This verse describes the endless gifts of Paradise that are given as a reward to those believers who strive to please Allah by doing good. Allah has promised Paradise to the believers in many verses. For instance, the following verse informs us that the believers will be welcomed warmly and sent in companies to Paradise:

Gardens of Eden that they enter, with rivers flowing under them, where they have whatever they desire. That is how Allah repays those who do their duty, those whom the angels take in a virtuous state. They say: "Peace be upon you. Enter the Garden for what you did." (Surat an-Nahl, 31-32)

Following this honorable welcome, Allah bestows upon them countless gifts. But above all of these gifts will be the believers' spiritual joy of having won Allah's good pleasure and Paradise. While the unbelievers will be suffering in the punishing Fires of Hell and enduring inexplicable remorse, the believers will be leading their lives as servants having won His good pleasure and love. Contrary to Hell, which will be tight and crowded, the believers will rest in "a Garden whose breadth is like that of Heaven and Earth combined" (Surat al-Hadid, 21) in Paradise, where they will see beauty and a great kingdom all around. They will recline on couches lined with rich brocade, enjoy easily picked fruit, reside in palaces with rivers flowing under them, sit on high-raised thrones, and converse with one another. There will be cool shades in Paradise, which Allah describes as a place that is neither too cool nor too hot.

As described in Surat al-Kahf 31, the green clothing worthy of the people of Paradise is made of the finest silk and rich brocade. In addition, they will wear golden bracelets. Besides beautiful clothing, the people of Paradise will be provided with delicious foods and drinks. Specifically, the Qur'an mentions a variety of fruit, the flesh of any fowl that they may desire, tasty drinks, dates and pomegranates without equal, fruit-laden lote trees, and bananas piled bunch on bunch. And these are just some of Allah's promised gifts.

Furthermore, there will be only beauty in Paradise, for people of Paradise will no longer need to endure anything with patience, as we do in this world. There will be an environment full of endless beauty without any tiredness, fear, sorrow, or any other conceivable trouble. Allah reveals Paradise's beauty, as follows:

An image of the Garden promised to those who guard against evil: In it are rivers of water that will never spoil, rivers of milk whose taste will never change, rivers of wine that are delightful to all who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity. In it they will have fruit of every kind and forgiveness from their Lord… (Surah Muhammad, 15)

Allah has detailed the gifts of Paradise and the sufferings of Hell in the Qur'an. Those who pretend not to understand the truth will be losers in both worlds. For this reason, people should seriously prepare and strive for the Hereafter in order to win our Lord's unique gifts, as the following verse makes clear:

That abode of the Hereafter—We grant it to those who do not seek to exalt themselves in the land or to cause corruption in it. The successful outcome is for those who guard against evil. (Surat al-Qasas, 83)

By relating this parable, Allah wants people to compare a believer with someone who claims to believe in Allah but who is, in reality, an unbeliever. One of the garden owners is richer than the other, a "superiority" that caused him to become arrogant and proud toward Allah.

But Allah, Who created everything out of nothing, is the sole owner of all that exists and tests some people by giving them wealth and property. Some people become ungrateful because they consider this wealth and property to be the fruit of their own effort and intellect. They exult in their possessions and make them a source of pride and prestige among people. On the other hand, sincere believers behave in the following manner:

Say: "O Allah! Master of the Kingdom. You give sovereignty to whoever You will, and You take sovereignty from whoever You will. You exalt whoever You will, and You abase whoever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things. (Surah Al `Imran, 26)

The ungrateful garden owner claimed that the gardens and their produce belonged to him, forgetting that they were only a gift and a test from Allah. He succumbed to a fierce pride and a blatant arrogance, as revealed in the following verses:

Do not strut arrogantly about the land. You will certainly never split the land apart, nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. All of that is evil action and hateful in the sight of your Lord. (Surat al-Isra', 37-38)

In many verses, Allah describes what will happen to such people, such as:

Fierce competition for this world distracted you until you went down to the graves. No indeed, you will soon know! Again, no indeed, you will soon know! No indeed, if you only knew with the Knowledge of Certainty, you will certainly see the Blazing Fire! Then you will certainly see it with the Eye of Certainty. Then you will be asked that Day about the pleasures you enjoyed. (Surat at-Takathur, 1-8)

This ungrateful person clearly displayed his disrespect for Allah by asserting that no disaster would ever touch his gardens. In short, he claimed a kind of godhood for himself.

But only Allah, Who created time and space and is beyond them, is endless. Allah's name Al-Khaliq (the Creator) has the inherent meaning of: the One Who creates everything from nothing and creates all things with the knowledge of what will happen to them. Every stage of each person, from the first moment of existence until the moment death, exists in Allah's presence. In Allah's guardianship (hifz), everything remains as it is, for He created everything that each person experienced or saw, and every detail of their lives. Nothing is ever lost, as the following verse informs us: "That is so you will know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and in Earth, and that Allah has knowledge of all things" (Surat al-Ma'ida, 97).

Since Allah is not subject to time, everything occurs for Him and meets its destination all at once. But people, who are subject to time, divide their lives into past, present, and future. However, such a division applies only to humanity, for what we consider the "past" is the "past" only to us, and what we consider the "unknowlable future" is the "unknowable future" only to us. Given that Allah is our Creator, our ordering of time cannot be applied to Him, a fact revealed by the following verse:

[Luqman said:] "My son, even if something weighs as little as a mustard-seed and is inside a rock or anywhere else in the heavens or Earth, Allah will bring it out. Allah is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 16)

For Allah, all events occur in one moment. The examples given from the lives of Musa (as), the Companions of the Cave, Khidhr (as), Dhu'l-Qarnayn (as), Muhammad (saas), and all of the other Prophets, as well as of our own time, are all like one moment in His presence. Our grandchildren, even their grandchildren, and the lives of all the people who will come after them also occur in the same moment. In Allah's presence, the Hour has taken place and the people have gone to their eternal abode already. Those who believe in Allah are in Paradise, and those who do not are suffering in Hell.

According to a widespread but false belief, Allah has created humanity, given its members a certain amount of time, awaits the results of their trials, and will continue to wait until the universe dies. (We hold Allah above this.) But in reality, it is inconceivable for Allah to wait, for waiting is a human characteristic whereas Allah is beyond and above all imperfections of humanity. Allah's name Al-Quddus (The Holy) means that He is free from all error, weakness, shortcoming, heedlessness and from any kind of defect. He encompasses all people's past and future, and the details of all their life experiences. But people believe that time, as they understand it here, flows from the past (before) toward the future (after), whereas in Allah's presence such words and concepts do not exist. Everything, all people and all living beings, live all at once. All times, eras, periods, histories, and even all days, hours, and minutes, are present in the same moment. Even if the limited intellectual capacity of people prevents them from seeing this truth, this reality is clear.

This is the main reason why believers appreciate Allah's might and so submit to and trust in Him. They know that Allah encompasses them and everything else, that they are totally dependent upon Him, and that they are small next to His greatness.

Being able to appreciate Allah's greatness and power, and to comprehend the wisdom behind events and their fine details, believers submit to Allah willingly.

The verse "But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return" (Surat al-Kahf, 36) describes people who believe that they will enter Paradise without observing the boundaries established by Allah or obeying His commands. Such people consider themselves exempt and are arrogant with Allah.

Many people say that they believe in Allah and the Qur'an, although they have no fear of Him. They do not obey Allah's commands, abide by what is lawful and unlawful, and do not follow the Messenger's (saas) path. And yet they have a strong faith that they will go to Paradise after they die.

On the other hand, the believers hope for Paradise but fear Hell: "those who affirm the Day of Judgment, those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord (no one is safe from the punishment of his Lord)" (Surat al-Ma`arij, 26-28). This attitude is pointed out in: "Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. Allah's mercy is close to the good-doers" (Surat al-A`raf, 56). Believers behave in this way because no one can be certain that he or she will not enter Hell, but all of them know that the unbelievers will certainly suffer its fierce punishment:

Do they feel secure that the all-enveloping punishment of Allah will not come upon them, or that the Last Hour will not come upon them all of a sudden, when they least expect it? (Surah Yusuf, 107)

Do those who plot evil actions feel secure that Allah will not cause the land to swallow them up or that a punishment will not come upon them from where they least expect? (Surat an-Nahl, 45)

This verse provides guidance on how believers should behave when inviting others to good morality or when reminding people of Allah. If the people with whom they are talking have forgotten their helplessness before Allah and have become arrogant, the best thing to do is to remind them of their helplessness.

The other garden owner, being a man of faith, invites the arrogant owner to faith by reminding him that he was "created from dust and a drop of sperm." Clearly, if Allah wills it, this invitation could have a positive effect on this person. The faithful garden owner realized his neighbor's weak faith and perceived the need to provide support. To explain Allah's signs in nature is one of the best ways to strengthen another person's faith.

