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.

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(682 words)

Author(s): Bennett, David
Epicureanism, the doctrines and lore surrounding the philosopher Epicurus (342–271 B.C.E.) and his school, are sometimes cited as influencing early Islamic philosophy, but this is deeply misleading. Certain cosmological positions among the early mutakallimūn (theologians) have reminded modern Western scholars of Hellenistic antecedents. Most prominent is the “atomism” associated with Abū l-Hudhayl (d. c.227/842) and his Muʿtazilī followers. Abū l-Hudhayl’s system of particles that cannot be further subdivided was challenged by …
Date: 2020-02-11

Epigram, classical Arabic

(1,145 words)

Author(s): van Gelder, Geert Jan
The nearest Arabic equivalent of “ epigram,” a short poem with a witty turn of thought, is maqṭūʿ or maqṭūʿa (lit. “fragment,” pl. maqāṭīʿ), but this is a misleading word, because it suggests that the poem was originally part of a larger whole. The same is true of the terms qiṭʿa and muqaṭṭaʿa, which are derived from the same root ( q-ṭ-ʿ, to cut off) and often have similar meanings. Many short pieces, especially from the earlier periods, may have been part of longer poems not preserved in their entirety: much Arabic poetry is epigrammatic, and innumerabl…
Date: 2020-02-11

Epigram, Persian

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Seyed-Gohrab, Ali Asghar
There is no single Persian word for “ epigram,” yet the epigrammatic style is a central characteristic of Persian poetry. In Western literature, “epigram” (from Greek epigramma, inscription) refers to a terse statement in verse or prose with a pithy conclusion, which displays the poet’s wit. It can be “complimentary, satiric or aphoristic” (Cuddon, s.v. Epigram, 235–6). Persian poetic forms allow epigrammatic utterances, as a single line of poetry or a sequence of two or more couplets can be regarded as an independent poem, and these short poems often contain a nukta, a terse, witty “…
Date: 2020-02-11

Epistemology in philosophy

(6,428 words)

Author(s): Black, Deborah L.
Although Islamic philosophers do not explicitly recognise a distinct branch of philosophy that they label “ epistemology,” they discuss epistemological questions in their development of the theory of demonstrative science laid out by Aristotle (d. 322 B.C.E.) in his Posterior analytics. Epistemological issues also arise in other logical texts, in metaphysics and ethics, and in the accounts of the soul’s cognitive operations in psychological texts. Other ancient philosophers, amongst them Plato (d. c.347 B.C.E.), the Greek physician Ga…
Date: 2020-02-11


(974 words)

Author(s): Ducène, Jean-Charles
The equator (Ar. khaṭṭ al-istiwāʾ, lit., line of equality, Pers. khaṭṭ-i istiva, and Ott. Turk. khaṭṭ-ı istiva) is an imaginary line on the surface of the earth that is equidistant from the North and South Poles, thus dividing the globe into two halves. This imaginary geographical line is widely represented in the Islamic astronomical and geographical literature. The earliest definition of the equator in extant Arabic sources is in al-Farghānī’s (d. 235/849) astronomical works, as the projection of the celestial equator (muʿaddil al-nahār) on the terrestrial globe. This imagi…
Date: 2020-02-11

Erakalın, Ülkü

(918 words)

Author(s): Künüçen, H. Hale
Ülkü Erakalın (1934–2016), an eminent Turkish film director, producer, journalist, and musician, was born in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, on 9 June 1934. His parents were musicians, and he developed an interest in music at an early age. Thanks to the encouragement of his primary school teacher, Erakalın pursued his later education in the music department of the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory (İstanbul Belediye Konservatuarı). Both there and through his parents’ friends and professional contacts in Turkish…
Date: 2020-02-11

Erbakan, Necmettin

(1,015 words)

Author(s): Hale, William
Necmettin Erbakan (1926–2011), a Turkish politician, founded the country’s first electorally successful pro-Islamist party. Born in 1926, he was educated as a mechanical engineer, becoming a professor at Istanbul Technical University in 1965, and establishing a factory for the production of electric motors. He was elected chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce in May 1969, but his election was overruled by the then prime minister, Süleyman Demirel (1924–2015). Erbakan responded by …
Date: 2020-02-11

