Surah Al kahf In Arabic
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ عِوَجًا ۜ ﴿1﴾ قَيِّمًا لِيُنْذِرَ بَأْسًا شَدِيدًا مِنْ لَدُنْهُ وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا حَسَنًا ﴿2﴾ مَاكِثِينَ فِيهِ أَبَدًا ﴿3﴾ وَيُنْذِرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا ﴿4﴾ مَا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ وَلَا لِآبَائِهِمْ ۚ كَبُرَتْ كَلِمَةً تَخْرُجُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۚ إِنْ يَقُولُونَ إِلَّا كَذِبًا ﴿5﴾ فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ إِنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَٰذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا ﴿6﴾ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا ﴿7﴾ وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا ﴿8﴾ أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا ﴿9﴾ إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا ﴿10﴾ فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰ آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا ﴿11﴾ ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِنَعْلَمَ أَيُّ الْحِزْبَيْنِ أَحْصَىٰ لِمَا لَبِثُوا أَمَدًا ﴿12﴾ نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى ﴿13﴾ وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَنْ نَدْعُوَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَٰهًا ۖ لَقَدْ قُلْنَا إِذًا شَطَطًا ﴿14﴾ هَٰؤُلَاءِ قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ آلِهَةً ۖ لَوْلَا يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ ۖ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَىٰ عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا ﴿15﴾ وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنْشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مِرْفَقًا ﴿16﴾ وَتَرَى الشَّمْسَ إِذَا طَلَعَتْ تَزَاوَرُ عَنْ كَهْفِهِمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَإِذَا غَرَبَتْ تَقْرِضُهُمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَهُمْ فِي فَجْوَةٍ مِنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ ۗ مَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ ۖ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُرْشِدًا ﴿17﴾ وَتَحْسَبُهُمْ أَيْقَاظًا وَهُمْ رُقُودٌ ۚ وَنُقَلِّبُهُمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ ۖ وَكَلْبُهُمْ بَاسِطٌ ذِرَاعَيْهِ بِالْوَصِيدِ ۚ لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَوَلَّيْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِرَارًا وَلَمُلِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ رُعْبًا ﴿18﴾ وَكَذَٰلِكَ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِيَتَسَاءَلُوا بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِنْهُمْ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ ۚ قَالُوا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُمْ بِوَرِقِكُمْ هَٰذِهِ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَيُّهَا أَزْكَىٰ طَعَامًا فَلْيَأْتِكُمْ بِرِزْقٍ مِنْهُ وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ وَلَا يُشْعِرَنَّ بِكُمْ أَحَدًا ﴿19﴾ إِنَّهُمْ إِنْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ يَرْجُمُوكُمْ أَوْ يُعِيدُوكُمْ فِي مِلَّتِهِمْ وَلَنْ تُفْلِحُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا ﴿20﴾ وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهَا إِذْ يَتَنَازَعُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ ۖ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بُنْيَانًا ۖ رَبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ ۚ قَالَ الَّذِينَ غَلَبُوا عَلَىٰ أَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَسْجِدًا ﴿21﴾ سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَاثَةٌ رَابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ ۖ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۚ قُلْ رَبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِمْ مَا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ ۗ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِمْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا ﴿22﴾ وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا ﴿23﴾ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰ أَنْ يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَٰذَا رَشَدًا ﴿24﴾ وَلَبِثُوا فِي كَهْفِهِمْ ثَلَاثَ مِائَةٍ سِنِينَ وَازْدَادُوا تِسْعًا ﴿25﴾ قُلِ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوا ۖ لَهُ غَيْبُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ أَبْصِرْ بِهِ وَأَسْمِعْ ۚ مَا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا ﴿26﴾ وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ ۖ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَنْ تَجِدَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا ﴿27﴾ وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا ﴿28﴾ وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِنْ وَمَنْ شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ ۚ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا ۚ وَإِنْ يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاءٍ كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ ۚ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا ﴿29﴾ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلًا ﴿30﴾ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًا مِنْ سُنْدُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ ۚ نِعْمَ الثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا ﴿31﴾ وَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ مَثَلًا رَجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا ﴿32﴾ كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِمْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا ﴿33﴾ وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنْكَ مَالًا وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرًا ﴿34﴾ وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَنْ تَبِيدَ هَٰذِهِ أَبَدًا ﴿35﴾ وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِنْ رُدِدْتُ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِنْهَا مُنْقَلَبًا ﴿36﴾ قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا ﴿37﴾ لَٰكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّهُ رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا ﴿38﴾ وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ ۚ إِنْ تَرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنْكَ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا ﴿39﴾ فَعَسَىٰ رَبِّي أَنْ يُؤْتِيَنِ خَيْرًا مِنْ جَنَّتِكَ وَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهَا حُسْبَانًا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَتُصْبِحَ صَعِيدًا زَلَقًا ﴿40﴾ أَوْ يُصْبِحَ مَاؤُهَا غَوْرًا فَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعَ لَهُ طَلَبًا ﴿41﴾ وَأُحِيطَ بِثَمَرِهِ فَأَصْبَحَ يُقَلِّبُ كَفَّيْهِ عَلَىٰ مَا أَنْفَقَ فِيهَا وَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَىٰ عُرُوشِهَا وَيَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي لَمْ أُشْرِكْ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا ﴿42﴾ وَلَمْ تَكُنْ لَهُ فِئَةٌ يَنْصُرُونَهُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مُنْتَصِرًا ﴿43﴾ هُنَالِكَ الْوَلَايَةُ لِلَّهِ الْحَقِّ ۚ هُوَ خَيْرٌ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ عُقْبًا ﴿44﴾ وَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ مَثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاءٍ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الْأَرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّيَاحُ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُقْتَدِرًا ﴿45﴾ الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا ﴿46﴾ وَيَوْمَ نُسَيِّرُ الْجِبَالَ وَتَرَى الْأَرْضَ بَارِزَةً وَحَشَرْنَاهُمْ فَلَمْ نُغَادِرْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا ﴿47﴾ وَعُرِضُوا عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ صَفًّا لَقَدْ جِئْتُمُونَا كَمَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۚ بَلْ زَعَمْتُمْ أَلَّنْ نَجْعَلَ لَكُمْ مَوْعِدًا ﴿48﴾ وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ فَتَرَى الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَٰذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا ۚ وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا ۗ وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا ﴿49﴾ وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ ۗ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ ۚ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلًا ﴿50﴾ مَا أَشْهَدْتُهُمْ خَلْقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَا خَلْقَ أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَمَا كُنْتُ مُتَّخِذَ الْمُضِلِّينَ عَضُدًا ﴿51﴾ وَيَوْمَ يَقُولُ نَادُوا شُرَكَائِيَ الَّذِينَ زَعَمْتُمْ فَدَعَوْهُمْ فَلَمْ يَسْتَجِيبُوا لَهُمْ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمْ مَوْبِقًا ﴿52﴾ وَرَأَى الْمُجْرِمُونَ النَّارَ فَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ مُوَاقِعُوهَا وَلَمْ يَجِدُوا عَنْهَا مَصْرِفًا ﴿53﴾ وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لِلنَّاسِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ ۚ وَكَانَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا ﴿54﴾ وَمَا مَنَعَ النَّاسَ أَنْ يُؤْمِنُوا إِذْ جَاءَهُمُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّهُمْ إِلَّا أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمْ سُنَّةُ الْأَوَّلِينَ أَوْ يَأْتِيَهُمُ الْعَذَابُ قُبُلًا ﴿55﴾ وَمَا نُرْسِلُ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّا مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ ۚ وَيُجَادِلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِالْبَاطِلِ لِيُدْحِضُوا بِهِ الْحَقَّ ۖ وَاتَّخَذُوا آيَاتِي وَمَا أُنْذِرُوا هُزُوًا ﴿56﴾ وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذُكِّرَ بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِ فَأَعْرَضَ عَنْهَا وَنَسِيَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ ۚ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَنْ يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا ۖ وَإِنْ تَدْعُهُمْ إِلَى الْهُدَىٰ فَلَنْ يَهْتَدُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا ﴿57﴾ وَرَبُّكَ الْغَفُورُ ذُو الرَّحْمَةِ ۖ لَوْ يُؤَاخِذُهُمْ بِمَا كَسَبُوا لَعَجَّلَ لَهُمُ الْعَذَابَ ۚ بَلْ لَهُمْ مَوْعِدٌ لَنْ يَجِدُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ مَوْئِلًا ﴿58﴾ وَتِلْكَ الْقُرَىٰ أَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ لَمَّا ظَلَمُوا وَجَعَلْنَا لِمَهْلِكِهِمْ مَوْعِدًا ﴿59﴾ وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا ﴿60﴾ فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ سَرَبًا ﴿61﴾ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَا قَالَ لِفَتَاهُ آتِنَا غَدَاءَنَا لَقَدْ لَقِينَا مِنْ سَفَرِنَا هَٰذَا نَصَبًا ﴿62﴾ قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذْ أَوَيْنَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ فَإِنِّي نَسِيتُ الْحُوتَ وَمَا أَنْسَانِيهُ إِلَّا الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ أَذْكُرَهُ ۚ وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًا ﴿63﴾ قَالَ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبْغِ ۚ فَارْتَدَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمَا قَصَصًا ﴿64﴾ فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِنْ عِنْدِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِنْ لَدُنَّا عِلْمًا ﴿65﴾ قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَىٰ هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰ أَنْ تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا ﴿66﴾ قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا ﴿67﴾ وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا ﴿68﴾ قَالَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعْصِي لَكَ أَمْرًا ﴿69﴾ قَالَ فَإِنِ اتَّبَعْتَنِي فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِي عَنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ أُحْدِثَ لَكَ مِنْهُ ذِكْرًا ﴿70﴾ فَانْطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَكِبَا فِي السَّفِينَةِ خَرَقَهَا ۖ قَالَ أَخَرَقْتَهَا لِتُغْرِقَ أَهْلَهَا لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا إِمْرًا ﴿71﴾ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا ﴿72﴾ قَالَ لَا تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَا تُرْهِقْنِي مِنْ أَمْرِي عُسْرًا ﴿73﴾ فَانْطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا لَقِيَا غُلَامًا فَقَتَلَهُ قَالَ أَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا زَكِيَّةً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا نُكْرًا ﴿74﴾
الجزء ﴿ 16 ﴾
قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكَ إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا ﴿75﴾ قَالَ إِنْ سَأَلْتُكَ عَنْ شَيْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلَا تُصَاحِبْنِي ۖ قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِنْ لَدُنِّي عُذْرًا ﴿76﴾ فَانْطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهْلَ قَرْيَةٍ اسْتَطْعَمَا أَهْلَهَا فَأَبَوْا أَنْ يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَنْ يَنْقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ ۖ قَالَ لَوْ شِئْتَ لَاتَّخَذْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا ﴿77﴾ قَالَ هَٰذَا فِرَاقُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنِكَ ۚ سَأُنَبِّئُكَ بِتَأْوِيلِ مَا لَمْ تَسْتَطِعْ عَلَيْهِ صَبْرًا ﴿78﴾ أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَأَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَعِيبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَاءَهُمْ مَلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا ﴿79﴾ وَأَمَّا الْغُلَامُ فَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ فَخَشِينَا أَنْ يُرْهِقَهُمَا طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا ﴿80﴾ فَأَرَدْنَا أَنْ يُبْدِلَهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا خَيْرًا مِنْهُ زَكَاةً وَأَقْرَبَ رُحْمًا ﴿81﴾ وَأَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلَامَيْنِ يَتِيمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنْزٌ لَهُمَا وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا فَأَرَادَ رَبُّكَ أَنْ يَبْلُغَا أَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسْتَخْرِجَا كَنْزَهُمَا رَحْمَةً مِنْ رَبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا فَعَلْتُهُ عَنْ أَمْرِي ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَأْوِيلُ مَا لَمْ تَسْطِعْ عَلَيْهِ صَبْرًا ﴿82﴾ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنْ ذِي الْقَرْنَيْنِ ۖ قُلْ سَأَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْهُ ذِكْرًا ﴿83﴾ إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا ﴿84﴾ فَأَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا ﴿85﴾ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا قَوْمًا ۗ قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَنْ تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا ﴿86﴾ قَالَ أَمَّا مَنْ ظَلَمَ فَسَوْفَ نُعَذِّبُهُ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ فَيُعَذِّبُهُ عَذَابًا نُكْرًا ﴿87﴾ وَأَمَّا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُ جَزَاءً الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَسَنَقُولُ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِنَا يُسْرًا ﴿88﴾ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا ﴿89﴾ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَطْلِعَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَطْلُعُ عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ لَمْ نَجْعَلْ لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهَا سِتْرًا ﴿90﴾ كَذَٰلِكَ وَقَدْ أَحَطْنَا بِمَا لَدَيْهِ خُبْرًا ﴿91﴾ ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا ﴿92﴾ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِنْ دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لَا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلًا ﴿93﴾ قَالُوا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَىٰ أَنْ تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا ﴿94﴾ قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّي فِيهِ رَبِّي خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِي بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا ﴿95﴾ آتُونِي زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا سَاوَىٰ بَيْنَ الصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ انْفُخُوا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَعَلَهُ نَارًا قَالَ آتُونِي أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا ﴿96﴾ فَمَا اسْطَاعُوا أَنْ يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا لَهُ نَقْبًا ﴿97﴾ قَالَ هَٰذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّي ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاءَ ۖ وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي حَقًّا ﴿98﴾ وَتَرَكْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَمُوجُ فِي بَعْضٍ ۖ وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَجَمَعْنَاهُمْ جَمْعًا ﴿99﴾ وَعَرَضْنَا جَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَرْضًا ﴿100﴾ الَّذِينَ كَانَتْ أَعْيُنُهُمْ فِي غِطَاءٍ عَنْ ذِكْرِي وَكَانُوا لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَمْعًا ﴿101﴾ أَفَحَسِبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَنْ يَتَّخِذُوا عِبَادِي مِنْ دُونِي أَوْلِيَاءَ ۚ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكَافِرِينَ نُزُلًا ﴿102﴾ قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا ﴿103﴾ الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا ﴿104﴾ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ فَحَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فَلَا نُقِيمُ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَزْنًا ﴿105﴾ ذَٰلِكَ جَزَاؤُهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ بِمَا كَفَرُوا وَاتَّخَذُوا آيَاتِي وَرُسُلِي هُزُوًا ﴿106﴾ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ كَانَتْ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْفِرْدَوْسِ نُزُلًا ﴿107﴾ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا لَا يَبْغُونَ عَنْهَا حِوَلًا ﴿108﴾ قُلْ لَوْ كَانَ الْبَحْرُ مِدَادًا لِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّي لَنَفِدَ الْبَحْرُ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَنْفَدَ كَلِمَاتُ رَبِّي وَلَوْ جِئْنَا بِمِثْلِهِ مَدَدًا ﴿109﴾ قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا ﴿110﴾
Transliteration in English
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Alhamdu lillaahil lazeee anzala ‘alaa ‘abdihil kitaaba wa lam yaj’al lahoo ‘iwajaa
- Qaiyimal liyunzira ba’asan shadeedam mil ladunhu wa yubashshiral mu’mineenal lazeena ya’maloonas saalihaati anna lahum ajran hasanaa
- Maakiseena feehi abadaa
- Wa yunziral lazeena qaalut takhazal laahu waladaa
- Maa lahum bihee min ‘ilminw wa laa li aabaaa’ihim; kaburat kalimatan takhruju min afwaahihim; iny yaqooloona illaa kazibaa
- Fala’allaka baakhi’un nafsaka ‘alaaa aasaarihim illam yu’minoo bihaazal hadeesi asafaa
- Innaa ja’alnaa ma ‘alal ardi zeenatal lahaa linabluwahum ayyuhum ahsanu ‘amalaa
- Wa innaa la jaa’iloona maa ‘alaihaa sa’eedan juruzaa
- Am hasibta anna Ashaabal Kahfi war Raqeemi kaanoo min Aayaatinaa ‘ajabaa
- Iz awal fityatu ilal Kahfi faqaaloo Rabbanaaa aatinaa mil ladunka rahmatanw wa haiyi’ lanaa min amrinaa rashadaa
- Fadarabnaa ‘alaaa aazaanihim fil Kahfi seneena ‘adadaa
- Summa ba’asnaahum lina’lama ayyul hizbaini ahsaa limaa labisooo amadaa (section 1)
- Nahnu naqussu ‘alaika naba ahum bilhaqq; innahum fityatun aamanoo bi Rabbihim wa zidnaahum hudaa
- Wa rabatnaa ‘alaa quloo bihim iz qaamoo faqaaloo Rabbunaa Rabbus samaawaati wal ardi lan nad’uwa min dooniheee ilaahal laqad qulnaaa izan shatataa
- Haaa’ulaaa’i qawmunat takhazoo min dooniheee aalihatal law laa yaatoona ‘alaihim bisultaanim baiyin; faman azlamu mimmaniftaraa ‘alal laahi kazibaa
- Wa izi’tazal tumoohum wa maa ya’budoona illal laaha faawooo ilal kahfi yanshur lakum Rabbukum mir rahmatihee wa yuhaiyi’ lakum min amrikum mirfaqa
- Wa tarash shamsa izaa tala’at tazaawaru ‘an kahfihim zaatal yameeni wa izaa gharabat taqriduhum zaatash shimaali wa hum fee fajwatim minh; zaalika min Aayaatillaah; mai yahdil laahu fahuwal muhtad, wa mai yudlil falan tajida lahoo waliyyam murshidaa (section 2)
- Wa tahsabuhum ayqaazanw wa hum ruqood; wa nuqallibuhum zaatal yameeni wa zaatash shimaali wa kalbuhum baasitun ziraa’ayhi bilwaseed; lawit tala’ta ‘alaihim la wallaita minhum firaaranw wa lamuli’ta minhum ru’ba
- Wa kazaalika ba’asnaahum liyatasaaa’aloo bainahum; qaala qaaa’ilum minhum kam labistum qaaloo labisnaa yawman aw ba’da yawm; qaaloo Rabbukum a’lamu bimaa labistum fab’asooo ahadakum biwariqikum haazihee ilal madeenati falyanzur ayyuhaaa azkaa ta’aaman falyaatikum birizqim minhu walyatalattaf wa laa yush’iranna bikum ahadaa
- Innahum iny yazharoo ‘alaikum yarjumookum aw yu’eedookum fee millatihim wa lan tuflihooo izan abadaa
- Wa kazaalika a’sarnaa ‘alaihim liya’lamooo anna wa’dal laahi haqqunw wa annas Saa’ata laa raiba feehaa iz yatanaaza’oona bainahum amrahum faqaalub noo ‘alaihim bunyaanaa; Rabbuhum a’lamu bihim; qaalal lazeena ghalaboo ‘alaaa amrihim lanat takhizanna ‘alaihim masjidaa
- Sa yaqooloona salaasatur raabi’uhum kalbuhum wa yaqooloona khamsatun saadisuhum kalbuhum rajmam bilghaib; wa yaqooloona sab’atunw wa saaminuhum kalbuhum; qur Rabbeee a’lamu bi’iddatihim maa ya’lamuhum illaa qaleel; falaa tumaari feehim illaa miraaa’an zaahiranw wa laa tastafti feehim minhum ahadaa (section 3)
- Wa laa taqoolanna lishai’in innee faa’ilun zaalika ghadaa
- Illaaa any yashaaa’al laah; wazkur Rabbaka izaa naseeta wa qul ‘asaaa any yahdiyani Rabbee li aqraba min haazaa rashadaa
- Wa labisoo fee kahfihim salaasa mi’atin sineena wazdaadoo tis’aa
- Qulil laahu a’lamu bimaa labisoo lahoo ghaibus samaawaati wal ardi absir bihee wa asmi’; maa lahum min doonihee minw waliyyinw wa laa yushriku fee hukmihee ahadaa
- Watlu maaa oohiya ilaika min Kitaabi Rabbika laa mubaddila li Kalimaatihee wa lan tajida min doonihee multahadaa
- Wasbir nafsaka ma’al lazeena yad’oona Rabbahum bilghadaati wal’ashiyyi yureedoona Wajhahoo wa laa ta’du ‘aynaaka ‘anhum tureedu zeenatal hayaatid dunyaa wa laa tuti’ man aghfalnaa qalbahoo ‘an zikrinaa wattaba’a hawaahu wa kaana amruhoo furutaa
- Wa qulil haqqu mir Rabbikum faman shaaa’a falyu’minw wa man shaaa’a falyakfur; innaaa a’tadnaa lizzaalimeena Naaran ahaata bihim suraadiquhaa; wa iny yastagheesoo yughaasoo bimaaa’in kalmuhli yashwil wujooh’ bi’sash-sharaab; wa saaa’at murtafaqaa
- Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati innaa laa nudee’u ajra man ahsana ‘amalaa
- Ulaaa’ika lahum Jannaatu ‘Adnin tajree min tahtihimul anhaaru yuhallawna feehaa min asaawira min zahabinw wa yalbasoona siyaaban khudram min sundusinw wa istabraqim muttaki’eena feehaa ‘alal araaa’ik; ni’mas sawaab; wa hasunat murtafaqaa (section 4)
- Wadrib lahum masalar rajulaini ja’alnaa li ahadihimaa jannataini min a’naabinw wa hafafnaahumaa binakhilinw wa ja’alnaa bainahumaa zar’aa
- Kiltal jannataini aatat ukulahaa wa lam tazlim minhu shai’anw wa fajjarnaa khi laalahumaa naharaa
- Wa kaana lahoo samarun faqaala lisaahibihee wa huwa yuhaawiruhoo ana aksaru minka maalanw wa a’azzu nafaraa
- Wa dakhala jannatahoo wa huwa zaalimul linafsihee qaala maaa azunnu an tabeeda haaziheee abadaa
- Wa maaa azunnus Saa’ata qaaa’imatanw wa la’ir rudittu ilaa Rabbee la ajidanna khairam minhaa munqalabaa
- Qaala lahoo saahibuhoo wa huwa yuhaawiruhooo akafarta billazee khalaqaka min turaabin summa min nutfatin summa sawwaaka rajulaa
- Laakinaa Huwal laahu Rabbee wa laa ushriku bi Rabbeee ahadaa
- Wa law laaa iz dakhalta jannataka qulta maa shaaa’al laahu laa quwwata illaa billaah; in tarani ana aqalla minka maalanw wa waladaa
- Fa’asaa Rabeee any yu’tiyani khairam min jannatika wa yursila ‘alaihaa husbaanam minas samaaa’i fatusbiha sa’eedan zalaqaa
- Aw yusbiha maaa’uhaaa ghawran falan tastatee’a lahoo talabaa
- Wa uheeta bisamarihee faasbaha yuqallibu kaffaihi ‘alaa maaa anfaqa feehaa wa hiya khaawiyatun ‘alaa ‘urooshihaa wa yaqoolu yaalaitanee lam ushrik bi Rabbeee ahadaa
- Wa lam takul lahoo fi’atuny yansuroonahoo min doonil laahi wa maa kaana muntasiraa
- Hunaalikal walaayatu lillaahil haqq; huwa khairun sawaabanw wa khairun ‘uqbaa (section 5)
- Wadrib lahum masalal hayaatid dunyaa kamaaa’in anzalnaahu minas samaaa’i fakhtalata bihee nabaatul ardi fa asbaha hasheeman tazroo hur riyaah; wa kaanal laahu ‘alaa kulli shai’im muqtadiraa
- Almaalu walbanoona zeenatul hayaatid dunya wal baaqiyaatus saalihaatu khairun ‘inda Rabbika sawaabanw wa khairun amalaa
- Wa yawma nusaiyirul jibaala wa taral arda baariza tanw wa hasharnaahum falam nughaadir minhum ahadaa
- Wa ‘uridoo ‘alaa Rabbika saffaa, laqad ji’tumoonaa kamaa khalaqnaakum awala marrah; bal za’amtum allannaj’ala lakum maw’idaa
- Wa wudi’al kitaabu fataral mujrimeena mushfiqeena mimmaa feehi wa yaqooloona yaa wailatanaa maa lihaazal kitaabi laa yughaadiru saghee ratanw wa laa kabeeratan illaaa ahsaahaa; wa wajadoo maa ‘amiloo haadiraa; wa laa yazlimu Rabbuka ahadaa (Section 6)
- Wa iz qulnaa lil malaaa’ikatis judoo li Aadama fasajadooo illaaa Ibleesa kaana minal jinni fafasaqa ‘an amri Rabbih; afatattakhizoonahoo wa zurriyatahooo awliyaaa’a min doonee wa hum lakum ‘aduww; bi’sa lizzaalimeena badalaa
- Maaa ash hattuhum khalqas samaawaati wal ardi wa laa khalqa anfusihim wa maa kuntu muttakhizal mudilleena ‘adudaa
- Wa Yawma yaqoolu naadoo shurakaaa’i yal lazeena za’amtum fada’awhum falam yastajeeboo lahum wa ja’alnaa bainahum maw biqaa
- Wa ra al mujrimoonan Naara fazannooo annahum muwaaqi’oohaa wa lam yajidoo ‘anhaa masrifaa (section 7)
- Wa laqad sarrafnaa fee haazal quraani linnaasi min kulli masal; wa kaanal insaanu aksara shai’in jadalaa
- Wa maa mana’an naasa any yu’minooo iz jaaa’ahumul hudaa wa yastaghfiroo Rabbahum illaaa an taatiyahum sunnatul awwaleena aw yaatiyahumul ‘azaabu qubulaa
- Wa maa nursilul mursaleena illaa mubashshireena wa munzireen; wa yujaadilul lazeena kafaroo bilbaatili liyudhidoo bihil haqqa wattakhazooo Aayaatee wa maaa unziroo huzuwaa
- Wa man azlamu mimman zukkira bi ayaati Rabbihee fa-a’rada ‘anhaa wa nasiya maa qaddamat yadaah; innaa ja’alnaa ‘alaa quloobihim akinnatan any yafqahoohu wa feee aazaanihim waqraa; wa in tad’uhum ilal hudaa falany yahtadooo izan abadaa
- Wa Rabbukal Ghafooru zur rahmati law yu’aakhi zuhum bimaa kasaboo la’ajala lahumul ‘azaab; bal lahum maw’idul lany yajidoo min doonihee maw’ilaa
- Wa tilkal quraaa ahlak nahum lammaa zalamoo wa ja’alnaa limahlikihim maw’idaa (section 8)
- Wa iz qaalaa Moosaa lifataahu laaa abrahu hattaaa ablugha majma’al bahrayni aw amdiya huqubaa
- Falammaa balaghaa majma’a bainihimaa nasiyaa hootahumaa fattakhaza sabeelahoo fil bahri sarabaa
- Falammaa jaawazaa qaala lifataahu aatinaa ghadaaa’anaa laqad laqeena min safarinaa haazaa nasabaa
- Qaala ara’ayta iz awainaaa ilas sakhrati fa innee naseetul hoota wa maaa ansaaneehu illash Shaitaanu an azkurah; wattakhaza sabeelahoo fil bahri’ajabaa
- Qaala zaalika maa kunnaa nabghi; fartaddaa ‘alaa aasaari him maa qasasaa
- Fa wajadaa ‘abdam min ‘ibaadinaaa aatainaahu Rahmatam min ‘indinaa wa ‘allamnaahu mil ladunnaa ‘ilmaa
- Qaala lahoo Moosaa hal attabi’uka ‘alaaa an tu’allimani mimmaa ‘ullimta rushdaa
- Qaalaa innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
- Wa kaifa tasbiru ‘alaa maa lam tuhit bihee khubraa
- Qaala satajiduneee in shaa ‘al laahu saabiranw wa laaa a’see laka amraa
- Qaala fa init taba’tanee falaa tas’alnee ‘an shai’in hattaaa uhdisa laka minhu zikraa (section 9)
- Fantalaqaa hattaaa izaa rakibaa fis safeenati kharaqahaa qaala akharaqtahaa litughriqa ahlahaa laqad ji’ta shai’an imraa
- Qaala alam aqul innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
- Qaala laa tu’aakhiznee bimaa naseetu wa laa turhiqnee min amree ‘usraa
- Fantalaqaa hattaa izaa laqiyaa ghulaaman faqatalahoo qaala aqatalta nafsan zakiy yatam bighairi nafs; laqad ji’ta shai’an nukraa (End Juz 15)
- Qaala alam aqul laka innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
- Qaala in sa altuka ‘an shai’im ba’dahaa falaa tusaahibnee qad balaghta mil ladunnee ‘uzraa
- Fantalaqaa hattaaa izaaa atayaaa ahla qaryatinis tat’amaaa ahlahaa fa abaw any yudaiyifoohumaa fawajadaa feehaa jidaarany yureedu any yanqadda fa aqaamah; qaala law shi’ta lattakhazta ‘alaihi ajraa
- Qaala haazaa firaaqu bainee wa bainik; sa unabbi’uka bi ta’weeli maa lam tastati’ ‘alaihi sabraa
- Ammas safeenatu fakaanat limasaakeena ya’maloona fil bahri fa arattu an a’eebahaa wa kaana waraaa’ ahum malikuny yaakhuzu kulla safeenatin ghasbaa
- Wa aammal ghulaamu fakaana abawaahu mu’minaini fakhasheenaaa any yurhiqa humaa tughyaananw wa kufraa
- Faradnaa any yubdila humaa Rabbuhumaa khairam minhu zakaatanw wa aqraba ruhmaa
- Wa ammal jidaaru fakaana lighulaamaini yateemaini fil madeenati wa kaana tahtahoo kanzul lahumaa wa kaana aboohumaa saalihan fa araada Rabbuka any yablughaaa ashuddahumaa wa yastakhrijaa kanzahumaa rahmatam mir Rabbik; wa maa fa’altuhoo ‘an amree; zaalika taaweelu maa lam tasti’ ‘alaihi sabra (section 10)
- Wa yas’aloonaka ‘an Zil Qarnaini qul sa atloo ‘alaikum minhu zikraa
- Innaa makkannaa lahoo fil ardi wa aatainaahu min kulli shai’in sababaa
- Fa atba’a sababaa
- Hattaaa izaa balagha maghribash shamsi wajadahaaa taghrubu fee ‘aynin hami’a tinw wa wajada ‘indahaa qawmaa; qulnaa yaa Zal Qarnaini immaaa an tu’az ziba wa immaaa an tattakhiza feehim husnaa
- Qaala amma man zalama fasawfa nu’azzibuhoo summa yuraddu ilaa Rabbihee fa yu ‘azzibuhoo azaaban nukraa
- Wa ammaa man aamana wa ‘amila saalihan falahoo jazaaa’anil husnaa wa sanaqoolu lahoo min amrinaa yusraa
- Summa atba’a sababaa
- Hattaaa izaa balagha matli’ash shamsi wajdahaa tatlu’u alaa qawmil lam naj’al lahum min doonihaa sitraa
- Kazaalika wa qad ahatnaa bimaa ladaihi khubraa
- Summa atba’a sababaa
- Hattaaa izaa balagha bainas saddaini wajada min doonihimaa qawmal laa yakaa doona yafqahoona qawlaa
- Qaaloo yaa Zal qarnaini inna Ya’jooja wa Ma’jooja mufsidoona fil ardi fahal naj’alu laka kharjan ‘alaaa an taj’ala bainanaa wa bainahum saddaa
- Qaala maa makkannee feehi Rabbee khairun fa-a’eenoonee biquwwatin aj’al bainakum wa bainahum radmaa
- Aatoonee zubaral hadeed, hattaaa izaa saawaa bainas sadafaini qaalan fukhoo hattaaa izaa ja’alahoo naaran qaala aatooneee ufrigh ‘alaihi qitraa
- Famas taa’ooo any yazharoohu wa mastataa’oo lahoo naqbaa
- Qaala haaza rahmatun mir Rabbee fa izaa jaaa’a wa’du Rabbee ja’alahoo dakkaaa’a; kaana wa’du Rabbee haqqaa
- Wa taraknaa ba’dahum Yawma’iziny yamooju fee ba’dinw wa nufikha fis Soori fajama’naahum jam’aa
- Wa ‘aradnaa jahannama Yawma’izil lilkaafireena ‘ardaa
- Allazeena kaanat a’yunuhum fee ghitaaa’in ‘an zikree wa kaanoo laa yastatee’oona sam’aa (section 11)
- Afahasibal lazeena kafarooo any yattakhizoo ‘ibaadee min dooneee awliyaaa’; innaaa a’tadnaa jahannama lil kaafireena nuzulaa
- Qul hal nunabbi’ukum bilakhsareena a’maalaa
- Allazeena dalla sa’yuhum fil hayaatid dunyaa wa hum yahsaboona annahum yuhsinoona sun’aa
- Ulaaa’ikal lazeena kafaroo bi aayaati Rabbihim wa liqaaa’ihee fahabitat a’maaluhum falaa nuqeemu lahum Yawmal Qiyaamati waznaa
- Zaalika jazaaa’uhum jahannamu bimaa kafaroo wattakhazooo Aayaatee wa Rusulee huzuwaa
- Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati kaanat lahum Jannaatul Firdawsi nuzulaa
- Khaalideena feeha laa yabghoona ‘anhaa hiwalaa
- Qul law kaanal bahru midaadal li kalimaati Rabbee lanafidal bahru qabla an tanfada Kalimaatu Rabbee wa law ji’naa bimislihee madadaa
- Qul innamaaa ana basharun mislukum yoohaaa ilaiya annamaa ilaahukum Ilaahunw Waahid; faman kaana yarjoo liqaaa’a Rabbihee falya’mal ‘amalan saalihanw wa laa yushrik bi’ibaadati Rabbiheee ahadaa (section 12)
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
- Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave, and hath not placed therein any crookedness,
- (But hath made it) straight, to give warning of stern punishment from Him, and to bring unto the believers who do good works the news that theirs will be a fair reward,
- Wherein they will abide for ever;
- And to warn those who say: Allah hath chosen a son,
- (A thing) whereof they have no knowledge, nor (had) their fathers, Dreadful is the word that cometh out of their mouths. They speak naught but a lie.
