Talk:Harun al-Rashid

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February 17, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
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Requested move 19 May 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: no consensus, defaults to the previous stable title which is Harun al-Rashid. Opposers cite the WP:MOSAR proposed guideline, which does seem to favour the "ar-" title, and although only a proposed guideline it does appear to have reasonable support and could be argued to meet the consistency criterion of the naming criteria. But the supporters, despite their lower numbers, made an argument that was better – they showed the dominance of the "al-" title in reliable sources and also showed it is the common form used by English-language authorities on the subject. This hits upon the recognisability and naturalness criteria laid out at WP:NC. The consensus was actually very close to "moved", although the practical outcome (page being moved back to Harun al-Rashid) is the same in this case either way. Jenks24 (talk) 17:37, 18 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Harun ar-RashidHarun al-Rashid – Following undiscussed move and this discussion. Both "Harun al-Rashid" and "Harun ar-Rashid" are perfectly fine alternatives for transliterating the same name, with the latter favoured by our WP:MOSAR guideline on Arabic names because it is closer to actual phonetic pronunciation. The problem is that the former form is overwhelmingly the more common in relevant literature (GBooks Ngram, 480 GBooks hits vs 112 hits, 4,120 GScholar hits vs 1,210 hits (all contain a few irrelevant hits of works by a modern biologist and other modern people with the name), and is used by the premier reference works on medieval Islam such as the Encyclopaedia of Islam ([1]), the Cambridge History of Islam ([2]), the Cambridge History of Iran ([3]), the Oxford History of Islam ([4]), the collective translation of al-Tabari ([5]), etc., by scholars like C. E. Bosworth, Hugh N. Kennedy, et al. In short, we have two equally correct forms, one of which is about four times more common in scholarly literature and clearly more common in the major English-language reference works. --Relisted. George Ho (talk) 08:00, 26 May 2015 (UTC) Constantine 21:11, 19 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Strong Oppose nonstandard transliteration. Google Books has about 141,000 results for "Harun ar-Rashid", but only about 57,600 results for "Harun al-Rashid". So the current name is the better option. Also, in such a dispute I think the solution is to favor the standard transliteration per WP:MOSAR. A sun letter (like "R") in an Arabic title can't be preceded by "al-". In our case, "R" changes "al-" into "ar-". The current name "Harun ar-Rashid" is equally recognizable and more common per Google Books search, and a further advantage in it is that it's the accurate and standard transliteration. Khestwol (talk) 03:19, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment please re-check the GBooks result, if you follow the result pages you'll see that the initial numbers given are grossly inflated. The actual numbers are the ones I give above. as for "nonstandard transliteration", that is pure nonsense. MOARAB accepts it as equally valid and it is used by the most respectable reference works. This appears to be your opinion. Constantine 16:00, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Google Books search has clearly proved for us that the current spelling is more common in books to transliterate the Arabic name into English. And that was just a comparison between the 2 names, there are also other less common alternative spellings in use. As for your other claim that "as for "nonstandard transliteration", that is pure nonsense. MOARAB accepts it as equally valid", that is clearly not true. Because WP:MOSAR clearly uses the assimilated letters (i.e. it prefers to use "ar-" when the indefinite article is followed by "R") and calls it the correct pronunciation. MOSAR states: For this manual of style, assimilated letters will be used, as it aids readers in the correct pronunciation. I recommend for you to also read and understand the article sun and moon letters, because that is what MOSAR is referring to. Khestwol (talk) 18:54, 20 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Khestwol, perhaps you didn't notice it, but I also provide the same results, only I bothered to check if the numbers presented actually work out, because from other similar discussions I know that initial GBooks results are often inflated. Please check again, and this time try to follow the result pages to the end, or simply check my links. Constantine 19:50, 28 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Khestwol, please see WP:CHERRYPICKING yourself: GBooks, GScholar, usage in the most reputable English-language sources, are all on the "al-" side. The one who cherrypicks is you, by seizing on the initial assessment of GBooks and that alone, which