Marsiya (Persian: مرثیه) is an elegiac poem written to commemorate the martyrdom and valour of Hussain ibn Ali and his comrades of the Karbala. Marsiyas are essentially religious.[1]


The word Marsiya is derived from the Arabic word marthiyya (root R-TH-Y), meaning a great tragedy or lamentation for a departed soul.[2]

This form found a specially congenial soil in Lucknow, chiefly because it was one of the centres of Shia Muslim communities in South Asia, which regarded it an act of piety and religious duty to eulogies and bemoan the martyrs of the battle of Karbala. The form reached its peak in the writing of Mir Babar Ali Anis. Marsiya is a poem written to commemorate the martyrdom of Ahl al-Bayt, Imam Hussain and Battle of Karbala. It is usually a poem of mourning.[3]

The famous marsiya writers in Urdu are Mir Babar Ali Anis, Mir Moonis, Mirza Salamat Ali Dabeer, Mir Zameer, Ali Haider Tabatabai. Najm Afandi, Mir nafees, Mir rais,mir Qadeem, Mir Arif, Syed Husain Taashuq, Mir Ishq, Moaddab lucknavi Adab Lucknavi Mohazzab Lucknavi Syed Sajjad Husain "Shadeed" Mohammed Askari "Jadeed" Sadaq Husain "Shaheed" ,Nawab Baqar Ali "Ravish Lucknavi" , Allama Dr.Syed Ali Imam Zaidi "Gauhar Lucknavi" (Great Grand Son of Mir Baber Ali "Anees" MIr "waheed" Dulha sahab "Uruj" Laddan Sahab "Faiz" Mir "Fareed" Mir "Arif" sarfaraz husain "khabeer" syed Abbas Hiader Muzter jaunpuri, Tayyab Kazmi, Ishrat Lucknavi, Syed Mohammad Ali" Mowassir Jaunpuri"

Mir Babar Ali Anis, a renowned Urdu poet, composed salāms, elegies, nohas and quatrains. While the length of elegy initially had no more than forty or fifty stanzas, it now was beyond one hundred fifty or even longer than two hundred stanzas or bunds, as each unit of marsiya in musaddas format is known. Mir Anis has drawn upon the vocabulary of Arabic, Persian, Urdu/Hindi/Awadhi in such a good measure that he symbolizes the full spectrum of the cultural mosaic that Urdu has come to be.[2][4]

Mir Anis has become an essential element of Muharram for Urdu-lovers of the South Asia.

The first major and still current critical articulation about Mir Anis was Muazna-e-Anis-o-Dabir (1907) written by Shibli Nomani in which he said "the poetic qualities and merits of Anis are not matched by any other poet".

Modern World

The world's first 36 marsiya audio released this year 2013-2014 by Mafss Noha Academy (India) with the title "Az madina ta madina" consist marsiya on all major event during 28 Rajab to 8 Rabiul Awwal, Kalam of Mir Anis, Mirza Dabeer, Naseem Amrohi, Recited by Sayyed Rahil Abbas Rizvi from India.[5]

See also


  1. A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Urdu Poetry in Lucknow in the 19th century
  2. 1 2 Poetry: Urdu Marsiya, Anees and his Poetry at the Wayback Machine (archived August 22, 2010)
  3. The Masters of Marsiya – Anees and Dabeer
  4. Marsiya by Shiraz e Hind on May 15th, 2010
  5. Old Marsiya reciters still reciting marsiya before majlis, and young generation also attract towards soul of marsiya and soazkhwani in India, Pakistan, and other western countriesworlds first bunch of 36 marsiya collection based on events by Mafss Noha Academy - India, Recited by Sayyed Rahil Abbas Rizvi (India)
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