Thursday, September 27, 2007

Surah Kahf: An Explanation of the Dua of the Young Men

Surah Kahf starts off with the story of the men who fled from the torture of their disbeliever king, and took refuge in a cave. The first ayah we read on these young believing men is their dua. Sheikh Sohail Hanif1, explains how beautiful this dua is.

When the young men fled for refuge to the Cave and said: Our Lord! Give us
mercy from Thy presence and shape for us right conduct in our plight

إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا

Let's do a breakdown of the words used in this ayah:

  • الْفِتْيَةُ fitya - young men. Another usage of this term- chivalrous (indicate strength of character)
  • لَّدُن ladun - indicates a place near or next to something. They put the term “from you” in front of their dua. They're asking for a direct mercy, not from any intermediary distance.
    The prayer they made- O Our Lord, O you who cares about us, grant us, from you, a special mercy, not the general mercy of life and gifts in life.
    What they are asking for is all good- the good of this world and the hereafter, a mercy which will save them from all humiliation, a mercy which will free them from all hardships completely
    Their circumstance at the time of supplication was that they were in dire need, in a time when every opposite thing was expected, starvation, their fate threatened to be taken away from them, and to be exiled forever from their loved ones.
  • َهَيِّئْ hayyi' - The idea here is “to prepare something” [translated here as shape for us]
  • أَمْر amr - Meaning their circumstances [Translated here as right conduct]
    Make easy for us, our circumstance
  • رَشَدًا rashad - The meaning encompasses (1) goodness or khair, (2) an-nafu: everything most beneficial to one, and (3) salaah: everything perfect and upright
    Oh Allah make our circumstances, and grant us in it complete rashad

Subhanallah, this dua was answered by Allah subhana wa ta'ala.

How did Allah give the men rashad?

  • By warding off the enemies from the cave.
  • Also Allah showed them to the cave, the cave was in a perfect location
  • He put them to sleep and they woke up in times of belief
  • And finally, the most beautiful part to me is that, He made them a sign for all of mankind

What an immense reward Subhanallah!

Benefit of reciting this prayer :

  • Gathers together all good of this world.
  • It's a sign of Allah (swt) accepting the duas soon after they are made.
1. Commentary on Key Chapters of the Qur'an


Ibn Uthman said...

Masha Allah, a truly inspiring post. The young men's dua also appears to be open to some other interpretive possibilities based on some linguistic considerations.

The use of the verb "give / grant" آتنا and the adverb لدن seems to suggest Allah has an endless reserve and an infinite store of rahmah from which He gives to His creation over an above the rahmah that is already operative and effective in the Universe which according to one tradition is only a hundreth of His total Rahmah. This number, though, should not be seen as placing a limit on Allah's Rahmah since it is merely away to bring the idea of Allah's Infinite Rahmah closer to our limited understanding. This hundreth of Allah's Rahmah can furthermore be seen as a type of system that keeps the living environment from collapsing. I mean imagine a world without mercy and compassion what would the result be?

So if Allah's Rahmah is already in our midst albeit a hundredth of His total Mercy as it were, why did these young men ask Allah to grant them Rahmah? The answer is that their request was for a special Rahmah - a Rahmah, I suppose, will save them for certain harm or death. In other words, it's a Rahmah that does not operate on the normal level that we witness on a daily level. Rather it's a Rahmah that goes against the norm as was the case with the young men.

Lastly, the verb هيِّء (prepare) has connotations of setting something up like putting the necessary things in place so as to bring about the desired effect, which in this case is Rashad (to remain steadfast and uprighteous in their Deen). In other words, their request was that certain events be set in motion so as to lead to them being able to safeguard their Deen as well as being out of harm's way. It does not mean that Allah Himself is in any need of these processes to bring about the desired effect. It only means that Allah does it whichever way He pleases - with or without processes.

I'm sorry for my somewhat lengthy comment but I just thought I'll share some of these points with you.

Fahim kamtan mirza said...

mashallah you have done a great job and good research to and i was delighted to find such a nice and resourceful blog

Eaalim Institute said...

Great blog, Thanks.

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