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ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿd

(660 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, Muslim statesman and general. Abū Yaḥyā ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿd b. Abī Sarḥ al-ʿĀmirī belonged to the clan of ʿĀmīr b. Luʾayy of Ḳurays̲h̲ and was as foster brother of the subsequent caliph ʿUt̲h̲mān a chief partisan of the Umayyads. He was less a soldier than a financier. The judgements of historians on his character vary greatly. His name is connected in many ways with the beginnings of Islam. First he is mentioned as one of Muḥammad’s scribes: he is supposed to have arbitrarily altered the revel…


(558 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, a group of oases in the Lybian desert. The Baḥriyya is the most northerly of the Lybian desert. The Wāḥāt Baḥriyya (also singular), i.e., the northern oases, are distinguished from the Wāḥāt Ḳibliyya, the southern oases, i.e., the Dāk̲h̲la [ q.v.] and Ḵh̲ārga [ q.v.]. Between these two groups lie the little oases of Farafra (included in the Dāk̲h̲la by some), or al-Farāfira, called al-Farfarūn by al-Bakrī and al-Yaʿḳūbī. The three large oases are also distinguished as inner, middle and outer; the inner is the Baḥrīyya which is also calle…


(756 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, town in Upper Egypt. Asyūṭ, the largest and busiest town of Upper Egypt, is situated Lat. 27º 11′ N. on the wast bank of the Nile. Owing to its situation in one of the most fertile and sheltered districts of the cultivable Nile valley, and also to its being the natural terminus of great desert highways it was in antiquity an important town (Syowt, Greek: Lykopolis) and the chief town of a Nomos. Under Islām Asyūṭ remained the chief town of a kūra (modern markaz , "district"), and on the inauguration of the division into provinces became the capital of a province ( ʿamal , now mudīriyya ). Asyūṭ is th…

Banī Suwayf

(224 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
(Beni Suef, Beni Souef) a town in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, 75 m. (120 km.) south of Cairo. According to al-Sak̲h̲āwī (902/1497) the old name of the town was Binumsuwayh, from which popular etymology derived the form Banī Suwayf (the of Ibn Ḏj̲īʿān, al-Tuḥfa al-Saniyya , 172, and the of Ibn Duḳmāḳ, Intiṣār , v, 10, ought probably to be read ). In still more ancient times the capital of this district was Heracleopolis Magna, 10 m. (16 km.) west of Banī Suēf, which only attained importance under Muḥammad ʿAlī. From the time of the division of Egypt into provinces ( mudīriyya


(332 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, town in Middle Egypt. Aṭfīḥ (also written with t instead of ) is a small town of 4,300 inhabitants on the east bank of the Nile at the latitude of Fayyūm. The name of the town in old Egyptian was Tep-yeh or Per Hathor nebt Tepyeh, i.e., "house of Hathor, lady of Tepyeh". The Copts changed this name to Petpeh, the Arabs to Aṭfīḥ. The Greeks, identifying Hathor with Aphrodite, called the town Aphroditopolis, abbreviated to Aphrodito. The town must still have possessed importance in th…


(503 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
(Babylon), a town in Egypt. The name Babylon, denoting the mediaeval Egyptian town in the neighbourhood of the modern Cairo, is, according to Casanova, the Graëcised form of an ancient Egyptian Pi-Hapi-n-On through assimilation to the Asiatic βαβυλών which was familiar to the Greeks. This etymology is not quite free from objections but there is no doubt that some ancient Egyptian place-name underlies it. By the name is meant the ancient town and fortification of the Greeks which — situated on th…

ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Malik

(346 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
b. Marwān , son of the caliph ʿAbd al-Malik b. Marwān [ q.v.], was born about the year 60/680-1, perhaps somewhat earlier, as he is said to have been 27 years old in the year 85/704. He grew up in Damascus and accompanied his father in several campaigns. We first meet him as an independent general in the year 81/700-1, in one of the usual razzias against the Eastern Romans. Then in the year 82/701-2, he was sent with Muḥammad b. Marwān to help ¶ al-Ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ād̲j̲ against al-As̲h̲ʿat̲h̲ and played a part in the negotiations of Dayr al-Ḏj̲amād̲j̲im. Thereup…

