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Ibn Ṭufayl

(641 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, celebrated philosopher, whose full name was Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Ṭufayl al-Ḳaysī . He belonged to the prominent Arab tribe of Ḳays; he was also called al-Andalusī, al-Ḳurṭubī or al-Is̲h̲bīlī. Christian scholastics call him Abubacer, a corruption of Abū Bakr. Ibn Ṭufayl was probably born in the first decade of the 6th/12th century in Wādī Ās̲h̲, the modern Guadix, 40 miles N.E. of Granada. Nothing is known of his family or his education. That he was a pupil of Ibn Bād̲j̲d̲j̲a [ q.v.], as is frequently stated, is incorrect, for in the introduc…


(478 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
a Persian and Arabic word meaning “obstacle” “hindrance” “separation” (perhaps identical with Persian farsak̲h̲ [ q.v.], a measure of distance). It is found three times in the Ḳurʾān (xxiii, 102; xxv, 55 and lv, 20) and is interpreted sometimes in a moral and sometimes in a concrete sense. In verse 100 of Sūra xxiii the godless beg to be allowed to return to earth to accomplish the good they have left undone during their lives; but there is a barzak̲h̲ in front of them barring the way. Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī here explains the word by ḥāʾil , an obstacle, and interprets it …


(414 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Goliath of the Bible. Muslim tradition has somewhat increased his importance, for in addition to the well known story of David’s fight with him, several other episodes from various chapters of the Bible, relating to the wars of the Israelites with the Midianites and Philistines, are connected with his name. The Ḳorʾān briefly narrates how Ḏj̲ālut attacked Ṭālūt (Saul) and how he was killed by David (ii. 250—252). It places in this campaign the story of the soldiers who were tested by their manner of drinking at the crossing of a river, an e…


(2,438 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.) 1. From the Arabie root wala, to be near, and waliya, to govern, to rule, to protect someone. In ordinary use this word means protector, benefactor, companion, friend and is applied also to near relatives, especially in Turkish [cf. the art. ʿaṣaban wilāya]. When used in a religious connection walī corresponds very much to our title “saint”; but the idea behind it has given rise to a regular theory and in practice has attained sufficient importance for it to be necessary to explain the use of the term. In the Ḳurʾān this theory does not yet exist; the term walī is found there with several…


(2,193 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Druzes are a people or a nation living in the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, around Damascus and in the mountains of Ḥawrān. They have their own religion and hold a special position in the administrative arrangements of the Ottoman empire. Their name is derived from that of Darazī [q.v., p. 921]. Their ethnographical origin is obscure. It is probable that they already had distinct racial features before the founding of their religion and that they were never quite converted to Islām. They may be the remnants of some ancient peoples, w…


(513 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the body. The study of bodies is the subject of physics. Avicenna devotes the second part of his Nad̲j̲āt to the notion of a physical body, in which the Peripatetic doctrine may be recognised. All bodies in nature consist of matter as place or support and a form which dwells in the matter, as for example the form of a statue has its abode in iron. Forms have three dimensions, i. e. they stretch in three directions cutting themselves at right angles. Matter does not have these dimensions by its nature; but it is …


(1,079 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Muslim name of Hell. The word is derived from the Hebrew gēḥinnōm or valley of ḥinnōm (Joshua, xv. 8); it was a valley near Jerusalem in which sacrifices were offered to Moloch, in the days of impiety. The form with the long vowel ( Ḏj̲ahannām) means a deep well. The word Ḏj̲ahannam and the idea of hell frequently appear in the Ḳorʾān, whether because Muḥammad himself had been much struck with the idea or because he thought it useful to insist on it to work upon the feelings of his hearers. He does not however seem to have had a very definit…


(1,170 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the Sabaeans. This name has been given to two quite distinct sects. 1. the Mandaeans or Subbas, a Judaeo-Christian sect practising the rite of baptism in Mesopotamia (Christians of John the Baptist); 2. the Sabaeans of Ḥarrān, a pagan sect which survived for a considerable period under Islām, of interest for its doctrines and of importance for the scholars whom it has produced. The Sabaeans mentioned in the Ḳorʾān, who are on three occasions placed along with the Jews and Christians among the “people of the book”, i. e. possessors of a revealed book, are a…


(1,605 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, talismans. The use of amulets is very widespread in the lands of Islām. In North Africa they are called ḥurz, among the Arabs in the East ḥamāya or ḥāfiẓ, ʿūd̲h̲a or maʿād̲h̲a, and in Turkey, yafta, nusk̲h̲a or ḥamāʾil. They are often carried in little bags, lockets or purses, which are worn round the neck or fastened to the arm or turban. Among rich people they are of gold or silver. Children are given these amulets as soon as they are forty days old; the crudest articles may be used as amulets, such as a shell, a piece of bone, sewn into leather and fastened under the left arm (see Emily Ruete, Memoirs…


(412 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the first and most popular Sūra in the Ḳorʾān). Its name means the “opener” (i. e. of the Ḳorʾān). This short Sūra which only contains seven verses has a certain number of peculiar features; it is at the beginning of the book, while all the other short Sūras are at the end; it is in the form of a prayer while the others are in the form of a sermon or lecture; in reciting it the word amīn (amen) is added to it, which is not done in any of the others. In Sūra xv. 87 there is an allusion to the Fātiḥa under the name of the seven (i. e. verses) which ought to be constantly repeated (= Sabʿan min al-Mat̲h̲ānī); and th…


