Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Executive Editor: Norman A. Stillman

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The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online (EJIW) is the first cohesive and discreet reference work which covers the Jews of Muslim lands particularly in the late medieval, early modern and modern periods. The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World Online is updated with newly commissioned articles, illustrations, multimedia, and primary source material. 

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Qafiḥ, Joseph

(509 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Joseph Qafiḥ, the scion of a great rabbinical family in Yemen, was born in Sanʿa in 1918. His father, David Qafiḥ, the headmaster of the modern Jewish school in Sanʿa, died when Joseph was only one year old, and he grew up in the home of his grandfather Yiḥye Qafiḥ, the founder of the Dor Deʿa (Generation of Knowledge) enlightenment movement. With his grandfather he studied Bible,  Talmud, medieval Judeo-Arabic literature, especially the philosophical writings of Saʿadya Gaon and Maimonides, as well as astronomy and other secular subjects, and devel…

Qafiḥ, Yiḥye

(729 words)

Author(s): Yosef Tobi
Born in Sanʿa in 1849, Yiḥye Qafiḥ was the most outstanding Jewish scholar of his generation in Yemen. One of his teachers was Yiḥye Qoraḥ (1840–1881), the country’s first enlightened scholar, in whose home he grew up after the death of his father. But while the teacher accepted the mysticism of the Kabbala, the pupil had more radical ideas and came to the conclusion that Kabbala was false and religiously harmful, and that its classic text, the Zohar, was not written by the second-century tanna Simeon Bar Yoḥay as traditionally believed, but by Moses de Leon, who claime…

Qāʾid al-Yahūd

(5 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see TunisiaNorman A. Stillman

Qajar Dynasty

(5 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
see Iran/PersiaNorman A. Stillman

Qalʿat Banī Ḥammād

(508 words)

Author(s): Norman A. Stillman
Qalʿat Banī Ḥammād (also known as Qalʿat Ḥammād and Qalʿat Abī Ṭawīl) was the capital of the Hammadid dynasty in the Central Maghreb (today Algeria) during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The fortified town, which today lies in ruins, sits in the Maadid Mountains and dominates the Hodna Plain 500 meters (1,640 feet) below. The site was chosen by Ḥammād ibn Buluggīn in 1008 as his stronghold when he broke from the authority of his nephew, the Zirid ruler in Qayrawan, Bādīs ibn al-Manṣūr (r. 996–1016). At first, the population of the town was mainly made up of Ḥammād’s fel…

Qānūn-i Khayr-khwāh

(352 words)

Author(s): Orly R. Rahimiyan
Qānūn-i Khayr-khwāh (Pers. The Goodwill Center) is a Jewish charitable organization that helps build hospitals, medical clinics, and orphanages throughout Iran.In the early 1940s the Qānūn-i Javānān-i Īsrā'īl-i Irān (Pers. Center for Young Jews of Iran) was established by doctors and young Iranian Jews to aid the needy, raise living standards, and improve sanitary conditions in the Jewish quarter (Pers. maḥalla) of Tehran. Many of its members were at first greatly influenced by the leftist ideologies of their time but became devoted Zionists in later years.During World War II, u…

Qasmūna bat Ismā‛īl

(661 words)

Author(s): Esperanza Alfonso
The scant information available on Qasmūna bat Ismāʿīl comes from two Arabic sources: Nuzhāt al-julasā' fī ash‛ār al-nisā' (86-87), an anthology of women's poetry compiled by the fifteenth-century Egyptian scholar al-Suyūṭī (d. 1505), and Nafḥ al-Ṭī b (2: 356), a literary-historical compilation by the North African historian al-Maqqarī (d. 1626). The two accounts, while slightly different, probably both draw from Kitāb al-Mughrib fī Ḥulā l-Maghrib, by the thirteenth-century Andalusian littérateur Ibn Sa‛īd al-Maghribī (al-Suyūṭī explicitly acknowledges it as…


(2,271 words)

Author(s): Menahem Ben-Sasson
Qayrawan (Kairouan; Ar. al-Qayrawān) is a town in central Tunisia, 156 kilometers (97 miles) from Tunis and 57 kilometers (35 miles) from Sousse. It was traditionally believed to have been founded as a military base (Ar. miṣr) by ʿUqba ibn Nāfiʿ, but was actually built on the ruins of an ancient town named Qūniya or Qamūniya. Three dynasties controlled the town: the Aghlabids (810–912), the Fatimids (912–972), and their vassals the Zirids (972–1057). Throughout its history the town was a battleground for rebel activity by local Berber tribes, particularly the Kutama Berbers.According …

Qayyāra, Simeon

(826 words)

Author(s): Roni Shweka
Simeon Qayyāra was a rabbinical scholar in ninth-century Iraq and the author of Halakhot Gedolot. He probably came from Basra, and his cognomen, Qayyāra, can be interpreted as “seller (or maker) of tar” (Ar. qār or qīr). He probably lived in the mid-ninth century, and the information about him given by Abraham ibn Da’ud in his Book of Tradition (Heb. Sefer ha-Qabbala) cannot be correct. The French and Ashkenazi tradition erroneously interchanges Simeon Qayyāra with Yehuday Gaon, attributing Halakhot Gedolot to Yehuday. In the late halakhic literature, Simeon is simply called baʿal hala…