Qais bin Almolawah Al-Ameri was born in the era of succession of Abdul Malik Bin Marwan (645-688). As he grew up, everyone noticed what a smart and savvy kid he was. He inherited his poetry from his father, Almolawah bin Mozahem Al-Ameri. And showed excellence in literature and astronomy. He was a very handsome, tall boy with fair skin and frizz curls for hair. He was sane and demure and nothing drove him to utter madness except his endless love to his beloved Laila.
His loved one, Laila Bint Mahdi Al-Ameri, the daughter of his uncle, was girl of beauty with lovely eyes and long hair. They were raised together in a town called Al Nojoou and had four years of age apart. They grew up spending most of their time caring for their family’s livestock and cattle.
When Laila reached the age of puberty, she was blocked from the tribe. (In the past, when a girl reaches puberty, she was to stay at home and not go out very often). So that meant that Laila was blocked from Qais. His passion and uncontrollable love for Laila was driving him into madness and he said:
تعلقت ليلى و هي ذات ذؤابة و لم يبد للأتراب من ثديها حجم
.. صغيرين نرعى البهم ياليت أننا إلا اليوم لم نكبر و لم تكبر البهم
Which translates to: ( I was attached to Laila when she was just a small kid with no signs of puberty shown on her… Little kids we were, and oh how I wish that we did not grow, nor did our cattle).
A long time passed since Laila was separated from Qais and this lead him to insanity. As the pain of separations intensified, he left his home wearing fine garments. On his way he passed by a group of women sitting with Kareema, (a girl from the tribe) among them was Laila.
The ladies fell for his good looks, and asked him to come down and talk with them. While he was talking with the women, his eyes met Laila’s eyes for the first time in a very long while and he was not able to take his eyes of her, he began singing poetry saying:
سحرتني ليلى بسواد عيونها, إنما السحر في سواد العيونِ
Meaning: (Laila fascinated me with her black colored eyes, and where will the magic be if not in those black eyes).
Laila began shedding tears when she heard what he said, and then he realized that she loved him as much as he loved her. Passion started controlling both their hearts which inflamed a fire after their first meeting.
The next morning, Laila waited for Qais to pass by her, and so he did. They spent all the day exchanging sweet talk till dusk.
Both of them started to feel like each night was the longest night of their lives. They were not able to wait until the morning to meet each other.
And so, this lead them to meet every day. One morning, some people of the clan came to Laila’s father wanting some ghee. He sent his daughter to get some, but she went and didn’t come back soon. He went out looking for her to find her with Qais, complaining about what his love did to her.
When he heard what he heard he slapped Laila on her cheek and took her to the house and locked her in. He expelled Qais from their area of land, and prevented anyone to have any type of interaction with Laila, whatsoever, in fear of scandal and shame.
The news started spreading, and people knew that Qais and Laila were in love, which at that time was a crime itself. Laila’s father did not only disperse the lovers, but he sent a letter to the Khalifa (The king) telling him to stop Qais from getting near Laila. The Khalifa wrote to shed Qais’s blood if he ever visited Laila again.
Qais despaired and lost hope of visiting Laila, he went out in the desert with no food or water until he was about to die. He did not respond to his father’s begging or his mother’s weeping, but he spent days doing nothing but crying and singing poetry to his beloved Laila. When Laila came to know about his condition, she pitied him, and sent one of her maids to ask him to be patient, promising him that if she wasn’t to be his, then she will never be anyone else’s.
Qais’s condition started becoming worse and worse. He started playing with bones and dust, singing poetry about Laila loudly. Laila’s father was afraid of scandal, so he took his family and migrated to another area. A long time passed and Qais did not hear anything about his Laila, he got so sick to the point where his family thought he was about to die.
His father couldn’t bear to see him in that condition, so he took a group of his people accompanied with Qais to Laila’s father requesting his daughter’s hand to marry his son. He paid to Laila’s father fifty red camels and their patron as a dowry.
