Al-Madīna Al-Baddāla in Al-Farabi's Ārā’ Ahl Al-Madīna Al-Fāḍila Wa Muḍāḍḍātihā (The Virtuous City): An Alternative Name


  • Mohammad Alesa



The paper discusses the name of the second ‘ignorant city’ of the faulty associations mentioned in Ārā’ ahl al-madīna al-fāḍila wa muḍāḍḍātihā (The Virtuous City) and Kitāb Assiyāsa Al-madaniyya (The Political Regime) by Abū Nasr al-Fārābī. In the first book the city is named بدالة (baddāla= changing city). In the second book, it is named نذالة (nadhāla= the city of meanness). The definitions of the two cities are almost identical which raises the question: why are there two different names for one city? On the other hand, when comparing both the definitions with the two names, it becomes clear that none of them is compatible with the meaning wanted. The paper, therefore, discusses this issue by adopting the hypothesis that the word in question is misread most probably by the ancient scribes due to confusing the Arabic diacritical characters composing it. The paper goes through all the similar diacritical characters that could be confused, reviews all the words possible resulting from combining these characters, and eventually, studies the lexical meanings of these words and compares them to the city's definitions. The paper concludes that the compatible name is ندّالة naddāla (the city of avidity, avarice, and meanness).


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2020-10-29 — Updated on 2020-11-12


How to Cite

Mohammad Alesa. (2020). Al-Madīna Al-Baddāla in Al-Farabi’s Ārā’ Ahl Al-Madīna Al-Fāḍila Wa Muḍāḍḍātihā (The Virtuous City): An Alternative Name. PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt / Egyptology, 17(3), 424-436. (Original work published October 29, 2020)