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al-S̲h̲ām, al-S̲h̲aʾm

(23,192 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E. | Lammens, H. | Perthes, V. | Lentin, J.
, Syria, etymologically, “the left-hand region”, because in ancient Arab usage the speaker in western or central Arabia was considered to face the rising sun and to have Syria on his left and the Arabian peninsula, with Yaman (“the rig̲h̲thand region”), on his right (cf. al-Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ ., iii, 140-1 = § 992; al-Muḳaddasī, partial French tr. A. Miquel, La meilleure répartition pour la connaissance des provinces , Damascus 1963, 155-6, both with other, fanciful explanations). In early Islamic usage, the term bilād al-S̲h̲ām covered what in early 20th-…