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Masʿūd-i Saʿd-i Salmān

(1,538 words)

Author(s): Sharma, Sunil
Masʿūd-i Saʿd-i Salmān (b. 438–41/1046–9?, d. 515/1121–2) was a Persian court poet and royal librarian of the later Ghaznavid period. His dīvān (collected poems) contains many references—including poems in the form of fatḥ-nāmas (books of victories)—to the conquests of Indian cities such as Kannauj, Narain (Narayanpur, Rajasthan), and Agra, and has been an important source for the history of the later Ghaznavids in India. He was born in Lahore (in Panjāb) and probably died in Ghazna (in present-day Afghanistan). The details of his life are confused in later sources, but the poet's own d…
Date: 2018-07-12


(287 words)

Author(s): Golden, Peter B.
Atil is the Turkic name of the Volga River and is given in Islamic sources as the name of the Khazar capital located on the Volga's estuary on the Caspian Sea. Turkic Ätil (cf. Tatar İdel “Volga; great river”) derives perhaps from *as-til (“great river”), from which the name Attila may also stem. In the sources it appears as Arabic ʾTl, Ātl, ʾThl, Khazar-Hebrew ʾṬl, ʾṬīl, Armenian Atʿl, Tʿald, Byzantine Greek Ἀτήλ, Ἀττίλαν, etc., and Ἀστηλ (“the river of Khazaria; it is also a town”; Golden, 1:226–7; Moravcsik, 2:78–9), and Mongol-era L…
Date: 2018-07-12


(353 words)

Author(s): Halm, Heinz
The Baqliyya was an extremist Shīʿī, probably Carmathian (Qarmaṭī), sect mentioned in Iraq in early ʿAbbāsid times. The Kitāb al-aghānī of Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī (d. 356/967) mentions a figure from the time of the caliph al-Manṣūr (r. 136–58/754–75), a boon companion of the heretic ʿAbdallāh b. Muʿāwiya, a certain al-Baqlī (whose name derived from Arabic baql, “vegetables, greens”), who held that “mankind is like the vegetable: when it dies it never comes back” (Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī 11:231). This may be a literary invention, perhaps based on ver…
Date: 2018-07-12

Bughā al-Saghīr

(409 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Matthew S.
Bughā al-Saghīr (d. 254/868), to be distinguished from Bughā al-Kabīr, a contemporary but of no relation, was an ʿAbbāsid commander, known also as al-Sharābī (“the cup-bearer”). Although he was certainly a member of the Sāmarrāʾ-based Turkish–Central Asian slave corps, the sources provide no direct evidence about his acquisition by the ʿAbbāsid state (see Gordon, Ph.D. diss., 226). He spent little time in the field; one report has him leading forces, on behalf of the caliph al-Mutawakkil (r. 232–…
Date: 2018-07-12

ʿAmr b. ʿAdī

(491 words)

Author(s): Turner, John P.
ʿAmr b. ʿAdī b. Naṣr b. Rabī ʿ was a shadowy Lakhmid ruler of al-Ḥīra (on the lower Euphrates) in the third century C.E. Al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923) tells us that he reestablished the abandoned site of al-Ḥīra and ruled there for 118 years, spanning the end of the Parthian and beginning of the Sāsānid dynasties. Elsewhere, he says that ʿAmr lived for 120 years and that he was the father of Imruʾ al-Qays al-Badʾ, a Christian who governed al-Ḥīra for the Persians for 114 years. Al-Dīnawarī (d. c. 281–2/894–5)…
Date: 2018-07-12


(1,670 words)

Author(s): Golden, Peter B.
The Burṭās were a people, or more probably a confederation of peoples and a territory or country, noted by Muslim geographers of the fourth/tenth-century (Ibn Ḥawqal, 333–4) and later in a number of contradictory notices probably reflecting different eras of their history. Their name appears as Burṭās (as in, for example, al-Masʿūdī, al-Tanbīh, 62, al-Iṣṭakhrī, 227); Burdās, in the Jayhānī tradition (works based on the now lost Kitâb al-Masâlik wa’l-Mamâlik by the 10th century Sâmânid servitor, Abu ‘Abdallâh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Jaihânî, and the materials gathered b…
Date: 2018-07-12

Mardāvīj b. Ziyār

(1,419 words)