- Yet it may be, if they believe not in this statement, that thou (Muhammad) wilt torment thy soul with grief over their footsteps.
- Lo! We have placed all that is on the earth as an ornament thereof that We may try them: which of them is best in conduct.
- And lo! We shall make all that is thereon a barren mound.
- Or deemest thou that the People of the Cave and the Inscription are a wonder among Our portents?
- When the young men fled for refuge to the Cave and said: Our Lord! Give us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight.
- Then We sealed up their hearing in the Cave for a number of years.
- And afterward We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties would best calculate the time that they had tarried.
- We narrate unto thee their story with truth. Lo! they were young men who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.
- And We made firm their hearts when they stood forth and said: Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We cry unto no Allah beside Him, for then should we utter an enormity.
- These, our people, have chosen (other) gods beside Him though they bring no clear warrant (vouchsafed) to them. And who doth greater wrong than he who inventeth a lie concerning Allah?
- And when ye withdraw from them and that which they worship except Allah, then seek refuge in the Cave; your Lord will spread for you of His mercy and will prepare for you a pillow in your plight.
- And thou mightest have seen the sun when it rose move away from their cave to the right, and when it set go past them on the left, and they were in the cleft thereof. That was (one) of the portents of Allah. He whom Allah guideth, he indeed is led aright, and he whom He sendeth astray, for him thou wilt not find a guiding friend.
- And thou wouldst have deemed them waking though they were asleep, and We caused them to turn over to the right and the left, and their dog stretching out his paws on the threshold. If thou hadst observed them closely thou hadst assuredly turned away from them in flight, and hadst been filled with awe of them.
- And in like manner We awakened them that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: How long have ye tarried? They said: We have tarried a day or some part of a day, (Others) said: Your Lord best knoweth what ye have tarried. Now send one of you with this your silver coin unto the city, and let him see what food is purest there and bring you a supply thereof. Let him be courteous and let no man know of you.
- For they, if they should come to know of you, will stone you or turn you back to their religion; then ye will never prosper.
- And in like manner We disclosed them (to the people of the city) that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that, as for the Hour, there is no doubt concerning it. When (the people of the city) disputed of their case among themselves, they said: Build over them a building; their Lord knoweth best concerning them. Those who won their point said: We verily shall build a place of worship over them.
- (Some) will say: They were three, their dog the fourth, and (some) say: Five, their dog the sixth, guessing at random; and (some) say: Seven, and their dog the eighth. Say ( O Muhammad): My Lord is Best Aware of their number. None knoweth them save a few. So contend not concerning them except with an outward contending, and ask not any of them to pronounce concerning them.
- And say not of anything: Lo! I shall do that tomorrow,
- Except if Allah will. And remember thy Lord when thou forgettest, and say: It may be that my Lord guideth me unto a nearer way of truth than this.
- And (it is said) they tarried in their Cave three hundred years and add nine.
- Say: Allah is Best Aware how long they tarried. His is the Invisible of the heavens and the earth. How clear of sight is He and keen of hearing! They have no protecting friend beside Him, and He maketh none to share in His government.
- And recite that which hath been revealed unto thee of the Scripture of thy Lord. There is none who can change His words, and thou wilt find no refuge beside Him.
- Restrain thyself along with those who cry unto their Lord at morn and evening, seeking His Countenance; and let not thine eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who followeth his own lust and whose case hath been abandoned.
- Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place!
- Lo! as for those who believe and do good works – Lo! We suffer not the reward of one whose work is goodly to be lost.
- As for such, theirs will be Gardens of Eden, wherein rivers flow beneath them; therein they will be given armlets of gold and will wear green robes of finest silk and gold embroidery, reclining upon throne therein. Blest the reward, and fair the resting-place!
- Coin for them a similitude: Two men, unto one of whom We had assigned two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date-palms and had put between them tillage.
- Each of the gardens gave its fruit and withheld naught thereof. And We caused a river to gush forth therein.
- And he had fruit. And he said unto his comrade, when he spake with him: I am more than thee in wealth, and stronger in respect of men.
- And he went into his garden, while he (thus) wronged himself. He said: I think not that all this will ever perish.
- I think not that the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back unto my Lord I surely shall find better than this as a resort.
- His comrade, when he (thus) spake with him, exclaimed: Disbelievest thou in Him Who created thee of dust, then of a drop (of seed), and then fashioned thee a man?
- But He is Allah, my Lord, and I ascribe unto my Lord no partner.
- If only, when thou enteredst thy garden, thou hadst said: That which Allah willeth (will come to pass) ! There is no strength save in Allah! Though thou seest me as less than thee in wealth and children,
- Yet it may be that my Lord will give me better than thy garden, and will send on it a bolt from heaven, and some morning it will be a smooth hillside,
- Or some morning the water thereof will be lost in the earth so that thou canst not make search for it.
- And his fruit was beset (with destruction). Then began he to wring his hands for all that he had spent upon it, when (now) it was all ruined on its trellises, and to say: Would that I had ascribed no partner to my Lord!
- And he had no troop of men to help him as against Allah, nor could he save himself.
- In this case is protection only from Allah, the True, He is Best for reward, and best for consequence.
- And coin for them the similitude of the life of the world as water which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingleth with it and then becometh dry twigs that the winds scatter. Allah is able to do all things.
- Wealth and children are an ornament of the life of the world. But the good deeds which endure are better in thy Lord’s sight for reward, and better in respect of hope.
- And (bethink you of) the Day when we remove the hills and ye see the earth emerging, and We gather them together so as to leave not one of them behind.
- And they are set before thy Lord in ranks (and it is said unto them): Now verily have ye come unto Us as We created you at the first. But ye thought that We had set no tryst for you.
- And the Book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say: What kind of a Book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and thy Lord wrongeth no-one.
- And (remember) when We said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam, and they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord’s command. Will ye choose him and his seed for your protecting friends instead of Me, when they are an enemy unto you? Calamitous is the exchange for evil-doers.
- I made them not to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor their own creation; nor choose I misleaders for (My) helpers.
- And (be mindful of) the Day when He will say: Call those partners of Mine whom ye pretended. Then they will cry unto them, but they will not hear their prayer, and We shall set a gulf of doom between them.
- And the guilty behold the Fire and know that they are about to fall therein, and they find no way of escape thence.
- And verily We have displayed for mankind in this Qur’an all manner of similitudes, but man is more than anything contentious.
- And naught hindereth mankind from believing when the guidance cometh unto them, and from asking forgiveness of their Lord unless (it be that they wish) that the judgment of the men of old should come upon them or (that) they should be confronted with the Doom.
- We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Those who disbelieve contend with falsehood in order to refute the Truth thereby. And they take Our revelations and that wherewith they are threatened as a jest.
- And who doth greater wrong than he who hath been reminded of the revelations of his Lord, yet turneth away from them and forgetteth what his hands send forward (to the Judgment)? Lo! on their hearts We have placed coverings so that they understand not, and in their ears a deafness. And though thou call them to the guidance, in that case they can never be led aright.
- Thy Lord is the Forgiver, Full of Mercy. If He took them to task (now) for what they earn, He would hasten on the doom for them; but theirs is an appointed term from which they will find no escape.
- And (all) those townships! We destroyed them when they did wrong, and We appointed a fixed time for their destruction.
- And when Moses said unto his servant: I will not give up until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I march on for ages.
- And when they reached the point where the two met, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the waters, being free.
- And when they had gone further, he said unto his servant: Bring us our breakfast. Verily we have found fatigue in this our journey.
- He said: Didst thou see, when we took refuge on the rock, and I forgot the fish – and none but Satan caused me to forget to mention it – it took its way into the waters by a marvel.
- He said: This is that which we have been seeking. So they retraced their steps again.
- Then found they one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught him knowledge from Our presence.
- Moses said unto him: May I follow thee, to the end that thou mayst teach me right conduct of that which thou hast been taught?
- He said: Lo! thou canst not bear with me.
- How canst thou bear with that whereof thou canst not compass any knowledge?
- He said: Allah willing, thou shalt find me patient and I shall not in aught gainsay thee.
- He said: Well, if thou go with me, ask me not concerning aught till I myself make mention of it unto thee.
- So they twain set out till, when they were in the ship, he made a hole therein. (Moses) said: Hast thou made a hole therein to drown the folk thereof? Thou verily hast done a dreadful thing.
- He said: Did I not tell thee that thou couldst not bear with me?
- (Moses) said: Be not wroth with me that I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my fault.
- So they twain journeyed on till, when they met a lad, he slew him. (Moses) said: What! Hast thou slain an innocent soul who hath slain no man? Verily thou hast done a horrid thing.
- He said: Did I not tell thee that thou couldst not bear with me?
- (Moses) said: If I ask thee after this concerning aught, keep not company with me. Thou hast received an excuse from me.
- So they twain journeyed on till, when they came unto the folk of a certain township, they asked its folk for food, but they refused to make them guests. And they found therein a wall upon the point of falling into ruin, and he repaired it. (Moses) said: If thou hadst wished, thou couldst have taken payment for it.
- He said: This is the parting between thee and me! I will announce unto thee the interpretation of that thou couldst not bear with patience.
- As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working on the river, and I wished to mar it, for there was a king behind them who is taking every ship by force.
- And as for the lad, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.
- And we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in purity and nearer to mercy.
- And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father had been righteous, and thy Lord intended that they should come to their full strength and should bring forth their treasure as a mercy from their Lord; and I did it not upon my own command. Such is the interpretation of that wherewith thou couldst not bear.
- They will ask thee of Dhu’l-Qarneyn. Say: I shall recite unto you a remembrance of him.
- Lo! We made him strong in the land and gave him unto every thing a road.
- And he followed a road
- Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhu’l-Qarneyn! Either punish or show them kindness.
- He said: As for him who doeth wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with awful punishment!
- But as for him who believeth and doeth right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command.
- Then he followed a road
- Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom.
- So (it was). And We knew all concerning him.
- Then he followed a road
- Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their hither side a folk that scarce could understand a saying.
- They said: O Dhu’l-Qarneyn! Lo! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay thee tribute on condition that thou set a barrier between us and them?
- He said: That wherein my Lord hath established me is better (than your tribute). Do but help me with strength (of men), I will set between you and them a bank.
- Give me pieces of iron – till, when he had levelled up (the gap) between the cliffs, he said: Blow! – till, when he had made it a fire, he said: Bring me molten copper to pour thereon.
- And (Gog and Magog) were not able to surmount, nor could they pierce (it).
- He said: This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will lay it low, for the promise of my Lord is true.
- And on that day we shall let some of them surge against others, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering.
- On that day we shall present hell to the disbelievers, plain to view,
- Those whose eyes were hoodwinked from My reminder, and who could not bear to hear.
- Do the disbelievers reckon that they can choose My bondmen as protecting friends beside Me? Lo! We have prepared hell as a welcome for the disbelievers.
- Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works?
- Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work.
- Those are they who disbelieve in the revelations of their Lord and in the meeting with Him. Therefor their works are vain, and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them.
- That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers.
- Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs are the Gardens of Paradise for welcome,
- Wherein they will abide, with no desire to be removed from thence.
- Say: Though the sea became ink for the Words of my Lord, verily the sea would be used up before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even though We brought the like thereof to help.
- Say: I am only a mortal like you. My Lord inspireth in me that your Allah is only One Allah. And whoever hopeth for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer of the worship due unto his Lord.
[From Holy Quran Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall]
The properties and merits of Surah al-Kahf
According to a narration of Sayyidna Abu al-Darda’ (رض) appearing in Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i and the Musnad of Ahmad, one who has memorized the first ten verses of Surah al-Kahf will remain pro¬tected from the ill effects of Dajjal (imposter). In another report in the same books and from the same authority, the same thing has been said about having memorized the last ten verses of Surah al-Kahf.
And it has been reported in the Musnad of Ahmad on the authority of Sayyidna Sahl ibn Mu` adh (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “One who recites the first and the last verses of Surah al-Kahf, for him there is light from his feet up to his head. And the one who were to recite the whole Surah, then, for him there is light from the earth up to the sky.”
And it appears in some narratives that a person who recites Surah al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah will have light from his feet up to the sky. This light will serve him well on the day of Qiyamah, and every sin com¬mitted by him between the past and the present Jumu’ah will be forgiv¬en.” (Imam Ibn Kathir has declared this report to be mawquf (a Hadith the narration of which stops at a Sahabi and does not ascend to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)).
And Hafiz Zya’ al-Maqdisi, in his book Al-Mukhtarah, has reported on the authority of Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “One who recites Surah al-Kahf on the day of Jumu’ah will remain protected from every fitnah. And if Dajjal appears, he will stay safe against the trying challenges released by him as well.” (All these narrative reports have been taken from Tafsir ibn Kathir)
According to a report from Dailami on the authority of Sayyidna Anas (رض) appearing in Ruh al-Ma’ ani, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “The entire Surah al-Kahf was revealed at one time and seventy thousand angels came with it” – which shows its majesty.
The cause of revelation
Imam ibn Jarir al-Tabari has reported from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) عنہما that the Quraysh of Makkah (disturbed by the rising influence of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as a prophet) sent two of their men, Nadr ibn Harith and ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu` ayt, to the Jewish scholars of Madinah. Their mission was to find out what they said about him as they were learned in past scriptures of the Torah and Injil. The Jewish scholars told them, “put three questions before him. If he answers these correctly,* you should know that he is a Prophet and Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، and if he fails to do that, you should know that he is a pretender and not a messenger. Firstly, ask him about the young men who had left their city in the distant past and what had happened to them, for this is a unique event. Secondly, ask him about the person who had traveled through the East and West of the Earth and what had happened to him. Thirdly, ask him about the Ruh (soul, spirit) as to what it was?”
* That is, he gives the answer he should give (and his correct answer to the question about ‘Rte’ will be that Allah Ta` ala knows its reality best). So, this report which appears in Tafsir al-Tabari, p. 191, v. 15 is not contrary to the report which has ap¬peared on pages 544-47 of this volume under the commentary on verse 85 of Surah Banff Isra’il – Muhammad Taqi Usmani.
The two Quraysh emissaries returned to Makkah al-Mukarramah, informed their tribesmen that they had come back with a decisive plan of action and told them all about their encounter with the Jewish scholars of Madinah. Then, these people took these questions to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . He heard the questions and said that he will answer them tomorrow. But, he forgot to say ‘insha Allah’ at that time. These people went back and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) kept waiting for the Divine revelation in the hope that he will be told about answers to these questions through wahy. But, no wahy came until the next day as promised. In fact, fifteen days went by and things stood as they were, neither did Sayyidna Jibra’il come nor did the revelation. The Quraysh of Makkah started throwing taunts which caused real pain to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) .
After fifteen days, came angel Jibra’il with Surah al-Kahf (wherein the delay caused has also been explained by saying that one should say ‘insha Allah’ when promising to do something in the future. Since, this was not done in the event concerned, therefore, revelation was delayed as a measure of reminder. In this Surah, verses relating to this matter such as: وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ (18:23, 24) will be appearing later). Also related in this Surah there was the event about the young men known as Ashab al-Kahf or the People of the Cave, and the event concerning the travel of Dhul-Qarnain from the East to the West. Also included therein was the answer to the question asked about ‘Ruh’ (Qurtubi and Mazhari with reference to Ibn Jarir). But, answering the question about Ruh (soul, spirit) briefly was as dictated by wisdom. This was taken up separately at the end of Surah Bani Isra’il (17:85) and this is the reason why Surah al-Kahf has been placed after Surah Bani Isra’il [ al-Isra’] – as mentioned by Al-Suyuti.
The word: عوج (‘iwaj) in: وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا (and allowed no crooked¬ness in it – 1) means crookedness of any kind, or inclination towards one side or deviation from the norms of rectitude. The Holy Qur’an remains pure and free of all that in terms of the perfection of its words and mean¬ings. It simply admits of no distortion anywhere, either in eloquence or in knowledge and wisdom. The sense which has been conveyed in a negative or eliminative form through: ` وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا (and allowed no crooked¬ness in it) has been fortified positively through the word: قَيِّمًا (qayyima) which follows immediately for emphasis. The reason is that this word carries the sense of: مُستَقِیمَا (mustaqima) and that which is: مُستَقِیم (musta¬qim: straightforward, straight, upright) will not have the least crooked¬ness or tilt towards any side. However, قَیَّم (qayyim) can also have anoth¬er sense, that of caretaker, custodian and protector. Given this probability, the sense of the expression would be that the Qur’ an, while perfect in itself as free from all kinds of excess, deficiency and crooked¬ness, keeps others upright, firm and unflinching and protects the inter-ests and advantages of all servants of Allah. Thus the gist of the two ex¬pressions would be that the Holy Qur’an stands perfect in itself and has the ability to make men and women created by Allah become equally per¬fect. (Mazhari)
It was said in verse 7: إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا (Surely, We have made what is on earth an adornment for it) with reference to all living forms, vegetation, mountains, minerals and everything else present on the earth. They are its embellishment. That there are snakes, scorpions, beasts and many harmful and fatal things may lead someone to doubt as to how can they be called ‘an adornment for it.’ This doubt is unfounded because everything in this world considered harmful, fatal or plain bad may be so in a restricted sense but, in terms of the totality of creation, nothing is bad. Everything, no matter how bad, has been invested with many benefits by Allah Ta’ ala on other counts. The medical use of poison¬ous and fatal life forms in the interest of human beings is an example. Therefore, things that are considered even bad are not that bad in terms of the function of this entire universe.
اَمْ حَسِبْتَ اَنَّ اَصْحٰبَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيْمِ ۙ كَانُوْا مِنْ اٰيٰتِنَا عَجَبًا
Kahf is a large mountainous cave or cavern. If not large, it will be a ghar. The word: الرَّقِيمِ (al-Raqim) literally denotes: اَلمَرقُوم (al-marqum) that is, something written. What does it mean at this place? The sayings of commentators differ about it. Dahhak, Sudiyy and Ibn Jubayr following the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) declare it to mean a written tablet on which the ruler of the time had inscribed the names of the People of Kahf and had it fixed on the entrance to the Cave. For this reason, the People of Kahf are also called the People of al-Raqim (the inscribed ones). Qatadah, ` Atiyyah, ` Awfi and Mujhid have said that Raqim is the name of the valley adjoining the mountain in which the hollow cavern of the People of Kahf was located. Some others have identified this mountain itself as the Raqim. ` Ikrimah says, “I have heard Sayyidna ibn ` Abbas رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہما saying – I do not know whether Raqim is the name of some inscribed tablet or some town.” Ka’b al-Alahbar and Wahb ibn Munabbih report from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) that Raqim is the name of a town near Ailah, that is, ‘Aqabah, situated in the kingdom of the Romans.
Fityah (فِتْيَةُ ) in verse 10 is the plural of: فَتٰی : fata, which means a young man.
The expression: فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰ آذَانِهِمْ (translated as ‘so, We veiled their hear¬ing [ putting them to sleep ] ‘ – 11) literally means to plug ears to prevent someone from hearing. It is used to convey the sense of deep sleep. When sleeping, eyes close first but ears remain active. Sounds are heard. When sleep takes over completely, ears stop functioning. Later, when awake, ears resume their function first for sound startles the person sleeping who then comes out of his sleep.
The story of the People of Kahf and Raqim
There are a few subjects of study in this story. First of all, it needs to be determined whether People of Kahf and People of Raqim are two names of the same group, or these are two separate groups. Though, no clarification of this appears in any Sahih Hadith, but Imam al-Bukhari, in his Sahih, has given two separate chapter headings – Ashab al-Kahf and Ashab al-Raqim. Then, under Ashab al-Raqim, he mentions the well-known story of three persons being locked shut into a cave with no way out, which opened later through prayers, and which is there in details in all books of Hadith.
From this innovative device of Imam al-Buk¬hari, it is gathered that, according to him, the People of Kahf are one group, and the appellation of the People of Raqim has been used for those three persons who had taken shelter in the cave at some earlier time. Then a huge rock from the mountain fell on the entrance to the cave and blocked it totally, making it impossible for them to come out. At that moment, it was with reference to whatever righteous deeds they each had done in life that the three of them supplicated before Allah: Our Lord, if we had done this thing for Your good pleasure, please open the passage for us. Following the prayer of the first person, the rock moved a little and light started coming in. By the prayer of the second one, it moved a little more. Then, by the prayer of the third one, the passage opened up fully.
But, Hafiz ibn Hajar has made it clear in Sharh al-Bukhari that, in the light of Hadith reports, there is no clear-cut proof about the People of Raqim being the name for the three persons referred to above. What has happened here is that some narrators have added to the report of Sayyidna Nu` man ibn Bashir (رض) ، a reporter of the incident of the cave, by saying that Sayyidna Nu` man ibn Bashir while mentioning the story of the cave said, ‘I heard the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) mentioning Raqim. He was relating the story of the three who got shut into the cave.’ This addition appears in the report of al-Bazzar and al-Tabarani as quoted by Fath-al-Bari. But, to begin with, none of the reports from the usual narrators of this Hadith which are available in details in the six Sahihs and other books of Hadith have included this sentence of Sayyidna Nu` man ibn Bashir (رض) .
Even the report of al-Bukhari itself does not have this sentence in it. Then, even within this sentence, it has not been made clear whether or not the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had called those three persons who got shut into the cave by the name of the People of Raqim. In fact, the words are: ‘he was mentioning Raqim.’ Those three were mentioned as a corollary to this statement. As for the difference in the sayings of the Sahabah, ‘Tabi` in and commentators in general concerning the meaning of Raqim, it is by itself a proof that there was no Hadith reported from the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) about the meaning of Raqim as determined by him. Otherwise, how was it possible that once the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself determines the meaning of a word, the Sahabah, Tabi` in and other commentators opt for some other saying contrary to it? Therefore, Hafiz ibn Hajar, the commentator of al-Bukhari, denies that the People of Kahf and the People of Raqim are two separate groups. According to him, the correct position is that both these names apply to one single group. The mention of three persons getting shut into a cave could have been made with the mention of Raqim. It does not necessarily follow from it that these very three persons were ‘the Ashab al-Raqim’ (the People of Raqim).
Hafiz ibn Hajar has also clarified at this place that the very context of the story of the People of Kahf as described by the Qur’an tells us that the People of Kahf and Raqim are but one group. This is why the major¬ity of commentators and Hadith experts agree that they both are one and the same.
The second issue to be determined here is that of the details of the story. It has two parts. Part one is the spirit of the story, and the real ob¬jective. It provides an answer to the question asked by the Jews, and guidance and good counsel for Muslims as well. The second part deals with the historical and geographical aspects of the story. As for the delin-eation of the objective, it plays no role there, for instance: When and where did this event come to pass, who was the infidel king these people ran from and hid in the cave? What were his beliefs, what did he actual¬ly do to them because of which they were compelled to run and hide in the cave? How many were they? Exactly how long did they remain asleep? Are they still alive or are they dead?
The Holy Qur’an, under its wise principles and unique methodology, has not related any story in all its detail and order throughout the Qur’an (with the sole exception of the story of Sayyidna Yusuf عليه السلام) – a common method used in books of history. Instead, it has introduced only a part of each story that was appropriate to the occasion and was partic-ularly related to guiding and teaching human beings. (The reason for exclud¬ing the story of Sayyidna Yusuf (عليه السلام) from the parameter of this method appears in the Tafsir of Surah Yusuf included in Volume V, pages 24, 25)
The same method was used in relating the story of the People of Kahf. Here, the Qur’ an has described its particular parts that were rele¬vant to the real objective. No mention was made of the remaining parts that were purely historical or geographical. Of course, mention was made of the number of the People of Kahf. The questions regarding the period of time they remained asleep were certainly alluded to, even an in¬dication was released towards the answer but, along with it, an instruc¬tion was also given that it was not appropriate to investigate and debate such issues. These should be entrusted with Allah Ta` ala. This is the rea¬son why the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) who was duty-bound to explain the meanings of the Holy Qur’ an never related those parts of the story in any Hadith. It is on the grounds of this Qur’anic methodology that great men among the Sahabah and Tabi` in have declared the essential policy guideline in such matters by saying:
أبھَمُوا مَآ اَبھَمَهُ اللهُ (الإتقان للسیوطی)
What Allah has left undetermined, you too leave it undeter¬mined. (a1-Itqan li-Suyuti)
This approach and conduct of leading Sahabah and ‘I’abi` in required that, in this Tafsir too, those parts of the story should be ignored as ig¬nored by the Qur’an and Hadith. But, this is a time when historical and geographical breakthroughs are taken as great achievements. Therefore, later day scholars of Tafsir have described those parts as well in varying lengths. As far as Tafsir Ma` ariful-Qur’an is concerned, the parts of the story that have already been mentioned in the Qur’an will be covered under the explanation of its verses. The remaining historical and geo¬graphical parts of the story are being described here within the limits of their need. However, the truth of the matter is that, even after this description, the end result will remain the same – that is, it is impossible to arrive at a categorical decision in these matters. The reason is that writ¬ings in Islamic, and then Christian history, relating to this subject are so different, even contradictory, that one writer determines something in the light of his investigation, opinion and evidence while the other pre¬fers something else.
Events relating to hiding in caves to protect faith have been many and widespread
One major reason for differences existing among historians lies in the great importance attached to monasticism by adherents to the faith brought by Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) . As a result, there were several instances spread around different regions and countries of the world where some people took shelter in caves to devote themselves to the worship of Allah Ta’ ala living there for the rest of their lives. Now, where so ever some such event has occurred, it was not so far out for a historian to suspect it to be that of the People of Kahf.
فَضَرَبْنَا عَلٰٓي اٰذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِيْنَ عَدَدًا
People of Kahf: Place and Period
Tafsir authority al-Qurtubi of al-Andulus (Spain) has reported some events at this juncture in his Tafsir. Some of these events, that belong to different cities, he had heard or seen himself. First of all, he says on the basis of a report from Dahhak that al-Raqim is the name of a town in Rum (the Greco-Roman territory) where twenty-one men are lying in a cave as if they are sleeping. Then, he reports from Tafsir authority, Ibn ` Atiyyah that he had heard from many people that there was a cave in Sham (Syria) which had some dead bodies in it. Attendants said that they were the ones called the People of Kahf. And adjacent to the cave, there was the structure of a mosque and residential house called Raqim. In addition to the dead bodies, the skeleton of a dead dog was also present there.
Then, al-Qurtubi writes about another event relating to al-Gharnatah (Granada) in al-Andulus (Spain), again reporting from Ibn ` Atiyyah who says, ‘there is a cave in Lawshah (Lojah), a village outside al-Gharnatah. It has some dead bodies and along with these there is the skeleton of a dead dog as well. Most of the dead bodies have no flesh left reducing them to bare skeletons. However, some do have signs of flesh and skin still being there. Centuries have passed over this. But, nothing is known about them authentically. Some people say that they were the People of Kahf. Ibn ` Atiyyah further says, ‘when I heard this news, I per¬sonally went there in the Hijrah year 504. On arrival there, I really found those bodies in the same state. Close by there is a mosque and a structure of the Roman period called Raqim. It seems to have been some palace from the remains of several walls still there. This thing is located in an unpopulated area with wild growth around.
