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The Holy Quran, tr. by Yusuf Ali, [1934], at

p. 728


Kahf, or the Cave.

In the name of God, Most Gracious,
Most Merciful.

1. Praise be to God,
Who hath sent to His Servant
The Book, and hath allowed
Therein no Crookedness:

2. (He hath made it) Straight
(And Clear) in order that
He may warn (the godless)
Of a terrible Punishment
From Him, and that He
May give Glad Tidings
To the Believers who work
Righteous deeds, that they
Shall have a goodly Reward,

3. Wherein they shall
Remain for ever:

4. Further; that He may warn
Those (also) who say,

p. 729

"God hath begotten a son"

5. No knowledge have they
Of such a thing, nor
Had their fathers. It is
A grievous thing that issues
From their mouths as a saying.
What they say is nothing
But falsehood!

6. Thou wouldst only, perchance,
Fret thyself to death,
Following after them, in grief,
If they believe not
In this Message.

7. That which is on earth
We have made but as
A glittering show for the earth,
In order that We may test
Them—as to which of them
Are best in conduct.

8. Verily what is on earth
We shall make but as

p. 730

Dust and dry soil
(Without growth or herbage).

9. Or dost thou reflect
That the Companions of the Cave
And of the Inscription
Were wonders among Our Signs?

10. Behold, the youths betook themselves

p. 731

To the Cave: they said,
"Our Lord! bestow on us
Mercy from Thyself,
And dispose of our affair
For us in the right way!"

11. Then We draw (a veil)
Over their ears, for a number
Of years, in the Cave,
(So that they heard not):

12. Then We roused them,
In order to test which
Of the two parties was best
At calculating the term
Of years they had tarried!


13. We relate to thee their story
In truth: they were youths
Who believed in their Lord,
And We advanced them In guidance:

14. We gave strength to their hearts:

p. 732

Behold, they stood up
And said: "Our Lord is
The Lord of the heavens
And of the earth: never
Shall we call upon any god
Other than Him: if we
Did, we should indeed
Have uttered an enormity!

15. "These our people have taken
For worship gods other
Than Him: why do they
Not bring forward an authority
Clear (and convincing)
For what they do?
Who doth more wrong
Than such as invent
A falsehood against God?

16. "When ye turn away
From them and the things
They worship other than God,
Betake yourselves to the Cave:
Your Lord will shower
His mercies on you
And dispose of your affair
Towards comfort and ease."

17. Thou wouldst have seen
The sun, when it rose,
Declining to the right
From their Cave, and when

p. 733

It set, turning away
From them to the left,
While they lay in the open
Space in the midst
Of the Cave. Such are
Among the Signs of God:
He whom God guides
Is rightly guided; but he
Whom God leaves to stray,—
For him wilt thou find
No protector to lead him
To the Right Way.


18. Thou wouldst have deemed them
Awake, whilst they were asleep,
And We turned them
On their right and on
Their left sides: their dog
Stretching forth his two fore-legs
On the threshold: if thou
Hadst come up on to them,
Thou wouldst have certainly
Turned back from them in flight,
And wouldst certainly have been
Filled with terror of them.

19. Such (being their state),
We raised them up (from sleep),
That they might question
Each other. Said one of them,

p. 734

"How long have ye stayed (here)?"
They said, "We have stayed
(Perhaps) a day, or part
Of a day." (At length)
They (all) said, "God (alone)
Knows best how long
Ye have stayed here…
Now send ye then one of you
With this money of yours
To the town: let him
Find out which is the best
Food (to be had) and bring some
To you, that (ye may)
Satisfy your hunger therewith:
And let him behave
With care and courtesy,
And let him not inform
Any one about you.

20. "For if they should
Come upon you, they would
Stone you or force you
To return to their cult,
And in that case ye would
Never attain prosperity."

21. Thus did We make
Their case known to the people,

p. 735

That they might know
That the promise of God
Is true, and that there can
Be no doubt about the Hour
Of Judgment. Behold,
They dispute among themselves
As to their affair. (Some) said,
"Construct a building over them":
Their Lord knows best
About them: those who prevailed
Over their affair said,
"Let us surely build a place
Of worship over them."

22. (Some) say they were three,
The dog being the fourth
Among them; (others) say
They were five, the dog
Being the sixth,—doubtfully
Guessing at the unknown;
(Yet others) say they were
Seven, the dog being the eighth.
Say thou: "My Lord
Knoweth best their number;
It is but few that know
Their (real case)." Enter not,
Therefore, into controversies
Concerning them, except
On a matter that is clear,
Nor consult any of them
About (the affair of) the Sleepers.

p. 736


23. Nor say of anything,
"I shall be sure to do
So and so to-morrow"—

24. Without adding, "So please God!"
And call thy Lord to mind
When thou forgettest, and say,
"I hope that my Lord
Will guide me ever closer
(Even) than this
To the right road."

