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Earth

(1,741 words)

Author(s): Toelle, Heidi
The land and land areas as distinguished from sea or air. In the Qurʾān, “earth” refers both to the terrestrial part of the universe, including the materials or elements of which it is composed, and, as will be seen below, the human body (see anatomy ). In both cases, the Arabic arḍ is used (over 450 occurrences), although other words with such a signification may appear. Primarily, arḍ denotes the earth in distinction from the heavenly sky (see heaven and sky ). This is the case in the many verses in which the paired couplet, “heaven and earth” (al-samāʾ wa-l-arḍ) or “heavens and earth” (al-samāw…

Smoke

(1,039 words)

Author(s): Toelle, Heidi
Gaseous by-product of fire. Two words which occur in the Qurʾān — dukhān and yaḥmūm — are usually translated as “smoke” but their exact meaning in the text is uncertain: dukhān, though the contemporary Arabic word for “smoke,” never occurs in the Qurʾān in connection with fire (q.v.), be it hellfire (see hell and hellfire ) or earthly fire. Actually, it can only be found twice, in q 41:11, and in q 44:10, to which latter sūra it lends its title (Sūrat al-Dukhān); both verses were revealed in Mecca (q.v.). In the first of these verses, dukhān is mentioned in the context of the creation (q.v…

Fire

(2,754 words)

Author(s): Toelle, Heidi
Combustion, manifested in light and heat, which was classified in the classical world as one of the four elements. Fire occurs in the Qurʾān both in the other world as well as in this world and it can assume different forms. As far as the other world is concerned, it is the element that characterizes hell (q.v.) and therefore carries the charge of torment ( ʿadhāb) for the damned. Within this context, the following terms, which in many cases merely denote hell, are used: nār, fire (sometimes specified by jahannam: nār jahannam, as in q 9:35, 68; 35:36; 72:23; 98:6); jaḥīm, a term relating to t…