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Select Translation What is This? Selections include: The Koran Interpreted, a translation by A.J. Arberry, first published 1955; The Qur'an, translated by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, published 2004; or side-by-side comparison view
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18 THE CAVE (1 – 25)

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Praise belongs to God who has sent down upon His servant the Book and has not assigned unto it any crookedness; right, to warn of great violence from Him, and to give good tidings unto the believers, who do righteous deeds, that theirs shall be a goodly wage therein to abide for ever, and to warn those who say, ‘God has taken to Himself a son’; they have no knowledge of it, they nor their fathers; a monstrous word it is, issuing out of their mouths; they say nothing but a lie. 5Yet perchance, if they believe not in this tiding, thou wilt consume thyself, following after them, of grief. We have appointed all that is on the earth for an adornment for it, and that We may try which of them is fairest in works; and We shall surely make all that is on it barren dust.

Or dost thou think the Men of the Cave and Er-Rakeem were among Our signs a wonder? When the youths took refuge in the Cave saying, ‘Our Lord, give us mercy from Thee, and furnish us with rectitude in our affair.’ 10Then We smote their ears many years in the Cave. Afterwards We raised them up again, that We might know which of the two parties would better calculate the while they had tarried. We will relate to thee their tidings truly. They were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance. And We strengthened their hearts, when they stood up and said, ‘Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and earth; we will not call upon any god, apart from Him, or then we had spoken outrage. These our people have taken to them other gods, apart from Him. Ah, if only they would bring some clear authority regarding them! But who does greater evil than he who forges against God a lie? 15So, when you have gone apart from them and that they serve, excepting God, take refuge in the Cave, and your Lord will unfold to you of His mercy, and will furnish you with a gentle issue of your affair.’ And thou mightest have seen the sun, when it rose, inclining from their Cave towards the right, and, when it set, passing them by on the left, while they were in a broad fissure of the Cave. That was one of God's signs; whomsoever God guides, he is rightly guided, and whomsoever He leads astray, thou wilt not find for him a protector to direct. Thou wouldst have thought them awake, as they lay sleeping, while We turned them now to the right, now to the left, and their dog stretching its paws on the threshold. Hadst thou observed them surely thou wouldst have turned thy back on them in flight, and been filled with terror of them. And even so We raised them up again that they might question one another. One of them said, ‘How long have you tarried?’ They said, ‘We have tarried a day, or part of a day.’ They said, ‘Your Lord knows very well how long you have tarried. Now send one of you forth with this silver to the city, and let him look for which of them has purest food, and bring you provision thereof; let him be courteous, and apprise no man of you. If they should get knowledge of you they will stone you, or restore you to their creed, then you will not prosper ever.’ 20And even so We made them stumble upon them, that they might know that God's promise is true, and that the Hour— there is no doubt of it. When they were contending among themselves of their affair then they said, ‘Build over them a building; their Lord knows of them very well.’ Said those who prevailed over their affair, ‘We will raise over them a place of worship.’ (They will say, ‘Three; and their dog was the fourth of them.’ They will say, ‘Five; and their dog was the sixth of them;’ guessing at the Unseen. They will say, ‘Seven; and their dog was the eighth of them.’ Say: ‘My Lord knows very well their number, and none knows them, except a few.’ So do not dispute with them, except in outward disputation, and ask not any of them for a pronouncement on them. And do not say, regarding anything, ‘I am going to do that tomorrow,’ but only, ‘If God will’; and mention thy Lord, when thou forgettest, and say, ‘It may be that my Lord will guide me unto something nearer to rectitude than this.’) And they tarried in the Cave three hundred years, and to that they added nine more. 25Say: ‘God knows very well how long they tarried. To Him belongs the Unseen in the heavens and in the earth. How well He sees! How well He hears! They have no protector, apart from Him, and He associates in His government no one.’

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