ABAD, Arabic theological term meaning “eternity a parte post” (already in early Muʿtazilite theology); it corresponds to Greek atéleuton. It sometimes also serves as a general term for unlimited time (dahr). Abad and its opposing term, azal (“eternity a parte ante”) represent different aspects of qedam, “eternity.” A suggested derivation is from the Middle Persian *a-pād, “without foot (i.e., without end).” For a surmise on the Iranian origin of azal, see Monnot in bibliography. See also ASAR.


S. Van den Bergh in EI 2 I, p. 2, with further references. G. Monnot, Penseurs musulmans et religions iraniennes, Paris, 1974, p.152, n. 6.

(Joseph van Ess)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 13, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 51

Cite this entry:

Joseph van Ess, “ABAD,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, I/1, p. 51, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abad.