18. The Cave


Praise be to Allah, Who hath sent to HisServant the Book, and hath allowed therein no Crookedness:


(He hath made it) Straight (and Clear) inorder that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible Punishment fromHim, and that He may give Glad Tidings to the Believers who workrighteous deeds, that they shall have a goodly Reward,


Wherein they shall remain for ever:


Further, that He may warn those (also) whosay, “Allah hath begotten a son”:


No knowledge have they of such a thing, norhad their fathers. It is a grievous thing that issues from theirmouths as a saying what they say is nothing but falsehood!


Thou wouldst only, perchance, fret thyself todeath, following after them, in grief, if they believe not in thisMessage.


That which is on earth we have made but as aglittering show for it, in order that We may test them – as to whichof them are best in conduct.


Verily what is on earth we shall make but asdust and dry soil (without growth or herbage).


Or dost thou think that the Companions of theCave and of the Inscription were wonders among Our Sign?


Behold, the youths betook themselves to theCave: they said, “Our Lord! bestow on us Mercy from Thyself, anddispose of our affair for us in the right way!”


Then We draw (a veil) over their ears, for anumber of years, in the Cave, (so that they heard not):


Then We roused them, in order to test whichof the two parties was best at calculating the term of years theyhad tarried!


We relate to thee their story in truth: theywere youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them inguidance:


We gave strength to their hearts: Behold,they stood up and said: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and ofthe earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if wedid, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!


“These our people have taken for worship godsother than Him: why do they not bring forward an authority clear(and convincing) for what they do? Who doth more wrong than such asinvent a falsehood against Allah?


“When ye turn away from them and the thingsthey worship other than Allah, betake yourselves to the Cave: YourLord will shower His mercies on you and disposes of your affairtowards comfort and ease.”


Thou wouldst have seen the sun, when it rose,declining to the right from their Cave, and when it set, turningaway from them to the left, while they lay in the open space in themidst of the Cave. Such are among the Signs of Allah. He whom Allah,guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray,- forhim wilt thou find no protector to lead him to the Right Way.


Thou wouldst have thought them, whilst theywere asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their leftsides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on thethreshold: if thou hadst looked at them, thou wouldst have certainlyturned back from them in flight, and wouldst certainly have beenfilled with terror of them.


Such (being their state), We raised them up(from sleep), that they might question each other. Said one of them,”How long have ye stayed (here)?” They said, “We have stayed(perhaps) a day, or part of a day.” (At length) they (all) said,”(Allah) (alone) knows best how long ye have stayed here…. Nowsend ye then one of you with this money of yours to the town: lethim find out which is the best food (to be had) and bring some toyou, (that ye may satisfy your hunger therewith): And let him behavewith care and courtesy, and let him not inform any one about you.


“For if they should come upon you, they wouldstone you or force you to return to their religion, and in that caseye would never attain prosperity.”


Thus did We make their case known to thepeople, that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, andthat there can be no doubt about the Hour of Judgment. Behold, theydispute among themselves as to their affair. (Some) said, “Constructa building over them”: Their Lord knows best about them: those whoprevailed over their affair said, “Let us surely build a place ofworship over them.”


(Some) say they were three, the dog being thefourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being thesixth,- doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say theywere seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: “My Lord knowethbest their number; It is but few that know their (real case).” Enternot, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on amatter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of)the Sleepers.


Nor say of anything, “I shall be sure to doso and so tomorrow”-


Except “If Allah so wills,” and remember thyLord when thou forgettest, and say, “I hope that my Lord will guideme ever closer (even) than this to the right course.”


So they stayed in their Cave three hundredyears, and nine (more).


Say: “Allah knows best how long they stayed:with Him is (the knowledge of) the secrets of the heavens and theearth: how clearly He sees, how finely He hears (everything)! Theyhave no protector other than Him; nor does He share His Command withany person whatsoever.


And recite (and teach) what has been revealedto thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and nonewilt thou find as a refuge other than Him.


And keep yourself content with those who callon their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let notthine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of thisLife; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect theremembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, and his affairhas become all excess.


Say, “The Truth is from your Lord”: Let himwho will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for thewrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), likethe walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implorerelief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scaldtheir faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch torecline on!


As to those who believe and workrighteousness, verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward ofany who do a (single) righteous deed.


For them will be Gardens of Eternity; beneaththem rivers will flow; they will be adorned therein with braceletsof gold, and they will wear green garments of fine silk and heavybrocade: They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good therecompense! How beautiful a couch to recline on!


Set forth to them the parable of two men: forone of them We provided two gardens of grape-vines and surroundedthem with date palms; in between the two We placed tillage.


Each of those gardens brought forth itsproduce, and failed not in the least therein: in the midst of themWe caused a river to flow.


