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On The Sources Of The Qur'anic Dhul-Qarnayn


Islamic Awareness
Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.
First Composed: 1st September 1999
Last Updated: 5th March 2006

Assalamu-`alaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:


1. Introduction
Among Western scholars, the issue of Dhul-Qarnayn (the two-horned one) in Qur'an 18:82 had
been a source of great debate. The debate surrounds not only the identity of Dhul-Qarnayn but
also the sources of the Qur'anic story. Who was he? Was he really Alexander the Great?
Hammer-Purgstall held that Dhul-Qarnayn was one of the old kings of Yemen.[1] Graf took
exception to this view and cited the passages from Ephippus and Clement that referred to the
representations of Alexander as son of Ammon with horns. He concluded that the identity of
Dhul-Qarnayn is that of Alexander.[2] Graf's conclusions provoked the dissent of Redslob.
Redslob, citing the prophecy of Daniel in which the king of the Medes and Persians is interpreted
as the two-horned ram, proposed that Dhul-Qarnayn was Cyrus the Persian.[3] Beer held that the
Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an had adopted the form of the long awaited Jewish redeemer or
messiah.[4] And others like Geiger have attempted to link Dhul-Qarnayn to Moses.[5] In the
Western scholarhip, the issue of Dhul-Qarnayn's identity was finally brought to a close by
Nldeke who established that Dhul-Qarnayn was none other than Alexander and the source of
the Qur'anic narrations was the Syrian Christian Legend ascribed to Jacob of Serugh (d. 521 CE).
Nldeke dated the Christian Legend to 514-515 CE.[6] A similar claim that identifies DhulQarnayn with Alexander was made by Newton and other Christian missionaries/apologists.[7]
Nldeke's position was accept by many scholars[8] until it was discovered that the internal
evidence of the Christian Legend suggested a post-Islamic date.
2. Dating The Christian Legend Attributed To Jacob Of Serug

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The dating of the Christian Legend was based on the study of its internal evidence. At the end of
the text there is a mention that on the passing of 826 years, the Huns will break forth and will
subjugate peoples:
And king Alexander fetched [an engraver] and inscribed upon the gate: "The Huns shall go forth
and conquer the countries of the Romans and of the Persians, and shall cast arrows with...., and
shall return and enter their won land. Also I have written that, at the conclusion of eight hundred
and twenty six years, the Huns shall go forth by the narrow way which goes forth opposite
Halrs, where the Tigris goes forth like the stream which turns a mill, and they shall take
captives the nations, and shall cut off the roads, and shall make the earth tremble by their going
forth. And again I have written and made known and prophesied that it shall come to pass, at the
conclusion of nine hundred and forty years,.... another king, when the world shall come to an end
by the command of God the ruler of creation.[9]
This passage is considered by all students to be of fundamental chronological importance. If we
compute according to the Era of the Seleucids, the successors of Alexander (i.e., from 311), then
826-311 yields a year of 515 CE; which was the date of the great Sabir invasion.[10] This
vaticinatio ex eventu (i.e. a prophesy or predication after the event) is prophesied in the Christian
Legend. Considering this vaticination (prediction or prophesy), Nldeke held the view that the
Christian Legend was composed about 515 CE.
What about the second prediction or prophesy of the inscription: the 940th year? The year 629
CE (i.e., 940-311) corresponds to the Greek Era of 940. Nldeke held it to be a genuine
vaticination (prediction or prophesy). He even admits that the Khazars, the allies of Emperor
Herakleios, invaded Armenia through the Caucasus in 627 CE. This date however, argues
Nldeke, did not refer to the beginning of the campaign (as the Legend would have us suppose),
but rather to the conclusion of a protracted Byzantine-Persian war. Therefore, in Nldeke's
opinion, the date 940 of the Greek Era (= 629 CE) is purely arbitrary, as it should naturally be in
the case of a genuine vaticination.
Hunnius has convincingly argued against Nldeke's sixth century dating of Christian Legend. He
showed that certain parts point to the Khazar invasion of 629 CE - i.e., seventh century.[11]
Czegldy, using Kmosk's thesis, also argued that the Christian Legend and metrical discourse of
Jacob of Serugh came into its final form after 628 CE and that this argument is conclusive:
... it is all the more regrettable that Kmosk's expositions, which settle the dispute, were not
published earlier than a few years ago, and even then only in extracts. Kmosk has a whole
series of arguments to prove that both the metrical Legend and the prose text of the same contain
unmistakable references to the war of Khosrav II and Herakleios. Hence both variants, in their
present forms, contain variant of the Legend that came into being as an adaption definitely after
628. Kmosk's arguments are surely conclusive. An adaption of this kind is a natural
phenomenon in apocalyptic literature: after the passing of the date foretold in the latest
vaticination, the subsequent adapters inserts new prophecies into the text.[12]

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This identification only gives us the date 628 CE as terminus a quo (a point of origin or a first
limiting point in time). The text gives no date by which to fix the terminus ad quem (a final
limiting point in time). Similarly Gero says:
Several features of the text [i.e., the Christian Legend] also occur in the Koranic narrative - the
famous horns of Alexander, the journey to the west and then to the east, and of course the central
theme of the gate, which will be opened at an apocalyptic Endzeit by divine command. But
although this has been proposed by Nldeke and often repeated since, the work also does not
qualify as a direct source for the 'two-horned' Alexander of the Koran, at least not in its present
form; recent investigations indicate an ex eventu knowledge of the Khazar invasion of Armenia
in A.D. 629.
The prose legend (neshn) was then in turn the literary source of the Syriac metrical homily
discourse attributed to Jacob of Sarug (sixth century) in the manuscripts. The poem, however,
was actually written in the seventh century, shortly before the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia
and Palestine.[13]
Sir Wallis Budge indicated a long time ago that the Christian Legend had been re-worked and is
burdened with additions, and that this work is that of Jacob of Serugh is improbable:
This composition appears to be an abbreviated form of which known to us is that given in the
metrical discourse on Alexander attributed to Jacob of Serugh; both these works, in turn are
based upon chapters xxxvii-xxxix of the second book of Pseudo-Callisthenes according to
Muller's greek MS. C. The Christian Legend has been burdened with many additions, evidently
the work of the Christian redactor, which have no connexion whatever with the story. On the
other hand many passages, as, for example, the account of his descent into the sea in a glass
cage, have been entirely omitted. The names of the places which are given us freely in this
legend seem to indicate that it was drawn up at a very late period; that it is the work of Jacob of
Serugh is improbable.[14]
Recent extensive studies on the influence by Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes on Qur'an 18:60-102
(which includes the story of Dhul-Qarnayn) by Wheeler have shown that it was the Qur'anic
commentaries and not the Qur'an that adopted the Alexander stories among other near eastern
stories to explain the verses 18:60-102. Wheeler's conclusion can be shown in the following
form:[15]

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3. Conclusions
It has been claimed by Nldeke and subsequent scholarship that the Qur'anic story of DhulQarnayn was borrowed from the Christian Legend attributed to Jacob of Serugh. Internal
evidence however shows that it was composed after 628 CE. Investigations by Hunnius, Kmosk
and Czegldy have conclusively shown that the writer had ex eventu (i.e., a prophesy or
predication after the event) knowledge of Khazar invasion of Armenia. The text provides no date
by which the terminus ad quem (a final limiting point in time) can be fixed.
It is not only important to know the dates of composition of the individual works that are used to
establish the theories of borrowing, but to also understand the difference between the Qur'an and
the Qur'anic commentaries.

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References & Notes


[1] F. v. Hammer-Purgstall, "Auszge Aus Saalebi's Buche Der Sttzen Des Sich Beziehenden
Und Dessen Worauf Es Sich Bezieht", Zeitschrift Der Deutschen Morgenlndischen
Gesellschaft, 1852, Volume 6, p. 506.
[2] K. H. Graf, "Ueber Den "Zweihrnten" Des Koran", Zeitschrift Der Deutschen
Morgenlndischen Gesellschaft, 1854, Volume 8, pp. 442-449.
[3] G. M. Redslob, "Ueber Den "Zweihrnigen" Des Koran", Zeitschrift Der Deutschen
Morgenlndischen Gesellschaft, 1855, Volume 9, pp. 214-223.
[4] B. Beer, "Welchen Aufschluss Geben Jdische Quellen ber Den "Zweihrnigen" Des
Koran?", Zeitschrift Der Deutschen Morgenlndischen Gesellschaft, 1855, Volume 9, pp. 785794.
[5] A. Geiger, Judaism And Islam (English Translation Of Was hat Mohammed aus dem
Judenthume aufgenommen?), 1970, Ktav Publishing House Inc.: New York, pp. 135-136.
[6] Th. Nldeke, "Beitrge Zur Geschichte Des Alexanderroman", Denkschriften Der
Kaiserlichen Akademie Der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Classe, 1890, Volume
37, pp. 31; Theodor Noldeke, "The Koran", Encyclopdia Britannica, 1893, Volume 16, Adam
And Charles Black: Edinburgh, p. 600. This article was reprinted many times with slight
modifications. See T. Nldeke (J. S. Black [Trans.]), Sketches From Eastern History, 1892, Adam
and Charles Black: London & Edinburgh, p. 30. This article was reprinted and edited by N. A.
Newman, The Qur'an: An Introductory Essay By Theodor Nldeke, 1992, Interdisciplinary
Biblical Research Institute: Hatfield (PA), p. 9; Also see Theodor Nldeke, "The Koran" in Ibn
Warraq, The Origins Of The Koran: Classic Essays On Islam's Holy Book, 1998, Prometheus
Books, p. 43; Also see Theodor Nldeke, "The Koran" in C. Turner (Ed.), The Koran: Critical
Concepts In Islamic Studies, 2004, Volume I (Provenance and Transmission), RoutledgeCurzon:
London & New York, pp. 77-78.
[7] `Abdallah `Abd al-Fadi, Is The Qur'an Infallible?, 1995, Light of Life: Villach (Austria), pp.
84-86; R. F. Safa, Inside Islam: Exposing And Reaching For The World Of Islam, 1996, Creation
House: Orlando (FL), p. 71; M. Elass, Understanding the Koran: A Quick Christian Guide To
The Muslim Holy Book, 2004, Zondervan: Grand Rapids (MI), p. 99. Elass says that "the early
linkage, however, provides an embarrassment to later Muslim scholarship, for Alexander was a
pagan polytheist, and it would not do to canonize a heathen king as a true prophet of Allah." Not
surprisingly, Elass did not provide the source of early "linkage" leading to "embarrassment"; R.
Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting The World's Fastest Growing Religion, 1992, Harvest
House Publishers: Eugene (OR), pp. 144-145. Robert Morey claims "one of the greatest errors in
the Quran concerns Alexander the Great, who is called Zul-qarnain."; N. A. Newman,
Muhammad, The Qur'an & Islam, 1996, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute: Hatfield
(PA), p. 377. Quoting Nldeke and Schwally, Newman says that the "Qur'anic narrative is based
on Syriac Alexander the Great legend which appears to have been written in 515-516 AD";
Abdullah Al-Araby, Islam Unveiled, 2002 (10th Edition), The Pen Vs. The Sword: Los Angeles
5

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(CA), p. 44; D. Ali & R. Spencer, Inside Islam: A Guide To Catholics, 2003, Ascension Press:
West Chester (PA), p. 73. According to Daniel Ali and Robert Spencer, the Qur'an "claims that
Alexander the Great was a Muslim in the story of Zul-qarnain (Sura 18:89-98), whom Muslim
exegetes both ancient and modern identify as Alexander. Such appropriation of historical figures
might be understandable in the case of a figure like Abraham, but Alexander was not even a
monotheist."
[8] See for example: I. Friedlnder, Die Chadhirlegende Und Der Alexanderroman, 1913, Druck
Und Verlag Von B. G. Teubner: Leipzig, p. 278; J. Horovitz, Koranische Untersuchungen, 1926,
Walter De Gruyter: Berlin & Leipzig, p. 111; A. R. Anderson, "Alexander's Horns", Transactions
And Proceedings Of The American Philological Association, 1927, Volume LVIII, pp. 110-111;
A. R. Anderson, Alexander's Gate, Gog And Magog, And The Inclosed Nations, 1932, The
Mediaeval Academy Of America: Cambridge, MA, pp. 29-30; C. C. Torrey, The Jewish
Foundation Of Islam, 1967, Ktav Publishing House, Inc.: New York, p. 35 and 125.; A. Jeffery,
The Koran: Selected Suras, 1958, The Heritage Press: New York, NY, p. 220, n. 9; J. A. Boyle,
"The Alexander Romance In The East And West", Bulletin Of The John Rylands University
Library Of Manchester, 1977, Volume 60, pp. 19-20.; M. S. Southgate, Iskandarnamah: A Persian
Medieval Alexander Romance, 1978, Columbia University Press, New York, p. 201; Ibn Warraq,
Why I Am Not A Muslim, 1995, Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY, p. 61; A. Rippin, Muslims:
Their Religious Beliefs And Practices, 2003, Routledge, p. 22.
[9] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The
Pseudo-Callisthenes, 1889, Cambridge: At The University Press, p. 154.
[10] K. Czegldy, "The Syriac Legend Concerning Alexander The Great", Acta Orientalia
Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 1957, Volume 7, p. 246.
[11] C. Hunnius, Das Syrische Alexanderlied, 1905, Gttingen, pp. 21-24.
[12] K. Czegldy, "The Syriac Legend Concerning Alexander The Great", Acta Orientalia
Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, op cit., pp. 246-247. Czegldy also discusses Kmosk's
arguments concerning metrical discourse of Jacob of Serug in "Monographs On Syriac And
Muhammadan Sources In The Literary Remains Of M. Kmosk", Acta Orientalia Academiae
Scientiarum Hungaricae, 1954, Volume 4, pp. 35-36. For the discussion on the Syriac prose
legend refer to pp. 31-34.
[13] S. Gero, "The Legend Of Alexander The Great In The Christian Orient", Bulletin Of The
John Rylands University Library Of Manchester, 1993, Volume 75, p. 7.
[14] E. A. W. Budge, The History Of Alexander The Great Being The Syriac Version Of The
Pseudo-Callisthenes, op cit., p. lxxvii.
[15] B. M. Wheeler in "Moses Or Alexander? Early Islamic Exegesis Of Qur'an 18:60-65",
Journal Of Near Eastern Studies, 1998, Volume 57, p. 203.
Back To Sources Of The Qur'an
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o Story of Zulqarnain (AS)


Home / Today's Paper / Opinion / Story of Zulqarnain (AS)
February 13, 2012
Print : Opinion

