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(1,663 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Umar, Suheyl
Bilqīs, the name used in Islamic tradition to refer to the Queen of Sheba, whose story is recounted in the Qurʾān, in Sūrat al-Naml (Q 27:22–44). These verses narrate the story of her conversion to Islam, at the hands of Solomon. Though Solomon is referred to by name, Bilqīs is not, and is referred to only as ‘a woman’ who rules Sheba. The story of Bilqīs was widely discussed and expanded ¶ upon in the works of the early Qurʾānic commentators as well as those of the later historians. A name of uncertain etymology, some historians claim that the name Bilqīs derives from the Greek word pallaxis, which…

Abū Qurra

(827 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Qasemi, Jawad
Abū Qurra, Abū Muḥammad Mūsā b. Ṭāriq al-Janadī al-Saksakī (d. 203/818), was a traditionist, reciter of the Qurʾān and judge ( qāḍī) from Yemen. He lived and died in Zabīd (al-Janadī, 1/140; al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, 3/196). Abū Qurra studied with such notable traditionists as Ibn Jurayj, Sufyān al-Thawrī, Ibn ʿUyayna and Mūsā b. ʿUqba. He also studied Mālik's Muwaṭṭaʾ with the author himself (Muslim, 92; Ibn Abī Ḥātim, 4(1)/148; Ibn Ḥibbān, 9/159; al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ, 3/196). He became known as an outstanding traditionist and praised by many, including Aḥmad b. Ḥanba…


(2,280 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Brown, Keven
Aṣl (pl. uṣūl), a term in the science of ḥadīth which signifies any primary written copy of ḥadīth which is derived directly from orally transmitted accounts. The word is used in different ways by Sunnis and Shiʿis. The term aṣl, in the sense of a source of transmission ( maṣdar al-naql), has a history as old as ḥadīth narration and the science of ḥadīth itself. The ḥadīth original serves almost the same function as a compilation ( muṣannaf), the only difference being that compilations were topically arranged ( tadwīn) in some manner, which necessarily involved input from the write…

Bābil (Babel or Babylon)

(745 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Brown, Keven
Bābil (Babel or Babylon), is a geographical name mentioned in the Qurʾān in connection with the story of the two angels Hārūt and Mārūt, whose appearance is stated to be for the purpose of ‘teaching’ mankind (see Q 2:102). According to most reports, this region was the place where these two angels descended in the time of the prophet Solomon (or the prophet Idrīs, see al-Suyūṭī, 1/99) in order to teach mankind. The commentators mostly speak of Hārūt and Mārūt teaching magic or the instigation of discord between men and women (e.g. al…

Abū Ḥātim al-Sijistānī

(4,568 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Nejad, Saleh
Abū Ḥātim al-Sijistānī, Sahl b. Muḥammad b. ʿUthmān b. Yazīd al-Jushamī (d. 255/869), was a Qurʾān reader ( muqriʾ) and man of letters ( adīb) from Baṣra. As he himself pointed out, he came from Sijistān (modern Sīstān) (Ibn al-Muʿtazz, 401), although some have taken his native Sijistān to be a small village near Baṣra (see Yāqūt, Buldān, 3/192). His family seems to have possessed property in Sijistān, which Abū Ḥātim inherited, as he mentions in his book al-Nakhl (see p. 104, where the word Sijistān seems to be mistakenly written Simnān). The date of his death as given a…


(1,751 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Negahban, Farzin
Arbaʿīn, signifies the fortieth day after the martyrdom of Imam al-Ḥusayn which is commemorated annually by Imāmī Shiʿis. According to an early belief, it was on this day that the severed head of al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī was reunited with his body at Karbalāʾ. The significance of the fortieth day after the death of a believer is evident among Muslims since the earliest period, and it is manifested in two ways: on the one hand, it has a metaphysical meaning, which suggests a kind of maturation of the deceased soul; on the other, it is a period d…

