JSAI 21 (1997



a pre-Islamic

Arabian Prophet


Ella Landau- Tasseron
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

be buried. Since this revelation of al-Akhdarf, the mosque which includes the alleged grave of the prophet became one of the foremost places for pilgrimages in the district of the Zab, But the grave of this prophet is also shown in Tebessa." Considering that Biskra is situated in north-eastern Algeria and that al-Akhdarr was a scholar and a Sufi of the sixteenth century, this information is astonishing. It contains no clues to the questions of "why" and "how." Why should al-Akhdari make such a claim? If he needed a saint, why did he not adopt a contemporary local saintly figure, a village simpleton, or at least a local tree, as everyone else was doing in sixteenth century North Africa?5 Why and how did the memory of Khalid survive from the JahilI sixth century to the Islamic sixteenth century? Why and how did he make such a long journey from the Hijaz to a remote place in Algeria?" Goldziher did not address these problems, but some scholars, mainly North African, did. The historian and traveler Abu al-Qasim al-Zayyani, who visited Khalid's tomb in the second half of the eighteenth century, remarks that he found no information about it in any book, except the RiIJ,la of Abu Salim al-'AyyashL The latter, who traveled through the country in the seventeenth century, rejected the possibility that Khalid b. Sinan al-'AbsI might be buried in that place. Neither did al-'AyyashI's shaykh, Abu Bakr b. Yusuf, know of anything written about this matter. His guess was that the grave belonged to one of Jesus's apostles mentioned by exegetes in connection with Siirat Yasfn.7 As a matter of fact, a version of this view is still current in the settlement centered around Khalid's tomb, which is a small oasis in WadI JedI in Algeria, some hundred kilometers south-west of Biskra. During the 1950s, the anthropologist Horace M. Miner conducted research there. In his book he gives a brief account of the place's history. His account has it that "in the latter part of the [sixth] century, there came from the Arabian Hejaz a holy man named Sidi Khaled ben Sinan. He preached Christianity among the Berbers and some say that he prophesied the coming of the Prophet Mohammed .... Upon his death, Sidi Khaled was
4 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, p. 321. The passage includes references omitted here. 5 Montet, Culte, p. 9; Doute, Les marabouts, p. 43. 6The grave, in fact, is situated several hundred kilometers south-west of Biskra, which was quite an important town; see below. 7 Qur'an 36:13; al-Zayyant, Thrjumana, pp. 150-51. Al-'AyyashI's shaykh appears here as Abii Bakr al-Saktanr, which is certainly wrong. The correct form is very difficult to read in al-'AyyashI, Ril}la, vol. 2, p. 414; perhaps it is al-Sahnunl. Al'AyyashI's book, a lithograph, is very hard to find: I thank Yehoshua Frenkel, and in particular 'Atallah Copti, who made it possible for me to consult this volume. Cf. Ibn Hajar, I~aba, vol. 1, p. 468, where the author rejects a report that Khalid is buried in the vicinity of Qayrawan.

Before he died, Khiilid b. Sinan asked his people to unearth his body three days after his burial. They disobeyed. In the course of time, Khalid was almost entirely forgotten. this study I try to unearth his story. 1 In

The cult of saints in Islam was amply described by Goldziher and others.? Various phenomena occur in the framework of this cult, generated, more often than not, by the popular imagination. Ancient gods, trees and stones are personified and turned into deceased holy men and women, etiologies breed fictitious saints, and so on.3 The following information, adduced by Goldziher, should, therefore, appear unexceptional: The Arabs count as a prophet who preceded Muhammad, a Khalid b. Sinan, from the tribe of 'Abs, who, in the generation prior to Muhammad, fought paganism in the Hijaz, It is remarkable that it is just the Berbers who adopted this saint. The date is noted when the MaghribI marabout 'Abd al-Rahman al-Akhdarf claimed that from the emplacement of a grave near Biskra, in the country of Zab,a strong light shined for three days and then spread towards the sky. He then declared this to be the grave of the prophet Khalid, who after his death was laid on the back of a camel, which was left to carry the body of the prophet to where it was to
1 This study led me to investigate Algerian material. I am grateful to Frank Stewart for directing me to the relevant literature and for making many valuable comments. Thanks are also due to the participants of the colloquium for their comments, in particular Professors Maribel Fierro, Pesach Shinar, Yohanan Friedmann, and Michael Lecker. 2 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, pp. 255-341; Montet, Culte des saints; Doutte, L'Isliim. algerien, chaps. 5, 9 (see also the bibliography on p. 144); idem, Les marabouts. The literature is extensive, but these sources suffice for the purpose of this study. A survey of the French literature on the subject can be found in Julia Clancy-Smith, "In the Eye of the Beholder: Sufi and Saint in North Africa and the Colonial Production of Knowledge," Africana Journal 15 (1990): 220-57. For recent research (on modern marabouts) see, e.g., Gellner, Saints of the Atlas (London 1969); idem, Muslim Society, chaps. 4-6, 10, 11, and references; Nikki R. Keddie, ed. Scholars, Saints and Sufis (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1972). 3 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, vol. 2, p. 319.

