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. 

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(2,683 words)

Author(s): Shoshan, B. | D. Panzac
(a., from wabiʾa “to be contaminated”, said of a region or land affected by the plague), the mediaeval Arabic term for “epidemic, pestilence”, and theoretically distinguished from ṭāʿūn , from ṭaʿana “to pierce, stab”, in the more specific sense of “plague”. ¶ In mediaeval Arabic medical treatises, one encounters the phrase “every ṭāʿūn is a wabāʾ , but not every wabāʾ is a ṭāʿūn”. While it appears that the distinction had been kept in the early Hid̲j̲rī centuries, it is doubtful, however, whether later Muslim writers always used the two terms with the prec…


(1,557 words)

Author(s): Tkatsch*, J. | P.M. Costa
, in Arabian lore a district and tribe localised in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula. Al-Bakrī, Muʿd̲j̲am , ed. Wüstenfeld, 835, and Yāḳūt, Buldān , ed. Wüstenfeld, iv, 896, give the name ¶ as an indeclinable faʿāli form, Wabār i, with the irregular nisba Abārī. 1. In Arabian lore and history. The Wabār are mentioned by the historians alongside the ʿĀd, T̲h̲amūd [ q.vv.] and other extinct tribes like the D̲j̲adīs and Ṭasm [ q.v.] as peoples of Arabia, now vanished ( al-ʿArab al-bāʾida ), accounted by some genealogists as being among the “true, original” Arabs ( al-ʿArab al-ʿarbāʾ or al…


(3,452 words)

Author(s): Hunwick, J.O. | Anne Regourd
, Wadʿ (a., collective, sing. wadaʿa or waḍʿa ), shells of the gasteropod Cypraea , cowrie shells, most commonly Cypraea moneta or Cypraea annulus, used in India and widely in West Africa as money ¶ down to the early 20th century. They were also known in Egypt as kawda (or kūda , see G. Wiet, Le traité des famines de Maqrizi , in JESHO, v [1962], 62), reflecting the word’s Hindi, and ultimately Sanskrit, origin as kauri , whence the English “cowrie”. Cowries were also used as money in ancient China and widely in India. They have been used even more …


(2,892 words)

Author(s): Spaulding,J.L. | H. Bell
(various renderings of this non-Arabic name, including, in al-Tūnisī, the above one and Waddāī and al-Wāday), conventionally Wadai in English, Ouadai in French, an upland region lying to the west of the Sudanese province of southern Dār Fūr [ q.v.], now falling mainly within the Republic of Chad [see čad , in Suppl.] but with its eastern fringes in the Sudan Republic. 1. History. Wadai was one of several Islamic African kingdoms to arise at the dawn of the modern era in the comparatively fertile highlands west of the Nile valley and east of Lake Chad. This z…

Waʾd al-Banāt

(274 words)

Author(s): F. Leemhuis
(a.), “the disposal by burying alive of newborn daughters”, refers to the practice in pre-Islamic times of burying newborn girls ¶ immediately after birth. The concept occurs with strong disapproval in the Ḳurʾān in LXXXI, 8, in the form al-mawʾūda , but according to mediaeval tafsīr , the practice is alluded to also in LX, 12 (believing women who do not kill their children), XVI, 58/59; XLIII, 17 (anger and grief for the birth of a daughter), and in VI, 151, XVII, 31 (the killing of children for fear of poverty). According to the ḥadīt̲h̲ , the practice was explicit…


(1,444 words)

Author(s): Robin, Ch.
, a god of pre-Islamic Arabia, mentioned in the Ḳurʾān in a speech of Noah: “They have said: Forsake not your gods. Forsake not Wadd, nor Suwāʿ, nor Yag̲h̲ūt̲h̲, Yaʿūḳ and Nasr!” (LXXI, 22/23). Traditionists and commentators have exercised their ingenuity in the pursuit of the identity of Wadd, but their quest has not been very productive. In his “Book of the Idols” ( Kitāb al-Aṣnām , §§ 7c, 9d, 45e, 49c-51b), Ibn al-Kalbī (d. 204/819 or 206/821) considers that Wadd was a divinity of the tribe of Kalb at Dūmat al-Ḏj̲andal, the great oasis of north-western Arabia (on the composition of Kitāb al-A…


(6 words)

[see d̲j̲ad̲h̲īma al-abras̲h̲ ].

