اِنَّہُمۡ اِنۡ یَّظۡہَرُوۡا عَلَیۡکُمۡ یَرۡجُمُوۡکُمۡ اَوۡ یُعِیۡدُوۡکُمۡ فِیۡ مِلَّتِہِمۡ وَ لَنۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡۤا اِذًا اَبَدًا ﴿۲۱﴾
إِنَّهُمۡ إِن يَظۡهَرُواْ عَلَيۡكُمۡ يَرۡجُمُوكُمۡ أَوۡ يُعِيدُوكُمۡ فِي مِلَّتِهِمۡ وَلَن تُفۡلِحُوٓاْ إِذًا أَبَدٗا
1682. The words, but let him not inform anyone about you, refer to the quiet and unobtrusive penetration of the Western influence in the East. (close)
The verse means to say that if the people to whom you are sending trade parties became acquainted with your real intentions, or before your feet became firmly established in their country some political quarrel or commercial disagreement arose and you were overpowered, then you would either have to quit their country or embrace their religion. In either ease you would fail to gain a permanent foothold and all your dreams of establishing a great empire in their country would come to naught. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ اَعۡثَرۡنَا عَلَیۡہِمۡ لِیَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ وَعۡدَ اللّٰہِ حَقٌّ وَّ اَنَّ السَّاعَۃَ لَا رَیۡبَ فِیۡہَا ۚ٭ اِذۡ یَتَنَازَعُوۡنَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ اَمۡرَہُمۡ فَقَالُوا ابۡنُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمۡ بُنۡیَانًا ؕ رَبُّہُمۡ اَعۡلَمُ بِہِمۡ ؕ قَالَ الَّذِیۡنَ غَلَبُوۡا عَلٰۤی اَمۡرِہِمۡ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَیۡہِمۡ مَّسۡجِدًا ﴿۲۲﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَعۡثَرۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ لِيَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ وَعۡدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقّٞ وَأَنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ لَا رَيۡبَ فِيهَآ إِذۡ يَتَنَٰزَعُونَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ أَمۡرَهُمۡۖ فَقَالُواْ ٱبۡنُواْ عَلَيۡهِم بُنۡيَٰنٗاۖ رَّبُّهُمۡ أَعۡلَمُ بِهِمۡۚ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ غَلَبُواْ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡرِهِمۡ لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيۡهِم مَّسۡجِدٗا
a. 31:34; 35:6. (close)
b. 15:86; 20:16; 22:8. (close)
1683. The words, We will surely build a place of worship over them, mention one of the distinctive marks of the Dwellers of the Cave which is that their successors, the Christian nations, will build churches in memory of their dead saints. It is further worthy of note that many such churches have been found in the catacombs. (close)
a. 31:34; 35:6. (close)
In this verse we are told that these people who had remained aloof from the world for a long time will become known to the ends of the earth, and thus the truth of the prophecy about the rise to great power and dominion of Christian nations in the Latter Days will become established and then the promised hour of which these people were warned will come to pass.
In the words, We will surely build a place of worship over them, the Quran reverts again to the early history of the Dwellers of the Cave and mentions one of their distinctive marks which is that their successors, the Christian nations, will build churches in memory of their dead saints. Muslims or Jews have never erected mosques or synagogues to the memory of their departed saints. Christians are the only people who erect churches to perpetuate the memory of their dead saints; they even bury their dead in churchyards. It is worthy of note that many such churches have been found in the catacombs. (close)
سَیَقُوۡلُوۡنَ ثَلٰثَۃٌ رَّابِعُہُمۡ کَلۡبُہُمۡ ۚ وَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ خَمۡسَۃٌ سَادِسُہُمۡ کَلۡبُہُمۡ رَجۡمًۢا بِالۡغَیۡبِ ۚ وَ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ سَبۡعَۃٌ وَّ ثَامِنُہُمۡ کَلۡبُہُمۡ ؕ قُلۡ رَّبِّیۡۤ اَعۡلَمُ بِعِدَّتِہِمۡ مَّا یَعۡلَمُہُمۡ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلٌ ۬۟ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِیۡہِمۡ اِلَّا مِرَآءً ظَاہِرًا ۪ وَّ لَا تَسۡتَفۡتِ فِیۡہِمۡ مِّنۡہُمۡ اَحَدًا ﴿٪۲۳﴾
سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَٰثَةٞ رَّابِعُهُمۡ كَلۡبُهُمۡ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمۡسَةٞ سَادِسُهُمۡ كَلۡبُهُمۡ رَجۡمَۢا بِٱلۡغَيۡبِۖ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبۡعَةٞ وَثَامِنُهُمۡ كَلۡبُهُمۡۚ قُل رَّبِّيٓ أَعۡلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعۡلَمُهُمۡ إِلَّا قَلِيلٞۗ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمۡ إِلَّا مِرَآءٗ ظَٰهِرٗا وَلَا تَسۡتَفۡتِ فِيهِم مِّنۡهُمۡ أَحَدٗا
1684. These guesses seem to be based on inscriptions on the walls of some of the chambers in the catacombs; but each inscription has reference only to a particular family, party or group. The total number of those who took refuge in the catacombs at any time is not known. A dog seems, from the inscriptions, to have always accompanied a party of refugees. (close)
2063. Important Words:
فلا تمار (So argue not). تمار is derived from مری. They say مری حقه i.e. he disputed, doubted or questioned his right. امتری الشیء means, he elicited the thing. الریح تمری السحاب means, the wind draws forth the clouds. ماراہ means, he disputed or argued with him obstinately (Lane & Aqrab).