In my previous column I mentioned the information available in Surah Kahf about


Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS). I would now like to go into greater detail about the
invaluable book written by the Saudi scholar, Mr Hamdi bin Hamza al-Suraiseri
Al-Johani. The book contains more than 500 pages with useful drawings and
photos, and the information given would require many columns to discuss fully. I
am therefore limiting myself to the essentials.
History tells us that about 3,400 years ago (1392 BC) a child was born in the
grand palace of the Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile. The father was the most
powerful Pharaoh, Amunhotep III the same Pharaoh who wanted to murder
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Hazrat Musa (AS) and was drowned by the Almighty when he was chasing Musa
(AS) and his followers. The prince was named Amunhotep IV, but he changed his
name to Akhenaten after becoming king (Pharaoh) in 1360 BC. Allah had given
him the status of Prophet in 1362 BC and he was quietly following Wehdaniat
(monotheism). Once he felt powerful enough he publicly announced his belief.
His mother, Tiye, also believed in one God. After some time Akhenaten built a
new city, Akhetaton, in the centre of Egypt and forbade the worship of idols.
According to the Holy Quran, Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS), the name Akhenaten is
known by in the Quran, was a nice, religious person and Allah had sent him as a
messenger to his people, the Egyptians.
Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) lived in Akhetaton for about 12 years and then suddenly
he, his mother and all the inhabitants disappeared. This remains one of the
greatest secrets of Egyptian history. From 1342 BC on, Egyptian history opens a
new chapter.
In about 615 AD, Allah sent revelationsto our Holy Prophet (PBUH) with Surah
Kahf. Following Allahs command, Zulqarnain and his family and followers left
Egypt to visit the places of sunset and sunrise and to build the rampart between
two cliffs in China to protect the inhabitants from the attacks of the cruel Mongols
-the Horse People (discussed in Part I). The Holy Quran has not given any
further information about Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS), his mother and his followers
after the building of this rampart and the rest remains secrets of Egyptian and
Chinese history.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza carried out extensive research and found that Yajouj and
Majouj consist of a sentence of six words in Chinese meaning inhabitants of the
Asia continent and inhabitants of the horse continent. In Chinese, Yajouj is
known as Yajouren and Majouj as Majouren. The author travelled extensively
throughout China, meeting many Chinese historians. He convincingly postulates
that when Musa (AS) and the Pharaoh were arguing about Allah Almighty,
Pharaohs son AkhenatenAkhenaton (Zulqarnain) interceded and tried to convince
his father and other people to believe what Musa (AS) was saying. None other
than a very important and influential person could intercede in such a discussion.
Hence, it must have been the son of the Pharaoh. History or the Quran do not
mention the departure or migration of Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS). It was most
probably on the command of Allah that he migrated to preach that there was only
one God, the All-Mighty, All-Powerful and All-Knowing.
The Quran says that Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) first went to the place where the sun
sets. The author has given convincing arguments that this place is the Maldives
Islands where there are hot sea currents. Anthropologists have also confirmed that
it was around 3,400 years ago that the first humans came to the Maldives. This
would coincide with the time when Zulqarnain (AS) reached there.
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According to the Quran, Zulqarnain and his party then left for the place where the
sun rises. The authors research convinced him that this was the Kiribati Islands in
the Pacific, thousands of kilometres east of Australia. There he found the Sun
Rise Hotel where, on Jan 1, 2000, representatives from international agencies
and many tourists had gathered to see the first rays of the sun rising on the new
millennium. These islands are now known as the Republic of Kiribati, with a
population of 100,000. Unfortunately, the inhabitants are very poor. I wish one of
the rich Arab countries would fix a yearly donation to these poor people. We
know that both the Maldives and the Kiribati Islands lie on the Equator where
sunrise and sunset times are more or less constant.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza also visited the city of Zhenzhou in Henan County, China,
where he found a rampart forming a barrier between two steep mountains. It was
seven km long, 36 meters wide at the base, nine meters wide at the top and nine
meters high. Chinese historians mention it as being the First Great Wall.
When Zulqarnain (AS) reached Zhenzhou city (now a very important industrial
centre), the people there asked him to build a barrier between the mountains to
keep out the marauding Horse People (Mongols). For this they were willing to
make payment in goods. Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) politely refused to accept any
compensation, saying that the Almighty had provided him with enough resources
and manpower and that they should supply only the materials required. This
consisted of steel pieces (probably slag and pig iron). This he used to fill up the
space between the two mountains. He then asked them to heat the whole until it is
red hot (probably using coal which is found abundantly in the area). When it was
red hot, Zulqarnain (AS) asked them to bring earth (probably rich in metallic ore),
which was then poured onto the red hot iron, turning the whole into a compact,
solid mass.
Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) and his people were called Chu People by the Chinese,
meaning alien or outsider. Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) was accepted as their leader
and established a kingdom there. After about 200 years this became known as the
Chu Dynasty and it lasted for almost 800 years.
Mr Hamdi bin Hamza believes that Hazrat Zulqarnain (AS) and his mother and
companions are buried in or near Zhenzhou city and he hopes that some day
archaeologists will find their graves in the same way as those being found in
Egypt 5,000 years after their burial.
May Allah Almighty shower His blessings on Mr Hamdi bin Hamza Al-Suraiseri
Al-Johani and his family for this excellent, noble work. Ameen.
Email: ali4drkhan@gmail.com

0
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Imtiaz Alam

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ALEXANDER THE GREAT:


15

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http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1120-alexander-the-great
By: Isaac Broyd, Kaufmann Kohler, Israel Lvi
Table of Contents

In Jewish Legend:

Samaritan Intrigue.

The Ten Questions of Alexander to the Sages of the South (Tamid, 31b et
seq.):

Alexander's Journey to the Regions of Darkness (Tamid, 32a):

The Amazons (Tamid, ibid.; Pesi. ix. 74. 74a etseq.; Lev. R. xxvii.; Tan., Emor,
6; ibbur Ma'asiot):

The Gold Bread (ibid.):

King Kaia and His Judgment (Yer. B. M. ii. 8c; Gen. R. xxxiii.; Pesi.; Lev. R.;
Tan., Emor, as above):

Alexander at the Gate of Paradise; the Eye:

Alexander's Ascent into the Air (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah, iii. 42c; Num. R. xiii.):

Alexander's Descent into the Sea (Ps. R. 103; compare Pseudo-Callisthenes, II.
xxxviii.):

The celebrated conqueror of the East, 356-323 B.C. By introducing Hellenic culture into Syria
and Egypt, he had probably more influence on the development of Judaism than any one
individual not a Jew by race. Yet, curiously enough, there are no personal details which connect
him with Jewish history, save that after the siege of Tyre, 332 B.C., he marched through Palestine
unopposed, except in the case of Gaza, which was razed to the ground. He is mentioned by name
only in the Apocryphal I Macc. (i. 1-8, vi. 2). It is supposed that the Book of Daniel alludes to
Alexander when it refers to a mighty king that "shall stand up, that shall rule with great
dominion," whose kingdom shall be destroyed after his death (Dan. xi. 3). The vision of the
"fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly," devouring and breaking all in pieces
(ibid. vii. 7), may also be an allusion to Alexander.
The only historical event connecting Alexander the Great with the Jews is his visit to Jerusalem,
which is recorded by Josephus in a somewhat fantastic manner. According to "Ant." xi. 8, 4-6,
Alexander went to Jerusalem after having taken Gaza. Jaddua, the high priest, had a warning
from God received in a dream, in which he saw himself vested in a purple robe, with his miter
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that had the golden plate on which the name of God was engravedon his head. Accordingly he
went to meet Alexander at Sapha ("View" [of the Temple]). Followed by the priests, all clothed
in fine linen, and by a multitude of citizens, Jaddua awaited the coming of the king. When
Alexander saw the high priest, he reverenced God (Lev. R. xiii., end), and saluted Jaddua; while
the Jews with one voice greeted Alexander. When Parmenio, the general, gave expression to the
army's surprise at Alexander's extraordinary actthat one who ought to be adored by all as king
should adore the high priest of the JewsAlexander replied: "I did not adore him, but the God
who hath honored him with this high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this
very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I
might obtain dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea,
promising that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians."
Alexander then gave the high priest his right hand, and went into the Temple and "offered
sacrifice to God according to the high priest's direction," treating the whole priesthood
magnificently. "And when the Book of Daniel was shown him [see Dan. vii. 6, viii. 5-8, 20-22,
xi. 3-4], wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks [
] should destroy the empire of the
Persians, he supposed that he was the person intended, and rejoiced thereat. The following day
Alexander asked the people what favors he should grant them; and, at the high priest's request, he
accorded them the right to livein full enjoyment of the laws of their forefathers. He, furthermore,
exempted them from the payment of tribute in the seventh year of release. To the Jews of
Babylonia and Media also he granted like privileges; and to the Jews who were willing to enlist
in his army he promised the right to live in accordance with their ancestral laws. Afterward the
Samaritans, having learned of the favors granted the Jews by Alexander, asked for similar
privileges; but Alexander declined to accede to their request. The historical character of this
account is, however, doubted by many scholars (see Pauly-Wissowa, "Realencyklopdie," i. col.
1422). Although, according to Josephus ("Contra Ap." ii. 4, quoting Hecatus), Alexander
permitted the Jews to hold the country of Samaria free from tribute as a reward for their fidelity
to him, it was he who Hellenized its capital (Schrer, "Gesch." ii. 108). The Sibylline Books (iii.
383) speak of Alexanderwho claimed to be the son of Zeus Amonas "of the progeny of the
Kronides, though spurious."
In Jewish Legend:

All the accounts which the Talmud and Midrash give concerning Alexander MuKdon (the
Macedonian) are of a legendary character. Some of them pretend to be historical, as the
following Baraita in Yoma, 69a (identical with Megillat Ta'anit, iii.):
"When the Samaritans had obtained permission from Alexander to destroy the Temple in
Jerusalem, the high priest Simon the Just, arrayed in his pontifical garments and followed by a
number of distinguished Jews, went out to meet the conqueror, and joined him at Antipatris, on
the northern frontier. At sight of Simon, Alexander fell prostrate at his feet, and explained to his
astonished companions that the image of the Jewish high priest was always with him in battle,
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fighting for him and leading him to victory. Simon took the opportunity to justify the attitude of
his countrymen, declaring that, far from being rebels, they offered prayers in the Temple for the
welfare of the king and his dominions. So impressed was Alexander that he delivered up all the
Samaritans in his train into the hands of the Jews, who tied them to the tails of horses and
dragged them to the mountain of Gerizim; then the Jews plowed the mountain [demolished the
Samaritan temple]."
Samaritan Intrigue.

It is evident that this account wrongly assigns to the times of Alexander an event which occurred
two centuries later, in the reign of John Hyrcanus I. It must therefore have been written at a late
period, when the memory of historical incidents had become confused. The legend presents a
striking resemblance to the narrative of Josephus ("Ant." xi. 8, 1 et seq.). The point of the fable
is the honor conferred by Alexander upon the high priest and the cause thereof; and, furthermore,
the contrast between his good-will to the Jews and his hostility to the Samaritans. Both the
narrative in the Talmud and that of Josephus are derived from an "Apology" of the Jews which
aimed at discrediting the members of the Samaritan sect. It is even possible that this apology, as
Bchler thinks ("Rev. t. Juives," lxxxvi. 1), had its origin in Alexandria, where the attitude of
Alexander was of decisive importance in the eyes of the Greek public:
"In Gen. R. (lxi., end) the Samaritans are accused of playing a rle equally despicable with that
imputed to them in the above legend. When Alexander advanced toward Jerusalem, they
informed him that the Jews would forbid his entrance to the Holy of Holies. A Jew, Gebi'ah ben
Kosem [identical with Gebia ben Pesisa, a legendary character], asked the king, on the hill of the
Temple, to remove his shoes and to put on the slippers ornamented with precious stones that he
had brought for him, lest he should slip on the pavement of the Temple. Alexander complied with
the request, and thus avoided a violation of the rabbinic law. When they arrived at the Holy of
Holies, Gebi'ah said to the king, 'We are not permitted to proceed farther' (neither we nor you).
'When I have left the Temple,' replied the king, 'I will straighten your hump' (Gebi'ah signifies
humpback). 'If you do,' answered Gebi'ah, 'you are a great physician, and deserving of high
remuneration.'"
This anecdote is one of those naive inventions of which many are found in Midrash Ekah
Rabbati, and which aim at exhibiting the ingenuity of the Jews in repartee. Alexander is made to
play merely the part of a stage-king.
The same Gebi'ah appears in a narrative of quite a different type. Alexander is here represented
as the great conqueror to whom the nations appeal for arbitration of their differences:
(Sanh. 91a, Gen. R. l.c.).

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"The Arabs accuse the Jews of illegally withholding the heritage of their ancestor Ishmael; the
Canaanites complain of having been wrongly deprived of their territory; and the Egyptians claim
indemnity for the vessels that the Israelites had taken from them on leaving their country. Gebi'ah
meets all these charges with great success: against the Egyptians he proves that it is they that are
indebted to the Jews, whom they had exploited without paying them for their work, and
Alexander was fully satisfied with the refutation"
Coin with Aramaic Inscription.

These pretended discussions, similar to those reported to


have taken place between the Samaritans and the Jews
before Ptolemy Philometor (Josephus, "Ant." xii. 1,
10; xiii. 4, 4), are the echo of the accusations against
the Jews by pagan readers of the Bible at Alexandria.
These imputations were taken up later by the Gnostics,
who were the pupils of the Alexandrians, and especially by the Marcionites. Tertullian replied to
Marcion, who had brought the same reproach against the Bible for the "larceny" committed by
the Jews, by repeating the words of Gebi'ah; he even mentions the discussions between the Jews
and the Egyptians ("nam et aiunt ita actum per legatos utrinque; gyptiorum quidem
repetentium vasa; Judeorum vero reposcentium operas suas, et tandem vasis istis renuntiaverunt
sibi gyptii"; "Adversus Marcionem," ii. 20).
Another group of legends is of a more popular character; they have nothing specifically Jewish,
and are connected with the general legendary tales of Alexander. They may be given as follows:
The Ten Questions of Alexander to the Sages of the South (Tamid, 31b et seq.):

This account is written in certain parts in a classical Aramaic, proving that it was borrowed from
some written record; it is quite analogous to the conversations which, according to Plutarch
("Life of Alexander"), Alexander was reported to have had with ten gymnosophists who had
rebelled against him; there the account continues with ten questions, some of which are identical
with those of the Talmud. This episode seems, therefore, to be the fragment of a non-Jewish
narrative, parallel with that of the Greek historian.
Alexander's Journey to the Regions of Darkness (Tamid, 32a):

Alexander makes a journey into the region of darkness riding on young Libyan asses. There he
stops at a fountain, which reanimates a dead fish that he has dipped into it. The same story is
found in Pseudo-Callisthenes, II. chaps. xxxix.-xli. (version B). The legend as reproduced in the
Talmud is the popular altered form of a later period.
The Amazons (Tamid, ibid.; Pesi. ix. 74. 74a etseq.; Lev. R. xxvii.; Tan., Emor, 6;
ibbur Ma'asiot):
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Alexander comes to a place which is inhabited only by women. They say to him: "If you kill us,
people will accuse you of murdering women. If we kill you, people will say: Behold a king who
was overcome by women!" This is the well-known story of the Amazons, but reduced to its
simplest expression. In the PesiKta the town inhabited by the women is called k artagene,
derived by folk-ety-mology from the Aramaic arta (town) and the Greek (woman).
The Gold Bread (ibid.):

Alexander asked the Amazons for bread, and they brought him, on a golden table, a loaf of gold
bread. "Do you eat gold bread?" the king then said. "Well, if your desire be for ordinary bread,
could you not get it in your own country without coming hither?" answered the Amazons. This
satire on the ambition of conquerors recurs frequently in Jewish legends. It does not appear in
Pseudo-Callisthenes and in the accounts derived from it; but is found in Plutarch's essay on the
virtuous deeds of women. Pythes, a rich Greek in the times of Xerxes, who forces his fellow
citizens to work for him in a gold-mine, is served by his wife with gold bread to demonstrate the
absurdity of his greed. This moral is connected with Alexander also in another form: instead of
the Amazons it was the king Kaz ia who gave the lesson to Alexander.
King Kaia and His Judgment (Yer. B. M. ii. 8c; Gen. R. xxxiii.; Pesi.; Lev. R.; Tan.,
Emor, as above):

King Kaz ia (ruler of a country situated behind the "Dark" mountains) invited Alexander to hear
a lawsuit. The plaintiff declared that he had bought a piece of land and found in it a treasure; he
wanted to return the treasure to the original owner, since, he claimed, he had bought the field
only. The defendant replied that he had sold the field with everything that it contained. Then the
king inquired of one of them: "Have you a son?"; of the other, "Have you a daughter?" "Marry
them, and let the treasure be theirs." Alexander laughed at this judgment. "Is my decision a
wrong one?" inquired the king. "No; but in our country we would have put the two parties to
death and confiscated the treasure." "Do you have rain in your country?" "Yes." "And have you
animals also?" "Yes." "Then it is surely for their sake and not for yours that the rain falls and the
sun shines upon you." This satirical account seems to be of Jewish origin, although it is, in part,
based on a popular thememarriage as the solution of a lawsuit (compare a Cambodian tale in
"Revue des Traditions Populaires," xv. 133). The Jewish form of the fable was embodied in the
"Dicta Philosophorum" of Abu al Wafa Mubashshir ibn FaKih (1053-54), a work which was
translated into Spanish, Latin, English, and French (see Knust, "Mittheilungen aus dem
Eskurial," Tbingen, 1879). In other Arabic texts the trial takes place before David and Solomon
(Weil, "Biblische Legenden," p. 215). The anecdote seems to have been brought to Europe by a
priest in 1083 ("Chronique de l'Abbaye de St. Hubert"; Pertz, "Monumenta Germanica,
Scriptores," viii. 599).
Alexander at the Gate of Paradise; the Eye:

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The Talmud (Tamid, 32b) concludes with this narrative: Alexander arrived at the gate of paradise
and asked that it be opened to him. "Only the just can enter here," came the reply. "I am a
renowned king; present me with something." A little ball was given to him. He put it in a scale;
and it outweighed all the gold and silver in his possession. In his astonishment he turned to the
rabbis, who explained to him that it was an eyeball, which could never be satiated; but if covered
with a handful of dust (buried) it would weigh nothing. This satire on greed, or the ambition to
acquire wealth, seems likewise to be genuinely Jewish. This allegory, as it appears in the Talmud,
is reproduced in better shape in "Alexandri Magni Iter ad Paradisum," a little work of the twelfth
century, which has even preserved traces of its Jewish origin. In this it is an old Jew, of the name
of Papas, who lectures the king. Both forms of the legend are evidently connected with a lost
original.
Alexander's Ascent into the Air (Yer. 'Ab. Zarah, iii. 42c; Num. R. xiii.):

This appears to be a reminiscence of a narrative in Pseudo-Callisthenes (II. xli.).


