DOLDOL (or Doldūl, in Ar. lit., “large porcupine”), name of a female mule that Moqawqes, governor of Egypt, sent to the Prophet Moḥammad as a gift. Toward the end of his life the Prophet gave it and his armor to ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭāleb, an act that is viewed by Shiʿites as one of the important indicators of ʿAlī’s special status.

In the Islamic folk tradition Doldol is sometimes confused with Borāq, the mount upon which the Prophet is believed to have ascended physically to heaven; in popular paintings of the Prophet’s ascension Boṟˈāq is usually depicted with a horse’s body and a human face, however. Although in biographical and mystical texts in Arabic and Persian, as well as in much Persian poetry, the name Doldol is reserved for the Prophet’s mule, the phrase šāh-e doldol sawār “the king riding the doldol” refers to Imam ʿAlī (Saʿdī, p. 36; Dehḵodā, s.v.).



(For cited sources not found in this bibliography and abbreviations found here, see “Short References.”) Moḥammad b. Mūsā Damīrī, Ḥayāt al-ḥayawān al-kobrā, 2 vols., Damascus 1989, s.v. Doldol. Ebn al-Aṯīr, II, p. 314.

Majd-al-Dīn Ebn al-Aṯīr, al-Nehāya fī ḡārīb al-ḥadīṯ II, Cairo, 1385/1965, p. 139.

ʿAbbās b. Moḥammad-Reżā Qomī, Safīnat al-beḥār wa madīnat al-ḥekam wa’l-āṯār I, Najaf, 1355/1936, p. 461.

Moṣleḥ-al-Dīn Saʿdī, Būstān-e Saʿdī, ed. Ḡ.-Ḥ. Yūsofī, Tehran, 1359 Š./1970.

Tāj al-ʿarūs VII, Cairo, 1307/1889, s.v. Doldol.

(Aḥmad Mahdawī Dāmḡānī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1995

Last Updated: November 29, 2011

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