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Sura al-Kahf

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Sura al-Kahf
Isra'← →Maryam
سوره کهف.jpg
Sura Number 18
Juz' 15, 16
Revelation
Revelation Number 69
Makki/Madani Makki
Information
Verse Count 110
Word Count 1589
Letter Count 6550
This article is an introduction to the Sura al-Kahf; to read its text see text:Sura al-Kahf.

Sūra al-Kahf is 18th sura of the Qur'an. It is a makki sura and located in juz's 15 and 16. The word "kahf" means "cave". This sura is named "kahf" because it speaks about the story of the Companions of the Cave. Sura al-Kahf invites people to believe in the truth and do righteous deeds and emphasizes that God has no child. Several stories are mentioned in this sura, three of which are more comprehensive than others: the story of the Companions of the Cave, the story of Moses (a) and one of God's servants (Khidr) and the story of Dhu l-Qarnayn. It is said that sura al-Kahf was revealed when some people from Quraysh were supposed to learn from Jews some issues and test the Prophet (s) with them. Those issues were questions from the three mentioned stories and also the time of the Judgement Day.

One of the famous verses of Sura al-Kahf is verse 50 which refers to the story of angel's prostration to Adam (a) and disobedience of Satan. There are many narrations about the merits of recitation of Sura al-Kahf, including a hadith narrated from the Prophet (s) that upon the revelation of Sura al-Kahf, 70 thousand angels followed it and its glory filled the skies and the earth; whoever recites it on Friday, God will forgive his sins until the next Friday and will give him a light which shines up to the sky and he will be safe from the trial of Dajjal.

Introduction

Naming

The word "kahf" means "the cave in the mountain"[1] and this sura is named "kahf" because it speaks about the story of the Companions of the Cave. Another name of this sura is "Ha'ila" because it is a veil between its reciters and those who act upon it and the hellfire.[2]

Order and Place of Revelation

Sura al-Kahf is a Makki sura. It was 69th sura revealed to the Prophet (s), but now it is 18th sura in the Qur'an,[3] located exactly in the middle of the Qur'an in juz's 15 and 16.[4]

Number of Verses and other Characteristics

Sura al-Kahf has 110 verses, 1589 words and 6550 letters. Regarding volume, it is among "Mi'un suras" (suras with about 100 verses) and middle size taking about half of one juz'.[5]

Content

About the content and the goal of Sura al-Kahf, it is said that through threats and good news, it invites people toward the truth and righteous deeds. In this sura, it is also emphasized that God has no child; as, in some verses, those who have considered children for God are threatened. Thus, this sura addresses those who believed that angels, jinns and righteous people are children of God and Christians who believe that Jesus (a) is son of God. It is also said that it is possible that this sura was revealed to narrate the three extraordinary stories of the Companions of the Cave, Moses (a) and one of God's servants and the story of Dhu l-Qarnayn.[6] These stories are mentioned all in one place, contrary to most other stories in the Qur'an which are divided in different suras.[7]

Content of Sura al-Kahf[8]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sura al-Kahf
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
First topic: verses 1-8
Excessive love of the world, as the reason why disbelievers do not accept Islam
 
Second topic: verses 9-26
Story of the Companions of the Cave, the sign of the world's decay and the truth of the hereafter
 
Third topic: verses 37-59
The Prophet's (a) duty against world-loving disbelievers
 
Fourth topic: verses 60-82
Story of Moses (a) and Khidr (a), the sign of the inner nature of the world
 
Fifth topic: verses 83-102
Story of Dhu l-Qarnayn, a sign of the failure of world-loving disbelievers
 
Sixth topic: verses 103-110
Instead of seeking the world, seek the mercy of God!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
First point: verses 1-5
the Qur'an, warning world-loving polytheists
 
First point: verses 9-12
Strangeness of the story of the Companions of the Cave
 
First responsibility: verse 27
Reciting the Book of God
 
First point: verses 60-64
Mosess (a) search for Khidr (a)
 
First point: verses 83-84
God-given knowledge and power of Dhu l-Qarnayn
 
First point: verses 103-108
World-lovers' deprivation of God's mercy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Second point: verses 6-8
Comforting the Prophet (a) about disbelief of world-lovers
 
Second point: verses 13-15
Uprising of the Companions of the Cave against polytheism
 
Second responsibility: verse 28
Accompanying believers and keeping away from ignorant ones
 
Second point: verses 65-66
Mosess (a) request from Khidr (a) to teach him divine teachings
 
Second point: verses 85-88
Dhu l-Qarnayn's journey to the West
 
Second point: verse 109
Immeasurability of God's mercy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Third point: verse 16
Taking refuge in the cave
 
Third responsibility: verses 29-31
Explaining the destiny of disbelief and having faith
 
Third point: verses 67-70
Khidr's (a) condition for teaching Moses (a)
 
Third point: verses 89-91
Dhu l-Qarnayn's journey to the East
 
Third point: verse 110
Faith and righteous deeds, as the condition for benefiting from God's mercy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Forth point: verses 17-18
Sleeping of the Companions of the Cave in an especial way
 
Forth responsibility: verses 32-44
Reminding the evil destiny of world lovers
 
Forth point: verses 71-78
Three seemingly strange actions of Khidr (a)
 
Forth point: verses 92-102
Dhu l-Qarnayn's journey to mountains
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fifth point: verses 19-20
Waking of the Companions of the Cave and going to the city
 
Fifth responsibility: verses 45-49
Reminding the decay of the world
 
Fifth point: verses 79-82
Wisdom and the heart of Khidr's (a) actions
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sixth point: verse 21
People's argument about setting up a building upon the grave of the Companions of the Cave
 
Sixth responsibility: verses 50-51
Warning about Satan's enmity with man
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Seventh point: verses 22-24
Different opinions about the number of the Companions of the Cave
 
Seventh responsibility: verses 52-53
Reminding the inability of (so-called) partners of God in Resurrection.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eighth point: verses 25-26
Different opinions about how long the Companions of the Cave were asleep
 
Eighth responsibility: verses 54-59
Reminding the destiny of ignoring the warnings of the Qur'an

Historical Stories and Narrations

In Sura al-Kahf, there are some stories, three of which are more comprehensive:

  • Story of the Companions of the Cave (verses 8 – 26): Guidance of these people by God, their struggle with disbelievers, seeking refuge in the cave, the miracle of their survival by the help of God, their waking up and people's reaction toward them, clarification of the truth and explaining the argument disbelievers had with the Prophet (s) about this story.[9]
  • Story of Moses (a) and Khidr (a) (verses 60 – 82): Company of Moses (a) and the teenager to Majma' al-Bahrayn, forgetting the fish, returning to find the fish, meeting one of God's servants (Khidr (a)), Moses' (a) request to accompany him, Khidr's (a) warning about Moses' (a) impatience, making a hole in the boat, Killing the boy, repairing the wall in the city whose people rejected them and the three complaints of Moses (a), separation of Moses (a) from Khidr (a), mentioning the interpretation of Khidr's (a) actions.[10]
  • Story of Dhu l-Qarnayn (verses 83 – 98): asking the Prophet (s) about Dhu l-Qarnayn, gifting the kingdom to Dhu l-Qarnayn, his treatment toward the two groups in the west and the east, arriving between the two barriers, complaints of people about Gog and Magog, building a bulwark to prevent the attack of Gog and Magog.[11]

Delay in Revelation and the Verse of Mashiyyat

About the context of the revelation of Sura al-Kahf, it is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that Quraysh sent three people to Najran tribe to learn some issues there and use them to test the Prophet (s). The three people went to Najran and met Jewish scholars. Jews told them to ask the Prophet (s) three things, and "if he (s) answers the way we know, he (s) is true to his claim; otherwise, he (s) is lying; then, you ask him one more thing. If he (s) says that he (s) knows the answer, he (s) is a liar." The three issues they decided to ask the Prophet (s) were the story of the Companions of the Cave, the story of Moses (a) with Khidr (a) and the destiny of the person (Dhu l-Qarnayn) who traveled between the east and the west and reached the barrier of Gog and Magog. Jews gave the three people from Quraysh the answers to the questions. The fourth issue was about the time of the Judgement Day.

Those from Quraysh returned to Mecca and went to Abu Talib and posed their questions to the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) told them that, "I will give the answers tomorrow." But, he (s) did not say "In sha'Allah" (If God wills). Thus, he (s) did not receive revelation for forty days, so that he (s) became sad and his companions who had believed in him, became doubtful while Quraysh were happy and began mocking and harassing the Prophet (s). Abu Talib became very upset. After forty days, Sura al-Kahf was revealed to the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) asked angel Gabriel the cause of delay and he said that, "we are not able to come on our own, but with God's permission." Imam al-Sadiq (a) then mentioned the story of the Companions of the Cave.[12] 'Allama Tabataba'i mentioned this narration and then said that there are many narrations reporting the story of the Companions of the Cave, but they have conflicts. Among them, the mentioned narration is the clearest, the text of which is free from conflicts and incoherence; however, it still has some problems.[13]

Famous Verses

Verse 50

"When We said to the angels, 'Prostrate before Adam,' they prostrated, but not Iblis. He was one of the jinn, so he transgressed against his Lord's command."

According to commentaries, this verse refers to a story mentioned in Qur'an 2[14] which gives the report of the creation of Adam (a) and prostration of angels to him.[15] Two of the points mentioned by exegetes about this verse are that although Satan was one of the jinns, but he achieved a position among angels due to his obedience and position before God, and another point is that it can be learned from the prostration of angels that prostration for other than God has no problem if it is for the sake of reverence. The story of prostration of angels and disobedience of Satan is mentioned in several places in the Qur'an including verse 73 of Qur'an 38, verse 30 of Qur'an 15 and verse 34 of Qur'an 2.

Verse 110

"Say, 'I am just a human being like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is the One God."

It is mentioned in commentaries that this verse refers to three principles of Unity of God, the Prophethood and the hereafter and rejects polytheistic thoughts and the claim of divinity about the Prophet (s). It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that "whoever recites the last verse of Sura al-Kahf before sleeping, he can wake up anytime he wishes."

Merits and Benefits

There are many narrations from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) about the merits of recitation of Sura al-Kahf which mention the importance of the content of this sura such as the following:

  • It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that upon the revelation of Sura al-Kahf, 70 thousand angels followed it and its glory filled the skies and the earth. Whoever recites it on Friday, God will forgive his sins until the next Friday and (according to another narration, it keeps him away from sins) and gives him a light which shines up to the sky and he will be safe from the trial of Dajjal.
  • It is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (a) that whoever recites Sura al-Kahf on the eve of Fridays, he will die as martyr and will be resurrected with martyrs and will be among them on the Judgment Day.

Also, some benefits are mentioned for recitation of Sura al-Kahf including the hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) saying that, "whoever recites the last verse of Sura al-Kahf before sleeping, he can wake up anytime he wishes."

Notes

  1. Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, ‘’Mufradāt alfāẓ al-Qurʾān’’, under the word کهف.
  2. Khurramshāhī, ‘’Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān’’, vol. 2, p. 1241.
  3. Maʿrifat, ‘’Āmūzish-i ʿulūm-i Qurʾān’’, vol. 1, p. 166.
  4. Khurramshāhī, ‘’Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān’’, vol. 2, p. 1241.
  5. Khurramshāhī, ‘’Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān’’, vol. 2, p. 1241.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāyī, ‘’al-Mīzān’’, vol. 13, p. 236.
  7. Khurramshāhī, ‘’Dānishnāma-yi Qurʾān’’, vol. 2, p. 1240-1241.
  8. Khamagar, Muhammad, Sakhtar-i suraha-yi Qur'an-i karim, Mu'assisa-yi Farhangi-yi Qur'an wa 'Itrat-i Nur al-Thaqalayn, Qom: Nashra, ed.1, 1392 Sh.
  9. Maʿmūrī, "Taḥlīl sākhtār-i riwāyat dar Qurʾān", p. 160.
  10. Maʿmūrī, "Taḥlīl sākhtār-i riwāyat dar Qurʾān", p. 162.
  11. Maʿmūrī, "Taḥlīl sākhtār-i riwāyat dar Qurʾān", p. 162.
  12. Ṭabāṭabāyī, ‘’al-Mīzān’’, vol. 13, p. 278.
  13. Ṭabāṭabāyī, ‘’al-Mīzān’’, vol. 13, p. 280-283.
  14. Qurʾān, 2:30-38.
  15. Makārim Shīrāzī, ‘’Tafsīr-i nimūna’’. Vol. 1, p. 181.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from سوره کهف in Farsi WikiShia.