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(12,059 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
This entry starts with a short general overview of the geography of the Qurʾān, i.e. the geographical setting of the genesis of the text. It then proceeds to survey the geographical representations in the Qurʾān. As Kenneth Cragg (Event) has correctly pointed out, the events which are pivotal in the Qurʾān are located in a space shaped ¶ by pagan notions (see polytheism and atheism; south arabia, religion in pre-islamic). Geography in the Qurʾān thus appears constructed against the pre-qurʾānic Bedouin (q.v.) views of space transmitted in ancient Arabic poetry (see age of ignorance; p…


(6,022 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The smallest formally and semantically independent qurʾānic speech units, marked by a final rhyme. The qurʾānic word āya (pl. āyāt, probably from Syriac āthā, cf. Heb. ōth; see Jeffery, For. vocab.), “sign,” has become the technical term used to denote a verse of the Qurʾān. Like the term sūra (q.v.), however, which also entered the Arabic language (q.v.) through the Qurʾān, in the qurʾānic corpus itself the word āya means a literary unit undefined in extent, perhaps at no stage identical with the qurʾānic verse (see literary structures of the qurʾān ). During the process of the qurʾā…

Spatial Relations

(2,741 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
Relative physical and geographic placement (above, below, close, etc.). In Islamic tradition, the qurʾānic corpus is understood as consisting of two kinds of text units, Meccan sūras and Medinan sūras (see mecca; medina; sūra). While this division serves the juridical purpose of distinguishing earlier texts from later texts (see abrogation ), by such geographic identification sūras are explicitly related to places (see geography and the qurʾān ) rather than time periods (see chronology and the qurʾān ). This is in accord with a general qurʾānic trend to focus on space r…

Myths and Legends in the Qurʾān

(10,864 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
Myths are narratives that serve to explain and describe the experienced world by laying bare its archetypal patterns (see cosmology ); they are often staged in a cosmic or supernatural framework so as to manifest binding truths, to generate meaning and provide guidance. Legends, raising no such universal claim, may be understood as narratives of pious imagination celebrating an exemplary figure. Are there myths and legends in the Qurʾān? Even today, this is a controversial question, since the term “myth,” in particular, is sometimes thought to be irreconc…

Rhetoric and the Qurʾān

(8,928 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The Qurʾān has been judged in Islamic tradition as inimitable; indeed a dogma emerged in the third/ninth century holding that the Qurʾān is, linguistically and stylistically, far superior to all other literary ¶ productions in the Arabic language (q.v.; see also literature and the qurʾān ). Although the belief in the “inimitability of the Qurʾān” ( iʿjāz al-Qurʾān, see inimitability ) does not rely exclusively on formal criteria, it has been widely received as a statement about the literary qualities of the Qurʾān both in traditional scholarly literature…

Form and Structure of the Qurʾān

(12,585 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
Preliminary reflections about the redaction and canonization of the Qurʾān Methodological dilemmas Any assessment of qurʾānic form and structure depends on the position chosen by the researcher as to the redaction and the canonization of the qurʾānic corpus (see collection of the qurʾān; codices of the qurʾān; for a recent analysis of western views on the collection of the Qurʾān, see Motzki, Collection). Two apparently irreconcilable positions are currently infelicitously blocking each other in qurʾānic scholarship: on the one hand, there …


(818 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
Verbal incitements, usually in the imperative mood, encouraging action on the part ¶ of the addressee. “Exhortation” ( mawʿiẓa) is attested numerous times in the Qurʾān ( q 2:275; 3:138; 5:46; 7:145; 10:57; 11:120; 16:125; 24:34); moreover, much of the qurʾānic rhetoric (see rhetoric and the qurʾān; language of the qurʾān) may be understood as an “exhortation” to heed God's message as proclaimed by the prophet Muḥammad. It is explicitly recommended to the Prophet in q 16:125, “Call unto the way of your lord (see path or way ) with wisdom (q.v.) and fair exhortation” (udʿu ilā sabīli rabbi…


(11,053 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
Introduction A divinely governed order of the universe and the place of humans within it. This qurʾānic understanding of cosmology is dramatized in diverse reports: the divine six-day-work of creation (q.v.; khalq) of the cosmos (al- samāwāt wa-l-arḍ), of humankind ( insān) and its habitat in nature ( nabāt al-arḍ; see agriculture and vegetation ), of demons or spirits ( jinn, q.v.) and the ¶ animal world ( al- ḍābba, al- anʿām, see animal life ) as well as the resolution of created space on the day of doom (see judgment ) — all occupy prominent roles in the Qurʾān. Additionally, the existenc…


(6,626 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
A literary unit of undetermined length within the Qurʾān, often translated as “chapter.” In the printed editions of the Qurʾān, but not in the earliest manuscripts (see manuscripts of the qurʾān), it is marked as such by a title section that provides the name of the sūra, followed by a number that defines its place in the sequence of the 114 sūras of the entire corpus. Sūra names are not abbreviations of the content but “catchwords,” taking up a particular lexeme from the text that is either a rare word in the Qurʾān (e.g. …