Alexander's Descent into the Sea (Ps. R. 103; compare Pseudo-Callisthenes, II.
xxxviii.):

In the Middle Ages the Jews confined themselves to translations of the romance of Alexander
from the Arabic or the Latin, particularly in the form which it had received in the "Historia de
Proeliis." A Hebrew translation of this work, made by an unknown writer after an Arabic version,
was edited and published by Israel Lvi under the title "Toledot Alexander" (Life of Alexander),
Paris, 1887. Another translation from a Latin text, by Immanuel ben Jacob de Tarascon, exists
only in manuscript. A recension, the origin of which has not yet been clearly ascertained, was
surreptitiously included in certain manuscripts of the Josippon (perhaps by Judah Mosconi).
Another romance of Alexander, quite different from the rest, was written by a Jew in the west of
Europe before the thirteenth century; it was published by Israel Lvi in Steinschneider's
"Festschrift." Some portions of the legend were known to scholars by the Hebrew translation of
"Sod ha-Sodot" (Secret of Secrets) and of "Musare ha-Filosofim" (Dicta of the Philosophers),
containing whole chapters touching upon the legendary life of Alexander.
Bibliography:

Rev. t. Juives, iii. 239 et seq., iv. 279;

Steinschneider, Hebr. Uebers. pp. 894-898;

Nldeke, Beitrge zur Gesch. des Alexander-Romans, in Denkschriften der


Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophisch-Historische Classe,
xxxviii. ch. iv., Vienna, 1890;

Frnkel, in Z. D. M. G. liv. 322;


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Jew. Quart. Rev. iv. 635;

Bacher, Nizami's Lehen und Werke und der Zweite Theil des Nizamischen
Alexanderbuches, pp. 63 et seq., Leipsic, 1871.

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History & Religion:

Zulqarnain: The story of Alexander


Edited by Javed S. Ahmad
Who was Zulqarnain ? This was a question of the Muslim scholars for many years. And it is
quite obvious that only a person with in depth knowledge of "History of Mankind" would be
capable to answer such a question. Abdullah Yusuf Ali happens to be that person with
appropriate background to deal with this question. In his english translation of the Qur'an he took
the liberty of writing down of commentaries based on his personal understanding and
background. And undoubtedly, he did a marvelous job.
Qur'an is not like just any other book, it is a revelation, compiled by "All wise, All knowing".
Often, we human beings can't even decipher some of it's meanings. Although, most of the verses
are simple and straight forward, It does takes some wisdom and knowledge to understand the
meaning of the glorious Qur'an. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was called the "living
Qur'an". As he demonstrated how to live a "Muslim" life. Even being completely illiterate, who
couldn't even sign his own name, was the one to answer questions raised by his followers. He
had the wisdom and knowledge necessary to be able to interpret the meanings of the Qur'anic
verses to the inquisitive minds of that time. And his words and sayings are now known as
"Hadiths" (Sayings of the Prophet).
Alexander the Great is a legendary historic figure who had his influence in almost all civilized
cultures of today's world. Also known as the conqueror of the world, travelled as far as India
from ancient Greece. A disciple of Aristotle, one of the greatest ancient philosophers known to
mankind. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, are few of the philosophers who never accepted anything
without judging rationally. They even raised questions about beliefs in many Gods at the time
when people believed in many Gods. Their faith was based on firm logic and reasons, which they
passed down to their successors. From Socrates to Plato, from Plato to Aristotle, and finally from
Aristotle to Alexander.
Alexander was a special man with a divine mission. And his mission was to unite mankind with a
common bond, which we know today as the "Hellenic" bond. As per Qur'an, Alexander was a
man of faith believing in "One God". He saw the world as "One" belonging to "One Mankind".
He was given the wisdom and power... "They ask thee concerning Zul-quanain. Say, "I will
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reharse to you something of his story." Verily We established his power on earth, and We gave
him the ways and the means to all ends." (Qur'an: The Cave (18): 83-4).
And then the story of his adventures begins.
"What is the meaning of the name or title Zul-qarnain - "Lord of the two Qarns"? "Qarn" may
mean:
(1) a horn in the literal sense, as in the case of a ram or bull;
(2) a horn in a metaphorical sense, as in english, the horns of a kingdom or territory, two portions
at opposite ends;
(3) but another metaphor, a summit, a lock of hair, typifying strength, a crest such as Eastern
kings wear on their diadems;
(4) referring to time, an Epoch, an Age, a Generation.
Meaning (1) is inapplicable to a man or a great King: but see the next paragraph about Alexander
the Great. The other three meanings may be applicable, as implying: (2) Lord of East and West,
Lord of wide territory or of two kingdoms; (3) Lord of two crests on his diadem, typifying two
kingdoms, or a rank superior to that of an ordinary king; (4) Lord of more than one Epoch: one
whose power and influence extend far beyond his lifetime.
If we accept the popular identification of Zul-qarnain with Alexander, all the three latter
designations would be applicable to him, as he was Lord of the West and the East, Lord of the
Greek States united for the first time (Hellenic Captain-General) and of the widely extended
Persian Dominion which included all Western Asia, Egypt, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the
Punjab (at least portions). He is represented on his coins with two horns on his head: he
considered himself a son of Jupiter Ammon (who had the two horns of a ram), with a divine
mission. He revolutionized the history of Europe, Asia, and Africa (Egypt), and his influence
lasted for many generations after his death at the young age of 33. He lived from BC 356 to 323,
but his name was one to conjure with for many centuries after him. It was not only on account of
his political power, but his cultural influences. Through his conquests, Greek art gave the
impulse to Gandhara art in Central Asia and North West India. the city of Alexandria which he
founded in Egypt became the cultural centre, not only for Greek and Rome, but for Judaism and
Christianity, and retained its supremacy till the sixth century of the Christian era.Justinian closed
its schools of philosophy in 529. Its philosophic and scientific schools spread their influence over
even a wider area than the Mediterranean basin.
Now the generality of the world of Islam have accepted Alexander the Great as the one meant by
the epithet Zul-qarnain. But some of our 'Ulama' (religious scholars) have raised doubts about it
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and made other suggestions. One is that it was not the Macedonian Alexander the Great, but an
earlier pre-historic king contemporary with Abraham; because, they say, Zul-qarnain was a man
of Faith (18:88, 98), while Alexander the Great was a Pagan and believed in Grecian gods. An
identification with a supposed pre-historic king, about whom nothing is known, is no
identification at all. On the other hand, al that is known about Alexander the Great shows that he
was a man of lofty ideals. he died over three centuries before the time of Jesus, but that does not
mean that he was not a man of Faith, for God revealed Himself to men of all nations in all ages.
Alexander was a disciple of the philosopher Aristotle, noted for his pursuit of sound Truth in all
departments of thought. Alexander's reference to Jupiter Ammon may have been no more than a
playful reference to the superstitions of his time. Socrates spoke of the Grecian gods, and so did
Aristotle and Plato; but it would be wrong to call them idolaters or men without Faith. In the
Ethiopic traditional stories of alexander the Great, he is represented as a great prophet....
The question of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) and the iron Barrier built to keep them out is
of some interest It is practically agreed that they were the wild tribes of Central Asia which have
made inroads on settled kingdoms and Empires at various stages of the world's history. The
Chinese Empire suffered from their incursions and built the Great Wall of China to keep out the
Manchus and the Mongols. The Persian Empire suffered from them at various times and at
various points. Their incursions into Europe in large hordes caused migrations and displacements
of population on an enormous scale, and eventually broke up the Roman Empire. These tribes
were known vaguely to the Greeks and Romans as "Scythians", but that term does not help us
very much, either ethnically or geographically.
If we could locate the iron barrier or iron gates referred to in Qur'an (18:96), we should have a
closer idea of the tribes whom the barrier was meant to keep out. It is obvious that the Great Wall
of China is out of the question. Begun in the third century BC and continued later, it covers the
enormous length of 1,500 miles, and goes up the hills and down the valleys, with towers 40 feet
high at intervals of 200 yards. Its average height is 20 to 30 feet. It is built of stone and earth.
There is no particular point in it which can be identified with the iron barrier in the text. No one
has suggested that Zul-quarnain was a Chinese Emperor, and none of the great Conquerors of
Western Asia can be credited with the building of the Chinese Wall.
The barrier in the text must have been more in the nature of iron gates than an iron wall. Two
Iron Gates, geographically far apart, have been suggested in the alternative. Sometimes they have
been mixed up by writers not strong in geography. Both of them have local associations with the
name of Alexander the Great. Both are near a town Derbend, and have borne the name of Bab-ulhadid (Arabic for "Iron Gate")...
... The Wall in question is 50 miles long, with an average of 29 feet.... There is an Iron Gate
which corresponds exactly to the description, in a locality which we know Alexander to have

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visited. (4) In the early days, when Muslims spread to all parts of the world, local legends were
started by ignorant people connecting the places they knew with places referred to in the Qur'an.
We now come to the Iron gate which corresponds exactly to the Quranic description, and has the
best claim to be connected with Alexander's story. It is near another Derbend in Central Asia,
Hissar District, about 150 miles south-east of Bukhara. A very narrow defile, with overhanging
rocks, occurs on the main route between Turkestan and India: latitude 38 degree N; longitude 67
degrees E. It is now called in Turki Buzghol-Khana (Goat-house), but was formerly known as the
Iron Gate (Arabic, Bab-ul-hadid; Persian, Dar-i-ahani; Chinese T'ie-men-kuan). There is no iron
gate there now, but there was one in the seventh century, when the Chinese traveller Hiouen
Tsiang saw it on his journey to India. He saw two folding gates cased with iron and hung with
bells. Near by is a lake named Iskander Kul, connecting the locality with Alexander the Great.
We know from history that Alexander , after his conquest of Persia and before his journey to
India, visited Sogdaina (Bukhara) and Maracanda (Samarqand). We also know from Muqaddasi,
the Arab traveller and geographer, who wrote about A.H. 375 (AD 985-6) that the Abbasi Khalifa
Wathiq (842-6 A.D.) sent out a mission to Central Asia to report on this Iron Gate. They found
the defile 150 yards wide: on two jambs made with bricks of iron welded together with molten
lead, were hung two huge gates, which were kept closed. Nothing could correspond more exactly
with the description in Qur'an (18:95-6)." (Yusuf Ali:760-2).
"They said: "O Zul-qarnain! The Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on earth: Shall we
then render thee tribute in order that thou mightiest erect a barrier between us and them ? He
said:" (The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): Help me
therefore with strength (and labor): I will erect a strong barrier between you and them: "Bring me
blocks of iron." At length, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides,
he said, "Blow (with your bellows)". Then, when he had made it (red) as fire, he said: "Bring me,
that I may pour over it, molten lead." Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through
it. He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord: But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He
will make it into dust; and the promise of my Lord is true."(Qur'an: The Cave(18): 94-8).
"If, then, the Barrier in 18:95-8 refers to the Iron Gate near Bukhara, we are able to proceed to a
consideration of the Gog-Magog people with some confidence. They were the Mongol tribes on
the other side of the Barrier, while the industrious men who did not understand Zul-qarnain's
language were the Turks, with their agglutinative language, so different from the languages then
spoken in Western Asia. The Barrier served its purpose for the time being. But the warning that
the time must come when it must crumble to dust has also come true. It has crumbled to dust.
Long since, the Mongols pushed through on their westward journey, pushing the Turks before
them, and the Turks became a European Power and have still a footing in Europe. We need not
bother about the legends of the Gog and Magog people. They were reputed to be giants, and two
tiny hills in flat Cambridgeshire are derisively called the Gog-Magog hills! Similarly the statues
of Gog and Magog in the Guildhall in London, which M.M.A. takes so seriously, only remind us
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how legends are apt to grow and get transported to strange places. In the Alexander legends of
medieval Europe, Gog and Magog are said to have come with 400,000 men to help of Porus
whom Alexander defeated, and to have fled after that defeat. They fled to the mountains, and
Alexander built a wall with brass gates to prevent their irruptions. See Paul Meyer, Alexandre le
Grand dans la litetrature franchise du Moyen Age: Paris, 1886; Vol.2,pp.386-389.
Personally, I have not the least doubt that Zul-qarnain is meant to be Alexander the Great, the
historic Alexander, and not the legendary Alexander, of whom more presently. My first
appointment after graduation was that of Lecturer in Greek history. I have studied the details of
Alexander's extraordinary personality in Greek historians as well as in modern writers, and have
since visited most of the localities connected with his brief but brilliant career. Few readers of
Quranic literature have had the same priviledge of studying the details of his career. It is one of
the wonders of the Qur'an, that, spoken through an Ummi's (illiterate) mouth, it should contain so
many incidental details which are absolutely true. The more our knowledge increases, the more
we feel this. There are little touches which need not have been mentioned. They come in
incidentally like the incidental remarks of a person full of knowledge, who does not intend to put
forward those points but whose fulness of knowledge brings them in inevitably.
One such point occurs in the mention of Alexander's westward journey (18:86)
"Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it
he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (Thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to
treat them with kindness."(Qur'an:18:86).
He saw the sunset in a piece of murky water which is described as a "Spring". Most
commentators have understood the "spring" to be the sea, and the "murky water" to be its darkblue water. Nizami, in his Romance of Alexander, takes Alexander right west along North Africa
to Andalusia and the Atlantic Ocean. There is no historic proof that Alexander ever reached the
Atlantic. But he was of course familiar with the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. The
Mediterranean interpretation may pass if we had not a closer explanation. Alexander's first
exploits were when he was a mere boy, in the reign of his father Philip. The reign of Illyricum
was due west of Mecedonia, and Mecedonia's first expansion was in that direction. The town of
Lychnis was annexed to Macedonia and thus the western frontier of Macedonia was secured. The
northern frontier towards the Danube had already been secured, and the lesson he subsequently
gave to Thebes secured him against attack from the Greek States to the south, and prepared the
way for his great march east against the Persian Empire. To the west of the town of Lychnis is a
lake 170 square miles in area, fed by underground springs that issue through limestone rocks and
give out murky water. Both town and lake are now called Ochrida, about 50 miles west of
Monastir. The water is so dark that the river which forms the outlet of the lake to the north is
called the Black Drin. Looking at the sunset from the town, the observer would see the sun set in
a pool of murky water. It was a question before the boy Alexander- the dreamy, impulsive,
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fearless rider- whether he would put the barbarous Illyricans to the sword or show them mercy.
He showed true discrimination and statesmanship. He punished the guilty but showed kindness
to the innocent, and thus consolidated his power in the west. This I construe to be the meaning of
18:86-7; otherwise these verses do not seem to be perfectly clear.
"He said: "Whoever doth wrong, him shall we punish; then shall he be sent back to his Lord; and
He will punish him with a punishment unheard-of (before). But whoever believes, and works
righteousness, - he shall have a goodly reward, and easy will be his task as we order it by our
command." (Qur'an:18:87-8).
Another point may be noted. The three episodes mentioned are the journey to the west, the
journey to the east, and the journey to the Iron Gate. The journey to the west I have just
explained. The journey to the east was to the Persian Empire. Here he found a people who lived
in the open and wore little clothing. This might apply to people who live in an inland place in the
latitude of Persepolis or Multan. He left them alone as they were (18:91).
"Then followed he (another) way, until, when he came to the rising sun, he found it rising on a
people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun. (He left them) as they
were: we completely understood what was before him."(Qur'an:18:89-91).
He was not warring against populations: he was warring against the proud but effete Persian
Empire. He left them as they were, with their local institutions, and under their local chiefs. In
feeling he treated them as his own, not as aliens. In some things he himself adopted their ways.
His followers misunderstood him. But God understood, for He approves of all things that lead to
Unity among mankind.
The direction of the third journey is not mentioned. The commentators suggest the north, but
they might with better reason have suggested the south, as Alexander visited Egypt. But the visit
to the Iron Gate was to the East - a continuation of his journey east. That is why the direction is
not mentioned again. Here his mission was different. He had to protect a peaceful industrious
population, whom perhaps the Persian Empire had failed to protect, against turbulent and restless
invaders. He helped them to protect themselves, but warned them that all human precautions,
though good and necessary, are vain without God's help.
Each of the episodes mentioned is historical. But the pomp and glitter of military conquest are
not mentioned. On the contrary spiritual motives are revealed and commended. We need not
know or learn any history or geography or science or psychology or ethics to understand them.
But the more real knowledge we have, the more completely shall we understand them and the
lessons to be drawn from them. The earthly journeys are treated as mere symbols to show us the
evolution of a great and noble soul which achieved so much in a short earthly life.

