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-Mahdī Li-dīn Allāh, al-Ḥusayn

(614 words)

Author(s): Madelung, W.
, Yamanī Zaydī Imām. He was born in 378/988-9 as one of the younger sons of Imām al-Manṣūr bi’llāh [ q.v.] al-Ḳāsim b. ʿAlī al-ʿIyānī. In Ṣafar 401/September-October 1010 he proclaimed his imāmate at Ḳāʿa in al-Bawn and gained the support of tribes of Ḥimyar, Hamdān and ¶ the Mag̲h̲ārib region. He faced the opposition of the Ḥusaynī ʿAlid Muḥammad b. al-Ḳāsim al-Zaydī, based in Ḏh̲amār, and of the descendants of Yaḥyā al-Hādī, the founder of the Zaydī imamate in Yaman, whose stronghold was in Ṣaʿda. In 402/1011-12 he gained control of Ṣanʿāʾ…

al-Mahdī ʿUbayd Allāh

(2,242 words)

Author(s): Dachraoui, F.
, the first “manifested” ( ẓāhir ) Ismāʿīli Imām and the first caliph of the Fāṭimid dynasty in Ifrīḳiya; while the historicity of this fact is conclusively established, there is doubt as to the Fāṭimid origin of ʿUbayd Allāh and subsequently as to the authenticity of his imāmate in the Ismāʿīli line. It would be pointless however, before giving an account of his activity as a sovereign, to digress upon the thorny subject of the nasab of the first Fāṭimid monarch, to which the author of the present article has, moreover, elsewhere devoted substantial consideration (see Bibl


(2,022 words)

Author(s): Talbi, M.
, a town in Tunisia which owes its name to its founder ʿUbayd Allāh al-Mahdī (297-322/909-34 [ q.v.]); situated on the coast 200 km. to the south of Tunis, it is the regional capital of a province of which the population, 218,000 inhabitants at the time of the 1975 census, is estimated in 1980 at 247,000. The population of the town, numbering 12,000 inhabitants in 1905, has grown steadily to 14,937 (1946 census), 18,494 (1956) and 21,788 (1966). Foundation . The creation of al-Mahdiyya by the Fāṭimids responded to a need which had already made itself felt since the end of t…


(933 words)

Author(s): Lévi-Provençal, E.
, formerly called al-Maʿmūra , a town of Morocco, on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Wādī Sabū (Sebou), built on a rocky promontory which dominates the valley of the river. Situated on the southern extremity of the plain of G̲h̲arb and 20 miles to the north-east of Salé (Salā), it enjoys a geographical position of the first importance. A port has been created here for ships of heavy tonnage, which cannot sail up the Wādī Sabū as far as the river port of Ḳnīṭra (al-Ḳunayṭira, Kénitra [see ḳanṭara ]) situated 6 miles as the crow flies from the mouth of the river. It is generally agreed that th…


(5,885 words)

Author(s): Holt, P.M.
, a movement in the Egyptian Sudan, launched in 1881 by Muḥammad Aḥmad b. ʿAbd Allāh (Muḥammad al-Mahdī) for the reform of Islam. It had from the outset a political and revolutionary character, being directed against the Turco-Egyptian régime ( al-Turkiyya ), which it overthrew, establishing a territorial state. Under the Mahdī’s successsor, the K̲h̲alīfa ʿAbd Allāh [see ʿabd Allāh b. Muḥammad al-Taʿāʾis̲h̲ī , and K̲h̲alīfa. iv], this developed essentially into a traditional Islamic monarchy until its existence was ¶ terminated by the Anglo-Egyptian reconquest (1896-8). 1. Mahdis…


(5,448 words)

Author(s): al-As̲h̲tar, ʿAbd al-Karīm
(sometimes in the plural, al-Mahād̲j̲ir ), name given in Arabic to places in Northern, Central and Southern America to which Lebanese, Syrians, Palestinians and other Arabs have emigrated ( hād̲j̲ara ). The towns whose names recur most often in modern Arabic literature are New York, Sao Pãolo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires; there has developed there, in the first half of the present century, a characteristic literary movement, the vestiges of which have not yet been completely effaced; but these are n…