Waḍḍāḥ al-Yaman

(701 words)

Author(s): Arazi, A.
, sobriquet (“person of outstanding handsomeness amongst the Yemenis”) of a minor Umayyad poet of the Ḥid̲j̲āzī school, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Ismāʿīl b. Kulāl al-K̲h̲awlānī, d. ca. 90/707. Two of the earliest sources on him, Muḥammad b. Ḥabīb’s K. Asmāʾ al-mug̲h̲tālīn , 273, and al-Balād̲h̲urī’s Ansāb al-as̲h̲rāf fol. 656a, state that one of his ancestors stemmed from the Abnāʾ al-Furs , the Persian soldiers and officials sent out to Yemen to aid Sayf b. Ḏh̲ī Yazan against the Abyssinians, but there are contradictory traditions on his Y…


(1,121 words)

Author(s): Brice, W.C. | Callot, Y. | Pinilla-Melguizo, R.
(a.), pls. awdiya , awdāʾ , etc., in Syrian colloquial widyān (see A. Barthélemy, Dictionnaire arabe-français . Dialectes de Syrie , Paris 1935-54, 889), in the Arab lands in general, a river valley. The conventional English spelling is wadi. 1. In the Arabian peninsula. In desert terrain, a wadi is usually dry, but may carry seasonal water, or occasional floods ( sayl ), which are often a mixture of water, mud and stones. These ¶ desert valleys are very different in both topography and gradient from those in lands of higher and more regular rainfall; for while it is …


(1,404 words)

Author(s): Dien, Mawil Y. Izzi
(a.), noun from the root wadaʿa which can denote the opposing meanings or aḍdād [ q.v.], of both depositing an object with and accepting it from a person. It is also the term given to the legal contract that regulates depositing an object with another person, whether real or ¶ supposed. Strictly speaking, īdāʿ is the actual act, while the form I verb wadaʿa refers to the actual relationship, since wadīʿa is in reality the noun for the object of the contract ( maḥall al-ʿaḳd ). The depositor ( mūdiʾ ) is thus a person who deposits an object or property with the mūdaʾ . Althoug…

Wādī l-ʿAḳīḳ

(6 words)

[see al-ʿaḳīḳ ].

Wādī Ās̲h̲

(635 words)

Author(s): Alvarez de Morales, C. | Pinilla-Melguizo, R.
, a town of al-Andalus, modern Guadix, now in the province of Grenada [see gharnāṭa ] 60 km/37 miles northwest of the province’s capital, chef-lieu of a partido judicial and seat of the diocese of Guadix-Baza, with a population of ca. 20,000, perhaps twice what it had in Islamic times. The name goes back to a pre-Islamic toponym, perhaps Iberian, Acci , rendered Ās̲h̲ by the Arabs, prefixed by the element Wādī [see wādī. 3.], applied not only to the town and the river on which it stood but also to the surrounding region. Sometimes the forms Wādī ’l-As̲h̲ā(t) and W. Yā…


(315 words)

Author(s): Fierro, Maribel
, S̲h̲ams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. D̲j̲ābir al-Ḳaysī al-Andalusī al-Tūnisī (673-749/1274-1348: not to be confused with his slightly younger contemporary, the blind poet and grammarian from Almeria Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. D̲j̲ābir al-Hawwārī), the North African author of a Barnāmad̲j̲ ). Al-Wādīʾās̲h̲ī was born in Tunis, where he died during the plague. He travelled twice to the East, visiting also al-Andalus, and combining commerce with ¶ study. Ibn al-G̲h̲ammāz, Ibn ʿAbd al-Rafīʿ, Badr al-Dīn Ibn D̲j̲amāʿa, al-G̲h̲ubrīnī and the grammarian Abū Ḥayyān were amon…

Wādī Ḥalfā

(390 words)

Author(s): C.E. Bosworth
or simply Ḥalfā , a town of the northern Nilotic Sūdān (lat. 21° 46ʹ N., long. 31° 17ʹ E.), the administrative centre of the Ḥalfā District of the modern Republic of the Sudan. It lies just south of the frontier with Egypt. It was formerly on the Nile, some 10 km/6 miles north of the Second Cataract, and formed the northern terminus of the Sudan Railway from the capital K̲h̲arṭūm, with a pre-1964 steamboat service taking passengers d…

Wādī Ḥanīfa

(285 words)

Author(s): al-Rashid, S.A.
, a valley of Nad̲j̲d [ q.v.], now in Saudi Arabia, named after the tribe of Ḥanīfa [see Ḥanīfa b. lud̲j̲aym ], who in pre-Islamic and early Islamic times occupied the region. It runs in a northwestern to southeastern direction to the east of the massifs of central Nad̲j̲d, rising on the crest of the D̲j̲abal al-Ṭuwayḳ [see al-Ṭuwayḳ , d̲j̲abal ] and following to the west of modern al-Riyāḍ. The wadi is ca. 150 km/90 miles long and 300 to 600 m wide, and cuts through various gaps in the ridges of the region. After reaching the region of al-K̲h̲ard̲j̲ [ q.v.], it becomes known as the Wādī al-Sahbāʾ [see a…

wādī al-K̲h̲ārid

(368 words)

Author(s): Irvine, A.K.
or G̲h̲ayl al-K̲h̲ārid, one of the principal watercourses of the Yemen. It originates about twenty km. north of Ṣanʿāʾ, near Ḥadaḳān in Arḥab, and runs inland in a north-by-north-easterly direction, draining the eastern scarp of the highlands, towards the oasis of the D̲j̲awf, where it is joined by the Wādī Mad̲h̲āb and veers to the south-east. After leaving the oasis, it unites with the Wādī al-ʿAṭf and is lost in the sands of Ramlat Sabʾatayn. According to popular belief, it reappears in the Ḥ…

Wādī Lakku

(1,160 words)

Author(s): Buresi, P.
, a river of the Iberian peninsula, on the banks of which the decisive encounter took place between Ṭāriḳ b. Ziyād [ q.v.], the first Muslim conqueror of the Iberian peninsula, and Roderic, the last Visigothic king, on 28 Ramaḍān 92/19 July 711. Identification of the toponym is difficult on account of the lack of clarity of the Arabic language sources. On the one hand, all do not give the same variant of the name: Wādī Lakku, or perhaps Wādī Lagu (the hard g sound being conventionally represented in mediaeval script by a kāf , surmounted by a s̲h̲adda , which can be pronounced kku or gu), Wādī Lakka…

Wādī ’l-Dawāsir

(6 words)

[see al-dawāsir ].

Wādī ’l-Ḥid̲j̲āra

(1,793 words)

Author(s): Puente, Cristina de la
, Spanish form Guadalajara, currently the capital of a homonymous province situated to the northeast of Madrid. Although it is difficult to define the limits of this region during the mediaeval period with absolute precision, it may be stated that its territory corresponds to the zones enclosed between the river Tagus to the east and the river Jarama, which traverses the Sierra Guadarrama, to the west. The principal axis of communication of the region is the valley of the Henares, comprising the…

(al-)Wādī ’l-Kabīr

(674 words)

Author(s): Pinilla-Melguizo, R.
, Guadalquivir, the name given by the Arabs to the ancient Betis river in Southern Spain. It has remained in Spanish toponymy through the Spanish-Arabic dialect form Wād al-Kibīr. According to the Arab sources, it is also called al-Nahr al-Akbar or al-Nahr al-Aʿẓam (the Great River), Nahr Ḳurṭuba (River of Cordova) and Nahr Is̲h̲bīliyā (River of Seville), but it is seldom called Nahr Bīṭī/Bīṭa (Betis River). In poetry sometimes it is called Nahr Ḥimṣ (River of Ḥimṣ), that is, River of…
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