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ʿUt̲h̲mān b. Maẓʿūn

(405 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
b. Ḥabīb, Abu ’l-Sāʾib , of the Ḳurays̲h̲ clan of D̲j̲umaḥ, one of the earliest Companions of Muḥammad, the thirteenth man to adopt Islam and brother-in-law of the second caliph ʿUmar b. al-K̲h̲aṭṭāb. He took part in the hid̲j̲ra to Abyssinia, returned, like some other refugees, on the false news of a reconciliation between Muḥammad and his pagan enemies, and became for some time the client of al-Walīd b. al-Mug̲h̲īra. Soon he renounced this privilege, because he preferred to bear his share in the insults offered to his co-religionists ¶ in Mecca. On a quarrel between ʿUt̲h̲mān and …

Matn

(207 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), a term with various meanings, of which that of text of a ḥadīt̲h̲ [ q.v.] is to be noted. Matn already appears with the sense of “text” in pre-Islamic poetry, and has been used thus in Arabic literature up to the present day. It denotes especially the text of a book as distinguished from its oral explanation or its written or printed commentary. In connection with traditions, matn denotes the content or text itself, in distinction from the chain of traditionists who have handed it down ( isnād [ q.v.]). The choice of this term to designate the body of a ḥadīt̲h̲ led Goldziher to put forwar…

Rasūl

(783 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a., pl. rusul ), messenger, apostle. 1. In the religious sense. According to the Ḳurʾān, there is a close relation between the apostle and his people ( umma [ q.v.]). To each umma God sends only one apostle (sūra X, 48, XVI, 38 cf. XXIII, 46, XL, 5). These statements are parallel to those which mention the witness whom God will take from each umma at the Day of Judgment (IV, 45, XXVIII, 75 and cf. the descriptions of the rasūl who will cross the bridge to the other world at the head of his umma: al-Buk̲h̲ārī, Ad̲h̲ān , bāb 129; Riḳāḳ , bāb 52). Muḥammad is sent to a people to whom Allāh has not ye…

Amīr al-Muslimīn

(108 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, i.e. lord of the Muslims, a title which the Almoravids first assumed, in contra-distinction to Amīr al-Muʾminīn [ q.v.]. The latter title was born by the independent dynasties; the Almoravids, however, recognized the supremacy of the ʿAbbāsids and did not wish to arrogate to themselves this title of the Caliphs. So they established a kind of sub-caliphate with a title of their own. Afterwards the African and Spanish princes bore either the one or the other of these titles, according as they sought after the independent caliphate or recognized any supremacy. (A.J. Wensinck) Bibliography…

K̲h̲id̲h̲lān

(437 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), nomen actionis from the root k̲h̲-d̲h̲-l , “to leave in the lurch”, a technical term in Islamic theology, applied exclusively to Allāh when He withdraws His grace or help from man. The disputes regarding it first appear in connection with the quarrel over ḳadar [ q.v.]. A starting point is found in Sūra III, 154/160: “but if He abandon you to yourselves ( yak̲h̲d̲h̲ul-kum ), who will help you after Him? Let the faithful therefore trust in God”. On this al-Rāzī observes: “The Companions deduce from this verse that belief is exclusiv…

Samūm

(588 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), yielding Fr. simoun and Eng. simoom, a hot wind of the desert accompanied by whirlwinds of dust and sand, and set in motion by moving depressions which form within the trade winds or calm zones of the high, subtropical depressions. This wind is especially characteristic of the Sahara, in Egypt, in Arabia and in Mesopotamia. The word occurs in three passages of the Ḳurʾān, where it is, however, not especially applied to the wind. In sūra XV, 27, it is said that the Ḏj̲ānn were created from the fire of Samūm. In LII, 27, the punishment of the Samūm is …

Mīkāl

(994 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, the archangel Michael [see also malāʾika ], whose name occurs once in the Ḳurʾān, viz. in II, 92: “Whosoever is an enemy to God, or his angels, or his apostles, or to Gabriel or to Michael, verily God is an enemy to the unbelievers.” In explanation of this verse two stories are told. According to the first, the Jews, wishing to test the veracity of the mission of Muḥammad, asked him several questions, to all of which he gave the true answer. Finally, they asked him, who transmit…

