Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

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Fitna in early Islamic history
(874 words)

The word fitna (pl. fitan), which occurs thirty-four times in the Qurʾān—where it means approximately “trial, temptation” (or perhaps “distraction [from the faith]”)—was found across religious and political boundaries in early Islam. Its pre-Islamic usage appears to include the idea of “a melting (of metals) in order to separate or distinguish the good from the bad” (Lane, s.v. fitna; as perhaps in Q 21:35, 54:27), but in the Qurʾānic text it is often contrasted with some absolute, such as “killing” or “death” (Q 2:191, 217), which are said to be preferable to the fitna, with its associ…

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Cook, David B., “Fitna in early Islamic history”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 21 April 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_27151>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: 9789004234871, 2012, 2012-4

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