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154 Passage 2 | Lessons From History

Lesson 10
We have come towards the end of the story of Ashab al-Qaryah and will be coming to the end of the
story. We have reached the part where the believing man comes to the scene in order to give people
advice. Even though the prophets have given them advice and they have rejected them, he comes to
give them some beautiful advice, telling them to follow the prophets, telling them to worship Allah
and criticizing their ideology but doing it in an indirect, noble manner. However, the reaction of the
people is negative. Their reaction is not mentioned in the story, but the ayah says he was told to
enter paradise. So between the lines we are told that their reaction was negative, and in fact, they
went and killed him.

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Here, there are many details mentioned by the scholars of tafseer about how he was killed. Imam atTabari said the way he was killed is that the people surrounded him, seized him and then trampled
over him to the point that his intestines came out of his back. This is how aggressive they were
towards him, and the way they killed him, was horrendous. And it shows their hatred towards this
person, the believer, and towards the messengers as well.
Allah did not mention any of that; all we are told is that it was said to him, enter paradise. We spoke
about the wisdoms behind that - one of them was to show how quickly his reward came to him - it
was immediate. He was told enter into paradise. Which also shows us, that he died as a martyr.
Because the Prophet told us that the souls of martyrs are inside green birds which roam around
the skies of paradise, sometimes perching on the arsh of ar-Rahmaan. So this is one of the wisdoms
why to show that his reward was immediate.

Allah trivialises the hardships of Dunya to make us focus on Hereafter


Another wisdom why Allah did not tell us how he was killed is to trivialize the hardship of this world
and magnify the reward of the hereafter. This is a really deep lesson. In the Quran, and even from
the Prophet , they would trivilaize the hardships that people would face in this life, especially in
the life of a believer, in order so they would live for the rewards of the hereafter.
Once, one of the companions of the Prophet , Khabbab bin Arth came to the Prophet in
Makkah, at a time when people were being tortured. Khabbab bin Arth was tortured. His back used
to be scorched by his master until the only thing that would extinguish the fire was the burning fat of
his back. This is how he used to be tortured. He comes to the Prophet and says, when is the help
of Allah coming? A genuine, innocent question. The Prophet was leaning against the kabah and
he responded by saying, what is the matter with you? Dont you know, the people who came before
you, because of their belief one of them was half buried in the earth and a saw was passed between
his head and his body. Another man, because of his belief had a metal comb that was passed through
his muscles separating it from his bones. But you people, you are hasty59.

59

Bukhari (follow link for exact wording)

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Ibn al-Qayyim once said, that sometimes, Allah


wants good for a servant, more than he can
acquire with his good deeds, so he gives him the
death of a shaheed. And sometimes Allah wants to
punish an evil person. How does he make him
punished? He allows him to be the one to kill the
Muslim who ends up as a shaheed.
In this way, we find out that Allah is
always looking to the believer how to increase his
reward in akhirah. And one of the ways is by
putting him through difficulty in this life. This is a
change of perception, really and truly, a shift in
how we look at our lives, and look at the
difficulties. If we look at them as ways to attain
greater reward in the akhirah, we will trivialize
them.

This is a change of perception,


really and truly, a shift in how
we look at our lives, and look at
the difficulties. If we look at
them as ways to attain greater
reward in the akhirah, we will
trivialize them.

This is another wisdom. When he is entered into paradise, what does he say? Where are the Hoor alAyn? Where are the Ferraris? Where is the shawarma (jannah version)? He doesnt say that. He says,
alas, only if my people knew.
Ibn Uthaymeen said, what he meant by that was, O Allah, if only my people knew the rewards they
could have had just like I am having, they would have believed.
And at that, Ibn Abbaas would ponder over this ayah and say, look at this man, he
tried to advise his people while he was alive, and even after he is dead, he is thinking about them,
hoping that they would pay heed to the advice.

Because look what Allah did for me:


1.

