Surah Kahf Pdf:- Surah Kahf (Arabic: الكهف, meaning: The Cave)
is the 18th chapter of the Quran with 110 verses (Ayat).


Regarding the timing and contextual background of the revelation
(Asbab Al-Nuzul), Surah Al-Kahf is an earlier “Meccan surah”, which
means it was revealed in Mecca, instead of Medina.


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    Surah Kahf in English Roman Text




    Bismillah hir rahman nir raheem
    In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
    1. Alhamdu lillaahil lazeee anzala ‘alaa ‘abdihil kitaaba wa lam
    yaj’al lahoo ‘iwajaa
    [All] praise is [due] to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the
    Book and has not made therein any deviance.
    2. Qaiyimal liyunzira ba’asan shadeedam mil ladunhu wa yubashshiral
    mu’mineenal lazeena ya’maloonas saalihaati anna lahum ajran
    hasanaa
    [He has made it] straight, to warn of severe punishment from Him and to
    give good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will
    have a good reward
    3. Maakiseena feehi abadaa
    In which they will remain forever
    4. Wa yunziral lazeena qaalut takhazal laahu waladaa
    And to warn those who say, “Allah has taken a son.”
    5. Maa lahum bihee min ‘ilminw wa laa li aabaaa’ihim; kaburat
    kalimatan takhruju min afwaahihim; iny yaqooloona illaa
    kazibaa
    They have no knowledge of it, nor had their fathers. Grave is the word
    that comes out of their mouths; they speak not except a lie.
    6. Fala’allaka baakhi’un nafsaka ‘alaaa aasaarihim illam yu’minoo
    bihaazal hadeesi asafaa
    Then perhaps you would kill yourself through grief over them, [O
    Muhammad], if they do not believe in this message, [and] out of sorrow.
    7. Innaa ja’alnaa ma ‘alal ardi zeenatal lahaa linabluwahum ayyuhum
    ahsanu ‘amalaa
    Indeed, We have made that which is on the earth adornment for it that We
    may test them [as to] which of them is best in deed.
    8. Wa innaa la jaa’iloona maa ‘alaihaa sa’eedan juruzaa
    And indeed, We will make that which is upon it [into] a barren ground.
    9. Am hasibta anna Ashaabal Kahfi war Raqeemi kaanoo min Aayaatinaa
    ‘ajabaa
    Or have you thought that the companions of the cave and the inscription
    were, among Our signs, a wonder?
    10. Iz awal fityatu ilal Kahfi faqaaloo Rabbanaaa aatinaa mil
    ladunka rahmatanw wa haiyi’ lanaa min amrinaa rashadaa
    [Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, “Our Lord,
    grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right
    guidance.”
    11. Fadarabnaa ‘alaaa aazaanihim fil Kahfi seneena ‘adadaa
    So We cast [a cover of sleep] over their ears within the cave for a
    number of years.
    12. Summa ba’asnaahum lina’lama ayyul hizbaini ahsaa limaa labisooo
    amadaa (section 1)
    Then We awakened them that We might show which of the two factions was
    most precise in calculating what [extent] they had remained in time.
    13. Nahnu naqussu ‘alaika naba ahum bilhaqq; innahum fityatun
    aamanoo bi Rabbihim wa zidnaahum hudaa
    It is We who relate to you, [O Muhammad], their story in truth. Indeed,
    they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in
    guidance.
    14. Wa rabatnaa ‘alaa quloo bihim iz qaamoo faqaaloo Rabbunaa
    Rabbus samaawaati wal ardi lan nad’uwa min dooniheee ilaahal laqad
    qulnaaa izan shatataa
    And We made firm their hearts when they stood up and said, “Our Lord is
    the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never will we invoke besides Him
    any deity. We would have certainly spoken, then, an excessive
    transgression.
    15. Haaa’ulaaa’i qawmunat takhazoo min dooniheee aalihatal law laa
    yaatoona ‘alaihim bisultaanim baiyin; faman azlamu mimmaniftaraa
    ‘alal laahi kazibaa
    These, our people, have taken besides Him deities. Why do they not bring
    for [worship of] them a clear authority? And who is more unjust than one
    who invents about Allah a lie?”
    16. Wa izi’tazal tumoohum wa maa ya’budoona illal laaha faawooo
    ilal kahfi yanshur lakum Rabbukum mir rahmatihee wa yuhaiyi’ lakum
    min amrikum mirfaqa
    [The youths said to one another], “And when you have withdrawn from them
    and that which they worship other than Allah, retreat to the cave. Your
    Lord will spread out for you of His mercy and will prepare for you from
    your affair facility.”
    17. 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)
    And [had you been present], you would see the sun when it rose,
    inclining away from their cave on the right, and when it set, passing
    away from them on the left, while they were [laying] within an open
    space thereof. That was from the signs of Allah. He whom Allah guides is
    the [rightly] guided, but he whom He leaves astray – never will you find
    for him a protecting guide.
    18. 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 rubaa
    And you would think them awake, while they were asleep. And We turned
    them to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched his
    forelegs at the entrance. If you had looked at them, you would have
    turned from them in flight and been filled by them with terror.
    19. 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
    And similarly, We awakened them that they might question one another.
    Said a speaker from among them, “How long have you remained [here]?”
    They said, “We have remained a day or part of a day.” They said, “Your
    Lord is most knowing of how long you remained. So send one of you with
    this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the
    best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious.
    And let no one be aware of you.
    20. Innahum iny yazharoo ‘alaikum yarjumookum aw yu’eedookum fee
    millatihim wa lan tuflihooo izan abadaa
    Indeed, if they come to know of you, they will stone you or return you
    to their religion. And never would you succeed, then – ever.”
    21. 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
    And similarly, We caused them to be found that they [who found them]
    would know that the promise of Allah is truth and that of the Hour there
    is no doubt. [That was] when they disputed among themselves about their
    affair and [then] said, “Construct over them a structure. Their Lord is
    most knowing about them.” Said those who prevailed in the matter, “We
    will surely take [for ourselves] over them a masjid.”
    22. 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)
    They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and
    they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog –
    guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the
    eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord is most
    knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue
    about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them
    among [the speculators] from anyone.”
    23. Wa laa taqoolanna lishai’in innee faa’ilun zaalika ghadaa
    And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,”
    24. Illaaa any yashaaa’al laah; wazkur Rabbaka izaa naseeta wa qul
    ‘asaaa any yahdiyani Rabbee li aqraba min haazaa rashadaa
    Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you
    forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer
    than this to right conduct.”
    25. Wa labisoo fee kahfihim salaasa mi’atin sineena wazdaadoo
    tis’aa
    And they remained in their cave for three hundred years and exceeded by
    nine.
    26. 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
    Say, “Allah is most knowing of how long they remained. He has [knowledge
    of] the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth. How Seeing is He
    and how Hearing! They have not besides Him any protector, and He shares
    not His legislation with anyone.”
    27. Watlu maaa oohiya ilaika min Kitaabi Rabbika laa mubaddila li
    Kalimaatihee wa lan tajida min doonihee multahadaa
    And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of
    your Lord. There is no changer of His words, and never will you find in
    other than Him a refuge.
    28. 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
    And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord
    in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not
    your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and
    do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and
    who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.
    29. 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
    And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills – let him
    believe; and whoever wills – let him disbelieve.” Indeed, We have
    prepared for the wrongdoers a fire whose walls will surround them. And
    if they call for relief, they will be relieved with water like murky
    oil, which scalds [their] faces. Wretched is the drink, and evil is the
    resting place.
    30. Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati innaa laa nudee’u
    ajra man ahsana ‘amalaa
    Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – indeed, We
    will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds.
    31. 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)
    Those will have gardens of perpetual residence; beneath them rivers will
    flow. They will be adorned therein with bracelets of gold and will wear
    green garments of fine silk and brocade, reclining therein on adorned
    couches. Excellent is the reward, and good is the resting place.
    32. Wadrib lahum masalar rajulaini ja’alnaa li ahadihimaa
    jannataini min a’naabinw wa hafafnaahumaa binakhilinw wa ja’alnaa
    bainahumaa zar’aa
    And present to them an example of two men: We granted to one of them two
    gardens of grapevines, and We bordered them with palm trees and placed
    between them [fields of] crops.
    33. Kiltal jannataini aatat ukulahaa wa lam tazlim minhu shai’anw
    wa fajjarnaa khi laalahumaa naharaa
    Each of the two gardens produced its fruit and did not fall short
    thereof in anything. And We caused to gush forth within them a river.
    34. Wa kaana lahoo samarun faqaala lisaahibihee wa huwa
    yuhaawiruhoo ana aksaru minka maalanw wa a’azzu nafaraa
    And he had fruit, so he said to his companion while he was conversing
    with him, “I am greater than you in wealth and mightier in [numbers of]
    men.”
    35. Wa dakhala jannatahoo wa huwa zaalimul linafsihee qaala maaa
    azunnu an tabeeda haaziheee abadaa
    And he entered his garden while he was unjust to himself. He said, “I do
    not think that this will perish – ever.
    36. Wa maaa azunnus Saa’ata qaaa’imatanw wa la’ir rudittu ilaa
    Rabbee la ajidanna khairam minhaa munqalabaa
    And I do not think the Hour will occur. And even if I should be brought
    back to my Lord, I will surely find better than this as a return.”
    37. Qaala lahoo saahibuhoo wa huwa yuhaawiruhooo akafarta billazee
    khalaqaka min turaabin summa min nutfatin summa sawwaaka
    rajulaa
    His companion said to him while he was conversing with him, “Have you
    disbelieved in He who created you from dust and then from a sperm-drop
    and then proportioned you [as] a man?
    38. Laakinaa Huwal laahu Rabbee wa laa ushriku bi Rabbeee
    ahadaa
    But as for me, He is Allah, my Lord, and I do not associate with my Lord
    anyone.
    39. Wa law laaa iz dakhalta jannataka qulta maa shaaa’al laahu laa
    quwwata illaa billaah; in tarani ana aqalla minka maalanw wa
    waladaa
    And why did you, when you entered your garden, not say, ‘What Allah
    willed [has occurred]; there is no power except in Allah ‘? Although you
    see me less than you in wealth and children,
    40. Fa’asaa Rabeee any yu’tiyani khairam min jannatika wa yursila
    ‘alaihaa husbaanam minas samaaa’i fatusbiha sa’eedan zalaqaa
    It may be that my Lord will give me [something] better than your garden
    and will send upon it a calamity from the sky, and it will become a
    smooth, dusty ground,
    41. Aw yusbiha maaa’uhaaa ghawran falan tastatee’a lahoo
    talabaa
    Or its water will become sunken [into the earth], so you would never be
    able to seek it.”
    42. Wa uheeta bisamarihee faasbaha yuqallibu kaffaihi ‘alaa maaa
    anfaqa feehaa wa hiya khaawiyatun ‘alaa ‘urooshihaa wa yaqoolu
    yaalaitanee lam ushrik bi Rabbeee ahadaa
    And his fruits were encompassed [by ruin], so he began to turn his hands
    about [in dismay] over what he had spent on it, while it had collapsed
    upon its trellises, and said, “Oh, I wish I had not associated with my
    Lord anyone.”
    43. Wa lam takul lahoo fi’atuny yansuroonahoo min doonil laahi wa
    maa kaana muntasiraa
    And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor could
    he defend himself.
    44. Hunaalikal walaayatu lillaahil haqq; huwa khairun sawaabanw wa
    khairun ‘uqbaa (section 5)
    There the authority is [completely] for Allah, the Truth. He is best in
    reward and best in outcome.
    45. 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
    And present to them the example of the life of this world, [its being]
    like rain which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the
    earth mingles with it and [then] it becomes dry remnants, scattered by
    the winds. And Allah is ever, over all things, Perfect in Ability.
    46. Almaalu walbanoona zeenatul hayaatid dunya wal baaqiyaatus
    saalihaatu khairun ‘inda Rabbika sawaabanw wa khairun amalaa
    Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the
    enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for
    [one’s] hope.
    47. Wa yawma nusaiyirul jibaala wa taral arda baariza tanw wa
    hasharnaahum falam nughaadir minhum ahadaa
    And [warn of] the Day when We will remove the mountains and you will see
    the earth prominent, and We will gather them and not leave behind from
    them anyone.
    48. Wa ‘uridoo ‘alaa Rabbika saffaa, laqad ji’tumoonaa kamaa
    khalaqnaakum awala marrah; bal za’amtum allannaj’ala lakum
    maw’idaa
    And they will be presented before your Lord in rows, [and He will say],
    “You have certainly come to Us just as We created you the first time.
    But you claimed that We would never make for you an appointment.”
    49. 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)
    And the record [of deeds] will be placed [open], and you will see the
    criminals fearful of that within it, and they will say, “Oh, woe to us!
    What is this book that leaves nothing small or great except that it has
    enumerated it?” And they will find what they did present [before them].
    And your Lord does injustice to no one.
    50. 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
    And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they
    prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the
    command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as
    allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for
