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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(6 words)

 see idols and images Bibliography


(6 words)

 see reward and punishment Bibliography

Wahhabism and the Qurʾān

(766 words)

Author(s): DeLong-Bas, Natana J.
The eighteenth century revival and reform movement founded by the scholar and jurist Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (d. 1206/1792), in the Arabian peninsula. Based on the central qurʾānic concept of tawḥīd (absolute monotheism), Wahhabism called for a direct return to the Qurʾān and ḥadīth for study and interpretation (see sunna; ḥadīth and the qurʾān; tools for the study of the qurʾān). Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb considered the Qurʾān and ḥadīth to be the only infallible (see impeccability ) and authoritative sources of scripture with the Qurʾān, as the revealed word of God (q.v.)…

Waiting Period

(914 words)

Author(s): Motzki, Harald
The period that must be observed by a married couple after separation. Waiting periods are known in many cultures. Within the Qurʾān this concept is expressed by two Arabic words: tarabbaṣa or tarabbuṣ, literally “waiting,” and by ʿidda, literally “number.” The first word appears in q 2:226, 228, 234 and seems to be the earlier expression because the verses in which the term ʿidda is used ( q 33:49; 65:1, 4) answer questions that must have been raised from rules stipulated in q 2 (see law and the qurʾān ). The clear relation between the two groups of verses shows that the word ʿidda in this conte…

Wall (between Heaven and Hell)

(12 words)

 see barzakh; people of the heights Bibliography


(5 words)

 see journey; astray Bibliography


(2,717 words)

Author(s): Crone, Patricia
A state of open, armed and often prolonged conflict between states, tribes or parties, frequently mentioned in the Qurʾān. It is usually referred to by derivatives of the third form of q-t-l, “fighting” (q.v.), sometimes with the qualification fī sabīl Allāh, “in the path of God” (see path or way ); but we also hear of ḥarb, “war,” both against God and the messenger (q.v.; e.g. q 5:33; 9:107; cf. 5:64) and by or for them ( q 2:279; 8:57; cf. 47:4). Derivatives of j-h-d are used for efforts which include fighting without being reducible to it (see jihād ). Wars mentioned Past wars are rarely ment…


(6 words)

 see hot and cold Bibliography


(1,252 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Chase F.
One who foretells the (negative) consequences of actions. The Arabic word nadhīr (pl. nudhur) appears no fewer than fifty-eight times in the Qurʾān, scarcely less frequently than the verb andhara (including nominal and adjectival forms, particularly mundhir) from which it derives, and nearly always in the sense of “warner” (cf. Lisān al-ʿArab, xiv, 100). As Watt puts it ( Muhammad at Mecca, 71), the verb “describes the action of informing a person of something of a dangerous, harmful, or fearful nature, so as to put him on his guard against it or put him in fear (q.v.) of it” (see also chastise…


(4 words)

 see warner Bibliography

Wars of Apostasy

(6 words)

 see apostasy Bibliography


(8 words)

 see cleanliness and ablution; ritual purity Bibliography


(10 words)

 see consecration of animals; camel; idols and images Bibliography


(4 words)

 see devil Bibliography


(10 words)

 see god and his attributes; seeing and hearing Bibliography


(2,839 words)

Author(s): Johns, Anthony H.
The compound of oxygen and hydrogen on which every form of life depends. Of the four Heraclean elements, water has the highest number of attestations in the Qurʾān and appears in the greatest variety of forms. In its general sense, it is designated by the Arabic word māʾ. It subsists in the sky as clouds ( saḥāb, muzn, muʿṣirāt, ghamāma, ʿarḍ), falls to the earth as rain ( māʾ min al-samāʾ, wadq, maṭar), or hail ( barad; see weather ) or is condensed from the atmosphere as dew ( ṭall). It rises from within the earth as springs ( ʿayn, yanbūʿ) and is also accessible as wells ( biʾr, jubb; see spr…

Water of Paradise

(782 words)

Author(s): El-Zein, Amira
Rivers and springs found in the paradisiacal garden, as described in the Qurʾān. The phrase “rivers of paradise,” anhār al-janna, occurs forty-six times, while the terms ʿayn,spring, and its plural, ʿuyūn, occur nine times only (see also water; springs and fountains). There are four kinds of rivers in paradise (q.v.): Rivers of milk (q.v.) whose taste never alters, rivers of pure honey (q.v.), rivers of delightful wine (q.v.) which causes neither drunkenness nor heaviness (see intoxicants ) and, finally, rivers of water that are always gushing, as in q 47:15. Where are these rivers a…

