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.


Subscriptions: see brill.com

Baal

(375 words)

Author(s): Newby, Gordon Darnell
Baal ( baʿl) is both a proper name of a pre-Islamic pagan deity worshipped by the people to whom the messenger Elijah (q.v.) was sent ( q 37:125) and a common noun meaning “husband” ( q 2:228; 4:128; 11:72; 24:31). Baal as a pagan deity The biblical prophet Elijah ( 1 Kings 17-22; 2 Kings 1-2) is mentioned two times in the Qurʾān ( q 6:85; 37:123-30). He was sent to turn his people from the worship of the deity Baal. Commentary elaborates on the brief qurʾānic passages. It is said that, during the reign of the Israelite king Ahab (r. ca. 873-851 b.c.e.), Elijah attempted to turn the Children of Israel …

Bābil

(4 words)

 see babylon Bibliography

Babylon

(786 words)

Author(s): Khoury, R.G.
The renowned ancient Mesopotamian city. Babylon (Bābil) is mentioned once in the Qurʾān: “And follow what the devils used to recite in the reign of Solomon (q.v.). Solomon did not disbelieve, but the devils disbelieved, teaching the people magic and what had been sent down to the two angels, Hārūt and Mārūt (q.v.), in Babylon. They do not teach anyone without first saying, ‘We are only a temptation, so do not disbelieve’” ( q 2:102). According to the geographer and biographer Yāqūt (d. 626/1228), Babylon constituted an entire region famed for its magic and wine ( Buldān, i, 309-11). The co…

Badr

(673 words)

Author(s): Nawas, John
The site of Islam's first major military victory which occurred in the month of Ramaḍān (q.v.) in the second year after Muḥammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina (March 624, see emigration ). Badr is mentioned explicitly only a single time in the Qurʾān ( q 3:123), but there are allusions to it in at least thirty-two other verses. Almost all of these references are found in the eighth sūra, “The Spoils” (Sūrat al-Anfāl), which addresses the issues that arose as a direct consequence of this Muslim victory and stresses above all the spiritual gains that gave Islam its firm foundations. Badr, also …

Bahāʾīs

(1,972 words)

Author(s): Buck, Christopher George
The adherents of Bahāʾism (ahl al-Bahāʾ), widely recognized as the “Bahāʾī Faith,” an independent world religion with Islamic origins. The Bahāʾī movement, a universalization of Bābism, was founded by Mīrzā Ḥusayn ʿAlī Nūrī (1817-92), known as Bahāʾullāh (Splendor of God; standardized Bahāʾī spelling, Bahāʾullāh), in Baghdad in the year 1863. In 1866, it emerged as a distinct faith-community in Adrianople (Edirne). Bahāʾism underwent transformations in ethos and organization throughout three missionary phases: the Islamic context (1844-92), the internat…

Bahāʾīs [Supplement 2016]

(3,940 words)

Author(s): Christopher Buck
Bahāʾīs are the followers of the Bahāʾī religion (known as the “Bahāʾī Faith,” its official name), an independent world religion with Bābī origins within an Islamic matrix and milieu. The Bahāʾī Faith — phenomenologically a doctrinal and social enlargement of the Bābī religion by way of sui generis sacred texts characterised by a more pronounced cosmopolitanism and egalitarianism — was founded by Mīrzā Ḥusayn-ʿAlī Nūrī (1817–92), known as Bahāʾullāh (“Glory of God”; the standard Bahāʾī spelling, Bahā’u’llāh, will be employed throughout this …
Date: 2016-11-17

Baḥīra

(6 words)

 see idols and images Bibliography

Balance

(4 words)

 see eschatology Bibliography

Banū Isrāʾīl

(7 words)

 see children of israel Bibliography

Baptism

(802 words)

