Glossary of Terms

‘Abdal This term refers to the wandering Muslim saints who occupy a higher rank in the Sufi hierarchical order as they are believed to possess the power to change from physical to spiritual form. The men of ‘abdal are also called the men of the unseen spiritual realm (rijal al-ghayb) in Sufi literature.

Adab (adab, plural) This popular Arabic term means refinement and good manners. Historically, it refers to Arabic literary culture (belles-lettres) in the early centuries of Islamic civilization, but the concept came to denote a code of conduct for the more professional and elite classes: administrative secretaries, governors, supervisors of bazaars, judges, jurists, and even Sufis.

Adab al-Bahth Referring to the genre of Islamic dialectics and the theory of argumentation, this was one of the popular subjects in the Ottoman medrese curriculum from the fifteenth century up until the early twentieth century. It was also studied in Eastern Europe, Egypt, Iran, Central Asia, and India.

‘Ashura’ The commemoration of the martyrdom of Husayn, the son of Ali and the third imam of the Shi‘as at Kerbela in Iraq, in a battle against the ‘Umayyad caliph Yazid in 680 AD. This is remembered on the tenth day of the month of Muharram to honor the suffering and oppression the Shi'ites endured throughout history. Religious rituals are performed on this day, including self-flagellation, singing tragic songs, and lamentations.

Augsburg Confession A summation of the Lutheran faith, known as Confessio Augustana in Latin, was written by Melanchton and Luther in 1530 and presented to the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. It was denounced by the Roman Catholic Church, but served as a model for later Protestant Churches’ confessions of faith.

Bayram This means holiday in Turkish, which includes two Ottoman religious holidays called Ramazan and Kurban bayrami. The former followed the month-long fast (or«f) at the end of Ramadan and the latter followed the end of the annual pilgrimage to Ka‘ba in Mecca (Hajj) in which believers sacrifice animals. According to the seventeenth-century Lutheran authors, Turks celebrate Ramazan as an important sacred holiday (ulu bayram) and Kurban as a lesser one (kiipik bayram).

Chederle Called hidirellez by the Turks, it is the festival of celebration for the beginning of Spring. Derived from the combination of two names of Islamic saints, Hizir (Khidr) and Ilyas (Ilyas), there is also a religious connation as htdtrellez is a celebration of the day the twin brothers Khidr and Ilyas meet once a year. On hidirellez night, some Muslims utter up a prayer believing that it will magically come true due to their faith in these saints.

Dervish This Persian word, spelled as dervif in Turkish, refers to an individual who is a fully initiated member of a Muslim Sufi mystic order and has gone through training in a tekke (Sufi lodge) to become a full adherent. This could be considered the equivalent of a Christian monk and both Sunni and Shi‘a Muslims have their own Sufi orders.

Dominus The lord or the king, who is master by the right of property or the ownership of slaves in ancient Rome. Each dominus has a dominium that may include ownership of land, property, or slaves. Therefore, dominium naturally brought the question of the relationship between a dominus and a subject. In this context, Luther asserted that God is the real dominus, and not the rulers or kings, and all other creatures in the world are His dominium and the Lord governs everything.

Duldul A symbolic creature in Shi‘a iconography, it is believed to be the female mule owned by the Prophet Muhammad. This mule was given to ‘All by Muhammad and ridden by him and his sons, Hasan and Husayn, according to tradition. From the fifteenth century onward, ‘All’s depiction in Shi‘ite art has standardized details; in paintings he is drawn, veiled and red-haired, to stand out from the crowd with his sword zulfiqar and his mule duldul. Therefore, ‘All’s successors, the Shi‘a imams, are said to bear these important spiritual attributes of ‘All’s within themselves.

Elysian Fields This paradise is reserved for heroes, virtuous people, and relatives of the gods as a reward in ancient Greece. Described as the happy land where the blessed souls live in tranquility in the hereafter, Lutheran authors use this term to refer to the idea of Muslim heaven. After a period of probation and suffering in Hell, which corresponds to the Roman Catholic idea of purgatory, all believers reach the Elysian Fields.

Furqan This is one of the names of the Qur’an which God identifies as the final holy writ (Q. 3:4 and 25:1). Called furqan or criterion, Allah clarifies once and for all the difference between truth and falsehood for the believers. Qur’an (21:48) also refers to the Torah as the furqan-. “Certainly, we had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion (furqan).”

Ghadir Khumm It is the name of a place between Mecca and Medina, which acquired its importance in religious narrative due to the alleged conversation between Muhammad and ‘All when they were

Glossary of Terms 333 returning from the Prophet’s last pilgrimage. Muhammad said: “Whoever is my friend, ‘All is his friend too; my enemies are his enemies.” There are different versions of this event; however, the significance of this for Shi'a Muslims is the clear indication of Muhammad’s designation of ‘Alt as his successor, as opposed to the first three caliphs that Sunnis accept.

