Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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Alexander
(1,335 words)

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 22 February 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00016>



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