Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition


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Ḳubbat al-Ṣak̲h̲ra

(1,710 words)

Author(s): Grabar, O.
, the Dome of the Rock, at times called the Mosque of ʿUmar, is the oldest remaining monument of Islamic architecture, and probably the first conscious work of art of Islamic civilisation. Location and description. The Dome of the Rock is located on an artificial platform, roughly but not exactly in the centre of the Ḥaram al-S̲h̲arīf [ q.v.] in Jerusalem. The shape and emplacement of the platform were probably determined by the ruined state of the old Jewish Temple area, together with whatever Roman constructions may have been left; it is also possibl…

Dome of the Rock

(9 words)

[see ḳubbat al-ṣak̲h̲ra ].

al-Ḥaram al-S̲h̲arīf

(1,546 words)

Author(s): Grabar, O.
“the Noble Sanctuary”, ¶ after Mecca and Medina the acknowledged third holiest Muslim sanctuary, is located in the south-eastern part of the present Old ( i.e., walled) City of Jerusalem. An understanding of the history and significance of the Ḥaram has been complicated by two factors: first, the contrast between an extreme paucity of early sources (written or archaeological) and a systematized explanation of the Ḥaram’s significance in the faḍāʾil or holy guidebooks of the late Mamlūk period; and, second, the lack of any complete archaeolog…

Rad̲j̲aʾ b. Ḥaywa

(940 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E.
b. Ḵh̲anzal al-Kindī, Abu ’l-Miḳdām or Abū Naṣr (full nasab in Gottschalk, 331, from Ibn ʿAsākir), a rather mysterious mawlā or client who seems to have been influential as a religious and political adviser at the courts of the early Marwānid caliphs, from ʿAbd al-Malik to ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. His birth date is unknown, but he died in 112/730, probably around the age of seventy. According to one account, Rad̲j̲ahʾ’s family stemmed from Maysān in Lower ʿIrāḳ, hence from the local Nabaṭ or Aramaeans, where the bond of walā with the Arab tribe of Kinda [ q.v.] must have been made, the Kinda…


(896 words)

Author(s): Buhl, F.
(a.) verbal noun of ṭāfa with bi of place, “encircling”; in the language of religious cults the running round or circumambulation of a sacred object, a stone, altar, etc. There are traces of the rite having existed among the Israelites, cf. especially Ps. xxvi. 6, and the ceremony of the feast of booths in the time of the Second Temple, where the altar is circumambulated once in the first six days and seven times on the seventh. The rite, however, was also found among Persians, Indians, Buddhists, Romans and others and is t…


(2,734 words)

Author(s): Marçais, G.
mosaic. The fact that the Arabic word for the mosaic itself is ultimately derived from the Greek ψῆφος, perhaps through Aramaic , and the word faṣṣ , used for the little coloured cubes which are arranged according to a pre-designed cartoon, derives from the Greek πεσσóς, leads us to consider this form of architectural decoration as a borrowing by Muslim art from Byzantine art. This borrowing is undeniable and we shall examine it ¶ later. All the same, apart from this importation from abroad, Muslim art of the early centuries seems to have included a form of mosaic wh…


(1,141 words)

Author(s): Rabbat, Nasser
(a.) or ruwāḳ , an Arabic architectural term with a great many meanings. The lexicographers derive it from the root r-w-ḳ which has two basic meanings (Ibn Fāris, Muʿd̲j̲am maḳāyīs al-lug̲h̲a , Cairo 1947-52, i, 460-1). The first one carries the idea of refinement or beauty and the second signifies the part that comes first in something, such as the bull’s horns or youth, or the advanced battalion in an army ( rawḳ al-d̲j̲ays̲h̲ ), or the anterior section in a space ( rawḳ or riwāḳ al-bayt ); according to Ibn Fāris, this last definition of the term was the or…

ʿIlm al-D̲j̲amāl

(1,345 words)

