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Siḥr

(4,799 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), magic. This term is applied (1) to that which entrances the eye and acts on the psyche of the individual, making him believe that what he sees is real when it is not so. This is called al-uk̲h̲d̲h̲a , “charm, incantation” [see ruḳya ], “artifice, stratagem” [see nīrand̲j̲ , sīmiyā ]; in short, everything that is known as “white” or “natural magic”. It also refers (2) to things, the apprehension ( maʾk̲h̲ad̲h̲ ) of which is fine and subtle; this applies, for example, to certain poetry and certain eloquence, that of the Ḳurʾān in particular. The Prophet was allegedly told, inna min al-bayāni …

Nud̲j̲ūm

(3,790 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
( Aḥkām al- ), “decrees of the stars”, expression denoting astrology [see also munad̲j̲d̲j̲im ]. Astrology comprises two branches: natural astrology, consisting in the observation of the influences of the stars on the natural elements, and judicial astrology, consisting in the observation of the influences of the stars on human destiny. The scientific term which describes them is Ptolemaism (derived from the astrological work of Ptolemy, entitled Κλαυδίου Πτολεμαίου τῶν πρὸς Σύρον ἀποτελεσματικῶν, ed. F. Boll and Ae. Boer, in Bibliotheca Teubneriana , Le…

Niyāḥa

(461 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.) “lamentation”, the noun of action from nāḥa “to weep with great cries, lamentations, sighings and affliction”. The term is used to designate the activity of professional mourners who play a great role in funeral ceremonies all around the Mediterranean. If it is mentioned here, it is because this practice, considered to be a legacy of paganism, was condemned by the Prophet. Indeed, he is made to say “Three pre-Islamic customs ( ak̲h̲lāḳ ; Usd al-g̲h̲āba , fiʿl ) are not to be retained by the Muslims. They are: invoking the planets in order to receive rain ( istisḳāʾ bi ’l-kawākib

Taʿbı̄r al-Ruʾya

(1,558 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), “The interpretation of dreams”. As well as this expression, tafsīr al-aḥlām is employed, with taʿbīr , basically “the passage of one thing to another, one sense to another”, hence “explanation” and tafsīr , lit. “commenting, explaining”, from roots occurring in other Semitic languages and with the two Arabic verbal nouns found, once each, in the Ḳurʾān, at XII, 43, and XXV, 33, with taʾwīl [ q.v.] also at XII, 44-5. In current usage, taʿbīr is confined to the sense of “interpretation of dreams”, whilst tafsīr [ q.v.] is used for commentaries on e.g. the Bible and the Ḳurʾān. For the ter…

Nuṣub

(1,330 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), pl. anṣāb , Hebrew maṣṣeb̲ōt . The plural, more often used, denotes the blocks ofstone on which the blood of the victims sacrificed for idols ( awt̲h̲ān , aṣnām ) was poured, as well as sepulchral stones and those marking out the sacred enclosure ( ḥimā ) of the sanctuary (cf. J. Wellhausen, Reste2 , 101-2; W. Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites , 201 ff.). In nomadic circles, the nuṣub has been regarded in a few rare instances as the symbol of the divinity (cf. Ibn Saʿd, Ṭabaḳāt , iv/1, 159-60; R. Dozy, Essai sur l’histoire de l’Islamisme , translated from the…

Nīrand̲j̲

(1,186 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), derived from Persian nayrang , nīrang , pl. nīrand̲j̲āt , nīrand̲j̲iyyāt (Ibn Sīnā, ms. Paris; Brockelmann, S I, 828), nārand̲j̲iyyāt (al-D̲j̲ināʿī, ms. Strasbourg 4212, fol. 102b), designates, in the two languages, the operations of white magic, comprising prestidigitation, fakery and counter-fakery, the creating of illusions and other feats of sleight-of-hand ( ḥiyal ). A certain al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-Iskandarī al-Kūs̲h̲ī al-ʿAbdari described the whole set of these operations in his work Fi ’l-ḥiyal al-bābiliyya li ’l-k̲h̲izāna al-kāmiliyya

al-Maysir

(1,172 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a noun derived from y-s-r "to be easy, simple", a root from which derives, by antiphrasis, a qualificative of the left hand, al-yusrā , with which the ḥurḍa (cf. Hebrew ḥ-r-ṣ and Akkadian ḫarāšu "decide, fix, determine"), the equivalent of the sādin of the istiḳsām [ q.v.], shot arrows one by one. Hence the term maysir could be rendered by "the game of the left-handed", although its present morphological state is inexplicable. The game consisted of dividing a slaughtered beast into ten parts, for which the game was played: these being the thighs and shins of bo…

