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Full text of "Encyclopaedia Dictionary Islam Muslim World, etc, Gibb, Kramer, scholars. 13 vols & 12 vols. 1960-2004.1875.2009."













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The preparation of this volume of the Encyclopaedia of Islam was made possible 
in part through grants from the Research Tools Program of the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities, an independent Federal Agency of the United States 
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Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres; and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. 

The articles in this volume were published in double fascicules of 128 pages, the dates of publication being: 

1993: Fascs. 131-136, pp. 1-384 1994: Fascs. 137-142, pp. 385-768 

1995: Fascs. 143-146, pp. 769-1056 

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For the benefit of readers who may wish to follow up an individual contributor's articles, the Editors have decid- 
ed to list after each contributor's name the pages on which his signature appears. Academic but not other ad- 
dresses are given (for a retired scholar, the place of his last known academic appointment). 

In this list, names in square brackets are those of authors of articles reprinted or revised from the first edition 
of this Encyclopaedia or from the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam. An asterisk after the name of the author in the 
text denotes an article reprinted from the first edition which has been brought up to date by the Editorial Com- 
mittee; where an article has been revised by a second author his name appears within square brackets after the 
name of the original author. 

Feroz Ahmad, University of Massachusetts. 511 
Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley. 48, 

117, 136, 704 
[J. Allan, London]. 239, 267, 288, 289, 726 
R. Amitai-Preiss, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 

Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawaii at 

Manoa. 295 
P. A. Andrews, University of Cologne. 270 
Ghaus Ansari, University of Vienna. 32 
Sarah Ansari, University of London. 244 
A. Arazi, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 539, 885 
[A.J. Arberry, Cambridge]. 14 
A. Arioli, University of Rome. 389 
R. Arnaldez, University of Paris. 25, 588, 667 
M. Athar Ali, Aligarh Muslim University. 371, 573, 

[A.S. Atiya, Salt Lake City]. 36, 325, 351 
A. Ayalon, Tel Aviv University. 813 
Ramzi Baalbaki, American University of Beirut. 821 
[F. Babinger, Munich]. 1, 3, 8, 9, 36, 43, 62, 65, 

110, 172, 190, 296, 308, 317, 391, 393, 419, 422 
T. Bachrouch, University of Tunis. 764 
Roswitha Badry, University of Freiburg. 333 
[T.G. Bailey]. 23 

[F. Bajraktarevic]. 85, 279, 285, 322 
Mohammad Al-Bakhit, Al al-Bayt University, Am- 
man. 385, 883, 1000 
Qigdem Balim, University of Manchester. 168, 170, 

175, 177, 179, 484, 670, 818, 838, 1044 
R.B. Barnett, University of Virginia, Charlot- 
tesville. 793 
[Th. Bauer]. 1042 

A.F.L. Beeston, University of Oxford. 665 
M.A.J. Beg, University of Brunei. 672, 871, 892 
Doris Behrens-Abouseif, University of Freiburg/ 

Breisgau. 344, 683 
[A. Bel]. 654 

Afif Ben Abdesselem, University of Tunis. 738 
Omar Bencheikh, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Paris. 15 
M. Bencheneb, Algiers. 693 
R. Bencheneb, Paris. 127 
H. Ben-Shammay, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 

[E. Berthels]. 44, 48, 68, 81, 478 
Th. Bianquis, University of Lyons. 396, 654 
J. Bisson, University of Tours. 850 
W. Bjorkman, Uppsala. 481 
J.R. Blackburn, University of Toronto. 185, 236, 

Sheila S. Blair, Richmond, New Hampshire. 383 
F.C. de Blois, Royal Asiatic Society, London. 445, 

586, 675, 683, 972 
[Tj. de Boer, Amsterdam]. 123 
H. Boeschoten, University of Tilburg. 893 
P.N. Boratav, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Paris. 179, 232, 271 
C.E. Bosworth, University of Manchester. 12, 24, 

64, 67, 73, 76, 82, 110, 127, 149, 154, 155, 161, 
163, 174, 175, 178, 191, 231, 235, 236, 237, 239, 
245, 259, 278, 288, 300, 303, 306, 309, 312, 313, 
373, 381, 385, 386, 393, 403, 404, 417, 450, 453, 
460, 463, 469, 470, 473, 519, 526, 568, 586, 587, 
591, 595, 598, 606, 607, 618, 630, 636, 652, 661, 
670, 679, 694, 695, 701, 746, 749, 794, 798, 807, 
808, 809, 811, 830, 842, 853, 860, 869, 879, 895, 
918, 924, 959, 973, 979, 997, 999, 1029, 1034, 
1041, 1043, 1050 
G. Bowering, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 

Mary Boyce, University of London. 343 
Jean Boyd, Penrith, Cumbria. 35 
F. Braemer, Centre National de la Recherche Scien- 
tifique, Paris. 757 
Barbara Brend, London. 453 
J.T.P. de Bruijn, University of Leiden. 84, 134, 272, 

423, 532, 637, 685, 777, 1012 
Kathleen Burrill, Columbia University, NJ. 490 
J. Burton, University of St. Andrews. 362 
J. Burton-Page, Church Knowle, Dorset. 48, 64, 

121, 252 
Y. Callot, University of Tours. 481, 838, 847 
J. Calmard, Centre National de la Recherche Scien- 
tifique, Paris. 748, 750, 756 
Sheila R. Canby, British Museum, London. 510, 

J. Carswell, Sotheby's, London. 226 
M.G. Carter, New York University. 668, 836 
J. Chabbi, University of Paris. 506 
C. Chaline, University of Paris. 548 
H. Chaouch, University of Tunis. 858 
Mounira Chapoutot-Remadi, Institut francais 
d'Etudes arabes, Damas. 160, 1001 

E. Chaumont, University of Aix-Marseille. 900 
the late]. Chelhod, Paris. 362, 654 

P. Chelkowski, New York University. 81, 465 

M. Chenoufi, University of Tunis. 402 

W.C. Chittick, State University of New York, Stony 

Brook. 755, 861, 1024 
M. Chodkiewicz, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en 

Sciences Sociales, Paris. 594 
Y.M. Choueiri, University of Exeter. 49 
V. Christides, University of Ioannina, Athens. 90 
J. Couland, University of Paris. 26 
Stephanie Cronin, London. 1051 
Yolande Crowe, London. 1031, 1038 

F. Dachraoui, University of Tunis. 118 

F. Daftary, Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. 
134, 443, 599, 923 

H. Daiber, Free University, Amsterdam. 649, 660 

M. van Damme, University of Utrecht. 350 

J. Danecki, University of Warsaw. 573 

R.E. Darley-Doran, Winchester. 231, 793, 974, 978 

G. David, Budapest. 292, 302 

[C.C. Davies, Oxford]. 125, 245, 254, 258, 271, 368, 

383, 426 
R. Davis, Ohio State University, Columbus. 723 

R. Deladriere, University of Lyons. 547 

F.M. Denny, University of Colorado, Boulder. 299 

W.B. Denny, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. 

Sylvie Denoix, University of Aix-en-Provence. 861 
[J. Deny, Paris]. 281, 282, 371, 483, 529, 531, 566 
A. Dietrich, University of Gottingen. 37, 112, 687, 

693, 707, 732, 1043 
S. Digby, Rozel, Jersey. 1050 
Christine Dobbin, Australian National University, 

Canberra. 238 
G. Doerfer, University of Gottingen. 583 
E. van Donzel, Leiden. 830, 850 
H.J. Dross aart Lulofs, University of Amsterdam. 

J. During, University of Strasbourg. 1019 
H. Eisenstein, University of Vienna. 4, 1024 
D.S. El Alami, Leicester. 708 
Nadia El Cheikh, American University of Beirut. 

N. Elisseeff, University of Lyons. 133, 817 
W. Ende, University of Freiburg im Breisgau. 448, 

T. Fahd, University of Strasbourg. 52, 65, 97, 108, 

155, 350, 381, 562, 601, 647, 678, 705, 706, 728, 

734, 830, 889 
[H.G. Farmer, Glasgow]. 348 
Suraiya Faroqhi, University of Munich. 12, 210, 

406, 489, 567, 593, 1054 
P.-B. Fenton, University of Strasbourg. 662 
Halima Ferhat, University of Rabat. 691, 899 
Maribel Fierro, C.S.I.C., Madrid. 480, 574, 636, 

708, 819 
H.J. Fisher, University of London. 17 
J. Flanagan, Somerville, Mass. 615 
J. Fontaine, Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes, 

Tunis. 471, 693 
M. Forcada, University of Barcelona. 527 
C.H. de Fouchecour, University of Paris. 580 
G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, Sheriff Hutton, York. 

287, 292, 564, 857 
M. Gaborieau, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Paris. 6 
J.C. Garcin, University of Aix-en-Provence. 866 
Teresa Garulo, University of Madrid. 407, 633 
G.J.H. van Gelder, University of Groningen. 997 
A. Ghedira, University of Lyons. 835 
[H.A.R. Gibb, Harvard]. 83 
A. Giladi, University of Haifa. 827 
D. Gimaret, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 

Paris. 363, 399, 649, 881, 918 
M. Glunz, University of Washington, Seattle. 998 
F. Muge Gocek, University of Michigan. 3 
P.B. Golden, Rutgers University, Newark, New 

Jersey. 291, 629, 878, 898 
L.E. Goodman, Vanderbilt University, Nashville. 


M. Guettat, Institut Superieur de Musique, Tunis. 

P. Guichard, University of Lyons. 834, 881 
J.G.J, ter Haar, University of Leiden. 596 
U. Haarmann, University of Kiel. 895 
C.-P. Haase, University of Kiel. 631 
[T.W. Haig, London]. 833, 925 
W. Hale, University of London. 168, 174 
Margaret Hall, London. 742 

H. Halm, University of Tubingen. 148, 438, 468, 

683, 998, 1047 
Talat Said Halman, New York University. 172 
G.R.G. Hambly, University of Texas, Dallas. 514 
W.L. Hanaway, University of Pennsylvania, Phila- 
delphia. 801, 885 
S. Nomanul Haq_, Cambridge, Mass. 597 
[W. Hartner, Frankfurt]. 122 
L.P. Harvey, University of London. 272 
A. Havemann, Free University, Berlin. 403 
G.R. Hawting, University of London. 466, 697 
J. A. Haywood, Lewes, East Sussex. 154, 334 
P. Heath, Washington University, St. Louis. 921 
A. Heinen, Pontifical Istituto Orientale, Rome. 1018 
W.P. Heinrichs, Harvard University. 370, 379, 383, 

428, 578, 668, 734, 748, 805, 819, 831, 856, 894, 

990, 1008 
[B. Heller, Budapest]. 109, 397 
G. Herrmann, University of Gottingen. 277 
[M. Hidayet Hosain]. 67, 124 
the late D.R. Hill, Great Brookham, Surrey. 656 
[S. Hillelson]. 89 
Carole Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh. 133, 

440, 461, 705 
R. Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh. 964 
J.R. Hinnells, University of London. 275 
the late M. Hiskett, London. 23, 357 
M.C. Hoadley, Lund University. 284 
Birgit Hoffmann, University of Bamberg. 343 
P.M. Holt, Oxford. 171 
[E. Honigmann]. 112, 114, 424, 435, 528, 671 
M.B. Hooker, Australian National University, 

Canberra. 483 
Virginia Matheson Hooker, Australian National 

University, Canberra. 286, 491, 668, 1042 
D. Hopwood, University of Oxford. 718 
J. Huehnergard, Harvard University. 1011 
F.R. Hunter, Tulane University. 93 
J.O. Hunwick, Northwestern University, Evanston, 

Illinois. 719 
C.H. Imber, University of Manchester. 182, 831 
Halil Inalcik, Bilkent University, Ankara. 487, 611, 

M. Ipsirli, University of Istanbul. 843 
Riazul Islam, University of Karachi. 1048 
Mawil Y. Izzi Dien, University of Wales, Lampeter. 

667, 718, 818, 842 
S.A. Jackson, Indiana University, Bloomington, In- 
diana. 991 
RenateJacobi, University of the Saar, Saarbriicken. 

398, 467, 919 
[B. Joel]. 756 
G.H.A. Juynboll, The Hague. 385, 421, 519, 820, 

836, 857, 984 
O. Kahl, Frankfurt am Main. 417, 694 
Kemal Karpat, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 

138, 144 
A.S. Kaye, California State University, Fullerton. 92 
B. Kellner-Heinkele, Free University, Berlin. 833 
H. Kennedy, University of St. Andrews. 985 
J. Kenny, University of Ibadan. 232 
[R.A. Kern, Leiden]. 279, 333, 433 
R.G. Khoury, University of Heidelberg. 265, 409, 

M. Kiel, University of Munich. 11, 168, 170, 188, 

312, 320, 341 
[H. Kindermann, Cologne]. 354 
D.A. King, University of Frankfurt. 575, 650, 872, 

G.R.D. King, University of London. 85, 436, 437, 

577, 614 
M.J. Kister, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 375 


M. Kohbach, University of Vienna. 5 
E. Kohlberg, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 373, 

389, 463, 812 
[M.F. Koprulu]. 221 

[J.H. Kramers, Leiden]. 43, 182, 183, 202, 881 
Dorothea Krawulsky, University of Tubingen. 703 
K. Kreiser, University of Bamberg. 161, 612, 898 
[F. Krenkow]. 702 

Remke Kruk, University of Leiden. 407 
P. Kunitzsch, University of Munich. 105, 716 
M. Kunt, University of Cambridge. 752 
M. Kurpershoek, Leiden. 1048 
GOnay Kut, Bogazici University. 171 
Ann K.S. Lambton, Kirknewton, Northumberland. 

313, ( 

Fidelity Lancaster, British Institute at Amman for 
Archaeology and History. 645 

W. Lancaster, British Institute at Amman for Ar- 
chaeology and History. 645 

J.M. Landau, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 60, 
248, 250, 252 

H. Landolt, McGill University, Montreal. 704 

J.D. Latham, University of Manchester. 871, 900, 

A. Layish, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 32 
M. Lecker, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 1005 
G. Lecomte, Institut National des Langues et 

Civilisations Orientales, Paris. 888 
S. Leder, University of Halle. 547 
Nancy E. Leeper, University of Oregon, Eugene. 

G. Leiser, Vacaville, California. 1001, 1006 
Amalia Levanoni, University of Haifa. 987 
[G. Levi Della Vida, Rome]. 83, 120, 1052 
[E. Levi-Provencal, Paris]. 349, 441 
[R. Levy]. 316, 343 
[T. Lewicki, Cracow]. 114 
Chang-Kuan Lin, National Cheng-chi University, 

Taipei. 240, 261, 341 
D.P. Little, McGill University, Montreal. 759 

B. Lory, Ecole Nationale des Langues Orientales 
Vivantes, Paris. 635 

Jane D. McAuliffe, University of Toronto. 568 
R.D. McChesney, New York University. 233, 273 
M.C.A. MacDonald, University of Oxford. 757, 

D. MacEoin, University of Durham. 114, 451, 679 
K. McPherson, University of Western Australia, 

Nedlands. 469 
W. Madelung, University of Oxford. 454 
H.G. Majer, University of Munich. 185 
Fedwa Malti-Douglas, Indiana University, Bloom- 

ington, Indiana. 53 
[G. Marcais, Paris]. 415, 563 
[D.S. Margoliouth, Oxford]. 400, 525 
Manuela Marin, University of Madrid. 617, 633 
Marie H. Martin, The American Numismatic 

Society, New York. 75 
Vanessa Martin, University of London. 140 
G. Martinez-Gros, University of Rouen. 618, 868 
U. Marzolph, Enzyklopadie des Marchens, Got- 

tingen. 595 
[H. Masse, Paris]. 76, 431, 511, 600 
R.J. May, Australian National University, Can- 
berra. 305 
the late M. Meinecke, Berlin. 414, 996 
Irene Melikoff, University of Strasbourg. 164 
[Th. Menzel]. 2, 7, 189 
Mohamed Meouak, University of Madrid. 834, 881 

Francoise Micheau, University of Paris. 856 

L.B. Miller, New Paltz, NY. 1039 

[V. Minorsky, Cambridge]. 24, 53, 73, 473, 651, 

843, 872 
J. P. Molenat, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Paris. 474 
3. Monnot, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 

Paris. 934, 935 
S. Moreh, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 910 
D.O. Morgan, University of London. 87, 163, 169, 

'4, 444 

D.W. Morray, University College Dublin. 460, 851 
W.W. Muller, University of Marburg. 980 
M. Muranyi, University of Bonn. 829 
Azim Nanji, University of Florida, Gainesville. 84, 

I.R. Netton, University of Exeter. 528 
E. Neubauer, University of Frankfurt. 422, 807, 996 
^.J. Newman, Wellcome Institute, Oxford. 695, 787 
[A.W. Nieuwenhuis]. 284, 324 
". Nijland, Leiden. 88 

, Nik 

«]. 174 

K.A. Nizami, Aligarh Muslim University. 68, 240, 

258, 285, 307, 815, 850 
S. Noja Noseda, Catholic University, Milan. 1046 
H.T. Norris, University of London. 19 
S. Northedge, University of Paris-Sorbonne. 1041 
R.S. O'Fahey, University of Bergen. 990 
K. Ohrnberg, University of Helsinki. 524 
B. O'Kane, American University of Cairo. 509 
G. Oman, University of Naples. 811 
Solange Ory, University of Aix-Marseille. 990 
J.M. Otto, University of Leiden. 33 
the late Ch. Pellat, Paris. 62, 145, 352, 356, 367 
[H. Peres, Algiers]. 420 
R. Peters, University of Amsterdam. 596, 764, 

C.F. Petry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Il- 
linois. 882 
[M. Plessner, Jerusalem]. 53, 350, 418 
S. Pompe, University of Leiden. 33 
I. Poonawala, University of California, Los Angeles. 
126, 307 

A. Popovic, Centre National de la Recherche Scien- 
tifique, Paris. 57, 324, 337, 521 

L. Pouzet, Saint-Joseph University, Beirut. 460, 986 
I. Proudfoot, Australian National University, 

Canberra. 293 
Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology, Cambridge. 433, 506, 545 

B. Radtke, University of Utrecht. 994 
Munibur Rahman, Oakland University, Rochester, 

Michigan. 44, 277, 442, 448, 544, 642, 666, 829, 

852, 8 

I, 992 

R. Rashed, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris. 

S. C A. C A. al-Rashid, King Saud University, Riyadh. 

W. Raven, Free University, Amsterdam. 519, 853 
B. Reinert, University of Zurich. 1014 
Gunsel Renda, Hacettepe University, Ankara. 227 
D.S. Richards, University of Oxford. 914, 988, 989 
M.E.J. Richardson, University of Manchester. 13, 

49, 51 
A. Rippin, University of Calgary. 689, 740, 798, 984, 

999, 1007, 1046 
B.W. Robinson, London. 638 
F.C.R. Robinson, University of London. 69 
Ruth Roded, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 817 
J.M. Rogers, University of London. 970 
F. Rosenthal, Yale University, New Haven. 451, 


A. Rouaud, Centre National de la Recherche Scien- 

tifique, Paris. 162, 178, 438 
E.K. Rowson, University of Pennsylvania, Phila- 
delphia. 390 
U. Rubin, Tel Aviv University. 125, 657 
[J. Ruska, Heidelberg]. 149 

P.C. Sadgrove, University of Manchester. 920, 993 
T. Sacuchi, Kanazawa. 51, 924 
R.M. Savory, University of Toronto. 753, 774, 801 
A. Savvides, Centre for Byzantine Studies, Athens. 

266, 335 
Ayman F. Sayyid, The Egyptian National Library, 

Cairo. 832, 1031 
[J. Schacht, New York]. 29, 400, 493 
Annemarie Schimmel, Bonn. 140, 416, 663 
Barbara von Schlegell, University of California, 

Berkeley. 732 
J. Schmidt, University of Manchester. 509 
[C. Schoy]. 842 

R. Schulze, University of Bamberg. 361, 701 
O. Schumann, University of Hamburg. 245 
R. Sellheim, University of Frankfurt. 739, 740, 

1020, 1025 
C. Shackle, University of London. 257 
[Mohammad £hafi c , Lahore]. 386, 459 
R. Shaham, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 32 
Ahmed al-Shahi, University of Newcastle-upon- 
Tyne. 93 

n SHAHfD, Georgetown University, Washington, 

D.C. 1 

), 982 

,Y C. Shalinsky, University of Wyoming. 234 
P. Shinar, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 671, 765, 

795, 906 
M.Y. Siddiq, Islamic University Kushtia, 

Bangladesh. 594 
Elizabeth M. Sirriyeh, University of Leeds. 439, 

P. Sluglett, University of Utah. 143, 446 
G.R. Smith, University of Manchester. 97, 454, 457, 

566, 636, 706, 914, 1002 
PriscillaP. Soucek, New York University. 183, 887 
S. Soucek, Princeton, New Jersey. 173, 183, 236, 

309, 403, 571, 892 
M. Souissi, University of Tunis. 728 
J.-F. Staszak, University of Paris. 87 
K.A. Steenbrink, University of Leiden. 295 
J. Stewart-Robinson, University of Michigan, Ann 

Arbor. 991 
A.J. Stockwell, University of London. 276 
W. Stoetzer, University of Leiden. 421, 585 
[M. Streck]. 51 
Jacqueline Sublet, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Paris. 56 
Viviane Sukanda-Tessier, Ecole francais d'Extreme 

Orient, Djakarta. 154 
M. Talbi, University of Tunis. 466, 640, 688, 689, 

1. Talbot, Coventry Polytechnic. 255 

Gonul Alpay Tekin, Harvard University. 214, 359, 

544, 549 
D. Thomas, Selly Oaks Colleges, Birmingham. 981 
J. Tolan, Stanford University. 302 
Tevfik ROstu Topuzoglu, University of Istanbul. 3 
R. Traini, University of Rome. 613 
J.-L. Triaud, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences 

Sociales, Paris. 1049 
J.F. Troin, University of Tours. 508 
G. Troupeau, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 

Paris. 121, 344, 349, 384, 696 
C.P. Turner, University of Edinburgh. 751 
M. Ullmann, University of Tubingen. 378, 589 
[V. Vacca, Rome]. 739 
I. Vasary, Ankara. 86 

Odile Verberkmoes, Wijk bij Duurstede. 407 
R. Vernet, Centre National de la Recherche Scien- 
tifique, Paris. 848 
Chantal de La Veronne, Institut National de 

Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris. 726, 985 
J. Vignet-Zunz, Centre National de la Recherche 

Scientifique, Aix-en-Provence. 523 
M.J. Viguera, University of Madrid. 814 
F. Vire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifi- 
que, Paris. 50, 111, 1007, 1023 
F.E. Vogel, Harvard University. 936 
D. Waines, University of Lancaster. 653, 1048 
[J. Walker], 139 

D.J. Wasserstein, Tel Aviv University. 479 
W. Montgomery Watt, University of Edinburgh. 

595, 697, 698 
O. Weintritt, University of Freiburg. 465 
R. Weipert, University of Munich. 401 
A. Welch, University of Victoria. 789 
[A.J. Wensinck, Leiden], 67, 397, 455, 459, 687, 

765, 1056 
[E. Wiedemann, Erlangen]. 842 
J.C. Wilkinson, University of Oxford. 993 
A. Wink, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 287, 

301, 342, 572 
J.J. Witkam, University of Leiden. 153, 410 
[F. Wittek, London]. 16 

R. Wixman, University of Oregon, Eugene. 643 
M. Woidich, University of Amsterdam. 867 
Christine Woodhead, University of Durham. 7, 8, 

164, 291, 441, 594, 641, 652 
O. Wright, University of London. 853 
M.E. Yapp, University of London. 283 
[G. Yver, Algiers]. 685 

E.A. Zachariadou, University of Crete. 177, 195 
Mohsen Zakeri, University of Frankfurt. 840, 985 
[K.V. Zettersteen, Uppsala]. 119, 239, 356, 368, 

E.J. Zurcher, University of Nijmegen. 66, 486, 669, 

A. Zysow, University of Washington, Seattle. 425, 


), Das Reich des Mahdi. Da Aufsteig der Fatimiden (875-973), Munich 


P. 736 b , IBNBATTUTA, addtoBibi: H.A.R. Gibb (tr.), Thetravels, iii, Cambridge 1971; R.E. Dunn, The 
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in Centaurus, xxviii ( 1 985), 1 - 1 6; J. Carandell, An analemmafor the determination of the azimuth of the Qibla 
in the Risala ff c ilm al-zilal of Ibn al-Raqqdm, in ZGAIW, i (1984), 61-72; Takanori Suzuki, A solution 
of the Qibla-problem by Abu 'l-Qasim Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Ghandajani, in ibid., iv (1987-8), 139-48; 
King, The earliest Islamic methods and tables for finding the direction of Mecca, in ibid., iii (1986), 82-146, 
repr. in idem, Astronomy in the service of Islam (see above), no. XIV; J. Samso and H. Mielgo, Ibn 
Ishtiq al-Tunisi and Ibn Mu'-adh al-Jayyani on the Qibla, in Samso, Islamic astronomy and Medieval Spain, 
AJdershot 1994, no. VI; J. P. Hogendijk, The Qibla-table in the Ashraff ZIj, in Anton von Gotstedter 
(ed.), Ad radices - Festband zum 50jahrigen Bestehen des Instituts fir Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften Frank- 
furt am Main, Stuttgart 1994; and Ahmed Dallal, Ibn al-Haytham's universal solution for finding the direc- 
tion of the Qibla, in Arabic Science and Philosophy, forthcoming. 

P. 231 b , KITABAT. 9. Iran and Transoxania, add to Bibl. : Sheila S. Blair, The monumental inscriptions from 
early Islamic Iran and Transoxania (Studies in Islamic art and architecture, supplements to Muqarnas, 
v), Leiden 1992. 

P. 807 a , LUGHZ, add to Bibliography, Shams Anwari-Alhosseyni, Logaz und Mo'amma. Eine Quellenstudie zur 
Kunstform des persischen Rdtsels, Berlin 1986. 


P. 750 a , MASRAH 1 . In the Arab East, add to Bibl. : S. Moreh, Live theatre and dramatic literature in the medieval 
Arabic world, Edinburgh 1992. 


P. 793 a , MU'TAZILA, 1. 28, omit and is in the form of a simple outline of what the author expects to deve- 
lop, and eventually correct, in his Geschichte der fruhen islamischen Theologie. 

P. 816 b , al-MUZAFFAR, 1. 20, for 292-4, 309-30, read 202-4, 209-30. 

P. 913 a , NAHW, 11. 3-4, for which has become the technical term used to denote "grammar", read which 
has become the technical term used to denote "grammar" in general (to be contrasted with lugha 
"lexical studies"), and more specifically, "syntax" (which is the counterpart of farf or tasrif "mor- 
phology" (so that for "grammar" one also finds the phrase nahw wa-sarf). 

P. 913 b , 1. 16, for relativeness, read relativity (i.e. subordination of clauses) 

1. 43, for Greek grammar and logic, read Greek grammar and logic, and, especially, rhetorical edu- 

P. 914 a , 1. 31, for flexional, read inflectional. 

I. 22 from below, for in the c Abbasid capital, read in the c Abbasid capital, which remained the domi- 
nant theory ever after. 

P. 914 b , 1. 1 1 , for philology, read lexicology 

II. 17-18, replace the Persian., by the Persian al-Djurdjam (d. 471/1078, [q.v. in Suppl.]), 
author, among other works, of the K. al '■Awamil al-mPa 

P. 91 5 a , addtoBibi: G. Bohas, J.-P. Guillaume, D.E. Kouloughli, The Arabic linguistic tradition, London and 
New York 1990; M. Carter, Arab linguistics. An introductory classical text with translation and notes, 
Amsterdam 1981 (ed. and tr. of Muljammad al-SJiirbinl al-Khatib, Nur al-sadjjya fl hall alfaz al- 
Adjurrumiyya); G. Bohas and J.-P. Guillaume, Etude des theories des grammairiens arabes. I. Morphologic 
et phonologic, Damascus 1984; J. Owens, The foundations of grammar. An introduction to medieval Arabic 
grammatical theory, Amsterdam and Philadelphia 1988; idem, Early Arabic grammatical theory: heterogeneity 
and standardization, Amsterdam and Philadelphia 1990. See also special issues of the following jour- 
nals: Arabica, xxviii (1981) (Etudes de linguistique arabe); Historiographia Linguistica, viii (1981) (The 
History of Linguistics in the Near East). For the proceedings of the Symposia on the History of Arabic 
Grammar, see; Zeitschrift fur Arabische Linguistik, xv (1985) (Proceedings of the First Symposium on the 
History of Arabic Grammar, held at Nijmegen, 16-19 April 1984); K. Versteegh and M. Carter (eds.), 
Studies in the history of Arabic grammar. II. Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on the History of Arabic Grammar, 
Nijmegen, 27 April- 1 May 1987, Amsterdam 1990; The Arabist. Budapest Studies in Arabic, 3-4 (1991) 
(Proceedings of the Colloquium on Arabic Grammar, Budapest, 1-7 September 1991). On basic terms and 
methods, see G. Weil, Zum Verstandnis der Melhode der moslemischen Grammatiker, in Festschrift Eduard 
Sachau, Berlin 1915, 380-92; C.H.M. Versteegh, The Arabic terminology of syntactic position, in Arabica, 
xxv (1978), 261-81; idem, The origin of the term "qiyds" in Arabic grammar, in ZAL, iv (1980), 7-30. 
For a bibliographical survey, see Werner Diem, Sekundarliteratur zur einheimischen arabischen Grammatik- 
schreibung, in Historiographia Linguistica, viii (1981), 431-86, continued by Versteegh in ZAL, x (1983), 
xi (1983), xii (1984), xiv (1985), and xvi (1987). 


n the Arab West na: 

bahar is the term for "narcissus" (see H. Peres, La Poesie andal 

P. 964", add to Bibl. : W. Heinrichs, Rose versus narcissus. Observations on an A 

and dialogues in the ancient and mediaeval Near East, ed. G.J. Reinink 

1991, 179-98. 
P. 977 a , NASHWAN b. SA'ID, add to Bibl.: lsma'il b. C A1I al-Akwa c , Naschwdn Ibn SaHd al-Himyari und die 

geistigen, religibsen und politischen Auseinandersetzungen seines Epoche, in Werner Daum (ed.), Jemen, 

Innsbruck and Frankfurt/Main 1987, 205-16 (English ed. 1988). 
P. 996 b , al-NASIR LI-DIN ALLAH, Ahmad Abu l'-Hasan, add to Bibl. : W. Madelung, Der Imam al-Qasim 

ibn Ibrahim und die Glaubenslehre der Zaiditen , Berlin 1965 (on al-Nasir li-DIn Allah's life and teachings); 

his theological work published by idem, Kitab al-Najdt. Streilschrijt des Zaiditenimams Ahmad an-Nasir 

wider die ibaditische Prddestinationslehre, Wiesbaden, 1985; and his biography published by idem, The 

Sfra of Imam Ahmad b. Yahyd al-Nasir li-Din Allah from Musallam al-Lahji's Kitab Akhbar al-Zaydiyya 

bi 1-Yaman, Exeter 1990. See also for al-Nasir's father, al-hadI ila 'l-hakk in Suppl. 
P. 1027, NASRIDS, in genealogical table, /or the date of Muhammad XI (el Chiquito), read (1451-2/1453-5). 
P. 1027 a , 1. 7 from below, for 949/1533-4, read 940/1533-4. 


P. 81 a , NIZAMI GANDJAWI, add to Bibl. : J.C. Burgel, Die Geschichle von Kdnig Bahram Gor und seinem Skla- 
venmddchen, in Bustan, viii/2 (1967), 26-35; idem, Nizami iiber Sprache undDichtung, in Islamwissenschafl- 
licheStudien Fritz Meier zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, ed. R. Gramlich, Wiesbaden 1974, 9-28; G. Krot- 
koff, Colour and number in the Haft Paykar, in R.M. Savory and D. Agius (eds.), Logos islamikos, studia 
islamica in honorem Georgii Michaelis Wickens, Toronto 1984, 97-118; J.S. Meisami, Medieval Persian 
court poetry, Princeton 1987, chs. iii-v, vii; eadem, Allegorical gardens in the Persian poetical tradition: 
Nezami, Rumi, Hafez, in IJMES, xvii (1985), 229-60; eadem, Kings and lovers: the ethical dimension of 
Persian courtly romance, in Edebiy at, N.S. i ( 1987), 1-27; eadem, The Grand Design: medieval Persian poetic 
microcosms, in Procs. 12th Internal. Comparative Lit. Assoc. Congress, Munich 1988', Munich 1990, iii, 438- 
63; eadem, Fitnah or azadah? Nizami's ethical poetic, in Edebiyat, N.S. i/2 (1988), 41-75; eadem, The 
theme of the journey inNizami's Haft Paikar., forthcoming in Festschrift for Prof. George Krotkoff, 1994. 

P. 84 a , NIZARI KUHISTANI, add to Bibl.: M. Musaffa (ed.), Diwdn, i, Tehran 1371 sh./1992 (contains 
also the Dastur-nama); C. Gh. BayburdI, Zindagt wa dthir-i Niziri, transl. by M. Sadrl, Tehran 1370 

P. 1 72 a , OMER SEYFEDDIN, add to Bibl. : Kemal H. Karpat, The reflection of the Young Turk era (1908-1918), 
in The literary work of Omer Seyfeddin (1884-1920), in C.E. Bosworth el al. (eds.), The Islamic world. 
Essays in honor of Bernard Lewis, Princeton 1989, 551-75. 

P. 378 b , RADJAZ, Section 4, instead of the headline As a term of non-metrical poetry read As a term deno- 
ting line structure. , ,.. 

P.422 a , RAMAL, 1. 8 should read: the alternative form of (3/2) J J J J which was con-. 

P. 428 a , RAMZ, 1. 23, for allegories, read allegoreses. 
1. 57, for signal, read sigla. 

P. 461 b , AL-RAWANDIYYA, 1. 12, for the imamate was no longer believed to have started with C A1T rather 
than with al- c Abbas, read the imamate was no longer believed to have started with c Alr but rather 
with al- c Abbas, ^... 

P. 683 b , SABK-I HINDI. Delete comma in heading. 


P. 150 a , BOLUKBASHI, RmA Tewfik, add to Bibl. : Tahir Alangu, 100 iinlu Turk eseri, Istanbul 1960; Seyit 
Kemal Karaalioglu, Turk edebiyati tarihi, iii, Istanbul 1985; Yusuf Ziya Ortac, Sir varmis bir biryokmus 
portreler, Istanbul 1960; Mahir Unlu and Omer Ozcan, 20. yiizyil Turk edebiyati, Istanbul 1987. 



NEDIM, Ahmed, an Ottoman poet, born in 
Istanbul, the son of a judge named Mehmed Bey who 
had come from Merzifun. His grandfather (according 
to Gibb, HOP, iv, 30) was a military judge named 
Mustafa. Ahmed Refik mentions as his great- 
grandfather If ara-Celebi-zade [q.v.] Mahmud Efendi, 
who also was a military judge. The genealogy given 
by Ahmed Refik is, however, wrong because he con- 
fuses KaramanI Mehmed Pasha [q.v.] with Rum 
Mehmed Pasha. The statement that Ahmed Nedim is 
descended from Djelal al-DIn is therefore simply the 
result of confusion. Little is known of his life. He was 
a miiderris, later on intimate terms with Ahmed III and 
his grand vizier Damad Ibrahim Pasha [see al- 
damad]. He probably got his lakab Nedim from this 
friendship. Latterly he held the office of librarian in 
the library founded by his patron Damad Ibrahim 
Pasha. On hearing of the end of Ibrahim Pasha and 
the deposition of the sultan, Nadlm lost his life at the 
beginning of Rabl< I 1143/October 1730 in a horrible 
way; while escaping from the mob leaving the grand- 
vizier's palace he fell from the roof and was killed. He 
was buried in Ayas Pasha in Pera beside the historian 
Findiklili Silahdar Mehmed Agha [q.v.]. 

Ahmed Nedim is regarded as one of the greatest of 
Ottoman poets, one who is still appreciated for his 
pure language, free from foreign additions. Many 
literary historians have discussed his merits as a poet 
(cf. the specimens collected by Gibb, HOP, iv, 30 ff.). 
His collected poems (Diwan; printed Bulak, n.d.; a 
critical edition with introductions by Ahmed Refik 
Bey and Mehmed Fu'ad Bey appeared in 1338-40 in 
Istanbul; the most recent critical edition is that of 
Abdiilbaki Golpinarh, Nedim divam, Istanbul 1951, 
2nd ed. Istanbul 1972; there are manuscripts of the 
Diwan in Europe in Munich, London and Vienna) 
enjoys greati popularity. Nedim translated into 
Turkish the history of Mune djdj im-bashi [q.v.] 
Ahmed Efendi (cf. F. Babinger, GOW, 234-5; cf. 
thereon JA ser. 7, xiii, 272); he was also one of the 
Turkish translators of c Ayni's history (cf. Babinger, 
GOW, 259 ff.; the edict relating to this in Ahmed 
Refik, Hicri on ikinci astrda Istanbul hayatt, 1100-1200, 
Istanbul 1930, 85-5) but the manuscript seems to be 

Bibliography: Ahmed Refik's preface to his edi- 
tion of the Diwan; Sidpll-i 'othmani, iv, 549 (very 
superficial; here his grandfather is said to have been 
a certain §adr Muslih al-Din and his father the judge 
Mehmed); Bursal? Mehmed Tahir, '■Othmdnli 
muWlifleri, ii, 453-4; J. von Hammer-Purgstall, 
GOD, iv, 310 ff. (who does not appreciate him 
highly); Gibb, HOP, iv, 30; A. Bombaci, Storia della 
letteratura turca, Milan 1956, 385-8; PTF, ii, 

Wiesbaden 1964, 448; Fahir lz, Eski tiirk edebiyatmda 
nazim, Istanbul 1966-7, i, 92-107, 400-5, 442, 467- 
8, 521, ii, 530; W.G. Andrews, Introduction to 
Ottoman poetry, Minneapolis 1976, index; idem, 
Poetry 's voice, society 's song, Ottoman lyric poetry, Seattle 
1985, index; L. Miller, Ottoman Turkish writers, a 
bibliographical dictionary of significant figures in pre- 
Republican Turkish literature, New York etc. 1988, 
105-7 (lists many relevant works in Turkish); 
Ahmet Evin, Nedim, poet of the Tulip Age, University 
Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Mich. 1988; IA art. Nedim, 
Ahmed (Fevziye Abdullah Tansel). 

(F. Babinger*) 
NEdATI BEY, properly c Isa (Nuh, also given, is 
not certain), the first great Turkish lyric poet of 
the pre-classical period, one of the founders of the 
classical Ottoman poetry. Born in Edirne (Amasia 
and Kasfamuni are also given), the son of a slave, 
obviously a Christian prisoner of war for which reason 
he is called c Abd Allah, the name given to converts, 
he was adopted by a well-to-do lady of Edirne, 
received a good education and was trained by the poet 
Sa'ill. In spite of the fact that his non-Turkish origin 
was generally known, he was regarded as their equal 
in every way by the Turks in keeping with their 
democratic ideas. He came to Kasfamuni early and 
there began his poetic career, soon gaining a great 
reputation. His poems are said here and there to bear 
traces of the Kasfamuni dialect. Coming to Istanbul, 
he at once gained the favour of Sultan Mehemmed II 
by a kasida on winter; in 886/1481 he celebrated the 
accession of Bayezld II in a kasida and was rewarded 
by an appointment as secretary in the Diwan. He 
gained such favour with the Sultan that he was 
appointed secretary to his eldest son c Abd Allah and 
was given the title of bey when the prince went to 
Karaman as governor (mutesarrif). After the prince's 
early death (888/1483), NedjatI returned to the capital 
with an elegy on the death of the prince which showed 
deep emotion. After a long interval in which he wrote 
a great deal but was in continual need, through the 
influence of Mu'ayyad-zade [q.v.] he became nishandjt 
[q.v.] to Bayezld's younger son Mahmud when the 
latter went to $arukhan in 910/1504. NedjatI wrote his 
finest verse while on the staff of this prince; this was 
the happiest period of his life. Mahmud also died 
prematurely in 913/1507 in Manisa, the capital of 
Sarukhan, and NedjatI again lost his patron. He 
returned with a beautiful elegy to Istanbul and finally 
retired from the service of the court on a modest pen- 
sion. He took a house on the Wefa Meydanf, where 
many friends gathered round him, especially his 
pupils, the poet and tedhkeredji Edirneli Sehi and the 
poet Sun c I. NedjatI died on 25 Dhu '1-Ka<da 914/17 


March 1509. He was buried near his own house, at 
the monastery of Sheykh Wefa and a tombstone was 
put up by Sehl for him. 

He left a Diwdn which he had collected on the 
advice of Mu'ayyad-zade and dedicated to prince 
Mahmud. There is also attributed to him a methnewi, 
which is not otherwise known, entitled Mundzara-yi 
Gul u ghpsrew, also quoted as Layla u Medjnun and Mihr 
u Mdh. Even more uncertain seems to be the existence 
of the methnewi mentioned by Sehl, Giilu Saba. Nedjatl 
is also mentioned as a translator of Persian works, but 
his pupil Sehl says nothing of this. He is said to have 
translated for prince Mahmud the Kimiyd-yi se'ddet of 
al-Qhazall (the Persian version of the Arabic Ihyd*) 
and the DJdmi c al-hikdydt (properly Djawdmi' al-hikdydt 
wa-lawdmi c al-riwdydt) from the Persian of Djamal al- 
Din al- c Awff. 

His Diwdn, of which there are 21 mss. in Istanbul 
libraries has been edited by Ali Nihad Tarlan, Necati 
Bey divam, Istanbul 1963, and gives NedjatT a very 
prominent place in Ottoman literature; the Diwdn was 
regarded as a model for all Ottoman poets. NedjatT, 
whom Idrls BidllsT in his Hasht bihisht calls Khosrew-i 
Shu'-ard^-i Rum and others Malik al-Shu'-ard'' and Tusi-yi 
Rum (i.e. the Firdawsl of Anatolia), was regarded as 
the best poet of Rum. He does not, it is true, reach 
the heights of Neslml, but he surpasses all his 
predecessors, of whom Ahmed Pasha and DhatI were 
the greatest, in originality and creative power. Only 
Baki and Fuduli have surpassed him. The problem to 
be solved by Ahmed Pasha, NedjatT and DhatI was to 
incorporate completely into Turkish the matter bor- 
rowed and translated from Persian literature, which 
was still felt to be foreign, to adapt Turkish to Perso- 
Arabic metres and to domesticate fully the Arabic and 
Persian vocabulary. This was a great achievement for 
the time. NedjatT brought about a great change in the 
literature as regards outlook, feeling and language. In 
him the age of Sultan Bayezld is most clearly 
reflected. Although he is not to be claimed as a very 
great poet, he was the king of the gild of poets of his 
time, who started a great literary movement. NedjatT 
combined a thorough knowledge of Persian with a 
masterly command of Turkish. In the number of his 
ghazels he far surpasses Baki. His work as a poet of 
kasidas was original and stimulating. He was specially 
celebrated for his skill in the use of the proverb. 

Bibliography: Hadjdji Khalifa, ed. Fliigel, ii, 
511, iii, 317, v, 285, 347; Latlfi, Tedhkere, Istanbul 
1314, 325-30; Sehl, Hesht bihisht, 1325, 75-7; Sidjill-i 
'othmdni, iv, 541; Bursal! Mehmed Tahir, 'Othmdnlf 
muMlifleri, ii, 435; F. Resjiad, TaMkh-i Edebiyydt-i 
c o(hmdniyye, i, 188-200; idem, Terddjim-i ahwdl-i 
meshdhir, Istanbul 1313, 3-16; Ibrahim Nedjml, 
Ta'rikh-i edebiyyat dersleri, Istanbul 1338, i, 69-73; 
Shihab al-DIn Siileyman, Ta^rikh-i edebiyydt-i 
c othmdniyye, 1328, 52-8; Kopriiliizade Mehmed 
Fu'ad and Shihab al-DIn Siileyman, 'Othmdnli 
ta'rikh-i edebiyydti, 1332, 243-47; Mu'allim NadjI, 
Esdmi, 1308, 317; Von Hammer, GOD, i, 162-78; 
Gibb, HOP, ii, 93-122; Smirnov, Oc'erk istorii 
Turtskoi literaturi, St. Petersburg 1891, 476; idem, 
Obrazotsoviya proizvedeniya Osmanskoi literaturi, St. 
Petersburg 1903, 445-8; Rieu, Catalogue, London 
1888, 171a; Fliigel, Katalog, i, 624; Basmadjian, 
Essai sur I'hisloire de la lilteralure lurque, Constantino- 
ple 1910, 44-5; PTF, ii, Wiesbaden 1964, 429-30; 
A. Bombaci, La letteratura turca, Florence 1969, 325- 
8; M. Cavusoglu, Necati divam'nin tahlili, Istanbul 
1971; W.G. Andrews, Poetry's voice, society's song, 
Seatde and London 1985, 84-5; IA, art. Necati Bey 
(Fevziye Abdullah Tansel). (Th. Menzel*) 

NEFES (t., from Ar. nafas "breath"), the name 
given to the Turkish folk religious poetry of the 
Bektasjil Sufi order and other c AlawI, Sh^I or S_hI c I- 
tinged groups, often performed with a certain makdm 
[q.v.] or melodic musical line. 

Legends on the origin of the nefes connect Hadjdji 
Bektash [see bektashiyya] with the early 8th/14th 
century popular mystical poet Yunus Emre [q.v], 
recounting that the reluctant Yunus eventually 
received the nefes or inspiration of the saint, and 
poured forth hymns on the theme of divine love which 
themselves became known as nefesler "breaths". The 
nefes also expresses strongly love for the Prophet 
Muhammad, for C A1I and for the Ahl al-Bayt [q.v.] in 
general, and it came to be particularly, though not 
exclusively, identified with the BektashI order. It (and 
the similar ildhi "divine [hymn]", which had slightly 
less of a folk character) was often performed to the 
accompaniment of the sdz, a stringed instrument, by 
the so-called sdz shdHrleri or '■dstiklar [see 'ashI*]. 

Only a few nefesler were composed in the classical 
'■arid [q. v. ] metre, and the vast majority are in hedje or 
syllabic metre, usually of 1 1 syllables divided 6-5 with 
one caesura or of 7 or 5 syllables with no caesura. 
They thus form part of the general body of Turkish 
folk poetry called koshma [q.v.] or tiirkii, often sung to 
a free musical accompaniment. 

Most of the writers of the considerable corpus of 
nefesler which has come down to us are anonymous, 
probably reflecting the secrecy with which the 
Bektashls veiled their rituals; the words of a nefes 
might be written down but not generally made public, 
and almost none of the musical accompaniments was 
ever recorded in any kind of notation. We do, how- 
ever, have some poems after Yunus Emre's time 
associated with such famous figures as Kayghusuz 
Abdal (d. 818/1415 [q.v.]), and the nefesler of £hata'I 
(i.e. the Safawid Shah Isma c n [q.v.]) are still sung by 
the Bektashls today; and by the 19th century, the 
names of several BektashI sdz shdHrleri are known, 
such as Seyranl(d. 1866), Turabl(d. 1868), Dertli (d. 
1874), Mir'ati (flor. in the 19th century) and Hilml 
Dede Baba (d. 1907). The famous poet and philoso- 
pher Rida Tewfik (d. 1949) [see bolukbashI rida 
tewfik, in Suppl.] also wrote several highly valued 
poems in the genre. 

Bibliography: F.W. Hasluck, Bektafilik tetkikleri, 
tr. Ragib Hulusi, Istanbul 1928; Yusuf Ziya, 
Anadoluda Alevi itikadlan, in Hayat Mecmuasi, no. 58 
(Istanbul 1928), 105-6; Hasluck, Christianity and 
Islam under the sultans, Oxford 1929, i, 139-66; S.N. 
Ergun, Bektafi fairleri, Istanbul 1930; Turk musikisi 
klasiklerinden Bektafi nefesleri, in Istanbul Belediye 
Konservatuart nefriyati, iv-v (Istanbul 1933); J.K. 
Birge, The Bektashi order of dervishes, London- 
Hartford 1937, 53-5, 81, 89 ff., 93-5, 150-241; 
V.L. Salci, Gizli Turk musikisi ve Turk musikisinde 
armoni meseleleri, Istanbul 1940; idem, Kizilbaf fairleri 
I-X, in Hoik Bilgisi Haberleri, nos. 102-7 (Istanbul 
1940-1); idem, Gizli Turk dini oyunlan, Istanbul 
1941 ; M.E. Bese, Anadolu Bektafi koylerinde muharrem 
ayini, in Halk Bilgisi Haberleri, no. 115 (Istanbul 
1941), 158-60; Ergun, Turk musikisi antolojisi, Istan- 
bul 1942; H.B. Yonetken, Bektafilerde miizik ve oyun, 
in Ulku Gazetesi (December, Sivas 1945), 4; Salci, 
Gizli halk musikisi, in Ulku Halkevleri ve Halk Odalari 
Dergisi, xi (Ankara, April 1948), 113-23; Ergun, 
Bektafi fairleri ve nefesleri I-II [up to the 19th century], 
Ankara 1955; idem, Bektafi-Kizilbaf-Alevi fairleri ve 
nefesleri III [since thel9th century], Ankara 1956; T. 
Oytan, Bektafiligin icyiizii, Istanbul 1962; Yonetken, 
Sirac ve nalci Alevilerinde samah, in Turk Folklor Arastir- 


malan, vii (Istanbul 1962), 2909-11; A. Golpinarli, 
Alevi-Bektasi nefesleri, Istanbul 1963; B. Noyan, 
Bektasilikte musiki, in Musiki ve nota, Istanbul 1970-1; 
Golpinarli, Turk lasavvuf siiri antolojisi, Milliyet 
Yayinlan, Istanbul 1972; P.N. Boratav, in PTF, ii, 
29-47, 92; C. Sunar, Meldmilik ve Bektasilik, Ankara 
1975; N. Birdogan, Samahlar, in Folklor ve Etnografya 
Arastirmalan Ytlligi (Istanbul 1984), 31-51; T. Koca 
and Z. Onaran, Guldeste, nefesler-ezgiler, Ankara 
1987; N. Ozcan, Beklasi musikisi, in Turkiye Diyanet 
Ansiklopedisi, v, Istanbul 1992, 371-2; A.Y. Ocak, 
Bektasilik, in ibid., 373-9. 

(Tevfik ROstu Topuzoglu) 
NEF C I (980-1044/1572-1635), the greatest 
satirist of the Ottomans. c 6mer Efendi, whose 
nom-de-plume (makhlas) was NeFl, came from the 
village of Hasan Kal c a near Erzerum (eastern 
Anatolia). Not much is known of his early life. He 
spent his early years in Erzerum where the historian 
C A1I [q.o.], who was a defterddr there, became 
acquainted with him. During the reign of Ahmed I, 
fate brought him to the capital Istanbul where he 
worked for a time as a book-keeper. He failed in an 
attempt to gain the sultan's favour or that of his son, 
the unfortunate c Othman II, with some brilliant 
kasidas. It was not till the reign of Murad IV that he 
gained the imperial favour, but his malicious, sar- 
castic and indecent poems soon brought him into 
disgrace. He was appointed to the office concerned 
with the levying and collection of the djizya \q.v.\, and 
later again became a member of the sultan's circle. 
His irresistible impulse to make all the notables of the 
empire the butt of his mockery made him a host of 
enemies. A satire on Bayram Pasha, the sultan's 
brother-in-law and vizier, who had succeeded in being 
recalled from banishment and again attaining influ- 
ence, cost him his life. The mufti gave his sanction to 
the execution of the great poet. With the sultan's con- 
sent he was shut up in the wood-cellar of the Imperial 
Palace, then strangled and his body thrown into the 
sea. The year of his death was Sha c ban 1 044/February 
1635, not 1045 as Hadjdji Khalifa, Fedhleke, ii, 183, 
wrongly says (cf. on the other hand his Kashfal-zunun, 
iii, 318, 631, where the correct date is given). 

NeFT wrote Turkish and Persian with equal ease. 
His mastery of technique and natural poetical talent 
make him one of the greatest Ottoman poets; he is 
also undoubtedly one of the greatest, although 
hitherto little-known satirists. The reason why he is so 
little known is that a scholarly edition with full annota- 
tions of his Turkish Diwan entitled "Arrows of Fate", 
Sihdm-i kadi', has so far never been undertaken, so 
that at the present day hardly any one is able to under- 
stand the countless allusions to particular cir- 
cumstances and the veiled attacks on the individuals 
dealt with. The publication of his poems demands a 
knowledge of the conditions of his period, and partic- 
ularly of life at court, which it is hardly possible to 
attain and which it would be very difficult to gather 
from the existing sources. Many of his flashes of wit 
and allusions are very difficult to understand. Many 
of his poems are distinguished by an obscenity which 
can hardly be surpassed and, however great may be 
their importance for the social history of his time, they 
are of little value as evidence of his poetic gifts. The 
"Arrows of Fate" are directed against almost every 
one prominent in politics and society in his time. In 
GOD, iii, 241 , J. von Hammer has compiled a list of 
them. Some of his poems which pillory existing 
institutions, like the popular saints, the Kalender der- 
vishes [see kalandariyya] etc., are of value for social 
history. Hardly one important contemporary was able 
to escape his scorn and ridicule. They were all made 

targets for his "Arrows of Fate" without mercy. He 
attacked the theologians ('ulemd 7 ) particularly unspar- 
ingly. NeFi's Turkish Diwan has been several times 
printed: two parts at Bulak in 1253, and in 1269 at 
Istanbul. Selections (with ample evidence of c Abd al- 
Hamld's censorship!) were published by Abu '1-Diya 5 
Tewffk in 1311 at Istanbul. There are mss. in Euro- 
pean collections in London, Leiden and Vienna. A 
short Sdki-ndme by Nefl is mentioned in the catalogue 
of mss. of the Leipzig council library by H.L. 
Fleischer (p. 547 b ). His Persian diwan, not yet 
printed in its entirety, exists in several mss.; a Turkish 
translation, based on four mss. has been made by Ali 
Nihad Tarlan, Nef'i'ninjarsca divdnt tercumesi, Istanbul 
1944. A collection of munshe^dt is attributed to him, 
though it is dubious whether this was ever an indepen- 
dent collection. 

On the circumstances of his death, see al-Muhibbi, 
Muldsat al-athar, Cairo 1284/1867-8, iii, 228-9; 
Fara 3 idl-zada, TaMkh-i gulshen-i ma'-arif, i, Istanbul 
1252, 668; and Na'Ima, TaMkh, ii, 489. 

Bibliography: In addition to the sources men- 
tioned, see also Gibb, Ottoman poems , 208, and HOP, 
iii, 252 ff.; the history of Na'ima, i, 586, and Bur- 
salf Mehmed Tahir, 'Othmdnli muMlifleri, ii, 441 
(according to which parts of his Persian Diwan were 
published in the Khazine-yi Fiinun); A. Karahan, 
Nefi, Istanbul 1954; A. Bombaci, La letteratura tuna, 
Florence 1969, 370-3; Karahan, Nefi divamnda 
secmeler, Ankara 1985, Istanbul 1986; M. 
Cavusoglu, Olumunun ucyuzellinci yihnda Nefi, 
Ankara 1987; IA, art. s.v. (Abdulkadir Karahan). 
Examples of Nefl's poems are given in Fahir iz, 
Eski turk edebiyatinda nazim, Istanbul 1966-7, i, 17- 
19, 70-86, 120-4, 519, 528-9. (F. Babinger) 
NEFIR (a.), a term alluding in Ottoman usage to 
a musical instrument similar to a horn that comprised 
a part of the Ottoman band [see mehter]. The person 
playing the instrument was referred to as nefiri, and, 
according to the 1755 and 1776 Ottoman salary 
registers, there were twelve such players in the 
sultan's band of approximately sixty members. This 
band, and similar ones like it belonging to high-level 
Ottoman officials, travelled with their owners 
wherever they went, and normally played during the 
day before three prayers, sc. the afternoon one, the 
one two hours after sunset, and then the one in the 
morning. They also performed during ceremonial 
events such as upon a sultan's accession, or during 
celebrations such as upon the arrival of the news of an 
Ottoman campaign victory. 

The term, in its military usage, alludes to a body of 
men assembled for a common purpose. The Ottoman 
practice of the recruitment of volunteers by a general 
call to arms, referred to as nefir-i c dmm, was resorted 
to on the declaration of war against Russia in 1769 by 
Mustafa III. He took such a measure because of his 
reluctance to rely on the ill-trained and financially 
demanding Janissaries. Nefir-i khdss, on the other 
hand, referred to the mobilisation of only a certain 
well-defined group of people. 

Bibliography: For the musical usage, see Rasjiid 
Mehmed Pasha, Tdrikh-i Rdstid, Istanbul 1865, iii, 
70, 82; M. D'Ohsson Tableau general de I'Empire 
ottoman, Paris 1791, vii, part 6; I.H. Uzuncarsrii, 
Osmanlt devletinin saray teskilati, Ankara 1984, 150, 
273, 275, 277, 449; idem, Osmanlt devletinin merkez ve 
bahriye teskilati, Ankara 1984, 208. For the military 
usage: Gibb-Bowen, i/1, 194; Baron de Tott, 
Memoires sur les Tuns et les Talares, Amsterdam 1784, 
iii, 4-5; M. Zeki Pakalin, Osmanh tarih deyimleri ve 
terimleri sbzlugu, Istanbul 1953, 672. 

(F. MCce G69EK) 


NEGEV [see al-nakb]. 

NEMfcE (Nemse; a. al-Nimsa), a term (meaning 
"mute") borrowed from the Slavonic used by the Ot- 
tomans to indicate the Germans. In a broader sense, 
they also used it for the territory of the Holy Roman 
Empire, which lasted until 1806, and in a restricted 
sense for the territories under Habsburg rule within 
the boundaries of modern Austria. 

In more recent Arabic sources, Germany is in- 
dicated by two terms which occur simultaneously: 
Almdniya and Dja rmaeniya. In Ottoman sources 
Al(a)mdn, and occasionally Dje rmdniya. also occur next 
to Nemce, without further differentiation. It was only 
after the foundation of the Austrian Empire in 1804 
that the Ottomans, in the course of the 19th century, 
adopted Almanya and Awusturya (Aghusturya being the 
older form) as different concepts. In Arabic, on the 
other hand, al-Nimsa was accepted as indicating 

Already in the 10th century, al-Mas c udi (Murudj_, 
iii, 63 = § 906) mentions the Namdjfn as a tribe of the 
Slavs. Amongst the travellers and merchants who 
travelled through their territory (Germany), al- 
Mas c udi's contemporary Ibrahim b. Ya c kub [q.v.] 
deserves particular mention, although the name of the 
territory cannot be established from his account. The 
most comprehensive mediaeval source in Arabic con- 
cerning Austria is al-Idrlsi's Nuzhat al-mushldk where 
information about Austrian toponyms is found in the 
various climes and sections. The name al-Nimsa, how- 
ever, does not appear. The only Austrian region 
named specifically is Carinthia (Karantdra), whose ter- 
ritory stretches out over wide parts of Austria, 
Hungary and other adjoining states. Cities in Styria, 
like Graz (Ikrizd), and in Carinthia, like Villach 
(Bildh), are described in greater detail, but Vienna 
(Wiyana) appears only in an itinerary. The rivers 
Danube (Nahr Danu) and Drau (Nahr D-r-wa) are 
given as boundaries of Carinthia, while the Alps 
(Munt Dx-w-z - Mont [Mons] Jovis) are also at- 
tributed to other territories. Al-Idrisl's criterion for 
including Austrian cities in his Geography apparently 
was their significance as trading places. He may have 
been informed by merchants. 

Endeavours to identify an Austrian (Styrian) city 
from Abu '1-Fida's Takwim al-bulddn (Reinaud, 
Geographic d'Aboulfeda, ii/1, 311, quoted after Ibn Sa c Id 
al-Maghribl, cf. Kitab al-Djughrdfiyd, ed. al- c Arabi 
1970, 194) have been unsuccessful. 

Bibliography: P. Engels, Der Reisebericht des 
Ibrahim b. Ya^qub, in Kaiserin Theophanu, ed. A. von 
Euw and P. Schreiner, i, Cologne 1991; H. Eisen- 
stein, Karnten in al-Idrisi's Geographic (1154) in 
WZKM, lxxxiii (1993). (H. Eisenstein) 

2. In Ottoman sources and in Ottoman- 
Habsburg relations. 

The hereditary provinces of the Habsburgs had 
their first contacts with the Ottomans when Carniola, 
Styria and Carinthia were repeatedly attacked by Ot- 
toman incursions. Sultan Bayezid II [qv.] and the 
Emperor Maximilian I having sounded out 
diplomatic relations in 1497, 1504 and 1510-11, Ot- 
tomans and Habsburgs were brought into continuous, 
immediate and hostile contact through the political 
situation in Hungary after the battle of Mohacs [qv.] 
in 1526. Sultan Siileyman I [q.v.] undertook two cam- 
paigns against Habsburg territory, in 1529 against 
Vienna and in 1532 across southern Lower Austria, 
Styria and Carniola. After part of Hungary had been 
put under direct Ottoman rule in 1541 , it was only in 
1547 that Ferdinand I succeeded in concluding a trea- 

ty, which compelled him to pay to the sultan a yearly 
tribute of 30,000 golden ducats. This liability of the 
Habsburgs to paying tribute, interrupted only by war, 
lasted until the treaty of Zsitvatorok in 1606. At the 
beginning, the open state of war was interrupted by 
truce treaties, which were fixed for several years and 
repeatedly renewed and extended. Only in 1747 did 
Habsburg diplomacy succeed in concluding an 
unrestricted treaty (... mesdgh-i sherH oldught vedjhile 
miiddet-i memdude ...). The wars of the 16th and 17th 
centuries found their origin in the conflict of interests 
about political power in Hungary. The unsuccessful 
attack against Vienna in 1683 of Kara Mustafa Pasha 
[q. v. ] was for the Ottomans the climax of a protracted 
war, marked by great losses, which led to losing 
Hungary to the Habsburgs. In the 18th century the 
latter, due to their alliances with Venice and Russia, 
and to their political ambitions on the Balkan Penin- 
sula, became involved in three further wars with the 
Ottoman Empire. 

After 1547 the Habsburgs continuously kept am- 
bassadors at the Porte and, during the period of 
tribute — but only in times of peace — missions were 
sent yearly to deliver the tribute. After 1606 impor- 
tant embassies used to be sent on specific occasions 
like the ratification of a treaty or the access to the 
throne of a new sultan. At first, the Ottomans sent to 
Vienna cd'ushs [q.v.], dragomans [see tardjuman] and 
the like in emergency cases only; in the 17th century 
they also began to send important missions but only 
for specific purposes. A permanent diplomatic 
representation of the Ottoman Empire in Vienna 
began only in 1797 (with a vacancy between 1823 and 

The Treaties of Vienna of 1615 and of Karlowitz 
[see karlofCa] of 1699 already contained articles on 
reciprocal trade. In 1718 a separate commercial treaty 
was concluded at Passarowitz (Pozarevac) [see 
pasarofCa], in which it was permitted for Habsburg 
subjects freely to establish consulates in the ports and 
on the islands of the Mediterranean, and to organise 
free shipping on the Danube (the Black Sea excepted). 
In the twenties of the 18th century, commercial and 
navigation treaties were also concluded with local 
leaders of the Barbarian states which were part of the 
Ottoman Empire. An agreement of 1783 with the Ot- 
tomans aimed at protecting Habsburg subjects from 
piracy and settling questions of compensation. In the 
commercial treaty of 1784 Habsburg subjects were 
granted the privilege of free commercial navigation on 
the Black Sea, a right given to Russia already a year 

Next to the Habsburg Emperors, the Dutch 
Republic and the Kings of Prussia were the only 
powers within the Holy Roman Empire to maintain 
independent diplomatic relations with the Ottomans 
before the 19th century. During the last war between 
the Ottomans and the Habsburgs (1788-91), Prussia, 
in the Convention of Reichenbach of 1790, forced 
the Emperor Leopold II to renounce any conquest of 
Ottoman territory. 

Apart from the detailed description of the cam- 
paigns of Sultan Suleyman I in 1529 and 1532, of the 
siege of Vienna by Kara Mustafa Pasha in 1683, and 
of the warfare in Hungary and later on in the Balkan 
Peninsula, Ottoman historiography contains, from 
the middle of the 17th century onwards, references to 
the political events in Europe, including the Holy 
Roman Empire. The data, at first sparse and sporadic 
(for instance in Katib Celebi, Muned j d j im-Bashi 
Ahmed, Mustafa Na'Ima, Silahdar Findiklili Mehm- 
ed [q.vv. ]), became increasingly extensive and ac- 



1 the c 

: of the 18th century because 

isified a 

n grew. From the second half of the 17th century 
onwards, the official embassy reports (sejdret-name), 
the travel accounts of those who accompanied the im- 
portant diplomatic missions, and individual treatises 
provided the Ottomans with a detailed and differen- 
tiated picture of the political situation in Europe. 
Among the travel accounts, a particular place is taken 
up by Ewliya Celebi's description of his journey to 
Vienna while in the train of the Ottoman embassy of 
1665. Further information undoubtedly came from 
Ottoman prisoners of war: Hasan Esiri left a descrip- 
tion of the campaign of 1683 against Vienna, and 
c Othman Agha of Temesvar provides us with infor- 
mation about his stay in Styria and in Vienna during 
his captivity. 

Samples of the German language are given by 
Ewliya Celebi, who put together a highly imaginative 
etymology of the term Nemce ( = nem CeA/Hungarian 
nem Cseh "not Czech"). 

Bibliography: See the general works on the 

history of the Ottoman Empire by von Hammer, 

Zinkeisen, Iorga, Uzuncar$ih, Shaw, etc.; Z. 

Abrahamowicz-V. Kopcan-M. Kunt-E. Marosi- 

N. Mocanin-C. Serban-K. Teply, Die Tiirkenkriege 

in der historischen Forschung, Vienna 1983; Die 

Autobiographic des Dolmetschers '■Osman Aga aus 

Temeschwar, ed. R.F. Kreutel, Cambridge 1980; K. 

Beydilli, Bixyiik Friedrich ve Osmanhlar, Istanbul 1985; 

idem, 1790 Osmanli-Prusya ittifakt, Istanbul 1984; L. 

Bittner, Chronologisches Verzeichnis der bsterreichischen 

Staatsvertrdge, i-iv, Vienna 1903-17; Ewliya Celebi, 

Seyahat-name, vii, German tr. of the relevant section 

by R.F. Kreutel, Im Reichedes Goldenen Apfels ..., ed. 

E. Prokosch and K. Teply, Graz-Vienna-Cologne 

1987; Habsburgisch-osmanische Beziehungenl Relations 

Habsbourg-ottomanes ..., ed. A. Tietze, Vienna 1985; 

M. Kohbach, Die diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen 

Osterreich und dem Osmanischen Reich, in Osmanh Aras- 

tirmalan, iv (1984); B. Lewis, The Muslim discovery of 

Europe, New York-London 1982; ED. Petritsch, 

Regesten der osmanischen Dokumente im Osterreichischen 

Staatsarchiv. 1 (1480-1574), Vienna 1991; A.C. 

Schaendlinger. Die osmanisch-habsburgischen 

Beziehungen in der ersten Hdl/te des 16. Jhs., in Osmanh 

Arastirmalan, iv (1984); A.C. Schaendlinger-C. 

Romer, Die Schreiben Suleymdns des Prachtigen an Karl 

V., Ferdinand I. und Maximilian I . aus dem Haus-, Hof- 

und Staatsarchiv zu Wien, Vienna 1983; K. Teply, 

Turkische Sagen und Legenden urn die Kaiserstadt Wien, 

Vienna-Cologne-Graz 1980; F.R. Unat, Osmanh 

sefirleri ve sefaretnameleri, Ankara 1968; A.H. de 

Groot, The Ottoman Empire and the Dutch Republic, 

Leiden-Istanbul 1978. (M. Kohbach) 

NEPAL, a Hindu kingdom with an area of 

147,000 km 2 (80°-88° 15'E, 26° 20'-30° 10'N) 

rising up on the southern edge of the Himalayas 

between the Ganges plain (India) and Tibet (China). 

The southern plain and the central mountains, with a 

sub-tropical climate suitable for rice culture, nourish 

a dense population of Indian origin and who speak 

Indo-Aryan languages: the Hindus of the plain speak 

Hindi, and the Indo-Nepalese of the mountains speak 

the official language, Nepali, a branch of Pahan; they 

dominate tribes speaking Munda and Tibeto- 

Burmese languages [see hind. iii. Languages.]. The 

high valleys shelter a thinly-scattered population of 

Tibetans. The total population was 19,360,000 

according to the 1991 census. It is almost 90% Hindu, 

and Hinduism is the official religion. The main 

religious minorities, whose numbers fluctuate from 

one census to another, are the Buddhists (between 5 
and 10%) and the Muslims (ca. 3%). 

The toponym Nepal, with no known etymology 
(written Naypdl or Nipal, Ju ), is attested from the 
4th century AD in Sanskrit epigraphy, and was 
known to the Muslims of the 5th/ 11th century 
through al-BIruni's India (Eng. tr. Sachau, Alberuni's 
India, London 1910, i, 98); h designated solely the 
valley of Katmandu (Kathmandu). Hindu kings ruled 
there over an ethnically Tibeto-Burmese population, 
the Newar (largely Hindu with a strong Buddhist 
minority) which prospered thanks to trade with India, 
Tibet and China. The valley recognised the 
suzerainty of the Dihll sultan 'Ala 3 al-DIn KhaldjI 
(695-715/1296-1316 [see khaldjis]); it was raided by 
the Bengal sultan Shams al-DIn Ilyas (746-59/1345- 
58) in 750/1349 (L. Petech, Medieval Nepal, Rome 
1958, 103-4, 118-22, 177; Hommage a Sylvain Levi, 
Paris 1964, 23). According to the chronicles, the first 
Muslim merchants coming from Kashmir established 
themselves at Kathmandu under Ratna Malla (1482- 
1512); their presence is attested from the 17th century 
onwards by the Catholic missionaries then established 
in Tibet and Nepal, and, from 1738 onwards by 
official Nepali documents. The remainder of what is 
now modern Nepal was shared out amongst some fifty 
kingdoms; the land of the plain cultivated by the petty 
rulers of the mountains came, in the 14th century, 
under the control of the Dihll Sultans, those of Bengal 
and then the Mughal emperors; these petty rulers, 
like the kings of the Kathmandu valley, paid tribute 
to them in the form of elephants. The population of 
the Nepal plain thus included some Muslims from 
that time; some of these, makers of glass bracelets 
above all, became established in the mountains during 
the 17th century. 

With the decline of the Mughals, whilst the English 
East India Co. secured a foothold in northern India, 
the present Indo-Nepalese dynasty of Gorkha created 
the modern state of Nepal. Prithwi Narayan (1742-74) 
conquered the Kathmandu valley in 1768-9 (despite 
armed intervention by the Nawwab of Bengal and the 
British) and subdued the eastern districts, including 
Sikkim; his successors continued the policy of expan- 
sion towards the west until, in 1814, their lands 
became contiguous with those of the Sikhs. Prithwi 
Narayan secured British recognition and that of the 
puppet Mughal emperor Shah <Alam II (1759-1806) 
in a Jarmdn of 1184/1771 (B. Acarya, Shri 5 bar'a- 
mahdrdajadhiradi Prithwi Narayan Shdh-ko sanksipta 
djiwam, Katmandu 1967, iv, 713-18). Tribute was 
paid from that time onwards to the British until the 
Anglo-Nepalese War of 1814-16 and the treaty of 
1818 which blocked Gorkha expansion and set up the 
frontier between Nepalese and British territories. The 
Ranas, mayors of the palace who directed affairs in 
the country from 1846 to 1951, put relations with 
Britain on a normal footing; they helped them in 
1857-8 to recover Lucknow, but gave refuge to some 
Sh^I nobles from that city. The independence of 
Nepal was recognised in a treaty of 1923. 

The evidence of travellers like Francis Hamilton 
and the British Residents in Nepal like Brian H. 
Hodgson, confirmed by the archives and by legal 
texts, has brought out the religious policy of the new 
dynasty. It strengthened the Hindu character of the 
kingdom. Faithful to the tradition already set forth by 
al-Birun!(o/>. cit. , i, 19-20), it insisted on the impurity 
of Muslims; they were considered as "barbarians" 
(mlec'cha) and severely punished if they caused the 
pollution of Hindus of pure caste. It introduced new 
forbidding them to proselytise (allowed 


until then), as also were forbidden Christian mis- 
sionaries, who were definitively expelled, together 
with their converts. The Muslims were nevertheless 
(apart from a temporary expulsion of Kashmiri 
traders at the end of the 18th century) able to stay, to 
engage in commerce and to enjoy freedom to practise 
their religion. They did not have any personal law of 
their own; in regard to marriage (except for pro- 
hibited degrees), divorce, inheritance and the 
administration of pious foundations, they were always 
subject to Hindu law and answerable to Hindu 
judges. The discriminatory clauses regarding them 
were enshrined in the legal codes of 1854 and 1935; 
they remained in force until the Code of 1963. This 
last abolished the penalties to which Muslims were 
liable for breakages of the caste rules; but despite the 
suppression of the principle of religious discrimination 
in the 1962 Constitution, it retained the prohibition of 
proselytism, and this last was even inserted in the 
Constitution of 1990. 

Meanwhile, with the fall of the Rarias in 1951, the 
land was opened up to modernisation. Censuses and 
ethnological fieldwork allow us to construct an 
ethnology of the Muslims of Nepal. Amounting to 
some 570,000 persons, they are almost all living on 
the plain, where they make up an average of 10% of 
the population there. They are petty traders, artisans 
and peasants; also, some 2,000 petty traders (KashO 
miris and Hindustanis) live in the Kathmandu valley, 
whilst the 10-15,000 manufacturers of bracelets in the 
mountains to the west of Kathmandu live by 
agriculture and the peddling of ornaments. All of 
these originate from the Ganges plain and speak 
dialects of Hindi; stemming mainly from Hindus con- 
verted to Islam, they form a very hierachical society, 
an Islamic version of the Hindu caste system. They 
are almost all Hanafi Sunnls, with a few Twelver 
Shl'Is attested in the plain. The religious life has an 
Indian character and is heavily impregnated with 
Sufism and the cult of saints [see hind. ii. 
Ethnography]. This fidelity to the cult of saints, cur- 
rent in the highest classes, amongst the Kashmiris of 
Kathmandu in particular, is under fire in the more 
popular circles from the reform doctrines (called 
"Wahhabism" by their opponents) of the Deoband 
[q.v.] and of the Ahl-i Hadlth [q.v.] schools introduced 
as far as the mountains by migrant workers who come 
back from the towns of India bearing cheap, edifying 
literature in Urdu; mosques and village Kur'an 
schools have multiplied, and a few scores of Nepalis 
make the ha didj each year. 

The firm and constant policy of the monarchy has 
been to forbid all violence against religious minorities, 
so that, despite the legal discrimination under which 
they live, the Muslims have always felt themselves 
more secure in Nepal than in India. Facing an inter- 
nal opposition more and more active since 1979, the 
monarchy has since then cultivated its Muslim sub- 
jects, whose vote is a valuable support. 

Bibliography: For a general survey of Nepal, see 
M. Gaborieau, Le Nepal et ses populations, Brussels- 
Paris 1978. On the history and position of the 
Muslims there, there are two outstandingly impor- 
tant pieces of evidence: F. Hamilton, An account of 
the kingdom of Nepal, Edinburgh 1819, repr. Delhi 
1971; and B.H. Hodgson, Some account of the system 
of law and police as recognized in the State of Nepal, in 
JRAS, i/2 (1834), 258-79. The general body of 
sources (to be completed by the references given in 
the text of the article) are gathered together, and 
often edited for the first time, in Gaborieau, Recti 
d'un voyageur musulman au Tibet, Paris 1973; idem, 

Minorite's musulmans dans le royaume hindou du Nepal, 
Paris 1977. For the ethnology and political evolu- 
tion of these minorites, see also Gaborieau, Muslim 
minorities in Nepal, in R. Israeli (ed.), The crescent in 
the East Islam in Asia Major, London 1982, 79-101; 
idem, M Brahmanes, ni Ancetres: colporteurs musulmans 
du Nepal, Paris 1992. (M. Gaborieau) 

NERGISI, Nergisi-zade Mehmed Efendi (d. 
1044/1635), pre-eminent Ottoman prose stylist. 

He was born in Sarajevo, probably around 
994/1586, son of the kadi Nergis Ahmed Efendi, and 
completed his education in Istanbul, becoming a pro- 
tege of Kaf-zade Fayd Allah Efendi (d. 1020/1611), 
from whom (and not, as in some accounts, from his 
son Kaf-zade c Abd al-Hayy Fa'idI Efendi) he received 
his muldzemet [q.v.]. He may have served briefly as a 
muderris, but his principal employment was as kadi in 
various posts in Rumeli, mainly in Bosnia. Following 
early appointments (during the period ca. 1022-27/ca. 
1613-18) to Gabela and Caynice, he was invited by 
Kaf-zade Fa'idI, then kadi of Salonica, to act as his 
niHb (early 1028/1619). On Kaf-zade's dismissal in 
early 1029/1620, NergisI again sought a kadilik, and 
was appointed, successively but with intervals, to 
Mostar (1030/1620-1) and shortly afterwards to Yefii 
Pazar, to Elbasan (1034/1624-5), Banjaluka 
(1038/1628-9), and Monastir (1042/1632). In 
1044/1634-5 he was appointed by Murad IV as wak c a- 
niiwis for the Revan campaign, but died at its outset, 
near Gebze on the Gulf of Izmit, as the result of a fall 
from his h 


Though a minor figure as a kadi, NergisI was 
recognised as one of the leading prose writers of his 
day, aided by his friendship with the Kaf-zades and 
with fellow litterateurs such as Weysl and Sheykh al- 
Islam Yahya among others. His principal works fall 
into three groups: 

1. Khamse, printed Bulak 1255/1839 (once in taHik 
script, once in neskh), and Istanbul 1285/1868-9. In 
chronological order of composition, these five works 
are: (i) Qhazawat-i Mesleme (1030/1620-1), a brief 
account (attributed to Ibn al- c ArabI, Muhyi l'-DIn 
[q.v.], but generally considered spurious) of the cam- 
paign of the Umayyad general Maslama b. c Abd al- 
Malik [q. v. ] against the Byzantines and his five sieges 
of Istanbul. The work was translated into French in 
1741 (E. Blochet, Catalogue des manuscrits tuns, Paris, 
1933 ii, 38). (ii) Kanun al-resMd, written 1033/1623-4 
as an accession gift for Murad IV. Initially a transla- 
tion of a 16th-century Persian "mirror for princes" 
written for S_hah Muhammad Khudabanda [q.v.], the 
work was considerably expanded with Nergisi's own 
observations on Ottoman history, (iii) Meshakk 
al- 'ushshak (1034/1624-5), originally a collection often 
love stories, of contemporary origin and significance, 
apart from two tales taken from the tedhkire of c Ashik 
Celebi [q.v.]. NergisI later re-used six of the stories in 
the Nihalistdn. (iv) Iksir-i se c ada (or Iksir-i dewlet, 
1041/1632), a translation of part of al-Qhazall's [q.v.] 
Kimiya' al-sa c dda on ethics. Nergisi's text became a 
popular Ottoman version and was separately printed 
several times, (v) Nihalistan, (1042/1632-3, his last 
work). Containing 25 stories arranged in five sections 
(nihdl = "offshoots"), this was compiled as a collection 
of ethical, exemplary and cautionary tales intended as 
an Ottoman literary and cultural nazire to Sa c dl's 
Gulistan and the Bahdristdn of Djami [q.vv.]. Like 
Meshakk al-'-ushshak, it too is significant for the use of 
contemporary allusions. 

2. Munshe^dt. Nergisi's autograph collection of his 

own letters (finally totalling 38) was first made for 
presentation to §heykh al-Islam Yahya during the lat- 
ter's first meshik£at (1031/1622-3) and later expanded 
to include letters down to 1036/1626-7 (published in 
J.R. Walsh, The Esallbu 'l-mekatlb (Munse'at) of 
Mehmed Nergisi Efendi, in Archivum Ottomanicum, i 
[1969], 213-302). Manuscripts of a later collection, 
probably made by Shaykh Mehmed b. Mehmed 
Sheykhl, contain over 50 letters. 

3. al-Wasf al-kdmil ft ahwdl al-wazir al-'-ddil 
(1038/1628), an account of the exemplary character 
and deeds of Murtada Pasha as governor of Buda 
1626-8. (On the various mss. of this unpublished 
work, see A.S. Levend, Gazavdt-ndmeler ve Mihaloglu 
Ali BeyHn gazavdt-ndmesi, Ankara 1956, 105-6.) 

Nergisi was also an accomplished poet, and 
renowned as a calligrapher both for his skill in the 
taHik script, and for his speed of copying. 

For two centuries after his death, Nergisi was 
honoured as master of the mature Ottoman inshti^ 
prose, and his style was widely imitated. However, 
with the rising popularity of a simpler, more direct 
literary style in the Tanzimdt era and later, he was 
reviled for promoting what was considered a stilted 
and unnaturally affected style, a florid elegance which 
was held to have completely sacrificed sense to sound 
in a bombastic, overladen language. In the wake of 
this extreme critical reaction, his works have become 
largely neglected. It is nonetheless accepted that his 
influence upon the development of the Ottoman inshd* 
style was profound. 

Bibliography: The scanty details on Nergisl's 

career are found mainly in his own works listed 

above; for entries (not always reliable) in Ottoman 

tedhkire and other biographical works, see the bibl. 

toO.F. Akiin's essential article s.v. in //I, ix, 194-7. 
(Christine Woodhead) 

NEgH'ET Khodja Suleyman, an Ottoman 
poet. He was born in Edirne in 1148/1735, the son 
of the poet Ahmed Raff Efendi, then in exile; the lat- 
ter is known as Musdhib-i Shflhriydri. With his father, 
who had regained the sultan's favour by writing a 
sharki which met with general approval, he came to 
Istanbul. He also accompanied his father on a journey 
to the Hidjaz, and the young Hddjjiji, on his way back, 
joined the Mewlewl order in Konya. After his father's 
death, he devoted himself to study, especially Persian, 
in order to understand the Metjjnewi. In Persian, 
which he came to love passionately, he attained a high 
degree of perfection, with the result that he had more 
pupils than an ordinary school in his house in Molla 
Gurani, where he taught Persian and expounded the 
Me&newi (Me&newi-kjpdnlik). He enjoyed great 
prestige among the people. Later he attached himself 
to the Naksjibandl Sheykh Bursawl Emin Efendi. He 
held a fief, and therefore took part in 1 1 82/ 1 768 in the 
Russian campaign. He could use the sword as well as 
the pen. NesJi'et died in 1222/1807 and was buried 
outside the Top Kapu. 

He received the nom-de-plume of Nesh'et from 
Djudl. NesJi'et was a moderate poet but an admirable 
teacher. No-one would say an unkind word about 
him, and they winked at his smoking the libuk, which 
was otherwise forbidden. He wrote poetry in Turkish 
and in Persian. Many of his pupils far surpassed him, 
such as Qhalib Dede [q.v.]. He left a Diwdn, collected 
together in 1200/1785 by his pupil Pertew Efendi, 
which was printed in two parts in Bulak (1252/1836). 
His MakJilaf-ndmes (about 20 in the Diwdn) are distinc- 
tive in character; these are poems in which he 
bestowed epithets upon gifted pupils. In addition, he 
left writings on the Nafcshbandiyye: Tufdn-i ma'-rifet; 

Tardjamal al-Hshk; Maslak al-anwdr wa-manba 1 al-asrdr. 
His Terdjeme-i sharh-i du-'bayt-i Molla Djdmi w as printed 
at Istanbul in 1263. A biography of him by Pertew 
Efendi which was continued by Emin Efendi is said to 

Bibliography: Bursal! Mehmed Tahir, c OtJimdnli 
miPellifleri, ii, 461; Mu'allim Nadji, in Medjm^a, 
no. 8, 74-6; idem, c Othmdnli sM^rleri, 64-70; 
Khazine-yi funun, Istanbul 1312, ii, 230 (Esldfy, 
Thiireyya, Sidjill-i '■othmani, iv, 552; Saml, Ramus 
al-a'lam, vi, 4576; Metimed Djelal, 'Oihmdnli 
edebiyydti numuneUri, Istanbul 1312, 263; Flugel, Die 
arabischen ... Hss. ... zu Wien, i, 686; tA, art. Nes'et 
(Fevziye Abdullah Tansel). Two of his ghazels are 
given in Fahir tz, Eski lurk edebiyatinda nazim, Istan- 
bul 1966-7, i, 435-6. (Th. Menzel) 
NESHRI (d. before 926/1520), Ottoman 

Neshn's one, partially-surviving, historical work, 
the Djihdn-numd, marks a pivotal point in both the 
development and the study of Ottoman 
historiography. However, very little is known with 
certainty about its author, aside from his makhlaf 
Neshri, which occurs at the end of the history in a 
kasida addressed to the reigning sultan Bayezld II 
[q.v.]. From scanty and largely unreliable references 
by later Ottoman writers such as Latifi, c AsJiik 
Celebi, C A1I and Katib Celebi [q.vv.], it was long 
thought that his given name was Mehmed and that he 
lived mainly in Bursa, for some time as muderris at the 
Sul[aniyye medrese. References in the Djihdn-numd 
implying a personal knowledge of Bursa support the 
assumption of his residence there, and the style of his 
history suggests that he was a member of the '■uUmd'. 
Otherwise, there is nothing in the history or in other 
known contemporary sources to confirm either his 
name or his profession. A certain Neshri Hiiseyn b. 
Eyne Beg mentioned in a Bursa court register of 
884/1479 may or may not be identical with the 
historian. The only explicitly personal information in 
the Djihdn-numd establishes that Neshri was present in 
the Ottoman camp at the time of Mehemmed II 's 
death in 886/1481, and that his account of the subse- 
quent Janissary riots in Istanbul is based on personal 
observation. The date of his death is also uncertain, 
though it is possible that, as stated by Latifi, he lived 
into the reign of Sellm I (for biographical discussion, 
see F. Taeschner, dihdnnumd. Die altosmanische Chronik 
des Mevldnd Mehemmed Neschri, Leipzig, i, 1951, 9-14; 
M.C. §ehabeddin Tekindag, Nesri, iniA, ix, 214-15; 
V.L. Menage, Neshn's History of the Ottomans: the sources 
and development of the text, London 1964, 1-5). 

Neshn's Djihdn-numd was originally conceived as a 
universal history in six parts, but only the last section 
is known to be extant. This consists of an introduc- 
tion, and three fabakas covering respectively the 
Oghuz Turks, the Saldjuks of Rum and the 
Ottomans; it chronicles events down to 890/1485 
(Bayezld II's conquest of Akkerman), and concludes 
with a list of the principal viziers and holy men of the 
Ottoman period, followed by the dedication to 
Bayezld II. The style is a relatively straightforward 
Ottoman prose. The work was probably completed 
between 892/1487 and Rabf II 898/February 1493 
(Menage, Neshri's History, 9). Neshrl's sources are not 
named in the text, but for the Ottoman period appear 
to have been principally c AsJiIk-pasha-zade's history, 
a chronological list, takwim, of the mid-15th century, 
and an anonymous chronicle of the late 15th century 
(P. Wittek, Zum Quellenproblem der dltesten osmanischen 
Chroniken (mit Auszugen aus Nesri), in MOG, i [1921-2], 
77-150; Menage, op. cit., 10-19). The Djihdn-numd 


thus amalgamates the three principal Ottoman 
historiographical traditions then existing (H. inalcik, 
The rise of Ottoman historiography, in B. Lewis and P.M. 
Holt (eds.), Historians of the Middle East, London 1962, 
152-67; Menage, The beginnings of Ottoman 
historiography, in Lewis and Holt (eds.), op. cil., 168- 
79). The Dphdn-niimd became a principal source for 
many laterOttoman historians (e.g. Idris Bidllsi, Sa c d 
al-DTn, C A1I, Solak-zade and Munedjdjim-bashf 
[9. vii.]), and thus had a major influence upon subse- 
quent interpretations of early Ottoman history. It was 
also one of the main sources used in Leunclavius's 
Hisloriae Musulmanae Turcorum ... libri xviii, Frankfurt 
1591, and so entered into European writing on the 
Ottomans (Menage, Neshri's History, 31-40, on the 
"Codex Hanivaldus"). 

The Dj ihan-numa has been published twice, once in 
facsimile (F. Taeschner, Gihdnnuma ..., i [Codex 
Menzel], 1951, ii [Codex Manisa], 1955), and once as 
an edition with modern Turkish transcription (F.R. 
Unat and M.A. Koymen (eds.), Mehmed Nesri: Kilab-i 
Cihan-numa, Nesri tarihi, i, Ankara 1949, ii, Ankara 

Bibliography: In addition to works mentioned 
above, see F. Babinger, GOW, 38-9; F. Ank, 
Onbesinci asir tarihcilerinden Nesri 'nin hayali ve eserleri 
Istanbul 1936; F. Taeschner, Nesri tarihi elyazilan 
iizerine araslirmalar, in Bellelen, xv (1951), 497-505. 

(Christine Woodhead) 
NESIMI, Seyyid <Imad al-DIn, known as NesTml, 
an early Ottoman poet and mystic, believed to 
have come from Nesim near Baghdad, whence his 
name. As a place of this name no longer exists, it is 
not certain whether the lakab should not be derived 
simply from nasim "zephyr, breath of wind". That 
Nesimi was of Turkoman origin seems to be fairly cer- 
tain, although the "Seyyid" before his name also 
points to Arab blood. Turkish was as familiar to him 
as Persian, for he wrote in both languages. Arabic 
poems are also ascribed to him. Little is known of his 
life; part of it fell in the reign of Murad I (761- 
91/1360-89), as his biographers tell us. He was at first 
a member of the school of Shaykh Shibli (247- 
334/861-945), but about 804/1401 he became an 
enthusiastic follower of Fadl Allah Hurufi [q.v.], with 
whom he was undoubtedly personally acquainted. He 
championed the views of his master with ardour and 
at the risk of his life. The poet Refill, author 
(811/1408) of the Beshdret-name (copies in London, cf. 
Rieu, Cat., 164-5, and Vienna, cf. Flugel, Kalal., 461, 
462, two mss.; the second more complete), and 
presumably a Geng^-name (in Vienna, cf. Flugel, Kat., 
i, 720) was his pupil. A certain Shah Khandan who 
was a dervish mystic is mentioned as his full brother. 
Nesimi met a cruel death in 820/1417-18 at Aleppo, 
where he was flayed for his heretical poems, on afelwa 
of the extremely fanatical mufti. He is considered the 
greatest poet and preacher of the Hurufi sect. 

His work consists of two collections of poems, one 
of which, the rarer, is in Persian and the other in 
Turkish. The Turkish Dlwan consists of 250-300 
ghazels and about 150 quatrains, but the existing mss. 
differ considerably from the printed edition (Istanbul 
1298/1881). No scholarly edition has so far been 
undertaken, but a study of his vocabulary is given by 
Jahangir Gahramanov, Nasimi divanynyn leksikasy, 
Baku 1970. The Persian Dlwan has been edited by 
Muhammad Rida Mar'ashI, Khurshid-i Darband. 
Dlwdn-i Hmdd al-DCn Nasimi, Tehran 1370 S./1991. 
Neslml's spiritual influence on the dervish system of 
the earlier Ottoman empire was considerable. The 
pro- c Alid guilds, in particular, honour Nesimi as one 

of their masters, testimony to whose far-reaching 
influence is found even in the earlier European 
travellers like Giov. Antonio Menavino (ca. 1540; cf. 
F. Babinger, in At/., xi. 19, n. 1, from which it is evi- 
dent that Nicolas de Nicolay copied him and therefore 
cannot be regarded as an independent source, as 
Gibb, HOP, i, 356-7, thought) and Sir Paul Ricaut 
(17th century; cf. Gibb, HOP, i, 357 ff.). Neslml's 
importance as a poet and mystic can only be estimated 
and realised in connection with a thorough study of 
the older Hurufi texts, among which a most important 
one is that mentioned but not recognised by W. 
Pertsch, Pers. Handschr. Berlin, 264-5, no. 221, by 
Sayyid C A1I al-A<la (d. 822/1419) because it might 
show the connection of the Hurufiyya with the 
Bektashiyya. Neslml's poems were made popular in 
earlier times, especially by the wandering Kalendar 
dervishes [see kalandariyya] and were known to 

Bibliography: Gibb, HOP, i, 343 ff.; J. von 
Hammer, GOD, i, 124-5; Abdulbaki Golpinarh, 
Nesimi-Usuli-Ruhi, Istanbul 1953; Kathleen Burrill, 
The quatrains of Nesimi, The Hague 1972. M, art. 
s.v. (Golpinarh); also the Ottoman biographers of 
poets who, however, contribute practically nothing 
to the life history of Nesimi. Some examples of his 
work are given in Fahir Iz, Eski lurk edebiyalinda 
nazim, Istanbul 1966-7, i, 154-6, 522-6. 

(F. Babinger*) 
NEW'!, Yahya b. Pir c AlI b. Nasuh, an 
Ottoman theologian and poet, with the nom de 
plume (makhlas) of New c I, was born in Malghara [see 
malkara] (Rumelia), the son of Shaykh Pir 'All, in 
940/1533. Up to his tenth year he was taught by his 
learned father and then became a pupil of Karamanl- 
zade Mehmed Efendi. His fellow pupils were the poet 
Baki [q.v.] and Sa c d al-DIn, the famous historian 
[q. 11. ] . He was an intimate friend of the former. He 
joined the Wama 3 , became miiderris of Gallipoli in 
973/1565 and after filling several other offices became 
a teacher in the Medrese of Mihr u Mah Sultan [q.v.]. 
In 998/1598 he was appointed Kadi of Baghdad, but 
before he could take up office, Sultan Murad III 
appointed him tutor to his son Mustafa and to the 
princes Bayezid, 'Othman and c Abd Allah. When 
after Murad Ill's death (1003/1595) the usual 
slaughter of the princes deprived him of all his 
charges, he retired completely from public life and 
lived on a pension granted him by the new sultan. He 
died at Istanbul in Dhu '1-Ka c da 1007/June 1599 and 
was buried in the court of the Sheykh Wefa 3 mosque. 
His son was New c I-zade 'AtaT [ ? .n.]. 

New c I was a man of great learning, and his 
encyclopaedic knowledge was most clearly revealed in 
the best-known of his works, the NatdHg} al-funun wa- 
mahdsin al-mutun, in which he surveyed the twelve 
most important branches of learning; on it see [J. von 
Hammer] Encyklopddische Ubersichl der Wissenschaflen des 
Orients, part i, Leipzig 1804, 22 ff., and the German 
translation of the story of Shadan and Beshlr, ibid. , 24 
ff., which forms the concluding section of this work. 
Bursali Mehmed Tahir gives a list of other prose 
works in his < Othmdnli muMliflm, iii, 437-8, with 
references to the libraries in which they are. In poetry, 
New c T imitated the style of his contemporary Baki 
without however reaching his level. His poems which 
were collected in a scarce Dlwan (ms. in Istanbul, 
Hamidiyye library), lack ease and betray too readily 
the learned author who frequently makes his work dif- 
ficult to understand with unusual words and obscure 
allusions. He tried his skill in different forms of verse, 
the kasida, ghazel and melhnewl, without however 


attaining popularity in any one of them. His fame as 
a poet was completely overshadowed by that of his 
contemporary and friend Bakl- New c T's high position 
as an author he owes to his learned work, particularly 
the already-mentioned encyclopaedia, which was very 
popular, as is evident from the numerous mss. still in 
existence in European collections (e.g. Berlin, 
Bologna, Dresden, Leiden, London [3 copies], Upp- 
sala, Vienna). A Suleymdn-ndme by him (Paris, Bib. 
Nat, cod. reg. 44, Cat. no. 308 und F. Babinger, 
GOW, 76) does not seem to be mentioned by his 
biographers. His son New c I-zade 'Ata'I wrote a very 
full life of him (418-27 of the dhayl to Tashkopriizade's 
work), mentioning that he wrote over 30 males on 
kaldmjikh, <-akaHd, man(ik, tasawwuf, etc. 

Bibliography: Mehmed Thiireyya, Sidjill-i 
'othmdni, iv, 634; Von Hammer, GOD, iii, 108; 
Gibb, HOP, iii, 171 ff.; Hadjdji Khalifa, Fedhleke, i, 
1 20 ff. , also the biographies of poets by Kinali-zade 
and c AhdI; Brockelmann, IP, 587-8, S II, 658; IA 
s.v. (Abdulkadir Karahan). (F. Babinger) 

NEW4-ZADE [see 'ata'T]. 
NEWRES, the names of two Ottoman poets. 

1. c Abd al-Razzak, known as Newres, or more 
accurately, Newres-i Kadim, "Newres the Elder", to 
distinguish him from c Olhman Newres [see below], 
came from KirkQk in northern 'Irak and was probably 
of Kurdish origin. He seems, however, to have come 
to Istanbul at an early age to prosecute his studies. 
Here he became a miiderris but in the year 1159/1746 
entered upon a legal career. According to the Sidjill-i 
'■othmdni, he held the office of kdfi in Sarajevo and 
Kutahya. His sharp tongue, which found particular 
expression in daring and malicious chronograms 
(tawdrikh), earned him banishment to Rethymno 
(Crete) along with the poet Hashmet and then to 
Bursa; he was later, according to Wasif (Ta'rikh, 211), 
sent back to Kutahya. In any case, he died in Bursa 
in Shawwal 1175/May 1762 and was buried in the 
cemetery opposite the entrance to the mosque of Pir 
Uftade Mehmed, the founder of the order of the 
Djalwatiyya. c Abd al-Razzak Newres composed a 
Diwdn in Persian and Turkish (printed Istanbul 1290 
and probably 1304), and also a history of the war with 
Nadir Shah in 1 143/1730 in which he took part on the 
staff of Heklm-Oghlu C A1I Pasha. The little book 
called Tebriziyye-i Hekim-Oghlu '■AH Pasha is written in 
ornate language and is of no historical value. The fair 
copy in the author's hand is preserved in the Berlin 
Staatsbibliothek (Cod. Or. 8°, 2186). Newres also 
enjoyed the reputation of being a distinguished 
munshp. Excerpts from his insha? are given by J. von 
Hammer in his GOR, ix, 643-4. His Diwdn is called 
Mabaligh al-hikam, which gives the year 1172/1758 for 
its completion (cf., however, a similarly titled work in 
Vienna: Flugel, Cat., iii, 486, no. 1991). 

Bibliography: See F. Babinger, GOW, 294-5, 
with further references; von Hammer, GOD, iv, 
321-7; Gibb, HOP, iv, 133-9, vi, 287-90; IA art s.v. 
(Omer Faruk Akin). 

2. c Oihman, called Newres or, to distinguish him 
from his older namesake, Newres-i Djedld, came from 
Chios. He held several military posts in the capital 
and died there in 1293/1876 in retirement. He is 
buried in the Karadja Ahmed cemetery in Uskiidar. 
His collected poems have been twice printed at Istan- 
bul in 1257 and in 1290 (by Yusuf Kamil Pasha) 
(Diwdn-i c OtJ>mdn Newres). In 1302 there was published 
at the suggestion of c Abd al-Karfm Nadir Pasha in 
Istanbul under the title Ether-i nadir specimens of his 
prose and verse. A Turkish translation of the Gulistan 
of Sa'di [q.v.\ by him exists in ms. c Othman Newres 

had a very thorough command of the three languages 
of Islam and wrote poetry in all three. 

Bibliography: Bursal! Mehmed Tahir, c Othmanli 
muWlifleri, iii, 465-6; IA, art. s.v. (Fevziye 
Abdullah Tansel). (F. Babinger) 

NEWROKOP, Nevrokop, a town in south- 
western Bulgaria, in Ottoman times (ca. 1380-1912) 
chef-lieu of a kddilik of the sangjak of Siroz (Serres) and 
a centre of Islamic life of considerable importance. 
Nevrokop is situated in a wide plain (30x10 km) 
between the Rhodopes and Pirin Mountains, at an 
altitude of 565 m, 20 km to the north of the present 
Greco- Bulgarian frontier. The river Mesta (Kara Su), 
whose valley constitutes the only traffic artery of any 
importance, passes the town a few kilometres to the 

Nevrokop is the indirect successor of the ancient 
town of Nicopolis ad Mestum, whose ruins are 
situated 9 km to the east of the town, opposite the 
river. The Notitiae Episcopatuum mention this town as 
the seat of an archbishopric until the 11th century. 
Near the present town of Nevrokop, the ruins of a 9th- 
10th century castle and a settlement have been found, 
which are the more direct forerunner of the present 
town. The district in which Nevrokop is situated must 
have been conquered by the Ottomans between 1374 
and 1383 (capture of the nearby key-fortresses of 
Drama and Serres; see siroz). With the capture of the 
Nevrokop valley and that of Razlog more to the north- 
west, connection could be made with the Thracian 
plain around Filibe (Plovdiv), by following the upper 
course of the Mesta and then across a low pass to the 
valley of Cepino, which is in direct communication 
with Thrace, which was in Ottoman hands since the 
late 1360s. The town is first mentioned with its pres- 
ent name in the Ottoman Tahrir defter Mai. no. 525 
from 1445, in which it is described as a large Christian 
village numbering 137 households. With ca. 600 
inhabitants, it was by far and wide the largest settle- 
ment in the area. After this date, Nevrokop was to 
develop rapidly and in a century changed into a 
predominantly Muslim town. The Tahrir T.D. 3 from 
1453-4 has Nevrokop with 265 Christian and twelve 
Muslim households, or roughly 1250 inhabitants. 
Great changes occured in the interval 1454-1517, 
when Muslim civilians came to settle in the town, and 
Yuriiks from Anatolia by way of the Aegean plains 
settled in or next to many formerly entirely Christian 
Bulgarian villages. The Tahrir T.D. 70, of which the 
actual census was taken in 1517, mentions Nevrokop 
as a town, containing 167 Muslim households and 319 
households of Christians, or ca. 2070 inhabitants. The 
settlement, which in 1454 was only 4% Muslim now 
had 34% Muslims. Further rapid expansion is shown 
by the register T.D. 167 from 1529. By then the 
Muslims had gone up to 281 households and the 
Christians to 385. This gives a town of almost 4000 
inhabitants, of which 42% was Muslim. The Tahrir of 
1569/79 (KuK 194, Ankara) shows a different pat- 
tern. In the 40 years after 1529, the positions are 
reversed. The Muslims had grown slowly, to 318 
households whilst the Christians had declined sharply, 
to 186 households. In the interval, some Islamisation 
of the local population must have taken place. The 
1569-70 register shows that 14% of the Muslim 
households were of convert origin. This suggest that 
besides conversion, immigration must have played an 
important role. The outcome of these movements was 
that the population of the town was now composed of 
63% Muslims. The number of mahalles also show the 
reversal of the pattern: in 1529 5 Muslim mahalles and 
13 Christian mahalles, in 1569 13 Muslim mahalles and 


6 of Christians. The transformation of Nevrokop from 
a Christian village into a predominantly Muslim town 
was stimulated by the erection of a monumental 
domed mosque and a school by Mehmed Bey, son of 
the Beylerbey of Rumeli, Dayi Karaca Pasha. The lat- 
ter died in 1456 before Belgrade. His son Mehmed 
must have erected his buildings in Nevrokop in the 
1480s or 1490s, to which the stylistic features point. 
Shortly before his death in 1512, the favourite of 
Sultan Bayezld II, Kodja Mustafa Pasha, founded 
another important mosque in Nevrokop, as well as a 
school and a fiammdm. The 1529 Tahrir mentions both 
buildings, as well as the fact that their founders were 
dead (merhum), and adds a of Dawudlf. The 
register also mentions that Mehmed Bey had con- 
structed a bridge over the Kara Su and had allotted 
the yearly rent of 10 watermills in Nevrokop and 
Drama, 50 shops and rooms in Selanik and some 
important urban property in Filibe, totalling 57,000 
akces, for the upkeep of his foundations. The buildings 
of Kodja Mustafa Pasha in Nevrokop were financed 
by his enormous ewkaf in many places in Rumeli. 
These included also five villages in the Wi 1 of 
Nevrokop. An order in the Muhimme defter 6 from 
Shewwal 972/May 1565 discusses the problems of 
erecting a mosque and a mufalld on orders of Sultan 
Suleyman for the memory of his son Shehzade 
Mehmed . The Tahrir of 1569-70 gives other informa- 
tion on the growing importance of Nevrokop as an 
Islamic centre. In that year there were three Friday 
mosques and seven mesdjids. The register mentions 12 
imams in the town and 14 muezzins besides four 
school teachers and a large number of craftsman, both 
Muslim and Christian (hatters, tanners, shoemakers, 
soapmakers, carpenters, blacksmiths, quiltmakers, 

In the villages of the kada? of Nevrokop a similar 
process of slow Islamisation can be observed. Accord- 
ing to the 1445 Tahrir, the entire district numbered 
not a single Muslim. An isolated few are mentioned 
in 1453-4, but by 1529, 13% of the rural population 
was Muslim and some 28% in 1569-70. This process 
had the same two aspects as in the town: settlement of 
a substantial number of Turkish (Yuriik) settlers after 
1517, secondly a creeping process of Islamisation of a 
part of the rural, Bulgarian-speaking population. By 
1900 the entire kada> of Nevrokop, with 123 villages, 
numbered 12,500 Turkish-speaking Muslims, 26,960 
Bulgarian-speaking Muslims (Pomaks) and 35,310 
Bulgarian Christians, the latter including some 
Greek-orientated Vlachs. These numbers show that 
Islam in the western Rhodope resulted from a slow 
process of colonisation and an even slower process of 
Islamisation, instead of being the result of one violent, 
government-ordered, campaign of mass Islamisation, 
which is supposed to have taken place in the second 
half of the 11th/ 17th century under the Koprulii 
administration. This last-mentioned viewpoint is 
usually taken in the Bulgarian historiography. 

A 16th century list of bishoprics belonging to the 
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople men- 
tions a "see of Nikopolis, that is Nevrokop", but 
names of bishops of Nevrokop are only known since 

In the 17th century the expansion of the town must 
have slowed down. Katib Celebi mentions Nevrokop 
as the seat of a kdtfilik and noted the presence of rich 
iron mines near the town. The official list of kdjiliks 
of 1078/1667-8 has Nevrokop in the fourth rank of the 
twelve ranks of kafiliks of Rumeli, which illustrates its 
importance. The most detailed description of 
Ottoman Nevrokop is given in vol. viii of the Seyahat- 

ndme of Ewliya Celebi, although the town appears 
under the wrong name of Vetrine (modern Neon 
Petritsi in Greece), which is historically and geo- 
graphically impossible, since it never was a kada 3 cen- 
tre. Ewliya called the town large and fine, with many 
mosques, dervish tekkes, khans, hammdms, schools and 
very beautiful houses and the seat of an elaborate pro- 
vincial administration. In the 18th century, the town 
must have grown slowly. In 1847 the traveller 
Viquesnel saw a thousand houses (in 1569, 500), 
inhabited by Turks and a few Greeks and Bulgarians. 
He saw 12 minarets and a fairly large bazaar with 
many khans and coffee shops. In 1809-1 1 the Christian 
community of Nevrokop had constructed the small 
church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. In 
1833-41 they built the large and monumental church 
of the Holy Virgin, expression of the changed condi- 
tions under the Tanzimdt. In the 1820s, the last great 
domed mosque of the town was built, of which only 
old photographs remain. The Sdlndme of the wildyet of 
Selanik of 1324/1906-7 mentions that the town had 20 
mahalles with 1 ,432 houses, 598 shops, 12 Friday mos- 
ques, four mesdjids, two churches and no less than 
eight tekkes, pointing to a well-developed Islamic life. 
Besides this, there were seven schools for Muslims 
and two for Christians. A Greek source from 1908 
mentions that the town had 5,900 inhabitants: 3,865 
Turks, 490 Muslim Gipsies, 595 Christians belonging 
to the Greek Orthodox church and 900 Christians 
belonging to the Bulgarian Exarchate. The same 
source mentions that the population of the kada' of 
Nevrokop was in majority Muslim, sc. 51,000 of the 
83,000 inhabitants ( = 61%). The Sdlname of 
1303/1885-6) gives slightly lower numbers but has the 
same percentage of Muslims. The statistics of 
Verkovic and Kancev give 55% and 53% respect- 
ively, with slightly varying numbers. 

The Bulgarian conquest of 1912, during the Balkan 
Wars, led to a mass exodus of the Muslim population 
of the town and, to a lesser extent, of the villages. 
Their place was immediately taken by Bulgarian 
refugees from the iaoij's of Drama and Serres, which 
had been conquered by the Greek army and were to 
remain part of the enlarged Greek state. The 
Bulgarian census of 1926 shows these changes clearly. 
By then the town numbered 1,057 Muslim 
inhabitants, but the number of Bulgarians stood as 
high as 5,882. The 1934 census show that the new 
trend continued: 824 Muslim and 7,726 Christian 
inhabitants. After 1912 the mosques, tekkes and ham- 
mdms disappeared one after the other. The oldest 
mosque of the town, that of Mehmed Bey ben Karaca 
Pasha, was the last to be given up. It still stands as a 
ruin (1990). Apart from a few Muslim Gypsy 
families, Islam has disappeared from Nevrokop, 
which after 1912 was rebuilt in a new fashion. In the 
late 1960s, culminating in the events of 1973, the 
Pomak population of the mountain villages of the 
Nevrokop district was put under heavy pressure when 
the Communist government tried to "lead them back 
into the Bulgarian nation" with help of the army units 
using poison gas. After the opposition had been 
broken, large sections of the Pomaks were deported to 
northern Bulgaria, given other names and scattered 
among purely Christian Bulgarian villages. After the 
end of Communist rule, many returned to their native 
homes, reverting to their simple Islamic community 
life. After their ordeal, they decided to identify com- 
pletely with Turkish Islam, learning to speak Turkish 
instead of Bulgarian and identifying themselves as 
descendants of the Bulgarised Peceneg and Kuman 
settlers in the Rhodope to which the 12th-13th century 


Byzantine sources refer. This process is now in full 
swing. The restoration of Islamic life to the Nevrokop 
villages has been seen in the large-scale rebuilding 
during 1991-2 of the mosques of the district destroyed 
in the assimilation campaign of 1985. 

Nevrokop, which in 1978 rose to 17,805 
inhabitants, saw its name changed to Goce Delcev (in 
1950). Ottoman Nevrokop was the native town of 
some Ottoman men of letters. Among them is the very 
learned poet Ra c na Mustafa Efendi, a Nakshbendl 
dervish and for long in the service of Muhammad C A1I 
of Egypt. He died in 1248/1832-3 in his native 
Nevrokop. It was very probably this man who con- 
structed the last domed mosque in the town, showing 
close similarity with the buildings of Muhammed c Ali 
in Kavalla (erected 1818-1821). Of more importance 
is Ziihrl Ahmed Efendi, the founder of the Zuhriyye 
branch of the Khalwetiyye order. Zuhri Efendi died in 
Selanik/Thessaloniki in 1165/1751-2 and was buried 
in the tekke which he had himself founded in that city. 
Bibliography: M. Sokoloski, Nevrokop i Nevrokop- 
sko vo XV i XVI vek, in Prilozi, Mak. Akad. Naukite i 
Umetnost, ii, Skopje 1975, 5-31; Ewliya Celebi, 
Seyahat-nime, viii, 761-2 (1928 ed.); A. Stojanovski, 
La population dans les villes Macedoniennes awe XVe el 
XVIe siecles, in Les Macedoniens dans le passe, Skopje 
1970, 119-34; Str. Dimitrov, Demografski olnosenija i 
pronikvane na Isljama v zapadnite Rodopi i dolinata na 
Mesta prez XV-XVII v. , in Rodopski Sbomik, i, Sofia 
1965, 63-114 (argues for a slow process of Islamisa- 
tion instead of violent mass conversion); Cvetana 
Dremsizova-Nelcmova, Arheologiceski pametnitsi 
Blagoevgradski Okrag, Sofia 1987; Kancev, 
Makedonija, etnografija i statistika, Sofia 1900; B. 
Laourdas, / Metropolis Neurokopiou 1900-1907, 
Thessaloniki 1961 ; A. Viquesnel, Voyage dans la Tur- 
quie d' Europe, Paris 1868 (travelled in 1847-8); Zeco 
Cankov, Geografski recnik na Balgarija, Sofia 1900. 
There is no satisfying local history of Nevrokop. 
The Ottoman sources noted in the text are 
unpublished. (M. Kiel) 

NEWSHEHIR, modern Turkish Nevsehir, a 
town of central Anatolia in the Cappadocia of 
classical antiquity. It lies 60 km/40 miles to the west 
of Kayseri [see kaysariyya] and 13 km/9 miles south 
of the Kizil Irmak river [q.B.] at an altitude of approx. 
1,180 m/3,600 feet (lat. 38° 38' N., long. 34° 43' 
E.). It is now the chef-lieu of an il or province of the 
same name; in 1970 the town had a population of 
57,556 and the il one of 231,873. 

The NewsJiehir region was in the 6th to 9th cen- 
turies AD known for its monastic caves, and became 
a frontier region during the Arab invasions. The 
inhabitants protected themselves by digging 
underground refuges into the soft tuff; these consisted 
of several floors, with tables and benches, water sup- 
ply and cooking hearths. Often special arrangements 
prevented the smoke from escaping in times of 
danger, and thus betraying the hiding place. Most of 
these "underground cities" were discovered only in 
the 1950s, and little is known about them from written 
sources. The largest such shelters are located in 
Kaymakli and Derinkuyu (Melegubii in 10th/16th 
century Ottoman sources), within the modern pro- 
vince of Nevsehir. 

Until the Grand Vizierate of Ibrahim Pasha 
Newjhehirli (killed in 1143/1730 [q.v.]), the settle- 
ment called Nevsehir today was known as the village 
of Mushkara, located in the judicial district (kada) of 
Urgiib. The latter kada was sometimes included in the 
sandjak of Nigde and at other times in that of Kayseri. 
Ibrahim Pasha, who was born in Mushkara, elevated 

it to the status of a town and renamed it NewsJiehir. 
He established a foundation, consisting of a mosque, 
library, medrese, and Hmdret, and associated with it 
were shops and an official residence for the foundation 
administrator. Ibrahim Pasha also had the small 
Saldjuk fortress on the hilltop overlooking the settle- 
ment restored. The foundation inscriptions were com- 
posed by the major Istanbul poets of the time, among 
whom Ibrahim Pasha organised a competition 
explicitly for this purpose. Seyyid Wehbl's, Nedlm's 
and c Asfm's inscriptions have been published (by 
Ahmed Reflk, 1340/1921-22). These texts emphasise 
that the Grand Vizier owed everything to his master 
the Sultan (Ahmed III [q.v.]), but also glorify the 
founder: one of them even contains his elaborate cur- 

Among the architects of the kulliyye, we know a 
Sargis Khalfa. who supervised the construction pro- 
cess. Ibrahim Pasha also involved the Chief Architect 
Mehmed Agha, ordering him to send some of his 
junior colleagues to visit the Mustafa Pasha mosque 
in Gebze and other important vizierial mosques of 
western Anatolia. The architects were enjoined to 
study the aesthetic appearance of the buildings and 
also construction details, bringing back drawings for 
the Grand Vizier's inspection. The latter apparently 
reserved for himself the ultimate decision, and, taking 
an eclectic approach, consciously modelled his foun- 
dation on the buildings put up by 10th/16th century 
Grand Viziers. 

As 12th/18th century Anatolia was only sparsely 
inhabited, many of the measures designed to further 
Newshehir were to the detriment of nearby Urgiib. 
The seat of the district kadi was moved from Urgiib to 
Newshehir, and so was the market; in spite of the 
distances involved, Urgiib residents were ordered to 
henceforth conduct their business in Newshehir. 
Wealthy people recently settled in Kayseri were 
ordered to move to NewsJiehir, and to ensure a stable 
urban population, well-to-do residents of the new 
town were forbidden to move their families to Istan- 
bul; 800 families of central Anatolian nomads were 
also to settle in Newshehir. Scrub land was assigned 
to the townsmen which they could convert into 
gardens and vineyards, and they were also granted the 
land of certain abandoned villages for farming and 
pasture. In the early 12th/18th century, the urban 
population must have been a few thousands. 

In the 13th/19th century, Newshehir was a small 
town in the sandj/tk of Nigde, in majority inhabited by 
Muslims, but with an active community of Tur- 
cophone Orthodox Christians. Out of 17,660 
townsmen in 1316-17/1899, 10,972 were Muslims 
and 6,080 Orthodox. Grape cultivation and wine- 
making constituted one of the region's principal 
economic activities. The exchange of populations 
which followed the war between Greece and Turkey 
(1923) resulted in a decline of the vineyards, as the 
new settlers from Thrace were not familiar with 
viticulture. However as natural conditions (low rain- 
fall, frosts in spring and fall) limited agricultural 
options, raisin and wine production soon resumed. 

Down to the present day, the Newshehir district has 
remained an agricultural region. In 1978, 78.6% of 
the economically-active population was employed in 
agriculture (1965: 86.2%, 1955: 87.6%). The pro- 
ductivity of many agricultural enterprises is low, due 
to limited investment in erosion control, irrigation 
and seed selection. The employment of tractors and 
the cultivation of sugar beet and potatoes on irrigated 
land have, however, become sufficiently widespread 
to push down the demand for family labour. This 


Mosque of Mehmed Bey ibn Karadja Pasha, ca. 1490. Only surviving Ottoman buildine in > 
(Photo: Arch. Julii Farkov, 1992) 


decrease particularly affects women; while in 1965, 
46% of the labour force consisted of women, by 1975 
this percentage had dropped to 41%. Since oppor- 
tunities in manufacturing (cotton textiles, wine- 
production, food processing) are also limited, out- 
migration is widespread. In spite of a high birthrate, 
the district's population has recently declined. 

From the 1960s onwards, tourism has become a 
significant source of gain, as both Turkish holiday- 
makers and foreign tourists have visited the cave chur- 
ches of Goreme, the "underground cities" of 
Derinkuyu and Kaymakli and the extraordinary tuff 
formations of this volcanic landscape. In 1982, the 
district recorded 50,000 Turkish and 82,000 foreign 
visitors, who have given a boost to retail trade, 
transportation and the manufacture of objels d'art from 
locally available agate. However, to date this injection 
of capital has had only a limited impact upon the 
region, as the owners usually prefer to invest in other 
parts of the country. 

In the cultural life of the region, the former main 
lodge (zawiye) of the Bektaghi order of dervishes once 
again has a role to play. The complex (located in the 
town of Hacibektas, il of Nevsehir) contains the 
mausolea of HadjdjT Bektasji and Balim Sultan, con- 
structed in the 9th/15th and 10th/16th centuries, as 
well as a meeting room and an elaborate domed kit- 
chen. In the latter there is a large kettle, which an 
inscription identifies as a Janissary gift. A silver door 
was donated by an llth/17th century governor of 
Kfrshehir [q.v.]. After the abolition of all dervish 
orders in 1925, the complex was allowed to 
deteriorate; but once a museum had been established, 
largely through community efforts, the building was 
restored and local residents voluntarily returned 
many former possessions of the lodge. Now the town 
of Hacibekta$ hosts an annual cultural festival. It is 
attended by a large number of Alev? families, who 
combine a visit to the shrine with attendance at con- 
certs and recitals of a more secular nature. 

Bibliography: Ahmed Refik, Damdd Ibrahim 
Pasha zamant'nda Urgub we Newshehir, in TTEM, 
xiv/3 (no. 80) (1340/1921-2), 156-85; Remzi 
Gurses, Hacibektas rehberi, Istanbul n.d. [ca. 1970]; 
S. Kostof, Caves of God: the monastic environment of 
Byzantine Cappadocia, Cambridge, Mass. 1972; art. 
Nevsehir, in Yurt Ansiklopedisi, Turkiye //: diinii, 
bugunu, yarim, Istanbul 1982-3; R. Jennings, The 
population, society and economy of the region ojErciyes dagi 
in the 16th century, in Contributions a I'histoire economi- 
que el sociale de I'Empire ottoman, ed. J.L. Bacqu£- 
Grammont and P. Dumont, Istanbul-Paris 1983, 
149-250. (Suraiya Faroq_hi) 

NICOBARS, the name of a group of nineteen 
islands in the Indian Ocean, to the south of the Bay 
of Bengal and lying between lats. 6°40' and 9°20' 
N.; the largest southernmost of them, Great Nicobar, 
is 190 km/ 120 miles to the northwest of the northern 
tip of Sumatra. Their area is 1 ,953 km 2 /627 sq. miles. 
The Arabic geographers place them at 15 days' 
voyage from Sarandib ( = Ceylon ) and 6 days' voyage 
from Kalah [q.v.] ( = probably in the Malacca penin- 
sula or, less probably, at Kedah). 

The Nicobar Islands appear in Arabic travel and 
geographical literature as early as the Akhbar al-Sin wa 
•l-Hind (237/851), ed. and tr. J. Sauvaget, Relation de 
la Chine et de I'Inde, Paris 1948, § 7, text and tr. 5, 
comm. 38-9 (Lan&abalus, linked here with Andaman, 
i.e. the Andaman Islands to the north, whose 
inhabitants are described as dark-skinned and can- 
nibals); Ibn Khurradadhbih, 66 (Alankabalis); al- 
Mas'udl, Muriidj. al-dhahab, i, 338-9 = § 372 (Lan- 
djabalus); Buzurg b. Shahriyar, K. 'Aaja^ib al-Hind 

(first half of the 4th/10th century), tr. G.S.P. 
Freeman-Grenville. The book of the wonders of India, 
London 1981, § 81, pp. 74-5 (Ladj.bdlas). The forms 
Lankabalusl Landjabalus , etc., became the standard 
renderings for the Islands, appearing e.g. some two 
centuries later in al-Idrlsi's text and on his map, with 
the distances mentioned above for the Nicobars' 
distance from Ceylon and the Malay peninsula (tr. S. 
Maqbul Ahmad, India and the neighbouring territories in 
M^Kitab Nuzhat al-musjjtaq ..., §§ 42-5, 48, tr. 32-3, 
34, comm. 117-18). As characteristics of the islands' 
people are mentioned their unintelligible language (in 
fact, the Nicobarese languages are of the Austro- 
Asiatic family, either a branch of the Mon-Khmer 
group or a separate branch, in any case 
demonstrating older ethnic connections with South- 
East Asia and Indonesia); their white skins and 
nakedness; their hospitableness; and their trading of 
ambergris and coconuts for iron by means of dumb 
barter with the voyagers who called there en route 
from Ceylon to China; their diet of coconuts, freshly- 
caught fish, bananas, etc. (see the above references, 
plus Hudud al-'-alam, tr. Minorsky, § 4.10, p. 57, 
comm. 188; Minorsky, Sharaf al-Zamdn b. Tahir Mar- 
vazion China, the Turks and India, London 1942, ch. xv, 
§ 10, tr. 57-8, comm. 158-9). 

Various explanations have been proffered for the 
name of the islands. Sauvaget, op. cil., comm. 38, 
cited a Chinese phrase lang-p^o-lu-seu, denoting 
western Sumatra, as the original of the Arabic form, 
though this seems less likely. Minorsky cited an ety- 
mology from lanka "island" + Balis = Baros on the 
southwestern coast of Sumatra, cf. Hudud al-'-alam, 
§ 4.8, p. 57, comm. 187, but as more probable al- 
Nankabar or Nakavvar> Nicobar "the naked" (Sharaf 
al-Zamdn Tahir Marvazi, comm. 158-9). Certainly, on 
the Catalan Map of 1375 we have the Insulae Nudorum. 

Marco Polo briefly mentions the island which he 
calls Necuvaran as being about 150 miles north of 
Sumatra (Sir Henry Yule, The Book of Ser Marco Polo 
the Venetian, London 1871, ii, 248-50), but there is 
much more detail on the island of Nicoveran in the 
account of the voyages of Friar Odoric of Pordenone 
(1316-30), who travelled from the Coromandel coast 
to Sumatra en route for China (Yule and H. Cordier, 
Cathay and the way thither, Cambridge 1915, ii, 248-50, 
describing the inhabitants as having dogs' faces 
(Cinocofult), a detail more often attached to the 
Andaman islanders). 

In more recent times, the Nicobars were probably 
visited by Portuguese missionaries, but in 1756 Den- 
mark took them over as a colony affiliated to their 
trading factory at Tranquebar on the Coromandel 
coast. In 1848 the Danes formally relinquished 
sovereignty, and in 1869 Britain took formal posses- 
sion of them. After an occupation by the Japanese 
1942-5, the Nicobars passed in 1947 to India and are 
now part of the Union Territory of the Andaman and 
Nicobar Islands, with the seat of the Lieutenant- 
Governor at Port Blair in the Andamans. The popula- 
tion of the Nicobars (1961 census) is 14,563. 

Bibliography (in addition to references given in 

the article): E. Balfour, The cyclopaedia of India and of 

eastern and southern Asia, commercial, industrial and 

scientific 3 , London 1885, ii, 1094; Imperial gazetteer of 

India 1 , xix, 59-84; E.H. Man, The Nicobar Islands 

and their people, London 1933. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 

NIFFAR, Nuffar, a ruined site, ancient Nip- 
pur, in southern c Irak, situated in lat. 32°7' N. and 
long. 45°10' E., now in the liwd or province of al- 
Kadisiyya; close by lies the Khor al-'Afak. 

The site is very extensive. Rising 20 m above the 

plain, it has proved to be one of the earliest cities to 
have developed in the region. Even before neighbour- 
ing Uruk and Akkad became political centres in the 
last centuries of the third millennium Nippur seems to 
have been a religious centre for the independent com- 
munities, no doubt because, according to the 
Sumerian version of the Flood Story, man was first 
created at Nippur. So it was here that Ur-Nammu, 
king of Ur built the temple for Enlil, the god of 
storms, with its great ziggurat. The associated library 
is one of the richest sources for Sumerian literature 
even though so many of the original documents have 
been lost; much of what remains was preserved 
accidentally since the clay documents were used as fill 
for the walls of later houses. A beautifully decorated 
chlorite vessel with a cat-like figure in conflict with a 
snake has been described as a representation of 
Inanna (Ishtar). When Layard visited the site in 1854 
he was overcome by its appearance, and from 1889- 
1900 an American excavation under the supervision 
of J. P. Peters (University of Pennsylvania) carried out 
the first thorough study of the site. More recent 
excavations have been conducted by McGown 
(University of Chicago). It was being built on up to 
the Parthian period. But what Peters described as 
"Parthian columns" still standing when he was at the 
site had disappeared by 1948 when the Chicago team 
were there. The site is particularly suited to new 
historical assessments, as evidenced by the work of 
Stone, who integrates linguistic, archaeological and 
anthropological material in her study. In an unusual 
Akkadian satirical poem a poor man from Nippur, 
who has been oppressed by the mayor of his town, is 
able by his guile to humiliate his oppressor; this may 
well reflect the attitude of contemporary society to the 
place, for Nippur is often mentioned in lists of places 
that are excused the taxation burdens imposed on 

Nippur was also an inhabited place in Muslim 
times; for example, we find it mentioned in 38 /659 on 
the occasion of a rising against the caliph 'All (al- 
Tabarl, i, 3423, 3424) as well as during the Kharidji 
troubles (op. cit., ii, 929, 7 ); cf. also Yakut, iv, 275, 
798, and Ibn al-Faklh, 210. In the later Middle Ages 
we find Niffar mentioned as a Nestorian bishopric 
in the chronicles of the Patriarchs (Akhbdr Fafdrika kursi 
al-Mashrik, ed. Gismondi, Rome 1897-9), of "Arar b. 
Matta (83, 95,) and of Marl b. Sulayman, in the 
period 900-1058 a.d. (cf. also Sachau, in Abh. Pr. Ak. 
W. [1909], no. 1, p. 31). When the town was aban- 
doned by its inhabitants and became completely 
desolate we do not know. It was probably the result of 
one of the Turco-Mongol invasions, that under 
Hulegii or that under Timur, which dealt their death- 
blow to so many flourishing places in Mesopotamia. 

According to the cuneiform inscriptions, Nippur 
must have in ancient times lain on the Euphrates itself 
or at least in its immediate vicinity (cf. e.g. OLZ, xx, 
142, n. 1); this fact forces us to the assumption that 
this river in the Babylonian period must have taken a 
much more easterly course below Babylon than in the 
middle ages and present day. The inner city is divided 
into two parts by a canal now dry but once navigable, 
which the natives call Shatt al-Nfl. This was an impor- 
tant watercourse which, according to Hilprecht, was 
in many places at one time 20-25 feet deep and 150- 
190 feet broad and which the modern inhabitants 
rightly describe not as a mere nahr (stream, canal) but 
as shaft (river). 

According to the mediaeval Arab geographers, 
Nahr al-Nfl was the name of one of the canals leading 
off from the Euphrates to the Tigris. It still survives 

in its entirety; as in the Middle Ages, it starts from 
Babylon and flows a little above lat. 32°30' N. in an 
almost straight line eastwards. The geographer 
Suhrab or Ibn Sarabiyun [g.v.], writing in the 
4th/10th century, observes that this canal bears the 
name Nahr al-Nil only after passing the town of al-Nfl 
(the modern ruins Nfliyye). At the present day, it is 
called only Shatt al-Nfl throughout its course. Some- 
what east of Nfliyye a side-canal, now dry, branches 
off to the south for which, not only in its lower part 
where it flows by the ruins of Niffar but along its 
whole extent, the name Shatt al-Nfl, the same as that 
of the main canal, was and is usual. Yakut, however, 
says (iv, 77, 798) that Niffar lay not on the Nahr al- 
Nfl but on the bank of the Nahr al-Nars, a canal dug, 
it is said, by the Sasanid king Narse b. Bahram (293- 
303 a.d.) which leaves the Euphrates at al-Hilla a little 
below the Nahr al-Nfl and turns southeastward. It was 
presumably connected by a branch with the southern 
small canal of the same name which branches off from 
the Nahr al-Nfl, so that the occurrence of the two 
names Nahr al-Nfl and Nahr al-Nars for the river in 
Niffar is explained. It should be noted also that the 
nomenclature of the Babylonian canals changed 
several times already in the Middle Ages. On the 
Nahr al-Nfl or Shatt al-Nfl and Nahr al-Nars, see 
W.K. Loftus, Travels and researches in Chaldaea and 
Susiana, London 1857, 238; G. Le Strange, in JRAS 
(1895), 256, 260-1, and idem, The lands of the eastern 
caliphate, Cambridge 1905, 72-4; Streck, Babylonien 
nach den arab. Geographen, i, Leiden 1900, 30-1; Herz- 
feld, in Sarre-Herzfeld, Archdolog. Reise im Euphrat- und 
Tigrisgebiet, i, Berlin 1911, 134-5; Hashim al-Sa'di, 
Diughrafiyyat al-Hrdk al-hadithqf , Baghdad 1927, 34, 35. 
Bibliography: J. P. Peters, Nippur, or explorations 
and adventures on the Euphrates, New York 1897; H.V. 
Hilprecht, Die Ausgrabungen der Universitdt von Penn- 
sylvania in Bel Tempel zu Nippur, Leipzig 1903; D.E. 
McGown and R.C. Haines, Nippur I. Temple of 
Enlil, scribal quarter and soundings, II. The north temple 
and sounding E. Chicago 1967-78; Elizabeth C. 
Stone, Nippur neighborhoods, Chicago 1987. 

