top_heading

Sura Al-Kahf (Sura 18: Revelation Order 69)

Praise be to God to give us a straight scripture

  • Praise be to God, who revealed the scripture to His servant, and has not given any crookedness to it (18:1). It is straight to warn of a severe retribution from Him, and to give good news to the believers who do righteous works, that they will have a good reward (18:2). They will abide in it forever (18:3).

Note: There is no crookedness in the Quran except straightforward warning of a severe retribution for the disbelievers and good news to the believers. Thus, we cannot but praise Him who has revealed it.

A warning of not to say that God has taken a son

  • And to warn those who said, “God has taken a son!” (18:4). They do not have any knowledge of this, nor dohave their parents. A blasphemy comes out of their mouths.They say nothing but a lie (18:5). Perhaps, you would do your utmost in grief over them that they do not believe in this narration (18:6).

Note: It is not befitting for God to have a son. Such claim is a blasphemy as well as a lie.

The world will come to an end

  • Whatever we have made on earth is an adornment for it so that we may test them: who is best in work among them (18:7). And surely, we will make what is on it a barren land (18:8).

Note: The earth and everything on it are created to expose who are the righteous among us. Then it will become a barren land.

The story of the youths in the cave

  • Or, have you thought that the people of the cave, and the inscription were a wonder among our signs? (18:9). When the youths took shelter in the cave, they said, “Our Lord, grant us mercy from Youand help us our affair in the right path.” (18:10). So, we sealed their ears in the cave for a number of years (18:11). Then we raised them up to know which of the two parties had the best calculation of the time that they had stayed in (18:12). We narrate to you their story with truth. They were youths who believed in their Lordand we increased them in guidance (18:13). We strengthened their hearts when they stood up and said: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We will never call on any other god beside Him. If we have called, then we would be great wicked (18:14). “These, our people have taken gods beside Him. Why do they not come with a clear proof with them? Who is more evil than the one who fabricates lies about God? (18:15).
  • And when you withdraw from them and from what they worship other than God, then you take shelter to the cave, your Lord will extend His mercy upon you and will help you in your affair with ease (18:16). And you might see the sun when it rose moving away from their cave to the right side, and when it set, passing away from them to the left, while they were in the hollow space thereof. That is from God’s signs. Whomever God guides is the truly guided one, and whomever He sends astray, you will not find for him a protector or a guide (18:17). You would think that they were awake, while they were asleep, and we turned them to the right side and the left side, while their dog stretched his forearms at the entrance. If you looked at them, you would have turned back from them in flight, and you would have been filled with terror (18:18). And it was thus that we raised them so they would talk among themselves. One of them said: “How long have you stayed?” They said: “We stayed a day or part of a day.” He said: “Your Lord is surely aware how long you stayed, so send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city, and let him see which is the purest food, and let him bring you a provision from it. And let him be careful and let no one take notice of you (18:19). If they discover you, they will stone you, or force you to revert to their religion, then you will never ever succeed.” (18:20). And thus we caused them to be discovered so that they would know that God’s promise is true, and the Hour wherein there is no doubt.When they disputed among themselves about their affair, they said, “Let us build a building around them.Their Lord is the best knower about them.” Those who prevailed said, “We will build a place of worship around them.” (18:21). They will say: “Three, the fourth is their dog.” And they say: “Five, the sixth is their dog,” guessing at what they do not know. And they say: “Seven, and the eighth is their dog.” Say: “My Lord is fully aware of their number, none know them except for a few.” So do not debate in them except with proof, and do not seek information regarding them from anyone (18:22).
  • And do not say of anything, “I will do that tomorrow (18:23). Except if God wills.”And remember your Lord when you forget, and say, “Perhaps, my Lord will guide me to the right path to a nearer than this.” (18:24).
  • And they stayed in their cave three hundred years, and increased by nine (18:25). Say, “God knows best how long they stayed. To Him is known the unseen of the heavens and the earth as He sees and hears everything. They have no protector beside Him, nor does He share His concern with anyone (18:26).