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His career was so extraordinary that it impressed his contemporaries as a world event, as it
undoubtedly was, - one of the greatest world-events in history. Legends began to grow up round
his name. In many cases the legends overlaid the history. Today the world is thrilled by Sir Aurel
Stein's identification of Aornos, a very small geographical detail in a great career full of lessons,
in political, ethical, and religious wisdom. But the generations immediately following
Alexander's period wrote and transmitted all sorts of wonderful legends that passed current in
East and West. The philosopher Kallisthenes had been with Alexander in Asia. Under his name
was produced a Greek book in Alexandria some time before the second century of the Christian
era. It was translated into Latin in the third century. Translations were subsequently made into
most of the European languages. In Chaucer's time (1340-1400) these Alexander legends were
known to every "weight that hath discrecion" (The Monk in Canterbury Tales).
Alexandria was a focus of Christian and Jewish learning for some centuries. The Christians also
made Alexander a saint. The Jews carried the Alexander cycle into the East. Our Persian poet
Jami (A.H. 535-599, A.D. 1141-1203) worked it up into his epic the Iskandar-nama. He is careful
to show the historical or semi historical and the ethical parts separately. The one relates to action
or exploits (Iqbal) and the other to wisdom (Khirad). He had the advantage of the Qur'an story
before him. That story mentions three historical episodes incidentally, but draws our attention to
matters of the weightiest spiritual significance, and that is the chief thing to note in the
story."(Yusuf Ali:760-65).
"Kahf", meaning the Cave is the 18th chapter of the Holy Qur'an. It is one of the magnificent
chapters which gives us "inside information" of some of the popular legends, historical events,
and some mysteries of life. Namely,
1. The Christian legend of the "Companions of the Cave" - the story of 7 Christian youths of
Ephesus. From verses 9 to 28.
2. The story of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). His inquiries on mystery's of life, and his
introduction with the invisible and immortal Prophet Khidhr (peace be upon him) who became
his teacher and a guide.
3. And the story of Alexander (Zulqaunain or Dhulqarnain).
This surah or chapter begins with the following ayahs or verses:
"In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to God, who hath sent to His
servant the Book, and hath allowed therein no crookedness: (He hath made it) straight (and clear)
in order that He may warn ( the godless) of a terrible punishment from Him, and that He may
give glad tidings to the believers who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a goodly
reward, wherein they shall remain for ever: Further, that He may warn those (also) who say,
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"God hath begotten a son": No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. It is a
grievous thing that issues from their mouths as a saying. What they say is nothing but falsehood!
Thou wouldst only, perchance, fret thyself to death, following after them, in grief, if they believe
not in this message. That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth,
in order that We may test them-as to which of them are best in conduct. Verily what is on earth
We shall make but as dust and dry soil (without growth of herbage)." (Qur'an: 18:1-8).
In this text, I've limited myself to the story of Zulqarnain only. I wanted to re-write the story on
my own, but later I realized that no matter how hard I try, I won't be able to do a better job than
Yusuf Ali. He did a marvelous job in his introductions and commentaries. As if God had given
him this special assignment to complete which he did wonderfully. Therefore, I've decided to
keep his original quotes, references and interpretations intact. May Allah grant him peace and
mercy, and honor him in the Day of Judgement.
The Qur'an is an unique book of knowledge. One should regardless of religious background and
beliefs, read this book "with care" and "understanding". As the Qur'an itself said in the same
chapter in verse 54:
"We have explained in detail in this Qur'an , for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude:
But man is, in most things, contentious".
I strongly recommend the reader to acquire a copy of the translation of the Holy Qur'an by Yusuf
Ali and read it at convenience and leisure. This "Qur'an" is the primary source of wisdom of
"Islam", and the secondary sources of wisdom are the "Traditions or Sayings of the Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him)". Yusuf Ali's commentaries comes as a rescue in understanding
the critical verses of the Qur'an. Please also read other translations as well if you would like.
After reading and comparing a few, you will definitely understand why I like and recommend
Yusuf Ali's translation. Today's Islam is a misunderstood religion among the Muslims and Nonmuslims alike. Many Muslims practice Islam without even knowing the meanings, reasons, and
wisdom behind their acts and their practices. Everybody is looking for a short cut to heaven, but
unfortunately, there is none.
Like always, I'm keeping my doors open for inquisitive quarters. Thank you.
================================================================

End of "Zulqarnian-The Story of Alexander."


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?Who was Dhul-Qarnain and where is his wall

[18:83] And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say, I shall now recite to you some narration
about him.

)Adopted from Mariful Qur'aan by Mufti Mohammed Shafi (RA


) (

) ( ) (
) (

) (

Translation:
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And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say, "I shall now recite to you some narration about him."
[18:83]
Surely, We gave him power on Earth and provided for him a way to everything. [18:84]
So he followed a way, [18:85]
until when he reached where the sun sets, he found it setting into a miry spring and found near it
a people. We said, "0 Dhul-Qarnain, either you punish or take to something good for them!'
[18:86]
He said, "As for the one who transgresses, we shall punish him, thereafter he will be returned to
his Lord, and He will punish him - an evil punishment. [18:87]
As for the one who believes and acts righteously, he will have the best in reward, and we shall
deliver
to
him
of
our
command
that
which
is
easy."
[18:88]
Commentary
Verse 84 opens with the statement: ( They ask you). Who is asking? Related narratives
show that they were the Quraysh of Makkah, those who were coached to ask three questions
from the Holy Prophet. The purpose was to test his prophet-hood and veracity. The questions
were about Ruh (spirit), Ashab al-Kahf (People of Kahf) and Dhul-Qarnain. Two of these have
already been answered. The story of the People of Kahf has appeared earlier in this Surah, 9-26.
The question about 'Ruh' has appeared towards the later part of the previous Surah (Bani Isra'il).
Who was Dhul-Qarnain and what happened to him? This is the third question. (Al-Bahr alMuhit)
Dhul-Qarnain: His identity, period and country and the reason why he was so named
Why was he named Dhul-Qarnain? (the one having two horns) Regarding its reason, there are
numerous sayings, and strong differences. Some said that he had two curly locks of hair,
therefore, he
was called Dhul-Qarnain. Some others said that he ruled countries of the East and West,
therefore, he was named Dhul-Qarnain. There was someone who also said that he had marks on
his head that resembled those of horns. It appears in some narratives that he had wound marks on
both sides of his head, therefore, he was identified as Dhul-Qarnain. Allah knows best. But, this
much already stands determined that the Quran has certainly not given him the name of DhulQarnain. In fact, this name came from the Jews. He may have been known by this name with
them. Whatever part of the event of Dhul-Qarnain has been mentioned by the Holy Quran is no
more than what is described below:

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"He was a righteous and just king who reached the East and the West and conquered countries in
between and ruled there justly. All sorts of means had been provided to him by Allah Ta'ala in
order to help him achieve his objectives. On the route of his conquests, he traveled in three
directions: to the far West, to the far East and then to the mountain range in the North. At the last
mentioned place, he closed the pass in between two mountains by a wall cast in molten metal
which made it possible for the people of the area to stay protected against the pillage of Gog and
Magog."
As for the question posed by the Jews to test the veracity and prophet-hood of the Holy Prophet,
the answer given had left them satisfied. They did not ask any more questions, such as: Why was
he given the name, Dhul-Qarnain? Which country did he come from? What period of time did he
belong to? This tells us that the Jews themselves took such questions to be unnecessary and
redundant. And it is obvious that the Quran mentions only that part of history or stories which
relates to what is beneficial in the present life or in the life to come, or on which depends the
understanding of something necessary. Therefore, neither did the Quran take these things up nor
were there any details about it described in any authentic Hadith. And it was for the same reason
that the most righteous forbears of Islam, the Sahabah and the Tabi'in also paid no particular
attention to it.
Now the thing that remains to be addressed is this matter of historical narratives or that of the
present Torah and Injil. Then it is also evident that perennial interpolations and alterations have
not left even the present Torah and 1nj;l intact as revealed Scriptures. Their status can now be
that of history at the most. As for ancient historical narratives, they are overwhelmingly filled
with Isra'ili tales that come from no authentic source, nor have they been found trustworthy in
the sight of the learned of any time. Whatever the commentators have said in this matter is a
compendium of these very historical narratives. Therefore, there are countless differences in
them. Europeans have given great importance to history in modern times. No doubt, they have
carried out painstaking research in this field. Through archaeological excavations and collection
of inscriptions and artifacts, they have tried to reach the reality behind past events and in this
process, they have come up with achievements not matched in earlier times. But, archaeological
finds, inscriptions etc., can certainly help support an event but it is not possible to read a whole
event through these. For it, therefore, historical narratives alone have become the basis. As for
the validity of old historical narratives in these matters, we have just now learnt that their status
is no more than that of a story. In their books, scholars of Tafsir, classical or modern, have
reported these narratives in their historical status only no Quranic objective depends on the
element of their authenticity. Here too, that which is necessary is being written with the same
status in view. A comprehensive research relating to this event appears in 'Qasas al-Quran' by
Maulana Hifzur-Rahman (RA), re ders with a taste for history may see it there.
In some narratives, it appears that there have been four kings who ruled over the whole world two believers, and two, disbelievers. The believing kings are:
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1. Sayyidna Sulaiman (RA)
2. and Dhul-Qarnain

while the disbelieving ones are Nimrod (Namrud) and Nebuchadnezzar (Bukht Nassar).
About Dhul-Qarnain, it is a strange coincidence that several men have been famous in the world
while bearing the same name. And it is equally strange that the title Sikandar (Alexander) is also
attached with the Dhul-Qarnain of every period of time.
Approximately three hundred years before Sayyidna Masih (AS), there is a king known as
Sikandar (Alexander). He is identified with the appellations of the Greek, the Macedonian, the
Roman etc. He was the one who had Aristotle (Arastu) as his minister, who fought a war against
Darz (Darius) and who conquered his country after killing him. This was the very last person to
have become known in the world by the name Sikandar (Alexander). Stories relating to him are
comparatively more famous around the world, so some people have also equated him with the
Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Qurun. This is totally wrong because this person was a fireworshipping polytheist. As for the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned by the Quran, he may not be a
prophet for 'Ulama'have differed about his being a prophet. But, everyone unanimously agrees
thathe was a righteous believer - then, there is the textual authority of the Quran in its own right
which bears testimony to it.
Quoting Ibn 'Asakir, Hafiz Ibn Kathir (RA) s given his complete family tree in al-Bidayah wa anNihZyah which ascends to Sayyidn Ibraihim (AS) He has said, 'this is the Sikandar who is
recognized as the Greek, the Egyptian and the Macedonian, who founded the city of
Iskandariyah (Alexandria) after his name and the Roman calendar dates back to his time. This
Sikandar Dhul-Qarnain appeared after a long passage of time from the first one. This time has
been identified as being more than two thousand years. He was the one who killed Darz (Darius),
overpowered the Persian monarchy and conquered their country. But, this person was a
polytheist. Declaring him to be the one mentioned in the Quran is totally wrong. Ibn Kathir's
own words are being quoted below:
First of all, this research of Imam ibn Kathir, the great scholar of Hadith and history, helps
remove a misconception. It clarifies that this Iskandar, who lived three hundred years before
Sayyidna Masih (AS) who fought Darz (Darius) and the Persian kings, and who is the founder of
Alexandria, is not the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Quran. This misconception seems to have
affected some leading commentators as well. Abu Hayyan in al-Bahr al-Muhit and 'Allamah
'Alus in Ruh al-Ma'ani have said that this very Dhul-Qarnain is the one mentioned in the Quran.
The second point emerges from the sentence of Ibn Kathir: ( he was a prophet). It
shows that, in the sight of Ibn Kathir, the weightier opinion was that he was a prophet. Although,
according to the majority of scholars, the weightier opinion is what Ibn Kathir has himself
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reportedon the authority Abi al-Tufayl from Sayyidna 'Ali (RA) that he was neither a prophet nor
an angel, rather was a righteous believer. Therefore, some 'Ulama have explained it by saying
that the pronoun in: ( he was) reverts to Al-Khadir and not to Dhul-Qarnain - which is closer
in sense.
This leaves us with a problem. The Qur'an mentions Dhul-Qarnain. Who is he? Which period of
time did he belong to? Regarding this, sayings of 'Ulama' differ. According to Ibn Kathir, his
time was the time of Sayyidna Ibrahim (RA), two thousand years before the time of Alexander,
the Greek, the Macedonian. Al-Khadir was his minister. Ibn Kathir has also reported from the
early righteous elders in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah that Dhul-Qarnain went for Hajj traveling on
foot. When Sayyidna Ibrahim found out about his arrival, he went out of Makkah to greet him. It
is said that Sayyidna Ibrahim (AS) also prayed for him and passed out some good counsel to
him. (Al-Bidayah, p. 108, v. 3)
Tafsir Ibn Kathir reports from Adhraqi that he did Tawaf with Sayyidna Ibrahim and offered
sacrifice.
And Abu al-Raihan al-Bairuni has said in his book al-'Athar al-Baqiyah 'an al-Quran al-Khaliyah
that 'this Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Quran is Abu Bakr ibn Samma ibn 'Umar ibn Ifriqis alHimyari, the one who conquered the East and West of the Earth. Tubba' al-Himyari al-Yamani
has shown pride in his poetry that his grandfather, Dhul-Qarnain, was a believer. He says:
Dhul-Qarnain, my grandfather, was a believing Muslim
A king who conquered the non-believing Earth
He reached the Easts and the Wests seeking
Means of power from the noble Master.
Abu Hayyan has reported this narrative in al-Bahr al-Mubit. Ibn Kathir has also mentioned it in
al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah. Ibn Kathir adds that 'this Dhul-Qarnain is the first Tubba' (the title of
the kings of Yaman). He was among the Tababi'ah (plural of Tubba') of Yaman and this is the
same person who had ruled in favor of Sayyidna Ibrahim in the case of Bi'r Sab' (seven wells)' (al-Bidayah, p. 105, v. 2). In all these narratives, irrespective of the difference regarding the
elements of his identity, his time period has been identified as that of Sayyidnii Ibraim (AS)
As for the detailed discussion relating to Dhul-Qarnain provided by Maulana Hifzur-Rahman in
his book, Qasas al-Qur'an, it can be stated in a nutshell. It can be said that the Dhul-Qarnain
mentioned in the Qur'an is the king of Persia who is called Khorus by the Jews, Cyrus by the
Greeks, Gorush by the Persians and Kai-Khusro by the Arabs. His period is said to be the period
of Daniyal (Daniel) from among the prophets of Bani Isra'il - much later than the time of
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Sayyidna Ibrahim This brings it closer to the time of Iskandar al-Maqduni (Alexander, the
Macedonian), the killer of Darz (Darius). But, the learned Maulana like Ibn Kathir - has also
strongly maintained that Alexander, the Macedonian who had Aristotle as his minister cannot be
the Dhul-Qarnain. The former was a fire-worshipping polytheist while the later, a righteous
believer.
According to his research about the detailed description of Bani Isra'ail falling into wrongdoing
and rebellion twice, and of the respective punishment given to them twice, as in Surah Bani
Isra'il (al-'Isra'), the Quran says on the occasion of the first transgression of Bani Isra'il:

