Abou Ben Adhem Summary in English by Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. Abou Ben Adhem Poem is written by Leigh Hunt.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Summary in English by Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Summary
Abou Ben Adhem Poem Summary

Abou Ben Adhem Poem About the Poet

Hunt, Leigh (1784-1859) had his education at Christ’s Hospital and began editing The Examiner in 1808 and The Reflector in 1810. He brought out his famous poetical works The Story of Rimini in 1816 and Hero and Leander in 1819. His other well-known poems include “Captain Sword and Captain Pen” and “Abou Ben Adhem”. In addition, he penned considerable prose, edited several journals and developed the light, miscellaneous essays.

Abou Ben Adhem About the Poem

All about the Poem Abou Ben Adhem:
The poem ‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is loaded with religious overtones. It conveys the message that the service of humanity is the best worship. It is through love and care of our fellow human beings that we receive the blessings of God.

‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is a poem with religious overtones and a fervant moral lesson. It conveys the idea that the service of humanity is the true worship of God. It is through love and care of our fellow human beings that we can receive the love of God.

According to history, Abou Bin Adhem, born in 777 AD, was the king of Balkh. He led a noble life according to the principles and teachings of the Holy Quran. He abandoned his throne to save his fellow beings. In fact, not only Islam but every religion teaches love of humanity.

The poem consists of one single incident involving Abou Ben Adhem, a religious person (not to be strictly identified with the king Abou Bin Adhem). One night an angel told the good man that he was writing the names of those who love God. Abou wanted to know if his name was in the list. When he was told that it was not, Abou requested the ajigel to write his name in the list of those persons who love God’s fellow men. The next night he was pleasantly surprised to find his name on the top of the list of men whom God had blessed.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Theme

I. Love for mankind
The poem ‘Abou Ben Adhem’ brings home the idea that real and true worship of God is to love mankind created by God. Those who love their fellow men are rewarded with God’s love and blessings. Conversely, those who avoid, dislike or hate their fellow human beings are also shunned by God. This is what the poet shows through a small incident in the life of Abou Ben Adhem. Abou found his name at the top of the list of those persons who are blessed by God, even though his name did not figure in the list of those who love God.

II. Love of God
There are many people in this world who go to temples, churches and other religious places and worship God. But many of them have no love or compassion for the poor. They simply avoid or even hate them. They do nothing to please them. They hope that by worshipping God they will be blessed by God. Abou’s story makes it clear that only those who do noble deeds for the welfare of others selflessly out of love receive God’s love and blessings.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Summary in English

‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is a didactic poem. It gives a moral lesson. It conveys that the love of humanity is the best. Those who love and serve their fellow men receive God’s love and His blessings.

The form of the poem is parable. It narrates a brief incident to bring home the main idea. Once upon a time there lived a man named Abou Ben Adhem. He was a gentle and virtuous person. As he did noble deeds during the day he would enjoy peaceful sleep. One night he woke up from his sleep because of a dazzling light. He saw an angel writing something in a beautiful golden book. He asked the stranger what he was writing. The angel raised his head and replied in a very calm, sweet voice that he was writing the names of those persons who love God.

Abou became curious and wanted to know if his own name was in that list. The angel said that it was not. Abou was a bit taken aback, but did not feel depressed. In a cheerful tone he requested the angel to include his name in the list of those who love their fellow men. The angel wrote his name and disappeared.

The next night the angel appeared again in Abou’s room with a more dazzling light that woke Abou up. He showed up the list of those persons who were blessed by God. Abou’s name topped the list. This reveals that God loves those who love their fellow humans.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Stanza Wise Explanation

Lines 1-5
The poem narrates an incident in the life of Abou Ben Adhem, a noble, selfless and virtuous person. He was one of those who always thought of the good of others. The narrator wishes that the number of such men may increase. One night he was having a peaceful sleep. He woke up suddenly and saw an angel in the moonlight in his room. The angel looked as beautiful as a lily in bloom. He was writing something in a golden book.

Lines 6-10
Abou was a peace-loving and brave person as he did no wrong. So he was not afraid of the heavenly presence in his room. He took courage and asked him what he was writing. The angel looked up. His look had a calm, soothing effect. In a sweet, gentle tone he said that he was writing the names of those persons who love God.

Lines 11-14
Abou asked the angel if his name was in his list. The angel said that it was not. Abou seemed to be a bit shocked but he was not depressed. In a humble, cheerful tone he requested the angel to write his name in the list of those who love their fellow men.

Lines 15-18
The angel did as he was requested to do. Then he disappeared, but the next night, he again appeared in a more dazzling light. He showed Abou the list of those men who are blessed by God. Strangely but truly, the name of Abou topped the list.

This reveals that love of fellow human beings is the best means to receive the blessings of God. Those who love others are loved by God. Conversely, those who hate others are shunned by God.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Glossary

Lines 1-5
tribe : class, race; (here) the number of noble persons like Abou
increase : grow
awoke : got up
deep : undisturbed
within : (here) with the circle of moonlight in Abou’s room
like a lily in bloom : the angel compared to a lily in bloom to reveal his freshness and splendour
book of gold : book having golden leaves

Lines 6-10
exceeding peace : perfect calm and peace within that makes one bold
the presence : (here) the angel present in the room
What writest thou ? : What are you writing ?
the vision : the angel
the Lord : God

Lines 11-14
mine : my name
‘Nay, not so’ : No, your name is not among those who love God
more low : more humbly
cheerly : cheerfully
pray : request
thee : you
write me : treat me

Lines 15-18
vanished : disappeared
wakening light : dazzling light
blest : blessed
l0 : behold
led : headed, at the top of
rest : other names

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Critical Appreciation

Title
The title of the poem ‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is apt as the poem deals with Abou Ben Adhem and his virtuous life. There is nothing else in focus. Of course, we are reminded of a historical figure, Abou Bin Adhem, the king of Balkh, who led a pious life according to the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Message
The message of the poem is obvious. We should love humanity. We should cultivate fellow feelings and do everything to serve our fellow human beings. When we do so, God is pleased. God blesses us with His infinite love. Abou Ben Adhem finds his name at the top of the list of those who are blessed by God. It is so because he has done many noble deeds and led a virtuous life.

Inspirational poem
‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is indeed one of the most inspirational poems. Its simplicity is heart¬touching. No sane person can deny the truth it conveys. Even when it is religious in import, it is not strictly a religious poem. What it teaches is not confined to a particular time or region.

Abou Ben Adhem Poem Style and Literary Devices

Fable
‘Abou Ben Adhem’ is a kind of fable. A story is told to convey a moral. In its structure, a fable is simple. It avoids too many figures of speech. Its aim is to touch your heart in such a way that you feel as if no one else but you yourself is advising you on some moral issue.

Literary Devices

Couplet form
Most of the religious poems use couplet form and the rhyme scheme aabb. This is what we find in the poem ‘Abou Ben Adhem’. It is important to remember that Leigh Hunt, as a poet of the Romantic Movement, sheds all traditional restrictions on the couplet form (known as the Heroic Couplet). The poet has used run-on couplets in the poem. In the run-on couplet, the meaning in the first line is carried on to the second line. This pattern is continued throughout the poem. For example :

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

Simile
There is only one simile, used to compare the splendour and freshness of the angel to that of ‘the lily in bloom’:

…. and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.

Symbols

  • ‘The book of gold’ symbolizes the richness you encounter when you love God. It is the richness of the spirit.
  • ‘Wakening light’ symbolizes a state in which you achieve awareness of God.

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