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Ahqaf

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Aḥqāf (Arabic: أحْقاف) was the land where the Prophet Hud (a) and the People of Ad lived. There is a sura in the Qur'an named after this land. In the Qur'an, the land is considered as green and flourishing, although it turned into a desert after a divine punishment of the People of Ad. There is a disagreement over the current location of Ahqaf. It is believed by Allama Tabataba'i to be located in southern parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

Introduction

The land of Ahqaf, after which Sura al-Ahqaf (Qur'an 46) is named, was the place where People of Ad lived prosperously, but they suffered a divine punishment after refusing to obey the Prophet Hud (a).

"Ahqaf" is a plural form of "hiqf" (حِقْف), which means a "sand hill". However, "hiqf" is believed by some people to refer to a huge twisted mass of sands.

According to the Qur'an, Ahqaf was green and flourishing before the divine punishment of the People of Ad. In Qur'an 89, the civilization of the People of Ad is said to be unprecedented.[1]

Current Location

According to 'Allama Tabataba'i, Ahqaf is definitely located in southern Arabian Peninsula which no remnants of the land have survived today. However, there is a disagreement over the exact location of Ahqaf. It is believed by some people to be located in a desert between Oman and al-Mahra in Yemen. Others take it to be a sabulous desert adjacent to the sea in Ash-Shihr in Yemen. In some other sources, it is taken to be located in sabulous lands between Oman and Hadhramaut.

Medieval Muslim geographers believed that Ahqaf was a sabulous land in "al-Ramla" or "Rub' al-Khali" (the Empty Quarter). However, contemporary European geographers take it to include the whole al-Ramla or its western part. Since the land is hot and dry, geographers refer to it as the "Empty Quarter" since no one lives there. According to Bi-Azar Shirazi, Bedouins in southern of Saudi Arabia refer by "Ahqaf" to a mountainous area extending from western coasts of Dhofar to Eden (the center of which is Hadhramaut). A grave is said to be located in Ahqaf, which is attributed to Prophet Hud (a).

Notes

  1. Have you not regarded how your Lord dealt with [the people of] Ad, (6) [and] Iram, [the city] of the pillars, (7) the like of which was not created among cities (8)

See Also

References