(M. Streck-[M.E.J. Richardson]) 
al-NIFFARI, Muhammad b. c Abd al-Djabbar, 
Sufi mystic, whom the principal Sufi biographers fail 
to mention, and who flourished in the 4th/10th cen- 
tury, and, according to HadjdjI Khalifa, died in the 
year 354/965, but more probably in ca. 366/976-7. 
His nisba refers to the town of Niffar [g.v.] in 'Irak, 
and one ms. of his works asserts that it was during his 
residence at Niffar and Nil that he committed his 
thoughts to writing. Al-Niffari's literary reliquiae con- 
sist of two books, the Mawdkif and the Mukhafabat (ed. 
A.J. Arberry, London 1935), together with a number 
of fragments. It is improbable that Niffarl himself was 
responsible for the editing of his writings; according to 
his principal commentator, c Afif al-Dih al-Tilimsanl 
(d. 690/1291), either his son or his grandson collected 
his scattered writings and published them according to 
his own ordering. The Mawdkif consists of 77 sections 
of varying length, made up for the most part of brief 
apothegms touching on the main aspects of Sufi 
teaching, and purporting to be inspired and dictated 
by God; the Mukhafabat is similar in content, and is 
divided into 56 sections. Al-Niffari's most 
characteristic contribution to mysticism is his doctrine 
of wakfa. This term, which would appear to be used 
by him in a peculiarly technical sense, implies a condi- 
tion in the mystic which is accompanied by direct 
divine audition, and perhaps even automatic script. 
Mawkif is the name given to the state of the mystic in 
which wakfa is classed higher than ma'-rifa, and mchifa 


is above Him. The wdkif is nearer to God than any 
other thing, and almost transcends the condition of 
bashariyya, being alone separated from all limitation. 
Al-Niffarl definitely maintains the possibility of seeing 
God in this world; for he says that vision (ru^ya) in this 
world is a preparation for vision in the world to come. 
In several places, al-Niffari distinctly touches on the 
theory of the Mahdl [q.v.], and indeed appears to 
identify himself with the Mahdl, if these passages are 
genuine; and this claim is seemingly in the mind of al- 
Zabldl, when he describes al-Niffarl as sahib al-da'awa 
wa 'l-daldl. Al-Tilimsani, however, interprets these 
passages in an esoteric and highly mystical sense; and 
it does not accord with the general character of the 
author that he should make for himself such 
extravagant claims. Al-Niffari shows himself in his 
writings to be a fearless and original thinker. While 
undoubtedly influenced by his great predecessor al- 
Halladj [q.v.], he acknowledges no obligations and has 
a thorough conviction of the reality of his own 

Bibliography. D.S. Margoliouth, Early develop- 
ment of Muhammedanism, 186-98; R.A. Nicholson, 
The mystics of Islam, passim; Arberry, The Mawdqif of 
al-Niffari, in JRAS (1930), 404-6; P. Nwyia, Trois 
amvres inedits de mystiques musulmans: Saqiq al-Balhi, 
Ibn <Ata\ Niffari, Beirut 1973; A. Schimmel, 
Mystical dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill 1975, index; 
Zirikll, AHam, vii, 55-6; Brockelmann, I 2 , 217, S I, 
358; Sezgin, GAS, i, 528, 661-2. 

(A.J. Arberry) 
NIFTAWAYH, Abu c Abd Allah Ibrahim b. 
Muhammad b. c Arafa b. Sulayman b. al-Mughlra b. 
al-Muhallab b. Abl Sufra al- c Ataki al-Azdl, gram- 
marian, lexicographer, akhbari, leading expert in 
poetry, Kur'anic readings and well-authenticated 
muhaddith, who owed his nickname, derived from the 
term nil aft (naphtha) to his dark complexion; this 
name is formed according to the same pattern as that 
of Sibawayh, whom he admired, whose grammatical 
methods he followed and on whose Kitab he composed 
a commentary. Born at Wasit in 244/858, he lived and 
studied in Baghdad where he died on 12 Rabi* I 
323/20 February 935. 

He studied grammar and lugha with the eminent 
scholars al-Mubarrad (d. 285/898), Tha c lab (d. 
291/904) and Muhammad b. al-Djahm (d. 277/891). 
Among his masters in hadilh, his biographers mention 
numerous traditionists including Ishak b. Wahb b. 
Ziyad al- c Allaf (d. after 255/869 according to Ibn 
Hadjar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, i, 259) and 'Abbas b. 
Muhammad b. Wakid al-Duri (d. 271/885). He 
studied the Kur'an with, in particular, Ibn al-£)jahm 
and Shu'ayb b. Ayyub al-$arifinl (d. 261/875), col- 
lected akhbdr, took an interest in fikh and in history 
and learned by heart a considerable quantity of 
poems, including the entire diwans of Cjarlr, of al- 
Farazdak and of Dhu '1-Rumma. He himself com- 
posed some short pieces, mostly in the ghazal genre of 
amorous poetry, numerous fragments of which have 
been preserved by Yakut ( < -Udabd' > , i, 257-71) and al- 
'Amill (/!>-«, ii, 222-3). 

His erudition and his reputation as an upright and 
rigorous scholar were recognised during his lifetime, 
and attracted to him a number of pupils, notably 
including the fakih and adlb al-Nahrawanl (d. 
390/1000), the muhaddith. Ibn Shadhan (d. 383/993), 
the biographer and adlb al-Marzubani (d. 384/994), 
the grammarian Ibn Khalawayh (d. 370/980), the lex- 
icographer al-Azharl (d. 370/980), the exegete al- 
Nahhas (d. 338/950), the lughawi Abu '1-Hasan al- 
'Askari (d. 382/993), al-Mas c udi (d. 345/956), Abu '1- 

Faradj al-Isbaham (d. 356/967) and the philologist 
Abu <A1I al-Kall (d. 356/967). The last-named is 
noted for having cited in his Amdli (ed. Dar al-Kutub 
n.d., i, 23, 30, 47 ff., ii, 83, 110, 191, 199 ff.), hun- 
dreds of verses which he had read in Niffawayh's 
presence or had heard recited, with critical comments, 
by him. 

Of the various titles given him by his biographers, 
it is that of nahwi which is most prominent. The 
majority of them, with the exception of al-Zubaydi 
(Tabakdt, 154), credited him, besides his mastery of 
the linguistic sciences and his integrity in the 
transmission of hadi(hs and in readings of the Kur'an, 
with an outstanding grammatical ability which earned 
him admission to the prestigious tabaka which included 
among other grammarians of renown Ibn Kaysan (d. 
299/911), al-Zadjdjadj (d. 311/923) and Abu Bakr al- 
Anbari (d. 328/940) (see al-Azhari, Tahdhib, i, 28; al- 
Suyutt, Muzhir, Cairo n.d., iii, 455). Furthermore, 
they stress that he was neither Basran nor Kufan, but 
rather an eclectic who blended the two schools (khalata 
al-madhhabayn: Fihrist, 121). On the other hand, 
opinions differed regarding the school of fikh to which 
he belonged. Ibn Hadjar (Lisdn, i, 109) and al-'Amill 
(A'-ydn, ii, 220) classed him among the Sh^Is. Al- 
Farghanl (d. 398/1007), quoted by Yakut (i, 270), 
relates that he adopted the point of view of the Han- 
balls who maintain that the noun is the thing named 
(al-ism huwa al-musamma). For others, more numerous, 
he was a zahiri partisan of the DawOdiyya and was 
regarded as a master of it (ra'asa fi-hi; al-$afadl, Wafi, 
vi, 130; Ibn Hadjar, loc. cit.). 

It is highly probable that Niffawayh was, in fikh as 
in nahw, an eclectic who stood aside from partisan 
controversies. His close friendship with the eminent 
Zahiri jurist Ibn Dawud (d. 294/907) does not 
necessarily signify that he was exclusively Zahiri, nor 
does the fact that the Hanbali al-Barbaharl (d. 
329/941) recited the funeral prayers at his burial 
indicate that he was a master of Hanbalism. Regard- 
ing other questions, this versatility of mind was 
superseded by fixed and frankly polemical opinions. 
Thus he categorically rejected the principle of deriva- 
tion (ishfikak) among the Arabs and accused one of its 
proponents, the illustrious Ibn Durayd (d. 321/933), 
of having composed his dictionary {al-Djamhara) by 
altering (ghayyara) the Kitab al- c Ayn of al-Khalfl (d. 
175/791). Regarding the origin of the language, he 
declared that Arabic was a natural ({abi c iyya = taw- 
kifiyya), not a conventional (taHimiyya = istildhiyya) 
language, and he refuted the Mu'tazill notion ac- 
cording to which the Kur'an is created. 

Ibn al-Nadlm (Fihrist, 121) lists fourteen of his 
works: 1. A:. al-Ta>rikh; 2. K. al-Iktisarat; 3. K. Gharib 
al-Kur^an (a very large book, according to al- 
Baghdadl, Ta>rikh, vi, 159); 4. K. al-Mukni c ft 7- 
nahw; 5. #. al-IstitJind* wa'l-shurut fi 'l-kird'dt (var. 
Waft, vi, 132, ... wa 'l-shartfi 'l-Kur'dn; al-Kiftl, Inbdh, 
i, 215; al-Istifd'fi 'l-shurut); 6. K. al-Kawdfi; 7. K. al- 
Radd <ala man kola bi-khalk al-KuPdn; 8. K. al-Mulah; 9. 
A:. al-Amthdl; 10. K. al-Shahdddt; U.K. al-Masddir; 12. 
A". al-Radd c ald man za'ama anna 'l-'Arab tashtakku 7- 
kaldm ba < dahu min ba ( d; 13. A". al-Radd ( ald 'l-Mufaddal 
ftnakdih c ald 'l-Khalll; 14. Ft anna 'l-'Arab tatakallamu 
tab"" la la'-allum™. 

Yakut revised the list of the Fihrist and added three 
titles to it: A". al-Am(hdlfi 'l-Kur'dn, K. al- Wuzard ' and 
A". al-Bdri<. Ibn Khayr (Fahrasa, 372, 376, 407) men- 
tioned three other titles: A". Atraghashsha ( = "to 
recover, regain strength", cf. LA, root i-r-gh-sh) fi 7- 
lugha, Mas^alat subhdn and A\ al-Amdli. Finally, Isma'il 
Pasha (Hadiyya, i, 5) adds a Kasida fi gharib al-lugha. 


With the exception of the brief survey (8 folios) 
Mas'alat subhdn, and a work entitled al-Maksur wa 7- 
mamdud which is attributed to him but is mentioned in 
none of the biographies, all the other works have been 
lost. The Mas^ala has been edited by Y. Muh. al- 
Sawwas, in RAAD, lxiv/3 (1989), 361-91, on the basis 
of the Zahiriyya ms., madjmd'a 79. In it Niftawayh 
examines 32 Kur'anic verses containing the words 
subhdn or tasbih and comments on them from a 
linguistic viewpoint, with the support of numerous 
examples drawn from ancient poetry, hadilh and 
Kur'anic exegesis. As for al-Maksur wa 'l-mamdud, H. 
Sh. Farhud believes it to be the work of Niftawayh 
and as such has published it in Madjallat Kulliyyat al- 
Addb, Djflmi'atal-Riydd, iv (1973) (cf. U. Haarman, in 
Studia Arabka et Islamka, Festschr. for I. '■Abbas, Beirut 
1981, 169 n. 31). 

The majority of the lost works were known, how- 
ever, either by the title or by the quotations drawn 
from them. A.D. al- c Umari (Nifiawayh wa-dawruhji 7- 
kitaba wa 'l-la^rikh, in Madjallat Kulliyyat al-Addb, 
Baghdad, xv [1972], 71-102) gives a list of the quota- 
tions which are to be found in literature, without any 
indication of title (cf. F. Sezgin, GAS, viii, 149). Cer- 
tain of these works feature among the sources for al- 
Amdli of al-Kall, for the I c rdb al-Kur^dn of al-Nahhas 
(ed. GhazI Zahid, introd., 15, 48), for the K. al- 
Muridj. of al-Mas c udi (§§ 11, 2889, 3391), for the 
Siyar aHdm al-nubald^ of al-Dhahabl (vi, 69, vii, 55, x, 
281, 302 ff.) and for al-Khizdna of <Abd al-Kadir al- 
Baghdadl (ed. C A. Muh. Harun, vi, 458, ix, 146, xiii, 
26). Of his numerous recensions, it seems that only 
two have survived. In one, he edits the dlwdn of 
Suhaym <Abd Ban! '1-Hasljas (ed. MaymanI, introd., 
7) and in the other, that of al-Samaw'al (ed. L. 
Cheikho, Beirut 1910). 

The disappearance of almost all of his literary works 
cannot fail to raise questions. For, while it is generally 
accepted that the loss of a great many Arabic books is 
most often due to the natural or human scourges 
which have ravaged the Islamic metropolises, it is 
remarkable that all the works of a writer of Nift- 
awayh's versatility should have suffered the same fate. 
It may be suspected that the loss of his work is to be 
accounted for, to a certain extent, by the eclecticism 
of this author in questions oifikh, his intransigence in 
questions of language (concerning ishtikdk and the 
nature of language), his polemics against the 
Mu'tazila or the absence of one or more disciples 
dedicated to passing on his teaching. 

Furthermore, a point made by Ibn Khayr (Fahrasa, 
395-6) may provide a partial explanation of the cause 
of this loss. In effect, he states that al-Kall brought 
with him from Baghdad to Spain (in 220/942) a large 
quantity of the recensions and works of al-Niftawayh, 
in addition to those which he had left behind and 
which had been taken from him in Kayrawan. 

Bibliography (in addition to the works cited in 
the text): Mas'udI, Murudj, Arabic index, vi, 85; 
Azhari, Tahdhib, Cairo 1964, i, 27-8; Zubaydi, 
Tabakat al-nahwiyyin wa 'l-lughawiyyin, Cairo 1954, 
154; Ibn al-Nadlm, Fihrisl, Beirut 1978, 121; 
Khatlb BaghdadI, TaViM Baghdad, Cairo 1931, vi, 
159-62; Ibn Khayr, Fahrasa, Saragossa 1893, 395-6, 
398 ff; Kifti, Inbdh al-ruwdt, Cairo 1950, i, 176-82; 
Yakut, Mu%am al-udabd}, Cairo 1936, i, 254-72; 
Ibn al-Aihlr, Kdmil, Cairo 1953, vi, 250; Ibn 
KJiallikan, Wafaydt, Cairo 1948, i, 30-1; DhahabI, 
Siyar aHdm al-nubala'', Beirut 1986, xv, 75; Safadi, 
Wafx, vi, 129-33; Subkr, Tabakat al-ShdfiHyya, Cairo 
1965, iii, 64, 269 ff.; Ibn Kaihir, Biddya, Beirut 
1985, xi, 195; Ibn TaghrlbirdI, Nudjum, Cairo 

1932, iii, 250; Ibn Hadjar, Lisdn al-Mlzdn, 
Haydarabad 1329, i, 109; Suyutl, Bughya, Cairo 
1326, 187; Ibn al- c Imad, Shadhardl al-dhahab, Cairo 
n.d., ii, 299; G. Fliigel, Gramm. Schulen der Araber, 
Leipzig 1862, 213-15; Brockelmann, S I, 184; 
Isma c H Pasjia, Hadiyyat al-'driftn, Istanbul 1951, i, 
5; Muhsin al-'Amill, A'-yan al-Shf-a, Beirut 1983, ii, 
220-3; Zirikll, AHdm, i, 57; Kahhala, Muhlliftn, i, 
102; Sezgin, GAS, ii, index, viii, 149-51. 

(Omar Bencheikh) 
NIGDE, modern Turkish form Nigde, a town of 
south-central Anatolia in a fertile trough between 
mountainous regions, hence important in earlier 
times as a station on the trade route connecting Cilicia 
with the interior of Anatolia and with Sinope on the 
Black Sea coast. It lies in lat. 37° 58' N. and long. 34° 
42' E. at an altitude of 1,250 m/4,100 feet. 

The town is first mentioned in the Turkish period; 
previously, the chief town of the district was Tyana 
(Ar. Tuwana), but it is probable that the striking hill 
which commands the important road from Cilicia 
across the Taurus to Kaysariyye at its entrance to a 
pass over the mountains had a fortified settlement 
upon it in the pre-Turkish period. The old place- 
name may be the origin of the modern one, an older 
form of which was Neklde (Yakut, iv, 811, Naklda; 
Ibn BIbl and others, also in inscriptions down to the 
10th/ 16th century, Naklda; the modern form Nigde is 
already found in Hamd Allah Mustawfi, Nuzhat al- 
kulub, 99). In this particular district, some villages 
have retained their ancient names (Andaval- 
Andabalis, Melegop-Malakopaia), and considerable 
numbers of descendants of the original Christian in- 
habitants survived until the early 20th century (R.M. 
Dawkins, Modern Greek in Asia Minor, Cambridge 
1916, 16 ff.). 

Nigde is first mentioned in connection with the par- 
tition of Saldjuk territory among the sons of Kflfdj 
Arslan II (685/1189), when it was allotted as an in- 
dependent lordship to Arslan Shah (Ibn BibT, ed. 
Houtsma, in Rec, iv, 11). Nigde had perhaps 
previously belonged to the Danishmendids [q.v.\, but 
Ewliya Celebi, iii, 189, cannot be taken as evidence of 
this. Kay Kawus I granted Nigde to the Amir-i Akhur 
Zayn al-DIn Bashara (Ibn Bibi, 44), who shortly 
before his death built the important mosque of 'Ala 5 
al-DIn here (620/1223). In the 7th/13th century Nigde 
was the headquarters (sar-i lastkan) of one of the great 
military districts of the Saldjuks. Under Kilfdj Arslan 
IV, Ibn al-Khatlr Mas'ud held this office. At first an 
ally of the all-powerful Mu c In al-DIn Parwane [q.v.], 
with whom he killed the sultan in 662/1264, he 
endeavoured to remove the young Kay Khusraw III 
out of the Parwane's influence and brought him to 
Nigde (674/1276). But the help for which he had ap- 
pealed to Egypt came too late, and he succumbed to 
the Parwane, who was supported by the Mongols (Ibn 
BIbl; Weil, Gesch. d. Chalifen, iv, 80-1). He built a well 
in Nigde opposite the c Ala 5 al-DIn mosque 
(666/1268). Under the Ilkhans, there ruled in their 
name, or in the name of their Anatolian governor 
Eretna, Sunkur Agha, who is known only from in- 
scriptions and is, it is remarkable to note, not men- 
tioned by Ibn Battuta, who visited Nigde about 1333 
(ii, 286-7, tr. Gibb, ii, 433); he made himself indepen- 
dent after the death of sultan Abu Sa c Id. He gave the 
town a large mosque, on the wall of which facing the 
Bezistan is a Persian inscription, in which he grants 
Christian foreigners exemption from djizya and kharddj. 
(736/1335). The Saldjuk princess Khudawand 
Khatun, buried in 732/1332 in her splendid turbe built 
in 712/1312, on the other hand, probably did not rule 


in Nfgde although she resided there. She was, if the 
lady buried beside her in 745/1344 was her daughter, 
the wife of the amir S_hudja c al-Din, who is mentioned 
as the father of the lady on her sarcophagus; he ruled, 
according to al-'Uman (ed. Taeschner, 31), in the 
Bulghardagh, where a wilayet called Shudja c al-Din is 
still mentioned in Sa c d al-DIn (i, 517, following Idrls) 
and where lies Ulukishla, which, according to Hadjdji 
Khalifa (Dxihdn-numd, 617), was also called Shudja c al- 
Dln. After the period of Sunkur's rule, Nigde proba- 
bly passed directly to the Karamanoghlu , who held it 
against the attacks of the Eretnid 'Ala 3 al-Din C A1I (ca. 
781/1379) ('Aziz b. Ardashlr, Bezm u rezm, 141 ff.). In 
792/1390 Nigde surrendered with other Karamanid 
towns to the Ottomans, but was restored to the 
Karamanids, who defended it successfully against 
Kadi Burhan al-DIn, lord of Kaysariyye and Siwas 
(Bezm u rezm, 424, 523). After Tlmur's invasion, the 
power of the Karamanids extended northwards as far 
as Deweli Karahisar, which previously belonged to 
Kaysariyye itself. Nigde then ceased to be a frontier 
town. Apart from a temporary occupation by 
Mamluk Egyptian troops in 822/1419 (Weil, v, 146 
ff.), it enjoyed peace and prosperity and the special 
care of the Karamanids, who had one of the bulwarks 
of their power there till the end of the dynasty. A 
series of buildings, the first of which not only in time 
but also in size and quality is the Ak Medrese of the 
year 812/1409, is evidence of their interest in the 
town. Nigde surrendered in 875/1470 to the Ottoman 
general Ishak Pasha, who had the defences of the town 
restored. In 878/1473 the Ottoman sanaj_ak-bey of 
Nigde, Koci Bey, forced Deweli Karahisar, which still 
belonged to the Karamanoghlu, to surrender to 
prince Mustafa. The latter died on the way back at 
Nigde (Sa c d al-DIn, i, 517, 550). 

The sangjak of Nigde belonging to the beylerbeylik of 
Karaman, contained the kadah of Urgiib, Bor, 
Dewelu, Deweli Karahisar and Ulukishla. In about 
1 132/1720 the grand vizier Ibrahim Pasha transform- 
ed his birthplace of Mushkara in the kada} of Urgiib 
into the imposing town of Newshehir [q.v.], and the 
fiefs for the garrisons of the decayed fortresses of 
Nigde and Deweli Karahisar were transferred to the 
new foundation (von Hammer, GOR 2 , iv, 250-1). At 
the end of the Ottoman period, the sandjak of Nigde, 
to which the kaaa^of Ak Saray also belonged, contain- 
ed 148,700 Muslims and 49,551 Christians, the latter 
mainly natives and mostly speaking Turkish. Nigde 
was the residence of the metropolitan of Konya. The 
town numbered at this time 1 1 ,526 inhabitants, but in 
1927 (after the exchange of populations with Greece) 
only 9,463. 

Nigde (now on the Kayseri-Ulukijla railway) con- 
sists of an upper town running north and south, now 
largely uninhabited (Tepe Wirane), at the highest 
point of which in the north stands the imposing 
citadel, and the lower town (Shehr alti) which was also 
once surrounded by a wall. In the upper town is the 
'Ala 5 al-DIn mosque, one of the oldest mosques in 
Anatolia, with an architect's inscription in Persian. 
Before the gate of the upper town at its south end is 
the Gothic-influenced mosque of Sunkur (ca. 1330), 
showing influences from Little Armenia and Cyprus, 
and the bazaar. West of and below it is the 
Karamanid Ak Medrese of 812/1409. A little apart to 
the west of the town, separated by a broad road, run- 
ning north and south is the modern quarter of 
Kayabasjji with a few remains of the old cemetery and 
a group of tiirbes, among which that of Khudawand 
Khatun from the year 712/1312 is prominent. 

Modern Nigde is also the chef-lieu of an il or pro- 
vince of the same name; in 1970 the town had a 

population of 84,427 and the il, which has good agri- 
cultural land where it can be irrigated, one of 

Bibliography: Cuinet, Turquie d'Asie, i, 839 ff.; 
Turkiyyenin sihhi we-idjlimdH gjpghrafiyasi medjmu'-asi, 
no. 2, Nigde (1922); A. Gabriel, Monuments lures 
d'Analolie, i, 1931, 105 (historical and Muslim 
monuments of Nigde, Bor and Ulukishla). — In- 
scriptions: Khalll Edhem, in TOEM, ii, 747 ff., 
iii, 821 ff., 873 ff., and A. Tewhld, in Gabriel, op. 
cit. — On the Christian monuments of the region 
see Rott, Kleinasiatische Denkmdler, 1908; and De Jer- 
phanion, Eglises rupestres de Cappadocie, 1925. See 
also Admiralty handbooks, Turkey, London 1942-3, 
ii, 575-6; IA art. s.v. (Besim Darkot). 

(P. Witter') 
NIGER, the great river of West Africa, with its 
source in the southeastern Futa Djallon [q.v.] at an 
altitude of 800 m/2,624 ft. It runs northeastwards to 
the Sahara Desert, and then it turns southeastwards 
before descending southwards and ending in its delta 
on the Gulf of Guinea, in present-day Nigeria [q.v.]. 
Under the name of al-Nil, the Niger river appears 
early in Muslim geographical writing, perhaps first in 
Ibn al-Faklh [q.v.], whose Kitdb al-Buldan was com- 
pleted after 290/903. For many centuries, however, 
Muslim geographical analysis of the river was strait- 
jacketed by widespread deference to the Ptolemaic 
model linking the Niger to the Nile. The early 
geographers seem frequently also to have regarded the 
Niger and Senegal rivers as one and the same. It was 
the northernmost part of the Niger, the so-called 
Niger bend (boucle in French), flowing eastwards 
through the desert, which first became known to the 
outside world in some detail. 

Two major centres of trade, political centralisation, 
and religious change here first attracted Muslim 
attention, Ghana [q. v. ] some distance west of the bend 
but with its sphere of influence extending to the river, 
and Gao [q.v.] (variously Kuku, Kawkaw, KRKR, 
Kaghu, etc.) lying on the river after it has turned 
south at the eastern tip of the bend. Qhana and Gao 
were known in the first half of the 3rd/9th century, 
even before the Niger. Al-MuhallabI [q.v.], who died 
in 380/990, was perhaps the first to associate Gao with 
the river; his own work is lost, but Yakut quotes the 
following passage: 

Kuku, the name of a people and a country of the 
Sudan .... Their king pretends before his subjects to 
be a Muslim (yuzahir bi 'l-isldm) and most of them 
pretend to be Muslim too. He has a town on the 
Nile, on the eastern bank, which is called Sarnah, 
where there are markets and trading houses 
(matddpr) and to which there is continuous traffic 
from all parts. He has another town to the west of 
the Nile where he and his men and those who have 
his confidence live. There is a mosque there where 
he prays but the communal prayer-ground (musalld 
[q.v.]) is between the two towns. In his own town he 
has a palace which nobody inhabits with him or has 
resort to except a eunuch slave (khddim maktu'-). 
They are all Muslims ... 
It seems unclear exactly how much of this is from al- 
Muhallabl; there is an internal inconsistency concern- 
ing the extent of local Islam. The passage, 
nonetheless, is interesting. The river here is a 
meeting-point, with markets and trading houses 
nearby, implying considerable trans-shipment 
between land and water transport. A religious 
meeting-point too: the reference to a pretended Islam 
may indicate "mixed" religion, with Muslim and 
traditional elements commingled; isolation within the 
royal palace may echo an earlier (and still surviving?) 

divine kingship. The river is at the same time a bar- 
rier: Sarnah, the trading town, is east of the Niger, 
outside the bend; in another town, on the western, 
inner bank, the king lives with his own people, with 
those in whom he has confidence— suggesting that 
there were some traders and other visitors whom the 
king mistrusted. 

As well as a meeting-point, and a dividing line, the 
Niger was also a channel of communication. Abu 
c Ubayd al-Bakri [q.v.\, writing in or before 460/1068, 
well described the route from Ghana to Kawkaw, 
mentioning markets, agriculture, routes into the 
desert, and locating pagan Sudan south of the river, 
Muslim Berbers to its north. Al-Bakri places the town 
of Kawkaw inside the bend, curiously not mentioning 
any settlement on the opposite bank here. Journeying 
north and west along the Niger, from Gao back 
towards Ghana, al-Bakri has the traveller encounter 
the cannibalistic Damdam, whose local religion is des- 
cribed; whether these details are correct or not, they 
do suggest that the traveller is inside the bend, while 
the described route from Ghana to Gao follows the 
northern, desert bank. Al-Bakri vividly pictures Gao, 
comprising two towns, one Muslim, the other the 
royal residence. During the royal meals, a drum is 
beaten, women dance, and all business in the town 
ceases; leftovers are then thrown into the Niger with 
the courtiers boisterously shouting, the whole clearly 
indicating pre-Islamic ritual intimately associated 
with the river. The king is Muslim, "for they entrust 
the kingship only to Muslims". 

The celebrated geographer, al-Idrisi [q.o.], in the 
mid-6th/12th century, refers often to the Niger, but 
his double conviction that a branch of the Nile flowed 
westward across Africa, and that as all civilised life in 
Egypt depended upon the Nile, so in western Africa 
all cities must be riverain, makes his account less 
reliable than al-Bakn's. 

Because of its length (approx. 4,000 km/2,486 
miles), difficulties of crossing, occasional rapids 
obstructing navigation, islands and inundation, and 
the different climate zones through which it flows, the 
Niger could also be a refuge. In 1591, with Moroccan 
invaders threatening the Songhay empire, then the 
major power on the Niger bend, the clerics of Tim- 
buktu proposed evacuating the city southwards across 
the river — sound advice turned down because men of 
religion were judged unfit for counsels of war. An 
estimated 2,000 boats were available to evacuate Gao, 
but again no full-scale withdrawal occurred. The 
Moroccans, having occupied Timbuktu, and 
desperate for boats, cut down every tree, even stripp- 
ing houses of their doors. A branch of the legitimate 
askiya dynasty retreated downstream from Gao, to the 
Dendi region, where, protected by rapids, forest, and 
the river barrier, an independent Songhay presence 
successfully survived. Comparable patterns of raiding 
and sanctuary-seeking, depopulation and repopula- 


times and places: Samuel Crowther's 1854 journal, 
for example, of travel on the lower Niger and the 
Benue, gives many instances in the aftermath of the 
Sokoto djihad. 

The liminal experience of river crossing figures in 
many accounts of pilgrimage, djihad, etc. Abdullahi 
dan Fodio's Tazyin al-warakdl mentions several cases, 
one of special interest. Describing a raid across the 
Niger early in the Sokoto djihad, the prose version 
recounts the plucky, and lucky, finding of a prac- 
ticable ford. The verse recension, coloured by the 
Kur'an (VII, 160, XX, 77-80, XXVI, 63), 

When we came to the river it obeyed, parting 

To the staff of (divine) assistance, all its creatures 


Its water creatures were turned on their backs, 

Their teeth and their fangs broken; 

They became for us as food offered to a guest; like 

game animals they became tractable, and its water 

Became like quails and manna — a limpid cup, 



Bibliography: c Abd Allah b. Muhammad, 
Tazyin al-warakdl, ed. and tr. M. Hiskett, Ibadan 
1963 (the quotation is at 77/126); E.W. Bovill, The 
Niger explored, London 1968; S. Crowther, Journal of 
an expedition up the Niger and Tshadda rivers 1854, 
1st ed. London 1855, 2nd ed. London 1970; N. 
Levtzion and J.F. Hopkins, Corpus of early Arabic 
sources for West African history, Cambridge 1981 (the 
quotation from al-Muhallabi apud Yakut is on p. 
174); Elias N. Saad, Social history of Timbuktu: therole 
of Muslim scholars and notables 1400-1900, Cambridge 
1983; M. Tymowsky, he Niger, vote de communication 
des grands elals du Soudan occidental jusqu 'a la fin du 
XVI' siecle, in Africana Bulletin, vi (1967), 73-95. 
(H.J. Fisher) 
NIGER (The Republic of Niger, La Republique du 
Niger, Djumhuriyyat al-Naydjar), a modern state 
of West Africa, formerly the French colony of that 

The Niger Republic is, to quote Djibo Mallam 
Hamani (though specifically of the Ayar Massif, 
which fills the north of it), a "carrefour du Soudan et 
de la Berberie". Its geographical position on the map, 
and the multi-ethnic character of its societies, has had 
a profound effect on the Islamic life of the Nigeriens 
throughout their history. 
1. Geography and peoples 

The Niger Republic covers an area of some 
1,267,000 km 2 . However, 800,000 of these are within 
the Sahara, much of which is uninhabited or is 
uninhabitable. The bulk of the remainder of the coun- 
try is Sahel. It is only along the banks of the Niger 
[q.o.] (where Niamey, the capital, is located) that 


Within the Sahara area are found the 
of Ayar (Air [q.v.] or Azbin). This massif 
extends approximately 480 km from north to south 
and about 240 km from east to west. Within it there 
is a region of lush vegetation. Its capital is the impor- 
tant city of Agades (Agadez) and this whole northerly 
massif contains some 600,000 inhabitants. Niger 
borders upon Libya and Algeria to the north, Chad to 
the east, Nigeria to the south and Mali and Burkina 
Faso, formerly Haute Volta, to the west. The total 
population of Niger is estimated to number upwards 
of 6,500,000 people; 97% of them are nominally 
Muslim, though this has not prevented ethnic ten- 
sions. All of them are Sunnis and are MalikI in 
madhhab. Some 45% of these are Hausaphone. The 
remainder are very mixed; Songhai and Zerma com- 
prise 21.2%; Fulanis 13.8%; Tuareg (Tamashegh- 
speakers), who are largely nomadic, 11.2%; and 
Kanuri (who border on Lake Chad) 7.5%. Other 
minorities include Tubu (Teda) in the region of 
Kawar and Agadem, Gourmantche and Arabophone 
Awlad Sulayman, Kunta and Tadjakant. The wealth 
of the country is principally in agriculture, in trans- 
Saharan trade, cattle herding and pastoral nomadism, 
and in the past, its salt caravans. Recent droughts 
have devastated the herds. The discovery of uranium 
at Arlit (in 1965) now makes Niger the world's fifth- 
largest produc 

, in Nig 

French West Africa. Even so, pockets of paganism 
survive. For example, the Wodaabe Fulani are still 
pagan in many of their beliefs and in their practices 
(see Carol Beckwith and Marion Van Offelen, Nomads 
of Niger, London 1984, and A. Maliki Bonfigliori, 
Dudal, Cambridge-Paris 1988), though belief in 
magic, in charms, in ((jinn and demonic forces is to be 
found amongst all the nigerien communities (see, for 
example, the kel esuf among the Ayar Tuareg, in D. 
Casajus, La tenle dans la solitude, Cambridge-Paris 
1987). Throughout its Islamic history, Niger has 
witnessed the growth of Sufi [see tasawwuf] move- 
ments of a kind and of a diversity unmatched else- 
where in the Sahelian countries. It has also been sen- 
sitive to puritan reformist movements inspired by the 
works of c Abd al-Karim al-Maghill [q.v.], by the 
teaching of Shaykh c Umar fibril, by the Sokoto 
djihad of Shehu 'Uthman dan (b.) Fodio (Fudi) [q.v.] 
and by reformers inspired by the Wahhabiyya [q.v.]. 
The Tuareg scholar community (inesleman) has played 
a major role in composing literary works in Arabic, or 
in religious verse in Arabic and Tamasjiegh, out of all 
proportion to their meagre numbers (see below). 

When Niger became independent in 1960, it was 
established as a secular republic. In the 1970s it 
sought closer ties with the Arab World. On August 15 
1974, steps were taken to constitute a Niger Islamic 
association and plans were pursued to found an 
Islamic university. This has now been established at 
Say, south of Niamey. Students from all over Muslim 
West Africa are taught there. Nigerien students have 
been sent to study in the Arab East, and there is const- 
ant encouragement to teach classical Arabic at all 
levels. According to J.-L. Triaud, Islam and state in the 
Republic of Niger (1974-81), in Islam and the state in the 
world today, ed. O. Carre, New Delhi 1987, 253, "The 
new regime has drawn from this Arabized group to fill 
high level posts in the Islamic structure. The students 
have in general received a solid grounding in Arabic 
and religious studies. They embody a position which 
could be termed 'moderate reformism', based on 
openness to the outside world, refusal of superstition 
and unsophisticated practices and opposition to 
simplistic or fanatical formulations. The creation of 
the Islamic Association is in many ways an alliance 
between the central power and these reformist leaders 
against little local Marabouts or against the activism 
of certain fundamentalist tendencies". 
3. An outline of the important phases of 
Islamic history in Niger 

Islam has become integrated into the life of the 
nigeriens over the centuries through a gradual process 
of Islamisation. It has produced a number of Arabic 
scholars and poets worthy of a place beside those from 
Timbuctoo in Mali, or from several towns in 
Mauritania. The following periods, religious leaders, 
regions, cities and events, have played a key part in 
determining that Islamisation: 

(a) The earliest encounters between the Arabs, led 
by the Companion, and commander 'Ukba b. Nafi c 
[q.v. ] and the inhabitants of the oases of Kawar, on 
the Fazzan border. This was followed by commercial 
contacts between the communities of the Ibadiyya 
[q.v.] in the Fazzan and towards the region of Ayar 
(see, in particular, K. Vikor, The Oasis of Salt, the 
history of Kawar, a Saharan centre of salt production, Bergen 
1979, 97-111). Vikor furnishes a useful selection of 
passages from important Arab geographers (159-76 
together with English translation) including Ibn c Abd 
al-tfakam (d. 258/871-2), al-Ya c kubi (wrote 
278/891), al-Bakri (wrote 460/1067-8), al-Idrisi 
(wrote 548-1154), Yakut (wrote 621/1224), Ibn al- 

Athlr (d. 630/1233), Ibn Sa'Id (wrote 638/1240) and 
al-Harrani (wrote ca. 1330). (See also T. Lewicki, 
Etudes maghrebines et soudanaises, i, Warsaw 1976, 

(b) The establishment of Berber Massufa Sanhadja 
(who originated in Mauritania and Mali) centres in 
the vicinity of Takadda (Teggidan Tesemt/Azelik), 
and later within the Ayar massif itself. The area was 
visited by Ibn Battufa [q.v.], in 754/1353, who men- 
tions the names of two kadis. Two noted scholars from 
Takadda and its satellite Anu Samman were al- c Akib 
b. c Abd Allah, d. after 955/1548-9, and al-Nadjib b. 
Muhammad, d. after 1004/1595-6. Both of them 
wrote substantial works on the Mukhtasar of al-Kh.alil 
and left other religious compositions (see J.O. Hun- 
wick, The Central Suddn before 1800, biographies and 
bibliographies, in Arabic literature in Africa, no. 1, North- 
western University, Evanston 1985, 23-41). The great 
Algerian reformer c Abd al-Karim al-Maghill [q.v.] 
allegedly visited this area for a while on his way to 

(c) The religious significance of the foundation of 
the Agades sultanate, recognised by the caliphate, in 
the 15th century, its supplanting of Takadda, its tem- 
poral subordination to the Askias and to Borno, its 
role as a clearing house for trans-Saharan commerce 
and its growth as a focus and haven for scholars who 
were in touch with DJalal al-Dih al-Suyu(i [q.v.] by 
correspondence, and who visited the Arab East. Each 
and all made an impact on more southerly areas of 

(d) The establishment of Kadiriyya lodges in Ayar, 
for example, at Agalal and in Agades city. Other Sufi 
orders followed. Prominent amongst them was the 
Shadhiliyya. Evidence of a ghadhili presence in the 
city of Agades in the mid- 17th century may be found 
in the biography of Shaykh <Uthman b. al-Shaykh 
C A1I al-Hudayri whose compositions are cited in a 
manuscript (now being edited in Libya), of a work 
attributed to Ahmad al-Dardlr al-Hudayri. It con- 
tains the biographies of leading Fazzani scholars. A 
specifically Tuareg and Fulani order that was founded 
by a little-known Oriental darwish, Sidi Mahmud al- 
Baghdadl, martyred in the early 16th century, has 
become the focal point of Ayar Sufism in general. He 
would appear to have been an eclectic divine (the only 
Mahmudiyya found elsewhere is a sub-order of the 
Nukfawiyya dating from about the same period, 
though it is to be doubted whether there can be any 
connection). Later, both the local Suhrawardiyya and 
the Khalwatiyya adopted, adapted and possibly 
"sanitised" many of the teachings and practices (adab) 
that were handed down in the Mahmudiyya. 

Sufism spread from Ayar into adjacent Azawagh, 
and at a later date into the Imanan canton, in Zerma 
country, and to a Sufi zawiya established, under 
Borno's aegis, at Kalumbardo, near Lake Chad, 
though within Niger's existing borders. In Agades 
city, the sultanate attracted scholars and sustained a 
number of '■ulama' and fukaha' who were revered 
amongst the city's mixed population. 

(e) The reform movement of the Agades-born 
Djibrfl b. c Umar (died after 1198/1784). He visited 
Egypt and Mecca and his pupils included Shaykh 
c Uthman b. Fudi. The latter at a later date criticised 
his master's view that one who commits a grave sin 
(kabira) becomes an unbeliever, a view that was akin 
to that used by earlier petty Tuareg mudjahidun from 
the Iborkarayan and Ait Awari in the region, in order 
to justify their razing of Sufi centres in villages of 
Azawagh and Ayar. 

(f) The Sokoto djihad itself, during which the 


Islamic movement embraced large Hausa areas of 
Southern Niger, especially Gobir, the Agades 
sultanate, the Ait Awari (where Muhammad al- 
Pjaylanl their leader tried to settle his followers) and 
other Tuareg groups such as the Kel Geres. The 
Hausa and Zarma river areas were subject to inroads 
from the Iwillimmeden Tuareg whose "chaplains", 
the Kelessuk, were often adepts of the Kunta 
Kadiriyya and who habitually fabricated charms and 
potions and who issuedfatwds and composed sermons. 
(g) SanusI [q.v.] penetration into northern Niger 
from 1870 onwards. The revolt and struggle of 
Kaoussen against the French in Agades and Ayar, 
were backed by German-Turkish military sponsors 
based in the Fazzan. The consequences of the French 
expedition, mounted from Zinder in 1906, and which 
achieved the defeat of Kaoussen's mudjahidun in 1916, 
was to lead to a mass emigration of population from 
Ayar and major destruction of its Muslim centres (see 
F.R. Rodd, People of the veil, London 1926, A. Salifou, 
Kaoussan ou la revoke sennoussiste, in Etudes Nigeriennes, 
no. 33, Niamey 1973, and F. Fuglestad, A history of 
Niger, 1850-1960, Cambridge 1983). 

(h) The current Islamic revival; this has included a 
Khalwatiyya headquarters in Ayar at Egandawel 
(accompanied by an agricultural settlement at 
Tabellot-Akririb) inspired by a revivalist, Musa 
Abatul, a resurgence of Islamic practice in Agades 
(see Aboubacar Adamou, Agadez el sa region, in Etudes 
Nigeriennes, no. 44, 318-21), and growth of the Niassist 
Tidjaniyya amongst Hausa and Zerma, led by 
Shaykh al-Hadjdj Abu Bakar, from Kiota, near 
Dosso, who married a daughter of the master, from 
Kaolack in Senegal. The Niassists, the madrasa at Say, 
neo-Wahhabism, fundamentalism, and the Niger 
Islamic Association, and the reformist movement, 
strong around Maradi, aiming at an increase of 
wealth, and the building of madrasas, known as izala 
(djama'-at izalat al-bid c a wa-ikamat al-sunna) to name the 
most important centres of power, all make a signifi- 
cant contribution or compete for the souls of the 
Muslims in Niger today. 

Bibliography: Besides the works already men- 
tioned, see P. Bataillon, L'Islam et I 'organisation 
politique des Touaregs du Niger (Memoires du CHEAM, 
937), Paris 1946; E. Bernus, Colporteurs de charmes 
magiques, les Ikadammatan, in Journal des Africanistes, 
lv/1-2 (1985), 16-27; idem, Hisloires paralleles et 
croisees. Nobles et religieux chez les Touaregs Kel Denneg, 
in L'Homme, no. 115, vol. xxx/3, July-September, 
1990), 31-47; A.D.H. Bivar, and M. Hiskett, The 
Arabic literature of Nigeria to 1804; a provisional account, 
in BSOAS, xxv (1962), 104-48; Nicole Echard, 
Histoire et histoires. Conception du passe chez les Hausa et 
les Twareg Kel Gress de I'Adar (Republique du Niger), in 
Cahiers d Etudes Africaines, nos. 61-2, vol. xvi (1976), 
237-96; D. Casajus, Islam et noblesse chez les Touaregs, 
in L'Homme, no. 115, vol. xxx/3 (July-September 
1990), 7-30; Echard, L'experience du passe; histoire de 
la societe paysanne Hausa de I'Adar, in Etudes 
Nigeriennes, no. 36, Niamey 1975; J. Godrie, Le 
Niassisme au Niger-Est, Memoire du CHEAM, no. 
3441, Paris 1961; H. Guillaume, Les Nomades inter- 
rompus. Introduction a I 'etude du canton Twareg de 
I'Imanan, in Etudes Nigeriennes, no. 35, Niamey 
1974; Djibo Mallam Hamani, Au carrefour du Soudan 
et de la Berberie; le Sultanat Touareg de I 'Ayar, in Etudes 
Nigeriennes, no. 55, Niamey 1989 (contains an 
extremely full bibliography); E. Hodgkin, Social and 
political relations on the Niger bend in the seventeenth cen- 
tury, Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of Birmingham 1987; J. O. 
Hunwick, Notes on a late fifteenth century document con- 
cerning "al-Takrur", in C. Allen and R.W. Johnson 

(eds.), Africa perspectives: papers in the history, politics 
and economics of Africa presented to Thomas Hodgkin, 
Cambridge 1970, 7-33; idem, Sharfa in Songhay. The 
Replies of al-Maghili to ten questions of Askia al-Hqjj 
Muhammad, ed. and tr. with an introduction and 
commentary, Fontes Historiae Africanae, Series 
Arabica V, Oxford 1985; M. Last, The Sokoto 
Caliphate, London 1967; J. E. Lavers, Two Sufi com- 
munities in seventeenth and eighteenth century Borno, paper 
submitted to the workshop on Sufism in Africa in 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (16th-18th 
September 1987), School of Oriental and African 
Studies, University of London; M. Le Cceur, Les 
oasis du Kawar, une route, un pays, tome 1, le passe pre- 
colonial, in Etudes Nigeriennes, no. 54, Niamey, 1958; 
M . Hanspeter, Die innere und dussere islamische Mis- 
sion Libyens. Historisch-poliiischer Kontext, innerer 
Struktur, regionale Ausprdgung am Beispiel Afrikas, 
Mainz-Munich 1986; F. Nicolas, LTslam et les con- 
freries en pays touareg nigerien, in Questions Sahariennes, 
99-121, CHEAM 1009, Paris 1947; idem, Etude sur 
I 'Islam, les confreries et les centres maraboutiques chez les 
Twareg du Sud, in Contribution a I'etude de I'Air, Paris 
1950, 480-91; H.T. Norris, The Tuaregs, their Islamic 
legacy and its diffusion in the Sahel, Warminster 1975; 
idem, Sufi mystics of the Niger Desert, Sidi Mahmud and 
the hermits of Air, Oxford 1990; A. Salifou, Le 
Damagaram ou Sultanat de Zinder au XIX' siecle, in 
Etudes Nigeriennes, no. 27, Niamey 1971; J.L. 
Triaud, LTslam et I'etat en Republique du Niger, in Le 
Mois en Afrique, nos. 192-3 (1981), 9-26; nos. 194-5 
(1982), 35-48; idem, Hommes de religion et confreries 
islamiques dans une societe en crise, I 'Air aux XIX' et XX' 
siecles, in Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, no. 91, vol. 
xxiii/3 (1983), 239-80; idem, Les Alhazai de Maradi, 
Histoire d'un groupe de riches marchands Saheliens, 
ORSTOM, Collection Travaux de Documents , no. 187, 
Paris 1986, 1990. (H.T. Norris) 

NIGERIA, the largest of the West African coastal 

i. Modern Nigeria 

Nigeria was put together in 1914 from the former 
British protectorates of Northern and Southern 
Nigeria, to become the Colony and Protectorate of 
Nigeria. It is bounded in the south by the Gulf of 
Guinea, in the west by Benin, in the north by Niger, 
in the north-east by Chad [q.v. in Suppl.] and in the 
east by Cameroon. The administrative capital is 
Abuja. The chief towns include Lagos, Ibadan, 
Ilorin, Kano and Sokoto. The population as at 1984 
was 88,148,000 in an area of 923,768 kmV356,574 sq. 
mis. This comprises more than 250 tribal groups, of 
which the largest are the Hausas [see hausa], the 
Fulani [see fulbe] and the Kanuri of Bornu [q.v.], in 
the north; the Yorubas in the south-west; and the Ibos 
in the east. 

The terrain encompasses the sandy shoreline and 
mango swamps of the coast, behind which lies a belt 
of tropical rain forest. This gradually gives way to 
orchard savannah as one moves north, to the area of 
Zaria. From there on the country becomes pro- 
gressively drier and more barren until one reaches the 
thin scrub savannah and the near-desert conditions of 
the immediate sub-Saharan north. 

Nigeria has numerous rivers, of which the Niger 
[q.v.], the Benue and the Gongola have been 
historically important. The coastal areas have two 
rainy seasons. The highest annual rainfall exceeds 
2,500 mm/ 100 ins. This decreases the farther north 
one travels. The northern dry season extends from 
October to April and is the time of the harmattan, the 
hot, dust -laden wind from the Sahara. 

The main religions of Nigeria are Islam (ca. 50%); 

Christianity (ca. 34%) and a receding African 

A.H.M. Kirk-Greene, in his The linguistic statistics of 
northern Nigeria: a tentative presentation, in African language 
review, vi (1967), 75-101, lists some fifty-three 
" 'Other' northern languages" in addition to Hausa, 
Fulani, Kanuri (of Bornu), Tiv, Nupe and Yoruba 
that were still spoken in northern Nigeria ca. 1952. 
The total number of languages spoken in the whole of 
Nigeria has been put at 250. Hausa, Yoruba, Edo and 
Ibo are now the most widely used indigenous tongues. 
English is the official language of the present Federal 
Republic of Nigeria, although there is strong pressure 
in the north for Hausa to be adopted as the national 
language. The minor northern vernaculars, some of 
which are confined to individual villages, are becom- 
ing extinct, replaced mainly by Hausa. 

On 1 October 1954, the Federation of Nigeria was 
established under British tutelage. It consisted of an 
Eastern Region, a Western Region and a Northern 
Region, together with the Southern Cameroons and 
the Federal Territory of Lagos. The Federation was 
granted independence on 1 October 1960, within the 
British Commonwealth. It consisted of Northern 
Nigeria, Western Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria and the 
Federal Territory of Lagos. In 1963 it became the 
Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Nigeria experienced widespread disturbances, a 
military coup and then a civil war during the period 
from 1966 to 1970. During this time the Republic of 
Biafra was declared in the former Eastern Region. It 
surrendered to the Federal Republic in 1970, at the 
end of the civil war. After a further period of military 
rule, a return to parliamentary government based on 
democratic elections was cut short by a military coup 
in 1983, followed by another in 1985. The Federal 
Republic is at present governed by a President with 
an Armed Forces Ruling Council, which appoints a 
Council of Ministers. In 1985 it comprised 19 states 
and a federal capital district. In 1991 the number of 
states was increased to 30. 

Nigeria had a varied and mainly agricultural 
economy until oil production began in the late 1950s. 
This gave rise to an oil boom. It was short-lived. The 
country later suffered from the drop in world oil prices 
and sustained a damaging revaluation of its currency. 

The recent general history of Nigeria, up to and 
including the declaration of independence, is most 
conveniently available in Sir Alan Burn's History of 
Nigeria, eighth revised edition, London 1972. 

The following sections of this article will set out 
briefly the course and extent of the adhesion to Islam 
of certain non-Hausa peoples of Nigeria; and will con- 
sider recent trends in Islam in Nigeria. 

ii. The Banza Bakwai 

The modern Hausas believe they spring from seven 
traditional Hausa states, the Hausa Bakwai [see 
hausa]. They also distinguish seven neighbours — the 
Banza Bakwai, the "Bastard Seven"— not of Hausa 
stock, who have supposedly adopted the Hausa 
language and way of life, and with whom their history 
has been continuously involved. They are the people 
of Zamfara, Kebbi, Yauri, the Yorubas, the Nupes, 
the Kwararafas and the Gwaris. These people are 
now, for the most part, drawn together with the 
Hausas within modern Nigeria. 

The kingdom of Zamfara was located north-west of 
present Zaria, between Kebbi and Kano. Islam was 
introduced there, reputedly in the 1 1 th/1 7th century. 
It probably came as a consequence of Zamfara's 
involvement in the trans-Saharan and sub-Saharan 
trade. The so-called "Fulani" djihad overtook Zam- 

rly in the 13th/19th century. Its trading pre- 
ce thereupon declined. It became absorbed 
into the Islamic empire of Sokoto [q.v.]. 

The ancient kingdom of Kebbi, located north-west 
of Zamfara, may have come under Islamic influences 
during the hegemony of the Songhay empire. Its rul- 
ing family had accepted Islam by 921/1515. Its inclu- 
sion among the Banza Bakwai is tenuous. For the Keb- 
bawa appear to have used Hausa only as a trade 
language; while their claim to Islam is as ancient as 
that of the Hausas. 

Yauri lies south-east of Kebbi, astride the route to 
the gold-bearing regions of the Volta. By 1025/1616 it 
seems that Muslim-Hausa traders were settled in the 
kingdom. Under their influence the Yaurawa were 
won over to Islam by the end of the 1 lth/1 7 th century. 

The Yorubas dwell south-west of the Niger-Benue 
confluence. They are yet more doubtful candidates to 
be regarded as Banza Bakwai than even the Kebbawa. 
They retain their ancestral tongue to this day. They 
use Hausa only as a lingua franca. Their Islam, though 
incomplete, has ancient roots. It surely stems from the 
Mandingo empire of Mali [q.v.], that reached its 
Islamic apogee in the 8th/14th century. This is 
reflected in the Yoruba word for a Muslim — Imale. 
Subsequent Yoruba history has included a tussle 
between the ancient cult of Oduduwa, centred on Ile- 
Ife, and an intrusive Islam from the north. A substan- 
tial Muslim community had developed among the 
Yorubas by ca. 1078/1667. As a result of political 
rivalries within the Yoruba empire of Oyo [q.v.], an 
Islamic party revolted against the traditional authority 
early in the 13th/19th century. Consequently, most 
Yorubas were drawn into the aftermath of the Islamic 
djihad [q.v. and also mudjahid] in the north and were 
formally incorporated into the empire of Sokoto, as 
the emirate of llorin, in 1246/1831. But other 
Yorubas remained outside the emirate, in Lagos and 
elsewhere. They have continued to be subject to 
Islamic influences, none the less. 

Islam is less complete among the Yorubas than it is 
among the northern Hausas and Fulani. Many are 
Christians, or adhere to the ancestral belief system. It 
is not uncommon to find Muslims and Christians in 
the same Yoruba extended family. 

The Nupes, located within the northern angle of the 
Niger-Benue Confluence, resemble the Yorubas in 
their continuing attachment to an ancestral cult and 
language. They were in trading contact with the 
Muslim Hausas as early as the 9th/15th century, and 
have experienced Islam from that point on. Yet there 
is no firm evidence of the official adoption of Islam 
among them until early in the second half of the 
12th/18th century. Thereafter, there is evidence of a 
swing back to the traditional belief system among 
some Nupes, later in the century. In modern times, 
Islam has become stronger among them; but not all 
Nupes are Muslims, even today. 

The Kwararafas are a warlike people inhabiting the 
Gongola and Benue valleys. They have been tradi- 
tional enemies of the Hausas to their north. A Muslim 
tradition among them cherishes a fantastic legend of 
origin in Yemen, which echoes the Sira [q.v.] story of 
the Prophet's letters to erstwhile hostile neighbours, 
calling them to Islam. It is surely an importation of 
visiting Muslims. It is as likely to reflect Kwararafa 
hostility to the Muslim Hausas as any conversions to 
Islam. It probably arose ca. 905/1500, as a result of 
the establishing of Islam in Zaria at that time. Despite 
their improbable legend of origin, Islam has until 
recently made scant impression upon the Kwararafas. 
Up until ca. 1370/1950, they remained substantially 

committed to polytheism. However, more recent 
pressures for a uniform, SunnI, Maliki Islam through- 
out northern and riverain Nigeria now impinge upon 

The Gwaris are scattered in the country of southern 
Zaria. Their Islam is of uncertain date and tenuous 
substance. Some venerate an Allah Bango, "Allah-of- 
the-book-boards", surely a reference to the presence 
of literate Hausa malams (Hausa = Varna*) among 
them. Another of their deities is "Sheshu" or 
"Shekohi", probably reflecting Hausa "Shehu" 
(shaykh) 'Uthman b. FudI [q.v.]. Yet another is 
"Mama", alias, no doubt, Muhammad. While the 
origin of these Islamic fragments is uncertain, their 
most likely provenance is the Muslim drive south that 
followed the 13th/ 19th-century djihad in northern 
Nigeria. As is frequent among the Muslim Hausas' 
smaller neighbours, a reformist, SunnI Islam has 
recently pushed aside most of what obtained before it. 
Islamic names and the ubiquitous Hausa riga, the 
Muslim gown, now make most Gwaris — at any rate in 
the towns and villages — indistinguishable from the 
surrounding Hausas. 

This account, a more detailed version of which will 
be found in M. Hiskett's The development of Islam in 
West Africa, London and New York 1984, 110-19, 
covers most of the non-Hausa peoples of present 
Nigeria. There remain the Fulani [see fulbe], Borne 
[q.v.], the Ibos, el alii, of the former Eastern Region 
and certain smaller, animist groups such as the 
Dakarkaris and the Plateau people. 

iii. Recent trends in Islam in Nigeria 

Lugard's amalgamation of Southern and Northern 
Nigeria resulted in bundling the Ibos, Ibibios and 
other non-Muslim peoples of what, during the colo- 
nial period, was known as the Eastern Region, 
together with the Muslim northerners , in one federa- 
tion. These people had remained untouched by 
Islam — except as potential slaves — up to the colonial 
occupations. Many had by this time become proteges 
of Christian missionaries from the Coast. They were 
mainly Roman Catholics. They continued under mis- 
sionary tutelage until Nigerian independence, the 
civil war, the oil boom and a series of military coups, 
brought about sweeping changes. 

During the colonial period these inveterate petty 
traders from the east flocked north in the train of the 
British. Because of their missionary education many 
became minor civil servants. They set up Sabon Garis 
"New Towns", outside the northern Muslim cities. 
With Nigerian independence approaching, they 
became the victims of ethnic and religious hostility on 
the part of the Muslim northerners, which their own 
posturing prior to the declaration of Biafra did 
nothing to diminish. Immediately before the outbreak 
of the civil war, a mass exodus of Ibos from the north, 
back to the east, took place, against the background of 
an ugly blood bath. 

After the civil war, and in the more congenial 
atmosphere of the Nigerian oil boom, Ibos and other 
easterners returned to the north, as traders and in cer- 
tain professional capacities that ranged from bank 
clerk to lecturer in the new northern Nigerian univer- 
sities. However, they faced different conditions from 
those that had obtained under the British colonial 
administration. For there was among radical northern 
Muslims a wide consensus that such returning 
easterners should subscribe to Islam, as a condition of 
their new acceptability in the Muslim north. This was 
not official and was seldom openly expressed. It was, 
however, the unspoken extension of the policy of 
"Northernisation" that the old Northern Region had 

officially adopted during the terminal days of the colo- 
nial administration, and continued ever since. While 
Christian enclaves of eastern and Coastal Nigerians 
remain in northern townships, there are, nonetheless, 
an increasing number of "Musas", "Muham- 
madus", "Aliyus" et alii in northern Nigeria who, 
apart from such names and the Hausa-Muslim riga, 
display all the characteristics of a southern, Coastal 
Christian mission upbringing. How significant such 
conversions of convenience may be, is questionable. 
Nonetheless, they represent a widening of Islamic 

Such pressures have a precedent. From ca. 
1380/1960 to his assassination in 1385/1966, the Sar- 
dauna of Sokoto, then Premier of the Northern 
Region, pursued a policy of "Islamisation", the pur- 
pose of which was to persuade — or coerce — all 
indigenous northern Nigerian peoples to accept 
Islam. It had the fervour of "Djihad of the Heart" 
behind it. It also involved some harassment, as well as 
bribery, of residual animist groups such as the 
Dakarkaris and the Plateau people. And it convinced, 
or allowed certain Ibo army officers to claim, that the 
Sardauna was preparing Holy War against all non- 
Muslims. This then became part of their justification 
for declaring an independent Biafra. In the event, the 
Sardauna's campaign resulted in widespread nominal 
conversions, in which chiefs, village heads, etc., 
adopted Islamic names in addition to their traditional 
ones. This was taken as sufficient to establish the 
Islam of their people as a whole. Once again, it is 
questionable how deep such mass "conversions" go. 
But certainly the Sardauna's essay after the hearts and 
minds of his non-Muslim countrymen has been a 
precedent after the renewal of which in a more 
thoroughgoing fashion, northern Muslim radicals 
now hanker. They enjoy some support in this among 
certain Yoruba Muslims. 

The period from the end of the Second World War 
to the granting of northern independence in 1960, is 
known to the Hausas as Zamanin siyasa, "The Time of 
Politics". It saw the rise of Nigerian political parties, 
superficially resembling those of the British 
parliamentary system. In fact, the Northern Peoples' 
Congress (NPC) was identified with the interests of 
the aristocratic Fulani emirates and the "Native 
Authority" (NA) system that sustained them. It 
advocated a modified Islamic theocracy for indepen- 
dent northern Nigeria. This party was challenged in 
the north by the Northern Elements Progressive 
Union (NEPU), ostensibly mimicking the European 
left but also representing the ancient antagonism of 
Hausa commoners towards their Fulani overlords; 
and pursuing a tradition of Islamic dissidence. It was 
closely associated with the Tidjaniyya [q. v. ] tarika, that 
had, hitherto, reflected this dissidence. Both parties 
vied with one another in their claims to represent the 
true Islam, and excoriated the other for betraying that 
Islam. By and large, the establishmentarian NPC had 
the better of the radical NEPU, a consequence, no 
doubt, of the prevailing ethos of SunnI, Maliki conser- 
vatism at that time. Their tussle produced a plethora 
of ding-dong Hausa political verse, admirably 
recorded by Haruna Abdullahi Birniwa (Conservatism 
and dissent; a comparative study of NPCINPN and 
NEPUIPRP Hausa political verse from circa 1946 to 1983, 
PhD thesis, University of Sokoto, Nigeria 1987, 

The Nigerian civil war, the oil boom and the 
military administrations shattered the old Islamic 
party lineaments and created new interests and 
alliances. While the People's Redemption Party 


(PRP), launched in 1978, continued to reflect certain 
attitudes of the old NEPU, the National Party of 
Nigeria (NPN), founded in the same year, had a more 
Federal base. It represented Christian-Yoruba and 
other minority-Christian interests, as well as those of 
the Muslim Hausas. Moreover, it eschewed Islamic 
theocracy. But the party system was short-lived in 
Nigeria. Under the military, party politics were 
banned. What has taken their place is a division 
between modernists and moderates on the one hand, 
who favour a democratic, pluralist federation; and on 
the other, Muslim iconoclasts who want no more 
truck with democracy and call for the north to return 
to Islamic theocracy. As the banners of radical- 
Muslim campus demonstrators put it, on the eve of 
the fall of the egregious Shagari administration on 3 1 
December 1983, "Democracy is unbelief! We do not 
want a constitution! We want government by the 
Koran alone!" It is surely the military administration 
alone that keeps this tendency at bay. 

Some recent scholarly comment has suggested that 
polygyny in Islam has given way to monogamy, as 
education and emancipation have their influence 
upon Muslim women. The assumption is unsafe in 
the case of Nigeria. Here, undoubtedly, some loosen- 
ing of purdah has occured. Muslim women in Kano, 
Sokoto and elsewhere, teach in schools and univer- 
sities and fulfil other professional roles. But there are 
unspoken conditions. Virtually all are married. They 
are expected to deport themselves with exemplary 
Islamic modesty. They are indeed educated. Some are 
university graduates. But this greater freedom has led 
them to see themselves not as victims of the Islamic 
system but as its articulate defenders. Most of them 
uphold Islamic polygyny within the strict construction 
of the Malik! madhhab, and contrast what they regard 
as the admirable stability of the Muslim extended 
family with the decline of the Western nuclear family, 
the growth of the "one-parent family", abortion and 
the rest, which frankly horrify them. 

As for the men, especially the Muslim academics to 
whom the growth of universities in the north has given 
considerable influence, many are among the most 
ardent advocates of polygyny, though once again with 
due regard for the law. They regard it as essential to 
defend an Islamic way of life, increasingly threatened 
by secularism. Whatever may be happening elsewhere 
in the Islamic umma, the decline of polygyny in 
northern Nigeria is not evident. 

Expatriate Europeans have been largely replaced in 
northern Nigeria by Muslims from Pakistan, Egypt 
and the Republic of the Sudan, who now work as 
university lecturers, educationists, agriculturalists 
and in other roles once filled by Europeans. Some 
turn out to be tutors in an Islamic radicalism that 
resembles the popular notion of "fundamentalism". 
Especially influential have been Egyptian disciples of 
the Ikhwan al-muslimin [q.v.]. Though an older genera- 
tion of SunnI, Maliki malams still fights shy of such 
immoderation, a younger generation of Muslim 
activists has taken to it fervently. The Hausa Muslim 
tendency known as the 'Yan Izala broadly mimics the 
stance of the Saudi Wahhabiyya. 

The Middle East imbroglio, through the rise of 
Khomeini (al-Khumaynl [q.v. in Suppl.]) to the 
seizure of the Masdjid al-Haram in Mecca in 
1400/1979, had its repercussions in northern Nigeria. 
For, while the conservative Sunn! malams were chary 
of what was a largely Shr^i enthusiasm, the activists 
had no such hesitations. In this they received 
encouragement from certain expatriate Muslims. For 
in the ardour of the times, these SunnI radicals were 

ready to side with Shfrs they might otherwise have 
execrated. Likewise, President Mu'ammar al- 
Kadhdhafi (Gaddafi) became an object of radical 
Muslim admiration, until his meddling in Chad 
turned Nigerian sentiment against him. Indeed, 
many Nigerian Christians joined with their Muslim 
countrymen in hailing both al-Khumaynl and al- 
Kadhdhafi. They thus illustrated the way in which so- 
called Islamic fundamentalism and more generalised 
third-world sentiment converge at many points. 

The most spectacular Nigerian concomitant to the 
seizure of the Grand Mosque of Mecca and all it re- 
presented, was the gruesome Mai Tatsine riots that 
disturbed northern Nigeria from 1980 to 1984. This 
eruption, widely misunderstood as just another out- 
break of Iranian-style Islamic radicalism, had com- 
plex origins. It is best described as a manifestation of 
traditional Islamic messianism— 21 November 1979 
marked the beginning of A.H. 1400, a fact that 
excited many Nigerian Muslims to apocalyptic 
expectations — mixed with resurgent African animism 
that was wholly un-Islamic. Thus the protests of 
outraged SunnI malams that this was not Islam but 
downright kafirci (Hausa "unbelief). An assessment 
of these events by M. Hiskett will be found in The Mai 
Tatsine riots in Kano, 1980: an assessment, in Journal of 
Religion in Africa, xvii/3 (1987), 209-23. 

By 1985 the lid was still held down firmly on what 
seemed at that time to be a cauldron of Islamic 
militancy in Nigeria, by the Military Administration. 
This Administration's policy of increasing the 
number of states, which enjoy considerable internal 
autonomy, is apparently intended to reduce ethnic 
and religious tensions as far as is possible. It remains 
to be seen whether it will prove successful in restrain- 
ing the Islamic radicalism that undoubtedly exists 
among northern Muslims. 

Bibliography: Among printed books and 
articles, the following are useful: Mahdi Adamu, 
The Hausa factor in West African history, Zaria and 
Ibadan 1978, is essential for an understanding of 
Hausa-Muslim influences beyond Hausaland; 
G.N. Brown and M. Hiskett (eds.), Conflict and har- 
mony in education in tropical Africa, London 1975, 
selected chapters; A. Christelow, Religious protest and 
dissent in northern Nigeria: From mahdism to Quranic 
integralism, in Journal Institute of Muslim Minority 
Affairs, vi/2 (n.d.), 375-448; idem, The 'Yan Tatsine 
disturbances in Kano — a search for perspectives, in MW, 
lxxv/2 (1985), 69-84; Catherine Coles and Beverly 
Mack (eds.), Hausa women in the twentieth century, 
Madison, Wisconsin 1991; B.J. Dudley, Parties and 
politics in northern Nigeria, London 1968; H.J. Fisher, 
Some reflexions on Islam in independent West Africa, in 
The Clergy Review (March, 1968), 1-13; T.G.O. 
Gbadamosi, The growth of Islam among the Yoruba, 
London 1978; Government Printer, Enugu, The 
north and constitutional developments in Nigeria: Nigerian 
crisis 1966, v, Enugu n.d., gives the Ibo view of the 
background to the Nigerian civil war; A.H.M. 
Kirk-Greene, The genesis of the Nigerian civil war and 
the theory of fear, Scandinavian Institute of African 
Studies Research Report, no. 27, Uppsala 1975; K. 
Krieger, Geschichte von Zamfara, Berlin 1959; V.N. 
Low, Three Nigerian emirates, Illinois 1972, is useful 
for its account of the Kwararafas; P.M. Lubeck, 
Islamic protest under semi-capitalism: 'Yan Tatsine 
explained, in J.D.Y. Peel and C.C. Stewart (eds.), 
Popular Islam south of the Sahara, Manchester 1985, 
369-89; P. Morton- Williams, The Fulani penetration 
into Nupe and Yoruba in the nineteenth century, A.S.A. 
Monographs, 7. History and social anthropology, 


London and New York 1968; P.J. Ryan, Imale: 
Yoruba participation in the Muslim tradition, Missoula, 
Montana 1978; N. Skinner and Kabir Galadanci, 
Wakar soja — a Hausa poem on the civil war, in Spectrum, 
iii (1973), 97-125, for a Muslim-Hausa view of the 
civil war; D. Westermann and M.A. Bryan's 
Languages of West Africa, in Handbook of African 
languages, Part II, London (1952) includes a useful 
language map of West Africa. 

Much of the most valuable work on recent 
developments in Islam in Nigeria will be found in 
unpublished MA and PhD dissertations. Birniwa's 
work, cited above, not only provides primary 
source material in the form of Hausa verse; it also 
includes an acute analysis of the history of the 
northern Nigerian political parties. Muhammad 
Sani Aliyu's Shortcomings in Hausa society as seen by 
representative Hausa Islamic poets, MA thesis, Bayero 
University, Kano 1983 unpubl., throws light on the 
malam's reactions to secularism; Samaila 
Mohammed's Some aspects of the culture and institutions 
of the Dakarkari people examined in the light of their con- 
tiguity with the Hausa people, MA thesis, Bayero 
University, Kano 1982 unpubl., is an admirable 
study of contacts between the Muslim Hausas and 
an animist society; Abdullahi Bayero Yahya's A 
critical anthology of the verse of Aljaji Bello Gidawa, MA 
thesis, Bayero University, Kano 1983 unpubl., 
enshrines valuable source material for studying the 
genesis of NPC. (M. Hiskett) 

NIGHT WATCHMAN [se_e c asas]. 
NIHAL CAND LAHAWRI, Indian man of let- 
ters, Hindu by religion, was born in Dihll, but left it 
in early life and went to Lahore where he lived for a 
considerable time. Owing to this circumstance he 
called himself Lahawri. Search for a livelihood led 
him to Calcutta. Here he was introduced to Dr. J.B. 
Gilchrist, who asked him to translate into Hindi rekhta 
the story of Tadj al-Muluk and Bakawali. He con- 
sented, and thus became one of the famous band of 
Fort William translators. He made the translation 
from Gul-i Bakawali, a Persian rendering by Shaykh 
c Izzat Allah, 1772, of an old Hindi story, which has 
been reproduced in Urdu verse by Daya Shankar 
Kawl Nasim [q.v.], in his well-known math_nawi Gulzar- 

Nihal Cand called his work Madhhab-i Hshk. It is in 
very good prose mixed with verse. The title gives the 
date 1217/1802. Apart from the above-mentioned 
facts, nothing is known about the writer. 

Bibliography: M. Yahya Tanha, Siyar al- 
musannifin, i, 117-19; Garcin de Tassy, Histoire de la 
litterature hindouie el hindoustanie, 2nd ed. Paris 1870, 
ii, 468-70; T. Grahame Bailey, A short history of Urdu 
literature, Oxford 1931, 82; R.B. Saksena, Hist, of 
Urdu literature, Allahabad 1927, 249. 

(T.G. Bailey) 
NIHAWAND, a town in the Zagros Mountains of 
western Persia, in the mediaeval Islamic province of 
Pjibal [q.v.], situated in lat. 34° 13' N. and long. 48° 
21' E. and lying at an altitude of 1,786 m/5,860 feet. 
It is on the branch of the Gamasab which comes from 
the south-east from the vicinity of Burudjird; the 
Gamasab then runs westwards to Bisutun. Nihawand 
lies on the southern road which, coming from Kir- 
manshah (Ibn Khurradadjibih, 198), leads into cen- 
tral Persia (Isfahan) avoiding the massif of Alwand 
fOpoG>T7)c) which rises to the west of Hamadjian. 
Hence the importance of the town in the wars of Per- 
sia with her western neighbours. 

The French excavations of 1931 (Contenau) show- 
ed that the site of Nihawand was inhabited from pre- 

historic times. The ceramics ("I-bis style") which 
have been found there, seem to be older than those of 
style I and II of Susa. Ptolemy, VI, 2, knows of 
NwpocuavSoc and according to Ibn Faklh, 258, the town 
already existed before the Deluge. In the Sasanid 
period the district of Nihawand seems to have formed 
the fief of the Karin family (al-Dmawarl, 99). There 
was a fire-temple there. According to Ibn Faklh, 259, 
there could be seen on the mountains near Nihawand 
two figures of snow in the form of a bull and a fish 
(similar talismans are said to have existed at BitlTs 
also, cf. the steles of wishap ("dragons", protectors of 
waters) in Armenia west of Lake Sewan which com- 
bine these symbols, Zap., xxiii/3 [1916], 409). The 
same legend is reflected in the name of the river 
Gamasab (Gaw-masi-ab = "water of the bull and 
fish"; mdsi is the Kurdish form of the Persian mahi). 

Among the products of Nihawand, the Arab 
authors mention willow wood which was used for 
polo-sticks (sawalidja), aromatic reeds (kasabat al- 
itarira or al-kumha al-Hrakiyya) which were used like 
hanul (a perfume put in coffins) and black clay used as 
wax for sealing letters. The district of Rudrawar [q. ;;. ] 
was under Nihawand (cf. de Morgan, Mission, ii, 136: 
Rudilawar) and was famous for its abundance of saf- 
fron (al-Istakhrl, 199). For a list of the places more or 
less dependent on Nihawand, cf. Schwarz, Iran, 
505-9. In the Mongol period, Hamd Allah Mustawfi's 
Nuzhat al-kulub mentions three districts of Nihawand: 
Malayir (now Dawlatabad), Isffdian ( = Isblclhahan, 
see below) and Djahuk. 

Near Nihawand was fought the famous battle which 
decided the fate of the Iranian plateau and in which 
the Kufi commander al-Nu'man b. Mukarrin 
defeated the Sasanid generals. The commander-in- 
chief is given different names: Dhu '1-Hadjibayn 
Mardanshah (cf. al-Baladhurl, 303 n. e; Marquart, 
Eransahr, 113 identifies him with the darikpel Khur- 
razad) of FTruzan (cf. al-Tabari, i, 2608; the latter also 
gives the names of his generals: Zarduk, Bahman 
Djadoya and the commander of the cavalry 
Anushak). The Arab camp was at Isbldiiahan and 
that of the Persians at Waykhurd (?). The sources do 
not agree about the date: Sayf b. c Umar (al-Tabari, 
i, 2615-19) gives the end at the year 18/639 or the be- 
ginning of 19/640 (cf. Wellhausen, Skizzen und 
Vorarbeiten, vi, 1899, 97), while Ibn Ishak, Abu 
Ma c shar and al-Wakidl, followed by Caetani, Annali 
dell' Islam, iv, 1911, 474-504, put the battle in 21/642. 

The district of Nihawand (formerly called Mah- 
BahradJian or Man-Dinar) was finally incorporated in 
the possessions of the Basrans and called Mah Basra 
("the Media of Basra"; al-Baladhurl, 306). 

Nihawand is often mentioned in the period of the 
wars between the Safawids and the Ottomans. In 
998/1589 at the beginning of the reign of < Abbas I, the 
Ottoman vizier Cighale-zade [q. v. ] built a fortress at 
Nihawand (^Alam-ara, 372). After the death of Murad 
IV, a rebellion took place among the garrison of Niha- 
wand; the Ottomans were driven out by the Shi*! in- 
habitants. As a result, in 1012/1603 war again broke 
out with Turkey {ibid., 440). In the spring of 
1142/1730 Nadir SJiah [q.v.] took Nihawand again 
from the Turks. 

In modern Persia, Nihawand is the chef-lieu 
(population in 1960, 26,452) of a shahrastan of the 
same name (population 70,000) in the fifth ustan or 
province of Kurdistan. 

Bibliography: J. de Morgan, Mission scientifique 

en Perse, ii, Etudes geographiques, 1895, 152 and 

passim, pi. lxvi (view of Nihawand); Marquart, 

Eransahr, index; Le Strange, Lands of the Eastern 


Caliphate, 196-7; Schwarz, Iran im Miltelalter, i, 
498-509, index; G. Conteneau and R. Ghirshman, 
Rapport preliminaire sur les/ouitles de Tepe-Giydn, pres de 
Nehavand, 1931, in Syria (1933), 1-11; Admiralty 
handbooks, Persia, London 1945, 368; Razmara, 
Farhang-i djughrdfiyd-yi Iran, v, 460-2; A. Noth, 
Isfahan-Nihawand, eine quellenkritische Studie zur 
friihislamischen Historiographie, in ZDMG, cxviii 
(1968), 274-96; Sylvia A. Matheson, Persia, an ar- 
chaeological guide, London 1972, 115; W. Barthold, 
An historical geography of Iran, Princeton 1984, 180-1, 
208. _ _ (V. Minorsky) 

NIHAWANDI, c Abd al-BakI b. AbT Bakr Kurd, 
Indo-Muslim historian of the Mughal period (978- 
after 1 046/1 570-after 1637). Of Kurdish origin from 
Djulak near Nihawand [q.v.], he served the Safawids 
as a tax official and eventually became a wazir in the 
administration. But then he fell from grace, and like 
many Persians of his age, decided to migrate to India, 
and entered the service of the Khan-i Khanan [q.v.] 
Mirza c Abd al-Rahim, one of Akbar's generals, 
subsequently holding official posts in the Deccan and 
Bihar. The Khan-i Khanan asked him to write a 
biography of himself, the Ma^dthir-i Rahfmi, completed 
by c Abd al-Baki in 1025/1616 (ed. Hidayat Husayn, 
Bibl. Indica, Calcutta 1910-31) an important source 
for the period, which also contains a history of 
Muslim India in his own and previous times, starting 
with the Ghaznawids [q.v.]. 

Bibliography: Storey, i, 522-3, 1315. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
NIHAYA (a.), a term of Islamic philosophy 
which (together with its negation ma la nihdya lahu) is 
entirely governed by its lexical meaning. Ibn Manzur, 
in LA, defines it thus: "the extremity (ghdya) and final 
limit (dkhir) of a thing; and this is because its final 
limit prevents it from being prolonged (yanhd-hu '■an al- 
tamddi), so that it is stopped (fa-yartadi 7 )" . This defini- 
tion of nihdya is based on its etymology, since the verb 
nahd means "to forbid". The nihdya is thus that which 
forbids access to something beyond a certain limit. 
Ibn Manzur explains the Kur'anic phrase sidrat al- 
muntahd(\A\\, 14) by saying that it is the lotus "which 
one reaches by arriving at it and which one does not 
go beyond (wa-ld yutadfdwaz)" . 

This concept of not going beyond can apply to such 
realities as time, space and the division of bodies. 
Does time have a limit in the past (an original time) 
or in the future (a final time), limits before or beyond 
which there is no more time, or is there an extension 
of time into infinity, an eternity of time a parte ante (al- 
lam-yazal) which has never ceased to exist in the past, 
and a parte post (al-ld-yazdl) which will never end in the 
future? The same question can be put regarding 
space: does there exist an infinite space, or is all 
existing space limited? Likewise, is there or is there 
not a limit to the division of bodies; is a body com- 
posed of an infinite number of parts, or is it built up 
from a finite assemblage of indivisible atoms? But the 
concept of not going beyond is also applicable to the 
operations of thought: does it reach as far as definitive 
conclusions, i.e. can it define final and "completed" 
truths, without being obliged to to go back incessantly 
and infinitively in its reasonings, "until there is no 
nihdya" , which is, in the eyes of logicians, the sign of 
a defect in a proof? One can thus discern that the con- 
cept of nihdya is involved in everything touching such 
problems as what is finite, the infinite and the 

The question in regard to space and time was 
treated in the discussions of the opposing views of al- 
Ghazalr and Ibn Rushd in the two Tahdfuts. Is there 

a parallelism between space and time in regard to 
their limits? Al-Ghazall, in an eristic form of 
augumentation against the philosophers, supports it. 
He remarks that the future and the past are relative 
to each other, since all future becomes a past, and all 
past is merely such in as far as it precedes the future. 
But these are equally relative to the human soul 
which, in its present form, represents these two 
dimensions of time thanks to its faculty of imagination 
(ivahm, tawahhum) which, itself, cannot come to a halt, 
neither to an initial term nor to a final one. Hence it 
ihdya. But the same is true in regard to space; 

r imagin; 

a higher 


of an undefined growth of the 
world in space (or, contrariwise, an undefined con- 
traction), which raises the question of our knowing 
whether the world could have been created greater or 
smaller than it in fact is. Further, one can ask oneself 
if it could have been created earlier or later. In effect, 
if spatial dimension accompanies a body, then tem- 
poral dimension accompanies movement. If one thus 
admits, in spite of the imagination, that the body of 
the world is limited and that it does not exist beyond 
the created world as it actually is, neither open space 
nor empty space, as the philosophers, following 
Aristotle and his theory of place (x67co?, cf. Physics, 
book IV), then they must be compelled to recognise 
that, beyond the movement of the world, there exists 
no empty time nor filled time, and, as a result, that 
the world has a temporal nihdya just as it has a spatial 
one. If the philosophers refuse to grant that the world 
has a first beginning at which one must stop when one 
traces back the succession of movements which are 
characteristic of it, despite being carried away by the 
imagination, then they are not in conformity with 
their own beliefs, since they admit a nihdya for space 
but refuse it for time whilst the case of time is identical 
with that of space. 

Ibn Rushd replies that, if the future and past are 
relative to our own imagination, they are not then 
"things which exist in themselves; they have no 
existence outside the soul and are only a creation of 
the soul {shay* tafalu 'l-nafs)". The fact that the 
imagination goes beyond all spatial limit as much as 
beyond all temporal limit does not imply that, in 
reality, the case of time is the same as that of space. 
Or, to be precise, there exists, from the point of view 
of real existence, a great difference: this is that every 
body, as such, forms a whole, an ensemble which can 
be added up into a totality, which is not the case with 
movement which, on the contrary, by its very nature 
flows along and cannot be halted in a total stop. This 
is why, according to reason, and not this time accord- 
ing to the imagination, one can conceive of a spatial 
limit to the world, whilst one cannot conceive of a 
limit to movement and, consequently, to time, since 
time is made up of a enumerated number of move- 
ments, on which it depend. This is the explanation 
why, when there is a question of a reality which comes 

:e (al-m 

after it 

back the anteriority (kabliyya) of its 
non-existence to an act of the imagination, since if one 
does that, one suppresses the reality of what comes 
into existence (cf. Tahdfut al-Tahdfut, ed. Bouyges, 
Beirut, 72-80). 

Another question regarding creation ab aeterno also 
brings in the concept of nihdya. The two Tahdfuts are 
clearly opposed on this point. How can one conceive 
of an eternal creation? asks al-Qhazall, when the eter- 
nity of the world is impossible. In effect, the revolu- 
tion of the Sun takes place over a year and that of 
Saturn over 30 years. The Sun's revolution is thus 


one-thirtieth of the revolution of Saturn, or, putting it 
another way, for one revolution of Saturn, there are 
30 revolutions of the Sun; for two revolutions of 
Saturn, there will be two times 30 revolutions of the 
Sun. When one takes a finite number n of revolutions 
of Saturn, one will have a finite number 30n revolu- 
tions of the Sun. The relationship between the totality 
of the revolutions of Saturn and the totality of the 
revolutions of the Sun remains the same in relation- 
ship to the parts of these totalities, i.e. 1:30. Ibn 
Rushd replies, however, that if there are an infinite 
number of revolutions of Saturn and the Sun, this 
relationship disappears, since there is no conceivable 
relationship between infinity "once" and "30 times" 
infinity. Hence infinities of revolutions are impos- 
sible, and the world cannot have been created ab 
aeterno. These considerations are already to be found 
in the Fifal of Ibn Hazm. Furthermore, is the infinite 
number of these revolutions an even or an odd 
number, or both at the same time, or is it neither? 
One must say that it is either one or the other. But if 
one says that it is an equal number, it will become an 
odd number by the addition of a unity, and if one says 
that it is an odd number, it will become an even 
number by the subtraction of a unity. But how can 
one conceive adding a unity to or taking a unity away 
from what is infinite? One can only reply that the 
infinite number is neither odd nor even, which is con- 
trary to the nature of the concept of number. Finally, 
Ibn Rus_hd's reply rests on a completely Aristotelian 
principle: sc. that an infinite number of revolutions is 
only infinite in potentiality, and that there does not 
exist any act of any kind such that one can take it as 
a whole which is defined and genuinely capable of 
being totalised (cf. Tahaful al-Tahafut, 12-18). 

Another question involving nihaya arises in regard 
to the division of bodies. Ibn SIna discusses it, in par- 
ticular in his Isharat (ed. Sulayman Dunya, Cairo 
1957, ii, 130 ff.). Should one come to a stop at 
indivisible atoms, in finite number, or not? If division 
proceeds to the infinite, are the final parts of which 
bodies are made up bodies themselves or something 
else? This question raises numerous difficulties. It is 
a fact that, if one defines a body geometrically as that 
which has three dimensions in space, sc. length, 
breadth and depth, it is always possible for the 
imagination to divide up a line, surface or volume 
infinitely. But how can one put together again a body 
from constituents thus arrived at? According to Ibn 
SIna, what makes up a body as such is not three- 
dimensionality but "corporeity" (djismiyya), a princi- 
ple which is not divisible, unlike geometrical dimen- 
sion. It should be observed that Ibn SIna is raising 
here the important question of the continuous and the 

The theologians also tackled this question of the 
constituting of bodies. Let us merely cite al-Nazzam 
[q. v. ], a Mu c tazili of the Basran school, who denied 
the existence of the indivisible part or atom. The divi- 
sion of bodies can go on infinitely, which brings into 
consideration their continuity and, at the same time, 
the question of the nature of space and the possibility 
of movement. He resolved it by his doctrine of the 
"leap" (tafia); a moving body which cannot pass by 
means of an infinite number of positions from A to B 
"leaps" from one point to another. c Abd al-Kahir al- 
Baghdadi, in his Fark bayn al-firak, remarks that this 
idea of the possibility of divisibility as far as the 
infinite brings in the thesis of the simultaneous 
occupation of bodies of a single space (tadakhul al- 
adjsam ft hayyiz wahid). In practice, as Ibn Sfna 
discerned clearly, one cannot explain the contact of 

parts thus infinitely divided up in order to take into 
account the composition of the body, except by con- 
sidering that they have two distinct extremities 
(tarafan'), so that contact with one is different from 
contact with the other; which is contrary to the 
hypothesis of division to infinity. Furthermore, one 
must freely admit that the elements which are sup- 
posed to be in contact become completely penetrated 
within each other, which cannot explain the con- 
stituting of the volume of bodies. 

These are the main problems which the concept of 

Bibliography: Given in the article. 

(R. Arnaldez) 

NIKABA (a.), a term whose sense has been fixed 
in the 20th century for "trade union", i.e. associa- 
tion for defending the interests of and promoting the 
rights of wage and salary earners, can also however 
denote the liberal professions and even those of 
employers. The term derives from the corporative 
function of the nakib, with the adjective nikabi (in prac- 
tice applied as a substantive only to wage and salary 
earners) and the abstract nikabiyya "syndicalism"; 
there is no verbal form in this sense. 

The term's usage became general after the First 
World War. Trade unionism, free from the 
theoretical non-differentiation between employers and 
employees of the guilds, is already attested in those 
countries in which capitalist enterprise was most 
advanced. In Algeria (1880 onwards) it referred 
primarily to the dominant Europeans, with some 
slight reference to the autochthonous peoples, and 
utilised the French term syndicalisme. In Egypt, where 
the corporative system was abolished in 1890, the first 
trade unions (1899 onwards), at first dominated by 
foreign or Ottoman-minority elements, but later 
mixed, became known as associations (djam l iyya). 
This term prevailed when Egyptian trade unionism 
was put on a nationalist basis (1908-14). Nikaba came 
into usage at the same time in the terminology of the 
Nationalist (Wafani) Party of Muhammad Farid 
[q.v.], from 1908 onwards. It referred to an agri- 
cultural co-operative, in the Italian co-operativist 
sense (nikaba ziraHyya) and at the same time to the 
Nikibat al-SanaY al-Yadawiyya (Union of Manual 
Workers), an educational and co-operative associa- 
tion under the patronage of Nationalist lawyers, with 
individual and group, interprofessional, membership, 
including artisans. It did not exclude the djamHyyal. 
Muhammad Farld's projects for labour legislation, 
inspired by British Labour Party's activity, estab- 
lished nikaba as the equivalent of trade union/syndicat. 
Henceforth, the Egyptian press used the term to 
translate the titles of trade unions formed by foreign 

In the Ottoman empire, the corporative system, 
although in decay, remained longer in usage, with 
mutual insurance societies only permitted to 
foreigners and to members of the minorities employed 
in the foreign concessionary companies. The first 
trade unions arose at the time of the strikes during the 
1908 Revolution, which however hardly touched the 
Arab provinces. Laws were passed (1908-12) to 
counter and to regulate the movement. Trade unions 
were forbidden and the old corporations dissolved. 
They were replaced by professional associations, com- 
prising employers and employed, with represen- 
tativeness reserved for the former. In the Arab ver- 
sion, for a long time after the War, nikaba denoted 
corporative groups (nikabat al-asnaf, n. al-hiraf wa 7- 
sandY), whilst djam l iyya, pace the case in Egypt, 
referred to legal " 


After the War, whilst modern Turkey adopted, in 
order to remove ambiguity, the loan form sendika, 
nikdba became the predominant term in the Arab- 
speaking lands. 

The history of Arab trade unionism went, briefly 
speaking, through three phases. Until the 1940s, 
under colonial domination, it became firmly estab- 
lished in Egypt, spread through the British and 
French mandates of the Near East and became 
general in the three countries of French North Africa. 
In this context, it acquired a strong political tinge, 
within the framework of the combined stakes of class 
and nationalism. The first vehicle of diffusion of the 
form and the term was the current which claimed to 
belong to the Communist International and the Inter- 
national Red Trade Union Movement, i.e. within the 
organic link between the Communist Party and trade 
unionism till the middle of the 1930s. In the Near 
East, where these organisations were independent of 
those of the metropolises, the first Egyptian federation 
(Ittihad Nikabat al-^Ummat) was crushed by the Wafdist 
repression of 1924, and the sole lasting effect of this 
current was in Lebanon. Trade unionisation was 
slower in Syria, and more pluralist there. In c Irak, it 
enjoyed periods of expansion and contraction. The 
tendency of the mandatary or tutelary authorities was 
to suppress this movement, considered as a prop of 
nationalism, or at most to oppose to it the Ottoman 
regulations regarding associations, for long main- 
tained in force. The demands made were as much 
juridical as economic, and in view of the resistance 
encountered, nationalist. With its class current 
broken, Egyptian trade unionism was taken over, 
through the exertion of political patronage, by the 
nationalist parties, on reformist lines close to the 
International Trade Union Federation, connected 
with the Second Socialist International. But the use of 
their capability of mobilising on the streets and in 
strikes served largely for these parties to embarrass 
their enemy in power. Once the power was taken 
over, repression began again. The presence of a colo- 
nial population in French North Africa allowed the 
securing of more rights. The lines of cleavage were 
those of the metropolis, opposing the reformist move- 
ment to the current class, until the reunification of the 
Confederation Generate du Travail (C.G.T.) in 1936. 
The second current, also anti-colonialist, was aimed, 
despite prohibitions and repression, at unionising the 
indigenous peoples and even supported, in Tunisia, a 
first experience of trade union federation on national 
class bases (C.G.T.T., 1924: Qj.ami c at c Umim al- 
c Amala al-Tunisiyya). The sole attempt at a take-over 
by a nationalist party failed (Tunisia, 1937-8). The 
implanting of Zionist trade unionism in Palestine 
(from 1920 onwards) did not favour an ethnic mix of 
workers. The Communist Party envisaged it, but 
failed. Arab associations or trade unions were formed, 
but without avoiding the cleavages of the two main 
nationalist clans. 

The second phase, beginning in 1942 during the 
Second World War, was one of an increase in strug- 
gles and the acquisition of legal rights. Class orienta- 
tions prevailed, but in pluralist structures, either run- 
ning parallel to or in alliance with a national 
movement which led up to the first manifestations of 
political independence. This was also true for 
Palestine before the partition in 1948. The creation of 
the World Trade Union Federation (W.F.T.U.) from 
1945 onwards favoured the exchange of experiences. 
Extended coverage was made (Sudan, Libya, Somalia 
and Aden). The politics of economic development 
increased the numbers of salaried members. The new 

used, however, the split in the World 
Trade Union Movement (I.C.F.T.U. after 1949) to 
install here an official trade unionism, and to forbid 
there all syndicalist activity. The context favoured the 
swallowing up of Maghribi trade unionism by the 
dominant nationalist parties. 

The last phase is thus characterised by the perma- 
nent introduction of democratic stakes, until then 
never permanently resolved: liberty to form trade 
unions, and their autonomy regarding the state and 
political parties. Under the influence of the 
nationalist-reformist currents, dominant since the 
1950s, an International Confederation of Arab Trade 
Unions (al-Ittihdd al-Duwali li-Nikabdt al- c Ummal al- 
<Arab = I.C.A.T.U.), autonomous of the central 
world organisations but open to co-operation with 
them, was created in 1956. It assured inter-Arab trade 
union solidarity with repressed movements, at the 
same time getting involved politically in regional hap- 
penings (Arab-Israeli conflict, oil, etc.). It concerned 
itself with the harmonisation of Arab legislation on 
labour, after 1965 in liaison with the Arab Labour 
Organisation {Munazfamat al-'Amal al- c Arabiyya = 
A.L.O.). But apart from the two Yemens (unified in 
1990) and Kuwayt, which had old-established federa- 
tions, there is strong resistance within the Arab penin- 
sula to expanding the labour legislation on trade 
union rights. Clandestine trade union structures are 
severely repressed there. 

Bibliography: Further bibliographical references 
and orientations are to be found in J. Sagnes (ed.), 
Histoire du syndicalisme dans U monde des origines a nos 
jours, Toulouse 1993 (relevant chs. by C. Coquery- 
Vidrovitch, J. Couland, R. Gallissot and G. 
Heuze). See also J. Berque (dir.) and J. Couland 
(ed.), Bibliographie de la culture arabe contemporaine, 
Paris .1981. (J. Couland) 

NIKAH (a.), marriage (properly, sexual inter- 
course, but already in the Kur'an used exclusively of 
the contract of marriage). In the present article, mar- 
riage is dealt with as a legal institution; for marriage 

1 . The Arab, Persian and Turkish lands of the 
Middle East 

2. In Muslim India up to 1930 [see c urs] 

3. In Muslim India after 1930 

4. In Indonesia 

5. In East Africa 

6. In Nigeria 

I. In Classical Islamic Law 

1 . The essential features of the Muslim law of mar- 
riage go back to the customary law of the Arabs which 
previously existed. In this, although there were dif- 
ferences according to districts and the conditions of 
the individual cases, the regulations governing mar- 
riage were based upon the patriarchal system, which 
permitted the man very great freedom and still bore 
traces of an old matriarchal system. It is true that 
before the coming of Islam, a higher conception of the 
marriage state had already begun to exist, but the 
position of the woman was still a very unfavourable 
one. The marriage contract was made between the 
suitor and the "guardian" i.e. the father or the 
nearest male relative of the bride, the latter's consent 
not being regarded as necessary. But even before 
Islam it had already become generally usual for the 
dowry to be given to the woman herself and not to the 
guardian. In marriage, the woman was under the 
unrestricted authority of her husband, the only 

bounds to which were consideration for her family. 
Dissolution of the marriage rested entirely on the 
man's opinion; and even after his death his relatives 
could enforce claims upon his widow. 

2. Islam reformed these old marriage laws in far- 
reaching fashion, while retaining their essential 
features; here as in other fields of social legislation 
Muhammad's chief aim was the improvement of the 
woman's position. The regulations regarding mar- 
riage which are the most important in principle are 
laid down in the Kur'an in sura IV (from the period 
shortly after the battle of Uhud): "3. If ye fear that 
ye cannot act justly to the orphans marry the women 
whom ye think good (to marry), by twos, threes or 
fours; but if ye fear (even then) not to be just then 
marry one only or (the slaves) whom you possess; this 
will be easier that ye be not unjust. Give the women 
their dowry freely; but if they voluntarily remit you a 
part of it, enjoy it and may it prosper you. — 26. 
Marry not the woman whom your fathers have mar- 
ried (except what is already past); for this is shameful 
and abominable and an evil way. 27. Forbidden to 
you are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, 
your aunts paternal and maternal, the daughters of 
your brother and sister, your foster-mothers and 
foster-sisters, the mothers of your wives and the step- 
daughters who are in your care, born of your wives, 
with whom ye have had intercourse— but if ye have 
not had intercourse with them, it is not a sin for 
you — and the wives of the sons, who are your offspr- 
ing, also that ye marry two sisters at the same time 
except what is already past; Allah is gracious and mer- 
ciful. 28. Further married women except (slaves) that 
you possess. This is ordained by Allah for you. But he 
has permitted you to procure (wives) outside of these 
cases with your money in decency and not in fornica- 
tion. To those of them that ye have enjoined give 
their reward as their due, but it is no sin to make an 
agreement between you beyond the legal due. Allah is 
all-knowing and wise. 29. If however any one of you 
has not means sufficient to marry free believing 
women (let him marry) among your believing slaves, 
whom you possess; Allah best knows (to distinguish) 
your faith. Marry them with the permission of their 
masters, and give them their dowry in kindness; they 
should be modest and not unchaste and take no 
lovers". Also sura II, 220 (uncertain date), the pro- 
hibition of marriage with infidels, male or female (cf. 
sura IX, 10), sura XXXIII, +9 (probably of the year 
5), an exception in favour of the Prophet, and sura V, 
7 (of the farewell pilgrimage in the year 10), permis- 
sion of marriage with the women of the possessors of 
a scripture. Other passages of the Kur'an which 
emphasise the moral side of marriage are sura XXIV, 
3, 26, 32, and sura XXX, 20. In Tradition, various 
attitudes to marriage find expression; at the same 
time, the positive enactments regulating it are sup- 
plemented in essential points. The most important is 
the limitation of the number of wives permitted at one 
time to four; although sura IV, 3, contains no such 
precise regulation, this interpretation of it must have 
predominated very early, as in the traditions it is 
assumed rather than expressly demanded. The co- 
operation of the "guardian", the dowry and the con- 
sent of the woman is regarded as essential, and com- 
petition with a rival, the result of whose suit is still in 
doubt, is forbidden. 

3. The most important provisions of Islamic law 
(according to the Shafi c f school) are the following. 
The marriage contract is concluded between the 
bridegroom and the bride's uWf(guardian), who must 
be a free Muslim of age and of good character. The 

wait is in his turn bound to assist in carrying out the 
contract of marriage demanded by the woman, if the 
bridegroom fulfils certain legal conditions. The wall 
should be one of the following in this order: 1 . the 
nearest male ascendant in the male line; 2. the nearest 
male relative in the male line among the descendants 
of the father; 3. do. among the descendants of the 
grandfather, etc.; +. in the case of a freed woman the 
mawld (manumitter) and (if the case arises) his male 
relatives in the order of heirs in intestacy [see mirath. 
6, b]\ 5. the representative of the public authority 
(hakim) appointed for the purpose; in many countries 
it is the kadi or his deputy. In place of the hakim the 
future husband and wife may agree to choose a wall 
and must do so if there is no authorised hakim in the 
place. The wall can only give the bride in marriage 
with her consent, but in the case of a virgin, silent 
consent is sufficient. The father or grandfather, how- 
ever, has the right to marry his daughter or grand- 
daughter against her will, so long as she is a virgin (he 
is therefore called wall mudj_bir, wall with power of 
coercion); the exercise of this power is, however, very 
strictly regulated in the interests of the bride. As 
minors are not in a position to make a declaration of 
their wishes which is valid in law, they can only be 
married at all by a wall mudj/bir. According to the 
Hanafis, on the other hand, every blood relative 
acting as wall is entitled to give a virgin under age in 
marriage without her consent; but a woman married 
in this way by another than her ascendant is entitled 
on coming of age to demand that her marriage be 
declared void (faskh) by the kadi. A bridegroom who is 
a minor may also be married by his wall mudjbir. As 
a kind of equivalent for the rights which the husband 
acquires over the wife, he is bound to give her a bridal 
gift (mahr, saddk) which is regarded as an essential part 
of the contract. The contracting parties are free to fix 
the mahr, it may consist of anything that has value in 
the eyes of the law; if it is not fixed at the conclusion 
of the contract and if the parties cannot agree upon it, 
we have a case for the mahr al-mithl, a bridal gift fixed 
by the kadi according to the circumstances of the 
bridegroom. It is not necessary to pay the mahr at 
once; frequently a portion is paid before the consum- 
mation of the marriage and the remainder only at the 
dissolution of the marriage by divorce or death. The 
wife's claim to the full mahr or the full mahr al-mitjil 
arises only when the marriage has been consum- 
mated; if the marriage is previously dissolved by the 
man, the wife can only claim half the mahr or a present 
(mut'-a) fixed arbitrarily by the man; these regulations 
go back to sura II, 237-8 (cf. XXXIII, +8). In form, 
the marriage contract, which is usually prefaced by a 
solicitation (khitba), follows the usual scheme in 
Muslim contracts, with offer and acceptance; the wall 
of the bride is further recommended to deliver a pious 
address (khutba) on the occasion. The marriage must 
be concluded in the presence of at least two witnesses 
(shahid) who possess the legal qualifications for a 
witness; their presence is here not simply, as in other 
contracts, evidence of the marriage but an essential 
element in its validity. On the other hand, no col- 
laboration by the authorities is prescribed. But since 
great importance is usually attached to fulfilling the 
formalities of the marriage contract, upon which the 
validity of the marriage depends, it is usual not to 
carry through this important legal matter without the 
assistance of an experienced lawyer. We therefore 
everywhere find men whose profession this is and who 
usually act under the supervision of the kadi. The part 
which they take is to pronounce the necessary for- 
mulae to the parties or even to act as authorised agents 

of one of them, usually the walioi the bride. The most 
important impediments to marriage are the following: 
1. blood relationship, namely between the man and 
his female ascendants and descendants, his sisters, the 
female descendants of his brothers and sisters as well 
as his aunts and great-aunts; 2. foster-relationship, 
which, by extension of the Kur'anic law, by tradition 
is regarded as an impediment to marriage in the same 
degrees as blood relationship; 3. relationship by mar- 
riage, namely, between a man and his mother-in-law, 
daughter-in law, step-daughter, etc., in the direct 
line; marriage with two sisters or with an aunt and 
niece at the same time is also forbidden; 4. the 
existence of a previous marriage, in the case of a 
woman without limitation (inclusive of the period of 
waiting after the dissolution of the marriage, Hdda 
[q. v.]), and in the case of a free man with the provision 
that he cannot be married to more than four women 
at once; 5. the existence of a threefold taldk [q.v.] or of 
a ti c dn [q.v.]; 6. social inequality; the man must not be 
by birth, profession, etc. below the woman (unless 
both the woman and wait agree); a free Muslim can 
only marry another's slave girl if he cannot provide 
the bridal gift for a free woman, and the marriage 
between a master (or mistress) and his slave (or her 
slave) is quite impossible (a master is however permit- 
ted concubinage with his slave); 7. difference of 
religion; there is no exception to the prohibition of 
marriage between a Muslim woman and an infidel, 
while the permission given in theory for marriage 
between Muslim men and the women of the 
possessors of a scripture is, at least by the Shafi'is, so 
restricted by conditions as to be prohibited in practice; 
8. temporary obstacles, such as the state of ihrdm 
[q. v. ] . On the other hand, the law knows no minimum 
age for a legal marriage. If a marriage contract does 
not fulfil the legal requirements, it is invalid; the 
Hanafls and especially the Malikls, but not the 
Shafi'Is, distinguish in this case between invalid (bdtil) 
and incorrect (fdsid), according as the error affects an 
essential or unessential element in the contract; in the 
former case, there is no marriage at all, in the second, 
its validity may be attacked but (according to the 
Malikls) consummation removes any defect. Mar- 
riage does not produce any community of property 
between husband and wife, and the woman retains 
her complete freedom of dealing; but certain laws 
regarding inheritance come into operation [see 
mIraih, 6, c]. The man alone has to bear the expense 
of maintaining the household and is obliged to sup- 
port his wife in a style befitting her station (nafaka); if 
he should not be in a position to do so, his wife may 
demand the dissolution of the marriage by faskjk [q.v.]. 
The man can demand from his wife readiness for 
marital intercourse and obedience generally; if she is 
regularly disobedient, she loses her claim to support 
and may be chastised by the man. The latter, how- 
ever, is expressly forbidden to take upon himself vows 
of continence (HP and zihdr). Children are only 
regarded as legitimate if they are born at least six 
months after consummation of the marriage and not 
more than 4 years (the predominant Shafi c i view) 
after its dissolution; it is presumed that such children 
are begotten by the husband himself; the latter has the 
right to dispute his paternity by li c dn. Parentage can 
also be established by the husband's ikrdr [q.v.], while 
both recognition and adoption of illegitimate children 
are impossible. 

4. The laws regarding the rights and duties of hus- 
band and wife cannot be modified by the parties at the 
drawing-up of the contract. This can, however, be 
effected by the man pronouncing a conditional lalak 

[see talak, vii.] immediately after the conclusion of 
the marriage contract; this shift to secure the position 
of the woman is particularly common among Indian 
Muslims. For the rest, the couple are left to private 
agreements which need not be mentioned in the mar- 
riage contract. The actual position of the woman in 
marriage is in all Muslim countries entirely depen- 
dent on local conditions and on many special cir- 
cumstances. It is not a contradiction of this to say that 
the legal prescriptions regarding marriage are most 
carefully observed as a rule. In spite of certain ascetic 
tendencies, Islam as a whole has been decidedly in 
favour of marriage.— In modern Islam, the problem 
of the woman's position in marriage and polygamy is 
especially discussed between conservatives and 
adherents of modern social ideas. For the different 
views resulting from these conditions, see the works in 
the Bibliography cited below. 

5. Alongside of the usual form of the old Arabian 
marriage, which in spite of its laxity aimed at the 
foundation of a household and the procreation of 
children, there existed the temporary marriage in 
which the pair lived together tem porarily for a period 
previously fixed. Such temporary marriages were 
entered upon mainly by men who found themselves 
staying for a time abroad. It is by no means certain 
that these are referred to in sura IV, 28, although the 
Muslim name of this arrangement (mut c a [q.v.], 
"marriage of pleasure") is based on the literal mean- 
ing of the verse; it is, however, certain from Tradition 
that Muhammad really permitted mut c a to his 
followers especially on the longer campaigns. But the 
caliph c Umar strictly prohibited mut'-a and regarded it 
as fornication (zind 7 ) (a group of traditions already 
ascribes this prohibition to the Prophet). As a result, 
mut'-a is permitted only among the Sh^Is but pro- 
hibited by the Sunnis. The latter have, however, prac- 
tically the same arrangement; those who wish to live 
contrary to the law as husband and wife for a certain 
period simply agree to do so without stipulating it in 
the marriage contract. 

Bibliography: For the pre-Islamic Arabs: 
G.A. Wilken, Het matriarchaat bij de oude Arabieren, 
German tr., Das Matriarchal bei den alien Arabem, 
Leipzig 1884; W. Robertson Smith, Kinship and 
marriage in early Arabia, new ed., London 1903; 
Wellhausen, Die Ehe bei den Arabem, in Nachrichlen der 
GW Got!., Berlin 1893; Lammens, he berceau de 
I'Islam, 276 ff. Tradition: Wensinck, A handbook of 
early Muhammadan tradition, s.v. Marriage; Gertrude 
H. Stern, Marriage in early Islam, London 1939. On 
the doctrine of Fikh: Snouck Hurgronje, 
Verspreide Geschriften, vi, index, s.v. Huwelijk; Juyn- 
boll, Handleiding 3 , 174 ff.; Santillana, Istituzioni, 
150 ff.; J. Lopiz Ortiz, Derecho musulmdn, 154 ff. On 

i, Mo'di 

a I", 

306 ff.; R. Levy, The social structure oj Islam, 91-124; 
Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka in the latter part oj the 19th 
century, index, s.v. Marriage; Verspreide Geschriften, 
iv/1, 218 ff.; Polak, Persien, i, 194 ff. Modern con- 
ditions: Goldziher, Die Richlungen der islamischen 
Koranauslegung, 360 ff.; R. Paret, Zur Frauenfragc in 
der arabisch-islamischen Welt, Stuttgart 1934. On the 

l of r, 


Islamische Elhik, fasc. ii; Mez, Renaissance des Isldms, 
276-7; Becker, Islamstudien, i, 407. See also Hughes, 
Dictionary of Islam, s.v. Marriage; R. Roberts, The 
social laws of the Qordn, London 1925, 7-18; M. 
Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Muslim institutions, Lon- 
don 1950, 128-37; G.-H. Bousquet, La morale de 
I'Islam et son ethique sexuelle, Paris 1953, 79-141; N.J. 
Coulson, A history of Islamic law, Edinburgh 1964, 

index s.v. Marriage, law of; Schacht, An introduction 
to Islamic law, Oxford 1964, 161-8. Of recent 
treatises in Arabic, see Muhammad Abu Zahra, al- 
Ahwdl al-shakhsiyya, Cairo 1950; C A1T al-Khafif, Fark 
al-zawdQx fi 'l-madhahib al-isldmiyya, Cairo 1958; 
Amir c Abd al- c AzIz, al-Ankiha al-fdsida wa 'l-manhi 
c anhafi 'l-sharFa al-isldmiyya, 'Amman 1983; Kamal 
Ahmad c Awn, al-Talak fi 'l-Isldm muhaddad wa- 
mukayyad, Riyad, 1403/1983. (J. Schacht) 

II. In The Modern Islamic World 

1. The Arab, Persian and Turkish lands of 
the Middle East 
i. Impetus for reform 

Increasing dissatisfaction in recent years with tradi- 
tional marriage law, particularly the discord between 
legal norms adapted to the patrilineal, patriarchal 
family, and changing social conditions, has spawned 
reforms motivated by a desire to adapt sharH norms to 
the transition from the extended to the nuclear family, 
to strengthen the position of women qua women and 
equitably to redefine the rights and duties of spouses. 
Juristic basis for the reforms has been provided by 
a wide gamut of methods: the procedural expedient 
coupled with denial of judicial relief; the "eclectic" 
(takhqyyur) expedient; stipulations in the marriage con- 
tract; extension of the court's discretion; penal and 
legal sanctions; "modernistic" interpretation of tex- 
tual sources (neo-iaj.tikdd); and substantive legislation 
with no apparent basis in the sharf-a [see mahkama. 4. 
xiii, at VI, 40-1]. 

Relevant legislation: Egypt— Law No. 25, 1920; 
Law No. 56, 1923; Law No. 25, 1929; Code of Pro- 
cedure No. 78, 1931; Law No. 62, 1976; Presidential 
Decree No. 44, 1979, repealed and re-enacted by Law 
No. 100, 1985; Iran— Family Protection Act, 1967, 
replaced by Family Protection Act, 1975 (repealed in 
1979); Hrak— Personal Status Law No. 188, 1959, 
amended by Act No. 11, 1963; Israel— Marriage Age 
Law, 1950, amended in 1960; Women's Equal Rights 
Law, 1951; Maintenance (Assurance of Payment) 
Law, 1972; Jordan— Law of Family Rights, No. 92, 
1951, replaced by Law of Personal Status, No. 61, 
1976; Kuwait— Law of Personal Status, 1980; 
Lebanon— [Ottoman] Family Rights Law, 1917 
(hereafter referred to as Ottoman Family Law), put 
into effect by Decree No. 241, 1942 and reasserted in 
1962; North Yemen— Family Law, 1978; South Yemen- 
Family Law, No. 1, 1974; The Sudan— Judicial Cir- 
culars: No. 17, 1915; No. 28, 1927; No. 41, 1936; 
No. 45, 1936; No. 54, 1960; Syria— Decree No. 59, 
1953, on Personal Status Law, amended by Law No. 
34, 1975; Turkey— Turkish Civil Code, 1926. 
ii. Impediments to marriage 

SkarH impediments to marriage, excepting foster 
relationship, have been completely abandoned in 
Turkey. A reform unique to Kuwait to safeguard the 
family's integrity prohibits a man's marrying a 
woman he has deliberately and viciously turned 
against her former husband, 
iii. Marriage guardian 

The marriage guardian's role has been virtually 
restricted to protecting the interests of wards 
physically mature but under the statutory age of com- 
petence for marriage. Moreover, the court is 
empowered to permit marriage even against the guar- 
dian's will. Under Ottoman family law (still 
applicable in Lebanon and Israel), as well as in Jor- 
dan, Syria, and 'Irak (all bound by the Hanafi 
school), the marriage guardian's right to contract a 
valid compulsory (idjbdr) marriage, even with regard 
to minors, has almost completely been abolished 
through innovative changes in the minimun age for 

marriage (see below, v). In the Sudan (1960), the 
traditional Malik! rule that an adult woman must be 
given in marriage by her guardian still obtains, 
although the woman's consent is now as a rule essen- 
tial for its validity, 
iv. Equality in marriage 

Criteria for equality between spouses (kafdty, as 
well as the guardian's right to demand annulment of 
the marriage on grounds of inequality, have been cur- 
tailed. Ottoman family law explicitly mentions as 
criteria only profession and property (out of which the 
prompt dower can be paid and the wife's maintenance 
provided). In Jordan the only remaining criterion is 
property. In Kuwait religious piety is the sole 
criterion. In Syria equality is a matter of local conven- 
tion, not law. So far c Irak alone totally ignores this 
institution, implying its complete abandonment. 
However, a new criterion has emerged: parity in age 
between the spouses (see below, vi). 
v. Age of marriage 

Restrictions on child-marriage are intended to pre- 
vent the harmful social implications of premature 
marriage. Distinction has been made to this end 
between an age of competence for marriage and a 
minimum age below which marriage is never possible, 
the parties being presumed to be under puberty. Most 
Middle Eastern countries have followed the precedent 
set by Ottoman family law in prescribing the age of 
competence for marriage: eighteen for a boy and 
seventeen for a girl. Marriage below these ages is per- 
missible, however, on proof of sexual maturity (see 
below). Simultaneously, traditional sharH (and 
Ottoman family law) age limits (nine for girls, twelve 
for boys), below which no claim of sexual maturity 
will be heard (in effect, minimum ages for marriage), 
have been raised: fifteen or sixteen for a boy, and 
between thirteen and sixteen for a girl. In Egypt 
(1923, 1931) no distinction is drawn between puberty 
and competence for marriage. Prescribed ages for 
marriage are eighteen for a boy and sixteen for a girl. 
Marriage below these ages is not permissible (nor 
registered — see below, viii) even on proof of sexual 
maturity. In the Sudan (1960) a pre-pubescent girl at 
least ten years old may be given in marriage with the 
consent of the court where there are grounds for anx- 
iety about her morals. 

Adolescents having reached the prescribed ages of 
puberty but not of competence for marriage may 
marry in the interim period of two or three years 
(irrelevant under Hanafi law), subject usually to the 
marriage guardian's consent and always to the court's 
permission. In Israel the "good defences" (physical 
maturity and the guardian's consent) against a charge 
of contravention of age-of-marriage legislation were 
abrogated (1950), but simultaneously a district judge 
was empowered to permit the marriage of a girl who 
was pregnant or had given birth or, since 1960, had 
reached the age of sixteen. 

Ottoman family law concerning marriageable age 
has directly affected the validity of marriage. Mar- 
riage in violation of the provisions pertaining to the 
age of competence to marry and the conditions con- 
cerning permission to marry is deemed irregular 
{fdsid) with no legal effects before consummation. In 
North Yemen, the marriage of a boy (not a girl) below 
fifteen is not valid. Laws in other Middle Eastern 
countries evade this issue. Courts, however, tend to 
validate such marriages retroactively once the parties 
reach puberty. 

Other devices intended to enforce reformist restric- 
tions on child-marriage are prohibition of registration 
of any union in which the parties have not reached the 

legal ages for marriage (Egypt, 1923; Kuwait; Israel, 
1950), preclusion of courts from entertaining any 
matrimonial cause whatsoever in such marriages, i.e. 
the marriage is valid but not effective (nafidh) (Egypt, 
1923, 1931), and rendering the parties liable to 
statutory penalties (Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, Israel), 
vi. Disparity in age 

Prohibition, by means of registration, of a marriage 
in which there is a gross disparity in age between the 
parties (unless there is some genuine benefit in the 
union) is intended to defend the wife's interests. Jor- 
dan was the first to act on this issue: marriage of a 
woman under eighteen is prohibited if the husband- 
to-be is more than twenty years her senior, unless it 
is established in court that she consents of her own free 
will and that the marriage is in her interest. In Syria 
disparity in age may lead the court to withhold per- 
mission for marriage, taking into account the welfare 
of the parties. In South Yemen, marriage in which 
there is a twenty-year disparity in age is prohibited 
unless the wife has reached thirty-five, 
vii. Stipulations in the marriage contract 

Application of the mechanism of inserting stipula- 
tions benefiting the wife into the marriage contract 
(provided they do not conflict with marriage aims, 
affect the rights of others, or restrict the liberty of the 
husband), is intended mainly to improve the position 
of married women. Anchored in the rjanball school, 
this mechanism rests on voluntary agreement between 
spouses. Non-observance of a stipulation is grounds 
for dissolving the marriage at the wife's request with- 
out prejudice to her financial rights. Ottoman family 
law first introduced this mechanism. Jordan, Syria, 
'Irak, Iran and Kuwait followed suit. The stipulations 
pertaining to marriage are (1) that the wife should not 
be removed from a locality agreed upon between the 
parties; (2) that the husband should not marry a co- 
wife (see below, ix); (3) that the wife may work outside 
the matrimonial home; and (4) that the wife may com- 
plete her studies (Kuwait), 
viii. Registration of marriage 

Registration (performed by the sharpa court or its 
authorised notary; in Syria, a district judge must 
review the marriage application), a wholly new depar- 
ture from the traditional legal system, has become a 
necessary legal formality in most Muslim countries. 
Its purpose is to strengthen state control over mar- 
riage proceedings and to impose reforms relating to 
marriageable age and compulsory marriage (see 
above, iii). Registration is enforced by (1) the Scarpa 
court's deeming an unregistered marriage (though 
not invalid under the shared) not effective {nafidh), 
unless or until pregnancy becomes apparent (South 
Yemen, Lebanon, Syria); (2) considering the registra- 
tion certificate as the sole proof of marriage, lacking 
which the parties will be denied judicial relief (Egypt 
1931); and (3) making the solemniser, bridegroom (or 
both spouses), and witnesses liable to penal sanction 
(Jordan, c Irak, North Yemen), 
ix. Polygamy 

Reforms aimed at consolidating monogamy restrict 
polygamy to the extent of complete abolition. 
Polygamy has been totally abolished as yet only in 
Turkey. In 'Irak it was first abolished (1959), only to 
be reduced to prohibition (1963). Complementary 
measures taken concerning polygamy are: 

(1) Stipulation in the marriage contract (see above, 
vii). Ottoman family law allows a woman to stipulate 
in her marriage contract that her husband shall not 
marry another wife and that should he do so, either 
she or the polygamous wife will be divorced. Jordan 
followed suit, though the first wife may dissolve only 
her own marriage, not that of the co-wife. 

(2) Prohibition. Polygamy has been prohibited (in 
Iran this presumably applies to both permanent and 
temporary marriage) unless permitted by court 
(district court in South Yemen) on the basis of "good 
defences": The court must be satisfied that the hus- 
band is financially able to properly maintain multiple 
wives (Syria; Iran, 1967); that the co-wives will be 
treated with equal justice ( c Irak, Iran, 1967); and that 
the first wife consents to the marriage, is unable or 
unwilling to co-habit, has been sentenced to imprison- 
ment, is addicted to drink, drugs or gambling, has 
deserted the family or disappeared, or has become 
barren, insane or afflicted with incurable disease 
(Iran, 1967, 1975). In South Yemen a medical cer- 
tificate to this effect is required. In 'Irak these 
defences are presumably implied by the phrase "some 
lawful benefit in the polygamous marriage". In Israel 
(1951) the defence available to Muslims qua Muslims 
against a charge of polygamy (prohibited by the Man- 
datary authorities) was abolished and replaced by two 
defences against such a charge: prolonged absence or 
mental illness of the spouse. 

Prohibition of polygamy, unlike abolition, does not 
in itself invalidate polygamous marriage, though 
those failing to obtain the court's permission are liable 

(3) Divorce. This obtains in circumstances where 
no stipulation barring co-marriage has been inserted 
in the marriage contract or where permission for 
polygamy has been granted by court. A woman fin- 
ding the position of co-wife intolerable may dissolve 
her own marriage on grounds (anchored in the Malik! 
school) of inju ry (extended to cover unequal treatment 
of co-wives), or disputes between the spouses (once 
again extended to cover cases of unequal treatment), 
in which case the marriage will be dissolved through 
the arbitration procedure. With slight variations this 
remedy obtains in the Sudan (1915), Lebanon and 
Israel (under Ottoman family law), Jordan, South 
Yemen, and c Irak (1959). In Egypt (1979, 1985) the 
wife's option to dissolve the marriage lapses one year 
after the conclusion of the polygamous marriage. The 
husband and the solemniser must inform the first wife 
when a co-wife is taken, failing which they are liable 
to penal sanction. In Iran (before 1979), a wife who 
had not consented to a polygamous marriage might 
petition the court on these grounds asking for a cer- 
tificate of impossibility of reconciliation and subse- 
quent divorce. 

x. Void and irregular marriages 

Modern legislation in this respect aims to mitigate 
the harsh legal effects of prohibited marriages. 
Ottoman family law, and in its wake Jordan (1951) 
and Syria, reduced the category of void (bdfil) mar- 
riage, entailing no legal effects whatsoever, solely to 
marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim. In 
Jordan this category applied also to the marriage of a 
man to a woman related to him within the prohibited 
degrees (mahram) and (since 1976) to marriage of a 
Muslim man to an adherent of a non-revealed religion 
(ghayr kitabiyya). All other prohibited marriages are 
deemed irregular (fasid) which, if consummated, 
entail some of the legal and financial effects of valid 
(sahih) marriage. 

Syria introduced an innovative reform (with no 
apparent basis in the shari'-a) entitling the wife to 
maintenance even in a consummated irregular (fasid) 
marriage, provided she was not aware of its 
irregularity. In c Irak (1959) it is indicated, though not 
explicitly, that even in cases of void (ghayr sahih) mar- 
riage, the woman is entitled to dower and must 
observe the waiting period. 

The general aim of reformist legislation pertaining 

to temporary marriage (mut'-a) is the curtailment of 
some of its legal effects to the point of complete aboli- 
tion of the institution. Temporary marriage is no 
longer valid in c Irak (1959), although a child born of 
such a liaison is considered legitimate with all atten- 
dant consequences. In Iran (before 1979) temporary 
marriages were valid, though it seems that mutual 
rights of inheritance between partners might no 
longer be created. Traditional mut'-a was reintroduced 
after the 1979 revolution. Under Ottoman family law, 
and in its wake Jordan, temporary marriage is 
deemed irregular, not void. 

With the abolition of slavery in Saudi Arabia 
(1962), concubinage, i.e. a man's shar'T right to have 
sexual relations with an unlimited number of his 
female slaves, ceased to exist. 

In Ottoman family law, and in its wake Jordan, 
Syria and c Irak (1959), no mention is made regarding 
minimum dower, implying abandonment of shaft 
doctrine in this respect. In South Yemen, dower 
(prompt and deferred combined) must not exceed one 
hundred dinars, contrary to traditional doctrine which 
does not acknowledge a maximum dower. 

Egypt (1929) and the Sudan (1935) introduced, via 
lakhayyur with the Hanafi school, that where a married 
couple or their respective heirs dispute the amount of 
dower stipulated, the burden of proof falls on the wife. 
Syria, Kuwait, and Jordan (1976) followed suit. 

Ottoman family law, and in its wake Jordan but not 
other countries, followed the view of those jurists 
within the Hanafi school who maintain, unlike others, 
that the wife must not be compelled to buy the 
trousseau (djihdz) out of her dower. 

In Jordan (1976) any agreement that all or part of 
the dower be deferred shall be recorded in writing, 
otherwise the whole dower shall be deemed prompt. 
Non-payment of the prompt dower before consumma- 
tion has become (since 1951), contrary to the Hanafi 
view, grounds for dissolution [see talak]. 
xii. Maintenance between the spouses 

General trends in this respect favour either one 
spouse or the other, depending on the circumstances. 

(1) Definition of maintenance. In Jordan, and in 
its wake Syria, c Irak, Egypt (1979, 1985) and Kuwait, 
the definition of maintenance has been extended to 
cover medical treatment in addition to traditional 
components. In Egypt (1979) maintenance also 
includes "everything that is requisite by custom," 
"custom" being replaced in 1985 by "sharfa" . 

(2) Criteria for fixing maintenance. Egypt (1929) 
and the Sudan (1936) and, with some variation, 
Kuwait, innovated via lakhayyur that a wife's 
maintenance shall be calculated by exclusive reference 
to her husband's means, regardless of her own condi- 
tion. Jordan, Syria, and Egypt (1979, 1985) followed 
suit with the proviso that the rate of maintenance 
must not be below minimum sufficiency. 

Though maintenance may be increased or 
decreased depending on the husband's condition and 
the cost of living (as in traditional law) no application 
shall be heard before the expiration of a certain time 
period (six months in Syria and Jordan, one year in 
Kuwait, but no time period in c Irak) from the date of 
the court order, save in exceptional emergencies. 

South Yemen introduced an unprecedented 
innovation — in glaring contradiction to the ihari'a — 
according to which spouses bear the expenses of their 
common life as well as the maintenance of their 
children according to their respective means and 
abilities. This reflects a radical concept, anchored in 
1974 law, according to which a marriage is a contract 
between two parties equal in rights and duties. 

(3) Arrears of maintenance. Egypt (1920), and 
c Irak (1959) in its wake, acknowledged via lakhayyur 
the principle of arrears of maintenance: maintenance 
of a wife who has submitted herself, even putatively, 
to her husband is deemed a debt owed by him from 
the time when he fails to support her, not (as in 
Hanafi law) from the time when she sues him in court. 
The Sudan (1927) adopted a less radical approach: 
arrears of maintenance still lapse on the death of 
either party unless the wife has been given judicial 
permission to raise maintenance on credit. In Jordan 
and Syria, as in Ottoman family law, arrears of 
maintenance are created solely by mutual agreement 
or by judicial judgment (in conformity with tradi- 
tional law), however — contrary to the Hanaff 
school — they lapse only by payment or renounce- 
ment, not on the death of either party or on 

In Egypt (1931), and the Sudan (1936) in its wake, 
as a precaution against dubious claims for 
maintenance alleged to have been due over many 
years, courts were forbidden by the procedural expe- 
dient of denial of judicial relief from entertaining 
claims of arrears of maintenance in regard to any 
period more than three years (one year in Egypt since 
1979) prior to the suit. In Syria the court will not 
allow the wife more than four months' arrears of 

(4) Provisional maintenance. In Syria, c Irak, 
Kuwait and Egypt (1979, 1985) the court may order 
payment of provisional maintenance before handing 
down its final decision. 

(5) Collection of maintenance. The Sudan (1915), 
and Egypt (1920) in its wake, decreed that if a hus- 
band has property out of which his wife's legally enti- 
tled maintenance can be obtained, a decree to this 
effect will be executed. In Lebanon, Israel (both 
under Ottoman family law), Jordan, and 'Irak, such 
a judicial decree is possible only if the husband is 

In c Irak, where maintenance cannot be collected 
from the husband and in the absence of any person 
willing to lend money to the wife who, in her turn, is 
incapable of earning a living, maintenance shall be 
provided by the state. Egypt (1976) and Israel (1972) 
transferred the burden of maintenance payment fixed 
by judicial decree to governmental authority, which in 
turn recoups itself from the judgment debtor. 

(6) Non-provision of maintenance as grounds for 
divorce. In Egypt (1920), Jordan, Syria, c Irak, Iran 
(before 1979), and South Yemen, failure to provide 
the wife with maintenance due to unwillingness or 
hardship on the part of the husband (provided, in 
some of the countries, that he has no property out of 
which maintenance may be obtained, and that a 
period of delay has been exhausted) is deemed, via 
lakhayyur, legal grounds for judicial divorce [see 

(7) Maintenance of a working wife. Syria, c Irak 
and Jordan (1976) explicitly deny the right to 
maintenance to a wife who works away from home 
without her husband's consent. In Egypt (1979, 1985) 
and Kuwait, however, the husband's permission for 
that purpose is not required, provided the wife's exer- 
cise of her right to a lawful job is not abused or in con- 
flict with the family's interest, and that she was not 
forbidden by the husband to attend her work. This, 
with some variation, applied also in Iran (before 

xiii. Inheritance rights between the spouses (see mirath. 2. 
In modern Islamic countries, at VII, 111-13). 
xiv. Obedience 

Reform in this respect was aimed at correcting 


injustice and abuse of women. In Egypt (1967) and 
the Sudan (1969), the institution of bayt al-td'a (i.e. 
police-executed enforced obedience of rebellious 
wives, which has no apparent basis in the shar^a) was 
abolished. In Egypt (1979) a disobedient wife wishing 
to object to the written request of the husband for her 
return to the conjugal home may do so, on sharH 
grounds, within ten days (30 days since 1985) of the 
court's request. The court will try to reconcile the par- 
ties, failing which it will refer them to arbitration. If 
arbitration is unsuccessful, judicial dissolution may be 
granted [see talak]. 

