Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Romeo & Juliet aka Layla & Majnun

Keshan carpet, "Leila en Madschnun"Image via WikipediaFirst, I want to say I'm so PSYCHED that my blog was pulled by Turkish National Newspaper Milliyet blogger, Volkan Abur. Çok teşekkür ederim! His post is in Turkish, but it basically summarized who I am and what I write. Then it directs people to my Notable Eastern Women post on Tansu Çiller.

Makes me want to continue the series, but it's December and I promised to discuss some Western Tales with Eastern Roots.

I thought I'd start with one that many of you might already know. The classical 7th century Arabic tale of Layla & Majnun goes something like the story of Romeo & Juliet, except it's in the desert and surprisingly, it's (mostly) true.

Qays ibn al-Mulawwah was his name, but we know him as Majnun. (Remember that means crazy or possessed by djinn.) He's a poet. She's his muse and her father doesn't approve. She gets married off to some other guy. Unlike the story of Romeo & Juliet, Majnun withers away, wandering and going mad in the desert. Layla moves to another village, but dies of a broken heart. Majnun's body is found near her grave, with three last verses carved into the stone. Haunting isn't it?

Shakespeare wasn't the only that got inspired. There are countless versions in many languages. People even named a town after her in Saudi Arabia. Then there's a pretty famous guy who used Nizami's Persian epic version, verbatim, as the lyrics for a song not too long ago.

There blows no wind but wafts your scent to me,
There sings no bird but calls your name to me.
Each memory that has left its trace with me
Lingers forever as a part of me.

Sound familiar? How about if we add some guitar in the background? OK. One more clue. He sings another song about her. (Come on now...Layla)

So when a Turkish guy tells you he feels like Majnun (it's an idiom), he means he's possessed, as in madly in love with you. Stranger things have happened ;)

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7 comments:

Jules said...

Okay, I never knew that about "Layla," and I love that song.

Super congratulations on the recognition. You sure impress me. :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

LTM said...

ooo! I LOVE stories like that... (as you well know!) And those lyrics are just amazing... like your little quotes before each chapter, which I also LOVE! :o)

WOW! You're like the soon-to-be Turkish ambassador to the US!!! I'm so psyched for you, too! That is MAJOR! :o) <3 Okay, off to read~

Clarissa Draper said...

I've never had a guy say he's Majnun but I'll know what it means when he does. What a romantic story. Thanks for sharing these.
CD

The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations on the mention of your blog! It's certainly deserved!

Another great story--and if anyone tells me he's Majnun, at least I won't think he's saying "Mad, hon" or something of the sort. :P

Old Kitty said...

Oh to have a guy feeling so Majnun for me!! LOL!!

What a beautiful tragic story!! Love is madness!

Congratulations on your blog review!! Yay!
Take care
x

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow - what a great story! I'd never heard that before. Thanks for sharing!

Ayak said...

Well done for being recognised..well deserved.

I love the story...so romantic...beautiful.

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