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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 …


(758 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
The word Budd or budda is used with various meanings. It is applied either to a pagoda, to Buddha himself, or to idols, not necessarily figures of Buddha. The word means pagodas, for example in a passage in the ʿAd̲j̲āʾib al-Hind (Les Merveilles de l’Inde, ed. and translated by Marcel Devic p. 5), where it is said that a town in the island of Ceylon posesses six hundred large budd. This meaning is the rarest. Budd or Budda sometimes means Buddha in authors like Masʿūdī, al-Bīrūnī and S̲h̲ahrastānī. For example, Masʿūdī, speaking of the temple in Multān known as the “Hous…


(1,334 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), medicine. This is one of the branches of science in which the Arabs have attained most fame. The Muslims received their knowledge of the subject mainly from the Greeks, first through the intermediary of the Syrians and Persians, then directly by the translation of classical works. Muslim rulers and princes were at all times very eclectic in the choice of their physicians; there were at the court of the caliphs, Jewish, Christian, Mazdaean, Sabaean and even a few Hindu physicians. Medical s…

Ḏh̲u ’l-Nūn

(475 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, Abu ’l-Fāʾiḍ b. Ibrāhīm al-Miṣrī, one of the most celebrated ascetics of early Ṣūfīsm Was a native of Ak̲h̲mīm, born of Nubian parents; his real name was T̲h̲awbān but he is usually called Ḏh̲u ’l-Nūn the Egyptian. He lived in Egypt and died at Ḏj̲īza (Ghīzeh) in 245 = 860. He is numbered among the “Polestars” ( Ḳuṭb) and the ʿAyārān, i. e. “hidden saints” (cf. Bāyazīd al-Bisṭāmi); his name is followed by the invocation: “may God sanctify his hidden state”. Cf. this formula in the title of one of the articles of Book II. of the Mat̲h̲nawī of Rūmī. He is said to have lived unknown and his g…


(470 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a., plural ḥudūd), boundary, limit, stipulation, also barrier, obstacle. As a scientific term the word is used in several senses. In the Ḳorʾān, where it is always found in the plural, it means the “limits” laid down by God, i. e. the provisions of the Law, whether commands or prohibitions. It appears in this sense at the end of several verses, which contain legal provisions, e. g. Sūra ii. 183, where it is said after the exposition of the rules regarding fasts: “These are God’s ḥudūd (the bounds prescribed by God), come not too near them” (lest ye be in danger of crossing them…


(226 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a word meaning something very small such as an ant or a speck of dust, which is used by Muḥammad in the Ḳorʾān to indicate the perfection of various qualities of God. For example the perfection of his justice: “God will not wrong any one even by the weight of a d̲h̲arra” (iv. 44, and cf. xcix, 7-8); the perfection of his knowledge: “The weight of a d̲h̲arra, on the earth or in the heavens, would not escape your Lord” (x. 62, and cf. xxxiv. 3 and vi. 59); the greatness of his power: “call upon those whom you believe to exist besides God; they have no power in h…


(1,040 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(Hegira), the migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medīna, the starting point of the Muhammadan era. The Prophet, not having succeeded in overcoming the resistance of the Ḳurais̲h̲ and on the other hand having already won friends among the people around Medīna (then called Yat̲h̲rib), resolved to remove to the latter town. The Arabic word hid̲j̲ra should not be translated “flight”, for the idea of fleeing is not properly expressed by the verb had̲j̲ara. This verb means “to break off relations, to abandon one’s tribe, to emigrate”. At the present day in Muslim countries the name Muhād̲j̲ir…


(361 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, Abū Saʿīd, an important Ḳarmaṭian chief, began life as a corn-merchant. Hamdān Ḳarmaṭ appointed him dāʿī (q.v., p. 895, missionary) for Southern Persia; he was at first very successful there by flattering the Persians at the expense of the Arabs; he established a socialistic system among his adherents, whose property was shared in common under his administration; but the Caliph’s policy ruined this mission. Hamdān Ḳarmaṭ then sent Abū Saʿīd to Baḥrain; shortly before there had been an insurrection of the slaves in this province. The missionary found a favou…


(379 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, a Persian and Arabic word meaning “obstacle” “hindrance” “separation”. It is found three times in the Ḳorʾān (xxiii. 102; lv. 20 and xxv. 55) and is interpreted some times in a moral and some times in a concrete sense. In verse 102 of Sura 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 in a moral sense: a prohibition by God; other commentators take the word more in a physical sense; the barzak…


(406 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
The prophet Daniel is not very often mentioned in Muḥammadan literature. Ṭabarī’s Chronicle (see Index) states that he was among the people taken prisoner in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; this king recognised his wisdom and appointed him his private secretary (cf. the Book of Daniel, i. I—6); he afterwards converted Cyrus (cf. Chap. xiv. 42); the latter is said to have appointed him his minister; the prophet asked him for permission for the Israelites to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and temple; C…


