Encyclopedia of the world of Islam
The Dānešnāme-ye jahān-e eslām (“Encyclopaedia of the world of Islam”; hereinafter, EWI) is a Persian Encyclopaedia dealing with the history, civilization, and culture of Muslim peoples from the beginning of Islam down to the present. Its articles, arranged alphabetically, cover a vast area of knowledge: technical terms of Quranic sciences, Prophetic traditions, Islamic law (fiqh), theology (̒ elm-e kalām), mysticism, philosophy, literature, and art; biographies of Prophets, Muslim Saints (awliā‘), and Imams; the lives, works, and views of the Quran commentators, jurists, theologians, philosophers, scientists, mystics, historians, poets, and artists of the Islamic world. In addition to the political history of Islam, biographies of caliphs, sultans, viziers, and accounts of past ruling dynasties; the geography of countries and cities of the Islamic world–past and present; archeology of secular and religious monuments; religious festivities and special days; artifacts, clothes, food items, plants, drugs, peculiar to Islamic lands.
Understandably, the Encyclopaedia made in the West about the past and present of the world of Islam are affected by the Westerners’ attitude towards Islam, Islamic culture and civilization; the effect of this attitude is obvious in selecting, eliminating or retaining the entries as well as in the volume and contents of the articles. Moreover, in many cases Muslim scholars and authors, with their mastery of Islamic notions and sources, are fitter than others to write on many subjects related to the Islamic world; numerous are the persons, topics and technical terms that are important from Muslims’ viewpoint but which have been passed over in Encyclopaedia by non-Muslims.
Since the late 19th century when Muslims came to know modern methods of making encyclopedias, several encyclopedias have been published in Islamic countries. In many of these works, the style of Western encyclopedias has been imitated, and a great deal of materials has been translated or adapted from them. Besides these general encyclopedias, due to the expansion of scientific disciplines, encyclopedias were also composed for particular subjects, among others, Islam and Islamic civilization. In Iran, attempts were made since 1327 S./ 1938 to translate into Persian the 1st edition of The Encyclopaedia of Islam (EI; Leiden, 1913-38), but they produced no result. In 1348 S./ 1969 a publishing organization in Tehran undertook the translation and adaptation of the 2nd edition of the EI (1960- 2009; 13 vols.). Between 1354 S./ 1976 and 1360 S./ 1982 ten fascicles of this work, titled Dānešnāme-ye Irān wa Eslām/Encyclopaedia of Iran and Islam, were issued under the auspices of the late Professor Ehsan Yarshater (d.2019). A number of articles from both editions of the EI were also translated and published in the Dāyerat-al-ma ʹāref-e fārsi (“Persian encyclopedia”) edited by the late Professor Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣāḥeb (vols. I and II [pt. 1], Tehran, 1345 S./ 1966, 1356 S./ 1977).
Finally, since 1982, EWI has been regularly published. Now it has 27 volumes starts from B letter. Some entries are translated into English as well. The authors, while taking the previous Encyclopaedias such as EI1,2, and 3 into consideration, are writing new entries. Thus one can find some critical studies in certain entries.
The libraries which would like to enrich their section of Islamic and Iranian studies, please contact us to prepare a hard copy or a digital one for them.