Encyclopaedia Islamica

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Edited by: Farhad Daftary and Wilferd Madelung

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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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Bā ʿAlawī

(1,754 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bā ʿAlawī or Āl Bā ʿAlawī, a prominent clan of South Arabian sayyids, many of them distinguished scholars and Sufis, living primarily in Ḥaḍramawt and in the town of Tarīm in particular. The clan’s name refers to an eponymous forebear, ʿAlawī b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad. According to the sources, the first member of the clan was Aḥmad b. Ḥusayn al-ʿAlawī (d. 345/956), the chief of the ʿAlids of Ḥaḍramawt, who traced his lineage back to Imam ʿAlī via Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq. He was born into a family of scholars in Baṣra and subsequently emigrated to the Yemen (al-Shāṭirī, 1/142, ¶ 152). Aḥmad b. Ḥusayn stu…


(1,762 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad | Gholami, Rahim
Bāb, a high rank in the daʿwa organisation and religious hierarchy ( ḥudūd al-dīn) of the Ismailis. The hierarchical organisation of the Ismaili daʿwa and the functions of its different ranks were always important but secret and obscure aspects of the Ismaili movement. Ismaili works generally maintain silence on the subject because of the esoteric and often secretive nature of the Ismaili daʿwa. The enmity of many Sunni emirs, rulers and religious scholars generally obliged the Ismailis to conduct their daʿwa activities in utmost secrecy (except within the dominions of the …

Bābā Afḍal

(4,430 words)

Author(s): Garakani, Morteza Gharaee | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Afḍal Kāshānī, Afḍal al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḥasan Maraqī Kāshānī, was a Persian philosopher, gnostic ( ʿārif) and poet who lived in the second half of the 6th/12th and the first half of the 7th/13th century. While he is particularly renowned in Iran, his philosophical works and poetry being written in Persian, there is a dearth of information about his life. The first mention of his name seems to be in the works of Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (d. 672/1274), who writes that he studied under one of Bābā Afḍal’s students, the mathematician Kamāl al-Dīn Muḥammad al…

Bābā Faraj Tabrīzī

(939 words)

Author(s): Jalali-Moqaddam, Masoud | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Faraj Tabrīzī (d. 568/1172 or 1173), was the son of Badal b. Faraj and a prominent Sufi shaykh of the 6th/12th century. He is also called Gajīlī since his khāniqāh (Sufi lodge) and tomb were located in the Gajīl district of Tabrīz. The little extant information on his life is primarily based upon the account in Rawḍāt al-jinān by Ibn Karbalāʾī, whose father was one of the caretakers of Bābā Faraj’s tomb and was known as Bābā Farajī. It is reported that he was oblivious to the world, on account of his vision of God (Shabistarī, 224). Bābā Faraj’s state of divine raptur…

Bābā Farīd al-Dīn Ganj Shikar

(2,733 words)

Author(s): Arya, Gholam-Ali | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Farīd al-Dīn Ganj Shikar, or Shakar-Ganj (ca. 569–664/1174–1265), was one of the most revered and distinguished medieval Sufi mystics in India. Originally called Masʿūd, he was born in either 569/1174 or 571/1175 in the town of Kuthwāl in the district of Multān (Nizami, Life and Times, 11; Mīr Khurd, 101). Both Firishtah (2/383) and Ghulām Sarwar (1/304) cite 584/1188 as the year of his birth. The three primary sources for Bābā Farīd’s life and teaching come from the circle of Shaykh Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyāʾ, who was his devoted student for over eight years a…

Bābā Ilyās Khurāsānī

(1,313 words)

Author(s): Khosroshahi, Jalal | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Ilyās Khurāsānī, Abū al-Baqāʾ Ilyās b. ʿAlī, was a prominent Turkoman Sufi shaykh of the early 7th/13th century, associated with the Bābāʾī Movement and Order (q.v.). He was known both as Bābā Ilyās-i ʿAjam and Bābā Ilyās-i Dīwānah (Âşıkpaşazade, 46, 191; Neşri, 6/47; see also Çelebi, 13; Ocak, 2, 4; Sibṭ b. al-Jawzī, 2/733). Nothing is known about him prior to his arrival in Asia Minor. He is said to have left greater Khurāsān for Anatolia as a result of the Mongol conquests and their annexation of the Khʷārazm-Shāhid territories. He took ¶ up residence in the village of Chāt in th…

Bābāʾī Movement

(1,454 words)

Author(s): Hamedani, Ali Karam | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābāʾī Movement, a socio-religious insurrectionist movement that arose in Anatolia during the reign of the Saljūqs of Rūm in the first half of the 7th/13th century, at the ¶ time of the Mongol invasion. The founder of this movement seems to have been one Bābā Ilyās Khurāsānī (q.v.), a prominent Turkoman Sufi shaykh, who came to Anatolia from Khurāsān at the beginning of the 7th/13th century. Ibn Bībī, the contemporary court chronicler of the Saljūqs of Rūm, refers instead to a certain Bābā Isḥāq of Kafarsūd in northern Syri…

