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Mazar-e-Sharif

English translation: Shrine of the Sharif

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:Mazar-e-Sharif
English translation:Shrine of the Sharif
Entered by: Fuad Yahya
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14:27 Nov 2, 2001
Arabic to English translations [Non-PRO]
Arabic term or phrase: Mazar-e-Sharif
City
Gerald Austin
shrine of Ali/the Sharif
Explanation:

Sharif is a title that one would not normally translate, equivalent variously to prince, lord, noble. In this particular case the reference is to Ali, 4th caliph.

According to an old chronicle, in 1480 a man arrived at Kabul claiming to have discovered the tomb of Ali in the Balkh region. An excavation uncovered a stone with the inscription: "This is the shrine of the Lion of God, the holy Ali, brother of the prophet." A mosque was constructed and the village took the name of Mazar-e-Sharif.

This information comes from the reference below.
Selected response from:

xxxAbu Amaal
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Summary of answers provided
4 +3shrine of Ali/the SharifxxxAbu Amaal
4 +1shrine of the virtuousMohsen Hantout
4Shrine of the Sharif - continuedFuad Yahya
4Shrine of the SharifFuad Yahya
5 -1Mazar-e-Sharif
Rachel Alawy
4shrine of the virtuousMohsen Hantout


  

Answers


38 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
shrine of the virtuous


Explanation:
Mazar in Arabic means a shrine or a sanctuary.. (e) a defined word and word sharif also exists in English which means noble, virtuous, honest, upright person..
So Masar e sharif means a shrine or a holy place of the virtuous or the upright person..
Amir Hantout
http://www.amir.be


    Reference: http://www.amir.be
Mohsen Hantout
Belgium
Local time: 04:57

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Yaqoob: I think Sharif may also be a direct reference to Muhammed
8 mins

disagree  Rachel Alawy: See below.
3 hrs

agree  proz_hello: You are right just ignore alawyllc
6 days
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39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
shrine of the virtuous


Explanation:
Mazar in Arabic means a shrine or a sanctuary.. (e) a defined word and word sharif also exists in English which means noble, virtuous, honest, upright person..
So Masar e sharif means a shrine or a holy place of the virtuous or the upright person..
Amir Hantout
http://www.amir.be


    Reference: http://www.amir.be
Mohsen Hantout
Belgium
Local time: 04:57
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

52 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
shrine of Ali/the Sharif


Explanation:

Sharif is a title that one would not normally translate, equivalent variously to prince, lord, noble. In this particular case the reference is to Ali, 4th caliph.

According to an old chronicle, in 1480 a man arrived at Kabul claiming to have discovered the tomb of Ali in the Balkh region. An excavation uncovered a stone with the inscription: "This is the shrine of the Lion of God, the holy Ali, brother of the prophet." A mosque was constructed and the village took the name of Mazar-e-Sharif.

This information comes from the reference below.



    Reference: http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/teaching/UVLibre/9900/bin50/maza...
xxxAbu Amaal
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
Graded automatically based on peer agreement. KudoZ.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  sithanem: the prophet had no brothers Ali was his cousin
1 hr
  -> thanks, can't vouch for any of the details on that page

neutral  Rachel Alawy: Ali was killed in the Land of Iraq. Also the Prophet compared Ali to Aaron with Reference to Moses. Revisit Tradition.
4 hrs
  -> bad news for the pilgrim trade then ...

agree  Fuad Yahya: Thanks for the legend and for your excellent contributions all over ProZ.
16 hrs
  -> very kind, thank you

agree  proz_hello: alawyllc doesn't know what is going on here "He should be bounced"
6 days
  -> There's an active discussion in the forums around such matters. Not a lot of room for it here (literally!)
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Mazar-e-Sharif


Explanation:
I do not know how the Afghanis themselves would say it. Since I have only heard it from American TV, which does not pick up foreign names properly, I will suggest and take a few guesses.

1) Al-Mazarosh-Sharif المزار الشريف. The Holy Shrine. Since it is the name of that town, maybe the town was built around a single holy shrine of somebody which is not known or not mentioned.

2) Mazarosh-Sharif مزار الشريف. The shrine of the Sharif. In This case the "Sharif" is a proper adjective (or should I say a Title) of the children of Al-Hassan and Al-Hussain, May Allah be pleased with them all, the two Grand Children of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Upon Him.

If one of our Holy House of the Prophet, Peace upon Him, has traveled to that part of the Land and died there, maybe the indigenous have built a shrine for him, hence the name.

If that is the case, then I have to mention that in Saudi Arabia the children of our Uncle Al-Hassan are called Ash-Shraf أشراف (Honorables), while the Children of Al-Housain are called Asiad أسياد (Masters)

Although I do not like the "e" in Mazar-e-sharif, I tend to think it is an indication that it is the second case I mentioned above.

In the Arabic region of the Muslim world we tend to use Ash-Sharif and Ash-Shraf as I mentioned above. When it comes to virtuous Muslims, who are not descendants, people tend to call him/them Aw-Lia'a (plural of Wali) A close supporter of God. In a similar situation we would have Mazarol-Wali, the Shrine of the Virtuous.

