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Saturday 27 June 2015

Ramadan Reading Challenge Day 10: Dhul Qarnain

In today's challenge you will be reading about Dhul Qarnain in surah Al Kahl (18: 83-98) of the Qur'an. Dhul Qarnain is said to be a king who ruled over the earth for a time and who travelled from east to west and in between.

And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say: "I shall recite to you something of his story." 

Verily, We established him in the earth, and We gave him the means of everything. 

So he followed a way. 

Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people. We (Allah) said (by inspiration): "O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness." 

He said: "As for him (a disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah) who does wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with a terrible torment (Hell). 

"But as for him who believes (in Allah's Oneness) and works righteousness, he shall have the best reward, (Paradise), and we (Dhul-Qarnain) shall speak unto him mild words (as instructions)." 

Then he followed another way, 

Until, when he came to the rising place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We (Allah) had provided no shelter against the sun. 

So (it was)! And We knew all about him (Dhul-Qarnain). 

Then he followed (another) way, 

Until, when he reached between two mountains, he found, before (near) them (those two mountains), a people who scarcely understood a word. 

They said: "O Dhul-Qarnain! Verily Ya'juj and Ma'juj (Gog and Magog) are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them?" 

He said: "That (wealth, authority and power) in which my Lord had established me is better (than your tribute). So help me with strength (of men), I will erect between you and them a barrier. 

"Give me pieces (blocks) of iron;" then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountain-cliffs, he said: "Blow;" then when he had made them (red as) fire, he said: "Bring me molten copper to pour over them." 

So they [Ya'juj and Ma'juj (Gog and Magog)] could not scale it or dig through it. 

(Dhul-Qarnain) said: "This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the Promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it down to the ground. And the Promise of my Lord is ever true."

You might like to read Ibn Kathir's commentary in Stories of the Qur'an.

Lesson and Activity

Dhul Qarnain was given by Allah a vast kingdon to rule and knowledge of how to fulfil things. So he knew how to rule over the vast territory of people with justice and he knew how to deal with their problems. 

Dhul Qarnain was the complete opposite of Qarun. Where Qarun was arrogant when he was given wealth, Dhul Qarnain was an obedient servant of Allah and a righteous ruler with all the wealth, authority and power that Allah had given him. 

One of today's lesson from this story is to reinforce this concept of gratefulness and obedience to Allah. You can discuss with your child what it means to be obedient to Allah.

This is just an idea for a lesson. If you have any others then feel free to do them and share.

Comments Required

There are so many other lessons to learn. Can you think of any others? I'd love to hear them. Please write in the comment below.

At the end of this Ramadan Reading Challenge, if you or your children have participated then you will get a prize (not sure what yet - will keep you updated). To be eligible, please leave a comment on what lesson you have learnt from the reading of the story and include any activities that you did to extend it. Just a line or two would be fine (so that I can contact you).


  1. We focused on the great leadership of D'uhl Qarnayn. What it means to be a fair leader. We spoke of how he helped his people when they needed him and obeyed Allah. Having power did not change who he was as an obedient servant. We also compared his leadership to the leadership of the Ruler in "People of the Cave" Who oppressed the people and tortured them for not believing in what he did. I also asked my son who the leader of our home is. He responded Allah, and then Mommy LOL. I asked him again and he said Our Prophet SAWS. The I asked him again and he said Daddy. I asked him what makes Daddy such a great leader? He answered the most beautiful answer "He teaches us how to pray" Masha Allah. I explained that Allah put daddy in charge of us as a family. We are happy to have such a good leader. ;-)

    1. MashaAllah you sound like you're doing a great job with your son.

      The first 7 years of a child's life is so important for their later development. If they miss out on anything during this time such as love, guidance, education then it'll be so much harder to fix later on. I see so many parents leave it till it's too late. Sorry to go on a tangent but this is my hobby horse - I'm an early childhood teacher afterall :)


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