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Chapter 18: The Cave

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Bismilahi AlRahman AlRaheem


Chapter 18: The Cave (Al-Kahf)


by Amr Khaled


Translated by DaralislamLive(contact admin if its a beneficial link)


Goal of Chapter


Protection from Trials.


The chapter narrates 4 stories. At the end of each story there is a verse containing the moral goal of the story.


Story 1: Companions of the Cave


The story revolves around a group of a few Christian youths (maybe 3, 5 or 7 young men) who believed in God in a country full of disbelievers. The youths tried hard to guide their king and people to the path of God, but they were rejected. When the few believers felt they were endangered and their countrymen were plotting to murder them, God revealed to them to flee to a cave to hide. Here the miracle occurred; God made them sleep for 309 years. When they awoke, they thought they slept for a couple of days. One of them decided to leave the cave in disguise to get food for the others. To his surprise he found himself in a totally different place full of believers and worshippers. The countrymen were even more surprised to see his old coins and his old cloths and to hear his strange story about a king who died centuries ago. They decided to follow him to the cave. At that point the cave companions died. God wanted the countrymen to make this discovery to know about God's miracle in honor of the good believers and take them as an example of devoted worshippers.


Story 2: Owner of the Two Gardens & his Friend


The story revolves around a rich man who owned 2 huge gardens that produced lots of fruits and plants. The rich man never thanked God for these blessings. He had a good friend who advised him to be repentant and go back to God's path; however the rich man refused and challenged his friend that nothing will ever happen to him or his gardens. So God punished him by destroying his 2 gardens as the rich man watched.


Story 3: Prophet Moses and Al-Khidr


The israelites asked Prophet Moses (PBUH) about the most knowledgeable human being on earth, so Moses (PBUH) replied: "I am". God revealed to Prophet Moses that there was a more knowledgeable man than him, and his name was Al-Khidr. So Prophet Moses (PBUH) decided to travel to look for Al-Khidr to learn from his knowledge. When the prophet found him and asked to follow him to learn, Al-Khidr told Moses: "You can't have patience with me. How can you be patient in what you do not have a comprehensive knowledge of?" However, Prophet Moses insisted to be with him. Al-Khidr replied: "If you would follow me, then do not question me about anything until I myself speak to you about it."

Edited by Zeinab

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As they walked they passed by a boat, Al-Khidr made a hole in it. Moses was surprised and asked Al-Khidr for a reason, however Al-Khidr reminded Moses of their agreement not to ask questions, then they walked on. They passed by a young boy. Al-Khidr killed him. Prophet Moses asked him how he could murder an innocent soul; however Al-Khidr warned Moses if he asked any more questions then he will leave. They walked for very long until they got really tired and hungry, when they reached a town, they asked its people for food and shelter, however the townsmen refused. Then they found in the town a wall, which was about to fall, so Al-Khidr started building this wall. Moses (PBUH) was very surprised that he was doing this for people who were not hospitable, so he asked Al-Khidr to take money for re-building the wall. At that point Al-Khidr decided to leave the prophet for his impatience and too many questions, and decided to give him part of his knowledge for the events he did not comprehend.


Al-Khidr explained that the boat belonged to poor people working on the river and he made a small hole in it because behind them was a king who seized every good boat by force. As for the boy, his parents were righteous believers, however the boy was going to grow and become a disbeliever, so Al-Khidr intended that the Lord might give them a better son in his place. As for the wall, it belonged to 2 orphans in the town and beneath it a treasure left to them by their righteous father. So when the boys reach maturity they would know where to find the hidden treasure.


Al-Khidr was given future knowledge by the order of God. Prophet Moses (PBUH) learned a lot from him. The message here is, sometimes we think bad things had happened to us because we do not see the full picture, however God knows best, therefore we must always trust in God's fate.


Story 4: The Two-Horned King


The story revolves around a great king, the two-horned, who owns power and knowledge. He traveled from one place to another to spread God's message. He reached a country whose people asked for his help against Gog and Magog. So the king built a barrier with the help of the people to block the evil of Gog and Magog from the people. This barrier will someday collapse as a sign of the arrival of Day of Judgment.




Different Types of Trials


As a first impression one might think the 4 stories have no link between them, however on a closer look one will find that each story talks about a different 'fitnah' i.e. trial meaning an instance of hardship to test one's endurance. The 4 stories talk about 4 different trials human beings could go through.


