The Fihrist of al-Nadīm, A Tenth-century survey of Muslim culture

Bayard Dodge





‘abd:  servant or slave. Used in proper names in combination with Allāh, e.g. ‘Abd Allāh (Servant of God), ‘Abd al-Raḥīm (Servant of the Compassionate).


the abrogating and the abrogated: the al-nāsikh wa-al-mansūkh.  This phrase refers to verses in the Qur’ān which modify the instructions in earlier verses and to the verses thus modified. Thus, at first the Muslims were ordered to turn toward Jerusalem in prayer, but later they were told to turn toward Makkah. See Qur’ān, 2:133, 134, 149, 150.


abū:  father. Written as abī after ibn.


abwāb (s., bāb): doors. The form is also used for the sections of a book. The Shī‘ah used it for their imams. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 442; “Bāb,” Enc. Islām, (1960) I, 832. It may refer to the gates of Heaven. See Qur’ān, 38: 50.


accidents: al-a‘rāḍ.  Unexpected and fortuitous events.


accounts: akhbār.  This translation is given frequently, especially in the headings of paragraphs.


acrostic: al-muwashshah.  Verses arranged so that the initial letters of each line together form a word or verse.


adab:  training, good manners, culture. The plural form, ādāb, is used even more often than the singular for morals, literary pursuits, and belles-lettres. See “Adab,” Enc. Islam, I, 122.


aḥkām al-nujūm.  See judgments of the stars.


Ahl al-Bayt:  People of the House. Members of the familyof the Prophet.


Ahl al-Da‘wah:  People of the Summons. The name which the Ismā‘īlīyah used for members of their own sect.


Abl al-Dhimmah.  Conquered peoples, who were obliged to pay taxes but were not forced to accept Islām. See “Dhimma,” Enc. Islam, I, 958.


akhbār (s., khabar):  account, accounts, historical traditions, news, information. These are the most common translations.


algebra and equation: al-jabr wa-al-muqābalah.  Smith, History of Mathematics, I, 170, translates the Arabic as “reduction and cancellation.”





allegorical interpretation: mutashābihah (pl., mutashābihāt).  This word is used to refer to the allegorical material in the Qur’ān, such as the “throne of God.” Other possible translations are allegory, simile, metaphor, comparison, similitude.


analogy: al-qiyās.  Interpretation of the law by means of comparisons and precedents. See Schacht, Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, pp. 98-132; “Kiyās,” Enc. Islam, II, 1051.


anthology: al-dīwān,  when used for a collection of poetical verses.


anwā’:  conditions in the heavens and the atmosphere. Al-Anwā’ is also a group of 28 stars, which divide the stages of the moon as it passes through the zodiac. See Qutaybah, Kitāb al-Anwā’; also Ma‘lūf, Al-Munjid, p. 844.


apostasy: al-riddah.  In early Islām this word was used for persons and tribes who turned against the Prophet. See Hitti, Arabs, pp. 141–2.


aristocratic families: al-būyūtāt.  A plural form from bayt (“house”), used for the families of tribal chiefs.


art: al-ṣan‘ah.  In addition to its common meaning, this word was used for akhemy. See “al-Kīmiyā’,” Enc. Islam, II, 1010–16.


ascetic: al-zāhid, al-nāsik.  See also Ṣūfī.


asceticism: al-zuhd.  This way of life included renunciation of worldly things, fasting, prayer at night, observance of mosque ceremonies, study of the Qur’ān, and similar religious practices.


aṣḥāb (s., ṣāḥib):  Companions of the Prophet, associates, pupils, adherents, owners, or friends.


Ashkanian dynasty.  See Parthians.


associates: al-julasā’.  The word was often used for persons who took part in intellectual discussions, often at the court of the caliph. See also aṣḥāb.


astrolabe.  There was the plane type (al-musaṭṭah or dhāt al-ṣafā’iḥ), which was often hung from a ring, and the spherical type (al-kurī). See “Asturlāb,” Enc. Islam, I, 501; Hitti, Arabs, p. 374; Smith, History of Mathematics, I, 91, 169.


astronomicai tables: al-zīj.  See “Astronomy,” Enc. Islam, I, 497–500; Pingree, Journal of the American Oriental Society, LXXXII, No. 4 (October–December 1962), 487–502; Salam and Kennedy, ibid, LXXXVII, No. 4 (October–December 1967), 492–497; Ḥājj Khalīfah. III, 566. The book entitled Zīj al-Shāhriyār was a compilation written during the late Sasanian period. It was known in Persian as Zīj al-Shāh or Zik i Shatro-ayār (“Royal Astronomical Tables”). It became popular among the Muslims during the ninth century. SCC Battānī,





Al-Battani sive Albatenii Opus astronomicum, and Nallino, ‘Ilm al-Falak, which explain how these tables formed the basis for Muslim astronomy.


Aswārīyah.  A sect of the Mu‘tazilah. See Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part I, pp. 27, 60; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 116; Jār Allāh, Mu‘tazilah, p. 140.


atom: al-juz’ (pl., al-ajzā’).  The particle which was considered to be a constituent part of matter. See Nādir, Système philosophique, p. 152.


attributes: al-ṣifāt (s., al-ṣifah).  Qualities of Allāh. The theologian al-Ash‘arī regarded them as knowledge, power, will, hearing, sight, and speech. The Mu‘tazilah denied their existence, as limiting the oneness of Allāh.


authorities on the Ḥadīth: al-muḥaddithūn.


‘ayn: the eighteenth letter of the Arabic alphabet. It is also a word which may mean eye, spring, or essence.


ayyām (s., al-yawm):  days. Also used to mean “battles” and “times.”


Azāriqah, also called in the singular Azraqī. A dangerous group of early Islām, defeated A.D. 698. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 208; “Azraḳites,” Enc. Islam, I, 542; “Khāridjites,” Enc. Islam, II, 907; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 83; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part I, 133.


bāb:  door, gate. See abwāb.


Badr: the battle fought in A.D. 624, 20 miles southeast of al-Madīnah when the Muslims attacked a caravan. See Hitti, Arabs, pp. 116–17.


Bakrīyah.  A heretical sect, which followed the tenets of Bakr ibn Ukht ‘Abd al-Waḥīd ibn Ziyād. See Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 38, 41; Baghdādī (Halkin), pp. 15–16, 169, 225.


banū:  sons. Used for the members of a tribe or family.


Banū al-‘Abbās.  The ‘Abbāsids, members of the dynasty which ruled from A.D. 750 until the fall of Baghdād.


Banū Hāshim.  The family of the Prophet’s great-grandfather. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 189.


Banū Umayyah.  The Umayyads, members of the dynasty who ruled at Damascus A.D. 661–750.


Barmak (p., Barāmakah). The members of a Persian family, many of whom became distinguished as viziers and scholars at Baghdād. See “Barmakids,” Enc. Islam, I, 663; Hitti, Arabs, 294–96.


Bayhāsiyah. Followers of Abū Bayhas Hayṣim ibn Jābir. See Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 139; “Abū Baihas,” Enc. Islam, I, 80; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 110, which gives ibn ‘Āmir instead of ibn Jābir.