al-Kaff

(1,138 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
( ʿilm-i ), a divinatory process which belongs to the realm of physiognomy [see firāsa ], and designates more specifically chirognomy, or the art of deducing the character of a person according to the shape and appearance of the hands, whereas chiromancy proper is designated by ʿilm al-asārīr (lines of the hand) or k̲h̲uṭūṭ al-yad . One can also say naẓar fi ’l-yad , firāsat al-kaff , ʿalāmāt asārīr al-kaff (cf. T. Fahd, Divination arabe , 393 ff.). But the use of the term ʿilm al-kaff has become general, and this has supplanted the others. It covers both c…

Ṣābiʾa

(4,595 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), the name of two rather mysterious groups in early Islamic times: 1. Ṣābiʾat al-baṭāʾiḥ . The Mesopotamian dialectal pronunciation of ṣābiʿa , where the ʿayn has been transformed into y or ī , also occurs in Mandaean (cf. Lidzbarski, Ginzā ; Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik ; R. Macuch, Handbook , 94, 1. 16: ṣabuia ). This substantive, which became current in Mecca during the period of Ḳurʾānic preaching, irrespective of its etymology, derives from the Semitic root ṣ-b-ʿ (Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac; Ethiopic ṣabk̲h̲a ), corresponding to ṣ-b-g̲h̲ in Arabic. Th…

Saʿd Wa-Naḥs

(351 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), literally, "the fortunate and the unfortunate". These concepts are based on the influence exerted by the planets and the signs of the Zodiac on earthly events. The astrologers describe the stars as being either . saʿd or naḥs . Thus Jupiter, Venus and the Moon are said to be saʿd, Saturn is naḥs and the Sun and Mercury are at times called one or the other. But this can vary as a function of their positions in the ecliptic and of their conjunctions (cf. Abū Maslama Muḥammad al-Mad̲j̲rīṭī, G̲h̲āyat al-ḥakīm , ed. H. Ritter, Leipzig 1933, 198 ff. = M. Plessner, Picatrix , London 1962, 209 ff.; L’ag…

Ṣanam

(874 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), image, representation and, especially, idol (from the Common Semitic root ṣ-l-m , cf. Akk. ṣalmu , Aram, ṣalmā , Hebr. ṣelem , etc., by a shift of l into n, see Gesenius-Buhl, 684); for Old Testament parallels, see inter alia, Num. xxxiii. 52; II Kings xi. 18; Ezek., vii. 20; Amos, v. 26). It is in this sense that it is found in the Ḳurʾān, where the pl. aṣnām is cited five times (VI, 74; VII, 138; XIV, 35; XXI, 57; XXVI, 71). Ṣanam progressively replaces nuṣub (pl. anṣāb , Hebr. maṣṣebōt̲ , Gen. xxxv. 14), a term denoting “carved stones over which the blood …

Sakīna

(1,670 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a term of the Ḳurʾān and of Islamic religion. The root s̲h̲-k-n (Akkadian, Hebrew, Aramaic) or s-k-n (Arabic) means basically “to go down, rest, be quiescent, inhabit”, and the corresponding Later Hebrew form to Arabic sakīna is s̲h̲ek̲h̲īnā and the Jewish Palestinian Aramaic one s̲h̲ e k̲h̲īnā, Syriac s̲h̲ekīntā . Cf. Hebr. ham-mis̲h̲kan , mis̲h̲kan Yhwh , Syr. mas̲h̲kan zab̲h̲nā / zab̲h̲nō , Ar. ḳubbat al-zamān (al-Ḳardāḥī, Lubāb , Beirut 1887, ii, 546-7), referring to Moses’ tent sanctuary, Exod. xxv. 22). The Hebrew usage is genera…

Saʿy

(547 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), from the root s-ʿ-y , used 30 times in the Ḳurʾān in such senses as “to work, apply oneself to, denounce, seek to earn one’s living, run after s. th.” etc., but in the sense concerning here denoting the pilgrim’s running between al-Ṣafā and al-Marwa. These are two hills to the south and north-west of the Kaʿba respectively, linked by a masʿā , course, which the pilgrim follows after having made the sevenfold circuit of the Kaʿba, at his or her arrival and his or her departure. This following of the course, the saʿy , is likewise sevenfold; it starts in al-Ṣafā, and goes to al-Marwa, ca. 300 m a…

