Surah Kahf | Four Stories, Four Lessons

Surat Al Kahf is chapter 18 of the Quran. Al- Kahf means “the cave.” It has 110 verses and 12 rukus. This Surah was revealed in response to specific questions asked by Al Quraish from Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). The central theme of Surah is that Allah Almighty protect his followers in trials. Allah reveals four compelling stories of the test and gives lessons to readers. These stories are full of wisdom, faith, and knowledge. This Surah is not the only source of knowledge but also its readers get many other benefits. Abu al-Darda’ reported the Prophet (ﷺ) as saying:

If anyone memorizes ten verses from the beginning of surat al-Kahf, he will be protected from the trial of Dajjal (Antichrist).

Sunan Abi Dawud 4323, Sahih Muslim 809 a

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet(PBUH) said:

Whoever recites Surat al-Kahf on Friday will have a light between this Friday and the next.

In another narration, the Prophet said:

Whoever reads Surat al-Kahf as it is revealed, there will be a light for him on the Day of Resurrection.

al-Sunan al-Kubrá 5856

Reciting and memorizing Surah Kahf has great rewards. Moreover, it is essential to acknowledge the essence of this Surah and derive lessons from it.

Four Stories of Surat Al Kahf

people of kahf, ashab e kahf

The Story of the people of the cave (Ashab e Kahf)– A Trial of Faith

surat al kahf ayah 22

This story is about a few young men(Allah knows there exact number ). They belonged to well off families. When they reached the truth, and they accepted the oneness of Allah. They were driven out of their homes because of the faith in Allah. Ashab e Kahf took shelter in a cave to protect their faith and life. Their dog was near the entrance of the cave. Here Allah made them sleep for many years (309 lunar years, which is 300 solar years).

When they woke up, they felt they had slept for a half or full-day. When they felt hungry One of them went to the town to get some food. He was afraid to be recognized and harmed by people. He reached the town and show his coins for purchasing food items. People there were amazed at the appearance of this man and the old coins he was using. Here he came to know that they were sleeping for decades as Allah says:

Surat al Kahf ayah 25

And they lived in their cave for three hundred years and exceeded by nine.

owner of two gardens, surat al kahf

The Story of the man who owns two gardens – A Trial of Wealth

It is the story of two men. One of them was rich and owned two beautiful gardens, but he became arrogant and told his friend who advised him:

I am greater than you in wealth and have more servants and attendants and children!

(Quran 18:34)

His gardens were evergreen and provide him with fruits all year. He was blessed with wealth and children. One of his well-wishers who owned small garden said to him to thank Allah for all His blessings upon him. He became arrogant and said all this would remain with him forever. He claimed that all wealth and blessings belong to him.

That well-wisher person, himself, thanked Allah for his little garden and reminded the owner of two gardens, of death and returning to Allah. But he refused. One morning he entered his gardens arrogantly and found everything destroyed.

Moses and Khidr, fish in basket

The Story of Musa and Al-Khidr – A Trail of Knowledge

The third beautiful story is about the journey shared by Hazrat Mosa and Al Khidr. Prophet Muhammad narrated it as:

Once Musa stood up and addressed Bani Israel. People questioned him that, who the most learned man amongst the people was. He said: “I.” Allah rebuked him as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him. So, Allah said to him: “Yes, at the junction of the two seas, there is a servant of Mine who is more learned than you.” He said: “O my Lord! How can I meet him?”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 3401)

Allah instructed Musa where and how to find the man who was known as “Al-Khidr.” Khidr means “The Green One”. Allah gave him a sign that when his fish became alive and jumped to sea, that will of place to find His knowledgeable servant.

When Musa met Him, Khidr agreed to go with him, provided he didn’t ask any questions during their travel, and be patient on all events. Very soon, they got on a boat owned by poor boys. Khidr made a hole in their boat, prompting a query from Musa (AS). This was the first violation of his promise to remain patient until their journey concluded. The next question came when Khidr killed an innocent boy they came across. At this point, Musa was finally warned to ask any question. Finally, they entered a town and felt hunger. They requested food from people but were rejected. Despite that, Khidr repaired a wall that was on the brink of ruin. Musa (AS) then again questioned the reason for not seeking payment for the job. Khidr then declared that was the conclusion of their journey and proceeded to explain his actions.

Conclusion of Journey

As boat’s owners were poor, and he made a repairable hole in it just to protect it from a king who was grabbing all useful boats. The murdered boy would go on to be a source of grief for his pious parents by sinning and committing acts of disbelief. Hence Allah planned to replace him with a superior, pious child. The repaired wall was owned by two orphans, beneath which their noble father had buried a treasure. Allah wished to preserve the treasure’s privacy so that the orphans could safely claim it once they grew up.

That was end of this journey.

dhul qurnain

The Story of the Dhul Qarnayn (A Righteous King) – A Trial of Power

Dhul Qarnain was a just and righteous king. Allah had endowed Him with power and resources to perform great tasks. He traveled the lands from West to East, conquering them.  The Qur’an mentions his three journeys.

On one particular campaign, he found a group of people whom Allah ordered him to either punish or treat gently. He punished those who committed sins and was kind to those who didn’t. He continued and went past people who had not been granted any shelter by Allah. On his last journey, he reaches a place between two mountains where he met a tribe of people, Who’s language was different. They were hurt by “Ya’juj and Ma’juj”. Ya’juj and Ma’juj were causing mischief in the land. They request Dhul Qarnain to built a wall between them and Ya’juj and Ma’juj. Quran narrates it as:

They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed juj and Majuj are corrupters in the Earth. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between them and us a barrier?

18:94

He agreed to do so and refused to accept money. He gathered human resources from them and constructed walls with sheets of iron and pour melted copper between them. Quran narrated his wording as:

This is kindness from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes(about juj majuj), He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my Lord real.

18:98

He always mention that all his power and achievements belongs to Allah.

Lessons of Surah Al Kahf

Ashab e Kahf (A Trial of Faith)

  • People of Kahf have many lessons in their personalities. At a young age, when boys of good families can spend a luxurious life, they choose the path of Allah.
  • Allah protects His followers in all situations, so we must have complete faith in Him.
  • If living in some area is dangerous for our faith, we must migrate to another area.
  • Allah has all power to give life and take it.

Story of two Gardens (A Trial of Wealth)

  • The story in Al Kahf about the owner of two gardens is a lesson for those who take worldly blessings for granted. Those who forget that all that they have is from Allah, and He is capable of making it all away if he wills.
  • Wealth is a trial from Allah. We must not forget Him in our good times.
  • Thanking Allah will increase His blessings on us.

Story of Hazrat Musa(A Trial of Knowledge)

  • No one knows everything. Allah gives knowledge to whoever He wills, as mush He wants. Musa (AS) didn’t link his knowledge to Allah. All the knowledge that we have is from Allah, and we need to thank Him.
  • Musa (AS) shows great determination to seek knowledge from a person having more knowledge from him. We must always demonstrate a commitment to learning.
  • Musa (AS) traveled for seeking knowledge with a companion. This shows the importance of learning in the team.
  • He asked questions on each occasion, asking the question is half-knowledge.
  • He showed respect for his teacher and asked questions respectfully.
  • Teacher Khidr was also very kind and patient. The teacher must show patience on student questions and must convey knowledge softhearted.
  • Satan(devil) always wants to stop us from learning. So we must understand it and seek refuge from Allah. As Musa(AS) said: Did you see when we retired to the rock? Indeed, I forgot [there] the fish. And none made me forget it except Satan— that I should mention it. And it took its path into the sea amazingly. Al Kahf: 63.
  • Everything happening from Allah will have certain wisdom in it. He knows what is happening for which reason.
  • Sometimes unfortunate events happen for our good. We must trust Allah.

Dhul Qarnayn (A Trial of Power)

  • When Allah gives us power, wealth, or any other blessing in abundance, we must not be arrogant.
  • Dhul-Qarnayn always links his power to Allah Almighty.
  • After all achievements in life, He returns to Allah. He said, “This is kindness from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes(about juj majuj), He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my Lord real. 18:98.
  • Ask for Allah’s help in every matter.

Surat al Kahf describes four fitnah or trial. These are youth, Knowledge, wealth, and power. These mostly cause of humans to sin. Also, Dajjal (Antichrist) will use the love of all these to distract Muslims. That why we must understand surah, and memorize it and recite it on Fridays.