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Harun al-Rashid

(90 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Hārūn ar-Rašı̄d). Fifth Abbasid ( Abbasids)  Caliph (AD 786-809). Popular because of the narratives from the ‘Arabian Nights’. His term of office was characterized by political unrest in the Arab lands from North Africa to Yemen, by difficulties in consolidating  Islam in the eastern parts of his realm, as well as by wars against Byzantium. His main achievement in the cultural area is the promotion of translations into Arabic of Greek natural scientific and philosophical literature. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography F. Omar, s.v. Hārūn al-Rashı̄d, E…

Uṯman

(97 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (Uṯmān ibn Affān; Οὐθμάν/ Outhmán; Persian-Turkish Osman). Third of the four 'rightly-guided' caliphs (AD 644-655). After the glittering rule of his predecessor Omar, whose (expansionist) policies he continued, U. instead received reproach and dissatisfaction, e.g. owing to nepotism. His compilation of divine revelations into a final canonical edition (Qur'ān), a move towards strengthening central authority, was also heavily criticized in its implementation. Unexplained happenings a…

Shiites

(118 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (< Shia/ Šı̄a, literally 'party', elliptical for 'Party of Ali'). Term for the supporters of Ali in the struggle for the caliphate (Caliph). According to the number of imams (Imam) they recognise, Fiver (e.g. Zaidites in Yemen), Sevener (e.g. Ismailites in Pakistan and central Asia; Fatimids 909-1171 in northern Africa and Egypt, Fatima) and Twelver Shiites (group with the largest number of adherents, today in e.g. Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon) are distinguished. Martyrdom, i.e…

Yaṯrib

(160 words)

Author(s): Müller, Walter W. (Marburg/Lahn) | Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
(Qurʾan 33,13; Ἰάθριππα/ Iáthrippa in Steph. Byz. 321,13; corrupted as Λαθρίππα/ Lathríppa in Ptol. 6,7,31), modern Medina. [German version] I. Pre-Islamic period Ancient oasis settlement of economic significance in western central Arabia on the Incense Road. The Babylonian king Nabonidus set out from Tayma c. 550 BC on campaigns in the course of which he also conquered Y. Y. is mentioned in 3rd-cent. BC name lists in the Minaean capital Qarnāwu (Minaei). From the 1st century AD until the advent of Islam, there were powerful Judaeo-Arabian tribes in Y. Müller, Walter W. (Marburg…

Qurʾān

(834 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) | Niehoff, Johannes (Freiburg)
(Koran) [German version] A. Definition The sacred book of the Muslims, the word of God, received through the prophet Muhammad c. AD 610-632. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) [German version] B. Origin The divine revelations had already been collected in oral and written form by the faithful during the lifetime of the prophet, but it was the 3rd Caliph Othman (ʿUṯmān; 644-56) who compiled them in their ultimate, unchangeable, canonical form. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) [German version] C. Structure and form - language and style The 114 Suras (loan word from Talmudic šūrah ‘sequence, lin…

Omar

(106 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Umar b. al-Ḫaṭṭāb). Second of the four 'rightly-guided' caliphs (AD 634-644). O. established the foundation of the Islamic empire and its political institutions through expansion as well as domestic organization. His negative and reserved attitude toward Jews and Christians was reflected in a number of religious-law and political decisions. The Sunnites revere O. even today as an ideal Muslim and just ruler, while the Shiites despise him as an advocate of Abu Bakr and hence an ene…

Al-Mansur

(58 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (al-Manṣūr). Abū Ǧafar al-Manṣūr, second Abbasid caliph (AD 754-775). Actual founder of the dynasty, founder of Baghdad (763). Consolidated the realm by suppressing uprisings and making improvements in administration, transportation, communications, economy and commerce. He designated his son al-Mahdī as his successor despite objections.  Abbasids Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography H. Kennedy, Manṣūr, in: EI 6, 427a-428b.

Bisseni

(117 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (Latin Bisseni, Greek Πατζινάκαι/ Patzinákai). Turkic-speaking group of tribes, first mentioned in AD 834, to the north of the Caspian Sea. After the collapse of the kingdom of the Chazars in 969 they were driven by the Oghuz Turks across the Volga into the Pontic steppes and in 971 they were defeated by the Byzantines and the Kievan Rus. The B. fled from the Rus to Bulgaria in 1036 and fought bitter battles (including in alliance with the Oghuz) with Byzantium (in 1091 and 1122) and …

Muawiya

(92 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Muāwiya, Greek Μαυΐας/ Mauïas). Founder of the dynasty of Umayyads, Caliph AD 661-680. From 634 onwards, the caliphs Abu Bakr and later Omar had already entrusted M. with various capacities as commander and governor in Syria. During his rule he consolidated this firm position internally, maintaining and incorporating the tribal structure. In foreign policy he built on earlier advances, particularly against North Africa and Byzantium, and achieved further military successes. Testimonials: Theophanes, p. 346-348, 355f. de Boor. Ali Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saa…

Abbasids

(143 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (Abbāsids). Islamic dynasty (AD 750-1258). The accession of the A. occurred after a weakening of the  Omayyads by disputes over succession, tribal conflicts, social alienation and Iranian influences, which were expressed in a new orientation towards the East. In 763 the capital relocated from Damascus to Baghdad. Intellectual life profited from the multinational constellation. Scientific, cultural and literary flowering characterized by Hellenistic and Iranian influences under ca…

