Double Locative Bynames in Arabic
by Basil Dragonstrike

In Arabic names, there is an unusual, perhaps I should say rare (or perhaps not), formation: the use of two locative bynames. Indeed, not only are there enough of these to say "It's documented", there's enough to spot certain patterns.

What is perhaps the commonest form of double locative bynames is that exemplified by Wathīma b. Mūsā b. al-Furāt al-Fārisī al-Fasawī, or Shams al-Dīn Abū ʻAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Abī Bakr al-Bannāʼ al-Shāmī al-Muqaddasī. From the first example: al-Fārisī is from the region Fars (in southwestern modern Iran), and al-Fasawī is from the town Fasā. In the second example, al-Shāmī is from "greater Syria," an ancient region covering roughly modern Syria, Jordan, Lebenon, and Israel; al-Muqaddasī comes from Muqad, an old Arabic word for Jerusalem. In these names, and in many, many others, the two locatives are a region/kingdom/country, followed by a significant town or city in that region.

Nearly as common, is a form exemplified by Abū Manṣūr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd al-Samarqandī al-Māturīdī; al-Samarqandī comes, of course, from the city Samarqand. al-Māturīdī comes from Māturīd, a district/section of Samarqand. That is, the two locatives are, first, a major city, and second, a part of that city. A closely related form uses the name of a village or small town near a major city, instead of a quarter of that city. The name Abū ʻAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Ghālib al-Balansī al-Ruṣāfī is based on Balansiya (a major city, now called Valencia, in Spain) and al-Ruṣāfa, a minor village cum pleasure-garden on the outskirts of Balansiya.

There are two other formations, both uncommon. One of these is the use of two major cities some distance apart. Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥasan (or Ḥusayn) b. al-Haytham al-Baṣrī al-Miṣrī is one example: al-Baṣrī says he lived in Baṣra and al-Miṣrī that he lived in Cairo.

The other uncommon formation is that of a district/region/etc. followed by a city not in that region. Take for example Abū ʻUbayd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ʻImrān ibn Mūsā ibn Saʻīd ibn ʻUbayd Allāh al-Khurāsānī al-Baghdādī al-Kātib al-Marsubānī, whose name includes a locative based on the region of Khurāsān and a locative based on the city of Baghdād. There's also the famous biographer/geographer Yāqūt ibn ʻAbd Allāh al-Rūmī al-Ḥamawī (usually referred to simply as Yāqūt), a freedman who was born in the Byzantine Empire (Rūm) who settled in Ḥamāh, in Syria.

Then there's the curious situation of Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Jābir al-Ḳaysī al-Andalusī al-Tūnisī al-Wādīʼāshi, whose locative al-Andalusī comes from al-Andalus (Iberia), while al-Tūnisī comes from the city of Tūnis, but al-Wādīʼāshi comes from the town of Wādī Āsh in al-Andalus, situated on the river of the same name. Thus, he combines the commonest form of region plus a town in that region, with the uncommon form of region plus distant town. Note also that this is a triple locative; I know of only one other, Abu Hafs ʻUmar al-Ballūtī al-Bitrūjī al-Iqritshī. He was from the town of Bitrūj, which was in the Fahs Al-Ballūt region, north of Cordova in the Sierra Morena; al-Iqritshī is from Iqritsh, Crete, which he lead the conquest of. Notice: this name combines a region, a town in that region, and a distant region.

Given the preponderance of the first two forms of double locatives, I recommend using one or the other if you are interested in an Arabic name with a double locative.

I have not (yet) run into any other formation using two (or more!) locative bynames.