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Layla and Majnun
Nizami Ganjavi

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Majnun strives to realize "perfect love" in Layla, a love that transcends sensual contact with the beloved. Precisely for this reason, many commentators have interperted Nezami's Laili and Majnun [Nizami's Layla and Majnun] as a Sufi (Islamic mystical) allegorical narrative, where the lover seeks ultimate union with, as well as annihilation in, the Beloved (i.e. the Divine or the Truth). Majnun’s harsh life in the desert, then, has been compared to the ascetic life of Muslim mystics who rejected earthly pleasures and renounced worldly affinities. (Ahmadi)
In such a reading, Majnun's devotion to Layla represents his unwavering devotion to perfect love—love for the Divine. The interpretation helps explain a mysterious development in the tale: One aspect that often surprises the untutored reader is that after years of suffering and agony, when the much-awaited union between Layla and Majnun finally transpires, Majnun becomes agitated and leaves. The long, laborious path towards union is thwarted by the lover himself, after an arduous string of events, from self-exile in the desert, to bonding with animals, eschewing a normal life, weeping endlessly, and even instigating the clash of two armies. One way to understand his sudden leavetaking of Layla is allegory.
 
In this reading, Majnun's sudden leavetaking is far from surprising. It fits with a mystic’s agony at the separation from God and journey towards Divine reunion. The idea is to remain fixed on that journey. One should not, in this view, allow excessive love for someone to pre-empt the primacy of the Divine in one's heart. In his self-exile in the desert and refusal of material goods in favor of a higher power (love),  Majnun resembles the mystics. He seeks out Layla as one would his creator. Her intoxifying beauty and his desire are symbolic for union with the ultimate creator. And he fixates on it: The union between the two lovers is not, in this mystical view, about realizing carnal desire, but about the ethereal, purifying act of devotion (the journey toward spiritual union). And it's a view that works for the Romeo and Juliet-like ending to Nizami's tale. Learning of her death, Majnun visits Layla's grave, waxes poetic, perishes, and is buried alongside her, the two lovers joined forever in death.
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