of Sheikh Mohammed Zain And al Sheikh al AmÌn. He wrote so many prophetic odes. He was contemporary with the greatest eulogists Wad Sa’ad and AbusharÌ'a. There were other eulogists in this family: al Sheikh al Ameen AbuKasāwi, al Sheikh al BashÌr al AmÌn AbuKasāwi, AbuKasāwial Sheikh al A'dnāni and al Sheikh al BashÌr al Sheikh abÌb Allah and others[23]. Most of the abovenamed were mentioned by HājAlmāhi in his eulogy “îalluyaubour”:


  1. Sheikh ājal MāÊi:

Al MāÊi Ibn Mohammed ibn al Sheikh ibn Ahmed ibn AbdAlla, born and brought up in the village of al Kāsinjar north of KarÌma town. People differ in the date of his birth whether it’s 1194 or 1204 but they ‘re sure of his death 1287 AH -1824. He was a masalmābi, one of the Ja’li tribe subdivisions who lived in al I'gaida area near al Kitayāb, the River Nile State. His family migrated since quite a long time to live in the homeland of al Shāygiya tribe so people consider him a Shāygi by culture, behaviour and accent. He wrote a lot of excellent eulogies contained in his divan. He died and buried in al Kāsinjar[25]. After this come a new generation of eulogists associated with the founders constituting a new generation:

  1. Sheikh £ayfŪrAddagŪni:

Al Sheikh£ayfŪrAhmedAli al DagŪni, born in the village of al DagŪnab, al Ā'lyāb in the River Nile State, 1240 AH -1824 or as stated in his divan 1370 AH – 1850, brought up by his father Ahmed Ali al DagŪni and his mother the pious woman BakhÌta. He learnt Quran by heart and studied the religious science by the famous scholar al Sheikh Mohammed al Khair in al GhubushKhalwas in Barbar. He wrote many excellent eulogies, more than any one from al DagŪni family. He always signs his eulogies with (£ayfŪrAldagŪni) or (Ibn al DagŪn). It’s always said in the eulogy sessions “taste eulogy by an eulogy from £ayfŪr”. He met and pledge allegiance to him. He died and buried in Ā'lyāb[26], in 1325 AH – 1907 or 1325 AH -1907 as mentioned in the divan

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Wad Sa'd:

Ahmed Mohammed Sa’dabd al Salāmal Mas’dIdrÌs al FaÊal Bushāra. Born in Gauz Burra west of Shandi town, 1822. He migrated with his father to Gezira and settled in Wad al Maj§Ūb village following the incident of MakNimir who set fire on the Pasha. Upon the death of  his father he was sponsored by his uncles whosent him to the Khalwa of al Sheikh amad al NÌl where he learnt Quran by heart and studied Islamic jurisprudence and principles of religion and Arabic language. He wrote many good eulogies and became (the Sheikh of Eulogists). He met and pledge allegiance to the Mahdi. He wrote many eulogies in the support of the Mahdi and Mahadism the thing that qualified him to be the poet of the first Mahdiya. He moved in his last days to al Wali village where he died and buried in 1926[27].

  1. SheikhAbuSharÌa’

Al Sheikh amed Mohammed Hassan AbusharÌa’. born in a village called Sayyāl Wad Fatir. A suburb of Rufa’a town in 1269 – 1848. He studied in the mosque of al ShrÌf WadAlubayi¼. He was the colleague of al Sheikh Mohammed Taum. He had a loud voice. He met al Mahdi and pledged allegiance to him. He wrote several poems in support of the revolution and al Mahdi. Then he turned to praise the prophet and his companions with outstanding well-composed and excellent-language eulogies. His divan was printed in his last days. He settled in Sardiya island and died at the age of 71 in sardiya island hn 1919 and people visit his grave there[28].

  1. SheikhAhmed al Galla’:

Ja’li, born in 1247 AH/ 1830 in the village of UmmarraÊi, JazÌra. He was brought up in a house known for piety and uprightness. He was the contemporary of Wad TamÌm, Wad Sa’d, AbusharÌa’ and £ayfŪral DagŪni. He met Almahdi and pledged allegiance to him. He supported al Mahdi call. On the collapse of the Mahdist State he returned to his home village to worship and write eulogies. He died in 1907 and buried in his village UmmarraÊi[29].

