Osama bin Laden finds his ending in abad place

Today’s news is that Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, has been killed during a helicopter assault on a purpose-built fortified compound in an affluent suburb of Abbottabad, a city in Pakistan. The hideout was close to a cinema, a police station and a hospital. We are looking at what abad means in the name?

Abbottabat was named after British military officer James Abbott, who founded the city in 1853. Abad is a very common ending for the names of cities in the sub-continent.

The suffix, abad, comes from Persian for dwelling place or inhabited place. Persian was introduced into the region by the Mongols. Persian is related to the European languages through common descent from an original Indo-European language. The relationship is very clear when abad is compared to the word abode in English, which is descended from the Old English verb, abad, to have abided. So these Persian named cities could also be translated as the abode of whoever they are named after.

Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, means city of Islam (Islam is the most popular religion in the city—95% of the population are Muslim).

Jacobabad, in northern Pakistan, was founded by another British military man, General John Jacob, in 1847 and was named after him.

Allahabad, in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, means settled by God (Allah).

Hyderabad, is the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. The city is named after Ali Ibn Abi Talib, also known as Hyder, the son-in-law of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Hyderabad has developed into an information technology centre and is also known as “Cyberabad”.

There are also Jahanabad in Eastern India called after the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) and Jahangirabad, in Uttar Pradesh, called after another Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569-1627).

Fayzabad in northern Afghanistan is translated as the abode of divine bounty, blessing, and charity.

There are quite a few more cities with the same ending, for instance, Jalalabad, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, and Muzzafarabad.

So with all these cities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India it should come as no surprise that Osama bin Laden found his ending in abad place.