The ‘Song of Comparison’ of Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio is a Fulbe` poem called Yimre’ Tanasabuje’ (The Song of Comparison) in which the Shehu shows gratitude to Allah for the blessings of resemblance to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his comparison and resemblance to the Awaited al-Mahdi.
He composed this poem in 1224 A.H. (circ.1808 C.E.) to deny the claim which many of his supporters made declaring him as the Awaited Mahdi.
What is revealing about this poem is that although Shehu Uthman made more scholarly, secular and spiritual achievements than most people of his age and afterwards, yet the Shehu would not make any false claims in order to increase his standing with his followers.
The Shehu reached the rank of mujtahid in scholarship before reaching his fortieth year. He had conquered the entire Hausaland by his fifty-fourth year. He ruled an empire that covered more than 60 thousand square kilometers, yet he never took any wealth from the public treasury, earning his wealth instead from the sweat of his own brow.
This is in stark contrast to the leaders in our times who falsely claim the mahdiya, the mujaddidiya and some even claim to be Jesus the son of Mary – without having attained even the alif of knowledge, piety or having control over their lowest desires; not to speak of controlling an Islamic government.
This is the first section of the poem where the Shehu shows the resemblance between himself and the Beloved Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace…
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ صَلَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى النِّبِيِّ الْكَرِيمِ
In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful, may Allah send blessings upon the Generous Prophet.
مِيَتِّيَ اللَّه دُوْدُ نعمِنَامِي *
مِيَتِّيَ اللَّه دُودُمِي دُونشّنامِ
I thank Allah for favors bestowed on me,
I thank Allah for my escape from those things from which I have been saved.
مِسَلَمَنِيِي مُحَمَّدُ أُردُ جُولْبِ *
مُنَاسَبَ مَعْكُ أَرْمُعُمْ أَرَامِ
I send peace upon Muhammad, with whose scent
Of resemblance I received, with its scent have I been scented.
مِيعْتُودُمْ غَنَمْ يَتُّيْغُ اللَّه *
غَنَمْ يَعْتَاغُ يِمْبِ كُنِعْمِنَامِ
Let me say it, in gratitude to Allah
Also to relate what favors I have recieved.
مُحَمَّدُ سَيْنِرَامَ حِدُوْ وَرَايِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه نُونِئْر سَيْنِرَامِ
Muhammad’s coming was prophesied even before he came;
I thank Allah, thus too was my coming prophesied.
مُحَمَّدُ مُيْدُ تُرَّاجِ دِيمْبِئَى *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُوْدُونْئِرِ تَفَامِ
Muhammad endured the inhumanities of men
I thank Allah, to such treatment have I too been subjected.
أُحُعْشِدِرَاىِ غُعْتُ حِدُو غِيَادُمْ *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُوْدُورْ دُوْتُيَامِ
He faced no one in personal enmity;
I thank Allah, on this principle have I too taken my stand.
أُنُدِّرِ دِينَ وَنَفِيُّ دَئْر أُفِرْنَا *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه نُونْئِرَ كُورَنَامِ
He called for religion, it appeared, then he was forced to flee;
I thank Allah that so did they come out against me.
سَبَابَ فِرُنَ تُحِئفُرْبِ إِوُيْمُو *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُنْئِر إِوْرَنَامِ
He was forced to flee and so was saved from wars;
I thank Allah is the same way was I saved.
غَعُوِ فِرْنَابُ سُبِّرَىَ أُاَيْنِ *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه تُونْئِر أُيْنِنَامِ
Eastwards and northwards he guarded the faith;
I thank Allah thus too was I saved.
أَرَنْ سَفُّورِ سِتِّينَ أُفِرْنَا
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُونْئِر فِرْنُيَامِ
At the beginning of his sixth decade was he made to emigrate;
I thank Allah, then was I too made to emigrate.
يُبَاوُ فِرُنْ أُحُدِّرَنَا جِهَادِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه نُونْئِر كِيتَنِنَامِ
Not long after the hijra it was ordained that he should wage war;
I thank Allah, likewise was it decided for me.
حِمِىْ حَرَامْ أُفُدُّنُيَا جِهَادِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُونُرْ فُدَّنَامِ
It was in during the sacred months that his jihad started;
I thank Allah it was then that mine was started.
أُحُرِ جُوِوُرْ تِينُيْمُ دُوْغَرَاىِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه كَنِجِبُ لِمْتِنَامِ
He fought five battles, and those who drove him out could not reach him;
I thank Allah, mine reached the same total.
كُنُوجِ جُوِيجِ دِينْفُ يُنَصْرُ يَادِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه مِيِهْبُ فُ نَصْرَنَامِ
All these five battles were won;
I thank Allah, I too was granted victory in the early five.
أَرَنْ كَبِ وَرْتِنُيْبِمُ لاَبْرِغُوغَا
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُونْبِرُ لاَبْنُنَامِ
The first battles against those who drove him out made the truth plain;
I thank Allah, there too was my position made plain.
يُبَاوُ دُأُمْفُ جَرَّبَ مِئَمِ جُولْبِ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُوْحِبِئِى مِئَمُيَامِ
After this, trials harassed the Muslims;
I thank Allah, then was I too harassed.
بِمُوبَنِ غِنْدَ مَعْكُ كُنُوبِدَنَا
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه مِيَمَّبُ دِدَبَّئَامِ
They assembled an army against the city, but were driven away;
I thank Allah that my opponents too were driven away.
بِفِيلِي غِنْدِ وُرْتِنْبِئَى كِغُرْغُلْ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه نُونْئِر فِيلُرَامِ
They surrounded the settlement, and he threw them out to the West;
I thank Allah, so was I surrounded.
أُتِمَنِنَامَ إِينَ أُجَالُيِيبَئَى *
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه مِيَمْبُ دِجَاْلِنُيَامِ
The promise was fulfilled for him, and he overcome them;
I thank Allah, so I too overcame my enemies.
مِجِئَدَكِ غُدِّ جِرْسَبُ جِدِّنِمِّ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُودُمْ جِدِّنَامِ
I pass over other favors in silence, modesty silences me;
I thank Allah, for that for which I must be silent.
وَأَشِّي غُدِّ مَعْجِ دِكَشْفُوَدِّ
مِيتِّيَ اللَّه دُوْدُمْ جِدِّنَامِ
I pass over others which were brought by miracles;
I thank Allah, for that for which I must be silent.
مُحَمَّدُ جَوْتَتَاكِ صِفَاجِ مُودُمُ *
مَنَاسَبَ أُرْدِ مَعْكُنِ مِيرْأُرَامِ
The attributes of Muhammad cannot be achieved in their entirety;
the support which he received, with its scent have I been scented.
أُمُوَارْدِي وُنَاإِ مَّجُّيَيْبِئَى *
حِتَادِ غُتَامِ نُونْئِر نَنْدِنَامِ
He is our leader, we will never go astray, the year I was made a branch of him;
then was I made to resemble him.”