Bayt al-Ḥikmah:  House of Wisdom. A research center, library, and translation bureau founded by A-Ma’mūn at Baghdād, A.D. 830. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 310.


bint:  girl. When used in proper names it means “daughter of.”


Būdāsaf  (Būtāsaf, Yūdāsaf, Buwāsaf, Budāsf).  Corruptions for Bodisattva, used to designate a Buddhist ready to become an enlightened one, and also applied to the Buddha himself. See “Bodhisattva,” Enc. of Religion and Ethics, II, 739.


Būdāsāf and Balawhar.  The Arabic translation from the Pahlavi of an old story about how the Buddha, here called Būdāsāf, was persuaded by an ascetic companion, Balawhar, to relinquish worldly things. In Europe the story became famous as Barlaam and Josaphat. See Introduction to Budge, Baralām and Yèwāsèf; “Barlaam and Josaphat,” Enc. Islam, I, 663; “Josaphat,” Enc. of Religion and Ethics, VII, 567; “Barlaam and Josaphat,” Enc. Brit., III, 403; “Bidpai,”  ibid., III, 919; “Fable,”  ibid., X, 114; “Jātaka,”  ibid., XV, 280; anonymous note in ZDMG, XXIV (1870), 480; Jacobs, Barlaam and Josaphat, pp. xiv, xv, xxvii-xxxiii, and Part 2, p. 3.


buffoons.  See jesters.


Bureau of al-Sawād: Dīwān al-Sawād.  The government office in charge of taxes and other affairs for central and southern ‘Irāq.


Byzantines: al-Rūm.  The word is used for both Greeks and Romans. In Al-Fihrist it usually applies to the people of the Byzantine Empire, unless the context shows that it refers to the more ancient Greeks and Romans.


calculations for nativities: al-numūdārāt (s., al-numūdār).  A system of complicated rules for selecting the heavenly body to be ascendant at the time of birth. See “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496 bottom.


caliph: al-khalīfah.  The successor of the Prophet and ruler of the Islamic empire.


Camel, the Battle of.  A battle fought between ‘Alī and his opponents, A.D. 656. See Hitti, Arabs, 179.


charms: al-‘azā’im. These were often made from verses of the Qur’ān, though other things were also used to form them. Other words for “charm” or “incantation” are al-ruqyah (pl., al-ruqā) and al-nīranj (cf. incantation). See Fück, Ambix, p. 113, n. 17.


choices: al-ikhtiyārāt.  Used in astrology for thc choiccs of auspicious moments for action, by observing in which of its twelve celestial houses the moon is located. See “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496.





City of Peace: Madīnat al-Salām.  The popular name for Baghdād.


clowns.  See jesters.


Commander of the Faithful: Amīr al-Mu’minīn.  A popular title for the caliph.


commentary: al-tafsīr.  The word was often used in the titles of books, which explained the Qur’ān or some other famous book. Only the great scholars wrote original works; their pupils and the less brilliant scholars wrote commentaries.


compilation: al-jāmi‘.  This also means a “collecting” or “compendium,” when referring to books.


compulsion: al-jabr.  Predestination, which excluded free will.


condition: sharṭ (pl., shurūṭ).  For its legal use, see “Shart,” Enc. Islam, IV. 335.


conjunction: al-qirān, al-ijtimā‘, or al-ittiṣāl.  The meeting of two planets, which were usually Jupiter and Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, or Mars and Saturn. The Ṣābians of Ḥarrān used the word al-ijtimā‘ to signify the simultaneous setting of the moon and rising of the sun. See Bīrūnī, Chronologie orientalischer Volker, p. 319, I.2.


consensus of opinion: al-ijmā‘.  Interpretation of the law according to the opinions of the leading jurists. See Schacht, Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, pp. 82–97; “Idjmā’,” Enc. Islam, II, 448.


court companion: al-nadīm (pl., al-nudamā’).  A drinking companion of the caliph or of a high official, or a more serious-minded person attached to the court.


created: al-makhlūq.  This can mean “what has been created by Allāh.” It was also used by the Mu‘tazilah for the Qur’ān. They believed that the orthodox tenet that the Qur’ān was uncreated contradicted the idea of unity of God, so that they regarded the Qur’ān as created by Allāh.


Dahrīyah.  Heretical materialists. The word is derived from a term in the Qur’ān 45.23 (24). See also “Dahrīya,” Enc. Islam, I, 894; Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 125, 127, 129; Jār Allāh, Mu‘tazilah, pp. 38, 60, 196, 203; Khayyāt, Intiṣār (Nyberg), pp. 6, 14, 38, 81.


darb:  street or pathway.


days.  See ayyām.


Dayṣānīyūn (al-Dayṣānīyah).  Members of the sect which followed Ibn Dayṣān, who was called Bardayṣān in Europe. See “Bardaiṣān,” Enc. Brit., III, 395; “Docetae,”  ibid., VII, 353; “Gnostocism,”  ibid., III, 158; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part I, p. 293; Bīrūnī, Chronologie orientalischer Volker, pp. 23, 207; Sarton, I, 298; “Ibn Daiṣān,” Enc. Islam,





II, 3 70; Smith, GRMB, I, 462; also for reference, Hilgenfeld, Bardesanes der letzte Gnostiker.


deputations: al-wufūd.  Negotiators between the tribes and Muḥammad. See Isḥāq, Life of Muhammad, p. 627.


dīnār.  The gold coin of the Muslims. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 171, n. 4.


dirham.  May be used for money or for a silver coin. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 172, n. 4.


disposition: al-khulq.  Refers to temperament, character, or nature. The form al-khalq means “creation,”


dīwān:  government bureau or official register, usually in connection with the taxes. It can also designate an anthology of poetry.


doorkeeper: al-ḥājib.  The Arabic word also means “chamberlain.”


dualists: al-thanawīyah.  A term as a rule applied to Zoroastrians and Manichaeans. They were called Asḥāb al-Ithnayn. They were disliked because as Persians they were rebellious against the Arab rule. See “Thanawīya,” Enc. Islam, IV, 736.


ecstasy: al-ḥulūl.  Union with God by means of mystical practices.


edit: ‘amil, ja‘al.  Used for the revision of poetry and ancient works. Verses which were retained only in memory or written in an imperfect way were corrected and edited, so as to form properly written anthologies and books.


elixir: al-iksīr.  The Philosopher’s Stone; also the substance which could change crude metal into gold. See alchemy.


emir: al-amīr (pl., al-umarā’). A prince, governor, or descendant of an aristocratic family.


enslaved by love: al-mutayyam  (pl., al-mutayyamūn).


epistle: al-risālah (pl., al-rasa’il). A letter, monograph, or essay.


essence.  In certain cases this word denotes the following: al-nafs, which also means “the soul”; al-jawhar, which also means “the jewel”; al-ma’iyah (mahīyah), which is like the Greek . When speaking about material phenomena, the word implies “essential properties.” See Qiftī, p. 369 n. c; Sprenger, pp. 131 ff.


etymology: al-ishtiqāq.  See Durayd, Kitāb al-Ishtiqāq.


external alchemy: al-a‘māl al-barrānīyah.  Refers to fabrication of ceramics, imitation precious stones, artificial pearls, and similar things, rather than to changing metal into gold.


fa‘ala wa-af‘ala.  Other forms are fa‘ala wa-yaf‘al and fa‘altu wa-af‘altu. These are forms of the verb discussed in books on grammar. For the theological significance, see Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, p. 137; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 131.





