Subduer of All
Start of the race at the 2012-2013 season finals in Al Wathba, near Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Subduer of All


Al Qahhar the camel could not be registered for the race.

His name was wrong.

His owner was informed that under no circumstances could a camel be registered with such a name. Even for a human it was unacceptable.

Al Qahhar is one of the 99 Names of God. In fact there are more than 99 names used in the Quran and the Sunnah, many of which describe attributes. There are names like Al Rahman (The Compassionate), Al Latif (The Gentle) and Al Aziz (The Mighty).

In daily life, it is unacceptable to give a child one of these names. Instead, names are derived from variations. For example, Abdulrahman means Servant of The Compassionate and Abdulaziz means Servant of The Mighty.

Al Qahhar roughly translates as The Victor of All or The Subduer of All, one who is able to conquer all. It is a superlative of the word for victor or subduer, derived from the word for conquest (qahr).

When my friend went to register he was told that no camel could have one of the 99 Names of God.

“What about Abdulqahhar?” I asked.

“For a camel? It doesn’t sound right,” he said.

In the end, he registered the camel under the name Maher, Skillful. It is a common name for a man but unheard of in the camel world. Men and camels don't usually share names. Even so, it sufficed and the camel was finally allowed to join its competitors on the track this past weekend.

Maher placed first.

“What car did you win?” I asked my friend.

“I don’t know. I don’t care about the car," he said. "I care about winning.”

After the race, he sold the camel for Dh1million.

The country’s biggest races this week are in Al Dhaid, a Sharjah town at the intersection of the mountains and the desert east of Sharjah city. Races are at 7am and 2.30pm.

The camel track is south west of the town on the E55 motorway, about 50 minutes from downtown Sharjah or 40 minutes from the E611 on the Dubai-Sharjah border.

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