Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC

The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is an encyclopaedic dictionary of qur’ānic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis extended with essays on the most important themes and subjects within qur’ānic studies. The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is the first comprehensive, multivolume reference work on the Qur’ān to appear in a Western language.
Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online includes direct access to 62 Early Printed Western Qur’āns Online and the Electronic Qurʾān Concordance, a unique online finding aid for textual research.

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A (Aaron [Hārūn] - Abraham [Ibrāhīm])

(1,781 words)

Aaron [Hārūn]  Aaron  Arrogance  Book  Brother and Brotherhood  Calf of Gold  Children of Israel  Criterion  Deliverance  Dialogues  Disobedience  Egypt  Feet  Good News  Insolence and Obstinacy  Jews and Judaism  Job  Korah  Language and Style of the Qurʾān  Light  Lord  Moses  Muḥammad  Narratives  Naḍīr (Banū al-)  Noah  Obedience  Parents  Peace  Pharaoh  Prayer  Prophets and Prophethood  Punishment Stories  Remnant  Revelation and Inspiration  Rhymed Prose  Saul  Servants  Shekhinah  Sister  Torah  Women and the Qurʾān  ʿImrān  Ṣūfism and the Qurʾān  Ṭuwā ʿAbbād b.…

A (Abrahamian, E. - Abū Khuzayma)

(785 words)

Abrahamian, E.  Oppressed on Earth, The Abrahamov, B.  Signs  World Absalom  David  Psalms Abu Bakr Gumi  African Literature Abu Dhabi  Archaeology and the Qurʾān Abu Zayd, N.  Arrogance  Contemporary Critical Practices and the Qurʾān  Dialects  Everyday Life, Qurʾān In  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Early Modern and Contemporary  Illness and Health  Intention  Oppression  Philosophy and the Qurʾān  Social Sciences and the Qurʾān Abu-Rabiʿ, I.  Ezra Abu-Zahra, N.  Adultery and Fornication Abyssinia [al-Ḥabasha]  Abraha  Abyssinia  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Emigrants and Helpe…

A (Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 150/767) - Allahabad)

(2,294 words)

Abū Ḥanīfa (d. 150/767)  Abrogation  Basmala  Creeds  Everyday Life, Qurʾān In  Faith  Flogging  Intercession  Judgment  Lot  Maturity  Muʿtazila  Persian Literature and the Qurʾān  Responsibility  Sin, Major and Minor  The Collection of the Qurʾān Abū Ḥanīfa al-Dīnawārī see al Dīnawārī, Abū Ḥanīfa Abū Ḥasan al-Wāḥidī see al-Wāḥidī, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Aḥmad al-Nīsābūrī (d. 468/1076) Abū Ḥasan Ṭāhir b. ʿAbd al-Munʿim b. Ghalbūn see Ibn Ghalbūn, Abū Ḥasan Ṭāhir b. ʿAbd al-Munʿim (d. 399/1008) Abū Ḥayyān al-Andalusī /al-Gharnāṭī (d. 745/1344)  Byzantines  Conquest  Exegesis of…

A (Abū l-Hārith al-Layth b. Khālid al-Baghdādī (d. 240/854) - Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar b. Jamīʿ (eighth/fourteenth-ninth/fifteenth century))

(1,064 words)

Abū l-Hārith al-Layth b. Khālid al-Baghdādī (d. 240/854)  Readings of the Qurʾān  Reciters of the Qurʾān Abū l-Hārith ʿīsā b. Wirdān al-Madanī see Ibn Wardān al-Madanī, Abū l-Ḥārith (d. 160/777) Abū l-Jārūd (d. after 140/757-8)  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval Abū l-Kalām āzād see āzād, [Mawlānā] Abū l-Kalam Abū l-Khayr (of Seville)  Agriculture and Vegetation Abū l-Khayr Ṭashkubrīzādah (d. 968/1561)  Traditional Disciplines of Qurʾānic Studies Abū l-Layth Naṣr b. Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Samarqandī (d. 373-5/983-5)  Apocalypse  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classica…

A (-alif- - ʾ-j-r)

(565 words)

