Encyclopaedia Islamica

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Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies

Edited by: Farhad Daftary and Wilferd Madelung

Encyclopaedia Islamica Online is based on the abridged and edited translation of the Persian Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī, one of the most comprehensive sources on Islam and the Muslim world. A unique feature of the Encyclopaedia Islamica Online lies in the attention given to Shiʿi Islam and its rich and diverse heritage. In addition to providing entries on important themes, subjects and personages in Islam generally, Encyclopaedia Islamica Online offers the Western reader an opportunity to appreciate the various dimensions of Shiʿi Islam, the Persian contribution to Islamic civilization, and the spiritual dimensions of the Islamic tradition.

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Dābbat al-Arḍ

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Abbas, Najam
, a Qurʾānic term for a creature or beast that lives and moves on the earth, it has a special meaning in a tradition regarding the signs which will appear at the end of time ( ashrāṭ al-sāʿa). The term dābba appears in its literal sense in the Qurʾānic verses 6:38, 11:…

Dādā, Taqī al-Dīn Muḥammad

(1,261 words)

Author(s): Movahhed, Maryam Falahati | Negahban, Farzin
(d. 700/1301), titled Dādā Muḥammad and Dādā Taqī al-Dīn, was a notable 7th/13th century Sufi shaykh (master) in Yazd. Most of the information about him and his Sufi order is to be found in the local histories of Yazd. All that is known about his youth is that he was born in Iṣfahān where he made a living winnowing grain, and that from his youth Taqī al-Dīn practised spiritual wayfaring, asceticism and spiritual discipline, and spent most of what he earned on those in need. He was the disciple of a master by the n…


(1,890 words)

Author(s): Pat, Fariba | Brown, Keven
, Shihāb al-Dīn Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. Zaynī (1233–1304/1817–1886), was a famous Meccan scholar, whose lineage is said to trace back through ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī (al-Gīlānī) (d. 561/1166) to a long line of Ḥasanī sayyids (Daḥlān, al-Sīra, introd., 1/5; on ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gīlānī’s lineage see al-Tādifī, 3; cf. Ibn al-Ṭiqṭaqā, 95–96; Ibn ʿInaba, 130). He was born in Mecca (al-Kattānī, 1/390; Mujāhid, 1/265), where he was taught by scholars such as Muḥammad Saʿīd al-Maqdisī, Bishrī al-Jabartī, Ḥāmid al-ʿAṭṭār and others. The most important of his teachers in the field of ḥadīth was …

Dahr (in the Qurʾān)

(1,670 words)

Author(s): Pakatchi, Ahmad | Esots, Janis
a conception of ‘time’, which survives from the pre-Islamic period; both the Qurʾān and the ḥadīth criticise religious faith in dahr, conceived as a kind of cosmic force or inevitable fatality. The verbal noun of its triliteral root d-h-r in Arabic refers to descending or falling, in a pejorative sense (although it is not used in this sense in the Qurʾān). The passive participle, madhūr, means ‘calamity-stricken’ or ‘afflicted by a disaster’. The primary meaning of the word dahr as it occurs in the Qurʾān (Q 76:1, ‘Hath there come upon man any period of time in which he w…


(4,221 words)

Author(s): Tareh. Masoud | Shah-Kazemi, Reza | Asatryan, Mushegh | Khaleeli, Alexander
, or ahl al-dahr, a designation referring to those thinkers who putatively uphold various materialistic and atheistic opinions and trends. They are seen, by those framing the designation, as disbelievers inasmuch as they believe that Time ( dahr or maniyya), understood as ineluctable Fate, alone dictates all things in the cosmos. There is little evidence of specific groups or individuals adhering to this philosophy; rather, it appears to have been a convenient typological category used by heresiographers to stigmatise those deemed to…

Daḥw al-Arḍ

(2,677 words)

Author(s): Mehrvash, Farhang | Esots, Janis
(Spreading out the Earth), an expression that refers to the expansion of the earth from beneath the Kaʿba at the beginning of creation. It is taken from the Qurʾān (79:30) and refers to a belief held within certain circles of pious Shiʿi Muslims. Every year, on 25 Dhū al-Qaʿda, the anniversary of this event is commemorated within these circles. In order to explain the meaning of the expression, first one must establish the meaning of the word daḥw. An analysis of the different usages of words derived from the root d-ḥ-w during the first centuries after the advent of Islam shows that …


(4,034 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
(pl., duʿāt, literally meaning ‘summoner’), an Arabic noun used by several Muslim groups, especially the Ismailis, to designate their propagandists or missionaries. It was adopted by the ʿAbbāsid daʿwa (mission) in Khūrāsān (q.v. ʿAbbāsids) and by the early Muʿtazilīs, but it soon became particularly identified with certain Shiʿi groups, for example, the Zaydīs and some Shiʿi extremists ( ghulāt), notably the Khaṭṭābiyya (Daftary, 219). The term acquired its widest application in connection with the Ismailis, though early Ismaili authors in Persia some…