Robovanje Tala Ličanina u Ozimu

- Prolog -

    As was true of the South Slavic Muslim epos as a whole, the principal persons in Avdo Međedović's narratives have personal names harking back through Turkish forms to the names of important individuals involved with the origins of Islam. So Mustajbeg's name, Mustafa, meaning ‘Chosen One,’ was an epithet of the Prophet Muhammad, and several of the Prophet's Companions (Ashab) also have namesakes in the South Slavic epos.

    Another of the epithets or alternative descriptive names of the Prophet Muhammad was Mahmut, ‘The One Most Highly Praised,’ which took the form Mehmet in Turkish and Mehmed, Meho in South Slavic. Mujo is similarly derived from the Turkish form of the Prophet's name, Muhammed.

    Of the Fugitives (Muhajirin) in the Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah, Muslim legend has it that three of the Ashab in particular, Hamza, 'Umar, and Talhah, preceded Muhammad on the way to Madinah, and were together with Abu Bakr, 'Ali, and five others of the original Ashab later designated by the Prophet ‘people of Jannah’ -- i.e., People of Paradise, persons uniquely assured whilst they were still living of places in Paradise. The Arabic name 'Umar through its Turkish form Ömer gave Omer in Serbo-Croatian, and Turkish similarly mediated Arabic 'Uthman to Serbo-Croatian Osman. Arabic 'Ali, Ali in Turkish, yielded Alija, Alja, Aljo in Serbo-Croatian. The original 'Umar/Omer was the second, 'Uthman/Osman the third, and 'Ali/Alija the 4th Caliph (Successor of the Prophet) in the history of Islam.

    In some instances multiple forms of a single Arabic original designate distinct persons in the Serbo-Croatian epos, for example Mahmut(paša) and Mehmed, Meho.

    The name of the imprisoned junak Tale -- Tahiraga -- of the present story is a peculiar case. The short form of his name, Tale, is customarily assumed to be only the usual disyllabic South Slavic hypocoristic or familiar derivative from his given name's more formal longer shape, but the -l- in the short form is not regularly an expression of either the medial -h- or terminal -r- of ‘Tahir’ in derivations of that sort. Given the preponderance of other names for the persons in the South Slavic epic legends that are derived from the circle of the Prophet's early Ashab, Talhah may be the original Arabic inspiration for the South Slavic name ‘Tale.’ Tahir is -- like Mahmut -- not primarily a name, but again an epithet, Taahir in the Arabic, meaning ‘(ritually) pure; blameless.’ It was, incidentally, one of the sobriquets of Muhammad's second son, who like the first, died in infancy.

    The other principal person in the present epic, Halil, also has an epithetical name stemming ultimately from Arabic: Khalil, meaning ‘dear friend,’ which is precisely what Halil is to Tale in this narrative when no others are.

    Note the likeness in character of Tale and Peter the Hermit of the First Crusade.


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