Day 24 – Surah Al-Kahf; Protection From Tribulations

The messenger of Allah PBUH says:
“Whoever memorizes the first ten Ayah of the Surat Al-Kahf (another narration mentions the last ten Ayahs) will be protected from (the trial of) Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist).” [Narrated by Muslim]​
Also the reward of reading the Surah every Friday is huge: “whoever reads Surah Al-Kahf every Friday, Allah will enlighten his way with light in between the two Fridays”

Surah Al-Kahf is full of stories and action; it motivates us towards action to change the world around us; it has guidance for the believers in different circumstances and situations:

  • For a minority that may be persecuted
  • For a friend who may want to give proper advice to his friend
  • For a dedicated student of knowledge, to teach him patience and humbleness
  • For a political leader who is given political and economic power

(4×4) Stories  and Tribulations

The Dajjal will be the biggest tribulation that mankind will experience, and the prophet PBUH warned us from his fitna and commanded us to always seek refuge from it and take the right precautions. The tribulation of ad-Dajjal has many dimensions:

  • A religious dimension (calling them to believe in him as their god)
  • An economic one (he will have treasures of gold and silver follow up, and will command the clouds to rain on certain parts of the land)
  • Knowledge: He will be given access to additional information and knowledge and will use that to his advantage
  • Political Power: The Dajjal will be a leader of an army and a nation.

The fitna of the Dajjal is so serious to the extent that many Muslims will be influenced by him and will end up following him. Surah Al-Kahf gives you the right vaccine by narrating 4 stories, each story discussing one aspect of the Dajjal’s tribulation:

  • The Fitna of religion [18:9-26]: Story of the youth in the cave (a.k.a. The seven sleepers): A group of young people who ran away from the disbelieving village to protect their Deen, and slept in their cave for 309 years.
  • The Fitna of wealth [18:32-44]: Story of a man who owned two luscious gardens, but his wealth caused him to become arrogant and disbelieve in Allah and the afterlife
  • The Fitna of Knowledge [18:60-82]: Story of Musa and Al-Khidr, and how Musa went on a journey to gain knowledge with a mysterious man who did mysterious things.
  • The Fitna of Power [18:83-98]: The story of Dhul-Qarnain, a righteous leader who led a huge army and traveled through the eastern and the western ends of the land, only to spread goodness and justice and protect different communities from corruptions.

The Cave of Faith

The youth in the first story escaped the sinning and idol worshipping that their community was immersed in. They were told to go to a “cave”; One cannot but imagine a dark, humid, and unknown place. You won’t feel comfortable stepping into it unless you really had to. Similarly, sometimes staying with righteous company and clean environment may not be as attractive as other environments and places. However, Allah assured the youth in the cave, and assures us also, that they will find nothing but mercy and comfort when they seek righteous companions:

فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِه ويُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا
“Take refuge in the cave. God will shower His mercy on you and make you an easy way out of your ordeal.” [18:16]
And because of their commitment to their Deen, Allah changed the laws of the universe and the trajectory of the sun to serve them during their sleep:

وَتَرَى الشَّمْسَ إِذَا طَلَعَت تَّزَاوَرُ عَن كَهْفِهِمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَإِذَا غَرَبَت تَّقْرِضُهُمْ ذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ 

You could have seen the [light of the] sun as it rose, moving away to the right of their cave, and when it set, moving away to the left of them, while they lay in the wide space inside the cave. [18:17]

They woke up 309 years later, and saw that the community of disbelief perished, and God replaced them with a believing nation and a righteous king.

A Debate on Materialism and the Afterlife

The second story involved two friends, one is a man of faith, and another is a rich man whose gardens and wealth caused him to reject the faith. Money is not despicable in Islamic tradition as long as it does not distract the people from their purpose of life. In the case of the wealthy man, it did:
وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَذِهِ أَبَدًا. وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَى رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا

He went into his garden and wronged himself by saying, ‘I do not think this will ever perish, or that the Last Hour will ever come– even if I were to be taken back to my Lord, I would certainly find something even better there.’ [18:35-36]

And the result was the destruction of his gardens as in [18:42] 
A Long Journey to seek knowledge  

Prophet Musa’s dedication to get the knowledge is an inspiration to us all:

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَى لِفَتَاهُ لا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّى أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا
Moses said to his servant, ‘I will not rest until I reach the place where the two seas meet, even if it takes me years!’ [18:60]

However, he was taught that knowledge needs a lot of patience, in addition to dedication and sacrifice:

قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا
The man said, ‘You will not be able to bear with me patiently. [18:67]

Musa witnesses three incredible events (poking a hole in the ship, killing an “innocent kid”, and fixing a wall without asking for anything in return). Every time, he loses his patience and asks Al-Khidr although he was not supposed to do so. Allah taught him to trust the knowledge of the unseen, and to always surrender himself to the ultimate wisdom of the almighty even if we don’t know the background story and details

A Multinational Leader

The last story is that of a world leader, who sets an example that worldly power and faith may coexist in a single human being, as is the case of Dhul-Qarnayn. Allah has given him so much strength, but he also did his best in terms of planning and taking the right means
إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الأَرْضِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا. فَأَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا
We established his power in the land, and gave him the means to achieve everything. [18: 84]
Action Items:

And because the stories of the Quran are not meant to be a form of entertainment but a method of guidance, most stories of the Surah are followed by action items:

  • Recite the Quran and connect yourself to the book of Allah

وَاتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَ 
[Prophet], recite what has been revealed to you of your Lord’s Scripture [18:27]

  •  Hold on to righteous friends:

وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ
Content yourself with those who pray to their Lord morning and evening, seeking His approval, [18:28]

  • Remember the hereafter:

وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَاء أَنزَلْنَاهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الأَرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّيَاحُ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرًا

Tell them, too, what the life of this world is like: We send water down from the skies and the earth’s vegetation absorbs it, but soon the plants turn to dry stubble scattered about by the wind: God has power over everything. [18:45]

  • Sincerity:

فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلا صَالِحًا وَلا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا
 Anyone who hopes to meet his Lord should do good deeds and give no one a share in the worship due to his Lord [18:110]

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