Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs

The Encyclopaedia of Islam (Second Edition) Online sets out the present state of our knowledge of the Islamic World. It is a unique and invaluable reference tool, an essential key to understanding the world of Islam, and the authoritative source not only for the religion, but also for the believers and the countries in which they live. 

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al-Mahalla al-Kubrā

(600 words)

Author(s): Kramers, J.H.
or maḥalla kabīr is the modern name of an important town in the Delta of the Nile at some distance to the west of the Damietta arm, north-east of Ṭanṭa. It ¶ lies on the Turʿat al-Milāḥ canal, a branch of the Baḥr S̲h̲ībīn. In view of the large number of Egyptian geographical names compounded with Maḥalla (see these listed in Muḥammad Ramzī, al-Ḳāmūs al-d̲j̲ug̲h̲rāfī li ’l-bilād al-Miṣriyya , Cairo 1953-68, i, 404-9), the identification of the town with the names mentioned by earlier Arabic writers is a matter of some difficulty. Maspero an…

Maḥallātī

(960 words)

Author(s): Algar, Hamid
, Āg̲h̲ā K̲h̲ān , Sayyid Ḥasan ʿAlī S̲h̲āh. last of the Nizārī Ismāʿīlī imām s ¶ to reside in Iran and the first of them to bear the title of Āg̲h̲ā (less commonly but more correctly, Āḳā) K̲h̲ān. Born in 1219/1804 in the village of Kahak near Maḥallāt in central Iran, he succeeded to the imāmate in 1233/1817 when his father, S̲h̲āh K̲h̲alīl Allāh, was murdered in Yazd. Fatḥ ʿAlī S̲h̲āh, the Ḳād̲j̲ār ruler, amply compensated the young imām . His lands at Maḥallāt were extended by royal decree; he was given a daughter of Fatḥ ʿAlī S̲h̲āh in marriage; a…

Maḥalle

(494 words)

Author(s): Ed.
, a term commonly used in Ottoman administrative parlance for a ward or quarter of a town. As listed in the Ottoman registers [see daftar-i k̲h̲āḳānī ], the maḥalle s are of various kinds. Characteristically, the Ottoman maḥalle consisted of a religious community grouped around its mosque (or church or synagogue) and headed by its religious chief. In addition to its place of worship, the maḥalle normally had its own market, school and water fountain, these normally being supported by pious endowments. In many provincial towns, the maḥalle also had its own outer wall with a limited…

al-Maḥallī

(457 words)

Author(s): Pellat, Ch.
, Abū ʿAlī D̲j̲alāl al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Anṣārī al-S̲h̲āfiʿī , Egyptian scholar who was born and died in Cairo (b. 791/1389, d. 1 Muḥarram 864/28 October 1459). He is known above all as co-author of the famous Ḳurʾān commentary called the Tafsīr al-Ḏj̲alālayn because it was completed by another D̲j̲alāl al-Dīn, the famous al-Suyūṭī (849-911/1445-1505 [ q.v.]), who had been his pupil for some time. According to the latter, al-Maḥallī had commented on the sūras from XVIII ( al-Kahf ) to CXIV ( al-Nās ), as well as I ( al-Fātiḥa ) and a few verses of II ( al-Baḳara ). …

Maḥammad b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Huḍīgī

(309 words)

Author(s): Lory, P. | Zekri, M.
al-Sūsī a Ḏj̲azūlī (1118-89/1706-75), Moroccan scholar and ascetic. After a classic-type education in his native region of the Sūs, he left on the Pilgrimage in 1152/1739, en route following the courses of famous teachers, notably at Cairo; he gives details of these stays in his unpublished Riḥla ḥid̲j̲āziyya . On his return to Morocco, he spent the remainder of his life in his zāwiya [ q.v.] of Wādī Īsī in the Sūs. His main work, the Manāḳib or Ṭabaḳāt al-Huḍīgī (2 vols. Casablanca 1936-9) groups together alphabetically the names of personalities who…

Maḥammad al-Ḥād̲j̲d̲j̲

(7 words)

[see al-dilāʾ, in Suppl.].

al-Maḥāsin wa-’l-Masāwī

(4,340 words)

