The Qasida is a form of Arabic poems and it is very well known and widespread through the Arab world since ancient times, even before Islam was established in the region.

Layla and Majnun

Perhaps one of the most well-known qasida is ‘Layla and Majnun’ popularized by the Persian poet, Nizami Ganjavi.

Originally the qasida was written by a young Umayyad poet Qais bin al-Mulawwah under the pseudonym Majnun (مجنون) which means madman. It is a love story about two lovers who could not come together. Qais fell in love with Layla and wrote love poems to her, and so some tribesmen and locals called him Majnun. Qais asked Layla’s father for her hand in marriage, but her father refused and married her to another man. When Majnun heard about Layla’s marriage he fled the tribe and began wandering the desert. It is said that he could be seen sometimes in the desert writing poems and rhymes in the sand. Layla moved with her husband to modern day Iraq where she soon died – perhaps from from her grief. Qais was found dead next to an unknown woman’s grave in 688 AD.

Watch this YouTube video and listen to the sad story of Qais, who became a madman because of his love to a woman he could not have… Alas!

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