Note: We must protect ourselves from idol worshipping at all circumstances.We should remember God when we intend to do anything to stay with God keeping away Satan from us. The number expressed in a peculiar way (300 + 9) about their staying in the cave is connected with the end of the world representing 300 solar years and 309 lunar years while the difference is 9 years. However, the history and archeological discovery are considered together to depict the truth around the dwellers of the cave. The dwellers were the young Christians who followed the teachings of Jesus but fled away from the prosecution of the neo-Christians who proclaimed a corrupted Christianity, the Trinity doctrine followed by the Nicene Conference at 323 AD after the death of Jesus. Franz Miller, an Austrian archeologist discovered the tomb of the dwellers of the cave located in Ephesus about 200 miles south of ancient Nicene, and 30 miles south of Izmir in Turkey in 1928.

Full freedom in religion

  • You shall recite what has been revealed to you of your Lord’s scripture. None can change His words, and you will not find any refuge other than Him (18:27). And be patient on yourself with those who call their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His pleasure. Do not turn your eyes away from themseeking the adornment of the life of the world, and do not obey one whom we have made his heart heedless to our reminder as he follows his own desires as well as his affair exceeds limits (18:28). And say, “This is the truth from your Lord,” then whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve.” We have prepared for the wicked a fire whose walls will surround them. And when they call for relief, they are given water like boiling oil which burns their faces. What a miserable drink and an evil place of resting! (18:29). Indeed, those who believe and do righteous works, we will not let go waste the reward of the one who does righteous works. (18:30). They will have the gardens of Eden with rivers flowing beneath them, and they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and will wear green outer garments of fine silk. They will rest on comfortable furnishings. What an excellent rewardand a wonderful place of resting!(18:31).

Note: The prophet was commanded to recite what has been revealed to him and be patient and stay with those who remember their Lord in the morning and the evening to please Him. Then whoever wishes can believe or disbelieve the truth in the reminder. The wicked will be in the Fire, the evil place of resting while those believe and do the righteous works will have the gardens of Eden, a wonderful place of resting.

Idolizing one’s wealth

  • And cite for them the example of two men: we gave one of them two gardens of grapes, surrounded by date palms, and placed other crops between them (18:32). Each of the gardens yielded its produce, and there was nothing wrong with it, and we caused a river to run through them (18:33). And he had abundant fruit, so he said to his friend during their conversation: “I have more wealth than you and have more respect from the people.”(18:34). When he entered his garden, he wronged to himself saying, “I do not think that this will ever end (18:35). And I do not think that the Hour will come, and if I am returned to my Lord, I will surely find a return better than this.” (18:36). His friend said to him during their conversation, “Do you disbelievein Him who created you from dust, then from a tiny drop, then shaped you into a man? (18:37). “But as for me, He is God, my Lord, and I do not associate anyone with my Lord (18:38).When you entered your garden, why you did not say, “What God has given. All power belongs to God. You may see that I possess less wealth and children than you (18:39). Then it may be that my Lord will give me better than your garden, and He may send a disaster from the sky, then it will become completely barren (18:40). Or, its water will become to a lower level, then you will never be able to reach it.” (18:41). And its fruits were damaged, so he began twisting his hands on what he had spent on it while it had fallen on its trellises, and he said, “I wish I did not associate anyone with my Lord.” (18:42). And he had no party to help him other than God, nor had he been supported(18:43). Such is the true protection of God. He is the best to reward as well as to punish (18:44).
  • Cite for them the example of the life of the word like water that we send down from the sky causes vegetation of the earth, then it turns into hay that is blown away by the wind. God is able to do all things (18:45).
  • Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of the world, but the righteous works are better for aneverlasting reward from your Lord as well as a better hope (18:46).

Note: The above two are of many examples mentioned in the Quran to warn us not to idolize our wealth. There are no protectors other than God who is the best to reward us or to punish us. Thus, it has been confirmed that wealth and children are the adornment of the worldly life being tests for us while the righteous works are far better for the Hereafter.

The end of the world

  • The day we will remove the mountains, and you see the earth is a plain land, and we gather them and we do not leave anyone of them behind (18:47). They will be gathered before your Lord in a row. You have come to us as we created you the first time. Indeed, you claimed that we have made no appointment for you (18:48). The record has been presented, and you will see the guilty fearful of what is in it. They will say, “Woe to us!What this record is for, that leaves nothing, small or large, except that it has counted.” They will find what they had done is presented, and your Lord does not deal with anyone unjustly (18:49).

