Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition


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(1,818 words)

Author(s): Elisséeff, N.
, an ancient town and military district in Syria; the name is of Aramaic origin and appears as Kennes̲h̲rīn in the Syriac texts. Composed of ḳinnā “nest” and nasrīn “of eagles”, it is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud in the form of Kannis̲h̲rayyā and the European historians of the Middle Ages called the area Canestrine. A distinction must be drawn between the town and the d̲j̲und . 1. The town. At the present day, Ḳinnasrīn is nothing more than a little village surrounded by ruins, a day’s journey to the south of Aleppo, on the right bank of the Ḳuwayḳ which …

Abu ’l-K̲h̲aṭṭār

(267 words)

Author(s): Lévi-Provençal, E.
al-Ḥuṣām b. Ḍirār al-Kalbī , governor of al-Andalus, who arrived in that country from Ifrīḳiya in 125/743, to replace the wālī T̲h̲aʿlaba b. Salāma al-ʿĀmilī. He carried out a liberal policy, and skilfully removed from Cordova the representatives of the Syrian d̲j̲unds , who had come to Spain under the leadership of Bald̲j̲ b. Bis̲h̲r [ q.v.]. On the advice of Count Ardabast (Arṭūbās), son of the Visigothic prince Witiza, he settled these d̲j̲undīs on fiefs, requiring from them in return that they should respond to mobilization appeals that migh…


(143 words)

Author(s): Shahîd, Irfan
, a mare, or a valley, or a G̲h̲assānid princess, after whom was named one of the most famous of all the ayyām [ q.v.] of pre-Islamic Arabia, sometimes identified with the yawm of ʿAyn Ubāg̲h̲. It is possible that yawm Ḥalīma was the “day” which witnessed the victory of G̲h̲assān over Ṣalīḥ [ q.v.] late in the 5th century A.D. But more probably, it represents the victory of the G̲h̲assānid al-Ḥārit̲h̲ b. D̲j̲abala over the Lak̲h̲mid al-Mund̲h̲ir b. al-Nuʿmān, who was killed in the encounter. If true, the battle would have taken place in June, A.D. …


(1,175 words)

Author(s): Canard, M.
, name of a part of the frontier zone which extended between the Byzantine Empire and the Empire of the Caliphs in the North and North-East of Syria. The forward strongholds of this zone are called al-T̲h̲ug̲h̲ūr [ q.v.] or frontier. strongholds properly so called, whilst those which were situated further to the rear, are called al-ʿAwāṣim , literally "the protectresses" (sing, al-ʿāṣima ). Following their quick successes in Syria and Mesopotamia, the Arabs for a while made no attempt to extend their conquests and confined themselves to making raids into Byz…


(309 words)

Author(s): Sourdel-Thomine, J.
, a place, no longer extant, in northern Syria, whose name is very probably a word of Syriac origin meaning “mosquito”, from which fact H. Lammens has inferred that the region was a marshy one. It figures in the Arabic texts of the first centuries of Islam. Nothing is known of its more ancient history, but it is mentioned in the narratives of the conquest by Abū ʿUbayda of the provinces of Antioch and Ḳinnasrīn, and appears to have had a certain importance in Umayyad times. Then it was near the …

Ḏj̲isr al-Ḥadīd

(282 words)

Author(s): Sourdel-Thomine, J.
, “iron bridge”, name of a bridge over the Orontes in the lower part of its course, at the point where the river, emerging from the valleys of the calcareous plateau and widening towards the depression of al-ʿAmḳ [ q.v.], turns sharply westwards without being lost in that marshy depression whose waters it partly drains to the sea. The fame of This toponym, frequently mentioned in mediaeval documents but of obscure origin (perhaps local legend), is explained by the strategic and commercial importance of This stage, through which, in a…


(2,109 words)

Author(s): Shahîd, Irfan
, a pre-Islamic confederacy of various Arab tribes that adopted a common genealogy. The essential reliability of the Arabic historians’ accounts of this confederacy is supported epigraphically by a Sabaic, a Greek, an Aramaic, and a Syriac inscription and also by Ptolemy, in spite of some conflicting reports on its early history in the Arabian peninsula, with details that so far have not been open to verification. 1. The Arabian Peninsular stage. The history of Peninsular Tanūk̲h̲ belongs to the “Migration Period” in the history of Arabia, which witnessed the m…

Ṭayyiʾ or Ṭayy

(710 words)

