Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

Get access Subject: Middle East and Islamic Studies
General Editor: Johanna Pink, Universität Freiburg.

The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is an encyclopaedic dictionary of qur’ānic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis extended with essays on the most important themes and subjects within qur’ānic studies. The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is the first comprehensive, multivolume reference work on the Qur’ān to appear in a Western language.
Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online includes direct access to 62 Early Printed Western Qur’āns Online and the Electronic Qurʾān Concordance, a unique online finding aid for textual research.

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(7 words)

 see jews and judaism; scholar Bibliography


(942 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Persons or animals or plants connected by common descent. This concept emerges in the Qurʾān mainly in relationship with the glory (q.v.) of God who in his might was able to create a multitude of species upon earth (see creation; power and impotence). Thus in q 36:36: “Glory be to him who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their own kind and of what they do not know” (see glorification of god ). The phrase “of what they do not know” is taken to refer to species unknown to humans. Similarly, in q 20:53 God is praised (see praise ) for producing from the earth many species o…


(7 words)

 see god and his attributes Bibliography


(7 words)

 see war; expeditions and battles Bibliography


(14 words)

 see weather; water; sustenance; agriculture and vegetation; nature as signs; grace; blessing Bibliography

R (al-Rabadha - Reclam, P.)

(907 words)

al-Rabadha  Archaeology and the Qurʾān Rabbat, N.  City Rabin, Ch.  Dialects  Grammar and the Qurʾān  Language and Style of the Qurʾān  Post-Enlightenment Academic Study of the Qurʾān Rabīʿ I  Emigration Rachel  Belief and Unbelief  Benjamin Rada  Material Culture and the Qurʾān Radscheit, M.  Provocation  Responsibility  Springs and Fountains  Table  Witnessing and Testifying  Word of God Radtke, B.  Saint  Wisdom al-Rāghī al-Tūnisī (d. 715/1315)  Translations of the Qurʾān al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Abū l-Qāsim al-Ḥusayn (d. 502/1108)  Brother and Brotherhood  Conquest  For…


(6,065 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and commemorate the revelation of the Qurʾān to Muḥammad. To understand Ramaḍān as a crucial scriptural and ritual issue in a major world religion, it is useful to look at its emergence and liturgical enactments from a comparative perspective (see scripture and the qurʾān; ritual and the qurʾān). It is obvious that, in phenomenological terms, three historically interrelated festivals — Pesach ( Passover), Easter and Ramaḍān — display a close relation to acts of violence (q.v.) in tha…


(8 words)

 see a people of the heights Bibliography


(6 words)

 see ranks and orders Bibliography

Ranks and Orders

(1,730 words)

Author(s): Virani, Nargis
Arrangement of heavenly or earthly beings in military or other formation. Ṣaff, plural ṣufūf, literally “rank, row or line, company of men standing in a rank, row or line” (Lane, 1693, col. 3), is a term used in several different contexts and with various significations. The purely literal meaning, a very early understanding, referred to “straight lines and rows” of Muslim believers when offering obligatory prayers (see prayer; ritual and the qurʾān; community and society in the qurʾān). Over time, the additional meaning of “ranks and orders” acquired a certain sense of …


(4 words)

 see captives Bibliography


(928 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
Name mentioned at the beginning of the qurʾānic version of the story of the Seven Sleepers (see men of the cave ), where the Qurʾān states: “Or do you think the Men of the Cave and al-Raqīm were among our signs (q.v.) a wonder?” ( q 18:9). The isolated mention in this passage with no other specification or occurrences of the term prompted an abundance of exegetical explanations and interpretations. One tradition mentioned in some commentaries attests that al-Raqīm was one of the four words in the Qurʾān that Ibn ʿAbbās (d. ca. 68/688; see companions of the prophet; ḥadīth and the qurʾān) could n…


(900 words)

