(2,310 words)

Barṣīṣā, a semi-historical Jewish ascetic about whom numerous legends and tales arose. He is described as one whose prayers and petitions were granted (mustajāb al-daʿwa), but then fell from grace. The cautionary tale about him is cited in com-mentaries on certain verses of the Qurʾān. In most Islamic sources his name appears alongside Balʿam Bāʿūr (q.v.) and Satan due to the similarity between their stories and their ill-fated outcomes. According to Muslim sources, Barṣīṣā was a pious Jewish ascetic who, having undergone many year…

Cite this page
Arsanjani, Homeira and Negahban, Farzin, “Barṣīṣā”, in: Encyclopaedia Islamica, Editors-in-Chief: Wilferd Madelung and, Farhad Daftary. Consulted online on 13 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004246911, 20131209

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