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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(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography

Gog and Magog

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Lewinstein, Keith
Two peoples known to Jewish and Christian eschatology and similarly associated by the Qurʾān and Muslim tradition with events at the end of time. The coming of Gog and Magog (Ar. Yājūj and Mājūj or Yāʾjūj and Māʾjūj), according to one ḥadīth, will be one of ten principal “signs of the hour” (Muslim, Saḥīḥ [K. Fitan], xviii, 27; Nuʿaym b. Ḥammād, Fitan, 404, 406); the two will be set loose upon the earth to work their evil in anticipation of the apocalyptic descent of Jesus (q.v.; s…


(721 words)

Author(s): Schönig, Hannelore
A yellow metallic element, the most precious…

Gold [Supplement 2016]

(1,017 words)

Author(s): Hanne Schönig
The precious metal gold (Ar. dhahab) is a symbol of wealth and hence also of power and authority. It is worthless and pointless in this world, but is one of the pleasures and luxuries with which the believers will be rewarded in Paradise.
Date: 2016-11-17


(430 words)

Author(s): Lindsay, James E.
Foe of the Children of Israel (q.v.) slain by David (q.v.). Goliath's name (Jālūt; this Arabic rendition of the name is possibly influenced by the Heb. word for exile, gālūt; cf. Vajda, Djālūt) is mentioned three times in q 2:249-51 wherein he is portrayed as the ancient Israelites' opponent in battle. The qurʾānic account conflates the biblical story of Gideon's conflict with the Midianites (see midian ) — in particular the episode wherein God instructed Gideon to ¶ select only those men who drank from the river by scooping water with their hand ( Judg 7:1-7) — with the account of the wars of Sau…

Good and Evil

(2,678 words)

Author(s): Wheeler, Brannon M.
Frequently paired terms that can connote moral qualities, ontological entites and categories of judgment, both human and divine. The direct opposition of an abstract good and evil as moral or ontological categories is not common in the Qurʾān, nor are there terms that are necessarily always understood as “good” or “evil,” though many passages in the Qurʾān are interpreted to depend on the opposition of positive and negative intentions and consequences. Note also that unlike the biblical account, in q 2:35 and 20:120 it is stated that it was the tree of life from which Adam and Eve (q.v.) we…

Good Deeds

(752 words)

Author(s): Wheeler, Brannon M.
Meritorious acts that will accrue to an individual's benefit on the day of judgment. The term normally translated as “good deeds” ( ḥasana, pl. ḥasanāt) occurs twenty-nine times in the Qurʾān. Related are two words, usually translated as “good,” which occur as a noun ( ḥusn) six times, and as an adjective (ḥasan) nineteen times. Another term often translated as “good deeds” ( ṣāliḥāt) is found 63 times in the Qurʾān, but often with the sense of “good things” or actions which produce good things rather than actions which are consistent with God's will. According to Muslim exegesis of the …

Good News

(776 words)

Author(s): Peterson, Daniel C.
Tidings of welcome events. In the Qurʾān, “good news” ( bushrā, as well as various permutations of the second verbal form of the ¶ root b-sh-r) signifies the announcement of a birth and, by extension, other welcome occurrences. Thus, the prediction of Isaac (q.v.) and Jacob (q.v.) given to Sarah was good news ( q 11:69-74; 15:51-5; 29:31; 37:100-1, 112; 51:28) as were the announcements of John the Baptist (q.v.) to Zechariah (q.v.; q 3:39; 19:7) and of Jesus (q.v.) to Mary (q.v.; q 3:45). Jesus himself proclaimed the good news of the coming of Muḥammad ( q 61:6). The good news when the cara…


(1,008 words)