And God knows best.


Rachel Alawy
Egypt
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  xxxAbu Amaal: The "e" is a normal Farsi ezafe, i would imagine
1 hr
  -> Then you support my argument for Mazarosh-Sharif? If you know Farsi then I will take your word as expert on it :)

disagree  proz_hello: Learn before you answer people
6 days
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1 day 39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Shrine of the Sharif


Explanation:
I agree with Abu Amaal’s answer, but wish to make a few rambling Saturday afternoon observations regarding some of the points mentioned in this thread.

1. Although “sanctuary” is the most apt translation of MAZAR, the two words point to very different roots. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “sanctuary” comes from the Old English word “scrin,” which means “box,” pointing to the sense of “a container or receptacle for sacred relics,” which seems to be the original meaning of “sanctuary.”

On the other hand, MAZAR (plural MAZARAT) literally means “visitation site.” The root verb ZARA means to visit, and the initial MA- creates a noun of location in Arabic morphology. “Visitation” is used here in the religious sense of “pilgrimage.” Most MAZARAT are sanctuaries (burial places of venerated personages), but in a strict semantical sense, a MAZAR does not have to be a burial place.

Indeed, even the English word “sanctuary” has acquired a broadened meaning over time. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, “sanctuary” can also mean:

- A place at which devotion is paid to a venerated person
- A site hallowed by a venerated object or its associations

So burial of sacred remains is not a prerequisite. The same broadening of meaning has affected the verbs “shrine” and “enshrine” as well.

2. The E sandwiched between hyphens is the Western method for indicating the Persian genitive construction. Thus, “wilayet-e-faqih” is equivalent to the Arabic expression WILAYAT AL-FAQEEH (“the wilaya OF al-faqeeh”). The E is the equivalent of the English word “of” or "of the".

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, therefore is a Persian expression, so the expression should have been posted in the Persian>English language pair. I say “Persian,” not Farsi, because Afghani speakers of Persian like to point out that although most Iranians speak Farsi, a dialect of Persian whose name is derived from the province of Fars, Afghanis speak different varieties of Persian. Of course, Afghanis speak many other languages as well, primarily Pashto, also called Pushtu.

3. SHARIF is a general honorific title. Does it point to Ali ibn Abi Talib? In this case, it does, based on the eponymous legend quoted by Abu Amaal. Of course, that does not mean that the legend is entirely true. It just means that the name is based on the legend.

4. Was Ali ibn Abi Talib the brother of the Prophet Muhammad? Strictly speaking, Ali was Muhammad’s cousin (son of Muhammad’s paternal uncle), and later Muhammad’s son-in-law, but Ali’s relation to the prophet was a uniquely complex one, and brotherhood was a strong element in that relation. That is all I wish to explain below.

To begin with, Muhammad was raised by Abu Talib (Ali’s father). Born to the widowed ‘Amina, Muhammad became his grandfather’s charge until the grandfather (Abdulmuttalib) died when Muhammad was eight years old. From that point on, Abu Talib became Muhammad’s only father figure, indeed the only parental figure, because Muhammad’s mother had died when Muhammad was only six. So in a curious sense, Muhammad was Ali’s “brother” long before Ali was born.

Muhammad later had the opportunity to return the favor to his doting uncle. In his late years, Abu Talib became financially impoverished, while Muhammad was relatively well off, being married to the wealthy merchant lady Khadeeja. To relieve his uncle’s burden, Muhammad assumed responsibility for the upkeep of Ali, who was a young child, and treated him as a father would (Muhammad had no sons at the time). Muhammad was 30 years Ali’s senior. Age-wise, Abu Talib was closer to being Ali’s grandfather.

Cousin, brother, and son, Ali continued to bond with the Prophet in multiple ways as the burgeoning Islamic movement took shape and Ali assumed heroic roles in its struggles. When the Muslim community in Makka emigrated to Al-Madeena, the Prophet instituted a system of “brotherhood” whereby each Makkan emigrant would become a “brother” to a native of Al-Madeena, but the honor of being “brother “ to the Prophet himself went to no one other than Ali, although Ali was an emigrant himself. It is said that Muhammad declared, “Ali is my brother in this world and the next.” Even if the statement is apocryphal, the story clearly points to a deliberate solidification of the brotherly bond between Muhammad and Ali.

The marriage of Ali to the Prophet’s daughter, the beloved Fatima, added one more element to this complex web of relationships, and brought the two personalities even closer. Consider, for instance, that Ali’s two boys, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, addressed the Prophet as “father,” not as “grandfather,” while addressing their own father by name. Al-Hasan addressed his father as YA ABA AL-HUSAYN, while Al-Husayn addressed his father as YA AB AL-HASAN. They may have picked this manner of addressing these two men from their mom (children often do). They started calling their father ABA only after the death of their grandfather, the Prophet.

