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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(7 words)

 see grasses; agriculture and vegetation Bibliography


(4 words)

 see flogging Bibliography


(1,078 words)

Author(s): Chabbi, Jacqueline
Barely audible speech or sound, often with sibilance. The Qurʾān is a text to be heard ( samʿ) more than to be read and within the text there are many allusions to aurality and its different degrees (see book; recitation of the qurʾān; orality; orality and writing in arabia). In the most common qurʾānic scenario one hears a noise without discerning its source. This is the meaning of ḥasīs in q 21:102. Those who will escape the tortures of hell ( jahannam; see hell and hellfire; reward and punishment) on the day of promise ( waʿd) will be saved by discerning (aurally) the presence of the b…


(6 words)

 see colors; weeping; eyes Bibliography


(6 words)

 see good and evil Bibliography


(718 words)

Author(s): Siddiqui, Mona
A woman whose husband has died. The Qurʾān speaks of the widow by addressing the male believers in q 2:234-5 (see belief and unbelief ), who die leaving behind wives (yadharūna azwājan). The term itself has no Arabic equivalent in the Qurʾān though it is implied in the status of the thayyibāt in q 66:5, which refers to any woman who is not a virgin (see chastity; abstinence), a woman who has had sexual intercourse (see sex and sexuality ) either as a previously married woman, a divorced woman (see marriage and divorce ) or a ¶ widow. In this particular verse, the wives of the Prophet (q.v.)…


(6 words)

 see marriage and divorce Bibliography


(7 words)

 see freedom and predestination; inheritance Bibliography


(6 words)

 see air and wind Bibliography


(881 words)

Author(s): Kueny, Kathryn
Intoxicating beverage made from fermented grapes or other substances. The most common word for wine in the Qurʾān is khamr, a term prevalent in early Arabic poetry, although the Arabs of the peninsula customarily drank nabīdh, a fermented beverage made, for example, from barley, honey, spelt or different kinds of palms. While the climate and geography of much of “ Arabia” is not suitable for wine production, parts of the Yemen, as well as areas such as Medina and Ṭāʾif, would have had the necessary conditions for the cultivation of grapes. Wine was also imported from Syria and Iraq, particul…


(4 words)

 see seasons Bibliography


(624 words)

Author(s): Radtke, Bernd
Ability to understand deeply and judge soundly. God is wise ( ḥakīm). He is, however, never described by this characteristic alone, but always in conjunction with another characteristic. Ḥakīm is most frequently connected with ʿazīz, “almighty” (forty-seven times; see power and impotence ), and almost as frequently is God described as ḥakīm and ʿalīm, “omniscient” (thirty-six times; see knowledge and learning; intellect). Ḥakīm with khabīr, “knowing,” is rare (three times) and even rarer are the occurrences of ḥakīm with “forgiving” ( tawwāb), “all-embracing” ( wāsiʿ), “praisew…

Wish and Desire

(2,370 words)

Author(s): Buturovic, Amila
The act of hoping for or wanting something and the object of that act. There are three main agencies through which wish and desire are exercised in the Qurʾān: one is divine, another human, and the third satanic (see devil ). The manifestations and the interplay of the three create an ethical tension (see ethics and the qurʾān ) that evokes questions of accountability, responsibility (q.v.) and justice (see justice and injustice ). In that sense, wish and desire become the principles whereby the subject and the object are placed into a value-laden relationship. Be it an act of God, Satan, or t…


(5 words)

 see humor; intellect Bibliography

Witnessing and Testifying

(9,637 words)

Author(s): Radscheit, Matthias
Perceiving something and giving evidence of it. These two notions are distinct from each other but interrelated, insofar as the one is the prerequisite of the other. Also, the act of perception results in knowledge that can later be passed on, and so may be considered to be oriented towards the future; bearing evidence, by contrast, refers to the past. Thus, witnessing and testifying establishes a chain of information, with the witness serving as a connecting link between a past event and a pers…

Witness to Faith

(2,338 words)

Author(s): Rippin, Andrew
Arabic shahāda, i.e. the statement “I testify that there is no god but God and I testify that Muḥammad is the messenger of God,” ashhadu an lā ilāha illā llāh wa-ashhadu anna Muḥammadan rasūlu llāh. The utterance of the statement in Arabic is required of all Muslims to signify acceptance of Islam and thus it must be said at least once, with full intention, in a lifetime. The shahāda also plays a central role in the structure of the daily prayer (q.v.; ṣalāt) as well as in other life-cycle occasions and thus is repeated frequently in a Muslim's life. In the Qurʾān the statemen…

Wives of the Prophet

(9,219 words)

Author(s): Stowasser, Barbara Freyer
The Prophet is usually said to have had thirteen wives or concubines, of whom nine survived him. But there is some dispute as to the identity of the thirteen. Some modern Muslim biographers have linked the large size of the Prophet's harem to the fact that all of the Prophet's marriages had been concluded by the time that the early Medinan revelation of q 4:3 limited the number of wives to four (Haykal, Life of Muḥammad, 293; see marriage and divorce ). Conversely, an Orientalist historian of the qurʾānic text has suggested that the Prophet had only four wives at the time of the revelation of q 4:3 …