Author(s): Kahwaji, S.
, “aesthetics”. A general theory on what is known as ʿilm al-d̲j̲amāl and precise definitions of the terms used in this field are lacking in the history of Arabic civilization: nevertheless, it is possible to trace certain features common to the elements of aesthetic emotion and to their formal expression. Poetry, the outstanding genre of Arabic art, conforms to a certain ideal both in its contents and in its structure. With early poetry it is mainly in the g̲h̲azal that the poet expresses his feelings about ideal beauty; the same attributes are appl…


(1,664 words)

Author(s): Koch, Ebba
(a.), “octagon, octagonal”, describes in architecture plan figures and buildings of eight equal sides. The irregular octagon with four longer and four shorter sides—which may assume the shape of a square or rectangle with chamfered corners—was termed mut̲h̲amman bag̲h̲dādī (“Bag̲h̲dādī octagon”) in Mug̲h̲al architecture, where it enjoyed a particular popularity. With the Ḳubbat al-Ṣak̲h̲ra [ q.v.] or Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem (72/691-2) the octagon made an impressive entry into Islamic architecture and, thereafter—true to the commemorative chara…

al-Masd̲j̲id al-Ạkṣā

(1,722 words)

Author(s): Grabar, O.
, literally, “the remotest sanctuary.” There are three meanings to these words. 1. The words occur in Ḳurʾān, XVII, 1: “Praise Him who made His servant journey in the night ( asrā ) from the sacred sanctuary ( al-masd̲j̲id al-ḥarām ) to the remotest sanctuary ( al-masd̲j̲id al-aḳṣa ), which we have surrounded with blessings to show him of our signs.” This verse, usually considered to have been revealed during the Prophet’s last year in Mecca before the Hid̲j̲ra, is very difficult to explain within the context of the time. There is no doubt that al-masd̲j̲id al-ḥarām is the then pagan sanct…

ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān

(1,668 words)

Author(s): Gibb, H.A.R.
, fifth Caliph of the Umayyad line, reigned 65-86/685-705. According to general report he was born in the year 26/646-7, the son of Marwān b. al-Ḥakam [ q.v.], his mother being ʿĀʾis̲h̲a bint Muʿāwiya b. al-Mug̲h̲īra. As a boy of ten he was an eye-witness of the storming of ʿUt̲h̲mān’s house, and, at the age of sixteen Muʿāwiya appointed him to command the Madinian troops against the Byzantines. He remained at Medina until the outbreak of the rebellion against Yazīd I (62-3/682-3). When the Umayyads were expelled by the rebels, he left the town with his ¶ father, but on meeting the Syrian …


(1,733 words)

Author(s): Honigmann, E.
, a town of Palestine, in early Islamic times in the d̲j̲und [ q.v.] of Filasṭīn [ q.v.]. It is situated on the coastal plain 40 km/25 miles west-north-west of Jerusalem, inlat. 31° 50′ N., long. 34° 52′ E., and now lies between the modern Israeli towns of Rehovot and Lod (Lydda, Ludd [ q.v.]). The Umayyad caliphs liked to choose little country towns, usually places in Palestine, to live in rather than Damascus. Muʿāwiya, and after him Marwān and others, frequently resided in al-Ṣinnabra on the south bank of the Lake of al-Ṭabariyya, Yazīd I in Haw…

Sulaymān b. Dāwūd

(2,182 words)

Author(s): Walker, J. | Fenton, P.
, the biblical King Solomon, is an outstanding personality in Islamic legends. There were, as the Arab histories recount, four great world-rulers, two of whom were infidels, Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar; and two of whom were believers, Alexander the Great and Solomon. Of these, the last was the most resplendent figure. Special emphasis was placed on his wonderful powers of magic and divination. The most puzzling riddles and the most abstruse subjects were within his ken. Perspicacity and discernment dwelt in h…


(2,102 words)

