Encyclopaedia Islamica

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Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies

Edited by: Farhad Daftary and Wilferd Madelung

Encyclopaedia Islamica Online is based on the abridged and edited translation of the Persian Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī, one of the most comprehensive sources on Islam and the Muslim world. A unique feature of the Encyclopaedia Islamica Online lies in the attention given to Shiʿi Islam and its rich and diverse heritage. In addition to providing entries on important themes, subjects and personages in Islam generally, Encyclopaedia Islamica Online offers the Western reader an opportunity to appreciate the various dimensions of Shiʿi Islam, the Persian contribution to Islamic civilization, and the spiritual dimensions of the Islamic tradition.

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Dābbat al-Arḍ

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Abbas, Najam
, a Qurʾānic term for a creature or beast that lives and moves on the earth, it has a special meaning in a tradition regarding the signs which will appear at the end of time ( ashrāṭ al-sāʿa). The term dābba appears in its literal sense in the Qurʾānic verses 6:38, 11:6, 16:49, 27:82 and 34:14. However, the term has quite a different connotation in 27:82: ‘When the word is fulfilled against them, We shall bring forth a creature ( dābba) out of the earth, to speak to them, as people had no faith in Our revelations’; it takes on a deeper significance when read along with the …

Dādā, Taqī al-Dīn Muḥammad

(1,261 words)

Author(s): Movahhed, Maryam Falahati | Negahban, Farzin
(d. 700/1301), titled Dādā Muḥammad and Dādā Taqī al-Dīn, was a notable 7th/13th century Sufi shaykh (master) in Yazd. Most of the information about him and his Sufi order is to be found in the local histories of Yazd. All that is known about his youth is that he was born in Iṣfahān where he made a living winnowing grain, and that from his youth Taqī al-Dīn practised spiritual wayfaring, asceticism and spiritual discipline, and spent most of what he earned on those in need. He was the disciple of a master by the n…


(1,890 words)

Author(s): Pat, Fariba | Brown, Keven
, Shihāb al-Dīn Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. Zaynī (1233–1304/1817–1886), was a famous Meccan scholar, whose lineage is said to trace back through ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī (al-Gīlānī) (d. 561/1166) to a long line of Ḥasanī sayyids (Daḥlān, al-Sīra, introd., 1/5; on ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Gīlānī’s lineage see al-Tādifī, 3; cf. Ibn al-Ṭiqṭaqā, 95–96; Ibn ʿInaba, 130). He was born in Mecca (al-Kattānī, 1/390; Mujāhid, 1/265), where he was taught by scholars such as Muḥammad Saʿīd al-Maqdisī, Bishrī al-Jabartī, Ḥāmid al-ʿAṭṭār and others. The most important of his teachers in the field of ḥadīth was …

Dahr (in the Qurʾān)

(1,670 words)

Author(s): Pakatchi, Ahmad | Esots, Janis
a conception of ‘time’, which survives from the pre-Islamic period; both the Qurʾān and the ḥadīth criticise religious faith in dahr, conceived as a kind of cosmic force or inevitable fatality. The verbal noun of its triliteral root d-h-r in Arabic refers to descending or falling, in a pejorative sense (although it is not used in this sense in the Qurʾān). The passive participle, madhūr, means ‘calamity-stricken’ or ‘afflicted by a disaster’. The primary meaning of the word dahr as it occurs in the Qurʾān (Q 76:1, ‘Hath there come upon man any period of time in which he w…


(4,221 words)

Author(s): Tareh. Masoud | Shah-Kazemi, Reza | Asatryan, Mushegh | Khaleeli, Alexander
, or ahl al-dahr, a designation referring to those thinkers who putatively uphold various materialistic and atheistic opinions and trends. They are seen, by those framing the designation, as disbelievers inasmuch as they believe that Time ( dahr or maniyya), understood as ineluctable Fate, alone dictates all things in the cosmos. There is little evidence of specific groups or individuals adhering to this philosophy; rather, it appears to have been a convenient typological category used by heresiographers to stigmatise those deemed to…

Daḥw al-Arḍ

(2,677 words)

