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On Certain Kinds of Arabic Names


Daniel Peterson

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With my splinted and broken finger, it took me a long time to type this response -- only to find that the thread had been closed.

I don't want to waste it, though. Especially not the last, very pedantic, part, on theophoric names in Arabic:

The targets on the backs of our troops are not being painted there by any actions of ours. They were and are there because of Islamic extremists. Nothing we door say or don't do or say is going to change that.

I am, as I hope I've made clear, a very serious political conservative and am scarcely inclined to blame America for all or most of the world's evils.

But the fact is that things we do and say can and will either decrease or increase the number of extremists targeting American soldiers. Things that we've done and said have already done so -- sometimes out of unavoidable necessity but sometimes not.

Lehi has covered it very succintly and quite accuratly. To try and blame anything we do or say about the building of the cultural center/mosque is in my opinion nothing but appeasement and in and of itself a disservice to our troops.

One of those troops, JGreen, a career military man who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has argued eloquently and persuasively otherwise, right here on this message board.

Incidentally, just as a point of interest: Strictly speaking, the name Abdul Rauf (

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One thing that seems to be lost in western society is that our names don't have a specific meaning. Such as Lovely Hair, or Pretty Smile.

Often, we just don't hear the meanings any more. But lots of people have last names like Farmer, Carpenter, Forrester, Cooper, Sawyer, Taylor, Miller, Walker, Smith, Bridgewater, Atwater, Bywater, Long, Short, Bytheway, Black, White, Brown, Street, Brook, Rivers, Townsend, Banks, Castle, Tower, Bridges, Stone, Land, Bush, Forrest, and etc., and etc., that have clear meanings and probably carry a lot of history.

Another amusing example of a misunderstood Arabic idafa or possessive is the English word admiral. When the Venetians first encountered a Muslim naval commander, they apparently thought that he was "Admiral Barr," or something of that sort, and they borrowed his title admiral for themselves (thinking that his personal name was Barr). The trouble is that Arabic amir al-bahr, "prince of the sea" or "commander of the sea," was actually his title as an indivisible whole. Amir al- means, by itself, merely "commander [of] the."

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Often, we just don't hear the meanings any more. But lots of people have last names like Farmer, Carpenter, Forrester, Cooper, Sawyer, Taylor, Miller, Walker, Smith, Bridgewater, Atwater, Bywater, Long, Short, Bytheway, Black, White, Brown, Street, Brook, Rivers, Townsend, Banks, Castle, Tower, Bridges, Stone, Land, Bush, Forrest, and etc., and etc., that have clear meanings and probably carry a lot of history.

The interesting thing is that when I read those names I didn't associate anything with them. I had to read them a few times to see that, yes, there are names taht have a meaning to them but I think that for me I just say, "Oh that is just his last name".

That bit about admirals is interesting. I love hearing about this kind of stuff for people's names, and how words came about. I heard something about the slang word for pooh. That is taht if I recall correctly, that people back in the day were transporting manure across the ocean. The temp. was hot and the manure would produce methane. I guess a few ships blew up because of an explosion. As that would happen I was told that the sailors would yell "Sh*t".

I have no idea if this is true or not. But it is an interesting story.

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And, yes, this does have a connection to Mormonism:

Joseph and Hyrum and Joseph F. and George Albert and Joseph Fielding Smith

Brigham Young

John Taylor

Lorenzo Snow

Boyd Packer

Dallin Oaks

Bruce Porter

Governor Boggs

"Governor Ford, with mind so small he has no room for a soul at all"

Jerald and Sandra Tanner

Ed Decker

And so forth.

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With my splinted and broken finger, it took me a long time to type this response -- only to find that the thread had been closed.

I have had the same experience in several topics. The one to which you do not refer was among them.

the fact is that things we do and say can and will either decrease or increase the number of extremists targeting American soldiers. Things that we've done and said have already done so -- sometimes out of unavoidable necessity but sometimes not.