Rahbāniyya

(503 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), monasticism. The term is derived from rāhib [ q.v.] “anchovite, monk”; it occurs in the Ḳurʾān once only, in a complicated passage (sūra LVII, 27) that has given rise to divergent interpretations: “And we put in the hearts of those who followed Jesus, compassion and mercy, and the monastic state ( rahbāniyya ); they instituted the same (we did not prescribe it to them) only out of a desire to please God. Yet they observed not the same as it ought truly to have been observed. And we gave unto such of them as believed, their reward; but many of them have been doers of evil.” According to some of …

Muslim

(261 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), the active participle of the IVth form of the root s-l-m, designates the person who professes Islam [ q.v.], islāmī being exclusively used today for what is relative to Islam and having, as a corresponding term, the forms in western languages islamic , islamique , islamisch , etc. However, in the 4th/10th century the theologian al-As̲h̲ʿarī [ q.v.] called his heresiographical work Maḳālāt al-Islāmiyyīn in order not to prejudice the question which of the various sects could or could not be called muslim . Whilst forms like mohammedan , mahométan , maomettano ,…

Rāhib

(275 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a., pl. ruhbān , rahābīn , rahābina ), a monk. The figure of the monk is known to pre-Islamic poetry and to the Ḳurʾān and Tradition. The pre-Islamic poets refer to the monk in his cell, the light of which the traveller by night sees in the distance and which gives him the idea of shelter. In the Ḳurʾān, the monk and the ḳissīs , sometimes also the aḥbār , are the religious leaders of the Christians. In one place it is said that rabbis and monks live at the expense of other men (sūra IX, 34) and that the Christians have taken as their masters instead of God their aḥbār and their monks as well as al-Mas…

ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ

(962 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(al-ʿĀṣī) al-sahmī , a contemporary of Muḥammad of Ḳurays̲h̲ite birth. The part which he played in Islāmic history begins with his conversion in the year 8/629-630. At that time he must already have been of middle age, for at his death which took place circa 42/663 he was over ninety years old. He passed for one of the most wily politicians of his time, and we must endorse this verdict. The more clear-sighted inhabitants of Mekka already foresaw shortly after the unsuccessful…

Aṣḥāb al-Rass

(166 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, “the people of the ditch” or “of the well”, are twice mentioned in the Ḳurʾān (xxv, 38; L, 12), along with ʿĀd, T̲h̲amūd and other unbelievers. The commentators know nothing for certain about them, and so give widely divergent explanations and all manner of fantastic accounts. Some take al-Rass to be a geographical name (cf. Yāḳūt, s.v.); some hold that these people, a remnant of T̲h̲amūd, cast (rassa) their prophet Ḥanẓala into a well ( rass ) and were consequently exterminated. It is also related that the mountain of the bird ʿAnḳāʾ [ q.v.] was situated in their region. Al-Ṭabarī men…

al-ʿAs̲h̲ara al-Mubas̲h̲s̲h̲ara

(175 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, the ten, to whom Paradise was promised. The term does not occur in canonical ḥadīth , to which however the conception goes back. The traditions in question usually have the form: “Ten will be in Paradise”, whereupon the names are enumerated. There are differences in the lists. Those who appear in the various forms extant are: Abū Bakr, ʿUmar, ʿUt̲h̲mān, ʿAlī, Ṭalḥa, Zubayr, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. ʿAwf, Saʿd b. Abī Waḳḳāṣ, Saʿīd b. Zayd. In some traditions Muḥammad himself is put before these nine (Abū Dāwūd, Sunna , bāb 8; Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, i, 187, 188 bis ). In others Muḥa…

