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ʿAmr b. Luḥayy

(892 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿAmr b. Luḥayy, also known as Abū Khuzāʿa, is the legendary pre-Islamic figure said to have introduced idolatry into Arabia. He was the ancestor of the tribe of Khuzāʿa, who lived in the vicinity of Mecca. The clans of Kuzāʿa that are considered his direct descendants are Kaʿb, Mulayḥ, ʿAwf, ʿAdiyy, and Saʿd. There are contradictory traditions concerning ʿAmr b. Luḥayy’s genealogical descent. On the one hand he is provided with a northern genealogy, Luḥayy being said to have been the son of Qamaʿa of the Muḍar. Qamaʿa’s mother was Khindif of the Q…
Date: 2019-03-21

ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib

(811 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (fl. sixth century C.E.) of the Banū Hāshim clan of the Quraysh was the father of the prophet Muḥammad, who was his only child. ʿAbdallāh's mother was Fāṭima bt. ʿAmr of the Banū Makhzūm clan of the Quraysh. According to some reports ʿAbdallāh was born in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Kisrā Anūshirwān (r. 531–79 C.E.). He married Āmina, and, according to the earliest reports, he died when she was pregnant with Muḥammad. He died in Yathrib (Medina), while he was staying with the relations of his fat…
Date: 2019-03-21

Abraha

(3,005 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abraha was a Christian king of South Arabia in the middle of the sixth century C.E. According to Muslim sources, he attacked Mecca with the “People of the Elephant” in about 570 C.E. The name “Abraha” is said in Muslim sources to be of Abyssinian origin, meaning “bright face” ( wajh abyaḍ; see Ibn Hishām, al-Tījān, 136; Ibn Saʿīd, 1:119). Islamic reports often add to Abraha's name the nickname al-Ashram (“Split-Nose”). The tip of his nose is said to have been cut off during a duel with his rival, Aryāṭ, in Yemen (see below). According to another explanation (Ibn Manẓūr, s.v. sh-r-m), a stone st…
Date: 2019-03-21

ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim

(1,452 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim was father of ʿAbdallāh and grandfather of the prophet Muḥammad. He is said to have died at the age of 82 or 110 or 120, when Muḥammad was eight years old. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib was born in Yathrib (Medina) to Salmā bt. ʿAmr of the Khazraj, who was married to Hāshim b. ʿAbd Manāf of the Quraysh. Reportedly she had married him on the condition that she give birth to his children only among her own relatives. After the birth of his son, Hāshim left him with his mother until he w…
Date: 2019-03-21

Aḥmad, name of the Prophet

(813 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Aḥmad, a name of the prophet Muḥammad, is the noun form that denotes pre-eminence (afʿalu l-tafḍīl), and it may be understood in the passive sense of “one deserving to be praised more than others,” or in the active sense of “one who praises (God) more than others do” (e.g., Ibn al-Qayyim, 129–30). According to Q 61:6, the name was used by Jesus when announcing to the Children of Israel the future emergence of the Prophet. Early Muslim exegetes such as Muqātil b. Sulaymān (d. 150/767) noticed the relationship b…
Date: 2019-03-21

ʿArafāt

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Mount ʿ Arafāt (ʿArafa) is a venerated site in Islam, approximately 70 metres high, located about 21 kilometres east of Mecca, on the road to al-Ṭāʾif. The small mountain and the plain on which it is situated serve as one of the main stations of the pilgrimage (ḥajj) to Mecca. The plain is some 6 kilometres from east to west and approximately 12 kilometres from north to south; it is surrounded by several mountains to the east, north, and south. Mount ʿArafāt is isolated from the other mountains and located at the northeast end of the plain. …
Date: 2019-03-21

ʿAqīl b. Abī Ṭālib

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
ʿ Aqīl b. Abī Ṭālib (d. 50/670 or 63/683) was the elder full brother of ʿAlī (d. 40/661). Their mother was Fāṭima bt. Asad of the Banū Hāshim. Ten years before ʿAqīl was born she had given birth to Ṭālib, Abū Ṭālib's (d. c.619 C.E.) first son. Ten years after ʿAqīl was born she gave birth to Jaʿfar (d. 8/629), and a further ten years later to ʿAlī. After Abū Ṭālib's death, his sons Ṭālib and ʿAqīl are said to have inherited his possessions and wealth. ʿAqīl had several sons and daughters—his kunya (patronymic) being Abū Yazīd—among whom the most prominent was Muslim b. ʿAqīl. Five, six…
Date: 2019-03-21