does not represent actual results, while ignoring all other evidence that doesn't support your view. Constantine 07:08, 29 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment no, both transliterations are "correct", which is why you will find the "al-" form used by the most respectable publications and scholars. Unless you or Khestwol are willing to claim superior knowledge to hugh N. Kennedy or C. E. Bosworth... Constantine 19:50, 28 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you hear the name from an arabic speaker, he will say "Haroon Arrasheed", not "Haroon Al Rasheed". (you should read the sun and moon letters thing) However, I don't have a particularly strong view on this, both are more or less acceptable, but the current title is the correct transliteration, it is also more popular in books, but less on the web. --Fauzan✆ talk✉ mail 03:04, 29 May 2015 (UTC) And yes, I consider myself more knowledgeable in this niche if those two can't understand shamsi and qamari.Reply[reply]
I am well aware of the pronunciation, and I don't think that "those two" or the multitude of other scholars active in the field, can't understand the difference between sun and moon letters, but that there is a specific, widely accepted system of transliteration in place. As you said, as WP:MOSAR says, both systems are equally acceptable. Therefore "correctness" is not an argument; it is a matter of usage, and despite Khestwol's WP:IDHT attitude, the evidence here is pretty clear. Constantine 07:07, 29 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support: I think Constantine have said everything very clear, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be moved. --HistoryofIran (talk) 14:01, 29 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Comment: Dear HistoryofIran, please elaborate how you think "Constantine have said everything very clear". Other than mentioning a few scholars and ignoring other countless scholars, Cplakidas (Constantine) has not showed that his proposed title is more common in Books, or that it is a better transliteration. Hence there is no good reason to move. I have produced evidence to refute Constantine's claim that his proposed title is (his claims in his words) "overwhelmingly the more common in relevant literature" and "about four times more common in scholarly literature" above: "Google Books has about 141,000 results for "Harun ar-Rashid", but only about 57,600 results for "Harun al-Rashid"." Also, do you want to move to a transliteration that is inaccurate per the article sun and moon letters? Khestwol (talk) 14:21, 29 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you take a look on major modern sources, you see the word "Harun al-Rashid", not "Harun ar-Rashid". Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't using the word "ar" on his name, like doing it on all the other caliphs? By the way, if you were ever doubting my words about when I said that about the major modern sources, which is normal and isn't a problem, then I would gladly write many major modern sources which use the word "al". --HistoryofIran (talk) 23:32, 30 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am sorry dear HistoryofIran, none of what you said is backed by evidence. There are more reliable Books using the current transliteration. Are you !voting here this just to blindly agree with your friend Cplakidas (Constantine)? Khestwol (talk) 04:17, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you !voting here this just to blindly agree with your friend Cplakidas (Constantine)? Really Khestwol? I expected more from you. And as I said, I would gladly write the name of the major modern sources, if you would like that (too lazy to do it right now so tell me if you want it or not so I can do it later). Furthermore, you did not answer my question, when I asked you the following thing: Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't using the word "ar" on his name, like doing it on all the other caliphs? --HistoryofIran (talk) 10:50, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why on all other caliphs? No, we won't. As far as I know, other articles are at their correct titles. If you have a specific article in your mind that you think needs to be moved, then please specify. But I think, they are at their correct titles. This article is also at its correct title right now. Khestwol (talk) 14:12, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I mean is.. well.. for example should we change Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz to "Abdallah ibn ar-Mu'tazz"? no, of course not, so why should it be like that on this article when all the other caliphs has the "al" word in their articles. Plus, as I said, Harun al-Rashid is used in all modern major sources, such as the "Encyclopedia of Islam", the sources of Hugh Kennedy (such as "The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century" and "The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State"), "the Cambridge History of Iran" and so on. --HistoryofIran (talk) 14:57, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But did you bother to read sun and moon letters yet? Show me where is "ar-Mu'tazz" used in reliable refs. That is even more inaccurate than your failed proposal for this article. I am sorry. Khestwol (talk) 15:23, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wait... what? well that escalated quickly. With all due respect, you seem to misunderstand what I am trying to say here, plus you also ignored what I wrote about Harun al-Rashid and the sources, which was the most important part of my comment, and pretty much proves that the "al" word should be used. --HistoryofIran (talk) 17:27, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have explained. The "ar-" form is a rare occurrence, it only occurs when the al- gets assimilated by a following word starting with Ra (ر‎). I am not aware of many other caliphs that have it in their names. You still do not seem to understand sun and moon letters, that is why you are asking me this question again. Khestwol (talk) 17:40, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That don't really matter, when he is commonly known as "Harun al-Rashid" in modern times, according to the sources i sent. --HistoryofIran (talk) 21:20, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stop repeating an assertion that's proven wrong from Google Books search. Khestwol (talk) 03:51, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So I should stop repeating the truth? simple as that, Harun al-Rashid in is modern times known as "Harun al-Rashid", not "Harun ar-Rashid". My major modern sources prove that, and I don't see anything wrong with it. --HistoryofIran (talk) 11:07, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Funny, right when I comment here you suddenly come, and since I know you have a history of looking at my contributions to find a way to bother me, then could you please explain what you mean :)? If I had opposed this instead, you would have probably done the opposite. --HistoryofIran (talk) 23:32, 30 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You think very wrong about me. I have no problem with you. I am interested in Abbasid caliphs and furthermore, Fatimid caliphs. Just take a look view history of those articles, you will see my edits there. I was busy recently because of my exams. That's why i typed my opinion here 10 days after the start of the discussion. --Qara Arslan Khan 09:46, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Alright, but I am still waiting for a more proper explanation why you oppose this. --HistoryofIran (talk) 10:50, 31 May 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Support. "Harun al-Rashid" follows the ALA-LC romanization, established by the American Library Association and the Library of Congress, and used overwhelmingly in US academic sources and which Wikipedia explicitly adopts (WP:MOSAR). Specifically note rule 17(c) in ALA-LC (link: [6]), requesting transliterations into "al-" regardless of whether it is followed by a sun letter or not. (Explicitly: "the ل of the article (ال) is always romanized l whether it is followed by a "sun letter" or not, i.e. regardless of whether or not it is assimilated in pronunciation to the initial consonant of the word to which it is attached.") Admittedly, "ar-Rashid" may be useful guide for pronouncing it correctly in Arabic. But it is not pronounced "ar-Rashid" in English. It is "al-Rashid", that is how it is pronounced in English, and the rule for transliteration in an English text. Unless you're writing out an entire phrase in Arabic, where Arabic pronunciation is of importance or being emphasized, the default should always be to the rules of English transliteration.
P.S @Khewstol - your Googlebook numbering is misleading. Most of those are meaningless "ghost hits" (non-existent) and should never be used. You need click your way to end of the pages to actually check how many references there really are. On my browser, "Harun al-Rashid" yields up 76 pages worth of gbooks (al-Rashid), whereas "Harun ar-Rashid" yields up merely 26 pages (ar-Rashid). Al-Rashid is clearly dominant. Just for the record, Britannica uses (al-Rashid) and the authoritative Encylopedia of Islam, published by Brill, also uses "Harun al-Rashid" p.271. Walrasiad (talk) 16:33, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the input to this discussion. However, regardless of which name do you think is more common per Books, WP:MOSAR doesn't say we have to follow that particular ALA-LC romanization. So whatever is standard according to ALA-LC should not affect us here. In Wikipedia's own manual of style for titles, the al- is assimilated (in our case, it assimilates into ar-), so I consider the correct, assimilated transliteration as standard for a Wikipedia's article title. Khestwol (talk) 19:03, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also I find your comments about WP:MOSAR to be very misleading. No, WP:MOSAR does not totally adopt ALA-LC. Please read the page on WP:MOSAR