Layla, a Beatiful Name in Arabic Romance
Hasan Yahya, Ph.ds-Former Professor of Comparative Sociology and Eastern Literature
One of my relatives, named their recently born baby-girl, the name of Layla, the father is Palestinian, and the mother is WASP American. Layla, is a universal name these days. The Arab name was famous in Arab literatue, love stories and poetry cover that name with nobelness and pride. Layla is a name that makes you think of water lapping on the shore of a lake in an oasis, the sea in the evening and golden sands and 80’s beach parties, but I have always where does it come from? It is famous since the unforgettable rock ballad, but the name itself has three possible sources, both from the Middle East and has been the feature of several songs in different ways.
Perhaps the most likely (and most romantic) source is the chronicle of Qays and Layla, a famous Arabic romantic tragedy chronicled by two poets and may be more, one is Emri’ al-Qays, from pre-Islamic age, the other is the Persian poet Nezami in the 12th century. Nezami was a very learned man and was patronised by many princes and kings of the time, a little like the parallel process in Europe of the same era, whose Troubadors composed poems for their royal sponsors. Layla was a real 7th Century after Islam, woman from an Arab tribe of Bani ‘Amir and according to the chronicle, her lover, Qays ibn Al-Mulawwah, also a real person, fell passionately in love with Layla and wrote a poem about her. when he asked for her hand in marriage, her father refused for reasons of tradition and Layla married another man. This drove Qays insane and he wandered aimlessly around the desert. writing poetry in the sand with his stick. Eventually he was found dead next to a grave of an unknown woman, having carved three verses of poetry into a nearby rock. Layla herself was forced to move away by her husband, became ill and eventually died. The word Laila, from Layla, is a famous in Arabic literature. In arts and songs, a Saudi-Arabian singer Mohammed Abdu, wrote a song called “Layla-Layla” that is famous in the country.
Layla in Arabic and Hebrew means “night”. This brings to mind connotations of peace and romance. Nights of passion and secret love are in the name. Layla!.
It is narrated that Layla, (Fatima in some narrations) belong to the town of Layla (Layla al Aflaj) in the Arabian desert. It is an old town, built on an oasis about 300 miles south of Riyad. Just outside is Layla lake, where the famous subject Layla, of Emri’ al-Qays’s story is said to have bathed. The poet was in love with Layla, but as a son of the King, he had several women, but Layla remains his first love. Unfortunately, Emri’ al Qays Father, the King was assassinated, the poet spent his time ever to revenge his father’s death, and finally died in a trajedy, where the Roman Emperor give orders to poisen him.
In modern literature, Ahmad Shawqi, (D.1932) the Prince of Arab poets wrote a play under the name of Majnoon Layla. It was played for years on Egyptian theaters.
Layla in Arabic Literature, remains a nice romantic name and like the Layla of the legend, will always inspire those Arab romantics, poets and songwrites who know her origins and story whither its true or not. (526 words) www.hasanyahya.com
إلى القراء والقارئات العرب في كل مكان
عرب يارسول الله ….. عرب !
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