Bibliography: J.N.D. Anderson, Law reform in 
the Muslim world, London 1976, with important 
bibl.; idem, Islamic law in Africa, London 1954, 301- 
21; N.J. Coulson,^ history of Islamic law, Edinburgh 
1964, part iii; Y. Linant de Bellefonds, Traite de droit 
musulman compare, ii, Paris and the Hague 1965, 
with important bibl.; J. Schacht, An introduction to 
Islamic law, repr. London 1966, 100-11, with 
important bibl. on 252 ff.; J.J. Nasir, The status of 
women under Islamic law, London 1990; Carolyn 
Fluehr-Lobban, Islamic law and society in the Sudan, 
London 1987; Doreen Hinchcliffe, Polygamy in tradi- 
tional and contemporary Islamic law, in Islam and the 
modern age, i (1970), 13-38; A. Layish, Women and 
Islamic law in a non-Muslim state, Jerusalem and New 
York 1975; idem, The status of the Sharfa in a non- 
Muslim state, in Asian and African Studies (forth- 
coming); M. al-Nowaihi, Changing the law on personal 
status in Egypt within a liberal interpretation of the 
Sharfa, in M. Curtis (ed.), Religion and politics in the 
Middle East, Boulder 1981, 109-23; R. Shaham, Ha- 
Mishpaha ha-muslimit be-Mitzrayim 1900-1955: 
hemshekhiyut u-temura ("The Muslim family in Egypt 
1900-1955: continuity and change"), Ph.D. diss. 
Hebrew University, Jerusalem 1991, unpubl.; 
Muljammad Abu Zahra, al-Ahwdl al-shakhsiyya, 
Cairo 1957; Muhammad Mustafa Shalabi, Ahkdm 
al-usra fi 'l-Isldm; dirdsa mukdrina bayna fikh al- 
madhdhib al-sunniyya wa 'l-madhhab al-dj_a'-fari wa 7- 
kdnun, Beirut 1973; Shahla Haeri, Law of desire. 
Temporary marriage in Shi c i Iran, Syracuse 1989. 
(A. Lavish and R. Shaham) 

2. In Muslim India up to 1930 [see c urs]. 

3. In Muslim India after 1930 

Marriage in Islam, not being a sacrament but a 
contract between husband and wife, is literally termed 
in Indian Islam c akd-e-nikdh ("marriage contract"). 
Among Indian Muslims, however, nikah is considered 
to be the establishment of relationship between the 
families of the bride and the groom, which is reflected 
in the formal procedure and series of ceremonies 
which precede the final nikah ceremony. 

In spite of the impact of modern education among 
Indian Muslims, allowing some degree of freedom in 
expressing preference for selecting marriage partner 
by both boys and girls, the formal nikah proposal 
(nikah ka paygham) is sent— or conveyed— by the elders 
of the boy to the elder family members of the girl. The 
ceremonial modesty requires some delay in accepting 
the proposal {paygham). After the formal declaration of 
engagement (nisbat), an auspicious date is fixed for the 
nikah. Generally, the month of Muharram and the 
following thirteen days of Safar are avoided for nikah 
ceremony by both Sunnls and Shi'Ts in commemora- 
tion of martyrdom of Imam Husayn. 

On the appointed day, the marriage party (nikah ki 
bardt), comprising the male relatives and friends of the 
groom's family, proceeds to the house of the bride, 
where they are received by the male members of that 
household. Soon afterwards, the preparations for the 
main ceremony begin, which includes changing of the 

groom's clothes into a completely new set prepared 
and provided by the bride's family. For the c akd 
ceremony, besides the kdfi (usually a Mawlawi or 
Muslim religious scholar) and a wakil (representing 
the bride), two witnesses are required. It is the 
privilege of the bride's family to choose a Mawlawi to 
act as kadi; whereas the wakil (to be a neutral person 
in any unforeseen future dispute) is usually the bride's 
maternal uncle or her paternal or maternal aunt's 
husband. The two witnesses are selected from among 
the relatives of the bride. In order to obtain advance 
consent of the bride, the wakil and the two witnesses 
proceed to the women's quarter, where the wakil in a 
loud voice asks the bride three times her consent for 
her '■akd-e-nikah (specifying the name of the groom and 
the amount of her mahr), to which she is expected to 
respond in her modest and subdued voice. Thereafter, 
the wakil's party returns to the male gathering and 
informs the kadi that the bride's consent has been 
obtained for her nikah. It is followed by a brief 
religious ceremony in which the kadi loudly recites in 
Arabic the marriage sermon (nikah ka khutba), which 
consists of some Kur'anic verses and a history of suc- 
cessful marriages in an Islamic context, citing those of 
Adam and Eve, Abraham and Hagar, Muhammad 
and his four prominent wives, and C A1I and Fatima. 
After this recital, the kadi sits in front of the groom, 
facing towards him; the wakil and both the witnesses, 
already sitting close to the groom, lean slightly 
towards him so that they can hear his consent clearly. 
The kadi, in a low voice as if maintaining secrecy, asks 
the groom three times in the following words (in the 
native language): "I marry you to such-and-such girl, 
daughter of so-and-so person against so much amount 
of mahr. Do you accept?" Each time the groom is 
expected to reply in clear voice, "I accept." After the 
acceptance, the kadi recites in Arabic a long prayer, 
again in a loud voice, blessing the newly-married cou- 
ple with a future happiness like those of all the early 
marriages cited in Islamic history. This brings the 
'■akd-e-nikah to its conclusion, which is followed by a 
feast prepared by the bride's household. Finally, the 
rukhsati (departure of the bride) with the groom's 
party back to the groom's house takes place. 

Bibliography: Jafar Sharif, Qdnoon-e-Isldm (Man- 
ners and customs of the Mussulmans of India), 1832, tr. 
G.A. Herklots, Islam in India, Oxford 1921; Tara 
Chand, Influence of Islam on Indian culture, Allahabad 
1946; A.A.A. Fyzee, Outline of Muhammadan law, 
1949, 2nd ed., London 1955; G. Ansari, Muslim 
marriage in India, in Wiener Volkerkundliche Mit- 
teilungen, iii/2 (1955), 191-206; idem, Muslim caste in 
Vttar Pradesh (a study of culture contact), Lucknow 
1960. (Ghaus Ansari) 

4. In Indonesia 

In Bahasa Indonesian, the country's national 
language, there are two words for marriage: nikah and 
perkawinan. Nikah generally refers to the conclusion of 
a marriage between Muslims. Perkawinan is a broader 
concept which prevails nowadays in national legisla- 
tion, in popular use and even in Islamic writings. 
Hukum perkawinan, marriage law, includes the rules 
concerning polygamy, divorce and alimony (nafkah). 
The sources of Indonesian marriage law include 
those of national law, religious law, adat law [see c ada] 
and colonial law. Over the past forty years, the rele- 
vance of colonial law and adat law has significantly 
decreased. Since Independence, efforts have been 
made to enact a national marriage law for all citizens. 
This goal was reached with Law no. 1 of 1974 con- 
cerning marriage and its executive regulations, which 
will be referred to as the "national law". 

Historically speaking, customary or adat law came 

first. Within Indonesian society, the relationship 
between adat law and Islamic law has been debated for 
centuries. The debate carried over to the Dutch when 
L.W.C. van den Berg claimed in the 1870s that 
Islamic law should be applied in its integrity to 
Muslims in Indonesia. Van den Berg was opposed by 
Snouck Hurgronje, who held the view that Islamic 
law should only be applied insofar as accepted by 
society through its customary law. This so-called 
"reception theory" came to prevail in the colonial 
government, and it was eventually incorporated in the 
colonial constitution of 1925. After independence, this 
theory lost favour in Indonesia. At the same time, the 
political appeal of adat law has considerably 
weakened. As a result, recent debates on marriage 
have mainly focussed on national law and Islamic law 
and the relationship between the two. 

Law no. 1 of 1974 says that in order to be valid, a 
marriage has to be concluded according to religion 
and belief. For most Indonesians this means Islamic 
marriage law. Some provisions of the law seem to con- 
tain codified Islamic law. However, the wording of 
the law is not always unequivocal. As differences of 
interpretation arise, in conservative Muslim circles 
national law is considered binding upon Muslims but 
"God's law" provides the final standard: thus inter- 
pretations of the national law cannot go against 
Islamic law. Among liberal Muslims, modernists and 
nationalists, the supremacy of national law is 
honoured. The latter groups aim at improvement of 
the position of women and unification of the law, 
whereas the former tend to maintain the unfavourable 
position of women and hold the umma above the 

The marriage contract between Muslims is laid 
down in an akta nikah, which according to national law 
has to be approved by the Marriage Registrar, an 
official of the local Religious Office (Kantor Urusan 
Agama, K. U.A.) which is a branch of the Ministry of 
Religion. In practice, centrally-designed and printed 
model contracts are commonly used. Procedures are 
explained to the people with the help of citizens with 
a specific religious function in village or 
neighbourhood government. Besides these, however, 
adat ceremonies often take place at the time of the 
wedding. The national law permits in principle only 
monogamous marriages, but the religious courts may 
allow a man to marry more than one wife on certain 
grounds and conditions, such as the consent of the 
first spouse. National law has altogether forbidden 
polygamy between partners who belong to the civil 
service or the army. 

Unilateral divorce, generally called talak, has been 
embedded in a court procedure as well. The judge 
first has to check whether there is a valid motive as 
specified by national law in a limitative list of divorce 
grounds. If this is the case, he functions as an official 
witness to the talak. The old custom of concluding 
taklik talak upon marriage has been continued through 
the uniform model contract that reiterate the same 
divorce grounds as those mentioned in national law. 

In colonial times, the government had found vari- 
ous types of Islamic courts deciding marriage disputes 
among Muslims, in what was regarded to often be an 
unsystematic way. In the 1870s, L.W.C. van den 
Berg was commissioned to draft a law on Islamic 
courts. This became the Law on Priest Courts of 
1882, which remained the basic law on Islamic 
jurisdiction until its replacement by Law no. 7 of 1989 
concerning religious jurisdiction. This law has made 
the religious courts competent not only in all marriage 
and divorce cases between Muslims but also in mat- 

ters of inheritance. The decisions of the religious 
courts, however, can be subject to final appeal to the 
Supreme Court, the Mahkamah Agung. 

Religious courts, K.U.A.s and institutes of higher 
Islamic learning (I. A. I.N.) where the Islamic law is 
taught, are all under the jurisdiction of the Ministry 
of Religion. Interpretations of Sunni schools other 
than the Shafi c I one have gained currency, con- 
tributing to flexibility of reasoning. In this respect 
mention has even been made of a fifth mazhab, the 
mazhab Indonesia. Nevertheless, Juynboll's Inleiding is 
still held in high esteem among Islamic scholars. 

There are indications that the religious courts, the 
K.U.A.s and the local functionaries, do not always 
apply the law as it appears to have been intended by 
the national legislator. This happens notably when the 
national and the sharFa norms seem to be 
incongruent. Consequently, the protection of women 
as intended in the national law can be undermined. 
Also, marriages between partners of different 
religions, which have since long been allowed in 
national law, are becoming increasingly difficult in 

Bibliography: H. Mahmud Yunus, Hukum 
perkawinan dalam islam, Jakarta 1956; D.S. Lev, 
Islamic courts in Indonesia, Los Angeles 1972; 
Hazairin, Tinjauan mengenai Undang-undang 
perkawinan nomor 111974 dan lampiran Undang-undang 
nomor 111974, Jakarta, Tinta Mas 1975; K. Wantjik 
Saleh, Hukum perkawinan Indonesia, Jakarta, Ghalia 
1980; M.B. Hooker, Islamic law in Southeast Asia, 
Singapore 1984; Departemen Agama RI, Kompilasi 
hukum islam tentang, nikah, talak, cerai, rujuk, i, 
Jakarta 1985; R. Soetojo Prawirohamidjojo, 
Pluralisme dalam perundang-undangan perkawinan di 
Indonesia, Soerabaya, Universitas Airlangga 1986; 
B. Siregar, Pengembangan hukum islam dan penerapan- 
nya dalam hukum nasional, in Varia Peradilan, iii 
(1988); S. Pompe and J.M. Otto, Some comments on 
recent developments in the Indonesian marriage law with 
particular respect to the rights of women, in Verfassung und 
Recht in Ubersee, iv (1990). 

(J.M. Otto and S. Pompe) 
5. In East Africa 

The number of Muslims in East Africa can only be 
estimated; it has been given as 20% of the total 
population, but 10% is more realistic. That is still 
more than six million persons; of these only a few 
hundred thousand live in Uganda, more than five 
million in Tanzania, and over a million in Kenya. 
They all follow the Shafi c i school, except the Indian 
Muslims, who are HanafTs, or Ism a c lUs, Bohoras [q. v. ] , 
Twelver ShiMs and a few others. Of the African Mus- 
lims, only the Somalis retain their own language, ex- 
cept when they settle in the towns. All other Muslims 
in East Africa are Swahili-speaking, or adopt Swahili 
when converting to Islam. Marriage is probably the 
commonest reason for conversion for either sex. 

In many ways, Islam requires few changes for a 
convert. The proposal for a marriage is made by a 
senior member of the family, usually but not 
necessarily, the groom's family. This proposer, the 
mposa, has to make numerous journeys between the 
two family homes until all the details of presents have 
been settled. The "bride price" is called mahari in 
many East African languages; it is an ancient custom, 
although strictly speaking mahr [q.v.] is not the same 
as the "bride price" of customary law. Some Swahili 
scholars insist that mahari should be only a token sum, 
others that it is payment to the bride's father for the 
trousseau, including furniture. On the Coast, some 
marriages are uxorilocal: the bridegroom moves in 

with his wife. Elsewhere, almost always the bride is 
taken ceremoniously to the bridegroom's home. 
Traditional songs accompany every stage of the pro- 

The preferred marriage partners are parallel 
cousins, in the paternal lineage; since many houses 
are the family homes of brothers living together, the 
bride and groom will have known each other since 
childhood. Since everyone has to obey his father, the 
latter can and does decide on the choice of partner for 
both his sons and his daughters. 

The Kur'anic impediments are not always en- 
forceable, e.g. in many parts of Africa it is customary 

sisters; often it is obligatory for a man to marry his 
father's widows, his brother's widows (this is not for- 
bidden in the Kur'an), and even his father's brother's 
widows, so that he has to marry his aunts to raise seed 
for the patrilineal clan. In many African villages it is 
normal for any lactating woman to suckle a baby cry- 
ing with hunger. A Muslim scholar's objections are 
shrugged off. As a result, two persons may marry who 
have sucked the same breast. 

In Africa, many women cultivate their own plot of 
land within the area of land belonging to their hus- 
band's clan. They can sell their produce and cook for 
the family when it is their turn. As a result, they will 
not be so much affected by their husband's neglect as 
a townswoman would be. However, the husband is 
anxious not to neglect his wives because they might 
take lovers. In Africa, Islam has become diluted with 
local customs so that numerous forms of syncretism 
are found. Though most men have only one wife, the 
chiefs may have more wives than the four permitted 
by Islam. Since Africans are keen to have surviving 
children, the type of marriage called mut'-a [q.v.] is 
rare. Sailors and traders may have a wife in each of 
the towns where their business takes them more or less 
regularly, and have children by all of them. Although 
slavery was abolished at the beginning of the century, 
a rich man can still obtain a girl by paying her father 
mahari, which in this case acquires a new meaning. 
There is no minimum age for girls to marry, but the 
majority of the men will be in their twenties when 
marrying. Kufu, a husband of equal socio-economic 
class [see kafa'a], is essential for a girl born of the 
kabaHla, the established clans on the East Coast. If a 
virgin takes a lover of a lower class, this is considered 
a scandal that affects the whole family, to the extent 
that girls are known to have been executed for it. 
Bibliography: Al-Amin Bin Aly, Uwongozi, 
Mombasa 1955; Sheikh Ali Hemedi el Buhriy, 
Nikahi, tr. J.W.T. Allen, Dar es Salaam 1959; 
Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Abdulla Farsy, Ada za 
Harusi katika Unguja, East African Literature 
Bureau, Dar es Salaam 1956; J. Knappert, Islam in 
Mombasa, in Acta Orientalia Neerlandica, ed. by P.W. 
Pestman, Leiden 1971, 75-81; idem, Traditional 
Swahili poetry, Leiden 1967; idem, Wedding songs from 
Mombasa, in Africana Marburgensia, vii/2 (1974), 11- 
32; idem, East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, 
New Delhi 1987; I.M. Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of 
Africa, Somali, Afar and Saho, London 1955; Mwinyi 
Haji Mzale, Ndoa na Faida Nyinginezo, Zanzibar 
n.d.; Al-Hakir Mzee Bin Ali Muhammad, Umuri 
Swalat Al-Kubra Madhabi ya Imam Shafiy, Dar es 
Salaam 1961; A.H.J. Prins, The Swahili- speaking 
peoples, London 1961; E. Sachau, Muhammedanisches 
Recht, Stuttgart and Berlin 1897; F. Schildknecht, 
Tanzania, in J. Kritzeck and W.H. Lewis (eds.), 
Islam in Africa, New York 1969; R.E.S. Tanner, 
Cousin marriage in the Afro-Arab community of Mombasa, 

Kenya, in Africa, xxxiv/2 (April 1964), 127-38; 
Margaret Strobel, Muslim women in Mombasa, 1890- 
1975, New Haven 1979; C. Velten, Sitten und 
Gebrauche der Suaheli, tr. from Desturi za Wasuaheli by 
Mtoro bin Mwenyi Bakari, both publ. Gottingen 
1903, Eng. tr. J.W.T. Allen, ed. N.Q. King, The 
customs of the Swahili people, Berkeley and Los 
Angeles 1981. (J. Knappert) 

6. In Nigeria 

Whereas the Northern Region of Nigeria, as it then 
was, adopted a new penal and criminal code based on 
the Sudan code in 1960, the year of independence, 
personal law and family law have continued to be ad- 
ministered according to the traditional Maliki 
madhhab. In practice, however, this has become much 
distorted by customary and non-canonical obser- 
vances at which the strict malams (Ar. c -ulamd > ) protest, 
mostly in vain. An illustrative example of this occurs 
in the poem Hakuran zama da iyali ("Living patiently 
with the family") by Alhaji Sadisu Lawal Sugogi: 
The useless things that they have to provide (for the 

Place marriage beyond the reach of every husband. 
Even those that wish to add another wife 
Must certainly suffer financially as a result of this. 
Once you enter into the marriage contract 
It is with difficulties that you get out of it. 
(Muhammed Sani Aliyu, Shortcomings in Hausa society 
as seen by representative poets from ca. 1950 to ca. 1982, 
M.A. diss. Bayero University, Kano 1983, unpubl.) 
The Sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar III, on realising 
the extent of the problem, set up a committee in 1967 
to examine alcohol and drug abuse and extravagant 
wedding customs. The committee's findings were 
largely ignored because it proved impossible to pass 
legislation to enforce compliance with the suggested 
regulations, including those relating to wedding gifts. 
The same fate met the recommendations of a second 
committee convened in 1969. Undeterred, and 
prompted by increased concern over drunkenness, 
prostitution and deviant marriage customs, the Sultan 
established a third committee, this time under the 
chairmanship of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the first ex- 
ecutive President of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. This 
committee received 1 ,200 letters and conducted 600 
interviews; its findings were summarised in a booklet 
Nasiha ga Musulmi kanyaki da shashanci da almubazzaranci 
("Good advice to Muslims about the battle against 
immorality and extravagance") which was distributed 
in 1973 by the influential organisation Jam 'atu Nasaril 
Islam ("People for the victory of Islam"). The Sultan 
said he wished Nasiha ga Musulmi to be a public record 
of the endeavours of the ulama to stem the tide; its tone 
was uncompromising. The following is an example: 
There are some customs which give rise to such ex- 
travagance that marriage has become a kind of 
trade in itself. For that reason the custom known as 
lefe is abolished completely. Any dress-lengths of 
cloth the bridegroom intends to give to the bride 
should not be handed over to her until she is under 
his roof, whereupon he can give her as many dress- 
lengths as he likes and it is entirely his own 
business. It is expressly forbidden to allow them to 
be paraded about for inspection. 
Some of the recommendations later became bye-laws 
of the Sokoto Local Authority but proved to be as 
unenforceable as before, especially in the climate 
created by the 1970s oil boom when newly-rich en- 
trepreneurs and bureaucrats vied with each other in 
the marriage market. 

In 1981 the Federal Law Reform Commission pro- 
posed a bill for the reform of the Marriage Act. It fail- 


ed to recognise religious and cultural sensibilities and 
was therefore dropped. However criticisms continued 
to surface and women's groups, notably FOMWAN 
(The Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in 
Nigeria) aroused awareness of the issues through its 
nationwide organisation which had attracted 
university-trained Muslim women. In 1991 a four- 
day seminar, Better Protection for Women and Children 
under the Law, was organised by the Federal Ministry 
of Justice. Aisha Lemu, a FOMWAN executive 
member and the wife of the Grand Kadi of Niger 
State, addressed the seminar on the subject "Muslim 
women and marriage under the Shari'a". Her 
remarks on the financial and marital rights of Muslim 
women echoed some of the earlier views expressed in 
Nasiha ga Musulmi, but went further and blamed the 
courts for not implementing the law in respect of 
divorce and the custody of children. She said: 

The main problems faced by Muslim women in 
Nigeria are caused by pre-Islamic customs. In the 
North women who are ready to take their cases to 
the Shari'a courts can sometimes still fail to get 
their rights in the lower courts because of either ig- 
norance of the Shari'a or corruption. However, if 
they are patient and persistent enough to appeal to 
the higher Shari'a courts their rights will be upheld. 
In the multi-cultural context of Nigeria, which is a 
secular state, it is difficult to see how the Federal Law 
Reform Commission will be able to effect change 
without causing deep resentment in one section of the 
country or the other. Gradual shifts in attitude may, 
however, be engineered by women's pressure groups 
characterised by FOMWAN and others, notably The 
Women's Commission in Kano, which are backed by 
Muslim intellectuals predominantly based in 
Northern Nigerian universities. 

Bibliography: A detailed and scholarly account 
of marriage customs and law in Northern Nigeria 
has yet to be written. Meanwhile, see A. Phillips 
and H.F. Moons, Marriage laws in Africa, 1971; Ed- 
win Nwogogu, Nigerian family law; Awwalu Hamisu 
Yadudu, Islamic law and law reform discourse in 
Nigeria, diss. Harvard Univ. 1986, unpubl.; Zainab 
Kabir, Law and marital problems in Kano State, in The 
Muslim Woman, i/2 (1990); Beverley Mack and 
Catherine Coles (eds.), Hausa women in the 20th cen- 
tury, Madison 1991. (Jean Boyd) 
NIKBULl , NikbulI, the most commonly used Ot- 
toman Turkish form of the Byzantine town of 
Nikopolis, modern Bulgarian Nikopol, a town on 
the southern bank of the Danube in lat. 43° 43' N. 
and long. 24° 54' E., famed as the scene of a battle 
between the Ottomans and the European Crusaders 
in 1396. 

This Nikopolis, founded by Heraclius (ca. 
575-642), has often been confused, especially in 
mediaeval literature, with Nikopolis ad Istrum or ad 
Haemum, founded by Trajan in 101 in commemora- 
tion of his victory over the Dacians (ruins excavated 
near modern Nikup in the upper valley of the Djantra 
by Mt. Haemus). The Byzantine Nikopolis is some- 
times called Nikopolis Major to distinguish it from 
Trajan's Nikopolis and Nikopolis Minor on the oppo- 
site bank of the Danube near the Rumanian town of 
Tomu Magurele. 

The importance of Nikopolis as a trade centre and 
military post is due chiefly to the command which it 
holds over the Osma and the Aluta, the two Danubian 
arteries reaching into the heart of Bulgaria and 
Rumania respectively. Situated on a naturally for- 
tified plateau, it dominates the plains to the south, the 
Danube to the north, and the eastern gorge connec- 

ting the interior of Bulgaria with the river. The 
mediaeval double walls and strong towers surrounding 
Nikopolis were destroyed by the Russians during their 
occupation of the city in 1810 and 1877. 

Nikopolis was first captured from the Bulgarians in 
791/1389 by C A1I Pasha Candarlf [see c ali pasha 
candarlizade]. Seven years later, it was the scene of 
the famous battle in the Crusade which is called by its 
name. The acquisition of Bulgaria by the Turks and 
their continual irruptions north of the Danube into 
territories claimed by Hungary, together with a state 
of comparative peace in Western Europe in the last 
decade of the 14th century, made it both necessary 
and possible for most Catholic countries to participate 
in the expedition. An army of about 100,000 
Crusaders (according to the most reliable estimates) 
from France, Burgundy, England, Germany, Italy, 
Spain, Hungary, Poland, Wallachia and Tran- 
sylvania marched along the Danube, seized Vidin and 
Rahova, and finally set siege to Nikopolis while an 
allied Veneto-Genoese fleet blockaded the city from 
the river. The siege lasted about fifteen days, during 
which Bayezid I [?.*>.] abandoned the siege of Con- 
stantinople, burnt the siege machinery, and summon- 
ed his Asiatic and European contingents to arms. A 
Turkish army of perhaps 110,000 men met at 
Adrianople and, marching through the Shipka Pass, 
descended into the valley of the Osma and pitched 
their camp on the southern hill commanding the 
Nikopolis plain. 

The battle took place on Monday 21 Dhu '1-Hidjdja 
798/25 September 1396, and the Crusaders were com- 
pletely routed owing to the superiority of Ottoman 
tactics and the dissensions amongst the leaders of the 
Christian host. Bayezid divided his army into two 
large sections. The first, consisting of two large bodies 
of irregular cavalry and of irregular infantry, oc- 
cupied the slope of the hill. Between the cavalry 
vanguard and the infantry rearguard of this section, 
the Turks planted a field of pointed stakes. Beyond 
the skyline on the other slope of the hill, hidden from 
their unsuspecting enemy, the second and more im- 
portant section, consisting of BayezTd with his Sipahis 
and Stephen Lazarovic with his Serbs, watched for the 
right moment to advance against the exhausted 
Christians. These tactics proved to be effective when 
the Crusaders' vanguard of French and foreign aux- 
iliaries defeated the Turkish irregular cavalry and, 
after forced dismounting to uproot the stakes, routed 
the irregular infantry and pursued them uphill to face 
the new and unseen forces. Meanwhile, a stampede of 
riderless horses produced confusion in the Crusaders' 
rear which comprised the Eastern European armies. 
Mircea and Laczkovic, who had no sympathy for 
Sigismund of Hungary, retired with their Wallachian 
and Transylvanian auxiliaries who constituted the left 
and right wings of the rearguard. After desperate 
fighting for the relief of the French and foreign con- 
tingents, the Hungarian nobles persuaded their king 
to board a Venetian galley and escape by way of 
Byzantium and the Morea to Dalmatia. The rest were 
either killed or captured, only to be massacred on the 
following day by Bayezid in order to avenge in this 
way the severe losses which he had sustained. A small 
number of nobles were, however, saved from the 
massacre for a ransom of 200,000 gold florins. 

The immediate result of the Ottoman victory was 
the extension of the conquests into Greece and the 
submission of Wallachia to Ottoman suzerainty. 
More important, however, was the breathing-space it 
gave for the consolidation of the Turkish territories in 
Europe, which enabled the Ottoman empire to sur- 


vive the critical struggles of the next decades. 
In later history, Nikopolis plays only a minor part. 
During the wars of the 19th century it was thrice cap- 
tured by Russian armies (September 1810; July 1829; 
July 1877), and by the Treaty of Berlin (13 July 1878) 
was included in the tributary principality of Bulgaria. 
The modern town of Nikopol (estimated population 
1970, 5,715) lies in the province (okrug) of Pleven (Ot- 
toman Turkish Plewne [j.o.]). 

Bibliography: See the standard histories of the 
Ottoman Empire. For the Crusade, a full and 
classified bibliography of the extensive ms. and 
printed sources, both Eastern and Western, is con- 
tained in A.S. Atiya, The Crusade of Nicopolis, Lon- 
don 1934. See also the following older monographs: 
A. Brauner, Die Schlacht bei Nikopolis, 1396, Breslau 
1876; J. Delaville le Roulx, La France en Orient au 
XIV™' siecle, Paris 1886; H. Kiss, A Nicapolye 
ulkozet, Magyar Academiai ertestito, 1896; I. 
Kdhler, Die Schlachten bei Nikopoli und Warna, 
Breslau 1882; F. Sigic, Die Schlock bei Nikopolis, 
Vienna 1893. Of more recent studies, see lA, art. 
Nigbolu (M.C. Sehabeddin Tekindag); Halil In- 
alcik, The Ottoman empire. The classical age 1300-1600, 
London 1973, 15-16; H.W. Hazard (ed.), A history 
of the Crusades, iii. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, 
Madison 1975, 21-6, 82-5; S.J. Shaw, History of the 
Ottoman empire and modern Turkey, i, Cambridge 
1976, 33-4. (A.S. Atiya) 

NIKSAR, the classical Neo-Caesarea in Bithynia, 
a town lying on the southern rim of the Pontic moun- 
tain chain of Asia Minor (the modern Turkish Kuzey 
Anadolu Daglan) on the right bank of the Kelkit 
river. It is situated at an altitude of 350 m/1,150 feet 
in lat. 40°35' N. and long. 36°59' E. 

The nucleus of the town is picturesquely situated at 
the foot of a hill, crowned by the ruins of a mediaeval 
castle which was erected from the material provided 
by the numerous buildings of antiquity there. Here in 
remote antiquity was Cabira and after its decline 
Diospolis founded by Pompey, later called Sebaste. In 
Church history Niksar is famous as the scene of a 
Council (314 a.d.) and as the birthplace of Gregory 
the miracle-worker. In the Muslim period it became 
important under the Saldjuks, of whom numerous 
and important buildings have survived to the present 
day. It became more important under the Danishii 
mandids [q.u.], whose founder Malik Danishmand 
Ahmad G_hazl took Niksar among other places. His 
grandson Muhammad successfully resisted a siege by 
the emperor Manuel in Niksar. His son Yaghibasan 
(537-62/1142-66), of whom there survives an inscrip- 
tion of the year 552/1157, died in 562/1166, 
whereupon Niksar was taken by the Byzantine 
emperor Manuel (Kinnamos, 296-7, 300) although 
only for a short time. In 799/1 397 Niksar passed to the 
Ottomans and gradually lost its former importance. It 
remained noted for its very prolific orchards, 
celebrated already in al-KazwIni's time (Athdr, ed. 
Wustenfeld, Gottingen 1848) the special produce of 
which, very large and sweet cherries, pears, figs etc., 
were famous at all times. Ewliya Celebi (cf. Seyahal- 
nama, ii, 389, v, 14; Travels, ii, 102) who visited 
Niksar in 1083/1672, describes the town in his usual 
extravagant fashion, mentioning 70 schools, 7 
monasteries, many mills and waterwheels and 500 
shops with a large number of shoe-makers. The 
pomegranates there, he says, are the size of a man's 
head and weighed 1 okka.The remains of the Islamic 
period, so far as they bear inscriptions, have been 
published by Isma'il Hakkl, Kilabeler (Istanbul 
1345/1927), 58-73. The liirbes (sepulchral cupolas) of 

Malik G_hazi and of HadjdjI Cfkrfk are worth men- 
tioning; among old dervish monasteries there are the 
ishik-tekke and the Kolak-tekke. Niksar has often 
been visited and described by modern travellers. The 
population before the First World War (ca. 4,000) was 
one-quarter Christian; they were mainly engaged in 
the silk and rice trades. 

In modern Turkey, Niksar is the centre of an ilee or 
district in the il or province of Tokat. In ca. 1960 it 
had a population of 10,550. 

Bibliography: HadjdjI Khalifa, Djihan-numa, 
628; F. Taeschner, Anatol. Wegenetz, i, 216 ff., ii, 
12 ff.; Gyllius, Bosph. Throe., 334; J. von Hammer, 
GOR, i, 339, 426; C. Ritter, Erdkundevon Kleinasien, 
i, 221 ff.; J. Morier, A journey through Persia, Armenia 
and Asia Minor to Constantinople, London 1812, 42; 
R. Ker Porter, Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, 
etc., London 1821 , 700; W. Ouseley, Travels in vari- 
ous countries of the East, London 1819, 484; J.B. 
Fraser, Winter journey, London 1838, 209; J.E. 
Alexander, Travels from India to England, London 
1827, 235; Eli Smith and H.G.O. Dwight, Mis- 
sionary researches in Armenia, London 1834, 46; W.J. 
Hamilton, Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus and 
Armenia, London 1842, 346; V. Cuinet, La Turquie 
d'Asie, i, 734-5; Admiralty handbooks, Turkey, Lon- 
don 1942-3, ii, 576; tA, art. Niksar (Besim Darkot); 
PW, xvi/2, cols. 2409-13 (W. Ruge). 

(F. Babinger) 
NIKULA'US, the Arabised form of the name of 
Nicolaus of Damascus, born 64 B.C., distinguished 
politician (adviser of King Herod, friend of 
Emperor Augustus), and scholar of vast erudition 
and versatility. Greek fragments of his rhetorical, 
historical and biographical works have survived, but 
philosophical fragments are scarce. On the other 
hand, his literary legacy was unknown in the Orient, 
but Syriac and Arabic translations of his philosophical 
works have recently come to light. 

1. The Book on Plants: K. Artsluldlls fi 'l-nabdt, iafsir 
Nikula^us is probably an adaptation of Aristotle's lost 
work Ilepi <putoiv. The Arabic translation was 
discovered in 1923, edited by Arberry (1933) and 
Badawl (1954). See now Drossaart Lulofs and Poort- 
man, Nicolaus De plantis, five translations, in Verh. Ak. 
Amst. (1989) ( = DLP). Because in the Latin version by 
Alfred of Sareshel (1200 A.D.) the words iafsir 
Nikula'us were omitted, De plantis was attributed to 
Aristotle himself. Some 160 mss. testify to its 
popularity in the Middle Ages, and yet it was eclipsed 
by the Greek retroversion from Alfred's text (13th 
cent.), which from 1539 onwards figured as an appen- 
dix to all Greek editions of Aristotle, but was generally 
considered spurious. In 1841 Alfred's Latin version 
was edited by E.H.F. Meyer, who knew the title in 
Arabic from Ha djdj I Khalifa (ed. Flugel v, 162, no. 
10564). In his commentary, Meyer marked off a long 
digression (§§ 66-ca. 130) on the parts of plants that 
was borrowed from the History of Plants by 
Theophrastus, whose name was not mentioned. Ap- 
parently, Nicolaus inserted this detailed account 
because Aristotle used to maintain that the parts of 
plants were few and simple. A comparison with 
Theophrastus' Greek text shows that Nicolaus, in 
compiling, sometimes left out important words, e.g. 
restrictive particles, and had the habit of conflating 
parallel passages. Consequently, the tenor of the 
original work was often distorted and obscured. Ob- 
viously, he did the same to the Aristotelean part. 
Glossators swamped the text with enigmatic glosses 
and digressions on alien matters. Hence the rambling 
character of the book. 

In the Orient, many authors have used the K. al- 
Nabat, and though some of them (e.g. Ibn al-Tayyib) 
had a poor opinion of it, Ibn Rushd appears to have 
written an epitome (DLP, 363 ff.). The fragment of a 
long commentary in Hebrew (Oxford Hunt. 576) is a 
clever imitation. Ullmann, Die Natur- und Geheim- 
wissenschaften im Islam, Leiden 1972, 73 ff., rightly 

ts that the book has primarily been one of the few 
sources for the knowledge of Theophra 
among the Arabs. And indeed, Ibn Sin, 
Tayyib, for instance, had a strong prefe 
relevant part which, of course, they 

2. On the Philosophy of 

n botan 
and Ibn al- 

13 books. 

mpendium of Aristotle's physical 
treatises, Nicolaus acted as a pioneer; at the time 
when commentators used to begin with Logic, he turn- 
ed to the philosophy of nature. The remnants in 
Europe are very scarce, but a curtailed Syriac version 
in the mutilated Cambridge ms. Syr. Gg. 2.14 was 
discovered in 1901. Drossaart Lulofs edited the first 
five books in 1963 (= Nicol. Philos.). Owing to the 
rapidly increasing mutilation of the ms. leaves, the 
others are less accessible. 

Some remarkable features are that: (a) throughout 
the whole work the same habit of compiling and the 
same use (and abuse) of conflation is observed as in De 
plantis; (b) a compendium of the Metaphysics is added 
and placed after (!) the Physics; (c) Ibn Rushd's objec- 
tions against Nicolaus' peculiar way of adjusting the 
Metaphysics to his purpose, which were discussed from 
Th. Roeper (1844) onwards, can now be explained 
(Nicol. Philos., 27-34); and (d) abridged excerpts of 
Meteorology, i-iii, are interspersed with parts of Olym- 
piodorus' Commentary in a very bad translation. In the 
Paris ms. B.N. Syr. 346, some of these comments are 
collected and wrongly ascribed to Nicolaus. In editing 
these quotations under Nicolaus' name, F. Nau (in 
ROC, xv [1910]) created confusion, (e) In Nicolaus' 
book, Meteor., iv, is concerned with mineralogy and 
deviates from Aristotle because Nicolaus has sup- 
plemented Aristotle's own short and unfinished obser- 
vations on the subject (at the end of Meteor., iii) with 
quotations from Theophrastus, De lapidibus. So, just 
as in De plantis, Nicolaus turned to Theophrastus 
where Aristotle failed. 

Large parts of the compendium have been 
translated from Syriac into Arabic, and both transla- 
tions have been used by Oriental authors as a kind of 
source book of Aristotelian tenets. A case in point is 
Barhebraeus, who possessed an unabridged copy of 
Nicolaus in Syriac, of which in the Candelabrum and 
the Butyrum sapientiae he often availed himself without 
mentioning the Damascene (see DLP, 1 7-49). On the 
other hand, Ibn Rusjhd inserted a lengthy passage 
from Nicolaus' (unabridged) summary of the 
Metaphysics, where his copy of the Arabic translation of 
Aristotle's work had a lacuna, see Ibn Rushd, Tafsir 
maba'-dal-tabfa, 843.8-850.7 Bouyges = Nicol. Philos., 
F. 22. 

Bibliography: Th. Roeper, Lectiones abul- 
pharagianae, Gedani 1844, 35-43, contain the first 
discussion of Nicolaus' philosophical fragments 
known at the time. See further the bibl. in H.J. 
Drossaart Lulofs, Nicolaus Damascenus on the Philoso- 
phy of Aristotle, Leiden 1969 2 , 6-7; P. Moraux, Da 
Aristotelismus bei den Griechen I, in Peripatoi, v (Berlin 
1973), 445-514; Drossaart Lulofs, Aristotle's nEPI 
<PTTQN, in Jnal. of Hellenic Studies , lxxvii/1 (1957), 
75-80; idem, Aristotle, Barhebraeus and Nicolaus, in On 
nature and living things, ed. A. Gotthelf, Bristol 1985, 
345-357; idem, Das Prooimion von nEPI <PTTON, in 

Aristoteles' Werk und Wirkung, ed. J. Wiesner, ii, 

Berlin 1987, 1-16. (H.J. Drossaart Lulofs) 

NIL, also niladi (Persian, from Skr. nila "blue") is 
Indigo linctoria L., Indigoferae, the oldest known organic 
dye. It is the main component of natural indigo, 
which can be obtained from various kinds of 
indigofera (Isatis tinctoria, Cruciferae) and from the 
knotweed (Polygonum tinctorium, Polygonaceae). For 
thousands of years indigo has been used in India, 
China, as well as in Egypt, to paint and dye various 
fabrics. Classical antiquity knew indigo as a medicine; 
the Arabs cultivated the plant and produced the dye 

The Arab translators of Dioscurides did not find an 
equivalent for isatis, and so the early Arab authors 
confused the ioaxi; of Dioscurides — Pliny's glastum 
(Nat. Hist, xxii, 2), Isatis tinctoria — with Dioscurides' 
ivStxov, Pliny's indicum (xxxv, 27), Arabic nil = Indigo 
tinctoria. In the Middle Ages, the Arabs used the word 
nil — actually indigo — to indicate woad. However, 
they realised the difference: al-Suwaydl, 
asmd> al-nabdt (ms. Paris ar. 3004, fol. 198b, 10), refer- 
ring to the identification of isatis with nil, only remarks 
that many scholars have a different opinion, but al- 
Ghafikl (in Ibn al-Baytar, al-DJami' : , Bulak 1291, iv, 
186, 28-30) expresses himself more clearly: 
Dioscurides' nil ( = toaxi;) is known in Spain under the 
name al-samd^i ("the sky-blue"), but it is not much 
used in the land of the Franks, whereas the nil of the 
dyers is said to be al-Hzlim, the (Indian) nil, whose des- 
cription applies to indigo. The constant confusion 
between the two plants led to a series of Arabic 
synonyms, like Hzlim, wasma (wasima), khitr, nila, tin 
akhdar, etc., which were used indifferently for the two 

Both isatis and indigo were used as medicines, 
especially as astringents, by way of compresses, for 
wounds, tumours and sores. Indigo was an important 
commercial product, used for colouring fabrics and 
wool. The main source of exports was always India, 
Baghdad being the intermediate place of transfer. 
From here the dyeing plant reached mediaeval 
Europe as "Baghdad indigo" (see W. Heyd, Histoire 
du commerce du Levant, Leipzig 1885-6, repr. Amster- 
dam 1959, 626-9). Outside India, the indigo plant was 
also grown on Persian soil, in Kirman and Khuzistan 
(see P. Schwarz, Iran im Mittelalter, 273, 276, 422). In 
modern times, it is mostly synthetic indigo which 
comes on the market. 

Bibliography: A. Dietrich, Dioscurides trium- 

phans. Ein anonymer arabischer Kommentar (Ende 12. 

Jahrh. n. Chr.) zur Materia medica, Gottingen 1988, 

636-7, with references to sources and literature. 
(A. Dietrich) 

al-NIL, the river Nile. The Nile is one of the 
large rivers (length ca. 6,648 km./4,132 miles) which 
from the beginning have belonged to the territory of 
Islam, and the valleys and deltas of which have 
favoured the development of an autonomous cultural 
centre in Islamic civilisation. In the case of the Nile, 
this centre has influenced at different times the 
cultural and political events in the Islamic world. 
Thus the Nile has, during the Islamic period, con- 
tinued to play the same part as it did during the cen- 
turies that preceded the coming of Islam. 

The name al-NIl or, very often, Nil Misr, goes 
back to the Greek name NsiXo; and is found already 
in early Arabic literary sources, though it does not 
occur in the Kur'an (in sura XX, 39, the Nile may be 
meant by al-yamm). The Christian habit of calling the 
river Gehon, after one of the rivers of Paradise, as 
found in the works of Ephraim Syrus and Jacob of 

Edessa and in the Arabic-Christian author Agapius 
(Patrologia Orientalis, v, 596), is not followed by the 
Muslims who know only the Oxus under this name. 
Al-Zamakhshan (Kitdb al-Amkina, ed. Salvedra de 
Grave, 127) mentions as another name al-Fayd, no 
doubt a poetical allusion to the yearly flood. Already 
in the Middle Ages, the word bahr having come to 
acquire in Arabic the meaning of "river", the Nile is 
also called al-Bahror Bahr Misr(cf. al-MakrizI, ed. 
Wiet, i, 218), which is also the case with several 
separate parts of its river system, such asBahrYusuf 
or Bahr al-Ghazal. In the Delta, the different 
ramifications of the river are occasionally also called 
Nile, but where necessary the main stream C-amud) is 
distinguished from the minor branches (dhira* or 
khalldj) and the canals (tur c a). 

The geography of the Nile is treated here only 
from a historico-geographical point of view so far as 
the knowledge of Islamic science is concerned. The 
geographical knowledge of the Nile among the 
Muslims, so far as we can learn from their literary 
sources, is based partly on direct observation, but for 
the most part on legendary or pseudo-scientific tradi- 
tions which go back to local beliefs or to classical 
knowledge. For a long time during the Middle Ages 
the limit of Islamic territory on the Nile was well 
fixed; it ended at the first cataract near the island of 
Bilak (Philae) to the south of Uswan (Assouan); here 
began, since the treaty (bakt [q.v.]) concluded by c Abd 
Allah b. Abi Sarh with the Nubians, the Nubian ter- 
ritory [see nuba], where for long centuries Chris- 
tianity prevailed (al-Baladhurl, 236; Ibn c Abd al- 
Hakam, Futuh Misr, ed. Torrey, 188). The first 
locality on Nubian territory, where tribute was paid, 
was called al-Kasr (al-Mas<udT, Muru&, iii, 
40-1 = § 883). 

Historical tradition has preserved parts of the 
alleged correspondence between 'Amr b. al- c As and 
the caliph c Umar on the subject of Egypt, then newly- 
conquered; here the Nile is described as a river 
"whose course is blessed", while the flood and the 
inundations are praised in poetical terms ( c Umar b. 
Muhammad al-Kindl, FadaV Misr, ed. 0strup, 204; 
al-Dimaghkl, ed. Mehren, 109). The same cor- 
respondence reveals the perhaps historical fact that 
c Umar did not wish to see the Arab army established 
in Alexandria, because there would be then a great 
river between the army and the caliph (Ibn c Abd al- 
Hakam, 91 ; cf. also what is said on p. 128 about those 
who went to live in al-DjIza). 

The principal towns by which the Nile passed in 
mediaeval Egypt in Upper Egypt, between Uswan 
and al-Fustat, were Adfu (Edfu, on the left), Isna 
(Esne, 1.), Armant (1.), Kus (r.), al-Aksur (Luxor, r.), 
Kift (r.), Ikhmlm (Akhmlm, r.), Usyut (Asyu{, 
Suyut, 1.), al-UsJimunayn (1.), Ansina (r. opposite al- 
UshmOnayn), Taha (1.), al-Kays (1.), Dalas (1.), 
Annas (1.) and Itffh (Atfih, r.). This succession of 
towns is given for the first time by al-Ya c kubI (331-4), 
while Ibn Hawkal (ed. de Goeje, 95) is the first to give 
a table of the distance between these towns, expressed 
in bands, the entire distance being 21 days' journey 
(al-ldrlsl, ed. Dozy and de Goeje, 52, gives 25 days' 
journey for the same distance). Shortly before al- 
Ushmunayn, there branched off on the left the canal 
that conducted the water to al-FayyOm, which is 
known to Ibn al-Fakih (74) as Nahr al-Lahun and 
to al-Idrisi (50) as KhalTdj al-Manhl: this canal, 
which according to unanimous tradition was dug by 
Joseph, occurs already on the ms. map from the year 
479/1086, of Ibn Hawkal in Istanbul, Top Kapu 
Saray ms. no. 3346 (reproduction on fol. 658 of 

Monumenta AJricae et Aegypti by Youssouf Kamal). It is 
the Bahr Yusuf of our days; on it was situated al- 
Bahnasa. The banks of the Nile in Upper Egypt are 
not very completely described by the geographers; one 
finds repeated everywhere the assertion that the 
borders were cultivated without interruption between 
Uswan and al-Fus(a( (cf. al-Istakhrl, 50), but that the 
width of the cultivated territory varied during the 
river's course, dependent on the greater or lesser 
distance of the two mountain ranges that border the 
stream. Ibn Hawkal (Istanbul ms., see above) 
describes two extremely narrow strips, one between 
Uswan and Atfu (now called Gebelein) and one 
between Isna and Armant (now called Gebel Silsile). 
The curves in the course of the Nile, especially in the 
upper part of the Sa c id, are not indicated on the maps 
of al-Istakhrl and Ibn Hawkal- The oldest extant Arab 
map of the Nile, however — which is at the same time 
the oldest Arab map that we know of — gives clear 

a kno 

This map is found in the Strasbourg ms. of the year 
428/1037 of al-Kh w arazmI's Sural al-ard and has been 
reproduced in the edition of that text by H. v. Mzik 
(BAHUG, iii, Leipzig 1926). The representation of 
the Nile here is connected with the classical tradition 
of astronomical geography; al-Kh w arazmi himself, 
and after him Suhrab (Ibn Serapion) and Ibn Yunus 
(ms. 143 Gol. of the University Library at Leiden, 
where on p. 136 a special table is given of the towns 
lying on the banks of the Nile), give exact indications 
as to the longitudes and latitudes of the Nile towns, 
but these indications need many very uncertain cor- 
rections to allow of the reconstruction of a map, as von 
Mzik has tried to do for al-Kh w arazmi >" Denkschr. 
Ak. Wiss. Wien, lix, Vienna 1916, and J. Lelewel for 
Ibn Yunus in pi. ii of the Atlas annexed to his 
Geographic du Moyen-dge, Paris 1850. But the fact that 
the course of the Nile runs from south to north was 
well known to all the Arabic sources, which often 
repeat the assertion that the Nile is the only river in 
the world for which this is the case. Only the text of 
Ibn Hawkal seems to imply that the Nile reached al- 
Fustat from the south-east (96). 

The Delta of the Nile begins to the north of al- 
Fustat, where the distance between the two mountain 
ranges widens, while these hills themselves become 
lower and pass gradually into the desert. Immediately 
below al-Fustat began the canal that was dug by 'Arar 
b. al- c As to link up the Nile with the Red Sea; this 
canal (Khalldj Misr or Khalldj Amir al- 
Mu'minin) was made in 23/644 according to 
Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Kindl (cited by al-Makrlzi, 
Khitat, Bulak, ii, 143; cf. Yakut, ii, 466) and served 
for the conveyance of provisions to the Hidjaz until 
the reign of 'Umar b. c Abd al- ( Azfz; afterwards it was 
neglected and even obstructed by the order of the 
caliph al-Mansur, so that, in the 4th/10th century, it 
ended at Dhanab al-Timsah in the lakes to the north 
of al-Kulzum (cf. al-Mas c udI, Murudj., iv, 97 = § 

The two principal arms of the Nile in the Delta 
began about 12 miles to the north of al-Fustat (a little 
further than nowadays, according to Guest) and had, 
as now, a great number of ramifications which com- 
municated in many ways and ended for the greater 
part in the big lakes or lagoons stretching behind the 
sea coast from west to east; these lakes were called in 
the Middle Ages: Buhayrat Maryut (behind Alexan- 
dria), B. Idku, B. al-Burullus or B. al-Bushtlm and 
the very large B. Tinnis, which last contained a large 
number of islands with Tinnis as the most important. 
On the land tongue, where the two main arms 


separated, was 

uated the town of Shatnaf. The 

j the t. 

i of F 

(Rosetta), after which it reached the sea; near the 
town of Shabur a branch parted from this arm in the 
direction of Alexandria, ending in the Buhayrat 
Maryut; this branch was only filled with water in the 
time of the flood (see a very complete survey of the dif- 
ferent "canals" of Alexandria by P. Kahle, in Isl., 
xii, 83 ff.). The eastern arm ran, as is still the case, 
past Dimyat (Damietta) and reached the sea shortly 
afterwards; it had several branches that went to the 
Buhayrat Tinnis, one of which continued one of the 
Nile mouths of antiquity. Though many sources, 
based on a pseudo-historical tradition, repeat after 
each other that there are seven Nile arms (Ibn c Abd 
al-Hakam, 6; further, al-Kh w arazmi, Kudama, 
Suhrab, al-Mas'udl, Ibn Zulak), the more realistic 
authors (Ibn Khurradadhbih, al-Ya c kubi, Ibn Rusta, 
al-Istakhrl, Ibn Hawkal, al-IdrisT) only know of the 
two main arms. These were linked up by a canal 
system which, in the Middle Ages, differed con- 
siderably from the present situation. The chief sources 
from which we know them are Ibn Hawkal and al- 
Idrisi, who give itineraries following the different 
branches, but as the places named in these itineraries 
have been identified only in part, an integral 
reconstruction is not yet possible (on this problem cf. 
R. Guest, The Delta in the Middle Ages, in JRAS [1912], 
941 ff., and the map annexed to this article). The des- 
cription in the text of Suhrab (ed. von Mzik, BAHUG, 
v) has little value as an endeavour to trace back to his 
time (4th/10th century) the seven legendary arms; 
among these arms special attention is paid to the 
"arm of Saradus", which, according to tradition, was 
dug by Haman (Ibn c Abd al-Hakam, 6; cf. Guest, op. 
cit., 944, and Maspero and Wiet, Materiaux, in 
M1FA0, xxxvi, 104). Al-MakrizI has preserved a 
detailed description of the canal system in the pro- 
vince of al-Buhayra, to the east of Alexandria, from 
the Kitab al-Minhadj. of Abu '1-Hasan al-Makhzuml, 
who wrote in the 6th/ 12th century (M1FAO, xlvi, 
167 ff.). It seems possible that a study of the ancient 
maps (especially the Delta map of the Istanbul ms. of 
Ibn Hawkal and the maps of al-Idrisi) may be useful 
for a more complete reconstruction of the mediaeval 

The Nile arms have always been decisive for the 
administrative division of the Delta, which the sources 
call by the name of Asfal al-Ard or Asfal Ard 
Misr. The region to the east of the eastern branch 
was called al-Hawf; the texts of al-Istakhrl and Ibn 
Hawkal place al-Hawf to the north of the Nile, which 
may be understood in connection with the view 
referred to above that the Nile at al-Fus(at had a direc- 
tion from S.E. to N.W. The region between the two 
main arms was called al-RIf (a name sometimes used 
for the entire Delta as well) or Bafn al-RIf, while the 
country to the west of the western arm was called al- 
Buhayra and later al-Hawf al-Gharbl, the 
original Hawf being called then al-Hawf al-Sharkl, 
The three sections were divided into kuras, the limits 
of which were determined by the more important 
branches; the bigger administrative units of later 
times [see misr] depended likewise on the river 
system. The present geographical aspect of the Delta 
is the result of the new irrigation works that began in 
the 19th century under Muhammad C A1I; the most 
conspicuous new canals are the Mahmudiyya canal, 
dug from Fuwa on the western arm to Alexandria, the 
TawfTkiyya, Manufiyya and Buhayriyya canals that 
were completed in 1890, and the Isma'Hiyya canal, 
which links up the Nile with the Suez canal. 

As to the knowledge of the course of the Nile to the 
south of Egypt, the Islamic geographical literature 
begins rather late to give information based on direct 
observation. At first, these sources content themselves 
with saying that the Nile comes from the country of 
the Nuba; for the rest, there were ancient sources of 
a different kind that helped to complete the 
geographical conception of the course of the great 
river. This conception involved also the origin of the 
Nile, covered since antiquity by a veil of mystery. 
The real origin of the Nile always remained unknown 
to Muslim scholars and travellers. It is a curious fact, 
however, that the information on this subject which 
we find uniformly repeated in the Islamic sources 
from the treatise of al-Kh w arazmI (ca. 215/830) 
onwards gives an idea of the origin of the Nile which 
does not correspond entirely to the data furnished by 
the classical sources. This conception makes the Nile 
emerge from the Mountains of the Moon (Djabal al- 
Kamar) to the south of the equator; from this moun- 
tain come ten rivers, of which the first five and the 
second five reach respectively two lakes lying on the 
same latitude; from each lake one or more rivers flow 
to the north where they fall into a third lake and it is 
from this lake that the Nile of Egypt begins. This con- 
ception is largely schematised and corresponds only 
partly to Ptolemy's description of the Nile sources; 
Ptolemy knows only of two lakes, not lying on the 
same latitude and does not speak of a great number of 
rivers coming from the Mountains of the Moon. The 
third lake especially is an innovation (cf. von Mzik, in 
Denkschr. Ak. Wiss. Wien, lxxxix, 44); in later authors 
such as Ibn Sa c Td and al-Dimashkl this third lake is 
called Kura and may be connected with some notion 
of Lake Chad (the same authors change the name of 
Djabal al-Kamar into Djabal al-Kumr, which pro- 
nunciation is commented on by al-MakrlzI, ed. Wiet, 
i, 219), but this is not probable for the time of al- 
Kh w arazmT; the knowledge of more equatorial lakes, 
however, may perhaps be traced to the experiences of 
the two centurions despatched by Nero to explore the 
Nile and who reached, according to Seneca, a marshy 
impassable region, which has been identified with the 
Bahr al-Ghazal. The system described by al- 
Kh w arazmi of the origin of the Nile is represented on 
the map in the Strasbourg ms. and is repeated many 
times after him (Ibn Khurradadhbih, Ibn al-Fakih, 
Kudama, Suhrab, al-Idrisi and later authors). Al- 
Mas'udi, in describing a map he has seen, does not 
speak of the third lake (Murudj., i, 205-6 = § 215) and 
Ibn Rusta (90) says that the Nile comes from a moun- 
tain called B.b.n and also knows only two lakes. Al- 
Istakhrl and Ibn Hawkal, on the contrary, frankly 
admit that the origin of the Nile is unknown, which is 
also illustrated by their maps. Still the system of al- 
Kh w arazmi continued to be a geographical dogma 
and is found as late as al-Suyufi. Al-Kh w arazml also 
took over from Ptolemy a western tributary of the 
Nile, which comes from a lake on the equator; this 
river is called by Ptolemy Astapos and may perhaps be 
identified with the Atbara. A later development, 
which connects with the Nile system a river that flows 
to the east in the Indian Ocean, is found for the first 
time in al-Mas c Gdi (Muridi, i, 205-6, ii, 383-4 = 
§§ 215, 796); this view is later taken up again by Ibn 
Sa c Td and al-Dimashkr. 

Another category of notions about the origins of the 
Nile is connected with the Jewish and Christian tradi- 
tions which make the Nile come from Paradise. 
Mediaeval cosmographical theory places Paradise in 
the extreme East, on the other side of the sea (cf. the 
maps of Beatus), so that the Nile, like the other rivers 

of Paradise would have to cross the sea. This state of 
things is actually described in an old tradition, proba- 
bly of Jewish origin, of a man who went in search of 
the sources of the Nile and had to cross the sea, after 
which he reached Paradise (al-Mas c udI, Muriidx, i, 
268-9 = § 288 and Akhbdr al-zaman, ms. Vienna, fol. 
156a-b; al-MukaddasI, 21). With this origin in 
Paradise is perhaps connected the view, which all 
sources attribute to al-Djahiz in his lost Kitdb al- 
Bulddn, that the Nile and the Mihran [q.v.\ (Indus) 
have the same origin (cf. al-Mas c udI, Tanbih, 55), a 
view which is sarcastically criticised by al-Biruni 
(India, 101). To the same origin may go back the idea, 
often found in Islamic sources, that, when the Nile 
rises, all the rivers of the earth go down in level. 

Thirdly, there is a cycle of geographical conceptions 
which link up the western part of Africa with the river 
system of the Nile. Herodotus already had sought a 
western origin and Pliny quotes the Lybka of King 
Juba of Mauritania, who makes the Nile rise in 
western Mauritania. Marquart (Benin-Sammlung, 
125 ff.) explained this view from a corruption of the 
name of the river Nuhul, which he identifies with the 
Wadi Nul and which has its origin in the Mauritanian 
Atlas. Traces of this western Nile are to be found in 
Ibn al-Faklh (87) who, following an authority of the 
time of the conquest, places the origin of the Nile in 
al-Sus al-Aksa. Al-Bakri for the first time identifies 
this western Nile with the river Niger, although we 
find already in al-Mas c udi the knowledge of a great 
river, far to the south of Sidjilmasa (Murudj., iv, 92-3 
= § 1420). Al-Bakri describes the Nile as passing 
through the territory of the Sudan (ed. de Slane, 172) 
and enumerates a number of Berber and Sudan tribes 
and their towns which border the river; the western- 
most town is with him Sanghara, followed in an 
eastern direction by Takrur, Silla, Ghana, Tirakka 
and finally the country of Kawkaw. After al-Bakri, a 
similar description is given by al-ldnsl, but this last 
author goes back to another source than al-Bakri 
when he places the mouth of the Nile in the 
neighbourhood of the salt town Awlil, thus identifying 
the lower course of this Nile with the Senegal (Mar- 
quart, op. cit., 171). Al-Idrisi likewise shows himself 
informed on the course of the Nile to the east of 
Kawkaw, though he is in doubt whether Kawkaw is 
situated on the Nile itself or on a side arm (ed. Dozy 
and de Goeje, 11); he finally derives this western Nile 
from the third of the big Nile lakes mentioned above, 
thus connecting the Nile of the Sudan with the Nile of 
Egypt in one river system. So long as the complete 
text of al-Bakri is not known, we cannot ascertain if 
this conception goes back already to that author. Al- 
IdrisT's Nile course is clearly indicated on his maps of 
the 1st to the 4th sections of the first climate. After 
him, it is especially Ibn Sa c Id who described the 
western Nile in this way and who was followed again 
by Abu '1-Fida 3 . Al-Dimashki (ed. Mehrcn, 89) gives 
the same representation; this last author even makes 
the third lake, which he calls like Ibn Sa c id the lake of 
Kura, give birth to three rivers: the Nile of the Sudan, 
the Nile of Egypt, and a third river running in eastern 
direction towards Makdishu [q.v.] in the Zandj coun- 
try on the Indian Ocean. This last river, which was 
also connected by al-Mas c udi with the Nile (see 
above) is probably identical with the Webi river in 

While the geographical authors constructed in this 
way the Nile system with a good deal of credulity and 
imagination, the real knowledge of the Nile south of 
Egypt advanced but slowly. The southernmost point 
reached by the Arab conquerers was Dongola [q.v.] 

(al-Kindl, ed. Guest, 12), and it was well-known that 
this town was situated on the Nile; its latitude and 
longitude are given by al-Kh w arazmi and Suhrab. 
Al-Ya'kubi (Ta'rikh, i, 217) knows that, in the country 
of the Nuba called c Alwa, whose people live behind 
the Nuba in the region called Mukurra, the Nile 
divides into various branches; this same author, how- 
ever, places Sind behind c Alwa. Al-Mas c udl (Murudj., 
iii, 31-2 = § 873) knows that the country of the Nuba 
is divided into two parts by the Nile. Ibn Hawkal 
(Istanbul ms.) describes two places where there are 
cataracts (djanddil), namely the one above Uswan, 
which is the "first cataract", and one near Dongola, 
of which it is not certain whether the "second" or the 
"third" cataract is meant. About the same time, how- 
ever, a traveller named Ibn Sulaym al-Uswanl wrote 
a valuable description of the middle Nile course, 
which has been preserved in al-Makrlzi's Khitat (ed. 
Wiet. in MIFAO, xlvi, 252 ff.). This Ibn Sulaym, on 
whom al-Makrizi's Kitdb al-Mukaffd gives some infor- 
mation (cf. Quatremere, Memoires sur I'Egypte, ii), had 
been sent by the Fatimid general Djawhar to the king 
of the Nuba on a diplomatic errand, and was the 
author of a Kitdb Akhbdr al-Nuba wa 'l-Mukurra wa- 
^Alwa wa 'l-Budja wa 'l-Nil (Fr. tr. G. Troupeau, in 
Arabica, i/3 [1954], 276-88), in which a detailed des- 
cription is given of these countries. He says that the 
region between Uswan and Dunkula is inhabited in 
the north by the Maris [q.v.] and more to the south by 
the Mukurra [q.v.]; the northern part is barren and 
the great cataracts are correctly described. The coun- 
try between Dunkula and c Alwa (this last spot is the 
region of Khartum [q.v.]) is described as highly 
flourishing; the big winding of the Nile here is 
perfectly known to Ibn Sulaym. The Nile "is 
divided" then into seven rivers; from the description 
it is clear that the northern one of these rivers is the 
Atbara, coming from the east; further south the 
"White Nile" and the "Green Nile" join near the 
capital of c Alwa, and the "Green Nile", which comes 
from the east, is again the result of four rivers, one of 
which comes, as the author thinks, from the country 
of the Habasha, and one from the country of the 
Zandj; this last, incorrect, statement may have been 
influenced by learned tradition. Between the "White 
Nile" and the "Green Nile" there stretches a large 
island (djazira, as it is still called on our maps), which 
has no limits in the south. This is about the only des- 
cription in mediaeval Islamic literature that shows 
how far the knowledge of the middle Nile really went. 
Only a little of it seems to have reached the systematic 
geographic treatises; al-ldrisl, e.g., describes this part 
of the river in a way which only shows that he did not 
make good use of the inadequate sources that were at 
his disposal. 

The exploration of the upper Nile and its sources 
since the end of the 18th century was the work of 
European travellers. They discovered, or perhaps re- 
discovered, the really large Nile lakes and identified 
the Ruwenzori mountain range with the Moon 
Mountains, the name of which was found again by the 
explorer Speke in the name of the Unyamwezi coun- 
try, the "country of the moon". A part of the explora- 
tion of the Nile was due, however, also to Egyptian 
initiative. The well-known military expedition of 
1820-2 under Muhammad 'All's son Isma'Il Pasha, 
during which the city of Khartum was founded, estab- 
lished Egyptian domination in the Egyptian Sudan 
and opened the way for further scientific exploration. 
In the years 1839-42 three Egyptian expeditions went 
up the White Nile, and during the reign of Isma'fl 
Pasha b. Ibrahim [q.v. ] the Egyptian government 

repeatedly tried to cleanse the swamps of the White 
Nile above Sobat from the masses of vegatation (sudd) 
which hindered navigation. 

The yearly flood of the Nile (ziyada, fayd, Jayadan) 
is the phenomenon to which Egypt has been at all 
times indebted for its fertility and prosperity, as it pro- 
vides, in compensation for the almost complete lack of 
rain in the country, a natural and almost regular 
irrigation for the lands on its borders and in the delta. 
It is the foundation of all cultural life and justifies 
entirely the attribute mubarak so often given to the 
river. On the same account, the Nile is considered, as 
well as the Euphrates, as a "believing" river (al- 
MakrizI, ed. Wiet, MIFAO, xxx, 218). The flood 
deeply influences the private and public life of 
villagers and townsfolk alike, and already the oldest 
Islamic traditions about Egypt reflect the feelings of 
wonder and thankfulness that animated the people of 
Egypt before them (Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, 109, 205). 
Having reached its lowest level towards the end of 
May at Aswan and in the middle of June at Cairo, the 
Nile begins to rise again, reaching its highest level in 
the beginning of September at Aswan and in the 
beginning of October at Cairo. This regularity brings 
about a similar regularity in the methods of irrigation 
in the several parts of Egypt, in the times of the sow- 
ing and reaping of the different crops and conse- 
quently in the modes of levying the land taxes (e.g. al- 
Makrizi, ed. Bulak, i, 270, which text comes from Ibn 
Hawkal); all the dates referring to these occupations 
have always continued to be fixed according to the 
Coptic solar calendar. 

There is much discussion in the literary sources 
about the causes of the flood. The most ancient belief, 
which at the same time corresponds best with reality, 
was that the flood is caused by heavy rainfalls in the 
countries where the Nile and its tributaries have their 
origin. This is expressed in a somewhat exaggerated 
way in a tradition that goes back to c Abd Allah b. 
c Amr b. al- c As, according to which all the rivers of the 
world contribute, by divine order, with their waters to 
the flood of the Nile (Ibn c Abd al-Hakam, be. cit. , and 
149). This implies the belief that all other rivers fall 
while the Nile rises, but, on the other hand, it is some- 
times observed that other rivers also show the same 
phenomenon of rising and falling, especially the 
Indus, and this again is considered as a proof of the 
common origin of the two rivers (al-MakrizI, ed. 
Wiet, MIFAO, xxx, 227). There are, however, other 
views, which attribute the cause of the flood to the 
movement of the sea, or to the effect of the winds; 
these views have been inherited from sources of the 
pre-Islamic period, among others from the treatise on 
the flood of the Nile attributed to Aristotle, and they 
are discussed and refuted at length in a special chapter 
of al-Makrizi's Khitaf (MIFAO, xxx, 236 ff.). 

Up to the 19th century, the irrigation system of 
Egypt continued along the same lines. When the flood 
began, all the outlets on both sides of the main stream 
and its principal arms in the Delta were closed, to be 
opened again about the time of the highest flood, 
when the water level had reached the necessary height 
according to the different places. The most important 
of these yearly "openings" was that of the canal 
(KhalidJ) of Cairo, which, until recent times, remained 
a public festival. In Cairo the flood is complete (jtia/a 3 
al-Ni[), when it has reached 16 dhird's, generally in the 
first decade of the Coptic month of Mesore (about the 
midst of August), and this was proclaimed everywhere 
in the town (cf. the description by Lane, Manners and 
customs, ch. XXVI, and E. Littmann, Ein arabischer 
Text iiber die Nilschwelle, in Festschrift Oppenheim, Berlin 

1933, 66 ff.; cf. for older times, al-Kalkashandl, iii, 

The height of the level of the Nile has been 
measured since olden times by the Nilometers [see 
mikyas]. Many of these mikyas are recorded by the 
sources, the southernmost being that of c Alwa and the 
most celebrated the one of al-Fustat, constructed by 
Usama b. Zayd al-Tanukhl in ca. 92/711 and often 
restored afterwards (a complete survey of all the 
mikyas is given in Omar Toussoun, Memoire sur 
I'Hisloire du Nil, ii, 265 ff.). These instruments 
generally were made of stone, with marks upon them, 
but they were sometimes of other material (e.g. a fig- 
tree near the monastery of Safanuf in Nubia; cf. 
Evetts, Churches, 262). The level necessary for the 
operations of irrigation varied in different places; in 
the capital the average level had to be 16 dhira ( s above 
the lowest level of the Nile; if the flood surpassed 18 
dhirah it became dangerous, while a flood not 
exceeding 12 dhimh meant famine (cf. e.g. al-ldrisl, 
145, 146). In the history of Egypt, the years after 
444/1052 and especially the year 451/1059 were 
notorious for the famine and disaster caused by the 
failure or practical failure of the flood. A historical 
account of the flood from the years 152-1296/769- 
1879 is given in Omar Toussoun, Memoire sur i 'Histoire 
du Nil, ii, 454 ff. 

The regulation of the main stream and its branches 
are ascribed to the ancient Egyptian kings (al- 
Makrizi, on the authority of Ibn Wasif Shah), but no 
real irrigation work of a wider scope existed in the 
Middle Ages and later except the famous canal system 
of al-Fayyum [q.v.\, which all the sources ascribe to 
the prophet Yusuf. In the rest of Egypt the water was 
allowed to flow freely over the lands after the piercing 
of the dams, so that large areas were completely inun- 
dated for some time; the Arabic sources contain some 
vivid descriptions of the large stretches of water, 
above which rose the villages, communication 
between the villages being only possible by means of 
boats during that time of the year (al-Mas c udI, 
Murudx, i, 162-3 = § 778; Ibn c Abd al-Hakam, 205). 
From the reign of Muhammad C A1I [q.v.] new irriga- 
tion works were planned with the aim of making the 
country more productive, a possibility at which 
already the mediaeval authors hinted more than once. 
The first efforts, however, failed. About 1840 was 
begun the construction of a great barrier across the 
two arms of the Nile at the apex of the Delta, accord- 
ing to the plans of the French engineer Mouget, but 
this enterprise began to bear fruit only fifty years later 
when this barrage project, including the Tawfikiyya, 
Manufiyya and Buhayriyya canals, had been com- 
pleted in 1890. The later great irrigation works were 
executed higher up the river, such as the great dam 
and locks at the head of the cataracts near Philae 
above Aswan in 1902, which was raised again in 1912 
and again in 1933. While allowing, on one side, a bet- 
ter regulation of the distribution of Nile water in 
Egypt, these barrages higher up enabled at the same 
time a better irrigation of the borders to the south of 
Egypt. Herewith is connected the enormous barrage 
of Makwar, near Sennar on the Blue Nile above 
Khartum, which permits the irrigation of the region 
called al-DjazIra, between the Blue Nile and the 
White Nile. This work was finished in 1925 and was 
completed by a similar barrage on the White Nile 
(1937), on the Atbara (1964) and on the Blue Nile 
(1966). In this way, the control of the Nile waters 
passed to a certain extent out of Egypt itself; it recalls 
the days of the great famine in 451/1059, when the 
Egyptians thought that the Nubians were holding up 

the flood of the Nile. The same problem a 
the 1930s with regard to the new project of i 
ing a dam on the frontier of the Sudan and the Belgian 
Congo, and the question was raised whether this dam 
would prove afpida '■adjila or afdHda adjila for Egypt 
(cf. the newspaper al-Balagh of 17 March 1934). Since 
the establishment of the Egyptian Republic in 1953, 
the most notable change in the Egyptian part of the 
Nile's course has been the construction (1959-71) of 
the High Dam (al-Sadd at-'Ati) at Aswan, ca. 965 
km/600 miles upstream from Cairo, with the aim of 
providing controlled water for irrigation in the lower 
Nile valley, protection against unusually high floods 
and the generation of hydroelectric power. The reser- 
vation formed behind the barrage, Lake Nasser, stret- 
ches 480 km/300 miles upstream well into the Sudan. 
Whilst there have been great benefits for land 
reclamation and increased power generation in Egypt, 
there have on the other hand been indications of some 
deleterious effects also for the ecology of the Nile 
valley, such as increased salinisation of the river valley 
in Lower Egypt and alterations to the water flow in 
the Sudd region of southern Sudan. 

It has already been shown how the flood of the Nile 
was the occasion of popular festivals such as the open- 
ing of the canal of Cairo. But in other respects also, 
the Nile is connected with traditional customs of a 
religious character, which are to be traced back 
through the Greco-Christian period into very ancient 
times. When the Arabs conquered Egypt, the sacrifice 
of the "Nile Bride" was still in use; every year a richly 
apparelled young virgin was thrown into the Nile to 
obtain a plentiful inundation. According to a tradition 
first recorded by Ibn c Abd al-Hakam (150), this 
custom was abolished by c Amr b. al- c As and the Nile 
resumed its flood after a note of the caliph c Umar had 
been thrown into it requiring the river to rise if the 
flood was willed by God. In later times, a symbolic 
offering of a giri called 'Arusat al-Nil was still practised 
on the Coptic 'Id al-Salib (Norden, Travels in Egypt and 
Nubia, 1757, 63-5);' Lane (Manners and customs, ch. 
XXVI) mentions a round pillar of earth, near the 
dam of the canal of Cairo, which pillar was called al- 
'Arusa. Another custom, practised formerly by Chris- 
tians and Muslims alike, was to bathe in the Nile on 
the eve of the Epiphany, in memory of the Baptism of 
Christ (cf. Evetts, Churches, 129). Al-Mas c udi (Murugj, 
ii, 364-5 = §§ 779-80) describes this festival, which 
he calls Laylat al-Ghilas, for the year 330/942. Lane 
describes the same ceremony, but in his time the 
Muslims did not take part in it. But bathing in Nile 
water in general procures baraka (cf. W. Blackman, 
The Fellahtn of Upper Egypt, 32, with regard to bathing 
in the Bahr Yusuf). 

The quality of the Nile water is a matter of discus- 
sion in medical treatises. Ibn SIna (al-Kdnunfi 'l-tibb, 
ed. Bulak 1294, i, 98; cited by al-MaknzI) holds that 
the circumstance that a river flows from south to north 
has a bad influence on the water, especially when a 
south wind blows, and on this account he thinks that 
the abundant praise given to the Nile is exaggerated. 
The Egyptian physician Ibn Ridwan (d. 453/1061) 
says that the Nile water reaches Egypt in a pure state, 
owing to healthy conditions in the country of the 
Sudan, but that the water is spoilt by the impurities 
that mix with it on Egyptian soil (cited by al-MakrizT, 
MIFAO, xxx, 275 ff.). This same author describes 
very clearly the turbid condition of the water when the 
flood begins. He discusses likewise the influence of the 
Nile on the climate of Egypt and the medicinal pro- 
perties of its water. 

Other authors speak at length of the fauna of the 

Nile, giving especial attention to the fish. A very long 
list of fishes is given by al-Idnsf (16 ff.), with a des- 
cription of their often curious qualities. The animals 
most frequently described by the geographers are, 
however, the crocodiles, and the animal called 
sakankur, which is said to be the result of a cross 
between a crocodile and a fish, but which seems to be 
in reality a kind of skunk. 

The possibilities which the Nile afforded for naviga- 
tion are best seen from the historical sources. Sea- 
going vessels do not seem ever to have entered its 
arms, while the traffic on the river was maintained by 
small craft; various names of Nile boats occur in 
literature; in the 19th century the vessel called 
dhahabiyya is especially known. In earlier times, the 
term zallidj is used for a Nile boat (al-Kindl, Kitdb al- 
Umara>, ed. Guest, 157; Dozy, Supplement, s.v.). The 
skill of the fishermen in their sailing boats on the lakes 
in the Delta is often recorded; in shallow places, how- 
ever, as well as on the inundated lands, boats had to 
be moved by means of oars or poles. The rapids 
between Egypt and Nubia were, as nowadays, an 
insurmountable barrier to river traffic; the loads were 
conveyed along the shore to the other side of the falls 
(Ibn Hawkal, ms. Ahmet III, no. 3346, fol. 86). 

The cataracts above Aswan for a long time con- 
tinued to form a barrier to the spread of Islam towards 
the countries bordering the Nile to the south of Egypt, 
which forms a curious contrast with the part played by 
the Nile in the introduction of Christianity into Nubia 
(cf. J. Kraus, Die Anfange des Christentums in Nubien, 
diss. Munster 1930). Islam penetrated only slowly 
into Nubia and became more generally disseminated 
in the Sudan only in the 19th century [see nuba; 

Something has been said already about the praises 
of the Nile and its descriptions in poetical terms, by 
which this river has contributed to Arabic literature. 
Al-Makrizi {he. cit. , 270 ff.) cites some fragments of 
poems in praise of the Nile and its flood; among the 
poets whom he names are Tamim b. al-Mu c izz [q.v.] 
(d. 375/985) and Ibn Kalakis (d. 567/1172). Further, 
Yakut (i, 592, iv, 865) cites some poems which he 
attributes to Umaiya b. Abi '1-Salt; this poet is proba- 
bly Abu '1-Salt Umayya b. c Abd al- c Aziz (d. 
528/1134) who wrote a treatise al-Risala al-Misriyya, 
from which also al-Makrizi makes quotations. The 
earliest Arabic poems on the Nile are probably those 
found in the Dtwan of Ibn Kays al-Rukayyat [q.v.], 
the court poet of c Abd al- c Aziz Ibn Marwan at the 
beginning of the 8th century. Several treatises have 
been especially devoted to the Nile. Ibn Zulak (d. 
387/997) says in his FadaHl Misr ms. arabe no. 1818 
of the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, fol. 31a) that 
he has written a book on the importance and the 
salutary qualities of the Nile, which now seems to be 
lost. Further, there are a treatise Tabsirat al-akhyar ft 
Nil Misr wa-akhawatihi min al-anhar (ms. in Algiers; cf. 
Brockelmann, II 2 , 666), and two short opuscula by 
Djalal al-DTn al-Mahalli (d. 863/1459) and al-Suyutl, 
which are found together in the ms. Or. 1535 of the 
British Museum (Rieu, Suppl., no. 1198; 
Brockelmann, II 2 , 138). 

Bibliography: As the aim of the present article is 
to give only an account of the Nile from the point 
of view of Islam and its history, it seems superfluous 
to quote here even the most important modern 
works and articles belonging to the abundant 
bibliography of the Nile. The earlier Islamic 
authors have all been named in the text; the later 
ones, such as Yakut, c Abd al-Latlf, Abu '1-Fida 5 , al- 
Kalkashandl, al-Makrizi, al-Suyutl (Husn al- 


muhddara), al-Nuwayri and others are in most cases 
a compendium of earlier earlier views and 
statements. A very important later Islamic source is 
al-Khitat al-TawJtkiyya by C A1I Basha Mubarak. The 
Islamic literary sources have been used in the 
following works: Else Reitemeyer, Beschreibung 
Aegyptens im Mittelalter, Leipzig 1903, 31-61; J. 
Maspero and G. Wiet, Materiaux pour servir a la 
geographic del' Egypte, mMIFAO, xxxvi, 215 ff.; and 
very profusely, Omar Toussoun, Me'moire sur 
I'Histoire du Nil, i, ii, iii, in Memoires presented a 
I'Institut d'Egypte, viii, ix, x, Cairo 1925. The last of 
these three volumes contains a series of car- 
tographical reconstructions. A number of ancient 
Islamic maps of the Nile are to be found in the Map- 
pae Arabicae, ed. K. Miller, Stuttgart 1926-30, and 
more completely in vol. iii of the Monumenta car- 
tographica Africae et Aegypti by Youssouf Kemal; in 
this same work all the geographical references to the 
Nile are also to be found in a chronological order. 

(J.H. Kramers') 
NILUFER KHATUN, wife of the Ottoman 
sultanOrkhanand motherof Murad I [q.vv.\, ap- 
parently the Greek Nenuphar (i.e. Lotus-flower) (cf. 
J. von Hammer, GOR, i, 59), was the daughter of the 
lord of Yarhisar (Anatolia, near Bursa; cf. HadjdjI 
Khalifa, Djihdn-numa, 659) and according to one story 
was betrothed to the lord of Belokoma (Biledjik). 
c Othman [q.v.], the founder of the dynasty which 
bears his name, is said to have kidnapped and carried 
her off in 699/1299 and to have destined her to be the 
wife of his son Orkhan [q.v.], then only 12 years old. 
Idris BitllsT, and following him Neshri, tell the story 
of the rape, but the Byzantine sources make no 
reference to it. Nllufer Khatun became the mother of 
Murad I and also of Siileyman Pasha. The river 
which flows through the plain of Bursa bears the same 
name, as also does the bridge over it in front of the 
town and monastery there. The bridge and monastery 
are said to have been endowed by Nllufer Khatun. 
Nothing more is known of her life. She was buried 
beside Orkhan in his tiirbe at Bursa. That Ibn Battuta, 
ii, 323-4, tr. Gibb, ii, 453-4, really means Nliufer 
Khatun by BayalQn Khatun, which both F. Giese (cf. 
ZS, ii [1924], 263) and F. Taeschner (cf. hi., xx, 135) 
think to be obvious, as they take B.y.lin to be a cor- 
ruption of N.y.luf.r, is, however, by no means proved, 
because Bayalun is a name which occurs again in Ibn 
Battuta for a Byzantine princess (cf. ii, 393-4). 
Besides, the mention in Ibn Battuta, who paid his 
respects to the princess at her court in Iznlk (ca. 
740/1339), is very brief. F. Taeschner suggests that 
Nllufer (cf. Pers. nttufar "water lily" and Greek i.e. 
XouXouipepov and vouipapoc with the same meaning) has 
been derived from the Greek. Nllufer was and is also 
popularly known as Lulufer (e.g. in the early Ot- 
toman chronicles) or Ulufer, as in the river Ulfer Cay; 
cf. F. Taeschner, op. cit., 135-6. 

Bibliography: von Hammer, GOR, i, 59-60; 
Sidjill-i 'othmani, i, 86 (according to Neshri); F. 
Taeschner, in 1st., xx, 133-7; tA, art. Nilufer Hatun 
(C&.\. _ (F. Babinger) 

NIMA YUSHIDJ- modern Persian poet, born 
C A1I Isfandiyan on 11 November 1897 in YQsh, a 
village in the Amul township of Mazandaran, died in 
1960. His pen name, Nima Yushldj, which he later 
took for himself, and which has come to replace his 
real name in popular use, described his place affilia- 
tion, since Yusjildj, in the local dialect, means "a 
native of Yush". The poet's father, Ibrahim Nurl, 
was a farmer and cattleman. Nima Yushidj's early 
boyhood was spent in the tribal environment which 

distinguished the life of his region. He received his 
initial education in his native village and subsequently 
went to Tehran where he was enrolled in the Saint 
Louis High School, an institution operated by Roman 
Catholic missionaries. From there he graduated on 15 
June 1917, acquiring a competent knowledge of the 
French language. Together with French, he also 
learned Arabic, which he studied in a separate school. 
During his school days, he came to know the poet 
Nizam Wafa, who was a teacher at the Saint Louis 
High School, and whose encouragement and 
guidance initiated Nima Yushldj into the art of com- 
posing poetry. 

After his graduation, Nima Yushldj was in and out 
of work for several years. The jobs which he held were 
short-lived, and there were periods when he had no 
regular employment. His first assignment involved a 
low-paid job in the Ministry of Finance. Subse- 
quently, he worked as a school teacher, first in Astara 
and afterwards in Tehran. When the journal Musiki 
came out in early 1939 under the auspices of the 
Ministry of Education, he was appointed as a member 
of its editorial board, a position which he held until 
the journal ceased publication at the end of 1941. To 
this journal he contributed numerous poems as well as 
a series of articles dealing with the individual and 
social basis of creative arts. The articles were later 
published as a book under the title Arzish-i ahsasat 
("The value of feelings"). After the suspension of 
Musiki, Nima Yushldj remained without work for 
some years. In 1326/1947-8 he found a job in the prin- 
ting and publication department of the Ministry of 
Education. He continued to work in that capacity till 
the time of his death, which took place in early 
January 1960. 

Nima Yushidj's writings began to appear in print 
from 1921. Among the first journals to publish his 
works were Naw bahar and Karn-i bistum. Some of his 
poems were included in the Muntakhabdt-i athar, a 
literary anthology published in 1342/1923-4. Until the 
poet's association with the journal Musiki, his works 
appeared sporadically. After that, they began to be 
published on a more regular basis. During the forties 
ind fifties, his poetical works came out in Payam-i naw, 



Kawir, and several other journals upholding new 
literary tendencies. A volume of his selected poems 
appeared in 1955, and a complete edition of his verse 
was published in 1364/1985-6. 

The earliest work of Nima Yushldj was his long 
poem Kissa-yi rang-parida ("The pale story"), which 
was published in 1921. It was composed in the 
mathnawi form, employing the same metre as the one 
used in Djalal al-DIn Ruml's Mathnawi. Its theme was 
personal, and it showed the poet's involvement with 
love and its unhappiness, alienation from society, and 
disgust with city life and its people. In spite of its con- 
ventional form and style, the poem represented a 
departure from the ordinary trend, in that it depicted 
a new sensibility based upon the Western concept of 

The next important work of Nima Yushldj, and in 
fact his masterpiece, was another long poem entitled 
Ajsana ("Myth"). Composed in 1922, it was pub- 
lished partially, soon afterwards, in Karn-i bistum. 
This poem, which evokes a vague comparison with 
Alfred de Mussel's Les Nuits, may be said to have 
heralded the beginning of modernism in Persian 
poetry. It contained a dialogue between a lover, 
dismayed by his experience, and the Myth which con- 
soles him in his sorrow. Besides setting a new example 
in amatory verse, Ajsana was unique for its impres- 


sionistic approach to the subject as well as for using an 
imagery derived from personal observation. 

Many of NIma Yushldj's poems had a strong social 
appeal. Notable specimens reflecting this aspect of his 
verse included Mahbas ("Prison"), Khdnwdda-yi sarbdz 
("The soldier's family"), Ay ddamhd! ("O you 
people!"), Ndkus ("The bell"), Kdr-i shah pa ("The 
night watchman"), and Murgh-i dmin ("The amen 
bird"). Works such as these show a predilection for 
popular causes, and pro-leftist sympathies could be 
discerned among them. 

NIma Yushldj left an unmistakable mark on con- 
temporary trends in Persian poetry. The generation 
of poets that emerged after the forties recognised him 
as their leader. One of his most important contribu- 
tions was his effort to provide Persian poetry with a 
new formal structure, and he was the first to 
popularise free verse, which became the major vehicle 
of expression for future poets. 

Bibliography: NIma Yushldj, Maajmu'-a-yi dthdr, 
i, ed. Sims Tahbaz, Tehran 1364/1985-6; idem, 
Ndmahd, ed. Tahbaz, Tehran 1368/1989-90; idem, 
Arzish-i ahsdsdt dar zindigi-yi hunarpishagdn, ed. Abu 
'l-KasimDjannatI c Ata>T, Tehran 1334/1956; idem, 
Nimd, zindigdni wa dthdr-i u, ed. c Ata 3 I, Tehran 
1334/1955; Muhammad Diya> HashtrudI (ed.), 
Muntakhabdt-i dthdr az nawisandigdn wa shu c ard-yi 
mu'dsirin, Tehran 1342/1923-4; Nukhustin kungra-yi 
nawisandigdn-i Iran, Tehran 1326/1947-8; Arish, ii 
( = special issue on NIma Yushldj) (Tehran DI Mah 
1340/December 1961-January 1962); Muhammad 
Rida LahutI (ed.), Yddmdn-i Nimd Yushidj, Tehran 
1368/1989-90; Munibur Rahman, Post-revolution 
Persian verse, Aligarh 1955; idem, Nimd Ydshy: 
founder of the modernist school of Persian poetry, in 
Bulletin of the Institute of Islamic Studies, iv (Aligarh 
1960); F. Machalski, La litterature de I 'Iran contem- 
porain, ii, Wroclaw-Warszawa-Krakow 1967; J. 
Rypka el alii, History of Iranian literature, Dordrecht 
1968; H. Parsa, Atish-i mukaddas-i Nimd rd furuzdn 
nigdh ddrim, in Paydm-i nuwin, iii/3 (1339/1960); 
Yahya Aryanpur, Az Saba td Nimd, ii, Tehran 
1350/1971; Bahman Sharik, Nimd wa shi'r-i Fdrsi, 
Tehran 1350/1971; Djalll D0stkh»ah, Nimd Yushidj. 
kist wa harfash cist, in Rdhnamd-yi kitdb, iv/10 
(1340/1961-2); Yad Allah Ru'ya'I, Siwwumin sdl-i 
dargudhasht-i Nimd Yushidj, in Rdhnamd-yi kitdb , iv/10 
(1340/1961-2); c Abd al-<AH Dastghayb, Nimd 
Yushidj (nakdwa barrast), Tehran 1356/1977; idem, 
Nimd Yushidj, in Paydm-i nuwin, iii/6 (1339/1960); 
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, An anthology of modern Per- 
sian poetry, Boulder, Colo. 1978; Hamld Zarrinkub, 
Cashmanddz-i shi'r-i naw-i Fdrsi, Tehran 1358/1979- 
80; L. P. Alishan, Ten poems by Nima Yushij, in 
Literature East and West, xx (J976), Austin, Texas 
1980; Amir Hasan c AbidI, Iran kd bunydd gudhar-i 
shfr-i naw, in Hindustani Fdrsi adab, Delhi 1984; 
Anwar Khamayl, Cahdr cihra, Tehran 1368/1990. 
(Munibur Rahman) 
NI C MAT ALLAH b. AHMAD b. Kadi Mubarak, 
known as Khalil Sufi, author of a Persian- 
Turkish dictionary entitled Lughat-i Ni'mat Allah. 
Born in Sofia, where as an enameller he made a 
reputation as an artist, he moved to Istanbul and there 
entered the Nakshbandl order. Association with the 
Nakshbandl dervishes made him more closely ac- 
quainted with literature and especially with Persian 
poetry. Ni c mat Allah decided to make accessible to 
others the knowledge he had acquired by an ardent 
study of Persian literature, and thus arose his lex- 
icographical work, which he probably compiled at the 
instigation and with the assistance of the famous 
Kemal Pasha-zade (d. 940/1533 [?.».]). He died in 

969/1561-2 and was buried in the court of the 
monastery at the Edirne gate in Istanbul. His work, 
which survives in a considerable number of manu- 
scripts, is divided into three parts: verbs, particles and 
inflection, and nouns. His sources were: 1. Uknum-i 
'■Adjam (see Oxford, Bodleian, Uri, 291, no. 108); 2. 
Kdsima-yi Lutf Allah #a/imf (HadjdjI Khalifa, iv, 503); 
3. Wasila-yi makdsid (flugel, Vienna catalogue, i, 197); 4. 
Lughflt-i Kard-Hisdri (Rieu, 513a); 5. Sihdh-i '■Adjam 
(Hadjdjl Khalifa, vi, 91 and Leiden catalogue, i, 100). 
Besides making careful use of these sources, Ni'mat 
Allah added much independent material, of which his 
dialect notes and ethnographical observations are 
especially valuable. This work is of considerable scien- 
tific importance and deserves greater attention than it 
has so far received. 

Bibliography: O. Blau, Uber Ni'matullah's 
persisch-turkisches Worterbuch, in ZDMG, xxx (1877), 
484; Rieu, Catalogue, 514b; Hadjdjl Khalifa, vi, 
362. The dictionary was partly used by Golius for 
the Persian part of CastelFs Lexicon Heptaglotton. 
The best mss. are Dorn, St. Petersburg catalogue, no. 
431 (p. 426) and Fleischer, Dresden catalogue, no. 
182. _ _ (E. Berthels) 

a Persian historian. His father was for 35 years in 
the service of the Great Mughal Akbar 
(963-1014/1556-1605) where he was a khdlisa inspec- 
tor. Ni'mat Allah himself was for 11 years historian to 
Djahanglr (1014-37/1605-28), then entered the ser- 
vice of Khan-Djahan Lodi [q.v.] whom he accom- 
panied in 1018/1609-10 on the campaign against the 
Deccan. Soon afterwards he became acquainted with 
Miyan Haybat Khan b. Salim Khan Kakar of 
Samana, who persuaded him to write a history of the 
reign of Khan-Djahan. Ni c mat Allah began his work 
in Malkapur in Dhu '1-Hidjdja 1 020/February 1612 
and finished it on 10 Dhu '1-Hidjdja 1021/2 February 
1613. The work is dedicated to Khan-Djahan, and is 
entitled Ta^rikh-i Khdndjahdni and consists of a mukad- 
dima, 7 bdbs and a khdtima. It deals with the history of 
the Afghans, beginning with their legendary descent 
from the Banu Isma c il and treats with special fullness 
of the history of Bahlul Lodi, Shir Shah Sur and 
Nawwab Khan-Djahan Lodi. The last chapters are 
devoted to the genealogy of the Afghan tribes and the 
reign of Djahanglr. The khdtima contains biographies 
of famous Afghan shaykhs. There is also an ab- 
breviated version of the work entitled Makhzan-i 

Bibliography: H. Ethe, in GIPh, ii, 362-3; Rieu, 
Catalogue, 210a, 212a, 903b; Elliot and Dowson, 
History of India, v, 67-115. The shorter version is 
translated by B. Dorn, History of the Afghans: 
translated from the Persian of Neamet Ullah, in Orient. 
Transl. Fund, London 1829-36. See also Storey, i, 
393-5, 1302; Storey-Bregel, ii, 1209-14. 

(E. Berthels) 
NI'MAT-ALLAHIYYA, a Persian Sufi order that 
soon after its inception in the 8th/14th century 
transferred its loyalties to Shf-I Islam. The Ni c mat- 
Allahiyya first took root in south-eastern Persia where 
it continued to prosper until the time of Shah c Abbas. 
For the next two centuries it survived only in the Dec- 
cani branch that had been established in the 9th/15th 
century. Reintroduced into Persia with considerable 
vigour in the early 13th/late 18th century, the Ni c mat- 
Allahiyya became the most widespread Sufi order in 
the country, a position it has retained until recent 

1. The founder and the development of his 

The eponym of the order, Shah Ni c mat Allah Nur 


al-Dln b. <Abd Allah Wall (sometimes designated ad- 
ditionally as Kirmanl, especially in Indian sources) 
was born in Aleppo, in either 730/1329-30 or 
731/1330-1. His father was a sayyid, claiming descent 
from Isma c fl b. Dja'far (which may help to account 
for the loyalty given the Ni c mat Allah! order by 
several Nizarl imams of the Kasim-SJiahl line), and his 
mother was descended from the Shabankara rulers of 
Fars. The stylistic superiority of Ni'mat Allah's Per- 
sian to his Arabic writings suggests that he must have 
been brought to a Persian-speaking environment 
while still a child. In any event, he is recorded to have 
studied during his early youth in Shlraz with 
theologians such as Sayyid Djalal al-DIn Kh w arazmi 
and <Adud al-DTn al-ldjl(d. 756/1355). Ni c mat Allah 
was initiated into Sufism by the well-known Yemeni 
historian and muhaddith, <Abd Allah al-Yafi ( I (d. 
768/1367), whose spiritual lineage went back through 
three generations to Abu Madyan (d. 590/1194). 
Ni'mat Allah joined al-Yafi'I's circle in Mecca when 
he was twenty-four years of age, and stayed with him 
until his death. Most probably it was al-Yafi c I, who 
frequently described the Sufis as "kings" in his 
writings, who bestowed the title of Shah on Ni c mat 

After the death of his master, Ni'mat Allah em- 
barked on a long series of travels. These brought him 
first to Egypt, where he spent a period of retreat in the 
cave on Mt. Mukajtam that had been used for the 
same purpose by the Bektashi saint Kayghusuz Abdal 
[y.».]. He then travelled through Syria and Hrak to 
Adharbaydjan, meeting in Ardabll with the pro- 
genitor of the Safawids, Shaykh Sadr al-DIn and 
possibly with Kasim al-Anwar (although the latter can 
have been little more than an adolescent). 

It was in Transoxiana that Ni c mat Allah first 
presented himself as a murshid and the propagator of 
a new order. Conditions there must have appeared 
propitious, for the Turkic nomads of the area, 
awaiting Islamisation, offered a vast pool of potential 
recruits on which other Sufi shaykhs were already 
drawing. It was, however, precisely the extent of 
Ni c mat Allah's success in establishing khanakdhs in 
several locations and, more importantly, in recruiting 
a large number of nomads in the area of Shahr-i Sabz 
that aroused the suspicion of TImur [q.v.] and led to 
Ni'mat Allah's expulsion from Transoxiana. Ac- 
counts differ regarding the precise circumstances of 
his departure; several of them attribute it to the 
jealousy of Amir Kulal (d. 772/1370), the spiritual 
master of Baha° al-DIn Nakshband (J. Aubin, 
Materiaux pour la biographie de Shah Ni'-malullah Wali 
Kirmani 1 , 12-15). There is, however, no mention in 
the sources on Amir Kulal of any clash with Ni'mat 
Allah, which could, after all, have been presented in 
favourable and even triumphant terms. On the other 
hand, the clearly deliberate omission of Ni'mat Allah 
by the Nakshbandl <Abd al-Rahman DjamI from his 
Nafahdi al-uns may indeed reflect some inherited 
distaste for the founder of the Ni c mat-Allahiyya. 

From Transoxiana, Ni c mat Allah went first to Tus 
and then to Harat, arriving there probably in 
774/1372-3. He emerged from a period of seclusion to 
marry the granddaughter of Amir Husayn Harawi, a 
well-known poet, and to engage in agriculture, a pur- 
suit he continued to follow for the rest of his life and 
to recommend to his disciples as "the true alchemy". 
At the suggestion of the followers whom he acquired 
while in Harat, he moved the following year to Kir- 
man, an area which may have seemed desirable 
because of its comparative remoteness from the main 
centres of power of the day. At first he settled in Kuh- 

banan, outside the city; it was there that Shah Khalll 
Allah, his only son, was born. Later he moved to the 
city itself and then to its suburb of Mahan, leaving the 
Kirman area only rarely to visit Yazd, Taft and, in 
816/1413-14, Shlraz, in response to an invitation by 
Iskandar b. c Umar Shaykh. the Timurid governor of 
Fars. Ni c mat Allah died in Mahan in 834/1430-1 and 
was buried in the proximity of the madrasa and 
khdnakdh he had constructed there. 

This last period in the life of Ni c mat Allah was by 
far the most fruitful. Apart from his disciples in Kir- 
man, he had several thousand devotees in Shlraz. who 
are said to have included the $ufi poet Shah Da c I 
ShirazI, the theologian Mir Sayyid Sharif Djurdjani 
and the gastronome-poet Bushak-i Af'ima (by con- 
trast, a somewhat later poet, Hafiz, is said to have 
condemned Shah Ni c mat Allah obliquely for his 
claims to spiritual eminence, in the poem that begins 
"Might those who transmute the soil with their gaze 
also glance briefly on us?", Diwan, ed. KazwinI and 
GhanI, Tehran n.d., 132-3). 

Shah Ni c mat Allah also wrote profusely; many hun- 
dreds of treatises have been attributed to him. Even 
allowing for exaggeration and misattribution and 
taking into account the fact that many of the 

size of Shah Ni'mat Allah's literary corpus remains 
impressive. His writings include exegetical essays on 
the Kur 3 an and the dicta of earlier shaykhs and, more 
importantly, treatises that expound leading themes in 
the Sufism of Ibn c Arabi, especially wahdat al-wudjud. 
He also composed a commentary on Ibn c ArabI's 
Fusus al-hikam, claiming that he had been vouchsafed 
a perfect comprehension of the book by inspiration 
from the Prophet, just as the author had received the 
book itself from the same infallible source. 

Better known and more widely read than Ni'mat 
Allah's treatises is, perhaps, his Diwan, which consists 
for the most part of verses expounding wahdat al- 
wudjud with a particular emphasis on the impossibility 
of ontological multiplicity. Despite the manifest influ- 
ence on Ni'mat Allah's poetry of 'Attar and RumI, 
his fondness for the technical terminology and con- 
ventional symbols of Sufism detracts heavily from the 
poetic effect of his verse. The most frequently cited 
poems in his Diwan are those of prophetic or apocalyp- 
tic nature which have been interpreted as foretelling 
events as diverse as the rise of the Safawids, the 
separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan and the 
Islamic Revolution in Iran of 1978-9. These verses, 
the authenticity of at least some of which is open to 
question, have tended to make of Shah Ni c mat Allah 
the Persian equivalent of Nostradamus (Browne, 
LHP, iii, 463-73). 

There can be little doubt that Ni'mat Allah re- 
mained a SunnI throughout his life. His master al- 
Yafi'I was a Shafi'I, and he himself frequently cited 
the hadilhs of Abu Hurayra in his works, something 
unthinkable in a Shi 1 ! author. Nonetheless, elements 
that may have facilitated the later transition of the 
Ni'mat-Allahiyya to Sh^ism are also to be en- 
countered in his writings. These include a belief in 
Twelve Poles (aktdb-i dawdzdah-gana) of the spiritual 
universe and an emphasis on wilaya as the inner 
dimension of prophethood. 

Shah Ni c mat Allah Wall was succeeded by his son 
Shah Khalll Allah, then fifty-nine years of age. Not 
long after his father's death, he was summoned to the 
court of the Timurid Shahrukh in Harat. According 
to the hagiographical sources, this invitation was a 
sign of the monarch's veneration for him, but it is 
more likely that Shahrukh sensed a political danger in 


the strength and number of the Ni'mat-Allahls. That 
relations between KJialll Allah and the ruler were not 
altogether harmonious is shown by Shahrukh's refusal 
to exempt the family lands from taxation. For 
whatever reason, some time between 836/1432 and 
840/1436, Khalll Allah decided to leave Persia. En- 
trusting the shrine at Mahan to one of his sons, Mir 
Shams al-Din, he departed for the Deccan with his 
two other sons, Muhibb al-Din Hablb Allah and 
Hablb al-DIn Muhibb Allah. 

Ahmad §hah Bahman, the ruler of the Deccan [see 
bahmanids], had already sent a delegation to Shah 
Ni c mat Allah inviting him to settle at Bldar [q.v.] in 
his kingdom. Formerly a devotee of the Cishtl saint 
Glsu daraz, he was searching for a new preceptor, one 
who might enjoy prestige among the immigrant elite, 
the so-called Afakls, on which he was coming increas- 
ingly to rely. Shah Ni'mat Allah had refused the in- 
vitation, but he sent Ahmad SJiah a letter of initiation 
that also granted him the title of watt. Some years 
later, Ahmad Shah sent a second delegation to 
Mahan, this time asking for Khalll Allah to be sent to 
the Deccan. This request, too, was refused, but his 
grandson Nur Allah was sent by way of compensa- 
tion. Ahmad SJiah received him with great honour, 
giving him his daughter in marriage and elevating 
him over all the indigenous Sufis by naming him matik 

Now that Khalll Allah had finally come, he and his 
party were greeted with similar enthusiasm. Although 
links with Persia were not entirely broken, the leader- 
ship of both the Ni'mat-Allahl family and order was 
now to remain in the Deccan for several generations: 
Khalll Allah died in 860/1456, and was succeeded in 
turn by Hablb al-DIn; Mir Shah Kamal al-Din; 
Burhan al-DIn Khalll Allah II; Mir Shah Shams al- 
DIn Muhammad; Mir Shah Hablb al-DIn Muhibb 
Allah II; Mir Shah Shams al-DIn Muhammad II; Mir 
Shah Kamal al-DIn II; and Mir Shah Shams al-DIn 
Muhammad III. The leadership of the Ni'mat-Allahl 
order then passed out of the family to a certain Mir 
Mahmud Dakkanl. Although the Ni'mat-Allahls re- 
tained their influence among the Deccani aristocracy 
even after the dynasty that had brought them there 
was replaced by the Kutb Shahis [q.v.], they never 
succeeded in putting down roots among the popula- 
tion at large. 

The Ni'mat-Allahls who stayed in Persia initially 
enjoyed good relations with the Safawids. One of 
them, Mir Nizam al-DIn c Abd al-Bakl, was appointed 
sadr by Shah Isma'U in 917/1511-12, and subsequent- 
ly became the wakit-i nafs-i humdyun (regent). 'Abd al- 
Bakl's son mediated between the next Shah, 
Tahmasp, and his brother in 956/1549, and the new 
reign saw several marriages between the Ni'mat- 
Allahl family and the $afawid house. The relationship 
began to sour in the time of Shah 'Abbas I when one 
member of the family, Amir Qhiyath al-DIn Mlr- 
mlran, became involved in an Afshar rebellion in Kir- 
man. Thereafter, although members of the family 
continued to hold the posts of nakib and katanlar in 
Yazd until at least 1082/1671-2, the Ni'mat-Allahiyya 
seems to have disappeared from Persia as a function- 
ing §ufl order. The only trace left of its existence con- 
sisted of the Ni'matI gangs that, oblivious to their Sufi 
origins, waged intermittent warfare with their 
Haydarl rivals in a number of Persian cities, often 
with royal encouragement. 

The Ni'mat-Allahl order was reintroduced into 
Persia by a certain Ma'sum 'All Shah Dakkanl, sent 
there for the purpose by Rida 'All Shah Dakkanl (d. 
1214/1799), the grandson and second successor of Mir 
Mahmud Dakkanl. With his ecstatic mode of 

preaching, Ma'sum 'All Shah swiftly gained a large 
following, particularly in Shlraz, Isfahan, Hamadan, 
and Kirman. The resurgent Ni'mat-Allahiyya had, 
however, to confront the hostility of the Shi*! 
mugjlahids, newly invigorated by the triumph of the 
Usull doctrine which assigned them supreme authori- 
ty in all religious affairs. Ma'sum C A1I Shah and 
several of his followers fell victim to this hostility; he 
was put to death himself at Kirmanshah in 1212/1797- 
8, while en route from Nadjaf to Masjihad, by Aka 
Muhammad C A1I BihbahanI, a mudjtahid popularly 
known as suftkush ("Sufi killer"). 

Ma'sum 'All Shah's principal companion and 
disciple was Nur 'All Shah of Isfahan, a prolific 
author in both poetry and prose. His works are replete 
with theopathic utterances; themes of ghutat ShI'ism 
that seem to echo the verse of Shah Isma'll; and 
criticisms of the Shi'i '«/ama°. (The combination of 
these elements suggests that the renascent Ni'mat- 
Allahiyya of the time had doctrinally little in common 
with the order as first established by Shah Ni'mat 
Allah and his immediate descendants.) Particularly 
provocative of 'u/ama 3 indignation was, no doubt, Nur 
'All Shah's assertion that the Sufi master is the true 
deputy (naHb) of the Hidden Imam. Nur 'All Shah ac- 
companied his master on all his journeys except the 
last, fatal one, dying himself the same year in Mawsil, 
allegedly from poison administered by agents of 

Four years later, BihbahanI himself died, and the 
antagonism between the Ni'mat-Allahls and the 
'u/ama began to decline. This development was fur- 
thered by the adoption of more circumspect doctrines 
and attitudes by the Ni'mat-Allahls themselves, which 
permitted them to establish themselves as a lasting 
although subordinate element of Persian religious life. 
No longer seeming subversive, the Ni'mat-Allahls 
also ceased to arouse the hostility of the Kadjar 
monarchs, one of whom, Muhammad Shah, himself 
became an initiate of the order. The Ni'mat-Allahl 
order was thus able to grow throughout the 13th/19th 
century. However, as it expanded, it divided into 
several, often mutually hostile branches, only the 
more important of which will be mentioned here. 

Muhammad Dja'far Kabudar-ahangI Madjdhub 
'All Shah (d. 1238/1823) was the last leader to exer- 
cise undisputed control over the whole order. Three 
separate claimants to the leadership arose after him: 
Kawthar 'All Shah (d. 1247/1831); Sayyid Husayn 
AstarabadI; and Zayn al-'Abidln Shirwanl Mast 'All 
Shah (d. 1253/1837-8). The first became the eponym 
of a sub-order known as the Kawthariyya, which has 
survived down to the present, although with a very 
small membership; its best-known leader in modern 
times was Nasir 'All Shah Malik-niya (still living in 
the late 1970s). The line descended from AstarabadI 
also reached into the 20th century, producing one of 
the most celebrated Persian Sufis of recent times, 
Sayyid Husayn Husaynl Shams al-'Urafa 3 (d. 
1353/1935), after whom it is retrospectively known as 
the Shamsiyya. Its following, too, has generally been 
very restricted. 

The main line of Ni'mat-Allahl descent is that 
which passes through Mast 'All Shah. He was the 
author of several important works refuting the 
legalistic criticisms that were still being directed 
against Ni'mat-Allahl Sufism (see in particular his 
Kashf at-ma'arif, Tehran 1350 &./1971) and three 
compendious travelogues, valuable for the detailed in- 
formation they contain on the Sufis of diverse affilia- 
tions whom Mast 'All Shah met in the course of his 

After the death in 1278/1861 of Zayn al-'Abidln 


Rahmat C A1I Shah, the successor of Mast <Ali Shah, 
a further trifurcation took place, one more serious 
than the first because it affected the main body of the 
Ni'mat-Allahis. The first of the three claimants to 
leadership was Sa c adat 'All Shah Tawus al-'Urafa 5 
(d. 1293/1876 in Tehran), who is said to have been a 
Sufi of the traditional ecstatic type, the clarity of 
whose heart was unclouded by any learning. His suc- 
cessor, Sultan C A1I Shah Gunabadi from Bidukht in 
Khurasan, was a man of quite different type. He 
studied philosophy with the celebrated Mulla Had! 
Sabzawan before embarking on the Sufi path, and 
even after beginning to train his own murids he con- 
tinued to give instruction in the formal religious 
sciences at his khdnakdh in Bidukht. He wrote a well- 
regarded commentary on the Kur'an of a mystical- 
philosophical nature, entitled Baydn al-sa'-dda. 
Murdered by an unknown assailant in 1327/1909, he 
was succeeded by his son, Hadjdj Mulla C A1I 
Gunabadi Nur <Alf Shah-i Than! (d. 1337/1918). 
This introduction of hereditary succession gave rise to 
a new sub-order known as the Gunabadi, with 
reference to the area surrounding Sultan c Ali Shah's 
place of origin. Hadjdj Mulla C A1I was succeeded first 
by Salih C A1T Shah (d. 1386/1966) and then by Rida 
<A1I Shah Tabanda (still living in 1992). Although the 
Gunabadls generally eschew the designation Ni'mat- 
Allahi and cannot therefore be regarded as represen- 
ting the main line of the Ni c mat-Allahl order, they 
have been for several decades the largest single group 
of Ni'mat-Allahi descent in Iran. It is no doubt 
because of the sober, iAanVoriented nature of their 
SGfism that they have been able to retain this position 
even after the establishment of the Islamic Republic. 
The $afi- c AH-Shahiyya, another offshoot of the 
Ni'mat-Allahi order emerging from the dispute over 
the succession to Rahmat C A1I Shah, developed in a 
quite different direction. Its eponym, Hadjdj Mlrza 
Hasan Isfahan! San" c Ali Shah, spent some time in In- 
dia promoting his father's mercantile interests before 
returning to Iran and becoming a disciple of Rahmat 
C A1I Shah. On the death of his master, he initially ac- 
cepted the authority of Munawwar C A17 Shah, another 
of Rahmat 'All Shah's disciples, but the following 
year he declared himself the immediate successor of 
Rahmat c Ali Shah and proclaimed his independence. 
Like his contemporary and rival, Sultan C A1I Shah 
Gunabadi, he also wrote a commentary on the 
Kur'an, but it was widely criticised, both because of 
its contents and because it was composed in verse. On 
$aff C A1I Shah's death in 1316/1899, the leadership of 
the order was assumed by Zahlr al-Dawla $afa 'All 
SJiah, minister of the court and brother-in-law of the 
ruling monarch, Muzaffar al-Dln Shah; not surpris- 
ingly, this gave a somewhat aristocratic complexion to 
the Safi- C A1T-Shahiyya. Given the incipient westernis- 
ing tendencies among the Iranian political elite, it was 
perhaps natural that a further transformation should 
also have set in during Safa C A1I Shah's lifetime. He 
established a twelve-man committee to supervise the 
operations of the order which under its new designa- 
tion Andjuman-i Ukhuwwat (" Society of Brotherhood ' ' ) 
was effectively transformed into a pseudo-masonic 
lodge; manyof its members were, in fact, also initiates 
of Biddri-yi Iran ("The Awakening of Iran"), the first 
masonic lodge in Iran affiliated with the French 
Grand Orient. The society abandoned virtually all the 
traditional rites of $ufism, but continued to flourish 
among certain classes until the advent of the Islamic 
Republic, when its activities were brought to an end, 
together with those of all other masonic organisations. 
Its last leader was c Abd Allah Intizam (d. 1982). 

It is the line of a third claimant tc 
Rahmat C A1T Shah, Hadjdj Muhammad Aka 
Munawwar C A1I Shah (d. 1310/1884) that has the best 
claim to be regarded as the main line of Ni c mat-AUahI 
descent; its adherents continue to designate them- 
selves exclusively as Ni c mat-Allahl, although the 
clarificatory expression "line of Dhu '1-Riyasatayn" 
(an epithet borne by the third successor to Munawwar 
C A1T Shah) is sometimes additionally used. 
Munawwar C A1I Shah was succeeded in turn by Wafa 5 
C A1I Shah (d. 1336/1918), Sadik 'All Shah (d. 
1340/1922) and Hadjdj Mlrza <Abd al-Husayn Dhu 
'1-Riyasatayn Mu'nis 'All Shah (d. 1372/1953). A 
man of wide erudition, Mu'nis c Ali Shah enjoyed 
great respect during the thirty years he directed the 
order, but its unity could not be maintained on his 
death. The traditional pattern of discord reasserted 
itself as thirteen claimants to the succession came for- 
ward. The most visibly successful of them was Dr. 
Djawad Nurba khsh . a psychiatrist. He managed to 
recruit many members of Tehran high society at a 
time when the profession of a certain type of Sufism 
was becoming fashionable; to build a whole series of 
new khdnakdhs around the country; and to publish a 
large quantity of Ni'mat-Allahi literature, including 
many of his own writings. As the Islamic Revolution 
of 1978-9 approached victory, Nurba khsh left Iran, 
and he now administers a mixed following of Iranian 
emigres and Western converts resident in many cities 
of Europe and North America. 

Bibliography: Nazir Ahmad, An old Persian 
treatise of the Bahmani period, in IC, xlvi/3 (July 1972), 
209-26; Hamid Algar, Religion and state in Iran, 
1785-1906. The role oj the Ulama in the Qajar period, 
Berkeley and Los Angeles 1969, 36-40; idem, 
Religious forces in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Iran, 
in Camb. hist. Iran, vii, 720-4; idem, The revolt of 
Agha Khan Mahallati and the transference of the IsmaHli 
Imamale to India, in SI, xxix (1969), 62-5; C A. An- 
war, Anjoman-e Okowwat, in Elr; Said Amir Arjo- 
mand, Religious extremism (ghuluww), Sufism and Sun- 
nism in Safavid Iran 1501-1722, in Journal of Asian 
History, xv(1981), 17-20; J. Aubin, Mate'riaux pour la 
bwgraphie de Shah Ni'-matullah Wali KirmanP, Tehran 
and Paris 1982; c Abd al-Hudjdjat Balaghl, Makdldt 
al-hunafa' ft makdmdt Shams al-'-Urafa*, 2 vols., n.p., 
1369/1950 and 1371/1952; 'Ata' Karlm Bark, 
Dj ustudiu dar ahwdl wa athar-i $afi c AliShdh, Tehran 
1352 S4/1973; Nur al-DIn MudarrisI Cahardihl, 
Sayri dar tasawwuf: sharh-i haftad tan az mashayikh wa 
aktdb-i sufiyya, Tehran 1359 .S&./1980, 13-28, 78-83, 
86-101, 124-127; idem, Sayri dar tasawwuf , dar sharh-i 
hdl-i mashayikh waaktdb, Tehran 1361 Sh./1982, 12- 
21, 47-63, 132-232, 265-72; idem, Silsilahd-yi 
Sufiyya-yi Iran, Tehran 1360 ®./1981, 7-63, 140-7, 
189-245, 265-307; Farhad Daftary, The IsmdHlis: 
their history and doctrines, Cambridge 1990, 463, 467, 
498, 503-7, 517-18; Hamid Farzam, Musdfirathd-yi 
Shah Ni<mat-Alldh Wali-yi Kirmdm, Isfahan 1347 
S./1968; idem, Shah Wali wa da'-wi-yi mahdawiyat, 
Isfahan 1348 .M./1969; idem, Rawdbit-i ma c nawi-yi 
Shdh Ni'-mat-Alldh Wali bd saldtin-i Iran wa Hind, 
Isfahan 1351 Sh./1972; idem, Mundsibdt-i Hdfiz wa 
Shdk Wali, in Nashriyya-yi Ddnishkada-yi Adabiyydt-i 
Isfahdn, 1345 Sh./1966, 1-28; R. Gramlich, Die 
schiitischen Derwischorden Persiens, erster Teil: die Af- 
filiationen, Wiesbaden 1965 (AKM, xxxvi/1), 27-69, 
zweiter Teil: Glaube und Lehre, Wiesbaden 1976 
(AKM, xxxvi/2-4), passim, driller Teil: Brauchtum und 
Riten (AKM, xlv/2), passim; idem, Pol und Scheich im 
heutigen Derwischtum der Schia, in Le ShiHsme Imdmite, 
ed. Toufic Fahd, Paris 1970, 175-82; Mas'ud 


Humayunl, Tdrikh-i sihilaha-yi tarikat-i Ni'mat- 
Alldhiyya dar Iran, 4th ed. London 1992 Sh./1919; 
idem, Memoirs of a Sufi Master in Iran, London 1991 ; 
Ma c sum C A1I Shah, TaraHk al-hakd'ik, ed. Muham- 
mad Dja'far Mahdjub, Tehran n.d., iii, 1-60, 84- 
104; W.M. Miller, Shi'a mysticism (the Sufis of 
Gundbdd), in MW, xiii, 343-63; MIrza Diya 5 al-DIn 
Beg, Ahwdl wa dthdr-i Shah Ni'mat-Alldh Wall Kir- 
mdni, Karachi 1975; M. de Miras, La methode 
spirituelle d'un maitre du soufisme iranien, Paris 1973; 
Hossein Mirjafari, The Haydari-Ni'mati conflicts in 
Iran, in Iranian Studies, xii 3-4 (Summer-Autumn 
1979), 135-62; Djawad Nurba khsh . Zindagi wa 
dthdr-i DJandb-i Shah Ni'mat Allah Wall Kirmdni, 
Tehran 1337 Sh./1958; idem, Masters of the Path: a 
history of the masters of the Nimatullahi Sufi order, New 
York 1980; idem, The Nimatullahi, in Islamic 
spirituality: manifestations, ed. S.H. Nasr, New York 
1991, 144-61; Nasrollah Pourjavady and P.L. 
Wilson, Kings of Love. The history and poetry of the 
Ni'matulldhi Sufi order of Iran, Tehran 1978; eidem, 
The descendants of Shah Ni'matulldh Wall, in IC, 
xlviii/1 (January 1974), 49-57; eidem, IsmdHlis and 
Ni'matulldhis, in SI, xli (1974), 113-35; Isma'Il 
Ra'In, Fardmushkhdnah wa fidmdsunri dar Iran, 
Tehran 1357 $71978, iii, 480-505;J. Rypka, Dans 

R. Grousset, H. Masse and L. Massignon, Paris 
1951, 181-200; Muhammad Suleman Siddiqi, The 
BahmaniSufis, New Delhi n.d., 78-85, 155-62; c Abd 
al-Husayn Zarrinkub, Dunbdla-yi djustudfu dar 
tasawwuf-i Iran, Tehran 1362 Sh./1983, 189-200, 
317-32, 336-47. (Hamid Algar) 

2. Ni c mat Allah and his family at the 
BahmanI court of South India. 

When Khalll Allah b. Ni c mat Allah arrived in the 
BahmanI capital Bidar after his father's death in 
834/1431, he established there a khdnkdh for his 
kinsfolk and followers, and his own tomb (cawkhandi) 
became a prominent landmark near the royal tombs, 
where many of his descendants still live. The BahmanI 
sultan Ahmad Shah's own tomb is liberally embellish- 
ed with extracts from the diwan and other writings of 
Ni c mat Allah (the texts are given in extenso, with 
translations, in G. Yazdani, Bidar, its history and 
monuments, Oxford 1947, 115-28, with some illustra- 
tions on Pis. LXIX-LXXIV). 

The tomb of Ni c mat Allah at Mahan, some 20 
miles/36 km south-east of Kirman in eastern Persia, 
was erected in 840/1437 by Ahmad Shah Bahmanl's 
orders, although the splendid dome dates from the 
time of the Safawid Shah c Abbas I and the minarets 
at the entrance are from the early Kadjar period. 
Bibliography: See also R.M. Eaton, The Sufis of 
Bijapur 1300-1700, Princeton 1978, 56 ff.; H.K. 
Sherwani, The Bahmanis of the Deccan 2 , Delhi 1985, 
133-4. Sherwani's accounts differ slightly from 
those in Yazdani, Bidar, and are based on fuller in- 
formation. (J. Burton-Page) 
NI C MAT KHAN, called C ALI, MIrza Nur al-DIn 
Muhammad, son of Hakim Fath al-DIn ShirazI, a 
Persian author, was born in India and came of a 
family several of whom had been distinguished physi- 
cians in their ancestral home in Shlraz. He entered 
the service of the state under Shah-Djahan 
(1037-68/1628-57) and was appointed keeper of the 
crown jewels with the title of ddrugha-yi djawdhir-khdna. 
He attained his highest honours under Awrangzlb 
(1069-1118/1659-1707), who gave him the title of 
Ni c mat Khan (1 104/1692-3), which was later changed 
to Mukarrab Khan and then to Danishmand Khan. 
He died at Dihll on 1 Rabl c II 1122/30 May 1710. 

Ni c mat Allah, who wrote under the takhallus of C A1I, 
was exceedingly prolific and wrote a number of works 
in prose and verse, of which the following are the most 
important: 1. WakdV-i Haydardbdd: a description of 
the siege of Haydarabad by Awrangzlb in 
1097/1685-6. This work is characterised by a biting 
wit and describes the siege in a satirical form, which 
procured the little book the greatest popularity; 2. 
Djang-ndma, a chronicle which covers the last years of 
Awrangzlb's reign and the war which broke out after 
his death among his sons; 3. Bahadur -Shdh-ndma, a 
chronicle of the first two years of the reign of Shah 
c Alam Bahadur-Shah (1119-24/1707-12); 4. Husn u 
'Ishk, also called Katkhuddyi or Mundkaha-yi Husn u 
'Ishk, an allegorical love story, an imitation of the 
celebrated Husn u Dil of Fattahl [q.v.]; 5. Rdhat al- 
kulub, satirical sketches of a number of contem- 
poraries; 6. Risdla-yi hadjw-i hukarnd', anecdotes of 
physicians and their incompetence; 7. Khdn-i ni'-rnat, a 
work on cookery; 8. Ruka'dt, letters to MIrza 
Mubarak Allah Iradat Khan Wadih, MIrza Muham- 
mad Sa c Id, the head of the imperial kitchen, and 
others, which were very highly thought of as models 
of a choice style of letter writing; 9. a lyrical Diwan; 
10. a short Mathnawi without a title, which deals with 
the usual Sufi ethical themes. This survey shows a 
great versatility on the part of Ni c mat Khan, but it 
must be pointed out that, with the exception of the 
satirical works which are really original and of great 
value for the characterisation of his age, none of them 
rises above the level of pale imitations of classical 

Bibliography: H. Ethe, in GIPh, ii, 334, 336-8; 
Rieu, Catalogue, 268a, 702b, 703a, 738b, 744b, 
745a, 796a, 807a, 938b, 1021a, 1049b; Diwdn, lith. 
Lucknow 1881; Husn u 'Ishk, Lucknow 1842, 1873, 
1878-80, 1899, Dihll 1844 (almost all editions have 
a commentary); WakdY-i Haydardbdd or WakdH'-i 
Ni'mat Khdn, lith. Lucknow 1844, 1848, 1859, 
Cawnpore 1870, 1878; Bahddur-Shdh-ndma, in Elliot 
and Dowson, History of India, vii, 568; Djang-ndma, 
in ibid., vii, 202, English tr., An English translation of 
Niamat Khan Ali 'sjang Noma. With. ... a short sketch of 
the author's life, Chandra Lall Gupta and Angra Lall 
Varma, Agra 1909; Ruka'-dt wa mudhikdt, Lucknow 
1845. A ms. of the Khdn-i Ni'mat in Pertsch, Berlin 
catalogue, no. 341. See also Storey, i, 589-92, 600, 
1172, 1318. (E. Berthels) 

NIMR, Faris, Syro-Lebanese journalist, scien- 
tist and politician, born in Hasbayya, South 
Lebanon, in 1855 to an Arab Orthodox family, died 
in 1951. He studied Arabic, English, German and 
mathematics in Jerusalem, Mount Lebanon and 
Beirut. In 1870 he entered the Syrian Protestant Col- 
lege (SPC, subsequently renamed the American 
University of Beirut), and graduated with a Bachelor 
degree in Arts and Science. In 1874 he was appointed 
assistant to the American missionary Dr Cornelius 
Van Dyck (1818-95) in the Astronomical Observatory 
at SPC, and taught subjects such as Latin, chemistry 
and astronomy. During the same year, and after his 
conversion to Protestantism, he joined the Beirut 
Masonic Lodge, becoming eventually its Master. 
Together with four other Christians he formed in 
1875 a secret society which agitated for Syrian 
independence within the Ottoman empire by means 
of posting anonymous placards in Beirut and other 
Syrian cities. 

In 1876 Faris Nimr and his colleague at the SPC 
Ya c kub Sarruf (1852-1927) began to publish, under 
the patronage of Van Dyck, the famous scientific 
magazine al-Muktalqf. His adoption of Darwinism 

under the influence of Dr Edwin R. Lewis (d. 1907), 
a chemistry teacher at the SPC, seems to have 
alienated various influential individuals and institu- 
tions, including the Board of Trustees of his college. 
Consequently, in 1885 the SPC terminated his con- 
tract and that of his colleague Sarruf. This decision 
prompted both Nimr and Sarruf to transfer their 
magazine to Cairo. 

Once in Egypt, Nimr was received with open arms 
by British and Egyptian officials. In 1888 he married 
the daughter of the British Consul in Alexandria, and 
one year later he founded a daily evening paper, al- 
Mukattam. Subsidised by the British Agency in Cairo, 
al-Mukattam accepted the principle of the British 
occupation of Egypt while criticising at the same time 
the details of certain policies and attitudes connected 
with European influence. His editorship of al- 
Mukattam and that of The Sudan Times, an English and 
Arabic bi-weekly founded in 1903, consumed much of 
his time and energy, forcing him to give up his work 
in al-Muktataf. 

In 1907 Nimr announced the foundation of a new 
political organisation, the Liberal National Party. Its 
main aim was to refute the nationalist ideas of the 
Egyptian leader Mustafa Kamil (1874-1908 [?.».]), 
but this was a short-lived and marginal episode in his 
career. Nimr continued the publication of his 
newspapers until his death in 1951. The new regime 
of the Free Officers closed down both al-Mukattam and 
al-Muktataf in 1952. 

Bibliography: Nadia Farag, Al-Muqtataf 1876- 
1900: a study of the influence of Victorian thought on 
modern Arabic thought, PhD thesis, Oxford 1969, 
unpubl., 42-118; Ph. de Tarrazi, Ta?rikh al-Sahafa 
al-'-arabiyya, i, Beirut 1913, 138-42; G. Antonius, 
The Arab awakening, London 1938, 79-89; Z. Zeine, 
The emergence of Arab nationalism, Delmar, N.Y. 
1976, 51-4. (Y.M. Choueiri) 

NIMRUD, a ruined site of ancient Assyria, now 
in northern 'Irak some 30 km/20 miles south of al- 
Mawsil [q.v.\ in lat. 36°5'N. and long. 43°20'E. 

The ruins on the plateau of Nimrud are those of the 
ancient Assyrian city of Kalkhu, apparently men- 
tioned in Gen. x. 11-12 as Calah. It is mentioned in 
Syriac sources, but the mediaeval Islamic geographers 
mention it only incidentally and under differing 
names; thus Yakut, i, 119, iii, 113, says that al- 
Salamiyya is in the vicinity of the ruins of the town of 
Athur, which can only mean the ruins of Kalkhu. The 
modern name Nimrud for the site appears first in 
Niebuhr, who was in al-Mawsil in 1776, and the 
name is probably modern, being associated in the 
popular local mind with the legendary hunter Nimrod 
first mentioned in Gen. x. 8-9 and connected in 
Muslim legend, as in the Haggada, with Abraham 

The ziggurat at Nimrud is one of the most 
impressive landmarks in northern 'Irak and the recent 
discovery (in 1988 and 1989) of more than one thou- 
sand items of gold jewellery (earrings, necklaces, 
brooches, armlets and other items) has revived the 
flames of popular interest in what was already con- 
sidered to be one of the most important cities of 
ancient Assyria. It was first built as an alternative 
capital to Ashur by the 13th century king Shalmaneser 
I after he had viciously reasserted his political 
authority in the land of Urartu (southern Armenia). 
But sited as it was at the important confluence of the 
Upper Zab and the Tigris, it was naturally developed 
by later Assyrian kings as their main residence. 
Ashurnasirpal (883-859) moved there from Ashur, 
providing a water supply from the river and a 
sewerage system. He settled there people from many 

different parts of his empire and developed parkland. 
His successors all contributed to extensions and 
improvements there. Here lived Sammurammat, the 
queen of Shalmaneser III (858-824 B.C.) made 
famous in Greek traditions as Semiramis, and the 
recently discovered gold belonged to Yabay, the 
queen of Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727), Banitu, the 
queen of Shalmaneser V (726-722) and Ataliya, the 
queen of Sargon II (721-705). Amidst the archives 
associated with the great temple of Nabu (in Greek 
Nebo, the god of knowledge) and his consort 
Tashmetum, which was called Ezida, "the house of 
truth", there was found the "will of Esarhaddon (680- 
669), a document in which he decrees that after his 
death one of his sons should become king of Babylon, 
and the other, Ashurbanipal, the king of Assyria. In 
fact, Ashurbanipal was the last king to control Assyria 
and Nimrud was overthrown by the revolutionary 
forces before the final attack on Nineveh brought the 
Assyrian empire to an end. The two hundred letters 
found in the archives are an important addition to our 
knowledge of Assyrian statecraft. 

From the ruins excavators have retrieved many 
marvellous limestone reliefs which decorated the inner 
walls of the palace rooms most of which, along with 
those from Khorsabad [q.v.] and Nineveh [see 
ninawa], have found their way to museums in the 
West (especially the British Museum). Fragments of 
beautifully glazed bricks (which presuppose a 
sophisticated knowledge of industrial chemistry using 
tin-glaze) dating back to the 9th century have also 
been found. The site has provided the largest collec- 
tion of carved ivory which was worked by expatriate 
Phoenician craftsmen resident (probably obligatorily) 
in what must have been one of the major artistic cen- 
tres of the time in the Fertile Crescent. The life-sized 
female mask exquisitely carved from one piece of 
ivory is especially famous. 

The importance of the site was recognised by the 
19th century British excavator Layard, who dug there 
in 1845-51, but the archaeological work of Mallowan, 
who followed his footsteps in this century from 1949 
to 1958, has been much more thoroughly recorded. 
Bronze saddlery fittings and Aramaic mason's marks 
which have been found confirm that there is still much 
more to be learned about the position of foreign 
workmen at the site. 

Bibliography: M.E.L. Mallowan, Nimrud and its 

remains!, vols, and suppl., London 1966; Muzahim 

Mahmud and J . Black, Recent work at the Nabu temple, 

Nimrud, in Sumer, xliv (1985-6), 135-55. For older 

bibl., see M. Streck, EP art. s.v. 

(M.E.J. Richardson) 

NIMS (a.), masculine noun (pi. numus, numusa) 
denoting the ichneumon or Egyptian mongoose 
(Herpestes ichneumon), a small carnivore of the family 
Viverridae, native to Africa and common in Egypt, 
Morocco and Palestine. In Egypt, with the 
geographical sub-species pharaonis, the ichneumon 
was called "Pharaoh's rat" (/aV Fir'-awn) and some- 
times "Pharaoh's cat" (kill Fir'awn), since in the time 
of the Pharaohs it enjoyed a sacred status and was 
embalmed after its death. In the Maghrib there is the 
sub-species numidicus (Moroccan Berber sarru, Kabyle 
izirdi, Tunisian zirda). In the Air district of the Sahara 
there is the sub-species phoenicurus saharae and, in the 
rest of Africa, the sub-species albicaudus (white-tailed). 
Persia is the home of the sub-species persicus or 
auropunctatus, which is given the Arabic name djuraydi 
'l-nakhl "palm-tree rat" in 'Irak. Afghanistan and 
India have the sub-species griseus or mongo (Indian 
mongoose) and edwardsi. 

For the Greeks, Aristotle and Herodotus (History, 


ii, 67) had already mentioned the ichneumon 
(iXvtti|i<ov "which follows the trail of the crocodile") as 
a major domestic destroyer of the rodents and reptiles 
infesting the households of Egypt as well as of the eggs 
of the crocodile. Aristotle gives details (History of 
animals, Fr. tr. J. Tricot, Paris 1957, ii, 453, 601) of . 
the stratagem used by this mongoose when biting a 
snake to death; it rolls beforehand in slippery clay so 
that the reptile cannot take a grip on its body which 

On the other hand, al-Djahiz describes, quoting an 
anonymous source (Hayawan, iv, 120) another tactic 
of the ichneumon which belongs to fable. At the 
approach of the snake, the wily mongoose huddles 
itself up, emptying its lungs as far as possible, and 
plays dead; the reptile wraps itself around its body to 
choke it and, abruptly, the mongoose takes a deep 
breath to inflate its rib-cage, which has the effect of 
breaking the snake into several pieces like an over- 
tensed spring. 

After al-Djahiz, the few Arab authors who have 
mentioned the ichneumon confine themselves to 
repeating these accounts; this is true in the case of Ibn 
al-Faklh al-Hamadham (3rd/9th century) (Fr. tr., 
Abrege, 76, 252), of al-Mas c udi (4th/10th century) 
(MurudJ., ii, 57 = § 492) and of al-Damlri (Hayat, ii, 
365). However, there is no doubt that the ichneumon 
was useful in Egypt, and because of the ease with 
which it was tamed it successfully played the role of 
the domestic cat; tradesmen, watchmen and 
caretakers could not dispense with this valued ally 
which rid them of unwanted guests — rodents and rep- 
tiles being especially abundant in the humid regions of 
Lower Egypt. The only precaution to be taken with 
this mongoose was to deny it any access to chicken 
coops and dovecotes, for the safety of their occupants 
and of their eggs. 

The extreme vigilance of this small carnivore 
passed into metaphor and it was said of someone who 
had sharp eyesight 'aynuhu ka-'-ayn al-nims "he has the 
eye of an ichneumon " . To describe somebody as nims 
was to express admiration for his great perspicacity. 

In some parts of the Islamic world such as the 
Maghrib and Lebanon, the term nims has been 
erroneously applied to the weasel (Mustek nivalis [see 
ibn c irs]). According to fable, both these creatures 
enter the stomach of the crocodile, when it is sun- 
bathing, to devour its entrails, not being content with 
stealing its eggs, like those of turtles, snakes and birds. 
As a result of similar confusion, some Arabic dialects 
employ nims to identify various other members of the 
sub-family Mustelidae such as the stone-marten 
(Maries foina), the polecat (Mustek, putorius) and the 
ferret (Mustek putorius furo); the term is even found 
erroneously applied to that other viverrine, the civet 
(Genetta genetta). As for the two expressions kur and 
lashak which Dozy attributes to the ichneumon (Supple- 
ment, s.vv.), one is found in a manuscript of the 
Escurial and the other in al-Idrisi, where the context 
is the topic of the crocodile; they do not seem to have 
any connection with the mongoose. 

As is the case with every animal studied, al-Damlri 
does not fail to list the specific qualities of various 
organs of the ichneumon. Thus if a dovecote is 
fumigated with the burning tail of an ichneumon, all 
the pigeons are put to flight irrevocably. The spleen 
mixed with the white of an egg is an excellent 
eyewash, curing conjunctivitis. A kirdf of blood 
diluted in a woman's milk and poured into the nose 
of a lunatic restores his reason. A broth made from the 
animal's penis and taken as a drink cures retention of 
urine. The right eye wrapped in linen reduces the 

four-day fever of an invalid; on the other hand, in the 
same conditions, the left eye causes the recurrence of 
this fever. An ointment based on mashed brain mixed 
with horse-radish juice and oil of rose is a violent irri- 
tant of the skin, the equal of scabies; only a mixture 
of the animal's excrement with oil of jasmine can sup- 
press its noxious effect. Finally, the same excrement 
diluted in water and swallowed plunges the drinker 
into agony and into terror of demons which he 
imagines are in pursuit of him. 

In botany, the Arabic name of the ichneumon is 
given to two plants: (a) al-nims is, in the Maghrib, 
Downy koelaria (Koelaria pubescens) a graminaceous 
plant related to Fescue grass (Festuca); (b) bi/fikh nims 
"ichneumon melon" or bittikh <ayn al-nims 
"ichneumon's eye melon" is a nickname given to the 
watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris, of the variety ennemis). 
Bibliography (by alphabetical order of authors): 
Damlri, Hayat al-hayawan al-kubrd, Cairo 1928-9, 
s.v.; Pjahiz, Kitab al-Hayawan, Cairo 1938-45; E. 
Ghaleb, al-Mawsu c afi c ulum al-fabi'-a. Dictionnaire dts 
sciences de la nature, Beirut 1965, s.v.; Ibn al-Fakih al- 
Hamadhanl, Abrege dujivre des pays, tr. H. Masse, 
Damascus 1973; A. c Isa, Mu'-djam asma'' al-nabdt. 
Dictionnaire des noms des plantes, Beirut 1981, 50; A. 
Lakhdar-Ghazal, J. P. Farouat, M. Thevenot, 
(Albums didactiques) Faune du Maroc (les mam- 
miferes), Rabat 1975, 43; L. Lavauden, Les Veriebres 
du Sahara, Tunis 1926, 189; A. al-Ma c luf, Mu%am 
al-hayawan. An Arabic zoological dictionary, Cairo 
1932, s.v. Herpestes; H. Eisenstein, Einfihrung in die 
arabische Zoographie. Das tierkundliche Wissen in der 
arabisch-islamischen Literatur, Berlin 1990, index, s.n. 
Ichneumon-nims. (F. Vire) 

NINAWA 1. An extensive area of ruins in 
northern 'Irak, on the left bank of the Tigris and 
opposite the city of al-Mawsil [q.o.]. Where the river 
Khawsar joins the Tigris was a natural place to build 
a city and those early settlers of the seventh millen- 
nium spawned the greatest metropolis of Ancient 
c Irak- Sedimentation has now moved the main course 
of the Tigris more than a kilometre westwards. In 
1932 R. Campbell Thompson dug a pit 30 m deep 
from the top of the mound to virgin soil. At the lowest 
level he found obsidian flints from Southern Armenia 
(Van) and later pottery can be traced to Southern 
'Irak (Uruk, Halaf and Ur types are represented). It 
seems always to have been a place where different 
cultures easily met, so when Sennacherib, who had 
campaigned far and wide to extend his empire, laid 
out the walls of his great city containing a "palace 
with no equal", he was building in a long tradition. 
Epigraphic and archaelogical research of the last 
decades has shown that it must have measured 
180 x 190 m and contained 80 rooms, many of which 
were lined with beautifully carved limestone reliefs 
depicting and recording his domination of the sur- 
rounding nations. To walk all round the walls means 
a journey of 1 2 km, and access was through one of fif- 
teen large gates. Tariq Madhloum's excavations of 
one of them have shown it to be an extremely 
elaborate construction with an arched ramp crossing 
two watercourses. Sennacherib had brought water 
from the hills to the city by constructing an aqueduct 
at Jerwan 40 km away. Later kings continued to 
build, but many of their splendid monuments were 
ruined once and for all when the military alliance led 
by Babylon smashed and burned their way through 
the city in 612 B.C. to mark the end of the Assyrian 
Empire and the beginning of the Babylonian. 

It is very easy to reach the site across the river from 
al-Mawsil and the visitor will notice two important 



areas. The first, Koyundjik, was an old Yazldl village 
whose inhabitants were massacred in 1836; it has also 
been known as al-Kal c a "the citadel". Here Layard 
began his excavations on behalf of the British 
Museum from 1845-51 and found the rich library of 
Ashurbanipal; it was shipped to London and still 
today it represents one of the richest archives we have 
of Sumerian and Akkadian literature. Because it con- 
tained many late copies of important historical, 
religious and scientific literature it provides special 
opportunities to study how texts were transmitted in 
the scribal circles of the ancient Near East. The other 
important area is NabT Yunus where Esarhaddon car- 
ried out building works. This place has a rich 
aetiological tradition with the prophet Yunus (Jonah), 
whose mission to convert the terrible Assyrians was 
accomplished because God brought him there in the 
"belly of the great fish", and is mentioned in Jewish, 
Christian and Muslim sources [see yunus]. Hence 
both a monastery and then a mosque were in turn 
built on the ancient mound, known as Tall al-Tawba 
"hill of repentance". The tomb of NabI Yunus has 
long been the most esteemed shrine of northern c Irak, 
much visited by Sunnls, and the large modern 
cemetery on the east of the mound continues the old 
tradition of corpses being brought there for burial. 
Outside the eastern wall of the former city is the 
sulphurous thermal spring known as c Ayn Yunus and 
visited by pilgrims for its curative powers; and some 
local inhabitants perpetuate the tradition that the 
"great fish" is buried at Koyundjik. 

Bibliography: Le Strange, Lands, 87-9; R. 
Campbell Thompson and R.W. Hutchinson, A cen- 
tury of exploration at Nineveh, London 1929; T. 
Jacobsen and Seton Lloyd, Sennacherib's aqueduct at 
Jerwan, Chicago 1935; Government of Iraq, 
Directorate-General of Antiquities, Nineveh and 
Khorsabad, a note on the ruins for visitors, Baghdad 
1943. (M.E.J. Richardson) 

2. A place in central 'Irak, after which a district 
(ndhiya) was named, to which Karbala' [qv.] belonged 
(cf. Yakut, iv, 470). Ninawa is frequently mentioned 
in the history of the Muslim wars of the first three cen- 
turies of the Hidjra: e.g. in connection with the 
tragedy of Karbala' of 61/680 when al-Husayn met 
his death (al-Tabarl, ii, 287, 307, 309), in 122/739 in 
connection with the fighting with the c Alid Zayd b. 
C A1I {[q.v.] and Tabarl, ii, 1710), in the account of the 
subjection of a later 'Alid rebel in 251/865 (al-Tabarl, 
iii, 1620, 1623; Ibn al-Athlr, vii, 110), and lastly in 
the history of the Karma(ian troubles in 287/900 (al- 
Tabarl, iii, 2190). Ninawa (Nina, Ni-na-a) is men- 
tioned in old Babylonian inscriptions as a place not 
very far from Babylon (cf. e.g. ZA, xv, 217). It is not 
to be confused with a place of the same name men- 
tioned in old Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions as a 
suburb or quarter of the South Babylonian Lagash 
(the modern ruins of Telloh). On the Nineveh in 
Babylonia of the cuneiform inscriptions, see Hommel, 
Grundriss der Gesch. u. Geogr. des alien Orients, Munich 
1904-26, 392-3 and passim (consult the Index, 1083, 
s.v. Ni-na-a or Ninua). According to A. Musil, The 
Middle Euphrates, New York 1927, 43, 44, the site of 
Ninawa is marked by the mound of ruins called Ishan 
Nainwa, below the modern town of Musayyib, 2 
miles east of the Euphrates and about 20 north-east of 
Karbala 5 , in 32°45'N. (see Musil's map). 
Bibliography: Given in the article. 

(M. Streck) 
NING-HSIA, a Muslim autonomous region in 
Northwest China under the People's Republic of 

The province of Ning-hsia was created in 1929 
separately from the province of Kansu [q.v.] under 
Republican China. After the PRC was established in 
1954, the greater part of Ning-hsia province was 
incorporated into Inner Mongolia (Nei-Mengku) 
and the central part was newly-raised to the status of 
Ning-hsia Hui-tsu Autonomous Region in 1958, with 
its present boundaries redrawn in 1976. This Region 
is situated along the middle reaches of the Yellow 
River and its tributaries, and it borders on Inner 
Mongolia in the north, on Kansu in the west and 
southeast, and on Shen-hsi in the east. The capital is 
at Yin-ch'uan. 

Ning-hsia is the most densely-populated region of 
Hui-tsu ("Islamic race") in the PRC. Its population is 
3,895,500, of which Hui-tsu number 1,235,207, form- 
ing about one-third of the total population (1982 
statistics). The origin of the Ning-hsia Muslims goes 
back to 13th century Yuan times, when the Mongol 
dynasty ruled China and when many Muslims 
emigrated from West and Central Asia to the Ning- 
hsia region. They were soon naturalised, as was also 
the case in other provinces, and consequently, com- 
munities of Hui-min or Hui-tsu, that is Chinese- 
speaking Muslims, were formed. Historical materials 
show that there were many Muslims there since early 
Ming times down to Ch c ing times (15th-19th cen- 
turies), and they had regional relations with co- 
religionists of Kansu, Ch'ing-hai and Sinkiang. Ning- 
hsia Muslims are traditionally Sunnls of the HanafT 
school, and among them there have always been a 
number of Sufi groups, such as the Djahriyya (a 
branch of the Nakshbandiyya [q.v.]), the Khafiyya or 
Khufiyya. Kadiriyya, Ikhwan, etc., and they still 
prevail among present-day Ning-hsia Muslims. These 
last have now more than 1,400 mas&ids (ch'ing-chen 
ssu), distributed over the region, and a class of 
religious leaders including ahongs, khalifas, mullds, 
murshids, etc. Ning-hsia was the headquarters of Ma 
Hua-lung's [q.v.] Northwest Hui Rebellion (1862- 
77), and his successors have been leaders of the 
Djahriyya order of Ning-hsia until the present time; 
but Ning-hsia Muslims now coexist with the Han 
Chinese under the PRC regime. 

Bibliography: R. Israeli, Muslims in China. A 
study in cultural confrontation, London and Malmo 
1980; Mien Wei-lin, Ning-hsia Issu-lan chiao-pai kai- 
yao ("An outline of the Islamic factions of Ning- 
hsia"), Yin-ch'uan 1981; Li K'ai-hsun et alii (eds.), 
Ning-hsia Hui-tsu tzu-chih-ch'ii kai-k'uang ("An 
outline of Ning-hsia Hui-tsu Autonomous 
Region"), Yin-ch'uan 1986; D.C. Gladney, 
Muslim Chinese. Ethnic nationalism in the People's 
Republic, Cambridge, Mass. and London 1991, 
120-2, 160-2. (T. Saguchi) 

NlRANDJ (a.), derived from Persian nayrang, 
nirang, pi. nirandjal, nirandjiyydt (Ibn Slna, ms. Paris; 
Brockelmann, S I, 828), ndranajiyyat (al-Djina c T, ms. 
Strasbourg 4212, fol. 102b), designates, in the two 
languages, the operations of white magic, com- 
prising prestidigitation, fakery and counter-fakery, 
the creating of illusions and other feats of sleight-of- 
hand (hiyal). A certain al-Hasan b. Muhammad al- 
Iskandari al-Kushi al- c Abdan described the whole set 
of these operations in his work Fi 'l-hiyal al-bdbiliyya li 
'l-khizana al-kdmiliyya (ms. Bursa, Haraccioglu 1221, 
ff. 1 19, 18.5 x 14 cm, naskhi, copied in 881/1476 from 
another ms. of the same Khizdna dated 632/1234). 
Both author and work are virtually unknown, and it 
seems useful to give here the titles of the chapters, as 
already given by the present author in Sources orientales, 
vii, Paris 1966, 184-5: 



I. The principles of this art; how to get to know it; 
appreciation of its subtlety and finesse. 

II. Tricks involving the air and atmospherical 

III. Lamps and wicks; description of them in 

IV. Tricks with fire and the illusions produced in the 
minds of the spectators. 

V. The making of talismans and the trickery 
involved in the conjuration of spirits. 

VI. Bottles; the devices and tricks that can be done 
with them. 

VII. Cups and glasses; the satisfaction which they 
can bring about. 

VIII. Eggs; devices and tricks in their usage. 

IX. The sowing of seed, germination and fruits 
outside their seasons. 

X. Wax effigies; their putting together, taking 
apart and reconstitution. 

XI. The taming of animals by means of traps on 
terra firma, and by fishing in the sea. 

XII. The concealment of hidden objects and the 
ruses used to uncover thefts. 

XIII. Enthusiasm for the manual arts and the 
transformation of colours and dyes. 

XIV. Writing, the preparation of the ink well (read 
layk and not Uk, the black powder of collyrium), the 
removal of writing and the colour of the paper. 

XV. The natural characteristics and the distinction 
between drunkenness and sleep. 

(Cf. the classification of magic and its branches given 
by Hadjdjr Khalifa, Kashf, i, 34-5 (and vi, 412: defini- 
tion of the Him al-nirandjat), set forth in T. Fahd, La 
divination arabe, 40; see also kihana.) 

According to al-Djahiz (Hayawan, iv, 369 ff.), 
Musaylima al-Kadhdhab [q.v.] practiced mrandjat; he 
was the first to get an egg inside a bottle and to stick 
back on again the wings of birds which had been cut 
off (cf. Ibn Kutayba, Ma'drif, ed. Wustenfeld, 206, 
ed. c Ukkasha, 405). Al-Djahiz adds (cf. G. van 
Vloten, in WZKM, viii [1894], 71-3) that the pseudo- 
prophet had learnt these tricks in the markets fre- 
quented by the Arabs and Persians (Ubulla, Bakka, 
Anbar and Hlra), which would explain the borrowing 
of the term nirandj from Middle Persian. 

But if the name itself comes from the Persian world, 
the matter which it denotes is found in a literary genre 
already in vogue since Hellenistic times, in late Anti- 
quity and in the Middle Ages. This involves the 
literature of physica (khawass), whose great 
disseminator, if not originator, is said to have been 
the "Pythagorean Bolus of Mendes (ca. 200 B.C.), 
who, under the pseudonym of the philosopher 
Democritus, is said to have gathered together 
everything marvellous and extraordinary which, in 
the realm of the natural sciences, both popular and 
learned fantasy, the experience of artisans and 
cultivators, and the charlatanry of the astrologers and 
magicians, had found" (P. Kraus, Jdbir, ii, 61). It was 
W. Wellmann who made the work known (see Die 
fuavci des Bolos Demokritos und der Magier Anaxilaos von 
Larissa, in Abh. Pr. Ak. W, phil.-hist. Kl. (1928), 7; for 
other works on the subject, see Kraus, loc. cit., n. 1). 
An apocryphal work in Syriac, attributed to Aristotle 
and probably dating from the 6th century, the Ktdbd 
da kydnaydtd ( = physica), marks the transition between 
the Greek literature and the abundant literature of the 
genre in Arabic, whose obvious representatives are 
C A1T b. Rabban al-TabarT, Muhammad b. Zakariyya' 
al-Razi, Ps. al-Madjrltl, c Ubayd Allah b. DjibrH b. 
Bukjitfshu', al-KazwinT, al-Djildakl, Dawud al- 
Anjaki, the numerous authors of books on 

agriculture, zoology, pharmacopeias and lapidaries 
(Kraus, loc. cit.). The work which best preserves this 
ancient heritage is the K. al-Khawdss al-kabir of Djabir 
b. Hayyan [q.v.], set forth by P. Kraus(o/>. cit., i, 148- 
52) and summarised by him (ii, 64-95). This work of 
Djabir's is an important source for numerous popular 
writings, still in manuscript. Two of them worth men- 
tioning are: al-Mukhtdr fi kashf al-asrdr wa-hatk al-asrdr 
and the K. al-Haldlfi 'l-al'-ab al-simdwiyya ( = ar)jitT<x) of 
'Abd al-Rahman al-Djawbarl, publ. Damascus 
1302/1884; these were used by E. Wiedemann in 
several of his works, notably in his Uber das Goldmachen 
und die Verfalschung von Perlen nach al Gaubari, in Beitrage 
zur Kenntnis des Orients, v (1905-6), 77-96, repr. in E. 
Wiedemann, Gesammelte Schr. zur arab. -islam. Wiss.- 
gesch., 1. Bd, Frankfurt 1984, 262-81. 

Finally, one should note that in the Ghdyat al-hakim 
of Abu Maslama (and not Abu '1-Kasim Maslama) 
Muhammad al-MadjritT (see Fahd, Sciences naturelles et 
magie dans Ghdyat al-hakim du Ps. -Madjriti, in Ciencias de 
la naturaleza en Al Andalus. Textos y estudios, i, ed. E. 
Garcia Sanchez, Granada 1990, 11-21), nirandj. 
denotes amulets which have an extraordinary power 
over men and over natural phenomena, such as the 
magic ring which brings under its power anyone who 
looks at it, the amulet which protects against bad 
weather, that which neutralises the action of arms 
wielded by an enemy and that which calms the pas- 
sions and desires of soldiers, who risk bringing about 
the victory of the enemy. The making of these mran- 
djat requires perfect precision and careful precautions 
against the poisonous materials which they comprise. 
These last include above all philtres having their effect 
through absorption or fumigations by means of 
powders and strange balms and greases (242 ff.). 

Also to be classed under this name are the acts done 
by magicians; in the time of c Uthman's caliphate, a 
magician entered and left the stomach of a cow 
(Aghdnt, iv, 186). Ibn Khaldun speaks of magicians 
who had only to point their finger at a piece of 
clothing or a skin, whilst mumbling certain words, for 
that object to fall into shreds; with the same gestures, 
fixing upon sheep, they could instantaneously cleave 
them. These people were called ba'-'-ddjun "cleavers", 
a name which already figures in the Nabataean 
agriculture, used by Ibn Khaldun. A description of 
their art can be found in a treatise called al-Khinziriyya 
(Mukaddima, iii, 129/178, and 131-2/181-2); F. 
Rosenthal, The Muqaddimah, iii, 165 n. 781, connects 
this name with the family of Ibn Abl Khinzlr which 
furnished some governors of Sicily in the 4th/10th 

Bibliography: In addition to references in the 
article, see khawass al-kur 3 an and al-Bakillanl, K. 
al-Bayan '■an al-fark bayn al-mu'dpza wa 'l-karamat wa 
'l-hiyal wa 'l-kihana wa 'l-sihr wa 'l-ndrandjat, ed. as 
Miracle and magic by R.J. McCarthy, in Pubis, qfal- 
ffikma University of Baghdad, Beirut 1958. 

(T. Fahd) 
NIRIZ, a place in Adharbaydjan on the road 
from Maragha [q.v.] to Urmiya [q.v. ] south of the 
Lake of Urmiya. The stages on this route are still 
obscure. At about lb farsakhs south of Maragha was 
the station of Barza where the road bifurcated; the 
main road continued southward to Dinawar, while the 
northwestern one went from Barza to Tiflls (2 far- 
sakhs), thence to Djabarwan (6 farsakhs), thence to 
Nirlz (4 forsakes), thence to Urmiya (1 4 farsakhs); cf. 
Ibn Khurradadhbih, 121 (repeated by Kudama with 
some variations); al-MukaddasI, 383 . 

The distance from Urmiya indicates that Nirlz was 
in the vicinity of Sulduz [q.v.], which would find con- 


firmation in the etymology from ni-rez "flowing". 
Sulduz lies in the low plain, through which the Gadir 
flows to the Lake of Urmiya. At the present day the 
name Niriz is unknown, but a Kurdish tribe of the 
region of Sawdj-bulak [q.v.] bears the name of 

After the Arab conquest, a family of Ta 3 ! Arabs 
settled in Niriz. The first of these semi-independent 
chiefs was Murr b. C A1I al-Mawsill, who built a town 
at Niriz and enlarged the market of Djabarwan (cf. al- 
Baladhuri and al-Ya c kubi, ii, 466). One of his sons, 
'All, was among the rebels of 212/827 whom the 
governor of Adharbaydjan Muhammad b. Hamld al- 
TusI deported to Baghdad, but 'All succeeded, it 
seems, in returning to his lands (cf. Ibn Khurrada- 
dhbih, 119). Abu Rudaynl c Umar b. C A1I, appointed 
in 260/873 governor of Adharbaydjan by the caliph, 
made war on his predecessor 'All b. Ahmad al-AzdT 
and killed him (al-Tabarl, iii, 1886). He was sup- 
ported by the Kharidjls. Cf. the account in Sayyid 
Ahmad Kasrawl, Pddshdhdn-i gumndm, Tehran 1929, 
ii/ 27, 34. 

In the 4th/10th century, al-Istakhri, 186, and Ibn 
Hawkal, ed. Kramers, 337, tr. Kramers and Wiet, 
329-30, mention the Banu Rudaynl as a dynasty 
already forgotten which had reigned over Dakharkan 
(read £>jabarwan), Tabriz (read Niriz) and Ushnuh 
al-Adhariyya [see ushnu]. 

Bibliography. In addition to references given in 
the article, see Huddd al- c alam, coram, 493; Minor- 
sky, Abu-Dulaf Mis c ar ibn Muhalhil's travels in Iran 
(circa AD. 950), Cairo 1955, tr. 40, comm. 82-3. 


NIRIZ, in Fars [see nayriz]. 

al-NISABURI, al-Hasan b. Muhammad b. 
Hablb b. Ayyub, Abu '1-Kasim, was a famous lit- 
terateur and Kur^anic scholar who died in either 
Dhu 'l-Hidjdja or Dhu '1-Ka c da, 406/1015-16. 

One of the most learned men of NIshapur, Abu '1- 
Kasim was considered the leader of his time in 
Kur'anic sciences. He was not only a grammarian but 
was also knowledgeable in maghdzi (the accounts of the 
expeditions and raids of the Prophet) [q.v.], stories, 
and biography-history. Al-NIsaburl was a Karraml 
[see karramiyya], who later became a Shafi c I. He 
transmitted hadiths [q. v. ] on the authority of, among 
others, the famous Nlshapurl Shafi c I traditionist Abu 
'l-'Abbas al-Asamm (d. 346/957-8 [q.v.]). For per- 
sonality, we have but one anecdote. He owned a well 
and an orchard and obliged guests to pay for his 
hospitality, the rich with money, the poor with labour. 
Works attributed to al-Nlsaburl on the Kur^anic 
sciences, including exegesis (tafsir), for which HadjdjI 
Khalifa cites one work. Sezgin notes the existence of 
a Kitdb al-Tanzil wa-tartibih, only a few folios in length. 

Al-NIsaburl is most famous for his 'l/ia/a' al- 
madjanin [see madjnun], a collection on intelligent 
madmen, a work in the entertaining and informative 
sub-genre ofadab [q. v.], sc. character literature. In the 
introduction to the work, al-Nlsaburl places himself in 
the adab tradition, citing names like the famous al- 
Djahiz (d. 255/868-9 [q.v.]) and Ibn Abi '1-Dunya al- 
Kurashl (d. 281/894 [q.v.]). After a standard 
philological introduction, anecdotes centre on flag- 
bearers for the character type, like BuhlOl, as well as 
the famous Madjnun Layla [q.v.], and a number of 
anonymous men and women. Most fascinating in 
these anecdotes is their range, which extends from the 
silly to the elusively mystical. 

Bibliography: DhahabI, al-'Ibar ft khabar man 

ghabar, Kuwayt 1961, iii, 93; idem, Siyar aHam al- 

nubala\ ed. S_h. al-Arna'ut, Beirut 1983, vii, 237-8; 

SafadI, al-Wdji bi'l-wafaydt, xii, ed. R. c Abd al- 
Tawwab, Wiesbaden 1979, 239-40; Suyufl, Bughya, 
i, 519; al-Suyufl, Tabakdt al-mufassirin, ed. C U.M. 
<Umar, Cairo 1976, 45-48; al-Dawudl, Tabakdt al- 
mufassirin, ed. <U.M. c Umar, Cairo 1972, i, 140-3; 
Ibn al-'Imad, Sh.adh.ardt al-dhahab, Beirut n.d., iii, 
181; HadjdjI Khalifa, i, 460; Kh. al-Zirikll, A<lam, 
Beirut 1980, ii, 213; C U.R. Kahhala, MxSallifin, 
Beirut n.d., iii, 278; <[/*a/a> al-maiianin, ed. M. 
Bahr al- c Ulum, Nadjaf 1968; U. Marzolph, Der 
Weise Narr Buhlul, Wiesbaden 1983. 

(Fedwa Malti-Douglas) 
NISAN, the seventh month in the Syrian 
calendar. Its name is taken from the first month of 
the Jewish religious (seventh of the civil) year with the 
period of which it roughly coincides. It corresponds to 
April of the Roman year and like it has 30 days. On 
the 10th and 23rd Nlsan, according to al-BIrunl, the 
two first stations of the moon rise (the numbering of 
these two as first and second shows that the number- 
ing was established by scholars for whom Nlsan was 
the first month) and on the 15th and the 16th set. In 
1300 of the Seleucid era (989 a.d.), according to al- 
Blrunl, the stars of the 28th and 1st stations of the 
moon rose and those of the 14th and 15th set, while 
the rising and setting of the 2nd and 16th stations of 
the moon took place in Ayyar. 

Bibliography: BIrunI, Athdr, ed. Sachau, 60, 70, 
347-9; cf. also the Bibl. to tammuz. 

(M. Plessner) 
NISANIDS or Banu Nlsan, the name of a family 
of ru'asd^ (pi. of raHs Jq.v. ]), of a fabulous richness, 
who held power at Amid [see diyar bakr] in the 
6th/12th century under the nominal suzerainty of the 
Inalid [q. v. ] Turcomans. They even placed their name 
on coins. Their rule came to an end with the conquest 
of the town by Salah al-Dln [q.v.], who accused them 
of having cultivated the friendship of, and even to 
have provided assistance for, the Assassins [see 

Bibliography: Ibn al-Athlr, xi, 103, 297; Abu 
Shama, ii, 39; CI. Cahen, Mouvements populaires, in 
Arabica, v/3 (1958), 20. (Ed.) 

NISBA (a.), the adjective of relation formed by 
the addition to a noun of the suffix -iyy m in the masc. 
sing., iyyaf" in the fern, sing., -iyyuna in the masc. pi. 
and -iyydt"" in the fem. pi. As a result of the increas- 
ingly frequent omission of the tanwin, the long syllable 
of the masc. sing., henceforward in the final position, 
is abbreviated to '-iy, and subsequently this 
diphthong is reduced to the vowel -f, transliterated 
thus but further abbreviated to -i in pronunciation. A 
different, no longer productive, nisba formation is the 
pattern fa'dW/al-fa'-dli, fem. fa c dliya' m : yamdni", from 
al-Yaman, sha^dmi", from al-gha^m, tahdmi", from 
Tihdma 1 ". 

1. In Arabic morphology 

In general, the formation of these adjectives is a 
simple matter, the suffixation taking place directly 
without modification of the vocalisation or consonan- 
tal structure of the nouns to which it is applied: shams 
"sun", shamsi "solar"; kamar "moon", kamari 
"lunar"; Misr "Egypt", Misrt "Egyptian", etc. It 
should be noted, however, that in certain cases altera- 
tions occur for which the grammarians have been at 
pains to codify rules. Only the most frequent 
modifications will be cited here: omission of the <a 3 
marbuta: Basra; transformation of the final -a (i or j) 
into -aw-: dunyd "world", dunyawi "material, etc."; 

after omission of the final -td' marbuta: nawdt 
"nucleus", nawawi "nuclear"; similarly the feminine 

ending -a* 1 is transformed into -dwi: sahrd* "desert", 
sahrdwi "belonging to the desert". There is a tenden- 
cy to amplify short words by reinstating (or adding) a 
third radical (w ory): ab "father", abawi "paternal", 
akh "brother", akhawi "fraternal", dam "blood", 
damawi "sanguine, etc."; an h also appears some- 
times: sha/af" "lip", shajawil shafahi "labial". A it) is 
even substituted for y in karawi (instead of 'karyt) 
"rustic", from karya "village". 

The internal vocalisation is modified in a number of 
nisbas formed from proper nouns of the pattern 
R'aR 2 IR 3 , R'aR 2 IR 3 a, R'uR 2 ayR 3 and R'uR 2 ayR 3 a: 
Balawi, from Baliy, Madam, from al-Madina (but also 
Madint), Kurashi, from kuraysh, and Muzam, from Mu- 
zayna. The two forms with or without -i->-a- also ex- 
ist as a means of avoiding confusion: Djazari, from al- 
Djazlra "Mesopotamia", but djaziri "insular", from 
djazira "island". 

Since the Middle Ages, but especially in modern 
times, the nisba in the feminine has served to create a 
host of abstract nouns, apparently to be formed at will 
according to requirements: insdn "man", insdniyya 
"humanity"; ta'bir "expression", ta'-blriyya "ex- 
pressiveness". There is also recourse to the intensive 
suffix -dm: nafs "soul", nafsi "psychological", nqfsdni 
"psychic", for example. Finally, certain particles and 
pronouns are used to support relative adjectives and 
abstract nouns: kayfa "how", kayfi "qualitative, 
etc.", kayfiyya "modality, etc."; kam "how much", 
kammi "quantitative", kammiyya "quantity"; huwa 
"he", huwiyya "identity"; and "I", andniyya 

In theory, a relative adjective is never formed from 
a plural (Idyunsab c ald djarn') but even in the earliest 
times this rule enunciated by the grammarians was 
already being circumvented: A'-rdb "Bedouins", 
A '■rdbi "bedouin"; BataHh "marshes in the vicinity of 
Basra", Batd^ihi, etc. Since mediaeval times, usages of 
this type have proliferated, especially for the forma- 
tion of nouns of profession: kitdb "book", pi. kutub, 
kutubi "bookseller"; alongside faradi "specialist in 
JardHd" [q.v.], the form/aratyfis also encountered. In 
certain cases, the plural appears to be artificial: makh- 
zan [q.v.) "government of Morocco", has no plural in 
this sense, but makhdzini > mkhdzni, pi. mkhazniyya, 
denotes a horseman paid by the state; similarly, kafta 
"skewers" (no pi.) gives kafdHti "seller of skewers", 

Finally, it should be noted that in names such as 
Shawkl, the suffix is not that of the nisba, but the per- 
sonal pronominal affix of the first person. 

Bibliography: See the Arab grammarians and 
the European manuals of Arabic grammar, in par- 
ticular, W. Wright, A grammar of the Arabic language, 
Cambridge 3 1955, i, 149-65 (§§ 249-67). (Ed.) 
2. In Arabic nomenclature 
In nomenclature, the nisba or "noun of relation" is 
one of the components of the mediaeval Arabic proper 
name. Its function is to express the relation of the in- 
dividual to a group, a person, a place, a concept or a 
thing. It is most often preceded by the definite article 
al-. Numerous nisbas are employed in the contem- 
porary period in the function of family names. 

In general, the individual who is the subject of a 
reference in a mediaeval Arabic biographical register 
possesses among the various elements of his name — 
along with ism, kunya, lakab [q.vv.], professional 
designations— one or more nisbas which testify to in- 
herited or acquired characteristics, to his path through 
life, geographical as well as intellectual, to his 
religious opinions and to the links that he has with his 
contemporaries. Inherited, the nisba relates the in- 

dividual to a group, such as tribe, tribal subdivision, 
dynasty, family, eponymous ancestor, etc.; to a place, 
such as a country, region, city, village, quarter, 
street, etc.; or even to a nickname or a professional 
designation handed down by his ancestors. Acquired, 
the nisba takes into account the activity of the person: 
it originates with the names of places in which he has 
been resident, those of persons with whom he has es- 
tablished favourable links, the ideas which he has 
defended and his beliefs. Alternatively, the nisba may 
refer to quoted remarks or to a physical peculiarity. 
The following are examples of nisbas which denote the 
connection to a tribe: al-Kindi "of the tribe of Kin- 
da"; to an ancestor: al-Husayni " the descendent of al- 
Husayn"; to a place: al-Dimashki "the Damascene"; 
to a school of thought: al-Mdliki "the disciple of the 
Malik! legal school"; to an event: al-Badri "he who 
took part in the battle of Badr". There are also ex- 
amples of nisbas which are rare, if not unique, and are 
analogous to nicknames; nisbas which denote a con- 
nection with a text: a person bears the nisba al- c Antari 
because he has copied the Sirat <Antar (F. Rosenthal, 
A history of Muslim historiography 2 , Leiden 1968, 47); 
connection with a poetical work: one who knew by 
heart the Makdmdt of al-Hariri is called al-Makamati 
(G. Gabrieli, // nome proprio arabo musulmane, in 
Onomasticon arabicum, introduzione e/onti, Rome 1914, § 

Nisbas derived from professional designations 
should be considered separately, in that their termina- 
tion in -("appears to be optional: the cotton trader is 
called, apparently arbitrarily, al-kattdn or al-kafldni. 
Other professional designations appear only with the 
-i termination, such as, the chemist. 
Role and limits of the nisba 

In the earliest Arabic inscriptions, written in Sabaic 
script, the term gM "he of ..." was used to signify the 
relationship of the member of a tribe to his group (see 
Ch. Robin, Les plus anciens monuments de la langue arabe, 
dans I'Arabie antique de KaribHl a Mahomet. Nouvelles don- 
nees sur I'histoire des Arabes grace aux inscriptions, in 
REMM, lxi, 114-15). Subsequently, the nisba had the 
function of indicating to which tribe an individual be- 
longed, either through his origins (sarilf) or through 
links of clientage, for example in the capacity of mawld 
[q.v.]. This "tribal" nisba implicitly contains the 
genealogy of the tribe. Having in one's name an ele- 
ment such as al-Kindi signifies belonging to the tribe 
of the Banu Kinda, with its eponymous ancestor, its 
achievements, its history and its territory which forms 
a part of the ddr al-Isldm [q.v.]. 

It is also to the ddr al-Isldm that the nisbas refer which 
are acquired by individuals on the basis of 
geographical names. It may in fact be stated that the 
names listed by the biographers do not contains nisbas 
formed on the basis of the names of places which do 
not belong to the ddr al-Isldm. If an individual changes 
his abode, like the scholars who are identified by the 
sources as having travelled in search of knowledge, 
henceforward his nisbas, formed on the basis of the 
names of places in which he has resided, may be 
added to his name (a citizen of Damascus who goes to 
Baghdad will be called al-Baghdadl "the Baghdad!" 
on his return; while in Baghdad he would be known 
by the name of al-Dimashki, "the Damascene". On 
his death, a biographer could preserve in the wording 
of the name of this person both these nisbas: al- 
Dimashki (with the added detail: al-Dimashki al-asl, 
originally from Damascus), al-Baghdadl. But if he 
leaves the ddr al-Isldm, to travel for example to China 
(al-Sln), India (Bilad al-Hind) or to Asia Minor (al- 
Rum), countries which belong to the ddr al-harb [q.v.], 

he will not bear the nisbas al-$!nl, al-Hindf or al-Ruml 
except in cases where these are employed as 
nicknames (see Ibn al-Ajhlr, al-Lubdb, ii, 64: "he is 
called al-$ini because he has returned from China and 
he spends his time copying Chinese characters"). The 
individuals recorded in the biographical sources with 
the nisbas al-$!nl, al-Hindl or al-Ruml are natives of 
these countries; they are not, as a general rule, 
travellers who have become long-term residents in 
these countries, for in such cases the biographer would 
have described them as nazil, followed by the name of 
the place in question. 

In the context of the ddr al-Isldm, two further aspects 
of the process of formation of nisbas should be noted: 

(a) Within the confines of the ddr al-Isldm, there are 
some quasi-mythical regions such as Khurasan, the 
cradle of Sufism. The nisba Khurasan! is found in the 
names of scholars who are not natives of this region, 
who have not even visited it, but who seek to ally 
themselves with §uff masters, claiming a spiritual 
heritage emanating supposedly from Khurasan (see 
Les Cent et une Nuits, tr. M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, 
Paris 1911, 3; J. Sublet, U voile, 169, with a further 
example: the nisba al-Kayrawanl, which could repre- 
sent the Far West). 

(b) In the spiritual centre of this ddr al-Isldm axe the ho- 
ly cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, the names of 
which can only be used in the form of a nisba in 
specific circumstances. Performing the Pilgrimage 
does not confer the right to call oneself Makki or 
Madam. One who resides as a guest-scholar in a 
mosque or an educational establishment is entitled to 
the epithet mudjawir [q.v.] or a^dr Allah. Only those 
who are natives or established citizens of these places 
may use these nisbas which, furthermore, have 
become (without the article, such as Makki and 
MadanI) what are known as proper nouns, ism '■alam 
[q.v.\, borne primarily, so it seems, by Sunnls living 
in a Shi*! milieu who are anxious to affirm their or- 
thodoxy (see Sublet, he voile, 99-102, 170-1). Also 
worthy of note are isms in the form of a nisba without 
the article, such as Balkhl and Bin (cf. Ibn al-Athir, 
al-Lubdb, i, 140, 161). 

In the Mamluk period, nisbas have a specific role in 
the composition of the names of the Mamluk slaves 
who, originally, have only an ism. They acquire a 
nisba formed on the basis of the name of the merchant 
who has imported them (for example, Azdamur al- 
Mudjirl, see Ibn al-Dawadari, Kanz al-durar (Die 
Chronik des Ibn al-Dawdddri), ed. Munajjid-Roemer- 
Haarmann, Cairo 1960 ff., ix, 71). When cir- 
cumstances require it, the addition of one or more 
nisbas deriving from the name of the master who gives 
them their freedom is possible (the sultan Baybars I, 
for example, bore the nisbas al-Salihl al-Nadjml, 
which derived from the name of his master (al-Malik) 
al-Salih Nadjm (al-Dln Ayyub). In Ayalon, Names, 
titlesand "nisbas" of the Mamluks, in IOS, v (1975), 189- 
231, there is a list of these nisbas which were to be 
replaced, in the Circassian period, by the expression 
min followed by the name of the master (for example, 
Tumanbay min Kansawh). 
The feminine nisba 

The nisbas of women whose names are recorded in 
the mediaeval biographical sources are masculine or 
feminine, the two forms being capable of co-existing 
in the same name, according to whether the 
biographer considers them as forming part of the 
patrilineal genealogy or as elements of the woman's 
name. The order in which he writes the elements of 
the name, and in particular the kunya, seems to have 
a bearing on the gender of the nisba or nisbas. For ex- 

ample, where the kunya is placed at the beginning of 
the name, as in Umm al-Khayr wa-lusammd Sa'ida 
bint Muhammad b. Hasan al-Tabari al-Husaynl al- 
Makkr, the nisbas are in the masculine form, being a 
part of the patrilineal genealogy. In the alternative 
formula, the kunya is placed after the genealogy and 
before the nisbas, as in Sa'Ida bint Muljammad b. 
Hasan Umm al-Khayr al-Tabariyya al-Husayniyya 
al-Makkiyya; the nisbas placed after the kunya compos- 
ed with Umm are in the feminine (see especially the 
volume devoted to female biographies by al-SakhawI. 
al-Daw* al-ldmi'- li-ahl al-karn al-tdsP, Cairo 1934, xii). 
These feminine nisbas are seldom likely to supply in- 
formation regarding the places visited by the women; 
some women performed the Pilgrimage, but they 
travelled far less than men, and if they were scholars, 
men tended to travel to them to receive or convey 
hadiths and to study texts under their supervision. 

Children generally inherit the nisbas of their father, 
very rarely those of their mother. If sons or daughters 
are mentioned in the text of an article devoted to their 
mother, they are currently designated by their ism fol- 
lowed by the nisba most often used to designate their 
father or their father's family; for example: c A'isha 
bint al-Harlrl... wa-kdnai Umm Ahmad al-HidjazI 
(see Sublet, he voile, 117). 
Composite (murakkab) nisbas 

Derived from composite names, of persons and of 
places in particular, these nisbas can have two forms: 

(a) A contracted form, e.g. the nisba 'Abghami cor- 
responds to the name c Abd Shams, c AbdalI to c Abd 
Allah, Markas! to Imru' al-Kays, Darakufnl to the 
place-name Dar al-Kutn, Babasri to Bab al-Basra and 
Ras'anI to Ra 3 s al- c Ayn. 

(b) A simple form derived from one of the two 
elements of the name, e.g. the nisba Mutfalib! cor- 
responds to c Abd al-Muttalib, BakrI to Abu Bakr, 
Zubayri to Ibn al-Zubayr and Fakhri to Fakhr al-Dln. 

On the other hand, certain nisbas are formed on the 
basis of several names. In the Mu%am al-bulddn, 
Beirut 1979, i, 456, Yakut gives the place name 
Baghdakhzarkand. This is a fictitious name derived 
from a composite nisba, al-Baghdakhzarkandl, borne 
by a single individual whose origin it describes: his 
father was Baghdad!, his mother Khazariyya and he 
was born in Samarkand. Two other examples given 
by G. Gabrieli, // name propria, § 20: al-TabarkhazI i s 
a composite of Tabarl (of Tabaristan) and Kh w araz- 
m! (of Kh w arazm); SJiafanatl is a composite of 
Shafi'I and Hanafi, denoting one who was a S_hafi c I 
and subsequently became a Hanafi. 
A particular case: the fictitious nisba 

Al-Suyut! mentions among the ten types of ansdb 
(nasab or genealogy and nisba) which he describes (al- 
Muzhir, ii, 444-7): man nusiba ild 'smihi wa 'smi abihi, 
giving the example of the name Numayr b. Ab! 
Numayr al-Numayri. The nasab is b. Ab! Numayr, 
literally, "son of the father of al-Numayr" and the 
nisba al-Numayri. This is one of the formulas used to 
give an identity to a person born of an unknown 
father (the supposed father is sometimes given the 
name of monetary units such as Dinar or Dirham) or 
to an individual without a genealogy, a slave, for ex- 
ample. The nisba al-Numayri is likewise derived from 
the ism; it appears with the name of the father as a 
repetition of this ism. 
The nisba in the sources 

The average number of nisbas borne by an in- 
dividual (scholar, man of science, soldier or prince) 
whose biography is recorded in the mediaeval Arab 
sources is five. But this does not apply to the naming 
of eminent persons, for whom the biographer supplies 


only one or two nisbas, which often form part of the 
name by which the individual is best known (Sublet, 
Le voile, 104-7). The fragile distinction between nisba 
and nickname is apparent here, as in the works 
devoted to ansab. The latter in fact combine not only 
the nisbas (pi. nisab) a part of which refers to genealogy 
(nasab, pi. ansab) and to the eponymous ancestor, but 
also lakabs (nicknames) and professional designations. 
A specific form of biographical literature is devoted to 
homographic ansab. The authors experiment with 
possible readings of the various consonantal patterns 
with their vocalisations and they determine the identi- 
ty of those who bear these nisbas, these lakabs and these 
professional designations, with the object of avoiding 
confusion between individuals, and in certain in- 
stances the authors of these erudite works have other 
objectives in mind, as in the case of Ibn Makula [q. v. ] . 
Bibliography: Dictionaries of genealogy include 
Sam c anl, al- Ansab, 13 vols., Haydarabad 1962 ff.; 
available also are a facsimile of the complete 
manuscript, ed. D.S. Margoliouth, Leiden-London 
1912, a summary with additions by c Izz al-DIn Ibn 
al-Athlr, al-Lubab fi tahdhib al-Ansab, 3 vols., Cairo 
1938, and Beirut 1980, and a supplement to Ibn al- 
Athir by Suyuti, Lubb al-lubdb fi tahrtr al-Ansab, ed. 
P.J. Veth, Leiden 1842, repr. Baghdad n.d.; 
HazimT HamdanT Muhammad b. Abi 'Uthman, 
Kitab '■Udjalal al-mubtadP wa-juddlat al-muntahi fi 7- 
nisab, Cairo 1965. Dictionaries of homographs in- 
clude Dhahabi, al-Mushtabih fi 'l-ridjal asmdHhim wa- 
ansdbihim, 2 vols., Cairo 1962, and Ibn Hadjar al- 
c Askalani, Tabsir al-munlabih bi-tahrir al-mushtabih, 4 
vols., Cairo 1964. On the nomenclature of hadith, 
see <Abd al-Ghanl al-Azdi, al-Mu'talif wa-mukhtalifi 
Haydarabad 1909, and Ibn Makula C A1T b. Hibat 
Allah, al-Ikmdl fi raf al-irtiydb '■an al-mu^alif wa 7- 
mukhtalif min al-asmd* wa 'l-kund wa 'l-ansdb, 6 vols. 
Haydarabad 1962, and Ibn al-Sabuni, Takmilat 
ikmdl al-Ikmdl fi 'l-ansdb wa 'l-asma^ wa 'l-alkdb, 
Baghdad 1957; Ibn Khatlb al-Dahsha, Tuhfat dhawi 
'l-irab fi mushkil al-asmd? wa 'l-nisab (... iiber Namen 
und Nisben bei Buhdri, Muslim, Malik), ed. T. Mann, 
Leiden 1905. On South Arabia, HamdanI, al-Ikltt 
min akhbdr al-Yaman wa-ansab Himyar (Sudarabische 
MuStabih), ed. Lofgren, Bibliotheka Ekmaniana no. 
57, Uppsala-Leiden 1953, 1-54. Comprehensive 
works include G. Gabrieli, // nomeproprio (ref. in the 
article); J. Sublet, Le voile du nom. Essai sur le nom 
propre arabe, Paris 1991. (Jacqueline Sublet) 
3. In Persian and Turkish 
In Persian, the suffix -i'(MP-ft) is used to form 
relative adjectives, but with -gtldji after the silent Ao 5 
at the end of words: (a) from places, e.g. IsfahanI, 
Dihlawi, Sawadji; some apparently irregular ones 
go back to earlier forms of place names, e.g. 
RazKRayy, SagzKSidjistan/Slstan. (b) from con- 
crete nouns to form adjectives indicating function or 
craft, e.g. khanagi "domestic" <khana, kal'-adji "gar- 
rison soldier" KkaPa, shikari "hunter, pertaining to 
hunting" < shikar. 

In Turkish, the suffix -li in its various realisations 
is used for relative adjectives of place, e.g. Izmirli, 
Konyali, Merzifonlu, Uskiiblu, and— ii in its vari- 
ous realisations for adjectives denoting functions, pro- 
fessions, crafts, etc., e.g. eskidji "old clothes dealer", 
awdji "hunter", mumdju "candlemaker", bakfrdji 
"coppersmith", sutdjii "milk seller". Several of these 
forms have survived in the colloquial Arabic speech of 
such lands as Egypt and the Levant, former parts of 
the Ottoman empire, e.g. postadji "postman", boyadp 
"shoe-cleaner", kahwadjt "coffee-house proprietor, 
servant", sujradji "waiter". 

Bibliography: D.C. Phillott, Higher Persian gram- 
mar, Calcutta 1919, 400-1; A.K.S. Lambton, Per- 
siangrammar, Cambridge 1953, 124; J. Deny, Gram- 
maire de la langue turque, dialecte osmanli, Paris 1921, 
§§ 531-2, 542-4; G.L. Lewis, Turkish grammar, 
Oxford 1975, 60-1. (Ed.) 

NISF al-NAHAR (a.) "half of the day", "mid- 
day", is used in astronomy in the expression which 
denotes the "meridian circle" (ddHrat nisf al-nahdr) 
passing through the two poles of the horizon (kutbd 7- 
ufuk) of a place, which it cuts at the two cardinal points 
(djiha, watid) North and South and through the two 
poles of the celestial equator (mu'-addal al-nahdr, etc.). 
As the demarcation between the East and West of a 
place, the meridian serves as the determination of the 
longitude (tul [see kubbat al-ard]) and for fixing the 
hour of midday prayer [see mikat] by the passage of 
the Sun (zawal). (Ed.) 

NISH (in Serbian, NiS), the second town of Serbia, 
situated at a height of 214 m/650 feet in a fertile plain 
surrounded by mountains, on the two banks of the 
NiSava not far from its junction with the Morava. It 
forms an important communications centre, for roads 
and railway lines, on the international routes to Sofia- 
Istanbul and Salonica-Athens. The most important 
part of the town lies on the right bank, with the 
remains of the fortress on the right one. 

In antiquity, Nish (Nai'ssus, Niz, Nissa, etc.) 
belonged at first to the Roman province of Moesia 
Superior and later became the capital of Dardania. 
Nish's greatest claim to fame is that it was the birth- 
place of Constantine the Great (306-37) and attained 
great prosperity in ancient times. The Romans had a 
state munition works here. 

In the time of the migrations of the Huns, Ni§h was 
taken after a vigorous resistance by Attila (434-53) 
and destroyed but rebuilt and refortified very soon 
afterwards by Justinian I (527-65). By the middle of 
the 6th century, the first forces of the Slavs who had 
entered the Balkan peninsula in their endeavour to 
found states at the expense of the Byzantine empire 
appeared before Nish. Nish was thus in the 9th cen- 
tury usually in the hands of the Bulgars and until 1018 
it belonged to a Slav state founded in Macedonia in 
976 by the emperor Samuel. The Byzantines held it 
from 1018 to the end of the 12th century, when we 
find it described as large and prosperous; al-ldnsl who 
calls it "NIsu" (also on his map of 1154, ed. K. 
Miller) lays special emphasis on the quantity and 
cheapness of food and the importance of its trade. But 
even then it did not enjoy peace. In 1072 the 
Hungarians reached the town on a marauding cam- 
paign; in 1096 its inhabitants had to defend them- 
selves in a strenuous battle "at the Bridge" against 
the Crusaders, in which the latter suffered very 
heavily, and in 1182 the town was taken by Bela III 
supported by the Serbian prince Nemanja. A little 
later Nemanja took Nish and the whole country as far 
as Serdica (Sofia). The town suffered considerably in 
these troubled times. The Third Crusade (1189) 
found it almost empty and practically destroyed. In 
spite of this, Nemanja was able to receive the emperor 
Barbarossa in Nis_h with great ceremony. From this 
time until the Turkish conquest Nish was generally in 
Serbian hands. 

In the earlier Turkish chronicles (e.g. SJiukrullah, 
Urudj b. <Adil, 'Ashikpashazade, Neshrf (Noldeke), 
Anonymous Giese), there is no mention of the taking 
of Nish: Sa c d al-DIn (i, 92-3), Hadjdji Khalifa and 
Ewliya Celebi, then von Hammer (GOR 2 , i, 157) and 
Lane-Poole (Turkef, 40) on the other hand, assume 
that it took place in the reign of Murad I in 777/1375- 


6. The Serbian chronicles, however, definitely give 
1386, and this year, which Gibbons strongly urged as 
the correct date (The foundations of the Ottoman Empire, 
Oxford 1916, 161-2), is now generally accepted. 

During the Turkish period (1386-1878) Nish had 
chequered fortunes. In 1443 it was taken by the 
Christian army under king Vladislav III and John 
Hunyadi and destroyed. After the fall of Smederevo 
in 1459 the Serbian despotate became a Turkish pro- 
vince and Nish was even more securely in Turkish 
hands. For several days after 20 June 1521 a great fire 
raged in Nish which would have destroyed it com- 
pletely if the Beglerbeg Ahmed Pasha, who was 
leading an army against Hungary at the time, had not 
come at the last moment to its assistance (F. Tauer, 
Histoire de la campagne du Sultan Suleyman I" conlre 
Belgrade en 1521, Prague 1924, 26 (Persian text), 31 

Western travellers who visited Nish in this period 
(Dernschwam, Contarini, etc.) were not particularly 
attracted by it. 

Turkish writers give us an idea of the appearance of 
Nish in the 17th century. Hadjdji Khalifa (ca. 1648) 
describes it as a great town and kadilik in the sandjak 
of Sofia. The description which Ewliya Celebi (ca. 
1660) gives is much fuller: it is a fortified town in the 
plain with 2,060 houses, 200 shops, three mosques 
(l.G_hazI Khudawendigar; 2. Musli Efendi; 
3. Husayn Ketkhuda), 22 schools for children, several 
masdjids, dervish tekkes, fountains, baths, many 
vineyards and gardens, etc. 

On 23 September 1689, Nish was taken by the 
Austrians under Lewis of Baden but abandoned the 
very next year to the Turks (1690). In 1 737 Nish was 
again taken by the Austrians under Seckendorf but 
left to the Turks again after two months' occupation. 
It is to this period that the city owes its fortifications. 

When in 1804 the Serbians under Karadjerdje 
rebelled against the Turks, they soon won a number 
of successes and in 1 809 were able to build redoubts 
against Nish, in which Stevan Sindjelic, one of 
Karadjeordje's voivods, on May 31 blew up himself 
and the attacking Turks. Nish was nevertheless not 
relieved and the Turks built the so-called Cele-Kula 
("tower of skulls") with the heads of the Serbians 
killed there, of which A. de Lamartine gave a moving 
description on his way home in 1833 (cf. Voyage en 
Orient, Paris 1859, 255-6). It was not till 11 January 
1878 that Nish, hitherto the capital of a Turkish liivd, 
finally passed from the Turks. This induced many 
Muslims to migrate to Turkey. 

Lying on the military road between Istanbul and 
Vienna and therefore exposed to every campaign, 
Nish was by no means favourably situated to become 
a centre for the development of even a modest intellec- 
tual life. It appears, at least according to Gibb, that 
Nish produced no Turkish poets or authors, except 
perhaps Siinbulzade Wehbi (end of the 18th century), 
who celebrated in song his meeting with the young 
Sara in the Turkish camp at Nish (HOP, iv, 259). In 
Nish, however, two Turks worked for a time who 
later were to become celebrated: 1 . Ahmed Lutfi 
(1815-1907), afterwards imperial historiographer, 
served in Vidin and Nish from April 1845 (GOW, 
384); 2. the famous statesman and author of the 
Turkish constitution of 1876, Midhat Pasha [q.v.], 
was appointed governor of Nish and Prizren in 1861. 
(On the work that he did at Nish between 1861 and 
1864, see especially N. Goyiinc, Midhat Pasa'mn Nis 
valiligi hakhnda notlar ve belgeler, in IUEF Tarih Enstitusii 
Dergisi, xii [1981-2], 279-316.) 

At the end of the Ottoman period (1878), Nish had 

19 mosques, but because of the rapid disappearance of 
the city's Muslim population, their number speedily 
diminished; after 1886, there remained only "a few" 
(cf. De Paris a Constantinople, Collection des Guides 
Joanne, Paris 1886, 92). The next-to-the-last was 
destroyed in 1896 by a violent flood, and the last one, 
within the fortress, is still in place. As for the local 
Muslims, they were already no more than 3.7% of the 
35,384 inhabitants of the town in 1931. According to 
the statistics of December 1933 (established on the 
basis of the marriage registers of the local imamate), 
Nish had at that time 1 ,982 Muslims spread over 365 
households, chiefly Gypsies (the others being Serbo- 
Croat, Turkish and Albanian speakers). These Gyp- 
sies called themselves Muslims, bore Muslim names 
and married according to Islamic law, etc., but also 
observed some of the Christian festivals and from time 
to time prayed in churches. There still existed at this 
time in Nish a regional sharPa court (set up in October 
1929 after the abolition of the former jurisdiction of 
the local mufti, whose authority till then had extended 
over the whole of the former kingdom of Serbia, cf. 
Glasnik Islamske Vjerske Zajednice, i/11 [Belgrade 1934], 
30-1). The new court extended over a part of that of 
the older jurisdiction (19 districts), whilst the rest were 
dependent on the kadi of Belgrade. The Muslims of 
Nish also had a district wakf me c drif council, a com- 
munity council (dzematski medzlis) and a office for 
registration (imdmat). All these institutions disap- 
peared in the course of the Second World War, and 
one only finds in Nish now individual Muslims 
dependent on the mufti of Belgrade. 

Bibliography (in addition to references in the 
text): PW, s.v. Naissus (for the classical period): A. 
Cevat Evren, 1A art. Nts (extensive information on 
the Ottoman period); E.H. Ayverdi, Yugoslavya'da 
turk abideleri, in Vahflar Dergisi, iii (1956), 151 ff.; 
idem, Avrupa'da osmanli mimari eserleri, IH.cild, 3. 
kitab, Yugoslavya, Istanbul 1981, 129-35 and photos. 
1118-38; Enciklopedija Jugoslamje, Zagreb 1965, vi, 
295-8 (several arts., on all the periods); C. Jirecek, 
Die Herrstrasse von Belgrad nach Constantinopel und die 
Balkanpdsse, Prague 1877, index; idem, Die 
Handelstrassen und Bergwerke von Serbien und Bosnien 
wdhrend des Miltelalters , Prague 1879, index; R. 
Hajdarovic, Medzmua Mula Mustafe Firakije, in 
Prilozi za Orijentalnu Filologiju, xxii-xxiii (Sarajevo 
1972-3 [1976]), 301-14 (on some unpubl. sources 
concerning the battle between the Turks and 
Austrians for the capture of the fortress of Nish [at 
the opening of the 19th century?]); V. Stojancevii, 
Narodno-oslobodilacki pokret u niskom kraju 1833 i 
1834/35 godine, in Istoriski Casopis, v. (Belgrade 
1954-5), 427-35 (anti-Turkish activity in 1833-5); 
S. Andrejevic, Posledice Istolne Krize na privredni raz- 
vitakjuzne Srbije (nouih krajeva), in Srbija u zavrfnoj fazi 
Velike Istolne Krize (1877-1878), Belgrade 1980, 225- 
46 (the purchasing of the large estates belonging to 
Turks); Z. Zivanovic, Nis" i niske znamenitosti, 
Belgrade 1883; B. Lovric, Istorija Nisa, Nish 1927 
(an illustrated monograph to mark the 50th 
anniversary of the town's passing out of Turkish 
hands); S. Anastasijevic, Istorija Nisa, Nish 1940. 

(Fehim Bajraktarevic-[A. Popovic]) 
NISHAN (p.), means a sign, banner, seal (and 
hence letter of a prince), or order/decoration. As 
a loanword in Ottoman Turkish, it basically denoted 
a sign or mark and also designated the sultan's 
signature, or tughra [q.v.] and, by extension, a docu- 
ment bearing it (its scribe was a nishandji [q.v.]); the 
standards of the Janissaries or Yeni Ceri [q.v.]; the 
insignia on military, naval and other uniforms; and, 

later, decorations bestowed by the sultan. In 19th and 
20th century literary Arabic, nishan (also nishan), 
similarly a loanword, had essentially the same con- 
notations. This entry considers orders/decorations 
alone. These are to be distinguished from medals 
(Persian modal, Turkish maddlya, Arabic maddliya or 
midaliya — all from Italian medaglia). The former, 
awarded by a sovereign ruler for extended service 
(frequently coinciding with promotion or retirement), 
were richly elaborate; medals, in contrast, designated 
a specific occasion and were rarely bejewelled. Among 
Muslims and others, the main intent of both was 
military (rewarding prowess), administrative (for 
officials), political (for foreign dignitaries and 
ambassadors), social (determining status in society) 
and cultural (encouraging educators and 

While other marks of appreciation (e.g. coins or 
clothes) may have been bestowed by c Abbasid caliphs 
and Saldjuk rulers, the practice of granting nishdns was 
institutionalised in Kadjar Persia, the Ottoman 
Empire and Afghanistan, visibly patterned on 
Western European practice in the early 19th century. 

1. In the Middle East 

Persia. The prevailing pattern was a star of 
bejewelled sunrays surrounding a central design; 
nishdns were worn on the breast, frequently with a col- 
oured sash. Every new nishan was first issued on the 
basis of a farman [q.v.\, setting down its classes (mar- 
laba), subdivided into degrees (daradja) and the type 
and colour of the sash (hamayil), as well as the services 
meriting reward and categories of recipients. The 
orders, manufactured at the government mint in 
Tehran, were accompanied by a document and, at 
times, a gift of money as well. Some orders had to be 
returned upon the recipient's death. The most note- 
worthy nishdns were the following: the Nishdn-i 
Khurshjd (Order of the Sun), instituted by Fath C A1I 
Shah in 1807, who renamed it (in 1810) Nishdn-i Shir 
u Khurshid (Order of the Lion and Sun) to increase its 
prestige. For generations, this remained a distin- 
guished honour for notable Persians and foreigners, 
such as military officers and ambassadors to Tehran. 
It was an eight-pointed star, richly bejewelled and 
enamelled (each degree less costly than the one above 
it), with a central circle exhibiting a crouching lion 
and a sun rising behind its back. On the nishan for 
military recipients, the lion was standing and holding 
a sword. Fath C A1I also instituted a Red Crescent 
nishan, for foreigners, together with a green sash; and 
later a Nishdn-i Zafar (Order of Victory), established in 
Tabriz in 1243/1827-8, for notables. His successor, 
Muhammad Shah, decreed a farman in 1252/1836-7 
establishing all details of the Nishan of the Lion and 
Sun, its divisions and artistic characteristics, 
eligibility criteria and nomination procedures. He 
also established a Nishdn-i Timthdl-i Humdyun (Order 
of the Royal Portrait— of Muhammad Shah), first 
distributed, apparently, to those responsible for law 
and order in Southern Persia. 

Nasir al-DIn Shah's long reign witnessed more 
activity in this domain. He laid down the formal rules 
for the Nishdn-i Timthdl-i Humdyun in a farman dated 
1855: it was to comprise c All's portrait, to be worn by 
the Shah alone, or the Shah's portrait, to be bestowed 
only on the Grand Vizier or distinguished military 
commanders. A later farman of his, in 1287/1870, 
introduced three new orders to replace that of the 
Lion and Sun: the highest was the Nishdn-i Akdas 
(Most Sacred Order), mostly for foreign rulers, less 
frequently for prime ministers (local and foreign), 
local governors and members of Persia's royal family; 

the Nishdn-i Kuds (Order of Holiness), for ranking 
ambassadors and Persian governors; finally, the 
Nishdn-i Mukaddas (Sacred Order), for governors and 
generals. Their allocation was to be determined by a 
grand master, appointed by the Shah. Yet another/ar- 
mdn, dated 1290/1873, established the Nishdn-i Afldb 
(Order of the Sun), intended for queens and royal 
princesses; one of the first recipients was Queen Vic- 
toria. The sun was represented by the full face of a 
female beauty. During his brief reign, Nasir al-DIn 
Shah's son, Muzaffar al-DIn Shah, instituted a 
Nishdn-i Tim(hal-i Humdyun, first bearing his father's 
likeness, then his own. The succeeding Kadjars do not 
seem to have innovated nishdns, although they did 
insert their own respective likenesses. 

The Pahlawls, as a new dynasty, introduced new 
nishdns, although some borrowed old motifs. Their 
details and awarding were published in the Gazette 
d'lran. The highest civil order was the Nishdn-i Pahlawi 
(Pahlawl Order), whose first class, with a collar, was 
worn only by the Shah and the Crown Prince; the 
second, with a sash, and the third, with a riband, were 
bestowed on foreign heads of state and crown princes. 
Nishdn-i tdajri Iran (Order of the Crown of Iran), a star 
with the Persian crown at its centre, was awarded to 
high civil servants and, in special cases, to high- 
ranking foreigners. Nishdn-i humdyun (Royal Order), 
for distinguished persons, consisted of a star with an 
encircled lion and sun at its centre. In 1938, due to 
religious opposition, it was altered so that no human 
face appeared on the sun. The highest military nishdns 
were Nishdn-i Dhu 'l-Fakdr (Order of Dhu '1-Fakar), 
introduced in 1922, for gallantry in action, with c All's 
figure in the centre; Nishdn-i Liydkat (Order of Merit) 
and Nishdn-i Iftikbar (Order of Honour) were reserved 
for officers. Several other nishdns and medals were 
established by Rida Shah and continued under 
Muhammad Rida Shah, as reported annually in the 
Iran Almanac and Book of Facts (Tehran). The Islamic 
Republic of Iran abolished them all. 

Ottoman Empire. Nishdns were regarded as signs 
of sovereignty and the sultans jealously guarded their 
exclusive prerogative to grant them. In the second half 
of the 19th century, there were attempts by the 
Princes of Bulgaria, starting with Alexander von Bat- 
tenberg, to strike and award their own nishdns. One, 
sent by Prince Alexander to Alfonso XII of Spain, had 
to be returned by the latter because of Ottoman 
pressure. Isma'H Pasha [q.v.], Khedive of Egypt, did 
not strike his own nishdns, but obtained permission 
from the sultan's court to award Ottoman ones. 

From c Abd ul-MedjId I's reign, each nishan was 
prepared and distributed according to regulations 
(nizdm-ndma) published in the official Dustur. Struck at 
the mint or iarb khdna [q.v.], it usually had the form 
of a star, crescent or sunrays. As in Persia, each was 
a work of art, made of precious metals and gems, fre- 
quently accompanied by a sash (sheriff or riband. 
Presented by the Sultan or dispatched via a delegate, 
it was boxed and awarded with a specially-written berdt 
[q.v.], phrased in stylised language, mentioning the 
name of the recipient, the nishan and its class (if any), 
and the reason for the award. No one was permitted 
to wear a nishan without a suitable berdt, for which the 
recipient had to pay, the price varying with time and 
degree. Some nishdns had only one degree (rutbe), 
others up to five. Above the first degree, even more 
prestigious nishdns were elaborately adorned with 
diamonds or brilliants and called murassa'. These and 
first-degree nishdns were usually worn with a sash 
across the breast, with a small medal attached to the 
hip, resembling (but not identical to) the larger and 

more valuable one worn on the breast. Lower degrees 
had only one decoration, tied around the neck with a 
riband or pinned to one's breast. All were of gold or 
silver (according to their degree), mostly enamelled in 
the centre and bejewelled. When presented to military 
personnel, many nishdns had interlocking swords 
added at the top. Persons awarded a higher degree 
were expected to return the lower one. Most nishdns 
could be inherited, but not worn by heirs, who were 
requested to pay a fee to keep them. 

Medals predated nishdns in the Ottoman Empire; 
Mahmud I, c Olhman III and c Abd ul-Hamid I each 
issued a medal. The first nishan dates from the reign 
of Selim III. There were still no decorations with 
which to reward Admiral Nelson following his 1798 
destruction of the French navy at Abu Kir in Egypt, 
but the matter was then accorded initial considera- 
tion. In 1216/1801, following the battle of Alexandria, 
the Nishan-i Hilal, or Hilal Nishani (Order of the Cres- 
cent), sometimes called that of the WakdY-i Misriyye 
(Order of the Battles of Egypt), was struck to be worn 
as a pendant around the neck. Made of gold and 
adorned with diamonds, its central ornaments were 
an enamelled crescent and the Ottoman arms. Its first 
recipients were an Ottoman naval officer, Ahmed, 
and a British one, Hutchinson; later, it was presented 
to one of Napoleon I's generals, Sebastiani de la 

During Mafomud II's reign, in 1831, the Nishan-i 
Iftikhdr (Order of Honour) was struck, with a crescent 
or star (depending on degree) at its centre. With this 
order, the sultan initiated the practice of distributing 
nishdns among military officers, NCOs and 
administrative officials. The Taswir-i Humdyun Nishani 
(Order of the Imperial Portrait), struck a year later, 
comprised Mahmud II's portrait, in miniature, on 
ivory, in a rectangular frame ornamented with 
brilliants, set among yellow and pink roses, sur- 
rounded by blue flowers. Aware of criticism in 
religious circles for using a human portrait, the sultan 
presented this nishan to the Sheykh iil-Isldm himself 

Several nishdns were issued during c Abd iil- 
Medjid's reign. Some were smaller, more modest 
ones, rewarding the services of various officers, 
officials, engineering service personnel and others. 
These awards and many others were all recalled and 
sent back to the mint. Nonetheless, this remained an 
era of artistically significant nishdns, three of which 
merit special mention: the Nishan-i Iftikhdr differed 
from the one similarly named under Mahmud II. 
Oval-shaped, it resembled a flat medal. The base was 
a golden plaque; the flowery tughra at its centre was 
silver-plated, surrounded by 32 silver sunrays, and 
the upper part was of gold. It bore a total of 160 gems. 
The Nishan-i Imtiyaz (Order of Distinction) had only 
one degree, but its makeup varied with the reward 
which the sultan thought suitable for services 
rendered. Thus in 1257/1841, Mustafa Reshld Pasha 
[see RESHiD pasha, mustafa], Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, was rewarded for ably solving the problem of 
Egypt a year earlier with a beautiful ornamented 
Nishan-i Imtiyaz, whose centre bore the tughra within a 
red enamel laurel twig surrounded by 35 bejewelled 
sunrays. The Medjtdi Nishani (Order of c Abd iil- 
Medjld, popularly known as Medjjdiyye) was struck in 
1268/1851. While the number of nishdns struck for 
foreigners was not pre-determined, the quantity 
struck for Ottomans was: 1st degree, 50; 2nd, 150; 
3rd, 800; 4th, 3,000; 5th, 6,000. In the centre of seven 
sections of sunrays, the tughra appeared as a sun in 
relief, around which the following terms were 

inscribed in gold: saddkat (fidelity), hamiyyet 
(patriotism) and ghayret (zeal). This was awarded to 
the military, civil servants and intellectuals (suc- 
ceeding sultans continued to award it). Not surpris- 
ingly, the regulations governing this Order stipulated 
that anyone guilty of treason, robbery, murder or cor- 
ruption would have to return it. _ 

The enamel-on-gold Nishan-i '■All Imtiyaz (Order of 
High Distinction), struck during c Abd iil-AzIz's 
reign, in 1861, greatly resembled the earlier Nishan-i 
Imtiyaz. The Nishan-i 'Othmdni (Ottoman Order), 
struck in the following year, was presented only to 
previous recipients of the Medjtdi Nishani. Again, the 
number of pieces produced was strictly limited in 
advance (although foreigners were excluded from this 
quota), as well as the payment, by degree, for the 
accompanying herdt. The sultan's tughra was again the 
centre-piece, on red enamel and gold, surrounded by 
35 sunrays. 

During c Abd ul-Hamid II's reign, the number of 
nishdns, old and new, increased so much that their 
intrinsic value declined. This was due not only to his 
long reign, but also to his large-scale distribution of 
nishdns among both Ottomans and foreigners as a 
means of gaining allies and saving the Empire. Even 
on such occasions as the sinking of the Ottoman 
frigate Ertoghrul, in a storm off the coast of Japan, 
nishdns were sent to the local people who had tried to 
rescue and tend the shipwrecked. Only the more 
important orders will be mentioned. The Shefkat 
Nishani (Order of Compassion) was struck in 1878 for 
Ottoman women (and, in rare cases, for foreign ones) 
who had made efforts to help during wars, earth- 
quakes, floods and similar disasters. This first 
Ottoman nishan for women was in gold and silver, in 
the form of a five-cornered star with a violet-coloured 
enamel at its centre, bearing c Abd ul-Hamld's tughra 
and the words insdniyyet (humanity), mu'dwenet 
(assistance) and hamiyyet (patriotism). Like c Abd ul- 
c AzIz, c Abd iil-Harmd issued his own version of 
Nishdn-i 'All Imtiyaz. Struck in 1878, it was designed 
for military personnel, administrators and 
intellectuals — both Ottoman and foreign — who had 
performed exceptional services for the Empire. Of one 
degree only (plus the bejewelled, murassa' one), it 
looked like a rayed sun with golden laurel twigs at its 
base. The sultan's tughra was inscribed on green 
enamel, surrounded by the inscription hamiyyet 
(patriotism), ghayret (zeal), shegjd'at (courage) and 
saddkat (fidelity). The khdneddn-i Al-i 'Othmdn Nishani 
(Order of the Ottoman Dynasty), struck in 1892, was 
intended for rulers of foreign states and their families, 
as well as members of the reigning Ottoman family 
and Turkish personalities who had excelled in service. 
Golden, oval-shaped, with the tughra at its centre, sur- 
rounded by a red enamel frame, it was usually worn 
on a grand formal uniform. The Ertoghrul Nishani 
(Order of Ertoghrul), named for one of the Sultan's 
ancestors, was struck in 1901. Shaped like a star with 
gold enamel at its corners, it was intended for those 
whom c Abd ul-Hamid particularly liked. 

In the time of Mehemmed V Resjjad and the 
Young Turks, more nishdns were struck. The Ma'drif 
Nishani (Education Order), issued in 1910, was 
intended for persons distinguishing themselves 
publicly in teaching, culture and the arts. Made of 
gold-plated silver, the tughra was again in the centre on 
a red enamel background, surrounded by a white 
enamel crescent and terminating in a small five- 
pointed star joined to a green enamel laurel. An 

: 'UlCrn 

we-sandH'-i nejise. Eligible recipients had to 


employed for at least five years (3rd degree), ten (2nd) 
and another ten (1st). Teachers who had failed at their 
jobs could be requested to return their nishdns. 
Foreigners were equally eligible for this award. The 
Meziyyet Nishani (Order of Excellence), considered 
even more prestigious then the Medjjdi Nishani and the 
Nishdn-i c Othmdm, was planned in 1910 and intended 
for both Ottoman and foreign subjects in the highest 
offices. This nishan, however, was never issued. The 
same is true of the Zird'-at Liyakal Nishani (Order of 
Capability in Agriculture), planned in 1912 for men 
particularly successful in agriculture. It was designed 
with a three-word inscription: hurriyyet (liberty), c addlet 
(justice) and musdwdt (equality)— a common slogan in 
the Young Turk decade. The Mtdjfis-i Meb'uthdn 
A '■ddlarlna Makhsus Nishani (Order for the Members of 
Parliament) was issued in 1916 to all members in the 
1916-19 Parliament. Made up of heptagonal groups of 
sunrays, its centre was a crescent-and-star in gold on 
white enamel. 

In the successor states of the Ottoman Empire, 
heads of state variously continued to bestow orders 
and medals. In Turkey, a law passed in Parliament 
on 26 November 1934 and published in the Resmi 
Gazete three days later, forbade wearing Ottoman 
nishdns (unless won in war) or foreign decorations. 
Instead, the state provided the Istikldl madalyasi 
(Independence Medal), approved by Parliament in 
1920 and distributed in 1923 to Members of Parlia- 
ment and later to all those who fought or assisted in 
the War of Independence. In Egypt, King Fu'ad 
instituted several orders: the Kalddat Muhammad C AU 
(Muhammad C A1I Collar) for a limited number of 
kings; the Kalddat Fu>dd (Fu'ad Collar), for heads of 
state and eminent Egyptians; the Nishan Muhammad 
<Ali (Order of Muhammad C A1I), sometimes called al- 
Wishdh al-akbar (The Highest Decoration), for Prime 
Ministers, both Egyptian and foreign; the Nishan 
Ismd'il (Order of Isma'fl), for prominent Egyptians 
and others; the Wishdh al-Nil (Nile Decoration), for 
ministers and pashas; and the Wisam al-Kamdl 
(Decoration of Perfection), for women only. King 
Faruk introduced no new orders, while the Republic 
did, e.g. the Wisam al-Nil (Nile Decoration), for heads 
of state, and the Wisam al-islihkdk (Order of Merit). 
Bibliography: Persia: E. FJandin and P. Coste, 
Voyage en Perse, Paris 1851, ii, 331-2; J. E. Polak, Per- 
sien. Das Land und seine Bewohner, Leipzig 1865, ii, 
41-2; E. Collinot and A. de Beaumont, Omements de 
la Perse, Paris 1883; R.S. Poole, The coins of the Shahs 
of Persia, London 1887, esp. pi. xxiv; C.E. Yate, 
Khurasan and Sistan, Edinburgh 1900, 45; L. Brasier 
and J.L. Brunei, Les ordres persons, Paris 1902; J. 
Greenfield, Die Verfassung des persischen Slaales , Berlin 
1904, 195-9; H.L. Rabino, Medailles des Oadjars 
C= Collection de la RMM, Paris 1916); idem, Orders 
and decorations oj H.I. M. Rezd Shah Pahlavi', of Iran, in 
Spink and Son's Circular (Aug.-Sept. 1939), 288-95; 
Iran almanac and book of facts", Tehran 1969, 36-7; 
A.M. Piemontese, The statutes of the Qdjdr orders of 
knighthood, in EW, NS, xix/1-2 (March-June 1969), 
431-77; Muhammad MushTrl, Nishdnhd wa-maddlhd- 
yi Iran az dghaz-i saltanat-i Kddjdriyya td imruz, in 
Barrasihd-yi TaMkhl, vi/5 (1350 sh/1971), 185-220, 
ix/1 (1353 sh/1974), 177-91 (plus plates) (this was 
later reissued, with additions, by Mushlri, with the 
same title, Tehran 1354 sh/1975); H.L. Rabino di 
Borgomale, Coins, medals, and seals of the Shahs of Iran, 
1500-1941, n.p. 1945, repr. Dallas 1973; c Abd al- 
Husayn Khan Sipihr, MiPdt al-wakdV-i Muzaffari 
wa-yddddsht-hd-yi malik al-muwarrikhin, Tehran 1368 
sh, 291-300; Sir Denis Wright, Sir John Malcolm and 

the order of the lion and sun, in IranJBIPS, xvii (1979), 
135-41; H.-G. Migeod, Die persische Gesellschaft unter 
Ndsiru'd-Din Sdh (1848-1896), Berlin 1990, 96-7. 

Ottoman Empire. Nishdns can be found in 
many museums in Turkey (such as the Topkapi and 
the military and naval museums in Istanbul) and 
elsewhere and in many private collections, 
worldwide. Copies of the berats accompanying 
them, for 1262-1337/1845-1918, are housed in the 
Basbakanhk Arsivi, Hiimayun nisan defterleri, vols. 1- 
44. Foreign recipients of nishdns were generally 
listed in the official sdlndmes. Regulations (nizdm- 
ndme) governing the awards were printed in Diistur, 
e.g. 1st series, suppl. vols, (dheyl-i diistur), iv, Istan- 
bul 1302, 2-3. See also Mehmed Tewffk, Nishdn-i 
ittihdd. Yddigdr-i Maajaristdn c asr-i '■Abd ul-Hamid 
Khan, Istanbul 1294; F. von Kraelitz, Ilk '■Othmdnli 
padisljdhlarinin isddr etmish olduklari ba'fi berdtlar, in 
TOEM, v/28 (1 Oct. 1330/1914), 242-50; 
Kopriiluzade Mehmet Fuat, Reisulkuttaphk ve nisan- 
ciltk, in Turk Hukuk ve Iktisat Tarihi Mecmuasi, i 
(1931), 198-201; Sermet Muhtar Alus, Eski rutbeler, 
elkaplar, nisan ve madalyalar, in Resimli Tarih Mec- 
muasi, iii/33 (Sept. 1952), 1736-9; Haluk Y. 
§ahsuvaroglu, Nisan ve madalyalara dair, in 
Cumhuriyet(l Dec. 1958), 2; ibrahim Artuk, Nisam 
Osmani, in Arkeoloji Muzeleri Yilligi, x (1961), 74-6, 
plus plates; idem and Cevriye Artuk, The Ottoman 
orders, Istanbul 1967; i. Artuk, Orta ve yeni caga ait 
sikke ve nisanlar, in VI. Turk Tarih Kongresi (20-26 
Ekim 1961), Ankara 1967, 237-53; C. Artuk, The 
medallion of glory, in Actes du <?""' Congres International 
de Numismatique, New York and Washington, Sept. 
1973, Basel 1976, 489-93; eadem, Sefkat nisam, in /. 
Milletlerarasi Turkoloji Kongresi (Istanbul, 15- 
20.X. 1973). Tebligler. I. Turk Tarihi, Istanbul 1979, 
7-14; I. Artuk, Nisdn-i Osmani, in ibid, 15-22; C. 
Artuk, Iftihar madalyasi, in Belleten, xliv/175 (July 
1980), 535-7; ismet Getinyalcin, Liyakal madalyasi, 
in VIII. Turk Tarih Kongresi (11-15 Ekim 1976), 
Ankara 1983, iii, 1723-32, plus plates; Afif 
Buyuktugrul, Sultan II. Mahmut doneminde riitbe 
alameti boyun nisanlan, in Belleten, xlvii/186 (April 
1983) [publ. Ankara 1984], 537-46; History of the 
Turkish frigate Ertugrul, n.p., n.d., 17, 21-3. 

(J.M. Landau) 
2. In the Maghrib 

In North Africa , it was Tunisia which, whilst part 
of the Ottoman empire, was the first to award decora- 
tions. The oldest and most popular one is the Nishan 
al-Iftikhar ("Order of Honour"), begun in 1837 by 
Ahmad Bey, modified in 1855, then on 29 Muharram 
1300/10 December 1882 and on 1 Dhu '1-Hi dj dja 
1304/21 August 1887, before being definitively 
regulated by a beylical decree of 22 Sha c ban 1315/16 
January 1898 (apart from a few later modifications 
relating to the rights of chancellery). 

The Nishan al-Iftikhar had at the outset only one 
class, whose insignia was a silver, enamelled plaque, 
oval in shape, on which the name of the Bey was 
picked out encrusted with diamonds. Later, it became 
an order arranged hierarchically in five classes. The 
highest decoration (the Grand Sash) was a silver pla- 
que with carved faces, rounded and raised in its cen- 
tre, in the form of a star with ten rays radiating out- 
wards intertwined with each other; in the centre of the 
plate, on a green enamelled field, the name of His 
Highness the Bey stood out in incised silver letters. 
This decoration was worn over the left side of the 
breast, by means of a green silk ribbon with a double 
red bordering; this ribbon, 85 mm wide, had to be 
worn cross-wise over the right shoulder; at its ends, a 

knot supported the plaque of a Commander (see 
below). The plaque of a Grand Officer was smaller 
and was worn on the right side of the breast. The pla- 
que of a Commander, smaller still, differed only in 
detail; a green ribbon four cm wide had a double red 
bordering which allowed the insignia to be worn 
below the neck. The decoration of an Officer, smaller 
still, was supported by a green ribbon with a double 
edging, with a rosette, which was pinned on the left 
side of the breast. The decoration of a Knight (first 
and second classes) was simpler, but the ribbon was 
the same as for the other classes. The Nishan al-Iftikhdr 
was awarded on the recommendation of the Prime 
Minister for Tunisian nationals, and of the Foreign 
Affairs Minister for other recipients. 

In the same year as the Nishan al-Iftikhdr was 
instituted (1837), the Bey founded the Nishan al-Dam 
("Order of the Blood") for himself and members of 
his family, but this decoration was also granted to the 
Prime Minister and to foreign sovereigns and their 
families. Its insignia was a rounded plaque of gold, 
with rings set with diamonds, and it was worn cross- 
wise by means of a green ribbon with two thin red 
borders. After the promulgation of the Fundamental 
Pact ('Ahd al-Aman [see dustur, i]), the Bey Muham- 
mad al-Sadik in 1860 created a special order, the 
Nishan 'Ahd al-Aman, reserved for princes and for 
Tunisian ministers, but also granted to generals and 
civilian officials of high rank. The insignia was a pla- 
que in gold, round in shape, with a red enamelled sur- 
face and set with emeralds, and it was worn cross-wise 
by means of a green ribbon with two red borders on 
each side. In 1874 the same Bey inaugurated the 
Nishan 'Ahd al-Aman al-Murassa', whose insignia was a 
golden plaque set (murassa') with diamonds, but this 
decoration was granted only to a limited number of 
Tunisian dignitaries and foreign personalities: Mar- 
shal Lyautey, General de Gaulle and King Alfonso 
XIII of Spain. These four orders were thus placed in 
the following order of importance: Dam, '■Ahd al-Aman 
al-Murassa', 'Ahd al-Aman and Iftikhdr. All were 
abolished in 1957. 

Once Tunisia became independent, it acquired 
three new orders plus a certain number of medals. 
The Nishan al-Istikldl ("Order of Independence") was 
founded by a decree of 6 September 1956 and re- 
organised by the law 59-32 of 16 March 1959; it was 
intended to reward civil or military services from the 
time of the war of national liberation and has five 
classes (of Knight with Grand Cross). On the same 
day, law 59-33 instituted the Nishan al-Djumhuriyya al- 
Tunisiyya ("Order of the Tunisian Republic") meant 
to reward the services of those who had contributed to 
the establishment of the republic; it also had five 
classes. Finally, the Order of 7 November 1987 
(beginning of the new era) was set up by the law 88-78 
of 2 July 1988 to reward the merits of those who had 
either contributed to the re-establishment of the 
sovereignty of the people and the strengthening of 
democracy or had worked for the consolidation of the 
gains of 7 November; it likewise has five classes. The 
President of the Republic is the Grand Master of these 
three orders, which may also be given to foreigners. 

Furthermore, the government ministerial depart- 
ments are able to grant decorations and medals for 
rewarding services rendered: the Medal of Honour of 
the State Security Service, of the National Guard, of 
Civil Defence, of the Prison and Rehabilitation Ser- 
vices, and for the Safety of the Head of State and of 
official figures, all medals stemming from the 
Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry of Education 
and Science has the National Order of Merit for the 

Universities set up by the law 85-41 of 15 April 1985 
and comprising three classes, and the National Order 
of Merit for Teaching created by the law 79-41 of 15 
August 1979, also of three classes; the president of the 
Republic is the Grand Master of these two orders. 
The Ministry of Public Health has a medal, whilst 
that of Agriculture has an Order of Merit for Agri- 
cultural Services set up by the law 71-44 of 28 July 
1971 and comprising two grades, those of knight and 
officer. The Ministry of Youth and Children has two 
medals, for Merit in Sport and Merit of Youth. The 
Ministry of Social Affairs has the Medal of Social 
Merit and the Medal of Labour. There was attached 
to the Ministry of Culture the National Order of 
Cultural Merit created by the law 66-61 of 5 July 
1966, but replaced, by law 69-23 of 27 March 1969, 
by the Medal of Culture, which also has five classes. 
Finally, the Ministry of National Defence has the 
Military Medal, whose holders form an Order, and 
the Medal commemorating the Battle and the Evacua- 
tion of Bizerta set up by the law 63-45 of 12 December 

(This information concerning Tunisia has been 
kindly communicated by the National Foundation 
Beit Al-Hikma [Bayt al-Hikma] which had been given 
the task of drawing up a report on the Tunisian 

InMorocco,adahir(zaAjr)of 1 Ramadan 1386/14 
December 1966 regulated the kingdom's orders; this 
document, which followed and summed up earlier 
ones, was itself modified or completed by the dahirs of 
26 Ramadan 1388/17 December 1968, of 12 Rabi* II 
1396/12 April 1976 and of 3 Rabl< II 1403/18 January 

In descending hierarchical order, the nine orders 
designated by the term wisdm, and not nishan, were as 
follows. (1) al-Wisam al-Muhammadi, reserved for 
monarchs or heads of foreign states, the royal family 
and foreign princes. It has three classes. For the out- 
standing class, a gold plaque whose base in green 
enamel is surrounded by jewels and which is worn 
suspended from a collar of gold or of precious stones; 
for the other two classes, there is only a plaque, 
without the jewels for the third one. (2) Wisdm al- 
Istikldl ("Order of Independence") intended for those 
who contributed to the achievement of independence. 
It has three classes also: for the outstanding one, the 
gold medal forms a star with eight points hung from 
a red ribbon with black vertical stripes. For the other 
classes, the medal is in silver or bronze respectively. 
(3) Wisdm al-Wald' ("Order of Fidelity"), meant for 
persons who have shown their devotion to the 
sovereign. It has only one class, and the plaque is a 
star in gold with five points. (4) Wisdm al-'Arsh 
("Order of the Throne") is meant to reward civil and 
military officials. It has five classes; the gold medal 
(silver for the fourth class) is worn hung from a red 
band, with a green stripe on each side. (5) al-Wisam 
al- 'Askari ("Military Medal") is for private soldiers 
and NCOs in time of war, and also for general officers 
holding the Wisdm al-'Arsh. It has only one class; the 
medal is bronze, oval in shape, with a white and red 
ribbon. (6) Wisdm al-Istihkdk al-'Askari ("Medal for 
Military Merit") is for career officers. It has five 
classes; the outstanding class comprises a gold plaque 
plus a gold medal with a green ribbon with a red 
border; the first class, a plaque and medal of silver; 
the others, only a medal in silver or bronze. (7) Wisdm 
al-Istihkdk al-Watani ("National Order for Merit"), 
meant for civil and military officials. It has three 
classes, a gold medal for the outstanding level, one of 
silver or bronze for the other two, and red ribbon with 



wide edges. (8) al-Wisdm al-'Alawi, the celebrated 
Ouissam Alaouite, which has five classes. The highest 
(the Grand Sash), has for its insignia a plaque 84 mm 
in diameter with five clusters of silver rays, sur- 
mounted by a golden star 40 mm in diameter with five 
white enamelled branches, a red cord, held together 
by a cluster of palm leaves in green enamel with a 16 
mm golden circle in its centre, on a red enamelled 
ground. This plaque is worn on the left side of the 
breast. Also, a gold star 60 mm in diameter, identical 
on both sides to that of the plaque, with a circle 25 mm 
in diameter in its centre; the second side bears a 
representation of the royal parasol, red in colour, on 
a golden ground; this star is hung from a ring of 
golden foliage by a wide ribbon in bright orange, 10 
cm wide with, on each side, a white stripe. The Grand 
Sash is worn over the shoulder from right to left. For 
the rank of Grand Officer, the plaque is the same as 
above; it is worn on the right side of the breast, the 
star of an Officier (see above) on the left side. The 
Commander wears a star identical with that of the 
Grand Sash hung from a bright orange neck band 37 
mm wide, with a white stripe on each side. The star 
of an Officer is like that of the Grand Sash with the 
same measurements as the star of the plaque; the rib- 
bon, bright orange and 37 mm wide, has a white 
stripe on each side and bears a white-striped rosette. 
The insignia of a Knight is the same, except that it is 
hung from a silver (and not gold) ring and has no 
rosette. (9) Wisdm al-Mukdfa?a al-Wafaniyya (no infor- 
mation about this order). (Ch. Pellat) 

NISHANIJli, secretary of state for the 
Sultan's tughra, chancellor, in Ottoman 

The Saldjuks and Mamluks already had special 
officials for drawing the tughra, the sultan's signature. 
As their official organisation was inherited in almost 
all its details by the Ottomans, this post naturally was 
included. Its holder was called niskdnap or tewkft. The 
nishdndji held the same rank as the defterddrs [q. v. ] and 
indeed even preceded them, for we find defterddrs pro- 
moted to nishdndjis but never a nishandft becoming a 
defterdar. The nishdndji was included among the 
"pillars of the empire" (erkdn-i dewlei). The part which 
he played varied in course of time. Besides being 
secretary of state for the imperial tughra (nishdn), he 
had originally considerable legislative powers and he 
was called mufti-yi kdnun (to distinguish him from the 
mufti proper, i.e. the Shaykh al-Isldm). In his office, the 
texts of the laws were prepared under his supervision. 
Most of the Ottoman codes of law (kdnun) that have 
come down to us go back to nishdndjis. As they had 
moreover the right to approve the contents of 
documents put before them for the imperial tughra, 
they had no slight influence on the business of 
administration. Of their official career we know that, 
according to the fCdnun-ndme [qv.] of Mehemmed II, 
they had to be chosen from teachers acquainted with 
law (muderris), apparently because they had to display 
legislative ability, or from the defterddrs and ra'ora 3 ul- 
kuttdb. As their authority diminished more and more 
in course of time, so did their influence, and finally 
they were limited to preparing the tughra. According to 
Mouradjea d'Ohsson (Tableau de VEmpire Ottoman, iii, 
373), the nisjtdndjis received from the state a salary of 
6,620 piastres. On their official dress, see von Ham- 
mer, GOR, viii, 431, according to whom they wore 
red, in contrast to the other khpdjagdn who wore violet. 
Bibliography: See the article tuSH^a and the 
references there given; also J. von Hammer, GOR, 
i, 173, ii, 217, 229, iv, 3, viii, 431; idem, Des 
Osmanischen Reiches Staatsverfassung und Staatsver- 

waltung, Vienna 1815, i, 64, ii, 127, 135; M.Z. 

Pakalin, Tarih deyimleri ve terimleri sozlugii, Istanbul 

1946-53, ii, 694-7 s.v. Nisan, 697-700 s.v. Nisanct; 

IA, art. Nisanct (M. Tayyib Gokbilgin). 

(F. Babinger) 

NISHAPUR, the most important of the four 
great cities of Khurasan (Nlshapur, Marw, Harat 
and Balkh), one of the great towns of Persia in the 
Middle Ages. 

The name goes back to the Persian New-Shahpur 
("Fair Shapur"); in Armenian it is called Niu- 
Shapuh, Arab. Naysabur or Nisabur, New Pers. 
Nesjiapur, pronounced in the time of Yakut 
Nishawur, now Nlshapur (Noldeke, Tabari, 59, n. 3; 
G. Hoffmann, Auszuge..., 61, n. 530). Thetown occa- 
sionally bore the official title of honour, Iranshahr. 

Nlshapur was founded by SJiahpuhr I, son of Ar- 
dashir I (Hamza al-Isfahani, ed. Gottwaldt, 48), who 
had slain in this region the Turanian Pahliak 
(Palezak) (Stddteliste von Erdn, § 13); some authors say 
it was not founded till the time of SJiahpuhr II (al- 
Tabari, i, 840; al-Tha'alibi, ed. Zotenberg, 529). 

In the wider sense, the region of NrsJiapur compris- 
ed the districts of al-Tabasayn, Kuhistan, Nisa', 
Baward, Abarshahr, Djam, Bakharz, Tus, Zuzan and 
Ispara'in (al-Ya c kubi, Bulaan, ed. de Goeje, 278; cf. 
al-Tabari, i, 2884); in the narrower sense, Nisjiapur 
was the capital of the province of Abarshahr (Armen. 
Apar a shj$h arh. the "district of the 'Ajcipvoi"; Mar- 
quart, Erdnsahr, 74; idem, Catalogue of the provincial 
capitals ofErdnshahr, 52), which was in turn divided in- 
to 13 rustdks and 4 tassudj (names in al-IsfakJiri, 258; 
Ibn Hawkal, 313; Ibn Khurradadjibih, 24; al- 
Ya'kubf, 278; Ibn Rusta, 171). The latter were: in the 
west Rewand (now Riwend), in the south al-SJiamat, 
Pers. Tak-Ab, in the east Pushtfroshan (now Pusht 
Farush) and in the north Mazul (now Masul); cf. al- 
Mukaddasr, 314-21. 

In the Rewand hills to the northwest of the town 
was one of the three most sacred fire-temples of the 
Sasanids, that of the fire Burzih-Mihr (G. Hoffmann, 
op. cit., 290). Yazdadjird II (438-57) made Nlshapur 
his usual residence. 

In the year 30/651 or 31/652 the governor of Basra, 
c Abd Allah b. c Amir [q.v.], took Nlshapur (al-Tabari, 
i, 3305; al-Baladhuri, 404), whose governor 
Kanarang (x ava P^TfK- Marquart, Erdnsahr, 75) 
capitulated. The town was then insignificant and had 
no garrison. During the fighting between C A1I and 
Mu'awiya (36-7/656-7), the Arabs were again driven 
out of Nisjiapur by a rising in Khurasan and 
Tukharistan (al-Tabari, i, 3249, 3350; al-BaladJmri, 
408; al-DInawari, 163). Peroz III, the son of Yaz- 
dadjird III and of the daughter of the Kanarang of 
Nlshapur, is said to have lived for a period in 
Nlshapur. Khulayd b. Ka>s was sent in 37/657-8 by 
C A1I against the rebellious town (al-DInawari, op. cit. ). 
Mu'awiya reappointed c Abd Allah b. c Amir governor 
of Basra in 41/661-2 and commissioned him to con- 
quer KJiurasan and Sidjistan. The latter in 42/662-3 
installed Kays b. al-Haylham al-Sulami in Nlshapur 
as governor of KJiurasan. Ziyad b. Abl Sufyan in 
45/665-6 made Khulayd b. c Abd Allah al-Hanafi 
governor of Abarshahr (Nlshapur). c Abd Allah b. 
Khazim rebelled in 63/683 against the Umayyads. He 
fell in 73/692 at Marw fighting against c Abd al-Malik, 
whereupon Umayyad rule was restored in Khurasan. 

Until the time when the Tahirid governor of 
Khurasan c Abd Allah b. Tahir (213-30/828-45 [q.v.]) 
made it his capital, Nlshapur was of less consequence 
than the Arabs' first capital, Marw [q.v.]. But soon, 
helped by its more salubrious climate, it overtook 






Marw in political importance, and also became a cen- 
tre of economic activity (above all for its famed tex- 
tiles, including luxury 'attabi and saklafuni cloths, cf. 
al-Tha'alibl, LatdHj al-ma c arif tr. Bosworth, The book 
of curious and entertaining information, 133) and of 
cultural life. It ceased to be a provincial capital after 
the Saffarid amir Ya c kub b. al-LaytJi in 259/863 took 
over Khurasan from the Tahirids and entered the 
city, and for some 30 years control of it oscillated be- 
tween the Saffarids and various warlords and military 
adventurers like Rafi c b. Harthama [qv.] until c Amr 
b. al-Layth was defeated and captured by the 
Samanid Isma'il b. Ahmad in 287/900 (see Barthold, 
Turkestan down to the Mongol invasion, 217-25; 
Bosworth, in Camb. hist, of Iran, iv, 114-21). But then 
under the Samanids (4th/10th century), it attained 
especial prosperity as the provincial capital of 
KJiurasan again and the base and residence of the 
commander-in-chief of that province. Arts and crafts, 
such as ceramic production, were notable, and the 
general prosperity of Nishapur was reflected in the 
formation of an influential bourgeoisie, composed of 
merchants, craftsmen, officials and scholars and 
religious figures from the two main madhhabs of 
Khurasan, the Hanafis and the Shafi'Is, and from 
their rivals for popular support there, the members of 
the ascetic and pietistic sect of the Karramiyya [q.v.]. 
From this social group, which R.W. Bulliet has called 
a patriciate, stemmed notable scholars like Abu 
Muhammad al-Djuwaynl and his son the Imam al- 
Haramayn Abu 'l-Ma'ali [q.vv.] and the traditionist 
al-Hakim al-Naysaburl, Ibn al-Bayyi c [q.v.], and also 
ambitious statesmen like Mahmud of Ghazna's 
minister Hasanak [q. v. ] from the MIkall [q. v. ] family 
(see Bosworth, The Ghaznavids, their empire in 
Afghanistan and eastern Iran 994:1040, Edinburgh 1963, 
145-202; Bulliet, The patricians of Nishapur, Cam- 
bridge, Mass. 1972). The large number of tradi- 
tionists and lawyers which the city produced was 
undoubtedly a stimulus to the production of several 
biographical dictionaries of Nishapur scholars, begin- 
ning with that of Ibn al-Bayyi c (d. 405/1014) in eight 
or twelve volumes, the starting-point for various con- 
tinuations and epitomes (see R.N. Frye, City chronicles 
of Central Asia and Khurasan. The TaMx-i Nisapur, in 
Zeki Velidi Togan'a armagan, Istanbul 1950-5, 405-20; 
facs. texts in idem, The histories of Nishapur, The 
Hague 1965; the Muntakhab min al-siyak li-ta\ikh 
Naysabur of al-§arlfini, ed. Muh. Ahmad al- c AzIz, 
Beirut 1409/1989). 

The Arabic geographers describe Nishapur at this 
time as a thickly populated town divided into 42 
wards, 1 farsakh in length and breadth (al-Istakhrl, 
254) and consisting of the citadel, the city proper and 
an outer suburb in which was the chief mosque built 
by the Saffarid c Amr. Beside it was the public market 
called al-Mu c askar, the governor's palace, a second 
open place called Maydan al-Husayniyyin and the 
prison. The citadel had two gates and the city four: 
the Gate of the Bridge, the Gate on the road from 
Ma'kil, the Gate of the Fortress (Bab al-Kuhandiz) and 
the Gate of the Takln Bridge. The suburbs also had 
walls with many gates. The best known market places 
were al-Murabba'-a al-Kabira (near the Friday Mosque) 
and al-Murabba'-a al-Saghira. The most important 
business streets were about fifty in number and ran 
across the city in straight lines intersecting at right 
angles; all kinds of wares were on sale in them (on the 
products and exports of Nishapur, see G. Le Strange, 
The lands of the Eastern Caliphate, 429-30). Numerous 
canals were led from the WadI Saghawar. which flow- 
ed down from the village of Bushtankar or Bush takan 

and drove 70 mills, whence it passed near the city and 
provided the houses with an ample water supply. 
Gardens below the city were also watered in this way. 
The district of NIsJiapur was regarded as the most fer- 
tile in KJiurasan. 

The town suffered many vicissitudes after this 
period. A great famine broke out there in 401/1011. 
At the beginning of the 5th/llth century NIsJiapur 
was the centre of the pietist Karramis led by the an- 
chorite Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ishak. The Saldjuk 
Toghril Beg first occupied the town in 428/1037 and 
subsequently made it his capital. Alp Arslan also 
seems to have lived there (cf. Barhebraeus, Chron. 
Syr., ed. Bedjan, 243). In Shawwal 536/May 1 142 the 
Kh w arazmshah Atsiz took the town for a time from 
the Saldjuk sultan Sandjar. When it was sacked by the 
Qhuzz in 548/1 153 the inhabitants fled, mainly to the 
suburb of Shadyakji which was enlarged and fortified 
by the governor al-Mu'ayyid. Tughan Shah Abu 
Bakr ruled the city during 569-81/1 174-85 and his son 
Sandjar Shah during 581-3/1185-7. 

In Rabl 5 I or II 583/May or June 1187 the 
KJi w arazmsJiah Tekish took NIsJiapur and gave it to 
his eldest son Malik Shah. At the end of 589/1 193 the 
latter received Marw and his brother Kutb al-DIn 
Muhammad became governor of Nishapur. Malik 
Shah died in 593/1197 in the neighbourhood of 
NIsJiapur. 'Ala 5 al-DIn Muhammad (as Kutb al-DIn 
called himself after his father's death) took Marw and 
NIsJiapur in 598/1202 from the Qhurids Qhiyath al- 
DIn and his brother Shihab al-DIn. 

In addition to the wars and rebellions (e.g. 
604-5/1207-8) which afflicted the town, it suffered 
from repeated earthquakes (540/1145, 605/1208, 
679/1280). Yakut who visited it in 613/1216 but 
stayed in Shadyakh, could still see the damage done 
by the first earthquake and by the Ghuzz, but never- 
theless thought the town the finest in Khurasan. The 
second earthquake was particularly severe; the in- 
habitants on this occasion fled for several days into the 
plain below the city. 

In 618/1221 the Mongols under Cinghiz Khan 
sacked the city completely (see Djuwaym-Boyle, i, 
169-78). Although Nlsjiapur's palmiest days were 
ended by the Mongol devastations, it soon revived 
from the effects of these. The city's centre had been 
displaced to Shadyakh after the earthquakes of the 
early 7th/13th century, and the same cause lay behind 
its reconstitution on a third site towards the end of 
that same century. Hamd Allah Mustawfl describes it 
in the 8th/14th century as highly flourishing, with ex- 
tensive protective walls (Nuzha, 148-9, tr. 147-8), 
whilst Ibn Battuta calls it "Little Damascus" for its 
fertility and productiveness, and praises the madrasas 
and throngs of students which he saw there (Rihla, iii, 
80-2, tr. Gibb, iii, 583-5). 

Thereafter, NIsJiapur slowly declined in impor- 
tance until its modest revival in the later 19th century. 
In 1890 G.N. Curzon found the NIsJiapur region still 
fertile, and the famous turquoise mines in the district 
called Bar-i Ma'din some 50 km/35 miles northwest of 
the town were still being profitably worked; but the 
walls of the town itself were ruinous (Persia and the Per- 
sian question, London 1892, i, 260-7). The modern 
town of NIsJiapur is situated in lat. 36° 13' and long. 
58° 49' E., and lies in an altitude of 1 193 m./3,913 ft. 
and on the east side of a plain surrounded by hills. To 
the north and east of the town lies the ridge of 
Binalud-Kuh, which separates it from the valley of 
Masjihad and Tus. At its foot spring a number of 
streams, among them the Sbura Rud and the river of 
Dizbad (Mustawfl) which irrigate the lands of 


NIsJiapur and disappear in the salt desert to the west. 
North of the town in the mountains was the little lake 
of Cashma Sabz out of which, according to Mustawff, 
run two streams, one to the east and the other to the 
west. The tombs of her famous sons c Umar Khayyam 
and Farld al-DIn c Attar [q. vv. ] are still shown in the 
town. According to the 1365fA/1986 census, NIsJiapur 
had a population of 109,258. 

Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the article): 1. Sources. For these, see EI 1 art. s.v. 
(E. Honigmann), to which should be added Hudud 
al-'-dlam, tr. Minorsky, 102-3, comm. 325-6. 
2. Studies. W. Tomaschek, Zur historische 
Topographic von Perskn,in SB Ak. Win (1883, 1885), 
i, 7708; Marquart, Eransahr, Berlin 1901, 47, 49, 
68-9, 74-5, 293, 301; C.E. Yate, Khurasan and 
Seislan, Edinburgh 1900; Le Strange, Lands, 382-8; 
P.M. Sykes, A sixth journey in Persia, in GJ, xxxvii 
(1911), 1-19, 149-65; A. Gabriel, Die Erforschung 
Persiens, Vienna 1952, index; Sylvia A. Matheson, 
Persia, an archaeological guide 2 , London 1976, 
199-200; C. Wilkinson, Nishapur. Some early Islamic 
buildings and their decoration, New York 1986. 


NISHAPURI, ZahIr al-DIn, Persian author 
who wrote a valuable history of the Saldjuks during 
the reign of the last Great Saldjuk of Persia, Toghril 
(III) b. Arslan [q.v.]; he must have died ca. 580/1 184- 
5. Nothing is known of his life except that Rawandi 
[q.v.] states (Rabat al-sudur, ed. M. Iqbal, 54) that he 
had been tutor to the previous sultans Mas'ud b. 
Muhammad [q.v.\ and Arslan b. Toghril (II). His 
Saldjuk-ndma was long believed lost, but was known as 
the main source for Rawandl's information on the 
Saldjuks up to the latter's own time (see Rabat al-sudur, 
Preface, pp. XXVI, XXIX); hence it is essentially 
Nishapurl's material which was utilised for the 
Saldjuks by later authors like Rashld al-DIn, Hamd 
Allah Mustawff and Hafiz-i Abru [q. vv. ] . The Saldjuk- 
ndma is a concise, soberly-written history in Persian, 
of especial value for the history of the later sultans up 
to the accession of Toghril (III) in 571/1176; see for 
an estimate of its worth, CI. Cahen, The historiography 
of the Seljuqid period, in B. Lewis and P.M. Holt (eds.), 
Historians of the Middle East, London 1962, 73-6. After 
its rediscovery, it was indifferently published at 
Tehran in 1322/1953. 

Bibliography (in addition to references in the 
text): Barthold, Turkestan, 30; Storey-Bregel, ii, 
342-5 no. 639; K.A. Luther, The Saljuqnamah and the 
Jami'- al-tawarikh, in Procs. of the colloquium on Rashld 
al-Din FadlaUah, Tabriz-Tehran 134811969, Tehran 
1971, 26-35. (C.E. Bosworth) 

NITHAR (a.), verbal noun of nathara "to scatter, 
spread abroad", in the pre-modern Middle East, the 
showering of money, jewels and other 
valuables on occasions of rejoicing, such as a wed- 
ding, a circumcision, the accession of a ruler, the vic- 
torious return from a military campaign, the recep- 
tion of a diplomatic envoy, recovery from illness, etc. 
It was thus in part one aspect of the general practice 
of largesse and presentgiving by superiors to inferiors 
[see hiba, in c am, khil c a] but also an aspect of charity 
to the poor. On occasion, the whole of the state 
treasury might be disbursed in this way (see Spuler, 
Iran, 347). Nithars are often mentioned in descriptions 
of court festivities under the early Ghaznawid [q. v. ] 
sultans; see Gitl Falah Rastgar, ( Addb u rusum u 
tashrifat dar bar-i Qhazna az khilal-i TaMkh-i Bayhaki, in 
Yad-ndma-yi Abu 'l-Fadl-i Bayhaki, Mashhad 1349 
sh/1970, 412 ff. 

Bibliography: Given in the article. (Ed.) 

for the distribution of 
largesse to the court and to the multitudes attending 
processions have been detailed in marasim. 5, and 
mawakib. 5, above; and references to the smaller 
coins used in the nithar are made in mughals. 11. 

There are few specific references to nithar in Indian 
dynasties before the Mughal period, although it was 
an ancient Indian custom and so likely to have been 
perpetuated (cf. N.N. Law, Ancient Hindu coronations 
and allied ceremonials, in Ind.Ant. (June 1919], 84 ff.) in 
the Dihli sultanate and elsewhere; for example, the 
shower of gold and silver coins, and jewels, over the 
head of a recent conqueror is referred to in the ac- 
count of the conquest of Malwa by Muzaffar II of 
Gudjarat and by Sikandar b. Muhammad Mandjhu 
in the Mir'dt-i Sikandari, and c Ala 3 al-DIn KhaldjI is 
said to have used manaj_aniks [q.v.] to scatter coins and 
"golden stars" among the Dihli populace. 

There are many references in the early Mughal 
period to the practice under Babur and Humayun 
(Tuzuk-i Baburi, tr. Beveridge, 43; Gulbadan Begam, 
Humdyun-ndma, 112 et passim), when not only small 
gold and silver coins but also small gold and silver 
fruits (almonds, walnuts and filberts) and flowers 
were so scattered. This would appear to have been a 
Caghata 3 ! custom inherited by the Mughals, and it 
persisted until at least the time of Farrukhsiyar. Fan- 
ny Parks (Wanderings of a pilgrim in search of the pictures- 
que, London 1850) speaks of the custom of showering 
coins and jewels over the head of the new ruler in the 
Lakhna'u court. For the scattering of coins among the 
populace, besides the half- and quarter-rupees, 
smaller coins, usually thinner than those of the 
standard currency and not standing in any regular 
fractional relation to it, of gold as well as silver, and 
many of dainty and excellent workmanship, were 
known especially from the reign of Djahanglr; nithdri 
was for a short time the name of his quarter-rupee, 
though nithar, nur afshan and khayr kabul are all used for 
largesse-coins in his reign. Occasions for the scatter- 
ing of nithar were especially the Imperial festivals and 
processions on anniversaries of accession-date, the 
emperor's solar and lunar birthdays, the births and 
marriages of royal princes and princesses, the formal 
weighing of the emperor against gold, silver and 
jewels, the ab-pdshi ceremony, ceremonial visits to 
Akbar's tomb and to the tombs of certain pus 
(especially at Fathpur Slkri and Adjmer), and so on. 
It seems certain that much largesse-money was struck 
at provincial mints, possibly in connection with im- 
perial visits, as many of the dated nithars correspond 
with dates in the chronicles. 

Bibliography: In addition to references in the ar- 
ticle, see especially S.H. Hodivala, Nis.drs, no. XIV 
in Historical studies in Mughal numismatics, Calcutta 
1923; references passim in the coin catalogues men- 
tioned in the Bibl. to mughals. 11. 

(J. Burton-Page) 
NIYAHA (a.) "lamentation", the noun of 
action from naha "to weep with great cries, lamenta- 
tions, sighings and affliction". The term is used to 
designate the activity of professional mourners who 
play a great role in funeral ceremonies all around the 
Mediterranean. If it is mentioned here, it is because 
this practice, considered to be a legacy of paganism, 
was condemned by the Prophet. Indeed, he is made to 
say "Three pre-Islamic customs (akhldk; Usd al-ghaba, 
fi'-t) are not to be retained by the Muslims. They are: 
invoking the planets in order to receive rain (istiska?bi 
'l-kawakib), attacking genealogies (al-fa'-n fi 'l-nisba) 
and lamenting the dead (al-niyaha '■aid 'l-mayyit)" (al- 




Weeping for the dead was something which could 
be done not only by women but also by men, some of 
whom become wellknown for this; the Aghdni cites, 
e.g. Ibn Suraydj (i, 99-100). 

The pagan character of this practice is displayed in 
a text oflbn Sa c d, Tabakdt, i/1, 88, where it is written: 
"At the death of his son Ibrahim, the Prophet wept 
(bakS). Someone said to him, O Messenger of God, 
did you not forbid weeping? — He replied, I forbade 

equally stupid and impious: a voice raised in a state 
of happiness (which shows itself) in celebrations, 
disporting and diabolical chantings (mazdmir shaytdn) 
and a voice in times of misfortune (which shows itself) 
in mutilating one's face, tearing of clothes and a 
diabolical mourning cry (rannat shaytdn = the nenia of 
the Romans = a funeral lament). My personal tears 
express my compassion (rahma). Whoever has no com- 
passion (for others), (these last) will have no compas- 
sion for him." 

Another account, given by the same auihor (91), 
confirms the previous one. There was an eclipse of the 
sun on the day of Ibrahim's death; people saw in it a 
relationship of cause and effect. The Prophet rebutted 
this relationship and then let his tears flow. People 
said to him, "You are weeping, you, the Messenger 
of God!"— He replied, "I am a man; the eyes shed 
tears, the heart breaks and we say nothing which will 
irritate the Lord." 

Finally, one should add that, amongst the ancient 
Arabs, the position of the woman weeping for her hus- 
band served as an indication of her future intentions. 
If she did this standing (kdHma), it was assumed that 
she would not marry again (Aghdni, ii, 138). 

Bibliography: In addition to references given in 

the article, see M. Abdesselem, Le theme de la mort, 

Tunis 1977, inde 

(T. I 


NIYAZI, an Ottoman poet and mystic. Shan 
al-DIn Mehmed known as MisrI Efendi, Shaykh 
MisrI, whose makhlas was Niyazi, came from Aspuzl, 
the former summer capital of Malatya (cf. Ewliya 
Celebi, iv, 15; von Moltke, Reisebriefe, 349), where his 
father was a Nakshbandl dervish. Niyazi was born in 
1027/1617-18. The statement occasionally found that 
Soghanlf was his birthplace is not correct. 

His father instructed him in the teaching of the 
order, then he went in 1048/1638 to Diyarbakr, later 
to Mardln where he studied for three years and finally 
to Cairo. There he joined the Kadirl order, travelled 
for seven years and finally settled down in the 
Anatolian village of Elmalf, once notorious as a centre 
of heresy, to devote himself to study under the famous 
Khalwetl Shaykh Umm-i Sinan (d. 1069/1658). He 
stayed with him for twelve years until he was sent by 
the Shaykh as his deputy to 'Ushshak near Izmir. 
After the death of his master, he moved to Bursa, 
where a pious citizen, Abdal Celebi, built a hermitage 
for him. The fame of his sanctity and his gifts of pro- 
phecy spread more and more and finally reached the 
ears of the grand vizier Kopriilii-zade Ahmed Pasha 
[see koprulO], who invited him to Edirne, enter- 
tained him with great honour for 40 days and finally 
sent him back to Bursa. When in 1083/1672 the army 
set out for Kameniec in Podolia [see kamani£a], he 
was summoned to Edirne; where he had great 
audiences as a preacher. As he had allowed himself to 
drop Kabbalistic allusions (kelimdt-i djifriyye), he gave 
offence and was banished to Lemnos. There he spent 

some years in exile until he received permission to 
return to Bursa. The fact that during his stay on the 
island it was spared Venetian attacks was interpreted 
as a miracle wrought by this holy man. But when he 
stirred up the people by "kabbalistic" preaching he 
was again banished to Lemnos in Safar 1088/May 
1677. AH kinds of prophecies which were fulfilled, as 
well as the story that his coming had been foretold by 
Ibn al- c ArabI [q.v.], strengthened his reputation as a 
holy man and miracle-worker. He spent ten years on 
Lemnos until in 1101/1689 the vizier Kopriilii-zade 
Mustafa Pasha allowed him to return to Bursa. In the 
next year he was summoned to Edirne; he again 
excited the people by political utterances and mystical 
allusions so that the Ka'immakam c Othman Pasha 
had him taken t with all respect, by a guard of 
Janissaries and Cawushs out of the mosque and sent 
directly via Gallipoli to Bursa. From there he was 
again banished to Lemnos, but died on 20 Radjab 
1105/17 March 1694. The date 1111/1699 given by 
von Hammer, GOD, iii, 588, must therefore be 

Unfortunately, the contemporary notices give no 
information about the nature of the sermons by 
Niyazi which gave offence from the political as well as 
religious point of view. The historian Demetrius 
Kantemir said Niyazi was secretly a Christian. His 
Diwdn, in Arabic and Turkish, does not justify this 
suggestion, although the poem declared by von Ham- 
mer (GOD, iii, 589) to be apocryphal, given in transla- 
tion by Kantemir, is really taken from his Diwdn, as 
Gibb, HOP, iii, 315, has proved. No study has yet 
been made of the Diwdn or of Niyazi's position in the 
religious life of a Turkey generally. 

The order founded by Niyazi once possessed 
several monasteries on Greek soil, in Modoni, 
Negroponte (Eghriboz), Saloniki, Mytilene, also in 
Edirne, Bursa and Izmir. Cf. thereon the study by 
V.A. Gordlevski, Tarikat Misri Niyazi, in Dokladi 
Akademii Nauk SSSR (1929), 153-60. 

The main source for the history of Niyazi's life and 
work is the rare Turkish treatise of Moralizade LutfT 
( = Mustafa Lu(fullah), Tuhfat al-'-asri fi mandkib al- 
Misri, published at Bursa in 1308/1890-1. 

Niyazi's poems were repeatedly published 1254 and 
1259 at Bulak, also 1260 and 1291 in Istanbul; cf. 
thereon von Hammer, in Wiener Jahrbucher, lxxxv, 36, 
and JA, ser. 4, vol. viii, 261. On his numerous other 
works, only available in mss., cf. Bursalf Mehmed 
Tahir, '■Oihmdnll miMliflen, i, 173-4, with references 
to where they are preserved, and Abdiilbaki 
Golpinarh, tA art. s.v. 

Bibliography: In addition to the works men- 
tioned by J. von Hammer, GOD, iii, 587 ff., and 
Gibb, HOP, iii, 312 ff., and Bursal! Mehmed 
Tahir, '■Olhmdnli muMlifleri, i, 172 ff., cf. also the 
biographies of Ottoman poets by Shaykhl, Salim, 
c UshshakI-zade, etc.; Rashid, TaMkh, i, 89, 193; 
J.B. Brown, The Danishes 2 , London 1927, 203-5. 
On Niyazi's religious attitude, cf. D. Kantemir, 
Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches, Hamburg 1745, 
636-7, 642, also Mouradgea d'Ohsson, Tableau de 
I'Empire Ottoman, iv, 626, also von Hammer, GOR, 
vi, 337, 364, 578, vii, 161 (his tomb on Lemnos); 
L. Massignon, al-Halldj, martyr mystique de I'Islam, i, 
Paris 1922, 428 ff., 440. The Vienna ms. no. 1928 
(cf. Flugel, Katal., iii, 474 ff.) contains besides the 
Diwdn many other works of Niyazi; cf. thereon 
Rieu, Catal. of Turk. mss. in the Brit. Mus., 261. 
_ . (F. Babinger) 

NIYAZI BEY, Ahmed (1873-1912), YoungTurk 
officer and one of the protagonists of the Ottoman 


constitutional revolution of 1908. Niyazi hailed from 
Resen (he was called ResnelT, i.e. "from Resen"), 
and was an Albanian by birth. 

He went to military rustdi and i'-dddi schools in 
Monastir (Bitola) before entering the military 
academy {Harbiyye) in Istanbul, where he graduated as 
a second lieutenant in 1896. After his graduation he 
saw service in the European provinces of the Empire 
and he made a name for himself during the battle of 
Beshpfnar in the 1897 Greek-Ottoman war. He was 
promoted to first lieutenant, captain and eventually 
adjutant-major, while serving with the Third 
(Macedonian) Army between 1898 and 1908. 
Between 1903 and 1908 he was in command of the 
Third Light Rifle Batallion in Ohrid and constantly 
engaged in combating the guerrilla warfare of 
Bulgarian bands in the area. 

When the c Othmdnli Hurriyet DjpnHyyeti (Ottoman 
Freedom Committee), which later merged with the 
Paris-based Ittihdd we Terakki DjemHyyeti [q.v.] (Com- 
mittee of Union and Progress), began to spread 
among the officers of the Third Army, Niyazi was an 
early member. In July 1908, the Society suspected 
that a decision to break up and divide the Ottoman 
Empire had been reached by King Edward VII of 
England and Tsar Nicholas during their discussions at 
Reval, and it decided to act to force the restoration of 
constitutional rule in order to ward off foreign 
intervention. Niyazi was the first of a number of 
Young Turk officers, who, on the orders of the Com- 
mittee, started an insurrection in Macedonia. On Fri- 
day, 3 July 1908 he took to the hills with about two 
hundred men and began to demand the restoration of 
the constitution in cables sent to the authorities. He 
was soon followed by other officers, such as Enwer 

After the restoration of the constitution on 24 July, 
Niyazi, together with Enwer, was launched by the 
C.U.P. as one of the Hiirriyyet Kahramdnlari 
("Freedom Heroes") and he toured the Empire, 
receiving a rapturous welcome from the crowds. Later 
in the year the C.U.P. decided to have Niyazi's 
memoirs (which were partly ghosted) published as the 
account of the revolution to the exclusion of all others. 
One reason for this was probably that, unlike most 
of his Young Turk colleagues, Niyazi did not have 
political ambitions and devoted himself to military 
matters. When, on 13 April 1909, a counter- 
revolution broke out in Istanbul and the constitu- 
tionalists were driven from the city, Niyazi was 
instrumental in raising the Albanian volunteers who 
made up an important part of the Hareket Ordusu 
("Operational Army") that reconquered the capital 
for the C.U.P. and the constitution two weeks later. 
Niyazi fought in Tripolitania during the Ottoman- 
Italian war of 1911 and then retired to his native 
Resen. On 17 April 1913 he was killed by an Albanian 
nationalist in Valona, while on his way to Istanbul. 
Bibliography: Kol Aghasi Resneli Ahmed 
Niyazi, Khdtirat-i Niyazi ydkjiud Tdrikhce-yi Inkildb-i 
Kabir-i c Othmdniden bit sahifa, Istanbul 1326 [RumI] 
/1910, also published as Ihsan Ilgar (ed.), 
Balkanlarda bir gerillaci. Huniyet Kahramam Resneli 
Niyazi Bey 'in anilart, Istanbul 1975; Ibrahim Alaet- 
tin Govsa, Turk meshurlart ansiklopedisi, Istanbul 
n.d., 286; Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks. The Com- 
mittee of Union and Progress in politics 1908-1914, 
Oxford 1969, 176. (E.J. ZOrcher) 

NIYYA (a.), intention. The acts prescribed by 
the Islamic sharf-a, obligatory or not, require to be 
preceded by a declaration by the performer, that he 
intends to perform such an act. This declaration, pro- 

nounced audibly or mentally, is called niyya. Without 
it, the act would be bdiil [q.v.]. 

The niyya is required before the performance of the 
Hbdddt, such as washing, bathing, prayer, alms, 
fasting, retreat, pilgrimage, sacrifice. "Ceremonial 
acts without niyya are not valid", says al-Ghazall 
(Ihyd\ Cairo 1282, iv, 316). Yet a survey of the opi- 
nions of the lawyers regarding the niyya in connection 
with each of the Hbdddt would show that there is only 
unanimity about the niyya as required before the soldi. 

Further, the niyya must immediately precede the 
act, lest it should lose its character and become simple 
decision ( c azm). It must accompany the act until the 
end (Abu Ishak al-ShlrazI, Tanbih, ed. Juynboll, 3). 
Its seat is the heart, the central organ of intellect and 
attention. Lunatics, therefore, cannot pronounce a 
valid niyya. 

So the niyya has become a legal act of its own. It is 
usually called obligatory, but in some cases, e.g. the 
washing of the dead, commendable. It can even be 
asked what the intention of the niyya is. According to 
al-Badjurl (i, 57), four conditions must be fulfilled in 
a niyya: he who pronounces it must be Muslim, compos 
mentis, well acquainted with the act he wants to per- 
form, and having the purpose to perform this act. In 
some instances aajma'-a is used, where the later 
language has nawd (e.g. al-Nasa'I, $iydm, bob 68; al- 
Tirmidhl, Sawm, bdb 33). 

The term does not occur in the Kur'an. It is found 
in canonical haditfi, but the passages show that is has 
not yet acquired in this literature the technical mean- 
ing and limitation described above. The development 
of this technical use appears to have taken place 
gradually, probably aided by Jewish influence. In 
Jewish law, the kawwdnd has a function wholly 
analogous to the niyya. Al-Shafi c I (d. 204/820) appears 
to be acquainted with the niyya in its technical sense 
(Kitdb al-Umm). In canonical hadith, i.e. the literature 
which, generally speaking, reflects the state of things 
up to the middle of the 2nd/8th century, neither the 
verb nawd nor the noun niyya appear to have any 
special technical connection with the Hbdddt. On the 
contrary, niyya has here the common meaning of 

In this sense, it is of great importance. Al-Bukharl 
opens his collection with a tradition, which in this 
place is apparently meant as a motto. It runs: "Works 
are only rendered efficacious by their intention" 
(innamd 'l-a c mdl bi 'l-niyya or bi 'l-niyydi). This tradition 
occurs frequently in the canonical collections. It con- 
stitutes a religious and moral criterion superior to that 
of the law. The value of an Hbdda, even if performed 
in complete accordance with the precepts of the law, 
depends upon the intention of the performer, and if 
this intention should be sinful, the work would be 
valueless. "For", adds the tradition just mentioned, 
"every man receives only what he has intended"; or 
"his wages shall be in accordance with his intention" 
(Malik, DjandHz. trad. 36). In answer to the question 
how long the hidjra is open, tradition says: "There is 
no hidjra after the capture of Mecca, only holy war and 
intention" (al-Bukharl, Mandkib al-Ansdr, bdb 45; 
Djihdd, bdb 1, 27; Muslim, Imdra, trad. 85, 86, etc.). 
This higher criterion, once admitted, may suspend 
the law in several cases (cf. Snouck Hurgronje, Islam 
und Phonograph, in TBGKW, xlii, 393 ff. - Verspr. 
Geschriften, ii, 419 ff.). So the intention, in this sense, 
becomes a work of its own, just as the intention in its 
juridical application. Good intention is taken into 
account by God, even if not carried out; it heightens 
the value of the work. On the other hand, refraining 
from an evil intention is reckoned as a good work (al- 


Bukharl, Rikak, bib 31). In this connection, the (post- 
canonical) tradition can be understood, according to 
which the intention of the faithful is better than his 
work (Lisan al-'Arab, xx, 223; cf. al-Ghazall, lhya>, iv, 
330 ff., where this tradition is discussed). In similar 
instances, niyya comes near to the meaning of ikhlas 

Bibliography: Badjurl, Hashiya, Cairo 1303, i, 
57; Sha'ranf, al-Mizin al-kubra, Cairo 1279, i, 135, 
136, 161, ii, 2, 20, 30, 42; Qhazall, Kitdbal-Waa^iz, 
Cairo 1317, i, 11, 12, 40, 87, 100-1, 106, 115; 
idem, Ihya'', iv, book 7, also tr. into German by H. 
Bauer, Halle a.d. Saale 1916; C. Snouck 
Hurgronje, Verspreide Geschrijten, i, 50, ii, 90; Th.VV. 
Juynboll, Handleiding, index, s.v.; A.J. Wensinck, 
Handbook of early Muh. tradition, s.v. Intention; idem, 
De intentie in recht, ethiek en mystiek der semietische volken, 
in Versl. Med. Ak. Amst., ser. 5, iv, 109 ff. 

(A.J. Wensinck) 
NIZAK, TARKHAN, ruler of the northern 
branch of the Hephtalite confederation which had in 
pre-Islamic times ruled both north and south of the 
Hindu Kush, from what is now Soviet Central Asia to 
northern India, that people known to the Arab 
historians as Hayfal (<* Habfal), pi. Hayatila [q.v.] 
(see on them, R. Ghirshman, Les Chionites-Hephtalites, 
Cairo 1958, 69 ff.). It is unclear whether the Tarkhan 
element of his name is in fact a personal name or the 
well-known Central Asian title (on which see 
Bosworth and Sir Gerard Clauson, in JRAS [1965], 

The power of the northern Hephthalites, whose 
dominions were centred on Badhghls [q. v. ] in what is 
now northern Afghanistan, was threatened by the 
advance of Arab armies under the command of 
Kutayba b. Muslim [q.v.]. Uncertain of Nlzak's 
strength, Kutayba at first made peace with him, on 
condition that Nizak provide military aid for his cam- 
paigns into Transoxania (87-90/706-9). But in 90/709 
Nizak led a rising against Kutayba of the Hephthalites 
and Turkish rulers of the upper Oxus lands, seeking 
help also from the Kabul-Shah, apparently fearing 
that the Arabs were going to secure an irreversible 
grip on these eastern fringes of Khurasan unless stop- 
ped. However, Kutayba and his brother c Abd al- 
Rahman defeated and captured Nizak (91/710), and 
executed him, contrary to an earlier promise of amdn, 
on the direct orders of the governor of the East al- 
Hadjdjadj. The collapse of the revolt marked the end 
of Hephthalite power north of the Hindu Kush, 
though the southern Hephthalite kingdom, centred on 
Zabulistan [q.v.], survived for some two centuries as 
a barrier to Muslim expansion through southern 
Afghanistan (see Bosworth, Sistan under the Arabs, 
Rome 1968, index s.v. Zunbfl). 

Bibliography: Baladhuri, Futuh, 420; Ya'kubl, 
Ta\ikh, ii, 342; Tabarl, ii, 1184 ff., 1204-7, 1217- 
22, 1226; F.N. Skrine and E.D. Ross, The heart of 
Asia, London 1899, 56-9; J. Wellhausen, Das 
arabische Reich und sein Sturz, Berlin 1902, 271, Eng. 
tr. 435; H.A.R. Gibb, The Arab conquests in Central 
Asia, London 1923, 32, 37-8, 80; Ghirshman, Les 
Chionites-Hephtalites, 98-104; M.A. Shaban, The 
'■Abbasid Revolution, Cambridge 1970, 65-7. For 
Nlzak's coins, see Ghirshman, op. cil., 25 ff. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
NIZAM (a.), the honorific title which became 
characteristic of the rulers of the Indo-Muslim state of 
Haydarabad [q.v.], derived in the first place from the 
fuller title Nizam al-Mulk borne by the Mughal noble 
Kamar al-Dln Cln Kiltf Khan [see nizam al-mulk], 
who became governor of the Deccan in 1 1 32/1 720 and 

who also bore the title of Asaf Djah. The process of the 
identification of the title Nizam with the rulership of 
Haydarabad was strengthened by the long reign there 
(1175-1217/1762-1802) of Asaf Djah's fourth son 
Nizam C A1I Khan, and henceforth the ruler was 
known in British Government of India parlance as 
"His Highness the Nizam". 

Bibliography: See H. Yule and A.C. Burnell, 
Hobson-Jobson, a glossary of Anglo-Indian colloquial 
words and phrases 2 , London 1903, 628. (Ed.) 

NIZAM BADA KHSH I. Indo-Muslim scholar 
of the 10th/16th century. He studied law and hadith 
under Mawlana 'Isam al-DIn Ibrahim and Mulla 
Sa c Id in his native province of Bad akhsh an in eastern 
Afghanistan and was looked upon as one of the most 
learned men of his age. He was also the murid (disci- 
ple) of Shaykh Husayn of Kh w arazm. His 
attainments procured him access to the court of 
Sulayman, prince of Badakhshan, who conferred 
upon him the title of Kadi Khan. Subsequently, he 
left his master and went to India. At Kanpur, he was 
introduced to the Mughal Emperor Akbar (963- 
1014/1556-1605). He received several presents, and 
was appointed Parwanci writer. Akbar soon discovered 
in him a man of great insight, and made him a "Com- 
mander of One Thousand" (yak hazari). He also 
bestowed upon him the title of GhazI Khan after he 
had distinguished himself in several expeditions. He 
died in Oudh at the age of seventy in 992/1584. He 
is the author of the following works: 1 . Hashiyat Sharh 
al-'-Aka'id, a commentary on al-Taftazanl's commen- 
tary on the '■Aka'id of al-Nasafi; 2. several treatises on 

Bibliography: <Abd al-Kadir al-Bada'Onl, Mun- 
takhab al-tawarikh, iii, 153; Shah Nawaz Khan, 
Mahathir al-umara\ ii, 857; Azad, Darbdr-i Akbarl, 
815; Abu '1-Fadl c AllamI, AHn-i Akbari, tr. 
Blochmann, 440. (M. Hidayet Hosain) 

NIZAM al-DIN AHMAD b. Muhammad Mukim 
al-HARAWI (d. 1003/1594), a Persian 
historian, author of the celebrated Tabakat-i 
Akbarshahi. He was a descendant of the famous shaykh 
of Harat, <Abd Allah Ansari. His father Khodja 
Mukim Harawl was major-domo to Babur (932- 
7/1526-30 [q.v.]) and later vizier to the governor of 
Gudjarat MIrza 'Askarl. Nizam al-DIn himself held 
several high military offices under the Great Mu gh al 
Akbar and became in 993/1585 Bakhshi of Gudjarat 
and in 1001/1593 even Bakhshi of the whole empire. 
According to Bada'unI (ii, 397), he died on 23 Safar 
1003/18 October 1594, aged 45. At his father's 
instigation he took up historical studies while quite a 
boy. His fondness for this subject increased as time 
went on and induced him to try writing himself. The 
lack of a complete history of India made him decide 
to fill the gap, and thus arose his celebrated work, 
called the Tabakat-i Akbarshahi or Tabakat-i Akbari or 
TaMkh-i Nizami which was finished in 1001/1593. 
Nizam al-DIn used 27 different sources for this work, 
all of which he mentions by name, and in this way 
produced a very thorough piece of work on which all 
his successors have relied. He deals with the history of 
India from the campaigns of Sebuktigln (366-87/977- 
97) to the 37th year of Akbar's reign (1001/1593). The 
work is divided into a mukaddima which deals with the 
Ghaznawids, and nine tabakat : 1. the Sultans of Dihll 
from Mu c izz al-DIn G_hurl to Akbar (574-1002/1 178- 
1594); at the end of this part are biographies of 
famous men at Akbar's court, amirs, '■ulama', poets, 
writers and shaykhs; 2. the rulers of the Deccan (748- 
1002/1347-1594): the BahmanI, Nizamshahl, 
'Adilshahl and Kutbshahl ones; 3. the rulers of 




Gudjarat (793-980/1390-1572); 4. the rulers of Malwa 
(809-977/1406-1569); 5. the rulers of Bengal (741- 
984/1340-1576); 6. the Shark! dynasty of Djawnpur 
(784-881/1381-1476); 7. the rulers of Kashmir (747- 
995/1346-1567); 8. the history of Sind from the Arab 
conquest (86/705) to 1001/1593; 9. the history of 
Multan (847-932/1444-1525). The whole work was to 
have as a khatima a topographical description of India, 
but it was apparently never finished by the author. 
Bibliography: Rieu, B.M. catalogue, 220a-222a. 
Biography of the author: Elliot and Dowson, History 
of India, v, 178-80. Synopsis of contents, ibid., v, 
177-476; N. Lees, inJRAS, New Ser., iii, 451. Edi- 
tions: lith. Lucknow 1870; B. De, The Tabakat-i 
Akbari (or A History of India from the early Musalman 
invasions to the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Akbar) (with, Calcutta 1913 (Bibl. Indica, New Ser. 
199). For mss., see Storey, i, 433-5. 

(E. Berthels) 
NIZAM al-DIN AWLIYA 5 , Shaykh, a widely 
venerated saint of the Cishti order [see Cishtiyya] 
who raised his silsila to a pan-Indian position, was 
bornatBada'un[?.K.](inU.P.)<:a. 640-1/1243-4. He 
was given the name Muhammad but became known 
by his title Nizam al-DIn. His grandfather had 
migrated to India from Bukhara under the stress of 
Mongol invasions. His father died when he was a boy 
of tender age. His mother, Bibl Zulaykha, a lady of 
fervent piety, brought him up and moulded his 
thought and character. In Bada'un, Shadi MukrI 
taught him the Kur'an, and Mawlana c Ala 5 al-DIn 
Usui! gave instruction on the works of al-Kudurl and 
the Hidaya. At the age of sixteen he reached Dihll in 
order to complete his education. Mawlana Kamal al- 
DIn Zahid, a pious and dedicated scholar, taught the 
Masharik al-anwar to him and he committed it to 
memory. During this early period Nizam al-DIn lived 
in Dihll with his mother and sister under conditions of 
appalling poverty. At the age of twenty he left for 
Adjodhan (later known as Pak Patan \q. v. ] , and joined 
the discipline of Shaykh Farld al-Din Gandj-i Shakar 
[q. v. ] . Three years later, the Shaykh appointed him as 
his chief successor and directed him to settle in Dihll 
and work for the expansion of the order. For about 
half a century he lived and worked in Dihll in order 
to propagate the Cishti mystical way and transformed 
the Cishti order into a movement for mass spiritual 
culture (BaranT's Hasrat-nama as cited in Siyar al- 
awliya>, 346-7). As a result, Cishti khanakahs came to 
be established all over the country. According to 
GJiawthl Shattarl, he sent 700 deputies to different 
parts of the country. Shaykh Nizam al-DIn Awliya 3 
died in Dihll in 18 Rabi< II 725/3 April 1325. 
Muhammad b. Tughluk [q.v.] built a dome over his 
grave. His mausoleum is visited by hundreds of 
thousands of people every year. The area where the 
tomb stands is known as Basti Nizam al-Din. 

The Shaykh maintained an attitude of dignified 
aloofness from the court and never meddled in 
political affairs. His khalifas were not permitted to 
accept government service or to consort with kings. 
An erudite scholar of haditji, with deep insight in 
Islamic jurisprudence, he was respected for his learn- 
ing and large numbers of the '■ulama* of Dihll owed 
spiritual allegiance to him. He gave a revolutionary 
direction to religious activity by emphasising that ser- 
vice of mankind brought greater spiritual reward then 
mere formal prayers (FawaHd al-fu>dd, 13-14). His 
kfrdnakdh was a welfare centre where free food was 
served to all visitors, and money was distributed to the 
needy and the poor on a very large scale. Enormous 
futuh (unasked-for gifts) came to him, but he 

distributed everything and kept nothing for himself. 
BaranI (Ta\tkh-i Firuz-Shahi, 343-7) has given a 
graphic account of his popularity in Dihll. 

The Shaykh 's way of thinking endeared him to the 
people. He believed in returning evil with good, 
forgiving the insolent and adopting non -violent and 
pacifist ways towards those inviting retaliation. He 
looked upon bringing happiness to the hearts of men 
as the summum bonum of his mystic activity. He 
believed in hating the sin, not the sinner. His heart 
went out in sympathy to the weak and the downtrod- 
den, and the thought of people who had slept on the 
shops and the mosques without food made morsels 
stick in his throat (Siyar al-awliya'', 128). 

The principal khalifas of the Shaykh who worked to 
propagate his teachings were: Shaykh Naslr al-Din 
Ciragh in Dihll, Shaykh Kutb al-Din Munawwar in 
the Pandjab, Mawlana Burhan al-DIn Gharlb in the 
Deccan, Mawlana Husam al-Din in Gudjarat, 
Mawlana Wadjlh al-Din Yusuf in Canderi and 
Mawlana Siradj al-Din 'Uthman in Bengal. Amir 
Khusraw, the famous Persian poet, and Diya 3 al-DIn 
BaranI, the famous historian of medieval India, and 
Mawlana Shams al-DIn Yahya and Mawlana Fakhr 
al-DIn ZarradI, eminent scholars of the period, were 
among his disciples. Firuz Shah Tughluk referred to 
him as Sultan al-mashdyikh ("King of the saints"), and 
throughout the centuries people of all walks of life 
have paid respectful homage to his memory. 

The site where Humayun's tomb now stands was 
then a village known as Ghiyathpur, and the Shaykh 
had his hospice there. Part of his khdnakdh, the Cilla- 
khana, still stands (Bayazld Bayat, Ta'rikh-i Humayun 
wa Akbar, Calcutta 1941, 234). 

Bibliography: Two collections of his utterances 

— the FawaHd al-fu'ad, compiled by Hasan Sidjzl 

(Nawal Kishore, Lucknow 1884), and Durar-i- 

Nizdmt, compiled by C A1I Djandar (ms. Salar Djang 

Museum, Haydarabad 61/5-99), and two 

biographical accounts— Kiwam al-'akdHd by Djamal 

Kiwam al-DIn (ms. Osmania University Library, 

Haydarabad) and Siyar al-awliyd' of Mir Khwurd 

(Muhibb-i Hind Press, Dihll 1885) supply all the 

basic details about his life, thought and activities. 

For other sources, BaranI, Ta\ikh-i Firuz Shahi, 

Calcutta 1860; Hamld Kalandar. Khayr al-madjalis. 

ed. K.A. Nizami, c AlIgafh 1959; Hammad 

KashanI, Ahsan al-akwdl, conversations of Shaykh 

Burhan al-DIn Gharlb, mss. Osmania University 

Library 478 and 1474; Akbar Husaynl, DJawdmi c 

al-kalim, Kanpur 1936; Rukn al-DIn KashanI, 

Nafd^is al-anfas, ms. Nadwat al^Ulama' Lucknow, 

no. 1366; Ghawthi Shattarl, Gulzar-i abrar , ms. As. 

Soc. Bengal D 262 ff. 26-8; Djamall, Siyar al-^arifin, 

Ridwl Press, Dihll 1315 A.H.; c Abd al-Hakk 

Muhaddith, Akhbdr al-akhydr, Mudjtaba'I Press, 

Dihli 1309 A.H.; for detailed bibliography see 

Nizami, The life and times of Shaykh Nizam al-Din 

Awliya, Delhi 1991. _ (K.A. Nizami) 


leading scholar and mystic of early 18th-century 

Awadh and the consolidator of the Nizami madrasa 

curriculum which came to be used through much of 

South Asia down to the 20th century. Nizam al-DIn 

was the third son of Mulla Kutb al-DIn Sihalwl whose 

murder in 1103/1692 led to the emperor Awrangzlb 

recompensing him and his three brothers by assigning 

them the property of a European indigo merchant in 

Lucknow and by granting them pensions to support 

their scholarship; they and their descendants came to 

be known as the Farangi Mahall family [q.v. in 



Nizam al-DIn, who was fourteen at the time of his 
father's death, studied under Mullas C A1I Kuli of 
Dja'is, Aman Allah of Benares and Nakshband of 
Lucknow. On finishing his education he established 
the teaching tradition in FarangT Mahall, including 
amongst his many pupils not only members of his own 
family and the forerunners of the Khayrabad school of 
ma'-kulat studies but also students from Bengal and 
much of Awadh. At the same time through his power- 
ful relationship with the illiterate Kadiri mystic, 
Sayyid c Abd al-Razzak of Bansa (d. 5 Shawwal 
1136/27 June 1724) he established his family's con- 
nections with the most dynamic saint of the region, 
who has been to the present day the prime source of 
the family's spiritual inspiration. He died on 1 
Djumada 1161/29 April 1748. His son c Abd al- c AH 
Bahr al- c Ulum (d. 12 Radjab 1225-13 August 1810) 
[q.v.] ranks with Shah c Abd al- c Aziz of Dihll [q.v.] as 
the leading Indian scholar of his day. 

Nizam al-DIn's greatest achievement was the con- 
solidation of the Dars-i Nizamiyya. Through this cur- 
riculum the tradition of ma'kuldt scholarship, which 
had been boosted by the migration of many Persian 
scholars to northern India from the time of Fadl 
Shlrazl's arrival at Akbar's court in 1583, and which 
had been brought to new heights by the scholars of 
Awadh in the late- 17 th and early- 18th centuries, was 
spread through much of India. Tradition has it that in 
developing this curriculum Nizam al-DIn was merely 
giving form to the customs of his father. These meant 
directing the student only to the most difficult and 
most comprehensive books on each subject so that he 
was both forced to think and had a chance of finishing 
his education while still a youth. They also meant in 
practice a strong bias towards the rational as opposed 
to the transmitted sciences. Champions of the cur- 
riculum assert that this need not necessarily be the 
case; the Dars was not a specific course of books but 
a special way of teaching. 

Nizam al-DIn's writings reveal him to be at the 
heart of the development of Persian traditions of 
ma'-kulat scholarship in northern India. Among his 
more prominent works were: his notes on Mulla 
Sadra's commentary on al-Abhari's [q.v.] Hiddyat al- 
hikma, his notes on Djalal al-DIn DawanT's [q. v. ] com- 
mentary on the 'Akd Hd of c Adud al-Din IdjI [q. v. ] and 
his notes on the Shams al-bdzigdh of Mahmud 
Djawnpuri and his commentaries on the Mandr al- 
anwdr of Hafiz al-DIn al-Nasafi and on the Musallam 
al-fhubut of Muhibb Allah al-Biharl [q.v.], his father's 
pupil. His writings also show him to be a supporter of 
the reformed understanding of Ibn al- c Arabr pro- 
mulgated by the 1 7th-century scholar and mystic, 
Shah Muhibb Allah Ilahabadl. This understanding is 
instinct in his record of the sayings and doings of his 
pur, Sayyid c Abd al-Razzak of Bansa, Manakib al- 
Razzdkiyya, in which, while supporting Ibn al- c Arabi's 
concept of the "unity of being" (wahdat al-wudjud), he 
nevertheless insisted on a full observance of the 
sharC-a. Nizam al-Din's combination of ma'-kulat 
scholarship and moderate wudjudi Sufism remained 
the style of the Farangi Mahall family and their 
followers through much of India down to the 20th cen- 
tury. Nizam al-DIn's shrine in Lucknow remains 
celebrated for the solace it can bring the mentally 
disturbed and scholars in difficulty. 

Bibliography: The basic modern source for 
Nizam al-DIn is Muhammad Rada Ansari, Bdni-i 
Dars-i Nizdmi, Lucknow 1973; among other sources 
comprising the family tradition are: Nizam al-Din 
Farangi Maljalli, Manakib al-Razzdkiyya, Lucknow 
1313; Wall Allah Farangi Mahalll, al-Aghsdn al- 

arba'a, Nadwa ms., Lucknow; Altaf al-Rahman 
Kidwa 5 !, Ahwal-i 'ulama'-i Farangi Mahall, 1907; 
c Abd al-Bari, Athdr al-uwal, n.d., and Malfuz-i Raz- 
zdki, Kanpur 1926; Mawlawl <Inayat Allah, 
Tadhkira-yi 'ulamd'-i Farangi Mahall, Lucknow 1928; 
other major sources are: Ghulam C AH Azad 
BilgramI, Mahathir al-kirdm, Haydarabad 1913, and 
Subhat at-marajan, Bombay 1303/1886; Fakir 
Muhammad Lahawrl, HadaHk al-hanafiyya, 
Lucknow 1324/1906; NawwabSiddlk Hasan Khan, 
Abajad al-'ulum, Bhopal 1296/1878; Fadl Imam 
Khayrabadl, Taradjim al-fudalP, Eng. trans. 
Bazmee Ansari, Karachi 1956; for broad context 
and interpretation see: F. Robinson, Perso-Islamic 
culture in India from the seventeenth to the early twentieth 
century, in R.L. Canfield, ed., Turko-Persia in 
historical perspective, Cambridge 1991; idem, Scholar- 
ship and Mysticism in early eighteenth-century Awadh, in 
A. Dallapiccola and S. Zingel-Ave Lallemant eds., 
Islam and the Indian regions 1000-1750 AD, forth- 
coming, and idem, Problems in the history of the Farangi 
Mahall family of learned and holy men, in N.J. Allen et 
al., eds., Oxford University Papers on India, i/2, Delhi 
1987. (F. Robinson) 

NIZAM al-MULK, Abu c Ali al-Hasan b. <AlI b. 
Ishak al-TusI, the celebrated minister of the 
Saldjukid sultans Alp Arslan [q.v.] and 
Malikshah [q.v.]. According to most authorities, he 
was born on Friday 21 Dhu '1-Ka c da 408/10 April 
1018, though the 6th/12th century Tahikh-i Bayhak of 
Ibn Funduk al-Bayhakl [q.v.], which alone supplies us 
with detailed information about his family, places his 
birth in 410/1019-20. His birth-place was Radkan, a 
village in the neighbourhood of Tus, of which his 
father was revenue agent on behalf of the Ghaznawld 
government. Little is recorded of his early life. The 
Wasdyd-yi Kh w adja-yi Nizdm al-Mulk, however (for a 
discussion of the credibility of which see JRAS [1931], 
The Sar-gudhasht-i Saiyidna, etc.), contains several anec- 
dotes of his childhood, and is also responsible for the 
statement that he became a pupil in Nishapur of a 
well-known Shafi c I doctor Hibat Allah al-Muwaffak. 
On the defeat of Mas c ud of GJiazna at Dandankan 
[q.v. in Suppl.] in 431/1040, when most of Khurasan 
fell into the hands of the Saldjuks, Nizam al-Mulk's 
father C A1I fled from Jus to Khusrawdjird in his 
native Bayhak, and thence made his way to Ghazna. 
Nizam al-Mulk accompanied him, and whilst in 
Ghazna appears to have obtained a post in a govern- 
ment office. Within three or four years, however, he 
left the Ghaznawid_ for the Saldjuk service, first 
attaching himself to Caghrf-Beg's [q.v.] commandant 
in Balkh (which had fallen to a Saldjukid force in 
432/1040-1)^ and later, probably about 445/1053-4, 
moving to Caghri's own headquarters at Marw. It 
seems to have been now, or soon after, that he first 
entered the service of Alp Arslan (then acting as his 
father's lieutenant in eastern Khurasan) under his 
wazir, Abu C A1I Ahmad b. Shadhan. And he so far 
won Alp Arslan's regard as on Ibn Shadhan's death 
to be appointed wazir in his stead (then, probably, 
receiving his best-known lakab). During the period 
between the death of Caghrf-Beg in 451/1059 and that 
of Tughrfl-Beg j n 455/1063, therefore, Nizam al- 
Mulk had the administration of all Khurasan in his 

The fame which he thereby acquired, and the fact 
that by now Alp Arslan was firmly attached to him, 
played a considerable part in prompting Tughril- 
Beg's wazir al-Kundurl [q.v.], first, before his 
master's death, to scheme for the throne to pass to 
Caghri's youngest son Sulayman, and then, after it, 


to do his utmost to prevent Alp Arslan' 
For he calculated that Alp Arslan, on becoming 
sultan, would retain Nizam al-Mulk rather than 
himself in office. In the event, al-Kunduri, who soon 
found himself too weak to oppose Alp Arslan, and 
thereupon sought to retrieve his position by 
acknowledging his claim, was retained in his post on 
the new sultan's first entry into Rayy. But a month 
later Alp Arslan suddenly dismissed him and handed 
over affairs to Nizam al-Mulk. Al-Kunduri was 
shortly afterwards banished to Marw al-Rudh, where 
ten months later he was beheaded. His execution was 
undoubtedly due to Nizam al-Mulk, whose fears he 
had aroused by appealing for help to Alp Arslan's 

During Alp Arslan's reign, Nizam al-Mulk accom- 
panied him on all his campaigns and journeys, which 
were almost uninterrupted. He was not present, how- 
ever, at the famous battle of Malazgird [q.v.], having 
been sent ahead with the heavy baggage to Persia. On 
the other hand, he sometimes undertook military 
operations on his own, as in the case of the reduction 
of Istakhr citadel in 459/1067. Whose, his or Alp 
Arslan's, was the directing mind in matters of policy, 
it is hard to determine. Its main points, however, 
appear to have been the following: first, the employ- 
ment of the large numbers of Tiirkmens that had 
immigrated into Persia as a result of the Saldjuk suc- 
cesses, in raids outside the Dar al-Islam and into 
Fafimid territory: hence the apparently strange cir- 
cumstance that Alp Arslan's first enterprise after his 
accession, despite the precarious condition of the 
empire he had inherited, was a campaign in Georgia 
and Armenia [see al-kurdj]; secondly, a demonstra- 
tion that the sultan's force was both irresistible and 
mobile, coupled with clemency and generally with 
it for all rebels who submitted; thirdly, 
:e of local rulers, Sh^I as well as Sunni, 
in their positions as vassals of the sultan, together with 
the employment of members of the Saldjuk family as 
provincial governors; fourthly, the obviation of a 
dispute over the succession by the appointment and 
public acknowledgement of Malikshah [q.v.], though 
he was not the sultan's eldest son, as his heir; and 
lastly the establishment of good relations with the 
c Abbasid caliph al-Ka'im [q.v.], as the sultan's 
nominal overlord. 

Nizam al-Mulk did not really come into his own 
until after the assassination of Alp Arslan in 465/1072. 
But thenceforward, for the next twenty years, he was 
the real ruler of the Saldjuk empire. He succeeded 
from the outset in completely dominating the then 
eighteen-year-old Malikshah, being assisted in this 
purpose by the defeat of Kawurd's [q.v.] attempt to 
secure the throne for himself (for which service Nizam 
al-Mulk received the title atdbeg [q.v.], thus bestowed 
for the first time). Indeed, in one aspect the history of 
the reign resolves itself into repeated attempts by the 
young sultan to assert himself, always in vain. 

Malikshah undertook fewer campaigns and tours 
than his father, the prestige of the Saldjuk arms now 
being such that few would risk rebellion, and warlike 
operations being left largely to the sultan's 
lieutenants, as they had not been under Alp Arslan. 
Nevertheless, from Isfahan, which had by now 
become the sultan's normal place of residence, 
Malikshah visited the greater part of his empire 
accompanied by Nizam al-Mulk. 

Policy continued on the same lines under Malik- 
shah as under his father. Nizam al-Mulk, however, 
was notably less tender than Alp Arslan had been to 
insubordinate members of the Saldjuk family, 

insisting at the outset on the execution of Kawurd, 
and, later, on the blinding and imprisonment of 
Malikshah's brother Tekesh. 

He also reversed during the earlier part of 
Malikshah's reign the conciliatory policy originally 
pursued under Alp Arslan towards the caliph. He had 
been rewarded for the friendly attitude he first 
evinced— which formed a welcome contrast to that of 
al-Kunduri— by the receipt from al-Ka°im of two new 
lakabs, viz. Kiwam at-Din and Radi Amir al-Mu^minin 
(the latter believed to be the earliest of this type in the 
case of a wazir); and up to 460/1068, his relations with 
the caliph's wazir Fakhr al-Dawla Ibn Djahir [see 
djahir, banu] became more and more cordial; so 
much so, indeed, that al-Ka'im in that year dismissed 
Ibn Djahir, chiefly on account of his too-subservient 
attitude to the Saldjuk court. To secure this attitude 
in the caliph's wazir was, however, the very aim of 
Nizam al-Mulk; and on Fakhr al-Dawla's dismissal he 
sought to impose a nominee of his own in a certain al- 
Rudhrawari, and subsequently in the latter's son Abu 
Shudja c . Al-Ka'im, to avoid this, reappointed Fakhr 
al-Dawla, though on condition that his relations with 
the Saldjukids should in future be more correct. In 
fact, they soon grew strained, till Nizam al-Mulk 
came to attribute any unwelcome event in Baghdad to 
Fakhr al-Dawla's influence. For many years, matters 
were prevented from coming to a head by the tact of 
Fakhr al-Dawla's son, c AmId al-Dawla [see djahir, 
banu], who won Nizam al-Mulk's favour so far as to 
marry in turn two of his daughters, Nafsa and 
Zubayda; but in 471/1078 Nizam al-Mulk demanded 
Fakhr al-Dawla's dismissal, which the caliph al- 
Muktadi [q.v.] (who had succeeded in 467/1075), was 
obliged to grant. Nizam al-Mulk now hoped to obtain 
the office for his own son Mu'ayyid al-Mulk; but to 
this al-Muktadl would not agree. Henceforward, 
accordingly, his dislike was deflected to al-Muktadi 
himself, and to Abu Shudja c , his former protege, 
whom the caliph now created deputy wazir in an effort 
to conciliate him, leaving the vizierate itself unoc- 
cupied till the next year, when he appointed c Amid al- 
Dawla. But in 474/1082 Nizam al-Mulk in turn 
demanded the dismissal and banishment of Abu 
Shudja c , and at the same time composed his quarrel 
with Fakhr al-Dawla, when the latter was sent on a 
mission to Isfahan, concerting with him a plan by 
which Fakhr al-Dawla should watch his interests at 
Baghdad. As a result, al-Muktadi, who gave in with 
a bad grace, lost all confidence in the Banu Djahir, 
and two years later replaced c AmId al-Dawla with the 
offensive Abu Shudja c ; whereupon Fakhr al-Dawla 
and c Amid al-Dawla fled to the Saldjukid head- 
quarters. Nizam al-Mulk, on this, vowed vengeance 
on al-Muktadi, and at first seems even to have con- 
templated the abolition of the caliphate (see Sib( Ibn 
al-Djawzi, Mir'at at-zamdn), as a prelude to which he 
commissioned Fakhr al-Dawla to conquer Diyar Bakr 
from the Marwanids [q.v.], the sole remaining SunnI 
tributaries of any consequence. The Marwanids were 
duly ousted by 478/1085, whilst al-Muktadi, on his 
side, showed himself consistently hostile to Nizam al- 
Mulk. But the latter's feelings towards the caliph were 
in the following year completely transformed as a con- 
sequence of his first visit to Baghdad (for the wedding 
of al-Muktadi to Malikshah's daughter). The caliph 
received him very graciously; and thenceforward he 
became a champion of the caliphate in face of the 
enmity which developed between al-Muktadi and 
Malikshah as a result of the marriage. 

The celebrity of Nizam al-Mulk is really due to the 
fact that he was in all but name a monarch, and ruled 


his empire with striking success. It was not his aim to 
innovate. On the contrary, it was to model the new 
state as closely as possible on that of the Ghaznawids, 
in which he had been born and brought up. His posi- 
tion was similar to that of his forerunners, the Bar- 
makids [see baramika], and the notable Buyid wazir, 
the Sahib Isma c n b. c Abbad [q.v.\. All three may be 
said to have represented the old Persian civilisation 
(progressively Islamicised, of course) in the face of a 
rise to empire of barbarian conquerors, Arab, 
DaylamI and now Turkmen. The monarchs were in 
each case equalled, if not surpassed, by their wazirs, 
and most of all in the case of Nizam al-Mulk. For with 
him the invaders aspired to an emperor's position 
whilst still quite unacclimatised to their new habitat, 
so that his superiority in culture was the more marked 
(cf. Barthold, Turkestan, 308). But in revenge, the 
Saldjuks' lack of acclimatisation stood in the way of a 
complete realisation by Nizam al-Mulk of the now 
traditional Perso-Muslim state. Hence the lamenta- 
tions that recur in the Siyasat-nama. 

The Siyasat-nama or Siyar al-muluk, written by Nizam 
al-Mulk in 484/1091 with the addition of eleven 
chapters in the following year, is in a sense a survey 
of what he had failed to accomplish. It scarcely 
touches upon the organisation of the diwan, for 
instance, partly, it is true, because the book was 
intended as a monarch's primer, but also because 
Nizam al-Mulk, having absolute control of the diwan, 
as opposed to the dargah (cf. again Barthold, 227), had 
succeeded with the assistance of his two principal 
coadjutors, the mustawfi Sharaf al-Mulk and the 
munshi Kamal al-Dawla, in exactly modelling this, his 
special department, on traditional lines. Of the dargah, 
on the other hand, Nizam al-Mulk complains that the 
sultans failed to maintain a sufficient majesty. They 
were neither magnificent (though he approves their 
daily free provision of food), formal, nor awe- 
inspiring enough. At their court, accordingly, the 
formerly important offices of hafjjib, wakil and amir-i 
haras had declined in prestige. Nor, as had his model 
potentates, would they maintain a sound intelligence 
or barid [q.v.] service, whereby corruption might be 
revealed and rebellion forestalled. The Siyasat-nama 
consists in all of fifty chapters of advice illustrated by 
historical anecdotes. The last eleven chapters, added 
shortly before the wazir's assassination, deal with 
dangers that threatened the empire at the time of 
writing, in particular from the Isma c nis (on the work, 
see Bibl., 3). 

Nizam al-Mulk's situation resembled that of the 
Buyid administrators in another respect. He was 
faced, as they had been, with the problem of suppor- 
ting a largely tribal army, and solved it likewise by a 
partial abandonment of the traditional tax-farming 
system of revenue collection for that of the iktd c or fief 
[q.v.], whereby military commanders supported 
themselves and their troops on the yield of lands allot- 
ted to them. Since in the decay of the c Abbasid power 
provincial amirs had tended to assume the originally 
distinct and profitable office of < amil, the way for this 
development had been paved. The Buyids had later 
attempted to restore the older system; but the 
establishment of numerous local minor dynasties had 
favoured the new. Nizam al-Mulk now systematised it 
in the larger field open to him. In the Siyasat-nama he 
insists, however, on the necessity of limiting the rights 
of fief-holders to the collection of fixed dues, and of 
setting a short time-limit to their tenures (see on this 
subject, Becker, Steuerpacht und Lehnswesen, in 1st., v 
[1914], 81-92, and iijta c ). 

In the absence of the intelligence service he desired, 

Nizam al-Mulk contrived to intimidate potential 
rebels and suppress local tyranny by a judicious 
display of the might and mobility of the Saldjukid 
arms. He also insisted on the periodical appearance at 
court of local dynasts such as the Mazyadids [q.v. ] and 
c Ukaylids [q.v.], and proclaimed the sultan's 
accessibility to appeals for the redress of wrongs by 
means of notices circulated throughout the empire 
and exposed in public places (see al-Mafarrukhl, 
Mahasin-i Isfahan). He also gained the powerful sup- 
port of the '■u.lama', especially those of the Shafi c I 
school, of which he was an ardent champion, by the 
institution of innumerable pious foundations, in par- 
ticular of madrasas, the most celebrated being the 
Nizamiyya of Baghdad (opened 459/1067), the 
earliest west of Khurasan (see below), by the general 
abolition of mukus (taxes unsanctioned by the sharfa) 
in 479/1086-7; and by undertaking extensive public 
works, particularly in connection with the hadidi. 
After the Hidjaz had returned from Fatimid to 
c Abbasid allegiance in 468/1076, he exerted himself to 
make the c Irak road safe from brigandage for 
pilgrims, as well as to diminish their expenses; and 
from the next year until that of his death, the journey 
was accomplished without mishap. It was not until the 
second half of Malikshah's reign that the full effects of 
Nizam al-Mulk's achievement made themselves felt. 
By 476/1083-4, however, such were the unwonted 
security of the roads and the low cost of living that 
reference is made to them in the annals. 

Nizam al-Mulk was naturally much sought after as 
a patron. The poet Mu'izzi [q.v.] accuses him of 
having "no great opinion of poetry because he had no 
skill in it", and of paying "no attention to anyone but 
religious leaders and mystics" (see Nizam! c ArudI 
Samarkand!, Cahdr makdla, tr. Browne, 46). But 
though his charity, which was profuse (see for exam- 
ple, al-Subkl, Tabakat al-ShafiHyya, iii, 41), went in 
large measure to men of religion — among them the 
most notable objects of his patronage being Abu Ishak 
al-Shlrazi [q.v.] and Abu Hamid al-Ghazal! [q.v. ] — , 
he was clearly a lavish patron also of poets, as is 
attested by the Dumyat al-kasr of al-Bakharz! [q.v.], the 
greater part of which is devoted to his panegyrists. In 
another sphere, the inauguration of the Djalali calen- 
dar [q.v.] in 466/1074 was probably due to his 
encouragement, since at this time his ascendancy over 
Malikshah was at its most complete. 

Nizam al-Mulk's name is especially associated with 
the founding of a series of colleges whose ethos and 
teachings were closely connected with the Ash'ari 
kalam and the Shafi'I legal school , of which the vizier 
himself was an adherent. His reasons for the setting- 
up of a chain of madrasas in the main cities of 'Irak, 
al-DjazIra and Persia (and especially in his home pro- 
vince of Khurasan) [see madrasa. I. 4] are not 
entirely clear. But in the context of the age, with its 
reaction against Mu'tazilism in philosophy and 
dialectics and against political Shfrsm as manifested 
in the preceding Buyid and north Syrian amlrates and 
the still-powerful Fatimid caliphate in Egypt and 
southern Syria, it seems possible that he aimed at 
training a body of reliable, Sunnl-oriented secretaries 
and officials who would run the Great Saldjuk empire 
when Nizam al-Mulk had moulded it along the right 
lines and thus further the progress of the Sunn! 
political and intellectual revival. In his patronage of 
such institutions as these colleges, he was by no means 
an innovator, for the SunnI rWr&ra-building move- 
ment had been under way since the later part of the 
4th/10th century, and other leading figures in the 
Saldjuk state were equally active in founding and 


endowing madrasas and associated institutions like 
hostels for students, such as the Hanafi official of Alp 
Arslan's, the mustawfi Abu Sa c d, who built a madrasa 
attached to the shrine of Abu Hanifa in Baghdad, and 
Nizam al-Mulk's enemy at the court of Malikshah, 
the mustawfi Tadj al-Mulk Abu '1-Ghana>im (d. 
485/1093), founder of the Tadjiyya college there (see 
G. Makdisi, Muslim institutions of learning in eleventh- 
century Baghdad, in BSOAS, xxiv [1961], 1-56; C.E. 
Bosworth, in Camb. hist, of Iran, v, 70-4). Nizam al- 
Mulk may have intended to give an impetus to the 
spread of his own Ash c an and Shafi'I views (although, 
in fact, the Baghdad Nizamiyya, where the great Abu 
Hamid al-Qhazall had taught, declined in the 
6th/12th century, when the Hanball institutions of 
learning there showed greater vitality), but it seems 
reasonable to impute to him a wider vision of a SunnI 
political, cultural and intellectual revival in the central 
and eastern lands of Islam, in which his own colleges 
would play a contributory role. 

For the first seven years of Malikshah's reign, 
Nizam al-Mulk's authority went altogether 
unchallenged. In 472/1079-80, however, two Turkish 
officers of the court instigated Malikshah into killing a 
protege of the wazlr; and in 473/1080-1, again, the 
sultan insisted on disbanding a contingent of Arme- 
nian mercenaries against Nizam al-Mulk's advice. 
Malikshah now began to hope, indeed, for the over- 
throw of his mentor, showing extraordinary favour to 
officials such as Ibn Bahmanyar and, later, Sayyid al- 
Ru'asa 5 Ibn Kamal al-Mulk, who were bold enough 
to criticise him. Ibn Bahmanyar went so far as to 
attempt the wazir's assassination (also in 473), 
whereas Sayyid al-Ru'asa' contented himself with 
words. But in each case, Nizam al-Mulk was warned; 
and the culprits were blinded. In the case of Ibn 
Bahmanyar, in whose guilt a court jester named 
Dja c farak was also implicated, Malikshah retaliated 
by contriving the murder of Nizam al-Mulk's eldest 
son Djamal al-Mulk, who had taken Pja c farak's 
execution into his own hands (475/1082). After the fall 
of Sayyid al-Ru 5 asa 5 in 476/1083-4, however, the 
sultan left plotting till, some years later, a new 
favourite, Tadj al-Mulk, caught his fancy. 

All went well with Nizam al-Mulk till 483/1090-1. 
In that year, however, occurred the first serious 
challenge to the Saldjukid power, when Basra was 
sacked by a force of Karmatians [see karmati]; and 
almost simultaneously their co-sectary the Assassin 
leader al-Hasan b. al-Sabbah [q.v.] obtained posses- 
sion of the fortress of Alamut [q.v.], from which 
repeated attacks failed to dislodge him. Meanwhile, 
moreover, an awkward problem had arisen over the 
succession to the sultanate, on account of the death in 
turn of Malikshah's two eldest sons, Dawud (474/ 
1082) and Ahmad (481/1088). These sons had both 
been children of the Karakhanid princess Terken 
Khatun (see Rashid al-DTn, Djami c al-tawarikh), who 
had borne the sultan a third son, Mahmud, in 
480/1037. She was eager for Mahmud to be formally 
declared heir. Nizam al-Mulk, however, was in 
favour of Barkiyaruk [q.v.], Malikshah's eldest sur- 
viving son by a Saldjuk princess. Hence Terken 
Khatun became his bitter enemy, and joined with 
Tadj al-Mulk, who was in her service, in instigating 
Malikshah against the wazir. 

Tadj al-Mulk accused Nizam al-Mulk to the sultan, 
who by this time was in any case incensed with the 
wazir's championship of al-Muktadi, of extravagant 
expenditure on the army and of nepotism; and 
Malikshah's wrath was finally inflamed beyond bear- 
ing by an unguarded reply made by Nizam al-Mulk 

to a formal accusation of these practices. But even so, 
he did not dare to dismiss him. (The earliest historian 
to assert that he was dismissed is Rashid al-DTn Fadl 
Allah, who appears to have misunderstood the pur- 
port of some verses by al-Nahhas quoted in the Rahat 
al-sudur of Rawandi, and really composed after the 

Nizam al-Mulk was assassinated on 10 Ramadan 
485/14 October 1092 near Sihna, between Kanguwar 
and Bisutun, as the court was on its way from Isfahan 
to Baghdad. His murderer, who was disguised as a 
Sufi, was immediately killed, but is generally thought 
to have been an emissary of al-Hasan b. al-Sabbah. 
Contemporaries, however, seem to have put the 
murder down to Malikshah, who died suddenly less 
than a month later, and to Tadj al-Mulk, whom 
Nizam al-Mulk's retainers duly tracked down and 
killed within a year. Rashid al-DIn combines the two 
theories, stating that the wazir's enemies at court con- 
certed it with the Assassins. The truth is therefore 
uncertain; but as Rashid al-DIn is one of the earliest 
historians to whom the Assassin records were 
available, his account would seem to deserve 

The extraordinary influence of Nizam al-Mulk is 
attested by the part played in affairs after his death by 
his relatives, despite the fact that only two appeared to 
have displayed much ability. For the next sixty years, 
except for a gap between 517/1123 and 528/1134, 
members of his family held office under princes of the 
Saldjukid house. 

Of Nizam al-Mulk's family, Diya' al-Mulk is 
remarkable as being his son by a Georgian princess, 
either the daughter or the niece of Bagrat I, formerly 
married, or at least betrothed, to Alp Arslan, after the 
campaign of 456/1064. 

See further, on the sons and descendants of Nizam 
al-Mulk in the 6th/12th century, nizamiyya. 

Bibliography: 1. For the Arabic and Persian 
primary sources, see the Bibl. of the EI 1 article of 
H. Bowen. 

2. Studies: E.G. Browne, LHP, ii, 167, 174-91, 
212-17; M.T. Houtsma, The death of Nizam al-Mulk 
and its consequences, in Jnal. of Indian History, iii 
(1924), 147-60; Barthold, Turkestan down to the 
Mongol invasion, London 1928, 25-6, 306-10; H. 
Bowen, The sar-gudhasht-i sayyidna, the "Tale of the 
Three Schoolfellows" and the wasaya of the Nizam al- 
Mulk, in JRAS (1931), 771-82; Asad Talas, La 
Madrasa Nizamiyya et son hisloire, Paris 1939; 
K.E. Schabinger-Schowingen, Zur Geschichte des 
Saldschuqen-Reichskanzlers Nisdmu 'l-mulk, in His- 
lorische Jahrbiicher, lxii-lxix (1942-9), 250-83; idem, 
Nisdmulmulk und das Abbasidische Chalifat, in ibid. , 
lxxi (1952), 91-136; K. Rippe, Uber dm Sturz 
Nizdm-ul-Mulks, in Fuad Koprulu armagam, Istanbul 
1953, 423-35; t. Kafesoglu, Sultan Meliksah devrinde 
Buyuk Selcuklu imparatorlugu, Istanbul 1953; c Abbas 
Ikbal, Wizarat dar '■ahd-i salalin-i buzurg-i Sal&uki, 
Tehran 1338/1959, 46-63; C.E. Bosworth, in Camb. 
hist, of Iran, v, Cambridge 1968, 66 ff., 99-102; 
A.K.S. Lambton, in ibid, 211-17; Carla L. 
Klausner, The Seljuk vezirate, a study of civil administra- 
tion 1055-1194, Cambridge, Mass. 1973, index; G. 
Makdisi, Les rapports entre Calife et Sultan a I'epoque 
Saljuqide, in IJMES, vi (1975), 228-36; idem, The 
rise of colleges. Institutions of learning in Islam and the 
West, Edinburgh 1981, 23-4, 41, 54, 301-4, 306-7, 
311; S.A.A. Rizvi, Nizam al-Mulk Tusi, his contribu- 
tion to statecraft, political theory and the art of government, 
Lahore 1978; Lambton, The dilemma of government in 
Islamic Persia: the Siyasat-nama of Nizam al-Mulk, in 


Iran,JBIPS, xxii (1984), 55-66; eadem, Concepts of 
authority in Persia: eleventh to nineteenth centuries AD. , 
in ibid. , xxvi ( 1 988), 98 ; eadem , Continuity and change 
in medieval Persia, London 1988, 40-4 and index; 
Kafesoglu, IA, art. Nizam-ul-Mulk. 

3. On the Siyasat-ndma: see the studies given in 
2. above, especially the works of Lambton. 
Numerous translations exist: (French) C. Schefer, 
Paris 1893, accompanying critical edition of text, 
Paris 1891; (Russian) B.N. Zakhoder, Moscow- 
Leningrad 1949; (Turkish) M. §erif gavdaroglu, 
Istanbul 1954 (see on this, Kafesoglu, Buyiik Selcuklu 
veziri Nizdmii l-Mulk 'tin eseri Siydsetname ve turkce ter- 
ciimesi, in Tiirkiyat Mecmuasi, xii, 231-56); (German) 
Schabinger-Schowingen, Freiburg-Munich 1960; 
(English) H. Darke, London 1960, second, revised 
version London 1978, accompanying critical edi- 
tion of text, Tehran 1340/1962. 

(H. Bowen-[C.E. Bosworth]) 
NIZAM al-MULK CIn KiliC Khan, Kamar al- 
din, founder of the Indian Muslim state of 
Haydarabad in the early 12th/18th century and a 
dominant figure in the military affairs of the decaying 
Mughal empire from his appointment as governor of 
the Deccan by the Emperor Farrukh-siyar [q.v.] till 
his death in 1161/1748. In the early years of his gover- 
norship he was the deadly foe of his rivals for influence 
in the empire, the Barha Sayyids [q.v. in Suppl.], and 
after his victory over them at Shakarkhelda in 
1137/1724, virtually independent ruler in 
Haydarabad with the additional title of Asaf Djah. 
For further details, see haydarabad, b. haydarabad 


Bibliography. T.W. Haig (ed.), The Cambridge 
hist, of India, iv, The Mughul period, 331, 336, 341-3, 
346-50, 377 ff., and see the bibls. to the articles 
mentioned above. (Ed.) 

NIZAM-SHAHl (i.e. Ilci-yi Nizdm-shdhi "ambas- 
sador of the Nizam-Shah" of the Dakhan), a Persian 
historian whose real name was Kh w urshah b. 
Kubad al-Husayni. Born in Persian c Irak, he entered 
the service of Sultan Burhan [see nizam-shahis]. The 
latter being converted to the Shl'a, sent Kh w urshah 
as ambassador to Tahmasp Shah Safawi. Reaching 
Rayy in Radjab 952/September 1545, he accom- 
panied the Shah to Georgia and Shirwan during the 
campaign of 953/1546 against Alkas Mfrza. He stayed 
in Persia till 971/1563, perhaps with occasional 
breaks. He died at Golkonda on 25 Dhu '1-Ka<da 
972/24 June 1565. 

Kh w urshah's chief work is the Ta^rikh-i Ilci-yi 
Nizam-shah, a general history from the time of Adam 
based on such sources as al-Tabari, al-BaydawT, 
Ta'rikh-i guzida, Zafar-nama, Habib al-siyar, the 
"Memoirs of Shah-Tahmasp". etc. The book is 
divided into a preface and seven makdla, each of which 
is again divided into several guftdr. The most impor- 
tant part of this work is that which refers to the reign 
of Tahmasp Shah (in the Brit. Mus. ms. Or. 153, 
written in 972/1565, the events come down to 
969/1561-2) and to the local dynasties of the Caspian 
provinces: Mazandaran, Gflan, Shirwan. The two 
manuscripts in the British Museum show differences 
in their contents: Add. 23,513 (written in 1095/1684) 
has passages added by some continuator and taken 
from the Dj ihan-ara of Ahmad b. Muhammad Ghaf- 
fari. The later additions of Or. 153 come down as late 
as 1200/1786. 

According to Firishta, "Shah Kh w urshah", during 
the reign of Ibrahim Kutb-Shah of the Deccan (957- 
988/1550-80) also wrote a history of the Kutb-Shahls 
[q.v.]. It is difficult to reconcile this with a continuous 
stay in Persia from 952 to 97 1 . 

Bibliography: Rieu, Catalogue, 107-11; Schefer, 
in his Chreslomalhie persane, Paris 1885, ii, 56-103 
(notes 65-133), printed the sections relating to the 
Caspian provinces. See also Storey, i, 113-14, 1239; 
Storey-Bregel, i. 406-8. (V. Minorsky) 

NIZAM SHAHiS, one of five Deccani 
dynasties, with its capital at Ahmadnagar [q.v.] 
which emerged in South India as the BahmanI [q.v.] 
kingdom disintegrated. The chroniclers of the Nizam 
Shahis emphasise territorial and power disputes and 
religious (and possibly racial) tensions. The history of 
the dynasty splits into four periods. Under the first 
four rulers, 895-994/1490-1586, there was the 
vigorous establishment of the kingdom. Under the 
five rulers from 994-1008/1586-1600, there was inten- 
sive internal dissension. The period from 1008- 
35/1600-26, although with Nizam Shahl rulers on the 
3ne, was dominated by a Habashl (of black African 
origins) prime minister who restored much of the 
kingdom's economic and political viability. By 
1041/1632 the state was destroyed, with formal 
dispersal of the territories of the Ahmadnagar 
kingdom occurring in 1046/1636. 

The founder of the dynasty, later known as Ahmad 
Nizam Shah Bahrl, was the son of a high official in the 
Bahmani court. He held various posts under the 
Bahmanls and in 895/1490 he declared independence 
from them and consolidated the areas in northern and 
western Maharashtra under his rule as Ahmad Nizam 
Shah. Under the first four rulers (Ahmad, 895- 
915/1490-1510; Burhan I, 915-60/1510-53; Husayn I, 
961-72/1554-65; and Murtada I, 972-97/1565-88) the 
kingdom prospered despite military skirmishing with 
neighbouring Islamic successor states, with the Hindu 
state of Vidjayanagar, and with the first Mughal 
incursions in the 990s/1580s. Burhan I converted to 
Shr c ism, the choice reflecting to some extent the 
underlying tension between those considered natives 
(deshis) and those considered outsiders (pardeshis). 
Potentially, there were racial implications as well. 
Many of the foreigners were generally fairer than the 
Deccanis, but there were many Habashl officers in the 
court and the exact causes for the continuous realign- 
ment of loyalties are rarely clear. 

Militarily, the high point of this period came in 
Djumada " 972/January 1565. The six major Dec- 
cani states aligned and realigned themselves attemp- 
ting to extend their boundaries. In the early 1560s, 
the armies of Vidjayanagar became particularly 
rapacious and the Islamic kingdoms reached an 
accommodation. The major armies gathered in 
Talikota to organise an assault on the Vidjayanagar 
forces and also, apparently, for a certain amount of 
pre-battle carousing. In Djumada II 972/January 
1565 the forces marched out of Talikota and moved 
against the enemy, decisively defeating them and put- 
ting an end to that kingdom. 

The rapid turnover in Nizam Shahl rulers from 
996/1588 to 1008/1600 reflects the dissension and tur- 
moil in the higher ranks of the Ahmadnagar court. 
Husayn II, a parricide, ruled during 997-8/1588-9. 
He was succeeded by a paternal cousin, Isma'Il, who 
ruled in 998-9/1589-91. Isma'll was succeeded by his 
own father, Burhan II, 999-1003/1591-5, who had 
been a member of the Mughal court for some years 
but, having manoeuvred his way on to the Nizam 
Shahl throne, had to deal with serious Mughal forays 
o the Deccan. Burhan II was succeeded by his son 
and Isma'fl's brother, Ibrahim, for four months in 
1003/1595. Rival leaders put forth different can- 
didates for the throne, and Bahadur, son of Ibrahim 
and strongly backed by Cand Bibt, was finally 
declared ruler only to be captured and imprisoned by 



the Mughals after the fall of Ahmadnagar in §afar 
1009/August 1600. 

Cand Bibl was a daughter of Husayn I and, as part 
of unending Deccani negotiations and realignments, 
had been married to C A1I c Adil Shah of BIdjapur 
[q.v.]. After his assassination in 1580, she was regent 
to their young son, Ibrahim c Adil Shah II. Later in 
the 1580s and in the early 1590s, Cand Bib! went back 
and forth between BIdjapur and Ahmadnagar as a sort 
of "emissary for safe keeping", as various leaders 
struck different bargains. After Burhan II was shot in 
1003/1595, she was among those leaders who sup- 
ported his grandson Bahadur to succeed him. By 
December of that year, the Mughals (led by Akbar's 
son Murad [q.v.], who died in Shawwal 1007/May 
1599 in the Deccan), who had been skirmishing, 
raiding, and attempting to seize territory in the Dec- 
can, began the siege of Ahmadnagar. In Djumada II 
1004/February 1596 they successfully mined one of 
the walls of the fort, and Cand Bibl valiantly led the 
rebuilding of that wall. She emerged with enough 
stature to unite some of the feuding Ahmadnagar 
leaders and became a local heroine. In March, the 
occupants of the fort sued for peace and the Mughals 

In 1007/1599 the Mughals took Burhanpur in 
Berar [q.vv.] which then served as their base of opera- 
tions for attacking the Deccani states. The following 
year, accompanied by Akbar, the Mughals again set 
siege to Ahmadnagar, this time led by his son Daniyal 
(died in Dhu '1-Ka c da 1012/April 1604 in the Dec- 
can). In the town and fort of Ahmadnagar, the inter- 
nal feuding had reached such a pitch that one faction 
accused Cand Bibl of planning to betray the Nizam 
SJiahf forces and incited a mob which killed her. In 
Safar 1009/August 1600 the Mughals took 

The third period of Nizam Shahl history was 
dominated by Malik c Anbar [q.v.], an Abyssinian 
slave who was a soldier in the Nizam Shahl armies, 
then went to BIdjapur as a soldier, and finally 
returned to Ahmadnagar in the 1 590s. He fought for 
the Nizam Shahfs against the Mughals and oversaw 
the installation of the first two of the last three rulers, 
Murtada II (1008-19/1600-10) and Burhan III (1019- 
41/1610-32), followed by Husayn III (1041-2/1632-3). 

The bickering and skirmishing continued in the 
Deccan, and Malik c Anbar, an able general and 
politician, carved out larger territories for the Nizam 
Shahls. He formed new alliances, embracing Hindu 
leaders who were later to become leaders of the 
Maratha [q.v.] forces. With these leaders, more effec- 
tive ways of waging war were developed, and swift 
moving, mounted soldiers of the Nizam S_hahl armies 
would quickly attack the Mughal forces and then 
retreat into the hills and prepare for the next swift 
attack and retreat. Dissension among the sons of 
Djahanglr pervaded the Mughal coun, which was 
also embroiled in power and territorial disputes, and 
helped to frustrate repeated Mughal attempts to 
occupy the Deccan. In the meantime, Malik c Anbar 
embarked on a major land reform, similar to that 
done by Radja fodar Mall [q.v.] for Akbar. In 
1025/1616 the Mughals put Ahmadnagar under siege 
yet again. In the end, Djahangir's son Khurram was 
victorious and received the title Shah-Djahan. Malik 
'Anbar's administration and generalship continued, 
as did Mughal inability to secure the Deccan. 

In Sha c ban 1035/May 1626 Malik c Anbar died at 
the age of 80. In Muharram 1036/October 1626 in 
Burhanpur, Parwls, heir apparent to the Mughal 
throne and in charge of the Mughal forces trying to 

invade the Deccan, died. A year later, Djahangfr 
died, and was succeeded by his only living son, Shah- 
Djahan. In 1039/1630 Shah-Djahan returned to 
Burhanpur in a re-attempt at conquering the Deccan. 
Malik 'Anbar had been followed in office by his son 
Fath Khan, who was a schemer rather than a leader 
and administrator, although he was finally 
imprisoned by the inept Burhan III. The cohesiveness 
of the state began to disintegrate, hastened by a terri- 
ble famine in the Deccan and Gudjarat during 1039- 
41/1630-2. Shah-Djahan worked on bribing and 
suborning the leaders of the Nizam Shahl factions. In 
1038/1629, partially as a result of Mughal tactics, 
Burhan III attempted to murder a group of Maratha 
leaders, driving several factions from his court to that 
of the Mughals. 

At Burhanpur in Dhu '1-Ka c da 1040/June 1631, 
however, Shah-Djahan's wife died in childbirth 
(having already borne eight sons and six daughters for 
him). Shah-Djahan ultimately returned to the north 
to plan and oversee the building of the Taj Mahall 
[q.v.] among other matters. Burhan III brought Fa(h 
Khan back into power but, in 1041/1632, the latter 
poisoned the sultan and tried to put Husayn Nizam 
Shah III on the throne. It was, in effect, the end of the 
dynasty. The following year, Fath Khan had schemed 
himself into such a hopeless position that he took 
Husayn III to Agra to petition Shah-Djahan for help. 
In Rabf I 1043/September 1633 Fath Khan's lands 
were restored to him and Husayn III was imprisoned. 

In the Deccan, warring factions continued to fight. 
ShahdjI Bhonsle attempted to install a puppet, Mur- 
tada Nizam Shah III, but was not successful. In 
1045/1636_Shah-Djahan reached an agreement with 
Ibrahim c Adil Shah which divided the Nizam SJiahf 
territories between the two of them and specified that 
ShahdjI Bhonsle was not to enter the court of either of 
them until he surrendered the territories which he still 
held. Shahdji's son, Shivadjf, was the creator of the 
Maratha confederacy, the armies of which, in 1761, 
attacked Shah-Djahan's descendants on the plain of 
Panfpat [q.v.], north of Dihli. 

During the years that Ahmadnagar (founded in 
899/1494) was the Nizam Shahl capital, it was (like 
Golkonda [q. v. ] under the Kufb Shahls and BIdjapur 
under the c Adil Shahls) a centre not only for soldiers 
but also for travellers, traders, artisans, craftsmen, 
painters, writers, scholars, holy men, architects, 
builders and those dissatisfied with their lot in other 
places in South Asia, Persia and the Middle East and 
beyond. European travellers and traders visited the 
Nizam Shahl court. On the west coast, there was 
fierce competition among the Nizam Shahfs, the c Adil 
Shahls, the rulers of Vidjayanagar, and other groups 
(including pirates) for the trade increasingly 
dominated by the Portuguese. For the Deccani rulers, 
the most important item in this trade was horses and 
the rulers of Vidjayanagar (until 972/1565) reputedly 
paid the full price assessed at embarkation for every 
horse delivered to them whether alive or dead. 

The Nizam Shahls and many of their high officials 
commissioned palaces, mosques, gardens, tanks, 
canals, bath houses, hospices, hospitals, tombs, etc., 
the remains of many of which are still extant. The 
early rulers and nobility commissioned many canals 
as well as palaces/pleasure houses/gardens. Indeed, a 
tomb near the impressive tomb of Ahmad I is reputed 
to mark the burial site of the elephant which captured 
the ruler of Vidjayanagar in 1565. The most famous 
Nizam Shahf architect and builder was §alabat Khan 
II, an official under Murtada I and Husayn II. He not 
only extended the system of canals and tanks, but 


rebuilt the Farah Bakhsh Gardens. His own tomb is 
outside the city on a hill; unlike other tombs of the 
period, it is an extremely tall building with stairs to 
the top. It is said he wished to make it even higher so 
that he could see as far as Dawlatabad [q.u.]. 

There was an interest in literature and painting as 
well; an illustrated Ta'rif-i Husayn $hdht (ca. 972-6/ca. 
1565-9) survives at the Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka 
Mandala in Poona and a portrait of Burhan II is in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Some other 
miniatures have been attributed to the Nizam Shahl 
court and a few artists in the Mughal court came from 
the Nizam Shahl one. Unfortunately, the wars with 
the Mughals and subsequently with the Marathas led 
to the despoiling and destruction of the libraries that 
contained the volumes of literature and science, many 
no doubt illustrated, that must have been in Nizam 
Shahl mosques, schools, and homes. 

Bibliography: Firishta; Sayyid C A1I Tabataba'i, 
Burhdn-i ma^athir (tr. and abridged T. Wolseley 
Haig, in The Indian Antiquary [1920-3]);. Radhey 
Shyam, The kingdom o/Ahmadnagar, Varanasi 1966, 
with bibl. _ (Marie H. Martin) 

NIZAM-I DIEDID (t.), literally, "new system, 
re-organisation", the new military units created by 
the Ottoman sultan Sellm III (1203-22/1789-1807 

The Treaty of Sistova between the Ottoman 
Empire and Austria (August 1791) and that of Jassy 
between the Empire and Russia (J anuarv 1792 ) 
meant that Turkey had to recognise the loss of the 
Crimea and the fact of Russian control over much of 
the Black Sea, although Austria withdrew from its 
conquests in Serbia, Bosnia and the Danube Prin- 
cipalities. Moreover, the European powers were 
shortly to become increasingly pre-occupied with the 
threats posed to them by the extension of the French 
Revolutionary spirit and its ideas within Europe. 
Turkey thus had a breathing-space within which 
Sellm III could reorganise affairs in his remaining 
dominions and prepare against further threats to 
Turkey's territorial integrity. Above all, the sultan 
and his reform-minded advisers realised now that 
military and naval reforms were vital, although it was 
still hoped to reform and improve the existing military 
forces of the feudal cavalry, the Sipahls, and the 
Janissaries, and the root-and-branch reform measures 
necessary to save the empire could not yet be con- 
templated and were probably not yet envisaged in the 
minds of contemporaries. 

Sellm's efforts to improve the fighting efficiency 
and to reduce the bloated numbers of the traditional 
types of forces were not very successful, but reform 
was more successful in the newer, more technical 
arms: the artillery, the mortar-throwers, the mine- 
layers and sappers, the gun transport corps, etc., 
where younger officers trained by Baron de Tott two 
or three decades before and, after 1794, by further 
French advisers, made these corps the most efficient 
part of the Ottoman army. 

However, the sultan decided that the only way for- 
ward in regard to the fighting forces themselves, sc. 
the cavalry and infantry, was to inaugurate a new 
infantry force parallel to, but entirely separate from, 
the older forces, so as not to alarm the latter unduly. 
Hence in 1793 Sellm created his "New Order", the 
Nizam-i 'Djedid, to be a corps of troops properly trained 
in the European manner, with European-type 
discipline and with modern weapons. To finance these 
and other reforms L he initiated a special fund, the 
"New Revenue", Irad-i Djedid, from taxes on brandy, 
tobaccoo, coffee, silk, wool, sheep and the yields from 

the fiefs of tfmar-holders in Anatolia who had 
neglected their duties in war and were therefore 
deprived of their fiefs. 

The Nizam-i Djedid was originally a volunteer body, 
and was originally formed from various nationalities, 
including Austrian and Russian deserters who had 
fled to Turkish territory during the 1787-92 war with 
Austria and Russia, hence at first it enjoyed little 
prestige amongst the Turks themselves. But by 1800 
it comprised three regiments, with barracks well- 
removed from proximity to the older troops, at 
Lewend Ciftlik to the north of Istanbul and at 
Uskudar, and by July 1801 its strength had reached 
27 officers and 9,263 men. After 1802, a system of 
conscription was introduced into Anatolia, although 
the greater power of local magnates in Rumelia 
prevented its extension to the Balkans. Hence by the 
end of 1806 the Nizam-i Djedid comprised 1,590 
officers and 22,685 men, roughly half of them sta- 
tioned in Anatolia and half in Istanbul. A large con- 
tingent of the new troops helped in the successful 
defence of Acre in Palestine led by Ahmed Djezzar 
Pasha [see al-djazzar pasha, ahmad, in Suppl.] 
against the attacks of Bonaparte during March-May 
1799. The sultan employed foreign officers and 
advisers, mainly from England, Sweden and Spain, to 
train the soldiers and to oversee the management of 
arsenals, ship-building yards and fortifications. 
Extensive barracks and ammunition depots were 
built. The "New Revenue" earmarked for military 
purposes and supplying the necessary funds, 
amounted by 1797-8 to 60,000 purses, i.e. 48 million 
francs (see Djewdet, Ta>rikh, viii, 139-40). 

Internal difficulties, and, especially, the increasing 
number of opponents of reform, prevented the sultan 
from completely realising his plans. In 1805-6 Selim 
established a new Nizam-i Djedid corps at Edirne, with 
men to be recruited for it from the Balkans by con- 
scription. But the power of local magnates there and 
the influence of the conservatives in the capital, 
including the Janissaries and the Varna', forced him 
to retreat from his design. A revolt against the sultan 
of Janissary auxiliaries (yamaks) broke out in May 
1807; Selim yielded to pressure from his enemies and 
disbanded the Nizam-i Dje did before his enforced 
abdication, and Nizam-i Dje did officers and men were 
hunted down and slaughtered in the general reign of 
terror. Under the new sultan, Mustafa IV [q.v.], an 
attempt was made in 1808 by the ser '■asker Mustafa 
Pasha Bayrakdar [q.v.] secretly to reconstitute the 
Nizam-i Dje did under the new designation of Nizamli 
'■Asker, with the Austrian renegade Suleyman Agha, 
who had previously commanded the corps stationed at 
Lewend Ciftlik, charged with this task, but without 
success (see Zinkeisen, GOR, vii, 552-3). 

It was only after the murder of the imprisoned 
former sultan Selim and the overthrow of the feeble 
puppet Mustafa in favour of Mahmud II [q. v. ] , son of 
Selim's predecessor c Abd al-Hamld I [q. v.], that more 
successful and more lasting measures in the direction 
of modernising the Ottoman Empire, its administra- 
tion and armed forces, could eventually be embarked 
upon. For by then it had become clear that the 
previous Nizam-i Djedid had represented merely a 
tinkering with an old system which was incapable of 
being transformed into a modern one; a totally new 
start was necessary. 

Bibliography: Djewdet, Ta>rikJi, is the main 

primary source. See also: Zinkeisen, GOR, vii, 323, 

342, 458 ff., 464, 471, 552;Jorga, GOR, v, 117 ff.; 

C. von Sax, Geschichu des Machlverfalls Tiirkei, 

Vienna 1908, 133-4; Enver Ziya Karal, Nizdm-t 


cedide dair layiklar, in Tarih Vesikalan, nos. 6, 8, 1 1-12 
(1942-3); idem, Selim Win halt-i humayunlart, nizam- 
t cedid, Ankara 1946; S.J. Shaw, The origins of 
Ottoman military reform, in Jnal. of Modem History, 
xxxvii (1965), 219-306; idem, The established Ottoman 
army corps under Sultan Selim III, in Isl., xl (1965), 
142-84; idem, Between old and new: the Ottoman empire 
under Sultan Selim III, 1789-1807, Cambridge, Mass. 
1971; idem, History of the Ottoman Empire and modem 
Turkey, i, Cambridge 1976, 262-6, 268, 270, 272, 
274; 1A, art. Nizam-i Cedid (M. Tayyib Gokbilgin). 

^F. Babincer-[C.E. Bosworth]) 
c Umar b. c Ali, took the takhallus of Nizam! and the 
honorific Nadjm al-DIn (or Nizam al-DIn); he was 
usually called c ArudI (the "prosodist") to distinguish 
him from other Nizamls (particularly the great 
NizamI of Gandja [q.v.], cf. the anecdote quoted by 
E.G. Browne, Lit. hist. ofPers., ii, 339). According to 
Browne, NizamI is one of the most interesting and 
remarkable Persian writers of prose: "one of those 
who throw most light on the intimate life of Persian 
and Central Asian Courts in the twelfth century of our 
era". He was a court poet who served faithfully the 
GJiurid [q.v.] princes for 45 years (he would thus be 
born at the end of the 5th/l 1th century), according to 
what he tells us at the beginning of the Cahar makala, 
the only work by him that has come down to us. His 
verse has been lost, at least except for fragments; 
Dawlatshah (ed. Browne, 60-1) only gives one couplet 
which does not seem to be by him. c AwfT (Lubab, ed. 
Browne, 207-8) quotes five poetical fragments (mostly 
occasional pieces) and adds that NizamI composed 
several mathnawi, the titles of which have not survived. 
The only biographical information we possess about 
NizamI comes from himself. In 504/1 1 10-1 1 he was in 
Samarkand collecting traditions relating to the poet 
RudakI (Cahar makala, text, 33); in 506/1112-13 he 
met c Umar Khayyam in Balkh (ibid , 63) and three 
years later he was living in Harat (ibid. , 44); in the 
following year (510/1116-17), finding himself in 
poverty in NIshapur (ibid. , 9), he went to Tus in the 
hope of gaining the favour of the Saldjuk Sultan San- 
djar [q.v.] who was encamped outside the town (40-1); 
in Tus he visited the tomb of Firdawsl (51) and col- 
lected information about him which he put in his book 
(47-8). Encouraged by Mu'izzl [q.v.], Sandjar's poet- 
laureate, he succeeded in attracting the prince's atten- 
tion; his fame and fortune probably date from this 
time; in 512/1118-19 we find him again at NIshapur 
(69); and again in 514/1 120-1 when he heard from the 
lips of Mu'izzl an anecdote about Mahmud and Fir- 
dawsl (50-51); in 530/1136 he returned to this town 
and visited the tomb of Khayyam (63); and in 
547/1152 he fled into hiding after the defeat of the 
Ghurld army by Sandjar near Harat (87). His "Four 
Discourses" (Cahar makala) were probably written in 
551/1156. For the remainder of his life we have no 
data. There is reason to believe he practised medicine 
and astrology (cf. text, 65, 87). As to his poetry, in 
spite of the satisfaction he expresses with it, it is not 
of the first rank, to judge by the fragments that sur- 

s very n 

which Browne says is almost unequalled in Persian. 
The Cahar makala consists of four discourses, each of 
which deals with one of the classes of men whom the 
author regards as indispensable in the service of kings: 
secretaries, poets, astrologers and physicians. Each 
discourse begins with general considerations, which 
are followed by anecdotes, often from the writer's per- 
sonal experience. The number of these anecdotes, 
which form the most interesting and valuable part of 
the book, is about forty; some give valuable informa- 

tion on the literary and scientific state of Persia. We 
may say that the "Four Discourses" (especially the 
second) and c AwfI's Lubab are the two old works 
which deal systematically with Persian poetry. 
Dawlatshah made a great deal of use of it (cf. Browne, 
Sources of Dawlatshah, in JRAS [1899], 37-69). We may 
specially point out that it is to NizamI that we owe the 
earliest notice of Firdawsl and the only contemporary 
reference to Khayyam. On the other hand, we must 
point out the historical inaccuracy of certain passages, 
even in the case of events in which NizamI claims to 
have taken part. His book is mentioned or quoted by 
c Awfi (Lubab), Ibn Isfandiyar (Hist, of Tabaristan), 
Mustawfi Kazwlnl ( Tarikh-i guzida), DjamI (Silsilat al- 
dhahab), Ghaffari (Nigaristim). HadjdjI Khalifa speaks 
of a Madjmu 1 al-nawadir which he thinks is different 
from the Cahar makala; but Mirza Muhammad Kaz- 
wlnl has shown that this is another title of the same 

Bibliography: NizamI c Arudi's work has been 
edited in full by Mirza Muhammad Kazwlnl and 
tr. by E.G. Browne, Pers. text, 1910, English tr., 
1921, French tr. Isabelle de Gastines, Les qualre 
discours, Paris 1968; lith. ed. Tehran 1305/1887, 
and an edn. by Muhammad Mu c In, Tehran 1333 
iA./1954. Cf. GIPh, ii, index; Browne, LHP, ii, 
index; J. Rypka el alii, History of Iranian literature, 
Dordrecht 1968, 221-2; HadjdjI Khalifa, ed. Flugel, 
no. 4348; Riza Kull-Khan, Magma' al-fusaha\ i, 
635; Muhammad Nizam al-Din, Inlrod. to the 
JawdmP ul-hikdyat, London 1929, index. 

(H. Masse) 
NIZAMI GANDJAWI, Djamal al-Din Abu 
Muhammad Ilyas b. Yusuf b. ZakI Mu'ayyad, one of 
the greatest Persian poets and thinkers. He was 
born and spent most, if not all, of his life in Gandja 
(called Elisavetpol and Kirovabad during the Imperial 
Russian and Soviet periods), NizamI being his pen- 
name. In recognition of his vast knowledge and 
brilliant mind, the honorific title of hakim, "learned 
doctor," was bestowed upon him by scholars. From 
his poetry, it is evident that he was learned not only 
in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, jurisprudence, 
history, and philosophy but also in music and the arts. 
His work is a synthesis of Persian literary achieve- 

The traditional biographers, and some modern 
researchers, differ by six years about the exact date of 
his birth (535-40/1 141-6), and as much as thirty-seven 
years about the date of his death (575-613/1 180-1217). 
Now there is no doubt, however, that he died in the 
7th/13th century, and the earlier dates must be 
discarded as erroneous. UNESCO recognised the 
1141 date as his birth date and declared 1991 the year 
of NizamI. To honour the 850th anniversary of his 
birth, there were international NizamI congresses held 
in 1991 in Washington, Los Angeles, London and 

Usually, there is more precise biographical infor- 
mation about the Persian court poets, but NizamI was 
not a court poet; he feared loss of integrity in this role 
and craved primarily for the freedom of artistic crea- 
tion. His five masterpieces are known collectively as 
the Khamso, Quintet, or the Pandj. gang, the Five 
Treasures. The five epic poems represent a total of 
close to 30,000 couplets and they constitute a 
breakthrough in Persian literature. NizamI was a 
master in the genre of the romantic epic. In erotic sen- 
suous verse, he explains what makes human beings 
behave as they do, revealing their follies and their 
glories, all their struggles, unbridled passions and 

Though he did not write for the stage, he could be 


called a master dramatist. The plot in 
stories is carefully constructed to enhance the stories' 
psychological complexities. The characters work and 
grow under the stress of action to discover things 
about themselves and others and to make swift deci- 
sions. He delineated simple people with as much in- 
sight and compassion as the princely heroes in his 
mathnawis. Artisans were particularly dear to him. 
Painters, sculptors, architects and musicians are 
carefully portrayed and often play crucial roles. The 
romance of Khusraw and Shirin is a very important 
source of information about the role of artists in pre- 
Mongol Persia as well as the education and training 
methods of the artists. The Khamsa serves as a prin- 
cipal source of our knowledge of 6th/12th century Per- 
sian musical composition and instruments. There 
have been few poets other than Nizam! in the long and 
rich history of Persian literature who have had such an 
influence and impact on poets, calligraphers, 
miniature painters, musicians and, in recent times, on 
people of the theatre, film and ballet, and his influ- 
ence has extended beyond Persia proper to such adja- 
cent regions as Central Asia, the Caucasus, Asia 
Minor and Muslim India. 

Considered as one of the greatest poems of the Near 
and Middle East, the number of imitations of, and se- 
quels to, Nizami's Khamsa or the separate poems of it 
is without precedent. The most popular have always 
been the three romantic epics: Khusraw wa Shirin, 
Layla wa Mag^nun, and Haft paykar. Besides the Kham- 
sa, an incomplete Diwan of Nizami's poetry exists. 

Makhzan al-asrar, The Treasury of Mysteries, is the 
first malhnawi poem in Nizami's Khamsa. It is a 
didactico-philosophical poem with mystical overtones. 
It is the shortest maihnawi of the quintet and is com- 
prised of some 2,260 couplets written in the sari' mafwi 
mawkuf metre. Most probably it was completed in the 
year 582/1184-5, though the majority of scholars have 
tended to consider the year 570 or 572 as the date of 
its completion, and was dedicated to a patron of art 
and culture, Fakhr al-DIn Bahramshah of the Tur- 
coman Mengiidjek [q.v.] dynasty of Erzindjan; ac- 
cording to some historians and biographers, Nizami 
was richly rewarded by Bahramshah for the poem. 

To Nizami, truth was the very essence of poetry. 
On this principle, he attacks the court poets who sell 
their integrity and talents for earthly returns. The 
Islamic law served as the loom on which the philoso- 
phy of his Makhzan al-asrar was woven in intricate pat- 
terns. He was looking for universal justice, and is try- 
ing to protect the poor and humble people and to put 
under scrutiny the excesses of the powerful of the 
world. The guidelines for people in the poem are ac- 
companied by warnings of the transitory nature of 
life. Makhzan al-asrar is an emulation of Sanaa's 
Hadikat al-hakika, and Nizami acknowledges this but 
stresses his own superiority. The similarities between 
Sanaa's poem and Nizami's are in the ethico- 
philosophical genre, but Nizami used a different 
metre and organised the whole poem in a different 

The language of Nizami is unconventional. He in- 
troduces new and lucid metaphors and images as well 
as coining new words. Almost each couplet in The 
Treasury of Mysteries is enigmatic, making the poem one 
of the most difficult to understand in all of Persian 
literature. The difficult language, with its extremely 
austere ethical demands, made this poem not very 
popular among the general public. Nevertheless, it 
became a model for countless numbers of imitators 
throughout the East; in Persia alone, there were about 
forty first-class imitations of Makhzan al-asrar. 

Although some scholars consider Makhzan al-asrar a 
mystical poem, the mysticism with its symbolism is 
apparent only in the introduction, which is infused 
with the essence of Sufi thought. In the main body of 
the book one can detect scattered mystical overtones, 
but it is up to the reader to arrive at the final 

Structurally, the poem begins with a large body of 
introductory matter which contains about 825 
couplets or a little more than one-third of the whole 
book. Here, Nizami established a pattern for the in- 
troductory chapters not only of his later epics but also 
for almost all epics written thereafter. They include 
verses in worship of God, followed by a chapter of 
praise and veneration of the Prophet and a description 
of Muhammad's ascension to the heavens. The twen- 
ty makalat or discourses that follow cover some 1 ,400 

Khusraw wa Shirin is the second poem of Nizami's 
Khamsa and the first of his romantic epics. Its pro- 
tagonists are Khusraw II (590-628), the last great 
Sasanid monarch, known as Parwlz [q.v.], the Vic- 
recorded by many subsequent Islamic writers, and 
Firdawsl devoted more than 4,000 couplets to 
Khusraw lis reign in his Shah-nama. It was Nizami, 
however, who gave the story a real structural unity. 
Infusing it with his own profound experience of love 
and expanding it with his thoughts on religion, philos- 
ophy, and government, he created a romance of great 
dramatic intensity. The story has a constant forward 
drive with exposition, challenge, mystery, crisis, 
climax, resolution, and finally, catastrophe. The ac- 
lplexity as the protagonists face 

iting c( 


for a long time, despite their untiring ef- 
forts and the help of their confidant. Then, after they 
do meet, they are forced apart by the political mar- 
riage of Khusraw and Maryam. When Khusraw pro- 
mises Shirin to Farhad as a prize for completing a feat 
of daring and endurance, the story nearly comes to a 
premature conclusion. 

After the death of Maryam and the murder-suicide 
of Farhad, it seems that all obstacles are removed and 
the lovers will be united. But Nizami introduces an af- 
fair between Khusraw and a girl from Isfahan that 
further complicates and delays his union with Shirin. 
Finally, on the lovers' wedding night, Nizami creates 
a bizarre episode, a humorous entr'acte that gives the 
reader or listener a chance to take a deep breath 
before the epic's tragic climax. Khusraw gets drunk 
and Shirin replaces her presence in the nuptial 
chamber with that of a knotty, wizened old crone. 
Through these dramatic devices, Nizami makes a 
powerful commentary on human behaviour. 

Nizami's deep understanding of women is strongly 
expressed in Khusraw wa Shirin. Shirin is the central 
character and there is no question that she is a poetic 
tribute to Nizami's wife Afak. She is well educated, 
independent, fearless, resourceful, imaginative, erotic 
and humorous. Her loyalty knows no bounds. That 
she is a queen rather than a commoner, as is the case 
in Firdawsl's Shah-nama, gives the story a stately quali- 
ty. Her association with Armenia is, perhaps, a reflec- 
tion of its geographical proximity to Gandja, and she 
is, like the Byzantine Maryam, a Christian; Nizami 
was a pious Muslim, but he tolerated and respected 
other religions. 

Shirin's sense of justice is so great that she 
forswears Khusraw's love until he should regain his 
throne, thus fulfilling his responsibility to his people. 
Even after they are married, she c< 


strong influence on Khusraw, educating him as 
always through example and love; as a result, the 
country flourished, justice was observed and 
strengthened, and science, religion and philosophy 

The tension between the strength of S_hlrln and the 
weakness of Khusraw is enhanced dramatically by 
Nizaml's tight control of plot and setting, and in his 
development of the towering figure of Farhad. 
Episodes of meeting and of missing, of searching and 
of waiting, are richly entwined with scenes of the bar- 
ren desert and of luxurious court life; asceticism vies 
with sensuality. 

Nizaml's use of allegories, parables and words with 
double meaning raised the Persian language to a new 
height. The poem is written in the light, flowing, 
graceful hazadj musaddas maksur metre, deliberately im- 
itating that used by Gurgani in Vis u Ramin. There are 
about 6,500 couplets. 

Its exact date of completion is uncertain. The year 
576/1180 is given in some manuscripts, but many 
scholars believe, on internal evidence, that it was 
finished after 581/1184. Nor are the three dedicatory 
invocations— to the Saldjuk Sultan Toghril m a nd to 
his regents, the Atabegs Muhammad Djahan 
Pahlawan and Kizil Arslan — useful in establishing a 
secure date. Although the first Atabeg was the ruler of 
Gandja, where Nizami lived, and the second one gave 
Nizami title to a village, these dedications may well 
have been added by Nizami for political reasons or 
may be later interpolations. The earliest extant text, 
dating from 763/1362, was written some 150 years 
after Nizaml's death and is suspected to contain many 
apocryphal verses. 

The great Persian authority on Nizami, Wahid 
Dastgirdi, calls Khusraw wa Shirin "the best historical 
fable of love and chastity, the treasure of eloquence, 
counsel and wisdom," whilst Bertels believed that 
Khusraw wa Shirin is "one of the great masterpieces of 
world literature. For the first time in the poetry of the 
Near East, the personality of a human being has been 
shown with all its richness, with all its contradictions 
and ups and downs." 

Layla wa Madjnun is perhaps the most popular 
romance in the Islamic world. Versions appear in pro- 
se, song, and poetry in almost every language within 
the vast area stretching from the Chinese border to the 
Atlantic ocean. But because of the psychological depth 
and universality invested in the story, Nizaml's epic 
still serves as the model for all others. It was commis- 
sioned by Abu '1-Muzaffar Akjisitan Shirwan-Shah. a 
Caucasian ruler proud of his Persian origin and a 
benefactor of Persian culture. 

For centuries, the legend of Layla and Madjnun 
had been a popular theme of the short love poems and 
songs of the Bedouins, and during the early days of 
the Muslim era, it had been absorbed and embellished 
by the Persians. Madjnun is traditionally identified 
with a poet known as Kays b. al-Mulawwah, who 
probably lived in the second half of the lst/7th century 
in the Nadjd desert of Arabia. Although it is probable 
that there was more than one love-crazed poet called 
Madjnun, possessed by a djinn or a genie, the Rus- 
sian scholar Kraikovski in 1946 erased most doubts as 
to his historical identity. 

Neither the arid desert setting nor the spare plot of 
Madjnun and Layla's romance inspired Nizaml's 
poetic vision, but he could not refuse the royal com- 
mission. And so he expanded and deepened the plot 
and the personalities, creating from the fragmentary 
versions a full-scale dramatic poem. 

For his romance, Nizami chose an easy metre, the 

short hazagx musaddas. Layla wa Madjnun is comprised 
of at least 4,000 distichs. Nizami wrote that it took 
him "less than four months" to compose it, which im- 
plies a trance-like state of writing. The exact number 
of distichs has long been a source of controversy, 
especially since those that are considered apocryphal 
alter the plot significantly. Wahid Dastgirdi's critical 
edition, based on thirty manuscripts copied between 
the 8th/14th and llth/17th centuries, totals 4,650 
distichs, of which Dastgirdi considers 600 to be 
spurious, added by later writers and scribes, who also 
transposed an additional 400 distichs to cover their 
handiwork. Gelpke consider Dastgirdi's the only 
authoritative text and based his prose adaptation of 
the poem upon it. Browne, Masse and Arberry, how- 
ever, translated many passages as authentic which 
Dastgirdi and Gelpke consider interpolations. E.E. 
Bertels, the Russian editor of the Persian text pub- 
lished in 1965, found 4,659 distichs valid, using the 
ten most famous manuscripts. It is, of course, possible 
that Nizami himself rewrote the poem, making his 
own changes and additions. Many of the great poets 
who imitated Nizami included so-called spurious 
passages and plots, and their poetic sensibility should 
be respected. 

Some manuscripts of Layla wa Magjnun bear the 
date 584/1188 as the year of completion, others, 
588/1192; still others, as was common in copied 
manuscripts, give both dates. The earlier year is sup- 
ported in the text by an abgjad dating. Whatever its 
length and its exact date of completion, there is no 
doubt that Nizami used all the material, written and 
oral, available to him, adding, altering and transfor- 

med, in order to 

his psychological por- 
nplexity of the human 
ense and abiding love, 
eties, frustrations, and 

ming as his poetic geniu 
this tragic masterpiece. 

Nizaml's originality lies i 
trayal of the richness and compl 
soul when confronted with intens 
Madjnun's compulsions, anxietit 
passions are not slighted as he 
toward an ideal love that involve 
ultimately, transcendence. Many critics have inter- 
preted this as mystical love; but if there is a mystic 
strain in Nizami, it is subtle and covert; it never 
destroys or blurs the sharp psychological and the 
physical identity of its protagonist. It is virtually 
impossible to draw a clear line in Nizaml's poetry be- 
tween the mystical and the erotic, the sacred and the 
profane. The psychological profile of Layla is less 
deeply drawn, but her enduring love is no less ex- 
traordinary an achievement. 

Layla and Madjnun are scourged by separation, 
social ostracism, self-denial, and spiritual and 
physical suffering from the very beginning until their 
tragic ends. It is quite possible that, to soften the 
tragedy, Nizami wrote a second version, weaving into 
it the love story of Zayd for his cousin Zaynab, which 
parallels that of Madjnun and Layla; the couples 
become messengers for one another and to some 
degree are able to mitigate the relentless curse of 

The expanded version of Layla wa Magjnun closes 
with a vivid dream sequence of Paradise. Madjnun 
and Layla, sitting on magnificent carpets, are radiant- 
ly embracing, wine cups in hand. Many scholars 
believe this to be an interpolation, but if its date can 
be drawn from the moving dedication to the Shirwan- 
Shah's crown prince, in which Nizami counsels his 
own son Muhammad, addressing him as a boy of 
fourteen, the entire Zayd-Zaynab addition may well 
be Nizaml's own work. 

Imitators of Nizaml's Layla wa Madjnun can be 


listed by the hundreds, and the romance is popular 
even today. According to Bertels and A. A. Hikmat, 
counting only the most famous versions, there are 
twenty in Persian, forty in Turkish, three in Azeri 
Turkish, one in Uzbek, one in Kurdish and two in 
Tajik [see further, madjnOn-layla]. 

Haft paykar is the fourth and the most intricate poem 
of Nizaml's Khamsa. It is a bedazzling exploration of 
the pleasures of love. At the same time, it can be inter- 
preted as mystical. The seven stories told by the seven 
princesses can be interpreted as the seven stations of 
human life, or the seven aspects of human destiny, or 
the seven stages of the mystic way. In fact, the title of 
the story can be translated as the "Seven Portraits", 
the "Seven Effigies", as well as the "Seven 
Princesses". The poem is also known as the Haft gun- 
bad or "Seven Domes". 

In Islamic cosmology, the earth was placed in the 
centre of the seven planets: the moon, Mercury, 
Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These 
were considered agents of God, and in their motion 
influenced beings and events on earth. Nizaml firmly 
believed as well that the unity of the world could be 
perceived through arithmetical, geometrical, and 
musical relations. Numbers were the key to the one 
interconnected universe; for through numbers 
multiplicity becomes unity and discordance, har- 
mony. Hence Nizaml used seven, the number that 
has always been pre-eminent among the people of the 
East, as the major motif of Haft paykar, for in Islam, 
seven is considered as the first perfect number. 

In Haft paykar, the phantasmagoric movement of its 
hero, Bahram Gur, as he visits each princess, covers 
a symbolic path between black, or the hidden majesty 
of the Divine, and white, or purity and unity. The 
princesses and their pavilions are manifestations of 
specific planets, specific climes, colours, and days. 
The pavilions are domed, representing the structure 
of the heavens. Nizaml illustrates the harmony of the 
universe, the affinity of the sacred and the profane, 
and the concordance of ancient and Islamic Iran. 

The number seven casts its magic spell throughout 
the Haft paykar. Completed in the year 593/1 197, the 
Haft paykar was commissioned by and dedicated to the 
prince of Maragha, c Ala° al-DIn Kurp Arslan, who al- 
lowed the already famous Nizaml a free hand in 
choosing his theme. The poet chose an historical 
figure for his hero, the Sasanid emperor and hero 
Bahram Gur, the "wild ass" or "the hunter of wild 

The main body of Haft paykar brings Nizaml's full 
creative power into play. It is made up of the stories 
told by the seven princesses to enchant Bahram Gur. 
Each has been installed in her own paradisial pavilion 
in a specially built seven-domed palace near to his 
own. Bahram passes from one to another on suc- 
ceeding days of the week, loving each and enthralled 
by each. There are stories within stories within 
stories, playing sensually on all the perceptions. The 
colours and ornamentation of the pavilions, the 
associated colours of the garments, the sparkling 
jewels of Bahram and the princesses appeal to the 
visual instincts. The continuous background music 
pleases the ear. The musky perfumes and the pungent 
incense excite the olfactory nerves. Taste is aroused 
by mellow wines and exotic foods, and touch by the 
finest silks and brocades. All these serve as 
aphrodisiacs, stimulating sensual desire. But Nizaml, 
always true to moderation, tempers the erotic with 
restraint and hedonistic pleasure with responsibility to 
affairs of state. In spite of his delight in fabricating a 
myriad of tantalising scenes and metaphors, the 

essence of this mathnawi is that the physical passions 
are most preciously enjoyed when set in a context of 
virtue, simplicity, and kindness. 

Haft paykar is written in graceful khafif hexameters, 
and is estimated to contain from 4,637 to 5,136 

The Persian legend of Alexander the Great seems to 
overshadow all of the other fantastic Alexander 
stories, not only in the tales of the successful ac- 
complishment of many a "mission impossible" but 
especially concerning the nature of his career. In Per- 
sia he rose from the stature of an evil foreign con- 
queror of the country to that of a national hero king, 
and even more, to that of a great prophet of God, 
preparing the nations for Islam [see al-iskandar]. 

Out of the many stories of Alexander in Persian 
literature, that of Nizaml is unsurpassed. It is a highly 
imaginative, dramatic and refined epic. In it, heroic 
behaviour is muted by psychological characterisation, 
piety and mysticism are balanced by common sense 
and situational humour, philosophy is counteracted 
by romanticism, and nationalism is softened by 
cosmopolitan ideals of Islam. The virtuosity of 
NizamT's storytelling and his unbridled fantasy are 
matched by the brilliance of his language which is full 
of dazzling imagery and extended metaphor. 

Nizaml's account of the adventures of Alexander 
the Great is probably the first work in Persian 
literature that is divided into two parts. The first half 
is called Sharaf-ndma (The Book of Honour) and the 
second part Ikbal-ndma (The Book of Wisdom). The 
two parts are also known, especially in India, as the 
Iskandar-nama-yi barri (The Adventures of Alexander 
by Land), and the Iskandar-nama-yi bahri(The Adven- 
tures of Alexander by Sea). The two parts, although 
constituting a full span of Alexander's life from birth 
to death under the general title of Iskandar-ndma, are 
treated by the poet as two separate entities, each 
covering a cycle in Alexander's life. In the first cycle, 
Alexander appears as the conqueror of the world, in 
the second, as the philosopher and prophet. 

The introduction to the first part of the Iskandar- 
ndma is a little more than twice as long as the introduc- 
tion to the second part. The introductions reflect the 
length of both parts; the Sharaf-ndma contains about 
6,800 couplets and the Ikbal-ndma about 3,680 
couplets, making Iskandar-ndma, with about 10,500 
couplets, the longest poem of Nizaml's Khamsa. 

Confusion has been created among scholars by va- 
rious dates given for the completion of the poem, as 
well as by the various people to whom it or its parts 
are dedicated in the available manuscripts. Some of 
them have considered the Iskandar-ndma to be the 
fourth of Nizaml's epic quintet, written in 587/1191 
and dedicated to c Izz al-Din Mas'ud I, the Zangid 
ruler of Mawsil (572-89/1176-93). But because this 
date is contrary to many references and events in the 
text which would indicate a later date, some scholars 
believe that the work was dedicated to c Izz al-Din 
Mas'ud II, of the same dynasty (607-15/1211-18). If 
this is the case, then the span of Nizaml's life would 
have to be stretched and the date of his death moved 
from the traditional one of 599/1203 or 605/1209 to 
some time after c Izz al-DIn Mas c ud II came to the 
throne in 607/1211. 

In the preface to the Sharqf-ndma, Nizaml declares 
that he has already completed four mathnawis. This 
would indicate that the Iskandar-ndma was the fifth and 
last of his epic poems and was, therefore, composed 
after 593/1 197, the date of completion of Haft paykar. 

Those whose names have come down to us in 
ith the manuscripts are: Nusrat al-Din 


Djahan Pahlawan from the rulers of Adharbaydjan, 
c Izz al-DIn Mas'ud from the rulers of Mawsil, and 
Nusrat al-DIn Abu Bakr PIshkIn (BIshkIn) from the 
rulers in the Caucasus. 

No doubt Pseudo-Callisthenes' account of the life of 
Alexander was known to Nizam! [see iskandar 
nam a], but it was, however, Firdawsi who was his 
source of inspiration in composing the Iskandar-nama. 
He, therefore, chose for it the heroic epic mutakdrib 
metre which Firdawsi had employed in his Shdh-ndma. 
The Sharaf-ndma, the first portion of the Iskandar-nama, 
is devoted to Alexander's conquest of the world. His 
conquest, however, was already shaped by the idea of 
his future prophetic mission. It was, therefore, not for 
an empire that Alexander set out to conquer but for 
the purpose of liberating oppressed peoples; assisting 
the Egyptians in their struggle against the Zangis; res- 
cuing Queen Nushaba from the hands of the Rus- 
sians; freeing the Persian people from the enslave- 
ment of Darius and the Zoroastrian priests; securing 
safe passage through bandit territories; guiding 
travellers on land and sea; and assisting in building 

The second part of the Iskandar-nama, the Ikbdl- 
ndma, portrays Alexander as a great sage and prophet. 
With the advent of Islam, Alexander found his place 
as Dhu '1-Karnayn in Wan, XVIII, 83/82-98, 
which encouraged Muslims to glorify him. After the 
conquest of the world, Alexander devoted his time to 
the spiritual gains of his conquests. He transported 
scholarly tomes from all parts of the known world to 
be translated for his library and surrounded himself 
with the greatest minds in the ancient world. Nizami 
is not specific in describing Alexander's religion, but 
it is a kind of monotheism which prepares the way for 
Islam. Like Caesar who conquered the future lands of 
Christendom, Alexander conquered the future do- 
main of Islam, so that he is the archetype of the ideal 
ruler and a wise prophet. 

By comparison with his other mathnawis, the 
Iskandar-nama is very uneven. In the others, the stories 
not directly related to the main current are held 
together structurally, giving an impression of 
wholeness, whereas in the Iskandar-nC 
loosely woven into the massive structui 
Bibliography: A. Texts. 1 . Cri 


and rr 


Wahid DastgirdI, Gandjina-yi Gandjawi, Tehran 
1318; idem, Hizdr andarz-i Hakim Nizami, Tehran 
1319; Kulliyyat-i Khamsa, ed. idem, Tehran 1318, 
1335; Kulliyyat-i Khamsa, Amir Kablr, Tehran 
1341; M.Th. Houtsma, Choix de vers tires de la Kham- 
sa de Nizami, Leiden 1921; Sa c Id Nafisi, Diwdn-i 
kasdyid wa ghazaliyydl-i Nizami, Tehran 1338; 
Mahmud SipasT, Madjmu'-a-yi abydt-i barguzida az 
sukhandn-i Hakim Nizami, Tehran 1348. 2. Critical 
editions of Makhzan al-asrar. DastgirdI, Tehran 
1313, 1334; <Abd al-Karim C A1I Awghull c AlI-zada, 
Baku 1960; Husayn Pizhman Bakhtiyari, Tehran 
1344; N. Bland, London 1844. 3. Critical edi- 
tions of Khusraw wa Shirin. Bakhtiyari, Tehran 
1343; DastgirdI, Tehran 1313, repr. 1343; H.W. 
Duda, Farhad und Schirin, Monografie Archivu 
Orientalniho, 2, Prague 1933; L.A. Khetagurov 
and F. Babayev, Baku 1960. 4. Critical editions 
of Layla wa Madjnun. A. A. Alesker-zade and F. 
Babayev, Moscow 1965; Bakhtiyari, Tehran 1347; 
DastgirdI, Tehran 1313, repr. 1335; Djalal Matinl, 
Khuldsa-yi Layli wa Madjnin, Mashhad, 1341. 5. 
Critical editions of Haft Paykar. Bakhtiyari, 
Tehran 1344; DastgirdI, Tehran 1315, repr. 1334; 
Muhammad Mu'In, Tahlil-i Haft paykar-i Nizami, 

Tehran 1338; H. Ritter and J. Rypka, Heft Peiker, 
Monografie Archivu Orientalniho, 3, Prague 1934. 
6. Critical editions of the Sharaf-ndma. 
DastgirdI, Tehran 1316; Bakhtiyari, Tehran 1345; 
c AlI-zada, Baku 1947. 7. Critical editions of the 
Ikbdl-ndma. DastgirdI, Tehran 1317; Bakhtiyari, 
Tehran 1335; Babayev, Baku 1947. 

B. Translations. 1. Makhzan al-asrar. Gholam 
Hosein Darab, Makzanol Asrar. The treasury of 
mysteries (in English), London 1945; M. Gencosman 
Nuri, Mahzen-i esrar (in Turkish), Ankara 1964. 2. 
Khusraw wa Shirin. J.C. Burgel, Chosrou und Schirin 
(in German), Zurich 1980; K.A. Lipskerov, Khosrov 
i Shirin (in Russian), Baku 1955; H. Masse, Le 
Roman de Chosroes el Chirin (in French), Paris 1970; 
Sabri Seuvesevil, Husrev ve Sirin (in Turkish), Istan- 
bul 1955. 3. Layld wa MagjnUn. P. Antokol'skiy, 
Layli i Majnun (in Russian), Moscow 1957; J. 
Atkinson, Laili and Majnun (in English), London 
1836, and 1894, 1905, repr. 1968; R. Gelpke, Lejla 
undMedshnun (in German), Zurich 1963, ills.; idem, 
The story of Layla and Majnun (in English), London 
1966, ills.; Ali Nihat Tarlan, Leyld He Mecnun (in 
Turkish), Istanbul 1943. 4. Haft paykar. A. Bausani, 
Le sette principesse (in Italian), Bari 1967; V. Der- 
zhavin, Sem ' Krasavils (in Russian), Moscow 1959; 
Gelpke, Die sieben Geschichten der sieben Prinzessinnen 
(in German), Zurich 1959; idem, The story of the 
Seven Princesses (in English), London 1976; C.E. 
Wilson, The Haft Paikar (in English, 2 vols.), 
London 1924. 5. Iskandar-ndma. H. Wilberforce 
Clarke, The Sikander Ndmae Bard, London 1881; 
E.E. Bertels, Eskandarname, Part I, Sharafname, Baku 
1940; Lipskerov, Eskandarname, Moscow 1953. 

C. General. Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, // 
poeta Persiano Nizami e la leggenda iranica di Alessandro 
Magno, conference proceedings, Rome 1977; 
Akademia Nauk Azerbaidzankoi SSR, Nizami 
Giandzevi, Nizami conference proceedings, Baku 
1947; G. Aliyev, Legenda o Khosrovie i Shirin v 
lileratura narodov vostoka, Moscow 1960; R. Azada, 
Nizami Ganjavi, Baku 1981 (in English); W. Bacher, 
Nizdmi's Leben und Werke, Gottingen 1871; E.E. 
Bertels, Nizami: tvorcheskil put' poeta, Moscow 1956; 
idem, Nizami i Fuzuli: izbrannye trudi, Moscow 1962; 
idem, Nizami, in EI' ; L. Binyon, The poems of 
Nizami, described by Laurence Binyon, London 1928; 
K.R.F. Burrill, The Farhdd and Shirin story and its fur- 
ther development from Persian into Turkish literature, in 
Studies in art and literature of the Near East in honor of 
Richard Ettinghausen, ed. P. Chelkowski, Salt Lake 
City and New York 1974; Chelkowski, Mirror of the 
invisible world, New York 1975; idem, Nizami: master 
dramatist, in Ehsan Yarshater (ed.), Persian literature, 
New York 1988; Fr. Erdmann, Bahram Gur und die 
russische Furstentochter, Kazan 1844; Fuzuli, Leyla and 
Mejnun, tr. Sofi Huri, introd. and notes by A. Bom- 
baci, London 1970; F. Gabrieli, Le versione da 
Nizami, in AIUON, x (1937-8), 31-72; Gelpke, Liebe 
und Wahnsinn als Thema eines persichen Dichters: zur 
Mddschnun-Geslalt bei Nezami, in Symbolon, no. 4 
(Basel-Stuttgart 1964), 105-18; <Abd al-Na c Im 
Hasanayn, Nizami al-Gandjawi, Cairo 1954; c Ali 
Asghar Hikmat, Romeo wa Juliet, mukdyasa bd Layli 
wa Madjnun, Tehran 1941; Houtsma, Some remarks 
on the Diwdn of Nizami, in E. G. Browne Festschrift, 
Cambridge, 1922, 224-7; Iranshenasi, Special issue 
celebrating the 850th year of the birth of Nizami, iii/3-4 
(Bethesda, Md. 1991-2); A. Karbowska, Emige 
Bermerkungen uber Bahram Gur Epos und Geschichte, in 
Folia Orientalia, xxii (1981-4); A. Kaziev, Miniatiurt 
rukopisi Khamsa Nizami 1539-1543, Baku 1964; 


I. Yu. Krackovski, Die Friihgeschichte der Erzahlung von 
Macnun und Laila in der Arabischen Literatur, tr. H. 
Ritter, in Oriens, viii (1955), 1-50; H. Krenn, 
Bermerkungen zu Versen von Nizdmis Epos Hosrou und 
Sinn, in WZKM, liii (1956), 92-6; F.R. Martin and 
Sir Thomas Arnold, The Nizami manuscript, il- 
luminated by Bihzad, Mirak and Qasim Ali, written in 
1495 for Sultan Ali Mirza Bar las, ruler of Samarqand, in 
the British Museum, 24, 1, Vienna 1926; Martin, The 
Khamsa of Nizami, The Nizami manuscript from the 
Library of the Shah of Persia now in the Metropolitan 
Museum at New York, Vienna 1927; H. Masse and 
A. Zajaczkowski, Farhdd wa-Shirin, in EP; M.V. 
McDonald, The religious and social views of Nizami of 
Ganjeh, in Iran, i (1963), 97-101; Dzamal 
Mustafaev, Filosofiskie i eticeskie vozzreniya Nizami, 
Baku 1962; Mehmet Emin Resulzade, Azerbaycan 
sairi Nizami, Ankara 1951; Ritter, Uber die 
Bildersprache Nizdmis, Berlin and Leipzig 1927; 
Rypka, Das Sprichwort in Nizdmis Lajli va Magnun, in 
Ar.Or. (1969), 318-25; idem, Der vierte Gesang von 
Nizdmis Haft Paikar neu ubersetzt, in Oriens, xv (1962), 
234-41 ; idem, Les Sept Princesses de Nizhami, in L 'ame 
del'Iran, Paris 1951, 99-126; Sa c IdI Slrdjanl, Simd-yi 
duzan, Shirin wa Layld dar Khamsa-yi Nizami, Tehran 
1 368; G. Scarcia, Glossa a un gioco di parole di Nizami, 
in AIUON, N.S. (1968), 207-13; Maeietta Shagi- 
nian, Etiudi o Nizami, Erevan 1955; <A1I Akbar 
ShihabI, Nizami shdHr-i ddstansard, Tehran n.d.; 
PriscillaP. Soucek, Nizami on painters and painting, in 
Islamic art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ed. R. Et- 
tinghausen, New York 1972; Soucek, Farhdd and 
Tdq-i Bustdn, in Studies in art and literature of the Near 
East in honor of Richard Ettinghausen; Ali Nihad 
Tarlan, Ganceli Nizami divani, Istanbul 1944; A. 
Wesselski, Quellen und Nachwirkungen der Haft paikar, 
in hi., xxii (1935), 106-19; Morteza Yamini, 
Marlowe 's Hero and Leander and Nizami 's Khusraw and 

1975); A. Zajaczkowski, A propos d'un episode du 
Khosrau u Shirin de Nizami, in Melanges H. Masse, 
Tehran 1963, 405-16. (P. Chelkowski) 

NIZAMI, Hasan, a Persian historian whose full 

name was Sadr al-DIn Muhammad b. Hasan. Born 

in NIshapur, he wer 

Muhammad to Gh 

his remarkable talent 

forced him to leave Gh ; 

he obtained an appoinl 

n the advice of his shaykh 
o give an opportunity to 
. stylist. A severe illness 
and he went to Dihll were 
as court historian to the 
Qhurid Sultans "and began, in 602/1206, his great 
historical work Tad), al-ma^dthir ft 'l-ta^rikh, which 
brought him great fame. It deals with the history of 
the first three sultans of Dihll— the G_hurid Muham- 
mad b. Sam (588-602/1192-1206), and his slaves 
Kutb al-DIn Aybak (602-7/1206-10) and Shams al- 
DIn Iltutmish (607-33/1210-35). The book begins 
with the capture of Adjmer by Mu'izz al-DIn in 
587/1191 and ends with the appointment of Nasir al- 
DIn Muhammad as governor of Lahore (614/1217). 
An Appendix contains a panegyric of Iltutmish and 
his campaigns of conquest. The work was very highly 
esteemed in the Muslim East as a model of elegant 
style. It is written in high-flown and difficult language 
and has a large number of poetical passages inserted 
in it. It is only with difficulty that the historical facts 
can be extricated from the medley of rhetoric, but 
nevertheless the book is of undeniable value for the 
history of India and Afghanistan. 

Bibliography: Rieu, Catalogue, i, 239; Elliot and 
Dowson, History of India, ii, 204-43; N. Lees, in 
JRAS (1868), 433; Fliigel, Cat. Vienna, ii, 173 (no. 
951); W. Pertsch, Die persischen Handschriflen der ... 

Bibl. zu Golha, 53; E. Blochet, Catalogue des mss. per- 
sons de la Bibl. Nationale, Paris 1905, i, 333; C. 
Salemann and von Rosen, Indices alphabet, codicum 
mss. persicorum ... in Bibl. Imper. Literarum Univer- 
sitatis Petropolitanae, St. Petersburg 1888, 12, no. 
578; Storey, i, 493-5, 1310. On the biography of the 
author, see also MIrkh w and. lith. Bombay, i, 7. 
(E. Berthels) 
NIZAMIYYA, a term often used in the sources for 
Saldjuk history to designate the partisans and pro- 
teges of the great vizier Nizam al-Mulk [q.v.], after 
his death attached to and operating with the sons and 
descendants of Nizam al-Mulk. The influence of 
these partisans was especially notable in the years just 
after Sultan Malik Shah's death in 485/1092, when 
they actively promoted the cause of and secured the 
sultanate for Berk-yaruk b. Malik Shah [q.v. ] against 
his infant half-brother Mahmud, the candidate of 
Malik Shah's widow Terken Khatun and her ally the 
vizier Tadj al-Mulk Abu 'l-Qhana'im. In this present 
article, it is the descendants of Nizam al-Mulk, who 
filled many offices in the administrations of the Great 
Saldjuk sultans and also, at times, of the 'Abbasid 
caliphs, who will be considered. 

At least nine of Nizam al-Mulk's sons achieved 
some office, civil and/or military, in the decades after 
his assassination in 485/1092. There was a distinct 
feeling among contemporaries that, in accordance 
with the belief that the arcana and the expertise of cer- 
tain professions or skills were handed down within the 
families of their original exponents, the supreme 
capability of Nizam al-Mulk would manifest itself in 
his progeny. On the whole, this faith was unjustified. 
Shams al-Mulk 'Uthman was '■arid al-djaysh for 
Sultan Muhammad b. Malik Shah [q.v.], and then 
mustawfi and an inefficient vizier to Sultan Mahmud 
b. Muhammad [q.v.] in the years 516-17/1122-3. No 
fewer than three of Nizam al-Mulk's sons served 
Berk-yaruk as vizier: Mu 3 ayyid al-Mulk c Ubayd 
Allah, Fakhr al-Mulk al-Muzaffar and the drunken 
and incompetent c Izz al-Mulk Hasan. Fakhr al-Mulk 
also served Sandjar b. Malik Shah [q. v. ] as vizier until 
his assassination in Khurasan in 500/1 106 by a Bafinl. 
Mu'ayyid al-Mulk was probably the most talented 
and competent of the sons of Nizam al-Mulk, but was 
dismissed by the sultan in 488/1095 through the 
intrigues of Berk-yaruk's mother Zubayda Khatun 
and Mu'ayyid al-Mulk's rival Madjd al-Mulk al- 
Balasanl; after then, he served Muhammad b. Malik 
Shah as vizier until Berk-yaruk defeated his brother in 
battle at Hamadan in 494/1101 and executed his 
former vizier as a renegade. Fakhr al-Mulk had 
served Tutush b. Alp Arslan [q.v.], Saldjuk ruler in 
Syria, before entering the service of Berk-yaruk, and 
subsequently went to serve Sandjar until 500/1107 
(his son Nasir al-DIn Tahir was also later to serve as 
Sandjar's vizier from 527/1133 till his own death in 
548/1 153). Djamal al-Mulk Muhammad b. Nizam al- 
Mulk (d. 473/1080-1) was governor of Balkh during 
his father's lifetime; and 'Imad al-Mulk Abu '1-Kasim 
was vizier to Malik Shah's brother Bori Bars (d. 
488/1095), the governor of Herat. 

Of the next generations, in addition to Fakhr al- 
Mulk's son Nasir al-DIn Tahir (see above), his 
brother Kiwam al-Mulk Sadr al-DIn Muhammad 
served Sandjar 500-11/1107-17, whilst Nasir al-DIn 
Tahir's son Nizam al-Mulk Kiwam al-DIn Hasan 
served Sulayman Shah b. Muhammad, briefly sultan 
in Baghdad 555-6/1160-1. Another of Nizam al- 
Mulk's great-grandsons, Shams al-DIn Ya c kub b. 
Ishak b. Fakhr al-Mulk, is mentioned as a patron of 
the local historian of Bayhak, C A1I b. Zayd Ibn Fun- 


duk [q.v.] (Yakut, Irshad, v, 216); with this genera- 
tion, the descendants of Nizam al-Mulk fade from 
public life and from mention in the sources. 

Finally, of the great vizier's collaterals, his brother 
Abu '1-Kasim c Abd Allah's son Abu '1-Mahasin 
S_hihab al-DIn functioned as Sandjar's vizier 511- 
15/1117-21; and Ibn Funduk mentions several other 
collateral relatives as living in the Bayhak district in 
the later half of the 6th/12th century. 

Bibliography: SeeM.F. Sanaullah, The decline of 
the Saljiqid empire, Calcutta 1938, 40 ff.; c Abbas 
Ikbal, Wizdrat dar '■ahd-i saldfih-i buzurg salgjfiki, 
Tehran 1338/1959; Carla L. Klausner, The Seljuk 
vezirate, a study of civil administration 1055-1194, Cam- 
bridge, Mass. 1973. There are genealogical tables 
of the family of Nizam al-Mulk and his collaterals 
in Ikbal, op. cit. , after p. 318; the table in Zambaur, 
Manuel, 223, is incomplete and not wholly accurate. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
al-NIZAMIYYA, al-MADRASA, the designa- 
tion given to the colleges of SunnI instruction founded 
in 'Irak, al-DjazIra and Persia by the great Saldjuk 
vizier Nizam al-Mulk [q.v.]. See for these, madrasa, 
I. 4, and nizam al-mulk. (Ed.) 

NIZAR b. MA'ADD, common ancestor of the 
greater part of the Arab tribes of the north, 
according to the accepted genealogical system. 
Genealogy: Nizar b. Ma c add b. c Adnan ( Wiistenfeld, 
Geneal. Tabellen, A. 3). His mother, Mu c ana bint 
Djahla, was descended from the pre-Arab race of the 
Ujurhum [q.v.]. Genealogical legend, which has pre- 
served mythological features and folklore relating to 
several eponyms of Arab tribes, is almost silent on the 
subject of Nizar (an etymological fable about his 
name: Tdaj. al-'arus , iii, 563, 15-17 from the Rawd al- 
unuf of al-Suhayll (i, 8, 8-10) is without doubt of very 
late origin, as is shown by the connection which is 
established with the prophetic mission of Muham- 
mad; the same etymology from nazr "insignificant" is 
further found in Ibn Durayd, Kitab al-Istlikdk, 20, 6; 
Mufa<tdaliyydt, ed. Lyall, 763, 16, without the story in 
question). Tradition has more to say about his four 
sons Rabl'a, Mudar, Anmar, Iyad and about the 
partition of the paternal heritage among them, in con- 
nection with which they visited the Cjurhumi hakam 
al-Af a. Their adventures on the journey (they are 
able to describe minutely the appearance of a camel 
they have never seen from the traces it has left) form 
the subject of a popular story which has parallels 
among other peoples; its object is to make the origins 
of the kiyqfa [q. v.] go back to the most remote period 
(al-Mufaddal b. Salama, al-Fdkhir, 155-6, and the 
sources there quoted; al-Tabari, i, 1108-10, etc.); it 
perhaps is of interest to note that the story was known 
to Voltaire who introduced it into his Zadig. 

As Robertson Smith showed a century ago (Kinship 
and marriage in early Arabia 1 , 5 ff., 283-9), and as 
Goldziher has confirmed by numerous quotations 
(Muhammedanische Studien, i, 78-92), the name Nizar 
only appears late in Arab poetry, while that of 
Ma'add (which is found as early as the Byzantine 
historians Procopius and Nonnosus) appears quite 
early in it, although its ethnic character is rather 
vague (as to that of c Adnan, still more comprehensive, 
one of the oldest historians of Arab poetry, Muham- 
mad b. Sallam, d. 230/844-5, had already pointed out 
that his name was almost unknown in ancient poetry, 
Tabakdt al-du'ara', ed. Hell, 5, 1; cf. Ibn c Abd al- 
Barr, al-Inbdh 'aid kabdHl al-ru>dh, Cairo 1350, 48). 
Before the Umayyad period, the only trace we find of 
the use of Nizar as an ethnic is in a verse of the pre- 
Islamic poet Bishr b. Abl Khazim (in the Mufai- 

daliyydt, 667, 1 5) and in another of Ka c b b. Zuhayr (in 
al-Tabari, i, H06, 10); in the verse of Hassan b. 
Thabit, ed. Hirschfeld, lx, 2, the_ reference is to 
another Nizar, son of Ma c Is b. c Amir b. Lu 3 ayy 
(Wiistenfeld, Tabellen, P. 15) belonging to the 
Kuraysh. The line in Umayya b. Abi '1-Salt, ed. 
Schulthess, i, 10, in which the descent of the Thaklf 
from Nizar is celebrated, is apocryphal and is con- 
nected with the well-known dispute regarding the 
origin of the Thaklf. The story of the verdict of al- 
Akra c b. Habis al-TamTml in favour of JJjarir b. <Abd 
Allah al-Badjall against Khalid b. Arfat al-Kalbl 
(Nakd'id, ed. Bevan, 141-2; cf. Ibn Hisham, Sira, ed. 
Wustenfeld, 50), in which there is a reference to Nizar 
and which is placed before Islam, is not less suspect; 
its object is to defend the northern origin of the Badjlla 
(descendants of Anmar), often disputed, as well as 
that of their brethren the Khath c am [q.v.], and to 
refuse the same origin to the Kalb, descendants of the 
Kuda'a, to which it was attributed just at the time of 
the strife that raged around the succession to YazTd I. 
The rafaaz verses quoted by Ibn Hisham, Sira, 49 (and 
often elsewhere; they are sometimes attributed to 
c Amr b. Murra al-Djuhani, a contemporary of the 
Prophet, and sometimes to a certain al-Aflalj b. al- 
Ya c bub, otherwise unknown), in which we find used, 
with reference to Kuda c a, the verb tanazzara "to 
announce oneself to be descended from Nizar" may 
be regarded as apocryphal. No stress need be laid on 
the isolated reference in al-Baladhuri (Futuh, ed. de 
Goeje, 276, 16) to the quarters (khi/af) of the Banu 
Nizar in Kufa contrasted with those of the Yamanis; 
his language simply reflects the position in the 
author's time or that of his sources, later than the 
great upheavals of the first century a.h. 

It is only from this period, and, to be more exact, 
after the battle of Mardj Rahif (65/684 [q.v.]) won by 
the Kalb over the Kays, that we begin to find the 
name Nizar recurring with increasing frequency. It 
occurs mainly in political poetry: Iijarir, al-Farazdak, 
al-AkJi{al, al-Kufaml and Zufar b. al-Harith use it to 
designate the common source of the tribes of the 
north, contrasting it with the terms "Yaman" or 
"Kahfan". The expression Ibnd Nizar 1 " "the two sons 
of Nizar" becomes regular; it indicates the Mudar 
(Kays c Aylan) and the Rabfo as belonging to one 
ethnic group; they were previously regarded as 
unrelated to one another. The tribes descended from 
Anmar (cf. above) and Iyad (the fourth son of Nizar; 
but other sources make him a son of Ma c add) appear 
only rarely as members of the group. This is what the 
genealogical systematisation seeks to explain by 
alleged migrations of Anmar and Iyad into the groups 
of YamanI tribes. 

But the application of the term Nizar continued to 
remain vague, more so than those of Kays, Mudar 
and Rabija, which represent very large groups, but 
more precise than that of Ma c add, of which it tends to 
take the place. This is due to the fact that the term 
Nizar corresponds to a political ideal rather than to a 
historical reality; in the latter, the reigning dynasty, 
claiming descent from Kuraysh (themselves, conse- 
quently, Nizaris) had as their henchmen the Kalb, 
one of the most powerful YamanI tribes, while the 
Azd, another tribe of the south, bound to the policy 
of their most illustrious representatives, the 
Muhallabids [q.v.], were sometimes on the side of the 
Umayyads and sometimes against them. It was this 
complicated position that gave rise to the attempt to 
separate the If uda c a (i.e. the Kalb) from the southern 
stock in order to make them descendants of Nizar. 
The story told in Aghdnf, xi, 160-1 , al-Bakrl, Mu'ajam, 


ed. Wiistenfeld, 14-15, is intended to explain the 
separation of the Kuda'a from the rest of the Nizar as 
a result of the murder of the Nizari Yadhkur b. 
c Anaza by the Kuda c I Hazlma b. Nahd. The lines in 
Pjarir (Naka'id, 994) sum up very completely the way 
in which the Kuda'a-Kalb were connected with the 
Nizar, while elsewhere (e.g. ibid., 261: al-Farazdak) 
Kud5 c a and Nizar are opposed. Later, at the end of 
the Umayyad period and especially in the period of 
the struggle in Khurasan which was the prelude to the 
fall of the dynasty, Nizar (also in the form Nizariyya) 
became the regular designation which was contrasted 
with Yamaniyya: henceforth the Banu Nizar were to be 
the representatives of northern Arabism; as early as 
the period of decline of the Umayyads, the poet al- 
Kumayt b. Zayd al-Asadl [q.v.] had composed a long 
poem, the Mudhahhaba, exalting the Nizar at the 
expense of the Kah(an; nearly a century later, the 
YamanT Di c bil [q.v.] replied to him; these poetical 
jousts on which the c asabiyya, tribal rivalry, of the two 
great ethnic groups of the Arabs was nourished, con- 
tinued down to quite a late date, especially among the 
Zaydls of the Yaman . 

From what has been said, it is evident that we can- 
not speak of Nizar as a tribe which had a real 
historical existence nor, as is the case with the 
Ma'add, as a comprehensive term indicating an effec- 
tive grouping together of a number of tribes of dif- 
ferent origin. Nizar is simply a fictitious invention, a 
label intended to serve political interests. One must, 
however, ask whence the name came and what were 
the precedents which suggested its use in the sense 
above outlined. It is possible that the history of the 
four sons of Nizar (cf. above), a popular story, the 
nature and diffusion of which seem to take it back to 
a very early period and which originally had nothing 
to do with genealogical tradition, supplied the names 
on which the nassdbun later gave their imagination free 
play. But this is a pure supposition, which would have 
to be confirmed by definite proofs. 

Bibliography (in addition to references in the 
article): Wiistenfeld, Register zu den geneal. Tabellen, 
337; Ibn al-Kalbl, Djamharat al-ansdb (ms. British 
Museum), fol. 3b; Ibn al-Kalbl-Caskel, i, Tafeln, 1, 
ii, Register, 1-2, 448; Ibn Kutayba, Kitdb al-Ma l arif, 
ed. Wiistenfeld, 31; Ibn Hiiham, Sim, ed. 
Wiistenfeld, 7, 49-50; Ibn Sa<d, i/1, 30; Nuwayri, 
Nihayat al-arab, ii, 327-8; Kitdb al-Aghdni; NakaHd; 
Tabarl, index. (G. Levi Della Vida) 

NIZAR B. al-MUSTANSIR, Fatimid clai- 
mant, born on 10 Rabi< I 437/26 September 1045. 
On the death of his father, having been displaced by 
his youngest brother al-Musta c lI [q.v.], Nizar fled to 
Alexandria, took the title of al-Mu?tafa li-DTn Allah, 
and rose in revolt early in 488/1095 with the assistance 
of the governor, Nasr al-Dawla Aftakln, who was 
jealous of al-Afdal, and the population of the city. He 
was at first successful in driving back al-Afdal and 
advanced as far as the outskirts of Cairo, supported by 
Arab auxiliaries. Al-Afdal again took the field against 
him, and after a short siege in Alexandria he sur- 
rendered towards the end of the same year, was taken 
to Cairo, and there immured by order of al-Musta'li. 
By the Isma c flT organisation in Persia [see al-hasan 
b. AL-SABBAH and ism a'Tliyya], Nizar was recognised 
as the rightful successor of al-Mustansir, and this, 
with its offshoots in Syria, formed a new group (al- 
da'-wa al-djadida), opposed to the Musta c lian group (al- 
da'-wa al-kadima), now known as Khodjas [q.v.] and 
Bohoras [q.v. ] respectively. A party of the Nizariyya 
at first held to the belief that Nizar was not dead and 
would return as the Mahdf or in company with him, 

but the majority held that the line of Nizar was con- 
tinued by the Grand Masters of Alamut [q.v.]. 

Bibliography: See that under al-musta'li; also 
Ibn Khallikan, tr. de Slane, i, 160-1 (from al- 
Nuwayrl); Sidjilldt ... al-Mustansir bplldh, ms., 
SOAS, London, nos. 35 and 43 (cf. BSOS, vii, 307 
ff.); M.G.S. Hodgson, The order of Assasins, The 
Hague 1955, 46-7, 62-78; B. Lewis, The Assassins, 
a radical sect in Islam, London 1967, 34-5, 49, 74-5; 
Farhad Daftary, The lsmaHlls, their history and doc- 
trine, Cambridge 1990, 261 ff., 324 ff. 

(H.A.R. Gibb) 
NIZARI KUHISTANI, Hakim Sa'd al-DIn b. 
Shams al-DTn b. Mutiammad, Persian poet, born 
645/1247-8 in Blrdjand [q.v.], where he died in 
720/1320-1. The name Nizan was not only his nom- 
de-guerre as a poet, but also seems to indicate the 
loyalty of his family to Nizar [q.v.], the pretender to 
the Fatimid imamate in the late 5th/llth century 
whose claim was supported by most Persian Isma'ills. 
Reliable facts concerning his life can only be deduced 
from his own works. According to Borodin, followed 
by Rypka, he would have been attached to the court 
of the Kart [q.v.] Maliks of Herat, but Bayburdi iden- 
tified the patrons mentioned by Nizari as local rulers 
and Mongol officials in the near vicinity of his native 
Kuhistan. The most important were Shams al-DTn 
'All Shah (reigned 688-708/1289-1308), who 
belonged to a dynasty ruling over STstan, and the 
wazir'-Ma? al-DTn Hindu, the representative of the II- 
Khans in Khurasan. He worked for them both as an 
official and as a court poet. In 678-9/1280-1 he made 
a journey to the Transcaucasian lands, in his days the 
centre of Mongol power. In the Madjdlis al- l u shsh dk of 
Kamal al-DTn Gazurgahl mention is made of two 
encounters with Sa c dl [q.v.] which however belong to 
the realm of biographical fiction. The same applies 
probably to the statement in the same source that he 
ended his life as a humble farmer. 

The literary output of Nizari was considerable, but 
it has only been preserved in few copies. The most 
important are the manuscripts of his collected works 
extant in libraries of St. Petersburg (Public State 
Library, dated 837/1434) and Dushambe (Academy 
of Sciences, dated 972/1564-5). They are both divided 
into fifteen parts, comprising volumes of kasidas, 
ghazals, quatrains and other lyrical forms, as well as 
several mathnawis. His earliest work, the Sqfar-nama, 
contains a lively and valuable description of his 
journey to Transcaucasia. Adab-nama (695/1295-6), in 
the metre mutak&rib, is a didactical poem after the 
fashion of Sa c dl's Bustan. The romance Azhar u Mazhar 
(written about 700/1300-1), a poem in hazadj. of about 
10.000 lines, is situated in the Arabian desert. The 
plot was inspired by the Khusraw-ndma of Farld al-Din 
c Attar [q.v.]. A tenzone between Night and Day, in the 
metre khafif, was written by Nizari to vindicate 
himself when he was accused of heretical convictions. 
Dastur-ndma (710/1310) is a short didactical work in 
mutakdrib (edited and translated by Ye.E. Bertel's in 
Vostoc'niy Sbornik, Leningrad 1926, i, 37-104). 

NizarT's name remained relatively obscure in the 
history of Persian literature. His Isma c IlI background 
is noticeable in his works although this is often hidden 
behind ImamI Shi^I formulations more acceptable to 
his environment. There is also a strong Sufi element, 
especially in the ghazals, which constitute the most 
important part of his lyrical poetry. Some of these 
poems were cited by the mediaeval anthologists 
DjadjarmI [q.v.] and Dawlatshah. A competent critic 
like DjamI [q.v.] compared his poetic "taste" (salika) 
to that of Hafiz [q.v.]. Modern Russian and Tadjik 


scholars have stressed his freedom of thought and the 
irreverent tone to be heard in his poetry. 

Bibliography: Apart from the Daslur-ndma, the 
works of Nizari remained unpublished to date. A 
detailed analysis of his life and works can be found 
in C.G. Bayburdi, Zizn' i tvorcestvo Nizari, Moscow 
1966. See further: Djadjarmi, Mu'nis al-ahrar, ed. 
M.S. Tablbl, ii, Tehran 1350 fA/1971, 974-5, 1010- 
3, 1117-8; Dawlatshah, 231-4; DjamI, Bahdristdn, 
ed. Vienna 1846, 100; Amln-i RazI, Haft iklim, ed. 
Dj. Fadil, Tehran 1340 iA/1961, ii, 322-3; J. von 
Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichie der schbnen Redekunsle 
Persiens, Vienna 1818, 223-4; A. Sprenger, Catalogue 
of the Library of the King of Oude, Calcutta 1854, i, 
524; B. Dorn, Catalogue des manuscrits et xylographes 
orientaux de la Bibl. Imperiale Publique de St. Peiersbourg, 
St. Petersburg 1852, 365; H. Ethe, Catalogue of the 
Persian ... manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford 
1889, 553; idem, in Gr.I.Ph., ii, Strassburg 1904, 
297; Browne, LHP, iii, 154-5; S.G. Borodin, Hakim 
Nizdri-yi Kuhisldni, in Farhang-i Iranzamin, vi/2-3, 
1337 fA/1958, 178-203; J. Dorri, Stalinabadskiy 
ekzemplyar kulliyata Nizari, in Izvestiya 
otdeleniya obshcestvennikh nauk, AN Nauk Tadzikskiy 
SSR, i, Dushambe 1958, 112-20 (description of the 
Dushambe kulliyydl); Murt. Mudjtahidzada, Nasim- 
i bahdndar ahwal-i Nizari, Tehran 1344 sh/1965; J. 
Rypka, History of Iranian literature, Dordrecht 1968, 
255-6; idem, in Cambridge History of Iran, v, Cam- 
bridge 1968, 604-5; A. Munzawl, Fihrisl-i nuskhahd- 
yikhatti-yifarsi, Tehran 1349^/1970, iii, 1895, and 
iv, 2811-2 (on DastHr-ndma), 2911 (on Safar-ndma). 

(J.T.P. de Bruijn) 
NIZARIYYA, a major branch of the 
Isma'iliyya [q.v.], whose beginnings can be traced 
to the succession dispute following the death of the 
Fafimid [q.v.] Imam and caliph al-Mustansir bi'llah 
(d. 487/1094). Those who gave their allegiance to 
Nizar, al-Mustansir's eldest son, as the designated 
successor and imam, and subsequently to those claim- 
ing descent from him, were called Nizariyya. One of 
the most important figures in consolidating Nizari 
identity in its early phase, particularly in Persia, was 
the well-known figure and daH Hasan-i §abbah [q.v.], 
under whose leadership the Nizarls were able to 
establish a confederation of principalities in Persia 
and Syria, linked to the mountain stronghold of 
Alamut [q.v.]. The period also marks a re- 
interpretation of Fafimid Isma'ill doctrine, with a 
greater emphasis on the role of the Imam as the 
authoritative interpreter of Muslim doctrine and 

The Nizari polity in Persia lasted over 150 years, 
before its brutal destruction by the Mongols, ending 
in 654/1256. The various communities in Syria and 
Persia subsequently struggled to survive under some- 
times adverse conditions, and much of their history 
and development during this period is little known. 
However, the da'-wa successfully initiated missionary 
activity leading to the emergence of a community in 
the Indian Subcontinent, principally in Pandjab, Sind 
and Gudjarat, referred to as the Khodjas [q.v.]. Over 
the next centuries, sporadic contact was maintained 
between the Imams, living in different parts of Persia, 
and the Nizari communities of Syria, the Subconti- 
nent and Centra] Asia, each with their own distinctive 
literary heritage and tradition. 

In its modern phase, Nizari history has been distin- 
guished by the transference of the imdma from Persia 
to British India in the 19th century and then to 
Europe, where the present headquarters of the current 
Imam, Shah Karlm, Aga Khan (Agha Khan [q.v.]) is 

located. Nizari communities are found today in over 
25 countries in Asia and Africa, as well as in Great 
Britain, Europe and the United States and Canada, 
where, based on a common constitution, they have 
organised strong community institutions. These are 
complemented by a development network headed by 
their Imam, concerned primarily with the develop- 
ment of the countries and peoples in which they live. 
Bibliography (in addition to works and bibl. 
cited in isma'Iliyya): F. Daftary, The IsmdHlis: their 
history and doctrines, Cambridge 1990; Azim Nanji, 
The Nizari Ismaili tradition in the Indo-Pakistan Subcon- 
tinent, New York 1978; and for their literature, I. 
Poonawala, Biobibliography of IsmaHli literature, 
Malibu 1977. (Azim Nanji) 

NIZIB, Nizib, the Ottoman Turkish forms for 
modern Turkish Nizip, a town and district of 
southeastern Turkey, lying in the plain to the south- 
east of the Kurt Daglari mountain chain on the Nizip 
river, a right-bank tributary of the Euphrates, 17 
km/10 miles to the west of Birecik [see biredjik], in 
lat. 37° 02' N. and long. 37° 47' E. at an altitude of 
534 m/1750 feet. Nizib and its surrounding district, 
extending to Kilis and the Syrian frontier, have long 
been famed for their extensive olive groves and 
sesame fields. 

Ewliya Celebi visited Nizib in the llth/17th cen- 
tury and describes it as "an inhabited town in the 
liddle of an unfertile district on the edge of a high 

hill, with in 

s, baths and a small market but 

without vineyards or gardens". Nizib at this period 
was the residence of a judge on the salary scale of 1 50 

During the war (1831-40) between the Turks and 
Egypt under Muhammad C A1I, Nizib became the 
scene of a celebrated battle. Ibrahim Pasha, adopted 
stepson and general of Muhammad C A1I, had crossed 
the Syrian frontier by the end of 1831 and after 
several victories advanced as far as Konya, where he 
inflicted such a defeat on the Turks at the end of 1832 
that they had to cede by the peace of Kutahiya (1833) 
the whole of Syria to Muhammad c AH and the govern- 
ment of Adana to Ibrahim himself, both recognising 
the sovereignty of the sultan. But neither the sultan 
nor Muljammad C A1I were satisfied with this, and 
both made preparations for another war. For this pur- 
pose, Mahmud II combined the four wilayels of Diyar- 
bakr, Kharput, Rakka and Slwas under one governor 
with the title of vizier, Cerkes Hafiz Mehmed Pasha 
(on his career, see Sidjilli-i c othmdni, ii, 99-100), and 
commanded him to cross the Euphrates at the begin- 
ning of 1839. It was not till some time later, however, 
that fighting actually began. Moltke and the military 
experts in Cerkes Hafiz Mehmed's army then advised 
him not to cross the river but only to display his 
strength and frighten the Egyptian army into 
retreating; but Mehmed Pasjia would not take this 
advice, crossed the Euphrates and fought a battle at 
Nizib, where he was completely defeated by Ibrahim 
Pasha on 24 June 1839. 

Besides this great defeat on land, the Turks a few 
days later suffered an equally severe loss at sea. The 
traitorous Kapudan-i Derya Ahmed Fewzl Pasha, 
known as Firarl (i.e. "fugitive", "deserter"; details 
in Sidpll-i ( othmdni, i, 294-5), led the Turkish fleet, 
which was sent to Syrian waters at the time of the bat- 
tle of Nizib, to Alexandria and handed it over to 
Muhammad C A1I. The Egyptians, however, were 
unable to take advantage of the victory at Nizib 
because the Great Powers intervened and Muham- 
mad 'All's aspirations were in 1841 limited to the 
hereditary governorship of Egypt. The defeat at Nizib 


led in the domestic politics of Turkey to the speedy 
proclamation of the tanzimdt reforms [q.v.]. 

The modern town of Nizip is in the il or province 
of Gaziantep and is the chef-lieu of an ilce or district 
of the same name comprising 115 villages. In 1960, 
the estimated population of the town was 19,300 and 
of the district 68,200. 

Bibliography: c Abd al-Rahman Sheref, TaMkh-i 
Dewlet-i c olhmdniyye, ii, Istanbul 1312, 338-9, 341-2; 
Ewliya Celebi, Seyahat-name, iii, Istanbul 1314, 145; 
'AliDjewad, Ta'rfkh we-Djoghrafiya lughati, iii, Istan- 
bul 1314, 811 (wrongly identifies Nizib and 
Nislbln); S. Lane-Poole, Turkey 5 , London 1908, 
345-50; H. Sa'di, Iktisadi djoghrafiya I. Tiirkiye, 
Istanbul 1926, 277-80; KhaUl Edhem, Duwel-i 
isldmiyye, Istanbul 1927, 116; Tiirkiye ciimhuriyeli 
devlel yilhgi 1929-1930, Istanbul 1930, 396-400; 
Hamit ve-Muhsin, Tiirkiye tarihi, Istanbul 1930, 
465-6, 630 ff. (F. Bajraktarevic') 

NIZWA, a town of inner <Uman. It lies in an oasis 
on the eastern side of the Djabal Akhdar in central 
c Uman. It is divided between a walled lower town 
(Nizwat al-Sufala) and an upper walled town (Nizwat 
al-'Aldya or Samad al-Kindt), which are situated on 
either side of the Wadi Kalbu. The water supply of 
c Alaya is provided by the Faladj. Ddris and that of 
Sufala is provided by the Faladj Ghunduk. Sprenger 
suggested that Ptolemy's Ravanal Rabanal Rouana 
basileion should be identified with either Nizwa or 
Rustak, but this remains unproven. At the onset of 
Islam.Nizwa appears to have been the seat of the local 
Azdi Al Djulanda princes, and it was subsequently to 
become the capital of the country. Even during oc- 
cupation by an < Abbasid army under Muhammad b. 
Nuh in 277/890 during the caliphate of al-Mu c tamid, 
Nizwa remained the capital of the country and the 
election place of the Ibadi Imams of c Uman under the 
Al Djulanda and under their successors. It was only in 
later times that it was supplanted by Rustak and 
Maskat, although it never lost its importance as a cen- 
tre of Ibadi teaching and scholarship. From the death 
of the second Ibadi Imam, al-Warith, who drowned at 
Nizwa in a flood in the Wad! Kalbu, Nizwa was to 
become the usual burial place of the Imams. 

Al-MukaddasT in the 4th/10th century mentions 
Nizwa, listing it among the principal kasabas of 
'Uraan along with Maskat, Sawhar and Djulfar. Its 
name is merely mentioned by al-ldrlsl, but Yakut in 
the 6th/13th century knew of it as a mountainous 
region with a number of large villages, where the local 
people were adherents of Ibadi doctrines [see 
ibadiyya]. In subsequent centuries, Nizwa seems to 
have retained its importance under its Nabhanl 
rulers, although it was eventually to give way to 
Rustak and in the civil wars of the early 17th century, 
power shifted from the interior to the coast at Maskat, 
with Nizwa losing its political importance. 

The main mosque, the traditional place of election 
to the Imamate, and suk are in Sufala, as is the him, 
a rectangular enclosure containing a massive circular 
tower, known as the kal'a, ca. 43 m across at the level 
of the gun-platform. The kal'a is the most prominent 
monument in Nizwa and the largest artillery tower in 
'Uraan. It is attributed to the Ya'rubi Imam Sayf b. 
Sultan (d. 1059/1649) and took 12 years and much 
gold and silver to build. It was designed to command 
the approaches to Nizwa from all directions, forming 
part of defences controlling the Wadi Sama'il, the 
main access leading from the interior of 'Uman to the 
Batina coast. It was among the earliest towers in 
'Uman built as an artillery platform, and it was also 
able to withstand artillery bombardment because of its 

with the lower 14 m of the main 
tower filled entirely with packed earth and stone. The 
water supply was secured by wells and a faladj. which 
runs below the tower. According to Lt. Wellsted, dry 
well shafts in the tower were used as magazines for the 

The first detailed description of the town was pro- 
vided by Wellsted in 1835, who found Nizwa a stone- 
built town with houses of two storeys, an appearance 
which was little changed in 1975. In the early 1900s 
the largest tribe residing at Nizwa was the Banu 
Riyam, with a large number of houses of Banu Hina 
and Al Bu Sa'Id, and a small number of households 
from other tribes. 

The long association of Nizwa with the Imamate 
revived in modern times when discontent with the Al 
Bu Sa'id sultan at Maskat led to a coalition against his 
authority, culminating in 1913 in the election to the 
Imamate of Sallm b. Rashid al-KharusI, supported by 
an alliance of al-Ghafiri and Hinawi tribal confedera- 
tion, which seized Nizwa and installed the Imam at the 
ancient capital. Although a modus vivendi was eventual- 
ly reached, Nizwa and its surroundings remained 
beyond the authority of Maskat until 1955, when 
Sultan Sa'Td b. Taymur entered Nizwa in a progress 
through the interior as far as BuraymT. However, be- 
tween 1957 and 1959, the Imamate based at Nizwa 
broke into open rebellion, backed by Saudi Arabia 
and by Arab nationalists in Cairo. The rebellion end- 
ed with the seizure of Nizwa by British troops and the 
Sultan's forces in 1959. 

The surrounding oasis is said to have 25,000 palm 
trees, and accounts refer to the presence of sugar 
cane, cotton, and indigo among the crops of Nizwa. 
Traditional local manufactures include metal work- 
ing, including gold and silver, and weaving. The lat- 

namental textile decorated with silk. According to 
Wellsted, the women would prepare cotton yarn, and 
men would work the looms. This division of labour 
was still apparent in the 1970s. In the 1970s, the oil 
wealth of c Uman brought growing prosperity to Niz- 
wa and a transformation of its traditional economy, 
while the construction of tarmac roads improved its 
links with the rest of the country. 

Bibliography: MukaddasI, 71; Idrlsl, tr. 
Jaubert, 153; Yakut, Buldan, ed. Beirut, v, 281; J. 
Wellsted, Travels in Oman, London 1835, 120-7; 
SalU b. Razlk, History of the Imams and Seyyids of 
'■Oman from AD. 661-1859, tr. G.P. Badger, Lon- 
don 187 1 ; Sirhan b. Sa'Id, Annals of '■Oman, from ear- 
ly toyear 1728 A. D. From an Arabic ms. by Sheykh Sirhan 
bin Sa'id bin Sirhan b. Muhammad, of the Benu c Ali tribe 
of 'Oman, translated and annotated by E.C. Ross, Political 
Agent of Muscat, in JASB, xliii (1874), 111-96; A. 
Sprenger, Die alte Geographie Arabiens, Berne 1875, 
281; S.B. Miles, The countries and tribes of the Persian 
Gulf, with a new introd. by J.B. Kelly, London 
1966; E. d'Errico, Introduction to Omani military ar- 
chitecture of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth cen- 
turies, mJournalofOman Studies (1983), 302-3; P.M. 
Costa, Notes on settlement patterns in traditional Oman, 
in ibid., 253; J.G. Lorimer, Gazetteer of the Persian 
Gulf, Oman, and Central Arabia, Calcutta 1908, IIB, 
1365-6. (G.R.D. King) 

NOGHAY, a Turkic-speaking people whose 
language belongs, together with Kazak and 
Karakalpak, to the Caspian branch of the Kipcak- 
Turkic group. They number approximately 60,000, 
living mainly on a territory stretching to the west of 
the Caspian Sea between the Kuma and Terek rivers, 
a region sometimes referred to as the Noghay 


Steppes. In the administrative aspect, the majority 
lived within the boundaries of the Dagestan 
Autonomous S.S.R.^ whilst others fell under the 
jurisdiction of Ceceno-Ingushetia and the 
Stavropol'skiy kray. All these regions belonged to the 
Russian Federation of the Soviet Union, but their 
administrative future within Russia, after the dissolu- 
tion of the Soviet Union in December 1991, is 

1. Ethnogenesis and early habitats. The 
stabilisation of the Noghay ethnos went hand in hand 
with the formation of the Noghay state. The latter was 
formed by Edigii (in Russian sources, Edigey), the 
famous military commander of the Tatar state of the 
Golden Horde. The Noghay ulus (appanage) seceded 
from the Golden Horde in the 1390s, their original 
homeland being the vast pasture lands between the 
Emba and Yayfk (now Ural) rivers. During the reign 
of Nur al-DIn, son of Edigii (1426-40), the Noghay 
tribes began to extend towards the Volga, and up to 
the 1550s they occupied the large territory between 
the Yayfk and the Lower Volga rivers. In the 15th- 
16th centuries the Noghay Horde was a significant 
Tatar state, one of the successor states of the Golden 
Horde, comprising various Turco-Mongolian tribes 
which later on took an active part in the formation of 
numerous modern Turkic peoples, including the 
Kazaks, the Karakalpaks, the Bashkirs and the Kazan 
Tatars. The leading political force of the Noghay 
Horde was undoubtedly the Mangit tribe, from which 
Edigii himself, the founder of the state originated. 
That is why even their self-appellation during the first 
century of their stately independence was Mangit 

The Noghay ethnos was formed of various Turkic 
and Turkicised Mongol tribes coming together under 
the sovereignty of Edigu's successors. Even the 
Mangit tribe was of Mongol origin, although the 
family genealogy of the Edigii clan, obviously due to 
pious Muslim influence, traced back their alleged de- 
scent to the Prophet Muhammad's time. The widest 
extension of the Noghay Horde was in the first half of 
the 16th century, when its historical role was at its 
zenith, and they actively participated in the wars of 
Muscovy, the Kazan and the Crimean Khanates. 

The application of the name Noghay to the Mangit- 
led confederation has not yet been satisfactorily 
explained. The term Noghay was first used for the 
Noghays in the Russian sources at the end of the 15th 
century, and it spread in Russia and Europe during 
the 16th century. According to the most accepted 
interpretation, the ethnonym Noghay is connected to 
the name of Nogh ay , famous warlord and amir of the 
Golden Horde in whose army the Mangit tribe must 
have been a leading force. On the other hand, two 
facts severely hamper this theory: (a) it needs further 
elucidation why the ethnonym Noghay came into use 
only 150 years after Noghay's death in 1300; and (b) 
while Edigu's figure has been immemorialised in an 
extensive folk-epos, Noghay's personality has fallen 
out of folk-memory. 

2. Economy and society. Up till the 1860s, the 
Noghays were par excellence nomadic stock-breeders 
(horse, sheep, cattle, camel). They had practically no 
agriculture (only millet was known) or handicrafts; all 
these products were acquired through trade and/or as 
booty. All adult males were warriors (200,000 in the 
1550s), the total amount of inhabitants being approx- 
imately 350,000. Their society was organised accord- 
ing to clan and tribal principles, with an increasing 
number of feudal features from the 16th century 
onwards. The head of the political 

biy, whose sons and other male relatives, the murzas, 
stood at the head of the ulus or appanage. It was an 
amalgam of the clan and feudal system. The central 
power was very limited, and the murzas pursued 
sovereign foreign policies. Second in rank was the 
nuraddin (called so after Edigu's son), whose duty was 
defending the western borderland, while the kekovat 
(third in rank) was in charge of the eastern frontier. 
The capital of the Noghays was Saraydfk on the 
eastern bank of Lower Volga. In addition to the 
tribal-feudal aristocracy, the Muslim religious 
dignitaries, especially the sayyids, also played an 
important role in the Noghay social structure. 

3. Noghay-Russian contacts. From 1489 
onwards, exchange of envoys had become regular 
between Russia and the Noghay Horde. After 
Isma c il's death (1563), the heyday of the Noghay 
Horde was over and it soon dissolved. Part of them 
accepted Russian suzerainty, other tribes fell under 
Crimean Tatar and Ottoman rule, while the eastern 
part was assimilated by the Kazaks. In the 17th-18th 
centuries, a few independent Noghay hordes survived 
(e.g. the Yedisan, the Djemboyluk, etc.), lingering 
between the Russian and Ottoman great powers. In 
the 1 780s, subsequent to the annexation of the Cri- 
mean Khanate by the Russians, most Noghay groups 
fell under Russian jurisdiction. In 1858-66 a mass 
emigration of the Noghays to Turkey took place, but 
most of them were disappointed in their new 
homeland and returned to Russia. From the 1870s 
onwards, the Noghays have gradually been settled 
and forced to abandon their nomadism for 
agriculture. The vicissitudes of the Noghays con- 
tinued in the Soviet era, their administrative borders 
being changed several times. During the past few 
years they have been struggling for more cultural and 
regional autonomy within the Russian Federation. 
Bibliography: Prodolzenie drevney Rossiyskoy 
vivliofiki, vii-xi, St. Petersburg 1793-5; Pamyatniki 
diplomaticeskikh snosheniy drevney Rossii s derzavami 
inosirannimi, St. Petersburg 1895 (Sbornik Russkogo 
Istorileskogo Obshcestva, 41); P. Melioranskiy, 
Skazanie ob Edigee, St. Petersburg 1905; V.V. Bar- 
tol'd, OleU Edigeya, in Solineniya, ii/1, 797-804; 
A. A. Geraklitov, Istoriya Saratovskogo kraya v XVI- 
XVIII vv., Saratov-Moscow 1923, 104-36; M.G. 
Safargaliev, Nogayskaya Orda vo vtoroy polovine XVI 
veka, in Sbornik naucnikh raboi mordovskogo gos. 
pedinstiiuia im. A. I. Polezaeva, Saransk 1949, 32-56 
(useful); B.-A.B. Kocekaev, Klassovaya struktura 
nogayskogo obshcestva v XIX — nacala XX vv., Alma-Ata 
1969; V.M. Zirmunskiy, Tyurkskiy geroiceskiy epos, 
Leningrad 1974; E.A. Ponozenko, ObsMestvenniy 
stroy Nogayskoy Ordy v XV-seredim XVII vv. , in Vestnik 
Moskovskogo Universiteta, seriya "Pravo" 1977/4; 
F.G. Garipova, Dannie toponimii o nogayskom kom- 
ponente v etnogeneze kazanskikh tatar, in Issledovaniya po 
dialektologii i istorii tatarskogo yazika, Kazan' 1982, 
1 23-8; Posol'skaya kniga po svyazyam Rossii s Nogayskoy 
Ordoy 1489-1508 gg., Moscow 1984; B.-A.B. 
Kocekaev, Nogaysko-russkie otnosheniya v XV-XVIII 
vv., Alma-Ata 1988 (important); Obzor posol'skikji 
knig iz fondov-kollektsiy khra nyashc ikhsta v TSGADA 
(konets XV-nacalo XVIII v.), Sostavitel' N.M. 
Rogozin, Moscow 1990, 166-71 (important). 

(I. Vasary) 
NOUAKCHOTT, the capital of Mauritania 
[see murTtaniya]. It was created ex nihilo near a site 
occupied by a small village and a ksar [see kasr]. The 
choice of its situation was made the object of serious 
studies, since it was necessary that it should be accessi- 
ble, easily supplied with drinking water and distant 



enough from the Senegal River to escape inundations 
like that of 1950. Several plans of urban design were 
put forward even before independence was conceded 
to Mauritania (1960), and construction work, begun 
in 1958, has not ceased since that date in order to res- 
pond to a rapidly-increasing demographic growth 
because of the tendency of the nomads to become 
sedentarised and fixed and because of the massive 
migration of the peoples of the interior, driven forth 
by the desiccation which became severe during the 
years 1968-73 and searching for work. With an 
estimated population in 1974 of 100,000, the number 
of inhabitants rose to 600,000 by 1992. 

Situated in the midst of sand dunes, 7 km from the 
ocean, Nouakchott is the only real town of the coun- 
try, and comprises three parts: a westernised official 
and business centre (ministries, embassies, banks, 
trading establishments), better-quality residential 
quarters and, further out, the area of more or less 
precarious habitations of the less favoured population 
elements (in 1971, there were still 200 tents of nomads 
within the urban area). It has a relatively temperate 
climate (annual average of max. temp. 32°, and 
minima 1 1 "); rainfall is very variable from year to 
year, but the average is considered to be 135 mm. 
Water supply, from the wells in the Trarza, is a 
serious problem, and the town has a water-purifying 
plant. Retail trade is in the hands of Lebanese 
immigrants, who are always very active. External 
trade, in particular represented by the import of 
manufactured products and foodstuffs, and by the 
export of copper, hides and gum, has developed since 
1966, thanks to the construction of docks 7 km to the 
south-south-west of the capital. Electricity is provided 
by a central generator, and telephone installations 
exist in the government offices and in private homes. 
Communications within the town are not always easy 
since metalled roads are still sparse, and vehicles often 
get stuck in the sands once they leave the main roads. 
Connections with outside countries, and even with the 
interior of the country, are now more and more by air 
travel, thanks to the modern airport of Nouakchott 
and the improvised landing-strips which many places 
of middling importance possess. It is in fact extremely 
difficult to maintain roads and even tracks amidst 
moving sands. 

There remains an interesting question: the origin of 
the name Nouakchott, which even the Mauritanian 
government, which uses the French language, 
customarily spells thus. Its etymology has given rise to 
apparently endless controversies. For Mokhtar Ould 
Hamidoun and Cyr Descamps, Que veut dire 
Nouakchott?, in Notes Afiicaines, no. 118 (1969), 62-4, 
the town's name means "place where, when one digs 
a well, the water appears at a level where shells are 
found profusely". In reality, the Arabic form 
Anwdkshut is sufficiently clear, since it can be broken 
up as follows: a-n-wakshut, i.e. in Berber, "that of 
shells and shellfish", where a is a demonstrative pro- 
noun, and n the copula introducing the state of annex- 
ation of the word akesjjjhud (whose final emphatic is 
normally unvoiced to pass into Arabic as /). It should 
be noted that in the Berber speech of Morocco, in 
which this word exists, it means "woods". 

Bibliography: This is quite abundant, and has 

been felicitously utilised by J.-R. Pitte, Nouakchott, 

capitate de la Mauretanie, Paris 1977, to which one can 

refer. (J--F. Staszak and Ed.) 

NOYAN (pi. noyad), a Mongolian title, rendered 

in the Muslim chronicles of the Mongol and Timurid 

periods in the Arabic script as nuyan, nuyin, nuyin, etc. 

In the pre-Cinggisid period the noyad were the heredi- 

tary clan chieftains. Under Cinggis Khan and his suc- 
cessors, the title was granted initially as a military 
rank. According to the Secret History of the Mongols, § 
191 [tr. Cleaves, 119], in 1203 Cinggis Khan organi- 
sed his army according to the decimal system so often 
used before in steppe armies, with groups of ten, a 
hundred and a thousand, each under the command of 
a noyan. Hence the term came to mean "commander" 
(Boyle) or "captain" (Cleaves). The noyad have been 
called the "new aristocracy" of the Mongol Empire, 
and were a means by which the Mongol rulers, in con- 
structing their imperial machinery, were able to tran- 
scend the old clan system. The noyad were granted 
substantial rights of autonomy within their domains, 
and people and pasture in perpetuity. Under the 
Yuan regime in China, the term was used to refer to 
all officials serving in public posts (26,690 in the early 
14th century, according to one reckoning). 

Bibliography: F.W. Cleaves (tr.), The Secret His- 
tory of the Mongols, Cambridge, Mass. 1982; G. 
Doerfer, Turkische und mongolische Elemente im Neu- 
persischen, i, Wiesbaden 1963, 526-9; C. Hsiao, The 
military establishment of the Yuan dynasty, Cambridge, 
Mass. 1978; D.M. Farquhar, The government of 
China under Mongolian rule, Stuttgart 1990 

(D.O. Morgan) 
NU'AYM b. HAMMAD al-Khuza<I al-MarwazI, 
Abu c Abd Allah, a traditionist originally from 
Marw al-Rudh [q.n. ] who lived for a while in Egypt 
but above all in Baghdad where, having been invited 
to recognise the created nature of the Kur'an in the 
course of the mihna [q.v.], he refused to give his opin- 
ion and was thrown into one of the prisons at 
Samarra; he died there on 13 Djumada I 228/18 
February 843 (but other dates around this are also 
given). He received from Sufyan b. Mu'awiya, C A1I b. 
al-Mubarak and other muhaddiths [see hadith] tradi- 
tions which he in turn transmitted, notably to Yahya 
b. Ma c ih or al-Bukhari. He is nevertheless judged to 
have been suspect and is even freely accused by some 
scholars, such as al-Nasa'I and al-Darakutm, of 
fabricating hadiths in support of the most rigorous 
form of SunnI doctrine, of which he was a fervent 
defender. He is said, moreover, to have been a 
member of the Djahmiyya [q. v. ] at one period, before 
changing his views and accusing Abu HanTfa and 
c Amr b. 'Ubayd of having favoured the dissemination 
of this group's ideas. Whilst being thus discredited as 
a traditionist, he nevertheless acquired a reputation as 
a scholar regarding succession law (/araty [?.».]), to 
the point that he is sometimes dubbed Faric) or 

His biographers attribute to him "some" books, 

but it is only known that he left behind a Kitdb al-Fitan 

wa 'l-malahim, of which there is a ms. in the B.L., 

London (9449) and which was abridged by Nasr Allah 

b. <Abd al-Mun c im al-Tanukhl (604-73/1207-74; see 

F. al-Bustani, DaHrat al-ma c arif, s.v. Ibn Shukayr, iii, 

263c, who does not however cite this abridgement). 

Bibliography: Abu 'l- c Arab-KhushanI, Tabakat 

'■ulama' ljnkiya, Algiers 1915-Paris 1920, i, 32; al- 

Khatib al-Baghdadl, TaMkh Baghdad, xiii, 306-14; 

Abu Nu'aym, SLaalarat al-dhahab, ii, 66-7 (d. 228), 

67 (second notice, d. 229); Ibn c Asakir, Tabyan 

kadhib al-muftari, Damascus 1928, 383-4; DhahabI, 

Tadhkirat al-huffaz, Haydarabad 1376/1956, 418-20; 

idem, Mizan al-iHidal, iii, 238-9; Brockelmann, S I, 

257 (cf. II, 929, no. 26); A. Amln, (>uha al-Islam, ii, 

126; G. Vajda, in Arabica, viii/1 (1961), 99; W. 

Madelung, The Sufyani between tradition and history, in 

SI, lxiii (1986), 5-48 (based on Nu c aym's K. al- 

Fitan); J. Agnade, Eine Schrift des Nu c aim b. Hammdd 


und ihre Uberlieferung in Spanien, in Navicula Tu- 
bingensis. Studia in honorem Antonii Tovar, Tubingen 
1984; Zirikll, ix, 14; Katihala, xiii, 97; Sezgin, 
GAS, i, 104-5. _ _ (Ch. Pellat) 

NU'AYMA, MfKHA'lL (spelled Naimy in 
English language publications), modern Arabic 
author (b. 1889, Biskinta, Lebanon, d. 1989 in 
Lebanon). He received his schooling at the "Rus- 
sian" school founded by the "Russian Imperial 
Orthodox Palestine Society" in Biskinta, the training 
college instituted by the same society in Nazareth and 
the Diocesan Seminary in Poltava, Ukraine. In 1911 
he joined his emigrant brothers in the USA, who 
financed his studies at the University of Washington 
in Seattle. There he became a member of the "Free 
Syria" movement which stood for an independent 
Syria and Lebanon under French protection. Later, 
he would become secretary of this movement in which 
most of Nu'ayma's literary friends took part. It may 
be regarded as a forerunner of al-Rabita al-kalamiyya. 
MTkha'fl Nu'ayma obtained bachelor degrees in 
Law and in English Literature in 1916 and went to 
New York where his old-time friend Nasfb c Arida was 
publishing the Arabic literary magazine al-Funun 
("The Arts"). In New York he established contacts 
with Djubran Khalfl Djubran [see djabran khalil 
djabran], Rashid Ayyub and Illya Abu Madl. For his 
living he worked for the Russian delegation at the 
Bethlehem Steel Factories to purchase arms until 
Russia withdrew from the war in November 191 7. He 
was then conscripted into the USA army and sent to 
France where he witnessed the last battles of the war. 
Early in 1919 he returned to New York and in 1920 
he founded with his literary friends al-Rabita al- 
kalamiyya (English, Arrabita = "The Pen League"). 
He earned his living as a travelling salesman. In 1932 
he returned to Lebanon to devote himself to his pen. 
Nu c ayma's literary career started in Poltava, where 
he became acquainted with the works of the great 
Russian authors of that time. He especially admired 
Tolstoy and his Yasnaya Polyana. He composed 
poetry during this period and he kept a diary. During 
his stay in Seattle he began to contribute critical essays 
to al-Funun, calling for drastic changes in Arabic 
poetry and in criticism. He also contributed a 
serialised play al-Aba? wa 'l-banun ("Parents and 
Children"), which appeared in book form in 1917 in 
New York. His critical essays were published in al- 
Ghirbdl ("The Sieve") in 1923 at Cairo with a 
foreword by Mahmud c Abbas al- c Akkad [q.v. in 
Suppl.]. In Seattle he became acquainted with the 
teachings of theosophy which were to have a perma- 
nent influence on his writings, culminating in the 
English-language publication The book of Mirdad, 
Beirut 1948, translated by the author as Kitab Mirdad, 
Beirut 1952, and in books like al-Yawm al-akhlr ("The 
last day"), Beirut 1963, Ayyub ("Job"), Beirut 1967 
and Yd ibn Adam ("O son of Adam"), Beirut 1969. 
Nu'ayma published one collection of poetry Hams 
al-djufun ("Eyelids' whispering") Beirut [1943], 
which inspired Muhammad Mandur [q. v. ] to call this 
new type of poetry shi'r mahmus ("whispered 
poetry"). Nu'ayma further wrote some 80 stories 
which he collected in the volumes Kan makan ("Once 
upon a time"), Beirut 1937, Akabir ("Notables"), 
Beirut 1956 and Abu Batta ("The fat-calved man"), 
Beirut 1959. 

Nu c ayma's biography of Djubran (Arabic edition, 
Beirut 1934, English edition, New York 1950), show- 
ing the weaker sides of Djubran, produced a fierce 
shock to those who had already lifted Djubran beyond 
good and evil. Nu c ayma's most impressive work is his 

autobiography Sab'un ("Seventy"), Beirut 1959-60, 
in which he describes his early years in Biskinta, 
Nazareth and Poltava (vol. i), his life in the USA and 
the formation of Arrabita (vol. ii), and his life in 
Lebanon from 1932 until 1959 (vol. iii). 

Other works by Nu'ayma include: al-Marahil 
("Stages"), Beirut 1933; Zad al-ma'dd ("Food for the 
road"), Cairo 1936; al-Awthdn ("The idols"), Beirut 
1946; Karam '■aid darb ("A vineyard by the road"), 
Cairo 1946; Lika\ Beirut 1946, translated as Till we 
meet ..., Beirut 1957; Saw! al-'alam ("The voice of the 
world"), Cairo 1948; Mudhakkarat al-arkash, Beirut 
1949, translated as Memoirs of a vagrant soul, Beirut 
1952; al-Nur wa 'l-daydjur ("Light and darkness"), 
Beirut 1950; Fi mahabb ar-rih ("Windward"), Beirut 
1953; Dumb ("Roads"), Beirut 1954; Ab'ad min 
Musku wa-min Washintun ("Very far from Moscow and 
from Washington"), Beirut 1957; Hawamish 
("Marginals"), Beirut 1965; Fi 'l-ghirbal al-djadid 
("In the new sieve"), Beirut 1972; Naajwa al-gburub 
("Confidential whispers at sunset"), Beirut 1973; al- 
Maajmu'a al-kamila ("The complete works") 8 vols., 
including Makdlat mutafarrika ( = vol. vii, Uncollected 
essays) and RasaHl ( = vol. viii, Letters), Beirut 

Bibliography: Thurayya Malhas, Mikhd'il 
Nu'-ayma, al-adib al-sufi ("M.N. the Sufi author"), 
Beirut 1964; F. Gabrieli, L'autobiografia di Mikhail 
Nu'aima, in OM, xlix (1969), 381-7; N. Naimy, 
Mikhail Naimy. An introduction, Beirut 1967; Tunsi 
Zakka, Bayna Nu'ayma wa-Djubran ("Between 
Nu'ayma and Djubran"), Beirut 1971; Shaft al- 
Sayyid, Mikhail Nu'-ayma, [Cairo] 1972; Nadra 
Djamll al-Sarradj, Thaldthat ruwwdd min al-mahdjar 
("Three leading men of the Arab diaspora in the 
New World"), Cairo 1973; C. Nijland, Mikhail 
Nu'aymah, promoter of the Arabic literary revival, Istan- 
bul 1975; Nadim Nu'ayma, MikhaHl Nu'-ayma, tank 
al-dhat ild al-dhat ("M.N. The way from the self to 
the self), Beirut 1978; Nabil I. Matar, Adam and 
the serpent: notes on the theology of Mikhail Naimy, in 
JAL, xi (1980), 56-61; Nijland, Mikhail Nu'ayma: 
the biography of Gibran and the autobiography, in al- 
'Arabiyya, xv (1982), 7-15; A. Ghaith, La pensee 
religieuse chez 6ubran Haiti Gubran et MihaW Nu'ayma, 
Louvain 1990. (C. Nijland) 

NUBA, the mediaeval Islamic form for the land of 
Nubia, lying to the south of Egypt, and its peoples. 
1. Definition 

The names Nubia, Nubian, Nuba are commonly 
used without scientific precision and it is only in the 
linguistic sense that they have an unambiguous mean- 
ing. The frontier separating Nubia from Egypt proper 
is well defined as the first cataract of the Nile in the 
neighbourhood of Aswan, and the area where Nubian 
is spoken nowadays ends in the vicinity of the 18th 
parallel, but the southern limit of Nubia is sometimes 
placed as far south as the junction of the Atbara and 
the Nile or even the confluence of the two Niles. 
Nubia is often sub-divided into Lower Nubia from 
Aswan to Wadl Haifa and Upper Nubia from WadT 
Haifa southwards, but neither term has any political 
or administrative significance. 

The mediaeval Arabic writers are equally vague 
about the southern extent of Nubia: the region 
immediately bordering on Egypt, which bore the 
name of Marls [q. v.] , seems to have been regarded as 
Nubia par excellence; to the south of it lay Mukurra with 
its capital at Dongola (Dunkula, Dumkula), and 
beyond this the kingdom of c Alwa, the capital of 
which was Soba, near the site of the modern Khar- 
tum. According to the 4th/10th century author c Abd 

Allah b. Ahmad b. Sallm (Sulaym?, quoted by al- 
MakrizI) Maris and Mukarra had distinct languages, 
and the frontier between them was situated three post- 
stations (band) to the south of the Third Cataract; 
politically, however, Maris formed part of Mukurra 
and this probably accounts for the fact that Ibn Sallm 
immediately afterwards places the commencement of 
Mukurra at a day's journey from Aswan. The frontier 
between Mukurra and 'Aiwa was the district of al- 
Abwab, a name still in use for the country round 
Kabushiyya in Berber province. c Alwa is generally 
placed outside Nubia, and the preamble to the treaty 
which governed the political relations between 
Nubians and Arabs makes its provisions incumbent 
on "the chief of the Nubians and all people of his 
dominions .... from the frontier of Aswan to the fron- 
tier of c Alwa"; yet al-Mas c udi speaks of c Alwa as part 
of Nubia and states that it is under the political 
suzerainty of Mukurra. According to Yakut, Bulddn, 
ed. Beirut, v, 308-9, Nubia extends along the Nile a 
distance of eighty days journey, Dongola being 
situated halfway at forty days' distance from Aswan; 
of c Alwa he speaks, with obvious exaggeration of the 
distance, as a people beyond Nubia three months' 
journey from the king of the Nuba, whose official title 
is "King of Mukurra and Nuba". 

Bibliography: E. Quatremere, Memoire sur la 
Nubie ( = Memoires geogr. et hist, sur I'Egyple, ii), Paris 
1811, contains trs. of all the important passages 
from Arabic authors; J. Marquart, Die Benin- 
Sammlung des Reichsmuseums fir Volkerkunde, Leiden 
1913, pp. ccxlviii ff. See also c alwa, dongola, al- 


2. History 

(a) Up to the Fatimid period 

Nubia was called in Pharaonic times the Land of 
Kush [q.v.], and is vaguely mentioned in Herodotus 
and other Greek authors as part of the land of the 
Aethiopes; the name Nubia has been used since 
mediaeval times (see W.Y. Adams, Nubia, corridor to 
Africa, Princeton 1977, 13). In the Arabic sources it is 
often imprecisely described as part of the Bilad al- 
Suddn "land of the blacks", although the term Sudan 
with concrete references to a political entity appears 
only after the Turco-Egyptian conquest of 1821 (Y.F. 
Hasan (ed.), Sudan in Africa, Khartum 1985, 1 ff.). 

Nubians were renowned as archers and were 
recruited by the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies as 
mercenaries. In Roman times, there were military 
camps in Dodekaschoinos, i.e. the northernmost part 
of Nubia, but the Roman military presence ended in 
298 A.D. when Diocletian withdrew the last Roman 
guards from the region and established the Roman 
frontier at Syene (modern Aswan). Meanwhile, the 
rest of Nubia formed a separate kingdom, already in 
existence since 750 B.C., inhabited by an African 
people and with its capital first at Napata and then at 
Meroe. But the latter state collapsed in the mid-4th 
century with the invasion of king 'Ezana of Axum, 
after which various unknown peoples came in and 
merged with the existing population of Nubia, and 
amongst all these ethnic groups the names of the 
Blemmyes and Noubades are notable (see V. 
Christides, Ethnic movements in southern Egypt and 
northern Sudan: Blemmyes-Beja in Late Antique and early 
Arab Egypt until 707 A.D., in Lisly Filologicke, ciii 
[1980], 129-43; L. Torok, Late Antique Nubia, 
Budapest 1986, 27 ff.). In spite of their rivalry, these 
two groups seem to have tried to unite against the 
Byzantines in the mid-5th century, but the Byzantine 
emperors used Nubia in a grandiose plan to dominate 
the Red Sea region and extend their influence as far 

as Yemen (see Christides, in Annales d'Elhiopie, ix 
[1972], 115-46). Within Nubia south of 
Dodekaschoinos, three independent kingdoms 
emerged, sc. Nobatia, Makuria or Mukurra [qv.] 
and Alodia or 'Aiwa [q.v.]. 

The Arab conquest of Egypt inevitably affected 
Nubia, and according to the Futuh al-Bahnasd, Bedja- 
Blemmyes [see bedja] and Noubades participated in 
the Byzantine defence of Upper Egypt against the 
Arabs (see J. Jarry, in Annales Islamologiques, ix [1970], 
9-20). The first Arab raids against Nubia took place 
before the final conquest of Egypt in 645 A.D., but 
these were probably defensive actions against the har- 
ryings of the Nubians rather than evidence of a 
definite plan to invade the distinctly inhospitable 
region of Nubia, just as the Arabs' use of the shipyard 
at Clysma or Kulzum [q.v.] was aimed at safeguar- 
ding the flow of grain across the Red Sea against 
Bedja-Blemmyes pirates there. An Arab raid under 
Nafi c b. c Abd al-Kays al-Fihri took place in 21/641-2 
and another by c Abd Allah b. Abl Sarh in 31/651-2, 
when the Muslims penetrated as far as Dongola [q. v. ] , 
destroying its basilica. After this, a truce was made 
between the Arabs and the Nubians, sealed by the 
:elebrated bakt (q. v. , and also P. Forand, Early Muslim 
■elations with Nubia, in hi., xlviii [1971], and M. Hinds 
and H. Sakkout, in Wadad al-Qadi (ed.), Studia 
Arabica el hlamica, Festschrift for Ihsdn 'Abbas, Beirut 
981, 210 ff). This comprised a trade agreement but 
as also a bilateral treaty of non-aggression and non- 
itervention between the two powers, and in future 
mes was to play a significant role in Arab-Nubian 

During the Umayyad period, trade relations were 
mportant: Egyptian exports to Nubia included 
:ereals and wine, whilst Nubia exported mainly slaves 
but also iron and camels, furnished by the Bedja- 
Blemmyes. An Arabic papyrus of 141/758, just after 
the fall of the Umayyads, sent from the governor of 
Egypt to the king of Nubia, refers to the mistreatment 
of Arab merchants (see Hinds and Sakkout, op. cil.; 
J.M. Plumley, An eighth-century Arabic letter to the King 
of Nubia, in Jnal. of Egyptian Archaeology, Ixi [1975], 
241-5; and in general, Christides, Nubia and Egypt from 
the Arab invasion of Egypt until the end of the Umayyads, in 
Procs. of the Seventh Internal. Conference for Nubian Studies, 
Geneva 1990). Towards the end of the Umayyad 
period, the king Kyriakos invaded Egypt in order to 
release the Patriarch Anba Mlkha'fl, who had been 
imprisoned by the Muslims; and it was to Nubia that 
two children of the last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II 
[q.v.], fled after the 'Abbasid Revolution (see Y.F. 
Hasan, The Arabs in the Sudan, Edinburgh 1967, 28 ff; 
G. Vantini, Christianity in the Sudan, Verona 1981, 
75 ff.). 

During the 'Abbasid period, Nobadia gradually 
became incorporated in Mukurra, whilst c Alwa fol- 
lowed a similar cultural pattern to the other states, so 
that a degree of homogeneity was achieved through- 
out Nubia; it was not however until the 9th century 
that the Bedja-Blemmyes seem to have formed an 
organised kingdom, when we hear of a punitive raid 
into their land of 218/831 under the Arab general 
c Abd Allah b. Djahm, ended by a peace agreement in 
which an annual tribute to the Arabs of camels was 
promised (see al-Ya c kubi, TaMkh, i, 218; al-Makrizi, 
Khital, ed. Wiet, Cairo 1927, iii, 272-5; Hasan, The 
Arabs and the Sudan, 38-41). Later in this century, the 
presence of gold mines in their land seems to have 
become generally known to the Muslims, for al- 
Mutawakkil in 241/855-6 sent his general Muham- 
mad b. c Abd Allah al-Kummi on a successful expedi- 

tion against the Bedja in order to secure access to the 
gold mines in their country on the western shores of 
the Red Sea (al-Tabari, iii, 1428-33, tr. J.L. 
Kraemer, Albany 1989, 141-5). 

Over the next centuries, relations between Nubia 
and the Muslims revolved round the twin facts of the 
balft, with disputes over the number of black slaves to 
be delivered to the caliphs and with the penetration of 
Muslim traders into Nubia and the land of the Bedja- 
Blemmyes (seen in the number of Arabic inscriptions 
on tomb stones there from the mid-3rd/9th century 
onwards), and with the constant interference of the 
rulers of Nubia in the Christian church affairs of 
Egypt, since the Nubian kingdom was deeply 
theocratic, with the ruler as priest-king. 

Under the Fa[imids of Egypt, the balft continued to 
be sent, with the conqueror Djawhar sending an 
immediate embassy to King George II of Nubia (969- 
1002) regarding it, although the emphasis now seems 
to have been on the sending of beasts and exotica (see 
B.I. Beshir, New light on Nubian-Fatimid relations, in 
Arabica, xxii [1975], 15-24). The Fa(imids managed to 
penetrate deeply into Nubia and to protect the 
maritime trade in the Red Sea, with a special fleet 
constructed against piracy there (al-KalkashandT, 
Subh, iii, 468-9, 524). The Christian Church in Nubia 
continued to be dependent on the Patriarchate of 
Alexandria, with Monophysitism in the ascendant in 
Nubia after the Arab conquest of Egypt but with the 
emergence of a stronger Melkite element in the more 
tolerant Fatimid times, reflected in Nubia also; see U. 
Monneret de Villard, Storia della Nubia cristiana, Rome 
1938, 128 ff. 

Bibliography: Given in the article. But see also 
for the study of Islamic archaeological evidence, still 
in its infancy, W.Y. Adams, Islamic archaeology in 
Nubia, an introductory survey, in T. Hagg (ed.), Nubian 
culture, past and present, Stockholm 1987, 327-61, and 
Ali Osman Mohamed Salih, Nationalist archaeology: 
the case of the Sudan, in Proa, of the Seventh Internal. 
Conference for Nubian Studies, Geneva 1990, and for 
relations between mediaeval Nubia and Africa, 
P.L. Shinnie, The culture of medieval Nubia and its 
impact on Africa, in Hasan (ed.), Sudan in Africa, 42- 
50. See also D. Ayalon, The Nubian Dam, in JSAI, 
xii (1989), 372-90. (V. Christides) 

(b) From the Ayyubid period to the 16th 

With the advent to power in Egypt of the Ayyubids 
[q.v.\ in 567/1171, Nubian affairs came into some 
prominence when in 568/1172-3 a coalition of the 
dispossessed Fa(imids' black troops (al-suddn) and the 
Nubians attacked an island just south of Aswan, pro- 
voking intervention by the troops of Salah al-Dln 
under the sultan's brother Shams al-Dawla Turan 
Shah, who devastated Ibrfm (which had apparently 
reverted to Nubian control since the Ikhsjildid capture 
of it in 345/957) and carried off a large number of cap- 
tives. Soon after this, in ca. 1208, Abu Salih al- 
Armanl(see on him, Graf, GCAL, ii, 338-40) compos- 
ed his account of the churches and monasteries of 
Egypt (ed. and tr. B.T.A. Evetts and A.J. Butler, Ox- 
ford 1894-5), which contains some interesting details 
about Maris, al-Mukurra, and c Alwa, but must be 
used with caution owing to the confusion in the 
writer's mind between Nubia and Abyssinia and his 
uncritical use of older authorities. 

The factors which brought about the disintegration 
of the Nubian kingdom and the islamisation of the 
country were the immigration of Arab tribes, the rise 
of the Banu '1-Kanz [q.v.], and the intervention in 
Nubian affairs of the Mamluk rulers of Egypt, 

especially during the reigns of al-Zahir Baybars [q.v.] 
and al-Mansur Kalawun [q.v.]. 

The Banu '1-Kanz are first heard of in 397/1007 
when the Fa(imid caliph al-Hakim, as a reward for 
services rendered, conferred the hereditary title of 
Kanz al-Dawla on Abu Makarim Hibat Allah, a chief 
of the Rabl'a Arabs who had settled on the borderland 
between Egypt and the Sudan. Already in the 
4th/10th century the Rabl'a had gained control of the 
mines of al- c AllakI and imposed their rule on the 
Bedja [q.v.] with whom they allied themselves by in- 
termarriage. Another section, settled near Aswan, 
fraternised with the local Nubians, and the tribe, 
formed by this amalgamation and ruled by the Kanz 
al-Dawla dynasty, came to be known as the Banu '1- 
Kanz; they are represented by the Kenuz of the pres- 
ent day. During the period of the Mamluks, they were 
virtually in independent control of Upper Egypt, 
alternately in alliance with or in revolt against the 
Mamluk government, and though repressed at times 
with a heavy hand, they remained a powerful tribe 
until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt. Before this 
event, however, they had played their part, together 
with nomad Arabs and Mamluk troops, in the 
destruction of Nubian independence. 

The Bahri Mamluks, for reasons not apparent in 
our sources, departed from the traditional policy of 
Muslim Egypt, and actively intervened in Nubian af- 
fairs. The pretext for the expeditions undertaken by 
the generals of Baybars and Kalawun were non- 
payment of the tribute and, more frequently, the 
championship of Nubian pretenders who had solicited 
Egyptian support in order to gain the throne. On 
several occasions, such proteges of the Mamluk 
government were installed in Dongola [q.v.] only to 
lose the throne again as soon as the Egyptian troops 

A formal treaty concluded with one of these kings 
virtually established an Egyptian protectorate. Mean- 
while, the disintegration of the kingdom went on 
under the pressure of Arab immigration, and Arab 
chiefs who married into the royal house took advan- 
tage of the matrilinear line of succession to grasp at 
the throne. The age-long Christianity of Nubia was 
gradually undermined and in the 8th/14th century 
Muslim kings begin to appear. The first king to bear 
a Muslim name was Sayf al-DIn c Abd Allah Barsham- 
bu, a nephew of the Christian king David, who was 
installed by a Mamluk force sent out by Sultan al- 
Nasir Muhammad b. Kalawun under c Izz al-Dln 
Aybak in 716/1316; the new king c Abd Allah was, 
however, speedily overthrown by Kanz al-Dawla. 
From the manual for secretaries, al-Ta'-rifbi 'l-mustalah 
al-sharifof Ibn Fadl Allah al- c UmarI [q.v.] (written in 
741/1340), we learn that at this date Christian kings 
still alternated with Muslims, and Ibn Ba([u[a in 
753/1352 (iv, 396) speaks of the Nubians as Christ- 
ians, but mentions a Muslim king (Ibn Kanz al-DIn). 
Of the conversion of the common people we have no 
details: no doubt it was brought about by the absorp- 
tion of the native inhabitants, or those who survived, 
in the Arab tribes. 

The immigration itself has left little trace in the 
pages of the historians, though the outlines of the pro- 
cess can be reconstructed from occasional references 
and from oral tradition. The nomads who had entered 
Egypt in the wake of the first conquest can never have 
found that country congenial to their mode of life, and 
the rise of non-Arab dynasties tended to make condi- 
tions still less attractive, while the Sudan seemed to of- 
fer all the advantages, from the nomads' point of 
view, that Egypt denied. For a long time, the 


kingdom of Dongola formed an effective barrier to 
southward expansion, but a gradual infiltration of 
Arabs must have begun at a comparatively early date, 
even though the end of the process was not accom- 
plished for several centuries. 

The early stages of the movement are seen in the 
conditions depicted in the story of Abu < Abd al- 
Rahman al-'Umari, the events of which are laid in the 
reign of Ahmad b. Tulun (i. e . the later 3rd/9th cen- 
tury) (al-Maknzfs Kitab al-Mukaffa, quoted by 
Quatremere, Memoire sur la Nubie, ii, 59-80). Arabs of 
Rabr'a and Djuhayna, led into the Sudan by that 
adventurous prince, have fraternised with the Bedja 
and exploit the mines of the Eastern Desert, but the 
Nile is forbidden them and Nubia is too strong to be 
attempted by force of arms. A fratricidal struggle in 
the Nubian royal house provides an opportunity for 
an alliance between the Arabs and a princely 
pretender to the throne. Acts of unblushing treachery 
are committed on both sides and in the end the Arabs 
have the worst of the encounter. The end of the pro- 
cess is seen in the 8th/14th century, when the kingdom 
of Nubia ceased to exist except as a puppet state con- 
trolled by the Muslim Arab tribes who gradually over- 
ran the country, a process noted by Ibn Khaldun 
(Hbar, Beirut 1956-71, v, 922-3) as having led to 
something like anarchy in Nubia. The ascendancy of 
the nomads clearly affected Nubian Christianity 
adversely. The Churches of Alexandria and Nubia 
gradually became disassociated with each other, and 
churches and monasteries in Nubia must have been 
looted and dispersed at this time, although Nubian 
pilgrims were noted in Jerusalem (where in the 1 4th 
century the Nubians possessed a chapel in the Church 
of the Holy Sepulchre which soon, however, passed to 
the Armenians and then the Georgians) as late as ca. 

Of 'Aiwa [q.v.] further to the south, little is heard 
at this time. It was a reservoir of slave manpower, fre- 
quented by Muslim slave traders and by merchants 
from al-Mukurra to the north who came to collect 
slaves to pay the bakt. Mamluk pressure on al- 
Mukurra (see above) was felt in 'Aiwa, and already in 
the time of Ibn Khaldun (later 8th/14th century) we 
hear of branches of Djuhayna "close to the Abyssi- 
nians", that is to say no doubt on the upper reaches 
of the Blue Nile in the southern Djazlra. The kingdom 
of 'Aiwa nevertheless lingered on precariously and 
Nubian Christianity was still a living memory in the 
time of the Portuguese Alvarez (1520-7), but in ca. 
1 500 the capital Soba fell to an alliance of Kawasma 
Arabs (a branch of Rufa'a-Djuhayna) and the negroid 
Fundj [q.v], who here for the first time appear in 

The 9th/l 5th century is almost completely barren of 
records relating to Nubia, and the historical memory 
of the present inhabitants remembers little of pre- 
Fundj days. With the coming of the Fundj, who soon 
extended their influence to Dongola, the history of 
Nubia is merged in that of the Sudan, and the Nu- 
bians, now Muslims and deeply affected by racial 
mixture with their conquerors, survive only as a 
linguistic minority on the northern fringe of their an- 

Lower Nubia, however, was politically separated 
from the Fundj kingdom by the Ottoman sultan Sellm 
I, who annexed the country south of Aswan as far as 
the neighbourhood of the Third Cataract, and gar- 
risoned it with Turkish and Bosnian mercenaries 
(called G_huzz by the people of the Sudan). 

For the subsequent history of the region, see fundi; 

Bibliography: E. Quatremere, Memoire sur la 
Nubie, in Memoires geographiques et historiques sur 
I'Egyple, ii, Paris 1811; J. Marquart, Die Benin- 
Sammlung des Reichsmuseums fur Vblkerkunde, Leiden 
1913, pp. CCXLVIII ff.; H.A. MacMichael, A 
history of the Arabs in the Sudan, Cambridge 1922; J. S. 
Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, London 1965, 67- 
80; Yusuf Fadl Hasan, The Arabs and the Sudan, 
Edinburgh 1967, 96-132; W.Y. Adams, Nubia, cor- 
ridor to Africa, Princeton 1984, 522 ff. On the Ot- 
toman period, see M. Hinds and H. Sakkout, 
Arabic documents from the Ottoman period from Qasr 
Ibrim, London 1986; Hinds and V. Menage, Qasr 
Ibrim in the Ottoman period: Turkish and further Arabic 
documents, London 1991. 

(S.Hillelson-[C.E. Bosworth]) 
3. Languages 

The name Nub(i)a is first attested in Eratosthenes 
(ca. 200 B.C.). Its etymology is probably an 
autochthonous word for "slave". The term Nuba was 
originally applied by the Arabs to the Nile Nubians 
and later extended to cover other enslaved groups. It 
has since come to represent an ambiguous linguistic 
designation based on geography. About 50 tribes liv- 
ing in the Nuba Mountains (Dar Nuba) of Southern 
Kordofan province, Sudan (an area of about 30,000 
square miles), can be denoted as Nuba. Many are 
from diverse racial and linguistic backgrounds, 
having fled to the region as a result of the Arab slave 
trade of the 17th-19th centuries. Almost all are 
Muslims, except for some Hill groups. Many Nuba 
tribes are named after the hills in which they reside. 
The Nuba (Mountains) languages belong to two 
families: (1) (Niger-)Kordofanian, and (2) the East 
Sudanic branch of Nilo-Saharan, which contains 
Songhai, Fur, Maban, etc. 

(Niger-)Kordofanian is subdivided into Niger- 
Congo, the Kadugli-Krongo group (thought by some 
to be Nilo-Saharan), and Kordofanian proper. The 
latter, whose linguistic development occurred in the 
Nuba Mountains, has the longest history. Among the 
better known Kordofanian languages are the Heiban 
group, Moro and Otoro. Some Kordofanian 
languages go by different designations; thus Koalib 
(30,000 speakers) is also called Ka/owalib, N(g)irere, 
Rere, Nuba, Lgalige and Abri. 

East Sudanic is subdivided into eastern and western 
branches, plus Kuliak and Nilotic (e.g., Shilluk, 
Dinka, Bari). An example of a Proto-East Sudanic 
reconstruction is PES 'lelo(ng) "cow" > Birked lei, 
Kadaru ti, Majang tang, Murle tang, Gaam to and 
Mongo teenge (Ross 1991). 

The eastern group, which includes such languages 
as Daju (spoken in Chad), Nyimang and Temein, has 
three subdivisions: Eastern Jebel, Nubian and 
Surma. The Nubian group (disparagingly called 
Barabra by Arabs) is well documented, and has five 
constituents: (1) Central, including Birked (extinct) 
and Dongolawi (Kenzi or Matoki); (2) Hill Nubian 
(Kadaru, Ghulfan, Debri); (3) Unclassified Hill 
Nubian (Dair, Dilling, Karko, Wall); (4) Northern 
Nubian (Nobiin or Mahas-Fadidja [Fadicca]); and (5) 
Western Nubian or M(e)Idob. Thelwall and 
Schadeberg (1983) note that Birked and Hill Nubian 
once formed a single unit. Dongolawi, with over a 
million speakers, is sometimes called Ratana, 
originally an Arabic pejorative label (< A. ratana 
"gibberish"), and has a 67% lexical similarity with 
Nobiin; cf. Nubi or Ki-Nubi (rutddn niibi), an East 
African Arabic Creole emanating from the Sudan in 
the 19th century. 

More is known about the Nubian past than that of 

any other East Sudanic people. Although the Nubians 
established their Empire of Cush in ca. 850 B.C. with 
its capital at Meroe, Meroitic (written in a script 
derived from Egyptian Demotic) is unrelated to any 
form of Nubian. Lexicostatistics has shown that in the 
first millennium B.C., Nubians migrated from Darfur 
to the Nile. Old Nubian developed in the 6th century 
A.D. with the rise of the Christian Nubian kingdoms. 
It is a direct ancestor of Nile Nubian and is closest to 
Nobiin. All Old Nubian texts (the last in 1484 A.D.) 
appear to come from the Nobiin north. The 
geographical distribution of the two major Nubian 
dialects continues to remain puzzling. The Kenuz, 
who inhabit Upper Egypt north of Wadi Haifa and 
came from Dongola, speak a Nubian dialect hardly 
distinguishable from the Dongolawl. However, these 
two groups are separated by the Nobiin, who are 
located along the Nile between them. 

Bibliography: For older bibl., see Hillelson's EI' 
art. Of modern studies, see R. Thelwall and T.C. 
Schadeberg, The linguistic settlement of the Nuba Moun- 
tains, in Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika, v (1983), 
219-31 (fundamental); Marianne Bechaus-Gerst, 
Sprachliche und historische Rekonstruktionen im Bereich des 
Nubischen unter besonderer Beriicksichtigung des Nilnu- 
bischen, in ibid., vi-vii (1984), 7-134 (useful); 
Schadeberg, Kordqfanian, in The Niger-Congo 
languages, ed. J. Bendor-Samuel, Lanham, 
Maryland 1989, 67-80; J. Ross, A preliminary attempt 
at the reconstruction of Proto-Eastem Sudanic phonology 
and lexicon, Southern Illinois University, Carbon- 
dale, M.A. thesis, 1991, unpubl.; Aleya Rouchdy, 
Nubians and the Nubian language in contemporary Egypt, 
Leiden 1991 (useful). (A.S. Kaye) 

4. The modern peoples of Nubia 
The Barabra, as a separate group from the 
Danagla, are collectively referred to by other 
Sudanese as Halfawiyyin (literally: those who come 
from the town of Haifa). The term Nubiyyin 
(Nubians), on the other hand, refers to both the 
Barabra and the Danagla. The Barabra live in Aswan 
Province in upper Egypt and the Northern State of 
Sudan. The Danagla live only in the Northern State. 
Both groups are small-scale cultivators, skilful 
boatmen and are renowned for their domestic service. 
Date-palms are grown as a cash crop and cultivators 
have taken advantage of mechanical irrigation, intro- 
duced early this century, to cultivate more land with 
a variety of crops. The narrow strips of arable land on 
the banks of the Nile are insufficient to meet the 
demands of a rising population, hence the Barabra 
and Danagla are forced to emigrate. They are adap- 
table and enterprising, the men seeking work oppor- 
tunities in other parts of Egypt, Sudan and, more 
recently, in the oil-rich countries of the Arab world 
where they are engaged in various professions. 
Wherever they go they maintain a strong cultural 
identity and keep links with their homeland. Though 
the Barabra and Danagla have been influenced by 
Arab culture and Islam, their cultural identity is 
manifest in their dialects, traditions and attitudes. 
Even in urban centres in Sudan and Egypt this iden- 
tity is maintained in the social clubs which they have 

As a result of the agreement between Sudan and in 
Egypt in 1959 to resettle the Nubians affected by the 
creation of the High Dam reservoir lake (the Nuba 
Lake in Sudan and Lake Nasir in Egypt), it is 
estimated that about 50,000 Sudanese and 70,000 to 
120,000 Egyptian Nubians lost their homes, land and 
their date-palms. The resettlement scheme, located in 
eastern Sudan along the upper Afbara River near the 

Sudan-Ethiopia border, known as Khashm al-Girba, 
absorbed 40,000 Sudanese Nubians in 1964-5. Here 
the relocated Nubians were granted landholdings and 
new homes; a new town was named Haifa al-Djadlda 
(New Haifa) as a replacement to old Haifa which was 
inundated by the reservoir lake. The new villages 
established by the scheme were named after those 
which had been inundated in their homeland. Many 
amenities were introduced and planners were anxious 
to recreate the traditional architecture and physical 
layout of the submerged villages. Despite their 
displacement, the Nubians have accepted the 
inevitable and established good relations with the 
neighbouring nomadic tribes. The Nubians in Egypt, 
who were affected by the inundation, were resettled in 
the region of Kom Ombo, about 60 km/35 miles north 
of Aswan, and the resettlement area was named New 

Before and since Sudan's independence in 1956, 
the Barabra and Danagla have played a part in the 
country's cultural development and politics. They are 
generally devout Muslims and most of them belong to 
the MIrghaniyya (Khatmiyya [q.v.]) tarika. They are 
keen to take advantage of education facilities and 
show an aptitude for the educational professions and 
business. Many have achieved prominent positions in 
government, politics, the arts and in the civil service. 
Three Nubian singers are popular and famous: the 
late Khalil Farah, Muhammad WardI and Hamza 
c Ala> al-Dln. The most remarkable figure was 
Muhammad Ahmad [q.v.], the Mahdi of the Sudan 
(d. 1885), who was a Dongolawl, though his family 
claim to be sharifs. Another Dongolawl who has 
gained political prominence is Dja'far Muhammad 
Numayri, a military officer, who came to power 
through a military coup and ruled Sudan from 1969 
until 1985. 

Bibliography (for older bibliography, see 
Hillelson, in EI 1 ): S.F. Nadel, The Nuba: An 
anthropological study of the hill tribes of Kordofan, Lon- 
don 1947; D. Tothill (ed.), Agriculture in the Sudan, 
London 1948; R. Herzog, Die Nubier. Unter- 
suchungen und Beobachtungen zur Gruppenliederung, 
Gesellschaftsform und Wirtschaftsweise, Berlin 1957; 
K.M. Barbour, The republic of the Sudan. A regional 
geography, London 1961; J. Vercoutter, Sudanese 
Nubia and African history , in United Nations Review, viii 
(1961); L. Greener, High dam over Nubia, London 
1962; R. Herzog, Dringliche Erforschung unter den 
Nubiern, in Bulletin of the International Committee on 
urgent anthropological and ethnological research, v (1962); 
A. Kronenberg and W. Kronenberg, Parallel cousin 
marriage in medieval and modern Nubia, in Kush, xiii 
(1965); T. Little, High dam at Aswan, London 1965; 
J.S. Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan 1 , London 1965; 
R. Fernea (ed.), Contemporary Egyptian Nubia, 2 
vols., New Haven 1966; W.Y. Adams, Continuity 
and change in Nubian cultural history, in Sudan Notes and 
Records, xlviii (1967); Yusuf Fadl Hasan, The Arabs 
and the Sudan, Edinburgh 1967; J. Kennedy, Nubian 
zar ceremonies as psychotherapy, in Human organisation, 
xxvi (1967); idem, Mushuhara: a Nubian concept of 
supernatural danger and the theory of taboo, in American 
Anthropologist, lxix(1967); D. Lee, The Nubian house: 
persistence of a cultural tradition, in Landscape, xviii/1 
(1969); Sondra Hale, Nubians: a study in ethnic iden- 
tity, Khartoum 1971; G. Sorbo, Economic adaptations 
in Kashm el-Girba: a study of settlement problems in the 
Sudan, Khartoum 1971 ; C. Callender and Fadwa El 
Guindi, Life-crises rituals among the Kenuz, Cleveland 
and London 1971 ; Hussein M. Fahim, Nubian reset- 
tlement in the Sudan, Miami 1972; Marian Wenzel, 


House decoration in Nubia, London 1972; Sondra 
Hale, Nubians in the urban milieu: Great Khartoum, in 
Sudan Notes and Records, liv (1973); Hassan Dafalla, 
The Nubian exodus, London 1975; R. Keating, 
Nubian rescue, London 1975; P.M. Holt and M.W. 
Daly, The history of the Sudan. From the coming of Islam 
to the present day, London 1980; J. Spaulding, Kora. 
A theme in Nubian cultural history, in Africa Today, 
xxviii/2 (1981); R.A. Lobban, A genealogical and 
historical study of the Mahas of the "Three Towns". 
Sudan, in The International Journal of African Historical 
Studies, xvi/2 (1983); W.Y. Adams, Nubia. Corridor 
to Africa 2 , Princeton 1984; El Haj Bilal Omer, The 
Danagla traders of Northern Sudan, London 1985. 

NUBAR PASHA (1825-99), a high-ranking 
official, statesman, and reformer of Armenian 
origin who held positions under six viceroys of Egypt 
at a time when the country was falling under Euro- 
pean influence and control. Born in Smyrna and 
educated in France and Switzerland, Nubar was 
translator for Ibrahim Pasha [q.v.]. Chief Translator 
for 'Abbas Hilml I [q.v.\, Secretary and Director of 
Communications and Railways for Sa'Id Pasha, and, 
under the Khedive Isma'fl Pasha [q.v.], Chief 
Translator, Director of Public Works, Head of 
Foreign Affairs, and Director of Commerce. He also 
served as President of the Council of Ministers under 
Isma'fl and two subsequent viceroys, and was foreign 
minister in fact for over two decades. Nubar was per- 
sonally involved in many of the major developments 
of the time, particularly the Alexandria-Cairo railway 
project (1851), the Suez Canal arbitration award 
(1864), the procuring of the 1873 firman, the establish- 
ment of the Mixed Courts (1875), and the political 
crisis of 1875-9. He also served as an agent in 
negotiating some of the private and public loans taken 
out by Sa'Td and Isma'Il, and helped reorganise 
Egypt's transportation system. 

Crucial to Nubar's rise and success were the well- 
placed connections of his family, which included in- 
laws in Istanbul and a powerful uncle in the Egyptian 
court, who secured him his first position; the support 
of European diplomatic representatives (something 
which occasionally brought him into the ruler's 
disfavour); and his own extraordinary ability to make 
himself useful to viceroys in need of men who knew 
and understood Europe (Nubar was entirely Western 
in culture and spoke all the major languages of 

In his memoirs, Nubar presents himself as a grand 
reformer and defender of Egypt. Declaring his aim to 
be that of limiting the power of both the European 
consuls and the viceroy, Nubar discusses his strategy 
for the independence and development of Egypt, 
which included an increase in its transit trade, the 
build-up of the ports of Alexandria and Suez, the 
introduction of European technicians and expertise, 
and the establishment of the rule of law by means of 
Mixed Courts, which, he claims, could have protected 
the country against exploitation. 

Yet Nubar did more to advance the cause of Europe 
than any other official in the viceroy's service. The 
Alexandria-Cairo railway project (which Nubar had 
suggested to 'Abbas Hilml I) increased British influ- 
ence; the huge indemnity imposed upon Egypt by the 
Suez Canal arbitration enriched European money 
lenders and despoiled the Egyptian treasury; the loans 
Nubar helped negotiate led to Egypt's bankruptcy 
and the establishment of European fiscal control (in 
his memoirs, Nubar denies all responsibility for 
Egypt's debt); and the Mixed Courts became 

instruments of European political 
Between 1875 and 1879, Nubar allied himself with 
Europe in a successful effort to bring down the ruler, 
Isma'fl Pasha, weakening the political structure and 
opening the way to a rebellion and the British occupa- 
tion. Blinded by his own ambition to be maker of 
politics, Nubar misjudged the amount of power that 
was left to local politicians and ended his days as an 
official in a British-controlled administration. 

Bibliography: CM. Bell, Khedives and Pashas, 
London 1884; E. Bertrand, Nubar Pacha, 1825- 
1899, Cairo 1904; M.B. Ghali, ed., Memoires de 
Nubar Pacha, Beirut 1983; A. Holynski, Nubar-Pacha 
devant I'histoire, Paris 1886; F.R. Hunter, Egypt under 
the Khedives, 1805-1879, Pittsburgh 1984; M. Sabry, 
L' Empire Egyplien sous Ismail el I'ingerence anglo- 
francaise, Paris 1933; A. Scholch, Egypt for the Egyp- 
tians, London 1981; J. Tagher, Portrait psychologique 
de Nubar Pacha, in Cahiers d'histoire Egyptienne, i 
(1948), 353-72. _ (F.R. Hunter) 

NUBATA b. C ABD ALLAH al-Himmani al- 
TamimI, Abu '1-Asad, minor poet of the early 
'Abbasid period whose verses are known only from 
citations in other works and whose dates of birth and 
death are unknown. A native of Dinawar in western 
Persia, he was in the circle of the caliph al-Mahdi's 
vizier al-Fayd b. Abl Salih Shlrawayh, and was a 
companion of the famous singer 'Allawayh [q.v. in 

Bibliography: Djahshiyarl, Wuzard\ ed. al- 
Sakka et alii, Cairo 1401/1980, 164; Aghan? , xvi, 
62; Zirikll, A c ldm, viii, 320. (Ed.) 

NUBUWWA (a.), "prophecy", Hebrew mbu^a, 
substantive derived from nabi "prophet", Hebrew 
ndbi^), term denoting in the first instance the 
precognition given by the divinity (Yahweh, the Ba c l, 
Allah) to the prophet and the prediction made by the 
latter of future contingencies. In the second instance, 
nubuwwa is identified with wahy, "revelation", which 
simultaneously comprises dogmas, cultic regulations, 
moral education, precepts of social and political order. 
In fact, for the early Muslims, prophecy was regarded 
as being the source of all knowledge having any 
degree of superiority. "The Prophet is the way and 
the prophets are the guides," wrote al-Kisa'f (quoted 
by Yakut, iv, 741). 

In early times, the later Muslim nab: is almost iden- 
tical to the Aramaic haze and to the Hebrew rd ''eh (cf. 
T. Fahd, Divination, 112 ff.). I Samuel ix, 9, reads: 
"In former times, in Israel, when a man went to 
enquire of God, he said 'Come, let us go to the seer 
(rd'eh); for he that is now called prophet (nabi) was in 
former times called seer." It is for this reason that 
Muhammad had considerable difficulty convincing 
his fellow-citizens that his inspiration was fundamen- 
tally different from that of seers of various specialities 
(kahin, hazi, '■arraf etc.). He himself, at the outset of 
his vocation, dreaded being a kahin (Ibn Sa'd, 
Tabakat, i/1 , 1 29-30). c Umar b. al-Kh.a«ab, before his 
conversion, considered him as such (Usd, iv, 74). The 
intervention of revelation was required to convince 
him otherwise. "It is the word of an illustrious 
prophet," the Kur 5 an states, "and it is not that of a 
poet, O men of little faith; nor is it that of a diviner, 
O men of little memory. It is a revelation (tanzil) from 
the Master of the Universe" (LXIX, 40-3; cf. LII, 
39-34; LXXXI, 19-25). The characteristic features of 
the Kur'anic text sowed doubt in the minds of his 
fellow-tribesmen; the latter observed, especially in the 
first revelations, the distinguishing marks of the 
oracles of soothsayers, these being rhythm, the 
arrangement of components of a phrase, the concern 


for verbal equilibrium, the choice of a vocabulary full 
of images, the use of uncommon words, as well as the 
manner of "veiling the head" at the moment of 
inspiration and of "enwrapping himself" (cf. 
LXXIII, 1; LXXIV, 1; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 184; al- 
Tabari, i, 1890, 1. 10). 

The triumph of Islam at Medina, followed by the 
conquest of Mecca, put an end to such reservations; 
the apostasy (ridda) of the Yemeni tribes of Madhhidj 
in 11/632, under the leadership of al-Aswad, 
soothsayer and conjuror, who "entranced the hearts 
of those who heard him speak" (al-Tabarl, i, 1796), 
was the last manifestation of an entire Arab pagan 
tradition to which Islam put an end by the principle 
Id kihdna ba*d al-nubuwwa "no more divination after 
prophecy" (or rather, after "prophethood"). 
Henceforward, the gift of penetrating the mysteries of 
God is reserved for the Prophet alone, and the djinns 
who used to listen at the gates of Heaven, and inspire 
the kuhhdn, are prevented from doing so by angels 
entrusted with the task of pelting them with shooting 
stars (XV, 15-18; XXXV, 6-9; XLV, 12; LXVII, 5; 
Ibn Hisham, 129-30; Ibn Sa c d, i, 1, 110). 

However, kihana [q.v.] is not formally forbidden 
either in the Kur'an or in the Sunna; what is forbid- 
den is, first, to visit a kdhin and believe what he says: 
this is to deny the revelation made to Muhammad 
(Wensinck, Concordance, iv, 196); and second, to 
charge a fee in the capacity of kdhin {op. cit. , 505). 
Nowhere in the Kur'an is there a prohibition 
analogous to that of Leviticus, xix, 31, where it is 
written "Do not turn to those that evoke spirits nor to 
soothsayers; do not consult them lest you be defiled 
by them." "This reluctance of the Prophet to deny 
any intrinsic worth to the content of divination is due 
to the conception, current in his time, of prophecy 
and of its intermediaries" (T. Fahd, Divination, 68). 

Prophecy was, in fact, regarded as an extension of 
divination. For Ibn Khaldun, for example, "a veil 
separates men from the unknown which nobody 
knows, except he to whom God reveals it in dreams or 
through the path of saintliness" (ii, 177/205). Accord- 
ing to him, the difference between the prophet and the 
soothsayer resides, in the first place, in the absence of 
the ecstatic state in the case of the soothsayer, an 
absence which renders him incapable of a universal 
vision of the created being and of contingencies, and 
in the second place, in the imperfection of his source 
of information, subject to limitations which do not 
affect that of the prophet (i, 181-85/206-11; sum- 
marised in Fahd, op. cit. , 45 ff.). 

As to this source of information, for the true pro- 
phets it emanates from angels, their inspirers and 
their guides; for soothsayers and false prophets it 
emanates from demons, their inspirers and seducers, 
while djinn, conceived after the fashion of man, can 
be either good or bad informants. 

God has made the angels his envoys (rusul) 
(Kur'an, XXXV, 1). The function of the "envoy" is 
to bear the message of the one who sends him. The 
demon is likewise an envoy and even the source of his 
message is the same as that of the angel; only the con- 
tent is different. In fact, the angel who saved the life 
of Isaac, on the point of being sacrificed to Yahweh 
(Genesis, xxii, 11 ff.) was sent by the same Yahweh 
who permitted Satan, present before Him "with the 
sons of God", to test Job (Job, i, 6; cf. I Kings, xxii, 
21 ff.) 

Muslim authors, faced with the ambivalence of the 
divine message and its bearers, have established a 
distinction between "the angels of mercy", created 
from light, and "the angels of punishment", created 

from fire (al-Mu(ahhar al-Makdisi, Bad\ i, 160, 
quoting Ibn Ishak), a distinction inspired by Kur'an, 
LXVI, 6, which gives the impression that angels exist 
which are spiritual (ruhdni), corporeal (djismdni), 
capable of growth (ndmt) and inanimate (djamid) (op. 
cit., 170), a notion comparable with the Neo-Platonic 
distinction between igneous and aerial demons and 
demons formed from earth (cf. Porphyrus, De Abst., 
ii, 46; Proclus, In Tim., ii, 11, 10; St. Augustin, De 
civitate Dei, x, 9, 2). 

Demoniacal inspiration is opposed by the Kur'an 
on account of the fascination which it exerts upon the 
minds of men. The typical example is that of poetic 
inspiration. Kur'an, XXVI, 220-6, reads: "Shall I 
tell you to whom the demons (shaydfin) reveal? They 
reveal to every great liar and great sinner; they tell 
what they are supposed to have heard (at the gates of 
Heaven); but they are mostly liars. As for poets, they 
are followed only by the misled." It is not to be forgot- 
ten that the poets, described as kildb al-djinn "the dogs 
of the djinns", were originally givers of oracles for 
their tribes (al-Djahiz, Hayawdn, vi, 71; Goldziher, 
Abhandlungen, i, 17; Fahd, Divination, 74 f.). 

The concept of inspiration and revelation in the for- 
mative years of Islam was influenced by that of 
angelology and of demonology, which was rudimen- 
tary and anthropomorphic (cf. in this context, T. 
Fahd, Anges, demons et djinns en Islam, in Sources Orien- 
tales, viii, Paris 1971, 155-213). The demeanour of the 
Prophet, at the moment of the onset of revelation, 
illustrates this point. Questioned about the processes 
of the revelation which he received, Muhammad 
replied, "Revelation came to me in two manners: 
either Djibril brought it to me and communicated it 
to me as a man communicates with another man, but 
this eluded me; or it came to me like the ringing of a 
bell, such that it penetrated into my heart; this no 
longer eluded me" (Ibn Sa'd, i/1, 131 f.; cf. al- 
Bukharf, ii, 309 =59 khalk, 6). "His physical condi- 
tion was affected: he grew mournful, and his face 
darkened; he had the appearance of someone intox- 
icated and felt a great weight, to such an extent that 
his camel cried out and its legs buckled beneath him" 
(Ibn Sa c d, loc. cit. ; Fahd, Divination, 76). A haditt has 
him say, "The divine revelation comes to prophets in 
waking as well as in sleep," and he adds, "My eye 
sleeps, but my heart is awake" (Ibn Hisjiam, 266; Ibn 
Sa c d, i/1, 113; other references in Fahd, Divination, 
77, n. 1). 

Finally, it should be noted that the initial identity of 
the source of information of the prophet and of the 
demon is further attested by the use of the verb wahd 
"to reveal", and its derivatives, for one as for the 
other, as emerges from Kur'an, VI, 111, where it is 
stated, "Thus we have appointed against every 
prophet an adversary (who is none other than) 
demons of human kind and of djinn who reveal to one 
another pleasing discourse (intended) to lead astray." 

Still more suggestive regarding the manner of con- 
ceiving the phenomenon of prophecy in Islam are its 
"distinctive signs" {^alamdt, daldHl, imdrdt al- 
nubuwwa). An entire literature exists on this subject 
(cf. references in Fahd, Divination, 79, nn. 2 and 3). 
Ibn Khaldun supplies a summary of these signs. "The 
mark ( c a/ama) of this type of men," he writes, "is, 
first, that they are in a state, during the onset of 
revelation {w ahy), of absence (ghayba) accompanied by 
choking {ghatit), appearing to the eye like a loss of con- 
sciousness (ghashji) an unconsciousness (ighmd 7 ), 
whereas in reality it is nothing other than a deep 
absorption (istighrdk) induced by the encounter with 
the spiritual kingdom and by the new faculty of com- 

prehension which transcends the human faculty in an 
absolute manner. Then, from this ecstasy the man 
returns gradually towards a state of human 
awareness, either by hearing a sound of human speech 
which he attempts to understand, or by seeing rep- 
resented before him the image of a person who speaks 
to him of that which the person has brought from the 
presence of God. Then this state is dissipated, once 
the man has absorbed that which has been com- 
municated to him" (i, 165-6/185). 

The second mark of the prophet is the moral 
infallibility (Hsma), by virtue of which the man is 
naturally drawn towards goodness and purity (ibid.). 
The third mark is expressed in his activity on behalf 
of religion, of worship, prayer, alms and chastity, vir- . 
tues which he practises and which he induces others to 
practise (i, 167/187). The fourth assumes that the 
prophet is of noble descent, well-regarded among his 
kinsfolk (i, 168/188). The fifth consists in miracles and 
marvels (in words and in actions, adds HadjdjI 
Khalifa, i, 427) which prove the veracity of his 
statements. The greatest miracle in Islam is the 
Kur'an (i, 171/194). 

But the most important of these marks, according 
to Ibn Khaldun, is that faculty, granted by God to the 
prophet, of abstracting himself from human nature, in 
the state of inspiration and of ecstasy (i, 178/202). He 
who does not exhibit these signs has no right to claim 
the ability to penetrate the unknown; he is nothing 
other than a liar seeking to sell his wares (i, 209/240). 

For more thorough information concerning these 
marks, see, in particular, al-MawardT (d. 450/1058), 
K. AHam al-nubuwwa, Cairo 1319/1901 ff.; Abu 
Hatim al-Razi, same title, extracts published by P. 
Kraus in Orientalia, n.s. v (1936), 35-56, 358-78; al- 
Pjahiz (d. 255/869), K. al-Hudjdia fi lathbit al- 
nubuwwa, ed. Sandubl in RasaHl al-Djahiz, Cairo 
1933; Abu '1-Husayn al-Rawandi (d. 250/864), K. al- 
Zumurrud, in which the author opposes the traditional 
doctrine of prophecy and introduces some foreign 
elements (cf. P. Kraus, in RSO, xiv [1933-4], 93-129, 
335-79); Fakhr al-DIn al-Razi(d. 606/1209), Hsmatal- 
anbiyP, Cairo 1355/1936. 

Other signs announce the coming or the presence of 
the Prophet. Ibn Sa c d classifies these in two 
categories: signs prior to the vocation of Muhammad 
(i/1, 96-111) and signs following the start of the 
revelation (112-26). This is a collection of miraculous 
sayings and deeds relating to the birth and infancy of 
the Prophet, often belonging to a typology the 
elements of which were diffused in the popular 
domain, owing to apocryphal biographies of Jesus and 
of other prophets (cf. on this subject Fahd, Problemes 
de typology dans la Sir a d'Ibn Ishdq, in La vie du prophete 
Mahomet, Paris 1983, 67-75). 

This group of signs is augmented by a chorus of 
predictions announcing the coming of the Prophet, 
made by idols, soothsayers, leading personalities of 
the period, Jews, Christians, demons and djinns, etc., 
predictions emanating from the whole of nature, a 
kind of praeparatio coranica, testifying by their spirit, 
their form and their expression, to the concept held by 
early Islam of prophecy and of its intermediaries: a 
spirit removed from any metaphysical and psychologi- 
cal pre-occupation, a form showing small regard for 
realities and fundamentally marked by excess of 
imagination; finally, an expression which has no 
qualms about being simplistic, often full of pictures- 
que imagery (for details, cf. Fahd, Divination, 81-8). 

This conception evolved considerably with the 
elaboration of philosophy and of theology in Islam. 
For Ibn Stna, prophecy is "one of the conditions 

necessary to the order which is demanded by the 
unfolding offayd, so that it may expand to the point 
required" (M.-A. Goichon, La distinction de I'essence el 
de I'existence d'apres Ibn Stna, Paris 1937, 334, see also 
further, 314-34; SLifa\ lith. Tehran 1313/1886, ii, 
646 ff.;, ed. Cairo 1331/1913, 498 ff.; Mbat al- 
nubuwwa, in Tis c rasaHl, 6th risala. On Ibn Sina's con- 
cept of prophecy, as it became known to scholars by 
means of Latin translations, cf. B. Decker, Die Ent- 
wicklung der Lehre von der prophetischen Offenbarung von 
Wilhelm von Auxerre bis zu Thomas von Aquin, diss. 
Breslau 1940, 15-24). 

"For him, it is the Intelligences and the Souls of 
celestial bodies which transmit to the human soul cer- 
tain hidden things, it being understood that the reci- 
pients possess particular perceptions and particular 
wills, emanating from a particular opinion" 
(Goichon, Directives et remarques, Paris- Beirut 1951, 
507-8). And if the soul is of strong substance, it attains 
to ecstasy under a spiritual influence which sometimes 
"takes genuine control and then illumines the 
imagination in an evident manner". It is then that the 
soul is raised to the level of prophecy (op. cit., 514). 
Finally, for him, the necessary conditions whereby a 
man may be a prophet are clarity and lucidity of 
intelligence, the perfection of the imaginative faculty 
and the ability to make himself obeyed by exterior 
matter (cf. Psychologie d'Ibn Stna, ed. Jan Bakol, 
Prague 1956, i, 189-97 = Shift, Physics, fann vi, 
makala 4, ch. 4). See also L. Gardet, Quelques aspects de 
la pensee avicennienne, in Revue Thomiste, xlv(1939), 714; 
Decker, op. cit., 16 ff. A brief analysis of Ibn Sina's 
doctrine concerning prophecy and the perception of 
the unknown is to be found in al-Shahrastanl, Milal, 
ed. Cureton, 309 ff. (Metaphysics) and 425 (Physics), 
German translation by Haarbrficker, ii, Halle 1851, 
317-18, 327-32. 

Al-Ghazall accepted the doctrine of Ibn Slna and 
developed it further. In fact, in the last six chapters of 
the Latin version of Makdsid al-falasifa (tr. Dom. Gun- 
disalvi, Venice 1506, of which the portion entitled 
Metaphysics has been edited by J.T. Muckle, Algazel's 
Metaphysics, a medieval translation, Toronto 1933; 
Arabic text ed. Cairo 1331/1912), which deal with 
vision, prophecy and marvels, al-Qhazali revives 
Avicennan ideas (which he is to refute the same year, 
in 488/1095, in the Tahajul, ed. M. Bouyges, Beirut 
1927, 255-67; L. Gauthier, La theorie d'Ibn Rochdsur Us 
rapports de la religion et de la philosophie, Paris 1909, 138- 
4l) and reveals them in a clear and expressive style. 
For him, the vision of the unknown, in the state of 
waking, is subject to two conditions. On the one hand 
the soul must free itself from corporeal links and 
remove itself from the veil of the senses by a force 
which is peculiar to it; it is then elevated to the higher 
world where things appear to it in an instant brief as 
a lightning- flash. This is the first mode of prophecy. 
The other mode, decidedly imperfect in comparison 
to the first, comes about in the normal exercise of the 
senses. In fact, the temperament predisposed to 
melancholy and amazement and easily alienated from 
the senses enables the soul to withdraw from the body 
and to see and hear with eyes open that which nor- 
mally it sees and hears only through the opaque veil 
of the senses (cf. Metaphysics, ii, 5,7, quoted by 
Decker, op. cit., 25 f.). This agreement of the 
theologian with the philosopher on the subject of pro- 
phecy remains an isolated phenomenon; in fact, as M. 
Horten writes ( Texte zu dem Streite zwischen Glauben und 
Wissen in Islam. Die Lehre vom Propheten und der Offen- 
barung bei den islamischen Philosophen Farabi, Avicenna und 
Averroes, Bonn 1913, 12), "in der Theorie fiber die 

Prophetie stimmt er mit den Philosophen iiberein, die 
er sonst bekampft." Whereas, in the Tahqfut, theories 
which present precognition and prophecy as the 
results of perfect nature, are countered by al-Ghazall 
with the notion of revelation of things unknown, made 
by God to the prophet as to the dreamer, either 
directly or through the intermediary of an angel (see 
260-1; cf. 252, 289, etc.). 

Ibn Rushd does not share this view. For him, pro- 
phecy, dream and divination are three names 
denoting a single and identical reality. Our ignorance 
of the possible derives from our ignorance of the 
nature of being. Knowledge of this nature is either 
anterior to its object: it is the knowledge from which 
it follows, called al-Hlm al-kadim, prior or anterior 
knowledge; or it is posterior, al-Hlm al-ghayr kadim, or 
subsequent knowledge. "Knowledge of the unknown 
is nothing other than the knowledge of this nature" 
(Tahafut al-Tahqfut, ed. Bouyges, Beirut 1930, 533, 11. 
2-3). It is the result of this knowledge which is called, 
in popular usage, ruya, dream, nocturnal vision, and, 
by the prophets, wahy, revelation (op. cit., 532-3; on 
Ibn Rushd's doctrine of prophecy, see L. Gauthier, 
op. cit., 124-58). This represents a fairly deep fissure 
in the rationalist system which bears his name, on 
account of his role as an arbiter in the conflict, then 
current, between theology and philosophy. 

With Maimonides (d. 601/1204, see ibn maymun), 
the brilliant disciple of Ibn Rushd, the Avicennan 
trend is revived. In fact, in chapters 32 to 48 of the 
second part of his monumental study of Jewish 
religious philosophy, intitled Dalalat al-ha'irin ( = 
Moreh Nebukim), edited and translated into French by 
S. Munk under the title Le guide des egares. Traite de 
theologie et de philosophic, i-iii, Paris 1856-66, 
Maimonides reveals at some length his opinion of pro- 
phecy and the various modes of perceiving the 
unknowable. According to him, prophecy is an 
emanation from God which, through the intermediary 
of an active intellect, influences first the rational 
faculty and subsequently the imaginative faculty; it is 
the highest degree of man and the ultimate perfection 
which the species may attain, and this state is the 
highest perfection of the imaginative faculty (ch. 35, 
tr. ii, 281). It assumes the existence in the man of a 
natural disposition which makes of him "a superior 
man, perfect in his rational and moral qualities" (ch. 
32, tr. ii, 261 f.). Three perfections are required of the 
prophet: perfection of the rational faculty, perfection 
of the imaginative faculty and perfection of morals 
(ch. 36, tr. ii. 287). Dream and prophecy both belong 
to "the highest and most noble" activity of the 
imaginative faculty, which takes place only when the 
senses are in repose and cease to function; it is then 
that there occurs a certain emanation (fayd) which is 
the origin of true dreams and of prophecy and which 
"differs only in quantity and not in quality" (Gen. 
Rabba, c. 17, 44). In visions and in dreams, all the 
degrees of prophecy are contained (ch. 36, tr. ii, 
282 ff. On Maimonides' conception of prophecy, see 
Z. Diesendruck, Maimonides' Lehre von der Prophetie, in 
Jewish studies in memory of Israel Abrahams, New York 
1927, 82 ff.; Decker, Entwicklung, 37-8). 

This close connection established by Maimonides 
between dream and prophecy corresponds precisely to 
the conception current in the early days of Islam. In 
fact, Tradition relates that before acceding to the full 
light of revelation as such, Muhammad initially had 
dreams described as "veracious" (ruya sadika), sup- 
plying to him, in the words of L. Massignon (Annuaire 
du College de France, 41st year, 85), "in the form of 
isolated touches, light and sound, which he was 

unable to coordinate, that alphabet of ecstasy which 
he attempted later to represent, in the form of isolated 
consonants, at the heading of certain suras (such is, at 
least, he adds, the reconciliation that we suggest)." 
This statement is based on the testimony of 'A'isha, 
"The beginning of the prophecy of the Messenger of 
God, when God wished to make him His agent and 
the instrument of His mercy towards creatures, (was 
manifested) by veracious dreams; every dream which 
he saw in his sleep was as clear as the dawn. This 
made him love solitude; nothing was more pleasant to 
him than to be alone" (Ibn Hisham, 151; Ibn Sa c d, 
i/1, 129). A hadith confirms this remark of 'A'isha. 
The Prophet is quoted as saying, "There exist no 
signs announcing prophecy other than the good 
dream; the Muslim sees it or it is seen for him" (Ibn 
Sa c d, ii/2, 18; cf. Ibn Khaldun, iii, 81/115). The term 
bushra in Kur>an, X, 64, is interpreted as ruya hasana 
(al-Tabarl, Tafsir, xi, 84 ff.). These "signs" or 
"preambles" form an integral part of prophecy, since 
the dream is said to be "a part of prophecy", an asser- 
tion repeated in all the prefaces of oneirocritical 
treatises. Hadith goes further, specifying, following the 
Babylonian Talmud (Berakhot, 57b, quoted by 
Maimonides, op. cit. , ii, 36), the proportions whereby 
dream is related to prophecy. The Prophet is quoted 
as saying: "The dream of the Believer is one of the 
forty (sixty, in the Talmud) parts of prophecy," a 
statement which al-DInawari (al-Kddirifi 'l-ufibir, ms. 
Paris, fol. 34b) explains as follows. "The Prophet 
means that the majority of prophets— peace be upon 
them!— did not see the angel, with the exception of a 
minority among them. It is during their sleep that 
they received the revelation." This amounts to saying 
that the Prophet first came to prophecy at the lowest 
level, i.e. the dream. It was at Hira 3 that he 
graduated, for the first time, from dream to prophecy. 
In the year of his vocation— his fortieth year— he 
withdrew for a month of annual retreat (tahannuth), 
accompanied by his wife. As he slept, the angel 
Gabriel appeared to him with a piece of some kind of 
silken fabric on which there was writing (namat min 
dibaaxphi kitdb). He said to him "Read!" "I cannot 
read" he replied. The angel stuffed the fabric into his 
mouth, almost suffocating him. "I believed," he says, 
"that this was death!" Then he released him, 
repeated the same question and inflicted the same 
treatment on him a second time, then a third. The 
fourth time, to escape this torture, Muhammad asked 
him: "What must I read?", and the angel made him 
recite the beginning of the sura al- l Alak (XCVI, 1-5). 
Muhammad adds, "I recited that which he had said, 
it was then that he finally left me. I woke up (hababtu 
min nawmt). (This phrase) was then as if inscribed 
in my heart. I went forth (wandering) and when I 
reached the middle of the mountain I heard a voice 
from Heaven saying 'O Muhammad, you are the 
Messenger of God and I am Gabriel'. I stopped, 
watching him, neither advancing nor retreating, then 
I looked away from him towards the horizons and the 
sky; whichever way I turned, I saw him just as he was. 
I remained in this position, neither advancing nor 
retreating, until Khadidja sent men to look for me. 
Her envoys arrived at the high places of Mecca and 
returned from there, and I was still in the same posi- 
tion. Then he parted from me and I parted from him, 
returning to my wife" (Ibn Hisjiam, 152-3; cf. the 
vision of Ezekiel, i, 4 ff.). 

This account, combining the triple appeal of the 
vocation of Samuel with the initiation, through 
absorption of the prophetic message, of Ezekiel (ii, 
8 ff.; cf. Jeremiah, v, 10) comprises two parts: the 

first took place in sleep, the second in a state of 
waking. Here there is a typical example of 
transference from dream to ecstasy (on dream and 
prophecy, cf. Fahd, Divination, 266-9, and on the 
dreams of Muhammad, 255 ff.). 

Bibliography: The essentials of the information 
contained in this article have been taken from T. 
Fahd, La divination arabe. Etudes religieuses, sociologi- 
ques el Jolkloriques sur le milieu natif de I'lslam, Leiden 
1966, repr. Paris 1987. In addition to the numerous 
references cited in the text, see Tor Andrae, Die 
Legenden von der Berufung Muhammeds in Le Monde 
Oriental, vi (1912), 5-18; idem, Die Person Muham- 
meds in Lehre und Glauben seiner Gemeinde, Stockholm 
1917 (reconciliation with the gnostic conception of 
prophecy); Asterios Argyriou, Coran el histoire 
(extract from the journal ©toXofta, liv (1983) and lv 
(1984), ch. iii (1) revelation, 62-7, (2) the prophets, 
67-87 and Table no. iii: Kur'anic prophetology); 
M. Jastrow Jr., Ro'eh and Hozeh in the Old Testament, 
in JBL, xix (1900), 82-105; A. Jepsen, Nabi. 
Soziologische Studien zur alt-testamentlichen Literatur und 
Religionsgeschichte, Munich 1934; A. Haldar, Associa- 
tions oj cult prophets among the ancient Semites, Uppsala 
1945; L. Gardet, Quelques aspects de la pensee avicen- 
nienne, in Revue Thomiste, xlv (1939), 708-20; A.R. 
Johnson, The cultic Prophet in Ancient Israel, Cardiff 
1944; Kisa'T, Kisas al-anbiyd\ ed. J. Eisenberg, i-ii, 
Leiden 1922-3, Eng. tr. W.M. Thackston, The tales 
of the prophets of al-KisaH, Boston 1978; A. von 
Kremer, Geschichte der herrschenden Ideen des Islams. 
Der Gottesbegriff, die Prophetic (135-308) und Statsidee, 
Leipzig 1868, repr. Hildesheim 1961, 135-308; O. 
Pautz, Mohammed's Lehre von der Offenbarung quellen- 
massig dargestellt, Leipzig 1898; F. Rahman, Prophecy 
in Islam, London 1958; T. Robinson, Studies in Old 
Testament prophecy presented to Prof. T.H. Robinson, 
Edinburgh 1950; H.H. Schaeder, Die islamische 
Lehre von vollkommenen Menschen, ihre Herkunft und ihre 
dichterische Gestaltung, in ZDMG (1925), 213 ff. 
(reconciliation of the Islamic conception of pro- 
phecy with that of the Clementine Epistles, through 
the intermediary of Manichaeism); R.B. Serjeant, 
Hud and other pre-Islamic prophets of Hadramawt, in Le 
Museon, vi (1954), 121-79; A. Vinnikov, The legend 
of the vocation of Muhammad in the light of ethnography 
[in Russian], in Recueil ... Oldenburg, Leningrad 
1934, 125-46 (reviewed by B. Nikitine in JA, ccxxvi 
[1935], 337); A.J. Wensinck, Mohammed und die pro- 
pheten, inAO, ii, Oslo 1923, 158-99; G. Widengren, 
Mubammed the Apostle of God and A« Ascension (King 
and Saviour), in Uppsala Universitets Arsskrift, i, 1955. 

(T. Fahd) 
al-NUDJAYR, a fortress in Hadramawt [q.v.] 
where in 12/633 during the caliphate of Abu Bakr 
[q.v.] rebels under al-AsJi c ath b. (Cays [q.v.] took 
refuge against Ziyad b. Lablb al-Ansarf, the 
Prophet's governor. 

Late in the year 1 1/633, Abu Bakr had decided that 
Islamic authority could only be effectively imposed on 
the Yemen by military force. In particular, he was 
worried by the situation in Hadramawt where al- 
Asji'ath b. Kays, the leader of Kinda, had refused to 
give him the oath of allegiance as caliph. Abu Bakr 
entrusted the task to al-Muhadjir b. Abl Umayya, the 
governor of San c a 5 , who marched eastwards from the 
capital to Hadramawt via Marib. There al-Muhadjir 
received a letter from Ziyad, the Muslim governor in 
Hadramawt, urging him to proceed thither with 
speed. Leaving some of his army behind in Marib, al- 
Muhadjir marched on Hadramawt. The rebels, in 
particular of Banu Mu c awiya, a branch of Kinda 

al-NUDJUM 97 

(Mad'adj, 56, table 3), finally sought refuge in the 
fortress of al-Nudjayr. They could not, however, 
break out from the siege of the stronghold which was 
under the combined command of al-Muhadjir and 
Ziyad. The Banu Mu c awiya finally surrended. Al- 
Ash c ath signed an agreement with the Muslim 
leaders, securing safe conduct for himself and his 
family. In return he opened the gates of al-Nudjayr. 
The Banu Mu'awiya blamed al-Ash c ath for his 
betrayal, as many of their number were killed. How- 
ever, the agreement put an end to serious anti- 
Muslim rebellion in Hadramawt and ensured a much 
stronger hold over the area by the Muslim authorities. 
Al-Nudjayr is not mentioned further in the 
historical works and al-HamdanJ (87), writing in the 
4th/10th century, describes the place as a ruin. 

Bibliography: Tabari, i, 2006-10; Yakut, 
Mu c al-bulddn, Beirut 1979, v, 272-3; c Abd al- 
Muhsin Mad c adj M. al-Mad c adj, The Yemen in early 
Islam (9-2331630-847), a political history, London 
1988, 54-7. (G.R. Smith) 

al-NUDJUM (a.), the stars. There are two words 
in Arabic carrying the notion of "star", nadjm, pi. 
nudjum (from the root n-dj.-m, "to rise"), and kawkab, 
pi. kawakib (see WKAS, i, 440 b 28; cf. already Babyl. 
kakkabu; a reduplication of a basic root KB "to burn, 
to shine"). For the etymologies of the two words, see 
Eilers [1], 96 ff.; [2], 115; [3], 6 f. Both words occur 
frequently in the Kur'an. In LV, 6, it remains in 
-dispute whether al-nadpn" is to be understood as "the 
plants, or grasses" (as maintained by I.Y. Krafkov- 
skiy and A. Fischer) or as "the stars" (see the recent 
German translation by R. Paret, and his commen- 
tary, 465, also the English translation of R. Bell and 
his A commentary on the Qur^an, Manchester 1991, ii, 
330). Al-nadjm is also used, in Arabic, as an alter- 
native name for the Pleiades (otherwise called al- 
thurayya; see Kunitzsch [2], nos. 186, 306). The two 
words are used indiscriminately in the general sense of 
"star(s)", but kawkab can mean "planet(s)" 
specifically, according to context. 

The following article is subdivided into three sec- 
tions, for the fixed stars, the planets and other celestial 

The Arabs— inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, 
mostly Bedouins — had a good knowledge of the stars 
since ancient times. They used the fixed stars for 
orientation in their nightly desert travels (ihtida*), to 
determine seasons and to predict weather, especially 
rain. They had proper names for a good dozen promi- 
nent stars or other celestial objects, names of old 
standing, the meanings of most of which had been 
obscured or lost in the course of time so that they 
became the object of speculation of the Arabic 
philologists and lexicographers of later times. For 
these, no modern "translations" can be given, cf. al- 
'■ayyuk (a Aurigae, Capella), al-shfyd (a Canis Maioris, 
Sirius — also mentioned in the Kur'an, LIII, 49), al- 
simdk (al-s. al-ramih, "the lance-bearing Simak", a 
Bootis, Arcturus; and al-s. al-a'-zal, "the unarmed 
Simak", a Virginis, Spica), etc.; cf. Kunitzsch [2], 
20 f. For some of these old names there exist parallels 
in Babylonian astronomy; cf. Kunitzsch [8]. 

In addition, several hundred names for smaller, less 
conspicuous stars and asterisms were invented, most 
probably by poets, at various times and in various 
tribes and regions; see the name lists in Kunitzsch [2] 
and [7]. All these names were later assembled by the 
Arabic philologists and lexicographers in the so-called 
anwa^ books (for these, see the bibliographies in al- 

anwa 5 and al-manazil). In contrast to ancient Greek 
(and modern) astronomy, where large constellations 
are made up of numerous stars, in the indigenous 
Arabic stellar lore one star mostly represents one 
individual (mostly of a species of animals), a name in 
the dual represents two such individuals and a name 
in the plural represents a group of individuals. There 
are only a few Arabic constellations formed from a 
number of stars, such as e.g. the several athqft, "fire- 
place^) formed by a triangle of three stones on the 
ground" (cf. Kunitzsch [2], nos. 17-19). A classified 
survey of the asterisms of the old Arabs was given by 
Ideler, 407-28. 

Of Iranian star names, only a few are known, and 
their astronomical identification remains uncertain; 
cf. Scherer 113 f., 118 f.; Eilers [1], [3]. Genuine 
Turkish star names are discussed by Bazin and Roux. 
In Islamic times the astronomers and poets of the 
Islamic world generally used the Arabic star names 
(but see the planets). Much of the Arabic stellar lore 
has lived on into modern times although the 
astronomical identifications and the calendrical usage 
may now differ; see the modern studies cited in al- 
manazil and, for the Tuaregs, Bernus-Sidiyene. 

Tradition has it that certain prominent fixed stars 
were worshipped by Arabic tribes in pre-Islamic times 
(cf. the allusion to al-shi'ra, Sirius, in Kur'an, LIII, 
49), but, as it seems, these contentions still lack 
positive evidence; see Henninger. 

Apart from perhaps some star names (see above), 
the old Arabs had also inherited from Babylonia — at 
unknown times, through unknown ways — some of the 
zodiacal constellations. But with them, several of 
these constellations were transferred to celestial areas 
different from their places in Babylonian and Greek 
(and modern) astronomy. Suffice it here to mention as 
a famous example al-djawza^ (a female name of uncer- 
tain signification) which, in the series of the zodiacal 
constellations, corresponds to Gemini, but which is 
located in the stellar figure known in Greek (and 
modern) astronomy as Orion; for more details, see 


The old Arabs themselves developed a popular 
stellar system of so-called anwP (sing, naw*), stars and 
asterisms mostly situated near the path of Sun and 
Moon which were used for calendrical purposes and 
weather predictions [see al-anwa']. Later, the anwd* 
were merged into the system of the 28 lunar mansions 
which the Arabs received from outside, perhaps from 
India, and which divided the ecliptic according to the 
Moon's monthly revolution into 28 portions, each 
mansion being marked by a star or asterism carrying 
the name of the corresponding naw' located in that 
place [see al-manazil; also Varisco). 

The old Arabic stellar lore was much used in 
poetry. The poets liked to cite star names and to use 
them for comparisons or for poetic allusions to calen- 
drical and meteorological events connected with 
them, and the like; cf. Kunitzsch [10], items xxvi and 
xxvii; Kunitzsch-Ullmann. 

The period of indigenous, old Arabic folk 
astronomy ended with the expansion of Islam, when 
the Arabs came into contact with ancient Greek and 
Hellenistic science. Through, and after, the transla- 
tions from Greek (and sometimes Persian and Indian) 
into Arabic, the period of Greek-based "scientific" 
astronomy in the Islamic civilisation begins which, in 
some areas, continued down to the 19th century. 

The knowledge of the fixed stars (al-kawakib al- 
(habita, or simply al-thawabii) in the "scientific" 
astronomy of the Islamic period was completely based 
on and influenced by ancient Greek theory and mate- 

rial. The physical qualities and behaviour of the stars 
were understood according to the cosmological 
theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy: the stars were 
invariably fixed to the eighth sphere (beyond the 
planets), thus being unable to change places relative 
to each other, and were invariable in substance, size 
and colour. The eighth sphere (hence the stars fixed 
to it) performed a constant movement from West to 
East about the poles of the ecliptic, the so-called 
"precession" (harakat or sayr al-kawakib al-thabita), 
which Ptolemy — following Hipparchus — assumed at 
a rate of 1° in 100 years. The astronomers of the 
caliph al-Ma'mun arrived at an improved rate of 1° 
in 66^ years (al-Zidj. al-mumtahan [Tabulae probatae], 
214/829-30), which afterwards— simplified as 1° in 66 
years— was adopted by most of the succeeding authors 
of star catalogues (al-Battam, al-Sufl) and smaller star 
tables; another prominent value was 1° in 70 years 
(cf. the survey in Nallino, al-Battam, Opus 
astronomicum, i, 292 f.; see also Mercier [1]). 

The iconographical and topographical division of 
the stellar sky into constellations was also completely 
taken over from the Greeks. Here the main source 
was the star catalogue in Ptolemy's Almagest (epoch: 
A.D. 138) comprising 1,025 stars arranged in 48 
constellations and registered with ecliptical coor- 
dinates, longitude and latitude, and (apparent) 
magnitudes. Of the Almagest several translations into 
Arabic were made from the late 8th to the late 9th cen- 
turies (cf. Kunitzsch [5], 15-82). The versions of al- 
Hadjdjadj and of Isljak b. Hunayn (the latter 
emended by Thabit b. Kurra) have survived into our 
time (the star catalogue from these two versions was 
edited by Kunitzsch [11], vol. i); the "old" version 
made before al-Ha djdj adj's was used in the star cata- 
logue of al-Battanl, and many coordinate values from 
it are also cited by Ibn al-Salalj. These sources sup- 
plied the Arabic-Islamic astronomers with the ter- 
minology and nomenclature of the 48 constellations 
and the 1 ,025 individual stars and provided them with 
the basic coordinate values for these stars (for a com- 
plete survey of the names of the 48 constellations, fol- 
lowed by Greek, Arabic and Latin indexes, see 
Kunitzsch [5], 169-212; the complete terminology for 
the individual stars, again followed by Greek, Arabic 
and Latin indexes, is given in ibid., 212-370). The 
Arabs also knew Aratus (3rd cent. B.C.) as the inven- 
tor of the constellations and cited from his Phaenomena 
and the Scholia in Aratum (cf. Sezgin, vi, 75-7; further, 
al-BIrunf, Tafhlm, 72; Ibn al-Salah, 54 f., 71). 

The Arabic term for "constellation" was kawkaba, 
pi. kawkabat (adapted from Ptolemy's 4<Ttepio|i6{), or 

Apart from the textual tradition, iconographic 
documents from (Late) Antiquity seem also to have 
reached the Islamic period conveying to the Muslim 
astronomers the outlines of the pictorial representa- 
tion of the 48 classical constellations. An early exam- 
ple for the continuation of classical iconographic 
material into Islamic times is the fresco in the cupola 
of the bath in the desert castle of Kusayr 'Arnra (ca. 
711-15 [see architecture]) showing a celestial 
hemisphere with constellation figures (cf. Saxl; Beer 
[1], [2]; Almagro). Also, instruments such as celestial 
globes and astrolabes of Greek provenience or tradi- 
tion must have reached the Muslims; Ibn al-Salah 
(18, 72 f.) mentions the description of a Greek globe 
datable ca. A.D. 738, and Ibn al-Kiffi {Ta'rikh al- 
HukamP, 440) reports the existence of a globe made 
of copper (nuhtis), attributed to Ptolemy himself, in 
Cairo in 435/1043-4. 

Several Islamic astronomers established star 

catalogues in the manner of Ptolemy's catalogue: al- 
Battanl (only 533 out of Ptolemy's 1,025 stars; epoch 
A.D. 880; precession value = Ptolemy +11°10'; 
edited in Nallino, al-Battani, Opus astronomicum; cf. 
Kunitzsch [10], item v; Ibn al-§alah, Appendix ii, 
97 ff.); Abu '1-Husayn al-§ufi (complete, accom- 
panied by drawings of the constellations; epoch 964; 
precession value = Ptolemy + 12°42'; Kitab Suwar al- 
kawakib, ed. Haydarabad 1373/1954, French tr. 
H.C.F.C. Schjellerup, St. Petersburg 1874, repr. 
Frankfurt-am-Main 1986; cf. Kunitzsch [10], item 
xi); al-Blrunl (complete; epoch 1031; precession value 
= Ptolemy + 13°0; in al-Kanin al-mas'-idl, ed. 
Haydarabad, iii, 1375/1956, Russian tr. S.A. 
Krasnovaya and M.M. Rozhanskaya, in Istoriko- 
astronomiceskiye issledovaniya, viii, Moscow 1962, 
92-150,with comm. by B.A. Rosenfeld, in ibid., 177- 
86); and Ulugh Beg (complete; epoch 1437; textually 
depending on Naslr al-DIn al-jusl's Persian transla- 
tion of al-Sufl's Book on the Constellations; 
astronomically claiming his own observation for the 
majority of the stars and dependence on al-Sufl for the 
rest; edited by Th. Hyde, Oxford 1665; a modern 
recension of the coordinate values was made by 
Knobel; cf. further, Evans, 162-5; Shevchenko). 

Besides these great, complete catalogues, 
innumerable smaller star tables were drawn up by 
Muslim astronomers of all times, mostly listing fun- 
damental stars for use on astronomical instruments 
such as the astrolabe (see Kunitzsch [10], item i; for 
some edited specimens, see ibid. , items ii-iv, and 
Kunitzsch [3], I A and XII A). 

The pictorial representation of the 48 classical con- 
stellations in Islamic astronomy, in books, on celestial 
globes and elsewhere, mainly follows the patterns set 
up by the drawings in al-Suff's Book on the Constella- 
tions; al-Sufl, in turn, must have followed traditions 
from Late Antiquity (for the textual description of the 
stars he generally follows the Almagest version by 
Ishak-Thabit; in the star coordinates he chooses 
between the various translations of the Almagest and 
faithfully repeats the Almagest values in his star tables, 
notwithstanding his criticism of many of them). For 
each constellation al-Sufl gives two drawings, one as 
seen in the sky, the other as seen on the celestial globe 
(where the figures are viewed from outside, on the 
convex surface of the globe, i.e. human figures seen 
in the sky looking towards the observer with their 
faces and front sides are seen on the globe with their 
back sides towards the observer; al-Sufl, however, 
gives a "falsified" globe view, just the mirror image 
of the sky view representation; the reason for this is 
not obvious; most probably he just follows older 
models of Late Antique tradition; perhaps the inten- 
tion was to keep the figures showing their faces to the 
observer under all conditions). 

Outside the books, the fixed stars were used on 
various astronomical instruments. The astrolabe 
especially, but also quadrants, were instructed with 
the most important fundamental stars (see asturlab; 
Kunitzsch [12]). While in the great star catalogues 
after Ptolemy, the stars were registered with ecliptical 
longitude and latitude, for use on the astrolabe 
another set of coordinates was more practical: mediatio 
coeli (tawassut, or mamarr — passage at the meridian) 
and declination (al-bu'-d '■an mu'-addil al-nahaf). These 
were usually obtained (from the ecliptical values) by 
calculation. Many astronomical handbooks (zidj) and 
treatises on the astrolabe contain tables of astrolabe 
stars with one or both sets of these coordinates. Fur- 
thermore, the stars and their constellations used to be 
represented on celestial globes (up to now, a number 

of more than 130 celestial globes in the Islamic area 
has been found and registered, see Savage-Smith); 
here the stars were entered according to ecliptical 
coordinates; the styling of the constellation figures 
normally followed the models introduced by al-§uff. 
Celestial globes are the only form of mapping the 
entire sky known from Islamic astronomy; no plane 
star maps from the Islamic Middle Ages have been 
found, although some astronomers (e.g., al-Birum, 
Kitab Tas(ih al-suwar wa-labllh al-kuwar, ed. A. Saidan, 
in Dirasatl al-'-Ulum al-tabi^iyya [Univ. of Amman], iv 
[1977], 7-22; cf. Berggren; Richter-Bernburg) discuss 
the construction of plane star charts. Instead of com- 
plete star maps we only have al-§ufi's isolated draw- 
ings of the individual constellations. The late Persian 
astrolabist Muhammad Mahdl al-Yazdi produced two 
astrolabes, to each of which he added a plate carrying, 
on both sides, maps of the northern and the southern 
celestial hemispheres with all constellations. One of 
these instruments is dated 1065/1654-5 (in Riyad; it 
was on display in the exhibition Saudi-Arabia, yesterday 
and today in Washington D.C., July 1989; see the 
accompanying catalogue Islamic science and learning, 
14); the other one, dated 1070/1659-60, was described 
by W.H. Morley, Description of a planispheric 
astrolabe..., London 1856, 48 f. (repr. in Arabische 
Instrumente in orientalistischen Sludien, ed. F. Sezgin, i, 
Frankfurt-am-Main 1990, 302 f.). These veritable sky 
maps are, however, inspired by contemporary Euro- 
pean star charts; they include, in the southern 
hemisphere, near the South Pole, some of the non- 
classical southern constellations which were intro- 
duced in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hence these 
plates reflect a new development in Islamic 
astronomy, with the influx of modern Western 

The question, to what extent the star tables and 
catalogues of Muslim astronomers represent the result 
of their own independent observation, is not always 
easy to answer. It appears convincing that a star table 
or catalogue with ecliptical coordinates, whose 
latitudes are identical to Ptolemy's and whose 
longitudes show a constant increase over Ptolemy's, 
was obtained by calculation rather than by observa- 
tion. When the latitudes differ and the longitudes 
show varying differences against Ptolemy's, one 
would rather be inclined to assume independent 
observation. A few well-known outstanding examples 
of independent observation are: the table of 24 stars 
measured by al-Ma'mun's astronomers and transmit- 
ted in al-ZidJ. al-mumtahan ("Tabulae probatae"; epoch 
214/829-30; cf. Kunitzsch [10], item iii), or the star 
catalogue of Ulugh Beg (see above), although for this 
latter one the question seems not yet definitely 
answered. Personal observations of Ptolemy's stars 
were made by Ibn al-§alah (d. 1154), as can be under- 
stood in many places in his treatise Fisabab .... Also, 
the most famous and most detailed Islamic author on 
the fixed stars, al-$ufi (903-86), re-observed all of 
Ptolemy's stars and added, in his Book on the Constella- 
tions, to the description of each of the 48 constellations 
a special section reporting his criticism. Nevertheless, 
in the tables of his catalogue he merely repeated 
Ptolemy's coordinate values and did not enter any 
new or "better" values found by himself, except for 
the magnitudes. Since most of the zidjs (astronomical 
handbooks with tables; cf. below) of the Islamic period 
are still unedited, it would be premature now to pres- 
ent final statements. It may be that in them one or 
another star table will be found that is built upon an 
author's own observations. 

Surveys of the 48 Ptolemaic constellations are also 

found — apart from the great star catalogues men- 
tioned above — in some other works: Muhammad b. 
Ahmad al-Kh»arazmI (ca. A.D. 980), Mqfatih al- 
lium, ed. G. van Vloten, Leiden 1895, 210-13; al- 
Bfrunl, Tafhim 69-72 (on 77-81 follows a survey of 
indigenous old-Arabic star names, and on 81-5 the 
lunar mansions are listed); Zakariyya al-KazwIm, 
'A&aHb al-makhlikdt, ed. Wustenfeld, i, 29-41 (this 
section is extracted from al-$ufi's Book on the Constella- 
tions; the section was separately edited and translated 
by L. Ideler and served as the nucleus for his 
voluminous study on the history of star names; on 41- 
51 follows a description of the 28 lunar mansions 
which is extracted from Ibn Kutayba's Kitdb al-Anwa 1 , 
cf. ed. HaydarSbad 1375/1956, 17 ff.). Of some 
interest for the continuity of the tradition is Le traitesur 
les constellations by Severus Sebokht, in Syriac, written 
in A.D. 660, i.e. in early Islamic times, but much 
before the famous Greek-Arabic translations; ed. F. 
Nau, in Revue de I'Orient Chretien, xxvii (1929-30), 327- 
410, xxviii (1931-2), 85-100. About 600 years later 
another Syriac description of the 48 constellations was 
given by Bar Hebraeus (Abu '1-Faradj b. al- c Ibri) in 
his Lime de I'ascension de I'esprit, ed. Nau, Paris 1899- 
1900, text i, 110 ff., tr. ii, 94 ff., which now, how- 
ever, is a mixed text including both Syriac and Arabic 
elements (cf. Kunitzsch [1], 32 f.). 

A rare use of the 48 constellations was made by the 
Persian poet Fakhr al-DTn GurganI in his epic Vis u 
Rdmin (written ca. A.D. 1050), where he presents a 
horoscope which is greatly expanded by including all 
the constellations of the fixed stars in the astrological 
configuration (cf. Kunitzsch [10], item xxviii; in a 
subsequent article in hi., lx [1983], 297-301, O. 
Neugebauer has dated this horoscope to A.D. 968). 

The Arab seafarers in the Indian Ocean in the 1 5th 
and 16th centuries, Ahmad b. Madjid and Sulayman 
al-Mahrl, still knew and used some of the classical 
constellations and star names, though often in 
distorted form and in modified astronomical applica- 
tion. Especially Ibn Madjid [q.v.] takes pride in nam- 
ing the classical books he had studied, among them al- 
Sufi's Book on the Constellations (here called Kitdb al- 
Tasdwir). On the other hand, the star nomenclature of 
these mu l allims contains several names of unknown 
certainly non-Arabic origin. For 
s of these names, see the Index given in 
Kunitzsch [10], item xxix. 

In astrology it was mostly the planets whose influ- 
ence was considered. But since oldest times, the fixed 
stars could also be included in the astrological pro- 
cedures. Already Ptolemy in his astrological hand- 
book, the Tetrabiblos (Kitdb al-Arba'-d), assigned to all 
the constellations and the major stars individually the 
"temperament" (xpaoi{, A. mizddj., Lat. complexio, 
temperamentum) of one or two planets, cf. Tetrab. i, 9. 
Subsequently, lists of stars with their temperaments 
were drawn up, or in purely astronomical star tables 
the temperaments were added in a separate column. 
Further, to certain fixed stars was ascribed a bad 
influence on health, especially of the eyes, and also 
these stars were assembled in special lists. All this 
material reached the Arabic-Islamic civilisation, in 
the same way as the astronomical knowledge, and we 
find it reproduced directly, or in various adaptations, 

Of the Tetrabiblos several Arabic translations were 
made (not all edited until now; cf. Sezgin, vii, 41 ff.). 
The famous astrologer Abu Ma'shar included in his 
comprehensive al-Mudkhal al-kabir, ii, 1 , a survey of 
the 48 classical constellations (without adding the 
astrological temperaments; see the facsimile ed. — 

made from ms. Istanbul, Carullah 1508, dated 
327/938— by F. Sezgin, Frankfurt-am-Main 1985, 
111 f.). For lists of stars doing harm to the eyes (cf. 
Tetrab., iii, 12) see again Abu Ma c shar, Mudkhal, vi, 
20 = facs. Frankfurt 351 f. (cf. Kunitzsch, apud 
Hubner 358 f.), and al-BIrunl, Tafhim, 272-4 (§ 460). 
Another list of unlucky stars of Abu Ma'shar is in 
Kunitzsch [10], item xvii, 113-19. A very recent 
specimen for a horoscope introducing the fixed stars 
is the horoscope of Asad Allah Mirza, 1830; cf. 
Elwell-Sutton (esp. 16-27, 94 f.). One ancient tradi- 
tion on the "Thirty Bright Stars" appeared in Arabic 
under the name of Hermes; it must have come 
through (Middle) Persian mediation, because its 
badly distorted star names show signs of Persian influ- 
ence (cf. Kunitzsch [10], item xiii), and the term for 
the fixed stars here used, al-kawakib al-biyabaniyya (in 
mediaeval Latin translation stelle beibenie), is Persian 
(from Pahlavi a-wiydbdn-ig, which literally renders 
Greek dwtXaWji;, the common term for the fixed stars; 
cf. W.B. Henning, a;(W Kunitzsch [10], itemxiv, esp. 
265; al-BIrunl's explanation of the term al-kawakib al- 
biyabaniyya as "desert stars", from New Persian 
biydbdn "desert", in Tafhim, 46 (§ 125), was mere 
guesswork and popular etymology). The Hellenistic 
astrological compilation in five parts ascribed to 
Zoroaster also reached the Arabs through a Persian 
intermediate stage; the star names in the chapter on 
the fixed stars of its fifth part, Kitdb al-Mawalid, were 
transformed into Persian and were retained in this 
form in the Arabic version; cf. the ed. of the chapter 
in Kunitzsch [13]. Another tradition, on stars causing 
weather disturbances, tempest, etc., containing star 
names of unknown origin and meaning, has been 
found until now only in Byzantine and mediaeval 
Latin versions and it is uncertain whether an Arabic 
stage was also involved in its transmission; cf. 
Kunitzsch [10], items xv-xvi. 

Yet another use of star names occurred in lot books 
(kutub al-fa'l) where they took the role of "judges" 
answering questions or guiding the interrogator to 
further questions. An example is the Liber Alfadhol, a 
lot book attributed to Harun al-Rashld's astrologer al- 
Fadl b. Sahl, of which also Latin and old German ver- 
sions exist and which contains 144 "judges" carrying 
star names (including a few astronomical terms); cf. 
Kunitzsch, apud Lutz, 321-36, and idem, in ZDMG, 
cxviii (1968), 297-314, and cxxxiv (1984), 280-5. For 
other texts of this kind cf. Kunitzsch, apud Lutz, 321 
n. 1; Kunitzsch [6], esp. 281 f.; Wetzstein. 

In addition, it may be mentioned that Arabic texts 
of all the kinds described were translated into Western 
languages, into Byzantine Greek from the 11th cen- 
tury onwards and into Latin, in Spain, from the late 
10th century onwards. In this way, Arabic star and 
constellation names became widely known in 
mediaeval and Renaissance Western science, and 
more than 200 "Arabic star names" can still be found 
in modern star atlases and astronomical textbooks 

Since it is impossible to give here lists of the many 
Arabic star and constellation names, once more the 
literature is cited where all these names are completely 
listed and explained: for indigenous old Arabic star 
names, see Kunitzsch [2] and [7]; for the lunar man- 
sions, see al-manazil; for the zodiac, see mintakat 
al-burudj; for the nomenclature of stars and con- 
stellations derived from Greek sources, mostly the 
Almagest, see Kunitzsch [5]; for specimens of Arabic 
star names in Byzantine texts, see Kunitzsch [10], 
item ii (types I and II); for Arabic star names in 
mediaeval Western and modern a! 


Kunitzsch [1] and [3] and Kunitzsch-Smart; and for 
the special usage of names with the navigators of the 
Indian Ocean, see the Index in Kunitzsch [10], item 

Arabic star names and their use in Western science 
have been the object of philological and historical 
studies over centuries, starting with G. Postellus' 
treatise Signorum coelestium vera configuratio aut asterismus, 
Paris 1553; cf. a short survey in Kunitzsch [1], 23 f. 
The Arabic matter in the popular book of R.H. Allen, 
Star-names and their meanings, New York 1899 (repr. 
New York 1963), is often incorrect and misleading, cf. 
the warnings in Kunitzsch [10], item xxiv. Also, 
modern Arabic authors have paid their tribute to the 
subject, cf. M.H. Jurdak [Djurdak], A. Malouf 
[Ma'luf] and A.H.M. Samaha [Samaha], cited in the 
bibliography of Kunitzsch [1]; the most recent author 
is A.R. Badr, AsmP al-nudjum fi 'l-falak al-hadlth, 
usuluha wa-tatawwuruha, in RAAD, lix (1404/1984), 81- 
96, 290-333, 761-89, lx (1405/1985), 86-103. 


As in all civilisations, the five planets visible to the 
naked eye were also known to the old Arabs, because 
they had names for them which were obviously 
originally Arabic and were not obtained, through 
translation, from outside. There seems, however, not 
to have existed a special term for the planets (as 
distinct from the fixed stars) with the Arabs in their 
"pre-scientific" period. Some commentators assume 
that the terms al-khunnas and al-kunnas in Kur'an, 
LXXXI, 15-16, may refer to the planets; cf. WKAS, 
i, 387 a 2 ff., 442 b 41 ff. (not to be confused with the 
term al-kjiussan which, according to Ibn Durayd, 
Djamhara, i, 67 a 1-3, s.r. kh-s-s, designates the stars 
around the (North) Pole that never set, i.e. the cir- 
cumpolar stars). In the "scientific" period of Arabic- 
Islamic astronomy which was based on translations 
from Greek, the most common terms for the planets 
(oi jtXocv<i|jiEvoi, sc. atnipit;) were (al-kawakib) al- 
mutahayyira (referring to the five planets alone) and (al- 
kawakib) al-sayyara (for the five planets plus Sun and 
Moon), cf. al-Kh w arazmi. Mafatih, 210, 228; al- 
Blrunl, Kanun, iii 987; WKAS, i, 442 b 28 ff., 35 ff. 
Other terms, in certain translated texts, were al- 
kawakib al-mutaharrika (WKAS, i, 442 b 39), al-k. al- 
sayydha, al-k. al-djdriya and al-k. al-dalla (ibid., i, 580 b 
27 ff.). 

