For Susan and the word mafia!
Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jan 4, 2007 at 06:54
You are asking many good questions and I will be as brief as i can, and here are my answers:
1. The word mafia. I very much doubt that it is an Arabic word and the reason is one can very much guess what is an Arab word by using the so called root system of Sibawayhe and in the case of mafia it would be: MFY. But there is no such root in the Arabic language that I know of. But I will continue to look as the Arabic language went through changes after the classical period and this resulted from the fact the Arabic contrary to any language that I know of went from:
Quranic Arabic which is a very different Arabic that is full of strange non-Arabic words, many foreign words with Syriac as the main source of such words, defective Arabic grammar and many mistakes in synatx and spelling of words, and many missing long vowels and no short vowels and yes the Qur'an in Arabic is just as bad as it is in any translation------------------->3rd century of Islam the Ulama through the Muslim masora which is examination of the text of the Qur'an established what came to be known as classical Arabic which they assumed it to be the same as the Greek koine but in actual fact this is a language that no one speaks anyway-------------------> and as expected Arabic evolved right away into what we now call Middle Arabic which is a language that was the product of the cultures and languages, including loan words, of the old civilizations of the Middle East that were conjured by the Arabs. And we also see the development of the new dialects of Arabic resulting form the different ways of using vowels in the various parts of conquered lands by the Arabs.
So in the case of Syria Arabic absorbed many Syriac words, and in the case of Egypt Arabic has many Coptic and Greek loan words and in the case of Persia something else took place the Persian language thanks to Firdawsi's Shahnamah survived but the end result is that 20% of Persian are Arabic loan words.-----------------------------> Then we have Modern Arabic and the phenomenon of diglosia and many loan words from the various languages and cultures of the Middle East.
So now back to the word mafia: if this word is indeed of Arabic origin, which i doubt very much, it must have been a loan word that got into the Arabic language than the other way around.
2. Re: name changes by converts. No it is not mandatory not in classical Islam or in modern Islam. However, many muslim converts as part of the process of becoming a wannabe Arab select some Arabic name. And also notice that the further you go away from the epicenter of islam and that is the Hijaz the more you will see that the names become less and less "Arabic" names. Example our dear Sheikh Hamad with his name he will be a joke in a place like Egypt where proper names might not reveal the religious identity of the person. And many of these named might sound like Arabic names but they are not. case in point in the case of Egypt the name Tahani (the m. name is Hani). It sounds Arabic but it is for sure a Coptic name and the giveaway is the letter T infront of Hani. And what you also see in a place like pakistan you will see a different twist on names so Arabic Shadia becomes Urdu Shazia and Arabic Reda becomes Persian Reza.
And then we have the funny names the likes of our dear Zakir Naik whose first name sounds Arabic but it is for sure not a common Arabic name, and his last name is for sure a vulgar Arabic word for sex. Also nitce that one of the presidents of India who was a Muslim his name was Abdul Kalam which sounds like an Arabic name but it will not be used by Arabs.
And it is legal to change your name here in the US so the convert can also change his name on documents etc...
3. Name sharing and racial profiling this is indeed a problem because many Syrian and lebanese Christians and many Copts share the same names with Muslims the likes of Sherif, Imad, Fadi etc...I know a Copt whose last name is Abd Allah! This is indeed a serious issue in racial profiling and I do not have an answer here.
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