Author(s): Shahîd, Irfan
, nisba Ṭāʾī, an Arab tribe, which like others such as al-Azd and Kinda, emigrated from the Arabian south and settled in the north, in the plateau of S̲h̲ammar [ q.v.], which contained the two ranges Ad̲j̲aʾ and Salmā, called after the tribe D̲j̲abalā Ṭayyiʾ As a result of their occupation of S̲h̲ammar, the north Arab tribe of Asad lost some of its territory but the two tribes fraternised and were called “the two allies”, al-Ḥalīfān. The two main subdivisions of the tribe were al-G̲h̲awth and D̲j̲adīla, part of whom lived on…


(340 words)

Author(s): Eddé, Anne-Marie
, Nahr , the name given by the Arabs to the ancient Chalos river in northern Syria. This stream, whose valley makes a shallow notch in the plateau of the Aleppo region, rises at the foot of the last outliers of the Taurus, to the east of al-Rāwandān [ q.v.] in present-day Turkey. Fed by various springs, notably in the ʿAzāz region, it skirts Aleppo to the west, and to the south of this city receives the waters of the Blessed Spring (al-ʿAyn al-Mubāraka). After a course of some 110 km/70 miles, it peters out in the vicinity of Ḳinnasrīn [ q.v.] in a swampy depression called al-Matk̲h̲. This river, with…

Bis̲h̲r b. al-Walīd

(342 words)

Author(s): Veccia Vaglieri, L.
b. ʿabd al-malik , Umayyad prince, one of the numerous sons of the Caliph al-Walīd and brother of the Caliphs Yazīd III and Ibrāhīm. His learning earned him the title of scholar ( ʿālim ) of the Banū Marwān. He led many military expeditions (certainly in 92/710-11: al-Yaʿḳūbī, ii, 350, and in 96/714-15 against the Byzantines: al-Ṭabarī, ii, 1269 etc.). He was nominated amīr of the pilgrimage by his father in 95/714. His name does not appear in the sources until the conspiracy against his cousin al-Walīd II in 126/743-44. Despite the pr…


(1,138 words)

Author(s): Molina, L.
b. Ḥātim b. S̲h̲amir b. D̲h̲i ’l-D̲j̲aws̲h̲an al-Kilābī, lieutenant and confidential adviser to the last governor of al-Andalus before the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty, Yūsuf al-Fihrī (129-38/746-56 [ q.v.]). Al-Ṣumayl is presented by the sources as chief of the Muḍar Ḳays faction, openly opposed to the Yemenis, in a confrontation which seems to be an accurate reflection of events in the East (see Patricia Grone, Were the Qays and Yemen of the Umayyad period political parties? in Isl ., lxxi/1 [1994], 1-57). However, as will be shown, circumst…


(436 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, the name given by the Arab authors to a locality situated, on the borders of Anatolia and Syria, in the upper valley of the Nahr Karzīn, at the foot of the Anti-Taurus (Kurd Dag̲h̲), north-west of ʿAynṭāb. It was the ancient Doliche, famous for the cult of a Semitic divinity who in the Graeco-Roman period received the name of Zeus Dolichenos. Being at the intersection of the routes from Germanicia, Nicopolis and Zeugma, it had been conquered by ʿIyāḍ b. G̲h̲ānim and became one of the fortresse…

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAlī

(478 words)

Author(s): Zetterstéen, K.V. | Moscati, S.
, uncle of the caliphs Abu l-ʿAbbās al-Saffāḥ and Abū Ḏj̲aʿfar al-Manṣūr. ʿAbd Allāh was one of the most active participants in the struggle of the ʿAbbāsids against the last Umayyad caliph, Marwān II. He was commander-in-chief in the decisive battle at the Greater Zāb, where Marwān lost his crown, and when the latter took to flight, ʿAbd Allāh pursued him, quickly captured Damascus and marched on to Palestine, whence he had the fugitive caliph pursued to Egypt. He was even more implacable than …

Marwān II

(2,274 words)

Author(s): Hawting, G.R.
b. Muḥammad b. Marwān b. al-Ḥakam , the last of the Ūmayyad caliphs of Syria (reigned 127/744 to 132/749-50) was, on his father’s side, a grandson of the caliph Marwān I [ q.v.], but there are variant accounts concerning his mother and the year of his birth. It is frequently reported that his mother was a non-Arab woman (sometimes specified as a Kurd) who passed into the possession of Marwān’s father Muḥammad after ʿAbd al-Malik’s defeat of Muṣʿab b. al-Zubayr and his general Ibrāhīm b. al-Ashtar in 72/691. Some reports say th…

