SURAH ALKEHF AYAH NO 1 TO 40
18) سورة الكهف
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَّهُ عِوَجَا (الكهف: 1).
قَيِّمًا لِيُنذِرَ بَأْسًا شَدِيدًا مِنْ لَدُنْهُ وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا حَسَنًا (الكهف: 2).
مَاكِثِينَ فِيهِ أَبَدًا (الكهف: 3).
وَيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا (الكهف: 4).
مَّا لَهُمْ بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ وَلاَ ِلأَبَائِهِمْ كَبُرَتْ كَلِمَةً تَخْرُجُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ إِنْ يَقُولُونَ إِلاَّ كَذِبًا (الكهف: 5).
فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَفْسَكَ عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ إِنْ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا (الكهف: 6).
إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً (الكهف: 7).
وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا (الكهف: 8).
أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا (الكهف: 9).
إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا (الكهف: 10).
فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا (الكهف: 11).
ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِنَعْلَمَ أَيُّ الْحِزْبَيْنِ أَحْصَى لِمَا لَبِثُوا أَمَدًا (الكهف: 12).
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُمْ بِالْحَقِّ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى (الكهف: 13).
وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ لَنْ نَدْعُوَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَهًا لَقَدْ قُلْنَا إِذًا شَطَطًا (الكهف: 14).
هَؤُلاَءِ قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ آلِهَةً لَوْلاَ يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا (الكهف: 15).
وَإِذْ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ مِنْ رَحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مِرفَقًا (الكهف: 16).
وَتَرَى الشَّمْسَ إِذَا طَلَعَتْ تَزَاوَرُ عَنْ كَهْفِهِمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَإِذَا غَرَبَتْ تَقْرِضُهُمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَهُمْ فِي فَجْوَةٍ مِنْهُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ مَنْ يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِ وَمَنْ يُضْلِلْ فَلَنْ تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُرْشِدًا (الكهف: 17).
وَتَحْسَبُهُمْ أَيْقَاظًا وَهُمْ رُقُودٌ وَنُقَلِّبُهُمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَكَلْبُهُمْ بَاسِطٌ ذِرَاعَيْهِ بِالْوَصِيدِ لَوِ اطَّلَعْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَوَلَّيْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِرَارًا وَلَمُلِئْتَ مِنْهُمْ رُعْبًا (الكهف: 18).
وَكَذَلِكَ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِيَتَسَاءَلُوا بَيْنَهُمْ قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِنْهُمْ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ قَالُوا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُمْ بِوَرِقِكُمْ هَذِهِ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ فَلْيَنظُرْ أَيُّهَا أَزْكَى طَعَامًا فَلْيَأْتِكُمْ بِرِزْقٍ مِنْهُ وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ وَلاَ يُشْعِرَنَّ بِكُمْ أَحَدًا (الكهف: 19).
إِنَّهُمْ إِنْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ يَرْجُمُوكُمْ أَوْ يُعِيدُوكُمْ فِي مِلَّتِهِمْ وَلَنْ تُفْلِحُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا (الكهف: 20).
وَكَذَلِكَ أَعْثَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ لِيَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهَا إِذْ يَتَنَازَعُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَمْرَهُمْ فَقَالُوا ابْنُوا عَلَيْهِمْ بُنْيَانًا رَبُّهُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ قَالَ الَّذِينَ غَلَبُوا عَلَى أَمْرِهِمْ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَسْجِدًا (الكهف: 21).
سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلاَثَةٌ رَابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُلْ رَبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِمْ مَا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ فَلاَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلاَ تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِمْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا (الكهف: 22).
وَلاَ تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا (الكهف: 23).
إِلاَّ أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَنْ يَهْدِيَنِي رَبِّي ِلأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدًا (الكهف: 24).
وَلَبِثُوا فِي كَهْفِهِمْ ثَلاَثَ مِائَةٍ سِنِينَ وَازْدَادُوا تِسْعًا (الكهف: 25).
قُلِ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوا لَهُ غَيْبُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ أَبْصِرْ بِهِ وَأَسْمِعْ مَا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا (الكهف: 26).
وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ لاَ مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَنْ تَجِدَ مِنْ دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا (الكهف: 27).
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلاَ تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلاَ تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا (الكهف: 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 (الكهف: 29).
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ إِنَّا لاَ نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلاً (الكهف: 30).
أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهِمُ الأَنْهَارُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًا مِنْ سُندُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا عَلَى الأَرَائِكِ نِعْمَ الثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا (الكهف: 31).
وَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ مَثَلاً رَجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا ِلأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا (الكهف: 32).
كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِمْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلاَلَهُمَا نَهَرًا (الكهف: 33).
وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنْكَ مَالاً وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرًا (الكهف: 34).
وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَنْ تَبِيدَ هَذِهِ أَبَدًا (الكهف: 35).
وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِنْ رُدِدْتُ إِلَى رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا (الكهف: 36).
قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِنْ تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلاً (الكهف: 37).
لَكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّهُ رَبِّي وَلاَ أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا (الكهف: 38).
وَلَوْلاَ إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ لاَ قُوَّةَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ إِنْ تَرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنْكَ مَالاً وَوَلَدًا (الكهف: 39).
فَعَسَى رَبِّي أَنْ يُؤْتِيَنِي خَيْرًا مِنْ جَنَّتِكَ وَيُرْسِلَ عَلَيْهَا حُسْبَانًا مِنْ السَّمَاءِ فَتُصْبِحَ صَعِيدًا زَلَقًا (الكهف: 40).
(18:1) Praise be to Allah Who has revealed to His servant the Book devoid of all crookedness;1
1. That is, there is nothing intricate or complicated in it that may be beyond anyone’s understanding nor is there anything that deviates from the straight path of the truth and thus causes hesitation in the mind of a truth-loving person.
(18:2) an unerringly Straight Book, meant to warn of stern punishment from Allah, and to proclaim, to those who believe and work righteous deeds, the tiding that theirs shall be a good reward
(18:4) and also to warn those who say: “Allah has taken to Himself a son,2
2. “Those who say” includes the Christians, the Jews, and the mushrik Arabs who assigned offspring to Allah.
(18:5) a thing about which they have no knowledge, neither they nor their ancestors. Dreadful is the word that comes out of their mouths.3 What they utter is merely a lie.
3. “Dreadful is the word” That one is the son of God, or Allah has adopted that one as a son. This has been declared to be dreadful because it was not based o any knowledge that Allah has a son or has adopted a son. They had merely exaggerated their love for someone and invented such a relationship. And they do not realize that it is a dreadful blasphemy, impudence and fabrication that they are uttering in regards to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
(18:6) (O Muhammad), if they do not believe in this Message, you will perhaps torment yourself to death with grief, sorrowing over them.
4. This refers to the real cause of the anxiety of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the time of the revelation of this Surah. It clearly shows that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not arrive at the persecution from which he and his companions were suffering but at the deviation and moral degeneration of his people. What was consuming him was that, though he was trying to bring them out of their disgraceful state, they persisted in it. He was grieved because he was convinced that their deviation would inevitably lead them to the destruction and the scourge of Allah. Therefore he was working day and night to save them but it appeared that they were bent upon incurring the chastisement of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself has described this state of his mind in a tradition to this effect: I may describe this thing in a parable. A person kindled a fire to spread light but the moths
persist in falling over it to burn themselves alive. He tries to save them from the fire but the moths reduce his efforts to failure. The same is true of me and you. I hold you by your skirts to keep you away from the fire, but you are bent upon falling into it. (Bukhari, Muslim).
Though apparently it is merely stated that it may be that you will consume your life for their sake out of sorrow, it also contains a sort of consolation for the Prophet (peace be upon him), as if to say: As you are not responsible for forcing them to believe, why should you consume yourself for their sake. Your only duty is to give good news and warning and not to turn people into believers. Therefore, you may go on carrying out your mission of giving good news to the believers and warning of the harmful consequences to the disbelievers.
(18:7) Surely We have made all that is on the earth an embellishment for it in order to test people as to who of them is better in conduct.
(18:8) In the ultimate, We shall reduce all that is on the earth to a barren plain.5
5. (Ayat 6 )was addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), but (Ayats 7-8 ) have been directed to the disbelievers indirectly, as if to say: You must understand it clearly that all the things that you see in the world and which allure you, are a transitory adornment which has
been arranged merely to test you, but it is a pity that you have been involved in the misunderstanding that all these things have been created to cater for your pleasure and enjoyment. That is why the only aim and object of life you have set before you is: Eat, drink, and be merry. As a result of this, you do not pay any attention to your true and real well wisher. You must understand well that these things have not been provided for pleasure but are actually a means of testing you. You have been placed among them to see which of you is allured by these from the real aim of life and which of you keeps steadfast in the
worship of Allah, for which you have been sent to the world. All these things and means of pleasure shall come to an end on the Day, your examination is over and nothing will remain on the earth because it will be turned into a bare plain.
(18:9) Do you think that the people of Cave 6 and the Inscription7 were one of Our wondrous signs? 8
6. The Arabic word Kahf literally means a vast cave.
7. There is a difference of opinion about the meaning of arraqim. Some companions and their followers opined that it was the name of that habitation where this event took place and that it was situated somewhere between Aylah and Palestine. There are other commentators who take it to mean the inscription that had been set up at the cave as a memorial to the sleepers of the cave. Abul Kalam Azad, in his commentary, Tarjmanul- Quran, preferred the first meaning and opined that it is the same place that has been called Rekem in the Bible (Joshua, 18: 27). Then he identifies it with the ancient historical city of Petra. But he has not consider the fact that Rekem, as mentioned in the Bible, belonged to the children of Benjamin, and according to the Book of Joshua, the territory of this clan was situated to the west of the river Jordan and the Dead Sea and that the ruins of Petra are situated to the south of Jordan. That is why modern archaeologists do not believe that Petra and Rekem are one and the same place. (Please refer to Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946, Vol XVIL page 658). We are also of the opinion that Arraqim is meant for the inscription.
