Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

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Abraha
(3,005 words)

Abraha was a Christian king of South Arabia in the middle of the sixth century C.E. According to Muslim sources, he attacked Mecca with the “People of the Elephant” in about 570 C.E.

The name “Abraha” is said in Muslim sources to be of Abyssinian origin, meaning “bright face” (wajh abyaḍ; see Ibn Hishām, al-Tījān, 136; Ibn Saʿīd, 1:119). Islamic reports often add to Abraha's name the nickname al-Ashram (“Split-Nose”). The tip of his nose is said to have been cut off during a duel with his rival, Aryāṭ, in Yemen (see below). According to another explanation (Ibn Manẓūr, s.v. sh-r-m), a stone st…

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Rubin, Uri, “Abraha”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Devin J. Stewart. Consulted online on 17 July 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_22605>
First published online: 2009
First print edition: 9789004178533, 2009, 2009-2



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