    the wrongdoers as an exchange.
    51. Maaa ash hattuhum khalqas samaawaati wal ardi wa laa khalqa
    anfusihim wa maa kuntu muttakhizal mudilleena ‘adudaa
    I did not make them witness to the creation of the heavens and the earth
    or to the creation of themselves, and I would not have taken the
    misguiders as assistants.
    52. Wa Yawma yaqoolu naadoo shurakaaa’i yal lazeena za’amtum
    fada’awhum falam yastajeeboo lahum wa ja’alnaa bainahum maw
    biqaa
    And [warn of] the Day when He will say, “Call ‘My partners’ whom you
    claimed,” and they will invoke them, but they will not respond to them.
    And We will put between them [a valley of] destruction.
    53. Wa ra al mujrimoonan Naara fazannooo annahum muwaaqi’oohaa wa
    lam yajidoo ‘anhaa masrifaa (section 7)
    And the criminals will see the Fire and will be certain that they are to
    fall therein. And they will not find from it a way elsewhere.
    54. Wa laqad sarrafnaa fee haazal quraani linnaasi min kulli masal;
    wa kaanal insaanu aksara shai’in jadalaa
    And We have certainly diversified in this Qur’an for the people from
    every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone
    to] dispute.
    55. Wa maa mana’an naasa any yu’minooo iz jaaa’ahumul hudaa wa
    yastaghfiroo Rabbahum illaaa an taatiyahum sunnatul awwaleena aw
    yaatiyahumul ‘azaabu qubulaa
    And nothing has prevented the people from believing when guidance came
    to them and from asking forgiveness of their Lord except that there
    [must] befall them the [accustomed] precedent of the former peoples or
    that the punishment should come [directly] before them.
    56. Wa maa nursilul mursaleena illaa mubashshireena wa munzireen;
    wa yujaadilul lazeena kafaroo bilbaatili liyudhidoo bihil haqqa
    wattakhazooo Aayaatee wa maaa unziroo huzuwaa
    And We send not the messengers except as bringers of good tidings and
    warners. And those who disbelieve dispute by [using] falsehood to
    [attempt to] invalidate thereby the truth and have taken My verses, and
    that of which they are warned, in ridicule.
    57. 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
    And who is more unjust than one who is reminded of the verses of his
    Lord but turns away from them and forgets what his hands have put forth?
    Indeed, We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand
    it, and in their ears deafness. And if you invite them to guidance –
    they will never be guided, then – ever.
    58. 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
    And your Lord is the Forgiving, full of mercy. If He were to impose
    blame upon them for what they earned, He would have hastened for them
    the punishment. Rather, for them is an appointment from which they will
    never find an escape.
    59. Wa tilkal quraaa ahlak nahum lammaa zalamoo wa ja’alnaa
    limahlikihim maw’idaa (section 8)
    And those cities – We destroyed them when they wronged, and We made for
    their destruction an appointed time.
    60. Wa iz qaalaa Moosaa lifataahu laaa abrahu hattaaa ablugha
    majma’al bahrayni aw amdiya huqubaa
    And [mention] when Moses said to his servant, “I will not cease
    [traveling] until I reach the junction of the two seas or continue for a
    long period.”
    61. Falammaa balaghaa majma’a bainihimaa nasiyaa hootahumaa
    fattakhaza sabeelahoo fil bahri sarabaa
    But when they reached the junction between them, they forgot their fish,
    and it took its course into the sea, slipping away.
    62. Falammaa jaawazaa qaala lifataahu aatinaa ghadaaa’anaa laqad
    laqeena min safarinaa haazaa nasabaa
    So when they had passed beyond it, [Moses] said to his boy, “Bring us
    our morning meal. We have certainly suffered in this, our journey,
    [much] fatigue.”
    63. Qaala ara’ayta iz awainaaa ilas sakhrati fa innee naseetul
    hoota wa maaa ansaaneehu illash Shaitaanu an azkurah; wattakhaza
    sabeelahoo fil bahri’ajabaa
    He said, “Did you see when we retired to the rock? Indeed, I forgot
    [there] the fish. And none made me forget it except Satan – that I
    should mention it. And it took its course into the sea amazingly”.
    64. Qaala zaalika maa kunnaa nabghi; fartaddaa ‘alaa aasaari him
    maa qasasaa
    [Moses] said, “That is what we were seeking.” So they returned,
    following their footprints.
    65. Fa wajadaa ‘abdam min ‘ibaadinaaa aatainaahu Rahmatam min
    ‘indinaa wa ‘allamnaahu mil ladunnaa ‘ilmaa
    And they found a servant from among Our servants to whom we had given
    mercy from us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge.
    66. Qaala lahoo Moosaa hal attabi’uka ‘alaaa an tu’allimani mimmaa
    ‘ullimta rushdaa
    Moses said to him, “May I follow you on [the condition] that you teach
    me from what you have been taught of sound judgement?”
    67. Qaalaa innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
    He said, “Indeed, with me you will never be able to have patience.
    68. Wa kaifa tasbiru ‘alaa maa lam tuhit bihee khubraa
    And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in
    knowledge?”
    69. Qaala satajiduneee in shaa ‘al laahu saabiranw wa laaa a’see
    laka amraa
    [Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not
    disobey you in [any] order.”
    70. Qaala fa init taba’tanee falaa tas’alnee ‘an shai’in hattaaa
    uhdisa laka minhu zikraa (section 9)
    He said, “Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I
    make to you about it mention.”
    71. Fantalaqaa hattaaa izaa rakibaa fis safeenati kharaqahaa qaala
    akharaqtahaa litughriqa ahlahaa laqad ji’ta shai’an imraa
    So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, al-Khidh r
    tore it open. [Moses] said, “Have you torn it open to drown its people?
    You have certainly done a grave thing.”
    72. Qaala alam aqul innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
    [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not say that with me you would never be able
    to have patience?”
    73. Qaala laa tu’aakhiznee bimaa naseetu wa laa turhiqnee min amree
    ‘usraa
    [Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in
    my matter with difficulty.”
    74. Fantalaqaa hattaa izaa laqiyaa ghulaaman faqatalahoo qaala
    aqatalta nafsan zakiy yatam bighairi nafs; laqad ji’ta shai’an
    nukraa (End Juz 15)
    So they set out, until when they met a boy, al-Khidh r killed him.
    [Moses] said, “Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having
    killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.”
    75. Qaala alam aqul laka innaka lan tastatee’a ma’iya sabraa
    [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not tell you that with me you would never be
    able to have patience?”
    76. Qaala in sa altuka ‘an shai’im ba’dahaa falaa tusaahibnee qad
    balaghta mil ladunnee ‘uzraa
    [Moses] said, “If I should ask you about anything after this, then do
    not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.”
    77. 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
    So they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they
    asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality.
    And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so al-Khidh r restored
    it. [Moses] said, “If you wished, you could have taken for it a
    payment.”
    78. Qaala haazaa firaaqu bainee wa bainik; sa unabi ‘uka bitaaweeli
    maa lam tastati’ ‘alaihi sabraa
    [Al-Khidh r] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform
    you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have
    patience.
    79. Ammas safeenatu fakaanat limasaakeena ya’maloona fil bahri fa
    arattu an a’eebahaa wa kaana waraaa’ ahum malikuny yaakhuzu kulla
    safeenatin ghasbaa
    As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I
    intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized
    every [good] ship by force.
    80. Wa aammal ghulaamu fakaana abawaahu mu’minaini fakhasheenaaa
    any yurhiqa humaa tughyaananw wa kufraa
    And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he
    would overburden them by transgression and disbelief.
    81. Faradnaa any yubdila humaa Rabbuhumaa khairam minhu zakaatanw
    wa aqraba ruhmaa
    So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better
    than him in purity and nearer to mercy.
    82. 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)
    And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and
    there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been
    righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract
    their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own
    accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not
    have patience.”
    83. Wa yas’aloonaka ‘an Zil Qarnaini qul sa atloo ‘alaikum minhu
    zikraa
    And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about Dhul-Qarnayn. Say, “I will recite
    to you about him a report.”
    84. Innaa makkannaa lahoo fil ardi wa aatainaahu min kulli shai’in
    sababaa
    Indeed We established him upon the earth, and We gave him to everything
    a way.
    85. Fa atba’a sababaa
    So he followed a way
    86. 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
    Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if]
    setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah
    said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them
    [a way of] goodness.”
    87. Qaala amma man zalama fasawfa nu’azzibuhoo summa yuraddu ilaa
    Rabbihee fa yu ‘azzibuhoo azaaban nukraa
    He said, “As for one who wrongs, we will punish him. Then he will be
    returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with a terrible punishment.
    88. Wa ammaa man aamana wa ‘amila saalihan falahoo jazaaa’anil
    husnaa wa sanaqoolu lahoo min amrinaa yusraa
    But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a
    reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with
    ease.”
    89. Summa atba’a sababaa
    Then he followed a way
    90. Hattaaa izaa balagha matli’ash shamsi wajdahaa tatlu’u alaa
    qawmil lam naj’al lahum min doonihaa sitraa
    Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a
    people for whom We had not made against it any shield.
    91. Kazaalika wa qad ahatnaa bimaa ladaihi khubraa
    Thus. And We had encompassed [all] that he had in knowledge.
    92. Summa atba’a sababaa
    Then he followed a way
    93. Hattaaa izaa balagha bainas saddaini wajada min doonihimaa
    qawmal laa yakaa doona yafqahoona qawlaa
    Until, when he reached [a pass] between two mountains, he found beside
    them a people who could hardly understand [his] speech.
    94. Qaaloo yaa Zal qarnaini inna Yaajooja wa Maajooja mufsidoona
    fil ardi fahal naj’alu laka kharjan ‘alaaa an taj’ala bainanaa wa
    bainahum saddaa
    They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters
    in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make
    between us and them a barrier?”
    95. Qaala maa makkannee feehi Rabbee khairun fa-a’eenoonee
    biquwwatin aj’al bainakum wa bainahum radmaa
    He said, “That in which my Lord has established me is better [than what
    you offer], but assist me with strength; I will make between you and
    them a dam.
    96. Aatoonee zubaral hadeed, hattaaa izaa saawaa bainas sadafaini
    qaalan fukhoo hattaaa izaa ja’alahoo naaran qaala aatooneee ufrigh
    ‘alaihi qitraa
    Bring me sheets of iron” – until, when he had leveled [them] between the
    two mountain walls, he said, “Blow [with bellows],” until when he had
    made it [like] fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour over it molten
    copper.”
    97. Famas taa’ooo any yazharoohu wa mastataa’oo lahoo naqbaa
    So Gog and Magog were unable to pass over it, nor were they able [to
    effect] in it any penetration.
    98. Qaala haaza rahmatummir Rabbee fa izaa jaaa’a wa’du Rabbee
    ja’alahoo dakkaaa’a; wa kaana; wa du Rabbee haqqaa
    [Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise
    of my Lord comes, He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my
    Lord true.”
    99. Wa taraknaa ba’dahum Yawma’iziny yamooju fee ba’dinw wa nufikha
    fis Soori fajama’naahum jam’aa
    And We will leave them that day surging over each other, and [then] the
    Horn will be blown, and We will assemble them in [one] assembly.
    100. Wa ‘aradnaa jahannama Yawma’izil lilkaafireena ‘ardaa
    And We will present Hell that Day to the Disbelievers, on display –
    101. Allazeena kaanat a’yunuhum fee ghitaaa’in ‘an zikree wa kaanoo
    laa yastatee’oona sam’aa (section 11)
    Those whose eyes had been within a cover [removed] from My remembrance,
    and they were not able to hear.
    102. Afahasibal lazeena kafarooo any yattakhizoo ‘ibaadee min
    dooneee awliyaaa’; innaaa a’tadnaa jahannama lil kaafireena
    nuzulaa
    Then do those who disbelieve think that they can take My servants
    instead of Me as allies? Indeed, We have prepared Hell for the
    disbelievers as a lodging.
    103. Qul hal nunabbi’ukum bilakhsareena a’maalaa
    Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest
    losers as to [their] deeds?
    104. Allazeena dalla sa’yuhum fil hayaatid dunyaa wa hum yahsaboona
    annahum yuhsinoona sun’aa
    [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think
    that they are doing well in work.”
    105. Ulaaa’ikal lazeena kafaroo bi aayaati Rabbihim wa liqaaa’ihee
    fahabitat a’maaluhum falaa nuqeemu lahum Yawmal Qiyaamati
    waznaa
    Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in
    [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will
    not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance.
    106. Zaalika jazaaa’uhum jahannamu bimaa kafaroo wattakhazooo
    Aayaatee wa Rusulee huzuwaa
    That is their recompense – Hell – for what they denied and [because]
    they took My signs and My messengers in ridicule.
    107. Innal lazeena aamanoo wa ‘amilus saalihaati kaanat lahum
    Jannaatul Firdawsi nuzulaa
    Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – they will
    have the Gardens of Paradise as a lodging,
    108. Khaalideena feeha laa yabghoona ‘anhaa hiwalaa
    Wherein they abide eternally. They will not desire from it any transfer.
    109. Qul law kaanal bahru midaadal li kalimaati Rabbee lanafidal
    bahru qabla an tanfada Kalimaatu Rabbee wa law ji’naa bimislihee
    madadaa
    Say, “If the sea were ink for [writing] the words of my Lord, the sea
    would be exhausted before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if
    We brought the like of it as a supplement.”
    110. Qul innamaaa ana basharum 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)
    Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god
    is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let
    him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord
    anyone.”