Note: The day comes when the earth will be a plain land and we will be gathered before our Lord in rows with our records. The guilty will be fearful for what are in their records and will see that nothing are left out of their records what they have committed in the worldly life. They will also realize that their Lord is not unjust with anyone.

Warning: do not choose Satan and his descendants as your protectors

  • We said to the angels, “Fall prostrate before Adam.” So they fell prostrate, except Satan. He became a jinn as he disobeyed the order of His Lord. Will you choose him and his descendants as protectors other than Me, even though they are your enemies? What a miserable substitute for the wicked! (18:50). I did not make them witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor the creation of themselves. Nor do I take the misleaders as helpers (18:51). The day He will say, “Call upon My partners, those who you had claimed.” Then they will call on them, but they will not respond to them. And we will make between them a barrier (18:52). The guilty will see the Fire, and will realize that they will fall into it, and they will find no escape from it (18:53).

Note: Satan is our ardent enemy. We should not take him and his descendants as our protectors. On the promised day they will not be able to respond to the call of the wicked who have taken them as protectors instead of God and they will have to fall into Hell, and there is no escape from it.

Examples in the Quran are to lead us to the straight path

  • We have cited every example in this Quran for the people, but the human being is the most argumentative in nature (18:54). What prevented the people from believing when the guidance came to them, and from asking the forgiveness of their Lord, except that the way came to them from the earlier generations, or the retribution came to them from the past (18:55). We did not send the messengers except bearers of good newsas well as warners. But those who disbelieve argue with falsehood to deny the truthwith it, and they mock My revelations and warnings (18:56).

Note: God has cited many examples in the Quran to make it easier and clear in the chest of the believers while messengers are sent just as bearers of good news and warners but the disbelievers argue with falsehood to deny the truth mocking His revelations and warnings.

Retribution comes from God at an appointed time

  • Who is more wicked than the one who is reminded with his Lord’s revelations but he turns away from them, forgetting what he has with him. Indeed, we have placed veils on their hearts lest they understand it, and deafness in their ears, and if you invite them to the guidance, they will never ever be guided (18:57). And your Lord is most forgiving with infinite mercy. If He were to bring them into account for what they have committed, He would have hastened the retribution for them but there is an appointed time for them from which they will never find an escape (18:58). And these are the towns we had destroyed them when they did wrong and we made their destruction at an appointed time (18:59).

Note: When the reminder came to them, the wicked turn away from it without realizing what they are doing. Consequently, they have been placed veils on their hearts and deafness in their ears. The retribution would come to them immediately to bring them into account for what they are committing if there were not an appointed time for it but there is no escape from it.

Lessons of Moses

  • Moses said to his young companion, “I will not stop until I reach the junction of the two seas, even I have to continue for long.” (18:60). But when they reached the junction in between, they forgot their fish, and it made its way back to the sea without being noticed (18:61). But when they had passed beyond, he said to his companion, “Let us bring our lunch, we have suffered much fatigue in this journey of ours.” (18:62). He said, “Did you remember when we took rest by the rock? And I forgot the fish, and it was the devil that made me forget to remember it. It made its way back to the sea amazingly!”(18:63). He said: “That is what we have been seeking!” So they went back retracing their footsteps (18:64). Then they found one of our servants, whom we had given him mercy from us and we had taught him knowledge from us (18:65). Moses said to him, “Can I follow you so that you may teach me from the right guidance what you have been taught?” (18:66). He said: “You will not be able to have patience with me? (18:67). And how can you be patient of that what you have been given no knowledge of it?” (18:68). He said, “You will find me patient if God wills, and I will not disobey your order.” (18:69). He said, “If you follow me, then do not ask about anything until I intend to mention it to you.” (18:70). Then they went until when they boarded a ship, he made a hole in it. He said, “Did you make a hole in it to drown its people? You have done a terrible thing.” (18:71). He said, “Did I not tell you that you will not be able to have patience with me?” (18:72). He said, “Do not blame me for what I forget and do not be hard upon me with my request.” (18:73). Then they went until when they met a young boy, he killed him. He said, “Have you killed an innocent boy who did not kill another person? You have done an evil thing.” (18:74). He said, “Did I not tell you that you will not be able to have patience with me?” (18:75). He said, “If I ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me in your company. You have arrived an excuse over me.” (18:76). Then they went until when they came to the people of a town. They asked its people for food but they refused to host them. Then they found a wall about to collapse, so he repaired it. He said, “If you wished, you could have asked a wage for it!” (18:77).
  • He said, “This is the parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of what you were not able to have patience over it (18:78). As for the ship, it belonged to the poor people who were working in the sea, so I wanted to cause it defective as there was a king coming behind them, who will seize every ship by force (18:79). And as for the youth, his parents were believers, so we feared that he would oppress them by his transgression and disbelief (18:80). So we wanted that their Lord would replace for them with one better than him in goodness and nearer in affection (18:81). As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town. Underneath it, was a treasure for them and their father was a righteous man. So your Lord intended that they would reach their maturity and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And what I did was not of my own accord. This is the interpretation of what you were not able to have patience over it.” (18:82).

