Lebanon

The Meaning of “Qifa Nabki”

camel-paintingI’ve gotten enough questions about this to warrant an explanation.

The words “qifa nabki” are an allusion to a famous classical Arabic ode, the mu`allaqa of Imru’ al-Qays, an Arabian poet who lived before Islam. The first hemistich of the poem reads:

qifā nabki min dhikrā ḥabībin wa manzilī || قفا نبك من ذكرى حبيب و منزل

“Halt, both of you. Let us weep for the memory of a beloved and an abode…”

The scene described —  the weeping poet standing before the traces of his beloved’s campsite — would become a standard trope of classical Arabic poetry.
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