Nabii Musa (as) and al-Khidr


In the name of Allah , the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon the Prophet •saws•

Our story today is mysterious. It is narrated in twenty-two ayahs Although he only carried the basket, this boy learned by experience so much on this journey. Later on, he became the leader of Banu-Israel and retrieved Jerusalem. He achieved this because he was a natural true learner at heart; he had the three merits of a true scholar: profound patience, humility and serenity of soul, and the desire to acquire beneficial knowledge. Prophet Musa (AS) was his model. Allah says what can be translated as: •{And as Musa said to his page, “I will not leave off until I reach the junction of the two seas, or I will pass epochs away}• (TMQ, 18:60) One epoch is about 25 years. Prophet Musa (AS) was really avid for learning. He was an embodiment of the Qur’anic supplication addressed to Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) •{and say “Lord! Increase me in knowledge.}•(TMQ, 20:114) Interestingly, this ayah was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) when he was fifty years old -we must never have enough of knowledge.


Value of knowledge

Prophet Muhammad pbuh stressed the importance of knowledge in many situations. He told his companions that the angels and all creatures pray for the scholars; Allah helps the one who seeks knowledge; the scholar is better than the worshiper as the moon is better than the other planets; and that the scholars are the inheritors of Allah’s prophets.

The Companions and the Followers took a deep interest in seeking knowledge. Ali Ibn-Abi- Talib said, “Knowledge is better than money because knowledge protects you while you protect money.” Imam ash-Shafi’y toured the whole world to learn. He memorized the Noble Qur’an at seven and memorized ten thousand lines of poetry at thirteen. Imam Ahmad Ibn-Hanbal said that his care for knowledge is like that of a mother who searches passionately for her lost child. Averroes (Ibn-Rushd) mentioned that he never left reading except on two days: the day his father died and the day of his marriage.


Musa’s Search for al-Khidr 

Prophet Musa (AS) set out along with his servant boy. When they reached the rock at the junction they forgot their fish which became alive and took for itself its way out of the basket and into the sea. Allah says what can be translated as •{Then, as soon as they passed over, he said to his page, “Bring us our dinner; (Or: early meal, breakfast) indeed we have already encountered fatigue from this, our journey.}• (TMQ, 18:62) The reply was •{Have you seen (that) as we sought our abode on the rock, then surely I forgot the whale (Or: large fish) and in no way did anything make me forget it except ash-Shaytan (Satan) so that I should not remember it, and it took its way into the sea in a wondrous (manner).}• (TMQ, 18:63) Satan did not want this journey to materialize because it was the meeting of a scholar and a prophet and that would bring forth a lot of knowledge and value to us.


Musa Meets al-Khidr 

They turned back and there at the rock •{they (both) found one of Our bondmen (Literally: bondman from among Our bondmen) to whom We had brought mercy from Our Providence, and had taught him knowledge from very close to Us}• (TMQ, 18:65) Knowledge and mercy should be inseparable. This is the third merit we mentioned before: searching for beneficial knowledge. Knowledge without mercy leads to disasters. The man was asleep. Would they awaken him? No. They would wait for him. Prophet Musa’s (AS) unique soul and mentality was evident. The prophet who had been always the leader of his people has become a knowledge-seeker, and he was not ashamed to behave like a modest learner in front of his page.

Prophet Musa (AS) greeted al-Khidr and asked him, •{May I follow you so that you teach me of that knowledge you have been taught.” Al-Khidr replied, “Verily! You will not be able to remain patient with me.” It is a dialogue between two great personalities; it is a dialogue about acquiring knowledge. Prophet Musa (AS) used the word “follow” not “accompany.” 

Although al-Khidr implicitly refused at the beginning, Prophet Musa (AS) was insistent. •{He said You will find me, in case Allah (so) decides, patient; and I will not disobey you in any command (of yours).}• (TMQ, 18:69) Now Musa (AS) and al-Khidr had an agreement: Musa (AS) was to follow him provided that he does not ask about anything until he explains it to him. Isn’t it time we start to take interest in reading?

This is was the 1st part of this most mysterious and deeply beneficial story in the wholy Quran and specially in Surah Kahf which we read it every Friday and get to know the secerts of this story

The life of humans is a complicated matter that is full of riddles.  We see a perfect woman getting divorced and another leading a stable marital life; a couple yearning to have a child and other parents forsaking their children.  Many are the times that we come across a righteous man afflicted with cancer for example and a dissolute enjoying his life to his death and in good health.

Ponder on earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and tsunamis in which parents would die leaving young children and others would be rescued whilst their children would not be able to make it.

Why does this happen? What is the Wisdom of Allah[1] behind this?

Today’s story answers these questions.  It is the story of one of the pillars of faith: to believe in Divine Destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.  Your faith is never complete without believing in Allah’s destiny.  It is part and parcel of faith.  For this to be achieved you must grasp, perceive and rest assured of the meaning of three of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah.  These are: the All-Knowing, the Ever-Wise and the Ever-Merciful.

The significance of The All-knowing is evident in the ayah [2] which can be translated as, “And in His Providence are the keys of the Unseen; none knows them except He. And He knows whatever is in the land and the sea. And in no way does a leaf fall down, except that He knows it, and not a grain in the darkness(es) of the earth, not a thing wet or dry, except that it is in an evident Book.” (TMQ[3], 6:59).

There is a wisdom behind everything that happens in the universe from a grain of sand moving from one place to another to the Second World War and its consequences.  You should trust the Ever-Wise.

You should feel satisfied with what Allah decrees, for the Ever-Merciful’s decree would never be for the bad or evil of his creatures.  Ibnul-Qayim says, “Contentment is the greatest Door to Allah; it is the relief of the worshippers and the paradise on earth.”

Learn from the Prophet (SAWS)[4] how to accept destiny with a contented heart.  He (SAWS) witnessed the death of seven of his children, one after the other, yet he supplicated Allah saying, “All the good is from Your Hands and the evil is not from You.” What about you? How would you evaluate your degree of satisfaction with the divine destiny?

The story of Musa (AS) (Moses) and al-Khidr embodies this concept.  It includes three journeys: one by sea, the second on land and the third in the countryside.  One tackles the problem of sustenance, the second depicts the worst of all afflictions which is the loss of one’s child and the third is about postponement of a blessing.  This is how the Qur’an teaches us to believe in the unseen and be satisfied with destiny.

Musa (AS) and al-Khidr  set out for their mysterious journey.  It started aboard a ship.  Al-Khidr, well known to the poor sailors for his righteousness, was allowed to board on it for free.  He unexpectedly went down to the bottom and made a hole in it and the water started to fill the ship.  Musa (AS) was astonished and said what can be translated as, “… Indeed you have already come with a grave thing  …” (TMQ, 18: 71).  He asked al-khidr for an explanation but al-Khidr was enigmatic.  It was as if he represented destiny.

Musa (AS) and al-Khidr (AS) resumed their journey.  On their way they, met a group of youths.  Al-Khidr kept searching for a certain one among them until he found him.  The Qur’an relates to us what can be translated as, “So they (both) went off until, when they (both) met a youth, then he killed him. He said, “Have you killed a most cleansed self without (his having killed another) self? Indeed you have already come with a (highly) maleficent thing.” (TMQ, 18: 74).  This time also, al-Khidr refrained from justifying his deed and blamed Musa (AS)for not being patient!

The last stop in their journey was a small village.  At this stage they were starving and the Qur’an tells us what can be translated as, “they asked its population for food, yet they refused to receive them hospitably (i.e. as guests). Then they found therein a wall that would have collapsed down, so he set it up …” (TMQ, 18: 77).  It seems that the people there were miserly.  Musa (AS) could not help himself from saying what can be translated as, “If you so decided, indeed you could have taken to yourself a reward for it.” (TMQ, 18: 77).

