Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān


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Syriac and the Qurʾān

(8,961 words)

Author(s): El-Badawi, Emran
Syriac was an Aramaic dialect spoken by Christians in and around Arabia during the time of the Qurʾān’s appearance. It originated in northern Mesopotamia and Syria but became the lingua franca of the late antique Near East (ca. second-seventh centuries C.E.), and the “golden age” of Syriac literature flourished from the fourth to the seventh centuries (Brock, A brief outline, 9-21). Syriac was the official language of the West Syrian (Jacobite) and East Syrian (Nestorian) churches, while the closely related dialect of Christian Palestinian Aramaic was used by the Chalcedonian…
Date: 2018-08-14

Age of Ignorance [Supplement 2016]

(2,049 words)

Author(s): William E. Shepard
This phrase is a common translation of the Arabic word jāhiliyya, which is used by Muslims to refer to the historical period in west-central Arabia covering the centuries immediately prior to the mission of Muḥammad, a period characterised by ignorance of the divine truth. To the original audience of the Qurʾān, however, it almost certainly referred primarily to the moral condition of the individuals who, and the society that, opposed the mission of the Prophet (see opposition to Muḥammad), and only secondarily, if at all, to a defined historical epoch. It is also possibl…
Date: 2016-11-17

Reciters of the Qurʾān [Supplement 2016]

(4,301 words)

Author(s): Christopher Melchert | Asma Afsaruddin
The reciters of the Qurʾān are those entrusted with the oral recitation of Qurʾānic passages, or of the entire text. The term “reciter” (Ar. sing. qāriʾ and muqriʾ) in its basic, most general meaning refers to one who reads or recites. With reference to the reciters of the Qurʾān, the plural qurrāʾ is used much more commonly than is muqriʾūn. In a broad sense, the term qurrāʾ is used in various sources to refer to both professional reciters, namely those who accepted payment for their recitation and were often employed by the state, and pious, non-professional…
Date: 2016-11-17

Sīra and the Qurʾān [Supplement 2016]

(13,079 words)

Author(s): Wim Raven
Sīra is a branch of Arabic literature that is devoted to the earliest salvation history of Islam and focuses on God’s actions towards and through his prophet Muḥammad, i.e. the revelation of the Qurʾān and the foundation of an Islamic community. The term sīra can also denote a work belonging to that literature. Sīra is the noun of kind (fiʿla) of the Arabic verb sāra, “to go,” “to travel,” etc., indicating the manner in which the action expressed by the verb is carried out (see Arabic language; grammar and the Qurʾān). Hence, it originally meant “way of going,” but its most frequent …
Date: 2016-11-17

M (Macdonald, D. - Marar Trading Company, Baghdad)

(616 words)

Macdonald, D.  Idolatry and Idolaters Macoraba  Geography Madelung, W.  Createdness of the Qurʾān  Emigration  Inimitability Madhabite  Yemen Madhḥij  Divination  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic Madigan, D.A.  Book  Criterion  Preserved Tablet  Revelation and Inspiration Madyan see Midian Madyanites see Midianites Madāʾ  Archaeology and the Qurʾān Madāʾin  Jerusalem Madāʾin Ṣāliḥ  Antichrist  Thamūd  Ḥijr al-Madāʾinī  Conquest Maghrib  Calligraphy  Khārijīs  Manuscripts of the Qurʾān  Mosque  Numismatics  Ornamentation and Illumination  Prayer Formulas  …


(5,230 words)

Author(s): Powers, David Stephan
Rules for the division of wealth (q.v.) among the heirs of a deceased Muslim man or woman. Traditional Islamic perspective Traditional Islamic sources indicate that the intergenerational transmission of property by means of a last will and testament ( waṣiyya) was a common procedure prior to the rise of Islam and during the Meccan period (see pre-islamic arabia and the qurʾān ). The emigration (q.v.; hijra ) to Medina (q.v.) in 1/622 necessitated certain changes in the existing inheritance rules. By migrating to Medina, the Emigrants ( muhājirūn, see emigrants and helpers ) effectively…

Ethics and the Qurʾān

(15,872 words)

Author(s): Reinhart, A. Kevin
The subject matter of this article is elusive, since the word “ethics” itself is used in various ways in English. If we take the definition of a standard reference work, we learn that “ethics” is “(1) a general pattern or way of life, (2) a set of rules of conduct or moral code, and (3) inquiry about life and ¶ rules of conduct…” ( Encyclopedia of philosophy, iii, 81-2). This article's focus, then, will be qurʾānic ethics in senses (1) and (2) above; we might also use the word “morality,” i.e. “beliefs about human nature, beliefs about ideals — what is good fo…

D (Dacca - Decius)

(483 words)