8. This question has been posed to expose the skeptical attitude of the disbelievers towards the “Sleepers of the Cave,” as if to say: Do you think that Allah, Who has created the heavens and the earth, does not have the power to keep a few persons in a state of sleep for a couple of hundred years and then to raise them up the same as they were at the time of going to sleep. If you ever had pondered over the wonderful creation of the sun and the moon and the earth, you would never have expressed any doubt that such a thing was anything
difficult for Allah.
(18:10) When those youths sought refuge in the Cave and said: “Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Yourself and provide for us oo in our affairs.”
(18:11) We lulled them to sleep in that cave for a number of years
(18:12) and then roused them so that We might see which of the two parties could best
tell the length of their stay.
(18:13) We narrate to you their true story.9 They were a party of young men who had faith in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance10
9. The oldest evidence of this story is found in a homily written in Syriac by Jacob of Sarug, a Christian priest of Syria, who was born in A.D. 452, a few years after the death of the companions of the cave. The homily which describes the legend in great detail was composed by him in or about A.D. 474. On the one hand, this same Syriac version came into the hands of our early commentators, and Ibn Jarir Tabari cited it in his commentary with various authorities. And on the other hand, it reached Europe where its translations and abridged versions were published in Greek and Latin. The abridged story as told by Gibbon in Chapter 33 of his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire under the heading, “The Seven Sleepers”, so closely resembles the story told by our commentators that both the versions seem to have been drawn from the same source. For instance, the name of the king,
whose persecutions made the Seven Christian youths of Ephesus take refuge in the cave, was Emperor Decius according to Gibbon. He ruled the Roman Empire from A.D. 249 to 251 and whose reign is very notorious because of his persecution of the followers of the Prophet
Jesus (peace be upon him), while our commentators call him Decanus or Decaus, etc. The city, where this event happened was Ephesus or Aphesos according to our commentators, while according to Gibbon it was Ephesus, which was the biggest Roman city and seaport on the west coast of Asia Minor. The ruins of this city can still be seen 20 to 25 miles south of the modern Turkish city of Izmir. Again the name of the king, during whose reign the companions of the cave awoke, was Tezusius according to the Muslim commentators and Theodosius II according to Gibbon. He ruled over Rome from A.D. 408 to 450, after the Roman Empire had accepted Christianity.
The resemblance between the two versions is so close that even the name of the companion whom the sleepers sent to the city to buy food after waking up has been mentioned as Jamblicha by the Muslim scholars and Jamblichus by Gibbon. The details of the story in both
the versions are also similar which are briefly as follows.
When during the reign of Emperor Decius, the followers of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) were being mercilessly persecuted, the seven Christian youths hide in a cave and fell into a sleep. Then in the 38th year of the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (approximately in A.D. 445 or 446), they awoke when the entire Roman Empire had become Christian. Thus, they slept in the cave for nearly 196 years.
On this ground, some orientalists have rejected that the above-mentioned story is the same as that given in the Quran because the period of their stay in the cave according to the Quran (Ayat 25) was 309 years. We have, however, answered this objection in (E.N. 25).
There are a few minor differences between the Quranic and Syriac versions, on the basis of which Gibbon has charged the Prophet (peace be upon him) with ignorance. However, the Syriac version, on the basis of whose authenticity he has committed this gross insolence,
was even according to him written thirty to forty years after the event by a Syrian. He has not taken the trouble to consider the fact that verbal versions of events do change a bit during such a long time while they are communicated from one country to the other.
Therefore it is wrong to take such a version of the story for granted and literally true and to charge the Quran with discrepancy for any main difference with it. Such an attitude is worthy only of those people who are so blinded by religious prejudices that they discard even the most ordinary demands of reason.
The city of Ephesus where the event of the sleepers of the cave took place, was built about 11th century B.C. and became a great center of idol worship, its chief deity being the moon goddess, Diana, whose temple was regarded as a wonder of the ancient world. Most of her
devotees belonged to Asia Minor and the Roman Empire also accepted her as one of its deities. After Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) when his message started reaching different parts of the Roman Empire, a few youths of Ephesus also gave up idol worship and accepted God as their only Lord. Gregory of Tours has collected details about these
Christian youths in his Meraculorum Liber, which are briefly as follows.
They were seven youths. When Emperor Decius heard of their change of faith, he summoned them and questioned them about their new religion. In spite of knowing that the Emperor was deadly against the followers of Christ, they frankly admitted before him that their Lord is the Lord of the earth and heavens and that they recognized none else as Deity for if they did so, they would be committing a grave sin. The Emperor became furious to hear this, and warned that he would have them killed, but then considering their tender age, he granted them three days in which they were counseled to revert to their old faith,
otherwise, they would be put to death.
The seven youths took advantage of the situation and fled the city to conceal themselves in a cave in the mountains. On the way, a dog also followed them. They did their best to scare it away, but it would not leave them. At last, they found a spacious cave as a suitable refuge
and hid in it and the dog sat at the entrance. Being tired they soon fell into a deep slumber. This happened in about 250 A.D. After about 197 years, in 447 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II, they awoke suddenly when the whole Roman Empire had
embraced Christianity and the Ephesians had given up idolatry.
