Surah Al-Kahf

Surah Al-Kahf is the 18th chapter of the Quran in juz (para) 15 and 16. It has 110 verses, divided into 12 ruku'. The title of the verse translates to "The Cave" in English. Surah Kahf is a Meccan Surah. Surah Al-Kahf was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as an answer to the questions the Mushrikins and Jews of Makkah asked the Prophet to test Him and his knowledge of the hidden and unseen as these questions were about the history of Jews and Christians and not recorded in Hijaz. The questions were as follows:

  • "Who were the companions of the Cave?"
  • "What is the real story of Khizr?"
  • ‘’Who was Zul-Qarnain?’’

Through Surah Al-Kahf, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) provided a thorough and detailed answer to the questions of the Mushrikin and also revealed the story of the Companions of the Cave to their disadvantage.

١٨ - ٱلْكَهْف

18 - Al-Kahf

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلہِ الَّذِيْۗ اَنْزَلَ عَلٰي عَبْدِہِ الْكِتٰبَ وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَّہٗ عِوَجًا۝۱ۭ۫
Alhamdu lillahi allathee anzala AAala AAabdihi alkitaba walam yajAAal lahu AAiwajan


Ahmed Ali

ALL PRAISE BE to God who has revealed to His votary the Book which is free of all obliquity,


قَيِّـمًا لِّيُنْذِرَ بَاْسًا شَدِيْدًا مِّنْ لَّدُنْہُ وَيُبَشِّرَ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ الصّٰلِحٰتِ اَنَّ لَہُمْ اَجْرًا حَسَـنًا۝۲ۙ
Qayyiman liyunthira basan shadeedan min ladunhu wayubashshira almumineena allatheena yaAAmaloona alssalihati anna lahum ajran hasanan


Ahmed Ali

Immutable, so that it may warn of a severe punishment from Him; and give happy tidings to those who believe and do the right that there is a better reward (of Paradise) for them,


مَّاكِثِيْنَ فِيْہِ اَبَدًا۝۳ۙ
Makitheena feehi abadan


Ahmed Ali

Where they will abide for ever;


وَّيُنْذِرَ الَّذِيْنَ قَالُوا اتَّخَذَ اللہُ وَلَدًا۝۴ۤ
Wayunthira allatheena qaloo ittakhatha Allahu waladan


Ahmed Ali

And that it may warn those who say: "God has begotten a son."


مَا لَہُمْ بِہٖ مِنْ عِلْمٍ وَّلَا لِاٰبَاۗىِٕہِمْ۝۰ۭ كَبُرَتْ كَلِمَۃً تَخْرُجُ مِنْ اَفْوَاہِہِمْ۝۰ۭ اِنْ يَّقُوْلُوْنَ اِلَّا كَذِبًا۝۵
Ma lahum bihi min AAilmin wala liabaihim kaburat kalimatan takhruju min afwahihim in yaqooloona illa kathiban


Ahmed Ali

They have no knowledge of this, as their fathers did not have. How terrible are the words they utter! They speak nothing but lies.


فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلٰۗي اٰثَارِہِمْ اِنْ لَّمْ يُؤْمِنُوْا بِہٰذَا الْحَدِيْثِ اَسَفًا۝۶
FalaAAallaka bakhiAAun nafsaka AAala atharihim in lam yuminoo bihatha alhadeethi asafan


Ahmed Ali

Will you kill yourself for grief of them if they do not believe in this presentation?


اِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَي الْاَرْضِ زِيْنَۃً لَّہَا لِنَبْلُوَہُمْ اَيُّہُمْ اَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا۝۷
Inna jaAAalna ma AAala alardi zeenatan laha linabluwahum ayyuhum ahsanu AAamalan


Ahmed Ali

We have made whatever exists on the earth its adornment to test and try them (and) know who acts better;


وَاِنَّا لَجٰعِلُوْنَ مَا عَلَيْہَا صَعِيْدًا جُرُزًا۝۸ۭ
Wainna lajaAAiloona ma AAalayha saAAeedan juruzan


Ahmed Ali

For We shall certainly turn it to barren dust.


