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Contextualising Justice in the Muslim Community – Social Justice Series

In this series, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about defining social justice in the Islamic paradigm. Here, he and Ustadh Nazim Baksh discuss contextualising justice in the Muslim communities.contextualising justice

When the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, began his mission in Mecca, the society was rift with tribalism, racism, and economic inequality. As he taught his people, he did so with a deep understanding of how they operated. This serves as an example for us, since we cannot have social change without deeply understanding the people that we aim to affect. Otherwise, what will follow will be a series of Band-Aid solutions which do not have a lasting impact.

The current paradigm is very much based on identity politics. In the long term, we may wish to upend the paradigm, because sincere Muslims do not fit into any of these boxes. Similarly, we cannot put others into boxes, because we lose the opportunity to engage with them.

In addition, we should take steps to realise and cement our identity, and be cautious about how our own principals may be warped and used against us. For example, in traditional Islamic teachings, the hijab was not termed as such. Guidelines on how to cover properly would be found in the fiqh books, in chapters with titles such as “covering one’s nakedness,” in the context of both men and women’s dress. It was not politicised or used as a spiritual status symbol. Nowadays, the rhetoric of hijab goes two ways: it is politicised in the Western world, and in the Islamic world, it is seen as something that only women of very high spiritual stations may wear.

About the Series

Social justice has been the focus in recent times of Muslim activists and communities. More often than not, the methods and objectives employed in Muslim social justice work has drawn from practices of other communities and traditions not necessarily rooted in Islamic principles. Does the Islamic tradition contain relevant principles that can be drawn upon to inform social justice work?


 

Contextualising Justice in the Muslim Community – Social Justice Series

In this series, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about defining social justice in the Islamic paradigm. Here, he and Ustadh Nazim Baksh discuss contextualising justice in the Muslim communities.contextualising justice

When the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, began his mission in Mecca, the society was rift with tribalism, racism, and economic inequality. As he taught his people, he did so with a deep understanding of how they operated. This serves as an example for us, since we cannot have social change without deeply understanding the people that we aim to affect. Otherwise, what will follow will be a series of Band-Aid solutions which do not have a lasting impact.

The current paradigm is very much based on identity politics. In the long term, we may wish to upend the paradigm, because sincere Muslims do not fit into any of these boxes. Similarly, we cannot put others into boxes, because we lose the opportunity to engage with them.

In addition, we should take steps to realise and cement our identity. We should be cautious about how our own principals may be warped and used against us. For example, in traditional Islamic teachings, the hijab was not termed as such. Guidelines on how to cover properly were included in the fiqh books. The chapters would have titles such as “covering nakedness,” in the context of both men and women’s dress. It was not politicised or used as a spiritual status symbol. Nowadays, the rhetoric of hijab goes two ways. It is heavily politicised in the Western world. However, in the Islamic world, it is seen as something that only women of very high spiritual stations may wear. Neither of these ideals are correct.

About the Series

Social justice has been the focus in recent times of Muslim activists and communities. More often than not, the methods and objectives employed in Muslim social justice work has drawn from practices of other communities and traditions not necessarily rooted in Islamic principles. Does the Islamic tradition contain relevant principles that can be drawn upon to inform social justice work?


 

Frequently Asked Questions – Social Justice Series

In this series, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about defining social justice in the Islamic paradigm. In this segment, he answers some frequently asked questions about the topic.

Q: Should we partner with groups with whom we have some differences of opinion?

A: The Qur’an tells us to co-operate in good and God-fearingness. Is it not wrong to ally with someone on a just cause, however you should take care. Many times, these issues are political in nature, with a sense of “we do something for you, you do something for us.” If you do go into an alliance with such a group, you should go in with eyes open and be clear on which points you agree and don’t.

Q: How should we act as a Muslim minority?

A: For most of Islamic history, Muslims have been the minority, in places like Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and more. Places that do have a Muslim majority, such as Somalia, Indonesia, Kenya and Mozambique, became such without a single Muslim army entering them. Being a minority group is nothing new in Islamic history.

Q: How should we navigate unjust laws? 

A: We need to make a distinction between the laws that we can accept, and the laws that we absolutely cannot accept. For example, if a government makes a low forbidding people from praying five times a day, then we need to do something about it. However, if the law relates to things that are not required by Islam, we should follow it, but can oppose it or work towards it.

Q: How should we view the idea of civil disobedience?

A: On one hand, if we agree to live in a society, we should abide by the law. However, there may be situations that arise when we might need to take action, such as when Rosa Parks protested racial segregation. Civil disobedience does not always mean breaking the law, but we should be careful not to harm the people we seek to convince. For example, having a protest that shuts down an airport, will do the most harm to people who need to fly for medical reasons, or to meet important deadlines. We have to consider what we will be doing, and whether it will actually help the outcome.

Q: What should we do if we are called to jury duty?

A: There is nothing impermissible about being a member of the jury, and it is generally a civic duty. However, you could do what many scholars did, which was to avoid being judges. Once, Imam Abu Hanifa and two other scholars were called to be interviewed for the position of Qadi, or judge. The first pretended to be insane, and Abu Hanifa declared that he was unfit for the post, which caused the ruler to dismiss them both. The third was confused as to what to say, and became the Qadi by default.

Q: What advice would you give to parents of children who feel marginalised?

A: We cannot shield our children from the world, and we should teach them that these things are going to happen. We need to give them a good sense of identity. From a young age, we should instil in them a sense of self-worth, and that the dunya will necessarily include tribulations.

Q: Why is speaking about social justice important, while most Muslims lack even basic tawheed (creed)?