He forgave me. Meaning, there were sins in my account. And the first thing Allah did, is He
give me maghfirah. Maghfirah comes from the root mighfaar. The mighfar is the helmet. Ibn
Uthaymeen said, this connection, the helmet and forgiveness, there are 2 connections:

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Imagine, this was the response of Rahmatul lil aalameen. Why? What was he teaching us? He was
teaching us that people need to be tough. And you need to not make the worldy difficulties the
biggest concern of your life. Rather you should look at them as ways of attaining greatness in the
hereafter. And so, by glossing over the hardship that the man went through in this story, Allah is
teaching us that hardships, if at the end of it you are going to get paradise, hardships are good for
you. They are a means to get that.

156 Passage 2 | Lessons From History


a. The first connection is that just like the helmet covers the head, so too does Allahs
maghfirah cover the sins.
b. Secondly, just as the helmet protects the head from harm, so does the maghfirah
protect you from the harm of your sins.
2. And He made me from the honourable people. How did Allah make him honourable?
a. First of all, he was told to enter paradise. What an honour for a person to be spoken
to by Allah and to be told to enter paradise.
b. Also the angels. As we know, the angels come to the believers in the hereafter and
they congratulate them.

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On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding
before them and on their right, [it will be said], "Your good tidings today are [of]
gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally." That is what is the
great attainment.60
Allah mentions in Surah Hadeed, believers will be marching forth in the hereafter
with their light beaming out, walking towards paradise hastily. Angels will come out
to them and say congratulations today, for you are the gardens beneath which rivers
flow. What an amazing reward you have been given. Imagine angels coming to you
and saying well done, you made it. May Allah make us of those people.
c. Allah made him of the honourable people by placing his story in the Quran. Allah
made him immortal by placing his story in the Quran. How many thousands and
billions of people will come and read the story in Surat Ya-Seen and say what an
amazing man.

Here, there are a few reflections.


1.

When he spoke about forgiveness, he spoke about me. When he spoke about honour, he
spoke about people. He said Allah forgave me, but made me from the honourable people.
Why do you think that is? Why didnt he just say Allah made me mukram, an honourable
person? Why did he say Allah made me from the honourable people?
a. There is a sense of humility. He is from the honourable people.

60

Surah Hadeed 57:12

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b. Ibn Uthaymeen said it is in order to


encourage the reader that we can
also be from the honourable
people. Because it is not just about
one or two people out there who
Allah calls honourable. There is a
category of people whom Allah calls
honourable. Why dont you aspire
to be like that, to be among those
people as well?
This is where the Quran cites an
example, and then concludes with
generic words to encourage people
to be like that.

157

There is a category of people


whom Allah calls honourable.
Why dont you aspire to be like
that, to be among those people as
well?

And when Joseph reached maturity, We gave him judgment and knowledge. And thus
We reward the doers of good.61
Here, Allah mentions, when Yusuf reached maturity We gave him knowledge and
wisdom. In that way, do We reward the one who does excellent things, the people
who excel. So the reader thinks, if I excel, I can also qualify for the same gifts. This is
the way of the Quran.
c. Something else that Ibn Uthaymeen mentioned, he said, here, the first thing that
was mentioned is forgiveness. The second thing that was mentioned is honour. He
said this teaches us something. He said this teaches us that if a person wants the
reward of Allah, he must attain the forgiveness of Allah. If a person wants to be made
honourable by Allah, enjoy the rewards that Allah has to offer, then he needs to have
his sins forgiven.