The speech of the arrogant garden owner differs from the speech of a Muslim. In fact, it evokes the style of an unbeliever. This is why the faithful garden owner begins his question with "Do you not, then, believe in Him?" The other person might not be openly proclaiming his unbelief, but his words clearly show that he does not believe with certainty. Although he professes belief with his words, and yet he does not actually abide by Allah's law. This contradiction means that he denies Allah.

One often meets these self-contradicting people. Most people say they believe in Allah, but they do not lead a life that pleases Him. Instead, they act contrary to the Qur'an's morality and do not follow in the Prophet's (saas) footsteps. Despite their words and deeds, which amount to denial, they consider themselves righteous and destined for Paradise. But they are only deceiving themselves, for Allah says that:

As for those who denied Our Signs and the encounter of the Hereafter, their actions will come to nothing. Will they be repaid except for what they did? (Surat al-A`raf, 147)

He is, however, Allah, my Lord, and I will not associate anyone with my Lord. (Surat al-Kahf, 38)

Throughout Surat al-Kahf, Allah points out that the majority of people ascribe partners to Him. In the Qur'an, denial by association means to prefer anybody, anything, or any idea over Allah, or to consider them equal and to act accordingly. The Qur'an calls this "setting up other gods together with Allah." In truth, this means to choose a purpose in life contrary to Allah's good pleasure, to seek salvation from or the pleasure of any other being, or to hold anything in higher esteem than Allah.

People need to refrain from such a sin, for Allah warns humanity that while He will forgive all other sins, if He wills to do so, He will never forgive this particular sin (Surat an-Nisa', 116). Obviously, Muslims will want to avoid such a great sin at all costs. Prophet Luqman (as) advised his son as follows: "My son, do not associate anything with Allah. Associating others with Him is a terrible wrong" (Surah Luqman, 13). Another reason why this sin is so great is that it causes good deeds to be erased, which leads to ultimate loss. The Qur'an reveals this:

It has been revealed to you and those before you: "If you associate others with Allah, your actions will come to nothing, and you will be among the losers." (Surat az-Zumar, 65)

Given the above, all who ascribe partners to Allah will end up in Hell, unless they sincerely repent and embrace, and then adhere to, His religion. This is why those who are in awe of Allah's glory must be aware of this danger.

Why, when you entered your garden, did you not say: "It is as Allah wills. There is no strength but in Allah." Though you see me with less wealth and children than you possess. (Surat al-Kahf, 39)

This verse indicates the importance of "ma sha' Allah" (It is as Allah wills). Believers use it to express their respect when regarding the superior art and power of Allah's creation.

Using this expression in a heartfelt manner reminds others that Allah owns all things, that everything happens in according to destiny, and that only He can will anything to happen. No doubt, such reminders are beneficial, for people easily forget their own helplessness and descend into ignorance.

For example, the unbelieving garden owner is ascribing partners to Allah by stating that he owns all of the property. Even though he does not clearly express his denial, "hidden association" is inherent in his words and behavior. Thus his friend warns him about ascribing partners to Allah and reminds him that everything belongs to Allah.

Especially in our own time, people must always be aware of this danger, for such situations occur frequently. For instance, Al-Ghani (The Rich, He Who is freefrom need) is one of Allah's attributes, but the same word is used to describe people. There is no objection in using this term to describe someone's financial status, but it can turn into association if one considers his or her self, intellect, or effort to be the cause of this wealth.

This being the case, people easily forget, as did the unbelieving owner of the garden, that Allah is the true owner of all wealth. They also forget that just as He, the only One Who is "ghani" (rich), gave them whatever they own, He can take everything away if He wills. Such people adopt a truly crude attitude and mentality, which amounts to associating others with Allah. As a result, they will not realize that everybody other than Allah is poor and helpless, and that Allah can affect any one of His servants with any part of His attributes. Looking at things from such a perspective and acting accordingly leads to forgetting Allah's infinite power and rule, and to associating oneself with Him.

[Turn, then, away from all that is false], turning to Him alone. Heed Him and establish prayer. Do not be one of those who associate [others with Him]. (Surah Rum, 31)

The right attitude is to know that Allah is the true owner of all wealth, to acknowledge that He is the sole governor of all that exists, and to be aware that He can remove the wealth that He gives at any time. One should not look at rich people in terms of whether they are rich or poor, but as servants of Allah to whom He has given wealth. For instance, if such people's families regard them as the true owners of their wealth, if all of their hopes rest on that person so that they forget that Allah is the Lord of all wealth and do not remind them of this reality, then their attitude would be truly misguided. Likewise, the employees of such people should not forget that Allah provides food, drink, and shelter. It would be a grave mistake to forget Allah and to consider one's employer as an independent power capable of many things. The Qur'an reveals the truth of such matters, as follows:

Instead of Allah, you worship only idols. You are inventing a lie. Those you worship besides Allah have no power to provide for you. So seek your provision from Allah, and worship Him and give thanks to Him. It is to Him you will be returned. (Surat al-`Ankabut, 17)

In these verses, the believing garden owner reminds his proud friend of his helplessness by pointing out that he cannot prevent any disaster sent by Allah, and that showing arrogance in the face of this reality is to be thoughtless.

One of the greatest mistakes of people whose property and wealth make them vain is to forget that these, like all the beauty on Earth, are only temporary. Beauty and youth eventually give way to old age, just as health makes way for illness, incapacity, and weakness.

As all wealth is only temporary, Allah can make a poor person rich and destroy the wealth of a rich person in an instant. People can lose their houses, yachts, cars, or jewelry in floods, earthquakes, or other disasters in a matter of moments. No one can prevent a disaster sent by Allah. Anyone can lose loved ones, die, become disabled, suffer permanent injury, or lose his or her memory and faculties, for: "No misfortune occurs except with Allah's permission" (Surat at-Taghabun, 11). Such events cannot be prevented, reversed, or delayed. On such a day, neither wealth nor property will be of any use, for: "As for those who disbelieve, neither their wealth nor their children will ever save them from Allah in any way." (Surah Al `Imran, 10)

Someone who considers his possessions (e.g., yachts, villas, and other property) safe forever, realizes his hopelessness after a tornado. Allah gives power, wealth, health, and wellbeing to whomever He wills. He also lets people grow old to show them His Signs and to remind them that just as with all of the world's adornments, they cannot even control their own bodies.


Since eveyone experiences only what Allah has ordained, they should submit to and trust in Allah. The garden owner, in his conceit, ignored this truth when he claimed that nothing bad would befall his gardens or their produce until the end of time. He was certain that the river watering his gardens would remain there forever, that no pest would ever attack his produce, and that he would not face drought or similar disasters. He felt that his wealth, intelligence, and effort would be enough to protect his property.

However, Allah can easily turn everything on its head. The river could drain into the ground due to a small-scale tremor. Such a thing can happen in the blink of an eye, rendering the land arid and unproductive. Who, other than Allah, could bring the river back or make this man's field productive once again? Certainly his property and even all of his wealth could not help him here. This is what he earns for his conceit and ungratefulness. Those material things that he valued and claimed ownership over, which caused him to invent lies against Allah and to ascribe partners to Him, will not help him in the Hereafter, for:

Woe to every faultfinding backbiter who has amassed wealth and hoarded it! He thinks that his wealth will make him live forever. No indeed! He will be flung into the Shatterer. And what will convey to you what the Shatterer is? The kindled Fire of Allah reaching right into the heart. It is sealed in above them in towering columns. (Surat al-Humaza, 1-9)

Surat al-Kahf 40-41 also refers to the great gift of Allah willing soothing underground water to rise to the surface. Had this not been so, people would be in great difficulty. But thanks to wells and other means that enable us to reach the clear and mineral-rich underground water, we can benefit from this gift.

People who put their faith in others besides Allah, imploring them for mercy and trusting them, will not find what they seek. This is why they feel lost and lonely, especially in moments of trouble. They feel hopeless, confused, and deserted by their false deities in the face of this world's endless chaos and troubles.

Surat al-Isra' 22 proclaims: "Do not set up any other deity together with Allah lest you become disgraced and forsaken." Allah left the conceited garden owner stranded by removing all of his property and wealth through an unexpected disaster. In this tragic moment, the garden owner saw the truth and realized what a huge mistake he had made.

This example teaches us a valuable lesson: Those who consider themselves the owners of any power in the land can be made to realize their helplessness instantly by the will of Allah. Such people cannot help either themselves or those near to them. Everything is in Allah's power, and no one else can provide any benefit or cause harm. This reality is related in the following verse:

If Allah touches you with harm, none can remove it but Him. If He touches you with good, He has power over all things. (Surat al-An`am, 17)

Allah is humanity's only friend and protector. All beings besides Allah are only His creation and exist and—continue to exist—because of His will. Allah provides and heals, and brings about both laughter and tears. Every other being is endlessly helpless, poor, and dependent. They have no power and no ability in their own right, and do not have even the power to help themselves. No one other than Allah can be trusted, expected to help, and asked to provide for us.

