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Dhu al-Qarnayn

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Dhu al-Qarnayn building a wall with the help of the jinns to keep away Gog and Magog. Persian miniature from a book of Falnama copied for the Safavid emperor Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576), currently preserved in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

Dhu al-Qarnayn, (Arabic: ذُو ٱلْقَرْنَيْن, romanizedDhū l-Qarnayn, IPA: [ðuː‿l.qarˈnajn]; lit. "The Two-Horned One") appears in the Qur'an, Surah al-Kahf (18), Ayahs 83–101, as one who travels to the east and west and sets up a barrier between a certain people and Gog and Magog (Arabic: يَأْجُوجُ وَمَأْجُوجُ, romanizedYaʾjūj wa-Maʾjūj).[1] Elsewhere, the Qur'an tells how the end of the world will be signaled by the release of Gog and Magog from behind the barrier. Other apocalyptic writings predict that their destruction by God in a single night will usher in the Day of Resurrection (Arabic: یوم القيامة, romanizedYawm al-Qiyāmah).[2]

Dhu al-Qarnayn has most popularly been identified by Western and traditional Muslim scholars as Alexander the Great.[3][4][5][6] Historically, some tradition has parted from this identification[7][8] in favor of others,[9] like the pre-Islamic Arabian kings Sa'b Dhu Marathid[10][11] or al-Mundhir ibn Imru al-Qays.[9] Cyrus the Great has also gained popularity among modern Muslim commentators.[4]

Qur'an 18:83-101

The Caspian Gates in Derbent, Russia, part of the defence systems built by the Sasanian Empire, often identified with the Gates of Alexander.
Recitation of al-Kahf, verses 83-101

The story of Dhu al-Qarnayn is related in chapter 18 of the Qur'an, al-Kahf, revealed to Muhammad when his tribe, Al-Quraysh, sent two men to discover whether the Jews, with their superior knowledge of the scriptures, could advise them on whether Muhammad was truly a prophet of God. The rabbis told the Quraysh to ask Muhammad about three things, one of them "about a man who travelled and reached the east and the west of the earth, ask what his story was. 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." (Qur'an 18:83-98).[12]

The verses of the chapter reproduced below show Dhu al-Qarnayn traveling first to the Western limit of travel where he sees the sun set in a muddy spring, then to the furthest East where he sees it rise from the ocean, and finally northward to a place in the mountains where he finds a people oppressed by Gog and Magog:

Verse Number Arabic (Uthmani script) English (Marmaduke Pickthall)
18:83 وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَن ذِى ٱلْقَرْنَيْنِ ۖ قُلْ سَأَتْلُوا۟ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْهُ ذِكْرًا "They will ask thee of Dhu'l-Qarneyn. Say: I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him."[Quran 18:83]
18:84 إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُۥ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَءَاتَيْنَٰهُ مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ سَبَبًا "Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave him unto every thing a road."[Quran 18:84]
18:85 فَأَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا "And he followed a road."[Quran 18:85]
18:86 حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ ٱلشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِى عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِندَهَا قَوْمًا ۗ قُلْنَا يَٰذَا ٱلْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّآ أَن تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّآ أَن تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا "Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness."[Quran 18:86]
18:87 قَالَ أَمَّا مَن ظَلَمَ فَسَوْفَ نُعَذِّبُهُۥ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِۦ فَيُعَذِّبُهُۥ عَذَابًا نُّكْرًا "He said: As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with awful punishment!"[Quran 18:87]
18:88 وَأَمَّا مَنْ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَٰلِحًا فَلَهُۥ جَزَآءً ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَسَنَقُولُ لَهُۥ مِنْ أَمْرِنَا يُسْرًا "But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command."[Quran 18:88]
18:89 ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا "Then he followed a road."[Quran 18:89]
18:90 حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَطْلِعَ ٱلشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَطْلُعُ عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ لَّمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُم مِّن دُونِهَا سِتْرًا "Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom."[Quran 18:90]
18:91 كَذَٰلِكَ وَقَدْ أَحَطْنَا بِمَا لَدَيْهِ خُبْرًا "So (it was). And We knew all concerning him."[Quran 18:91]
18:92 ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا "Then he followed a road."[Quran 18:92]
18:93حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ ٱلسَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لَّا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلًا "Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their hither side a folk that scarce could understand a saying."[Quran 18:93]
18:94 قَالُوا۟ يَٰذَا ٱلْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَىٰٓ أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا "They said: O Dhu'l-Qarneyn! Lo! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay thee tribute on condition that thou set a barrier between us and them ?"[Quran 18:94]
18:95 قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّى فِيهِ رَبِّى خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِى بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا "He said: That wherein my Lord hath established me is better (than your tribute). Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank."[Quran 18:95]
18:96 ءَاتُونِى زُبَرَ ٱلْحَدِيدِ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا سَاوَىٰ بَيْنَ ٱلصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ ٱنفُخُوا۟ ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَعَلَهُۥ نَارًا قَالَ ءَاتُونِىٓ أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا "Give me pieces of iron - till, when he had levelled up (the gap) between the cliffs, he said: Blow! - till, when he had made it a fire, he said: Bring me molten copper to pour thereon."[Quran 18:96]
18:97 فَمَا ٱسْطَٰعُوٓا۟ أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا ٱسْتَطَٰعُوا۟ لَهُۥ نَقْبًا "And (Gog and Magog) were not able to surmount, nor could they pierce (it)."[Quran 18:97]
18:98 قَالَ هَٰذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّى ۖ فَإِذَا جَآءَ وَعْدُ رَبِّى جَعَلَهُۥ دَكَّآءَ ۖ وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّى حَقًّا "He said: This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will lay it low, for the promise of my Lord is true."[Quran 18:98]
18:99 وَتَرَكْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَمُوجُ فِى بَعْضٍ ۖ وَنُفِخَ فِى ٱلصُّورِ فَجَمَعْنَٰهُمْ جَمْعًا "And on that day we shall let some of them surge against others, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering."[Quran 18:99]
18:100 وَعَرَضْنَا جَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلْكَٰفِرِينَ عَرْضًا "On that day we shall present hell to the disbelievers, plain to view,"[Quran 18:100]
18:101 ٱلَّذِينَ كَانَتْ أَعْيُنُهُمْ فِى غِطَآءٍ عَن ذِكْرِى وَكَانُوا۟ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَمْعًا "Those whose eyes were hoodwinked from My reminder, and who could not bear to hear."[Quran 18:101]

