Islamic History Podcast 1-11: Musa And The Green Man | The Cave

Islamic History Podcast 1-11: Musa And The Green Man | The Cave


– One of the more popular stories in the Quran
– Has spawned many more stories and myths after the Islam
– Primary personality is Khadhir a religious man who teaches Prophet Musa
– Some controversy over whether Khadhir was a prophet or not
– Umar thought he may have been an angel

– Many believe him to have been a prophet since he received revelation
– That is the opinion of Ibn Kathir, and also mentioned in tafsir attributed to Ibn Abbas
– Persian tale called Iskandardamah combine the story of Khadhir and Dhul Qarnain into one making
Khadhir Alexander’s advisor and cook.
– Some Shiites believe him to be the hidden 12th Imam – see episodes on the Assassins for more info
– Among many Sufis, he is still alive and more of a spirit or ethereal being
– Some Sufis say he appears to help the truly devoted worshiper
– Among Sufis he has an important role due to him teaching a Prophet hidden knowledge, Sufis are all about hidden knowledge
– Secular scholars say he is an Islamic version of many “Green Man” themed mystical beings from the past
– Before Islam, there was the Greek horned god called Pan, who lived in nature and wore clothes made of green leaves
– Ancient Egyptian beliefs Osiris was god of afterlife, who had green skin and gave life to the dead, including vegetation
– In Islam, only two authentic, original sources for Khadhir: Quran and a few hadiths.
– Imam Ahmed says he was called “The Green One” because a dead patch of earth he was sitting on turned green.
– 18:60 The story in the Quran picks up with Musa telling his servant Yusha bin Nun, Joshua, he was going on a journey
– The hadith give the background to the story
– We’re going to combine the hadith narrative with the Quran narrative
– The Tabi’ Said Ibn Jubayr asked the companion Ibn Abbas about a man who claimed that Musa in this story is not the same as Prophet Musa
– Ibn Abbas said that man was an enemy of Allah and reported what he heard from another companion Ubayy Ibn Ka’b
– Ubay Ibn Ka’b was one of the first Ansars, Muslims from Medina, to accept Islam.
– There are many variations but most are the same with slight differences
– Musa was preaching to his people (Bani Israel) when one of them asked him is there anyone with more knowledge than him
– Musa answered what he thought was the truth that there was none, but did not attribute knowledge to Allah.
– Allah admonished Musa for this and informed him there was a man with more knowledge than him, that is Khadhir.
– Musa wanted to meet him and Allah revealed to him he could meet him at the junction of the two seas.
– Two seas could be where the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea meet, but more likely Gulf of Aqaba and Red Sea.
– Also possibly the Persian Gulf in modern day Kuwait, but still too far.
– All versions of the hadith say they take a fish with them.
– Some versions say fish was alive and died along the way; others it was already dead.
– Most versions say there was a Spring of Life that brought dead things back to life, but not in all versions.
– Hadiths say Allah revealed to Musa he would find Khadhir where he loses the fish.
– Different narrations about how Joshua lost the fish, but essentially he fell asleep, lost it, and forgot to tell Musa about it.
– 18:61 When they reached the junction, they forgot about their fish which came alive and disappeared into the sea
– Joshua saw it, intended to tell Musa about it, but forgot when he woke up.
– The hadiths that mention the Spring of Life say some of the water got on the fish which brought it back to life
– 18:62 After they passed the junction, they began to tire and Musa instructs Joshua to bring their meal
– Many Muslims tend to think this meal was in reference to the fish. Understandable since that’s when Joshua remembers the fish slipping away.
– Some scholars agree with this idea, but others say the fish was a sign and not intended to be their meal
– 18:63 Joshua now remembers what he saw and blames Shaytan for making him forget.
– Joshua was supposed to tell Musa when the fish was lost and he forgot.
– The fish was lost at a point where they passed a large rock
– The word used for fish (Huwt) is a large fish; in modern Arabic it’s a whale.
– When the fish slipped away, it did so in an amazing fashion; some say like a tunnel, others like it was skimming over the water
– 18:64 Musa confirms that was the sign they were looking for as they were to meet the man at the place they lost their fish
– They retraced their steps back to the rock
– 18:65 There they saw Khadhir sitting by the rock. Imam Ahmed said he was sitting in a patch of bare ground that began to sprout and turn green around him.
– 18:66 Musa asks Khadhir to follow him and learn some of the righteous knowledge that Allah has given him.
