Academic Master


Nizar Qabbani

Nizar Qabbani is known to be a prolific writer of his times. His masterpieces of writings are not corresponding to any particular time of his life rather he was able to stay productive and provide rich content throughout his career. Nizar Qabbani was a Syrian nationalist, and his writings were so profound that they were considered as pride for the Arab nation. Nizar has the capability of penning down his brilliant thoughts into beautiful words that were capable of mesmerizing the readers. Qabbani’s writing skills were not the result of his experience, but since a very young age, he had the urge and the capacity to write which made him prominent among his age fellows. Though the sad incident of suicide committed by Nizar’s sister made him write about women rights. He was the first Arab poet and writer who had produced some fabulous pieces of writings for raising a voice for the woman. It was daring step, but this gesture tells that the great mind and writings skills are not bound by any authority they are just expressed about what they feel is right and must be implemented (AlKhalil).

Thus, this is indeed a fact that a great writer like Nizar Qabbani’s writing is filled with women rights rather majority work is focusing on raising the plight of woman in the societal culture. It was indeed a brave step for putting forward such thoughts which were not meeting the culture they were living in that time. The women were not given equal rights, and their will was not considered necessary. Therefore, at these times Nizar Qabbani wrote for wakening up the society and making them realize that women are equally important as men. However, these initiatives for writing for women also pushed him in numerous controversies, but he never took the influence of them and stayed focus towards his aims.

It was the quality of the writing of Nizar Qabbani that he uses to represent his country on numerous platforms. Though this earned him much respect as a diplomat, he left this appointment on the realization of the fact that he is more inclined towards writing about his thoughts and free will then staying entangled due to the position of being a diplomat. Thus, he left his job and focused on the writing career. Thus, he wrote marvelous literature books which will be forever appreciated by the literature lovers. The words can never be forgotten, but the actions do.

Childhood & Early Life

• Nizar Qabbani was born in a famous Syrian family on 21st March 1923. The instincts and the skills of writing run in the family’s virtue. Nizar’s great uncle was the great Syrian write Abū Khalīl Qabbani. His family was running the mercantile business and his father Tawfiq Qabbani has his chocolate factory, but Nizar took an interest in writing and never participated in the family business (Boullata et al. 756).

• Nizar Qabbani had five siblings in which two sisters Wisel and Haifa and three brothers Sabah, Rashid and Mu’taz.

• He attended the National Scientific College School administrated by a friend of his father Ahmad Munif al-Aidi during the period 1930-41.

• After completing his high school, he joined the Damascus University for studying law. This University was previously known to be the Syrian University. His writing career began at his university, where in free time he use to write poems and it was 1944 that he first published his book of poems by the name ‘The Brunette Told Me.’

• The poems were subjected to controversies in Damascus. However, these verses were given approval by the education ministry who was his father’s friend Munir Al-Ajlani. Nizar’s father knew about his interests, and this was the reason that he supported him in this cause. Thus, this was the reason and the influence that even this minister helped Nizar to write a preface to his poems.


• After graduating from the University with the degree of LLB, Nizar Qabbani was appointed as an ambassador to the leading countries like London, Cairo, Madrid, and Istanbul.

• It was the period of 1948-50 that Nizar was able to write three marvelous Arab writings which are Samba, You Are Mine and ‘Childhood of a Breast.

• He published his poems in his name in 1956 by the title the poems by Nizar Qabbani. These poems reflect his intellect and are known to be the famous poems of his time.

• He was appointed as the Vice Secretary to the United Arab Republic located in the Chinese Embassies.

• In 1960, Nizar wrote three more poems by the name ‘Diary of an Indifferent Woman, Drawing with Words and My Beloved.

• Nizar resigned from his position of Ambassador in 1966 and dedicated his life to writing the masterpieces of literature.

• In 1967, Nizar Qabbani founded his personal publishing house after his name ‘Manshurat Nizar Qabbani.’ At that time the Arabs lost the war to the Israel and Nizar took it as an opportunity and started writing about the war and the loss of Arab after this war.

• In 1970 Nizar was able to publish nine poems which are ‘With My Love,’ To Beirut the Feminine,’ ‘Poems Against The Law,’ ‘100 Love Letters’, ‘Book of Love,’ ‘Savage Poems’ and others.

• However, 1980, was the most productive year of Nizar Qabbani’s life as he wrote dozen’s of publications and printed them in his paper house. Among them the famous were ‘The Lover’s Dictionary,’ ‘I Write the History of Woman Like So,’ and dedicate done publication to his second wife by the name ‘A Poem For Balqis’

• The other notable poems which were released in the same year were ‘Insane Poems,’ ‘Love Does Not Stop at Red Lights,’ ‘The Trilogy of the Children of the Stones’. Whereas, other are ‘Love Shall Remain, My Lord,’ ‘Biography of an Arab Executioner,’ Secret Papers of a Karmathian Lover,’ ‘A Match in My Hand, ‘I Married You, Liberty!’, ‘No Victor Other Than Love,’ and our Petty Paper Nations.’

• For the year 1990, the publication released by Nizar Qabbani’s paper house were Marginal Notes on the Book of Defeat’, ‘Do You Hear the Cry of My Sadness?’, ‘I’m One Man, and you are a Tribe of Women.’ The ‘Nizarian Variations of Arabic Maqam of Love,’ ‘Alphabet of Jasmine’ and ‘Fifty Years of Praising Women’ are also among these writings (Gabay 207-222).

