Basic Facts and Information on Surah Al-Kahf
- Surah (Chapter) Number: 18
- Number of Verses: 110
- English Meaning: “Cave” (Refers to the Story of the People of the Cave)
- Covered in Juz 15 and 16
Select Topics Discussed in Surah Al-Kahf
The following are some of the topics that are discussed in Surah Al-Kahf.
- Thanking the blessings of Allah for revealing a book in which there is no distortion.
- Allah’s warning to those who claim that Allah (God) has a son.
- Allah has created this earth and adorned it as a test for mankind and He will return it to a bare dry soil.
- The story of the People of the Cave. These were the few men who fled from their oppressors because they believed in Allah and took refuge in a cave. They called upon Allah for His mercy and to protect them. Allah, then, out of His power made them go to deep sleep for a number of years. After He raised them from sleep, they realized that they went to town and realized that they had slept for a number of years. During the course of their sleep, which lasted 309 years, Allah made a dog site outside the cave to protect them. And thus they became a major sign of the miracles of Allah.
- Allah tells the believers not to say that they will do such and such tomorrow except to add to the statement “In Sha Allah” (if Allah wills). (Reference: verses 23 and 24)
- Allah reminds the believers not to desire the pomp and glitter of this world.
- Allah reminds the believers that the truth is from Him alone and the need to believe in Him and His message to be successful. For those who follow that message, He has promised Adn (Garden of Eden) (Paradise of Jannah).
- The Surah mentions the story of two men (as a lesson) one of whom was thankful to Allah and the other who was blessed didn’t care much of thanking Allah thinking that his possessions will last him forever. (Reference: verses 32 to 43)
- Allah reminds the believers the temporary nature of this world and that wealth and children are only the adornment of this life and world, while the hereafter is forever.
- The surah describes the Day of Judgement and how people will be gathered.
- The placing of the book with righteous deeds in the right hands of the believers and the book of bad deeds to be handed in the left hand.
- The shock of the wrongdoers when they will realize that the book had recorded all of their actions of this world (good and bad).
- Allah warns everyone of the Day when He will ask people who disbelieved in Him and associated others in His worship to call their false deities. However, those false gods will not respond to the people who mistakenly took them as their gods.
- Allah reminds people of their nature to be quarrelsome.
- Allah reminds everyone in this chapter that He is the Most Forgiving and Owner of Mercy.
- The Surah mentions the story of Prophet Moosa (Moses) and Khidr, who was Allah’s blessed servant. The story is to remind everyone of the hidden wisdom in life’s various issues and matters. In this story, Prophet Moosa tried to argue with Khidr on three different occasions believing that he was more knowledgeable but as it became apparent to Prophet Moosa later that sometimes things are not as they may seem at the outset. (Reference: Verses 64 to 82)
- The story of Dhul-Qarnain and how he helped certain people in erecting a barrier between them and the people of Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog), who had spread mischief. (Reference: Verses 83 to 99)
- The coming out of Yajuj and Majuj one more time before the end of this world (Reference: verse 99)
- Those who will be the biggest losers in terms of their deeds on the day of judgement. (Reference: Verses 103 to 106)
- The grandeur and majesty of the words of Allah. (Reference: verse 109)
- Allah reminding the believers that Prophet Muhammad was only a human being who received revelation from Allah.
- and many other topics.
Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) Arabic and English Translation
1. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave (Muhammad ) the Book (the Qur’an), and has not placed therein any crookedness.
2. (He has made it) Straight to give warning (to the disbelievers) of a severe punishment from Him, and to give glad tidings to the believers (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism), who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a fair reward (i.e. Paradise).
3. They shall abide therein forever.
4. And to warn those (Jews, Christians, and pagans) who say, “Allah has begotten a son (or offspring or children).”
5. No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. Mighty is the word that comes out of their mouths [i.e. He begot (took) sons and daughters]. They utter nothing but a lie.