more carefully. The transliteration of Arabic used by Wikipedia is based on the ALA-LC Romanization method, with a few simple changes that make it easier to manage and read. As it can be seen from that page, WP:MOSAR clearly doesn't support any title change (see the section on indefinite articles "Definite article"). Khestwol (talk) 20:52, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ALA-LC says, without doubt, that it is "Harun al-Rashid" over "ar-Rashid". Without doubt, Wikipedia adopts ALA-LC as a matter of policy. It does makes room for exceptions, as it says, to make it "easier to manage and read". That is not mean it is arbitrary. It specifies omitting "accents, underscores and underdots" (WP: MOSAR) that ALA-LC might use. That is not the case here. Under no stretch of the imagination is "al-Rashid" is as not easier to manage and read than "ar-Rashid". So you can't appeal to that. The only other item of policy exception is if you can prove if is primary transliteration, which again is not arbitrary, but which WP:MOSAR specifically states has to be proven to dominate 75% of cases. Which again is not true here, if anything the ratio is the reverse. I am sorry, Khestwol. This may not be your preferred transliteration, but "Harun al-Rashid" is easily the correct form by Wikipedia policy. Your arguments for "ar-Rashid" simply can't be sustained. I don't need to remind you that you rested it on two arguments - sun letters and preponderance - both of which I have proven above are wrong. Unless you come up with a third argument, I don't see how you can continue to oppose this move, other than WP:ILIKEIT. This move is consistent with Wikipedia policy. Walrasiad (talk) 22:43, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Having re-read the MOSAR on definite articles (not indefinite), Wikipedia policy does seem strangely inconsistent. I will continue to support the move to "al-Rashid", on the basis of preponderance of transcription. But it seems you are not wholly wrong on sun letters policy. I believe a discussion on WP:MOSAR is warranted to clarify the policy. Walrasiad (talk) 23:12, 1 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Wikipedia's Manual of Style is crystal clear on the standard transliteration of the Arabic definite article. WP:MOSAR#Definite article states: Arabic has only one definite article, "ال" ("al-"). However, if it is followed by a solar letter (listed in the table right), the "L" is assimilated in pronunciation with this solar letter and the solar letter is doubled.
  • Examples: تقي الدين (Taqi al-Din) is pronounced and transliterated as "Taqi ad-Din"

Both the non-assimilated ("al-") or the assimilated ("ad-") form appear in various standards of transliteration, and both allow the recreation of the original Arabic. For this manual of style, assimilated letters will be used, as it aids readers in the correct pronunciation.
Other transliteration schemes such as ALA-LC have been acknowledged on WP:MOSAR but English Wikipedia has its own standard transliteration. I am strongly disappointed that your !vote is only based on your misunderstanding of WP:MOSAR and on your WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT. Khestwol (talk) 08:02, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Khestwol, "English Wikipedia has its own standard transliteration" is precisely the problem with your position. Wikipedia is not a reliable source, it is not an authority in itself. It is obliged to follow what actual authorities use; and if a naming guideline contravenes established usage, then the established usage must at all times be preferred over the guideline. Per WP:NAME (which BTW is a policy, as against WP:MOSAR, which is a proposed guideline), "In determining which of several alternative names is most frequently used, it is useful to observe the usage of major international organizations, major English-language media outlets, quality encyclopedias, geographic name servers, major scientific bodies, and notable scientific journals." Constantine 11:47, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Cplakidas (Constantine), this is Wikipedia, so we have to favor Wikipedia's guidelines, not your personal whims. Regarding finding the established usage, you need to look around articles more carefully on the various transliterations of Arabic right here on Wikipedia. See for example Hans Wehr transliteration, which states: Definite article: The Arabic definite article الـ is represented as al- except where assimilation occurs: al- + šams is transliterated aš-šams (see sun and moon letters). The United Nations also recommends assimilating al- before a sun letter, as presented in the link here. See the Note on Page 2 of the UN recommendation on the link: When the indefinite article al precedes a word beginning with one of the "sun letters" (t, th, d, dh, r, z, s, sh, ṣ, ḍ, ṭ, ẓ, l, n) the l of the definite article is assimilated with the first consonant of the word: الشارقة ash-Shāriqah. Sorry but evidence does not support your assumptions.
