Alexander in the Qur'an
is a theory that holds that the character of Dhul-Qarnayn
, mentioned in the Qur'an
, is in fact Alexander the Great
. The name Alexander itself is never mentioned in the Qur'an. Dhul-Qarnayn (in Arabic
ذو القرنين) is a figure who was well-known in the lore of the early medieval
dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula
, and is mentioned in the Qur'an, the sacred scripture of Islam
. Dhul-Qarnayn is regarded by some Muslims as a prophet. The Qur'an indicates that the people (at least Jewish rabbis
), during Muhammad
's time, already knew tales of a person of great power by the name of Dhul-Qarnayn.
It is almost universally held, among Western scholars, that the character of Dhul-Qarnayn corresponds to Alexander the Great. The reason for this is that the story of Dhul-Qarnayn as described in the Qur'an follows very closely some passages of the Alexander Romance, a thoroughly embellished compilation of Alexander's exploits from Hellenistic and early Christian sources, which underwent numerous expansions and revisions throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
Historically, Muslim scholars have endorsed the identification of Dhul-Qarnayn with the Alexander the Great, although competing theories have been proposed, some recently (see Dhul-Qarnayn for details). Orientalist scholars, studying ancient Christian legends about Alexander the Great, independently came to the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn is an ancient epithet for Alexander the Great. As a result, the identity of Dhul-Qarnayn has become a matter of great controversy in modern times.
Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an
Dhul-Qarnayn features prominently in the Qur'an
, the sacred scripture believed by Muslims to have been revealed by God
. The story of Dhul-Qarnayn appears in sixteen verses of the Qur'an, specifically verses The Holy Qur'an
. Consult the Dhul-Qarnayn
page for more details.
Dhul-Qarnayn in early Islamic literature
The earliest mention of Dhul-Qarnayn, outside the Qur'an, is found in the works of the earliest Muslim historian and hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq, which form the main corpus of the Sira literature. Ibn Ishaq's Sira reports that the eighteenth chapter of the Qur'an (which includes the story of Dhul-Qarnayn) was revealed to Muhammad by God on account of some questions posed by the Jewish Rabbis residing in the city of Medina - the verse was revealed during the Meccan period of Muhammad's life. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's tribe, the powerful Quraysh, were greatly concerned about their tribesman who had started claiming prophethood and wished to consult Jewish Rabbis about the matter. The Quraysh sent two men to the Jewish Rabbis of Medina, reasoning that the Rabbis had superior knowledge of the scriptures and about the prophets of God. The two Quraysh men described their tribesman, Muhammad, to the Rabbis. The Rabbis told the men to ask Muhammad three questions:
- "They (the rabbis) said, `Ask him about three things which we will tell you to ask, and if he answers them then he is a Prophet who has been sent (by Allah); if he does not, then he is saying things that are not true, in which case how you will deal with him will be up to you. Ask him about some young men in ancient times, what was their story? For theirs is a strange and wondrous tale. Ask him about a man who travelled a great deal and reached the east and the west of the earth. What was his story? And ask him about the Ruh (soul or spirit) -- what is it? 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.'"
The famous story, in the Sira, goes that when Muhammad was informed of the three questions from the Rabbis, he declared that he would have the answers in the morning. However, Muhammad did not give the answer in the morning. For fifteen days, Muhammad did not answer the question. Doubt in Muhammad began to grow amongst the people of Mecca. Then, after fifteen days, Muhammad received the revelation that is Surah Al-Kahf ("the Cave"), the eighteenth chapter of the Qur'an. Surah Al-Kahf mentions the "People of the Cave," a strange story about some young men in ancient times who slept in a cave for many years. Surah Al-Kahf also mentions the Ruh, or soul/spirit. Finally, the surah also mentions "a man who travelled a great deal and reached the east and the west of the earth" - namely, Dhul-Qarnayn.
Ibn Ishaq's original work is lost, but it has been almost completely incorporated in Ibn Hisham, another early Muslim historian. Ibn Hisham collected Ibn Ishaq's Sira and added his notes to it; in regards to Dhul-Qarnayn, Ibn Hisham noted:
- "Dhu al-Qarnain is Alexander the Greek, the king of Persia and Greece, or the king of the east and the west, for because of this he was called Dhul-Qarnayn [meaning, 'the two-horned one']..."