Author(s): Goddard, Hugh
The practice of using water for religious purification, while a ritual feature in a number of religions, is often most closely identified with Christianity. There is one possible reference in the Qurʾān to baptism, q 2:138: “The baptism ( ṣibgha) of God and who is better than God in terms of baptizing (ṣibghatan)?” The term ṣibgha, however, usually refers to “color” or “dye” and it is not absolutely clear how the word has come to be understood as a reference to baptism. English translations of the Qurʾān reflect this ambiguity, with G. Sale, J.M. Rodwell, A.J. Arberry, K. Cragg and ʿA. Yūsuf ʿ…

Barēlwīs

(1,546 words)

Author(s): Sanyal, Usha
A group of religious scholars ( ʿulamāʾ) and their followers, originally of South Asia, who trace their worldview to the teachings of Aḥmad Riḍā Khān Barēlwī (d. 1921). The Barēlwīs call themselves the “People of the [Prophet's] sunna (q.v.) and the majority community” ( Ahl-i sunnat wa- jamāʿat) and reject the name “Barēlwī” as derogatory, because of its implication that their beliefs are local and deviant rather than universalistic and mainstream. Nevertheless, the term “Barēlwī” is widely current wherever the movement exists, which today includes not only South Asia but also Britai…

Barrier

(951 words)

Author(s): Zaki, Mona M.
An obstacle; anything that hinders approach or attack. Both ḥijāb and barzakh (q.v.) are used to denote “barrier” in the Qurʾān. Under this general category of barrier, Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597/1200) in two cases understands the word ḥijāb to mean a concrete division: he interprets “between the two is a ḥijāb” ( baynahum ḥijābun, q 7:46) as a bridge ( sūr) between heaven (q.v.) and hell (q.v.); while he considers the ḥijāb that obstructs Solomon's (q.v.) view ( tawārat bi-l-ḥijāb, q 38:32) to be a mountain ( Nuzha, 246). Other qurʾānic citations of ḥijāb are used to connote a covering ( satr), such…

Barzakh

(2,283 words)

Author(s): Zaki, Mona M.
The term barzakh occurs three times in the Qurʾān; in q 25:53 and 55:20, barzakh is a partition between two seas, a barrier that could be an allusion to a cosmic myth (see barrier; cosmology in the qurʾān). The third reference, which is the focus of this article, occurs in q 23:100: “And behind them is a barrier until the day they are raised.” This verse applies the concept of partition to the eschatological scene and death (see eschatology; death and the dead). A. Jeffery ( For. vocab., 77) suggests Persian as a possible source for this loan word — farsakh, parasang, a measure of land that fit…

Bashīr

(8 words)

 see prophets and prophethood; good news Bibliography

Basmala

(3,609 words)

Author(s): Graham, William A.
The invocation bi-smi llāhi l-raḥmāni l-raḥīm(i), “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” also known as the tasmiya, “naming/uttering (God's name),” occurs 114 times in the Qurʾān: at the head of every sūra except the ninth, which is entitled “Repentance” (Sūrat al-Tawba or Sūrat al-Barāʾa), and also in q 27:30 as the opening of Solomon's (q.v.) letter to the queen of Sheba (see bilqīs ). Of the 113 occurrences at the head of a sūra, only the first, that before the opening sūra, Sūrat al-Fātiḥa (see fātiḥa ), is commonly reckoned as an āya, i.e. as q 1:1, although the other 11…

Basmala [Supplement 2016]

(3,160 words)

Author(s): William A. Graham
The invocation bi-smi llāhi l-raḥmāni l-raḥīm(i), “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,” also known as the tasmiya, “naming/uttering (God's name),” occurs 114 times in the Qurʾān: at the beginning of every sūra except the ninth, which is entitled “Repentance” (Sūrat al-Tawba or Sūrat al-Barāʾa), and also in Q 27:30, as the opening of Solomon's letter to the queen of Sheba (see Bilqīs). Of its 113 occurrences at the head of a sūra, only the first, that which commences the opening sūra, Sūrat al-Fātiḥa (see Fātiḥa), is commonly reckoned as an āya , i.e. as Q 1:1, although t…
Date: 2016-11-17

Bāṭin and Ẓāhir

(12 words)

 see exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and medieval Bibliography