Note: The unusual events associated with the lessons of Moses are: (a) for the fish finding its way back to sea, (b) making of a hole in the ship, (c) killing of an innocent boy and (d) repairing of a wall about to fall without wage. Apparently, all these seemed to be evil but any of these events did not happen without any good reasons when there were explanations. The fish went back to water as the Satan made Moses’ attendant forgetful about it, the ship belonging to the poor fishermen was made defective not to be seized by the king, the boy was killed to replace with a better one for his parents and the wall was repaired to save the treasure of the orphans. What we learn from this story that we should keep patience and we may need to wait to make any decision in some cases until we have enough proofs.

Zul-Qarnain who would be given every means

  • They ask you about Zul-Qarnain. Say, “I will recite to you a memory from him.” (18:83). We had established him in the earthand we had given him the means of everything (18:84). Then, he followed the means (18:85). Until when he reached the place of sun setting, he found it setting in a vast water and found people near it. We said, “O Zul-Qarnain, either you may punish, or you may do good to them.” (18:86). He said, “As for him who has done wrong, we will punish him, then he will be returned to his Lord, He will punish him a terrible punishment (18:87). “As for him who believes and does righteous works, then for him is a good reward; we will speak to him with our pleasant words.” (18:88). Then he followed the means (18:89). Until when he reached the place of sun rising, he found it rising on people whom we did not give them any cover(18:90). Thus it was, and we had full knowledge of what was with him (18:91). Then he followed the means (18:92). Until when he reached the valley of the two mountains, he found there a people whose language was barely understandable (18:93). They said, “O Zul-Qarnain, Gog and Magog are corruptors of the earth. So may we pay you to make a barrier between us and them?” (18:94). He said: “What my Lord has given me is far better. So help me with strength, and I will make a barrier between you and them.(18:95). Bring me ores of iron.” Until when he filled the gap between the two walls, he said, “Blow,” until when he made it a fire, he said, “Bring me tar that I can pour over it.” (18:96). So they could not climb it, nor could they make holes in it (18:97). He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it crumble, and the promise of my Lord is truth.” (18:98). And we will leave some of them till that day to invade with one another, then the horn is blown, and we will gather them all together (18:99).

Note: God has promised to send Zul-Qarnain just before the end of the world with every means to save the believers from the disbelievers and from the oppression of Gog and Magog. The appearance of Zul-Qarnain is the final sign when the world will come to an end. Zul-Qarnain, and Gog and Magog are allegorically presented. It is believed that Zul-Qarnain is one of the God chosen while Gog and Magog are two villainous communities. Zul-Qarnain will be able to build strong protection between the believers and Gog and Magog but at certain point the protection will be broken according to God’s will when the horn is blown. The world will come to an end and we all will be gathered before our Lord. It is also noteworthy that the Quran occasionally uses the past tense for telling us the future events. Thus, the verses from 84 to 99 can be understood to be the future events rather than historical information. It is also interesting to note that if the sura number which is 18 and its verse numbers from 84 to 99 where there are references about Zul-Qarnain are added, the total is a multiple of 19 =>1482 = 19x78, which can be a physical evidence for us that the advent of Zul-Qarnain is the final sign connected to the end of the world.

img

Note: Although there is a mention of Zul-Qarnain in the verse 83 just being a concern while the prophetic statement starts at the verse 84.