A: Questioning peoples tawheed is questioning their Islam, so that is not a fair assessment to make. If a person believes in Allah and His Messenger, part of their tawheed would necessarily be upholding social justice, as well as the rest of the Prophetic teachings.

About the Series

Social justice has been the focus in recent times of Muslim activists and communities. More often than not, the methods and objectives employed in Muslim social justice work has drawn from practices of other communities and traditions not necessarily rooted in Islamic principles. Does the Islamic tradition contain relevant principles that can be drawn upon to inform social justice work?


The History of Social Justice – Social Justice Series

In this series, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about defining social justice in the Islamic paradigm. This segment covers the history of social justice, from the times of the Ancient Greeks until today.

Social justice as we know it was first codified by John Rawls in his book A Theory of Justice, published in 1971. He based his theory upon “a veil of ignorance,” from a position where no one one anything about anybody: not their age, economic stats, race, or even gender.

From this basis, he came up with two standards. Firstly, that each person should have equal rights to the most extensive privileges available to other people enjoying the same. Secondly, that inequalities should be arranged so that no one person would be blocked from occupying any position.

Some people criticised this, saying that while it sounded great in theory, in reality people do have positions of privileged, so it would not be possible to give everyone exactly the same social position. In addition, Rawls did not have a plan of action as to how to implement this. Nonetheless, his theory formed the blueprint for many groups.

Plato and Socrates also had similar conceptions of justice. According to them, justice was embodied in a just man. Knowledge and reflection were both the keys to justice. They also believed that justice was one of the cardinal virtues, which sustained and perfects the other three: temperance, wisdom, and courage.

The challenge with philosophical theories, is that few people follow philosophers as a way of life. Rather, philosophers were mostly talking amongst themselves. However, a large amount of people would follow the Prophets’ message.

St Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian, took it a step further by saying that justice was Divine. He believed that justice was a habit, by which a person gave everyone their due through perpetual will.

About the Series

Social justice has been the focus in recent times of Muslim activists and communities. More often than not, the methods and objectives employed in Muslim social justice work has drawn from practices of other communities and traditions not necessarily rooted in Islamic principles. Does the Islamic tradition contain relevant principles that can be drawn upon to inform social justice work?


Justice in the Islamic Paradigm – Social Justice Series

In this series, Shaykh Walead Mosaad speaks about defining social justice in the Islamic paradigm. This segment covers the Islamic methodology for defining social justice.

Muslims are enjoined to command the good and forbid the wrong. In addition, we are called upon to fulfil the rights of individuals, as well as the general rights of entire communities. Fulfilling the rights of communities is a unique Islamic concept, since most of the social rights we are taught today have a greater focus on individual rights.

We also have methodologies for upholding what’s right and removing what’s wrong. One of our main methodologies, is that we believe that the means by which we alleviate wrong, must be also sound and good, rather than having “the end justifies the means’ idea.

We are not defined by other people’s impressions of us. We seek validation and recognition form institutions and member of society, but we should focus on Allah’s impression of us, which is the ultimate empowerment.

Another part of our methodology for attaining justice, is defined by the hadith, “Help your brother, whether he is the oppressor or the oppressed.” What is meant by that, is that we should help the oppressed to get their justice, but help the oppressor by doing our best to stop them form doing their actions. This also means that we should not resort to name-calling, insulting, or other similar actions, because it cuts off the possibility of redemption. By putting people into a box, such as “he’s a racist,” etc, we lose the opportunity to meaningfully engage them and work for a better future.

About the Series

Social justice has been the focus in recent times of Muslim activists and communities. More often than not, the methods and objectives employed in Muslim social justice work has drawn from practices of other communities and traditions not necessarily rooted in Islamic principles. Does the Islamic tradition contain relevant principles that can be drawn upon to inform social justice work?

SeekersHub Toronto Retreat 2018: Planting Seeds of Faith

“Planting Seeds of Faith,” was the theme of the SeekersHub 2018 Retreat. With the world in desperate need of spiritual nourishment, we reorient ourselves by planting and cultivating these seeds.

This year’s retreat was graced with a wonderful array of scholars from diverse backgrounds, including Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and his wife Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Shaykh Riad Saloojee, Shaykh Amin Buxton, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, and Shaykha Muniba Mohammed.

The retreat was a full five days and four nights, in the beautiful Muskoka region of Ontario. The day started at tajahhud time, where participants gathered in the lecture hall, beautifully lit and decorated with Islamic calligraphy and lanterns.

After the early morning remembrance and Fajr prayer, there was a rest period. After breakfast, attendees gathered in their cabin groups and reviewed the previous day’s lessons.

Throughout the day, the various scholars spoke about different themes that related to personal self-development, and cultivating faith within ourselves.

Shaykha Muniba Mohammed spoke about love of Allah, and how to achieve it. She taught that love of Allah comes when love of material things disappears, which comes from much dhikr and fikr-or supplication and reflection.

Shaykh Riad Saloojee spoke on the reality of faith, covering different parts from the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah. He covered topics such as suffering, how we gain life experience, and struggle. For example, many people get confused at why there is so much turbulence in life. However, after accepting that life will include struggle, a person will get better at withstanding them.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spoke about overcoming hurdles to personal reform. These hurdles, such as greed, laziness, procrastination, and lust, prevent us from developing in our relationship with Allah.

Shaykh Amin Buxton taught the tafsir, or commentary, on Surah Furqan, which gives a description of the believers and the qualities they posses. These qualities include humility, gentleness, patience, mindfulness of God, moderation, honestly. At the end, he said that if a person does not have these qualities, they should at least surround themselves with people who do, as they will be a good influence on them.

