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 2 contains Āyāt / Parts 5
  • Siparah/ Volume 15 & 16


نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ نَبَأَهُم بِالْحَقِّ إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى

Nahnu naqussu AAalayka nabaahum bi(a)lhaqqi innahum fityatun amanoo birabbihim wazidnahum huda(n)

We-SWT recount to you their tidings with truth. They were certain youths who believed in their Rabb-SWT , and We-SWT increased them in guidance.


وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَن نَّدْعُوَ مِن دُونِهِ إِلَهًا لَقَدْ قُلْنَا إِذًا شَطَطًا

Warabatna AAala quloobihim ith qamoo faqaloo rabbuna rabbu a(l)ssamawati waalardi lan nadAAuwa min doonihi ilahan laqad qulna ithan shatata(n)

We-SWT braced their hearts when they stood forth and said: our Rabb-SWT is the Rabb-SWT of the heavens and the earth; never we shall call upon a god beside Him-SWT , for then we shall be saying an abomination.


هَؤُلَاء قَوْمُنَا اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِهِ آلِهَةً لَّوْلَا يَأْتُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِسُلْطَانٍ بَيِّنٍ فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا

Haolai qawmuna ittakhathoo min doonihi alihatan lawla yatoona AAalayhim bisultanin bayyinin faman athlamu mimmani iftara AAala Allahi kathiba(n)

These, our people, have taken for themselves gods beside Him-SWT why then do they not bring for them a clear authority? Who does a great wrong than he, who fabricates a lie against Allaah-SWT ?


وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحمته ويُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا

Waithi iAAtazaltumoohum wama yaAAbudoona illa Allaha fawoo ila alkahfi yanshur lakum rabbukum min rahmatihi wayuhayyi lakum min amrikum mirfaqa(n)

And now when you have withdrawn yourselves from them and what they worship, except Allah-SWT, take yourselves to the cave; your Rabb-SWT will unfold for you some of His-SWT Mercy, and will prepare an easy arrangement of your affair for you.


وَتَرَى الشَّمْسَ إِذَا طَلَعَت تَّزَاوَرُ عَن كَهْفِهِمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَإِذَا غَرَبَت تَّقْرِضُهُمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَهُمْ فِي فَجْوَةٍ مِّنْهُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ مَن يَهْدِ اللَّهُ فَهُوَ الْمُهْتَدِي وَمَن يُضْلِلْ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ وَلِيًّا مُّرْشِدًا

Watara a(l)shshamsa itha talaAAat tazawaru AAan kahfihim thata alyameeni waitha gharabat taqriduhum thata a(l)shshimali wahum fee fajwatin minhu thalika min ayati Allahi man yahdi Allahu fahuwa almuhtadi waman yudlil falan tajida lahu waliyyan murshida(n)

And you would see the rising sun veering away from their cave on the right, and the setting sun passing them on the left, while they were in the spacious part of the cave; that is of the Signs of Allaah-SWT . Whom Allaah-SWT guides, he is the guided indeed, and whom He-SWT sends astray, for him you will never find a directing friend.


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

So, O' Prophet-SW We-SWT will reveal unto you the factual account of the Men of Cave, as people have certainly added lot of concoctions. The revealed reality is that they were a number of young men who became believers. And as they accepted the Magnificence of their Provider with a sincere heart, He-SWT enhanced in them the capacity to seek the path of guidance. They also became extremely conscious of the difference between piety and evil. This realization was so effective that it forced them to abjure from evil and adopt piety.


The Hallmark Of Faith

Here the hallmark of faith is stated, that if one is sincere, he is blessed with faith and awareness. He then not only begins to discern the difference between virtue and evil but also toils to practise piety at all costs. Persistent indulgence in sin as a believer is probably a symptom of lack in sincerity, for sincerity always yields obedience. And sincerity is a faculty of the Qalb. That is why the Sufis always laid great emphasis on Zikr-e-Qalbi. For those who practise Zikr, the yardstick tor assessment is also the same, that is, they should develop love for virtue and hatred for the evil.


Another Reward For Sincerity

‘We-SWT strengthened their hearts through a special link'. This is the second reward for sincerity; while guidance refers to recognition of virtue, the strengthening and linking of the Qalb refers to that courage of the heart, whereby it learns to persevere on Allah-SWT's obedience no matter what the stakes are!


Link (Rabta)

On the sublime path of Suluk once the Lataif brighten up and the Qalb is enlightened, the Shaikh with his Tawajjuh and care establishes a link between the lights of a seeker's Qalb and the ‘Arsh. As a result the seeker experiences a state that when his heart says Allaah-SWT the light it emits reaches out to the ‘Arsh. This is known as 'link' and when it becomes strong it serves as a stairway for the Ruh. The Ruh can then embark on its journey to the celestial world, and the first station on this journey is called Ahadiyat. It has been mentioned earlier that the effects of this state of the Qalb, in practical life, are that a seeker prefers to obey Allaah-SWT even if he has to lay down his life for it.