ظاھرا (plain) is derived from ظھر i.e. it was or became apparent, plain, manifest or obvious. ظھر البیت means, he got upon the top of the house; ظھر علیه means, he knew, became acquainted with or got knowledge of him or it; he overcame or subdued; gained the mastery or victory or prevailed over him. They say فلان لا یظھر علیه احد i.e. such a one is a person whom no one can overcome or overpower. (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse refers to a popular discussion about the number of the Dwellers of the Cave. The Quran regards all estimates about their number as futile surmises. The words, My Lord knows best their number, dismiss all such discussion as fruitless waste of effort because only God knows what their real number was. The Arabic expression مایعلھم الاقلیل means, (a) none knows their number; the Arabic word قلیل, being the equivalent of the English word 'few,' signifies 'none'; or (b) the expression means that a very few people have knowledge of the truth about them or are acquainted with their history. These fortunate few know that the Dwellers of the Cave were early Christians who in times of persecution under different Roman Emperors took refuge in the catacombs and that they were several thousands in number.
Towards the end of the verse Muslims are admonished not to try to know the details about the Dwellers of the Cave as any effort in this direction will lead them nowhere, rather it is likely to make confusion worse confounded. (close)
وَ لَا تَقُوۡلَنَّ لِشَایۡءٍ اِنِّیۡ فَاعِلٌ ذٰلِکَ غَدًا ﴿ۙ۲۴﴾
وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَاْيۡءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٞ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا
1685. The verse may mean that in the time of their decline and degradation Muslims will lose all initiative for any real and useful work and will indulge only in daydreaming and all their activities will remain confined to talking about the future, and they will do nothing to improve their lot. (close)
The verse refers to the time when Christian nations will have attained great power and predominance in the world. Muslims of that time—of the present time—are warned that it would be then suicidal on their part to try to fight Christian nations with material means, because the military might and material means of the latter would be too much for any single people or a combination of peoples to fight them successfully. It is to this all-powerfulness of Christian nations of the west in the Latter Days that the well-known hadith لایدان لاحد لقتالھم i.e. no one will have the power to fight them successfully (Muslim, vol. 4, Chap. on Dajjal) refers. Muslims are warned that in the days of their powerlessness before Christian nations they should not indulge in idle boasts of adopting one scheme or the other against them, but should respond to the call of one whom God would raise to take them out of the slough of despond into which they would have fallen. The verse may also mean that in the time of their decline and degradation Muslims will lose all initiative for any real and useful work and will indulge only in daydreaming and holding out impotent threats to their enemies. All their activities will then remain confined to talking about the future and they would do nothing to improve their miserable lot.
