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Hiziya and Sayed - the 'romeo & juliet' of Algeria


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Ruhi_Rose
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« on: December 09, 2020, 06:03:08 am »




A simple, touching and true story;  a part of Islamic History of the Maghrib.



Hiziya bint Ahmed ben Bey, the girl
of the Algerian story, Hiziya and Sayed.
  


Hiziya and Sayed is a tragic Algerian love story.  People often call it the "Romeo and Juliet" of Algeria, except that 'Romeo and Juliet' is a fiction.  The story of Hiziya and Sayed is factual, a real life story, and thus a lot more uncomplicated than the typical myths and tales.

Well, to be honest, this real life story is so well-known and popular in Algeria that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ can be alluded to as the Hiziya and Sayed of Italy  🙂

Hiziya was born in 1855 in Algeria.  Her father, Ahmed Bel Bey, was a wealthy sheep and cattle breeder well-known in the region.  Sayed, his nephew, was an orphan whom he adopted. 

Hiziya and Sayed fell madly in love.  Her family wasn't too happy about their romance.  Perhaps they wanted to get her married to someone with more wealth rather than an orphaned young man adopted by her father.  Eventually however, the family agreed and Hiziya was married to Sayed.  Tragically, the marriage lasted barely one month. 

Hiziya's family, like the majority of people in the region, went to live in the high plains of Setif during the hot summers and returned to Zibans shortly prior to winter.  The route extended from Bazer Sakhra, not far from El Eulma in the north, to Ouled Djellal in the south. 



Summer-winter travel route of the family. 


One day, on their way back during the autumn season, Hizya suddenly fell ill at a stopover in Oued-Tell located 50 km from Sidi Khaled.   As soon as they arrived in Sidi-Khaled, Hiziya's condition deteriorated and she died.  Her exact illness is unknown.  She died in 1878 at age 23.  She was buried in a cemetery of Sidi-Khaled.  All members of her family are also buried in the same cemetery.



Hiziya's grave, and her family cemetery.  


Sayed was completely heartbroken.  Three days later, he requested an Algerian poet named Ben Guittoun, also from Sidi-Khaled, to compose a poem in memory of his beloved.   That poem became very popular throughout Algeria and the Arab world and is remembered until the present.




Source:  Twitter translated from French.  You can also watch short movie clips of this story at this link.


Full length movie "Hiziya and Sayed" at Youtube.   It's in Arabic without English subtitles.

   



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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2020, 06:45:42 am »



It's a very sad Algerian desert rural story, and what makes it sadder is that it's true story.  Also very well known in Morocco and Tunisia.  This story has been fantacized into quite a few different fictitious versions just to make it sound swashbuckling. 

One version claims Hizia was extraordinarily beautiful and her cousin Sayed was a knight in ancient Biskra. However, this version also mentions her sudden death after a very short marriage and the husband left devastated. 

Another version says after their marriage Sayed joined the army and went to fight.  When he returned, Hizia was waiting for him wearing a cloak and hood commonly worn in the region.  Sayed had seen some of his enemies in the battle wearing similar hoods, so he mistook her for an enemy, killed her and then repented all his life. 

Yet another version claims the couple in love were having a grand wedding when some powerful man of the village or rural area tried to intervene and force the girl to marry him instead.  All hell broke loose with destruction and looting in which the girl was killed.

But these are all mythical non-factual tales.    The story put up by Sister Ruhi is the only true version.


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Zeynab
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2020, 06:54:37 am »



Very simple and tragic story.  I too read it briefly in Twitter news feed.   You compiled it very well Sister Ruhi with very clear French to English translation. 

Brother Najaf, thanks for telling us about the bogus versions.   I'm not surprised.  People have this habit for the sake of adorning literature without realizing that the real and true version always carries the best embellishment as in this one.




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Ruhi_Rose
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2020, 06:57:57 am »



O!  thanks sister and brother     

Actually Nissmi sent the link to me on email with confirmation of it as the correct version, and I took it up from there.
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2020, 06:58:53 am »



Ah,  I see, good idea ....  InshAllah, I will watch the full length movie when I get some more time.  I watched the first 10 minutes or so and really liked it.   Even without English captions, it can be followed quite easily.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2020, 09:10:35 am »


Yeah, Sister Ruhi, the version you put is the right one.    It's a very tragic one.   Btw, is that photo of Hiziya really she or someone else in a movie?
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2020, 10:19:48 am »





..  Btw, is that photo of Hiziya really she or someone else in a movie?



Nah Sis, not the real person.  That pic is from the movie .... that full length movie.   It's the actress who played the role of Hiziya.  Unfortunately there are no photos ... I don't think camera was invented at that time or maybe the very early black & white photos.  But no photos of that couple are available, not even any paintings.


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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2020, 10:23:46 am »



Ah, okay ....
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