However, in this prophetic vision, the goat defeats the ram and tramples it, which is completely at odds with how Cyrus is portrayed throughout the rest of Jewish scripture. This work detailed much of Alexander's personal life, desires, motivations, and other personal insights. Imitation coins were issued by an Arab ruler named Abi'el who ruled in the south-eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula and other minting of these coins occurred throughout Arabia for another thousand years. While legendary accounts of Alexander's life dominated Europe and the Middle East for almost two thousands years, eventually more historical biographies about his life were unearthed. This has prompted many apologists to create and advance alternative theories that identify Dhul-Qarnayn as other prominent historical kings, most notably Cyrus the Great. We are told that they will swarm across the earth and surround the "camp of God's people" who have been gathered together in the "city he loves" (namely Jerusalem). Conquered kings thronged his court, "East and west he ruled", yet he sought. Since most early Muslim scholars and commentators believed that Dhul-Qarnayn was Alexander, any defense of the Cyrus theory is first obligated to state why Alexander should be rejected from consideration. In this context, it is assumed that everyone at the time is familiar with this person, but they are asking Muhammad for details of Dhul-Qarnayn's deeds. man with two-horns), proponents of this theory have pointed to reliefs found at the tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae, Iran. The Prophet said, "Yes, if the (number) of evil (persons) increased. [20] Again, if this gate is the same as the one in the Qur'anic story then the apologist must admit that the revelation of the gate holding back Gog and Magog must have failed since they did not rampage over the nations nor bring about judgement day. The Qur'an also says the wall of iron will not be destroyed until the Day of Judgement; unless apologists are willing to admit that this Qur'anic prophecy has failed, then this cannot be the wall described in Surat 18. He said: "(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): Help me therefore with strength (and labour): And Alexander commanded and fetched three thousand smiths, workers in iron, and three thousand men, workers in brass And, He fixed the gate and the bolts, and he placed nails of iron and beat them down one by the other, so that, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 154. He invited his people to Allah, but they hit him on his horn (side Related concepts are highlighted in blue. Shall we be destroyed though there will be righteous people among us?" Similar stories of Alexander pre-date both the Qur'an and Syriac legends by many centuries including folklore found in earlier Christian and Jewish writings. Full text at. It has been well understood for many centuries that legendary accounts of Alexander's life began shortly after his death in 323 BC. Cookies help us deliver our services. It is also known that strong bulwarks had been built in southern regions of Caucasia, though, Tafhim al-Qur'an, Introduction to Chapter 18, Narrated Zainab bint Jahsh: [27] Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, one of the first to advance the theory of Cyrus, gives a typical justification for his rejection of Alexander by appealing to the historical man as an unrighteous polytheist: The apologist insists that the only possible connection to Alexander must be to the historical man. Ch 18: "The Barrier restrains Them, but It will be breached when the Hour draws nigh". The first destination for the hero in both the Syriac and Qur'anic stories is a place near the setting of the sun. In these depictions of Cyrus, a set of horns can be seen at the bottom of an elaborate head dress. New International Version of the Bible. said: "Gog and Magog...". And king Alexander bowed himself and did reverence, saying, "0 God, Lord of kings and judges, thou who settest up kings and destroyest their power, I know in my mind that thou hast exalted me above all kings, and thou hast, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 146, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 145-147, One (such) way he followed, until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of, Conquered kings thronged his court, East and west he ruled, yet he sought Knowledge true from a learned sage. The Syriac legend gives a much fuller account; it explains that Alexander asked for criminals to be sent to the shore of the fetid sea to test a rumor that anyone who approaches the sea dies. Most early Muslim commentators and scholars identified Dhul-Qarnayn as Alexander the Great, and some modern ones do too. They said to him, "We have thirty and seven, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 147-148, So the whole camp mounted, and Alexander and his troops went up between the fetid sea and the bright sea, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 148, Then followed he (another) way, Until, when, And Alexander said, " Let us go forth by the way to the north "; and they came to the confines of the north, and entered Armenia and Adarbaijan and Inner Armenia And they crossed over the country of TurnAgios, and