(775 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The term “mosque,” designating the Islamic place of worship, comes from Arab. masjid, via a borrowing from Aramaic. Islam distinguishes between the jāmiʿ, which is a place of worship in the narrower sense (i.e., a place of gathering for obligatory worship on Friday and the two festival services, a sacred building of distinctive structure), and the masjid, a cultic site in the broader sense (i.e., a place where one casts oneself down for prayer). The term jāmiʿ, which does not occur in the Qur’an, results from domestic liturgical disputes. But the masjid belongs intrinsically to t…


(6,065 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and commemorate the revelation of the Qurʾān to Muḥammad. To understand Ramaḍān as a crucial scriptural and ritual issue in a major world religion, it is useful to look at its emergence and liturgical enactments from a comparative perspective (see scripture and the qurʾān; ritual and the qurʾān). It is obvious that, in phenomenological terms, three historically interrelated festivals — Pesach ( Passover), …


(1,191 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
, Abū Muḥammad Makkī b. Abī Ṭālib b. (?) Ḥammūs̲h̲ b. Muḥammad b. Muk̲h̲tār al-Ḳaysī al-Ḳayrawānī al-Andalusī al-Ḳurṭubī , ¶ Mālikī lawyer and Ḳurʾān reader, born at al-Ḳayrawān on 23 S̲h̲aʿbān 354/25 August 965, died at Cordova in 437/1045, one of the earliest and most distinguished scholars in the science of Ḳurʾān reading ( ḳirāʾa [ q.v.]) and especially the theory and art of recitation ( tad̲j̲wīd [ q.v.]) in the Muslim West. It is largely due to him that the new development in Ḳurʾān reading scholarship which is connected with the Bag̲h̲dādī Imām al-ḳurrāʾ , Ibn Mud̲j̲āhid (d. 324/936 [ q.v.]) spread so soon via Aleppo and Cairo to Spain. Makkī started his studies in Cairo at the age of thirteen, and accomplished most of his learning there during the years 368…


(456 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
ʿĀṣim, Abū Bakr ʿĀṣim b. Bahdala Abī l-Najjūd al-Asadī (d. late 127 or early 128/745), was a mawlā (client) of the Banū Judhayma of the Asad. He succeeded Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī (d. 74/693–4) as head of the Kufan school of Qurʾān readers, where his pre-eminence in Qurʾānic studies secured him a place as one of the Seven Readers whose systems became binding through Ibn Mujāhid’s (d. 324/936) establishment of a canon of Seven Readings ( qirāʾāt, sing. qirāʾa) of the Qurʾān. Indeed, through his pupil Ḥafṣ b. Sulaymān (d. 180/796) his system of pointing and vowelling th…
Date: 2020-06-10


(1,363 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
, Abū l-Ḳāsim b. Firruh b. Ḵh̲alaf b. Aḥmad al-Ruʿaynī, éminent spécialiste des sciences ḳurʾāniques ayant introduit des méthodes mnémotechniques dans la discipline de la Lecture du Ḳurʾān ( ḳrāʾa). Il naquit en 538/1144 à Jativa (al-S̲h̲āṭiba) [ q.v.], en Espagne musulmane. Bien qu’aveugle, il entreprit des études de ḳirāʾāt et de ḥadīt̲h̲ dans sa ville natale, où il fit fonction de prédicateur pendant un an. Il étudia d’abord avec ʿAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad al-Nafzī, puis avec ʿAlī b. Muḥammad b. Hud̲h̲ayl à Valence (Balansiya), en se concentrant sur le Taysīr d’al-Dānī, mais sans né…


(807 words)

Author(s): Neuwirth, Angelika
[German Version] The Qurʾān (Arab. qurʾān, “recitation”) is a collection of messages proclaimed as divine revelations by the Prophet Muḥammad between 620 and 632, initially to his neighbors in Mecca and after 622 to a growing following in Medina. In its final redaction, which goes back to the caliphate of ʿUṯmān (644–655), it is broken down into 114 suras ( sūra, “lection”) arranged by decreasing length. The verses ( āyāt, “signs”) are marked by end rhyme. Three stages of development can be identified. The first was “recitation” ( qurʾān, from Aram. qeryānā, “reading,” “lectionary”) of brief parenetic texts in poetic form, calling for monotheistic worship of the one and only God (X), the Creator, and an eschatologically focused life (Eschatology: IX). Internal references to the spatiotemporal setting of these short, easily memorized texts indicate that they were recited in the context of Meccan rituals observed at fixed hours of the day near the Kaʿba. The earliest suras (72–114), in Old Arabic rhymed prose ( saǧ ʿ),…