Surah 18 – the Cave- 25 April 2017

Companions of the Cave

 

Name

This Surah takes its name from v. 9 in which the word (al-kahf) occurs.

Period of Revelation

This is the first of those Surahs which were sent down in the third stage of Prophethood at Makkah. We have already divided the life of the Holy Prophet at Makkah into four stages in the Introduction to Chapter VI. According to that division the third stage lasted from the fifth to the tenth year of Prophethood. What distinguishes this stage from the second and the fourth stages is this. During the second stage the Quraish mainly resorted to ridiculing, scoffing, threatening, tempting, raising objections and making false propaganda against the Holy Prophet and his followers in order to suppress the Islamic Movement. But during the third stage they employed the weapons of persecution, man handling and economic pressure for the same purpose. So much so that a large number of the Muslims had to emigrate from Arabia to Habash, and those who remained behind were besieged in Shi’ib Abi Talib along with the Holy Prophet and his family. To add to their misery, a complete social and economic boycott was applied against them. The only redeeming feature was that there were two personalities, Abu Talib and Hadrat Khadijah, whose personal influence had been conducive to the support of two great families of the Quraish. However, when in the tenth year of Prophethood these two persons died, the fourth stage began with such revere persecutions as forced the Holy Prophet and all his Companions to emigrate from Makkah.

It appears from the theme of the Surah that it was revealed at the beginning of the third stage when in spite of persecutions and opposition, migration to Habash had not yet taken place. That is why the story of “Ashab-i-Kahf” (the Sleepers of the Cave) has been related to comfort and encourage the persecuted Muslims and to show them how the righteous people have been saving their Faith in the past.[ http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/18/index.html#sdfootnote1sym]

Our first section looks, in allegorecal form, at the fact that there is One God and Allah is his name beside God and that in times gone by

In Christian tradition is known as the Sleepers under the Hill or The  Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.

We can’t help but notice the anthropomorphism used in this Surah, Allah is referred to as ‘He’ when we know that Allah is genderless and has no form or features. The beginning here reads to me as an almost human to human exchange between Almighty God and His Servant Muhammad.

[1-4] All praise is for Allah, Who has sent down this Book to His Servant, and assigned nothing crooked to it.1 This Book says everything directly so that he may warn the people of the severe chastisement of Allah and give good news to the Believers, who do righteous deeds, that they will have an excellent recompense, which they will always enjoy and that he should warn those people who say, “Allah has begotten a son.”2

This needs no explanation!

Those who, inthose times attributed a son to Allah,’begottenness’ were as follows “Those people” includes the Christians, the Jews and the mushrik Arabs who assigned offspring to Allah. So what did these believe, considering that the Jews are numbered among them and as we know them today and in the times of the Patriachs, do/did not attribute offspring to Allah.

Let’s look at the Christian’s first: the first Person we think of as the begotten One is ‘Isa ibn Maryam”, yet there were many christian sects present at the time with various concepts of Allah and of trinity and of the nature of Christ.

Ebionites, 7th Century still exist today

  1. Jesus was a created human and not divine
  2. Jesus was a teacher
  3. Jesus was the expected Messiah
  4. The Law of the Torah must be observed
  5. Theirs was the earliest congregation of followers to Jesus, starting from around 30 AD

Nestorians, Dyophysites, In the Nestorian view, the human and divine persons of Christ are separate. 

Monophysites, (denied the humanity of Christ)

Mariamites, [ Worshippers of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They said the Trinity consisted of God the Father, God the Son, and Mary the mother of God.]

Collyridians was an Early Christian heretical movement in pre-Islamic Arabia whose adherents apparently worshipped the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, as a goddess.

What of the Jews?

community of Medina.[4Uzair (Ezra) lived during the period around 450 B.C. The Jews regarded him with great reverence as the revivalist of their Scriptures which had been lost during their captivity in Babylon tyafter the death The Quran emphasizes the absolute divinity of God and warns against associating any being with him (shirk).[4] It further condemns Jewish and Christian leaders of the time for deceiving the masses into taking “their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of God”.[4] In casting doubt on claims about the divine status of Uzayr and Christ, the Quran also instructs Muslims to reject such beliefs.[4] These arguments reflect the tensions between the new Muslim community and the more established Christian and Jewish communities of Arabia.[4] ( not pro-Islam in my opinion)

“The Jews call Ezra a son of God, and the Christians call the Christ a son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. May Allah destroy them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! (Quran 9:30)’ Some Jews not all

And the “mushrik Arabs’

They are polytheists and associationts, worships beings other than Allah and or attributesAllah Subhanah’s Noble Attributes with anyone or anything else. Thus committing Shirk which is the exact opposit of Tauheed (belief in One God).

So the initial section of Surah 18 illustrates the concept of Tauheed, and of the Resurection of the dead, in two different situations, and teaches that sometimes people of faith must flee from polytheists to preserve themselves. That they may die and when the right time is accomplished they may rise from the dead. That history serves as their example that Allah (swt) is the supreme Lord of the universe and will save them now as he did in the past.

Before I write my next post I will say that considering that Christians committed blasphemy by the standards of today, assigning Mary as equivalent to the Almighty, “God the Father, God the Son, and Mary the Mother of God” and the godhead a family of beggetting and begotten, mother, father and son. A demierg, since this implies that Allah has parents.

That they debated the nature of Jesus as though he were a thing and not a man.

It is no wonder at all that  Allah  the Almighty, who is Creator and Sustainer of the universed  sent the final Testament to set right the horrendous Shirk committing by those who would destroy the Muslims.

Yet in the instance of this Surah, in its beginning Muhammad is devastated at the punishment awaiting those who would not become believers and the ‘ conversation’ is given for him and for the Muslims to allay his/ their worry. By demonstrating what the Almighty can do.


  • 18. Surah Al Kahf (The Cave) – Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an. 2017.
    18. Surah Al Kahf (The Cave) – Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an. [ONLINE] Available at: http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/18/index.html#sdfootnote1sym. [Accessed 05 May 2017].
  • Wikipedia. 2017. Seven Sleepers – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sleepers#Story. [Accessed 05 May 2017].
  • Wikipedia. 2017. Uzair – Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzair. [Accessed 05 May 2017].
  • What does mushrik means exactly? and believes in – Encyclopedia of searchable Islamic Q & A – Islamhelpline. 2017. What does mushrik means exactly? and believes in – Encyclopedia of searchable Islamic Q & A – Islamhelpline. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/534. [Accessed 05 May 2017].
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