Sunday, June 2, 2013



First we will read their mention in the Quran (God's words) and then in the Bible and then we will analyse both:
Chapter 18 : 9. Or dost thou reflect that the Companions of the Cave and of the Inscription were wonders among Our Sign?
10. Behold, the youths betook themselves to the Cave: they said, "Our Lord! bestow on us Mercy from Thyself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!"
11. Then We draw (a veil) over their ears, for a number of years, in the Cave, (so that they heard not):
12. Then We roused them, in order to test which of the two parties was best at calculating the term of years they had tarried!
13. We relate to thee their story in truth: they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance:
14. We gave strength to their hearts: Behold, they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!
15. "These our people have taken for worship gods other than Him: why do they not bring forward an authority clear (and convincing) for what they do? Who doth more wrong than such as invent a falsehood against Allah.
16. "When ye turn away from them and the things they worship other than Allah, betake yourselves to the Cave: Your Lord will shower His mercies on you and disposes of your affair towards comfort and ease."
17. Thou wouldst have seen the sun, when it rose, declining to the right from their Cave, and when it set, turning away from them to the left, while they lay in the open space in the midst of the Cave. Such are among the Signs of Allah. He whom Allah, guides is rightly guided; but he whom Allah leaves to stray,- for him wilt thou find no protector to lead him to the Right Way.
18. Thou wouldst have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if thou hadst come up on to them, thou wouldst have certainly turned back from them in flight, and wouldst certainly have been filled with terror of them.
19. Such (being their state), we raised them up (from sleep), that they might question each other. Said one of them, "How long have ye stayed (here)?" They said, "We have stayed (perhaps) a day, or part of a day." (At length) they (all) said, "(Allah) (alone) knows best how long ye have stayed here.... Now send ye then one of you with this money of yours to the town: let him find out which is the best food (to be had) and bring some to you, that (ye may) satisfy your hunger therewith: And let him behave with care and courtesy, and let him not inform any one about you.
20. "For if they should come upon you, they would stone you or force you to return to their cult, and in that case ye would never attain prosperity."
21. Thus did We make their case known to the people, that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour of Judgment. Behold, they dispute among themselves as to their affair. (Some) said, "Construct a building over them": Their Lord knows best about them: those who prevailed over their affair said, "Let us surely build a place of worship over them."
22. (Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth,- doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: "My Lord knoweth best their number; It is but few that know their (real case)." Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers.
23. Nor say of anything, "I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow"-
24. Without adding, "So please Allah." and call thy Lord to mind when thou forgettest, and say, "I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right road."
25. So they stayed in their Cave three hundred years, and (some) add nine (more)
26. Say: "(Allah) knows best how long they stayed: with Him is (the knowledge of) the secrets of the heavens and the earth: how clearly He sees, how finely He hears (everything)! They have no protector other than Him; nor does He share His Command with any person whatsoever.
27. And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him. 

Location : Amman, Jordan

This Surah was sent down in answer to the three questions which the mushriks of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, had put to the Holy Prophet in order to test him. These were: 
(1) Who were "the Sleepers of' the Cave"? 
(2) What is the real story of Khidr? and 
(3) What do you know about Zul-Qarnain? 

As these three questions and the stories involved concerned the history of the Christians and the Jews, and were unknown in Hijaz, a choice of these was made to test whether the Holy Prophet possessed any source of the knowledge of the hidden and unseen things. 

