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Ḥamāsa

(989 words)

Author(s): Knappert, J.
, the epic genre in Islamic literature. vi. In Swahili Literature . In Swahili literature, the word hamasa occurs rarely and has the meaning of “virtue, courage, energy”. The normal words for “courage, valour” in Swahili literature are ushujaa , ujasiri , usabiti and uhodari , all words of Arabic version, and so is the word for virtue, fadhila . There are only a few non-narrative heroic poems known in Swahili literature, most of them self-praises in true African fashion. The most famous of these is the Ukawafi of Liongo, praising h…

Kisangani

(716 words)

Author(s): Knappert, J.
, the former Stanleyville, is a city now of well over 250,000 inhabitants, the third city in Zaire, and the capital of the province of Upper Zaire, formerly Province Orientale. The most important urban centre in north-eastern Zaire, it is situated on the bend of the river Zaire, formerly called Lualaba (upstream) and Congo (downstream from the city), just where it turns west and a few miles north of the equator. In 1877, Henry Morton Stanley set up camp here to rest from the exhausting weeks during which he negotiated the seven cataracts still called Stanley Falls.…

Nadira

(501 words)

Author(s): Knappert, J.
2. In Swahili literature. The word nādira is not well known in Swahili except in scholarly circles. The Swahili word ngano (common also in other Bantu languages) is in use for all invented tales including fables, as opposed to hadithi , which originally referred to Islamic legends about the Prophet Muḥammad and the characters he used to discuss with the Ṣaḥāba , while seated in the mosque at Medina after prayers. Today, such hadithi contain some of the most fantastic adventure tales, including the exploits of ʿAlī against the d̲j̲inn and s̲h̲ayāṭīn . Next to Arabi…

Muṣāḥib

(186 words)

Author(s): Knappert, J.
(a.), in Swahili musahibu , a term of East African Muslim court life. In Swahili morphology, the mu-/ m-prefix can be placed before all words denoting persons and also trees, e.g. mtini “fig tree” (A. tīn ) or mzeituni “olive tree” (A. zaytūn ). It is therefore possible that the literary word musahibu is simply ṣāḥib with the mu-prefix. Now in some of the Swahili chronicles and the older epics, musahibu occurs in a special meaning, that of the close companion of the sultan, e.g. the sultan of Pate [ q.v.]. He is usually a half-brother or cousin. He has to accompany the ruler wherever…

al-Nud̲j̲ūm

(9,196 words)

Author(s): Kunitzsch, P. | Knappert, J.
(a.), the stars. There are two words in Arabic carrying the notion of “star”, nad̲j̲m , pl. nud̲j̲ūm (from the root n-d̲j̲-m , “to rise”), and kawkab , pl. kawākib (see WKAS, i, 440 b 28; cf. already Babyl. kakkabu; a reduplication of a basic root KB “to burn, to shine”). For the etymologies of the two words, see Eilers [1], 96 ff.; [2], 115; [3], 6 f. Both words occur frequently in the Ḳurʾān. In LV, 6, it remains in dispute whether al-nad̲j̲m u is to be understood as “the plants, or grasses” (as maintained by I.Y. Kračkovskiy and A. Fischer) or as “the stars” (see the recent …

Mawlid (a.), or Mawlūd

(3,412 words)

Author(s): Fuchs, H. | Jong, F. de | Knappert, J.
(pl. mawālid ), is the term for (1) the time, place or celebration of the birth of a person, especially that of the Prophet Muḥammad or of a saint [see walī ], and (2) a panegyric poem in honour of the Prophet. 1. Typology of the mawlid and its diffusion through the Islamic world. From the moment when Islam began to bring the personality of Muḥammad within the sphere of the supernatural, the scenes among which his earthly life had been passed naturally began to assume a higher sanctity in the eyes of his followers. Among these, the house in which he was born, the Mawlid al-Nabī

Miʿrād̲j̲

(9,119 words)

Author(s): Schrieke, B. | Horovitz, J. | Bencheikh, J.E. | Knappert, J. | Robinson, B.W.
(a.), originally designates “a ladder”, and then “an ascent”, and in particular, the Prophet’s ascension to Heaven. 1. In Islamic exegesis and in the popular and mystical tradition of the Arab world. The Ḳurʾān (LXXXI, 19-25, LIII, 1-21) describes a vision in which a divine messenger appears to Muḥammad, and LIII, 12-18, treats of a second mission of a similar kind. In both cases, the Prophet sees a heavenly figure approach him from the distance, but there is no suggestion that he himself was carried away to Heaven. However, i…

