December 11, 2010

Names of the Sun

Among the names of the sun are al-Ilāha and al-Alāha ("The Goddess"). Ibn ‘Abbās recited [Sūrat al-A‘rāf 7:127 with the words] wa-ilāhataka ["your goddess," in place of the dominant reading wa-ālihataka "your gods" in the question to Pharaoh: "Will you allow Moses and his people to spread corruption in the land, and leave you and your gods behind?"]. And a poet said (meter: kāmil):

    We spent the afternoon fanning ourselves at al-La‘bā’,
        speeding along al-Ilāha in her setting.

The "orbit" around the heavens' axis is called al-falak. God, be He exalted and magified, says [in Sūrat al-Anbiyā’ 21:33]: "All are in a falak swimming."
        The phenomenon called "devil's snot" [mukhāṭ al-shayṭān], which occurs when dust and cobwebs come together [and float in the air], is also called "sun snot" [mukhāṭ al-shams].
        The ‘ab or ‘abb of the sun is its illumination and its beauty. ‘Abba Shams, however, is a metathesis of the name ‘Abd Shams ("Servant of the Sun"). As a group name [for the Banū ‘Abd Shams, a clan of Quraysh], it is shortened to ‘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-Julhimī 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
        in 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 Ṭarafa:

    [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 Barāḥi ("The Departer"). Birāḥi too is heard. A poet said (meter: rajaz):

    Here stood the two feet of Rabāḥ
    who journeyed until the setting of Barāḥi."

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

From The Book of Seasons and Invocation in the Time before Islam
    by Abū ‘Alī Muḥammad al-Mustanīr, known as Quṭrub