6. Perhaps, you, would kill yourself (O Muhammad ) in grief, over their footsteps (for their turning away from you), because they believe not in this narration (the Qur’an).
7. Verily! We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them (mankind) as to which of them are best in deeds. [i.e.those who do good deeds in the most perfect manner, that means to do them (deeds) totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance to the legal ways of the Prophet ].
8. And verily! We shall make all that is on it (the earth) a bare dry soil (without any vegetation or trees, etc.).
9. Do you think that the people of the Cave and the Inscription (the news or the names of the people of the Cave) were a wonder among Our Signs?
10. (Remember) when the young men fled for refuge (from their disbelieving folk) to the Cave, they said: “Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!”
11. Therefore We covered up their (sense of) hearing (causing them, to go in deep sleep) in the Cave for a number of years.
12. Then We raised them up (from their sleep), that We might test which of the two parties was best at calculating the time period that they had tarried.
13. We narrate unto you (O Muhammad ) their story with truth: Truly! They were young men who believed in their Lord (Allah), and We increased them in guidance.
14. And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of Faith in Allah and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation of their kith and kin and dwellings, etc.) when they stood up and said: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any ilah (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief.
15. “These our people have taken for worship aliha (gods) other than Him (Allah). Why do they not bring for them a clear authority? And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah.
16. (The young men said to one another): “And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah, then seek refuge in the Cave, your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair (i.e. will give you what you will need of provision, dwelling, etc.).”
17. And you might have seen the sun, when it rose, declining to the right from their Cave, and when it set, turning away from them to the left, while they lay in the midst of the Cave. That is (one) of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, signs) of Allah. He whom Allah guides, is rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Wali (guiding friend) to lead him (to the right Path).
18. And you would have thought them awake, while they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance [of the Cave or in the space near to the entrance of the Cave (as a guard at the gate)]. Had you looked at them, you would certainly have turned back from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with awe of them.
19. Likewise, We awakened them (from their long deep sleep) that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: “How long have you stayed (here)?” They said: “We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day.” They said: “Your Lord (Alone) knows best how long you have stayed (here). So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town, and let him find out which is the good lawful food, and bring some of that to you. And let him be careful and let no man know of you.
20. “For if they come to know of you, they will stone you (to death or abuse and harm you) or turn you back to their religion, and in that case you will never be successful.”
21. And thus We made their case known to the people, that they might know that the Promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour. (Remember) when they (the people of the city) disputed among themselves about their case, they said: “Construct a building over them, their Lord knows best about them,” (then) those who won their point said (most probably the disbelievers): “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.”
22. (Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say (O Muhammad ): “My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few.” So debate not (about their number, etc.) except with the clear proof (which We have revealed to you). And consult not any of them (people of the Scripture, Jews and Christians) about (the affair of) the people of the Cave.
23. And never say of anything, “I shall do such and such thing tomorrow.”
24. Except (with the saying), “If Allah will!” And remember your Lord when you forget and say: “It may be that my Lord guides me unto a nearer way of truth than this.”
25. And they stayed in their Cave three hundred (solar) years, and add nine (for lunar years).
26. Say: “Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him is (the knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clearly He sees, and hears (everything)! They have no Wali (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector, etc.) other than Him, and He makes none to share in His Decision and His Rule.”
27. And recite what has been revealed to you (O Muhammad ) of the Book (the Qur’an) of your Lord (i.e. recite it, understand and follow its teachings and act on its orders and preach it to men). None can change His Words, and none will you find as a refuge other than Him.
28. And keep yourself (O Muhammad ) patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc., and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.
29. And say: “The truth is from your Lord.” Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve. Verily, We have prepared for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), a Fire whose walls will be surrounding them (disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah). And if they ask for help (relief, water, etc.) they will be granted water like boiling oil, that will scald their faces. Terrible the drink, and an evil Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!
30. Verily! As for those who believe and do righteous deeds, certainly! We shall not suffer to be lost the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner.
