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Bābā Kamāl-i Jandī

(941 words)

Author(s): Stephen Hirtenstein
Bābā Kamāl-i Jandī (d. 672/1273), was an eminent master of the Kubrawiyya Sufi order, whose full name, ancestry, dates and places of birth and death have until recently been completely unknown, in contrast to other disciples of Najm al-Dīn Kubrā (d. 618/1221) such as Najm al-Dīn Dāya Rāzī (d. 654/1256), Saʿd al-Dīn Ḥamawayh (d. 650/1252) or Sayf al-Dīn Bākharzī (d. 659/1261). The two best-known early sources for any information on Bābā Kamāl, as for other disciples of Najm al-Dīn al-Kubrā, are Ḥusayn Khʷārazmī’s Jawāhir al-asrār, written after 833/1430, and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Jāmī’…
Date: 2021-06-17


(8,208 words)

Author(s): Stephen Hirtenstein
Ecstasy ( wajd), an overwhelming and heightened state of awareness, usually of joyful intoxication and wonderment, specifically associated with an experience of mystical self-transcendence, or a whole range of emotive responses to an encounter with the divine. Sometimes this experience leads to ecstatic utterances which are shocking or even heretical to the ordinary mind (see below: Ecstatic Speech).The Definitions of EcstasyThe English word ‘ecstasy’ derives from the Greek ekstasis ( εκστασις), ‘standing outside oneself’ or ‘displacement beyond the normal state o…
Date: 2021-06-17


(5,176 words)

Author(s): Stephen Hirtenstein
Al-Būsnawī’s ThoughtThe major feature of al-Būsnawī’s thought is the depth and subtlety of his understanding of the metaphysical dialectic of the Oneness of Being ( waḥdat al-wujūd), and the extraordinary clarity with which he was able to interpret works by Ibn al-ʿArabī, Rūmī and other authors for his audience. As Ceyhan observes (p. 37 n. 4), al-Būsnawī ‘managed to synthesise the wisdom of Ibn al-ʿArabī, al-Qūnawī and Mawlānā at a very high intellectual level.’ In this he can be compared to his equally famous Ottoman c…
Date: 2021-06-17


(6,846 words)

Author(s): Stephen Hirtenstein
Day (Arabic: yawm, pl. ayyām, Persian: rūz), conventionally understood to refer to a whole 24-hour period or to the daytime period from sunrise to sunset (also known as nahār), but as in other Semitic languages such as Syriac and Aramaic, the meaning of yawm (Hebrew: yōm /יוֹם) particularly when used in the plural can be extended to indicate a much broader sense of time in general, including age or epoch. For example, the Hebrew name of the two Books of Chronicles is divrei ha-yamim /דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים or ‘reports of the times’. When used in Arabic with the definite article ( al-yawm), it mean…
Date: 2021-06-17


(7,186 words)

Author(s): Stephen Hirtenstein
Dhawq (taste, tasting), a central concept in Sufism, derived from the Qurʾān and developed over several centuries, which has several interrelated meanings. From the scientific point of view, the primary sense of taste is the sensory capacity possessed by human beings and other creatures, enabled by the specialist organs of the tongue and mouth, to discriminate and evaluate whatever substances are to be ingested. This involves the ability not only to experience how different foods taste and to cl…
Date: 2021-06-17


(3,518 words)

Author(s): Sharafoddin Khorasani | Stephen Hirtenstein
Empedocles (Empedoklēs, variously spelt as Anbāduqlīs, Anbādhuqlīs or Banduqlīs etc.), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, whose supposed teachings became well known in the Islamic world as a demonstration of the underlying connections between Greek philosophy and the Semitic tradition of revelation.Little is known about his actual life apart from scattered fragments of information. Our only significant source is The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius (fl. 3rd century CE) (8/51–77, pp. 366–391). Empedocles is also given as the …
Date: 2021-06-17


