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
qadar

Derived from Q 33:38, etc and often translated as ‘destiny,’ ‘fate,’ or predestination. See qada’ .

Qadarites

Followers of a theological school in early Islam who advocated the doctrine of free will; also the name of a Sufi order founded by ‘Abd al–Qadir al–Jilani (d. 1166 CE).

Qadariyya

Followers of a theological school in early Islam who advocated the doctrine of free will; also the name of a Sufi order founded by ‘Abd al–Qadir al–Jilani (d. 1166 CE).

qada’

Divine decree. In the Qur’an, it does not appear as a noun, but as a verb meaning ‘to decree, determine.’ Together with qadar this concept featured in theological disputes on the issue of free will and predestination.

qadi

A Muslim judge (pl. qudat).

qalam

Reed–pen. The first verse of Sura 68 says: ‘By the pen and what they write’ and Q 96:4 states that God taught man ‘by the pen’. According to some traditions (such as those collected in Tabari’s Tafsir), the qalam was the first thing created by God. Abu Ya’qub al–Sijistani (d. after 971) linked the terms qalam and ‘arsh with ‘ aql in an attempt to equate the Qur’anic concepts with Neoplatonic cosmology.

Qarmatis

A number of revolutionary movements in early Islam which, while adhering with the Ismailis to the Imamat of Isma‘il b. Ja‘far, were generally opposed to the Fatimids .

Qarmatiyya

A number of revolutionary movements in early Islam which, while adhering with the Ismailis to the Imamat of Isma‘il b. Ja‘far, were generally opposed to the Fatimids .

qasida

A polythematic poem originating in pre–Islamic Arabia. It has come to refer to any poem of a certain length in Arabic, Persian and Turkish literatures, often including the eulogy of a personality. Persian qasidas are also composed to celebrate festivals. The chanted qasida is part of the religious tradition of Arabic and Persian–speaking Nizari Ismailis.

Qasim Shahis

Adherents of one of the main branches of Nizari Ismailis who followed Qasim Shah as the successor to the Imam Shams al–Din Muhammad (d. 1310 CE).

qawm min al-shi‘a

A group, tribe or community of the Shi‘a .

Qayrawan

A Tunisian city, often transliterated in English as Kairouan, which became the capital city of the Aghlabids and later of the Fatimids .

qa’im

Lit. ‘riser’ or ‘resurrector.’ Used in early Shi‘i thought for a member of the family of Muhammad who was expected to restore justice on earth by rising against the regime considered as illegitimate. It also came to mean the eschatological mahdi. The title al-qa’im bi amr Allah was adopted by the second Fatimid caliph-imam (d. 946) and later by the 26th ‘Abbasid caliph (d. 1075). Some early Ismailis expected Imam Muhammad b. Ismail to return as the qa’im or mahdi. In the writings of Qadi Nu’man, qa’im designated the Fatimid imam-caliphs, who had assumed the functions of the qa’im to elucidate the hidden meaning (see batin) of the prescribed laws. However, some groups continued to expect the second coming of Muhammad b. Isma‘il as the qa’im who would end the last era of mankind. These Ismailis are sometimes called seveners (see sab‘iyya). The doctrine of qiyamat in Alamut gave a central role to the imam as the qa’im and gateway to the divine world (see qa’im al-qiyamah and khudawand-i qiyamat).

qa’im al-qiyamah

Lit. ‘the Resurrector of the Resurrection.’ See khudawand–i qiyamat and qa’im .

Qibla

The direction of Muslim prayer towards the Ka‘ba , indicated in a mosque by a niche called mihrab.

qila‘ al-da‘wa

The collective name for several Nizari fortresses in Syria’s Jabal Bahra’ after their capture around 535/1140–1, including al-Khawabi, Rusafa, Maniqa and Qulay‘a.

Qizilbash

Lit. ‘Red–heads,’ name of Turkish tribesmen and followers of the Safawiyya Sufi order who founded the the Safawid dynasty in Persia in 1501 CE.

Qum

A historic city in Iran to the south of Tehran. It is considered by many Shi‘i Muslims as Iran’s second holiest city after Mashhad. Qum is a leading centre of Twelver Shia learning in Iran, which contains major institutions for the training of students and is home of leading schools and libraries. Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Qum’s importance has grown enormously. Qum’s fame as a pilgrimage site, visited by millions from Iran and abroad, is mainly due to the shrine of Fatima (popularly known as Hazrat-i Ma‘suma), daughter of the 7th Imam of the Twelver Shia, Musa b. Ja‘far al-Kazim, and sister of the 8th Imam of the Twelver Shia, Ali Reza, whose shrine is in Mashhad.

Qur’an

(also Koran. Arabic term meaning, ‘recitation’ or ‘scripture’): Muslims believe that the Holy Qur’an contains divine revelations to Prophet Muhammed received in Mecca and Medina over a period of 23 years in the early 7th century CE. It consists of 114 suras (chapters) of varying lengths, each of which is divided into a number of ayat (verses). The suwar (chapters) fall under two categories, the Meccan in reference to those revealed while the Prophet was in Mecca, and the Medinan in reference to those revealed while he was in Medina. After the first sura, called al-Fatiha, the rest of the chapters are arranged roughly in decreasing order of length. There are varying traditions amongst Muslims about the collection and compilation of the Holy Qur’an, although it is generally believed that the authoritative collection (mushaf) was prepared following the demise of Prophet Muhammad. Among Muslims, the Holy Qur’an plays a central role in rituals, law, theology, literature arts and spirituality.

qutb

Lit. ‘pole’ or ‘pivot’. In mystical literature, such as the writings of al–Tirmidhi, Abd al–Razzaq and Ibn al–‘Arabi (d. 1240), it refers to the most perfect human being (al–insan al–kamil) who is thought to be the universal leader of all saints, to mediate between the divine and the human and whose presence is deemed necessary for the existence of the world. For some Shi‘i authors, such as Haydar Amuli (14th c.) the qutb is the Shi‘i imam.