(206 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E.
, Maham , a town in the district and ¶ taḥṣīl of Rohtak in India, on the road connecting Dihlī and Hānsī, situated in lat. 28° 58′ N. and long. 76° 18′ E.; it was formerly in the Pand̲j̲āb, but since 1947 has fallen within the Indian Union (Hariana State). It was probably founded by Rād̲j̲pūt princes, but was allegedly destroyed at the end of the 12th century by Muʿizz al-Dīn Muḥammad G̲h̲ūrī [see g̲h̲ūrids ]. The D̲j̲āmiʿ Masd̲j̲id has an inscription from the reign of Humāyūn, recording its construction by Bēgam Sulṭān in 1531, and another from A…


(397 words)

Author(s): Burton-Page, J.
, a port of India, with an island fort and two creeks forming a harbour, about 60 miles/90 km. north of Bombay. The large village of Kēlvē on the opposite bank of one creek is now incorporated with it in one municipality named Kēlvē-Māhīm, which distinguishes it from the suburb of Māhīm on Bombay island. The name is also spelt Mahīm and, in Bahmanī records, Mahāʾim. It was known to have been included in the possessions of the Dihlī sultanate in the mid-8th/14th century, from which it passed to the Gud̲j̲arāt sultanate, of which it became the southernmost port …

Māhir, ʿAlī

(369 words)

Author(s): Jankowski, J.
, Egyptian jurist and politician. Born on 9 November 1881 in Cairo, the son of Muḥammad Māhir Pas̲h̲a, he was educated at the Khedivial Secondary School and the School of Law. ʿAlī Māhir held several posts in the Egyptian court system in the years before and during World War I, and briefly served as Dean of the School of Law (1923-4). He began his active political career during the Revolution of 1919 as one of the organisers of civil servant petitions and protest. Made a member of the Wafd [ q.v.] in November 1919, Māhir broke with the movement in March 1922, gravitating thereafter i…

Mahisur, Maysūr

(3,067 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E. | Andrews, P.A.
, conventional spelling Mysore , a former princely state of British India, now the core of a component state of the Indian Union called Karnataka, with its capital at Bangalore, and also the name of the town which was the dynastic capital of the state. The native state was a landlocked one of South India, lying between lats. 11° 36′ and 15° 2′ N. and longs. 74° 38′ and 78° 36′ E. and with an area of 29,433 sq. miles. Its population in 1941 was 7,329,140…


(3,090 words)

Author(s): Arnaldez, R.
(A.) “quiddity”. On the construction of this technical term, al-Tahānawī provides interesting information. There are several explanations. One of them derives this word from the interrogative mā huwa? (“what is it?”). In this case, it is to be noted that the yāʾ of the nisba has been added, the wāw suppressed and the tāʾ marbūṭa termination given in order to change the word from the adjectival to the substantive form. Another explanation derives it from , with the addition of the yāʾ of the nisba and of the tāʾ marbūṭa. The original form would then be māʾiyya ; the hamza


(51,808 words)

Author(s): Schacht, J. | İnalcık, Halil | Findley, C.V. | Lambton, A.K.S. | Layish, A. | Et al.
(a.), court. The subject-matter of this article is the administration of justice, and the organisation of its administration, in the Muslim countries, the office of the judge being dealt with in the art. ḳāḍī . The following topics are covered: 1. General The judicial functions of the Prophet, which had been expressly attributed to him in the Ḳurʾān (IV, 65, 105; V, 42, 48-9; XXIV, 48, 51), were taken over after his death by the first caliphs, who administered the law in person in Medina. Already under ʿUmar, the expansion of the Islami…


(12,944 words)

