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Musa and al-Khidr




I seek refuge in Allah, the All-Hearing and All-Knowing from the damned Satan. We praise Allah, thank Him, seek His help, guidance and forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evil in our souls and the sinfulness of our deeds. “He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guiding advocate”.




I would like to ask you to devotedly worship Allah from now on. Worshipping Allah should never be considered a routinely chore. Instead, one must have a strong determination as it is stated in the Hadith Qudsi, what means; “Devotion is one of my secrets that I put in the heart of whoever I desire”. As a result, devotion will make you feel strong and will fill your heart with faithfulness. You will feel connected to Allah because you will feel that you have a firm grasp of life.




My dear brothers and sisters, do not take any step forward in life without having sincere devotion. There is a beautiful saying related to this that states, “Actions are like unmovable objects that become alive if we purely devote our will to Allah”. For example, if you were walking to a Masjid, make your intention to do so for the sake of Allah and remember that the angels will keep on saying, “Forgive him Allah and have mercy upon him”. Moreover, when you choose to follow the path of knowledge by attending a lesson, Allah exposes a path for you to Paradise, and this happens every time you go to attend the lesson.




Obedience is not just wearing a veil and reading the Qur'an but it is about being devoted and always having Allah in your mind; so before wearing your veil or reading Qur’an bear witness that you are doing this for Allah this way you get the reward for those deeds everyday you do them. Brothers and sisters, our actions without devotion to Allah are nothing. Have a firm will to devotedly worship Allah in your heart everyday, and as Musa said, what means, “I have hastened towards you Allah so that you may be pleased with me.” (TMQ, Taha: 20-84)[1].




Today's topic




The story of Musa (AS) (Moses), and al-Khidr is mentioned in Surat Al-Kahf (The Cave chapter), and reading it each Friday is a Sunnah. We will examine some points of the story as we explore it together starting with the following verses that can be translated as:




(TMQ, Al-Kahf: 60-82): “And (remember) when Mûsâ said to his boy-servant: “I will not give up (traveling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in traveling (60) But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish, and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel (61) So when they had passed further on (beyond that fixed place), Mûsâ said to his boy-servant: “Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey (62) He said: “Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock? I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaitân (Satan) made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange (way)!” (63) [Mûsâ ] said: “That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps (64) Then they found one of Our slaves, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us. (65) Mûsâ said to him (Khidr): “May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)? (66) He (Khidr) said: “Verily you will not be able to have patience with me! (67) And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not? (68) Mûsâ said: “If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.” (69) He (Khidr) said: “Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything unitl I myself mention of it to you (70) So they both proceeded, unitl, when they embarked the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Mûsâ said: “Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing “Imr” (a Munkar - evil, bad, dreadful thing) (71) He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me? (72) [Mûsâ ] said: “Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you) (73) Then they both proceeded, until they met a boy, and he (Khidr) killed him. Mûsâ said: “Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing Nukr (a great Munkar - prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!” (74) (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me? (75) [Mûsâ ] said: “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me (76) Then they both proceeded, until, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Mûsâ ] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it! (77) (Khidr) said: “This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience (78) As for the ship, it belonged to Masâkîn (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king behind them who seized every ship by force (79) And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief (80) So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and nearer to mercy (81) And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did them not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience (82).




The story took place after Musa's return to Egypt with his prophecy. Whenever you read this story, you might wonder about Allah's wisdom in telling it to us.




The Surah revolves around four important issues. The first is on the value of education, its advantages, its different disciplines, and from whom and how it is acquired. The second states that our knowledge is very little compared to Allah's like a drop of water in a vast ocean. The third indicates that what a person might face from affliction might be the greatest mercy from Allah. The reason is that Allah only wants what is good for His believers. The forth and final issue says that three qualities possessed by a Muslim can easily lead him to success in this life and the afterlife. They are: having a strong determination, humbleness, and patience.




The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) talks about the same verses in a Hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim. It was also mentioned 12 times in different sections of the Authentic Bukhari.




