Surah al-Kahf (The Cave ) 18 : 65

فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَآ ءَاتَيْنَٰهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَٰهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Then they found a servant from among Our servants [i.e., al-Khidhr] to whom We had given mercy from Us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

It also seems that this meeting was to remain Moses’ secret, given to him by his Lord. His servant did not know anything about it until they met the man. Hence the following scenes in the story speak only about Moses and the pious man endowed with knowledge.

Lessons for the Student of Knowledge deduced from the Story of Musa & Khidr

1. No matter how much you already know, be humble enough to learn more. 

2. The most knowledgeable person in the world may not be the most well-known. وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ 

3. It teaches us that Sabr, which is to do with having patience and being persistent, is one of the TOP quality for students of knowledge. Interestingly we hear the word SABR - in various spellings - 8 times! [confirmation needed]

4. You may not be able to see the bigger picture or understand the logic behind some knowledge straight away but that should not deter you from continuing to learn. This is especially true if the teacher in someone undoubtedly qualified and someone you generally trust. 

5. The student must know and understand why he learning - when he does not he will be unable to have patience with the subject matter. 
وَكَيفَ تَصبِرُ عَلىٰ ما لَم تُحِط بِهِ خُبرًا

6. True impactful knowledge must come in stages and not all at once. This is why the Arabs would also refer to education as tarbiya, which means cultivation. 

7. The teacher not giving away information or lessons until.....فَلا تَسأَلني عَن شَيءٍ حَتّىٰ أُحدِثَ لَكَ مِنهُ ذِكرًا

6. Being told off or embarrassed by your teacher should not cause you to stop seeking knowledge and returning to class. قالَ أَلَم أَقُل لَكَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَستَطيعَ مَعِيَ صَبرًا

7. You can learn more from observing the behaviour of your teacher than listening to what he or she says. This is why Musa AS asked to “follow” his teacher in order to learn. هَل أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلىٰ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمّا عُلِّمتَ رُشدًا

8. Seeking Knowledge even if it takes many years - and this shows it takes many years to really understand at a basic level Knowledge of a matter. لا أَبرَحُ حَتّىٰ أَبلُغَ مَجمَعَ البَحرَينِ أَو أَمضِيَ حُقُبًا

9. Learning through discovery can be more effective than instruction-based learning. 

10. You are never too old to learn new truths

11. Some lessons need to be learnt the hard way in order for them to stick. Musa asking Khidr to make it easy for him - but Khidr continues as he was in his method of teaching وَلا تُرهِقني مِن أَمري عُسرًا

12. Teaching which happens organically and informally can be highly impactful.

13. Allah took Musa on very tiring jouney afterwhich he gained the lessons that he did.  لَقَدْ لَقِينَا مِن سَفَرِنَا هَـٰذَا نَصَبًا "....We have certainly suffered in this, our journey, [much] fatigue."  The more struggle we make in your pursuit in knowledge the more you will learn - in proportion to the struggle. وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ "And those who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good." [29:69]

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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This is the first of those Surahs sent down in the third stage of Prophethood in Makkah. We have already divided the life of the Prophet at Makkah into four stages in the introduction to Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock). 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 that during the second stage, the Quraysh mainly resorted to ridiculing, scoffing, threatening, tempting, raising objections and making false propaganda against the Prophet and his followers. But during the third stage they employed the weapons of persecution, man handling and economic pressure, so much so that a large number of the Muslims had to emigrate from Arabia to Abyssinia. Those who remained behind were besieged in Shi’ib Abi Talib along with the 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, who was the uncle of the Prophet and his wife Khadijah. Their personal influence had been conducive to the support of two great families of the Quraysh. However, when in the tenth year of Prophethood these two persons died, the fourth stage began with such severe persecution that the Prophet and all his companions were forced 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 the migration to Abyssinia had not yet taken place. That is why the story of ‘The Sleepers of the Cave’ has been related to comfort and encourage the persecuted Muslims and to show them how righteous people in history have been preserving their faith.

8. Reasons for Revelation

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This Surah was sent down in answer to three questions which the polytheists of Makkah in consultation with the People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) put to the Prophet. These were:

1.         Who were ‘The Sleepers of the Cave?’

2.         What is the real story of Khidr?

3.         What do you know about Dhul-Qarnain?

These three questions and their stories related to the history of the Christians and the Jews and were unknown in the Arabian Peninsula (Hijaz), so they were being used to test the divine knowledge revealed to the Prophet. However, God informed the Prophet of the complete answer to these questions and also employed the stories in the conflict between Islam and unbelief.

The questioners were told that the ‘Sleepers of the Cave’ believed in the same doctrine of Monotheism (Tawhid) which was being put forward in the Qur’an and that their condition was similar to that of the persecuted Muslims of Makkah. Also, the persecutors of the Sleepers of the Cave behaved in the same way as the disbelievers of Quraysh towards the Muslims. This particular story was a warning to the chiefs of Makkah, who were persecuting the small newly formed Muslim community. Additionally, the Prophet was instructed not to compromise with the persecutors nor consider the chiefs to be more important than his own followers. Likewise, the chiefs too were admonished and informed not to be distracted by the temporary life of this world but seek the eternal life of the hereafter.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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