It is based on the story of the ancient Arabic legend "Layla and Majnun" about the unhappy love  of the young man Qays, nicknamed "Majnun" "The Madman" , towards beautiful Layla. The poem is dedicated to Shirvanshah Ahsitan I, and was written on his order. This poem is considered as the first literary processing of the legend. The poet Qays  fell in love with his cousin Layla, but Layla had to marry another man: Qays went insane and retired to the desert, where he composed poems dedicated to the beloved Layla. Nizami slightly modified the plot: Qays goes crazy with love, and that's why Layla's parents reject him. Layla, being forced to marry, dies cause of love for Qays, being buried in a wedding dress.
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The poem is based on a semi historical and mystical Arabian love story about 7th century Nejdi Bedouin poet Qays ibn Al-Mulawwah and the woman he loves Layla bint Mahdi also known as Layla al-Aamariya. Below we have the complete story in English for your enjoyment. No other country flourished like his and Zephyr carried the sweet scent of his glory to the farthest horizons.
Success and merit made him a Sultan of the Arabs and his wealth equalled that of Korah. He had a kind heart for the poor and for them his purse was always open. To strangers he was a generous host and in all his enterprises he succeeded as if good luck were part of him, as the stone is part of the fruit — or so it appeared to be.
Yet, though respected like a caliph, to himself he seemed like a candle, slowly consuming itself without ever spreading quite enough light. The heart of this great man was eaten by one secret sorrow; he, who otherwise possessed everything he desired, had no son. He had remained childless.
What did glory, power and wealth mean to him, if one day they would slip from his hands, without an heir to receive them?
Was the caliph fated to wither, did the branch have to die? If the cypress tree fell, where would the pheasant build his nest?
Where would he find happiness? Where shade and refuge? Thus the noble man brooded and, the older he grew, the greater became his desire. Yet for many years his alms and prayers were in vain. The full moon which he so eagerly awaited never rose in his sky and the jasmin seed which he sowed would not germinate.
Still the Sayyid was not content to bow to his fate. For the sake of one wish yet unfulfilled he thought but little of everything else that heaven had granted him. That is how humans are made!
If prayers remain unanswered, do we ever reflect that it may be for our good? We feel sure that we know our needs, yet the future is veiled from our eyes. The thread of our fate ends outside the visible world and what today we mistake for a padlock, keeping us out, we may tomorrow find to be the key that lets us in.
Our hero desired the jewel he did not possess, as the oyster nourishes its pearl, so he prayed and clamoured until in the end God fulfilled his wish.
He was given a boy, who looked like the smile of a pomegranate, like a rose whose petals have opened overnight, like a diamond which transforms the darkness of the world into sheer light. Delighted, the happy father opened wide the door of his treasury. Everyone was to share his happiness and the great event was celebrated with shouts of joy and words of blessing.
The child was committed to the care of a nurse, so that under her watchful eye he should grow big and strong. So he did, and every drop of milk he drank was turned in his body into a token of faithfulness, every bite he ate became in his heart a morsel of tenderness. Each line of indigo, drawn on his face to protect him against the Evil Eye, worked magic in his soul.
All this, however, remained a secret, hidden from every eye. Two weeks after his birth the child already looked like the moon afterfourteen days and his parents gave him the name of Qays.
As a ray of light penetrates the water, so the jewel of love shone through the veil of his snickerdoodle. Playful and joyful, he grew year by year — a carefully protected flower in the happy childhood.
When he was seven years old, the violet-coloured down of his first beard began to shimmer on his tulip cheeks and when he had reached his first decennium people told the story of his beauty like a fairy tale. Whoever saw him — if only from afar — called upon heaven to bless him. Now the father sent the boy to school. He entrusted him to a learned man to whom distinguished Arabs took their children, so that he should teach them everything of use in this world.
Instead of playing, they were now to study in earnest and if they went a little in fear of the strict master, there was no harm in that. Soon Qays was one of the best pupils. He easily mastered the arts of reading and writing and when he talked it was as if his tongue was scattering pearls. It was a delight to listen to him. But then something happened which no one had foreseen.
Among his fellow pupils were girls. Just like the boys, they came from noble families of various tribes. One day a beautiful little girl joined the group — a jewel such as one sees but seldom.
She was as slender as a cypress tree. Her eyes, like those of a gazelle, could have pierced a thousand hearts with a single unexpected glance, yes, with one flicker of her eyelashes she could have slain a whole world. To look at, she was like an Arabian moon, yet when it came to stealing hearts, she was a Persian page. Under the dark shadow of her hair, her face was a lamp, or rather a torch, with ravens weaving their wings around it.
