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Bilḳīs

(644 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
is the name among Muḥammadans for the Queen of Sheba. The story, given in I Kings x., —10, 13, of how the Queen of Sheba (Saba) came to Solomon to prove him with hard questions, early gave rise to the formation of further legends. Muḥammad in the Ḳorʾān xxvii. 20-45, relates how the heathen Queen of Sheba, who worshipped the sun, received a letter, borne by a hoopoe, from Solomon demanding that she should worship the true God. The Queen in terror sent presents to Solomon which were not well received. When she herself came to Solomon, the latte…

Ḏj̲ālūt

(414 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Goliath of the Bible. Muslim tradition has somewhat increased his importance, for in addition to the well known story of David’s fight with him, several other episodes from various chapters of the Bible, relating to the wars of the Israelites with the Midianites and Philistines, are connected with his name. The Ḳorʾān briefly narrates how Ḏj̲ālut attacked Ṭālūt (Saul) and how he was killed by David (ii. 250—252). It places in this campaign the story of the soldiers who were tested by their manner of drinking at the crossing of a river, an e…

Ḏh̲arra

(226 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a word meaning something very small such as an ant or a speck of dust, which is used by Muḥammad in the Ḳorʾān to indicate the perfection of various qualities of God. For example the perfection of his justice: “God will not wrong any one even by the weight of a d̲h̲arra” (iv. 44, and cf. xcix, 7-8); the perfection of his knowledge: “The weight of a d̲h̲arra, on the earth or in the heavens, would not escape your Lord” (x. 62, and cf. xxxiv. 3 and vi. 59); the greatness of his power: “call upon those whom you believe to exist besides God; they have no power in h…

S̲h̲iḳḳ

(294 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
1. S̲h̲iḳḳ is the name of two diviners who lived shortly before the rise of Islām. According to the Synopsis of Marvels, S̲h̲iḳḳ the elder was the first diviner among the Arabs of ʿAriba. He is quite a fabulous personage. Like the Cyclops, he had only one eye in the middle of his forehead or a fire which split his forehead into two ( s̲h̲aḳḳa to split). He is also mixed up with Dad̲j̲d̲j̲āl, Antichrist, or at least Dad̲j̲d̲j̲al is of his family. He is said to have lived chained to a rock on an island where volcanic phenomena occurred. The second S̲h̲iḳḳ call…

Tad̲h̲kira

(172 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), memorial, memorandum, from d̲h̲akara “to record”. The word appears in the titles of many famous works: the Memorandum of Astronomy of Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī, the Tad̲h̲kirat al-Awliyāʾ, “Memorial of the Saints” of Farīd al-Dīn ʿAṭṭār, the Tad̲h̲kirat al-S̲h̲uʿarāʾ. “memorial of the poets”, a biography of the poets, popular in Persia. In administrative language it means: ticket, memorandum, permit. It is the name given to travellers’ passports, yol tad̲h̲kirèsi, to the custom house office’s exeat: murūr tad̲h̲kirèsi. It is also more especially applied to the diplomas of…

Dahr

(142 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
This word is used by the philosophers to mean “eternity” in opposition to time. Time is regarded as something transitory and fleeting and eternity on the other hand as abiding. Time is the abode of that which changes or alters; it is measured by the movements of the heavenly bodies. Things, which do not move and are eternal, have their place not in time but in eternity, like the “Ideas” of Plato. The latter, philosophers tell us, is in a sense the basis of time; it is the “inner principle of time”, bāṭin al-zamān (cf. my Avicenne, p. 189). The book of the taʿrīfāt gives the following definition o…

Tas̲h̲rīḥ

(1,027 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), general sense: opening, exposition. It has two special meanings: I. exposition of a science, commentary on a book, like s̲h̲arḥ [q. v.]; 2. the science of anatomy which is the “opening” and exposition of the structure of the body. The two meanings are found in one sentence in Ibn al-Ḳifṭī: “Galen was the key of medicine, its bāsiṭ and its s̲h̲āriḥ, that is to say, it was he who expounded it and commented upon it… No one ever surpassed him in the science of tas̲h̲rīḥ and he wrote 17 books upon it.” The reference here is to anatomy. Anatomy was not a very popular science in Islām; the rep…