Make a metaphor for them of the life of this world. It is like water that We send down from the sky, and the plants of Earth combine with it but then become dry chaff scattered by the winds. Allah has absolute power over everything. Wealth and children are the embellishment of the life of this world. But, in your Lord's sight, right actions that are lasting bring a better reward and are a better basis for hope. (Surat al-Kahf, 45-46)

This verse mentions lasting right actions, defined as good and beneficial deeds that comply with the Qur’an’s morality and are pleasant to Allah. People should do right actions to win His good pleasure and grace, as well as Paradise, for these actions reveal the Muslims’ patience and devotion. In sum, it shows that they are serious about their faith.

The intention behind each act is very important. A deed can be a right action only if it is done for Allah's good pleasure. If it is done with any other intention, it is no longer considered a right action and becomes a deed done for the pleasure of others. Allah describes such acts of worship that seek the pleasure of others in the following verses:

So woe to those who establish prayer and are heedless of their prayer, those who show off and deny help to others. (Surat al-Ma`un, 4-7)

The same is true for charity, for some seek Allah's good pleasure while others seek only to impress. The difference between these people is explained, as follows:

O you who believe. Do not nullify your alms by demands for gratitude or insulting words, like him who spends his wealth, showing off to people and not believing in Allah and the Last Day. His likeness is that of a smooth rock coated with soil, which, when a heavy rain falls on it, is left stripped bare. They have no power over anything they have earned. Allah does not guide unbelieving people. The metaphor of those who spend their wealth, desiring the good pleasure of Allah and firmness for themselves, is that of a garden on a hillside. When a heavy rain falls on it, it doubles its produce; and if a heavy rain does not fall, there is dew. Allah sees what you do. (Surat al-Baqara, 264-265)

Muslims who engage in right action must never forget that they are the ones who benefit from such actions. Allah is exalted and beyond any imperfection, and need. Therefore, He does not need the right actions of Muslims, a fact that is revealed in the Qur’an:

Mankind! You are the poor in need of Allah, whereas Allah is the Rich Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy. If He wills, He can dispense with you and bring about a new creation. That is not difficult for Allah. (Surah Fatir, 15-17)

Our Lord can do anything at anytime and has power over everything, as stated in: "… Do those who believe not know that if Allah had wanted to He could have guided all mankind?..." (Surat ar-Ra`d, 31). The Muslims’ effort to spread Allah’s religion is for their own good. Therefore, those who do right actions benefit only themselves and earn their reward in the Hereafter. According to the Qur’an: "Whoever strives only strives for himself. Allah is Rich Beyond Need of any being" (Surat al-`Ankabut, 6).

Another aspect of right actions is their continuity. Some people find it easy enough to do a couple of good deeds a day, to give some charity, or to be selfless in some respect. They could be doing such things habitually or because they do not damage their interests. But what is really important is to do right actions throughout their lives, make an effort to win Allah’s good pleasure, act selflessly, and work incessantly to spread His religion. They must continue to do so without ever giving up, even if no one else in their environment is obeying His commands. Thus, they will have proven their determination and the strength of their faith in Allah. As Allah proclaims:

Allah augments those who are guided by giving them greater guidance. In your Lord’s sight, right actions that are lasting are better both in reward and the end-result. (Surah Maryam, 76)

The salvation awaiting believers who believe and do right actions throughout their lives is Allah’s good pleasure and Paradise. Allah reveals this good news in the following verse:

As for those who believe and do right actions—We impose on no self any more than it can bear—they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, forever. We will strip away any rancor in their hearts. Rivers will flow under them, and they will say: "Praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this! We would not have been guided had Allah not guided us. The Messengers of our Lord came with the Truth." It will be proclaimed to them: "This is your Garden, which you have inherited for what you did." (Surat al-A`raf, 42-43)

On the Day We make the mountains move and you see Earth laid bare, and We gather them together, not leaving out a single one of them, they will be paraded before your Lord in ranks: "You have come to Us just as We created you at first. Yes indeed! Even though you claimed that We would not fix a time with you." (Surat al-Kahf, 47-48)

Just as there is a time fixed for everyone’s death, the universe also has a fixed time, known as "the Hour." But only Allah knows when the Hour will occur, as the following verse states:

Truly Allah has knowledge of the Hour, sends down abundant rain, and knows what is in the womb. No self knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no self knows in what land it will die. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Surah Luqman, 34)

Surat al-Kahf relates some of the people’s presumptions about when the Hour will come. Allah reveals that the Hour, thought to be far away by people, is approaching: "Mankind’s reckoning has drawn very close to them, yet they heedlessly turn away" (Surat al-Anbiya’, 1).

Most people believe that life on Earth will continue forever, that the Hour will never come, that death is nothingness, and that the Day of Judgment is a myth. While the Hour means an end to Earth, all that it holds, and everything else in the universe, it is not the final "end" rather, it is the beginning of the eternal life in the Hereafter.

Allah created each person from nothing, and Allah will take his or her life at the fixed time in destiny. In His presence, the day, the hour, and even the second, place, and circumstance of every person’s death is known. Allah, beyond time and space, encompasses what to human knowledge is an unknown quantity: the time of one’s death.

On the Day of Judgment, the believers will not fear, for Allah promises that: "My servants, you will feel no fear today; you will know no sorrow" (Surat az-Zukhruf, 68). However, it will be a very difficult day for the unbelievers.

The believers will receive their reward for the care and attention that they paid to winning Allah’s good pleasure, to praying and worshipping as commanded, and to heeding Allah as required, in the nicest manner. Allah will not let them feel the panic, remorse, and sorrow felt by the unbelievers. He describes the believers’ situation in the Hereafter in the following terms:

On the Day you see the male and female believers, with their light streaming out in front of them, and to their right: "Good news for you today of Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, forever. That is the Great Victory." (Surat al-Hadid, 12)

This verse describes the terror that the unbelievers will experience on the Day of Judgment, as well as their surprise that the Book confronts them with everything that they had done on Earth. One reason for their surprise is their ignorance of the fact that Allah controls and encompasses all times and events.

Given that Allah is not bound by such human notions of time as "past," "present," and "future," everything happens in His presence at the same time. Destiny is Allah’s knowledge of everything there was, is, and will be, down to the last detail. Our Lord knows all of this, but His way of knowing differs from ours: He creates it all and is therefore in complete control of every moment of people’s lives.

On the other hand, people witness the events written in their destiny by Allah, Who preserves them in one moment in His presence, only when is time for them to occur. But most people are unaware of this reality and so misunderstand the true nature of destiny. Some people believe that they can "change" or even "defeat" their own destiny. For example, let’s say that you have an accident. Destiny means that all of the related circumstances, your survival, the severity of your injuries, and how long your treatments will last are all written in your destiny. You are still alive because that was your destiny. In other words, you did not "cheat" or "defeat" destiny, for your destiny cannot be changed. If you believe that it can be changed, you are only kidding yourself. It is yet again in their destiny to believe so. Destiny is the science of Allah, Who knows all times as the same moment, Who governs all space and time.

As a result, on the Day of Judgment people will find every one of their actions, words, and intentions brought before them. By the will of our Lord, long-forgotten details will be revealed. People might think that one of their evil or hurtful acts will be forgotten over time, but this is not the case with Allah, for to Him what happens on the Day of Judgment and what happened thousands of years ago exist within the same moment. And so it is a grave mistake to think that one’s deeds will remain secret or be forgotten, or that they will never confront them again.

The train’s past locations on the way, as well as its present and future locations, are all known and occur in the same moment in Allah’s presence.

When We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves to Adam," they prostrated, except for Iblis. He was one of the jinn and wantonly deviated from his Lord's command. Do you take him and his offspring as protectors apart from Me, when they are your enemy? How evil is the exchange the wrongdoers make! (Surat al-Kahf, 50)

This verse points out the importance of obedience. Iblis did not prostrate before Adam and thus disobeyed Allah. Therefore, his defining characteristic is disobedience; whereas believers are known for their determined obedience to Allah, his Messengers, and His revelations.

In the lives of people and societies, obedience is very important. In any society, law and order are established by the obedience, respect, and trust that the people give to the state. Many verses command Muslims to obey those in authority, provided that the rulers do not deviate from true religion, and so envisions a society in which people live according the Qur’an’s morality and thereby create an environment reflecting obedience and respect.

Religious morality prevents people from acts of violence and terror, because Allah forbids people to cause corruption. Some of these verses are as follows:

Seek the abode of the Hereafter with what Allah has given you, without forgetting your portion of this world. Do good, as Allah has been good to you. Do not seek to cause corruption in the land. Allah does not love corrupters. (Surat al-Qasas, 77)

… Give full measure and full weight. Do not diminish people’s goods. Do not cause corruption in the land after it has been put right. That is better for you, if you are believers. (Surat al-A`raf, 85)

Those people who comprehend and live by religion’s morality, therefore, naturally will do their best to refrain from engaging in any type of evil. They will adhere to the Qur’an’s morals and acquire thereby contentment and inner peace, tolerance and a measured and non-provocative attitude, and seek to create harmony.