Shaykh Walead Mosaad spoke about the reality of dua, or supplication. He mentioned that most people turn to Allah when they need something. However, the reality of dua is more than just asking for what you need; it’s beholding Allah is all His attributes, and progressing through your neediness.

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin spoke on the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his centrality in our religion. We are commanded to love Prophet in the Qur’an, and our tree of faith is watered and irrigated by him. Our love of him comes naturally when we come to know more about him, because he has done so much for us.

Shaykh Yahya taught us about inner traits that impede development. High on the list were the qualities of riya and ujub. Riya is to seek recognition for one’s deeds, and ujub is when a person is impressed with themselves because of the good things they did, not acknowledging that Allah was the One who enabled them to do it.

 

In the afternoon there was opportunity for activities such as canoeing, hiking, archery and swimming, as well as a program called Heart Clinic, where participants could sign up for one-on-one sessions with the teachers.

In the evening, after dinner and Maghrib prayer, there would be a general session, as well as a nasheed performance. This would be followed by campfire and evening remembrance.

The SeekersHub Retreat was a wonderful change to take a step back form the daily grind, and reconnect with our Creator in a beautiful natural environment.


Resources for Seekers

 

Sura al Kahf: Dhul Qarnayn and Tawfiq – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead explains the story of Dhul Qarnayn and highlights the key lessons and significant themes from which we can learn.

The last parable in Sura al Kahf talks about Dhul Qarnayn.

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَن ذِي الْقَرْنَيْنِ ۖ قُلْ سَأَتْلُو عَلَيْكُم مِّنْهُ ذِكْرًا

They ask you concerning Dhul Qarnayn. Say: “I shall recite to you remembrance of him.” (Sura al Kahf 18:83)

Dhul Qarnayn was someone who was given power and sulta (lordship) and he presided over the East and the West. That caused many of the scholars to conclude there was no person history who was actually able to do that – if indeed it was a man – except for someone like Alexander the Great.

Again, it’s not a not a tenant of faith that it was Alexander the Great. We just know that he is referred to as Dhul Qarnayn in the Qur’an. Different reasons are given as to why he was called that. The word qarn actually means horn. One narration is that he had two or four braids of hair that looked like two horns, and that’s why he was given that name.

The Rank of Dhul Qarnayn

Some say that when he goes between East and West there is symbolically one horn in the East and one in the West. Most of the narrations say that he was not a prophet, even though some mentioned he could have been. He was a good man either way and he was more like a king than a prophet.

Or he could have been a prophet-king in much the same way that Sulayman, peace be upon him, was. But again, it’s the moral of the story that we{re looking at rather than the details of it.

إِنَّا مَكَّنَّا لَهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَبًا

We made him strong in the land and given him the means to all things [he wishes to achieve]. (Sura al Kahf 18:84)

The Firmness of His Belief

Allah uses the term: tamkin. It is one of those things that is not necessarily good, not necessarily bad. It’s like wealth. It means having the ability and the power to pretty much achieve anything that you want to. That can be a blessing and that can be a curse. If it is used in the right way it is a blessing. If it is used in the wrong way it is a curse.

To have that level of power and sulta to just move your finger and people run and ask you what you want could be a power or a blessing or it could be a curse. But this is what Dhul Qarnayn was given.

فَأَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا

And he took to the road. (Sura al Kahf 18:85)

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَغْرِبَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَغْرُبُ فِي عَيْنٍ حَمِئَةٍ وَوَجَدَ عِندَهَا قَوْمًا ۗ قُلْنَا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِمَّا أَن تُعَذِّبَ وَإِمَّا أَن تَتَّخِذَ فِيهِمْ حُسْنًا

Till, when he reached the setting-place of the sun, he found it setting in a muddy spring, and found a people thereabout. We said: O Dhul Qarnayn! Either punish or show them kindness. (Sura al Kahf 18:86)

In other words, if you’re going to conquer these people either deal with them with kindness or deal with them by punishing them if they don’t submit. Obviously back then we’re talking about a different understanding of relationships between people and how things will run.

Remember we’re not talking about the Sharia of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. Rather, we’re talking about something that precedes it by a millennium, if not more.

قَالَ أَمَّا مَن ظَلَمَ فَسَوْفَ نُعَذِّبُهُ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِ فَيُعَذِّبُهُ عَذَابًا نُّكْرًا

He said: As for him who does wrong, we shall punish him, and then he will be brought back unto his Lord, Who will punish him with awful punishment! (Sura al Kahf 18:87)

وَأَمَّا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُ جَزَاءً الْحُسْنَىٰ ۖ وَسَنَقُولُ لَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِنَا يُسْرًا

But as for him who believes and do right, good will be his reward, and We shall speak unto him a mild command. (Sura al Kahf 18:88)

ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا

And he took to the road. (Sura al Kahf 18:89)

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ مَطْلِعَ الشَّمْسِ وَجَدَهَا تَطْلُعُ عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ لَّمْ نَجْعَل لَّهُم مِّن دُونِهَا سِتْرًا

Till, when he reached the rising-place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had appointed no shelter therefrom. (Sura al Kahf 18:90)

The Peoples of East and West

It is said that he ran into these people and then he moves on. Alexander the great crossed from east to west and that everything including sunrise and sunset was under the salta: under the power of Dhul Qarnayn.

The first people he reached was were more advanced. They had homes, rooms, and roofs over their heads. And their way of life was relatively easy.

The second group of people he reached at the rising place of the Sun – in other words, the East – were a people who had no permanent shelter, but were perhaps nomads.

Much in the same way that the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula were nomads in many parts of the peninsula, whereas in Mecca and in Medina they were sedentary.

