Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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(3,100 words)

(a., pl. ʿālamūn , ʿawālim ), world.

1. The word is found as early as the Ḳurʾān, where in borrowed formulae we have references to the rabb al-ʿālamīn and the seven samawāt .

Allāh is its lord and creator who has created it for man as a sign of his omnipotence. This transitory world [ dunyā ) is of little value—"not worth the wing of a midge" is the traditional expression—in comparison with the next ( āk̲h̲ira ). We are told very little about the structure of the world [cf. the article k̲h̲alḳ ]; the subjects of interest, in the Ḳurʾān as well as in Tradition, are God, the spiritual world and man.

This bec…

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Boer, Tj. de and Gardet, L., “ʿĀlam”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 11 July 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_0041>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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