Dacca  Printing of the Qurʾān al-Ḍaḥḥāk (King Bīwarasb) see Bīwarasb al-Ḍaḥḥāk b. Muzāḥim (d. 105/723)  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval  Jesus  Language and Style of the Qurʾān  Paradise  Satanic Verses Dahlan, A.  Teaching and Preaching the Qurʾān Dajjāl see Antichrist Dakake, M.M.  Ṣiffīn, Battle of Dakhla Oasis  Readings of the Qurʾān Dale, G.  Translations of the Qurʾān Dallal, A.  Calendar  Day and Night  Science and the Qurʾān Damascenes  Ritual and the Qurʾān Damascus  Antichrist  Arabic Script  Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān  Cain and Abel  Captives  Cav…

Emigrants and Helpers

(2,465 words)

Author(s): al-Faruque, Muhammad
Those who emigrated from Mecca (q.v.) to Medina (q.v.) with the prophet Muḥammad (Emigrants, muhājirūn), and the residents of Medina who received and helped them (Helpers, anṣār). In a broader sense, those who forsake home and land, giving up evil deeds and renouncing personal desires for the sake of God are called emigrants by the Qurʾān ( muhājir, q 4:100; 29:26). In some classical sources the Medinans who came to Mecca and met Muḥammad at ʿ Aqaba were also characterized as emigrants because Medina was considered to be the abode of polytheism (see polytheism and atheism ) and from there …

Manual Labor

(934 words)

Author(s): Mattson, Ingrid
Literally “work with one's hands,” it often carries the implication of strenuous physical exertion. Manual labor is not a topic explicitly addressed in the Qurʾān though the term “forced laborer” ( sukhrī) is mentioned once and the Qurʾān describes some of the ancient prophets (see prophets and prophethood ) as having been able to achieve prominence by using forced and voluntary labor in great building projects (see art and architecture and the qurʾān; archaeology and the qurʾān). The Qurʾān states that it is God who “raises some to levels above others so that some of th…

Q (Qadarī(s) - Qurva)

(852 words)

Qadarī(s)  Ambiguous  Freedom and Predestination  Grace  Jews and Judaism  Left Hand and Right Hand  Moses  Philosophy and the Qurʾān  Witnessing and Testifying al-Qāḍī, W. see Kadi, W. al-Qāḍī, ʿA.  Printing of the Qurʾān al-Qāḍī, N.  Printing of the Qurʾān al-Qāḍī ʿAbd al-Jabbār see ʿAbd al-Jabbār b. Aḥmad al-Asadābādi al-Qāḍī al-Hamadhānī (d. 414-15/1025) Qāḍī Aḥmad  Manuscripts of the Qurʾān al-Qādir (r. 381-422/991-1031)  Creeds   Qādirī Creed [al-iʿtiqād al-qādirī]   Creeds  Ṣūfism and the Qurʾān al-Qādisiyya  Iraq  Sīra and the Qurʾān [al-Qāḍī] al-Nuʿmān (d. 363/974)  …

P (Pococke, Edward (d. 1691) - Punjabi (language))

(340 words)

Pococke, Edward (d. 1691)  Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān  Pre-1800 Preoccupations of Qurʾānic Studies  Translations of the Qurʾān Poimandres  Idrīs Poonawala, I.K.  Ritual and the Qurʾān [Pope] Eugene IV  Pre-1800 Preoccupations of Qurʾānic Studies [Pope] Pius II  Pre-1800 Preoccupations of Qurʾānic Studies [Pope] Pius IX  Bahāʾīs Porter, V.  Epigraphy Pos(t)nikov, P.V.  Translations of the Qurʾān Possessor of the Two Horns [Dhū l-Qarnayn]  Authority  Chastisement and Punishment  Gog and Magog  History and the Qurʾān  Muḥammad  Narratives  News  Persian…

(-ṣād- - ṣ-w-r - ṣ-ḥ-ḥ)

(509 words)

ṣ-w-r    muṣawwir    God and his Attributes    Iconoclasm    taṣwīr    Ashes    Literary Structures of the Qurʾān    ṣawwara    Cosmology    God and his Attributes    Popular and Talismanic Uses of the Qurʾān    ṣāra    Textual Criticism of the Qurʾān    ṣūr    Apocalypse    Eschatology    Instruments    Last Judgment    Resurrection    ṣūra, pl. ṣuwar    Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān    God and his Attributes    Magic    Persian Literature and the Qurʾān    fī aḥsana ṣuwarakum    ʿalā ṣūratihi   ṣ-w-t    ṣawt, pl. aṣwāt    Anatomy    Speech   ṣ-w-ʿ    ṣuwāʿ    Cups an…

R (al-Rabadha - Reclam, P.)