Erbervelt, Pieter

(463 words)

Author(s): Ricklefs, M. C.
Pieter Erbervelt (d. 1721) was accused of being the leader of a Muslim plot to slaughter the Christians of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in Batavia (present-day Jakarta) in 1721 and was brutally executed for what was, in all probability, a trumped-up accusation. Erbervelt was born before 1671 to a European father—evidently German—and a Thai mother. He followed his father in his trade as a leather tanner in Batavia, the headquarters of the VOC. In the 1720s the VOC felt particularly under threat from its own disgruntled slaves and var…
Date: 2020-02-11


(1,273 words)

Author(s): Scharlipp, Wolfgang E.
In modern Turkish history, Ergenekon is the myth of origin of the Turkish peoples. The myth has been used—particularly from the end of the thirteenth/nineteenth century—as a nationalist symbol to strengthen Turkish solidarity during and after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It functioned in this manner up until the present day, and has led to several political problems, which are addressed below. Ergenekon is the name given to an unknown valley in Central Asia where— according to the myth—a she-wolf gave birth to the first Turks. The earliest version of…
Date: 2020-02-11


(2,349 words)

Author(s): Miran, Jonathan
Eritrea, a country in northeastern Africa, gained its independence on 24 May 1993. It covers an area of about 121,320 square kilometres, including the Dahlak archipelago, and a coastline of almost one thousand kilometeres on the Red Sea (Erythra Thalassa, in Greek, from which Eritrea takes its name). Bounded in the northwest by Sudan, the south by Ethiopia, and the far southeast by Djibouti, Eritrea comprises the central highland plateau (rising more than two thousand metres above sea-level) ext…
Date: 2020-02-11

Erotica, Ottoman

(3,928 words)

Author(s): Schick, İrvin Cemil
Like humour, erotica too varies across time and space; thus it is necessary first to define the borders of the erotic in the specific context of Ottoman society, and any such definition is bound to be subject to debate. For the purposes of this article, the erotic is taken to refer to cultural artefacts (verbal or visual) that make explicit reference to sex. Consequently, sexually explicit poetry, miniatures, shadow plays, tales, anecdotes, and proverbs, but also mystical, didactic, satirical and even medical texts and a…
Date: 2020-02-11


(783 words)

Author(s): Carey, Peter
The term Erucakra is a title closely associated in Java with the concept of the ratu adil (Just King), a ruler who was expected to arise at the end of a period of chaos and socio-economic distress to establish a new rule of justice and plenty. This concept was linked with the “Jayabaya prophecies” (Ramalan Jayabaya), which claim to be derived from Prabu Jayabaya, a twelfth-century ruler of Kediri, in east Java, and which purport to foretell the historical cycles through which Java would pass (Wiselius). These cycles are clearly derived from older Hi…
Date: 2020-02-11


(1,184 words)

Author(s): Sinclair, Thomas A.
Erzincan (Armn. Erznkay; Pers. Erznka; Ar. Arzinjān) is a city on a plain in the northeast of Anatolia (present-day Turkey); through the plain flows the upper Euphrates or (Turk.) Kara Su. The city’s walled area took the form of a rectangle some 250 metres long and oriented northwest to southeast. From about 495/1100, a Turkish dynasty, the Mengücekoğulları/Mangujakids, occupied Erzincan, Kamākh/Kemah, and Divrīk/Divriği, and in this period Erzincan became a minor centre of Muslim culture. In 625/1228, the city, as well as the relevant branch o…
Date: 2020-02-11


(1,441 words)

