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(1,361 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Circumambulation (Ar. ṭawāf, verbal noun of ṭāfa, walk, run, circumambulate) is the ritual act of walking or running around a sacred object, such as a stone or altar. The rite is known in many pre-Islamic cultures, Judaism, and Christianity and among Persians, Indians, Buddhists, Romans, and others. In Islam the circumambulation is performed around the Kaʿba, seven times in succession, the first three at a fast pace, beginning and ending at the Black Stone (al-ḥajar al-aswad). The Kaʿba must be kept to one’s left, so that one moves counterclockwise, contrary to the reported pre-Islamic ṭ…
Date: 2021-07-19

Children of Israel

(2,618 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The term “ Children of Israel” (Banū Isrāʾīl) is generally used in the Qurʾān—as it was earlier in the Bible, in its Hebrew form, Benei Yisraʾel—for the Israelites of the time of Moses. 1. The Qurʾānic evidence The Children of Israel are also referred to as Moses’s “people” ( qawm, e.g., Q 2:54, 60, 67; 7:128, 142, 155). As in the Bible (Genesis 32:29), Jacob is called “Israel” (Ar., Isrāʾīl) in the Qurʾān (3:93). And, as in the Bible (e.g., Genesis 36:31), the Qurʾānic term “Children of Israel” is not confined to Moses’s own time but encompas…
Date: 2021-07-19

ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib

(811 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (fl. sixth century C.E.) of the Banū Hāshim clan of the Quraysh was the father of the prophet Muḥammad, who was his only child. ʿAbdallāh's mother was Fāṭima bt. ʿAmr of the Banū Makhzūm clan of the Quraysh. According to some reports ʿAbdallāh was born in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Kisrā Anūshirwān (r. 531–79 C.E.). He married Āmina, and, according to the earliest reports, he died when she was pregnant with Muḥammad. He died in Yathrib (Medina), while he was staying with the relations of his fat…
Date: 2021-07-19

Budayl b. Warqāʾ

(1,216 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Budayl b. Warqāʾ al-Khuzāʿī, an early convert to Islam, belonged to the clan of ʿAdī b. ʿAmr of the Khuzāʿa. He lived in Mecca, and his dār was situated in the quarters of the confederates of the Qurashī clan of Sahm (al-Azraqī, 475). In one report he is identified as a mawlā (client) of al-ʿĀṣ b. Wāʾil al-Sahmī (al-Samarqandī, 1:465, on Q 5:106). Budayl is referred to in the sources as one of the chiefs of his tribe and as the shrewdest among the Arabs and one of the noblest among those who converted to Islam in the year of the conquest of Mecca (8/630) ( min kibār muslimat al-fatḥ). In the same year,…
Date: 2021-07-19


(547 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] is a city in the Ḥiğāz (in the north west of Saudi Arabia) approx. 275 km from the Red Sea, 715 m above sea level. The northern parts of Medina from the mosque of the Prophet Muḥammad up to the mountain Uḥud are referred to in the sources as as-Sāfila (Lower Medina) and the southern districts up ¶ to the village of Qubāʾ as al-ʿĀliya (Upper Medina). The pre-Islamic name for Medina is Yathrib. It occurs once in the Qurʾān (33:13) and appears as Yathrippa already in Ptolemy the Gnostic. The form “Medina” (“city”) is the more prevalent name…


(1,644 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] I. The Quranic Muḥammad – II. The Traditional Details of Muḥammad's Life – III. Muḥammad in the Eyes of the Believers – IV. Modern Research on the Life of Muḥammad (Arab. “The Praised One,” patronym Abū l-Qasim; c. 569 – Jun 8, 632, Medina) I. The Quranic Muḥammad Our main sources of information about Muḥammad are (a) the Qurʾān and (b) the extra-quranic biographies of Muḥammad. The Qurʾān contains occasional references to specific events in Muḥammad's life, but the allusions are vague and tell us hardly anything coherent a…

Prophets and Prophecy

(8,753 words)

Author(s): Beinhauer-Köhler, Bärbel | Jeremias, Jörg | Gray, Rebecca | Hayoun, Maurice-Ruben | Aune, David E. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies 1. The term. In the significance ascribed to religious phenomena, prophecy surpasses individual experiences of mysticism, ecstasy, and inspiration, as well as the situational activities of established functionaries such as priests (Priesthood), shamans (Shamanism), or diviners (Divination). Revelations ascribed by prophets to the deity they serve give ethical guidance to a community. The term προφήτης/ prophḗ tēs derives from ancient Greek religion, where it referred initially to local specialists, who are hard to …