If the Qur’an’s social model gains widespread acceptance in society, as opposed to Satan’s path, peace and harmony will rule. Those people who oppose the police and other security forces, as well as meet them with anger and trouble, will no longer be able to justify such activities. Those who live according to Islam’s morality are helpful and tolerant, side with the security forces, and make things easier for them. Thanks to the existence of such people, anarchy, terror, chaos, and hostility will vanish. The ongoing conflict between people, their arguments and disputes will cease, and all people will be able to go wherever they want, at any time, in complete safety.

I did not make them witnesses of the creation of the heavens and Earth, nor of their own creation. I would not take as assistants those who lead astray! (Surat al-Kahf, 51)

This verse indicates that believers should only befriend believers, the obedient, and those who have good character. Being with such people protects the believers from all kinds of danger, prevents them from going astray, and helps them to do right actions. Since the believers are one another’s friends and guardians, they will remind each other of Allah’s Signs and recommend good morals. Befriending people who lead others astray and provoke rebellion brings nothing but loss and disaster, as the verse below states:

When Satan made their actions appear good to them, saying: "No one will overcome you today, for I am at your side." But when the two parties came in sight of one another, he turned right around on his heels, saying: "I wash my hands of you. I see what you do not see. I fear Allah. Allah is severe in retribution." (Surat al-Anfal, 48)

Do not forget that in this world, Satan appears to people as their friend. But when he comes face to face with Allah’s punishment, he deserts those who befriended him. For this reason, the Qur’an always commands believers to choose other believers as friends and protectors, as in:

Your friend is only Allah, His Messenger, and those who believe: those who establish prayer, give alms, and bow [in prayer]. As for those who make Allah their friend, and His Messenger and those who believe: it is the party of Allah who are victorious! (Surat al-Ma’ida, 55-56)

On the Day He says: "Call My partner-deities, those for whom you made such claims." They will call upon them, but they will not respond to them. We will place between them an unbridgeable gulf. The evildoers will see the Fire, and realize they are going to fall into it and find no way of escaping from it. (Surat al-Kahf, 52-53)

These verses reveal that those who ascribe partners to Allah will find an unexpected recompense in the Hereafter: Their partners will desert them on that day, and so they will find themselves all alone. Everyone will be accountable only for his or her own actions, and no one will be wronged. The Qur’an says:

If even a single waft of the punishment were to touch them, they would exclaim: "Alas for us! We were indeed wrongdoers." We will set up the Just Balance on the Day of Rising, and no self will be wronged in any way. Even if it is no more than the weight of a grain of mustard-seed, We will produce it. We are sufficient as a Reckoner. (Surat al-Anbiya’, 46-47)

These verses also relate that those who ascribed partners to Allah will search for a "way of escaping," but that a way out will never be found. Their situation is known to Allah. The revelations given in this verse are not known to anyone, the described scene has not been seen by anyone, and the conversations have not been heard by anyone. Thus, these future events are part of the Unseen, which means that they are part of the future, which we cannot know. But in the sight of Allah, Who encompasses all times, these events have already taken place and ended.

Whatever is in our past and future is experienced in Allah's presence as a single moment. We experience the knowledge placed in our memory by Allah as the past, and because the knowledge of the future is not there, we do not know it.

Our Lord knows people’s excuses, their escape plans, the methods they use, how they will be punished, and how they will suffer for eternity, for He is the One Who created everything. He reveals this to us beforehand so that we can learn from others’ mistakes. However, only humanity has a concept of "beforehand." In Allah’s presence, "before" and "after" do not exist, for both are in His presence right now. In other words, Allah does not "remember" the past or "wait to know" the future; rather, He "knows" both of them, but His knowing is not like our knowing. Things that are yet to happen are known in Allah's guidance (hifz), but this knowledge is not like we learn something. The "after" is right now and also finished now, it has happened and it is finished. Every moment, past, present and future, everything we live exists with Allah as "one moment." Allah encompasses all time and space with his knowledge.

They will exclaim: "Alas for us! Who has raised us from our resting-place? This is what the All-Merciful promised us. The Messengers were telling the truth."(Surah Ya Sin: 52)

We have spelled out throughout this Qur'an all kinds of examples for people, but, more than anything else, man is argumentative! (Surat al-Kahf, 54)

The Qur’an guides people to faith and separates truth from falsehood It is a gift from Allah, clear and intelligible, a reminder and an admonishment.

The above verse makes clear that the the Qur’an contains many examples and explanations on a variety of subjects to meet the needs of all people while they exist in this world. From morals to everyday matters, from interpersonal relations to commerce, from the signs of creation in the heavens and the Earth to the signs about the future, they are all to be found in the Qur’an. For example, those wishing to live the religious morality are told: "… We have not omitted anything from the Book…" (Surat al-An`am, 38). This quality is revealed in the following verses:

"Am I to desire someone other than Allah as a judge, when it is He Who has sent down the Book to you clarifying everything?" Those to whom We have given the Book know that it has been sent down from your Lord with truth, so on no account be among the doubters. The words of your Lord are perfect in truthfulness and justice. No one can change His words. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. (Surat al-An`am, 114-115)

… We have sent down the Book to you, making all things clear, and as guidance and mercy and good news for the Muslims. (Surat an-Nahl, 89)

An argumentative nature, which Allah discourages, causes disturbance for ourselves and those around us. It is a character defect. The Qur'an advises believers to speak in the nicest possible way.
One of the great benefits of the Qur’an being revealed as such an enlightening book is that people can find in its verses the solutions to their shortcomings and advice on what to do in moments of anger, how to be patient in difficult circumstances, and how to refrain from those qualities (e.g., envy and mocking) that lead away from good character. Furthermore, it informs the believers about the hypocrites, those who associate others with Allah, the unbelievers’ character, and how to draw lessons from their situation. Therefore, those who ponder its verses can learn many things about one’s self and what is happening around them. As Allah says:

In this way We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, and have diversified therein the warnings so that hopefully they will avoid sin or that it will spur them to remembrance. (Surah Ta Ha, 113)

Surat al-Kahf 54 also points out humanity’s argumentative nature. Many people are conceited, consider their views to be superior to those of others, and, because they do not respect their opponents’ thoughts, argue and try to win the ensuing battle of words. They do everything in order to convince the others: they get angry, shout, and even become aggressive.

On the other hand, believers respond to such argumentative behavior by judging the matter with the Qur’an and speaking in the nicest manner. They know that this is the only effective way to call others to the righteous path and, with Allah’s help, to always be successful. The effect of such behavior is described, as follows:

A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. (Surah Fussilat, 34)

Here we are presented with the situation of those people who persisted in their unbelief even after being invited to the Qur’an’s morality and advised by the Messengers to follow the righteous path. Overcome by their conceit, they would not repent and ask for forgiveness. Rather, they were waiting for Allah to send a disaster. This suggests that they considered it highly unlikely that Allah would send a disaster, that they had little fear, or even no fear, of Allah.

When the Messengers whom Allah had sent to earlier nations invited their people to faith and to live by religion’s morality, they encountered similar forms of denial and rejection. Every nation that did not fear Allah persisted in its denial, and thus its people inevitably merited punishment. The Qur’an reveals that Allah’s eternal law prescribes punishment for those who persist in their unbelief. Some of these verses are given below:

Say to those who do not believe that if they stop, they will be forgiven what is past; but if they return to it, they have the pattern of previous peoples in the past. (Surat al-Anfal, 38)

Shown by their arrogance in the land and evil plotting. But evil plotting envelops only those who do it. Then do they await anything except the pattern of the former peoples? You will not find any changing in the pattern of Allah. You will not find any alteration in the pattern of Allah. (Surah Fatir, 43)

But when they saw Our violent force, their faith was of no use to them. That is the pattern that Allah has always followed with His servants. Then and there, the unbelievers were lost. (Surah Ghafir, 85)

According to Allah’s eternal law, which is absolute and unchanging, all nations that did not accept the Messengers’ invitation were destroyed at a time of His determination. Nobody can alter, bring forward, or delay it even by one hour, because our Lord, the Governor of all, determined this in eternity. One verse says:

This is Allah’s pattern with those who passed away before. You will not find any alteration in Allah’s pattern. (Surat al-Ahzab, 62)

We only send the Messengers to bring good news and to give warning. Those who disbelieve use fallacious arguments to deny the truth. They make a mockery of My Signs and also of the warning they were given. (Surat al-Kahf, 56)

We are informed in the Qur'an that Allah has sent Messengers to every nation to spread His religion and to destroy the entrenched systems of unbelief. They have invited the unbelievers in a variety of ways to believe in Allah and abide by Islam’s morals. But throughout history, false beliefs have been deeply rooted in society, and people have vehemently opposed the true religion, defended false beliefs, strenuously promoted irreligion and immorality and flagrantly tried to oppress others. They worked to destroy the positive influence of Allah’s Messengers over the people and to prevent the people from abiding by religion’s morality.