At this time a fierce controversy was going on among the Romans regarding the reality of life after death and Resurrection, and the Emperor himself was anxious to eradicate somehow the disbelief in life after death from the minds of his people. So much so that
one day he prayed that God in His mercy may show a sign which may help restore and correct the people’s belief. On precisely the same day the seven sleepers awoke in the cave.
After waking up, the youths started asking one another about how long they might have slept. Some said it might have been a day, others said it was a part of a day. When they reached no conclusion, they stopped arguing, leaving the knowledge of the exact period to
Then they sent Jean, a companion, to the city with a few silver coins to buy food and warned him to be on his guard lest the people should recognize him, for they feared that if they were discovered the Ephesians would force them to bow before Diana. But when Jean
came to the city he was astonished to see that the world had changed. The entire population had embraced Christianity, and there was nobody in the city to worship Diana. He came to a shop and wanted to buy a few loaves of bread. When he paid in a coin bearing the image
of Emperor Decius, the shopkeeper could not believe his eyes and asked the stranger where he had obtained that coin. When the young man said that it was his own, a dispute began between them and soon a crowd gathered around them, and the matter reached the chief officer of the city. The officer himself was puzzled and wanted to know the whereabouts of the treasure house from where the young man had taken the coin, but the latter insisted that it belonged to him. The officer did not believe him because he thought that a young man like him could not possibly possess a centuries-old coin that had not
even been seen by the elders in the city. When Jean came to know that Emperor Decius had died, he was pleasantly surprised. He told the crowd that he and his six companions had fled the city only the other day and taken refuge in a cave to escape Decius’ persecution.
The officer was greatly surprised and followed the young man to see the cave where his companions lay in hiding. And a great crowd followed behind them. When they came to the cave, it was fully established that the youths really belonged to Emperor Decius’ period.
Consequently, Emperor Theodosius was informed and he also visited the cave to receive grace. Then the seven youths went back into the cave and lay down and breathed their last.
Seeing this clear sign the people’s belief in life after death was restored, and a monument was ordered to be built over the cave by the Emperor.
The story of the sleepers of the cave as narrated above, corresponds so closely with that mentioned in the Quran that the seven youths can easily be regarded as Ashab-i- Kahf (the companions of the cave). Some people, however, have raised the objection that this story
concerns a city of Asia Minor, and the Quran does not discuss or refer to any event that might have taken place outside Arabia, therefore it would be against the Quranic style and spirit to label this Christian story as the story of Ashab-i-Kahf. In our opinion, this objection
is not correct. The Quran means to impress and warn the Arabs by relating stories concerning the various ancient tribes who had transgressed from the right path and with whom they were familiar, whether they lived and flourished inside Arabia or outside it. It is
for this very reason that a mention has been made of the ancient history of Egypt in the Quran, whereas Egypt has never been a part of Arabia. The question is that when the history of Egypt can be mentioned in the Quran, why cannot Rome and the Roman history with which the Arabs were as familiar as with Egyptian history? The Roman frontiers adjoined the northern Hijaz and the Arab caravans traded with the Romans almost throughout the year. Then there were a number of Arab tribes who were directly under Roman domination and the Roman Empire was in no way unknown to the Arabs, a fact which is fully borne out by Surah Ar-Room. Another thing that should be borne in mind is that the story of the sleepers of the cave has been related in the Quran in response to a query raised by the disbelievers of Makkah, who had been prompted by the Jews and Christians to question the Prophet (peace be upon him) on such matters as were wholly unknown to the Arabs in order to test his Prophethood.
10. That is, when they had believed sincerely, Allah increased their faith in the guidance and enabled them to become firm and steadfast on the way of the truth even at the risk of their lives rather than surrender before falsehood.
(18:14) and strengthened their hearts when they stood up and proclaimed: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We shall call upon no other god beside Him; (for if we did so), we shall be uttering a lie :
(18:15) (Then they conferred among themselves and said): “These men, our own people, have taken others as gods beside Him: why do they not bring any clear evidence that they indeed are gods? Who can be more unjust than he who foists a lie on Allah?
(18:16) And now that you have dissociated yourselves from them and from whatever they worship beside Allah, go and seek refuge in the Cave. Your Lord will extend His mercy to you and will provide for you the means for the disposal of your affairs.11
11. When these God-worshiping youths fled the habitations to take refuge in the hills, the city of Ephesus was the principal center of idol worship and sorcery in Asia Minor. There was a great temple dedicated to the goddess Diana, which was well known in the whole world and attracted devotees from far places. The sorcerers, workers of magic and occult arts, soothsayers, and amulet writers of Ephesus were well known and their black business had spread throughout Syria and Palestine, even as far as Egypt. The Jews also had a big share in it, and attributed this art to Prophet Solomon. (Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature under Ephesus). The predicament in which the righteous people living in an environment of idolatry and superstition were involved can well be imagined from the remark of the companions of the cave that occurs in(_Ayat 20): If they succeed in overpowering us, they will surely stone us to death or force us back into their faith.