(Abundant) was the produce this man had : hesaid to his companion, in the course of a mutual argument: “morewealth have I than you, and more honor and power in (my followingof) men.”


He went into his garden while he wrongedhimself: He said, “I deem not that this will ever perish,


“Nor do I deem that the Hour (of Judgment)will (ever) come: Even if I am brought back to my Lord, I shallsurely find (there) something better in exchange.”


His companion said to him, in the course ofthe argument with him: “Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out ofdust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man?


“But as for my part, Allah is my Lord, andnone shall I associate with my Lord.


“Why didst thou not, as thou wentest into thygarden, say: ‘Allah’s will (be done)! There is no power but withAllah.’ If thou dost see me less than thee in wealth and sons,


“It may be that my Lord will give mesomething better than thy garden, and that He will send on thygarden thunderbolts (by way of reckoning) from heaven, making it(but) slippery sand!-


“Or the water of the garden will run offunderground so that thou wilt never be able to find it.”


So his fruits were encompassed (with ruin),and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he hadspent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its veryfoundations, and he could only say, “Woe is me! Would I had neverascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!”


Nor had he numbers to help him against Allah,nor was he able to deliver himself.


There, the (only) protection comes fromAllah, the True One. He is the Best to reward, and the Best to givesuccess.


Set forth to them the similitude of the lifeof this world: It is like the rain which We send down from theskies: the earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon it becomes drystubble, which the winds do scatter: it is (only) Allah who prevailsover all things.


Wealth and sons are allurements of the lifeof this world: But the things that endure, good deeds, are best inthe sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as (the foundation for)hopes.


On the Day We shall remove the mountains, andthou wilt see the earth as a level stretch, and We shall gatherthem, all together, nor shall We leave out any one of them.


And they will be marshaled before thy Lord inranks, (with the announcement), “Now have ye come to Us (bare) as Wecreated you first: aye, ye thought We shall not fulfill theappointment made to you to meet (Us)!”:


And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed(before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror becauseof what is (recorded) therein; they will say, “Ah! woe to us! what aBook is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takesaccount thereof!” They will find all that they did, placed beforethem: And not one will thy Lord treat with injustice.


Behold! We said to the angels, “Prostrate toAdam”: they prostrated except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, and hebroke the Command of his Lord. Will ye then take him and his progenyas protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evilwould be the exchange for the wrong-doers!


I called them not to witness the creation ofthe heavens and the earth, not (even) their own creation: nor is itfor Me to take as helpers such as lead (men) astray!


On the Day He will say, “Call on those whomye thought to be My partners,” and they will call on them, but theywill not listen to them; and We shall make for them a place ofcommon perdition.


And the Sinful shall see the fire andapprehend that they have to fall therein: no means will they find toturn away therefrom.


We have explained in detail in this Quran,for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude: but man is, inmost things, contentious.


And what is there to keep back men frombelieving, now that Guidance has come to them, nor from praying forforgiveness from their Lord, but that (they wait for) the ways ofthe ancients to overtake them, or the Wrath be brought to them faceto face?


We only send the messengers to give GladTidings and to give warnings: But the unbelievers dispute with vainargument, in order therewith to weaken the truth, and they treat MySigns as a jest, as also the fact that they are warned!


And who doth more wrong than one who isreminded of the Signs of his Lord, but turns away from them,forgetting the (deeds) which his hands have sent forth? Verily Wehave set veils over their hearts so that they understand this not,and over their ears, deafness. If thou callest them to guidance,even then will they never accept guidance.


But your Lord is Most forgiving, full ofMercy. If He were to call them (at once) to account for what theyhave earned, then surely He would have hastened their punishment:but they have their appointed time, beyond which they will find norefuge.


Such were the towns we destroyed when theycommitted iniquities; but we fixed an appointed time for theirdestruction.


Behold, Moses said to his attendant, “I willnot give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) Ispend years and years in travel.”


But when they reached the Junction, theyforgot (about) their Fish, which took its course through the sea(straight) as in a tunnel.


When they had passed on (some distance),Moses said to his attendant: “Bring us our early meal; truly we havesuffered much fatigue at this (stage of) our journey.”


He replied: “Sawest thou (what happened) whenwe betook ourselves to the rock? I did indeed forget (about) theFish: none but Satan made me forget to tell (you) about it: it tookits course through the sea in a marvelous way!”


Moses said: “That was what we were seekingafter:” So they went back on their footsteps, following (the paththey had come).


So they found one of Our servants, on whom Wehad bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledgefrom Our own Presence.


Moses said to him: “May I follow thee, on thefooting that thou teach me something of the (Higher) Truth whichthou hast been taught?”


(The other) said: “Verily thou wilt not beable to have patience with me!”


“And how canst thou have patience aboutthings which are beyond your knowledge?”


Moses said: “Thou wilt find me, if Allah sowill, (truly) patient: nor shall I disobey thee in aught.”


The other said: “If then thou wouldst followme, ask me no questions about anything until I myself speak to theeconcerning it.”


So they both proceeded: until, when they werein the boat, he scuttled it. Said Moses: “Hast thou scuttled it inorder to drown those in it? Truly a strange thing hast thou done!”


He answered: “Did I not tell thee that thoucanst have no patience with me?”


Moses said: “Rebuke me not for forgetting,nor grieve me by raising difficulties in my case.”


Then they proceeded: until, when they met ayoung boy, he slew him. Moses said: “Hast thou slain an innocentperson who had slain none? Truly a foul (unheard of) thing hast thoudone!”


He answered: “Did I not tell thee that thoucanst have no patience with me?”


(Moses) said: “If ever I ask thee aboutanything after this, keep me not in thy company: then wouldst thouhave received (full) excuse from my side.”


Then they proceeded: until, when they came tothe inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but theyrefused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point offalling down, but he set it up straight. (Moses) said: “If thouhadst wished, surely thou couldst have exacted some recompense forit!”


He answered: “This is the parting between meand thee: now will I tell thee the interpretation of (those things)over which thou wast unable to hold patience.


“As for the boat, it belonged to certain menin dire want: they plied on the water: I but wished to render itunserviceable, for there was after them a certain king who seized onevery boat by force.


“As for the youth, his parents were people offaith, and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinaterebellion and ingratitude (to Allah).


“So we desired that their Lord would givethem in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct) and closer inaffection.


“As for the wall, it belonged to two youths,orphans, in the Town; there was, beneath it, a buried treasure, towhich they were entitled: their father had been a righteous man: Sothy Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strengthand get out their treasure – a mercy (and favor) from thy Lord. Idid it not of my own accord. Such is the interpretation of (thosethings) over which thou wast unable to hold patience.”


They ask thee concerning Zulqarnain. Say, “Iwill rehearse to you something of his story.”


Verily We established his power on earth, andWe gave him the ways and the means to all ends.


One (such) way he followed,


Until, when he reached the setting of thesun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: near it he found aPeople: We said: “O Zulqarnain! (thou hast authority,) either topunish them, or to treat them with kindness.”


He said: “Whoever doth wrong, him shall wepunish; then shall he be sent back to his Lord; and He will punishhim with a punishment unheard of (before).


“But whoever believes, and worksrighteousness,- he shall have a goodly reward, and easy will be histask as we order it by Our command.”


Then followed he (another) way,


Until, when he came to the rising of the sun,he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no coveringprotection against the sun.


(He left them) as they were: We completelyunderstood what was before him.


Then followed he (another) way,


Until, when he reached (a tract) between twomountains, he found, beneath them, a people who scarcely understooda word.


They said: “O Zulqarnain! the Gog and Magog(People) do great mischief on earth: shall we then render theetribute in order that thou mightest erect a barrier between us andthem?


He said: “(The power) in which my Lord hasestablished me is better (than tribute). Help me therefore withstrength (and labor): I will erect a strong barrier between you andthem:


“Bring me blocks of iron.” At length, whena89 he had filled up the space between the two steep mountain-sides,He said, “Blow (with your bellows)” Then, when he had made it (red)as fire, he said: “Bring me, that I may pour over it, molten lead.”


Thus were they made powerless to scale it orto dig through it.


He said: “This is a mercy from my Lord: Butwhen the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will make it intodust; and the promise of my Lord is true.”


On that day We shall leave them to surge likewaves on one another: the trumpet will be blown, and We shallcollect them all together.


And We shall present Hell that day forUnbelievers to see, all spread out,-


(Unbelievers) whose eyes had been under aveil from remembrance of Me, and who had been unable even to hear.


Do the Unbelievers think that they can takeMy servants as protectors besides Me? Verily We have prepared Hellfor the Unbelievers for (their) entertainment.


Say: “Shall we tell you of those who losemost in respect of their deeds?-


“Those whose efforts have been wasted in thislife, while they thought that they were acquiring good by theirworks?”


They are those who deny the Signs of theirLord and the fact of their having to meet Him (in the Hereafter):vain will be their works, nor shall We, on the Day of Judgment, givethem any weight.


That is their reward, Hell; because theyrejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest.


As to those who believe and work righteousdeeds, they have, for their entertainment, the Gardens of Paradise,


Wherein they shall dwell (for aye): no changewill they wish for from them.


Say: “If the ocean were ink (wherewith towrite out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhaustedthan would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean likeit, for its aid.”


Say: “I am but a man like yourselves, (but)the inspiration has come to me, that your God is One God. whoeverexpects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and, in theworship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.