قاموس مصطلحات

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Abbasids

Major Muslim dynasty of Sunni caliphs that ruled in Baghdad (750–1258).

adab

A word of many meanings usually connoting courtesy, etiquette, rules and manners, civilisation, culture and literature.

Adl

(Arabic; derived from the root ‘a-da-la; adlinfo-icon and ‘adala meaning justice, fairness). The word is current in the vocabulary of religion, theology, philosophy, and law. The qadiinfo-icon (judge) must give judgment with ‘adl. The seat of an administrative court is often called Dar al-‘Adl (House of Justice).

Adwar

Pl. of dawr.

Aga Khan

A title granted by the Shah of Persia to the then Ismaili Imam in 1818 and inherited by each of his successors to the Imamate.

Aghlabids

Muslim dynasty that ruled in North Africa (800–909), succeeded by the Fatimids.

ahd

Promise, oath of allegiance. (See mithaq.)

ahl al-bait

Lit. ‘the people of the house’, meaning the Prophet Muhammad and members of his household including especially his cousin and son–in–law ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, his daughter Fatima and his grandsons al–Hasan and al–Husayn as well as their progeny.

ahl al-bayt

Lit. ‘the people of the house’, meaning the Prophet Muhammad and members of his household including especially his cousin and son–in–law ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, his daughter Fatima and his grandsons al–Hasan and al–Husayn as well as their progeny.

ahl al-dawa

Lit. ‘the people of the da‘wa, or summons’; a term used by the Ismailis to describe themselves.

ahl al-da‘wa

Lit. ‘the people of the da‘wa, or summons’; a term used by the Ismailis to describe themselves.

Ahl al-kitab

From Arabic, lit. ‘People of the Book’ also referred to as ahl al-dhimma (people under protection) a Qur’anic term used to designate Jews and Christians as believers in a revealed book. In the Qur’an, the term also refers to Sabians and whoever has believed in God and the last day. The people of the Book held special legal status under Muslim rule. Being granted protection, they enjoyed minority legal status that allowed them to have their own religious authorities and follow their own religious laws. The term ahl al-dhimma has been used since the early Muslim settlement in Medina between 622- 632 CE. Currently, the term is not used widely.

Ahwaz

City in the province of Khuzistan, south–western region of present–day Iran.

Ajarida

A branch of the Kharijites (Kharijiyya) founded by Ibn Ajarrad in the 8th century CE, whose adherents lived mainly in eastern Iran.

Ajarrida

A branch of the Kharijites (Kharijiyya) founded by Ibn Ajarrad in the 8th century CE, whose adherents lived mainly in eastern Iran.

akwar

Pl. of kawr (see dawr.)

Al-Azhar

A major mosque and institution of learning founded in Cairo by the  Fatimid Imam-caliph al-Mu‘izz (d. 975).

al-Balad al-amin

A term used in the Qur’an for Mecca, translated as the city of security, serenity or salvation.

al-dai al-mahdud

Also al–da‘i al–mahsur. A rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa for chief assistant to al–da‘i al–mutlaq.

al-dawa al-hadiya

‘The rightly guiding mission,’ an expression used by the early Shi‘a and earliest Ismailis, who felt that the caliphate had been wrongfully taken from the ‘Alids. The movement began to be particularly successful around the middle of the 3rd/9th century when a multitude of Ismaili da‘is began their activities in Iraq, Persia, eastern Arabia and Yemen.

al-da‘i al-mahdud (or al-mahsur)

Also al–da‘i al–mahsur. A rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa for chief assistant to al–da‘i al–mutlaq.

al-da‘i al-mutlaq

The highest rank in the Musta‘li Ismaili da'wa.

al-da‘wa al-hadiya

‘The rightly guiding mission,’ an expression used by the early Shi‘a and earliest Ismailis, who felt that the caliphate had been wrongfully taken from the ‘Alids. The movement began to be particularly successful around the middle of the 3rd/9th century when a multitude of Ismaili da‘is began their activities in Iraq, Persia, eastern Arabia and Yemen.

al-din

The faith, the religion or ‘the world of religion’; often contrasted with al–dunya, the material world.

