The Qasidah Burdah, the poem of the mantle, is a poem written by the great Shaykh, Imam Sharaf Uddin al Busiri al Shadhili .
He was the mureed of Sayyiduna Abbas al Mursi , who was the mureed of Qutb ul Aqtaab, Shaykh Abul Hassan al Shadhili .
Imam al Busiri was famous for his poetry, and was known for his praise poetry in particular.
A time came when he was ill due to a stroke which had caused paralysis in the left side of his body. Because of this, he had to be under constant care from his family. His sons and wife would spend day and night caring for him, unfortunately, they grew impatient and left the great Imam on his own.
This saddened the Imam, naturally, and he began to write a poem (Qasidah) as a means of attaining peace and tranquillity. He wrote 10 chapters with varying topics being discussed, ranging from love of RasoolAllah , to the night journey and ascension. After compiling the verses, each ending with the letter م for Muhammad, he fell asleep reciting it.
He was visited by RasoolAllah in his dream, and the Prophet ordered him to recite the Burdah, to which he obliged and began reciting. Out of happiness, RasoolAllah began swaying left and right whilst listening, and then threw his cloak (Burdah) over Imam Busiri out of joy. Furthermore, the Messenger ran his blessed hand over the left side of Imam Busiri’s body.
Upon waking, Imam Busiri discovered the cloak of RasoolAllah on his side and realised that he was cured of his paralysis.
He left his house, and went into the marketplace where he bumped into a Durvish who asked for some poetry. Imam Busiri asked, “which poem would you like to hear?” And the Durvish replied, “The poem you recited to RasoolAllah last night.”
Imam Busiri was shocked, and asked how the Durvish knew, and he said, “I too was in that gathering, and I could see how happy RasoolAllah was upon your recital.”
The poem, originally known as “The celestial lights in praise of the Best of Creation”, became famously known as Qasidah Burdah (The poem of the cloak/mantle). The Burdah circulated the Muslim world very quickly, to the point that ibn Hajr al Asqalani would teach it to his students as part of their studies to become scholars.
The Qasidah Burdah has become the most commonly read poem of all times, and sees gatherings dedicated to its recital.