STORIES OF THE PROPHETS (قـصـص الأنـبـيــاء)
Prophet Dhul Kifl (ذو الكفل)
(Aleyhis Salam – peace be upon him)
Who was he?
- Although Dhul Kifl’s identity is disputed, he is most likely Ezekiel Ibn Buzi.
- Some Islamic scholars have likened Ezekiel’s mission to the description of Dhul Kifl.
- When the exile, monarchy, and state were annihilated, a political and national life was no longer possible. In the absence of a worldly foundation it became necessary to build a spiritual one.
- Ezekiel performed this mission by observing the signs of the time and deducing his doctrines from them. In conformity with the two parts of his book, his personality and his preaching are alike two-fold.
Was he a prophet?
- It is obvious from his being mentioned and praised in the Glorious Qur’an along with those other prophets that Dhul Kifl was a prophet.
- And remember Our slaves, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (all) owners of strength (in worshiping Us) and (also) of religious understanding. Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing, – i.e. the remembrance of the home [in the Hereafter and they used to make the people remember it, and also they used to invite the people to obey Allah and to do good deeds for the Hereafter]. And they are in Our Sight, verily, of the chosen and the best! And remember Ishmael, Elisha, and Dhul Kifl, all are among the best. [Sad 38: 45-48]
- And Isma’il and Idris and Dhul Kifl; all were men of constancy and patience. We admitted them into our mercy because they were of the righteous ones. [Al-Anbiya 21:85- 86]
- Many Muslims accept that Ezekiel was indeed a Hebrew (Israelite) prophet of the 6th Century BC, some of whose writings and incidents were later recorded in the Book of Ezekiel. This book essentially represents the Hadith of Ezekiel, as it contains portions of his sayings and teachings.
Meaning of Dhul Kifl
- Dhu literally means “possessor of”
- Kifl means “double” or “duplicate”, from a root meaning “to double” or “to fold”
- Kifl was also used of a fold of cloth
- So Dhul Kifl is generally understood to mean “possessor of a double portion” or it would mean “one of double.”
- Dhul-Kifl may mean “one who used a cloak of double thickness.” [Yusuf Ali]
Why he was called Dhul Kifl?
- He supported his people to suffice their needs
- He administered justice among them
- He had to do double the work of the Prophets of his time
Dhul Kifl appointed as a vicegerent
- When Al-Yasa (Elisha) grew old, he wished to appoint a suitable person as his successor to guide the Israelites. He declared: “Only that person will be considered competent to become his successor who observes fast during the day, remembers Allah throughout the night and refrains from flying into a rage.”
- One among the crowd stood up and said: “I will adhere to all these conditions.”
- Al-Yasa repeated these conditions thrice and the same person promised solemnly to fulfill the conditions
Dhul Kifl and the man
- One day, an old man knocked at his door. The visitor lodged a complaint against the cruel treatment of the people towards him
- The vicegerent directed him to come in the evening. He assured the visitor that all his grievances shall be redressed.
- He promised but did not turn up at the appointed time. Next day he came again and complained as usual.
- The vicegerent commanded him to come in the evening. He made a solemn promise to come but did not abide by it.
- On the third day he came again and knocked at the door but it was not opened. The old man managed to slip into the room and presented himself before the vicegerent.
- He was surprised at the sudden appearance of the old man. The vicegerent interrogated the visitor. He admitted that he was Iblis who assumed the likeness of an old man and was trying to enrage him. He endeavored to make him back out of his promise but failed in his mission.
- Thereupon the vicegerent became known as Dhul Kifl because he maintained his solemn promise with Al-Yasa. He refrained from losing temper though the Satan left no stone unturned to annoy him.
Chosen as a Prophet afterwards
- He commanded his followers, the Israelites to wage holy war against
- those who made mischief on the earth
- Those opposed the religion of Allah
- They refused to carry out his orders because they were afraid of death
- Caused by their disobedience of the Commandment of Allah and His Prophet, most of the people were overtaken by calamity. Plague broke out and numerous people died miserably
- They deserted their houses in terror and ran away to save their lives. When they covered some distance, they heard a dreadful sound and the death prevailed over them.
- None remained alive to bury them. The corpses were putrefied in the scorching heat of the sun.
Dhul Kifl came out of seclusion after 7 days
- He was overwhelmed with grief to see the predicament of his followers. He supplicated: “O Allah! You have perished my followers. Take pity on them and give them a new life.”
- Allah granted his prayer. The dead people regained their lives. – “Have you not thought on those who quitted their dwellings – and they were thousands for fear of death. Allah said to them: Die! Then He restored them to life, for full of bounty towards man is Allah. But most men give not thanks.” (2: 280)
- Afterwards, Dhul Kifl left his followers
- He migrated to Babylon and died there
- The Israelites deviated from the right way of life, as they usually did, and deserted Allah’s covenant with them. They worshipped many idols, among them Ba’al
- So Allah sent to them another prophet, Elijah.
[Source: Stories of the Prophets/Darussalam]