Al-Farabi, Abu Nasr

A preeminent Muslim philosopher born in the region known as Turkestan. In Medieval Latin texts, al-Farabi was referred to as Alfarabius or Avennasar. Being an outstanding philosopher, he became known as al-mu‘allim al-thani (the second master), placed alongside Aristotle, (the first master). Early in his life, al-Farabi moved from Central Asia to Baghdad, where most of his works were written. More than one hundred works are attributed by the Arab bibliographers to al-Farabi among which are al-Madina al-Fadila (The Virtuous City), al-Siyasa al-Madaniya (Civil Policy), and Ihsa’ al-‘Ulum (Survey of the Sciences). Al-Farabi aimed at developing a capacity within Islamic culture for the integration of philosophy as a method of analysis and as an intellectual discipline. Al-Farabi was also a musician who invented a musical instrument called al-qanun/ al-qithara (the zither). He also wrote a notable book on music, Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir (The Great Book of Music). In 942 CE, al-Farabi was invited by Sayf al-Dawla al-Hamadani to live in his entourage mainly in Aleppo. Later he died in Damascus in 950 CE.

al-furqan

Lit. ‘The Proof’ or ‘The Distinguisher between Good and Evil’, a name applied to the Qur’an and also the title of its 25th chapter.

Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid Muhammad (d. 1111 CE)

A noted theologian, jurist and mystic, (1058-1111 CE), whose thoughts and writings had a major influence on the development of Sunni Islam. He was born at Tus, Khurasan in Eastern Iran and served as chief instructor at the Madrasa Nizamiyya in Baghdad between 1091 and 1095 CE. His works include Ihya’ ‘ulum al-din (Revival of the Religious Sciences), al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Deliverance from Error) and Tahafut al-falasifah (Incoherence of the Philosophers).

Al-Hallaj, Husayn b. Mansur

A Sufi poet and mystic born in Fars (in present-day southern Iran). He is mainly remembered for his proclamation ana al-haqq (I am the truth), and for his tragic execution at the hands of the Abbasids. Early in his life, al-Hallaj moved with his family to live in Baghdad. Soon, al-Hallaj became engaged with the religious and political life of 10th century Baghdad. He was imprisoned for nine years and executed in 922 CE. It is debatable though, whether it was al-Hallaj’s political activity or his Sufi utterances that led to his execution. It is believed that al-Hallaj wrote forty nine books; the only one that has survived is his Kitab al-Tawasin, besides a collection of poems collected in his Diwan al-Hallaj.

al-haqq

A name of God meaning ‘The Truth’ or ‘The Reality.’

al-Hasan b. ‘Ali

The elder of ‘Ali’s two sons (d. c. 669) by Fatima and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

al-Hira

A mountain near Mecca where the Prophet Muhammad used to withdraw for prayer and where the first verses of the Qur’an were said to have been revealed.

al-Husayn b. ‘Ali

The younger of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib’s two sons (d. 680) by Fatima and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

al-madhun

Lit. ‘licentiate,’; a rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa structure; an assistant to the regional da‘i; originally divided into two ranks: al–ma’dhun al–mutlaq and al–ma’dhun al–mahdud, or which the latter became known as al–mukasir. Often, the al–ma’dhun al–mutlaq became a da‘i himself and was authorised as the chief licentiate to administer the oath of initiation and rules and policies of the da‘wa to initiates.

al-ma’dhun

Lit. ‘licentiate,’; a rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa structure; an assistant to the regional da‘i; originally divided into two ranks: al–ma’dhun al–mutlaq and al–ma’dhun al–mahdud, or which the latter became known as al–mukasir. Often, the al–ma’dhun al–mutlaq became a da‘i himself and was authorised as the chief licentiate to administer the oath of initiation and rules and policies of the da‘wa to initiates.

Al-Ma’mun, Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abd-Allah (d. 833 CE)

The seventh Abbasid Caliph (786- 833 CE), who succeeded his father Harun al-Rashid and ruled from 813 to 833 CE. He is known for his support of the Mu‘tazili interpretation of Muslim theology and for his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to impose it as the state policy. He encouraged the translation of scientific and philosophical works of other civilisations into Arabic at the Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom), a centre he founded in Baghdad. With the aim of reconciling divisions between the Sunnis and Shi‘a, he appointed the Twelver Shi‘i Imam ‘Ali b. Musa al-Rida as his successor. But this attempt failed as ‘Ali died a year later and his followers accused al-Ma’mun of having him poisoned.

al-Muharram

First month of the Islamic lunar calendar, often referred to as the ‘month of mourning’ because of the death of Imam Husayn b. ‘Ali at the Battle of Karbala in 680.

al-mukasir

Lit. ‘breaker’ a junior rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa mainly responsible for attracting prospective converts and ‘breaking’ their attachments to other religions.

al-mu’min al-mumtahan

A believer whose faith has been tested by God.

al-Qahira

Arabic word for the city of Cairo in Egypt, founded by the Fatimids in 969.

al-qiyama

Arabic term for the Last Day, the Day of Resurrection. A concept which features prominently in the Qur’an. Belief in the Last Day features as one of the pillars of the Islamic creed.

al-Rum

Title of the 30th sura of the Qur’an; refers to the Byzantine Greeks.

