Glossary Terms

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

Lit. ‘summoner,’ a term for missionary amongst various Muslim communities, especially used among the Ismailis before and during the Fatimid period as well as in the Alamut period of Ismaili history. (See da‘wa .)

dai al-balagh

A missionary in charge of invitation into the da‘wa during the Fatimid period.

dai al-duat

A rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa for ‘chief da‘i ’.

dar al-hijra

Lit. ‘abode of emigration’.

Dar al-Hikma

Lit. ‘House of wisdom’. A scholarly institution founded in Cairo by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al–Hakim in 1005 CE. Its building housed a large library containing thousands of volumes and a public reading room. It was the meeting place for traditionists, grammarians, jurists, astronomers, logicians and mathematicians. The institution was also known as Dar al–‘ilm (The House of Knowledge).

Dar al-Hikmah

Lit. ‘House of wisdom’. A scholarly institution founded in Cairo by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al–Hakim in 1005 CE. Its building housed a large library containing thousands of volumes and a public reading room. It was the meeting place for traditionists, grammarians, jurists, astronomers, logicians and mathematicians. The institution was also known as Dar al–‘ilm (The House of Knowledge).

Dar al-Ilm

Lit. ‘House of Knowledge,’ an institution of learning established in Cairo by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al–Hakim (d. 1021). See also Dar al–Hikmah .

dar al-Islam

The ‘realm of Islam,’ a term used in classical Islamic jurisprudence to denote regions or countries subject to Islamic law. Often contrasted with the dar al–harb, lit. ‘the realm of war’.

Dar al-‘Ilm

Lit. ‘House of Knowledge,’ an institution of learning established in Cairo by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al–Hakim (d. 1021). See also Dar al–Hikmah .

Daudis

Adherents of a sub–branch of the Tayyibi Ismailis. The Tayyibis are one of the two branches of the Musta‘li Ismailis, the other branch being the Hafizi.

dawa

Lit. ‘summons’, ‘mission’ or invitation to Islam. Amongst Shi‘i Muslims, it was the invitation to adopt the cause of the Imamat. It also refers more specifically to the hierarchy of the Ismaili religious organisation in the pre–Fatimid, Fatimid , and Alamut periods of Ismaili history.

dawat al-haqq

‘The true mission’ or ‘the true summons.’ A term used by the Ismailis of the pre–Fatimid and Fatimid periods to refer to their da‘wa activities.

dawla

A state or dynasty. Also used to refer to the domain of politics (siyasa).

Dawoodis

Adherents of a sub–branch of the Tayyibi Ismailis. The Tayyibis are one of the two branches of the Musta‘li Ismailis, the other branch being the Hafizi.

dawr (pl. adwar)

Cycle, revolution, period. Together with kawr — a great age or aeon. It is a division of the cyclical religious history developed by some early Ismaili authors such as Ibn Hawshab (d. 914) and his son Ja‘far (d. 10th c.) as well as by Fatimid thinkers such as Abu Ya‘qub al–Sijistani (d. after 971), Qadi Nu‘man (d. 974) and al–Shirazi (d. 1048). These terms are also part of the Tayyibi mythical cosmology introduced by Ibrahim al–Hamidi (d. 1162). They held that history developed in seven cycles, each inaugurated by a speaking prophet (natiq). See also dawr al–satr.

dawr al-satr

Lit. ‘period of concealment’. Qadi Nu‘man (d. 974) uses the term dawr al-satr to refer to the period of around 150 years in which the Isma‘ili imams were hidden from public knowledge, and which ended with the appearance of ‘Abdallah (or ‘Ubaydallah) ‘al-Mahdi’, who in Nu‘man’s terminology started the period of disclosure (dawr al-kashf). According to Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani (d. after 971), dawr al-satr refers to the period when truth is concealed from the senses, that is, the period that started with Adam and which he expected to end upon the return of Muhammad b. Ismail as the Mahdi. Later, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 1274) speaks of periods of concealment that can take place when the imam’s true spiritual reality is not manifested, even if he is physically available.

Daylam

The highlands in the province of Gilan, near the Caspian Sea in northern Iran.

da‘i

Lit. ‘summoner,’ a term for missionary amongst various Muslim communities, especially used among the Ismailis before and during the Fatimid period as well as in the Alamut period of Ismaili history. (See da‘wa .)

da‘i al-balagh

A missionary in charge of invitation into the da‘wa during the Fatimid period.

da‘i al-du‘at

A rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa for ‘chief da‘i ’.

Da‘udis

Adherents of a sub–branch of the Tayyibi Ismailis. The Tayyibis are one of the two branches of the Musta‘li Ismailis, the other branch being the Hafizi.

da‘wa

Lit. ‘summons’, ‘mission’ or invitation to Islam. Amongst Shi‘i Muslims, it was the invitation to adopt the cause of the Imamat. It also refers more specifically to the hierarchy of the Ismaili religious organisation in the pre–Fatimid, Fatimid , and Alamut periods of Ismaili history.

da‘wat al-haqq

‘The true mission’ or ‘the true summons.’ A term used by the Ismailis of the pre–Fatimid and Fatimid periods to refer to their da‘wa activities.