Lessons

61

Surah Yusuf 12:22

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Like Allah mentions about Yusuf,

158 Passage 2 | Lessons From History


Here, this is one big lesson for us really, is that the forgiveness of Allah for us is a must. The Prophet
said in a hadith in Sahih Muslim, I swear by Allah, I seek Allahs forgiveness and turn to Him in
repentence everyday more than 70 times62. Imagine the one who has been told everything you have
done in the past and future has been forgiven. He said he seeks forgiveness more than seventy times
a day. What does that say about us?
Sulayman ,


He said, "My Lord, forgive me and grant me a


kingdom such as will not belong to anyone after me.
Indeed, You are the Bestower."63

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Sulayman, the great king prophet said O Allah


forgive me, and give me an empire, the likes of
which will be unrivalled by those that come after
me.
The greatest of the great asking forgiveness, what
then about us? Forgiveness should be a daily habit
for us. We should seek forgiveness in the morning
and evening. It is part of the sunan that a person
says 100 times. How long does it take? 3-5
minutes!
One of the wise people said, the ones who make
the most istighfar also sin the least. This is also a
big lesson. The person who is always finding it
difficult to grapple with his sins, stop sinning, stop
the bad habits, one of the antidotes to this is to
make istighfar. Even if you are forcing yourself to,
make istighfar. You will find that this istighfar will
come almost like a warrior and battle your sins
away.

One of the wise people said, the


ones who make the most
istighfar also sin the least. This
is also a big lesson. The person
who is always finding it
difficult to grapple with his
sins, stop sinning, stop the bad
habits, one of the antidotes to
this is to make istighfar. Even if
you are forcing yourself to,
make istighfar. You will find
that this istighfar will come
almost like a warrior and battle
your sins away.

Be Passionate and Genuine about Dawah


Another thing we learn from this part of the story is one should be passionate and genuine about
dawah. This man who gave dawah to his people, he also was passionate. The fact that he came into
such a hostile environment to give dawah shows that the man was passionate. Secondly, he was
genuine. He never came to give dawah in order to vent frustration. Some people denounce evil

62
63

Sahih Bukhari (unable to find Sahih Muslim reference)


Surah Sad 38:35

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159

because they are frustrated and they dont like what they see. And they say, for example, what is
happening in Syria. It is terrible, it is a tragedy, and they start to criticize. Though their statements are
true, good and warranted, what is their motivation that Allah wants me to denounce this evil, or is
their motivation that I feel so bad about this, I just want to get it off my chest. There is a difference.
As for the first, this person may be rewarded by Allah. As for the second, he may not get anything.
Huge difference.
This person was genuine. Because even after he died, he still wanted the people to be guided. So his
reason for wanting them to be guided was nothing to do with him. Because even when he is taken
away from the equation, he wanted them to be guided. Which means that he wanted them to be
guided because he knows that Allah loves people who are guided and worship Him. That is his
motivation.

Just the other day one of Ustadhs teachers told him a tragic story. From his wifes side he has some
family in Saudi Arabia. He wanted to get married to a sister from his village. He couldnt pluck up the
courage to propose and somebody else married her. After a while, that marriage fell into discord and
they got divorced and she was available again and he plucked up the courage and proposed. They
accepted. He said that this lady, they grew up in the same village, he wanted to get married to her
from the very beginning. So they got married. And then she got pregnant. And he wanted always to
go and live with his in-laws who lived in another city. So that was his second dream. They moved to
Riyadh where they would live right next to his in-laws and he also landed a good job as an engineer.
Then after his wife gave birth, they had a son, something happened in his office. Though he was an
engineer working in an office, something happened on the roof of the building. And he went to
repair it because he was good at that. He went to the top, repaired it, came back downstairs, then he
remembered he forgot something up there and went back upstairs. When he went back upstairs, on
the rooftops in Saudi, they have huge cylinders, poles that go from the roof right until the ground,
they are there to give light to the different levels of the building. And what happened was as he was
making his way back down, he fell into one of those holes. And at the bottom of those holes they
have metal poles. And he landed on it, and he didnt die, but he became disabled. He went to
hospital, they treated him, but he was paraplegic waist down. In a wheelchair. After a while, his wife,
she couldnt take it anymore. And it put a strain on that marriage, and at that moment, she asked for
a divorce. This brother came to Ustadhs teacher to get some advice about this.
What a tragedy. If someone only lived for this dunya, if this happened to them, it is enough to break
them. It is enough to crush them, destroy them, they could go crazy. But the Quran teaches us
something amazing that you should live for that life. You should live for the day you will enjoy that
paradise. If you live with that in mind, and these stories create that desire to roam the gardens of
paradise just as this man was able to. Then, whatever happens to you in this life, it will not break you,
it will not destroy you. Whatever happens. And this is the harsh reality of the dunya. It can be very
brutal.

