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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(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 …


(4 words)

 see babylon Bibliography


(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…


(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 …


(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


(6 words)

 see idols and images Bibliography


(4 words)

 see eschatology Bibliography

Banū Isrāʾīl

(7 words)

 see children of israel Bibliography


(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…


(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…


(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…


(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…


(8 words)

 see prophets and prophethood; good news Bibliography


(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


(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…
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