كَذَٰلِكَ وَقَدْ أَحَطْنَا بِمَا لَدَيْهِ خُبْرًا

So (it was). And We knew all concerning him. (Sura al Kahf 18:91)

ثُمَّ أَتْبَعَ سَبَبًا

And he took to the road. (Sura al Kahf 18:92)

That is, he left again or he took further means.

حَتَّىٰ إِذَا بَلَغَ بَيْنَ السَّدَّيْنِ وَجَدَ مِن دُونِهِمَا قَوْمًا لَّا يَكَادُونَ يَفْقَهُونَ قَوْلً

Till, when he came between the two mountains, he found upon their near side a folk that scarce could understand a word. (Sura al Kahf 18:93)

The People of the Valley

The word al saddayn means something that blocks, but in this particular context it means the two mountains: a valley, essentially. The mountains were so close together that you can actually build a dam or build like a gate to protect the area between the two mountains.

He came upon these people and they couldn’t understand one another because their languages were mutually unintelligible. They spoke no common language. They had to resort to sign language and hands and writing in the sand and so on.

قَالُوا يَا ذَا الْقَرْنَيْنِ إِنَّ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَهَلْ نَجْعَلُ لَكَ خَرْجًا عَلَىٰ أَن تَجْعَلَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُمْ سَدًّ

They said: O Dhul Qarnayn! Gog and Magog are spoiling the land. So may we pay you tribute on condition that you set a barrier between us and them? (Sura al Kahf 18:94)

These are the same tribes of the people of the hour. We don’t know exactly who they are. They are said to originate somewhere in the Far East, from the Mongolian steppes or wherever it might be.

They are conquerors, but they do it in a way where they they destroy people. So these people offer to pay some type of tribute on the condition that Dhul Qarnayn set a barrier between them and Gog and Magog.

قَالَ مَا مَكَّنِّي فِيهِ رَبِّي خَيْرٌ فَأَعِينُونِي بِقُوَّةٍ أَجْعَلْ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَهُمْ رَدْمًا

He said: That wherein my Lord has established for me is better [than your tribute]. But help me with strength [of men in your numbers] and I will set between you and them a barrier. (Sura al Kahf 18:95)

آتُونِي زُبَرَ الْحَدِيدِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا سَاوَىٰ بَيْنَ الصَّدَفَيْنِ قَالَ انفُخُوا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَعَلَهُ نَارًا قَالَ آتُونِي أُفْرِغْ عَلَيْهِ قِطْرًا

Give me pieces of iron – till, when he had leveled up [the gap] between the cliffs, he said: Blow! – till, when he had made it a fire, he said: Bring me molten copper to pour thereon. (Sura al Kahf 18:96)

فَمَا اسْطَاعُوا أَن يَظْهَرُوهُ وَمَا اسْتَطَاعُوا لَهُ نَقْبًا

And [Gog and Magog] were not able to surmount it, nor could they pierce [it]. (Sura al Kahf 18:97)

قَالَ هَـٰذَا رَحْمَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّي ۖ فَإِذَا جَاءَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي جَعَلَهُ دَكَّاءَ ۖ وَكَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّي حَقًّا

He said: This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord cometh to pass, He will turn it to dust, for the promise of my Lord is true. (Sura al Kahf 18:98)

وَتَرَكْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَمُوجُ فِي بَعْضٍ ۖ وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَجَمَعْنَاهُمْ جَمْعًا

And on that day we shall let some of them surge against others, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering. (Sura al Kahf 18:99)

The Tawfiq of Dhul Qarnayn

He built a wall like any other wall. They couldn’t get over it. In other words, they tried. And nor could they pierce it. Nor could they scale it. It was too high.

Notice the difference between how Dhul Qarnayn views this work, and how the one with the two gardens, viewed his. The latter said: “This is for me and it will never go away. I don’t think I’d find anything better.” And he put no effort into it or very little effort.

Now look at this. This is a completely man-made structure. It’s not like the garden that had the river flowing in between and things were just happening so easily. It took a lot of labor.One would think that it probably took months if not longer to build this wall.

Nevertheless, Dhul Qarnayn says: This is a mercy from Allah, but if the promise of my Lord comes to pass on that day when everything will be destroyed it will be destroyed. I was just a tool. I helped to bring about that which Allah has promised. And the promise of my Lord is true.


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.


Sura al Kahf: Musa, Khidr and Knowledge – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead explains the story of Musa and Khidr, peace be upon them. He highlights the key lessons from the story and its major theme.

Now we get to the parable of Musa and of Khidr, peace be upon them. Tribulation with one’s knowledge – what one thinks one knows. It’s mentioned that Musa, peace be upon him, that he believes that or he believed that there was no one more knowledgeable than he. And then Allah directed him to “a servant among our servants” where he might learn something that he did not know.

Another narration says that the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, said that if there is someone who is more knowledgeable than me, then Allah lead me to him. I want to meet him, so that I may learn from him.

The River and the Ocean

Musa, peace be upon him, is of the five considered to be the five greatest prophets and messengers. The other four being Ibrahim, Nuh, Isa, and Muhammad, peace be upon them. So we can’t say that Khidr overall was greater than Musa, who also was sent as a messenger, peace be upon them.

The most that they say about Khidr is that he was a prophet, and even that is a point of contention. Not everybody agrees that he was a prophet. In other words, that he received revelation. So how is it then that Musa, peace be upon him, can learn something from someone who overall is less than he is. That’s the whole point of the story.

Sometimes you can find things in the river you don’t find in the ocean. If Khidr was a river he certainly had things that Musa did not have. The three things that Khidr did and then the justifications of why he did them cannot be understood in terms of outward aspects of Islamic law – or the Shari‘a. They can’t be reconciled.