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 …

Balʿam Bāʿūr

(1,035 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Asatryan, Mushegh
Balʿam Bāʿūr (or Bāʿūrāʾ), a biblical figure that appears in the Islamic written tradition. The foundational narrative for Balʿam’s story in the Islamic tradition—which, in the main, agrees with the Old Testament one—is Q 7:175–176, which tells of an unnamed person who is given God’s signs but turns away from them and follows the Devil’s path. While this passage is generally accepted to refer to Balʿam, the story has also been interpreted as referring to one or more of the Prophet Muḥammad’s cont…

ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām

(1,284 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Lahouti, Hassan
ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām, Abū Yūsuf ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām b. al-Ḥārith al-Isrāʾīlī al-Khazrajī al-Anṣārī (d. 43/663), one of the Prophet's Companions. He came from a Jewish tribe, the Banū Qaynuqāʿ, in Medina, and was an ally of the Khazraj tribe (al-Kalābādhī, 1/390; Ibn Manjawayh, 1/344–345; al-Ṣanʿānī, 6/54). ʿAbd Allāh was a scholar of the Jewish religion and recognised as a rabbi ( ḥabr) (al-Ṭabarī, 19/113, 143; al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, 43; Taʾrīkh, 2/230; al-Qurṭubī, 6/13). He apparently lived in one of the Jewish settlements outside the city of Medina (al-Bayhaqī, 2/459). So…

Abū al-Ghayth al-Qashshāsh

(1,029 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Negahban, Farzin
Abū al-Ghayth al-Qashshāsh (959–1031/1552–1622), was a Tunisian Sufi and zāhid (ascetic), who is referred to by Ibn al-Qāḍī as ‘Ghālib’ (3/261). He was born in Tunisia and travelled a great deal in the early years of his life in order to acquire the best possible education, eventually becoming an expert in tafsīr (Qurʾānic commentary), ḥadīth, principles of jurisprudence and the literary arts (Nawʿī Zāda, 652; al-Muḥibbī, 1/140). Because of his spiritual orientation and ascetic inclinations, he was naturally drawn to Sufism, and it could be said th…

al-Bazzār, Abū Bakr Aḥmad

(1,950 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Umar, Suheyl
al-Bazzār, Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. ʿAmr b. ʿAbd al-Khāliq al-ʿAtakī (d. 292/905), traditionist of Baṣra and one of the earliest compilers of musnad ḥadīth collections. Ibn Nāṣir al-Dīn gives the meaning of the word ‘bazzār’, as used by the people of Baghdad, as a presser of linseed oil (1/484). He was called ʿAtakī because he belonged to the ʿAtīk clan, a subdivision of the Azd tribe (al-Samʿānī, 9/227). Al-Dhahabī notes 210/825 as his year of birth ( Siyar, 13/555). ¶ Al-Bazzār was born at one of the most important junctures in the history of the compilation of ḥadīth materials, that is, in the …

Abū Shujāʿ al-Iṣfahānī

(558 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Poor, Daryoush Mohammad
Abū Shujāʿ al-Iṣfahānī, Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad b. al-Ḥusayn b. Aḥmad, was a jurist and judge from Baṣra (5th/11th–6th/12th century). His kunya is also recorded as Abū al-Ṭayyib (Ibn al-Qāsim al-Ghazzī, 2). While his ancestors were originally from Iṣfahān, his father was born in ʿAbbādān (q.v. ‘Ābādān’) and Abū Shujāʿ himself was born in Baṣra in 434/1043 (Yāqūt, 3/599). The date of his death is not known. According to al-Silafī, he was alive in the year 500/1106 or 1107 and for some years after that (Yāqūt, 3/599), wh…

al-Bayt al-Maʿmūr

(1,022 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Waley, M.I.
al-Bayt al-Maʿmūr, a Qurʾānic compound term which literally means ‘the Flourishing House’ or ‘the Much-Frequented House’. According to most commentators, it is the heavenly counterpart of al-Bayt al-Ḥarām, the ‘Sacred House’ or Kaʿba. The term occurs only once in the Qurʾān (52:4), where God swears by it that the divine wrath will certainly descend (upon disbelievers) and that no one will be able to ward it off (52:7–8). The use of the term al-Bayt al-Maʿmūr in the Qurʾān without comment or explanation has naturally—like that of many other expressions—attracted …