Fātiḥah. The first sūrah of the Qur’ān, used by Muslims much as Christians use the Lord’s Prayer. It was called the Sūrah of Praise.


faults: al-mathālib.  Used for political purposes to condemn the vices of tribes and individuals.


Fuḍaylīyah.  A sect which was probably connected with disputes over the legal heir to the caliphate. Perhaps it was named for Fuḍayl al-Risān. See Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 179.


Ghāliyah. See Ghulāt.


Ghaylānīyah.  Members of a sect who were almost certainly followers of Ghaylān al-Dimashqī. See Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 119; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 160.


ghulām.  See young man.


Ghulāt (al-Ghāliyah, al-Ghulāh). A sect which was so heretical that it was not regarded as belonging to Islām. See Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 17, 34–6; Baghdādī (Halkin), pp. 49–57; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 199-200. “Ghālī,” Enc. Islam, II, 137.


grace: al-na‘īm.  The doctrine that God shows grace by refraining to foreordain actions of a sinful nature for man to appropriate.


grammar: al-naḥw.  In modern times the Arabic term is used for syntax, but in Al-Fihrist it is used for grammar.


Ḥadīth:  Traditions of the Prophet. The collection of sayings and precedents of the Prophet, handed down by his associates and followers.


ḥājih (pl., al-ḥujjāb). See doorkeeper.


ḥamāsah:  valor. Often used as the title of a book on tribal anecdotes or poetry. The most famous book was that of Abū Tammām: see Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 129.


hamzah.  A sign in Arabic script, which indicates a connection between two letters or an initial vowel sound.


ḥanīf (pl., al-ḥunafa’). A Pre-Islāmic worshiper with pure ideas about religion. Abraham was the classic example. See Qur’ān 3:67, 6:79; “Hanīf,” Enc. Islam, II, 258.


Ḥashawīyah (Ḥashwīyah).  A sect which upheld anthropomorphic tenets. See Jār Allāh, Mu‘tazilah, pp. 6, 190, 261 top; Murtaḍā, pp. 6, 64; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 89, 101; Part 2, p. 403; “Ḥashwīya,” Enc. Islam, II, 287; Khayyāṭ, Intiṣār (Nādir), pp. 68, 120.


heretics: al-mulḥidūn.  Other forms of the word were the Mulḥidah or the Malāḥidah, names for a group of the Bātinīyah in Khurāsān. See Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 221.


heroic deeds: al-māthir (s., al-ma’tharah).





Ḥijāz.  The central region of western Arabia, which includes part of the Tihāmah Plain along the Red Sea, as well as the mountains to the east. It includes the holy cities of Makkah and al-Madīnah and the seaport of Jidda (Juddah). See “al-Ḥidjāz,” Enc. Islam, II, 300; Yāqūt, Geog., II, 204.


Hijrah:  the Hegira.


Hishāmīyah.  Two heretical sects named for Hishām ibn al-Ḥakam and Hishām ibn Sālim al-Jawālīqī. Their heresies concerned the imamate and they also attributed physical characteristics to Allāh. See Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 67; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 212.


historical traditions.  See akhbār.


holy war: al-jihād.  See Qur’ān 2:190–93; Hitti, Arabs, p. 136.


ḥunafā’.  See ḥanīf.


Ibāḍīyah.  A sect which started as an offshoot of the Khawārij during the eighth century but spread to North Africa, where it was called the Abāḍīyah. See “Abāḍītes,” Enc. Islam, I, 3; “Ibāḍīya,”  ibid., II, 350; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 151; Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 104, 120, 129.


ibn (pl., banū, abnā’): son.


ikhwān:  brothers. Often used to denote the members of some special group or movement.


‘ilal (s., ‘illah): causes, diseases, defects, reasons.


imam: al-imām.  A term used among other things for the caliph, a descendant of ‘Alī claiming the right to rule, certain famous legal and religious leaders, the prayer leader in a mosque and the Manichaean prelate. For the Shī‘ite imams, see Hitti, Arabs, p. 442.


imamate: al-imāmah.  Office of the caliph. See “Imām,” Enc. Islam, II, 473–74.


Imāmīyah.  A sect concerned with the legality of the imamate. See Baghdādī (Seelye), 35, 43–4, 60; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 184.


incantation: al-nīranj (nīraj) (pl., al-nīranjāt). Other translations are “charm” and “enchantment.”


interpretation: al-ta’wīl.  Interpretation of the Qur’ān often formed the basis for a court decision, theological doctrine, or political propaganda.


introduction: al-madkhal.  For its use as a technical term in astrology, see Sprenger, p. 485.


invasions: al-futūḥ.  The early conquests of thc Muslims, including the wars outside the Arabian peninsula.


irjā’.  The principal doctrine of a theological sect. See Murji’ah.





Ismaī‘līyah.  See Al-Fihrist, p. 462, n. 39, and also the Appendix, p. 929, for the succession of the imams.


istiqhāl.  See opposite position.


istiṭa‘ah.  A man’s ability to appropriate a foreordained action. This doctrine was an important one for the Mujbirah. See Ash‘arī, Theology, Chap. VI; “Al-Nadjdjār,” Enc. Islam, III, 819 bottom.


i‘tizāl:  separation, turning away, leaving. A term used for the doctrine of the Mu‘tazilah.


jabal: mountain.  Al-Jabal was the mountain region of Persia, where Media used to be. It was called Persian ‘Irāq and was sometimes used in connection with southern Armenia. See Yāqūt, Geog., II, 20; Khallikān, III, 497.


Jabarīyah.  The sect especially concerned with predestination. See “Djabariya,” Enc. Islam, I, 985; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 88;  ibid., Part 2, p. 377.


Ja‘farīyah.  For sects with this name, see Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 188; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 173; Mas‘ūdī, V, 443;  ibid., VII, 231.


Jahmīyah.  Followers of the heretic Jahm ibn Safwān. See Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 37, 126; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 89.


jamā‘ah.  The loyal Muslim community. See “Djamā‘a,” Enc. Islam, I, 1008.


jazīrah:  island. In Al-Fihrist it is not only used for the Arabian peninsula but also for the arid region of the north Syrian desert, between the Euphrates and the Tigris.


jesters.  There were three words for men of this type at the courts of the caliphs and high officials: (1) al-ṣafādamah (“buffoons”), probably from the Persian words ṣafā and dam, both meaning “pleasure”; (2) al-ṣafa‘inah (“clowns” or “slap-takers”); and (3) al-muḍḍikūn (“jesters”). See Flügel, ZDMG, XIII (1859), 593; Chejne, Journal of the American Oriental Society, LXXXV, No. 3 (July–September 1965), 327–35.


jinnī (pl., jinn):  an imaginary spirit or genie, sometimes good like a fairy and sometimes bad like a demon. See “Djinn,” Enc. Islam, I, 1045; ‘Abqar, pp. 60–73.


judgment of the stars: aḥkām al-nujūm.  Predictions of future events obtained by observing the positions of the stars.


judicial decisions: al-aḥkām.


judicial interpretation: futyā.  The legal interpretation given by a mufti.


