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Who is Dhu-l-qarnain

AND they ask you about Dhu-l-qarnain. Say: ''I shall recite to you something of his events.'' (18:83)


The kufars (non believers) of mecca asked the Ahel'e Kithab (Jews and Christians), that tell us such questions which Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم can not answer. One of these questions was concerning Dhu-l-qarnain (Alexander). The Prophet of Allah سبحانه التعالئ was given the answer through wahy (The revelation of Allah to his Prophets). The Noble Qur'aan mentions this event in some considerable detail.

The real identity of Dhu-l-qarnain has always been an unsure, doubtful and argumentative debate amongst the scholars. The Qur�aan has not mentioned much about the real identity of Dhu-l-qarnain and Ahadeth has also kept quiet about this issue. Most of the scholars have written that, Dhu-l-qarnain which is mentioned in Qur�aan is Alexander of Macedonia this was first mentioned by Muhammad bin Ishac, he was a widely accepted author in 12th century. Because of this very reason people were put in to misunderstanding by his publications.

There is another reason for Alexander of Macedonia to be Dhu-l-qarnain. In Arabian tradition Kings with vast empire were commonly known as Dhu-l-qarnain, in Yemen and Persia some kings were known to be Dhu-l-qarnain.

Dhu-l-qarnain literately means ''Two horn one'' but in Arabic literature it also means time and era. If there was a king with vast empire which was spread from east to west and if he ruled over this land for a long time, he will too, be known as Dhu-l-qarnain.

It is disappointing that most of the scholars did not even have the urge to do more deep research but took Muhammad bin Ishac�s statement as there last, despite of this important historic fact we should at least remember that the Qur�aan has mentioned the qualities, character and life of Dhu-l-qarnain.

The Qur`aan makes it clear and evident that Dhu-l-qarnain was a very pious, fair and kind king and there is no doubt in him being a Muslim and having a belief in monotheism (one God) but on the other hand Alexander of Macedonia (birth 356 BC 20 July) being a barbaric, violent and a polytheistic king. Alexandra also believed that he was in some sense �son of God�.

  • Few statements regarding Alexander of Macedonia

There is a very well known event, on his return to Macedonia he reached the city of Susa, when it was clear that he will not make it back due to his illness he sent a weird letter to the cities of the Greek league, announcing he wished to be recognised as a god.

(In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great, by Michael Wood, page 76 & 218)

Allama Bustani has mentioned him as;

''...he was a proud and arrogant king, who gave orders to Greek and other people under him to prostrate in front of him and made them say that he was there lord...''

(Da'ier-ul-Marif Bustany vol. 2 PG. 547)

Imam Bukhari has mentioned in 'Ahadith-ul-Anbia', Dhu-l-qarnain event before Hadrat Ibrahim عليه السلام. Famous Hadith specialist Hafiz bin Hajer Usqulani has written in his commentary of Bukhari;

"...the reason why Imam Bukhari has mentioned Dhu-l-qarnain's event before Hadrat Ibrahim عليه السلام is so that people can contradict that Alexander of Macedonia being Dhu-l-qarnain..."

(Fath'ul Bari vol. 2 PG. 294)

This is not all, but Hafiz bin Hajer Usqulani has given more proof and detail from which we clearly understand that Alexander of Macedonia can not be Dhu-l-qarnain.

Hafiz bin Kathir has mentioned in his famous book 'Albida'ia-w-nahaia'

''...there is approximately 2000 year gap between Alexander of Macedonia and Dhu-l-qarnain. One of these is a Macedonian and the other Arabic saami and there is considerable amount of difference in both of these so if some one believes them as one person he is ignorant and far from facts....''

(Albda'ia-wa-nahaia. vol.1pg.106)

Imam Razi has given Alexander of Macedonia the title of Dhu-l-qarnain, BUT even he believes that Dhu-l-qarnain was a prophet and a pious person but Alexander of Macedonia was a non believer and he learned the teachings of Aristotle a Greek philosopher and also obeyed his orders.

Most scholars account is that Dhu-l-qarnain was of an Arab origin and a descendent of Saam bin Nuh (Saam the son of Prophet Nuh عليه السلام) and lived in the time of prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام.

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