A ruba’i is a two-line stanza with two parts per line, hence the word Rubaiyat derived from the Arabic language root for “four,” meaning “quatrains”. Rubaiyat is a kind of poems that is very famous in the Persian poems. It became well-known by Omar Khayyam. Another Egyptian example who developed “El-Rubaiyat” in Egypt is Salah Shahin. People tend to like the Ruba’iat because they used to affect people’s thoughts, feelings, and even behaviors. The writers of Ruba’iat influence people’s emotions drastically. One phenomenon that social psychologists are trying to understand is how and why the social environment shapes the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. And these representations of emotions: poems, films, music, an etc. form our social environment.
There has been a common notion in Arabic poems that states that when you are in love, you are ill, so you need to be healed. Therefore you find many poets are using these sentences: “يا طبيب” or “يا ليل” to reflect their sadness or their need for a cure. This is for example a common human perception of a certain term, perceived by empirical method and observations by social psychologists. With the continuous change in people’s tastes over the time, the Arabic song also changes. Earlier people were used to listen to “Tarab,” which corresponds to their feelings. It used to reflect people’s experiences and what they are going through, for example an epic break up, in a very sensitive and of a high standard manner. People were affected by “Tarab” because of social influence. We had great singers who used to sing “Tarab,” for example “Kawkab El Shark” or the East Planet, Om Kalthoum. She used to repeat the lines over and over, and people used to ask her to repeat the lines over again without getting bored at all. This reflects the status that people reach when they listen to “Tarab.” People were not only listening and enjoying the songs, but also living the songs; this is exactly the social influence of these representations, and this is how people used to react to it at this time. Personalities definitely vary, but social psychologists tend to explain social behavior in terms of the power of the social situation and how it shapes how one acts. Social interpretation is also really important in understanding how situations influence individuals and how people perceive and interpret the social world.
Concerning social interpretation, what is impressing about the Arabic language is the dualism of Arabic Language, and that in Arabic you can sing the poems without paying attention to gender. You can find one poem being sung by a male or female singer. For example “La Takzeby,” it was sung by Nagat El saghira and Abdel Wahab.
Another interesting type of poems is the Aamia poems that have a different social influence on people. And here is an interesting poem for Beram El Tonsy :
“One man once said to your aunt, Helal’s mum
search for us for a nice and classy girl
A lot of beautriful Girls sitting at their parents’ homes
are having bad luck between cooking and dough
I want her fat as meat lobes not as used canes
not very skinny and thinking of herself as gorgeous
I want her body to be swayed if you poked it
and in every joint a flute reminds you of flute
I Want her a real female from a quarter of wax melts.
not in a flagrant way but with a moderate taste and dalliance
There are a lot of beautiful and in shape girls
who are very funny and make women and men drunk of their nice sense
When you check her beauty it loosens the eyes
She deserves a dower of two thousands given just now
while the girl who pretends to be classy and her grandfather is Balfour
and wants a perfect groom doesn’t worth a penny
and the girl who thinks herself a goddess and her hair is cut
And dyed with oxygen, she causes diarrhea
while if you got a chubby overweight girl who wont get jealous even from the donkeys
I wouldn’t take her for a penny rather wrap her and place her away.”
Now, people’s tastes have changed drastically. They prefer to listen to “Mahragan” music and songs. People now lost their sensitive attachment to the soft delicate representations of love or even any feeling. Their reactions now tend to be harder and more solidified. The relationship between individuals and situations is a two-way street. Therefore it is important to understand not only how situations influence individuals, but also how people perceive and interpret the social world and the behavior of others. These perceptions and construals are more influential than objective aspects of the situation itself, and I think this is what the host of the event was trying to convey: how people used to interpret the social environment differently at different times even if they are discussing the same concept, love.