سورة الكهف   

Surah Name: Al-Kahf Meaning: The Cave

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • Surah Kahf, answers two of the three questions put to the Holy Prophet-SW by the non believers of Makkah under the direction of the Jews of Madinah. The third question pertaining to Ruh was answered in Surah Bani IsraiI rather briefly. The other two questions are answered here in detail. However, these details do not cover the exact chronological occurrence of the events or the exact geographical locations where they took place. They also do not give out the exact number of people involved. This is because the Quran does not focus on history or geography but on its objective of inviting mankind to Allah-SWT and its reformation. If the recounting of any event supports this cause, it is revealed accordingly. At times segments of a particular incident are mentioned at different occasions as examples to facilitate understanding. Often a single event has also been repeatedly mentioned to serve the same purpose.

    The learned Commentators have rated this Surah as highly meritorious and blessed and its recitation as a shield against various evils. It may be recited daily or on Fridays, or its opening and last Ayat may be memorized and repeated as a protection against evil.

  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 12
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 110
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 18
  • Rukū / Section 1 contains Āyāt / Parts 12
  • Siparah/ Volume 15 & 16


الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجَا

Alhamdu lillahi allathee anzala AAala AAabdihi alkitaba walam yajAAal lahu AAiwaja(n)

All praise to Allaah-SWT Who-SWT has sent down to His-SWT bondman the Book, and allowed no crookedness therein.


قَيِّمًا لِّيُنذِرَ بَأْسًا شَدِيدًا مِن لَّدُنْهُ وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا حَسَنًا

Qayyiman liyunthira basan shadeedan min ladunhu wayubashshira almumineena allatheena yaAAmaloona a(l)ssalihati anna lahum ajran hasana(n)

Straightforward, that it may warn of a severe violence from before Him-SWT , and bring glad tidings to the believers who work righteous works that theirs shall be a goodly wage.


مَاكِثِينَ فِيهِ أَبَدًا

Makitheena feehi Abada(n)

They will abide there forever


وَيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللَّهُ وَلَدًا

Wayunthira allatheena qaloo ittakhatha Allahu walada(n)

And that it may warn those who say: Allaah-SWT has taken a son.


مَّا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ وَلَا لِآبَائِهِمْ كَبُرَتْ كَلِمَةً تَخْرُجُ مِنْ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ إِن يَقُولُونَ إِلَّا كَذِبًا

Ma lahum bihi min AAilmin wala liabaihim kaburat kalimatan takhruju min afwahihim in yaqooloona illa kathiba(n)

No knowledge they have of it, nor had their fathers. Odious is the word that comes from their mouths; they utter not but a lie.


فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَى آثَارِهِمْ إِن لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ أَسَفًا

FalaAAallaka bakhiAAun nafsaka AAala atharihim in lam yuminoo bihatha alhadeethi asafa(n)

You are, as if going to kill yourself over their footsteps out of sorrow for they do not believe in this discourse.


إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى الْأَرْضِ زِينَةً لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

Inna jaAAalna ma AAala alardi zeenatan laha linabluwahum ayyuhum ahsanu AAamala(n)

We-SWT have made whatever is on the earth as an adornment of it, that We-SWT test them-which of them is best in work.


وَإِنَّا لَجَاعِلُونَ مَا عَلَيْهَا صَعِيدًا جُرُزًا

Wainna lajaAAiloona ma AAalayha saAAeedan juruza(n)

And We-SWT are going to make whatsoever is on it a bare soil.


أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا

Am hasibta anna ashaba alkahfi wa(al)rraqeemi kanoo min ayatina AAajaba(n)

Do you think that the people of the cave and the inscription were of Our-SWT Signs a marvel?


إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا

Ith awa alfityatu ila alkahfi faqaloo rabbana atina min ladunka rahmatan wahayyi lana min amrina rashada(n)

Recall when the youths took themselves to the cave and said: O our Rabb-SWT ! Grant to us Mercy from before You-SWT and prepare for us in our affair a right course.


فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى آذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا

Fadarabna AAala athanihim fee alkahfi sineena AAadada(n)

Therefore We-SWT put a covering over their ears in the cave for a number of years.


ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِنَعْلَمَ أَيُّ الْحِزْبَيْنِ أَحْصَى لِمَا لَبِثُوا أَمَدًا

Thumma baAAathnahum linaAAlama ayyu alhizbayni ahsa lima labithoo amada(n)

Thereafter We-SWT raised them up that We-SWT might know which of the two parties was best at reckoning the time that they had tarried.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

A succinct account of the story unfolds that these men were natives of a city, ruled by Roman Emperor Decius (Dagianus). The Commentators identify it as the city of Undulus (Spain). Others assert that it was a city of Asia Minor, while some mention a place in the South of Palestine called Apla near the present day Uqaba. All these are, however, mere conjectures and none presents a definite answer. Monastic living was considered to be highly meritorious in Christianity and a large number of people used to spend a lifetime in caverns. Many a human skeletons have been recovered from such caverns from different locations. But it cannot be determined whether these remains are of the same Men of the Cave as mentioned in the Quran.