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    Circumstances of revelation of Surah Kahf




    Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq, reported in his
    traditional book (oral traditions) of biography of Muhammad,





    Sirat Rasul Allah that the 18th surah of the Quran (which includes the
    story of Dhu l-Qarnayn) was revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad by
    God on account of some questions posed by rabbis residing in the city of
    Medina.





    The verse was revealed during the Meccan period of Muhammad’s
    life. 
    According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s tribe, the powerful Quraysh, were
    greatly concerned about their tribesman who had started claiming
    prophethood and wished to consult rabbis about the matter.





    The Quraysh sent two men to the rabbis of Medina, reasoning that they
    had superior knowledge of the scriptures and about the prophets of
    God.





    The two Quraysh men described their tribesman, Muhammad, to the
    rabbis.








    The rabbis told the men to ask Muhammad three questions:-




    They [the rabbis] said, “Ask him about three things which we will tell you to ask, and if he answers them then he is
    a Prophet who has been sent; if he does not, then he is saying things
    that are not true, in which case how you will deal with him will be up
    to you.





    1. Ask him about some young men in ancient times, what was their
    story for theirs is a strange  nd wondrous tale.





    2. Ask him about a man who traveled a great deal and reached the east
    and the west of the earth. What was his story.





    3. And ask him about the Ruh (Holy spirit) – what is it?




    If he tells you about these things, then he is a Prophet, so follow
    him, but if he does not tell you, then he is a man who is making things
    up, so deal with him as you see fit.”





    According to Ibn Ishaq, when Muhammad was informed of the three
    questions from the rabbis, he said that he would have the answers in the
    morning but did not say “if God wills it”.





    For fifteen days, Muhammad waited eagerly for the revelation. Muhammad
    did not answer the question until then.





    Doubt in Muhammad began to grow amongst the people of Mecca. Then,
    after fifteen days, Muhammad received the revelation of Surah al-Kahf as an answer to the questions.








    Surah Kahf Hadith




    There is a hadith in Sahih Muslim that states that Muhammad said
    (Concerning The False Messiah, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal):





    “He who amongst you would survive to see him should recite over him the
    opening verses of Sura Kahf”-Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number
    7015[20]








    “Whoever reads Sura Kahf on Friday, light shall shine forth for him
    between the two Fridays.”








    Surah Al-Kahf Tafseer




    Name of Surah Kahf

    This Surah takes its name from v. 9 in which the word (al-kahf) occurs.

