English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 18: Al-Kahf — The Cave (Revealed at Makkah: 12 sections, 110 verses)


This chapter deals with both the early state of Christianity, when it was under persecution and practised renunciation of the world, and prophetically with its latter-day condition when Christian nations have acquired unsurpassed material dominance in the world. It is called The Cave because early Christians sought refuge in such places from persecution and practised monkery in solitude. In the first as well as the last section the doctrine of the Divine sonship of Jesus is denounced (v. 4, v. 102) and the purely material engrossment of these nations is prophesied to lead to material and spiritual failure (v. 7–8, v. 103–104). In between, the chapter treats the following subjects: a story from early Christianity of the dwellers of the cave, containing prophetical allusions to its later history, rejection of the truth by those who possess wealth and power, the guilty being brought to judgment, a story of Moses’ search for knowledge and finding a man of God superior to him in knowledge, indicating the coming of Islam, and a story of King Darius I and his efforts to repel the two tribes of Gog and Magog, which again contains a prophetical allusion to the rise and dominance of modern Western nations. This chapter was revealed in the early period at Makkah.

List of Sections (Rukus):

  1. A Warning to the Christians (Verses 18:1–18:12)
  2. The Dwellers in the Cave (Verses 18:13–18:17)
  3. The Dwellers in the Cave (Verses 18:18–18:22)
  4. The Quran as a Guidance (Verses 18:23–18:31)
  5. A Parable (Verses 18:32–18:44)
  6. The Guilty are Brought to Judgment (Verses 18:45–18:49)
  7. Their Helplessness (Verses 18:50–18:53)
  8. Warning is Disregarded (Verses 18:54–18:59)
  9. Moses Travels in Search of Knowledge (Verses 18:60–18:70)
  10. Moses Travels in Search of Knowledge (Verses 18:71–18:82)
  11. Dhu-l-qarnain and Gog and Magog (Verses 18:83–18:101)
  12. Christian Nations (Verses 18:102–18:110)