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Obedience

(1,400 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
Act or fact of complying with the demands of one in authority (q.v.). The idea of obedience, with its concomitant concepts of legitimate authority and power to command, occurs with considerable frequency in the Qurʾān. Though several different Arabic expressions convey the idea of obedience, derivatives of the root ṭ-w-ʿ, especially the verb aṭāʿa/yuṭīʿu, predominate, as exemplified in the longest sustained passage on obedience ( q 24:47-56). While ¶ aṭāʿa/yuṭīʿu normally means, “to obey,” it sometimes bears the less insistent meaning of “to heed” ( q 3:168). The verb ittabaʿa/yatta…

News

(720 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
Report of [recent] events. News in the Qurʾān centers around words derived from the root n-b-ʾ, especially the verb nabbaʾa/yunabbiʾu, meaning “to inform,” ¶ which occurs forty-nine times, its synonym anbaʾa/yunbiʾu, occurring four times, and the noun nabaʾ, meaning “a piece of news,” which, with its plural (anbāʾ), appears twenty-nine times. There is also a single appearance of istanbaʾa/yastanbiʾu, meaning “to ask for news” ( q 10:53). A completely different root, kh-b-r, provides seven occurrences of nouns meaning “news” or “information,” khubr, khabar, and the plural of t…

Court

(941 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
The celestial court of God as both divine ruler and judge. No qurʾānic wording directly corresponds to the concept of a celestial court but the idea is best approximated by the phrase al- malaʾ al-aʿlā which occurs only twice in the Qurʾān ( q 37:8; 38:69). q 37:6-8 reads: “We have adorned the lowest heaven (al- samāʾ al-dunyā) with adornment, the planets, a security from every daring devil. They cannot listen to al-malaʾ al-aʿlā; they are pelted from every side.” The Qurʾān contains many other scattered references to the celestial court of God, most containing only …

al-Ashʿath b. Qays

(1,301 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
Abū Muḥammad Maʿdīkarib b. Qays b. Maʿdīkarib al-Ashʿath (d. 40/661), descended from an important noble lineage of the Yemeni Kinda tribe, was an important tribal leader under the first four caliphs. Al-Ashʿath's father had converted to Judaism, which was widespread among the Kinda and in Yemen in general. Al-Ashʿath was born in eastern Ḥaḍramawt. Like the Prophet, Abū Bakr, and ʿUmar, al-Ashʿath is reported to have lived sixty-three years, placing his birth about 599. In fact, al-Ashʿath could have be…
Date: 2019-08-29

Balj b. Bishr

(847 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
Balj b. Bishr al-Qushayrī (d. 124/742) was an Umayyad-period commander in the Syrian army who played a brief but significant role in the collapse of caliphal rule over North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. He belonged to a military family of the Syrian army division (jund) of Damascus. Nothing is known of his career before 123/741. In Jumādā II 123/April-May 741, the Umayyad caliph Hishām (r. 105–25/724–43) chose Balj’s uncle Kulthūm b. ʿIyāḍ al-Qushayrī (d. 123/741), with Balj as second in command, for the daunting task of quelling the …
Date: 2019-08-29

al-ʿAbbās b. al-Walīd b. ʿAbd al-Malik

(594 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
Al-ʿAbbās b. al-Walīd b. ʿAbd al-Malik (d. 132/750) was a famous general of the Umayyad house. He was the eldest son of the caliph al-Walīd b. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān (al-Walīd I, r. 86–96/705–15) and was perhaps born around 65–70/685–690. His career as a commander began alongside the premier Umayyad general, his uncle, Maslama b. ʿAbd al-Malik (d. 121/738) on a summer expedition of the campaign of 88/707 or that of 89/708. The expedition captured Ṭuwāna (Tyana) in Anatolia, setting al-ʿAbbās on his …
Date: 2019-08-29

ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Marwān

(471 words)

Author(s): Blankinship, Khalid Yahya
ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz b. Marwān b. al-Ḥakam (d. 86/705) was the son of the Umayyad caliph Marwān I (d. 65/685) by a Kalbī mother and was a half-brother of the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik (d. 86/705). He was an heir to the caliphate and served as governor of the province of Egypt and North Africa, the latter position granted to him by his father on 1 Rajab 65/11 February 685. When ʿAbd al-Malik became caliph shortly thereafter, he required the loyal service of ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz until the counter-caliph Ibn al-Zubayr was finally eliminated in 73/692. During his governorship, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz consolidated his h…
Date: 2019-08-29