Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936)

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Humā
(185 words)

(p.), the bearded griffon, the largest of the birds of prey of the old world, which lives by preference in the neighbourhood of eternal snows; it is the Lämmergeier of the Alps. It carries off the bones of dead animals, smashes them on the rocks and eats the fragments; so that the poet Saʿdī is able to say that the humā is superior to other birds, because instead of feeding on living flesh it only requires bones (Gulistān, i. story 15). According to a popular belief, which is very ancient, the shadow of a humā falling on a person’s head is a sign that he will be raised to a throne, whence the epithet humāyū…

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Huart, Cl., “Humā”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936), Edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartmann. Consulted online on 28 October 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-871X_ei1_SIM_2871>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004082656, 1913-1936



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