    Period of Revelation of Surah Kahf

    This is the first of those Surahs which were sent down in the third stage
    of Prophethood at Makkah. We have already divided the life of the Holy
    Prophet at Makkah into four stages in the Introduction to Chapter VI.
    According to that division the third stage lasted from the fifth to the
    tenth year of Prophethood. What distinguishes this stage from the second
    and the fourth stages is this.
    During the second stage the Quraish mainly resorted to ridiculing,
    scoffing, threatening, tempting, raising objections and making false
    propaganda against the Holy Prophet and his followers in order to suppress
    the Islamic Movement.
    But during the third stage they employed the weapons of persecution, man
    handling and economic pressure for the same purpose. So much so that a
    large number of the Muslims had to emigrate from Arabia to Habash, and
    those who remained behind were besieged in Shi’ib Abi Talib along with the
    Holy Prophet and his family.
    To add to their misery, a complete social and economic boycott was applied
    against them. The only redeeming feature was that there were two
    personalities, Abu Talib and Hadrat Khadijah, whose personal influence had
    been conducive to the support of two great families of the Quraish.
    However, when in the tenth year of Prophethood these two persons died, the
    fourth stage began with such revere persecutions as forced the Holy
    Prophet and all his Companions to emigrate from Makkah.
    It appears from the theme of the Surah that it was revealed at the
    beginning of the third stage when in spite of persecutions and opposition,
    migration to Habash had not yet taken place.
    That is why the story of “Ashab-i-Kahf” (the Sleepers of the Cave) has
    been related to comfort and encourage the persecuted Muslims and to show
    them how the righteous people have been saving their Faith in the past.

