Location of Hebron

by vazir, Monday, November 04, 2013, 05:13 (2060 days ago) @ vazir


The Book of Genesis tells us that Ibraheem the ‘Ibrāni (the “Hebrew” - meaning the nomad who “crossed over” from the wilderness of Arabia, towards the lush mountain oases of the Sarāt Country), after having settled for a while in the land of the so-called “Canaanites”, witnessed the death of his wife Sarah, in a place called “Kirjat-Arba”. It also tells us that this place was known as “Hebron”. In the orientalist Arab translations, the name “Hebron” was rendered as “Ḥabrūn” ( حبرون ).

She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. (Genesis – 23:2)

The first name appears in the Aramaic text as Kryt-Arb‘, which is equivalent to al-Qura al-Arba‘ in Arabic (meaning: The Four Towns). The second name was originally written as Ḥbrn. Let us see if this name appears in the old Yemeni records.

The ancient Arabian tribes did in fact know of a location called Ḥbrn, whose name was rendered sometimes as Ḥabrān (حبران) and sometimes as Ḥabra (حبرى).

[One of the characteristics of the dialects of southern Yemen is their addition of the -n letter suffix at the end of many words. Local linguists call it al-nūn al-kilā'iyyah, pertaining to Mikhlāf Kilā', one of the country's most prominent tribal domains. Hence, Bur' may be rendered as Bur'n, just as Ṣan'ā' is often rendered as Ṣan'an. A good example of the -n suffix phenomenon can be found in the story of Elias (P) in the Qur'ān. In the Arabic translations, the name appears as Elias in the following: {And Elias was one of the messengers (37:123)}. Then, a few passages down, it appears in the form of Eliasn, with the -n suffix: {Peace be upon the family of Eliasn(37:130)}. This manuscripturial evidence provides another subtle clue as to where the Qur'ān was first recorded.]

Yemeni poet Zayd-al-Khayl al-Ṭā’i (died 630 AD), mentioned the place in one of his poems:

غَدَت من رخيخٍ ثم راحت عشية بحبران إرقال العقيق المجفر

Another poet, al-Rā‘i al-Numayri, also mentions the same place:

كأنها ناشط حمت مدامعه من وحش حَبران بين النقيع و الظفر

From the descriptions of this place by the Arab poets, we can conclude that Ḥabrān was a mountainous place that had fallen into desolation since very ancient times, and had become a den for wild beasts.

Have you heard of the famous Arab Jewish Rabbi by the name of Ka‘b al-Aḥbār? In case you haven’t, here follows is a briefing on him: He was a prominent Yemeni Jewish figure who lived during the time of Muḥammad (P), and later “embraced” Islam during the time of Abu Bakr (or so the traditions claim)^. He was a Ḥimyarite Jew, hailing from Ṣan‘ā’, the historic capital of Judaism in Arabia.

Arab geographer Yāqūt al-Ḥamwi (Volume 2 / pages 244,245) relates to us the following concerning this famous Jewish Rabbi:

وفي هذا يقول كعب الأحبار الأخباري: "أول من مات ودفن في حبرى، سارة زوجة إبراهيم )ع(، وكان مسكنه بناحية حبرى، فاشترى الموقع بخمسين درهما

Translation: "According to Ka‘b al-Aḥbār, the first to ever be buried in Ḥabra was Sarah, wife of Ibraheem, who had lived in the general area, and who had bought the place for 50 Dirhams".

Now of course, we cannot be 100% sure that this story was in fact true. In fact the history is often mixed up with legends. And commentators generally agree that many stories tend to attribute legendary events to actual, real places. The poets of ancient Yemen did not invent place names in their poetry. This is because “crying at the ruins” was deeply imbedded in their culture, and was a means of expressing sadness over long-lost glories and places that had turned to dust (the tented homes of their lovers, desert oasis, tribes that migrated away, etc...). We believe that the melancholic Psalms of the Old Testament are in fact the oldest sample remaining today of the poetry of Arabia in its distant childhood, of which very little is known. Although the event of Sarah’s death and burial somewhere in the desolation of Ḥabrān-Ḥabra may have been a local legend, the actual location was very much a real place. Or else how can we explain its mention attributed to a prominent Jewish religious figure, as related to us in the writings of a geographer of the caliber of Yāqūt al-Ḥamwi?

Furthermore, the fact that a Jewish Rabbi of the renown of Ka‘b al-Aḥbār knew of the story/legend of Ibraheem (P) burying his wife (and eventually being buried himself) in a place called Ḥabrān-Ḥabra, makes it very difficult to dismiss the fact that he was familiar with the place, and with the geography of the Biblical stories in general. Furthermore, a Yemeni Jewish priest like Ka‘b - a real Israelite Jew - is more qualified to tell us about Ibraheem’s burial place than all the Rabbis of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania, who are Khazar Jews of no relation whatsoever to the Biblical Israelites. [Another interesting book to read on KHAZARS is "Thirteenth Tribe" by Arthur Koestler]

The story of the burial of Ibraheem (P) and his wife in a cave coincides with the evidence that has been unearthed from the archeological digs conducted in South Arabia which clearly show a trend of using caves as burial places for kings in ancient times. This confirms the traditional legends of the region that we read in the books of the Yemeni historians, notably Wahb bin Munabbeh’s al-Teejan fi Mulūk Ḥimyar (lit: Crowns of the Kings of Ḥimyar) and the book Akhbār al-Yaman (lit: Stories of Yemen), by ‘Ubayd al-Jurhumi, which also speaks of the prophet Hūd being buried in a cave, somewhere in the Ḥaḍramawt Valley.

Tomb of Prophet Hood

Hadhramout is one of the centers of Monotheistic religious and is one of the sacred sites. Many prophets and messengers of god are buried there. Among the most important tombs are those of prophet of Saleh, Mash-had prophet Handlah Bin Soufan the Safwan “ the Prophet of the people of Raas” as mentioned in the Holy Koran. The most important of which is the Tomb of prophet Hood. It is located on a small hill 90 km east to Tareem. The Dome housing the tomb was built in its current state in 1673 AD. This dome is called An-Naqa (the female camel) a windy cobblestone path, white washed as the dome, leads to the nearby village down the hill. Prophet Hood’s tomb has been a pilgrim’s destination since the pre-Islamic era.

Note: In next post, you will find details of some more places.

Source: ARABIA: The Untold Story, Book 2: Road of the Patriarch, Page # 88-91.

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