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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(1,220 words)

Author(s): Katz, Marion Holmes
The monthly flow of blood from the uterus. Menstruation is explicitly mentioned by the Qurʾān in two contexts: ritual purity (q.v.) and the law of marriage and divorce (q.v.). In the context of ritual purity, menstruation is one of a fairly broad set of bodily functions (also mentioned within the text of the Qurʾān are excretion and sexual activity, q 4:43; 5:6; see sex and ¶ sexuality ) requiring ablutions in order to restore the state of ṭahāra required for prayer (q.v.) and other rituals (see ritual and the qurʾān; cleanliness and ablution). Menstruation is categorized in Islamic law as …


(6 words)

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(1,622 words)

Author(s): Peterson, Daniel C.
Forbearance from inflicting harmful punishment on an adversary or offender; disposition to exercise compassion or forgiveness. The term “mercy” ( raḥma), with its cognates and synonyms, is omnipresent in the Qurʾān; and derivatives of the ¶ triliteral root gh-f-r which carry many of the same connotations are also attested throughout the Qurʾān. Muḥammad, for example, is characterized as a merciful man ( q 9:128) and believers are exhorted to show mercy and kindness in their daily lives (as at q 7:199; 17:23-4; 42:43; 64:14; 90:17). “Compassion and mercy” are singled out as admi…


(7 words)

 see laughter; joy and misery Bibliography


(1,537 words)

Author(s): Zahniser, A.H. Mathias
One who comes bringing information. The main word for messenger in the Qurʾān is rasūl, denoting “one sent with a message,” which occurs 236 times and its plural, rusul, ninety-five times. Mursal (pl. mursalūn), the passive participle of a verb from the same root letters, and which also means “one sent with a message,” occurs thirty-six times. Both rasūl and mursal usually refer to a human agent whom God sends to guide a people by communicating to them in a language they understand ( q 14:4; see language, concept of; arabic language; revelation and inspiration). The central message of th…


(4 words)

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Metals and Minerals

(708 words)

Author(s): Troupeau, Gérard
Substances that have luster, are opaque and may be fused, and chemical elements or compounds occurring naturally as a product of inorganic processes. The Qurʾān does not utilize the generic term for both metal and ore ( maʿdin), but references the two most widespread metals in common use on the planet: iron ( ḥadīd), which is mentioned six times, and copper, ( nuḥās) mentioned once, as well as molten copper ( qiṭr), mentioned twice. Iron, which gives its name to q 57 (Sūrat al-Ḥadīd) and which God sent down to earth, possesses great strength and is very useful to humankind ( q 57:25); it comes …


(2,490 words)

Author(s): Heath, Peter
Literary device that conveys semantic equation without a linking participle such as “like” or “as.” Metaphor ( istiʿāra) is the subject of much discussion and classification in the science of Arabic rhetoric (cf. Bonebakker, Istiʿāra); this article will of necessity confine itself to major classifications and to uses that relate to how religious scholars (see exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and medieval ) have sought to understand metaphor's appearance and use in the Qurʾān. Definition Metaphor is an example of figurative language ( majāz) as opposed to “literal” or “true” e…


(6 words)

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