Cyril Glasse writes that the reference to "He of the two horns" also has a symbolical interpretation: “He of the two Ages”, which reflects the eschatological shadow that Alexander casts from his time, which preceded Islam by many centuries, until the end of the world. The Arabian word qarn means both "horn" and “period” or “century”.[13] Classical commentary from Al-Qurtubi has reported the narration from Al-Suhayli commentaries that he favored the identification that Dhu al-Qarnayn were actually two different persons, where one lived during the time of Abraham, while the other has lived during the time of Jesus.[14]

Regarding the Gog and Magog, a minority of Muslim commentators argue that Gog and Magog here refers to some barbaric North Asian tribes from pre-Biblical times which have been free from Dhu al-Qarnayn's wall for a long time.[15][16] Modern Islamic apocalyptic writers put forward various explanations for the absence of the wall from the modern world, such as "not everything in existence can be seen", similar to human intelligence and angels, or that God has concealed the Gog and Magog from human eyes.[16]

People identified as Dhu al-Qarnayn

Alexander the Great

Silver tetradrachm of Alexander the Great shown wearing the horns of the ram-god Zeus-Ammon.

According to some historians, the story of Dhu al-Qarnayn has its origins in legends of Alexander the Great current in the Middle East, namely the Syriac Alexander Legend.[17] The first century Josephus repeats a legend whereby Alexander builds an iron wall at a mountain pass (potentially at the Caucasus Mountains) to prevent an incursion by a barbarian group known as the Scythians, whom elsewhere he identified as Magog.[18][19] The legend went through much further elaboration in subsequent centuries before eventually finding its way into the Quran through a Syrian version.[20] However, some have questioned whether the Syriac Legend influenced the Quran on the basis of dating inconsistencies and missing key motifs,[21][22][23] although others have in turn rebutted these arguments.[24]

While the Syriac Alexander Legend references the horns of Alexander, it consistently refers to the hero by his Greek name, not using a variant epithet.[25] The use of the Islamic epithet Dhu al-Qarnayn "Two-Horned", first occurred in the Quran.[23] The reasons behind the name "Two-Horned" are somewhat obscure: the scholar al-Tabari (839-923 CE) held it was because he went from one extremity ("horn") of the world to the other,[26] but it may ultimately derive from the image of Alexander wearing the horns of the ram-god Zeus-Ammon, as popularised on coins throughout the Hellenistic Near East.[27]