Ka’bah.  The shrine at Makkah sacred to the Muslims.


kalām:  word. Used to mean “theology,” “dialectic metaphysics,”





“logos,” and sometimes the Qur’ān. See “Kalām,” Enc. Islam, II, 670–75.


Kalīlah wa-Dimnah.  A collection of fables denved from the Fables of Bidpai. It was translated from Indian into Persian and then into Arabic. See Jacobs, Fables of Bidpai, pp. vii-lviii; Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 346; Hitti, Arabs, p. 308; “Kalīla wa-Dimnah,” Enc. Islam, II, 694–98.


kātib:  scribe. See secretary.


khamīs.  A form derived from the word for “five.” Yawm al-Khamīs is Thursday. The word also designates the army, with its five sections, front, center, two wings, and rear.


Khawārij (Kharijites).  An early sect of Islām, which opposed the idea that the caliph must come from the Quraysh Tribe and upheld democratic and puritanical ideas. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 246; “Kharidjites,” Enc. Islam, II, 904; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 76; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 128.


Khurramīyah (Khurramī).  A revolutionary movement which became prominent in Ādharbayjān when Babak rebelled during the time of al-Ma’mun. See “Khurramīya,” Enc. Islam, II, 974; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 2, p. 419; Ṭabarī, Annales, Part 3, pp. 1044, l. 6; 1065, l. 9, 1171 ff.; Browne, Literary History of Persia, I, 312; Maqdisī, Al-Bad’ wa-al-Ta’rīkh, VI, 110–16. Yāqūt, Geog., II, 427, l. 19, says that the name comes from the town of Khurrum.


Kings of the Tribes: Mulūk al-Ṭawā’if.  See Parthians.


Kitāb al-‘Ayn.  The first Arabic dictionary, compiled by al-Khalīl ibn Aḥmad, who died about A.D. 786.


knowledge.  See ma‘rifah.


labor (of childbirth): al-haylāj.  See Richardson, Dictionary, p. 1699; Wenrich, p. 293, n. 15; “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496.


land tax: al-kharāj.  See ‘‘Kharādj,” Enc. Islam, II, 902; Hitti, Arabs, 170–71; Dennett, Conversion of the Poll Tax.


law: al-fiqh.  Other translations are “jurisprudence,” “knowledge,” or “understanding.” The mystics used it in a different way, with a religious significance.


leaf: al-waraqah (pl., al-awrāq). The folio of a manuscript. One side of a leaf, that is, one page, was called al-ṣaḥīfah.


leap: al-ṭafrah.  The heresy of the leap said that one part of the distance is passed through by ordinary movement and the other part by leaps, going from the first to the third location without passing by the second. See Nādir, Système philosophique, pp. xv, 182–83; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 145.





learning.  For its use by the Mystics, see ma‘rifah.


legal interpretation: al-ijtihād.  Use of individual deduction for determining the interpretation of the law. For an example, see Dodge, Muslim Education, p. 65.


literary pursuits. See adab.


ma‘ānī.  See meaning for the usual translation. For a special use of the word, see Frank, Journal of the American Oriental Society, LXXXVII, No. 3 (July–September 1967), 248–59.


madhhab (pl., madhāhib):  sect, doctrine, school of thought, legal system.


Madīnah, al- (Medina).  The name given to Yathrib, to which the Prophet migrated, where he became prominent and died.


Magians.  See Majūs.


Majūs:  Magi or Magians. In Al-Fihrist it usually refers to the Zoroastrians rather than to the more ancient priests of Persia. See “Madjūs,” Enc. Islam, III, 97.


Majūsīyah.  The religion of the Majūs.


Makkah (Mecca). The holy city of Arabia, where the shrine of the Ka‘bah is located and the Prophet Muhammad started his career.


Manichaeans.  Members of the sect which was founded by Mani, born A.D. 216. Some of the works especially helpful for a study of the sect are: Puech; Burkitt, Manichees; Flügel, Mani; “Manichaeism,” Enc. Brit., XVII, 573; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 285–91; Jackson, Journal of the American Oriental Society, XLIV (1924), 61–72; Colpe; Cumont, “La cosmogonie manichéenne,” Recherches sur le Manichéisme (1908), I, 1–53.


Manṣūrīyah.  An heretical sect. See Baghdādī (Halkin), p. 57; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 205.


Marcionites (al-Marqīyūnīyah).  A sect founded by Marcion about A.D. 140. For information about Marcion, see Blackman, Marcion and His Influence; Wilson, Marcion; Harnack, Neue Studien zu Marcion; Barnikol, Die Entstehung der Kirche; Bīrūnī, Chronologie orientalischer Volker, pp. 23 I:9, 207 I:7; Smith, GRMB, II, 942; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part I, p. 295; “Marcion,” Enc. Brit., XVII, 691; “Marcionism,” Enc. of Religion and Ethics, VIII, 407–9; See also books on Church history.


ma‘rifah: learning, knowledge.  It was the knowledge of Allāh, the experience of ecstasy, and the gnosis of the mystics. See Ash‘arī, Theology, pp. 15-19; Shehadi, p. 58; Sprenger, p. 995 bottom; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 134.





Marj Rāhiṭ.  A battle near Damascus, A.D. 634. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 150.


master of literary style: balīgh (pl., bulghā’), faṣīḥ (pl., fuṣaḥā’).


Mazdakīyah (Mazdakites). The followers of Mazdak, whose doctrines were influential in Persia, especially during the late fifth and early sixth centuries. See “Mazdak,” Enc. Islam, III, 430; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part i, p. 291; Bīrūnī, Chronologie orientalischer Volker, p. 209; Firdawsī, Shahnama, VII, 182, 201; Ṭabarī, Annales, Part 1, p. 897; Sykes, History of Persia, I, 487; Browne, Literary History of Persia, I, 169; Mas‘ūdī, II, 195-96; Niẓām al-Mulk, Siasset Namèh, p. 266.


meaning: al-ma‘āni.  A popular title for a book which explains the Qur’ān, poetry, or other forms of literature. In modern Arabic it is also used for a form of rhetoric.


memorable deeds: al-manāqib (s., al-manqabah).  Other translations are “virtues” or “praiseworthy actions.”


men of letters: al-udabā’.  These were cultivated men, interested in literature and intellectual things.


menstruation: al-ḥayḍ.  It had importance in connection with determining the time of conception and responsibility for fatherhood, as well as significance for ritual purification.


middle position: al-manzilah bayn al-manzilatayn.  Literally, “the positions between two positions.” This was the tenet that a Muslim who commits a major sin is neither a believer nor an unbeliever, but a sinner. See Mas‘ūdī, VI, 22.


morals.  See adab.


