Hayziyyah of Algeria: Martyr for Love
In Bedouin culture, Love grows like a thorned cactus in a barren land; although it is beautiful, no one celebrates it the way they celebrate flowers. Just like the plants of the desert, Love in the desert can cause pain or even death.
Hayziyyah was a Bedouin girl with the beauty of a gazelle, and the purity and serenity of the Bedouin.
Hayziyyah’s story took place in Sidi Khalid, a typical un-urbanized desert village with no fertile land. The people of Sidi Khalid are governed by tribal laws that consider love evil, so lovers have to suffer and hide their feelings.
Hayziyyah represented the ultimate Bedouin beauty with naturally dark-rimmed eyes like a gazelle and long, straight hair. The Henna on her hands and feet enhanced her loveliness.
Hayziyyah’s cousin Said, a Bedouin knight, loved her and followed her whenever she left her tent. No one could know of his love, but she saw it in his eyes and silently loved him back.
When love goes unexpressed, as it had to in their tribe, it burns deeply. Hayziyyah attracted the interest of many young men in Sidi Khalid, and many knights proposed to her, offering generous dowries of silver, gold and thousands of camels and cattle. She always declined their proposals because of her love for Said. Hayziyyah eventually married Said but her happiness did not last, because she died dramatically only forty days later.
Said roamed the desert, crying and calling her name. The story of Hayziyyah has been narrated and sung by generation after generation.