Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
Edited by Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas and Everett Rowson with a team of more than 20 section editors.

EI-Three is the third edition of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam which sets out the present state of our knowledge of the Islamic World. It is a unique and invaluable reference tool, an essential key to understanding the world of Islam, and the authoritative source not only for the religion, but also for the believers and the countries in which they live.

The Third Edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam is an entirely new work, with new articles reflecting the great diversity of current scholarship. It is published in five substantial segments each year, both online and in print. The new scope includes comprehensive coverage of Islam in the twentieth century and of Muslim minorities all over the world.

Subscriptions: see Brill.com

al-Aharī, ʿAbd al-Qādir

(600 words)

Author(s): Pourjavady, Reza
Quṭb al-Dīn ʿ Abd al-Qādir b. Ḥamza b. Yāqūt al-Aharī (d. 657/1259–60), was a Ṣūfī and a philosopher from Ahar in Azerbaijan by whom a philosophical work titled al-Bulgha fī l-ḥikma is extant. The only known independent bio-bibliographical source on him is the Majmaʿ al-ādāb fī muʿjam al-alqāb by Ibn al-Fuwaṭī (d. 723/1318) (ed. Muḥammad al-Kāẓim (Tehran 1416/1995–96), 3:399–400 no. 2841). Ibn al-Fuwaṭī relates that al-Aharī left his home town in his youth and travelled to different regions in Khurāsān and Fārs. While he was in Herat he stud…
Date: 2019-11-11


(783 words)

Author(s): Pierret, Thomas
Al-Aḥbāsh, also known as the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects (AICP; Jamʿiyyat al-Mashāriʿ al-Khayriyya al-Islāmiyya), was founded in Beirut in 1983 by a group of young Sunnī ʿulamāʾ. The name “al-Aḥbāsh” (“the Ethiopians”) alludes to the origins of the organisation's Ethiopian-born spiritual leader, the ḥadīth scholar and Ṣūfī shaykh ʿAbdallāh al-Hararī al-Ḥabashī (1910–2008). Since its inception, the AICP has been backed by the Syrian authorities, who were seeking Sunnī allies at a time when they were at war with the Syrian Muslim…
Date: 2019-11-11

Aḥbāsh movement in Subsaharan Africa

(793 words)

Author(s): Østebø, Terje
Aḥbāsh (lit., Ethiopians) is a name for the Jamʿiyyat al-Mashāriʿ al-Khayriyya al-Islāmiyya (Association of Islamic Charitable Projects), headquartered in Beirut. The name reflects the image of Ethiopia as an ideal case of inter-religious peace and coexistence, which has been one of Aḥbāsh’s main ideological hallmarks. The connection between the organisation and Ethiopia was also embodied in Shaykh ʿAbdallāh b. Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Hararī (d. 2008), from Harar, in Ethiopia. He escaped Ethiopia b…
Date: 2019-11-11

al-Aḥdab, Muḥammad b. Wāṣil

(875 words)

Author(s): Garcin, Jean-Claude
Muḥammad b. Wāṣil al-Aḥdab (the hunchback) was a leader of the Bedouin ʿArak, a Southern Arab tribe. In the mid-eighth/fourteenth century, he led a rebellion against the Mamlūks and then reached an accomodation with them. His date of death is unknown. To understand the role played by al-Aḥdab (Garcin, Centre musulman, 381–409; Garcin, Note, 153) with regard to the Bedouins, we must consider the shift from the cautious politics followed in Upper Egypt by Sulṭān Baybars (r. 658–76/1260–77), the founder of the Mamlūk state, to the more liberal stance…
Date: 2019-11-11

al-Ahdal, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Sulaymān

(346 words)

Author(s): Haykel, Bernard
ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Sulaymān al-Ahdal (d. 1250/1835) was a leading scholar of ḥadīth and the muftī of the city of Zabīd in Yemen. He was a scion of a noted family of Shāfiʿī sayyids from the village of al-Marāwiʿa in the Yemeni Tihāma. At first he studied with his father, Sulaymān b. Yaḥyā, who was considered Yemen's undisputed ḥadīth scholar in his day. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān then studied with other Tihāma-based scholars as well as with teachers in the Zaydī highlands and in the Ḥijāz. He received ijāzas from, and issued them to, a remarkable number of scholars from every corner of the Mu…
Date: 2019-11-11

al-Ahdal family

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Voll, John O.
The al-Ahdal family is an important family of sayyids (those who claim descent from the Prophet) living primarily in southwestern Arabia. The origins of the family are part of the sayyid elite that developed during the seventh/thirteenth century in the Tihāma region of Yemen (a plain bordering the Red Sea). The namesake of the family, Abū Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Ahdal, and his son Abū Bakr (d. 700/1300) lived in the small town of al-Marāwiʿa, and their graves became the centre of a major pilgrimage site. The family manṣabs (“stewards”) of this shrine became famous as healers, and the site …
Date: 2019-11-11


