People of the Cave (Part-2)

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The reason behind the revelation of these verses and those relating the story of Dhul-Qarnain was cited by Muhammad Ibn Ishaq in his biography of the Prophet: that the people of Quraish sent to the Jews asking them for things to test the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with. The Jews said: ask him about a group of people who disappeared in the past and none has any knowledge about them; about a man who traveled through the land; and about Ar-Ruh (the Spirit). Thereupon, Almighty Allah revealed His Statement, {And they ask you (0 Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: "The Ruh (the Spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little"} (Al-Isra', 85) and, {And they ask you about Dhul Qarnain. Say (0 Muhammad (Peace be upon him)): "I shall recite to you something of his story"} (Al-Kahf, 83) and here He says: {Do you think that the people of the Cave and "Ar-Raqim" the Inscription (the news or the names of the people of the Cave) were a wonder among Our Signs?}, i.e. they are not more amazing than what We have given you of the great news, astonishing signs and gigantic wonders. However, a cave is a hole in the mountain. Mentioned Shu' aib Al-Jiba'i: their cave was called "Haizam". As for "Ar-Raqim", Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I do not know what it means! Some scholars such as Ibn Jarir and others said: it is the recordwhere their news and names are written thereafter. It was also said: it is the name of the mountain their cave was in. However, many other things were said pertaining to this, but the knowledge thereof rests only with Allah the Almighty Who knows the best! Shu'aib Al-Jiba'i said: their dog was called "Himran".
 
The fact that the Jews knew about them nullifies the claim of some interpreters that they were after Jesus (Peace be upon him) and that they were Christians. However, it is clear that their people were idol-worshippers. Many interpreters and historians said that they lived during the lifetime of a king called "Diqyanus" and that they were sons of some nobles or kings. They met on a feast day and saw the rituals their people were performing in Norship of the idols. At this very moment, Allah removed the veils from their hearts and they realized hat their people were wrong-doers. Consequently, hey deserted the religion of their people and resorted to the worship of Allah Alone. It is also laid: that each one of them when guided by Allah to he True Religion, abandoned his people and they coincidentally gathered in one place. Imam Muslim transmitted in his Sahih the following Prophetic Hadith which supports that meaning: "Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: Souls are troops collected together and those who familiarized with each other (in the heaven from where these come) would have affinity, with one another (in the world) and those amongst them who opposed each other (in the Heaven) would also be divergent (in the world)." That, they asked one another about their affair and hence, they agreed on deserting and abandoning their people and fleeing with their true religion. Allah the Almighty says: {We narrate unto you (0 Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) their story with truth: Truly they were young men who believed in their Lord (Allah), and We increased them in guidance. And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of Faith in Allah and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation )f their kith and kin and dwellings.) when they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any Ilah (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief. "These our people have taken for worship alihah (gods) other than Him (Allah). Why do they not bring for them a clear authority? And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah}. (Al-Kahf, 13-15) "Clear authority" here means obvious evidence or proof. {And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah. (The young men said to one another): "And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah,} (Al-Kahf, 15, 16) i.e. when you deserted them and their idols that they used to worship others instead of Allah the Almighty. Our Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) said: {And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said to his father and his people: "Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, except Him (i.e. Allah Alone I worship none) Who did create me; and verily He will guide me "}. (Az-Zukhruf, 26, 27) Thus, some of these young men said: as you did desert your people's religion, you should also desert them in body and figure so as to be safe from the possibility that their evil may touches you, {then seek refuge in the Cave,. your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair (i.e. will give you what you will need of provision, dwelling)}, (Al-Kahf, 16) i.e. Allah will draw on you His cover, protect you and reward you with the best of all rewards. Then, Allah described the cave to which they resorted stating that its door is to the north saying: {And you might have seen the sun, when it rose, declining to the right from their Cave, and when it set, turning away from them to the left}, i.e. the sun rises on the western side of their cave, then it declines to the right side thereof. And, when it sets its rays come towards the cave from its eastern side. Here, the wisdom is that the sun enters their cave on its rising and setting in order to refresh the air from time to time. {While they lay in the midst of the Cave. That is (one) of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, signs) of Allah}, i.e. their stay on this state for a very long period of time without eating and drinking is one of the Signs of Allah and a proof of His Magnificent Ability. {He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly guided,. but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the Right Path). And you would have thought them awake, whereas they were asleep} , for their eyes were open in order to be kept sound. {And We turned them on their right and on their left sides}, it was said: they used to be turned from one side to the other once every year. However, the number of the turnings is known only to Allah the Almighty Who knows best!

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By: Ibn Katheer Translated by Ali As-Sayed Al-Halawani

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