Surah Al-Kahf Ayat 60 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 60
And [mention] when Moses said to his servant, “I will not cease [traveling] until I reach the junction of the two seas or continue for a long period.”
Behold, Moses said to his attendant, “I will not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travel.”
(And recount to them the story of Moses) when Moses said to his servant: “I will journey on until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I may march on for ages.”
And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his boy-servant: “I will not give up (travelling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travelling.”
And when Moses said unto his servant: I will not give up until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I march on for ages.
And as Mûsa (Moses) said to his page, “I will not leave off until I reach the junction of the two seas, or I will pass epochs away.”
Moses said to his servant, ‘I will not rest until I reach the place where the two seas meet, even if it takes me years!’
Quran 18 Verse 60 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Kahf ayat 60, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(18:60) (And recount to them the story of Moses) when Moses said to his servant: “I will journey on until I reach the point where the two rivers meet, though I may march on for ages.“
57. Though this story was told in answer to the question of the disbelievers, it has been used to impress a very important truth on the minds of both the disbelievers and the believers. It is this: those people who draw their conclusions only from the seeming aspects of events, make a very serious error in their deductions, for they only see what is apparent and do not go deep into the divine wisdom that underlies them. When they daily see the prosperity of the tyrants and the afflictions of the innocent people, the affluence of the disobedient people and the indigence of the obedient people, the enjoyments of the wicked people and the adversity of the virtuous people, they get involved in mental conflicts, nay, they become victims of misunderstandings because they do not comprehend the wisdom behind them. The disbelievers and the tyrants conclude from this that the world is functioning without any moral laws and has no sovereign, and, if there is one, he must be senseless and unjust: therefore one may do whatever he desires for there is none to whom one shall be accountable. On the other hand, when the believers see those things, they become so frustrated and disheartened that sometimes their faiths are put to a very hard trial. It was to unravel the wisdom behind this mystery that Allah slightly lifted the curtain from the reality governing His factory, so that Moses (peace be upon him) might see the wisdom behind the events that are happening day and night and how their seeming aspect is quite different from the reality.
Now let us consider the question: When and where did this event take place? The Quran says nothing about this. There is a tradition related by Aufi in which he cites a saying of Ibn Abbas to this effect: This event happened after the destruction of Pharaoh when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had settled his people in Egypt. But this is not supported by other more authentic traditions from Ibn Abbas which have been cited in the collection of Bukhari and other books of traditions, nor is there any other source which may prove that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) ever settled in Egypt after the destruction of Pharaoh. On the contrary, the Quran says explicitly that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) passed his entire life after exodus from Egypt in the desert (Sinai and At-Tih). Therefore the tradition from Aufi cannot be accepted. However, if we consider the details of this story, two things are quite obvious. (1) These things would have been demonstrated to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) in the earlier period of his Prophethood because such things are needed in the beginning of Prophethood for the teaching and training of the Prophets. (2) As this story has been cited to comfort the believers of Makkah, it can be reasonably concluded that these demonstrations would have been shown to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), when the Israelites were encountering the same conditions as the Muslims of Makkah did at the time of the revelation of this Surah. On the basis of these two things, we are of the opinion (and correct knowledge is with Allah alone) that this event relates to the period when the persecution of the Israelites by Pharaoh was at its height and, like the chiefs of the Quraish, Pharaoh and his courtiers were deluded by delay in the scourge that there was no power above them to take them to task, and like the persecuted Muslims of Makkah, the persecuted Muslims of Egypt were crying in their agony, as if to say: Our Lord, how long will the prosperity of these tyrants and our adversity continue. So much so that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) himself cried out: Our Lord, Thou hast bestowed on Pharaoh and his nobles splendor and possessions in the worldly life; O our Lord, hast Thou done this that they might lead astray the people from Thy Way. (Surah Younus, Ayat 88).
If our conjecture is correct, then it may be concluded that probably this event took place during Prophet Moses’ (peace be upon him) journey to Sudan, and by the confluence of the rivers is meant the site of the present city of Khartum where the Blue Nile and the White Nile meet together.