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Live with the end in mind

160 Passage 2 | Lessons From History

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Ustadh Asim remembers a lady came to a


pharmacy he was working in. She had been going
to loads of pharmacies trying to get this medicine
for her son. It was a very rare medicine. Her child
had a very rare condition. When she came, there
was about one hour left before they closed. He
said he was sorry that they did not have that
medicine. She began to cry. He said we will get it
for tomorrow. She said no, he has to have it today.
His sickness is very bad. He advised her to have
patience. She said you dont know what I have
been through in my life. I have lost 3 kids to this
same disease. Three kids! And she thought she
may lose this one as well. What can one say to
someone in this situation? One cannot say
anything.
If a person only every lived with the hope of
enjoying this life, they may be destroyed by this
life. So this is one of the beauties of Quran. It
shows us how to be great people. And one of the
qualities of great people is they dont live for this
life they live for the next life.

If a person only every lived with


the hope of enjoying this life,
they may be destroyed by this
life. So this is one of the beauties
of Quran. It shows us how to be
great people. And one of the
qualities of great people is they
dont live for this life they live
for the next life.

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161


28. And We did not send down upon his people after him any soldiers from
the heaven, nor would We have done so.




29. It was not but one shout, and immediately they were extinguished.

This ayah is unique in that the way it describes the destruction, their value is trivialized. They are not
worth anything. The way this is done is in 2 ways:

Youre not worth the angels time and effort


1.

We didnt send down an army from the skies after him in order to destroy them. Sometimes
Allah destroys a disbelieving nation by way of angels. For example, the qawm of Lut were
destroyed by Jibreel. He came himself and he turned them. He got them by the tip of his
wing, all of them collectively in the air and then smashed them to the ground. And on top of
that, clay stones came pelting down to target every one of them, destroying them, making
them extinct. This very elaborate destruction of people. And other nations were destroyed
equally in different ways. Abraha for example, Surah al-Feel spoke about Abraha when he set
out to detroy the Kabah. Birds became the jund (army) of Allah on that day. And they
destroyed people. As for these people, they were not worth the angels doing that. No one
came down from the sky. These people were so hated for what they did to the extent that
the angels dont even get sent to destroy them. It was done in a far more effortless way. One
piercing cry. One loud, explosive cry, and that is how they were wiped out. No elaborate
warriors coming down. That is the first way they are trivialized.

2. It wasnt decreed to happen in that way either. Doubling up on the meaning. They deserved
to be destroyed in a far more despicable way.

One piercing scream from one angel


They were destroyed by a piercing scream. Somebody may ask a question, what is the relevance of
telling us they were destroyed by way of sound, as opposed to some other way, like the water of the

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The story comes to a conclusion now. Allah mentioned the believing man and his fate. Now
somebody may think, what happened to the people though? They just killed him. That was a crime,
injustice. What is going to happen to those people now, Ashab ul-Qaryah? The story now talks about
those people. What is their fate?

162 Passage 2 | Lessons From History


qawm of Nuh , or an earthquake. Why sound? Why were they destroyed by way of sound?
The punishment fits the crime. What was their crime? So many people came to them and told them
to listen, follow the messenger and believe in Allah, and every time they didnt listen. Their
punishment therefore is in the form of a piercing sound. Wahidah means one single blast. Ibn
Uthaymeen says the reason why it says it is one single blast is:
1. The power of Allah. All it took is one piercing cry, and they were all gone.
2. To show us that none of them survived. Because there was no need for a second blast. One
was enough all of them were gone.
So the Quran is very tough in speaking about these people. The condemnation is very strong. What
does that teach us?

