Anyone taking a look at the sleepers is sure to assume that they are awake. This connotes that even the normal signs of sleep were not betrayed by their disposition, like closed eyes, relaxed body or changed breathing. Rather the centuries long slumber was just for their comfort and for the manifestation of Allah-SWT's Powers. The sleep did not even have its normal impact on them yet they remained asleep. And as they slept the Almighty Himself-SWT made them turn sides, sometimes to the left and sometimes to the right.
A Strange State Of Allah-SWT's Nearness
This shows that they enjoy a special Divine Favour. They are not only shielded against external effects like those of weather, and never fatigue due to over sleeping, but also the functions of their physical bodies like turning sides are performed by Allah-SWT Himself. He-SWT makes them turn their sides every now and then.
This is the state the righteous friends of Allaah-SWT desire whereby all their activities are dedicated completely to Allaah-SWT . And this is attained as one gets nearer to Him-SWT . This is explained by a saying of the Holy Prophet-SW according to which when a person attains Allah-SWT's Nearness, a stage comes when Allaah-SWT becomes his limbs and senses.
Company Of Righteous Itself Is A Source Of Receiving Mercy
The Men of Cave were exceptionally blessed people. When they left the town their pet dog followed them too. Allah-SWT's Mercy did not let even the dog perish and preserved it against the effects of times and weather. So it sat comfortably at the mouth of the Cave. The Commentators deduce that when a dog associated with the righteous did not remain deprived, imagine how much a believer can attain in such a company?
According to Al-Bukhari, once the Holy Prophet-SW was coming out of the masjid's door when a Companion-RAU asked him as to when, the Yaum al Qayamah would be. He, in turn, asked him as to how much had he prepared for the Day? The questioner felt embarrassed and added that he did not have much to bank on insofar as Salat, Fasting and Zakat were concerned but his entire asset was the love of Allaah-SWT and His Prophet-SW. The Holy Prophet-SW replied that the one whom he had loved will accompany him on Yaum al Qayamah. Hadhrat Ans-RAU once said that after embracing Islam nothing gave him more comfort than the above saying of the Holy Prophet-SW, for he loved Allah-SWT, the Holy Prophet-SW, Hadhrat Abu Bakr-RAU and 'Umar-RAU, and hence hoped to be in their company eternally.
created an aura of awesomeness for the protection of the Men of Cave whereby if anyone was to stop by the Cave to peep in, he would be terrified and run away. This was yet another super natural phenomenon. The infidels who searched for their hideout, instead of causing any harm to the sleepers, would retreat in terror.
After centuries, the sleepers were awakened from their slumber. Now the question arose, how long had they been sleeping for they all felt hungry. They had slept for centuries without any food but as soon as they awoke they felt hungry as usual. So they asked one another how long had they slept. Some of them thought that it was only for a day, or for most of the day because they were feeling hungry. This again was a Karamah that three centuries failed to make them perceive the span. Finally, they concluded that only Allaah-SWT knew how long they had been sleeping and it was a futile discussion. It was better to send someone to the city to buy pure and permissible food. It was imperative that the person who went accomplished his mission very stealthily, for if they were caught, they would either be stoned to death or forced back into their ungodly religion, resulting in their eternal deprivation. This indicates that the Cave was located near the city. Some important points to take note of are listed
1. To Earn For Fulfilment Of Needs Is Not Against Tawakkul
Allaah-SWT has appreciated their spirit of Tawakkul, but they too had money for purchasing their needs. So having lawful money is not against the spirit of Tawakkul.
2. Pure And Permissible Food
Since their nation indulged in polytheism, making offerings to idols and eating unlawful food, they made sure that whoever was to go to the market must be extra careful in buying food that it was pure and permissible. If permissible meat was not available, he must buy vegetables or any other pure food. In other words, where forbidden food is generally consumed and sold it is not proper to eat without investigating. Muslim living in the Western Countries must be very careful in this regard.
The jurists of Islam assert that it is permissible to have partnership in wealth. And to assign the power of attorney to one of the partners to spend on others' behalf is also proper. Besides, to share amicably in food is also permissible.
So by a Divine Plan the secret of the Men of Cave was disclosed. The scholars explain that the tyrant who ruled the country had long been dead and a believing and pious king had taken over. However, a conflict had developed amongst the masses over the belief in Akhirah, like the denial of life in Barzakh in our country today. The King would often pray to Allaah-SWT for manifesting a clear sign by His Omnipotence to substantiate the belief in Akhirah, for it was no longer possible to convince people by arguments. So Allaah-SWT stirred the Men of the Cave from their slumber. When the one who had gone to the market to buy food offered money to the vendor, the latter was surprised to discover that the coin was three hundred years old. He disclosed it to others until the news reached the King and became widely known. The incident of escape and disappearance of the young men was still fresh in history. Therefore, their reappearance became an evidence to the life in Akhirah as well as the Absolute Powers of Allaah-SWT . He-SWT may keep a person alive for centuries without any provisions and is Powerful to requite in Barzakh or raise the dead from the grave. Indeed His-SWT Promise is true and Yaum-al-Qayamah will take place beyond doubt.
The Essence Of A Wali's Karamah
Just as a Prophet-AS's miracle substantiates his Prophethood, a Wali's Karamah establishes and strengthens Din. In fact it is a Prophet-AS’s miracle which is manifested as Karamah at the hands of a Wali, and provides evidence to the authenticity of Prophethood. So when the biography of the Men of the Cave became widely known and people became aware of all its aspects, Allaah-SWT caused them to die. It was an extraordinary event so the people started discussing the idea of constructing memorial monument. But the question was of their identity, which was to be inscribed on the proposed monument. No one but Allaah-SWT knew what their names were and which families they came from. The purpose of their unveiling was not to narrate history but to invite people to guidance. So the people gave up the quest for their identity and the idea of building a monument, saying that only Allaah-SWT knew the reality. However, they did agree that they were Allaah-SWT ’s chosen servants. Finally the nobles in power decided to build a masjid over the Cave, so that the visitors may worship Allaah-SWT therein.
Masaajid Adjacent To The Tombs Of Aulia’ Allah
Mufti Muhammad Shafi-RUA asserts that it is not prohibited to build masaajid near the tombs of saints. However, to prostate to the graves is a forbidden act and outright polytheism. Now the part of the event beneficial to mankind has been revealed, leaving out the irrelevant details. People will, however, continue to discuss their number; some may say they were three and their dog was the fourth while others will say they were five and the sixth was their dog. Yet some will also number them as seven with their dog as eighth. All these endless arguments are without any solid reasoning, so the Holy Prophet-SW must tell them that Allaah-SWT knows the best, and their number was not important for guiding people. As there are no obvious means of acquiring this knowledge so the Holy Prophet-SW need not indulge in argument with them, nor must he seek any further information from them, as the important parts have been revealed by Allaah-SWT and probing for the unnecessary is indeed futile.
Argument In Unnecessary Matters Must Be Avoided
It is also brought out that in important matters, argument for the sake of argument must not be resorted to. Rather the discussion must be carried out logically and with grace and tolerance. Besides, the truth must be accepted and unnecessary matters which do not concern one's beliefs or actions must be ignored as discussing them will not only be a waste of energy and time but may also result in creating more differences.