Cave of The Seven Sleepers
Traveling from Amman to Dead Sea one will pass near Kahf al-Raqim. The story of this place was well known to the Jews before Prophet Mohammad, but not to Mohammad who lived in Medina many hundreds of kilometers away.
In Holy Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf 18 (the cave), the story is told how the Jews challenged him to tell them the story of the sleepers. They knew that none of the Arabs knew of it. By issuing this challenge it was hoped to prove that Mohammad was not, indeed, a Prophet. So, the Jews told the nonbelievers to ask Mohammad “who are the young men who disappeared and how many were they?”
The Prophet hadn’t the faintest idea what they were talking about and told them he would give them the answer tomorrow, so he could await the answer from Jabril (Gabriel). However, Jabril gave him the full story, not only the number. You will soon hear why.
The Prophet gave the unbelievers the story, and it was exactly the story known by the Jews. He told them that the young men slept for 309 years, which is what the Jews knew. He did not, however, give an exact answer to many there were. He told them that some people would tell they were 3 and 1 dog, others would tell they were 5 and 1 dog and still others told they were 7 and 1 dog. The Jews were completely astonished when they knew the Prophet had given all the suspected numbers of the sleepers.
The mention of this particular story in Holy Qur’an along with the events surrounding it is used to confirm that Qur’an was revealed by God and contains only His words because it contained information Mohammad could not possibly have known.
Holy Qur’an states the sleepers spent three hundred years inside the cave. The young men sought refuge in the cave from an oppressive system that disallowed expression of their views. They were not allowed to tell the truth and call to Allah’s religion. Because of that, they fled their society.
When they went into the cave they prayed to Allah saying, “Our Lord, give us mercy directly from You and open the way for us to right guidance in our situation.” (Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf: 9-10) “So We sealed their ears with sleep in the cave for a number of years. Then we woke them up again so that We might see which of the two groups would better calculate the time they had stayed there. (Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf: 11-12) Qur’an also says that the number of the sleepers will be known only to God and a handful of people. It has never been mentioned that there were seven sleepers.
“They will say: ‘There were three of them, their dog being the fourth.’ They will say ‘there were five of them, their dog being the sixth’, guessing at the Unseen. And they will say ‘There were seven of them, their dog being the eighth.’ So do not enter into any argument concerning them, except in relation to what is clearly known. And do not seek the opinion of any of them regarding them.” (Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf: 22)
During the time they slept there the calendar of their people was changed from solar to lunar. As a result of the calendar change the number of years they spent in the cave increased to 309 years (lunar).
When the sleepers awakened they believed they had slept for only a few hours. One of them was sent to buy food. The coins he used to buy food were no longer in circulation and it drew the attention of the people. After the story was known throughout the town, the sleepers died.
A dog was mentioned by Qur’an; “thou wouldst have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if thou hadst come up on to them, thou wouldst have certainly turned back from them in flight, and wouldst certainly have been filled with terror of them.” (Qur’an, Surah al-Kahf: 18)
Still standing at the cave are Roman and Byzantine ruins as well as a mosque that is exactly as described in Qur'an.
|School for Imams and Preachers|
|Jim, looking round in wonder as if he had never been away from the farm...|
|Ayoub, Jim, Osama|
|Abozaky, Jim, Osama|
|The new mosque|
|Jim, finally getting down the stair|
|Beautifully made mosque and school entrance with minaret in background|
|Cave sign at the entrance to the holy site|
|Entrance to the cave|
|I don't care how I look, I want my picture took!|
|Abozaky just outside the cave|
|Niche in which someone put an old grinding stone|
|Three of the tombs|
|Artifacts found in the cave|
|Qur'anic verses inscribed in stone|
|Looking out from the cave|
|Ruins of the ancient mosque|
|Ruins of the ancient mosque again|
|Stair to school and mosque|
|Oh, look! A chicken! Told you Jim can't give attention to what's going on.|
|Ok, that's better...a bit|
|Jim & Abozaky|
|Look how they are blooming...it's 10th December!!!|
|Abozaky is a good photographer; don't you agree?|
|Look at those dark clouds...do we dare hope for rain?|
|Hill just west of the cave|
|Bones of the sleepers were all moved to a single tomb during excavation|
|Bones of the sleepers|