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New book translated into English: “Dhu Al-Qarnayn The Great. Between Cyrus and Alexander Traces of Stories in the Qur’an and Historiography” by Wisnu Tanggap Prabowo

Good Sunday everyone, I’m Elena, thanks to be here on Alessandro III di Macedonia- blog about Alexander the Great and Hellenism! There’s a new book that may be of interest to some of you I’m happy to announce you:

Dhu Al-Qarnayn The Great. Between Cyrus and Alexander Traces of Stories in the Qur’an and Historiography

by Wisnu Tanggap Prabowo

Translator: Ben Abrahamson – Editor: Rebecca Abrahamson

Published by: Al Sadiqin Press, 2022

Dhu al-Qarnayn the Great is a very familiar story, one of the Islamic literary treasures. The Qur’an mentions it specifically in Surah al-Kahf, as do a number of the Prophet’s hadiths. However, as in other stories, for example, Ashabul Kahf (the dwellers of the cave), the Qur’an does not mention in detail whether Dhu al-Qarnayn is a personal name or just a title (the owner of two horns). It does not mention exactly when he lived, in which area his kingdom was located, where he lived, or to what extent his territory was. This legendary figure remains a mystery, leaving many question marks and various interpretations.

Non-Islamic sources mention Cyrus (Persian) and Alexander (Greek) as potential figures that could play the role of Dhu al-Qarnayn mentioned in Islamic literature. Some Western writers (orientalists) even claim that the Qur’an has copied the story from previous sources. However, is it true? Or, does the Qur’an come to tell the true story about Dhu al-Qarnayn? Through careful and diligent reading of all relevant sources, not limiting ourselves to Islamic sources, this book invites us to travel to the past, tracing the stories of these three figures and their personal characters. From there we can compare whether the three are one and the the same character, if they differ, or if perhaps two of the three are the same. This promises to be a robust intellectual exercise with fascinating discoveries.

WISNU TANGGAP PRABOWO. VISHNU RESPONDS TO PRABOWO. Born in Magelang in 1980. Currently, he is the Head of Media Da’wah Bogor Bertauhid and Language Instructor at LBPP LIA Pajajaran Bogor and Teacher at Regina Pacis, Bogor. A number of his writings on Islamic themes were published in the Republika. His book, Did Emperor Heraclius Convert to Islam? Revealing the Mystery Veil of the Commander of the Crusaders and the Enormous Strategy of the Islamic Troops (Benarkah Kaisar Heraklius Masuk Islam? Mengungkap Tabir Misteri Sang Panglima Perang Salib dan Dahsyatnya Strategi Pasukan Islam) (Pro-U Media, Yogyakarta, 2019), won an award at the 2020 Islamic Book Fair in the non-fiction book category.

Table of contents

Paperback edition
ISBN: 979-8848375862
297 pages
1.44 pounds – 653 g
7 x 0.67 x 10 inches – 17.78 x 1.7 x 25.4 cm
Price: around € / $ / £ 20

Reading Ustadz Wisnu’s works always feels like entering a time machine. As if guided ‘journey’ with and around historical figures guided by knowledge and wisdom, and culminate in enlightenment. I close this book, hungry for more.

Dr. Fajri M. Muhammadin Researcher at the Department of International Law and Lecturer at the Faculty of Law UGM

The story of the Koran is always interesting to talk about, and invites curiosity, from the past until now. the hallmark of the story of the Koran is that it does not describe the details of the characters like our ID card data, because the Koran is not a history book and not a biography book. He is a guide to life. The historical narrative is more focused on events and lessons for human life. The discussion about who Zulkarnain really is in the Koran has attracted many commentators, historians and scholars to examine it. This book managed to slick and patiently lead us into the aisle of history to discover the life of a mysterious figure whose example is immortalized in the holy book of Muslims.

Ustad Fahmi Salim Deputy Chairperson of the PP Muhammadiyah Tablighi Assembly and Founder of the Al-Fahmu Institute

This book was first published in Indonesian with the title Zulkarnain Agung. Antara Cyrus dan Alexander Jejak Cerita dalam Al-Quran dan Riwayat Sejarah by Pustaka Alvabet and is now available in it’s English translation curated by Al Sadiqin Press and can be purchased on your favorite local Amazon. It’s also important to note that the book is written from an Islamic perspective, and the first couple chapters dwell on that point.

The Alsadiqin Institute is an association of Muslim and Rabbinic scholars of history and jurisprudence. The institute is committed to promoting research among our scholars, and making the fruits of that research available in simple terms, accessible to the general public through books, booklets, seminars and conferences, most of which are available here.
The emphasis of our research is historical rather than theological, although conducted by deeply religious scholars. The focus is to faithfully connect traditional religious narrative to a more inclusive, broader, historical framework. The goal is to apply this deeper understanding in the field of modern jurisprudence and human relations.
As a community service, the Institute publishes a series in news outlets entitled, “Giving Voice to Muslims who Seek Peace” in order to raise awareness in of the peaceful nature of Islam; engages in public speaking and diplomacy; and hosts vibrant discussions on social media.

You can find the Indonesian presentation of the book by the author HERE and you can follow Wisnu Tanggap Prabowo’s blog Salafologi. I know this is a reading of a very specific topic but I’m glad that a book on Dhu Al-Qarnayn has come out because it’s a topic that I want to deepen! I hope I have been useful to you, I wish you a good Sunday,

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