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23 August 2017 CE | 00 Dhul-Hijjah 1438 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation


The Cave of Death


Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Three men from among those who were before you, set out together till they reached a cave at night and entered it. A big rock rolled down the mountain and closed the mouth of the cave. They said (to each other), ‘Nothing can save you from this rock but to invoke Allah by giving reference to a righteous deed which you did (for Allah's sake only).’ So, one of them said, ‘O Allah! I had old parents and I never provided my family (wife, children) with milk before them. One day, by chance I was delayed, and I came late (at night) while they had fallen asleep. I milked the sheep for them and took the milk to them, but I found them sleeping. I disliked to provide my family with the milk before them. I waited for them and the bowl of milk was in my hand and I kept on waiting for them to get up till the day dawned. Then they got up and drank the milk. O Allah! If I did that for Your Sake only, please relieve us from our critical situation caused by this rock.’ So, the rock shifted a little but they could not get out.”

“The second man said, ‘O Allah! I had a cousin who was the dearest of all people to me and I wanted to have sexual relations with her but she refused. Later she had a hard time in a famine year and she came to me and I gave her one-hundred-and-twenty Dinars on the condition that she would not resist my desire, and she agreed. When I was about to fulfill my desire she said, ‘It is illegal for you to outrage my chastity except by legitimate marriage.’ So I thought it a sin to have sexual intercourse with her and left her though she was the dearest of all people to me, and I also left the gold I had given her. O Allah! If I did that for Your Sake only, please relieve us from the present calamity.’ So, the rock shifted a little more but they still could not get out from there.”

“Then the third man said, ‘O Allah! I employed a few laborers and I paid them their wages with the exception of one man who did not take his wages and went away. I invested his wages and I got much property thereby. (Then after some time) he came and said to me, ‘O Allah's slave! Pay me my wages.’ I said to him, ‘All the camels, cows, sheep and slaves you see are yours.’ He said, ‘O Allah's slave! Don't mock me.’ I said, ‘I am not mocking you.’ So, he took all of the herd and drove them away and left nothing. O Allah! If I did that for Your Sake only, please relieve us from the present suffering.’ So, that rock shifted completely and they got out walking.” [Sahih Bukhari]

This hadith tells us about pious deeds and their effects. Three men got trapped in a cave whose opening got blocked so completely that if the rock hadn’t moved from its mouth the cave would have become their grave. At such times man forsakes all means and agencies and looks only to the Creator of the means and agencies.

From the example of the first man we see that there is no limit to kind treatment of parents as long as one does not commit sins in order to please them. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) tremendously rewards those peope who are kind and considerate to their parents.

From the example of the second man we learn the value of Taqwa. Taqwa is that a man refrain from sin only because he fears Allah (subhana wa ta’ala), although he has the means and ability to sin, is surrounded by a sinful atmosphere, and is not afraid of being caught or punished in this world. This man was able to put a check on his desire, although he longed for that woman, only because of being reminded of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). This is how Believers are: “When Allah is mentioned their hearts are filled with fear.” [Quran 8:2] As a result of this man’s Taqwa, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) removed the rock from the mouth of the cave a little more. Allah says: “And whosoever fears Allah, He appoints a way out for him.” [Quran 65:2]

From the example of the third man we learn that those people are very dear to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) who recognize the rights of their fellow men and give them their rights faithfully. As an employer, the man not only kept the wages of his employee safely but also invested them profitably although it was not binding on him to do so. He gave to his employee many times over the principal amount, an example of excellent dealings with a fellow-man. Can the greedy world present an example of such a character today?

From this hadith we learn that man should turn to Allah when he is faced with difficulty, anxiety and trial. If he does this, the difficulty becomes a blessing for him, as he is rewarded for asking Allah and depending on His help. Some people do not turn to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) even in times of distress. This is a very dangerous trend and a sign that they have hardened themselves against the remembrance of Allah because of which “Allah has sealed their hearts.” [Quran 2:7] May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) protect us from this.

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