The theme, amongst Islamic scholars, of identifying Dhul-Qarnayn with Alexander the Great appears to have originated here. Why Ibn Hisham made this identification is not entirely clear. Aristotelian Muslim philosophers, such as al-Farabi, Avicenna, and al-Kindi enthusiastically embraced the concept of Dhul-Qarnayn being an ancient Greek king. They stylized Dhul-Qarnayn as a Greek philosopher-king.
Similarities to Alexander the Great
, studying ancient Christian
legends about Alexander the Great, have come to conclude that the Qur'an's stories about Dhul-Qarnayn closely parallel certain legends about Alexander the Great found in ancient Hellenistic and Christian writings. There is some archeological
evidence to identify the Arabic epithet
"Dhul-Qarnayn" with Alexander the Great. There is also a long history of monotheistic religions coopting the historical Alexander. This leads to the theologically controversial conclusion that these legends are the source of the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in the Qur'an.
Historical background on religious Alexander legends
Alexander the Great was an immensely popular figure in the classical
and post-classical cultures of the Mediterranean
and Near East
. Almost immediately after his death a body of legend began to accumulate about his exploits and life which, over the centuries, became increasingly fantastic as well as allegorical. Collectively this tradition is called the Alexander Romance
, and some recensions feature such vivid episodes as Alexander ascending through the air to Paradise
or journeying to the bottom of the sea in a glass bubble.
As the Alexander Romance persisted in popularity over the centuries, it was assumed by various neighboring peoples. Of particular significance was its incorporation into Jewish and later Christian legendary traditions. In the Jewish tradition Alexander was initially a figure of satire, representing the vain or covetous ruler who is ignorant of larger spiritual truths. Yet their belief in a just, all-powerful God forced Jewish interpreters of the Alexander tradition to come to terms with Alexander's undeniable temporal success. Why would a just, all-powerful God show such favor to an unrighteous ruler? This theological need, plus acculturation to Hellenism, led to a more positive Jewish interpretation of the Alexander legacy. In its most neutral form this was typified by having Alexander show deference to either the Jewish people or the symbols of their faith. In having the great conqueror thus acknowledge the essential truth of the Jews' religious, intellectual, or ethical traditions, the prestige of Alexander was harnessed to the cause of Jewish ethnocentrism. Eventually Jewish writers would almost completely co-opt Alexander, depicting him as a righteous gentile or even a believing monotheist. The Christianized peoples of the Near East, inheritors of both the Hellenic as well as Judaic strands of the Alexander Romance, further theologized Alexander until in some stories he was depicted as a saint. The Christian legends turned the ancient Greek conqueror Alexander III into Alexander "the Believing King", implying that he was a believer in monotheism (contrary to known historical facts).
The two-horned one
As said before, the "Dhul-Qarnayn"
literally means "the two-horned one." Alexander the Great was often depicted as one possessing horns, in particular the horns of Amon
. Ancient Greek coins minted in the name of Alexander the Great depict Alexander with the distinctive horns of Amon on his head.
The influence of Alexander the Great spread even to the coinage of ancient Arabia; in the late 2nd century BC, silver coins depicting Alexander with ram
horns were used as a principal coinage in Arabia and were issued by an Arab
ruler by the name of Abi'el who ruled in the south-eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula
The reason that Alexander the Great was depicted with the horns of Amon in ancient Greek coinage is that in ancient Egypt Alexander was received as the son of the ancient Egyptian god Amon, and the god Amon was depicted as ram-headed. Alexander then styled himself as the son of Amon; "He seems to have become convinced of the reality of his own divinity and to have required its acceptance by others ... The cities perforce complied, but often ironically: the Spartan decree read, 'Since Alexander wishes to be a god, let him be a god.'"
In the Alexander Romance, a Christian legend has it that, in one of his prayers to God, Alexander said, "O God ... Thou hast made me horns upon my heads" and the translator adds in a footnote that in the Ethiopic version of this legend, "Alexander is always referred to as 'the two horned,'" (p.146.)