(18:17) Had you seen them in the Cave? it would have appeared to you that when the sun rose,12 it moved away from their Cave to the right; and when it set, it turned away from them to the left, while they remained in a spacious hollow in the Cave.13 This is one of the Signs of Allah. Whomsoever Allah guides, he alone is led aright; and whomsoever Allah lets go astray, you will find for him no guardian to direct him.
12. It has not been mentioned that in accordance with this mutual resolve, they left the city and went to a secret cave in the mountains in order to escape from death or forced apostasy.
13. This is to show that the mouth of the cave faced the north. That is why the light of the sun could not enter the cave and the one who passed by it could not see who was inside it. 1
(18:18) On seeing them you would fancy them to be awake though they were asleep, and We caused them to turn their sides to their right and to their left,“ and their dog sat stretching out its forelegs on the threshold of the Cave. Had you looked upon them you would have certainly fled away from them, their sight filling you with terror?
14. That is, if someone could have looked at the seven persons from outside and seen them turning from one side to the other at intervals, he would have thought that they were not asleep but were relaxing.
15. Allah had so arranged their refuge that none dared go inside the cave and know about them for it was pitch dark in the cave and the dog was keeping watch at the entrance. If someone ever looked into the cave and saw the sleepers, he took them for some robbers and
at once turned on his heels. This was the reason why their refuge remained a secret to the outer world for such a long period.
(18:19) Likewise, We roused them! in a miraculous way that they might question one another. One of them asked: “How long did you remain (in this state)?” The others said: “We remained so for a day or part of a day.” Then they said: “Your Lord knows better how long we remained in this state. Now send one of you to the city with this coin of yours and let him see who has the best food, and let him buy some provisions from there. Let him be cautious and not inform anyone of our whereabouts.
16. They were awakened from their sleep in the same miraculous way that was employed in sending them to sleep and keeping them hidden from the outer world.
(18:20) For if they should come upon us, they will stone us to death or force us to revert to their faith whereafter we shall never prosper.
(18:21) Thus did We make their case known to the people of the city 17 so that they might know that Allah’s promise is true and that there is absolutely no doubt that the Hour will come to pass.18 But instead of giving thought to this, they disputed with one another concerning the People of the Cave, some saying: 19 Build a wall over them.20 Their Lord alone knows best about them.” But those who prevailed over their affairs21 said: “We shall build a place of worship over them.
17. The secret of their sleep was revealed when one of them went to Ephesus to buy food for them and offered a coin of the period of Emperor Decius. As it was a changed world, he naturally attracted attention for he was wearing a costume of 300-year-old fashion and spoke a language different from that in vogue. This was because during those two centuries the language, culture, dress, etc. had undergone a marked change. So the shopkeeper looked askance at him and, according to a Syriac tradition, he suspected that he had dug up some ancient treasure. Accordingly, he gathered some people from his neighborhood and they took him before the ruler. On questioning, it was discovered that he was one of those followers of Christ, who had fled the city 300 years ago to save their faith. As most of the population had embraced Christianity, the news immediately spread throughout the city and a big crowd of the people along with the Christian Roman Ruler arrived at the cave. It was then that the
sleepers of the cave came to know that they had slept for about three hundred years. So after making salutations to their Christian brothers they lay down and their souls left their bodies.
18. According to the Syriac tradition, at the time of this occurrence, hot discussions were going on in Ephesus about Resurrection and the Hereafter. Though the people had embraced Christianity under the influence of the Roman Empire, traces of shirk and idolatry of the Romans and the effects of Greek philosophy were still very powerful. So in spite of the Christian creed of the Hereafter, many people denied this or at least were skeptical about this. To add to this the Sadducee sect of the Jews, who formed a great part of the population of the city, openly denied the Hereafter and professed to base this on the
Torah. The Christian scholars, however, could not put forward any strong arguments to refute them: so much so that the reports of the polemical discussion given in Matthew, Mark and Luke, attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), are admittedly very weak even
according to the Christian scholars. (Please refer to Matthew 22: 23-33, Mark 12: 18- 27, Luke 20: 27-40). That is why the disbelievers in the Hereafter were having the upper hand and even the believers were involved in doubts about it. It was at that time that the sleepers of the cave were raised up and furnished absolute proof of life after death and turned the scales in favor of the believers in this dispute.
19. It appears from the context that this was the saying of the righteous people from among the Christians. They were of the opinion that a wall should be raised at the entrance of the cave in order to let the sleepers remain in the same condition in which they were, for they
argued that their Lord alone knew best about their rank and position and the reward they deserved.
20. The people “those who prevailed in their matter” were the Roman rulers and the priests of the Christian Church, who did not let the righteous Christians have their way. This was because by the middle of the fifth century, the common people, especially the orthodox
among the Christians, had become fully involved in shirk and the worship of saints and tombs. They used to visit the tombs of the saints to worship them and kept the statues of Jesus, Mary, and the apostles in their churches: so much so that a few years before the rising
up of the sleepers of the cave, in 431 A.D., a great council of the representatives of the Christian world had been held in Ephesus itself, in which it was resolved that the creed of the divinity of Christ and of Mary as the mother of God, should be included in the articles of
the Christian Church. If we keep in view the year 431, it becomes clear that by “those who prevailed in their matter” are meant to the leaders of the Church and the officers of the government, who had the reins of the religious and political powers in their hands. In fact, these were the people who were the upholders of shirk and who decided that a mausoleum should be built over the cave of the sleepers to make it a place of worship.