The wall Dhu al-Qarnayn builds on his northern journey may have reflected a distant knowledge of the Great Wall of China (the 12th-century scholar Muhammad al-Idrisi drew a map for Roger II of Sicily showing the "Land of Gog and Magog" in Mongolia), or of various Sasanian walls built in the Caspian Sea region against the northern barbarians, or a conflation of the two.[28]

Dhu al-Qarnayn also journeys to the western and eastern extremities ("qarns", tips) of the Earth.[29] Ernst claims that Dhu al-Qarnayn finding the sun setting in a "muddy spring" in the West is equivalent to the "poisonous sea" found by Alexander in the Syriac legend. In the Syriac story Alexander tested the sea by sending condemned prisoners into it, while the Quran refers to this as a administration of justice. In the East both the Syrian legend and the Quran, according to Ernst, have Alexander/Dhu al-Qarnayn find a people who live so close to the rising sun that they have no protection from its heat.[30]

Some exegetes believed that Dhu al-Qarnayn lived near the time of Abraham.[31] This was because the Quran lists the story of Dhu al-Qarnayn after that of an unnamed old man in Quran 18:60–82. Some exegetical traditions identified this figure with Khidr and some placed Khidr as living in the time of Abraham. Since the pericope of Dhu al-Qarnayn appears right after that of the old man, Dhu al-Qarnayn was also inferred to have lived in this time period, in the time of Abraham. To avoid a chronological discrepancy, several medieval exegetes and historians did not identify him Dhu al-Qarnayn with Alexander.[32] To resolve these, al-Tabari inferred that there were two Dhu al-Qarnayn's: the earlier one, called Dhu al-Qarnayn al-Akbar, who lived in the time of Abraham, and the later one, who was Alexander.[33] In one account concerning Abraham building a well at Beersheba, Dhu al-Qarnayn seems to have been placed in the role of Abimelech as described in Gen 21:22–34.[34]

Other notable Muslim commentators, including ibn Kathir,[35]:100-101 ibn Taymiyyah,[35]:101[36] and Naser Makarem Shirazi,[37] have used theological arguments to reject the Alexander identification: Alexander lived only a short time whereas Dhu al-Qarnayn (according to some traditions) lived for 700 years as a sign of God's blessing, though this is not mentioned in the Quran, and Dhu al-Qarnayn worshipped only one God, while Alexander was a polytheist.[38]

Ṣaʿb Dhu-Marāthid

The various campaigns of Dhu al-Qarnayn mentioned in Q:18:83-101 have also been attributed to the South Arabian Himyarite king Ṣaʿb Dhu-Marāthid (also known as al-Rāʾid).[39][40] According to Wahb ibn Munabbih in his work The Book of Crowns on the Kings of Himyar,[41] as quoted by ibn Hisham,[42] King Ṣaʿb was a conqueror who was given the epithet Dhu al-Qarnayn after meeting the Khidr in Jerusalem. He then travels to the ends of the earth, conquering or converting people until being led by the Khidr through the Land of Darkness.[43] According to Wheeler, it is possible that some elements of these accounts that were originally associated with Ṣaʿb have been incorporated into stories which identify Dhu al-Qarnayn with Alexander.[44] In the book of Wahb ibn Munabbih narration, Dhu al-Qarnayn were campaigning as far as Andalusia region or classical era Spain.[45] However, according to Al-Qurtubi, the original opinion of Wahb ibn Munabbih identifying the legendary conqueror belongs to ancient Roman people ethnicity, contradicting Ibn Hisham commentary.[14] Al-Tabari also reports that Wahb believed Dhu al-Qarnayn was a man from Byzantium named Iskandar.[46]

Cyrus the Great

The relief of a winged genie, or according to some scholars, Cyrus the Great, in Pasargadae. The two horns of the Hemhem crown have been related to the name "Dhu al-Qarnayn".

In modern times, some Muslim scholars have argued in favour of Dhu al-Qarnayn being actually Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire and conqueror of Persia and Babylon. Proponents of this view cite Daniel's vision in the Old Testament where he saw a two-horned ram that represents "the kings of Media and Persia" (Daniel 8:20).[43] Brannon Wheeler argues that this identification is unlikely on the basis of a lack of Arab histories viewing him as a conqueror in the sense described in the Dhu al-Qarnayn narrative, and the lack of any early commentaries identifying Dhu al-Qarnayn as Cyrus.[43]

Archeological evidence cited includes the Cyrus Cylinder, which portrays Cyrus as a worshipper of the Babylonian god Marduk, who ordered him to rule the world and establish justice in Babylon. The cylinder states that idols that Nabonidus had brought to Babylon from various other Babylonian cities were reinstalled by Cyrus in their former sanctuaries and ruined temples reconstructed. Supported with other texts and inscriptions, Cyrus appears to have initiated a general policy of permitting religious freedom throughout his domains.[47][48][49]

