Monday, March 27, 2006

Abdul Rahman

It's hardly the most important issue in the Abd ar-Rahman story out of Afghanistan, but "Abd ar-Rahman," or "Abdul Rahman," is one name. "Abd" is the Arabic for "servant of," and in names is usually followed by one of the 99 names of God, such as "ar-Rahman," or "The Merciful." "Abdul" reflects the "Abd" plus the basic form of the definite article "al," the "l" of which assimilates in front of what are called solar consonants such as "r." The "u" meanwhile is the nominative case ending applied to "Abd" which elides the "a." All these media outlets that treat Rahman as a surname drive me nuts - as an Afghan, he probably doesn't use one.


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