Ibrahim ibn Adham was one of the early ascetics in Islamic history. According to legend, he gave up his throne in order to live a life of a simple worshiper. Whether or not that’s historically accurate, Ibrahim ibn Adham is particularly known for his exhortations towards piety, simple living, and focus on worship. The poem below was written by Leigh Hunt, a contemporary of the famous poets Percy Shelley and John Keats. It echoes the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ narrated in Sahih Muslim

قال النبي صلي الله عليه و سلم: الراحمون يرحمهم الرحمنتبارك و تعاليارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السماء.

The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful, blessed and exalted be He. Be merciful to those on earth and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.

ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw—within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom—
An angel, writing in a book of gold.
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
‘What writest thou?’—The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, ‘The names of those who love the Lord.’
‘And is mine one?’ said Abou. ‘Nay, not so,’
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said, ‘I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.’

The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

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