Sūrat al-Kahf

Sūrah No. 18, Revealed in Makkah except verse 28, 110 verses.

Merits of reciting the Sūrah

There is extraordinary importance given to this Sūrah in hadith. The following are some examples:

The Holy Prophet a once asked his companions, ‘Shall I tell you of a Sūrah that was escorted by 70,000 angels when it was sent down, and its greatness filled the heavens and the earth?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the companions ‘please do’. The Prophet a then said, ‘That is Sūrah Kahf.

Whoever recites it on Friday Allah will protect him from sins till the next Friday and will grant him a light that will reach the heavens and keep him safe from the evil of Dajjal’. Whoever memorizes the first 10 verses of Sūrah Kahf, Dajjal will not be able to harm him. And whoever memorizes the last verse of this Sūrah it will be a light for him on the Day of Judgment.

Holy Prophet a (Both hadiths from Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān)

Whoever recites Sūrah Kahf every Thursday night will leave this world as a martyr, will be raised as a martyr, and on the Day of Judgment will be placed in the ranks of the martyrs. Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) (Tafsīr Majma‘ al-Bayān)

According to a hadith attributed to Imam Ja‘far al-Sādiq (a) if a person recites the last verse of Sūrat al-Kahf before sleeping, s/he will be able to wake at a desired time (Tahajjud Salāt: The Spiritual Ladder, p. 60)

Note: Tafsīr Namūneh says that because an important part of this Sūrah talks about the resistance and opposition of a group of youth to the Dajjal of their time and how God protected them, reflecting on this will help believers to counter the Dajjal of their times and be protected from corrupt environments.

General synopsis of contents

1) Praise and glorification of God.

2) Stories from the past.

  1. a) The Ashāb al-Kahf
  2. b) Prophet Musa (a) and Prophet Khizr (a)
  3. c) Story of Dhulqarnayn

Note: These stories have not been mentioned in any other part of the Quran, unlike other stories aspects of which are repeated in various Sūrahs. This is also one of the unique characteristics of this Sūrah. All three stories share the common theme of leaving the comfort of home and journeying for the sake of a higher purpose.

3) Parable of the two men and the garden

4) Reminders about the Day of Judgment and the Hereafter.

Selected Lessons

1) The Quran has no crookedness in it, leads to the straight path without deviations (v. 1)

2) The Prophet a was very much grieved by the disbelief of the people (v. 6)

3) Allah increases those who have faith, in guidance and strengthens their hearts (vv. 13-14).

4) Do not say you will do anything the next day without saying ‘If God wills’ (vv. 23-24). You are not in complete control.

5) Wealth and children are only an adornment for this world. Good deeds are better for the hereafter (v. 46)

6) People on the Day of Judgment will be aghast at how the book of deeds has not left out anything, large or small, of what they did in the world (v. 49)

7) Inner veils prevent a person from paying heed to the signs of God (v. 57)

8) Knowledge is granted to a person through the mercy of God (v. 65)

9) It is difficult to have patience over something you cannot understand (v. 68)

10) Those who were blind in this world will be able to see very clearly on the Day of Judgement (vv. 100-101)

Important Messages

1) The leader of a people should be concerned for them.

2) Corruption in society must be faced with opposition or withdrawal.

3) Belief of a people in something or their lack of belief is not a criterion for truth of that belief.

4) Abundance of wealth and children is often a source of rebelliousness.

5) Reminders about the origin of creation can break arrogance

6) On the Day of Judgment, the deeds of a human being will be corporeal – they will have a tangible existence.

7) Parables in the Quran are for all people to understand and be guided.

8) The mission of the Prophets a was to revive what was naturally inside the fitrah of the human being and remove the veils over it.

9) It may be necessary to travel and spend time when seeking knowledge.

10) Seeking knowledge is not just for the sake of knowledge itself, but for improvement and progress.

11)The highest honor for a human being is to be God’s servant.

12) Do not be hasty in judgment.

13) Safety and security are vital for a society to function.

Suggested verses for reflection and memorization.

1) 18:7-8 – Indeed We have made whatever is on the earth an adornment for it that We may test

them [to see] which of them is best in conduct. And indeed, We will turn whatever is on it into a barren plain.

2) 18:49 – The Book will be set up. Then you will see the guilty apprehensive of what is in it. They will say, ‘Woe to us! What a book is this! It omits nothing, big or small, without enumerating it.’ They will find present whatever they had done, and your Lord does not wrong anyone.

3) 18:103-104 – Say, ‘Shall we inform you who are the biggest losers in their works? Those whose efforts are misguided in the life of the world, while they suppose they are doing good.’

4) 18:109 – Say, ‘If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would be spent before the words of my Lord are finished, though We replenish it with another like it.

5) 18:110 – Say, ‘I am just a human being like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is the One God. So, whoever expects to encounter his Lord—let him act righteously, and not associate anyone with the worship of his Lord.’

Activities for self-study

1) What do verse 10-15 tell you about the qualities of the youth who sought refuge in the cave?

2) Ponder over the parable in verse 45. Write it out and illustrate it.

3) Read the story of Prophet Mūsā (a) and Prophet Khizr (a) – verses 60-82. What are the difficulties of seeking knowledge? What are some necessary qualities for those who seek knowledge?