25. So they stayed in their Cave
Three hundred years, and (some)
Add nine (more)

p. 737

26. Say: "God knows best
How long they stayed:
With Him is (the knowledge
Of) the secrets of the heavens
And the earth: how clearly
He sees, how finely He hears
(Everything)! They have no protector
Other than Him; nor does
He share His Command
With any person whatsoever.

27. And recite (and teach)
What has been revealed
To thee of the Book
Of thy Lord: none
Can change His Words,
And none wilt thou find
As a refuge other than Him.

28. And keep thy soul content
With those who call
On their Lord morning
And evening, seeking
His Face; and let not
Thine eyes pass beyond them,
Seeking the pomp and glitter
Of this Life; nor obey
Any whose heart We
Have permitted to neglect
The remembrance of Us,
One who follows his own

p. 738

Desires, whose case has
Gone beyond all bounds.

29. Say, "The Truth is
From your Lord":
Let him who will,
Believe, and let him
Who will, reject (it):
For the wrong-doers We
Have prepared a Fire
Whose (smoke and flames),
Like the walls and roof
Of a tent, will hem
Them in: if they implore
Relief they will be granted
Water like melted brass,
That will scald their faces.
How dreadful the drink!
How uncomfortable a couch
To recline on!

30. As to those who believe
And work righteousness,
Verily We shall not suffer
To perish the reward
Of any who do
A (single) righteous deed.

31. For them will be Gardens
Of Eternity; beneath them
Rivers will flow: they will
Be adorned therein
With bracelets of gold,
And they will wear

p. 739

Green garments of fine silk
And heavy brocade;
They will recline therein
On raised thrones.
How good the recompense!
How beautiful a couch
To recline on!


32. Set forth to them
The parable of two men:
For one of them We provided
Two gardens of grape-vines
And surrounded them
With date palms;
In between the two
We placed corn-fields.

33. Each of those gardens
Brought forth its produce,
And failed not in the least
Therein: in the midst
Of them We caused
A river to flow.

34. (Abundant) was the produce
This man had: he said
To his companion, in the course
Of a mutual argument:
"More wealth have I
Than you, and more honour
And power in (my following
Of) men."

p. 740

35. He went into his garden
In a state (of mind)
Unjust to his soul:
He said, "I deem not
That this will ever perish,

36. "Nor do I deem
That the Hour (of Judgment)
Will (ever) come:
Even if I am brought back
To my Lord, I shall
Surely find (there)
Something better in exchange."

37. His companion said to him,
In the course of the argument
With him: "Dost thou deny
Him Who created thee
Out of dust, then out of
A sperm-drop, then fashioned
Thee into a man?

38. "But (I think) for my part
That He is God,
My Lord, and none shall I
Associate with my Lord.

39. "Why didst thou not,
As thou wentest into
Thy garden, say, "God's Will
(Be done)! There is no power
But with God!" If thou

p. 741

Dost see me less than
Thee in wealth and sons,

40. "It may be that my Lord
Will give me something
Better than thy garden,
And that He will send
On thy garden thunderbolts
(By way of reckoning)
From heaven, making it
(But) slippery sand!—

41. "Or the water of the garden
Will run off underground
So that thou wilt never
Be able to find it."

42. So his fruits (and enjoyment)
Were encompassed (with ruin),
And he remained twisting
And turning his hands
Over what he had spent
On his property, which had
(Now) tumbled to pieces
To its very foundations,
And he could only say,
"Woe is me! Would I had
Never ascribed partners
To my Lord and Cherisher!"

43. Nor had he numbers
To help him against God,
Nor was he able
To deliver himself.

p. 742

44. There, the (only) protection comes
From God, the True One.
He is the Best to reward,
And the Best to give success.


45. Set forth to them
The similitude of the life
Of this world: it is like
The rain which We send
Down from the skies:
The earth's vegetation absorbs it,
But soon it becomes
Dry stubble, which the winds
Do scatter: it is (only) God
Who prevails over all things.

46. Wealth and sons are allurements
Of the life of this world:
But the things that endure,
Good Deeds, are best
In the sight of thy Lord,
As rewards, and best
As (the foundation for) hopes.

p. 743

47. One Day We shall
Remove the mountains, and thou
Wilt see the earth
As a level stretch,
And We shall gather them,
All together, nor shall We
Leave out any one of them.