Bābā Jān Ḥāfiẓ-i Turbatī

(1,132 words)

Author(s): Hassan Semsar, Mohammad | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābā Jān Ḥāfiẓ-i Turbatī (d. 944/1537), a prominent calligrapher of nastaʿlīq, who was also a poet and musician. He was the son of Ḥāfiẓ ʿAbd al-ʿAlī Turbatī and brother of the noted singer Ḥāfiẓ Qāsim; the Turbatī family was originally from Zāwah (Turbat-i Ḥaydariyya) in Khurāsān. During the reign of the Tīmūrid ruler of Herat, Sulṭān-Ḥusayn Bāyqarā (r. 873–911/1469–1506), his father Ḥāfiẓ ʿAbd al-ʿAlī, ¶ along with the family members, travelled to Herat and became attached to the Tīmūrid court (Budāq Qazwīnī, 4/223; Qāḍī Aḥmad, 101; Bayānī, 1/83), and at tw…

Bābā Kamāl-i Jandī

(948 words)

Author(s): Hirtenstein, Stephen
Bābā Kamāl-i Jandī (d. 672/1273), was an eminent master of the Kubrawiyya Sufi order, whose full name, ancestry, dates and places of birth and death have until recently been completely unknown, in contrast to other disciples of Najm al-Dīn Kubrā (d. 618/1221) such as Najm al-Dīn Dāya Rāzī (d. 654/1256), Saʿd al-Dīn Ḥamawayh (d. 650/1252) or Sayf al-Dīn Bākharzī (d. 659/1261). The two best-known early sources for any information on Bābā Kamāl, as for other disciples of Najm al-Dīn al-Kubrā, are Ḥusayn Khʷārazmī’s Jawāhir al-asrār, written after 833/1430, and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’…

Bābak Khurram-Dīn

(3,444 words)

Author(s): Bahramian, Ali | Hirtenstein, Stephen | Gholami, Rahim
Bābak Khurram-Dīn (d. Ṣafar 223/January 838), was the leader of the Khurramiyya revolt during the first part of the 3rd/9th century. Although he was extremely well-known, the scant information on his genealogy, beliefs and doctrines in primary sources makes it difficult to construct a unified picture of him. While the bias of early historians and chroniclers of the period somewhat diminishes the value of their writings, the diversity of perspectives and interpretations of this historical characte…

Bābā Luqmān, Mausoleum

(895 words)

Author(s): Alizadeh, Mahbanoo | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābā Luqmān, Mausoleum. A mausoleum associated with Bābā Luqmān al-Sarakhsī, the well-known 4th/10th-century mystic, located in Sarakhs (see Fig. 1). His mausoleum bears many similarities with other Khurāsānī mausolea associated with Sufi masters such as Abū al-Faḍl al-Sarakhsī, Abū Saʿīd b. Abī al-Khayr (q.q.v.) and Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī al-Ṭūsī. Anecdotes recorded about Bābā Luqmān identify him as one of al-ʿuqalāʾ al-majānīn (‘holy fools’) (see Muḥammad b. al-Munawwar, 24–25, 217, 42, 199, 244–225, 264; Jāmī, 301–303), and he became the object of such …

Bābā Qāsim, Mausoleum

(1,090 words)

Author(s): Gholami, Yadollah | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābā Qāsim, Mausoleum. The mausoleum of Bābā Qāsim al-Iṣfahānī, a prominent mystic of the 8th/14th century, is located in the Shahshahān area of Iṣfahān (see Fig. 2). According to an inscription over the entrance, and several within the mausoleum, the building was erected in 741/1340 by Sulaymān b. Abī al-Ḥasan b. Ṭālūt Dāmghānī, one of Bābā Qāsim’s disciples and an official of the late Īlkhānid and post-Īlkhānid era (see Iṣfahānī, 73; Rafīʿī, 785–786; Godard, ‘Le tombeau de Bābā Ḳāsem et la Madrasa Imāmī’, 165, ‘Le tombeau’, 38). The architectural style of the Bābā Qāsim mausoleu…

Bābā Rukn al-Dīn Shīrāzī

(481 words)

Author(s): Shams, Mohammad Javad | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Rukn al-Dīn Shīrāzī, Masʿūd b. ʿAbd Allāh Bayḍāwī, was a scholar and Sufi sage of the 8th/14th century. He was originally from Bayḍāʾ, a dependency of the city of Ardakān in the province of Fārs. His date of birth is unknown. According to the author of Tārīkh-i Iṣfahān wa Rayy, he was a member of the Jābirī Anṣārī household (Jābirī Anṣārī, 325–326). From early childhood Bābā Rukn al-Dīn displayed an interest in Sufism, and having become familiar with the lives and the spiritual knowledge of the Sufis, he embarked upon the Sufi path, as he himself said:…

Bābā Rukn al-Dīn Shīrāzī, Mausoleum

(1,054 words)

