Karbinâl (or: Karniyâl, Karbitâl, Karnîl) b. Mahrawâl, was a legendary Christian king in the Harär area. Following the Fath Madinat Harar, an unpublished legendary history of Harär in the 13th century A.D., Karbinäl was the first king of the infidels who fought against the Haräri under the leadership of their most important saint Abädir ‘Umar ar-Ridä and his followers. In the Fath, Karbinäl is anachronistically designated as a “Portuguese.” In the year 619 H. (1222 A.D.) he was able to defeat the Haräri at Afärdabba, east of Harär, and to enter their camp, but two months months later the Muslims under ‘Umardïn won a battle at the same place and again defeated the Christians at Babilé, a village 30 km. east of Harär on the road to Jijiga, in 625 H. (1228 A.D.). After some further conflicts Karbinäl was killed by the Haräri ruler Nasrawï in 651 H. (1253 A.D.). He was succeeded by his son Jurniyäl.
R. Paret, “Eine fragwürdige arabische Chronik von Harar,”, IV Congresso Internazionale di Studi Etiopici, Roma 1972, Vol. I (Roma, 1974): 430-431.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from The Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography, Vol. 1 ‘From Early Times to the End of the Zagwé Dynasty c. 1270 A.D.,’ copyright © 1975, edited by Belaynesh Michael, S. Chojnacki and Richard Pankhurst, Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All rights reserved.