Bukhari and Muslim narrated on behalf of Said Ibn Jubair that he said, “I said to Ibn ‘Abbâs that Nausan Al-Bikâli (a man who gives Islamic Studies lessons in Al-Kufa) claims that Mûsâ, the companion of Al-Khidr was not the Mûsâ of the people of israel.” Ibn ‘Abbâs said, “The enemy of Allah (Nauf) told a lie.” Ubayy Ibn Ka‘b said that he heard Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) saying, “Mûsâ got up to deliver a speech before the people of israel and he was asked, ‘Who is the most learned person among the people?’ Mûsâ replied, ‘I (am the most learned).’ Allah admonished him for he did not ascribe knowledge to Allah Alone.


Thus, Allah revealed to him what can be translated as: ‘At the junction of the two seas there is a slave of Ours who is more learned than you.’ Mûsâ asked, ‘O my Lord, how can I meet him?’ Allah said, Take a fish and put it in a basket and then proceed. Set out and where you lose the fish, you will find him.’ So Mûsâ took a fish and put it in a basket and set out, along with his boy-servant Yûsha‘ Ibn Nûn, until they reached a rock on which they both rested their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the basket and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the current of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel. When Mûsâ got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next morning Mûsâ asked his boy-servant ‘Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.’ Mûsâ did not get tired until he had passed the place which Allah had ordered him to seek after. His boy-servant then said to him, ‘Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock? I indeed forgot the fish; none but Satan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.’ There was a tunnel for the fish and for Mûsâ and his boy-servant there was astonishment. Mûsâ said, ‘That is what we have been seeking’. So they went back retracing their footsteps. They both returned, retracing their steps until they reached the rock. Behold! There they found a man covered with a garment. Mûsâ greeted him. Al-Khidr said astonishingly. ‘Is there such a greeting in your land?’ Mûsâ said, ‘I am Mûsâ .’ He said, ‘Are you the Mûsâ of the Children of israel?’ Mûsâ said, ‘Yes’; and added, ‘I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught’. Al-Khidr said, ‘You will not be able to have patience with me.’ (TMQ, Al-Kahf:61-67).




So far, we conclude that it is important to receive education and knowledge from a trustable source. There are three qualities that you can judge a teacher with. These qualities are more based on logic rather than religious issues.




First of all, knowledge should be in agreement with the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH), his Sunnah, and Shari'a. Ask about the source of knowledge, use your mind, and never accept information blindly from a non-trustworthy source. This is an important issue as it has greatly led many youth to a wrong path. Second, you must be sure that your teacher possesses proper behavior and good manners. Finally, the teacher must apply most of what he says. It may occur that the person whom you seek knowledge from is less educated than you and that is acceptable. An evidence for that is Musa asking al-Khidr to teach him.




Another lesson learned from the Hadith is that in the middle of Musa's speech and the people's crying a man rose and asked him about the most knowledgeable person on earth. Besides being a controversial question, it is not proper to ask a non-beneficial question at an unsuitable time. Such an example is when a discussion is held about the collapse of the Muslim nation some might ask, “Should I wear my watch in my left or right hand?”, “Is it permissible to put perfume on?”, “Can I wear a tie?” Frankly, these people do not truly feel what the Muslim Nation is going through and do not realize the importance of this issue.




Is it possible for Musa to say that he is the most knowledgeable? The answer is no because if he was sent as a messenger for the entire world then he could have answered yes. However, he is a messenger sent only to the people of israel. The only one that can answer with a yes is prophet Muhammad (PBUH), for he was sent to all humanity. Nevertheless, the prophet never said that about himself.




Allah said, what means; “There is a slave of Ours who is more learned than you.” This is meant to teach Musa that the ascription of the all-knowledgeable is to Allah (SWT) alone this is because the one who is going to teach Musa is Allah's slave too.




Our knowledge is very little compared to Allah's, like water drop in a sea. We sometimes face difficult situations which we believe are completely to our disadvantage when Allah means our advantage and benefit, this is best demonstrated when Allah brings our own salvation from menace just as He said in Surat Al-Qasas, what can be translated as;”….but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers.” (TMQ, Al-Qasas:7). The purpose of this is to make one reflect on Allah's knowledge and ability. Allah (SWT) can bring out water from stones as He said to Musa, in Surat Al-Baqarah, what can be translated as, “And (remember) when Mûsâ asked for water for his people, We said: “Strike the stone with your stick. Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs Each (group of) people knew its own place for water.” (TMQ, Al-Baqara:60). Here, Musa asked Allah to send him rain from the sky. Yet, Allah made the water gush out of the stone and 70,000 of his people drank from it. In the same way Allah can make dead creatures alive, as in Surat Al-Baqarah too: “So We said: “Hit him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow).” (TMQ, Al-Baqara:73). Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayât (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand.