Author(s): Sinclair, Thomas A.
Erzurum (Arm. Karin, Karnoy Kʿałakʿ; Gr. Theodosioupolis; Ar. Qālīqalā, Arzan al-Rūm, Arzarūm) is a city towards the north-eastern borders of present-day Turkey, on rising ground at the southeast corner of an extensive plain that is traversed by the Upper Euphrates (Turk. Kara Su), at a height of around 1,750 metres above sea level. In the early Middle Ages, Erzurum was for the Arabs a border base. From around the beginning of the fifth/eleventh century the city was the seat of a minor Turkish principality, that of the Saltukoğulları (Saltukids). …
Date: 2020-02-11

Esendal, Memduh Şevket

(838 words)

Author(s): Kerslake, Celia
Memduh Şevket (Memdūḥ Şevket) Esendal (1884–1952) was a Turkish politician, diplomat, and short-story writer. He was born in Çorlu, some 120 kilometres west of Istanbul, where his family owned farm land. The information available about his education is patchy and contradictory. He himself claimed never to have graduated from any school and asserted that he owed nothing to his teachers. He joined the Union and Progress movement (İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti/İttiḥād ve Teraqqī Cemʿiyyeti) in 1906 and was a prominent party official throughout the period of U…
Date: 2020-02-11

Esotericism and exotericism

(4,370 words)

Author(s): De Smet, Daniel
Esotericism presupposes the existence of a hidden inner sense behind the literal meaning of a text or the outward appearance of a natural phenomenon. There is no esoteric dimension without a complementary exotericism. The terms “exoteric” (from the Greek exōterikos) and “esoteric” (esōterikos) are rendered in Arabic by the words ẓāhir (manifest, obvious, apparent, external) and bāṭin (interior, inward, hidden). These terms appear together in the Qurʾān, referring to the outward and inward sins from which the believer must refrain (Q 6:120), to the ap…
Date: 2020-02-11

Eşrefoğlu Rumi

(526 words)

Author(s): Dikmen, Melek
Eşrefoğlu Rumi (Eşrefoghlu Rūmī, d. 874/1469–70), also known as Eşrefzade (Eşrefzāde), was a Turkish poet and mystic, whose name was Abdullah Rumi b. Seyit Ahmet Eşref b. Seyit Muhammet Suyufi (Mısri) (ʿAbdallāh Rūmī b. Seyyid Aḥmed Eşref b. Seyyid Muḥammad Suyūfī [Mıṣrī]). His family was originally from Egypt and first moved to Hama (Ḥamā), Syria, and then to Iznik (Nicea), in Anatolia, where they settled. Eşrefoğlu was born in 754/1353 and educated at the Çelebi Sultan Medrese in Bursa. He had an inclination towards mysticism, and after completing his education at the medrese, he pre…
Date: 2020-02-11

Essence and existence

(3,512 words)

Author(s): Bertolacci, Amos
The concepts of essence and existence and the idea of a distinction between these two fundamental realities have played a pivotal role in Arabic philosophy and Islamic theology since the fourth/tenth century. On the one hand, essence and existence are among the key components of philosophical and theological discourse, at all levels. On the other hand, the division between the realities conveyed by these two notions allows both falāsifa (philosophers) and mutakallimūn (theologians) to argue that God is different from everything else in the world, because God is the…
Date: 2020-02-11


(1,019 words)

Author(s): Dávid, Géza
Esztergom (Turk. Estergon, Ostorgon) is a town in northern Hungary, which is located on the right bank of the Danube River, approximately 61 kilometres (38 miles) northwest of Budapest. It was founded by the Hungarian ruler Géza (r. before 972–97) on a site that had been inhabited since ancient times, and it served as one of the capital cities of medieval Hungary. Esztergom suffered during the Mongol invasion of Hungary, but the Mongols failed to capture its castle. Nevertheless, the centre of p…
Date: 2020-02-11


(5,292 words)

Author(s): Kukkonen, Taneli
The concept of eternity served Muslim thinkers, from an early date, as a means of spelling out the difference between Creator and creation: God is eternal, while everything else has an origin in time. Both theological and philosophical considerations served to complicate this seemingly simple dichotomy. The terminology for eternity thus long remained fluid, allowing for further distinctions to be drawn, according to need and circumstance. Eternity past, eternal present, and future eternity all rece…
Date: 2020-02-11
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