(267 words)

, the title of Sūra xlvi of the Ḳurʾān, and a geographical term the meaning and application of which have been generally misunderstood. The Sūra derives its title from verse 21, which speaks of ʿĀd as warning his people in al-Aḥḳāf. The word aḥḳāf is usually interpreted in dictionaries, books of tafsīr , and translations of the Ḳurʾān as meaning curved sand dunes. Medieval Arab geographers considered al-Aḥḳāf to be the name of a sand desert in Southern Arabia, said to lie between Ḥaḍramawt and ʿUmān, i.e., in the eastern part of al-Ramla or al-Rubʿ al-Ḵh̲âlî [q.v.]. Modern Western geograph…

Cite this page
Rentz, G., “al-Aḥḳāf”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 13 November 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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