(2,673 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri | Stephen Hirtenstein
Elias/Elijah ( Ilyās), a prophet of the Children of Israel, who is mentioned twice or possibly three times in the Qurʾān. The early philologists recognised that the name Elias (Ilyās) was not an Arabic word (e.g. see al-Jawālīqī, 102), and that it must have been derived, via a Greek or Syriac Christian source which introduced the final ‘s’, from the Hebrew Elijāhū which means ‘Yaweh is God’ and was perhaps symbolic of his prophetic mission (Jeffery, 68; Gutmannn [Sperling], 6/331).According to Q 6:84–85, Elias was descended from Noah and is considered one of ‘the righteous’ ( al-ṣāliḥīn). …
Date: 2021-06-17


(23,164 words)

Author(s): Enayatollah Reza | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Suheyl Umar
NomenclatureOpinions diverge with regard to the etymology of the name ‘Bukhārā’: some scholars hold that the word is derived from the Soghdian Bukhārak, from which came the Old Turkic buqaraq (land of the bull) (Altheim, pp. 111–112). In al-Narshakhī’s (4th/10th century) text other names are given for the city, with the 6th/12th-century Persian editors adding that it was referred to in Arabic as ‘madīnat al-ṣufriyya’ (the city of the coppersmiths) and also ‘madīnat al-tujjār’ (the city of merchants) (al-Narshakhī, English t…
Date: 2021-06-17

Bektashi Order

(4,834 words)

Author(s): Fatemeh Lajevardi | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Farzin Negahban
Bektashi Order (also Biktaşiyye, Biktāshiyya), is one of the eight major Sufi orders in Anatolia, with a large following both in Turkey and the Balkans.DoctrinesThe Biktāshī order was originally made up of a mixture of local Christian groups in Asia Minor, migrant Turkomans (whose numbers increased steadily following the battle of Malāzgird (Manzikert) in 463/1071 and the subsequent establishment of Saljūq rule in Anatolia), and Muslims of various ethnic backgrounds living in the area. There were diverse religious beli…
Date: 2021-06-17


(7,274 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Ali Mowlavi | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Alireza Sameti
Falconry ( bāzdārī), the practice of hunting with various raptors or birds of prey, especially the genera falco (falcons) and accipiter (hawks), such as sparrowhawks, peregrines and saker falcons. Falconry is also concerned with the principles of classifying these birds, together with the practices of their maintenance, fosterage, training and veterinary care (Kushājim, 48, 56, 115–116; al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥusayn, 49–50, 62–65, 79–94).Origins and Early HistoryThe history of falconry may be conveniently divided into three periods: 1. from its earliest beginnings i…
Date: 2021-06-17

Bābak Khurram-Dīn

(3,446 words)

Author(s): Bahramian, Ali | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Rahim Gholami
Bābak Khurram-Dīn (d. Ṣafar 223/January 838), was the leader of the Khurramiyya revolt during the first part of the 3rd/9th century. Although he was extremely well-known, the scant information on his genealogy, beliefs and doctrines in primary sources makes it difficult to construct a unified picture of him. While the bias of early historians and chroniclers of the period somewhat diminishes the value of their writings, the diversity of perspectives and interpretations of this historical characte…
Date: 2021-06-17

Bīdil (Bedil)

(4,489 words)

Author(s): Jalali Pandari, Yadollah | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Farzin Negahban
Bīdil (Bedil), Abū al-Maʿānī Mīrzā ʿAbd al-Qādir Bīdil Dihlawī (1054–4 Ṣafar 1133/1644–5 December 1720), the foremost poet of the Indian style of Persian poetry and a Sufi, who greatly influenced later authors and poets, particularly in Central Asia and Afghanistan. He was born in ʿAẓīmābād in India (present-day Patna) (Bīdil, 4/64; Khushgū, 104; Āzād, Sarw-i āzād, 148; idem, Khazāna-yi ʿāmira, 152; Khalīl, 24; Pidrām, 38). There is some lack of clarity regarding his ancestry: according to Abdul Ghani, who has made a detailed study of the sources (pp. 1…
Date: 2021-06-17

Dissection and Anatomy (Tashrīḥ)

(7,421 words)