Author(s): Christelow, A. | Dennerlein, Bettina | Rogler, L. | Carroll, Lucy | Hooker, M.B.
4. xi. Algeria When the French began their occupation of Algeria in 1830 there existed multiple legal traditions. The predominant Islamic tradition was the Mālikī one which had taken root in North Africa a thousand years earlier. In the 10th/16th century, Algeria’s Ottoman rulers had introduced the Ḥanafī tradition, which prevailed in the heartland of the empire. The Turkish military élite, and their offspring from marriages with local women, the Ḳulug̲h̲lī s [see ḳul-og̲h̲lu ], tended to follow the Ḥanafī tradition. Appeals, and particularly difficult cases, might be referred to a ma…

Māh al-Kūfa

(6 words)

[see dīnawar ].


(61 words)

Author(s): Ed.
(a.), a term used in Ottoman administrative parlance to mean vacant. It is used in the registers of a grant or office which has been vacated by the previous holder, by death, dismissal, or transfer, and not yet re-allocated. The term is also used more generally for land and other assets left without heir (see also muk̲h̲allafāt ). (Ed.)


(1,993 words)

Author(s): Buhl, Fr. | Jomier, J.
(modern pronunciation of the word vocalised by the lexicographers maḥmil or miḥmal ), a type of richly decorated palanquin, perched on a camel and serving in the past to transport people, especially noble ladies, to Mecca (cf. al-Samʿānī, Kitāb al-Ansāb , under the word al-maḥāmilī ). The famous al-Ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ād̲j̲ b. Yūsuf is said to have been the first to use them. In a more restricted and precise sense, the word designates palanquins of this same type which became political symbols and were sent from the 7th/13th century by sovereigns with their caravan…


(6 words)

, [see mohmand ]


(2,974 words)

Author(s): Hasan, Mohibbul
, the name of two of the Dihlī sultans of mediaeval India. 1. Maḥmūd I, Nāṣir al-Din was the son of Iltutmis̲h̲ (Firis̲h̲ta, i, 70-1; Minhād̲j̲-i Sirād̲j̲ D̲j̲ūzd̲j̲ānī, i, 471-2) and not his grandson, as some modern historians have asserted. He ascended the throne on 23 Muḥarram 644/10 June 1246 through the joint efforts of Balban [ q.v. in Suppl.], and Maḥmūd’s mother. Since Maḥmūd was weak and of a retiring disposition, devoting himself “to prayers and religious observances”, and he owed his throne to Balban, the latter became very powerful. He fur…


(1,336 words)

Author(s): Hasan, Mohibbul
, the name of several mediaeval rulers of Bengal. 1. Maḥmūd i, Nāṣir al-Dīn (846-64/1442-59), was a descendant of Ilyās S̲h̲āhī dynasty of Bengal. On the assassination of the tyrant, S̲h̲ams al-Dīn ( ca. 846/1442), the grandson of the usurper, Rād̲j̲ā Ganes̲h̲ (817-21/1414-18), a scramble for power began among the nobles, which led one of them, named Nāṣir K̲h̲ān, to seize power by killing his rival, S̲h̲ādī K̲h̲ān. But within a week, Nāṣir K̲h̲ān himself was put to death. Thereupon, the nobles chose Maḥmūd, who was a descendan…


(7,122 words)

Author(s): Aktepe, M. Münir | Levy, A.
, the name of two Ottoman sultans. 1. Maḥmūd I (1143-68/1730-54), (with the title of G̲h̲āzī and the literary nom-de-plume of Sabḳatī). The eldest son of Sultan Muṣṭafā II, he was born on the night of 3 Muḥarram 1108/2 August 1696 in the Palace at Edirne. His mother was Wālide Ṣāliḥa Sulṭān. He undertook his first studies on Wednesday, 20 D̲h̲u ’l-Ḥid̲j̲d̲j̲a 1113/18 May 1702 with a grand ceremony at the Edirne Palace which his father Muṣṭafā II attended in person, and was given his first lesson by the S̲h̲ayk̲h̲ al-Islām Sayyid Fayḍ Allāh …
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