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al-Khidr, the Green One, Tests the Patience of Moses


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(Arabic areas)

al-Khidr, the Green One (Swahili: Hishiri; Fulfulde: Halilu), a mythic hero, was the spokesman for the divine. He was associated with the sea, commanding the obedience of the four quarters; he was the deputy of God on the sea and his representative on the earth. He revealed esoteric doctrines to men of exceptional sanctity.

al-Khidr became immortal when he drank from the Well of Life. He encouraged Alexander, the “two-horned one,” so called because, al-Khidr told him, he was the lord of the two horns of the sun. al-Khidr accompanied Alexander in his quest for the Fountain of Life. Alexander did not find the Fountain, but al-Khidr, separated from the two-horned one, accidentally fell into it, and received everlasting life.

Moses, accompanied by his servant Yusha, the son of Nun, journeyed to discover the place where the two seas meet. On their arrival, Yusha found that he had forgotten their fish at a certain rock, and he disclosed that the fish had escaped. They returned to the rock, and it was at that place that they met al-Khidr, the man who had been granted the gift of prophecy. Moses was anxious to follow him, but al-Khidr warned him that to do so demanded great patience and the ability not to be deceived by the outward appearance of events. Moses accompanied him and was tested when al-Khidr scuttled a boat, killed an innocent boy and repaired a wall for the inhospitable people of a city: Moses lost his patience and demanded an explanation for these apparently iniquitous or irrational acts. al-Khidr explained, indicating that his deeds were in the best interests of all concerned, and that he had acted so under the direction of God. North African traditions associate Rades as the place where al-Khidr built his boat, and Muhammadiya where he repaired the wall. The district of Tilimsan in Algeria is where he encountered Moses and Yusha. The rock where Moses and al-Khidr met is at the Jami' al-Sakhra. See also: Irgam Yigfagna.

Subjects: Religion.


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