The Bible does not say anything about this event but the Talmud does relate this though it assigns it to Rabbi Jochanan, the son of Levi, instead of to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), and according to it the other person was Elijah who had been taken up alive to heaven and joined with the angels for the purpose of the administration of the world. (The Talmud Selections by H. Polano, pp. 313- 16).
It is just possible that like the events, which happened before the exodus, this event also might not have remained intact but during the passage of centuries changes and alterations might have been made in it. But it is a pity that some Muslims have been so influenced by the Talmud that they opine that in this story Moses does not refer to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) but to some other person bearing the same name. They forget that every tradition of the Talmud is not necessarily correct, nor have we any reason to suppose that the Quran has related the story concerning some unknown person bearing the name Moses. Above all, when we learn from an authentic tradition related by Ubayy-bin-Kaab that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself made it clear that in this story, by Moses is meant Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), there is absolutely no reason why any Muslim should consider any statement of the Talmud at all.
The Orientalists have, as usual, tried to make a research into the sources of this story and have pointed out that The Quranic story may be traced back to three main sources. (1) The Gilgamesh Epic. (2) The Alexander Romance. (3) The Jewish Legend of Elijah and Rabbi Joshua hen Levi (Encyclopaedia of Islam new edition and Shorter Erlcyclopaedia of Islam under the heading Al Khadir). This is because these malicious scholars decide beforehand that their scientific research must lead to the conclusion that the Quran is not a revealed book: therefore they have, anyhow or other, to produce a proof that whatever Muhammad (peace be upon him) has presented as revelation, has been plagiarized from such and such sources. In this these people brazen facedly use facts and quotations so cunningly and cleverly as to achieve their mean end and one begins to have nausea at their research. If that is research what these bigoted forgers make, then one is compelled to curse their knowledge and research.
We ask them to answer our questions in order to expose their research:
(I) What proof do they have to make the claim that the Quran has based a certain statement on the contents of a couple of ancient books? Obviously it will not be research to build this claim on the scant basis that a certain statement made in the Quran is similar to the one found in these books.
(2) Do they possess any knowledge that at the time of the revelation of the Quran there was a library at Makkah from which the Prophet (peace be upon him) collected material for the Quran? This question is pertinent because if a list were to be made of the numerous books in different languages, which they allege were sources of the stories and statements contained in the Quran, it will become long enough for a big library. Do they have any proof that Muhammad (peace be upon him) had arranged for such translators as translated into Arabic those books from different languages for his use? If it is not so and their allegation is based on a couple of journeys which the Prophet (peace be upon him) made outside Arabia, a question arises: How many books did the Prophet (peace be upon him) copy or commit to memory during these trade journeys before his Prophethood? And how is it that even a day before he claimed to be a Prophet, no sign at all was displayed in his conversation that he had gathered such information as was revealed in the Quran afterwards?
(3) How is it then that the contemporary disbelievers of Makkah and the Jews and the Christians, who like them, were always in search of such a proof, could not put forward even a single instance of plagiarism? They had a good reason to produce an instance of this because they were being challenged over and over again to refute the claim that the Quran was a revealed book and it had no other source than divine knowledge and that if they said that it was a human work, they were to prove this by bringing the like of it. Though this challenge had broken the back of the contemporary opponents of Islam, they could not point out even a single plausible source that might prove reasonably that the Quran was based on it. In the light of these facts one may ask: Why had the contemporaries of the Prophet (peace be upon him) failed in their research and how have the opponents of Islam succeeded in their attempt today after the passage of more than a thousand years?
(4) The last and the most important question is: Does it not show that it is bigotry and malice that has misled the opponents of Islam to discard the possibility that the Quran may be a revealed book of Allah and to concentrate all their efforts to prove that it is not so at all? The tact that its stories are similar to those contained in the former books, could be considered equally in this light that the Quran was a revealed book and was relating them in order to correct those errors that had crept into them during the passage of time. Why should their research be confined to prove that those books are the real source of the stories of the Quran and not to consider the other possibility that the Quran itself was a revealed book?
An impartial person who will consider these questions will inevitably arrive at the conclusion that the research which the orientalists have presented in the name of knowledge is not worth any serious consideration.
