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Der Islam

Journal of the History and Culture of the Middle East

Ed. by Heidemann, Stefan / Hagen, Gottfried / Kaplony, Andreas / Matthee, Rudi

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.100

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Volume 95, Issue 1


“The Romans Will Win!” Q 30:2‒7 in Light of 7th c. Political Eschatology

Tommaso Tesei
Published Online: 2018-03-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0001


This article addresses a prophecy found in vv. 2‒7 of the thirtieth Qurʾānic sūra, known as al-Rūm (“The Romans”). These verses report on the Romans’ (al-Rūm) involvement in a conflict against an unnamed enemy and predict its eventual outcome. The passage refers to the conflict between the Byzantines and Sasanians that lasted for about thirty years during the first three decades of the 7th c. (602‒628 CE). These verses are usually considered to be the only Qurʾānic allusion to a historical event that can be confirmed by sources external to the Islamic tradition. In this study I will argue that the prophecy on the Rūm has close parallels with other prophecies on the war that were circulating in the Middle East in the first half of the 7th c. The contextualization and comparison with other 7th c. prophecies will provide us with a better understanding of the Qurʾānic passage.

Keywords: Qurʾān; early Islam; al-Rūm; Q 30:2‒7; Byzantines; Sasanians; Heraclius; Apocalypticism

Article note: A Patricia (“e u so ben t’ammii u mä ’n pò ciû au largu du dulú”). I am grateful to David Powers and John Reeves for their useful comments.

About the article

Published Online: 2018-03-24

Published in Print: 2018-03-22

Citation Information: Der Islam, Volume 95, Issue 1, Pages 1–29, ISSN (Online) 1613-0928, ISSN (Print) 0021-1818, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2018-0001.

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