Viewing Life through the Lens of Surat AlKahf
Surat al Kahf, the 18th surah found in the exact middle the Qur’an, contains 110 ayaat rich with
stories and parables that are constantly engaging the reader. It is a Meccan surah that is full of
deep insights and tackles serious subjects that concern us both in this life and the hereafter. The
surah gives us a perspective to examine life differently in pursuit of finding its reality. Surat
AlKahf pertains to everyone, no matter his/her situation. If one is poor, weak, and oppressed, he
will find the whole surah addressing his problems, giving him support, and suggesting solutions.
If one is wealthy, healthy, and powerful, she will find it primarily speaking to her as well.
It was reported by the Prophet (pbuh) that “whoever reads Surat AlKahf on Friday, it lightens
what is between the two Fridays.1 ” How can we best understand this light? This light is a guiding
light throughout the week. Since we all face challenges that are both large and small, and we can
very easily get confused as to how best to address our issues, we need a frequent reminder of
the right perspective. Surat alKahf gives us a criterion to make decisions and form opinions. It
helps us understand challenges and gives us the ability to deal with them, whether they involve
our finances, our personal relationships, or our pursuit to seek knowledge. There is no doubt
that this surah will, time and time again, be an indispensable gem in our lives if we use it in
accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
This episode is an invitation for the reader to instill within himself the habit of reading Surat
AlKahf every Friday, reflect deeply on the wealth of lessons and ideas, and more importantly,
recall these lessons throughout the week. It is our hope that you, the reader, will enrich this
episode with your own reflections and commentary by engaging with the material and discussing
the ideas brought forth with your fellow MAS members, family, and friends, insha’Allah.
Utilizing the Lens: An Analogy
We would like the reader to consider Surat AlKahf as a “life lens” that one acquires by reading
the surah every Friday. This lens will help us see things differently; it will help us see things
without illusions. Consistently reading the surah will polish the lens and allow us to see life’s
reality more clearly.
As we go through our week equipped with this lens, we will be able to overcome challenges, gain
a better understanding of life, and in the process make better decisions. This episode is a step in
creating your lens of Surat AlKahf, but before we begin, there are some special characteristics
that one should know about this lens.
It was reported in AlKakem and AlBaiyahaqi and was authenticated by Sheikh AlAlbani, may
Allah have mercy on them all.
1. Our belief system is the fundamental component of this lens. Believing in Allah, His
Messengers, His Books, and the Day of Judgement will change our perspective. This
belief is summarized in the first few ayaat of the surah, [v.13]. Taking this belief with us
throughout the surah will help us understand the points the surah wants to make.
2. You can watch movies with this lens. Stories are a key component when it comes to
learning and reflection, and we can extract numerous lessons from them. Surat alKahf
is comprised of three major stories and ministories as well (i.e. the two gardeners).
3. WARNING: The lens can become dusty and blur your vision. The believer, like any
other human being, is forgetful. However, when the believers are reminded, they will
remember, [v.51:55]. Reading the Qur’an frequently helps remind us of our beliefs and
values. It is not a surprise that the Prophet (pbuh) recommends reading this Surah every
Friday. Reading Surat al Kahf consistently will allow us to wipe off the dust that
accumulates throughout the week and polish our hearts, but it must be done on a
4. Not everyone has the same lens. While you see wealth as a test from Allah and strive
towards prohibiting greed from entering your heart, others will see it as a final objective
they work hard to achieve. It is dangerous to assume that everyone has the same
perspective as yourself.
5. This lens allows you to peer into the future! Surat al Kahf allows you to understand
the Sunnah (law) of Allah in this universe. Figuring out this sunnah helps you anticipate
the future and prepare for a successful one, insha’Allah [v.110].
Now that you have some understanding as to the type of lens the Lighthouse team has in mind,
we invite you to reflect on Surat alKahf by yourself as well as with your peers. To help our
brothers and sisters have some guided discussion, the Lighthouse team has offered a few
examples of core topics that Surat AlKahf focuses on. Keep in mind, however, that the readers
should not limit themselves to these examples. Rather, they should use them to develop a
methodology of reflection and a way to approach Surat AlKahf in particular and the whole Qur’an
In this exercise, we ask the reader to reflect on the examples below. Each example is a
fundamental area that Surat AlKahf focuses on or remind us of as we read it. For each
example, we provide a short description, a list of focus verses, and a few discussion questions
to stimulate ideas and reflections. Remember, you can do this discussion alone as well as in a
Please do not limit yourself to the examples below. Think of other areas that Surat AlKahf
addresses and reflect on those as well. The Lighthouse team intentionally did not address very
important topics to give the readers a chance to reflect on these themes on their own. As you
read Surat AlKahf every Friday, remember these areas and recall any experiences related to
them that you faced throughout the week. Try to find out how Surat AlKahf helped you overcome
any challenges and bring about more understanding.
1. The Reality of This Life
In this area, Surat alKahf guides us to understand one of the most difficult things: this life. It
helps us understand the reality of this life and our role in it. It helps us give it its due value and
understand how Allah wants us to live.
[78, 28, 3244, 45, 46, 110]
How does Surat AlKahf concisely describe this life and what is in it?
How does  summarize the reality of this life, define our role in it, and describe its
How is misunderstanding this life according to Surat AlKahf create problems for people?
How does Surat AlKahf help us set our priorities when it comes to this life? [37, 46]
Think about the parables that Allah used to describe this life, how can these parables
help you live this life? [7, 45]
Compare how the surah describes the joy of this life to the real joy in Paradise.
Enumerate the differences and remember them.
Suicidal thoughts come to people during prosperity and during poverty. How does Surat
AlKahf create an immunity from such bad thoughts?
Can you describe the current recession wave as you view it through the lens of Surat
2. Worshiping the One True God
People seek refuge, support, and protection through powerful entities. Wealth, political powers,
and influential groups are examples of these things. Surat AlKahf guides us to the only real
power that is deserving of our reliance Allah (swt). The surah illustrates the reality of these false
powers that people depend on (and hence worship) instead of Allah (swt). The surah also
refutes the fallacy that the believers are weak by relying on Allah (swt) and edifies the believers
with strong confidence when they rely on the highest power.
[10, 14, 16, 2627, 3940, 5152, 84, 95]
Go through the surah, try to find examples of things that people rely on to gain power and
support. Make a list of these things and see if they exist in your very life.
How does the story of the people of the cave give the impression that the believers are
How does careful analysis of the cave story illustrate the complete opposite: reliance on
Allah gives you the ultimate power?
Search the focus verses for a few phrases that serve as a reminder that “Allah is the
utmost power to rely on.” Make a list of these and memorize them!
How do the good believers in the stories continuously relate all the power they have to
Allah (swt)? How is that an important aspect of our belief system? Compare that to those
who relate their power to their own effort what are the consequences of this wrongful
3. The Victory of Allah is Near, Very Near
Allah promised His victory and support to His messengers and to the believers. “When is the
victory of Allah?” is a question that we often ask given our hasty nature. Going through Surat
AlKahf helps us see this reality and comforts our hearts.
[3, 11, 19, 21, 45, 5859]
How does v.3 help us understand this concept?
How does reading the story of the cave help us feel that the victory of Allah is near?
Aren’t three hundred and nine years a long time? Isn’t that the time it took to show the
people of the cave Allah’s victory? How about people who won’t live for three hundred
● Can you list 5 reasons for Allah not to send his support at the times we expect? Use what
you read from the surah and other surahs as well.
● Look at Surat AlKahf on a global scale. Do you feel that the victory of Allah is near?
4. Choosing Your Company
We have been created to live in groups and societies. Being with the right group is essential to
living a successful life. However, it is not always easy to understand what the right group is, and
even more difficult to associate with them. Surat AlKahf touches upon the importance of
choosing the right company. It also explains the distractions and the pressure that may take us
away from being with them.
[10, 14, 16, 28, 3741, 43, 6566]
How is the story of the people of the cave a strong reminder of the importance of the
What other options [in terms of company] do the individuals of the people of the cave
have other than the cave group? Why are these options more appealing than the cave
The people of the cave made several good decisions. What are those decisions? How
did good company help them in making these decisions?