“Mu‘allaqāt, Al-.”  The seven most famous Pre-Islāmic poems. See Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 101; Hitti, Arabs, p. 93.


mufti.  The legal authority in Islām, who gives expert decisions by which the courts are guided.


Mughīrīyah.  An extremely heretical sect. See Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 36; Baghdādī (Halkin), pp. 49, 54.


Mughtasilah (Ṣābat al-Baṭā’iḥ). See Ṣābians.


Muḥakkimah.  A sect of the Khawārij. See Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 76, 83. Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 129.


Mujbirah.  A sect of the Mu’tazilah. See Khayyāt, Intiṣar (Nyberg), pp. 24, 67, 135; Jār Allāh, Mu‘tazilah, pp. 6, 97, 261. Compare different spelling in Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 249.


Murji’ah.  An early sect of Islām, which taught that the caliph and other Muslims could not be condemned for doing evil but that punishment must be left to Allāh. This doctrine was called al-irjā’. They also





emphasized the importance of faith in comparison with good works. See “al-Murdji’a,” Enc. Islam, III, 734; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 156; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 37; Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, pp. 123–26.


Mushabbihah.  A sect which had anthropomorphic doctrines. See Baghdādī (Halkin), pp. 31–36; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 12, 13, 98.


musnad:  attributed to authority. The chain of authorities who passed down the Ḥadīth. It was a common book title.


mutakallimūn:  the dialectic metaphysicians or theologians. See “Kalām,” Enc. Islam, II, 672.


mutashābihah:  similarity. It is used like al-tashbīḥ for metaphor, similitude, comparison. It also refers to allegorical passages in the Qur’ān. See Qur’ān 3:7, 39:23.


Mu‘tazilah (adj. al-Mu‘tazilī):  Those Who Separate Themselves. The important sect which developed in the mid-eighth century. They called themselves the People of Justice and Oneness (Ahl al-‘Adl wa-al-Tawḥīd) because they believed that a just god would not preordain a man to sin and then send him to Hell, and that Allāh is one, so that he cannot have attributes such as hearing and sight. They also claimed that the Qur’ān was created, rather than the preexistent word of Allāh. See “al-Mu‘tazila,” Enc. Islam, III, 787; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 41–88; Ḥazm, Al-Fiṣal fī al-Milal wa-al-Niḥal, V, 79; Laoust, Revue des études islamiques, XXIX (1961), 19–59.


muttahim (pl., muttahimūn):  the accused. This in a special way referred to accusation of heresy, which might lead to rebellion.


muwashshah. See acrostic.


mystic. See Ṣūfī.


Nabataeans (al-Nabṭ).  A tribal group regarded by the Muslims as having an ancient origin, but nothing certain is known about their history before the fourth century B.C. In historical times they became prominent east of Jordan, with Petra as their center. See “Nabataeans,” Enc. Islam, III, 801. Numbers of them lived in the marshlands of southern ‘Irāq, and they were sometimes called the Kasdānīyūn. For traditions which explain their connection with ancient Mesopotamia, see Mas‘ūdī, I, 78; II, 94; III. 106, 108–09; VII, 119. “Nabataeans,” Jewish Enc., IX, 139, states: “A large number of the inscriptions of the Nabataeans have been recovered. They are written in the Aramaic language. The Nabataeans were, therefore, either of Aramaic extraction, or Arabs who came under Aramaic influence.” As neither Durayd, Geneal., nor





Qutaybah, Ma‘ārif, includes them in his exhaustive account of the tribes of Arabia, it is likely that the Nabataeans came from al-‘Irāq. Their dialect was western Aramaic, related to that of the book of Ezra. Their principal deity was Dūshara. During the period before Christ they drove the Edomites to the west, so as to become strong themselves east of the Dead Sea.


Nāhitah:  Neo-Sunnites. For this sect see Pellat, Le Milieu baṣrien, pp. 53, 103; Khayyāt, Intiṣār (Nyberg), pp. 139, 145.


nadīm.  See court companion.


Nahrawān.  The battle, A.D. 659, in which ‘Alī defeated the Khawārij. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 182.


Najadāt.  A sect of the Khawārij. SeeBaghdādī (Seelye), pp. 75, 76, 87–90, 120, 174; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 136.


nativity: al-mawlid (pl. al-mawālid).  See “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496, for the connection with astrology.


nature.  See tahā’i‘.


nawāfil (s., al-nāfilah):  deeds of heroism, over and above what is expected; works of supererogation.


nickname: al-laqab (pl., al-alqāh).  The Arabic word can also refer to an honorary title.


nobleman.  See sharīf.


North.  The most important deity of the Ṣābians of Ḥarrān. In Al-Fihrist, Chap. IX, p. 760, this god is called “the North, who is the greatest god.” In very ancient times the people of Ugarit may have believed that this was the deity residing on Mt. Casius. This god was probably the same as the ancient Semitic deity Ṣaphōn, also called Zephon and perhaps Typhon. Exod. 14:2,9 and Num. 33:7 mention places named for this deity. See also “Baal-Zephon,” Jewish Enc., II, 387. There are several names mentioned in Olmstead, History of Palestine and Syria, p. 222, Adon Saphon Lord of the North; p. 233, Sapuna near Mt. Casius; p. 237, Baal Zephon Lord of the North, and p. 483, Baal Melkart Baal of the North. Dhorme, Syria, XIV, Part 3 (1933), 234, states that Ṣaphōn derives its name from the North. See also Cumont, Religions orientales, pp. 175–76; Haussig, Wörterbuch der Mythologie, pp. 258–60; “Baal, Beel, Bel,” Enc. of Religion and Ethics, II, 288. Augury by arrows, burning pine sticks, and other magical rites were connected with the North. No woman, slave, son of a slave girl, or lunatic could take part in a Ṣābian ceremony, called the mystery of the North. During February the people prayed only to the North, hoping for help with the jinn and the dcvils. Apparently the





mystery could be celebrated in various places, not in one special shrine.


nukat.  Certain auguries, which were based on the conjunction of planets, marks on the ground, and other natural occurrences. See Sprenger, p. 1374.


oneness: al-tawḥīd.  The oneness of Allāh and His creation. See “Tawḥīd,” Enc. Islam, IV, 704; Massignon, Origines du lexique, p. 255.


opposite position: al-istiqbāl.  In everyday usage, the Arabic means “reception” or “future,” but the Ṣābians gave the word a technical meaning. Chwolsohn, Die Ssabier, II, 30, translates it as begrussung. It is used for the position in which the sun and the moon or a planet are on opposite sides of the earth, 180 degrees apart. The Ṣābians had a festival when the sun and the moon were in this position, probably with one at the zenith and the other below the earth. It was just before the 17th day of the month. See Bīrūnī, Chronology, p. 318; Sprenger, p. 1205; “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 495; Lewy in Henning, p. 149, n. 1.


ordinance: al-ḥadd (pl., al-huḍūd).  Al-ḥadd also means punishment for disobeying the ordinance and sometimes “definition.” Al-sunan is used for the ordinances of the Prophet Muhammad. Al-fara’iḍ is sometimes used for ordinances, but more often signifies “shares of inheritance.”


pandect: al-kunnāsh.  A collection of medical and pharmaceutical notes. See Dozy, Supplément, II, 494.