Musa (AS) became confused.  The sailors were generous to al-Khidr yet he pierced their ship, whereas the people of the village were stingy and he took it upon himself to rebuild a wall for them.  What a contradictory behavior!  It reminds us of the contradiction of destiny.  People who deserve are deprived and those who do not deserve get everything.  Furthermore, the first and second actions were evil whereas the third time it was good.  It is obvious how al-Khidr adopted an untraditional way of teaching.

At that point, al-Khidr said, “This is the parting between me and you. I will soon (fully) inform you regarding the interpretation of what you were unable to (endure) patiently.”  (TMQ, 18: 78) And he started to expose the implicit half of the three incidents.  We all face destiny without understanding the unspoken side of it.  Here al-Khidr will explain to Musa (AS) how Allah’s decrees are all good even those that are apparently evil.

The Qur’anic ayahs go, in what can be translated as, “As for the ship, then it belonged to (certain) indigent persons who did (their business) upon the sea. Then I willingly damaged it, (and) beyond them was a king who was taking away every ship by force.” (TMQ, 18: 79)  Had he not made this small repairable defect in their ship, a much bigger loss could have occurred.  By analogy, the small problem that is depriving you of sleep might be for your own good.  Write down three important achievements in your life.  Try to remember what preceded them.  You will find out that each was preceded by a crisis.

The Prophet (SAWS) said that whoever says in the morning and evening, “I am contented with Allah as a Lord, with Islam as a religion and with Muhammad as a Prophet and Messenger” then Allah will make him contented that day.  Contentment with Allah entails that you never doubt Allah’s Decrees.

“And as for the youth, then his parents were believers; so we were apprehensive he would oppress them with (his) in-ordinance and disbelief” (TMQ, 18: 80).  His death was a mercy both for his parents and for the society. “So we willingly (intended) that their Lord would give them (both) in exchange a more charitable (person) in cleansing (i.e., a better, purer son) than he and nearer in tenderness” (TMQ, 18: 81).

One might wonder that he was just a kid.  Allah, The All-Knowing, knew that had he not been killed, he would have grown up to be a tyrant and would end up in Hellfire.  His death at that young age saved him all thisPerchance his death was a warning to other youths that death is near.  Many are the lessons that we can come up with from this story.  May be the most serious lesson is for the youth: Never oppress your parents.  You might be uprooted from this world for their sake.

O mothers who lost their kids!  Your prayers for them might add good deeds to their accounts which they might have not gained on their own.  Besides, your steadfastness and endurance would raise your rank before Allah.

Concerning the third incident which was about postponement of a blessing, the ayahs explain it in what can be translated as, “And as for the wall, then it belonged to two orphan youths in the city, and beneath it was a hoarding belonging to them; and their father was a righteous (man). So your Lord willed that they should reach full age and take out their hoarding as a mercy from your Lord; and in no way did I perform it upon my own command. This is the interpretation of what you were unable to (endure) patiently.” (TMQ, 18: 82)  It was in their best interest that the treasure would not be discovered, though they needed it at the time.  It would have been stolen by the miserly villagers.

Glorified be Allah who endears Himself to His servants by sending al-Khidr to exemplify destiny and show them that its end is always good.

At the end let me ask you: Are you now satisfied with Allah and with destiny?


[1] The word Allah is the Arabic term for God. Although the use of the word “Allah” is most often associated with Islam, it is not used exclusively by Muslims; Arab Christians and Arabic-speaking Jews also use it to refer to the one God. The Arabic word expresses the unique characteristics of the One God more precisely than the English term. Whereas the word “Allah” has no plural form in Arabic, the English form does. Allah is the God worshipped by all Prophets, from Adem to Noah, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

[2] Verse of the Qur’an.

[3] Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an.  This translation is for the realized meaning, so far, of the stated (Surah:Ayah) of the Qur’an.  Reading the translated meaning of the Qur’an can never replace reading it in Arabic, the language in which it was revealed.

[4] Salla Allah alayhi wa sallam [Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him].

About theCall

“Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious..”
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