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Sīrat ʿAntar

(3,732 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, the romance of ʿAntar, rightly considered the model of the Arabic romance of chivalry. This sīra surveys five hundred years of Arab history and includes a wealth of older traditions. The story in the Kitāb al-Ag̲h̲ānī of how ʿAntar, the son of a slave-girl, was adopted into the tribe of Banū ʿAbs for saving them at a time of great crisis bears the stamp of a flourishing but already legendary tradition. The Sīrat ʿAntar far transcends the unconscious development of a legend. By a bold stroke ʿAntar, the solitary hero, is raised to be the representative of all that is Arab, ʿAntar the pagan is made the champion of Islām. The romance thus comes to reflect the vicissitudes of the Arabs and Islām through half a millennium; the tribal feuds of the old Arabs; the wars against Ethiopian rule in Arabia; the subjection of Arabia and especially of ʿIrāḳ to Persian suzerainty; the victories of the rising Islām over Persia; the remarkable historical position of the Jews in Arabia down to the seventh century; the conquests from Christianity by the Arabs, especially in Syria; the continuous wars of the Persian and later of the Muslim East against Byzantium; the victorious advance of Islām in North Africa and in Europe; the influence of the Crusades is also undeniable. The contacts between East and West are numerous. The romance is written in smooth rhymed prose into which have been interwoven some 10,000 verses. The editions printed in the East …


(481 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, in the Bible Rachel, wife of Jacob, mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is not mentioned in the Ḳurʾān. There is, however, a reference to her in sūra IV, 27: “Ye may not have two sisters to wife …


(308 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, the name in the Gospels of (1) the poor man who finds compensation in Abraham’s bosom for the misery of this world (Luke, xvi, 19-31); and (2) the dead man whom Jesus raises to life (John, xi). The Ḳurʾān mentions neither the one nor the other, but among the miracles with which it credits Jesus is included the raising from the dead (III, 43/49). Muslim legend with its fondness for the miracle of resurrection is fond of telling of the dead whom Jesus revives, but rarely mentions Lazarus. Al-Ṭabarī in his Taʾrīk̲h̲ talks of these miracles in general. According to …


(1,613 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, also Namrūd̲h̲ , Nimrūd…


(1,330 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, the Noah of the Bible, is a particularly popular figure in the Ḳurʾān and in Muslim legend. Al-T̲h̲aʿlabī gives 15 virtues by which Nūḥ is distinguished among the prophets. The Bible does not regard Noah as a prophet. In the Ḳurʾān, Nūḥ is the first prophet of punishment, who is followed by Hūd, ¶ Ṣāliḥ, Lūṭ, S̲h̲uʿayb and Mūsā. Ibrāhīm is one of his following ( s̲h̲īʿa ) (XXXVII, 81). He is the perspicuous admonisher ( nad̲h̲ir mubīn , XI, 27; LXXI, 2), the rasūl amīn “the true messenger of God” (XXVI, 107), the ʿabd s̲h̲akūr , “the grateful servant of God” (XVII, 3). God enters into a covenant with Nūḥ just as with Muḥammad, Ibrāhīm, Mūsā and ʿĪsā (XXXIII, 7). Peace and blessings are promised him (XI, 50). Muḥammad is fond of seeing himself reflected in the earlier prophets. In the case of Nūḥ, the Muslim Ḳurʾān exegetes have already noticed this (see Grünbaum,


(242 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
is the name in Muḥammadan legend of the Biblical Potiphar. Ḳiṭfīr is corrupted from Fiṭfīr like Bilḳīs, queen of Saba, from Nikaulis, or as in the Yūsuf legend we have Ainam or Häinam from Muppīm, Ḥuppīm. Ḳiṭfīr was then further corrupted to Iṭfīr (so generally in Ṭabarī and T̲h̲aʿlabī), Iṭfīn and almost unrecognisably to Ḳiṭṭīn (Ṭabarī, ed. de Goeje, i. 377) and Ḳiṭṭifīn (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xii. 98). On the other hand al-Kisāʾī always has Ḳūṭifar, a direct borrowing from Potiphar. Ḳiṭfīr is quite arbitrarily called Ibn Ruhaib. In the Ḳurʾān xii. 30, 51, the Eg…


(481 words)