The Caspian Gates
In the Qur'an
describes a story about Dhul-Qarnayn building a great gate
near the "rising place of the Sun," between two mountains, in order to enclose the nations of Gog and Magog
who "do great mischief in the earth." The relevant passages from Qur'an state:
- "...when he [Dhul-Qarnayn] came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun ... Then followed he (another) way. Until, when he [Dhul-Qarnayn] reached (a tract) between two mountains. He found, beneath them, a people who scarcely understood a word. They said: "O Dhul-Qarnayn! The Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on earth: Shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightiest erect a barrier between us and them. He said: "(The power) in which My Lord has established me is better (than tribute): Help me therefore with strength (and labour): I will erect a strong barrier between you and them: Bring me blocks of iron. At length when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides, he said, "Blow (with your bellows)". Then when he had made it (red) as fire, he said: "Bring me, that I may pour over it molten lead." Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it." (Qur'an 18:90-98).
Early accounts of Alexander's Gates
The building of gates in the Caucasus
Mountains by Alexander to repel the barbarian peoples identified with Gog and Magog has ancient provenance. The 1st century A.D. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus
mentions that "a nation of the Alans, whom we have previously mentioned elsewhere as being Scythians
," travelled through "a passage which King Alexander [the Great] shut up with iron gates". Josephus also records that the people of Magog, the Magogites, were synonymous with the Scythians. According to R. A. Anderson, this merely indicates that the main elements of the story were already in place six centuries before the Qur'an's revelation, not that the story itself was known in the cohesive form apparent in the Qur'anic account. Similarly, Saint Jerome
's Letter 77
mentions that "the hordes of the Huns had poured forth all the way from Maeotis
(they had their haunts between the icy Tanais and the rude Massagetae
, where the gates of Alexander keep back the wild peoples behind the Caucasus)". In his Commentary on Ezekiel
(38:2), Jerome identifies the nations located beyond the Caucasus and near Lake Maeotis
as Gog and Magog.
In the Christian legends
legends speak of the Caspian Gates
, also known as Alexander's wall
, built by Alexander the Great
to enclose the Gog and Magog hordes. Several variations of the legend can be found. In the story, Alexander the Great built a gate of iron between two mountains, at the end of the Earth
, to prevent the armies of Gog and Magog from ravaging the plains. This Alexander legend bears a remarkable resemblance to the Qur'anic story of Dhul-Qarnayn. An historian notes that:
- "The episode of the building of the gate against Gog and Magog is found in the Christian legend of Alexander, and in the poetic version of Jacob of Serugh that was written not later than AD 521. The Koran was written over a century after this version." (p. 201).
A Syriac version of the Christian legend describes an apocryphal letter from Alexander to his mother, wherein he writes:
- "I petitioned the exalted Deity, and he heard my prayer. And the exalted Deity commanded the two mountains and they moved and approached each other to a distance of twelve ells, and there I made .... copper gates 12 ells broad, and 60 ells high, and smeared them over within and without with ... so that neither fire nor iron, nor any other means should be able to loosen the copper; since fire was put out against it, and iron was shattered. Within these gates, I made another construction of stones, each of which was eleven ells broad, 20 ells high, and 60 ells thick. And having done this I finished the construction by putting mixed tin and lead over the stones, and smearing .... over the whole, so that no one might be able to do anything against the gates. I called them the Caspian Gates. Twenty and two Kings did I shut up therein."(pp.177-178).
Several historical figures have searched for Alexander's Gate, and legends about the gate itself grew;
- "The gate itself had wandered from the Caspian Gates to the pass of Dariel, from the pass of Dariel to the pass of Derbend, as well as to the far north; nay, it had travelled even as far as remote eastern or north-eastern Asia, gathering in strength and increasing in size as it went, and actually carrying the mountains of Caspia with it. Then, as the full light of modern day come on, the Alexander Romance ceased to be regarded as history, and with it Alexander's Gate passed into the realm of fairyland." (pp.103-104).