He also said, ‘remains of an old city are found in the area characterized by higher altitudes in al-Gharnatah. It is Roman in style. The name of the city is said to be Raqyus. We have seen many graves and strange things in its ruins.’ From what has been said here it will be realized that al-Qurtubi who lived in Spain avoids calling anyone as the People of Kahf definitely, despite that he has described these events as reported. Then, there is the case of Ibn ` Atiyyah who, despite his personal observation, did not claim that they were the People of Kahf. He rather limits himself to reporting what was popular. But, Abu Hayyan, the seventh century commentator from al-Andulus (Spain) was born in al-Gharnatah itself in Hijrah year 654. There he was raised and there he lived. He too mentions the cave of al-Gharnatah in his Tafsir, al-Bahr al-Muhit, very much like al-Qurtubi has done. After having written about the eye witness account of Ibn ` Atiyyah, he says, ‘when I was in al-Andulus (that is, before shifting to Cairo), many people went to see this cave. They used to say that, despite that those bodies are still there and the visitors do count them out but, somehow, they always make a mistake in giving their correct number.’ After that he said, ‘as for the city of Raqyus mentioned by Ibn ` Atiyyah which is located on the side of al-Gharnatah that faces the Qiblah, I have myself passed by it so many times and I have seen unusually large rocks in it.’ After that, he says: ” و یترحج کون اھل الکھف بالاندلس لکثرۃ دین النصاریٰ بھا حتّٰی ھی بلاد مملکتھم العظمیٰ ” (one reason for preferring the possibility of the People of Kahf being in al-Andulus could be that it is predominantly Christian to the extent that this particular region is their largest relig¬ious center – Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, p. 102, v. 6).
Tafsir authority Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim following a report of ‘Awfi from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) say that Raqim is the name of a val¬ley which is located near Ailah (‘Aqabah) south of Palestine. And the two of them along with other Hadith experts also report from Sayyidna ` Ab¬dull ah ibn ` Abbas (رض) that he said, ‘I do not know what Raqim is. But, when I asked Ka’b al-Ahbar, he said that Raqim is the name of the town where the People of the Kahf lived before going into the Cave.’ (Ruh al-Ma` ani)
Ibn Abi Shaibah, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hatim report Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) to have said, ‘we waged a Jihad against Byzan¬tine forces in the company of Sayyidna Mu` awiyah (رض) which is known as the battle of al-Madiq (المضیق). On this trip, we passed through the site of the Cave of the People of Kahf. The Qur’an mentions it. Sayyidna Mu` awiyah wanted to go into the cave and see the bodies of the People of Kahf. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) said, ‘let us not do so because Allah Ta` ala has already prohibited someone better than you from seeing them, that is, the Rasul of Allah. Is it not that Allah says in the Qur’ an: لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَوَلَّيْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِرَارًا وَلَمُلِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ رُعْبًا (If you had a look at them, you would have fled away from them and would have been filled with awe of them – 18)? But, Sayy¬idna Mu` awiyah (رض) did not accept this suggestion of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) perhaps for the reason that the state in which they were portrayed by the Qur’an related to the time when they were alive and it was not neces¬sary that they would still be found in the same state. Therefore, a few men were sent to have a look at them. They reached the cave. But, when they wanted to enter into the cave, Allah Ta` ala sent a punishing wind upon them that turned all of them out and away from the cave. (Ruh al-Ma` ani p. 227, v. 15)
The reports and narratives appearing above establish that commen¬tators have given three locations for the site of the Cave of the People of Kahf. Firstly, in Ailah near ‘Aqabah on the shore of the Gulf of ‘Aqabah. Most of the narrations from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) favour this interpreta¬tion.
From the personal observation of Ibn ` Atiyyah, and Abu Hayyan’s support, it seems likely that this cave is in al-Gharnatah, al-Andulus (Spain). Out of these two places, the name of a city or particular building has also been given as Raqim. Similarly, the name of the great structure in ruins close to the cave in al-Gharnatah has been cited as Raqim. Then, none of the two kinds of reports decisively say that this cave was The Cave of the People of Kahf. Both rely on popular local talk and oral tradition. As for the old name of the city where the People of Kahf lived, it has been mentioned as Ifsus (Ephesus as in the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians – Holy Bible, p. 239), with Tarsus as its Islamic name, in nearly all Tafsir reports of al-Qurtubi, Abu Hayyan and Ibn Jarir.
That this city was located on the western coast of Asia Minor is a fact accepted by his¬torians. This shows that the Cave is also within Asia Minor. Therefore, there is no proof to declare any one of these as true and the rest as false. As for probability, all three are probable. In fact, no one can deny the very probability that the events relating to these caves, despite being true, may not be relevant to the Cave of the People of Kahf that has been mentioned in the Qur’ an. May be, it is somewhere else. And it is also not necessary that Raqim at this place may exclusively be the name of some city or building. In fact, no one can reject even the probability that Raqim denotes the inscription engraved with the names of the People of Kahf on a tablet and placed on the entrance to the cave by some king.
Investigations of Modern Historians
Some contemporary historians have made considerable efforts to de¬termine the place and time of the Cave of the People of Kahf with the help of Christian and European historical accounts.
Abul-Kalam Azad has declared the present city of Petra near Ailah (‘Aqabah) – Arabicized by Arab historians as Batra – as the old city of Ra¬qim. With reference to current historical accounts, he reports the remnants of a cave in the mountain and of some mosque adjacent to it. In confirmation, he refers to the Book of Joshua in the Old Testament (18:27) where the place has been mentioned as Raqm or Raqim. According to him, this is the place now called Petra. But, this has been considered doubtful as the reference to Raqm or Raqim in the Book of Joshua is con¬nected with the inheritance of Bani bin Yamin (Benyamin). Then, this territory was located west of River Jordan and the Dead Sea where the city of Petra could have not possibly been located. Therefore, contempo¬rary archaeologists are very reluctant in accepting Petra and Raqim as one and the same. (Encyclopedia Britannica 1946, v. 17, p. 658)
Commentators in general have pointed out to the city of Ifsus, a major Byzantine city on the western coast of Asia Minor the remains of which are still found twenty or twenty five miles south of the modern Turkish city of Izmir (Samarna).
Maulana Sayyid Sulaiman Nadwi while mentioning the city of Petra in his book, Ard al-Qur’an, has put Raqim in parenthesis. But, he has not given any evidence in support of the proposition that the old name of the city of Petra was Raqim. Maulana Hifzur-Rahman Sihwarwi has also adopted this view. For evidence, he refers to Torah: The book of Numbers and the book of Isaiah and gives the name of Petra as Raqimah. (Dai’ rah al-Ma’ arif al-` Arabiyah)
When a cave was discovered in a desolate jungle area close to Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Archaeological Depart¬ment of the Government started digging operations on that site in the year 1963. After having removed the upper strata of topsoil and rocks, they found six coffins filled with bones and stones, and two graves. Towards the south side of the cave, they found inscriptions on rocks in By¬zantian script. Local people think that this is the place called Raqim close to which is this cave of the People of Kahf. Allah knows best.
My revered teacher and master, Maulana Ashraf All Thanavi (رح) ، rely¬ing on Tafsir Haqqani, has reported the following historical account of the place and time of the People of Kahf. According to this account, when the People of Kahf had escaped the tyranny of the king of the time and taken shelter in the cave, the time was the year 250A.D. Then they re-mained asleep for three hundred years. Thus, it comes to a total of 550A.D. And the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was born in 570 A.D. Therefore, this event of their wakening occurred twenty years before the birth of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . Then, in Tafsir Haqqani as well, their locale has been deter-mined as the city of Ifsus or Tarsus that used to be in Asia Minor. Its ruins still remain. And Allah knows best the reality of it.
These historical and geographical details have been given here from the reports of classical commentators, then from contemporary histo¬rians. This humble writer had already submitted that neither does the understanding of any verse of the Qur’an depend on these, nor does any essential part of the objective for which the Qur’ an has related this story belongs thereto. Then, relevant reports and stories and their indicators and connections are so different that, despite all investigations and ef¬forts, it is just not possible to take any categorical decision in this mat-ter. Having preferences and inclinations is all that is left to do here. But, in our time, educated people have acquired an increased taste in historical investigations. It is for this satisfaction that these details have been reported for they, by way of introduction and hypothesis, tell us at least this much that this event came to pass after Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) close to the time of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . And that most reports seem to agree on this being near the city of Ifsus or Tarsus. Even then, Allah knows best. And the truth is that we, after all these investigations, are standing where we had started from – that there is no need to fix an exact location, nor can this be fixed with any certain modality. The Tafsir and Hadith authority, Ibn Kathir has said exactly this about it:
قد اَخبَرنَا اللہُ تَعَلٰی بذٰلِک وَاَرَادَ مِنَّا فَھمَه وَتَدَ (رض) رَہ، وَ لَم یُخبِرنَا بِمَکَانِ ھٰذَا الکَھفِ فِي أیِّ البلادِ مِنَ الاَرضِ اِذلاَ فَایٔدَۃ لَنَا فِیه ولا قصد شَرعِي
Allah Ta` ala has already told us about that. And He expects us to understand it and deliberate into it. And He did not tell us about the location of this Cave in a particular city out of this earth because there is nothing beneficial for us in it nor does any religious objective hinge upon it – Ibn Kathir, v. 3, p. 75.
When did the event relating to the People of Kahf come to pass and why did they take shelter in the Cave?
This segment of the story is also the same upon which neither does the understanding of any verse of the Qur’ an depend, nor does it influ¬ence the objective of the story in any significant way, nor do the Qur’ an and Sunnah make any statement about it. What we have here is no more than historical stories. Therefore, in Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, Com¬mentator Abu Hayyan has said:
وَ الرُّوَاۃُ مُختَلِفُونَ فِی قِصَصِھِم وَ کَیفَ کَانَ اِجتِمَاعُھُم وَخپرُجُھُم ولَم یَاتِ فِی الحَدِیثِ الصَّحیحِ کَیفِیَّۃ ذٰلِک وَلَافِی القُرانِ
And narrators differ in stories about them, and about how they got together and moved out, and the mode and manner of that has neither been mentioned in any authentic Hadith nor in the Qur’an – al-Bahr al-Muhit, p. 101, v. 6.
However, when we provided some information about the site of the remnants of the People of Kahf a little earlier, it was in consideration of the curiosity of contemporary temperament. For the same reason, we are providing here brief notes of information regarding the period and causes of the passing of this event from exegetic and historical reports. As for a detailed and comprehensive description of this story, the re¬spected scholar, Qadi Thana’ulla Panipati has reported it on the author¬ity of different narratives in his Tafsir Mazhari. But, given here is a brief version of the event that Ibn Kathir has presented with reference to many early and later commentators. He says:
“ The Ashab al-Kahf were the progeny of kings and chiefs among their people who were idol-worshippers. Once their people went out of the town to participate in some religious festival of theirs. This was a place where they met every year, worshipped their idols and sacrificed animals to please them. Their king was a tyrant. Called Daqyanus دقیانوس ، he used to force his people to worship idols. That year, when everyone had gathered together in this festival, these young men identified as the Ashab al-Kahf also reached there and saw their people taking rocks carved with their own hands as God, worshipping them and sacrificing for them.
At that time, Allah Ta` ala blessed them with the good sense to shun this absurd practice of their people. Thus, when they used their rea¬son, they arrived at the conclusion that this worship belongs to none but that supreme Power who has created the heavens and the earth and everything therein. This thought crossed the minds of those few young men simultaneously and they started moving away from there to avoid the absurd practice of their people in the fair name of worship. The first young man who withdrew went far from the crowd and sat down under a tree. After that, came another and he too sat there. Similarly, came the third, and the fourth, and each one of them kept taking a seat under the tree. But, none of them were familiar with each other, nor did they know as to why they had come there. The truth of the matter is that they were brought together on that spot by the Power that lit the light of faith in their hearts.”
The real foundation of nationalism and collectivism
After having transmitted that, Ibn Kathir comments that people tend to take nationalism and common race as the cause of cohesion and union in social life. But, the reality lies in what has been said in a Hadith of Sahih al-Bukhari, that unity or disunity first germinates in souls, then it affects the bodies in this world. Souls that have experi¬enced congruity and unity among them in ‘azal (eternity) go on to become mutually connected and get molded into the form of a confrater¬nity. As for those that did not have the experience of this mutual congruity and unity – in fact, remained separated there – they will remain separated here too. Take this very event as an example and see how the same thought crossed everyone’s mind separately and it was this thought that brought everyone unconsciously together.
In short, these people got together at one place all right, but everyone was concealing his belief from the other lest this person reports him to the king and he gets arrested. After having remained there all togeth¬er in silence, one of them spoke out, ‘brothers, there must be some rea¬son why all of us have broken away from our people and reached here. It seems appropriate that we all should get to know each other’s thoughts.’ Thereupon, one person declared, ‘the truth is that the faith and worship in which I found my people involved gave me the certitude that this whole thing is false. ` Ibadah or worship should be for One Allah who is most exalted in His majesty and who has no partner or associate in the act of the creation of this universe.’ This broke the ice. Others were prompted to speak out and they all declared that this was the thought, the belief that separated them from their people and brought them there.
Now they were an ideologically unified group enjoying mutual fellowship and friendship. They set up a separate House of Worship for themselves where they would assemble and worship Allah who is One and who has no partner in His divinity.
But, by and by they became the talk of the town. Backbiters told on them before the king who ordered that they all should be brought to him. When they came into the royal court, the king asked them about their belief and its mores. Allah gave them the courage to state their belief in the Oneness of Allah. In fact, they invited the king himself to believe as they did. This is precisely what has been mentioned in the verses appearing next: وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَن نَّدْعُوَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلَـٰهًا (And We made their hearts firm. And when they rose, they said, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth; and we shall never invoke any god other than Him, for then we would be saying something far from the truth. These are people of ours. They have taken to gods other than Him. Why do they not bring a proof in their favour? So, who is more unjust than the one who fabricates a lie against Allah?” – al-Kahf, 18:14, 15)
When these young men acted bold before the king and invited him to believe, he turned the call down and threatened them with drastic ac¬tion. He had the princely robes they donned on their bodies taken off in reprisal so that they may think and change their behavior. In order that they actually do so, he gave them respite for a few days saying that they were young, therefore, he did not wish to kill them right away. In fact, he wanted them to have the time to think over it. Then, if they reverted to the faith of their people, they will be allowed to live as usual, other-wise they would be killed.
It must have been the mercy of Allah Ta’ ala on His believing ser¬vants that this respite given to them opened an escape door for them. They ran from there and took refuge in a cave.
Usual reports carried by commentators agree that these people were followers of the faith of Sayyidna ` Isa Masih (عليه السلام) . Ibn Kathir and most commentators have mentioned it. However, Ibn Kathir has not accepted it. According to him, had these people been the followers of the Christian faith, the Jews of Madinah would have not suggested that a question be asked about them just because of their mutual hostility and thus would have not given them that importance. But, this is not a sufficient basis because of which all reports should be rejected. When the Jews of Madinah proposed that such a question should be asked, they were simply look¬ing at it as a unique event – very similar to the question about Dhul-Qarnain which was also on that basis. That there was no Jew¬ish-Christian prejudice involved in questions of this nature is fairly obvious here.
In Tafsir Mazhari, based on a report from Ibn Ishaq, these people have been identified as monotheists who, after the decline of the original Christian faith, were among the rare remnants still adhering to the true faith of the Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and to pure monotheism. In this report of Ibn Ishaq too, the name of the oppressive king has been given as Daqyanus while the city in which these young men lived before they went into hiding in the cave has been called Ifsus.
Then, the event has been described in the same manner in the report of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) as well and the name of the king has been given as Daqyanus. The report of Ibn Ishaq also adds that the name of the king of the people who were followers of the faith of Sayyidna Masih and had taken over the country at the time the Ashab al-Kahf woke up was Baidusis.
So, at least the strong likelihood of the People of Kahf being commit¬ted to the true faith brought by Sayyidna ` Isa Masih (عليه السلام) stands proved from the reports as a whole, and that they belong to the post-Masih peri¬od, and that the Mushrik king they ran from was called Daqyanus. At the time they woke up after three hundred and nine years, the name of the righteous and believing king who ruled the country has been named as Baidusis in the report of Ibn Ishaq. If this is seen in conjunction with the contemporary calendar, it is possible to determine their period, at the least as a matter of conjecture and approximation. Trying to determine it any more than that is needless, nor there exist the means to acquire this knowledge.
Are the People of Kahf still alive?
In this matter, the correct and obvious approach is that they have died. Tafsir Mazhari carries the detailed report of Ibn Ishaq. According to this report, when the People of Kahf woke up, their unique event be-came the talk of the town. They went to meet the king. When they took leave of king Baidusis, they bid farewell to him and prayed for him. The king was still there when they went back to the place only to lie down where they had been lying for such a long time. And that was exactly when Allah Ta’ ala sent death to them.
At this stage, the following report from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) has been reproduced by Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir and many more from among the commentators:
قَالَ قَتَادَةُ: غَزَا ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ مَعَ حَبِيبِ بْنِ مَسْلَمَةَ، فَمَرُّوا بِكَهْفٍ فِي بِلَادِ الرُّومِ، فَرَأَوْا فِيهِ عِظَامًا، فَقَالَ قَائِلٌ: هَذِهِ عِظَامُ أَهْلِ الْكَهْفِ؟ فَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: لَقَدْ بَلِيَتْ عِظَامُهُمْ مِنْ أَكْثَرِ مِنْ ثَلَاثِمِائَةِ سَنَةٍ. تفسير ابن كثير ت سلامة (5/ 147)
Qatadah says that Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) participated in a Jihad in the company of Habib ibn Maslamah when they passed by a cave in the Roman territory. There they saw bones in it. Then someone said, ‘These are the bones of the People of Kahf.’ Thereupon, Ibn ` Abbas (رض) said, ‘The bones of them have already become dust more than three hundred years ago’ – Ibn Kathir.
These were particular segments of the story that were neither described by the Qur’an, nor by the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . In addi¬tion to that, neither does some specified purpose of this event or the understanding of any verse of the Qur’an depend on it – nor can any cate¬gorical decision be arrived at in these matters on the basis of historical reports. As far as the remaining segments of the story already described within the text of the Qur’an are concerned, their details appear under the commentary on relevant verses.
Up to this point, the Qur’an had mentioned this story in brief. Details follow.
اِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ اٰمَنُوْا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنٰهُمْ هُدًى
The word: فِتْيَةٌ(fityah) in: إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ (They were young men – 13) is the plural of: فَتٰی (fata) which means someone young. According to Tafsir schol¬ars, this word indicates that the time ripe for correction of deeds and mo¬rals, and the inculcation of guidance and righteousness, is invariably the time when one is young. When old, formerly acquired deeds and morals become so deeply rooted that – no matter how evident becomes the truth against these – it is very difficult to break loose from their shackles. Those among the noble Companions who responded to and believed in the call of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) were, after all, mostly young people. (Ibn Kathir, Abu Hayyan)
وَّرَبَطْنَا عَلٰي قُلُوْبِهِمْ اِذْ قَامُوْا فَقَالُوْا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ لَنْ نَّدْعُوَا۟ مِنْ دُوْنِهٖٓ اِلٰـهًا لَّقَدْ قُلْنَآ اِذًا شَطَطًا
The first sentence of verse 14: وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ (And We made their hearts firm) refers to the event described by Ibn Kathir a little earlier. This tells us that Allah made the hearts of these people firm when the king who was cruel and worshipped idols summoned them in his court and questioned them. This was a matter of life and death. But, despite their apprehension for the worst, Allah Ta` ala made His love, awe and grandeur prevail over their hearts which empowered them to face any eventuality of death or distress. The outcome was that they proclaimed their belief clearly and courageously saying that they did not worship anyone or anything other than Allah and would not do that in future as well. People who firmly resolve to do something for the sake of Allah, this is how they receive help from Allah Ta’ ala.
وَتَرَى الشَّمْسَ اِذَا طَلَعَتْ تَّزٰوَرُ عَنْ كَهْفِهِمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِيْنِ وَاِذَا غَرَبَتْ تَّقْرِضُهُمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَهُمْ فِيْ فَجْــوَةٍ مِّنْهُ ۭ ذٰلِكَ مِنْ اٰيٰتِ اللّٰهِ ۭ مَنْ يَّهْدِ اللّٰهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ ۚ وَمَنْ يُّضْلِلْ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهٗ وَلِيًّا مُّرْشِدًا
In these verses, Allah Ta` ala has told us about three states of the People of Kahf. All three are indeed unique and it was the karamah, a matter of wonder, that manifested itself in an extraordinary way around these people devoted to Allah (a thing of wonder that manifests itself at the hands of a prophet of Allah is called a mujizah or miracle, while if it appears at the hand of some other pious persons, it is called ‘Karamah’ ).
First of all, to be overtaken by continuous sleep for a long time and to stay alive in that state without eating and drinking is by itself a matter of wonder, and certainly contra-habitual and extraordinary. Its details will appear in the verses that follow. Given here is one state of their long sleep, that is, Allah Ta’ ala had arranged for their protection in the Cave in a way that the Sun would pass by them morning and evening but would not shine over their bodies inside the Cave. The advantages of the sunshine passing by them were things like the stabilization of the traces of life, moderation and balancing of the effects of wind, chill and heat etc. And then, the Sun not hitting their bodies directly may have also been a factor in keeping their bodies and dress protected.
This arrangement of keeping them shielded from direct sunlight could also be conceived if the cave lies situated in a particular structural position and the opening of its entrance happens to face south or north in a way that sunlight does not get in there naturally. Ibn Qutaibah went to the trouble of making elaborate mathematical calculations to de¬termine the peculiar location of this Cave precisely in terms of latitude and longitude. (Mazhari) Contrary to this was the approach of al-Zajjaj who said that the staying of sunshine away from them was not because of any inherent situation or formation of the Cave, instead, it was an ex¬traordinary phenomenon manifested as a karamah. It seems when it was said: ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّـهِ (That is one of the signs of Allah) at the end of the verse, it was obviously there to prove that this arrangement of protection from the Sun was not the outcome of any particular formation or location of the Cave. Instead, it was a sign of the perfect power of Allah Ta` ala. (Qurtubi)
To put it candidly, Allah Ta` ala had it all arranged for them that sunlight will not reach their bodies. It may have been caused through its particular formation or location or through the barrier of a cloud or so¬mething similar when the Sun would start shining, or the very rays of the Sun would be moved away from them in an extraordinary manner. All these probabilities exist within the verse. There is no need to insist upon fixing any of these as the absolute reality.
وَتَحْسَبُهُمْ اَيْقَاظًا وَّهُمْ رُقُوْدٌ ڰ وَّنُقَلِّبُهُمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِيْنِ وَذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ ڰ وَكَلْبُهُمْ بَاسِطٌ ذِرَاعَيْهِ بِالْوَصِيْدِ ۭ لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَوَلَّيْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِرَارًا وَّلَمُلِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ رُعْبًا
The People of Kahf during their long sleep were in a state that an onlooker would have taken them to be awake
The second state of the People of Kahf pointed out is that there were no signs of sleep on their bodies in spite of having been put to sleep for such a long period of time. In fact, they were in a condition that anyone who looked at them would think that they were awake. Generally, com¬mentators say that their eyes were open. The body is relaxed in sleep but this relaxation was not there. The change in the momentum of breathing that comes upon the sleeping was also not there. It is obvious that this state too was nothing short of being extraordinary, a kind of Thaumaturgy (karamah), in which the apparent consideration of wisdom was their protection lest someone taking them to be asleep attacks them, or steals things with them. Then, the changing of sides to the right and the left could also give an onlooker the realization of their being awake. And then, there was a particular benefit as well in changing sides – in that the dust they were sleeping on does not eat into an unchanged side.
The dog of the People of Kahf
At this point, we have a question on our hands. It appears in an au¬thentic Hadith that angels do not enter a house that has a dog or pic¬ture. Then, there is a Hadith of the Sahih of al-Bukhari. There, it has been reported on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Umar (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Whoever keeps a dog, except the one used for hunting or guarding livestock, has two qirats deducted every day from his reward (qirat or karat is the name of a small weight).” And in the report narrat¬ed by Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) ، there is the exception of a third kind of dog, that is, a dog kept to guard land produce.
Based on these Hadith reports, one can ask as to why did these worthy men of Allah take a dog with them? One answer to this could be that the prohibition of keeping a dog is an injunction of the Shari’ah brought by the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and it is possible that it may not be so prohibited in the Shari’ah (law) brought by Sayyidna ` Isa Masih (عليه السلام) . Then, it is reasonably imaginable that these people who had property and livestock may have kept a dog for their protection from intruders and since the faithfulness of a dog is well known, the dog followed them when they went out from the city.
Good Company is a Blessing – Even for a dog!
Ibn ` Atiyyah says that his father told him that he heard a sermon of Abu al-Fadl Jawhari in the Hijrah year 469 at the Great Mosque of Egypt. Speaking on the Mimbar, he was telling everyone, ‘whoever loves good people, he too gets a share from their goodness. See when the dog of the Ashab al-Kahf loved them and followed them closely as if appended with them, Allah Ta` ala mentioned it in the Qur’ an’.
Al-Qurtubi mentions this report of Ibn ‘Atiyyah in his Tafsir. In his comments, he says when a dog can reach this station by being in the com¬pany of the righteous and the saintly, imagine how high the station of true believers and pure monotheists who love righteous men of Allah would be. In fact, there is comfort and good news in this event for Mus¬lims who are weak in deeds but do love the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) fully and duly.
It has been reported in the Sahih of al-Bukhari that Sayyidna Anas (رض) said, “One day, I and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) were coming out of the Masjid. We met a person at the door. He asked, Ya RasulAllah, when will the Qiyamah come?” He said, “What preparations have you already made for Qiyamah? (In view of which you want it to come soon).” Hear¬ing this, the man was somewhat ashamed and corrected himself by say¬ing, “I have not collected a lot of prayers, fasts and charities for Qiyamah, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” He said, “If so, [ on the day of Qiyamah ] you shall be with those whom you love.” Sayyidna Anas (رض) says, “when we heard this bliss of a sentence from the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، we were so happy that we had never been that happy since we embraced Islam.”
After that, Sayyidna Anas (رض) said, “[ al-Hamdulillah ] I love Allah, His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، Abu Bakr and ` Umar رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنہما ، therefore, I look forward to being with them.” (Qurtubi)
Allah Ta’ ala had invested the People of Kahf with such awe as would make an onlooker run in terror
The address in verse 18: لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ (If you had a look at them) is ap¬parently to people at large. Therefore, it does not necessarily follow from it that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) too could be filled up with awe generated by the state of the People of Kahf in their Cave. So, the address here is to common people. They are being told that, were they to cast a look at them in that state, they would have fled away from them in terror and the resulting awe of them would have gripped them all over.
What was the basis of this awe and what were the reasons for it? This is something in which debate is useless – therefore, the Qur’an, and Hadith have not explained it. The truth of the matter is that Allah Ta’ ala, in His wisdom, had created such conditions for their protection that the Sun stays away from their bodies, and the onlooker takes them to be awake and is filled with awe of them and is consequently unable to see them fully. It is possible to have these conditions prevail by way of particular physical causes as well as by way of an extraordinary input or as the working of wonder (karamah).
Now, when the Qur’an and Hadith have not determined any particular reason for it, debating it with hollow conjectures is futile. Preferring this approach, Tafsir Mazhari cites Ibn Abi Shaibah, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hatim in support. They have reported an event relating to Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) who says: ‘we waged a Jihad against Byzantine forces in the company of Sayyidna Mu` awiyah (رض) which is known as the battle of al-Madiq (المضیق). On this trip, we passed through the site of the Cave of the People of Kahf. The Qur’ an mentions it. Sayyidna Mu’ awiyah wanted to go into the Cave and see the bodies of the People of Kahf. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) said, ‘let us not do so because Allah Ta` ala has already prohibited someone better than you from seeing them, that is, the Rasul of Allah.’
Then, he recited this very verse: لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ (If you had a look at them, you would have fled from them and would have been filled with awe of them – 18). [ This tells us that, in the sight of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، the address in لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ (If you had a look) was to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ] But, Sayyidna Mu` awiyah (رض) did not accept his opinion [ perhaps, because he may have taken the address as being to common people and not to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . Or, it may be that the Qur’an has portrayed the condition of the time when the People of Kahf were alive and asleep. Now a long time had passed since they died. It was not likely that they would still have the same atmosphere of awe around them ]. However, Sayyidna Mu` awiyah, with his position unchanged, sent a few men to find out the facts. But, when they stepped into the Cave, Allah Ta` ala sent a hot wind upon them because of which they could not see anything. (Mazhari) (This report was also referred earlier under The People of Kahf: Place and Period’ )
وَكَذٰلِكَ بَعَثْنٰهُمْ لِيَتَسَاۗءَلُوْا بَيْنَهُمْ ۭ قَالَ قَاۗىِٕلٌ مِّنْهُمْ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ ۭ قَالُوْا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا اَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ ۭ قَالُوْا رَبُّكُمْ اَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ ۭ فَابْعَثُوْٓا اَحَدَكُمْ بِوَرِقِكُمْ هٰذِهٖٓ اِلَى الْمَدِيْنَةِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ اَيُّهَآ اَزْكٰى طَعَامًا فَلْيَاْتِكُمْ بِرِزْقٍ مِّنْهُ وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ وَلَا يُشْعِرَنَّ بِكُمْ اَحَدًا
The word: کَذٰلِک (kadhalik) in the first sentence is for comparison. The purpose at this place is to describe the mutual likeness of two events. One of these is the event of the long sleep of the People of Kahf for an equally long period of time mentioned in the beginning of the story under the verse: فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰ آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا : “So, We veiled their hearing (putting them to sleep) in the Cave for a number of years – 11.” The second event relates to the rising of these people from that long drawn sleep – intact, healthy and fit despite the absence of any energy-giving intake – and becoming wide awake. Both are alike in being signs of the power of Allah Ta` ala. For this reason, when ‘raising them up’ was mentioned in this verse, the word: کَذٰلِک (kadhalik: ‘And similarly’ ) was used to indicate that the way their sleep was not like the habitual sleep of common people, very similarly, their rising too was distinct from natural habit. Then, as for the next statement after that: لِيَتَسَاءَلُوا ، meaning ‘so that they ask each other [ as to how long the sleep was ],’ it is not the reason of ‘raising them up.’ Instead, it is a mention of a usual phenomenon. Therefore, the particle: لام (lam) in: لِيَتَسَاءَلُوا (liyatasa’alu: so that they ask) has been identified as the lam of ` aqibah (consequence) or sairurah (result) meaning that which naturally follows as a sequel. (Abu Hayyan, al-Qurtubi)
In short, their long sleep was a Divine sign. Similarly, sitting up all awake after hundreds of years – fit and healthy without usual nourish¬ment – was also another perfect Divine sign. And it was also Divinely in-tended that they too should come to know that they have been sleeping through hundreds of years, therefore, it began with questions asked between each other and ended at the incident mentioned in the next verse: وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا (And in this way We made them known – 21). It means that the people of the city knew their secret and, despite the difference in determining the period of their stay, everyone believed that they had been sleeping in the Cave for a long period of time.