Author(s): Griffith, Sidney H.
In Christianity, the “ good news” preached about Jesus Christ; in the Qurʾān, part of the divine message given to Jesus (q.v.). Of the twelve times the Gospel (al- injīl) is mentioned in the Qurʾān, in nine of them it occurs in conjunction with the mention of the Torah (q.v.; al- tawrāt), as a scripture sent down by God (see scripture and the qurʾān; book). Together with wisdom (q.v.; al- ḥikma), the Torah and the Gospel appear to comprise the ‘scripture’ (al- kitāb) that the Qurʾān says God taught to Jesus ( q 3:48; 5:110). Twice the Qurʾān says explicitly that God brought Jesus the Gospel ( q 5:46; 5…


(699 words)

Author(s): Rowson, Everett K.
Idle discussion of an absent party's personal affairs. Although no exact equivalent to the English “gossip” is to be found in the Qurʾān, there are several explicit condemnations of the closely related phenomenon of backbiting, that is, deliberately spreading information, whether true or false, to someone's discredit; and two further passages address, somewhat obliquely, painful incidents of destructive talk involving the Prophet's wives (see wives of the prophet ). Backbiting ( ightiyāb, lamz, hamz, namīm At q 49:11-2 the believers are enjoined to avoid expressing disr…


(597 words)

Author(s): Mir, Mustansir
Undeserved favor or unmerited salvation. Grace has no linguistic or conceptual equivalent in the Qurʾān, although faḍl in certain contexts suggests shades of that meaning. q 2:64, criticizing the Israelites (see children of israel ) for breaking a covenant (q.v.) with God, says “Were it not for God's faḍl upon you and his mercy (q.v.), you would have been among the losers.” This implies that while, strictly-speaking, the breach called for punishment (see chastisement and punishment ), God's faḍl gave the Israelites respite and another chance. It was David's (q.v.) special gift that…


(7 words)

 see grasses; agriculture and vegetation Bibliography

Grammar and the Qurʾān

(14,355 words)

Author(s): Talmon, Rafael
Qurʾānic language and text Modern students of Arabic linguistics have been studying several fundamental questions about qurʾānic language and text ever since the earliest formulations of these investigations some hundred years ago (see language of the qurʾān; literary structures of the qurʾān). The qurʾānic text constitutes one of the three early language corpora that reflect language varieties of Arabic speakers in pre-Islamic Arabia (see arabic language ). The other two corpora are poetry (usually inclusive of almost all the pre-ʿAbbāsid Islamic inventory; see poetr…


(9 words)

 see food and drink; houris; paradise; garden Bibliography


(361 words)

Author(s): Waines, David
Plants distinguished by their jointed stems, narrow and spear-shaped blades and fruits of a seedlike grain; also, the green herbage affording food for cattle and other grazing animals. The Qurʾān does not contain spe-¶ cific words for grass(es) as used in the modern Arabic language such as ʿushb and ḥashīsh. The word ḍighth in q 38:44, rendered in some translations as “a handful of (green or dry) grass,” can also refer to a mixture of herbs or a handful of twigs from trees or shrubs; Lane conveys a gloss of the term in the same passage as “a bundle of rushes.” Al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923) understands…

Gratitude and Ingratitude

(2,251 words)

Author(s): Sanneh, Lamin
Thankfulness or disdain in response to a kindness. A dominant feature of the concept of gratitude in the Qurʾān is its use to describe the spiritual bond binding the believer to God. Gratitude has a very broad semantic field in the Qurʾān with a strong theocentric character in the sense that gratitude is owed chiefly to God, even if that means through what God has made and the offices he has appointed. Gratitude is a spiritual and moral state of mind, spiritual in the sense of acknowledging the …


(4 words)

 see avarice Bibliography


(4 words)

 see byzantines Bibliography


(922 words)

Author(s): Giladi, Avner
Care and management of the person and/or property of a person deemed incapable of managing his or her own affairs. Although the Qurʾān has no specific term for guardian and nowhere says what kind of relationship (kinship of a certain degree or otherwise) should exist between a guardian and ward, guardianship is nonetheless referred to in several verses. It is understood that (a) minors and (b) women are those who ought to be protected by male, adult guardians (see also children; women and the qurʾān). The Qurʾān, probably against a background of injustice and violence to which o…
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