48. And they will be marshalled
Before thy Lord in ranks,
(With the announcement),
"Now have ye come to Us
(Bare) as We created you
First: aye, ye thought
We shall not fulfil
The appointment made to you
To meet (Us)!":

49. And the Book (of Deeds)
Will be placed (before you);
And thou wilt see
The sinful in great terror
Because of what is (recorded)
Therein; they will say,
"Ah! woe to us!
What a book is this!
It leaves out nothing
Small or great, but
Takes account thereof!"
They will find all that they
Did, placed before them:
And not one will thy Lord
Treat with injustice.

p. 744


50. Behold! We said
To the angels, "Bow down
To Adam": they bowed down
Except Iblīs. He was
One of the Jinns, and he
Broke the Command
Of his Lord.
Will ye then take him
And his progeny as protectors
Rather than Me? And they
Are enemies to you!
Evil would be the exchange
For the wrong-doers!

51. I called them not
To witness the creation
Of the heavens and the earth,
Nor (even) their own creation:
Nor is it for Me
To take as helpers
Such as lead (men) astray!

52. One Day He will say,
"Call on those whom ye
Thought to be My partners,"
And they will call on them,
But they will not listen
To them; and We shall
Make for them a place
Of common perdition

p. 745

53. And the Sinful shall see
The Fire and apprehend
That they have to fall
Therein no means will they
Find to turn away therefrom.


54. We have explained
In detail in this Qur-ān,
For the benefit of mankind,
Every kind of similitude:
But man is, in most things,

55. And what is there
To keep back men
From believing, now that
Guidance has come to them,
Nor from praying for forgiveness
From their Lord, but that
(They ask that) the ways
Of the ancients be repeated
With them, or the Wrath
Be brought to them
Face to face?

56. We only send the apostles
To give glad tidings
And to give warnings
But the Unbelievers dispute
With vain argument, in order
Therewith to weaken the truth,
And they treat My Signs
As a jest, as also the fact
That they are warned!

p. 746

57. And who doth more wrong
Than one who is reminded
Of the Signs of his Lord,
But turns away from them,
Forgetting the (deeds) which his hands
Have sent forth? Verily We
Have set veils over their hearts
Lest they should understand this,
and over their ears, deafness.
If thou callest them
To guidance, even then
Will they never accept guidance.

58. But your Lord is most forgiving,
Full of Mercy. If he were
To call them (at once) to account
For what they have earned,
then surely He would
Have hastened their Punishment:
But they have their appointed
Time, beyond which they
Will find no refuge.

59. Such were the populations
We destroyed when they
Committed iniquities; but
We fixed an appointed time
For their destruction.

p. 747

Section 9.

60. Behold, Moses said
To his attendant, "I will not
Give up until I reach
The junction of the two
Seas or (until) I spend
Years and years in travel."

61. But when they reached
The Junction, they forgot
(About) their Fish, which took
Its course through the sea
(Straight) as in a tunnel.

p. 748

62. When they had passed on
(Some distance), Moses said
To his attendant: "Bring us
Our early meal; truly
We have suffered much fatigue
At this (stage of) our journey."

63. He replied: "Sawest thou
(What happened) when we
Betook ourselves to the rock?
I did indeed forget
(About) the Fish: none but
Satan made me forget
To tell (you) about it:
It took its course through
The sea in a marvellous way!"

64. Moses said: "That was what
We were seeking after:"
So they went back
On their footsteps, following
(The path they had come).

65. So they found one
Of Our servants,

p. 749

On whom We had bestowed
Mercy from Ourselves
And whom We had taught
Knowledge from Our own

66. Moses said to him:
"May I follow thee,
On the footing that
Thou teach me something
Of the (Higher) Truth
Which thou hast been taught?"

67. (The other) said: "Verily
Thou wilt not be able
To have patience with me!

68. "And how canst thou
Have patience about things
About which thy understanding
Is not complete?"

69. Moses said: "Thou wilt
Find me, if God so will,
(Truly) patient: nor shall I
Disobey thee in aught."

p. 750

70. The other said: "If then
Thou wouldst follow me,
Ask me no questions
About anything until I
Myself speak to thee
Concerning it."


71. So they both proceeded:
Until, when they were
In the boat, he scuttled it.
Said Moses: "Hast thou
Scuttled it in order
To drown those in it?
Truly a strange thing
Hast thou done!"

72. He answered: "Did I not
Tell thee that thou canst
Have no patience with me?"

73. Moses said: "Rebuke me not
For forgetting, nor grieve me
By raising difficulties
In my case."

74. Then they proceeded:
Until, when they met
A young man, he slew him.
Moses said: "Hast thou
Slain an innocent person
Who had slain none?
Truly a foul (unheard-of) thing
Hast thou done!"

p. 751

75. He answered, "Did I not
Tell thee that thou canst
Have no patience with me?"

76. (Moses) said: "If ever I
Ask thee about anything
After this, keep me not
In thy company: then wouldst
Thou have received (full) excuse
From my side.

77. Then they proceeded:
Until, when they came
To the inhabitants of a town,
They asked them for food,
But they refused them
Hospitality. They found there
A wall on the point of
Falling down, but he
Set it up straight.
(Moses) said: "If thou
Hadst wished, surely thou
Couldst have exacted some
Recompense for it!"