– The hadith states that Khadhir asked him if he was Musa from Bani Israel and Musa confirms he is.
– 18:67 Khadhir tells Musa that he will not be able to have patience with him.
– Khadhir knows who Musa is and knows about his reputation.
– From reading the Quran, you can tell the characteristics of some of the Prophets.
– Musa had a history of correcting things he saw as wrong immediately. Examples are killing the Egyptian, helping the girls, grabbing his brothers beard.
– 18:68 Khadhir asks a rhetorical question about how Musa can be patient with things he doesn’t understand.
– 18:69 Musa says that if Allah wills, Khadhir will find him to be patient and that he will not disobey him in anything.
– 18:70 Khadhir makes the condition that if Musa follows him, he cannot ask any questions until Khadhir is ready to explain it to him
– 18:71 So they go walking along the shore and a boat passes by them. Khadhir asks them to help him cross the water and they agree.
– Once on board, Khadhir proceeds to damage the boat, the hadith says by removing some of planks of wood. Others have said he used an axe to chop a hole in it.
– When Musa sees this he says this will drown the people on the boat and you’ve done an outrageous thing.
– Musa didn’t ask a question, he simply commented on Khadhir’s action. But in spirit he broke the agreement.
– Now Musa is the student instead of the teacher as he was with Joshua.
– 18:72 Khadhir reminds him of their agreement not to ask about his actions.
– 18:73 Musa asks Khadhir not to blame him for forgetting and to take it easy on him as it’s difficult for Musa to ignore these things.
– As the Prophet and leader of Bani Israel, he was used to stopping people from doing wrong. Plus it was already part of his nature.
– 18:74 They go walking along the shore again and come across three boys playing. Khadhir walks up to one of the boys and kills him.
– The hadith says Khadhir actually grabs the boy by the head and plucks it off his shoulders.
– Musa asks him why did he kill a pure soul, who did not harm another soul, and that this was an evil act.
– Now that Khadhir has killed someone, Musa uses much stronger words.
– Remember Musa is a prophet and is very difficult for him to keep quiet when he sees wrong.
– 18:75 Khadhir reminds him once again that he knew Musa wouldn’t have patience with him.
– 18:76 Musa asks for another chance and agrees to stop accompanying Khadhir if he asks any more questions.
– 18:77 They come to a town and asked its people for food, but they were refused. They come to a wall about to fall down and Khadhir straightens it up.
– Musa says these people were not hospitable to them and that Khadhir should have requested payment for fixing the wall.
– The hadith says that Prophet Muhammad interjected, asked Allah to have mercy on Musa, and that had he been patient, they could have got much more knowledge from Khadhir.
– 18:78 Khadhir says this is it between them and decides to explain those things to Musa that he didn’t have patience with.
– 18:79 The boat belonged to poor people who made their livelihood from the sea. So he wanted to create a defect in it because there was a king close by who was seizing all seaworthy boats.
– If the boat was damaged, it wouldn’t be siezed and fixing the boat was easier than trying to get a new one.
– 18:80 The boy had good, believing parents. He would grow up to be a disbeliever and oppress his parents so much they would also be led into disbelief.
– 18:81 So the hope was that Allah would bless them with another child who would grow up to be a pure and righteous believer.
– Some reports say the boys parents had a girl who did grow up to be a righteous person.
– 18:82 The wall belonged to two orphan boys in the town whose father had been a righteous man. Under the wall was a treasure that was an inheritance for them.
– If the wall had fallen down, the treasure may have been exposed. And if Khadhir had requested payment for fixing it, that would have given away the location to the townspeople.
– After witnessing their inhospitality it was obvious they would steal the orphan’s money if they knew about it.
– Khadhir says Allah wanted them to receive their treasure when they matured. An indication that Khadhir had some connection to Allah, and that’s why some believe him to have been a prophet.
– When explaining the boat, Khadhir says he wanted to damage the boat in order to save it.
– When explaining the boy, he says we, perhaps he and Allah, wanted to parents to receive a better child.
– When explaining the wall, he says your Lord, Allah, wanted them to receive it at maturity.
– Khadhir then says that he didn’t do any of these things of his own accord, indicating that they came from Allah.
– Perhaps the boat was from his own knowledge, the knowledge of the boy was from Allah, but he would make dua for Allah to give them a better child.
– Perhaps the knowledge of the wall was purely from Allah.

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