Allah, however, not only gave a complete answer to their questions but also employed the three stories to the disadvantage of the opponents of Islam in the conflict that was going on at that time at Makkah between Islam and un-belief:
  1. The questioners were told that "the Sleepers of the Cave" believed in the same doctrine of Tauhid which was being put forward in the Quran and that their condition was similar to the condition of the persecuted Muslims of Makkah. On the other hand, the persecutors of the Sleepers of the Cave had behaved in the same way towards them as the disbelievers of the Quraish were behaving towards the Muslims. Besides this, the Muslims have been taught that even if a Believer is persecuted by a cruel society, he should not bow down before falsehood but emigrate from the place all alone, if need be, with trust in God. Incidentally the disbelievers of Makkah were told that the story of the Sleepers of the Cave was a clear proof of the creed of the Hereafter, for this showed that Allah has the power to resurrect anyone He wills even after a long sleep of death as He did in case of the Sleepers of the Cave.
  2. The story of the Sleepers of the Cave has also been used to warn the chiefs of Makkah who were persecuting the small newly formed Muslim Community. At the same time, the Holy Prophet has been instructed that he should in no case make a compromise with their persecutors nor should he consider them to be more important than his poor followers. On the other hand, those chiefs have been admonished that they should not be puffed up with the transitory life of pleasure they were then enjoying but should seek after those excellences which are permanent and eternal.
  3. The story of Khidr and Moses has been related in such a way as to supply the answer to the question of the disbelievers and to give comfort to the Believers as well. The lesson contained in this story is this "You should have full faith in the wisdom of what is happening in the Divine Factory in accordance with the will of Allah. As the reality is hidden from you, you are at a loss to understand the wisdom of what is happening, and sometimes if it appears that things are going against you, you cry out, 'How and why has this happened'. The fact is that if the curtain be removed from the "unseen", you would yourselves come to know that what is happening here is for the best. Even if some times it appears that something is going against you, you will see that in the end it also produces some good results for you.
  4. The same is true of the story of Zul-Qarnain for it also admonishes the questioners, as if to say, "0 you vain chiefs of Makkah you should learn a lesson from Zul-Qarnain. Though he was a great ruler, a great conqueror and the owner of great resources, yet he always surrendered to his Creator, whereas you are rebelling against Him even though you are insignificant chieftains in comparison with him. Besides this, though Zul-Qarnain built one of the strongest walls for protection, yet his real trust was in Allah and not in the "wall". He believed that the wall could protect him against his enemies as long as it was the will of Allah and that there would be crack and holes in it, when it would be His will : whereas you who possess only insignificant fortified abodes and dwellings in comparison with him, consider yourselves to be permanently safe and secure against all sorts of calamities."
While the Quran turned the tables on the questioners who had tried to "expose" the Holy Prophet, in the end of the Surah the same things have been reiterated that were stated at its beginning: "Tauhid and the Hereafter are absolutely true and real and for your own good you should accept these doctrines, mend your ways in accordance with them and live in this world with this conviction that you are accountable to Allah: otherwise you shall ruin your life and all your doings shall be set at naught."

The Quran doesn't exactly mention the number of sleepers Surah 18, verse 22. It gives the number of years that they slept as 300 solar years(equivalent to 309 lunar years). Unlike the Christian story, the Islamic version includes mention of a dog who accompanied the youths into the cave, and was also asleep, but when people passed by the cave it looked as if the dog was just keeping watch at the entrance, making them afraid of seeing what is in the cave once they saw the dog.

The ancient picture of a dog painted on the cave wall had dimly suggested to the local inhabitants and a few scholars in an earlier generation the story of the dog who guarded the cave of the Seven Sleepers.

Mention of Seven Sleepers in the book "ASSUMPTION OF MOSES"

Provenance : 
The book "ASSUMPTION OF MOSES" consisted of 12 chapters, originally of 1,100 stichoi [lines], about half of which had been discovered. This ‘Assumption of Moses’. According to the Introduction of this book by its editor, it was originally written in Hebrew, between AD 7 and 29. A Greek version of it appeared in the first century AD. The Greek version was translated into Latin not later than the fifth century. Included in ‘The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English’, Vol. II, edited by R. H. Charles in conjunction with many scholars, (The Oxf. Univ. Press, 1979), pp. 414-24, with an Introduction to this ‘Assumption’, pp. 407-13.  It was first published in 1913. 

