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Ritual Purity

(5,782 words)

Author(s): Lowry, Joseph E.
A state of heightened cleanliness, symbolic or actual, associated with persons, activities and objects in the context of ritual worship (q.v.; see also cleanliness and ablution; contamination). The Qurʾān imposes a specific, two-tiered requirement of ritual cleansing before prayer (q.v.) and this is its most direct and detailed — and perhaps its only — regulation of ritual purity in the narrow sense. More general notions of purity and impurity extend, however, to a fairly wide array of persons, objects and activities in …

Lawful and Unlawful

(2,765 words)

Author(s): Lowry, Joseph E.
That which is legally authorized, and that which is not. Among its various legislative pronouncements, the Qurʾān declares certain objects and actions lawful or unlawful. The words ḥalāl, “lawful, allowed, permitted,” and ḥarām, “unlawful, forbidden, prohibited,” and cognate terms from the triliteral roots ḥ-l-l and ḥ-r-m, respectively, most often designate these two categories and are of relatively frequent occurrence. Qurʾānic declarations of lawfulness or unlawfulness are limited to a relatively few areas of the law as later elaborated …

Theft

(935 words)

Author(s): Lowry, Joseph E.
The unlawful taking of another's property (q.v.) entailing, in some cases, a punishment stipulated by the Qurʾān (see also chastisement and punishment; law and the qurʾān; lawful and unlawful; sin, major and minor). One of the better-known legislative passages in the Qurʾān provides: “As for the thief, whether male or female, for each, cut off the hands in punishment for what they did, as an exemplary punishment ( nakālan) from God” ( q 5:38). The Arabic wa-l-sāriq wa-l-sāriqa fa-qṭaʿū aydiyahumā closely parallels the syntax of another qurʾānic legislative pronouncement co…

Ibn Maʿṣūm

(1,540 words)

Author(s): Lowry, Joseph E.
Al-Sayyid ʿAlī Khān Ṣadr al-Dīn Ibn al-Amīr Niẓām al-Dīn Aḥmad Ibn Maʿṣūm (d. 1120/1708) was an Arabic literary figure who was active mainly in India and wrote primarily in the fields of poetry, poetics, and adab (belles-lettres). A Shīʿī descended from both al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn, Ibn Maʿṣūm was born in 1052/1642 in Medina and died in Shiraz. In the early eleventh/seventeenth century, Ibn Maʿṣūm’s family had relocated from Shiraz to al-Ṭāʾif, in Arabia. Ibn Maʿṣūm’s father, Aḥmad, married the daughter of a Shāfiʿī jurist in Mecca, who bore Ibn Maʿṣūm…
Date: 2019-08-29

al-ʿĀmm wa-l-khāṣṣ

(1,418 words)

Author(s): Lowry, Joseph E.
ʿĀmm and khāṣṣ , often translated as “general” and “specific,” respectively, are a key pair of technical terms in the Islamic and Arabic sciences. They are most intensively discussed in writings on Islamic legal hermeneutics (uṣūl al-fiqh), at the intersection of law (fiqh), theology (kalām), grammar (naḥw), and Qurʾānic exegesis (tafsīr). Jurists used these terms to denote the breadth of application of legal rules (aḥkām) by deeming expressions, particularly in the Qurʾān and ḥadīth, as either ʿāmm or khāṣṣ, in which case such expressions exhibit the qualities of general…
Date: 2019-08-29