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)
Section 4 (Verses 18:23–18:31): The Quran as a Guidance
وَ لَا تَقُوۡلَنَّ لِشَایۡءٍ اِنِّیۡ فَاعِلٌ ذٰلِکَ غَدًا ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾
اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ اللّٰہُ ۫ وَ اذۡکُرۡ رَّبَّکَ اِذَا نَسِیۡتَ وَ قُلۡ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّہۡدِیَنِ رَبِّیۡ لِاَقۡرَبَ مِنۡ ہٰذَا رَشَدًا ﴿۲۴﴾
وَ لَبِثُوۡا فِیۡ کَہۡفِہِمۡ ثَلٰثَ مِائَۃٍ سِنِیۡنَ وَ ازۡدَادُوۡا تِسۡعًا ﴿۲۵﴾
18:25 And they remained in their cave three hundred years, and they add nine.3
قُلِ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُوۡا ۚ لَہٗ غَیۡبُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ اَبۡصِرۡ بِہٖ وَ اَسۡمِعۡ ؕ مَا لَہُمۡ مِّنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ مِنۡ وَّلِیٍّ ۫ وَّ لَا یُشۡرِکُ فِیۡ حُکۡمِہٖۤ اَحَدًا ﴿۲۶﴾
18:26 Say: Allah knows best how long they remained. His is the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clear His sight and His hearing! There is no guardian for them beside Him, and He takes none as partner in His judgment.
وَ اتۡلُ مَاۤ اُوۡحِیَ اِلَیۡکَ مِنۡ کِتَابِ رَبِّکَ ۚؕ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِکَلِمٰتِہٖ ۚ۟ وَ لَنۡ تَجِدَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ مُلۡتَحَدًا ﴿۲۷﴾
18:27 And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is none who can alter His words.4 And you will find no refuge beside Him.
وَ اصۡبِرۡ نَفۡسَکَ مَعَ الَّذِیۡنَ یَدۡعُوۡنَ رَبَّہُمۡ بِالۡغَدٰوۃِ وَ الۡعَشِیِّ یُرِیۡدُوۡنَ وَجۡہَہٗ وَ لَا تَعۡدُ عَیۡنٰکَ عَنۡہُمۡ ۚ تُرِیۡدُ زِیۡنَۃَ الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا ۚ وَ لَا تُطِعۡ مَنۡ اَغۡفَلۡنَا قَلۡبَہٗ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِنَا وَ اتَّبَعَ ہَوٰىہُ وَ کَانَ اَمۡرُہٗ فُرُطًا ﴿۲۸﴾
18:28 And keep yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world’s life. And do not follow him whose heart We have made unmindful of Our remembrance, and he follows his low desires and his case exceeds due bounds.
وَ قُلِ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ۟ فَمَنۡ شَآءَ فَلۡیُؤۡمِنۡ وَّ مَنۡ شَآءَ فَلۡیَکۡفُرۡ ۙ اِنَّاۤ اَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلظّٰلِمِیۡنَ نَارًا ۙ اَحَاطَ بِہِمۡ سُرَادِقُہَا ؕ وَ اِنۡ یَّسۡتَغِیۡثُوۡا یُغَاثُوۡا بِمَآءٍ کَالۡمُہۡلِ یَشۡوِی الۡوُجُوۡہَ ؕ بِئۡسَ الشَّرَابُ ؕ وَ سَآءَتۡ مُرۡتَفَقًا ﴿۲۹﴾
18:29 And say: The Truth is from your Lord; so whoever wishes, let him believe, and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve. Surely We have prepared for the wrongdoers a Fire, an enclosure of which will encompass them. And if they cry for water, they are given water like molten brass, scalding their faces.5 Evil the drink! And ill the resting-place!
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ اِنَّا لَا نُضِیۡعُ اَجۡرَ مَنۡ اَحۡسَنَ عَمَلًا ﴿ۚ۳۰﴾
18:30 As for those who believe and do good, We do not waste the reward of him who does a good work.
اُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمۡ جَنّٰتُ عَدۡنٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہِمُ الۡاَنۡہٰرُ یُحَلَّوۡنَ فِیۡہَا مِنۡ اَسَاوِرَ مِنۡ ذَہَبٍ وَّ یَلۡبَسُوۡنَ ثِیَابًا خُضۡرًا مِّنۡ سُنۡدُسٍ وَّ اِسۡتَبۡرَقٍ مُّتَّکِئِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا عَلَی الۡاَرَآئِکِ ؕ نِعۡمَ الثَّوَابُ ؕ وَ حَسُنَتۡ مُرۡتَفَقًا ﴿٪۳۱﴾
18:31 These it is for whom are Gardens of perpetuity in which rivers flow; they are adorned therein with bracelets of gold, and they wear green robes of fine silk and thick brocade, reclining therein on raised couches.6 Excellent the recompense! And goodly the resting-place!
- Though the words are general, there seems to be a special prophetic reference to the Prophet’s Flight and his taking refuge in a cave. He had entirely to trust in Allah, Who was to bring it about as He thought best for him. ↩
- The meaning is that the difficulties which had to be experienced by the dwellers in the cave would be removed from the Prophet’s way. He had to pass only three days in the cave, and though a powerful enemy exerted itself to its utmost, his hiding-place at only a distance of three miles from the city, whither food was conveyed to him, could not be discovered. Or, in the nearer course there is a reference to the unprecedented triumph of Islam, which spread over the whole of Arabia within twenty-three years, and spread from Spain in the west to China in the east within a century, whereas Christianity remained in a state of subjection in its birth-place for three hundred years, as stated in the verse that follows. ↩
- The history of Christianity, which runs like an undercurrent in the story of the Companions of the Cave, finds a clear expression now. There is no tradition that the Companions of the Cave remained in the Cave for three hundred years, but Christianity itself remained in a Cave for full three hundred years. It is a fact that Christianity rose to power with the conversion of Constantine, and at the same time it lost its purity with the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity, which was promulgated in 325 C.E. It is, moreover, now almost agreed that Jesus Christ was born in 6–5 B.C. So if he began his ministry at the age of thirty, the Christian religion may be said to have been born at about 25 C.E., and thus exactly after three hundred years it lost its purity by the promulgation of the Trinitarian doctrine, emerging at the same time as a State religion. Thus it remained in the Cave for three hundred years. As to adding nine years, to convert solar years to lunar years three years have to be added to every hundred years, and to the three centuries another nine years are thus added. ↩
- By “words” are meant here prophecies, because it is the prophecy of the Prophet’s Flight and his final triumph over his enemies that is referred to here. These prophecies, it is claimed, cannot be altered by people, and they must come to pass, however great the opposing forces. ↩
- They refused the water of spiritual life in this life, and so they will have no water to quench their thirst in the life after death. ↩
- It is after these things that people hanker in this life, but the ornaments and robes of this life are transitory. The righteous, who in this life desire and struggle for only spiritual ornaments and moral beauty, find these visible in the after-life. However, these prophecies were in one sense brought to fulfilment in this very life also. The Arabs, whose only wealth consisted of their camels and horses, and whose clothes were made of skins or cloth of rough textures, found the treasures of Rome and Persia laid at their feet, and the bracelets of gold and the silk brocade interwoven with gold, which they had never seen before, were now brought to them in abundance, while the gardens of Mesopotamia and Persia were given to them for a permanent heritage. ↩