The Prophet kept an even eye
On Amr, son of Abdi Wud
Who shouted out with every cry,
A word insulting, harsh and rude.
For Amr was a massive man
Who towered well above the rest,
A man of war with scars that ran
Across his bold, embattled chest.
Beyond the wide, forbidding trench,
Stood Yathrib’s best, but even they
Perceived the words of Amr wrench
A bit of their resolve away;
But when the challenge to a duel
Rang in the still and silent air,
Ali advanced with manner cool,
And sought the Prophet’s leave to dare.
The Prophet swiftly turned it down
When he said, “This is Amr”, and
Ali withdrew without a frown
While Amr’s mount swept up the sand.
“Is there no man a match for me?”
He boomed across the great divide,
While those he had for company
Rejoiced in laughter at his side.
Ali advanced again to ask
The Prophet to allow him fight
The giant Amr, but a mask
Of declination met his sight.
And so Quraysh persisted in
Their condescending ridicule,
Insulting who were once their kin
For failing to accept a duel,
Upon which Ali, somber, grim,
Again approached the Prophet who,
Saw, when he turned to look at him,
Deep in his eye, a sight he knew.
The Prophet’s face grew soft with care,
He gave Ali the leave he sought,
And made his dear cousin wear
The blessed turban, then he brought
His double-bladed Zulfiqar,
And girding it ’round Ali’s waist,
The Prophet prayed, his heart afar,
And bade Ali descend with haste.
Ali got down and stood before
The steed upon which Amr sat,
While Amr’s folk let out a roar
Of laughter at a sight like that.
But Amr’s face went soft, as he
Did Ali’s father well recall;
And he said, “I wish not to be
The one to make your honor fall”,
Ali bin Abi Talib said:
“It is my plan to strike you dead”,
Which made the giant’s face go red,
For off he leaped and stood up tall,
And in a show of might, hamstrung
His horse before he onward sprung,
Attacking hard the shorter man
Who moved as only Ali can.
So on they fought till Amr slowed,
When Ali in a lightning flash
Threw down the giant whom he owed
The promise of a deadly clash,
And straddling thus his barrel chest,
The hands of Ali closed around
The neck of Amr, and depressed
The rest of him into the ground;
No matter all the strength that he
Exerted, Amr could not check
The steely hands of brave Ali
That slowly tightened round his neck.
And keeping thus his grip, Ali
Drew forth his dagger, let it dance
Impending death unless there be
Surrender, giving peace a chance.
But Amr’s pride was wounded much,
And he rejected compromise,
So when he felt the dagger touch
His neck, he brought his head to rise,
Then spat upon his captor’s face,
And closed his eyes to feel the brace
Of icy death, but all he felt
Was ease in warm release’s melt.
For tall above him stood Ali,
Restored his dagger by his knee.
“I fought you for my Lord”, said he,
“But when you chose to spit on me,
My anger sought my self to please,
And that begot your here release.”
But Amr reeled from all this shame,
He gathered up his massive frame,
Then grabbed his fallen sword and brought
It smashing down on Ali’s shield,
While Ali rolled to reach the spot
Where Zulfiqar lay. As he kneeled,
He thrust with all his strength and speed
The double headed scimitar
Which found its mark and brought to bleed
The fallen giant, caused a stir.
Then rang aloud a takbeer wave
From every rank of archers awed
By what they witnessed of a slave
Who came to be the lion of God.