Given in: قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ (One of them said – 19) is the detail of what was said briefly at the beginning of the story (12) – that they differed about the period of their stay in the Cave and that one of them did say the right thing. According to this detail, one person from among the People of the Cave ventured to pose the question as to how long did they sleep. Then, came the response from some that said, ‘a day, or part of a day’ – because, these people had entered the Cave in the morning and when they woke up, it was evening. Therefore, they thought, that was the day they had entered the Cave and the duration of their sleep was just about a day. But, some from among these very people realized that, perhaps, this was not the day they had entered the Cave. If so, who knows how many days have gone by? Therefore, they decided to let this particular knowledge about the event rest with Allah. By saying: قَالُوا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ (Your Lord knows best how long you stayed – 19), they dismissed this debate as unnecessary and turned their attention to the need of the hour, that is, to send a man to the city to bring some food from there.
The word: الْمَدِينَةِ (al-madinah) in the phrase: إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ (ila al-madinah: to the city) proves at least this much that there used to be a big city close to the Cave where they had stayed. In his Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, Abu Hayyan has said that the name of the city at the time the People of Kahf left was Ifsus and now, the name was Tarsus. Al-Qurtubi has said in his Tafsir that during the time idol-worship and ignorance prevailed in this city, its name was Ifsus. But, when the believers of that time, that is, the followers of Sayyidna Masih (عليه السلام) overtook it, they renamed it as Tarsus.
The word: بِوَرِقِكُمْ with this silver [ coin ] of yours – 19) tells us that these good men had also brought some money with them when they came to the Cave. From here we know that the procurement and management of essential expenditures in life is not contrary to the norms of Zuhd (abstention from worldly desires) and Tawakkul (trust in Allah). (Al-Bahr al-Muhit)
The word: أَزْكَىٰ (azka) in: أَيُّهَا أَزْكَىٰ طَعَامًا (which are the purest – 19) means what is clean and pure. According to the Tafsir of Ibn Jubayr, it denotes Halal food. They were alert to the need for such precaution because at the time they had left the city, people used to slaughter animals in the name of idols and that was what they sold in the market. Therefore, they stressed upon the man going out to bring food only after making sure that it was Halal.
This tells us that eating food in any city, bazaar or hotel, where most of the food available is حرام Haram, is not permissible without prior investiga¬tion.
اِنَّهُمْ اِنْ يَّظْهَرُوْا عَلَيْكُمْ يَرْجُمُوْكُمْ اَوْ يُعِيْدُوْكُمْ فِيْ مِلَّتِهِمْ وَلَنْ تُفْلِحُوْٓا اِذًا اَبَدًا
The word: رجم (rajm) in: يَرْجُمُوكُمْ means they will stone you to death – 19.’ It will be recalled that the king had warned them – before they went to the Cave – that they will be killed if they kept adhering to their present faith. This verse tells us that a renegade in their faith used to be punished by being stoned to death in which everyone participated, expressed collective anger and lent a hand in killing him.
Perhaps, the punishment for adultery committed by a married man or woman by stoning to death, as proposed in the Shari` ah of Islam, may be aimed at exposing the one guilty of this abominable act at the cost of all norms of modesty and propriety. The execution of the culprit was to remain public with everyone joining in so that two things were ensured – let that disgrace be at collective level, and let all Muslims express their wrath practically so that no one dares repeat this act of shame among them.
The expression فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُم (So send one of you – 19) tells us that the group in the Cave picked up a man from among them to go to the city and gave him the money to buy food which he would bring back. Al-Qurtubi finds this significant. He quotes Ibn Khuwaizmandad and describes some rulings deduced from here.
- Partnership in capital is permissible – because, this amount was shared by all.
- Power of attorney or delegation of management is permissible in capital, that is, one person can, as an authorized agent disburse from shared capital with the permission of others.
If a group of people shares food, it is permissible – though, individu¬al food intake usually differs with one eating less while the other, more.
وَكَذٰلِكَ اَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوْٓا اَنَّ وَعْدَ اللّٰهِ حَقٌّ وَّاَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لَا رَيْبَ فِيْهَاڥ اِذْ يَتَنَازَعُوْنَ بَيْنَهُمْ اَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوْا عَلَيْهِمْ بُنْيَانًا ۭ رَبُّهُمْ اَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ ۭ قَالَ الَّذِيْنَ غَلَبُوْا عَلٰٓي اَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَّسْجِدًا
Described in this verse which opens with the words: وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ (And in this way We made them known) is the disclosure of the secret of the People of Kahf before the residents of the city. Along with it given there is a view of His wisdom, and of the belief in the Hereafter and the Last Day when the dead will rise again, and that they will ultimately be-lieve in it. How this came about has been mentioned briefly in Tafsir al-Qurtubi as follows:
The secret of the People of Kahf: How did the people of the city learn about it?
When the People of Kahf went out, the Mushrik king Daqyanus, the oppressive ruler of that city died. Centuries went by. Then, it was taken over by people who were pure monotheists. Their king was a righteous man (whose name has been given as Baidusis in Tafsir Mazhari with ref¬erences to historical narratives). During his time, it so happened that dif¬ferences became rampant on the issue of the dead rising again on the day of Qiyamah. One sect rejected the possibility of human bodies rising again after the process of decomposition, disintegration and dispersal as scattered particles all over the world. Baidusis, the king of the time, started worrying about ways to dispel these doubts. When nothing worked, he got into ragged clothes, sat down on a heap of ash and prayed to Allah.
Lamenting and pleading earnestly, he said, ‘0 Allah, now it is up to Thee to make things work out in a way that the belief of my people gets corrected and they take to the right path.’ On one side was this king engaged in his plaint and prayer while, on the other side, Allah Ta` ala arranged to have his supplication answered in His own way. The People of Kahf woke up. They sent one of their men (reportedly named Tamlikha) to the city bazaar to buy food. He went to a shop and paid for the food he bought in the form of a silver coin dating back to the time of king Daqyanus who reigned there three hundred years ago. The shopkeeper was taken aback. Where did this coin come from? What peri¬od does it belong to? He was confused. He showed it to other shopkeep¬ers. Everyone said that the man had struck some treasure and was there with a coin from it. This man told them that nothing of that kind had happened to him and the coin was his own.
The shopkeepers detained him and produced him before the king. As said earlier, this king was a righteous man of Allah. It is said that he was aware of the old state treasure house and in its archaeological sec¬tion he had also seen the tablet inscribed on which there was a list of the names of the People of Kahf along with the description of the incident of their escape. According to some, the cruel king Daqyanus was the one who had ordered that such a tablet should be inscribed to declare them as proclaimed offenders, to preserve their names and addresses and to have them arrested on sight. Some other reports say that there were peo¬ple in the royal court who disapproved of idol-worship by heart and took the People of Kahf as votaries of truth. But, they did not have the cou¬rage to declare it openly. What they did was to have this tablet inscribed to be kept as memorabilia. The name of this tablet was Raqim because of which the People of Kahf were also called the People of Raqim.
So, this king knew something about this event and at that time he was busy praying to Allah that He would somehow make his people be¬lieve that making dead bodies rise again was not beyond His most per¬fect power.
Therefore, when he inquired into the background of Tamlikha, he was convinced that the man was one of the People of Kahf. He said that he used to pray to Allah in the hope that He would somehow make him fortunate enough to meet the people who had run away from Daqyanus for the sake of their faith. Now that Allah had perhaps heard his prayer, he was grateful. May be there is, in this event, some decisive proof that makes people believe in the rising of the dead. After saying this, he asked this man to take him to the Cave from where he had come.
The king arrived there with a retinue of people from the city. When the Cave came close, Tamlikha asked the king to wait there for a while so that he could go in and inform his companions about the situation. He would tell them that the king was there to meet them along with his peo¬ple and that the king was a believer, a monotheist and so were his peo¬ple. If he failed to do that, and the king appeared there unannounced, it was likely that they might take him to be their enemy like the previous one. When Tamlikha went in the Cave, he related the whole story before his companions. They were pleased. They greeted the king showing due respect for him. Then they returned to their Cave. And as most narra¬tives have it, when Tamlikha related the whole story before his compan¬ions, they died and could not meet the king. At this stage, Abu Hayyan has reported a narrative in al-Bahr al-Muhit which says that after the meeting, the People of the Cave took leave of the king and the visiting ci¬tizens and went into the Cave. It was at that time that Allah Ta` ala sent death to them. Allah knows best the reality as it is.
However, the people of the city now had before them a marvel of Divine power manifested so decisively and clearly. They came to believe in the working of that power. They saw living human beings kept alive for three hundred years without food and things essential in life. And then, they also saw them raised intact, healthy and fit after having been kept asleep for such a long time. With all this in view, why should it be at all difficult for that power to make these bodies come alive after having met their death? Through this event, their perception that the resurrection of bodies was a far out proposition stood refuted. They now realized that taking the Power of the master of the universes on the analogy of the power of human beings was an act of ignorance by itself.
A hint was made towards this very aspect in the words: لِیَعلَمُوآ اَنَّ وَعدَ اللہِ حَقُّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ لَّا رَيْبَ فِيهَا (so that they realize that Allah’s promise is true and that there is no doubt about the Hour). It means, ‘Allah raised the
People of Kahf after having kept them asleep for a long time so that others realized that His promise to raise the dead on the Last Day of Qiyamah was true, and that there was no doubt about the coming of the Qiyamah.’
People differed after the death of Ashab al-Kahf
As for the holiness of the People of Kahf, everyone agreed about that and thought of making a memorial for them close to the Cave. However, there was a difference of opinion on the nature of the building. Some reports tell us that idol-worshippers, still left in the city, also used to visit the site. They proposed that it should be a public welfare building. But, the king and the official in his government were believers who played a dominant role in public affairs. They proposed that they should make a mosque over there so that it serves as a memorial to them and also becomes the cause of saving people from idol-worship in the future. At this place in the Qur’an, the reference to this difference of opinion is hemmed in by the sentence: رَّبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ (Their Lord knows them best).
Regarding the meaning of this sentence, Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit has mentioned two probabilities. (1) This was said by the same people from the city present there, because when a memorial was proposed after their death, people thought of inscribing a tablet mentioning the names and the details about the people of the Cave for the memory of whom the building was to be dedicated. And so they started talking variously about the background details concerning the People of Kahf. In the end, when their differences remained unresolved, they said: رَّبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ (their Lord knows them best). After saying that, they turned to the main job at hand which was raising a building in their memory. Those who were dominant decided to make a mosque. (2) Then, the probability that this was said by Allah Ta` ala also exists here as it warns people who in¬dulged in mutual disputations around baseless issues during that time. They are being told here that they do not know the reality and they do not have the sources to arrive at that knowledge. Why, then, would they waste their precious time in futile argumentation? Then, it is also pos¬sible that the warning was beamed at Jews and others who used the crutch of this event to indulge in baseless debates during the blessed time of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . Pure and High is Allah who knows best.
This event tells us that making a masjid for Salah near the graves of men of Allah is no sin. As for the Hadith in which words of curse have ap¬peared against those who make the graves of prophets a masjid, it means making the graves as such a place of sajdah or prostration – which is, by consensus, Shirk, and Haram. (Mazhari)
سَيَقُوْلُوْنَ ثَلٰثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۚ وَيَقُوْلُوْنَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًۢا بِالْغَيْبِ ۚ وَيَقُوْلُوْنَ سَبْعَةٌ وَّثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۭ قُلْ رَّبِّيْٓ اَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِمْ مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ اِلَّا قَلِيْلٌ ڢ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيْهِمْ اِلَّا مِرَاۗءً ظَاهِرًا ۠ وَّلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيْهِمْ مِّنْهُمْ اَحَدًا
The verse opens with the word: سَيَقُولُونَ (sayaqulun: Some will say).Who are these people who will say? There are two probabilities therein.
(1) They could be the people who had differed among themselves during the time of the People of Kahf about their name and lineage, already mentioned in the previous verse. Out of these very people, some had made the first statement, some others, the second and still others, the third. (Mentioned in al-Bahr al-Muhit from al-Mawardi)
(2) The second probability is that the pronoun in ‘sayaqulun’ could be reverting back to the Christians of Najran who had argued with the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) about the number of the People of Kahf. They had three sects among them. One sect was called Malkaniyah. They made the first statement about the number, that is, gave the number as three. The sec¬ond sect was Ya` qubiyah. They went by the second statement, that is, they were five. The third sect was Nasturiyah. They made the third statement, saying that they were seven. However, some said that this third statement was that of Muslims. What finally happened was that the third statement turned out to be true as it appears from the hint given by the Qur’an*, and the word of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . (Al-Bahr al-Muhit)
*. The hint is that the former two views about their number have been termed by the Qur’an as ‘conjectures’ while the third view has appeared without such a comment. (Mul} ammad Taqi Usmani)
The use of the conjunction waw:(and) in: وَثَامِنُهُمْ (wa thaminuhum: and the eighth of them) is worth noticing here. At this place, three state¬ments have been reported about the number of the People of Kahf – three, five and seven – and after each, their dog has been counted. But, no conjunction ‘waw’ has been introduced in between their number and the count of the dog in the first two statements. The sentence: ثَلَاثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ (Three, the fourth of them being their dog) and the sentence: خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ. (Five, the sixth of them being their dog) appear without that conjunction ‘waw.’ But, the arrangement is different in the third statement. Here, the word: سَبْعَةٌ (Seven) is followed by a connective ‘waw’ attached to the text of: وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ (and the eighth of them is their dog).
Giving its reason, commentators say that early Arabs used to count up to seven digits, after which the number that followed was counted as separate, similar to its present counterpart, the number 9 where units end and the tens begin. Therefore, while counting from three to seven, they would not use the connective To give a number after seven, they would state it separately with the help of a connective ‘waw’ – and for this reason, this ‘waw’ (and) was called the ‘waw° (and) of ‘thaman’ (eight). (Mazhari and others)
The names of the People of Kahf
The fact of the matter is that the names of the People of Kahf do not stand proved authentically from any Sahih Hadith. Names given in exe¬getical and historical reports differ. The closest out of these is the report given on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) by al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jim al-Ausat with sound chains of narrators. The names given there are:
Dhu Niwas ذونواس
Basic rule in debatable matters: Avoid long-drawn argumentation
Referring to the animated efforts to determine the number of the Peo¬ple of Kahf, and other matters, the text says: فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا (So do not argue about them except [ with ] an apparent argu¬mentation. And do not ask anyone of these about them). The rule of conduct, a golden legacy of the Qur’an, taught in these two sentences to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) are, in fact, significant guiding principles for the learned among the Muslim community. The thing to do when difference arises on any issue is to state what is necessary clearly. If people, even after that, elect to pursue a course of unnecessary debate, one should offer cursory comments in the light of the earlier presentation and conclude the debate. Any effort to dig deeper to affirm one’s claim or to make the extra effort to refute the assertion of debaters should be avoided – for nothing good would really come out of it. Moreover, any fur¬ther prolongation of the debate and altercation would result in uncalled for waste of time as well as pose the danger of mutual bickering.
The second line of guidance given in the other sentence is that the op¬timum information given to him through Divine revelation about the Peo¬ple of Kahf should be taken as perfectly sufficient and satisfactory for all practical purposes. Let him not worry about finding more and asking oth-ers. As for asking others, it could have another aspect too. May be, the question asked is to expose their ignorance or to disgrace them. This too would be contrary to the high morals prophets have. Therefore, restraint was placed on asking both kinds of questions, either for additional inves¬tigation, or to prove the addressee ignorant and disgrace him.
وَلَا تَقُوْلَنَّ لِشَايْءٍ اِنِّىْ فَاعِلٌ ذٰلِكَ غَدًا
The story of Ashab al-Kahf is due to end on the four verses cited above. In the first two of these, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and his Ummah has been taught to say ` Insha’Allah Ta’ ala along with the promise or affirma¬tion of doing something in the future. Because, who knows if one does or does not live, and even if one does, will one be able to do or not to do that? Therefore, a believer should be confident about it in his or her heart, and confess to it verbally as well that in the event of making a commitment to do something next day, what will be said will be: If Allah Ta` ala wills, I shall do this thing tomorrow.’ This is what the saying of In¬sha’Allah means.
In the third verse (25), a decision has been given on a controversy. This was a debate in which people had held different opinions during the time of the People of Kahf, and equally different were the sayings of the Jews and Christians of the contemporary period about it, that is, the pe¬riod of time they kept sleeping in the Cave. It was stated in the verse that those were three hundred and nine years. This is, so to say, a clarifi¬cation of the statement made briefly at the beginning of the story: فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَىٰ آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا (So We veiled their hearing [ putting them to sleep ] in the Cave for a number of years – 11).
After that, those who still differ with it have been warned once again that they are not the ones who know the reality of things as they are. The One who knows it all is none else but Allah with whom rests the knowledge of all that is unseen in the heavens and the earth. He is All Hearing. He is All Seeing. The time duration of three hundred nine years given by Him should be enough for their satisfaction.
اِلَّآ اَنْ يَّشَاۗءَ اللّٰهُ ۡ وَاذْكُرْ رَّبَّكَ اِذَا نَسِيْتَ وَقُلْ عَسٰٓي اَنْ يَّهْدِيَنِ رَبِّيْ لِاَقْرَبَ مِنْ هٰذَا رَشَدًا
Saying ‘Insha’Allah’ on doing something in the future
The background of the revelation of the first two verses has been reported in Lubab from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) in the following manner. When the people of Makkah acting as coached by the Jews, asked the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) about the story of Ashab al-Kahf etc., he promised to answer that next day without having said Insha’Allah. The least shortcoming issuing forth from the close ones brings some or the other notice of caution. Therefore, no revelation came for the next fifteen days. Naturally, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was grieved and the Mushriks of Makkah had their opportunity to laugh and ridicule. After this interval of fifteen days, when the answer to the questions asked was revealed, these two verses were revealed along with it as a measure of guidance. They told him that, should he need to say something about what he was going to do the next day, he should invariably affirm it by saying Insha’Allah, for everything depends on the intention and will of Allah Ta` ala. These two verses, it will be noted, have been introduced at the end of the story of the People of Kahf.
Firstly, these two verses (23, 24) tell us that saying Insha’Allah in the given situation is mustahabb (recommended). Secondly, they tell us that, should this part of the statement be left unsaid inadvertently, then, one may say it at the time one remembers. This injunction relates to the par¬ticular matter for which these verses have been revealed. It means that the purpose is simply to say this word to invoke Divine blessing and to confess to one’s servitude and not to make the statement contingent or conditional. Therefore, it does not follow from here that one would do the same in buying and selling transactions and contracts where conditions are imposed and on this rests the contract between parties. Is it possible to impose a condition whenever one remembers later in case one had for-gotten to include the condition at the time of signing the original contract? The difference of some jurists exists in this issue details of which appear in books of Fiqh.
وَلَبِثُوْا فِيْ كَهْفِهِمْ ثَلٰثَ مِائَةٍ سِنِيْنَ وَازْدَادُوْا تِسْعًا
As for the period of sleep in the Cave given as three hundred nine years in the third verse (27), this statement concerning the time dura¬tion, as evident from the sequential arrangement of the Qur’ an, is but from Allah Ta’ ala. Ibn Kathir has declared this to be the position of the majority of commentators, earlier and later. Abu Hayyan and al-Qurtubi have also adopted this view. But, they have also reported another saying from Qatadah and others. It holds that this statement of three hundred nine years is also the saying of some of those who had differed and that the saying of Allah was what was said later: اللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوا (Allah knows best how long they stayed – 26). The reason is, had the earlier statement giving the duration as three hundred nine years been the word of Allah, there would have been no occasion for saying: اللَّـهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوا (Allah knows best how long they stayed) after that. But, the majority of commentators have said that both these sentences are the word of Allah. The first one describes reality as it is. The second one warns those who differ with it. They have been told that once the statement giving the duration has come from Allah, accepting it is mandatory. Since He is the One who really knows, trying to differ with Him on the basis of mere conjectures and opinions is (to make an understatement) unreasonable. The question that arises here is about the manner in which the Holy Qur’an has described the duration of stay. First it mentions three hun¬dred years. After that, it has said that added to those three hundred there are nine. The number three hundred nine was not given initially. According to commentators, there is a reason for it. Since the Jews and Christians followed the Solar Calendar, their count remained three hun¬dred years. And since Islam goes by the Lunar Calendar in which three more years are added every hundred years, therefore, three hundred years of Solar Calendar become nine more years in accordance with the Lunar Calendar. It was to tell the difference between the two years that this expressive diction was employed.
قُلِ اللّٰهُ اَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوْا ۚ لَهٗ غَيْبُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالْاَرْضِ ۭ اَبْصِرْ بِهٖ وَاَسْمِعْ ۭ مَا لَهُمْ مِّنْ دُوْنِهٖ مِنْ وَّلِيٍّ ۡ وَّلَا يُشْرِكُ فِيْ حُكْمِهٖٓ اَحَدًا
Yet another question arises here about the People of Kahf. During their time and then within the blessed period of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، the Jews and Christians had their differences about two things – the number of the People of Kahf and the duration of their sleep in the Cave. The Qur’an does describe both. However, it has done so with a difference. The number was not mentioned explicitly. Rather, only a hint has been given by not refuting the view which was correct. But, the fixed duration was declared in very clear words: وَلَبِثُوا فِي كَهْفِهِمْ ثَلَاثَ مِائَةٍ سِنِينَ وَازْدَادُوا تِسْعًا (And they stayed in their Cave for three hundred years and added nine -25). The reason is that this very remarkable diction of the Qur’an strongly suggests that this debate on the number of the people of Kahf is virtual¬ly useless. No worldly or religious issue relates to or depends on it. Yes, this unusual sleep for such a long period of time, being healthy and fit without food and drink and then sitting up in good shape after such a long time is certainly a working model of Resurrection. That there is a Day of Judgment and that there is a Hereafter can be argued on this ba¬sis. Therefore, the period of sleep was stated very clearly.
People who deny the extraordinary miracles, or people who are in the habit of explaining them away overawed by the objections of modern day Jewish and Christian orientalists, have not spared even the Qur’an. For example, in the case of this verse (25), they have tried to use the explana¬tion of Qatadah as a prop to reject the duration of three hundred nine years as the saying of those very people who were differing among them-selves. But, they have erred. The statement: (for a number of years – 11) which appears in an earlier sentence of the Qur’an cannot be called the saying of anyone other than Allah Ta’ ala! To prove the miracu¬lous nature of the event even this much is sufficient that someone remains asleep for years and years and then rises and sits up all intact, fit and alive. Allah knows best.
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِيْنَ يَدْعُوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدٰوةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيْدُوْنَ وَجْهَهٗ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنٰكَ عَنْهُمْ ۚ تُرِيْدُ زِيْنَةَ الْحَيٰوةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ اَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهٗ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوٰىهُ وَكَانَ اَمْرُهٗ فُرُطًا
Da’wah and Tabligh admit of no discrimination
Some events have been mentioned in the background of the revela¬tion of the verse: وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ (And keep yourself content – 28). It is possible that all of them became the cause of this instruction. Al-Baghawi reports that ` Uyainah ibn Hisn al-Fazari, the chief of Makkah paid a visit to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . Sitting there with him was Sayyidna Salman al-Farisi (رض) who was one of the poor Sahabah. His dress was tattered and his looks, that of a derwish. Then, there were some other poor and humble people like him sitting within the gathering. ` Uyainah said, ‘these are the people who stop us from coming to you and listening to you. We cannot sit with such broken-down people. You should remove them from your gathering, or you should, at the least, have one separate gathering for us and another, for them.’
Ibn Marduwayh reports on the authority of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) that Umaiyyah ibn Khalaf al-jumahi advised the Holy Proph¬et (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) that he should not have poor and broken-down Muslims as those close to him. Instead of that, he should prefer to have the chiefs of Makkah and the Quraysh tribe with him. If these people embraced the relig¬ion brought by him, it will advance the cause of religion.
Pursuant to events of this nature, came the Divine instruction that firmly stopped him from accepting their advice. Not only that he should not remove them from his company, in fact, the command given reads: وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ (wasbir nafsak: translated as ‘and keep yourself content’ ). If translated literally, it could mean ‘keep yourself tied with them,’ not in the sense of not leaving them anytime, but meaning that he should attend to and relate to these very people, seeking their advice in essential matters and working in association with them alone. Why should he do that and what was the wisdom behind it? The words that follow spell the reason out. They call their Lord morning and evening, remembering Him under all conditions. And what they do is exclusively for the good pleas¬ure of Allah. All these conditions around them are conditions that at-tract the help and support of Allah Ta` ala. And such are the people to whom comes the help of Allah. So, let them not worry about the loss of worldly support for the final victory shall be theirs.
The reason why he was prevented from accepting the advice of the Quraysh chiefs has been given towards the end of the verse. It was said that their hearts were heedless of the remembrance of Allah, everything they did was subservient to their physical desires and these conditions guaranteed that they would stand alienated far from the mercy and support of Allah Ta` ala.
اُولٰۗىِٕكَ لَهُمْ جَنّٰتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِيْ مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الْاَنْهٰرُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيْهَا مِنْ اَسَاوِرَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَّيَلْبَسُوْنَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًا مِّنْ سُنْدُسٍ وَّاِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُّتَّكِــِٕـيْنَ فِيْهَا عَلَي الْاَرَاۗىِٕكِ ۭ نِعْمَ الثَّوَابُ ۭ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا
At this point, someone may doubt that this advice was reasonably practicable. A separate gathering for them would have not hurt. In fact, it would have made it easier to convey the message of Islam to them and equally easier for them to accept it. But, the creation of such a division would have amounted to seating the rebellious rich on a pedestal of hon¬or, an action that could have broken the hearts of poor Muslims or damp¬ened their courage. Allah Ta` ala, in His ultimate wisdom, would not put up with anything like this. Instead of that, the ground rule of Da’wah and Tabligh given by Him was that there should be no discrimination or distinction against or for anyone in it. Allah knows best.
Ornaments for the People of Jannah
It has been mentioned in verse 31: يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا (They will be adorned ther¬ein) that men inmates of Jannah will also be adorned with bracelets of gold. The question it may bring up is that wearing ornaments is neither becoming for men, nor can these be called beauty and embellishment in any relative sense. If bracelets were put on them in Jannah, may be they make them look awful.
The answer is that embellishment and beauty are subservient to practice or custom as recognized in a society. What is considered to be embellishment and beauty in one country or region could more than often be detested in other countries and regions. And this could be the other way round as well. Similarly, something is taken to be an embel¬lishment in a given period of time. Comes another time and it becomes a blemish. When ornaments and silk dresses will come to be established as embellishment and beauty for men of Jannah too, no one is going to feel strange with it there. That which puts restraints on us here is a law of this world which stipulates that it is not permissible for men to wear any ornament of gold, even a ring or chain for watch made of gold. Simi¬larly, silk clothes are not permissible for men. This will not be the law of Jannah. That is a universe of existence separate from this entire uni¬verse of our experience. It cannot be imagined on the analogy of anyth¬ing in and around us on this basis alone.
وَّكَانَ لَهٗ ثَمَــــرٌ ۚ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهٖ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهٗٓ اَنَا اَكْثَرُ مِنْكَ مَالًا وَّاَعَزُّ نَفَرًا
The word: ثَمَرٌ (thamar) in: وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ (And he had wealth – 34) means the fruit of trees as well as wealth, in an absolute sense. At this place, Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، Mujahid and Qatadah have taken it in the later sense (Ibn Kathir) According to the Lexicon, al-Qamus, this word is used to denote the fruit of the tree and wealth of all kinds. This tells us that not only did he own gardens and farms, he also had gold, silver and other luxuries. Even his words reported by the Qur’an: (I am greater than you in wealth -34) also express the same sense. (Ibn Kathir)
About the statement: مَا شآء اللہ لا قُوَۃَ اِلَّا بِاللہِ : “[ Everything is ] as Allah wills. There is no power except with Allah,” it has been reported in Shu’ab al-‘Iman on the authority of Sayyidna Anas (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “whoever sees something, likes it – and says ‘masha’Allahu la quwwata illa bil-lah’ – nothing will harm it (that is, what he likes will stay protected).’ And it appears in other reports, ‘whoever recites this kalimah when he likes something he sees, it will stay protected against the evil eye.’
The gist of the arguments of these two persons, as explained by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi (رح) in Khulasa-e-Tafsir
These verses have described the event of two persons one of whom had a lot of wealth and, proud of it, he refused to accept that there is any life after death, and if there is one, he claimed, he will be given more wealth and reward therein. His argument was that if Allah was not pleased with him, he would not have this amount of wealth in this world.
The other person, though less than him in wealth, was a true believ¬er. He refuted the argument of the former one by saying that the worldly wealth is not a sign of one’s being close to Allah, because the worldly ben¬efits are given by Allah, in one way or the other, even to the disbelievers and sinful persons, rather to the snakes, scorpions and beasts. It is a hor¬rible mistake to presume that they are the signs of one’s being approved by Allah. Therefore, neither your wealth is the proof of your behaviour being approved by Allah, nor my lesser wealth is a proof of disapproval by Him. Allah’s approval or disapproval depends on one’s faith and deeds alone and not on the amount of wealth one has.