Al-Shahada

From the Arabic root sha-hi-da, lit. the act of bearing witness or the public declaration of belief. It is among the key principles of Islam. The shahada has two parts: the first attests that ‘there is no god but God’; the second attests that ‘Muhammad is Messenger of Allah’ It is the second part that distinguishes Muslims from the followers of other monotheistic religions. When pronouncing the shahada, Shi‘i Muslims often add the affirmation of Imam ‘Ali as the Imam of the faithful (amir al-mu’nin).

al-Sham

The mediaeval region of Syria, today comprising Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel.

Al-Sirat al-Mustaqim

From Arabic; lit. ‘the straight path’; a Qur’anic phrase meaning ‘the straight path’. It appears thirty three times in the Holy Qur’an. Conventionally, the phrase has been taken to mean the ‘right path’, the path of those who follow Allah’s guidance as conveyed through Prophet Muhammad.

al-tafwiz

Freewill, opposite of al–jabr.

al-‘ibadat al-‘amaliyya

A term in classical Islamic jurisprudence denoting religious practice or acts of worship, i.e., worship performed by bodily actions or good deeds. In most classical treatises of Islamic law, it is contrasted to mu’amalat (worldly activities). In the writings of some Ismaili authors like Hamid al–Din al–Kirmani (d. after 1020), it is contrasted to ‘ibadat batina ‘ilmiyya (spiritual esoteric worship).

Alamut

Fortress of the Nizari Ismailis in northern Iran, which fell to the Mongols in AH 654/1256 CE.

Alavi Bohras

A subgroup of the Da’udi Tayybi Ismailis in South Asia.

The ‘Alavi Bohrasinfo-icon, popularly known as Alya Bohrainfo-icon, follow a different line of succession to the Da’udi Bohrasinfo-icon from the 29thda‘iinfo-icon onwards. The 29thda‘i al-mutlaq of the Da’udisinfo-icon, Abd al-Tayyib Zaki al-Dininfo-icon b. Da’ud b. Qutubshah (d.1041 AH/1631 CE), was challenged by Shams al-Din ‘Ali b. Ibrahim (d. 1046 AH / 1637 CE), a grandson of the 28thda‘i al-mutlaq, Shaykhinfo-icon Adam. Supported by a faction of the Da’udi community, he brought his case before the Mughal emperor Jahangir, who decided in favour of the incumbent da‘i. ‘Ali, with a group of his followers, spilt from the Da’udi Bohra community and, in 1034 AH / 1624-1625 CE, founded a new Tayyibi Bohra group called ‘Alavi, after his own name ‘Ali b. Ibrahim. He thus became the 29thda‘i al-mutlaq (distinct from the Da’udi and Sulaymani lines) to the present times. The ‘Alavi Bohras are a close-knit community mainly concentrated in Baroda (Vadodara), Gujarat, where their da‘is also reside.

Alavi Ismailis

A subgroup of the Da’udi Tayybi Ismailis in South Asia.

The ‘Alavi Bohrasinfo-icon, popularly known as Alya Bohrainfo-icon, follow a different line of succession to the Da’udi Bohrasinfo-icon from the 29thda‘iinfo-icon onwards. The 29thda‘i al-mutlaq of the Da’udisinfo-icon, Abd al-Tayyib Zaki al-Dininfo-icon b. Da’ud b. Qutubshah (d.1041 AH/1631 CE), was challenged by Shams al-Din ‘Ali b. Ibrahim (d. 1046 AH / 1637 CE), a grandson of the 28thda‘i al-mutlaq, Shaykhinfo-icon Adam. Supported by a faction of the Da’udi community, he brought his case before the Mughal emperor Jahangir, who decided in favour of the incumbent da‘i. ‘Ali, with a group of his followers, spilt from the Da’udi Bohra community and, in 1034 AH / 1624-1625 CE, founded a new Tayyibi Bohra group called ‘Alavi, after his own name ‘Ali b. Ibrahim. He thus became the 29thda‘i al-mutlaq (distinct from the Da’udi and Sulaymani lines) to the present times. The ‘Alavi Bohras are a close-knit community mainly concentrated in Baroda (Vadodara), Gujarat, where their da‘is also reside.

