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Encyclopedia > Ajam

Ajam (عجم) in Arabic literally means "one who is illiterate in a language" or "mute", and can refer to non-Arabs in general, or specifically Persians. In the other hands, it is a racist form of referring to people of Persian/Iranian descent used by some Arabs. It has been used as a part of a propaganda against Iranians by some Arab countries encouraging conflict with Iran. In the former sense it is a neutral term meaning "stranger" or "foreign." In the latter sense it can be considered a derogatory term by Arabs towards Persians.[1]. Similair slurs were used against other peoples as well, as in the word abd, This term, literally "slave" in Arabic, is used as a slur against Blacks and persons of mixed African descent. Usage is consistent with the Arab institution of black slavery that lasted from approximately 900 to 1962. The different uses of the word Ajami, or Ajam, are related. ... Arabic ( or just ), is the largest member of the family of Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic. ... Speech disorders, or speech impediments as they are also called, are a type of communication disorders where normal speech is disrupted. ... For other uses, see Arab (disambiguation). ... The Persians are an Iranian people who speak the Persian language and share a common culture and history. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Arabic ( or just ), is the largest member of the family of Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic. ... Majed Abdullah Afro-Arab refers to a people identified as having mixed African and Arab origins, and whose native language is Arabic. ...

Contents

Etymology

Origin

Ajam has two primary meanings in Arabic: "non-Arab" and "Persian".[2]


The word `ajam comes from the Arabic root `-j-m. Related forms of the same root include, but are not limited to:[3]

  • `ajama / 'a'jama / `ajjama: to dot - in particular, to add the dots that distinguish between various Arabic letters to a text (and hence make it easier for a non-native Arabic speaker to read). Now an obsolete term, since all modern Arabic texts are dotted. This may also be linked to `ajaam / `ajam: pit/seed (eg of a date or grape).
  • in'ajama: (of speech) to be incomprehensible
  • ista'jama: to fall silent; to be unable to speak
  • 'a'jam: non-fluent
  • musta'jim: mute, incapable of speech

Homophonous words, which may or may not be derived from the same root, include:

  • `ajama: to test (a person); to try (a food).

A Persian folk etymology derives the word from the name of an ancient Persian king, Jamshid, though this is linguistically dubious. The folk etymology would have "Ajam" as an arabized version of the kings name through the addition of the definite article al-. However, as jīm is a lunar and not a solar letter, the "l" would not be assimilated by the jīm and would not explain the ayin at the beginning of the word (as opposed to the alif in the article al-). Al- is a common prefix for Arabic names meaning the. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing Arabic and various other languages, together with various closely related scripts that typically differ in the presence or absence of a few letters. ... In this article, phonemes are transliterated as in the article DIN 31635 (see also Arabic transliteration). ... In this article, phonemes are transliterated as in the article DIN 31635 (see also Arabic transliteration). ... Ayin is the sixteenth letter in many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Hebrew, and Aramaic. ... Alif ﺍ is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. ...


Development

According to The Political Language of Islam, Ajam was originally used as a reference to denote those whom Arabs in the Arabian peninsula viewed as 'alien' or outsiders.[4] The early application of the term included all of the peoples with whom the Arabs had contact including Persians, Greeks, Ethiopians, and the somewhat related Nabataeans. Over time the term because specialized and referred to Persians almost exclusively as an ethnic term, but varied in its usage from place to place as the early Muslim conquests led to a much wider of Arabic-speakers. However, the original meaning still exists, and in much of the non-Arabic speaking Muslim world the term does not have a pejorative meaning as the word is understood to mean anyone who does not speak Arabic. The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... Petra, the Nabataean capital The Nabataeans were a trading people of ancient Arabia, whose oasis settlements in the time of Josephus gave the name of Nabatene to the borderland between Syria and Arabia, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. ...


Muhammad in his last sermon to the Muslims used the word ajami in the same way: This article is becoming very long. ... The Farewell Sermon, also known as the Prophets final sermon, is a famous sermon by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, delivered before his death, on the ninth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 A.H. (632 CE), at the end of his first & final pilgrimage. ...

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over an Ajami nor an Ajami has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action.

