Story of The People of the Cave

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Praise be to God the Creator of the world, the One Who exists without beginning, without end, without location , without a “how” and Who does not depend on time. Nothing resembles Him in anyway and He hears and sees everything without organs. Whatever you imagine, God is different from that. May the elevation in degree and preservation of his community of what he fears for it, be granted to our master Muḥammad Al-‘Amin, the Honest One, who called for following Islam, the religion of truth, the religion of all the Prophets: of the First, Adam, to the last Muḥammad.

Allâh said:

﴿ فاقْصُصِ القَصَصَ لَعَلَّهُم يَتَفَكرُون ﴾

Thisََ Qur’ânic verse 176 of Sûrat Al-‘A`râf means: « [O Muḥammad], tell the stories [of the previous blasphemers] so that they [the blasphemers of your time] may reflect. »

In the Honorable Qur'ân, numerous are the stories that tell about the previous nations. Those who are guided and follow the messenger of Allâh, Allâh will endow them with power on Earth. Those who disbelieve and turn away from the call of the prophets will be a paradigm for others to learn from.

The story of the People of the Cave in the Honorable Qur’ân, in Sûrat Al-Kahf.

The story includes lessons, signs, and evidences that all testify to the great Power of Allâh, ta`âlâ, and His Wisdom in managing His creations. As narrated, the details of the story proceed as follows:

A king named “Duqyânus” ordered the people in his territory “Afsus” (nowadays Turkey) to worship the idols.

One day one of the disciples of `Isâ, `alayhi s-salam, visited that city. This man was a Muslim calling to the Religion of Islam. He worked in a public bath where people used to bathe. When the bath owner sensed the blessings of that worker, he put him in charge of all the work to be done.

Later on, this disciple became acquainted with some youngsters in the city. He taught them the knowledge of Oneness of Allâh and about deeming Him clear of having a child, possessing a form, or being designated with a place. He invited them to Islam. They believed in Allâh and converted to Islam. They practiced the Religion and followed its rules.

The story of those youngsters, who became devoted to the Religion of Islam and to the worship of Allâh alone, became well known. The king was informed about them and was told, “Those people left your religion, and mocked and defied your idols.” The king called them to his court and ordered them to leave Islam. He threatened them with killing if they declined.

He claimed that they were young and they did not have mature mind. Hence, he did not want to kill them immediately. Instead he wanted to give them enough time to think before he would carry out his threat. Then he sent them back to their homes.

In the meantime, King Duqyânus traveled. Those young men took advantage of his departure and consulted each other about running away to rescue their faith in their Religion.

One of them said, “I know a cave in the mountain. My father used to secure the sheep in it. Let us go there and hide until Allâh grants us victory.” The all agreed to that idea.

They went outside playing and rolling the ball in front of them so that nobody would notice them. Then they fled.

عددُهُم سبعةً وأسماؤُهُم: "مَكْسَلَمين"، "أمليخا"، " مرطوِنس"، "ينيونس"، "سَازَموِنس"، "دَوَانَوَنِس" و "كَشْفيطِط"

There were seven of them: “Makaslamîn”, “Amlîkhâ”, “MaraTônis”, “Yanyûnis”, “Sâzamûnis”, “Dâwânawanis”, and “KashfîTiT”.

A barking dog named “QiTmir” followed them. Worried that they non-believers might hear this barking and know of their place, they threw stones at the dog and pushed it away more than once. Every time the dog returned. At the end the dog raised its front paws up to the sky as if making supplication. With the help of Allâh, it said, “O people! Why are you driving me away, why are you hitting me? Do not be scared of me. I do not disbelieve in Allâh.”

As a result, the young men were certain that Allâh, by His Mercy, would protect them from harm. They sought refuge with Allâh, tabâraka wa ta`âlâ, and started making supplication to Him and said, “O Allâh, grant us Mercy from You, and prepare (create) good mattes for us.”

They continued walking until they reached the cave. There they found fruits and water. They ate and drank. Then they lay down to rest.

A few moments later, they felt sleepy. Their heads dropped down and they slept heavily on the floor with their eyes open. Night after day, years passed one after the other and the young men were in slumber; sound asleep. They were prevented from hearing anything.

