Abdul Alhazred

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Abdul Alhazred is a fictional character created by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. He is the so-called "Mad Arab" credited with authoring the imaginary book Kitab al-Azif (the Necronomicon), and as such an integral part of Cthulhu Mythos lore.

Contents

Name

The name Abdul Alhazred is a pseudonym that Lovecraft created in his youth, which he took on after reading 1001 Arabian Nights at the age of about five years. The name was invented either by Lovecraft, or by Albert Baker, the Phillips' family lawyer.[1] Abdul is a common Arabic name component (but never a name by itself; additionally the ending -ul and the beginning Al- are redundant), but Alhazred may allude to Hazard, a pun on the book's destructive and dangerous nature, or a reference to Lovecraft's ancestors by that name [2][3]. It might also have been a pun on "all-has-read", since Lovecraft was an avid reader in youth,[4]

Another possibility, raised in an essay by the Swedish fantasy writer and editor, Rickard Berghorn, is that the name Alhazred was influenced by references to two historical authors whose names were Latinized as Alhazen: Alhazen ben Josef, who translated Ptolemy into Arabic; and Abu 'Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham, who wrote about optics, mathematics and physics. Ibn al-Haytham is said to have pretended to be mad to escape the wrath of a ruler. [5]

Abdul Alhazred is not a real Arabic name, and seems to contain the Arabic definite article morpheme al- twice in a row (anomalous in terms of Arabic grammar). The more proper Arabic form might be Abd-al-Hazred or Abdul Hazred. In Arabic translations, his name has appeared as Abdullah Alḥaẓred (عبدالله الحظرد): Arabic ḥaẓraحظر = "he fenced in", "he prohibited". Hazred could come from the Persian or Arabic word "Hazrat" meaning Great Lord with a twist that makes it sound like "red" and "hazard" both indicative of danger. However Abdul is a common Arabic prefix meaning "Servant of the" and "Al" is Arabic for "the", and if "hazra" means "he prohibited", "he fenced in" or "Great Lord", then the name would mean "Servant of the Prohibited", "Servant of the Fenced in", or "Servant of the Great Lord" which would make sense considering his role, even if it is not a proper Arabic name.

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