The story of the cave companions talks about the trial of religion. People can be tested with their endurance in their faith and whether will persevere in its protection or not.


The story of the owner of the 2 gardens talks about the trial of money. Some people get busy adding to their richness and forget to thank the main source, God.


The story of Moses and Al-Khidr talks about the trial of knowledge. Some people become arrogant with their rich knowledge and forget that God has all the knowledge and that with His permission, they were granted a small part of it. They might even choose not to teach anyone, or even worse study useless stuff that will not benefit anyone.


The story of the two-horned king talks about the trial of power. Some people abuse their power and think power will be with them forever.



Benefits of Reading The Cave Chapter


A- The goal of this chapter is the protection from all these different trials, so these stories serve as a reminder.


B- Also there is a Prophetic saying that whoever reads The Cave chapter on Friday, Allah will give them light from their feet to the heavens.


C- Muslims also read this chapter on Fridays to protect them from the trial of "Al-Dajjal" i.e. the Antichrist, who is expected to spread evil around the world. There is a link between this chapter and the trials of the Antichrist.


Trial of religion: the Antichrist will ask people to worship him and deceive many by his ability to resurrect the dead.


Trial of money: the Antichrist will order the earth to bring out its treasures and will control the rain to make people rich to follow him.


Trial of knowledge: the Antichrist will deceive many by his ability to foresee the future.


Trial of power: the Antichrist will be able to control most of the countries on earth except for Madinah and Makkah.


How to be Protected from Trials?


At the end of each story there is a verse or two to serve as a commentary on the way of protection from such trials.


After the companions of the cave story it is clear that the trial of religion can be protected through righteous companions to assist on perseverance and patience. Also to remember the Day of Judgment when the righteous will be rewarded, verses 28 and 29.


After the owner of the two gardens story it is clear that the trial of money can be protected through understanding our real purpose in life and reminder of the Day of Judgment, verses 45 and 46.


After the story of Moses and Al-Khidr it is clear that the protection from the trial of knowledge is through modesty, verse 69.


After the story of the two-horned king it is clear that the protection from the trial of power is through the belief that loyalty of one's work should only be towards Allah and remembering the Day of Judgment, verses 103 and 104.


The last verse, 110, of this chapter concentrates on the protection from all trials is by doing righteous deeds, with its goal being only towards Allah. The religious scholars say for a work to be accepted by Allah, it requires two things; to be good, and devoted towards Allah.


Towards the middle of the chapter in verse 50, we find the story of the devil narrated, after the first two stories and before the last two. The devil is the main motivator behind any trial, so Allah wanted to warn us not to fall in such trap.


Reason for Naming this Chapter: "The Cave"


When you think of a cave, you think of darkness, the unknown, and fear. When the religious youth wanted to protect themselves and their religion, Allah revealed to them to hide in the cave to bestow on them His mercy. So the cave seems from the outside a place of horror, but for those youth it was a place for safety. The message here is whoever walks in Allah's path; Allah will never let them down and will always protect them. Also do not be deceived by outside appearances or events beyond your comprehension, Allah knows what is best for everyone, so do your work and trust in Allah's fate.



General Comments


Notice there is alot of action in the stories of the chapter. This is because continuous action is needed in order not to fall into any of the trails. Having a lot of free time will give way to the devil. This is why Muslims read it on Friday, which is a weekend, to remember to start the following week with an energetic feeling.


The chapter started and ended by talking about the Holy Qur'an, verses 1 and 109. This indicates that abiding by this Book will lead to protection from any of the trials.


The chapter mentioned calling for Allah's path between different classes and levels of the society, which shows the importance of continuous reminder amongst people:


Story 1: Calling of the youth to their king.

Story 2: Calling of the friend to his friend.

Story 3: The teacher and his student.

Story 4: The king to his people.


The chapter mentions many unseen entities, like the number of the cave companions, the location of the barrier between people and Gog and Magog, knowledge of Al-Khidr, etc. This is to draw our attention that there might be many things beyond our comprehension, however Allah knows everything, therefore we should always do our best and abide by Allah's orders, then leave our fate in His hands knowing everything that happens will only be for our own good.

Edited by Zeinab

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:D for posting, i have a better understanding of why this Surah is so important for us. :D

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