Bā ʿAlawī

(1,754 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew
Bā ʿAlawī or Āl Bā ʿAlawī, a prominent clan of South Arabian sayyids, many of them distinguished scholars and Sufis, living primarily in Ḥaḍramawt and in the town of Tarīm in particular. The clan’s name refers to an eponymous forebear, ʿAlawī b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad. According to the sources, the first member of the clan was Aḥmad b. Ḥusayn al-ʿAlawī (d. 345/956), the chief of the ʿAlids of Ḥaḍramawt, who traced his lineage back to Imam ʿAlī via Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq. He was born into a family of scholars in Baṣra and subsequently emigrated to the Yemen (al-Shāṭirī, 1/142, ¶ 152). Aḥmad b. Ḥusayn stu…

Adam in Islam

(8,497 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Harris, Russell | Hirtenstein, Stephen | Negahban, Farzin
Adam in Islam. Muslim beliefs on Adam (Ādam), his creation as the father of humanity (Abū al-Bashar) and the first prophet are taken from the Qurʾān, with extra material found in ḥadīths and expanded in Qurʾān commentaries. Adam is explicitly mentioned twenty-five times in the Qurʾān. The Qurʾānic account describes the creation of Adam, his presence in Paradise and his consuming the fruit of the forbidden tree, his descent from Paradise and life on earth as the father of humanity. When God told the angels that He would create…


(6,484 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Waley, M.I. | Mosallayi-pour, Abbas
al-Bayḍāwī, Nāṣir al-Dīn ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar b. Muḥammad al-Shīrāzī, Qurʾān exegete ( mufassir) and Shāfiʿī jurist, jurisprudent ( uṣūlī), and judge ( qāḍī) of the 7th–8th/13th–14th centuries. In theology al-Bayḍāwī was Ashʿarī. His fame is due to the special value of some of his writings in the fields of Qurʾān commentary ( tafsīr), theology and jurisprudence. Life and Career Al-Bayḍāwī owes his nisbas firstly to Bayḍā (q.v.), a district in the province of Fārs in southern Iran; and secondly to Shīrāz, the major city in the same province, where he held the office of qāḍī (Ibn Shākir, 54;…


(3,208 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Qasemi, Jawad | Fatehi-nezhad, Enayatollah
Amālī (‘dictations, oral teachings’), a term referring to a specific method of instruction and genre of writing, particularly in the field of ḥadīth, fiqh (jurisprudence) and Arabic literature. By this method the sayings and teachings of a master ( shaykh) were recorded in writing by students and listeners. According to at least one modern scholar, it was such a successful teaching method that it was later adopted as a model for the ars dictaminis by scholars in early Renaissance Italy (see Makdisi, 318, 329–330). As regards dictation sessions in the field of ḥadīth, al-Nawawī (2/126–1…

ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib

(66,105 words)

Author(s): Manouchehri, Faramarz Haj | Melvin-Koushki, Matthew | Shah-Kazemi, Reza | Bahramian, Ali | Pakatchi, Ahmad | Et al.
ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, first cousin of the Prophet Muḥammad; first of the Imams for all Shiʿi Muslims—the very term Shīʿa being derived from the designation Shīʿat ʿAlī, ‘the supporters of ʿAlī’; fourth and last of the ‘rightly-guided caliphs’ ( al-khulafāʾ al-rāshidūn); son-in-law of the Prophet through marriage to Fāṭima; father of the Prophet’s only surviving grandsons, al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn, and thus forebear of all the descendants of the Prophet, referred to as the spiritual ‘nobility’ (the shurafāʾ, sing. sharīf; or sādāt, sing. sayyid, lit. ‘lord’) of the Muslim community.…