Da’udi Bohras

A subdivision of Tayyibi Musta‘li Ismailis.


The 26th Da‘i al-mutlaq of the Tayyibi Ismailis (d. 997 or 999 H/ 1589 or 1591 CE) was succeeded by his deputy in India, Da’ud Burhan al-Din b. Qutubshah. But, four years later, the deputy of the deceased da‘i in Yemen, Sulayman b. Hasan al-Hindi, claimed the succession to the leadership of the Tayyibi da‘wa. This heated succession dispute was brought before the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1005 AH / 1597 CE. A special tribunal decided in favour of Da’ud b. Qutubshah, but the dispute, with its Indian-Yemeni dimensions, was not resolved and led to a permanent schism in the Tayyibi da‘wa and community.

The majority of the Tayyibi Bohras acknowledged Da’ud b. Qutubshah as their 27th Da‘i al-mutlaq and henceforth became known as Da‘udis. On the other hand, a majority of Tayyibis of Yemen and a small group of Bohras in India supported the succession of Sulayman b. Hasan and became designated as Sulaymanis. Thereafter, the Da’udis and Sulaymanis followed different lines of da‘is. The Da’udi da‘is have continued to remain in India, while the da‘is of the Sulaymanis have resided in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Da’udis

A subdivision of Tayyibi Musta‘li Ismailis.


The 26th Da‘i al-mutlaq of the Tayyibi Ismailis (d. 997 or 999 H/ 1589 or 1591 CE) was succeeded by his deputy in India, Da’ud Burhan al-Din b. Qutubshah. But, four years later, the deputy of the deceased da‘i in Yemen, Sulayman b. Hasan al-Hindi, claimed the succession to the leadership of the Tayyibi da‘wa. This heated succession dispute was brought before the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1005 AH / 1597 CE. A special tribunal decided in favour of Da’ud b. Qutubshah, but the dispute, with its Indian-Yemeni dimensions, was not resolved and led to a permanent schism in the Tayyibi da‘wa and community.

The majority of the Tayyibi Bohras acknowledged Da’ud b. Qutubshah as their 27th Da‘i al-mutlaq and henceforth became known as Da‘udis. On the other hand, a majority of Tayyibis of Yemen and a small group of Bohras in India supported the succession of Sulayman b. Hasan and became designated as Sulaymanis. Thereafter, the Da’udis and Sulaymanis followed different lines of da‘is. The Da’udi da‘is have continued to remain in India, while the da‘is of the Sulaymanis have resided in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

dhikr

Lit. ‘the act of reminding’; ‘remembrance’. The Qur’an exhorts individuals to remember God: ‘Oh ye who believe! Remember (udhkuru) God with much remembrance (dhikran kathiran)’ (Q 33:41). Dhikr designates a kind of prayer, which consists in the constant repetition of a name or formula. It is performed either in solitude or collectively. For the mystic al–Hallaj (d. 922), it is a method that helps the soul to live in God’s presence, another method being fikr (discursive reflection). Later Sufis, such as Ibn ‘Ata Allah (d. 1309) emphasised that dhikr is a particular technique that guarantees access to higher states and wrote manuals on how to perform dhikr.

Dhu’l-Qa‘da

The eleventh month of the Muslim lunar calendar.

dihqan

A social class of land–owning aristocrats in pre–Islamic Iran.

din

In the Qur’an it means a) retribution, judgment (as in yawm al–din, the day of judgement); b) religion in a broad sense. The pair din–dunya is sometimes used to delineate the relation between the religious and the temporal. Islamist political groups believe din is intimately linked to dawla (the domain of politics).

divan

A government registry; ministry, department or office; a collection of poetry or prose.

diwan

A government registry; ministry, department or office; a collection of poetry or prose.

Druze

A religious community that arose as an off shoot of the Fatimid Ismailis around 408 AH / 1017 CE.


The Druze emerged in Syria in the closing years of the reign of the Fatimid Imam-caliph al-Hakim (r. 386-411 AH / 996 AH-1021 CE). Starting with al-Darazi (or al-Darzi), after whom the group came to be known as al-Daraziyya (or al-Durziyya), they organised a movement in Cairo emphasising the messianic role of al-Hakim and attributing divinity to him. The consolidation of Druze doctrines began with their scholar and leader, Hamza b. ‘Ali, who also succeeded in developing a da‘wa organisation for the movement that spread across Syria.


The Druze teachings are mainly founded on the letters of al-Hamza, written between 1017-1020 CE, and transmitted within the community from generation to generation through initiated scholars. The Druze also refer to themselves as Muwahhidun or Unitarians. They have developed their own scholarship and have distinctive practices. The Druze live in various regions of Syria, Lebanon and Israel, with smaller settlements in the Americas, Australia and West Africa.

dunya

This world, i.e. the visible world, as opposed to al–akhira (the hereafter).