see. 346 (I would like to thank Dr. p. 2. invoking sacred names of Allah. A modern local saint relates that a fire attacked the atheists. vol. in turn. In . 23. 50:12. by night it flamed and was seen at a distance of three days journey. pp. p. Insan al-'uyun. He is the One God.) pp. alQashl!. al-MajlisI. p. Majma' al-zawa'id. Isiiba.l! His time is not known. "Al. recognized the second verse of Surat al-Ikhliil! (Qur'an 112:2) when recited by Muhammad: "Say. 426. Khalid's Prophethood ter came to see the Prophet. record the most current legend associated with Sidi Khaled: The holy man miraculously extinguished a forest fire in the cedar-covered Aures mountains. In keeping with the low opinion of Bedouins prevailing in Muslim society. p. p. 1. n. 213-14 (one of the versions here has son. 20. in biographies of Muhammad and in the dala'il al-nubuwwa literature. by failing to believe in] him." or "daughter of a prophet.nI. and thus extinguished it. Yet many works of the genre qif!af! al-anbiya' ignore him. 368." He is sometimes said to be the prophet sent to "the people of the rass. (Cairo. 10 See Ibn I:Iablb. 14. 23. 13 Al-Haythamt. Qutay'a b. Ibn al-'AdIm." and told her that her father was "a prophet who was destroyed by his own people" (or. pp. p. 448. 478. 7. 449. Kitab al-I}ayawan. al-QashanI. It is sometimes added that she was very old at the time. see al-Tabrisr.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 45 buried on the south bank of the Oued Djedi.once powerful but rather weakened by the time of the Prophet Muhammad. vol. p. Oasis and Casbah. Fahd. I would like to thank the Khalidiyya library in Jerusalem. 692 . "a prophet whose people forfeited [guidance. Ta'rikh al-Madfna. I discuss Khalid's prophethood. 4. p. vol. 248. 152. 1. p. I~iiba. 251. n.. E12. n. lowe the last three references to Dr. vol. 246 ff.ll}. As will be presently shown. She. 14 Al-Haythamt. Kitab alma'arif. 'Abd ~-Malik b: Muhammad al-Tha'alibt. 4. 349ff. al-Khara'ij. and Muhammad AbU al-Fadl Ibrahim Ayyiim al-'arab If al-jiihiliyya (Cairo.addition. allah al-~amad).ab al-rass. 137. Murayta b. 265.I. Miner did not question the veracity of this story for the simple reason that he was not interested in history but in social institutions and Rorschach tests. and vol.v. Wala' al-wafa.l" Other solutions are that he was not a messenger (rasul) like Muhammad. vol. Muhammad AbU al-Fadl Ibrahtrn. 266. ed. al-Awa'il. 9 Miner and de Vos. 1965). Makhziim b.l" Other theologians. 9. 1. lfiishiyat al-Dasuqf. p. Qi~a~ al-anbiya'. 468. Fu~jj~ al-lfikam. 160. A rejection of Khalid's prophethood is also attributed to the imam Ja'far al-Sadiq. Safwan. 477. Ibn Hajar. s. vol. On the confusion between the two prophets see below. p. for the use of these two manuscripts. p. Ghayth b. See also below. Khalid belonged to the north Arabian tribe of 'Abs. Ibrahtm al-Btjawt.iil wa-I-mansub. "8 Unlike the Muslim scholars who preceded him by hundreds of years. vol. 2. we may guess that he was trying to attract them to believe in Allah. Bil}ar. and vol. Kitiib al·mul}abbar. Majma' al-zawa'id. Ibn Qutayba. Lawrence Conrad. Bughyat al-talab. Ibn Hajar. Sinan among the prophets. pp. and his transformation from an Arabian miracle worker to a prophet whose tomb. al-Samhadr.n 12:109. p. 276.13 It is because of this tradition that Khalid is considered to be a prophet. see Qur'an 25:38. 'Abs. Malik b. that he was sent to herald Muhammad's prophecy. 423. 466-67. 32. except that he flourished "between Muhammad and Jesus. Insan al-'uyun. denied Khalid's prophethood altogether on the ground that he was a Bedouin. vol. vol.1i~. attract devout Muslim pilgrims. Futul}. Jad al-Mawla Bek.. p. vol. pp. Jamharat al-nasab. fol. p." mentioned in the Qur'an. l~aba. 83-88. 11 Ibn al-Kalbt. 451. for he was neither a biblical nor a Qur'anic figure. Ibn Hazrn. p. Hanzala b. 1. p. . SharI}. and Dr. 468. al-MajlisI. 36r. but only a prophet (nabi). the original scene of the miracle is not the Algerian forest but the Hijaz. 2. vol." 17 (Wensinck). vol. 10. Thimiir al-qulub If al-murf. p. By day it appeared as smoke. 7. 1. vol. p. idem. pp. but this may be due to a confusion between him and another Arabian prophet. On a~l}iib al-rass. p. 421. pp. the firm God" (qul iuuua allah a~ad. Qi~a~ al-anbiya'. whom We inspired. 8. of course. Ibn al-'Arab!. p. 2. vol. 220. except that. 12 Tradition relates that his daugh8 Miner and de Vos. Rul} al-bayan.l" Some theologians solved this contradiction by arguing that Khalid was sent to the Banii 'Abs alone and not to all Arabs. 2. 467. and records his genealogy and a few legends. vol. 150-51. or rather tombs. Al-JaJ. Jamharat ansiib al-' arab. 'Umar b. In what follows. however. And see the description of the village Sidi Kha.i~. is nearly identical with the legend associated with Khalid in ancient and late medieval Muslim literature. See also al-Bakrt. al-Halabt. vol. De Vos is the co-author who contributed the analysis of the psychological tests run on certain members of the community. see also al-Majlist." nabf rjayya'ahu qawmuhu).d. vol. fol. 179. p. p.. vol. On pre-knowledge of Muhammad's mission among both pagans and monotheists. 14 p.g. 12 See Ibn Hajar. Majmu'a. SharI}. 312. 15 Haqqt. al-Rawandt.lid in Daumas. 16 Al-Halabi. al-Dasnqt. 8. that he had no law (shan-<a) to give. 39. Ghalib b. The Prophet addressed her as the "daughter of my brother [in prophethood].!. vol. Divination. or. e. 18. they claimed that God could not and did not send a Bedouin prophet. Shabba. Khaled beat the fire with a stick. vol. vol. Il}tijaj. 229. 1. Muslim literature counts Khalid b. 29. recorded by Miner. p. 17 Q~r'l!. Avraham Hakim for this reference). pp." vol. Bil}iir. the legends associated with him. Le Sahara. p. 317 ('Afin's commentary).44 Ella Landau. Avraham Hakim. p. Kitiib al-l}allawiin. Mu'jam. Such traditions appear in the I}adfth. 18. See al-'AskarI. Oasis and Casba. He did. 19-20. p. p. this tradition contradicts the saying attributed to Muhammad that there was no prophet between Jesus and himself. 136v. p. apparently Mu'tazilI. not daughter). 4. Bil}ar. They also had a Qur'anic verse to support their claim: "We never sent before you any messengers except men from the towns. 17. 1. Sin an b. Ibn Khattb al-Nasiriyya.l? His genealogy was Khalid b. 22. 950. burning all who encountered it. p. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam.? The legend does not explain why the prophet should rescue the atheists.. al-Jl!. Ibn AbI 'Adasa. 435. this modern account. 214. p.

