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(248 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, Alexander the Great. It is generally agreed both by Muslim commentators and modéra occidental scholars that D̲h̲u ’l-Ḳarnayn, “the two-horned”, in Sūra XVIII, 83/82-98 is to be identified with Alexander the Great. The story is told in reply to questioners, often said to be Jews. D̲h̲u ’l-Ḳarnayn was given power on earth, and made his way te the furthest west and furthest east; and in response to an appeal from oppressed people built a wall or rampart of iron and brass against the incursions of Yādiūd̲j̲ and Mād̲j̲ūd̲j̲ [ q.v.]. The origin and precise significance here of the name D…

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib

(224 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
of B. Hās̲h̲im of Ḳurays̲h̲, father of the prophet Muḥammad. The earliest and most reliable sources give little information about him. His mother was Fāṭima bint ʿAmr of B. Mak̲h̲zūm. Al-Kalbī places his birth in the 24th year of the reign of Anūs̲h̲irwān (554), but he is usually said to have been twenty-five when he died (? 570). According to a well-known story, picturesque but probably with little factual basis, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib vowed that, if he had ten sons who reached maturity, he would sac…


(370 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, banū , a clan of the Meccan tribe of Ḳurays̲h̲. The genealogists reckon Nawfal as one of the sons of ʿAbd Manāf, and brother of ʿAbd S̲h̲ams. Hās̲h̲im and al-Muṭṭalib. Nawfal himself is said to have been specially concerned to develop trade with ʿIrāḳ and the Persian empire, and is also reported to have quarrelled with ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hās̲h̲im (Muḥammad’s grandfather). Some information has been preserved about the mutual relations of the clans of Ḳurays̲h̲. At one period, all the descendants of ʿAbd Manāf together with some other clans formed a group …

Ibn His̲h̲ām

(310 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Malik , a scholar best known for his work on the biography of Muḥammad. His family was usually said to be of Ḥimyarite origin, and had moved from Baṣra to Egypt, where he was born and spent his life. His knowledge of genealogy and grammar was outstanding. He died in Egypt on 13 Rabīʿ II 218/8 May 833 or in 213/828. His Kitāb al-Tīd̲j̲ān on South Arabian antiquities is extant. He is chiefly famous, however, for his edition of the Sīra (Life of Muḥammad) of Ibn Isḥāḳ [ q.v.], which became the basic work on this subject. The Sīra of Ibn Isḥāḳ is not preserved as a single work…


(280 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, the name of two valleys on the way from Mecca to al-Ṭāʾif, distinguished as S̲h̲aʾmiyya (Syrian, northern) and Yamāniya (Yemenite, southern). The name is presumably due to an abundance of palms ( nak̲h̲l) in the valleys. On a height in Syrian Nak̲h̲la there was an idol of al-ʿUzzā which was specially venerated by Ḳurays̲h̲ and Banū Kināna. Some regarded the circumambulation of al-ʿUzzā as an essential for the completion of the ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ to the Kaʿba. Three Samura trees were closely associated with the deity. After the conquest of Mecca, Muḥa…


(656 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, or al-Ḥudaybiyya , a medium-sized village on the edge of the ḥaram or sacred territory of Mecca, one marḥala from Mecca itself. Both the village and the Mosque of the Tree (presumably on the site of the pledge described below) were unknown in the time of al-Fāsi (d. 832/1429). One authority says the name was derived from a dome-shaped or hump-like ( ḥadbāʾ ) tree, but this may be conjecture. The village gave its name to an important Muslim expedition from Medina, led by Muḥammad, in D̲h̲u ’l-Ḳaʿda of the year 6 (March 628). Muḥammad had a dream (cf. Ḳurʾān, XLVII…


