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Three Men in the Cave

Three Men in the Cave

ABOUT SERMON: Three Men in the Cave

Three Men in the Cave

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ. الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ وَصَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ خَاتَمِ النَّبِيِّينَ وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ الأَنْبِيَاءِ وَالْمُرْسَلِينَ.

All Praise is due to Allah, we praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.

Dear Brothers and Sisters …

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Allah Almighty informed us that there are lessons in the narratives of the previous people:

Yusuf 111: There was certainly in their stories a lesson for those of understanding.

In the news of previous people such as people of Noah, Hud and Saleh are lessons. And there are many Hadiths informing us of the previous people.  And there are lessons for us to reflect on in the news of the three men from the people before us who took refuge in a cave due to rain at night as was related by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them) who narrated that He heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say:

Three men, amongst those who came before you, set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. A boulder fell down from the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: ‘Nothing will save you from this unless you supplicate to Allah by virtue of a righteous deed you have done.’ 

Allah tested these three men, with a huge boulder, that fell from the mountain and blocked them from exiting the cave. Allah tested them through this and guided them to the means of relieving this distress:

Thereupon, one of them said: ‘O Allah! I had parents who were old, and I used to offer them milk before any of my family and servants. One day, I went far away in search of grazing and could not come back until they had slept. When I milked as usual and brought the drink I found them both asleep. I hated to disturb them and also disliked to give milk to my family or servants before them. My children were crying out of hunger at my feet but I awaited with the bowl in my hand for them to wake up. When they awoke at dawn, they drank milk. O Allah! If I did so to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress caused by the boulder’. The boulder moved slightly but they were unable to escape.

Then the next said: ‘O Allah! I had a woman whom I loved more than anyone else. I wanted to have an intimate relation with her, but she refused. Hard pressed in a year of famine, she approached me. I gave her one hundred and twenty dinars on condition that she would yield herself to me. She agreed and when we got together (for an intimate relation), she said: Fear Allah. I moved away from her in spite of the fact that I loved her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her. O Allah! If I did that to seek Your Pleasure, then, remove the distress in which we are.’ The boulder moved aside a bit further, but they were still unable to get out.

This highlights the virtue of chastity, decency, modesty and purity. He was alone with his cousin. Far from the sight of the people. But when he was reminded to fear Allah, it woke him up. He realized that he was not alone and that nothing escapes Allah. He backed off and left all the money with her.

The third one said: ‘O Allah! I hired some laborers and paid them their wages except one of them departed without taking his due. I invested his money in business and the business prospered greatly. After a long time, he came to me and said: O servant of Allah! Pay me my dues. I said: All that you see is yours – camels, cattle, goats and servants. He said: O servant of Allah! Do not mock me. I assured him that I was not joking. So he took all the things and went away. He spared nothing. O Allah! If I did so seeking Your Pleasure, then relieve us of our distress.’ The boulder slipped aside and they got out walking freely.  [Al-Bukhari 2333 and Muslim 2743a]

This shows the importance of doing good onto others without expecting anything in return. And the virtue of guarding the trust in the best possible fashion.

After the three men implored Allah through their righteous deeds done sincerely for His sake, they were able to exit, which indicates the virtue of sincerity to Allah. Righteous deeds done sincerely for the sake of Allah are means for relieving distress in this world and the hereafter.  So, a person should strive to rectify his intention and perform his deeds solely for the sake of Allah Almighty.

Oh Muslims:

Allah assisted his dutiful servants even when all the worldly means were cut off. The boulder was huge and no match for the three men. But Allah is the All Powerful and All Mighty. All that we see is significant – whether it is the largest boulder, the largest mountain, the largest planet, the largest universe – are all insignificant to the Lord of the Worlds.

To put matters in perspective let us consider one creation of Allah.

The Prophet ﷺ said : I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne, that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years. [Sunan Abi Dawud 4727]

And if the distance from the ear to the shoulder is seven hundred years, what would be the distance from his head to his feet.? What is the strength and power of this angel who carries the throne of which the heavens and the earth compared to this throne would be like a small ring in a large vast land?

And what is the magnitude of this throne that this angel is just one of the bearers?

And what is the Might, Power, Strength, Greatness of the One Who created the throne, and created its bearers and created the worlds?

So let us be mindful of Allah and strive for His everlasting paradise. Let us ask ourselves – What deeds do we have through which we can implore Allah? What have we saved for a rainy day?

I conclude with this and send prayers of blessings and peace upon our Prophet as your Lord commanded:

Al Ahzaab (33) 56: Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace.

Allahumma Sallai Al’a Muahmmad’n wa’aila Muhammad

Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favours – He will increase you therein.  And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters. And establish the prayer.


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