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Al-Kahf: Wikis


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Classification Makkan
Meaning of the name The Cave
Sura number 18
Number of verses 110
Juz' number 15 to 16
Hizb number 30 to 31
Number of Sajdahs none
Previous Sura Al-Isra
Next Sura Maryam

Sura al-Kahf "The Cave" (Arabic: سورة الكهف‎, Sūratu al-Kahf) is the 18th surah of the Qur'an with 110 ayat. It is a Meccan sura.



The earliest mention of Dhu l-Qarnayn, outside the Qur'an, is found in the works of the earliest Muslim historian and hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq, which form the main corpus of the Sira literature. Ibn Ishaq's Sira reports that the eighteenth chapter of the Qur'an (which includes the story of Dhu l-Qarnayn) was revealed to Muhammad by Allah on account of some questions posed by rabbis residing in the city of Medina - the verse was revealed during the Meccan period of Muhammad's life. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's tribe, the powerful Quraysh, were greatly concerned about their tribesman who had started claiming prophethood and wished to consult rabbis about the matter. The Quraysh sent two men to the rabbis of Medina, reasoning that they had superior knowledge of the scriptures and about the prophets of God. The two Quraysh men described their tribesman, Muhammad, to the rabbis. The rabbis told the men to ask Muhammad three questions:

They [the rabbis] said, "Ask him about three things which we will tell you to ask, and if he answers them then he is a Prophet who has been sent; if he does not, then he is saying things that are not true, in which case how you will deal with him will be up to you. Ask him about some young men in ancient times, what was their story For theirs is a strange and wondrous tale. Ask him about a man who travelled a great deal and reached the east and the west of the earth. What was his story And ask him about the Ruh (soul or spirit) -- what is it? If he tells you about these things, then he is a Prophet, so follow him, but if he does not tell you, then he is a man who is making things up, so deal with him as you see fit."[1]

The famous story goes that when Muhammad was informed of the three questions from the rabbis, he said that he would have the answers in the morning but did not say "if God wills it". For fifteen days, Muhammad awaited eagerly for the revelation. Muhammad did not answer the question until then. Doubt in Muhammad began to grow amongst the people of Mecca. Then, after fifteen days, Muhammad received the revelation of al-Kahf as an answer to the questions.

Verses 9 - 26 of the chapter tell the story of the People of the Cave (Ashabu Al-Kahf). Some number of young monotheistic men lived in a time where they were persecuted. They fled the city together, and took refuge in a cave where they fell asleep. God caused them to remain sleeping for approximately 300 years, and when they woke the surrounding area had become monotheistic as well.

Surah al-Kahf also mentions the ruh, or soul/spirit in verse 28, and in the Parable of Two Men in verses 32 - 44. This story discusses two men who had both been given blessings from God, but one wronged his soul by saying that none of it could ever be taken away from him. At the end of the parable God destroys what he had given the man.

The third main story within the chapter (verses 60 - 82) is that of Moses traveling to gain knowledge from another servant of God who is never mentioned by name, but from other sources is called Al-Khidr.

Finally, the surah mentions in verses 83 - 98 a man who traveled a great deal and reached the east and the west of the earth - namely, Dhul-Qarnayn.

Muslim philosophers, such as al-Farabi, Avicenna, and al-Kindi enthusiastically embraced the concept of Dhul-Qarnayn being an ancient Greek king. They stylized Dhul-Qarnayn as a Greek philosopher-king. In later days, some scholars, for example Maududi, identifies Dhul-Qarnayn as Cyrus the Great.

Most Muslim scholars believe he was not merely of Greek origin but a man of God, a religious man who was able to build a partition to save people from Gog and Magog. In accordance with some Islamic jurisprudence, near the End Times, Gog and Magog will learn the secret that will set them free and they will once again wreak havoc upon the world.

Muhammad also advised Muslims to recite the first and last ten verses of Sura Al-Kahf, as protection from the trials and mischief of the Dajjal (false messiah).

A Few Verses

  • [Qur'an 18:23]: And say not of anything: Lo! I shall do that tomorrow,
  • [Qur'an 18:24]: Except if Allah wills it. And remember thy Lord when thou forgettest, and say: It may be that my Lord guideth me unto a nearer way of truth than this.
  • [Qur'an 18:29]: Say, "The truth is from your Lord": Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!
  • [Qur'an 18:103]: Say: "Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect of their deeds?
  • [Qur'an 18:104]: "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?"
  • [Qur'an 18:105]: They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord 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, give them any weight.
  • [Qur'an 18:106]: That is their reward, Hell, because they rejected Faith, and took My Signs and My Messengers by way of jest.
  • [Qur'an 18:109]: Say(O Muhamad): If the oceans were ink for the words of my Lord, they would be empty before the words of my Lord, even if we had other oceans like it!
  • [Qur'an 18:110]: Say(O Muhamad): I am a human like you, except that it has been revealed to me that your Lord is one. So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.

See also

Al-Isra The Qur'an - Sura 18 Next Sura:
Arabic text

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  1. ^ Tafsir ibn Kathir [1]

External links



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