The following table shows the names of the planets 
in Arabic, adding some alternative names used in the 
Western Arabic and Spanish Arabic area, and in 








c utarid 





mihr, khurshid 










For the etymologies of the names in Arabic and Per- 
sian, see Eilers [2] and [3]. The "Persian" name 
kaywan is of Babylonian origin (cf. WKAS, i, 518 b 
9 ff.). For Jupiter another Arabic name of unknown 
background was al-birdjis; cf. Ibn Kutayba, Anwd', 
126 f.; Eilers [3], 81 ff. A survey of the planets' 
names in seven languages (Arabic, Greek, Persian, 
Syriac, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Kh w arazmian) was 

given by al-BIruni, Athar, 192 ( = tr. Sachau, 172). In 
Arabic poetry in c Abbasid and later times, the Persian 
names were often used. In astronomy and astrology 
the names could be abbreviated by using only the last 
letter of the Arabic name, cf. Elwell-Sutton, 66. Fur- 
ther, the symbols for the planets introduced in Greek 
texts were also adopted by Arabic-Islamic 
astronomers and astrologers, see al-BTruni, Tafhim, 
199 (§ 329); Ullmann, 345 f. The Arabic names 
shown above (including the Western Arabic alter- 
native names) were also retained in many mediaeval 
Latin translations from the Arabic, in astronomical 
and astrological contexts. The complete set of the 
seven names even appears in Wolfram of Eschen- 
bach's epic Parzival (ca. A.D. 1210), 782, 6 ff.; see 
Kunitzsch [4]. 

Planetary theory in Arabic-Islamic astronomy was 
mainly based on the teachings of Ptolemy in his 
Almagest. The planets rotate on seven successive 
spheres (falak [q.v.]) about the earth, the Moon being 
the nearest to the earth, in the first sphere, and Saturn 
being the farthest, in the seventh sphere; the eighth 
sphere was held by the fixed stars. The lower planets 
(below the Sun), Moon, Mercury and Venus, were 
called al-kawakib al-sufliyya, and the upper planets 
(beyond the Sun), Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, were al- 
kawakib al-'-ulwiyya. The lowest point in a planet's 
orbit was called hadid, the farthest point was awdj 
(from Sanskr. ucca, cf. D. Pingree, in Viator, vii 
[1976], 161; afterwards Latinised as awe, genitive 
augis). The two points of intersection of a planet's 
orbit with the ecliptic were each called by the Persian 
term al-djawzahar [q.v.] or — translated from Greek 
auv8e<j|ji6(; — c ukda, node. The ascending node 
(dtvocpipafcv) especially was called ra's (al-tinnin) "(the 
Dragon's) head, caput (draconis)" , and the descending 
node (xocxocptpdfov) dhanab (al-tinnin), "(the Dragon's) 
tail, cauda (draconis)" . The planets performed a for- 
ward movement (istikama) along the ecliptic (ila tawdli 
al-burudj); at certain times they became stationary 
(wukuf, ikama) and then performed a retrograde move- 
ment (rudju c ); this ended in a second stationary posi- 
tion after which they resumed the normal forward 

The knowledge about the planets' physical 
behaviour— motion, size, distances, etc.— was mainly 
laid down in the so-called zidjs, i.e. comprehensive 
handbooks containing both theoretical chapters and 
the relevant tables. The word zidj (pi. zidjat, azyddj, 
ziyadja) is of Persian origin (already in Pahlavi, zik) 
and originally meant the thread(s) in weaving; from 
the arrangement of the threads in a piece of woven 
cloth it was extended to the network of lines drawn for 
astronomical tables and finally transferred upon com- 
plete works of tables with their introductory 
theoretical text. Very few such works have been edited 
so far, e.g. al-Zidj al-sdbP of al-Battanl (ed. and tr. 
CA. Nallino, i-iii, Milan 1899-1907); the Latin 
translation (by Adelard of Bath) of Maslama al- 
Madjriti's redaction of the Zidj. of Muhammad b. 
Musa al-Kh w arazmi (ed. A. Bjornbo, R. Besthorn 
and H. Suter, Copenhagen 1914; Eng. tr. and comm. 
O. Neugebauer, Copenhagen 1962); al-Blrum's al- 
Kdnunal-mas c udi(ed. Haydarabad, i-iii, 1954-6; Rus- 
sian tr. P.G. Bulgakov et alii, i-ii, Tashkent 1973-76; 
survey of the contents in English by E.S. Kennedy, in 
Al-Abhath, xxiv [1971], 59-81). About 130 zidjs were 
listed, and twelve of the most important abstracted, in 
Kennedy [1]. More abstracts are in Toomer [1]; Mer- 
cier [2]. Of great historical interest are also works such 
as The Book of the reasons behind astronomical tables (Kitab 
fi Hlal al-zidjdl) of c Ali b. Sulayman al-Hashimi (ed. 


and tr. F.I. Haddad, E.S. Kennedy and D. Pingree, 
New York 1981) which has preserved material lost, or 
not yet found, in the original; of the same character 
is El libro de los fundamentos de las Tablas astrondmicas by 
the Spanish-Jewish scholar Abraham b. c Ezra (written 
in Latin in A.D. 1154; ed. J.M. Millas Vallicrosa, 
Madrid-Barcelona 1947). 

Popular estimated values for the (sidereal) revolu- 
tion of the planets are mentioned by Ibn Kutayba, 
Anwd?, 127. According to him, Saturn travels in each 
of the twelve zodiacal signs 32 months (i.e. a total 
revolution of 32 years); Jupiter 1 year (i.e. a total 
revolution of 12 years); Mars 45 days (i.e. a total of 
roughly 1 Yi years); the Sun 1 month (i.e. a total of 1 
year); Venus 27 days (i.e. a total of 324 days); Mer- 
cury 7 days (i.e. a total of 84 days); and the Moon 2V 3 
nights (i.e. a total of 28 nights). He also mentions that 
Venus and Jupiter are of bright white colour, Saturn 
is yellowish, Mars is red, and Mercury also red, but 
it is seen only rarely because of its vicinity to the Sun. 

Scientific astronomy has received and continued to 
use the precise Greek data in the Almagest and has, in 
the course of time, improved upon many of them, 
based on new independent observation. For details, 
one has to consult the zidjs and their abstracts men- 
tioned above. 

While, on the whole, Ptolemaic astronomy 
remained valid in the Arabic-Islamic civilisation until 
in recent times contacts began with modern Western 
astronomy, on the other hand serious criticism of 
Ptolemy's planetary theory was brought forward by 
several Muslim astronomers. Among the names here 
to be mentioned are Ibn al-Hayiham (in Egypt, d. 
shortly after 432/1041; cf. Sezgin, v, 251 ff.); Djabir 
b. Allah (Geber, Spain, 1st half 12th cent.; cf. R.P. 
Lorch, The Astronomy ofjdbir ibn Aflah, in Centaurus, xix 
[1975], 85-107); al-Bi;rudjr {Alpetragius , Spain, 2nd 
half 12th cent. [q.v.\; idem, On the principles of 
astronomy, ed. and tr. B.R. Goldstein, i-ii, New Haven 
1971). In the East, an important name was further- 
besides Nasir al-DIn • al-Tusi— Ibn al-S_hasir 
(Damascus, 14th cent.), cf. the collection of papers 
The life and work of Ibn al-Shdtir, ed. Kennedy and I. 
Ghanem, Aleppo 1976; Kennedy [2], section 
"Planetary theory"; idem, Planetary theory: late Islamic 
and Renaissance, in Awrdk, v-vi (1982-3), 19-24; Gold- 
stein, The status of models in ancient and medieval 
astronomy, in Centaurus, xxiv (1980), 132-47; G. Saliba, 
Theory and observation in Islamic astronomy: the work of Ibn 
al-Shdtir of Damascus, in Journal for the History of 
Astronomy, xviii (1987), 35-43. There have been 
observed similarities between certain new methods 
and solutions of problems in planetary theory by some 
13th and 14th century Islamic astronomers and those 
of Copernicus. But it would be difficult to interpret 
these coincidences in terms of Arabic influence on 
Copernicus, since no direct lines of transmission from 
the Orient to Renaissance Western astronomers has 
been ascertained so far. 

Islamic astronomers also devised — like Western 
scientists of late mediaeval and Renaissance times- 
instruments for the demonstration of the planets' 
movements, the so-called equatoria, see Kennedy [2], 
section "Equatoria"; Comes. 

For the use of the planets in astrology and some of 
their astrological properties, see mintaijat al-burudj. 


a. Nebulae. Ptolemy in the star catalogue of the 
Almagest had described five of his 1,025 stars as 
"nebulous". However, all of these were star clusters 
or double stars appearing to the naked eye as 

"nebulous", but not nebulae according to modern 
astronomical understanding. It was Abu '1-Husayn 
al-Sufi who, in his Book on the Constellations, 
independently and for the first time mentioned the 
Andromeda Nebula (M 31 = NGC 224), calling it 
lafkha sahdbiyya, a "nebulous spot". In one of the 
drawings of the constellation of Andromeda he 
marked the position of the nebula by a number of 
small dots; see Kunitzsch [9]. As for the Magellanic 
Clouds, in the southern celestial hemisphere, near the 
South Pole, invisible from the Arabian Peninsula, a 
first reference to them seems to be in Yakut, Mu c djam 
al-buldan, ed. Wustenfeld, i, 501 f., where Yakut cites 
several unnamed travellers {ghayr wdhid mimman 
shahada tilka 'l-bildd) who described that they saw in the 
sky a spot (tdka) about the size of the Moon looking 
like a white cloud (kit'-at ghaym bayda*); this description 
may refer to the Larger Magellanic Cloud (Nubecula 
Maior) which is better visible than the Smaller one. 
Later, the Arabic navigators of the Indian Ocean, 
Ahmad b. Madjid (d. ca. 1500) and Sulayman al- 
Mahri (1st half 16th cent.), knew and described the 
Magellanic Clouds (al-sahabatan) in their writings. Ibn 
Madjid even specified (in his poem al-Sufdliyya) that 
one of them is clearly visible (bayyina li 'l- c ayn, i.e. the 
Larger Magellanic Cloud) and the other appears weak 
(tamsd\ i.e. the Smaller Magellanic Cloud); cf. I. 
Khoury, ed., Sulayman al-Mahri's works, iii, Damascus 
1393/1972, 302. The assumption of L. Massignon 
that the asterism al-bakar "the Cows", mentioned by 
al-Sufi (cf. Kunitzsch [2], nos. 59 and 23), was iden- 
tical with the Magellanic Clouds was rightly refuted 
by W. Petri, in Die Sterne, xxxviii (1962), 74-7. 

b. Comets. The common Arabic term for a comet is 
(kawkab) dhu dhanab or kawkab al-dhanab "star with a 
tail". Also, the Greek term xo(ifjtai was translated as 
al-kawdkib dhawdt al-dhawdHb (Aristotle). According to 
Greek cosmology, comets were regarded as 
atmospherical phenomena in the sublunar sphere, see 
Aristotle, Fi 'l-samd'' wa 'l-athdr al-'-ulwiyya 
(Meteorology), ed. A.R. Badawi, Cairo 1961, 15 ff.; 
Aristoteles' Meteorologie, ed. P.L. Schoonheim, Leiden 
1978, 70 ff.; Hunayn b. Ishak, Kompendium der 
aristotelischen Meteorologie, ed. H. Daiber, Amsterdam- 
Oxford 1975, 58 ff.; Aetius Arabus, ed. Daiber, 
Wiesbaden 1980, 168 ff. Little attention was conse- 
quently paid to comets by the Islamic astronomers, 
because for them they were no regular celestial 
phenomena such as the planets, Sun and Moon and 
the fixed stars. On the other hand, since they were 
regarded as bad omens, they were often registered by 
historians, biographers, etc., and in astrology (cf. 
already Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, ii, 9 and 13). In the latter 
category of literature, special subgroups of comets 
were distinguished according to their apparent forms 
in the sky and were given various extra names. Some 
such names were already mentioned by Ptolemy, 
Tetrab., ii, 9; for more names in Antiquity, cf. inter 
alios Lydus, De ostentis, ed. C. Wachsmuth, Leipzig 
1897, 28 ff., 35 ff., 165 f. (from Pliny, Nat. hist.), 
166 f. A pseudepigraphic tradition ascribed a list of 
ten such names to Aristotle or Apuleius; see further A. 
Bouche-Leclercq, L'astrologie grecque, Paris 1899 (repr. 
Brussels 1963), 357 ff., esp. 359 n. 1. 

For the Islamic area, see Kennedy [2], 31 1-18 (first 
published 1957); idem, Astronomical events from a Persian 
astrological manuscript, in Centaurus xxiv (1980), 162-77 
(with an appendix by O. Gingerich, 178-80). Several 
of the texts published by L. Thorndike, Latin treatises 
on comets between 1238 and 1368 A.D. , Chicago 1950, 
reflect Arabic material of this sort. 

c. Shooting Stars, Meteors. Together with comets, 


shooting stars were included, in ancient cosmology, 
among the atmospherical phenomena of the sublunar 
sphere; see Aristotle, Fi l-samd', ed. Badawi, 18 ff.; 
Meteorologie, ed. Schoonheim, 74 ff.; Hunayn b. 
Ishak, Kompendium, loc. cit. above; Aetius Ambus, loc. 
cit. above. The common Arabic terms for them were 
shihab, pi. shuhub, and nayzak, pi. nayazik (of Persian 
origin); cf. C.A. Nallino, Raccolla di scritti, v, Rome 
1944, 377-93 (first published in RSO, viii [1919-21]). 
Their quick movement in the sky when falling 
towards the earth was well known and was described 
as inkidad, insibdb, etc. Shooting stars (shuhub) are 
several times mentioned in the Kur'an (XV, 18; 
XXXVII, 10; LXVII, 8-9); the implication here is 
that djinns or shaytdns who try to spy on the angels are 
driven away by throwing shuhub at them. This myth 
(the "Sternschnuppenmythus") afterwards often 
served as a motif in poetry, cf. Kunitzsch [10], item 
xxvi, 248 f. with n. 23. The quick motion of the 
shooting stars was also often used in poetical com- 
parison, especially in the description of animals, cf. 
Kunitzsch [10], items xxvi, 247 f., and xxvii, 104 
with n. 18. In astrology, shooting stars mostly ranged 

i the s 

with c 

s bad c 

d. Novae or Supernovae. The Arabic language, and 
the Islamic astronomers, had no specific terms for 
novae. This was quite natural since, according to 
classical and the subsequent Islamic cosmology, the 
heavenly bodies — Sun, Moon, the planets and the 
fixed stars — were not capable of any changes in 
substance, magnitude or (for the fixed stars) location. 
Therefore the idea of "new" stars was basically alien 
to their imagination. If a phenomenon of this kind 
was really observed, it had to be subsumed under the 
well-known categories, mainly among the sublunar 
phenomena such as comets. Authors describing such 
objects had to use the terms current for other known 
phenomena. There are two famous supernovae that 
were reported by Islamic authors: one in A.D. 1006, 
see Goldstein, Evidence for a supernova in A.D. 1006, in 
The Astronomical Journal, lxx (1965), 105-14. The best 
source here is C A1I b. Ricjwan's commentary on 
Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos; in describing the object c Ali uses 
the terms athar (lit. "trace") and nayzak (properly, 
"shooting star"; cf. above). Ibn al-Athlr and Ibn al- 
Djawzi, in reporting the same event, spoke of kawkab 
kabir yushbihu 'l-zuhara, "a large star similar to Venus" 
(Goldstein, loc. cit., 107, 113 f.); the anonymous 
Annates regum Mauritaniae describe the object as nadjm 
'■azim [var. gharib] min dhawat al-dhawaHb, "a great 
[var. wondrous] star from among the comets", and 
further on call it a nayzak ("shooting star"; Goldstein, 
loc. cit., 108, 114). The second supernova was that of 
A.D. 1054; in mentioning it, Ibn Abi Usaybi'a, 
<-Uyun, ed. A. Miiller, i, 242, 14-15, calls it al-kawkab 
al-dthari, "the star leaving traces". On the subject, see 
also T. Velusamy, Guest stars: historical supernovae and 
remnants, in History of Oriental Astronomy (1AU Collo- 
quium 91), Cambridge 1987, 265-70. 

e. Sunspots. Ibn al-Kifti, Ta^rijsh al-Hukama?, ed. 
Lippert, 156, cites from a book by Muhammad b. 
Hilal b. al-Muh[as]sin al-Sabi 3 a report copied by the 
latter from a notice on comets written by Dja'far b. al- 
Muktaff bi'llah; here it is also reported that on Tues- 
day, 19 Radjab, in the year 225 (25 May 840), during 
the caliphate of al-Mu c tasim, there appeared in the 
Sun, near its centre, a black spot (nukta sawdd^); the 
report continues that al-Kindl said that this spot lasted 
for 91 days. It was taken as a bad omen, and indeed, 

some time afterwards al-Mu c tasim died. The report 
further says that al-Kindl had also maintained that the 
spot may have been caused by a passage of Venus in 
front of the Sun (kusuf al-zuhara li'l-shams wa-lusukuhd 
bihd hadhihi 'l-mudda). 

f. Paranatellonta. The paranatellonta are constella- 
tions, or portions of constellations, co-ascending or 
reaching other fundamental points of the sphere 
together with the decans (i.e. sections of 10 degrees) 
of the zodiac. The observation of the paranatellonta 
has belonged to astrological practice since Antiquity. 
The constellations here used include, besides the 
classical Greek constellations, a number of exotic, 
Egyptian and other figures, the so-called sphaera bar- 
barica. Texts describing the paranatellonta are known, 
inter alia, from Teukros the Babylonian (perhaps 1st 
cent. A.D.), in Arabic Tfnkalus, or Tankalusha al- 
Babill. An Arabic version of the paranatellonta for the 
36 decans of the zodiac was inserted by Abu Ma c §har 
in his astrological Kitdb al-Mudkhal al-kabir, Book vi, 
ch. 1. The text was edited by K. Dyroff as Appendix 
vi, apud F. Boll, Sphaera, Leipzig 1903, 482-539. Abu 
Ma c shar gives as the epoch for the positions of the 
constellations in his text the year 1 160 Seleucid era = 
Oct. 848-Sept. 849. For each decan (here called waajh) 
Abu Ma'shar registers in a first section the 
paranatellonta (suwar) according to the "Persians, 
Chaldaeans and Egyptians". The ascription to the 
Persians is correct insofar as Abu Ma c shar used a Per- 
sian translation from a Greek redaction of Teukros' 
text probably dating from A.D. 542 and afterwards 
converted into new Persian (cf. Boll, op. cit., 416; see 
also Sezgin, GAS, vii, 71 ff.). In a second section there 
follows the description of the paranatellonta according 
to the Indians. As Boll has shown, what there is des- 
cribed in this section are, however, not the 
paranatellonta, but rather the figures symbolising the 
decans themselves in Indian tradition (cf. Boll, 
414 f.). The third section describes the paranatellonta 
formed from the 48 classical Ptolemaic constellations. 
Through Latin translations of Abu Ma c shar's work 
and through other channels, the paranatellonta and 
their nomenclature became of considerable influence 
in mediaeval and Renaissance Western astrological 
speculation (see the survey in Boll, 419 ff.). The 
astrologer Ibn Hibinta also included a description of 
the paranatellonta in his compilation al-Mughni which, 
according to Sezgin, GAS, vii, 71 f., offers— at least in 
parts— a better text than Abu Ma c shar. 

g. Modern nomenclature of objects on the Moon, the 
planets and their satellites. A last echo of the grandeur of 
the mediaeval Islamic astronomers is found in the 
modern nomenclature of features on the surfaces of 
the Moon, the planets and their satellites. In his map 
of the Moon (1651), Giovanni Baptista Riccioli intro- 
duced as names for the craters on her visible side the 
names of famous astronomers and scientists from 
various nations and times, a nomenclature which 
became standard until now in international 
astronomy. Among them there are the names of thir- 
teen personalities of outstanding fame in astronomy 
and the science from the Islamic Middle Ages (two of 
them were added in 1837 by J.H. Madler). All these 
names are spelled in their Latinised form as intro- 
duced and vulgarised in the West through the transla- 
tions of the 12th century in Spain; examples are 
Albategnius [al-Battanl], Alfraganus [al-Farghani], 
Alhazen [al-Hasan, Ibn al-Haytham], Almanon [the 
c Abbasid caliph al-Ma 5 mun, famous as a patron of the 
translations from Greek into Arabic and of the 
sciences generally], Azophi [al-Suff], etc.; for details, 
see Mohd. A.R. Khan, Names of thirteen Muslim 

astronomers given to some natural features of the Moon, in IC, 
xxvii (1953), 78-85. In recent times, after the explora- 
tion of the far side of the Moon, this kind of historical 
nomenclature has been continued. Among the names 
set up here — and which are approved of by the Inter- 
national Astronomical Union — there are five more of 
Islamic scientists: Abul Wdfa [Abu 'l-Wafa'], al-Biruni 
[al-Birum], Avicenna [Ibn Sina], Ibn Yunus [Ibn 
Yunus] and Omar Khayyam ['Umar Khayyam]. With 
the exploration of the planets and their satellites by 
spacecraft, the naming of objects on their surfaces 
and will honour many more of the 
scientists of Islamic civilisation. 
At the end of this article, it should be mentioned 
that the textual tradition of the astronomical and 
astrological literature in the Islamic area was accom- 
panied by a rich tradition of illustrations. In purely 
astronomical texts we find— beside the tables— the 
geometrical and other diagrams illustrating the vari- 
ous technical demonstrations and — in al-Sufi's Book on 
the Constellations and in his imitators such as al- 
KazwInT in the '■AdjaHb al-makhlukdt or SJiahmardan in 
the Rawdat al-munadjgjimin — drawings of the constella- 
tions. In astrology, moreover, there are illustrations of 
the planets, the decans, the zodiacal signs, the 
paranatellonta and other items. This rich tradition 
was continued, together with the translations of texts, 
in the West where illustrations inspired by the Arabic 
e found in innumerable manuscripts 
iy early printed editions of the 15th to the 17th 

Final hints: for details on the seasonal a 
the old Arabs, see al-anwa 3 ; for the Poles, see al- 
kutb; for the Milky Way, see al-madjarra; for the 
lunar mansions, see al-manazil; and for the zodiac, 


Bibliography (in addition to the works cited 
directly in the article): 1. Arabic sources: BIrunI, 
Tafhim, facs. ed. and tr. R.R. Wright, London 
1934; Ibn al-§alah, Zur Kritik der Koor- 
dinatenuberlieferung im Sternkatalog des Almagest (Fi 
sabab al-ktata 3 wa 'l-tashif al-'-dridayn fi djadawil al- 
makdlatayn al-sabi c a wa 'l-thamina min Kitdb al-madjasti 
wa-tashxh ma amkana tashifiuhu min djtdlika), ed. and 
tr. P. Kunitzsch, Gottingen 1975; Ptolemy, 
Almagest, Star Catalogue: see below, Kunitzsch 
[11]. 2. Modern studies: M. Almagro et alii, 
Qusayr c Amra. Residenciay banos omeyas en el desierto de 
Jordania, Madrid 1975; L. Bazin, Uber die Stemkunde 
in altturkischer Zeit, in Akademie d. Wiss. Mainz, Abh. , 
Geistes- u. Sozialwiss. KL, Jahrg. 1963, Nr. 5; Beer 
[1]: A. Beer, The astronomical significance of the Zodiac 
of Qusayr c Amra, in K.A.C. Creswell, Early Muslim 
architecture, i, Oxford 1932, 296-303; Beer [2]: idem, 
Astronomical datings of works of art, in Vistas in 
Astronomy, ix (1967), 177-87 (with an addition by 
W. Hartner, at 225); J.L. Berggren, Al-BZrim on 
plane maps of the Sphere, in Journal for the History of 
Arabic Science, vi (1982), 47-112; E. Bernus-E. ag- 
Sidiyene, Etoiles et constellations chez les nomades, in 
Awal, v (1989), 141-153; M. Comes, Ecuatorios 
andalusi'es, Ibn al-Samh, al-Zarqdlluh y Abu-l-Salt, 
Barcelona 1991; Eilers [1]: W. Eilers, Stern-Planet- 
Regenbogen. Zur Nomenklatur der orientalischen Him- 
melskunde, in Der Orient in der Forschung. Festschrift Otto 
Spies, Wiesbaden 1967, 92-146; Eilers [2]: idem, 
Zur Semasiologie der Himmelskunde, in Akten des VII. 
Kongresses fur Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft, Got- 
tingen 1976, 115-19; Eilers [3]: idem, Sinn und 
Herkunft der Planetennamen, in Bayerische Akademie d. 
Wiss., Phil.-hist. Kl., Sitzungsberichte, Jahrg. 1975, 
Heft 5; L.P. Elwell-Sutton, The Horoscope of 

Asadulldh Mirza, Leiden 1977; J. Evans, On the origin 
of the Ptolemaic star catalogue: Part 1, in Journal for the 
History of Astronomy, xviii (1987), 155-72; J. Hen- 
ninger, Uber Stemkunde undSternkult in Nord- undZen- 
tralarabien, in idem, Arabica sacra, Freiburg 
(Switzerland)— Gottingen 1981, 448-517 (first pub- 
lished in 1954); W. Hubner, Die Eigenschaften der 
Tierkreiszeichen in der Antike, Wiesbaden 1982; L. 
Ideler, Untersuchungen uber den Ursprung und die 
Bedeutung der Stemnamen, Berlin 1809; Kennedy [1]: 
E.S. Kennedy, A survey of Islamic astronomical tables, 
in Trans. Amer. Philos. Society, N.S. xlvi(1956), 123- 
77 (repr. 1984); Kennedy [2]: idem, Studies in the 
Islamic exact sciences, Beirut 1983; E.B. Knobel, 
Ulugh Beg's catalogue of stars, Washington 1917; 
Kunitzsch [1]: P. Kunitzsch, Arabische Stemnamen in 
Europa, Wiesbaden 1959; Kunitzsch [2]: idem, 
Untersuchungen zur Stemnomenklatur der Araber, 
Wiesbaden 1961; Kunitzsch [3]: idem, Typen von 
Stemverzeichnissen in astronomischen Handschriften des 
zehnten bis vierzehnten Jahrhunderts, Wiesbaden 1966; 
Kunitzsch [4]: idem, Die Planetennamen im "Par- 
zival", in Zeitschrifi fur deutsche Sprache, xxv (1969), 
169-74; Kunitzsch [5]: idem, Der Almagest. Die Syn- 
taxis Mathematica des Claudius Ptolemaus in arabisch- 
lateinischer Uberlieferung, Wiesbaden 1974; Kunitzsch 
[6]: idem, Eine bilingue arabisch-lateinische Lostafel, in 
Revue d'histoire des textes, vi (1976), 267-304; 
Kunitzsch [7]: idem, Uber ein anwd*- Tradition mil 
bisher unbekannten Stemnamen, in Bayerische Akademie 
d. Wiss., Phil.-hist. Kl. , Sitzungsberichte, Jahrg. 1983, 
Heft 5; Kunitzsch [8]: idem, Remarks on possible rela- 
tions between ancient Arabia and the neighbouring civiliza- 
tions, as found in some old star names, in Studies in the 
history of Arabia, ii, Pre-Islamic Arabia, Riyad 1984, 
201-5; Kunitzsch [9]: idem, A medieval reference to the 
Andromeda Nebula, in The ESO Messenger, no. 49 
(Sept. 1987), 42 f.; Kunitzsch [10]: idem, The Arabs 
and the stars, Northampton 1989; Kunitzsch [11]: 
Claudius Ptolemaus, Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. 
Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, i, Die arabischen 
Ubersetzungen, ed. and tr. Kunitzsch, Wiesbaden 
1986; Kunitzsch [12]: idem, Al-Sufi and the astrolabe 
stars, in Zeitschrifi fur Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen 
Wissenschaften, vi (1990), 151-66; Kunitzsch [13]: 
idem, The chapter on the fixed stars in Zaradushl 's Kitab 
al-mawalld, in ibid., viii (1992); P. Kunitzsch and 
T. Smart, Short guide to modem star names and their 
derivations, Wiesbaden 1986; P. Kunitzsch and M. 
Ullmann, Die Plejaden in den Vergleichen der arabischen 
Dichtung, in Bayerische Akademie d. Wiss., Phil.-hist. 
Kl, Sitzungsberichte, Jahrg. 1992; B.F. Lutz, Das 
Buch 'Alfadol', Untersuchung und Ausgabe nach der 
Wiener Handschrift 2804, Ph. diss. Heidelberg 1967, 
unpubl.; Mercier [1]: R. Mercier, Studies in the 
medieval conception of precession, in Archives intema- 
tionales d'histoire des sciences, xxvi (1976), 197-220, 
xxvii (1977), 33-71; Mercier [2]: idem, Astronomical 
tables in the twelfth century, in Adelard of Bath, an English 
scientist and Arabist of the early twelfth century, London 
1987, 87-118; L. Richter-Bernburg, Al-Biruni's 
Maqdlafitasfih al-suwar..., mJHAS, vi (1982), 1 13- 
22; J. -P. Roux, Les astres chez Us Turcs et les Mongols, 
in RHR, cxcv (1979), 153-92; E. Savage-Smith, 
Islamicate celestial globes. Their history, construction, and 
use, Washington D.C. 1985; F. Saxl, The zodiac of 
Qusayr c Amra, in Creswell, Early Muslim architecture, 
i, 289-95; A. Scherer, Gestirnnamen bei den indo- 
germanischen Volkem, Heidelberg 1953; Sezgin, GAS; 
M. Shevchenko, An analysis of errors in the star 
catalogues of Ptolemy and Ulugh Beg, in JHA, xxi 
(1990), 187-201; Toomer [1]: G.J. Toomer, A 

al-NUDJUM — (Ahj 

survey of the Toledan Tables, in Osiris, xv (1968), 5- 
174; Toomer [2]: idem, Ptolemy's Almagest (tr.), 
London and New York, etc. 1984; M. Ullmann, 
Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam, Leiden 
1972; D.M. Varisco, The origin of the anwa 5 in Arab 
tradition, in SI, xxiv (1991), 5-28 (first draft printed, 
without corrections, in JH AS, ix [1991], 79-100); 
Wetzstein: Die Konigslose. J.G. Wetzsteins freie 
Nachdichtung eines arabischen Losbuches, ed. G. Weil, 
Berlin-Leipzig 1929; WKAS = Worterbuch der 
Klassischen Arabischen Sprache, i-, Wiesbaden 1973- 
(1983-). (P. Kunitzsch) 

In East Africa. 

The Swahili people living along the East Coast of 
Africa between Mogadishu and Mozambique have a 
long tradition of sailing the Indian Ocean, to fish and 
to trade. Thus, from the Middle Ages, they have been 
familiar with the major stars and constellations of the 
tropical region as well as with the planets and their 
movements. Some of this vast knowledge of the 
Swahili navigators has been written down in manu- 
scripts in Swahili in Arabic script. Some of these have 
survived and are now in the University Library, Dar 
es Salaam. In Swahili this science is called elimu ya 
nu.ju.mix or elimu ya nyota "knowledge of the stars", to 
be distinguished from tanjimu "astrology". So far, 105 
Swahili names for planets, stars and constellations 
have been identified; the majority are adapted from 
Arabic. Native Swahili (i.e. Bantu) words are the sun 
jua, the moon mwezi and the Milky Way, Njia Nyeupe 
"the white path", also called Mkokoto wa kondoo wa 
Sumaili "the path along which Ismail's sheep was 
dragged", referring to the tale of the ram which God 
sent to replace Isma'il as a sacrifice (Kur'an, 
XXXVII, 107), an event still celebrated by Swahili 
Muslims. Kilimio "the Pleiades", lit. "What one 
cultivates by", is the Bantu-Swahili name; this con- 
stellation was well-known in pre-Islamic times 
because its appearance marks the moment when the 
rains should begin and so, the moment for the plan- 
ting of millet. 

A few of the star names are of Persian origin, e.g. 
shahini "royal white falcon" (Alshain, Beta Aquilae); 
zanu "knee" (Rukbat, Alpha Sagittarii); bahu 
"shoulder" (Gamma Orionis). 

Most curious is the fact that the Swahili people have 
a solar calendar based on the Persian model; it is not 
known how, or when, this calendar came to be 
adopted by the Swahili. The New Year is called 
nauruzi, noruzi, or nairuzi (the latter form of this Per- 
sian word being the Indian alternant, though the 
Hindi dictionary gives nauroj for the Parsi New Year). 
This date falls when the sun enters the sign of Aries, 
the Ram (Swahili Hamali) on the 21st or 22nd of 
March [see further, nawruz. 2. In East Africa]. How- 
ever, this calendar is now replaced by the Islamic 
lunar calendar, which in turn is regarded with less 
favour than the European (Kizungu) calendar since the 
latter permits a fairly accurate prediction of the start 
of the two rainy seasons. 

Several other astronomical terms are also adapted 
from Arabic, e.g. the word for a comet, shihabu or 
shuhubu, also nyota msafiri "travelling star"; ghurubu 
"descent" and shuruki "ascent", though for the 
former mshuko is also used. The word for conjunction 
is uungano (Ar. iktiran); opposition is uelekeano (Ar. 
mukdbala, muwadjahd). 

The most-watched heavenly body is the new moon, 
hilali, mwezi mpya, whose appearance is eagerly 
awaited on the last evening of Ramadhani. Loud 
cheers greet its appearance. 

Swahili astrologers concentrate first and foremost 

cam al-)NUDJUM 105 

on the signs of the Zodiac, Buruji za Falaki, whose 
names are all from Arabic: 
Hamali, Aries Mizani, Libra 

Thauri, Taurus Akarabu, Scorpio 

Jauza, Gemini Kausi, Sagittarius 

Saratani, Cancer Jadi, Capricornis 

Asadi, Leo Dalu, Aquarius 

Sumbula, Virgo Hutu, Pisces 

Each sign creates a particular character in the person 
who was born under it, according to the Swahili muna- 
jimu or astrologer. 

The Swahili names of the Planets are: Mercury, 
Utaridi; Venus, Zuhura; Mars, Mirihi; Jupiter, 
Mushitari; and Saturn, Zohali. 

Bibliography: C. Velten, Sitten und Gebrauche der 
Suaheli, Gottingen 1903; G. Ferrand, Introduction a 
I'astronomie nautique arabe, Paris 1928; J. Knappert, 
List of names for stars and constellations, in Swahili, 
xxxv/1 (Dar es Salaam, March 1965); J.W.T. 
Allen , The customs of the Swahili people, the Desturi za 
waswahili of Mtoro Bin Mwinyi Bakari, Berkeley and 
Los Angeles 1981 ; R.B. Serjeant, Hadramaut to Zan- 
zibar: the Pilot Poem of the Nakhuda SaHd Ba TayP of 
A.S Al-Hami, in Paideuma, xxviii (1982), 109-27, 
with bibl.; Knappert, The Swahili names of stars, 
planets and constellations, unpubl. Q. Knappert) 
NUBJUM (Ahkam al-), "decrees of the stars", 
expression denoting astrology [see also 

Astrology comprises two branches: natural 
astrology, consisting in the observation of the influ- 
ences of the stars on the natural elements, and 
judicial astrology, consisting in the observation of 
the influences of the stars on human destiny. The 
scientific term which describes them is Ptolemaism 
(derived from the astrological work of Ptolemy, enti- 
tled KXauSioo ntoXeixaiou twv rcpoc £upov 
dmo-reXtauomxtov, ed. F. Boll and Ae. Boer, in 
Bibliotheca Teubneriana, Leipzig 1940, translated into 
Arabic under the title of K. al-Arba'-a ( = Tetrabiblos). 
With the Centiloquium, translated into Arabic as K. al- 
Thamara ( = xafmoi), which, being erroneously 
attributed to Ptolemy (cf. T. Fahd, La divination arabe, 
233), is regarded by the Arabs as constituting the fifth 
book of the aforementioned, this work forms the basis 
of Arab astrology (cf. Ptolemy 's Tetrabiblos or Quadripar- 
tite being five books on the influence of the stars, newly 
translated into English from the Greek paraphrase of Proclus 
with notes..., followed by the Centiloquy, translation by 
J.M. Ashmand, London 1822, 272 pp.; on the two 
works, see F. Sezgin, GAS, vii, 41 ff.). 

According to Ibn Khaldun, Mukaddima, ii, 185- 
202/217-37, and Hadjdjt Khalifa, Kashf, vi, 306 ff., 
the science of astrology has the object of drawing from 
the cyclical and permanent movements of the celestial 
bodies indications which have a bearing on this world 
of change and corruption. It comprises three parts: 
mathematica (hisabiyyat), physica (tabi'-iyyat) and fan- 
tasmagorica (wahmiyyat). The first two are the ancestors 
of astrometry and astrophysics and constitute 
astronomy (Him al-hay^a [q.v.]), a science which has a 
merely descriptive role, while that of astrology is con- 
siderably more diverse. Astrology assumes a 
knowledge of astronomy, although it is probably 

Under the heading of natural astrology, nur 
procedures exist. Two of these are well known: Him al- 
anwa* denotes the knowledge of the periods defined by 
the heliacal rising and the acronychal setting of certain 
stars (see anwa 5 , also Sezgin, GAS, vii, 336 ff., and 
Fahd, Divination*, 412-17). The art of inspecting the 
sky to detect any signs of rain was known in Oriental 

(Ahkam al-)NUDJUM 

and Greco-Roman Antiquity (cf. ibid., 407-8). The 
pre-Islamic Arabs practised it; on account of its 
association with the astral cult, it was denounced by 
the Prophet (al-Bukhaii, i, 136). 

More important is the art of drawing indications 
(dalaHt) from the totality of atmospherical 
phenomena; these indications are gathered together in 
books bearing the title malhama. The best known is 
that attributed to the Prophet Daniel (see malahim, 
and Divination, 408-12). 

This literary genre comprises a large number of 
astrological collections and agricultural almanacs, 
bringing together all the knowledge accumulated over 
the centuries in the region of the Near and Middle 
East, knowledge drawn from Arabic translation and 
adaptation of Sanskrit, Pahlavi, Greek and Syriac 
writings. One of these collections (Aya Sofya 2684, 
139 (oh., naskhi of 906/1499, 27.5 x 18 cm) has been 
described in Divination, 488-95. It is divided into three 
parts: (1) book of conjunctions, concerning relation- 
ships between the stars (fols. lb- 105a); (2) 
meteorological divination according to Daniel (fols. 
106b-117a); and (3) the heliacal rising of Sirius 
according to Hermes (fols. 117-132). In an appendix, 
there is a compilation of indications drawn from the 
occasion of Nawruz [q.v.], of the Coptic month of 
Tawba and the festival of Easter (fols. 137a-139b). 
For agricultural almanacs, see Fahd, Le calendrier des 
travaux agricoles d'apres al-Filaha al-nabatiyya, in Orien- 
talia Hispanica (Melanges Pareja), i, Leiden 1974, 245- 
72; Sezgin, GAS, vii, 306 ff. on astrometeorology. 

Since the articles anwa 3 and malahim cover the 
subject of natural astrology in sufficient depth, the 
topic of judicial astrology may now be addressed; this 
too has been dealt with in a number of articles, in par- 
ticular djafr, huruf and khatt. which are processes 
of divination in which astrology plays an important 

Judicial astrology is applied in two important areas 
of human life: genethlialogy (mawalid) and 
hemerology (ikjjtiyarat), areas in which great interest 
was taken in the mediaeval Arab and Islamic world. 
A rich corpus of literature on these subjects is 

I. Genethlialogy. This is the art of deducing portents 
from the position of the stars at the time of birth, an 
art already practised in Assyro-Babylonian times (cf. 
Ch. Fossey, Presages tires des naissances, in Babyloniaca, 
v, Paris 1914; L. Dennefeld, Babylonisch-assyrische 
Geburtsomina, in Assyriologische Bibliothek, xxii, Leipzig 
1914; B. Meissner, Uber Genethialogie bei den 
Babylonieren, in Klio, xix [1925], 432-4). 

The ancient Arabs deduced portents from signs and 
events observed at the time of birth, but without 
explicit reference to the stars; these tended rather to 
be omens relating to fa'l or to djafr [q.vv.\. Examples 
are to be found in Divination, 480-1. Genethlialogy 
was born in the 'Abbasid period under Persian influ- 
ence; in this period, the practice of drawing the 
horoscope of the new-born became an established 

But the literature which has survived attributes the 
origin of this art to Hermes and Ptolemy. An 
anonymous manuscript of Aya Sofya (2704, fols. 27a- 
43a and 44a-60b, naskhi, undated, 20 x 14 cm) con- 
tains two opuscules entided K. Mawalid al-ridjal and 
K. Mawalid al-nisd? c ala ray Hirmis wa-Baflamyus (on 
the numerous writings attributed to them in Arabic 
astrological literature, see Sezgin, GAS, vii, 41 ff., 
50 ff.; cf. Hermetis philosophi de revelationibus nativitatum, 
ed. H. Wolf, Basel 1559; F. Boll, Eine arabisch- 
byzantinische Quelle des Dialogs Hermippos, in SB 

Heidelberger Akad. [1912], no. 18, ch. viii; Tahwil sini 
'l-mawalid li-Abi Ma c shar, ed. C. Bezold, 23-5, text, 
and 8-12, German tr.). 

A third source was known and used by the Arab 
astrologers, this being the 'AvSoXofiai of Vettius 
Valens, an eminent astrologer of the period of 
Hadrian and Antoninus Pius; this work was 
translated into Pahlavi under the title of Vizidhak 
(anthology), annotated by Buzurdjmihr, a courtier of 
Kisra Anushirwan (531-78), to whom it is attributed, 
and translated into Arabic as the K. al-Mawdlid (see 
Nallino, Raccolta, v, 238 ff.; Sezgin, GAS, vii, 38 ff.). 
The same title is also attributed to a Babylonian 
astrologer, Teukros, known to the Arabs as 
Tankalusha, who lived at the beginning of the 1st cen- 
tury A.D. and who is the author of an astrological 
work, called Ilepi t<5v TuotpcrueXXovroiv, translated into 
Pahlavi and thence into Arabic in the 2nd or 3rd/ 8th 
or 9th century as K. al-Mawdlid '■aid 'l-wudjuh wa 'l- 
hudud, used by Abu Ma c shar in his K. al-Mudkh/il al- 
kabir, according to an extract made by Rhetorios (6th 
century A.D.). The Arabic text was published and 
translated into German by K. Dyroff and F. Boll, 
Sphaera, Leipzig 1903 (repr. Hildesheim 1967), 482- 
539 (cf. Sezgin, GAS, vii, 11 ff., 71-3, 80-1; Nallino, 
Raccolta, v, 246 ff.; idem, Tracce di opere greche giunte agli 
arabi per trafila pehkvica, in '■Ajab-ndma, E. G. Browne 
Festschrift, Cambridge 1922, 345-63; al-nudjum. III. 

A fourth source in Pahlavi was used by the Arab 
astrologers: this is the K. Zarddusht ft 'l-nudjum wa- 
ta'thiratiha wa 'l-hukm ^ala 'l-mawalid. On the Arabic 
writings attributed to Zarathustra, D. Pingree 
(quoted by Sezgin, GAS, vii, 84) writes: "Thus, as the 
original Zaradusht text, having a Hellenic origin, was 
revised in Sassanian Iran in about 550 and then 
expanded with material from the Pahlavi Dorotheos 
in about 650, so the latter was revised in about 400, 
when it was expanded with material both from the 
Pahlavi Valens and from a Pahlavi translation of a 
Sanscrit text" (Mdshd'alldh: some Sassanian and Syriac 
sources, in Essays on Islamic philosophy and science, New 
York 1975, 5-14, cf. 8; V. Stegemann, Astrologische 
Zarathoustra — Fragmente bei den arabischen Astrologen Abu 
'l-Hasan <Ali b. Abi 'r-Ridjal (11. Jh.), in Orientalia, 
N.S., vi [1937], 317-36). 

From the Sanskrit, al-BIrunl (Tahkik ma li 'l-Hind, 
122 ff.) translated the K. al-Mawdlid al-saghir (ibid., 
122) of Varahamihira, identified by D. Pingree 
(Astronomy and astrology in India and Iran, in Isis, liv 
[1963], 234) with the Laghujataka, and cited the K. al- 
Mawdlid al-kabir by the same author, as well as a K. al- 
Mawdlid by Kalan Buram al-Malik ( = Kaljana- 
Varnan). A K. al-Mawdlid is also attributed to 
Kanaka, astrologer at the court of Harun al-Rashid 
(ms. Qorum 3001/5, fols. 156-1 59a, llth/17th cen- 
tury; for the Pahlavi and Sanskrit writings, see 
Sezgin, vii, 68-97). 

The first Arab astrologer to take an interest in 
genethlialogy is the eminent Jewish scholar 
Masha'allah (d. ca. 200/815 [q.v.]). Two works bear 
his name: K. al-Mawdlid, where the topics addressed 
are as follows: (1) knowledge of the beginning of the 
formation of the foetus and the observation of its 
stages before birth, (2) knowledge of the position of 
the heliacal star at the moment of birth, (3) education, 
(4) knowledge of the age by means of al-hilddj. (the 
alhyleg of the Europeans), its positions and those of the 
stars which are responsible for it, and (5) the form of 
the body, its external appearance and temperament. 
This work is often quoted by Arab astrologers dealing 
with this question. It has been the subject of two Latin 

(Ahkam al 

versions (cf. L. Thomdike, The Latin translations of 
astrological works by Messahala, in Osiris, xii [1956], 49- 
72; E.S. Kennedy and D. Pingree, The Astrological 
History of Masha^allah, Cambridge, Mass. 1971). 

Ibn al-Nadim mentions a K. al-Mawdlid al-kabir by 
the same author, comprising 14 chapters, which is 
known only from its Latin translation, made by Hugo 
de Santalla, with the title Libellus de navitatibus 14 
distinctus capitulis (Oxford, Bodl. Savile 15, 72 fols.). A 
K. Tahwil sini 'l-mawalid, quoted by Ibn al-Nadim, is 
known only from a Latin manuscript (B.N. Paris, 
Latin 7324, fols. 1-24) bearing the title De revolu- 
tionibus nativitatum, a title also attributed to Abu 
Ma'shar, translated from the Greek according to F.J. 
Carmody (Arabic astronomical and astrological sciences in 
Latin translation. A critical bibliography, 95) and edited at 
Basel in 1559, under the name of Hermes (cf. L. 
Thomdike and Pearl Kibre, A catalogue of incipits of 
medieval scientific writings in Latin, revised and 
expanded ed., 1516). 

A summary composed by c Umar b. al-Farrukhan 
using writings of Hermes, Dorotheos, Ptolemy and 
others, bearing the title K. al-Mawdlid, exists in mss. 
(cf. Sezgin, loc. cit., 112). It was translated into Latin, 
under the title De nativitatibus, by Johannes 
Hispalensis (Carmody, 38-9) and edited by N. 
Pruckner as an appendix to Firmicus maternus, Basel 
1551, 118-41. 

Other writings bearing the same title, where the 
same sources are extensively quoted, are attributed to 
various eminent astrologers, including the following: 

Abu C A1I al-Khayyat, a disciple of Masha'allah, 
known to Europeans as Albohali. His work was 
translated into Latin as De iudiciis nativitatum, by Plato 
of Tivoli and Abraham b. Hiyya, known as Savasorda 
(cf. Carmody, 49-50; Sezgin, vii, 120-1, where the 
titles of the 38 chapters are given). This opuscule was 
edited by Joachim Heller in 1546 and 1549, and 
dedicated to Melanchthon (cf. M. Steinschneider, 
Europ. Ubersetz., 46). 

Sahl b. Bighr, Zahel to Europeans, famous for his 
horoscopes; his work comprises two parts, of 8 and 10 
chapters (Sezgin, vii, 126). 

Abu Bakr al-Hasan b. al-Khasib (or al-Khasibi), 
Abubather to Europeans; his work was translated into 
Latin, as Liber de nativitatibus, by Salio (or Solkeen), a 
canon of Padua, in 1218 (or 1248 or 1244), with the 
aid of a certain David Albubather, edited in Venice in 
1492 and translated into German in the 15th century 
(cf. Steinschneider, op. cit., 75, no. 107). 

The author who brilliantly concludes this series of 
genethlialogical writings is Abu Ma c §har al-Falaki (d. 
272/886 [q. v. ]), the greatest astrologer of the Arab and 
Latin Middle Ages. Numerous examples of the genre 
bear his name: (1) K. Ahkam tahwil sini 'l-mawalid, a 
horological work in 9 chapters, preserved in 
numerous manuscripts (cf. Sezgin, vii, 142). The 
Arabic text has been edited and partially translated 
into German by C. Bezold (see above), translated into 
Greek in the 10th century and edited by D. Pingree, 
Albumasaris, De revolutionibus nativitatum, Leipzig 
1968. The editor describes its contents in the Dictionary 
of scientific biography, i, 1970, 37, no. 19. (2) K. al- 
mawalid (al-kabir and al-saghir according to Ibn al- 
Nadim), of which numerous manuscripts exist 
(Sezgin, 144-5). (3) K. Ahkam al-mawdlid (ibid. , 145; 
D. Pingree, op. cit. , 39). (4) K. Mawalid al-riajal wa 7- 
nisa ', on the subject of the birth of men and of women 
(several mss. indicated in Sezgin, vii, 145; for the con- 
tents, see J.M. Faddegon, Notice sur un petit traite 
d'astrologie attribue a Albumasar (Abu Ma'shar) in JA, 
ccxiii [1928], 150-58; D. Pingree, op. cit., 38, no. 29). 

With Abu Ma'shar, genethlialogical literature 
reached its apogee. The following generation confined 
itself to reproducing and annotating his writings (cf. 
Divination, 482-3). 

II. Hemerology and menology. It has been observed 
that genethlialogy is concerned with the fate of 
individuals and permits the compilation of their 
horoscope, starting from the date of birth. The 
ikttiydrdt (xaxapxai, choices) consist rather in 
establishing the calendar of the auspicious (sa'-d) and 
of the inauspicious (nahs). Choice depends upon 
years, months, days of the week and even hours. 
"Deciding the moment for action or for abstention, 
compiling, in terms of this moment, the list of things 
which may be undertaken with success and those 
which should be renounced, constituted one of the 
principal prerogatives of the astrologer who, in the 
c Abbasid period, became a permanent functionary in 
the court of the caliph and at conferences of military 
leaders" (Divination, 483; cf. F. Boll, Sternglaube und 
Sterndeutung. Die Geschichle und das Wesen der Astrologie, 
3rd ed. by W. Gunkel, Leipzig-Berlin 1926; C.A. 
Nallino, Raccolta, v, 38 ff.). Aljmad Amin, quoting al- 
Asma'i, states that the choice of kadi and of imam in 
the Umayyad period was made by means of 
astrological procedures (Duha 'l-Islam, 27, 28 ff.). 

The discernment of auspicious and inauspicious 
days has existed among many peoples (for the ancient 
Orient, see R. Labat, Hemerologies et menologies d'Assur, 
Paris 1939; idem, Le Calendrier babylonien des travaux, des 
signes et des mois, Paris 1965; F. Chabas, Le calendrier des 
jours fastes et nefastes de I'annee egyptienne (Papyrus Sallier 
iv), Paris undated; A. Lods, Le role des oracles dans la 
nomination du roi, des pretres et des magistrals chez les 
Israelites, Us Egyptiens et les Grecs, in MIFAO, lvi [1942], 
91-100 = Melanges Maspero, i). 

The Arabs were aware of this procedure and prac- 
tised it. Various accounts testify to it (cf. Divination, 
483 ff. and ikhtiyarat, of which the current article is 
the completion). It emerges that it was under Persian 
influence that astrology acquired respectability in the 
court of the caliph and among the ruling class. "In 
order to imitate the Sasanid kings, the c Abbasid 
caliphs, who in most cases had Persian tutors (in par- 
ticular al-Rashid and al-Ma'mun), adopted customs 
which were at odds with the Arab spirit and Islam. 
This process of adaptation gave rise to the translations 
from the Pahlavi made by Ibn al-Mukaffa', essentially 
comprising manuals for the education of princes 
(Furstenspiegei), such as Kalila wa-Dimna, the K. al-Tadj 
and the K. al-AHn" (Divination, 485. On these 
writings, see F. Gabrieli, Opera di Ibn al-Muqaffa 1 in 
RSO, xiii [1932], 197-247; idem, Etichetta di corte e 
costumi sasanidi net Kitab ahlaq al-muluk di al-Gahiz, 
ibid., xi [1928], 292-305). 

According to the Bab al- c Irdfa, attributed to al- 
Djahiz, "the astrologers had examined the days of the 
week, judging them and appraising them in the 
interests of the king. They said, 'Each day has its star 
(tali ) which dominates it and its character which this 
star necessarily confers upon it.' Accordingly, they 
determined for each day of the week the tasks 
appropriate to it" (for details, see Divination, 485-6). 

The auspicious and inauspicious character of days 
of the week depended on the planets to which they 
were dedicated. Similarly, the hours of the day were 
dedicated to the seven planets and characters con- 
ferred on them (cf. ms. Konya, Miize Kutuph. 5333, 
fols. 179a-181b, naskhi of 833/1429-30, 28 x 18 cm, 
al-Kawl c ald 'khtiyardt al-ayydm wa 'l-ahnal fihd min al- 
khayr wa 'l-sharr). Various procedures were employed 
for the arrangement of the material: enumeration of 


the days of the month with the comment "good" or 
"bad" for such-and-such a thing (ms. Esat Ef. 3554, 
naskhi of 1088/1677, 19.5 x 14 cm, attributed to 
Dja'far al-§adik), enumeration of actions advisable or 
inadvisable during the lunar months and the choice of 
days in any month, with justification (ms. Saray, 
Revan 1741, fols. 98a-107a, naskhi, 20 x 15 cm). 
More complex is the procedure described in the 
Koprulu ms. Fazil Pasa 164, fols. l-54b ((naskhi of 
871/1466-7, 18 x 14 cm) arranged in the following 
manner: (1) Explanation of the method of application 
(fols. lb ff.); (2) double column of actions; (3) circle 
of months; (4) thirty columns relating to the month 
and to the rubrics; (5) thirty rubrics: names of pro- 
phets, questions, positions of the moon, judgment 
according to the lunar houses; and (6) the lunar 
houses (for details, see Divination, 487). 

The majority of Arab astrologers have left behind 
treatises or chapters relating to hemerology and 
menology. The following are the best known: 

'Umar b. al-Farrukhan al-Taban, one of the 
earliest Arab astrologers, K. al-Ikhtiydrdt (ms. Alexan- 
dria, Balad 2033-d/2, fols. 42a-52b, 6th/12th 

Sahl b. Bishr, Zahel to the Europeans, K. al- 
Ikhtiydrdt c ald 'l-buyut al-ithnay c ashar, in 12 chapters 
corresponding to the number and names of the signs 
of the Zodiac (ms. Nuruosmaniye 2785/1, fols. 1-1 lb, 
6th/12th century; Escurial, 919/2, fols. 36-44, 
8th/14th century), translated into Latin as De elec- 
lionibus, ed. Venice in 1493 and Basel in 1551, by 
Nicolas Pruckner, as an appendix to Firmicus matemus, 
102-14 (Thorndike, Cat., 985, 988; Carmody, 41), a 
dubious attribution according to Sezgin (GAS, vii, 
127). Also attributed to him is Fatidica or Fastitica pro- 
nostica, translated by Hermann of Carinthia (Thorn- 
dike, 1424; Carmody, 44-5). In his K. al-Awkdt 
(Escurial 919/4, fols. 47-53, 7th/13th century), 
translated into Latin as Liber temporum (Carmody, op. 
cit.), he gives the significations of times in judicial 
astrology; attributed to him also is De signification tem- 
poris ad iudicia, ed. Venice 1493 (Thorndike, Cat., 

Abu Yusuf Ya c kub al-Kindl, Ikhtiyardt al-ayydm (ms. 
Leiden, Or. 199/2, fols. 19-20; cf. E. Wiedemann, 
Uber einen astrologischen Traktat von Al-Kindi, in Archiv 
fir Gesch. d Naturwiss. und Technik, iii [1912], 224-6, 
where the contents are described). 

Abu Ma'shar, to whom three hemerological 
writings are attributed: K. al-Ikhtiydrdt, translated into 
Latin as Electiones planetarum (Carmody, 96); Ikhtiyardt 
al-sd'-dt, translated probably as Flores de electionibus by 
John of Seville (Thorndike, 180, 738, 945; Carmody, 
97); al-Ikhtiydrdt fi 'l-a < mdl wa 'l-hawd'idj, min umur al- 
saldtin (ms. Rabat D 769, fols. 1-73, 567/1171; cat. 
no. 2571). 

C A1I b. Ahmad al-'Imrani (d. 344/955), Haly 
Imrani to Europeans, K. al-Ikhtiydrdt, translated into 
Latin by Plato of Tivoli in collaboration with 
Abraham b. Hiyya, known as Savasorda (Thorndike, 
Cat., 1363, 1007; Carmody, 138) and by John of 
Seville as Regule de electionibus (Thorndike, 1707; Car- 
mody, 139). 

Al-IsraTlI, astrologer of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah 
(386-41 1/996-1021), wrote for his master a treatise on 
ikhtiyardt in the form of 133 aphorisms, translated into 
Latin as Liber capitulorum Almansoris, by Plato of Tivoli 
(cf. J. -CI. Vadet, Les aphorismes latins d'Almansor. Essai 
d 'interpretation, in Annates Islamologiques , v [1963], 

Abu Sa'id al-Sidjzf, K. al-Ikhtiydrdt, in three lengthy 
sections (for the titles see Sezgin, GAS, vii, 179). 

Abu '1-Hasan Ibn C A1I b. Abi '1-Ridjal, known to 
Europeans as Haly Aben Ragel or Abenragel or even 
Albohazan, author of popular astrological writings 
widely circulated in the East and the West. Attributed 
to him is a De electionibus in 103 chapters (ms. Vatican 
4082, fols. 161-84; Thorndike, Cat., 734; on his work, 
see V. Stegemann, Beitrdge zur Geschichte der Astrologie I, 
Heidelberg 1935). 

Fakhr al-DIn al-RazI, al-Ikhtiydrdt al-'alaHyya, in 9 
chapters, translated by the author from Persian into 
Arabic (cf. ref. in M. Ullmann, DieNatur- und Geheim- 
wissenschqften, 340). 

As has been seen, the two main areas of judicial 
astrology considered in this article were widely known 
and practised in the mediaeval East and West. The 
principles which govern them derive from the obser- 
vation and interpretation of the ( 
interactions of stars. Knowledge of these a 
constitutes the essence of astrological divination, ol 
theurgy and of the talismanic art (cf. on this topic, 
Fahd's contribution to vol. vii of Sources Orientates, 
entitled Le monde du sorcier en Islam, Paris 1966, 157- 
204; summarised in Encyclopedia of Religion, art. Magic; 
reprinted in L.E. Sullivan (ed.), Hidden truths. Magic, 
alchemy and the occult, New York-London 1989, 

Bibliography: Numerous references to Arab 
astrological literature are to be found in vol. vii of 
Sezgin's GAS, Leiden 1979, 3-199 and in M. 
Ullmann's Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften in 
Islam, Leiden 1972, 271-358 (Handbuch d. Orien- 
talistik, i, Abt., Erg. vi, 2. Absch.); see also C. 
Nallino, Astrologia e astronomia presso i Musulmani, 
summarised inj. Hastings (ed.), ERE, xii, 88-101, 
and published in full in Raccolta di scritti editi e inediti, 
v, Rome 1944, 1-41; in addition to historical and 
scientific information, this work contains an 
account of the polemics surrounding astrology 
(19 ff.); T. Fahd, La divination arabe 2 , Paris 1987; 
Musa b. Nawbakht, al-Kitdb al-Kdmil (fi asrdr al- 
nudjum). Horoscopos historicos, ed. and tr. by Ana 
Labarta, preface by J. Vernet, Madrid-Barcelona 
1982; L. Thorndike, The true place of astrology in the 
history oj sciences, in Isis, xlvi (1955), 273-78; I. 
Goldziher, Stellung der alien islamischen Orthodoxie zu 
den antiken Wissenschqften, in Abh. Akad. Pr. (1915), 
no. 8; G. Thibaut, Astronomic, Astrologie und 
Mathematik, Strassburg 1899 (Grundriss der indo- 
arischen Philologie und Altertumkunde, 3, 9); V. 
Stegemann, Astrologie und Universalgeschichte. Studien 
und Interpretationen zu den Dionysiaca des Nonnos von 
Panopolis, Stoicheia, Heft 9; J. Bidez and Fr. 
Cumont, Les mages hellenises. Zoroastre, Ostanes and 
Hystaspe, Paris 1938; Biruni, K. al-Tqfhim U-awdHl 
sind'-at al-tandjim, ed. from the B.L. London ms. 
with English tr. by R.R. Wright, London 1934; 
F.J. Carmody, Arabic astronomical and astrological 
sciences in Latin translation. A critical bibliography, 
Berkeley and Los Angeles 1956; L. Thorndike and 
Pearl Kibre, A Catalogue ojincipits of medieval scientific 
writings in Latin, 2nd revised and expanded edn., 
London 1963; D. Pingree, The Thousands of Abu 
Ma'shar, London 1968 (Studies of the Warburg 
Institute, 30); F. Rosenthal, Das Fortleben der Antike 
im Islam, Zurich and Stuttgart 1965 (Bibliothek des 
Morgenlandes). (T. Fahd) 

NUH, the Noah of the Bible, is a particularly 
popular figure in the Kur'an and in Muslim legend. 
Al-Tha c labl gives 15 virtues by which Nuh is distin- 
guished among the prophets. The Bible does not 
regard Noah as a prophet. In the Kur'an, Nuh is the 
first prophet of punishment, who is followed by Hud, 

Salih, Lut, S_hu c ayb and Musa. Ibrahim is one of his 
following (skFa) (XXXVII, 81). He is the perspicuous 
admonisher (nadhir mubin, XI, 27; LXXI, 2), the rasul 
amin "the true messenger of God" (XXVI, 107), the 
"abdshakur, "the grateful servant of God" (XVII, 3). 
God enters into a covenant with Nuh just as with 
Muhammad, Ibrahim, Musa and <Isa (XXXIII, 7). 
Peace and blessings are promised him (XI, 50). 
Muhammad is fond of seeing himself reflected in the 
earlier prophets. In the case of Nuh, the Muslim 
Kur'an exegetes have already noticed this (see Griin- 
baum, Neue Beitrdge, 90). Muhammad puts into the 
mouth of Nuh things that he would himself like to say 
and into the mouths of his opponents what he himself 
has heard from Nub's opponents. Nub is reproached 
with being only one of the people (X, 72-4). God 
should rather have sent an angel (XXIII, 24). Nuh is 
wrong (VII, 58), is lying, deceiving (VII, 62), is pos- 
sessed by djinn (LIV, 9), only the lowest join him (XI, 
29; XXVI, 111). When Nuh replies: "It is grievous 
to you that I live among you, I seek no reward, my 
reward is with God (X, 72-4; XI, 31); I do not claim 
to possess God's treasures, to know his secrets, to be 
an angel and I cannot say to those whom ye despise, 
God shall not give you any good" (XI, 31-3), we have 
here an echo of Muhammad's defence and embarrass- 
ment about many of his followers. The Kur'an pic- 
tures events as follows: God sends Nuh to the sinful 
people. Sura LXXI, which bears his name, gives one 
of these sermons threatening punishment for which 
other analogies can be found. The people scorn him. 
Allah commands him to build an ark by divine 
inspiration. Then the "chaldron boils" (XI, 42; 
XXIII, 27). The waters drown everything; only two 
of every kind of living creature are saved and the 
believers whom Nuh takes into the ark with him. But 
there were very few who believed. Nuh appeals even 
to his son in vain; the latter takes refuge on a moun- 
tain but is drowned. When Nuh bids the waters be 
still, the ark lands on mount CjudI <\q.v.\ XI, 27-51). 
Not only Noah's son but also his wife (with Lut's wife) 
are sinners (LXVI, 10). From the Haggada is 
developed, as Geiger shows, the following elements of 
this Kur'anic legend of Nuh: 1 . Nuh appears as a 
prophet and admonisher; 2. his people laugh at the 
Ark; 3. his family is punished with hot water (main 
passages: Talm. Sanhedrin, 108a-b; Gen. Rabba, 

The post-Kur'anic legend of Nub, as in other 
cases, fills up the gaps, gives the names of those not 
mentioned in the Kur'an, makes many links, e.g. 
connects Nuh with Farldun of the Persian epic, 
although it is pointed out that the Magi (Persians) do 
not know the story of the flood. Nuh's wife is called 
Waliya and her sin is that she described Nuh to his 
people as maa^nin. The names of Nuh's sons, Sam, 
Ham and Yafith are known to Kur'an exegesis from 
the Bible, but this exegesis also gives the name of 
Nuh's sinful son who perished in the flood, Kan'an, 
"whom the Arabs call Yam". The Kur'anic state- 
ment that Nuh was 950 years of age at the time of the 
flood (tufdn) (XXIX, 13, 14) is probably based on 
Gen. ix. 39, which says Nuh lived 950 years in all. 
Also, it serves as a basis for calculations which make 
Nub the first mu'-ammar; according to the Kitdb al- 
Mu'ammarin of Abu Hatim al-Sidjistanl (ed. 
Goldziher, in Abh. zur arab Philologie, ii), who begins 
his book with Nub, he lived 1 ,450 years. Yet in his 
dying hour he describes his life as a house with two 
doors through one of which one enters, while he leaves 
through the other. Muslim legend knows the Biblical 
story of Nuh, his times and his sons, but embellishes 

it greatly, and in al-Kisa'I it becomes a romance. 
From the union of Kabil's and Shith's descendants 
arises a sinful people which rejects Nub's warnings. 
He therefore at God's command builds the Ark from 
trees which he has himself planted. As he is hammer- 
ing and building the people mock him: "Once a 
prophet, now a carpenter?", "A ship for the 
mainland?" The Ark had a head and tail like a cock, 
a body like a bird (al-Tha c labI). How was the Ark 
built? At the wish of the apostles, Jesus arouses Sam 
(or Ham) b. Nuh from the dead and he describes the 
Ark and its arrangements: in the lower storey were the 
quadrupeds, in tbe next the human beings and in the 
top the birds. Nuh brought the ant into the Ark first 
and the ass last; it was slow because Iblis was clinging 
to its tail. Nuh called out impatiently: "Come in even 
if Satan is with thee"; so Iblis also had to be taken in. 
The pig arose out of the tail of the elephant and the 
cat from the lion. How could the ox exist beside the 
lion, the goat alongside the wolf, or the dove beside 
the birds of prey? God tamed their instincts. The 
number of human beings in the Ark varies in legend 
between seven and eighty. c Udj b. c Anak was also 
saved along with the believers. Kabil's race was 
drowned. Nuh also took Adam's body with him, 
which was used to separate the women from the men, 
for in the Ark continence was ordered, for man and 
beast. Only Ham transgressed, and for this was 
punished with a black skin. The whole world was 
covered with water and only the Haram (in al-Kisa 3 !, 
also the site of the sanctuary in Jerusalem) was spared; 
the Ka'ba was taken up into heaven and Djibril con- 
cealed the Black Stone (according to al-Kisa'T, the 
stone was snow-white until the Flood). Nuh sent out 
the raven, but finding some carrion it forgot Nuh; 
then he sent the dove, which brought back an olive 
leaf in its bill and mud on its feet; as a reward it was 
given its collar and became a domestic bird. On the 
day of c Ashura 5 every one came out of the Ark, men 
and beasts fasted and gave thanks to God. 

There are many contacts with the Haggada: the (dif- 
ferent, it is true) partitioning of the Ark, Nuh's anx- 
iety about the animals, Ham's sin and punishment 
(Sanhedrin, 108a-b). The story that the giant c Og 
escaped the Flood is also taken from the Haggada [see 
c upj b. c anak]. But Muslim legend goes farther than 
the Bible and Haggada in depicting Muhammad, who 
sees himself in Nuh. 

Bibliography: Principal passages are Kur'an, 
VII, 57-62; XI, 27-51; XXIII, 23-31; XXVI, 105- 
22; XXXVII, 73-81; LXXI (whole); Tabarl, i, 
174-201; Ibn al-Athir, i, 27-9; Tha'labI, Kisas al- 
anbiyd*, Cairo 1325, 34-8; Kisa'I, Kifaf al-anbiya'- ', 
ed. J. Eisenberg, i, 85-102, Eng. tr. W.M. 
Thackston, The tales of the prophets of al-Kisa'i, Boston 
1978, 91-109; A. Geiger, Was hat Mohammed..., 
Leipzig 1902 2 , 106-11; M. Grunbaum, Neue 
Beitrdge, 79-90; J. Horovitz, in Hebrew Union College 
Annual, ii (1925) 151; idem, Koranische Unter- 
suchungen, Berlin 1926, 13-18, 22-9, 32-5, 49-51, 
esp. 46; J. Walker, Biblical characters in the Koran, 
Paisley 1931, 113-21; D. Sidersky, Les origines des 
legendes musulmanes, Paris 1933, 26-7; H. Speyer, Die 
biblische Erzahlungen im Qoran, Grafenhainichen ca. 
1938, 84-115.— On the name Nuh: Goldziher, in 
ZDMG, xxiv (1870), 207-11; on Nuh as mu'-ammar: 
Goldziher, Abhandlungen zur arabischen Philologie, ii, 
Leiden 1899, pp. lxxxix and 2. (B. Heller) 
NUH (I) b. Nasr b. Ahmad, Samanid amir of 
Transoxania and Khurasan (331-43/943-54), given 
after his death the honorific of al-Amir al-Shahid ("the 


Continuing the anti-Shi*! reaction which marked 
the end of the reign of Nuh's father Nasr [q.v.], the 
early years of the new reign were dominated by the 
vizierate of the pious Sunnl fakih Abu '1-Fadl Muham- 
mad Sulami, but very soon, ominous signs of decline 
began to appear in the state. There were revolts in the 
tributary kingdom of KJi w arazm [q.v.] and in 
Khurasan under its governor Abu C A1T Caghani, 
whom Nulj attempted to replace by the Turkish com- 
mander Ibrahim b. SImdjur. In 335/947 Abu C A1I suc- 
ceeded in temporarily placing on the throne at 
Bukhara Nub's uncle Ibrahim b. Ahmad. Although 
this putsch collapsed and the Amir now appointed 
Mansur b. Karatigin as governor of Khurasan, Abu 
C A1I was able to withdraw to his family territories on 
the upper Oxus [see cashaniyan] and to preserve a 
dominant role in the state and in external warfare 
against the Buyid amir Rukn al-Dawla [ q. v. ] until Amir 
Nuh died in Rabl< II 343/August 954. 

The costs of quelling internal rebelliousness and of 
the wars in northern Persia caused a financial crisis 
during Nuh's reign, with the army often going unpaid 
and the subjects complaining of increased taxation 
burdens. Hence Nuh left to his son and successor 
c Abd al-Malik a divided and disaffected kingdom, 
whose fortunes no subsequent amirs were able to 

Bibliography: The main primary sources are 
GardizI and Ibn al-Athir, both utilising material 
from the lost TaMkh Wulal Khurasan of SallamI; and 
Narshakhl, TaMkh-i Bukhara, tr. Frye, 97-8. Of 
studies, see Barthold, Turkestan, 246-9; R.N. 
Frye, in Camb. hist, of Iran, iv, 151 ; Erdogan Mercil, 
Simcuriler. II. Ibrahim b. Simcur, in Tarih Enstitusu 
Dergisi, no. x-xi (1979-80), 91-6. See also samanids. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
NUH (II) B. Mansur b. Nuh, Samanid amir 
initially in Transoxania and Khurasan, latterly in the 
first province only (366-87/977-97), given after his 
death the honorific al-Amir al-Rafi ("the Well- 

The last of his line to enjoy a reign of any signifi- 
cant length, Nuh succeeded his father Mansur (I) 
[q.v. ] at the age of 13, real power being in the hands 
of his mother and the vizier Abu '1-Husayn c Utbi, the 
last vizier to the Samanids worthy of the title. How- 
ever, authority in the state fell more and more into the 
hands of the great military commanders, such as Abu 
'1-Hasan Slmdjuri and his son Abu 'All, Fa'ik Khassa 
and Tasji. Warfare against the Buyids went badly, 
and only the death in 372/983 of c Adud al-Dawla 
[q.v.] prevented a Buyid invasion of Khurasan. In the 
confusion, Abu C A1I secretly connived with Bughra 
Khan Harun, chief of the Turkish Karakfaanids in the 
steppes to the north of Transoxania [see ilek-khans], 
to partition the Samanid kingdom, with Abu C A1I to 
have the lands south of the Oxus. Bughra Khan 
entered Bukjiara in 382/992, but soon withdrew. With 
Khurasan also out of his control, Nuh remained ruler 
of the Zarafshan valley only, and in 383/993 he called 
in Sebiiktigin [q.v.] from Ghazna [see qhaznawids] 
against Abu 'All and Fa'ik. Sebiiktigin and his son 
Mahmud [q.v.] established themselves in the former 
Samanid dominions, now threatened by a further 
Karakhanid invasion from the north, but in 386/996 
Sebiiktigin and the Karakhanid Ilig Nasr made an 
agreement whereby the latter took over the whole 
basin of the Syr Darya, whilst Sebiiktigin became 
complete master over Khurasan. Nuh himself died in 
Radjab 387/July 997, with the final end of Samanid 
rule in Transoxania only two years away. 

Bibliography: The main primary sources are 

c UtbI, GardizI, Narshakhl, tr. Frye, 99-100, and 
Ibn al-Athir. Of studies, see Barthold, Turkestan, 
252-64; M. Nazim, The life and times of Sulfan 
Mahmud of Ghazna, Cambridge 1931, 30-2; R.N. 
Frye, in Camb. hist, of Iran, iv, 154-8; Erdogan Mer- 
cil, Simcuriler. Ill, in Tarih Dergisi, no. xxxiii (1980- 
1), 126-32, Simcuriler. IV, in BelUten, no. 195 (1986), 
547-67, Simcuriler. V, in Tarih Dergisi (1987-8), 123- 
38. See also samanids. (C.E. Bosworth) 

NUH b. MUSTAFA, Ottoman theologian and 
translator, was born in Anatolia but migrated while 
still quite young to Cairo where he studied all 
branches of theology and attained a high reputation. 
He died there in 1070/1659. He wrote a series of 
theological treatises, some of which are detailed by 
Brockelmann, IF, 407-8, S II, 432. His most impor- 
tant work, however, is his free translation and edition 
of Shahrastam's celebrated work on the sects, his 
Terdjeme-i Milal we-nihal which he prepared at the sug- 
gestion of a prominent Cairo citizen named Yusuf 
Efendi (cf. Brockelmann, I 2 , 551, S I, 763). It exists 
in manuscript in Berlin (cf. Pertsch, Kat., 157-8), 
Gotha (Pertsch, Kat., 76), London (cf. Rieu, Cat., 35- 
6), Upsala (cf. Tornberg, Codices, 213), Vienna (cf. 
Flugel, Kat., ii, 199) etc., and was printed in Cairo in 
1263. On the considerable differences between this 
Turkish translation and the original Arabic, cf. Rieu 
in the British Museum Catalogue, 35b. In his Memoire 
sur deux coffrets gnostiques du moyen age, du Cabinet de M. 
le Due de Blacas, Paris 1832, 28 ff., J. von Hammer 
gave some extracts from the latter part of the work. 
He also wrote on it in the Wiener Jahrbucher, lxxi, 50, 

vii, 364). 

Bibliography: In addition to references in the 
text, see MuhibbI, Khulasat al-athar, Cairo 1868, iv, 
458. (F. Babincer) 

NUHAM (a.), substantive of collective type (nomen 
unitatis, -a), denoting in ancient Arabic texts the 
Greater Flamingo ("flaming one") or 
phoenicopter (the Ooivixirc-repo? "purple-winged" of 
the Greeks and the issur nuri "bird of light" of the 
Akkadians), this being Phoenicopterus ruber roseus or anti- 
quorum of the order of the Phoenicopteridae 
(nuhdmiyydt) which resemble waders with their long 
legs and palmipeds with their webbed feet. The term 
nuhdm, drawn from the root n-h-m, which evokes the 
notion of growling, was given to this large and 
graceful bird on account of its discordant cries com- 
posed of howls and bellows. The same applies to mir- 
zam, another mediaeval name for the flamingo, as the 
root r-z-m also contains the notion of growling. 

Among the six Phoenicoperidae classified according 
to ornithological systems, the Greater Flamingo, the 
only species known in Arab lands, is present through- 
out the periphery of the Mediterranean, on the 
western shores of the Red Sea, in the Persian Gulf and 
in Kuwait; its chosen habitat is in marshy regions 
such as the estuaries of the Nile, the Shat! al- c Arab, 
the Sha(! al-Djarid in Tunisia and the Rhone 
(Camargue), from which it draws its subsistence, liv- 
ing in large flocks. The southern coasts of Arabia are 
occasionally visited by the Lesser Flamingo 
(Phoenicopterus minor) which normally inhabits Somalia 
and Eritrea; it has no specific name in Arabic, being 
confused with its larger cousin. 

Each region of the Arabic language has given the 
flamingo names belonging to local dialects; thus in 
Egypt, it is the basharush (old French "becharu", 
"bacerux"), which in Tunisia has become shabrusji by 

metathesis. Also found are the terms nuhdf, nihdf, sur- 
khab, and it is sometimes nicknamed rahu 'l-md' 
"aquatic crane". For the Muslim bands of crossbow- 
archers (rumdt kaws al-bunduk) of the Middle Ages, the 
flamingo counted among the fourteen "obligatory 
birds" (fuyur al-wddjib) required for scoring points in 
competitions. Hunters also called it mirzam and turun- 
djan, this last term being the only one which refers to 
the striking colour of the plumage. 

According to Islamic law, consumption of the flesh 
of the flamingo is permitted; it is said to be, 
apparently, quite agreeable, not tasting excessively of 
fish, and according to a hadith (related by al-Damiri 
but regarded as dubious), the Prophet is said to have 
eaten it. On the other hand, it is known that the 
Romans used the tongue of this bird in a number of 
sophisticated dishes. Gastronomic interest apart, the 
flamingo was credited with several specific qualities 
(khawdss) in the therapeutic field; its fat, used as an 
ointment, was a remedy against hemiplegia (falidj) 
and maladies of the joints. The same afflictions could 
also be treated by means of a plaster consisting of a 
mixture of oil and the paste obtained after the whole 
body of the bird, including plumage, had been boiled 
for a long period. Finally, the tongue of the flamingo, 
dried and soaked in oil, then pounded, produced a 
medication for the treatment of otitis. 

Of the ancient Arab naturalist writers, only al- 
Damlri mentions the nuham, to which he attributes 
bizarre behaviour, resulting from total ignorance of 
the ethology of this elusive bird. Thus he says that the 
female flamingo is fertilised by an oral regurgitation 
on the part of the male and not by copulation. Once 
the eggs have been laid on the pyramid of dried mud 
which serves as a nest, the male comes and covers 
them with his droppings, and only the warmth of the 
sun guarantees their incubation. The chicks hatch in 
an inanimate state, and it is the female who brings 
them to life, breathing air into their beaks; all of this 
is pure fable. 

In poetry, the only mention of the flamingo is found 
in the work of the poet §aff al-DTn al-Hillr of the 
8th/14th century, who calls it mirzam, in a list of the 
fourteen "obligatory birds" contained in a long 
urdjuza of twenty-nine stanzas each with five 
hemistiches dedicated to the memory of the caliph al- 
Nasir li-DIn Allah (575-622/1180-1225 [q.v.]), who 
reorganised the futuwwa of crossbow archery. 

Bibliography (in alphabetical order): anon. ms. 
Istanbul, Ayasofya 3636 (Egypt, 1 3th- 1 4th cen- 
turies A.D.), fol. 118b; B. Al-Lus (Allouse), al- 
Tuyur al-Hrakiyya. Birds of Iraq, Baghdad 1960, i, 
136; A.E. Brehm, L'homme el les animaux (les 
Oiseaux), French ed. Z. Gerbe, Paris 1878, ii, 715- 
20; F.O. Cave and J.D. Macdonald, Birds of the 
Sudan, London 1955, 66; DamM, Haydt al-hayawdn 
al-kubrd, Cairo 1356/1937, ii, 323, 340; R.D. 
Etchecopar and F. Hue, Les oiseaux du nord de I'Afri- 
que (Arabic names by F. Vire), Paris 1964, 76-8; P. 
Geroudet, La vie des oiseaux (Les echassiers), Paris- 
Neuchatel s 1948, 63-8; E. Ghaleb, al-Mawsu ( a ft 
'■ulum al-fabFa, Dictionnaire des sciences de la nature, 
Beirut 1966, ii (sub nuham); A. Hartmann, al-Ndsir 
li-Din Allah (1180-1225), Politik, Religion, Kultur in 
derspaten '■Abbdsidenzeit, Berlin-New York 1975, 92- 
108; H. Heinzel, R. Fitter, J. Parslow, Oiseaux 
d' Europe, d'Afrique du Nord et du Moyen Orient, 
Neuchatel 1972, 42; F. Hue and R.D. Etchecopar, 
Les oiseaux du Proche et du Moyen Orient, Paris 1970, 
86-9; Islamic Republic of Iran (Department of the 
Environment) Parandagdn-i Iran, The Birds of Iran, 
Tehran 2 1983, 45-6, 356; R. Meinertzhagen, Birds 

of Arabia, London 1954, 411-12; R. Peterson, G. 

Mountfort, P. Hollom, Guide to the birds of Europe, 

French tr. P. Geroudet, Neuchatel-Paris 1954, 59; 

§aff al-Din al-Hilll, Diwdn, Beirut 1962, 231; F. 

Vire, Le tir a l'arbalete-a-jalet et sa futuwwa dans 

I'Islam medieval (to appear in REI); D. Yeatman- 

Berthelot, Atlas des oiseaux de France en hiver (publ. 

Societe Ornithol. de France), Paris 1991, 84-5. 
(F. Vire) 

NUHAS, the word most often used in Arabic for 
copper (Cu). 

Next to gold and silver, this is one of the oldest 
known metals. The word is evidently common to all 
Semitic languages: Hebrew n'hoSel, Aramaic n'hdsd, 
Ethiopic ndhes; the Greek word x a ^*6{ appears in 
transliteration as khalkus. Because the alchemists 
wanted the materials they used to be kept secret, there 
exist many pseudonyms for copper, which moreover 
were often changed and are for the greater part 
incomprehensible. The alchemists attach it to the 
planet al-Zuhara, i.e. Venus (see the survey in E. 
Wiedemann, Aufsdlze zur arabischen Wissenschafts- 
geschichte, ii, 603-4). Most of these pseudonyms cannot 
be defined unambiguously; they certainly do not only 
indicate pure copper but also copper minerals such as 
primary ore, secondary products of erosion or 
sedimentary formations. According to al-Btruni, cop- 
per is called in Greek khalkus, in Syriac nuhdsd, in 
Arabic al-nuhas, al-miss (in 'Irak and Khurasan) and 
al-kitr(\.e. brass) (K. al-DJamdhir ft ma'rifat al-djawahir, 
Haydarabad 1355/1936, 244-5). Shams al-Din al- 
Dimashki distinguishes three kinds of copper: the red- 
white Greek one (rumt), the red and dry Cypriot one 
(kubrust) and the blood-red one from Sus (in 
Khuzistan). He describes the extraction as follows: 
the quicksilver in the quarry having attracted and 
absorbed the sulphur, the heat in the quarry causes 
the sulphur to dominate the quicksilver; after that, the 
mass is transformed into a red rock which has a 
pungent taste. Fire or a long stay in the earth occa- 
sionally makes it slate-like, occasionally it oxidises 
into verdigris (zindjar, the lb; Ijucjto; of Dioscorides), or 
it acquires a surplus of sulphur in the quarry and then 
becomes antimony (rusakhtadj), which is pulverised to 
obtain the collyrium called rdsukht. Dipped several 
times in bee honey, it takes on a golden colour. A nee- 
dle, sickle, knife or sword made from copper thus 
treated and dipped in the blood of a billy-goat (dam al- 
tays) causes incurable wounds, and the sickle prevents 
the herb from growing (al-Dimashkl, NuOibat al-dahr, 
ed. A.F. Mehren, Leiden 1874, repr. Amsterdam 
1964, Ar. text 54, tr. 59-60). 

Of primary importance for Arabic mineralogy 
became the so-called "Book of Stones of Aristotle". 
Its influence can be perceived not only from the great 
number of manuscripts but also through the rich 
secondary tradition. In J. Ruska's edition, Das Stein- 
buch des Aristoteles, the "stone" copper is described 
under no. 59, where the best among the numerous 
kinds of copper is said to be the red one, mixed with 
black. Verdigris (zindjar) is explained as a green 
substance hidden inside this kind of copper, which can 
be extracted by the use of vinegar. When brass (sufr) 
is cast and vitriol (zadj) and borax (bawrak [q.v.]) are 
added, something emerges which resembles gold and 
is solid as if it were gold. Food and drink taken from 
a brass vessel are harmful, occasionally lethal. If a vic- 
tim of facial paralysis (lakwa) enters a darkened house 
and looks at himself in a mirror made of falikun (a cop- 
per alloy = |ietaXXix6v, hardly xa6oXtx6v as in Dozy, 
Supplement, ii, 19), the paralysis disappears. Hot 
talikun dipped in water drives flies off and prevents 



eyelashes from growing again after they have been 
depilated with a pair of tweezers. For these qualities 
of tdlikun, which probably is identical with "Chinese 
iron" (khdriim, hadidstnt), seealsoj. Ruska(tr.), Das 
Sleinbuch aus der Kosmographie des... al-Kazwini, 
Kirchhain, N.L. 1896, 28, and M. Ullmann, Die 
Nalur- und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam, Leiden- 
Cologne 1972, 409 f. 

Special healing properties were of old attributed to 
"burnt copper" (aes ustum), see Dioscorides, De 
materia medica, ed. M. Wellmann, v, 76, xexauutvoi; 
X<»Xx6i;/Arab. tr. ed. Dubler and Teres, v, 59, al-nuhds 
al-muhrak: this copper preparation possesses ast- 
ringent, dehydrating, diluting and purifying power 
and scars sores. Taken with honey, it is an emetic. 
This copper is made from nails coming from 
destroyed or sunken ships. The nails, sprinkled with 
sulphur and salt, are made white-hot in a kiln inside 
a closed melting-pot made of clay. According to the 
description, the oeopu of Dioscorides (Greek text v, 
102, Arab. tr. sun, v, 84) is also a product of the cop- 
per quarry and resembles burnt copper. 

Al-Tamlml describes how copper ore, set aglow in 
a kiln, disintegrates into its components, among 
which is copper; in the NIshapur region a copper 
quarry is said to exist, from which turquoise 
(fayruzadj) was extracted at the same time and there- 
fore said to be a "copper-like" substance; next, al- 
Tamlml develops a theory on the nature of verdigris 
(seeJuttaSchonfeld, Uber die Steine. Das 14. Kapitelaus 
dem "Kildb al-Murs'id" des Tamimi, Freiburg 1976, 57, 
81, 119). 

According to the Ifudud al- c dlam, tr. Minorsky, 
there were layers of copper in the mountains of Bar- 
djan in the province of Kirman (65), in Farghana 
(115-16), Georgia (68), Kirman (124), Sardan (Fars, 
129), Spain (154) and Tus (103). Elsewhere, too, Per- 
sia is mentioned as the most important land of copper 
export: from Sardan it was exported to Basra and 
other regions, lucrative layers of copper ore were 
found near Damindan (in Kirman), in the region of 
Isfahan and in Djibal (Media) (see P. Schwarz, Iran im 
Mittelalter, 158, 268, 868). In the 3rd/9th century the 
copper quarries near Isfahan paid taxes of 10,000 
dirhams, and Bukhara supplied copper for the shining 
domed roofs of the minarets (Mez, Renaissance, 416). 
According to Ibn Khaldun, the river bed of the Tiber 
(sic) was said to be covered with copper (Ibn Khaldun, 
tr. Rosenthal, i, 151). 

Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the text): M. Berthelot, La chimie au Moyen Age, i-iii, 
Paris 1893, repr. 1967, passim (very often), see 
indexes, i, 428, ii, 382-3, hi, 245-6; I. Low, Fauna 
und Mineralien der Juden, ed. A. Scheiber, repr. 
Hildesheim 1969, 229-50, esp. 232-7; P. Kraus, 
Jabir ibn Hayydn. Contribution a I'histoire des idees scien- 
tifiques dans I'Islam, repr. 1986, 19, 21, 261; 
Dietlinde Goltz, Studien zur Geschichte der 
Mineralnamen in Pharmazie, Chemie undMedizin von den 
An/dngen bis Paracelsus, Wiesbaden 1972, 256 f., 
262 f. On the healing qualities of copper 
(selected sources): RazI, Hawi, xxi, 612-7 (no. 882); 
Harawl, al-Abniya c an hakdHk al-adwiya, Tehran 
1346/1928, 335; Ibn al-Djazzar, K. al-IHimad, facs. 
ed. Frankfurt 1985, 163; Ibn SIna, Kanun, Bulak 
1294, i, 377; Ibn Hubal,, 
Haydarabad 1362/1943, ii, 135-6; Ibn Baytar, al- 
Djami'-, iv, 178; Maimonides, Sharh asmd^ al- c ukkar, 
ed. Meyerhof, Cairo 1940, nos. 142, 357, 373; Ibn 
Rasul al-Qhassanl, al-MuHamad, Beirut 1395/1975, 
520; Suwaydl, K. al-Simatfiasma y al-nabdt, ms. Paris 
ar. 3004, 185a-b; Antaki, Tadhkirat uli 'l-albdb, 
Cairo 1371/1952, i, 329. (A. Dietrich) 

al-NUKHAYLA, a town in <Irak, near al- 
Kufa. It is known mainly from the accounts of the 
battle of Kadisiyya [q.v.]. From the statements col- 
lected by Yakut regarding its position, it appears that 
two different places of this name had later to be distin- 
guished, namely one near al-Kufa on the road to 
Syria, which is several times mentioned in the time of 
the caliphs C A1I and Mu c awiya, and another, a water- 
ing station between al-Mughitha and al- c Akaba, 3 
mils from al-Hufayr, to the right of the road to Mecca. 
Several encounters took place there during the second 
battle of Kadisiyya. According to al-Khalll in al- 
Bakri, this al-Nukhayla was in the Syrian steppe (al- 
bddiya); Ibn al-Faklh also seems to be thinking of this 
region. Caetani assumes that the reference in both 
cases is to the same place on the edge of the desert. 
According to Musil, it perhaps corresponds to the 
modern Khan Ibn Nukhayle about 22 km/14 miles 
S. S. E. of Karbala 3 and 64 km/40 miles N. N. W. of 

Bibliography: Yakut, Mu'djam, iv, 771-2; Ibn 
al-Faklh, 163; Bakri, Mu'-diam, ed. Wustenfeld, 
577; Ya'kubi, Ta\ikh, ii, 162; Tabari, i, 2201-2, 
3259, 3345; ii, 545; Baladhuri, Futuh al-bulddn, 245, 
253-4, 256; Ibn Miskawayh, Tadjarib, ed. Caetani, 
571; Mas'udr, Murudj., iv, 417, v, 213, 253 = §§ 
1536, 1722, 1976, 2016; L. Caetani, Annali dell' 
Islam, iii/1, Milan 1910, 156, 254, 258, 261, a.h. 
13, § 168, n. 2b, a.h. 14, § 11, 14a (with n. 3), 20; 
L. Massignon, in MIFAO, xxvii, 34b, 51, 53; A. 
Musil, The Middle Euphrates, New York 1928, 39, n. 
31; 41, n. 32, 247, 329. (E. Honigmann) 

al-NUKKAR (al-Nakkara, al-Nakkariyya) 
"deniers": one of the main branches of the 
Kharidji sect of the Ibadiyya [?.».]. The existence 
of this sect has already been proved by E. Masqueray, 
A. de C. Motylinski and R. Strothmann; cf., how- 
ever, the opinion of G. Levi della Vida, according to 
whom al-Nukkar is simply "an insulting epithet 
applied to Kharidjls in general" [see sufriyya]. The 
name al-Nukkar comes from the fact that the 
members of this sect refused to recognise the second 
Ibadi imam of Tahert, c Abd al-Wahhab b. c Abd al- 
Rahman b. Rustam [see rustamids]. The other 
names given to this sect are: 1. al-Yazfdiyya, from the 
name of the chief theologian of the sect c Abd Allah b. 
Yazld al-Fazari al-Ibadl (cf. below: to be distin- 
guished from another Ibadi sect which bears the same 
name and was founded by a certain Yazld b. Anisa. 
2. al-Sha'biyya; we believe this name should be derived 
from that of £hu c ayb b. al-Mu c arrif (see below). 3. al- 
Mulhida (to be distinguished from another Muslim 
sect of this name = al-Bafiniyya). 4. al-Nukkdth (al- 
Nakkdtha); the nisba from this name is al-Ndkitti. 5. al- 
Nadjwiya (and not x,j^3 as Strothmann writes it, 
Berber und Ibdditen, 274, n. 4). 6. Mistdwa; this last 
name, which seems to be Berber (perhaps to be con- 
nected with the Berber tribe of Meztaoua, mentioned 
by Ibn Khaldun, Histoire des Berberes, i, 182) was with 
the Nukkar the most used. 

The Ibadi historical tradition of North Africa, fixed 
towards the end of the 5th/llth century by Abu 
Zakariyya 5 Yahya b. Abi Bakr al-Wardjlanl [q.v.], 
places the first appearance of the Nukkar sect at the 
time of the election of c Abd al-Wahhab (in 168/784-5, 
according to Ibn 'Idiiari, al-Baydn al-mughrib, tr. 
Fagnan, Algiers 1901, 283), and names as the founder 
of the sect Abu Kudama Yazld b. Fendin al-Ifrani, 
who was later joined by a learned dissenting Ibadi 
from Cairo, Shu c ayb b. al-Mu c arrif. According to this 
tradition, the origins of the Nakkari sect are closely 
connected with the Maghrib. On the other hand, 
from information supplied by the Ibadi theological 


works, one may judge that there were other founders 
of the Nakkarl sect in addition to Ibn Fendln and 
Shu'ayb. They are mentioned in a risdla of Abu c Amr 
c Uthman b. Khalifa al-Marighni (an Ibadi author of 
North Africa of this name was living in the 6th/ 12th 
century, cf. T. Lewicki, Quelques textes inedits en vieux 
berbere, in REI [1934], 278), dealing with the different 
Muslim sects (of which there is a manuscript in the 
library of the University of Lwow, no. 1088 II in the 
collection of mss.): c Abd Allah b. Yazld al-Fazari, 
c Abd Allah b. c Abd al- c Aziz, Abu '1-Mu 5 arridj c Amr 
b. Muhammad al-SadusI, and Hatim b. Mansur (fol. 
1 b). According to passages in the Kitab al-Siyar of Abu 
'l- c Abbas al-ShammaJshl and Abu Zakariyya''s book, 
one can distinguish among these individuals the 
representatives of three diverse tendencies in the 
Ibadiyya, or rather, of three separate schisms. The 
synthesis of these different ideas seems to have been 
the work of Shu c ayb after the death of Ibn Fendln (E. 
Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, Algiers 1878, 
74-5). The earliest was the schism of c Abd Allah b. 
c Abd al- c Az!z, Abu '1-Mu 3 arridj, Hatim b. Mansur 
and Shu c ayb, to which the Nakkarl sects owes its legal 
principles. The date of the secession of this group is 
perhaps rather earlier than the revolt of Ibn Fendln: 
according to the Ibadi books, they detached them- 
selves from the Ibadiyya in the time of Abu c Ubayda 
Muslim b. Abl Karlma al-Tamlml, the Ibadi imam of 
Basra who lived in the first half of the 2nd/8th century 
(cf. T. Lewicki, Une chronique ibddite, in REI [1934] 
72). It should be noted that two doctors of this group, 
Shu c ayb and c Abd Allah b. <Abd al-'Aziz, also fought 
against the Kadari tendencies in the Ibadiyya rep- 
resented by Hamza al-Kufi and c A(iyya; it is even 
said in connection with Shu'ayb that he had sym- 
pathies with the Djabriyya [q.v.]. Almost contem- 
porary with the schism of Shu'ayb and his compan- 
ions seems to have been that of <Abd Allah b. Yazld 
al-Fazari, author of a theological system, later 
adopted by the Nakkaris, and a traditionist highly 
esteemed by the Ibadls (cf. T. Lewicki, Une chronique, 
70). These two Ibadi schools were absorbed after 
168/784-5 by that of Ibn Fendln. 

As to the latter, we know that he was one of the 
members of al-shurd, the council constituted by c Abd 
al-Rahman b. Rustam following the example of 
c Umar b. al-KhaUab and composed of six men who, 
after the death of c Abd al-Rahman, were to choose the 
future imam. Ibn Fendln had facilitated the election of 
c Abd al-Wahhab, by conducting active propaganda in 
his favour among the Berbers, but afterwards he 
demanded of the new imam the adoption of two condi- 
tions (shart), quite in keeping no doubt with the Berber 
spirit of the Ibadls of the Maghrib but quite foreign 
to the principles of Ibadi teaching: firstly, that he 
should only act in concert with a regular djamd'-a, and 
secondly, that he should resign if he found any one 
more worthy (afdat) than himself. <Abd al-Wahhab, 
supported by the Ibadi doctors of the east whom he 
consulted, opposed the views of Ibn Fendin, who in 
his turn was supported by Shu'ayb, who came with 
his followers to Tahert to join the malcontents. The 
"Deniers" attacked the partisans of c Abd al- 
Wahhab, known as al-Wahbiyya (on this name, see 
Strothmann, Berber und Ibaditen, 274, n. 4). The 
sources mention two great battles, in which Ibn Fen- 
dln was killed and <Abd al-Wahhab won the day. The 
Nakkaris withdrew, probably to the east of Barbary. 
Among the fugitives was Shu c ayb, who settled in 
Tripolitania. It was at this period that the complete 
rupture occurred between the Nukkar and the Wahbl 
section of the Ibadiyya, followed immediately by a 

Shu c ayb and his 
followers by the Wahbl doctors. 

Soon the Nakkarl propaganda became very active, 
but it was not till the end of the 3rd/9th century, after 
the fall of the imamate of Tahert (in 296/908-9) and 
the establishment of the dynasty of the Fafimids in the 
Maghrib, that the Nukkar acquired a preponderance 
among the Ibadls of North Africa. The whole of the 
south of Tunisia and Algeria, from the Djabal Nefusa 
[qv.\ to Tahert, became Nakkarl. The historians 
speak of a vigorous propaganda by the Nukkar, the 
centres of which were, in addition to Tripolitania, the 
Djabal Awras and the island of Djarba. As a result of 
this propaganda several Wahbl Ibadi districts were 
converted to the new sect. The Nakkaris organised an 
imamate separate from that of Tahert. We know the 
name of a Nakkarl imam who lived towards the end of 
the 3rd/9th century: Abu c Ammar c Abd al-Hamld al- 
A c ma. It was his disciple Abu Yazld Makhlad b. 
Kaydad [q.v.\ who in the first half of the 4th/ 10th cen- 
tury was the leader of a formidable Nakkarl rising in 
the Maghrib, which almost succeeded in its 
endeavour to destroy the Fafimid state. Abu Yazld 
was elected by the Nukkar assembled in the Djabal 
Awras as "the shqykh of the true believers", Abu 
'Arnmar giving place to him (in keeping with the 
teaching on al-afdal). He tried to put into practice the 
teachings of Ibn Fendln; he formed a council of twelve 
members called '■azzaba who were to rule, in conjunc- 
tion with him, the Nakkarl imamate. But later he 
associated himself with the KharidjI extremists by 
authorising isti'-rdd [q.v.\ or religious murder on the 
model of the Azrakis [see azarika]. 

After the defeat and death of Abu Yazld, the influ- 
ence of the Nukkar diminished and several tribes went 
back to Wahbism. Nevertheless, the Nakkaris again 
took part in the general rising of the Wahbls against 
the Fatimids in 358/968-9 and later in 431/1039-40 we 
find them mentioned in connection with a great rising 
of this sect on the island of Djarba. In the 6th- 
8th/12th-14th centuries they are again mentioned in 
the district of Yefren to the east of Djabal Nafusa, on 
the island of Djarba, among the Banu Warghamma in 
southern Tunisia, and in the oases of Bilad al-Djarid. 
RIgh and Wardjlan. Remnants of the Nakkarl sect 
have survived to the present century and, according to 
A. de C. Motylinski, Nukkar could be found ca. 1900 
on Djarba and in Zawagha. 

Thanks to the exposition given by Abu 'Arnr, we 
are acquainted with the main principles which 
separated the Nukkar from the Wahbl Ibadls. They 
number seven. Besides the doctrine regarding shart, 
mentioned above, a fundamental tenet of the Nukkar 
was their thesis that the names of God are created. 
Another Nakkarl tenet concerns the relations of man 
and woman. For other details of their teaching, see al- 
Barradl, Kitab al-Djawahir al-muntakat, Cairo 1302, ii, 

Several Wahbl Ibadi theologians refuted the Nak- 
karl teachings in their works, some of them quite 
early. For example, al-Barradi mentions the refuta- 
tions of the thesis of c Abd Allah b. c Abd al- c Az!z and 
Shu'ayb by a Wahbl doctor of the 2nd/8th century 
named Abu <Amr al-Rabi< b. Hablb (Kitab al- 
Djawahir, 1 72) and al-Wisyanl mentions a scholar of 
Sahil in Tunisia named Muhammad b. Abl Khalid 
who lived earlier than the 5th/llth century and 
refuted the Nakkarl doctrines in his various works. 
Bibliography: Abu Zakariyya 3 Yahya b. Abl 

Bakr al-Wardjlinl, Kitab al-Stra wa-akhbdr al-a Hmma, 

ms. no. 23 in the Smogorzewski collection in the 

university of Lwow, fols. 17b-23a, 46a-50a, 51b- 


53b, 56b; E. Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, 
Algiers 1878, 53-80, 226-51, 268, 270-8, 289, 290; 
Abu 'l-RabF Sulayman b. c Abd al-Sallam al- 
Wisyani, TaHlf ms. no. 277 in the library of the 
Islamic Institute of the university of Lwow, fols. 27, 
28, 30, 31, 33-8, 46, 73, 102, 125, 128, 129, 145, 
189; an anonymous IbadI chronicle contained in the 
same ms., fols. 218, 221, 249, 257, 265, 275, 276; 
Abu 'l- c Abbas Ahmad b. Sa c Id al-DardjInl, Kitab 
Tabakdt al-mashdHkh, ms. no. 275 of the Islamic 
Institute of Lw6w, fols. 16a-20a, 35a-37b, 77b, 
144a-b; Abu '1-Fadl al-Barradi, Kitab al-Djawdhir al- 
muntakdt, Cairo 1302, 171-2, 174; Abu VAbbas 
Ahmad al-SJiammakhi, Kitab al-Siyar, Cairo 1301, 
104-5, 109-10, 119-20, 145-54, 280-2, 338, 345, 
358, 359, 368, 370, 376, 381, 395, 416, 432, 458, 
480, 502-4, 530, 557, 590; A. de C. Motylinski, 
Chronique d'Ibn Saghir, in Actes du XIV""' congres inter- 
national des orientalistes, Algiers 1905, 16-20, 72-7; 
Ibn al-Athlr, Annates du Maghrib, tr. E. Fagnan, 
Algiers 1901, 325, 338, 345, 367; Ibn c IdharI, al- 
Baydn al-mughrib, tr. Fagnan, Algiers 1901, i, 277, 
311, 314-16; TidjanI, Rihla, tr. A. Rousseau, in JA, 
ser. 4, vol. xx (1852), 112, 167, 171, ser. 5, vol. i 
(1853) 123; Ibn Khaldun, Histoire des Berberes, tr. de 
Slane, Algiers 1852-6, i, 232, 277, 285, ii, 530, 531, 
537, iii, 201-12, 278, 286, 291, 301; Fournel, Les 
Berbers, ii, 225; Motylinski, in the Bulletin de Cor- 
respondance Africaine, iii, 16, no. 2; idem, Le Djebel 
Nefousa, Paris 1898-9, 69, 114; Dozy, Supplement aux 
dictionnaires arabes 2 , Leiden-Paris 1927, ii, 722; M. 
Vonderheyden, La Berberie orientale, Paris 1927, 48; 
R. Strothmann, Berber und Ibaditen, in Isl., xvii 
(1928), 274, n. 4, 275. (T. Lewicki) 

al-NUKRA, a plain west of the Djabal 
Hawran on the border of Trachonitis in Trans- 
jordan. The name al-Nukra ("the cavity") is quite 
modern. It is applied to an area which includes the 
two districts of al-Bathaniyya (with its chief town 
Adhri'at) and Hawran (west of the hills of the same 
name), i.e. the whole northern half of modern Jordan. 
In the wider sense, al-Nukra includes all the country 
from al-Ladja 5 , Djaydur and al-Balka 3 to the foot of 
the Djabal Hawran, in the narrower sense only the 
southern part of this; in any case it stretches from al- 
Sanamayn to the Djabal al-Duruz (Hawran). To al- 
Nukra belong Mu'atbln or Mu'tabln, Tubna (now 
Tibne), al-Mahadjdja. Obta c , c 01ma, al-Musayfira 
and al-Faddayn already mentioned in Syriac texts of 
the pre-Muslim period. 

Bibliography: Noldeke, in ZDMG, xxix, 431, n. 
1; F. Buhl, Geographic des alien Paldstina, Freiburg i. 
B. and Leipzig 1896, 15, 43-4, 84; R. Dussaud, 
Topographic de la Syrie, Paris 1927, 323. 

(E. Honigmann) 
NUKTAT al-KAF, an early work on the BabI 

In 1910, E.G. Browne published a work entitled 
Kitdb-i Nuqtatu 'l-Kdf, a Persian history of the early 
BabI movement, based on a "unique" manuscript 
(Suppl. persan 1071) in the Bibliotheque Nationale. 
This manuscript had been bought by the library in 
1884, in a sale of books belonging to the late Comte 
de Gobineau. Authorship of the history was ascribed 
by the BabI leader Subh-i Azal [q. v. ] to HadjdjT Mirza 
Pjanl, a KashanI merchant killed in 1852. 

Browne's text soon became the centre of a con- 
troversy that still continues. The Baha'I leader, 
c Abbas Effendi c Abd al-Baha', maintained that the 
work was a forgery produced by the Azali Babis. This 
thesis was developed by the Baha'I scholar Mirza Abu 
'1-Fadl Gulpaygani and his nephew Sayyid Mahdl in 

their Kaskf al-ghita> and, more recently, by H.M. 
Balyuzi. While this conspiracy theory is clearly 
unfounded, internal evidence suggests that the history 
was not written by Mirza Pjanl. Recent conjectures 
favour authorship by his son or nephew, possibly in 
collaboration with a brother, using notes prepared by 
him. Some version of the Nuktat al-kdf served as the 
basis for the later Baha'I Tdrikh-i Qj.adid and its recen- 
sions. In spite of the controversy, there can be no 
doubt that the Nuktat al-kdf remains one of the most 
important sources for the early history of Babism. 

A full discussion of the problems of authorship, 
provenance, and dating may be found in MacEoin, 
together with a list of the twelve or so manuscripts 
now known to be in existence (Appendix 8). 

Bibliography: H.M. Balyuzi, Edward Granville 
Browne and the Bahd^i faith, London 1970, ch. VII; 
E.G. Browne (ed.), Kitab-i Nuqtatu 'l-Kdf, being the 
earliest history of the Babis, compiled by Hdjji Mirza Jdni 
of Kdshdn between the years A.D. 1850 and 1852, 
Leyden and London 1910, Gibb Memorial Series, 
vol. XV; idem (ed. and tr.), The New History 
(Tdrikh-i-Jadid) of Mirza c Ali Muhammed, the Bab, 
Cambridge 1903, repr. Amsterdam 1975; Mirza 
Abu '1-Fadl Gulpaygani and Sayyid Mahdl 
Gulpaygani, Kashf al-ghitd* <an hiyal al-a^dd*. 
Tashkent n.d. [1919?]; D. MacEoin,' The sources for 
early Bdbi doctrine and history: a survey, Leiden 1992, 
chs. 6 and 7, Appendix 8; Muhll Tabataba'I, Kitabi 
bi nam bd ndmi taza, in Gawhar, Year 2, parts 11-12 
(1353/1974), 952-61 ; idem, Tdrikh-i kadim wa djadid, 
2 parts, in Gawhar, Year 3, parts 5-6 (1354/1975), 
343-8, 426-31. (D. MacEoin) 

NUKTAWIYYA, an offshoot of the Hurufiyya 
sect [q.v.] that after an incubation lasting a century 
emerged as a significant movement of politico- 
religious opposition in $afawid Persia and, in India, 
played some role in the origination of Akbar's Dih-i 
Ildhi [q.v.]. Given its similarities not only with 
Hurufism but also with Nizari Isma'ilism, it may be 
regarded as one more link in the long chain of Persian 

The designation Nuktawiyya is said to be taken 
from the doctrine that earth is the starting point 
(nulfia) of all things, the remaining three elements 
being derived from it; the term may also refer, how- 
ever, to the use of two, three, or four dots, variously 
arranged, as cryptic abbreviations in the writings of 
the sect. The designation Maljmudiyya is also 
encountered, this being derived from the name of the 
founder, Mahmud Paslkhanl. Born at the village of 
PaslMian near Fuman in Gilan, Maljmud followed 
Fadl Allah AstarabadI (d. 796/1384), the founder of 
Hurufism, until he was expelled from the movement 
for alleged arrogance (hence the epithets Mahmud-i 
mardud "Mahmud the rejected" and Mahmud-i ma(rud 
"Mahmud the banished"). He is said to have pro- 
claimed himself the Mahdl and the bringer of a new 
dispensation in 800/1397, i.e. at the beginning of the 
9th Islamic century. Virtually nothing is known of his 
life other than that he was still residing in Astarabad 
in 818/1415 when he finished the writing of one of his 
books, Djawazal-sa'irin. He died in 831/1427-28, sup- 
posedly a suicide, having cast himself into the waters 
of the Aras, but this is dismissed as a calumny by the 
Nukfawis themselves. 

Mahmud PasikhanI is said to have written sixteen 
books and 1,001 treatises (nuskha) in exposition of his 
doctrines; none of these has ever been published in 
full (for extracts from his principal work, Mizdn, see, 
however, Rahlm Rida-zada Malik's notes to his edi- 
tion ofKaykhusraw Isfandiyar, Dabistdn-i madhahib, ii, 

233-6, and $adik Kiya, Nuktawiyan yd Pasikhdniydn, 
Tehran 1320 &./1941, 73-132). 

Nuktawl works were composed in an extremely 
opaque style and are marked by frequent recourse to 
abbreviations and special signs similar to those found 
in Hurufi literature, but the main themes of Mahmud 
PasTkhani's teaching can easily be comprehended. 
They consist in the first place of a peculiarly 
materialist type of metempsychosis according to which 
the particles of the body do not disintegrate on death 
but are absorbed as a single mass into the soil. They 
then re-emerge in vegetable or solid form, possibly to 
be consumed by animals or men, the level of existence 
on which they are finally reintegrated being depen- 
dent on the degree of virtue and knowledge attained 
by their previous owner. When a being rises or 
descends from one level of existence to another, the 
traces of his former existence are still visible and can 
be discerned by the insightful, a process known as 
ihsd* "enumeration" (whence yet another designation 
for the sect, Ihsa'iyya). Thus dogs can be recognised 
as having been Kfzflbash Turks, their tails being a 
trace of the swords they once carried and the word 
used in Persian to shoo away a dog, cikh, being iden- 
tical with Turkish cik; and waterfowl should be iden- 
tified as transmogrified clerics, still obsessed in their 
new existence with making ablutions. Mahmud 
Paslkhanl himself claimed to be the reincarnation on 
a higher plane both of the Prophet Muhammad 
(something allegedly indicated in Kur'an, XVII, 79 
"your Lord will raise you to a praiseworthy station", 
makdm mahmud) and of C A1I, citing a hadith in which the 
Prophet is reported to have said that he and C A1I 
were of one flesh. Other personal reincarnations are 
those of Moses in Husayn b. C A1I and the Pharaoh in 
Yazld; it was because Yazld remembered being 
drowned in the Red Sea at the hands of Moses when 
he was the Pharaoh that he took care to keep Husayn 
away from the water of the Euphrates. 

Paslkhanl is reputed never to have married, and his 
doctrine recommends celibacy. The celibate are said 
to have reached the rank of wdhid (a word which has 
the crucial numerical value of 19) and to be capable 
of advancing to the rank of Allah, this being none 
other than man in his ultimate essence, termed "the 
manifest compound" (al-murakkab al-mubin); the 
Nuktawls therefore summarised their creed as la ildha 
ilia 'l-murakkab al-mubin. Nuktawls disinclined to 
celibacy (who for some reason are designated as amin, 
"trustworthy") are advised to copulate not more than 
once a week. This disdain of marriage earned the 
Nukfawls accusations of incest, promiscuity and 
pederasty from their opponents. 

Also central to Nuktawl doctrine was a cyclical con- 
cept of time, one clearly influenced by Isma'fll 
antecedents. The total life of the world is said to con- 
sist of 64,000 years, divided into four periods of 
16,000 years that are known respectively as zuhur 
"outwardness", bulun "inwardness", sin ("conceal- 
ment") and '■alaniyya ("manifestation"). Each of these 
periods is divided in turn into an 8,000-year "Arab 
epoch" (dawra-yi isti'-rdb), during which the guidance 
of humanity is entrusted to a "perfected Arab 
messenger" (mursal-i mukammal-i '■Arab), and an 
8,000-year "Persian epoch" (dawra-yi isW-djam), 
presided over by a "perfected Persian expositor" 
(mubayyin-i mukammal-i 'adjam). The emergence of 
Mahmud Paslkhanl signified the beginning of one 
such ' ' Persian epoch ' ' . This exaltation of Persian-ness 
is apparent also in the assertion that Gilan and 
Mazandaran have now superseded Mecca and 

It was during the reign of Shah Isma'fl I that the 
Nuktawl movement first surfaced, significantly 
enough in the village of Andjudan near Kashan, a 
principal centre of post-Alamut Nizari Isma'Ilism. 
Shah Tahir, thirty-first Imam of the Muhammad- 
SJiahl Nizari line, is reported to have so angered Shah 
Isma c H by gathering around him in Andjudan 
Nuktawls and other religious deviants that he had to 
flee precipitately to India (Ma c sum c Ali Shah Shlrazi, 
Tard^ik al-hakdHk, ed. Muhammad Dja'far Mahdjub, 
Tehran 1339 a/1960, iii, 136). Another instance of 
NuktawMsma c Ili symbiosis is provided by Murad 
MIrza, thirty-sixth Imam of the Kasim-Shahl Nizari 
line, whose combined Nukfawl and Isma'ill following 
in Andjudan was broken up by Shah Tahmasp in 981- 
2/1573-4 and who was himself put to death (Ahmad 
Thatt'awl, Ta'rikh-i Alfi, cited in Kiya, 36). Mention 
may also be made of two poets: Wuku c i of Nishapur 
whose beliefs are said to have been intermediate 
between Nuktawism and Isma'Hism (Kiya, 35), and 
Abu '1-Kasim Muhammad Kuhpaya 3 ! Amri Shlrazi, 
who praised two of the Kasim-Shahl Nizari Imams in 
his Diwan and may have been a crypto-Isma c Hl (W. 
Ivanow, A guide to IsmaSli literature, London 1933, 

Amri Shlrazi first came to the fore in the time of 
Shah Tahmasp, who entrusted him with the 
administration of awkdf, belonging to the Haramayn 
but located in Persia, and who also employed his 
brother, Mawlana Abu Turab, famed as a master of 
the occult sciences, as court calligrapher. Denounced 
for heresy in 972/1565, the brothers were blinded and 
went into seclusion. In 984/1576, the last year of 
Tahmasp's reign, still more Nuktawls were 
apprehended in Kashan; they included the poet 
HayatI, who was jailed for two years in Shiraz before 
making his way to India. 

Other centres of Nuktawl activity were developing 
meanwhile in Sawa, Na°In, Isfahan and — most 
importantly — Kazwln. Nuktawism was propagated in 
Kazwln by Darwish Khusraw, the son of a well- 
digger, who had gone to Kasjian to learn the Nuktawl 
doctrines and established his headquarters in a 
mosque on his return. Denounced by the c a/ama 3 , he 
was interrogated by Shah Tahmasp but giving 
suitably evasive answers was released with instruc- 
tions no longer to hold forth in the mosque. On the 
death of Tahmasp, he resumed his public preaching 
with such success that he was able to build a takya 
which came to house two hundred of his followers. 
Despite a further round of executions of Nuktawls in 
Kashan in 994/1586 which numbered among its vic- 
tims two musicians, Afdal Du-tari and Mir BighamI, 
Darwish Khusraw remained unmolested throughout 
the reigns of Isma'Il II and Khudabanda into the early 
years of rule by Shah c Abbas. 

Shah 'Abbas began by establishing a friendly and 
even intimate relationship with Darwish Khusraw, 
and was even initiated into the Nuktawiyya, with the 
grade of amin, by Darwish Turab and Darwish Kamal 
Iklldl. The Safawid chroniclers (e.g. Iskandar Beg 
Munshi, 'Alam-drd-yi c Abbdsi, Tehran 1350 S./1971, 
i, 444), followed by most later historians, maintained 
that Shah c Abbas cultivated the Nuktawls only as a 
means of surveillance. It is, however, possible that he 
had a genuine interest in their teachings. They had 
already attempted to proclaim Shah Tahmasp as the 
Mahdl, and when they made a similar connection 
between their chiliastic theories and the person of 
Shah 'Abbas, he may well have contemplated the 
possibility of using Nuktawism as a new ideological 
basis for the Safawid state. It seems probable at the 



very least that his lifelong disregard for religious pro- 
prieties should have been in part the result of his 
exposure to Nuktawl teachings ( C A1I Rida DhakawatI 
Karaguzlu, Nagahi digar ba Nuktawiyya, 59-60). 

The Nuk(awT movement was, however, not without 
its dangers for Shah 'Abbas. In 999/1591, a Nuktawl 
insurrection centred on Istihbanat broke out in Fars; 
he had it mercilessly repressed, and the blinded poet 
Amrf was arrested in &hiraz and torn to pieces at the 
bidding of the '■ulama''. Shah 'Abbas's relations with 
Darwish Khusraw began to sour two years later when 
he was presumptuously warned by the Nuktawl 
leader, on the eve of a campaign against rebels in 
Luristan, that unless he returned to Kazwln by 1 
Muharram 1302/27 September 1593, a Nuktawl 
adherent, other than the Shah himself, might be com- 
pelled for astrological reasons to seize the throne. 
When Shah 'Abbas was encamped at Kharrakan, he 
was brought a similarly patronising message by Dar- 
wlsh Kuttk Bahla-duz ("gauntlet-maker"), a prin- 
cipal lieutenant of Darwlsh Khusraw, warning him 
again to return as quickly as possible and offering to 
send 50,000 armed Nuktawis to aid in the suppression 
of the rebellion. By now thoroughly alarmed, Shah 
'Abbas ordered Malik C A1I the djarcibashi back to Kaz- 
wln to attack the Nuktawl takya and arrest its inmates 
in advance of his own return to the capital. The stealth 
employed in executing this command suggests that 
there was indeed the potential for a full-scale Nuktawl 
insurrection in Kazwln. The QxarHibasti surrounded 
the takya before dawn and sought an audience with 
Darwlsh Khusraw on the pretext of presenting him 
with a robe of honour. As he was draping the cloak 
around his shoulders, he suddenly felled him with a 
powerful blow to the head, and the soldiers rushed in, 
killing many Nuktawis and arresting the others. 
Among those captured was Darwlsji Kuiik; he com- 
mitted suicide by ingesting a large amount of opium, 
promising to return swiftly in a new incarnation. Dar- 
wlsh Khusraw himself was interrogated by the '■ulama' 
and publicly tortured to death over a period of three 
days, after which his body was exhibited on the gibbet 
for a week. 

It happened that soon after these events a comet 
appeared in the heavens. This was interpreted by 
Djalal al-DIn Yazdl, the court astrologer, to mean 
that the king would be in mortal danger during 7-10 
Dhu '1-Ka'da 1002/25-8 July 1594. He therefore pro- 
posed that a substitute ruler worthy of death be placed 
on the throne for the duration of the critical period. 
Shah 'Abbas then asked one of the Nuktawl captives, 
Darwlsh Yusufi Tarkish-duz ("quiver-maker") for 
his interpretation of the comet, and he replied that it 
was a sign that one of the Nuktawis would soon 
assume rule. The monarch countered that Darwlsh 
Yusufi was the most suitable Nuktawl for the throne, 
and immediately divested himself of the paraphernalia 
of monarchy and seated Darwlsji Yusufi on the 
throne. At the end of the three days, during which 
Darwlsh Yusufi made use of his glory only to have 
himself surrounded by handsome youths, he went 
straight from the throne to the scaffold, and Shah 
'Abbas took back his regalia. This curious episode, 
illustrative both of Shah 'Abbas's imaginative sadism 
and of his superstitiousness, has inspired at least two 
literary treatments: a short story by the Adhar- 
baydjanl writer Fath 'All Akhundzada ( = Akhundov, 
d. 1878: Aldanmish kavakib: hekayati Yusufshah, in 
Asdrlari, Baku 1987, i, 209-34, Russian tr. Aziz 
Sharifov, Obmamdyye zvezdy, rasskaz o Yusuf-shakhe, in 
Akhundov, Izbrannoye, Moscow 1956, 29-57) and a 
novel by Djalal Al-i Ahmad (d. 1969: Nin wa 'l-kalam, 
Tehran 1340 S&./1961). 

Mass arrests and executions of Nuktawis then 
ensued in other cities, including once again Kashan, 
where the discovery of a list of leading Nuktawis 
among the papers of the poet Mir Sayyid Ahmad 
KashI permitted the sect to be uprooted from the area 
once and for all. Shah 'Abbas personally beheaded 
KashI when he was in the midst of reminiscing con- 
cerning a previous existence, and then deftly bisected 
his headless trunk before it fell to the ground. He had 
a further confrontation with Nuktawis during his 
pilgrimage to Mashhad in 1010/1600-1; he discovered 
that his caravan had been infiltrated by his erstwhile 
initiators into the sect, and they were accordingly put 
to death in the caravanserai at Kusha. The last 
Nuktawl to be executed during the reign of Shah 
'Abbas was the astrologer Mulla Ayaz, put to death in 

Although curiously enough the Nuktawis continued 
to regard Shah 'Abbas as one of their own, discoun- 
ting his hostility to them as a sign of immaturity, 
many of them found it prudent to take refuge in India. 
These refugees included an impressive number of 
poets: Wuku'I Nishapurl, Hayati KashanI, 'All 
Akbar Tashblhl KashanI, Mulla $ufi MazandaranI 
(Amull), Hakim 'Ibad Allah KashanI and 'Abd al- 
Qhanl Yazdl. Adjusting their calculations to make 
Akbar yet another candidate for millennarian rule, 
the Nuktawis found favour with the Mughal emperor 
and assisted him in the formulation of his imperial 
cult, the Din-i Ilahi. One of their number, Mir Sharif 
Amull, even sat on the nineteen-member committee 
that elaborated the cult. It is possible, too, that 
Akbar's chief confidant, Abu '1-Fadl 'AllamI, had 
Nuktawl sympathies; a letter from him was found 
among the papers of Mir Sayyid Ahmad KashI, and 
it was he who moved Akbar to write a letter to Shah 
'Abbas, fruitlessly urging on him the merits of 
religious tolerance. The emperor Djahanglr did not 
entirely turn his back on the Nuktawis, but their visi- 
ble presence in India did not last long. 

A brief resurgence of the Nuktawl movement took 
place in Persia during the reign of Shah $afi I. In 
Kazwln, a certain Darwlsh Rida who claimed alter- 
nately to be the Mahdl and his deputy gathered a vast 
following that allowed him to seize control of the city. 
The movement was bloodily suppressed and Darwlsh 
Rida was beheaded in 1041/1631-2. His followers 
expected him to return from the dead, and when the 
following year they discovered an obscure farrier who 
resembled him, they renewed their uprising, with the 
same result as before. 

This marked the end of the Nuktawiyya as a move- 
ment with insurrectionary capabilities. Some thirty 
years later, Raphael du Mans remarked on the 
presence in Isfahan of a ragged group of dervishes 
known as Mahmudls (Estat de la Perse en 1660, ed. Ch. 
Schefer, Paris 1890, 87-8), but they were evidently 
too insignificant to warrant suppression. Despite its 
impressive longevity in the face of repression, the 
Nuktawl movement never had a chance of long-term 
success, being composed almost entirely of artisans 
and literati in an age when the application of tribal 
power was decisive (the Ustadjlu chieftain Budak Dln- 
oghll was the sole member of the Safawid military 
aristocracy whom the Nuktawis were able to recruit). 

A few vestiges of the Nuktawiyya can nonetheless 
be traced in post-$afawid Persia. According to 
Muljammad 'All Nazim al-Shari'a, Sayyid Muham- 
mad 'All the Bab was taught the doctrines of 
Nuktawism during his confinement in Maku and 
incorporated them directly in his Bayan (Hadida 
muhamma, quoted in Karaguzlu, Nagah-i tdza'i ba 
manabi'-i Nuktawiyya, 38). This is unproven, but there 


are undeniable similarities between Nuktawism and 
Babism: a belief in metempsychosis, extravagant 
interpretations of Kur'an and hadith, a claim to have 
abrogated the Islamic sharFa, and a fixation on the 
number nineteen. Also in the early nineteenth cen- 
tury, the Ni'matullahl Sufi Zayn al-'Abidln Shlrwanl 
(d. 1253/1837-38) reports having met Nuktawls who 
concealed themselves in the guise of Sufis (Bustdn al- 
siydha, reprint, Tehran n.d., 182). A contemporary 
researcher, Nur al-Dfn MudarrisT Cahardihi, men- 
tions having met in Bihbahan a certain Baba Muham- 
mad who regarded himself as a Nuktawl, but he seems 
to have been nothing more than an isolated eccentric 
(Sayri dar lasawwuf dar sharh-i hdl-i mashdyikh wa aktdb, 

Bibliography (in addition to references in the 
text): Aziz Ahmad, Safawid poets and India, in Iran, 
xiv (1976), 131; B.S. Amoretti, Religion in the 
Timurid and Safavid periods, in Cambridge history of 
Iran. vi. The Timurid and Safavid periods, Cambridge 
1986, 644-6; S.A. Arjomand, The Shadow ofGodand 
the Hidden Imam, Chicago 1984, 198-9; <Abd al- 
Kadir Bada'unf, Muntakhab al-tawarikh, Calcutta 
1864-9, ii, 286-8, iii, 204-6, 378-9; M. Ibrahim 
Bastani-ParTzi, Siydsat wa iktisad dar c asr-i Safawi 1 , 
Tehran 1367 &./1988, 31, 46, 54-6; Nur al-DIn 
MudarrisI Cahardihi, Sayri dar lasawwuf dar sharh-i 
hdl-i mashdyikh wa aktdb, Tehran 1361 &./1982, 312- 
29; Farhad Daftary, The IsmdHlis: their history and 
doctrines, Cambridge 1990, 455-6; Nasr Allah 
Falsafi, Zindagdni-yi Shah '■Abbds-i AwwaP, Tehran 
1334 Sh,l\9tt, ii) 338-44, iii, 40-51; Rida-Kull 
Khan Hidayat, Rawddt al-safd-yi Ndsiri, Tehran 
1339 Sh./1960, viii, 273-8; Kaykhusraw Isfandiyar, 
Dabistan-i madhdhib, ed. Rahlm Rida-zada Malik, 
Tehran 1362 Sh./l9S3, i, 273-8, ii, 231-6 
(attributed to MIrza Muhsin FanI, Calcutta 1809, 
374-80); 'All Rida Dhakawatl KaragGzlu, Nagah-i 
tdza^i ba mandW-i Nukfawiyya, in Tahkikdt-i Isldmi, 
ii/2 (1366 S-/1987), 31-9; idem, Nagdhf digar ba 
Nuktawiyya, in ibid., iv/1-2, 55-62; Z. Kuli-zade, 
Khurufizm i ego predstaviteli v Azerbaydzhane, Baku 
1970, 249-55; K.K. Kutsiya, Iz istorii sotsial'nykh 
dvizhenii v gorodakh sefevidskogo gosudarstva: dvizhenie 
nuktaviev, in Narody Azii i Afriki (1966), no. 2, 69-75; 
Minu«ihr Minuwl, Saltanat-i Yusufi-yi Tarkish-duz, 
in Yaghmd, ii (1328 S./1949), 310-14; Maryam 
Mir-Ahmadi, Din wa madhhab dar dawra-yi Safawi, 
Tehran 1363 S-/1984, 93-9; Iskandar Beg Munshl, 
"■Alam-drd-yi Safawi, Tehran 1350 &./1971, 473-7 
Eng. tr., R.M. Savory, History of Shah '■Abbas, 
Boulder 1978, ii, 646-50; idem and Muhammad 
Yusuf, Dhayl-i '■Alam-drd-yi 'Abbdsi, ed. Suhayll 
Kh w ansarl, Tehran 1317 $71938, 83-85, 240; 
Mahmud b. Hidayat Allah Afushta'I Natanzi, 
Nukdwat al-dthdrfi dhikr al-akjjydr, ed. Ihsan IshrakI, 
Tehran 1350 &./1971, 507-28; S.A. A. Rizvi, 
Religious and intellectual history of the Muslims in Akbar 's 
reign, Delhi 1975, 431; Ma c sum <Ali Shah Shirazi, 
TardHk al-hakdHk, ed. Muhammad Dja c far 
Mahdjub, Tehran n.d., iii, 136; Zayn al- c Abidm 
Shlrwanl, Bustdn al-siydha, repr. Tehran n.d., 181- 
2; Hilmi Ziya Ulken, islam felsefesi larihi, Istanbul 
1957, 57; c Abd al-Husayn Zarrlnkub, Dunbdla-yi 
djustuaju dar tasawwuf-i Iran, Tehran 1362 Sh. /\9S3, 
237-9. _ (H. Algar) 

al-NXJ'MAN b. Abi c Abd Allah Muhammad b. 
Mansur b. Hayyun, famous kdolt of the Fajimid 
caliph al-MuMzz li-din Allah [q.v.], of whose 
origins and early life little is known. This small 
amount of information is insufficient to explain the 
exceptional rise and fortune of this obscure jurist of 

Ifrlkiya after he had entered the service of the new 
masters of this province, the Fatimids. As a connec- 
tion of the Banu Tamlm, to which the line of Aghjabid 
amirs were attached, al-Nu c man rose rapidly in the 
hierarchy of the Shi'i state to the high position of 
judge-in-chief (kadi 'l-kudai) of the community. 