-alif-   abadiya   Philosophy and the Qurʾān   abābīl   Animal Life   ʾ-b-(w)    ab    Agriculture and Vegetation    Literature and the Qurʾān    Parents   ʾ-b-b    abb    Uncertainty    abjad    Arabic Script    Manuscripts of the Qurʾān    Numerology    Ornamentation and Illumination    Popular and Talismanic Uses of the Qurʾān   ʾ-b-d    abad    Eternity    Time    Weights and Measures   ʾ-b-l    ibil    Animal Life    Camel    Food and Drink   ʾ-b-q    abaqa    Literature and the Qurʾān   ʾ-b-y    abā    Insolence and Obstinacy    utrujj    Ḥadīth and the Qurʾān   ʾ-d-b    adab, …

A (-alif- - ʾ-k-l - ʾ-m-l)

(574 words)

ʾ-k-l    akala    Cosmology    Food and Drink    Martyrs    akl    Cheating    ākila    Ḥamza b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib   ʾ-kh-(w)    akh, pl. ikhwa, ikhwān    Brother and Brotherhood    Clients and Clientage    Druzes    Kinship    Lot    Myths and Legends in the Qurʾān    Sister    ikhwān al-flafāʾ    muʾākhāt    Brother and Brotherhood    Emigrants and Helpers    ukht    Sister   ʾ-kh-dh    akhadha    Beauty    Cosmology    Covenant    Literature and the Qurʾān    akhdh    Signs    ittakhadha    Covenant    Friends and Friendship    God and his Attributes    Oaths    Place …

A (-alif- - ʾ-m-m - ʾ-m-n)

(730 words)

ʾ-m-m    imām, pl. aʾimma    Age of Ignorance    Almsgiving    Book    Booty    Burial    Children of Israel    Codices of the Qurʾān    Community and Society in the Qurʾān    Createdness of the Qurʾān    Dissimulation    Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval    Festivals and Commemorative Days    History and the Qurʾān    Illness and Health    Imām    Kings and Rulers    Left Hand and Right Hand    Modesty    Mosque    Mosque of the Dissension    Murder    Oppressed on Earth, The    Pairs and Pairing    Prophets and Prophethood    Reciters of the Qurʾān    Ritu…

A (-alif- - ʾ-m-r - ʾ-w-b)

(569 words)

ʾ-m-r    amara    Book    Grammar and the Qurʾān    Virtues and Vices, Commanding and Forbidding    ammāra    Ṣūfism and the Qurʾān    amr, pl. awāmir    Angel    Authority    Boast    Creation    Disobedience    Economics    Ethics and the Qurʾān    Faith    Fate    Forbidden    Freedom and Predestination    Good Deeds    Good and Evil    Heresy    Holy Spirit    Kings and Rulers    Law and the Qurʾān    Musaylima    Muʿtazila    Night of Power    Philosophy and the Qurʾān    Politics and the Qurʾān    Prophets and Prophethood    Ritual and the Qurʾān    Scholar    Te…

A (-alif- - ʾ-w-f - ʾ-ṭ-m)

(597 words)

ʾ-w-f    āfa    Sleep   ʾ-w-l    awwal    Eternity    God and his Attributes    Inheritance    Pairs and Pairing    Shīʿism and the Qurʾān    Tradition and Custom    awwalūn    History and the Qurʾān    Prophets and Prophethood    asāṭīr al-awwalīn    taʾawwala    Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval    taʾwīl    Anthropomorphism    Codices of the Qurʾān    Druzes    Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval    Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Early Modern and Contemporary    Foretelling in the Qurʾān    Law and the Qurʾān    Muʿtazila    Pairs and Pairing    Philos…

A (Allāma al-Ḥillī (d. 726/1325) - Antichrist [al-Masīḥ al-Dajjāl])

(801 words)

Allāma al-Ḥillī (d. 726/1325)  Creeds Allāma Majlisī (d. 1110/1698)  Ummī Allard, M. Almaq  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic Almaqah  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic  Yemen   dhū Hirrān   South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic al-ʿAlmawī (d. 981/1573)  Manuscripts of the Qurʾān Almeria  Agriculture and Vegetation Almohad Mosque  Ornamentation and Illumination Almohad(s) [al-Muwaḥḥidūn]  Material Culture and the Qurʾān  Numismatics  Translations of the Qurʾān Almoravid(s)  Epigraphy  Material Culture and the Qurʾān  Numismatics Alon, I.  Noon ʿAlqama  Rev…

A (Antioch - Arab(s) [al-ʿarab])

(580 words)

