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ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib

(835 words)

Author(s): Asani, Ali S.
The cousin of the Prophet Muḥammad and husband of his daughter Fāṭima. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 40/661) was among the first to embrace Islam and was renowned for his loyalty to the Prophet and his courageous role in a number of the military expeditions in the defense of the early Muslim community. Also known for his piety, his profound knowledge of the Qurʾān and the sunna (the exemplary practice of the Prophet; see sunna ), he figures prominently in several esoteric traditions in Islam including Ṣūfism (see ṣūfism and the qurʾān ). Shīʿī Muslims — originally “the partisans of ʿAlī” ( shīʿat ʿAlī, s…

South Asian Literatures and the Qurʾān

(2,454 words)

Author(s): Asani, Ali S.
With a Muslim population of over 300 million, south Asia ( India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) is home to the largest concentration of Muslims in the world. Muslims in the region have employed a wide variety of languages to compose their literatures. Among these languages, Arabic and Persian have historically played a cosmopolitan role, for they have enabled sout…


(563 words)

Author(s): Asani, Ali S.
, North Indian mystic and poet (d. ca. 1448). Although Kabīr is regarded as one of the most influential saint-poets of mediaeval Northern India, there is very little authentic information concerning his life. We can reliably state that he was born in Benares to a family of low-caste Muslim weavers called d̲j̲ulāhā s, probably in the opening years of the 9th/15th century. Beyond this, various hagiographies of Kabīr, depending on the authors’ sectarian affiliation, make competing claims that he was a Muslim Ṣūfī, a Hindu with …


(594 words)

Author(s): Asani, Ali S.
, mystique et poète de l’Inde du Nord (m. vers 852/1448). Bien que Kabīr soit considéré comme un des plus influents saints-poètes de l’Inde septentrionale médiévale, on dispose de peu d’informations avérées sur sa vie. On peut avancer qu’il naquit, sans doute dans les premières années du IXe/XVe s., à Bénarès, dans une famille musulmane de basse caste de tisserands, appelée d̲j̲ulāhās. Outre cela, les hagiographies varices de Kabīr, selon l’affiliation sectaire de l’auteur, s’efforçaient de prouver que cela avait été un Musulman ṣūfī, ou un Hindou suivant…

Family of the Prophet

(807 words)

Author(s): Asani, Ali S.A.
The extended family (q.v.) of the prophet Muḥammad (q.v.), to which the Qurʾān contains several references clearly intended to distinguish them from other Muslims. This is in accord with the general tendency in the Qurʾān of exalting the family and descendants of most prophets (see prophets and prophethood ), as is evidenced, for example, in q 3 (Sūrat Āl ʿImrān), a sūra named after the family of ʿImrān (q.v.), the father of Moses (q.v.). The specific contexts in which the Qurʾān refers to the prophet Muḥammad's family are diverse. q 8:41 and 59:7 designate a portion of the booty (q.v.…