Hence the date of his birth is unknown, as is like- 
wise his social position and the calibre of his intellec- 
tual training at Kayrawan at the moment when, 
towards the end of the 3rd/9th century, the Shfr 
Berber rebellion broke out, first of all in Little 
Kabylia, which was to sweep away the orthodox 
dynasty of the Aghlabids [q.v.] and end in the founda- 
tion, in Ifrlkiya, of the Fatimid anti-caliphate. How- 
ever, our sources agree on placing in 313/925 his 
nomination to the service (khidma) of the first Fatimid 
caliph, al-Mahdl bi 'Hah [q. v. ] in an office whose exact 
nature is unknown. The speed of his adhesion to the 
doctrine of the Ahl al-Bayt and also his kunya of Abu 
Hanlfa make one think that he belonged to the Hanafi 
law school, solidly represented at Kayrawan and less 
hostile to ShFism than that of Malik. It is more plausi- 
ble that he joined the Isma c nT<£i < wa before the founda- 
tion of the Fatimid caliphate, as I.K. Poonawala has 
shown; referring, in particular, to an old SunnI 
source, the Tabakdt c ulamd> Ifrlkiya of al-Khujhani, 
one of Nu'man's contemporaries, he has had the per- 
tinent idea of identifying a certain Muhammad b. 
Hayyan, mentioned as being among the jurists of 
Kayrawan professing the doctrine of tashrik, sc. that of 
the mashdrika, the eastern Isma'ills, as being 
undoubtedly the father of al-Nu c man and of conse- 
quently correcting Muhammad b. Hayyan into 
Muhammad b. Hayyun. 

Thus al-Mu'izz's famous judge seems to have been 
raised and educated in the doctrine of the Ahl al-Bayt 
by a father who had already long been won over to 
Shfrsm, before the proclamation of the Fatimid 
caliphate in 297/310. This would, moreover, explain 
his rapid rise from being the modest kadi of a pro- 
vince, Tripoli, to the highest office of supreme kdfiin 
336/948. It was in fact from that town that the Fatimid 
caliph Isma'n al-Mansur [q.v.] summoned him to his 
new capital, al-Mansuriyya, just after his triumph 
over the Kharidjite rebel Abu Yazld [q.v.], the famous 
"man on the donkey", in order to appoint him to this 
high office, in conditions which al-Nu'man himself 
describes in his Kitdb al-Maa^dlis wa 'l-musdyarat: "Al- 
Nu c man, as soon as he had arrived in al-Manjuriyya, 
was solemnly invested one Friday by the caliph, who 
awarded him robes of honour woven in the royal 
workshops and ordered him to proceed immediately 
to Kayrawan, since al-Mansuriyya had not yet got a 
mosque which could allow him to lead the Friday wor- 
ship in a masa^id djami'- and to give the khufba there. Al- 
Mansur had him escorted by the officers of the guard, 
who accompanied him, with drawn swords, all the 
way along both the outward and the return journey. 
Some days later, the caliph sent a written mandate 
(lawk?) to the chancery where a nomination patent 
( c ahd) was made out appointing him kdfi of al- 
Mansuriyya, al-Kayrawan, al-Mahdiyya and other 
towns and provinces of Ifrlkiya. ' ' 

Al-Nu'man's elevation to the most coveted position 
amongst the body of/aifts thus coincided with the 
consolidation of the state and of Fatimid power, after 
the crushing of Kharidjism, as also with the enfeeble- 
ment of the SunnI party and the deterioration of rela- 
tions between the central organisation of the Isma'AT 
da c wa at al-Mansuriyya with the Karmatis of 
Bahrayn. The reform of Fatimid doctrine undertaken 
by al-Mahdl immediately on proclamation of the 


caliphate, with the obvious aim of adapting Isma c flism 
to the realities of Kayrawanl orthodoxy in order the 
better to create a state madhhab, became more pro- 
nounced during the last years of al-Mansur's reign 
and became stronger all through the twenty years' 
reign in Ifrikiya of al-Mu c izz. Al-Nu c man's designa- 
tion thus came at a specific moment when the 
supreme kadi was to have a prime role in the elabora- 
tion of the state doctrine. Whilst holding his office and 
giving to the position of kalian exemplary image both 
by his own competence and by his high moral quali- 
ties, al-Nu c man was also to distinguish himself by his 
role as a fertile author who was to have the merit of 
constructing a juridical and doctrinal system accessi- 
ble to the masses of Ifrikiya. From now onwards, he 
was to owe his fame to the elaboration and the 
teaching of a simplified and moderate doctrine (samd' 
al-hikma), at the same time giving to the office of kadi 
'l-kudat amongst the Shi'Is the weightiness and 
effulgence which a Sahnun [q.v.] had given to the 
Malik! kada* a century earlier. 

The exercise of his judicial function was to entail, 
for al-Nu c man, a didactic task. Since his high office 
meant that he was to fulfil, at the side of the Imam, 
the role of theoretician of Isma'msm, he now began to 
devote himself to compose treatises of fikh according to 
the doctrine of the Imams and to render their contents 
more widely known by public courses of instruction 
(durus al-hikma). These courses were held after the c asr 
worship, and then sessions devoted to discussion and 
controversy were held in a special chamber. This 
mag^lis al-hikma soon became a genuine institution in 
the shape of a centre of studies and propaganda which 
the SunnTs called dar al-hma'iliyya. 

Since the Imam was the depository of all learning, 
according to the doctrine of the Ahl al-Bayt, it was in 
close collaboration with him that the supreme kadi, in 
his function of official fakih of the dynasty, wrote 
treatises on fikh and doctrine meant for teaching and 
for the use of regional judges, for governors and for 
students. Thus al-Nu c man consulted al-Mu c izz 
regularly whilst composing his main theological 
works, comprising the K. DaWim al-hlam, the K. al- 
Himma and the K. Asrdr al-ta'wil, and also, having 
entitled an abridgement of the doctrine of the Ahl al- 
Bayt the K. al-Dindr, he modified this title, on the 
advice of the Imam, to K. al-Ikhtisdr li-sahih al-dthdr '■an 
al-aHmma al-afhdr. Al-Nu c man's merit thus consists in 
the construction of a juridical and legal system for the 
use of the state, one oriented in the direction of a 
reconciliation of the concepts of Isma c ilism with those 
of the orthodoxy of Kayrawan. Thus the points of 
doctrinal opposition between Sunnism and ShlSsm 
are not so flagrant, in al-Nu c man's works, as the 
geographical collections of biographies of orthodox 
scholars of Kayrawan would lead one to believe. If 
there remains a total divergence on the questions of 
the definition of faith or that of waldya (adhesion to the 
Imams), the contradiction in fact concerns only minor 
questions concerning ritual and practice of the cult. 
Reading the K. DaVim al-hldm allows one to estimate 
the importance of al-Nu'man's endeavour to bring 
about a rapprochment between Isma c ill doctrine and 
the theses of Sunnism. Endeavouring as much as he 
could to codify Fatimid/f'AA in a simple and clear man- 
ner and to popularise it in order to encourage obe- 
dience to a politics of moderation and realism, the 
supreme judge completed his task as official fakih with 
the intention, above all, of making out of a juridical 
and doctrinal system an instrument of politics adapted 
to the imperialist intentions of the Fafimid state. This 
explains al-Mu c izz's interest in the works which al- 

Nu'man wrote under his ultimate direction. For the 
caliph, observes Madelung, doctrine was in effect an 
instrument of politics. Hence he impelled his supreme 
kadi to elaborate a juridical system accessible and con- 
formable to the universalist concept of the imamate. 
Thus if the Isma'ili supreme kadi offered the same 
image of simplicity and modesty, with the additional 
technical and moral qualities inherent in his office, as 
did the SunnI kadi 'l-kudat, he nevertheless lived and 
worked within a total dependence of power. He ceased 
to be the mouthpiece of the c dmma, the censor of the 
palace, listened to by the sovereign and feared by the 
aristocracy. In this way, various special traits con- 
tribute to the image of the figure of the supreme 
judge, who became in the Fafimid state an official per- 
sonage, a man of law caught up in the service of a 
cause, that of the Ahl al-Bayt. Yet as a consummate 
theologian, a highly literate author and an official 
with recognised moral and technical qualities, al- 
Nu'man has the merit of being known as one of the 
most famous representatives of the Malikls and of 
preserving for the high office of kadi its dignity and 

Bibliography: See above all Brockelmann, S I, 
324-5; Sezgin, GAS, i, 575-8; R.J. Gottheil, A dis- 
tinguished family of Fatimid cadis {an-Nu'-mdn) in the 
tenth century, in JAOS, xxvii (1907), 217-96; A.A.A. 
Fyzee, Qadi al-Nu c man, the Fatimid jurist and author, in 
JRAS (1934), 1-32; idem, ed. of the K. DaVim al- 
hlam, Cairo 1951, introd.; Kamil Husayn, ed. of 
K. al-Himma, Cairo 1948, introd.; Habib FikI, 
Ibrahim Shabbuh and M. Ya'lawi, ed. of the K. al- 
Madjdlis wa 'l-musayarat, Tunis 1978, introd.; 
Wadad al-Kadi, ed. of K. Iftitah al-da'wa, Beirut 
1970, introd.; F. Dachraoui, ed. of K. Iftitah al- 
da c wa, Tunis 1975, introd.; idem, Le calif at fatimide 
au Maghreb (histoire politique et institutions), Tunis 
1981; I.K. Poonawala, A reconsideration of al-Qpdi al- 
Nu c mdn's madhhab, in BSOAS, xxxviii (1974), 572-9; 
W. Madelung, Fatimiden und Bahrainqarmaten, in hi., 
xxxiv (1959), 34-88; idem, Das Imamat in der fruhen 
ismailitischen Lehre, in ibid. , xxxvii-xxxviii (1961), 
43-155. _ _ (F. Dachraoui) 

al-NU c MAN b. BASHIR al-Ansari, Companion 
of the Prophet and governor of al-Kufa and Hims. 
According to some Muslim authorities, al-Nu c man 
was the first Ansari to be born after the Hidjra. His 
father Bashir b. Sa c d [q. v. ] was one of the most distin- 
guished of the Companions, and his mother, c Amra 
bint Rawaha, was the sister of the much-respected 
c Abd Allah b. Rawaha [q.v.]. After the assassination 
of 'Uthrnan, al-Nu c man, who was devoted to him, 
refused to pay homage to c Alf. According to some 
stories which seem rather apocryphal, he brought the 
bloodstained shirt of the caliph, according to others, 
the fingers cut from the hand of his wife Na'ila, to 
Damascus and these relics were exhibited by 
Mu'awiya in the mosque. In the battle of Siffin [q.v.] 
he faithfully stood by Mu c awiya and he was always a 
favourite with him while the other Ansar were kept at 
a suitable distance from the Umayyad court. In the 
year 39/659-60 al-Nu c man, by order of Mu'awiya, 
undertook an expedition against Malik b. Ka c b al- 
Arhabl, who had occupied in c AlI's name c Ayn al- 
Tamr on the frontier between Syria and Mesopotamia 
and began to besiege it, but had to retire without 
accomplishing anything. Twenty years later he was 
given the governorship of al-Kufa. He was not really 
fitted for this post, because his pronounced antipathy 
to C A1I and his followers did not suit the Shfi popula- 
tion of the town. In addition, he did not conceal his 
sympathy with the Ansar, who were attacked by 

l-NU c MAN b. BASHIR - 

Yazid b. Mu'awiya's favourite al-Akhtal [q.v.], but 
freely expressed his opinion on the insult offered to his 

After Yazid had come to the throne in 60 
Radjab/April 680, he nevertheless left al-Nu c man in 
office; but the latter did not long remain there. Al- 
Nu'man is described as an ascetic, and he knew the 
teachings of the Kur'an thoroughly. But his 
asceticism was not of the strictest type, and his interest 
in musical entertainments was regarded as evidence of 
lack of dignity. In policy he proved very tolerant so 
long as it did not come to an open rising. When 
Muslim b. 'Akil [q.v.], al-Husayn's partisan, 
appeared in al-Kufa to ascertain the feelings of the 
people and he found a number who were ready to pay 
homage to al-Husayn, al-Nu'man adopted a neutral 
attitude and took no steps to check the vigorous prop- 
aganda. As a result, the followers of the Umayyads in 
al-Kufa wrote to the caliph and called his attention to 
the fact that the threatening situation demanded a 
man of vigour who would be able to carry out the 
government's orders, while al-Nu'man, out of real or 
feigned weakness, was letting things take their course 
and only urging people to keep calm. When Yazid 
was discussing this with his councillors, notably the 
influential Ibn Sardjun, the latter showed him a docu- 
ment signed by Mu'awiya shortly before his death, 
containing the appointment of the then governor of al- 
Basra 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad [q.v.] to the same office 
in al-Kufa. In spite of his antipathy to the proposal, 
Yazid carried out his father's wish and made 'Ubayd 
Allah governor of al-Kufa without removing him from 
his post in al-Basra, whereupon al-Nu'man hastened 
back to Syria. When the people of Medina rebelled at 
the beginning of the year 63/682 and drove all the 
Umayyads out of the town, Yazid wished to see what 
tact would do before resorting to arms and sent a mis- 
sion to Medina under al-Nu'man to show the people 
the futility of armed resistance and to bring them to 
their senses. The mission was also instructed to go 
on to Mecca to induce the stubborn 'Abd Allah b. al- 
Zubayr to pay homage. Al-Nu'man's warnings and 
threats had no effect on his countrymen, however, 
and there was nothing left for the caliph but to subdue 
the rebels in the two holy cities by force of arms [see 
yazid B. mu'awiya]. After the death of Yazid in RaW 
I 64/Nov. 683, al-Nu'man, who had in the meanwhile 
become governor of Hims, declared openly for 'Abd 
Allah b. al-Zubayr. In Dhu '1-Hid j d j a of the same 
year/July-Aug. 684 and Muharram 65/Aug.-Sept. 
684, however, the latter's leading follower al-Dahhak 
b. Kays al-Fihrl [q.v.] was defeated at Mardj Rahit 
[q.v.], and thus the fate of al-Nu'man was also 
decided. He attempted to save himself by flight but 
was overtaken and killed. According to the Arab 
historians, the town of Ma c arrat al-Nu'man [q.v.] 
takes its name from al-Nu'man b. Bashlr. 

Bibliography: Ibn Sa'd, vi, 35; Tabarl, see 
index; Ibn al-Athir, i, 514, ii, 85, 303, 382, iii, 154, 
228, 315, 430, iv, 9, 15, 17, 19, 75, 88, 120, 123-5; 
Ya'kubl, TaKkh, ii, 219, 228, 278, 301, 304-5; 
DInawarl, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, ed. Guirgass, 239-40, 
245, 247, 273; Mas'Gdl, Muridj., iv, 296-7, v, 128, 
134, 204, 227-9 = §§ 1621, 1885, 1891, 1968, 
1991; Abu '1-Fida', ed. Reiske, i, 77, 385, 393, 405, 
407; Kitab al-Aghani, see Guidi, Tables alphabetiques; 
Caetani, Annali dell' Islam, viii, 325, ix, 233, 355, x, 
275 ff., see also index; Wellhausen, Das arabische 
Reich undsein Slurz, 47, 82, 94, 96, 110; Lammens, 
Etudes sur le regne du calife omaiyade Mo'dwia I", 43, 
45, 58, 110, 116, 407; idem, Le califat de Yazid I", 
119 ff., 137, 140, 142, 207, 215, 221, 228; G. Rot- 

ter, Die Umayyaden und da zweite Biirgerkrieg (680- 

692), Wiesbaden 1982, index. 

(K.V. Zettersteen) 

al-NU'MAN (III) b. al-MUNCHIR, the last 
Lakhmid king of Hira [q.v.] and vassal of Sasanid 
Persia. He was the son of al-Mundhir IV [q.v.] and 
Salma, the daughter of a Jewish goldsmith from 
Fadak. In the annals of the Lakhmids [q.v.], his reign 
(ca. A.D. 580-602) was the most memorable after that 
of his grandfather, al-Mundhir III (d. 554). His 
accession to the throne of Hira he owed to 'AdI b. 
Zayd [q.v.], the famous Christian poet and statesman 
of Hira, and the Sasanid Hormuzd celebrated that 
accession with an especially splendid crown. 

Al-Nu'man was an assertive and strong ruler, and 
his reign witnessed tensions within Hira and wars 
with the Arab tribes. The Hira clan of the Banu 
Marina had opposed his accession, and finally, the 
very friendly clan of the Banu Ayyub was ranged 
against him. In addition to friction with the Taghlib 
tribe, he tried to withdraw the privilege of riddfa (divi- 
sional leadership in battle) accorded to Yarbu', a sub- 
division of the tribe of Tamlm, from them and 
transfer it to another subdivision, namely Darim. 
Yarbu' contested this, and in a bloody encounter at 
Tikhfa, the Yarbu' were victorious. Al-Nu'man's 
brother Hassan and his son Kabus led the Lakhmid 
troops but both were defeated and captured, and al- 
Nu'man had to ransom them for 1 ,000 camels. 

The fall of the Ghassanids [q.v.] from grace ca. 580 
brought about disarray in Qhassanid-Byzantine rela- 
tions and with it a diminution of the Ghassanid 
military role in Byzantium's war with Persia in the 
580s. Hence Lakhmid-GJiassanid encounters receive 
no mention in the sources, and these record only an 
echo of an expedition by al-Nu'man against Byzan- 
tine Circesium (Karklsiya [q.v.]). The conclusion of 
the Persian-Byzantine peace which lasted till the death 
of the emperor Maurice in 602 ruled out any serious 
Lakhmid military designs against Ghassanid or 
Byzantine territory. But before that peace was con- 
cluded, al-Nu'man had fought with Parwlz [q.v.], 
Hormuzd's son and successor, at the battle of al- 
Nahrawan against the rebel Bahram Cubln. 

During the reign of al-Nu'man, Hira continued to 
develop as the greatest centre of Arab culture before 
the rise of Islam. In addition to the poetry of its most 
famous poet, the Christian 'Ad! b. Zayd, the splendid 
panegyrics of al-Nabigha al-Dhubyanl [q.v.], one of 
the poets of the Mu'allalfat [q.v.], were composed on 
this al-Nu'man. The earliest collection of Arabic 
poems are associated with his name, sc. panegyrics of 
various poets on members of the Lakhmid dynasty. 
The king converted to Christianity after most of his 
ancestors had resisted the temptation. But the 
Nestorianism to which he was converted was accep- 
table to Sasanid Persia, and Parwlz himself had 
become well disposed towards Christianity after his 
marriage to the Christian SMrln and the peace with 
Byzantium in 591, which thus becomes the terminus 
post quern for al-Nu'man's conversion. Hira became, 
even more than before, the centre of Arab Christ- 
ianity in Sasanid Persia, whence the Nestorian 
Church propagated Christianity among the Arabs of 
the Persian Gulf and Eastern Arabia. 

The reign that started so auspiciously with the 
crown from Hormuzd ended disastrously for al- 
Nu'man, who, after harbouring suspicions towards 
'AdI b. Zayd to whom he owed his accession, had him 
incarcerated and put to death. 'Adl's son, influential 
at the court of Parwlz, plotted against al-Nu'man in 
revenge for the murder of his father; al-Nu'man fled 



from Hira after sensing that Parwlz was in pursuit of 
him and took refuge with the tribe of Bakr. He never- 
theless finally surrendered to Parwlz, who had him 
trampled to death by elephants. 

Al-Nu'man's death represented the virtual end of 
the Lakjimid dynasty which had lasted for some three 
hundred years, the shield of Persia against the Arabs 
of the Peninsula. A few years later, the tribe of Bakr 
won the historic encounter of Dhu Kar [q.v.] against 
the Persians and their Arab condederates. It was the 
precursor of al-Kadisiyya [q.v.] fought in 637, the bat- 
tle that was to remove Sasanid Persia from the stage 
of Near Eastern history. 

Bibliography: Tabarl, in Noldeke, Geschichte der 
Perser und Amber zur Zeit der Sasaniden, Leiden 1879, 
repr. Graz 1973, 310-32, 346-7; Abu 'l-Baka 3 al- 
Hilll, al-Manakib al-Mazyadiyya, ed. S. Daradka and 
M. Khuraysat, 'Amman 1984, i, 265-9, ii, 386- 
403, 447-51; G. Rothstein, Die Dynastic der Lahmiden 
in al-Hira, Berlin 1899. (Irfan ShahId) 

NUMAYR B. 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a, an Arab tribe 
(Wustenfeld, Geneal. Tabellen, F 15) inhabiting the 
western heights of al-Yamama and those between this 
region and the Hima Dariyya: a bare and difficult 
country, the nature of which explains the rude and 
savage character of the Numayr. Their name like that 
of Namir and Anmar borne by other ethnic groups 
(there are also in the list of Arab tribes a number of 
other clans with the name Numayr: among the Asad, 
the Tamlm, the Dju'fi, the Hamdan, etc.) is no doubt 
connected with nimr, namir [q.v.], the Arabian pan- 
ther; we know the deductions made by Robertson 
Smith from this fact and from other similar cases, to 
prove the existence of a system of totemism among the 
early Arabs (Kinship and marriage in early Arabia 1 , 234). 
His theory is now abandoned. 

The geographical dictionaries of al-Bakrl and 
Yakut mention a large number of places in the land 
of the Numayr, especially their wells, and often even 
record a change of ownership from one tribe to 
another (e.g. Yakut, Mu c djam, iii, 802: the well of 
G_hisl, which formerly belonged to the Tamlmi clans 
of the Kulayb b. Yarbu', later passed to Numayr); 
this wealth of references does not, however, mean that 
the Numayr played an important part in the history 
of Arabia. It is only due to the fact that the country 
of the Numayr is typically Bedouin in its scenery and 
lends itself to description by poets. The Numayr, 
besides, were much intermixed with the neighbouring 
tribes (especially the Tamlm, Bahila and Kusbayr) 
and the boundaries of their territory were rather 

The Numayr, a poor tribe without natural wealth, 
have always been brigands. The part they took in the 
pre-Islamic wars was a very modest one and they 
appear very rarely alongside of the other groups of the 
great tribe of 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a (they hardly played any 
part in the battle of Fayf-RIh against the Banu '1- 
Harith b. Ka'b and their allies, Maka'id, ed. Bevan, 
469-72). It is to this isolation that they owe the 
privilege of being known as one of the DJamardt al- 
c Arab, i.e. a tribe which never allied itself with others 
(al-Mubarrad, Kamil, ed. Wright, 372; NakaHd, 946; 
Mufaddaliyyat, ed. Lyall, 841; on the different tribes to 
which this title is given, cf. Taigal-aris, iii, 107); the 
other designation of the Numayr "the Ahmds of the 
Banu 'Amir", also gives them a special place within 
the great tribe from which they sprang; it indicates 
that they were thought not to have the same mother 
as the other clans of the Banu 'Amir (Mufaddaliyyat, 
259, 12-15 = 771, 2-4; the source is the Djamhara of 
Ibn al-Kalbl, Brit. Mus. mss., fols. 120b-121a, now 

edited). Neither during the life of the Prophet, nor at 
the beginning of the caliphate, did the Numayr make 
any stir; they appear neither as partisans nor as 
enemies of Islam. It is only from the Umayyad period 
that the name begins to appear in histories, but only 
to record their insubordination to the central power or 
their exploits as brigands; in the caliphate of 'Abd al- 
Malik, their refusal to pay tribute brought a punitive 
expedition against them (al-Baladhuri, Futuh, 139; cf. 
Aghani, xvii, 112-13, xix, 120-1). Another expedition 
of the same kind but on a larger scale was that sent 
against them under the famous general of the caliph 
al-Mutawakkil, Bugha al-Kablr [q.v.], in 232/846, to 
put an end to their systematic plundering; it ended in 
the complete dispersal of the tribe (al-Tabari, iii, 
1357-63, a most interesting account of Bedouin 
customs including on p. 1361 a detailed list_ of the 
Numayr clans, only one of which, the Banu 'Amir b. 
Numayr, devoted itself to agriculture and grazing, 
while the others lived only by brigandage). It appears, 
however, that the Numayr soon resumed their old 
habits and another expedition was sent against them 
with the same object as the earlier ones in the 4th/10th 
century by the Hamdanid Sayf al-Dawla (Yakut, iv, 

An event of little importance in itself has given the 
Numayr considerable fame in literary history, 
although little flattering to them: this is the satire 
directed against them by the poet Djarir [q.v.] which 
is one of the most famous examples of the invective of 
the hidja? (especially the hemistich: "Cast down thine 
eyes: thou belongest to the Numayr"). The occasion 
of it was the unfortunate intervention of the NumayrI 
poet al-Ra'i in favour of al-Farazdak in the celebrated 
feud between him and Djarir (NakaHd, 427-51, no. 
53; Aghani, vii, 49-50, xx, 169-71, etc.). The memory 
of this quarrel survived for a very long time. It was 
probably no accident that the man who urged the amir 
Bugha to the expedition against the Numayr was the 
great-grandson of Djarir, the poet 'Umara b. 'Akil b. 
Bilal b. Djarir; the Numayr moreover had slain four 
of his uncles (Ibn Kutayba, Shi^, ed. de Goeje, 284, 
where we must read Banu Dinna [b. 'Abd Allah b. 
Numayr] in place of Banu Dabba). The enmity 
between the family of Djarir and the Numayr was 
probably revived by the proximity of the latter to the 
tribe of the poet, the Banu Kulayb b. Yarbu'. 

To the Numayr belonged notable poets— in addi- 
tion to al-Ra'I and his son Djandal — like Abu Hayya 
(in the early 'Abbasid period) and Djiran al-'Awd 
whose Diwan has been published (Cairo 1350/1931, 
publications of the Egyptian Library), cf. Sezgin, 
GAS, ii, 217. 

Bibliography: Wustenfeld, Register zu den geneal. 

Tabellen, 340; Ibn Durayd, Kitdb al-Ishtikak, ed. 

Wustenfeld, 178-9; Ibn Kutayba, Kitdb al-Ma'-arif, 

ed. Wustenfeld, 42; Ibn al-Kalbl, Djamharal al- 

ansab, British Museum ms., fols. 147b-150a; Ibn al- 

Kalbl-Caskel, i, Tafeln, III, ii Register, 15-16, 450. 
(G. Levi Della Vida) 

al-NUMAYRI, ABU HAYYA [see abu hayya al- 
numayrI in Suppl., and add to the Bibl. there: Y. al- 
Djuburi, Shfy Abi Hayya al-Numayri, Damascus 1975; 
R.S. al-Tuwayfi, Shi'-r Abi Hayya al-Numayri, in al- 
Mawrid, iv/1 (1975), 131-52 (55 fragments), with the 
additions of S. al-GJianimi, in ibid, vi/2 (1977), 311- 
12. See also Sezgin, GAS, ii, 464-5, ix, 288]. 

NUN, the 25th letter of the Arabic alphabet, 
transcribed Inl , with the numerical value 50, accord- 
ing to the oriental order [see abdjad]. Nun is also a 
name of the 68th sura [see kur'an, sura], 

1. In Arabic 


Definition: an occlusive, dental, voiced nasal (Can- 
tineau, Etudes, 38-40; Fleisch, Trail* , i, 58, 84-5). 

Sibawayh distinguishes two kinds of nun: (a) the one 
whose point of articulation is the tip of the tongue and 
the region a little above the incisors; this is a clear 
(madjhur) and hard (shadid) "letter", but it is accom- 
panied by a resonance (jhunna) of the nose (anf). (b) 
the light (khafifa) nun, whose point of articulation is 
situated in the nasal cavities (khayashim) (Kitab, ii, 452- 
4; Roman, Elude, i, 52, 56, 60). 

For al-Khalil, nun is an apical (dhalki) letter, ar- 
ticulated with the tip of the tongue (dhalk) (K. al- c Ayn, 
65; Roman, Etude, i, 216-17). 

As for Ibn Slna, he considers that win is realised by 
the tip of the tongue which touches the alveolar arch 
and holds in the air, then emits it through the nasal 
cavities (khayashim); the air becomes a resonance 
(ghunna) of the nose (minkhar) and a humming sound 
(daw!) (Roman, Etude, i, 263-4). 

Phonologically, the phoneme Inl is defined by the 
oppositions Inl-lml, Inl-lrl and Inl-lll (Cantineau, 
Etudes, 172). 

Alterations: the realisation (izhar) of nun can only 

take place before the four laryngeals PI, Ihl ', Ihl and 

/ c / and the two velars Ikhl and Ighl; before the bilabial 

Ibl, there is conversion (kalb) to /ml; before the three 

pre-palatals ///, hi and lyl and the two bilabials /ml 

and Iwl, there is assimilation (idghdm); before the 

other consonants, there is concealment (Ikb/a*), i.e. 

reduction to the nasal resonance (Sibawayh, Kitab, ii, 

464-5; Roman, Etude, i, 306-7). See also tanwIn. 

Bibliography: J. Cantineau, Etudes de linguistique 

arabe, Paris 1960; H. Fleisch, Trait* de philologie 

arabe, i, Beirut 1961; A. Roman, Etude de la 

phonologie et de la morphologic de la koine arabe, Aix- 

Marseilles 1983; al-Khaffl, K. al-'Ayn, ed. Darwlsh, 

Baghdad 1967; Sibawayh, Kitab, ed. Derenbourg, 

Paris 1889. (G. Troupeau) 

2. In Turkish 

The earliest form of Turkish known to us, that of 
the Orkhon inscriptions (8th century A.D.), distin- 
guished in the so-called "Runic" script two separate 
forms for use in back- and front-vowelled syllables, for 
the dental nasal In/, plus further forms for the velar 
nasal In/ and the palatal nasal In/ (Talat Tekin, A 
grammar of Orkhon Turkic, Bloomington-The Hague 
1968, 23-4, 82-3, 92-3). A century or so later, the 
Uyghur script distinguished Inl, and Inl, and the 
Brahmi script a further sign /ml for the nasalisation of 
vowels arising out of Inl (A. von Gabain, Altlurkische 
Grammalik}, Leipzig 1950, §§ 9, 25, 30-1). 

In the Arabic script used for Ottoman Turkish, 
the dental nasal Inl was conveyed by the letter nun, 
whilst the gutterally pronounced Ihl, largely disap- 
peared in standard Ottoman pronunciation, was writ- 
ten with the so-called saghir nun, the Persian gaf 
(if, & ; in Central Asian Turkish, jii). It should be 
noted that Inl is very rare in word-initial position in 
true Ottoman Turkish words and Ihl never occurs 
thus (J. Deny, Grammaire de la langue turque (dialecte 
osmanli), Paris 1921, 19, 71-2, 76). 

Bibliography: Given in the article. (Ed.) 

Arabic, Persian and Turkish words with nun occur 
frequently in Indian languages, and occasion no diffi- 
culties or differences in their orthography; the signs 
for nunation (tanwin) remain unchanged, and the 
tashdid is used for the geminated -nn- whenever Arabic 
orthography requires it (although it may be neglected 
in early inscriptions). The sound-systems of the Indo- 
Aryan languages, however, have resulted in certain 
modifications to the Perso-Arabic script, as follows. 

In most Indian phonologies there 
vowels; these are normally indicated by the usual nun 
following the nasalised vowel, although when a nasali- 
sed long vowel stands finally in a word, or even mor- 
pheme, the final form of nun is written without its 
nukta, and is then called nun gjiunna. This is derived 
from the purely calligraphic forms of the Persian 
nastdHik script, but the Indian significance is different. 
Also, geminated consonants can arise morphophone- 
mically; e.g. in the Urdu verb banna "to be made", 
root ban + infinitive suffix -nd, the -nn- must be written 
with two nuns and not with the tashdid. 

Most Indian sound-systems have a retroflex nasal 
(derived generally from a single intervocalic nasal in 
Middle Indo-Aryan) as well as the dental, but these 
have fallen together in standard Hindi and Urdu, and 
even where they are still differentiated in various rus- 
tic forms of speech they are never distinguished in the 
Urdu script. (They occur in Gudjarati and MarathI, 
but here there is no question of the Perso-Arabic script 
being used.) A retroflex nasal is required, however, in 
Sindhi and in Pashto, where new writing devices have 
been invented. In Pashto the nun, medial or final, is 
written with its usual single nukta with the addition of 
a small subscript circle (or "bean") to either form. 
The Sindhi retroflex nasal substitutes a small fa' for 
the usual nukta. (Sindhi also distinguishes the velar 
and palatal nasals in speech, but the velar n is rep- 
resented by a gaf with two additional superscript 
nuktas, the palatal ii by a ho? with two horizontal sub- 
script nuktas.) The retroflex nasal also occurs in Pan- 
djabl, but no standard writing system has yet been 

Bibliography: Specimens of written (and prin- 
ted) PandjabI, Pashto and Sindhi are given in the 
appropriate volumes of G.A. Grierson, Linguistic 
survey of India. (J. Burton-Page) 

NUR (a.), light, synonym daw'', also du' and diya* 
(the latter sometimes used in the plural). 

According to some authors, daw'(diya y ) has a more 
intensive meaning than nur (cf. Lane, Arabic-English 
dictionary, s.v. daw*); this idea has its foundation in 
Kur'an, X, 5, where the sun is called diyd' and the 
moon nur. The further deduction from this passsage 
that diya' is used for the light of light-producing bodies 
(sun) and nur on the other hand for the reflected light 
in bodies which do not emit light (moon), is not cor- 
rect, if we remember the primitive knowledge of 
natural science possessed by the Arabs in the time of 
Muhammad, nor is there any proof of it in later 
literature. The works on natural science and 
cosmology of the Arabs in the best period of the Mid- 
dle Ages (Ibn al-Haytham, al-KazwInl [q.vv. ] and 
later writers) in the great majority of cases use the 
term daw' and it therefore seems justified to claim this 
word as a technical term in mathematics and physics. 

Besides dealing with the subject in his Optics (Kitab 
al-Manazir), Ibn al-Haytham devoted a special treatise 
to it entitled Kawl al-Hasan b. al-Husayn b. al-Haytham 
fi 'l-daw' which has been published with a German 
translation by J. Baarmann in ZDMG, xxxvi (1882), 
195-237, from which we take the following details: 

As regards light, two kinds of bodies are distin- 
guished, luminous (including the stars and fire) and 
non-luminous (dark); the non-luminous are again 
divided into opaque and transparent, the latter again 
into such as are transparent in all parts, like air, 
water, glass, crystal etc., and such as only admit the 
light partly but the material of which is really opaque, 
such as thin cloth. 

The light of luminous bodies is an essential quality 

of the body, the reflected light of a body in itself dark 
being, on the other hand, an accidental quality of the 

In the opinion of the mathematicians, all the 
phenomena of light are of one and the same character; 
they consist of a heat from fire which is in the 
luminous bodies themselves. This is evident from the 
fact that one can concentrate rays of light from the 
brightest luminous body, the sun, by means of a 
burning-glass on one point and thus set all inflam- 
mable bodies alight and by the fact that the air and 
other bodies affected by the light of the sun become 
warm. Light and heat are thus identified with each 
other or regarded as equivalent. The intensity of light, 
like that of heat, diminishes as the distance from the 

Every luminous body, whether its light is one of its 
essential qualities (direct) or accidental (reflected), 
illuminates any body placed opposite it, i.e. it sends 
its light out in all directions. All bodies, whether 
transparent or opaque, possess the power of absorbing 
light, the former having further the power of transmit- 
ting it again; that a transparent body (air, water, etc.) 
also has the power of absorbing light is evident from 
the fact that the light becomes visible in it if it is cut 
with an opaque body: the light must therefore have 
already been in it. 

The penetration of light into a transparent body 
takes place along straight lines (proof: the sun's rays 
in the dust-filled air of a dark room). This transmis- 
sion of light in straight lines is an essential feature of 
light itself, not of the transparent body, for otherwise 
there must be in the latter specially marked lines along 
which the light travels; such a hypothesis is however 
disproved by admitting two or more rays of light at 
the same time into a dark room and watching them. 

The ray is defined as light travelling along a 
straight line. The early mathematicians were of the 
opinion that the process of seeing consisted in the 
transmission of a ray from the eye of the observer to 
the object seen and the reflection from it back to the 
eye. Opposed to this is Ibn al-Haytham's view that 
the body seen— luminous or opaque— sends out rays 
in all directions from all points of which those going 
towards the eye of the observer collect in it and are 
perceived as the image of the body (cf. Optics, book i, 
23: "Visio non fit radiis a visu emissis" and also book 
ii, 23). 

There is no absolutely transparent body; on the 
contrary, every body, even the transparent one, 
reflects a part of the light which strikes it (explanation 
of the phenomena of twilight). According to Aristotle, 
the heavens possess the highest and most perfect 
degree of transparency. Ibn al-Haylham challenges 
this statement and shows from a use of the theory of 
the mathematician Abu Sa c d al- c Ala' b. Sahl (2nd half 
of the 4th/10th century, see Sezgin, GAS, vi, 232-3), 
which is based on the well-known rules of the refrac- 
tion of light in passing through media of different den- 
sities, that the transparency has no limits and that for 
every transparent body an even more transparent one 
can be found. 

An explanation of the origin of the halo around the 
moon, of the rainbow, its shape and its colours, and 
of the rainbow to be seen at night in the steam-laden 
atmosphere of the bath, is given by al-Kazwinl in his 
Cosmography, i i^Aa^aHb al-makhlikaX, ed. Wiistenfeld, 
Gottingen 1849, 100-1; tr. Ethe, Leipzig 1868, 
205 ff.). Al-Kazwinl in his discussion replaces the 
raindrops by small looking-glasses; Ibn al-Haytham, 
on the other hand, deals with the problem in a much 
more conclusive fashion by assuming a single or dou- 

ble reflection of light in spheres (cf. E. Wiedemann, 
in Wild. Ann., xxxix [1890], 575). 

Bibliography: Given in the article. New, cor- 
rected ed. of Ibn al-Haytham's al-Kawlfi 'l-aaw 11 , by 
C A.K. MursI, Cairo 1938; critical Fr. tr. R. 
Rashed, Le "Discours de la lumiere" d'Ibn al-Haytham, 
in Revue d'histoire des sciences, xxi (1968), 198-224. 
Cf. also the relevant chs. in Ibn al-Haytham, K. al- 
Manazir, makalat 1-3, ed. C A.H. Sabra, Kuwait 
1983, tr. and comm. idem, Ibn al-Haytham's Optics, 
2 vols., London 1989. (W. Hartner) 

2. Philosophical aspects 

The doctrine that God is light and reveals Himself 
as such in the world and to man is very old and widely 
disseminated in Oriental religions as well as in 
Hellenistic gnosis and philosophy. We cannot here go 
into the early history; it will be sufficient to refer to 
some parallels in the Old and New Testaments, e.g. 
Gen., i. 3; Isaiah, lx. 1, 19; Zech., iv.; John, i. 4-9; 
iii. 19; v. 35; viii. 12; xii. 35; and Rev., xxi. 23-4. 
How Muhammad became acquainted with this 
teaching we do not know, but the Kur'an has its 
"light" verses, notably XXIV, 35, the "light verse" 
proper; cf. XXXIII, 45 (Muhammad as lamp); LXI, 
8-9 (God's light); LXIV, 8 (the light sent 
down = revelation). The light verse runs (as rendered 
by Goldziher, in Die Richtungen der Koranauslegung, 183- 
5): "God is the light of the heavens and of the earth; 
His light is like a niche in which there is a lamp; the 
lamp is in a glass and the glass is like a shining star; 
it is lit from a blessed tree, an olive-tree, neither an 
eastern nor a western one; its oil almost shines alone 
even if no fire touches it; light upon light. God leads 
to his light whom He will, and God creates allegories 
for man, and God knows all things." 

From the context it is clear that we have to think of 
the light of religious knowledge, of the truth which 
God communicates through his Prophet to his 
creatures especially the believers (cf. also XXIII, 40). 
It is pure light, light upon light, which has nothing to 
do with fire (ndr), which is lit from an olive tree, 
perhaps not of this world (cf. however A.J. Wensinck, 
Tree and bird as cosmological symbols in Western Asia, in 
Verh. Ak. Amst. [1921], 27-8). Lastly, it is God as the 
All-Knowing who instructs men and leads them to the 
light of His revelation (cf. LXIV, 8). It is clear that 
we have here traces of gnostic imagery but those 
rationalist theologians, who — whether to avoid any 
comparison of the creature with God or to oppose the 
fantastic mystics — interpreted the light of God as a 
symbol of His good guidance, probably diverged less 
from the sense of the Kur'an than most of the 
metaphysicians of light. Passages in which God 
appears as the Knowing ( c alim) and the Guiding (hadt) 
are very frequent in the Kur'an. One did not need to 
look far for an exegesis on these lines. As al-Ash c ari 
observes (Makalat, ed. Ritter, ii, 534), the Mu'tazill 
al-Husayn al-Nadjdjar interpreted the light verse to 
mean that God guides the inhabitants of heaven and 
earth. The Zaydls also interpreted the light as God's 
good guidance [see shi c a and zaydiyya]. 

From ca. 100 A.H., we find references to a pro- 
phetic doctrine of nur, and gradually to a more general 
metaphysics of light, i.e. the doctrine that God is 
essentially light, the prime light and as such the source 
of all being, all life and all knowledge. Especially 
among the mystics in whose emotional thinking 
being, name and image coalesced, this speculation 
developed. Meditation on the Kur'an, Persian 
stimuli, gnostic-Hermetic writings, and lastly and 
most tenaciously, Hellenistic philosophy provided the 
material for new ideas. Al-Kumayt (d. 126/743 [q.v.]) 


had already sung of the light emanating through 
Adam via Muhammad into the family of C A1T [see 
shi c a]. The doctrine of light was dialectically 
expounded by Sahl al-Tustari (d. 283/896) (see also 
Massignon, Textes inedites, 39, and sahl al-tustarI). 

The first representatives of a metaphysics of light in 
Islam readily fell under the suspicion of Manichaeism, 
i.e. of the dualism of nur and zulma (darkness) as the 
eternal principles. The tradition of al-Tirmidhl that 
God created in darkness [see khalk] must have 
aroused misgivings. The physician al-RazI (d. 
31 1/923), although a Hellenistic philosopher, adopted 
ideas from Persia and was for this refuted or cursed by 
various theologians and philosophers. Many mystics 
also (e.g. al-Halladj; according to Massignon, Passion, 
150-1, wrongly) were accused of this dualism. 

But the speculations about nur found powerful sup- 
port from the 3rd/9th century in the monistic doctrine 
of light of the Neo-Platonists (we do not know of any 
Persian monism of light) which was compatible with 
the monism of Islam. The father of this doctrine is 
Plato, who in his Politeia, 506 D ff., compares the idea 
of the good in the supersensual world with Helios as 
the light of the physical world. The contrast is not 
therefore between light and darkness but between the 
world of ideas or mind and its copy, the physical world 
of bodies, in the upper world pure light, in the lower 
world light more or less mixed with darkness. Among 
the Neo-Platonists, the idea of the good = the highest 
God = pure light. This identification was also 
facilitated by the fact that, according to Aristotle's 
conception, light is nothing corporeal (De anima, ii, 7, 
418b: [tfC>(\... oute 7tup ou8' SXa)? oa>|ia ouS' Arcoppcrfi 
ocinaTO?). From the context, which is however not all 
clear, it appears that Aristotle regarded light as an 
effective force (Ivipftia). This is however of no impor- 
tance here. Many Aristotelian forces and Platonic 
ideas are described by Neo-Pythagoreans and Neo- 
Platonists sometimes as forces and sometimes as 
substances (spiritual). With Aristotle, oxotoi; 
(darkness) was conceived not as something positive 
but as <rc£pT|oic (privatio, the absence of light). 

From this developed the doctrine which we find in 
the Arabic Theology of Aristotle. Not far from the begin- 
ning (ed. Dieterici, 3) it is said: the power of light 
(kuwwa nuriyya) is communicated by the prime cause, 
the creator, to the 'akl and by the 'akl to the world 
soul, then from the 'akl through the world soul to 
nature and from the world soul through nature to the 
things which originate and decay. The whole process 
of this creative development proceeds without move- 
ment and timelessly. But God who causes the force of 
light to pour forth is also light (nur; occasional 
synonyms: husn, baha 7 ), the "prime light" (51) or (44) 
the "light of lights". Light (51) is essentially in God, 
not a quality (si/a), for God has no qualities but works 
through His being (huwiyya) alone. The light flows 
through the whole world, particularly the world of 
men. From the supersensual original (150), the first 
man (insdn 'aklt), it flows over the second man (insdn 
nafsani) and from him to the third (insdn qjismdni). 
These are the originals of the so-called real men. Light 
is, of course, found in its purest form in the souls of 
the wise and the good (51). It should be noted also that 
nur as a spiritual force (ruhani, 'aklt) is distinguished 
from fire (ndr) which is said to be only a force in mat- 
ter with definite quality (85). Fire, of course, like 
everything else, has its supersensual original. But this 
is more connected with life than with light. 

The elevation of the soul to the divine world of light 
corresponds to the creative descent of light (8). When 
the soul has passed on its return beyond the world of 

the 'akl, it sees there the pure light and the beauty of 
God, the goal of all mystics. 

Although the author of the Liber de causis is of the 
opinion that nothing can be predicated regarding 
God, yet he has to call Him the prime cause and more 
exactly pure light (§ 5, ed. Bardenhewer, 69) and as 
such the origin of all being and all knowledge (in God 
is wuajud-ma'rifa; see § 23, p. 103). 

The light emanated by God may, if it is regarded 
as an independent entity, be placed at various parts of 
the system. Most philosophers and theologians con- 
nect it with the ruh or '■akl or identify it with them, 
sometimes also with life (haydt), but this must be more 
closely investigated. 

The great philosophers in Islam, al-Farabi and Ibn 
SIna, connected the doctrine of light with the 'akl in 
metaphysics as well as in psychology. Al-Farabi is 
fond of using many synonyms for the light of God and 
the 'akl (bahd'', etc.; see e.g. Der Musterstaat, ed. 
Dieterici, 13 ff.). In the biography of al-Farabi in Ibn 
AblUsaybi'a (<£/>«, ed. Muller, ii, 134-40), a prayer 
is attributed to him in which God is invoked as the 
"prime cause of things and light of the earth and of 
heaven". Like al-Farabi, Ibn SIna takes up the doc- 
trine of light in theology and further develops it. In his 
psychological writings he regards the light as a link of 
the soul and body (cf. Sahl al-Tustari, who places nur 
between ruh and tin in the four elements of man). In 
the Kildb al-Ishdrdl (ed. Forget, Leiden 1892, 126-7) he 
even reads the whole metaphysical doctrine of the 'akl 
of the Aristotelians into the light verse of the Kur'an. 
Light is the 'akl bi 'l-fi'l, fire the 'aklfa"dl and so on. 
God's nur is therefore like the nous of Aristotle! This 
discovery of Ibn Slna's was incorporated in the pious 
reflections of al-Qhazali (in Ma'dridJ. al-Kudsjt maddridj. 
ma'rifat al-nqfs, Cairo 1927, 58-9). 

On the idea of light amongst the Sufis, see 

Bibliography: Ch. Clermont-Ganneau, La lampe 
el V Olivier dans le Coran, in RHR, lxxxi (1920), 213- 
59; W.H.T. Gairdner, al-Ghazdll's Mishkdtal- Anwar 
and the Qkazdli problem, in Isl., v (1914), 121-53; 
idem, al-Qhazdli's Mishkdl al-Anwdr, tr. with intro- 
duction, London 1924. See also 'akl, al-insan al- 

(al : maktul). ' (Tj. de Boer) 

NUR ALLAH al-Sayyid b. al-Sayyid Sjjarif 
al-Mar c ashI al-HusaynI al-Shushtari. commonly 
called Kadi Nur Allah, was born in 956/1549. He 
was descended from an illustrious family of the 
Mar'ashi Sayyids [q. v. ] and settled in Shushtar. He 
left his native place for India and settled in Lahore 
where he attracted the notice of Hakim Abu '1-Fath 
(d. 997/1588) and through his presentation to 
Emperor Akbar (963-1014/1556-1605), he was 
appointed kddi of Lahore in lieu of al-Shaykh Mu c In 
(d. 995/1586). <Abd al-Kadir Bada'uni, iii, 137, says 
that he was, "although a Shi*!, a just, pious and 
learned man." He was (logged to death in 1019/1610, 
on account of his religious opinions, by the order of 
the Emperor Djahanglr (1014-37/1605-28). He is 
regarded as al-§hahid al-Thdlith, "the third martyr", 
by the Sh/Is and his tomb in Akbarabad is visited by 
numerous Shfrs from all parts of India. 

He is the author of innumerable works, of which 
the following may be quoted: 1. Hdshiya 'aid 7- 
Bayddwi, a supercommentary to al-BaydawI's com- 
mentary on the Kur'an entitled Anwar al-tanzil: see 
Asiatic Society of Bengal mss., List of the Govern- 
ment Collection, 16; 2. Hdshiya Sharh djadid 'aid 7- 
Tadpld, glosses to KushdjI's commentary on Nasir al- 
Dln al-TusI's compendium of metaphysics and 


theology, entitled Ta&rid al-kaldm: see Loth, Ind. 
Off., no. 471, xv; 3. Ihkdk al-hakk wa-izhak al-batil, a 
polemical work against Sunnism written in reply to 
Fadl b. Ruzbahan's work entitled Ibfal al-batil, a 
treatise in refutation of the Kashf al-hakk wa-nahdj, al- 
sidk by Hasan b. Yusuf b. C A1T al-Hilll; see Bankipore 
Library, Khuda Ba khsh cat., xiv, 172; Farangi 
Mahall Library, Lucknow, fol. 108; Rampur 
Library, 281 ; Asiatic Society of Bengal (List of Arabic 
mss., 23); 4. Madj,alis al-mu^minin, biographies of 
famous Shffis from the beginning of Islam to the rise 
of the Safawi dynasty in Persian: see Bankipore 
Library cat., 766; Asiatic Society of Bengal cat., 59; 
Ethe, Ind. Off., no. 704, and Rieu, Cat. of Persian mss. 
in the Brit. Mus., 337a. Printed at Tehran 1268. 

Bibliography: Muhammad b. Hasanal-Hurr al- 
c AmilI, Amal al-dmilfi '■ulamd? Djabal c Amil, ed. al- 
Sayyid Ahmad al-Husaynl, Baghdad 1385/1965-6, 
ii ± 336-7 no. 1037; Muhammad Bakir b. Zayn al- 
c AbidIn al-MusawT, Rawddt al-a^annat fi ahwal al- 
'ulamdi wa 'l-sdddt, iv, 220; c Abd al-Kadir al- 
Bada'unl, Muntakhab al-tawdrikh, iii, 137 and Rieu, 
Cat. of Persian mss. in the Brit. Mus., 337b. 


NUR BANU Walide Sultan (ca. 932-91/™. 1525- 
83), Khasseki (principal consort) of the Ottoman 
sultan Sellm II [q. v. ] and mother of the sultan Murad 
III [q. v. ] . She was born on Paros [see para] as Cecilia, 
illegitimate daughter of Nicolo Venier (d. 1520), the 
penultimate sovereign ruler of the island and of 
Violante Baffo. The identity of this "Venetian 
Sultana" is often confused with that of her successor, 
the Walide Sultdn Safiye [q.o.]. Some Turkish 
historians persist in ascribing a Jewish origin to her. 
At the time of the conquest of the island in 1537, she 
was selected for deportation to the harem of the 
Sultan's palace and presented to Prince Sellm (II). 
Henceforward she is known as Nur Banu. In 
953/1546 she gave birth to her eldest son, Murad. 
While at Maghnisa [q.o.] her daughters £hah Sultan 
(951-88/1544-80), Djewher(-i Muluk) Shan (? 951- 
86/1544-78), Ismikhan (Esmakhan) Sultan (952- 
93/1545-85) and Fatima Sulfan (d. 988/1580) were 
born. Whether she was the mother of Selim II's other 

At the death of Sellm II (28 SJia'ban 982/13 
December 1574), it was she who ordered the corpse of 
the monarch to be put on ice to postpone burial till the 
time when her son arrived to succeed to the throne ten 
days later. 

During the reign of Sellm II, her influence mainly 
affected official appointments by introducing the sale 
of offices. The imperial harem gradually extended its 
influence in this way to affairs outside the palace. 
During the reign of her son, Nur Banu was able to 
establish what is called the "Women's Sultanate" 
(kadinlar saltanati). Apart from her daughters, the 
leading members of her clique were the princess 
Mihr-i Mah (d. 985/1578 [q.v.]), the kedbdnu 
("Mistress of the Female Household") from 991 till 
1003/1595, Djanfeda Khalun and Radiye Milan 
(Kalfa) (d. 1005/26 June 1597), a lady companion 
since Maghnisa days. (cf. Selaniki, TaMjdi, ed. 
ipsirli, 695). The Jewish Kim Esther Handali (d. ca. 
1590) also played a role in externa] contacts, e.g. with 
the financier Joseph Nasi, duke of Naxos (1514-69) 
[see nakshe]. The babusse'-ddel a^Aaii'GJiazanfer Agha 
(d. 1603) and the leading musdhib Shemsl Ahmed 
Pasha (d. 988/1580-1) belonged to Nur Banu's 
faction . 

During her son's reign, one of her main preoccupa- 
tions was the rivalry with Safiye, first khasseki of- 

Murad III whom Nur Banu was able to relegate to the 
Old Saray at the time of his accession. 

In her day already, Nur Banu was compared to the 
queen (mother) of France, Catherine de Medicis 
(1519-89). The two exchanged letters in 1581 and 
1582. The presents from the French "Walide Sulfan" 
to her Ottoman opposite number arrived too late in 
April 1584 and were redirected to Safiye Sultan by 
Esther Kira instead! Some letters of Nur Banu and her 
Kira to the Doge and Senate as well as to the bailo, 
Giovanni Correr (in Istanbul 1578-80), apart from the 
many presents and tokens of respect received, are 
evidence of the sultana's lasting favourable interest in 
the affairs of Venice. 

Her regular income came from the so called 
baslimaklik ('slipper money') and wakf endowments 
[see walide sultan] . 

Nur Banu possessed her own palace near Edirne 
Kapf, where in 1580 her son retired during a serious 
attack of epilepsy (Charriere, iii, 922 and n. 1). The 
c Atik Walide (Eski Valide) mosque complex at Uskiidar- 
Toptashf was built on her orders. Construction lasted 
from 978/1570 to 991/1583 (designed by Sinan [q.v.]). 
Two small mosques were built in her name elsewhere 
in Istanbul. 

After an illness, she died in her garden palace near 
Edirne Kapf (according to Selaniki, Ta'nkh, ed. 
ipsirli, 141: Yefii Kapf) on Wednesday, 22 Dhu '1- 
Ka'da 991/7 December 1583. Her son put on mourn- 
ing dress (the first time ever reported of an Ottoman 
sultan on such an occasion). He carried her out of the 
palace gate and accompanied the coffin as far as the 
mosque of Fatih, where the funeral saldt was per- 
formed. Nur Banu is buried in the mausoleum of 
Sellm II at the Aya Sofya. 

Bibliography: E. Rossi, La Sultana Nur Banu. 
(Cecilia Venier Baffo)..., in OM, xxxiii (1953) 433-41; 
Selaniki, Ta?rikh, ed. M. ipsirli in Latin script, 
Tarih-i Selaniki, 2 vols., Istanbul 1989, 98, 140 f., 
155, 237, 502, 562, 587, 695; Mustafa 'All, Kunh 
ul-aktbar, quoted in J. Schrmdt, Pure water for thirsty 
Muslims. A study of Mustafa c Aliof Gallipoli's Kunh ul- 
Ahbdr, Leiden 1992, 105, 157, 243, 269, 271, 
331 f.; Ahmed Refik [Altinay] Kadinlar saltanati, 4 
vols., Istanbul 1332/1914, i, 94-112; IA, art. Selim 
II (§. Turan); i.H. Uzuncarsrii, Osmanh devletinin 
saray teskilati, Ankara 1984 2 , 154-71, 234; (M.)Q. 
Ulucay, Padisahlann kadinlan ve kizlari, Ankara 
1985*, 38, 40 ff., 43-4; i.H. Konyah, Uskudartarihi, 
2 vols., Istanbul 1976, i, 141-9; von Hammer, 
HEO, vii, 11, 17, 49, 124-31, 160, 164, 165, 191, 
194; E. Charriere, Negociations de la France dans le 
Levant, 4 vols., iii, Paris 1853, 831, 840, 922, iv, 
1860, 36, 58, 123, 186 f., 236-41, 250, 273; P. 
Grunebaum-Ballin,yoi«/)A Naci, due de Naxos, Paris- 
The Hague 1968, 72-3, 82; J. H. Mordtmann, Die 
Judische Kira im Serai der Sultane, in MSOS, xxxii/2 
(1929), 1-38; S.A. Skilliter, The letters of the Venetian 
"Sultana" Nur Banu and her Kira to Venice, in Studia 
.... AlessioBombaci..., Naples 1982, 515-36; eadem, 
The Sultan 's messenger Gabriel Defrens ..., in WZKM, 
lxviii (1976), 47-59. (A.H. de Groot) 

NUR DJAHAN, name given to Mihr al-Nisa 3 , 
the famous queen of Djahangir, the Mughal 
Emperor. She was born at Kandahar in 985/1577 
when her father, Qhiyath Beg, was migrating from 
Persia to Hindustan (Ma'dthir al-umard', i, 129). In the 
reign of Akbar she was married to C A1I Kull Beg, a 
Persian who had rendered distinguished military ser- 
vice to the Emperor and who, because of his bravery, 
was known as Shir Afgan. The assassination of her 
first husband will always remain a matter of con- 



troversy, some regarding it as a repetition of the story 
of David and Uriah, others holding the view that he 
had been suspected of disloyalty. It was not, however, 
until four years later, in 1020/1611, that she became, 
at the age of thirty-four, the wife of Djahanglr [q.v.]. 
In the eleventh year of that monarch's reign her name 
was changed from Nur Mahall to Nur Djahan (Tuzuk- 
i Djahdngiri, ed. Rogers and Beveridge, i, 319). 

An extraordinarily beautiful woman, well-versed in 
Persian literature in an age when few women were 
cultured, ambitious and masterful, she entirely 
dominated her husband, until eventually Djahanglr 
was king in name only. The chroniclers record that 
she sometimes sat in the jharokd, that coins were struck 
in her name, and that she even dared to issue farmdns 
(Ikbdl-ndma, 54-7). She became the leader of fashion 
and is said to have invented the '■afr-i Djahdngiri. a 
special kind of rose-water. Her style in gowns, veils, 
brocade, lace, and her farsh-i candani (carpets of san- 
dalwood colour) were known throughout the length 
and breadth of Hindustan. 

Ably assisted in political affairs by her father, now 
known as I c timad al-Dawla, and her brother, Asaf 
Khan, she dispensed all patronage, thus falling foul of 
the older nobility led by Mahabat Khan [q.v.]. The 
history of the last years of Djahanglr' s reign is the 
history of Nur Djahan's efforts at paving the way for 
the succession of her son-in-law, Prince Shahriyar. 
But the death of her father, combined with the fact 
that Asaf Khan was supporting the claim of his own 
son-in-law, Prince Khurram, considerably weakened 
her power. On the death of Djahanglr, in 1037/1627, 
she was completely outwitted by Asaf Khan, her can- 
didate was defeated, and Prince Khurram ascended 
the throne as Shah Djahan. The historians of Mughal 
India record little of the last eighteen years of this 
remarkable woman's life during the reign of Shah 

Bibliography: Mu c tamid Khan, Ikbdl-nama-yi 

DJflhdngiri, Calcutta 1865; Shahnawaz Khan, 

Mahathir al-umard*, in Bibliotheca Indica, i, 127-134; 

Beni Prasad, History of Jahangir, Allahabad 1940. 
(C.C. Davies) 

NUR KUTB al- c ALAM, Sayyid, Sufi saint of 
Pandu'a [q.v.] in Bengal and pioneer writer in the 
Bengali vernacular, d. 819/1416. An adherent of 
the Cisjitr order, he and his descendants did much to 
popularise it in Bengal and Bihar and to create an 
atmosphere favourable to the rise of the Bhakti move- 
ment there. In the literary field, he introduced the use 
of rikhta, half-Persian, half-Bengali poetry. On the 
political plane, he secured the patronage of the 
Sharkls of Djawnpur [q.vv.], and seems to have urged 
Sultan Ibrahim Shark! [q.v.] to attack the Islamised 
Hindu line of Radja Ganesa [see rapja ganesh] who 
were ruling in Bengal. 

Bibliography: See Bengali, ii, and cishtiyya. 

A-. . (Ed.) 

NUR MUJIAMMADI (a.), the Muhammadan 
light. It is one of the most prominent names given to 
Muhammad's pre-existent entity which preceded the 
creation of Adam [q.v.]. The concept has its parallels 
in Jewish, Gnostic and neo-Platonic ideas (see I. 
Goldziher, Neuplatonische und Gnostische Elemente im 
Hadii, inZA, xxii [1909], 317 ff.; T. Andrae, Die Per- 
son Muhammeds, Upsala 1917, passim. See also, L. 
Massignon, Al-Halldj, Paris 1922, passim; idem, 
Recueil..., 1929, passim). 

Not all Muslim scholars and theologians agreed on 
the nature of Muhammad's pre-existence. Al-G_hazalT 
(d. 505/1111 [q.v.]) and Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328 
[q.v.]) claimed that the primordial creation (khalk) of 
Muhammad did not signify pre-existence at all, only 

predestination (takdir). They were opposed by Taki al- 
Dln al-Subkl (d. 756/1355 [q.v.]), who supported the 
dogma of Muhammad's pre-existence. There was also 
disagreement on whether Muhammad was pre- 
existent in body or in soul. The controversy brought 
about the adoption of a somewhat neutral name for 
the primordial entity of Muhammad: al-hakika al- 
Muhammadiyya (see a survey of the various opinions in 
Muhammad b. Yusuf al-Shami, Subul al-hudd wa 7- 
rashddfi siral khayr al-Hbad, Cairo 1990, i, 91, 99-100). 
The latter term, meaning "the Muhammadan 
reality", emerges also in the discussions about al-Insdn 
al-Kdmil [q.v.], i.e., the Perfect Man, the archetype of 
the universe and humanity, which is identified with 
Muhammad. In these discussions allusion is most 
often made to the Kur'anic verse of light (XXIV, 35). 
Specific elaborations on the concept are current in the 
Isma'Iliyya [q.v. ] and among other Shrn extremist 
sects (U. Rubin, Pre-existence and light; aspects of the con- 
cept of Nur Muhammad, in IOS, v [1975], 107-9). 

The idea of Muhammad's pre-existence is implied 
in early hadith material, where it is stated that 
Muhammad was the first of all prophets to be created 
(e.g. Ibn Sa c d, Tabakdt, Beirut 1960, i, 148-9). The 
idea is also implied in the commentaries on Kur'an 
XXXIII, 7 (al-Tabari, etc.) which mentions the cove- 
nant (mithdk [q.v.]) of the prophets (Rubin, art. cit., 
69). Relevant are also the interpretations of Kur'an 
VII, 172, which jdeals with the dhurriyya (offspring) of 
the children of Adam (Rubin, art. cit., 67-8). 

In the early hadith material, the Muhammadan light 
is referred to as nur Muhammad, and is given a special 
function. It is identified with the spermatic substance 
of Muhammad's ancestors. The light is said to have 
reached the corporeal Muhammad from his pro- 
genitors through the process of procreation (see 
especially Abu Sa c d al-KJiargushl, Sharaf al-Mustafd, 
ms. B.L., Or. 3014, fols. 7 ff.). This concept (tradu- 
cianism) corresponds to the Arabian, pre-Islamic, 
belief that virtues, as well as vices, were passed on 
from the ancestors (Goldziher, Muh. St., i, 41-2). 
Bearing (in their loins) the divine Muhammadan 
substance, Muhammad's Arab ancestors are 
presented as true Muslims, and sometimes even as 
"prophets" (Rubin, art. cit., 71-83. See also the com- 
mentaries of al-Kummi, al-Tusi, al-TabarsI, al-RazI, 
al-Kurtubl, etc. on Kur'an, XXVI, 219: wa- 
takallubakafi 'l-sd&idin). The early Sira of Ibn Ishak (d. 
150/767 [q.v.]) already contains a detailed description 
of the emergence of a prophetic blaze (ghurra) on the 
forehead of c Abd Allah, Muhammad^s father. It 
rested in his body till it was passed on to Amina, when 
she became pregnant with Muhammad (Ibn Hisham, 
100 ff.). Shin traditions hold that not only Muham- 
mad, but also C A1I [q.v. ] and his family, including the 
Imams, shared the same light. It is claimed that while 
being passed on through the ancestors, the light was 
split in two, so that both Muhammad and C A1T 
received equal shares of it (Rubin, art. cit., 83-98). 
There are also Sunn! counter-versions in which the 
first four caliphs are given a share in the Muham- 
madan light (Rubin, art. cit., 112 ff.). 

There is also another kind of divine pre-existent 
light which is referred to as Nur Allah. It is said to have 
reached Muhammad and the ShFl Imams through the 
previous prophets (not the ancestors). It is being 
passed on at the end of each person's life, as part of 
his hereditary authority (wasiyya) (see Rubin, Prophets 
and progenitors in the early Shpa tradition, in JSAI, i 
[1979], 41 ff.). 

Bibliography: Given in the article. 

(U. Rubin) 

NUR SATGUR (meaning "true teacher"), a per- 


son whose name is generally associated with the 
beginnings of the Nizari [see nizariyya] or Satpanth 
(i.e. the true path) Isma'Hism in India but who 

figure around whom the Nizari tradition has woven 
a colourful tapestry of legends representing the 
emergence of its da'wa in the Indian subcontinent. As 
far as the historical sources are concerned, we are on 
very tenuous ground because of scanty material. Most 
of our information is therefore derived from the 
Nizari sources which tend to be hagiographic. The 
major source of his biography is the community's 
indigenous religious literature known as ginans. 
(derived from Sanskrit jndna, meaning "con- 
templative or meditative knowledge"). The ginans are 
poetical compositions in Indian vernaculars, such as 
SindhI, Pandjabl, Multani, Gudjaratl and Hindi, are 
polyglot in nature, and are ascribed to various pirs 
[q.v] who were active in preaching and propagating 
the da'-wa. They resemble didactic and mystical poetry 
and are often anachronistic and legendary in nature. 
Moreover, as this literature was preserved orally in 
the beginning before it was committed to writing in 
Khodjki (or Kh w adja SindhI) script, and printed 
during the second half of the 19th century in 
Gudjaratl without any critical apparatus, it poses a 
different set of problems concerning its antiquity, 
authenticity, transmission, and interpolation. Based 
on some ginans ascribed to Nur Satgur, he probably 
came from Persia to Patan (in Gudjarat), where he 
allegedly succeeded in converting the then reigning 
Radjput king Siddharadja Djayasirhha (1094-1143), 
the same king who is also reported to have been con- 
verted by the Musta'll-Tayyibf \qv.\ da'wa. The 
second narrative in those ginans traces Nur Satgur's 
activities in another region, Dharanagari, after his 
exploits in Patan, where he allegedly succeeded not 
only in converting the king but also in marrying the 
latter's daughter. (For details, see Azim Nanji, The 
Nizari Ismd'ili tradition in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, 
Delmar, N.Y. 1978, 50-3, where the Nizari tradition 
about the commencement of the Nizari da'-wa is 
analysed.) The existence of a shrine located in Nav- 
sarl, near Surat, ascribed to him, and the chronogram 
on his tombstone giving the date of his death as 
487/1094, are of very little help in locating him 
historically, as the shrine was actually constructed 
towards the end of the 18th century (Nanji, op. cit., 

Bibliography: For a full description of older 
sources and works ascribed to him, see I. 
Poonawala, Biobibliography of Ismd'ili literature, 
Malibu, Cal. 1977, 298; F. Daftary, The Ismd'ilis: 
their history and doctrines, Cambridge 1990, 415, 478. 

(I. Poonawala) 
NUR al-DIN, c Abd al-Kadir, Algerian scholar 
and teacher, born at Biskra ca. 1892 and died in 
Algiers on 12 April 1987. 

Of modest origins, he attended the primary school 
in his home town and at 15 entered the Algiers meder- 
sa. Under the guidance of eminent teachers, in par- 
ticular, <Abd al-Kadir al-MadjdjawI, c Abd al-Hallm 
Ben Smaya, Muhammad al-Sa c Id Ibn Zakri and 
Muhammad Ben Cheneb, he followed classical 
studies in Arabic and French and obtained the 
Diploma of Higher Studies. He completed his educa- 
tion by helping with the courses of well-known 'ulama> 
such as C A1I Ahmad b. al-Ha djd j Musa, Muhammad 
b. Mustafa b. al-Khudja and Abu '1-Kasim al- 
Hafnawl which they gave in the mosques of the 
capital. For several years, he functioned as adel ('adl, 
professional witness in the law courts) at Cherchell, 

but soon left this in order to devote himself in the 
future to teaching. He was appointed mudarris at 
Blida, then at Tlemcen and then, in 1945, at Algiers, 
in the al-Tha c alibiyya madrasa, which became a 
Franco-Muslim lycee in 1951. Meanwhile, Nur al- 
Dln acted as repetiteur in Arabic at the Faculty of Let- 
ters in the University and charge de cours at the Institute 
of Higher Islamic Studies. He had connections with 
the French Arabists, amongst others H. Peres, M. 
Canard, J. Cantineau and H. Jahier of the Faculty of 
Medicine, and in collaboration with this last pub- 
lished five works concerned with medicine and the 
physicians of the Muslim West (see below). 

In the course of his long teaching career, Nur al- 
Dln endeavoured above all to inculcate in his pupils 
the constitutive elements of the Arabic language and 
to bring to life the Arab-Islamic cultural heritage. 
This double task inspired his preferences and guided 
the choices which he made. On one hand, he put 
together a dozen manuals for lycee and medersa 
classes: precis of Arabic grammar, collections of 
classical and modern texts, with a lexicographical and 
grammatical commentary, followed by exercises, in 
which he strove to set forth the subject-matter in an 
easily comprehensible form. Having realised that cer- 
tain ideas did not come easily to young minds, he tried 
to express them by concrete examples. Moreover, he 
thought that his pupils would more quickly grasp the 
syntactic relationships of words and would understand 
their functions better if he presented to them 
schematically certain examples, so that the arrange- 
ment of the different elements of the phrase might 
become clearer and more eloquent. All his educa- 
tional works show great pedagogic care. 

On the other hand, Nur al-DIn edited, translated 
into French and commented upon, in collaboration 
with Jahier, famous works of Ibn Rushd and Ibn Abl 
Usaybi c a, wishing thereby to throw into relief that 
place which scientific texts, at the side of 
philosophical, religious and hagiographic ones, oc- 
cupied in the Arabic literature of the Muslim West. 

Of his historical works, one should mention his 
critical edition of G£azawdt 'Urudj. wa-Khayr al-Din, of 
a history of the town of Constantine by Ha djdj Aljmad 
Ibn al-Mubarak and, above all, his $afahat ft ta^rikji 
madinat al-DJflzd'ir, which is characterised by the 
solidity of its documentation, the clarity of its exposi- 
tion and its easy style. 

The essential quality of his publications shows that 
Nur al-DIn was a significant example of an Algerian 
c a/i'm, with an Arabic and French education, who took 
up modern pedagogical methods and research tech- 
niques based on bibliography, the study of sources 
and manuscripts. With an absence of dogmatism and 
in a spirit of liberal-minded curiosity, he led a 
studious life devoted to learning. However, his pub- 
lished work is less important than the real value of the 
effects produced by his teaching, and it was in effect 
by his practical example that his influence was 
deepest. As a good teacher, well-informed, devoted 
and with a rare modesty, he brought much and in- 
spired much not merely to his numerous pupils but 
also to his colleagues. 

The chronological list of his writings is as follows: 

A. Full-size works (all publ. Algiers unless 
otherwise stated) 

1. Muntakhab al-hikayat al-mitjiliyya, 1346/1927. 2. K. 
Ghazawat 'Urudj. wa-Khayr al-Din, chronique arabe du 
XVIe s., 1934. 3. al-Kira^at al-ifrikiyya al-mashruha, 
1366/1937; 4. Ldmiyyat al-afdl, 1358/1940; 5. al-Kawl 
al-maHhur min kalam _al-Shaykh 'Abd al-Rahman al- 
Madjdhub, n.d. 6. al-Adjurrumiyya '■old tank al-su^al wa 


'l-djcavab, grammatical analysis with 
1365/1946. 7. al-Mutala'-a al-'-arabiyya al-'asriyya, 
1366/1947. 8. al-Risala al-sarfiyya bi 'l-stakl al-ldmm, 
n.d. 9. Ta'rikh madinat Kusantina li 'l-Ha djdj Ahmad Ibn 
al-Mubarak, 1952. 10. 'Arib b. Sa'id al-Katib al-Kurfubi, 
Le livre de la generation du foetus et le traitement des femmes 
enceintes et des nouveaux-nes, tr. et annote par H. Jahier et A. 
Noureddine, 1 956. 1 1 . Avicenne, Poeme de la Medecine, texte 
arabe publie, traduit et annote, accompagne d'une traduction 
latine du XHIe siecle, par H.J. etA.N., Paris 1956. 12. 
Ibn Abl Usaybi'a, K. 'Uyun al-anbP bi-tabakdt al- 
atibbai' (chap. XIII: medecins de I 'Occident musulman), 
publie, traduit et annote par H.J. etA.N., 1377/1958. 13. 
Ibid., chap. IV, V, et VI: Hippocrate et les hippocratiques, 
Galien et ses successeurs, les medecins alexandrins, publie, tra- 
duit et annote par H.J. et A.N., 1958. 14. K. I'rdb al- 
Humal, 1377/1958. 15. Ibn c Abd al-Djabbar al- 
FadjidjI, Rawdat al-sulwan (Le Jardin de Consolation), 
public, traduit et annote par H.J. etA.N., 1378/1959. 16. 
Anthologie de textes poetiques attribues a Avicenne, publie avec 
traduction francaise et notes par H.J. et A.N. , 1960. 17. al- 
Insha* al-'arabi, 1960. 18. Asas al-'-arabiyya U-laHlm al- 
huruf al-hiaja'iyya, 1960. 19 . al-Muntakhab min ash'ar al- 
'Arab, 1961. 20. K. al-Wasila li-Hlm al-'-arabiyya, n.d. 
2 1 . Pages de la medecine arabe, avec preface et commentaire; 
gerontologie arabe au Moyen Age, n.d. 22. Safahat ft la^rikh 
madinat al-DjazaHr, Constantine 1385/1965. 23. 
Mukhtasar fi 'l-Hbaddt, trad, francaise, n.d. 24. Diction- 
naire francais-arabe de Ben Sedira, revu et augmente par 
N.A., n.d. 

B. Articles 
1. Un episode de I'histoire de I' ancient Alger, in Melanges 
E.F. Gautier, 1937. 2. Un philanthrope maure du XIXe sie- 
cle, El Hadj Abderrahmane El-Kinai. Essai d'une biographic 
critique et commentaire, in Feuillets d'El-Djezair, no. 2 
(Algiers, Sept. 1942), 57-63. 3. Rapprochement litteraire, 
in BEA, no. 21 (Algiers, Jan.-Feb. 1945), 7-8. 4. Ibn. 
Kliallikan, notice biographique sur Avicenne extraite des 
Wafaydt al-a'yan, texte arabe presente et traduit par N.A. et 
H Peres, in ibid., no. 52 (March-April 1951), 36-43. 
5. Nubdha min safahat ft tahikh madinat al-Djaza^ir..., in 
Maaxalla Kulliyyat al-Adab, no. 1 (Algiers 1964), 3-32. 
Bibliography: H. Peres, Critique de manuels 

d'arabe classique. I. Manuel de Noureddine, \nBEA, no. 

39 (Sept.-Oct. 1948), 171-7; A. Merad, Compte- 

rendu de la publication du poeme Rawdat al-sulwan, 

in RAfr., ciii/3-4 (1959), 409-10. 

(R. Bencheneb) 

NUR al-DIN ARSLAN SHAH Abu 'l-Hariih b. 
Mas c 0d b. Mawdud b. ZangI, called al-Malik al- 
<Adil, sixth ruler in Mawsil of the Zangid line of 
Atabegs, reigned 589-607/1193-1211. 

On the death of his father c Izz al-Dln Mas'ud [q. v.], 
Nur al-DIn succeeded him, but for many years was 
under the tutelage of the commander of the citadel of 
Mawsil, the eunuch Mudjahid al-Din Kaymaz al- 
Zaynl, till the latter's death in 595/1198-9. Nur al- 
Dfn's early external policy aimed at securing control 
of Nisibln [q.v.] from his kinsman, the Zangi lord of 
Sindjar c Imad al-DIn Zangi and the latter's son Kujb 
al-DIn Muhammad (594/1 109), but was frustrated by 
the intervention in Diyar Bakr, leading to a siege of 
Mardln [q.v.], by the Ayyubids al-Malik al- c Adil and 
al-Malik al-Kamil [q.vv.]. Nur al-DIn was victorious 
there in 595/1199 and drove al-Malik al-Kamil back 
to Damascus, but had himself to return to Mawsil 
through illness. Kutb al-DIn Muhammad retained his 
formal allegiance to al-Malik al- c Adil (600/1203-4), 
and Nur al-DIn's capture of and attempt to hold Tell 
A c far failed in the next year. 

The pattern of alliances then changed, with a mar- 
riage union between Nur al-DIn's daughter and al- 

Malik al- c Adil's son, when the Zangids of Mawsil and 
the Ayyubids for a while united Ku{b al-DIn, but this 
alignment changed with the intervention of the lord of 
Irbil, Muzaffar al-DIn Gokburi, and the formation of 
an alliance against al-Malik al- c Adil which now in- 
cluded the Saldjuk sultan of Rum Kay Khusraw I 
[q.v.]. Nevertheless, in the end Ku{b al-DIn retained 
possession of Sindjar until 616/1219, but Nur al-DIn 
himself died in Radjab 607/January 1211, to be suc- 
ceeded in Mawsil by his son c Izz al-DIn Mas c ud al- 
Malik al-Kahir. 

Nur al-DIn left behind a reputation in Mawsil as a 
benefactor to the town, building inter alia a madrasa 
there for the Shafi c Is when he himself passed from the 
Hanafi madhhab to that of the SJiafi'Is. 

Bibliography: 1. Sources. Ibn al-Athlr, Kamil, 
xii; idem, Atabegs, in RHC, Historiens orientaux, i, 71, 
74, 82, 86, ii/2, 5, 346-62; Ibn Khallikan, ed. 
c Abbas, i, 193-4, tr. de Slane, i, 174-5. 2. Studies. 
H.M. Gottschalk, al-Malik al-Kamil von Agypten und 
seineZeit, Wiesbaden 1958, 41-3; R.S. Humphreys, 
From Saladin to the Mongols, the Ayyubids of Damascus 
1193-1260, Albany 1977, 91, 114, 120, 128-21. See 
also Zambauer, Manuel, 226; EI' art. s.v. (K.V. 
Zettersteen), of which the above article is a resume. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
NUR al-DIN MAHMUD b. ZANKI, Zankid or 
Zangid sultan and successor to ZankI (d. 565/1174), 
who was murdered during the siege of Kal c at Dja c bar 
[q.v.] in Rabl< I 541/September 1146. The succession 
posed a series of problems since there were four heirs: 
Sayf al-DIn QhazI, the eldest, represented his father 
at Mawsil [q.v.], the second son, Nur al-DIn 
Mahmud, had accompanied his father in the majority 
of his military operations, the third, Nusrat al-DIn 
Amlr-Amlran, was to be governor of Harran [q.v.], 
the fourth son, Kutb al-DIn Mawdud [q.v.] was to 
succeed his eldest brother at Mawsil. There was also 
a daughter who was to marry the amir Nasir al-DIn 

After the death of his father, Nur al-Din made his 
way to Aleppo [see ijalab], following the advice of 
Shirkuh, a Kurdish amir and friend of the former 
sultan. Sawar, the governor of the town, recognised 
Zankid sovereignty. Hamat [q.v.], of which the titular 
amir was Salah al-DIn al-Yaghisiyanl, also rallied to 
his cause. At Mawsil, the situation was more com- 
plicated, but the pro-Zankid amirs succeeded in bring- 
ing Sayf al-DIn GJiazI from Kurdistan and obtained 
from the sultan his appointment as ruler of Mawsil. 
Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, did not 
hear the news of the assassination of ZankI until seven 
days after the establishment of Nur al-DIn at Aleppo. 
He dispatched two forces, one against Aleppo and the 
other against Hamat, whereupon the Muslims com- 
pelled their opponents to withdraw to Antioch [see an- 
takiya]. Edessa, eastern bastion of Frankish expan- 
sion for the previous half-century (1098-1144 [see 
al-ruha]), came again under Muslim control, but 
Armenian elements who constituted the majority of 
the population there succeeded in neutralising the ef- 
fectiveness of the local Muslim garrison and called 
upon the aid of Joscelin, who was the son of an Arme- 
nian mother. After six days of forced marches from 
Aleppo, Nur al-DIn was the first to arrive with siege 
machinery. The vigour of his operations induced the 
Armenians to evacuate the town. Joscelin found 
refuge at Sumaysat on the right bank of the 
Euphrates. Edessa was then incorporated into the do- 
main of Nur al-DIn. Relations between the latter and 
Sayf al-DIn GhazI became strained until, on the occa- 
sion of his brother's investiture, Nur al-DIn addressed 



to him, from Aleppo, an official act of homage, 
recognising the primacy of his elder brother. He ob- 
tained guarantees for his eastern frontier where Har- 
ran took the place of Edessa and was charged with the 
responsibility of conducting the <jphad [qv.] against 
the enemy from the West. 

Reviving the policy of his father, Nur al-Din decid- 
ed to take possession of Damascus [see dimashk] and 
to incorporate it into a Syrian federation, for political 
reasons in view of the presence of the Frankish 
kingdom of Jerusalem to the south, and for economic 
reasons since, being deprived of the Djazlra [q.v.], 
Syria needed the Bika c and also the Hawran [o.w.] to 
gain adequate supplies of cereals. In spring of 541/ 
May 1147, Nur al-DIn and Mu c in al-DIn Unur 
together confronted the Franks in the Hawran, where 
Altintash, governor of Salkhad and of Bosra [q.w.] 
was seeking to make himself independent of 
Damascus with the aid of the Franks of Jerusalem, but 
the latter were forced to withdraw. 

For the Latin states, the objective was to remove 
Nur al-DTn, but the absence of political direction 
among the Crusaders spared the latter a campaign 
which could have caused him serious problems. On 24 
July 1148, following a series of debates in the Assizes 
of Jerusalem, the decision was taken to attack 
Damascus. In July, the Franks mustered at Tiberias 
and arrived before Damascus on the 24th. Mu c In al- 
DIn sent urgent appeals for help to Mawsil and Alep- 
po and exploited the Zankid threat to repel the 
Franks, who raised the siege on 28 July. 

The year 1 149 was a time of considerable activity. 
Nur al-DIn was determined to counter the attacks of 
Raymond of Antioch. He decided, after receiving 
reinforcements from Damascus, to attack the region 
of Afamiya [q.v.], then occupied by the Franks. He 
also laid siege to Inab which commanded the valley of 
the Ghab [q.v.]. On 20 Safar 544/29 June 1149, 
having defeated the Latins at a place known as c Ard 
al-Hatim, Nur al-Dfn occupied the land between the 
Rudj and the Orontes [see al- c asi]. He took Afamiya 
and Kal'at al-Mudlk, and then Harim [q.v.], where 
he installed a Muslim garrison and then resumed the 
siege of Antioch, where the antagonists concluded a 

On 23 Rabi* II 544/28 August 1149, on the death 
of Mu'In al-DIn Unur, there was tension in 
Damascus, where Mudjir al-DIn Aybak took control 
of the government. Seeking to intervene, Nur al-DIn 
found a pretext in the campaign currently being con- 
ducted by the Franks in the Hawran. He appealed for 
the participation of a Damascene contingent in his 
support but, on the basis of previous agreements the 
Damascenes called upon the Franks of Jerusalem for 
help in resisting Nur al-DIn. Advancing with un- 
diminished speed, the latter crossed the Bika c , travers- 
ed the Anti-Lebanon and deployed his army some ten 
km to the south-west of Damascus at a place known 
as Manazil al-'Asakir, on 26 Dhu '1-Hidjdja 544/25 
April 1 150. From his encampment, Nur al-DIn sent a 
declaration to the Damascenes, informing them that 
he had come to protect them from their supposed 
allies, the Franks. Since his supporters were still too 
few in number to control the city, Nur al-DIn decided 
to return to Aleppo, where his presence was necessary 
following the capture of Joscelin of Edessa by Tur- 
comans in Dhu '1-Hidjdja 544/April 1150 and his in- 
carceration in the citadel of Aleppo. This event gave 
rise to various repercussions: in the month of Muhar- 
ram 545, the Saldjuk ruler of Rum, Mas'Qd b. 
Muhammad, set out to blockade Tell Basjiir and in- 
vited Nur al-DIn to join him. The latter accepted, not 

wishing to allow his rival to be the sole beneficiary of 
the situation. While Mas'ud succceeded in taking all 
the places situated in the valleys to the west of the 
Euphrates, Nur al-DIn attacked the region of upper 
c AfrIn [q.v.] in order to take control of the communi- 
cations routes linking Antioch with the north. In 
autumn 545/1 150 he occupied the region downstream 
of al-BIra [q.v.] on the right bank of the Euphrates. 
The frontier of the Dar al-Islam was thus transferred 
from the Euphrates to the Orontes. 

At the end of 545/spring 1151 the problem arose of 
the renewal of the treaty concluded between 
Damascus and Jerusalem. It was then that Nur al-DIn 
established his base to the south of Damascus and 
issued an appeal to the population but, failing to pre- 
vent contacts between the Damascenes and the troops 
of Baldwin III, he withdrew to the valley of the 
Barada [q.v.]. The Franks entered the city and, before 
returning to Jerusalem, claimed a portion of the in- 
demnity promised in July 1151. After their departure, 
Nur al-DIn renewed the siege of Damascus and 
engaged in negotiations: Damascus agreed to 
recognise his sovereignty, to mention him in the khut- 
ba [q.v.] and to strike coinage in his name, but in fact 
the city retained its independence. 

In April-May 1152 the Zankid prince sent troops to 
the coast, taking Tar(us, a port situated between al- 
Ladhikiyya [q.v.] and Tarabulus al-Sham, thus sever- 
ing communications between the County of Tripoli 
and the principality of Antioch. 

Mudjir al-DIn preferred the Frankish protectorate 
to the Zankid ascendancy. To win over the population 
of Damascus to the cause of Nur al-DIn, his agents 
engaged in subtle propaganda, while he himself 
resorted to more persuasive tactics: he intercepted the 
food supplies arriving from the south. Prices rose and 
famine threatened. While the city starved, Nur al-DIn 
had dealings with the heads of the ahdalh [q.v.] and 
with the zu"dr who were recruited among the porters 
and lower echelons of the souks. Mudjir al-DIn ap- 
pealed to the Franks, but before they had time to in- 
tervene, Nur al-DIn launched his operation. When his 
troops entered the town, the middle classes barricaded 
their homes against them and the mob went on the 
rampage, but within a few hours Nur al-DIn restored 
order, distributed provisions and undertook to respect 
private property. The population was reassured. 
Mudjir al-DIn, isolated in the citadel, accepted Hims 
[q.v.] in return for his capitulation. On the day of his 
departure, Nur al-DIn called a meeting, the par- 
ticipants including the ra'is RadI al-DIn al-Tamlml 
and Nadjm al-DIn Ayyub, the kails and thefukahd', as 
well as leading citizens and merchants. He repeated 
his conciliatory assurances and announced the aboli- 
tion of taxes levied on the markets. The arrival of Nur 
al-DIn in Damascus marked the beginning of a new 
era for all the victims of previous regimes; thus the 
amir Usama b. Munkidh, who had left the city ten 
years earlier, returned at the start of Rab^ II 
549/June 1154. 

In eight years, Nur al-DIn was to achieve, by 
gradual stages, his objective of a united Syria. He 
began by consolidating his position at Aleppo; as a 
means of suppressing the Shfrs, he revived with in- 
creased vigour the measures which ZankI had in- 
augurated: the imposition of SunnI Islam was to be 
one of the major objectives of his policy. Having 
relocated his eastern frontier on the Ballkh, he was 
assured of the neutrality of his elder brother. He also 
participated in the dismemberment of the County of 
Edessa, as a result of which he had, in the north, a 
common frontier with his father-in-law Mas'ud, 



Saldjuk sultan of Rum. Whereas the power of Zanki 
had extended, from east to west, from Mawsil to Alep- 
po, that of Nur al-DIn extended, in 549/1154, on a 
north-south axis from c Azaz [q. v.] and al-Ruha to 
Bosra and Salkhad, guaranteeing the food-supplies of 
the Muslim towns. 

The following year, Nur al-DIn demanded the sub- 
mission of the amir Dahhak al-Bika c I, since the region 
of Ba c labakk [q.v.\ was dependent on the province of 
Damascus. When his demand was refused, he did not 
hesitate to send a detachment to rid himself of the 
rebel, who capitulated on 7 Rabl< II/9 June 1155. 
This problem being settled, the treaty with Jerusalem 
renewed and another concluded with Antioch, Nur al- 
DIn was free to intervene in the struggle which had 
broken out between Saldjuks and Danishmendids 
[qv.] regarding the inheritance of his father-in-law 
who had recently died. He responded to the appeal of 
his brother-in-law Yaghi-basan, amir of Siwas, and 
took possession of the Saldjuk localities on the right 
bank of the Euphrates, including al-Blra. 

In the spring of 551/1156, weary of the skirmishes 
provoked by Renaud de Chatillon, the amir Madjd al- 
DIn, representative of Nur al-DIn in northern Syria, 
launched an attack in the direction of Harim. In- 
formed of the depredations committed by the Franks, 
Nur al-DIn left Damascus with a strong contingent to 
support the army of the north. Learning of his arrival, 
Renaud de Chatillon offered peace negotiations. An 
agreement was reached by which the treaty with An- 
tioch was restored: Harim remained in the hands of 
the Franks but produce and revenues were shared be- 
tween the two states. Nur al-DIn returned to 
Damascus in Ramadan 551 /November 1156 and 
renewed the treaty with Jerusalem, but at the end of 
Dhu '1-Hidjdja 551/early February 1157 the Franks 
violated it. Baldwin III, pre-occupied by heavy debts 
and anticipating easy booty, launched an attack 
against the fertile region of the Djawlan [q.v.\ where, 
under the terms of the treaty, Turcomans pastured a 
considerable number of horses and cattle; the 
Frankish cavalry seized these herds and took the 
herdsmen prisoner. This raid gave Nur al-DIn, who 
was eager to take possession of Baniyas [q.v.], an ex- 
cellent pretext for intervention. In Safar 552/early 
April 1157 he succeeded in persuading the 
Damascenes and the peasants of the Ghufa [q. v. ] to 
contribute towards the cost of equipping his army 
with siege engines. Having reinforced the garrison of 
Ba c labakk to guard against possible intervention from 
the north, Nur al-DIn sent an army commanded by 
his brother Nusrat al-DIn in the direction of Baniyas, 
where Frankish reinforcements were reported to have 
arrived. On 13 Rabi< 1/26 April 1157 the troops of 
Damascus inflicted a heavy defeat on the Franks and, 
although he succeeded in breaching the walls of 
Baniyas, Nur al-DIn learned of the advance of 
Baldwin, marching to the rescue of the besieged town, 
and taken by surprise, he gave the order to withdraw. 
Baldwin, believing that the troops of Damascus would 
not return, entrusted the task of restoring the town's 
defences to his infantry, and set out with his cavalry 
towards Galilee. Nur al-DIn set up an ambush near 
Djisr Banat Ya c kub [q.v.] on the Jordan, and when 
the Franks halted on the shore of Lake Tiberias he 
surrounded them and took them prisoner. This suc- 
cess had the effect of uniting all the Frankish factions 
against him. 

Learning that the Crusaders had established their 
head-quarters in the Bukay c a [q.v.], not far from Hisn 
al-Akrad [q.v.], with the intention of attacking in the 
direction of the Middle Orontes, Nur al-DIn left 

Damascus in Radjab 552/August 1157 in order to 
repair the defences of fortresses damaged by the earth- 
quakes of the previous month. Arriving at Sarmln, he 
spent some time there. Shortly after the beginning of 
Ramadan 552/October 1 157, he fell ill there and sum- 
moned Nusrat al-DIn, Shlrkuh and his senior officers. 
Aware of the gravity of his condition, he gave instruc- 
tions to be followed in the event of his death: he 
nominated Nusrat al-DIn as his successor, to be resi- 
dent at Aleppo; Nadjm al-DIn Ayyub was to remain 
military governor of Damascus and Shlrkuh was to be 
his representative there. In spite of intensive treat- 
ment, his condition worsened. The prince was 
transferred to Aleppo where he was lodged in the 
citadel. His health improving, he resumed the control 
of affairs and sent troops to occupy Shayzar. 
Henceforward the entire course of the Orontes was 
under the control of the Zankid power. Finally 
restored to health, Nur al-DIn returned to Damascus 
on 6 RabF I 533/7 April 1158 and immediately set 
about mustering an army with the object of taking 
revenge for recent French raids against the Hawran 
and Darayya in the Ghuta. The army left Damascus 
on 9 Rabl< II 533/1 1 May 1 158 with heavy equipment 
for laying siege to Habis Djaldak, a cave fortified by 
the Crusaders which controlled Djawlan to the east 
and Lake Tiberias to the north-east. Learning that 
reinforcements were advancing, Nur al-DIn raised the 
siege and the two armies met near the Jordan on 14 
Djumada 11/13 July. When some of the Muslim con- 
tingents were forced to give ground, Nur al-DIn 
ordered a strategic withdrawal; the Franks, fearing a 
trick on the part of the Damascenes, declined to pur- 

In Dhu '1-Hidjdja 553/December 1158-January 
1159, Nur al-DIn once again fell ill in Damascus. 
Learning that Manuel was approaching from Cilicia, 
he urged the governors of the Syrian border regions to 
be vigilant. As his condition deteriorated, the prince 
summoned his senior amirs to Damascus and warned 
his entourage against any sinister intentions towards 
him on the part of his brother Nusrat al-DIn. To avoid 
any misunderstanding, he appointed as his successor 
his brother Kutb al-DIn MawdQd, ruler of Mawsil. 

At the beginning of 554/1159 Nur al-DIn was 
threatened by a proposed Franco-Byzantine coalition. 
He issued to his amirs a summons to the Holy War, 
had an advanced bastion constructed at Aleppo and 
ordered the abandonment of certain sites which would 
be difficult to defend such as Kurus. Learning that the 
Franks and the Basileus were intending to march 
against Aleppo, the prince set out to meet them. The 
latter had reached the ford of Balaneus on the 'Afrin, 
whilst other elements were advancing from c Imm to 
the west of Aleppo. There then began a long series of 
negotiations which concluded, in Safar 554/end of 
May 1159, with an agreement between Manuel and 
Nur al-DIn. An important element of this agreement 
was the latter's promise of support against Kilidj 
Arslan II, the enemy of Byzantium. Manuel sought to 
conduct in northern Syria a policy of checks and 
balances, and it was fear of a Byzantine intervention 
which for many years prevented Nur al-DIn ex- 
ploiting to the full his successes against the Franks. He 
entrusted Harran [q.v.] to the isfaksdldr amir Zayn al- 
Dln 'All Kiicuk, ruler of Irbil [q.v.]. From Harran he 
descended towards the Euphrates and set about 
wresting control of al-Rakka from the sons of the amir 
djanaar, who had recently died. Worried by the ambi- 
tions of Kilidj Arslan II, NGr al-DIn launched a cam- 
paign to coincide with a Byzantine expedition con- 
ducted against Eskishehir [q.v.]. Taking advantage of 



the troubles of Kilidj Arslan II, he occupied the 
former dependencies of the County of Edessa of which 
the Saldjuks had taken possession, and set out from 
Aleppo towards the north by way of Tell Bash ir [q. v. ] . 
He reached 'Ayntab [q.v.] then took successively 
Ra c ban and Kaysun, occupied Bahasna then Mar'ash 

In 1160, Kilidj Arslan II succeeded in obtaining 
from his brother-in-law Nur al-Din a cessation of 
hostilities since, as the Byzantine menace grew more 
serious, he needed all his troops. Ultimately, the 
Saldjuk sultan signed a peace agreement with 

After two years of respite, Baldwin III, knowing 
Nur al-DTn to be occupied in campaigning in the 
north, attacked territory dependent on Damascus, 
sending his troops towards the Hawran. Nadjm al- 
DTn Ayyub negotiated the withdrawal of the Franks 
and obtained a truce of three months. As Nur al-DTn 
had not returned by the expiry of this respite, the 
Franks once again invaded the province of Damascus. 
Nur al-Din returned to Damascus and, in the autumn 
of 555/1161, opened negotiations which concluded 
with a two-year treaty with Jerusalem. He was able to 
return to Aleppo, and from there he followed the 
course of events unfolding around the succession to 
the Saldjuk sultan in Hamadhan [q.v.], a crisis which 
was keeping the troops of Kutb al-DTn Mawdud far 
from Syria. 

The situation of Antioch having been settled in the 
interests of Manuel, the treaty with Baldwin being still 
valid and the army of Mawsil at his disposal, Nur al- 
DTn had no fear of imminent interference with his do- 
mains, and he seized the opportunity to perform the 
hadidi [q.v.] in 556/1 161 . He set out from Aleppo with 
Shlrkuh, passed through Damascus and took the darb 
al-hadj&in order to reach the Holy Cities of the Hidjaz 
where he showed considerable generosity to the local 
inhabitants, particularly in the improvement of wells. 
At Medina he restored the defences of the town and 
arranged for the construction of a second perimeter 
wall complete with towers, to guarantee the protection 
of the population against raids by Bedouin 
marauders. On his return from the Pilgrimage in 
Safar 557/February 1 162, informed of Frankish plans 
to intervene in Egypt, Nur al-DTn decided to engage 
in diversionary operations in the north in the hope of 
restraining the campaign of the king of Jerusalem 
against Fatimid Egypt. At the end of 557/1162, 
Baldwin III fell seriously ill in Tripoli, and Nur al-Din 
took advantage of the situation to muster an army at 
Aleppo and once again lay siege to Harim. When the 
Franks arrived to within a short distance of this site, 
Nur al-DTn challenged them to a pitched battle, but 
the heavy rains of November cut the engagement 
short. Nur al-DTn decided to raise the siege, and 
HarTm remained in the hands of the Crusaders. 
' In Rabl* I 558/February 1163, a new phase in the 
reign of Nur al-Din began with the accession of 
Amaury. Henceforward, the Franks turned their at- 
tention towards Egypt, and Nur al-DTn could not af- 
ford to be absent from this new theatre of operations, 
as each of the local powers sought to establish 
sovereignty in Cairo. Aware of the progressive 
disintegration of Fafimid authority, the king of 
Jerusalem began to take an interest in Egypt, where 
the amirs were in revolt against Tala°i c , a vizier of 
Armenian origin, converted to Twelver SJiT'T Islam. 
He had tried, on numerous occasions, to establish 
relations with Nur al-DTn, but he was the victim of 
two assassination attempts in 556/1161, the second, 
18 Ramadan/10 September, proving successful. 

Egypt then collapsed into chaos, at a time when the 
Latin states of the Orient seemed to have regained 
their equilibrium in opposition to Nur al-DTn. 

In the spring of 558/1163, intending to attack the 
County of Tripoli, Nur al-DTn set out with his army 
and encamped on the plain of al-Bukay c a at the foot 
of Hisn al-Akrad. Failing to take account of the fact 
that the Franks had recently gained reinforcements by 
sea, he was taken by surprise one day in May during 
the time of siesta. The Muslims were routed by the 
Frankish cavalry and Nur al-DTn, obliged to take 
flight for the sake of his own safety, did not halt until 
he reached the Lake of Qadesh (Buhayrat Kadish). A 
Romanesque fresco, dating from 1170, com- 
memorates this battle in the Templars' chapel at 
Cressac in Charente. This defeat had a profound ef- 
fect on the personality and the policies of Nur al-DTn 
since, after two successive defeats, he needed to 
restore confidence to the army and to the population. 
Henceforward, he was to embrace a life-style imbued 
with piety and religious observance, a development 
which earned him the respect of the religious classes 
and of the public but which was accepted only with 
some reservations by the amfrs. It was then that he 
decided to allocate ikldh to the orphans of combatants. 
Members of the religious classes, '■ulamd*, Sufis and 
Kur'an readers received subsidies levied on the public 
treasury (bayl al-mal[q.v. ]) but not on the spoils of war 
(fay* [q.v.]). Numerous inscriptions subsequent to 
560/1 165 feature two new composite titles in their pro- 
tocol: Nasir al-hakk bi 'l-bardhin, "Defender of the 
Truth by means of proofs" and Murtfif al-mazlumin 
min al-zalimin, "the Protector of the Oppressed against 
the Oppressors", titles expressing a part of the 
political programme of Nur al-DTn, that by which he 
sought to rally public support, presenting himself as 
the champion of the disadvantaged. 

The course of events in Egypt was to pose an 
awkward problem for Nur al-DTn. In RabT' I 
559/January-February 1164, the vizier Shawar, 
driven from Cairo by the revolt unleashed by the amir 
Dirgham [q.v.] in Ramadan 558/August 1163, arriv- 
ed at his court, imploring his aid. He reminded him 
that the deployment of Syrian units in Egypt would 
allow the creation of two fronts and the encirclement 
of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. Shawar offered 
Nur al-DTn a third of the revenues of Egypt in ex- 
change for his aid and the financing of the costs of the 
expedition. Furthermore, he promised to cede him 
part of the north-eastern province of the Delta and 
undertook to recognise his sovereignty. In Djumada I 
559/April 1164, impelled by public opinion, Nur al- 
DTn dispatched an army commanded by Shlrkuh with 
the objective of restoring Shawar to power in Cairo. 
To protect the advance of this army, he conducted a 
diversionary manoeuvre in the direction of Baniyas, 
which enabled the troops accompanying Shawar to 
reach the Delta of the Nile. Dirgham then issued a 
very urgent appeal to the Franks, offering Amaury a 
treaty of allegiance which, in the event of success on 
the part of the Franks, would have made Egypt a 
vassal of the Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem rather 
than a Syrian colony. Amaury accepted the offer but, 
harassed by the attacks of Nur al-DIn and not having 
sufficient troops to fight on two fronts, he was unable 
to send an army to Egypt in time to prevent SbJrkuh's 
arrival in the Delta. Having regained his authority in 
Cairo, Shawar reneged on the promises made in 
Damascus, ultimately agreeing to accept the costs of 
the campaign but refusing to pay the promised 

Nur al-DTn set out to invest Harim, and the Franks 


based in the northern Latin states reacted. The con- 
frontation took place in the first ten days of Ramadan 
559/end of July 1154. Nur al-DIn had deployed a 
significant quantity of heavy equipment but as the 
Franks advanced accompanied by Byzantine rein- 
forcements, he raised the siege and, to avoid being en- 
circled, he withdrew towards Artah, not far from the 
ford of Balaneus to the east-south-east of the Lake of 
Antioch. Exploiting the tactic of withdrawal and 
counter-attack, al-karr wa 'l-farr, on 20 Ramadan 
559/11 August 1164 he lured the Franks into a 
ferocious battle, in the course of which he inflicted 
heavy losses on them, a success which he immediately 
exploited, returning to Harim, which capitulated the 
following day. This problem being settled, Nur al-DIn 
turned against the kingdom of Jerusalem, a large pro- 
portion of whose troops were then deployed in Egypt. 
He invaded Galilee and set about besieging Baniyas, 
which capitulated in Dhu '1-Hidjdja 559/October 
1 164. Nur al-DIn installed a garrison there, agreed to 
a treaty with the Franks and insisted on sharing the 
revenues of the district of Tiberias. His policy had 
secured its objective, sc. to prevent the defeat of 

In the spring of 561/1165, fearing an intervention 
by Manuel and not wanting to see Amaury prolong 
his stay in Antioch, Nur al-DIn agreed to free Bohe- 
mond III for a ransom of 100,000 gold pieces. In 
order to maintain the balance of forces in northern 
Syria to the advantage of Islam, he sought to avoid 
any action liable to provoke the anger of the Basileus. 
The same year, taking advantage of the capture of 
Raymond III of Tripoli, he crossed the Bika' : and 
regained from the Franks the fortress of Munaytira. 

While the second Egyptian campaign unfolded, 
Nur al-Dfn, who had received reinforcements from 
Mawsil, occupied the fortress of Hunln, not far from 
Baniyas, in the Djabal c Amila. 

Although disappointed by his campaign in Egypt, 
Shirkuh brought back a considerable sum of money 
from Cairo when he returned to Damascus on 18 Dhu 
'l-Ka'da 562/5 September 1167. To alleviate his 
disappointment, Nur al-DIn awarded him the fiefdom 
of Hims, the wall and defences of which he had recent- 
ly restored, then set out towards the coastal plain, 
where he laid siege to c Arka. Having taken possession 
of Halba, the army of Nur al-DIn took the fortress of 
al^Urayma, thus securing the lines of communication 
between Tartus and Safltha, but being unable to de- 
fend it he demolished it and returned to Hims for the 
month of Ramadan 562/June-July 1167. After this 
success he fixed on the objective of Bayrut [q.v.\, in 
order to have a "window" on the Mediterranean and 
avoid the necessity of paying export dues to the 
Franks, but dissensions within the army prevented the 
realisation of this project. 

In Radjab 563/April-May 1168 Bedouins of the 
tribe of the Band Kalb [q.v.] captured Shihab al-DIn 
Malik b. c Ali b. Malik, ruler of Kal'at Dja c bar, while 
he was hunting to the north of the Euphrates. They 
took their prisoner to Nur al-DIn, who purchased him 
and held him in Aleppo. In exchange for Kal c at 
Dja'bar, he offered him money and a fief, but the of- 
fer was refused. Finally, it was Madjd al-DIn Abu 
Bakr Ibn al-Daya who succeeded, on 20 Muharram 
564/26 October 1168, in persuading Shihab al-DIn to 
exchange the place for the important commercial cen- 
tre of Sarudj to the south-west of Edessa as well as the 
salt-flats of al-Djabbul and Buza c a [q.vv.\ in the 
district of Aleppo. Henceforward, he controlled this 
section of the Euphrates and was assured of freedom 
of communication with Mawsil. 

In the middle of the month of Muharram 564/20 
October 1168, the Franks launched an attack in the 
direction of Cairo. While the population resolved to 
resist, Shawar warned the caliph al- c Adid [q.v.] that 
the only chance of salvation was to appeal to Nur al- 
DIn, since the presence of Sunnls was preferable to a 
Christian protectorate. The Fatfmid caliph and 
Shawar promised him a third of the revenues of Egypt 
as well as fiefs for the maintenance of the troops. Nur 
al-DIn decided to send a third expedition against the 
Delta, ordered Shirkuh to Cairo and entrusted him 
with full powers. When the latter died on 22 Djumada 
11/23 March 1169, his nephew, Salah al-DIn, was ap- 
pointed vizier by al- c Adid and commander of the 
Syrian forces in Egypt by Nur al-DIn. Amaury, con- 
cerned at the latter's seizure of Egypt, issued appeals 
for help to the whole of Christendom. The Franks 
responded and decided on Damietta (Dimyat [q. v. ]) as 
an objective, but the lack of co-ordination between 
Byzantines and Franks led to the abandonment of the 
siege of this locality. After this retreat, al- c Adid wrote 
to Nur al-DIn inviting him to recall to Syria the units 
sent as reinforcements to Egypt, keeping in Egypt on- 
ly the original force commanded by Salah al-DIn. The 
Syrian prince seems to have been worried by the at- 
titude and the ambitions of the latter. He instructed 
Nadjm al-DIn Ayyub to remind his son that the strug- 
gle against the infidels was the first duty of the 
believers and that the c Abbasid khutba must be 
adopted in Cairo. Nadjm al-DIn left Damascus on 27 
Radjab 565/16 April 1170. To create a diversion, Nur 
al-DIn laid siege to al-Karak. 

Following the great earthquake of 565/1170, Nur 
al-DIn left his headquarters at Tell 'Ashtara to attend 
to the repairs needed for the defences of Hims, 
Hamat, Barln and Aleppo. 

On 1 Muharram 566/14 September 1170, the head 
of the Zankid family crossed the Euphrates opposite 
Kal c at Dja c bar and took possession of al-Rakka [q. v. ], 
its governor ceding the place to him in exchange for 
substantial compensation. Having taken control of the 
region of the Khabur [q.v.], hitherto a dependency of 
Mawsil, Nur al-DIn laid siege to Sindjar. At the ap- 
proach of the Syrian troops, Fakhr al-DIn placed 
himself under the protection of Shams al-DIn Ildeniz 
[q.v.]. The latter sent a deputation to Nur al-DIn for- 
bidding to take any action against Mawsil, but the 
Zankid, confident of the support of the caliph of 
Baghdad and that of the people of Mawsil, made his 
entrance into the town on 13 Djumada I 566/22 
January 1171 and took up residence in the citadel. He 
suppressed all the mukus and other abuses, and applied 
to the Djazlra the regime in force in Syria and in 
Egypt. He confirmed the authority of his nephew Sayf 
al-DIn Ghazlover Mawsil and gave him the district of 
Djazlrat Ibn 'Urnar [q.v.], while his nephew c Imad al- 
DIn, son of Mawdud, received Sindjar. Before leaving 
Mawsil to return to Aleppo, he laid the foundations of 
the Great Mosque. Then, after returning to 
Damascus to observe the fast of Ramadan (May-June 
1171), Nur al-DIn regained possession of Tell al- 
'Ashtara, from which point he was able to observe the 
movements of the Franks of Jerusalem and eventually 
to support the operations of Salah al-DIn. 

Until the year 567/September 1171-August 1172, 
the relations between Nur al-DIn and Salah al-DIn re- 
mained those between a chief and his subordinate. 
Thereafter, they soon found themselves in conflict 
over the manner in which the war against the Franks 
was to be waged; this was a conflict between two 
generations and two temperaments, one Turkish, the 
other Kurdish. Nur al-DIn, as Sir Hamilton Gibb (in 



Setton and Baldwin, A History of the Crusades, i, 565) 
has underlined, operated within a political framework 
defined by the system of his times. For him, Syria was 
the principal field of battle against the Crusaders and 
Egypt represented nothing more than a source of ad- 
ditional revenue to cover the costs of the djihdd . In that 
year, before attacking the County of Tripoli, he had 
ordered Salah al-DIn to gather all available forces in 
Egypt and lead them towards Frankish Palestine, thus 
trapping the Franks in a pincer-movement. The first 
objective was the castle of al-Karak; after ten days of 
siege the garrison offered to surrender to Salah al- 
DIn. For him, the elimination of all obstacles between 
Egypt and Syria was not desirable, since hencefor- 
ward he would be at the mercy of NGr al-DIn. He 
decided to return to Cairo and sent a letter to his 
sovereign, claiming the pretext of unrest in Cairo 
fomented by the Shl < is. Nur al-DIn did not accept this 
excuse, and announced his intention of going to Egypt 
in person in order to depose Salah al-DIn. The latter, 
on the advice of his father, re-affirmed his loyalty to 
Nur al-Din, who relented, and tension abated. 

In Rabr 1 1 568/October-November 1 172, when Nur 
al-DIn had been resident in Damascus for more than 
three months, the Franks launched an attack against 
the Hawran and advanced as far as Shaykh Miskln. 
The prince of Damascus set out with his troops and 
encamped at Kiswa in the Mardj al-Suffar [q.v.]; the 
Franks withdrew towards Shallala, where the 
Damascene army confronted them. Nur al-DIn estab- 
lished his camp at Tell al- c Ashtara and dispatched 
cavalry units to raid the district of Tiberias. 

Having repelled the Franks, Nur al-DIn turned his 
attention to northern Syria, where he was able to 
assist the Armenian Mleh to expel the garrisons of 
Masslsa, Adana and Tarsus [?.w.]. He would have 
been glad to obtain the support of the SaldjGk prince 
of Konya for operations against Antioch but, follow- 
ing a stern warning from Manuel, Kilidj Arslan II re- 
jected the overtures of Nur al-DIn and turned against 
his neighbour, the Danisjimendid Dhu '1-Nun. The 
latter sought refuge with Nur al-DIn, who was also 
joined by the ruler of Malafya [q.v.] and the amir of 
al-Madjdal. Nur al-Din promised him his support and 
insisted that Kilidj Arslan restore the property taken 
from the amir of al-Madjdal. When this ultimatum 
was refused, he felt justified in declaring war with a 
Muslim state; it was necessary for the interests of 
Islam since this prince was serving the cause of the in- 
fidels. While Mleh attacked Cilicia [q.v.] Nur al-DIn 
took Ra c ban, Marzuban, Kaysun and Bahasna, 
places held by the Saldjuks on the right bank of the 
Euphrates. On 20 Dhu '1-Ka c da 568/3 July 1173 he 
occupied Mar c ash. Shortly after this, Kilidj Arslan II 
appealed to him for a truce. Nur al-DIn required him 
to free the prisoners taken in the region of Malafya 
and to participate in the Holy War, either sending a 
contingent to join the struggle with the Franks, or 
operating independently against Byzantium. 

To mark his independence vis-a-vis the major 
atabegs, Nur al-DIn sent as an envoy to Baghdad his 
trusted adviser Kamal al-DIn Abu '1-Fadl Muham- 
mad al-Shahrazuii to ask the caliph for a document 
conferring upon him all the territories and towns in 
which his authority was recognised. In granting this 
solemn deed of investiture to Nur al-DIn, the caliph 
deprived the successors of the Great Saldjuks of any 
authority over the lands situated to the west of the 

Taking advantage of the absence of Amaury, who 
had returned to Antioch, Nur al-DIn put into opera- 
tion a plan of attack against the land of Trans- 

Jordania. His objective remained the same: to take 
possession of al-Karak and Shawbak, where the 
Frankish garrisons cut the route between Egypt and 
Syria, interrupting caravan traffic and hindering the 
Pilgrimage. He also needed to gain the support of the 
nomads, many of whom did not hesitate to serve the 
Franks as auxiliaries or guides. Once again putting 
the good will of Salah al-DIn to the test, he instructed 
him to attack al-Karak. The latter obeyed in mid- 
Shawwal 568/May 1173. The siege had been in effect 
for some time when Nur al-DIn crossed the southern 
border of Syria in Dhu '1-Hidjdja 568/end of July 

1173. When Salah al-DIn learned that the Zankid ar- 
my had reached al-Rakim, two days' march from al- 
Karak, he ordered his troops to return to Egypt, 
claiming, in a message to Nur al-DIn, that his father, 
Nadjm al-DIn Ayyub, was gravely ill in Cairo and 
that he feared lest, in the event of his father's death 
during his own absence, Egypt would slip away from 
the authority of NGr al-DIn and would be removed 
from the authority of the Sunna. Nur al-DIn, not 
deceived, pretended to understand the reasons for the 
departure of the Ayyubid prince. Through this 
gesture on the part of Salah al-DIn, the kingdom of 
Jerusalem gained a reprieve of forty years and Nur al- 
DIn was not to see in the al-Aksa Mosque [q.v.] the 
wooden minbar [q. v. ] which he had had made in ad- 
vance in Aleppo as an ex-voto offering for the return of 
al-Kuds [q.v.] to Islam. 

Returning from Aleppo in Muljarram 569/ 
September 1173 Nur al-Din heard at Salamiyya, to 
the south-east of Hamat, the news of a Frankish attack 
against the Hawran; while preparing to counter this, 
he was informed of the adversary's withdrawal. 
Returning to Damascus, he engaged in preparations 
for an expedition towards Egypt, the aim of which was 
to induce Salah al-DIn to intervene against the 
Franks. According to his plan, he left in Syria, con- 
fronting the Franks, troops from Mawsil, under the 
command of Sayf al-Din Ghazi, and he himself was to 
set out for Egypt with his squadrons after Ramadan 
569/early May 1174. A few days after the Hd al-Fifr 
[q.v.], Nur al-DIn fell ill with an inflammation of the 
throat. Confined to his bed in the palace which he had 
had constructed in the citadel of Damascus, he sum- 
moned, according to Ibn al-Ajhir (Kamil, ix, 124), 
two doctors including Djamal al-DIn Yusuf b. Haydar 
al-Rahbl al-Dimashkl, his_personal physician. Despite 
their efforts, al-Malik al- c Adil NGr al-DIn MahmGd b. 
ZankI died on Wednesday 11 Shawwal 569/15 May 

1 174. At first interred in the citadel, his remains were 
transferred, when it was ready, to the funeral madrasa 
which he was having constructed to the south-west of 
the Great Mosque of the Umayyads. At the present 
time, his tomb is still the object of popular veneration. 

Bibliography: For pre-1965 bibliography, see 
the very detailed one given by N. Elisseeff in Nural- 
Din, un grand prince musulman de Syrie au temps des 
Croisades 511-569 H.11118-1174, 3 vols., Damascus 
1967, i, Bibliography, pp. XXI-LXXVII, and also 
Survey of sources, 1-85. The remainder of this 
bibliography deals with works published subse- 

A. Arabic sources. c AlIb. Tahir al-Sulaml, K. 
al-Djihad, text and tr. E. Sivan, La Genese de la Contre 
Croisade: un traite damasquin du debut du XI Ie S., in J A, 
ccliv (1966), 197-224; Ibn c Asakir, T. Dimashk, 
facs. text 'Amman 1988, complete ed. in course of 
publication at Damascus; Ibn al- c Ad!m, Bughyat al- 
talab, facs. ed. Frankfurt 1986-8, ed. Suhayl Zak- 
kar, Damascus 1408-9/1988-9; Usama b. Mun- 
kidh, K. al-IHibdr, tr. A. Miquel, Les enseignements de 



la vie. Souvenirs d'un gentilhomme syrien du tempi des 
Croisades, Paris 1983. 

B. Studies, (a) Political history. K.M. Setton 
and M.W. Baldwin, A history of the Crusades, V, 
Philadephia 1969; J. Prawer, Histoire du Royaume 
Latin de Jerusalem, CNRS, Paris 1969, i, ch. Ill, 
395-425, ch. IV, 427-59; H. Salame-Sarkis, Con- 
tribution a I 'histoire de Tripoli et de sa region a I 'epoque des 
Croisades, Paris 1980; P.M. Holt, The age of the 
Crusades, London 1986, 466-52; Carol Hillenbrand, 
A Muslim principality in Crusader times. The early Artu- 
qid state, Istanbul 1990. (b) DJihdd and law. H. 
Laoust, Les schismes dans I'Islam, Paris 1965, 189-22; 
Sivan, Le caractere sacre de Jerusalem dans I'Islam aux 
Xlle et XHIe S, in SI, xxvii (1967), 149-82; idem, 
L'Islam et la Croisade. Ideologic et propagande dans les 
reactions musulmanes aux Croisades, Paris 1968, 3, 59- 
91; F.H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages, 
studies in medieval life and thought, Cambridge 1975, 
195-212; R. Peters (tr. and annotator), Jihad in 
mediaeval and modem Islam. The chapter on jihad from 
Averroes' legal handbook Bidayat al-mujtahid and the 
treatise Koran and fighting by the late Shaykh al-Azhar, 
Mahmid Shaltit, Leiden 1977; P. Rousset, Histoire 
d'une ideologic: la Croisade, Lausanne 1983. (c) 
Economy and society. H. Mason, Two statesmen of 
mediaeval islam, Vizir Ibn Hubayra . . . and Caliph an- 
Ndsir li Din Allah, The Hague-Paris 1972; N.A. 
Faris, ch. Arab culture in the twelfth century, in N.P. 
Zacour, H.W. Hazard and K.M. Setton, A history 
of the Crusades, v. The impact of the Crusades on the Near 
East, Madison-Milwaukee 1985, 3-32. 

(N. Elisseeff) 
NUR al-DIN MUHAMMAD, the fifth ruler of 
the Turkmen Artukid dynasty [q.v.] in Hisn 
Kayfa and most of Diyar Bakr, d. in Rabl< I 581/June 

He succeeded on his father Kara Arslan's death, in 
562/1166-7 according to the chronicles (although 
numismatic evidence suggests that the latter may have 
lived till 570/1174-5), having promised his father to 
continue support for the Zangid ruler Nur al-DIn 
Mahmud's [q.v.] djihad against the Franks, a commit- 
ment which he in fact honoured by bringing troops to 
Nisibln in 566/1 1 70-1 . But after the Zangid's death in 
569/1174, Nur al-DIn Muhammad transferred his 
allegiance to Salah al-Din [q.v.], and henceforth, he 
achieves prominence in the sources almost exclusively 
in the context of the Ayyubid's career. Salah al-DIn 
valued an alliance with the Artukids in Diyar Bakr as 
a check on the Saldjuk sultan of Rum, Kilidj Arslan 
II [q.v.]. Hence Muhammad frequently sent troops to 
Salah al-DIn on the latter's request. He was awarded 
possession of Amid, long coveted by the Artukids of 
Hisn Kayfa, in 579/1183, as a reward for aid at the 
siege of Mawsil in the previous year; henceforth, 
Amid became the seat of power for Nur al-DIn 
Muhammad's descendants. The Ayyubid sultan 
bound his ally even more closely by an oath requiring 
the despatch of troops against the Franks whenever 
needed, and the Artukid was accordingly present at 
the siege of Karak in Djumada I 580/August- 
September 1184. However, when Salah al-DIn called 
for troops for his second attempt against Mawsil, Nur 
al-DIn Muhammad was too ill to go personally but 
sent a force to Dunaysir under his brother 'Imad al- 
DIn. Muhammad died within days, and his young son 
Kutb al-DIn Sukman II immediately established him- 
self in Hisn Kayfa as his father's successor, with conti- 
nued allegiance to Salah al-Din, whilst 'Imad al-DIn 
had to be content with taking Khartpert, where he 
established a minor Artukid line. 

Little is known of internal affairs in Hisn Kayfa and 
Amid under Nur al-DTn Muhammad, but it may be 
assumed that he continued the courtly traditions of his 
father which had been sophisticated enough to attract 
Usama b. Munkidh [see munkidh, banu] to spend 
some of his declining years at Hisn Kayfa. The extant 
copper coins minted there in Muhammad's name fol- 
low the numismatic traditions of the Turkmen dynas- 
ties of Mesopotamia for this century. As well as con- 
ventional Arabic inscriptions on one side, they bear 
figures copied from classical models; one coin depicts 
Nur al-DIn Muhammad in the guise of Seleucus II 
(Lane Poole, The coinsjf the Urtuki Turkumdns, 125-7). 
The Aleppo Gate at Amid has a celebratory inscrip- 
tion dated 579 AH announcing Muhammad's occu- 
pation of the city. Van Berchem suggested that he 
may have taken the title of sultan, used by his succes- 
sors, after his acquisition of Amid; and he also quotes 
at length an anonymous, contemporary account des- 
cribing in fulsome terms Muhammad's just adminis- 
tration of the city (Amida, 71-2, 75-81). 

Bibliography: 1 . Sources. Abu Shama, Rawda- 
tayn; Bar Hebraeus, Chronography; Ibn al-Athlr, xi- 
xii; Ibn Azrak al-Farikl, T. Mayyafdrikin wa-Amid, 
B.L. ms. or. 5803, fols. 198b, 200b; Ibn al-Furat, 
Ta'rikh; Ibn Shaddad, Nawddir; Ibn Wasil, Mufar- 
ridj_, ii; Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, tr. Chabot, iii; 
Sibt Ibn al-DjawzI, Mir'ai, viii/2; Usama b. 
Munkidh, Memoirs. 

2. Studies. S. Lane Poole, The coins of the Urtuki 
Turkumdns, in The International Numismata Orientalia, 
Pt. 2, London 1875, 16; idem, The coins of the Turku- 
man houses of Seljook, Urtuk, Zengee, etc. , in the British 
Museum, London 1877, 125-7; M. van Berchem and 
J. Strzygowski, Amida, Heidelberg 1910, 71-81, 96; 
H.A.R. Gibb, Al-Barq al-Shdmi ..., in WZKM, Hi 
(1953), 93-115; Helen Mitchell Brown, Some reflec- 
tions on the figured coinage of the Artuqids and Zangids , in 
D. Kouymjian (ed.), Near Eastern Numismatics, icono- 
graphy, epigraphy and history. Studies in honor of George 
C Miles, Beirut 1974, 353-8. 

(Carole Hillenbrand) 
Isma'IlI Imam and the fifth lord of Alamut (561- 
607/1166-1210). Born in Shawwal 542/March 1148, 
he succeeded to the leadership of the Nizarl communi- 
ty and state on the death of his father, Hasan II, on 
6 Rabl c I 561/9 January 1166. He devoted his long 
and peaceful reign of some forty-four years to manag- 
ing the affairs of the Nizarl da c wa and community, 
especially in Persia, from the central headquarters of 
the sect at Alamut. A thinker and a prolific writer, he 
also contributed actively to the Nizarl teachings of his 

Nur al-Din Muhammad II affirmed the Nizarid 
Fatimid genealogy of his father and, therefore, of 
himself; and, henceforth, the lords of Alamut were 
acknowledged as imams, descendants of Nizar b. al- 
Mustansir, by the Nizarl Isma c ffi community. In the 
doctrinal field, he systematically expounded and 
elaborated the important doctrine of the kiydma, an- 
nounced by his father in 559/1164, and placed the 
current Nizarl imam and his autonomous teaching 
authority at the very centre of that doctrine (see Haft 
bdb-iBdbdSayyidnd, ed. W. Ivanow, in Two early Ismaili 
treatises, Bombay 1933, 4-42). 

Aside from petty warfare, the history of the Nizari 
state in Persia was politically uneventful under Nur 
al-Din Muhammad. However, the Syrian Nizaris 
were more involved at this time in their own local 
alliances and conflicts. There are also indications that 
a widening rift had developed between this Nizari 


imam and Rashid al-DIn Sinan [q.o.], the contem- 
porary leader of the Syrian Nizarls, although a com- 
plete break was avoided. Rashid al-Din and other 
Persian historians also report a detailed story about 
how the Nizarls of his time persuaded, initially 
through the intimidating dagger of one of their fiddfs, 
the famous SunnI theologian Fakhr al-DIn al-RazI (d. 
606/1209 [q.v.]) to refrain from denouncing them in 
public. Having ruled longer than any other lord of 
Alamut, Nur al-DTn Muhammad II died, possibly of 
poison, on 10 Rabl* I 607/1 September 1210. 

Bibliography: Djuwaynl, iii, 240-2; Djuwayni- 
Boyle, ii, 697-9; Rashid al-DIn Fadl Allah, Dj/imi 1 
al-tawdrikh, kismat-i IsmdHliydn, ed. M.T. Danish- 
pazhuh and M. MudarrisI Zandjanl, Tehran 1338 
a/1959, 170-3; Abu '1-Kasim c Abd Allah b. C A1I 
Kashanl, Zubdat al-tawdrikh, bakhsh-i Fdtimiyan wa 
Nizdriyan, ed. M.T. Danishpazhuh, 'Tehran 1366 
S./1987, 208-14; M.G.S. Hodgson, The order of 
Assassins, The Hague 1955, 160 ff., 180-4, 210-17, 
225, 279-324 (containing the English tr. of the 
anonymous Haft bdb, the only Persian Nizari work 
extant from this period); I.K. Poonawala, 
Biobibliography of Isma'-ili literature, Malibu 1977, 
258-9; F. Daftary, ThelsmdHHs. Their history and doc- 
trines, Cambridge 1990, 391-6, 400, 403-5, 687. 
_ (F. Daftary) 
NUR al-HAKK al-DIHLAWI, or Nur al-DIn 
Muhammad al-Shahdjahanabadl, a traditionist 
and historiographerof Mughal India who nour- 
ished in the 1 1 th/1 7th century. The nickname "al- 
Turk al-Bukharl" points to his origin from Central 
Asia. As a poet he adopted the pen name 
"Mashrikl". He was the son of the scholar c Abd al- 
Hakk [q.v.] al-DihlawI, a well-known shaykh of the 
Kadiriyya order. Nur al-Hakk succeeded his father as 
a religious teacher and was appointed a judge at Agra 
under Shah Djahan. His death at Dihll occurred in 

In Zubdat al-tawdrikh, Nur al-Hakk enlarged the 
Tdrikh-i Hakki, a chronicle of Indian history written by 
his father, bringing it up to 1014/1605, the beginning 
of the reign of Djahanglr. He wrote two Persian com- 
mentaries on canonical collections of hadith: Taysir al- 
kdrtfisharh $ahih al-Bukhdri and Manba'- al-Hlmfi sharh 
$ahih Muslim; the latter work was later revised and 
enlarged by his son Fakhr al-DIn Muhibb Allah. Nur 
al-'-ayn, an early work dedicated to his father, is a com- 
mentary on Amir Khusraw Dihlawl's [q.o.] historical 
mathnawi Kiran al-sa c dayn; it is dated 1014 A.H. by a 
chronographical riddle (cf. Rieu, ii, 617b). 

Bibliography: H.M. Elliot, Bibliographical index 

to the historians of Muhammadan India, i, Calcutta 

1849, 281-97; idem and J. Dowson, History of India, 

London 1867-77, vi, 182-4; Ch. Rieu, Catalogue of 

the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, London 

1879, i, 224b-225a, 617; Brockelmann, S I, 263, 

no. 31, 266, no. 13; Storey i/1, 441, 501, 1309; A. 

Munzawl, Fihrist-i nuskhahd-yi khatti-yi fdrsi, v, 

Tehran 1351 fA/1972, 3515, and vi, Tehran 1353 

shl\<Zl\, 4661. (J.T.P. de Bruijn) 

NURBA KHSH IYYA. a Shi 1 ! offshoot of the 

Kubrawl Sufi order [q.o.], which functioned for 

part of its existence as a distinct sect because of the 

intermittent claims to the status of mahdi [q.v.] of its 

eponym, Sayyid Muhammad b. Muhammad b. c Abd 

Allah Nurbakhsh. Its importance lies primarily in 

exemplifying the messianic-tinged Sufl-Shl'I ferment 

that preceded and, in some measure, prepared the 

way for the establishment of the Safawid state. 

Nurbakhsh was born at Ka'in in Kuhist