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(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…


(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 …


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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


(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…


(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…


(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…

Saʿd Wa-Naḥs

(351 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), literally, "the fortunate and the unfortunate". These concepts are based on the influence exerted by the planets and the signs of the Zodiac on earthly events. The astrologers describe the stars as being either . saʿd or naḥs . Thus Jupiter, Venus and the Moon are said to be saʿd, Saturn is naḥs and the Sun and Mercury are at times called one or the other. But this can vary as a function of their positions in the ecliptic and of their conjunctions (cf. Abū Maslama Muḥammad al-Mad̲j̲rīṭī, G̲h̲āyat al-ḥakīm , ed. H. Ritter, Leipzig 1933, 198 ff. = M. Plessner, Picatrix , London 1962, 209 ff.; L’ag…


(874 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), image, representation and, especially, idol (from the Common Semitic root ṣ-l-m , cf. Akk. ṣalmu , Aram, ṣalmā , Hebr. ṣelem , etc., by a shift of l into n, see Gesenius-Buhl, 684); for Old Testament parallels, see inter alia, Num. xxxiii. 52; II Kings xi. 18; Ezek., vii. 20; Amos, v. 26). It is in this sense that it is found in the Ḳurʾān, where the pl. aṣnām is cited five times (VI, 74; VII, 138; XIV, 35; XXI, 57; XXVI, 71). Ṣanam progressively replaces nuṣub (pl. anṣāb , Hebr. maṣṣebōt̲ , Gen. xxxv. 14), a term denoting “carved stones over which the blood …


(1,670 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a term of the Ḳurʾān and of Islamic religion. The root s̲h̲-k-n (Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic) or s-k-n (Arabic) means basically “to go down, rest, be quiescent, inhabit”, and the corresponding Later Hebrew form to Arabic sakīna is s̲h̲ek̲h̲īnā and the Jewish Palestinian Aramaic one s̲h̲ e k̲h̲īnā, Syriac s̲h̲ekīntā . Cf. Hebr. ham-mis̲h̲kan , mis̲h̲kan Yhwh , Syr. mas̲h̲kan zab̲h̲nā / zab̲h̲nō , Ar. ḳubbat al-zamān (al-Ḳardāḥī, Lubāb , Beirut 1887, ii, 546-7), referring to Moses’ tent sanctuary, Exod. xxv. 22). The Hebrew usage is genera…


(1,210 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(A.), 10th form of the root ḳ-s-m which embraces two groups of meanings, the one of a magical nature and the other divinatory. The first is applied to formulae and methods for conjuring up demons, for adjuration and exorcism; this latter is the meaning acquired by the 2nd and 4th forms, ḳassama and aḳsama , particularly in the Christian Arab world, clearly influenced by the Hebrew ḳesem ( e.g., Deut. xxiii, 23), which has the same meaning. This usage is late, colloquial, and most frequently found among Christian Arabs, who also employ ḳisām , “adjuration, exorcism …

D̲h̲u ’l K̲h̲alaṣa

(469 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(or K̲h̲ulaṣa ). D̲h̲u ’l-K̲h̲alaṣa refers to the sacred stone (and the holy place where it was to be found) which was worshipped by the tribes of Daws, K̲h̲at̲h̲ʿam, Bad̲j̲īla, the Azd of the Sarāt mountains and the Arabs of Tabāla. “It was a white quartziferous rock, bearing the sculpture of something like a crown. It was in Tabāla at the place called al-ʿAblāʾ, i.e., White Rock ( TʿA , viii, 3) between Mecca and the Yemen and seven nights’ march from the former ( i.e., approximately 192 kilometres or 119 miles). The guardians of the sanctuary were the Banū Umāma of the Bāhila…


(371 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), in early Arabia, the guardian of a shrine (abstract noun, sidāna ). The root s - d - n contains the sense of "veil, curtain", which puts sādin on a level with ḥād̲j̲ib , the first term denoting the guardian of a shrine, and the second, the "door-keeper" of a palace, hence "chamberlain". The ḥād̲j̲ib acts under the orders of someone else, whereas the sādin acts on his own initiative ( LʿA , xvii, 69, citing Ibn Barrī). However, the two terms may be found juxtaposed, e.g. in Ibn His̲h̲ām, who says, "The Arabs possessed, as well as the Kaʿba, tawāg̲h̲īṭ which were shrines ( buyūt : cf. Fahd, La divin…


(737 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), from rīf , pl. aryāf , “cultivated and fertile region”, generally designates the lands along a river or the sea and the fertile plains bordering the desert [see further rīf ]. The noun riyāfa , a recent formation on the model of ḳiyāfa (note that al-Ḏj̲āḥiẓ, K. al-Tarbīʿ wa ’l-tadwīr , ed. Pellat, 91-2, § 176, gives for ḳiyāfa [ q.v.] the sense of the detection of paternity, the whereabouts of water, atmospheric phenomena and the earth), designates the water-diviner’s art which estimates the depth of water under the earth through the smell of the ea…


(547 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), from the root s-ʿ-y , used 30 times in the Ḳurʾān in such senses as “to work, apply oneself to, denounce, seek to earn one’s living, run after s. th.” etc., but in the sense concerning here denoting the pilgrim’s running between al-Ṣafā and al-Marwa. These are two hills to the south and north-west of the Kaʿba respectively, linked by a masʿā , course, which the pilgrim follows after having made the sevenfold circuit of the Kaʿba, at his or her arrival and his or her departure. This following of the course, the saʿy , is likewise sevenfold; it starts in al-Ṣafā, and goes to al-Marwa, ca. 300 m a…


(319 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, preferably to be read as Saʿīr, although the former is more common, an idol of the pre-Islamic Arabian tribe of ʿAnaza (Ibn al-Kalbī, 48-9), coming from ʿw.ṣ , an Aramaean eponym denoting in the Bible (refs. in Gesenius-Buhl, 573) the land of Edom and the group of tribes living there (W. Robertson Smith, Kinship and marriage in early Arabia , 260-1; Nöldeke, in ZDMG, xl [1887], 183). Saʿīr, which followed the same evolution as ʿAwḍ, denotes in the Bible the land of Edom before its occupation by the sons of Esau. Gen. xxxvi.9 speaks of the hill country Seʿir, o…


(631 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), the science of physiognomancy and the examination of traces on the ground. In their concern for the purity of race and the ¶ correctness of genealogical lines, the ancient Arabs perfected a technique which permitted them to verify, and, where necessary, to research into, lines of parentage. This technique consisted partly in experience and partly in divinatory intuition. In primitive times, a specialised personnel maintained the practice: but the progressive decline, in pre-Islamic Arabia, of personnel skilled i…
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