Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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(6,926 words)

(a.), lit. “description”.

I. In poetry

1. Description

This literary genre, through its dimensions, its significative function and its evolution, has played a role of the greatest importance in the long process of the development of Arabic poetry. By its etymology, the term signifies embellishment (al-D̲j̲awharī, al-Ṣiḥāḥ , Beirut 1404/1984, iv, 1438-9; Tahd̲h̲īb al-lug̲h̲a , xii, 248a; al-Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī, Asās al-balāg̲h̲a , 1024a-1025a; LA, s.v. w-ṣ-f , waṣafa al-s̲h̲ayʾa ḥallāhu “he described a thing, meaning that he embellished it”). This sense has been retai…

Cite this page
Arazi, A. and Y. Meron, “Waṣf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 07 June 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_1341>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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