Alhazred, Abdul

Around 900 A.D., this Arab poet moved to Damascus to write the results of his wanders in the Middle East. The result was a heretical and blasphemous account, entitled Al Azif, of the history of ancient beings who came from space, time, and other dimensions to live on our planet. This was later translated with the new title Necronomicon. While the book is mentioned in many stories, the name of its author is specifically referred to in ten stories.

[At the Mountains of Madness - H.P.L.]                        [The Call of Cthulhu - H.P.L.]
[Case of Charles Dexter Ward - H.P.L.]                       [The Descendant - H.P.L.]
[The Dreams in the Witch House - H.P.L.]                    [The Festival - H.P.L.]
[The Hound - H.P.L.]                                                   [The Nameless City - H.P.L.]
[The Shadow Out of Time - H.P.L.]                              [The Thing on the Doorstep - H.P.L.]
[Through the Gate - H.P.L.]                                          [The Whisperer in Darkness - H.P.L.]]

See also: Necronomicon and Al Azif

In a letter to Harry O. Fischer in February of 1937: "The name 'Abdul Alhazred' is one which some adult (I can't recall who) devised for me when I was 5 years old & eager to be an Arab after reading the Arabian Nights. Years later I thought it would be fun to use it as the name of a forbidden-book author. ... In assigning an Arabic author to a Greek-named book I was whimsically reversing the condition whereby the monumental astronomical work of the Greek Ptolemy (Meyahn Euvtacic Trc 'Aotpovouiac) is commmonly known by the Arabic name Almagest (or more truly, Tabrir al Magesthi), which was evolved from a corruption of the original title when the Arabs made their translation (ueyiotr is the superlative of ueyahr & the Arabs probably found it in common use to distinguish the work from another of Ptolemy's)." (NOTE: Greek letters need to replace Arabic corruptions of this computer.) (Selected Letters, V, 418).

It has been noted by various sources that Lovecraft had no knowledge of Arabic since the name is inaccurate: the -ul of Abdul is cognate with the -al of Alhazred and the author's actual name would proabably have been Abd-al-Hazred. This would have been less romantic and less in keeping with his possible desire to work his ancestral name "Hazzard" into his work.