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

Well known qasā'id include the Seven Mu'allaqat and 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 on the same sound.[1] It typically runs from fifteen to eighty lines, and sometimes more than a hundred.[1] The genre originates in Arabic poetry and was adopted by Persian poets, where it developed to be sometimes longer than a hundred lines.


Arabic qaṣīda means "intention" and the genre found use as a petition to a patron. A qaṣīda 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 being constituted of three parts:

  1. the nasīb: a nostalgic opening in which the poet reflects on what has passed. A common theme 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.
  2. the raḥīl or travel section: a release or disengagement (takhallus), often achieved by the poet describing his transition from the nostalgia of the nasīb to contemplating the harshness of the land and life away from the tribe.
  3. the message of the poem, which can take several forms: praise of the tribe (fakhr) or a ruler (madīḥ), 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. From the Abbasid period onwards, two-part qaṣīda forms containing just a nasīb and madīḥ have been dominant.[2]


Qasidas were introduced to Dhaka, and later the rest of Bengal, during the Mughal era by Persians. Subahdar of Bengal, Islam Khan Chisti's naval fleet is said to have sung them after arriving in Jessore in 1604.[3][4] In 1949, Hakim Habibur Rahman spoke of the recent revival of qasidas since that period in his book, Dhaka Panchas Baras Pahle (Dhaka, fifty years ago). The qasidas were promoted by nawabs and sardars across the region, and especially popular during the Islamic month of Ramadan. An old tradition of Old Dhaka is during the time of sehri, groups of people would sing qasidas to wake up the Muslims in the neighbourhood.[5]


In Indonesia, qasida (Indonesian spelling: kasidah) often refers to Islamic music.


After the 10th century Iranians developed the qasida immensely and used it for other purposes. For example, Nasir Khusraw 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, bahâriye) or autumn poem (Persian خزانیه, xazâniye). 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.

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.


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.[6]

West African

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. Akiko Motoyoshi Sumi, Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literatures, 25 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 1.
  2. Akiko Motoyoshi Sumi, Description in Classical Arabic Poetry: Waṣf, Ekphrasis, and Interarts Theory, Brill Studies in Middle Eastern literatures, 25 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), p. 1 n. 1.
  3. Ahmed Riyadh. "কাসিদা". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  4. Mirza Nathan (1604). Baharistan-i-Ghaibi.
  5. Sirajul Islam. "Qasida". Banglapedia: The National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  6. A History of Urdu literature by T. Grahame Bailey; Introduction
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