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al-Lāt

(1,276 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, name of one of the three most venerated deities of the pre-Islamic pantheon, the two others being Manāt and al-ʿUzzā [ q.vv.]. The deep attachment felt by the T̲h̲aḳīf towards al-Lāt, the Aws and the K̲h̲azrad̲j̲ towards Manāt and the Ḳurays̲h̲ towards al-ʿUzzā, constituted the greatest obstacle in the path of the peaceful implantation of Islam in the regions of the Ḥid̲j̲āz. This obstacle was so difficult to overcome that the Prophet seems, for a brief period, to have consented to the continuation of the cult of these three deities, called al-g̲h̲arānīḳ al-ʿulā (see T. Fahd, Panthéon

Ibn G̲h̲annām

(511 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, Abū Ṭāhir Ibrāhīm b. Yaḥyā b. G̲h̲annām al-Ḥarrānī al-Numayrī al-Ḥanbalī al-Maḳdisī (d. 693/1294), is the author of a treatise on oneiromancy that was widely circulated, on account of its alphabetical arrangement which makes it rapid and simple to consult. He was thus the innovator of a system which, after his time, became widely adopted. His treatise, entitled al-Muʿallam ʿalā ḥurūf al-muʿd̲j̲am , led oneiromancy away from the traditional paths by renouncing the plan inspired by that of the Book of Dreams of Artemidorus of Ephesus (ed. T. Fahd, Damascus 1964, PIFD) and sanctioned b…

Manāf

(479 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, name of a deity ofancient Arabia. This IVth form maṣdar from the root n-w-f is connected with the Qatabanite nwfn “the exalted”, an epithet describing ʿAt̲h̲ar-Venus at its zenith, as opposed to s̲h̲rḳn “the eastern” and g̲h̲rbn “the western”. From the same root is derived tanūf “that which climbs high in the firmament”, an epithet of the sun, as opposed to ms̲h̲rḳtym “that which rises”, and tadūn “that which sets” (cf. A. Jamme, Le panthéon sud-arabe préislamique’d’après les sources épigraphiques , in Le Muséon , lx [1947], 88 and n. 225, 102, 106; on th…

Nubuwwa

(4,585 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), “prophecy”, Hebrew nəb̲ūʾa , substantive derived from nabī “prophet”, Hebrew nābī (ʾ), term denoting in the first instance the precognition given by the divinity (Yahweh, the Baʿl, Allāh) to the prophet and the prediction made by the latter of future contingencies. In the second instance, nubuwwa is identified with waḥy , “revelation”, which simultaneously comprises dogmas, cultic regulations, moral education, precepts of social and political order. In fact, for the early Muslims, prophecy was regarded as being the so…

Ibn Waḥs̲h̲iyya

(2,716 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, name of a person to whom are attributed a number of works and whose full name is said to have been Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Ḳays (omitted in Fihrist , 311, which adds: b. al-Muk̲h̲tār b. ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Ḏj̲art̲h̲iya b. Badniyā b. Barṭāniyā b. ʿĀlāṭiyā) al-Kasdānī (omitted in MS Istanbul, Beyazit 4064 [see below]) al-Ṣūfī (added in Fihrist and some manuscripts) al-Ḳussaynī (added in MSS Beyazit 4064 and Leiden, vocalized thus in Beyazit, read al-Ḳasītī or al Ḳusaytī by M. Plessner; cf. Fihrist: min ahl Ḳussīn ), known as Ibn Waḥs̲h̲iyya, but of whose existenc…

Nasr

(390 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.) “vulture”, one of the five deities said to date from the time of Noah and to have been adored by the people then (Ḳurʾān, LXXI, 23). Ibn al-Kalbī, Aṣnām , our sole source regarding this, makes it the idol of the Ḥimyarites, who worshipped it at Balk̲h̲aʿ in the land of Sabaʾ ( TA, iii, 572, at the end, cites al-D̲j̲awharī, who says that Nasr was the idol of D̲h̲u ’l-Kilāʿ of the Ḥimyarite country). It was Maʿdī-Karib, of the sub-group of D̲h̲ū Ruʿayn, who received it from ʿAmr b. Luḥayy, the first known reformer of the cult in Arabia; he disco…