According to some scholars Raqim is a valley in which lies this Cave, while some surmise that it is the name of their settlement. The modern historians have also carried out a research but the outcome is nothing definite. All that they have been able say with some degree of authenticity is that the Men of Cave were a few young men, belonging to the affluent families of the kingdom and were all Christians. Their King was a tyrant, and the nation as a whole had taken to idol worship. These young men abhorred the ways of their nation, and upon witnessing idol worship at a national ceremony they decided to separate from their people. But someone informed the King who summoned and reprimanded them, and gave them a last chance to cither revert to polytheism or face execution. So instead of reverting to disbelief they preferred to take refuge in the wilderness. They hid themselves inside the Cave and sought the protection of Allaah-SWT . They were put to a comfortable slumber by the Most Merciful, which lasted for three hundred and nine years.


In the meantime the world outside had changed. A believing ruler named Bedosus had taken over the country. Allaah-SWT woke them up. As they went to the marketplace to buy some food, the people in the market were amazed to see the coins they offered. The news was carried to the King and the event became a manifestation of Divine Omnipotence and an evidence to Resurrection. When they departed from the King's Court and returned to the Cave, Allaah-SWT let death prevail and no one ever saw them thereafter. This was a summary of the event. What Quran has revealed about it is indeed the truth and worth pondering over.


First of all is the mention of Allah-SWT's Magnificence and His-SWT Glory as well as His-SWT Great Favour. All praise and excellence belongs to Him-SWT . He-SWT revealed unto His-SWT bondsman a Book which is far above the slightest of doubts of being inclined or partial towards anyone. Be it rhetoric or intrinsic excellence, this Book determines a straight path without being influenced or biased by any event, class of people or any other thing. It discourses the truth rather explicitly and warns the erring and the disobedient of the dire consequences. It conveys glad tiding of rewards to those who have been blessed with faith; who not only claim to be believers but also act righteously in accord with the teachings of the Holy Prophet-SW which is what faith demands. Such believers will be rewarded amply and will enjoy these rewards eternally. Besides, all those who hold that Allaah-SWT has begotten children are being reprimanded over their words. For what they utter is indeed a grave blasphemy. They utter something of which they have no knowledge, nor did their ancestors have any evidence of it. Such people are indeed great liars.


The Holy Prophet-SW’s Compassion For Mankind

Inspite of all the blasphemy and impudence displayed by the non believers, the Holy Prophet-SW's kind-heartedness towards them is such as if their deprivation from faith would aggrieve him to death. So he is being comforted by Allaah-SWT that he should not take it upon his heart, for this world is a place of trial and no one will be forced into faith. Is this not a great favour that Allaah-SWT has sent such a clement Messenger-SW and blessed mankind with the glorious Quran? Now it is upon them to decide which way they wish to choose. So the Holy Prophet-SW must not feel anguished for them.


Wealth And Possessions Are A Source Of Adornment

And We-SWT have created so much on earth for its beautification and adornment, that it attracts people. But the sole purpose of life is not to excel in worldly gains. Rather the world has been created as a trial to see who overcomes these hurdles to act righteously and prefers to obey Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW to pursuing worldly affluence. All this buzz of life is until a time pre ordained. Eventually everything will be destroyed and the earth levelled up.


So O Reader! In your opinion, is the tale of the Men of Cave the most incredible wonder of Our Omnipotence? Absolutely not! Rather the creation of heavens and earth, the programming of an infinitely vast multi functional system and its continuous running are far more amazing feats, to which people do not attach any importance. They still fail to acknowledge the Magnificence of the Creator. Is the preservation of a few men more amazing or the sustenance of a universe?


The story revolves a round a small group of young men who refused to capitulate to a tyrant's ungodly demand. They sacrificed all their worldly possessions for their faith and took refuge in the Cave. They called out to Allaah-SWT : "Our Rabb-SWT ! Shower us with Your Mercy and make the right way easy for us." They meant that when they had abandoned the world for His-SWT Sake and had taken to the Cave. He-SWT may be kind enough to make them triumph in their mission and let not the infidels overpower them.


The Condition For Acceptance Of A Prayer

This proves that a prayer made purely for a gain in Deen, without coveting any worldly benefits with the spirit of attaining Allah-SWT's Nearness is definitely answered, even though what is asked may seem logically an improbability. So Allaah-SWT in order to free them of all worries, fears and necessities of temporal life put them to deep slumber which lasted for over three centuries. He-SWT then awakened them to see as to who amongst them could guess the duration of their siesta in the lap of Divine Mercy, and also to establish a great Sign for the mankind adducing a proof to His-SWT Omnipotence.