Some commentators of the Quran have given currency to the baseless legend that this verse admonishes the Holy Prophet that he should never fail to utter the formula انشاء اللّٰه i.e. " If God so wills it," while beginning to do any work, because on one occasion before doing a certain thing he had forgotten to utter this formula. There is no reference here to any such legend. (close)
اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ اللّٰہُ ۫ وَ اذۡکُرۡ رَّبَّکَ اِذَا نَسِیۡتَ وَ قُلۡ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّہۡدِیَنِ رَبِّیۡ لِاَقۡرَبَ مِنۡ ہٰذَا رَشَدًا ﴿۲۵﴾
إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُۚ وَٱذۡكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلۡ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَهۡدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقۡرَبَ مِنۡ هَٰذَا رَشَدٗا
a. 18:40; 74:57; 76:31; 81:30. (close)
The verse purports to say to Muslims that in their hour of despondency and helplessness before the irresistible might of Christian nations, they should not for a moment entertain the idea that they can ever successfully fight them with material means. On the contrary, they should have firm faith in God’s promises that He would never let Islam down and would Himself create circumstances that would bring about the complete downfall and destruction of these nations. (close)
وَ لَبِثُوۡا فِیۡ کَہۡفِہِمۡ ثَلٰثَ مِائَۃٍ سِنِیۡنَ وَ ازۡدَادُوۡا تِسۡعًا ﴿۲۶﴾
وَلَبِثُواْ فِي كَهۡفِهِمۡ ثَلَٰثَ مِاْئَةٖ سِنِينَ وَٱزۡدَادُواْ تِسۡعٗا
1686. The period in which early Christians were subjected to persecution and had frequently to take refuge in caves and other places of hiding extends approximately over 309 years, and historical data have corroborated this calculation. As popularly believed the persecution of Christians began with Jesus’s Crucifixion in 28 A.D., and ended with Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 337 A.D. (Enc. Brit.), a period of about 309 years. And Constantine was not converted in 337 A.D., but in 309 A.D. The tragedy of the Crucifixion took place 28 years later than is generally believed (Chronology by Archbishop Ushers & Daily Bible Illustrations by Dr. Kitto). (close)
This verse sheds some light on the duration of the period in which early Christians were subjected to persecution and had frequently to take refuge in caves and other places of concealment. This period extends over 309 years and historical data have corroborated this calculation. As popularly believed the persecution of Christians began with Jesus’ Crucifixion in 28 A.D. and ended with the Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity in 337 A.D. (Enc. Brit., 14th edition, vol. 5), a period of about 309 years. These dates, however, are not correct. If we delve a little more deeply into the history of early Christianity the fact is disclosed to us that Emperor Constantine did not become a Christian in 337 A.D. as is the popular belief but in 309 A.D., as history shows. The astonishing fact that the Christian Calendar now in use is not free from chronological anachronisms has been admitted by Christian scholars themselves. Archbishop Ushers and Dr. Kitto in their well-known books, "Chronology" and "Daily Bible Illustrations," after elaborate research into the chronology of early Christianity, have been compelled to admit that chronological data show that Jesus was five and not thirty-three years old at the time when the Crucifixion is supposed to have taken place i.e. the tragedy of the Crucifixion took place 28 years later than is generally believed. Thus subtracting 28 from 337 it becomes established that the year of Constantine’s conversion was 309 A.D., when with Christianity becoming the State religion of the Roman Empire persecution of Christians completely ceased. So even Christian historical records support the Quran in stating that early Christians continued to be persecuted, off and on, for 309 years.
The verse incidentally impresses upon Muslims who, like اصحاب کھف now are and may, also in future, be the victims of similar persecution, the desirability of bearing with patience and fortitude their trials and tribulations so that they may become entitled to Divinefavours. (close)
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 ﴿۲۷﴾
قُلِ ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثُواْۖ لَهُۥ غَيۡبُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ أَبۡصِرۡ بِهِۦ وَأَسۡمِعۡۚ مَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَلِيّٖ وَلَا يُشۡرِكُ فِي حُكۡمِهِۦٓ أَحَدٗا
1687. The early Christians were persecuted in many lands and at different times, e.g. in Rome, Alexandria, etc. They were compelled to seek refuge in caves and catacombs at different times and for different periods. Their stay in the catacombs was not a single, uninterrupted episode. The exact length of the total period of such stay is known only to Allah. (close)
a. 11:124; 16:78; 35:39. (close)
b. 19:39; 29:46. (close)
1687A. The words also mean: 'Clear is His Sight and keen His Hearing' or 'He sees all and hears all.' (close)
b. 19:39. (close)
The words, Say, Allah knows best how long they tarried, purport to say that histories written by Christian writers assign 337 years as the period of the persecution of early Christians and therefore seem to contradict the Quranic statement that this period was 309 years. But this calculation as shown in the previous verse is at fault because the Quran is the revealed word of God and God cannot err in His calculations. Later research into old historical records as explained elsewhere has also supported the Quran. The present verse does not contradict the words, And they stayed in their Cave three hundred years and added nine more (v. 26). These words do not refer to the popular view about the period for which early Christians took refuge in caves but are God’s own words. So the expression, Allah knows best how long they tarried, not only does not contradict but actually supports and corroborates these words.