Āmina

(823 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Āmina, the mother of the prophet Muḥammad, was the daughter of Wahb b. ʿAbd Manāf of the clan of Zuhra of the Quraysh and Barra bt. ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā of the clan of ʿAbd al-Dār (Ibn Saʿd, 1:59). Her husband was ʿAbdallāh b. ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, to whom she was married while she was staying with her uncle Wuhayb b. ʿAbd Manāf, who was her guardian (Ibn Saʿd, 1:94–5). Muslim tradition regards the marriage as part of a divine scheme: An old Yemeni scholar, well versed in the holy scriptures, reportedly re…
Date: 2019-03-21

Budayl b. Warqāʾ

(1,216 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Budayl b. Warqāʾ al-Khuzāʿī, an early convert to Islam, belonged to the clan of ʿAdī b. ʿAmr of the Khuzāʿa. He lived in Mecca, and his dār was situated in the quarters of the confederates of the Qurashī clan of Sahm (al-Azraqī, 475). In one report he is identified as a mawlā (client) of al-ʿĀṣ b. Wāʾil al-Sahmī (al-Samarqandī, 1:465, on Q 5:106). Budayl is referred to in the sources as one of the chiefs of his tribe and as the shrewdest among the Arabs and one of the noblest among those who converted to Islam in the year of the conquest of Mecca (8/630) ( min kibār muslimat al-fatḥ). In the same year,…
Date: 2019-03-21

Abū Jahl

(1,290 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abū Jahl (d. 2/624), the “Father of Ignorance,” was the Qurashī leader of Muḥammad’s pagan opponents in Mecca. His actual name was ʿAmr b. Hishām b. al-Mughīra of the Makhzūm of the Quraysh. This derogatory nickname was reportedly given to him by the Prophet, and was designed to replace his actual kunya, Abū l-Ḥakam. The Prophet declared that he who calls Abū Jahl Abū l-Ḥakam commits a grave sin (al-Balādhurī, 1:141; 10:173–4). A verse by Ḥassān b. Thābit, Muḥammad’s poet, states that “his kinsmen named him Abū Ḥakam, but God named him Abū Jahl”…
Date: 2019-03-21

Children of Israel

(2,618 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
The term “ Children of Israel” (Banū Isrāʾīl) is generally used in the Qurʾān—as it was earlier in the Bible, in its Hebrew form, Benei Yisraʾel—for the Israelites of the time of Moses. 1. The Qurʾānic evidence The Children of Israel are also referred to as Moses’s “people” ( qawm, e.g., Q 2:54, 60, 67; 7:128, 142, 155). As in the Bible (Genesis 32:29), Jacob is called “Israel” (Ar., Isrāʾīl) in the Qurʾān (3:93). And, as in the Bible (e.g., Genesis 36:31), the Qurʾānic term “Children of Israel” is not confined to Moses’s own time but encompas…
Date: 2019-03-21

Abū Ṭālib

(882 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abū Ṭālib (d. c. 619 C.E.) was the son of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim and Fāṭima bt. ʿAmr of the Makhzūm of Quraysh, and a full brother of ʿAbdallāh, the father of the prophet Muḥammad. He was reportedly born thirty-five years before Muḥammad. His proper name was ʿAbd Manāf. His sons Ṭālib, ʿAqīl, Jaʿfar, and ʿAlī, were born to him by his wife Fāṭima bt. Asad of the Banū Hāshim. After the death of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, Abū Ṭālib inherited from him the offices of siqāya and rifāda (providing water and food for the pilgrims). His eldest son, Ṭālib, reportedly participated in the battle …
Date: 2019-03-21

Circumambulation

(1,361 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Circumambulation (Ar. ṭawāf, verbal noun of ṭāfa, walk, run, circumambulate) is the ritual act of walking or running around a sacred object, such as a stone or altar. The rite is known in many pre-Islamic cultures, Judaism, and Christianity and among Persians, Indians, Buddhists, Romans, and others. In Islam the circumambulation is performed around the Kaʿba, seven times in succession, the first three at a fast pace, beginning and ending at the Black Stone (al-ḥajar al-aswad). The Kaʿba must be kept to one’s left, so that one moves counterclockwise, contrary to the reported pre-Islamic ṭ…
Date: 2019-03-21