Ali b. Abi Talib

Cousin of the Prophet Muhammad and his son-in-law by marriage to his daughter Fatima; the first Shi‘i Imam and fourth caliph (d. 661).

Alids

Descendants of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib .

Amazigh

A member of the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa. The term ‘Berber’ today is often seen as derogatory and the term the group refers to itself as, “Amazigh”, is often used.

Amir

(pl. umara’) Arabic lit. a prince, a commander, or a leader. In early Muslim history, the word amir referred to an army commander. During the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, the umara’ had full powers over administrative and financial posts in their provinces. In the Abbasid period, the umara’ were given a free hand in their provinces, something which led them later to establish dynasties and to share with the Caliph the attributes of sovereignty by adding their own names to his in the khutbas (sermons). Examples of such umara’ were the Ikhshidids, the Mamluks, the Seljuks and the Ayyubids. Today, the title ‘Amir’ has come to mean ‘prince’ and refers to members of the ruling families of some Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

amir al-juyush

‘Commander of the armies’, an honorific title borne by several Fatimid viziers.

amir al-muminin

‘Commander of the Faithful’. A title used for ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and adopted more widely by Sunni caliphs.

amir al-mu’minin

‘Commander of the Faithful’. A title used for ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and adopted more widely by Sunni caliphs.

Ansar

Lit. ‘helpers,’ it refers to the Medinans who supported the Prophet Muhammad and his followers after the hijra (migration) from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE.

Aqa Khan

A title granted by the Shah of Persia to the then Ismaili Imam in 1818 and inherited by each of his successors to the Imamate.

aql

Reason, intellect, mind. This word does not appear as such in the Qur’an, although the verb ‘aqala is used (as in Q 2:44, ‘Do you not understand?’). See also ‘aql–i kull.

aql-i kull

Universal Intellect or Reason. It is the corresponding term to the concept of nous as used in the Greek Neoplatonism of Plotinus (d. 270). It is the first entity that emanates from the divinity, and from which the Universal soul emanates. Fatimid Ismaili thinkers such as Abu Ya‘qub al–Sijistani (d. after 971) built on this concept and wrote that God originates the first intellect through his command (amr). See also nafsinfo-icon–i kull.

aql-i kull (Ar. al-‘aql al-kulli)

Universal Intellect or Reason. It is the corresponding term to the concept of nous as used in the Greek Neoplatonism of Plotinus (d. 270). It is the first entity that emanates from the divinity, and from which the Universal soul emanates. Fatimid Ismaili thinkers such as Abu Ya‘qub al–Sijistani (d. after 971) built on this concept and wrote that God originates the first intellect through his command (amr). See also nafs–i kull.

aqli

As a noun, it refers to a proponent of ‘aql , a rationalist, an intellectual. As an adjective it means related to ‘aql, i.e. mental, intellective, or more commonly ‘rational’, especially in the classical epistemological opposition between knowledge derived from reason and knowledge derived from tradition (naql).

arif

Lit. ‘one who knows’. Used by Sufi authors like Abu ‘Abd al–Rahman al–Sulami (d. 1021), ‘arif is one of several technical terms meaning gnostic, mystic, seeker of spiritual knowledge (ma‘rifa), like salik, zahid, faqir and so on. In his work Waystations of the Gnostics (Maqamat al–‘arifin), Ibn Sina (d. 1037) defines several stages on a mystical path, where the ‘arif occupies an intermediate stage. Shabistari (d. 1339) remarks that the true ‘arif sees the inward light of the divine being everywhere. The Tayyibi author al–Khattab b. al–Hasan (d. 1138) delineating the difference between ordinary knowledge  (‘ilm) and ma‘rifa says that every ‘arif is a knower, but not every knower is an ‘arif. Some Shi‘i authors like Bursi (d. 1411), an Ithna‘ashari, defines an ‘arif as a believer whose love and knowledge (ma‘rifa) of the imams draw him nearer to spiritual perfection.

arsh

‘Throne’. The Qur’an describes God as the ‘Lord of the Throne’ (Q 17:42, etc.), on which ‘He sat himself’ (Q 10:3, etc.) and which is described as being ‘upon the waters’ (Q 11:7) or ‘born by angels’ (Q 69:17, etc.) The concept was an object of debate among theologians. While al–Ash‘ari (d. 935) maintained the literal interpretation, the Mu‘tazilah interpreted it allegorically to avoid an anthropomorphic reading. In Nasafi’s (d. 943) cosmology, the Qur’anic ‘throne’ is equated to the philosophical concept of Intellect.