pp. 312.iddied because his people disobeyed him in the fire story. I}arra is an area covered with black stones. See Chodkiewicz. p.. p. and so on. RabI'a. It is worthy of note that KhaIid is the only true Arabian prophet (except Muhammad) whose people. 278. Wala' al-wa/a. on the poet Umayya b. 31. 8. 7. vol. p. AI-Zayyli. The flame reaching out is described as "a neck. pp. al-Qalqashandt. 27 AI-'AskarI. Divination. The philosopher and mystic Ibn al-'ArabI (d. 2.arratayn was a specific event that gave rise to a legend. 154.AnsI the Yemenite. 1. Ibn al-'Adrm. 1. he is counted among the twelve prophets who spoke Arabic. Al-Dastlqt. reaching out and burning whoever happened to pass by. 'Umar b. Secondly. 950-52. and vol.1. 450. 468.'ArabI bases this construction on the two disparate meanings of the root ~ m d. between Mecca and Medina. p. See al-Rawandt. 2. al-Thrjumana.. 28 AI-HaythamI. pp. 22The other two being al-Khidr and Maryam. the place called Ifarrat al-nar. 213. p. Mu'jam. firmness and the giving of succor . cf. by day it was a pillar of smoke.ikma). and before he died he ordered that his body be unearthed after the burial. Ibn al-'ArabI. vol. pp. However. p. the tribe of 'Abs. etc. p." which appeared out of nowhere. there is a category of people "cursing prophets whose prophethood is not universally recognized. 213. 429-30. p. $ubl} al-a'sha. p. for instance: "the lion fire. AI-'AskarI.ikma ~amadiyya. the tribes of true Arabian prophets such as Hud and ~aIil. Khalid b. and al-Aswad al. vol. that he saved his people by extinguishing the disastrous fire (see below). 4. there were four Arabian prophets'. recounted in several versions. p. SharI}. Tulayha the Asadite. vol. ~he best-known false. pp. 20The twelve tribes of Israel. 66-67. "the war fire. All the other fires fulfilled social functions. al-Rawandt. Le sceau des saints. Ifashiyat al-Dasuqr. al-Khara'ij. al-QazwlnI. 18 Some of those who considered Khalid b.27.arratayn) was a spontaneous fire and an uncalledfor disaster. 14. vol. 24Ibn al-'Ar. p'2~65. Wala' olwala. Majma' al-zawa'id. 424. 2. Chief among them are the fire legend. 22. 728. and the unearthing story. loc. al-Rawandr. 'Umar b." lit in order to scare wild animals. Majma' al-zawa'id. (Madrid. in another version he dug a pit and buried the fire in it. 467." Khalid serves as one of three examples. Ibn al. SharI}." lit to communicate news of an imminent battle. 26 In some versions Khii. 448. Niyll. vol. AI-RAwandI.20 it may be said that his name serves as a filler. 422. BiIJar. 467. vol. These false prophets were. It occurred in the stony tract belonging to the tribe of Ashja'. p. Khalid's miraculous story is also transmitted on the authority of the same Ja'far. Ta'n"kh al-madfna. Bughyat al-talab. Qil!al/ al-anbiya'. 4. vol. Awa'il. p. Ji'ul/Uf al-I}ikam. See The Legends Associated with Khalid b. this is explained on the grounds that Khalid called on his people to believe in the Firm God (al-~amad). This idea was perhaps generated as an inference drawn from the legend about Khalid and the fire (see below).25 462. pp. 2. . vol. p.as well as on two of the legends connected with Khalid: First that he used to recite the verse "He is the One God. al-RAwandr. p. 277. p. 453. lasting some fifty 'Umar b. 317 ('Ann's commentary). 2. 109. whereas niir al-I].27 By night it shone brightly. 213. p. Qil!al! al-anbiya'. which belonged to the Bann 'Abs. II/aba. p. 2. 108.26 Muslim scholars report the existence of many types of fires used by the pre-Islamic Arabs. whereas niir al-harra (or: al-I]. who participated in the apostasy movement (ridda). 22 (read borra for I}aros.t disappeared from the face of the earth. AbI al-Salt who contended with Muhammad for prophethood. Yaqnt. George Aguade. Khalid's people asked him (another version is that he volunteered) to extinguish it. al-Samhtidl. Hud .277. Among the false prophets was yet another 'Absr. 252.28 This fire should not be included amongst "the fires of the Arabs" because all the other types of fire were lit for specific purposes. see below. 19'Abd al-Malik Ibn Habtb. Sinful to be a prophet used his name in various contexts. ed. did not become extinct. 1. al-QlishanI. 8. al-Haythamt. Shabba. pp. vol. 2. vol.21 In the discussion of deeds constituting apostasy and the punishments incumbent upon such offenders. Majma' al-zawa'id. Mu'jam al-buldan. vol. p. perhaps of volcanic origin). vol. in fact. Cf. as represented by twenty-seven types of prophets. Ta'n""kh al-madfna.P He also figures in philosophical literature. 317-18. 21According to another version. SX"h u .nI. 2. contemporary with Muhammad. it is sometimes called "the fire of the two stony tracts. 417. AIHaythamI.P" Obviously. 430-32." (nar aIIJarratayn). Kitab al-ta'n"kh. p. Ta'rikh al-madfna. 91. There are similar versions in Majlisi. were declared by Islam to be false. 152-54 (with additional details). 213-14. By contrast.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 47 Some people thought that Khalid had been a prophet sent to the Zoroastrians. The fire itself was not necessarily a legend since a similar fire.prophets are Musaylima of the Bann Hanrfa.46 Ella Landau. Sinan in Muslim Literature Various legends are told about Khalid. Shu'ayb and Muhammad. Ibn Hajar. These two are usually loosely connected by the word "thumma" or "wa-lammii" ("and then"). See below the detailed stories and further references. 23The number 27 is mystically symbolic. vol. pp. pp.abI! Ful!ul! al-I}ikam. Arabian prophets whose tribes did not become extinct.that is. vol. p. the Firm God" (see above). and that his people had recourse to him in exigencies. Among these was "the fire of the volcanic rock tract [I]. vol. 8.arraj.rb. Qil/af al-anbiya'. 1991). Le sceau des saints. representing I].P Khalid b. p. Awa'il. 110. Fahd. cit. pursuing it into a cave then coming out unharmed.". 1. For example. AI-BakrI. Sinful is the 26th on the list. the twelve apostles of Jesus. 1240) describes in his Fusiis al-hikam the various aspects of the Divine Wisdom (I]. Chodkiewics. 77. but sometimes they are integrated in a more sophisticated way. 435. Sinful is the only exception to this rule. al-QlishanI. 18Al-Tabrisl and al-Majlisl. which he did. vol. al-Sarnhtldl. beating it with a stick.l. pp. Shabba. 'Ajii'ib. Shabba. 265 (read bilad 'abs for buad 'adan). 421-22." 'unq. As a rule. vol.l" As twelve is a formulaic number .