31. These! For them will be ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens); wherein rivers flow underneath them, therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine and thick silk. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good is the reward, and what an excellent Murtafaqa (dwelling, resting place, etc.)!
32. And put forward to them the example of two men; unto one of them We had given two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date-palms; and had put between them green crops (cultivated fields etc.).
33. Each of those two gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein, and We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of them.
34. And he had property (or fruit) and he said to his companion, in the course of mutual talk: I am more than you in wealth and stronger in respect of men.” [See Tafsir Qurtubi, Vol. 10, Page 403].
36. “And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.”
37. His companion said to him, during the talk with him: “Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam), then out of Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female discharge), then fashioned you into a man?
38. “But as for my part (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.
39. It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah ‘. If you see me less than you in wealth, and children.
40. “It may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden, and will send on it Husban (torment, bolt, etc.) from the sky, then it will be a slippery earth.
41. “Or the water thereof (of the gardens) becomes deep-sunken (underground) so that you will never be able to seek it.”
42. So his fruits were encircled (with ruin). And he remained clapping his hands with sorrow over what he had spent upon it, while it was all destroyed on its trellises, he could only say: “Would I had ascribed no partners to my Lord!” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]
43. And he had no group of men to help him against Allah, nor could he defend or save himself.
44. There (on the Day of Resurrection), Al-Walayah (the protection, power, authority and kingdom) will be for Allah (Alone), the True God. He (Allah) is the Best for reward and the Best for the final end. (La ilaha ill-Allah none has the right to be worshipped but Allah).
45. And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.
46. Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds (five compulsory prayers, deeds of Allah’s obedience, good and nice talk, remembrance of Allah with glorification, praises and thanks, etc.), that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.
47. And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a levelled plain, and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind.
48. And they will be set before your Lord in (lines as) rows, (and Allah will say): “Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time. Nay, but you thought that We had appointed no meeting for you (with Us).”
49. And the Book (one’s Record) will be placed (in the right hand for a believer in the Oneness of Allah, and in the left hand for a disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah), and you will see the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners, etc.), fearful of that which is (recorded) therein. They will say: “Woe to us! What sort of Book is this that leaves neither a small thing nor a big thing, but has recorded it with numbers!” And they will find all that they did, placed before them, and your Lord treats no one with injustice.
50. And (remember) when We said to the angels; “Prostrate to Adam.” So they prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinns; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the Zalimun (polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc).
51. I (Allah) made them (Iblis and his offspring) not to witness (nor took their help in) the creation of the heavens and the earth and not (even) their own creation, nor was I (Allah) to take the misleaders as helpers.
52. And (remember) the Day He will say:”Call those (so-called) partners of Mine whom you pretended.” Then they will cry unto them, but they will not answer them, and We shall put Maubiqa (a barrier, or enmity, or destruction, or a valley in Hell) between them.
53. And the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), shall see the Fire and apprehend that they have to fall therein. And they will find no way of escape from there.
55. And nothing prevents men from believing, now when the guidance (the Qur’an) has come to them, and from asking Forgiveness of their Lord, except that the ways of the ancients be repeated with them (i.e. their destruction decreed by Allah), or the torment be brought to them face to face?
56. And We send not the Messengers except as giver of glad tidings and warners. But those who disbelieve, dispute with false argument, in order to refute the truth thereby. And they treat My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), and that with which they are warned, as jest and mockery!
57. And who does more wrong than he who is reminded of the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of his Lord, but turns away from them forgetting what (deeds) his hands have sent forth. Truly, We have set veils over their hearts lest they should understand this (the Qur’an), and in their ears, deafness. And if you (O Muhammad ) call them to guidance, even then they will never be guided.
58. And your Lord is Most Forgiving, Owner of Mercy. Were He to call them to account for what they have earned, then surely, He would have hastened their punishment. But they have their appointed time, beyond which they will find no escape.
