Encyclopaedia Islamica

Get access Subject: Middle East And Islamic Studies
Edited by: Farhad Daftary and Wilferd Madelung

Help us improve our service

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.

Subscriptions: see Brill.com

Dābbat al-Arḍ

(1,038 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri | Translated by Najam Abbas
The term dābba appears in its literal sense in the Qurʾānic verses 6:38, 11:6, 16:49, 27:82 and 34:14. However, the term has quite a different connotation in 27:82: ‘When the word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring forth a creature ( dābba) out of the earth, to speak to them, as people had no faith in Our revelations’; it takes on a deeper significance when read along with the following verse, 27:83: ‘And [remind them of] the Day when We shall bring together, out of every community, a group of those who denied Our revelations, an…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dādā, Taqī al-Dīn Muḥammad

(1,231 words)

Author(s): Falahati Movahhed, Maryam | Translated by Farzin Negahban
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 name of Muḥammad Andāyān about whom there is no information in the local histories of Yazd where what…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dāgh, and Dāgh Kardan

(6,172 words)

Author(s): Ali A. Bulookbashi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Dāgh and dāgh kardan, a brand or the act of branding, but also to cauterise or to stigmatise, in the literal sense. Dāgh refers to the mark left on a human or animal body by a red-hot metal implement such as a skewer, bar, needle, awl, spike, or cast stone being applied to the skin; a black mark on the skin of a human or animal; or the act of burning the skin and impressing a mark on the skin of a human or animal using a red-hot implement. This might be done in order to treat an illness, for the purposes of torture, …
Date: 2021-06-17


(1,678 words)

Author(s): Pat, Fariba | Translated by Keven Brown
Around 1281/1864, after the death of Muḥammad al-Ḥabashī, Daḥlān became the muftī of the Shāfiʿīs in Mecca and the Shaykh al-ʿUlamāʾ (the head of the corporation of scholars and therefore of the body of teachers in the Ḥaram) (Abū al-Khayr, 418; see also al-Bayṭār, 1/181–182; Mujāhid, 1/265; for an example of his legal rulings, see al-Dimyāṭī, 2/380; al-Jāwī, 33, 281), but in the last years of his life he was removed from this post (Abū al-Khayr, 421). He published a number of his writings in Mecca’s first…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dahr (in the Qurʾān)

(1,469 words)

Author(s): Ahmad Pakatchi | Translated by Janis Esots
As regards the etymological root of the word in Semitic languages, the rarely used biblical Hebrew verb dahar designates the speedy movement of a horse and rider (Brown, 187; see also Muss-Arnolt, 1/243). The Arabic dictionaries refer to the use of the root d-h-r in the same context, giving definitions such as ‘falling down’ or ‘being thrown down’ (from a horse), as well as ‘attacking’ (Ibn Manẓūr, 1/1023–1025). Some early Arab lexicographers remark that the meaning of bad fortune in the root d-h-r is derived from the principal meaning of falling. The apparent negative connot…
Date: 2021-06-17


(4,057 words)

Author(s): Masoud Tareh | Shah-Kazemi, Reza | Khaleeli, Alexander | Translated by Mushegh Asatryan
The title dahriyya is derived from the word dahr (q.v.), used in Q 45:24, which states: ‘And they say: “There is naught but our life of the world; we die and we live, and naught destroyeth us save time”; when they have no knowledge whatsoever of (all) that; they do but guess’. The word dahr also appears at Q 76:1, which asks the rhetorical question: ‘Hath there come upon man any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered?’. This chapter is known either as al-Dahr or as al-Insān, both words appearing in this first verse. But it is from the usage at Q 45:24, often seen in conj…
Date: 2021-06-17

Daḥw al-Arḍ

(2,604 words)

Author(s): Farhang Mehrvash | Translated by Janis Esots
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 it had several meanings: 1) to fix or fasten: although the lexicologists do not list this meaning, several examples clearly demonstrate its currency (see e.g. Naṣr b. Muzāḥim, 549; also al-Ṭabarī, Ta⁠ʾrīkh, 1/38, where the expression irsāʾ al-jibāl, lit. ‘anchoring the mountains’, is interpreted as being synonymous with daḥw al-arḍ); 2) to throw […
Date: 2021-06-17


(3,901 words)