As Ali matured into a towering pillar of the new Islamic society and a figure of formidable leadership qualities, the sense of brotherly camaraderie with the Prophet seemed to dominate the relationship. Muhammad’s statement (quoted by Alawy in his comment above) as he deputized Ali in Al-Madeena before going on the Tabook expedition

ANTA MINNI BIMANZILATI HAROONA MIN MOOSA

is indicative of the tenor of their relationship.

This multifaceted relationship, especially the element of brotherhood, has been celebrated in a number of short poems popularly attributed to the Imam himself, such as:

أَنا أخُو المصطَفَى لا شَـكَّ في نَسَـبي
مَعه رَبيتُ، وسـبطاه هما وَلَدي

Another famous poem begins:

مُحَمَّدٌ النَبيُّ أَخي وصهري

Enough of my ramblings.

Fuad



    American Heritage Dictionary
Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2542
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2 days 5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Shrine of the Sharif - continued


Explanation:
I knew I left something out in my previous posting, but I could not figure out what it was until after I pressed the Submit Answer button. To continue:

5. Was Ali buried in Afghanistan?

Ali was buried in an unmarked grave in an obscure spot called Al-Ghariyy, about 8 kilometers from Al-Kufa, Iraq, where he was killed in AD 661 at the age of 63, while praying at the mosque. Eventually, a mosque was built around the burial spot in Al-Ghariyy, attracting many pilgrims. The town of Al-Najaf grew around this pilgrimage site, and later developed into a major center of religious learning and politics. Pictures of Ali’s shrine at Al-Najaf are all over the Internet:

http://www.najaf.org/

The mosque where he was mortally wounded has also become a major MAZAR, for this and many other historical associations, and also for its importance in the very early development of Islamic architecture. Here is a picture of the mosque at Al-Kufa where Ali was slain by Abd Al-Rahman ibn Muljim Al-Muradiyy:

http://www.kuwait.net/~akar/html/imams/imam-01/ali-3.html

Another shrine associated with the Imam is his house in Al-Kufa:

http://al-islam1.org/gallery/photos/alihouse.gif

Indeed multiple shrines for the same individual are pretty common. In the Christian tradition, shrines are set up for the Virgin Mary wherever apparitions or miracles have been reported (Fatima, Lourdes, Medjagore, etc.).

In the Shi'i Islamic tradition, shrines are merely convenient places for performing the devotional the act of ZIYARA ("visitation"). ZIYARA in essence is a spiritual act of communion with the holy, an act that transcends geography. One can perform a ZIYARA from the privacy of one's home. A ZIYARA typically consists of a recitation of devotional readings. The texts of these readings usually begin with the salutation

السـلام عليك

followed by a litany of praises written in well crafted prose, with rhyming cadences. They sound very much like the Hail Mary or Hail Holy Queen in the Catholic tradition.

The non-physical nature of ZIYARA is illustrated by a ZIYARA that begins:

السـلام عليك من بَعيد أَقصى ومن قَريب أَدنى

Multiple shrines simply make it easier for the widely dispersed faithful to congregate and share their devotion, to show pride in their spiritual heritage, and to display their artistic genius and their presence and strength as a community.

Although multiple shrines are easy to understand, multiple burial places may seem odd. They are common nonetheless. In some instances, new burial places are established by exhuming and transferring the sacred remains to a new site, mostly under the pretext of providing better protection against looting and sacrilege, when, ironically, the transfer itself is nothing but an act of looting. The real motive is usually to lend a sacred aura to the new site, to boost the religious image of the looting dynasty as custodians of holy relics, to justify expensive building projects and new taxes, to attract donations from devoted believers, and to divert the pilgrimage route to the new site.

In some instances, a shrine is built for parts of the sacred remains. Sculls of beheaded martyrs, fingers of mutilated saints, odd fragments of bones, and even strands of hair have been known to wind up in different places at different times.

Where no body tissues are in circulation, a colorful legend will do. The shrine at Mazar-e-Sharif (also spelled “Mazar-i-Sharif”) was built in 1136 by the Seljuki Sultan Sanjar, on the premise of such a legend: that Ali’s slain body had not been buried in Al-Ghariyy, but had been put on top of a camel that wandered the earth until it reached its divinely ordained spot in Balkh, Afghanistan, where it was buried in a grave that remained obscure for five centuries until it was revealed to the faithful at the appointed time. The Seljuki shrine in Balkh became a major pilgrimage site until it was destroyed by Ghengis Khan. The “grave” became obscure again until the a part of the old structure, bearing the inscription that was quoted in Abu Amaal's posting, was rediscovered in 1481, and the shrine was rebuilt at the behest of the Taymuri Sultan Husain Baiqara. The shrine, in its modern form, is pictured here:

http://www.geocities.com/afghanistan_ca/Mazar.html

One more linguistic point: A shrine where burial is claimed is called MARQAD (“resting place”), while a shrine where burial is not claimed is called MAQAM.

The following site is a photographic tribute to sacred sites all over the world

http://www.sacredsites.com/



Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 2542
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