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Title: Qasida  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Urdu poetry, Kayvan, Somalian literature, Wali Mohammed Wali, Poetry
Collection: Arabic and Central Asian Poetics, Arabic Poetry Forms, Pakistani Poetics, Poetic Form
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The qaṣīdaᵗ (also spelled qaṣīdah; is originally an Arabic word Arabic: قصيدة, plural qasā'id, قــصــائـد; that was passed to some other languages such as Persian: قصیده or چكامه, chakameh, in Turkish: kaside) it is an ancient Arabic word and form of writing poem that was passed to other cultures after the Arab Muslim expansion. the word qasidah is still being used in its original birthplace - Arabia- and in all Arabic speaking countries.

Well known qasā'id include the Qasida Burda ("Poem of the Mantle") by Imam al-Busiri and Ibn Arabi's classic collection "The Interpreter of Desires".

The classic form of qasida maintains a single elaborate metre throughout the poem, and every line rhymes. It typically runs more than fifty lines, and sometimes more than a hundred. The genre originates in Arabic poetry and was adopted by Persian poets, where it developed to be sometimes longer than a hundred lines.


  • Form 1
  • Persian variation 2
  • The Urdu Qasida 3
  • The West African Qasida 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Arabic qaṣīda means "intention" and the genre found use as a petition to a patron. A qasida has a single presiding subject, logically developed and concluded. Often it is a panegyric, written in praise of a king or a nobleman, a genre known as madīḥ, meaning "praise".

In his ninth century "Book of Poetry and Poets" (Kitab al-shi'r wa-al-shu'ara') the Arabian writer Ibn Qutaybah describes the (Arabic) qasida as formed of three parts;

  • a nostalgic opening in which the poet reflects on what has passed, known as a nasib. A common concept is the pursuit by the poet of the caravan of his beloved: by the time he reaches their camp-site they have already moved on.
  • a release or disengagement, the takhallus, often achieved by describing his transition from the nostalgia of the nasib to the second section, the travel section or rahil, in which the poet contemplates the harshness of the land and life away from the tribe.
  • the message of the poem, which can take several forms: praise of the tribe (fakhr), satire about other tribes (hija) or some moral maxim (hikam).

While many poets have intentionally or unintentionally deviated from this plan it is recognisable in many.

Persian variation

After the 10th century Iranians developed the qasida immensely and used it for other purposes. For example, Naser Khosro used it extensively for philosophical, theological, and ethical purposes, while Avicenna also used it to express philosophical ideas. It may be a spring poem (Persian بهاریه, baharieh) or autumn poem (Persian خزانیه, khazanieh). The opening is usually description of a natural event; the seasons, a natural landscape or an imaginary sweetheart. In the takhallos poets usually address themselves by their pen-name. Then the last section is the main purpose of the poet in writing the poem. Ismaili and twelver Shias recite qusidas, many of which are written by Rumi, Nasir kusraw and many others. Farsi Qasida, dam Hama dam Ali Ali was written by rumi in Turkey in praise of imam Ali. This is a verse:

Saki e ba wafa manam
Dam Hama dam Ali Ali
Sufi e ba safa manam
Dam Hama dam Ali Ali


I am a humble poet. In rapture my soul cries Ali Ali
I am a Sufi pure of heart. In rapture my soul cries Ali ali

Persian exponents include;

From the 14th century CE Persian poets became more interested in ghazal and the qasida declined. The ghazal developed from the first part of qasida in which poets praised their sweethearts. Mystic poets and sufis used the ghazal for mystical purposes.

The Urdu Qasida

Qasida in Urdu poetry is often panegyric, sometimes a satire, sometimes dealing with an important event. As a rule it is longer than the ghazal but follows the same system of rhyme.[1]

The West African Qasida

A large number of religious qasā'id has been written in Arabic by the Sufi Shaykh Amadou Bamba Mbacke (1855-1927) from Senegal, West Africa. His qasā'id are poetically exploring the Qur'an and other learned texts, praising Allah and the prophet, and are considered – both in Senegal as well as in Morocco and other West African countries – as advanced and beautiful poetry. The qasā'id of the Shaykh are today still sung and recited actively by both Mourides belonging to the Sufi Tariqa Mouridiyya, as well as by members of other Sufi Tariqas in Senegal and throughout West Africa, especially the Tijaniyya. The original poetry works of Shaykh Amadou Bamba Mbacke are preserved in a large library in the holy city Touba, Senegal, which was founded by the Shaykh, built by his talibés (students) and considered to be the Capital of Mourides.

See also


  1. ^ A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Introduction
  • Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Vol. 1 Classical Traditions and Modern Meanings, eds Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, BRILL, 1996
  • Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa: Vol. 2 Eulogy's Bounty, Meaning's Abundance, eds Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, BRILL, 1996
  • Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (London, 1991) p12-13
  • WorldHeritage on Amadou Bamba and his poetry
  • Books about Shaykh Amadou Bamba

External links

  • Urdu poetic forms
  • qasida
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