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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(3,242 words)

Author(s): Sadeq Sajjadi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Fadak, the name of a village in the vicinity of Medina, at a distance of two days travel. Half of the agricultural land of Fadak was the personal property of the Prophet Muḥammad. It draws its later significance and fame from a dispute that erupted between two major groups of Muslims regarding its status after the Prophet’s demise. The crux of this disagreement was whether, when the Prophet passed away, the land of Fadak became the property of his daughter Fāṭima (q.v.), or the collective property of the Muslims to be administered by the caliph.The raids and military campaigns directed b…
Date: 2021-06-17

Faḍl Allāh Ḥurūfī Astarābādī

(6,133 words)

Author(s): Alireza Zekavati Gharagozlou | Fatemeh Lajevardi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Faḍl Allāh Ḥurūfī Astarābādī (d. 796/1394), the founder of the Ḥurūfī movement which emerged in Iran during the Tīmūrid period and was centred around his person and teachings. The Ḥurūfīs believed that the letters of the Arabo-Persian alphabet contained hidden meanings and that these meanings took primacy over the apparent meaning of the text when interpreting the Qurʾān. They also believed that human beings along with all other creatures were created from these letters and, therefore, that understa…
Date: 2021-06-17

al-Faḍl b. Shādhān

(2,778 words)

Author(s): Ahmad Pakatchi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
al-Faḍl b. Shādhān, Abū Muḥammad al-Faḍl b. Shādhān b. Khalīl al-Azdī al-Nīsābūrī (d. 260/874) was an Imāmī traditionist, jurist and theologian. There is very little that can be known about his life in terms of precise details, and accounts regarding him contain contradictions that are somewhat difficult to resolve. It appears that he was originally from Nīsābūr in Khurāsān, but his nisba suggests his lineage is traceable to the Arab tribe of Azd. His father, Shādhān b. Khalīl, was also an important Imāmī traditionist (see al-Najāshī, 206; al-Ṭūsī, al-Īḍāḥ, pp. 46–48, 52 ). Accordi…
Date: 2021-06-17

Fahraj Congregational Mosque

(3,118 words)

Author(s): Zatollah Nikzad | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Fahraj Congregational Mosque, is a brick and clay edifice built as a series of arcades around a small central courtyard. Fahraj is a small town in the central Iranian province of Yazd, a region of low precipitation and arid conditions, approximately 30 km south-east of the city of Yazd. The date of construction for the mosque is not clear but scholars have placed it during the early centuries of the Islamic era. Despite the fact that it was only lately discovered, the importance of the congregatio…
Date: 2021-06-17

Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ṣamad Hamadānī

(3,483 words)

Author(s): Mohsen Shorafaei | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ṣamad Hamadān ī, also known as Ḥāʾirī (d. 1216/1802), a jurist, uṣūlī scholar, philosopher, theologian, grammarian, as well as a widely respected mystic of the Niʿmat Allāhī order in the 12th/18th and early 13th/19th centuries.Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn Shīrwānī refers to him as the most learned individual of his day, who had, at the very least, reached the rank of a mujtahid, and attained a high degree of ascetism and piety (Shīrwānī, Bustān, 613). Equally, he is considered to be one of the pre-eminent Imāmī scholars of his time, and a master of both the rational ( ʿaqlī) and trad…
Date: 2021-06-17

Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī Ṣafī

(2,287 words)

Author(s): Jamshid Jalali Sheyjani | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī Ṣafī, also Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī b. Ḥusayn Wāʿiẓ Kāshifī (867–939/1463–1533), a 10th/16th century Sufi, belletrist and preacher ( wāʿiẓ) who belonged to the Naqshbandī Sufi order.According to his own account in Rashaḥāt ʿayn al-ḥayāt, Fakhr al-Dīn Ṣafī was born on the eve of Friday 21 Jumādā I 867/11 February 1463, in Sabzawār in western Khurāsān. He grew up in Herat and began his education there (Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī Ṣafī, Rashaḥāt, 1/203, 2/489; see also Ṣafā, ‘Persian Literature’, 928), studying the elementary Islamic sciences with his father, the famo…
Date: 2021-06-17


(7,274 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Ali Mowlavi | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Alireza Sameti
Falconry ( bāzdārī), the practice of hunting with various raptors or birds of prey, especially the genera falco (falcons) and accipiter (hawks), such as sparrowhawks, peregrines and saker falcons. Falconry is also concerned with the principles of classifying these birds, together with the practices of their maintenance, fosterage, training and veterinary care (Kushājim, 48, 56, 115–116; al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥusayn, 49–50, 62–65, 79–94).Origins and Early HistoryThe history of falconry may be conveniently divided into three periods: 1. from its earliest beginnings i…
Date: 2021-06-17

Fanāʾ and Baqāʾ

(3,540 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | M.I. Waley | Translated by Rahim Gholami
Fanāʾ and baqāʾ (annihilation and subsistence) are two terms, often found together, pertaining to the terminology of the Sufi path ( sayr wa sulūk). Their origin and basis being metaphysical and cosmological, it is appropriate to discuss this latter aspect before examining the usage and significance of fanāʾ and baqāʾ in relation to the theories and lived experience of authorities on Sufism. Lexically, fanāʾ means to die, perish, or cease to be; baqāʾ means to remain alive, exist, and subsist. Fanāʾ, a verbal  noun, means the effacement of the apparent manifestation of a thing; fānī, the…
Date: 2021-06-17


(2,301 words)