Hadlth With the definite article al-hadïth, this means Prophetic tradition, believed by Sunnis to be an account of what Prophet Muhammad said or did, or of his tacit approval of something said or done in his presence. The study of tradition is called ‘ultlm al-hadïth or the sciences of tradition, and the traditionists are called ahi al-hadïth.

Hanifite It is one of the schools of Islamic law, founded by Abu Hanifa (d.767 AD). It was first adopted by the Abbasid caliphs (751-1258) and later became the legal school used by the Ottoman Turks. It was incorporated into the Empire and the Hanafite school (madhhab) became the official legal system since it gave the ruler more powers in financial and legal matters than did the Shafi'î madhhab or any other Islamic legal school. This school is also popular in the Indian Subcontinent, Central Asia, and Western China.

Jahiliyya It means the age of ignorance. Historically, it referred to the era before the advent of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula during which time pre-Islamic Arabs were considered ignorant of God and the monotheistic religion. However, ignorance did not mean that pre-Islamic Arabs were uncultured or uneducated people. Conceptually, the notion of jahiliyya signified a new Muslim identity as it marked the conversion from the non-Muslim past (jahiliyya) to the Muslim present. Therefore, this new identity through conversion represented a state of alterity and a belief in the uniqueness of Islam, rather than a historical event as a sharp distinction between pre-Islamic and Islamic periods. During the modern period, the Muslim thinker Sayyid Qutb (d.1966) used jahiliyya as a typology for any un-Islamic culture or lifestyle.

Jinn In the Qur’an, the jinn is part of Creation as God created two separate species living in parallel realms, man and the jinn, the former from clay and the latter from fire. The Qur’an addresses the jinn as nations (umam) like humans, and the idea of the jinn being among us, living and interacting with us, although they are mostly invisible to us, is integral to Muslim culture and religion.

Kizilbaj Also spelled as qizilbash, this means “red heads” in Turkish for the red caps these individuals wore. Historically, it refers to the Shi'ite Turkomans and the Sufi groups who supported and helped found the Safavid Empire in Persia. In the Ottoman Sunni discourse, kizilbaç has the pejorative meaning of heretic and rebel.

Korban Olah This is an ancient Jewish animal offering where the meat is entirely burnt on the altar as a tribute to God; none is kept for the owner of the animal to distribute or to eat.

Lawh al-Mahfuz Mentioned in the Qur’an (85:22), this term means the preserved tablet. Qur’anic commentators and theologians generally agree that God’s word as a divine revelation was transferred onto this preserved tablet (Lawh al-Mahfuz) and later into the written Qur’an.

Lutheran Jubilee-Year Every century, there is a Protestant celebration to commemorate the Reformation. The Lutherans appointed the first Jubilee in 1617, a century after Luther’s publication of the ninety-five thesis. The last Reformation Jubilee was celebrated in 2017.

Mikra This Hebrew term is used, along with Tanakh, to refer to the entire canonical collection of Hebrew Scriptures, also called the Old Testament.

Mishnah This is the ancient codification of Jewish rabbinic law (oral Torah), the Talmud is the later rabbinic commentaries on it.

Nahiv The study of Arabic grammar, a mandatory course in the Ottoman colleges, is known as nahw in Arabic.

Nasib This Turkish Muslim belief in fate decrees that every man’s fortune is written in the Book of Heaven and no man’s fate can be avoided.

Nefes oglu It literally means the son of the breath; it is also known as nefes evladt, which means the children of breath. This term is usually associated with the Turkish Bektaji Muslim Sufi tradition. In this context, a nefes oglu is a blessing from rhe leader of the Bektaji Sufi order, known as baba, for a woman to have a child. This blessing to have a child comes through the intercessory prayer or breath of a baba. The Bekta^i belief that God created Jesus by impregnating Mary with His breath was the origin of the blessing of nefes oglu.

Peredesia and Perbibesia These are fictions names originally used by the Roman playwright Plautus; Peredia (hungry land) and Bibesia (thirsty land). Lutherans used the Latin version of these names to refer to the sensuous Muslim vision of paradise.

Puccianism This is a doctrine of the universal salvation of mankind, including people who had never heard of Christ, based on the ideas of Francesco Pucci, a Florentine religious exile burnt for heresy in 1597. Pucci’s radical doctrine of God’s universal mercy became well-known through his manifesto De Christi servatoris efficacitate (On the Efficacy of Christ the Savior) in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Puccianism was unanimously considered a heresy by the Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists as his ideas challenged the authority of their religions. Lutherans used it further as a swear word to solidify their orthodoxy. Significantly, Orthodox Lutheran theologian Kromayer likened Islam to Puccianism as Muhammad claimed that anyone who lived uprightly, whether Christian or Jew could be saved.

