Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
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. 

Subscriptions: see Brill.com


(431 words)

Author(s): Bel, A.
(a., masc. or fem.), a measure for grain "of the value of 4 mudd ( modius ) according to the custom of Medina" ( LʿA ; al-Ḵh̲wārazmī, Mafātīḥ al-ʿulūm , ed. Van Vloten, 14). If the cubic contents of the ṣāʿ , like that of the mudd, varied with town and district as far as commercial transactions were concerned, the value of the ṣāʿ was from the canonical point of view fixed in religious law by the Prophet in the year 2/623-4 when he laid down the ritual details of the orthodox feast of ʿīd al-fiṭr , which carried with it the compulsory giving of alms called zakāt al-fiṭr , the value of which in grain was one ṣāʿ…


(3,572 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R. | Rubin, U.
(a.) "hour", hence "clock". 1. In technology. Monumental water-clocks are described in detail in two Arabic treatises. Al-Ḏj̲azarī [ q.v. in Suppl.] in his book on mechanical contrivances completed in Diyār Bakr in 602/1206 describes two such machines. Riḍwān b. al-Sāʿātī, in a treatise dated 600/1203, describes the water-clock built by his father Muḥammad at the Ḏj̲ayrūn gate in Damascus (see E. Wiedemann and F. Hauser, Über die Uhren in Bereich der Islamischen Kultur , in Nova Acta der Kaiserl . Leop . Deutschen Akad . der Naturforscher , ciii [1918], 167-27…


(3,470 words)

Author(s): Daiber, H.
(a.), happiness, bliss, a central concept in Islamic philosophy to describe the highest aim of human striving, which can be reached through ethical perfection and increasing knowledge. In non-philosophical literature, the term (as opposed to s̲h̲aḳāwa , s̲h̲aḳwa , s̲h̲aḳāʾ , s̲h̲aḳā ) describes either happy circumstances in life (see for instance Ibn Ḥanbal, Musnad , ed. Cairo 1313/1895-6, i, 168, 29-30, iii, 407, last section), the unexpected happiness of a long life ( Musnad, iii, 332, 28), preservation from temptations ( ibid., i, 327, 9-10; Abū Dāwūd, Sunan , Kitāb al-Fitan

Saʿādat ʿAlī K̲h̲ān

(599 words)

Author(s): Davies, C. Collin | Bosworth, C.E.
, Nawāb of Awadh or Oudh (regn. 1798-1814). His brother Aṣaf al-Dawla had died in September 1797, but after a four months’ interim, Āṣaf al-Dawla’s putative son Wazīr ʿAlī Ḵh̲ān was set aside and the British governor-General Sir John Shore installed in his place Saʿādat ʿAlī Ḵh̲ān, who had been living under British protection in Benares since 1776. His reign is noteworthy for the extension of British control over the Oudh territories. A treaty concluded with the late Nawāb in 1775 had placed these terri…

Saʿadyā Ben Yōsēf

(1,337 words)

Author(s): Fenton, P.-B.
, Saʿīd ( Abī ) YaʿḲūb Yūsuf al-Fayyūmī (269-331/882-942), Jewish theologian, philosopher and philologist who wrote in Arabic, considered through his independence and breadth as the initiator of several Jewish intellectual disciplines, and a pioneer in mediaeval Jewish philosophy; he was one of the very few Jewish thinkers covered by the Arabic biographers (cf. Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist , i, 320). 1. Life He was born at Dīlās in the province of Fayyūm in Egypt, but little is known of his youth except that his father, of humble origin, had the reputation of bei…


(2,987 words)

Author(s): Beeston, A.F.L.
or the Sabaeans (Greek Σαβαῖοι), the name of a folk who were bearers of a highly developed culture which flourished for over a millennium before Islam, together with three other folks, Maʿīn, Ḳataban and Ḥaḍramawt [ q.vv.]. The main Sabaean centre was at Maryab (later Mārib, see maʾrib ) in Yemen with its fertile oasis on the western edge of the desert known to Arab geographers as Ṣayhad (modern Ramlat al-Sabʿatayn). In early historical times there were also Sabaean settlements in the Wādī Ad̲h̲ana above the great dam wh…


(1,104 words)

Author(s): Rahman, Munibur
, Fatḥ ʿAlī Ḵh̲ān , Persian poet, was born in Kās̲h̲ān, probably in 1179/1765, and died in 1238/1822-3. His people belonged originally to Ād̲h̲arbayd̲j̲ān. and came from the Dunbalī stock, a tribe of Kurds settled in the region of Ḵh̲ūy. Members of his family held jobs as governors and administrators under the Zand and Ḳād̲j̲ār rulers. His father, Āḳā Muḥammad, was governor of Kās̲h̲ān under the Zands, and his eldest brother, Muḥammad ʿAlī Ḵh̲ān, was minister to the Zand ruler Luṭf ʿAlī Ḵh̲ān ( r. 1203-9/1789-94). Ṣabā also seems to have been identified with this monarch, and i…


(2,063 words)

Author(s): Arnaldez, R. | Izzi Dien, Mawil Y. | Heinrichs, W.P. | Carter, M.G.
(a.), pl. asbāb , literally "rope" ( ḥabl ), the basic sense as given by the lexicographers (cf. LʿA ), coming to designate anything which binds or connects. It is "anything by means of which one gains an end ( maḳṣūd ; al-Ḏj̲urd̲j̲ānī) or an object sought" ( maṭlūb ; in the Baḥr al-d̲j̲awāhir ). One can mention asbāb with the sense of "bonds" in Ḳurʾān, II, 166: "When the bonds [which unite them] are broken...". Ibn ʿAbbās interpreted this as friendship ( mawadda ); Mud̲j̲āhid, "alliance" ( tawāṣul ) in this context. The sense is also found of "a means of achi…


(535 words)

Author(s): Hooker, Virginia Matheson
, a state consisting of over 29,000 square miles of territory on the northern coast of the island of Borneo and a constituent part of Malaysia since 1963. Formerly it was known as North Borneo (1877-8 to 1946) and was governed by the British North Borneo Company (incorporated by Royal Charter in 1881) by virtue of agreements between the Company and the Sultans of Brunei [ q.v. in Suppl.] and Sulu [ q.v.]. In July 1946 the Company transferred all its rights to Britain and the territory became a Crown Colony which lasted until 1963 when Sabah joined the Federation of Malaysia. The Muslim populatio…

Ṣabāḥ, Āl

(648 words)

Author(s): Sirriyeh, Elizabeth M.
, Arabian dynasty from the ʿUtūb branch of the ʿAnaza tribe, rulers of al-Kuwayt [ q.v.] from ca. 1165/1752 until the present. They presided over its development from a small port dependent on pearling, fishing and the transit trade with India to its current position as an independent, oil-rich state. Āl Ṣabāḥ originated in Nad̲j̲d and migrated with other members of the ʿUtūb to Ḳaṭar [ q.v.] in about 1085/1674 and then to al-Kuwayt early in the 12th/18th century. The rise to power of the founder of the dynasty, Ṣabāḥ I ( ca. 1165-71/1752-6), remains obscure. His claim to authority was…

Sabahatti̇n Ali̇

(777 words)

Author(s): Balim, Çİğdem
(Ottoman orthography, Ṣabāḥ ul-Dīn ʿAlī), Turkish novelist and short story writer, born in Komotini [see gümüld̲j̲ine, in Suppl.], eastern Thrace (now in Greece), on 12 February 1906 or 25 February 1907, died on 2 April 1948. His father was the army Captain Ali Salahaddin and he had his elementary education in Istanbul, Çanakkale, and Edremit. His childhood in Çanakkale during World War I was to leave deep emotional traces on him; later, when the family came to Edremit, the area was under invasion and they fou…

Ṣabāḥ al-Dīn

(565 words)

Author(s): Zürcher, E.J.
("Prens" Sabahattin) (1877-1948), late Ottoman political theorist. Ṣabāh al-Dīn was born in Istanbul, the elder son of Dāmād (imperial son-in-law) Maḥmūd Ḏj̲elāl al-Dīn Pas̲h̲a. His mother was Senīḥa Sulṭān, a younger sister of Sultan ʿAbd al-Hamīd II. He was educated privately. When his father fled to Paris in 1899, Ṣabāḥ al-Dīn and his younger brother Luṭf Allāh accompanied him. Ṣabāḥ al-Dīn came to the fore as one of the leading Young Turk emigré publicists and politicians. Backed by his father’s wealth, he soon became a serious com…


(455 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E.
, modern Turkish Sapanca, a town in northwestern Anatolia, in the classical Bithynia, situated on the southeastern bank of the freshwater lake of the same name and to the west of the Sakarya river (lat. 40° 41′ N., long. 30° 15′ E.). Almost nothing is known of its pre-Islamic history, although there are Byzantine remains; the name may be a popular transformation of Sophon. According to Ewliyā Čelebi, the town was founded by a certain Ṣaband̲j̲ī Ḳod̲j̲a, but this last must be merely an eponymous hero. It seems to appear in history only i…


(718 words)