Author(s): Baer, Eva
(a.), in Islamic art, “ornament, ornamentation”. The word is connected with the noun zuk̲h̲ruf “gold” > “ornamental work” used in Ḳurʾān, XVII, 95/93, bayt min zuk̲h̲ruf, and there is an adjective muzak̲h̲raf “ornamented”; the origin of zuk̲h̲ruf seems to be in a deformation, via Syriac, of Grk. zōgrapheō “to paint”, see Jeffery, The foreign vocabulary of the Qurʾān , Baroda 1938, 150. ¶ Islamic ornament possesses certain qualities that, even if not exclusive to this art, are sufficiently distinct to be recognisable. One is that it is independent from the u…


(2,285 words)

Author(s): Thomas, D.
(a.), the verbal noun of t̲h̲allat̲h̲a , means literally “to make or call three”. It is the normal Muslim designation for the doctrine of the divine Trinity, in the same way as tawḥīd [ q.v.] is used to designate the divine Unity. Its form expresses the Muslim understanding that the Christian doctrine entails plurality within the Godhead, and indicates that it has never been accepted in Muslim religious thought. Condemnations of Christian beliefs about God start with the Ḳurʾān. In addition to denying that Jesus is identical with God (e.g. V, 17, 72), or taken by…


(3,614 words)

Author(s): Andrews, P.A.
(p.), literally, “the arch in front”, hence the portal of an important building, the term being appropriate to the advancing of the structure, at least in its developed form, forward from the plane of the façade: it is formally typified by this projection, and the articulation of receding planes to the entrance within. Though initially used throughout the Middle East and Hindūstān, the portal came to be most typical of Perso-Indian architecture. The Persian concept appears to be connected with the Arabic dihlīz as the palace vestibule where the ruler app…


(8,557 words)

Author(s): Diez, E.
, the Arabic name used throughout the whole Muslim world for a tomb surmounted by a dome. Purpose and significance. The term is applied to the thousands of simple local domed tombs of s̲h̲ayk̲h̲s and saints made by the people as well as to great mausoleums. The term ḳubba became established as a pars pro toto abbreviation for the domes of tombs, for which it is exclusively reserved. All the special names for sepulchral buildings, which vary with country and language as well as with the style of building and person interred, come under the generic name of ḳubba. The classical word turba


(8,791 words)

Author(s): Schacht, J. | Ettinghausen, R.
, the new moon, the crescent. i.— In Religious Law The new moon is important in Islamic religious law because, in the Islamic lunar calendar [see taʾrīk̲h̲ ], it determines, among other things, the date of the pilgrimage [see ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ ], and the beginning and the end of Ramaḍān [ q.v.], the month of fasting [see ṣawm ]. The Ḳurʾān refers to the new moon in sūra II, 189 (a verse of indeterminate date; Gesch . des Qor ., i, 181): “They ask thee about the new moons; say: ‘They are fixed times ( mawāḳīt ) for the people and for the pilgrimage.’ “ Another relevant passage is sūra II, 183 f. (to be dated …


(3,976 words)

Author(s): Ed. | D. Sourdel | P. Minganti
, colloquially also Falasṭīn, an Arabic adaptation of the classical Palestine (Greek Παλαιστίνη Latin Palaestina), the land of the Philistines. The name was used by Herodotus (i, 105; ii, 106; iii, 91; iv, 39) and other Greek and Latin authors to designate the Philistine coastlands and sometimes also the territory east of it as far as the Arabian desert. After the suppression of the Jewish revolts in 70 and 132-5 A.D. and the consequent reduction in the Jewish population the name Syria Palaestin…


(10,201 words)

Author(s): Fehérvári, G.
(a.), pl. maḥārīb , the prayer niche in the mosque. Etymological origin of the word. In Islamic religious practice and in Islamic architecture, the word denotes “the highest place in a mosque”, a “niche” which shows the direction of the ḳibla [ q.v.], or “the station of the Imām in a mosque” (Lane, 1865, 541). The word includes the radicals ḥ-r-b , from which comes the verb ḥariba , which in Form I means “to be violently angry”, “to be affected by canine madness”; in Form II “to provoke”, “to sharpen”, or “to excite s.o.”; in Form III “to f…
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