Qalandar This Persian term refers to persons who are free from all cares of this and the next world. These are Muslim Sufis and saints, who have reached a high level of spirituality, essentially the state of

Glossary of Terms 335 spiritual ecstasy, to become perfect human beings (insän-i kämil). In Persian Sufi poetry, qalandar is depicted as someone living outside the worldly domain and free from the taint of religious rites and rituals, beyond the dictates of Islamic law (SharPa). The term is also generally associated with the Qalandariyya, wandering ascetic Sufi dervishes, found in Iran, Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and South Asia.

Republic of Letters This refers to the highly literary culture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It denotes an imagined territory that existed on no European map; long-distance intellectual communities during the age of Enlightenment created transnational networks in Europe and the Americas where philosophers and thinkers could exchange ideas. French Protestants in diaspora played an important role as exporters of the ideas of Parisian philosophes. The Republic of Letters is historically significant because this literary movement was not only transregional but also multi-religious, consisting of French Protestants, Lutherans, Calvinists, Catholics, Anglicans, and some Jews.

Sarf It is the part of Arabic grammar which deals with words in their different contexts and the conjugation of the verbs.

Schlaraffenland This fictional place mentioned in European fairy tales, either as Schlaraffenland or the Land of Cockaigne, alludes to an imaginary place like the Elysian Fields, in which blessed souls live happily ever after and enjoy sensual delights forever. Luther and Lutherans used this term to describe the Muslim paradise (jannatf Based on his understanding of the relationship between religion and work ethics, Luther’s references to Schlaraffenland were a critique of clerical lifestyle that fostered laziness. Luther rejected the mediaeval ecclesial dichotomy between the active life and the contemplative life, and the Catholic devaluation of the laity’s work while presenting the monastic life as ideal.

Schmalkaldic Articles It is one of the confessions of Lutheran faith, written by Luther in 1536 at the behest of Johann Friedrich, Elector of Saxony. The Schmalkaldic Articles discussed theological subjects, such as the unity of God, the Trinity, Christ, justification by faith, sin, the Law, repentance, confession, and the ministry. After Luther’s death, these articles, which were incorporated into the Book of Concord, became the official confession of faith for most Lutheran churches.

Schwärmer Usually translated as enthusiasts and sometimes as fanatics, Schwärmer is a derogatory term invented by Luther to castigate the theologies of the peasant revolt and radical Christian groups, involving Andreas Carlstadt, Thomas Müntzer, and the Zwickau prophets. Schwärmer (enthusiasts) and Schwärmerei (enthusiasm) are both highly loaded terms in the post-Reformation Lutheran and German Enlightenment discourse. However, the relevancy of these terms for us here is that Lutheran theologians used them to describe

Islam as an enthusiastic religion, which involves irrational tendencies and excessive imagination in religion and Muhammad as an enthusiast, who was obsessively convinced of his divine mission to spread his religion throughout the world.

Scylla and Charybdis They are the two sea monsters of Greek mythology placed on opposite sides of the ocean; sailors must choose between these two monsters. It means having to choose between two evils.

Sunna This refers to the second source of Sunni Islamic law, which is based on the custom and habit, particularly the words and deeds, of the Prophet Muhammad as collected in the hadith.

Takdir This Turkish word means predestination and refers to the Ottoman Turk’s belief that every human being’s destiny is written on their forehead.

Tanasukh This is the transmigration of souls from one body to another, known as metempsychosis. The extremist Shi'ite sects (ghulat) believed that imam ‘All’s and his sons’ souls transmigrated into the body of chosen imam, thereby establishing the spiritual authority of the Shi'ite imam. Unlike other Shi'ite groups, ‘Alawites and ghulat sects also believe that ‘All was the incarnation of God due to their belief in the hulul doctrine, which maintains that God could pass into human form.

Targumim These are ancient translations and paraphrases of the Bible in Aramaic, the ancient lingua franca of the Middle East.

Ummi Muhammad was referred to as the ummi Prophet (al-nabi al-ummi) in the Qur’an (7:157-8); this term has generally been translated as “illiterate,” making Muhammad the unlettered Prophet. As Muhammad was active in the caravan trade in the Arabian Peninsula, some scholars questioned whether Muhammad could neither read nor write. Some Qur’anic commentators also suggested that being ummi meant that Muhammad was a man who did not have a formal education; however, they believe he might have been able to read and write. Others suggested that ummi refers to the Arab nation; therefore, ummi should be more properly understood as “the Prophet for the unlettered people,” denoting people without a scripture (Qur’an). This idea of Muhammad being illiterate was significant for Lutheran scholars as it reinforced their interpretation of Islam as anti-intellectual and anti-belles lettres.

Zulfiqar It is the name of ‘All’s sword, also written as dhu’l-fiqar and dhu’l-faqar. The Shi'ites believe that the Prophet Muhammad gave ‘All zulfiqar to replace his broken sword on a battlefield; therefore, it is considered to have miraculous powers. The popular saying La fata ilia Ali la sayfilla dhu’l-faqar in Shi'ite culture means “There is no hero but ‘All; there is no sword but dhu’l-faqar.”

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >