(1,145 words)

(a.). The history of this word reflects, parallel to and even better than the history of the words ʿilm and dīn , the evolution of Arab culture from its pre-Islamic origins to our own day. In its oldest sense, it may be regarded as synonym of sunna , with the sense of "habit, hereditary norm of conduct, custom" derived from ancestors and other persons who are looked up to as models (as, in the religious sense, was the sunna of the Prophet for his community). The etymology of the word put forward by Vollers and Nallino agrees with this earliest meaning: both considered that the plural ādāb was formed…

Cite this page
Gabrieli, F., “Adab”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 13 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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