Outer Form, Inner Truth

That’s why Musa had the objections that he did, peace be upon him. He had to object because from the outward aspect of it there’s no way they could be justified. But then Khidr shows him that inwardly there is a reason.

Allah Most High says:

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا

And when Moses said to his servant, “I will not give up until I reach the meeting of the two seas, though I go on for many years.” (Sura al Kahf 18:60)

It said that the servant was a great-grandson of Yusuf, peace be upon him. His name is Yusha (Joshua). He was in the court of Al Aziz – the court of Pharaoh in Egypt. He was with Musa, peace be upon him.

When he says: “I will not give up until I reach the meeting of the two seas.” He had received revelation from Allah that this is where you may find him. No one knows exactly where that is. Different opinions have been given.

Some have said that it’s where the two rivers meet between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Another opinion says that it’s actually where the Strait of Gibraltar is, which would be where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Meeting of the Two Seas

It’s not the important aspect of the story but there was an appointed place where they were supposed to meet so they go.

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَا مَجْمَعَ بَيْنِهِمَا نَسِيَا حُوتَهُمَا فَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ سَرَبًا

Then, when they reached their meeting point, they forgot their fish, and it took its way into the sea, being free. (Sura al Kahf 18:61)

One of the things that Musa, peace be upon him, received as revelation is that when you reach the point of the two oceans or the two seas, you will lose your fish that you brought as provision to eat. Then you will know that is where to find him because he doesn’t find you, you find him.

This shows you adab al ‘ilm: that the seeker goes and finds the teacher, not that the teacher goes and finds the student. Musa, peace be upon him, is the one who went out forth even though he is the prophet and the greatest messenger living on the face of the earth of the at the time, which would make him the greatest human being living on the face of the earth at the time. Yet he is the one who’s going to seek not the one to be sought.

Prophet, Teacher and Student

So even though some some people may be teachers they’re also always going to be students. It’s not a mutually exclusive thing. Every teacher is a student, although not every student is a teacher.

فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَا قَالَ لِفَتَاهُ آتِنَا غَدَاءَنَا لَقَدْ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَـٰذَا نَصَبًا

When they had passed over, he said to his page, “Bring us our breakfast; indeed, we have found weariness in our journey.” (Sura al Kahf 18:62)

قَالَ أَرَأَيْتَ إِذْ أَوَيْنَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ فَإِنِّي نَسِيتُ الْحُوتَ وَمَا أَنسَانِيهُ إِلَّا الشَّيْطَانُ أَنْ أَذْكُرَهُ ۚ وَاتَّخَذَ سَبِيلَهُ فِي الْبَحْرِ عَجَبًا

He said, “Did you see? When we took refuge in the rock, then I forgot the fish, and it was Satan himself that made me forget it so that I should not mention it – and it took its way into the sea in a marvelous manner.” (Sura al Kahf 18:63)

قَالَ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنَّا نَبْغِ ۚ فَارْتَدَّا عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمَا قَصَصًا

He [Musa] said, “This is what we were seeking!” And so they retraced their steps. (Sura al Kahf 18:64)

In other words that was the sign that Must, peace be upon him, was waiting for from Allah Most High.

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

Then they found one of Our servants unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and We taught him knowledge from Our Presence. (Sura al Kahf 18:65)

A Servant of Allah

This ‘abd: Khidr, peace be upon him, is described again as a servant of Allah. This could mean he that was a prophet. Again there is a difference of opinion. It seems that he could not have known what he knew except by revelation. That would give credibility to the idea that he was a prophet. In all likelihood he probably was.

Allah says: “unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and We taught him knowledge from Our Presence.” Mercy and knowledge go hand in hand, because if your knowledge doesn’t need lead you to mercy it will lead to poison and destruction.

That which is powerful of itself – and there’s nothing more powerful than knowledge, than to know – if it’s not coupled with or tempered by mercy, it could be destructive rather than productive. That is often what happens. Knowledge can be used for very destructive ways.

A Mercy from Allah

Even knowledge of the religion can be very destructive. People can use it as a hammer to beat people into submission, rather than as an tool of mercy as was originally intended. Now Khidr had both, which means that any of the things that he did, even if we don’t understand them outwardly, were still done by Allah’s mercy.

The type of knowledge that Khidr, peace be upon him, had was not a taught knowledge. He didn’t learn it from anybody. No one taught it to him. This is referred to as al ‘ilm al ladunni, which is directly inspired knowledge from Allah Most High, of which any human being can avail themselves.

You don’t have to be a prophet. Allah can inspire you to do things or can put things in you: knowledge or epiphanies or realizations of things that you didn’t realize before.

It could be reflection on a verse. It could be a particular circumstance or situation in your life. Years later or even at the time you see the wisdom of why it happened the way it happened. Things like these are things Allah can can give you as gifts.

Knowledge and Illumination

Khidr’s ‘ilm was ladunni. So was Musa’s knowledge, peace be upon them. Musa, peace be upon him, was a prophet and a messenger. He received revelation but he was also a messenger with what we call the Shari‘a.

Usually when we talk about Shari‘a in this sense, it means that which regulates outward acts. What we call the dhahir: things that you do outwardly, or the manner by which you do them. for example, the prayer ritual, the manner by which you fast, what days and when, and the manner of determining who is eligible for zakat and who is not, and interactions and commercial transactions. All those things we understand by the term Shari‘a.

And the Shari‘a is always underlined by something else called the haqiqa. That is a bit of Sufi terminology but they use it to describe the practice and implementation of the Shari‘a, which is then called tariqa: walking the way or following the way.