Battles/Warfare

(6 words)

 see expeditions and battles Bibliography

B (Baal [Baʿl] - al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī)

(97 words)

Baal [Baʿl]  Baal  Elijah Baalam [Ibn Bāʿūra]  Luqmān Baalbaki, R.  Foreign Vocabulary Baalbek  Elijah Bab al-Mandab Strait  Abyssinia Babel  Nimrod   Tower of   Clay   Myths and Legends in the Qurʾān   Narratives   Nimrod   Tents and Tent Pegs Babylon [Bābil]  Babylon  Ezra  Hārūt and Mārūt  Isaiah  Magic  Popular and Talismanic Uses of the Qurʾān  Samaritans  Teaching Babylonia  People of the Book  Qibla  Sheba  Sun  Sūra(s) Babylonian Tower see Babel Babylonian(s)  Antichrist  Day, Times of  Magic al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī  Printing of the Qurʾān Badawi, Jamal  Teaching and Preac…

B (-bāʾ- - b-l-d)

(459 words)

-bāʾ-   b-d-d    tabdīd al-ʿilm    Dissimulation   b-d-l    abdāl    Persian Literature and the Qurʾān    Saint    baddala    Abrogation    Forgery    Shīʿism and the Qurʾān    istabdala    Caliph    tabaddala    Error    tabdīl    Forgery    Revision and Alteration    Tradition and Custom   b-d-n    badana, pl. budn    Animal Life    Consecration of Animals    Food and Drink   b-d-r    badr    Moon   b-d-w    abdā    Occasions of Revelation    badawī    Arabic Language    Bedouin    badw    Bedouin    badā    Bedouin    badūna fī l-aʿrāb    badāʾ    Dissimulation    Shīʿism a…

B (-bāʾ- -b-l-gh - b-s-l)

(514 words)

b-l-gh    ablagh    Possession and Possessions    balagha    Children    Guardianship    Inimitability    Pilgrimage    balāgh    Language and Style of the Qurʾān    Names of the Qurʾān    Prophets and Prophethood    bāligh    Maturity    Witnessing and Testifying    muballigh    Mosque    Teaching and Preaching the Qurʾān    tablīgh    Teaching and Preaching the Qurʾān    tablīgh al-daʿwa   b-l-w/b-l-y    baliya    Adultery and Fornication    balā    Grammar and the Qurʾān    Suffering    Trial    balāʾ    Suffering    ibtilāʾ    Trial    ubtuliya    Moses   b-n-y    b…

B (-bāʾ- -b-s-m - b-y-ʿ)

(633 words)

b-s-m    tabassama    Laughter   b-s-ṭ    bisāṭ    Earth    Furniture and Furnishings    House, Domestic and Divine   b-sh-r    bashar    Adam and Eve    Children of Israel    Gender    God and his Attributes    Medicine and the Qurʾān    Muḥammad    Prophets and Prophethood    Servants    Spirit    Teaching    bashshir    Muḥammad    bashīr    Good News    Joy and Misery    Literature and the Qurʾān    Muḥammad    Names of the Qurʾān    Pairs and Pairing    Persian Literature and the Qurʾān    Warner    bush[u]r    Air and Wind    Good News    bushira    Good News    bushra…

B (-bāʾ- - b-y-ḍ - basmala)

(435 words)

b-y-ḍ    abyaḍ    Colors    bayḍ    Springs and Fountains    bayḍāʾ    Springs and Fountains    ibyaḍḍa    Colors   b-ʾ-r    biʾr    Water    biʾr sabaʿ    Abraham   b-ʾ-s    baʾisa    Ethics and the Qurʾān    baʾs    Courage    Power and Impotence    baʾsā    Chastisement and Punishment    biʾsa    Grammar and the Qurʾān    Hell and Hellfire   b-ʿ-d    baʿd    History and the Qurʾān    buʿd    Grammar and the Qurʾān   b-ʿ-l    baʿal    South Arabia, Religions in Pre-Islamic    baʿl, pl. buʿūla    Baal    Family    Marriage and Divorce   b-ʿ-r    baʿīr    Camel    Vehicles   b-ʿ-th    ba…