Dāʾūd

(814 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(the Biblical David). The Ḳorʾān has several passages in which reference is made to the legend of the kingly prophet David, the Ḵh̲alīfa of Allāh ( Sūra, 38, 25). Like the legends of the other prophets, it has been somewhat corrupted and shows signs of Rabbinical influence or ¶ of an effort to explain certain imperfectly known verses of the Bible. Muḥammad knew that David slew Goliath (Ḏj̲ālūt) ( Ḳorʾān, Sūra 2, 250 et seq.) and that he received the Psalms from God: The Book of Psalms is one of the four volumes of the Bible with which Muḥammad was acquainted. David sh…

Walī

(2,438 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.) 1. From the Arabie root wala, to be near, and waliya, to govern, to rule, to protect someone. In ordinary use this word means protector, benefactor, companion, friend and is applied also to near relatives, especially in Turkish [cf. the art. ʿaṣaban wilāya]. When used in a religious connection walī corresponds very much to our title “saint”; but the idea behind it has given rise to a regular theory and in practice has attained sufficient importance for it to be necessary to explain the use of the term. In the Ḳurʾān this theory does not yet exist; the term walī is found there with several…

Saif al-Dawla

(1,055 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, Abu ’l-Ḥasan ʿAlī Ibn Ḥamdān, the most important ruler of the Ḥamdānid dynasty, lord of Aleppo, famous for his military activities, his struggle with the Greeks and the protection which he gave to scholars. He was born in 303 (915/916) or perhaps in 301. He was the grandson of Ibn Ḥamdān, who owned the fortress of Mārdīn and rebelled against the Caliph al-Muʿtaḍid in 281. His father Abu ’l-Haid̲j̲āʾ in 302 received the governorship of Mawṣil and of Mesopotamia from the Caliph al-Muktadir; he fought against the Ḳarmaṭians in 315…

Yaḥyā

(730 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, John the Baptist. This prophet plays a fairly prominent part in the Ḳurʾān, which mentions him with Jesus, Elijah and other prophets among the just persons who serve as arguments for the oneness of God (Sūra vi. 83). The history in the Gospels of his miraculous birth is twice given (iii. 33—36 and xix. 1 sq.): God gives him to his parents Zacharias and Elisabeth in spite of their years. There is a kind of annunciation to Zacharias: “O Zacharias, we announce a son to thee; his name shall be Yaḥyā; no one has borne this name before him” (xix. 7). Yaḥ…

Ḏj̲awhar

(845 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.) “substance”. The notion of substance is not so prominent in Oriental scholasticism as it was among the schoolmen of the west. The Muslim thinkers, following the Greek conception, regarded substance as that which exists by itself, which logically at least requires nothing else for its existence; it is opposed to the accident which is always in some thing other than itself; thus for example the body logically exists before the colour; it is considered a substance with regard to it and the col…

Sindibād-Nāme

(407 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(Syntipas), a widely known collection of stories, which since the time of Pétis de la Croix has been much studied by folklorists. The general theme is as follows: A king entrusts the education of his son to the sage Sindibād. The prince is ordered by his tutor to keep silence for seven days; during this time he is calumniated by the favourite queen and the king is on the point of putting him to death. Seven viziers, by each telling one or two stories succeed in postponing his execution and on t…

al-Ṣābiʾa

(1,170 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Sabaeans. This name has been given to two quite distinct sects. 1. the Mandaeans or Subbas, a Judaeo-Christian sect practising the rite of baptism in Mesopotamia (Christians of John the Baptist); 2. the Sabaeans of Ḥarrān, a pagan sect which survived for a considerable period under Islām, of interest for its doctrines and of importance for the scholars whom it has produced. The Sabaeans mentioned in the Ḳorʾān, who are on three occasions placed along with the Jews and Christians among the “people of the book”, i. e. possessors of a revealed book, are a…