So when the hearts of the Men of the Cave were blessed with such a link they refused to accept anyone as worthy of worship except their Rabb-SWT , Who-SWT is the Sustainer of the Universe and only He-SWT is Gracious enough to be adored. He-SWT rightfully deserves to be worshipped, which was not only their opinion but also the truth, they said. And, if Allaah-SWT forbid, they too were to speak against Him-SWT as the rest of the nation did, still it would not affect His-SWT Grandeur but only prove their insanity and ignorance.


Youngsters Need More Tawajjuh

It is prove here that reformation of habits is easier for youngsters than the elderly. Besides, the spirit to achieve a goal at all costs vanes with old age. Therefore, for a revolutionary change it is imperative to give attention to the younger generation. It may be noted that the majority of those who embraced Islam in the early years were youngsters.


The Men of Cave had denounced the polytheistic rituals and heretic precepts of their nation, which indulged in idol worship without any logic or evidence to justify their act. Whereas the creation and sustenance of the universe is enough proof of Allah-SWT's Magnificence. And what did their idols create and whom did they provide for; being themselves inferior things shaped out of clay and stone!


Polytheistic Rituals And Innovations Amount To Accusing The Almighty

There can be no bigger transgression than ascribing lies to Allaah-SWT that is associating rewards with rituals when Shari'ah provides no such evidence. It amounts to accusing Allaah-SWT for it is only His-SWT prerogative to declare a practice as meritorious. And His-SWT Prophets-AS simply convey what they have been instructed to. So anyone who invents rituals and innovations indeed lies over Allaah-SWT and accuses Him-SWT , which is such a grave crime that to be in the company of such a person is indeed perilous, as Allah-SWT's doom may seize him any moment. Hence the Men of the Cave decided not to live with their people. They alienated themselves from their ungodly nation, denouncing their fake gods and ungodly rituals, even though it meant abandoning all the comforts of the world. The homely atmosphere, friendships, kinship, luxuries and comforts could all be sacrificed, they believed. And they preferred a cavern over the comforts of their homes in order to keep away from the erring lot.


Leaving A Place Where Allah-SWT's Worship-Impeded Is A Prophetic Practice

This indeed is the law and also a practice of all the Prophets-AS that a settlement where worshipping Allaah-SWT becomes impossible or the belief and faith are endangered must be deserted as wilderness is better than such a settlement. Herein lies an important lesson for those who are ever ready to sell off their property and settle in Europe or other Western countries. Anyway, the stalwart believers of the Cave decided to take shelter in a cavern for Allah-SWT's sake firmly believing that He-SWT would enrich them with His-SWT Mercy and provide for their comfort by His-SWT Omnipotence.


The Divine Rewards For Men Of The Cave And Their Karamah

When they had relinquished the means of comfort within their control only out of the apprehension that these might waiver them from Allah-SWT's Path, He-SWT made subservient to them these means which were otherwise beyond their control. For instance, they had abandoned their homes, and Allaah-SWT blocked the scorching heat of the sun for them even under the open sky. O’ Reader! You will notice that the sun avoids casting its rays on them, both at sunrise and sunset, so that the light may not bother them. And they are resting in the cleft, not in a covered shelter.


Based on this Ayah, many scholars have tried to determine the direction of the Cave, that if it were facing North or South, it could have been saved from receiving sunlight. Some relied on mathematical rules to determine the detailed dimensions of the Cave, to prove their point. But the truth is that the event is super natural and Allaah-SWT identifies it as a symbol of His-SWT Omnipotence and a Karamah of His-SWT devoted servants. Allaah-SWT declares it as a great Sign of His-SWT Omnipotence that a few men stay in the open and the weather and climate cast no effects on them. Not only the sun light but also the transition of seasons did not affect them for three hundred and nine years so much so that even their clothing remained intact and clean. Rain, dust, heat or cold nothing affected them, nor did the stormy winds bother them. Allah-SWT, the Almighty had commanded all the natural forces, over which they had no control, to protect them; an evidence manifest of His-SWT Omnipotence.


It must be remembered that believing in Allaah-SWT from the very core of one's heart is the only source of acquiring excellence. Only he who develops a relationship with Him-SWT is blessed with guidance. And whoever is deprived by Allah-SWT, that is, his heart is void of sincerity for Him-SWT , is accursed to wander in waywardness. He finds no solace, nor a guide who may direct him towards the right path. In other words, finding a Shaikh is also entirely by Allah-SWT ’s Grace.