(7,164 words)

Barzakh, a term used three times in the Qurʾān (23:100, 25:53, 55:20). In Islamic terminology it is taken to refer to the period of existence of the soul after physical death and before the advent of the Resurrection (al-qiyāma). Regarding the etymology of this term, most philologists remain silent as to the possibility of its being a loan-word in Arabic. Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, on rather flimsy grounds, proposes a tentative origin from the Persian word barzah, meaning ‘agriculture’ or ‘the branch of a tree’ (p. 41). Abū al-Kamāl ʿĀṣim believes barzakh to be an Arabicisation of the P…

Cite this page
Pakatchi, Ahmad, Brown, Keven and Dinani, Gholamhossein Ebrahimi, “Barzakh”, in: Encyclopaedia Islamica, Editors-in-Chief: Wilferd Madelung and, Farhad Daftary. Consulted online on 18 January 2019 <>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004246911, 20131209

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