(308 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
is a collective name for the northern Arab tribes (see D̲j̲azīrat al-ʿarab (vi) = i, 544b). According to the standard genealogy, Maʿadd was a son of ʿAdnān [ q.v.]. His son Nizār [ q.v.] had three sons, Muḍar, Iyād and Rabīʿa, from the first and third of whom most of the northern Arabs claimed descent. Maʿadd and his descendants are said to have lived for a time in the neighbourhood of Mecca and to have intermarried with D̲j̲urhum [ q.v.]. The name Maʿadd is found in pre-Islamic poets, e.g. in verses of Imruʾ al-Ḳays (ed. Ahlwardt, no. 41, l. 5) and al-Nābig̲h̲a (ed. Ahlwa…

al-As̲h̲ʿarī, Abu ’l-Ḥasan

(958 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, ʿalī b. ismāʿīl , theologian, and founder of the school of orthodox theology which bears his name. He is said to have been born in 260/873-4 at Baṣra, and was ninth in descent from the Companion Abū Mūsā al-As̲h̲ʿarī. Little is known of his life. He was one of the best pupils of al-Ḏj̲ubbāʾī, head of the Muʿtazila in Baṣra, and might have succeeded him, had he not left the Muʿtazila for the party of the orthodox traditionists ( ahl al-sunna). This change or conversion is placed in 300/912-3. In later life he moved to Baghdād, and died there in 324/935-6. The story of al-As̲h̲ʿarī’s conversion …

Ahl al-Ṣuffa

(765 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, a group of Muḥammad’s Companions, mentioned chiefly in ascetic and mystical writings, where they have come to typify the ideal of poverty and piety. The ṣuffa or ẓulla (often rendered ‘bench’, ‘banquette’, etc.) was, according to Lane, a long, covered portico or vestibule, which formed part of the mosque at Medina. This—so the legend ran—was the sole home of these men, and they spent their time in study and worship, except when in obedience to a command from Muḥammad they went out to fight. They are sometimes said to have been as many as 400; Lane (s.v. ṣuffa) quotes al-Sayyid Murtaḍā as s…


(656 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, a large North Arabian tribe or group of tribes. The genealogy is given as: Hawāzin b. Manṣūr b. ʿIkrima b. K̲h̲aṣafa b. Ḳays b. ʿAylān (see kays ʿaylān , ʿadnān , al-ʿarab (D̲j̲azīrat), vi). Properly speaking Hawāzin includes the tribes of ʿĀmir b. Ṣaʿṣaʿa [ q.v.] and T̲h̲aḳīf [ q.v.], but the term is sometimes restricted to what is more correctly ʿUd̲j̲z Hawāzin, “the rear of Hawāzin”, comprising D̲j̲usham b. Muʿāwiya b. Bakr, Naṣr b. Muʿāwiya b. Bakr and Saʿd b. Bakr [ q.v.]. Among the places reckoned to belong to Hawāzin were: Amlaḥ, ʿAds al-Maṭāḥil, al-Dardā, al-Ḍabʿān, a…


(391 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, the most suitable or fitting, a term used by theologians in a technical sense. The "upholders of the aṣlaḥ " were a group of the Muʿtazila who held that God did what was best for mankind. It is nowhere stated who composed the group. Abu ’l-Hud̲h̲ayl held that God did what was. best for men. Al-Naẓẓām introduced the refinement that there were an infinite number of equally good. alternatives, any of which God might adopt instead of acting as He does; in this way he avoided the implication that…


(974 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, or Badr Ḥunayn, a small town south-west of Medina, a night’s journey from the coast, and at the junction of a road from Medina with the caravan route from Mecca to Syria. It lies in a plain, 5 m. (8 km.) long and 2½ m. (4 km.) broad, surrounded by steep hills and sand-dunes, and was a market centre. Here occurred on 17 (or 19 or 21) Ramaḍān, 2 A. H. (= 13 or 15 or 17 March, 624) the first great battle of Muḥammad’s career. Though there is a wealth of detail in the early sources, it is difficult to give a clear account of the battle and the events which…

ʿAbd Allāh b. Ubayy

(555 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
b. Salūl (Salul being Ubayy’s mother), chief of Ba ʾl-Ḥublā (also known as Sālim), a section of the clan of ʿAwf of the Ḵh̲azrad̲j̲, and one of the leading men of Medīna. Prior to the hid̲j̲ra he had led some of the Ḵh̲azrad̲j̲ in the first day of the Fid̲j̲ār at Medīna, but did not take part in the second day of the Fid̲j̲ār nor the battle of Buʿāt̲h̲ since he had quarreled with another leader, ʿAmr b. al-Nuʿmān of Bayāḍa, over the latter’s unjust killing of Jewish hostages, perhaps because he r…


