There are many lessons we can derive from the story of the companions of the cave. The emphasis on steadfastness and holding tight to the truth is evident in this beautiful story. The companions of the cave fled from their palaces to retreat to a dark cave. Why? What was it that led them to leave the luxuries they were surrounded with, to leave their lofty positions, their palaces, and their superfluities, and instead migrate to a cave in the middle of an unfamiliar place?
إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آتِنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا
Allah says: [Mention] when the youths retreated to the cave and said, “Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.” [18:10]
These were youth, young men, and sons of prestigious Kings, whose hearts Allah were guided and filled with Imaan. Their love for Allah, and their fear of associating partners with Allah and disobeying him caused them to leave their homes which were filled with polytheism and disbelief. For them, living in a cave with pure monotheism was better than living in a land of polytheism. Their Du’aa to Allah as they left their lavish dwellings was one which was deeply heart-felt, their soft hearts were filled with fear – fear of going astray, and their only call to Allah was, “Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.”
Their hearts weren’t harboring any doubts about what might happen to them as they journeyed to the cave. They weren’t worried about how they would eat, where they would live but rather they placed their trust in Allah. Hoping that their Lord would guide them to the right place, that He would take care of them and shower His mercy upon them for fleeing from falsehood. For these particular youth, Tawheed was their most prized possession: their most valuable gift, and they wouldn’t trade it for any of the luxuries they ever had. They knew that their words and actions could not change their fathers and the people around them, who were drowning in Shirk, and so isolation was their only option. They would never compromise on their religion.
Oh youth, listen with a heart full of conviction, and listen in heed. These men were youth who valued their religion more than they valued the gold and the palaces they were brought up in. Mud and soil as a pillow was more beloved to them than soft-to-touch cushions lined with diamonds and gems. Allah doesn’t narrate to us stories without purpose; rather they are there to reminder us. Their sincere conviction became the reason their story has been preserved.
وَذَكِّرْ فَإِنَّ الذِّكْرَىٰ تَنفَعُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
Allah says: “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers” [51:55]
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ
He also says: “We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an although you were, before it, among the unaware.” [12:3]
Oh youth of Islam, serve your religion from a young age, you have all the energy of youth on your side, right now. It is you who will carry Islam forward, and who will be the leaders of the future generation. Just like the companions of the cave, don’t compromise your religion for anything or anyone. You may not be the sons of Kings as they were, but for you it is lot easier than it was for them, to detach your hearts from falsehood, from the glitter of this world. Lastly, remember Allah grants believers steadfastness at the time of need, so flee to Him and He will bestow His mercy on you.
Just as the companions of the cave found eternal success through their conviction in Allah, you too can harness the power of conviction. Just put your faith and trust in Allah and constantly seek His guidance and keep moving forward towards your goals. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us all to the best of success, ameen.