GLOSSARY

A glossary of technical terms, as used in the essays and articles published on this platform—this list will be updated periodically, and the terms therein may be subject to revision.

 

Abbasid: a member of the Abbasid family (banū al-ʿAbbāsa), which is branch of the Hashimid clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.

 

Abrahamic: the adjective for Abrahamism.

 

Abrahamism: any religious tendency or sect that emphasises Abraham (e.g., the millatu Ibrāhīma ḥanīfan referenced in the Quran); not to be confused with Abrahamitic.

 

Abrahamitic: the adjective denoting the broad religious-tradition that originated from Bible-associated monotheism, including Samaritanism, Rabbinical Judæism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

Alawite: a partisan of the early Alawite politico-religious faction (šīʿatu ʿAlīin), who believed that ʿUṯmān ibn-ʿAffān had become illegitimate and deserved to be killed and replaced by ʿAlī ibn-ʾabī-Ṭālib.

 

Arab: the ethnonym commonly used for the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula (bar certain southern tribes), and also used by those claiming ancestry from Arabia (including Arabised mawālī). Traditionally, the Arab nation subdivided genealogically into two rival lineages: the Qaysī tribal-faction or ‘Adnanids’ (banū ʿAdnāna) of Northern Arabia, who claimed descent from Ishmael, and the Yamanī tribal-faction or ‘Qahtanids’ (banū Qaḥṭāna) of Southern Arabia, who claimed to be ‘pure’ or ‘true’ Arabs.

 

Arab Empire: the polity—initially an Emirate, and later a Caliphate—established by the conquering Arab armies of Madinah during the 7th Century.

 

Arabic: the Semitic language-tradition associated with the Arab nation, which was codified into a classical literary form (al-Luḡatu al-Fuṣḥá) during the Abbasid period; the contemporary descendent of Classical Arabic is ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ (Fuṣḥá al-ʿAṣri), although most Arabs also speak regional dialects of Arabic (al-Luḡatu al-ʿĀmmiyyatu) with varying degrees of mutual-intelligibility.

 

Arabicised: to be appropriated into the Arabic language (which, for some loanwords, entailed the invention of suitable Arabic etymologies).

 

Arabised: to become culturally Arab (i.e., to adopt culture associated with Arabs), and/or to adopt Arab identity (as did most of the local mawālī of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa).

 

Caliph: a ‘Representative of God’ (Ḵalīfatu Allāhi) or a ‘Successor to the Messenger of God’ (Ḵalīfatu Rasūli Allāhi), i.e., a title used by some Muslim rulers and dynasties.

 

Caliphate: a polity ruled by a Caliph.

 

Collection: a book comprised of multiple items such as essays, reports, and other data (e.g., a collection of Hadith), or the process of creating such a book.

 

Companion: (Arabic: ṣaḥābī; pl.: ṣaḥābah): a contemporary to the Prophet Muḥammad, per later Islamic usage.

 

Compendium: a written collection of information on a particular topic (e.g., a collection of jurisprudence).

 

Compilation: a book assembled from initially discrete materials (e.g., the chronicle of aṭ-Ṭabarī, which was compiled from various prior chronicle), or the process of creating such a book.

 

Conservative: a person or position advocating the preservation of their contemporaneous politico-economic system and/or culture.

 

Culture: the material and intellectual manifestations of society.

 

Dicta: the plural of dictum.

 

Dictum: an authoritative statement or ruling (e.g., a doctrinal assertion by the Prophet).

 

Document: a primary written source (including papyri, coins, and inscriptions).

 

Documentary: having the quality of being a contemporaneous record.

 

Doxa: common or popular belief (especially religious).

 

Emir: a ‘commander’ (ʾamīr) in Arabic, such as a ruler, governor, or general.

 

Emirate: a polity ruled by an Emir.

 

Ethnicity: a cultural identity based upon a perceived common ancestry and/or language.

 

Fiqh: Islamic jurisprudence.

 

Formula: a stereotypical literary pattern (e.g., the Rank-Raglan mythotype) or phrasing (e.g., the Quranic device ḡafūrun raḥīmun).

 

Formulæ: the plural of formula.

 

Hadith: an orally-transmitted narrative-report recording an anecdote pertaining to the Prophet Muḥammad (or some other early authority), and collectively, a de facto secondary scripture within Sunnite Islam; Hadith are differentiated from other kinds of Islamic reports in terms of genre, being doctrinal (i.e., theological and legal) reports in particular.

 

Hashimid: a member of the Hashimid clan (banū Hāšima), which is a branch of the Qureshite tribe.

 

Historiography: the writing of history, i.e., the literary-tradition of recording past phenomena.