The editor Walrasiad does !vote in your favor, but even he admitted a while ago that he had not even read WP:MOSAR properly. Khestwol (talk) 12:48, 2 June 2015 (UTC)e
But Cplakiades is right. Guidelines are not the same as requirements, and common usage should prevail - as even MOSAR acknowledges in "primary transcription" section. That said, for the record, I am currently requesting a change at WP:MOSAR, to rectify that contradictory codicil on sun letters (talk here). Not sure if you want to wait for the denouement of that effort before making a decision on this page. Walrasiad (talk) 13:00, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I do not find that to be the right approach Walrasiad. WP:MOSAR, in the current state, represents a consensus between Wikipedia editors and we will consider it as our Manual of Style. Khestwol (talk) 13:18, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
@Khestwol: I really try to be patient, but your attitude, frankly, is extremely annoying. From rudely "advising" me to read WP:CHERRYPICK, to accusing HistoryofIran of tag-along voting, to applying double standards on predominant usage in our discussion above, and to blatantly ignoring my repeated pointers to check the actual number of GBooks hits, I see a clear WP:DONTLIKEIT pattern here, as well as a persistent effort to derail the issue as I raised it in the initial WP:RM request. I never said that ALA-LC is the only transliteration system, or that there are no publications/organizations/etc. who use or recommend your position. My view, from the outset, has been clear: it has been about usage, which, in English at least, is predominantly with the article unassimilated, and includes most of the standard reference works for Arabic and Islamic studies. So please spare me the "evidence does not support your assumptions", my "personal whims" and the other snide comments. I make no "assumptions", I have documented my position on usage very clearly from the outset, and I have yet to see you actually refute that with any hard evidence; instead you have focused on the initial GBooks hits, (deliberately?) ignoring that from the start I demonstrated them to be overblown, and the WP:MOSAR guideline, which is a) arrived at by volunteer amateurs (albeit well-intentioned no doubt) and not academics and b) is a suggestion and not a policy, and which cannot possibly override overwhelming academic and popular usage. If usage were different, I'd definitely support your view. Seriously, this is not about you or me, nor will the outcome of this discussion change our lives. So grow up. Sincerely, Constantine 15:02, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Sigh, Cplakidas (Constantine). All you are doing is WP:PERSONAL attacking me in response to the evidence about why the page should *not* be moved. Stop. Your claim in your OP that "we have two equally correct forms, one of which is about four times more common in scholarly literature" was not proven to be true. The proposal to change the title was based on a faulty POV. So your assertions will be continued to be opposed by evidence unless a good enough reason is provided for change. Khestwol (talk) 15:36, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Life years: dubious[edit]

"17 March 763 or February 766– 24 March 809 CE / 148–193 AH"

  • 2 birth years in CE, only one in AH
  • I'm not sure the CE & AH years match - he apparently lived either 46 or 43 Julian years, and 45 Hijri years. As far as I know, the Hijri year is shorter than the Gregorian year, which is very close to the Julian year. So that cannot be correct, either in AH or AD/CE. Arminden (talk) 22:01, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Arminden: Thanks for raising this. The CE death date is taken as fact in tertiary sources and the piece itself has a reliably sourced section that explains where, when and why his death occurred, so I've removed the AH date for now. The only source previously present for the dates was a primary one, so wherever the AH date came from, it was not reliably cited. Iskandar323 (talk) 06:24, 29 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Policy towards Christians[edit]

A mentionworthy detail of Harun al-Rashid's diplomacy was his accomodating policy towards Christianity. Notably, his embassy to Charlemagne included handing him the city keys of Jerusalem, acknowlidging Jersualem as the Christian capital and symbolically putting it under the Christian Emperor's protection. 2A02:810D:12BF:FB6C:F56E:AE8D:29C0:5FA2 (talk) 22:41, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]