Walo.'. al-SamhiidI.. p.' al-walo.' al-walo. Shabba. see below.). 213. Walo. 420-21. 154. vol.lfayawo. p.e. Ta'n"""khal-madfna. AI-MajJisI.bal-rass. Ibn al-'Adrm. and Ibn al-'Arabr. Mille et un contes. pp. p. 421. badd. vol. Ibn Abr 'Adasa.' al-walo. Mul}o. al-Bakrt. 8. vol. carne after three (or forty) days. 318 ('Afifi's commentary). Shabba. vol. 1. vol. p. 136v. al-Samhudi.. 1. pp. 467. Muryo. p. 3 pp.n. pp.. Walo. p.r. however. 35v. I. vol. vol.32 2. vol. vol.'id. Majmu'a. p. Walo. 1. or bado. This version echoes Qur'anic stories. 18. 4.q. Ful/ii~. See also al-Rawandi. Khiilid as God's messenger. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam. 32 AI-HaythamI. But his plan failed because his instructions were not carried out. Majma' al-zawa'id. fol. fol. 2. Hanzala b. but Khalld's sons prevented the others from carrying out Khalid's will because they were afraid of becoming a laughing stock among the Arabs and of being labeled as people who dig up their dead.r. p. Ibn I. 433. 467. Fu~ii~ al-~ikam. Futiil}.'.33 5. vol. p. aI-SamhiidT. a long flame. 449. but 36 AI-SamhiidI.aratal-abro. pp. one of them) doubted his ability to fulfil his promise and extinguish the fire and/or to come out of the cave unharmed. p. Ibn Qutayba. Majma' al-zawo. 430.wliid al-manbush). foJ. 8. SharI}.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 49 days.' al-walo. 153' Ibn Hajar Isaba vol 1 p.. fol. 37In some versions it is not Khalid's sons who prevented the unearthing.. vol. vol. vol. Ful/fil/. 277. vol.3D It is also called "the fire of Hadathan. al-QashanI. Walo. 213. 33AI-HaythamI. p.vol.'id. 213. Ta'n"""kh al-madfna. One of them tells how Khalid saved his people from the mysterious.arat al-abro. p. a condition for consulting these tablets. 1..'Arabt.34 It was God who sent Khalid to extin- 4. Apparently two sets of legends meet here. Al-Haythami. vol. p.'id. I thank Michael Cook for this reference. They disobeyed his order to wait for him and to.n. IlJo. Shabba. 2. pp. p. vol. vol. 193-94.. namely. n.35 29 AI-SamhiidT. 136v. says that "al-hadatho. 35 AI-JaJ:ii~.ba. 468. 431. It was disseminated by the son of an 'AbS! chief. Walayo.Walo. Ibn aI-'Arabr. 31. Qi~a~ al-anbiyo. 213. pp. They feared being called "Sons of the Unearthed One" (a. Ibn al-'Adrm. 34 Al-Bakrt. protected area. refrain from calling him even if he lingered behind in the cave.' al-walo. vol. p. I. Futiil}. vol. 430. . See al-Majlisf. 317 ('Afifi's commentary). 229. Some of these motifs are pronouncedly more monotheistic than others: 1. I. I. p. 142-52.. 23. Bughyat al-talab. Bughyat al-talab. Qi~al/ al-anbiyo. n. Majma' al-zawo. '. I. 12. Walo. 1. 18. The herd. 467-68. When Khalid was about to die. 422. FulJul/. 431-32. pp. p. Shabba. 'Umar b. that no menstruating woman should touch them. 'Umar b. 1. 152. mentioned in the Qur'an. pp. n. .. I. 467-68. 14. he told his people to bury him. aI-SamhiidT. 435. 30 . When the people came to consult the tablets. 2. Mu'jam. perhaps independently of the Khalid story." which is the name of a stony tract in the territory of Banti 'Abs. 2. vol. pp. p. Majma' al-zawo. guish the disastrous fire. Ibn Hajar. vol. Inso. vol. p.vol. 154. A marked. I. indeed. II/aba. 29. 153. vol. 'Umar b. vol. 2. 29. 8. pp. vol. Qi~a~ alanbiya'.. Ta'r. 'Umar b. fol. II/o. According to Ibn AbI 'Adasa. I. Al-Samhndt. p. the 'Anqii. 101-102. p. 468. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam. vol.' al-walo. 4. vol. 136r. Ibn Hajar. IlJo. the fire was called "Dissipation" (?) (budd. vol. Ibn Khattb al-Nasiriyya. E. 2. 265. vol. 1. 421. see above. Shorb. 435. pp. p. I." 'unq. 2. Ibn al-vAdtm ..' al-walo. 2. p. Ibn al-'ArabI. al-Samhudt.ba. could be confused with'anqo. vol.r. Ibn Khatrb al-Nasiriyya. vol. Shabba. Sharh. Disbelief and disobedience. Had he arisen from the dead. Majmu'a. aI-QashanI.lfayawo. 7. 39Ibn Khallikan. 7. al-QlishanI.n" is a distortion of al-ryarratayn. p. 154. vol. 7. p. 467. Khalid's wife took them out. pernicious bird. 3. p. p. but the same man who disobeyed Khalid in the fire story. Khalid marked an area where he seated the people who came to watch. Shabba. al-Qa'qa' b. He imposed. The fire as God's sign. vol. Basset. ' .36 The motif of the disobeyed prophet also figures in the unearthing legend. 153.n al-'uyiin.38 There are other legends about Khalid b. 229. 30. Ta'n"""khal-madfna. Ibn Hajar.Iajar. Majmu'a. Ta'n"""khalmadfna. al-Halabt. 31 'Umar b. p. fol.kh al-madtna.29 The "stony tract fire" is mentioned by poets. 431. 317 ('Afifi's commentary).48 Ella Landau. Ibn al. Mu'jam. p. was reported in Medina in the year 654/1256. but this no doubt is a mistake: the word badd is taken from the rhymes uttered by Khalid while pursuing the fire. 2. then wait until a herd of donkeys (or sheep) arrived at his grave.q. Sinan.t. Biryo. p. 422-26. 38Ibn al-'Arabr. aI-Samhiidr. 266. to devour people and beasts. vol. 55. vol. 213. 265-66. 37 Khalid's religious purpose in his rather odd request was to confirm the prophecies of the previous prophets: He could have done so by rising from the dead and informing his people of what he saw in the hereafter. 2. 1. 36r (quoted from Kamal al-Dln Ibn al-vAdtm).'. Ibn Khatfb al-Nasiriyya. vol. sent to al/I}o. Safwan. vol. See al-Haythaml. QilJalJal-anbiya?. The people then were to unearth Khalid's body and listen to his prophecies concerning all the events that will occur until the Day of Judgment. 2. so Khalid extinguished it out of anger on behalf of Allah. 55. the long-necked bird. vol.' al-walo. 8. 'Umar b. Khulayd. p. 477. Perhaps the clue or meeting point is the description of the "stony tract fire" as sending out a "neck. and ordered them not to leave it. Ibn al-'ArabI.ayn) on which were written the answers to his people's future questions. God sent it as a response to a provocation by Khalid's disbelieving tribe.31 The core of the story given above is embellished with various motifs in various versions. p.however.39 Another has it that Khalid left with his wife two tablets (law1J. The Arabs worshiped the fire that appeared in the I:Iijaz (some say: in imitation of the Zoroastrians). Bughyat aHalab.. led by a donkey whose tail was cut off. p. "Neck. 153. p. Walo. Khalid's people (or. 35v (quoted from Kamal al-Dtn [Ibn] aI-'AdTm). see also aI-JaJ:ii~. I. Ma'aril. people would have been impressed and would have believed him. The 'Anqa' is usually mentioned in connection with another Arabian prophet.g. Monotheistic rage.ba." i. Ibn AbI 'Adasa.