Antioch  Monasticism and Monks  Narratives  Philosophy and the Qurʾān  Rass  Syria Antiochus  Expeditions and Battles  People of the Ditch Antiochus IV  Antichrist Antiquity, Late  Material Culture and the Qurʾān Antoun, Richard  Teaching and Preaching the Qurʾān Anṣārī of Herat see Anṣārī al-Harawī, ʿAbdallāh (d. 481/1089) Apartheid  Teaching and Preaching the Qurʾān Aphraates (Aphrahat)  Creation Aphrodito  Aqṣā Mosque Apollo  Springs and Fountains Apollonius  Agriculture and Vegetation Apostle  Apostle  Illiteracy  Informants Aqaba [ʿAqaba]  Arabic Script  Archaeo…

A (Arabia - Ḥijr)

(442 words)

Arabia  Abraham  Abyssinia  Age of Ignorance  Agriculture and Vegetation  Antichrist  Apostasy  Arabic Language  Arabic Script  Archaeology and the Qurʾān  Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān  Asceticism  Bedouin  Book  Byzantines   Central   History and the Qurʾān   Kaʿba   Yemen  Christians and Christianity  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Community and Society in the Qurʾān  Consecration of Animals  Cosmology  Creation  Death and the Dead  Debt  Decision  Dialects  Dialogues  Divination  Emigration  Epigraphy  Eschatology  Ethiopia  Ezra  Faith  Family   Felix   Sheba  …

A (Arabian(s) - Philosophy and the Qurʾān)

(689 words)

Arabian(s)  Messenger  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic  The Collection of the Qurʾān Arabic (language)  African Literature  Agriculture and Vegetation  Ambiguous  Arabic Language  Arabic Script  Arabs  Ark  Art and Architecture and the Qurʾān  Authority  Christians and Christianity  Chronology and the Qurʾān   Classical (CA)   Arabic Language   Grammar and the Qurʾān   Language and Style of the Qurʾān   Money   Moon   Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān   Pre-1800 Preoccupations of Qurʾānic Studies   Readings of the Qurʾān   Slaves and Slavery   Tabl…

A (Aristotle - Austrian State National Library)

(823 words)

Aristotle  Alexander  Creation  Life  Philosophy and the Qurʾān  Science and the Qurʾān  Signs  Soul Arizona  Numbers and Enumeration Arjumand Bānū Begum  Material Culture and the Qurʾān Arkoun, M.  Contemporary Critical Practices and the Qurʾān  Createdness of the Qurʾān  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Early Modern and Contemporary  Fātiḥa  Islam  Southeast Asian Qurʾānic Literature  Tools for the Scholarly Study of the Qurʾān  Translations of the Qurʾān  Violence Armageddon  African Americans Armenia  Ararat  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Jūdī Armenian (language)  Magians Armenia…


(3,067 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
The brother and companion of Moses (q.v.). Aaron (Hārūn b. ʿImrān) is mentioned by name twenty times in the Qurʾān. He is given prophetic status alongside Moses, having received the criterion (q.v.) of revelation ( furqān, q 21:48-9; cf. 19:53; 7:122; 23:45; 37:114-20; and 20:70 and 26:48, containing the phrase, “We believe in the Lord of Moses and Aaron”; see revelation and inspiration ), and is listed with a number of other prophets ( q 4:163; 6:84). Moses asked God to make Aaron his partner (wazīr) in his affairs when he was commanded to go before Pharaoh

A (Aws - al-Azharī (d. 905/1499))

(540 words)

Aws  Companions of the Prophet  Consultation  Emigrants and Helpers  Emigration  Epigraphy  Geography  History and the Qurʾān  Theology and the Qurʾān  Time Aws Allāh  Emigrants and Helpers  Emigration Aws al-Manāt  Emigrants and Helpers  Emigration Aws b. Thābit al-Anṣārī  Inheritance Aws b. al-Ṣāmit  Debate and Disputation Awsān  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic ʿAwwam  Archaeology and the Qurʾān  South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic al-Awzāʿī (d. 157/774)  Creeds  Qaynuqāʿ (Banū) Axum  Abyssinia  Ethiopia [Ayatollah] Montazeri  Politics and the Qurʾān [Ayato…


(7 words)

 see family of the prophet Bibliography


(410 words)

AI Annales islamologiques AIUON Annali dell' Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli AO Acta orientalia AO-H Acta orientalia (Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae) Arabica Arabica. Revue d'ètudes arabes ARW Archiv für Religionswissenschaft AUU Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis BASOR Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research BEO Bulletin d'ètudes orientales de l'Institut Français de Damas BGA Bibliotheca geographorum arabicorum BIFAO Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archèologie Orientale du Caire BO Bibliotheca orientalis BSA Budapest studies in Arabic BSOAS…


