Companions of the Inscription

Priority: b, Quality: c
From wikishia

The Companions of the Inscription or the Companions of al-Raqīm or ʾAṣḥab al-Raqīm (Arabic: أَصْحَابُ الرَّقِيمِ) are a group of people whose name and destiny was written on a tablet or plate. Most Shi'a exegetes considered Ashab al-Raqim, another name for Companions of the Cave.

However, there is a hadith which considered the number of Companions of al-Raqim, three persons who were locked in a cave. After great supplications, each one of them mentioned their good deeds and they were released from it.

Cause of Naming

Al-raqim means "marqum, writing[1] and script."[2] Some sources considered "al-raqim", a Roman word meaning "tablet" and some others considered it a Syriac word for a place. In the Qur'an, this word is mentioned together with the word "al-kahf" (the cave) in verse 9 of Qur'an 18 [3] in the story of the Companions of the Cave. Most exegetes considered "al-raqim" meaning "tablet or plate, on which the story of the Companions of the Cave or another group was written."

Story of Companion of al-Raqim

There are two views among exegetes on which group Companions of al-Raqim refers to:

The Famous Story

Based on some hadiths, most exegetes considered Companions of al-Raqim, another name for Companions of the cave who became famous so,[4] because their story was written on a tablet and was installed at the entrance of the cave.[5] However, there are different opinions about the material of the tablet (stone or copper) and its installation place. Some considered[6] "al-Raqim", the name of the scripture of Companions of the Cave, their village, their currency, their dog or the mountain where there was the cave of Companions of the Cave.[7]

In a report from Dahhak b. Muzahim, "al-Raqim" was a city in Roman empire, where the cave was located and therein existed 21 corpses which looked as if they were in deep sleep.[8]

Unfamous Story

According to other hadiths, Companions of al-Raqim were three young people who entered a cave and were locked there, because the entrance of the cave was blocked. After making great supplications, they decided to mention their good deeds so that the entrance of the cave would open; therefore, they did so and were released from the cave.[9]

The Detailed Description of the Unfamous Story

Based on a hadith transmitted by al-Shaykh al-Saduq, three persons were going in a path that it began raining, so they took refuge in a cave. After they entered the cave, the entrance of the cave was blocked. One of them said, "The only way out of this trouble is that we call God by a good deed we have done in the past."

One of them said, "Once a person worked for me in return for a share of rice. After he finished his job, his rice remained unpaid; so, I planted it and I bought a cow by its produce. After a while, that worker returned to me and asked for his gain; so, I gave him the cow instead. He said that I merely owed him a share of rice and I told him that the cow was his share of rice.

Another one of them said, "O God, I had an old mother and father, I took milk for them. One night I arrived late and they were asleep. I did not want to wake them up, and I did not want to take milk to my wife and children before my parents drink from it, so I waited at their bed until dawn."

The third person said, "O God, I had an uncle's daughter, I asked her an evil act and she did not accept and said that she would accept it only if I give her financial assistance. After I gave her the money she wanted, she told me, ‘fear God!...’ So, I left her and her money."

After each of them told their good deeds, they said, "O God, if we did this for Your fear, provide us with a relief in our affairs." By mentioning each action, the mouth of the cave opened a little and after the third person told his story, they were released from the cave.[10]


  1. Jawharī, al-Ṣiḥāḥ, vol. 5, p. 1936.
  2. Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, Mufradāt alfāẓ al-Qurʾān, p. 262.
  3. : Do you suppose that the Companions of the Cave and the Inscription were among Our wonderful signs?
  4. ʿAyyāshī, Tafsīr, vol. 2, p. 321; Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 31.
  5. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 31; Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 697.
  6. Ṭabarī, Jāmiʿ al-bayān, vol. 15, p. 249-274; Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 7, p. 11.
  7. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 6, p. 697.
  8. Qurṭubī, al-Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qurʾān, vol. 10, p. 356-358; Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 4, p. 704-705.
  9. Ṭūsī, al-Amālī, p. 408-409; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 14, p. 426-427.
  10. Ṣadūq, al-Khiṣāl, p. 184-185.


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