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
hadd

Lit. ‘edge,’ ‘boundary,’ ‘limit,’; a technical term in Islamic law denoting God’s ‘limits’ or punishments for various crimes mentioned in the Qur’an. Also a technical term for any rank in the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa (See hudud .)

hadith

Lit. ‘report’ or ‘narrative,’ used for the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad and in Shi‘i Islam also for those of the Imams.

Hafizi

A branch of the Musta‘li Ismailis .

Hafizis

A branch of Musta‘li Ismailis.

Upon the death of the twentieth Imam of the Musta‘li Ismailis, Fatimid Caliph al-‘Amir bi-Ahkam Allah, the official Musta‘li da‘wa in Cairo, along with the majority of Musta‘lian Ismailis in both Egypt and Syria, and some Musta‘lians in Yemen, recognised al ‘Amir’s cousin, al-Hafiz as the next Imam-Caliph. These Must‘ali Ismailis became known initially as the Majidiyya and then as the Hafiziyya or Hafizis. The Zurayids of Aden and some of the Hamdanids of Sana’a also supported the Hafizi da‘wa. Hafizis seem to have disappeared soon after the demise of the Fatimid caliphate in 1171 CE.

Hafiziyya

A branch of Musta‘li Ismailis.

Upon the death of the twentieth Imam of the Musta‘li Ismailis, Fatimid Caliph al-‘Amir bi-Ahkam Allah, the official Musta‘li da‘wa in Cairo, along with the majority of Musta‘lian Ismailis in both Egypt and Syria, and some Musta‘lians in Yemen, recognised al ‘Amir’s cousin, al-Hafiz as the next Imam-Caliph. These Must‘ali Ismailis became known initially as the Majidiyya and then as the Hafiziyya or Hafizis. The Zurayids of Aden and some of the Hamdanids of Sana’a also supported the Hafizi da‘wa. Hafizis seem to have disappeared soon after the demise of the Fatimid caliphate in 1171 CE.

Hafiziyya or Hafizis
Hajj

(Arabic; derived from the root ha-ja-(ja)), meaning ‘to betake oneself to’, also, occurs in other Semitic languages. The word Hajj usually refers to the annual pilgrimage by Muslims to the Ka‘ba in Mecca, also called the Great Pilgrimage, in contrast to ‘Umra, the Lesser Pilgrimage. The Islamic Hajj owes most of its rituals to the pre-Islamic pilgrimage. Currently, it takes place over five days, 8-12 of the twelfth month (Dhu al-Hijja) of the Muslim lunar calendar. On the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijja, pilgrims offer an animal sacrifice to commemorate Abraham’s sacrifice. The day is celebrated by Muslims worldwide as ‘id al-Adha. Muslims from diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds come together to perform the ritual. It was only in the 8th year of the Hijra, 630 CE, when the first Muslim community performed the Hajj. The Prophet’s first pilgrimage as head of the Muslim pilgrims was in 10 AH/ 632 CE; it was also his last, whence the title, hujjat al-wada‘ (‘farewell-pilgrimage’).

haqa’iq

Pl. of haqiqa. A system originating in 9th century Ismaili texts, and later modified and developed in a Neoplatonic framework by al-Nasafi (d.  943), Abu Hatim al-Razi (d. 934), Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani (d. ca. 971) and Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (d. after 1020) in the 10th and 11th centuries. According to these authors, behind the external aspect (zahir) of religious prescriptions, which can change with every prophet, the haqa’iq are the immutable and eternal truths of the realm of the batin (the hidden), which are known to the Imam and accessible only to the initiated or the elite.

haqiqa (Persian: haqiqat)

The reality. In the writing of philosophers such as Ibn Sina (d. 1037), it means the true nature of something, its essential reality; for Sufis such as Ansari (d. 1089), it is a profound reality discovered after the human soul’s union with God. This latter concept was understood in different ways by other mystics like al–Hallaj (d. 922) or Ibn Arabi (d. 1240). Yet others, like al–Hujwiri (d. 1071), define it as the immutable profound reality, by contrast to shari‘a (the law), seen as a reality that can undergo changes.