Which has, fortunately or not, little to do with the issue once at hand.

There is nothing we can do to erase the past, nor can we re-write it. What is past is, as we rad, prologue. Our efforts must focus on the future.

Strictly speaking, the name Abdul Rauf (
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Often, we just don't hear the meanings any more. But lots of people have last names like Farmer, Carpenter, Forrester, Cooper, Sawyer, Taylor, Miller, Walker, Smith, Bridgewater, Atwater, Bywater, Long, Short, Bytheway, Black, White, Brown, Street, Brook, Rivers, Townsend, Banks, Castle, Tower, Bridges, Stone, Land, Bush, Forrest, and etc., and etc., that have clear meanings and probably carry a lot of history.

We should not forget "Smith" (including Whitsmith

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We should not forget "Smith"

It's in my list, above. But not the derivatives.

The Wrights, Wheelwrights, Cartwrights, Wainwrights, were all builders of things, wheels, carts, wagons.

Oh, there are lots more (e.g., Weavers and Singers and Hunters and Planters and Carvers), especially if we include non-English names (e.g., Webers and Webbers and Singers and Fleischers and Metzgers and Druckers and Bauers and the like).

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Often, we just don't hear the meanings any more. But lots of people have last names like Farmer, Carpenter, Forrester, Cooper, Sawyer, Taylor, Miller, Walker, Smith, Bridgewater, Atwater, Bywater, Long, Short, Bytheway, Black, White, Brown, Street, Brook, Rivers, Townsend, Banks, Castle, Tower, Bridges, Stone, Land, Bush, Forrest, and etc., and etc., that have clear meanings and probably carry a lot of history.

Another amusing example of a misunderstood Arabic idafa or possessive is the English word admiral. When the Venetians first encountered a Muslim naval commander, they apparently thought that he was "Admiral Barr," or something of that sort, and they borrowed his title admiral for themselves (thinking that his personal name was Barr). The trouble is that Arabic amir al-bahr, "prince of the sea" or "commander of the sea," was actually his title as an indivisible whole. Amir al- means, by itself, merely "commander [of] the."

"I am the Monarch of the Sea!

I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy!"

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I can't decide which "Bruce Porter" you're referring to.

This Bruce Porter is an old friend of mine, and is the same person as this Bruce Porter. He is Bruce D. Porter. He is the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

The other Bruce Porter stayed in my apartment for a couple of nights when I was in graduate school, but I haven't really had much contact with him since. He is Bruce H. Porter. He is not the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

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This Bruce Porter is an old friend of mine, and is the same person as this Bruce Porter. He is Bruce D. Porter. He is the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

The other Bruce Porter stayed in my apartment for a couple of nights when I was in graduate school, but I haven't really had much contact with him since. He is Bruce H. Porter. He is not the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

I've been a great fan of Bruce "D" since his rousing devotional that he gave to us in the MTC a few years ago. His work with the Russian people has been groundbreaking to say the least. I ran into him again at the April 2009 Priesthood Session of Conference, though he wouldn't have known me from Adam then or now. Of the handful of General Authorities of which I've been privileged to make acquaintance, he is among them. I found him to be a very humble, genuine man with great faith.

The latter however, I have not met in person, though I would certainly be interested in discussing some of his insights on the scriptures outside his theories on Book of Mormon Geography. I've found his work on the temple to be greatly beneficial in interpreting/understanding a number of somewhat ambiguous Old Testament passages. He's currently leading Book of Mormon Geography tours back east....which made a pit stop at the 8/28 Beck rally last Saturday. Unfortunately, I don't have $10,000 (not kidding) to go on an 8 day tour of the Holy Land with him any time soon. I wonder what his Central America tours consist of.

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This Bruce Porter is an old friend of mine, and is the same person as this Bruce Porter. He is Bruce D. Porter. He is the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

The other Bruce Porter stayed in my apartment for a couple of nights when I was in graduate school, but I haven't really had much contact with him since. He is Bruce H. Porter. He is not the Bruce Porter that I had in mind.