Gog and Magog
In the Qur'an
In the Qur'an, Dhul-Qarnayn encloses the Gog and Magog hoard behind a mighty gate
between two mountains, preventing the Gog and Magog from invading the Earth. The Qur'an also explains that in the end times, Gog and Magog will destroy this gate, allowing them to hoard to ravage the Earth;
- "Thus were they [Gog and Magog] were made powerless to scale it or to dig through it [the gate]. He said this is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes to pass He will make it into dust. And the promise of my Lord is true ..." (Qur'an 18:98) and "...Until the Gog and Magog (people) are let through (the gate), and they swiftly swarm from every height (or advantage). Then will the True Promise draw nigh (of fulfilment). Then behold! The eyes of the Unbelievers will fixedly Stare in horror ..." (Qur'an 21:96-97)
In the Christian legends
In the Syriac
version of the Christian legends, Alexander the Great encloses the Gog and Magog hoard behind a mighty gate between two mountains, preventing the Gog and Magog from invading the Earth. In addition, it is written in the Christian legend that in the end times
God will cause the Gate of Gog and Magog to be destroyed, allowing the Gog and Magog hoard to ravage the Earth;
- "The Lord spake by the hand of the angel, [saying] ...The gate of the north shall be opened on the day of the end of the world, and on that day shall evil go forth on the wicked ... The earth shall quake and this door [gate] which thou [Alexander] hast made be opened ... and anger with fierce wrath shall rise up on mankind and the earth ... shall be laid waste ... And the nations that is within this gate shall be roused up, and also the host of Agog and the peoples of Magog shall be gathered together. These peoples, the fiercest of all creatures."
In order to understand the legend of the Caspian Gates, that is in order to understand how a single gate between two mountains could prevent the Gog and Magog hoard from invading the world, one must understand that the Christian legend was written in a time when most people believed that the flat Earth is true. The Earth was described as being flat and surrounded by great mountains, and these mountains were in turn surrounded by some land followed by a treacherous, fetid ocean sea. It is this tract of land between the mountains and the ocean sea that Alexander enclosed Gog and Magog, so that they could not cross the mountains and invade the Earth. The legend describes "the old wise men" explaining this geography and cosmology of the Earth to Alexander, and then Alexander subsequently setting out to enclose Gog and Magog behind a mighty gate between a narrow passage at the end of the flat Earth:
- "The old men say, "Look, my lord the king, and see a wonder, this mountain which God has set as a great boundary." King Alexander the son of Philip said, "How far is the extent of this mountain?" The old men say, "Beyond India it extends in its appearance." The king said, "How far does this side come?" The old men say, "Unto all the end of the earth." And wonder seized the great king at the council of the old men ... And he had it in his mind to make there a great gate. His mind was full of spiritual thoughts, while taking advice from the old men, the dwellers in the land. He looked at the mountain which encircled the whole world ... The king said, "Where have the hosts [of Gog and Magog] come forth to plunder the land and all the world from of old?" They show him a place in the middle of the mountains, a narrow pass which had been constructed by God ..." (pp.177-178).
The rising of the Sun from the fetid sea
In the Qur'an
A peculiar aspect of the story about Dhul-Qarnayn, in the Qur'an, is that it describes Dhul-Qarnayn travelling to the "the rising place of the Sun
" and the "setting place of the Sun." Dhul-Qarnayn also finds a people living by the "rising place of the Sun," and explains that these people have no shelter from the Sun:
- "Then he [Dhul-Qarnayn] followed a way until, when he reached the rising of the Sun, he found it rising upon a people for whom We had not appointed any veil to shade them from it ... " (Qur'an 18:89-90).
