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Dhu l-Kifl (a)

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Dhu l-Kifl
مقبره حزقیال در دزفول.jpg
The alleged tomb of Ezekiel (a) in Dezful
Name in
the Qur'an:
Dhu l-Kifl
Name in
the Bible:
Burial place: A grave in Dezful, Iran and south of Iraq attributed to him.
Name of People: Banu Israel
After: Prophet Solomon (a)
Repeat in
the Qur'an:
In Qur'an 21 and Qur'an 38

Dhu l-Kifl (Arabic: ذُو الْكِفْل) is a Qur'anic figure considered to be among the righteous and the patient. Most exegetes considered him a prophet. Different names such as Ezekiel, Elisha (a) and Joshua (a) have been mentioned about his name. Dhu al-Kifl made a vow to fast all days, keep vigil all nights, worship God and never become angry.

Name and Kunya

The name of Dhu l-Kifl is mentioned in Qur'an, 21[1] and Qur'an 38[2]. The Qur'an has introduced Dhu l-Kifl among the patient and the righteous and included in divine mercy.[3]

About the name of Dhu l-Kifl, there are many disagreements. Some considered him Ezekiel.[4] Also, there are views which considered him Elijah (a) (Elias), Joshua (a) or Elisha (a).[5] Some believe that he was "Bushr", the son of Prophet 'Ayyub (a) (Job).[6] Some others, based on a hadith, considered his real name "'Uvidia", meaning "the Servant of God".[7]

"Al-Kifl" has been interpreted as having two meanings of "share" and "guardianship".[8] Thus, about the kunya of al-Kifl, different issues are mentioned:

  • He was called Dhu l-Kifl because God gave him a great share of rewards and mercy in return for his great worships and practices.[9]
  • He was called Dhu l-Kifl because he took the guardianship of 70 prophets whose lives were at risk and saved them.[10]
  • He sheltered many of Israelites who had escaped from enemies and accepted the responsibility to provide their sustenance.[11]
  • He had made a vow to be patient on which is the consent of God and tolerate the behaviour of people. It was due to this vow that he was called Dhu l-Kifl.[12]


Most Islamic scholars considered Dhu l-Kifl among divine prophets.[13] The Qur'an mentioned his name together with other prophets (a); and some considered the appearance of these verses suggesting his prophethood.[14]

There is a hadith from Imam al-Baqir (a) where he (a) considered Dhu l-Kifl among the prophets of Banu Israel after Prophet Solomon (a), who judged people like Prophet David (a).[15] Some Sunnis too considered Dhu l-Kifl among the prophets of Banu Israel.[16]

Abu Musa al-Ash'ari transmitted a hadith from the Prophet(s) that Dhu l-Kifl was not among the prophets and was only a righteous servant of God.[17]

Manner and Conduct

According to some hadiths, Dhu l-Kifl had made a vow to the prophet (a) previous to him:

  • To keep vigil and worship all nights;

Dhu l-Kifl was loyal to his vow and was busy all nights with prayers. He (a) fasted all days and never became angry. Some sources mentioned a story about him when Satan tried to make Dhu l-Kifl angry but failed.[19]

Dhu l-Kifl also judged people. [20]

His Grave

In Dezful, Iran, there is a grave attributed to the Prophet Ezekiel (a), and since some consider Dhu l-Kifl, Ezekiel (a), they have introduced this grave, the grave of Dhu l-Kifl.

In the south of Iraq too, there is a grave attributed to Dhu l-Kifl.[21]


  1. And [remember] Ishmael, Idris, and Dhu l-Kifl—each of them was among the patient. Qur'an, 21:85
  2. And remember Ishmael, Elisha and Dhu l-Kifl—each [of whom was] among the elect. Qur'an, 38:48
  3. Balāghī, Ḥujjat al-tafāsīr, vol. 1, p. 463.
  4. Mullā Ḥawīsh, Bayān al-maʿānī, vol. 5, p. 208.
  5. Ibn ʿAsākir, Tārīkh madīnat Damascus, vol. 17, p. 370.
  6. Ālūsī, Rūḥ al-maʿānī, vol. 9, p. 78.
  7. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 216.
  8. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 13, p. 483.
  9. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 13, p. 483.
  10. Mullā Ḥawīsh, Bayān al-maʿānī, vol. 5, p. 208.
  11. Ḥusaynī Hamidānī, Anwār-i dirakhshān, vol. 14, p. 137.
  12. Zuḥiylī, Tafsīr al-wasīṭ, vol. 2, p. 1608.
  13. Najafī, Tafsīr-i āsān, vol. 12, p. 333.
  14. Najafī, Tafsīr-i āsān, vol. 12, p. 333.
  15. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 7, p. 95.
  16. Mullā Ḥawīsh, Bayān al-maʿānī, vol. 5, p. 208.
  17. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, vol. 17, p. 60.
  18. Zuḥiylī, Tafsīr al-wasīṭ, vol. 2, 1608.
  19. Zuḥiylī, Tafsīr al-wasīṭ, vol. 2, 1608.
  20. Faḍl Allāh, Tafsīr min waḥy al-Qurʾān, vol. 19, p. 275.
  21. Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, Muʿjam al-buldān, vol. 3, p. 372.


  • Ālūsī, Sayyid Maḥmūd al-. Rūḥ al-maʿānī fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿAẓīm. Edited by ʿAlī ʿAbd al-Bārī ʿAṭīyya. Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmīyya, 1415 AH.
  • Balāghī, Sayyid ʿAbd al-Ḥujjat. Ḥujjat al-tafāsīr wa balāgh al-iksīr. Qom: Intishārāt Ḥikmat, 1386 Sh.
  • Faḍl Allāh, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Tafsīr min waḥy al-Qurʾān. Second edition. Beirut: Dār al-Milāk, 1419 AH.
  • Ḥusaynī Hamidānī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Anwār-i dirakhshān. Edited by Muḥammad Bāqir Bihbūdī. Tehran: Kitābfurūshī Luṭfī, 1404 AH.
  • Ibn ʿAsākir, ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan. Tārīkh madīnat Damascus. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1415 AH.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1374 Sh.
  • Mullā Ḥawīsh, ʿAbd al-Qādir. Bayān al-maʿānī. Damascus: Maṭbaʿat al-taraqqī, 1382 AH.
  • Najafī, Muḥammad Jawād. Tafsīr-i āsān. Tehran: Intishārāt-i Islāmīyya, 1398 AH.
  • Ṭabarī, Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-. Jāmiʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, 1412 AH.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Fifth editon. Qom: Daftar-i Nashr-i Islāmī, 1417 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān. Edited by Muḥammad Jawād Balāghī. Third edition. Tehran: Nāṣir Khusru, 1372 Sh.
  • Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī. Muʿjam al-buldān. Second edition. Beirut: Dār al-Ṣādir, 1995.
  • Zuḥiylī, Wahbat b. Muṣṭafā al-. Tafsīr al-wasīṭ. Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 1422 AH.