Societies based upon unbelief tried a variety of methods to prevent the truth: slandering the Messengers to curb their influence and trying to plot against the Prophets, objecting to the Messengers as well as the Books of revelation that they brought, trying to stop people from reading them, and resorting to violence when they deemed it necessary. For instance, the following verse relates the struggle of Nuh’s (as) nation to stop him, as follows:

The people of Nuh denied the truth before them and the confederates after them. Every nation planned to seize its Messenger, and used false arguments to rebut the truth. So I seized them, and how [terrible] was My retribution! (Surah Ghafir, 5)

As Allah says in the above verse, the unbelievers’ struggle is an evil one that will end in ultimate loss. Allah has never allowed them to succeed in the past, and will not allow them to do so in the future. At a time of His determination, our Lord will severely punish those who try to lead people astray from the true religion, for He has written this in their destiny. Those who go astray and deny the truth suffer a great loss now and an even greater disaster in the Hereafter, as Allah says:

The kingdom of the heavens and Earth belongs to Allah, and on the Day that the Hour arrives, [on] that Day the liars will be lost. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 27)

Surat al-Kahf 56 also relates that the unbelievers mocked Allah’s Signs (i.e. verses), and the approaching punishment in Hell.

One of the greatest reasons for their denial of Allah’s verses is their conceit. What they desire most is that no one pronounce Allah’s name or take an interest in Islam’s morality, because only in such an environment will they be able to continue with their vile character and feel at ease. They think that they can find peace if they deny the evidence for creation or blatantly ignore Allah’s power. Such willful ignorance means that even the most clear-cut evidence will never convince them to believe. By denying Allah and religion, they think that they will gain the upper hand and status with the people around them who, like all other living beings, were created by Allah and so are completely dependent upon Him and totally helpless without Him.

Their vanity is founded on the gifts that Allah gave them: intelligence, physical strength, material means, good looks, and whatever else they have. But those people who cannot use their intellect and conscience choose to mock, rather than to be grateful.

The Qur’an states that such people begin to mock Allah’s verses the moment they hear them. For instance: "Each time a sura is sent down, there are some among them who say: 'Which of you has this increased in faith?’ As for those who believe, it increases them in faith and they rejoice at it (Surat at-Tawba, 124). And yet their mocking does not demoralize or discourage the believers; rather, it only increases their motivation and devotion. In another verse, the unbelievers’ lack of understanding and warped attitude toward the verses is described, as follows:

Allah is not ashamed to make an example of a mosquito or of an even smaller thing. As for those who believe, they know it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who do not believe, they say: "What does Allah mean by this example?" He misguides many by it, and guides many by it. But He only misguides the deviators. (Surat al-Baqara, 26)

As the above verse says, the unbelievers did not understand Allah's purpose behind making an example of the mosquito in one of His verses. Due to their ignorance, they asked "What does Allah mean by this example?" and mocked the verse. But today, science has discovered that the much-maligned mosquito has many miraculous qualities.

Allah pointed at this creature’s miraculous qualities 1,400 years ago, and the unbelievers of that time, because they lacked this knowledge, are now exposed as people of small intellect for their mocking words. It is a common practice for unbelievers to mock the acts of worship commanded by Allah, as the verse below reveals:

When you call to establish prayer, they make a mockery and a game of it. That is because they are people who do not use their intellect. (Surat al-Ma’ida, 58)

Allah has revealed many verses on the mocking attitude of those who reject religion, and has advised the believers how to respond to such talk:

When you see people engrossed in mocking Our Signs, turn from them until they start to talk of other things… (Surat al-An`am, 68)

Those who deny Allah’s Messengers and religion, as well as those who mock them, meet an end on the Day of Judgment, as described in verse below:

That is their repayment—Hell—because they did not believe and mocked My Signs and My Messengers. (Surat al-Kahf, 106)

Many people turn away from the verses despite the Messengers’ clear invitations and reminders. But as Allah states in this verse, their denial is by His will and command. This state of denial, characterized by their mocking and incomprehension, is determined by their destiny. No matter how much they try to understand, and irrespective of their willpower to do so, they cannot achieve this. They have to live with their destiny.

Only Allah gives faith, and He has written unbelief into their destiny. Therefore, no call or invitation to faith will have an effect on them unless Allah wills it. Allah prevents them from believing by putting a "cover" over their hearts. The verses say:

Some of them listen to you, but We have placed covers on their hearts, preventing them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears. Though they see every Sign, they still have no faith… (Surat al-An`am, 25)

Allah has sealed up their hearts and hearing, and over their eyes is a blindfold. They will have a terrible punishment. (Surat al-Baqara, 7)

Allah reveals that these people will "never be guided." With this verse, our Lord reminds us that to change destiny is impossible, and that no matter how hard we try, no one will ever experience anything outside of his or her destiny.

Your Lord is the Ever-Forgiving, the Possessor of Mercy. If He had taken them to task for what they have earned, He would have hastened their punishment. Instead, they have a promised appointment and will not find any refuge from it. (Surat al-Kahf, 58)

This verse reminds us of Allah’s infinite mercy and compassion for His servants. Allah, Who is most gracious, lets His endless grace and mercy reflect on everything, without exception. From the air we breathe to the food we eat, from a person’s ever-beating heart to the perfect beauty in nature-down to the last detail, everything is a reflection of Allah’s grace. All people find life and lead their lives by His grace.

Some of those who appreciate these gifts comprehend creation’s purpose and serve Allah, while others are ungrateful and turn away. Allah offers all of Earth’s gifts to everyone, so that even the unbelievers, the hypocrites, and those who associate others with Him benefit from the gifts of this life, whether they are open or concealed, from the air they breathe to the water they drink. Allah gives them goods and property, just as He gives the believers, as well as houses to live in and offspring to continue their family lines. He provides them with good foods and gives them health, strength, and beauty.

Allah lets the unbelievers benefit from all of these gifts, for this might enable them to turn to Him, ponder, understand, and become grateful. But this applies only to this worldly life, for in the Hereafter, all gifts belong to the believers, who used them while in this world to get nearer to Allah and win His good pleasure, and who were grateful, for He is the most gracious and has promised Paradise only to the believers. The following verses make this clear:

Except for those who repent and believe and act rightly. They will enter Paradise and will not be wronged in any way: Gardens of Eden that the All-Merciful has promised to His servants in the Unseen. His promise is always kept. (Surah Maryam, 60-61)

Surat al-Kahf 58 also touches upon another subject: There is a fixed time for every nation that will be punished by Allah. In Allah’s presence, the exact moment of each person’s and each nation’s punishment is known, as He reveals in: "No nation can advance its appointed time, nor can they delay it" (Surat al-Mu’minun, 43).

The earthquake, flood, tornado, or any other catastrophe that will destroy a nation is known in the destiny determined by Allah, including its timing, severity, duration, and effects. Our Lord, Who encompasses all time, has fixed the time in the destiny of the unbelievers,who deny and do not believe in the Day of Judgment, right down to the day, minute, and second, for:

He said: "Go! In this world you will have to say, 'Do not touch me!’" And you have an appointment that you will not fail to keep. Look at your deity to which you devoted so much time. We will burn it up and then scatter it as dust into the sea. (Surah Ta Ha, 97)

In other words, no nation or country that opposes Allah’s law will survive. Every nation that does not respect Allah and religion, that acts contrary to the Qur’an’s morals, will be destroyed and wiped off the pages of history.

Many nations have been hostile toward Allah’s law and declared war upon Islam’s morals. The communist regimes of the last century, which shed so much blood, are only some of the more recent examples. In communist countries, religious institutions were abolished, religious people were oppressed, religious leaders were murdered, and reading the holy Books was forbidden. But none of these regimes lasted. When we look back today, we see that they withdrew from the scenes of history one by one.

The Qur’an gives many examples of dictators and regimes that made oppression a matter of policy. One of these regimes was that of Pharaoh and his entourage. Pharaoh openly rejected Musa’s (as) call to faith and oppressed the believers. As a result, his violent and oppressive regime did not last, for it was wiped out by a great disaster. The verses relate the events surrounding Pharaoh:

We brought the tribe of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his troops pursued them out of tyranny and enmity. Then, when he was on the point of drowning, he [Pharaoh] said: "I believe that there is no god but Him in Whom the tribe of Israel believe. I am one of the Muslims." "What, now! When previously you rebelled and were one of the corrupters? Today We will preserve your body so that you can be a Sign for people who come after you. Surely, many people are heedless of Our Signs." (Surah Yunus, 90-92)

Destroyed places of worship provide one of the most obvious proofs for the war on religion. Above left: A destroyed mosque in Bosnia. On the right: A recently destroyed mosque in Macedonia.