A famous relief on a palace doorway pillar in Pasagardae depicts a winged figure wearing a Hemhem crown (a type of ancient Egyptian crown mounted on a pair of long spiral ram's horns). Some scholars take this to be a depiction of Cyrus due to an inscription that was once located above it,[50][51] though most see it as a tutelary genie, or protective figure and note that the same inscription was also written on other palaces in the complex.[52][53][54]

This theory was proposed in 1855 by the German philologist G. M. Redslob, but it did not gain followers in the west.[55] Among Muslim commentators, it was first promoted by Sayyed Ahmad Khan (d. 1889),[49] then by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad,[37][56] and generated wider acceptance over the years.[57]


Other persons who either were identified with the Quranic figure or given the title Dhu al-Qarnayn:

In later literature

Dhu al-Qarnayn, the traveller, proved a popular subject for later writers. In Al-Andalus, for instance, an Arabic translation of the Syriac Alexander Legend appeared, entitled Qissat Dhulqarnayn. This work explores Dhu al-Qarnayn's life – his upbringing, journeys, and eventual death. The text identifies Dhu al-Qarnayn with Alexander the Great and portrays him as the first person to complete the Hajj pilgrimage.[65]

Another Hispano-Arabic legend featuring Dhu al-Qarnayn, representing Alexander, is the Hadith Dhulqarnayn (or the Leyenda de Alejandro). In one of the many Arabic and Persian versions depicting Alexander's encounter with Indian sages, the Persian Sunni Sufi theologian al-Ghazali (1058–1111) describes a scene where Dhu al-Qarnayn meets a people who own nothing but dig graves outside their homes. Their king explains that death is life's only certainty, a reason for their practices. Ghazali's interpretation found its way into the One Thousand and One Nights.[66]

The esteemed medieval Persian poet Rumi (1207-1273) wrote about Dhu al-Qarnayn's eastward travels. Here, the hero climbs Mount Qaf, the emerald 'mother' of all mountains encircling the Earth, its veins spreading below every land. Upon Dhu al-Qarnayn's request, the mountain reveals how earthquakes occur: when God wills it, one of its veins pulsates, triggering a tremor. Atop this grand mountain, Dhu al-Qarnayn encounters Israfil (archangel Raphael), prepared to sound the trumpet on Judgement Day.[67]

The Malay epic Hikayat Iskandar Zulkarnain links several Southeast Asian royal lines to Iskandar Zulkarnain;[68] this includes the Minangkabau royalty of Central Sumatra[69] and the Cholan emperor Rajendra I in the Malay Annals.[70][71][72]