Mart̲h̲iya

(12,364 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Hanaway, W. L. | Flemming, B. | Haywood, J.A. | Knappert, J.
or mart̲h̲āt (A., pl. marāt̲h̲ī ) “elegy”, a poem composed in Arabic (or in an Islamic language following the Arabic tradition) to lament the passing of a beloved person and to celebrate his ¶ merits; rit̲h̲āʾ , from the same root, denotes both lamentation and the corresponding literary genre. 1. In Arabic literature. The origin of the mart̲h̲iya may be found in the rhymed and rhythmic laments going with the ritual movements performed as a ritual around the funeral cortège by female relatives of the deceased, before this role bec…

Mat̲h̲al

(14,502 words)

Author(s): Sellheim, R. | Wickens, G.M. | Boratav, P.N. | Haywood, J.A. | Knappert, J.
(a., pl. amt̲h̲āl ) proverb, popular saying, derives—similarly to Aram, mat̲h̲lā , Hebr. mās̲h̲āl and Ethiop. mesl , mesālē —from the common Semitic root for “sameness, equality, likeness, equivalent” (cf. Akkad. mas̲h̲ālum “equality”, mis̲h̲lum “half”). In Arabic, to create a proverb is fa-arsala( t) , or d̲j̲aʿala ( t) hu mat̲h̲al an, fa-ḍaraba ( t) bihi ’l-mat̲h̲al a; to become proverbial is ḍuriba bihi ’l-mat̲h̲alu , mat̲h̲al un yuḍrabu fa-d̲h̲ahaba ( t), or d̲j̲arā / d̲j̲arat mat̲h̲al an, or, simply, fa-ṣāra mat̲h̲al an. 1. In Arabic i. Definition ii. Arabic proverbs (1) Earlie…

Nikāḥ

(10,105 words)

Author(s): Schacht, J. | Layish, A. | Shaham, R. | Ansari, Ghaus | Otto, J.M. | Et al.
(a.), marriage (properly, sexual intercourse, but already in the Ḳurʾān used exclusively of the contract of marriage). In the present article, marriage is dealt with as a legal institution; for marriage customs, see ʿurs . I. In Classical Islamic Law 1. The essential features of the Muslim law of marriage go back to the customary law of the Arabs which previously existed. In this, although there were differences according to districts and the conditions of the individual cases, the regulations governing marriage were based upon the pa…

Madīḥ, Madḥ

(10,231 words)

Author(s): Wickens, G.M. | Clinton, J.W. | Stewart Robinson, J. | Haywood, J.A. | Knappert, J.
(a.), the normal technical terms in Arabic and other Islamic literatures for the genre of panegyric poetry, the individual poem being usually referred to as umdūḥa (pl. amādīḥ ) or madīḥa (pl. madāʾiḥ ). The author himself is called mādiḥ or, as considered professionally, maddāḥ . The root itself is sometimes used without technical connotations, as also are commonly the various other roots signifying "praise": ḥ-m-d, m-d̲j̲-d, ḳ-r-ẓ, t̲h̲-n-y, ṭ-r-w/y, etc. 1. In Arabic literature. As both an independent unit and a component of the ḳaṣīda [ q.v.], the genre has been so widespread …

Ḳiṣṣa

(24,795 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch. | Vial, Ch. | Flemming, B. | İz, Fahīr | Elwell-Sutton, L.P. | Et al.
(a.), pl. ḳiṣaṣ , the term which, after a long evolution, is now generally employed in Arabic for the novel, whilst its diminutive uḳṣūṣa , pl. aḳāṣīṣ , has sometimes been adopted, notably by Maḥmūd Taymūr [ q.v.] as the equivalent of “novella, short story”, before being ineptly replaced by a calque from the English “short story”, ḳiṣṣa ḳaṣīra . The sections of the following article are largely devoted to these literary genres as they are cultivated in the various Islamic literatures, even if the word ḳiṣṣa is not itself used by them. Although some Berber tongues use the Arabic term ( Iḳiṣṣt