The temporary existence of such oppressive and cruel regimes is part of the trial that Allah creates for believers during their worldly life. In one verse Allah addresses Muhammad (saas) with: "Do not consider Allah to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed" (Surah Ibrahim, 42), thereby letting him know that the oppressors will meet their punishment. This truth is also revealed in another verse, as follows:

We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast: Those who, when disaster strikes them, say: "We belong to Allah, and to Him we will return." (Surat al-Baqara, 155-156)

The Pharaoh to whom Musa (as) was sent was known for his cruelty. He oppressed Musa (as) and his nation and tried to force them to abandon their religion. His destiny, determined in eternity by Allah, provides a lesson for all ouf us. He and his army drowned in the sea by the will of Allah.

Surat al-Kahf 59 also states that such nations were punished because of their wrongdoing. Now, we need to analyze just exactly what this term means.

The Qur’an reveals that the wrongdoers are those who ascribe partners to Allah, who deny His verses, and who reject His Messengers. Allah reveals this reality in: "… Only wrongdoers deny Our Signs" (Surat al-Ankabut, 49). Some of the verses on this are:

Those who do not believe say: "We will never believe in this Qur’an, nor in what came before it." If only you could see when the wrongdoers, standing in the presence of their Lord, cast accusations back and forth at one another!.. (Surah Saba’, 31)

After he left, Musa’s people adopted a calf made from their ornaments, a form which made a lowing sound. Did they not see that it could not speak to them or guide them to any way? They adopted it, and so they were wrongdoers. (Surat al-A`raf, 148)

How can Allah guide a people who have become unbelievers after having faith? They bore witness that the Messenger was true and that the Clear Signs had come to them. Allah does not guide people who are wrongdoers. (Surah Al `Imran, 86)

When you see people engrossed in mocking Our Signs, turn from them until they start to talk of other things. And if Satan should ever cause you to forget, once you remember, do not stay sitting with the wrongdoers. (Surat al-An`am, 68)

As the above verses reveal, the term "wrongdoers" applies to all those who deny Allah’s holy Books; who take deities besides Allah; those who, after witnessing the Messengers to be true, return to denial; and those who mock Allah’s verses. Allah reveals many more characteristics of such people in the Qur’an. To sum up, "wrongdoing" is defined as all of the actions done by people and nations who reject His values and do not worship as He commands, who grow arrogant toward Allah and His religion, and who deny the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment.

It must not be forgotten that the Qur’an reveals that all of those people and nations that deny Allah will be punished severely in both this world and the next. Allah says:

As for those who do not believe, I will punish them with a harsh punishment in this world and the Hereafter. They will have no helpers. (Surah Al `Imran, 56)

This verse reveals that every transgressing nation will be punished in both worlds. Surat al-Kahf calls this time a "promised time." When the appointed time comes, all of the wrongdoers’ strength and numbers will be destroyed and wiped out of existence, because this is Allah’s law.

In addition, the Qur’an says that if a nation is to be destroyed, there will be an appointment between that nation’s Messenger and the angels charged with carrying out this destruction. At this meeting, the angels and the Messenger will clarify the time of the catastrophe destined for that nation. The angels’ visit to Prophet Lut (as) is an example of this.

Lut (as) invited his people to belief over a long period of time and advised them to reform and abandon their prohibited lifestyles. But his nation had made the denial of Allah’s verses and immorality a way of life, and so continued to reject his calls and persist in their denial. Thus, they deserved the decree of punishment, and the angels informed Lut (as) of his people’s imminent destruction. Their visit is related in the following verses:

When Our Messengers came to Lut, he was distressed on their account, feeling incapable of protecting them. They said: "Do not fear and do not grieve. We are going to rescue you and your family—except for your wife; she will be one of those who stay behind. We will bring down on the inhabitants of this city a devastating punishment from Heaven because of their deviance." (Surat al-`Ankabut, 33-34)

When the Messengers came to the family of Lut, he [Lut] said: "You are people we do not know." They said: "We have come to you with that about which they had doubts. We have brought you the truth, and we are certainly truthful men. Travel with your family in the dead of night, following behind with them in front of you. None of you must look back. Go to where you are ordered." (Surat al-Hijr, 61-65)

Thus Allah’s angels informed Lut (as) of the catastrophe during their visit and clarified its hour. For Lut’s (as) nation, this hour was fixed at dawn:

By your life! They were wandering blindly in their drunkenness! So the Great Blast seized hold of them at the break of day. We turned the place completely upside down, and rained down upon them stones of hard-baked clay. There are certainly Signs in that for the discerning. (Surat al-Hijr, 72-75)

Remember when Musa said to his young servant: "I will not give up until I reach the meeting-place of the two seas, even if I must press on for many years." (Surat al-Kahf, 60)

Here, "young" suggests that when doing something, one should seek the assistance of young people and work with them. Young people should be motivated to use their energy, dynamism, strength, ambition, and excitement for right action for Allah’s good pleasure. Some of the verses speak of youth, and the following verse states that only some young people of his nation believed in Musa (as):

No one believed in Musa, except [some] offspring [i.e., youths] among his people, out of fear that Pharaoh and the elders would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Surah Yunus, 83)

Surat al-Kahf 60 refers to the meeting point toward which Musa (as) is traveling. Musa (as) knows that he will meet with someone and that this will take place at the "meeting-place of the two seas." This place could be any place on Earth that fits this description.

The term "even if I must press on for many years" indicates that the meeting place was definitely agreed upon, because Musa (as) intends to go to that particular place and not to any other, even if it takes him many years to reach it, for it cannot take place anywhere else. For this reason, Musa (as) will do his best to get there regardless of how long it will take. And, if need be, he will wait there.

But when they reached their meeting-place, they forgot their fish, which quickly burrowed its way into the sea. (Surat al-Kahf, 61)

We understand from this verse that Musa (as) and his young servant had planned to eat fish. However, Allah made both of them forget itand allowed it, at this moment of opportunity, to escape into the water.

Now, someone cannot forget or remember something at will. Here, Allah made them forget the fish, for this forgetfulness was written in their destinies. This being the case, irrespective of how hard they try to remember, they cannot do so unless Allah wills it.

There are many reasons behind this forgetting. For example, Musa (as) has been told to come to this particular place to meet an important and blessed person, about whom more is revealed later on. To reach their destined meeting place, Musa (as) and his young servant travel for a long time. However, they need more detailed information about the exact location, because the area described as "where the two seas meet" is quite large. Without this detailed knowledge, they might have trouble finding this person. This is where one of the reasons for the fish’s escape becomes apparent: It is a sign, because the fish pinpoints the exact location for this meeting.

In a wider sense, this verse points out the importance of pinpointing the exact location for any meeting. The meeting point in this case of Musa (as) is a memorable one, defined by an important sign. Generally speaking, a meeting’s exact location should be determined and make known in order to prevent difficulties and loss of time, and to make it easier for the people to meet.

This verse reveals that after Musa (as) and his young servant have passed the meeting point, they become tired and hungry. When they want to prepare the meal, they remember the fish and realize that they have left it behind. Allah makes them forget the fish and then, at the appropriate time, remember it, thereby pointing the meeting place out to them.

It is important that Allah chose the fish, for Musa (as) and his assistant would definitely remember it when, following their long journey, they would become tired and hungry and so look for it. As eating when hungry is a necessity for all human beings, it seems that Allah chose the fish to lead them to the meeting point.

He [Musa's young servant] said: "Do you see what has happened? When we went to find shelter at the rock, I forgot the fish. No one made me forget to remember it except Satan. It found its way into the sea in an amazing way." He [Musa] said: "That is the very thing for which we were looking!" So, following their footsteps, they retraced their route. (Surat al-Kahf, 63-64)

When Musa (as) and his young servant realize that they have left the fish behind, they also remember where they forgot it: a rocky area. This rocky place where the two seas meet is the place where Musa (as) is to meet the blessed person. Thanks to the fish, Musa (as) pinpoints the exact place for this meeting at which, it is supposed, he was to meet Khidhr (as). The fish, having fulfilled its purpose, disappears into the sea.

Also in the verse, Musa's servant states that Satan had made him forget about the fish. Satan’s ability to make people forget is also mentioned in other verses, as follows:

When you see people engrossed in mocking Our Signs, turn from them until they start to talk of other things. And if Satan should ever cause you to forget, once you remember, do not stay sitting with the wrongdoers. (Surat al-An`am, 68)

He [Yusuf] said to the one of them he knew was saved: "Please mention me when you are with your Lord," but Satan made him forget to remind his Lord, and so he stayed in prison for several years. (Surah Yusuf, 42)

It must be remembered here that Satan, by himself, has no power. Allah, the sole owner of all power and strength, gave Satan the power to cause people to forget. No being can do anything by his or her own willpower. Allah governs all, as the verse "… There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock…" (Surah Hud, 56) states, the actions of all living beings, including Satan. Therefore, in reality Allah, not Satan, made Musa (as) and his young servant forget the fish, for it was in their interest to do so and their destiny, determined by Allah, called for it.

