What is Oudh

Discussion in 'Art and Science of Oud' started by Al Shareef Oudh, Apr 11, 2017.

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  1. Al Shareef Oudh

    Al Shareef Oudh Resident Artisan

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    The history of oudh as we know it today.

    عود as it is written in Arabic consists of the followings letter 'Ain ع followed by Waowو and ending with a Daal د . The last letter of the word Oudh is a Daal and this where the majority of the issues in the transliteration takes place. It requires a detailed understanding of Arabic Phonetics to be able to transliterate the letter correctly into English or any other language.

    د Daal has 6 Sifaat(qualities) : Jahr(vocalized), Shiddah(Strengthened), Istifal (Flat), Infittaah(opening), Ismat (pressing on the point of articulation) and Qalqalah, the last Sifah(quality) is the one that requires the most attention. Qalqalah is like a bounce of the sound or a shift/move of it, in the Arabic Language 5 letters have this quality associated with them ق ط ب ج د. Qalqalah is of two types, Kubra and Sughra, Major and Minor. The Minor Qalqalah takes place when one of the five letters has a Sukoon (no Harakah) in the middle of the word. In the word عود it is a Qalqalah Kubra because the د Daal is at the end of the word, which in common Arabic people will generally stop on. Which means the bounce is strong. Therefore the reason the h must exist is to differentiates it from the English letter d. Even if we consider the instances in the English language where D is more pronounced than normal such as in "Word", it is not the same as د Daal in عود, as that requires a clear bounce of the letter. Another point to note Dhaal does not have the Sifah of Hams and Rikhwah, which would allow flow of the breath, so the h is not for flowing of the breath but for the intensity of the bounce on the Daal.

    I had to address this publicly because it was brought to my attention (as a vendor who spells oudh with the h) that our brother Ensar@Gaharu was making some comments about Oud and Oudh.

    Another way we could look at it is, Oud is the modern Tom Ford, Armani, Lynx Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla way of spelling it and Oudh is Al Kindi, Ibn Baytaar and Al Azdi heritage enriched and vintaged oudhs. It is fairly simple for someone with a lot of tradition there is a reason behind every little detail in our Heritage, and the above is one such example.
     
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  2. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    Masha Allah. Great post and very enlightening.
     
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  3. F4R1d0uX

    F4R1d0uX Resident Artisan

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    Oh really ? I know that oud is a more westernized oudh version because they are always confused with our H even in our names I mean I talk at least for France.
    Is it the same in England, America ect... ?

    PS : Please forgive me I forgot to say thank you
     
  4. Habz786

    Habz786 Resident Artisan

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    Shareef thanks for the clarfication and its interesting to know the grammar used in the word Oudh. There was also an indirect hint to me about Facebook oils by brother Ensar and generelly people being labelled as Facebook oud dealers, its funny because facebook is used by Ensar himself and others to do business so i didnt take any offense to the comment, i thought i would just mention it now as we are clarifying things theres nothing wrong with using facebook :D
     
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  5. Alkhadra

    Alkhadra "Master Kafeel" Resident Artisan

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    @Al Shareef Oudh Great Post!

    It can also be noted the use of diacritics in the Arabic language. Depending on the diacritic used at the end of the d in the word Oudh, it could further emphasize the letter h and turn it into an Oudah, rather than just Oudh.

    Another thing from my own Arabic Tongue, I've noticed it's almost impossible for me to say Oudh without the h in Arabic. The moment I try to say it without the h, it sounds like I'm trying to mix English and Arabic phonetics. o_O A bounce on the d at the end of Oud produces the most subtle h sound.

    Call it whatever you want, Oudh, Oud, we're all referring to the same substance we love, and to discriminate over an h is as silly as two people fighting over who's favorite color is better. :D
     
  6. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    I think you are right. Oud represents the Westernised version of the original archetype of Oudh which is an Arab and Islamic tradition with deep historical roots and significance. To me Oud is a fashion statement, whereas Oudh is the real deal.
     
  7. F4R1d0uX

    F4R1d0uX Resident Artisan

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    Yeah bro once I worked waiter to pay my studies even Farid was too harsh he asked me if I was okay with Patrick lol !
     
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  8. PEARL

    PEARL Guerrilla

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    There is a difference between translation, transliteration and pronunciation. As far as transliteration of Arabic into English, which is indeed problematic, I've seen ع written in English as ain, ayn and even ayin, just as well as seeing Khayr vs Khair, and too many others to even mention; the point is we know what we're talking about. As far as pronunciation of the word عود most native Arabic speakers I know pronounce it as aowd or a-oo-d, a-as in the first syllable of papa, oo-as in food and d with the intensity of the bounce as ASO stated. As far as transliteration of عود into English, that would/could be aoud or oud as the Arabic word does not contain a ha or haa; or oudh if transliteration based on pronunciation, that's what I learned in Arabic class. Letter for equivalent letter would be awd or possibly owd. As stated by Alkhadra, "we're all referring to the same substance we love, and to discriminate over an h is as silly as two people fighting over who's favorite color is better.:D" Otherwise, I see different spellings used for emphasis.

