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  • 1.
    Hylén, Torsten
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Religious Studies.
    The hand of God is over their hands (Q. 48:10): on the notion of covenant in al-Ṭabarī’s account of Karbalāʾ2016In: Journal of Qur'anic Studies, ISSN 1465-3591, E-ISSN 1755-1730, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 58-88Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article is an analysis of the story of the killing of Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī at Karbalāʾ in 61/680, as it is presented by Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī (d. 310/923). The main argument is that the notion of the divine covenant, which permeates the Qur’an, constitutes a framework through which al-Ṭabarī views this event. The Qur’anic idea of the covenant is read in structural/thematic continuity with the Hebrew Bible account of the covenant between Yahweh and the Hebrew people, which has, in turn, been traced back in its basic form to Late Bronze Era treaties between rulers and their vassals.

     

    The present study focusses on four speeches ascribed to Ḥusayn during the encounter he and his group had with the vanguard of the Kūfan army led by al-Ḥurr. These are analysed in accordance with their use of Qur’anic covenant vocabulary. They are also categorised within the broader framework of the eight standard characteristics of Ancient West Asian and Biblical covenants, as presented by George Mendenhall and Gary Herion, which have recently been developed in a Qur’anic context by Rosalind Ward Gwynne. This article argues that al-Ṭabarī’s Karbalāʾ narrative presents the pact of loyalty to Ḥusayn as a clear extension of the divine covenant.

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