    Subject and Topics of Surah Kahf

    This Surah was sent down in answer to the three questions which the
    mushriks of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, had put
    to the Holy Prophet in order to test him.
    These were: (1) Who were “the Sleepers of’ the Cave”? (2) What is the real
    story of Khidr? and (3) What do you know about Zul-Qarnain?
    As these three questions and the stories involved concerned the history of
    the Christians and the Jews, and were unknown in Hijaz, a choice of these
    was made to test whether the Holy Prophet possessed any source of the
    knowledge of the hidden and unseen things.
    Allah, however, not only gave a complete answer to their questions but
    also employed the three stories to the disadvantage of the opponents of
    Islam in the conflict that was going on at that time at Makkah between
    Islam and un-belief:
    The questioners were told that “the Sleepers of the Cave” believed in the same doctrine of Tauhid which was being put forward in
    the Quran and that their condition was similar to the condition of the
    persecuted Muslims of Makkah.
    On the other hand, the persecutors of the Sleepers of the Cave had behaved
    in the same way towards them as the disbelievers of the Quraish were
    behaving towards the Muslims.
    Besides this, the Muslims have been taught that even if a Believer is
    persecuted by a cruel society, he should not bow down before falsehood but
    emigrate from the place all alone, if need be, with trust in God.
    Incidentally the disbelievers of Makkah were told that the story of the
    Sleepers of the Cave was a clear proof of the creed of the Hereafter, for
    this showed that Allah has the power to resurrect anyone He wills even
    after a long sleep of death as He did in case of the Sleepers of the Cave.
    The story of the Sleepers of the Cave has also been used to warn the
    chiefs of Makkah who were persecuting the small newly formed Muslim
    Community.
    At the same time, the Holy Prophet has been instructed that he should in
    no case make a compromise with their persecutors nor should he consider
    them to be more important than his poor followers.
    On the other hand, those chiefs have been admonished that they should not
    be puffed up with the transitory life of pleasure they were then enjoying
    but should seek after those excellences which are permanent and eternal.
    The story of Khidr and Moses has been related in such a way as to supply
    the answer to the question of the disbelievers and to give comfort to the
    Believers as well.
    The lesson contained in this story is this “You should have full faith in
    the wisdom of what is happening in the Divine Factory in accordance with
    the will of Allah.
    As the reality is hidden from you, you are at a loss to understand the
    wisdom of what is happening, and sometimes if it appears that things are
    going against you, you cry out, ‘How and why has this happened’.
    The fact is that if the curtain be removed from the “unseen”, you would
    yourselves come to know that what is happening here is for the best. Even
    if some times it appears that something is going against you, you will see
    that in the end it also produces some good results for you.
    The same is true of the story of Zul-Qarnain for it also admonishes the
    questioners, as if to say, “0 you vain chiefs of Makkah you should learn a
    lesson from Zul-Qarnain.
    Though he was a great ruler, a great conqueror and the owner of great
    resources, yet he always surrendered to his Creator, whereas you are
    rebelling against Him even though you are insignificant chieftains in
    comparison with him.
    Besides this, though Zul-Qarnain built one of the strongest walls for
    protection, yet his real trust was in Allah and not in the “wall”.
    He believed that the wall could protect him against his enemies as long as
    it was the will of Allah and that there would be crack and holes in it,
    when it would be
    His will : whereas you who possess only insignificant fortified abodes and
    dwellings in comparison with him, consider yourselves to be permanently
    safe and secure against all sorts of calamities.”
    While the Quran turned the tables on the questioners who had tried to
    “expose” the Holy Prophet, in the end of the Surah the same things have
    been reiterated that were stated at its beginning:
    “Tauhid and the Hereafter are absolutely true and real and for your own
    good you should accept these doctrines, mend your ways in accordance with
    them and live in this world with this conviction that you are accountable
    to Allah: otherwise you shall ruin your life and all your doings shall be
    set at naught.”
    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 cause hesitation in the
    mind of a truth-loving person.”
    2. “Those people” includes the Christians, the Jews and the mushrik
    Arabs who assigned offspring to Allah.
    3._____
    4. This refers to the real cause of the anxiety of the Holy Prophet at
    the time of the revelation of this Surah . It clearly shows that the
    Holy Prophet did not grieve 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
    from their disgraceful state, they persisted in it.
    He was grieved because he was convinced that their deviation would
    inevitably lead them to destruction and 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 Holy Prophet 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 vies 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 “…… it may be that you will
    consume your life for their sake out of sorrow….” it also contains a
    sort of consolation for the Holy Prophet, 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 bad consequences to
    the disbelievers.”
    5. V. 6 was addressed to the Holy Prophet, but vv. 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 it 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.”
    6. The Arabic word (Kahaf) literally means a vast cave.
    7. There is a difference of opinion about the meaning of ar-raqim. 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”.
    Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, in his commentary, Tarjmanul-Qur’an, has
    preferred the first meaning and opined that it is the same place which
    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 considered 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 river
    Jordan and the Dead Sea and that the ruins of Petra are situated to the
    south of Jordan.
    That is why the modern archaeologists do not believe that Petra and
    Rekem are one and the same place. (Please refer to Encyclopedia
    Britannica, 1946, Vol XVII, page 658). We are also of the opinion that
    by “Ar-raqim”is meant “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 as hale and hearty 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.”
    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, 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 Prophet Jesus
    Christ, while our commentators call him `Decanus’, `Decaus’, etc.
    The city, where this event happened, was `Aphesus’, or `Aphesos’
    according to our commentators, while according to Gibbon it was Ephesus,
    which was the biggest Roman city and sea-port 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. (Please see Map No. 1 for reference).
    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 the Emperor Decius the followers of Prophet
    Jesus Christ were being mercilessly persecuted, the Seven Christian
    youths hid themselves in a cave and fell into a sleep.
    Then in the 38th year of the reign of the Emperor Theodosius II
    (approximately in A.D. 445 or 446) they awoke when the whole of the
    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 Qur’an because the period of
    their stay in the cave according to the Qur’an (v. 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 Holy Prophet 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 Qur’an 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
    had accepted her as one of its deities.
    After Prophet Jesus 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 the Emperor Decius heard of their change
    of faith, he summoned them and questioned them about their new religion.
    It 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 the life-after-death and Resurrection, and the
    Emperor himself was anxious to eradicate somehow the disbelief in the
    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 tray help restore and correct the people’s belief. In precisely
    the same days 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 God.
    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 whole 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 from 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 which had not even
    been seen by the elders in the city. When Jean came to know that the
    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 the 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 the
    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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an,
    whereas Egypt has never been a part of Arabia.
    The question is that when the history of Egypt can be mentioned in the
    Qur’an, why cannot Rome and the Roman history with which the Arabs were
    as familiar as with the 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 nut by Surah Ar-Rum.
    Another thing which should be borne in mind is that the story of the
    Sleepers of the Cave has been related in the Qur’an in response to a
    query raised by the disbelievers of Makkah, who had been prompted by the
    Jews and Christians to question the Holy Prophet 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.
    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 end wide.
    The sorcerers, workers of magic and occult arts, sooth-sayers 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, who attributed this art to Prophet Solomon. (Please
    see Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature under `Ephesus’, for details).
    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 v. 20: “……. if
    they succeed in over-powering us, they will surely stone us to death or
    force us back into their Faith.”
    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 inside the Cave and the one who
    passed by it could not see who was inside it.
    14. That is, “If some one could have peeped 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
    themselves.”
    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 peeped 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.
    16. They were roused from their sleep in the same miraculous way that
    was employed in sending them to sleep and keeping them hidden from the
    outer world.
    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, suspected that he had dug up
    some ancient treasure.
    Accordingly, he gathered some people of 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, yet traces of shirk and idolatry of the Romans and the
    effects of the 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
    Christ, 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 being involved in doubts about it.
    It was at that time that the Sleepers of the Cave were raised up and
    furnished an absolute proof of the 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 “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 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 Qur’an so as to make it lawful for themselves to build
    mausoleums, monuments and mosques over the tombs of the righteous
    persons and saints.
    The Qur’an 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 practicing shirk.
    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 Holy Prophet 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, Nasa’i, 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, Nasa’i).
    (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 worst criminals on the Day on
    Resurrection.” (Ahmad, Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa’i).
    Thus, it is clear from the above Sayings of the Holy Prophet that
    building of the places of worship over the tombs is utterly unlawful;
    the Qur’an 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 worth while 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.
    22. This shows that about three hundred years after this event, at the
    time of the revelation of the Qur’an, 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 the 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 the 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 any thing 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 a 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 for the reality but for
    superficial things, will spend their time and energy in making
    investigations about such things.
    That is why Allah instructed the Holy Prophet: “You should not enter
    into useless and irrelevant discussions about such things, if other
    people try to involve you in them. Instead of wasting your time in 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.  
    24. This is a parenthetical clause which 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 a research into it is a useless task. Therefore one should refrain
    from investigating into unimportant things, nor enter into discussions
    about them.
    This has led to the instruction contained in the parenthetical clause
    for the benefit of the Holy Prophet 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, “Insha Allah.” 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.”  
    25. This sentence is connected with the theme preceding the
    parenthetical clause like this: “Some people wilt say, `They were three
    and the fourth was their do:…..’ 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 and 309” have
    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 v. 25, had been from Allah, this
    succeeding sentence would have been meaningless. hadrat `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.
    26. After relating the story of the Sleepers of the Cave, the Qur’an
    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 Holy Prophet was
    inclined to make any changes in the Qur’an 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 Holy
    Prophet, 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 for all that Our Messenger is nut authorized to
    make any changes in Our Revelation, for he has to precisely 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 (Allah’s 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
    dis-union. ” This demand of the disbelievers has been cited in the
    Qur’an 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 an other Qur’an in its stead or make some
    amendments in it’ ….” (X: 15)  
    28. Though these words have also been addressed to the Holy Prophet,
    they are 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 Holy Prophet that they considered it below their dignity to sit with