asas

Lit. ‘foundation’. Early Ismaili authors, like Ibn Hawshab (d. 914) and his son Ja‘far (d. 2nd half of 10th century) divided history into seven eras, each inaugurated by a ‘speaking prophet’ (natiq), who is succeeded by a legatee, also called asas, the founder, a teaching based on the knowledge of the spiritual meaning of the message delivered by the Prophet. In this system of thought, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (d. 661) is the foundation of the imamat in the cycle of Muhammad. The writing of later Ismaili authors such as al–Nasafi (d. 943), Abu Hatim al–Razi (d. 934), Abu Ya‘qub al–Sijistani (d. after 971), present variants of this system. al–Sijistani, for instance, defines both the prophet and his legatee as asas.

Ashura

An event which is commemorated by many Shi‘ainfo-icon Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, which took place on the 10th of Muharraminfo-icon in 61 AH/ 680 AD. Ashurainfo-icon had been observed as early as the time of the fourth Imaminfo-icon Ali Zayn al-‘Abidin. The ‘Ashura event historically developed to become a popular religious and artistic phenomenon which comprises several rituals including the ziyara (visit) to the shrine of Imam al-Husayn, and the recitation of the marathi (elegies) by someone known as al-na’ih (professional mourner), at places called Majalisinfo-icon al-Ta‘ziya (commemorative centres). Commemoration of ‘Ashura was greatly encouraged and became a major public event under the Abbasidsinfo-icon. Under the Buydis, in 962 CE, ‘Ashura was declared a day of public mourning in Baghdad. Subsequently, special edifices called Husayniyya were built for the ‘Ashura celebrations. Under the dynasty of the Shi‘i Safawidsinfo-icon in Iran (1501-1722), ‘Ashura commemorations underwent significant elaboration, and these new forms came to influence many other parts of the Shi‘i world, where the Husayniyya became more popular. At present, in Shi‘a majority countries such as Iraq and Iran, ‘Ashura has even become a national holiday.

Ash‘arism

A theological school founded in the 10th century CE by the Sunni theologian and heresiographer ‘Ali b. Isma‘il al–Ash‘ari (d. 935–936 CE).

Ash‘ariyya

A theological school founded in the 10th century CE by the Sunni theologian and heresiographer ‘Ali b. Isma‘il al–Ash‘ari (d. 935–936 CE).

Attar, Farid al-Din Muhammad b. Ibrahim (d. 1220 CE)

A Persian Sufi poet and author born in Nishapur (d. 1220 CE). He is well known for many of his works, including Mantiq al-tayr (The Conference of the Birds), a classic Sufi allegory, and Tadhkirat al-awliya (Biographies of the Saints), which is a biography of many Sufi figures, including Mansur al-Hallaj.

awamm

A term used in classical philosophical literature for the ‘common folk’ or ‘masses,’ who in this usage were contrasted with the ‘elect’ or ‘elite’ (khawwas).

Aya

A verse of the Qur’an, (pl. ayat). It is the smallest semantically independent Qur’anic speech. The word aya occurs in Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac, and is often translated as a sign. The word also refers to miracles, as in the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary (Q19:21); and wonders of nature as signs of God’s power in the universe (see, e.g. Q 30:20-25). The number of ayat (verses) differs from one sura to another. An individual verse may be just a single word or long passages; the longest aya in the Qur’an is the verse known as al-Dayn ‘the Debt’, Q 2: 282.

Ayatollah

From Arabic, lit. Sign of God; a title used by the Imami Twelver Shi‘is. The rank of Ayatollah is believed to have been established in the Safawid period (1501-1722 CE). The Ayatollah usually heads the hierarchy amongst the Twelver Shi‘i mujtahids. The holder of the title in today’s Islamic Republic of Iran has two main roles: on the administrative level, the Ayatollah regulates religious dues (taxes) and heads various centres of learning; on the intellectual and spiritual levels, he is considered as a primary source for religious learning.

ayyar

Lit. ‘rascal, tramp, vagabond’. A term used for the members of an organisation grouped under the concept of futuwwa (chivalry), especially the highway warriors active in the wilderness of Iraq and Persia from the 9th to the 12th centuries CE. The Sufi author Abu’l Hasan al–Hujwiri (d. 1072) differentiates between the futuwwa of these ‘ayyar (which he rejects as merely external) and the spiritual futuwwa of the Sufis and Gnostics.

Ayyubids

Muslim dynasty that ruled in Egypt (1169–1250), succeeded by the Mamluks.