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Battle of Badr by Amherst D. Tyssen

Posted by on Jul 14, 2014

Battle of Badr by Amherst D. Tyssen

Amherst D. Tyssen was born into a family of nobility in 1843 in Upper Clapton, county Middlesex. He attended Merton College, Oxford, where he received his B.A., B.C.L., M.A., and ultimately D.C.L. in 1877. During his time at the college, he served a postmaster for five years and was also a member of the 1st Oxfordshire Rifle Volunteer Corp. In the late 1870s, he dabbled in the study of Theism; however, he was married in a Utopian church in 1883, where two of his three children were also baptized. Sometime thereafter, he studied and converted to Islam.

He spent his career as a well-respected conveyancer, writing several legal works. He also published books on religion, local history, and sermons. Some of his more notable works include The Birth of Islam (1895), The Life and Teachings of Muhammad (1907), Law of Charitable Bequests (1888), and Occasional Hymns (1902). He remained engaged in the affairs of the British Muslim community until his death in January 1930. Many of his poems were published in The Crescent and The Islamic World from 1895-1906. Several of these were excerpted or adapted from his dramatic poem: The Birth of Islam. He also published several Islamic-inspired poems in Occasional Hymns. A jewel from that collection is this piece:

Turn, turn away evil with manly respect,
Ever strive to be first to let bitterness end;
And the man who has scathed you with hate or neglect,
Will become in due time your most trustworthy friend.

When the victory›s gained, and in scouring the field
Fierce enemies captured fall into your power,
Show that all to your clemency safely may yield
Without fear of revenge in your triumph›s proud hour.

Take them home to your dwellings to earn their release,
Let them teach to your sons their wise cunning and skill,
And learn that you fight but for freedom and peace,
And treat fallen foemen with gen›rous goodwill.

Then preach them the faith which you feel in your heart,
Which nerves you with courage to conquer or die,
Which bids thoughts of malice and vengeance depart,
While forgiveness and mercy their places supply.

If your might in the battle the body has won,
Seek with love in the home to lead captive the mind;
May they enter your door that is barred against none,
And in your communion true brotherhood find.

‹Tis alone in defence with the sword we may smite,
If we hope to be blessed by Great Allah above;
That each soul by its conscience be guided is right,
And religion be spread not by force but by love.

Originally published in The Crescent, July 14, 1897

May Allah have mercy on Amherst D. Tyssen.

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