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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(824 words)

Author(s): Ammann, Ludwig
Insulting or contemptuous action or speech. Mockery ( h-z-ʾ, s-kh-r) figures regularly in the Qurʾān. The nouns and verb forms derived from h-z-ʾ appear forty-three times, those derived from s-kh-r fifteen times. Both are used synonymously as is attested by q 6:10 and q 21:41. Mockery in the Qurʾān usually expresses disbelief (see belief and unbelief ) in God and is thus closely linked with the subject of disbelieving laughter (q.v.). It does so in a more or less formulaic way and in a manner that underlines the assumed universality of Muḥammad's pro…


(1,134 words)

Author(s): Griffel, Frank
The action or an act of moderating, i.e. to abate the excessiveness of an act, to render less violent, intense, rigorous, extreme or burdensome. This concept appears in various contexts in the Qurʾān. For instance, q 17:33 calls for the self-restriction of those ¶ who have been given the right to avenge the death of one's kin (see blood money; vengeance; retaliation), and q 17:110 advises neither to utter the prayer (q.v.) aloud nor in a silent voice “and to seek a way between that” (cf. q 49:3; 7:205). The moderation of God's punishment (see chastisement and punishment; reward and punishment)…


(1,233 words)

Author(s): Hsu, Shiu-Sian Angel
Evincing decorum in one's actions and dress. The Qurʾān enjoins Muslims to observe modesty in their clothing and honesty in their behavior. It is said in q 7:26 “We have sent down raiment (see clothing ) to hide your nakedness (see nudity ) and splendid garments, but the raiment of piety (q.v.) is the best.” Instead of specifying or requiring any particular form of clothing or covering for Muslims (see veil ), the Qurʾān sets forth fairly broad statements of principle regarding modesty. q 24:31 states “Tell the believing women… not to display their adornment except that part o…

Monasticism and Monks

(2,025 words)

Author(s): Griffith, Sidney H.
From well before the rise of Islam, and then well into the later Middle Ages, monasticism was a distinctive feature of Christian life, both in the milieu in which Islam was born (see christians and christianity; south arabia, religion in pre-islamic), and in the Christian communities subsequently integrated into the world of Islam. Accordingly, from the perspective of its relationship to Islam, one must consider the phenomenon of Christian monasticism under three headings. In the first place, there is its presence in the Arabic-speaki…


(772 words)

Author(s): Sears, Stuart D.
Measure of value or medium of exchange. Money as such is barely attested in the Qurʾān. A small number of terms refer to coins of indistinct weight and fineness. Some other words denote vague units of weight (see weights and measures ) or have no monetary significance, though they often appear as monetary terms in later classical Arabic (see arabic language ). Words or phrases identifying definite units of value are absent. The phrase darāhim maʿdūda, “a counted ¶ number of silver coins,” in q 12 (Sūrat Yūsuf, “ Joseph”; q 12:20) indicates silver coins of no particular weight and fineness. Al-Z…


(6 words)

 see monasticism and monks Bibliography


(10 words)

 see god and his attributes; polytheism and atheism Bibliography


(3,116 words)

Author(s): Knysh, Alexander
The portions into which the year is divided, each one corresponding approximately to the length of a complete revolution of the moon (q.v.). As with many qurʾānic notions, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to isolate the original meaning of the word “month” from its later exegetical elaboration (see exegesis of the qurʾān: classical and medieval ). Despite efforts to identify this original meaning either contextually or by reference to parallel passages, the influences and stereotypes of this rich exegetical tradition impinge heavily upon …


(1,172 words)

Author(s): Varisco, Daniel Martin
The satellite of the earth, which takes a little less than one solar-calendar month to complete its revolution. In the Qurʾān, the general Arabic term for moon ( qamar) occurs twenty-seven times, usually paired with the sun (q.v.; shams). Sūra 54 is entitled “The Moon” (Sūrat al-Qamar), in reference to the moon seeming to split in two at the time the Meccans began to persecute the Muslims (see mecca; opposition to muḥammad). The new or crescent moon ( hilāl) appears only once (in its plural form, ahilla, q 2:189), and neither the term for the full moon ( badr) nor that for the night when no …


(7 words)

 see ethics and the qurʾān Bibliography


(1,949 words)

Author(s): Wiederhold, Lutz
The early part of the day (see day and night ). Morning as a part of the day is mentioned on several occasions in the Qurʾān. Three sūras are named after particular times or phenomena of the morning: Sūrat al-Fajr (“Dawn,” q 89), Sūrat al- Ḍuḥā (“Forenoon,” q 93) and Sūrat al-Falaq (“Daybreak,” q 113). In English, as in other Indo-European languages, uncertainty exists as to which time span the term “morning” actually covers. In these languages, morning is often interpreted as denoting “the first part of the day, until noon (q.v.),” “from sunrise (see dawn ) to noon,” or also “the time fro…


(4,742 words)

Author(s): Schöck, Cornelia
The most prominent pre-Islamic prophet in the Qurʾān and in extra-qurʾānic Islamic tradition (see prophets and prophethood ). Moses' name (Mūsā) is attested 136 times in the Qurʾān, in passages of varying length and narrative complexity. The qurʾānic narratives dealing with Moses and the allusions to him far exceed those relating to other figures of the Islamic history of salvation (q.v.), including Abraham (q.v.). The references to Moses are spread throughout the Qurʾān, with mentions already in the Meccan sūra…


(7,233 words)

Author(s): Bloom, Jonathan M.
A Muslim place of prayer (q.v.). The English word “mosque” derives, via the French ¶ mosquée, the Old French mousquaie, the Old Italian moschea and moscheta, and the Old Spanish mezquita, from the Arabic word masjid, meaning a place of prostration ( sajda, see bowing and prostration ) before God. The word masjid (and its plural masājid) appears twenty-seven times in the Qurʾān, fifteen times in the phrase al-masjid al-ḥarām, “the holy mosque,” where it presumably refers to the sanctuary surrounding the Kaʿba (q.v.) in Mecca (q.v.). The word masjid is used once in the phrase al-masjid al-aq…

Mosque of the Dissension

(1,399 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Scene (and symbol) of opposition to Muḥammad in Medina (q.v.) in 9/630, to which allusion is made in q 9:107: “And those who have taken a mosque (q.v.) in opposition ( ḍirāran, see opposition to muḥammad ) and unbelief (see belief and unbelief ), and to divide the believers, and as a place of ambush for those who fought God and his messenger (q.v.) aforetime, will swear ‘We desire nothing but good’; and God testifies they are truly liars (see lie ).” This obscure incident took place in Qubāʾ, in upper (i.e. southern) Medina (see Lecker, Muslims, map. 2), sometime after Rajab 9/October 630 …


(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography


(5 words)

 see parents; family Bibliography

Mother of the Book

(7 words)

 see book Bibliography


(8 words)

 see nature as signs; geography; cosmology Bibliography

Mount Ararat

(5 words)

 see ararat Bibliography

Mount Sinai

(6 words)

 see sinai; moses Bibliography
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