اَلْمَالُ وَالْبَنُوْنَ زِيْنَةُ الْحَيٰوةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَالْبٰقِيٰتُ الصّٰلِحٰتُ خَيْرٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَّخَيْرٌ اَمَلًا
The meaning of ‘everlasting virtues’ (‘al-baqyat al-salilhat’- 34)
The Musnad of Ahmad, Ibn Hibban and Hakim have reported on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Said al-Khudri (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Accumulate ‘everlasting virtues’ as much as you can.” It was said, “What are they?” He said, “Saying: سُبحَانَ اللہِ لَآ اللہُ ، الحَمدُ للہِ اللہُ اَکبَر وَلَاحولَ وَلَا قُوَّۃَ اِلَّا بِاللہِ (Pure is Allah. There is no god but Allah. All praise belongs to Al¬lah. Allah is great and there is no power and no strength except with Al¬lah). Hakim has called this Hadith – Sahih. And al-‘Uqaili reports on the authority of Sayyidna Nu` man ibn Bashir (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, سُبحَانَ اللہِ ٓ والحَمدُ للہِ وَ لَا الہ الا اللہ و اللہُ اَکبَر (Pure is Allah and all praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is great): These are the ‘everlasting virtues.'” The same has been reported by al-Tabarani from Sayyidna Sa’d ibn ` Ubadah (رض) . And the Sahih of Muslim and Tirmidhi have reported on the authority of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “I like saying: سُبحَانَ اللہِ ٓ والحَمدُ للہِ قَ لَا الہُ و اللہُ اَکبَر (Pure is Allah and all praise belongs to Allah and there is no god but Allah and Allah is great) better than everything under the Sun.”
Sayyidna Jabir (رض) said, “Recite: لَاحولَ وَلَا قُوَّۃَ اِلَّا بِاللہِ (la haula wala quw¬wata illa bil-lah: There is no power and there is no strength except with Allah) a lot, because it removes ninety nine types of ailments out of which anxiety is the least painful.”
Thus, according to the Tafsir of ‘everlasting virtues’ in this verse by Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) ، ` Ikrimah and Mujahid, it means the very recita¬tion of these words. And Said ibn Jubayr, Masruq and Ibrahim said that ‘everlasting virtues’ denote five daily prayers.
And there is another report from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) which says that ‘al-baqyat al-salihat’ or ‘everlasting virtues’ in this verse means righteous deeds in a general sense. Included therein are the words men¬tioned above, and the five prayers, and all other righteous deeds as well. This explanation has also been reported from early commentator Qatadah. (Mazhari)
This also happens to be the drive of the meaning in terms of the words of the Qur’an for these words literally convey the sense of the righ¬teous deeds that are to keep surviving. And it is obvious that all deeds that qualify as righteous and sincere are abiding and everlasting in the sight of Allah. Ibn Jarir and al-Qurtubi have preferred this particular Tafsir.
Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) said, ‘Cultivation is of two kinds. Wealth and chil¬dren are the cash crops of the mortal world while ‘everlasting virtues’ are the deferred crops of the Hereafter.’ Hasan al-Basri (رح) said, ‘Everlast¬ing virtues are one’s intention as the acceptance of righteous deeds de¬pends on it.’
` Ubaid ibn ` Umair (رض) said, ‘Everlasting virtues are righteous daughters for they are, for their parents, the greatest treasure-troves of reward from Allah.’ This is supported by a narration of Sayyidah ` A’ishah (رض) according to which the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has been reported to have said, “I saw a man from my ummah under orders to be taken to Hell. Thereupon, his righteous daughters clung to him and started wailing and crying and plaintively supplicating: 0 Allah, spare him for he was very kind to us in the mortal world and he worked very hard to raise us in our family. Allah Ta` ala, in His mercy, forgave him. (Qurtubi)
وَوَجَدُوْا مَا عَمِلُوْا حَاضِرًا ۭ وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ اَحَدًا
Recompense (al-jaza’ ) is the Deed (al-‘amal) itself
Towards the end of verse 49, it was said: وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا (And they will find what they did all there). Commentators generally explain its sense by saying that they will find the recompense of their deeds present there. My respected teacher, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri, used to say that there is no need for this interpretation here. Countless Hadith narratives prove that these very deeds of the mortal world will become the recompense – reward or punishment – of the Hereafter. Their forms will transform there. Righteous deeds will transform into the blessings of Paradise and evil deeds will turn into the Hellfire, snakes and scorpions.
It appears in Ahadith that the wealth of those who do not pay Zakah will come to them in the grave in the form of a big snake. The thing will bite them saying, اَنَا مَالُکَ (ana maluk: I am your wealth). The righteous deed, transformed into an elegant human visitor will come to mollify one’s terrible loneliness in the grave. Sacrificial animals will provide the ride over the Bridge of Sirat. Sins committed will be placed on top of everyone’s heads as their burdensome wherewithal on the Day of Resur¬rection.
About devouring what belongs to the orphans by unfair means, it was said in the Qur’an إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِي بُطُونِهِمْ نَارًا (they only eat fire into their bellies – 4:10). All such Qur’ anic verses and Hadith narratives are gener¬ally interpreted as figures of speech. But, in the light of the view given above, none of these need a figure of speech to explain. Everything stays intrinsically real, as is.
The Qur’an has equated the unlawful consumption of an orphan’s property with fire. So, the reality is that it is nothing but fire even at that time. But, in order to experience its effect, the condition is that one must pass away from this mortal world. It is like someone calling a matchbox by the name of fire, which is correct. But, in order that it becomes fire, it remains subject to the condition of friction. Similarly, if someone says that petrol or gas is fire, he would be considered as right – though, it would actually materialize only when the condition of being touched by a tiny flame of fire is fulfilled.
The outcome is that one’s deed – whatever good or bad one does in the moral world – will take the form of reward and punishment in the Hereafter. That will be a time when its marks of identification will become different from that of the mortal world and take a form of its own. And Allah alone knows best.
وَاِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلٰۗىِٕكَةِ اسْجُدُوْا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوْٓا اِلَّآ اِبْلِيْسَ ۭ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ اَمْرِ رَبِّهٖ ۭ اَفَتَتَّخِذُوْنَهٗ وَذُرِّيَّتَهٗٓ اَوْلِيَاۗءَ مِنْ دُوْنِيْ وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ ۭ بِئْسَ لِلظّٰلِمِيْنَ بَدَلًا
The progeny of Iblis, and his descendants and followers
The word: ذُرِّيَّتَهُ (dhurriyyatah) in verse 50 indicates that Iblis (Shaitan) has offspring, and a host of descendants and followers. Some commentators have said that ‘progeny’ at this place means ‘accomplices.’ That the Shaitan has offspring from his loins is not necessary. But, there is a Sahih Hadith which Humaidi has reported in Kitab al-Jam’ bain al-Sahihain on the authority of Sayyidna Salman al-Farisi (رض) . According to his narration, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) told him, “do not become like those who are the first to enter the bazaar (shopping centre), or those who are the last to leave it, for the bazaar is a place where the Shaitan has his eggs and offspring laid around.” This would indicate that the progeny of Shaitan spreads out in that manner – through what is laid and hatched by him. After having presented this report, al-Qurtubi has said that the Shaitan has accomplices and armies is something es¬tablished by conclusive proofs – and as for the Shaitan having offspring, a Sahih Hadith has appeared above. Allah knows best.
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْــنَا فِيْ هٰذَا الْقُرْاٰنِ لِلنَّاسِ مِنْ كُلِّ مَثَلٍ ۭ وَكَانَ الْاِنْسَانُ اَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا
The statement: وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ أَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا (And man is the most quarrel-some of all things – 54) has been testified through a Hadith narrated by Sayyidna ‘Anas (رض) in which the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has been reported to have said, “On the day of Qiyamah, a man from among the disbelievers will be brought forth. He will be asked, ‘what was your response to the messenger We had sent to you?’ He will say, ‘0 my Lord, as for me, I did believe in You and in Your messenger too and that I obeyed him in everything I did.’ Allah Ta` ala will say, ‘here is your book of deeds before you. All this you say is not there.’ This man will say, ‘I do not believe in this book of deeds.’ Allah Ta` ala will say, ‘what about these angels of Ours? They used to watch you. They bear witness against you. This man will say, ‘I do not accept their testimony as well, nor do I know them, nor have I seen them while I was doing what I did.’ Allah Ta` ala will say, ‘if so, this Preserved Tablet (اَلَّوح المَحفُوظ) is before you. Written here too is the same thing about you.’ He will say, ‘my Lord, have You granted me asylum from injustice or have you not?’ Allah Ta` ala will say, ‘Of course, you have your refuge against injustice with Us.’ So then, he will say, ‘0 my Lord, how can I accept the verdict of those unseen witnesses I am not familiar with at all? As for me, I can only accept a witness that comes from my own person.’ At that time, his mouth will be sealed, and his hands and feet will bear witness against his kufr and shirk. After that, he will be released and thrown into the Hell. (The subject matter of this narrative has been reported in Sahih Muslim, also from Sayyidna Anas (رض) – al-Qurtubi)
وَاِذْ قَالَ مُوْسٰي لِفَتٰىهُ لَآ اَبْرَحُ حَتّٰى اَبْلُغَ مَجْـمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ اَوْ اَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا
In the description of this event referred to in: وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ (And when Musa said to his young man), the opening sentence of verse 60, ‘Musa’ means the famous prophet, Musa son of ‘Imran (عليه السلام) . The at¬tribution of this event to some other Musa by Nawf al-Bakali has been sternly refuted by Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) as reported in the Sahih of al-Bukhari.
As for the word: فَتٰی (fata), it literally means a young man. When this word is used as attributed to a particular person, it carries the sense of his attendant or servant because it is usually a young and strong man who is taken in for this kind of service in order that he could handle all sorts of jobs. Incidentally, it also happens to be an article of good Islamic etiquette that a servant or attendant should be addressed nicely, either by his name, or an appellation such as ‘young man.’ The ground rule is that even servants are not to be addressed as servants. At this place, the attribution of ‘fata’ is to Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) ، therefore, it means Sayyid¬na Musa’s attendant in service. It appears in Hadith narratives that the name of this attendant was Yusha’ son of Nun, son of Ifra’im, son of Yusuf (عليه السلام) . Some narratives identify him as the maternal nephew of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) . But, no categorical decision can be taken in this matter. As for his name being Yusha’ ibn Nun, that much stands proved on the authority of sound narratives. However, there is no proof for the rest of the antecedents. (Qurtubi)
The word: مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ (majma’ al-bahrayn) literally means every such place where two waters meet – and it is obvious that they are many all around the world. Exactly which place is meant by ‘majma` al-bahrayn’ in this context? Since the Qur’an, and Hadith have not pinpointed it precisely, therefore, sayings of commentators differ in terms of traces and contexts. According to Qatadah, it signifies the meeting point of the seas of Faris (Persia) and Rum. Ibn ` Atiyyah has identified a place near Azerbaijan. Some point out to the confluence of the Gulf of ‘Aqabah in Jordan and the Red Sea (Sharm ash-Shaykh). Some others have said that this place is located in Tanjah (Tangiers in North Africa). Sayyidna ‘Ubayy ibn Ka’b (رض) reports that it is in Africa. Suddiyy gives its location in Armenia. Some give its location at the meeting point of the sea of Andulus (Gibraltar) and the Great Ocean (Atlantic). Allah knows best. However, this much is clear that Allah Ta’ ala had told Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) the fixed geographical location of this place towards which he had made his journey. (Qurtubi)
The Story of Sayyidna Musa (Moses) (عليه السلام) and Al-Khadir (Elias)
Details of this event appear in the Sahih of al-Bukhari and Muslim. There, according to a narration of Sayyidna Ubaiyy ibn Ka` b (رض) ، the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has been reported to have said: “Once when Musa rose to address his people, the Bani Isra’il, those present there asked him, ‘of all human beings, who is the foremost in knowledge?’ Since (in the knowledge of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) there was no one more knowledgeable than himself) therefore, he said, ‘I am the foremost in knowledge.’ (Allah Ta’ ala has His special ways of grooming prophets close to Him, therefore, this statement was not welcome.
The etiquette of the situation demanded that he should have resigned his answer to the ultimate knowledge of Allah and said that ‘Allah alone knows as to who is the foremost in knowledge among His entire creation’ ). So, the answer given by Musa (عليه السلام) brought displeasure from Allah Ta` ala and to him it was re¬vealed: ‘Present on the meeting point of the two seas, there is a servant of Ours.
He is more knowledgeable than you.’ (When Musa (عليه السلام) came to know this, he submitted before Allah Ta` ala that it was incumbent on him to travel and learn from the person who is superior to him in knowl¬edge). So, he said: ‘0 Allah, tell me where to find him.’ Allah Ta` ala said, ‘put a fish in your basket and travel in the direction of the meeting point of the two seas. When you reach the place where this fish disappears, that shall be the place where you meet that servant of Ours.’ As commanded, Musa put a fish in the basket and set out. His attendant, Yusha’ ibn Nun was also with him.
During the course of travel, they reached a rock where they lied down resting their heads against it. All of a sudden, on that spot, the fish moved, left the basket and went into the sea. (With this miracle of the fish coming alive and slipping out into the sea, yet another miracle unfolded when) Allah Ta` ala stopped the flow of water currents all along the way the fish took into the sea making the place like a tunnel into the sea. (Yusha’ ibn Nun witnessed this extraor-dinary event while Musa (عليه السلام) was asleep).
When he woke up, Yusha’ ibn Nun forgot to mention this strange happening before him and resumed their journey onwards from there. They traveled for a whole day and night. When came the morning of the next day, Musa (عليه السلام) asked his com¬panion of the journey, ‘bring us our morning meal. We have, indeed, had much fatigue from this journey of ours.’ The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said that (as Divinely arranged) Musa (عليه السلام) felt no fatigue at all before that, so much so that he had over-traversed the spot where he had to reach. It was only when Musa asked for his morning meal that Yusha’ ibn Nun recalled the fate of the fish, tendered his excuse for having forgotten to mention it for the Shaitan had made him forget about the need to report this matter to him earlier. After that, he disclosed that the dead fish had come alive and gone into the sea in an amazing manner. Thereupon, Musa` (عليه السلام) said: ‘that was what we were looking for.’ (That is, the place where the fish comes alive and disappears was the desired destination).
So they turned back that very instant and took the same route they had taken earlier in order to find the spot they were looking for. Now, when they reached the familiar rock, they saw that someone was lying there covered with a sheet from the head down to the feet. Musa (عليه السلام) (taking things as they were) offered the greeting of salam. Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) asked, ‘where in the world does this ‘salam’ come from in this (unin¬habited) wilderness?’ Thereupon, Musa (عليه السلام) said, ‘I am Musa.’ Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) asked, ‘Musa Bani Isra’il?’ He confirmed, ‘Yes, I am Musa Bani Isra’il. I have come here to ask you to teach me the knowl-edge Allah has given to you specially.’
Al Khadir (عليه السلام) said, ‘you will be unable to remain patient with me. 0 Musa, there is a knowledge Allah has given to me and which you do not have while there is a knowledge which Allah has given to you which I do not have.’ Musa (عليه السلام) said, ‘if Allah wills, you will find me patient. I shall not disobey you in any of your orders.’
Al Khadir (عليه السلام) said, ‘If you are to be with me, do not ask me about anything unless I tell you about it first.’
After having said this, they started walking by the shore. Then came a boat. A ride was negotiated. The boat people recognized al-Khadir (عليه السلام) and let them come on board free of any charges. No sooner did he step into the boat, al-Khadir (عليه السلام) forced out a panel of the boat with the help of an axe. Musa (عليه السلام) could not restrain himself. He said, ‘These people gave us a free ride on the boat. This is what you did to them in return. You tore their boat apart so that they would drown. You have really done something very bad.’ Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) said, ‘Did I not tell you before that you will be unable to remain patient with me?’ Thereupon, Musa (عليه السلام) offered his excuse that he had forgotten his promise and requested him not to take him to task on his act of inadvertent omission.
The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، after relating this event, said, “The first objec¬tion raised by Musa (عليه السلام) against al-Khadir (عليه السلام) was activated by forgetfulness, the second as a condition and the third by intention. (Meanwhile) a bird came, sat down on the side of the boat and took out a beak-full of water from the sea. Thereupon, addressing Musa (عليه السلام) ، al-Khadir (عليه السلام) said, “even the combined knowledge of the two of us, yours and mine, cannot claim a status against Divine knowledge that could be compared even with the water in the beak of this bird as related to this sea.”
Then, having disembarked from the boat, they started walking on the shore. All of a sudden, al-Khadir (عليه السلام) saw a boy playing with other boys. Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) killed the boy with his own hands. The boy died. Musa (عليه السلام) said, ‘you took an innocent life unjustly. Indeed, this was a grave sin you committed.’ Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) said, ‘Did I not tell you before that you will be unable to remain patient with me?’ Musa (عليه السلام) noticed that this matter was far more serious than the first one. Therefore, he said, ‘if I question you after this, you will be free to remove me from your company. As far as I am concerned, you have reached the limit of ex¬cuses from me.’
After that, they started walking again until they passed by a village. They requested the village people to house them as guests. They refused. In this habitation, they noticed a wall that was about to collapse. Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) made it stand straight with his own hands. Surprised, Musa (عليه السلام) said, ‘we requested their hospitality. They refused. Now you did such a big job for them. If you wished, you could have charged wages from them to do it.’ Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) said, هَـٰذَا فِرَاقُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنِكَ (It means that the condition now stands fulfilled, therefore, time has come for you and me to part company).
Then, after telling Musa (عليه السلام) the reality behind the three events, Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) said: ذٰلِكَ تَأْوِيلُ مَا لَمْ تَسْطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا which means: ‘That was the reality of the events over which you were unable to remain patient.’
Once he had narrated this entire event, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “I wish Musa (عليه السلام) could have remained more patient so that we would have come to know more about the two of them.”
This lengthy Hadith appears in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari and Muslim in a manner that it establishes three things. It clearly mentions the name of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) as Musa Bani Isra’il, the name of his young companion during the travel as Yusha’ ibn Nun and the name of the ‘servant of Allah’ to whom Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) was sent towards the meeting point of the two seas as Al-Khadir. Now, from this point onwards, we shall take up the verses of the Qur’an, and explain their sense.
Some rules of the road and a model of high prophetic determination
The first statement made in verse 60:. لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا (“I shall not give up until I reach the meeting point of the two seas or else I shall go on for years” ) was from Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) as addressed to his traveling companion, Yusha` ibn Nun. The purpose was to inform him about the direction and destination of the intended journey. This too releases a refinement in manners for he was taking the necessary steps to orient his companion and attendant with the knowledge of things es¬sential for the journey. Proud and arrogant people just do not regard ser¬vants and attendants worth addressing, nor would they pass on any in-formation to them about a projected journey.
The word: حُقُبَّا (huquba: years) is the plural of: حُقبَہ (huqbah). According to lexicographers, huqbah is a period of eighty years. Some add more years to this definition. The truth of the matter is that huqu¬bah refers to a long period of time. There are no set limits about it. Here, Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) has told his companion on the trip that he has to reach a particular place at the meeting point of the two seas. There he must reach as commanded by Allah Ta’ ala and that he was determined to continue his journey until he reaches that destination no matter how long the journey takes. When ready to obey the command of their Lord, this is a model of high determination exhibited by prophets.
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوْتَهُمَا فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيْلَهٗ فِي الْبَحْرِ سَرَبًا
Precedence of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) over Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) ، his up-bringing and miracles
In the next verse, it was said:
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ سَرَبًا
So, when they reached the meeting point of the two seas, they forgot their fish and it made its way into the sea as in a tunnel- 61.
Before we explain the nature of the extraordinary happening there, it is appropriate to first refer to the distinct position bestowed upon Sayyidna Musa 1 in the comity of prophets. This has been mentioned explicitly in the Qur’an, and Sunnah. The special distinction of having conversed with Allah Ta` a1a is his hallmark. With al-Khadir (عليه السلام) ، the matter is dif¬ferent. To begin with, the very fact of his being a prophet has been debat¬ed. Even if his prophet-hood (nubuwwah) is acknowledged, he does not hold the station of a Messenger (Rasul) of Allah (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) .
Neither is he credited with a Book, nor does he have a distinct community of followers. Therefore, considering all related aspects, Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) has marked precedence over al-Khadir (عليه السلام) . But, Allah Ta` ala has His own wise ways to help those close to Him perform better. He would not let the least want or short coming go uncorrected and not amended. This pro¬cess of reform at the highest level would even bring serious displeasure from Allah and it is through an equally serious measure that they are made to repair for it. This whole story reflects the same mode of person-al training. By saying: اَنَا (and: I), he had said: ‘I am the foremost in knowledge.’ Allah Ta` ala did not like it. So, as a measure of warning, he was given the whereabouts of a servant who had a field of knowledge specially given to him by Allah.
This Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) did not have. Though the knowledge of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) was far higher in rank than that given to him, but the truth of the matter was that Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) just did not have it. On the other side, Allah Ta` ala had blessed Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) with an intense desire to seek knowledge. As soon as he smelt the scent of knowledge elsewhere too, knowledge that he did not have, he was all set to go for it traveling like an ardent student and it was Allah Ta` ala Himself that he turned to for the ad-dress of that servant of His (al-Khadir عليه السلام). Now, there is something worth pondering at this point.
Had it been the will of Allah Ta’ ala that Musa (عليه السلام) should meet al-Khadir (عليه السلام) at that spot, He could have ar¬ranged that easily. Or, if Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) himself was Divinely destined to travel, he could have been given a clear address to help him reach it without any botheration. But, what happened here was different. The address given to him was far from being precise – ‘when you reach the place where the dead fish stirs and disappears, that will be the place you will find Our servant.’
Just about what this Hadith of the Sahih al-Bukhari proves is that the command to put a fish in their basket came from Allah Ta’ ala. Bey¬ond that, it is not known whether the order was to carry a fish for eating or that it was to be carried as separate from what was to be eaten. Both probabilities exist. Therefore, some of the commentators said that this grilled fish was put in to eat and, during the course of the journey, the two travelers kept eating out of it as well. Eaten thus was almost half of it. After that, miraculously enough, this grilled and half-eaten fish came alive and went into the sea.
Ibn ` Atiyyah and many others also observed that this fish kept sur¬viving in the world as a matter of miracle and there were those who even saw that it had only one side intact while the other was eaten. Ibn ` Atiyy¬ah has also put his personal sighting on record. (Qurtubi)
And there are other commentators who have said that the command was to put a fish in a basket separate from that for food. The fish was put as commanded. Here too, at least this much is definite that the fish was dead. Its stirring up, becoming alive and going into the sea was nothing but a miracle.
We have said a little earlier that the address of al-Khadir was left imprecise in a manner that it would not remain easy to pinpoint it. Obviously, this too was nothing but a trial and test for Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) . As though this was not enough, the scenario of an additional test was activated for them when they had reached the exact spot but forgot the fish. In the verse of the Qur’an, this act of forgetting has been attrib¬uted to Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) and his companion both: نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا (they forgot their fish – 61). But, as regards the story proved from the Hadith of al-Bukhari, it seems to indicate that Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) was asleep when came the time for the fish to become alive and go into the sea. This extraordinary event was witnessed by Yusha’ ibn Nun only and he had intended that he would relate it to Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) as soon as he woke up. But, soon after that happened, Allah Ta’ ala cast a state of obliv¬ion on him and he forgot to do that. If so, the attribution of forgetfulness to both of them would be similar to the statement of the Qur’ an: اللُّؤلُؤ وَالمَرجَاںُ – 55:22. Here it has been said that pearl and coral are ex¬tracted from both sweet and brackish waters – although, these are col¬lected from the later only. But, saying something like this in usage is common. Then it is also possible that since both respected elders had for-gotten to take this fish along with them as far as the journey from that point onwards was concerned. Therefore, forgetfulness was attributed to both.
Nevertheless, this was yet another test. After having reached the pro¬jected destination, the fish came alive and disappeared into the sea. The reality had unfolded and the place was pinpointed. But, that was not the end. The seeker of truth had to undergo yet another test. Therefore, for¬getfulness overtook both of them and it was only after having traveled one day and one night more that they realized hunger and fatigue. This was the third test, because any realization of fatigue and hunger should have naturally come earlier than that. If they had recalled the fish at that earlier time and place, they would have not suffered from such a long additional journey. But, such was the will of Allah Ta` ala that they had to face a little more of hardship. It was only after having gone through the grind of such a long journey that they felt hungry and thirsty and there it was that they remembered the fish and found out that they had come far ahead of their desired destination. Therefore, they returned back on the same footprints they had left earlier.
The first mention of the fish going into the sea was made through the word: سَرَبَاً (saraba – 61). Sarab means a tunnel that is dug to open up a passage through the mountains or an underground subway in cities. This tells us that the fish when it went into the sea had a tunnel-like passage forming itself in whatever direction it moved. Water currents did not obstruct its passage at all, rather left it open – as made explicit by the narrative from the Sahih of al-Bukhari. The second time, when Yusha ibn Nun related this event before Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) after their long journey, it was done in the following وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًا ، amazingly, it made its way into the sea – 63). There is no contradic¬tion between the two, because the incidence of a tunnel forming itself into the sea was by itself an extraordinarily amazing event.
فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَآ اٰتَيْنٰهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِنْدِنَا وَعَلَّمْنٰهُ مِنْ لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا
About al-Khadir (عليه السلام) and the issue of his prophet-hood
Though the name of the person concerned in this event has not been mentioned in the Qur’an – in fact, he has been called: عَبداً مِن عِبَادِنَا (a servant from among Our servants – 65) – but, in the Hadith of Sahih al-Buk¬hari, his name has been given as: اَلخِضر (al-Khadir). Literally, it means green, verdant. Giving the reason for his name being al-Khadir, commen-tators at large say that grass would grow at the spot where he would sit, no matter what the nature of the land. It would just turn green. The Qur’an has also not made it clear whether al-Khadir (عليه السلام) was some prophet, or was one of the men of Allah. But, in the sight of the majority of religious scholars, the proof of his being a prophet is embedded within the events mentioned in the Qur’an.
There is a reason for it. Some of the proved events during this journey that issued forth from al-Khadir are absolutely counter to the Shari’ah and there can be no exemption from an injunction of the Shari’ ah except under the authority of a Divine revelation, something restricted to a prophet and messenger of Allah. A waliyy (man of Allah) could also come to know something either through Kashf (illumination) or Ilham (inspiration). But, that is not an authority to prove a rule of Sharl’ah. No injunction of the externally codified Shari’ ah can be changed on that basis. Therefore, it stands established that al-Khadir (عليه السلام) was a prophet and messenger of Allah. Given to him were some of those particular injunctions, injunctions that were counter to the codified Shari` ah. Whatever he did, he did under the authority of this excepted injunction. He himself has attested to that in the sentence of the Qur’an saying: وَمَا فَعَلتُہُ عَن اَمرِی (and I did not do it under my author¬ity – 82) that is, did it under Divine authority.
In short, according to the majority of religious scholars of the Muslim community, al-Khadir (عليه السلام) too is a prophet and messenger. But, it was an imperative of creation that some duties were assigned to him from Al¬lah. The knowledge given to him related to these very duties. Of this Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) had no information, therefore, he objected. This sub¬ject has been dealt with in Tafsir al-Qurtubi, al-Bahr al-Muhit of Abu Hayyan and in most commentaries variously.
It is not lawful for any waliyy or man of Allah to contravene the injunction of codified Shari’ah
Right from here we learn that there is no shortage of ignorant and misguided Sufis who give a bad name to Tasawwuf. The likes of them would say that Shari’ ah is something else and Tariqah is something else. There are many things taken as حرام haram in the Shari` ah, but they are permissible in the Tariqah. Therefore, even if you see a waliyy (man of Allah) involved in a major sin openly and clearly, you cannot raise an objection against him! This is heresy, flagrant and false. No waliyy, no man of Allah anywhere in this world can be taken on the analogy of al-Khadir nor can any act contrary to the codified Shari` ah issuing forth from him be called permissible.
قَالَ اِنَّكَ لَنْ تَسْتَطِيْعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا
It is not permissible for an ‘Alim’ of the ‘Shari’ah’ to patiently bear what is contrary to the Shari’ah
By saying: إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا (You can never be able to keep patient while with me. And how would you keep patient over something your comprehension cannot grasp? – 67, 68), al-Khadir (عليه السلام) was telling Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) about the fact and the reason why he would be unable to keep patient with him. He knew nothing about the reality of the thing. What he meant was that the nature of knowl¬edge given to him was different from the knowledge of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) ، therefore, things he did would appear to be objectionable in his sight, until he himself was to apprise him of their reality. Thus, the ob¬jections he would raise against such actions would be triggered by the dictates of his mission as a prophet.
Since Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) was ordered to go to and learn from al-Khadir (عليه السلام) by none but Allah Ta` ala, therefore, he was initially at peace with himself hoping that nothing he did would really be counter to the Shari` ah – though, he may not understand it externally. So, he pro¬mised to keep patient. Otherwise, the making of such a promise is not permissible for any ` Alim of Din. But, later on, overtaken by his strong sense of honour relating to the Shari` ah, he forgot about this promise.
The first event was really not that serious. That the boat people would suffer from financial loss or the boat may sink remained at the level of an impending danger only – which stood removed later on. But, in the case of the event that took place thereafter, Musa (عليه السلام) did not even make that promise of not objecting. In fact, when he saw the inci¬dent of a boy having been killed, he objected vehemently and’ did not offer any excuse whatsoever for his objection either. He simply said if he came up with an objection next time, al-Khadir (عليه السلام) would have the right of not keeping him in his company. The underlying logic was that no prophet and messenger of Allah can bear by seeing things being done against the norms of the Shari` ah and yet maintaining a stance of peev¬ish patience. However, this was a unique situation. There were proph¬ets on both sides. Therefore, the reality unfolded. It finally turned out that these fragmentary events were exempted for al-Khadir (عليه السلام) from the purview of the general rules of the Shari’ah. Whatever he did, he did only in accordance with the dictates of the Divine Wahy (revelation). (Mazhari)
Basic difference in the knowledge of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) and al-Khadir (عليه السلام) Resolution of an apparent dichotomy
Naturally, a question arises here. We see that, according to the expla¬nation of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) ، the nature of the knowledge given to him was different from that of the knowledge of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) . Now, when both these two areas of knowledge were given by Allah Ta` ala alone, why did this contradiction and difference show up in their two respective injunctions? Qadi Thanaullah of Panipati has given a research-based an¬swer to this question in his Tafsir Mazhari. It is the closest to being right and appealing. Given below is a gist of what I understand from his presentation:
‘The blessed souls Allah Ta` ala honors with His revelation and proph¬et-hood are generally those who are entrusted with the mission of mak¬ing people better. Sent to them is a Book and Shari` ah which offer princi¬ples and rules that serve as blueprints of guidance and betterment for the creation of Allah. Blessed prophets and messengers mentioned in the noble Qur’an as such were all assigned with the mission of Law and Reform. To this related the Revelation they received. But then, there are services essential to the realm of creation (takwin) as well. Generally, ap¬pointed to take care of these are the angels of Allah.