father of John the Baptist. they are not typical prophetic stories. Ibn al-'Arum. vol. see al-Samhudt. 19. 9-10. 26-27. vol. p. 1.'Ala' al-Dln al-Sa'ih. vol. could not change the story and make Khalid's people. Ta'rfkh al-madfna. I~ii. 2.47 Even the most Islamized versions are useless from a religious point of view. 49Ibn Hajar. Qi~a~ al-anbiyii. unlike the stories of Hud and ~ali~. and in 'Umar b. see J. vol. 2. pp. 36. for that matter. for Khalid's wife could have been ignorant of his instructions. Culte. pp. 48Ibn Hajar. was still alive in the time of his own father. to saints. 1. pp. 131-32. 425. Divination. fol. although not so pronouncedly. He is also associated with causing the rain to fall. Tradition. p. the Abrahamic fire legend.I. Shabba. 146/763). p. Shabba. above n. Cf. which consists of persecution. nor. The old people of the Banu 'Abs used to tell that Khalid was one of the topics of conversation between the Prophet and the 'AbsI delegation that came to him. 42Ibn AbI 'Adasa. pp. 2. 31. Ahmad b. p. see al-Halabt. fol.b al-'amb.' al-wafa. a son of the chief al-Qa'qa' b. Wellhausen. 2.ba. 35v (quoted from Kamal al-Dfn Ibn al-'AdIm). 430-33. 251. 1.50 Ubayy transmitted to al-Kalbi the story of Khalid in an Islamized version. see Ibn Hasm. Even the fire legend is different from the monotheistic archetype. See the rhymes in the references given for the fire story. cf. 23. Bughyat al-talab. 35r-v. Muhammad b. 45See Mujtr al-Dtn.. Khulayd b. 468. vol. al-l. 50Ibn al-Kalbl. Jamhamt ansilb al-'amb. Pilgrimage (Leiden. below n. Bughyat 01talab. 2. The passage is quoted from the Ta'nft:h by Kamal al-Dtn (Ibn) al-'AdIm. Jamharat ansii. 'Umar. 1986). vol. which they refused.45 The story of Khalid and the fire is sometimes told in a completely Islamized jargon." thus. Ibn Hajar.52 As late as the year 210/825-26 'Umar b. 'Urwa. 444. pp. 1 p. 44He died in 856/1453. D. p. the tribe of 'Abs. Ibn al-'Adlm. The rhymes attributed to Khalid are also reminiscent of a kahin's speech. 136v. fol. now attached to Khalid. Majmu'a. yet it was remembered and handed down.43 The legend. 428. Mu'jam mu~annifi al-kutub al'ambiyya (Beirut. 7. . 'Amara b. pp. does not constitute a monotheistic lesson. 43Amikam Elad. On al-Qa'qa". Note also that the Companion and saintly figure TamIm alDart is credited with extinguishing a fire in the Harra in 'Umar's time.44 His source. Wafa' al-wafa. Shabba. He asked: "Will you acknowledge that I am a prophet if I extinguish the fire?" They agreed. ol-Uns al-jalit bi-ta'nft:h al-Quds wa-I-Khalil ('Amman. where it was told about Zakariya'. because.'. p. and redemption. The tribe was too well-known and too active for that. vol. the above-mentioned story about the stone inscribed with holy words. Shabba. Muhammad b.48 The 'AbsI Ubayy b. Khalid's legends also do not have much in common with miracles usually ascribed 40Al-HaythamI. Ibn AbI 'Adasa. 1. 277. Ibn Khattb al-Naairiyya. 469. the Prophet's Companion. 52Al-SamhlldI. 'Umar RiQa K~i}ala. Ta'rfkh al-madfna. vol. disappear. fol. 39-130. it was not the sinning people who perished. For miracles associated with saints. pp. Majmu'a. al-Qa'qa' b.e. p. flourished in fifteenth century Jerusalem. p. p. Jerusalem: the transmitter of the legend. 'Umar b. For holy men in the Jahiliyya. Bughyat lIl-talab. 130-40. p. A version in the same vein was transmitted by an 'Abst. 7. Qil/al/ al-anbiyii. pp. that Khalid's people sawed him together with the orange tree (in which he was hiding). stories in which Khalid appears to be acting as a kii. 42 Amikam Elad dealt with this legend at length in his recent book on medieval Jerusalem. 74. but (of course) they denied him again. Volksglaube im Bereich des Islam. he extinguished the fire. that is. This stone was to save them in times of drought. Majma' al-zawa'id. Ibn Khattb al-Nasiriyya. 2.46 In spite of some monotheistic features given to the legends about Khalid. Sinan. Beste ambischen Heideniums (Berlin. pp. His name was 'All b. al-Sa'ib alKalbI (d.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 51 she was menstruating so whatever was written on the tablets was immediately erased. 432. 432. see Rudolf Kriss and Hubert Kriss Heinrich. Ceremonies.50 Ella Landau. 45. Ta'nft:h al-madfna. The motif of disobedience again figures here.t? Yet another story relates that Khalid showed his people where to dig for a stone. however. I~aba. p. vol. He showed how it shifted from Jewish sources. See 'Umar b.. vol. 2. Jaz'. 1995). Khalid's "life-story. p. Ta'nft:h al-madfna. Ibn Hazm. 8." p. Insan al-'uyun. Muhammad described him as "the prophet who was destroyed (or forfeited) by his people. p. torture. 426-27. did not leave its locality. vol. 47. Surat al-Ikhliilj) were written. The chief agents in preserving Khalid's memory were his fellow-tribesmen.. namely. 115. vol. Medieval Jerusalem and Islamic Worship: Holy Places. 41 'Umar b. Wafii. 214. vol. to Muslim sources. 1961). Malik.49 Ibn al-Kalbl claims that Ubayy. vol. I~ii. Majmu'a. 123-25. The Islamic features may have been given by al-KalbI himself. Shabba. al-Rawandt.ba. was the chief judge in Jerusalem since 844/1440. 13. 29-30. 51'Umar b. 36r (rhymes about his yet unborn son). p. 422. with the functions and works of a Jahilf priest or soothsayer (kiihin). 'Amara for "AbI 'Amara") by Hisharn b. Ta'nft:h almadfna. Ibn Abr 'Adasa transmits from the chief QaQ. cf. His father. cf.252. 154. Jamharat al-nasab. with all its resourcefulness. 7.t! Even an old Jewish legend is attached to Khalid.:Iasan. Montet. 'Ala' alDIn al-Sa'i~. Band I: Wallfahrtswesen und Heiligenverehrung (Wiesbaden 1960). 'Amara b. Shabba. A version transmitted from al-Sha'bi has it that Khalid called upon his people to believe in Islam (sic) and acknowledge that he was a prophet. Ibn al-'AdIm. 46'Umar b. 30.51 Another Islamized version was transmitted from a son of the 'AbsI chief. who lived in Umayyad times. Fahd. 1. A shorter version is said to have been transmitted from Ubayy (read Ubayy b. 154-55. on which divine verses (I. vol. above p.hin: he supplies the 'Abs with a talisman to ensure their victory in battles. lived in the time of Khalid b. where it was told about the prophet Isaiah. vol. and Ibn Khattb al-Nasiriyya. p. Khulayd. Shabba drew 47There are. pp. vol. 2. but the prophet Khalid himself. 1973). His name was Ahmad b. vol. Malik was alive at the time of the Prophet and is considered a Companion.

