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(1,084 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
One of the names of the Qurʾān (q.v.) or of parts of it. The Arabic form


(942 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Persons or animals or plants connected by common descent. This concept emerges in the Qurʾān mainly in relationship with the glory (q.v.) of God who in his might was able to create a multitude of species upon earth (see …

Children of Israel

(2,783 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
One of the qurʾānic designations of Israelites as well as Jews ( yahūd, see jews and judaism ) and Christians ( naṣārā, see christians and christianity ), in reference mainly to past generations (q.v.). The majority of the passages mentioning the Children of Israel (Bānū Isrāʾīl) are dedicated to the Israelites of the time of Moses (q.v.), while references do exist to …

Repentance and Penance

(3,197 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Contrition or regret and self-mortification, with the intention of obtaining God's pardon (see forgiveness ). Repentance is generally designated in the Qurʾān as tawba which basically means “return” (from sin; see sin, major and minor ). For example, in q 66:8 God demands of the believers a “sincere return” (tawbatan naṣūḥan) and he in turn will make them enter paradise (q.v.). God himself is described as “the accepter of tawba” (q 9:104; 42:25; also q 40:3: accepter of tawb), and this represents a crucial aspe…

Sacred Precincts

(2,397 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Areas considered holy, often associated with places of worship or religious rituals. Sacred precincts are treated in the Qurʾān on two levels: Israelite and Arabian (see children of israel; pre-islamic arabia and the qurʾān; south arabia, religion in pre-islamic). On the Israelite level, a sacred precinct is mentioned, to begin with, in the story of Moses' (q.v.) vocation. In q 20:12, Moses stands before the burning bush and God tells him that the wādī, “valley,” i.e. precinct, he is standing in is of “multiple sacredness” (al-wādī l-muqaddas ṭuwan); therefore he must take off his…

Prophets and Prophethood

(11,066 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Those individuals who receive divine revelation and their collective vocation. In Arabic (as in Hebrew), the word for “prophet” is nabī, plural nabiyyūn and anbiyāʾ. These forms occur seventy-five ¶ times, apart from the term nubuwwa, “prophethood,” which occurs five times. Much more prevalent, however, is the term rasūl (pl. rusul) which denotes a “messenger” (q.v.) or “apostle” (of God). Messengers are mentioned more than 300 times. A messenger is also referred to as mursal, which, together with its plural form (mursalūn), occurs more than thirty times. The form ris…


(807 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
An infinitive of the Arabic root ʾ-l-f which has been explained in various ways by Muslim commentators of the Qurʾān as well as by modern scholars. It occurs in one qurʾānic chapter (…


(833 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
A wife of the prophet Muḥammad and a daughte…


(603 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The remains of a destroyed abode of sinful people. The total destruction of former generations (q.v.) is a historical lesson for contemporary sinners (see sin, major and minor ), as stated, for example, in q 19:98: “And how many a generation (qarn) have we destroyed before them! Do you see any one of them or hear a sound of them?” (see geography; history and the qurʾān). Among these extinct sinners there were the peoples of ʿĀd (q.v.) and Thamūd (q.v.) about whom it is declared in q 69:8 that one cannot se…


(1,053 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
A believer who is neither a polytheist


(12,002 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The Muslim Prophet to whom God's revelation was “sent down” ( nuzzila,q …

Jews and Judaism

(8,618 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Terminology The Arabic term denoting “Jews” is yahūd, which occurs seven times in the Qurʾān. The form


(888 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
A company of travelers on a journey through a desert or hostile region; also, the vehicles which transport the company. The most prominent qurʾānic word denoting a “caravan” is ʿīr, which occurs three times in q 12, “Joseph” (Sūrat Yūsuf; q 12:70, 82, 94). Arabic lexicographers say that originally this term denoted camels, asses or mules that carried provisions of corn but that it was later applied to any caravan (see camel ). Some say, however, that in the Qurʾān it signifies asses not camels (Lane, q.v.


(554 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Ancestor of the people of Israel (Isrāʾīl), whose name appears most frequently in the Qurʾān within the title “Children of Israel” (q.v.; Banū Isrāʾīl). Only in two places does it occur separately (…


(2,856 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Name of a tribe in …


(688 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Objects used to carry people or things from place to place, on land or sea or through the air. The Qurʾān mentions several kinds of vehicles while attributing their existence to God's bounty (see blessing; grace), as stated, for example, in q 17:70: “And surely we have honored the children of Adam, and we carry them in the land and the sea (see earth; water), and we have given them of the good things (see sustenance )….” The same idea recurs in q 10:22: “He it is who makes you travel by land and sea” (see also trips and voyages; journey…