Siḥr

(4,799 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), magic. This term is applied (1) to that which entrances the eye and acts on the psyche of the individual, making him believe that what he sees is real when it is not so. This is called al-uk̲h̲d̲h̲a , “charm, incantation” [see ruḳya ], “artifice, stratagem” [see nīrand̲j̲ , sīmiyā ]; in short, everything that is known as “white” or “natural magic”. It also refers (2) to things, the apprehension ( maʾk̲h̲ad̲h̲ ) of which is fine and subtle; this applies, for example, to certain poetry and certain eloquence, that of the Ḳurʾān in particular. The Prophet was allegedly told, inna min al-bayāni …

Nud̲j̲ūm

(3,790 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
( Aḥkām al- ), “decrees of the stars”, expression denoting astrology [see also munad̲j̲d̲j̲im ]. Astrology comprises two branches: natural astrology, consisting in the observation of the influences of the stars on the natural elements, and judicial astrology, consisting in the observation of the influences of the stars on human destiny. The scientific term which describes them is Ptolemaism (derived from the astrological work of Ptolemy, entitled Κλαυδίου Πτολεμαίου τῶν πρὸς Σύρον ἀποτελεσματικῶν, ed. F. Boll and Ae. Boer, in Bibliotheca Teubneriana , Le…

Niyāḥa

(461 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.) “lamentation”, the noun of action from nāḥa “to weep with great cries, lamentations, sighings and affliction”. The term is used to designate the activity of professional mourners who play a great role in funeral ceremonies all around the Mediterranean. If it is mentioned here, it is because this practice, considered to be a legacy of paganism, was condemned by the Prophet. Indeed, he is made to say “Three pre-Islamic customs ( ak̲h̲lāḳ ; Usd al-g̲h̲āba , fiʿl ) are not to be retained by the Muslims. They are: invoking the planets in order to receive rain ( istisḳāʾ bi ’l-kawākib

Taʿbı̄r al-Ruʾya

(1,558 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), “The interpretation of dreams”. As well as this expression, tafsīr al-aḥlām is employed, with taʿbīr , basically “the passage of one thing to another, one sense to another”, hence “explanation” and tafsīr , lit. “commenting, explaining”, from roots occurring in other Semitic languages and with the two Arabic verbal nouns found, once each, in the Ḳurʾān, at XII, 43, and XXV, 33, with taʾwīl [ q.v.] also at XII, 44-5. In current usage, taʿbīr is confined to the sense of “interpretation of dreams”, whilst tafsīr [ q.v.] is used for commentaries on e.g. the Bible and the Ḳurʾān. For the ter…

Nuṣub

(1,330 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), pl. anṣāb , Hebrew maṣṣeb̲ōt . The plural, more often used, denotes the blocks ofstone on which the blood of the victims sacrificed for idols ( awt̲h̲ān , aṣnām ) was poured, as well as sepulchral stones and those marking out the sacred enclosure ( ḥimā ) of the sanctuary (cf. J. Wellhausen, Reste2 , 101-2; W. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites , 201 ff.). In nomadic circles, the nuṣub has been regarded in a few rare instances as the symbol of the divinity (cf. Ibn Saʿd, Ṭabaḳāt , iv/1, 159-60; R. Dozy, Essai sur l’histoire de l’Islamisme , translated from the…

Nīrand̲j̲

(1,186 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), derived from Persian nayrang , nīrang , pl. nīrand̲j̲āt , nīrand̲j̲iyyāt (Ibn Sīnā, ms. Paris; Brockelmann, S I, 828), nārand̲j̲iyyāt (al-D̲j̲ināʿī, ms. Strasbourg 4212, fol. 102b), designates, in the two languages, the operations of white magic, comprising prestidigitation, fakery and counter-fakery, the creating of illusions and other feats of sleight-of-hand ( ḥiyal ). A certain al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Iskandarī al-Kūs̲h̲ī al-ʿAbdari described the whole set of these operations in his work Fi ’l-ḥiyal al-bābiliyya li ’l-k̲h̲izāna al-kāmiliyya

al-Maysir

(1,172 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a noun derived from y-s-r "to be easy, simple", a root from which derives, by antiphrasis, a qualificative of the left hand, al-yusrā , with which the ḥurḍa (cf. Hebrew ḥ-r-ṣ and Akkadian ḫarāšu "decide, fix, determine"), the equivalent of the sādin of the istiḳsām [ q.v.], shot arrows one by one. Hence the term maysir could be rendered by "the game of the left-handed", although its present morphological state is inexplicable. The game consisted of dividing a slaughtered beast into ten parts, for which the game was played: these being the thighs and shins of bo…

