Praise belongs to Allah who has send down the Book to His servant, and allowed no crookedness in it, a straightforward Book to warn of a severe punishment from Him, and to give the good news to the belieers, who do righteous deeds, that they will have an excellent reward (Paradise) in which they will dwell forever, and to warn those who have said that Allah has had a son, while they have no knowledge about it, nor had their fathers. Grave is the word that comes out of their mouths. They say nothing but lie. So, (O Prophet) perhaps you are going to kill yourself after them, out of grief, if they do not believe in this discourse. Surely, We have made what is on earth and adornment for it, so that We test them as to who among them is better in deeds. And surely, We are going to turn whatever is thereon into a barren land. Do you think that the People of Kahf (the Cave) and Raqim (inscription) were unusual out of Our signs? When the young men took refuge in the Cave and said; Our Lord, bless us with mercy from Your own and provide us with guidance in our matters. So, We sealed up their hearing (putting them to sleep) in the Cave for a number of years. Thereafter We raised them up, so that We know which of the two groups had better calculated the period in which they remained (sleeping). We narrate to you their story with truth. They were young men who believed in their Lord and We gave them more guidance. We made their hearts firm when they stood up and said; Our Lord is the Lord of the Heavens and the earth. We shall never invoke and god other than Him, otherwise we would be saying something far from the truth. These, our people, have adopted gods other than Him. Why do they not bring a clear proof in their favor? So, who is more unjust than the one who fabricates a lie against Allah? When you have turned away from them, and those whom they worship, except Allah, then seek refuge in the cave, and your Lord will extend His mercy for you, and provide you ease in your matters. You would see the sun, when it rose, turning away from their Cave towards the right; and when it set, it bypassed them towards the left and they were (lying) in the hollow thereof. That is one of the signs of Allah. Whomsoever Allah guides is the one who gets the right path and whomsoever He lets go astray, for him you will find no one to help, no one to lead. And you would think they were awake wile they were asleep. We turned them on their sides, right and left. And their dog had its forelegs stretched out to the doorstep. If you had a look at them, you would have fled away from them and would have been filled with awe of them. In this way We raised them up until they asked each other. One of them said; How long did you tarry? They said; A day, or part of a day. They said, Your Lord knows best how long you tarried. So, send one of you with this silver (coin) of yours to the city and let him look around which of the eatables are the purest and let him bring you some food from there. And he must act in polite manner, and must not let anyone know about you. If they (the habitants of the city) will know about you, they will force you to revert to their faith, and in that case, you will never find success. And in this way, We made them known to the people (of the city), so that they realize that Allah;s promise is true, and that there is no doubt about the Hour (the Day of Resurrection). When they were disputing among themselves in their matter, they said; Erect a building over them. Their Lord knows them best. Said those who prevailed in their matter: We will certainly make a mosque over them. Some will say: (They were) three, the fourth of them being their dog, and some will say: Five, the sixth of them being their dog, just making conjectures. And other will say: Seven, the eighth of them is their dog. Soy: My Lord knows best about their number. No one knows them except a few, so do not argue about them except an apparent argumentation. And do not ask anyone of these about them. And never say about anything: I will do this tomorrow, unliess (you say-- if) Allah wills. And remember your Lord if you forget, and say (to those who asked you about the story of the People of the Cave) May be, my Lord will lead me to something closer than this to guidance. They stayed in their Cave for three hundred years and added nine. Say: Allah knows best how long they stayed. To Him belongs the unseen of the heavens and the earth – how well He sees and how well He hears! They have no supporter other than Him and He lets no one share His authority. And recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no one to change His words, and you will never find a refuge beside Him. Keep yourself content with those who call their Lord morning and evening, seeking His pleasure, and let not your eyes over look them, seeking the splendor of the worldly life. And do not obey the one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, and who has followed his desire and whose behavior has exceeded the limits. (Quran, 18:1 - 28)
The Polytheists of Makkah asked three questions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Who wre the companions of the Cave?
What is the truth about Hazrat Khidr (PBUH)?
What is the story of Dul Qarnayn (PBUH)?
The stories they asked about were related to the history of the Christians and Jews, but were not common stories amongst the Arabs. By asking these questions, their intention was to find out whether the messenger of God harboured knowledge of the unseen.
The event of the companions of the cave took place in the city of Rome, Ephesus, which was built at around Eleventh century BC. Later on, it become a major center for idol worship. People used to worship a statue of a goddess named Diana who was famous worldwide. People used to travel from long distances to worship at the statue. Magicians, operators, astrologists and amulet writers of this city were well renowned and their influence spread to other locations such as Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Jews had a big share in this business, and would relate their then knowledge to that of the Prophet Solomon (PBUH). Polytheism and the worship of imaginary gods were embedded within the culture. In Arabic, ‘Kahaf’ means a big cave.
According to history, there was a kind of Rome named Decius with a huge kingdom and massive army. Once, a king from another country attacked him. Decius fought and was victorious – the enemy king was killed and his sons arrested. According to some historians, the enemy king had six sons but others says that he is fact had five, The king of Rome, Decius, kept them all for his own service.
The king of Rome used to claim himself a god and commanded that everyone bow down to him. One night, the captured brothers sat together and began a discussion. The eldest of them said,
“This cursed person troubles us every day and also asks us to bow down to him. It is better for us to not serve him and escape from here to worship our Lord, Who created the earth and the heavens: and that will be best for us when the end of the world comes.” All of te brothers accepted this willingly. One of them said, :We need to somehow escape from here.”
“When the king goes to play Choghan (a game similar to Polo), I will throw the ball out of the ground. When I go out to fetch it you all should follow, wearing old clothes a s disguise.”
The next day, the kind decided to play Choghan and took the captured brothers with him. In the evening, after the game finished, the bothers followed their plan and escaped Decius; kingdom.