(1,727 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Matthew S.
Aḥdāth (lit., “young men”) is usually understood to refer to urban militias of post-third/ninth century Syria and the Jazīra. The term's etymology (from ḥ-d-th, “to occur, come to pass”) remains obscure.The earliest Arabic references, for Kufa and Basra exclusively, are to an office of aḥdāth in the later Umayyad and early ʿAbbāsid periods (von Sievers, 214–216). The largest number of references occurs in al-Ṭabarī's Taʾrīkh (ed. de Goeje; in the English translation, direct references are 14:16; 15:136, 189; 26:244; 29:76, 77, 169, 175, 176, 180, 195, 204, 2…
Date: 2019-11-11


(1,202 words)

Author(s): İsen, Mustafa
Born in Baghdad, Ahdi’s (ʿAhdī’s) real name, according to Aşık Çelebi (ʿĀşıq Çelebi, 926–79/1520–72) and Riyazi (Riyīżā, d. 1054/1644), was Mehdi (Mehdī), while according to Ali (ʿĀlī, 948–1008/1541–1600) it was Ahmed (Aḥmed) and he was known as Ahdi-i Bağdadi (ʿAhdī-yi Baghdādī). Ahdi was born into an intellectual family, his father being a man called Şemseddin (Şemseddīn) who had written poems under the pen-name Şemsi. After completing his education, Ahdi left Baghdad for Ottoman lands in 960/155…
Date: 2019-11-11


(2,183 words)

Author(s): Ocak, Ahmet Yaşar
Ahi (akhī) designates a member of one of the mystical-artisanal guilds in the mediaeval Muslim world that adhered to the principles of fütüvvet ( futuwwa, both the ethics followed by Sufis (Ṣūfīs) to achieve spiritual perfection and the name of institutionalised organisations that embraced these principles). Ahi associations existed in Iran and Central Asia from at least the fifth/eleventh century and in Seljuk (Saljūq) Anatolia from the 600s/1200s. They played an important role in the formation of the Ottoman Empire a…
Date: 2019-11-11


(500 words)

Author(s): Rovsing Olsen, Miriam
Aḥidus is a genre of singing and dancing emblematic of the Tamazight-speaking Berbers of the Middle Atlas and eastern High Atlas of Morocco. Aḥidus is performed during important festivities, such as marriages and circumcisions, and is centred on sung group dance and improvised poetic jousting between poet-singers, who have to master the vocal art as well as the prosody peculiar to this oral tradition. Men and women form two lines, facing each other or side by side, shoulder to shoulder. The general movement may be undulating with sudden deep bows or bendings…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl al-ḥall wa-l-ʿaqd

(2,424 words)

Author(s): Zaman, Muhammad Qasim
Ahl al-ḥall wa-l-ʿaqd, the “people who loosen and bind,” is a term commonly used by classical scholars to signify those members of the religious and the political elite whom they expect to play some role in the selection and deposition of the ruler, though some classical and modern commentators assign a broader range of functions to those encompassed by this term. 1. Functions According to classical Sunnī jurists and theologians, the head of the Muslim community, the imām, acquired his position either through being designated by his predecessor or by being chosen by the …
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl-i Ḥadīth

(2,665 words)

Author(s): Preckel, Claudia
Ahl-i Ḥadīth, “People of the Prophetic Traditions,” are members of an Islamic reformist movement that emerged on the Indian subcontinent in the late nineteenth century, distinguished from other Muslim movements in India and Pakistan by its positions on Islamic law (fiqh), theology, and ritual. 1. The teachings of the Ahl-i Ḥadīth The Ahl-i Ḥadīth always stress that they are adherents of a school of thought (maslak) in Islam, not a distinct sect (firqa). They maintain that they are the followers of the early aṣḥāb al-ḥadīth or ahl al-ḥadīth, and they consider the lifetime of the pr…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl-i Ḥaqq

(4,084 words)

Author(s): van Bruinessen, Martin
The Ahl-i Ḥaqq (lit., “people of truth”) is a syncretistic religion or, according to some adherents, an esoteric Shīʿī community, that appears to have emerged first among the Gūrān of southern Kurdistan in the fifteenth or sixteenth century C.E. and that survives in various parts of Iran and Iraq, among Gūrān, Lurs, Kurds, Azerbaijanis, and Persians. A preferred self-designation of the community, especially in the Kirmānshāh region, is “Yārisān.” In the Iraqi part of Kurdistan, the Ahl-i Ḥaqq are …
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahlī-yi Shīrāzī

(787 words)