Author(s): Masoud Tareh | Translated by Mushegh Asatryan
al-Fanārī, Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḥamza (751–834/1350–1451), the first person to hold the office of Shaykh al-Islām (in Turkish, Şeyhülislâm) of the Ottoman empire, jurist, writer on Sufism, and major exponent of the metaphysical doctrine of waḥdat al-wujūd (‘oneness of being’) in Anatolia. Turkish sources call him Molla Fenarî (Ramazanzade, 2/326).The historian Beliğ Efendi (p. 239) states that al-Fanārī was descended from ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb. He probably inherited the nisba from his forefathers, but there is no unanimity as to its origin. Al-Suyūṭī (1/97) rel…
Date: 2021-06-17


(2,090 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ebrahim | Translated by Rahim Gholami
Faqr (literally, ‘poverty’) is a term denoting different modalities and stages of material, psychological and spiritual want and neediness which a wayfarer on the Sufi path may adopt as a means to progress in earning God’s love and compassion and of acquiring purity and mystical knowledge.The term  faqr is derived from the Arabic root  f-q-r, literally meaning ‘to hollow out’, ‘to perforate’, ‘to make/become poor’, ‘to be in need’ or ‘to be/become needy’. Hence  faqr carries a general sense of being in a state of penury or destitution. This and other derivatives of …
Date: 2021-06-17


(32,571 words)

Author(s): Part I: Sadeq Sajjadi | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli | Part II: Sayyad Javad Tabatabai
al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr Muḥammad (d. Rajab 339/December 950–January 951), Muslim philosopher, one of the ‘founders’ of the falsafa tradition, sometimes referred to as ‘al-Muʿallim al-Thānī’ (lit. ‘The Second Teacher’, Aristotle being the First).  Part I: Life and Works BiographyScholars hold differing opinions about his father’s name and his ethnic background. The earliest source of information about al-Fārābī’s life and works is Ibn al-Nadīm (d. 385/995), who gives his name as Abū Naṣr Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Tarkhān al-Fār…
Date: 2021-06-17


(4,271 words)

Author(s): Marjan Afsharian
Farasnāmah, an Arabic-Persian phrase which is a combination of faras (horse) and nāmah (book or treatise) and refers to a genre of Persian treatises on hippology. These include descriptions of, and prescriptions for, the care, feeding and training of horses, and the different diseases and illnesses from which horses suffer.For Iranians the role of these manuals is historically significant, not only because of their use in daily life, such as in transport and trade, but also because horses were an integral element in the conventions of Persian …
Date: 2021-06-17


(20,861 words)

Author(s): Muzaffar Zoolshoev
Farghāna, also Fergana, Ferghana or Pargāna, refers to the vast mountain valley system and the eponymous capital city of Farghāna province in modern Uzbekistan.Introduction Etymology and Nomenclature                   The name ‘Farghāna’ is derived from the word ‘Pargāna (or ‘Pragna’) meaning ‘a small mountainous place’ or ‘mountain valley’ (Bernshtam, 7). It has also been suggested that ‘Pargāna’ is cognate with the name of a tribe from the Scythian Parikan confederation, the largest tribal confederation in the central part of the Far…
Date: 2021-06-17


(3,541 words)

Author(s): Ensiyeh Sheikhsofla | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
al-Farghānī, Saʿīd al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (d. ca. 699/1300), a member of the Suhrawardī Sufi order who became one of the foremost disciples of Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qūnawī (d. 673/1274), and an influential exponent of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s school of mystical thought.Al-Farghānī’s nisba is derived from Farghāna (q.v.), an important valley in medieval Transoxania, which was a very wealthy region in those days (al-Samʿānī, 10/188; Yāqūt, 3/879). According to his own signature on the copy he made in 669/1271 of al-Qūnawī’s Iʿjāz al-bayān (fol. 143a; see Hirtenstein, 129), he r…
Date: 2021-06-17

Farīghūnids (Āl-i Farīgh)

(2,850 words)

Author(s): Seyyed Ali Al-i Davud | Translated by M.A.H. Parsa
Farīghūnids (Āl-i Farīgh), a minor dynasty of emirs of Iranian origin that ruled Gūzgān (or Jawzjān) and its surroundings from 279/892 until 401/1010.  They were vassals of the Sāmānids (r. 204–395/819–1005) until they were removed by Sultan Maḥmūd of the Ghaznawid dynasty (r. 367–583/977–1187).Historical BackgroundThe term ‘Farīghūn’ refers to an area in the north of Afghanistan bounded by Khwārazm and Transoxania. The author of Ḥudūd al-ʿālam (q.v., ca. 372/982), who dedicated his work to Abū al-Ḥārith Muḥammad b. Aḥmad, the most notable ruler of the Farīgh…
Date: 2021-06-17


(25,875 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri | Translated by Joep Lameer | Shahram Khodaverdian | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli | Ali A. Bulookbashi | Et al.
Fāṭima, the daughter of Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh, the Prophet of Islam, by his first wife, Khadīja b. Khuwaylid. Her presence in Islam’s turbulent early years meant that she not only played an important role at certain points in Islam’s early history but, especially for Shiʿa Muslims, was of central importance for the future of Islam owing to her role in linking the two institutions of prophethood and imamate. She was also the wife of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (q.v.), the Prophet’s cousin and one of the f…
Date: 2021-06-17


(12,513 words)

Author(s): Paul E. Walker
Fāṭimids, a dynasty that rose to political dominion in North Africa in 297/909 after a long period of secret revolutionary activity in various regions of the Islamic world. They formally proclaimed their caliphate in Rabīʿ II 297/January 910. The new caliph, al-Mahdī, was already imam of the Shiʿi Ismailis but, until then, he had not actually ruled a politically defined territory. However, he and his successors thereafter were both imams in the Shiʿi understanding of the term, and also rulers of …
Date: 2021-06-17

Female circumcision

(6 words)

, see supplement.