Abū Qubays

(783 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Abū Qubays is the sacred mountain (jabal), 460 metres high, overlooking the Great Mosque at Mecca, situated a few hundred metres to the east of the Mosque (Illustration 1). Its foothill is al-Ṣafā. The Mosque itself (including the Kaʿba) lies in the valley between Abū Qubays and the mountain Quʿayqiʿān, to the northwest of the Mosque. Abū Qubays is one of two mountains called al-Akhshabān (“the two rough ones”), the other one being variously named as Quʿayqiʿān, or al-Jabal al-Aḥmar, which overlooks Quʿayqiʿān on its northern side, or Jabal al-Khuṭṭ. The origin of the mountain’s name…
Date: 2019-03-21

Children of Israel

(2,783 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
One of the qurʾānic designations of Israelites as well as Jews ( yahūd, see jews and judaism ) and Christians ( naṣārā, see christians and christianity ), in reference mainly to past generations (q.v.). The majority of the passages mentioning the Children of Israel (Bānū Isrāʾīl) are dedicated to the Israelites of the time of Moses (q.v.), while references do exist to later stages of their history, such as the story of Saul (Ṭālūṭ; q 2:246-52; see saul ), the destruction of the Temple ( q 17:2-8) and the emergence of Jesus (q.v.) among them ( q 61:6). Sometimes, the label “Children of Isra…

Ḥanīf

(1,053 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
A believer who is neither a polytheist ( mushrik) nor a Jew or a Christian (see polytheism and atheism; jews and judaism; christians and christianity). The Arabic root ḥ-n-f initially means “to incline,” so that ḥanīf (pl. ḥunafāʾ) is most probably understood in the Qurʾān as one who has abandoned the prevailing religions and has inclined to a religion of his own. It occurs once as a synonym of muslim ( q 3:67) and also in juxtaposition with the verb aslama ( q 4:125). The qurʾānic prototype of the ideal ḥanīf is Abraham (q.v.; q 3:67; 16:120), and being a ḥanīf signifies belonging to the “rel…

Ḥafṣa

(833 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
A wife of the prophet Muḥammad and a daughter of the caliph ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb. Ibn Saʿd relates that she was born in Mecca five years before Muḥammad's first revelation (ca. 605 c.e.). Her mother was Zaynab bt. Maẓʿūn. Ḥafṣa emigrated to Medina with her first husband, Khunays b. Ḥudhāfa, of the Sahm, a clan of the Quraysh (q.v.). He is believed to have died shortly after the battle of Badr (q.v.; 2/624) in which he participated (Ibn Saʿd, Ṭabaqāt, viii, 81), although some say that he was killed during the battle of Uḥud (Ibn Ḥajar, Iṣāba, vii, 582; see expeditions and battles ). Ibn Qutayba, how…

Races

(942 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
Persons or animals or plants connected by common descent. This concept emerges in the Qurʾān mainly in relationship with the glory (q.v.) of God who in his might was able to create a multitude of species upon earth (see creation; power and impotence). Thus in q 36:36: “Glory be to him who created pairs of all things, of what the earth grows, and of their own kind and of what they do not know” (see glorification of god ). The phrase “of what they do not know” is taken to refer to species unknown to humans. Similarly, in q 20:53 God is praised (see praise ) for producing from the earth many species o…

Medina

(547 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] is a city in the Ḥiğāz (in the north west of Saudi Arabia) approx. 275 km from the Red Sea, 715 m above sea level. The northern parts of Medina from the mosque of the Prophet Muḥammad up to the mountain Uḥud are referred to in the sources as as-Sāfila (Lower Medina) and the southern districts up ¶ to the village of Qubāʾ as al-ʿĀliya (Upper Medina). The pre-Islamic name for Medina is Yathrib. It occurs once in the Qurʾān (33:13) and appears as Yathrippa already in Ptolemy the Gnostic. The form “Medina” (“city”) is the more prevalent name…

Muḥammad

(1,644 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Uri
[German Version] I. The Quranic Muḥammad – II. The Traditional Details of Muḥammad's Life – III. Muḥammad in the Eyes of the Believers – IV. Modern Research on the Life of Muḥammad (Arab. “The Praised One,” patronym Abū l-Qasim; c. 569 – Jun 8, 632, Medina) I. The Quranic Muḥammad Our main sources of information about Muḥammad are (a) the Qurʾān and (b) the extra-quranic biographies of Muḥammad. The Qurʾān contains occasional references to specific events in Muḥammad's life, but the allusions are vague and tell us hardly anything coherent a…
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