Author(s): Honigmann, E.
, Sebasṭiyya , the Arabic name of various towns in the Near East. 1. The ancient Samaria, which Herod had changed to Σεβαστή in honour of Augustus. The form Σεβάστεια—as in the case of other towns of this name—was presumably also used, as the Arabic name (which is sometimes also written Sabaṣṭiyya) suggests. By the end of the classical period, the town, overshadowed by the neighbouring Neapolis (Sichem; Arabic, Nābulus), had sunk to be a small town (πολίκνιον) and played only an unimportant part in the Arab period. It was conquered by ʿAmr b. al-ʿĀṣ while Abū Bakr ¶ was still caliph; the inh…

Sabʿatu Rid̲j̲āl

(530 words)

Author(s): Shinar, P.
, collective designation of seven patron saints venerated in certain Moroccan towns and tribal areas, as well as in some parts of Algeria. Probably the oldest group of this kind are the Seven of the Rad̲j̲rād̲j̲a (Regraga), a Berber maraboutic tribe (later: family) belonging to the Ḥāḥā (Maṣmūda) and composed of the descendants of 13 saints (the original seven plus six affiliates), whose tombs and zāwiyas are located west, east and on top of their holy mountain, Ḏj̲abal al-Ḥadīd, between al-Sawīra (Mogador) and the Tansift in S̲h̲ayāẓima (Chiadma) country. According to local traditi…


(439 words)

Author(s): Beg, M.A.J.
(a.), lit. dyer, is a technical term which was applied to a group of skilled craftsmen in Islamic Middle East and North Africa. In a polemical ¶ writing, the Arab writer al-Ḏj̲āḥiẓ argued that the dyers, tanners, cuppers, etc. were exclusively Jewish in the early Islamic period, but historians like al-Ḵh̲aṭīb al-Bag̲h̲dādī and other writers have indicated names of Muslims bearing the name al-Ṣabbāg̲h̲ which may indicate the involvement of Muslims in the dyer’s profession at least during later Islamic centuries. A stateme…


(2,588 words)

Author(s): Blois, F.C. de
(a.), or, with the usual weakening of final hamza , Ṣābī , plural Ṣābiʾūn , Ṣābiʾa , Ṣāba , in English “Sabian” (preferably not “Sabaean”, which renders Sabaʾ [ q.v.]), a name applied in Arabic to at least three entirely different religious communities: (1) the Ṣābiʾūn who are mentioned three times in the Ḳurʾān (II 62, V 69, XXII 17) together with the Christians and Jews. Their identity, which has been much debated both by the Muslim commentators and by modern orientalists, was evidently uncertain already shortly after the time of Muḥamma…


(4,595 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T.
(a.), the name of two rather mysterious groups in early Islamic times: 1. Ṣābiʾat al-baṭāʾiḥ . The Mesopotamian dialectal pronunciation of ṣābiʿa , where the ʿayn has been transformed into y or ī , also occurs in Mandaean (cf. Lidzbarski, Ginzā ; Nöldeke, Mandäische Grammatik ; R. Macuch, Handbook , 94, 1. 16: ṣabuia ). This substantive, which became current in Mecca during the period of Ḳurʾānic preaching, irrespective of its etymology, derives from the Semitic root ṣ-b-ʿ (Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac; Ethiopic ṣabk̲h̲a ), corresponding to ṣ-b-g̲h̲ in Arabic. Th…


(608 words)

Author(s): MacEoin, D.
(a.), lit. “foregoers”: a term occasionally applied in S̲h̲īʿism to the Prophet, Imāms, and Fāṭima in recognition of their status as preexistent beings and the first of God’s creatures to respond to the demand “Am I not your Lord?” ( a-lastu bi-rabbikum ?). The term derives primarily from Ḳurʾān, LVI, 10-11 ( wa ’l-Ṣābīḳūn al-Ṣābīḳūn ulāʾika ’l-muḳarribūn ); there are also examples of verbal usage (e.g. “how could we not be superior to the angels, since we preceded them ( sabaḳnāhum ) in knowledge of our Lord?” al-Kirmānī, Mubīn , i, 304). The S̲h̲īʿī concept o…


(3,095 words)

Author(s): Bosworth, C.E. | Behrens-Abouseif, Doris
(a.), pi. subul , literally “way, road, path”, a word found frequently in the Ḳurʾān and in Islamic religious usage. 1. As a religious concept. Associated forms of the Arabic word are found in such Western Semitic languages as Hebrew and Aramaic, and also in Epigraphic South Arabian as s 1 bl (see Joan C. Biella, Dictionary of Old South Arabic , Sabaean dialect, Cambridge, Mass. 1982, 326). A. Jeffery, following F. Schwally, in ZDMG, liii (1899), 197, surmised that sabīl was a loanword in Ḳurʾānic usage, most likely taken from Syriac, where s̲h̲ebīlā has both the l…
▲   Back to top   ▲