59. And these towns (population, ‘Ad, Thamud, etc.) We destroyed when they did wrong. And We appointed a fixed time for their destruction.
60. And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his boy-servant: “I will not give up (travelling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travelling.”
61. But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish, and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel.
63. He said:”Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock? I indeed forgot the fish, none but Shaitan (Satan) made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange (way)!”
64. [Musa (Moses)] said: “That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps.
65. Then they found one of Our slaves, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.
66. Musa (Moses) said to him (Khidr) “May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?”
67. He (Khidr) said: “Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me!
68. “And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?”
69. Musa (Moses) said: “If Allah will, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.”
70. He (Khidr) said: “Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you.”
71. So they both proceeded, till, when they embarked the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Musa (Moses) said: “Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing “Imra” (a Munkar – evil, bad, dreadful thing).”
72. He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?”
73. [Musa (Moses)] said: “Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).”
74. Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Musa (Moses) said: “Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing “Nukra” (a great Munkar – prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!”
76. [Musa (Moses)] said: “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.”
77. Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Musa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!”
78. (Khidr) said: “This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.
79. “As for the ship, it belonged to Masakin (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them who seized every ship by force.
80. “And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.
81. “So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy.
82. “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience.”
83. And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say: “I shall recite to you something of his story.”
85. So he followed a way.
86. Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people. We (Allah) said (by inspiration): “O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness.”
87. He said: “As for him (a disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah) who does wrong, we shall punish him; and then he will be brought back unto his Lord; Who will punish him with a terrible torment (Hell).
88. “But as for him who believes (in Allah’s Oneness) and works righteousness, he shall have the best reward, (Paradise), and we (Dhul-Qarnain) shall speak unto him mild words (as instructions).”
89. Then he followed another way,
90. Until, when he came to the rising place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We (Allah) had provided no shelter against the sun.
91. So (it was)! And We knew all about him (Dhul-Qarnain).
92. Then he followed (another) way,
93. Until, when he reached between two mountains, he found, before (near) them (those two mountains), a people who scarcely understood a word.
94. They said: “O Dhul-Qarnain! Verily! Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog) are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them?”
95. He said: “That (wealth, authority and power) in which my Lord had established me is better (than your tribute). So help me with strength (of men), I will erect between you and them a barrier.
96. “Give me pieces (blocks) of iron,” then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountain-cliffs, he said: “Blow,” till when he had made it (red as) fire, he said: “Bring me molten copper to pour over it.”
97. So they [Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog)] were made powerless to scale it or dig through it.
98. Dhul-Qarnain) said: “This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the Promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it down to the ground. And the Promise of my Lord is ever true.”
99. And on that Day [i.e. the Day Ya’juj and Ma’juj (Gog and Magog) will come out], We shall leave them to surge like waves on one another, and the Trumpet will be blown, and We shall collect them all together.
100. And on that Day We shall present Hell to the disbelievers, plain to view,
101. (To) Those whose eyes had been under a covering from My Reminder (this Qur’an), and who could not bear to hear (it).
102. Do then those who disbelieve think that they can take My slaves [i.e., the angels, Allah’s Messengers, ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), etc.] as Auliya’ (lords, gods, protectors, etc.) besides Me? Verily, We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism). (Read Surah Maryam here)
103. Say (O Muhammad ): “Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds?
104. “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds!
105. “They are those who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of their Lord and the Meeting with Him (in the Hereafter). So their works are in vain, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall not give them any weight.
106. “That shall be their recompense, Hell; because they disbelieved and took My Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and My Messengers by way of jest and mockery.
107. “Verily! Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous deeds, shall have the Gardens of Al-Firdaus (the Paradise) for their entertainment.
108. “Wherein they shall dwell (forever). No desire will they have to be removed therefrom.”
109. Say (O Muhammad to mankind). “If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought (another sea) like it for its aid.”
110. Say (O Muhammad ): “I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God i.e. Allah). 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.”
Read Surah Al-Kahf