We narrate unto you their story with truth: Truly! They were young men who believed in their Lord (Allah), and We increased them in guidance. (13)
Verses 9-10 and 11-12 was only a brief summary and glimpse of their story, but now Allah says He will narrate the story in full. This is one of the things that we learn about effective communication from the Qur’an, that by mentioning an executive summary it gives the audience an idea of what is about to come so they are ready to receive the information.
نَبَأَهُمْ- their story, na’ba means news that is important and is based on truth. بِالْحَقِّ- with the truth, what We tell you of the story is truth–people have many ideas and many stories, but what Allah tells us is the right story. In the second ayah we learned that the Qur’an is qayyim, it stands for the truth. So whatever the people were disputing about Ashabul Kahf, Allah says now He will mention the reality to clear the fog.
They were: فِتْيَةٌ, youth. Fityah means a person whose mind and body is strong, they are at the peak of their strength and mental capacity. The youth are active and they were the ones who stood up against the king, so they could protect their emaan. This is one of the most important aspects of the story: the youth had the courage to stand up to protect their emaan. وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى- and We increase them in guidance. These youth had the guidance of belief already, and Allah guided them with tawfeeq (ability and success in deeds) and gave them more guidance along with their previous guidance.
One of the things we can learn from this is that when a person has true emaan, Allah shows them the way of guidance. To get guidance, you have to desire guidance. Allah [SWT] can give you everything is this life without desiring it. But to get guidance, you have to be desperate and you have to desire it. These youth had emaan and they wanted guidance, and so Allah gave them guidance. Furthermore, the more guidance you want, the more Allah will give you. Allah says in surah Muhammad ayah 17, “and those who accept guidance, We increase them in guidance”. In surah Ankaboot ayah 69 Allah says, “and those who strive for Our cause, indeed We will surely guide them to Our ways and indeed Allah is surely with those who do good.”
To obtain guidance two things are required: firstly to desire it, so one makes duaa for it. That is why we ask for guidance every single time we pray (any guesses where we do this in our prayers?). Secondly, you have to put in the effort, based on the ayah from Surah Ankaboot. The more you strive to obtain guidance, the more guidance Allah will give you.
Bottom line: lots of sincere dua and lots of effort is how Allah [SWT] guides someone to His pleasure. And the more dua and effort invested, the higher the returns of guidance from Allah [SWT].
WAllahu alam – And Allah knows best.