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Evil Eye

(1,386 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
General 1. The expression ‘Evil Eye’ (Ital., malocchio, jettatura; Span., mal de ojo) denotes the belief that human beings, as well as many animals, can by their glance or gaze exercise a harmful influence on animate and inanimate objects. The notion was widespread in antiquity itself: the power of the Evil Eye was ascribed especially to the gods who, through the insalubrious power of their jealous eye, were thought to be in a position to bring whole realms down in ruin. This concept is found ever since, in…


(1,269 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
Biographical Data 1. Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini, born on September 24, 1902 in Khomein (Iran), who died on June 3, 1989, was the spiritual and political leader of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. After studying religion in the sacred city of Qom, Khomeini achieved the title of a Mujtahid (→ Iran). He first came to public attention in 1943, when he criticized the deposed Shah for his dictatorial exercise of power and his sellout of Iranian interests to foreign powers. In 1963, now with the rank of Gre…


(1,699 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
1. In many societies, the covering of the head and → hair, from the simple headscarf to a complete cloak, has a long tradition. A person's head is literally of outstanding significance. It is not only the bearer of the brain, and thus the seat of thought and reason, but it is also the locus of all sensory organs. On it, as the highest area of the body, decoration and covering stand out most meaningfully. The veiling of the body, or parts of the body, has always served two principal purposes. First, it is meant to protect the wearer from evil influences, be it from the …


(650 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia
Islamic law knows various possibilities when it comes to legal determinations. One of them, permitted and customary in all schools of law, is the finding of a fatwa, an opinion of counsel, (nearly always) on religious, ethical, or juridical questions. The lawyers (scholars of the law) who are called muftis, or, in the Shia, the mujtahids are those authorized to make a fatwa. When a person or institution confronts a lawyer with a question upon which no legal determination has as yet been pronounc…


(1,507 words)

Author(s): Kuske, Silvia | Czerny, Astrid
Exotism 1. The term ‘exoticism’ (from Gk., exotikós, ‘foreign-style’) denotes a certain manner of confrontation with foreign cultures. The latter are perceived as distant—whether temporally, spatially, or socially—and as different from one's own culture. This presumes, on the one hand, a division between one's own culture and the culture thought of as foreign. On the other hand, a foreign culture is necessarily perceived against the background of one's own. That perception is reflected in the conceptua…