This will lead you to this thing called haqiqa, which is the unveiling and cognition of why things happen the way they do and the reality behind things. And the knowledge of Khidr, peace be upon him, is as if it was concentrated more on the haqiqa than the Shari‘a, because he did things that in at least two cases contravened the Shari‘a.

Fear of the Unknown

You would say, if he didn’t know better: That’s haram! How could you do that? You’ve made a transgression! That is why Musa, peace be upon him, objects. And Khidr, peace be upon him, tells him at the beginning: You’re not going to be patient enough with me. You’re going to object, but we’ll do it anyway and we’ll see how that turns out.

So then Musa, peace be upon him, says to Khidr in the next verse:

قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَىٰ هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا

Moses said to him, “Shall I follow you so that you teach me, of what you have been taught [by Allah] of right judgment.” (Sura al Kahf 18:66)

قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا

Said he [Khidr], “Surely you will not be able to bear with me patiently.” (Sura al Kahf 18:67)

وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا

“And [says Khidr] how should you patiently bear what you have no knowledge of?” (Sura al Kahf 18:68)

Ignorance Is a Test

As our Master Ali said: “A person is an enemy of that which did not know.” It is just so much easier if you don’t understand something to say: Oh, it’s wrong or, it’s not right. Rather than admit that one does not know.

That is because it is easier on the ego. It is easier to shift blame to the thing, the object of your scorn that you don’t know, rather than to shift the blame on yourself. We think or say: “All those people are like that. That’s the way they are.”

But do you know them? Have you met them? “No, no. But that’s the way there are.” That is the ego speaking. You haven’t even seen them. You have no interaction, but yet you base it on a preconception.

So Khidr, peace be upon him, is just stating a fact of the human condition. There is a great lesson in this.


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.


Sura al Kahf: Gratitude – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead Mosaad tells the story of the man of two gardens who was ungrateful for the blessing he was given and what we can learn from this.

Sahib al jannatayn or the man of the two gardens is the next parable. In reality it was one big garden. It was surrounded by date palm trees. A river ran though it and it had crops in its center.

The mufassirun mentioned that this garden was self irrigated. The man didn’t have to do anything. It was an amazing garden. Allah Most High Says:

وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعً

Strike for them a similitude: Two men, unto one of whom We had assigned two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date-palms and had put between them tillage. (Sura al Kahf 18:32)

So there two men, one of the men had this garden of grapes and it’s surrounded by big trees and it has a river running through it and also has crops for tillage. In other words it’s self-sustaining – a perfect garden.

The First Mistake Made

Some of the narrations say they were brothers, or first cousins, or from the same tribe. Some say that the other man had something similar to it, or that he had wealth similar to it, but he spent it all in the way of Allah Most High and was left with nothing for himself.

كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا وَلَمْ تَظْلِم مِّنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَالَهُمَا نَهَرًا

Each of the gardens gave its fruit and withheld naught thereof. And We caused a river to gush forth therein. (Sura al Kahf 18:33)

He didn’t have to do much to maintain it. It was there and the rivers were flowing and everything was going great. It was a marvel of agriculture.

وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ فَقَالَ لِصَاحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنكَ مَالًا وَأَعَزُّ نَفَرً

And he had fruit. And he said to his comrade, when he spoke with him: I am more than you in wealth, and stronger in respect of men. (Sura al Kahf 18:34)

Here’s where the problems begin. This verse is now kufr ni‘ama, a denial of blessing from Allah. What is important is that a denial of blessing from Allah can lead to outright kufr which is denial of Allah altogether.

The first mistake he makes is that he attributes his wealth to himself and does not see it as a blessing from Allah. He says the word ana (I). Anytime you see the word ana in the Qur’an it’s bad news. The first one to say ana is Shaytan: ana khayrun minhu … “I am better than him. I am made from fire. He is made from clay and dirt. Hence I am better.”

Isn’t the man saying a similar thing? “I have more money. I have more wealth. And hence I will be more respectful, have a better reputation, be more powerful in the eyes of men and those that I think count.”

Being Self-Important

So it began with this ujub: being impressed with oneself. The reason that no one should be self-impressed is because there’s no you here in the whole thing. Especially something like this. Look at the verse before it. Look at how Allah describes it. It goes back to Allah who is the One who made the river spring forth in the middle of it. Who is the One that made the fruits bear what they bear.

When you talk about crop farming, especially if it’s your livelihood, there’s nothing really that can teach you as much tawakkul as that. The farmer works and his harvest is once a year, maybe twice a year depending on his crop. The rest of the year he’s digging, he’s tilling, he’s seeding, he’s maintaining, he’s irrigating, and he’s not getting a dime back.

Nothing is coming back in income and the whole hope is that the crop will be so successful that at harvest time all of his needs and income for the year will come from that single crop. That’s a lot of tawakkul.

So what this man did completely contravenes that. Perhaps because it was so effortless for him. Perhaps this made him think: “I did all of this and it was so easy.” He didn’t have to struggle, to irrigate – the river burst forth and ran through it. He didn’t have to make tributaries and have it run and all these type of things. It ran on its own and he became deluded by this fact. And then he looked at his friend or his brother. “You gave your whole thing away. You’re stupid. Look at me.” It begins with self-attribution.

The Sins of Pharoah and Qarun

The same thing happened to Qarun who was from the Umma of Musa, peace be upon him. What was the worst thing that he said? The people said about him: “Look how great he is, and he has all of this. We wish we had like the same as Qarun.” And Qarun says: “I have been given this because of my knowledge. I have been given this because I did things right.” He’s attributing it to himself. And Allah destroyed him. The earth enveloped him and swallowed him.