Water [Supplement 2018]

(2,683 words)

Author(s): Johns, Anthony H.
Water is the liquid compound of oxygen and hydrogen on which every form of life depends. Of the four Heraclean elements, water has the highest number of attestations in the Qurʾān and appears in the greatest variety of forms. In its general sense, it is designated by the Arabic word māʾ. It subsists in the sky as clouds (saḥāb, muzn, muʿṣirāt, ghamāma, ʿarḍ), falls to the earth as rain (māʾ min al-samāʾ, wadq, maṭar) or hail (barad; see weather), or is condensed from the atmosphere as dew (ṭall). It rises from within the earth as springs (ʿayn, yanbūʿ) and is also accessible as wells  (biʾr, jubb; …
Date: 2018-08-14


(7 words)

 see oppressed on earth, the Bibliography


(1,695 words)

Author(s): Bonner, Michael
Worldly possessions and property. In this sense, “wealth” occurs often in the Qūrʾan. The most common term for it, māl and its plural amwāl, prevails in the later (Medinan) sūras (q.v.; see also chronology and the qurʾān ). Additional terms include ghināʾ and other words derived from its root, especially in the early (Meccan) sūras. Sometimes property (q.v.) seems taken for granted as a simple fact of life: God “has made it a support for you” ( allatī jaʿala llāhu lakum qiyāman, q 4:5); one reason for men's control over women is “the expenditure they make [for them] out of their property” ( q 4:3…


(4 words)

 see lactation Bibliography


(9 words)

 see instruments; fighting; war; hunting and fishing Bibliography


(5 words)

 see sleep; sabbath Bibliography


(672 words)

Author(s): Waines, David
In general terms, the state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, involving the variables of heat, cold, moisture, wind and pressure, and referring both to beneficial and destructive consequences. In the Qurʾān there are a number of words covering many of these aspects, some phenomena having more than one term. In the vast majority of contexts, the agency of God is explicit (e.g. q 30:48). ¶ Rain, for example, is expressed in several ways. The most frequent is the mention of God's “sending down water from the sky” thereby giving life (q.v.) to or restoring it on earth (q.v.; see also …


(6 words)

 see marriage and divorce Bibliography


(878 words)

Author(s): Branca, Paolo
Shedding of tears as a result of a heightened emotional state. Weeping out of piety (q.v.) or the fear (q.v.) of God is considered an expression of great devotion and several ḥadīths relate that this is what the Companions of the Prophet (q.v.) used to do when they heard sermons and preaching (see teaching and preaching the qurʾān ). According to a ḥadīth reported by Abū Hurayra (d. ca. 58/678; see ḥadīth and the qurʾān ), among “the seven people to whom God gives his shade on the day” of resurrection (q.v.), there is “a man who remembers God in solitude and his eyes become tearful” (Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ, …

Weights and Measures

(2,404 words)

Author(s): Dähne, Stephan
Means for making quantitative evaluations. Information about weights and measures in the Qurʾān must be derived from symbolic discourse (see symbolic imagery; similes; metaphor). This is true even for very concrete weights and measures and is reflected in the exegetical literature (see exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and ¶ medieval ), which contains often divergent information and explanations about weights and measures in the Qurʾān. What follows is a closer examination of the qurʾānic (1) measures of length; (2) measures of weight; …


(6 words)

 see springs and fountains Bibliography


(997 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Breastfeeding — voluntary or for payment — of an infant by a woman other than its own mother, or by the latter, following divorce (see marriage and divorce ). Murḍiʿa (pl. marāḍiʿ) in the Qurʾān denotes in general “suckling female” ( q 22:2, Bell; “nursing mother,” Pickthall) and, more specifically, a “foster-mother” ( q 28:12, Arberry) or a “wet-nurse.” In q 65:6 the root r-ḍ-ʿ in the fourth form describes the act of wet-nursing, and in q 2:233 the tenth form of this root denotes “seeking, or demanding, a wet-¶ nurse” (see Lane, 1097). The term ẓiʾr, “one that inclines to, or affects, the…
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