This is great Arabic love story of its own time. It is during Umayyaad times, in 7th century AD, that a young man lived in northern part of Arabia. Majanoo's real name was Qais ibn al-Mulawwah and Lailaa's full name was Lailaa ibn al-Mulawwah. Later when Qais went mad after Lailaa, he was called Majanoo. There are many variations of this story. Some say that if all the libraries are sieved for this story, probably one would find more than 100 versions.
In one version, both Lailaa and Majanoo used to tend their cattle together in their youth. In another version, he tended the cattle and when once he saw Lailaa, he fell deeply in love with her. However, in both versions, Lailaa's father did not want to marry her to Qais, so he went mad after her.
Qais was a Bedouin poet, and Lailaa was the girl from the same tribe. When he had fallen in love with her, he started writing poems mentioning her name several times in his poems. When Qais wanted to marry her, her father refused to marry her to him as it would mean to scandal according to Persian culture. Soon after she was married to some other person. When Qais heard about her marriage, he left his camp and started wandering in desert. His family members tried their best to console him, but when they understood that he is not going to come back, they started leaving some food for him there only. There he recited his poems to himself, or wrote Lailaa's name in the sand with a stick. After some time Lailaa moved to present-day Iraaq where she fell ill and eventually died. Qais was also found dead in the desert in 688 AD. He had carved three verses, supposed to be his last three verses, of his poetry near the grave
According to Indian version, Lailaa Majanoo came to a village in Raajasthaan before dying. Their graves are located in Bijnore village, near Anoopgarh in Gangaa Nagar district. Hundreds of newlyweds and lovers from India and Paakistaan come there to attend 2-day fair there. There is no facility of staying overnight there.
According to another version, Lailaa and Qais used to study in one school and in one class. Somehow Qais got attracted to Lailaa and used to stare at her even in the class, so the teacher bet him for this and not paying any attention towards class work. Once Qais was beaten, but Lailaa bled for his wounds. Lailaa's brother Tabarez would not marry Lailaa to Qais. Both Qais and Tabarez fought and Qais murdered Tabarez. Qais was arrested for this and was sentenced to be stoned to death. Lailaa could not tolerate this and she married another man. Although she married another man but she still loved Qais.
Majanoo went to desert. Lailaa's husband followed Qais in desert. It is said that as soon as Lailaa's husband pierced his sword in Qais' heart, Lailaa collapsed in her home. Both were buried side by side as their families prayed to their afterlife.
It is a tragic story like the story of Romeo and Juliet. In Arabian culture this type of love is called "Virgin love", because the lovers were never married or never made love.
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/06/13