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Seems like this is more than a punishment for kufr, but also dhulm
First of all, what was their crime? They denied the prophets. Did they do anything else bad? They
killed the believing man. So this is a combination of kufr and zulm. They disbelieved and they did
zulm. When it came to the prophets they did kufr. Quran doesnt mention that they harmed the
prophets. They verbally abused them, but we dont know that they killed them. When it came to the
man, which one did they do? They did zulm. When did the punishment come after the messengers
were rejected or after the man was killed? After the man was killed. Which shows us that Allah
punished these people not just because of one crime but because of two crimes.
1. they disbelieved and
2. they did zulm.
When they did both those things, then the punishment became binding on them. The ayah also
alludes to this.

And We did not send down upon his people


Who is the he being referred to here? The man, the believing man. So the ayah referenced the
believing man when it spoke about the punishment. What we know about the believing man is that
they killed him they did zulm to him.


What happended to them after they experienced this loud, percing blast? They became khaamidoon.
This is a very interesting word. The khaamid, they say comes from the root khamad.
Khamadatin naar (the fire became subsided). And they said that when a fire I stampted out, there are
embers of gold, red and yellow still. What happens is that there are still some flickers of the embers
there. That is khumood. When the embers disappear and the fire is stamped out completely it is
humood.

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163

The piercing sound came, it was like a fire that was stamped out. This creates imagery.
Also, Ibn Ashur says, it compares the peope to the burning fires. What we know about burning,
raging fires is that they cause harm to others as well. So in that way we are shown that perhaps even
though the azaab came to them as a way of punishment, perhaps it came as a mercy to others as
well, because they were like a fire, they were put out with one loud blast.

Min x 3

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My Reflections

164 Passage 2 | Lessons From History




30. How regretful for the servants. There did not come to them any
messenger except that they used to ridicule him.
Who is saying these words? There are 3 opinions:
1. The first opinion is that these are the words of Allah.
2. The second opinion is that these are the words of the disbelievers who were destroyed.
3. The third opinion is that these were the words of angels who were witnessing what was
taking place.
It seems as if the first opinion is the strongest opinion, for a number of reasons.

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First of all, look at the Quran. Whenever you find a story in the Quran, you will find it ends with a
comment or comments by Allah. Allah comments over the story as if to highlight certain benefits.
Yusuf s story, when it ends, you find there is a page and a half, and that is commentary by
Allah about the lessons from the story. Most people dont realize and appreciate that. If you read
Yusuf s story, it ends at around ayah 101, but the surah ends at ayah 114 or so.
Similarly for Surah al-Kahf. In Surah al-Kahf there are 4 stories. After each story is a little passage.
That passage is like a comment, footnote in the Quran about the story. The first story in Surah alKahf is the story of the people of the cave. It ends, and then there is a passage,

And recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord.64
and now recite from what your Master has revealed to you. Why was this said? Because this story
was revealed to him after a two-week delay. Why was it delayed for 2 weeks? He forgot to say
to the Quraysh who were questioning him. They asked the Jews, tell us a question to ask him. They
said ask him about Ashab al-Kahf. They asked him, he said I will tell you tomorrow and he forgot to
say . Then Allah revealed it and then said, just recite what you have been revealed from your
Master. That is what you are supposed to do.

And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the
evening, seeking His countenance.65

64
65

Surah al-Kahf 18:27


Surah al-Kahf 18:28

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165

Hold yourself back and stay with the people who call on Allah in the morning and evening. What
does that have to do with the story? The Ashab al-Kahf saved their Islam by being together fleeing to
a cave. The way you will prosper in this life is by keeping good company. People dont realize this.
In the same way, this story concludes, and Allah is going to mention something. This is one piece of
evidence used by the ones who have the opinion that these are the words of Allah.
If these are the words of Allah, this is how it would be interpreted. O hasrah over human beings.

AL of all encompassment

The word ibaad means slaves. Here, Ibn Uthaymeen said slaves means in the general sense. Allah is
the rabb of al-aalameen, the Master of all. All species of all time.

