Sham, Al- ("Left" or "North," in Arabic)

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SHAM, AL- ("left" or "north," in Arabic)

Refers to the direction one takes to get to al-Sham from the Hijaz (western Arabian Peninsula), the original source of Arab culture. Bilad al-Sham is the early Arab name for Greater Syria, meaning the geographic area Syria, Lebanon, western Jordan, and Palestine. The name Syria (the Greek name for the city of Tyre; Sur, in Arabic), became current in the nineteenth century.