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Abd al Malik:

 He’s known as al Faki Wad Abd al Malik, from Algawāsma tribe. Born in KarkŪj, a rural area in Sinja. He studied the holy Quran and met Sheikh al U'baid Mohammed Badr in Um ˆawanBān. Then he moved to al Azharal SharÌf. He wrote fluent and easy eulogies. He was contemporary with eminent eulogists. Al Sheikh Ahmed Wad Sa’ad described him as ‘Wad A'bd al Malik is the blacksmith of the eulogists’. He died and buried in KarkŪj[30], 1907.

  1. Sheikh al assanal Baîri:

Al Sheikh al assan al Baîri son of al Faki Abdulla Ibn al Fakial AmÌn Ibn Mohammed Ibn al AmÌn ibn SharhBaskailal Rubatabi. Al FakiAlamÌn was known as Wad UmÊaggain, a descendant of king Samkaih one of the kings of Jamouiya tribe. The poet was born in Islānjisland. His grandfather learnt Quran by heart, so he was brought up and received lessons on holy Quran, jurisprudence and Arabic language. He became an outstanding eulogist. He migrated and settled for sometime in al Tura’al Kha¼ra and then he returned to his island where he died at the age of about forty years and buried there[31].

  1. Sheikh Mohammed ayātial ajamad:

The biography of al Sheikh ayāti say that he’s Mohammed Hayāti son of al ājamadal A'rabi. His mother ĀmnabintFāðimabintal Sheikh al U'baid wad Badr. Born in Um¼awanbān in the year 1290AH/ 1872. His father martyrized in one of the mahdism battles and was brought up by his grandfather al Sheikh Mohammed al U'obaidBadr and then his son and successor al Sheikh Ahmed Alballā’. he wrote masterpieces of eulogies. Died in al îigaya’ one of the suburbs of Rufa’a town in 1943. He left a printed divan. Considered one of the best eulogists[32].

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Wad Sulaimān:

Ahmed Wad Sulaimān belongs to JammŪi'ya tribe. He was born in LāmābBaharAbya¼ in 1855. He studied and learnt Quran by heart with al Sheikh Mohammed Bur in Um¼awanbān. He also studied Aharia sciences with al Sheikh Wad UmmariŪm. He came to Abusi’ed area during the period of Mahdia and established a mosque and a Khalwa. He wrote eulogies since his early days. He met the Mahdi and pledged allegiance to him thus he combined Sufism and Ansārism (supporters of the Mahdi). He was a moderate Muslim. He wrote so many prophetic eulogies. He died on 25th of Shawāl 1337 and buried in Abusi’d where he built his mosque and Khalwa[33].

  1. Sheikh Mohammed AbuKhishaiba:

Al Sheikh Mohammed Ibn A'wad al KarÌm was a Ja’ali born in Berber area in a conservative religious family. He migrated to al Ghubush area and metal Sheikh Mohammed al Khair. He received Islamic lessons and learnt Quran by heart. He became a friend and colleague of Mohammed Ahmed al Mahdi. They had good memories together and so he supported his revolution from its outset in 1881. He wrote excellent eulogies. He was called AbuKhishaiba. Upon the collapse the Mahdiya he devoted himself to worship and writing of eulogies. He moved to and settled in the village of Um U'¼ām, al alawÌn area. He died in 1940 at an age of above hundred[34]

  1. Sheikh Ahmed Wad Muîðafa:

One of the famous Gādirya sect eulogists in Kadabās (the others are al Huaili and al TayibMukhtār). He’s al Sheikh Ahmed Muîðafa from the Rubātāb tribe. Born in Amki area near to AbudÌs area, province of Abuamad. He was brought up there and at ten he came to Berber town to study Quran with al Sheikh Wad ummaida. Then he studied the other Islamic sciences and prophet biography by his sheikhs in Kadabās. He has a printed divan on prophetic eulogies. He died during the period of al Sheikh Ahmed al a’lial Muthanna in 1929 and buried in the area where he was born[35].