Badr al-Ḏj̲amālī

(822 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, a Fātimid commanderin-chief and vizier. The formerly brilliant Fāṭimid empire was on the verge of downfall under the incapable Caliph Mustanṣir (427-487/1036-1094). The Sald̲j̲ūḳs were pressing forward into Syria, in Egypt ¶ the Turkish slave-guards were fighting with the negro-corps, a seven years’ famine was exhausting the resources of the country; all state authority had disappeared in the general struggle; hunger and disease were carrying off the people, licence and violence were destroying all prosperity and it appeared…

ʿAyn S̲h̲ams

(374 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
is a town in Egypt. ʿAyn S̲h̲ams is the Arabic name of the ancient Egyptian town of Ōn, which the Greeks called Heliopolis because of its famous sun-temple. A recollection of this cult is contained in the Arabic name (“the spring, or the eye, of the sun”), which must be a popular arabicised form of an old name. In the first centuries of Islam ʿAyn S̲h̲ams was still, according to some authorities, an important town, and the capital of a district ( kūra ), but according to others, a collection of ruins used as a public quarry. The Fāṭimid al-ʿAzīz built cas…


(21,202 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
The name Egypt — the etymology is more correctly preserved in the German form Ägypten — is derived from the Greek ΑἴγυπτοΣ of which only the abbreviation Ḳibṭ survived into the Muhammadan period as the name of the inhabitants of the country. The land itself is known by the old Semitic name the Arabic form of which is Miṣr; from this the colloquial language has made Masr. The Muslim conquest began at the end of the year 18 = 639. From that year to the present day Egypt has been one of the centres of the political, cultural…

Baḥr al-G̲h̲azāl

(951 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, a tributary of the White Nile and the name of a province in the Egyptian Sūdān. The Baḥr al-G̲h̲azāl, “the river of gazelles”, arises from the union of numerous small streams which flow north and north-east from the watershed between the Congo and the Nile and receives its most important tributary the Baḥr al-Arab, from Dārfūr. After its junction with the Baḥr al-Ḏj̲abal which flows from the Central African lakes, the name of Baḥr al-Abyaḍ i. e. White Nile is given to the river they form. The …


(310 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, a province ( mudīrīya), district ( markaz) and town in Upper Egypt. The etymology is uncertain. The name of Saint Girgis (George) is presumably concealed in Girgā. ʿAlī Mubārak connects it with a Dagirgā or Digirgā known in the same district (the latter place is also mentioned by Ibn Ḏj̲iʿān, p. 189 and Ibn Duḳmāḳ, v. 27). The older Egyptian sources do not seem to be acquainted with Girgā so that it is not mentioned in Ḳuḍāʿīʾs list of kūra’s; it is given by Yāḳūt however. The name first appears as that of a province in the Description de l’Egypte (1212 = 1798); it is not yet found in the Rōk Nāṣirī of …


(626 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, name of three Aiyūbids. 1. Al-Malik al-As̲h̲raf Muhẓaffar al-Dīn Abu ’l-Fatḥ Mūsā was a son of al-ʿĀdil I. [q. v.], and thus a nephew of Saladin. Born in Cairo or in Karak in the year 578 (1182-1183), he received from his father in the year 598 (1201-1202) the governorship of Edessa to which Ḥarrān was added Liter. He quarrelled with the Zengid Nūr al-Dīn Arslān-S̲h̲āh of Mosul, and defeated him in the year 600 (1204) in the battle of Bain al-Nahrain. Later his father transferred to him also Ḵh̲ilāṭ, Maiy…