The same thing happened to Pharaoh. He said ana in the worst way: ana rabbukum. Not even Satan could say that. Pharoah said: “I am your lord.” Again, the ana gets involved.

Taking all of these things into consideration you come to no other conclusion than that the worst thing that can happen to someone is they have this ana, this jabarut, this tyrannical overtaking of themselves by themselves. Because of what they attribute to what they think they’ve done, what they think they deserve, what they think they’re entitled to.

But then it gets worse.

وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ قَالَ مَا أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَـٰذِهِ أَبَدًا

And he went into his garden, while he is wronging himself. He said: I don’t think that all of this will ever perish. (Sura al Kahf 18:35)

He is only wronging himself, at the end of the day, for when you say something wrong or do something wrong the one who’s going to pay the highest price is yourself. One of the things that happens when people start attributing things to themselves as they become deluded and they think: “I’m always going to be like this.” These are things people take for granted.

And then finally the culmination:

وَمَا أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي لَأَجِدَنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهَا مُنقَلَبًا

I don’t think not that the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord I surely shall find better than this as a resort. (Sura al Kahf 18:36)

Denying Allah’s Blessing

The denial of the blessing from Allah Most High leads to the denial of Allah. Because when you deny the Day of Judgment you deny Allah. This is serious kufr. You don’t think Allah has better than what you think you have here? And you don’t think the Hour is coming?

But notice the tasalsul – the chain. See how one step leads to another. First he says: “I’m better than you because I have more than you.” Then he says: “I don’t think it will ever go away.” And finally: “I don’t even think even the Hour will come. I think this is it and I have everything.”

Then his Sahib, his friend, comes back to him.

قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا

His comrade, when he spoke with him, said: Do you not believe in Him Who created you of dust, then of a drop [of seed], and then fashioned you a man? (Sura al Kahf 18:37)

The Duty of Care

Here is an important point. Allah says: His friend or companion said when he spoke with him (yuhawiruhu). The word yuhawiruhu means he is having a discourse with him. He didn’t say: “O my God! are you like a kafir? What the heck? Are we not brothers? How could you say this?” No, he actually has a concerned discourse.

Moses was called upon by Allah Most High to speak in soft tones to Pharaoh. So what about this person and his brother? He’s no worse than Pharaoh. Even in those things that may come out that are shocking, whether we hear from a Muslim or non-Muslim, sometimes people just say things to shock and sometimes they don’t know what they’re saying.

Rather than condemn them to hell as may be the initial impulse, let’s try to save them from hell first. This is what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to make him think, to reconsider what he just said. He’s not just bringing him back to his own creation. He’s bringing him back to the creation of Adam, peace be upon him, because the gardener wasn’t created from dust or dirt, our father Adam was.

Back to the Beginning

This is kind of an overture to how we all actually began. That we came from dirt, from our father Adam, peace be upon him. And then after that we became the pollinated seed from the mother and the father. Then he made you into a man. So when you’re developing inside and you’re an embryo, then become a fetus, and then you go through these three stages of development, did you do that yourself? Is that all about you?

Should you be someone who is haughty and arrogant because you did that and it was perfect? What is difference between you and the fetus and the perfection therein and all of the resources that the fetus the baby needs are perfectly provided much in the same way that your garden is working?

The companion is appealing to the gardener’s intellect. He’s appealing to his sense of recognizing inherent truth when you’re presented with it. He implores him to reconsider his words and gives him a parable. And then he is emphatic:

لَّـٰكِنَّا هُوَ اللَّـهُ رَبِّي وَلَا أُشْرِكُ بِرَبِّي أَحَدًا

But He is Allah, my Lord, and I ascribe unto my Lord no partner. (Sura al Kahf 18:38)

Gratitude Is the Way

What is the conclusion? Well, if Allah created you from dust, and then from a single seed, and then made you into a man – and only a God can do that and no one else – then why scribes partners with that or why ascribe that to yourself? Hence your assertion is false. It can’t be right.

And then he tells the gardener what he should have said.

وَلَوْلَا إِذْ دَخَلْتَ جَنَّتَكَ قُلْتَ مَا شَاءَ اللَّـهُ لَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ ۚ إِن تَرَنِ أَنَا أَقَلَّ مِنكَ مَالًا وَوَلَدًا

If only, when you entered your garden, you had said: That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no strength save in Allah! Though you see me as less than you in wealth and children… (Sura al Kahf 18:39)

Here he says: Contrast what you said before with what I would have said as a believer. If you had entered your garden and said: ma sha Allah, la quwwata illa biLlah – this is by Allah’s mercy, this is by Allah’s will, there is no power and there is no strength except through Allah, then you recognize this blessing.

He is teaching the gardener how to capture the blessing. This ayah is like a madrassa – it’s a school in the sense of all the meanings that come out of it. And you can see its manifestations. When you say: ma sha Allah, la quwwata illa biLlah, this is called tying up your blessing. Make sure it doesn’t go away.

How do you tie up your blessing? By recognizing it. How do you increase your blessing? By thanking Allah.

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ

And if you are thankful then I will only increase you. (Sura Ibrahim 14:17)


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.


Sura al Kahf: The Opening Verse – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

Shaykh Walead Mosaad gives an overview of Surah Kahf, its virtues, significance and the background context for the reasons it was revealed.

Abu Darda’ reported that Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “If anyone learns the first ten verses of the Sura al Kahf by heart, they will be protected from the Dajjal.” (Muslim)

Abu Sa’id al Khudri reports that the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said: “Whoever recites Surat al Kahf on Jumu‘a a ray of light will shine for them from one Jumu‘a to the next.” (Nasa’i, Bayhaqi, Hakim)

Sura al Kahf is the eighteenth of 114 suras in the Qur’an. But as many of you are aware, generally, the order of the chapters is by length. Sura al Baqara, for instance, is the longest. It’s not the first but the second after al Fatiha. Most of the long chapters of the Qur’an are Medinan in terms of their Revelation. So there’s two broad types of Qur’an at least from the aspect of when and where it was revealed. The Qur’an revealed in Mecca and the Qur’an that was revealed in Medina.