(7 words)

 see servant; slaves and slavery Bibliography

ʿAbduh, Muḥammad

(6,552 words)

Author(s): Johanna Pink
Muḥammad ʿAbduh was born around 1849 into a farming family in the Nile Delta. He received a traditional religious education, first at home, then in Ṭanṭā, and finally at Cairo’s Azhar mosque. In 1872 he started studying with Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī (1838-97), an Iranian political activist who tried to acquire a following for his anti-British agenda. Al-Afghānī introduced ʿAbduh to scholars such as Avicenna (370-428/980-1037) and Ibn Khaldūn (732-808/1332-1406), and exposed him to translations of European works on history, sociology, and political thought. In 1877 ʿAbduh r…
Date: 2017-01-04


(6 words)

 see cleanliness and ablution Bibliography


(1,307 words)

Author(s): Sachedina, Abdulaziz
The premature expulsion of a fetus. Classical Muslim jurists applied a number of terms to abortion, including ijhāḍ, isqāṭ, ṭarḥ, ilqāʾ and imlāṣ. The Qurʾān makes no reference to abortion as the term is commonly understood, although it upholds the sanctity of human life in general (e.g. q 5:32) and forbids the killing of children ( q 17:31) and female infants ( q 81:8-9) in particular (see children; infanticide; murder). The restrictive view of abortion commonly held by jurists was based on the ¶ general qurʾānic interdiction of unlawfully taking human life. The qurʾānic descriptions …


(2,293 words)

Author(s): McAuliffe, Jane Dammen
The Christian ruler of a south Arabian kingdom founded by the Abyssinians (see abyssinia ), whose name is traditionally associated with the interpretation of q 105, where there is a description of God smiting the People of the Elephant (q.v.). Although he is not mentioned in the qurʾānic text, his name is regularly given in the commentary literature. Epigraphic evidence, the writings of the Byzantine military historian Procopius as well as ecclesiastical sources provide independent historical attestation for this figure, but his association with the sūra is lim…


(7,309 words)

Author(s): Firestone, Reuven
Some two hundred and forty-five verses in twenty-five sūras of the Qurʾān make reference to Abraham (Ibrāhīm), the progenitor of the nation of Israel (q.v.). Among biblical figures, only Moses (q.v.) receives more attention and in the Qurʾān Abraham and Moses are the sole prophets explicitly identified as bearers of scriptures ( q 53:36-7; 87:18-9; see book; scripture and the qurʾān). Although the Islamic Abraham shares many characteristics with the figure in the Bible and later Jewish exegetical literature, the Qurʾān especially emphasizes his role as a…


(7,208 words)

Author(s): Burton, John
A prominent concept in the fields of qurʾānic commentary and Islamic law which allowed the harmonization of apparent contradictions in legal rulings. Despite the voluminous literature Muslims have produced on this topic over the centuries, Western scholars have historically evinced little interest in analyzing the details of “abrogation.” Although aware of these details, T. Nöldeke and F. Schwally, for example, failed to probe adequately the significant distinction made in applying theories of abrogation to the Qurʾān. To understand this application,…


(568 words)

Author(s): McDonough, Sheila
In the Qurʾān abstinence in the sense of “restraint in or refraining from the indulgence of human appetites and impulses” is connected with words deriving from four ¶ different Arabic roots, namely ʾ-l-w, ʿ-ṣ-m, ʿ-f-f and h-j-r. The paradigmatic event for the qurʾānic notion of abstinence is q 74:2-5, which recounts one of the early examples of Muḥammad's experience of coming close to God as the revelation descends on him. God commands, “Arise and warn, your Lord magnify, your robes purify, and defilement flee (fa-hjur).” Drawing close to God requires abandoning or fleeing from…

Abū Bakr

(76 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
A prosperous merchant in Mecca who was an early convert to Islam (see Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, ed. M.J. de Goeje et al., i, 1165-6) and the first caliph of the community. Abū Bakr (d. 13/634) is often thought to be referred to in the Qurʾān, for example, in q 39:33, where he is considered to be the one who “confirms the truth” of Muḥammad's message. See also companions of the prophet . Andrew Rippin Bibliography

Abū Lahab

(123 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
An individual named once in the Qurʾān at q 111:1. The name literally means “father of the flame,” that is of hell. “ Abū Lahab ” was the nickname of an uncle of Muḥammad by the name of ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib who was a major opponent of the Prophet. See also opposition to muḥammad . Andrew Rippin Bibliography Ibn Isḥāq, Sīra, i, 231 U. Rubin, Abū Lahab and sūra CXI, in bsoas 42 (1979), 13-28

