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Christians and Christianity in Islamic exegesis

(11,552 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Introduction Great efforts have been made to shed light on the conudrums of the Arabic Qurʾān, both linguistically, lexically and philologically, 1  and thematically and historically. 2  In recent decades the tendency has been to consider that it belongs, at least in part, within the textual or discursive framework of the early Christian or patristic eras, or the world of late antiquity. 3  Indeed, pre-Islamic Arabia ‘was not isolated from the main currents of world culture and religion’, 4  as appears in the striking continuity between the sources of the Qurʾān on Jesus, …

Exegesis of the Qurʾān: Classical and Medieval

(15,905 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Interpretation of the Qurʾān in the pre-modern period. Qurʾānic exegesis (tafsīr, taʾwīl) is one of the most important branches of the qurʾānic sciences ( ʿulūm al-Qurʾān, see traditional disciplines of qurʾānic study ), but is only one part of the wider Islamic hermeneutics, which also comprises the legal hermeneutics operative in the arena of ḥadīth and law (see ḥadīth and the qurʾān; law and the qurʾān). This latter type of hermeneutics, however, plays a leading role in the qurʾānic commentaries. Etymology and significance of the Arabic words tafsīr, taʾwīl, and related terms The Ar…

Narratives

(7,243 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Stories of individuals and communities of the past, of varying length, many of which appear in numerous renditions throughout the qurʾānic text, but are found predominantly in the Meccan sūras of the Qurʾān (see chronology and the qurʾān ). Although the Qurʾān does relate the tales of prophets (see prophets and prophethood ) and other notable persons, tales that presumably were already familiar to the first auditors of the Qurʾān (see orality and writing in arabia; south arabia, religion in pre-islamic), the stories that are characterized as “narratives” contain certain req…

Traditional Disciplines of Qurʾānic Studies

(13,815 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
In Islamic theological representation the Qurʾān is considered the “knowledge/science” ( ʿilm), so it is not surprising that the understanding and exegesis (tafsīr) of this text were considered the most excellent kinds of knowledge (see knowledge and learning ). Thus in a tradition attributed to Muḥammad (see ḥadīth and the qurʾān ), transmitted by the Companion Ibn Masʿūd (see companions of the prophet ), we read: “Whoever wants knowledge, has to scrutinize the Qurʾān, because it contains the knowledge of the first and last (generations)” (Ibn Abī Shayba, Muṣannaf, vi, 127, no. 30…

Mosque of the Dissension

(1,399 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Scene (and symbol) of opposition to Muḥammad in Medina (q.v.) in 9/630, to which allusion is made in q 9:107: “And those who have taken a mosque (q.v.) in opposition ( ḍirāran, see opposition to muḥammad ) and unbelief (see belief and unbelief ), and to divide the believers, and as a place of ambush for those who fought God and his messenger (q.v.) aforetime, will swear ‘We desire nothing but good’; and God testifies they are truly liars (see lie ).” This obscure incident took place in Qubāʾ, in upper (i.e. southern) Medina (see Lecker, Muslims, map. 2), sometime after Rajab 9/October 630 …

Informants

(3,919 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
According to Muḥammad's detractors, the people who provided Muḥammad with the knowledge that he said came from God. The question of whether Muḥammad relied on informants bears upon discussions surrounding the origin of the Qurʾān. Many of the qurʾānic narratives (q.v.) must not have sounded new to the Meccan opponents of Muḥammad (see opposition to muḥammad ), and they used to say, gibing at him: “‘This is nothing but falsehood he has forged, and other folk have helped him to it…’. They say: ‘Fairy-tales (or, probably better: writings, asāṭīr, pl. of usṭura, from saṭara, “to write”: see…

Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī

(936 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū Ḥātim Muḥammad b. Idrīs b. al-Mundhir b. Dāwūd b. Mihrān al-Rāzī al-Ḥanẓalī (al-Jazzī al-Ghaṭafānī) (195-Shaʿbān 277/810 or 811–890, in Rayy) was an Iranian ḥadīth scholar; his epithet “al-Ḥanẓalī” is said to have come from one of his ancestors—a mawlā of the Banū Tamīm b. Ḥanẓala al-Ghaṭafānī or of the Banū Tamīm b. Ḥanẓala b. Yarbūʿ—or from the Darb al-Ḥanẓala, a street in Rayy. His family came from the village of Jazz—called by al-Dhahabī (d. 748/1348) “Jarūkānin,” which is identified by the editors as Jurwāʾān (13:250)—in the…
Date: 2019-08-29