Author(s): Farhad Daftary
The term dāʿī came to be applied to any authorised representatives of the Ismaili al-daʿwa al-hādiya (rightly guiding mission), who were religio-political propagandists responsible for spreading the Ismaili doctrine and winning followers for the Ismaili imam. Different ranks of dāʿīs emerged during the history of the Ismailis and among different branches.No information is available on the organisation of the pre-Fāṭimid Ismaili daʿwa, but it is known that the movement was reorganised in about 260/873–74 around a hereditary line of leaders, later recognise…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dāʾira, Daf

(3,398 words)

Author(s): Narges Zaker Jafari | Translated by Farzin Negahban
Dāʾira, Daf, a type of frame drum, or membranophone, known in many regions by the name of daf and consisting of a skin stretched on one surface (and hollow inside) in the form of a circle or a ring and similar to the modern western tambourine. The dāʾira with cymbals ( dāʾira zangī) is played in most regions of Iran and the various types are classified according to the sound which the cymbals make on the membrane of the tambour (Darwīshī, 489).NomenclatureEtymologically, the name daf is cognate with the Hebrew tof (תֹּף) and the Aramaic tupa (תֻּפָּא), an instrument that in the Old Testamen…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dāʿī Shīrāzī

(2,172 words)

Author(s): Meysam Solgi | Translated by Mushegh Asatryan
Dāʿī Shīrāzī, Sayyid Niẓām al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. Ḥasan (810–870/1407–1466), known as Shāh Dāʿī, who had the honorific title ( laqab) of Dāʿī ilā Allāh and two pen-names, Dāʿī and subsequently Niẓāmī, was a famous poet and head of the Niʿmatu’llāhī order in Fārs. Not much is known about his family and youth, apart from the fact that he was born in Shīrāz into a family of Ḥasanī sayyids, descendants of Zayd b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī, and was a descendant of one of the last rulers of the ʿAlid dynasty of Ṭabaristān, Dāʿī al-Ṣaghīr Ḥasan b. Qāsim al-Ḥasanī (d. 316/928) (Dāʿī Shīrāzī, Dīwān, 2/33–34, ibid., Ḥikma…
Date: 2021-06-17


(4,160 words)

Author(s): Farhang Mehrvash | Translated by Farzin Negahban
Dajjāl, an immense, grotesque creature in human form, characterised by extreme deceitfulness and generally regarded in Islamic tradition as the false Messiah or anti-Christ. It is said that the Dajjāl will make an appearance in the last days, when through his mastery over the forces of nature he will present himself as a possessor of divine powers and set in motion the greatest tribulation in human history, which will continue until his ultimate defeat. The mention of the Dajjāl in Prophetic tra…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dakkanī, Shāh ʿAlī-Riḍā

(1,683 words)

Author(s): Zahra Hosseini | Translated by Keven Brown
Dakkanī, Shāh ʿAlī-Riḍā (d. 1214 or 1215/1799–1800), a famous Deccan Sufi and one of the most distinguished masters of the Niʿmat Allāhiyya order. Among his accomplishments were kindling the revival of the Niʿmat Allāhiyya order in Iran after a period of decline, and influencing the course of the formation of later Sufism in Iran (see below). Titles given to him—like ‘the pole of recent masters’, ‘the reviver of the way’, and ‘the renewer of the order’—which are mentioned in some Niʿmat Allāhiyy…
Date: 2021-06-17


(34,189 words)

Author(s): Mohammad Reza Naji | Translated by Mushegh Asatryan | Ahmad Pakatchi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli | Russell Harris
Damascus, the capital city of the Syrian Arab Republic and the centre of a province by the same name in the south-west of Syria. Introduction EtymologyThere are numerous stories, many of a mythical character, about the founding and naming of Damascus. As regards the historical record, in the Tell el-Amarna tablets of Egypt, which date back to 14th century BCE, the city is named Ta-ms-qu and in the clay tablets of Ebla (Syria, Idlib province, ca. 2500 BCE) and in Assyrian texts (9th to 8th century BC) it is referred to a…
Date: 2021-06-17


(7,332 words)

