A pioneer in many aspects

Mausoleum of Sadaqathullah Appa

Mausoleum of Sadaqathullah Appa  

Poet Sheikh Sadaqathullah Appa was proficient in both Arabic and Tamil

Down the ages there have been distinguished literary luminaries. Some have been ahead of their times and many have not got due recognition.

How many of us know that Umaru Pulavar’s epic ‘Seerapuranam’ was inspired and influenced by the anthologies of Sheikh Sadaqathullah Appa on Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Many such unknown details have been well-brought out in the monograph, ‘Tamizhagathin Arabic Kaviarasar Sadaqathullah Appa.’

The author, K.M.A. Ahamed Zubair, reminds us of the forgotten poet Sheikh Sadaqathullah Appa and his panegyrical verses on Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Though the Quran was sent down as a guide for mankind, Sadaqathullah Appa is famous for his contribution to Islamic jurisprudence. He wrote powerful verses that impacted the jurists of Emperor Aurangzeb’s court when Fatwa Hindiyya (Islamic decree) was compiled. As a mark of respect Aurangzeb sent general Dalpat Rao to Kilakkarai to build a mausoleum after the demise of Sheikh Sadaqathullah Appa.

Elegant verses

A forerunner to the reputed Umaru Pulavar, Appa, born in Kayalpatinam and brought up in Kilakkarai, was proficient in Arabic and Tamil. A poet, versifier, verse maker, rhymester, rhymer and lyricist he composed spiritual odes of utmost elegance conveying his ideas in Arabic language.

The most acclaimed of his works is Al Qasida Al Witriyyah. The amazing lines of this poem speak of the importance of loving the holy Prophet, necessity of the spiritual path, perils of earthly life, etc. They touch the innermost heart of those who listen to it or recite it.

The beauty of his verses is that they begin and end with a letter from the Arabic alphabet and continue in order. Use of skilful set of words make it a masterpiece. Rhyming verses with differing meanings convey Sufi thoughts. Sadaqathullah Appa was skilled in composing and reciting verses on the last Prophet.

Starting with a brief sketch of the early life of Appa, his lineage and education, the author analyses the works and sheds light on the poet and his contribution to the development of Arabic studies in Tamil Nadu. He thus acknowledges the contributions of a non-Arabic poet in Arabic language in India, who stirred the Arab world with his brilliant works. His poetry helped define Islam and defend the essence of Islam.

Sadaqathullah Appa’s works excelled in literary artifices and amazed the bards of Arabia. He composed eleven anthologies and four prose works in Arabic running over 10,000 lines.

Appa is credited to have introduced Mawlid literature for the first time in India and also composed Witriyyah (a poetic work of 4,210 hemistiches using all the Arabic alphabets in the 28 pentagons).

Appa’s pioneering work in the reconstruction of Tamil Muslim society in the 17th century are also recalled, especially framing the curriculum of Madrasas.

Zubair not only hails the distinguished poet but also craves to give him due recognition. He provides a detailed study and touches on little known information of the great Arabic poet of South India, who was a pioneer in many aspects.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 6:55:53 PM |

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