However, Allah Ta` ala has specifically chosen some from among the group of prophets also in order to carry out the services of takwin (whereby the decisions of Allah’s will relating to the management of His creation are enforced). Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) belongs to this very group. These imperatives of takwin relate to minor incidents and events, that a certain person should be saved from getting drowned, or someone should be killed, promoted or de¬moted or subdued. These matters do not relate to common people at all, nor are they addressed by these imperatives. In such events of minor consequences, one may confront some of those situations where killing a person is against the religious law. But, under the imperative of creation, that particular event has been exempted from the general religious law and the act has been made permissible for the person who has been ap¬pointed to carry out this imperative of takwin. Under such conditions, the experts of religious law are not aware of this exempted injunction and are compelled to call it ‘haram’ (unlawful) and the person who has been exempted from this law under the imperative of takwin remains in the right in his own place.
In short, wherever such a contradiction is perceived, it is no contra-diction in the real sense. It is simply the exemption of some minor events from the general religious law. In al-Bahr al-Muhit, Abu Hayyan said:
الجمھور علی أن الخضر نبي و کان علمه معرفة بواطن قد أوحیت إلیه و علم موسیٰ الأحکام والفتیا بالظاھر.
The majority holds Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) to be a prophet and his knowledge was the gnosis of (the inner dimensions of the hu¬man) self which was revealed to him and the knowledge of Musa (عليه السلام) was of the injunctions and rulings on the apparent. (Al-Bahr al-Muhit, p. 147, v. 6)
For the aforesaid reason, it is also necessary that this exemption should take effect through revelation to a prophet. The Kashf (illumina¬tion) and اِلحام I1ham (inspiration) of some Waliyy (man of Allah) are never sufficient to make such an exemption effective. This is the reason why the act of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) in killing a boy apparently without a just rea¬son was haram (unlawful) in the sight of the Shari` ah which rules on the apparent. But, as for al-Khadir (عليه السلام) ، he was appointed to do that while exempted from this law as an imperative of creation (takwin). Taking the Kashf and Ilham of some non-prophet on the analogy of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) and thereby taking something Haram (unlawful) to be halal (lawful) – as popular among some ignorant Sufis – is totally anti-religion and cer¬tainly, a rebellion against Islam.
Ibn Abi Shaibah reports an event relating to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) by saying that Najdah Haruri (a Kharijite) wrote a letter to Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) and asked as to how did al-Khadir (عليه السلام) kill a minor boy when the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has prohibited the killing of minors. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) answered his letter by saying, ‘if you were to receive the same knowledge about some minor as was received by Sayyidna Musa’s (عليه السلام) ‘man of knowledge’ (that is, al-Khadir), the killing of a minor would become permissible for you too!’ What he meant was that al-Khadir (عليه السلام) had received his knowledge about it only through revelation exclusive to a prophet. That nobody can have now because prophet-hood has ended. There is to be no prophet after the Last among Prophets (علیہم السلام) ، that is, Muhammad al-Mustafa (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، who could have through revelation knowledge about some particular person to have been exempted under Divine command in the case of such events. (Mazhari)
From this event too, the real thing becomes clear, that is, no one other than a revelation-receiving prophet has the right to declare anyone as exempted from any Islamic legal injunction.
اَمَّا السَّفِيْنَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسٰكِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَاَرَدْتُّ اَنْ اَعِيْبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَاۗءَهُمْ مَّلِكٌ يَّاْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِيْنَةٍ غَصْبًا
In the first verse, it was said: أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ (As for the boat, it belonged to some poor people – 79). About the poor people to whom this boat belonged, it has been reported from Sayyidna Ka’b al-Ahbar (رض) that they were ten brothers. Five of them were handicapped while the other five worked hard to eke out a living for all of them by plying a boat against whatever fare they could collect.
The definition of a Miskin
A miskin has been defined as one who has nothing. But, from this verse, we learn the true definition of a miskin: Anyone who does not have the amount of wealth and property that exceed his need, basic and necessary, to the limit of legal nisab (threshold of zakah). One who has less than that is also included under the definition of miskin. The reason is that people called ‘al-masakin’ (plural of miskin: poor people) had at least one boat the price of which will not be less than the amount of nisab (threshold). But, as it was engaged in earning what those people needed, basically and necessarily, they were still called ‘masakin’ (poor people). (Mazhari)
Regarding the last sentence of verse 79: مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا ، al-Baghawi has reported from Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) that the direction in which this boat was sailing, there was a cruel king who used to take boats ferrying people through by force. Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) found it expedient to pull out a plank from the boat so that the cruel king, seeing this damaged boat, would let it go and thus those poor people would remain safe from the likely mishap. Comments sage Rumi:
گَر خضر در بحر کشتی را شکست
صد درستی شکست خضر ہست
Yes, al-Khidr did break the boat while sailing at sea But,
a hundred saving graces in his breaking we see
وَاَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلٰمَيْنِ يَتِيْمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِيْنَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهٗ كَنْزٌ لَّهُمَا وَكَانَ اَبُوْهُمَا صَالِحًا ۚ فَاَرَادَ رَبُّكَ اَنْ يَّبْلُغَآ اَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسْتَخْرِجَا كَنْزَهُمَا ڰ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ رَّبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا فَعَلْتُهٗ عَنْ اَمْرِيْ ۭ ذٰلِكَ تَاْوِيْلُ مَا لَمْ تَسْطِعْ عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا
About the statement: وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنزٌ لَّهُمَا (and there was beneath it a treasure for them – 82), Sayyidna Abu al-Dard’ (رض) has reported from the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) that it was a treasure chest of gold and silver. (Nar¬rated by Tirmidhi and a1-Hakim, from Mazhari)
Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) said that it was a tablet of gold inscribed with the following good counsel. This report was also narrated by Sayyidna ` Uthman ibn ` Affan (رض) عنہ with its chain of narrators ascending to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) : (Qurtubi)
- بسم اللہ الرحمٰن الرحیم Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim: With the name of Al¬lah, the Most Merciful, the Very Merciful).
- Amazing is the person who believes in destiny, then how could he de¬spair.
- Amazing is the person who believes that Allah Ta’ ala is the sponsor of all in their sustenance, still, why would he consume himself in striv¬ing for more than he needs and in achieving what is redundant.
- Amazing is the person who believes in death yet, how could he remain all happy.
- Amazing is the person who believes in the reckoning of the Hereafter yet, how could he afford to be heedless.
- Amazing is the person who knows the world and its vicissitudes yet, how could he sit relaxed about it.
- لا إله إلا اللہ محمد رسول اللہ (la ilaha illallah Muhammad rasulullah: There is no god but Allah Muhammad is a messenger of Allah).
The benefit of the righteousness of parents reaches children, and their children.
The statement: وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا (and their father was a pious man – 82) carries a hint that arrangements were made to have the buried treasure secured for the orphan children through al-Khadir for the reason that the father of the orphan children was some pious man dear in the sight of Allah. Therefore, it was to grant his wish and to bring benefit to his children that Allah Ta’ ala made this arrangement. Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir says: ‘It is because of the piety and righteousness of a ser¬vant of His that Allah Ta’ ala protects his children, and the children of his children, and his family, even the homes built around his own.’ (Mazhari)
As in al-Qurtubi, sage Shibli used to say that he was a guarantee of peace for the city and the area adjoining it. When he died, it was soon after his burial that the disbelievers of Dailam crossed Euphrates and took over Baghdad. At that time, everyone was saying that they were struck by double distress – the death of Shibli and the sack of Dailam, (Qurtubi, p. 29, v. 11)
According to Tafsir Mazhari, this verse also indicates that people too should show consideration and affection for the children of the learned and the pious – unless, of course, they were to succumb to disbelief and sin.
Later, the word: اَشُدّ (ashudd) in: أَن يَبْلُغَا أَشُدَّهُمَا (that they reach their maturity – 82) is a plural form of: شدّہ (shiddah) meaning maturity, the age when one reaches full maturity and becomes able to decide what is good or bad for him. According to Imam Abu Hanifah (رح) ، this is the age of twenty-five years. Others put it at forty years because it appears in the Qur’an: حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً (until when he reaches his maturity and reaches [ the age of ] forty years – al-Ahqaf, 46:15)
Prophetic Eloquence and the Nuances of Etiquette: An Example
Before we turn to this example, let us first understand that nothing can happen in this world, good or bad, without the will and intention of Allah Ta` ala. All phenomena of good and evil is as created by Him and is subservient to His intention and will. Things understood or named as evil or bad do deserve to be called as evil or bad in terms of particular in¬dividuals and particular circumstances. But, given a total world-view, they all are necessary and nothing but good in terms of being a Divine creation as based on wisdom.
In short, whatever calamity or accident stands activated in this world simply cannot materialize without the will and intention of Allah Ta` ala. In that respect, every good and evil can also be attributed to Allah Ta’ ala. But, the fact is that, given the creation of Allah Ta’ ala, no evil is evil. Therefore, etiquette demands that evil should not be attrib¬uted towards Allah Ta` ala. The words of Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) men¬tioned in the Qur’an: وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ (It is He who gives me [ things ] to eat and drink, [ 26:79] and when I am sick, it is He who cures me – 26:80) are a good example. They teach us the same eti¬quette when the provision of food and drink has been attributed to Allah Ta` ala. Then comes the provision of cure from sickness. This too has been attributed to Him. In between came the mention of sickness. He attributed it to himself in the words: وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ and when I am sick, it is He who cures me) – not in the manner: When He makes me fall sick, He cures me too.
Let us now consider the diction of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) . When he formed the intention of breaking the boat – which was obviously a vicious act – he attributed this intention to himself and said: اَرَدتُ (ara[ d ] tu: I wanted to make it defective – 79). After that, he mentioned the killing of the boy and wished someone would replace him who would be better than him. Here, there was evil in the act of killing while being blessed with better progeny in his place was something good. Therefore, because of this com¬mon factor, the form used was that of the first person, plural. It was said: اَرَدنَا (aradna: we wished – 81) so that whatever obvious evil there lies in it is beamed back to his own self and whatever good lies in it stands attributed to Allah Ta’ ala. As for the third event – setting the wall right to secure the property of the orphans – it was nothing but good. This was attributed entirely to Allah Ta` ala by saying: فَأَرَادَ رَبُّكَ (fa arada rabbuk: So your Lord willed – 82).
Is al-Khadir (عليه السلام) alive, or is he dead?
The event related to al-Khadir (عليه السلام) mentioned in the Qur’an has nothing to do with the question of his life or death after it. Therefore, no clear statement in this regard is present in the Qur’an, and Sunnah. Some reports suggest his being alive till now while others tell us otherwise. Thus, scholarly opinion has always been at variance in this matter. Those who hold that he is alive argue on the basis of the narrative from. Sayyidna Anas (رض) carried by al-Hakim in his al-Mustadrak. It says, when the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) left this mortal world, there came a person in black and white beard. Tearing the crowd of people, he reached inside and started weeping. Then, turning to the noble Companions (رض) ، he said the following words:
اِنَّ فِی اللہِ عَزَآءً مَّن کُلِّ مُصِیبَۃِ وَّعِوَضاً مِّن کُلِّ فَآیٔتِ ، وَّ خَلَفاً مِّن کُلِّ ھَالِکِ ، فَاِلَی اللہِ فَاَنِیبُوا وَاِلَیہِ فَاَرغَبُوا وَنَظَرُہ ، اِلَیکُم فِی البَلَاء فَنظُرُوا فَاِنَّمَا المُصَابُ مَن لَّم یُجبَر
Indeed, in Allah there is endurance against all distress, and recompense of everything taken away, and He is the real caretaker for He alone survives after everyone is dead. So, return to Allah, turn to Him passionately and long for Him alone – because, deprived is he who has been deprived of the reward of enduring distress.
After having said these words, when the visitor departed, Sayyidna Abu Bakr and Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) said, he was al-Khadir. This narrative has also been reported by Ibn al-Jazri in his al-Hisn al-Hasin where the compiler is particular about including nothing but what is authentic.
And in Sahih Muslim, it appears that Dajjal (Imposter) will reach a point close to Madinah when a man of Madinah will come out to confront him. He will be the best of men during that time, or among the better ones. Abu Ishaq said, this person will be al-Khadir (عليه السلام) .’ (Qurtubi)
And Ibn Abi ad-Dunya has reported in Kitab al-Hawatif with neces¬sary chains of authority that Sayyidna ` Ali (رض) met al-Khadir (عليه السلام) who told him about a Du` a’ which, if recited by anyone after every Salah, would bring for him great reward, forgiveness and mercy. That prayer is given below:
یَامَن لَّا یُشغِلُہ، سَمعِ ، َّیَا مَن لَّا تُغلِطُہُ المَسَآیٔلُ ، وَیَا مَن لَّا یَبرَمُ مَن اِلحَاحِ المُلِحَّینَ ، اَذِقنِی بَردَ عَفوِکَ وَ حِلَاوَۃَ مَغفِرَتِکَ
O He whose hearing of one thing does not hamper His hearing of the other,
And 0 He who never errs in responding to (millions of) requests simultaneously,
And 0 He who never becomes weary of the plaints made repeat¬edly by those who make them in prayers, let me, in Your mercy, have a cool taste of Your forgiveness and sweetness of Your pardon. (Qurtubi)
Then, within the same book, exactly the same event, the same prayer and the same incidence of meeting with al-Khadir (عليه السلام) has been reported from Sayyidna ` Umar (رض) as well. (Qurtubi)
Similar to this, there are countless events relating to al-Khadir (عليه السلام) that have been attributed to the community’s men of Allah ( اَولِیَاء awliya’ ).
As for those who do not accept the likelihood of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) being alive, their major argument comes from the Hadith of Sayyida ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) appearing in Sahih Muslim. He says, ‘one night, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) led the ` Isha’ prayer for us during the latter days of his blessed life. After having turned for salam, he rose and said these words:
اَرَیٔتکُم لَیلُتَکُم ھٰذِۃٖ فَاِنَّ عَلٰی رَاسِ مِایٔۃِ سَنَۃِ مَّنھَا لَا یَبقٰی مِمَّن ھُوَعَلٰی ظَھرِ الاَرضِ اَحَدُ
Do you see this night of yours? And after a hundred years from this night, not one of those present over the land will be alive!
After having narrated this report, Sayyidna Ibn ` Umare (رض) said, ‘peo¬ple say different things about it. But, what the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) meant to say was that this age will be over after hundred years.’
This narrative has been reported in Sahih Muslim also from Sayyidna Jabir ibn ` Abdullah, almost in the same words. But, after hav¬ing quoted this report, Allamah al-Qurtubi said, ‘it offers no conclusive argument for those who hold that the notion of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) being alive is false because, in this narrative, the words used for the entire pro¬geny of Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) are general with a strong emphasis on the generality. Yet, it contains no decisive authority (nass) to prove that this generality covers the entire progeny of Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) necessarily. The reason is that Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) too is among the progeny of Sayyid¬na Adam (عليه السلام) who has not died, nor was he killed. Therefore, as obvious, the letters: الف لام (alif-lam) in the words: عَلٰی الاَرضِ (‘ala al-ard: over the land) is the alif-lam of ‘ahd,’ (which points out to something familiar to the addressees), and means the land of Arabia. It does not include the whole land mass of the world out of which the Arabs had never heard even the names of the land of Gog and Magog (Ya’juj and Ma’juj), the far East and the Islands of the West.’ This was the view of ` Allamah al-Qurtubi.
Similarly, some people have taken the issue of the Finality of Proph¬ethood as contrary to the notion of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) being alive. The an¬swer to this is also clear. It can be said that the way the ‘life’ of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) is not contrary to the Finality of Prophethood, the ‘life’ of al-Khadir can also be quite similar.
Some people have raised a doubt about the ‘life’ of al-Khadir` (عليه السلام) . They say, if he were present during the blessed period of the Holy Proph¬et (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، it would have been mandatory for him to come to him and to serve the cause of Islam under him. Because, it was said in Hadith: لَو کَانَ مُوسٰی حَیَّاً لَّمَا وَسِعَہ، اِلَّا اِتِّبَاعِی “Had Musa been alive [ today ], he would have had no choice but to follow me [ for my coming has resulted in the abrogation of the Faith of Musa But, not far out is the possibility that the ‘life’ and prophethood of al-Khadir ‘still may be different from that of the usual Shari` ah-bearing prophets. Since he is charged with the duty of carrying out certain affairs of creation (takwin) entrusted with him by Allah Ta` ala, He takes care of this appointed duty staying aloof from peo¬ple at large. As for following the Shari’ ah of the Last Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، it is not a far out proposition that he may have started acting in accordance with it after the advent of the prophethood of Sayyidna Muhammad al-Mustafa (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . (Allah knows best).
In Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, Abu Hasan has reported events of several pious elders having met al-Khadir (عليه السلام) but, along with it, he has also said:
وَالجُمھُورُ عَلٰی اَنَّه مَاتَ.
As for the majority of religious scholars, they hold the position that al-Khadir (عليه السلام) has died. (al-Bahr al-Muhit, p. 147, vol.6)
In Tafsir Mazhari, Qadi Thana’ullah of Panipati has said, ‘the resolu¬tion of all these difficulties lies in what Sayyid Ahmad al-Sarhandi, known as the reviver of the second Islamic millennium, said on the basis of his mukashafah (discovery through induced illumination). His words are: ‘I personally asked al-Khadir (عليه السلام) about this matter in a state of kashf. He said’, “I and Ilyas (عليه السلام) are both not alive. But, Allah Ta’ ala has granted us the ability to appear in the guise of living men and help people in different ways.” (Allah, the Pure, the Exalted, knows best)
I have said earlier that none of our articles of faith or problems of re¬ligious practice is connected with the death or life of al-Khadir (عليه السلام) . Therefore, no clarification or explanation was given in the Qur’ an and Sunnah about it. So, there is just no need to enter into unnecessary dis¬cussion or debate in it, nor have we been obligated to believe in any one of the sides of the issue. But, as this problem has found currency on a wider level, details have been provided..
وَيَسْـــَٔـلُوْنَكَ عَنْ ذِي الْقَرْنَيْنِ ۭ قُلْ سَاَتْلُوْا عَلَيْكُمْ مِّنْهُ ذِكْرًا
Verse 84 opens with the statement: يَسْأَلُونَكَ (They ask you). Who is ask¬ing? Related narratives show that they were the Quraysh of Makkah, those who were coached to ask three questions from the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . The purpose was to test his prophethood and veracity. The ques¬tions were about Ruh (spirit), Ashab al-Kahf (People of Kahf) and Dhul-Qarnain. Two of these have already been answered. The story of the People of Kahf has appeared earlier in this Surah, 9-26. The question about ‘Ruh’ has appeared towards the later part of the previous Surah (Bani Isra’il 17:85). Who was Dhul-Qarnain and what happened to him? This is the third question. (Al-Bahr al-Muhit)
Dhul-Qarnain: His identity, period and country and the reason why he was so named
Why was he named Dhul-Qarnain? (the one having two horns) Regarding its reason, there are numerous sayings, and strong differences. Some said that he had two curly locks of hair, therefore, he was called Dhul-Qarnain. Some others said that he ruled countries of the East and West, therefore, he was named Dhul-Qarnain. There was someone who also said that he had marks on his head that resembled those of horns. It appears in some narratives that he had wound marks on both sides of his head, therefore, he was identified as Dhul-Qarnain. Allah knows best. But, this much already stands determined that the Qur’ an has certainly not given him the name of Dhul-Qarnain. In fact, this name came from the Jews. He may have been known by this name with them. Whatever part of the event of Dhul-Qarnain has been mentioned by the Holy Qur’an is no more than what is described below:
He was a righteous and just king who reached the East and the West and conquered countries in between and ruled there justly. All sorts of means had been provided to him by Allah Ta` ala in order to help him achieve his objectives. On the route of his conquests, he traveled in three directions: to the far West, to the far East and then to the mountain range in the North. At the last mentioned place, he closed the pass in between two mountains by a wall cast in molten metal which made it possible for the people of the area to stay protected against the pillage of Gog and Magog.”
As for the question posed by the Jews to test the veracity and proph¬et-hood of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، the answer given had left them satisfied.
They did not ask any_ more questions, such as: Why was he given the name, Dhul-Qarnain? Which country did he come from? What period of time did he belong to? This tells us that the Jews themselves took such questions to be unnecessary and redundant. And it is obvious that the Qur’an mentions only that part of history or stories which relates to what is beneficial in the present life or in the life to come, or on which de¬pends the understanding of something necessary.
Therefore, neither did the Qur’an take these things up nor were there any details about it described in any authentic Hadith. And it was for the same reason that the most righteous forbears of Islam, the Sahabah and the Tabi` in also paid no particular attention to it. Now the thing that remains to be addressed is this matter of histori¬cal narratives or that of the present Torah and Injil. Then it is also evi¬dent that perennial interpolations and alterations have not left even the present Torah and Injil intact as revealed Scriptures. Their status can now be that of history at the most. As for ancient historical narratives, they are overwhelmingly filled with Isra’ili tales, that come from no au¬thentic source, nor have they been found trustworthy in the sight of the learned of any time. Whatever the commentators have said in this mat-ter is a compendium of these very historical narratives. Therefore, there are countless differences in them. Europeans have given great impor¬tance to history in modern times. No doubt, they have carried out pains-taking research in this field.
Through archaeological excavations and col¬lection of inscriptions and artifacts, they have tried to reach the reality behind past events and in this process, they have come up with achieve¬ments not matched in earlier times. But, archaeological finds, inscrip¬tions etc., can certainly help support an event but it is not possible to read a whole event through these. For it, therefore, historical narratives alone have become the basis. As for the validity of old historical narra¬tives in these matters, we have just now learnt that their status is no more than that of a story. In their books, scholars of Tafsir, classical or modern, have reported these narratives in their historical status only – no Qur’anic objective depends on the element of their authenticity. Here too, that which is necessary is being written with the same status in view. A comprehensive research relating to this event appears in ‘Qasas al-Qur’an’ by Maulana Hifzur-Rahman (رح) . Readers with a taste for history may see it there.
In some narratives, it appears that there have been four kings who ruled over the whole world – two believers, and two, disbelievers. The be¬lieving kings are Sayyidna Sulaiman (عليه السلام) and Dhul-Qarnain while the disbelieving ones are Nimrod (Namrud) and Nebuchadnezzar (Bukht Nassar).
About Dhul-Qarnain, it is a strange coincidence that several men have been famous in the world while bearing the same name. And it is equally strange that the title Sikandar (Alexander) is also attached with the Dhul-Qarnain of every period of time.
Approximately three hundred years before Sayyidna Masih (عليه السلام) ، there is a king known as Sikandar (Alexander). He is identified with the appellations of the Greek, the Macedonian, the Roman etc. He was the one who had Aristotle (Arastu) as his minister, who fought a war against Dara (Darius) and who conquered his country after killing him. This was the very last person to have become known in the world by the name Sik¬andar (Alexander). Stories relating to him are comparatively more fa¬mous around the world, so some people have also equated him with the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Qur’ an. This is totally wrong because this person was a fire-worshipping polytheist. As for the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned by the Qur’an, he may not be a prophet for ` Ulama’ have dif¬fered about his being a prophet. But, everyone unanimously agrees that he was a righteous believer – then, there is the textual authority of the Qur’an in its own right which bears testimony to it.
Quoting Ibn ` Asakir, Hafiz Ibn Kathir has given his complete family tree in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah which ascends to Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) . He has said, this is the Sikandar who is recognized as the Greek, the Egyptian and the Macedonian, who founded the city of Iskandariyah (Alexandria) after his name and the Roman calendar dates back to his time. This Sikandar Dhul-Qarnain appeared after a long passage of time from the first one. This time has been identified as being more than two thousand years. He was the one who killed Dara (Darius), overpowered the Persian monarchy and conquered their country. But, this person was a polytheist. Declaring him to be the one mentioned in the Qur’ an is totally wrong. Ibn Kathir’s own words are being quoted below:
فَأَمَّا ذُو الْقَرْنَيْنِ الثَّانِي فهو اسكندر بن فيلبس بن مصريم بن هرمس بن مطيون بْنِ رُومِيِّ بْنِ لَنْطِيِّ بْنِ يُونَانَ بْنِ يافث بن يونة بن شرخون بن رومة بن شرفط بْنِ تَوْفِيلَ بْنِ رُومِيِّ بْنِ الْأَصْفَرِ بْنِ يقز بن العيص بن إسحق بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْخَلِيلِ كَذَا نَسَبَهُ الْحَافِظُ ابْنُ عَسَاكِرَ فِي تَارِيخِهِ.
الْمَقْدُونِيُّ الْيُونَانِيُّ الْمِصْرِيُّ بَانِي إِسْكَنْدَرِيَّةَ الَّذِي يُؤَرِّخُ بِأَيَّامِهِ الرُّومُ، وَكَانَ مُتَأَخِّرًا عَنِ الْأَوَّلِ بِدَهْرٍ طَوِيلٍ كَانَ هَذَا قَبْلَ المسيح بنحو من ثلاثمائة سنة وكان أرطا طاليس الْفَيْلَسُوفُ وَزِيرَهُ وَهُوَ الَّذِي قَتَلَ دَارَا بْنَ دَارَا وَأَذَلَّ مُلُوكَ الْفُرْسِ وَأَوْطَأَ أَرْضَهُمْ.
وَإِنَّمَا نَبَّهْنَا عَلَيْهِ لِأَنَّ كَثِيراً مِنَ النَّاسِ يَعْتَقِدُ أَنَّهُمَا وَاحِدٌ، وَأَنَّ الْمَذْكُورَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ هُوَ الذي كان أرطا طاليس وَزِيرَهُ فَيَقَعُ بِسَبَبِ ذَلِكَ خَطَأٌ كَبِيرٌ وَفَسَادٌ عَرِيضٌ طَوِيلٌ كَثِيرٌ ، فَإِنَّ الْأَوَّلَ كَانَ عَبْدًا مؤمناً صالح وَمَلِكًا عَادِلًا وَكَانَ وَزِيرُهُ الْخَضِرَ، وَقَدْ كَانَ نَبِيًّا عَلَى مَا قَرَّرْنَاهُ قَبْلَ هَذَا.
وَأَمَّا الثَّانِي فَكَانَ مُشْرِكًا وَكَانَ وَزِيرُهُ فَيْلَسُوفًا وَقَدْ كَانَ بَيْنَ زَمَانَيْهِمَا أَزْيَدُ مِنْ أَلْفَيْ سَنَةٍ.
فَأَيْنَ هَذَا مِنْ هَذَا لَا يَسْتَوِيَانِ وَلَا يَشْتَبِهَانِ إِلَّا عَلَى غَبِيٍّ لَا يَعْرِفُ حَقَائِقَ الأمور. البداية والنهاية ط إحياء التراث (2/ 125)
First of all, this research of Imam ibn Kathir, the great scholar of Hadith and history, helps remove a misconception. It clarifies that this Iskandar, who lived three hundred years before Sayyidna Masih (عليه السلام) who fought Dara (Darius) and the Persian kings, and who is the founder of Alexandria, is not the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Qur’ an. This misconception seems to have affected some leading commentators as well. Abu Hayyan in al-Bahr al-Muhit and ` Allamah ‘Alusi in Ruh al-Ma’ani have said that this very Dhul-Qarnain is the one mentioned in the Qur’ an.
The second point emerges from the sentence of Ibn Kathir: وَ اَنَّہ کان نَبِیِّاً (he was a prophet). It shows that, in the sight of Ibn Kathir, the weighti¬er opinion was that he was a prophet. Although, according to the major¬ity of scholars, the weightier opinion is what Ibn Kathir has himself reported on the authority Abi al-Tufayl from Sayyidna Ali (رض) that he was neither a prophet nor an angel, rather was a righteous believer. Therefore, some ` Ulama have explained it by saying that the pronoun in: اَنَّہ کان (he was) reverts to Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) and not to Dhul-Qarnain – which is closer in sense.
This leaves us with a problem. The Qur’ an mentions Dhul-Qarnain. Who is he? Which period of time did he belong to? Regarding this, say¬ings of ` Ulama’ differ. According to Ibn Kathir, his time was the time of Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) two thousand years before the time of Alexand¬er, the Greek, the Macedonian. Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) was his minister. Ibn Kathir has also reported from the early righteous elders in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah that Dhul-Qarnain went for Hajj traveling on foot. When Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) found out about his arrival, he went out of Mak¬kah to greet him. It is said that Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) also prayed for him and passed out some good counsel to him. (Al-Bidayah, p. 108, v. 3) Tafsir Ibn Kathir reports from Adhraqi that he did tawaf with Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) and offered sacrifice.
And Abu al-Raihan al-Bairuni has said in his book al-‘Athar al-Baqiyah ` an al-Qurun al-Khaliyah that ‘this Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Qur’an is Abu Bakr ibn Samma ibn ` Umar ibn Ifriqis al-Himyari, the one who conquered the East and West of the Earth. Tubba’ al-Himya¬ri al-Yamani has shown pride in his poetry that his grandfather, Dhul-Qarnain, was a believer. He says:
قد کان ذوالقرنین جدی مسلماً ملکاً علافی الرض غیر مبعَّد
بَلَغ المشارِقَ والمغارِبَ یَبتَغِی اسباب مُلکِ مَّن کَرِیمِ سَیِّدٖ
Dhul-Qarnain, my grandfather, was a believing Muslim
A king who conquered the non-believing Earth
He reached the Easts and the Wests seeking
Means of power from the noble Master.
Abu Hayyan has reported this narrative in al-Bahr al-Muhit. Ibn Kathir has also mentioned it in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah. Ibn Kathir adds that ‘this Dhul-Qarnain is the first Tubba’ (the title of the kings of Yaman). He was among the Tababi’ah (plural of Tubba’ ) of Yaman and this is the same person who had ruled in favour of Sayyidna (عليه السلام) in the case of Bi’r Sab’ (seven wells) ‘ – (al-Bidayah, p. 105, v. 2). In all these narratives, irrespective of the difference regarding the elements of his identity, his time period has been identified as that of Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) .
As for the detailed discussion relating to Dhul-Qarnain provided by Maulana Hifzur-Rahman in his book, Qasas a1-Qur’an, it can be stated in a nutshell. It can be said that the Dhul-Qarnain mentioned in the Qur’an is the king of Persia who is called Khorus by the Jews, Cyrus by the Greeks, Gorush by the Persians and Kai-Khusro by the Arabs. His period is said to be the period of Daniyal (Daniel) from among the proph¬ets of Bani Isra’i1 – much later than the time of Sayyidna Ibrahim (عليه السلام) . This brings it closer to the time of Iskandar al-Maqduni (Alexander, the Macedonian), the killer of Dara (Darius). But, the learned Maulana – like Ibn Kathir – has also strongly maintained that Alexander, the Macedo¬nian who had Aristotle as his minister cannot be the Dhul-Qarnain. The former was a fire-worshipping polytheist while the later, a righteous be¬liever.