Author(s): Shahram Khodaverdian | Translated by Alireza Sameti
Damāwand, the name of the highest peak of the Alburz range in the north of Iran. Damāwand has held a significant place in Persian thought and culture for several millenia. It is also given great importance in Persian mythology and cosmology and, historically, this mountain has become the place of ancestral legends and a symbol of national identity for the Persians.The Relationship between ‘Damāwand’ and ‘Alburz’ in Ancient SourcesIn order to understand the role of Damāwand in Persian myth, religion and literature, one must first study the significance of the Al…
Date: 2021-06-17


(2,936 words)

Author(s): Russell Harris
Daniel (Dāniyāl), the eponymous hero of the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. A Daniel is named as a son of the prophet David in I Chronicles 3:1, although the name does not appear in the chronology of David in II Samuel 3:3, where he is also attributed to a different mother. In the books of Ezra (8:2) and Nehemiah (10:7), the name relates to a priest who returned from Babylonian exile.EtymologyThere is no dispute or controversy on the meaning of the name Daniel. The name is generally written plene, with all the vowels and points written out, in the Old Testament as דָּנִיֵּאל, whose pronunciat…
Date: 2021-06-17

Daqīqī, Abū Manṣūr

(3,563 words)

Author(s): Yadollah Shokri | Ali Mir-Ansari | Translated by Farshid Kazemi
Daqīqī, Abū Manṣūr Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (fl. 4th/10th century), was a Persian poet and one of the earliest composers of epic (q.v.) poetry in the history of Persian literature. There are differences of opinion regarding his biography, especially issues such as his precise name, birthplace, religion and date of death, since the information found scattered in the various sources is largely contradictory. ʿAwfī (2/11) and Hidāyat (1(2)/792) call him Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (see also Hāshimī Sandīlawī, 2/138),…
Date: 2021-06-17


(1,866 words)

Author(s): Ali Mir-Ansari | Translated by Mushegh Asatryan
Dārāb-nāmah, an ancient prose romance that recounts the story of the king Dārāb the son of Bahman, grandson of Isfandiyār, and great-grandson of Gushtāsp, and Humāy Chihrāzād, variously considered to be the daughter of the king of Egypt or the daughter of Bahman, hence the granddaughter of Isfandiyār. Like the story of Samak-i ʿAyyār, the Dārāb-nāmah probably originates in pre-Islamic literature (Tafaḍḍulī, 307). Rooted in the oral tradition, two recensions of the story now exist, compiled nearly four centuries apart, by two Persian-speaking authors, Ṭarsūsī and Bīghamī.The Dārāb-…
Date: 2021-06-17


(3,044 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
al-Dāraquṭnī, Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. ʿUmar (306–385/918–995), a well-known scholar of  ḥadīth from Baghdad and composer of one of the last  sunan works.Biography, Education and StudentsHis nisba refers to the Dār al-Quṭn quarter of Baghdad. While some sources have given 305/917 as his year of birth, he himself writes that he was born in 306/918 (see al-Dāraquṭnī, Ilzāmāt, 116). Al-Dāraquṭnī’s father was also a scholar and ḥadīth expert, hence his son’s education began at home, where he benefitted not only from his father’s instruction but also from some of the…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dārā Shukūh

(10,253 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Translated by Leila Rahimi Bahmany | Shahram Khodaverdian | Translated by Muhammad Isa Waley
Dārā Shukūh, Muḥammad (1024–1069/1615–1658), Mughal Tīmūrid prince, prominent Sufi of the Qādiriyya order, and scholar of comparative religion. The name Dārā Shukūh is a Persian compound adjective and means ‘possessing the grandeur of a Darius’. Dārā translated several classic Hindu texts from Sanskrit into Persian; he also wrote a number of treatises, in some of which he outlined and explained the principal doctrines of Hinduism and compared them with the teachings of Sufism. He thus played an i…
Date: 2021-06-17


(6,808 words)

Author(s): Arash Pourjafar | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Darband (presently Derbent, also previously Derbend), a historic city located in what is today the Republic of Dāghistān (Dagestan), which is a federal republic of Russia. It is situated on the western shores of the Caspian Sea on a narrow strip of land between the sea and the Ṭabarsarān mountains, part of the Greater Caucasus range, which stretch from the Eurasian Steppes in the north to the Iranian Plateau in the south.GeographyHot and dry in summer and cold in winter, Darband is situated in the south-east of Dāghistān, of which it is the second principal city.  …
Date: 2021-06-17
▲   Back to top   ▲