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Circumambulation

(1,361 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Circumambulation (Ar. ṭawāf, verbal noun of ṭāfa, walk, run, circumambulate) is the ritual act of walking or running around a sacred object, such as a stone or altar. The rite is known in many pre-Islamic cultures, Judaism, and Christianity and among Persians, Indians, Buddhists, Romans, and others. In Islam the circumambulation is performed around the Kaʿba, seven times in succession, the first three at a fast pace, beginning and ending at the Black Stone (al-ḥajar al-aswad). The Kaʿba must be kept to one’s left, so that one moves counterclockwise, contrary to the reported pre-Islamic ṭ…
Date: 2021-07-19

Children of Israel

(2,618 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The term “ Children of Israel” (Banū Isrāʾīl) is generally used in the Qurʾān—as it was earlier in the Bible, in its Hebrew form, Benei Yisraʾel—for the Israelites of the time of Moses. 1. The Qurʾānic evidence The Children of Israel are also referred to as Moses’s “people” ( qawm, e.g., Q 2:54, 60, 67; 7:128, 142, 155). As in the Bible (Genesis 32:29), Jacob is called “Israel” (Ar., Isrāʾīl) in the Qurʾān (3:93). And, as in the Bible (e.g., Genesis 36:31), the Qurʾānic term “Children of Israel” is not confined to Moses’s own time but encompas…
Date: 2021-07-19

Abū Ṭālib

(882 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abū Ṭālib (d. c. 619 C.E.) was the son of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim and Fāṭima bt. ʿAmr of the Makhzūm of Quraysh, and a full brother of ʿAbdallāh, the father of the prophet Muḥammad. He was reportedly born thirty-five years before Muḥammad. His proper name was ʿAbd Manāf. His sons Ṭālib, ʿAqīl, Jaʿfar, and ʿAlī, were born to him by his wife Fāṭima bt. Asad of the Banū Hāshim. After the death of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, Abū Ṭālib inherited from him the offices of siqāya and rifāda (providing water and food for the pilgrims). His eldest son, Ṭālib, reportedly participated in the battle …
Date: 2021-07-19

ʿArafāt

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Mount ʿ Arafāt (ʿArafa) is a venerated site in Islam, approximately 70 metres high, located about 21 kilometres east of Mecca, on the road to al-Ṭāʾif. The small mountain and the plain on which it is situated serve as one of the main stations of the pilgrimage (ḥajj) to Mecca. The plain is some 6 kilometres from east to west and approximately 12 kilometres from north to south; it is surrounded by several mountains to the east, north, and south. Mount ʿArafāt is isolated from the other mountains and located at the northeast end of the plain. …
Date: 2021-07-19

ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib

(811 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (fl. sixth century C.E.) of the Banū Hāshim clan of the Quraysh was the father of the prophet Muḥammad, who was his only child. ʿAbdallāh's mother was Fāṭima bt. ʿAmr of the Banū Makhzūm clan of the Quraysh. According to some reports ʿAbdallāh was born in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Kisrā Anūshirwān (r. 531–79 C.E.). He married Āmina, and, according to the earliest reports, he died when she was pregnant with Muḥammad. He died in Yathrib (Medina), while he was staying with the relations of his fat…
Date: 2021-07-19

ʿAqīl b. Abī Ṭālib

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿ Aqīl b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 50/670 or 63/683) was the elder full brother of ʿAlī (d. 40/661). Their mother was Fāṭima bt. Asad of the Banū Hāshim. Ten years before ʿAqīl was born she had given birth to Ṭālib, Abū Ṭālib's (d. c.619 C.E.) first son. Ten years after ʿAqīl was born she gave birth to Jaʿfar (d. 8/629), and a further ten years later to ʿAlī. After Abū Ṭālib's death, his sons Ṭālib and ʿAqīl are said to have inherited his possessions and wealth. ʿAqīl had several sons and daughters—his kunya (patronymic) being Abū Yazīd—among whom the most prominent was Muslim b. ʿAqīl. Five, six…
Date: 2021-07-19

Abraha

(3,005 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abraha was a Christian king of South Arabia in the middle of the sixth century C.E. According to Muslim sources, he attacked Mecca with the “People of the Elephant” in about 570 C.E. The name “Abraha” is said in Muslim sources to be of Abyssinian origin, meaning “bright face” ( wajh abyaḍ; see Ibn Hishām, al-Tījān, 136; Ibn Saʿīd, 1:119). Islamic reports often add to Abraha's name the nickname al-Ashram (“Split-Nose”). The tip of his nose is said to have been cut off during a duel with his rival, Aryāṭ, in Yemen (see below). According to another explanation (Ibn Manẓūr, s.v. sh-r-m), a stone st…
Date: 2021-07-19

Budayl b. Warqāʾ

(1,216 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Budayl b. Warqāʾ al-Khuzāʿī, an early convert to Islam, belonged to the clan of ʿAdī b. ʿAmr of the Khuzāʿa. He lived in Mecca, and his dār was situated in the quarters of the confederates of the Qurashī clan of Sahm (al-Azraqī, 475). In one report he is identified as a mawlā (client) of al-ʿĀṣ b. Wāʾil al-Sahmī (al-Samarqandī, 1:465, on Q 5:106). Budayl is referred to in the sources as one of the chiefs of his tribe and as the shrewdest among the Arabs and one of the noblest among those who converted to Islam in the year of the conquest of Mecca (8/630) ( min kibār muslimat al-fatḥ). In the same year,…
Date: 2021-07-19

Medina

(547 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] is a city in the Ḥiğāz (in the north west of Saudi Arabia) approx. 275 km from the Red Sea, 715 m above sea level. The northern parts of Medina from the mosque of the Prophet Muḥammad up to the mountain Uḥud are referred to in the sources as as-Sāfila (Lower Medina) and the southern districts up ¶ to the village of Qubāʾ as al-ʿĀliya (Upper Medina). The pre-Islamic name for Medina is Yathrib. It occurs once in the Qurʾān (33:13) and appears as Yathrippa already in Ptolemy the Gnostic. The form “Medina” (“city”) is the more prevalent name…

Muḥammad

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] I. The Quranic Muḥammad – II. The Traditional Details of Muḥammad's Life – III. Muḥammad in the Eyes of the Believers – IV. Modern Research on the Life of Muḥammad (Arab. “The Praised One,” patronym Abū l-Qasim; c. 569 – Jun 8, 632, Medina) I. The Quranic Muḥammad Our main sources of information about Muḥammad are (a) the Qurʾān and (b) the extra-quranic biographies of Muḥammad. The Qurʾān contains occasional references to specific events in Muḥammad's life, but the allusions are vague and tell us hardly anything coherent a…

Prophets and Prophecy

(8,753 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Jeremias, Jörg | Gray, Rebecca | Hayoun, Maurice-Ruben | Aune, David E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The term. In the significance ascribed to religious phenomena, prophecy surpasses individual experiences of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration, as well as the situational activities of established functionaries such as priests (Priesthood), shamans (Shamanism), or diviners (Divination). Revelations ascribed by prophets to the deity they serve give ethical guidance to a community. The term προφήτης/ prophḗ tēs derives from ancient Greek religion, where it referred initially to local specialists, who are hard to …