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-ʿabbās), 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 millat ʾibrāhīm ḥanīf 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 (šīʿat ʿaliyy), 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).

 

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-luḡah al-fuṣḥá) during the Abbasid period; the contemporary descendent of Classical Arabic is ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ (fuṣḥá al-ʿaṣr), although most Arabs also speak regional dialects of Arabic (al-luḡah al-ʿāmmiyyah) 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).

 

Arabicist: a modern academic specialist in classical Arabic literature.

 

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’ (ḵalīfat allāh) or a ‘Successor to the Messenger of God’ (ḵalīfat rasūl allāh), i.e., a title used by some Muslim rulers and dynasties.

 

Caliphate: a polity ruled by a Caliph.

 

Class: a social grouping defined by a systematic relationship to the means of production (e.g., those who control the means of production, those who operate the means of production, etc.).

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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 hāšim), which is a branch of the Qurashid tribe.

 

Hashimite: a supporter of the Hashimid clan, or more specifically, a member of the hāšimiyyah (pan-Hashimid, generic Shi’ite) movement that ultimately brought the Abbasids to power.

 

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

 

Islam: as a descriptive approximation, the continuum of religious beliefs and practices associated, however vaguely, with the conceptual foci of Muḥammad and the Quran; or, as an autonymic approximation, the continuum of s religious beliefs and practices 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’ (dār al-ʾislām).

 

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

 

Islamicist: a modern academic specialist within Islamic Studies.

 

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) and Persian-Islamic historiography (e.g., ʾabū al-Faḍl Bayhaqī).

 

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).

 

Marwanid: a member of the Marwanid family (banū marwān ibn al-ḥakam), which is branch of the Umayyad clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.

 

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.

 

Orthodoxy: ideally, the ‘true’ beliefs of a given religion; practically, the dominant or majority beliefs—or at least, the beliefs of the leading authorities of the dominant or majority group—within a given religion.

 

Orthopraxy: ideally, the ‘true’ practices of a given religion; practically, the dominant or majority practices—or at least, the practices articulated by the leading authorities of the dominant or majority group—within a given religion.

 

Praxis: the practical application of theory.

 

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 qurayš).

 

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: the central authoritative sacred text(s) within a religion, or alternatively, a text regarded as influenced by good supernatural forces (i.e., divinely-authored or divinely-inspired).

 

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.

 

Sufyanid: a member of the Sufyanid or Harbid family (banū ḥarb ibn ʾumayyah), which is branch of the Umayyad clan within the larger Qurashid tribe.

 

Sunan: the plural of sunnah.

 

Sunnah: exemplary practice or custom, such as the precedent of the Prophet (sunnat al-nabiyy).

 

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 ṭālib), 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.

 

Umayyad: a member of the Umayyad clan (banū ʾumayyah), which is a branch of the Qurashid tribe.

 

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