For the acronym meaning "Absent Without Authorized Leave", see AWOL
For the digital distribution company "Artists Without A Label", see AWAL
For the digital 1967 Malayalam film, see Awal (film)
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Awal (Arabic: أوال) is an ancient name of Bahrain, an island country in the Persian Gulf. The name Awal had remained in use, probably for eight centuries. Awal was derived from the name of a god that used to be worshiped by the inhabitants of the islands before the advent of Islam. Awal resembled the head of an ox. As for the meaning of this name, there are[1] ʼawwal 'first, first part, previous'; ʼawwalan 'firstly, at first'; ʼawwalī 'prime, primordial, original'. Awal Premi also means 'the best' in many Indian languages. Similarly the deity Awal of Bahrain appears to be very similar to the deity Nandi of the Hindus. The Indus valley civilization also had a deity like an ox. It is suggested that there were religious and cultural links between these cultures.

A representation of Awal

Before Islam Bahrain's administrative name was Mishmahig[2] and it was also called Tylos by the Ancient Greeks. If the name /Tulos/ is related to /ṭiwal/ 'rope with which the feet of draught-cattle are tied together',[3] then the cattle-representation of this deity may be thus confirmed.

See also


  1. J. Milton Cowan : A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic.
  2. Security and Territoriality in the Persian Gulf: A Maritime Political Geography By Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh, page 119
  3. Georgii Wilhelmi Freytagii : Lexicon Arabico-Latinum. Beirut, 1975. vol. 3, p. 80b

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