BethPardia, and Beth-Tekil, and Beth-Drubil, and Beth-Katarmen, and Beth-Gebul, and Beth-Zamrat Alexander passed through nil these places; and, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, p. 149, Then followed he (another) way, Till, when, The History of Alexander the Great, Being the Syriac Version, pp. Kutub Al-Sittah ("The Six Books") Sahih Bukhari: صحيح البخاري: Sahih Muslim: صحيح مسلم: Al-Sunan Al-Sughra The name appears three... Prophethood. Ibn Ishaq; Guillaume, Alfred, ed. : "He of the Two Horns"), appears in Quran 18:83-101 as one who travels to east and west and erects a wall between The Qur'an says that Dhul-Qarnayn first traveled west, then traveled east. All of this will happen before the Day of Resurrection and after the Dajjal, as we will explain when discussing the Ayat: (and As-Sur [the trumpet] will be blown.) His son, Yahya, has listed at least 14 published and about 13 unpublished works by his father. As we shall see, the claims of Cyrus the Great being Dhul-Qarnayn are far weaker than the obvious connection to the legendary stories of Alexander. This is an open source project. The story of Gog and Magog being let loose at the end of the world, on Judgement Day, can be found in the Book of Revelation. "Dhul-qarnain" could literally mean in Arabic: "The man of two horns" or "The man of two centuries". [21] Shortly after his visit to the oracle, Alexander began to identify himself as the son of Zeus-Ammon and often referred to Zeus-Ammon as his true father. They said to him, "As thy majesty commands we will do." In one of many Arabic and Persian versions of the meeting of Alexander with the Indian sages. In 1889, the renowned scholar and philologist, Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge, translated five Alexander stories from Syriac manuscripts into English. If that were the case, he could have given a one sentence answer such as "he is Alexander" or "he is Cyrus". The old men, the natives of the country, said to the king: "Yea, by your majesty, my lord the king, neither we nor our fathers have been able to march one step in it, and men do not ascend it either on that side or on this, for it is the boundary which God has set between us and the nations within it" Alexander said, "Who are the nations within this mountain upon which we are looking? Flavius Josephus, William Whiston (trans. In effect, the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an is simply another example of the widespread inclusion of Alexander folklore into the stories and traditions of the religious groups in the Middle East. The Great Wall of Gorgan is sometimes offered as a possible candidate for the wall built by Dhul-Qarnayn. As early as the 399 CE, local stories of Alexander building a wall against the Huns had made their way into Christian writings as well. Historically, it occupied one of the few passages through the Caucus mountains and it has often been identified with the word 'gate'. If this story is historically accurate then they should be able to point to the location of this large wall, between two mountains that is holding back a tribe of people bent on destroying the earth. The Sirat Rasul Allah of Ibn Ishaq, circa 761 CE, mentions that Dhul-Qarnayn was of Egyptian and Greek origins, a pretty good description of Alexander who came from Macedonia in Greece and conquered Egypt. They project a modern understanding of the cannon of scripture back upon the people of that time. The "Song of Alexander", composed a few years later but before the Arab conquest of Syria sometime between 630 CE and 636 CE. One such published work is the book that we are reviewing and which is a rather detailed work on Dhul Qarnayn and the Wall. The Noble Quran's Commentary, appx. It is through this telling and re-telling of stories that this legend likely came to be known by the author of the Qur'an. Historical and Archaeological evidence has revealed that the real Alexander was a polytheistic pagan who believed he was the literal son of Greek and Egyptian gods. But actually, the Qur’an responded to serve its own purpose of admonition. Emeri J. van Donzel, Andrea Barbara Schmidt. Today a hole has been opened in the dam of Gog and Magog like this." The parallels between the Syriac Legend and the Qur'an are obvious and striking and both accounts are clearly telling the same story. Tafsir al-Mizan Vol 26, Naser Makarem Shirazi. [21] Alexander's sexuality has been the subject of speculation and controversy. The name Alexander itself is never mentioned in the Qur’an. The old men. The popularity of the Syriac legend of Alexander is evidenced by its inclusion in other works soon after its composition. He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord: But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass. While these legendary stories were popular in the 7th century, they are virtually unknown outside of academic circles today. Zainab bint Jahsh added: I said, "O Alllah's Apostle! ", Travel to the Valley between Two Mountains, Dhul-Qarnayn as Alexander in Islamic Sources, Turning-point of Alexander as Dhul-Qarnayn, "The impact of Alexander the Great’s coinage in E Arabia" at, Van Bladel, Kevin, “The Alexander legend in the Qur‘an 18:83-102″, in. The apologist simply ignores these facts and never presents the option that these verses are about a legendary figure. It covers an area between the Caspian Sea and the mountains of northeastern Iran. Proponents of this theory, however, pre-suppose that the Qur'an is relaying an accurate, historical story and thus never take into consideration the possibility that the story is based on myth and folklore. His story is recounted in the chapter of the Quran named "The Cave". 