Encyclopaedia Islamica

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(2,720 words)

Bast is a place of refuge and sanctuary for those facing prosecution or injustice, or seeking to safeguard their rights. Furthermore, criminals, those accused of crimes or under suspicion were able to seek shelter there from the authorities. The act of going to a sanctuary (bast) and taking refuge therein is known as bast-nishīnī (refuge seeking).


The term is derived from upastām (prefix upa and root verb stā) meaning help, as…

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Matin, Payman and Translated by Najam Abbas, “Bast”, in: Encyclopaedia Islamica, Editors-in-Chief: Farhad Daftary. Consulted online on 29 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-9831_isla_COM_00000097>
First published online: 2015

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