60. And (remember) when Musa said to his boy-servant: “I will not give up until I reach the junction of the two seas or a Huqub passes.” 61. But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish, and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel. 62. So when they passed further on, Musa said to his boy-servant: “Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered Nasaban in this, our journey.” 63. He said: “Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange (way) 64. Musa ﴾said: “That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps. 65. Then they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.
The reason for Musa’s conversation with the boy-servant, Yusha` bin Nun, was that he had been told about one of the servants of Allah at the junction of the two seas, who had knowledge which Musa had not been granted, so he wanted to travel to meet him. So he said to that boy-servant of his:
(I will not give up) meaning, I will keep on traveling,
(until I reach the junction of the two seas) meaning, the place where the two seas met.
(or a Huqub passes.) meaning, even if I have to travel for a very long time. Ibn Jarir (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Some of the scholars of the Arabic language said that Huqub means a year in the dialect of ﴿the tribe of﴾ Qays,” then he narrated that `Abdullah bin `Amr said, “Huqub means eighty years.” Mujahid said, “Seventy years.” `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas said that it means a lifetime. Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said likewise.
(But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish,) He had been commanded to carry a salted fish with him, and it had been said to him, when you lose the fish, that will be a sign that you have reached the right place. So they set out and traveled until they reached the junction of the two seas, where there was a spring called `Ayn Al-Hayat (the Spring of Life). They went to sleep there, and the fish felt the drops of that water, so it came back to life. It was in a vessel with Yusha`, upon him be peace, and it jumped out of the vessel towards the sea. Yusha` woke up and the fish fell into the water and started to swim through the water, leaving a track or channel behind it. Allah said:
(and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel.) meaning, like going through a tunnel on land. Ibn Jurayj said, “Ibn `Abbas said, `It left a trace as if it were a rock.'”
(So when they had passed further on,) means, past the place where they had forgotten the fish. Forgetfulness is attributed to them both even though it was actually Yusha` who forgot. This is like the Ayah:
(Out of them both come out pearl and coral.) ﴿55:22﴾, although they come from the salt water, according to one of the two opinions. When they had passed one stage beyond the place where they had forgotten the fish,
(﴿Musa﴾ said to his boy-servant: “Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered in this, our journey) meaning, their journey beyond the place where they should have stopped.
(Nasaban) means, exhaustion.
(He said: “Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it…”) Then he said,
(It took its course), meaning its path,
(“…into the sea in a strange (way)!” ﴿Musa﴾ said: “That is what we have been seeking.”) meaning, this is what we have been looking for.
(So they went back )
(Then they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.) This was Al-Khidr, peace be upon him, as is indicated by the authentic Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah . Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said, “I said to Ibn `Abbas: `Nawf Al-Bikali claims that Musa, the companion of Al-Khidr was not the Musa of the Children of Israel.’ Ibn `Abbas said, `The enemy of Allah has told a lie.’ Ubayy bin Ka`b narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah say,