Author(s): Jarrar, Maher
Mardāvīj b. Ziyār (lit., he who hangs people, Ibn al-Wardī, 1:267; Justi, 194; Minorsky, 14; d. 323/935–6, r. 319–23/931–5) and his older brother Vushmgīr (lit., purchaser of quails, Minorsky, 14; called Washmgīr in Justi, 359; r. 323–56/935–67) were founders of the Ziyārid dynasty (Bosworth, New Islamic dynasties, 166–7), which ruled Ṭabaristān and Jurjān from 319/931 to about 483/10190. He belonged to a noble tribe (al-Ṣābī, 14; al-Bīrūnī, 39; Kaykāvus, 2–3; al-Bayhaqī, 359) from the Jīl region on the southwestern coast of the Caspian Sea…
Date: 2018-08-29


(1,053 words)

Author(s): Vajda, Georges | revised by, ¨ | Ben-Shammai, Haggai
The ʿĀnāniyya was a Jewish group comprising the followers of ʿĀnān b. David (fl. c.142/760), who has been incorrectly considered by some to be the founder of the Karaite movement; his schism was one of many that affected rabbinical Judaism during the second/eighth and third/ninth centuries. While ʿĀnān rejected specifically the authority of rabbinic tradition (which was accepted by the Rabbanites, whence their name) in favour of an alternative tradition, the early Karaites rejected in principle the authority of all traditions. While all the surviving fragments of ʿĀnān’s Book of la…
Date: 2018-07-12


(280 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
ʿAnāq is the name of a daughter of Adam. According to some reports ʿAnāq was born alone, with no twin brother, or, in other reports, she was Cain's sister, and he, after killing Abel, brought her to Yemen, where he married her (al-Kisāʾī, 233). She was said to be the first one to commit fornication and to act badly on earth and because of this she was later killed. Some traditions add particulars about her monstrous appearance, such as that she had two heads, or twenty fingers with two nails eac…
Date: 2018-07-12


(1,051 words)

Author(s): Golden, Peter B.
The Alāns were an Iranian people of the western Eurasian steppes and North Caucasus, noted by Graeco-Roman authors (as Ἀλανοί, Ἀλανορρσοί, Alani, or Halani) since the first century C.E. Middle Persian and Modern Persian Alān (= Īrān < *āryāna < *aryānām (genit. pl.) < *arya (“Aryan”), with the shift ry > l characteristic of some Scythian dialects) = Arabic al-Lān (sometimes ʿAlāniyya), Hebrew Alan, and Armenian Alankʿ. The mediaeval Alāns were sometimes known as Ās/Āṣ in Islamic sources (cf. Georgian Ows-i, Mongol Asud (pl.), Hungarian Jász). Th…
Date: 2018-07-12

Abū ʿĪsā al-Warrāq

(1,055 words)

Author(s): Thomas, David
Abū ʿĪsā Muḥammad b. Hārūn b. Muḥammad al-Warrāq was an independent thinker active in the mid-third/ninth century, best known for his writings on major beliefs and for his scepticism about religious claims. He was a native of Baghdad (al-Masʿūdī, 7:236), but further details about his life are scanty. His exact dates are unknown, but an early third/ninth-century floruit is suggested by a report that he spoke with a companion of Hishām b. al-Ḥakam, who died sometime before 200/815 (al-Ashʿarī, 33), and by evidence that he was a contemporary of the early…
Date: 2018-07-12


(1,709 words)

Author(s): Munt, Harry
Fadak was an agricultural village in the northern Ḥijāz somewhere near Khaybar, which is about one hundred fifty kilometres from Medina. Fadak was the centre of a long-running dispute between the reigning caliphs and the family of the prophet Muḥammad, which continued through the first three Islamic centuries. After this period, Fadak recedes from view and by the ninth/fifteenth century it was possible for two experts on Ḥijāzī geography—al-Fīrūzābādī (d. 817/1415) and al-Samhūdī (d. 911/1506)—t…
Date: 2018-07-12

Bughā al-Kabīr

(477 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Matthew S.
Bughā al-Kabīr (d. 248/862), to be distinguished from Bughā al-Saghīr, a contemporary but of no relation, was an ʿAbbāsid commander who rose from the ranks of the Sāmarrāʾ-based Turkish–Central Asian slave corps. He is reported to have been acquired by al-Muʿtaṣim (r. 218–27/833–42) in 204/819–820 (al-Ṣūlī, 457). A passage in al-Ṣūlī refers to Bughā's well-established martial reputation and the simultaneous purchase of his sons (awlāduhu). His origins are likely to have been Transoxanian although a Georgian reference suggests Khazar (hence possibly Caucasian…
Date: 2018-07-12


(658 words)