The present treatise, ‘The Assumption of Moses’, consists of 12 chapters, rather paragraphs, of an average of more or less twenty lines each.
At the very outset, in chapter 1, Moses (pbAh) calls Joshua the son of Nun to him, and tells him:
That the time of the years of my life is fulfilled and I am passing away to sleep with my fathers even in the presence of all the people. And receive thou this writing that thou mayst know how to preserve the books which I shall deliver unto thee.562
He also tells him: that he might be the minister of the people (…), and that he might bring the people into the land given to their fathers, that it should be given to them according to the covenant and the oath.563
It is evident from these lines that this treatise consists of some information which is very important according to Moses (pbAh). That’s why he is putting it forward at the end of his ‘years of life’ as his last will or ‘testament’.564 It would be pertinent to study very briefly the outlines of the contents of each chapter to understand the development of the theme.
In Chapter 2 Moses (pbAh) tells Joshua:
Thou shalt bless and give to them individually and confirm unto them their inheritance in me.565
 He also informs him briefly about the salient features of the history of Israel till the conquest of Nebuchadnezzer566 in a symbolic manner.
In chapter 3 Moses (pbAh) gives a brief account of the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzer.
In chapter 4 Moses (pbAh) informs about the coming of Daniel and his praying for the Jews and their deliverance from the captivity and return from the exile of Babylon to their homeland, Jerusalem.567 Chapter 5 states the occupation of the Seleucidae and the Greek kings and generals. Later, in the person of Antiochus, they punished the apostate Jewish nation.
Chapter 6 relates to the Maccabees without mentioning their names.
With the end of chapter 6 the author’s own lifetime starts. He can now no more state the events of the past as well as the predictions of the future. He can now state only some obscure predictions and enigmatical symbols.
The treacherous men, self-pleasers, gluttons, and deceitful people of chapter 7 can be interpreted in terms of the Sadducees. According to the editor the ‘second visitation is too accurate an account of Antiochus Epiphanes’568 persecution.’569

As regards chapter 9, Moses (PBUH), or whosoever of the inspired saints or scribes be the author, foretells the incident of taking refuge of the ‘Seven Sleepers’ in a cave to spare themselves from the persecution of the Roman Emperor, Decius.570

The incident has been recorded in the Qur’an in chapter 18 (al-Kahf, i.e., The Cave). Although the editor attaches chapter 9 to some other irrelevant person Eleazar of 2 Macc. vi. 18 (whose name has been mentioned here as ‘Taxo’), who was one of the chief scribes, and, according to 4 Macc. v. 3, a priest; its application to the event of the ‘Seven Sleepers’ of Ephesus is more significant. Some of its excerpts would illustrate it:
Then in that day there shall be a man of the tribe of Levi, whose name shall be Taxo, who having seven sons shall speak to them exhorting (them): ‘Observe, my sons, behold a second ruthless (and) unclean visitation [trouble or disaster considered as a punishment from God (Oxf. Adv. Learner’s Encyclopedic Dic., p. 1010)] has come upon the people, and a punishment merciless and far exceeding the first. (…). Now, therefore, my sons, hear me (…). Let us fast for the space of three days and on the fourth let us go into a cave which is in the field, and let us die rather than transgress the commands of the Lord of Lords, the God of our fathers. For if we do this and die, our blood shall be avenged before the Lord.

It may be noted here that the event of the ‘Seven Sleepers of Ephesus’ is the main and significant event of the domain of religion between the period of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). That’s why Moses (PBUH) has told it to Joshua. It may also be noted here that the book ‘Assumption of Moses’ was written in the first quarter of the first century AD. It is, as such, foretelling the event more than two hundred years before its occurrence. It is an obvious testimony of the veracity of the event and the very book.


Chapter 10 of the ‘Testament’, indicates its main and central theme. It relates the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Some of its lines are reproduced below: 

And then His kingdom shall appear throughout all His creation, 
And He will appear to punish the Gentiles,
 And He will destroy all their idols.
And do thou, Joshua (the son of) Nun, keep these words and this book;  
For from my death [assumption] until His advent there shall be CCL times (Year weeks) (i.e. 250 year weeks i.e. 250*7 = 1750 years).

