Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Q is for Qays ibn al-Mulawwah

Bet you thought I couldn't pull off Q.


You may think you don't know who this is but you probably do in an indirect way. If you've ever heard Eric Clapton's song "Layla" then you've heard of Qays. Layla and the Majnoon is the poem cycle that tells a rather Romeo and Juliet type story hundreds of years before Shakespeare. Layla and Qays were friends from childhood who fell in love. Her father refused to let them marry because of the scandal it would cause and Qays descended in to madness when Layla married another. Also his name change to al Majnoon which mean "madmen" in Arabic.

This is where things get interesting because in that descent, beautiful poetry was written. She eventually died and many more poems were written until Qays himself died. This story has been adapted over and over through the ages. One version I saw included a prince from a neighboring area who had fallen in love with the Majnoon's story and poetry and offered to invade his village to help him get Layla for himself. Majnoon refused, of course. For Qays having loved and lost was the source of his poetry and that had become more important than actually being with Layla.

We have another Qays at our house.


He's not pining for his Layla and doesn't write poetry but we love him just the same.

As a footnote there actually isn't a Q in the English sense in Arabic but the letter qaf is transliterated as Q and sounds like the cou in "cough".

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I encourage you to click through and explore some of the links to what other bloggers are doing.

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