Layla and Majnun

“Unleash on me the great
Saga of being in love.
Be my Layla
For I am Majnun.”

-Nizami

The story of Layla and Majnun is an age-old adage that spans eternity. It is something so special and so rare that only people who become God intoxicated (mast) can understand what this story is about. Usually people confuse romance with love. Romantic encounters can be plenty over one’s lifetime whereas true love will most likely be encountered only once if at all. Love is something all encompassing, something so beyond the brain’s comprehension that only a story like the one of Layla and Majnun can explain it.


The story goes that the bedouin poet Majnun (Qays bin al-Mulawwah ibn Muzahim) was enamored by Layla bint Mahdi bin Sa’d. He was of the Bani Amir tribe as was she. When they were children they were said to have been a part of each other. When one child was hurt, the other felt it as if it was their wound. If the other was upset, the counterpart would also feel the same upset. They were said to have been interlinked from a young age. Kismet, fate, would have it that they spent hours playing together. Qays would later on start writing poetry to Layla, out of the love and the connection that they shared.
When Qays asked for her hand in marriage, her father refused as this would have meant a scandal as Layla was of a different lineage and her status quo demanded a marriage of similar descent. When Qays learned that his Layla was married off to present day Iraq he fled bedouin camp and wandered off into the desert. He is said to have descended into madness for his unrequited love for Layla.
Layla became ill quite often and Majnun (madman) was said to have borne her suffering whilst being in the desert. He was seen composing poems with sticks in the sand or reciting them to himself. His family used to leave food for him while he was intoxicated and seemingly mad.
Later on he met a perfect Master who taught him to turn his love for Layla into the love for God and he spent the rest of his days in God intoxication (mast).
Layla became gravely ill at a certain point and died.I do like to believe that she became ill out of her love for Qays and being separate from him. Majnun was found on an unknown woman’s grave and had carved his last three couplets into the stone.
The lovers are said to have reunited after death.

“My passion for Layla
With more of Layla I have treated:
As a drunkard takes more wine to
treat in his head, pain.
Can it be possible that Layla believes
That I do not love her?”

Could a person be this strong to bear such amounts of love?
I do not know for only God can answer such a question.


Vanessa

PS: Mast is a state of complete God intoxication where the person is not able to retain a normal life.

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