Author(s): Younes Karamati | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Farshid Kazemi
Dissection and Anatomy (Tashr ī ), a technical term in Islamic medicine which is used somewhat ambiguously to refer to both dissection and anatomy. In the fifth chapter ( taʿlīm) of the first part ( fann) of the first Book of Ibn Sīnā’s medical encyclopaedia al- Q ā nūn (‘The Canon’), entitled ‘ M āhiyyat al-ʿu ḍw wa aqsāmihi ’ (‘The Nature of the [Bodily] Members and their Parts’), tashr ī refers to the anatomy of the various body parts rather than their dissection, in other words, understanding how a particular part of the body functions. The Arabic term hayʾat (physical structure) also so…
Date: 2021-06-17

al-Fuḍayl b. ʿIyāḍ

(2,344 words)

Author(s): Kazem Tayyebi Fard | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
al-Fuḍayl b. ʿIyāḍ, Abū ʿAlī (d. 187/803), a narrator of traditions ( muḥaddith) and ascetic ( zāhid) of the 2nd/8th century, who was later recognised as one of the founders of Sufism.Al-Fuḍayl was born early in the 2nd/8th century in Fundīn, a village on the outskirts of Abīward, Khurāsān (Ibn Saʿd, 6/43; al-Sulamī, 6; see al-Qushayrī, 35, English trans. 20, and al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 8/373, for the view that he was born in Samarqand and grew up in Abīward). His family’s lineage can be traced back to the Yarbūʿ clan, a branch of the Banū Tamīm tribe which had…
Date: 2022-10-14


(3,218 words)

Author(s): Faramarz Haj Manouchehri | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Alexander Khaleeli
In the Qurʾān and ḤadīthGiven the natural fears and rituals surrounding death, it is not surprising that the Qurʾān, as a book of guidance and instruction, should pay so much attention to the place of death in human life. Perhaps more than any other religion, Islam provides graphic details of what comes after death, in terms of the Day of Resurrection ( yawm al-qiyāma) and the afterlife ( maʿād, ākhira), beginning with the soul’s sojourn in the Isthmus ( barzakh, q.v.) up until its Final Judgement and entry into Paradise or Hell. Since in Islam death represents not a termi…
Date: 2021-06-17

Cherkess (Circassian)

(4,347 words)

Author(s): Enayatollah Reza | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Rahim Gholami
In the 4th/10th century, the Persians, the Georgians and the Arabs referred to this people by the name ‘Kashak’ (Akiner, 231). Al-Masʿūdī (p. 287) and Ibn al-Wardī (p. 47) refer to the Kashak when they speak of those living in the northern Caucasus. ‘Kashak’ seems to have been a Georgian name derived from ‘Kasogi’ in Ossete (Ossetian). The Turks called them ‘Cherkas’, a name which has been prevalent since the 7th/13th century: originally it did not designate the Adygei but rather the people livi…
Date: 2021-06-17


(4,215 words)

Author(s): Sadeq Sajjadi | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Suheyl Umar
Al-Basāsīrī, Abū al-Ḥārith Arslān (d. 451/1060), a famous Turkish commander during the last years of the Būyid era, who for a while abolished the ʿAbbāsid caliphate of Baghdad and ruled Iraq in the name of the Fāṭimids. Some sources give him the title of ‘al-Muẓaffar’ (Ibn al-Jawzī, 16/56; Ibn al-Qalānisī, 87), while others call him Arslān al-Mustanṣirī because of his association with the Fāṭimid caliph al-Mustanṣir bi’llāh (r. 427–487/1036–1094) (al-Muʾayyad, 151). As his nisba al-Basāsīrī indicates, he was originally a slave whose first master was from the people o…
Date: 2021-06-17


(7,681 words)

