January 6, 2010

Al-Qae'da in Arabic : What does it mean ?

Someone asked me the question if the noun Al-Qaeda in Arabic means latrine ?

This very short post will give you different meanings for the word al-Qaeda, including some etymological roots - by no means exhaustive as Arabic is a complex and rich language.

Every noun in Arabic derives from a Verb.

Qa'ada is the verb to sit

Maq'ad is a noun meaning --  a seat, a chair, a position,  and a polite word for bottom. i.e the part of the body that one sits with/on.

Qae'da is another noun meaning - the base/foundation of something, can be thing, concept, etc...

Qae'da also means - the generally agreed upon rule. Like you can say al qaeda is - meaning - ordinarily that would be such and such...

Qawa'ed means Grammar and can also mean the rules or foundations of something. Qawa'ed al Qanoon, or Qawaed al Adab -- i.e the rules of Law, or the rules of Literature...i.e the agreed upon definitions/rules of something.

Other etymological derivatives from the root A-Q -D are :

1) Qa'ed : meaning Leader a derivative from the verb Qada - ie  to lead. 



2) Aqeeda can mean many things and can be used in different contexts.  

Aqeeda can mean ; convenant, agreed upon law, ideology, ideological ties, ideological belief, it can also mean tradition, like one can say " Al Aqeeda al Ta'efiya" - the ideological ties based on a sect faith/beliefs or one can say "Al Aqeeda al Asha'eriya " meaning the ideological ties/convenant /agreed upon law of tribes based on tribal customs and beliefs...

Aqeeda also means ideological consensus. Ideology in a comprehensive sense as in firm belief. For example one says al Aqeeda Al-Islamia, the ideological consensus/contract of Faith, the convenant of Faith.

Aqeeda comes from the verb Aqada meaning to tie or to settle...
He tied the rope = aqada al habl, or aqada al bay' = he settled the sale.

Aqada the verb to tie or to settle gives birth to another noun - Aqd - a contract. It can mean any type of contract.

I am NO linguist but it seems to me that the Arabic words Qae'da, Qawaed, Aqeeda, Aqd -- all point to something fundamental -- symbolically speaking at least, with definite common phonetics. Something to do with contract, rule, belief,  faith, covenant, foundation, base -- that tie together the Whole.