Why did the people of the cave desert their society? Do we have to do the same and live
amongst good company? How can we “retreat” to “the cave” without leaving our society?
What are the distractions that take us away from good company? Where are they found
in the verses? Do you see these distractions in your life?
“Bad company, the company that is not related to Allah, is useless.” Don’t you agree?
How do you come to that conclusion while reading Surat AlKahf?
Why do you think verses 3741 are listed in the focus verses of this section?
Make a list of 10 qualities of good company as you understand them from Surat AlKahf.
5. Wealth and Power, Is It a Blessing or a Curse?
People spend so much effort to gain wealth and power. Some succeed. Some are even given
wealth and power without much effort. It is always a difficult question to answer. Is it good to
have wealth and power? Is it really a blessing from Allah? Should one seek them or stay away
from them? Surat AlKahf helps us strike the right balance and shows us how to make our
wealth and power a blessing.
[3144, 46, 8398]
How do we understand the value of wealth and power in light of understanding our role in
this life (example 1)?
How is wealth clearly a distraction and a source of problems in the story of the two men
? Compare the two perspectives of wealth and power.
Should one just run away from wealth and power? Do we have to acquire them?
If we do strive to acquire wealth and power, what would be our intention while acquiring
Does Surat AlKahf show examples of people who gained wealth and power and
succeeded in utilizing them?
Write a short paragraph describing how wealth and power can get you closer to Allah.
You can make a list as well
6. The Danger of False Arguments
False arguments are the primary source of misguidance. We live in a world full of false
arguments. When mixed with lies, those arguments appear strong and tend to make sense.
However, through careful examination, and sometimes through simple examination, those
arguments collapse. Surat AlKahf is a strong reminder, warning us against falling prey to false
[1, 5, 1415, 3536, 54, 56]
What do you think the primary source of reasoning would be? Primary = 1 :)
An argument without knowledge is the severest problem. Where do you find that in Surat
AlKahf? How do people misguide themselves and others through that?
● What line of thought do the people of the cave use to arrive at the right conclusion? How
did they figure out the false arguments of their people? What tools did they use?
● What kind of false assumptions and beliefs did the rich man (in the story of the two men)
have? How did these wrong assumptions lead him astray? Do you have these wrong
assumptions? Be careful!
● The other man (in the two men story) had it right! Right?
7. Knowledge Belongs to Allah, Ask Him for More!
Knowledge is like an ocean. Humanity as a whole just knows a little bit of this ocean. No matter
how knowledgeable, our knowledge is very limited. However, knowledge is deceiving. It tends to
instill arrogance in our hearts and distract us from its source, Allah (swt). Surat AlKahf reminds
us of the vastness of knowledge and the importance of seeking it. It also reminds us that it all
belongs to Allah and we should relate it to Him and ask Him alone for it. As our knowledge
increases, our humility should.
[1, 2324, 25, 39, 6082, 109]
How is Surat AlKahf a strong reminder about the vastness of Allah’s knowledge?
Do you agree that knowledge can cause distraction and arrogance?
Read the story of Moses (pbuh) and the righteous knowledgeable man. Read the details
of the story from Sahih AlBukhari [see resources]. Why do you think Moses (pbuh) went
on this journey? What mistake did he make when he was asked the question, “Who is
the most knowledgeable person on earth?”
● What kind of knowledge did Moses (pbuh) learn by being next to the righteous man? Can
you make a list of things Moses (and you) learned?
● Write a paragraph to describe the right attitude dealing with knowledge
8. You May Like Something and It is Bad for You
We cannot see the future. We do not even know enough of the past. We tend to want things
and wish that they happen in a particular way. When they don’t, we get upset and feel bad. We
grieve when bad happens and we celebrate when good happens. Although a human tendency, it
is not necessarily right. We may like something and it is bad for us; and we may dislike
something and it is good for us. Surat AlKahf strongly instills this belief in our heart. As we go
through events throughout the week, we have to have this belief ready to help us.
