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(940 words)

Author(s): Brice, W.C. | Callot, Y.
(a., pl. wāhāt ), oasis. 1. In the Middle East. An oasis is a locality with access to water and cultivable soil in an area which is generally barren and parched. Perennial streams such as the Nile or Tigris-Euphrates, which flow from well-watered mountains through desert valleys, support continuous chains of oases. Other watercourses, which are seasonal, irregular or subterranean, can sometimes be tapped by wells to provide enough water for more isolated settlements, as at Tarīm and S̲h̲ibām [ q.vv.] in the Wādī ¶ Ḥaḍramawt, and in the district of al-Ḳaṣīm [ q.v.] on the Wādī Rumma in c…


(21,303 words)

Author(s): Miquel, A. | Brice, W.C. | Sourdel, D. | Aubin, J. | Holt, P.M. | Et al.
, a sovereign State, of the Muslim religion, for the most part Arabic-speaking, situated at the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent. i.—Geography The structure of ʿIrāḳ paradoxically derives its originality from the fact that it forms part of a large geographical block of territory. From the Arabo-Syrian desert tableland which it faces along its south-western flank, it takes its general aspect and its climate. All along its frontiers on the North-East, on the other hand, it shares the orientation and ¶ relief of the folded mountain-chains of western Asia, which give it its t…


(777 words)

Author(s): Brice, W.C.
, forest. The territory of Islam, lying for the most part within the arid and semi-arid districts of the Old World, includes comparatively few areas of dense and continuous forest. The monsoonal forests of parts of East Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia are of course exceptional. The hazel woods of the coastal mountains of north-east Turkey and the adjacent parts of the Caucasus, the forests of plane and alder which overlook the Caspian shores of Iran, and the stands of deodar and pine in the dis…

Sikkat al-Ḥadīd

(2,132 words)

Author(s): Brice, W.C.
(a.), lit. “iron line”, in Persian rāh-i āhan , in Turkish demiryolu (like the Persian term, meaning “iron way”) and şimendifer (< Fr. chemin de fer), railway. 1. Railway policy in Egypt and India. ¶ The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the start of the railway era. Shordy after, plans were being laid for building railways in Egypt and India. The first Egyptian railway, between Alexandria and Cairo, was opened in 1855. George Stephenson had originally proposed it in conjunction with the direct line b…


(1,121 words)

Author(s): Brice, W.C. | Callot, Y. | Pinilla-Melguizo, R.
(a.), pls. awdiya , awdāʾ , etc., in Syrian colloquial widyān (see A. Barthélemy, Dictionnaire arabe-français . Dialectes de Syrie , Paris 1935-54, 889), in the Arab lands in general, a river valley. The conventional English spelling is wadi. 1. In the Arabian peninsula. In desert terrain, a wadi is usually dry, but may carry seasonal water, or occasional floods ( sayl ), which are often a mixture of water, mud and stones. These ¶ desert valleys are very different in both topography and gradient from those in lands of higher and more regular rainfall; for while it is …


(12,475 words)

Author(s): Grohmann, A. | Brice, W.C. | Smith, G.R. | Burrowes, R.D. | F. Mermier | Et al.
, Yemen, the southwestern part of the Arabian peninsula, now coming substantially within the unified Republic of Yemen (which also includes as its eastern region the former People’s Democratic Republic of South Yemen, the pre-1967 Aden Protectorate, essentially the historic Ḥaḍramawt [ q.v. in Vol. III and also in Suppl.; see also suḳuṭra ]). ¶ 1. Definition and general introduction. The name is variously explained in the Arabic sources; some say it was given because al-Yaman lies to the right of the Kaʿba or to the right of the sun (al-Bakrī, ii, 856), …