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Number/Calculation

(1,296 words)

Author(s): Rebstock, Ulrich
1. Counting is an elementary capability of human perception. For distinguishing and communicating the amount of what has been counted, human beings have used numerical symbols, from which (1) systems of numbering have developed. These have formed the basis for (2) methods of calculation, which have organized inter-personal relations for the economy—first of all, numerically organized exchange. Then, in the wake of societal differentiation, methods of calculation were found grouped according to norms of tradition, in (3) scientific disciplines like mathematics or astronomy. All…

Islam

(3,682 words)

Author(s): Rebstock, Ulrich
The word Islam means, in Arabic, ‘devotion/surrender’ (to God), ‘submission’ (to God). Generally joined to the definite article ( al-Islām), it has come to be the self- and foreign designation for the totality and socio-cultural community of the individuals, peoples, and states that see their origin and close comradeship based on devotion to the revelation of the Prophet → Muhammad (570–632). Consequently, the devotees are called ‘Muslims,’ i.e. ‘People who surrender to God.’ The designation ‘Mohammedans’ is to be…

Africa I: Northern Africa Including the Sahel

(3,413 words)

Author(s): Rebstock, Ulrich
1. In the course of history, the part of the African continent lying north of the equator has been constantly spliced into the cultural development of its neighboring regions. Favored by the environment of the Mediterranean basin, the valley of the Nile, and the West African coastal region, Northern and Northeastern Africa were periodically influenced by (and at times out-and-out integrated with) the high cultures of their neighbors. The dry desert area of the Sahara and the neighboring caravan …

Abū l-Wafāʾ al-Būzjānī

(1,373 words)

Author(s): Rebstock, Ulrich
Abū l-Wafāʾ al-Būzjānī (or al-Būzajānī, or al-Buzjānī), Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā b. Ismāʿīl b. al-ʿAbbās (328–388 (or 387)/940–998 (or 997)) was an important mathematician and astronomer in Būyid Baghdad. He was born in Būzjān (modern Turbat-i Jām) in Khurāsān and died in Baghdad. Only a few details about his life and career are provided by Ibn al-Nadīm (325, 341), Ibn al-Qifṭī (64, 287–8), Ibn al-Athīr (9:137), and Ibn Khallikān (3:320–1). After having received his basic education in arithme…
Date: 2020-09-16

Mauritania

(853 words)

Author(s): Rebstock, Ulrich
[German Version] The Islamic Republic of Mauritania (area 1,026,000 km2; approx. 3.365 million inhabitants, 99% of whom are Muslims and roughly 0.5% Roman Catholic Christians) has been a sovereign state with a (formal) parliamentary presidential system since Nov 28, 1960. The French name Mauritanie, which is derived from the Latin name of the Roman province of Mauretania (Land of the dark-skinned), replaced commonly used territorial self-designations such as bilād aš-Šanāqiṭa (Land of the people of Šinqīṭ) or bilād al-bīḍān (Land of the white). Geographically as well as in ter…

Circumcision

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Schuster, Meinhard | Blum, Erhard | Sanders, E.P. | Langley, Myrtle S. | Goldenberg, Robert | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Missiology – IV. Judaism – V. Islam I. Religious Studies The term “circumcision” refers collectively to a variety of operations performed on the sexual organs of children and young people: for males, it includes circumcision proper (removal of the foreskin) and incision (slicing of the foreskin), as well as subincision (splitting of the urethra), monorchy (removal of one testicle), and piercing of the penis; for females, it in…