 

Islam: as a descriptive approximation, the continuum of supernatural-oriented doxa and praxis identified with the conceptual foci of Muḥammad and the Quran; or, as an autonymic approximation, the continuum of supernaturalism-oriented doxa and praxis of the demographic that self-identifies as Muslim.

 

Islamdom: the geographical area of the collective continuum of Muslim societies; this modern term has some historical equivalence in the Mediæval Islamic juridico-geographical concept of ‘the Domain of Submission’ (Dāru al-ʾIslāmi).

 

Islamic: the adjective for Muslim religious phenomena, i.e., specifically-Muslim religious culture.

 

Islamic historiography: the religio-historiographical literary-tradition of Muslims, both Mediæval and Modern; this includes various linguistic sub-traditions, such as Arabic-Islamic historiography (e.g., aṭ-Ṭabarī), Persian-Islamic historiography (e.g., ʾabū-al-Faḍl Bayhaqī), and Urdu-Islamic historiography (e.g., Akbar Shah Khan Najeebabadi).

 

Islamic Origins: the formative period of Islamic culture, i.e., early Islamic history; this period traditionally begins around 610, and ends around 661 by some estimations and later (e.g., 750 or even 800) by others.

 

Islamicate: the adjective for Muslim non-religious phenomena, i.e., Muslim-dominated trans-Muslim culture (including non-Muslims).

 

Methodology: a set of assumptions utilised to analyse data, often in the form of a formula or procedure.

 

Middle East: the territorial nexus between Anatolia, Iran, Arabia, and Egypt.

 

Motif: a recurring or dominant idea or theme (e.g., ‘sinners are justly punished’).

 

Muslim: descriptively, an adherent of Islam; autonymically, any religious person who self-identifies as such.

 

Narrative: a story or account, which can be written or oral, and can be factual or fictional.

 

Nation: an ethnic group or ideological community; not to be confused with state.

 

Praxis: practice, especially common custom (such as religious rituals).

 

Progressive: a person or position advocating modifications to their contemporaneous politico-economic system and/or culture.

 

Prosopography: a compendium of descriptions of people with common characteristics (e.g., a list of the Companions who settled in Kufah); biographical-dictionaries are a sub-genre of prosopography.

 

Quran: the text (both oral and written) traditionally associated with Muḥammad, which most Muslims regard as God-given scripture.

 

Qurashid: a member of the Qurashid tribe (banū Qurayšin).

 

Radical: a person or position advocating a new politico-economic system and/or culture vis-à-vis their contemporaneous status quo.

 

Reactionary: a person or position advocating the return to a prior politico-economic system and/or culture vis-à-vis their contemporaneous status quo.

 

Recension: a revised edition of a text, or the process of revising a text, often by a post-authorial editor (e.g., ad-Dabarī collected and transcribed the materials transmitted from ʿAbd-ar-Razzāq, thereby creating a recension).

 

Redaction: an abridged or partially-censored edition of a text, or the process of abridging or censoring a text, often by a post-authorial editor (e.g., ibn-Hišām abridged and partially censored the work of ibn-ʾIsḥāq, thereby creating a redaction); redaction is a form of recension.

 

Šarīʿah: the law of God, as revealed via the Quran and exemplified via the conduct of the Prophet Muḥammad.

 

Scripture: an authoritative and supernatural-influenced text or texts within religion (e.g., the Bible).

 

Shi’ism: descriptively, the Islamic religious-tradition based around the veneration of ʿAlī, his family, and his descendants, comprised of numerous divergent sects and sub-sects (including Twelvers, Isma’ilites, and Druze).

 

Shi’ite: an adherent of Shi’ism.

 

Follower: (Arabic: tābiʿ; pl.: tābiʿūna): a contemporary to a Companion, per later Islamic usage.

 

Sunan: the plural of sunnah.

 

Sunnah: customary or exemplary praxis (e.g., sunnatu Rasūli Allāhi).

 

Sunnism: descriptively, the Islamic religious-tradition based around the veneration of the Companions as a whole, the exaltation of the sunnah of the Prophet Muḥammad above all others, and the acceptance of the Rashidun Caliphs as coequal.

 

Sunnite: an adherent of Sunnism.

 

Talibid: a member of the Talibid family (banū Ṭālibin), which is branch of the Hashimid clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.

 

Theology: beliefs about God, gods, and/or related ideas, or the study thereof.

 

Topoi: the plural of topos.

 

Topos: a literary stereotype, such as motifs and formulæ.

 

Trope: a figure of speech.

 

Uthmanite: a partisan of the early Uthmanite politico-religious faction (šīʿatu ʿUṯmāna), who believed that ʿUṯmān ibn-ʿAffān had remained legitimate up until his death, and therefore, that his murder and replacement were illegitimate.