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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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, 11:6, 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 …

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…

Dāgh, and Dāgh Kardan

(6,142 words)

Author(s): Ali A. Bulookbashi
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: 2018-09-19


(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…

Dāʾira, Daf

(3,402 words)

Author(s): Narges Zaker Jafari
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: 2018-09-19

Dāʿī Shīrāzī

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Meysam Solgi
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: 2018-09-19


(4,156 words)

Author(s): Farhang Mehrvash
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: 2018-09-19

Dakkanī, Shāh ʿAlī-Riḍā

(1,683 words)

Author(s): Zahra Hosseini
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: 2018-09-19


(34,199 words)

Author(s): Mohammad Reza Naji | Ahmad Pakatchi | 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: 2018-09-19


(7,337 words)

Author(s): Shahram Khodaverdian
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: 2018-09-19


(2,938 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: 2018-09-19

Daqīqī, Abū Manṣūr

(3,562 words)

Author(s): Yadollah Shokri | Ali Mir-Ansari
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: 2018-09-19


(1,871 words)

Author(s): Ali Mir-Ansari
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: 2018-09-19


(3,048 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri
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: 2018-09-19

Dārā Shukūh

(10,258 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Shahram Khodaverdian
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: 2018-09-19


(6,808 words)

Author(s): Arash Pourjafar
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: 2018-09-19
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