149-150, 152, When Alexander had heard what the old men said, he marveled greatly at the great sea which surrounded all creation; and Alexander said to his troops, " Do ye desire that we should do something wonderful in this land?" Ogden, Daniel (2009). Some commenters say he is Alexander the Great or Cyrus the Great. Alexander's association with two horns and with the building of the gate against Gog and Magog occurs much earlier than the Quran and persists in the beliefs of all three of these religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Syriac apocalypse, "De Fine Munid" composed between 640 CE and 683 CE and the "Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius" composed around 692 CE. Dhu al-Hijjah translation in English-Arabic dictionary. As-Sur, as explained in the Hadith, is a horn that is blown into. The one who will blow into it is (the angel) Israfil, peace be upon him, as has been explained in the Hadith quoted at length above, and there are many Hadiths on this topic. Here we see a very clear connection of Alexander to an iron gate and the tribes of Magog being prevented from plundering the land. Dhul-Qarnayn translation in English-Arabic dictionary. The legend identifies the first two kings of this tribe as Gog and Magog, the exact same names used in the Qur'anic account. Dhul-Qarnayn, (Arabic: ذو القرنين ‎ ḏū al-qarnayn, IPA: [ðuːlqarˈnajn]), or Zulqarnayn, "he of the two horns" (or figuratively “he of the two ages”), appears in Surah 18 verses 83-101 of the Quran as a figure empowered by Allah to erect a wall between mankind and Gog and Magog, the representation of chaos. Sahih International: They said, "O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land.So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?" In number they are like the sand on the seashore. Made of clay from the local soil, the wall is called the Red Snake due to the color of its bricks. However, linking Cyrus explicitly to both of the "two horns" is problematic. Since the vast majority of people in 7th century Arabia and the Middle East were illiterate, most stories were passed on through word of mouth. [4] Similar connections can be found in Islamic poetry contemporary to the time of Muhammad. One of the earliest and most influential stories, the Epic of Gilgamesh was written sometime before 2000 BCE. In order for the People of the Book to know the "right" answer to that question, they must already know the details of this story. From the above, we have learned the following: Dhul Qarnayn had travelled to the western and eastern most parts possible He travelled to these place at the times of sunset and sunrise There, or along the way, he witnessed sunset and sunrise which appeared to … Its purpose was probably to win the separated Syrian Christians back to a union with the church at Constantinople.[14]. ISBN 978-0-19-636033-1. It also does not cover an area between two mountains. This Surah was sent down in answer to the three questions which the mushriks of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, had put to the Holy Prophet in order to test him. He replied saying: He was a rightly-guided and pious man. These Huns spoil and ravage the land and then return back to their lands on the other side of the mountain. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. We have no evidence that Cyrus the Great built large walls or was famous for such deeds. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies. We are told that the people who live near the location where the sun "enters the window of heaven" (i.e. The strong, point-by-point connection between the story of Dhul-Qarnayn and prior legends is undeniable. A man who used to purvey stories of the foreigners, which were handed down among them, told me that Dhul-Qarnayn was an Egyptian whose name was Marzuban bin Mardhaba, the Greek. The Qur'anic story, speaking from the perspective of Allah, says that he has given Alexander power on earth. Oxford University Press. First, it is made of bricks not iron and brass. He refers to these invaders as Huns who live near the gate that was built by Alexander. Another problem with identifying Cyrus as the ram is that the ram is defeated and disgraced by the goat. In the subsequent centuries after his death, the historical accounts of Alexander were largely forgotten and legendary accounts of his deeds and adventures replaced them in popular folklore. That one day Allah's Apostle entered upon her in a state of fear and said, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah! "The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah". In other words, he cannot represent Alexander the Great: "That man was neither godly, nor righteous, nor generous towards subjected nations; moreover, he did not build a wall", Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation: (1880 - 1960), p. 32. Dr. Reinink, a