Examine the first verse when Musa said, what can be translated as; “I will not give up (traveling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in traveling.” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 60) Musa insisted on proceeding to fulfill Allah's directions though it took him 40 years or so. We extract from this the first trait to succeed: a strong determination.




Ibn Al-Qayyim says to whoever lacks a strong determination: “In the path of Allah Nuh (AS) (Noah) aged in telling his people about Allah, Ibrahim (AS) (Abraham) was thrown in fire, Yahya (AS) (John) was slaughtered. Zakariya (AS) (Zachariah) was sawn, and Muhammad (PBUH) suffered a lot and you are fooling around day after day!”




Set a goal and be determined to do something for your religion. There is a story about a young man who attended a university that did not have a Masjid to pray in. He asked a watchman working nearby where to pray, so he led him to a dark, dirty room underground. When he asked for the reason, the watchman claimed that if the young man prays in front of others, the people will become sarcastic and make fun of him. Hence, he prayed underground feeling sad. He made up his mind the next day and stood in a garden in the centre of his faculty building to pray. The same situation occurred day after day. Surprisingly, on the fifth day, the watchman came to pray with him, and the number started to increase gradually until one of the university doctors came to pray too. Finally, the college dean decided to build a Masjid for them. Soon, other Masjids for different schools were built as well. Imagine that for everyone who prays in those Masjids that young man will receive a great reward from Allah.




Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was tortured because he wanted to deliver the truth of the Qur’an said by Al-Mo'tasem. He feared nothing, even death, but he did fear lashing. A robber, used to lashing, passed by Imam Ahmad and saw the fear in his eyes and said: “O Imam Ahmad, keep the faith and truth you have. If you live, you will live praised by others. If you die, you will be considered a martyr.” Those words renewed Imam Ahmad's will and made him strong enough to bear the torture.




Musa (AS) asked for more knowledge and was not fulfilled by calling the people of israel to Allah's path for he wanted more. Therefore, I shall stop and ask you: when did you last read a book? I remind you of the value and importance of gaining knowledge for the first thing that we were asked to do is to read.




Thus, I will list some books that you as a Muslim should read to build your Islamic knowledge. The books are not meant to make you a scholar but instead they provide you with the basic knowledge that every Muslim should know.




- First: Learn Tajweed (proper recitation of the Holy Qur’an). You can ask a Sheikh (Islamic teacher) to teach you twice a week and you can also practice on your own during two other days.




- Secondly: Read Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) Seerah (mode of life and attitude). Three books of my choice are Ar-Rahiq Al-Makhtoum (Sealed Nectar), the doctrine of the Prophet's mode of life, or the cassettes of Dr. Tareq Swidan about the Prophet's life.




- Thirdly: Read about moral Islamic behavior and attitude. For instance, read the Muslim's Attitude by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazaly, the third section of Reviving Islamic Sciences, and the Manners series by Mr. Amr Khaled.




- Fourth: Read about the jurisprudence of cleansing, ablution, prayers, and fasting in the book Jurisprudence of Sunnah by Sheikh Saied Sabeq.




- Fifth: Read the fourth section of the book “Reviving Islamic Sciences” (Ihia’a Ulumu-deen) and the book Al-Wabel As-Sayeb for Ibn Al-Qayem and the series of “Hearts’ Remedy” (Islah al-Kulub) by Amr Khaled.




It would take you almost six months to read all those books. Afterwards, decide if you can continue or not. You should consider the subjects that you are taking at school or university and whether you are neglecting them or not.




Imam Al-Shafey was once told that the people of a certain country all went to study their Islamic jurisprudence and the country's doctor was a Jewish man. Imam Al-Shafey said: “They are all sinful.” The people exclaimed: “O Imam Shafey, they went to study their Islamic jurisprudence!” He answered: “They are sinful for they all went to study jurisprudence and left no one to cure the ill.”




“None but Satan made me forget to remember” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 63) Can Satan spoil your memory? No, but he keeps you busy with one thing to forget another.