21. It is an irony that some people among the Muslims have misconstrued this verse of the Quran so as to make it lawful for themselves to build mausoleums, monuments, and mosques over the tombs of righteous persons and saints. The Quran has, in fact, pointed
out the deviation of the workers of iniquity who prevailed upon others and built a place of worship over the cave of the sleepers, who were indeed a sign of Resurrection and of the life after death. But they abused this good opportunity and produced another means of
One fails to understand how anyone can deduce from this verse an argument for the legality of building mosques over the tombs of the righteous people when the Prophet (peace be upon him) has categorically prohibited this.
(1) Allah has cursed those women who visit tombs and those people who build mosques over them and burn lights over them (Ahmad, Tirmizi, Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Majah).
(2) Beware that the people, who have passed before you, made the tombs of their Prophets the places of their worship. I forbid you to do that. (Muslim).
(3) Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians, for they made the tombs of their Prophets the places of their worship. (Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai).
(4) The behavior of those people was strange: if a righteous person from among them, died they would build a mosque over his grave and draw his pictures. They will be treated as the worst criminals on the Day on Resurrection. (Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Nasai).
Thus, it is clear from the above sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the building of the places of worship over the tombs is utterly unlawful. The Quran has merely stated as a historical fact the sinful act of the Christian priests and the Roman rulers and has not sanctioned such a thing. Therefore no God-fearing person can turn this into an argument for building mosques over the tombs.
Incidentally, it will be worthwhile to cite a statement of Rev. T. Arundell who published his discoveries in Asia Minor in 1834. He says that he had seen the remains of the Mausoleums of Mary and the seven sleepers on a hillock near the remains of the ancient city of Ephesus.
(18:22) Some will say concerning them: “They were three and their dog, the fourth”; and some will say: “They were five, and their dog, the sixth” all this being merely guesswork; and still others will say: “They were seven, and their dog, the eighth.”22 Say: “My Lord knows their number best. Only a few know their correct number. So do not dispute their number, but stick to what is evident, and do not question anyone about them.”23
22. This shows that about three hundred years after this event, at the time of the revelation of the Quran, different stories had become current among the Christians about the sleepers of the cave, but generally these stories had no authentic source behind them. This was
because that was not the age of the press in which authentic books might have been published. Therefore naturally the stories of events were carried from place to place by means of oral traditions, and with the passage of time many tales of fiction got mixed up with the real story.
23. This is meant to impress that the real thing in this story is not the number of sleepers but the lessons it teaches. (1) A true believer should not on any account turn away from the truth and bow before falsehood. (2) A believer should not merely rely on material means
but on Allah. He should trust in God and follow the right way, even though the outward adverse circumstances might appear to be unfavorable. (3) It is wrong to suppose that Allah is bound by any so-called law of nature, for He is able to do anything He wills even though
that might seem to be against some common experience. He has the power to change any so-called law of nature, whenever and wherever He wills and bring about any extraordinary supernatural thing. So much so that He can raise up anyone who might have been asleep for
two hundred years, as if he had slept only for a few hours, without letting any change take place in his appearance, dress, health, indeed in anything, during the passage of time. (4) This teaches us that Allah has the power to bring to life all the generations past, present and
future all together as asserted by the Prophets and divine Scriptures. (5) It teaches us that ignorant people have always been perverting the signs of Allah which are sent for the right guidance of the people. That is how the miracle of the sleepers of the cave, which had been
shown as proof of the Hereafter, had been turned into a means of shirk as if they were some saints who had been sent only for this purpose.
It is obvious from the above-mentioned real lessons, which one can learn from the story of the sleepers, that a wise man will pay his attention to these things and not divert it in search of their number, their names, the color of their dog, and the like. Only those people, who have no interest in reality but in superficial things, will spend their time and energy in making investigations about such things. That is why Allah instructed the Prophet (peace be upon him): You should not enter into useless and irrelevant discussions about such things even if other people try to involve you in them. Instead of wasting your time on such useless things, you should concentrate your attention only on your mission. That is why Allah has not Himself told their exact number lest it should encourage such people as are always hankering after useless things.
(18:23) And never say about anything: “I shall certainly do this tomorrow”
(18:24) unless Allah should will it. And should you forget (and make such a statement), remember your Lord and say: “I expect my Lord to guide me to what is nearer to rectitude than this. 24
24. This is a parenthetical clause that has been inserted here because of its relevancy to the preceding verse, in which it was asserted that the correct number of the sleepers of the cave is known only to Allah, and research into it is a useless task. Therefore one should refrain
from investigating unimportant things, or entering into discussions about them. This has led to the instruction contained in the parenthetical clause for the benefit of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers who have been told never to make a positive
assertion like this: I will do this thing tomorrow, for you do not know whether you will be able to do that thing or not: you have neither the knowledge of the unknown nor have full powers to do what you like. If ever inadvertently you utter anything like this, you should at
once remember your Lord and say, InshaAllah. Besides this you do not know whether there will be any good for you in the thing about which you say: I will do this. It is possible that you may do another thing better than that. Therefore you should trust in God and say: I hope that my Lord will guide me in this matter with that thing which is nearer to the right way for me.