(Abū Lahab (ʿAbd al-ʿUzzāʾ b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, uncle of the Prophet) - Abū l-Hudhayl (d. 227/841))

(846 words)

Abū Lahab (ʿAbd al-ʿUzzāʾ b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, uncle of the Prophet)  Abū Lahab  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Curse  Emigration  Family of the Prophet  Hand(s)  Hell and Hellfire  History and the Qurʾān  Muḥammad  Prayer  Pre-Islamic Arabia and the Qurʾān  Provocation  Quraysh Abū Malik al-Quraẓī  Qurayẓa (Banū al-) Abū Manṣūr al-Azharī (d. 370/980)  Traditional Disciplines of Qurʾānic Studies Abū Manṣūr al-Māturīdī see al-Māturīdī, Abū Manṣūr (d. 333/944) Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Baghdādī see al-Baghdādī, Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Qāhir (d. 429/1037) Abū Maydab (d. 594/1197)  Ṣūfi…

Abū Ṭālib

(8 words)

 see family of the prophet Bibliography


(1,004 words)

Author(s): Firestone, Reuven
Abyssinia (al-Ḥabash or al-Ḥabasha) does not appear in the Qurʾān, although the ¶ Christian Abyssinian state of Axum exerted a powerful influence on Arabia in the sixth century. Separated from the Yemen by only the narrow Bab al-Mandab Strait, Abyssinia controlled southern Arabia for some time and Christianity spread in the region. One sūra is ordinarily interpreted to allude to an Abyssinian military incursion that reached Mecca and it is said that some of the early Meccan converts to Islam took refuge in Abyssinia. Ethiopic languages influenced the dialects …


(14 words)

 see god and his attributes; exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and medieval Bibliography


(1,239 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
An ancient tribe to whom the prophet Hūd (q.v.; q 7:65; 11:50; cf. 46:21) was sent. They are mentioned twenty-four times in the Qurʾān. The ʿĀd are described as a powerful tribe which existed after the people of Noah (q.v.; q 7:69). They were mighty and proud of their strength ( q 41:15; cf. 26:128-9) as well as very tall of stature ( q 7:69). The prophet Hūd was sent to the ʿĀd, but his preaching was largely unsuccessful ( q 7:70-1; 11:53-4; 46:22). Other messengers were also sent to the ʿĀd, but they too were rejected ( q 26:123). Hūd tried to convince his people to invoke God's interventi…

Adam and Eve

(3,578 words)

Author(s): Schöck, Cornelia
Adam is the first human being (bashar) and the father of humankind in the Pentateuch and the Qurʾān. “Adam” (Ādam) as an individual person occurs eighteen times in the Qurʾān. In addition, the phrase “the sons of Adam” (banū Ādam) in the sense of “humankind” is attested seven times. The qurʾānic commentators derive the name “Ādam” from adīm al-arḍ (ʿAbd al-Razzāq, Tafsīr, i, 43; ii, 20; Ibn Saʿd, Ṭabaqāt, i, 26; Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, i, 214-5) or from adamat al-arḍ (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, i, 208), because he was created from “the surface of the earth.” The name of Adam's wife Eve, in the Islamic traditio…


(1,011 words)

Author(s): Muhammad Fadel
Adoption (tabannī) was a recognized practice in pre-Islamic Arabia, with Muḥammad, prior to his prophetic mission, himself having reportedly adopted his freedman, Zayd ibn Ḥāritha, who consequently became known as Zayd b. Muḥammad. Q 33:4-6, however, abrogated this pre-Islamic custom, dissolved the fictive ties of kinship  (al-muʾākhāt) that the Prophet Muḥammad had established between the Meccan immigrants to Medina and the Medinans upon his arrival there, and recognized ties of fictive kinship between the Prophet’s wives and the Muslim community by declaring them…
Date: 2017-08-31


(5 words)

 see children; family Bibliography


(834 words)

Author(s): Renard, John
The acts and attitudes of praise and honor accorded to God. The standard English renderings of the Qurʾān typically use “adoration” and its cognates to translate sajada (to prostrate oneself; see bowing and prostration ), the quintessential Islamic ritual of adoration (see prayer ). There is, however, a great deal more to adoration ¶ than a physical gesture. A variety of qurʾānic terms vividly communicate the sense of “adoration” as a response to the divine being, including various forms of the roots ḥ-m-d (praise), s-b-ḥ (glorify), m-j-d (exalt) and ʿ-ẓ-m (magnify). Certain verses …