Author(s): Tottoli, Roberto
Term mentioned twice in the Qurʾān in connection with the expression aṣḥāb al-rass, “the people of al-Rass”: “We have prepared for the evildoers a painful chastisement. And ʿĀd (q.v.), Thamūd (q.v.) and the people of al-Rass, and between that, ¶ many generations” ( q 25:37-8); “The people of Noah (q.v.) and the people of al- Rass, and Thamūd and Pharaoh (q.v.), and ʿĀd and the brothers of Lot (q.v.) cried lies before them…” ( q 50:12). Although there are no other elements that help clarify who the people of al-Rass were, the fact that they are mentioned alongside othe…


(7 words)

 see messenger; prophets and prophethood Bibliography

Readers of the Qurʾān

(18 words)

 see reciters of the qurʾān; readings of the qurʾān; recitation of the qurʾān Bibliography

Readings of the Qurʾān

(6,725 words)

Author(s): Leemhuis, Frederik
A term generally used to denote the qirāʾāt, the different ways of reciting the Qurʾān. Variant readings are an important aspect of Qurʾān recitation (see recitation of the qurʾān; reciters of the qurʾān), ¶ but qirāʾāt refer to more than that. Other elements — such as differences concerning length of syllables, when to assimilate consonants to following ones, and where to pause or insert verse endings — form an integral part of the different qirāʾāt systems. Reports about different ways of reciting or reading the Qurʾān were transmitted from the beginning of Islam. Tra…

Read, Reading

(8 words)

 see recitation of the qurʾān Bibliography


(2,380 words)

Author(s): El Fadl, Khaled Abou
Opposition to authority. Whether the Qurʾān has anything to say on the subject of rebellion and political violence (q.v.; see also politics and the qurʾān ) is not an issue that can easily be resolved by reference to the text of the Qurʾān alone. Although the Qurʾān does not seem to address the issue explicitly, classical Muslim jurists (see law and the qurʾān ) argued that particular verses in the Qurʾān were intended to guide legal determinations regarding rebellion, or what is known as the problem of al- khurūj ʿalā l-ḥākim, “disobeying and rebelling against the ruler” (see disobedience; …

Recitation of the Qurʾān

(11,654 words)

Author(s): Gade, Anna M.
The vocal rendition of the Qurʾān. Tilāwat al-Qurʾān is to render the Arabic Qurʾān in voice. It is a branch of the sciences of the “readings” ( qirāʾāt) of the Qurʾān (see readings of the qurʾān ). In the Qurʾān, the term tilāwa (which appears in both nominal and verbal forms) often refers to the signs (q.v.) of God that are “rehearsed” therein, i.e. the narration of accounts of previous messengers and communities in sacred history (see narratives; messenger; generations; punishment stories), as well as the actual act of the recitation of the Qurʾān itself. In general, when the word tilāwa re…

Reciters of the Qurʾān

(4,440 words)

Author(s): Melchert, Christopher | Afsaruddin, Asma
Those entrusted with the oral recitation of qurʾānic passages, or the entire text. The term “reciter” (Ar. sing. qāriʾ and muqriʾ) in its basic, general signification refers to one who reads or recites. With reference to reciters of the Qurʾān, the plural qurrāʾ is much more common than muqriʾūn. In a broad sense, the term qurrāʾ is used in various sources to refer both to professional reciters, namely those who accepted payment for their recitation and were often employed by the state, and to pious, non-professional ones who did not seek to make a …

Reciters of the Qurʾān [Supplement 2016]

(4,301 words)

Author(s): Christopher Melchert | Asma Afsaruddin
The reciters of the Qurʾān are those entrusted with the oral recitation of Qurʾānic passages, or of the entire text. The term “reciter” (Ar. sing. qāriʾ and muqriʾ) in its basic, most general meaning refers to one who reads or recites. With reference to the reciters of the Qurʾān, the plural qurrāʾ is used much more commonly than is muqriʾūn. In a broad sense, the term qurrāʾ is used in various sources to refer to both professional reciters, namely those who accepted payment for their recitation and were often employed by the state, and pious, non-professional…
Date: 2016-11-17


