Surat Al-Kahf was revealed in Makkah. Many Ahadeeth confirm the virtues of this Surah. The first and the last ten Ayahs provide protection from Dajjal. It is pivotal to understand that Surat Al-Kahf is not just a magical spell that will serve as a shield against the Antichrist. Rather, the comprehension of its underlying meaning and application of the suggested measures will save us from Dajjal.
Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “Whoever memorizes ten Ayahs from the beginning of Surat Al-Kahf will be protected from the Dajjal.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nasai and At-Tirmidhi)
The Surah starts with Allah (swt) praising His Holy Self for revealing the Mighty Book to His noble messenger, Muhammad (sa). Then, Allah (swt) tells us that He has created the world as a temporary abode to test mankind. It is not a permanent place of settlement. The Prophet (sa) states the same: “This world is sweet and green, and Allah (swt) makes you generations succeeding one another, so He is watching what you will do. Beware of (the beguilements of) this world and beware of women, for the first affliction that children of Israel suffered from was that of women.” (Ahmad) This world will eventually come to an end. After having adorned it, Allah (swt) will wipe out everything. The land will be left dry and bare, devoid of any vegetation. Four main stories, which follow in this surah, are:
1) The people of the cave
This is a story of a few young men who lived in a disbelieving town. They decided to migrate for the sake of Allah (swt), as it was difficult for them to preserve their Iman (faith). They feared execution or conversion to disbelief. They fled and retreated into a cave. Then, they invoked their Lord I for guidance and assistance. Allah (swt) responded to their sincere prayers and rewarded them with mercy. They were put into deep slumber for 309 lunar years. When they woke up, they found that the entire village had embraced Islam.
2) The Owner of the Garden
This story highlights a potential trap of wealth and noble lineage that boastful people fall into, forsaking their faith. Allah (swt) gives a parable of two men. One is a rich idolater, blessed with two gardens and abundant fruit. The other man is a poor Muslim. The wealthy man denies the Hereafter, as he is enamored with this world and its adornments. Then, he proudly states that if the Hour occurred, he would be provided with an even better share as Allah (swt) held him dear. The poor believer rebukes him and warns him of Allah’s (swt) punishment. Finally, the rich man loses all his worldly possessions due to his disbelief. His delayed regret does not benefit him.
3) Musa’s Meeting with Khidr
When the children of Israel asked Musa (as): “Who’s the most knowledgeable among the people of the earth?” Musa (as) replied: “I am.” Allah (swt) revealed to him that there was someone who knew more than he did. Musa (as) embarked on an extended journey with his boy-servant Yusha Ibn Nun to a man called Khidr (as). Khidr (as) taught Musa (as) that his knowledge and Musa’s (as) knowledge collectively compared to Allah’s (swt) supreme knowledge was as if a bird dipped its beak once or twice in the sea.
4) Dhul-Qarnayn’s Extensive Travels
The last story in the Surah is of the great King Dhul-Qarnayn, who was given knowledge and power. He had armies, war equipment, siege machinery, etc. He was known as ‘the one with two horns’, as he dominated the east and the west. In spite of his might, he was a God-fearing and just ruler. He was able to overcome Yajooj-Majooj (an evil and destructive nation) and build a massive dam with the help of people, whom he could not even understand.
Relationship Between Surat Al-Kahf and Dajjal?
Dajjal will appear before the Day of Judgement with the following four trials:
1. He’ll ask people to worship him and not Allah (swt)- trial of faith.
2. He’ll be given powers to tempt people with his wealth – trial of wealth.
3. He’ll test people with the knowledge and news he gives them – trial of knowledge.
4. He’ll control numerous parts of the earth – trial of power.
How to Survive These Trials?
The answers are in Surat Al-Kahf:
“And keep yourself (O Muhammad) patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, and who follows his own lusts, and whose affair has been lost.” (Al-Kahf 18:28) This highlights a critical issue of our times, namely peer pressure. Regardless of age, status and gender, a majority of people succumb to the popular culture. They never question its ethics or morality. Allah (swt) cautions Mumins to steer clear of such people and their trends.
Understanding the Truth of this World
“And mention the parable of the worldly life: it is like the water, which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.” (Al-Kahf 18:45) The antidote for the love of this world and materialism is a realization of its true value. A passenger does not invest his time, love and money in a transit lounge at the airport. A believer should realize that his/her destination is beyond this world. He/she should not long for a fleeting and short-lived abode that will eventually be destroyed.
“Musa said: ‘If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.’” (Al-Kahf 18:69) Allah (swt) has created man from clay. One should always remember that it is this soil that everyone will return to. When Umar t, the second caliph and the conqueror of Persia and Rome, the two superpowers of his time, was advised to show humility, he placed his cheek on the ground.
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘I am only a man like you. It has been revealed to me that your God is One God. So who ever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” (Al-Kahf 18:110) Sincerity means to be free from pretence or deceit in feelings, manners and actions. A believer does not travel in two boats. He is clear about his goals in life and, hence, he formulates his ideology in accordance with Allah’s (swt) pleasure only.
Calling to Allah (swt)
“And recite what has been revealed to you (O Muhammad) of your Lord’s Book (The Quran). None can change His Words, and none will you find as refuge other than Him.” (Al-Kahf 18:27) Muslims are expected to invite the rest of the world to the true revelation of eternal salvation. This is a pivotal job entrusted to form a universal brotherhood and bring peace to others. This was the mission of the Prophet (sa) and after him, of every Muslim.
Remembering the Hereafter
“And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a levelled plain, and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind. And they will be set before your Lord in (lines as) rows, (and Allah will say): “Now indeed, you have come to Us as We created you the first time. Nay, but you thought that We had appointed no meeting for you (with Us).” (Al-Kahf 18:47-48) When Allah (swt) created humans, He instilled a sense of accountability in them. This facilitates them to choose between right and wrong. Believers, thus, act with responsibility rather than on impulse or instinct because they clearly know that they will have to face their Lord I one day to account for their deeds.