اَمْ حَسِبْتَ اَنَّ اَصْحٰبَ الْكَہْفِ وَالرَّقِيْمِ۝۰ۙ كَانُوْا مِنْ اٰيٰتِنَا عَجَــبًا۝۹
Am hasibta anna ashaba alkahfi waalrraqeemi kanoo min ayatina AAajaban


Ahmed Ali

Do you think the men of the cave and Ar-Raqim were so strange among Our signs?


اِذْ اَوَى الْفِتْيَۃُ اِلَى الْكَہْفِ فَقَالُوْا رَبَّنَاۗ اٰتِنَا مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ رَحْمَۃً وَّہَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ اَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا۝۱۰
Ith awa alfityatu ila alkahfi faqaloo rabbana atina min ladunka rahmatan wahayyi lana min amrina rashadan


Ahmed Ali

When those young men took shelter in the cave, and prayed: "O Lord, grant us Your favour and dispose our affair aright,"


Allah's Answer Through Surah Al-Kahf 

In Surah Al-Kahf, Allah tells the Mushrikin that the Companions of the Cave also believed in the concept of Tawhid (Oneness of Allah), which is the message of the Quran. The Surah explained that the circumstances of the companions of the Cave were similar to the conditions of the oppressed Muslims of Makkah. Moreover, the persecutors of the Companions of the Cave behaved similarly to the Quraysh behaved toward Muslims at the time. 

In the next section, the Surah talked about Khizr and Moses. Through the tale of their journey, Allah answered the queries of the Mushrikin and provided relief to the believers. It taught the believers to keep their faith in Allah as the reality of things is hidden from mankind. Sometimes, what a man thinks is good for him may not be in his favor at all. So, even if something is going against the believer, in the end, it may lead to good results.

Next, Al-Kahf talks about Zul Qaranin, a great ruler and conqueror who always put his faith in Allah and surrendered entirely to Him. Although he had a wall to protect him against his enemies, he still believed he could only be protected through the wall by the will of Allah alone. 

Themes and Subject Matter of Surah Al-Kahf 

The major themes in Surah Al Kahf are as follows:

  • Verse 9-26: Trial of faith – the story of the people of the Cave
  • Verse 32-44: Trial of wealth – story of the wealthy and poor
  • Verse 60-82: Trial of knowledge – Khizr and Moses
  • Verse 83-98: Trial of power – Zul-Qarnain 

The 3 stories of trials narrate 3 unique lessons to the believers in Surah Al-Kahf. Overall, the theme of this Surah teaches us that Allah puts a believer's faith to the test. However, if the believer is steadfast in their faith and holds closely to it, Allah helps his creation in more ways than they can imagine. Surah Kahf also teaches Muslims that their wealth is a test from Allah. Allah tests those whom He grants wealth to for their gratefulness to Him. It also teaches believers that all worldly materials in this life are temporary. So, one should focus on their relationship with Allah rather than dwelling on worldly materials.

Surah Kahf also serves as a reminder that skills such as knowledge should not turn a person arrogant or proud. Rather, the person should maintain humility, and those who have power or authority, it is also through Allah. So, they should use their power to do good rather than evil.

Virtues and Benefits  

Recitation of Surah Al-Kahf has the following benefits: 

Helps achieve success in the afterlife 

Abu Darda reported Allah's Messenger (п·є) saying:

"If anyone learns by heart the first ten verses of the Surah al-Kahf, he will be protected from the Dajjal (antichrist)" Sunan Abi Dawud 4323

Brings tranquility and peace 

Al-Bara' reported that a person was reciting Surat al-Kahf, and there was a horse tied with two ropes at his side; a cloud overshadowed him, and as it began to come nearer and nearer, his horse began to take fright from it. He went and mentioned that to the Prophet (п·є) in the morning, and he (the Holy Prophet) said:

"That was tranquillity which came down at the recitation of the Qur'an." – Sahih Muslim 795a

Brings blessings 

AbЕ« Sa'id reported the Prophet as saying, "If anyone recites sЕ«ra al-Kahf (Qur'ДЃn, 18) on Friday, light will shine brightly for him till the next Friday." – Mishkat-al-Masabih 2175