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Layla and Majnun, also known as The Madman of Layla - in Arabic ‫مجنون ليلى‬

(Majnun-Layla) or ‫( قيس وليلى‬Qays and Layla), in Persian: ‫( ليلی و مجنون‬Leyli and

Madjnun) and Leyla ile Mecnun (Layla and Majnun) in Turkish - is a classical
Middle Eastern love story. It is based on the real story of a young man called
Qays ibn al-Mulawwah (Arabic : ‫ ) قيس بن الملوح‬from the northern Arabian
Peninsula,[1] in the Umayyad era during the 7th century. There were two Arabic
versions of the story at the time.[2] In one version, he spent his youth together
with his cousin, Layla, tending their flocks. In the other version, upon seeing
Layla he fell passionately in love with her. In both versions, however, he went
mad when her father prevented him from marrying her; for that reason he came
to be called Majnun Layla, which means "Driven mad by Layla". To him were
attributed a variety of incredibly passionate romantic Arabic poems, considered
among the foremost examples of the Udhari school.

• 1 Story
• 2 History and influence
• 3 Popular culture
• 4 See also
• 5 Footnotes
• 6 References

• 7 External links

Qays ibn al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim, a Bedouin poet, was from the Bani Aamir
tribe of Arabia. He fell in love with Layla bint Mahdi ibn Sa’d from the same
tribe, better known as Layla Al-Aamiriya. He soon began creating poems about
his love for her, mentioning her name often. When he asked for her hand in
marriage her father refused as this would mean a scandal for Layla according to
Arab traditions. Soon after, Layla married another man.

When Qays heard of her marriage, he fled the tribe camp and began wandering
the surrounding desert. His family eventually gave up on his return and left food
for him in the wilderness. He could sometimes be seen reciting poetry to himself
or writing in the sand with a stick.

Layla moved to Iraq with her husband, where she became ill and eventually
died. Qays was later found dead in the wilderness in 688 A.D. near an unknown
woman’s grave. He had carved three verses of poetry on a rock near the grave,
which are the last three verses attributed to him.

Many other minor incidents happened between his madness and his death. Most
of his recorded poetry was composed before his descent into madness.

Among the poems attributed to Qays ibn al-Mulawwah, regarding Layla:[3]

I pass by these walls, the walls of Layla

And I kiss this wall and that wall
It’s not Love of the houses that has taken my heart
But of the One who dwells in those houses ”
History and influence
From Arab and Habib folklore the story passed into Persian literature, and in
12th century, Nizami wrote a famous adaptation of Layla and Majnun in
Persian. In his adaptation, the young lovers become acquainted at school and fell
desperately in love. However, they could not see each other due to a family feud,
and Layla's family arranged for her to marry another man [4]. It is a tragic story
of undying love much like the later Romeo and Juliet, which was itself said to
have been inspired by a Latin version of Layla and Majnun to an extent.[5]
However, Shakespearean scholars deny any such influence.[6] This type of love is
known in Arabic culture as "Virgin Love" (Arabic: ‫)حب عذري‬, because the lovers
never married or made love. Other famous Virgin Love stories are the stories of
"Qays and Lubna", "Kuthair and Azza", "Marwa and Al Majnoun Al Faransi"
and "Antara and Abla". The literary motif itself is common throughout the
world, notably in the Muslim literature of South Asia, such as Urdu ghazals.

The Azerbaijani Turkish adaptation of the story, Dâstân-ı Leylî vü Mecnûn (

‫" ;داستان ليلى و مجنون‬The Epic of Layla and Majnun") was written in the 16th
century by Fuzûlî. Fuzûlî's version was borrowed by the renowned Azerbaijani
composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov, who used the material to create what became the
Middle East's first opera. It premiered in Baku on January 25, 1908. The story
had previously been brought to the stage in the late 19th century, when Ahmed
Shawqi wrote a poetic play about the tragedy, now considered one of the best in
modern Arab poetry. Qays's lines from the play are sometimes confused with his
actual poems.

The enduring popularity of the legend has influenced Middle Eastern literature,
especially Sufi writers, in whose literature the name Layla refers to their concept
of the Beloved. The original story is featured in Bahá'u'lláh's Sufi writings, the
Seven Valleys. Etymologically, Layla is related to the Hebrew and Arabic words
for "night," and is thought to mean "one who works by night." This is an
apparent allusion to the fact that the romance of the star-crossed lovers was
hidden and kept secret. In the Persian and Arabic languages, the word Majnun
means "crazy." In addition to this creative use of language, the tale has also
made at least one linguistic contribution, inspiring a Turkish colloquialism: to
"feel like Layla" is to feel completely dazed, as might be expected of a person
who is literally madly in love.

Ammuru ala dhiyar dhiyar laila. Ukabilu tha alijidar wathal jidara.
wamakhubbu dhiyar shaghafnaa kalbi. wala kinna khubba man sakana dhiyar.