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Last Updated: 2015/05/13
Summary of question
Is it is also abominable to recite true poems on Fridays and the night preceding Friday?
I want to ask that as per a tradition it is highly recommended to avoid reciting poetry at Friday nights. Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (AS) is authentically reported to have said that it is abominable to say poetry for one observing fast (sawm), the Muhrim (entering into Ihram: putting the pilgrimage uniform and beginning to perform the obligatory rites of Hajj), and on Fridays and at Friday nights. When he was asked whether this instruction is effective on the religiously acceptable poetry too, the Imam (AS) answered affirmatively. Thus, is there any objection in reciting poetry at all nights even if the poems recited are factual, true and religiously acceptable? If that is the case, what is the Islamic law about elegies and poems about the Household of the Prophet (S) recited on Fridays and at various nights especially the nights preceding Friday?
Concise answer
Poetry is popular with different nations and people especially the Arabs. Islam approves of the culture of poetry but at the same time it warns people about wasting their time or even misleading others by composing vulgar or false poems.  Islam wants every individual who is capable of composing and saying poems to use his skill for the progression of mankind.  Religious leaders have advised poets to compose such poems that are sensible and true and that they should avoid composing poems that serve the purpose of the oppressors and those who are in pursuit of worldly pleasures. On the other hand, at certain places and propitious times for communicating with Allah, we have been forbidden from engaging in poetry which is not in line with this objective. Poetry is considered abominable so that such opportunities to communicate with Allah are not missed. Obviously, there is no problem in composing and reciting wise and religiously acceptable poems on these days and at any other times.
Some religious authorities have replied to the forgoing question as such:[1]
Grand Ayatollah Khamenei (may Allah grant him long life):
There is no reason to prove that poetry is absolutely abominable on Fridays, the night preceding Friday and at any other nights.
Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):
A look at all the narrations reported in this regard shows that abominable poetry refers to false poems which, especially in the time of jahiliyyah (ignorance), were used to degrade someone or distort his image in public. Back then poetry contained  imaginative descriptions of fake love and of beautiful girls and women and were recited with the aim of satisfying the unlawful human lust. Therefore, the undesirability of true poems refers to poems which are not false and which are real. That is why when the narrator asks whether this instruction is effective on the religiously acceptable poetry too, the Imam answered: “Yes”.  A poem which is devoid of any wisdom and is recited aimlessly is abominable (Makrooh) even if it does not contain any lies, otherwise how can it be said that the poems that are said by the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) themselves are abominable to recite on Fridays or the night preceding it.
For further information in this regard, refer to Mafatih Nowin (Farsi book) under the title “the deeds of the night preceding Friday”.

[1] The question has been sent by Islamquest website to the offices of Grand Ayatollah Khamenei and Makaram Shirazi (may Allah grant them long lives).
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