The words, How Seeing is He! and how Hearing, lend further support to the view that Christian chronologists have erred in fixing the present date of Jesus’ birth and his Crucifixion and that the Quranic statement with regard to the period for which اصحاب الکھف (Dwellers of the Cave) remained hidden in caves is correct. (close)
وَ اتۡلُ مَاۤ اُوۡحِیَ اِلَیۡکَ مِنۡ کِتَابِ رَبِّکَ ۚؕ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِکَلِمٰتِہٖ ۚ۟ وَ لَنۡ تَجِدَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہٖ مُلۡتَحَدًا ﴿۲۸﴾
وَٱتۡلُ مَآ أُوحِيَ إِلَيۡكَ مِن كِتَابِ رَبِّكَۖ لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَٰتِهِۦ وَلَن تَجِدَ مِن دُونِهِۦ مُلۡتَحَدٗا
c. 6:35, 116; 10:65. (close)
a. 29:46. (close)
b. 6:35, 116; 10:65. (close)
The verse makes it clear that the above account of the Dwellers of the Cave is not meant merely as an interesting narrative but refers to events of the past of great spiritual significance, at the same time constituting a forewarning to Muslims to be always prepared for hardships like those that the Dwellers of the Cave had to suffer. In fact according to Ibn ‘Abbas the Holy Prophet is reported to have said that اصحاب الکھف (Dwellers of the Cave) are the companions of the Imam Mahdi (Manthur). The words, there is none who can change His words, also support the assumption that the account of the Dwellers of the Cave contains mighty prophecies, otherwise there was no sense in using such challenging words as these. See the following verses. (close)
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 ہَوٰٮہُ وَ کَانَ اَمۡرُہٗ فُرُطًا ﴿۲۹﴾
وَٱصۡبِرۡ نَفۡسَكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدۡعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلۡغَدَوٰةِ وَٱلۡعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجۡهَهُۥۖ وَلَا تَعۡدُ عَيۡنَاكَ عَنۡهُمۡ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَلَا تُطِعۡ مَنۡ أَغۡفَلۡنَا قَلۡبَهُۥ عَن ذِكۡرِنَا وَٱتَّبَعَ هَوَىٰهُ وَكَانَ أَمۡرُهُۥ فُرُطٗا
a. 6:53; 7:206. (close)
c. 6:53; 7:206. (close)
This verse lends further support to the fact that the preceding verses embody some very important prophecies. In fact, we are here told that at the time of the predominance and ascendancy of Christian nations there will be living in the world a people who, as true representatives of Islam, will be engaged night and day in prayer and Divine worship. The so-called Muslims will, at that time—the time of Imam Mahdi—pin all their hopes about the future political glory and greatness of Islam on the employment of material means and will look down upon the poor and politically unimportant followers of the Imam Mahdi for concentrating on prayer and worship. The verse warns Muslims that on prayer and Divine worship alone will depend the eventual salvation and success of Islam.
The verse further mentions the following three main causes of the misfortunes and miseries of Muslims at that time: (a) they will be neglectful of prayer and Divine worship; (b) love of the world will be their overpowering passion; and (c) they will be wholly lost in the pursuit of material comforts and a life of luxury. But their deliverance will lie in a complete change of their outlook and the programme of their life. (close)
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 ﴿۳۰﴾
وَقُلِ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمۡۖ فَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيُؤۡمِن وَمَن شَآءَ فَلۡيَكۡفُرۡۚ إِنَّآ أَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ نَارًا أَحَاطَ بِهِمۡ سُرَادِقُهَاۚ وَإِن يَسۡتَغِيثُواْ يُغَاثُواْ بِمَآءٖ كَٱلۡمُهۡلِ يَشۡوِي ٱلۡوُجُوهَۚ بِئۡسَ ٱلشَّرَابُ وَسَآءَتۡ مُرۡتَفَقًا
b. 2:257; 10:100. (close)
c. 25:38; 42:46. (close)
a. 2:257; 10:100. (close)
b. 25:38; 42:46. (close)
2070. Important Words:
سرادقھا (whose tent). سرادق is derived from سردق. They say سردق البیت i.e. he covered the house with an awning over its interior court. سرادق means, an awning extended over the interior court of a house; a tent of cotton or hair-cloth; a tent; smoke rising high and surrounding a thing; dust rising or spreading itself. They say سرادق المجد علیک ممدود i.e. the canopy of glory is extended over thee (Lane & Aqrab).
مرتفقا (resting place) is derived from رفق i.e. he was or became gentle or he acted or behaved gently ارتفق means, he bought or demanded aid or help or he profited by him or it (a thing) or he made use of it; he leaned upon his elbow; and, it was or became full. مرتفقا means, a place or thing upon which one leans, hence a place of rest (Lane & Aqrab).
The words, It is the truth from your Lord, signify that the prophecy, implied in the foregoing verses, that the great material might and glory of Western Christian nations will be reduced to dust and that Islam will emerge triumphant and full of new life shall most surely come to pass.
The words, let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve, hint that the time of the Imam Mahdi will not be the time for waging jihad by the sword, but for the peaceful preaching of Islam.
The last part of the verse answers a natural question that arises from the first part, viz. if there was to be no jihad by the sword how was Islam to come into its own? To this question the last part of the verse returns the answer that God Himself will see to it that the seemingly irresistible might of western Christian nations is completely broken. Divine punish-ment will overtake these nations in the form of wars which will not end until their power is completely shattered and is reduced to ashes and dust. Molten lead and iron will scorch their faces. They will cry for peace and will get bombs and gun-shots instead. Their beautiful residences will become unfit for human habitation and life will become a veritable hell for them. All their efforts to bring about peace in the world, being insincere and dishonest, will come to nothing. (close)