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I found this hadith which contradicts other hadiths about the prophet Muhammad (saw) liking poetry and encouraging it. What is the correct ruling?

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ); said, "It is better for anyone of you that the inside of his body be filled with pus which may consume his body, than it be filled with poetry."

Narrations where Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) allowed poetry:

Narrated Al Bara: The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Hassan, "Lampoon them (i.e. the pagans) and Gabriel is with you."

Narrated Aisha: Once Hassan bin Thabit asked the permission of the Prophet (ﷺ) to lampoon (i.e. compose satirical poetry defaming) the infidels. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "What about the fact that I have common descent with them?" Hassan replied, "I shall take you out of them as a hair is taken out of dough." Narrated `Urwa: I started abusing Hassan in front of Aisha, whereupon she said. "Don't abuse him, for he used to defend the Prophet (with his poetry).

Narrated 'Abdullah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Indeed there is wisdom in (some) poetry."

Ubayy b. Ka’b reported the Prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying : In poetry there is wisdom.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: A desert Arab came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and began to speak. Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: In eloquence there is magic and in poetry there is wisdom.

So in the first hadith it seems like poetry isn't something one should fill his body with, while in the other it says poetry has its wisdoms. How shall we understand these hadiths without feeling they contradict each other?

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    Please show us the hadiths. The interpretation might be something else. – Kilise Sep 7 '16 at 16:36
  • Qu'ranic language, vocabulary has influenced a great deal of classical arabic poetry; as biblical language did in the English language. – Mozibur Ullah Sep 9 '16 at 22:12
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Poetry is allowed (halal)

Generally speaking, poetry is allowed. And as in everything else, we learn in usul al fiqh studies if it goes to the opposite of positiveness one may argue that it is haram. So one must first analyse the poetry and its intention.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ); said, "It is better for anyone of you that the inside of his body be filled with pus which may consume his body, than it be filled with poetry."

Analyzing the first hadith we notice that its chapter in Sahih Bukhari is:

بَابُ مَا يُكْرَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ الْغَالِبُ عَلَى الإِنْسَانِ الشِّعْرُ حَتَّى يَصُدَّهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَالْعِلْمِ وَالْقُرْآنِ

The intention here is that it would be a hateful act for someone to memorize so much poetry that it becomes the reasons that the person is driven away from the remembrance of God and knowledge of the Quran. This is true for everything, it's not limited to poetry. The philosophy is really something like this: "whatever drives you away from the remembrance of God and knowledge of your Religion and practicing your religion, would be condemned."

As you see there are other hadiths speaking about that there are wisdom's in the poetry, and truly it is.

One should not forget that the poetry also is a area for the scholars. The poetry has helped our scholars to understand the Arabic language more deeper while dealing with certain words. You will find many poems mentioned in tafsirs (quranic explaination) when they define words and meanings. Many fiqh books are built with poems to easier remember rulings.

Conclusion
Understanding the general rule and the exception, then we easily can conclude that there is no contradiction between these ahadith.

I found an article in english, you can read more about it here.

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