Adultery and Fornication

(1,464 words)

Author(s): Abu-Zahra, Nadia
The qurʾānic word zinā (elsewhere more commonly zināʾ) means sexual intercourse outside the institutions of marriage and concubinage. q 17:32 characterizes this behavior as a fāḥisha, i.e. an obscene act of transgression against God from which a Muslim should refrain (cf. q 25:68). These transgressions together with their specified punishment are called ḥudūd (sing. ḥadd, lit. limit, boundary; see boundaries and precepts ) and also include associating others with God and homicide. The Ḥanafite jurist al-Jaṣṣāṣ (d. 370/981) explains that adultery and fornication are tra…

African Americans

(1,748 words)

Author(s): Berg, Herbert
Historical information about individuals like Job ben Solomon (ca. 1700-73), Abd al-Rahman Ibrahima (1762-1829) and Omar ibn Said (ca. 1770-1864) demonstrates that some of the Africans brought to America as slaves were not only Muslim but well-versed in the Qurʾān as well. For example, the first-named, born Ayuba Suleiman Ibrahima Diallo, came from a family of religious leaders in Futa in present-day Senegal. After he was manumitted and taken to England, he wrote several copies of the Qurʾān from memory. These men, however, were exceptional. Enslavement eventually…

African Literature

(3,122 words)

Author(s): Hunwick, John O.
As is the case elsewhere in the world, the memorization of the Qurʾān, or at least a portion of it, is the starting point for a Muslim child's education in sub-Saharan Africa. For those whose education continues beyond this point, the Qurʾān plays a relatively small role in their studies. Nevertheless, the language of the Qurʾān remains the stylistic point of reference for everything they subsequently write in the Arabic language, especially among the majority for whom Arabic itself is not the mother tongue. Thus, in the seventeenth-century chronicle of Timbuktu, Taʾrīkh al-sūdān (ed. …


(7 words)

 see resurrection; paradise; hell; fire Bibliography


(1,346 words)

Author(s): Welch, Alford T.
The time between noon and evening. The Qurʾān refers frequently to various times of the day, but does not explicitly mention the afternoon. In most cases this segment of the day appears simply in the context of instructions for Muḥammad's followers involving the Islamic rituals that were being established during his lifetime. Several passages that address Muḥammad's situation in Mecca before his emigration to Medina command him to perform a ritual prayer (see prayer ) twice daily: “at the two ends of the day” ( q 11:114), “at evening and at dawn” ( q 40:55), etc. (Welch, Muḥammad's unde…


(11 words)

 see biology as the creation and stages of life Bibliography

Age of Ignorance

(3,137 words)

Author(s): Shepard, William E.
This phrase is a common translation of the Arabic word jāhiliyya used by Muslims to refer to the historical period in west-central Arabia covering the centuries immediately prior to the mission of Muḥammad, a period characterized by ignorance of the divine truth. To the original audience of the Qurʾān, however, it almost certainly referred primarily to the moral condition of those individuals and their society which led them to oppose the mission of the Prophet (see opposition to muḥammad ) and only secondarily, if at all, to a defined historical epoch. It is also possible…

Age of Ignorance [Supplement 2016]

(2,049 words)

Author(s): William E. Shepard
This phrase is a common translation of the Arabic word jāhiliyya, which is used by Muslims to refer to the historical period in west-central Arabia covering the centuries immediately prior to the mission of Muḥammad, a period characterised by ignorance of the divine truth. To the original audience of the Qurʾān, however, it almost certainly referred primarily to the moral condition of the individuals who, and the society that, opposed the mission of the Prophet (see opposition to Muḥammad), and only secondarily, if at all, to a defined historical epoch. It is also possibl…
Date: 2016-11-17

Agriculture and Vegetation

(7,550 words)

Author(s): Waines, David
The production of crops and plants in general. Agriculture and vegetation figure prominently in the Qurʾān, reflecting their significance in the environment in which the text was revealed. The Arabic root f-l-ḥ carries the basic meaning of “cleaving” or ¶ “splitting.” When applied to the land, it carries the sense of “furrowing,” “tilling” or “plowing.” “Filāḥa,” therefore, is the art of plowing and cultivating and is the term used in the general sense of “agriculture” in the titles of medieval Arabic treatises on agronomy. The qurʾānic references t…
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