( We sent upon you some of Our servants having

strong aggressive power, who combed through the houses -17:5). Here, the men with 'strong
aggressive power' are Nebuchadnezzar and his supporting troops who killed forty thousand seventy thousand in some narratives - men from the Bani Isra'il in Baytul-Maqdis, while taking
more than one hundred thousand of them driven like a flock of sheep to his city of Babel. After
that, as regards the second statement ofthe Quran:
( Then We gave you
your turn to overpower them - 17:6),'this event transpired at the hands of the same king, KaiKhusraw (Khorus or Cyrus). He was a righteous believer. He confronted Nebuchadnezzar,
secured the release of Bani Isra'il held as captives by him and rehabilitated them back into
Palestine. He even went on to resettle and repopulate the city of Baytul-Maqdis that was
ransacked earlier to the limit that he managed to have all treasures and major effects of BaytulMaqdis carried away by Nebuchadnezzar from there returned back into the possession of Bani
Isra'il. Thus, this person proved to be the savior of Bani Isra'il (the Jews).
It is likely that of the questions the Jews of Madinah had set for the Quraysh of Makkah which
they would ask the Holy Prophet to test his prophethood, was this question about Dhul-Qarnain
and that it had an underlying reason. This question was special since the Jews took him to be
their savior and respected him.
In short, Maulana Hifzur-Rahman has collected a sufficiently large number of evidences from the
prophesies of the prophets of Bani Isra'il with reference to the present Old Testament as well as
from historical narratives to present his research on this subject. Anyone who finds it imperative
to proceed towards additional research may consult it. My purpose in reporting all these
narratives was simply to bring into focus sayings of leading Muslim scholars, historians and
commentators as they relate to the life and time of Dhul-Qarnain. To decide as to whose saying is
weightier and worthier out of these is not part of my objective. The reason is that things not
claimed by the Quran nor explained by
Hadith are things we have not been obligated to fix and clarify on our own for that responsibility
does not rest on our shoulders. Thus, whichever saying turns out to be regarded as more weighty,
worthy and sound, the aim of the Qur'an will stand achieved after all. Allah knows best.
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Let us look at the first verse cited above: ( I shall now recite to you a
narration about him - 83). It prompts us to find out as to why the Holy Qur'an has elected to
bypass the possible shorter expression of dhikrah; (his narrations) at this place and has
opted for two words: '(( minhu dhikra') (some narration about him)? A little reflection
would reveal that these two words have been used as indicators. They tell us that the Quran has
not promised to narrate the entire story of Dhul-Qarnain in its historical setting. Instead, it has
stated that it
will mention it in part. This is evident from the use of the particle: (min) and the nunnation
(tanwzn) of 'dhikra' - a distinct feature of Arabic grammar. As for the historical debate relating to
the name, lineage and time period of Dhul-Qarnain reported earlier, the Holy Quran has already
said in advance that it has skipped it as something unnecessary.
The word:
-' (sabab) used in: ( and provided for him a way to
everything - 84) is employed ik the Arabic lexicon to denote everything harnessed to achieve an
objective. It includes material instruments and resources as well as knowledge, insight and
experience etc. (al-Bahr al-Muhit). As for the expression: ( to everything), it means all
things needed by a ruler to run the state system. The sense of the verse is that Allah Ta'ala had
provided for the righteous king Dhul-Qarnain practically everything needed at that time in order
that he could maintain his just rule, establish universal peace and extend his area of influence to
other countries.
Verse 85: ( So he followed a way) means that - though, the material means related to
everything, even those that would facilitate his access to every region of the world - however, the
first thing he did was to use his means to travel in the direction of the West.
The statement in verse 86:
( until when he reached where the sun sets)
means that he reached the far limit towards the West beyond which there was no populated area.
The word: ( hami'ah) in the succeeding phrase: ( into a miry spring) literally
means dark marsh or mud carrying the sense of water beneath which there is dark mud and
which causes the water itself to appear black. As for the sense of his seeing the Sun setting into
such a spring, it means that an onlooker perceived it as setting into the spring because there was
no habitation or dry land in sight. This is like being in an open field while the Sun is setting
where as far as one can see there appears to be no mountain, tree, or structure, naturally one who
looks at the sight would feel that the Sun was sinking into the land mass.
Said in the sentence which follows immediately was: ( and found near it a
people), that is, near this dark spring, Dhul-Qarnain found a people. The later part of the verse
shows that these people were infidels. Therefore, as said in the next verses, Allah Taala gave
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Dhul-Qarnain the choice of punishing them right away for their infidelity. Or, if he so wished, he
could choose to deal with them benevolently by first asking them to consider the message of
faith and bring them round to embrace it through dissemination of information and good counsel.
After that, he could reward those who believe and punish those who do not. In response, DhulQarnain elected to go by the second option. He said that he would try to bring them to the
straight path through good counsel and advice. Then, he would punish those who stood by their
infidelity and reward those who believed and did what was good.
The statement: ( We said, '0 Dhul-Qarnain ...) shows that Allah Ta'ala has
himself said this addressing Dhul-Qarnain. Now, if Dhul-Qarnain is taken to be a prophet, there
is no problem here. It will mean that it was said to him through the medium of revelation. And if,
his prophethood is not to be recognized, there is only one way to rationalize the statement:
(qulna: We said) and the address: O Dhul-Qarnain). This way could be to take this
address to have been made to Dhul-Qarnain through the medium of some prophet - as suggested

by the reported presence of Al-Khadir with him. Then, it is also possible that this revelation is
just not the kind of waby that is peculiar to a prophet or messenger of Allah. May be, it is a waby
or revelation in the literal sense like the word: ( awhaina: We revealed or put into the heart)
used in the Quran for the mother of Sayyidna Musa (AS)- though, there is no probability of her
being a prophet or messenger of Allah. But, Abu Hayyan says in al-Bahr al-Muhit that the
command given here to Dhul-Qarnain is a command to punish and kill those people. No such
command can be given without the authority of a revelation to a prophet. This action cannot be
taken on the authority of Kashf (illumination) and Ilham (inspiration), nor can it be activated
through any other source without the authority of wahy (revelation) to a nabiyy (prophet). For
this reason, no probability other than the one being mentioned here is sound: Either DhulQarnain himself is taken to be a prophet, or that there may be a prophet present during his time
and it is through him that Dhul-Qarnain is addressed.
And Allah knows best.

The wall of Zulqarnain By Shaykh Ahmed Ali

The emergence of the mighty tribes of Ya'juj and Ma'juj is also a major sign of Qiyamah.
Allah says in the Qur'an, "When Ya'juj and Ma'juj are let loose (from their Barrier) and they
swiftly swarm from every mound" (Surah Al-Anbiya)

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Allah says in the Qur'an, " (Zulqarnain) said, 'This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the
promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it down (the barrier) to the ground. And the promise of
my Lord is ever true." (Surah Al-Kahf)
Zainab-b-Zahash says: "Once the Prophet awoke from such a sleep that his face was red and
these words were on his tongue, "There is none worthy of worship but Allah. Destruction is upon
the Arabs on account of that evil which has come close to them. Today a hole as big as this has
opened in the wall of Yajuj and Ma'juj. (The Prophet indicated the size of the hole with his finger
and thumb)" (Bukhari/Muslim)
In the lengthy Hadith of Nawwas-b-Saman it has been mentioned, "And Allah will send Yajuj
and Ma'juj and they will come from every lofty place." (Muslim)
Ya'juj Ma'juj and Zulqarnain

Many thousands of years ago the barbarous tribes of Yajuj and Ma'juj were imprisoned behind an
iron wall built by Zulqarnayn. Referred to in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Kahf. Zulqarnayn was a
Muslim Arab (fathul bari) who lived at the time of the Prophet Ibraheem and not Alexander the
Great as it is commonly known. From amongst one of the four that ruled the entire world (the
other three being Prophet Sulayman, Nimrod & Buktnasr) he was a pious and just king, provide
with all forms of strength through which he was able to carry his conquests and missions.
Once he carried a mission in three directions, the far west, far east, and then in a northerly
direction. Travelling first in the westerly direction, he conquered the lands he passed through
establishing the laws of Allah therein until he reached the setting of the sun. There he met people
that didn't believe in Allah. Given a choice of punishing them for their kufr or being lenient by
inviting them first to Islam; he chose the latter and addressed them, ''Those evil-doers who do
injustice to themselves by rejecting Allah will be punished by death in this world and the
hereafter, the fire of hell is their abode. As for those who accept the invitation and believe in
Allah they will be treated leniently and in the hereafter Jannah is their place of rest.''
After the journey towards the west he made preparation for the journey towards the east.
Conquering the lands he passed through, establishing he laws of Allah therein. He continued
travelling in the easterly direction until he reached the rising of the sun. In this area of the east he
saw a nation receiving the sunshine without any obstruction and they were dealt with like the
previous people in the west.
After the journey to the east he started his northern Journey, he kept on travelling until he
reached the midst of two mountains, it was here he came across a tribe who complained to him
about the tribes of Ya'juj and Ma'juj. Ya'juj and Ma'juj inhabited the land behind the mountains,
plundered them, committed bloodshed, and then ran away. Observing Zulqarnain's power they
asked to set a barrier in return for a wage for their protection from the disaster and bloodshed,
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which they often bore at the hands of Ya'juj Ma'juj. Refusing to accept any wealth he built an
iron wall with their help which Ya'juj Ma'juj could not cross or pierce. (Qurtubi/ Ibne-Kathir)
The wall of Zulqarnain

Many different opinions have been expressed as to the location of the iron wall of Zulqarnain.
Having read many books, the best on the subject I came across was Sheikh Hifzur-Rahman's
"Stories of the Qur'an" and thus have chosen to share a brief summary of what he has written.
He writes "The Yajuj Ma'juj caused destruction and blood- shed in a vast area, and because of
their oppression many barriers and walls were erected in different times and places by different
kings. Four being the most famous:
1. The Great Wall of China which was built by the Chinese King Fagfor 3460
years after Prophet Adam was put on the Earth
2. The wall in central Asia near Bukhara and Tirmidh in a place called Derbent.
3. The wall in Dagistan Russia also known as Derbent near the Caspian sea.
4. The wall which is in the westerly direction to the third in the region of the
Caucasus.

Because these walls were built for one purpose and are all situated in the North, it has always
been very difficult to determine exactly the wall built by Zulqarnain."
He further writes, "The biggest out of the four is the great wall of China and nobody is of the
opinion that this is the wall built by Zulqarnain as it is in the easterly direction while the Qur'an
indicates the wall of Zulqarnain is in the Northerly direction."
Thus leaving walls 2, 3, and 4.
He writes, "Historians like Masoodi, Istakhari and Hamawi are of the opinion that the wall of
Zulqamain is wall number 3 or 4. Those that have said it is wall number two have confused the
issue due to the location of Derbent which is near Bukhara and also in Degistan.''
He finally writes, ''Out of two, the historians are of the opinion that it is wall 3 or 4, the master of
hadith Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri in his book Aqeeda-tul-Islam holds the opinion that the
wall of Zulqarnain is wall number 4, the one in the region of Caucasus.' (Stories of the Qu'ran)
After this short summary I find myself inclined to Allama Aloosi's opinion I conclude with his
words, ''We do not know the location of this wall and it is very probable that great seas and
mountains stand between us and the wall, and between Ya'juj Ma'juj and the rest of the world.''

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Trying to break free

Abu Huraira (R.A.) narrated that every day Ya'juj Ma'juj try to break free through the wall of
Zulqarnain until they reach the end of it to the extent that they could actually see the light on the
other side. They then return home saying, ''We will break through tomorrow. '' However, Allah
causes the wall to revert to its original thickness and the next day they start all over again. This
process continues each day as long as Allah wills for them to remain imprisoned. When Allah
wishes for them to be released, then at the end of that day they will say, ''If Allah wills, we will
break through tomorrow.'' The next day they will find the wall as they left it the previous day and
after breaking through the rest they will escape. (Ahmed, Tirmidhi, Ibne Majah)
Note: Some ulama have written that this hadith is weak and has been taken from the Jews as it
contradicts with the verse from the Qur'an, ''They are not able to cross it or pierce it.'' ( Surah AlKahf)
However, if found that it is a Marfoo hadith, it still does not contradict the Qur'an as the Qur'an is
referring to the time Zulqarnain built the wall and secondly the word ''naqb'' means a complete
hole
through
which
they
are
able
to
break
free.
The great master of Hadith Ibne Hajr al-Askalani giving reference of Ibne Hibban and Abd- bHumaid has mentioned this Hadith and not raised any doubt or indicated that this hadith is not
Marfoo but positively mentioned that Ibne Arabi has said three miracles are evident from this
Hadith and then mentioned the three miracles:
1) It never occurs to these tribes that they must continue work throughout the night. After all,
they are in such large numbers that they can easily delegate the work amongst themselves and
work in shifts. However, Allah does not allow this thought to occur to them.
2) It does not occur to them that they can merely cross the mountain or scale the wall, which they
can do through the aid of equipment they possess in large numbers. According to a narration by
Wahb-b-Munabbah it is known that these tribes are agriculturists and artisans possessing various
types
of
equipment.
3) The thought of saying, "Insha-allah (if Allah wills)" never enters their minds and it will only
occur to them when Allah wills that they be released.(Fathul-Bari)
Myths

Many myths surround Ya'juj and Ma'juj. One being that the common people believe that Ya'juj
and Ma'juj are not human beings but some kind of third being. How interesting it may be to
believe that they are a third being, the reality is that they are human beings just like yourself and
I, constitute nine-tenths of mankind and are from the progeny of Prophet Nuh.
The Holy Prophet said, "Ya'juj and Ma'juj are the children of Prophet Adam and not one will die
until thousand are born to him.'' (Abdullah-b-Amr/Fathul-Bari).

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The Messenger of Allah said, "Allah divided mankind into ten parts. Nine tenths constitute Ya'juj
and Ma'juj while the remaining one tenth constitutes the rest of mankind." (Abdullah-bAmr/Fathul-Bari).
Hadrat Abu Saeed Khudri narrates that the Messenger of Allah said, "On the Day of Judgement,
Allah will tell Adamto pick out the Jahanamis from his progeny. Adam will ask, "O Allah, who
are they?" Allah will say,"999 out of 1000 are Jahanamis while the one is a Jannati." On hearing
this the Sahaba over taken by fear asked, "Who will the ONE Jannati be?" The Prophet replied,
"Do not grieve the 999 will be Yajuj Ma'juj while you will be the one Jannati." (Bukhari/Muslim)
A second myth is that people believe that Ya'juj and Ma'juj were created from Adam without Eve
(Hawa) on the basis of Ka'ab's narration, "They are from the children of Adam. That is Adam had
a wet dream, the semen intermingled with the earth and they were created from that Earth."
(Fathul-Bari)
It should be noted that this narration is very weak and objectionable as it is proven from many
Ahadith that the Prophets of Allah do not have wet dreams because the wet dream is from the
devil and the Prophets of Allah are protected from the devil.
Secondly there is a hadith which can be found in Fathul-Bari that clearly states that they are from
the progeny of Prophet Nuh. The Prophet Nuh was definitely from the children of Adam and
Eve.
Physical Appearance of Ya'juj and Ma'juj

There are many different narration's regarding their appearance. These different narration's
suggest that Yajuj and Ma'juj are of three types.
1. Some are as tall as the tree Arz - that is 120 ft.
2. Some are four arm lengths tall and four arm lengths wide.
3. Some spread one ear to sleep on and cover themselves with the other. Some
also state that they are two spans tall and the tallest amongst them are three
spans. (Fathul-Bari)

It should be noted that all the narration's above are weak and should not be taken. The authentic
Ahadith like the Hadith of Nawwas-b- Saman in Muslim suggests that they are very strong and
powerful people whom nobody has the power to fight. It has also been narrated that they have
wide faces, small eyes, grey hair and their faces are like shields covered with skin. (Musnad
Ahmad)

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Emergence of Ya'juj Ma'juj before Qiyamah

A short period after killing the Dajjal, Prophet Jesus will be informed of the release of Ya'juj and
Ma'juj. Obeying Allah's command He will take the Muslims to Mount Tur for their protection as
nobody will be able to kill the Ya'juj Ma'juj. Ya'juj and Ma'juj will come forth from every lofty
place causing destruction and bloodshed wherever they go. Their first batch will come to lake
Tiberias and drink all of its water. Their last batch will come to it and say, "There was once water
in this lake."
Marching on, carrying out pillage and murder to their left and right they will come to mount of
Khamr (a mountain in Jerusalem) and say, "We have killed the inhbitant of the Earth, let us now
kill the inhabitants of heaven." Thus they will shoot their arrows towards the sky. Allah will
return the arrows covered with blood and these fools will think they have killed those in the
heaven. Mean while Prophet Jesus and his companions will remain confined until the head of an
ox becomes more valuable than 100 gold coins. Prophet Jesus and his companions will pray for
their destruction. Allah, answering their prayer will send insects upon the necks of Ya'juj Ma'juj
and in the morning they will be found dead like one dead man. In the narration of Abu Saeed alKhudri which can be found in Tadkhira of Imam Qurtubi, it has been mentioned; the believers
not being able to hear their noise that morning will say "Will anybody sacrifice his life and see
what the situation is." Volunteering, a believer will come down the mountain thinking that he
will never return . However to his suprise he will find that they are all dead and he will shout,
"Good news! Your enemy has died,"
Prophet Jesus and his companions will come down but will find that the earth is full with their
stinking corpses. Yet again Prophet Jesus and his companions will turn to Allah and pray. Allah
will send birds with necks like the necks of Bactarian camels which will carry the corpses and
throw them where Allah wishes. Thereafter, Allah will send rain and the earth will be cleaned.
(Nawwas-b-Samaan/Muslim)

Sea of Galilee: Drying up!