According to his research about the detailed description of Bani Isra’il falling into wrongdoing and rebellion twice, and of the respective punishment given to them twice, as in Surah Bani Isra’il (al-”Isra’ ), the Qur’ an says on the occasion of the first transgression of Bani Isra’il: بَعَثْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ عِبَادًا لَّنَا أُولِي بَأْسٍ شَدِيدٍ فَجَاسُوا خِلَالَ الدِّيَارِ (We sent upon you some of Our ser¬vants having strong aggressive power, who combed through the houses – 17:5). Here, the men with ‘strong aggressive power’ are Nebuchadnezzar and his supporting troops who killed forty thousand – seventy thousand in some narratives – men from the Bani Isra’il in Baytul-Maqdis, while taking more than one hundred thousand of them driven like a flock of sheep to his city of Babel. After that, as regards the second statement of the Qur’ an: ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَا لَكُمُ الْكَرَّةَ عَلَيْهِمْ (Then We gave you your turn to overpower them – 17:6), this event transpired at the hands of the same king, Kai-Khusraw (Khorus or Cyrus). He was a righteous believer. He con-fronted Nebuchadnezzar, secured the release of Bani Isra’il held as cap¬tives by him and rehabilitated them back into Palestine. He even went on to resettle and repopulate the city of Baytul-Maqdis that was ran-sacked earlier to the limit that he managed to have all treasures and major effects of Baytul-Maqdis carried away by Nebuchadnezzar from there returned back into the possession of Bani Isra’il. Thus, this person proved to be the savior of Bani Isra’il (the Jews).
It is likely that of the questions the Jews of Madinah had set for the Quraysh of Makkah which they would ask the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) to test his prophethood, was this question about Dhul-Qarnain and that it had an underlying reason. This question was special since the Jews took him to be their savior and respected him.
In short, Maulana Hifzur-Rahman has collected a sufficiently large number of evidences from the prophesies of the prophets of Bani Isra’il with reference to the present Old Testament as well as from historical narratives to present his research on this subject. Anyone who finds it imperative to proceed towards additional research may consult it. My purpose in reporting all these narratives was simply to bring into focus sayings of leading Muslim scholars, historians and commentators as they relate to the life and time of Dhul-Qarnain. To decide as to whose saying is weightier and worthier out of these is not part of my objective. The reason is that things not claimed by the Qur’ an nor explained by Hadith are things we have not been obligated to fix and clarify on our own for that responsibility does not rest on our shoulders. Thus, whichev¬er saying turns out to be regarded as more weighty, worthy and sound, the aim of the Qur’an will stand achieved after all. Allah knows best. Let us now proceed to the explanation of the verses.
Let us look at the first verse cited above: قُلْ سَأَتْلُو عَلَيْكُم مِّنْهُ ذِكْرًا (I shall now recite to you a narration about him – 83). It prompts us to find out as to why the Holy Qur’an has elected to bypass the possible shorter expres¬sion ذِکرَہ dhikrahu (his narrations) at this place and has opted for two words: مِنہُ ذِکراً (‘minhu dhikra’ ) (some narration about him)? A little reflec¬tion would reveal that these two words have been used as indicators. They tell us that the Qur’an has not promised to narrate the entire story of Dhul-Qarnain in its historical setting. Instead, it has stated that it will mention it in part. This is evident from the use of the particle: مِن (min) and the nunnation (tanwin) of ‘dhikra’ – a distinct feature of Arab¬ic grammar. As for the historical debate relating to the name, lineage and time period of Dhul-Qarnain reported earlier, the Holy Qur’ an has already said in advance that it has skipped it as something unnecessary.
حَتّٰٓي اِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِيْ عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ
The statement in verse 86: حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ (until when he reached where the sun sets) means that he reached the far limit towards the West beyond which there was no populated area.
The word: حَمِئَةٍ (Hami’ah) in the succeeding phrase: فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ (into a miry spring) literally means dark marsh or mud carrying the sense of water beneath which there is dark mud and which causes the water it-self to appear black. As for the sense of his seeing the Sun setting into such a spring, it means that an onlooker perceived it as setting into the spring because there was no habitation or dry land in sight. This is like being in an open field while the Sun is setting where as far as one can see there appears to be no mountain, tree, or structure, naturally one who looks at the sight would feel that the Sun was sinking into the land mass.
Said in the sentence which follows immediately was: وَوَجَدَ عِندَهَا قَوْمًا (and found near it a people), that is, near this dark spring, Dhul-Qar¬nain found a people. The later part of the verse shows that these people were infidels. Therefore, as said in the next verses, Allah Ta’ ala gave Dhul-Qarnain the choice of punishing them right away for their infidel¬ity. Or, if he so wished, he could choose to deal with them benevolently by first asking them to consider the message of faith and bring them round to embrace it through dissemination of information and good coun¬sel. After that, he could reward those who believe and punish those. who do not. In response, Dhul-Qarnain elected to go by the second option. He said that he would try to bring them to the straight path through good counsel and advice. Then, he would punish those who stood by their infi¬delity and reward those who believed and did what was good.
The statement: قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ (We said, ‘O Dhul-Qarnain…) shows that Allah Ta` ala has Himself said this addressing Dhul-Qarnain. Now, if Dhul-Qarnain is taken to be a prophet, there is no problem here. It will mean that it was said to him through the medium of revelation. And if, his prophethood is not to be recognized, there is only one way to rationalize the statement: قُلْنَا (qulna: We said) and the address: يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ
Dhul-Qarnain). This way could be to take this address to have been made to Dhul-Qarnain through the medium of some prophet – as sug¬gested by the reported presence of Al-Khadir (عليه السلام) with him. Then, it is also possible that this revelation is just not the kind of wahy that is pecu¬liar to a prophet or messenger of Allah. May be, it is a wahy or revela¬tion in the literal sense like the word: وَاَوحَینَا (awhaina: We revealed or put into the heart) used in the Qur’ an for the mother of Sayyidna Musa (عليه السلام) – though, there is no probability of her being a prophet or messenger of Allah. But, Abu Hayyan says in al-Bahr al-Muhit that the command given here to Dhul-Qarnain is a command to punish and kill those peo¬ple. No such command can be given without the authority of a revelation to a prophet. This action cannot be taken on the authority of Kashf (illu¬mination) and Ilham (inspiration), nor can it be activated through any other source without the authority of wahy (revelation) to a nabiyy (prophet). For this reason, no probability other than the one being men¬tioned here is sound: Either Dhul-Qarnain himself is taken to be a proph¬et, or that there may be a prophet present during his time and it is through him that Dhul-Qarnain is addressed. And Allah knows best.
حَتّٰٓي اِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِنْ دُوْنِهِمَا قَوْمًا ۙ لَّا يَكَادُوْنَ يَفْقَهُوْنَ قَوْلًا
Explanation of Difficult Words
- The word السَّدَّ used in the expression: بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ denotes what be-comes a barrier against something. It may be a wall or mountain and it may be natural or artificial. At this place, the word: السَّدَّيْنِ (as-saddain) means two mountains that stood as a barrier against the intrusion of Ya’juj and Ma’juj. But, they still attacked through the pass in between the two mountains and which was closed by Dhul-Qarnain.
- The word: زُبَرَ (zubar) in: زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ (zubar al-hadid – 96) is the plural of: زُبرہ (zubrah) which means sheets in the sense of pieces, fragments or ingots of iron which were to be used in the wall designed to block the pass, obviously a stronger device as compared to bricks and rocks.
- The word: الصَّدَفَيْنِ (as-sadafain – 96) signifies the two sides of the mountain facing each other.
- According to most commentators, the last word: قِطْرًا (qitr) in verse 96 means molten copper. There are some others who have explained ‘qitr’ as molten iron or pewter. (al-Qurtubi)
The expression: دَكَّاءَ (dakkaa’a – 98) used about the wall means what would crumble down to the level of the ground.
قَالُوْا يٰذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ اِنَّ يَاْجُوْجَ وَمَاْجُوْجَ مُفْسِدُوْنَ فِي الْاَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًاعَلٰٓي اَنْ تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّا
The Identity of Ya’juj Ma’juj and the Location of the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain
A lot of absurd and strange things disseminated through Isra’ili narratives and historical stories have found currency to the extent that some commentators have also reported them in terms of their historical status, though they themselves do not find them trustworthy. The truth of the matter is that the Qur’an has mentioned it briefly and the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has informed his community also about the details as and where necessary. What has to be believed in as part of one’s faith is limit¬ed to what has been covered in the Qur’ an, and Hadith. Beyond that, whatever historical and geographical information has been provided by commentators, Hadith experts and historians could be correct, or might as well prove incorrect. As for the variant sayings of historians from among those mentioned above, they are based on traces, analogies and conjectures. Whether they are true or false, it simply does not affect what the Qur’an says.
At this place, I would first quote Ahadith which, according to re¬spected Hadith experts, are sound or trustworthy. After that, historical narratives will be taken up to the measure of their need in the present context.
Hadith Reports about Ya’juj Ma’juj
At least this much stands doubtlessly proved from the statements of Qur’an, and Sunnah that Ya’juj Ma’juj are national entities from among human beings. They are the progeny of Sayyidna Nuh (عليه السلام) very much like them because so says the categorical statement (nass) of the Qur’an: وَجَعَلْنَا ذُرِّيَّتَهُ هُمُ الْبَاقِينَ which means that all human beings surviving on the Earth after the Flood during the time of Sayyidna Nuh (عليه السلام) shall all be from among his progeny. Historical narratives converge on the fact that they are of the progeny of Yafith son of Nuh عليه السلام۔ which is supported by a weak Hadith as well. Regarding the rest of their antecedents, the Hadith of Sayyidna an-Nawwas ibn Sam` an (رض) is most detailed and sound in authority. It has been reported in the Sahih of Muslim and in all books of Ahadith recognized for their authenticity. Hadith experts de¬clare it to be sound and authentic. This Hadith carries details concern¬ing the appearance of Dajjal (anti-Christ), the coming of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and then, the appearance of Ya’juj Ma’ juj. A translation of this entire Hadith is being given below:
Sayyidna an-Nawwas ibn Sam` an (رض) says that one morning the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) mentioned Dajjal (anti-Christ) and while doing that he said a few things which showed the low and negative aspect of his profile (such as his being one-eyed). Then, he also said a few things about him to the effect that his emergence was a matter of ominous trial (such as Para¬dise and Hell being with him and other extra-ordinary aspects of his per-sona). His narration (gripped us with such fear) as if Dajjal was lurking somewhere (in the nearby) grooves of the date palms.
When we presented ourselves before him in the evening, he read our confused inner condition and asked, ‘What is the matter with you?’ (What did you conclude from what I had said?). We submitted, ‘You talked about Dajjal in the morning. Of things you said about him some seemed to belittle the matter of his emergence while you also said other things which seemed to highlight his matter to proportions of a great trial to the extent that we thought he was present close to us in the grooves of the date-palms!’ Then he said, ‘Not just the Dajjal, there are other trials I fear may afflict you more (that is, the trial of Dajjal is not as great as you have taken it to be). If he appears – and I am among you – I shall confront him personally without you. And if he appears – and I am not among you – everyone will try to confront him in terms of his courage. And Allah is, in my absence, the guardian and protector of all Muslims. (You will recognize him as) a young man – hard curly hair, one eye protruding upwards (blind in the other as in other narratives). And if I can liken him (in this ugly profile) with someone, it is ` Abd al-‘Uzza ibn Qatan (an ugly person from the tribe of Banu Khuza` ah during the Jahiliyyah).
If a Muslim from among you runs into him, he should recite the initial verses of Surah al-Kahf against him (which will keep him protected from Dajjal). Dajjal will emerge from the empty space between Syria and ` Iraq creating havoc right and left. 0 servants of Allah, you then stay firm against him.’ We said, ‘Ya RasulAllah, and how long will he tarry on the Earth?’ He said, ‘Forty days. But, the first day will be equal to one year, and the second day to one month, and the rest of the days equal to the usual.’ We said, ‘Ya RasulAllah, so on that day which will be equal to one year, shall we be offering (the five-timed) Salah for one day only?’ He said, ‘No. You will, rather, go by estimating time and offering prayers for the whole year.’ We said, ‘Ya RasulAllah, how fast will he be moving about the Earth?’ He said, ‘Fast like the cloud being followed by wind. Then he will pass by a people and ask them to rally round his false beliefs. They will believe in him and respond to his call.
Then he will commission the clouds. They will start raining. He will order the Earth. It will turn green and verdant (and herds of cattle will graze therein) and when they return in the evening, their humps shall be much higher than before and their udders shall be full of milk and their waists shall be plumb. Then, Dajjal will pass by another people and invite them to his disbelief. But, they will turn down his invitation. Losing hope, when he goes away from them, these believers will be stricken with famine and nothing of what once belonged to them will remain in their hands. And when Dajjal will walk by this wasteland, he will address it, saying: ‘Bring your treasures out.’ So, its treasures will start following him like the honeybees follow their queen. Then Dajjal will call a man whose youth shall be in full bloom, strike him with a sword and cut him into two pieces and the two pieces will be placed as far apart as the distance between an archer and his target.
Then he will call him. He will come (alive) to Dajjal beaming with joy over his feat. In the meantime, Allah Ta` ala will send down Al-Masih ibn Maryam (Sayyidna ` Isa عليه السلام). He will alight at the white tower in the eastern part of Dimashq (Damascus) clad in two colored sheets with both hands resting on the wings of angels. When he bows his blessed head, drops of water will drip down from there (as if one has just come out of the shower). And when he raises his head up, from it drop silvery globules like genuine pearls. Any disbeliever who breathes the air from his breath will die that very instant and his breath will reach as far as reaches his glance. Then he will look for him until he will overtake him at the gate of Ludd (still there in Baytul-Maqdis by the same name) and kill him. After that, ` Isa ibn Maryam (علیہما السلام) will come to people whom Allah protected from Dajjal. He will then touch their faces (with compassion for them) and give them the good news of having high ranks in Paradise.
While he would still be in the same state, Allah will reveal to ` Isa (عليه السلام) : ‘Verily, I am going to send forth the kind of men from among servants belonging to Me against whom no two hands will dare fight. So, you assem¬ble and take My servants to the sanctuary of Mount Tur (which Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) will do) and would send out Ya’juj and Ma’juj and they will be seen hurtling down from every side. The first wave of them will pass by Bulhairah Tabariyyah. They would drink out everything in it and when others of them will pass by it, (and seeing it dry) they will say: ‘Surely, in this, there must have been water earlier in time.’
The prophet of Allah, ` Isa (عليه السلام) ، and his companions will take refuge on the Mount Tur. Other believers will find sanctuaries in their own for¬tified places. Food supplies will be there, but it would run short where-upon the head of a bull will be considered better than a hundred dinar. Then, the prophet of Allah, ` Isa (عليه السلام) ، and his companions will turn to Allah (and pray for the removal of their distress which will be answered) and He will send an epidemic (worm in neck) and they will be annihilated en masse to the last person. Then, the prophet of Allah, ` Isa (عليه السلام) ، and his com¬panions will come down from the Mount of Tur and see not a hand-span worth of land remaining unfilled with corpses and (because of their decomposition) the place will be reeking with a strong stench. (Seeing this state of affairs) the prophet of Allah, ‘Isa, and his companions will turn to Allah (praying for the removal of this distress as well which Allah will answer). He will send birds with necks like the neck of a camel. They will haul these corpses and throw them at the place where Allah wills (according to some narratives, they will put them away into the sea).
After that, Allah Ta’ ala will send rains. No clay home in the villages and no Bedouin tent in the desert will remain without it. Lands will be washed clean and left like mirror. Then, Allah Ta’ ala will tell the Earth, ‘Grow your fruits and unravel the abundance of your blessings.’ (And so it shall be and such shall be the bliss of increase that) one pomegranate will suffice as food for a group of people. And its shell will be used to make canopies for protection against the Sun and milk will be so blessed as to suffice for a large number of people. Milk from one cow will be enough for everyone in a tribe and milk from one goat will be adequate for a whole clan. (After forty years of this period of extra-ordinary abun¬dance, peace and protection, when the time due for Qiyamah will draw near) Allah Ta` ala will send a pleasant wind which will cause their armpits to be benumbed and the soul of every believer and every Muslim will be taken away. Left there will be the worst among human beings, the wicked and the disbelieving ones, who will indulge in shame and outrage on the Earth like donkeys. And it is against them that the Hour will stand activated.’
As for the story of Ya’juj and Ma’juj, the narration of Sayyidna ` Abd al-Rahman ibn Yazid (رض) deals with it in greater detail. It says that once they pass by Buhairah Tabariyyah, Ya’ juj and Ma’ juj will climb Jabal al-Khamar, a mountain from among the mountains of Baytul-Maqdis, and say, ‘We have killed whoever there was on the Earth. Come, let us now kill whoever there is out in the skies.” So they will shoot their ar¬rows towards the sky and Allah will make their arrows return back to them smeared with blood (so that those dim-witted people are pleased with the prospect that they have done away with whoever there was in the skies).
About the story of Dajjal, the narration of Sayyidna Abu Said al-Khu¬dri (رض) adds that Dajjal will stay away from al-Madinah al-Munawwa¬rah. When it will not be possible for him to reach even the link roads leading to it, he will come to a saline tract of land close to Madinah. At that time, a man will come out to confront him and this man will be the best of men at that time (or, among the best of men). Addressing him, he will say, ‘I am certain that you are the Dajjal about whom the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) had told us.’ (Hearing this), Dajjal will start saying, ‘Tell me, O people, if I kill this man, then make him alive, will you still doubt the thing (about my being God)?’ They said, ‘No.’ So he will kill him and then bring him back to life whereupon he will tell Dajjal, ‘By Allah, now I have become more certain that you are the Dajjal.’ Hence, Dajjal would want to kill him (all over again), but he will remain unable to enforce it. (Sahih Muslim)
According to a narration of Sayyidna Abu Said al-Khudri (رض) appearing in the Sahih of al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “On the day of Qiyamah, Allah Ta` ala will ask Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) ، ‘raise the Hell-bound from your progeny.’ He will wonder, ‘my Lord, who are they?’ Then, the Divine command will go forth that nine hundred and ninety nine of every one thousand are Hell-bound with only one bound to go to Paradise. Scared, the noble Sahabah asked, ‘Ya Rasulal¬lah, ‘who from among us shall be the one bound to go to Paradise?’ Thereupon, he said, ‘do not worry because out of these nine hundred and nine¬ty nine Hell-bound people, there will be only one from among you while, ratio-wise, there will be a thousand from among the Ya’juj Ma’juj.’ According to a narration of Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) in the Musta¬drak of al-Hakim, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said that Allah Ta` ala divided all human beings into ten parts. Nine of these belong to Ya’juj Ma’juj while the remaining one part covers the human beings of the whole world. (Ruh al-Ma` ani)
After having quoted these narrations in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, Ibn Kathir has written that it tells us that the number of Ya’juj Ma’juj is significantly higher than the entire human population.
According to a narration of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah رضی اللہ تعالیٰ عنه appearing in the Musnad of Ahmad and Abu Dawud with sound chains of authority, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said that ` Isa (عليه السلام) will live on the Earth for forty years after his descension. As for the narration in Muslim which puts this duration of stay at seven years, it has been rated as less in strength or having some unapparent meaning (marjuh or mu’awwal) by Hafiz in Fath al-Bari who has declared the very period of forty years as correct. Then there are clarifications in Ahadith which report that this whole pe¬riod will be marked with peace and blessings. Absolutely no malice and hostility will exist among people, none even between any two of them. (Muslim and Ahmad)
Al-Bukhari reports from Sayyidna Abu Said al-Khudri (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said that the Hajj and ` Umrah of Baytullah will contin¬ue even after the emergence of Ya’juj Ma’juj. (Tafsir Mazhari)
Al-Bukhari and Muslim report from Umm al-Mu’minin, Sayyidah Zainab bint Jahsh (رض) that one day the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) woke up from sleep with his blessed face red while he was saying:
لا الٰہ اِلاَّ اللہ ویل للعرب من شرقد اقترب فتح الیوم من ردم یأجوج ومأجوج مثل ھذہ و حلّق تسعین.
‘La ilaha Wallah. Alas for Arabia! Evil is drawing near. To-day, a part of the Wall of Ya’juj Ma’juj has opened up like this’ and he made a ring by joining the tips of his thumb and index finger (to indicate the size of the hole in the Wall).
Umm al-Mu’minin, Sayyidah Zainab (رض) says that following his statement, we submitted, ‘Ya RasulAllah, is our destruction possible even when we have righteous people among us?’ He said, ‘Yes, it is – (par¬ticularly) when evil (khabath) abounds’ (similar reports appear in the two Sahihs from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) ، as in al-Bidayah wa an-Ni¬hayah of Ibn Kathir). That a hole was made into the Wall of Ya’juj Ma’juj to the measure shown in the Hadith could be taken in the real sense and also in a figurative one which would indicate the weakening of the Wall made by Dhul-Qarnain. (Ibn Kathir, Abu Hayyan)
The Musnad of Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah report from a narra¬tion of Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said: Ya’juj Ma’juj keep digging through the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. Doing it every day they reach the farthest part of this iron Wall so close as would make the light on the other side become visible to them. But, at that point, they say that they would dig all the way through it the next day, and return. However, Allah Ta’ ala makes it as strong as it was all over again. Then comes the next day and they start anew to dig through it. This cycle of their effort to dig and demolish and that of mending and fortifying from Allah’s side will continue until such time up to which Allah Ta’ ala intends to hold back Ya’juj Ma’juj. And when He intends to release them, they will dig, reach the farthest limit and say, ‘If Allah wills, we shall go across it tomorrow.’ (By making their effort dependent on the name and will of Allah, they will have the taufiq to succeed) So, when they return the next day as usual, they will find the remaining non-dug portion of the Wall as they had left it and this they will demolish and go across.
Tirmidhi has reported this narration on the authority of Abu ` Aw nah, Qatadah, Abi Rafi’, Abu Hurairah (رض) ، in that order, and then he has said: غریب لا نعرفه إلا من ھذا الوجه (Unfamiliar. We do not know it except from this source). Ibn Kathir has also reported this narration in his Tafsir and then he has this to say:
إسنادہ جِیّد قوي ولکن متنه في رفعه.
Its chains of narrators are good and strong, but its text in the matter of its ascension (the effort to raise the channel of transmission up to attribute it the Holy Prophet is not supported by stronger sources).
Ibn Kathir comments on this Hadith in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah: If it is held to be correct that this Hadith is not marfu’ (traceable in as¬cending order to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)), instead, is a narration from Ka’b al-Ahbar, then, it becomes clear that it is not worthy of trust. Now there is another possibility. The narration is regarded to be free from any error made by the narrator. It is given the status of the very saying of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، then, it would mean that this action of digging the Wall by Ya’juj Ma’juj will start at the time when the hour of their emer¬gence draws close. And as for the statement of the Qur’an, that is, no hole can be made in this Wall, it refers to the time when Dhul-Qarnain had made it. This leaves no contradiction here. Moreover, it could also be said that breaking a hole into the Wall means a hole which goes all the way through it – and this narration states it clearly that this hole does not go all the way through it. (Al-Bidayah, p. 12, v. 2)
In Fath al-Basri, (رح) . Hafiz ibn Hajar has reported this Hadith with refer¬ence to ` Abd ibn Humaid and Ibn Hibban as well and said that they all narrate from Qatadah and some of their narrators are the authorities of the Sahih of al-Bukhari. Then, he has not entertained any doubt about the Hadith being rated as mares` (ascending to the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)). Then he says with reference to Ibn al-Arabi that this Hadith contains three Divine signs, that is, miracles: (1) That Allah Ta’ ala did not let their minds think of the alternative of continuing their digging operation round the clock including the day and night both. If so, it would have not been at all difficult for a people with so many of them to work in shifts of day and night with specified assignment of duties. (2) That their minds were turned away from taking the option of scaling over the Wall by using artifices and devices. Although, from a narration of Wahb ibn Mu¬nabbih, it becomes clear that these people tilled the land which also yielded fruits and they used instruments of many kinds in this process. It should have not been difficult for them under these circumstances to assemble together the means of scaling the Wall. (3) That for such a long time it never occurred to them that they should have said, Insha’Allah: If Allah wills, and that this statement will issue forth through their speech only when the time of their emergence will come close.
Ibn al-Arabi has said that this Hadith also tells us that there are people among the Ya’juj Ma’juj who believe in the existence of Allah and in His Will. Then, it is also possible that Allah Ta` ala may cause this statement to issue forth through their speech without having any belief and they find their job all done with its barakah (ashrat as-saah by as-Sayy¬id Muhammad, p. 154). But, what is obvious here is that they too have re¬ceived the call of the blessed prophets. Otherwise, according to the textu¬al authority of the Qur’an (nass), they should not be subjected to the punishment of Jahannam: وَمَا كُنَّا مُعَذِّبِينَ حَتَّىٰ نَبْعَثَ رَسُولًا (And it is not Our way to punish [ anyone ] unless We send a messenger – al-Isra’, 17:15). This tells us that the invitation to believe has reached them too. But, they chose to stick by their denial. However, there will also be some people among them who would be subscribing to the view that Allah exists and that He has intention and will – though, having this much of a belief is not sufficient for ‘Iman or faith, unless there is the essential faith in Prophet-hood and Hereafter. However, the saying of ‘Insha’Allah’: If Allah wills, despite Kufr (disbelief), is not a far out possibility.
Conclusions drawn from the narrations of Hadith
That which stands proved about Ya’juj Ma’juj from the statements of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) as in the Ahadith cited above is given below:
(1) Yajuj Ma’juj are the progeny of Sayyidna Nuh (عليه السلام) like the rest of human beings. The majority of Hadith experts and historians identify them as the progeny of Yafith, the son of Nuh (عليه السلام) . And it is also obvious that the progeny of Yafith son of Nuh (عليه السلام) had spread itself out far and wide among different tribes, nationalities and many a populated areas between the period of Sayyidna Nub (عليه السلام) and that of Dhul-Qarnain. Thus, it is not necessary that the races known as Ya’ juj Ma’ juj were pinned down as a whole exclusively behind the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. There must have been some of their tribes and nationalities living on the other side of the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. However, it can be said that the savage killers and destroyers among them were restrained through the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. Historians refer to them generally as Turks, Mangkhol or Mongols. But, from among these, the name of Yajuj Ma’ juj applies only to the savage, uncivilized, blood-thirsty tyrants who re¬mained untouched by civilization. The Turks, Mangkhols or Mongols who became civilized stand unsubstantiated by this name.
(2) The number of Ya’ juj Ma’ juj is several times higher than the num¬ber of the human beings of the whole world, at least at the ratio of one to ten. (Hadith #2)
(3) The tribes and nationalities of Ya’ juj Ma’juj stopped from crossing over to the other side of the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain will remain so restrained right through the close of the zero Hour of the Last Day of Qiyamah. The time destined for their emergence will be preceded by the appearance of Mahdi and Masih (علیہم السلام) and that of Dajjal (the anti-Christ). They will be released exactly after ‘Isa (عليه السلام) has descended and has killed Dajjal. (Hadith #1)
(4) At the time Ya’juj Ma’juj are to be released, the Wall of Dhul-Qar¬nain will crumble down all leveled to the ground (verse 18:98). The merciless hordes of Ya’juj Ma’juj would present an spectacle when, coming down from the mountain slopes all simultaneously, the speed of their descent would give the impression that they are sliding down to the ground en masse. These countless savage humans will hit the whole earth and its population. No one would be able to stand up against the killing and plunder by them. The apostle of Allah, Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) will, under Divine command, take refuge on Mount Tur along with his believing com¬panions. People in other habitations of the world will seek asylum in available safe places. When supplies run out, necessities of life will become highly expensive. As for the rest of human population, these sav¬ages will finish them off and lick out their rivers. (Hadith #1)
(5) Then, it will be through the prayer of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and his companions that these countless locust like peoples will be destroyed si¬multaneously. The earth will be covered up with their dead bodies and the stench from which would make human rehabilitation on the earth difficult. (Hadith #1)
(6) Then, it will be through the prayer of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and his companions once again that their dead bodies would be disposed of into the sea or made to disappear altogether and the whole earth will be washed clean through a universal rain. (Hadith #1)
(7) After that, there shall come a reign of peace lasting for nearly forty years. The earth will open the gates of its blessings. No one will re-main poor and needy. No one will hurt or harass anyone. Peace and com¬fort shall prevail universally. (Hadith #3)
(8) During this period of peace, the Hajj and ` Umrah of Baytullah will continue. (Hadith #4) As for the death of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and his burial in the Sacred Mausoleum, it already stands proved from the nar¬rations of Hadith. This too will transpire when he will travel to Hijaz for Hajj or ` Umrah. (As reported by Muslim from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) – explanatory note). After that, he will die in al-Madinah al-Taibah and buried in the Sacred Mausoleum.
(9) During the later period of the life of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) ، he was shown a dream activated through a revelation (wally) that a hole had opened up in the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain, which he declared to be a sign of impending evil for Arabia. Some Hadith experts (al-mulhaddithin) have interpreted the opening of a hole in this Wall as real. Some others have taken it figuratively in the sense that this Wall of Dhul-Qarnain has become weak, the time of the emergence of Ya’juj Ma’juj has come close and its effects will show up in the form of Arab decline. Allah knows best.
(10) After his descent, he will stay on the earth for forty years. (Hadith #3) Earlier than him, the period of Mahdi (عليه السلام) will also be that of forty years, part of which will feature the confluence and cooperation of both. In his book, Ashrat al-Sa` ah (p.145), Sayyid Sharif Barzanji has said that the period of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) will follow the killing of Dajjal and the peace prevailing thereafter and extend to forty years. This will make his total stay in the world for a period of forty-five years. And, it has been mentioned on page 112 that Mahdi (عليه السلام) will appear a thirty plus years before Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and the total period credited to him will be that of forty years. Thus, the presence of the two blessed souls shall coincide for a number of five, or seven years, and both their periods will be marked by a reign of justice throughout the world. The earth will open up the gates of its blessings, neither will anyone remain poor, nor will anyone bear malice and hostility against anyone else. Of course, the great trial of the appearance of Dajjal will hit the whole world during the later period of Mahdi (عليه السلام) – with the exception of Makkah, Madinah, Baytul-Maqdis and the Mount of Tur. This trial will be the greatest as compared to the rest of the trials the world has faced. Dajjal and his dis¬order will last for forty days only. But, out of these forty days, the first day will be that of one year, the second day that of one week and the rest of days will be like they usually are. One way this can happen is that these days are really made to be that long – because, during those later times, nearly all events will be extraordinary and miraculous in nature. Then, it is also possible that the days and nights keep alternating as they usually do. But, it stands proved from Hadith that Dajjal would be a great magician. When so, it is also possible that, under the spell of his magic, common people remain unable to notice this revolutionary change in the alternation of days and nights and continue seeing this phenome¬na as nothing but one usual day. As for the injunction in Hadith of performing Salah during that day on the estimated analogy of usual days, it also seems to support the assumption that the days and nights would be changing really, but people would not realize it cognitively. Therefore, in this day of one year, the order given was to perform Salah for three hun¬dred sixty days. Otherwise, had the day been really one day only, the rules of the Shari` ah would have required only five Salahs as obligatory for one day as such. In short, the total period of Dajjal will have forty such days.