In Surat al-Kahf 64, we understand that Musa (as) and his young servant realize that the place where they left the fish was the meeting place, and so "they retraced their route" to that very spot.

… All might belongs to Allah. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. Yes, indeed! Everyone in the heavens and everyone on Earth belongs to Allah… (Surah Yunus, 65-66)

They found a servant of Ours whom We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had also given knowledge direct from Us. (Surat al-Kahf, 65)

As was mentioned earlier, Allah is most compassionate, graceful, and merciful toward His servants. Musa (as) sets out to meet Khidr (as), someone to whom Allah has given mercy. Therefore, Allah’s attributes of grace and mercy are reflected on him, which has caused him to receive a superior knowledge from Allah and to become one of His distinguished servants. In the coming parts of the narrative, we will see many examples of his superior sense of mercy.

Here, we are reminded of the concept of compassion in the Qur'an. As Allah states in "… then to be one of those who believe and urge each other to steadfastness and compassion. Those are the Companions of the Right." (Surat al-Balad, 17-18), being compassionate is one of the main characteristics of a believer.

Believers who devote their lives to win Allah’s good pleasure do their best to abide by His rules. Their sense of compassion is derived from their genuine faith, for they know that nothing happens unless Allah wills it and that they are dependent upon what He may grant them. This awareness makes them modest. People who are not modest cannot be truly compassionate because they are self-centered and thus value their interests and desires above all else. For this reason, they do not consider other people’s needs and therefore, quite naturally, cannot feel compassion and mercy for them. Modest people, on the other hand, who have completely submitted to Allah will feel a deep sense of compassion for all other innocent creatures.

One reason why the believers are so determined to be compassionate is their desire to win Allah’s good pleasure. As the verses say, Allah is the most Compassionate of the compassionate, and so the believers strive to live by compassion as much as possible: "Were it not for Allah’s favor to you and His mercy [you would have suffered many difficult situations] for Allah is All-Gentle, Most Merciful" (Surat an-Nur, 20). Totally dependent upon Allah’s grace and compassion, and earnestly seeking His mercy, they are as compassionate as they can be to other believers.

As with everything else, their compassion comes from the Qur’an’s guidance. And because of this, they are compassionate only where Allah commands it and with those people whom He has destined to receive that compassion.

Sometimes the love and compassion felt for a fellow believer makes intervention and criticism inevitable, even though this may be hard or difficult to do. However, such actions can become necessary when wrong actions are committed, for the Qur’an commands Muslims to forbid the wrong. This is real compassion, too, for every Muslim can confront fellow Muslims in an attempt to prevent them from engaging in forbidden activities, but they cannot confront the reality of their brothers and sisters going to Hell. This is why Muslims encourage fellow Muslims to abide by the values pleasing to Allah and thus help them to win Paradise. If they did not consider their fellow Muslims’ destiny in the Hereafter, and thereby simply observe what wrong acts other Muslims might do, how could they claim to have true compassion?

In: "A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers" (Surat at-Tawba, 128), Allah describes our Prophet’s (saas) sense of compassion. And, those who take guidance from this example of morality will be sensitive to one another’s destiny in the Hereafter and behave as commanded by Allah.

From this verse, we can deduce that Musa (as) has already received detailed information, through revelation, about whom he was to meet. He makes a real effort to go to the meeting point despite its distance from his current location, because, even if he encounters hardship while making his way there, he is certain that he will derive a great benefit from meeting with this very special person.

Then, as soon as they meet, Musa (as) recognizes him, as well as his superior character and knowledge, and asks to join him. This shows that he probably already knew that this special person had been taught much superior knowledge (Allah knows best). It is also probable that he received a revelation that this person was on the righteous path and was a guide for it, and that he should join him and learn from him for those very reasons (Allah knows best).

He said: "You will not be able to bear with me." (Surat al-Kahf, 67)

As we understand from the verses, Khidhr (as) also has detailed information about Musa (as). Moreover, it is possible to deduce that Khidhr (as) knows things about the future because Allah has informed him of them.

Upon hearing Musa’s (as) request, Khidhr (as) responds straight away that Musa (as) is not patient enough to travel with him. Why would he say such a thing, before anything happened, before even seeing how Musa (as) would behave? The reason for this is that Khidhr (as) knows part of the future (Allah knows best).

Such knowledge indicates that everything happens according to Allah’s will, because only He gives such knowledge to his chosen few, and only as much of it as He wills. Thus, Khidhr (as) could only reveal such knowledge of the Unseen by Allah’s will.

Everything that will happen to Musa (as) is, as stated earlier, already concluded, and every moment thereof is known in Allah’s presence, for He has written it in destiny. This is evidence that people will experience only the destiny that Allah has written for them. Another verse also emphasizes that believers must submit to Allah and their destiny, and trust Him, as follows:

Say: "I possess no power to harm or help myself, except as Allah wills. Every nation has an appointed time. When their appointed time comes, they cannot delay it a single hour or bring it forward." (Surah Yunus, 49)

"How indeed could you bear with patience something you have not encompassed in your knowledge?" (Surat al-Kahf, 68)

Many troubling, pleasing, and joyful things can happen to people in the course of a day. However, because most people do not think of Allah and the fact that He has already written everything in destiny, they try to explain whatever happens to them as "luck" and "coincidence." However, this prevents them from seeing things in the light of goodness and from drawing beneficial conclusions. For this reason, they become troubled, sad, and unhappy. This is a major difference between the believers and the unbelievers, because the believers are aware that everything is created by Allah’s will and for their ultimate good.

Those who have a deep understanding of this reality succeed in being content and seeing the hidden beauty and ultimate good behind everything, irrespective of their position in this world. Allah has created everything that we will ever experience, regardless of whether we consider them good or bad, with a subtle plan and with His endless wisdom and intelligence. He controls all of life, for He is the sole Governor all all that exists. Allah creates everything in a perfect and matchless form, with wisdom and beauty. Therefore, humanity must recognize and appreciate this perfection and try to see the wisdom and goodness in everything knowing that Allah’s infinite knowledge creates only the most faultless results. Those who believe in Allah, measure everything with an eye for goodness, and interpret things in this way will always find goodness and beauty both in this world and the next.

Believers know that whatever happens to them, even if it appears to be really bad at the time, is created by Allah to try them. As people who submit to Him, they always display good character. On the other hand, those who do not comprehend destiny's reality are hopeless and suffer at every turn.

Allah’s intellect is unlimited; humanity’s is limited. Given this reality, people can deal only with the visible side of things and interpret them according to their own understanding. Therefore, they might interpret something that, in reality, is full of goodness and beauty as negative and unfortunate, and vice versa. In such situations, believers need to submit to Allah’s infinite knowledge and wisdom and look at things from the perspective of goodness in order to see the truth, because everything that appears to be negative is, for the believers, "a lesson in destiny." Allah says in one verse:

… it may be that you hate something when it is good for you, and it may be that you love something when it is bad for you. Allah knows, and you do not know. (Surat al-Baqara, 216)

Musa said: "You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I will not disobey you in any matter." (Surat al-Kahf, 69)

As we can see in the verse, Musa (as) responds immediately in a Muslim way by saying "In sha’ Allah" (if Allah wills). This expression shows the believers’ submission to Allah, that they understand how destiny works and are aware that only Allah can grant them success.

As we mentioned in the explanation of Surat al-Kahf 23-24 above, it is Allah’s command not to say "I will do this tomorrow," but to say "if Allah wills."

Through this answer, Musa (as) draws our attention to the importance of saying "In sha’ Allah" before beginning something, reaching a decision, and planning something for tomorrow, because, ultimately, only Allah bestows success and the necessary capabilities to achieve it. It is essential for Muslims to remember this great truth: Only Allah knows and governs everything that occurs in the universe.

He said: "Then if you follow me, do not question me about anything until I myself make mention of it to you." (Surat al-Kahf, 70)

The narrative of Musa (as) and Khidhr (as) re-emphasizes the importance of obeying the Prophets and Messengers. Believers must pay attention by showing strict respect in their allegiance.

In connection with this, people must see the wisdom and goodness in the actions of the Messenger to whom they have given their allegiance. They must expect goodness in everything that the Messenger does and, if they cannot see the inherent wisdom, must wait patiently and respectfully for its explanation. Believers must not upset the Messenger by asking unnecessary questions or indulging their curiosity.