The longer chapters – there are exceptions — generally are revealed in Medina, because you have a much more sort of elucidation of mu‘amalat, of relationships and how to deal with one another, especially with the People of the Book. Whereas in Mecca the chapters are much shorter. Virtually all of the chapters in the last few juz are Meccan in origin.

Sura al Kahf comes exactly in the middle. There are fifteen juz before and about fifteen juz after it. Imam Tahir ibn Ashur he says that the actual middle word or middle letter of the whole Qur’an is found in Sura al Kahf. He said one opinion is that it’s in the verse:

وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ وَلَا يُشْعِرَنَّ بِكُمْ أَحَدًا

And let him behave with care and courtesy, and let him not inform any one about you. (Sura al Kahf 18:19)

The Middle Point of the Qur’an

The first ta’ in talattaf is the middle letter of the whole Qur’an, such that all the words or letters before it are equal to all the words and letters after it.

Much like the beginning of the Qur’an which begins with the words in Sura al Fatiha 1:1:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

the second half of the Qur’an begins with the words in Sura al Kahf 18:1:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ

So both halves begin with al hamd. That I think is the quintessential type of dhikr. It
encompasses all of the other types of dhikr because when you say Alhamdulillah, I think inherent in the meaning is Allahu akbar, and subhan Allah, and la hawla wa la quwatta illa bi Allah. Because when you say all praise – all that is good in life and in the next life, all that we have that makes us who we are – is due to Allah Most High, that has the meaning of tanzih.

It has the meaning of ultimate transcendence, because we’re saying the praise is for no one but Allah. When we when we are making a transcendent statement about Allah Most High we mean that there is nothing comparable unto Him. Nothing could be like Allah Most High. Essential in understanding praise is that we shouldn’t praise anything except that we know its ultimate source is Allah.

Sabab al Nuzul

The mufassirun say that for many of the verses there are certain hadith that give us an idea, an inkling, about this thing called sabab al nuzul, which means the reason for revelation. What we mean by reason for revelation isn’t that the verse came as an answer to a particular question at the time, or that it was only valid for that particular question. All of the mufassirun, all of the commentators, agree that the meaning or the lesson is in the overall meaning of the verse, not the specific particularity of how and when and why it was revealed.

We know that much of the Qur’an, not all of it, but much of it was revealed in response to something that was going on at the time. Sometimes the response in the verses will not be so explicit but rather implicit. One of those implicit instances is here and in the beginning of Sura al Kahf, when it says

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا

Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave, and hath not placed therein any crookedness.

Perhaps you might recall from hadith that our Lady Hawa, or Eve, was created from the crooked rib of the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him. Crooked doesn’t mean vile or wicked. It means bent when speaking of physical things. So if you have a stick that’s crooked it means there is some kind of curvature to it. That it is bent in shape. When we talk about things that are not physical however then it can mean something that is off, something that is not on the right path, something that would be the opposite of mustaqim.

No Crookedness in It

Why did Allah Most High say in this particular verse: “and hath not placed therein any crookedness”? That seems like a given. Why would even that have to be emphasized? Why would Allah have say that specifically? This gives us an inkling into the sabab al nuzul, the reason or circumstances behind the revelation of this verse.

It is said there were two from among Quraysh at Mecca at the time – one of them being Al Nadhr ibn al Harith, another one being Uqba ibn al Mu‘it – who were from the kuffar, from the disbelievers, and among the staunchest opponents of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. They learned that there were People of the Book, specifically the Jewish tribes, in Medina, and they had an inkling that what the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said and what was being revealed to him seemed to coincide with some of what the Jews knew.

So they went to Medina – this is before the Hijra – to get advice about to deal with him, Allah bless him and give him peace. The Jews instructed them to ask the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, about three things. “Ask him about the Ruh (the spirit). Ask him about the People of the Cave. And ask him about Dhul Qarnayn. See what he says about these things.”

Only if ALlah Wills

They go back to Mecca and sit with the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and they ask him these three things. Imam Ibn Ashur says the one specifically about the Ruh is directly addressed in Sura al Afasy 17:85:

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ ۖ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.

Which means that no one has a definitive answer as to what it is. It is one of the secrets of creation. But the other two are in Sura al Kahf. It said that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “I will tell you tomorrow,” anticipating revelation in that regard. However he, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not say insha Allah. Hence, in the later verses of Sura al Kahf (18:23-24) we read:

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا
إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ ۚ

And say not of anything: Lo! I shall do that tomorrow,
Except if Allah will.

So there was a period of fifteen days where there was no revelation about it. The Quraysh thought they finally got something over on the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. For fifteen days he was silent about the things that he was asked about, Allah bless him and give him peace. Only then was Sura al Kahf revealed beginning with this verse:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَل لَّهُ عِوَجًا

Saying that this was revealed and that there’s no crookedness in it.

So contrary to what the Quraysh were thinking, or what they wanted to promote about the Qur’an, and about the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, there’s nothing in it that’s crooked. And this sura, then, is going to show how exactly that is so.

 


This lesson by Shaykh Walead Mosaad is part of the On Demand Course: Giving Life to Sura Al Kahf, in which Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura al Kahf: the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent. Namely the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power. Download the entire lesson-set here.

View other SeekersHub On Demand Courses here.