Who was Dhul-Qarnayn? King or Prophet?

Allah has sent 124,000 Prophets out of which according to many scholars one was Hazrat Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام. We have explained who he was, how he was mentioned in the Holy Quran, and if he was a King or Prophet.

  • Dhul-Qarnayn means a man with two horns.

Dhul-Qarnayn Birth

Hazrat Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام was reported born in 590 BC in present-day Iran and died in 530 BC at the age of 60 years.

Dhul-Qarnayn in Quran

Once two men from Quraish went to the Jews to check if Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a true Rasool of Allah as per their scripture. Jews told them to ask about a man who traveled and reached the east and the west of the earth, and what his story was.

Upon this, Allah revealed the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in Surah Kahf and mentioned his name 3 times in the Holy Quran. We have described his story below;

A powerful King

Allah granted Dhul-Qarnayn power in the land and endowed him with all kinds of resources. – Al-Kahf 18:84

Expedition to West

He marched to the west conquering one country after the other till he reached the last boundary of the land, beyond which there was an ocean. – Al-Kahf 18:86

Just/God-fearing ruler

Dhul-Qarnayn said: We shall punish those who have done evil, and when they are returned to their Lord He will punish them even more. – Al-Kahf 18:87

Expedition to East

The advanced towards the east, conquering one country after the other, he reached a territory of barbaric people, who had no shelter at all in tents or buildings. – Al-Kahf 18:90

Expedition to the Black Sea

Then Dhul-Qarnayn went on another expedition and reached a place between the two mountains between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. He found people there who scarcely understood anything.

Yajuj and Majuj

The people told him that Yajuj Majuj is spreading corruption in this land. So shall we pay you taxes on the understanding that you will set up a barrier between us and them?

Dhul-Qarnayn said: Help me with your labor and I will erect a wall between you and them.

Yajooj Majoof trapped behind a wall

It is narrated in Surah Kahf: “Give me blocks of iron;” When he had filled up the gap between the two mountains, he said; “Blow”. When he made them red as fire, he said, “Bring me molten copper to pour over them”. – Al-Kahf 18:96

This is how the Yajooj Majooj got imprisoned behind the wall. Many hadith claims that Yajuj Majuj will emerge with full power and cause immense threats in the world. The world will face a brutal time as Gog Magog will kill a lot of people for no reason.

Yajooj Majooj wall

Prophet or King?

There has been a disagreement among Muslim scholars if Hazrat Dhul-Qarnayn was a prophet or simply a King.

There are solid arguments on both sides of the story, but we believe he was a prophet as his characteristics described by the Quran are of prophets.

Characteristics of Dhul-Qarnayn

Here are some characteristics of Hazrat Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام from the Quran that will help us identify him from past rulers such as Alexander the Great or Cyrus the Great;

1- Dhul-Qarnayn should have been quite familiar to the Jews.

2- He must have been a great conqueror who ruled from East to West and North to South.

3- He constructed a strong wall across a mountain to protect his Kingdom from Yajuj and Majuj.

4- He was a God-worshiper and a just ruler.

Characteristics of Dhul-Qarnayn

Was Dhul-Qarnayn Alexander the Great?

Many Islamic historians and the commentator of Tafsir have written that Prophet Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام was actually Alexander the Great.

However, if you compare the personality, the style of ruling, and the hunger for the conquest of Alexander the Great with the characteristics of Dhul-Qarnayn explained above, he cannot be this person.

Was Dhul-Qarnayn Cyrus the Great?

A comparative study of the Holy Bible, Holy Torah, Quran, and human history tells us that Cyrus the Great could be Prophet Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام due to the following reasons;

Match 1: Once Prophet Daniyal saw in his dream that the united kingdom of Media and Persia was like a two-horned ram before the rise of the Greeks. The invasion of two-horned one brought about the downfall of Babylon and the liberation of the Israelites.  – Dan 8:3

Match 2: Cyrus the Great could be Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام because his conquests spread from East to West. Later his kingdom extended to Caucasia in the North. 

Match 3: It is also known that strong walls had been built in southern regions of Caucasia.

Match 4: Even the enemies of Cyrus the Great praise him for his justice that meets even the 4th criterion that he could be Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام. Ezra 4:5 mentions that Cyrus the Great allowed Jews to rebuild temples.

Cyrus the Great Tomb in Iran.
Cyrus the Great Tomb in Iran.

Dhul-Qarnayn Death

Dhul-Qarnayn عليه السلام died in a battle while fighting the Massagetae, an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic tribal confederation, along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC at the age of 60 years. He is one of those prophets who were killed by people.

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