B (Badr - Southeast Asian Qurʾānic Literature)

(681 words)

Badr  Badr   Battle of (2/624)   Apparition   Badr   Book   Byzantines   Chronology and the Qurʾān   Companions of the Prophet   Consultation   Courage   Criterion   Day, Times of   Days of God   Dreams and Sleep   Emigrants and Helpers   Expeditions and Battles   Fasting   Fate   Food and Drink   Form and Structure of the Qurʾān   Goliath   Good News   Guardianship   Intercession   Jews and Judaism   Life   Mosque of the Dissension   Myths and Legends in the Qurʾān   Opposition to Muḥammad   Oppressed on Earth, The   Orphans   Prayer   Punishment Stories   Qaynuqāʿ (Ban…

B (Bangladesh - Beijing)

(1,139 words)

Bangladesh  Printing of the Qurʾān  South Asian Literatures and the Qurʾān  Women and the Qurʾān Bankipore (India)  Shīʿism and the Qurʾān Banū see under respective tribal eponyms [Banū] Asad  Apostasy  Dialects  Grammar and the Qurʾān  Inimitability  Khadīja  Soothsayer  Tribes and Clans [Banū] Bakr  Breaking Trusts and Contracts [Banū] Ghaṭafān  Apostasy  Parties and Factions [Banū] Hāshim  Caravan  People of the House  Syria [Banū] Kaʿb b. Qurayẓa  Qurayẓa (Banū al-) [Banū] Khuzāʿa  Breaking Trusts and Contracts  Emigrants and Helpers  Expeditions and Battles  Geography  …

B (Bektashiyya (Ṣūfī order) - Bishr b. al-Muʿtamir (d. ca. 210/825))

(736 words)

Bektashiyya (Ṣūfī order)  African Americans  Magic  Popular and Talismanic Uses of the Qurʾān Belial  Antichrist Bell, R.  Afternoon  Apocalypse  Baptism  Book  Cain and Abel  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Clay  Contemporary Critical Practices and the Qurʾān  Death and the Dead  Form and Structure of the Qurʾān  Fātiḥa  Impeccability  Language and Style of the Qurʾān  Muḥammad  Mysterious Letters  Narratives  Night of Power  Pit  Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān  Religious Pluralism and the Qurʾān  Revision and Alteration  Textual Criticism of the Qurʾān  Theolo…

B (Bisri Mustofa - Brethren of Purity)

(552 words)

Bisri Mustofa  Southeast Asian Qurʾānic Literature Bivar, A.  African Literature Biʾr Maʿūna  Abrogation  Chronology and the Qurʾān Biḥārī  Manuscripts of the Qurʾān Blachère, R.  Abraha  Apocalypse  Basmala  Chronology and the Qurʾān  Contemporary Critical Practices and the Qurʾān  Form and Structure of the Qurʾān  Fātiḥa  Immunity  Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān  Religion  Tents and Tent Pegs  Textual Criticism of the Qurʾān  Tools for the Scholarly Study of the Qurʾān  Translations of the Qurʾān  [Al-]Ukhdūd Black Shriners see Ancient Egyptian Arabic…

B (Britain - Būṣrā)

(680 words)

Britain  Barēlwīs  Printing of the Qurʾān  Translations of the Qurʾān British India see India British Museum  Epigraphy  Material Culture and the Qurʾān Brockelmann, C.  Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval  Foreign Vocabulary  Grammar and the Qurʾān  Traditional Disciplines of Qurʾānic Studies Brockopp, J.  Captives  Concubines  Justice and Injustice  Prisoners  Servants  Slaves and Slavery Brodersen, A.  Reflection and Deliberation  Remembrance Brodeur, P.  Religion Bronze Age, Late  Archaeology and the Qurʾān Broomfeld, G.W.  Translations of the Qurʾān Brot…