And who would have thought that such overwhelming sweetness could flow from so small a mouth. Is it possible, then, to break whole armies with one small grain of sugar? She really did not need rouge; even the milk she drank turned into the colour of roses on her lips and cheeks; and she was equipped with lustrous eyes and a mole on her cheek even when her mother brought her into the world.
The name of this miracle of creation was Layla. And dark as the night was the colour of her hair. Whose heart would not have filled with longing at the sight of this girl? But young Qays felt even more. He was drowned in the ocean of love before he knew that there was such a thing. He had already given his heart to Layla before he understood what he was giving away… And Layla?
She fared no better. A fire had been lit in both — and each reflected the other. What could they have done against it? A bearer had come and filled their cups to the brim. They drank what he poured out for them. They were children and did not realize what they were drinking; no wonder they became drunk. He who is drunk for the first time, becomes deeply drunk indeed. And heavily falls he who has never had a fall before. Together they had inhaled the scent of a flower, its name unknown, its magic great….
As yet no one had noticed, so they went on drinking their wine and enjoying the sweet scent. They drank by day and dreamed by night, and the more they drank the deeper they became immersed in each other.
Their eyes became blind and their ears deaf to the school and the world. They had found each other:. While all their friends were toiling at their books these two were trying other ways of learning. Glances to them were marks which they were earning. Thy practised, writing notes full of caress; The others learned to count — while thy could tell, That nothing ever counts but tenderness.
How happy this first flowering of love for Qays and Layla! But can such happiness last? Was not a shadow already falling over their radiance — even if the children did not notice it?
What did they know about the ways and the laws of this world? They did not count hours or days, until suddenly disaster struck. So Layla also shone forth in her morning. Every day she grew more beautiful. Not only Qays, also his companions at school became aware of it. Openly or secretly they began to stare at her; and if they caught only a glimpse of her chin, shaped like a lemon with little dimples, they felt like ripe pomegranates, full of juice, ready to burst with desire. Was not Qays bound to notice?
Certainly — and for the first time a bitter taste mingled with the sweet scent of his love. He was no longer alone with Layla. A small crack appeared in his blind happiness, he had a foreboding of what was to come; but it was too late. While the lovers turned their backs on the world, drinking the wine of oblivion and enjoying their paradise, the eyes of the world turned towards them.
Did the others understand what they saw? Could they decipher the secret code of signs and glances? How could they fail? And how easy the lovers made it for their enemies to set their traps. And from mouth to mouth it was whispered, from ear to ear, from tent to tent. When wagging tongues abused what was so fair, Their eyes and lips could now no longer shield — Caught by the gossip in the square — The tender secret which each glance revealed.
Hard is the awakening for people so deeply intoxicated by their dreams. Suddenly they realized their blindness. Why had they never noticed the hunters and their weapons? Now they tried to mend the tom veil, to protect their naked love from the world, to hide their longing for each other, to tame their glances and to seal their lips.
Nizami Tragic Persian Love Story: Layla and Majnun
The latest of which is a 70 minute long musical and dance production by director and choreographer Mark Morris. In Persia, poets Rudaki and Baba Taher mention the lovers in their 9th century works, but the concept of the story had already been known as far back as fifth century Arabic literature. But Nizami was the first person to vividly and extensively developed the plot and characters. Nonetheless, the main concept of previous works had only loosely connected and barely developed the these concepts.
Layla and Majnun
Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? He fell in love with Layla from the same tribe whom he was denied. His poetry was composed before and some after his descent into love-madness mast. Here, in the form of the qit'as in which they were composed, is the largest collection of his immortal poems translated into English.
Layla and Majnun (Nizami Ganjavi poem)
Qays and Layla fall in love with each other when they are young, but when they grow up Layla's father doesn't allow them to be together. Long before Nizami, the legend circulated in anecdotal forms in Iranian akhbar. The anecdotes are mostly very short, only loosely connected, and show little or no plot development. Nizami collected both secular and mystical sources about Majnun and portrayed a vivid picture of the famous lovers. Many imitations have been contrived of Nizami's work, several of which are original literary works in their own right, including Amir Khusrow Dehlavi 's Majnun o Leyli completed in , and Jami 's version, completed in , amounts to 3, couplets.
THE STORY OF LAYLA AND MAJNUN
When I started reading this book I braced myself for an archaic treatment, dull and difficult to read. Much to my surprise the translation is very readable and has a good pace while maintaining —as far as I can tell— a high fidelity. A high pace is quite necessary to carry you along with the ravings and rantings of a wandering madman. His madness notwithstanding Majnun's plight is heartbreaking. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving….