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Hāmān [Supplement 2017]

(617 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Hāmān was the chief minister of Pharaoh who, together with the latter, rejected Moses’ calls to worship the true God and to free the Children of Israel. In the Qurʾān, there are six attestations of his name. In Q 28:6 he is mentioned alongside Pharaoh. They both have armies, and share guilt in the slaughter of the sons of the Israelites. God declares that they will be overthrown by the people they so oppress, who will then be heirs to their power and wealth (Q 28:4-5). There is thus an irony in the fact that when Pharaoh’s household took the infant Moses from the river — an in…
Date: 2017-08-31

Fall of Man [Supplement 2017]

(853 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
The Fall of Man refers to the primordial turning away from God by human beings, depicted in scripture by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The Qurʾān tells of the fall of humankind from a garden in which they had been happy — free from hunger, thirst, and pain when exposed to the sun’s heat (Q 20:118-9; Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, 8:267-8) — to this present world in which they are subject to pain and, with it, moral and physical weakness (see failure). It was part of the drama that ensued when God announced to the angels that he was going to place on earth a vicegerent (Q 2:30; see caliph) fashioned from clay (Q 15…
Date: 2017-08-31

Hot and Cold [Supplement 2017]

(656 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Hot and Cold mean having, or being characterised by, a high or low temperature. Hot and cold are two primary qualities that have a contrastive distribution in the Qurʾān, hot being associated with pain and discomfort, cold (generally) with comfort and relief. In most of its attestations, hot is expressed by ḥarr and ḥarūr. It indicates pain in both this world and the one to come. A verse illustrating both these aspects of heat is Q 9:81. In this, God warns those reluctant to join the expedition (see expeditions and battles ) to attack Tabūk, “They said, ‘Do not set out in the [mid-su…
Date: 2017-08-31

Air and Wind [Supplement 2017]

(2,616 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Air consists of the gases forming the earth’s atmosphere and wind is the various movements within them. Air is mentioned only twice in the Qurʾān, once as jaww and once as hawāʾ. The general word for wind, rīḥ, and its plural, riyāḥ, occur more than thirty times, and are supplemented by a number of terms with significantly fewer attestations denoting specific types of wind.AirOf the two attestations of air, only one is literal, Q 16:79: “Have you not reflected on the birds set in the air (jaww) of the firmament, none holds them there other than God. In that, indeed, is a sign for…
Date: 2017-08-31

Benjamin [Supplement 2017]

(1,005 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Benjamin is the brother of Joseph (Yūsuf, see Joseph), identified in the Bible as the son of Jacob and Rachel. Benjamin (Binyamīn) is not mentioned by name in Q 12, the sūra which tells the story of Joseph. Of the eighteen dramatis personae in this sūra, only Joseph is identified by name. Nevertheless, the identity of Benjamin is clear and his presence in the story exemplifies the effectiveness of the referential character of Qurʾānic rhetoric.Benjamin is referred to on the following occasions: When the brothers complain “Joseph and his brother [i.e. Benjamin] are dea…
Date: 2017-08-31

Job [Supplement 2017]

(942 words)

Author(s): Anthony H. Johns
Job (Ayyūb) is one of the prophetic figures preceding Muḥammad, and is common to the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions (see Prophets and prophethood). Job is mentioned in only four pericopes: Q 6:83-7 and 4:163 set him in the company of the prophets, while Q 38:41-2 and Q 21:83-4 allude to his distinctive vocation and charisma.In Q 6:83-90, together with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David, Solomon, Joseph, Moses and Aaron, Zechariah, John (see John the Baptist), Jesus, Elias (see Elijah), Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot, he is included among those God has guided, chosen…
Date: 2017-08-31