After that, Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) will descend, kill the Dajjal and put an end to the disorder created by him. However, quite close to that the Ya’juj Ma’juj will emerge unleashing another spate of disorder, pillage and killing. But, the period of their presence will not go beyond a few days when they too will be destroyed all simultaneously as a result of the prayer of Sayyidna Isa (عليه السلام) . In short, there will be two ominous trials of Dajjal and Ya’juj Ma’juj during the later period of Sayyidna Mahdi (عليه السلام) and the early period of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) which will shake the people of the entire earth upside down. Before and after these counted few days, however, the whole world will experience justice, peace and blessings. During the period of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) ، there will remain on the earth no creed and religion other than Islam. The earth will start sending forth its hidden treasures. No one will remain poor and needy. Even beasts and poisonous life forms will not hurt anyone.
An essential point of guidance:
As far as the information given above about the Ya’juj Ma’juj and the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain, these have been communicated to the Muslim Ummah by the Qur’ an, and the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) . Believ¬ing in it as such is necessary and opposition, impermissible. Now there remains the area of geographical and racial investigation as to questions like – Where is the wall of Dhul-Qarnain located? Who are these people called Ya’juj Ma’juj? Where do they live now? Here, it can be said that no Islamic ‘Aqidah (article of faith) depends on knowing this, nor does the understanding of any verse of the Qur’ an hinge on it. But, the relig¬ious scholars of the Muslim Ummah, only in order to answer the absur¬dities dished out by antagonists and to provide additional insight, have discussed this subject in details. A part of it is being reported here.
Views of Muslim scholars
In his Tafsir, al-Qurtubi has reported from as-Suddiyy that twen¬ty-one of the twenty-two tribes of Ya’juj Ma’juj were shut off by the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. One of their tribes was left out on the inner side of the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. They are Turks. After that, al-Qurtubi says that the sayings of the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) about the Turks resemble the Ya’juj Ma’juj and that the incidence of a war between them and Muslims dur¬ing the later times appears in a hadith of the Sahih of Muslim. At present, he continues: A large number of Turk people are arrayed against Muslims. Only Allah knows their exact number and only He can save Muslims from their evil. It appears as if they are the Ya’ juj Ma’juj – or, at least, are their forerunners. (Al-Qurtubi, p. 58, v.11) (Al-Qurtubi belongs to the sixth century of Hijrah when the Tatar onslaught came and de¬stroyed the Islamic Caliphate. This great upheaval is well known in Islamic history and the Tatars are reputed to be from the Mongol or Mongk¬hol Turks). But, as for al-Qurtubi, he has simply said that they resembled the Ya’juj Ma’juj and could be their forerunners. He has not identified the havoc caused by the Tatars as the emergence of the Ya’juj Ma’juj which is one of the signs of the coming of the last day of Qiyamah. The reason is that the Hadith of the Sahih of Muslim mentioned above makes it clear that this emergence will come to pass after the descent of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) during his period.
Therefore, ` Allamah ‘Alusi has, in his Tafsir Ruh al-Ma` ani, strongly refuted the position of those who have taken the Tatars as the Ya’ juj Ma’juj. According to him, the very thought is a flagrant error and certain¬ly an opposition to the textual authority of Hadith. However, this much he too said that this havoc, no doubt, did resemble the havoc to be caused by the Ya’juj Ma’juj. (Ruh, p. 44, v. 16) It proves that the view of some contemporary historians who take modern Russia or China or both as the Ya’juj and Ma’juj would have not been really wrong. However, the condition is that they should have meant by it the same thing said by al-Qurtubi and al-‘Alusi, that is, the upheaval caused by them resembled that of the Ya’ juj and Ma’juj. But, declaring it to be the very emergence of the Ya’ juj Ma’juj – something reported in the Qur’an, and Hadith as signs of Qiyamah and which was due to come after the descent of Sayyid¬na ` Isa (عليه السلام) – is absolutely wrong. The approach is erroneous and it betrays a rejection of the textual authority (nusus) of Hadith.
Famous historian, Ibn Khaldun has taken up this subject in the pro¬legomena of his history. As part of his description of the sixth kingdom, he has alluded to the geographical location of the Ya’juj Ma’juj and the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain as follows:
“Inhabiting towards the west, in the ninth part of the seventh kingdom, there are tribes of Turks called قنجاق (qinjaq) [ Qipcaq or Qypchaq as in Bertold Spuler ] and چرکس (Cherkess) [ Circas¬sians, the Caucasian people, as in Spuler ]. The eastern side is populated by the Ya’juj Ma’juj. In between the two, Mount Caucasus draws the line of demarcation. It has been mentioned ear¬lier that it begins from al-bahr al-muhit located in the east of the fourth kingdom and goes up to the northern end of the kingdom. Then, receding away from al-bahr al-muhit, it continues in a north-western direction and enters the ninth part of the fifth kingdom. From here, it reverts to its first direction until it enters the ninth part of the seventh kingdom. Once it reaches there, it goes from the south in a north-western direction. Located in between this mountain range is the ‘Wall of Alex¬ander.’ It is situated in the middle of the ninth part of the seventh kingdom as we have identified earlier and the Qur’an too informs us about it.
In his book of geography, ` Abdullah ibn Khurdazbih has reported the dream of the ` Abbasi Khalifah, Wathiq Billah in which he had seen that the Wall had opened up. As a result, he woke up all upset and sent his emissary, Sallam on a fact-finding mission. On his return, he reported the condition and distinct features of this very Wall.” (Muqaddimah ibn Khaldun, p. 79)
That Wathiq Billah, the Abbasi Khalifah sent an observer group to investigate the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain and that it did return after having made the investigation has been mentioned by Ibn Kathir too in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah. Also said there is that this Wall has been made in iron with huge locked gates and is located towards the north-east. After narrating the event, Tafsir Kabir and al-Tabari add: One who comes back after having seen the Wall reaches the barren fields facing Samarkand in the company of guides. (Tafsir Kabir, v. 5, p. 513)
The great scholar of Islam and my revered teacher, Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri has mentioned Ya’ juj Ma’ juj and the Wall of Dhul-Qar¬nain in his book, عقیدہ الإسلام في حیاۃ عیسٰی (عليه السلام) . Though it is an adjunct of his book yet, whatever he has mentioned there measures up to the high¬est level of investigation and Tradition. He said: To remain protected against the plunder and devastation by mischievous and savage human beings walls have been built on the earth, not simply at one place but at several places. Different kings have built these at various places during different ages. Most famous and the largest among these is the Great Wall of China. Its length given by Abu Hayyan al-Andulusi (the royal historian of the Iranian Court) is twelve hundred miles. It was founded by Faghfur, the Emperor of China, and that the date of its inception goes back to three thousand four hundred and sixty years after the advent of Sayyidna Adam (عليه السلام) ، and also that the Moghul people (Mongol or Mongkhol) call this Great Wall, ‘atkuwah’, and the Turks, ‘burqurqah. Then he has acknowledged that several walls of this nature are found at other places as well.
Our leading fellow-servant of the Faith, Maulana Hifzur-Rahman Sihwarwi, may he rest in peace, has given a well-documented historical detail elaborating the statement of Shaykh Kashmiri in his well-known book, Qasas al-Qur’an. A gist is given below:
The range of the evil savagery of Ya’juj Ma’juj was so extensive that, on the one hand, the people of southern Caucasia suffered from their ty¬rannical onslaughts while on the other hand, the inhabitants of Tibet and China also served as sitting targets of their savagery. It was to stay safe from these very Ya’juj Ma’juj that protective walls were built at vari¬ous place during different ages. The largest among these is the Great Wall of China mentioned earlier.
The second Wall is located near Bukhara and Tirmidhi in Central Asia. It is situated at a place called Darband (meaning ‘blocked passage’ ). This Wall was there during the time of the famous Moghul king, Taimur Lang (Timur, the Lame; Tamerlane). The German confidant of the Roman King, Cella Berger, has mentioned him in his book. Kilafchu, the emissary of Castille, the King of Andulusia has also referred to him in his travelogue. When he presented himself as the emissary of his King before Taimur, he had passed by this spot. He writes that the Wall of Bab al-Hadid (Iron Gate) is situated on the route coming from Mousel and which lies in between Samarkand and India. (From Tafsir Jawahir al-Qur’an by al-Tantawi, v. 9. p. 198)
The third Wall is located in Daghistan in Russia. This too is famous by the name of Darband (blocked passage) and Bab al-Abwab (The Gate of gates). Yaqut al-Hamawi in Mu’jim al-Buldan, al-Idrisi in al-Jughrafiah and Bustani in Dairatul-Ma’ arif have described these in great details, a gist of which is as follows:
“In Daghistan, ‘Darband’ is a Russian city. It is situated on the western shore of Bahr Khadir (Caspian Sea), latitude 43.3 North and longitude 48.15 east. It is also called ‘Darband Nausherwan’. Another name for it, ‘Bab al-Abwab,’ is also famous.”
The fourth Wall is located in the higher parts of Caucasia towards the west of this very ‘Bab al-Abwab where, in between two mountains, there is a pass well known as the Daryal Pass. This fourth Wall is right here and is known as the Wall of Qafqaz or Mount Qoqa or Koh Qaf (Caucasus). About it, Bustani writes:
“And close to it (the Wall of Bab al-Abwab), there is another Wall which goes on extending towards the West. In all likelihood, this may have been built by the people of Faris (Persia) as a measure of defense against the northern Berbers. Since the identity of its founder was not authentically known, some people have attributed it to Alexander while some others have ascribed it to Cyrus and Nausherwan. And Yaqut says that it has been constructed with molten copper.” (Da’iratul-Ma` arif, v. 7, p. 651; Mu` jimul-Buldan, v. 8, p. 9)
Since all these Walls are in the North and have been built for a sin¬gle need, therefore, difficulties have come up in determining as to which of these is the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. And the major confusion has showed up in the case of the last two Walls because the name of both the places is Darband and there is a Wall also present at both. Out of the four Walls mentioned above, the Great Wall of China is the longest and the oldest. About it, no one says that it is the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. Then, instead of being in the North, it is in the Far East – and that it is in the North is clear as indicated by the Qur’an al-Karim.
Now, the thing revolves between the remaining three Walls which happen to be but in the North. Out of these, speaking generally, histo¬rians – Mas’ udi, Istakhri, Hamawi and others – identify the Wall located in Daghistan, or at Darband in the Caucasian territory of Bab al-Abwab by the Caspian Sea as the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain. Historians who have called the Wall and Darband of Bukhara and Tirmidh as being the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain have, most likely, been confused because of the common factor of the word, Darband. At this point, its location stands nearly fixed. Now, it can be said that it is situated in Bab al-Abwab by the Darband of Caucasia in the territory of Daghistan, or is located even at a higher altitude of the Mountain of Qafqaz or Qaf (Caucasus). As for a Wall being there on both these places is a fact proved by historians.
By way of further refinement in between the two probabilities given above, my revered teacher, Maulana Sayyid Muhammad Anwar Shah has, in ` Aqidatul-Islam,’ given preference to the Wall of Koh Qaf (Qafqaz: Caucasus) as being the Wall built by Dhul-Qarnain. (` Aqidatul-Islam, p. 297)
The Wall of Dhul-Qarnain: Is it still there? Will it be there until Qiyamah? Or, has it disintegrated?
Historians and geographers of Europe do not recognize the presence of any of these northern Walls in our time, nor do they admit that the passage of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj is still blocked. On that basis, some Mus¬lim historians have also started saying and writing that the event of the emergence of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj mentioned in the Qur’ an, and Hadith has already taken place. Some of them have declared the great on¬slaught of Tatars in the sixth century Hijrah as being the emergence of Ya’juj and Ma’juj mentioned by the Qur’ an and Hadith. Still others have found it sufficient to equate the contemporary rise of the Russian, Chi¬nese and European peoples with the emergence of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj and have thereby closed the case conveniently. But, all this is – as stated earlier with reference to Ruh al-Ma` ani – totally wrong. To say that the particular emergence of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj mentioned by the Qur’an was a sign of Qiyamah translates as a denial of Sahih Ahadith. The Sahih Hadith of Muslim narrated by al-Naas ibn Sam` an, and oth¬ers says that Qiyamah will come after three events have taken place. These events will be the emergence of Dajjal (anti-Christ), the descent of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) and the killing of Dajjal. How can it be said that it has already come to pass! The reason is obvious. The Dajjal has not emerged. Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) has yet to descend. And there is no doubt about it.
Nevertheless, it is not counter to any textual authority (pass) of Qur’ an, and Sunnah that the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain may have disinte¬grated now and some people from among the Ya’juj Ma’juj may have come on this side. However, this will remain subject to the condition that one admits that their last and the most massive onslaught, which will prove to be the destroyer of the entire human population, has not come yet. In fact, it will come after the great manifestation of the signs of Qiyamah mentioned earlier, that is, the appearance of the Dajjal and the descent of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) etc.
The considered view of ` Allamah Kashmiri (رح) in this matter is that the European assertion that they have scanned the whole world and have found no trace of this Wall bears no weight. First of all, the re¬ason is that they themselves have clearly admitted that, despite having reached the zenith of travel and research, there remain many forests, riv¬ers and islands about which they had been unable to collect information. Then, not too remote is the probability that the Wall, despite being present, may now have taken the form of a mountain because of mountains crumbling and joining together. But, no absolute textual authority (nass) contradicts the fact of this Wall disintegrating before Qiyamah, or of some people from the Ya’juj Ma’ juj crossing over to this side by taking some distant and long-winding route.
The strongest argument put forward in favor of this Wall of Dhul-Qarnain surviving until the last day of Qiyamah is based on the statement of the Qur’ an: فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاءَ (98). Here, Dhul-Qarnain says, ‘when the promise of my Lord will materialize (that is, the time will come for the Ya’juj Ma’juj to appear), Allah Ta` ala will make this Wall crumble down to ground level.’ The proponents of this argument have interpreted the words: وَعْدُ رَبِّي (the promise of my Lord) in this verse in the sense of Qiyamah, the Last Day – although, the words of the Qur’an are not definite and categorical about it. The reason is that the Qur’ anic words: وَعْدُ رَبِّي (the promise of my Lord) carry a very clear sense of their own. So, what is meant here is that the arrangement made by Dhul-Qarnain to block the entry of the Ya’juj Ma’juj may not necessarily remain there, as is, forever. When Allah Ta’ ala wills to have the passage open to them, this Wall will lie demolished. Therefore, it is not necessary that it would happen precisely close to the Qiyamah. Accordingly, all commentators have mentioned both probabilities in the sense of: وَعْدُ رَبِّي (the promise of my Lord). It appears in Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit:
وَالوعد یحتمل أن یراد به یوم القیٰمۃ ، وأن یراد به وقت خروج یاجوج و ماجوج.
And the promise has the probability that meant by it is the Day of Qiyamah and that meant by it is the time of the emer¬gence of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj.
One way of verifying this could be the eventuality that the Wall lies demolished, the passage has opened up and the onslaught of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj has begun. It does not matter whether its beginning is taken to be from the havoc caused by the Tatar in the sixth century Hijrah, or from the present ascendancy of the peoples of Europe, Russia and China. But, it is evident that the aggressive emergence of these civilized peoples – something taking place in a constitutional and legal framework – cannot be classed as rank disorder which is being particularly pointed out by the Qur’ an and Hadith. The anatomy of havoc given there is that it will unfold in the form of such a magnitude of merciless bloodshed and devastation that it will eliminate the entire human population. Rather, the outcome will, then, be that some nationalities of these very Ya’juj Ma’juj had turned civilized after having moved to this side. They certain¬ly turned out to be the source of great disorder and trial for Islamic coun-tries. But, till now, their savage counterparts who know nothing but bloodshed have not come to this side as destined – and the majority of them are of that kind. These will emerge very close to Qiyamah.
The source of the second argument is the Hadith of Tirmidhi and the Musnad of Ahmad where it is said that the Ya’juj Ma’juj keep digging this Wall every day. But, first of all, Ibn Kathir has declared this Hadith to be ma’ lul (defective despite its apparently correct chain of narrators). Secondly, in the Hadith itself, there is no clarification that the day Ya’juj and Ma’juj will cross over the Wall by virtue of saying Insha’Allah the thing will happen necessarily close to the Qiyamah. Then, the Hadith does not provide any proof either that the whole lot of the Ya’juj and Ma’juj will remain restrained behind the Wall. Even if some groups, or nationalities, from among them were to come to this side by taking some distant and long-winding route, it will still not be too far out an eventual¬ity in the presence of powerful modern ships. In fact, some historians have mentioned that the Ya’juj Ma’juj have found the way to reach this side via long sea travel. If so, the Hadith does not contradict that either.
In short, there is no clear and definite proof in the Qur’ an and Sun¬nah that goes on to establish that the Wall of Dhul-Qarnain will remain standing right through the last day of Qiyamah. Or, their elementary and insignificant attacks against the human population on this side will not be possible. However, in all certainty, the time of that horrific and devastating onslaught which will destroy the entire human population will be but close to the Qiyamah as has been mentioned repeatedly. To sum up, it can be said that based on the textual authority (nusus) of the Qur’an, and Sunnah, it is not possible to give an absolute verdict that the Wall against the Ya’juj and Ma’juj has disintegrated leaving the passage open. Nor can it be said that, according to the Qur’an, and Sunnah, it is necessary that it survives up to the Qiyamah. Both probabilities ex¬ist. And Pure and High is Allah who knows reality best.
اَفَحَسِبَ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْٓا اَنْ يَّــتَّخِذُوْا عِبَادِيْ مِنْ دُوْنِيْٓ اَوْلِيَاۗءَ ۭ اِنَّآ اَعْتَدْنَا جَهَنَّمَ لِلْكٰفِرِيْنَ نُزُلًا
According to Tafsir al-Bahr al-Muhit, in the first verse (102): أَفَحَسِبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَن يَتَّخِذُوا عِبَادِي مِن دُونِي أَوْلِيَاءَ (Do, then, the disbelievers deem that they take My servants as patrons beside Me?), there is an elision (حذف hadhf) in the text at this place, that is: فیجد بھم وینتفعون بذلک الاتخاذ As such, it would mean: ‘Do these disbelieving people who have taken My servants – instead of Me – as the objects of their worship and the dis¬pensers of their matters and problems think that this make-shift ar¬rangement made by them would bring them some benefit and they would enjoy it?’ This is a form of interrogative meant for negation or dis¬approval. In short, it means that such thinking is wrong, a mark of ignor¬ance.
The word: عبادي (` ibadi: My servants) used here means angels, and the particular prophets whom the people of the world worshiped taking them as partners in the pristine divinity of Allah – as Sayyidna ` Uzair and Sayyidna Masih (عليه السلام) . Those who worshiped angels were some Arabs. As for those who ascribed partners to Allah, the Jews and Chris¬tians both did it. The Jews did it in respect of Sayyidna ` Uzair (عليه السلام) and the Christians, in respect of Sayyidna ` Isa (عليه السلام) . Therefore, meant here by: الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا (al-ladhina kafaru: Those who disbelieved) in this verse are these very groups of disbelievers. Some commentators have taken عبادی (` ibadi: My servants) at this place to mean shaitans. In that case, الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا (those who disbelieved) would mean disbelievers who worship the Jinn and shaitans. Some other commentators have taken is? عبادي (` ibadi: My ser¬vants) at this place in the general sense of something created, under mastery, which becomes inclusive of all false objects of worship, idols, fire and stars. Maulana Ashraf ` Ali Thanavi (رح) has referred to this aspect in the Summary of his Tafsir Bayan al-Qur’ an while explain¬ing servants as subjects. However, the first explanation given above has been rated as weightier in al-Bahr al-Muhit and other Tafsirs. Allah knows best.
The word: أَوْلِيَاءَ (awliya’ ) is the plural of وَلِی (waliyy). This word is used in the Arabic language to carry several meanings. At this place, it means one who gets things done, resolves matters, fulfills needs – which is the particular attribute of the true object of worship. The purpose thereby is to take them as objects of worship.
قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْاَخْسَرِيْنَ اَعْمَالًا
Who are those referred to as: الْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَالًا (The greatest losers in re¬spect of [ their ] deeds – 103)? At this place, the first two verses (101, 102) are, in terms of their general sense, inclusive of every individual or group that would put in a lot of effort in some deeds taking them to be good, but with Allah their effort is ruined and their deed, wasted. Al-Qurtubi said that this situation is caused due to two things. One: Corruption in Belief. Two: Hypocrisy. It means that a person whose very Belief and Faith is not correct – no matter how good he is in his deeds and how painstaking in his effort – will find all this useless and wasted in the Hereafter.
Similarly, the deed of anyone who acts for the pleasure of the created by way of hypocrisy, that deed too will remain deprived of thawab (reward). It is in terms of this general sense that some revered Sahabah have declared the Kharjites as the substantiation of this verse. Then, there are some commentators who take the Mu’tazilah, the Rawafid and some others as the groups who have strayed away from the straight path. But, in the next verse (105), it has been determined that meant at this place are those particular disbelievers who deny the verses of Allah Ta’ ala and the coming of Qiyamah and Akhirah. It was said: الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ وَلِقَائِهِ (Those are the ones who disbelieved in the signs of their Lord and in the meeting with Him). Therefore, al-Qurtubi, Abu Hayyan, Mazhari and others prefer the view that really meant at this place are particular disbelievers who deny Allah, the Last Day and the Reckoning of deeds. But, apparently too, even those people whose deeds were ruined by their corrupted beliefs and whose effort had gone waste cannot remain unaffected by its general sense. As for the related sayings re-ported from Sayyidna ` Ali and Sa` d (رض) ، this is precisely what they mean. (Qurtubi)
قُلْ اِنَّمَآ اَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوْحٰٓى اِلَيَّ اَنَّمَآ اِلٰـــهُكُمْ اِلٰهٌ وَّاحِدٌ ۚ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُوْا لِقَاۗءَ رَبِّهٖ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَّلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهٖٓ اَحَدًا
The cause of the revelation of the last verse of Surah al-Kahf: وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا (and must not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord – 110), as mentioned in Hadith reports, shows that shirk at this place means hidden shirk, that is, hypocrisy (رِیَاء : riy’ ).
One such narration from Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) has been reported by Imam Hakim in al-Mustadrak as being sound on the criter¬ion set forth by the two authorities, al-Bukhari and Muslim. According to the narration, one of the Muslims used to carry out Jihad in the way of Allah. Side by side, he wished that his soldiering and bravery in the cause be recognized and appreciated by the people. This verse was re¬vealed about him (which tells us that one gets no thawab (reward) by having such an intention in Jihad).
In Kitabul-Ikhlas, Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Abi al-Dunya have reported from Tawus that a Sahabi stated before the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) : ‘There are occasions when I am ready to worship, or to do some righ¬teous deed, my aim thereby is nothing but the pleasure of Allah. But, along with it, I do have the wish that people would see me doing it.’ Hearing this, he observed silence until the cited verse was revealed.
And in Abu Nu’aym and in the history of Ibn ` Asakir, it appears on the authority of Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) that whenever the Sahabi, Sayyidna Jundub ibn Zuhayr (رض) prayed, fasted or gave in charity and then saw people admiring him for doing those deeds, he felt pleased about it and would then increase the frequency of those deeds. There-upon, this verse was revealed.
The gist of narrations given above is that the shirk prohibited in this verse is the hidden shirk of showing off (riya’ ). And that a deed may though be for Allah alone but, along with it, should it become associated with some selfish motive of name, fame and recognition, then, this too will be a kind of hidden shirk, something that makes one’s deed go waste, even harmful.
However, there are some other Sahih Ahadith which apparently seem to indicate otherwise. For example, Tirmidhi reports from Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) that he submitted before the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) : ‘There are times when I am on my prayer mat inside my house (mak¬ing Salah) and, all of a sudden, there comes someone. I like it that he saw me in that state. (Would that be riya’?) ‘ The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, ‘0 Abu Hurairah, may Allah have mercy on you. Then you get two rewards, one for the deed you were already doing in secret, and the other for what you did openly after the coming of that person. (This is no riya’ ).’
And according to a narration of Sayyidna Abu Dharr al-Ghifari appearing in the Sahih of Muslim, the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was asked, ‘What do you say about a person who does some good deed, then hears people praising it?’ The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, تِلکَ عَاجِلُ بُشرَی المُؤمِنِ : “This is instant good news for the believer.” (that his deed was accepted with Allah and He had his servants praise it).
The apparent difference in these two kinds of narrations has been resolved and brought in agreement in Tafsir Mazhari. It says that the first kind of narrations about the cause of the revelation of the verse apply to a particular situation. This is when one associates his intention to please people or to earn a good name for himself along with the intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah through his deed to the extent that he fur¬ther increases the frequency of that deed on being praised by people for it. This is, no doubt, hypocrisy (riya’ ) and hidden shirk.
And the latter narrations, those from Tirmidhi and Muslim, concern another situation. This is when one has acted for the pleasure of Allah alone without any inclination of receiving publicity or praise for it and then Allah Ta’ ala, in His grace, gives him fame by making people praise him. If so, it has nothing to do with riya’ (showing off). In fact, this is spontaneous good news for the believer (that his deed has found accep¬tance with Allah).
Riya’ and its Evil Consequences: Stern Warnings of Hadith
Sayyidna Mahmud ibn Labid (رض) reports that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, ‘What I fear most about you is minor shirk.’ The Sahabah (رض) asked: Ya Rasulallah, what is minor shirk?’ He said, ‘Riya” (to do something only to show people). (Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad)
After having reported this Hadith in Shu` ab-al-‘Iman, Al-Baihaqi has also reported the remarks: ‘On the day of Qiyamah, when Allah Ta’ ala will reward His servants for their deeds, He will ask the practitioners of riya’ to go for their rewards to those they wanted to impress with their deeds and find out whether or not they have any for them.’
Sayyidna Abu Hurairah (رض) reports that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Allah Ta` ala says ‘I am free and above from associating with those asso¬ciated with Me. Whoever does a good deed and then associates in it someone else with Me, then, I leave the entire deed for the one associated.’ And, according to another narration, ‘I withdraw from that deed making it exclusive for the person associated with me.’ (Narrated by Muslim)
And Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Umar (رض) reports that he heard the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) saying, ‘Whoever does a good deed to earn a fair name among people, then, Allah Ta’ ala too deals with him in a manner that he is disgraced before them.’ (Narrated by Ahmad in Shu` ab-al-‘Imn – from Tafsir Mazhari)
It appears in Tafsir al-Qurtubi that Sayyidna Hasan al-Basri (رح) was asked about ikhlas (unalloyed sincerity) and riya’ (showing off). He said: Ikhlas requires that your good deeds remaining hidden should be what you like and the bad deeds remaining hidden should be what you do not like. After that, if Allah Ta’ ala discloses your deeds before the people, you should say, ‘Ya Allah, all this is Your grace and favour, not the outcome of my deed and effort.’
And Tirmidhi reports from Sayyidna Abu Bakr (رض) that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) once mentioned shirk by saying: ھُوَ فِیکُم اَخفٰی مِن دبِیبِ النَّمل (It is right there in you more stealthily than the soundless movement of an ant). Then, he added, ‘I tell you something which, if you do, you will remain safe against all sorts of shirk, major or minor (riya’ ). Make this prayer (dua three times every day:
اَللّٰھُمَّ اِنِّی اَعُوذُبِکِ اَن اُشرِکَ بِکَ وَ اَنَا اَعلَمُ وَاَستغفِرُکَ لِمَا لَا اَعلَمُ
0′ Allah, I seek refuge with You lest I associate a partner with You while I know and I seek forgiveness from You for what I do not know.
Some Merits and Properties of Surah al-Kahf
Sayyidna Abu a1-Darda’ (رض) reports that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Whoever remembers to recite the first ten verses of Surah al-Kahf will remain safe against the fitnah (upheaval, trial) caused by Dajjal (anti-Christ). (Reported by Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud and al-Nasa’i)
And Imam Ahmad, Muslim and al-Nasa’i have reported within this narration from Sayyidna Abu al-Darda’ words to the effect that ‘whoever remembers to recite the last ten verses of Surah al-Kahf will remain safe against the fitnah of Dajjal.’
And according to a narration of Sayyidna Anas (رض) ، the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Whoever recites the initial and the concluding verses of Surah al-Kahf will have light for him, from his feet up to his head. And whoev¬er recites this Surah in full will have light for him, from the ground up to the sky.” (Reported by Ibn al-Sunni, and Ahmad in his Musnad)
And as narrated by Sayyidna Abu Said (رض) ، the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said, “Whoever recites Surah al-Kahf in full on the day of Jumu’ah will have light for him until the next Jumu’ah. (Reported and declared as Sahih by al-Hakim and al-Baihaqi in al-Da` awat – from Mazhari)
To Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) someone said, ‘I resolve in my heart to wake up in the later part of night and make Salah but sleep overtakes me.’ Sayyidna ` Abdullah ibn ` Abbas (رض) said to him, ‘recite the last verses of Surah al-Kahf – from: قُل لَّوْ كَانَ الْبَحْرُ مِدَادًا (109) to the end of the Surah (110) – before you sleep. Then, the time you intend to wake up will be the time when Allah Ta’ a1a will wake you up.’ (Reported by ath-Tha` alibi)
And according to the Musnad of al-Darimi, Zirr ibn Hubaish told ` Abdah, ‘Anyone who sleeps after having recited these last verses will wake up at the time he or she intends to.’ And ` Abdah says, ‘we have tried this repeatedly. It happens just like that.’
An important word of advice
Ibn al-` Arabi quotes his Shaikh, Turtushi: ‘Let not the hours of your dear life pass away confronting contemporaries and socializing with friends. Watch out! Allah Ta’ ala has concluded His statement on the fol¬lowing verse:
فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا
So the one who hopes to meet his Lord must do righteous deed
and must not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord – 110 (Al-Qurtubi)
[From Ma’ariful Quran English by Mufti Taqi Uthmani]
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