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Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Ive been reading some on Dhul-Qarnayn on wikipedia, and it says
that passages in the Quran follow very closely to Alexanders
Romance.
Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic dh al-qarnayn [ulqarnajn]), literally
meaning "He of the Two Horns
Heres the full article:
Alexander in the Qur'an is a theory that holds that the character of
Dhul-Qarnayn, mentioned in the Qur'an, is in fact Alexander the
Great. The name Alexander itself is never mentioned in the Qur'an.
Dhul-Qarnayn (in Arabic ) is a figure who was well-known in
the lore of the early medieval dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula, and
is mentioned in the Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Islam. DhulQarnayn is regarded by some Muslims as a prophet. The Qur'an
indicates that the people (at least Jewish rabbis), during
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Muhammad's time, already knew tales of a person of great power by
the name of Dhul-Qarnayn.
It is almost universally held, among Western scholars, that the
character of Dhul-Qarnayn corresponds to Alexander the Great. The
reason for this is that the story of Dhul-Qarnayn as described in the
Qur'an follows very closely some passages of the Alexander
Romance, a thoroughly embellished compilation of Alexander's
exploits from Hellenistic and early Christian sources, which
underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity
and the Middle Ages. Historically, Muslim scholars have endorsed
the identification of Dhul-Qarnayn with the Alexander the Great,
although competing theories have been proposed, some recently
(see Dhul-Qarnayn for details). Orientalist scholars, studying ancient
Christian legends about Alexander the Great, independently came to
the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn is an ancient epithet for Alexander
the Great. As a result, the identity of Dhul-Qarnayn has become a
matter of great controversy in modern times.
Contents [hide]
1 Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an
1.1 Dhul-Qarnayn in early Islamic literature
2 Similarities to Alexander the Great
2.1 Historical background on religious Alexander legends
2.2 The two-horned one
2.3 The Caspian Gates
2.3.1 In the Qur'an
2.3.2 Early accounts of Alexander's Gates
2.3.3 In the Christian legends
2.4 Gog and Magog
2.4.1 In the Qur'an
2.4.2 In the Christian legends
2.5 The rising of the Sun from the fetid sea
2.5.1 In the Qur'an
2.5.2 In the Christian legends
2.6 Alexander's travels
3 Muslim veneration of Alexander the Great
4 Theological controversy
5 References
6 See also
7 External links

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[edit] Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an
Main article: Dhul-Qarnayn
Dhul-Qarnayn features prominently in the Qur'an, the sacred
scripture believed by Muslims to have been revealed by God to
Muhammad. The story of Dhul-Qarnayn appears in sixteen verses of
the Qur'an, specifically verses 18:83-98. Consult the Dhul-Qarnayn
page for more details.

[edit] Dhul-Qarnayn in early Islamic literature


12th century map by the Muslim scholar Al-Idrisi (South up). "Yajooj"
and "Majooj" (Gog and Magog) appear in Arabic script on the
bottom-left edge of the Eurasian landmass, enclosed within dark
mountains, at a location corresponding roughly to Mongolia. This is a
reference to the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an.The earliest
mention of Dhul-Qarnayn, outside the Qur'an, is found in the works
of the earliest Muslim historian and hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq, which
form the main corpus of the Sira literature. Ibn Ishaq's Sira reports
that the eighteenth chapter of the Qur'an (which includes the story
of Dhul-Qarnayn) was revealed to Muhammad by God on account of
some questions posed by the Jewish Rabbis residing in the city of
Medina - the verse was revealed during the Meccan period of
Muhammad's life. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's tribe, the
powerful Quraysh, were greatly concerned about their tribesman
who had started claiming prophethood and wished to consult Jewish
Rabbis about the matter. The Quraysh sent two men to the Jewish
Rabbis of Medina, reasoning that the Rabbis had superior knowledge
of the scriptures and about the prophets of God. The two Quraysh
men described their tribesman, Muhammad, to the Rabbis. The
Rabbis told the men to ask Muhammad three questions:
"They (the rabbis) said, `Ask him about three things which we will
tell you to ask, and if he answers them then he is a Prophet who has
been sent (by Allah); if he does not, then he is saying things that are
not true, in which case how you will deal with him will be up to you.
Ask him about some young men in ancient times, what was their
story? For theirs is a strange and wondrous tale. Ask him about a
man who travelled a great deal and reached the east and the west of
the earth. What was his story? And ask him about the Ruh (soul or
spirit) -- what is it? If he tells you about these things, then he is a
Prophet, so follow him, but if he does not tell you, then he is a man
who is making things up, so deal with him as you see fit.'" [2]
The famous story, in the Sira, goes that when Muhammad was
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informed of the three questions from the Rabbis, he declared that he
would have the answers in the morning. However, Muhammad did
not give the answer in the morning. For fifteen days, Muhammad did
not answer the question. Doubt in Muhammad began to grow
amongst the people of Mecca. Then, after fifteen days, Muhammad
received the revelation that is Surah Al-Kahf ("the Cave"), the
eighteenth chapter of the Qur'an. Surah Al-Kahf mentions the
"People of the Cave," a strange story about some young men in
ancient times who slept in a cave for many years. Surah Al-Kahf also
mentions the Ruh, or soul/spirit. Finally, the surah also mentions "a
man who travelled a great deal and reached the east and the west of
the earth" - namely, Dhul-Qarnayn.
Ibn Ishaq's original work is lost, but it has been almost completely
incorporated in Ibn Hisham, another early Muslim historian. Ibn
Hisham collected Ibn Ishaq's Sira and added his notes to it; in
regards to Dhul-Qarnayn, Ibn Hisham noted:
"Dhu al-Qarnain is Alexander the Greek, the king of Persia and
Greece, or the king of the east and the west, for because of this he
was called Dhul-Qarnayn [meaning, 'the two-horned one']..."
The theme, amongst Islamic scholars, of identifying Dhul-Qarnayn
with Alexander the Great appears to have originated here. Why Ibn
Hisham made this identification is not entirely clear. Aristotelian
Muslim philosophers, such as al-Farabi, Avicenna, and al-Kindi
enthusiastically embraced the concept of Dhul-Qarnayn being an
ancient Greek king. They stylized Dhul-Qarnayn as a Greek
philosopher-king.

[edit] Similarities to Alexander the Great


This article or section contains too many quotations for an
encyclopedic entry.
Please improve the article or discuss proposed changes on the talk
page.
You can edit the article to add more encyclopedic text or link the
article to a page of quotations, possibly one of the same name, on
Wikiquote. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for
further suggestions. (March 2008)
Orientalists, studying ancient Christian legends about Alexander the
Great, have come to conclude that the Qur'an's stories about DhulQarnayn closely parallel certain legends about Alexander the Great
found in ancient Hellenistic and Christian writings. There is some
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archeological evidence to identify the Arabic epithet "Dhul-Qarnayn"
with Alexander the Great. There is also a long history of
monotheistic religions coopting the historical Alexander. This leads
to the theologically controversial conclusion that these legends are
the source of the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an.
[edit] Historical background on religious Alexander legends
Alexander the Great was an immensely popular figure in the classical
and post-classical cultures of the Mediterranean and Near East.
Almost immediately after his death a body of legend began to
accumulate about his exploits and life which, over the centuries,
became increasingly fantastic as well as allegorical. Collectively this
tradition is called the Alexander Romance, and some recensions
feature such vivid episodes as Alexander ascending through the air
to Paradise or journeying to the bottom of the sea in a glass bubble.
As the Alexander Romance persisted in popularity over the
centuries, it was assumed by various neighboring peoples. Of
particular significance was its incorporation into Jewish and later
Christian legendary traditions. In the Jewish tradition Alexander was
initially a figure of satire, representing the vain or covetous ruler
who is ignorant of larger spiritual truths. Yet their belief in a just,
all-powerful God forced Jewish interpreters of the Alexander
tradition to come to terms with Alexander's undeniable temporal
success. Why would a just, all-powerful God show such favor to an
unrighteous ruler? This theological need, plus acculturation to
Hellenism, led to a more positive Jewish interpretation of the
Alexander legacy. In its most neutral form this was typified by
having Alexander show deference to either the Jewish people or the
symbols of their faith. In having the great conqueror thus
acknowledge the essential truth of the Jews' religious, intellectual,
or ethical traditions, the prestige of Alexander was harnessed to the
cause of Jewish ethnocentrism. Eventually Jewish writers would
almost completely co-opt Alexander, depicting him as a righteous
gentile or even a believing monotheist. The Christianized peoples of
the Near East, inheritors of both the Hellenic as well as Judaic
strands of the Alexander Romance, further theologized Alexander
until in some stories he was depicted as a saint. The Christian
legends turned the ancient Greek conqueror Alexander III into
Alexander "the Believing King", implying that he was a believer in
monotheism (contrary to known historical facts).[3]

[edit] The two-horned one


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Silver tetradrachm (ancient Greek coin) issued in the name of


Alexander the Great, depicting Alexander with the horns of Amon
(242/241 BC, posthumous issue)
Imitation silver tetradrachm issued in the name of the Arab chieftain
Abiel, minted at the site of Mleiha in southeastern Arabia around
200 BC. This coin is an imitation based on coin types of Alexander
the Great
As said before, the "Dhul-Qarnayn" literally means "the two-horned
one." Alexander the Great was often depicted as one possessing
horns, in particular the horns of Amon. Ancient Greek coins minted
in the name of Alexander the Great depict Alexander with the
distinctive horns of Amon on his head. [4] The influence of Alexander
the Great spread even to the coinage of ancient Arabia; in the late
2nd century BC, silver coins depicting Alexander with ram horns
were used as a principal coinage in Arabia and were issued by an
Arab ruler by the name of Abi'el who ruled in the south-eastern
region of the Arabian Peninsula[5]
The reason that Alexander the Great was depicted with the horns of
Amon in ancient Greek coinage is that in ancient Egypt Alexander
was received as the son of the ancient Egyptian god Amon, and the
god Amon was depicted as ram-headed. Alexander then styled
himself as the son of Amon; "He seems to have become convinced of
the reality of his own divinity and to have required its acceptance by
others ... The cities perforce complied, but often ironically: the
Spartan decree read, 'Since Alexander wishes to be a god, let him be
a god.'"[6]
In the Alexander Romance, a Christian legend has it that, in one of
his prayers to God, Alexander said, "O God ... Thou hast made me
horns upon my heads" and the translator adds in a footnote that in
the Ethiopic version of this legend, "Alexander is always referred to
as 'the two horned,'"[7] (p.146.)

[edit] The Caspian Gates


[edit] In the Qur'an
The Qur'an describes a story about Dhul-Qarnayn building a great
gate near the "rising place of the Sun," between two mountains, in
order to enclose the nations of Gog and Magog who "do great
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mischief in the earth." The relevant passages from Qur'an state:
"...when he [Dhul-Qarnayn] came to the rising of the sun, he found it
rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection
against the sun ... Then followed he (another) way. Until, when he
[Dhul-Qarnayn] reached (a tract) between two mountains. He found,
beneath them, a people who scarcely understood a word. They said:
"O Dhul-Qarnayn! The Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on
earth: Shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightiest
erect a barrier between us and them. He said: "(The power) in which
My Lord has established me is better (than tribute): Help me
therefore with strength (and labour): I will erect a strong barrier
between you and them: Bring me blocks of iron. At length when he
had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides, he
said, "Blow (with your bellows)". Then when he had made it (red) as
fire, he said: "Bring me, that I may pour over it molten lead." Thus
were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it." (Qur'an
18:90-98).
[edit] Early accounts of Alexander's Gates
The building of gates in the Caucasus Mountains by Alexander to
repel the barbarian peoples identified with Gog and Magog has
ancient provenance. The 1st century A.D. Jewish historian Flavius
Josephus mentions that "a nation of the Alans, whom we have
previously mentioned elsewhere as being Scythians," travelled
through "a passage which King Alexander [the Great] shut up with
iron gates".[8] Josephus also records that the people of Magog, the
Magogites, were synonymous with the Scythians.[9] According to R.
A. Anderson,[10] this merely indicates that the main elements of the
story were already in place six centuries before the Qur'an's
revelation, not that the story itself was known in the cohesive form
apparent in the Qur'anic account. Similarly, Saint Jerome's Letter 77
mentions that "the hordes of the Huns had poured forth all the way
from Maeotis (they had their haunts between the icy Tanais and the
rude Massagetae, where the gates of Alexander keep back the wild
peoples behind the Caucasus)".[11] In his Commentary on Ezekiel
(38:2), Jerome identifies the nations located beyond the Caucasus
and near Lake Maeotis as Gog and Magog.

[edit] In the Christian legends


Christian legends speak of the Caspian Gates, also known as
Alexander's wall, built by Alexander the Great to enclose the Gog
and Magog hordes. Several variations of the legend can be found. In
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the story, Alexander the Great built a gate of iron between two
mountains, at the end of the Earth, to prevent the armies of Gog and
Magog from ravaging the plains. This Alexander legend bears a
remarkable resemblance to the Qur'anic story of Dhul-Qarnayn. An
historian notes that:
"The episode of the building of the gate against Gog and Magog is
found in the Christian legend of Alexander, and in the poetic version
of Jacob of Serugh that was written not later than AD 521. The Koran
was written over a century after this version."[12] (p. 201).
A Syriac version of the Christian legend describes an apocryphal
letter from Alexander to his mother, wherein he writes:
"I petitioned the exalted Deity, and he heard my prayer. And the
exalted Deity commanded the two mountains and they moved and
approached each other to a distance of twelve ells, and there I made
.... copper gates 12 ells broad, and 60 ells high, and smeared them
over within and without with ... so that neither fire nor iron, nor any
other means should be able to loosen the copper; since fire was put
out against it, and iron was shattered. Within these gates, I made
another construction of stones, each of which was eleven ells broad,
20 ells high, and 60 ells thick. And having done this I finished the
construction by putting mixed tin and lead over the stones, and
smearing .... over the whole, so that no one might be able to do
anything against the gates. I called them the Caspian Gates. Twenty
and two Kings did I shut up therein."[13](pp.177-178).
Several historical figures have searched for Alexander's Gate, and
legends about the gate itself grew;
"The gate itself had wandered from the Caspian Gates to the pass of
Dariel, from the pass of Dariel to the pass of Derbend, as well as to
the far north; nay, it had travelled even as far as remote eastern or
north-eastern Asia, gathering in strength and increasing in size as it
went, and actually carrying the mountains of Caspia with it. Then, as
the full light of modern day come on, the Alexander Romance ceased
to be regarded as history, and with it Alexander's Gate passed into
the realm of fairyland."[14] (pp.103-104).
[edit] Gog and Magog
T-O map of the world by Saint Isidore of Seville, (570-636 CE) from
Etymologies. This was also the first printed map in Europe[1].
[edit] In the Qur'an
In the Qur'an, Dhul-Qarnayn encloses the Gog and Magog hoard
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behind a mighty gate between two mountains, preventing the Gog
and Magog from invading the Earth. The Qur'an also explains that in
the end times, Gog and Magog will destroy this gate, allowing them
to hoard to ravage the Earth;
"Thus were they [Gog and Magog] were made powerless to scale it
or to dig through it [the gate]. He said this is a mercy from my Lord.
But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will make it into
dust. And the promise of my Lord is true ..." (Qur'an 18:98) and
"...Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (the gate), and
they swiftly swarm from every height (or advantage). Then will the
True Promise draw nigh (of fulfilment). Then behold! The eyes of the
Unbelievers will fixedly Stare in horror ..." (Qur'an 21:96-97)
[edit] In the Christian legends
In the Syriac version of the Christian legends, Alexander the Great
encloses the Gog and Magog hoard behind a mighty gate between
two mountains, preventing the Gog and Magog from invading the
Earth. In addition, it is written in the Christian legend that in the end
times God will cause the Gate of Gog and Magog to be destroyed,
allowing the Gog and Magog hoard to ravage the Earth;
"The Lord spake by the hand of the angel, [saying] ...The gate of the
north shall be opened on the day of the end of the world, and on
that day shall evil go forth on the wicked ... The earth shall quake
and this door [gate] which thou [Alexander] hast made be opened ...
and anger with fierce wrath shall rise up on mankind and the
earth ... shall be laid waste ... And the nations that is within this
gate shall be roused up, and also the host of Agog and the peoples
of Magog shall be gathered together. These peoples, the fiercest of
all creatures."[15]
In order to understand the legend of the Caspian Gates, that is in
order to understand how a single gate between two mountains could
prevent the Gog and Magog hoard from invading the world, one
must understand that the Christian legend was written in a time
when most people believed that the flat Earth is true. The Earth was
described as being flat and surrounded by great mountains, and
these mountains were in turn surrounded by some land followed by
a treacherous, fetid ocean sea. It is this tract of land between the
mountains and the ocean sea that Alexander enclosed Gog and
Magog, so that they could not cross the mountains and invade the
Earth. The legend describes "the old wise men" explaining this
geography and cosmology of the Earth to Alexander, and then
Alexander subsequently setting out to enclose Gog and Magog
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behind a mighty gate between a narrow passage at the end of the
flat Earth:
"The old men say, "Look, my lord the king, and see a wonder, this
mountain which God has set as a great boundary." King Alexander
the son of Philip said, "How far is the extent of this mountain?" The
old men say, "Beyond India it extends in its appearance." The king
said, "How far does this side come?" The old men say, "Unto all the
end of the earth." And wonder seized the great king at the council of
the old men ... And he had it in his mind to make there a great gate.
His mind was full of spiritual thoughts, while taking advice from the
old men, the dwellers in the land. He looked at the mountain which
encircled the whole world ... The king said, "Where have the hosts
[of Gog and Magog] come forth to plunder the land and all the world
from of old?" They show him a place in the middle of the mountains,
a narrow pass which had been constructed by God ..."[16] (pp.177178).
[edit] The rising of the Sun from the fetid sea
Rendition of Homer's view of the world (prior to 900 BC). The
Homeric conception of the world involved a flat, circular Earth,
surrounded by mountains. The mountains are, in turn, surrounded
by Oceanus. The Sun emerges from underneath the Earth, traveling
along the fixed dome of the sky, and is shown rising from Oceanus.
[edit] In the Qur'an
A peculiar aspect of the story about Dhul-Qarnayn, in the Qur'an, is
that it describes Dhul-Qarnayn travelling to the "the rising place of
the Sun" and the "setting place of the Sun." Dhul-Qarnayn also finds
a people living by the "rising place of the Sun," and explains that
these people have no shelter from the Sun:
"Then he [Dhul-Qarnayn] followed a way until, when he reached the
rising of the Sun, he found it rising upon a people for whom We had
not appointed any veil to shade them from it ... " (Qur'an 18:89-90).
The Qur'an also describes Dhul-Qarnayn travelling to the place
where the sun sets into a murky spring:
"... Until when he [Dhul-Qarnayn] reached the setting of the Sun, he
found it set in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a People ..."
(Qur'an 18:86)
It may not be clear what these verses refer to. Ancient Muslim
exegeses of the Qur'an, known as the tafsir (such as the tafsirs of
Jalalan, Baidawi, Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir, and Al-Tabari) understood
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these verses of the Qur'an to be literal descriptions of a cosmology
of the universe wherein the Earth is flat and wherein the Sun rises
and sets into a sea that is surrounding the flat Earth [17]. The
canonical hadith literature also contains a passage that may easily
be misconstrued as implying a similar cosmology - until one realises
that in all Islamic theology the 'throne' is a metaphysical entity in
the 'ghayb' (the 'unseen', spiritual world) meaning that the sun's
prostration refers to a spiritual parallel, not its physical orbiting
reality. However, as shall be seen, this passage is similar to one
found in the Christian legends about Alexander:
Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked me at
sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I
replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e.
travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the
permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will
come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will
not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it
will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has
come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of
the Statement of Allah: "And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term
(decreed). that is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The AllKnowing." (36.38)'"[18]
Modern scholars such as Dr. Zaghlool Al-Najjar agree now that the
word "balagha" does not literally mean that Alexander came to the
setting of the sun. In Arabic the word "balagha" is commonly used in
reference to anything in the sky above to indicate time of day. In
other and subsequent verses the Quran uses the word "adraka" or
"yudrik" to mean a literal arrival. The word "taghrubu" is derived
from "ghuroob", which means to go away, "gharb" meaning to go
west. The word "aayn" can mean any body of water. It is most likely
that the "dark" or "murky" waters refer to the Black Drin, an outlet
of water near the town of Ochrida. As a youth, Alexander would have
conquered this land near the ancient town of Lychnis (modern day
Ochrida) and had to decide the fate of the natives, or the People
referred in the verse.

