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August 10, 2004

Alexander the Zu al Gheraneyn

Alexander the Macedonian (the Great) is often referred to by middle-eastern historians and in literature as the “Zu al Gheraneyn” or mistakenly as “Zu al-Gharneyn”. Why is this?
Suggested by Houman Younessi

Answer: During his campaign in Egypt (B.C. 331) Alexander visited the temple of Amun on the border with today’s Libya. There he consulted the oracle of the temple and was told that he is the son of Amun and was destined to rule the world. Alexander therefore adopted the “persona” of his newly found heavenly father Amun (who is symbolized by a ram-headed human body; specifically a species known as Ovis aries platyra aegyptiaca, a curved horn ram and thus was referred to as the “Lord of the two horns”).

Alexander had coins minted depicting him with two curved horns and also adopted the title of “Zeus-Amun; Lord of the two horns”. This latter term “of the two horns” or “possessor of the two horns” has been translated into Arabic as “Zu al-gheraneyn”.

Many Islamic thinkers and intellectuals consider that the said Zul-Quarnain "the lord of two quarns (horns)" mentioned in Quran (The Zul-qarnain story was narrated in Quran by series of verses 18:83-98)is the Greek conqueror Alexander the great. The famous Quranic translator maulana A. Yousuf Ali gave a long story (titled: Who was Zulqarnain; page 760-765) detailing the facts and figures why most Islamic scholars including himself considered very strongly that, Quranic Zulqarnain was nobody but Alexander the Great.

According to Maulana Yousuf Ali, Zul-Quarnain means "Lord of the two Qarns" (horn). And other meanings may be applicable as implying: (1) is a man or a great king; (2) Lord of East and West, Lord of wide territory or of two kingdoms; (3) Lord of two crests on his diadem, typifying two kingdoms , or rank superior to that of an ordinary king; (4) Lord of more than one Epoch "one whose power and influence extend far beyond his lifetime."

But other sources believe this name refers to "Cyrus" the great, king of iran in 2500 years ago, the great savoir of Jews, which seems to be more exact.

Some references
About Zul-Qayrnoon, Muhammad Ali says (p586): {The word qarn means a horn, as also a generation or a century and dhul qarnain literally means the two-horned one, or one belonging to the two generations or two centures. The reference here seems to be to the two

horned ram of Daniel's vision (dan. 8:3), which he interpreted as the Kindoms of Media and Persia, which were combined into a single kindom under one ruler, Cyrus, who is erroneousy called Darius in the Bible. The reference in Daniel's vision is, however, not to Cyrus but to Darius I Hystaspes (521-485 B.C.), "who allowed the Jews to rebuild their temple, and is reffered to in Ezra 4:5,24;5:5;6:1; Hag1:1;2:10;Zech 1;7, and probably in Neh 12:22. His liberality towards the Jews is in complete accord with what we know otherwise of his general policy in relgious matter towards the subject nations".

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