Author(s): Shackle, Christopher
ʿAbdī was the preferred poetic signature of Mawlawī ʿAbdallāh (fl. 1050/1640), in his Panjābī verse treatises (risāle), which are vernacular expositions of topics in Ḥanafī fiqh. Born in Malka Hāṇs, in Sāhīwāl District (in present-day Pakistan), ʿAbdī spent most of his life in Lahore. Little else is known of his life (Kushta, 59–62), apart from the brief hagiographical memoir appended by Muḥammad Bakhsh (d. 1907) to his Sayf al-mulūk of 1279/1863 (verses 9188–9233), which depicts him as a legal scholar living humbly as a shepherd before being directed in a visio…
Date: 2018-07-12

ʿAmr b. Maʿdīkarib

(609 words)

Author(s): Bauer, Thomas
ʿAmr b. Maʿdīkarib al-Zubaydī, Abū Thawr, was a pre- and early Islamic poet and warrior of Yemeni origin, famous for his poems on war, weapons, and bravery. Several dates have been proposed for his death. It is most probable that he died from wounds he suffered in the battle of Nihāwand in 21/642. As a leading figure of the South Arabian Zubayd tribe, a branch of the Madhḥij group, he is said to have been a member of its delegation to the Prophet in the year 9/630 or 10/631 and to have embraced Islam, though Ibn Ḥajar quotes a source to the effect that ʿAmr did not meet the Prophet. A ḥadīth of the Proph…
Date: 2018-07-12

al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAmr al-Ghanawī

(574 words)

Author(s): Canard, Marius | revised by, ¨ | Gordon, Matthew S.
Al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAmr al-Ghanawī (fl. end of the third century/ninth century) was an ʿAbbāsid commander and governor. The sources say nothing directly about his origins, although Yāqūt describes a “Qaṣr al-ʿAbbās b. ʿAmr al-Ghanawī” (4:359–60), located between Naṣībīn and Sinjār, which lie in Diyār Rabīʿa. He first appears in historical accounts on campaign in 286/899, against tribesmen of the Banū Shaybān in al-Anbār, during the reign of the caliph al-Muʿtaḍid (r. 279–89/892–902), then later against other Arab tribal forces in southern Iraq. The sources know al-ʿAbbās best in re…
Date: 2018-07-12


(334 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
The ʿAmālīq (Amalekites), were an ancient pre-Islamic people, not mentioned in the Qurʾān, who, according to Muslim reports, were among the first speakers of Arabic. Their name derives from their forebear ʿAmlīq (or ʿAmlāq), who was either a son of Ḥām, Shem, or Lud; a brother of Ṭasm and Jadīs; and was considered the first person to speak Arabic. The ʿAmālīq are referred to in various traditions. At the time of Hūd, the ʿAmālīq are mentioned as inhabiting the land of Mecca, where Abraham found them when he took Hagar and Ishmael there. Abraham also fou…
Date: 2018-07-12


(321 words)

Author(s): Lang, Katherine H.
Būrān, or Khadīja (d. 271/884), was a wife of the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Maʾmūn (r. 198–218/813–833) and the daughter of his agent in Iraq, al-Ḥasan b. Sahl. She was born in Ṣafar 192/December 807 and betrothed to al-Maʾmūn at an early age. Their marriage, at Fam al-Ṣilḥ in Ramaḍān 210/December 825 or January 826, was a seventeen-day celebration of ʿAbbāsid glory and reconciliation. Chroniclers recalled the opulence of the festivities and the generous gifts exchanged. Zubayda, widow of al-Maʾmūn's f…
Date: 2018-07-12

Āmū Daryā

(1,310 words)

Author(s): Daniel, Elton L.
Āmū Daryā is the modern name for the major Central Asian river draining most of the watershed of the northern Hindu Kush, western Pamir, and southern Buttam mountains into the basin of the Aral Sea (now largely dried up by the diversion of the water for agriculture and other uses). The names given by geographers to the many tributaries that form the Āmū Daryā differ greatly, and views have changed over which is the main course and source of the river ( daryā is a Persian word for a major river). The two most important tributaries are the Wakhsh (whence Oxus, the common Englis…
Date: 2018-07-12

Aḥmad, name of the Prophet

(813 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Aḥmad, a name of the prophet Muḥammad, is the noun form that denotes pre-eminence (afʿalu l-tafḍīl), and it may be understood in the passive sense of “one deserving to be praised more than others,” or in the active sense of “one who praises (God) more than others do” (e.g., Ibn al-Qayyim, 129–30). According to Q 61:6, the name was used by Jesus when announcing to the Children of Israel the future emergence of the Prophet. Early Muslim exegetes such as Muqātil b. Sulaymān (d. 150/767) noticed the relationship b…
Date: 2018-07-12
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