Author(s): Gériès, I.
(a.) “merits and faults”, a literary genre which developed in the course of the first centuries of the Islamic period, having originated within the Arabo-Muslim cultural heritage, although some scholars (Inostranzev, Iranian influence on Moslem literature, tr. from Russian by G. K. Nariman, Bombay 1918, 79-85; G. Richter, Studien zur Geschichte des älteren arabischen Fürstenspiegel , Leipzig 1932, 37-8; H. Massé, Du genre littéraire débat en arabe et en persan , in CCM, iv [1961], 137; I. Muḥammadī, al-Adab al-fārisī fī ahamm adwārih wa-as̲h̲har aʿlāmih , B…

Mahāt

(3,655 words)

Author(s): Viré, F.
(A., pl. mahān , mahawāt , mahayāt ), a feminine noun denoting the large oryx and the addax antelope. Both these meanings merge in the expression baḳar waḥs̲h̲ī , baḳar al-waḥs̲h̲ (coll. baḳara waḥs̲h̲iyya (sing.) “wild cattle” [see baḳar ]). The root m-h-w suggests sparkling whiteness, and al-mahā is applied to rock crystal ( billawr ), pearl ( durr , luʾluʾ ) and any bright star ( kawkab ). The almost-immaculate coat of these beautiful, desert antelopes certainly warrants the description al-mahā t, the word used to describe māriyya / munriya , layāḥ , lahaḳ / lahāḳ , kawkab. The oryx and th…

Māh al-Baṣra

(404 words)

Author(s): Morony, M.
, “the Media of Basra”, the district of Nihāwand [ q.v.], the taxes of which contributed to the support of the military population at al-Baṣra after the Muslim conquest of al-D̲j̲abal. Although Sayf ascribes this arrangement to the time of ʿUmar I (13-23/634-44), according to al-Balād̲h̲urī, al-Dīnawar and Nihāwand were occupied by Baṣran and Kūfan forces respectively after the battle of Nihāwand in 21/642. By the caliphate of Muʿāwiya (41-60/661-80), the Muslim population at al-Kūfa had increased and required an increase ¶ in revenues for their support, so al-Dīnawar was re…

Maḥbūb b. al-Raḥīl al-ʿAbdī

(368 words)

Author(s): Lewicki, T.
, Abu Sufyān , Ibāḍī theologian and historian, originally from the Arabic tribe of the Banū ʿAbd al-Ḳays, who lived in the 2nd/8th century and who is cited in the Kitāb Ṭabaḳāt al-mas̲h̲āyik̲h̲ of al-Dard̲j̲īnī (d. 670/1227 [ q.v.]) amongst the scholars of the fourth ṭabaḳa or class. His family came originally from ʿIrāḳ (his grandfather al-Malīḥ al-ʿAbdī was one of the close friends of the head of the Ibāḍī community in Baṣra, the famous Abu ʿUbayda Muslim b. Abī Karīma al-Tamīmī [see al-ibāḍiyya ]), and he first lived in ʿUmān. Then he settled in Baṣra, …

Mahdawīs

(387 words)

Author(s): Arnold, T.W. | Lawrence, B.
, a sectarian group in Indian Islam, the followers of Sayyid Muḥammad Mahdī (847-910/1443-1505) of D̲j̲awnpur [ q.v.], near Benares, who declared that he was the promised Mahdī [ q.v.] and by his preaching gained a number of adherents in Aḥmadābād [ q.v.] and other parts of Gud̲j̲arāt. He was compelled to leave India, however, and died at Farāh in what is now western Afg̲h̲ānistān, where he was buried. His followers credited him with the power of working miracles, raising the dead, healing the blind and the dumb, etc. For a time, they w…

al-Mahdī

(8 words)

[See ibn tūmart ; al-mahdiyya ].

al-Mahdī

(8,834 words)

Author(s): Madelung, W.
(a.), “the rightly guided one” is the name of the restorer of religion and justice who, according to a widely held Muslim belief, will ¶ rule before the end of the world. The present article will trace the history of this belief and will deal with the political history of Mahdist movements only in so far as relevant (for the Sudanese movement, see al-mahdiyya). Origin and early development during the Umayyad age. The term mahdī as such does not occur in the Ḳurʾān; but the name is clearly derived from the Arabic root h-d-y commonly used in it in the meaning of divine guidance. As an hon…

al-Mahdī

(865 words)

