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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Codes/Markings for Recitation

(9 words)

 see recitation, the art of Bibliography

Codices of the Qurʾān

(2,715 words)

Author(s): Leehmuis, Frederik
A designation generally used to refer to the maṣāḥif, plural of muṣḥaf, meaning “a copy of the complete text of the Qurʾān” as these existed in the early period of Islam (see J. Burton, Muṣḥaf). These ancient codices, both extant and presumed, are important for the study of the history of the text of the Qurʾān. There are supposedly two categories of these early codices, the pre-ʿUthmānic codices and those with an ʿUthmānic text (see collection of the qurʾān; ʿuthmān). Until the present day, no pre-ʿUthmānic codices of the Qurʾān have been discovered and definitively identi…


(6 words)

 see tolerance and compulsion Bibliography


(2,451 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
The distinguishing hues and shades reflecting or emanating from a light source. The Qurʾān speaks of color generically as an attribute of God's creation: The fact of the existence of diverse hues, alwān, is mentioned nine times (twice in q 2:69 and 35:27; also in q 16:13, 69; 30:22; 35:28; and 39:21), most often connected to evidence for God's handiwork in creation (q.v.). As might be expected, then, a majority of the mentions of individual colors are connected to this same motif. Before discussing the qurʾānic material, however, it is necessary to understand what is meant by…


(4 words)

 see war Bibliography


(1,655 words)

Author(s): Lewinstein, Keith
Moral regulations mandated by divine decree. The Qurʾān does not refer explicitly to the biblical Ten Commandments (see scripture and the qurʾān ) or “ten words,” and Muslim exegetes have not generally tried to find either the Decalogue itself or a Muslim equivalent in the text. The Qurʾān does speak of tablets ( alwāḥ) given to Moses (q.v.; q 7:145f.) but alludes to their content only in general terms: “And we wrote for him on the tablets of everything an admonition ( mawʿiẓa) and exposition ( tafṣīlān) for everything.” The tradition often seems as interested in what the tablets…

Commentary and Commentaries (tafsīr, tafāsīr; taʾwīl)

(23 words)

 see exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and medieval; exegesis of the qurʾān: early modern and contemporary Bibliography

Commerce and Commercial Terminology

(9 words)

 see selling and buying Bibliography

Community and Society in the Qurʾān

(12,249 words)

Author(s): Denny, Frederick Mathewson
It is noteworthy that the Qurʾān, as Islam's preeminent source of information about God, is also the tradition's definitive guide to what constitutes a godly community and society, in both theory and practice. Although the Qurʾān's discourse on social dimensions of human existence is intended principally for guidance, inspiration and ¶ regulation of Muslims in the service of God, there is also an abundance of information on a diverse range of human groupings viewed from a religious perspective. The Qurʾān is not a textbook that explicates the sociology of ancient Arabia (see p…

Companions of the Prophet

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Kern, Linda L.
The body of people who had known or seen the Prophet Muḥammad during his lifetime. The plural “Companions of the Prophet” ( aṣḥāb al-nabī), otherwise known simply as “the Companions” (ṣaḥāba), is derived from the root ṣ-ḥ-b and has referred, at least since the classical period, to this group. (On the question of whether a merely ocular encounter with the Prophet could be considered a sufficient criterion to render someone a Companion, cf. Goldziher, ms, ii, 240.) For Sunnī Muslims, a reference to the Companions serves not ¶ only to describe certain individuals as a collective enti…


(4 words)

 see recompense Bibliography


(6 words)

 see tolerance and compulsion Bibliography

Computers and the Qurʾān

(2,379 words)

Author(s): Berg, Herbert
Electronic versions of the Qurʾān exist in two major forms: multimedia presentations of the Qurʾān on compact discs (CD-ROMs) and on the Internet, particularly on the World Wide Web (WWW). Each of these two forms has its own peculiarities and consequently they will be treated separately. The digitization of the Qurʾān also offers new but as yet relatively unexplored possibilities in computer-assisted textual analysis. Producing electronic versions of the Qurʾān presents no more of a technological difficulty than any othe…


(664 words)

Author(s): Homerin, Th. Emil
An exaggerated sense of one's own importance. The Qurʾān declares conceit and insolence toward others to be major human failings, especially when directed toward God and his prophets. Several qurʾānic terms elucidate the causes and consequences of conceit. Mukhtāl is a close Arabic equivalent to ‘self-conceit,’ and in the Qurʾān the three instances of the term are paired with the notion of boasting ( fakhūr, see boast ) as in q 31:18: ‘Do not turn your cheek away from people in contempt, or strut about the earth (q.v.); God does not love any who are self-conceited…

Concordances of the Qurʾān

(17 words)

 see tools for the study of the qurʾān; computers and the qurʾān Bibliography


(750 words)

Author(s): Brockopp, Jonathan E.
Female slaves who enter into a sexual relationship with their male master. In addition to four legal wives, Islamic law allows a Muslim man the right of sexual intercourse with his female slaves (see marriage and divorce; sex and sexuality). This right is based on ancient Arab custom (see pre-islamic arabia and the qurʾān ) and on several verses of the Qurʾān which refer to ‘that which your [or their] right hands own (mā malakat aymānukum, variants: aymānuhum, aymānuhunna, yamīnuka).’ The phrase occurs 15 times in the Qurʾān. Other qurʾānic terms for female slaves ( ama, pl. imāʾ, fatayāt) d…

Confession of Faith ()

(8 words)

 see witness testifying Bibliography


(2,799 words)

Author(s): Robinson, Chase F.
Gain or acquisition by force of arms. In the Islamic context it is associated with the ‘opening’ of a land to the message and rule of Islam. The Qurʾān, revealed as it ¶ was before the Islamic conquests had begun, does not possess a clear concept of conquest, but the Arabic root f-t-ḥ produced during the first Islamic century the technical term for the Muslims' conquests over the Byzantine and Sasanian empires ( fatḥ/futūḥ) and is frequently translated as such in the Qurʾān. The Qurʾān has much to say about warfare (see war ). It is enjoined upon those able to do so ( q 48:17 exempts the blind, cr…


(8 words)

 see blood and blood clot; kinship Bibliography

Consecration of Animals

(2,614 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
The ritual reservation or segregation of animals for religiously mandated reasons. Some information about pre-Islamic practices of this sort can be gleaned from qurʾānic statements that proscribe them. Islamic forms of animal consecration and sacrifice (q.v.) present both continuities and discontinuities with earlier practice. Consecration in pre-Islamic Arabia Animal consecration in pre-Islamic Arabia can be conveniently divided into those forms that involve bloodshed (q.v.) and those that do not (see pre-islamic arabia ¶ and the qurʾān ). For the latter the lo…
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