The meanings of the original Hebrew word (according to its idiomatic usage in that context), which has been translated here in English as ‘times’, are ‘year weeks’ as explained by the editor. The ‘year week’ stands for ‘seven years’, in the same way as the ‘day week’ stands for ‘seven days’. Consequently ‘250 year weeks’ will mean ‘ 250 x 7 years, i.e. 1750 years’.

Above passage foretells the advent of the ‘kingdom of God’, which is to be established 1750 years after the death of Moses (PBUH). To appreciate the exact personality that was to establish the foretold ‘kingdom of God’, first of all we have to find out the point of time in the world history that falls 1750 years after the death of Moses (PBUH).

Exodus of Israelites under Moses (PBUH) from Egypt during the period of Pharaoh Rameses II who ruled Egypt ( 1290 to 1224 BC) i.e. Rameses II drowned and died in 1224 BC. [Oxford Bible Atlas] & [ Exodus 14:5-18,21-23,26-28]
- Israelites wondered for forty years in Sinai before entering into the land of Canaan. Moses (pbAh)
 died at the end of this forty-year wandering in the wilderness before the entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua son of Nun. It shows that Moses (pbAh) died in the year 1184 BC (1224-40=1184). That the Israelites had wandered in Sinai for forty years after the announcement of this punishment for their misbehavior in Sinai and before their entry into the Promised Land of Canaan.

The punishment of forty years wandering in the wilderness had not started just after the entrance of the Israelites into Sinai. There had elapsed a number of events and misdeeds of the Israelites stretching on a long time that justified this heavy punishment. The description of this period is stretched in the Bible on 26 chapters of the book of Exodus, complete book of Leviticus (27 chapters), and fourteen chapters of the book of Numbers; which make a total of 67 chapters. It would have definitely taken at least four years of the sinful activities of the Israelites to justify the pronouncement of the punishment of forty years wandering into the wilderness of Sinai. 
It means that Moses (PBUH) would have died almost forty four years after the death of Rameses II who died of drowning in the sea in the year 1224 BC. As such the year of the death of Moses (PBUH) becomes 1180 BC (1224-44=1180). It can thus be affirmed that the gap between the death of Moses (PBUH) and the birth of Jesus Christ (PBUH) is 1180 years. 

Birth Year of Muhammad (PBUH)
It is almost unanimously held that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in AD 570.
Geo. W. Gilmore observes in his article ‘Mohammed, Mohammedanism’:
Mohammed, ‘The Praised,’ the posthumous son of AbduAllah, a member of the Koraish tribe, by Aminah, was born at Mecca Aug. 20, 570, and died at Medina June 8, 632.

Moses (PBUH) foretold about none other than Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his prophecy recorded in the ‘Assumption of Moses’
It can thus be appreciated that the number of years from the death of Moses (PBUH) till the birth of Jesus (PBUH) is 1180 years; and the number of years from the birth of Jesus (PBUH) till the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is 570. Now 1180+570 make nothing else than 1750 years. It reveals that Moses (PBUH) foretold about none other than Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in his prophecy recorded in the ‘Assumption of Moses’. It should also be borne in mind that there is only one prominent figure in the annals of history that fulfils this prophecy of the ‘Assumption of Moses’ in letter and spirit. It is only the person of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and none other than he. He came exactly after 1750 years from the death of Moses (PBUH). As such, there remains no justifiable reason to denying the sincerity of the claim to the apostolate of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for an honest, impartial, and unbiased person. 

