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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(1,036 words)

Author(s): Heck, Paul L.
A roll of paper or parchment for writing a document. The Qurʾān refers to scrolls ( ṣuḥuf and zubur — see also psalms ; for the different terminology for writing as vehicle of divine command, see Ghedira, Ṣaḥīfa, and Madigan, Qurʾān's self-image, 131-2) as written documents (and thus conflated to kutub, e.g. q 98:1-2; see book ) that contain God's edicts (cf. Schoeler, Writing), especially his judgments against former nations (see Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, ad q 20:133; see judgment; generations; history and the qurʾān). The idea of scrolls is thus meant to be a clear sign ( bayyina) to Muḥammad's au…


(7 words)

 see water; nature as signs Bibliography

Seal [of the Prophets]

(11 words)

 see muḥammad; names of the prophet Bibliography


(580 words)

Author(s): Kaptein, Nico J.G.
Each of the four divisions of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter), marked by particular weather patterns and daylight hours. Arabia, the cradle of Islam, has different seasons, notably a suffocatingly hot summer, while in the higher places it can be bitterly cold during the winter. In spring and autumn many days ¶ are mild. There is no word for season in the Qurʾān. The word mawsim (pl. mawāsim) occurs in ḥadīth (see ḥadīth and the qurʾān ) in the sense of market or fair, mostly combined with a pilgrimage (q.v.; ḥajj) to a sanctuary, like those held in various places in pre-I…

Seat [of God]

(12 words)

 see throne of god; god and his attributes Bibliography


(4 words)

 see shekhinah Bibliography

Secretaries of Muḥammad

(18 words)

 see companions of the prophet; textual criticism of the qurʾān; collection of the qurʾān Bibliography


(751 words)

Author(s): Kamada, Shigeru
Hidden matters. Broadly conceived, secrets as a concept relevant to the Qurʾān may include the “unconnected letters” ( ḥurūfmuqaṭṭaʿa; cf. Rāzī, Tafsīr, ii, 3; see mysterious letters ) and the hidden or inward meanings ( bāṭin) of the qurʾānic passages, which are different from their literal or outward meanings ( ẓāhir; see polysemy ). Some of the mystics and Shīʿī thinkers (see ṣūfism and the qurʾān; shīʿism and the qurʾān) claim this way of thinking, which is often supported by a ḥadīth report (see ḥadīth and the qurʾān ) regarding the fourfold sense of the qurʾānic text (cf. Böwering, Mys…


(7 words)

 see shīʿa; parties and factions Bibliography

Sedition and Public Disorder

(12 words)

 see corruption; dissension; politics and the qurʾān Bibliography

Seeing and Hearing

(1,457 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
The action of the eyes (q.v.), and of the ears (q.v.), respectively. Seeing and hearing are understood to be attributes of God and the terms are used literally as human bodily senses as well as metaphorically in the senses of “to know,” “to understand,” and “to learn” (see knowledge and learning; god and his attributes; hearing and deafness; vision and blindness; metaphor). Baṣīr, “the one who sees, the all-seeing,” is an attribute of God mentioned forty-two times in the Qurʾān, ten times immediately following “hearing” or “all-hearing,” samīʿ. The sequencing of these two attribut…


(5 words)

 see soul; spirit Bibliography

Selling and Buying

(14 words)

 see trade and commerce; economics and the qurʾān; caravan; markets Bibliography

Semantics of the Qurʾān

(26 words)

 see language and style of the qurʾān; grammar and the qurʾān; rhetoric and the qurʾān; post-enlightenment academic study of the qurʾān Bibliography

Semiotics and Nature in the Qurʾān

(17 words)

 see nature as signs; post-enlightenment academic study of the qurʾān Bibliography


(16 words)

 see seeing and hearing; vision and blindness; hearing and deafness; smell; ears; hands; face Bibliography


(508 words)

Author(s): Nerina Rustomji
In the Qurʾān the serpent is an animal associated with magic, sorcery, and the power of the spiritual realm. While Qurʾānic verses explicitly refer to the serpent three times, these also reflect a belief that serpents and snakes have a strong connection with jinn and their movement in the unseen world.The three appearances of the serpent in the Qurʾān are in relation to the story of Moses. The masculine singular thuʿbān appears when Pharoah asks for a sign from Moses. In response Moses throws his rod, and it transforms into a white serpent. In Q 7:106-8, a detailed description o…
Date: 2017-01-04


(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography


(2,461 words)

Author(s): Brockopp, Jonathan E.
Creatures bound in service to God. In over 100 places, the Qurʾān describes prophets (see prophets and prophethood ), believers (see belief and unbelief ), jinn (q.v.; cf. q 51:56) and angels (see angel ) as servants ( ʿabd, pl. ʿibād, ʿabīd; also ʿābid, pl. ʿābidūn) of God. Human beings in general are also described as God's servants, though they may be currently worshipping Satan (see devil ) or another false god (e.g. the ʿabada l-ṭāghūt in q 5:60, the only ¶ occurrence of this plural form; see idols and images; polytheism and atheism). The relationship of master and servant is one o…

Seven Sleepers

(8 words)

 see men of the cave Bibliography
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