(508 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, Arabic form of the name Dārayawahus̲h̲ = Darius; the form Dārayus̲h̲ is also found as well as the Persian forms Dārāb and Dārāw. Muḥammadan authors distinguish two Dārās: Dārā the elder, son of Bahman, son of Isfandiyār, and Dārā the younger, son of Dārā the elder. Bahman had, as the Magean religion allowed, married his own daughter Humāi or Humāya but died soon afterwards leaving her enceinte; she began to reign but when the child was born, fearing that he would be placed on the throne in her stead she placed him in a box on the river of …


(570 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), an important technical term of Ṣūfism, meaning, “annihilation, dissolution”. The Ṣūfī who attains perfection must be in a kind of state of annihilation. The authors of treatises on Muslim mysticism have often compared the “annihilation” of Ṣūfism with the Buddhist nirvāna; but this comparison is not a particularly fitting one. We now know that the Muslim writers had only a very slight knowledge of Indian philosophy and could not comprehend the notion of nirvāna which presumes a fairly intimate acquaintance with t…


(1,051 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, or Ḏjibrīl, Gabriel, is the best known figure among the angels of Islām. He is one of the four archangels, one of angels favoured by or “brought near” ( muḳarrabīn) God, and one of the divine messengers. His duty is to bear the orders of God to mortal prophets and to reveal his mysteries to them. Gabriel plays an important part in the Ḳorʾān; Muḥammad applied the legend of this celestial messenger holding converse with the prophets to himself and believed that he had received his mission and the subject of his preaching from him. Gabriel’s name only…


(577 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
b. Ḥaiyān, whose full name was Abū Mūsā Ḏj̲ābir b. Ḥaiyān al-Azdī, a famous Arab alchemist, known in the Christian middle ages as Geber, his nisba is sometimes given as Ṭūsī and sometimes as Ṭarṭūsī. He is said to have been Ṣābī whence his name al-Ḥarrānī, which is found once, to have early become a convert to Islām and to have shown great enthusiasm for this new religion; the name al-Ṣūfī dates from a later period. His teachers were Ḵh̲ālid b. Yazīd b. Muʿāwiya (d. 85 = 704), on which account he is also called ¶ al-Umawī the “Umaiyad”, and Ḏj̲aʿfar al-Ṣādiḳ; [q. v.]. This is the story gi…


(850 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, transmigration, metempsychosis; a belief widespread in India and among several sects of the Muslim world. Muḥammadan authors who deal with it attribute it to the Indians rather than to the Pythagoreans. S̲h̲ahrastānī in his article on the “people of metempsychosis” takes the word in a wide sense: to him it means the doctrine of the successive lives and rebirths of the world. The Indians, he says, are of all nations that which believes most in metempsychosis. They tell the story of the phoenix and then say it is the same with…


(458 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a fabulous personage in Muḥammadan eschatology, a kind of Antichrist. According to Arab legend, he dwells in one of the islands of the empire of the Mahārād̲j̲ or the Zābad̲j̲ (Java). The sailors of Sīrāf and of ʿOmān say that, in passing near this island, beautiful music is heard, produced on the lute, the oboe, the tambourine and other instruments, accompanied by dancing and the clapping of hands. This story is widely diffused; it is found in Ibn Ḵh̲ordād̲h̲bih, al-Bīrūnī, Ḳazwīnī, Dimis̲h̲ḳī, Ḏj̲urd̲j̲ānī, Ibn Iyās, Masʿūdī’s Prairies d’Or (Meynard et de Courteille, i. 343) and Kitāb …


(530 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
; the formula bismi ’llāhi ’l-raḥmāni ’l-raḥīmi, usually translated “in the name of God, the merciful and compassionate”, is called the basmala or tasmiya. The readers and jurists of Medīna, Baṣra and Syria, Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī tells us, do not consider it a verse at the beginning of the fātiḥa or other Suras. They hold that it is only placed there to separate the Suras and as a benediction. This is also the opinion of Abū Ḥanīfa and this is why those who follow him do not pronounce these words in a loud voice in prayer. On the other hand the readers and jurists of Mecca and Kūfa consider the basmala a ve…


(867 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, the game of chess. The game of chess was known in Greek antiquity when Palamedos was said to have invented it. From there it spread through various countries. The Muslims say they got it from India, but the stories on this subject are legendary, and it is more probable that it came to them from ancient Persia. In the middle ages there were several games in the East played with a board, notably nard (tricktrack, backgammon) and chess ( s̲h̲aṭrand̲j̲); the pieces and the rules of the game have varied in course of time. The words s̲h̲aṭrand̲j̲ and tricktrack seem to be Indian (Sanskrit) in ori…

Ibn Ṭufail

(2,008 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a celebrated philosopher of the Mag̲h̲rib, whose full name was Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Ṭufail al-Ḳaisī. He belonged to the prominent Arab tribe of Ḳais; he was also called al-Andalūsī (the Spanian), al-Ḳurṭubī (the Cordovan or al-Is̲h̲bīlī (the Sevillan). The Christian scholastics call him Abubacer, a corruption of Abu Bakr. Ibn Ṭufail was probably born in the first decade of xiith century a. d. in Wādī Ās̲h̲, the modern Guadix, 40 miles n. w. of Granada. We know nothing of his family or his education. That he was a pupil of …


(496 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a technical term used by the neo-Platonic philosophers and more particularly by those mystics who are devoted to the illuminative philosophy ( al-is̲h̲rāḳ). The form of the word is not Arabic; it is analogous to that of the word malakūt which is similarly employed and is Hebrew. Ḏj̲abarūt has the same meaning as the Hebrew g’būrah, power. The world of d̲j̲abarūt (ʿālam al-d̲j̲abarūt) is that of divine omnipotence; it is like the world of malakūt (ʿālam al-malakūt) or divine authority, a region above that of earthly things and also above that of real individual things, …
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