(907 words)

al-Rabadha  Archaeology and the Qurʾān Rabbat, N.  City Rabin, Ch.  Dialects  Grammar and the Qurʾān  Language and Style of the Qurʾān  Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān Rabīʿ I  Emigration Rachel  Belief and Unbelief  Benjamin Rada  Material Culture and the Qurʾān Radscheit, M.  Provocation  Responsibility  Springs and Fountains  Table  Witnessing and Testifying  Word of God Radtke, B.  Saint  Wisdom al-Rāghī al-Tūnisī (d. 715/1315)  Translations of the Qurʾān al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Abū l-Qāsim al-Ḥusayn (d. 502/1108)  Brother and Brotherhood  Conquest  For…

J (Judaism - Jārūdites)

(422 words)

Judaism  Abraham  Abrogation  Agriculture and Vegetation  Angel  Anthropomorphism  Apocalypse  Apologetics  Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān  Baptism  Belief and Unbelief  Calf of Gold  Carrion  Children  Christians and Christianity  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Community and Society in the Qurʾān  Creation  Expeditions and Battles  Faith  Fasting  Foreign Vocabulary  Form and Structure of the Qurʾān  Fosterage  Freedom and Predestination  Geography  History and the Qurʾān  Isaac  Islam  Jerusalem  Jews and Judaism  Justice and Injustice  Lactation  Language and S…


(1,477 words)

Author(s): Juynboll, G.H.A.
Arabic term for “way of acting.” The ancient Arab concept sunna (pl. sunan) occurs ¶ eighteen times in the Qurʾān. Generally — that is to say outside the strict context of the Qurʾān — it is defined as a way of acting, whether approved or disapproved, and is normally associated with the people of earlier generations, whose example has to be followed or shunned by later generations. The concept occupies a crucial place in Islam. In the development of Islamic theology, it eventually came to be associated with orthodoxy, the bastion against heterodox innovation ( bidʿa; see innovation; theolog…


(4,710 words)

Author(s): Landau-Tasseron, Ella
Struggle, or striving, but often understood both within the Muslim tradition and beyond it as warfare against infidels (see fighting; war; belief and unbelief). The term jihād derives from the root j-h-d, denoting effort, exhaustion, exertion, strain. Derivatives of this root occur in forty-one qurʾānic verses. Five of these contain the phrase jahd aymānihim, meaning “[to swear] the strongest oath,” which is irrelevant to the present discussion (see oaths ), and not all the remaining verses refer to warfare. ¶ Since the concept of jihād is related to warfare, discussions of the…

C (Caetani, L. - Childs, B.)

(568 words)

Caetani, L.  Expeditions and Battles  Sīra and the Qurʾān Cahen, C.  Contemporary Critical Practices and the Qurʾān Cain [Qābīl]  Adam and Eve  Animal Life  Brother and Brotherhood  Burial  Cain and Abel   Children of   Idrīs  Corruption  Dialogues  Hell and Hellfire  History and the Qurʾān  Literacy  Murder  Narratives  Noah  Repentance and Penance  Vengeance Cairo  Adultery and Fornication  Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān  Cave   Congress on Arab Music (1932)   Recitation of the Qurʾān  Drowning  Epigraphy  Everyday Life, Qurʾān In  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Early Mode…

A (Abū l-Hārith al-Layth b. Khālid al-Baghdādī (d. 240/854) - Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar b. Jamīʿ (eighth/fourteenth-ninth/fifteenth century))

(1,064 words)

Abū l-Hārith al-Layth b. Khālid al-Baghdādī (d. 240/854)  Readings of the Qurʾān  Reciters of the Qurʾān Abū l-Hārith ʿīsā b. Wirdān al-Madanī see Ibn Wardān al-Madanī, Abū l-Ḥārith (d. 160/777) Abū l-Jārūd (d. after 140/757-8)  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval Abū l-Kalām āzād see āzād, [Mawlānā] Abū l-Kalam Abū l-Khayr (of Seville)  Agriculture and Vegetation Abū l-Khayr Ṭashkubrīzādah (d. 968/1561)  Traditional Disciplines of Qurʾānic Studies Abū l-Layth Naṣr b. Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Samarqandī (d. 373-5/983-5)  Apocalypse  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classica…

Trust and Patience

(4,528 words)

Author(s): Alexander, Scott C.
Belief in another's integrity, justice or reliability, and forbearance in the face of adversity. According to the Qurʾān, trust and patience are two distinguishing virtues (see virtues and vices, commanding and forbidding ) of the “faithful” person (i.e. muʾmin; see belief and unbelief ). There are two qurʾānic concepts typically translated by the English word “trust.” The first, tawakkul (ʿalā), is a maṣdar (abstract noun expressing action) derived from the fifth form of the Arabic root w-k-l, meaning “to give oneself over to” ( istaslama ilayhi), “to rely/depend on” ( iʿtamada ʿala…
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