The Qur'an also describes Dhul-Qarnayn travelling to the place where the sun sets into a murky spring:
- "... Until when he [Dhul-Qarnayn] reached the setting of the Sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water. Near it he found a People ..." (Qur'an 18:86)
It may not be clear what these verses refer to. Ancient Muslim exegeses of the Qur'an, known as the tafsir (such as the tafsirs of
Jalalan, Baidawi, Zamakhshari, Ibn Kathir, and Al-Tabari) understood these verses of the Qur'an to be literal descriptions of a cosmology of the universe wherein the Earth is flat and wherein the Sun rises and sets into a sea that is surrounding the flat Earth The canonical hadith literature also contains a passage that may easily be misconstrued as implying a similar cosmology - until one realises that in all Islamic theology the 'throne' is a metaphysical entity in the 'ghayb' (the 'unseen', spiritual world) meaning that the sun's prostration refers to a spiritual parallel, not its physical orbiting reality. However, as shall be seen, this passage is similar to one found in the Christian legends about Alexander:
Narrated Abu Dhar: The Prophet, peace be upon him, asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: "And the sun Runs its fixed course For a term (decreed). that is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing." (36.38)'"
Modern scholars such as Dr. Zaghlool Al-Najjar agree now that the word "balagha" does not literally mean that Alexander came to the setting of the sun. In Arabic the word "balagha" is commonly used in reference to anything in the sky above to indicate time of day. In other and subsequent verses the Quran uses the word "adraka" or "yudrik" to mean a literal arrival. The word "taghrubu" is derived from "ghuroob", which means to go away, "gharb" meaning to go west. The word "aayn" can mean any body of water. It is most likely that the "dark" or "murky" waters refer to the Black Drin, an outlet of water near the town of Ochrida. As a youth, Alexander would have conquered this land near the ancient town of Lychnis (modern day Ochrida) and had to decide the fate of the natives, or the People referred in the verse.
In the Christian legends
Perhaps unsurprisingly, an almost identical discourse is found in the Syriac
Christian legends about Alexander the Great. The Christian legend about Alexander explains that when the Sun sets into the fetid sea, it enters into heaven and immediately bows down in obedience to God, In the legend, Alexander travels to the fetid sea at the end of the Earth. As mentioned the previous subsection, this legend was understood from a flat Earth
point of view. The legend explained that "the old, wise men" told Alexander that at the ends of the flat Earth is a sea in which the Sun
rises from the west and in which the Sun sets in the east. The waters of this sea were imagined as being fetid place and intensely hot from the heat of the Sun when it rose from the waters. Upon hearing about this cosmology
from the wise men, the legendary Alexander sets out to the end of the flat Earth and witnesses the Sun rising from the fetid sea. According to the Christian legend, at this place, where the Sun rises out of a terrible sea, Alexander found a people who have no shelter from the Sun which is literally rising out of an intensely hot sea;
- " The place of his [the Sun's] rising is over the sea, and the people who dwell there, when he is about to rise, flee away and hide themselves in the sea, that they be not burnt by his rays; and he passes through the midst of heaven to the place where he enters the window of heaven; and wherever he passes there are terrible mountains, and those who dwell there have caves hollowed out in the rocks, and as soon as they see the Sun passing [over them], men and birds flee away from before him and hide in the caves ... And when the Sun enters the window of heaven, he [it] straight away bows down and makes obeisance before God his Creator; and he travels and descends the whole night through the heavens, until at length he finds himself where he [the Sun] rises ... So the whole camp mounted, and Alexander and his troops went up between the fetid sea and the bright sea to the place where the Sun enters the window of heaven; for the Sun is the servant of the Lord, and neither by night nor by day does he cease from his travelling."(p.148.)
The Qur'anic and Christian legendary accounts both have it that Alexander the Great travelled to the ends of the Earth, in particular to the place on the Earth where the Sun sets (the west) and the place on the Earth where the Sun rises (the east). This allegory served the legendary accounts to convey the theme of Alexander's great exploits as a conqueror. In the context of the flat Earth, travelling to the places of the setting and rising of the Sun would imply having travelled across the entire world. However, many modern Muslims insist that the Qur'an's descriptions of Dhul-Qarnayn travels are just allegorical references to Alexander's travels towards the east and the west, and do not imply Dhul-Qarnayn travelled to the ends of the flat Earth. Naturally, the stories about Alexander's travels to the eastern and western extents of the world are a legendary tradition, which built up over centuries throughout the lands conquered by Alexander and beyond, after his death.
Muslim veneration of Alexander the Great
As it has been noted, the early Muslim scholars generally identified the Dhul-Qarnayn of the Qur'an with Alexander the Great. In the centuries that followed, Dhul-Qarnayn was often thought of by Muslims as a Prophet of Islam. Early Islamic civilization would produce its own legendary traditions about Alexander the Great, particularly in Persia.
