Comment on the theme/ message/ central idea of Leigh Hunt’s poem “Abou Ben Adhem”.
In his poem “Abou Ben Adhem”, Leigh Hunt presents an innocent man named Abou Ben Adhem drawn from the Arabial folklore to deliver his message that Loving one’s fellowmen is perhaps more virtuous, if not at par, with loving the Almighty Himself.
In the Islamic month of Nous Sha’aban, God takes the golden book of mankind and chooses those dear to Him to call them in the following year. Hunt uses this storyline as his base for conveying the central theme of the poem.
In the poem, Abou Ben Adhem’s sleep is disturbed one night with the bright light of an angel in his room. He calmly asks the angel what it is doing. The angel replies that it is making a list of those who loves God. When Abou comes to know that his name is not in the list, he requests the angel to include his name as one who loves his fellow men. When the angel appears again the following night, it is found that Abou’s name tops the list chosen by the God.
Through this simple and unequivocal plot, the poet presents the theme of “love of men” in this poem.