ALLAH SWT sent thousands of prophets for the guidance of humankind one after another. The children of Israel have been the most stubborn and were easily deviated from the true religion every time. There were many Prophets sent down for the children of Israel in each generation but they did not follow the Prophets and continued their disbelief. Prophet Dhul-Kifl was one of the Prophets who was mentioned in the Quran as a righteous and patient servant of ALLAH SWT.
Prophet Dhul-Kifl is mentioned in the Quran by his name twice in Surah Ambiya and Surah Saad.
ALLAH SWT states in the Quran about Prophet Dhul-Kifl as:
Remember Ismail and Idris and Dhul Kifl, all were from among those who observe patience. (Quran 21:85-86)
Also, following the story of Yaqub alaihissalam, ALLAH SWT says in Quran:
Remember Our slaves, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (all) owners of strength (in worshipping Us) and also of religious understanding. Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing ) 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! Remember Ishmael, Elisha, and Dhul Kifl all are among the best. (Quran 38:45-48)
Since his name is mentioned in the Holy Quran among the other Prophets, it can be said that He was also a Prophet, however many scholars claim that He was not a Prophet but a pious and patient wise man. ALLAH knows best.
Imam ibn Jarir (a great Muslim historian scholar) states a story about Prophet Dhul-kifl. This story of Dhul-Kifl provides an insight into his prophethood.
Al-Yasa (Elisha) was looking to appoint a successor. He assembled a group of companions and set out three conditions and asked the people “Who will be the successor after me upon certain conditions, and preach the people calmly and never became angry with them?” According to another tradition he used to fast in the daytime and pass the night in prayers, and not be angry with anyone.
Dhul-Kifl got up and said, “I accept your terms. Again Yasa’a repeated twice, Dhul-Kifl said, “I will follow your terms.” After that Yasa’a died and Dhul-Kifl became the successor and preached to the people. One day Iblis asked one of his companions, “Which one of you would go to Dhul-Kifl, make him angry and compel him to break his promise?” A companion of Iblis, named Abyaiz said, he was prepared to do this. Iblis ordered him to go and try.
Dhul-Kifl was following a routine that involved fasting during the day, making prayers throughout the night. He used to take a short nap in the afternoon.
Iblis planned to bother Dhul-Kifl during his nap time by knocking at the door and saying I am an old tortured man who needs help.
Iblis was welcomed in and started the false story of his sufferings. He stretched the story to an extent that the nap time of Dhul-Kifl was gone. The Dhul-Kifl told Iblis to visit him in the court in the evening so that justice can be done to him.
The Dhul-Kifl waited for the Iblis at the court but he did not turn up. The next morning, he waited for the Iblis to return but he did not return. Iblis turned up again during the nap time of Dhul-Kifl and started knocking on the door. Dhul-Kifl, told him very calmly, “Didn’t I tell you to come to my court yesterday, but you failed to appear, nor did you come this morning?”
Iblis replied, “Sir, my enemies are wicked people; they got to know that you were sitting in your court and would force them to give back to me what was due, they agreed to settle the matter out of court. But as soon as you left your court, they went back on their promise.”
Iblis continued the conversation for a long time and made Dhul-Kifl miss his usual nap time once again. Dhul-Kifl asked Iblis to visit his court again to settle matters. Once again, Dhul-Kifl waited patiently in the court but Iblis did not visit. When Dhul-Kifl returned home that day, he was very tired due to the lack of sleep. He asked the family members not to allow anyone to knock at the door this time.
Iblis knocked on the door again and tried to disturb his sleep so he would not be able to fast, pray, and thought to make him angry. When he knocked on the door this time, family members of Dhul-Kifl refused to open but Iblis was determined, and appeared inside the house next to Dhul-Kifl’s room and started knocking at the door of his room.
Dhul-kifl realized that Iblis entered the house while the door remained closed and he became aware that the man standing before him was Iblis and asked him, “Are you the enemy of God?”
Iblis admitted that he was Iblis and said, “You have thwarted all my plans and frustrated all my efforts to entice you in my design. I intended to make you angry somehow so that one of your claims before Yasa could be proven false.”
It was because of this episode the man was given the title Dhul-Kifl, a title meaning “possessor of, or giving, a double requital or portion”.