Surah al Kahf: A Weekly Reminder to Hang On with the Community
While reading Surah al Kahf – ‘Cave’ for ‘Kahf’ – last Friday I experienced a flashback.
One of the greatest statements of Umar ibn al Khattab struck my mind:
لَا إِسْلَامَ إِلَّا بِجَمَاعَةٍ ، وَلَا جَمَاعَةَ إِلَّا بِإِمَارَةٍ ، وَلَا إِمَارَةَ إِلَّا بِطَاعَةٍ
“No Islam without Community, No Community without Leadership, No leadership without Obedience.”
Those who consciously stay in this Cave do not stray. Alhamdulillaah. Yes! Our temporary visit to this Cave every Friday equips us with the staying power for the rest of our life!
Of course, with the will and the permission of Allah.
We have often read about the four stories mentioned in Surah al Kahf:
1. The Story of Ashaab al Kahf
2. The Story of Two Friends
3. The Story of Moosa and al Khidr
4. The Story of Dhul Qarnayn
In addition to these popular four, there is one more story which is seldom discussed by most writers/speakers:
5. The Story of Adam and Iblees
These five beautiful stories in Surah al Kahf give us a loud and clear message:
Be with the Jamaa’ah. Don’t stray away from the community.
a) Story of Ashab al Kahf:
The youth فِتْيَةٌ worked as a team/group (Jamaa’ah) being obedient to their Lord and disobedient to the evil forces. They stood up by their unshakable conviction and refused to go with the flow!
“It is We who relate to you, [O Muhammad], their story in truth. Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.
“And We made firm their hearts when they stood up and said, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never will we invoke besides Him any deity. We would have certainly spoken, then, an excessive transgression.” Surah al Kahf 18:13,14
The story of Ashab al Kahf continues to inspire generations.
More often than not people tend to forget the spirit behind the story and instead express their ‘surprise’ by restricting themselves to the ‘sleeping’ side of the story. If one reads the Story in proper perspective as the Qur’an wants us to read, then one will come to realise that this Story of the Sleepers of the Cave is actually a Wake Up Call for the Muslim youth.
Connect with the community, be a team-player.
Rise and work as a Jamaa’ah to perform your duty of da’wah – calling people to Islam, for the sake of Allah.
b) Then comes the story of two men which highlight the importance of good companionship, giving a clear message that one must heed to good counsel.
Counselling is an important aspect of Jamaa’ah. That you do da’wah giving out your best for the welfare of the recipient.
As I mentioned in the post Aspects of Da’wah in Surah al Kahf, a true Friend is the one who always cautions his other friends should they err and deviate from the Right Path. In other words, a friend is not just the one who is a companion in this material world but must also be the Adviser and Mentor in matters concerning spirituality and the life Hereafter.
c) The third most popular is the Story of Prophet Moosa and Khidr.
Moosa took his servant as a companion in his quest for knowledge.
Prophet Moosa’s seeking of knowledge and wisdom from a teacher reminds one of the organised system of teacher-student, the school as a community.
In the story of Moosa and Khidr, there are “three stories within the story”
1) The story of masaakeena ya’maloona fil bahr – poor working at the sea – brings to highlight the significance of social service which is best done as a Jamaa’ah.
2) The story of the boy and his parents: abawaahu mu’minayni – boys’ parents were believers – the ghulaam (boy) was bad and evil in contrast to his parents who were muminayn and their Lord wanted to substitute good for bad.
This story brings into focus that a family is a Jamaa’ah and that a Jamaa’ah should comprise of good members.
You can’t recruit evil people into your team. They will spoil the whole show.
3) Next is the story of Khidr restoring al jidaar, the about-to-fall-wall that belonged to ghulamayn yatimayn, two orphan boys, whose father had been Saalih – wakana abuhuma saaliha, their father had been righteous.
The lesson here is that if you are a righteous member of the society, even your heirs will reap the benefits and blessings of one being Saalih, righteous.
The benefits of righteousness reach the community even after one’s death!
d) Lastly comes the Story of Dhul Qarnayn; he was a great leader and conqueror who had enormous resources at his command.
In spite of all wealth, power and status, we learn that Dhul Qarnayn was a selfless community leader, a keen participant in people’s welfare who did his best for the good of the community.
We read in the story about the villagers complaining of a criminal gang, mufsidoona fil ardh – corrupters in the land, and they seeking his gracious help to get rid of the evil forces.
The significant part of the story is that the villagers hardly understood his speech.
In spite of not knowing people’s language, Dhul Qarnayn helped them out.
Language shouldn’t be a barrier in Community Service. This is one lesson.
Two. Dhul Qarnayn helped them overcome the problem of yajooj and majooj by preferring to build a dam instead of the desired barrier. He attributed his success to the Mercy of Allah: Hadha Rahmatum Mir Rabbee.
This gives us a message that if you have power and the means, help the oppressed group in an excellent manner. And attribute your success to the Mercy and Benevolence of Allah, without bragging about your greatness!
Be humble in charitable activities. Don’t make a show of your Social Service.
e) The beautiful example of the obeying Angels – Angels, as a Jama’ah – and the departed Jinn – Jinn, as single & detached from Jama’ah – is sandwiched between the story of the two friends and that of Prophet Moosa and al Khidr.
“And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange.” Surah al Kahf 18:50
The lesson in the story of Angels and the Jinn as described in the above ayah is clear:
Jinn refused to stay with the group by preferring arrogance and haughtiness, and as the consequence of this disobedience, he had a great fall. Moreover, he earned the perpetual wrath of Allah!
The following ayah in Surah al Kahf is the key to hanging on with Jama’ah, the community comprising of righteous Muslims:
وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance…..” (Surah al Kahf 18: 28)
The command in this ayah is to be with those who patiently endure, morning and evening, in the way of Allah seeking His pleasure.
Patience and endurance are necessary to achieve success as a team.
Also, one advantage of staying with the Jama’ah is you have the cutting edge of getting sincere advice from people who care about you, which you cannot find if you stray away from the community!
Let us not forget that Allah’s barakah is always with the Jama’ah.
May Allah guide us on the Straight Path.
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October 1, 2015 - Posted by MuQeet | Reflections, Surah al Kahf | aakhirah, Allah, Be united as one Ummah, Be with the Community, Chapter 18 of the Quran, Community service, Hang on, Islam, Muslims, Quran and our life, social service in Islam, Surah al Kahf, Ummah, لَا إِسْلَامَ إِلَّا بِجَمَاعَةٍ وَلَا جَمَاعَةَ إِلَّا بِإِمَارَةٍ وَلَا إِمَارَةَ إِلَّا بِطَاعَةٍ, Yassarnalquran
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