Hadrat Dhul-Kifl (Alaihis Salam)
Allah (Ta’ala) has made a mention of his messenger Hadrat Dhul-Kifl (Alaihis Salam) in the holy Quran only twice:
وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِدْرِيسَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ كُلٌّ مِنْ الصَّابِرِينَ (85) وَأَدْخَلْنَاهُمْ فِي رَحْمَتِنَا إِنَّهُمْ مِنْ الصَّالِحِينَ (الأنبياء: 85-86)
Translation of Meaning: “[And We bestowed this bounty] upon Ismael, Idris and Dhul-Kifl, all of them were steadfast. And We admitted them to Our mercy, verily they were among the righteous” (Al-Anbiya: 85-86). While praising Hadrat Ibrahim, Is’haq, and Ya’qub [peace be on all of them] God Almighty proclaims:
وَاذْكُرْ إِسْمَاعِيلَ وَالْيَسَعَ وَذَا الْكِفْلِ وَكُلٌّ مِنْ الأَخْيَارِ (ص: 48)
Translation of Meaning: “And remember Ismael, and Al-Yasa’ and Dhul-Kifl. All of them were among the righteous” (Sad: 48).
He has not been mentioned anywhere else except in these two instances. Dhul-Kifl is not a proper noun. It is rather an epithet [sifat] of a proper name which remains obscure. Allah (Ta’ala)has counted him among his steadfast bondmen. God has described him as sabir [steadfast] because he faced all hardships and troubles patiently and with determination. God Almighty has considered him as worthy of his mercy and grace. In the other ayat he has been described along with other messenger as his favourite righteous bondman.
His events have been recorded in various tafaseer. Some persons do not acknowledge him as a nabi [apostle] but hold him to be merely a pious and righteous person. It is narrated about him that towards the end of his life one messenger of God [prophet] asked his followers: Who is to become my successor after my death? Anybody who wants to succeed me has to fulfil three conditions: First, he must fast during day time; second, he must engage in worship during night time; and third, he must never become angry. A young man from the audience stood up to affirm all the three conditions. He was appointed as the successor of the messenger. This young man was Dhul-Kifl. Thereafter Satan tried his best to convince Dhul-Kifl to violate any one of the three conditions but failed. On this account he became known as Dhul-Kifl [one who fulfils his responsibility].
Some Indian scholars have wrongly identified Dhul-Kifl with Gautam Budh. Since Gautam was born in Kapil Vastu they Arabized it as Kifl which is a far-fetched notion. No mention of any ancient Indian philosopher is found in Jewish scriptures. Second, since the Budhist religion and philosophy is devoid of the concept of God it is atrocious to regard a God-less philosopher as an apostle and messenger of God. [Wallah a’lam bissawab]. Dhul-Kifl probably resembles the Hebrew prophet Ezkiel.