    The emphasis I see is when some say there's oud then there's Oud, or my own there's oud, Oud, even Oudh, then there's Dehn Al Oudh. And that has nothing to do with a products or vendors name but rather a quality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
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  9. Alkhadra

    Alkhadra "Master Kafeel" Resident Artisan

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    Hmmm, oud, Oud, Oudh, Dehn Al Oudh. I agree with you that there could be many different ways for the word to be written, depending on whether one chooses to write it based purely on pronunciation or transliteration.

    This part confused me a little tho: "The emphasis I see is when some say there's oud then there's Oud, or my own there's oud, Oud, even Oudh, then there's Dehn Al Oudh. And that has nothing to do with a products or vendors name but rather a quality.[/QUOTE]"

    Well, possibly...people can just categorize words however they like and turn them into specific labels in the English language. Although there's no such thing in Arabic. To translate "oud, Oud, even Oudh, then there's Dehn Al Oudh" would just be: wood, Wood, and even Wood, then there's fat of the wood. Since Oud literally just means wood in Arabic, and Dehn Al Oud just means fat of the wood, as in.. the oil of the wood.

    So... same thing, different day. (Atleast to me :D)

    How would you categorize oud, Oud, Oudh, and Dehn Al Oudh in terms of quality? @PEARL
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  10. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    Ahhh... the gun slinging sheriff is back in town and he graces us with an intellectual discourse infused with deep knowledge of the Arabic.... alphabet?

    Unfortunately this time your post just comes across as pseudo-intellectualism. You're an intelligent guy... show us some real Pearls of wisdom. Some of your posts are actually really informative... this one isn't. When it comes to Arabic, please take it seriously, especially when someone with knowledge has kindly shared his with us.

    Have you even seriously studied Arabic? Maybe you have, but from reading your post, it seems that you are straining to muster the elementary knowledge of the alphabet to try and make a point... but it makes no sense to anyone know has studied the language (Arabic phonetics and letters construct). You do realise that right?
     
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  11. jensz

    jensz Administrator Staff Member

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    Great thread Al Shareef Oudh, and nice follow ups PEARL and Alkhadra! Very much appreciate the education on this question, which is something I've wondered about.

    Follow-up: So as to avoid confusion and not wanting to engage in a squabble. . . ASO explained why he uses the "h" at the end of "oudh" in his business's name, a very revealing and beautiful explanation. ASO is obviously extremely learned in this area. Whether people agree or not about the transliteration, that is up to them depending on their own knowledge, I have insufficient knowledge for an independent opinion but appreciate there could be variations akin to what PEARL says. But most importantly I have utmost respect for artisans like ASO who make conscientious decisions about everything they do, right down to the spelling of the name especially where a choice is connected to something very meaningful as for ASO. What seems like in insignificant difference in transliteration to some, is an extremely significant choice reflecting heritage and authenticity to tradition, so all respect due to the latter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  12. PEARL

    PEARL Guerrilla

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    Good question, allow me to elaborate on how I interpret the usage by others as well as my own, which has nothing to do with Arabic but rather a quality or quality in and of itself, as well as being only implications. oud is related to some old plain jane oil in terms of quality, generic. Oud(capital O) on the other hand, as I take from how I see it written, is much better, more dynamic, from better wood. Oudh as I've used it from time to time is even higher in quality. Dehn Al Oudh, as I have used it, is the highest quality Hindi oils. Something one can pick up in context when reading what is wrote.

    @Ouddict we are talking about translation, transliteration and translation from a Central Semitic language to a Germanic language with completely different alphabet, grammatical rules and even written in different directions. The English transliteration can be aoud, oud or oudh, either works and neither is more correct or wrong. These are words that have been given meaning in English. If you want to look at it from the standpoint of the original meaning of the Arabic, it would be wood or in the case of Dehn Al Oudh the fat of the wood or oil of the wood as @Alkhadra pointed out. As an aside and IMO, that's why it's so important for non-Arabic speaking Muslims to learn Arabic, that way one can get the true meaning and feeling of Quran/Koran(there's one right there) which is very difficult and less when translated into other languages, as well as taking entire groups of scholars to agree upon. It reminds me of a conversation I had with @F4R1d0uX IIRC, in which I asked him where he was from based on how he wrote many Arabic phrases transliterated into English I had a feeling he was of Algerian descent, based on how he spelled things and my interaction with some Algerians. Either way it's spelled we know what we're talking about which is the bigger take away point.