Author(s): Mehrvash, Farhang | Esots, Janis
(Spreading out the Earth), an expression that refers to the expansion of the earth from beneath the Kaʿba at the beginning of creation. It is taken from the Qurʾān (79:30) and refers to a belief held within certain circles of pious Shiʿi Muslims. Every year, on 25 Dhū al-Qaʿda, the anniversary of this event is commemorated within these circles. In order to explain the meaning of the expression, first one must establish the meaning of the word daḥw. An analysis of the different usages of words derived from the root d-ḥ-w during the first centuries after the advent of Islam shows that …


(4,034 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
(pl., duʿāt, literally meaning ‘summoner’), an Arabic noun used by several Muslim groups, especially the Ismailis, to designate their propagandists or missionaries. It was adopted by the ʿAbbāsid daʿwa (mission) in Khūrāsān (q.v. ʿAbbāsids) and by the early Muʿtazilīs, but it soon became particularly identified with certain Shiʿi groups, for example, the Zaydīs and some Shiʿi extremists ( ghulāt), notably the Khaṭṭābiyya (Daftary, 219). The term acquired its widest application in connection with the Ismailis, though early Ismaili authors in Persia some…

Dāʿī Shīrāzī

(2,206 words)

Author(s): Meysam Solgi
Dāʿī Shīrāzī, Sayyid Niẓām al-Dīn Maḥmūd b. Ḥasan (810–870/1407–1466), known as Shāh Dāʿī, who had the honorific title ( laqab) of Dāʿī ilā Allāh and two pen-names, Dāʿī and subsequently Niẓāmī, was a famous poet and head of the Niʿmatu’llāhī order in Fārs. Not much is known about his family and youth, apart from the fact that he was born in Shīrāz into a family of Ḥasanī sayyids, descendants of Zayd b. Ḥasan b. ʿAlī, and was a descendant of one of the last rulers of the ʿAlid dynasty of Ṭabaristān, Dāʿī al-Ṣaghīr Ḥasan b. Qāsim al-Ḥasanī (d. 316/928) (Dāʿī Shīrāzī, Dīwān, 2/33–34, ibid., Ḥikma…
Date: 2017-06-08


(4,159 words)

Author(s): Farhang Mehrvash
Dajjāl, an immense, grotesque creature in human form, characterised by extreme deceitfulness and generally regarded in Islamic tradition as the false Messiah or anti-Christ. It is said that the Dajjāl will make an appearance in the last days, when through his mastery over the forces of nature he will present himself as a possessor of divine powers and set in motion the greatest tribulation in human history, which will continue until his ultimate defeat. The mention of the Dajjāl in Prophetic tra…
Date: 2017-06-07


(1,697 words)

Author(s): Zahra Hosseini
Dakkanī, Shāh ʿAlī-Riḍā (d. 1214 or 1215/1799–1800), a famous Deccan Sufi and one of the most distinguished masters of the Niʿmat Allāhiyya order. Among his accomplishments were kindling the revival of the Niʿmat Allāhiyya order in Iran after a period of decline, and influencing the course of the formation of later Sufism in Iran (see below). Titles given to him—like ‘the pole of recent masters’, ‘the reviver of the way’, and ‘the renewer of the order’—which are mentioned in some Niʿmat Allāhiyy…
Date: 2017-06-07

Daqīqī, Abū Manṣūr

(3,563 words)

Author(s): Ali Mir-Ansari | Yadollah Shokri
Daqīqī, Abū Manṣūr Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (fl. 4th/10th century), was a Persian poet and one of the earliest composers of epic (q.v.) poetry in the history of Persian literature. There are differences of opinion regarding his biography, especially issues such as his precise name, birthplace, religion and date of death, since the information found scattered in the various sources is largely contradictory. ʿAwfī (2/11) and Hidāyat (1(2)/792) call him Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (see also Hāshimī Sandīlawī, 2/138),…
Date: 2017-06-08

Dār al-Nadwa

(983 words)

Author(s): Department of History
Dār al-Nadwa (lit. house of assembly), a building situated to the north of the Kaʿba where, before the emergence of Islam and for a short while thereafter, the nobles of the Quraysh gathered for council.The Arabic word nadwa derives from the root n-d-w, meaning ‘gathering’, ‘group’ (Ibn Manẓūr, 3/610–613). The assembly that met in the Dār al-Nadwa was a kind of consultative or governing council that apparently had no precedent among the Arabs (Zaryāb, 42; for more detail see al-ʿAsalī, 1/78 ff.). The nobles or elders of the Quraysh asse…
Date: 2017-06-07

Darwīsh (Dervish)

(6,746 words)

Author(s): Alireza Ibrahim | with additions by Stephen Hirtenstein
Darwīsh (Dervish) is a Sufi term meaning poor ( faqīr) and indigent ( nādār). In certain historical periods, especially in the east of Iran and among the Sufis of Khurāsān, it was applied to all Sufis, while at other times it was a technical designation for Sufis who were known for their genuine adherence to poverty and indigence, or it was regarded as an expression for a particular stage on the spiritual path, referring to those who were in training under a spiritual master. However, it should be noted that…
Date: 2017-06-07


(9,580 words)

Author(s): Janis Esots
al-Dawānī (also al-Dawwānī or Davānī) Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Asʿad Kāzarūnī Ṣiddīqī (ca. 830–908/ca. 1426 or 1427–1502), often referred to as ʿAllāma al-Dawānī or muḥaqqiq (‘verifier’) al-Dawānī, an important intellectual figure of 9th/15th century Persia, one of the key representatives of the so-called School of Shīrāz. He was a philosopher, gnostic, theologician and logician, probably best known for his favourite concept of the ‘taste of divinisation/theosis’ ( dhawq al-ta ʾ alluh). Biography Al-Dawānī was born in the village of Dawān (whence his nisba), near the town of …
Date: 2017-06-07

Dawāzdah Imām

(1,482 words)

Author(s): Zatollah Nikzad
Dawāzdah Imām, is a domed mausoleum or shrine ( buqʿa) in the city of Yazd which, according to the inscription of foundation, was built in 429/1038 apparently by two sons of Yināl, Abū Najam Badr and Abū Yaʿqūb Isḥāq, both commanders in the army of the founder of the Kākūyid dynasty, Abū Jaʿfar ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla Daylamī, who reigned in the Jibāl ca. 398–443/1008–1041 (Afshār 2/311).There is no mention of this structure in any written historical source. However, the building has been recognised in recent research on the history of Persian architecture as a struc…
Date: 2017-06-07


(2,791 words)

Author(s): Abdolhamid Moradi
Dawr, a term denoting a historical cycle in the Ismaili conception of sacred history. The Ismailis divided religious history into seven adwār (pl. of dawr), assigned to all but the last one of the law-giving prophets who are mentioned in the Qurʾān. The Ismaili idea of cyclical history is further elaborated in connection with their views about the imamate (see below). BackgroundA cyclical view of history is found in the teachings of many religious traditions, but the Ismaili notion of adwār probably goes back to similar doctrines held by the early Shiʿi ghulāt of the the 2nd–3rd/8th–9t…
Date: 2017-06-07

Dāwūd al-Anṭākī

(1,129 words)

Author(s): Younes Karamati
Dāwūd al-Anṭākī, Dāwūd b. ʿUmar al-Anṭākī (d. in Mecca 1007 or 1008/1598 or 1599), was a famous physician and man of letters from Antioch (Anṭākiya). Although he was blind from birth, thus being known as ‘al-Ḍarīr’ (the blind), he was also known as ‘al-Baṣīr’ (the one who has insight). Other epithets reported for him are: ‘al-Ḥakīm’ (the wise), ‘al-Māhir’ (the talented), ‘al-Farīd’ (the unique), ‘al-Ṭabīb’ (the physician) and ‘al-Ḥādhiq’ (the skilled) (al-Difāʿ, 420). The year of his birth is unk…
Date: 2017-06-07

al-Daylamī, Abū al-Ḥasan

(3,725 words)

Author(s): Zahra Hosseini
al-Daylamī, Abū al-Ḥasan (d. ca. 392/1001–1002), ʿAlī b. Muḥammad, was a well-known Sufi and writer who lived in Shīrāz during the 4th/10th century. Little is known about the details of his life. It is only by comparing evidence that we can affirm that he was related to the Daylamī families who, in the first half of the 4th century during the reign of the Būyids, migrated from northern Iran southward and settled particularly in the region of Fārs. It is probable, therefore, that he was born in the first half of the 4th/10th century (Rūzbihān Baqlī, Abhar, Persian introd., 4–5, ibid, French…
Date: 2017-06-07