Manbij is mentioned by al-Harawf as the location of a shrine where. n. for Jurjura. Jurjan. may have misread his source. al-Inti~ar. p. al-Kindl. First. ed. 2. 61Ka'b is said to be the son of Khalid's daughter. unless a daughter does not count as progeny. Cf. 429-30. 28. A forth. fol. above n. Tebessa in East Algeri~. AbI Bakr al-Harawl. The importance of the family is also indicated by the fact that a cousin of al-Qa'qa' was married to the caliph 'Abd al-Malik. vol. Majmu'a. 3. 1. 2. "according to what people claim. p. also called Ka'b b. 1.Iusayn. 251.g. p.63 Secondly. yet another place in Algeria. 28. commenting on Qur)an. Ibn Hajar. Bughyat al-talab. The reason for this assumption is that only Isma'Il Haqqi mentions Jurjan as Khalid's burial place." Ibn Duqrnaq. was Hiyar Bani al-Qa'qa'. p. 321.54 It should be noted that at least three of these five places are In North Africa. Ka'b b. pp. p. Ka'b is sometimes said to be Khalid's nephew. vol. al-Mawa'i~ wa-I-i'tibar. cit. they used to come to see Ka'b [in the market]. vol. 305. Mu'jam al-buldan. Dinna. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakarn. 47. Yasar. the first) judge appointed by 'Umar b. vol.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 53 some of the legends about Khalid directly from an 'Abst chief. vol. was called "Candles Alley" (zuqaq al-qanadfl). Yaqut.!id buried in Tebessa and Biskra).P" Ka'b had Berber clients who admired him and "adopted" his grandfather. Governors. apparently in the vicinity of Qayrawan in ~msla. therefore. al-Nujum al-zahira. and had the governor. 469. 57Ibn Khatib al-Nasiriyya. a prophet is buried. 193. "They claimed that his [grand]father was a prophet who was sent to them. 36r). it was again an 'Absf who disseminated traditions about Khalid. p. 303. p. This contradicts the statement that Khalid had no progeny. was the ultimate source quoted by the Syrian historian Kamal al-Din Ibn al-'AdIm who died in 660/1262. The market was located at the end of "Candles Alley. 47. I~aba. See Waki' . vol. He may have substituted Jurjan. and an unnamed place. Ka'b's Berber clients were probably the carriers of the Khalid legends to the parts of Algeria where they are current to 60Ibn al-'Adim. I.P" A shrine for Khalid b. Mu'jam al-buldan. p. Ibn Hajar.52 Ella Landau. 1967).65 I do not see a reason to doubt the information that Ka'b's Berber clients appropriated Khalid b.d. (Dar IQya) al-Kutub al-'Arabiyya. 65AI-KindT.53 Burial Places of Khalid Notwithstanding the story that Khalid's body was not unearthe~ but left untouched. 61 (also quoted by Ibn al-'Adim. al-Qa'qa' b. where I started my inquiry. 1953). He. or at least a part of them. 2. the above mentioned Companion Ubayy b. 58Yaqiit.. p. Khuwaylid).. There remains North Africa. The place had been given to Khulayd b. and Ibn Khatib al-Nasiriyya. Bughyat al-talab. sons of 'Abd al-Malik. al-'A~. situated not far from Manbij.56 It was even claimed that Khalid had lived in Manbij. vol. Another cAbsI."! Ka'b settled in Egypt with the first Muslim conquerors. 230. Ibn Hazm. FuWI}. al-Khattab in Egypt. His tomb there and the mosque erected at the location attracted pilgnms. 111. 'All b. 1. he was the second (some say. 7. p. but there is no reason to doubt that Syrian 'Absls handed down the traditions about their prophet. al-Kindt. It is reported to be In at least five different places: Jurjan in Persia. p. Futul}. just as many of them forged for themselves Arab genealogies. may be a mistake for Jurjura. pp. p. 'Amr b.. 368.of false prophets (e. see Ibn Hajar. Manbij in Syria. 35r. Jaz' by al-Waltd b. p. 56The place is called "the Shrine of Light" (mashhad al-nur).60 Some links in this long chain of transmission may be spurious (such as Hisham b. 468 (in the vicinity of Qayrawan). Sinan in this place can be rather easily accounted for. Asad. One of their settlements (madfna). Isiiba.58 a fact which indicates the high status of Khulayd. 373. Ibn Duqmaq. Ta)n"'kh al-madfna.. al-MaqrIzI. 7. 59 She was the mother of al. his grave seems ubiquitous. Majmu'a. vol. 32. 64Yaqilt. which was subsequently called 'the Berber Market' [suq barbar] after them. If my reconstruction is correct. Mu'jam al-buldan. pp. vol. 21. al-Suytltl. I shall treat it first. 1. 220-21. tribe of Tulayha b. p. 297. he lived in "the Alley of the Nobles" (zuqiiq al-ashriif) in Fustat. The Banu CAbs. 54See Goldziher. (Kha. There remains. 937. quoted by Ibn Khatib al-Nasiriyya. vol. 62 Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam. they say that it is Khalid b. According to the latter. 7. the 'Absis were obviously proud of Khalid b. p. residence of the noblemen. 63Ka'b was not interested in this post and 'Umar eventually accepted his resignation. Shabba. . I~aba. fol. Khulayd b. Zurayq b. a place of which he probably had never heard.. Sinan. vol. 34:44. 315. Khalid's rhymes about his yet unborn son. This time it was Khalid's grandson. Therefore. vol. 35r. Jaz'. vol. 94. thus. vol. According to another version he was dismissed. after the cAbsI chief mentioned above.}. Rul} al-bayan. 2. Sinan. for a neighbor.55 Haqqt was an Ottoman scholar versed in Persian literature. vol. pp. Unlike tribesmen. alMawa'i~ wal-i'tibar. the abovementioned oasis south of Biskra in Algeria. p. emigrated to Syria.. p. Jamharat amab al-'arab. Governors. Ibn al-Taghribirdl. vol. CAmara. 296. al-Maqrlzr. 'Abd al-Malik. 53'Umar b. 59 As already mentioned. 229-30. Sinan. Kitiib al-isharat ila mo'rifat al-ziyarat (Damascus. Akhbar al-qwjat (Beirut. and that they "identified" his tomb in or near their territory in Syria. a son of this QaCqa' transmitted Khalid's story. fol. 1. 55Isrna'Il Haqql. 'Urwa).. Governors. Majmu'a. p. 13-14. loc. a toponym well known to him. the alley. only Manbij as a site of Khalid's tomb that is outside of North Africa. 1. 325. The passage is quoted from the Ta)n"'kh by Kamal al-Dtn (Ibn) al-'Adim. 305. p. 1.Walld and Sulayrnan. lfusn al-mui}atjara If ta)rfkh mi~r wa-I-qahira. 3. Initially. Muslim Studies. Muhammad Abu al-Fadl Ibrahrm. p. They would do so in order to enhance their status in Islam.P Two facts indicate his high status. 305.