(483 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, one of the two main Arab tribes in Medina. With the other tribe, al-Aws [ q.v.], it formed the Banū Ḳayla in pre-Islamic times and the Anṣār [ q.v.] or “helpers” (sc. of Muḥammad) under Islam. The ancestors of al-K̲h̲azrad̲j̲ are given under al-Aws. The following are the main subdivisions of the tribe: Al-K̲h̲azrad̲j̲ and al-Aws settled together in Yat̲h̲rib or Medina after leaving the Yemen, and for a time were subordinate to the Jews there. The ¶ leader in gaining independence from the Jews was Mālik b. al-ʿAd̲j̲lān of the clan of Sālim (Ḳawāḳila) of al-K̲h̲azrad̲j̲. …

al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib

(458 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, with the kunya Abu ’l-Faḍl, half-brother of Muḥammad’s father, his mother being Nutayla bint ¶ Ḏj̲anāb of al-Namir. The ʿAbbāsid dynasty took its name from him, being descended from his son ʿAbd Allāh. Consequently there was a tendency for historians under the ʿAbbāsids to glorify him, and in his case it is particularly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. He was a merchant and financier, more prosperous than his half-brother Abū Ṭālib, who, in return for the extinction of a debt, surrendered to him the office of providing pilgrims to Mecca with water ( siḳāya


(556 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
, the Biblical Isaac, mentioned in fifteen passages of the Ḳurʾān. God gives Abraham ¶ “good tidings of Isaac, a prophet, of the righteous”, and blesses them both (XXXVII 112 f.). In a fuller description, when messengers concerning Lot corne to Abraham; his wife “laughed, and we gave her good tidings of Isaac, and af ter Isaac of Jacob” (XI, 71/74); and it is explained that this will happen despite their age. Several verses speak of Isaac and Jacob being given to Abraham (VI, 84; XIX, 49…


(837 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
(a.), the Emigrants, are primarily those Meccan Muslims who made the hid̲j̲ra or emigration from Mecca to Medina either just before Muḥammad himself or in the period up to the conquest of Mecca in 8/630. The word hid̲j̲ra [ q.v.] implies not only change of residence but also the ending of ties of kinship and the replacement of these by new relationships. In the document known as the Constitution of Medina (Ibn His̲h̲ām, 341-4), which is an agreement “between the Emigrants and the Anṣār (the Muslims of Medina)”, the Emigrants appear a…

Ḥalīma Bint Abī Ḏh̲uʾayb

(220 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
foster-mother of the prophet Muḥammad. She and her husband belonged to the tribe of Saʿd b. Bakr, a subdivision of Hawāzin. Muḥammad was given to her to suckle from soon after his birth until he was two years old. Well-to-do families thought desert-life healthier for infants than that in Mecca. Some modern scholars have doubted the whole episode, but Muḥammad probably lived with this tribe for a time. After the battle of Ḥunayn he honoured his fostersister al-S̲h̲aymā, and responded favourably w…


(765 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
the granting of protection ( d̲j̲iwār [ q.v.]) to a stranger according to ancient Arab practice. This form of protection was especially important for those who travelled about, but it was also used in other cases. The d̲j̲ār (pl. d̲j̲īrān ) is mostly the person protected, but may also be the protector (as in Sūra VIII, 48/50; Mufaḍḍaliyyāt , 760, 18). To ask for protection is istad̲j̲āra (Sūra IX, 6). The granting of protection was announced publicly (cf. Zaynab’s id̲j̲āra of her former pagan husband in Ibn His̲h̲ām, 469); and thus, when ʿUt̲h̲mān b. Maẓʿūn wanted to renounce the d̲j̲iwār of …


(635 words)

Author(s): Watt, W. Montgomery
or banū ’l-ḳayn , often contracted ¶ to Bal-Ḳayn (cf. Bal-Ḥārit̲h̲, etc.), the name of one or more Arab tribes. The best known is part of the tribal group of Ḳuḍāʿa, and al-Ḳayn is here interpreted as the nickname of al-Nuʿmān b. D̲j̲asr, so that the tribe is known as al-Ḳayn b. D̲j̲asr. The word ḳayn means “worker in iron”, “smith”, or possibly “slave”, and is used as a term of contempt in the Naḳāʾid D̲j̲arīr wa’l-Farazdaḳ . There is no evidence, however, of any connexion of Bal-Ḳayn b. D̲j̲asr with smiths. They act as a normal Bedouin tribe, and …
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