Saturday 27 March 2021

Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Yourself and provide for us rectitude in our affairs

Believers have always been getting back to their Creator both in good time to thank and in bad times to invoke Allah's blessing so that there bad time or its ill effects are averted. In the Qur'an a very forceful invocation is attributed to the People of the Cave 'Ashab al Kahf " اصحاب الكهف  " in Surah 18. Al Khaf who when found them being targeted by the polytheists, hid them in a cave and asked for the mercy and protect. 

اِذۡ اَوَى الۡفِتۡيَةُ اِلَى الۡـكَهۡفِ فَقَالُوۡا رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا مِنۡ لَّدُنۡكَ رَحۡمَةً وَّهَيِّئۡ لَـنَا مِنۡ اَمۡرِنَا رَشَدًا‏ 
(18:10) When those youths sought refuge in the Cave and said: "Our Lord! Grant us mercy from Yourself and provide for us rectitude in our affairs."

Before commenting on the above quoted verse, Yusuf Ali explains the event leading to distress of People of the Cave:
The bare Christian story (without the spiritual lessons taught in the Qur'an) is told in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (end of chapter 33). In the reign of a Roman Emperor who persecuted the Christians, seven Christian youths of Ephesus left the town and hid themselves in a cave in a mountain near by. They fell asleep, and remained asleep for some generations or centuries. When the wall which sealed up the cave was being demolished, the youths awoke. They still thought of the world in which they had previously lived. They had no idea of the duration of time. But when one of them went to the town to purchase provisions, he found that the whole world had changed. The Christian religion, instead of being persecuted was fashionable: in fact it was now the State religion. His dress and speech, and the money which he brought, seemed to belong to another world. This attracted attention. The great ones of the land visited the Cave, and verified the tale by questioning the man's Companions. When the story became very popular and circulated throughout the Roman Empire, we may well suppose that an Inscription was put up at the mouth of the Cave. See verse 9 and n. 2336. This inscription was probably to be seen for many years afterwards, as Ephesus was a famous city on the west coast of Asia Minor, about forty to fifty miles south of Smyrna. Later on, the Khalifa Wathiq (842-846 A.D.) sent an expedition to examine and identify the locality, as he did about the Zul-Qarnain barrier in Central Asia. A popular story circulating from mouth to mouth would necessarily be vague as to dates and vary very much in details. Somewhere about the 6th century A.D. a Syriac writer reduced it to writing. He suggested that the youths were seven in number; that they went to sleep in the reign of the Emperor Decius (who reigned from 249 to 251 A.D., and who was a violent persecutor of Christianity); and that they awoke in the reign of Theodosius 11, who reigned from 408 to 450 A.D. In our literature Decius is known as Daqyanus (from the adjectival Latin from Decianus), and the name stands as a symbol of injustice and oppression, and also of things old fashioned and out-of-date, as res Decianae must have been two or three centuries after Decius.

The youths hid in the cave, but they trusted in Allah, and made over their whole case to Him in prayer. Then they apparently fell asleep, and knew nothing of what was happening in the world outside.

Explanation of the verse: [2] Allah mentions the the story of the People of the Cave. He said: 

“When the youths took to their cave” “fityah الۡفِتۡيَةُ ” (youths) is the plural of “fatah” which is a vigorous young man, brimming with youth. The meaning of this passage is, “And mention when the group of vigorous youths fled to their cave, escaping with their religion intact, and protecting their faith from the disbelievers among their people.” The leader of their people was Decius, as will be explained later in their story.  

“And said” when they entered their cave, “Our Lord! Bestow upon us from You” This means, “Bestow upon us from Your Hidden Affairs, and from the treasures of Your special mercy that is hidden from the eyes of those who depend upon conventional means.”  

“a mercy” This is a special mercy that includes gentleness [from Allah] and safety from enemies. 

“and grant us guidance in our affair" This means, “Rectify this affair that we have undertaken, in which we have separated ourselves and migrated from our people.”  

“and grant us guidance” This means, “Grant us guidance which we will become rightly guided and upright.” Or, “Make our entire matter guided and correct,” similar to if one were to say, “I found correctness with you.” Or, “[Grant us] to take the correct path towards that which we seek.”  

The origin of the word “hayyi’ هَيِّئۡ ” [translated here as “grant [us]”] is the expression, “ihdath hay’at al-shay’,” which means “to renew the appearance of something.” 

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir:

Here Allah tells us about those young men who fled from their people for the sake of their religion, fearing persecution. So they fled taking refuge in the cave of a mountain, where they hid from their people.

When they entered the cave, they asked Allah to show mercy and kindness towards them, ( رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself,) meaning, `give us Your mercy and conceal us from our people.' ( وَهَيِّىءْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا and facilitate for us our affair in the right way.) means, direct our matter well, i.e., grant us a good end. 

As was reported in the Hadith: (Whatever You have decreed for us, make its consequences good). (Therefore, We covered up their hearing in the cave for a number of years.) meaning, `We caused them to sleep when they entered the cave, and they slept for many years.' 

This verse is a guideline for all true believers to rely on the Allah Almighty whenever in distress for Allah will open venues beyond their imagination and help them out of their distress. And must always pray for grant of rectitude (morally correct behaviour or thinking; righteousness ) so as not to be mislead by the evil forces of Satan and get away from the righteous path. May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Invocations / Dua " دُعا " from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs / verses (ayat) of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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