Be

(5 words)

 see creation; jesus Bibliography

Beast of Prey

(10 words)

 see animal life; lawful and unlawful Bibliography

Beating

(6 words)

 see chastisement and punishment Bibliography

Beauty

(1,040 words)

Author(s): Gwynne, Rosalind Ward
A quality in persons or objects that appeals to the human senses and exalts the spirit. At least a dozen terms describe beauty in the Qurʾān, which is more often understood as a moral quality than an aesthetic one. It is a quality defined by its deep effects upon the beholder rather than by its own properties. Aesthetic terms (e.g. the various terms related to jamāl, iʿjāb, zīna, ḥilya, zukhruf, ṭayyib, alwān, qurrat ʿayn, bahīj) signal moral choices to be made or divine grace rendered (see consolation ), while moral terms (e.g. the various terms related to ḥusn, itqān, fitna, karīm) signal ei…

Bedouin

(2,953 words)

Author(s): Pietruschka, Ute
The Arabic term for “desert-dweller” ( badawī) is a derivation from the root b-d-w. Arabic lexicographers use the term badw/badawī as an antonym for “sedentary people” ( ḥāḍir), and the expression “people became Bedouin” ( badā l-qawm badwan) means that they went out to the desert (Ibn Sīda in Lisān al- ʿArab, xiv, 67). The cognate term bādiya refers to the sand-desert as opposed to the settled lands. The terms badw, badawī or the active participle bādī signify one who pursues a certain way of life, i.e. people of the desert or nomads as distinct from settled people. Bādī is used twice in th…

Bee

(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography

Beguiling/Bewitching

(6 words)

 see magic, prohibition of Bibliography

Bekka

(4 words)

 see mecca Bibliography

Belief

(6 words)

 see belief and unbelief Bibliography

Belief and Unbelief

(5,825 words)

Author(s): Adang, Camilla
The fundamental attitudes to the divine being, to the prophethood of Muḥammad and to the message of the Qurʾān. The paired terms “belief and unbelief” ( īmān, kufr) and their correlates “believer and unbeliever” ( muʾmin, kāfir) represent the central antithesis of the qurʾānic discourse. The root ʾ-m-n in the sense of “believing” and its most common, though by no means only, antonym, k-f-r (see gratitude and ingratitude ), are among the most frequently attested roots in the Qurʾān with close to 500 cases of each. They appear, either separately or in combination,…

Believers and Unbelievers

(8 words)

 see belief and unbelief Bibliography

Benjamin

(1,077 words)

Author(s): Johns, A.H.
The brother of Joseph (Yūsuf, see joseph ). Identified in the Bible as the son of Jacob (q.v.) and Rachel, Benjamin (Binyamīn) is not mentioned by name in q 12, the sūra which tells the story of Joseph. Of the eighteen dramatis personae of this sūra, only Joseph is named directly. Nevertheless the identity of Benjamin is clear and his presence in the story exemplifies the effec-¶ tiveness of the referential character of qurʾānic rhetoric. Benjamin is referred to on the following occasions: When the brothers complain “ Joseph and his brother [i.e. Benjamin] are dearer to our father …

Benjamin [Supplement 2017]

(1,005 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Benjamin is the brother of Joseph (Yūsuf, see Joseph), identified in the Bible as the son of Jacob and Rachel. Benjamin (Binyamīn) is not mentioned by name in Q 12, the sūra which tells the story of Joseph. Of the eighteen dramatis personae in this sūra, only Joseph is identified by name. Nevertheless, the identity of Benjamin is clear and his presence in the story exemplifies the effectiveness of the referential character of Qurʾānic rhetoric.Benjamin is referred to on the following occasions: When the brothers complain “Joseph and his brother [i.e. Benjamin] are dea…
Date: 2017-08-31

Bequest

(4 words)

 see inheritance Bibliography

Berries

(6 words)

 see agriculture and vegetation Bibliography

Betrothal

(6 words)

 see marriage and divorce Bibliography
▲   Back to top   ▲