Author(s): Lévi-Provençal, E.
, Muḥammad b. his̲h̲ām b. ʿabd al-D̲j̲abbār b. ʿabd al-Raḥmān al-Nāṣir , abu ’l-Walīd , eleventh Umayyad caliph of Spain. He held power on two occasions, first as successor to His̲h̲ām II al-Muʾayyad [ q.v.], and again in Sulaymān b. Ḥakam al-Mustaʿīn’s [ q.v.] place in the period of general rebellion which at the end of the 4th-beginning of the 5th/11th century immediately preceded the establishment throughout Muslim Spain of petty independent rulers, the Mulūk al- Ṭawāʾif [ q.v.]. The third of the ʿĀmirid ḥād̲j̲ibs , ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. al-Manṣūr, surnamed …

al-Mahdī

(1,239 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, H.
, Abū ʿabd Allāh Muḥammad , the third ʿAbbāsid caliph. The son of the caliph al-Manṣur, he was born, probably in 126 or 127/743-5 in Īd̲h̲ad̲j̲ in K̲h̲ūzistān when his father was involved in the ill-fated rebellion of ʿAbd Allāh b. Muʿāwiya [ q.v.] against the Umayyads in that area. As soon as he was of age, his father began to train him in political affairs. In 141/758-9 he was sent to Rayy as governor of K̲h̲urāsān. He did not settle in Marw himself or take an active part in the campaigns against the various rebels in the area, but rem…

Mahdī ʿAlī K̲h̲ān

(303 words)

Author(s): Rizvi, S.A.A.
the most outstanding vizier of the later Nawwābs of Awadh. He started his career from the early reign of Nawwāb Saʿādat ʿAlī K̲h̲ān (1798-1814) as a čhakladār (an officer of one of the revenue districts) of čhakla Muḥammadī and then of Fayḍābād. His administration made the čhaklas under his control exceedingly prosperous. He himself became fabulously rich and was made a minister. Early in the reign of Saʿādat ʿAlī K̲h̲ān’s successor G̲h̲āzī al-Dīn Ḥaydar (1814-27), Mahdī ʿAlī lost his position because of his resentment…

Mahdids

(1,185 words)

Author(s): Smith, G.R.
, a dynasty of Zabīd in the Yemen claiming descent from the pre-Islamic Tubbaʿs of Ḥimyar. 1. History. The family took its name from the father of its first leader, ʿAlī b. Mahdī, who died in 554/1159. ʿAlī was brought up with a strong traditional Islamic education by his father in Tihāma. Though much given to quiet meditation, ʿAlī also acquired a reputation for eloquence. He travelled widely too, performing the pilgrimage each year and meeting ʿulamāʾ from all corners of the Islamic world. The famous historian-poet, ʿUmāra, is our earliest source…

Mahdī K̲h̲ān Astarābādī

(512 words)

Author(s): Perry, J.R.
, Mīrzā ( Muḥammad ), court secretary and historian of Nādir S̲h̲āh of Iran (reigned 1148-60/1736-47), author of the Taʾrīk̲h̲ -i Nādirī (also known as Ḏj̲ahāngus̲h̲ā- yi Nādirī ). Little is known for certain about the life of Mīrzā Mahdī K̲h̲ān, not even the dates of his birth and death. The tak̲h̲alluṣ by which he is sometimes called, Kawkabī, is likewise disputed (S̲h̲ahīdī, pp. md). He was presumably born at Astarābād, the son of one Muḥammad Naṣīr, and apparently moved to the capital Iṣfahān during the twilight of the Ṣafawid dynasty or the Afg̲h̲ān occ…

al-Mahdī Li-Dīn Allāh Aḥmad

(1,710 words)

Author(s): Strothmann, R. | Smith, G.R. | Blackburn, J.R.
, a title and name of a number of Zaydī imāms of the Yemen. About 250 years after al-Hādī ila ’l-Ḥaḳḳ Yaḥyā, the founder of the Zaydiyya in the Yemen, his direct descendant, al-Mutawakkil ʿala ’llāh Aḥmad, had, between 532/1137 and 566/1170, restored Zaydī territory to its extent in al-Hādī’s time, with Ṣaʿda, Nad̲j̲rān and, for a time, also Zabīd and Ṣanʿāʾ. A generation later (593-614/1197-1217) the mountainous region from Ṣaʿda in the north to D̲h̲amār, south of Ṣanʿāʾ, was again ruled by the Zaydī al-Manṣ…
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