Ḏj̲ābir

(577 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
b. Ḥaiyān, whose full name was Abū Mūsā Ḏj̲ābir b. Ḥaiyān al-Azdī, a famous Arab alchemist, known in the Christian middle ages as Geber, his nisba is sometimes given as Ṭūsī and sometimes as Ṭarṭūsī. He is said to have been Ṣābī whence his name al-Ḥarrānī, which is found once, to have early become a convert to Islām and to have shown great enthusiasm for this new religion; the name al-Ṣūfī dates from a later period. His teachers were Ḵh̲ālid b. Yazīd b. Muʿāwiya (d. 85 = 704), on which account he is also called ¶ al-Umawī the “Umaiyad”, and Ḏj̲aʿfar al-Ṣādiḳ; [q. v.]. This is the story gi…

Ḏh̲u ’l-Nūn

(475 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, Abu ’l-Fāʾiḍ b. Ibrāhīm al-Miṣrī, one of the most celebrated ascetics of early Ṣūfīsm Was a native of Ak̲h̲mīm, born of Nubian parents; his real name was T̲h̲awbān but he is usually called Ḏh̲u ’l-Nūn the Egyptian. He lived in Egypt and died at Ḏj̲īza (Ghīzeh) in 245 = 860. He is numbered among the “Polestars” ( Ḳuṭb) and the ʿAyārān, i. e. “hidden saints” (cf. Bāyazīd al-Bisṭāmi); his name is followed by the invocation: “may God sanctify his hidden state”. Cf. this formula in the title of one of the articles of Book II. of the Mat̲h̲nawī of Rūmī. He is said to have lived unknown and his g…

Ḏj̲ism

(513 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the body. The study of bodies is the subject of physics. Avicenna devotes the second part of his Nad̲j̲āt to the notion of a physical body, in which the Peripatetic doctrine may be recognised. All bodies in nature consist of matter as place or support and a form which dwells in the matter, as for example the form of a statue has its abode in iron. Forms have three dimensions, i. e. they stretch in three directions cutting themselves at right angles. Matter does not have these dimensions by its nature; but it is …

al-Dad̲j̲d̲j̲āl

(458 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a fabulous personage in Muḥammadan eschatology, a kind of Antichrist. According to Arab legend, he dwells in one of the islands of the empire of the Mahārād̲j̲ or the Zābad̲j̲ (Java). The sailors of Sīrāf and of ʿOmān say that, in passing near this island, beautiful music is heard, produced on the lute, the oboe, the tambourine and other instruments, accompanied by dancing and the clapping of hands. This story is widely diffused; it is found in Ibn Ḵh̲ordād̲h̲bih, al-Bīrūnī, Ḳazwīnī, Dimis̲h̲ḳī, Ḏj̲urd̲j̲ānī, Ibn Iyās, Masʿūdī’s Prairies d’Or (Meynard et de Courteille, i. 343) and Kitāb …

Zamzam

(410 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the sacred well of Mecca, also called the well of Ismāʿīl. It is in al-ḥaram al-s̲h̲arīf S. E. of the Kaʿba opposite the coiner of the sanctuary in which the Black Stone is inserted. It is 140 feet deep and is surmounted by an elegant dome. The pilgrims drink its water as health-giving and take it home with them to give it to the sick. Zamzam in Arabic means “abundant water” and zamzama “to drink by little gulps” and “to mutter through the teeth”. Muslim tradition connects the origin of this well with the story of Abraham. It was opened by the angel Gabriel to save Hagar and h…

Buḳrāṭ

(639 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
is the Arabie form of the name Hippocrates. — Hippocrates enjoyed a great reputation among Eastern scholars and many of his works were known to them. Sergius of Rasʿain translated him into Syriac; Ḥunain b. Isḥālḳ, Ḳusṭā b. Lūḳā, ʿĪsā b. Yaḥyā and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. ʿAlī were his principal translators into Arabic. Hunain translated the Book of Epidemics; under this title the Arabs knew seven books of which only the first and third are authentically by Hippocrates. The same translator produced versions of the treatises, entitled Prognostica and De Natura Hominis. ʿĪsā b. Yaḥyā translate…
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