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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(90 words)

Author(s): McAuliffe, Jane Dammen
While there is no qurʾānic equivalent of the term, the Qurʾān refers to certain elements of this scriptural composite. The most prominent of these are: Torah (tawrāt), Gospel (injīl), Psalms (zabūr) and more ambiguously scrolls or leaves (ṣuḥuf). See torah; gospel; psalms; scripture and the qurʾān. Jane Dammen McAuliffe Bibliography


(782 words)

Author(s): Lassner, Jacob
The name most frequently given by Islamic commentators to the anonymous queen of the land of Sheba (q.v.). Bilqīs is the powerful and intelligent ruler whose celebrated visit to the court of the prophet Solomon (q.v.; see also art and architecture and the qurʾān ) is mentioned in q 27:20-44. The etymology of the name is unknown. The view that “Bilqīs” is derived from the Hebrew pilegesh (concubine) or from Naukalis, the Greek name given her by Flavius Josephus, is not at all convincing (see E. Ullendorff, Bilḳīs). Muslim religious scholars also refer to the queen as Balʿama (cf. Thaʿlabī, Qiṣa…

Biology as the Creation and Stages of Life

(1,880 words)

Author(s): Ebrahim, Abul Fadl Mohsin
The Qurʾān depicts the creation of the universe and everything within it as a ¶ miracle (q.v.) of God and as proof of the existence of divine power (see power and impotence ). According to the Qurʾān, human life began with the creation of Adam and Eve (q.v.). The qurʾānic account of the creation (q.v.) narrative affirms that everything has been created in pairs for reproduction and perpetuation of its own species. Modern Muslim commentators, particularly those who are devoted to “scientific” exegesis ( tafsīr ʿilmī, see exegesis of the qurʾān ), have decided that since the Qurʾān make…


(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography


(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography


(749 words)

Author(s): Bowen, Donna Lee
The act of bringing forth new life from the womb of a mother. The Qurʾān details the process leading to birth in the conception of the fetus (see biology as the creation and stages of life ). It emphasizes the sacrosanct nature of life (q.v.), God's knowledge of and willing of all new life, and it acknowledges the honorable role of mothers (see women and the qurʾān ). The topic of birth receives less specific attention in the Qurʾān than that of creation ( khalq, see creation ), a more inclusive term with a wider set of meanings. Life, granted by God ( q 29:27), is sacred ( q 17:31). When God wills th…

Birth Control

(762 words)

Author(s): Bowen, Donna Lee
Avoiding pregnancy to space or to limit childbirth. The subject of birth control in this sense is not discussed in the Qurʾān. Rather, the major sources that both medieval and modern Muslim jurisprudence has used to assess practices of controlling birth are those of the prophetic tradition (sunna, q.v.) and its expression in ḥadīth, specifically those accounts that speak of coitus interruptus or withdrawal ( ʿazl). Yet verses of the Qurʾān have been used to support the practice of contraception and to argue the contrary despite the fact that no qurʾānic refer…


(618 words)

Author(s): Stewart, Devin J.
Speech that is derogatory to God. The qurʾānic terms that correspond most closely to blasphemy are takdhīb, “giving the lie, denial” and iftirāʾ, “invention” (cf. Izutsu, Concepts, 40, 99-101, 169-70). Inas-¶ much as God and his messages represent the ultimate truth (q.v.), blasphemy is denial of that truth or propagation of a falsehood in its place. Blasphemy by denial ( takdhīb) is the outright rejection of revealed religious truths, such as the revelations and warnings of God's messengers ( q 54; see messenger; revelation and inspiration; warning), and the announcements of the…


(754 words)

Author(s): Stewart, Devin J.
Prosperity or favor ( niʿma, baraka) bestowed ( anʿama, bāraka) by God; a wish, invocation or greeting asking for such a favor to be granted to someone else; or an expression of praise (q.v.) for God. Blessings in the Qurʾān, as in the HebrewBible, partake in an ongoing, reciprocal covenant (q.v.) between humans and God ( q 5:7). God bestows blessings on human-¶ kind, including the creation and ordering of life and the universe, sustenance, progeny, material wealth (q.v.), protection (q.v.), deliverance from enemies, and so on (R. Darnell, 50-4; q 16:66-83; 55; see creation; biology as t…

Blood and Blood Clot

(889 words)

Author(s): Waugh, E.H.
The fluid which circulates in the arteries and veins (see artery and vein ) of animals and a coagulated mass of such fluid. In the Qurʾān, the terms blood and blood clot do not refer primarily to concrete, physical, internal aspects of the body as they do in contemporary western cultures. Indeed, the two terms function quite differently than one might expect. Except for one verse ( q 16:66), blood (dam, pl. dimāʾ) is always laden with a significance beyond its identity as the essential ingredient of living creatures. Thus, blood is a metaphor for illicit killing ( q 2:30, 84; see blood money; mu…

Blood and Blood Clot [Supplement 2016]

(850 words)

Author(s): Earle H. Waugh
Blood refers to the fluid which circulates in the arteries and veins (see artery and vein) of animals and a blood clot is a coagulated mass of this fluid. In the Qurʾān, the terms blood and blood clot do not refer primarily to concrete, physical, internal aspects of the body as they do in contemporary western cultures; indeed, the two terms function quite differently than one might expect.Except for one verse (Q 16:66), blood  (dam, pl.  dimāʾ) is always laden with a significance beyond its identity as the essential ingredient of living creatures. Thus, blood is a …
Date: 2016-11-17

Blood Kinship

(6 words)

 see kinship; family Bibliography

Blood Money

(654 words)

Author(s): Kimber, Richard
Money obtained in compensation for life. The qurʾānic term commonly translated as “blood money” is diya. It is practically a hapax legomenon, occurring only in the phrase “blood money is to be paid to his kin” (diyatun musallamatun ilā ahlihi), which occurs twice in a single piece of legislation in q 4:92. The verse lays down the law of accidental homicide for which the perpetrator must emancipate a slave or fast for two months (see atonement ) and deliver a diya to the victim's family if the victim was a believer or protected by treaty (see contracts and alliances ). Both the term and the in…


(1,025 words)

Author(s): Günther, Sebastian
Killing or injuring human life (q.v.). The Qurʾān bans bloodshed (safk al- dimāʾ), but it is specifically mentioned in the Qurʾān only twice ( q 2:30, 84). Nevertheless, there are numerous less-specific references to this concept, just as there are in its biblical antecedents (see the numerous and thematically diverse biblical references cited in A. Khoury, Der Koran, i, 223). Furthermore, the qurʾānic accounts of human creation use blood as a metaphor for life (see blood and blood clot; biology as the creation and stages of life). God is said to have created man of a clay of molded mud ( ṣalṣā…