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Such being their state, We raised them... (Al-Kahf 18:19)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’l-Kahf (The Cave)

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وَكَذَ‌ٰلِكَ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِيَتَسَاءَلُوا بَيْنَهُمْ ۚ قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ ۚ قَالُوا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُم بِوَرِقِكُمْ هَـٰذِهِ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ فَلْيَنظُرْ أَيُّهَا أَزْكَىٰ طَعَامًا فَلْيَأْتِكُم بِرِزْقٍ مِّنْهُ
Such being their state, We raised them (the People of the Cave) up so they began to ask one another. One who spoke said: “How long have you stayed?” They (some among them) answered: “We have stayed a day, or part of a day.” The others said: “Your Lord knows better how long you have stayed. Now (we must deal with our hunger. So) send one of you to the city with this coin of yours: let him see what food is most pure there (and so lawful), and bring a supply from it.” (Al-Kahf 18:19)

We have already mentioned some of the heroic attitudes and actions of the Ashābu’l-Kahf while commenting on verse 14 above. Now, we will discuss another of their heroic acts. When they were awakened in the cave, they sent one from among them to the city to buy some food. However, since three hundred years had passed, he was recognized by people both from his outward appearance and the coins he presented while shopping. The people of the city, including the governor according to some reports, followed him to the Cave. Their story had been circulated among people. Their sleep and waking up after three hundred years had a great influence upon people. While the faith of many people increased, advancing from simple or imitated belief to conviction or from believing based on certainty of knowledge to believing based on certainty of observation and experience, many others accepted belief for the first time. By God’s will and favor, these heroes performed another great mission. While they were being taken from the world eternally, they caused thousands of people to rise to their level of thought.

A second important aspect of this verse worth mentioning is “money.” Whatever the outcome was, the world or something worldly gave them away. What made Yamliha out was the “coin” he gave to buy bread. The result was a blessing, but it was the money who betrayed them. Hence, heroes of an ideal should not even have a desire for anything mundane, let alone pursuing wealth, if they do not want to be caught and prevented by the community. Since the earlier times, many noble, powerful people who have pursued a lofty ideal have not been able to resist becoming slaves of this ruthless thing. Many communities have been destroyed or made captive by exploiting this weak point in human nature. Nevertheless, the spread and exaltation of the Religion is dependent upon financial possibilities. Consider that when one from among the Ashābu’l-Kahf went out with a few coins, a second development occurred on behalf of the Religion. For this reason, this aspect of the issue is also important.

Indeed, funding and financing should never be ignored. However, the relevant Qur’anic verses and the practices of the noblest Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, should guide in this matter. Truly, a Muslim should earn money and become wealthy, yet a Muslim should never give a place to money in his or her heart. They should keep it lodged only for safekeeping but spend it for the good of the community. Think about the great developments that have been realized in various places with God’s help. How could they have been realized without money? This means that the financial power is one of the significant dynamics of serving people and the Religion. For this reason, the effort to obtain it may be considered a kind of worship, as long as it is earned in lawful ways and spent on the way of realizing a lofty ideal, not for the satisfaction of any illicit desires or fancies.