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.

Subscriptions: see brill.com


(4 words)

 see darkness Bibliography


(7 words)

 see law and the qurʾān Bibliography


(6 words)

 see witness to faith Bibliography


(4 words)

 see devil Bibliography


(938 words)

Author(s): Gonzalez, Valérie
Name of the land in south Arabia whose people developed a prosperous trading civilization in the middle of the first millennium b.c.e., marked by the creation of a kingdom alongside other local states: Maʿin, Qatabān and Ḥaḍramawt. Famous for its caravan (q.v.) traffic and trade in incense and rare spices exported to Babylonia, Egypt and the Mediterranean, the region was called “Arabia Felix” by historians of classical antiquity like ¶ Ptolemy, Strabo or Pliny the Elder. The very existence of the inhabitants of Sheba, the Sabaeans — not to be confused with the Sabians (q.v.), who are di…


(5 words)

 see animal life Bibliography


(1,689 words)

Author(s): Gruendler, Beatrice
Flat writing support, made of papyrus (bardī), parchment ( raqq, riqq), leather ( adīm, jild) or, since the late second/eighth century, paper ( kāghadh), and used for recording mostly religious, legal and historical texts during the pre- and early Islamic periods (see age of ignorance; pre-islamic arabia and the qurʾān). The term “sheets” ( ṣuḥuf, sing. ṣaḥīfa) extends to the ¶ (whole or partial) texts thus recorded, synonymous with kitāb (pl. kutub; see book ), daftar (pl. dafātir) and kurrāsa (pl. karārīs). Etymologically derived from South Semitic ṣaḥafa, “to write,” ṣaḥīfa litera…


(1,125 words)

Author(s): Firestone, Reuven
The earthly manifestation of God's presence, a concept common to the Bible and the Qurʾān. Occurring in six verses, al- sakīna derives from God and is usually “sent down” to Muḥammad and/or his fellow believers. The Arabic root, s-k-n, denotes “stillness, quiet, calm, being motionless,” as in q 6:96: “[God] has made the night [for] stillness/quiet” (see also q 10:67; 27:86; 28:72; 40:61, etc.), with a secondary meaning (sometimes expressed in the causative fourth form) of “to settle down, to dwell in a habitation” ( q 2:35; 14:37; 17:104, etc.). This parallels the Hebrew/Aramaic/Sy…


(805 words)

Author(s): Lalani, Arzina R.
Literally, “party/followers.” The term shīʿa occurs eleven times in the Qurʾān, with the first use in Sūrat al-Anʿām ( q 6, “The Cattle”) and the last in Sūrat al-Qamar ( q 54, “The Moon”). The word itself is lexically derived from the Arabic verb shāʿa, yashīʿu, meaning “to spread, disseminate, divulge, publicize or become known,” and in this sense occurs once, in q 24:19: “Those who love to spread (an tashīʿa) scandal among the believers….” The primary meaning of the term shīʿa (pl. shiyaʿ and ashyāʿ) that is conveyed in the Qurʾān is that of factions, communities, people with…

Shīʿism and the Qurʾān

(7,008 words)

Author(s): Bar-Asher, Meir M.
At present, the Shīʿīs, who differ from the Sunnī majority concerning the legitimacy of the political and spiritual succession to Muḥammad, comprise about ten percent of the Islamic community. Like the Sunnīs, they enjoy a rich tradition of scholarship in Islamic sciences, including both ḥadīth collection and classification as well as qurʾānic exegesis. Just as their conception of the legitimate leadership of the Muslim community evolved differently from that of their Sunnī counterparts, so, too, did their understanding of the Qurʾān itse…


(676 words)

Author(s): Shahīd, Irfan A.
Means of transportation over water. The terms for ship in the Qurʾān are three: fulk, which occurs twenty-three times; safīna, four times and jāriya (pl. jāriyāt, jawārī) also four times. The first is probably Greek (epholkion), while the third is a purely descriptive term, “the (mellifluously) moving one.” In addition to being the most frequently employed, fulk is the most significant in qurʾānic thought. Ships in the Qurʾān appear as an important sign of God's providential care for humankind, an element in the divine economy (see grace; blessing). It is through the employment of…


(4 words)

 see clothing Bibliography

Short Titles

(5,218 words)

Abbott, Studies II N. Abbott, Studies in Arabic literary papyri. II. Qurʾānic commentary and tradition, Chicago, 1967 ʿAbd al-Bāqī Muḥammad Fuʾād ʿAbd al-Bāqī, al-Muʿjam al-mufahras li-alfāẓ al-Qurʾān al-karīm, Cairo, 1945 ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Mutashābih ʿAbd al-Jabbār b. Aḥmad al-Asadābādī al-Qāḍī al-Hamadhānī, Mutashābih al-QurʾānʿAdnān M. Zarzūr, 2 vols., Cairo, 1969 ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Tanzīh ʿAbd al-Jabbār b. Aḥmad al-Asadābādī al-Qāḍī al-Hamadhānī, Tanzīh al-Qurʾān ʿan al-maṭāʿin, Beirut, 1966 ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, ʿAṣrī ʿĀʾisha ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, al-Qurʾān wa-l-tafsīr al-ʿaṣ…


(4 words)

 see apocalypse Bibliography


(905 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
Name of a messenger mentioned eleven times in the Qurʾān. His story is dealt with in a few passages ( q 7:85-93; 11:84-95; 26:176-91; 29:36-7) where his vicissitudes with his people are described. According to the Qurʾān, Shuʿayb was sent to Madyan ( q 7:85; 11:84; 29:36; see midian ). He exhorted his people (to whom, it is stated, a sign was sent; cf. q 7:85; 11:88; see signs ) to believe in God (see belief and unbelief ) and he urged them not to cheat people by altering weights and measures (q.v.; q 7:85; 11:84-5; 26:181-2; see also cheating ). He also summoned them not to engage in cor-¶ rupt behavi…


(6 words)

 see illness and health Bibliography


(5 words)

 see humor; laughter Bibliography

Ṣiffīn, Battle of

(899 words)

Author(s): Dakake, Maria Massi
Battle which took place during the first civil war between the fourth caliph (q.v.), ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (q.v.), and Muʿāwiya b. Abī Sufyān, governor of Syria, in Ṣafar 37/July 657. Muʿāwiya, facing removal from his post by ʿAlī, decided to revive the cause of a recently defeated coalition of Medinan religious elite who had demanded that ʿAlī punish the assassins of his caliphal predecessor, ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān (see ʿuthmān ). ʿAlī refused to do so, given his ambivalence about ʿUthmān's assassination (Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, i, 3275-8; Balādhurī, Ansāb, ii, 194-7; Minqarī, Waqʿa, 31-3, 58, 82; see po…


(9 words)

 see vision and blindness; seeing and hearing Bibliography


(5,479 words)

Author(s): Abrahamov, Binyamin
Indications or portents, foreshadowing or confirming something. The concept of sign, one of the most commonly exhibited concepts in the Qurʾān, is expressed mainly by the word āya (pl. āyāt) in almost four hundred instances and by the word bayyina (pl. bayyināt) in approximately sixty cases. Several other words also convey the principal idea or some nuances of āya, for example: lesson ( ʿibra, q 12:111), pattern ( uswa, q 60:4), fact, story, discourse ( ḥadīth,¶ q 45:6), example ( mathal, q 43:57; see parable ), proof (q.v.; burhān, q 4:174), proof ( sulṭān, q 30:35), signs ( shaʿāʾir, q 22:3…
▲   Back to top   ▲