Shab-e-Juma Mubarak. We are so lucky to see another Juma in life and be able to discuss virtues of Surah al Kahf. For greater part of my life, I did not benefit from the virtues of this Surah. Reasons are simple. I was born in a Muslim household where it was believed that reciting Surah Al Kahf was an important ritual. I was part of an inquisitive generation. Someone had to convince me with reason to make me understand why reciting a particular passage of Quran on a particular day was necessary. Unfortunately, conduct, method and intellect of Moulvi Sahab failed to stir my imagination. I got lost. I got late. I have to make up for the time lost. Now I pray, with this little typing effort, someone or everyone benefits from the virtues of this Surah.
Coming to business end of today’s entry, the best part of the Surah remains the story of the men of cave. In ancient time when those young men received the message of Truth, they accepted it. However, they were to face retaliation from the society. They fled the city to protection of the cave where Allah Almighty gave them sleep. They slept in that cave for centuries (Most probably 308 years, however, only Allah knows the whole Truth). Meanwhile, their whole city converted into believers. This Surah gives the message that those who believe in Allah and ask for protection from Him, He gives them the best protection the likes of which the world has never seen. It is brilliant how Allah immortalize those young men that even today we are discussing them. A global remembrance is observed every week by the Muslims spread across the globe.
Besides this illuminating story and amazing message, the Surah also comes with a variety of virtues as described in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
First Virtue: It is narrated by Abu Saeed al-Khurdi, who said: “Whoever reads Surah al Kahf on the night of Juma, will have a light that will stretch between him and the Ancient House (Ka'aba).” (al-Jaami) This hadith goes on to show the power of the Surah when recited on Friday night. The hadith shows that the Surah brings light to the reader and the stretch of the light covers the area between Ka'aba and the reader, no matter how far away the reader is from the House of Allah. But you have to rein in your imagination. This stretch of light can be loosely considered as the light of blessings and mercy of Allah. It can also be a metaphoric reference which uses imagery to appeal believers. Believers may belong to opposite extremes of intellectual spectrum. Yet, irrespective of intellect level, everyone blessed with the power of faith can connect with this light. Or light is just mentioned to emphasize the sheer importance of reciting this Surah on Juma. Or there might be few blessed ones who actually could see that light, as Allah has all the power to do that. Extreme care is required to control our expectation levels. It should not happen that you recite the Al Kahf today and start waiting for that immense beam of light to appear before you. Keep your expectations in accordance with your deeds, faith and spiritual purity.
Second Virtue: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “One who memorized the first ten verses of Surah Al Kahf will be secure against the Dajjal (Anti-Christ).” (Muslim) Although Dajjal is mentioned only once in Quran but he is an undeniable reality of end of times. Allah has the knowledge of unseen, yet signs suggest that end of times is nearing. Dajjal (the master of trickery and deceit) will bring destruction to mankind and play havoc to the world. Like every other adversity in this world, Dajjal will come as a test. The final test before Judgement Day because by then this world would have lost the purpose of its creation. Anyway because of Dajjal's might, people with low and weak faith will turn towards him. They will rally around him. At that time, those who believe will ask help from Allah Almighty to protect them against his destruction. Therefore, if one wishes to be safe through such tumultuous times, they should try to memorize the first ten verses of Surah al Kahf and try reciting them whenever the chance becomes available. Again necessary care to be exercised . We must not get carried away by reciting these verses. These are just signs. The guidelines of Allah's manifesto laid down in Al Quran. This Surah may shield us from fitna of Dajjal from Juma to next Juma. But it will be our fear (Taqwa) and faith in Allah that will carry us across that Bridge. The point is simple, Ibadaat like this may guard us against an evil but our deeds done with sincerity of purpose will carry us through.
May Allah be our Guide & Guardian.
(Other virtues, next week, Insha Allah)