Attributes of God

(3,423 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
The attributes of God (Ar. ṣifa, pl. ṣifāt, or naʿt, pl. nuʿūt) constitute an important subject in Islamic theology that over the centuries has engendered a great deal of discussion among various theologians, philosophers, and schools of thought, including the Muʿtazila, the Ashʿariyya, and the Māturīdiyya. 1. Philology, grammar, and theology The Arabic word corresponding to “attribute” is ṣifa (pl. ṣifāt), also meaning “qualification,” which, along with waṣf (pl. awṣāf), is a verbal noun from the verb waṣafa, “to describe or characterise,” or “to ascribe” (a quality or …
Date: 2019-08-29

al-Isfarāyīnī, Abū Ḥāmid

(1,393 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū Ḥāmid Aḥmad b. Abī Ṭāhir Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Isfarāyīnī al-Shāfiʿī, also called Ibn Abī Ṭāhir or al-Shaykh Abū Ḥāmid (b. 344/955–6, d. Saturday 19 Shawwāl 406/31 March 1016), was a Shāfiʿī scholar born in Isfarāyīn, in northwestern Khurāsān. Two Abū Ḥāmids must be distinguished in the Shāfiʿ ī literature besides Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī, al-Shaykh Abū Ḥāmid (al-Isfarāyīnī) and al-Qāḍī Abū Ḥāmid (al-Marwarrūdhī, d. 362/973) (al-Dhahabī, 16, 166–7, 184; al-Nawawī, Majmūʿ, 1:113). Such is the case, for instance, in Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī's (d. 476/1083) al-Lumaʿ (no. 31, for the se…
Date: 2019-08-29

Arrogance

(4,859 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Arrogance and haughtiness, for which there are a number of terms in Arabic, are vices that figure prominently in Islamic judgements of human nature and behaviour. In pre-Islamic times boasting was a familiar literary trope in the poetical jousts between Arab tribes. The arrogance of man towards God is referred to numerous times in the Qurʾān, and in the Islamic traditions (ḥadīth), arrogance and haughtiness are discussed in relation to Muḥammad's preaching, with those who rejected it often being accused of arrogance. 1. Semantics Arabic is rich in terms and phrases that denote …
Date: 2019-08-29

Abū Zurʿa al-Rāzī

(1,571 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū Zurʿa ʿUbaydallāh b. ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Yazīd b. Farrūkh ( mawlā of ʿAyyāsh b. Muṭarrif) al-Qurashī al-Rāzī (b. c.200/815–6 or perhaps 194/809–10, d. 30 Dhū l-Ḥijja 264/2 September 878), sometimes called Abū Zurʿa al-Kabīr, was an important ḥadīth scholar of Rayy, in northern Iran. He was a relative of Abū Ḥātim Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Razī, but whether a maternal uncle, cousin, or nephew (ibn ukhtihi) is uncertain (Dickinson, 18). He is not to be confused with Abū Zurʿa Aḥmad b. Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī al-Rāzī al-Ṣaghīr (or al-Awsaṭ) (d. 375/985–6; al-Dhahabī, 17:46–8…
Date: 2019-08-29

Abū Ḥāmid al-Qudsī

(5,051 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū Ḥāmid al-Qudsī, Muḥibb al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Khalīl b. Yūsuf b. ʿAlī (or Aḥmad) b. ʿAbdallāh al-Bilbīsī/Bilbaysī l-Maqdisī l-Shāfiʿī, also known as Ibn al-Muwaqqit, was a chronicler and Mamlūk historiographer of ninth/fifteenth-century Cairo. He is better known by his kunya, Abū Ḥāmid (al-Qudsī). He was born in Ramla at the end of Ramaḍān 817/inc. 14 November 1414, or 819/1416, or after 820/1417, according to Ibn Iyās. He died in Cairo on 21 Ṣafar 888/31 March 1483 and was buried in the Khānqāh Saʿīd al-Suʿadāʾ ( GAL 2:77–8, sub Abū Ḥāmid M. al-Qudsī: “d. 912/1506?”; GALS 2:164, only me…
Date: 2019-08-29

ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbbās

(7,558 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū l-ʿAbbās ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbbās b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim b. ʿAbd Manāf al-Qurashī al-Hāshimī (d. c. 68/687–8), known usually as Ibn ʿAbbās, was a paternal cousin and a Companion of the Prophet. 1. The life of Ibn ʿAbbās. The making of a Companion—between history and myth The sources tell us much about Ibn ʿAbbās, both historical and mythical. Given the importance attributed to his contribution to religious science, the period of his birth and childhood is surrounded by an aura of legend and fantasy, like those of the prophet Muḥammad h…
Date: 2019-08-29

al-Anṣārī, Abū l-Qāsim

(904 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū l-Qāsim Salmān b. Nāṣir b. ʿImrān al-Arghiyānī al-Nīsābūrī al-Anṣarī al-Ṣūfī al-Shāfiʿī (d. 512/1118), was a descendant of the faqīh Maymūn b. Mihrān (d. 117/735). He was born in Arghiyān, near Nīshāpūr. In Nīshāpūr and elsewhere in Khurāsān he attended lessons by his early masters, who included Faḍl Allāh b. Aḥmad al-Mīhanī al-Ṣūfī (d. 440/1048–9), Abū l-Ḥusayn ʿAbd al-Ghāfir al-Fārisī, (d. 448/1056; for this family, see Bulliett, 165–8), Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ṭāhir al-Shaḥḥāmī (d. 479/1086; al-Ṣarīfīnī, 267, no…
Date: 2019-08-29

al-Ḥalīmī, Abū ʿAbdallāh

(1,233 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude
Abū ʿAbdallāh al-Ḥalīmī al-Qāḍī al-Ḥusayn b. al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. Ḥalīm al-Bukhārī al-Jurjānī al-Shāfiʿī (b. 338/949–50, d. Jumādā I 403/1012–3, or Rabīʿ I), was a traditionist, legal scholar, and theologian. He was born in Bukhara or Jurjān to a free woman of Jurjān; his half-brother, Abū l-Faḍl al-Ḥasan, was born the same year to a female Turkish slave. He studied ḥadīth in Bukhara under several masters, including Abū Bakr b. Khanb (not Ḥabīb) al-Bukhārī al-Baghdādī al-Dihqān (d. 350/961), whose lessons al-Ḥākim al-Nīsābūrī (d. 404/1014) also attended. Al-Ḥalīmī visited Nīsh…
Date: 2019-08-29

Language and Style of the Qurʾān

(17,121 words)

Author(s): Gilliot, Claude | Larcher, Pierre
The semantic field of “language” includes several triliteral Arabic roots: l-s-n (Dāmaghānī, Wujūh, ii, 200-1; see H. Jenssen, Arabic language, 132; see also language, concept of), k-l-m (Yaḥyā b. Sallām, Taṣārīf, 303-5; Dāmaghānī, Wujūh, ii, 186-7), q-w-l, l-ḥ-n (Khan, Die exegetischen Teile, 276, on q 47:30: “the burden of their talk,” laḥn al-qawl; Fück, ʿArabīya, 133; Fr. trans. 202; Ullmann, Wa-h̲airu, 21-2). It should be noted that lugha in the sense of manner of speaking (Fr. parler, Ger. Redeweise) is totally absent from the Qurʾān — although the root l-gh-w is attested, but…

Apologetics

(9,615 words)

Author(s): Usarski, Frank | Horst, Pieter W. van der | Dan, Joseph | Lüdemann, Gerd | Skarsaune, Oskar | Et al.
[German Version] I. Concept – II. Judaism – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Islam – VI. Fundamental Theology – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Missiology I. Concept The necessity – felt with varying intensity by different communities of faith – to lend credibility to one's own convictions, ways of behaving, etc. in the face of other, perhaps dominant worldviews, using appropriate means, is an essential element of the history of religion. When the term apologetics is used in this context there is a certain conformity in content w…