Haraz

A mountainous region in Yemen.

Hashimiyya

A Shi‘i revolutionary group which emerged in the 8th century CE; also used generally to designate the ‘Abbasids and others who claimed descent from Hashim, the ancestor of the Prophet Muhammad.

haykal nurani

Lit. ‘temple of light.’ According to the Tayyibi author Ibrahim al–Hamidi (d. 1162), it is the spiritual body formed by the gathering of the individual souls of believers after their ascension. Suhrawardi: hayakil al–nurr.

hayula

A technical term in philosophy derived from the Greek hyle (matter), opposed to sura (form). Usually used in the sense of prime matter, being the third emanated principle after the intellect and the soul in the cosmogonies of Ismaili thinkers such as al–Sijistani (d. 971) and Nasir Khusraw (d. ca. 1088), and also in the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity.

hermeneuein

Greek word for hermeneutics, i.e., the discipline and theory of interpreting texts.

Hijaz

(Arabic; lit. ‘the barrier’). A region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia along the Red Sea which includes some of the holiest sites and cities for all Muslims - the Ka‘ba in Mecca, and Medina, the final resting place of Prophet Muhammad.

Hijra

(Arabic; derived from the root ha-ja-ra, meaning to emigrate from one's own land and take up residence in another country). Technically, the term hijra designates the migration of Prophet Muhammad and his early Muslim community from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. The hijra was taken as a result of the Meccans’ intensifying persecution of the Muslims following the removal of protection from the Prophet upon the death of his uncle, Abu Talib in 619 CE. The Muslim community left for Yathrib (later called Madinat al-Nabi, ‘City of the Prophet’; also known as al-Madinat al-Munawwara, ‘The Illuminated City’). Then, upon receiving the divine command, the Prophet followed his community there. The importance of hijra lies in the fact that it is with hijra that the Muslim community (umma) was firstly formally constituted. Suras in the Qur’an are labeled as either Meccan or Medinan; as the content of the suras reflect the changed position of the umma before and after the hijra. The Muslim calendar provides another indication of the significance of this event: its beginning was set on the first day of the lunar year in which the hijra had taken place.

hikma

A term which in the Qur’an means ‘wisdom’, and later acquired various technical meanings referring to religious, gnostic or esoteric philosophy.

hikmah

A term which in the Qur’an means ‘wisdom’, and later acquired various technical meanings referring to religious, gnostic or esoteric philosophy.

hikmat

A term which in the Qur’an means ‘wisdom’, and later acquired various technical meanings referring to religious, gnostic or esoteric philosophy.

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV

The present, forty–ninth imam of the Nizari Ismailis, Shah Karim al–Husayni, who succeeded his grandfather, Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III , in 1957.

hudud

Pl. of hadd. The term hudud al–din referred to the hierarchy of the Fatimid Ismaili da‘wa.

hujja

A Qur’anic term meaning both ‘proof’ and ‘presentation of proof.’ In Shi‘i Islam it designates Prophets and Imams as ‘proofs’ of God’s presence on earth. In the Ismaili da‘wa of the pre-Fatimid and Fatimid periods, it was also applied to senior da‘is and in the Alamut period of Ismaili history it came to be applied to those representing the Imam.

hujjat

A Qur’anic term meaning both ‘proof’ and ‘presentation of proof.’ In Shi‘i Islam it designates Prophets and Imams as ‘proofs’ of God’s presence on earth. In the Ismaili da‘wa of the pre-Fatimid and Fatimid periods, it was also applied to senior da‘is and in the Alamut period of Ismaili history it came to be applied to those representing the Imam.

huquq (sing. haqq)

Legal rights, claims, and the corresponding obligations.

huquq al-adamiyyin (sing. haqq adam or haqq adami)

Rights of humans, i.e. private, essentially civil, legal rights or claims. A translation of the modern concept of ‘human rights’.

Hurufis

A religious order founded by Fadl Allah Astarabadi in the second half of the 14th century CE in Persia and Anatolia.

Hurufiyya

A religious order founded by Fadl Allah Astarabadi in the second half of the 14th century CE in Persia and Anatolia.