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However, the ghazal – the love poem – was not one of these.Instead, what was later to become the ghazal was an integral part of nearly every pre-Islamic grand qasîdah.The poet would mourn and pine about these things, address his land, and call for his travelling companions to stop. The purpose of this was to draw the hearts and attentions of his listeners to him, to prepare them to listen to him attentively.He would do this to as a means to make mention of those who had once lived there. This is because rhapsodising about women is something close to the hearts and affections of men, since God has placed in the natural makeup of His male servants a love of dalliance (ghazal) and the society of women.The qasîdah could be in any of the other recognized poetic genres, like boasting (fakhr) a lampoon (hijâ’) or a didactic composition (hikam).Ibn Qutaybah is credited with being the first literary thinker to attempt to explain the purpose behind beginning the qasîdah with the nasîb.She writes on the panegyric qasîdah:(W)e are dealing with a Bedouin variant of the Ancient Middle Eastern agrarian pattern in which the “harvest” is not the seasonally determined one of grain, but the metaphorical “harvest” of human lives on the battle “field.” In this, she follows the model presented by Theodor Gaster, who describes the structure of Ancient Near Eastern seasonal ritual as having been comprised of two rites of Emptying followed by two rites of Filling.These four rites in order were: mortification – purgation – invigoration – and jubilation.
Why would the pre-Islamic poets not exploit this emotion as a foil against the harsh and austere realities of their way of life, where the threat of death was always present? Love culminating in union represented happiness and prosperity.
His opinion was that the nasîb was essentially a means for the poet to win over the attention of his audience.
This would remain the predominant view on the matter throughout the Middle Ages.
Separation and tears represented bittersweet pain and sweet sorrow.
Essentially, for a people whose lifestyle was one of violence, hardship, and material want, the various manifestations of love were the most precious and valued possibilities of worldly delight.