One can say that those great people who narrate and wrote this rich literature were the men who established and left this literature to the generations to in a pure and sound condition both from the shape and contents.

Findings and recommendations:

1. Popular prophetic eulogy has deepened the concept of identity of this beloved country given the contents it took up.

2. The popular prophetic eulogy has played a vital role in the formation of the nation’s sentiment and raising the love for the lord and His messenger.

3. Whenever there is eulogy the association of people with religion and love of the lord and prophet.

4. The popular prophetic eulogy worked on the coherence of the society components and bolstering of its texture as well as removing tribalism and racism.


1. Work on the purification of this literature so as to play its role and perform its mission in the society.

2. Give a chance to this kind of literature to spread through the different means of communication and introduce it to others.

3. Work on editing/checking and studying most if not all the eulogy divans to explain all the phrases as they are written in colloquial Arabic.

Sources and references:

1. Verse (125) AlnaÊl

2. Gurashi Mohammed Hassan – Algurashi collections part – 1 p.20

3. Born in Wad NŪbawi, Omdurman. Graduated in Omdurman scientific institution and he joined al NÌl daily newspaper the al Sudan al JadÌd paper. He was the acting chief editor of Alummanewa paper. He was appointed the chief editor of the Sudanese Worker Magazine. After that he was selected a member of the independent front, Cairo Agreement 1952 then an establishing member of al Khartoum monthly Magazine. Finally he was appointed chief editor of Sudan Radio and Television Magazine. Poet he has a divan under printing. He introduced Eulogy literature programme in Omdurman radio and the T.V. He wrote many books the most famous of which is (with the eulogists) 4 parts. He compiled biographies for forty five eulogists and 500 eulogies.

4. Another sources say it was written by Haj Alnagar and Ali was Haleeb; one verse from this and one from that. This information appeared in Divan Wad Haleeb issued by AlBurae Prize, p 166.

5. Some says Haj Alnagar didn’t send that verse to Wad Haleeb but, he sent one word ‘’Kaja” when Wad Haleeb received he wrote this eulogy:

Tayba the town ful of date trees it coincided with the pilgrimage day

6. Ghurashi collections part 1 p 20

7. Divan of Ahmed Wad Sa’ad checked/verified by Ghurashi M.H PP.31 – 33

8. Divan Wad Haleeb and his family – Fatima Ali Omer p. 10

9. MadiÊAlrasoul (pbuh) p. 45 Professor I. Alghurashi

10. Ghurashi collections, part 3, P 28

11. Madh AlmaÊboub- Maryam Eltayeb Mustafa P. 55

12. MadÊAlrasoul. I Gh p.43

13. ibid p. 43

14. Divan Wad Haleeb. Alburae prize P. 11

15. MadÊAlrasoul, I. Gh.P. 41

16. Divan Taj Alnubuwa, AlsheikhGaddoura p. 11Ghurashi collections

17. Ghurashi collections, part 1. P.65

18. AhlAldhikr Collection – part 3. P.109

19. A verbal note by the successor of Alsheikh Ahmed Was Tamim ,Alhoush

20. AhlAldhikr Collection – part 2. P602 – divan Aldagouni – p 8

21. Ghurashi collections – part 3, p 45

22. AhlAldhikr Collection – part 2, p 677

23. with the Eulogists – GMH, p189

24. MadÊAlrasoul – I.G, p 41

25. Alsalatu Ala AlrasoulAlmahi fi Madaih Haj Almahi- A. Alfahal , p 16

26. DivanAldagouni – p53

27. Ahmed Wad Sa’ad, his life and works – the writer, p40

28Divan Abusharia –p.4

29. AhlAldhikr Collection – part 2, p675

30. ibid – p.652

31. with the Eulogists – GMH, p417

32. Hauati the brilliant a Tour in his divan IG – p 17

33. divan Ahmed Wad Sulaiman – p10

34. with the Eulogists – GMH – part 3. P 83

35. Divan Wad Mustafa – p11












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