Author(s): Alizadeh, Mahbanoo | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābā Rukn al-Dīn Shīrāzī, Mausoleum, the mausoleum and takiyya of Bābā Rukn al-Dīn Shīrāzī (q.v.) is an Īlkhānid structure located in the Takht-i Fūlād district of Iṣfahān (see Fig. 3). The earliest reference to this building in historical sources relates to its renovation during the Ṣafawid period by order of Shāh ʿAbbās I (r. 995–1038/1587–1629) (see Jābirī Anṣārī, 326). This information, together with the style of its structure, suggest that the mausoleum was first built in the Īlkhānid period, i.e. …

Bābā Shāh Iṣfahānī

(2,327 words)

Author(s): Semsar, Mohammad Hassan | Gholami, Rahim | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bābā Shāh Iṣfahānī, a well-known calligrapher and poet (alive in 1010/1601), son of Sulṭān ʿAlī. His family was originally from the Kuhpāyah, ca. 70 km from Iṣfahān, the city in which he was born and raised (Awḥadī, 215). Some tadhkira writers identify Bābā Shāh as the student of Aḥmad Mashhadī (q.v.) (ʿĀlī, 50). Among later sources, Mīrzā-yi Sanglākh (1/187–188), who calls Bābā Shāh ‘master of masters’ ( ra⁠ʾīs al-ruʾasāʾ ) and is known to have written fanciful stories about his life, states that he was the student of Mīr ʿAlī Harawī. Mīrzā-yi Sanglākh (1/188–1…

Bābā Ṭāhir

(3,776 words)

Author(s): Rahimian, Hormoz | Negahban, Farzin
Bābā Ṭāhir, a Persian poet and spiritual master of the 5th/11th century, known as ‘ʿUryān’ (the Naked). The majority of his compositions are in the form of du-baytīs (a popular and more simplified version of the standard quatrains), some of which show characteristic elements of the Lurī dialect. A collection of Sufi aphorisms in Arabic has also been attributed to him. There is almost no information in the early sources about when he was born or died, nor about his education, livelihood or Sufi affiliation. As a consequence, the translator Edward Heron-All…

al-Bāb al-Ḥādīʿashar

(745 words)

Author(s): Firouzi, Javad | Brown, Keven
al-Bāb al-Ḥādīʿashar (‘The Eleventh Chapter’), is a book on the main theological subjects pertaining to the principles of Shiʿi doctrines, written by Abū Manṣūr Ḥasan b. Yūsuf b. ʿAlī b. Muṭahhar, better known as al-ʿAllāma al-Ḥillī (d. 726/1325). At the request of the vizier Muḥammad b. ¶ Muḥammad Quhadī, he wrote a summary in ten chapters (sing. bāb) of the Miṣbāḥ al-mutahajjid by Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī, known as ‘Shaykh al-Ṭāʾifa’ (d. 460/1068), which discusses the practical rules ( furūʿ ) of religion, prayers, and acts of worship. The summary was called Minhāj al-ṣalāḥ fī mu…

Bābil (Babel or Babylon)

(745 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Brown, Keven
Bābil (Babel or Babylon), is a geographical name mentioned in the Qurʾān in connection with the story of the two angels Hārūt and Mārūt, whose appearance is stated to be for the purpose of ‘teaching’ mankind (see Q 2:102). According to most reports, this region was the place where these two angels descended in the time of the prophet Solomon (or the prophet Idrīs, see al-Suyūṭī, 1/99) in order to teach mankind. The commentators mostly speak of Hārūt and Mārūt teaching magic or the instigation of discord between men and women (e.g. al…


(4,285 words)

Author(s): Sajjadi, Seyyed Ja‘far | Brown, Keven
Badāʾ, a theological term denoting the change of a decision or opinion ( ra⁠ʾy) and its replacement by another. Lexically, this term has the meaning of ‘appearing’, ‘arising in the mind’ or ‘becoming evident’ (Ibn Manẓūr; al-Jawharī, badā, yabdū; see also al-Jurjānī, 44): it is used in the Qurʾān in the sense of something appearing and becoming manifest (see Q 39:47–48) and also of an opinion arising in the mind (see Q 12:35). However, the ascription of badāʾ to God in the sense of His reaching a new decision and will, i.e. His revoking one decision and judgment in favou…

Badāʾiʿ Nigār, Mīrzā Mahdī

(1,489 words)

Author(s): Pazhoohandeh, Leila | Negahban, Farzin
Badāʾiʿ Nigār, Mīrzā Mahdī (1279–1360/1862–1941), son of Sayyid Muṣṭafā Ḥusaynī Tafrishī, was a Persian author, man of letters and a statesman in the Qājār period. He was born in Tehran where he began his studies in the fields of language and grammar, religious studies, astronomy, geomancy, mathematics, philosophy and gnosis. He was authorised by Mīrzā Ḥusayn Nūrī and Shaykh Muḥammad Kāẓimīnī to narrate ḥadīths and wrote many books on a variety of subjects (Khiyābānī, 236–237; Mudarris, 5/120; Badāʾiʿ Nigār, Khayr al-kalām, 5–6). In addition to his immense knowledge of intell…
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