(699 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
This title means “missionary”, literally, “he who calls”, he who summons to the true faith. It is frequently found in the history of the Ismāʿīlīs, the Ḳarmaṭians and the Druzes. The Dāʿī are fifth in the scale of dignitaries in the Ismāʿīlī sect; beside them are the Ḥud̲j̲d̲j̲a (proof) or Naḳīb whose duty it is to spread their doctrines. The five ranks in the sect correspond to five metaphysical principles: that of the dāʿī corresponds to time and that of the Ḥud̲j̲d̲j̲a to space. Among the Druzes, according to the system of Ḥamza, the dāʿī are not included among the five superior minis…


(407 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(Syntipas), a widely known collection of stories, which since the time of Pétis de la Croix has been much studied by folklorists. The general theme is as follows: A king entrusts the education of his son to the sage Sindibād. The prince is ordered by his tutor to keep silence for seven days; during this time he is calumniated by the favourite queen and the king is on the point of putting him to death. Seven viziers, by each telling one or two stories succeed in postponing his execution and on t…


(388 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
In the scientific literature of the Arabs we meet with a name, which is written Balīnūs, Balīnās and Balīs and sometimes denotes Apollonius of Tyana and sometimes Apollonius of Pergamon. It appears most rarely under the correct form Abuluniyūs. To Apollonius of Tyana is to be ascribed a book on the “Secret of Creation” by the sage Balīnūs (MS. in Paris) which has previously been given ¶ to Pliny; for it is therein stated that the author belonged to Ṭuwāya, which is clearly to be emended to Ṭuwāna = Tyana. A sort of natural history called Liber de Causis (MS. in Leiden) and a treatise on astr…


(339 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, St. George. Islām honours this Christian martyr as a symbol of resurrection and ¶ renovation; his festival marks the return of spring. The legend of St. George had become syncretic long before the days of Islām, for we can recognise in St. George overthrowing the dragon, a continuation of Bellerophon slaying the Chimaera. Bellerophon himself was symbolic of the Sun scattering the darkness or of spring driving away the mists and fogs of winter. The St. George of Islām is closely connected with the prophets Ḵh̲iḍr and Elias; this festival falls on the 23rd April. Islām holds this day sac…


(661 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, games of chance. The Ḳurʾān prohibited games of chance, under the name of maisir, at the same time as it forbade wine (ii. 216; v. 92); they are, it says, a great sin. The pagan Arabs gambled a great deal, say the commentators and staked in play their families and their property. Zamak̲h̲s̲h̲arī interprets maisir by ḳimār, and applies this name especially to the lottery with arrows. There were ten inscribed arrows; a victim was divided into ten parts; the arrows were drawn by lot and to each of them corresponded a part; or sometimes twenty-eight par…


(298 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
, casting lots by arrows, a method by which a head of cattle was divided. This was the custom of the Arabs before Islām. The word seems almost to mean lucky chance, easy success, from yasira, to be easy, yassara, to succeed; cf. maisara, comfort, riches. A group of ten Arabs used to buy a young camel, which was cut into ten portions and the yāsir presiding distributed the portions among his companions by means of arrows on which he had written their names and which he drew at random out of a bag. In another system 28 portions were made of the animal; there wa…


(1,285 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(Timbuctoo; French Tombouctou), a town in western Africa. It is not only of interest as evidence of the great extension of Islām to the south; it has itself been a centre of Muslim life of considerable activity; it possessed a celebrated university and produced learned men and historians who are not without merit. According to the author of the History of the Sudan, it was founded at the end of the vth (xith) century by the Mag̲h̲s̲h̲aren Tuāreg, a nomadic people who came into these lands to pasture their flocks. In summer they camped on the banks of the Niger in th…


(414 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), the earthly, lower world, this world here below. The word is used in the Ḳorʾān and in Muslim theology in a disparaging sense of “this world” in opposition to the next. Muḥammad’s use of this word quite recalls that of Christian preachers: “Those that buy this earthly life at the price of the future life, shall not receive any relief from punishment nor shall they be helped” ( Ḳorʾān, ii. 80); — “Ye prefer the life of this world; and yet the hereafter is better and more lasting. This is found in the ancient books, in the books of Abraham and Moses” ( Ḳorʾān, lxxxvii. 16—19). We see from the …


(106 words)

Author(s): Carra de Vaux, B.
(a.), explanation, definition, description, from ʿarafa, to know; e.g. taʿrīf Ayā Ṣūfiyā, description of St. Sophia; Kitāb al-Taʿrīfāt, book of definitions, a well-known treatise of Saiyid S̲h̲arīf Ḏj̲urd̲j̲ānī on the explanation of Ṣūfī terms. In administrative language, in the feminine form, taʿrīfa or taʿrifa with a short i, the word has the meaning of tariff, tax, price of food, of transport, etc.; e. g. in Turkish: gumruk taʿrīfèsi, customs duties; démir yol tarifèlèri, railway charges. In grammar this word means the Arabic definite article al, which is called the particle…
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