    such people as Bilal, Suhaib, ‘Ammar, Khabbab, Ibn-Mas`ud 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 whole-heartedly
    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; 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 people, who
    said, “And we see also that none but the meanest and the most shallow of
    our people have become your followers. ” …. (Noah replied,) “I am not
    going to drive away those who have believed in me, nor can I say about
    those whom you disdain, `Allah has not bestowed any good on them’ . . .
    ” (XXI: vv. 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.
    31. This verse makes it quite plain that the story of the Sleepers of
    the Cave has been related to tell 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 firmly
    declared, “We will not give Him up and pray to other deities, because it
    will be the most improper thing, if we do 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 rose 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 Qur’an addresses the Holy Prophet 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.
    f 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 lust, even
    though they might be possessors of worldly grandeur.”
    32. The Arabic word (Suradiq) 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 reuse “…its
    flames will encircle 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 (muhl) has several lexical meanings. According to
    some people, it means “the residue of oil”; according to others, “lava”,
    which is formed by the melting of things in the earth; according to
    some, “molten matter” and according to others “pus and blood”
    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 wicked
    king will be disgraced there.
    35. The Arabic word (ara aik) 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.
    36. In order to understand the significance of this parable we should
    keep in view v. 28 in which arrogant chiefs , of Makkah were told that
    the poor Companions of the Holy Prophet would not be discarded to please
    them.
    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.
    38. That is, “I don’t think there is any life-after-death, but supposing
    there be one, 1 shall fare even better there than in my present life,
    for my prosperity is a clear proof that I am a favorite of God.”
    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 denial of the Hereafter are also kufr. Although that person did
    not deny the existence of Allah,
    may be he professed it as is apparent from his words (“If ever I am
    returned 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 than
    away from hint 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 and
    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.
    40That is, “If we are able to do anything, it is by the help and support
    of Allah alone.”
    41. “Allah has power over everything”: He gives life and also death: He
    causes the rise and the downfall: It is by His command that the seasons
    change.
    Therefore, O disbelievers, if you are enjoying prosperity today, you
    should be under no delusion that this condition will remain for ever.
    That God, by Whose command these things have been bestowed on you, has
    the power to snatch away all this by another command.
    42. The mountains will begin to move about like clouds when the
    gravitation of the earth shall be brought to an end. The Qur’an has
    described the same thing in XXVII: 88 in this way: “When you see the
    mountains, you consider them to be firmly fixed, but they shall be
    floating about like clouds at that time.”
    43. “You will find the Earth quite naked”: You will find no vegetation
    and no building on it and it will become a barren plain. It is the same
    thing that has been stated in v. 8 of this Chapter.
    44. That is, “We will muster together every human being from the first
    Man, Adam, to the last one born in the last moment of the Day of
    Resurrection: even that child which had breathed the first breath after
    its birth, shall be resurrected and all shall be mustered at one and the
    same tune.”
    45. This thing will be addressed to those who denied the Hereafter, as
    if to say, “Well, now you see that the information given by the Prophets
    has come out to be true.
    They told you that Allah would bring you to life again as He first
    brought you out from the wombs of your mothers but you disbelieved in
    it. Now say whether you have been brought to life for the second time or
    not.”
    46. “Your Lord will not be unjust to anyone in the least”: Neither will
    an evil deed not committed by someone have been recorded in his Conduct
    Register, nor shall anyone be punished more than one deserved for his
    crime, nor shall an innocent person be punished at all.
    47. The reference to the story of Adam and Iblis has been made here to
    warn the erring people of their folly. It is an obvious folly that
    people should discard their Prophets, who were their well-wishers, and
    get entangled in the snare set by their eternal enemy, Iblis, who has
    been jealous of man ever since he refused to bow down before Adam and
    became accursed.
    48. It was possible for Iblis to disobey Allah because he was not one of
    the angels but one of the jinns. It must be noted that the Qur’an is
    very explicit that the angels are inherently obedient:
    (1) “They do not show arrogance; they fear their Lord Who is above them,
    and do whatever they are bidden.” (XVI: 50)
    (2) “….. They do not disobey the Command that is given to them by
    their Lord and do whatever they are bidden to do.” (LXVI: 6)
    In contrast to the angels, the jinns have been, like human beings, given
    the option to obey or not to obey. Therefore they have been given the
    power to believe or disbelieve, to obey or not to obey.
    This thing has been made explicit here by saying that Iblis was one of
    the jinns, so he deliberately chose the way of disobedience.
    Incidentally, this verse removes all those misunderstandings that are
    generally found among the common people that Iblis was one of the angels
    and not an ordinary angel but the instructor of the angels.
    As regards the difficulty that arises because of this statement of the
    Qur’an, “When We said to the angels, `Bow down before Adam.
    They bowed down but Iblis did not’,” it should be noted that the Command
    to the angels was meant for all those on the Earth who were under the
    administration of the angels so that they should also be made submissive
    to man.
    Accordingly all these creatures bowed along with the angels but Iblis
    refused to bow down along with them.
    49. This thing has been asserted to impress on the disbelievers that the
    satans were not entitled to their submission and worship, for they had
    no share at all in the creation of the heavens and the earth, nay, they
    themselves were the creation of Allah: therefore Allah alone was worthy
    of worship.
    50. This theme has already been stated at several places in the Qur’an.
    This is to impress that it is shirk to discard the commandments and the
    guidance of Allah and to follow the orders and guidance of any other
    than Allah, though one may not be professing with one’s tongue that
    there is any partner of Allah: nay, if one might be cursing others but
    at the same time following their orders instead of Divine Commandments,
    even then that one shall be guilty of shirk.
    For instance, we see that everyone in this world curses satans but still
    follows them.
    According to the Qur’an, in spite of cursing them, if people follow
    satans, they shall be guilty of setting up satans as partners with
    Allah. Though this will not be shirk in so many words, it will be
    tantamount to the practice of shirk and the Qur’an denounces this as
    shirk.
    51. Generally the commentators have assigned two meanings to this. The
    one is the same that we have adopted in our translation and the other is
    this: “We will cause enmity between them.
    ” That is, “Their friendship in this world shall be turned into bitter
    enmity in the Hereafter.”
    52. This is to warn the people that the Qur’an has left no stone
    unturned in making the Truth plain. It has employed all kinds of
    arguments, parables, similitudes and used all the possible effective
    ways to appeal to the heart and the mind of man, and adopted the best
    possible style. In short, nothing has been left that could persuade the
    people to accept the Truth.
    If, in spite of this, they do not accept the truth, it is obvious that
    they are waiting for God’s scourge like the one that visited the former
    communities to make them realize their error.
    53. This verse has two meanings:
    (1) We send Our Messengers to forewarn the people before the coming of
    the judgment of the good results of obedience and the evil consequences
    of disobedience. But these foolish people are not taking advantage of
    these forewarnings and insist on seeing the same evil end from which the
    Messengers desire to save them.
    (2) It’ they insist on meeting with the scourge, they should not demand
    this from the Messenger because the Messenger is sent not to bring a
    scourge but to warn the people beforehand to escape from it.
    54. Allah puts a covering over the heart of a person and makes his ears
    hard of hearing the Truth when he adopts the attitude of contention,
    dispute, wrangling and argumentation towards the admonition of a
    well-wisher and tries to defeat the truth with the weapons of falsehood
    and cunning.
    Naturally this attitude produces in him obduracy and obstinacy so that
    he turns a deaf ear towards guidance, and is unwilling to realize his
    error before seeing his evil end.
    For such people pay no heed to admonition and warning and insist on
    falling into the abyss of perdition: then and then alone they are
    convinced that it was perdition towards which they were rushing
    headlong.
    55. This is to warn the foolish people that they should not be deluded
    by the respite that is given to them and presume that they will never be
    taken to task whatever they may go on doing.
    They forget that Allah gives them respite because He is Forgiving and
    Forbearing and does not punish the evil-doers on the spot, for His Mercy
    demands that the evil-doers should be given respite so that they may
    mend their ways.
    56. The ruined habitations were of Saba, Thamud, Midian and the people
    of Prophet Lot, which were visited by the Quraish during their trade
    journeys, and which were quite well known to other Arabs also.
    57. Though this story was told in answer to the question of the
    disbelievers, it has been used to impress a very important truth on the
    minds of both the disbelievers and the believers.
    It is this: those people who draw their conclusions only from the
    seeming aspects of events, make a very serious error in their
    deductions, for they only see what is apparent and do not go deep into
    the Divine Wisdom that underlies them.
    When they daily see the prosperity of the tyrants and the afflictions of
    the innocent people, the affluence of the disobedient people and the
    indigence of the obedient people, the enjoyments of the wicked people
    and the adversity of the virtuous people, they get involved in mental
    conflicts, nay, they become victims of misunderstandings because they do
    not comprehend the wisdom behind them.
    The disbelievers and the tyrants conclude from this that the world is
    functioning without any moral laws and has no sovereign, and, if there
    is one, he must be senseless and unjust: therefore one may do whatever
    one desires for there is none to whom one shall be accountable.
    On the other hand, when the believers see those things, they become so
    frustrated and disheartened that sometimes their faiths are put to x
    very hard trial.
    It was to unravel the wisdom behind this mystery that Allah slightly
    lifted the curtain from the Reality governing His factory, so that Moses
    might see the wisdom behind the events that are happening day and night
    and how their seeming aspect is quite different from the Reality.
    Now let us consider the question: when and where did this event take
    place? The Qur’an says nothing about this. There is a tradition related
    by Aufi in which he cites a saying of Ibn ‘Abbas to this effect: “This
    event happened after the destruction of Pharaoh when Prophet Moses had
    settled his people in Egypt”.
    But this is not supported by other more authentic traditions from Ibn
    ‘Abbas which Dave been cited in the collection of Bukhari and other
    books of Traditions, nor is there any other source which may prove that
    Prophet Moses ever settled in Egypt after the destruction of Pharaoh. On
    the contrary, the Qur’an says explicitly that Prophet Moses passed the
    whole of his life after Exodus from Egypt in the desert (Sinai and
    At-Tilt).
    Therefore the tradition from ‘Aufi cannot be accepted. However, if we
    consider the details of this story, two things are quite obvious:
    (1) These things would have been demonstrated to Prophet Moses in the
    earlier period of his Prophethood because such things are needed in the
    beginning of Prophethood for the teaching and training of the Prophets.
    (2) As this story has been cited to comfort the Believers of Makkah, it
    can be reasonably concluded that these demonstrations would have been
    shown to Prophet Moses, when the Israelites were encountering the same
    conditions as the Muslims of Makkah did at the time of the revelation of
    this Surah.
    On the basis of these two things, we are of the opinion (and correct
    Knowledge is with Allah alone) that this event relates to the period,
    when the persecution of the Israelites by Pharaoh was at its height and,
    like the chiefs of the Quraish,
    Pharaoh and his courtiers were deluded by delay in the scourge that
    there was no power above them to take them to task, and like the
    persecuted Muslims of Makkah, the persecuted Muslims of Egypt were
    crying in their agony, as if to say, “Our Lord! how long will the
    prosperity of these tyrants and our adversity continue ?”
     So much so that Prophet Moses himself cried out: “…. Our Lord,
    Thou hast bestowed on Pharaoh and his nobles splendor and possessions in
    the worldly life; O our Lord, hast Thou done this drat they might lead
    astray the people from Thy Way?…” (X: 88)
    If our conjecture is correct, then it may be concluded that probably
    this event took place during Prophet Moses’ journey to Sudan, and by the
    confluence of the rivers is meant the site of the present city of
    Khartum where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet together.
    The Bible does not say anything about this event but the Talmud does