(6 words)

 see reward and punishment Bibliography


(4 words)

 see peace Bibliography

Record of Human Actions

(15 words)

 see book; heavenly book; last judgment; good deeds; evil deeds Bibliography


(7 words)

 see agriculture and vegetation; grasses Bibliography

Reflection and Deliberation

(905 words)

Author(s): Brodersen, Angelika
Thinking about, and deciding a course of action based upon perceptions or observed events. To convey this concept, the Qurʾān most frequently employs the triliteral Arabic root f-k-r. Second and fifth forms of the root f-k-r are attested eighteen times in the Qurʾān. In contrast to certain conceptions in later mystic circles (see ṣūfism and the qurʾān ), the Qurʾān itself does not consider the notion of reflection ( tafakkur) as inferior to remembrance (q.v.) of God ( dhikr). But unlike dhikr, the Qurʾān never uses tafakkur with regard to God. Rather, the Qurʾān mentions the creation …


(19 words)

 see language and style of the qurʾān; form and structure of the qurʾān; rhetoric and the qurʾān Bibliography


(7 words)

 see family; kinship; parents; children Bibliography


(2,328 words)

Author(s): Brodeur, Patrice C.
Prior to the twentieth century, the English word “religion” had no direct equivalent in Arabic nor had the Arabic word dīn in English. They became partially synonymous only in the course of the twentieth century as a result of increased English-Arabic encounters and the need for consistency in translation (see translations of the qurʾān ). In the same way the English word “religion” carries a genealogy of meanings, as revealed in W.C. Smith's groundbreaking book The meaning and end of religion, so does the Arabic word dīn. This co-existence of diverse meanings makes the interpret…

Religious Pluralism and the Qurʾān

(12,993 words)

Author(s): Wilde, Clare | McAuliffe, Jane Dammen
In traditional Muslim thought, Muḥammad is the “seal of the prophets,” and his message, contained in the Qurʾān, con-¶ tinues, confirms — and abrogates — all previous prophetic messages. The Qurʾān demonstrates an awareness of those previous messages, at least some of them, and evidences knowledge of a variety of religious groups in its milieu. The earliest commentators on the Qurʾān were alert to these allusions and their efforts at identification became a traditional topic in classical exegetical works (McAuliffe, Qurʾānic, 16-31). Such efforts formed part of a larger age…


(3,076 words)

Author(s): Brodersen, Angelika
Recollection; state of being held in mind. Verbal and substantive expressions ( dhikr, dhikrā, tadhkira) derived from the radical dh-k-r appear in 274 verses of the Qurʾān (excluding passages rendering the meaning of “male”) and these have different ¶ connotations depending on context (see Ahrens, Christliches, 39 for discussion of the etymology). In addition to the basic meaning of “remembrance” this vocabulary can be employed in the sense of “thinking of, speaking about, mentioning, reporting on, relating” as well as “admonition, warning.” Remembrance of God The most important…


(603 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The remains of a destroyed abode of sinful people. The total destruction of former generations (q.v.) is a historical lesson for contemporary sinners (see sin, major and minor ), as stated, for example, in q 19:98: “And how many a generation ( qarn) have we destroyed before them! Do you see any one of them or hear a sound of them?” (see geography; history and the qurʾān). Among these extinct sinners there were the peoples of ʿĀd (q.v.) and Thamūd (q.v.) about whom it is declared in q 69:8 that one cannot see any remnant ( bāqiya) of them. The Qurʾān emphasizes that God has cut off the last of them ( quṭiʿ…

Repentance and Penance

(3,197 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Contrition or regret and self-mortification, with the intention of obtaining God's pardon (see forgiveness ). Repentance is generally designated in the Qurʾān as tawba which basically means “return” (from sin; see sin, major and minor ). For example, in q 66:8 God demands of the believers a “sincere return” (tawbatan naṣūḥan) and he in turn will make them enter paradise (q.v.). God himself is described as “the accepter of tawba” ( q 9:104; 42:25; also q 40:3: accepter of tawb), and this represents a crucial aspect of his compassion for the believers (see mercy ). Repentance can, however,…


(7 words)

 see rhetoric and the qurʾān Bibliography


(6 words)

 see marriage and divorce Bibliography


(2,083 words)

Author(s): Radscheit, Matthias
The relation of an agent to a norm-giving and evaluative instance. It consists of the ¶ imposition of a set of norms, action in regards to these norms, and the assessment of the committed acts according to these norms with any consequences that might ensue. The idea of responsibility is a central feature of social activities, law, ethics and religion (q.v.; see also law and the qurʾān; ethics and the qurʾān; social interactions). As a result of the complexity of the concept of responsibility, there are several Arabic terms relating to different aspects of it. The com…


(5 words)

 see sleep; sabbath Bibliography


(1,221 words)

Author(s): Borrmans, Maurice
The “rising again” of all the human dead before the final judgment. The expression “day of resurrection” ( yawm al-qiyāma) occurs seventy times in the Qurʾān (although the concept of “rising” — from the triliteral root q-w-m — is not limited to this eschatological sense; it is also employed in other instances, with a wider range of meanings). The resurrection of dead human bodies (see death and the dead; burial) follows the annihilation of all creatures (al- fanāʾ al-muṭlaq) and precedes the “day of judgment” ( yawm al-dīn, thirteen attestations in the Qurʾān; see last judgment ) or the “d…


(1,102 words)

Author(s): El Fadl, Khaled Abou
Act of returning like for like. The Arabic term usually rendered as “retaliation” is qiṣāṣ, although qiṣāṣ also means punishment for a wrongful act (see chastisement and punishment; evil deeds). The Qurʾān mentions qiṣāṣ on several occasions, mostly in the sense of punishment for murder (q.v.) or physical injury and once in the sense of retaliation or reprisal for a wrongful act. In Sūrat al-Baqara ( q 2, “The Cow”) the Qurʾān affirms the pre-Islamic practice of considering certain months (q.v.) in the year to be sanctified (see profane and sacred ) and, therefore, of prohibiting warf…


(7 words)

 see reward and punishment; retaliation Bibliography

Revelation and Inspiration

(6,859 words)

Author(s): Madigan, Daniel A.
The communication of God's knowledge (see knowledge and learning ) and will (see power and impotence ), warning (q.v.) and promise to humanity. The English word “revelation” covers a range of qurʾānic terms, principal among them waḥy, “communication” and tanzīl, “sending down,” with their cognate verbal forms. In the Qurʾān revelation is always mediated, rather than being direct: first, in the sense that it consists in the transmission of a message rather than the “unveiling” of God himself implied by the English word ¶ with its Christian origins and, secondly, because even th…


(4 words)

 see vengeance Bibliography

Revision and Alteration

(1,864 words)

Author(s): Lowin, Shari
The idea and the charge that the text of the Qurʾān (and the Bible) underwent changes and emendations over time. According to traditional Muslim accounts, the revelations that make up the Qurʾān were originally collected together by the second caliph (q.v.) ʿUmar (d. 23/644), under the editorship of Zayd b. Thābit, approximately twenty-five years after Muḥammad's death (see collection of the qurʾān ). ʿUmar died before the task was completed, however, and the collected sheets were transferred to his daughter ¶ Ḥafṣa (q.v.) for safekeeping (see also wives of the prophet ). Around 30/65…

Reward and Punishment

(5,929 words)

Author(s): Raven, Wim
A return or recompense made to, or received by, a person or a group for some service or merit or for hardship endured; and its opposite, judicial chastisement ¶ intended to make a person or a group suffer for an offence, whether as retribution or as caution against further transgression. Both terms together merge into a word like “requital.” A central theme in the Qurʾān is the requital of human deeds by divine justice both on earth and in the world to come (see justice and injustice; judgment; eschatology; good deeds; evil deeds). To those who believe and do good deeds (see belief and unbelief ), …
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