The Messenger (PBUH) said that Musa was not exhausted until he passed the place that Allah has mentioned. Therefore, you must keep in mind that whenever you exceed Allah's limits and restrictions, you will certainly become exhausted.




Whenever Allah (SWT) mentioned knowledge in the Qur’an mercy and compassion were referred to as well. Observe how the western world when they took knowledge and science without mercy and compassion what happened; corruption.




However, who was al-Khidr? How was his life? We don't know his real name and al-Khidr is a nickname referring to his green garment. Some people say that al-Khidr was alive during the time of Adam (AS) or that he is still alive. Yet, this is not true because Muhammad (PBUH) once told his companions: “You see this night?” They said: “Yes O Messenger of Allah” He said: “No one today living on earth will witness this day 100 years later.”




Others say that al-Khidr met the Prophet (PBUH), but this is also not true. If he did, he would have adopted Muhammad's (PBUH) message and took part in the battles with the Prophet (PBUH).




Then is he a King or even a Messenger? No, he is not. Allah says what can be translated as: “Then they found one of Our slaves…...” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 65). Hence, he is no other but Allah's slave.




Verse 66 includes ten things about humbleness which is a basic and important characteristic that a Muslim should possess. However, some consider asking less positioned or less educated people a kind of disgrace, and some girls fear veiling up after their friends. This arrogance certainly holds back your success in life.




“May I follow you?” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 66) is a very humble question.”…..so that you teach me…” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 66) means “I regard myself less than you”. “… something of that knowledge which you have been taught (by Allah)” is only a portion of what you know and not all. “(guidance and true path)” is a request to guide Musa after teaching him.




He (Khidr) said, what means; “Verily you will not be able to have patience with me! (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 67) Allah is preparing Musa for he is going to hear it several times from the people of israel. Mûsâ said: “If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.” (TMQ, Al-Kahf: 69) Can you ever be that patient and humble?




Bukhari narrated that Musa and al-Khidr were standing at the sea when they saw a ship passing by. al-Khidr waved to the people on it to stop, and they did. At that time, an unfair King ruled the country. He took by force any ship he found in good condition. For that reason, al-Khidr created a fault with that one in case it passes by him. As a result, the ship owners thought that al-Khidr was unjust with them.




The story relates to the fact that you sometimes face difficult situations and think that Allah is not pleased with you whereas Allah wants the best for you. We survive difficult moments satisfied and confident with what Allah planned for us. Remember, without Yusuf (AS) (Joseph) being put in jail, Egypt would have suffered famine and hunger.




A student from the College of Engineering survived a car accident with a lost arm. The student said that he was on the edge of drugs and if the accident did not take place he would have been lost. This incident saved him and from it he decided to get closer to Allah. Hence, the purpose of the first story is that if it appears to you that Allah is putting you through difficult moments don't be afraid because there is goodness behind it.




The second story starts with “…until they met a boy”. On meeting that little boy, who did not reach puberty yet, al-Khidr killed him. He was carrying out what Allah had commanded him knowing that the boy would grow up to be an unbeliever.




Notice how many youth die nowadays and their parents keep their deep sorrow for years, whereas others who witness the death of their children keep praying for them and asking their award from Allah. As a result, these parents are bonded in their relation to Allah and would finally go to Paradise.




I would like to mention to you the story of a young man who used to drink beer. He once saw an old man in a car accident and rushed to get him out of the car. As he came near, the old believer said: “My dear son, don't commit a sin so you would face what I am facing now”, and he died. The young man then said: “Glory be to Allah who took his soul so that I will gain my religious soul.” Allah wants to teach us that only good stems from Him. Consider how Ibrahim, the son of Prophet Muhammad, died. The prophet loved him greatly but when he died he entered his home and uttered pleasant words about Allah.




Surely Allah tests you for your own benefit. Sometimes He does that to cleanse you of all your sins. If He did not test you and you died then you might go to the Hell Fire. Another reason could be for you to stand up proudly on the Judgment Day instead of having your head down disgraced of what you have done. Allah wants you to witness a better reward from Him and go to Paradise. It can also be that Allah wants to teach you a lesson so you would give up your arrogance and be humble instead. Hence, you will then taste the sweetest form of worships.