    relate this though it assigns it to Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Levi,
    instead of to Prophet Moses, and according to it the other person was
    Elijah who had been taken up alive to heaven and joined with the angels
    for the purpose of the administration of the world. (The Talmud
    Selections by H. Polano, pp. 313-16).
    It is just possible that like the events, which happened before the
    Exodus. this event also might not have remained intact but during the
    passage of centuries changes and alterations might have been made in it.
    But it is a pity that some Muslims have been so influenced by the Talmud
    that they opine that in this story Moses does not refer to Prophet Moses
    but to some other person bearing the same name.
    They forget that every tradition of the Talmud is not necessarily
    correct, nor have we any reason to suppose that the Qur’an has related
    the story concerning some unknown person bearing the name “Moses”.
    Above all, when we learn from an authentic Tradition related by
    Ubayy-bin-Ka`ab that the Holy Prophet himself made it clear that in this
    story, by Moses is meant Prophet Moses, there is absolutely no reason
    why any Muslim should consider any statement of the Talmud at all.
    The Orientalists have, as usual, tried to make a “research” into the
    “sources” of this story and have pointed out that “The Kuranic story may
    be traced back to three main sources:'(1) The Gilgamesh Epic, (2) The
    Alexander Romance and (3) The Jewish Legend of Elijah and Rabbi Joshua
    hen Levi (Encyclopaedia of Islam new edition and Shorter Erlcyclopaedia
    of !slam under the heading Al Khadir).
    This is because these malicious “scholars” decide beforehand that their
    “scientific research” must lead to the conclusion that the Qur’an is not
    a revealed book: therefore they have, anyhow or other, to produce a
    proof that whatever Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) has presented
    as Revelation, has been plagiarized from such and such “sources”.
    In this these people brazen facedly use “facts” and “quotations” so
    cunningly and cleverly as to achieve their mean end and one begins to
    have nausea at their “research”.
    If that is research what these bigoted forgers make, then one is
    compelled to curse their “knowledge and research.”
    We ask them to answer our questions in order to expose their “research”:
    (I) What proof have you got to make the claim that the Qur’an has based
    a certain statement on the contents of a couple of ancient books?
    Obviously it will not be “research” to build this claim on the scant
    basis that a certain statement trade in the Quran is similar to the one
    found in these books.
    (2) Do you possess any knowledge that at the time of the revelation of
    the Qur’an there was a library at Makkah from which the Holy Prophet
    collected material for the Qur’an?
    This question is pertinent because if a list were to be trade of the
    numerous books in different languages, which you allege were sources of
    the stories and statements contained in the Qur’an, it will become long
    enough for a big library.
    Have you got any proof that Muhammad (Allah’s peace be upon him) had
    arranged for such translators as translated into Arabic those books from
    different languages for his use?
    If it is not so and your allegation is based on a couple of journeys
    which the Holy Prophet made outside Arabia, a question arises: How many
    books did the Holy Prophet copy or commit to memory during these trade
    journeys before his Prophethood?
    And how is it that even a day before he claimed to be a Prophet, no sign
    at all was displayed in. his conversation that he had gathered such
    information as was revealed in the Qur’an afterwards?
    (3) How is it then that the contemporary disbelievers of Makkah and the
    Jews and the Christians, who like you, were always in search of such a
    proof, could not put forward even a single instance of plagiarism?
    They had a goad reason to produce an instance of this because they were
    being challenged over and over again to refute the claim that the Qur’an
    was a revealed book and it had no other source than Divine Knowledge and
    that if they said that it was a human work, they were to prove this by
    bringing the like of it.
    Though this challenge had broken the back of the contemporary opponents
    of Islam, they could not point out even a single plausible source that
    might prove reasonably that the Qur’an was based on it.
    In the light of these facts one may ask, “Why had the contemporaries of
    the Holy Prophet failed in their research and how have the opponents of
    Islam succeeded in their attempt today after the passage of more than a
    thousand years?”
    (4) The last and the most important question is: Does it not show that
    it is bigotry and malice that has misled the opponents of Islam to
    discard the possibility that the Qur’an may be a revealed book of Allah
    and to concentrate all their efforts to prove that it is not so at all ?
    The tact that its stories are similar to those contained in the former
    books, could be considered equally in this light that the Qur’an was a
    revealed book and was relating them in order to correct those errors
    that had crept into them during the passage of time.
    Why should their research be confined to prove that those books are the
    real source of the stories of the Qur’an and not to consider the other
    possibility that the Qur’an itself was a revealed book?
    An impartial person who will consider these questions will inevitably
    arrive at the conclusion that the “research” which the orientalists have
    presented in the name of “knowledge” is not worth any serious
    consideration.
    58. That is, “The same was the sign of the place of our destination”.
    This shows that Prophet Moses had taken this journey at Allah’s behest
    to meet His Servant. He had been told that he would meet the Servant at
    the place where the fish would disappear.
    59. The name of this Servant has been stated to be “Khidr” in all the
    authentic books of traditions. Thus there is no reason why it should be
    considered at all that his name was Elijah, as some people have asserted
    under the influence of the Israelite traditions.
    Their assertion is incorrect not only because it contradicts the
    assertion of the Holy Prophet but it is also absurd because Prophet
    Elijah was born several hundred years after Prophet Moses.
    Though the Qur’an does not mention the name of the attendant of Prophet
    Moses, according to some traditions he was Joshua, the son of Nun, who
    succeeded him.
    60. In connection with this story, a very hard problem arises to which
    an answer must be found: Two of the three things done by Hadrat Khidr
    are obviously against those commandments of the Law which have always
    been in force since the creation of man.
    No law allows anyone the right to damage the property of another and
    kill an innocent person.
    So much so that if a man were to know by inspiration that some usurper
    would illegally seize a certain boat, and that a certain boy would be
    involved in a rebellion and unbelief, even then no law, sent down by
    Allah, makes it lawful that one should bore a hole in the boat and kill
    the innocent boy by virtue of one’s inspiration.
    If in answer to this, one were to say that Hadrat Khidr committed these
    two acts by the Commands of Allah, this does not solve the problem, for
    the question is not this, “By whose command did Hadrat Khidr commit
    these acts”? but it is this: “What was the nature of these commands”?
    This is important because Hadrat Khidr did these acts in accordance with
    Divine Command, for he himself says that these acts of his were not done
    by his own authority, but were moved by the mercy of Allah, and Allah
    Himself has testified this by saying: “We gave him a special knowledge
    from Ourselves”.
    Thus it is beyond any doubt that these acts were done by the Command of
    Allah, but the question about the nature of the command remains there,
    for it is obvious that these commands were not legal because it is not
    allowed by any Divine Law, and the fundamental principles of the Qur’an
    also do not allow that a person should kill another person without any
    proof of his guilt.
    Therefore we shall have to admit that these commands belonged to one of
    those decrees of Allah in accordance with which one sick person
    recovers, while another dies: one becomes prosperous and the other is
    ruined.
    If the Commands given to Hadrat Khidr were of this nature, then one must
    come to the conclusion that Hadrat Khidr was an angel (or some other
    kind of Allah’s creation) who is not bound by the Divine Law prescribed
    for human beings, for such commands as have no legal aspect, can be
    addressed to angels only.
    This is because the question of the lawful or the unlawful cannot arise
    about them: they obey the Commands of Allah without having any personal
    power. In contrast to them, a man shall be guilty of a sin whether he
    does any such thing inadvertently by intuition or by some inspiration,
    if his act goes against some Divine Commandment.
    This is because a man is bound to abide by Divine Commandments as a man,
    and there is no room whatsoever in the Divine Law that an act may become
    lawful for a man merely because he had received an instruction by
    inspiration and had been informed in a secret way of the wisdom of that
    unlawful act.
    The above-mentioned principle has been unanimously accepted by scholars
    of the Divine Law and the leaders of Sufism.
    `Allamah Alusi has cited in detail the sayings of ‘Abdul Wahhab
    Shi`irani, Muhy-ud-Din ibn-`Arabi, Mujaddid Alf Thani, Shaikh
    ‘Abdul-Qadir Jilani, Junaid Baghdadi, Sirri Saqti, Abul-Hussain An-nuri,
    Abu Said-al-Kharraz, Ahmad ud-Dainauri and Imam Ghazzali to this effect
    that it is not lawful even for a sufi to act in accordance with that
    inspiration of his own which goes against a fundamental of law.
    (Ruh-ul-Ma ani, Vol. XVI, pp. 16-18).
    That is why we have come to the conclusion that Hadrat Khidr must be an
    angel, or some other kind of Allah’s creation, exempted from human law,
    for he could not be the only exception to the above-mentioned formula.
    Therefore we inevitably come to the conclusion that he was one of those
    Servants of Allah who act in accordance with the will of Allah and not
    in accordance with the Divine Law prescribed for human beings.
    We would have accepted the theory that Hadrat Khidr was a human being,
    if the Qur’an had plainly asserted that the “servant” to whom Prophet
    Moses was sent for training, was a man, but the Qur’an does not
    specifically say that he was a human being but says that he was “one of
    Our Servants” which does not show that he was necessarily a human being.
    Besides this, there is no Tradition which specifically says that Hadrat
    Khidr was a human being.
    In the authentic traditions related by Said bin Jubair, Ibn `Abbas,
    Ubayy bin Ka`ab from the Holy Prophet, the Arabic word, ,}i~ (rajul) has
    been used for Hadrat Khidr, which though generally used for human
    beings, is not exclusively used for human beings. In the Holy Qur’an
    itself, this word has been used for Jinns also (LXXIII 6).
    It is also obvious that when a jinn or an angel or an invisible being
    will come before a human being, he will surely come in human shape and,
    in that form; he will be called a bashar (man), just like the angel who
    came before Mary in the shape of a human being (XIX: 17).
    Thus the word rajul, used for Hadrat Khidr in the above mentioned
    Tradition by the Holy Prophet, does not necessarily mean that he was a
    human being.
    Therefore we are quite justified in the light of the above discussion to
    believe that Hadrat Khidr was one of the angels or some other kind of
    Allah’s creation who is not bound by the Divine Law prescribed for human
    beings. Some of the former scholars of the Qur’an have also expressed
    the same opinion which . has been cited by lbn Kathir in his Commentary
    on the authority of Mawardi.
    61. It is quite obvious that the conjunction “wao ” joins this story
    with the previous story of Khidr.
    Thus it is a self-evident proof that the previous two stories of the
    “Sleepers of the Cave” and “Moses and Khidr” were also related in answer
    to the queries of the disbelievers of Makkah who, in consultation with
    the people of the Book, had put these questions to Muhammad (Allah’s
    peace be upon him) as a test of his Prophethood.
    62. The identification of Zul-Qarnain has been a controversial matter
    from the earliest times. in general the commentators have been of the
    opinion that he was Alexander the Great but the characteristics of
    Zul-Qarnain described in the Qur’an are not applicable to him. However,
    now the commentators are inclined to believe that Zul-Qarnain was Cyrus,
    an ancient king of Iran.
    We are also of the opinion that probably Zul-Qarnain was Cyrus, but the
    historical facts, which have come to light up to this time, are not
    sufficient to make any categorical assertion.
    Now let us consider the characteristics of Zul-Qarnain in the light of
    his story as given in the Quran:
    (1) The title Zul-Qarnain (“The Two-Horned”) should have been quite
    familiar to the Jews, for it was at their instigation that the
    disbelievers of Makkah put this question to the Holy Prophet.
    Therefore we must turn to the Jewish literature in order to learn who
    was the person known as “The Two-Horned” or which was the kingdom known
    as “The Two-Horned.”
    (2) Zul-Qarnain must have been a great ruler and a great conqueror whose
    conquests might have spread from the East to the West and on the third
    side to the North or to the South. Before the revelation of the Qur’an
    there had been several persons, who were such great conquerors. So we
    must confine our research for the other characteristics of Zul-Qarnain
    to one of these persons.
    (3) This title should be applicable to such a ruler who might have
    constructed a strong wall across a mountain pass to protect his kingdom
    from the incursions of Gog and Magog. In order to investigate this
    thing, we will have to determine as to who were Gog and Magog.
    We will also have to find out when such a wall was built and by whom and
    to which territory it was adjacent.
    (4) Besides possessing the above-mentioned characteristics, he should
    also be a God-worshiper and a just ruler, for the Qur’an has brought
    into prominence these characteristics more than anything else.
    The first of these characteristics is easily applicable to Cyrus, for
    according to the Bible Prophet Daniel saw in his vision that the united