During the early age of the Caliphates, Ajam was often synonymous for "barbarian" or stranger[citation needed]. In the eastern portions of the Middle East, it was generally applied to the Persians, while in al-Andalus it referred to speakers of Romance languages - becoming "Aljamiado" in Spanish in reference to Arabic-script writing of those languages - and in West Africa, Ajami similarly refers to Ajami script, or the writing of local languages such as Hausa and Fulani in the Arabic alphabet. In Zanzibar ajami and ajamo means Persian which came from the Persian Gulf and the cities of Shiraz and Siraf. In Turkish and Urdu, the usage of the term is not used to any ethnic group, but instead may have evolved from the original Arabic usage for outsiders in general. Caliph is the title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or community of Islam. ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... Al-Andalus is the Arabic name given the Iberian Peninsula by its Muslim conquerors; it refers to both the Caliphate proper and the general period of Muslim rule (711–1492). ... The Romance languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, comprise all languages that descended from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. ... A text in a Romance language is said to be aljamiado if it is written using the Arabic or Hebrew alphabets, as texts written in the Mozarabic or Ladino languages are. ...  Western Africa (UN subregion)  Maghreb West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. ... The term Ajami, or Ajamiyya, which comes from the Arabic root for foreign or stranger has been applied to Arabic-based orthographies of African languages. ... The term Ajami, or Ajamiyya, which comes from the Arabic root for foreign or stranger has been applied to Arabic-based orthographies of African languages. ... Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... The Fula language is a language of West Africa, spoken by the Fula people from Senegal to Cameroon and Sudan. ... The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing Arabic and various other languages, together with various closely related scripts that typically differ in the presence or absence of a few letters. ... Motto: Uhuru na Umoja (Swahili: Freedom and Unity) Anthem: Mungu ibariki Afrika (God Bless Africa) Capital (and largest city) Stone Town English Government Republic  - President Amani Abeid Karume  - Prime Minister Shamsi Vuai Nahodha Independence From the United Kingdom   - Tanganyika December 9, 1961   - Zanzibar December 19, 1963   - Merge April 26, 1964... Map of the Persian Gulf Siraf, a legendary ancient port, was located on the north shore of the Iranian coast on the Persian Gulf. ... (اردو) is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch, belonging to Indo-European family of languages. ...


"Ajam" as referring to "Persians"

According to Encyclopedia Iranica, the word "ajam" was "applied especially to Persians" by the Arabs and means "to mumble, and speak indistinctly," which is the opposite of the meaning "chaste," "correct", and "Arabic language."[5] In general, ajam was a pejorative term used by Arabs conscious of their social and political superiority, in early Islam. However, the distinction between Arab and Ajam is discernible in pre-Islamic poetry.[5] Encyclopædia Iranica is a project of Columbia Universitys Center for Iranian Studies to create a comprehensive and authoritiative English language encyclopedia about the history and culture of Iran and Persia. ...


In the Persian Gulf region today, people usually refer to Persian as Ajami as they refer to Persian carpet (Ajami carpet or Sajjad al Ajami), Persian cat (Ajami cat), and Persian emperors (Ajami kings). It has been suggested that Persian Gulf States be merged into this article or section. ...


The Persian community in Bahrain calls itself Ajami. See: Ajam (Bahrain) The Ajam (عجم) are a community of Persians in Bahrain. ...


Other usages

  • Among Kurds, the term Ajam (Ecem in Kurdish, Pron: عجم) is used to refer to Persians and Azeris.[6]
  • Adjam, Hajjam, Ajaim, Ajami, Akham (as Axam in Spain for ajam), Ayam in eastern Europe.
  • In Turkish, the usage of the term is not applied to any ethnic group, but instead appears to have evolved from the original Arabic usage for outsiders in-general and shifted into a different meaning as the term ajemi (in modern Turkish acemi) literally means clumsy, inept or novice.
  • In Iraq Ajam is primarily used to refer to those of Iranian origin.
  • It is also used as a surname.[7]
  • Also refers to a group of Arabic families, mostly from gulf regions that lived in Persia and returned back to the gulf areas of the Middle East.
  • In India, it is also used to describe a community of people of Indian Muslims, whose breadwinners usually worked as barbers. Ajam communities are also now found in England; particularly Bradford, Leicester and Birmingham.

Kurds are one of the Iranian peoples and speak Kurdish, a north-Western Iranian language related to Persian. ... The Kurdish language is an Iranian language spoken in the region called Kurdistan, including Kurdish populations in parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. ... The Persians are an Iranian people who speak the Persian language and share a common culture and history. ... Azerbaijanis or Azerbaijani Turks, are a Muslim people who number more than 25 million worldwide. ...

References

  1. ^ See:*http://www.cambridgesecurity.net/pdf/iraqi-mindset.pdf*http://www.iranchamber.com/podium/history/030506_persians_just_non_greek.pdf
  2. ^ http://dictionary.sakhr.com/idrisidic_2.asp?Sub=%da%cc%e3
  3. ^ Lisan al-Arab
  4. ^ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226476936
  5. ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica, Ajam, p.700
  6. ^ See:
    • http://victorian.fortunecity.com/hillcrest/603/Html_files/news25.htm
    • http://ku.wiktionary.org/wiki/ecem
    • http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:pyaGd76M6x8J:www.geocities.com/malperanudem/mehname/23/22.html+Ecem+Kurd+Fars&hl=en
  7. ^ http://static.namesdatabase.com/names2/A/J/Ajam.html

Encyclopædia Iranica is a project of Columbia Universitys Center for Iranian Studies to create a comprehensive and authoritiative English language encyclopedia about the history and culture of Iran and Persia. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ajam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (823 words)
Ajam (عجم) in Arabic literally means "one who is illiterate in a language" or "mute", and can refer to non-Arabs in general, or specifically Persians.
During the early age of the Caliphates, Ajam was often synonymous for "barbarian" (uncivilized) or stranger.
In Iraq Ajam is primarily used to refer to Shias of Iranian origin.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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