Author(s): Heller, B.
, in the Bible Rachel, wife of Jacob, mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is not mentioned in the Ḳurʾān. There is however a reference to her in Sūra iv. 27: “Ye may not have two sisters to wife at the same time; if it has been done formerly God now exercises pardon and mercy”. This is said to allude to Jacob’s marriage with Liyā and. Rāḥīl; before Moses revealed the Tora, such a marriage was valid. Ṭabarī gives this explanation in the


(748 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Vajda, G.
the Biblical Lot [ Genesis , xiii, 5-13, xvii-xix). The Ḳurʾān, where his story is told in passages belonging to the second and third Meccan period…


(558 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Rippin, A.
, also Zakariyyā, the father of John the Baptist, reckoned in the Ḳurʾān (VI, 85) along with John, Jesus, and Elias as among the righteous. The name most likely entered Arabic via its Syriac rendering. The Ḳurʾān gives the substance of Luke i. 5-25, as follows: Zakariyyāʾ guards the Virgin Mary [see …


(718 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Rippin, A.
"the Samaritan", is the name in Ḳurʾān, XX, 85, 87 and 95 of the man who tempted the Israelites to the sin of the Golden Calf. The sin itself is mentioned twice in the Ḳurʾān. In the first narrative, VII, 148-57, the story is told of the sin of Israel and Aaron as in Exodus, xxxii, but with the elaboration that the calf cast out of metal was "lowing" ( …


(426 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Rippin, A.
, the Japheth of the Bible. He is not mentioned by name in the Ḳurʾān (although he is alluded to in VII, 64, X, 73, XI, 40, XXIII, 27 and XXVI, 119), but the exegetes are familiar with all the sons of Noah [see nūḥ ]: Ḥām, Sām [ q.vv.] and Yāfit̲h̲ (the pronunciation Yāfit is mentioned as possible in al-Ṭabarī, i, 222). The Biblical story (Gen. ix. 20-7) of Ḥām’s sin and punishment and the blessing given to Sām and Yāfit̲h̲ is known in Muslim legend, but it is silent about Noah’s planting the vine and becoming intoxicated. Al-…


(3,485 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Stillmann, N.A.
, a legendary hero and sage of pre-Islamic Arabia. He appears in the Ḳurʾān as a monotheist and a wise father giving pious admonitions to his son. In later Islamic lore, he became the creator of fables par excellence and a striking parallel of Aesop. 1. Luḳmān in Old Arab tradition. The Arabs of the Ḏj̲āhiliyya knew of a certain Luḳmān b. ʿĀd. The connection with the long-lost tribe of ʿĀd [


(679 words)

Author(s): Heller, B | Wasserstrom, S.M.
, also ʿĀd̲j̲ b. ʿAnaḳ or …


(420 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | Stillmann, N.A.
, one of the most common names for the biblical Potiphar in Islamic tradition. It is probably a corruption of Fiṭfīr, based upon an early scribal error. Other forms of the name based on confusions of similar letters in Arabic script are Ḳiṭfīn, Ḳiṭʿīn, and Ḳiṭṭīn. The form Ḳiṭfīr is frequently corrupted further to Iṭfīr (so generally in Ṭabarī, T̲h̲aʿlabī, Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī, Bayḍawī, and others), and in some manuscripts Iṭfīr. He is given the patronymic Ibn Ruhayb (also Ibn Ruḥayb and Ibn Rūḥīt in…


(1,723 words)

Author(s): Heller, B. | MacDonald, D.B.
, the name in Arabic for the Biblical prophet Moses. 1. In the Ḳurʾān. Here, Mūsā is considered as the precursor of, the model for, and the annunciator of Muḥammad (VII, 156). The two prophets share the same belief (XLIII, 11). Mūsā is also conceived in Muḥammad’s image. Charges are brought against him similar to those made against Muḥammad and he is said to want to pervert people from the faith of their fathers (X, 79); he practises magic (XXVIII, 18). Mūsā and Hārūn seem rather to be sent to the stubborn Pharaoh [see firʿawn ] than to the believing Israelites. Revelation is granted him: tawrāt , kitāb , furḳān , ṣuḥuf (II, 50; XXI, 49; LIII, 37; LXXXVII, 19), illumination, instruction and guidance. The picture of him is made up of Biblical, Haggadic and new elements. Mūsā is exposed, watched by his sister, refuses the milk of other nurses and is suckled by his own mother. Coming to the assistance of a hardpressed Israelite, he kills an Egyptian but repents of his crime to which Satan had tempted him. He is pursued and escapes to Madyan [see …