Will you give information about the story of Dhulqarnayn mentioned in the Quran? What is the story regarding the issue?

The Details of the Question
Will you give information about the story of Dhulqarnayn mentioned in the Quran? What is the story regarding the issue?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verses in the Quran are as follows:

“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. (He left them) as they were: We completely understood what was before him. Then followed he (another) way. Until, when he reached (a tract) between two mountains, he found, beneath them a people who scarcely understood a word. They said: "O Dhu al Qarnayn! the Gog and Magog (people) do great mischief on earth: shall we then render thee tribute in order that thou mightest erect a barrier between us and them?" He said: "(The power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than tribute): help me therefore with strength (and labour): 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 mountain― 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. He said: "This is a mercy from my Lord: but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will make it into dust; and the promise of My Lord is true."”(al-Kahf, 18/90-98).

There is no clear information about who Dhulqarnayn is, where he lived and where he built the barrier. There are different explanations regarding the issue.

Eventually, he reached the place where the sun set. It is stated that this place can be the west side of the Atlantic Ocean. He watched the sun set in the horizon of the sea there. The sun was setting as if it was sinking in a murky or scorching spring. The Quran describes here what the person who looks see in the horizon.  
 
Then, he followed a way that led to the east from the west; eventually, he reached the point where the sun rose. That point might be Africa or the Far East Asia. 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. They did not have any buildings or clothes. They were being tanned by the sun. As a matter of fact, there are some naked people like that in the Sudan and Australia today.

In the verse, Allah mentions what He gave Dhulqarnayn and his characteristics. What are they? :

a) "Verily We established his power on earth." We can explain it as "We settled him on earth".

b) "We gave him the ways and the means to all ends."

The word “sabab” means "a means or tool that is used in order to reach or realize something". Now, we will deal with the relationship between establishing (settling) and obtaining knowledge. Knowledge can be obtained in the secure environment provided by the establishment. It is difficult to obtain knowledge in nomadic societies.

Since the sun represents light, what Dhulqarnayn does is to follow the knowledge called the light.

c)  Just like the sun, the knowledge and the prophets rose in the east. The lights of the sun go toward the west; similarly, it is necessary to send the light of the knowledge to the west and to educate people. Knowledge and civilization went to the west from the east. Dhulqarnayn became the example of that movement; he is a teacher that presented it as an aim to the mankind; he showed it with his attitude. He went there not to take something, that is, knowledge and civilization but to enlighten the west; he preferred to go there.

d) Dhulqarnayn found a people there. That people committed all kinds of evil; they had lost their virtues. At that point, the identity of Dhulqarnayn as a teacher and even as a statesman becomes remarkable.

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