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 4 contains Āyāt / Parts 9
  • Siparah/ Volume 15 & 16


وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَلِكَ غَدًا

Wala taqoolanna lishayin innee faAAilun thalika ghada(n)

And never say you of a thing: I am going to do that on the morning.


إِلَّا أَن يَشَاء اللَّهُ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَى أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَذَا رَشَدًا

Illa an yashaa Allahu wa(o)thkur rabbaka itha naseeta waqul AAasa an yahdiyani rabbee liaqraba min hatha rashada(n)

Except with this reservation that Allaah-SWT so will. And remember your Rabb-SWT when you forget, and say you: perchance my Rabb-SWT will guide me to something nearer to right direction than this.


وَلَبِثُوا فِي كَهْفِهِمْ ثَلَاثَ مِائَةٍ سِنِينَ وَازْدَادُوا تِسْعًا

Walabithoo fee kahfihim thalatha miatin sineena wa(i)zdadoo tisAAa(n)

And they stayed in their cave; three hundred years and added nine.


قُلِ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوا لَهُ غَيْبُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَبْصِرْ بِهِ وَأَسْمِعْ مَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا يُشْرِكُ فِي حُكْمِهِ أَحَدًا

Quli Allahu aAAlamu bima labithoo lahu ghaybu a(l)ssamawati wa(a)lardi absir bihi waasmiAA ma lahum min doonihi min waliyyin wala yushriku fee hukmihi ahada(n)

Say you: Allaah-SWT knows best how long they sliyed; His-SWT alone is the hidden knowledge of the heavens and the earth. How well He-SWT sees and hears! They have no patron beside Him-SWT , nor in His-SWT Rule He-SWT associates anyone. '


وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَلَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِ مُلْتَحَدًا

Waotlu ma oohiya ilayka min kitabi rabbika la mubaddila likalimatihi walan tajida min doonihi multahada(n)

And recite you what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Rabb-SWT; and none may alter His-SWT Words, and never will you find beside Him-SWT a refuge.


وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا

Waisbir nafsaka maAAa allatheena yadAAoona rabbahum bi(a)lghadati wa(a)lAAashiyyi yureedoona wajhahu wala taAAdu AAaynaka AAanhum tureedu zeenata alhayati a(l)ddunya wala tutiAA man aghfalna qalbahu AAan thikrina wa(i)ttabaAAa hawahu wakana amruhu furuta(n)

And endure yourself in the company of those who call upon their Rabb-SWT in the morning and evening seeking His-SWT Countenance, and let not your-SW eyes rove from them seeking the adornment of the life of this world; and obey you-SW not him whose heart We-SWT have made to neglect of Our-SWT remembrance, and who follows his lust, and whose affair is exceeding the bound.


وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَن شَاء فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاء فَلْيَكْفُرْ إِنَّا أَعْتَدْنَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمْ سُرَادِقُهَا وَإِن يَسْتَغِيثُوا يُغَاثُوا بِمَاء كَالْمُهْلِ يَشْوِي الْوُجُوهَ بِئْسَ الشَّرَابُ وَسَاءتْ مُرْتَفَقًا

Waquli alhaqqu min rabbikum faman shaa falyumin waman shaa falyakfur inna aAAtadna li(l)ththalimeena naran ahata bihim suradiquha wain yastagheethoo yughathoo bimain ka(a)lmuhli yashwee alwujooha bisa a(l)shsharabu wasaat murtafaqa(n)

Say you: the truth is from your Rabb-SWT , let him therefore believe who will and let him disbelieve who will. Verily We-SWT haver prepared for the wrong doers a Fire the awnings of which shall encompass them; and if they cry for relief they shall be relieved with water like the dregs of oil scalding their faces. Ill the drink, and vile the resort!


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ إِنَّا لَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ مَنْ أَحْسَنَ عَمَلًا

Inna allatheena amanoo waAAamiloo a(l)ssalihati inna la nudeeAAu ajra man ahsana AAamala(n)

Verily those who believe and work the righteous works We-SWT do not waste the wage of him who does well in regard to his work.


أُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهِمُ الْأَنْهَارُ يُحَلَّوْنَ فِيهَا مِنْ أَسَاوِرَ مِن ذَهَبٍ وَيَلْبَسُونَ ثِيَابًا خُضْرًا مِّن سُندُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُّتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ نِعْمَ الثَّوَابُ وَحَسُنَتْ مُرْتَفَقًا

Olaika lahum jannatu AAadnin tajree min tahtihimu alanharu yuhallawna feeha min asawira min thahabin way(a)lbasoona thiyaban khudran min sundusin waistabraqin muttakieena feeha AAala alaraiki niAAma a(l)ththawabu wahasunat murtafaqa(n)

These! For them are the Gardens Everlasting with running streams. Bedeckcd they shall be therein with bracelets of gold and wear they shall green robes of satin and brocade, reclining therein on the couches. Excellent the reward, and goodly the resort!


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

O’ Prophet-SW! It does not suit you-SW to say that you-SW will do a particular thing tomorrow without saying Insha-Allah with it. The Holy Prophet-SW is the fountainhead of guidance. Seeing his-SW miracles people might start to believe that he-SW could accomplish everything. Therefore, he-SW is being advised never to say that he-SW would do something, without adding Insha-Allah.


When the three questions were put to the Holy Prophet-SW, he-SW said that he-SW would give the answers the next day, but he-SW did not add the words Insha-Allah. After this, nothing was revealed for about fifteen days. The Holy Prophet-SW was dejected as the non believers ridiculed him. He-SW was, however, comforted upon the revelation of this Ayah wherein a code of conduct was laid down for the future. To say Insha-Allah is a commendable act for all Muslims in general. And if by chance the Holy Prophet-SW forgets to say Insha-Allah where he-SW must, he-SW should say it as soon as he remembers, for it befits his-SW status.


The Holy Prophet-SW should tell them that they may find the story of the Men of Cave incredible, but he-SW has been informed about matters much more extraordinary and important, which he-SW has already conveyed to them. The creation of Prophet Aadam-AS and of the 'Arsh, the heavens and the angels before him-AS, matters pertaining to life and death, and above all, the Supreme Being and His-SWT Attributes far outweigh as evidence this story of the Men of Cave, and are much clearer signs for the guidance of mankind.


They argue about the duration of the stay in the cave. Sincc the long span of this stay highlights its importance as a miracle and a supernatural event, the Holy Prophet-SW can tell them exactly that the Men of Cave rested in a state of slumber for three hundred and nine years. During this period not only their bodies and garments remained preserved but they also remained alive without eating or drinking. They just slept on. Yet if the non believers do not believe this recounting it does not matter. However, they must be told that it is Allaah-SWT Alone Who knows the exact duration of their stay and it is He Who is giving this information.


So exalted is He-SWT that all the hidden secrets of the heavens and the earth lie bare before Him-SWT . He-SWT is Vigilant and all-Hearing. If they do not believe in the facts told by the Holy Prophet-SW, they would not find any helper against Allaah-SWT . They too depend entirely on Him-SWT for any form of help and none can dare interfere in His-SWT Administration and His-SWT Commandments. The non believers used to fabricate events measuring His-SWT Powers by their own standards, just as today people come up with all sorts of fabrications to refute Karamah and miracles. The fact is that Karamah and miracles are extraordinary events and must not be judged by the normal standards.


‘O Prophet-SW! Your-SW assignment is to convey to the people the revelations you-SW receive from Allaah-SWT : you-SW are not responsible for making them believe. Your-SW duty is fulfilled when you convey the Message. The revelation of the Book is a job of His-SWT Gracious Providence. His-SWT Message is indeed a treasure for human grooming. Therefore, no alteration in it is possible on demand of the affluent chieftains of the infidels. Nor should you-SW worry that if they fail to embrace Islam it will impede its propagation. You-SW should simply convey Allah-SWT's Message as anyone who will slack in His-SWT obedience or tends to obey others than Him-SWT will find no refuge against His-SWT Grip. It is only Allaah-SWT who provides refuge to everyone’. Hence the demand put forth by the polytheists of Makkah that the Holy Prophet-SW should make the destitute Companions-RAU leave his audience for their sake is certainly not worthy of attention.


Company Of The Holy Prophet-SW

Rather the Holy Prophet-SW must particularize his companionship for those who remember Allaah-SWT constantly in pursuit of His-SWT Pleasure and Nearness, and are not heedless of His-SWT Zikr even for a moment.


Perpetual Zikr

Scholars have also interpreted it as persistence in worship. While this is also correct, yet the real meaning is Zikr-e-Qalbi, which if attained does not brook even a moment of negligence. After this Ayah was revealed and the Holy Prophet-SW came out of his chamber he noticed some Companions-RAU engaged in Zikr. He-SW also sat with them, recited this Ayah and said: 'Thanks to Allaah-SWT Who-SWT has also provided me the people with whom He-SWT has commanded me to associate. Besides, in the very next sentence a comparison is drawn between them and the heedless. The Holy Prophet-SW is commanded that the latter must be given no importance bccause Allaah-SWT has rendered their Qulub heedless of His-SWT Zikr. Whereas the Hadith highlights the superiority of Zikr-e-Qalbi over Zikr-e-Lisani, the Quran declares that because of the Barakah of the Holy Prophet-SW company not only the Qulub of the Companions-RAU remembered Allaah-SWT constantly but also each and every cell of their bodies practised Zikr (39:22). In fact, there are varying levels of Zikr.


Levels Of Zikr

Accepting Islam is also Zikr provided it is from the core of heart. This is the first and the minimum level. The second level is the capacity to act according to the Sunnah, which turns each and every action into Zikr. The third level is of verbally praising Allaah-SWT (Tasbih), which is termed as Zikr-e-Lisani. The fourth and the most perfect level is when the Qalb is blessed with perpetual Zikr. This level can be attained only in the company of an accomplished Shaikh through the process of mirroring. There is no other way of acquiring it. Moreover each level of Zikr attracts the proportionate degree of Holy Prophet-SW’s attention and company.


While dispensing this blessing, the Holy Prophet-SW must never make wealth and power the criterion, expecting that the conversion of the rich and privileged to Islam would strengthen it. Certainly such people are not worthy of his attention. Rather his affectionate attention must be reserved only for those who enlighten their Qulub with his-SW Barakah and remember Allaah-SWT constantly. Therefore, those whose Qulub He has rendered heedless of His-SWT Zikr because of their disobedience and denial ought to be completely ignored.


Negligence Of Qalb Enslaves A Person To Desires

And when the Qalb dies of negligence, a human being is stripped of his honour of being human and becomes subservient to desires just like animals. So the Holy Prophet-SW must give no importance to such people, Rather he-SW must make it very clear that Din and the Prophetic Barakah are in reality a Divine Favour unto mankind. Every individual is free to choose the path of honour or be steered by his vain desires. But it must be remembered that Allaah-SWT has prepared a mighty inferno in Hell for the latter course. It is a Fire bounded by walls also made of fire. When those condemned to it would ask for a drink they will be offered a disgusting puss-like liquid hotter than fire itself, which would scorch their faces as soon as they will bring it near their lips. It will indeed be a tormenting and extremely afflictive abode.


Compared to this, all those who accepted the faith and adorned their lives with noble deeds and obedience will be rewarded manifold. For them await ever green gardens, under which flow rivers so that the gardens may bloom forever. The obedient servants of Allaah-SWT will be duly honoured. They will all be dressed in the finest of green clothes, adorning gold armlets and will rest on the finest silk cushions laid on the most elegant seals. It would indeed be a gracious requital and also a truly honourable abode. It must be remembered that the dress, the ornaments and the decorum mentioned above all pertain to Akhirah. It is not proper to measure or evaluate them with a worldly yardstick and argue that silk and gold are not permissible for men.