One of the most famous Arabic language poets in history was a man named Abu Nuwas. In addition to his literary talent, he was particularly know for the rowdy content of his writings. He would praise the joys of getting drunk, describe in vivid detail his desire for women (and men) and all in all, lead an extremely hedonistic life. After a particularly drunken episode, he was jailed by the khalifah Ma’mun where he appeared to have repented. Knowing Abu Nuwas and his character, people dismissed his repentance as merely for show and a ploy to gain his freedom. They knew that this poet was just faking a repentance until he was released. Abu Nuwas died in prison and when the people came to take away his body, they found a scrap of paper with this poem written on it.

يارب إن عظمت ذنوبي كثرة / فلقد علمت بأن عفوك أعظم

إن كان لا يرجوك إلا محسن / فبمن يلوذ ويستجير المجرم

أدعوك ربي كما أمرت تضرعا / فإذا رددت يدي فمن ذا يرحم

مالى إليك وسيلة إلا الرجاء / وجميل عفوك ثم أني مسلم

O my Lord, if the greatness of my sins increase, then I know that Your forgiveness is greater

If only the righteous called on You, then who would the criminal go to?

I call on You my Lord, as you commanded, with reverence, And if You turn my hands away, then who else will have mercy?

I have no way to you except that of hope. And the beauty of your forgiveness and then the fact that I am a Muslim

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: