18 The Cave
Al-Kalif: Makki
In the name of Allah, most benevolent, ever-merciful.
ALL PRAISE BE to God who has revealed to His votary the Book which is
free of all obliquity,
2. Immutable, so that it may warn of a severe punishment from Him; and give
happy tidings to those who believe and do the right that there is a better reward
(of Paradise) for them,
3. Where they will abide for ever;
4. And that it may warn those who say: “God has begotten a son.”
5. They have no knowledge of this, as their fathers did not have. How terrible
are the words they utter! They speak nothing but lies.
6. Will you kill yourself for grief of them if they do not believe in this
7. We have made whatever exists on the earth its adornment to test and try
them (and) know who acts better;
8. For We shall certainly turn it to barren dust.
9. Do you think the men of the cave and Ar-Raqim were so strange among Our signs?
10. When those young men took shelter in the cave, and prayed: “O Lord,
grant us Your favour and dispose our affair aright,”
11. We sealed off their ears in the cave for a number of years,
12. Then roused them to ascertain which of the two groups could account for
the period they had stayed.
13. We narrate their story to you in all truth. They were a few young men who
believed in their Lord; so We gave them greater guidance.
14. And strengthened their hearts when they stood up and said: “Our Lord is
the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We shall invoke no god beside Him, for
we shall have uttered a blasphemy then.
15. As for these our people here, they have taken to other gods apart from Him.
Then why do they not bring a clear authority for them? Who is more wicked
than he who fabricates a lie against God?”
16. (And they said to each other) “Now that you have withdrawn from them
and what they worship beside God, it is better to take refuge in the cave. Your
Lord may bestow of His mercy on you, and facilitate your affair.”
17. You may well have seen when the sun came up it moved away to the right
of the cave, and when it went down it turned away to the left, and they stayed
in its open space. This was among the signs of God. Whoever is guided by
God follows the right path; and whosoever goes astray will not find a guide to
show him the way.
18. You may have thought that they were awake, yet they were asleep. We
made them turn right and left, while their dog lay with his forelegs stretched
across the threshold. If you had looked at them you would have surely turned
away and fled with horror at the sight.
19. Even so We roused them that they may question one another. One of them
asked: “How long have you stayed here?” They said: “A day or less than a
day.” “Your Lord knows best,” they said, “how long you have stayed. So send
one of you to the town with this money of yours to look for wholesome food
and bring it for you; but he should be careful not to let your presence known.
20. If they come to know of you they will stone you to death, or force you to
go back to their creed; then you will never succeed.”
21. Thus did We inform the people about them that they may know the
promise of God is true, and there is no doubt that the Hour will come. As they
were arguing among themselves as to what should be done with them, (some)
said: “Erect a monument over them. Their Lord is best cognisant of them.”
Those who prevailed, said: “We shall build a place of worship over their
22. Some will say: “They were three, and their dog was the fourth;” and some
will also say: “They were five and their dog was the sixth,” — guessing in the
dark. And some will even say: “They were seven, and their dog the eighth.”
Say: “My Lord alone knows best their number; none but only a few know of
them.” So do not argue about it with them but lightly, and do not enquire about
them from any one of them.
23. Do not say of any thing: “I will do it tomorrow,”
24. Without (adding), “if God may please;” and think of your Lord in ease you
forget, and say: “Perhaps my Lord will show me a nearer way to rectitude.”
25. (It is said) they stayed in the cave three hundred years and nine.
26. You say: “God only knows how long they stayed. He alone knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth. How distinctly He sees and hears! They
have no other guardian but Him, and He does not share His authority with any
27. Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no
one who can change the word of God; and you will not find refuge except in
28. Persevere with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking
His magnificence. Do not turn your eyes away from them, seeking the
splendours of this world, and do not follow him whose heart We have made
oblivious to Our remembrance, who follows his own lust and exceeds the
29. Say: “The truth is from your Lord: So believe if you like, or do not believe
if you will.” We have prepared for the sinners a fire which will envelope them
in its tent. If they ask for water they will be helped to liquid like molten brass
that would scald their mouths. How evil the drink, and evil the resting-place!
30. But surely We do not let the reward of those who believe and do the right
to go waste.
31. There will be gardens of Eden for them, with rivers flowing by, where they
will be decked in bracelets of gold, with silken robes of green and of brocades
to wear, reclining on couches. How excellent the guerdon, and excellent the
resting-place! Tell them the parable of two men. We gave one two gardens of
grapes surrounded by date-palm trees, with corn fields in between.
33. Each of the gardens yielded its fruit and did not withhold the least; and We
made a stream flow in between them.
34 So he became rich. Arguing one day with his friend he said: “I have more
wealth than you and more powerful kinsmen.”
35. And he walked into his garden, and, (forgetting) his limit, said: “I cannot
imagine that this will ever be ruined,
36. Nor can I think that the Hour (of Doom) will come, And even if I am
brought back to my Lord, I will surely find a better place there than this.”
37. Disputing with him, his companion said: “Do you disbelieve in Him who
created you from dust, then a drop of semen, then formed you into a man?
38. And He is God, my Lord, and I do not associate any one with my Lord.
39. When you entered your garden, why did you not say: ‘As God may please;’
for no one has power except given by God? Though you see me poorer in
wealth and children than you,
40. Yet, my Lord may haply give me a garden better than yours, and He may
send a thunder-bolt, from the skies and in the morning it will be a barren plain;
41. Or else of a morning its water may sink underground, and you will not find
a trace of it.”
42. And his vines were overtaken (with disaster), and he began to wring his
hands (at the loss) of what he had spent on them, for the vines had fallen upon
their trellises; and he said: “Would to God that I had not associated any one
with my Lord.”
43. He had no body to help him other than God, nor was he able to save
44. The jurisdiction in this province belongs to God. His is the best reward,
and His the best requital.
45. Present to them the example of the life of this world so like the water We
send down from the skies that mingles with the earth to nourish its vegetation, which then on the morrow turns to stubble and is blown away by the wind.
God has power over everything.
46. Wealth and children are only the gloss of this world, but good deeds that
abide are better with your Lord for recompense, and better for expectation.
47. The day We shall move the mountains, and you see the earth an open plain,
We shall gather them together, leaving none behind.
48. They will be arraigned before their Lord row on row, (and He will say):
“Well, you have come to Us as We had first created you, even though you
imagined We had fixed no time for this meeting.”
49. The ledger (of their deeds) would be placed before them. Then you will see
the sinners terrified at its contents, and say: “Alas, what a written revelation
this, which has not left unaccounted the smallest or the greatest thing!” They
will find in it whatsoever they had done. Your Lord does not wrong any one.
50. When We said to the angels: “Bow before Adam in adoration,” they all
bowed but Iblis. He was one of the jinni and rebelled against his Lord’s
command. And yet you take him and his offspring as your friends instead of
Me, even though they are your enemies. How sad a substitute for the evildoers!
51. I did not call them to witness the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor
their own creation. I would not take as helpers those who lead (men) astray.
52. The day He will say: “Call those you had called My compeers,” they will
call them, but will get no response, and We shall place a gulf between them.
53. The sinners will see the Fire and know that they will be thrown into it and
will not find a way of escape from it.
54. We have explained in various ways all things to men in this Qur’an; but of
all things man is most contentious.
55. There is nothing to prevent men from believing when the guidance has
come to them, and asking for their Lord’s forgiveness, unless they want the
example of earlier people visited upon them, or the punishment to appear right
before their eyes.
56. We never send apostles but to convey happy tidings, and to warn. But those
who disbelieve contend with false arguments to nullify the truth. They make a
mockery of My revelations and of what they had been warned.
57. Who is more unjust than he who, on being reminded of his Lord’s
revelations, turns away from them, and forgets the evil deeds he had
committed in the past. Verily We have placed a covering on their hearts so that
they do not understand, and a deafness in their ears so that however you may
call them to guidance they will never be guided aright.
58. But your Lord is forgiving, full of benevolence. If He had pleased to punish
them for their doings He would have punished them immediately. But a term is
fixed for them from which they will find no escape.
59. As for these habitations, We destroyed them only when they transgressed;
even so We had fixed a time for their annihilation.
60. When Moses said to his servant (Joshua): “I will not give up till I reach the
confluence of two oceans, or I will journey on and on.”
61. When they reached the confluence they forgot the fish (they had brought as
food) which swiftly made its way into the sea.
62. When they had gone past (the confluence), Moses said to his servant:
“Give me my breakfast. I am exhausted from this journey.”
63. He said: “You see, I forgot the fish on the rock where we had stopped. Only Satan made me forget to mention this; but the wonder is the fish escaped
to the sea.”
64. Moses said: “But that is exactly what we were seeking.” So they retraced
their steps.
65. Then they found one of Our votaries, whom We had blessed and given
knowledge from Us.
66. Moses said to him: “May I attend upon you that you may instruct me in the
knowledge you have been taught of the right way?”
67. He said: “You will not be able to bear with me.
68. “How can you bear that which is beyond your comprehension?”
69. “You will find me patient if God wills,” said Moses; “and I will not
disobey you in any thing.”
70. “If you must follow me,” he said, “do not ask me any thing until I speak of
it to you myself.”
71. So they set out till they (came to the quay) and went on board a ship in
which he made a hole, (and Moses said) “You have made a hole in the boat to
drown its passengers? You have done a strange thing!”
72. “Did I not tell you,” he replied, “that you will not be able to bear with me?”
73. (Moses) said: “Do not hold me for having forgotten, and do not reprove me
and make my task difficult.”
74. The two went on till they came to a boy, whom he killed. Moses
exclaimed: “You have killed an innocent soul who had taken no life. You have
done a most abominable thing!”
75. He said: “Did I not tell you you will not be able to bear with me?”
76. Moses said: “If I ask you any thing again then do not keep me with you.
You have my apology.”
77. The two went on till they came upon some villagers, and asked the people
for food, but they refused to entertain them. There they found a wall that was
crumbling, which he repaired. Moses remarked: “You could have demanded
wages for it if you liked.”
78. “This is the parting of our “ways,” he said. “But I will now explain the
things you could not bear:
79. That boat belonged to poor people who used to toil on the sea. I damaged it
because there was a king after them who used to seize every ship by force.
80. As for the boy, his parents were believers, but we feared that he would
harass them with defiance and disbelief.
81. We hoped their Lord would give them a substitute better than him in virtue
and goodness.
82. As for that wall, it belonged to two orphan boys of the city, and their
treasure was buried under it. Their father was an upright man. So your Lord
willed that on reaching the age of maturity they should dig out their treasure as
a favour from their Lord. So, I did not do that of my own accord. This is the
explanation of things you could not bear with patience.”
83. They ask you about Dhu’l-Qarnain.
84. Say: “I will cite before you his commemoration.” We gave him authority in
the land and means of accomplishing every end.
85. So he followed a certain road
86. Till he reached the point of the setting sun, and saw it set behind a muddy
lake, and near it found a people. We said: “O Dhu’l-Qarnain, you may either
punish them or treat them with kindness.” 87. He said: “I shall punish whosoever is wicked. He will then be sent back to
his Lord who will inflict on him a terrible punishment.
88. But he who believes and does the right will have an excellent reward, and
we shall make things easy for him.”
89. He then followed (another) road
90. Till he reached the point of the rising sun, and saw it rise over a people for
whom We had provided no shelter against it.
91. It was so, for We were fully informed about him.
92. He then followed (another) road
93. Till he reached a place between two mountains, and found this side of it a
people who understood but little of what was spoken.
94. They said: ‘O Dhu’l-Qarnain, Gog and Magog are oppressing the land. May
we pay you some tribute so that you could build a rampart between us and
95. He said: “The ability my Lord has given me is better. So help me with your
manual labour; I will build a wall between you and them.
96. Bring me ingots of iron,” (which they did) until the space between two
mountain sides was filled up. “Blow your bellows,” he said; (and they blew)
until it was red hot. “Bring me molten brass,” he said, “that I may pour over it.”
97. Thus (Gog and Magog) could neither climb over it nor dig a hole through
(the rampart).
98. “This is the benevolence of my Lord,” he said; “but when the promise of
my Lord comes to pass, He will reduce it to a mound of dust; and the promise
of my Lord is true.”
99. We shall leave them on that day surging like waves pressing one against
the other, and the trumpet blast will be sounded, when We shall gather them all
100. Then We shall bring Hell right before the infidels
101. Whose eyes were veiled against My warning, and they could not hear.
102. Do the unbelievers think they can make My own creatures their protectors
against Me? We have prepared Hell for the hospitality of infidels.
103. Say: “Shall I tell you whose labour will be wasted?
104. Theirs whose effort is misspent in pursuit of the pleasures of the world,
even though they think they are doing good things.”
105. They are those who reject the signs of their Lord, and the meeting with
Him. So their good deeds will be fruitless, and on the Day of Judgement We
shall not appoint any weighing for them.
106. Their requital will be Hell, because they disbelieved and mocked My
signs and messengers.
107. But surely those who believe and do the right will have gardens of
Paradise as gift,
108. Where they will abide for ever, never wanting a change.
109. Say: “If the ocean turned to ink for writing down the colloquy of my
Lord, the ocean itself would be exhausted ere the words (and wonders) of my
Lord come to end, even if we brought another like it for replenishment.”
110. Say: “I am only a man like you, but it has been communicated to me that
your Lord is one and single God, and that whosoever hopes to meet his Lord
should do what is right, and not associate any one in the worship of his Lord.”


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