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  1. Assalaamu `alaykum, all. Having a great love for Mawla `Ali (karramAllahu wajhahu) and swords in general, I thought I'd do some research into the famed Dhu-l Faqar; perhaps one day I might order a reproduction made to the specifications outlined below:1. Arab swords of the early Islamic era were similar in almost every way to either the Roman spatha or the Sassanid longsword, i.e. they were straight and double-edged (the saber was an innovation originating in Central Asia, not finding its way to the Persians or Arabs until much later). The highest quality were made in Yemen from imported wootz ingots (made in southern India). They were uniformly worn hung from a baldric; wearing a sword on one's hip on a belt was not customary (in fact it seems to have been looked down upon) for the Arabs.2. I have effectively ruled out its name referring to a bifurcation of the tip or serration of the edges (as we see on Shī`ī pendants and Indo-Pakistani interpretations). Bifurcation of the tip would make a sword structurally unsound (particularly with the desired impact area being roughly the upper third of the blade), and such a measure would be ludicrous to as ferocious a warrior as `Alī (`alayhi salām); such a sword would not have been one famously used by him. Serration of the edge (such as on the medieval Flamberge), while indeed effectively improving the performance of a cut-centric sword (as spathae were), was not innovated until much later in history. Thus I have determined that the name either has to do with cleaving/separating (the vertebrae, specifically), or referring to a particularly intricate fuller design it may have incorporated (fiqr is a word meaning fine engraving). As it was quite ordinary for spathae to have multiple (quite attractive) fullers, I'm leaning more toward translating its name as "Lord of Cleaving."3. By investigating Ibn al-Qayyim's "Zād ul-Ma`ād" and Imām Tirmidhī's "Shamā'il," I have determined the parts of Dhū-l Faqār's furniture which were made of silver, and they are as follows:-Bikrāh: these are the part of the scabbard which attach to the rings through which the baldric straps are fed.-Dhu'ābah: this would usually refer to the lanyard hung from the pommel (used for weapon retention and decoration), but since this is mentioned along with those features made of silver, I have to assume this refers to a ring through which the lanyard was strung.-Na`l: this is the decorative (and protective) endcap at the base of the scabbard, also called chape. Not to be confused with chappe.-Halqah: throat (chappe). As spathae featured both a chappe on the scabbard and the hilt, I shall thus apply it to both. Note that the chappe of a spatha's hilt tended to be incorporated into the larger (usually) shoulder-style rounded handguard.-Qabī`ah: pommel cap and handle accents.4. The blade will resemble in length, width, and taper, that of a typical 7th-century Roman spatha. It should have a roughly spatulate tip. I have decided on a U-shaped fuller; this would be a double-fuller which is joined at the tip (and matches a picture I found of the Fatimid iconography).5. As I mentioned, the best quality swords made by the Arabs were made in Yemen, which had considerable Persian influence at the time. So why isn't this sword being made in the Sassanid longsword style? I'm not assuming Dhū-l Faqār was a Yemeni-made sword, because there is a hadīth which mentions that one of the swords (not named, unfortunately) belonging to RasūlAllāh ﷺ (as Dhū-l Faqār originally did) was made in the style of the Bani Hanīfah. This tribe inhabited the Yamāmah region, which is part of modern-day Najd; far from Persian influence. Furthermore, all of the anatomical features mentioned above are indicative of Roman style. None of the Sassanid longswords I've seen has incorporated them as described, while every spatha has.So that's where I am now. I've still got a lot of research to do for ideas on the particular style of decoration I'm going to use for the mountings. I've seen some examples from the period that experts aren't sure are Byzantine or Arab, so it's safe to assume Byzantine and Arab weaponry incorporated similar, if not identical, motifs.So what's everyone think of my sword ijtihād so far? Input is welcome!
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