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562 The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, 415.
563 The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, 414.
564 The name of this treatise, in fact, is ‘Testament of Moses’, and not ‘The Assumption of Moses’. The editor points it out in his introduction under § 2 as its caption, ‘The present book in reality a Testament of Moses—not the Assumption, which is preserved only in a few Greek quotations.’
565 The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, 415 f.
566 Nebuchadnezzer was the king of Babylonia for 605-562 BC. His father was Nabupolassar, who was a Chaldean chieftain appointed by the Assyrians the governor of ‘the Sea lands,’ the extreme S of Mesopotamia. The weakness of Assyria, then in its decline, made it possible for Nabupolassar to revolt and proclaim himself king of Babylon in 626 BC. His son, Nebuchadnezzer, conquered and destroyed Jerusalem after a bitter siege in 587-6 BC.
567 The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, 417.
568 King of Syria from 175 to 163 BC. ‘Epiphanes’ means great or distinguished. His policy of attaining political unity by propagating Greek culture met with violent resistance from the Jews. In 169 BC he attacked Jerusalem and spoiled the Temple, and in 167 BC made a renewed and fiercer onslaught in a determination to exterminate Judaism. Jewish customs were forbidden under penalty of death, the Temple defiled and pagan cults instituted. This led to the Maccabean Revolt, after which Antiochus retired to Persia, where he died.
569 The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, 420.
570 C. Messius Quintus Decius had been the Roman Emperor for 249-251. F.L.Cross describes in The Oxf. Dic. of the Christian Church, 2 edn., (London: Oxf. Univ. Press, 1974), p. 384:
After Emp. Philip’s defeat and death near Verona, Decius was accepted by the Senate. In the next year he undertook the first systematic persecution of the Christians, beginning with the execution of Fabian, Bp. of Rome, in Jan. 250. In June all citizens were required to furnish proof of having offered sacrifice to the Emperor; and, though many gave way or escaped through bribery, thousands were put to death. (…) The persecution, which was probably initiated to combat the allegedly fissiparous [reproducing with fission] influence of Christianity, was ended by the death of
Decius in June 251. 
The event of ‘Seven Sleepers’ (Ashab al-Kahf of the Qur’an) relates to ca. 250 AD to 447 AD. They had embraced Christian faith. RomanEmperor of the time, Dacius, was deadly against Christianity and the Christians. When they were brought before him, he allowed them a respite for three days to reconsider their stance and to return to their previous faith of idol worship; otherwise they would be put to death.
They ran away and hid in a cave outside the city of Ephesus. There they went into the miraculous sleep in this mysterious cave ca. 250 AD during the reign of the Roman Emperor Decius. They got up in 447 AD in the days of the Roman Emperor Theodosius II. The Roman Empire had already accepted and adopted the Christian faith.  It was an important event spread over the span of the third to fifth centuries AD. The ‘Assumption’ was written in the Hebrew language not later than the first to third decades of the first century AD. Its factual account of an event which was to occur centuries after its compilation testifies its veracity. 

A Trial of Persecution of One's Beliefs
The story of the people of the cave centres on a group of believing young men who lived in a society of shirk, wherein those young men were persecuted for their beliefs. Allah records how they stood firm upon their beliefs, addressing their despot ruler and their people,
“And We made their hearts firm and strong when they stood up and said: 'Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any god other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief.'” Al-Kahf, 18: 14.
In many ways this resembles the situation of the early Muslims when they were often tortured and persecuted simply for saying 'Lā ilāha illa Allah'. Those believing young men fled their city for fear of their lives just as the Companions fled Mecca seeking the sanctuary of Madinah.
“And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah, then seek refuge in the Cave, your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair.” Al-Kahf, 18:16. 
Allah answered this supplication and gave these young men a great miracle, showing His mercy towards the believers, and His power over the creation.

“And they stayed in their Cave three hundred years, and add nine.”Al-Kahf, 18: 25.
This too was the case with the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his Companions, who were often given victory despite the odds.
“And thus We made their case known to the people, that they might know that the Promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour.” Al-Kahf, 18:21.
This is one of the most common trials the believers will face; trials to do with their faith. At its most extreme, it can lead to persecution and torture, but there are many other forms it can take. Derogatory remarks, uncomfortable stares and sometimes a deficiency complex when having to openly show our religion in front of others are all forms many of us have experienced. At times, it can be our own family and friends who attempt to dissuade us when we want to increase in our attempts to practice Islam. Throughout this story we are told of the ways to overcome this trial; strong īmān, turning to Allah, depending and trusting in Him and making duʻā to Him.
“Truly! They were young men who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” Al-Kahf, 18: 13.  

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