Ibn Nadir and the Ali Pasha Sharif naming system

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on May 11th, 2014 in General

This stallion of Ali Pasha Sherif’s (APS) has always been a bit of a puzzle for me. One more than one occasion in her Journals and Correspondence, Lady Anne Blunt, whose favorite stallion of all APS’s stallions he was, clearly states that he was a Saqlawi Jadran by Wazir.

If that’s the case, then his name does not make sense, Nadir being a male’s name in general, and “Ibn Nadir” meaning the son of Nadir. After carefully reading all the entries about him in Lady Anne’s Journals, and noticing the pattern of the names of APS’s horses (stallions and mares) with “Ibn” or “Bint” after their dam’s names and never after their sire’s (Ibn Nura, Ibn Sherara, Ibn Horra, Ibn Zarifa, Ibn Bint Jellabiet Feysul, etc, for the stallions, and for the mares  Bint Helwa, Bint Horra, Bint Nura, Bint Azz, Bint Bint Jellabyet Feysul, etc), I became convinced that “Nadir” must have been Ibn Nadir’s dam’s name, as odd as it may sound.

Every visit record of the Blunts at APS was accompanied with a list of the horses, and a naming pattern emerges, similar to the way Bedouins and Syrians name their horses: there is an important root mare with a proper name Nura, Jellabiet Feysul, Makbula, Azz, Mahrussa, Horra, Helwa, etc, and all her descendants are named according to her, using Bint (daughter of), Ibn (son of), or a combination of the two, colors, and age references (Saghir “the younger” or Kabir “the elder”). For example: “Bint Makbula El Shakra” or the “chestnut daughter of Makbula” or “Ibn Zarifa El Saghir”, the “younger son of Zarifa”. Sometimes the name of the root mare carries on, as she ages. For instance, an APS mare would be referred to as “Bint Nura” when she is younger or when her dam is still alive, and when that mare would in turn age and have daughters, and especially after the death of her dam, she would become “Nura” and her daughter “Bint Nura” (not unlike the Kings of France, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, etc, but without the numbers). A variant would be to have the same Arabic root used for horses for the same line: Aziz, Aziza, Azz, Ezz; Mahruss, Mahrussa; etc.

What you will never find in the APS naming system is a mare or a stallion simply named after a stallion’s proper name: there is no Bint Wazir, Bint Bint Mahruss, Bint Aziz, Bint Ibn Aziz, Ibn Bint Shueyman, etc. (Ibn Mahruss was so named by the Blunt’s after their bought him, and then he was registered as Mahruss).

All this leads to me believe that Nadir is the dam name in Ibn Nadir, and this is further comforted by the reference to his sire as being Wazir. Now I still have to make sense of who Nadir could be used as a mare’s name.

7 Responses to “Ibn Nadir and the Ali Pasha Sharif naming system”

  1. Now of course, there is the following reference in the Al Khamsa Online Roster, which references Archer 1978, and Pearson 1995:

    “His dam is described by Archer, et.al., [1978, p-], Pearson [1995, corrections] (said to be based on records of Lady Anne Blunt) as Samha (APS), a grey Saqlawiyah Jidraniyah of Ibn Zubayni of the Fid’an, brought to either Abbas Pasha or Ali Pasha Sharif. These references describe Ibn Nadir as by a stallion named Nadir, with no further detail beyond the name, contradicting the earlier journal entries.”

  2. Couldn’t the dam’s name have been Nadira? Or Bint Nadir?

  3. Oops, I stepped on you! Sorry!

    I have a notebook full, trying to figure out who is who.

  4. please do share what you feel comfortable sharing! it will be decades before each one of us finds the time to write that book!

  5. Edoaurd, you know very well that the nobles and the Khedive Family are not native egyptians nor Arabians…this people doesnt speak arabic.
    In this time in egypt the nobles speak Ottoman turkish, because egypt was at this time a part of the ottoman empire.
    Also Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik doesnt speak well Arabic.
    So sure the name who was given for the horses was not a correct arabic.

  6. True, in general, but Ali Pasha Sharif seems to have been an exception, his family having been governors of Syria. Read this in Lady Anne’s Journals, Nov. 23, 1880, first encounter with him:

    “Ali Pasha came … and at the first word or two one could perceived he understood all about Bedouin ideas of race and was imbued with them”.

  7. Lady Anne Journals, Dec. 19, 1888, during a visit to APS’s stables:

    “No.5 Ibn Nadir a white horse a Seglawi Jedran foaled 1871 son of Wazir [...]. This is a splendid horse, he was led out for us and W. at once said “this is the best of the lot” [...]

    No. 7 [...] White horse Seglawi Jedran by Wazir’s son Ibn Nadir, therefore Seglawi on both sides [...]“.

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