al-Masīḥ
(583 words)

, the Messiah; in Arabic (where the root m-s-ḥ has the meanings of “to measure” and “to wipe, stroke”) it is a loanword from the Aramaic, where m e s̲h̲īḥā was used as a name of the Redeemer.

Horovitz ( Koranische Untersuchungen , 129) considers the possibility that it was taken over from the Ethiopic ( masīḥ ). Muḥammad of course got the word from the Christian Arabs, amongst whom the personal name ʿAbd al-Masīḥ was known in pre-Islamic times, but it is doubtful whether he knew the true meaning of the term (see K. Ahrens, Christliches im Qoran , eine Nachlese , in ZDMG, lxxxiv [1930], 24-5; A. Je…

Cite this page
Wensinck, A.J. and Bosworth, C.E., “al-Masīḥ”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 16 October 2018 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_5012>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007



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