Abdul Alhazred, the “half-crazed Arab”

This article is also available in: Italiano

Abdul Alhazred is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most interesting and most successful figures in the entire universe of H.P. Lovecraft, becoming the protagonist as a writer of the Necronomicon. His biography then abounds with elements deeply linked to the Arab world

Abdul Alhazred

According to the texts of H.P. Lovecraft, Abdul Alhazred was born in Sana’a, Yemen around 700 AD. From here he would have moved towards the ruins of Babylon first and then into the hidden tunnels of Memphis, finally finding himself wandering for 10 years in the ruins of the Rub ‘al Khali desert. It was here that, surrounded by constant whispers of jinn, he would discover the legendary Iram of the Pillars, as well as the Nameless City.

Abdul Alhazred

Once he discovered the secrets of the ancestral Yogg Sothoth and Ctulhu, he would convert to their faith, then go to Damascus where he wrote the book “al Azif”, known here as Necronomicon. At the end of everything he would then be devoured by a mysterious creature, bringing an eternal curse to anyone who had read this tome.

Many references to the Arab world

We specify it right away: everything we have written is part of the universe imagined by H.P. Lovecraft and has no concrete reference to the reality that surrounds us, even if it constantly relies on the right stimuli. The American writer actually captures a great many quotes and clichés that are extremely popular and widespread in the Arab world, even regarding places.

Abdul Alhazred

In fact, Yemen has always been particularly linked to magic compared to the other countries of the Arabian Peninsula. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the Queen of Sheba came precisely from these lands, moreover the long and prosperous Jewish presence brought elements linked to the Kabbalah and Jewish esotericism into the region, as it later happened in Morocco. Another extremely suitable place is the Rub ‘al Khali desert. This area has always inspired Bedouin myths and legends, closely linked with jinn and with the myth of Iram delle Colonne; the presence of several cities hidden in the desert, albeit strictly human, is also plausible. It is also interesting that he died in Damascus which, in fact, at the time was one of the centers of absolute knowledge, a perfect place for anyone who followed little traditional knowledge.

An interesting name

The genius, however, also lies in the pseudonym more intricate than it may seem. If most sources report that it is a simple distortion of “All has read”, there are some possible interpretations that would make it even more brilliant. While it may not be a real Arabic name and precisely because of the repetition of the article (Abdul is actually spelled “Abd al”, making the second article useless), there are much more than interesting ideas that could have been used for Alhazred.

Abdul Alhazred

In fact, he could have taken his cue from Alhazen, translator from Ptolemaic into Arabic of many texts, or from al Haytham, optician, scientist and physicist, who were both reported in Latin under the name of Alhazen. Another possibility could be a derivation from the Arabic Hazrat which goes to identify the divinity. This name then passed, like Hadrat, as an honorary title for the great personalities, ideally identified as “presences”. In any case, it seems that the knowledge of H.P. Lovecraft seems far more thorough than one would say, even considering that he attributed the biography of Abdul Alhazred to the real Arab biographer Ibn Khallikan, giving some even a doubt of authenticity.

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