    I never disputed what ASO stated, in fact agreed and added. I too am someone with knowledge, who has kindly shared it with the board and I'm not nor do I claim to be thee authority.
     
  13. F4R1d0uX

    F4R1d0uX Resident Artisan

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    @PEARL yes !
    I remember that day you told me I was sure you were from Algeria.
     
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  14. Ouddict

    Ouddict Technical Support

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    Thanks for the clarification... it's just that Oud and Oudh have different meanings even on the internet!
     
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  15. peter4ptv

    peter4ptv Member

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    from what i have experience Oud, Oudh or Dehn Al Oudh have nothing to do with quality it is just different way of labeling
    Dehn Al Oudh is popular in the Middle East
    Oudh popular in Asia
    Oud popular in Western world.
    i am not talking how is by language i am talking about the way i see it mostly on the WWW vendors sites with English web pages.

    <<<<<<<< Oudh as I've used it from time to time is even higher in quality. Dehn Al Oudh, as I have used it, is the highest quality Hindi oils.>>>>>>>
    @PEARL there is ton of oils in the Gulf marked as "Dehn Al Oudh" with extremely low quality or very low purity.
     
  16. PEARL

    PEARL Guerrilla

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    @peter4ptv I know. It has nothing to do with Arabic or product/vendor names as it is sometimes used on the boards, as I stated.
     
  17. peter4ptv

    peter4ptv Member

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    got it, sorry my English is getting a bit rusty with age
     
  18. Kesiro

    Kesiro Oudmeister

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    I guess my position is one of who cares what you call it, it's the quality that matters. Whether you call it oud, Oud, Oudh, Aloeswood oil, Agarwood oil, I could care less. I have tried stuff labeled Dehn Al Oudh which was garbage and Oud which was magnificent. So unless there is an industry wide standardized nomenclature, which there never will be, labels are essentially irrelevant for the enthusiast/consumer.
     
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  19. PEARL

    PEARL Guerrilla

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    @jensz I just read your update and it is insightful and has inspired thought. One of the things @Ouddict stated in response to me was please take it seriously, which I do. But first I want to address another part of his response which was, "especially when someone with knowledge has kindly shared his with us". In some ways it supposes that someone else is not knowledgeable or that someone else's knowledge and contribution supersedes another's(it doesn't), I found that to be very condescending.

    In many ways ASO's favoring of one transliteration(a choice) over another cheapens true Arabian heritage, culture and tradition. True Arabic heritage, tradition and authenticity is not one possible accepted transliteration over another; true and authentic Arabic heritage and culture is Arabic.

    Even a cursory look into the historical, longstanding and major Middle Eastern and Arabian perfume houses such as Abdul Samad Al Qurashi who uses the word aoud, Ajmal Perfumes who uses the word oudh, Arabian Oud who uses the word oud, Sayed Junaid Alam who uses the words aud, oud and oudh; shows that they all can and are being used. True Arabian heritage and tradition is not about which possible accepted transliteration one uses, it's about Arabic.

    Furthermore, to suggest that the transliteration oudh is Al Kindi, Ibn Al Baytar while oud is Tom Ford, lynx, Armani and dark vanilla is actually quite disrespectful to those who choose to use it, Ensar Oud, Imperial Oud, Feel Oud, etc.

    That ASO chooses to use oudh is certainly his prerogative, but please he should not disrespect others while doing so or equate one possible accepted Arabic to English transliteration as being authentic Arabian heritage.
     
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  20. jensz

    jensz Administrator Staff Member

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    @PEARL, thank you for this follow-up. I try to not participate in the oud battles that happen, or even to know much about them unless I must. Some people I'm sure find them productive, others find them unpleasant, and in any case I prefer to give my attention to other things unless knowing the battle will help me appreciate oud. But having said that, although Al Shareef started this thread (which many appreciate), it is not Al Shareef who initiated the issue in the oud world about whether it's "oud" or "oudh," as ASO himself politely indicated in his original post. This thread was meant to be a corrective of that other discussion, and it's a very scholarly response (partly disagree with the substance though you may). Especially given this context, to interpret ASO's post as disrespectful of those vendors who spell it "oud" is a bit of a stretch, IMO. His post was about his reasoning for his particular choice; it was not about other oud vendors' spellings. For example, it's quite possible that some vendors elected to spell oud how they do without much thought about the linguistics, so for ASO to give his reasoning does not disparage them, they just didn't make a purposeful choice. Here we see ASO chose his spelling with a purpose which he explained, which purpose is admirable.

    Gonna have to leave this conversation for now. I'm traveling the next few days and doomed to go mostly oud-less for the duration.
     
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