Major Work

  • The suicide act of his sister had profoundly influenced the life of Nizar Qabbani, and he subjected this as the reason for his writing for the feminism and going against the society because his sister was unable to marry as per her will.

• The literary work by the name ‘Poems by Nizar Qabbani’ is known to be the famous piece of his writings. The focus of these poems was the woman rights. He clearly criticized the practices of society and the discriminatory behavior held towards women. In his men were over-hauling on women due to their prejudices.

Personal Life

• The first marriage if Qabbani was a family wedding and he was married to his cousin, they both had two children a son named Tawfiq and the daughter Hadba.

• Nizar Qabbani again got married in 1973 to the love of his life. His wife’s name was Balqis al-Rawi. He met her for the first time in a poetry concert in Baghdad. However, she later died due to a suicide bomb attack during the ‘Lebanese Civil War.’ In her love, he wrote her the famous poem which is taken as a symbol of love for a wife by a husband.

• After his wife’s death, Nizar Qabbani was in deep pain; therefore, he left Beirut and traveled around the country, however; finally, he settled in London.

• For one year after settling down, he was reported to be unwell. However, later he died on 30th April 1998.


The literary work of Nizar Qabbani has been translated into English and Nepali languages by different publications.

The Comparison of Nizar Qabbani’s Work

Nizar Qabbani’s work was known to be controversial due to the factors stated below:

• He was the first Arab writer who used the bold introduction of the topic love in his stories. It was not initiated by any other writer than him.

• He openly talked about the relationship between the men and women, and he always uses to emphasize that this relation shall never be kept in close boundaries and no one has the right to interfere.

• His literary work is filled with everyday experiences and realistic adventures that he had beautifully translated into poetry using the metaphors.

• Nizar used the new expressions among his poems. He uses to write in the similar tone. Such as if two people are speaking through the poem.

• In his poems, he uses to promote women to go ahead and propose the man. This act shows that he was presenting women as the daring species and it is not only the men who could propose women, but it is the right of the women to that they can offer any men.

• Nizar openly discussed the appeal of women. Such as in his writings Nizar boldly presented the physique and body of females.

The effect of Nizar’s poetry upon modern Arab poetry

  • Nizar built his school, and it has founded for more than forty-five years where the talent of children with literary skills are focused and polished so that they can turn out to be great writers.
  • The elements of his poetry which influenced the modern poets and writers are the wealth of his melodies, newness of his subjects and tones, and the simplicity of language.
  • Thus, Nizar’s poetry is a whole discipline in itself for the Arab people, and it needs to be thoroughly studied and discussed. Thus, all the modern poets and writers are studying Nizar’s poetry to develop their experience and grip overwriting (Loya 481-494).

Nizar drew the romantic picture of Damascus in his poetry. He clearly indicated two elements the joy of the city and the beauty of nature observable through the naked eye. In his writings he emphasized upon his love for the city which was due to the woman who he uses to love was living there. Nizar despite writing few publications on war, his primary work has centered the love for a woman and nature. The substantial relation of the writer with Damascus could be understood by this term that while staying connected with Damascus, he will live; however, if he is separated from Damascus he will die (Loya 481-494).

Damascus, 0 Damascus, 0 Princess of my love

How can the madman forget his love?

The sun of Granada has risen over us

After we had despaired, and Maysalün has uttered cries of joy (Rihani 54-57).

Nizar also beautifully described nature in the celebrations of Arab victories. He wrote in unusual words about that time such as if he has entered Damascus. The quote from his writing is stated below to explain his love for nature.

How did the ears of wheat become higher,

How did your eyes become a swallow’s nest?

The land of Jawlän resembles your eyes,

Flowing water, almonds, and figs;

Every wound in it is a garden of roses,

Spring, and a hidden pearl (Rihani 54-57).


Nizar was a passionate nationalist and has always expressed his love for his city in his publications. The war’s use to be interesting for him and he uses ti write openly about the happening and use to motivate the leaders, on the other hand, he was a diehard follower of the concept of openness in love. In Nizar’s view, love was a proximity measure which is the right for every gender. Despite few writings on the occasion of war, Nizar’s major work is focused on the women rights and their will that they shall be given the opportunity to decide for their life. He was a lawyer by career, but he gave it up for the love of literary writing, even the ambassadorship didn’t make him compromised upon his literary knowledge. He was born with natural instincts and skills of writing, and he served throughout his life to writing on purposeful topics, and till the end, he was productive but unfortunately could not survive the heart attack of 1998 and passed away


AlKhalil, Muhamed. Nizar Qabbani: From Romance To Exile. 1st ed. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona, 2005. Print.

Boullata, Issa J. et al. “On Entering The Sea: The Erotic And Other Poetry Of Nizar Qabbani”. World Literature Today 70.3 (1996): 756. Web.

Gabay, Z. “Nizar Qabbani, The Poet And His Poetry”. Middle Eastern Studies 9.2 (1973): 207-222. Web.

Loya, Arieh. “Poetry As A Social Document: The Social Position Of The Arab Woman As Reflected In The Poetry Of Nizâr Qabbânî”. International Journal of Middle East Studies 6.04 (1975): 481-494. Web.

Rihani, Zalfa. “Metaphor, Image, And Music In A Line By Nizār Qabbāni”. Translation Review 64.1 (2002): 54-57. Web.



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