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Generations

(542 words)

Author(s): Newby, Gordon Darnell
Stages in the succession of natural descent. Generations ( qarn, pl. qurūn) is used some twenty times in the Qurʾān to refer to the ¶ groups of people (i.e. nations; cf. Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, xi, 26, ad q 6:6) who had been destroyed by God for their disobedience (q.v.) and failure to heed his message (e.g. q 6:6; 10:13; 11:116; 17:17; 19:74, 78; 23:31; 38:3; 50:36); the same word, qarn, also refers to the people who replace those generations. These destroyed peoples are cited as examples of wrongdoing and as warnings not to follow their doomed ways. The destroyed peop…

Deferral

(768 words)

Author(s): Newby, Gordon Darnell
The qurʾānic concept of postponement or delay in God's punishment. It was this concept, derived from the single occurrence of this word in conjunction with the decision-making character of God at q 9:106, that formed the basis of the doctrine of a num-¶ ber of different groups of early Muslims usually called Murjiʾīs ( murjiʾa, see creeds; theology and the qurʾān). The concept of deferral ( irjāʾ) is derived from the fourth form of the Arabic root r-j-ʾ, uniquely used in connection with God's judgment (q.v.) at q 9:106 (the fourth form is also used at q 33:51 but in reference to the Prophe…

Baal

(375 words)

Author(s): Newby, Gordon Darnell
Baal ( baʿl) is both a proper name of a pre-Islamic pagan deity worshipped by the people to whom the messenger Elijah (q.v.) was sent ( q 37:125) and a common noun meaning “husband” ( q 2:228; 4:128; 11:72; 24:31). Baal as a pagan deity The biblical prophet Elijah ( 1 Kings 17-22; 2 Kings 1-2) is mentioned two times in the Qurʾān ( q 6:85; 37:123-30). He was sent to turn his people from the worship of the deity Baal. Commentary elaborates on the brief qurʾānic passages. It is said that, during the reign of the Israelite king Ahab (r. ca. 873-851 b.c.e.), Elijah attempted to turn the Children of Israel …

Forgery

(868 words)

Author(s): Newby, Gordon Darnell
Act of fabricating or producing falsely. Forgery is connoted in several qurʾānic concepts. Re-writing sacred scripture, ¶ either the Qurʾān or the scriptures of the Jews and Christians, is covered by two Arabic terms ( taḥrīf, tabdīl). These or their cognates convey the charge that Jews and Christians distorted revealed scripture before the Qurʾān (see scripture and the qurʾān; jews and judaism; christians and christianity). Also, within the Islamic tradition, various sectarian groups have charged that there were additions and deletions to the Qurʾān. Finall…