Dhul-Kifl (ca. 1600–1400? BCE) , (Arabic ذو الكفل ) is considered by Muslims to be a prophet of Islam. But there are also a number of Muslims who believe that he was simply a righteous man mentioned in the Qur'an but not a prophet. It is believed that he lived for roughly 75 years.
The name Dhul Kifl literally means "the one with a kifl", using a type of name where dhū ("possessor of") precedes some characteristically associated feature. Such names were used of other notable personalities in the Qur'an, for example Dhū'l-Nūn "the one with the fish", referring to the prophet Yūnus, and Dhū'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 Ezekiel to be Dhul Kifl is when the exile, monarchy, and state were annihilated, a political and national life was no longer possible. In the absence of a worldly foundation it became necessary to build a spiritual one. Ezekiel performed this mission by observing the signs of the time and deducing his doctrines from them. In conformity with the two parts of his book, his personality and his preaching are alike twofold, and the title Dhul Kifl means "the one to double" or "to fold".
In addition to this Baidawi, the Qur'anic exegete, said that this name was given because Dhul Kifl had to do double the work of other prophets.
- “And (remember) Ismail and Idris and Dhul-Kifl, all were from among those who observe patience.”[Qur'an 21:85–86]
In both cases, Dhū'l-Kifl is mentioned in the context of a list of Qur'anic prophets, including many others not mentioned in the ayat quoted above.
Opinions about Dhul-Kifl
Some 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 Babylon in chains and bore his duress patiently. A tomb said to be that of Dhul-Kifl can be seen in the town of Al Kifl, Iraq, near Najaf and Al Hillah. There is also a tomb said to be that of Dhul Kifl on Jabal Qasioun, Damascus, Syria. According to Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani, Kifl is a corrupted form of Kipl, referring to Kapilavastu and thus Dhul-Kifl could be a reference to Buddha, who, as some scholars assert, could have been a Prophet sent from God.