If the underlying wisdom of the words or actions is not immediately apparent, Muslims must wait respectfully for Allah’s Messenger or chosen one to explain it. Those who adopt this perspective will realize immediately that the word or action was appropriate and recognize their mistaken initial response. The verses say that if the person to whom allegiance is given feels the need to explain the wisdom behind the action, decisions, and words, he will do so. For instance, Khidhr (as) says: "… until I myself make mention of it to you" thus indicating that he will explain the underlying wisdom at the appropriate time.

They continued until they boarded a boat, and he made a hole in it. Then Musa said: "Did you make a hole in it so that its owners would be drowned? This is truly a dreadful thing that you have done!" (Surat al-Kahf, 71)

From this verse, it is clear that Musa (as) did not bring his young servant along on this journey. There could be a number of good reasons for this, such as to emphasize the importance of one-to-one education, which is the best form of education. People trying to learn in a crowded environment easily lose their concentration and find it hard to refocus. Even when there are three people, one is easily distracted and finds it hard to concentrate. For this reason, the Qur’an hints at one-to-one education, for such a method makes it easy to concentrate and pay attention. Moreover, such direct communication with the instructor enables the student to learn more efficiently. This is why the benefits of private education, recognized around the world, are important.

Another matter is mentioned: Musa knows Khidhr’s (as) value and that he is commanded to do much good.

This situation, like all others, takes place in destiny. Khidhr (as) had said that Musa (as) would become impatient, and thus one part of the knowledge of the future given to him was fulfilled. On the other hand, Musa (as) asks the question because it is written in his destiny. This is called a "zallah" (a slip or error made by a Prophet or Messenger). Such mistakes are part of the Prophets’ and Messengers’ destinies, because they lead ultimately to goodness and wisdom. By these verses, Allah informs us that such mistakes, whose time and place are known in destiny, can occur.

He said: "Did I not say that you would not be able to bear with me?" Musa said: "Do not take me to task because I forgot. Do not demand of me something that is too difficult." (Surat al-Kahf, 72-73)

Notice the certainty in Khidhr’s (as) words when he reveals his knowledge of future events: that Musa (as) will not have the necessary patience to travel with him.

Surat al-Kahf 73 makes it clear that everything happens by Allah’s will. People cannot speak or prevent others from speaking by their own will, for only Allah inspires them and gives them speech. Moreover, He can make every being, whether living or nonliving, say whatever He wills them to say. The Qur’an reveals that on the Day of Judgment, Allah will give speech to a person’s ears, eyes, and even the skin, as follows:

When they reach it, their hearing, sight, and skin will testify against them concerning what they did. They will ask their skins: "Why did you testify against us?" and they will reply: "Allah gave us speech, as He has given speech to everything. He created you in the first place, and you will be returned to Him. You did not think to shield yourselves from your hearing, sight, and skin testifying against you, and you thought that Allah would never know much of what you did." (Surah Fussilat, 20-22)

In other verses, our Lord reveals that unless He gives permission, no being can find the power to speak:

Lord of the heavens and Earth and everything between them, the All-Merciful. They will not have the power to speak to Him. On the Day when the Spirit and the angels stand in ranks, no one will speak, except for him who is authorized by the All-Merciful and says what is right. (Surat an-Naba’, 37-38)

As we mentioned earlier, Allah creates forgetting as well as remembering, and rules over all of our mental activities, be they past, present, or future. It was written in Musa’s (as) destiny that he would forget and that he would ask a question that he was not supposed to. No one can gain control over his or her brain and prevent forgetfulness or saying the words that have been written in his or her destiny. Allah makes people forget whatever and whenever He wills them to. He can take away all memory or, if He wills, place within one’s memory the knowledge of things not known before. All of these happen by His will.

From Musa’s (as) request "do not demand of me something that is too difficult," we understand that he does not want his education to be terminated.

We have created all things with predestination. Our command is only one word, like the blinking of an eye. (Surat al-Qamar, 49-50)

So they went on until they met a youngster, whom he [Khidhr] killed. Musa said: "Have you killed a boy who has done no wrong, without it being in retaliation for someone else? This is truly an appalling thing that you have done!" (Surat al-Kahf, 74)

Although he promises not to ask questions, Musa (as) cannot overcome his destiny and stop himself from asking these questions. In spite of knowing that Khidhr (as) acts according to Allah’s command, knowing that he has deep knowledge, and saying that he is his disciple, Musa (as) reacts to what Khidhr (as) does. Therefore, another "zallah" occurs.

But we must not forget that only Allah gives and takes life. Thus, as revealed in the following verse, no one can kill another person unless Allah wills it, for:

You did not kill them; it was Allah Who killed them. And you did not throw, when you threw; it was Allah Who threw, so He might test the believers with this excellent trial from Him. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Anfal, 17)

Khidhr (as) is a true servant of Allah and acts only according to His order and will. Everything he does and says conforms to His will. Besides, no one can know whether or not this life is in retaliation for another, or whether or not the child who gets killed is pure, unless Allah wills it. However, Musa (as) speaks these words because Allah wills him to do so and because it is written in his destiny.

He said: "Did I not tell you that you would not be able to bear with me?" Musa said: "If I ask you about anything after this, then you should no longer keep me company. I will have given you excuse enough." (Surat al-Kahf, 75-76)

As we also see in this narrative, Allah gives and removes, as He wills, the power to His servants to be patient. This laudable aspect of the believers is mentioned in many verses, along with the fact that only Allah gives patience. For instance, Talut’s (as) army asked Allah for patience in war, as follows:

When they came out against Jalut and his troops, they said: "Our Lord, pour down steadfastness upon us, make our feet firm, and help us against this unbelieving people." (Surat al-Baqara, 250)

Surat al-Kahf 76 reveals that Musa (as) is aware of Khidhr’s (as) displeasure. In spite of Khidhr’s (as) assertions that Musa (as) would become impatient, Musa (as) insists that he would be patient. However, after two failures to keep his promise, he also wants to resolve the situation and so uses a new strategy of persuasion to convince Khidhr (as) not to terminate this process of education and admonition. With this goal in mind, Musa (as) gives him more assurances and guarantees so that he may prolong and continue this education for as long as possible.

So they went on until they reached the inhabitants of a town. They asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall about to fall down, and he [Khidhr] built it up. Musa said: "If you had wanted, you could have taken a wage for doingthat." (Surat al-Kahf, 77)

Continuing their journey, Musa (as) and Khidhr (as) entered a town. However, given that they were not received favorably or offered food and shelter, we understand that their journey had been a difficult one.

In this verse, Allah could be pointing to the validity of suffering any hardship in the quest for truth and beneficial knowledge. Musa (as) is prepared to suffer any hardship in order to be with Khidhr (as), so that he can benefit from his wisdom and reminders. This is also a reminder for all people, for Muslims should show the same determination and strength of character in similar situations.

The verse also indicates that Khidhr (as) was particularly talented, capable and fast-acting. This can be deduced from the fact that he was able to damage the boat without anyone noticing what he was doing, and also by the quick action he took in building a sturdy wall. Allah indicates his fast decision-taking and experience by saying "They found there a wall about to fall down, and he built it up." Khidhr (as) also displayed great deftness when he made the hole in the boat, since he did so in such a way that the boat was not completely destroyed, but only rendered unusable. He was thus very familiar with the materials needed to construct a boat and a wall.

Musa (as) now asks his third and last question to Khidhr (as), who already knows, by the wisdom granted to him by Allah, whether or not to seek a wage for his work. Such a practice is not obligatory, because it depends upon the situation and circumstances. As believers do everything for Allah’s good pleasure, their labor can be paid work or freely donated work. If it is paid, the money is used to win His good pleasure yet again. It is the person’s individual decision whether or not to seek payment in the light of the Prophets’ and Messengers’ knowledge and Allah’s command.

... They found there a wall about to fall down and he built it up... (Surat al-Kahf, 77)

Say: "My prayer and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allah alone, the Lord of all the worlds." (Surat al-An`am, 162)

He said: "This is where you and I part company. I will let you know the explanation of those things about which you were not able to restrain yourself." (Surat al-Kahf, 78)

This last question of Musa (as) indicates that it is time for them to part company, for Allah has willed Musa (as) to state this condition when he earlier said: "If I ask you about anything after this, then you should no longer keep me company". Khidhr (as) declares this reason by stating that Musa (as) could not restrain himself due to his not being informed by Allah of the underlying reasons, and that he would now explain. If he had explained these reasons to Musa (as), the latter would have been able to be patient with him. In other words, we should expect ultimate goodness and wisdom in the things that the Prophets or the chosen ones do not explain.

All of the things that Musa (as) and Khidhr (as) experienced on their journey had been written in their destinies and determined by Allah. Nothing could have happened in a different way. The moment of parting, just like the timing and location of their meeting, were all known in Allah’s presence, for He had written them in their destinies in the timeless past.