(161 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, more correctly Berbe, the Arab name for the ruins of Egyptian temples. Every pagan temple and every ancient building is called Barbā ( Kull haikal wa kull maṣnaʿ ḳadīm: Ibn Ḏj̲ubair, Riḥla, ed. de Goeje, 61, 3). The word is borrowed from Coptic in which p’erpe means temple. Among travellers and geographers the temples of Ak̲h̲mīm are the Barābā (the plural form barbayāt also appears) par excellence. Maḳrīzī, Ibn Ḏj̲ubair and others use the word while describing Ak̲h̲mīm. It is next applied to all temples and even to pagodas. The word has survived in Egypt in …


(529 words)

Author(s): Becker, C.H.
, a variegated silk cloth (satin). Dībād̲j̲ is an Arabicised form of the Persian dībā or dībāh, which means a coloured cloth in which warp and woof are both, made of silk ( abrīs̲h̲am, Arabic ibrīsam). dībād̲j̲ probably first entered Arabic through the Aramaic; in any case the word was known by Muḥammad’s time, for it appears in a poem by Ḥassān b. T̲h̲ābit ( kitāb al-Ag̲h̲ānī, iv. 17, 1 according to Fraenkel, aram. Fremdwörter, p. 41). The derivation from dīwbaf = nisād̲j̲at al-d̲j̲inn = “cloth of the spirits” ( tād̲j̲ al-ʿarūs) is of course a popular etymology. In spite of the interdiction…


(852 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
b. Abi ’l-Futūḥ, his full name, al-Afdal Rukn al-Dīn Abu ’l-Fadl ʿAbbās b. Abi ’l-Futuḥ b. Tamīm b. Muʿizz b. Bādīs al-Ṣinhād̲j̲ī, a descendant of the well known princely house of the Banū Bādīs [q. v.] of Northern Africa. He seems to have been born shortly before 509 (1115), for in that year be was still a nursling. His father, Abu ’l-Futūḥ, was then in prison, and was banished in 509 to Alexandria, whither his wife Bullāra and the little ʿAbbās accompanied him. After Abu ’l-Futūḥ’s death his widow married ʿAlī b. …


(12,244 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, the chief town and seat of the government in Egypt; it is situated in 30° 6′ N. Lat. and 31° 26′ E. Larg. (Greenw.), about 13 miles south of the head of the Delta at the point where the Muḳaṭṭam range is at its nearest to the Nile. This site is of great strategic importance as it commands the approach to Upper Egypt and was settled and fortified even in ancient times. It was not, however, till after the Arab invasion, that it became of special importance, when the great military camp of Fusṭāṭ…

Bait al-Māl

(710 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
, means treasury, especially that of the state and is applied not only to the actual building in which the financial business of the state is transacted but also in a figurative sense to the national exchequer or Fiscus. The beginnings of the institution of a Bait al-Māl ¶ may be traced to the time of Muḥammad; for by his time there had arisen the conception of property common to the Muḥammadan community. The Caliph ʿOmar is traditionally regarded as the official founder. It was he who first drew up Dīwāns i. e. lists of payments and institut…

Abu’ l-Hawl

(415 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
(Hōl), i. e. „Father of Terror“, the Arabic designation for the sphinx of Ḏj̲īza (Gizeh). Certain authors call it simply al- Ṣanam "the idol", but its proper name was already notorious in the Fāṭmide epoch. At that time it was also known under the Coptic name Belhīt ( Belhīb), or, according to Ḳuḍāʿi in Maḳrīzī, Belhūba ( Belhawba). Abu’l-Hawl is probably an Arabic popular etymology deriving from the Coptic name; the initial B contains probably the Coptic article, which in Arabic is often transformed into Abū. Ancient tradition understands under Abu’l-Hawl only the …


(418 words)

Author(s): Becker, C. H.
(also written Abūṣīr and in the true form Abu ’l-Ṣīr) the name of several localities in Egypt. The name is connected with the God Osiris, who was originally worshipped in the Delta, so that the name occurs more frequently in northern Egypt. The ruins of the ancient Taposiris Magna have retained the name Abūṣīr; likewise a village with 336 inhabitants in the district of Sinbellawain in the province of Daḳahlīya. Better known is a place of this name with 6271 inhabitants in the district of Maḥalla al-Kubrā…
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