I get tickled whenever someone mentions Bruce D. Porter, for he was serving in my mission (Germany Central) when I arrived there. A man tall in both physical and spiritual stature, even then. He was quite amazing in the mission field. I was serving in Duesseldorf when he was an Assistant to the President, and he made first contact with a rather amazing man, whose name slips my mind, but who was a Vice President of one of Germany's biggest insurance companies at the time, Allianz. This man was contemplating the jewellry in a store, looking through the storefront window for possible gift for his wife, when Bruce D. tapped him on the shoulder, and asked "Are you an honest person?" The man, himself rather tall, reported that as he turned he was unexpectedly forced to look up, as the man who had thus accosted him was yet taller. He responded: "If I should be honest about it: No." A most interesting conversion story then happened. Eventually this man was called to be the Bishop of the Duesseldorf Ward. Quite an amazing contacting technique.

I also remember running into Br. Bruce a number of years later when I was in the Army stationed in Germany, and in my last year was called to preside over our serviceman's branch in Ulm/Donau. Meanwhile, I discovered to my delight that he had been called to be president of the Munich serviceman's branch, just down the road a piece (he was a civilian, unlike myself), and we met and talked occasionally at stake leadership meetings.. By this time he could speak Russian fluently as well as German (he was working with one of the Russian-speaking radio services that broadcast into the Warsaw Pact nations).

Ah, those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end.

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Could we find meaningful Arabic in the Book of Mormon?

For example, what about Arabic Laman "Scoundrel" (or Laymun "Limes"?), and the nisbe-form Lamoni "Lamanite," and plural Lamanites "Scoundrels"? Lemuel (spelled once Lemual in the Original MS) may be named for King Lemu'el of Massa (Proverbs 31:1,4) -- with Massa a son of Ishma'el (Genesis 25:13-14). Sam may be the Arabic form of Hebrew Shem (according to Nibley). And Lehi may be related to Arabic al-Lahyu "The Jawbone" (presumably of Taurus the Bull). Finally, could Shiblon be Arabic for "Lion-cub; young-man, brave-youth"? (suggested by Nibley and Urrutia).

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Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply? Thanks.

If you want to "quote" someone in response to them, place the

link. You can also highlight the entire quote, and then click on the little "quote cloud" icon that is featured above. That will automatically place everything in quotes for you.

If you don't want to place quotes in your post, you can delete all of the "quote" mumbo jumbo and just respond. I know I'm missing a few things here, but that's basically the cliff notes version of posting on the board.

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Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply? Thanks.

Click "Reply" in the lower right-hand corner of the message to which you wish to reply. You will (eventually) see a pane like this:

[quote name='Robert F. Smith' timestamp='1283271980' post='1208903396']
Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply? Thanks.
[/quote]

The material in square brackets "quote" and "/quote" is called "tags". Everything within the tags will show up like this:

Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply? Thanks.

You can delete any of the text that does not apply to the message you are composing.

When you finish, the screen will look like this:

[quote name='Robert F. Smith' timestamp='1283271980' post='1208903396']
Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply? Thanks.
[/quote]
Your reply goes here.

If you want to break up the original message, just put in a new /quote tag (the square brackets [] are critical) at the end of the original first portion and a new quote tag at the beginning of the next section. It will look like this:

[quote name='Robert F. Smith' timestamp='1283271980' post='1208903396']
Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply?[/quote]
This is where your reply to the first part of the quoted text goes.

[quote name='Robert F. Smith' post='1208903396']
Thanks.
[/quote]
Here's where your reply to the second part goes.

(I usually trim the quote tag a bit by deleting the "timestamp='1283271980'" element, but that's up to you.)

When you finish, it will look like this:

Could someone be so kind as to describe for me how to properly post a reply?

This is where your reply to the first part of the quoted text goes.

Thanks.

Here's where your reply to the second part goes.

All the best,

Lehi

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