Perfect, impossible love has always enflamed the poet’s imagination.
In Arab literature it is embodied by an old legend of a love against the
odds, transformed by history into a myth: Majnūn Layla (Layla’s
Madman). According to this legend, the poet Qays from the Banu
‘Amir tribe fell in love with his cousin Layla, but her parents refused
to marry her to him, because in defiance of the rules of the tribe, Qays
had written many poems about Layla chanting her beauty. Layla was
then married to another man, and Qays, out of despair, went to wander
in the desert like a madman until his death.