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 Dhul-Kifl (AS)

Dhul-Kifl (Arabic ?? ????? ) is considered by Muslims to be either a prophet of Islam or simply a righteous man mentioned in the Qur`an.


The name Dhu`l-Kifl literally means "the one with a kifl", using a type of name where dhu ("possessor of") precedes some characteristically associated feature. Such names were used of other notable personalities in the Qur`an, e.g. Dhu`l-Nun "the one with the fish", referring to the prophet Yunus, and Dhu`l-Qarnayn "he of the two horns". Kifl is an archaic Arabic word meaning "double" or "duplicate", from a root meaning "to double" or "to fold"; it was also used of a fold of cloth. The name is generally understood to mean "possessor of a double portion".

The reason people believe that Ezekiel to be Dhul Kifl is because when the Exile, monarchy and state were annihilated, and a political and national life was no longer possible. In the absence of a worldly foundation it became necessary to build upon a spiritual one. This mission Ezekiel performed by observing the signs of the time and by deducing his doctrines from them. In conformity with the two parts of his book his personality and his preaching are alike twofold, and the the title Dhu`l-Kifl means the one to double" or "to fold

In addition to this Baidawi said that it was used because Dhu`l-Kifl had to do double the work of other prophets.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, however, proposed that Dhu`l-Kifl meant "belonging to/from Kifl", where Kifl could be an Arabic pronunciation of part of the name of Kapilavastu, the place where Gautama Buddha spent his early life. Against this interpretation it may be argued that in the time of Muhammad the Buddha, although known to some extent in regions to the west of India, was never referred to as "the Kapilavastan" or by any phrase resembling Dhu`l-Kifl. He was, instead, always known by some variation on the word "Buddha".

Qur`anic reference

Dhul-Kifl is mentioned in the following Qur`anic ayats:

"And (remember) Ismail (Ishmael) and Idris (Enoch) and Dhul-Kifl, all were from among those who observe patience." (Surah 21: 85-86)

"And remember Ismail and Al-Yasa (Elisha) and Dhul-Kifl, and they were all of the best." (Surah 38:48).

In both cases, Dhu`l-Kifl is mentioned in the context of a list of Qur`anic prophets, including many others not mentioned in the ayats quoted above.

Opinions about Dhul-Kifl

Many Muslims, following the view of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, hold that Dhul-Kifl was a righteous man who supported his people and administered true justice, but not a prophet. Baidawi asserted that Dhul-Kifl corresponds with the Jewish prophet Ezekiel, who was carried away to Bab