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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Abraha the Abyssinian in Islamic tradition
Author:Donzel, Emeri vanISNI
Periodical:Aethiopica: International Journal of Ethiopian Studies
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Subjects:military personnel
Islamic history
biographies (form)
About person:Abraha the Abyssinian (6th century AD)
External link:https://doi.org/10.15460/aethiopica.12.1.93
Abstract:The Abyssinian commander Abraha is mentioned as ruler of Yemen in the 6th century AD by the Byzantine historian Procopius, his contemporary. Abraha, who dared to attack Mecca in an attempt to demolish the sacred Kaba, is well-known in Muslim historical traditions about pre-Islamic Arabia. This article presents a collection of the most significant texts related to Abraha and his military adventure. The author explains how the image of the army commander from Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) was blended into the traditional Islamic eschatological personage of the Abyssinian 'with the two small hands' who will destroy the sanctuary of Mecca before the end of the world. Moreover, the descriptions of the characteristics of these two individuals are analysed in detail to highlight the fact that there is a clear difference between the report of Abraha's actions in the more historically oriented sources ('Sira') and the harsh judgment against him in the definitiely more religiously marked prophetic sayings ('hadith'). Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]