Qasidah Tables

  • Many literature and non-literature students also need to have qasidas or a few verses in their dissertation. A few very simple steps which allow you to have automatically aligned qasidas in your document.
  • From the MS Word ‘Insert’ tab, insert a table with one row and three columns. It will look something like this: table1
  • Narrow the middle column by putting your cursor on the lines and moving them an equal distance towards the centre. You should end up with something like this:table2
  • Select the table and make sure your text direct is Right à Also make sure that the alignment of the text is ‘justified’ (preferably ‘justify medium’). If you don’t follow this step the qaṣīdah alignment won’t work.justify
    1. Now write the text of the verse in the right hand column and once you finish press ENTER while pressing SHIFT. The text will magically spread out to the margins of the table.table3


    Text inserted:

    After pressing ENTER +SHIFT:table4

    Note: If nothing happens means you have either not set the alignment to ‘justified’ OR haven’t pressed SHIFT and ENTER simultaneously.


    1. You do the same on the other side.table5
    2. If a line ends up two lines when you press ENTER + SHIFT, you might either reduce the font size OR reduce the size of the middle column, thereby increasing the length of the two main columns. This is what a full qasida might look like.table6
    • If you want to include translation you have two options.
      1. Option I: In this between each Arabic verse you have your translation. In order not to mess up RàL and LàR it is advisable that you make a table as described above, but with two rows instead of one. Select the first row and make it R –> L and select the second one and make it Là In the first row write the verse in Arabic as described above and in the second write the corresponding translation. If you are including a full qaṣīdah it is much easier to do one verse, copy the table and paste it for each additional verse. This saves you readjusting the formatting for every single verse.
      2. Option II: In this you have the Arabic on one side (with the second hemistich slightly indented below the first) and the translation on the other side. This table is slightly more complicated to make, but as you can see below, it looks much nicer and is more practical while reading. In this you need to make a table of two rows and three columns, and adjust the column lines individually to correspond with the image below: table7

    Note: in order to change the size of the individual cells (and not the entire column in both rows), you need to select two cells in one row and move the column marker. Do the same for the second row.table8



    Then select the third column from the right, right click, and click on merge cells. You should end up with something looking like this:table9

    Now make sure the alignment is ‘justified’ in the two right hand columns, which is where you want to write the Arabic text. Follow the same steps as earlier to insert the Arabic text and then insert the translation in the third column from the right. Once again if it is more than one verse, once you have created the table for one verse and inserted the text, copy it and paste it for each additional verse. If you are going to be doing this often then it makes sense to save a template. This is what the table with text and translation should look like:table10

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