(906 words)

, ‘the helpers’, the usual designation of those men of Medina who supported Muḥammad, in distinction from the Muhād̲j̲irūn or ‘emigrants’ i.e. his Meccan followers. After the general conversion of the Arabs to Islam the old name of al-Aws and al-Ḵh̲azrad̲j̲ jointly, Banū Ḳayla, fell out of use and was replaced by Anṣār, the individual being known as an Anṣārī (cf. Ḳurʾān, ix, 100/101, 117/118). In this way the early services of the men of Medina to the cause of Islam were honourably commemorated. Anṣār is presumably the plural of naṣīr , but the latter is never used as a technical term. The verb n…

Cite this page
Watt, W. Montgomery, “al-Anṣār”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 19 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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