78. He answered: "This is
The parting between me
And thee: now will I
Tell thee the interpretation
Of (those things) over which
Thou wast unable
To hold patience.

79. "As for the boat,
It belonged to certain
Men in dire want:
They plied on the water:

p. 752

I but wished to render it
Unserviceable, for there was
After them a certain king
Who seized on every boat
By force.

80. "As for the youth,
His parents were people
Of Faith, and we feared
That he would grieve them
By obstinate rebellion
And ingratitude (to God and man).

81. "So we desired that
Their Lord would give them
In exchange (a son)
Better in purity (of conduct)
And closer in affection.

82. "As for the wall,
It belonged to two youths,
Orphans, in the Town;
There was, beneath it,
A buried treasure, to which
They were entitled; their father

p. 753

Had been a righteous man:
So thy Lord desired that
They should attain their age
Of full strength and get out
Their treasure—a mercy
(And favour) from thy Lord.
I did it not of my own
Accord. Such is the interpretation
Of (those things) over which
Thou wast unable
To hold patience."


83. They ask thee concerning
Ẓul-qarnain. Say,

p. 754

"I will rehearse to you
Something of his story."

84. Verily We established his power
On earth, and We gave him
The ways and the means
To all ends.

85. One (such) way he followed,

86. Until, when he reached
The setting of the sun,
He found it set
In a spring of murky water:
Near it he found a People:
We said: "O Ẓul-qarnain!
(Thou hast authority,) either
To punish them, or
To treat them with kindness."

87. He said: "Whoever doth wrong,
Him shall we punish; then
Shall he be sent back
To his Lord; and He will
Punish him with a punishment
Unheard-of (before).

88. "But whoever believes,
And works righteousness,—

p. 755

He shall have a goodly
Reward, and easy will be
His task as we order it
By our command."

89. Then followed he (another) way,

90. Until, when he came
To the rising of the sun,
He found it rising
On a people for whom
We had provided
No covering protection
Against the sun.

91. (He left them) as they were:
We completely understood
What was before him.

92. Then followed he (another) way,

93. Until, when he reached
(A tract) between two mountains,
He found, beneath them, a people
Who scarcely understood a word.

p. 756

94. They said: "O Ẓul-qarnain!
The Gog and Magog (people)
Do great mischief on earth:
Shall we then render thee
Tribute in order that
Thou mightest erect a barrier
Between us and them?

95. He said: "(The power) in which
My Lord has established me
Is better (than tribute):
Help me therefore with strength
(And labour): I will
Erect a strong barrier
Between you and them:

96. "Bring me blocks of iron."
At length, when he had
Filled up the space between
The two steep mountain-sides,
He said, "Blow (with your bellows)"
Then, when he had made
It (red) as fire, he said:
"Bring me, that I may
Pour over it, molten lead."

p. 757

97. Thus were they made
Powerless to scale it
Or to dig through it.

98. He said: "This is
A mercy from my Lord:
But when the promise
Of my Lord comes to pass,
He will make it into dust;
And the promise of
My Lord is true."

99. On that day We shall
Leave them to surge
Like waves on one another
The trumpet will be blown,
And We shall collect them
All together.

100. And We shall present
Hell that day for Unbelievers
To see, all spread out,—

101. (Unbelievers) whose eyes
Had been under a veil
From Remembrance of Me,
And who had been unable
Even to hear.

p. 758


102. Do the Unbelievers think
That they can take
My servants as protectors
Besides Me? Verily We
Have prepared Hell
For the Unbelievers
For (their) entertainment.

103. Say: "Shall we tell you
Of those who lose most
In respect of their deeds?—

104. "Those whose efforts have
Been wasted in this life,
While they thought that
They were acquiring good
By their works?"

105. They are those who deny
The Signs of their Lord
And the fact of their
Having to meet Him
(In the Hereafter): vain
Will be their works,
Nor shall We, on the Day
Of Judgment, give them
Any weight.

106. That is their reward,
Hell; because they rejected
Faith, and took My Signs
And My Messengers
By way of jest.

p. 759

107. As to those who believe
And work righteous deeds,
They have, for their entertainment,
The Gardens of Paradise,

108. Wherein they shall dwell
(For aye): no change
Will they wish for from them.

109. Say: "If the ocean were
Ink (wherewith to write out)
The words of my Lord,
Sooner would the ocean be
Exhausted than would the words
Of my Lord, even if we
Added another ocean
Like it, for its aid."

110. Say: "I am but a man
Like yourselves, (but)
The inspiration has come
To me, that your God is
One God: whoever expects
To meet his Lord, let him
Work righteousness, and,
In the worship of his Lord,
Admit no one as partner.

p. 760 p. 761 p. 762 p. 763 p. 764 p. 765 p. 766

Next: Sūra XIX. Maryam, or Mary.