Suʿayr

(319 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, preferably to be read as Saʿīr, although the former is more common, an idol of the pre-Islamic Arabian tribe of ʿAnaza (Ibn al-Kalbī, 48-9), coming from ʿw.ṣ , an Aramaean eponym denoting in the Bible (refs. in Gesenius-Buhl, 573) the land of Edom and the group of tribes living there (W. Robertson Smith, Kinship and marriage in early Arabia , 260-1; Nöldeke, in ZDMG, xl [1887], 183). Saʿīr, which followed the same evolution as ʿAwḍ, denotes in the Bible the land of Edom before its occupation by the sons of Esau. Gen. xxxvi.9 speaks of the hill country Seʿir, o…

Ḳiyāfa

(631 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), the science of physiognomancy and the examination of traces on the ground. In their concern for the purity of race and the ¶ correctness of genealogical lines, the ancient Arabs perfected a technique which permitted them to verify, and, where necessary, to research into, lines of parentage. This technique consisted partly in experience and partly in divinatory intuition. In primitive times, a specialised personnel maintained the practice: but the progressive decline, in pre-Islamic Arabia, of personnel skilled i…

Manāt

(949 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, name of one of the most ancient deities ofthe Semitic pantheon, who appears in the Pre-Sargonic period in the form Menūtum and constitutes one ofthe names of Ishtar (J. Bottéro, Les divinités sémitiques anciennes en Mésopotamie , in S. Moscati (ed.), Le antiche divinité semitiche, 30; Tallqvist, Götterepitheta , 373-4); the Ḳurʾānic scriptio of her name preserves the primitive w, which also appears in the Nabatean mnwtw (Lidzbarski, Handbuch , 313; Wellhausen, Reste 2, 28). The w changes to i in the Bible (Isa. lxv, 11), as in the Sallier IV papyrus, verso , i, 5-6 (in J.B. Pritchard, Ancien…

Munad̲j̲d̲j̲im

(990 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), active participle from nad̲j̲d̲j̲ama “to observe the stars and deduce from them the state of the world”. The munad̲j̲d̲j̲im claims to know the lot of humans and their destiny from the positions of the stars. He is the astrologer. For a long time this noun designated both astrologer and astronomer, so close were the functions of the two. Often the court astrologer used to observe the stars scientifically and to interpret their movements for the benefit of his master. This is borne out ¶ by the fact that, according to D̲j̲ābir b. Ḥayyān, “the astrologer must be a mathematician ( riyāḍi

S̲h̲ayʿ al-Ḳawm

(273 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
, the name of a Safaitic deity, unknown however in the pantheon of Central and South Arabia. In Safaitic inscriptions he appears as šyʿhḳwm , i.e. S̲h̲ayʿ ha-Ḳawm, and it is only in the Nabataean and Palmyrene inscriptions (see G. Ryckmans, Les religions arabes préislamiques 2, Louvain 1953 = Quillet, Hist . gen . des religions 2, Paris 1960, ii, 199-228) that we have the form with the regular Arabic definite article, S̲h̲ayʿ al-Ḳawm. The name may refer to a tribal deity in the form of a lion or lion cub, so that S̲h̲ayʿ Allāh (this theophoric name, probably a depagan…

S̲h̲iʿār

(606 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), a term having various significations. The root s̲h̲-ʿ-r involves, inter alia, the ideas of knowing something; being aware of something; being a poet; being hairy; notifying, making aware of something; marking something; etc. S̲h̲iʿār stems from the latter semantic field. It denotes: 1. The rallying signal for war or for a travel expedition, war cry, standard, mark indicating the place of standing ( wuḳūf ) of ¶ soldiers in battle or pilgrims in the Pilgrimage (ʿArafa: the idea of “recognising” this mark). The warcry of the Prophet’s Companions was “Amit , amit! O victorious ones,…

Munās̲h̲ada

(618 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), derived from nas̲h̲ada “to search (especially for a stray camel), designates a set form of oath, at the beginning of a prayer of petition, sometimes involving a threat or coercion, directed at God. A certain Abū Sammāl of Banū Asad set out once in search of his camel; after a long, vain search, he turned to God, entreating him in these words: aymunuka laʾin lam taruddahā ilayya lā aʿbudka , “I swear if you do not return it to me, I will not worship you”; and he found it. The man was not a saint, so that his success could be attributed t…
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