Department of Eastern Studies
The Al Azif Project


Al Azif

by Professor Alicia Uslane, Ph.D. & JP Ouellette 
Copyright @ 1998, 2002 Miskatonic University Press / yankeeclassic.com 


During the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950, the alleged original remains of the Al Azif of Abdul Alhazred were smuggled out of Tibet to India and, eventually, to the United States where, in 1982, it found its way to the Miskatonic University Library. 
     After years of careful begging, the University and the U.S. government have allowed the Necronomicon Translation Team, founded by the late Dr. Elliot G. Cabot, to attempt an accurate translation of the work.    The first task was to ascertain if the Arabic manuscript found in Tibet could be the actual Al Azif in
the hand of Abdul Alhazred himself.  If there was some connection between Alhazred and Tibet during his lifetime, then, perhaps, this would be the explanation of the tome finding its way there upon his death.
     According to the writings of Ebu Khallikan (1090-1137), Alhazred had traveled as a young man with his merchant father Abou Ben al Hazred.  As this was the period that Arabia was expanding into Africa, Europe, and the Far East, it is likely that young Abdul knew of and, possibly, traveled to the East with his father’s caravans.  Ebu Khallikan recounts the tale of the camel driver who strayed from a caravan young Abdul was traveling with in the Gobi desert.  A small search party found the driver the next day and caught up with the caravan. Moments before his death, the driver told of evil spirits who had lured him with their voices away from the true track of the caravan. In the Gobi, it is said that the nightime sound of desert insects lures travelers from the beaten track to their deaths. This sound is called Al Azif.  It is very likely that these voyages in his youth were the inspiration for his later desire to travel in the mysterious regions of the world and for the title of the Al Azif iself. 
     The Arab culture had reached and begun trade with India.  By 716, when Alhazred was in his early forties, the Arab empire stretched from Lisbon to China. If he traveled the Far East as is suspected from what we have of his writings, it was here he came in contact with some of the larger cults dedicated to the worship of Cthulhu and other ancient gods. Though this has been traditionally accepted based on translations of this work, it is not until now that we have more positive proof. 
     During his thirteen years in Damascus, as he wrote his story, it is thought that fellow scribes assisted in the illumination of the work and, secretly, made copies.  It was these copies which most likely led to Alhazred’s death.  But there is a slim chance that this might also help give validity to the Tibetan manuscript.  An extensive study is underway to compare the Tibetan with the remaining Western fragments of the Arabic language Al Azif that have survived, the fragments presumed to hav been used by the pseudo-Wormius in his Latin version. Using handwriting samples, carbon dating, and chemical and spectral analysis of the Tibetan manuscript against the few remaining pages of the Al Azif smuggled into Europe in the Middle Ages, it is possible that one of the European artifacts might match the Tibetan. 
     Regardless, the most significant link between the Tibetan manuscript and Alhazred is Ebu Khallikan’s mention of the name Tchortcha as the possible murderer of Alhazred.  “Tchortcha” is not a personal name but the name given to a cult of Tibetan soldier/monks who serve the Slayer of Souls, grand servant of the Great Green God.  If Ebu Khallikan is correct, it explains why the original ended up in Tibet and the many Western translations of the work have been made against copies.  It still does not explain how Tibetan cultists knew of Alhazred unless stolen copies of the manuscript had made their way there or Alhazred himself had been in Tibet and revealed his intention to write the book of his travels.  Of those findings which are now publishable the most significant is the reversal of position on the contents of the work themselves and the surprising consistency between the Tibetan manuscript and the European fragments. 
     Originally, Dr. Elliot G. Cabot proposed that the existing Arabic, Greek, and Latin versions of the work were based on false copies planted by whomever killed Alhazred.  He based this on his belief that the fantastic beings and civilizations mentioned in the pages were designed to discredit the tome.  Yet the Tibetan manuscript, verified now as contemporary to Abdul Alhazred, agrees in most ways with the translations of (pseudo-)Olaus Wormius, John Dee, etc.  It is more the fact that the translations were infused with scraps of Moslem, Judaic, and Christian mythology.  So rather then being the Arabian cultural trove Dr. Cabot expected, they are the reverse, a tale older and much darker than any of us could or would have imagined.
     But, by the mid eighties, Dr. Cabot and the other members of the team, have come to a openness to the work  based on a careful comparison the various translations of the Necronomicon, the Al Azif, and the surprising number of works of a dozen Miskatonic professors and University-financed explorations which seem to support many of the assertions of Alhazred.
     Though the manuscript is incomplete, we have been able to compare the Tibetan manuscript with the many translations which were made before the original manuscript disappeared into the orient in the mid thirteenth century.  Most of the translations of the work after that of (pseudo-)Olaus Wormius are tainted with Christian beliefs, prejudices, and censorship and with political and philosophical ideas with were not original to the work of Alhazred. 
     In the past decade we have been able to break the code of the quotations and incantations which have been passed on usually in the distorted arabic lettering.  This has been the key to understanding the arabic text itself.  This is due partly to the many annotations on the original pages and on the twenty illuminated transcriptions (six of which cover original pages that were not recovered from the Cthulhu Cultists by the Tibetan monks.)  Ultimately, it required experts in
Arabic, Latin, Greek, Chinese, and Tibetan as well as linguistic cryptologists to arrive at any understanding of the complexity of Alhazred’s immense tome.
     While the Necronomicon (as it has come to be known) is the story of Alhazred’s travels in search of Nathica, the Persian princess, who disappeared in an exhibition of magic (seemingly as the price of the incantation), it encompasses the entire history of the pre-human and early human period.  During his travels Alhazred stumbled upon knowledge of the Great Race, the Old Ones, the Old Gods, and the spawn of Cthulhu.  His writings explain man's attraction and integration with them and predicts the future return of the creatures.  It explains the various cults that continue the practices of the Old Ones and Cthulhu and who either wish for their return or battle against it.  It also shows how the past and present sometimes mesh and meet at times making past and present impossible to separate. 
Copyright @ 1995,1997, 2002 Miskatonic University Press / yankeeclassi.com