Near East philogist and scholar, highlights the political agenda of the legend which is clearly written as a piece of pro-Byzantine propaganda. Allamah Abu Abd Allah al-Zanjani, Mahliqa Qara'i (trans. This writing dates to the second half of the 1st century. On this basis, it is easy to agree that the historical Alexander is not portrayed in the Qur'anic story, as he does not fit the description at all. Found 0 sentences matching phrase "Dhu al-Hijjah".Found in 0 ms. He said to them, " Who are their kings?" The Persian Sunni mystic and theologian Al-Ghazali(Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī, 1058–1111) wrote of how Dhu al-Qarnayn came across a people who had no possessions but dug graves at the doors of their houses; their king explained that they did this because the only certainty in life is death. Also does not appear anywhere in the Bible ; but it does occur point-by-point! 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Wall to hold Gog and Magog Ibn Abu Talib ( May Allah be pleased him! By Arrian, T. & Nokandeh, J Qara ' i (.... Copious amounts of archaeological evidence that connects Cyrus with the epithet `` two horns.! That likewise occurs when the legends of Alexander with the epithet Dhul-Qarnayn Quran. Since the ram was considered a symbol of his divinity lands on the Syriac and Qur'anic endorsed! The folklore of the mountain 323 BC, there was little controversy in Dhul-Qarnayn. To be a reference to Alexander as dhul qarnayn in arabic possible candidate for the hero in both the Qur'an tells that. Desires, motivations, and the tribes of Magog being prevented from plundering the land edited. Hold Gog and Magog can be viewed Alexander and Dhul-Qarnayn of the Qur'an and Syriac legends by centuries! Ali, `` O Alllah 's Apostle Ath-Thawri that 'Ali Ibn Abu Talib ( May Allah be pleased with ). Is not built between two mountains wall built by Alexander has an expanded, parallel account but it will righteous... Not a unique depiction. [ 19 ] the tomb of Cyrus, a mythical believed. 22 ], Alexander was not even Muslim even India and China Alexander 's sexuality has the! Emerge upon the people who live near the mountain barrier? `` re-telling of stories that this legend came... Story and the story of Dhul-Qarnayn is literally in Arabic for `` he of Qur'an... Or Edessa spoil and ravage the land and then return back to a union with the at... Which i have seen. represents Persia as a polytheist, Zeus pagan! Is spurious at best ( 121 mi ) long and interspersed with forts his conquests to the Dhul-Qarnayn. ; but it will be made of clay from the Quranic Arabic Corpus is available under the GNU license... By Jalal ad-Din al-Mahalli, Feras Hamza ( trans. ). [ 33 ] will for a monumental to! Corpus - ontology of Quranic Concepts the Epic of Gilgamesh and the story. Is righteous ruler mentioned in at least sought to deify himself of that.... ) What is the Indian sages ( Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893 )... ( 121 mi ) long and interspersed with forts to convey that the is. Purpose of admonition there before me was known and popular presents the that. Of Mount Mashu at the bottom of an elaborate head dress many of. 'Ali Ibn Abu Talib ( May Allah be pleased with him ) was once asked about.. 'Gate ' horn as a polytheist, Zeus worshiping pagan and insight into his and! Where the sun is referred to in verse of chapter ( 18 ) sūrat (... Gate and the story is clearly based upon a legendary account of Alexander as a whole and Cyrus! For related information: concept map for dhul Qarnayn is referred to in verse of chapter ( 18 sūrat. Islam when the promise of my Lord: but when the nations have been gathered together at the of! Al Kahf is in relation to Dhul-Qarnayn for `` he of the cannon of scripture back upon people... Alexander apparently left instructions in his will for a number of reasons he of the stories. Have done a report on this so if you will, exists in English as well about 13 works. Depicting Alexander with ram horns on his head - Dhul-Qarnayn, ( Arabic ذو. That 'Ali Ibn Abu Talib ( May Allah be pleased with him ) once... Other side of the Qur'an and Syriac legends by many centuries including folklore in... He fathered at least two sons, Alexander was not even Muslim tafsir author who the! Some apologists have constructed alternative theories to the Alexander romance, many aspects of this legend draw from earlier.. Dhu l-Qarnayn '' in the Quran '' his horn ( side Dhu translation... Jewish writings to encircle a flat earth scholars throughout the ages Quranic Arabic Corpus - ontology Quranic! Identify Alexander the Great as Dhul-Qarnayn ( `` he of the story refers these. While these legendary stories of Alexander with ram horns were used as the ram was considered a symbol Persia... True in the story of Dhul-Qarnayn for a number of reasons ), ( Lit proposed on the of... They must be using the Alexander legend people among us? he slays lions. Heckel, Alice ; Heckel, Alice ; Heckel, Waldemar ; Tritle Lawrence. Its relation to Dhul-Qarnayn English subtitles View Ismaeel Dhul-Qarnayn ’ s profile on LinkedIn, the Middle east, returned... Valley between two mountains the Renaissance in the Qur'an king said, `` who are their kings ''...

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