(Musa got up to deliver a speech before the Children of Israel and he was asked, “Who is the most learned person among the people” Musa replied, “I am.” Allah rebuked him because he did not refer the knowledge to Allah. So Allah revealed to him: “At the junction of the two seas there is a servant of Ours who is more learned than you.” Musa asked, “O my Lord, how can I meet him” Allah said, “Take a fish and put it in a vessel and then set out, and where you lose the fish, you will find him.” So Musa took a fish, put it in a vessel and set out, along with his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, peace be upon him, till they reached a rock (on which) they both lay down their heads and slept. The fish moved vigorously in the vessel and got out of it and fell into the sea and there it took its way through the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the flow of water on both sides of the way created by the fish, and so that way was like a tunnel. When Musa got up, his companion forgot to tell him about the fish, and so they carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next morning Musa said to his boy-servant, (“Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey.”) وَلَمْ يَجِدْ مُوسَى النَّصَبَ حَتَّى جَاوَزَ الْمَكَانَ الَّذِي أَمَرَهُ اللهُ بِهِ، قَالَ لَهُ فَتَاهُ:
قاَل: فَكَانَ لِلْحُوتِ سَرَبًا، وَلِمُوسَى وَفَتَاهُ عَجَبًا، فَقَالَ:
قَالَ: فَرَجَعَا يَقُصَّانِ أَثَرَهُمَا حَتَّى انْتَهَيَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ، فَإِذَا رَجُلٌ مُسَجًّى بِثَوْبٍ، فَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْهِ موسَى فَقَالَ الْخَضِرُ: وَأَنَّى بِأَرْضِكَ السَّلَامُ.فَقَالَ: أَنَا مُوسَى. فَقَالَ: مُوسَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، قَالَ: أَتَيْتُكَ لِتُعَلِّمَنِي مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا
يَا مُوسَى إِنِّي عَلَى عِلْمٍ مِنْ علْمِ اللهِ عَلَّمَنِيهِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُ أَنْتَ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى عَلْمٍ مِنْ عِلْمِ اللهِ عَلَّمَكَهُ اللهُ لَا أَعْلَمُهُ. Musa did not get tired till he had passed the place that Allah had ordered him to look for. His boy-servant then said to him, (“Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock I indeed forgot the fish; none but Shaytan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.”) There was a tunnel for the fish and Musa and his boy-servant were amazed. Musa said, (“That is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their footsteps.”) So they went back retracing their steps until they reached the rock. There they found a man covered with a garment. Musa greeted him. Al-Khidr said, “Is there such a greeting in your land” Musa said, “I am Musa.” He said, “Are you the Musa of the Children of Israel” Musa said, “Yes,” and added, “I have come to you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khidr said, (“You will not be able to have patience with me.) O Musa! I have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon me but you do not know it; and you too, have some of Allah’s knowledge which He has bestowed upon you, but I do not know it.” فَقَالَ مُوسَى:
قَالَ لَهُ الْخَضِرُ:
فَانْطَلَقَا يَمْشِيَانِ عَلَى سَاحِلِ الْبَحْرِ فَمَرَّتْ سَفِيَنةٌ، فَكَلَّمُوهُمْ أَنْ يَحْمِلُوهُمْ، فَعَرَفُوا الْخَضِرَ فَحَمَلُوهُمْ بِغَيْرِ نَوْلٍ، فَلَمَّا رَكِبَا فِي السَّفِينَةِ لَمْ يَفْجَأْ إِلَّا وَالْخَضِرُ قَدْ قَلَعَ لَوْحًا مِنْ أَلْوَاحِ السَّفِينَةِ بِالْقَدُّومِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ مُوسَى: قَدْ حَمَلُونَا بِغَيْرِ نَوْلٍ، فَعَمَدْتَ إِلَى سَفِينَتِهِمْ فَخَرَقْتَهَا لِتُغْرِقَ أَهْلَهَا؟ لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا إِمْرًا
Musa said, (“If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught.”) Al-Khidr said to him, (“Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you.”) So they set out walking along the shore, until a boat passed by and they asked the crew to let them go on board. The crew recognized Al-Khidr and allowed them to go on board free of charge. When they went on board, suddenly Musa saw that Al-Khidr had pulled out one of the planks of the ship with an adz. Musa said to him, “These people gave us a free ride, yet you have broken their boat so that its people will drown! Verily, you have done a terrible thing! (“Al-Khidr said, “Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me”) (Musa said, “Call me not to account for what I forgot and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you). ”)) The Messenger of Allah said, فَكَانَتِ الْأُولَى مِنْ مُوسَى نِسْيَانًا، قَالَ: وَجَاءَ عُصْفُورٌ فَوَقَعَ عَلَى حَرْفِ السَّفِينَةِ، فَنَقَرَ فِي الْبَحْرِ نَقْرَةً أَوْ نَقْرَتَيْنِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْخَضِرُ: مَا عِلْمِي وَعِلْمُكَ فِي عِلْمِ اللهِ إِلَّا مِثْلُ مَا نَقَصَ هَذَا الْعُصْفُورُ مِنْ هَذَا الْبَحْرِ ثُمَّ خَرَجَا مِنَ السَّفِينَةِ فَبَيْنَمَا هُمَا يَمْشِيَانِ عَلَى السَّاحِلِ إِذْ أَبْصَرَ الْخَضِرُ غُلَامًا يَلْعَبُ مَعَ الْغِلْمَانِ، فَأَخَذَ الْخَضِرُ رَأْسَهُ فَاقْتَلَعَهُ بِيَدِهِ فَقَتَلَهُ، فَقَالَ لَهُ مُوسَى:
(In the first instance, Musa asked Al-Khidr because he had forgotten his promise. Then a bird came and sat on the edge of the boat, dipping its beak once or twice in the sea. Al-Khidr said to Musa, “My knowledge and your knowledge, in comparison to Allah’s knowledge, is like what this bird has taken out of the sea.” Then they both disembarked from the boat, and while they were walking on the shore, Al-Khidr saw a boy playing with other boys. Al-Khidr took hold of the boy’s head and pulled it off with his hands, killing him. Musa said to him, (“Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none! Verily, you have committed a thing Nukr!” He said, “Did I not tell you that you would not be able to have patience with me”) قَالَ: وَهَذِهِ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْأُولَى/
أَيْ مَائِلًا،فَقَالَ الْخَضِرُ بِيَدِهِ
فَقَالَ مُوسَى: قَوْمٌ أَتَيْنَاهُمْ فَلَمْ يُطْعِمُونَا وَلَمْ يُضَيِّفُونَا
﴿The narrator﴾ said, “The second blame was stronger than the first one”. (Musa said, “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company; you have received an excuse from me.” Then they both proceeded until they came to the people of a town. They asked them for food but they refused to entertain them. (Then) they found there a wall on the point of falling down.) (Al-Khidr) set it up straight with his own hands. Musa said, “We came to these people, but they neither fed us nor received us as guests. (If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!” (Al-Khidr) said: “This is the parting between you and I. I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to be patient.”) The Messenger of Allah said:
(We wish that Musa was patient so that Allah would have told us more about both of them.) Sa`id bin Jubayr said: “Ibn `Abbas used to recite ﴿Ayah no. 79﴾ (وَكَانَ أَمَامَهُمْ مَلِكٌ يَاْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ صَالَحَةٍ غَضْبًا) (There was a king before them who seized every good-conditioned ship by force) and ﴿Ayah no 80﴾ (وَأَمَّا الْغُلَامُ فَكَانَ كَافِرًا وَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ) (As for the boy, he was a disbeliever and his parents were believers.) Then (in another narration) Al-Bukhari recorded a similar account which says: فَخَرَجَ مُوسَى وَمَعَهُ فَتَاهُ يُوشَعُ بْنُ نُونٍ وَمَعَهُمَا الْحُوتُ، حَتَّى انْتَهَيَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ، فَنَزَلَا عِنْدَهَا، قَالَ: فَوَضَعَ مُوسَى رَأْسَهُ فَنَامَ، قَالَ: وَفِي أَصْلِ الصَّخْرَةِ عَيْنٌ يُقَالُ لَهَا الْحَيَاةُ لَا يُصِيبُ مِنْ مَائِهَا شَيْءٌ إِلَّا حَيِيَ فَأَصَابَ الْحُوتَ مِنْ مَاءِ تِلْكَ الْعَيْنِ، فَتَحَرَّكَ وَانْسَلَّ مِنَ الْمِكْتَلِ فَدَخَلَ الْبَحْرَ، فَلَمَّا اسْتَيْقَظَ قَالَ مُوسَى لِفَتَاهُ:
(…then Musa set out and with him was his boy-servant Yusha` bin Nun, and they had the fish with them. When they reached the rock, they camped there, and Musa lay down his head and slept. At the base of the rock there was a spring called Al-Hayat; its water never touched a thing but it brought it to life. Some of its water touched the fish, so it began to move and jumped out of the vessel and into the sea. When he woke up, Musa said to his boy-servant: (Bring us our morning meal.)) Then he quoted the rest of the Hadith. Then a bird came and perched on the edge of the ship, and dipped its beak in the sea, and Al-Khidr said to Musa, “My knowledge and your knowledge and the knowledge of all of creation, in comparison to the knowledge of Allah, is like what this bird has taken from the sea.” Then he mentioned the rest of the report.
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