The gust of the wind would not annoy them and the rumble of the thunder would not awaken them. When the sun rose it did not hit them with its high heat, as a sign of their rank. When rising, it moved to the right of the cave; and when setting, it passed by its left. They did not get much of its heat or of its sunbeams, neither at the beginning of the day nor at its end. As a result, their color did not change and their clothe did not wear out.

Because their eyes were wide open, if one were to look at them, one would think them awake. In reality, they were heavy with sleep. Their eyes were left open, because it was better for their eyes to be exposed to the air so that they would not get impaired with lengthy closure.

It was also narrated that an honorable angel was in charge of turning them around. They were turned on their left and right sides twice a year, so their bodies would not decay. If one was to look at them, one would be frightened by them and run away. People could not see them and could not approach them.

After three hundred nine years of sleep, Allâh woke them up. They could not stand the hunger they had. They asked one another about the length of the stay. One of them said, “We stayed one day or less than a day.” 

Another one said, “We went to sleep this morning and now the sun is getting ready to set.” The fourth one said, “Let us stop wondering. Allâh knows best how long we stayed. Anyhow, let us send one of us with some money to bring us some food. That person must be alert and smart. No one should recognize him, or else he would be followed. Then King Duqyânus and his followers would be told. They would know of our place and would inflict various types of torture on us until they deviate us from our Religion.”

After the hundreds of years that had passed King Duqyânus passed away. A pious Muslim king replaced him. The people of the city at that time were in disagreement regarding the gathering and resurrection of the bodies. Some people had doubts about it, and thought that it was very unlikely. They said that only souls would be gathered. However, the bodies will be decayed in the soil. Some of them said, “But body and soul will be equally resurrected.”

The king became distressed and a quarrel was about to happen. So he made a supplication to ask Allāh to make showing the proof of the truth easy.

At the time, Amlîkhâ, one of the men in the cave who was sent in search of food,

Reached the city of “Afsus”. He was fearful and watchful. The changes in the landmarks and the structure of the buildings surprised him. That area used to be an open land for the sheep to graze; now there were high castles. Other castles had collapsed. There were scenes he was not familiar with and faces he did not recognize.

His eyes glance became unstable; he looked confused and hesitant. Nervousness and agitation appeared in his glances and footsteps. Someone turned around and asked him, “Are you a stranger to this city, and what are you looking for?”

He said, “I am not a stranger and I am looking for food to buy. I did not find the place where I used to buy food.”

The man held his hand and took him to the owner of the restaurant. Amlîkhâ took his money out and gave it to the seller. The seller wondered, because the money had the picture of King Duqyânus on it. That king died three hundred or more years before. He thought Amlîkhâ discovered a treasure and that he had a wealth of money in his possession. People gather around Amlîkhâ sand took him to the righteous king.

The news of Amlîkhâ reached the king before his own arrival. The king was in fact waiting for him eagerly, because he had heard the story of the youngsters from his grandfather. When Amlikhâ came, the king asked him about his story. So Amlîkhâ told him what happened to him and his friends.

The king was pleased with that and said to his people, “Certainly, Allâh sent you a sign to show the truth about what you differ.”

The king, along with the people of the city walked with Amlîkhâ. When they approached the cave, Amlîkhâ said, “I will go inside first so that my friends do not get scared.” He went inside and informed his friends of what happened. He told them that King Duqyânus passed away and that the present king was a pious Muslim. They were happy with the new.

And went outside, greeted the king, then they back into their cave. When the people who doubted resurrection saw them, they gave up their incorrect belief and believed that the correct conviction is that the gathering of people on the Day of Judgment happens by both body and soul.

After that, Allâh concealed the cave and its trace from the sight of the people. Some of the believers said, “Build a structure that would stand as a landmark and memorial of their location.” Others said, “Build a mosque for one to seek blessings at their place.”

The story of the people of the cave went a s described Allâh made it for people a reminder, a lesson, and a proof of His Great Power.

Allâh has Power over everything.

Our hope is that the readers enjoy these stories derived from the Noble Qur’an and learn lessons from them. We ask Allāh to grant our readers the ability to perform the acceptable, good deeds.

الحمد لله رب العالمين
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