Author(s): Zaryab, Abbas | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Matthew Melvin-Koushki
Ādharbāyjān, a region in north-west Iran (at the present time lat. 35°45’ to 40°39’N, long. 44°5’ to 48°50’E) with an area of 109,074 square kilometres (Sāzmān-i Barnāmah, 3), 6 per cent of the total area of Iran. It borders the Republic of Azerbaijan to the north, Turkey and Iraq to the west, the Republic of Azerbaijan and Gīlān to the east, and the Iranian provinces of Zanjān and Kurdistān to the south. Ādharbāyjān constitutes a distinct geographical region; politically it is divided into the provinces of East Ādharbāyjān and West Ādharbāyjān.Ādharbāyjān after the ṢafawidsFrom the 11th/17th century, when Shāh ʿAbbās I was able to drive the Ottoman forces out of Ādharbāyjān, until the fall of the Ṣafawid dynasty, Ādharbāyjān enjoyed peace and prosperity, since the Ottoman state had begun to weaken and there were no further threats to the province. However, with the fall of the Ṣafawids and the Afghan conquest of eastern and central Iran in 1125/1713, the Ottomans were able to occupy the province by means of a treaty with Russia (1137/1725), an occupation that lasted until Nādir Shāh Afshār regained the province in 1146/1734. Although the Ṣafawids had laid claim to provinces north of Ādharbāyjān, in practice Persian control of Shīrwān, Qarābāgh and Nakhjawān (Nakhchivan) disintegrated in the first half of the 12th/18th century. Under Nādir Shāh, Ādharbāyjān again became a theatre of war, and after his death his generals fought over the region. Karīm Khān Zand finally managed to take Tabrīz in 1175/1762, after years of fighting between Āzād Khān and his deputy Fatḥ ʿAlī Khān Afshār, and the last western fortress to oppose the Zands, Urmiya, fell to him in Shaʿbān 1176/February 1763 after a seven-month siege. The Beglerbegi of Ādharbāyjān, Najaf Qulī Khān Dunbulī, resided at Tabrīz, paying direct taxes and giving allegiance to the Zand ruler in his capital Shīrāz. The relative security and stability then enjoyed by Ādharbāyjān was enhanced with the conquest of the region by Āghā Muḥammad Khān in 1206/1791 and the emergence of the Qājār dynasty. The province again served as a springboard for attacks on former Ṣafawid possessions north of the Aras: Āghā Muḥammad Khān passed through with his army in the spring of 1209/1794 on his way to reconquer Georgia, and on his triumphant return in 1210/1795 the Ṣafawid sword of Shāh Ismāʿīl was brought from Ardabīl to Jawād (where the Aras and Kur rivers meet and Nādir Shāh had been crowned sixty years earlier) to …
Date: 2021-06-17

Aḥmad Rasmī

(1,080 words)

Author(s): Dianat, Ali Akbar | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Jawad Qasemi
Aḥmad Rasmī (Ahmed Resmi Efendi), Abū Kamāl Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm b. Aḥmad (1112–1197/1700–1783), was an Ottoman statesman, diplomat and chronicler. Born in Resmo (Rethymno), a city on the northern coast of Crete, he was known as Kirtī and Rasmī (Murādī, 1/73; Jawdat, 2/299; Thurayyā, 2/380). His date of birth is the subject of some debate, and is also recorded as 1106/1694 or 1695 (see Murādī, 1/73). After studying in his birthplace, he travelled to Istanbul in 1146/1733 (Banarlı, 2/793; Thurayyā, 2/380), completing his studies under such masters as Ḥu…
Date: 2021-06-17

Aḥmad al-Rifāʿī

(3,981 words)

Author(s): La-Shay', Hussein | Stephen Hirtenstein | Translated by Farzin Negahban
Aḥmad al-Rifāʿī, Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Aḥmad (512–22 Jumādā I 578/1118–23 September 1182), was a well-known Sufi of the 6th/12th century and the eponymous founder of the Rifāʿiyya, sometimes also known as the Baṭāʾiḥiyya or Aḥmadiyya, one of the major Sufi ṭarīqas in the Arab and Anatolian worlds. The sources for Aḥmad’s life and teaching were mostly written by disciples closely involved in the ṭarīqa, the earliest of which were composed within a century of al-Rifāʿī’s death and were much used by later authors: Sawād al-ʿaynayn fī manāqib al-ghawth Abī al-ʿAlamayn, by a well-known jurist ʿAbd al-Karīm al-Rāfiʿī (al-Qazwīnī), written in 588/1192; Kitāb ghāyat al-taḥrīr fī nasab quṭb al-ʿasr ghawth al-zamān sayyidnā Aḥmad al-Rifāʿī al-kabīr, by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Dīrīnī, written after 631/1233; al-Maʿārif al-Muḥammadiyya fī al-waẓāʾif al-Aḥmadiyya, by Aḥmad’s grandson ʿIzz al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Ṣayyād (founder of the Ṣayyādiyya branch of the ṭarīqa), written before 670/1271;
Date: 2021-06-17
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