Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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The Macedonian conqueror who lived from 356 until 323 b.c.e. Traditional and modern scholars have identified the figure the Qurʾān refers to as the Possessor of the Two Horns (Dhū l-Qarnayn, q 18:83, 86, 94) as Alexander the Great (al-Iskandar in Arabic). His “two horns” may be the east and the west, suggesting breadth of his dominion. Anomalously, some early scholars saw the epithet as reference to a pre-Islamic monarch of south Arabia or Persia. The famous mystic Ibn al-ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) interpreted the figure allegorically, identifying the “Possessor of the Two Horns” as the “heart”…

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Renard, John, “Alexander”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 08 April 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00016>

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