Even if people reject it with their tongues, it doesnt mean they are not the slaves of Allah. On Yawm
al-Qiyamah, one of the biggest evidences that our bodies really belonged to Allah and were never
really ours is that the bodies will speak against us on Yawm al-Qiyamah, may Allah preserve and
protect us.


And they will say to their skins, "Why have you testified against us?" They will say, "We were made to
speak by Allah, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him you are
returned.66
People will say to their own skins, why are you bearing witness against us? They say Allah made us
speak today, just like He can make anything speak. On that day, the disbeliever will say my own skin
didnt belong to me and I used to deny Allah.
So ibaad is mentioned in the general sense not worshippers, but slaves in the general sense - we
are all slaves of Allah. Hasrah for those slaves of Allah who disbelieve.

:

Hasrah is a very powerful word. Ibn Ashur said it means a combination of regret and anxiety over
losing out on something beneficial. When you miss out on something that is so beneficial. Intense
feelings of regret. Disbeleivers will feel that on yawm al-qiyamah. Ibn Uthaymeen said the word
hasrah ends with tanween, nakira. And when a word is made nakira in this context, it amplifies its
66

Surah Fussilat 41:21

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Are non-Muslims slaves of Allah too?

166 Passage 2 | Lessons From History


meaning what an incredible tragedy. Hasrah will be for people on yawm al-qiyamah when they look
back on their lives and say, man, I shouldnt have disbelieved.

Allah tied the regret of humanity with the ridicule of His Messengers. Whats
the implied meaning then?

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This will be the cause of their regret whenever a messenger would come to them, they would make
fun of him. This is very interesting, the words used here. They are communicating that whenever
messengers would come, it doesnt matter how they would come, what they would say, what they
would do, whenever they would come, their reaction would only be one they would make fun of
them, mock them.
Yastahzioon is in the plural. To show that it is not just one of two of them making fun. No,
collectively all of them would come together and take the mick out of them. Secondly, the usual way
of saying it is to say yastahzioona bihi. The bihi is brought before yastahzioon in order to say, as Ibn
Uthaymeen said that they way they would mock them is more than the way they would mock
anybody else. These people, whenever a messenger would come, it doesnt matter what era, what
place, what culture, the reaction was exactly the same. And the reaction was so obnoxious. They
would only do one thing they would mock at them.

Lessons
There are number of lessons here.

The prophets were tough people


This shows us the character of the prophets. That they were tough people. When people make fun of
you, it is difficult to deal with. If one person makes fun of you, perhaps you can brush it off. But when
loads of people start making fun, and the way they mock you is so poisonous, it can break you.
Bullying is such a thing. It happens at school, in workplaces, even homes. When you are bullied, the
person feels this small. The prophets had to deal with everyone making fun of them.
And this also points to the compassion of the prophets. If people make fun of you, either you make
fun of them back or at least you move. The messengers would stay with the people and keep calling
them to the truth.

Kufr and zulm make you insignificant


The second lesson is that this ayah shows us that when a person disbelieves and oppresses others,
he becomes insignicant in the eyes of Allah. And this is a deep lesson. Think about it. Allah created us.

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167

It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wills67.


Allah fashioned us in the wombs of our mothers. Allah sustains us. He gives us everything. He
created in this earth at our service. After all of this, Allah can say about some people that they are so
insignificant that He can annihilate them with one single blast, they are not even worth His angels.
What a tragedy that is. That shows us, when a person rejects and disbelieves in Allah and His
messengers, and when he oppresses other people, he becomes worthless in the eyes of Allah. May
Allah protect and preserve us all.

A. It is unclear, and there are differences in opinion in the books of tafseer. One of the opinions is
that when the man had reached the location, they had already killed the messengers. Another
opinion is that after this man was killed, they left and they are the ones who said what a tragedy
about these people.

My Reflections

67

Aal Imraan 3:6

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Q. What happened to the prophets?