D̲j̲isr al-S̲h̲ug̲h̲r

(741 words)

Author(s): Sourdel-Thomine, J.
or D̲j̲isr al-S̲h̲ug̲h̲ūr , the modern name of a place in north Syria, the site of a bridge over the Orontes which has always been an important centre of communications in an area that is mountainous and difficult to traverse. It was in fact at This spot that the most direct route from the Syrian coast to the steppes in the interior and the Euphrates, passing over the D̲j̲abal Nuṣayri and the Limestone Massif, crossed the line of communications that ran north-south and followe…


(700 words)

Author(s): Sourdel, D.
, a Ḳurʾānic word of Iranian origin denoting an armed troop. In the Umayyad period the term applies especially to military settlements and districts in which were quartered Arab soldiers who could be mobilized for seasonal campaigns or for more protracted expeditions. Quite naturally it also denotes the corresponding army corps. According to the chroniclers, the caliph Abū Bakr is said to have set up four d̲j̲unds in Syria, of Ḥimṣ, Damascus, Jordan (al-Urdunn, around Tiberias) and Palestine (around Jerusalem and ʿAsḳalān and, afterwards, al-Ramla). Later, the d̲j̲und of Ḳinnasrīn ¶ …

Maslama b. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān

(732 words)

Author(s): Rotter, G.
, son of the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik and one of the most imposing Umayyad generals, whose siege of Constaninople 98-9/716-18 earned him lasting fame. Like his uncle Muḥammad b. Marwān [ q.v.], whom he succeeded in Asia Minor in many respects, he was, as the son of a slave-girl, excluded from the succession to the caliphate. His date of birth is unknown. He died on Muḥarram 121/24 December 738. Starting in 86/705, the last year of his father’s reign, Maslama led the regular summer campaigns ( ṣawāʾif ), sometimes prolonged over the winter, into the Byzantine terr…


(608 words)

Author(s): Blachère, R.
(Abū ʿAmr) Kult̲h̲ūm b. ʿAmr b. Ayyūb, letter-writer and poet, died at the beginning of the 3rd/9th century. A descendant of the pre-Islamic poet ʿAmr b. Kult̲h̲ūm, al-ʿAttābī belonged to a sub-group of the Arab tribe, the Tag̲h̲lib (cf. Ibn Ḥazm, 287), from the neighbourhood of Ḳinnasrīn in Northern Syria. The date of his birth and of his appearance in Bag̲h̲dād are unknown. According to an indication by Ibn Ṭayfur, Taʾrīk̲h̲ Bag̲h̲dād , ed. Kelley, X, 157-8, taken up again by A. Amīn, he stayed for a while at Marw and at Nis̲h̲āpūr, for the purpose of consulting Persian ( sic) manuscripts. I…


(831 words)

Author(s): Sourdel-Thomine, J.
, former town in northern Syria, which was both a port on the Western bank of the Euphrates and an important stage, 100 km. from Aleppo and at the entrance to the D̲j̲azīra, of the road from Antioch and the Mediterranean leading, via al-Raḳḳa, to Bag̲h̲dād and ʿIrāḳ. The commercial and agricultural prosperity of the town was doubtless due to its situation at a point of intersection of river and land highways, and in a warm valley where the irrigation possibilites favoured the development of husbandry. Known in antiquity under the Aramaic and Greek names of BYT BLS and Barbalissos…

Mard̲j̲ Dābiḳ

(507 words)

Author(s): Honigmann, E.
, a plain near Dābiḳ [ q.v.] on the Nahr al-Ḳuwayḳ in northern Syria. The town of Dābiḳ, was known to the Assyrians as Dabigu (Sachau, ZA, xii, 47) and is called Δάβεκον by Theophanes ( Chron ., ed. de Boor, 143, 451 ff.). For convenience in his campaigns against the Byzantines, Sulaymān b. ʿAbd al-Malik moved the headquarters of the Syrian troops from D̲j̲ābiya [ q.v.] to Dābiḳ. In 717 with an army under ʿUbayda he set out from Mard̲j̲ Dābiḳ for Asia Minor and on his return died there in Ṣafar 99/September-October 717 (al-Masʿūdī, Murūd̲j̲ , v, 397 = §2151; Chronica minora, ed. Guidi, in GSCO, Scr . Sy…
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