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The Historical Personality Of Ashab

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Chapter Summary

There are obvious elements of legend in the Ash'ab story. They were already recognized as such by medieval authors. There also is much in it that might easily be suspected of being unhistorical. Critical minds might, therefore, wish to declare it completely void of any historicity. But from its internal coherence and the facts of its literary transmission, the Ash'ab story can be proven to possess a historical kernel. The fullest information on Ash'ab is contained in the Kitâb al-Aghânî. An analysis of the sources of the Kitâb al-Aghânî points into the same direction. Its article on Ash'ab quite obviously is a composite from various sources which were put together without any noticeable attempt at harmonizing them. All the available evidence thus leads one to believe that the Ash'ab story was fully developed in most details around the year 800.

Keywords: Ash'ab story; Kitâb al-Aghânî



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