Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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(568 words)

In the Qurʾān abstinence in the sense of “restraint in or refraining from the indulgence of human appetites and impulses” is connected with words deriving from four different Arabic roots, namely ʾ-l-w, ʿ-ṣ-m, ʿ-f-f and h-j-r.

The paradigmatic event for the qurʾānic notion of abstinence is q 74:2-5, which recounts one of the early examples of Muḥammad's experience of coming close to God as the revelation descends on him. God commands, “Arise and warn, your Lord magnify, your robes purify, and defilement flee (fa-hjur).” Drawing close to God requires abandoning or fleeing from…

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McDonough, Sheila, “Abstinence”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 30 March 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00004>

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