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