Tafsir Surah Kahf: Ayah 23-26

Bismillah.

Summary

  1. Saying Insha Allah.
  2. Islah of the Prophet and our islah
  3. Conclusion of the story of Ashaabul Kahf.
  4. Why does Allah mention some details and hide other details?



Nor say of anything, “I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow”. (23)
Except when adding “if Allah wills”. And remember your Rabb when you forget. And say, “perhaps my Rabb will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct”. (24)

Saying Insha Allah

Why is Allah ta’ala mentioning these ayaat in the middle of the story of Ashaabul Kahf? When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam told the Quraysh he would tell them about the Sleepers of the Cave, the Rooh and Dhul Qarnayn, he did not say “insha Allah“, and revelation did not come to him (full narration here). We take a lesson from this and say insha Allah when intending to do something.

This incident is one of the most amazing incidents in the seerah of the Prophet. Can you imagine what he must have felt like? The Quraysh were laughing and calling him a liar while Allah ta’ala withheld the revelation from him. But subhan Allah, there is wisdom in everything that Allah does. Those who were borderline on Islam (partially convinced of its truth) witnessed the reality that the Prophet was not making up the Quran, otherwise, why would he embarrass himself this way? It affirmed that the revelation was truly from Allah.

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ

And remember your Rabb when you forget (24).

This dhikr contains three aspects:

  1. Remember to say “insha Allah” when you intend or plan to do something.
  2. Remind yourself to do the dhikr of Allah when you forget.
  3. Generally if you forget anything, start to remember Allah ta’ala (for example, saying “SubhanAllah“, “Alhamdulillah“). We make the duaa from the last ayah of surah Baqarah, “do not take us to account for what we forget”, because forgetfulness is a shortcoming from Shaytan.

Islah of the Prophet and Our Islah

وَقُلْ عَسَىٰ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَـٰذَا رَشَدًا

“And say ‘perhaps my Rabb will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.'” (24)

Allah ta’ala is reforming (doing islaah) for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Whenever there was a need for reformation, Allah ta’ala would send the revelation and guide the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam to best of conduct. We learn from this that whenever we do not know of a matter or seek to better ourselves, we should turn to Allah ta’ala and ask Him for guidance sincerely and He will guide us to what is correct. That is why we say “guide us” in Surah Fatiha over 17 times a day in our prayers, and that is why the istikhara prayer is so highly encouraged.

Conclusion of the story of Ashaabul Kahf.


And they stayed in their Cave three hundred years, and add nine. (25)
Say: Allah is Most Knowing of how long they remained. He has knowledge of the unseen aspects f the heavens and the earth. How Seeing is He and how Hearing! They have not beside Him any protector and He shares not His legislation with anyone. (26)

Ashaabul Kahf remained in the cave for 309 years. What about the intricate details of their stay? Allah ta’ala is Most Knowing, not only of their story but of all aspects of the seen and unseen. He is the Protector (Wali) of all creation and the decisions belong to Him Alone.

This story begs the question: why does Allah ta’ala mention some details of their story, but the rest He says “Allah is most knowing”? The answer for this – and Allah knows best – is that only the details that are relevant to us are mentioned.

Think about this: if the number of people in the cave was 7 or 8 or 9, would it help us trust Allah more? No, it would not. Would it make a difference if we knew the location of the cave? Not at all.

That is why Allah ta’ala ONLY mentions the details that will help us learn the lessons and help us implement the lessons, and he abstracts the irrelevant details. This is from the profound and sublime wisdom of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Remember, the Qur’an is here to guide us, not entertain us with stories.

This is the conclusion of the story of Ashaabul Kahf. Just as we began their story with the mention of Allah ta’ala, we end with His mention: He azza wa jal has all the knowledge, no one shares in His Decision, and He is the Owner and Legislator of everyone.

Please share any lessons you have learned from the story of Ashaabul Kahf in the comments

WAllahu alam – And Allah knows best.

Complete Tafsir Surah Kahf here.

4 thoughts on “Tafsir Surah Kahf: Ayah 23-26

  1. SubhanAllah I have learned so much from Ashaabul Kahf. The part that really struck me was that Allah preserved their story for us because of their sincerity and sacrifice…Imagine how many generations have passed, how many people of righteous and how many people of sin…but Allah CHOSE these youth to remain as a lesson for all of creation until the Day of Judgment.

    If Allah is pleased with you, then all of creation will be pleased with you. When we make the pleasure of Allah our main goal, then we will truly see that He will take care of you. May Allah ta’ala make us from among those who benefit from reminders, Ameen.

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran.

  2. Also, you can look at the ayah when it says “He has knowledge of the unseen aspects f the heavens and the earth” as a way of Allah (swt) saying that you have to submit to the fact that you will never have more knowledge and wisdom than Him. Often they say that “history is written by the victors” and that true history is never known to anyone. In this case, Allah (swt) has the knowledge of everything whether it was apparent or hidden in history.

    So the case of Ashaabul Kahf is such that ONLY Allah (swt) knows what happened in their case and the details of this, as was mentioned, are mentioned on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Meaning only the necessary information for one to see the wisdom of why the events occurred are portrayed. As for everything else, it didn’t matter and Allah (swt) knows those details.

    This is why we see the ayah end with: “They have not beside Him any protector and He shares not His legislation with anyone.” It is to prove the point that Allah (swt) has given us the legislation of the Qur’an and Sunnah and regardless of whether or not it always makes sense to us, we have to submit to it. The Hikmah of many rulings are hidden to us just as the details of the story of Ashaabul Kahf. But what is given to us should be sufficient to implement these laws both on a personal level and a global level. Delving into whether the laws of Allah are useful or whether our desires can tell us better is not an option. This links back to the problem the Quraysh were having in submitting to Allah (swt).

    You can see with this passage, Allah (swt) puts everyone in their position: (1) Ashaabul Kahf (2) the Prophet (saw) and (3) the Quraysh.

    SubhanAllahi ‘ammaa yushrikoon

  3. Pingback: Amazing recitation of the Qur’an by a young child! | IslamLecture

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