Hudhud

(741 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, the hoopoe, belongs to the order Scansores and bears a remarkable tuft of feathers on its head. Only a part of what is related concerning its habits and character can be mentioned here. Its piety is particularly emphasized. In Umayya b. Abi ’l-Ṣalt (ed. Schulthess, in Beiträge zur Assyriologie , viii, 26, 84 f.; cf. also Ibn Ḳutayba, al-S̲h̲iʿr , 279 f.) there is a story that the hoopoe enshrouded its dead mother and carried the body on its back and head till it found a resting-place for it; this is why its back is brown; but it i…

Takbīr

(357 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), verbal noun of form II from the root k-b-r in the denominative sense, to pronounce the formula Allāhu akbar . It is already used in this sense in the Ḳurʾān (e.g. LXXIV, 3; XVII, 111 with God as the object). On the different explanations of the elative akbar in this formula, see LʿA , s.v., and the Ḳurʾānic elative akram also applied to God (XCVI, 3) and aʿlā (XCII, 20; LXXXVII, 1). The formula, as the briefest expression of the absolute superiority of the One God, is used in Muslim life in different circumstances, in which the idea of God, His greatness and go…

al-Nasāʾī

(356 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. S̲h̲uʿayb b. Baḥr b. Sinān , author of one of the six canonical collections of traditions [see Ḥadīt̲h̲ ], b. 215/830, d. 303/915. Very little is known about him. He is said to have made extensive travels in order to hear traditions, to have settled in Egypt, afterwards in Damascus, and to have died in consequence of ill-treatment to which he was exposed at Damascus or, according to others, at Ramla, in consequence of his feelings in favour of ʿAlī and against t…

K̲h̲abar

(270 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), plural ak̲h̲bār , ak̲h̲ābir , report, piece of information. The word is not used in any special context in the Ḳurʾān. In the ḥadīt̲h̲ it occurs among other passages in the tradition which describes how the d̲j̲inn by eavesdropping obtain information from heaven ( k̲h̲abar min al-samaʾ ) and how they are pelted with fiery meteors to prevent them from doing so (al-Buk̲h̲ārī, Ad̲h̲ān , bāb 105; Muslim, Ṣalāt , tr. 149); al-Tirmid̲h̲ī, Tafsīr , Sūra Ixxii, trad. 1). In his collection al-Buk̲h̲āri has a chapter entitled Ak̲h̲bār al-āḥād , which, as the tard̲j̲ama

Ḥawārī

(459 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
, apostle. The word is borrowed from Ethiopie, in which language ḥawāryā has the same meaning (see Nöldeke, Beiträge z . sem . Sprachwissenschaft , 48). The suggested derivations from Arabic, attributing to it the meaning “one who wears white clothing” etc., are incorrect. Tradition delights to endow the earliest Islamic pioneers with foreign bynames which were familiar to the “people of the Book”. Abū Bakr is called al-Ṣiddīḳ , ʿUmar al-Fārūḳ , al-Zubayr b. al-ʿAwwām al-Ḥawārī Moreover, the collective term al-Ḥawāriyyūn occurs, denoting twelve persons …

Miswāk

(764 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(a.), a term denoting the toothbrush as well as the tooth-pick. The more usual word is siwāk (plural suwuk ) which denotes also the act of cleansing the teeth. Neither of the two terms occurs in the Ḳurʾān. In Ḥadīt̲h̲ , miswāk is not used, siwāk, on the other hand, frequently. In order to understand its use, it is necessary to know that the instrument consists of a piece of smooth wood, the end of which is incised so as to make it similar to a brush to some extent. The piece of wood used as a tooth-pick must have been smaller and thinner,…

ʿIzrāʾīl

(1,086 words)

Author(s): Wensinck, A.J.
(in European literature one also finds ʿAzrāʾīl), the name of the an gel of death, one of the four archangels (next to D̲j̲ibrīl, Mīk̲h̲āʾīl, Isrāfīl). Like Isrāfīl, whose office of trumpet-blower at the last judgment is sometimes given to him, he is of cosmic magnitude; if the water of all the seas and rivers were poured on his head, not a drop would reach the earth. He has a seat ( sarīr ) of light in the fourth or seventh heaven, on which one of his feet rests; the other stands on the bridge between paradise and hell. He is however also said to have 70,000 feet. The description of his appearance a…
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