Zulqarnain / Dhul-Qarnayn

  • Dhul-Qarnayn was a well-known figure in the folklore of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Some historians and scholars say that Zulkarnain is an Alexander the Great and some call him Cyrus.
  • In the Quran Zulkarnain is mentioned as a Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic ذو القرنين) meaning “The Two-Horned One“.
  • Kind and powerful ruler on earth sent by Allah.



Role of Dhul-Qarnayn

According to western people the persona of Alexander is how he was victorious conquests to expand the area within a very short period and because of this achievement, he got the title of “Alexander The Great” western’s history didn’t mention that he had built a great wall of high-tech made of iron mixed with copper and that he was a polytheist. Read more: History of Six Doors of KA’ABA Over 5,000 Years

But Muslim historian Ibn Kathir, described in his book Al-Bidayah Nihayah the same name and plot the same story, he stated that Zulkarnain is the name of a persona who is a pious king and because of the piety he always invites people to worship one God.


And have two horns But they were broken, instead of hitting the horns – Qanun, the hair on the head of the bunch – the right, until he died. Then God brought him back, and he went back to preaching. Read more: 5 Attempts to Steal the Body of Prophet (P.B.U.H) from Madinah

But once again left his horns are trimmed, so he died again. Allah brought him back and called him Zulkarnain, two Horn owners, and give him power.

Role of Dhul-Qarnayn impersonated in Islam

Describing the role of Zulqarnain in Islam, it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an chapter 18, Surah Al-Kahf الكهف  (the cave), report us story of Zulqarnain traveling east and west and establishes a wall between mankind and Gog and Magog (called Ya’juj and Ma’juj). Read more: Imam Abu Dawood, an excellent compiler of Hadiths

This chapter was revealed to Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) when his tribe Quraysh was curious to know that whether Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is a true prophet of Almighty Allah so they sent two men to inquire from the Jews, with their superior knowledge of the scriptures.


The preachers told them to ask Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) about three things, one of them “about a man who traveled and reached the east and the west of the earth, and what was his story”. “If he tells you about these things, then he is a Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), so follow him, but if he does not tell you, then he is a man who is making things up, so deal with him as you see fit.”

  • Allah establishes Dhul-Qarnayn as a powerful ruler on earth and allows the king, freedom to deal with his obstacles as he pleases.
  • Dhul-Qarnayn demonstrates humility, an essential quality of an ideal leader. He recognizes that his power and authority come from Allah.

  • Dhul-Qarnayn motivates the people to help themselves rather than allowing them to accept a handout. while he supplies the technical expertise as a barrier preventing the entry of Gog and Magog, he instructs the people to bring their own raw materials and aid in the construction.
  • In this way, Dhul-Qarnayn models the importance of collective action in tackling nationwide problems. In the modern world, it is clear that governments are not the solution to all societal ills instead, people from all walks of life must work together to resolve their issues.

Two personalities in history

There are apparently two personalities in history before Islam who were great victors and ruled over vast empires as mentioned by Qur’an. These were Alexander the Greek conqueror and Cyrus the Persian conqueror. Read more: History and Importance of Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) First Visit to Taif

  1. Alexander is concerned the size of his journeys was towards the east and south, whereas Qur’an mentions Zulqarnain’s expeditions towards east and west.
  2. When Qur’an describes Zulqarnain, it shows him as a person believing in one God and the hereafter. Now it is known about Alexander that he was a polytheist

  3. He is also depicted as a kindhearted and just ruler but no incidents of his kindness and justice are recorded in history.
  4. Cyrus is concerned that the extent of his expeditions was towards west, east and north that is, after becoming the king of Persia, Cyrus went on different expeditions, eventually conquering almost 80 percent of the civilized world at that time.
  5. History has recorded incidents of Cyrus’s extreme kindness and justice towards his cases. In fact, these traits of his personality were so remarkable that friend and foe equally acknowledged this fact.
  6. Cyrus’s religion, he was a believer in Zoroastrianism, a new religion at that time, which existed with all its purity and spirit. The prophet Zoroaster who was probably contemporary to Cyrus preached belief in one God, the hereafter and all other basic good deeds that form a part of Divine religions.

After comparing these points Cyrus appears very close to the narrative of the Qur’an.