The third story took place when Musa (AS) and al-Khidr reached a city where its people refused to serve the strangers any food. al-Khidr rebuilt a wall that almost fell down in that city. When he was asked why, he claimed that a treasure located under this wall is for two orphan children whose father, a believer, left behind for them before his death. He said that by the time the wall falls again it would be twenty years later and the children will be grown ups so they can retrieve the treasure on their own. During these twenty years the two children will live poor although they have a treasure down there for Allah knew they lacked wisdom. You too might not know a about a treasure that Allah has saved for you because if you take it now you might lose it easily.




The three stories compiled the biggest catastrophes you may face during your life. These are injustice, death, and financial problems. However, if you are patient enough, Allah will reward you the best. Today, you must be sure that Allah wants the best for you. Are you then satisfied with your destiny?




Listen to what Allah says in The Qur'an, which can be translated as, “Allah! Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursî [1] extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [This Verse (TMQ, 2:255) is called Ayat-ul-Kursî ].




An example of having faith in Allah is Saad Ibn Abi-Waqqas whom the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said about: “O Allah, let him aim his shoot accurately, and accept his Dua'a (supplication)”. Everyone then came to ask for his Dua'a, but he lost his sight in his late years and a young man came to ask him why he would not pray to Allah to return his sight. Saad answered: “Would I ever be dissatisfied with what Allah has accepted for me? I am pleased with my destiny more than I would be pleased with my sight.”




Orwa Ibnul-Zobair took his son once to visit the Caliph. When they reached their destination, the boy went to play with the horse outdoors. However, he was soon squashed under its feet and died. His father was sorrowful to hear about this and on the same day his leg was affected and they had to cut it off. People did not know what to pay their condolences about. He smilingly said: “O my Lord, I had four organs, so you took away one and left me three. I had seven children, so you took away one and left me six. If you had taken away some favors, you have also kept some. If you have ceased some blessings, you have given me others. Thanks to you for what you have kept and thanks to you for what you have given.”




Omran Ibn-Qussai, one of the companions, took part in all the battles with the Prophet (PBUH), and he was lately affected with a sickness that made him unable to walk for ten years. Some of the companions came to visit him crying. Omran asked for the reason, and they answered: “We are crying for the suffering and pain you feel”. Omran said: “This is what Allah has accepted for me, and so I am accepting it too. I can truly feel the angels praying beside me, and from that I know that Allah is not dissatisfied with me. Allah is testing my satisfaction. O Allah, I bear witness that I am satisfied, please accept me among the ones whom you are satisfied with too.”




Notice how in verse 79 Al-Khidr talks politely about Allah (SWT). Whenever something evil appeared he associated it with himself and whenever something good appeared he associated it with Allah.




“…his parents were believers…” If you fear for your children after your death, be a righteous person.




Why did this incident specifically happen with Musa (AS) and not with any other Messenger?




To exemplify, the ship was saved from the King by scuttling it, and so did his mother cast him into the sea when he was a baby for Allah to show him that He is the only one who can save his life. Moreover, Musa (AS) reproached al-Khidr for rebuilding the wall in return of nothing, and one day he irrigated the land of the two daughters of Shoaib in return of nothing. Lastly, Musa (AS) saw al-Khidr killing a little boy, and Musa (AS) himself killed a man before.




It seems as if Allah wants to teach Musa (AS) that He is the one that controls his destiny, and that He can repeat certain incidents for him to learn from it.




What did Musa (AS) learn from al-Khidr? Is it knowledge? No, but he learnt to be patient and humble.




The four points were: The value of knowledge, our knowledge is very little compared to Allah's, you may sometimes not know the wisdom behind a certain incident that you may dislike while it is of benefit for you, and finally, you need patience, a strong determination, and humbleness to succeed in life.




Finally, to make today's lesson beneficial and to learn something from it, I ask you to learn Tajweed (proper recitation of the Holy Qur'an).




AmrKhaled(contact admin if its a beneficial link) © ÌãíÚ ÍÞæÞ ÇáäÔÑ ãÍÝæÙÉ

This Article may be published and duplicated freely for private purposes, as long as the original source is mentioned. For all other purposes you need to obtain the prior written approval of the website administration. For info: dar_altarjama[at]amrkhaled(contact admin if its a beneficial link)


[1] TMQ=Translation of the Meaning of the Qur'an. This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur'an. Reading the translated meaning of the Qur'an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

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