(18:25) They remained in the Cave for three hundred years; and others added nine more years.25
25. This sentence is connected with the theme preceding the parenthetical clause like this. Some people will say: “They were three and the fourth was their dog…”, and some people will say that they remained in the cave for three hundred years and some others would add nine more years (to the reckoning of the period). We are of the opinion that the number of the years, 300 or 309, has not been stated by Allah Himself but Allah has cited these as sayings of the people. This opinion is based on this succeeding sentence: Allah knows best
about the period of their stay there. If the number of years, given in (Ayat 25), had been from Allah, this succeeding sentence would have been meaningless. Abdullah bin Abbas has also opined that this is not the saying of Allah but that of the people which has been cited as a part of the story.
(18:26) Say: “Allah knows best how long they remained in it, for only He knows all that is hidden in the heavens and the earth. How well He sees; how well He hears! The creatures have no other guardian than Him; He allows none to share His authority.”
(18:27) (O Prophet),26 recite to them from the Book of your Lord what has been revealed to you for none may change His words; (and were you to make any change in His words) you will find no refuge from Him.
26. After relating the story of the sleepers of the cave, the Quran begins to review the condition of the Muslims of Makkah at the time of the revelation of the Surah.
27. This does not mean at all that, God forbid, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was inclined to make any changes in the Quran to please the disbelievers of Makkah and was thinking of some formula of compromise with the chiefs of the Quraish which necessitated a warning that he was not authorized to do so. As a matter of tact, though this was apparently addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), it was really meant for the disbelievers that they should not entertain any hope whatsoever for anything like this, as if to say: You must understand it once and for all that Our Messenger is not authorized to make any changes in Our revelation, for he has to precisely convey it just as it is sent down to him. If you want to
accept it, you will have to accept it in its entirety as it is being sent by the Lord of the Universe. And if you want to reject it, you may do so but you must understand it well that no modification, even in the least, will be made in it to please you. This was the answer to the repeated demand of the disbelievers: If you do insist, O Muhammad (peace be upon him), that we should accept your message in its entirety, then make certain modifications in it to accommodate some creeds and customs of our forefathers, and we will accept your message. This is our offer for a compromise and this will save our people from divsion. This demand of the disbelievers has been cited in the Quran at several places and the same answer has been given, e.g. When Our clear revelations are recited to them, those who do not expect to meet Us, say: Bring another Quran in its stead or make some amendments in it. (Surah Younus, Ayat 15).
(18:28) Keep yourself content with those who call upon their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His pleasure, and do not let your eyes pass beyond them. Do you seek the pomp and glitter of the world? 28Do not follow him29 whose heart We have caused to be heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his desires, and whose attitude is of excess.30
28. Though these words have also been addressed to the Prophet (peace be upon him), they were really meant for the chiefs of the Quraish. According to a tradition related by Ibn Abbas, the chiefs of the Quraish would say to the Prophet (peace be upon him) that they considered it below their dignity to sit with such people as Bilal, Suhaib, Ammar, Khabbab, Ibn-Masud, and the like who generally remained in his company and that if he should send them away,
they would be willing to attend his meetings in order to learn about his message. At this Allah revealed this verse: And keep yourself wholeheartedly content with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening in order to win His approval and do not turn your attention away from them: Do you desire to discard these sincere but poor people so that the chiefs of the Quraish, the well to do people, should come and sit near you? This was meant to warn the chiefs of the Quraish to this effect: Your wealth, your pomp and show of which
you are so proud has no value at all in the sight of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Nay, those poor people are really more worthy in their sight, for they are sincere and always remember Allah. The same was the attitude of the chiefs of Prophet Noah’s (peace be upon him) people, who said: And we also see that none but the meanest and the most shallow of our people have become your followers. Upon this, Noah (peace be upon him) replied: I am not going to drive away those who have believed in me, nor can I say about those whom you disdain that Allah has not bestowed any good on them. (Surah Al-Anbia Ayats 27, 29, (31).
29. That is, do not yield to what he says, nor submit to him, nor fulfill his desire, nor follow his bidding.
30. The original Arabic text may also mean: Who discards the truth, breaks all moral limits and rushes on headlong. But in both cases, it comes to this: The one, who is neglectful of Allah and becomes a slave of his lust, inevitably transgresses all limits and becomes a victim
of immoderation. Therefore the one who will submit to him, will also follow the same way and wander about in deviation after him.
(18:29) And proclaim: “This is the Truth from your Lord. Now let him who will believe, and let him who will disbelieve.21 We have prepared a Fire for the wrong-doers whose billowing folds encompass them. If they ask for water, they will be served with a drink like dregs of oil. that will scald their faces. How dreadful a drink, and how evil an abode31
31. This verse makes it quite plain that the story of the sleepers of the cave has been related to telling the opponents of Islam: This is the truth from your Lord. Now whosoever wills, he may accept it and whosoever wills, he may reject it. But people must understand that no
compromise will be made in regard to the truth just as the sleepers of the cave did not make any compromise with regard to their creed. They did not make any compromise in regard to the doctrine of Tauhid after they had believed in it and categorically declared: Our Lord is
the One Who alone is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. After this declaration, they did not in any way accede to the making of any compromise with their people, who had gone astray. But they firmly declared: We will not give Him up and pray to other deities because
it will be the most improper thing if we did so. After making this declaration they left their people and deities and took refuge in the cave without taking any provisions with them.