al-Kaff

(1,138 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
( ʿilm-i ), a divinatory process which belongs to the realm of physiognomy [see firāsa ], and designates more specifically chirognomy, or the art of deducing the character of a person according to the shape and appearance of the hands, whereas chiromancy proper is designated by ʿilm al-asārīr (lines of the hand) or k̲h̲uṭūṭ al-yad . One can also say naẓar fi ’l-yad , firāsat al-kaff , ʿalāmāt asārīr al-kaff (cf. T. Fahd, Divination arabe , 393 ff.). But the use of the term ʿilm al-kaff has become general, and this has supplanted the others. It covers both c…

Malḥama

(944 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a) in modern times designates an epic [see haṃāsa ] and also corresponds to a usage already in evidence in the Old Testament, where milḥamōt is applied to the wars of Yahweh (I Sam. xviii, 17, xxv, 28), but in the Islamic Middle Ages this word meant a writing of a divinatory character, the Malḥamat Dāniyāl [cf. dāniyāl ]. It is a question of a collection of meteorological signs with their divinatory meanings, derived from the day of the week on which 1 January falls (from the Saturday to the Friday), eclipses of the moon, followi…

Ṣadā

(529 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a term with many meanings, including those of thirst, voice, echo, and screech-owl in the sense of hāma , which denotes a bird charged with taking shape in the skull of someone who has been murdered, etc. (see the lexica). It is this latter sense which interests us here. In effect, the pre-Islamic Arabs believed that after death, above all after a violent death, out of the blood of the skull ( hāma) and parts of the body there arose a bird called hāma (or hām , the male owl; see Yāḳūt, Buldān , iii, 376), which returned to the tomb of the dead man until vengea…

Hātif

(562 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, invisible being whose cry rends the night, transmitting a message; a prophetic voice which announces in an oracular style a future happening. Already in the Bible this voice is confused with that of the prophet (Ezekiel, XXI, 2, 7; Amos, VII, 16). On the eve of Muḥammad’s call, mysterious voices were proclaiming his coming. These were the voices of “one who was calling” ( munādī ) or “who was shouting” ( ṣāʾiḥ : Ag̲h̲ānī 1, xv, 76; in the legend of Mad̲j̲nūn, hātif is the equivalent of munādī and of ṣāʾiḥ: ibid., i, 169; ii, 4; i, 174; a third equivalent, tālī , is found in al-Ṭabarī, iii4, 2337). I…

Kihāna

(1,979 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.) means divination in general. Lā kihāna baʿd al-nubuwwa “there is no divination after the prophetic mission”; if it were necessary to be content with this dictum, frequently repeated in the Tradition, such an article as this would be out of place in an Encyclopaedia of Islam . But once the precise sense of this term has been established and the range of concepts which it covers outlined, the reader will agree that it is, on the contrary, far from superfluous. The word itself, both in terms of the conceptual aspect ( kihāna ) and the pragmatic aspect ( hahāna ) is a le…

Katif

(707 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.) “shoulder”; ʿilm al-katif or al-aktāf denotes scapulomancy or omoplatoscopy, i.e. divination by the use of the shoulder-bones. This art forms a part of the practices of physiognomy. It is universal in scope, inasmuch as it provides for the foretelling of what will happen in the different regions of the earth towards which the four sides of the scapula are pointed according to the signs revealed by it. From this point of view the ʿilm al-aktāf is to be linked with the practice of cleromancy of the d̲j̲afr [ q.v.] and the malāḥim (cf. T. Fahd, La divination arabe, 219 ff.). How was this skil…

Ṣābiʾa

(4,595 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), the name of two rather mysterious groups in early Islamic times: 1. Ṣābiʾat al-baṭāʾiḥ . The Mesopotamian dialectal pronunciation of ṣābiʿa , where the ʿayn has been transformed into y or ī , also occurs in Mandaean (cf. Lidzbarski, Ginzā ; Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik ; R. Macuch, Handbook , 94, 1. 16: ṣabuia ). This substantive, which became current in Mecca during the period of Ḳurʾānic preaching, irrespective of its etymology, derives from the Semitic root ṣ-b-ʿ (Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac; Ethiopic ṣabk̲h̲a ), corresponding to ṣ-b-g̲h̲ in Arabic. Th…
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