Wednesday, October 04, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 18, 1445 H
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The People of the Cave


Allah the Almighty says:

{Or have you thought that the companions of the cave and the inscription were, among Our signs, a wonder? (10) [Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, “Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.” (11) So We cast [a cover of sleep] over their ears within the cave for a number of years. (12) Then We awakened them that We might show which of the two factions was most precise in calculating what [extent] they had remained in time. (13) -Surah Kahf

The protagonists in this story are a small number of youths, who were the sons of rulers and noblemen they realised that their townspeople were immersed in wrongful practices by worshipping other than Allah. They recognised the truth and secretly shunned the false gods and customs that their elders upheld.

For this, Allah increased their faith and guided them. Each of the youths had originally kept their belief in Allah concealed for fear of repercussions, but within their secret assembly, they confessed their rejection of idolatry and affirmed their belief in Allah. From that day, they met regularly to worship Allah in secret. Allah guided them to the safety of a cave. Sleep overcame the youths.

Allah caused them to enter into a slumber in the narrow chamber of the cave, a miraculous sleep that lasted for centuries. The Quran describes that the sun would rise on the right and set on the left.

Allah in His wisdom also caused them to turn from side to side during their sleep. Even their dog achieved fame and was mentioned in the Quran.

He had positioned himself at the threshold of the cave, similar to the post of a guard dog, stretching his forelegs as he slept. Once awake, the disoriented young men realised they had lost track of time, and wondered how long they had been there. One of them suggested perhaps a day or a part thereof, but they agreed that only Allah knew the exact duration. One of them was assigned to buy good and lawful food from town with some silver coins that they had on hand.

They warned him to exercise extreme caution to avoid discovery, for fear that, the townspeople would stone and assault him, or worse, pressure him to renounce Islam. He tried to buy some food with his coins, but the seller did not recognise the currency or the markings on it. The coins were passed from person to person, all of whom were baffled and unable to identify their origin. He told the townspeople where he was from and the ruler at that time, and his story was so implausible that he was brought to face the Governor to explain himself.

It was also said that the physical proof of the young men, being physically intact after centuries of sleep, was to provide proof to some people of that time who denied the Resurrection.

This evidence was then provided to them for them to witness with their own eyes and will stand as a witness for them or against them as to which path they chose to believe thereafter. As a monument, the townspeople eventually agreed to build a place of worship above where they died.

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