The message of Sura al-Kahf concerning the idle pursuit of pleasure

The message of Sura al-Kahf concerning the idle pursuit of pleasure

The highlight of Surah al-Kahf, and also the reason behind its name, is an incident which occurred most probably between the era of Nabi Isa Alaihi-Salām and Rasulullāh (ﷺ). It had to do with a group of youngsters, who were not prepared to allow themselves to be merely pushed by the tide of kufr, shirk and evil.
According to what has been narrated by Baghawi in his Tafsīr, these youngsters found in front of them a fair or ceremony (during which false deities would be worshipped), one in which all would have to participate. Failure to participate in the event would be punishable with death, yet this made no difference to their resolution to stay pure from the filth of the function. To avoid execution, they decided to flee to an unknown cave and emerge only after everything had calmed down.
The manner in which Almighty Allāh thereafter saw to the protection of these youth, by creating an aura of fear around the cave, so that none would dare enter it, and then placing them in such a deep sleep, which would last for over 300 years, without a single bed sore forming, protected from all harm, be it through insects, snakes, wild animals, etc., all this spoke volumes of the Divine Power of Almighty Allāh and the high position these lads enjoyed in the court of Almighty Allāh. Yet, when Almighty Allāh made mention of this most amazing and astonishing event, He, Jalla Jalāluhu, began it with the phrase:
أَمْ حَسِبْتَ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الْكَهْفِ وَالرَّقِيمِ كَانُوا مِنْ آيَاتِنَا عَجَبًا
‘What, do you regard the incident of the people of the cave to be from amongst the major signs of Allāh’s powers!?’
(al-Kahf v. 9)
In other words, ‘Do not regard such events to be rare, one of its kind, one in a million, etc., rather such incidents shall continue occurring, on condition that one be ready to place his full trust on Almighty Allāh, as these lads had done!’
No matter how strong the opposing tide may seem to be, no matter how attractive and alluring the temptation may be, if one, with determination, in the love of Almighty Allāh, stands up and refuses to submit to the demands of peer pressure and the whisperings of nafs (carnal desires) and shaitān, Almighty Allāh shall, In-shā Allāh, deal with him as He had dealt with the lads of the cave.
These youth were not made of iron. They also feared the repercussions of their actions. They were also attacked by the whisperings of the devil. They were young boys, made of the same material all other youth are made of. It was their bold step towards Almighty Allāh however which made the difference between them and the rest of the people of their era.
As soon as they took that step forward, Almighty Allāẖ grabbed them, drew them forward, instilled spiritual strength within their hearts and enshrouded them with peace and tranquillity, due to which all their fears dissolved into thin air.
وَرَبَطْنَا عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ إِذْ قَامُوا فَقَالُوا رَبُّنَا رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
‘And when they stood up and proclaimed that, ‘Our Creator is the very One that is The Creator of the heavens and the earth’, at that moment We made their hearts firm!’
(al-Kahf v. 14)
The message being given to all, and especially to the youth of the Ummah is that when you shall be invited to areas of evil, to join millions of others in celebrating festivals dominated with obscene dressing, intoxicants, music, merry-making, dancing and promiscuity, do as the as the lads of the cave did!
Stand up and distance yourself from this madness, no matter how impossible it may seem, and Almighty Allāh shall, In-shā Allāh, do the rest. As He, Jalla Jalāluhu, saw to the protection of the youth of the cave, so too shall He, In-shā Allāh, enshroud you with His divine love, mercy and protection. As He made their hearts strong and erased all their fears, so too shall He do with you. All that is needed is the first step from your side!
As we find ourselves gripped in a fever of international sport viewing, a fever of ‘sport-idols’ adoration, a fever of blind imitation of their hairstyles, clothing and style, this is perhaps one of the best opportunities one could find to tread in the footsteps of Ashāb-e-Kahf (the people of the cave), to walk their walk and to talk their talk.
May Almighty Allāh, during these testing times, instill within us all the courage to refuse to flow with the tide! Remember, no matter how fierce the winds of opposition may appear to be, whoever wishes to walk against it shall most definitely find the strength to do so.
Against every environment of evil there shall always be some ‘people of the cave’. May Almighty Allāh make us all from that most blessed group. Ᾱmīn!

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