Jawn Martyr of Karbala Lamented

His Highness Raja Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan (1914-1973)

This hitherto unpublished marsiyah composed by Raja Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan of Mahmudabad is unique for a number of reasons. The subject of the marsiyah is Jawn, an Abyssinian companion of Imām al-Ḥusayn, who was martyred in Karbala. It is the very first marsiyah known to be composed in Jawn’s memory in any language in such length and breadth. Apart from the obvious references to racial equality, the marsiyah demonstrates the author’s deep knowledge of Islamic history and contains subtle metaphysical meditations. Another stylistic feature of this marsiyah is that it contains a saqinamah. The language of the marsiyah, with its rich turn of phrase and verses, that often incorporates allusions of Quranic verses and parts of aḥādīth, will grip both the academic and lay reader. Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan, Raja of Mahmudabad, a leading member of the freedom struggle in India, used two noms de plume: Bahr and Mahbub. He composed a number of rubaʿiyatsalams, marasi as well as some ghazals and nazms earlier on in life. One of his great achievements was the founding and establishment of the London Central Mosque, also known as the Regent’s Park Mosque, of which he was the director until he died in London in 1973. His final resting place is in the holy shrine of Imām ʿAlī al-Ridā in Mashhad.

On the 14th of November 2014 this marsiyah became the Shiʿah Institute Press’s first publication and the first volume in the Shiʿah Heritage of South Asia series. This work consists of four rubaʿiyat, a salam of forty verses, and a marisyah of 172 stanzas, adding in total 1,104 verses of poetry to the Urdu literary canon. The book also contains an Urdu introduction as well as a foreword by Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi, a preface by S. H. Rizvi, and an introduction by Peter Knapczyk written in English.

Jawn Martyr of Karbala Lamented is available to purchase, please email the institute to order your copy.

ISBN: 978-1-905912-40-7 (Hardback)