Three, Five, Seven Sleepers And A Dog

seven sleepers 3The Cave of the Seven Sleepers (AlKahf)
From Amman Travel Blog, 2010

[In the] suburb of Amman called ” Araqim” or “Abo Alanda”
There is a cave , that people it’s a cave of 7 sleepers..
It’s beautiful place, not far from city center , maybe 13 Km (not more 5 JD by Taxi)..
There is many gardens with smile of Lavenders and Roses..
Beautiful not tall palms , and many Olive and Pine trees..

The story of this sleepers was written in Quran

Islamic interpretation

During the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the Jews of Medina challenged him to tell them the story of the sleepers knowing that none of the Arabs knew about it. According to tradition, God then sent the angel Gabriel (or Jibreel) to reveal the story to him through Surah Al-Kahf. After hearing it from him, the Jews confirmed that he told the same story they knew.

Muhammad was challenged by the people of Makkah, who did not believe in his message and prophethood, by a question that the people of Makkah passed to him from the Jews. The Jews knew that Muhammad would only be able to tell the story if he was indeed a prophet. The Jews told the non-believers of Makkah to ask Muhammad “who are the youths who disappeared, and how many were they?” Muhammad did not answer. He told them that he would answer the next day, waiting for the answer to be revealed to him through Gebreil.

The answer was revealed to Muhammad in a complete Surah named after the cave (Al-Kahf) of the seven sleepers. The Quran revealed the exact story that the Jews knew of, and it answered the questions (how many were the youths, and for how many years they had been missing)in a way similar to the legend they already knew.

The Quran confirmed that they had slept for 309 years. The Quran however did not give an exact answer to how many there were. It mentioned that some people said that there are 3 or 5 or 7, in addition to one dog.The Jews also did not know whether there were 3 or 5 or 7, and were astonished when the Quran gave all the possibilities that had been suggested for the number of sleepers.

Mentioning the story in the Quran and the concurrent events that happened before revealing the story is claimed as evidence that the Quran was revealed by God and that it contains only the words of God and not those of Muhammad, since it contained information that Muhammad himself did not previously know.

The Qur’an states that the period of time these sleepers spent in the cave was three hundred years during which the calendar of their people was changed from solar to lunar and, as a result, the period of their sleep had increased to 309 (lunar) years. When they woke up, they had no idea they had slept for centuries and thought they had only slept a few hours. When one of them went to buy food, the coins he used to buy food were out of circulation and drew the attention of the town’s people. After the story was widely known, the sleepers died.

The Qur’an also mentions a dog among the sleepers, in the 18th verse of the 18th chapter, Surah Al-Kahf.

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. (Surah Al-Kahf, Qur’an: 18)

The ninth verse of Surah Al Kahf touches upon this group’s extraordinary situation. As the narrative unfolds, it is seen that their experiences are of an unusual and metaphysical nature. Their entire lives are full of miraculous developments. The tenth verse tells us that those young people sought refuge in the cave from the existing oppressive system, which did not allow them to express their views, tell the truth, and call to Allah’s religion. Thus, they distanced themselves from their society.

Do you consider that the Companions of the Cave and Ar-Raqim were one of the most remarkable of Our Signs? When the young men took refuge in the cave and said: ‘Our Lord, give us mercy directly from You and open the way for us to right guidance in our situation. (Surah Al-Kahf, Qur’an: 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. (Surah Al-Kahf, Qur’an: 11-12)

The reason for this state of sleep was their surrender to fate and peace, because Allah, arranges everything for the benefit of the believers. The Qur’an also states that the number of sleepers will be known only to God and a handful of people. A couple of estimates have been mentioned regarding their true number, as per popular opinion, probably by the time of Muhammed, but quickly rejected as mere conjectures. Such as, they were three, fourth being the dog or they were five, sixth being the dog, etc. However, when a final count of ‘seven and their dog being the eighth’ is mentioned, Muslims generally consider that an approval from God about their correct number, since it is not followed by an explicit rejection of the correctness of that number.

Although the very next verse states that the knowledge of their correct number stays with God alone and a few select, it is taken as a reminder that despite the alleged revelation to Muhammad and a legendary mention throughout history, most people do not have any first-hand evidence to support any claims regarding their correct number, if not their very existence.

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.’ Say: ‘My Lord knows best their number. Those who know about them are very few.’ 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. (Surah Al-Kahf, Qur’an: 22)

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