These are exceptionally beautiful lines from Imru al-Qais, describing the terrible night filled with sadness and worries. He says that the night has drawn its covering around him (sudul), and then sends upon him worries and sad thoughts like the waves of the ocean, one after the other. He longs for the morning, but is not sure that the morning will bring any respite. ‘Ardafa’ carries the meaning to follow something, or to ride behind. ‘A’jaz’ refers to the ends and ‘Kalkal’ is ‘Sadr’ or chest. Further, he feels that the night is so long, that it seems the stars have been fastened to the mountain with strong ropes of cotton in order to prevent them from ‘setting’ so that the morning can arrive.
The Mu’allaqah of the pre-Islamic poet Amr ibn Kulthum is one of the most stunningly beautiful poems in Arabic. In this episode we dive in