Islamic History Podcast 1-10: The Cave Part 1

Islamic History Podcast 1-10: The Cave Part 1


Islamic History From Surah Al-Kahf Part 1

  • Well-known story among Christians for centuries
  • Still celebrated as a holiday today in parts of Germany and Eastern Europe
  • Known as the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus
  • Ephesus is a coastal city in western Turkey

  • From the Catholic sources:
    • Emperor Decius 250CE commanded everyone to make a sacrifice to him
    • Some Christians obeyed, but many refused
    • Those who refused were persecuted
    • 7 young men from noble families were of those who refused
    • Decius gave them some time to reconsider
    • 7 men gave away their property and went to a cave to pray
    • Fell asleep inside
    • Roman soldiers covered up the cave with a boulder
    • A Christian wrote their names outside the cave
    • 145 years later the landowner removed the boulder waking them up
    • Sleepers sent one out with money to buy food.
    • They found out their land was now Christian
    • People heard the story, lauded them and turned their cave into a church
    • This miracle was also a proof against common heretical belief that body is not resurrected
  • Story was long accepted by Christians but later said to be Gnostic, or false
  • More recent Christian scholars have a greater appreciation for it
  • Surah Al-Kahf was revealed as an answer to a challenge from Quraish and Jews of Medina
  • Challenged the Prophet by asking about the Companions of the Cave, the Soul, and Dhul Qarnain
  • Prophet said he’d have information in a day but Allah did not reveal Surah until two weeks later.
  • The story in the Quran matches up very closely to the story in the Christian literature
  • 18:9 Allah asks the Prophet about the wonder of the companions of the cave and inscription.
  • 18:10 The youths sought refuge in a cave and prayed to Allah for help
  • 18:11 Allah put them to sleep for many years
  • 18:12 Allah raised them out of sleep to test which of the two parties was best at calculating time they spent asleep
  • Most say the two parties spoken of was within the group of young men.
  • However, evidence in this verse of two opposing groups
  • Christians say there was a heretical belief denying resurrection of body
  • Even in Islam that argument also exists of whether body or soul would be resurrected
  • Correct opinion is the body is resurrected 36:37-39, Prophet Ibrahim and birds 2:260
  • I believe Allah wanted to prove to these factions the body is resurrected
  • 18:13 Allah confirms He will tell us the true story of these blessed young men
  • 18:14 Allah quotes them when they stood up to their people and refused to worship the creation
  • Were these regular Christians that worshiped Jesus?
  • I believe they were true followers of Jesus, but did not worship him. There were many Christians then and now who were like that
  • 18:15 The young men continue to rail against the practices of their people
  • 18:16 Given time to rethink their actions, they decide to retreat to a cave a wait for Allah’s Mercy and Help.
  • 18:17 Allah describes how we would have seen the sun rising and setting on them as the days passed
  • 18:18 Allah continues to describe them, how we would have thought they were awake but they were really asleep,
  • how He turned them from side to side, how their dog lay at the mouth of the cave, and how we would have been frightened by the sight of them.
  • 18:19 Allah wakes them up and they begin questioning how long they’ve slept. Then they decide to get food from town, warning them to be careful
  • 18:20 They caution that if the people know about them, they may kill them or force them into their idolatry
  • 18:21 The young men go out to find the world has changed and Christianity is the now the state religion. The people are amazed by their story and Allah
  • Confirms this was to prove that the hour is true and that only He knows its time. The young men died soon after and a dispute arose between them regarding what to do with the cave. Some said leave it alone to Allah, others said make it a place of worship. Those who wanted a place of worship won out.
  • Appears also that the concept of full body resurrection won out also in Christianity and this story acts as proof of it.
  • 18:22 Allah tells us there are many different theories about how many people were in the cave but only Allah knows the truth.
  • Most scholars believe it to have been seven and the dog made eight.
  • 18:23-24 Allah warns the Prophet and all of us not to make a promise without saying Inshallah.
  • 18:25 Allah confirms that they were in the cave for 309 years.
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