Parthian.  The dynasty which ruled Persia from 249 B.c. to A.D. 226. It was also called Ashkānian, and the kings were named Mulūk al-Tawā’if. See Kings of the Tribes. See also Browne, Literary History of Persia, I, III; Sykes, History of Persia, I, 349–418.


People of the Book: Ahl al-Kitāb.  The name used in the Qur’ān for Christians, Jews, and Ṣābians. See Qur’ān 5:71–72; “Ahl al-Kitāb,” Enc. Islam, I, 184.


People of the House.  See Abl al-Bayt.


People of Justice and Oneness.  See Mu‘tazilah.


personal opinion: al-ra’y.  The term signifies interpretation of the law (al-ijtihād) by personal opinion. See Schacht, Origins of Muhammadan Jurisprudence, pp. 98–132.


Philosophers’ Stone.  This was referred to as al-ḥajar (“the stone”) and al-iksīr (“the elixir”).


pious foundation: al-waqf (pl., al-awqāf). A legal trust established to help support a religious or philanthropic enterprise. A trust of this sort was also called al-ḥubs (pl., al-aḥbās). See “Waḳf,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1096.


poll tax: al-jizyah.  This was originally a tax levied on a non-Muslim





subject, but it underwent change in the course of the history of Islām. See Dennett, Conversion of the Poll Tax; “Djizya,” Enc. Islam, II, 1051.


poor tax: al-zakāt.  The alms tax prescribed for Muslims. See Qur’ān 2:43, 110, 177, 277; 4:162; 5:58. See also “Zakāt,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1202.


predestination: al-qadā’ or al-qadar.  For the ways in which these terms were used, see “Kaḍā’,” Enc. Islam, II, 603; “Ḳadar,”  ibid., II, 605; “Kadarīya,”  ibid., II, 605.


Pre-Islāmic period:  al-Jāhitiyah.


promise and threat:  al-wa‘d wa-al-wa‘īd.  For “promise see Qur’ān 5:10. “Threat” was the threat of Allāh’s punishment for major sins. See Qur’ān 14:17 (14); 20:113 (112); 50:14 (13), 20 (19). See also “al-Mu‘tazila,” Enc. Islam, III, 792 middle.


proof: al-burhān.  The forms al-ḥujjah and al-iḥtijāj can also mean “proof” as well as “argument” or “pretext.” Al-thabāt (pl., al-athbāt) means “proof” with the significance of “confirmation.”


protégé: al-mawlā.  A person from some non-Muslim community, who as the protégé of some important tribe or man became a Muslim, enjoying the rights of Islām but not the aristocratic standing of his patron. A more technical translation of the word is “client.” Al-mawlā can also mean a “patron,” a “chief,” or have the opposite meaning of slave.


pupils.  See aṣḥāb for a term often used in Al-Fihrist.


Qadarīyah.  The earliest philosophical school of thought in Islām. It was a reaction against extreme ideas of predestination. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 245; “Ḳadariya,” Enc. Islam, II, 605 bottom; Steiner, Mu‘taziliten, p. 26; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 116 ff.; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part I, p. 41.


Qarāmaṭah.  Rebellious followers of Ḥamdān Qarmat, who started a revolution in the Persian Gulf region during the second half of the ninth century. See “Ḳarmaṭians,” Enc. Islam, II, 767; Hitti, Arabs, p. 444.


qawāfi.  A verse in which the final words or syllables form a rhyme.


qiblah:  the south, or the direction to be faced in prayer.


questions: al-masā’il.  As a technical astrological term, see “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496. The Arabic word is translated “problems” when referring to mathematics.


quote.  Pupils and disciples quoted the words and ideas of their master. Few scholars initiated new ideas. Most of them wrote commentaries, explaining their master’s teaching.





Quraysh.  The tribe at Makkah to which the Prophet Muḥammad belonged. See “Ḳuraish,” Enc. Islam, II, 1122.


Rāfiḍah (pl., Rawāfiḍ; adj., Rāfiḍī). The group in early Islām which rejected the earliest caliphs. In time the term became synonymous with the Shī‘ah. See Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 268, n. 1; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 43 ff.


raids: al-maghāzī.  When used as a book title this usually refers to the military expeditions of early Islām.


rajaz.  A form of poetry. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 92; Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 74.


Ramaḍān.  The ninth month of the Muslim year. It is also the month of the fast, during which the believer must refrain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse between dawn and sunset. See Qur’ān 2:185; “Ramadān,” Enc. Islam, III, 1111.


rare forms: al-nawādir.  When used with the Qur’ān, the Ḥadīth and ancient poetry, the word signifies vernacular expressions. The Arabic word also means “anecdotes.”


Rawāfiḍ.  See Rāfiḍah.


readers: al-qurrā’ (s., al-qārī).  Persons trained to read or recite the Qur’ān correctly. As the earliest Qur’ānic texts were written with clumsy Cufic letters, without signs to indicate vowels or consonants, it was inevitable that different men who read or recited the words interpreted them in different ways. In order to avoid serious abuse, about A.D. 900 the viziers Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī Ibn Muqlah and ‘Alī Ibn ‘Īsā authorized the methods of seven especially capable readers, while those of other scholars were declared illegal. Cf. Khaldūn, Muqaddimah (Rosenthal), II, 440; “Koran,” Enc. Islam, II, 1073.


reading: al-qirā’ah.  The method of reading and reciting the Qur’ān in a way which interprets its meaning. See readers.


reasons.  See ‘ilal.


red sulphur: al-kihrīt al-aḥmar.  This term was also used for “gold,” “the Philosophers’ Stone,” and “red mercury.”


relationship: al-walā’.  Contiguity, close relationship, the condition of a protégé, fealty, or one’s right over a slave recently set free. It can also mean succession or kinship.


revolutions (transfers) of the years of nativity (revolutiones annorum nativitatum or de annorum natalitiorum conversione). See “Astrology,” Enc. Islam, I, 496; Kennedy, American Philosophical Society, Transactions, XLVI, No. 2 (1956), 144.


revolutions (transfers) of the years of the world (revolutiones annorum mundi





or de annorum mundi conversione). See references for the preceding subject.


rites of the pilgrimage: al-manāsik.  The word may imply ascetic practices in general and the rites connected with pilgrimages to Makkah and other holy places.


Ṣābat al-Baṭā’iḥ.  See Ṣābians.


Ṣābians.  The following unrelated peoples were known as “Ṣābians”:

   (1) The great tribal nation of southern Arabia, whose kingdom existed from about 950 to 115 B.C. The name is usually written Sabaeans, and the first letter is a sīn rather than a ṣad. See Hitti, Arabs, pp. 54–61.