See also


  1. ^ Netton 2006, p. 72.
  2. ^ Cook 2005, p. 8,10.
  3. ^ Watt 1960–2007: "It is generally agreed both by Muslim commentators and modéra [sic] occidental scholars that Dhu ’l-Ḳarnayn [...] is to be identified with Alexander the Great." Cook 2013: "[...] Dhū al-Qarnayn (usually identified with Alexander the Great) [...]".
  4. ^ a b Maududi, Syed Abul Ala. Tafhim al-Qur'an. Archived from the original on 20 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019. The identification ... has been a controversial matter from the earliest times. In general the commentators have been of the opinion that he was Alexander the Great but the characteristics of Zul-Qarnain described in the Qur'an are not applicable to him. However, now the commentators are inclined to believe that Zul-Qarnain was Cyrus ... We are also of the opinion that probably Zul-Qarnain was Cyrus...
  5. ^ Bietenholz 1994, pp. 122–123.
  6. ^ Stoneman 2003, p. 3.
  7. ^ Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko (17 April 2018). Khwadāynāmag The Middle Persian Book of Kings. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-27764-9. Many Mediaeval scholars argued against the identification, though. Cf., e.g., the discussion in al-Maqrizi, Khabar §§212-232.
  8. ^ Maqrīzī, Aḥmad Ibn-ʿAlī al-; Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko (2018). Al-Maqrīzī's al-Ḫabar ʻan al-bašar: vol. V, section 4: Persia and its kings, part I. Bibliotheca Maqriziana Opera maiora. Leiden Boston: Brill. pp. 279–281. ISBN 978-90-04-35599-6.
  9. ^ a b c d Emily Cottrell. "An Early Mirror for Princes and Manual for Secretaries: The Epistolary Novel of Aristotle and Alexander". In Krzysztof Nawotka (ed.). Alexander the Great and the East: History, Art, Tradition. p. 323).
  10. ^ Wheeler, Brannon M.; Wheeler, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Chair of Comparative Religion Brannon M. (2002). Moses in the Quran and Islamic Exegesis. Psychology Press. pp. 16–19. ISBN 9780700716036. Archived from the original on 23 May 2024. Retrieved 26 April 2024. Of particular relevance to the origins of the later Alexander stories is the possible identification of Dhu al-Qarnayn with a South Arabian, Himyarī king, variously named Şa'b Dhu Marāthid, ... In al-Tabarī, for example, the king, ...conquers the Turks in Azerbaijan, ... There are a number of elements in Ibn Hisham's account that parallel elements not found in the early Greek and Syriac recensions ... This suggests that Ibn Hisham's account, coupled with Q 18:83-101, upon which he comments, could represent the immediate source for the stories which attribute these elements to the Alexander stories. These elements originally associated with Sa'b as Dhu al-Qarnayn were incorporated, along with the elements attributed to Dhu al-Qarnayn in Q 18:83-101, into the stories which identified Dhu al-Qarnayn with Alexander. ... It is not possible to show that the Ethiopic and Persian versions of the Alexander stories are derived directly from the Syriac versions. There are a number of problems with the dating of the Syriac versions and their supposed influence on the Quran and later Alexander stories, not the least of which is the confusion of what has been called the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes, the sermon of Jacob of Serugh, and the so-called Syriac "Legend of Alexander." Second, the key elements of Q 18:60-65, 18:83-101, and the story of Ibn Hisham's Șa'b Dhu al-Qarnayn do not occur in the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes.
  11. ^ Zadeh, Travis (28 February 2017). Mapping Frontiers Across Medieval Islam: Geography, Translation and the 'Abbasid Empire. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-1-78673-131-9. In the early history of Islam there was a lively debate over the true identity of Dhū 'l-Qarnayn. One prominent identification was with an ancient South Arabian Ḥimyarī king, generally referred to in the sources as al-Ṣaʿb b. Dhī Marāthid. [...] Indeed the association of Dhū 'l-Qarnayn with the South Arabian ruler can be traced in many early Arabic sources.
  12. ^ Itani, Talal. Quran in English - Clear and Easy to Read. Archived from the original on 26 September 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  13. ^ Glassé & Smith 2003, p. 38.
  14. ^ a b Brannon M. Wheeler (2002). Prophets in the Quran An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis (Paperback). Bloomsbury Academic. p. 228. ISBN 9780826449573. Archived from the original on 23 May 2024. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  15. ^ Ghamidi, Javed Ahmed. "18". Al-Bayan. Archived from the original on 2 March 2020. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  16. ^ a b Cook 2005, p. 205-206.
  17. ^ Van Bladel, Kevin (2008). "The Alexander Legend in the Qur'an 18:83-102". In Reynolds, Gabriel Said (ed.). The Qurʼān in Its Historical Context. Routledge. Archived from the original on 13 February 2022. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  18. ^ Donzel, Emeri Johannes van; Schmidt, Andrea Barbara; Ott, Claudia (2009). Gog and Magog in early syriac and islamic sources: Sallam's quest for Alexander's wall. Brill's Inner Asian Library. Leiden: Brill. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-90-04-17416-0.
  19. ^ Bøe, Sverre (2001). Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 38 - 39 as pre-text for Revelation 19,17 - 21 and 20,7 - 10. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 221–222, 230. ISBN 978-3-16-147520-7.
  20. ^ Bietenholz 1994, p. 122-123.
  21. ^ Wheeler 1998, p. 201: "There are a number of problems with the dating of the Syriac versions and their supposed influence on the Qurʾan and later Alexander stories, not the least of which is the confusion of what has been called the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes, the sermon of Jacob of Serugh, and the so-called Syriac Legend of Alexander. Second, the key elements of Q 18:60-65, 18:83-102, and the story of Ibn Hishām's Saʿb dhu al-Qarnayn do not occur in the Syriac Pseudo-Callisthenes."
  22. ^ Klar, Marianna (2020). "Qur'anic Exempla and Late Antique Narratives". The Oxford Handbook of Qur'anic Studies (PDF). p. 134. The Qur'anic exemplum is highly allusive, and makes no reference to vast tracts of the narrative line attested in the Neṣḥānā. Where the two sources would appear to utilize the same motif, there are substantial differences to the way these motifs are framed. These differences are sometimes so significant as to suggest that the motifs might not, in fact, be comparable at all.[permanent dead link]
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