[edit] In the Christian legends


Perhaps unsurprisingly, an almost identical discourse is found in the
Syriac Christian legends about Alexander the Great. The Christian
legend about Alexander explains that when the Sun sets into the
fetid sea, it enters into heaven and immediately bows down in
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obedience to God, In the legend, Alexander travels to the fetid sea
at the end of the Earth. As mentioned the previous subsection, this
legend was understood from a flat Earth point of view. The legend
explained that "the old, wise men" told Alexander that at the ends of
the flat Earth is a sea in which the Sun rises from the west and in
which the Sun sets in the east. The waters of this sea were imagined
as being fetid place and intensely hot from the heat of the Sun when
it rose from the waters. Upon hearing about this cosmology from the
wise men, the legendary Alexander sets out to the end of the flat
Earth and witnesses the Sun rising from the fetid sea. According to
the Christian legend, at this place, where the Sun rises out of a
terrible sea, Alexander found a people who have no shelter from the
Sun which is literally rising out of an intensely hot sea;
" The place of his [the Sun's] rising is over the sea, and the people
who dwell there, when he is about to rise, flee away and hide
themselves in the sea, that they be not burnt by his rays; and he
passes through the midst of heaven to the place where he enters the
window of heaven; and wherever he passes there are terrible
mountains, and those who dwell there have caves hollowed out in
the rocks, and as soon as they see the Sun passing [over them], men
and birds flee away from before him and hide in the caves ... And
when the Sun enters the window of heaven, he [it] straight away
bows down and makes obeisance before God his Creator; and he
travels and descends the whole night through the heavens, until at
length he finds himself where he [the Sun] rises ... So the whole
camp mounted, and Alexander and his troops went up between the
fetid sea and the bright sea to the place where the Sun enters the
window of heaven; for the Sun is the servant of the Lord, and
neither by night nor by day does he cease from his travelling."[19]
(p.148.)
[edit] Alexander's travels
Map of Alexander's empire. Alexander never marched far west of his
native Macedon, and his advances eastward ended at the fringes of
India.The Qur'anic and Christian legendary accounts both have it
that Alexander the Great travelled to the ends of the Earth, in
particular to the place on the Earth where the Sun sets (the west)
and the place on the Earth where the Sun rises (the east). This
allegory served the legendary accounts to convey the theme of
Alexander's great exploits as a conqueror. In the context of the flat
Earth, travelling to the places of the setting and rising of the Sun
would imply having travelled across the entire world. However, many
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modern Muslims insist that the Qur'an's descriptions of DhulQarnayn travels are just allegorical references to Alexander's travels
towards the east and the west, and do not imply Dhul-Qarnayn
travelled to the ends of the flat Earth. Naturally, the stories about
Alexander's travels to the eastern and western extents of the world
are a legendary tradition, which built up over centuries throughout
the lands conquered by Alexander and beyond, after his death.

[edit] Muslim veneration of Alexander the Great


15th century Persian miniature painting from Herat depicting
Iskander, the Persian name for Alexander the GreatAs it has been
noted, the early Muslim scholars generally identified the DhulQarnayn of the Qur'an with Alexander the Great. In the centuries
that followed, Dhul-Qarnayn was often thought of by Muslims as a
Prophet of Islam. Early Islamic civilization would produce its own
legendary traditions about Alexander the Great, particularly in
Persia.
With the Muslim-Arab conquest of Persia, the Alexander Romance
found its way to an honored place in Persian literaturean ironic
outcome considering pre-Islamic Persia's hostility to the national
enemy who not only destroyed the glorious Achaemenid Empire, but
was also directly responsible for centuries of Persian domination by
Hellenistic foreign rulers. Islamic Persian accounts of the Alexander
legend, known as the Iskandarnamah, combined the PseudoCallisthenes material about Alexander, some of which is found in the
Qur'an, with Sasanid Persian ideas about Alexander the Great.
Persian sources on the Alexander legend devised a mythical
genealogy for him whereby his mother was a concubine of Darius II,
making him the half-brother of the last Achaemenid shah, Darius III,
in a move to "appropriate" themselves of Alexander. By the 12th
century such important writers as Nezami Ganjavi were making him
the subject of their epic poems, and holding him up as the model of
the ideal statesman or philosopher-king, an idea adopted from the
Greeks and elaborated on by Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi. The
Muslim traditions also elaborated the legend that Alexander the
Great had been the companion of Aristotle and the direct student of
Plato.

[edit] Theological controversy


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Though many Muslim scholars have traditionally identified DhulQarnayn with Alexander the Great, this identification has today
become subject among Muslim scholars of numerous attacks.
[citation needed] Most of the factual details of the Alexander
Romance, as those that appear to be included in the Qur'an
(Alexander's fantastic deeds as well as his implied monotheism),
have little or no basis in historical fact; and if Dhul-Qarnayn is
Alexander, this confusion between fact and legend could possibly be
a source of embarrassment to some Muslim scholars, even if not to
all.
The historical personality of Alexander the Great was co-opted by
the legendary traditions of both Judaism and Christianity, which
chose to portray Alexander as "the Believing King" a devout
monotheist. It was in this Judeo-Christian context that the legends of
Alexander the Great reached the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, it is not
difficult to understand how the pagan Alexander may have ended in
the Tafsir of the Qur'an to be an Islamic Prophet.
The belief that the Qur'an contains passages derived from pagan
folklore, rather than its own internal epistemological standard that
itself establishes the legitimacy of similar texts, has led some to
judge the Dhul-Qarnayn story a serious theological problem. Ancient
Muslim scholars of Islam were unaware of such theological
controversies, but even in modern times, some influential
mainstream Muslims (such as Yusuf Ali) have endorsed the
traditional Islamic view which identified Dhul-Qarnayn with
Alexander the Great, judging the theological problems that could be
posed surmountable. Most secular scholars studying Islam have
been concord in their view that there is strong evidence supporting
the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn is none other than Alexander the
Great. However, belief in the infallibility of the Qur'an has made this
position untenable in the opinions of many modern Muslim scholars.
Some Muslims take the position that nothing about the identity of
Dhul-Qarnayn is known except what is stated in the Qur'an (in other
words, they assert that there is no evidence linking the identity of
Dhul-Qarnayn to a historical person)[20]. Other Muslim scholars,
such as Maududi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, have suggested that
Dhul-Qarnayn is Cyrus the Great and not Alexander the Great,
though this theory has been proposed only recently and is not much
considered by non-Islamic scholars, mostly due to the fact that any
Persian nobles contemporaneous to Alexander the Great, and
especially Cyrus, would have practiced Zurvanism, thus disqualifying
them as monotheistic "Believing Kings". Other Muslims have
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suggested that Dhul-Qarnayn is the mysterious Tubba' of Yemen or
the pharaoh Narmer[21].
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_in_the_Qur%27an
I thought Alexander was a homosexual, and a polythiest????
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2. 23-10-08, 10:42 PM #2
the_middle_road

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
We can't say for sure who Dhul Qarnayn was. And does it really
matter for us to know that?
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"And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way."
(al-Baqarah: 143)

Allahumma innaa na'udhu bika min an nushrika bika shai-an


na'lamuh; wa nastaghfiruka limaa laa na'lam.
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3. 24-10-08, 04:22 AM #3
Strict2TheSunna
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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Alexander had gays and alcoholics in his army doesnt sound like dhul
qarnayn to me
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4. 24-10-08, 09:35 AM #4
Paris

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by Strict2TheSunna
Alexander had gays and alcoholics in his army doesnt sound like dhul
qarnayn to me
....Dhul Qarnayn was a righteous man....
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5. 24-10-08, 10:17 AM #5
Ilias

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
According to the Israiliyyat narrations, Dhul Qarnain (alaihi salam)
best corresponds to a Persian conquerer known as Cyrus, who
appeared in a dream of Hazrat Danyal (alaihi salam) as a goat with
two horns (hence Dhul Qarnain). The story behind this is that the
Jews of Madinah wanted to know whether Aan Hazrat
was a true prophet or not, so they asked him to describe the story of
Dhul Qarnain which he would only be able to do if Allah revealed the
story to him, which He did in Surah al Kahf.
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6. 24-10-08, 10:51 AM #6
Soliloquy

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by the_middle_road
We can't say for sure who Dhul Qarnayn was. And does it really
matter for us to know that?
Plus, many Scholars say that to actually say Dhul-Qarnayn was
Alexander the Great, should be avoided. Many actually are stronger
with what they voice, than that.
And the underlined is spot on.

Ya Muqallib al-Quloob, thabbit qalbi 'alaa Deenik


O' Converter of Hearts, make my heart steadfast upon Thy Way

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is
when men are afraid of the light.
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7. 24-10-08, 11:19 AM #7
Morris
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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
The only historical event connecting Alexander the Great with the
Jews is his visit to Jerusalem, which is recorded by Josephus in a
somewhat fantastic manner.

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According to "Ant." xi. 8, 4-6, Alexander went to Jerusalem after
having taken Gaza. Jaddua, the high priest, had a warning from God
received in a dream, in which he saw himself vested in a purple
robe, with his miterthat had the golden plate on which the name of
God was engravedon his head. Accordingly he went to meet
Alexander at Sapha ("View" [of the Temple]). Followed by the
priests, all clothed in fine linen, and by a multitude of citizens,
Jaddua awaited the coming of the king. When Alexander saw the
high priest, he reverenced God (Lev. R. xiii., end), and saluted
Jaddua; while the Jews with one voice greeted Alexander.
When Parmenio, the general, gave expression to the army's surprise
at Alexander's extraordinary actthat one who ought to be adored
by all as king should adore the high priest of the JewsAlexander
replied: "I did not adore him, but the God who hath honored him
with this high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in
this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was
considering with myself how I might obtain dominion of Asia,
exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea,
promising that he would conduct my army, and would give me the
dominion over the Persians."
Alexander then gave the high priest his right hand, and went into
the Temple and "offered sacrifice to God according to the high
priest's direction," treating the whole priesthood magnificently. "And
when the Book of Daniel was shown him [see Dan. vii. 6, viii. 5-8, 2022, xi. 3-4], wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks [] should
destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that he was the
person intended, and rejoiced thereat. The following day Alexander
asked the people what favors he should grant them; and, at the high
priest's request, he accorded them the right to livein full enjoyment
of the laws of their forefathers. He, furthermore, exempted them
from the payment of tribute in the seventh year of release.
To the Jews of Babylonia and Media also he granted like privileges;
and to the Jews who were willing to enlist in his army he promised
the right to live in accordance with their ancestral laws. Afterward
the Samaritans, having learned of the favors granted the Jews by
Alexander, asked for similar privileges; but Alexander declined to
accede to their request.

The historical character of this account is, however, doubted by


many scholars (see Pauly-Wissowa, "Realencyklopdie," i. col. 1422).
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Although, according to Josephus ("Contra Ap." ii. 4, quoting
Hecatus), Alexander permitted the Jews to hold the country of
Samaria free from tribute as a reward for their fidelity to him, it was
he who Hellenized its capital (Schrer, "Gesch." ii. 108). The Sibylline
Books (iii. 383) speak of Alexanderwho claimed to be the son of
Zeus Amonas "of the progeny of the Kronides, though spurious." K.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/vi...r=A&artid=1120
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8. 25-10-08, 02:12 PM #8
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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Volker Popp, in his "Von Ugarit nach Samarra", (contained in KarlHeinz Ohlig, "Der frhe Islam. Eine historisch-kritische
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Rekonstruktion anhand zeitgenssischer Quellen"
http://www.amazon.de/Islam-historisc...4943496&sr=8-1
points to the impressive similarities not only between the story of
Dhul Qarnain in the Quran and the so-called "Alexander Romance",
but also to the similarities with the Northern-Syriac "AlexanderLegend".
This early 7th Century Syriac text presents the Byzantine Emperor
Heraclius, after his victory over the Sassanids, as "the new
Alexander", and Popp concludes that the Quranic Dhul-Qarnain
actually is inspired by Heraclius.
Last edited by ievgenij; 25-10-08 at 02:16 PM.
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9. 25-10-08, 02:50 PM #9
usman3

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by Ilias
According to the Israiliyyat narrations, Dhul Qarnain (alaihi salam)
best corresponds to a Persian conquerer known as Cyrus, who
appeared in a dream of Hazrat Danyal (alaihi salam) as a goat with
two horns (hence Dhul Qarnain). The story behind this is that the
Jews of Madinah wanted to know whether Aan Hazrat
was a true prophet or not, so they asked him to describe the story of
Dhul Qarnain which he would only be able to do if Allah revealed the
story to him, which He did in Surah al Kahf.
I agree with you here.
In my opinion and that of many others Dhul-Qarnain was none other
than Cyrus the Great.
He was a Monotheist, a Righteous King and a Conqueror.
Alexander the Macedonian by contrast was a pagan conqueror and
by some reports a homosexual.
Its also very interesting that Cyrus and Alexander lived in the same
era, hence the confusion. In fact Cyrus's kingdom passed to Darius,
and then to Alexander.
Furthermore Cyrus ventured into and subdued parts of Central Asia
(Hajuj and Majuj) where as Alexander never did.
In short there is almost nothing to show that Alexaner the Great
could be Dhul-Qurnain of the Quran while there is quite alot to show
that Cyrus qualifies.
and Allah (swt) knows best.
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10.

07-04-10, 10:20 PM #10

rm322
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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Can you please send me the references to your interesting article
(rmfcapgras256@gmail.com). Thanks
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11.

