Ghazal

The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.

The form is ancient, originating in sixth century Arabic verse. It is derived from the Arabian panegyric qasida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are similar to those of the Petrarchan sonnet. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central themes of love and separation. It is one of the principal poetic forms which the Indo-Perso-Arabic civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.


The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century due to the influence of Sufi mystics and the courts of the new Islamic Sultanate. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Dari poetry and Urdu poetry, today it is found in the poetry of many languages of the Indian sub-continent.