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They ask thee concerning Dhul-Qarnayn Say, "I will rehearse to you something of his story." Quran verse (18:83)

Updated on July 23, 2015

"He of the two horns"

Have you ever heard of a king that ruled earth way before any of the Abrahamic prophets?

No, you probably haven’t since most of the known civilizations of that time have vanished or their written history and literature is lost. Many artifacts of ancient times, in some way or the other, mention a king whose empire extended far beyond the corners of the known earth.

How do we know if he actually existed? Well recently Quranic manuscripts tested in the University of Birmingham revealed that it is among the oldest authentic manuscript and the Holy Quran mentions the story of Dhul-Qarnayn in an interesting manner, so ill mostly base this article briefly quoting verses from the Holy Quran, explaining them along with portions of the research that I conducted on this topic a few years back.

Artifact of the Indus Valley Civilization. it is believed to be among the oldest civilizations in the world. The artifact depicts a meditating king with two horns surrounded by animals from various continents. Could he be Dhul-Qarnayn?
Artifact of the Indus Valley Civilization. it is believed to be among the oldest civilizations in the world. The artifact depicts a meditating king with two horns surrounded by animals from various continents. Could he be Dhul-Qarnayn?

Dhul-Qarnayn

The name given in the Quran is Dhul-Qarnayn meaning “he of the two horns”, this symbolizes the extent of his empire; stretched from east to west “Verily We established his power on earth, and we gave him the ways and the means to all ends.” Verse (18:84). The verses aren’t vague as they mention the exact locations from where his empire began and how far did Dhul-Qarnayn travelled “Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: near it he found a people: We said: "O Dhul-Qarnayn! (thou hast authority), either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness." And again “Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom we had provided no covering protection against the sun.” The next few verses give a much clear indication that he was in the Asian region as the verse comments on an area that was in a mountain range and he met people whose language wasn’t commonly understood “Until, when he reached (a tract) between two mountains, he found, beneath them, a people who scarcely understood a word.” Here I would indicate Dhul-Qarnayn passage till now. He travelled in three directions: to the Far West, to the Far East and then to the mountain range in the North. In order to identify him we have been provided with another clue that again from the same passage. It is stated that he constructed a wall to separate a group of people from a barbarian tribe they said: "O Dhul-Qarnayn! The Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on earth: shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightiest erect a barrier between us and them?" And Dhul-Qarnayn replied with "(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): help me therefore with strength (and labor): I will erect a strong barrier between you and them: Bring me blocks of iron." At length, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountains sides, he said, "Blow (with your bellows)" then, when he had made it (red) as fire, he said: "Bring me that I may pour over it, molten lead." ”Thus were they made powerless to scale it or to dig through it.” His further attributes can be concluded from various other verses from the same passage. Dhul-Qarnayn was a powerful king with a mighty army. On the other hand he was a pious God fearing person who worshipped a single God (since Islam is a religion that preaches the oneness of God) was unbiased in giving punishments and rewards to the people whom he conquered and was equally intellectual.

A Persian painting from the 16th century illustrating the building of the wall with the help of the Jinn.
A Persian painting from the 16th century illustrating the building of the wall with the help of the Jinn.

The Journey Continues..

So there you go, now we have listed all of the characteristics that could be helpful in identifying the “Forgotten King”. In the next hub I’ll take out a few topics from my very own research. We will look into the past and try matching these with just as mighty subjects. Post your questions in the comments below, I’d try to answer them with my utmost knowledge.

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