With the Muslim-Arab conquest of Persia, the Alexander Romance found its way to an honored place in Persian literature—an ironic outcome considering pre-Islamic Persia's hostility to the national enemy who not only destroyed the glorious Achaemenid Empire, but was also directly responsible for centuries of Persian domination by Hellenistic foreign rulers. Islamic Persian accounts of the Alexander legend, known as the Iskandarnamah, combined the Pseudo-Callisthenes material about Alexander, some of which is found in the Qur'an, with Sasanid Persian ideas about Alexander the Great. Persian sources on the Alexander legend devised a mythical genealogy for him whereby his mother was a concubine of Darius II, making him the half-brother of the last Achaemenid shah, Darius III, in a move to "appropriate" themselves of Alexander. By the 12th century such important writers as Nezami Ganjavi were making him the subject of their epic poems, and holding him up as the model of the ideal statesman or philosopher-king, an idea adopted from the Greeks and elaborated on by Muslim philosophers like al-Farabi. The Muslim traditions also elaborated the legend that Alexander the Great had been the companion of Aristotle and the direct student of Plato.
Though many Muslim scholars have traditionally identified Dhul-Qarnayn with Alexander the Great
, this identification has today become subject among Muslim scholars of numerous attacks. Most of the factual details of the Alexander Romance
, as those that appear to be included in the Qur'an
(Alexander's fantastic deeds as well as his implied monotheism), have little or no basis in historical fact; and if Dhul-Qarnayn is Alexander, this confusion between fact and legend could possibly be a source of embarrassment to some Muslim scholars, even if not to all.
The historical personality of Alexander the Great was co-opted by the legendary traditions of both Judaism and Christianity, which chose to portray Alexander as "the Believing King" — a devout monotheist. It was in this Judeo-Christian context that the legends of Alexander the Great reached the Arabian Peninsula. Thus, it is not difficult to understand how the pagan Alexander may have ended in the Tafsir of the Qur'an to be an Islamic Prophet.
The belief that the Qur'an contains passages derived from pagan folklore, rather than its own internal epistemological standard that itself establishes the legitimacy of similar texts, has led some to judge the Dhul-Qarnayn story a serious theological problem. Ancient Muslim scholars of Islam were unaware of such theological controversies, but even in modern times, some influential mainstream Muslims (such as Yusuf Ali) have endorsed the traditional Islamic view which identified Dhul-Qarnayn with Alexander the Great, judging the theological problems that could be posed surmountable. Most secular scholars studying Islam have been concord in their view that there is strong evidence supporting the conclusion that Dhul-Qarnayn is none other than Alexander the Great. However, belief in the infallibility of the Qur'an has made this position untenable in the opinions of many modern Muslim scholars. Some Muslims take the position that nothing about the identity of Dhul-Qarnayn is known except what is stated in the Qur'an (in other words, they assert that there is no evidence linking the identity of Dhul-Qarnayn to a historical person) Other Muslim scholars, such as Maududi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, have suggested that Dhul-Qarnayn is Cyrus the Great and not Alexander the Great, though this theory has been proposed only recently and is not much considered by non-Islamic scholars, mostly due to the fact that any Persian nobles contemporaneous to Alexander the Great, and especially Cyrus, would have practiced Zurvanism, thus disqualifying them as monotheistic "Believing Kings". Other Muslims have suggested that Dhul-Qarnayn is the mysterious Tubba' of Yemen or the pharaoh Narmer
In: The Qur'an in its Historical Context
, 2008 ISBN 9780415428996
- Encyclopædia Britannica, Alexander III, 1971
- "A Discourse Composed by Mar Jacob upon Alexander, the Believing King, and upon the Gate which he made against Gog and Magog," in The History of Alexander the Great Being, the Syriac Version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes. Translated by E.A. W. Budge, 1889.
- Iskandarnamah - A Persian Medieval Alexander-Romance, Translated by Minoo D. Southgate, Columbia University Press, New York, 1978.
- "Alexander's Gate, Gog and Magog, and the enclosed nations," Andrew Runni Anderson, the Medieval Academy of America, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1932.
- The Impact of Alexander the Great’s Coinage in East Arabia
- Sahih Bukhari, English Translation, Hadith number 6326
- Letter 77 "To Oceanus", 8, Saint Jerome
- The Wars of the Jews, VII, vii, Flavius Josephus
- The Antiquities of the Jews, I, vi, Flavius Josephus