December 11, 2010

Names of the Sun

Among the names of the sun are al-Ilāha and al-Alāha ["The Goddess"]. Ibn 'Abbas recited: wa-ilāhataka [i.e. "your goddess," a variant of the orthodox reading wa-ālihataka, i.e. "your gods," in Surat al-A'rāf where the question is put to Pharaoh: "Will you give Moses leave to spread corruption in the land and take leave of you and your gods?"]. And a poet said:

    "We fanned ourselves of an afternoon at al-La'bā'
        and sped al-Ilāha in her setting."

The "orbit" around an axis of the sky is called al-falak. God, be He exalted and magified, says [in Surat al-Anbiyā']: "All are in a falak swimming."
        The phenomenon called "devil's snot" [mukhāt al-shaytān], which occurs when dust and gossamer come together, is also called "sun snot" [mukhāt al-shams].
        The 'ab of the sun is its illumination and its beauty; or 'abb is said with the same meaning. As a man's name or a tribal name it is a shortening of 'Abd Shams ["Servant of the Sun"]. Alternately, this name is said as 'Aba Shams, and is altogether undeclined, as in the verse:

    "When 'Aba Shams saw the sun in its brisk rise
        over their people, with al-Julhumi at their head..."

Al-Dihh ["The Glare"] is the sun. Dhu 'l-Rumma said:

    "You see its hills blaze in the glare of al-Dihh,
        abetted by winds hot like sparks on dry tinder."

Al-ayā is the illumination and beauty of the sun, and is also applied to the beauty of plants in bloom. Al-iyā' is heard with the same meaning, as in the verse:

    "Two colors - red and dusty black - are in competition
        for the iyā' of the sun whose going down you see."

Also said for the sun's brilliance is al-iyāh, as in the verse by Tarafa:

    "[So bright were her teeth, it was as if] she had sipped the sun's iyāh,
                except for her gums
        which were painted with kohl she took pains not to smudge
                with the work of her teeth."

[...] After the sun has set, it is called Barāhi ["The Departer"]. Birāhi too is heard. A poet said:

        "Here stood the two feet of Rabah
         who journeyed until the setting of Barāhi."

"O you," they say when the sun has ceased shining, "Barāhi has gone down."

From The Book of Seasons and Invocation in the Time before Islam by Abu 'Ali Muhammad al-Mustanir, known as Qutrub