Islam

(1,038 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
( islām). [German version] I. Definition Islam, ‘complete, unreserved submission, devotion to God’, agent noun muslim; both terms are Koranic. The most recent of the three monotheistic world religions, with today more than a billion adherents. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) II. History [German version] A. Origin In the predominantly nomadic society of 7th cent. Arabia, a number of gods and goddesses, most of them tribal and local deities, were worshipped. A tendency towards  monotheism (Allāh = ‘ the God’) developed, in the transition to a settled way of life during the l…

Hassan

(76 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Ḥasan). Grandson of the prophet  Muhammad, son of his daughter  Fatima and his cousin  Ali, brother of  Husain; 624-625 until after AD 670. After Ali's murder, H. relinquished the Caliphate after negotiations in favour of the  Umayyad  Muāwiya (in 661) and thereafter remained politically unimportant. For the  Shiites, he is the second  imam after his father Ali. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography L. Veccia Vaglieri, s.v. Ḥasan b. Alı̄ b. Abı̄ Ṭālib, EI 3, 240b-243b.

Cumani, Comani

(214 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] Extinct Turkic people from the Kipchak group. Their self-designation was Kun, Slavic Polovcy, German Polowzer, or Falben; referred to as ‘Falbi’ in the Middle Ages. The C. are documented to have lived in the Volga Basin since the late 9th cent. In the middle of the 11th cent. AD, they invaded the region of the modern Ukraine, laid waste Hungary in 1071-72, extinguished the  Patzinaks in 1091, represented a constant threat for Russia between 1060 and 1210, and were defeated in 1239-40 by the Mongo…

Muezzin

(106 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( muaḏḏin). Islamic prayer caller who summons Muslims from the minaret (Mosque) for the five daily compulsory prayer sessions. The office was established by the prophet Muhammad in early Islam. In later times, the duties of the muezzin extended to the recitation of religious texts. The call (or rather song) to prayer comprises among other things the phrase Allāhu akbar (‘God is great’), the profession of faith, and the actual summons to prayer (‘come to prayer!’). Today the call to prayer is mostly announced from a loudspeaker via a cassette recording. …

Hejira

(86 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( hiǧra). Emigration, movement of the prophet  Muḥammad and some of his followers from  Mecca to  Medina in AD 622 after tribal difficulties (withdrawal of the clan protection on the part of his tribe Quraiš); beginning of the Islamic calendar. Only with the hejira did Mohammed's work as a statesman begin; it also marked the starting-point of the actual spread of  Islam (initially through a policy of alliances). Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography A. Noth, Die Hiǧra, in: U. Haarmann (ed.), Geschichte der arabischen Welt, 1987, 11-57.

Hussain

(107 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (Ḥusain). Grandson of the Prophet  Muhammad (Muḥammad), son of his daughter  Fatima (Fāṭima) and cousin of  Ali (ʿAlı̄). Third  Imām of the  Shiites. After the death of the  Caliph  Muʿāwiya he was forced by members of his father's party to take over power from the  Umayyads, and was killed by their troops at Kerbela (ʿIrāq) in 680. His martyr's death is remembered by the Shiites annually in passion plays, his supporters' failure to succour him is atoned for in processions of flagellators. Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography H. Halm, Der schiitische Islam, 1994 Id…

Muhammad

(476 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Muḥammad, Greek Μουάμεδ/ Mouámed, Μωάμετ/ Mōámet). Founder of Islam (born about AD 570 in Mecca, died AD 632 in Medina). Muslims believe that M. was the recipient of divine revelations (Qur'an) brought by the angel Gabriel [1] and the ‘seal of the prophets’. A belief in M. as God's messenger is an integral part of the Islamic faith. M. was influenced by a tribal society that was undergoing social restructuring, with certain monotheistic ideas and currents beginning to appear in its polytheistic religion (Monotheism). In 610, when he was…

Abu Bakr

(81 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] (Abū Bakr). First of the four righteous caliphs (AD 632-34), i. e. the first successor of  Muhammad. As one of the latter's first followers and close advisor, A. became caliph after his death though not without opposition ( Ali). After subduing the apostasy movement he is credited with the initial consolidation of the young Islamic community and laid the foundation for its rapid initial expansion.   Caliph Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bibliography W. M. Watt, Abū Bakr, in: EI2 I, 109b-111a.

Mecca

(107 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
[German version] ( Makka; Μακόραβα; Makóraba, Ptol. 6,7,32). The most important of the holy cities of Islam only accessible to Muslims, located in modern Saudi Arabia. Mecca is the place where the prophet Muhammad was born and worked until he emigrated ( Hejira) to Medina ( Yaṯrib). It is the direction of prayer and the destination of pilgrimage ( Kaaba). Mecca was already an important centre of trade in the pre-Islamic period. The first Koranic revelations ( Qur'an) are primarily a critique of the materialism and lack of faith of Meccan merchants. Macoraba Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale) Bib…

Umayyads

(381 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hanne (Halle/Saale)
( Banū Umayya). [German version] A. The dynasty AD 661-750 First Islamic dynasty (AD 661-750), with its capital at Damascus. Under the Umayyads, the Islamic expansion reached Central Asia in the east and the Pyrenees in the west. The Byzantines were driven out of North Africa, but kept resisting the Arabs in Asia Minor. This - ethnically and religiously heterogeneous - extensive empire required a new internal organization and administration, modelled on Byzantine and Persian-Sassanid institutions. Its hey…
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