Uncovering the 4 Secrets of Life
(Published in Al Jumu’ah Magazine, October 2014)
While we were baking our signature chocolate chip cookies one morning, my daughter asked me a simple question.
“Mommy? Why do you have to read “Surat Al Kahf “ every Friday?”
“I don’t have to honey. I choose to for many reasons. One of them is because our Prophet (PBUH) said reading the chapter of ‘The Cave’ protects Muslims from the evil of the Anti-Christ, which is the most difficult trial humans will ever have to face.” I said knowingly.
“But the whole chapter says absolutely nothing about the Anti-Christ! I don’t get it! Where’s the connection?” She asked.
“If I give you all the answers then how will you ever learn? Figure it out!”
Yeah, that’s what I usually say when I’m stuck! I suddenly realized I had no idea why we read Surat Al Kahf on Fridays, why the Prophet (PBUH) said it illuminates the whole week and how that would prevent us from the world’s worst tribulations!
So after nights of hiding from my daughter to do my research, I finally uncovered the secrets of the four stories related in this beautiful chapter of the Quran…
- The Secret Of Faith
The first story is about six or seven teenage boys, who leave their families and lives behind to take refuge in a deserted cave. Armed with nothing but their faith in Allah, they escape atheism, only to wake up 309 years later to an entire city of believers. Their faith had been tested and they passed with flying colors, didn’t they?
This story is a reminder that our faith will be tested too! Make no mistake about that! Even with Islam being the fastest growing religion in the world, Muslims today are being shunned and degraded like they’re second class citizens. Our faith is put to the test every time we step outside our comfort zone. How many times have you been detained at an airport with the blatant insinuation of being a terrorist? I, for one, was spit on at Disney Land, just because I wear the veil! And while the trials can be minimal or extreme, Allah gives us the guidelines to passing this specific test right after telling the story. The verses explain the secret to preserving your faith is patience and to surround yourself with believers. Good company is the main key to safeguarding our faith….
- The Secret Of Money
The next story speaks of the rich man who bragged about his possessions to his other less-fortunate friend. The man’s wealth made him arrogant, forgetting that it can all disappear in the blink of an eye. The truth is, nothing in this world lasts forever, and remembering this fact is our key to surviving the test of wealth. This generation is all about ‘who drives the latest car model’, and ‘who bought the limited edition designer bag that WASN’T on sale!’. Seriously, what difference does it make? We will all be buried underground completely alone!
God gives us the answer to this test right after the story. The secret to not letting fortune blind you, is to do more good deeds and help others.
- The Secret Of Knowledge
During his journey with Al-Khidr, Prophet Moses (AS) learns the greatest lesson of all: Divine wisdom can sometimes be disguised in what we perceive as wrong or bad, so don’t believe everything you hear and half the things you see.
Just like one can lose his faith and be blinded by wealth, one can surely be consumed with the ‘know-it-all’ syndrome, and that alone is a difficult test. How do we overcome this kind of conceit? Allah gives the solution within the story, telling us how the blessed prophet himself, the messenger of God, was humble enough to follow orders and learn from each encounter. Humility has always been, and always will be, the golden path to knowledge and success.
- The Secret Of Power
It’s the story of a great king who was given immense power. He traveled around the world with the sole purpose of helping people and spreading the word of Allah. The secret to sustaining supremacy is to use it for good, and remain aware of the fact that you can’t do it alone. The king was only able to restrain ‘Gog and Magog’ with the help of people whom he could hardly even understand. It’s the unity that makes us overpower the enemies, which is, sadly, not the case with Muslims today.
The subsequent verses tell the secret to maintaining our powers, which is sincerity in all our actions and remembering that on Judgment Day, we will have no authority against Allah’s word, The Most Powerful of all.
While these secrets pose as a weekly source of light to all of us, the dots are finally connected to form the ultimate shield. For the Anti-Christ (Al Dajjal) will arrive with exactly those four enticing allures…
Our faith will be tested when the Anti-Christ asks people to worship him instead of Allah.
We will be tempted by his wealth when we see the earth’s treasures’ follow him like a swarm of bees.
His knowledge will overwhelm people when he brings back the dead.
And his power to command the sky and control most parts of the earth will blind people to his toxic mission.
That’s the thing about the Holy Qur’an, it’s never random or irrelevant. The more you read it, the more you uncover its secrets. And with its overwhelming beauty and serenity, I can’t help but run to ‘The Cave’, that safe embrace where Allah unlocks the doors to His Mercy…
Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” (Holy Qur’an 18:110)
Lilly S. Mohsen