Ar Rashan, an Islamic City
The name Ar Rahman is very familiar in Lebanese. It means “The King’s River.” In this Arabic region, you will find this word on many walls. You will also see it on the tombstones and gravestones of many Lebanese royals and leaders.
The story of how the name came to be is a fascinating one. King Louis II of France was from an older generation of French royal blood. When he married into an English Princess, he became not only the King of France, but also the Emperor of France. But his reign was not smooth and many of his citizens were unhappy with the way he treated them. They began to rebel against him and they murdered some of his children.
Louis refused to put a stop to the unrest and he eventually abdicated. Many of his subjects however, did not desert him willingly and instead joined those who had sided with the revolution. This group of renegade soldiers were known as the Barbarian pirates and they roamed the Mediterranean Sea killing French royals and looting their loot.
To this day, when people in the know hear the name “Arrahman,” they often think of one of the pirate kings of history. But that is far from the truth. The real name of Arrahman was Abdulrahman el-Rufai, which literally means “Abdulrahman the Great.” Many of his descendants are still loyal to him and his family.
The French called him “vous Berri” which simply means “the bearded one.” Many of his descendents still live in that area of France. Their home is in Amboise, where there is a town named Baileys. Berri refers to the beard. In the Arabic language, ar rahman means beard or head.
In order to gain entry into the castle, it is guarded by sentries on three sides. On the top level of the castle, there is a gatehouse guarded by sentries. All inside the castle are unarmed except for guards on the top level. Those guards have swords and guns on their sides. However, if an enemy gets within ten feet of the gatehouse, then they can open fire on theuders.
The name “Arrahman” means “captivating or charming rock.” It also has been translated into “captivating mountain stream.” Some believe that the name came because of the Berri people, who lived in the area. This would mean that the Berri were popularly known for being friendly and charming.
Today, there are many attractions in the area surrounding the castle. There are a major airport with a bus station, train station, and rental cars. For travelers, there is a railway station and bus service. Tourists can ride to Paris and the Swiss Alps and then take a train to Rouen. Alternatively, the train leaves Rouen and takes passengers to many other destinations. Travelers can book a hotel in Rouen or stay at a bed and breakfast.
In terms of culture, there is no evidence that there was ever much contact between Islam and Jewry. But there were Jewish customs and practices that the Arabs took from them. There are crafts such as arrears, or hand made carpets. These can be found throughout the countryside surrounding the town. Rabbis still practice some of these traditions today.
Most Jews in Arab lands do not practice the Jewish laws. They follow the rulings of Moslem religious leaders, such as the Hajj, which is performed during the seventh day of the month of Ramadan. This is normally a longer walk than the typical pilgrimage. Many do not even fast during this time. Others wear long full dresses, which are considered immodest.
The economy is based on commerce. It depends largely on the oil trade. The country exports a large amount of fish, timber, oranges and coffee. There are many thriving fishing communities along the coast and in the interior. There is also a large community of carpet weavers in the cities.
The Jews of Arabia were not very welcoming to Christians when they were first put into the cities. They were mostly shut out of banking and finance. But after suffering for so many years they negotiated for greater rights. They negotiated for a halal (lawful) income tax, and open education. They eventually became one of the most powerful groups in the Middle East. Today they are one of the few countries that can still be considered a safe haven for Jews.