Does this belief mean we should be indifferent to events happening around us?
How can this belief help us overcome challenges and make good decisions?
Apart from breaching the agreement with the righteous man, was Moses wrong in
making such judgments in the three events he went through with the righteous man?
● If you want to have another word for this man and what he does, what would be this
● Can we behave like this righteous man? When can we? WHEN MUST WE NOT?
9. Always Measure Your Actions Against the Guidance of Allah
We tend to like what we do. Our decisions are the best since we are the ones who made them.
Our actions are the best since they are ours. Our mistakes always have excuses. However,
Surat AlKahf loudly reminds us to question our ideas, reexamine our thoughts, and measure
our actions. All of this should be done in accordance to a criterion, our belief in Allah.
How did this concept help the people of the cave?
Could this have helped the rich man (in the story of the two men)?
What is the danger of being heedless about one’s deeds in accordance with Allah’s
● Doesn’t this concept make us always hesitate and lose confidence in what we do? How
can we be confident in what we do while not becoming vulnerable to mistakes.
● List 5 things you can do to make sure you are on the right track. You can get them from
10. The Name of the Surah: “AlKahf” BONUS READ
Note: Please do not read until you finish the whole exercise
It is important to reflect on the name (or the different) names of the suras in the Qur’an. These
names are selected by Allah and taught to His messenger. There is a lot that we can learn while
trying to understand the name, the reason it was chosen, and the theme it tries to convey.
Going through the examples above, as well as the ones you will be able to create, we can find
that the story of the people of the cave has a component of what the Surah wants to say. These
concepts are demonstrated in the story and helped the people of the cave make the right
The people of the cave realized the value of this life in comparison to the hereafter.
They chose to retreat in a cave free of the “adornment” of this life to protect their faith.
● They refused to obey and rely on an oppressive ruler and completely relied on Allah
(swt). Everyone else sought support by the strong political power they lived under and
ended up abandoning their faith and worshiping false gods.
● The story of the cave tells us that although they remained three hundred and nine years
in their cave, this time is nothing in the age of nations. It felt to them like a day or so. Allah
resurrected them in order that they (and us) know that “the promise of Allah is true” and
His victory is near.
● The people of the cave were able to stick together, think together, support one another,
and join together in doing the right actions. They were able to overcome the pressure of
the evil and oppressive society by being together. They demonstrated to us the value
of good company.
Coming from wealthy and powerful ranks, their wealth and power did not distract
them from making the right decisions. Their wealth and power were only in their
hands. Their hearts were full of Allah and His deen.
Their people made many false arguments claiming gods other than Allah. They were
able to overcome those false arguments by stronger and clearer arguments.
Throughout the story, we see that it is Allah who guides, it is He who teaches, He is
the one who spreads mercy and grants success. They asked Allah for guidance ;
Allah increased them in guidance, ; they fled to the cave seeking Allah’s guidance
; they always attribute knowledge and guidance to Allah . Even the knowledge of
how many they were or how long they stayed in the cave is attributed to Allah [21, 22, 26]
The cave itself is a great symbol. A dark, cold, and scary cave is not something good.
Palaces are nicer places to stay. The story shows us that the cave was a much better
place . The cave is sure to be disliked but “you may dislike something and it is
good for you.”
What saved these people from the evil environment they were in is a few moments of
truth: “Are we right? Let us examine our beliefs. How dare we worship other than Allah.
Are our people wrong? Are we wrong?” Those moments are essential to our survival.
Otherwise we can be from the people “Whose effort is lost in worldly life and they
think they are doing well”
Musa and the Righteous Man in Hadith. Sahih AlBukhari, Volume 1, Book 3, Number
● Suhaibwebb.com: Tafsir of Surat alKahf Part I
● Suhaibwebb.com: Tafsir of Surat alKahf Part II
● Suhaibwebb.com: Tafsir of Surat alKahf Part III
The Lighthouse team would like to thank Raef Haggag the author of www.creativejuce.org for
sharing his doodle. For more interesting and creative doodles, feel free to visit his site.