Author(s): Losensky, Paul E.
Mawlānā Muḥammad Ahlī-yi Shīrāzī (858–942/1454–1535 or 1536) was a Persian poet who was born and died in Shiraz, where he was buried near the tomb of his great literary predecessor, Ḥāfiẓ (d. 792/1390). Reports of later biographers and some modern scholars that Ahlī travelled widely appear to be unfounded. His earliest biographer, Sām Mīrzā (d. 974/1566–7), states that the poet's “poverty and scant dealings with worldly people” were too well-known to merit mention (177). Most of Ahlī's qaṣīdas (panegyrics) were dedicated to representatives of dynasties based in western P…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl al-Kisāʾ

(374 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Ahl al-Kisāʾ (the people of the cloak) generally refers to the group comprising the prophet Muḥammad, his daughter Fāṭima, his cousin and son-in-law ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, and his grandsons al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn. This pentad has also been designated aṣḥāb al-kisāʾ and āl al-ʿabāʾ. The source of this expression is a ḥadīth known as ḥadīth al-kisāʾ (also as ḥadīth al-ʿabāʾ), recorded in both Sunnī and Shīʿī collections of traditions. According to this ḥadīth, one day in the house belonging to either ʿAlī or the prophet’s wife Umm Sal-ama, the Prophet was wearing a cloak (kisāʾ or ʿabāʾ) of blac…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl al-raʾy

(746 words)

Author(s): Hennigan, Peter C.
Ahl al-raʾy, also aṣḥāb al-raʾy, were the proponents of the use of independent legal reasoning to arrive at legal decisions. When used by its proponents, who included many early Ḥanafī and Mālikī jurisprudents, the term raʾy had the positive connotation of “sound” or “considered” reasoning. Legal conclusions derived through raʾy were often elicited by means of a question-and-answer dialogue characterised by the use of the use of the terms qultu (“I said”) and qāla (“he said”). Typical techniques of raʾy-based legal discourse included reliance on qiyās (“analogical reasoning”), a…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl al-Ṣuffa

(871 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
Ahl al-Ṣuffa (“people of the bench”) or aṣḥāb al-ṣuffa (“those of the bench”) is the name given in ḥadīth reports and in Muslim literature to a group of Companions of the prophet Muḥammad who lived in the portico or vestibule, the ṣuffa, often translated as “bench” or “banquette,” of the Prophet's mosque in Medina. This portico was their only home. Sources make varying estimates as to how many of them there were, and their number changed over the years the Prophet spent in Medina. Reports variously mention sixty, seventy, and four hundred, while according to Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328; Ahl al-…
Date: 2019-11-11

Ahl Sunna in Niger

(1,071 words)

Author(s): Sounaye, Abdoulaye
The Ahl Sunna in Niger (Ar. Ahl al-Sunna, lit. “people of the Tradition (of the Prophet)”), an anti-Ṣūfī movement intent on reforming Islam and reviving the Sunna of the prophet Muḥammad, gained prominence in the 1990s, amidst growing pluralism and the opening up of a religious sphere that had, until then, been dominated mostly by Ṣūfī organisations. They oppose the mawlid (Ar., the celebration of the birthday of Muḥammad), a key element of Ṣūfī practices in Niger; divination; and the use of amulets, which is deemed shirk (Ar., idolatry) and thus un-Islamic. From the mid-2000s, a…
Date: 2019-11-11


(2,347 words)

Author(s): Sheikh, Samira
Aḥmadābād, a city in northwest India, was founded in 813/1411 (or a variant given is 815/1413) by the second sultan of Gujarat, Aḥmad Shāh I (reigned 813–46/1411–42), on the eastern bank of the Sābarmati River. The site was close to the settlement of Ashāval, formerly held by a local Bhīl chieftain, and to Karṇāvati, a military outpost of the Chaulukya rulers of Gujarat in the sixth/twelfth century. The foundations of the new town were laid by four pious Aḥmads who had never missed a namāz: the sultan himself, his spiritual adviser Shaykh Aḥmad Khattū, Qāḍī Aḥmad Jūd of Pātan, …
Date: 2019-11-11

Aḥmad Bābā al-Tinbuktī

(1,774 words)

Author(s): de Moraes Farias, Paulo Fernando
Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad Bābā b. Aḥmad b. al-Ḥājj Aḥmad b. ʿUmar b. Muḥammad Aqīt al-Tinbuktī (d. 1036/1627) was the pre-eminent figure in the heyday of Timbuktu scholarship. In addition to al-Tinbuktī, various other nisbas were also attached to his name: al-Ṣanhājī, al-Māsinī, al-Masūfī, al-Mālikī, al-Sūdānī, and al-Takrūrī. He was born on 21 Dhū l-Ḥijja 963/26 October 1556. His birthplace is sometimes given as Araouane (Arawān, 250 kilometres north of Timbuktu), but no pre-nineteenth-century text records this. Counting longer and abridged versions of the same texts separate…
Date: 2019-11-11
▲   Back to top   ▲