   (2) The Ṣābians of the marshlands of southern ‘Irāq. They were called Ṣābat al-Batā’iḥ, or the Mughtasilah, and were the forerunners of the Mandaeans. The first letter of their name was a ṣād. They were almost certainly the Ṣābians mentioned in the Qur’ān 2:62, 5: 72, 22:17. See “al-Ṣābi’a,” Enc. Islam, IV, 21; Rudolph, Die Mandäer; Pallis, Mandaean Studies; Drower, Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran and Secret Adam.

   (3) A group of pagans in the old city of Ḥarrān, in northern Mesopotamia, called Haran in Gen. 11:31–32. It was the city to which Abraham migrated from Ur. These people were called al-Ḥarrānīyah, corrupted in vernacular usage to al-Ḥarnānīyah. When the Caliph al-Ma’mūn threatened to massacre them unless they gave up their paganism, they adopted the name “Ṣābian,” as the Ṣābians were regarded as a sect authorized by the Qur’ān. Here also the first letter of the name is a ṣād. They were often called Ḥarrānian or Chaldaean Ṣābians to distinguish them from the true Ṣābians or Mughtasilah of southern ‘Irāq.


For this strange sect, see Chwolsohn, Die Ssabier, Vols. I and II; Goeje in Actes du sixième congrès international des orientalistes, Part 2, pp. 283–366; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 2, pp. 4–61; Mas‘ūdī, IV, 61–71; Dimashqī, Kitāb Nukhbat al-Dahr, Part 1, sect. 10; Bīrūnī, Chronology, pp. 70, 314–20, and Chronologie orientalischer Volker, pp. 318-23; Dodge in Sarrūf, American University of Beirut Festival Book, pp. 60–85.


There are various theories about the origin of the name Ṣābian. These theories are explained in the references given above, but it is not properly understood who the original Ṣābians were. Professor Harald Ingholt of Yale has recorded an additional item, which has not been mentioned by other authorities. The Danish archaeologists at Ḥama on the Orontes discovered graffiti scratched by soldiers from Arabia who fought with the coalition against Irkhuleni in 850 B.C. Twelve





times the word ṣaba was scratched, interpreted by the archaeologists as the word for soldier, but very likely signifying something different.


ṣal’am:  an abbreviation of the epithet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam (may Allāh bless him and give him peace).


satire or spelling: al-hijā’.


Sawād.  Central and southern ‘Irāq. See Yāqūt, Geog., III, 174.


sayyid:  master, lord. It is also used for a descendant of the Prophet by his daughter Fāṭimah.


secretary: al-kātib (pl., al-kuttāb).  A writer, secretarial assistant, or high government official.


section: al-maqālah (pl., al-maqālāt).  It comes from the Arabic word “to say” and means a treatise. In the main headings of Al-Fihrist the word al-maqālah is translated as “chapter” and the words al-fann and al-bāb are translated as “section,” when they refer to a portion of the text. The Greeks used “book” for a subdivision, but to avoid confusion the translation gives “section” instead of “book” in connection with Greek works.


session: al-majlis (pl., al-majālis). (1) A meeting for literary or theological discussion, sometimes held in the palace; (2) a class, usually in a mosque but sometimes in a private house; (3) a gathering for social pleasure and conversation.


Shām (Sha’m). The old Arab name for Syria, sometimes used for Damascus. See Yāqūt, Geog., III, 239.


Shamariīyah (Samanīyah, Shamanists). Idolaters of Central Asia who became somewhat influenced by Buddhism. The name is said to have come from Sramaa (a type of Buddhist monk) or from the Sanscrit ramaḥa. See Monier-Williams, Buddhism, pp. 75, 261–63; Mas‘ūdī, I, 298; Bīrūnī, Chronologie orientalischer Volker, p. 206, 1:18; Flügel, Mani, p. 385; Dozy, Supplément, II, 686; “Shaman,” Enc. Islam, IV, 302; “Shamanism,” Enc. Religion and Ethics, XI, 441.


sharī‘ah.  The Muslim law derived from the Qur’ān, the Ḥadīth, and the processes of jurisprudence. See “Shari‘a,” Enc. Islam, IV, 320.


sharīf (pl., ashrāf):  nobleman, the member of an aristocratic family. It is also used for a descendant of the Prophet, especially through one of his grandsons. See “Sharīf,” Enc. Islam, IV, 324.


shaykh (pl., shuyūkh).  Literally, an old man. The term is used for a chief or for a man who has completed his religious and legal studies at a mosque or theological institution.


Shī‘ah (Shī‘ites, s., Shī‘ī). The Muslim sect which developed the doctrine that only a descendant of ‘Alī had the right to be a caliph. See “Shī‘a,” Enc. Islam, IV, 350.





shortened and the lengthened: al-maqṣūr wa-al-mamdūd.  This was a phrase to describe forms of the letter alif (a). A grammarian was likely to use it as the title of one of his books.


Shurāt.  Members of a fanatical group of the rebellious Khawārij. See “Shurāt,” Enc. Islam, IV, 392; Baghdādī (Seelye), p. 76.


Shu‘ūbīyah.  Persons, especially literary men, many of whom were Persians. They resented the Arabs’ claim to superiority. See Goldziher, Muhammedanische studien, pp. 147–216; Gibb, Studies on the Civilization of Islam, pp. 62–73. Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 279 bottom.


Ṣiffīn.  The battle, A.D. 657, between ‘Alī and Mu‘āwiyah. See Hitti, Arabs, p. 180.


Sindbād (Sindbādh).  The “Sailor,” who was a hero of popular stories. See Hitti, Arabs, pp. 305, 384. There was also a wise man and court turor who is mentioned in fiction. See “Sindibād-Nāme,” Enc. Islam, IV, 435; Mas‘ūdī, I, 162.


singer: al-mughanni (pl., al-mughannīyūn).  A person, often a slave girl, who was trained to sing and was frequently attached to the court of a caliph or governor.


slap-taker.  See jesters.


Sophists (al-Sūfiṣtā’iyah). Scholars who denied reality. See Baghdādī (Halkin), pp. 172, n. 2, 219; Murtaḍā, p. 89.


soul: al-nafs.  See “Nafs,” Enc. Islam, III, 827. The word is used for the human soul and also for the second emanation from the deity. See also Sprenger, pp. 1396 ff.


sources: al-uṣūl (s., al-aṣl).  The word also means roots, origins, principles, fundamentals. It is used in a technical sense of the sources of the law, which al-Shāfi‘ī determined as the Qur’ān, the sunnah, consensus of opinion, and analogy.


spelling: al-hijā’.  See satire for the other meaning of this word.


star: al-kawkab (pl., al-kawākib). This can refer to the planets as well as the fixed stars. In Al-Fihrist when the form “seven stars” is used, it refers to the five known planets and the sun and the moon.


star predominant at birth: al-katkhudā.  See Richardson, Dictionary, p. 1170; Wenrich, p. 293, n. 15.


stopping and starting.  A phrase used by grammarians for marks above the line of script which indicate when one passage ends and another begins. The marks were useful for reading and chanting the Qur’ān. This phrase was a popular book title.


strange: al-gharīb.  The strange forms in tribal poetry, the Qur’ān and





the Ḥadīth, which came from the vernacular expressions of the tribes.


subjects.  This translation is sometimes used for al-ahwāb, which means “doors” but is also used for sections and subjects of a book.