After this when they woke up, the only thing about which they showed any anxiety, was that their people might not succeed in forcing them back to their own faith. After relating these things, the Quran addresses the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the effect (though
these words are really meant for the opponents of Islam): It is absolutely out of question whether any compromise can be made with mushriks and disbelievers. Present the truth intact to them whether they accept it or not. If they do not accept it, they themselves will
meet with an evil end. As regards those, who have accepted the truth, (whether they be youngsters or poor, indigent people or slaves or laborers) they are really those people who have a worth with Allah, and they alone will be honored. Therefore you should not discard
them and prefer the chiefs and the rich people who may be neglectful of Allah and be slaves of their own desires, even though they might be possessors of worldly grandeur.
32. The Arabic word Suradigq literally means sides of a tent but, as used in the case of Hell, it may mean its external boundaries to which its flames and heat may reach. According to some commentators, it applies to the future tense “its walls will be surrounding them” so as
to refer to the flames of Hell in the Hereafter. But we are of the opinion that its flames have already encircled, in this very world, these workers of iniquity, who have turned away from the truth and that they cannot escape them.
33. The Arabic word mutual has several lexical meanings. According to some people, it means the residue of oil; according to others, it is lava that is formed by the melting of things in the earth; according to others, it is molten matter and according to others, it is pus and blood.
(18:30) As for those who believe and do good We shall not cause their reward to be lost.
(18:31) They shall dwell in the Gardens of Eternity, beneath which streams flow. There they will be adorned with bracelets of gold,34 will be arrayed in green garments of silk and rich brocade, and will recline on raised couches. How excellent is their reward, and how nice their resting-place 35
34. The dwellers of Paradise will be adorned with bracelets of gold like the kings of ancient times. This will be to show that they will be adorned like the kings of this world, whereas an unbeliever and the wicked king will be disgraced there.
35. The Arabic word araaik is plural of arikah which is that kind of throne that is covered with an umbrella. This is also to show that in Paradise the believers will sit on thrones like the kings of this world.
(18:32) (O Muhammad), propound a parable to them. There were two men of whom We bestowed upon one of the two vineyards, surrounding both of them with date- palms and putting tillage in between.
36. In order to understand the significance of this parable we should keep in view (Ayat 28 )in which arrogant chiefs of Makkah were told that the poor companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not be discarded to please them.
(18:33) Both the vineyards yielded abundant produce without failure and We caused a stream to flow in their midst
(18:34) so the owner had fruit in abundance and he said to his neighbor while conversing with him: “I have greater wealth than you and I am stronger than you in numbers.”
(18:35) Then he entered his vine-yard% and said, wronging himself: “Surely, I do not believe that all this will ever perish.
37. He considered his gardens to be Paradise. Thus he behaved like those mean persons who, when rise to power and wealth, are always involved in the misunderstanding that they are enjoying Paradise in this world, therefore they do not stand in need of any other Paradise.
(18:36) Nor do I believe that the Hour of Resurrection will ever come to pass. And even if [am returned to my Lord, I shall find a better place than this.”38
38. That is, I don’t think there is any life after death, but supposing there be one, I shall fare even better there than in my present life, for my prosperity is a clear proof that I am a favorite of God.
(18:37) While conversing with him his neighbor exclaimed: “Do you deny Him Who created you out of the dust, then out of a drop of sperm, and then fashioned you into a complete man?
39. This shows that unbelief in Allah is not confined to the denial of the existence of God in so many words, but arrogance, pride, vanity, and the rejection of the Hereafter are also kufr. Although that person did not deny the existence of Allah, he professed it as is apparent from
his words (And if I am brought back to my Lord), yet in spite of his profession, his neighbor charged him with unbelief in Allah. This is because the person, who considers his wealth and his grandeur etc. to be the fruits of his own power and capability and not the favors of
Allah, and who thinks that they are everlasting and none can take then away from him and that he is not accountable to anyone, is guilty of unbelief in Allah, even though he might profess belief in Him, for he acknowledges Allah as a Being and not as his Master, Owner nd Sovereign. In fact, belief in Allah demands not merely the profession of His existence but also the acknowledgment of His Sovereignty, Mastery, Rule, and the like.
(18:38) As for myself, Allah alone is my Lord, and I associate none with my Lord in His Divinity.
(18:39) When you entered your vineyard, why did you not say: ‘Whatever Allah wills shall come to pass, for there is no power“? save with Allah 40 If you find me less than yourself in wealth and children
40. That is, If we are able to do anything, it is by the help and support of Allah alone.
(18:40) it may well be that my Lord will give me something better than your vineyard, and send a calamity upon your vineyard from the heavens and it will be reduced to a barren waste,