At the same, a man from “Thaqeef” family, named Ward, was asking to marry Laila. Instead of saying no to Qais, Laila’s father told them that he will ask Laila to choose between Qais and Ward. He went to Laila’s room and told her that if she did not choose Ward then he would make sure that Qais is killed before the night arrives.
In order to protect Qais, she was forced to choose Ward. Laila’s father went out to the people and said the Laila has chosen Ward, and that the marriage will be arranged soon.
Qais’s father became very angry, thinking that Laila did not ever love his son, and went back to his house forbidding Qais from ever talking about Laila again.
Qais determined to spend the rest of his life in savagery. Some people pointed out to Qais’s father to take him to the Sacred house “Al-Ka’baa” to help him forget about her. His father agreed and took him to the Sacred house, and asked him to beg Allah to heal him from Laila’s love. But Qais then shouted, “Oh Allah, give me more of Laila’s love and never let her slip out of my mind.”
Then, the whole tribe realized that her love has controlled Qais fully to the point where, even though she was not to be his, he was never thinking about forgetting her or giving up on their memories.
In the same year, they took Laila to the Al-Ka’baa because of her illness due to her separation from Qais where she met him, and when their eyes met she did not stop crying. Qais then knew that she loved him, and that she was forced to choose Ward.
After she married Ward, her tears never dried, she cried all the time, talking to herself about how much she loved Qais, and how much she hated her father for forcing her to make that decision, she started biting her fingers in regret until her husband had enough of her, and divorced her.
She went back to her family, who when they knew that she gave up the money and wealth for Qais, started beating her all day and night until she became mad. She promised herself that she would not eat or drink any drop of water until she was Qais’s. And she remained so until she died twenty days later from her divorce.
The news reached Qais, whose light turned to darkness and shouted: “Goodbye my Laila, is there any chance that you could come back for me to see your angelic face? Oh my Laila, you left me alone in this miserable life, Oh how I wish I have died before you.” then he prayed to Allah, “Oh Allah, I am your servant, I beg you, please do unite us, and if fate has decided that I don’t see her anymore, please guide fate to decide that I don’t live anymore.”
He asked where her grave was, went there, and in front of the whole tribe, he kneeled down and hugged the grave. He said, “O grave, you have my beloved one inside of you, you have buried all my hope in life. O Laila, where is your cheerful smile? Where are your dreamy eyes? Oh how I wish that this pain stops, oh how I wish that you come back!”
He stayed next to her grave every day and night, singing poetry with no food until his skin dried and his face weakened. It was said that people stopped passing by the grave because they were scared of how he had become.
His sister went to him and asked to him stop, and have some mercy on himself and on his poor mother. She asked him to come back home and they would get him married the most beautiful girl in the tribe.
Qais became so mad at his sister that his forehead veins started showing. After what he had heard from his sister, he went away. His family went out looking for him, but did not find him anywhere. They looked and looked for four days, and on the fourth day, they found him dead in a stony area, with two lines written beside his head:
توسد أحجار المهامة و القفر
ومات جريح القلب, مندمل الصدر
فياليت هذا الحب يعشق مرة
و يعلم ما يلقى المحب من الهجر
Which translates to
“He pillowed the stones and wilderness
And he died with a wounded heart and a cohered chest
So how I wish this love falls in love once
And knows what a lover goes through from the pain of separation.”
The family started crying, and everyone who heard about his death came to the funeral, and there was not even a single woman who did not run into the desert crying over him. Laila’s father was the most alarmed person in the funeral, he said, “If I knew that they loved each other to the point where they would die for each other, I wouldn’t have stopped their marriage, but I was just a normal Bedouin who was scared of scandal and shame. If I knew that this would happen, I wouldn’t have let her slip out of your hand Qais.”
Qais was buried beside Laila’s tomb. He slept his last sleep beside his beloved one, and his body decomposed to a dust that immersed with the dust of his sweet heart. The tribe did not see a day more crying than the day Qais died.