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Abdul Alhazred

To: alt.horror.cthulhu
From: (bill walsh)
Subject: Re: Abdul Alhazred
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 10:46:57 -0600

In article <>, Fever  wrote:

> The full name on this book was Abu'l al-Hariri, so the first name Abu'l
> does not have the problem associated with Abd: it could have been
> converted to Abdul without removing the al- from the beggining of the
> last name.  

Let me repeat: Abu'l is not a legitimate Arabic name.  If the museum
labeled someone's name thusly, they are in error.

bill walsh

P.S.  In case myoriginal post didn't make it (it's not up here this
morning), I'll reproduce it below.

In article <>, Fever  wrote:

> I was recently at a museum exibit that had some old arabic books. (No,
> al-Azif wasn't one of them!)  One of the authors was named "Abu'l
> al-Hariri".  It seems to me that if that book was taken to the west and
> translated, the author might have been listed in the translation as
> Abdul Alhariri.  Could it be that the Mad Arab was named "Abu'l
> al-Hazred"?


Ok, let's go over this again.  'abd is Arabic for "slave."  It is often
used in combinatory form with the ninety-nine names of God (or the various
names of the Prophet) to create given names for believers.  E.g.,
'Abd-al-Rahman, Slave-of-the-Most-Beneficent, or 'Abd-al-Rahim,
Slave-of-the-Most-Merciful.  Because of the vagaries of transliteration
between (cursive) Arabic and English, and the underlying syntax of Arabic,
the above names can sometimes be represented as 'Abd-ur-Rahim or
'Abd-ur-Rahman.  Various permutations of these appear from time to time
(e.g., 'Abdurrahim).

Nevertheless, the correct, accepted, scholarly form is 'Abd-al-[name of
God or Prophet].  It is in this context that I must emphasize the
ingenuity of William Hamblin's theory that the underlying word under
"Hazred" is "Azrad," an unusual elative variant on the verb "zarada,"
meaning to devour or strangle.  The name 'Abd-al-Azrad,
Slave-of-the-Great-Devourer, might well have been adopted by an insane
Cthulhu cultist.  It is, of course, blasphemous to Islam, but that,
presumably wouldn't have bothered *him.*  A qadi's sentence means nothing
when you're getting devoured by an invisible monster in the market of
Damascus.  Anyway, one does occasionally come across a man who divides his
name "Abdul Rahim" or something, but they're usually from the farther
reaches of the Dar-al-Islam (Pakistan, Indonesia), and consequently
ignorant of the Arabic grammar involved.  This would *not* apply to an
eighth-century Damascene Arab.

Ok, now for the above.  Abu-, Umm-, Bint- and Ibn-, are other inseparable
elements in Arabic nomenclature.  They mean "Father (of)", "Mother (of)",
"Daughter (of)", and "Son (of)," respectively.  (We'll leave aside Dhu-,
Sabt-, et al., for the moment) The author you saw was undoubtedly named
Abu-l-Hariri (variant spelling: Abu'l-Hariri) or Abu-l-[something]
al-Hariri.  As for whether the Mad Arab would be named Abu-l-Hazred,
"father of Hazred," it's unlikely, since Hazred isn't an Arabic given
name. (Oh, and the apostrophe in Abu'l- represents the missing 'a' in al-
(the definite article, "the"), not an omitted consonant, or one of the two
consonants represented by curved quotes [hamza, a glottal stop, and 'ayn,
a pharyngeal fricative, the first letter in 'Abd].  Consequently, the
Abu-l-[x] formula is much less ambiguous than Abu'l-.)  And let me just
add again: Mr. Hamblin's suggestion is *so much* cooler.

So, the lesson: 'Abd-, Abu-, Ibn-, etc. are INSEPARABLE elements that must
be treated as prefixes.  Hyphens are the preferred form of attaching
them.  And, until someone comes up with something better, 'Abd-al-Azrad is
the Mad Arab for me.  (And Chaosium, I think.)

(And, of course, as has been repeatedly pointed out, "Abdul Alhazred" is
grammatically impossible.)

Where are you, William Hamblin?!


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