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(3,341 words)

Author(s): Schmidtke, Sabine
A religious movement in early Islam, the Muʿtazila became the dominant theological school in the third/ninth and fourth/tenth century (see theology and the qurʾān ). The movement was allegedly founded by Wāṣil b. ʿAṭāʾ (d. 131/728-9) who was towards the end of his life joined by ʿAmr b. ʿUbayd (d. 143/760 or 144/761), a prominent disciple of al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (d. 110/728). Most issues related to the incubation phase of the movement as well as the original meaning of the term Muʿtazila — which has the sense of “those who dissociate themselve…


(1,141 words)

Author(s): Schmidtke, Sabine
The predetermined course of events in general and of human actions and eternal ¶ fate in particular, a condition foreordained by divine will or human will, a real or imaginary impersonal power or agency. From the first Islamic centuries, the question of the agency of human works and eternal destiny was a widely discussed controversy among Muslim theologians — whether they are ordained by God's decree or whether they are executed by man himself (see freedom and predestination; anthropomorphism; decision). Both determinists and non-determinists made reference to the Qurʾān i…

Pairs and Pairing

(5,085 words)

Author(s): Schmidtke, Sabine
Any aspect of the language and style of the Qurʾān in which pairs are perceived as a structural element in the composition of the Qurʾān (see form and structure of the qurʾān ), such as any form of parallelism or repetition, pairs of synonymous, synthetic or antithetic terms or concepts, double divine epithets (see god and his attributes ) as well as aspects of the number two or use of the dual form (see numbers and enumeration ). Ethical dualism Throughout the Qurʾān, an antithetic or dual parallelism is observable in the admonitions to humankind (see exhortations ), in the descriptions of…


(4,189 words)

Author(s): Schmidtke, Sabine
Concise and authoritative formulae that provide a summation of the essentials of faith (q.v.). Professions of faith or creeds (ʿaqāʾid, sing. ʿaqīda) were formulated by individual scholars and by groups of scholars, yet there exists no standard or universally accepted Muslim creed. Rather, there are a variety of Islamic creeds, which ¶ vary substantially in length, contents and arrangement. Although the Qurʾān does not proclaim any formal creed or compendium of faith, it does contain elements that form the basis for most creeds. First among these is the nature of God (see god …