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Biblical Elements in Koran 89, 6-8 and Its Exegeses: A New Interpretation of “Iram of the Pillars”

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AbstractThe meaning of the expression “Iram of the pillars” which is found in Kor 89, 7 has been the subject of many debates among ancient Muslim exegetes. The ambiguous signification of this passage has led to a large number of different interpretations and has (seemingly) led to many myths, whether in classical Arabic literature (religious and profane alike) or in modern Western writings.The aim of this paper is to give a critical overview and analysis of the various exegeses for this Koranic verse, to study the developments and history of the ‘Iram myth’ and finally, in light of these elements as well as through a Biblical/Midrashic comparative approach, to suggest our own theory of what was certainly the primitive and forgotten meaning of “Iram of the pillars”.

Affiliations: 1: EPHE


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