Ja. Mu'jam al-mu'alli/fn. Some one hundred twenty kilometers to the northeast." Al-Warthrlant. a small oasis some thirty kilometers south-west of Biskra. The following account draws much upon Luciani's introduction to his translation of the Sullam. had not J. 'Ali al-Karajakt. in fact.r. in the western part of the Awras mountain in Algeria. were already mentioned. In addition to the annual pilgrimage to the prophet's tomb.58 In the village SIdI Khalid. 5. (Beirut. Kanz al-fawi. and the origin of Islam in the Awras are explained simultaneously by the unmistakably ij:ijazI Jahilf legend. especially on logic. the legend was translated into a ritual and a social institution. Then. walking from the Azraq mountain (in the southern part of the massif). in the vicinity of Qayrawan.i. but it constitutes one village. for a different ''fire story" explaining the toponym Nltrlt. on the top of a mountain. 87. 43. As a result of this knowledge. citing one 'Abd ai-Malik b. and later in Tunis. vol.74 His rhymed treatise on logic. "Documents. wrote a poem eulogizing the prophet Khalid. pp. does not elaborate on the social significance of this activity.vol. see Devoulx. Cf. 70Ibn Hajar. ed. whereupon the people converted to Islam. the Sullam..75 It is related that he never married. whom I could not trace. i. 71 Miner and de Vos. 42. 837. Thus. 41. Secondly. recorded by Horace Miner in the village Sidi Khaled in 1950. I~i.P His name was 'Abd al-Rahman b. the imam decides the time for this activity and sends the public crier to announce it. similar to niir. The anthropologist Miner reports that. 1.. other descriptions of holy people in their graves in Muhammad b. the ritual expresses the basic facts of life in SIdI Khafid: the community is made of separate groups each with its own history. It seems to me to have two functions. however. Oasis and Casba. Setting out and coming back are performed in a ceremonial fashion. declared the area as sacred.P 'Abd al-Rahrnan al-Akhdan was a sixteenth century scholar who wrote quite popular treatises. Luciani known the region personally. 73 Al-Wartbtlant. "Documents. Nuzhat al-an:fi.ba. 76 On the institution of zi.i. 116-17.P This 'Abd al-Rahman can be traced in other sources. This report dates from the fourth century. centered around the alleged tomb of Khalid b.e. 5. 12-30. then demanded a miracle as a token of the truth of his mission. Nuzhat al-an:fiir. He is clad in white wool. Khalid's tomb is attested in yet another place in North Africa. people relate that the local Christian population refused to be converted to Islam. .?? However. 1. but there is no "KhalIfa" in his genealogy. Each group performs its share of the whitewashing in isolation from the other groups. p. was founded in the sixteenth century. the Khalid ritual centers around the simple act of whitewashing the mosque built at the spot.i. 1. Khalid waved his hand and the area was covered with flames. vol. the village SIdIKhalid. and that his tribe. the groups show both their distinctiveness and their willingness to cooperate. and the flames disappeared. I thank Dr.we have here a combination of etiology with a myth of origin. p. S.75 'Abd al-Rahman was born in Bantiytis. EI2. pp. Muhammad b. He studied first in the local ziiwiya under his father and his older brother. in the sixteenth century. 380-84." pp. and a festive meal is provided by the wealthier families of the quarter at the end of the day. vol. 88. Luciani. "Akhdarr. pp.v.lt K~I.wiya. Sinan. p.pp. When all the quarters have done their share and the work is completed.'id. 'Amir al-Akhdart. p. 87. 72See above. 67Masqueray. aI-'Ayyashi.P" Such legends are not. 74 'Umar Riq. are still revered by the neighboring tribes and exert religious influence. 59 Miner. begging him to extinguish the fire." 107. He was the man who "discovered" (a~ham) Khalid's tomb.D. 68 cr. Khalid pursued the fire into a cave. 22. First they laughed at him. a fact insignificant in itself. who recorded this detailed description. each quarter of the village sets out in its turn to whitewash its allotted portion of the building. it enhances the authority of the imam and the leaders of the quarters. but families bearing his name take care of his tomb. the same. 69Miner and de Vos. p. arithmetic. p. He had his own ziiwiya in Bantyus where he is also buried (although he died somewhere else). Every year. until one day SIdI Khalid arrived.54 Ella Landau. A jiihilf holy man of the sixth century contributes to the communal life of a Muslim village in the twentieth century. The source is al-Hakim (d.i. and in the end they all gather to celebrate. Ibn Hajar cites a report that Khalid is buried in a cave in the vicinity of Qayrawan."? Obviously. these families have official documents to prove their identity and ancestry. there is an evening entertainment for the whole village-gunplay at the marketplace. 2. It is. Oasis and Casba. Avraham Hakim for this reference. and called upon the people to convert. marabout mentioned by Goldziher. introduction. Nasr. First. and yet another place associated with him.1a. 413. Ril}la. Masqueray. 75 Luciani. at a place called Nara. confined to this small place. rhetoric and fiqh. The leaders of every quarter supervise the digging and preparing of lime. 468. was translated into French by J. 405/1014). and eventually founded the settlement. Luciani was able to write a detailed biography of al-Akhdari based mainly on oral and family sources.D. p. but they share the responsibility. The toponym Nara. Muhammad b. the Ouled ben Khaltfa. one 'Abd al-Rahman ben Khalifa settled near the tomb. The legends of Khalid preaching Christianity in sixth century Algeria. which functions both as an educational center and as a refuge for the locals as well as strangers. "Les edifices religieux de l'Alger ancien. his zawiya. his head is rested on his arms as if he were asleep." Revue Africaine 6 (1862): 370-82.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 55 this day. 'Abdallah Ni'ma. 66 See above. fire. 1985).

1971). See al-Akhdart's opposition to marabouts on p. Abu al-Qasim al-Zayyani. no. Si:niin. pp. devoted to the Qur'an and the religious law. apparently. introduction. and below. p. examples of their corruption on pp. 45-46. Luciani. 83 Luciani suspects that al-Akhdart's purpose was to establish a public place of pilgrimage. 77 78 . p. 414. "Some scholars say that the grave of this Khalid b. p. Cf. 84 AI-ZayyanI.Les marabouts. 17. 85 AI-'AyyashI. 24. 6. al-Turjumana al-kubra. He prayed for them.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet IT you see someone who flies or walks upon the sea Never stopping at the boundaries set by God's decree Surely he is an innovator led to his doom by the Creator82 57 'Abd al-Rahman al-AkhdarI became himself a marabout. 124. p. The poem and the pilgrimage are real. 'Abd al-KarIm al-Fakun.75-87. Al-Akhdarr's anger was not roused against the cult of deceased saints.P! 'Abd al-Rahman was a teacher and a scholar. idem. vol. He opposed them even by violent means. it was an answer to those who criticized al-Akhdari for what he did. 49-50. When he awoke. They led him to Bantyus but he preferred to stay outside in a deserted shack. Muslim Society.8o These three. p. Abu al-Qi!. 79 Luciani. 1799. the present interpretation does not doubt al-Akhdart's integrity. See al-WarthUanI. He detested the marabouts who were often corrupt. Culte.sim Sa'd Allah (Beirut. pp. falsely-religious authority of the marabouts with the genuine authority of Sunni Islam. 27. 122. so that at' least part ofl~is biography is legendary. Luciani.fiir. but omitted the latter's statement that he had looked in vain for the passage (in Ibn 'Arafa's works). praying for God's guidance. a local saint.56 Ella Landau.g. Nuzhat al-an. disregarding even the most fundamental religious laws and living at the expense of the poor credulous followers. who states: "If [al-Akhdarf] 82 idM ra' ayta rajulan yatfru aw fawqa ma' al-bal}r yasfru wa-Iam yaqif 'inda I}udud al-shar' fa-'innahu mustadraj wa-bid'f. 26. he saw that his aggressors had been turned into statues. ManshUr al-hidaya /if kashf man idda' a al-'ilm wa-I-wiliiya. it is clear that al-Akhdarr would have turned in his grave had he heard the legends told about him. then he raised his hand. they regained their human form and became his followers. I thank Tariq Rajab for bringing this extraordinary book to my attention. he was attacked and robbed. L'Islam algerien. 117. People started to visit him and bring presents. Sinan is mentioned in a commentary transmitted from the imam Ibn 'Arafa. and pilgrims come to the place to this day. 32. AIZayanf copied this passage from al-'AyyashI. He then wrote a poem to publicize his discovery and eulogize the prophet Khalid.. Khalid's story had already penetrated precisely this region centuries before. He said. Doutte. whereupon the pretender's head rolled off his shoulders. Sinan. the attribution to Ibn 'Arafa may be spurious. Regaining his human form. ed. The eighteenth century historian and traveler. chapter 6. a case of one local saint replaced by another (a newcomer) in Hadramawt is described by Abdallah Bujra. For other verses see pp. legends have a common theme. At that time there was a false marabout in Bantyus who became jealous of 'Abd al-Rahman. such as the following verses: In view of this information. The phenomenon lasted for three days. 81 The negative attitude of SunnI scholars towards the marabouts is well known. from an oral source.85 Since all other information point to al-Akhdarf as the initiator of the archeological discovery of Khalid's tomb. al-Akhdart propagated a tradition about a prophet who had been safely dead for centuries. For examples of marabouts disregarding the religious law and committing crimes. therefore. whereupon he prayed and fell asleep. 131 139-40. To counterbalance the immense influence exerted by the marabouts. 1987). 'Abd al-Rahman spotted a pillar of light rising up to the sky. asserts that Khalid's story penetrated a local scholarly work as well.?" I think that at least three of the legends associated with him deserve special attention. pp. The place became a pilgrim site. as represented by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Akhdarf himself. pp. That there was such criticism is implied by th~ same al-'AyyashI. He wrote poetry against them. A manuscript of the poem is found at the national library in Alger." Another legend relates how 'Abd al-Rahman uncovered the pretenses of the marabout of a neighboring oasis. 80 Luciani. Ril}la. 13. and an answer to the popular need for miracles and pilgrimage sites. It is related that one day 'Abd al-Rahman went out of Biskra. but against the living ones. It also becomes clear why he "adopted" Khalid b.. The Politics of Stratification (Oxford.. He was transformed into a turtle and was carried southward with the stream. 152-53. Sinan. Moreover. introduction p. pp. at least at the level of popular tradition.84 There is reason to doubt this information. 37-41. 2. It is the replacement of the manipulative. 120-33.P'' This tradition was at once a story rooted in classical hadfth. The latter made a speech in which he showed the pretender for what he was. p. for his own benefit. 150. See. introduction. By contrast. apparently disparate. I cite them in detail. see Montet. p. e.79 The third legend concerns Khalid b. introduction. Muslim Society. 'Abd al-Rahman followed the light and discovered the tomb of the prophet Khalid b. Gellner. It is reported that he once ordered his pupils to beat one of these would-be saints. see also Gellner.

