Original Research

Is Dhul Qarnayn, Alexander the Great? Reflecting on Muhammad Rāghib al–Ṭabbākh’s contribution on a translated manuscript discovered in Timbuktu on Dul Qarnayn

Maniraj Sukdaven, Shoayb Ahmed
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 1 | a1696 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v38i1.1696 | © 2017 Maniraj Sukdaven, Shoayb Ahmed | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 September 2016 | Published: 26 May 2017

About the author(s)

Maniraj Sukdaven, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Shoayb Ahmed, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article emanates from a manuscript found in Timbuktu and digitised. The digitised version was subsequently translated by a team of translators and published as a book: Qissat Dhul Qarnayn [Tale of the two-horned one]. The most important question raised in reading this manuscript was the identity of Dhul Qarnayn. Subsequently to this manuscript being published as a book, a book written by Muḥammad Rāghib al-Ṭabbākh in 1949 in Arabic was examined, and it detailed a comprehensive scholarly study of the different views among scholars at that time about Dhul Qarnayn and Alexander the Great. This article reflects on the views of Muḥammad Rāghib al-Ṭabbākh in his book together with the manuscript found in Timbuktu and brings together views that attempt to establish and understand who Dhul Qarnayn is or was and his adventures.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article elaborates on a topic that has been discussed by historians and theologians of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths. It forms part of the discussion on apocalyptic literature. Within the Islamic context, it is often discussed among scholars dealing with the exegesis of the Qur’an and the Hadith. Some Sufi scholars tend to discuss it as well. It has intrigued some archaeologists. It highlights some civilisational issues at the time.


Dhul Qarnayn; Timbuktu; Alexander the Great; Yajuj and Majuj


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