16-07-10, 10:41 PM #11

Muawiyah1

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
it is possible that Alexander the great was a righteous, monotheist
and a just king. The accounts of the book,Alexander's romance, is
actually a recession from Callisthenes' original compilation, who was
Alexander's main historian and physically attended his expeditions
into asia. Alexander's romance did witness transformations over
time, but one of the main elements the recurr in its different
editions (whether syriac, ethopic etc.) describe this macedonian
king as person of righteoueness, a monotheist who sought God's
closeness, and a saintly figure who was aided with Divine help, and
whose concern was to bring peace, justice, and prosperity to those
whom he conquered.
it should be known that Allah swt, says in His book, the Quran, that
He doesnt cause reform/islah from the deeds of
mufsidun/corrupters, and that the evil plotter, his evil plot comes
back to him, and that Allah swt doesnt grant success to those who
oppress, and so in the light of these facts, Alexander has to be
someone pious, God-fearing and righteous, who was granted one
success after the other, who was established on the earth, and
whose name, legacy and praise has been mentioned across
centuries, cultures, and generations.
Also the Jews have narration in their talmud and other sources that
Alexander held the city of Jerusalem, its temple , and its people in
much esteem and respect.
There is one narration that speaks of him before arriving to
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Jerusalem, of him telling the priests in the temple that he is coming
to the city in the name of their God, and that the Prophet of Allah
Jeremiah alihyesalam met with him and blessed him, and when
Alexander saw Jeremiah, he was astonished to see him, as before
that he appeared to Alexander in his dream.. and that the priests of
Temple prayed for his victory way before Alexander even arrived to
Jerusalem, and of Alexander affirming to Bani Israel that their God is
the true God ..and this is the same the temple where latter in
history Prophet zakariya peace be upon him, was one of its
respected figures, and Mariam (as) was given a place for worship
it should be known that the accounts the describe Alexander as a
polytheist are not eye witness accounts, unlike of those of
Callisthenes , rather they come from what some other latter Greek
historians such as Arrian, who live centuries after Alexander, had
narrated based on very obscure sources
likewise there is no proof, nor eye witness account of Alexander
being gay or a drunkard.
It was a cultural habit of certain Greek historians to describe foreign
lands, their beliefs, ways and customs, from an ethnocentric
prespective, seeing them from a Greek lense.
So for example the indian 'god' krishna who was worshipped in a
certain far away ancient town in India, was described/identified by
Megasthenes ( a Greek historian ) as the greek 'god' Heraclius being
worshipped by those Indians, or that certain Egyptian dieties being
described as the same as Zeus, and Apollo etc.
They even used to describe people with foriegn names, of non-Greek
nations, with their names translated in greek, or ioanized to sound
Greek. Names of Persian kings like "Khashayar", and "Daraa"
became "Xerxes" and "Darius", etc.
even whole country names were ioanized by them, such as "persis"
for "Fars", etc.
so it is possible that when Alexander worshipped the one God, or
when he described His different names and attributes, or offered
scarifice to Him, the latter Greek historians described that as if he
was worshipping Zeus or Heraclius.
Most of the Muslim scholars held that Alexander is Dhul Qarnayn,
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one such was Ibn Ishaq, who was the first one to compile the
Prophet sallahu alihye wasalam's seerah and Ibn Hisham who latter
compiled ibn ishaq's seerah in his own work. During the time of the
Prophet sallahu alihye wasalam,The Jews of Madina, and also the
Christians of Syria, based on the Alexander romances, used to see
him as the Dhul Qarnayn and also the builder of the wall against
yajjuj majuj, it was from this cultural context that the Jewish rabbis
posed their question to the Quraish delegation for the Prophet
sallahu alihye wasalam.
it should be known that Alexander's image as that of a polytheist,
drunkard, etc. was first propagated en mass and given reliability
during the "enlightment era" in Europe, based on the work of the
Greek historian Arrian, that came to light at that time, with Arrian
being a historian two century appart from Alexander, and whose
work itself faced many criticism placing the reliability of his
accounts into question.
for more click here :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrian
Last edited by Muawiyah1; 16-07-10 at 11:04 PM.
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12.

16-07-10, 10:55 PM #12

Muawiyah1

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
another possibility that Alexander could have been Dhul Qarnayn
instead of Cyrus, was the size of his empire, he held more territory
than Cyrus, in fact his empire stretched from egypt and libya in the
west, till the wild tribal lands of central asia in the east. Egypt was
the last urbanized/developed society in the ancient west at that
time, and was never conquered by Cyrus in the westward expansion
of his empire, and in fact Cyrus lost his life in tribal lands of central
asia and faced defeated there never managing to bring these realms
of the east under his full rule, whereas Alexander not only
conquered them, but founded several developed cities there like
Alexandria of the Oxus ( Ai-Khannum) and Alexandria Eschate in the
Ferghana valley.
Also Allah swt mentions in the Quran about the Dhul Qarnayn, that
he started until he reached the sitting of the sun (westward
direction), and it was place of murky sea, and then from there he
headed eastwards ( from where the sun rises), until he reached a
people whom Allah didnt grant protection from the sun.
if one looks at the expeditions of Alexander then he started from
Greece, reaching the Meditterranian sea, which is in the west, and
which is murky, and from there he set forth to the east, to the lands
of where today stands afghanistan, and central asia, and where the
sun shines/comes out so bright, because of which even in the old
local and ancient persian terminologies, those lands where refered
as "khurasan", or the land from where the sun rises.
Last edited by Muawiyah1; 16-07-10 at 11:10 PM.
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23-10-10, 06:42 AM #13

Mashiyah

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
There's another possibility. Dhul Qarnayn could very well be a
reference to Habel (RA).

Check the Wikipedia article again.


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23-10-10, 07:09 AM #14

*asiya*
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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Ruling on reading the books of Ahl al-Kitaab and debating with them
on the internet
My worry is the propogation of false notions about quran by some
christians through internet.i even sent a mail to the so called muslim
to christians about their fabricated stories.i want to know what
should be our response regarding alkexander the great whom they
say according to history died young at 33 and in koran it states that
he died at a ripe old age.
Praise be to Allaah.
It is not permissible to read the specious arguments that the
Christians propagate on the internet or via other media, or to
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engage with them in religious disputes and debates, except for
those who are qualified to do so, who have proof and evidence and
who know how to present arguments. A number of scholars have
stated that it is haraam to look at any of the books of the People of
the Book, except for those who have deep knowledge, because we
are commanded neither to believe nor disbelieve what they tell us
about stories that are not present in our religion. There is no
guarantee that the ordinary person who has no knowledge will not
end up believing in falsehood and rejecting the truth. Moreover, man
is weak and specious arguments may take root in the heart and it
may be difficult to get rid of them. The following fatwa was issued
by the Standing Committee:
A great deal of distortion, addition and subtraction has befallen the
previous divinely-revealed scriptures, as Allaah has stated, so it is
not permissible for a Muslim to read them and study them, unless he
is one who has deep knowledge and is seeking to explain the
distortions and contradictions therein. (3/311).
So whatever Christian books have come to you, you must hasten to
get rid of them.
With regard to what you say about Alexander the Great, this is a
specious argument which is indicative of the stupidity and ignorance
of the Christians. We may respond to that from several angles, as
follows:
1 There is no mention in the Quraan of how long Dhul-Qarnayn
(Alexander) lived, or of the era in which he lived.
2 Dhul-Qarnayn who is mentioned in the Quraan is not Alexander
the Macedonian or Greek who built Alexandria. This Alexander is the
one who died at the age of 33, as mentioned in the Christian books.
He lived 323 years before the birth of the Messiah (peace be upon
him).
Dhul-Qarnayn who is mentioned in the Quraan lived at the time of
Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), and it is said that he became
Muslim at the hands of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), and he went
on pilgrimage to the Kabah walking. The scholars differed
concerning him, as to whether he was a Prophet or a righteous slave
and just king, but they agree that he was a Muslim, a monotheist
(believer in Tawheed) and one who was obedient to Allaah.

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The correct view is to refrain from stating what he was, because the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: I do not
know whether Tubba was a Prophet or not, and I do not know
whether Dhul-Qarnayn was a Prophet or not.
(Narrated by al-Haakim and al-Bayhaqi; classed as saheeh by alAlbaani in Saheeh al-Jaami, no. 5524).
3 The difference between this righteous slave, and the Macedonian
Alexander who was a kaafir, is well known to Muslim scholars. Ibn
Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Badaayah walNahaayah (1/493):
It was narrated that Qutaadah said: Alexander was Dhul-Qarnayn
and his father was the first of the Caesars, and he was one of the
descendants of Saam ibn Nooh (Shem the son of Noah). As for DhulQarnayn, he was Alexander son of Philip ibn Roomi ibn al-Asfar ibn
Yaqaz ibn al-Ees ibn Ishaaq ibn Ibraaheem al-Khaleel. This is the
genealogy of him given by al-Haafiz ibn Asaakir in his Taareekh. (He
is known as) the Macedonian, the Greek, the Egyptian, builder of
Alexandria, on the events of whose life the Greeks based their
calendar. He came much later than the first Alexander. This was
approximately three hundred years before the Messiah. The
philosopher Aristotle was his minister and he is the one who killed
Daar ibn Daar (Darius) and humiliated the kings of Persia and
invaded their land.
We have drawn attention to him because many people think that
they are one and the same and that the one who is mentioned in the
Quraan is the one whose minister was Aristotle, which has resulted
in a lot of mistakes and far-reaching corruption. The former was a
righteous believing slave and a just king, and the latter was a
mushrik and his minister was a philosopher. There were more than
two thousand years between the two, so what comparison can there
be between them? They are not alike at all and they have nothing in
common, except in the mind of a fool who does not know anything.
4 The Christians have no information in their holy book about the
second Alexander, let alone the first. All they have is the story of the
visions of Daniel, which they claim refer to the rule of this infidel
Alexander, and the division of his kingdom after his death.
5 If we assume that there is a difference between what the
Quraan says and what their book says about a person or an event,
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why should that be regarded as strange? There are many such
differences, especially in the stories of the Prophets such as
Ibraaheem (Abraham), Nooh (Noah), Loot (Lot), Moosa (Moses),
Dawood (David) and Eesa (Jesus) (peace be upon them). The
Christians have no reliable and continuous chain of narration for this
book in which they believe, and they know nothing about those who
translated it. Moreover it contains dozens of contradictions which
effectively nullify any claim to infallibility or to have been written
with inspiration from the Holy Spirit. It is sufficient to note the
contradictions in the genealogy of Jesus (peace be upon him)!
So how can we take what is in these distorted books as a standard
by which to judge the Holy Quraan which is preserved by Allaah?!
And Allaah knows best.
Islam Q&A
Last edited by *asiya*; 23-10-10 at 07:14 AM.
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to
Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and
whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.
Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you
distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is wellacquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]
The Prophet

said:

"Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah


and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the
banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah
(nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or
assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."
muslim
Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and
killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari

"Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy
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and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it
shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!
By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise
until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.
Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things:
spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."
[Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]
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15.

23-10-10, 07:33 AM #15

Mashiyah

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by *asiya*
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[Dhul-Qarnayn who is mentioned in the Quraan lived at the time of
Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), and it is said that he became
Muslim at the hands of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), and he went
on pilgrimage to the Kabah walking. The scholars differed
concerning him, as to whether he was a Prophet or a righteous slave
and just king, but they agree that he was a Muslim, a monotheist
(believer in Tawheed) and one who was obedient to Allaah.
Salaam Aleykum Rahmatullah akhi,
Thank you very much for your information. I wanted to know judge
some of the previous Scriptures by the light of the Qur'an and I'm a
very knowledgeable Muslim (in english mostly). Was wondering
which hadith or kitab one can find the above stated claim "it is said"
by Islam Q&A? If it's in the above quote, please refrain from
answering the last question.
Jazak Allah Khair,
Bro Ali Khalid
BTW: I've been studying an ancient, lost book that was
reconstructed through a weak oral tradition but got started studying
it through other translated books about the 2012 Mayan calendar
before I went 'knee-deep' into the distorted/contradicted scriptures.
The correct view is to refrain from stating what he was, because the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: I do not
know whether Tubba was a Prophet or not, and I do not know
whether Dhul-Qarnayn was a Prophet or not.
Last edited by Mashiyah; 23-10-10 at 07:39 AM. Reason:
clarifiication
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16.

23-10-10, 01:48 PM #16

said_soussi

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Are you *#^ crazy to assume that Dhul-Qarnain (ra) is that cursed
infidel called alexander the smallest?!
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23-10-10, 05:32 PM #17

loonietoonie

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
I believe this is was a misfire on the part of Abdullah Yusuf Ali in his
commentary. Someone correct me.
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23-10-10, 06:13 PM #18

Mashiyah

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by said_soussi
Are you *#^ crazy to assume that Dhul-Qarnain (ra) is that cursed
infidel called alexander the smallest?!
I'm merely offering a nominee for the mysterious person. I would be
crazy if I did not even share it. Got any better ideas (you seem to be
sure he's not a prophet)?
Originally Posted by *asiya*
The correct view is to refrain from stating what he was, because the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: I do not
know whether Tubba was a Prophet or not, and I do not know
whether Dhul-Qarnayn was a Prophet or not.
Last edited by Mashiyah; 23-10-10 at 06:31 PM. Reason: quote
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24-10-10, 01:08 AM #19

SisMuslimah

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by Strict2TheSunna
Alexander had gays and alcoholics in his army doesnt sound like
dhul qarnayn to me
whoa
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24-10-10, 01:10 AM #20

samin62

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by SisMuslimah
whoa
remember the movie 300 and how they made the spartans looks
amazing badass heroes? Well spartans used to practice
homosexuality within their ranks. Ancient world was one of kind...
"They are Shuhadaa (witnesses) to the fact that this Deen is greater
than life, that values are more important than blood and that
principles are more precious than souls" - Sheikh 'Abdullah Azzam
Lost in Islamic History
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24-10-10, 06:58 AM #21

uncle umar


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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
ya and actually the spartans werent all that great to be honest.
yeah, no doubt they were abit better then the rest, but that because
of their extreeme training.
the movie is obveously glorified.
And the (faithful) slaves of the Most Gracious (Allh) are those who
walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish
address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of
gentleness. (25:63)
O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a trade that will save you
from a painful torment? (10) That you believe in Allh and His
Messenger (Muhammad SAW),and that you strive hard and fight in
the Cause of Allh with your wealth and your lives, that will be
better for you, if you but know! (11) (If you do so) He will forgive
you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow,
and pleasant dwellings in Adn (Edn) Paradise; that is indeed the
great success. (12)
JazakAllah khair for the duas but i would prefer duas for shahadah
instead.
sponsor an orphan
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22.

24-10-10, 09:19 AM #22

armando

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
there are so many similarities between the "Alexander Romance"
and Dhul Qurnain in the Quran that there can, in my view, be little
doubt
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24-10-10, 12:41 PM #23

*asiya*

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
The difference between this righteous slave, and the Macedonian
Alexander who was a kaafir, is well known to Muslim scholars. Ibn
Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Badaayah walNahaayah (1/493):
It was narrated that Qutaadah said: Alexander was Dhul-Qarnayn
and his father was the first of the Caesars, and he was one of the
descendants of Saam ibn Nooh (Shem the son of Noah). As for DhulQarnayn, he was Alexander son of Philip ibn Roomi ibn al-Asfar ibn
Yaqaz ibn al-Ees ibn Ishaaq ibn Ibraaheem al-Khaleel. This is the
genealogy of him given by al-Haafiz ibn Asaakir in his Taareekh. (He
is known as) the Macedonian, the Greek, the Egyptian, builder of
Alexandria, on the events of whose life the Greeks based their
calendar. He came much later than the first Alexander. This was
approximately three hundred years before the Messiah. The
philosopher Aristotle was his minister and he is the one who killed
89

Page 90 of 95
Daar ibn Daar (Darius) and humiliated the kings of Persia and
invaded their land.
We have drawn attention to him because many people think that
they are one and the same and that the one who is mentioned in the
Quraan is the one whose minister was Aristotle, which has resulted
in a lot of mistakes and far-reaching corruption. The former was a
righteous believing slave and a just king, and the latter was a
mushrik and his minister was a philosopher. There were more than
two thousand years between the two, so what comparison can there
be between them? They are not alike at all and they have nothing in
common, except in the mind of a fool who does not know anything.
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to
Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and
whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.
Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you
distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is wellacquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]
The Prophet

said:

"Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah


and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the
banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah
(nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or
assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."
muslim
Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and
killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari

"Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy
and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it
shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!
By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise
until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.
Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things:
90

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spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."
[Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]
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24-10-10, 01:56 PM #24

IbnulQayyim

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Ulama have a difference here. Some say he can be while othere
reject it.
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24-10-10, 02:12 PM #25

yassin'

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by armando
there are so many similarities between the "Alexander Romance"
and Dhul Qurnain in the Quran that there can, in my view, be little
doubt
Aside from the fact that they were both Kings there are no
similarities between Alexander the Macedonian and Dhulqarnain of
Quran.
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26.

25-10-10, 12:55 AM #26

Mashiyah

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Re: Dhul-Qarnayn, how is he Alexander the great?????
Originally Posted by yassin'
Aside from the fact that they were both Kings there are no
similarities between Alexander the Macedonian and Dhulqarnain of
Quran.
-yassin' "both Kings" how so?
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