Ṣūfī (pl., al-Ṣūfīyān or Sufīyah). The ascetic of medieval Islām. For the Ṣūfī system see “Taṣawwuf,” Enc. Islam, IV, 681.


sultan: al-sulṭān.  This word can be used for any ruler who controls the administration of his country, but in Al-Fihrist it usually refers to the caliph.


sunnah.  The theory and practice of conventional Muslims, based on the Qur’ān and the Ḥadīth.


Sunnite (Sunnī).  Member of the so-called orthodox sect of Islām, which upholds the authority of the historical caliphs, as well as the established legal and theological systems.


sūrah:  form, picture, sometimes a constellation of the stars, or a chapter of the Qur’ān.


Sūrah of Praise: Sūrat al-Ḥamd. See Fātiḥah.


surname: al-kunyah.  A name which contains a relationship, such as abū (father), umm (mother), ibn (son), or bint (daughter).


ṭabā’i‘ (s., al-ṭabī‘ah): natures, temperaments, innate qualities. See Nādir, Falsifat al-Mu‘tazilah, Part 2, pp. 74–86.


ṭabaqah (pl., ṭabaqāt):  category, stratum, rank. It is used to designate one of the generations which followed the Prophet, or a group of poets, or some other classification.


tafsīr:  commentary, explanation. Often used as the title for a commentary on the Qur’ān or some book about law or theology.


takht.  A Persian word for board, used for the dust abacus or calculating board, similar to the Indian pati. See Datta, History of Hindu Mathematics, p. 129.


tanbur: al-ṭanbūr.  A stringed instrument used to accompany chanting and singing.


tashbīḥ: simile, allegory, comparison, similitude. The word was also used for anthropomorphism. See “Tashbīḥ,” Enc. Islam, IV, 685.


tawallud.  The word comes from the verb “to give birth” but is used as a metaphysical tenet concerning an action resulting from an agent working through an intermediary. See “Bishr B. Mu‘tamir,” Enc. Islam, I, 731; Nādir, Système philosophique, p. 198.


temperament. Sce disposition.


temporary marriage: al-mut‘ah.  This was the temporary marriage legalized by the Shī‘ī law. See “Mut‘a,” Enc. Islam, III, 774.





Tha‘ālibah.  An unimportant sect. It was started by a man called Tha‘libah ibn ‘Āmir by Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part i, p. 147, and Tha‘libah ibn Mashkān, by Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 102–4.


theologians.  See mutakallimūn.


town (region): al-balad or al-baladah (pl., al-bilād or al-buldān).


traditions.  (1) Al-akhbār, translated as historical traditions or historical accounts; (2) al-āthār, literally meaning traces. See also Ḥadīth.


training.  See adab.


Tughuzghuz.  The Arab name for certain tribes of central Asia. Heyd, Histoire du commerce, I, 37, calls it “l’une des tribus alors les plus importantes des Turcs, celle des Tagazgaz (Hwei-Hou) qui s’étendait au loin sur les deux flancs des monts Thian-chau.” See also Mas‘ūdī, I, 214, 288, 299–301, 358; IV, 38; Ṭabarī, Annales, Part 3, p. 1044; Fidā’, Géographie d’Aboulféda, pp. ccclx, ccclxi; Pelliot, Notes on Marco Polo, II, 753; Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches, I, 252, suggests that they were Uigurs. Cf. “Turks,” Enc. Brit., XXVII, 469, 471. Professor Herbert Franke of Munich suggested in a letter, dated Dec. 1, 1965, that one should read “Toghuzghuz throughout (Old Turk. toquz ‘nine’).” See also Pulleyblank, Journal of the American Oriental Society, LXXXV, No. 2 (June 1965), 122 (left column, bottom). Mis‘ar ibn Muhalhil, Al-Risālah al-Thaniyah, English Introduction, p. 15 (h.i.), identifies the Tughuzghuz as the Uyghurs, probably in their later habitat near Turfan, and the Ghuzz as being between Iritsh and the Volga. The so-called King of the Tughuzghuz was at the city of Kushān (Kaotchang) east of Khurāsān, which they occupied in the mid-tenth century. Cf. Yāqūt, Geog., IV, 320.


‘ulamā’ (s., al-‘ālim): the knowing.  The religious and legal authorities of a Muslim community.


umarā’.  See emir.


unusual anecdotes.  See rare forms.


virtues: al-fadā’il (s., al-faḍīiah).  Excellent qualīties, often ascribed to an Arab tribe, so as to give it political favor.


vizier: al-wazīr (pl., al-wuzarā’).  The title of an officer who served the caliph or some important provincial ruler. The position was similar to that of a cabinet official in modern times.


Wāqifah (al-Wāqifīyah).  A sect of the Khawārij. See Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 110, 119; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, pp. 140, 192, 197.


warrāq (pl., al-warrāqūn).  A man who copied manuscripts, or who dealt with manuscripts and stationary. If he owned his own bookshop he could often make it a center for scholars.





will: al-waṣīyah.  This common word for a will was used for the commission of Allāh to the Prophet Muḥammad. The Shī‘ah interpreted it to mean the special knowledge and divine right to rule, handed down from ‘Alī to his successors. See “Waṣīya,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1132; Nu‘mān, Da‘ā’m al-Islām, Part 1, p. 70.


yawm.  See ayyām.


young man: al-ghulām (pl., al-ghilmān).  (1) A slave boy or servant, often attached to a scholar from whom he received instruction. (2) An apprentice. (3) A farm hand, like the boys who cared for Babak’s animals. (4) A boy used for homosexual purposes.


Zamzam.  The famous well in the court of the Ka‘bah at Makkah.


zandaqah:  heresy.


zandīq (al-zindīq, pl., al-zanādiqah or al-zanādīq).  A general term for a heretic. During the ninth and tenth centuries, when the Zoroastrians and Manichaeans were feared as rebels, the word was as a rule used for sympathizers with these sects. See Nicholson, Literary History of the Arabs, p. 372; “Zindīḳ,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1228.


Zanj.  A group of slaves in southern ‘Irāq, who A.D. 869 started a rebellion. They were led by ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad Ṣāḥib al-Zanj. See Hitti, Arabs, pp. 467–68; “Zandj,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1213.


Zaydīyah.  Followers of Zayd, who was the son of ‘Alī ibn al-Ḥusayn Zayn al-‘Ābidīn, the fourth Shī‘ī imam. Zayd revolted at al-Kūfah, A.D. 740, and was killed. See “Zaid B. ‘Alī,” Enc. Islam, IV, 1193; “Zaidīya,”  ibid., IV, 1196; Baghdādī (Seelye), pp. 34–6, 43, 53, 73; Shahrastānī (Haarbrücker), Part 1, p. 174; Mas‘ūdī, V, 467; VI, 78, 101, 204.


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