The dwelling places followed by the end of the world

  • And we will present Hell, on that day, to the disbelievers in an open view (18:100). They are the ones whose eyes were veiled from My reminder and were unable to hear (18:101). Did those who disbelieve think that they can take My servants as protectors beside Me? We have prepared for the disbelievers Hell as a dwelling place (18:102).
  • Say, “Shall we inform you of the greatest losers by their works? (18:103).Those whose works were astray in the life of the world, but they thought that they were doing right.” (18:104). These are the ones who disbelieved in the revelations of their Lord and His meeting. Therefore, their works were in vain, and we will not give them any weight on the day of judgment (18:105). That is their recompense, Hell, because they disbelieved as well as they ridiculed My revelations and My messengers (18:106).
  • Surely, those who believed and did righteous works, they will have the Gardens of Paradise as their dwelling place (18:107). Abiding therein forever; they will not intend to be moved from it (108).

Note: God has confirmed that Hell will be the dwelling place for:(a) the disbelievers as they were heedless to His revelations and messengers as well as had accepted His servants as protectors beside Him and (b) those who were astray in the worldly life but they thought they were doing right things. On the other hand, Paradise will be the dwelling place for those who believed and did righteous works, wherein they will abide forever.

Follow only the Quran and worship God alone

  • Say, “If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would run out, before the words of my Lord run out, even if we were to bring another one like it for ink supplement.” (18:109). Say, “I am only a human like you, it is revealed to me that your god is One god. So whoever looks forward to meeting his Lord, then let him do righteous works and not to associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.”(18:110).

Note: The two crucial commandments are explicitly clarified and emphasized: (a) Quran is the only source of religious laws and teachings – (i) it has everything that we need to lead a righteous life, (ii) whatever left out of it is left out deliberately and (iii) we should not hasten in making judgment on certain events based on limited information, and (b) we are to do righteous works as well as to worship God alone without associating anyone with Him if we are really looking forward to meeting Him.

Conclusion

There are 110 verses in the sura Al-Kahf (The Cave) and the most significant aspects that are covered in the sura are: (1) God has given us a straight scripture, (2) a warning about a blasphemous statement that God has taken a son, (3) an indication that the world will come to an end, (4) the story of the youths in the cave, (5) full freedom in religion, (6) a warning not to idolize our wealth, (7) a hint when the world will come to an end, (8) a warning not to choose the Satan and his descendants as protectors, (9) citing examples in the Quran to teach us to go to the straight path, (10) Retribution comes from God at an appointed time (11) lessons of Moses, (12) advent of Zul-Qarnain, (13) dwelling places followed by the end of the world and (14) commandments of following Quran alone and worshipping God alone.

The story of the dwellers in the cave is connected with the end of the world and the duration of their staying in the cave is expressed in a peculiar way (300 + 9) representing 300 solar years and 309 lunar years while the difference is 9 years. The history and archeological discovery around the dwellers of the cave are also considered together to depict the fact to support its connection to predict the year of the end of the world while the number of dwellers in the cave cannot be confirmed.

God has promised to send Zul-Qarnain just before the end of the world with every means to save the believers from the disbelievers and from the oppression of Gog and Magog. The appearance of Zul-Qarnain is the final sign when the world will come to an end. Zul-Qarnain, and Gog and Magog are allegorically presented; It is believed that Zul-Qarnain is one of the God chosen while Gog and Magog are two villainous communities. Zul-Qarnain will be able to build strong protection between the believers and Gog and Magog but at certain point the protection will be broken according to God’s will when the horn is blown. Then the world will come to an end and we all will be gathered before our Lord. However, there is also another version about Zul-Qarnain based on its literary meaning “Having two horns” interpreting two generations that the world will survive two generations on the reappearance of Gog and Magog.

Finally, the two crucial commandments are explicitly clarified and emphasized: to follow only the Quran which has everything that we need to lead a righteous life and to worship God alone as there is no other protectors beside Him. What we may also learn from the sura that we should not hasten in making judgment on any matters based on limited information instead we should be patient and wait to have more information or it might be better for us to think that at this point we are not knowledgeable to make any concrete conclusion on the matter if our only objective is to be righteous pleasing God.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (8/5/2016).