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Ignorance [Supplement 2016]

(1,344 words)

Author(s): William E. Shepard
Ignorance indicates a lack of knowledge (see knowledge and learning). The English words ignorance, ignorant, etc., are usually used to translate Arabic words derived from the root j-h-l, which appear twenty-four times in the Qurʾān. One of these words, jāhiliyya, is discussed in the article Age of Ignorance. The present article discusses the other words, and also briefly considers other roots that convey ideas related to ignorance.The classical Arabic dictionaries define j-h-l mainly in contrast to ʿ-l-m, knowledge, but Goldziher, Izutsu, and others have argued that in …
Date: 2016-11-17

Age of Ignorance [Supplement 2016]

(2,049 words)

Author(s): William E. Shepard
This phrase is a common translation of the Arabic word jāhiliyya, which is used by Muslims to refer to the historical period in west-central Arabia covering the centuries immediately prior to the mission of Muḥammad, a period characterised by ignorance of the divine truth. To the original audience of the Qurʾān, however, it almost certainly referred primarily to the moral condition of the individuals who, and the society that, opposed the mission of the Prophet (see opposition to Muḥammad), and only secondarily, if at all, to a defined historical epoch. It is also possibl…
Date: 2016-11-17