    kingdom of Media and Persia was like a two-horned ram before the rise of
    the Greeks. (Dan. 8: 3,”20).
    The Jews had a very high opinion of “The Two-horned” one, because it was
    his invasion which brought about the downfall of the kingdom of Babylon
    and the liberation of the Israelites (Please also refer to E.N. 8 of
    Chapter XVII).
    The second characteristic is applicable to him to a great extent but not
    completely. Though his conquests spread to Syria and Asia Minor in the
    West and to Bakhtar (Balkh) in the East, there is no trace of any of his
    great expeditions to the North or to the South, whereas the Qur’an makes
    an explicit mention of his third expedition.
    Nevertheless, this third expedition is not wholly out of question for
    history tells us that his kingdom extended to Caucasia in the North.
    As regards Gog and Magog, it has been nearly established that they were
    the wild tribes of Central Asia who were known by different names:
    Tartars, Mongols, Huns and Scythians, who ‘had been making inroads on
    settled kingdoms and empires from very ancient times.
    It is also known that strong bulwarks had been built in southern regions
    of Caucasia, though it has not been as yet historically established that
    these were built by Cyrus.
    As regards the last characteristic, Cyrus is the only known conqueror
    among the ancient rulers, to whom this may be applicable, for even his
    enemies have been full of praise for him for his justice, and, Ezra, a
    book of the Bible, asserts that he was a God-worshiper
    and a God-fearing king who set free the Israelites because of his
    God-worship, and ordered that the Temple of Solomon should be rebuilt
    for the worship of Allah, Who has no partner.
    In the light of the above, we admit that of all the conquerors, who had
    passed away before the revelation of the Qur’an, Cyrus alone is the one
    to whom the characteristics of “Zul-Qarnain” are most applicable, but we
    need more evidence to determine specifically that Cyrus is definitely
    “Zul-Qarnain.
    ” Anyhow, there is no other conqueror to whom the characteristics stated
    in the Qur’an are as much applicable as to Cyrus.
    Historically it is enough to say that Cyrus was a Persian ruler, whose
    rise began about 549 B.C. In a few years, he conquered the kingdom of
    Media and Lydia and afterwards conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. After this
    no powerful kingdom was left to oppose him.
    His conquests extended to Sind and the territory known as Turkistan on
    one side, and to Egypt and Libya and to Thrace and Macedonia and to
    Caucasia and Khawarzam in the North. In fact, the whole civilized world
    was under his sway.
    63. “The limit where the sun set” does not mean the “place” of the
    setting of the sun. According to Ibn Kathir, it means that he marched to
    the West conquering one country after the other till he reached the last
    boundary of the land, beyond which there was ocean.
    64. “He found the sun setting in black muddy waters of the sea”: if Zul
    Qarnain was Cyrus, then that place would be the western limit of Asia
    Minor and the “black waters” would be the Aegean Sea.
    This interpretation is supported by the use of the word “`ain”instead of
    “bahr” in the Qur’an.
    65. “We said to him” does not necessarily mean that Allah directly
    revealed to him these words, and that Zul-Qarnain was a Prophet or was
    the one who received inspiration from Allah, and the same is the
    reasonable conjecture.
    This concerns the time when Zul-Qarnain had taken possession of the land
    as a conqueror and the conquered people were utterly at your mercy. Then
    Allah posed a question before his conscience, as if to say, “Now is the
    time of your trial.
    These people are utterly at your mercy, and you have the option either
    to behave unjustly towards them or to treat them generously.”
    66. That is, “When he advanced towards the East, conquering one country
    after the other, he reached a territory where the limits of the
    civilized world had come to an end and beyond which was the territory of
    barbaric people, who had no shelter at all of tents or buildings.”
    67. The “two mountains” must have been parts of that mountain range
    which runs between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea (as stated in v.
    96). This must be so because beyond them was the territory of Gog and
    Magog.
    68. That is, “It was difficult to communicate with them: their language
    was almost foreign to Zul-Qarnain and his companions, and, as they were
    quite barbaric, none could understand their language, nor were they
    acquainted with any foreign language.”
    69. As has already been pointed out in E.N. 62, Gog and Magog were the
    wild tribes of North Eastern Asia which, from the very early times had
    been making inroads on settled kingdoms and empires in Asia and Europe
    and ravaging them.
    According to Genesis (Chapter 10), they were the descendants of Japheth,
    the sort of Noah, and the Muslim historians have also accepted this. And
    according to the book of Ezekiel (Chapters 38, 39), they inhabited the
    territories of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tubalsek).
    According to the Israelite historian Josephus, they were the Scythians
    and their territory spread to the north and the east of the Black Sea.
    According to Jerome, Magog inhabited the territory to the north of
    Caucasia near the Caspian Sea.
    70. That is, “As a ruler it is my duty to protect you from the ravages
    of your enemies: therefore it is not lawful for me to levy any extra
    taxes on you for this purpose. The treasury that Allah has placed in my
    custody, suffices for this purpose. You shall, however, have to help me
    with your manual labor.”
    71. That is, “Though I have built a very strong iron-wall, as far as it
    was possible for me, it is not ever-lasting, for it will last only as
    long as Allah wills, and will fall down to pieces when the time of my
    Lord’s promise shall come. Then no power in the world shall be able to
    keep it safe and secure.”
    As regards the time of Allah’s promise, it has two meanings: (1) It may
    mean the time of the destruction of the wall, and (2) it may also mean
    the time of the death and destruction of everything destined by Allah at
    the end of the world i.e., the Hour of Resurrection.
    Some people have entertained the misunderstanding that the wall
    attributed here to Zul-Qarnain refers to the famous Wall of China,
    whereas this wall was built between Derbent and Dar’yal, two cities of
    Daghestan in the Caucasus, the land that lies between the Black Sea and
    the Caspian.
    There are high mountains between the Black Sea and Dar’yal having deep
    gorges which cannot allow large armies to pass through them. Between
    Derbent and Dar’yal, however, there are no such mountains and the passes
    also are wide and passable.
    In ancient times savage hordes from the north invaded and ravaged
    southern lands through these passes and the Persian rulers who were
    scared of them had to build a strong wall, 50 miles long, 29 feet high
    and 10 feet wide, for fortification purposes, ruins of which can still
    be seen.
    Though it has not yet been established historically who built this wall
    in the beginning, the Muslim historians and geographers assign it to
    ZulQarnain because its remains correspond with the description of it
    given in the Qur’an.
    Ibn Jarir Tabari and Ibn Kathir have recorded the event, and Yaqut has
    mentioned it in his Mu jam-ul-Buldan that when after the conquest of
    Azerbaijan, Hadrat `Umar sent Suraqah bin `Amr, in 22 A.H.
    on an expedition to Derbent, the latter appointed `Abdur Rehman bin
    Rabi`ah as the chief of his vanguard. When ‘Abdur Rehman entered
    Armenia, the ruler Shehrbraz surrendered without fighting.
    Then when `Abdur Rehman wanted to advance towards Derbent, Shehrbraz
    informed him that he had already gathered full information about the
    wall built by Zul-Qarnain, through a man, who could supply all the
    necessary details and then the man was actually presented before `Abdur
    Rehman.
    (Tabari, Vol. III, pp. 235-239; AI-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, Vol. VII, pp.
    122-125, and Mu jam-ul-Buldan, under Bab-ul-Abwab: Derbent).
    Two hundred years later, the Abbasid Caliph Wathiq (227-233 A.H.)
    despatched a party of 50 men under Sallam-ul-Tarjuman to study the wall
    of Zul Qarnain, whose observations have been recorded in great detail by
    Yaqut in Mu jam-ul-Buldan and by Ibn Kathir in AI-Bidayah.
    They write that this expedition reached Samarrah from where they reached
    Tiflis (the present Tbilisi) and then through As-Sarir and Al-Lan, they
    reached Filanshah, from where they entered the Caspian territory. From
    there they arrived at Derbent and saw the wall.
    (AIBidayah Vol. II, p. 111, Vol. VII, pp. 122-125; Mu jam-ul-Buldan:
    under Bab-ulAbwab). This clearly shows that even up till the third
    century of Hijrah the Muslim scholars regarded this wall of the Caucasus
    as the wall of Zul-Qarnain.
    Yaqut in his Mu jam-ul-Buldan has further confirmed the same view at a
    number of places. For instance, under Khazar (Caspian) he writes:
    “This territory belongs to the Turks, which adjoins the Wall of Zul
    Qarnain just behind Bab-ul-Abwab, which is also called Derbent.”
    In the same connection, he records a report by Ahmad bin Fadlan, the
    ambassador of Caliph Al-Muqtadar-billah, who has given a full
    description of the Caspian land, saying that Caspian is the name of a
    country whose capital is Itil (near the present Astrakhan) right through
    which flows River Itil, which joins the Caspian front Russia and
    Bulghar.
    Regarding Bab-ul-Abwab he says that this city is called both Al-Bab and
    Derbent, which is a highly difficult passage for the people coming from
    the northern lands towards the south. Once this territory was a part of
    the kingdom of Nausherwan, and the Persian rulers paid particular
    attention to strengthening their frontiers on that side.
    72. Here the story of Zul-Qarnain comes to an end. Though this story has
    been related in answer to the questions put by the disbelievers of
    Makkah as a test along with the stories of the “Sleepers of the Cave”
    and “Moses and Khidr”, the Qur’an has utilized this story, too, for its
    own aim and object, as if to say, “Zul Qarnain, about whose glory you
    have heard from the people of the Book, was not merely a conqueror, but
    also a believer of the doctrines of Tauhid and the life after-death and
    acted upon the principles of justice and generosity.
    He was not a mean person like you who have been puffed up by the
    possession of petty estates, and give yourselves airs of superiority.”
    73. “On that Day”: “The Day of Resurrection”. As if to continue the
    theme of life-after-death to which Zul-Qarnain referred as the “time of
    my Lord’s promise”, the Qur’an has added verses 99-101 to it.
    74. This is the conclusion of the whole Surah and is not connected with
    the story of Zul-Qarnain only but with the subject-matter of this Surah
    as a whole. That theme was enunciated at the beginning of the Surah
    (1-8): The Holy Prophet invited his people (1) to give up shirk and
    adopt the doctrine of Tauhid instead, (2) to give up the worship of the
    world and to believe in the life of the Hereafter.
    But the chiefs of his people, who were puffed up with their wealth and
    grandeur, not only rejected his invitation but also persecuted and
    insulted those righteous people who had accepted his invitation. The
    discourse deals with the Same themes and utilizes in an excellent manner
    the.
    Three stories which were related in answer to the questions put by the
    opponents of Islam as a test of his Prophethood.
    75. That is, “Do they still stick to their presumption even after
    hearing all this, and believe that their attitude will be profitable for
    them?”
    76. This verse has two meanings. The one is the same that we have
    adopted in the translation. The other meaning is this: “…those who
    confined all their endeavors to the worldly life”. That is, whatever
    they did, they did for this world without paying any regard to God and
    the Hereafter.
    As they considered the worldly life to be the real life, they made the
    success and prosperity in this world their sole aim and object.
    Even if they professed the existence of Allah, they never paid any heed
    to the two implications of this profession: to lead their lives in a way
    to please Allah and to come out successful on the Day they shall have to
    render an account of what they did in this world.
    This was because they considered themselves to be mere rational animals
    who were absolutely independent and free from every kind of
    responsibility and had nothing else to do but to enjoy the good things
    of the world like animals in a meadow.
    77. “All their deeds were lost” in the sense that they will be of no
    avail to them in the life-after-death, even though they might have
    considered them as their great achievements but the fact is that they
    will lose all their value as soon as the world shall come to an end.
    When they will go before their Lord, and all their deeds shall be placed
    in the Scales, they will have no weight at all whether they had built
    great palaces, established great universities and libraries, set up
    great factories and laboratories, constructed highways and railways, in
    short, all their inventions, industries, sciences and arts and other
    things of which they were very proud in this world, will lose their
    weights in the Scales.
    The only thing which will have weight there will be that which had been
    done in accordance with the Divine instructions and with the intention
    to please Allah.
    It is, therefore, obvious that if all of one’s endeavors were confined
    to the worldly things and the achievement of worldly desires whose
    results one would see in this world, one should not reasonably expect to
    see their results in the Hereafter, for they would have gone waste with
    the end of this world.
    It is equally obvious, that only the deeds of the one, who performed
    them strictly in accordance with His instructions to win His approval
    with a view to avail of their results in the Hereafter, will find that
    his deeds had weight in the Scales. On the contrary, such a one will
    find that all his endeavors in the world had gone waste.
    78. “…they will never desire to go anywhere (else),” because they will
    find no place and no condition better than those in Paradise.
    79. By “Words” are meant “the marvelous works, the excellences and the
    wonders of His Power and Wisdom.”

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