loc. 1958). p. 18. arithmetic and the laws of inheritanceare identical with those of Ibn 'Arafa. p. Cf.'. pp.Ttimsnn (Alger. 'Amir al-Akhdarf become 'Abd al-Rahman ben Khalifa? Perhaps the solution is that al-Akhdar. "86 Ibn 'Arafa must have been an inspiration to al-Akhdarr. where al-Akhdarr completed his education. since a proper name from the root lJ 1/ does not exist). vol. 88 Miner and de Vos. Muhammad b. al-Turjumana al- kubra. 91 AI-'AyyiishT. introduction.YiisT. al. Contrary to al-Akhdarf's wishes they were.P" There remains the discrepancy between the names to account for.Tasseron Unearthing a pre-Islamic Arabian Prophet 59 learned about it from his books. after which al-Akhdarr was called. but not the poem."9o Even al-'AyyashI. based on a flimsy pillar of light. As mentioned above. See. 414-15. Casba. 24. 12. 2.. was a sub-tribe of the famous Banu Hila! who invaded North Africa in the eleventh century. Maryam. But see another interpretation of the passage in Luciani. sometimes associat. al-Akhdari's main fields of study -logic. quoted with variations by al-Zayyanr.P" If. but I do not have a better explanation (except that Miner's information is not correct). for he is entitled to it. They receive annual gifts from them. pp. Oasis and Casba. Alfa grass. The success of the discovery was so great. Ironically.. 26. a legend was spread that his body was not buried. 26. the region in Algeria where Khalid's story was rooted. 1984). Oasis and. introduction.P" The name Halfawiyya comes from the word Qal/ii'. a ~ijazI jahilf miracle worker.Yousi: Problemes de la culture marocaine au XV/Ieme siecle (Paris.87 Someone. He himself was turned into a saint. native. See above p. Cf. that is. was identical with the massif of Awras. who unambiguously rejects the opinion that the tomb belonged to the ~ijazI Khalid b. s. Nuzhat al-an~ar. 5-6.. 150. introduction. and still are. p. cit.97 Perhaps in time.ed with Khalid. perhaps al-Akhdari himself.P" A part of this sub-tribe left the area of Biskra and wandered northward where it settled in the western part of the Awras.. This group was called al-Akhdar al-Halfawiyya. 95 There are. Luciani. 90 AI-'AyyiishT. 89 Al-Warthtlanr. this name was misunderstood and was taken to refer to an ancestor.d al-Zab . p. 1908). Nushat al-an~ar. however. 'Abd al-Rahman ben Khalifa. he failed in his attempt to abate the influence of the local saints. p. people whose prayers are answered. we have heard of shrines and tombs of prophets and saints in the East (al-mashriq) that were discovered by knowledgeable people and became places of pilgrimage .lid's association with al-rass. treated reverently by their neighbors. and perhaps al-Akhdarr's family belonged to this particular branch of the Banu al-Akhdar. is a conjecture that cannot be proved. 97 See E/2. of course. 150.. Sinan..Turjumana al-kubra. 3.iJO Ella Landau. he may have Changed the names for some reason or other. the latter being an entirely different place.. Sinan had been a prophet or a marabout (waH). the similar case of AI. for example. Sinan.shT. it was his right. became the patron saint of a Muslim Algerian village. 92 AI-'Ayya.P! To explain how Khalid arrived from the ~ijaz. His doubts.. the best and greatest among the pious people meet there . investigated by Jaque Berque in AI. AIZayyanT speaks of Billi. p. The oasis around the prophet's tomb came to bear SIdI Khalid's name. may have tried to legitimize the discovery of KhaIid's tomb. pp.89 The tomb became a central pilgrimage site. Thus. moreover.. 5. pp. since Luciani. he added to it unintentionally. 18. p. 96Luciani. Khalid b. 44 for Khli. "l:Ialfli. then buried. RiQla.Y Moreover.by [falsely] basing it on the scholarly work of the revered Ibn 'Arafa. for he had been teaching and functioning as imam of Masjid al-Zaytilna in Tunis. 87 Ibn pp. 22. the curious fact that he consistently refers to Biskra as Gafsa. people were not sure any more whether Khalid b. 20. who apparently saw the manuscript of al-Akhdart's poem. Muhammad vol. does not mention it. 151. 93 Al-Warthtlanr. Nuzhat al-an~ar. 414. 20. Tarajim al-mu'allifin al-Wnisiyyfn (Beirut. in the course of time. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Akhdarr failed precisely because he was so successful. See. "visited by people from the east and the west . fiqh." . introduction. Mal. but was put on a she-camel and carried to the Bilad al-Zab. al-Turjumana al-kubrii. cit. It should be noted that Miner is not always reliable as regards names and history. the information is correct. p. more ingenious explanation. however. that it was considered one of the chief merits of 'Abd al-Rahman.1fii~. See Luciani. 363-71. I do not think that al-Akhdart himself made this identification. aI-ZayyanT.as identical with bilad a~Qab al-rass. Al-Warthtlant. pp. 2. 94 Miner does not give the source of the information. It was claimed that al-rass of the Qur'an. vol. other interpretations of the name al-Akhdarf. p. 5. Muhammad b. pp. Ril}la. wrote a poem eulogizing that same ~ijazI prophet on the occasion of his visit to the tomb. are quoted by al-Zayyant. and his descendants are called Ouled ben Khalifa. as becomes the descendants of marabouts. Moreover. and descendants of 'Abd al-Rahman al-Akhdarf settled there. The fact remains that thanks to al-Akhdarr's initiative. 92 There was an alter86 AI-'AyyiishT.which is where Khalid's oasis is situated . This. v. the name of the founder of the settlement is. 87. there is a puzzle to resolve: how did 'Abd al-Rahman b. which covers large areas in the western Awras. according to Miner. al-Bustiit: fi dhikr al-awliya' wa-l-'ulama' bi. 190-201. and is worshiped to this very day. (being then changed to Khalifa. It is not absolutely certain that the information given by Miner is accurate. Ioc.

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