Quranic proof with Tafsir by Ibn Kathir: Suratul-Kahf
Chapter: Their belief in Allah and their retreat from the people
﴿فَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنِ افْتَرَى عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا﴾
(And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah.) They said: `but by saying that they are lying transgressors.’ It was said that when they called their king to believe in Allah, he refused, and warned and threatened them. He commanded them to be stripped of their clothing bearing the adornments of their people, then he gave them some time to think about the situation, hoping that they would return to their former religion. This was a way that Allah showed kindness for them, because during that time they managed to escape from him and flee from persecution for the sake of their religion. This is what is prescribed in the Shari`ah during times of trial and persecution — a person who fears for his religion should flee from his persecutors, as was reported in the Hadith:
«يُوشِكُ أَنْ يَكُونَ خَيْرُ مَالِ أَحَدِكُمْ غَنَمًا يَتْبَعُ بِهَا شَعَفَ الْجِبَالِ وَمَوَاقِعَ القَطْرِ يَفِرُّ بِدِينِهِ مِنَ الْفِتَن»
(Soon there will come a time when the best wealth any of you can have will be sheep, which he can follow to the tops of the mountains and places where rain falls, (fleeing) for the sake of his religion from persecution. ) In such cases, it is allowed to seclude oneself from people, but this is not prescribed in any other case, because by such seclusion one loses the benefits of congregational and Friday prayers. These young men were determined to flee from their people, and Allah decreed that for them, as He says about them,
﴿وَإِذِ اعْتَزَلْتُمُوهُمْ وَمَا يَعْبُدُونَ إَلاَّ اللَّهَ﴾
(And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah,) meaning, when you depart from them and follow a different religion, opposing their worship of others besides Allah, then separate from them in a physical sense too,
﴿فَأْوُواْ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنْشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِهِ﴾
(then seek refuge in the cave; your Lord will open a way for you from His mercy) meaning, He will bestow His mercy upon you, by which He will conceal you from your people.
﴿وَيُهَيِّىءْ لَكُمْ مِّنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مِّرْفَقًا﴾
(and will make easy for you your affair.) means, He will give you what you need. So they left and fled to the cave where they sought refuge. Then their people noticed they were missing, and the king looked for them, and it was said when he could not find them that Allah concealed them from him so that he could not find any trace of them or any information about them, as Allah concealed His Prophet Muhammad and his Companion (Abu Bakr) As-Siddiq, when they sought refuge in the cave of Thawr. The Quraysh idolators came in pursuit, but they did not find him even though they passed right by him. When the Messenger of Allah noticed that As-Siddiq was anxious and said, “O Messenger of Allah, if one of them looks down at the place of his feet, he will see us,” he told him:
«يَا أَبَا بَكْرٍ مَا ظَنُّكَ بِاثْنَيْنِ اللهُ ثَالِثُهُمَا؟»
(O Abu Bakr, what do you think of two who have Allah as their third) And Allah said:
﴿إِلاَّ تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِى الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لاَ تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ السُّفْلَى وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِىَ الْعُلْيَا وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴾
(If you help him not, for Allah did indeed help him when the disbelievers drove him out, the second of the two; when they were in the cave, he said to his companion: “Do not grieve, surely, Allah is with us.” Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you saw not, and made the word of those who disbelieved the lower, while the Word of Allah became the higher; and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) (9:40) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
Proof from Ahadith:
Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 88 :: Hadith 210
Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:
Allah’s Apostle said, “There will come a time when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take to the tops of mountains and the places of rainfall so as to flee with his religion from the afflictions.
Malik :: Book 54 : Hadith 54.6.16
Malik related to me from Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn Sasaca from his father that Abu Said al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It will soon happen that the best property of a muslim will be sheep which he takes to the peaks of the mountains and the valleys, fleeing with his deen from trials.”
Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 2 :: Hadith 18
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Allah’s Apostle said, “A time will come that the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take on the top of mountains and the places of rainfall (valleys) so as to flee with his religion from afflictions.”
Abu Hurairah narrated:
The Messenger of Allah said: “The trials and tribulations are on there way. Trials like pieces of a dark night. The safest from them would be a man living on the peaks of mountains, living off his flock of sheep, or a man mounting his horse living off his sword” (al Hakim)
Dawud :: Book 35 : Hadith 4230
Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:
When we were sitting with the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), he talked about periods of trial (fitnahs), mentioning many of them.
When he mentioned the one when people should stay in their houses, some asked him: Apostle of Allah, what is the trial (fitnah) of staying at home?
He replied: It will be flight and plunder. Then will come a test which is pleasant. Its murkiness is due to the fact that it is produced by a man from the people of my house, who will assert that he belongs to me, whereas he does not, for my friends are only the God-fearing. Then the people will unite under a man who will be like a hip-bone on a rib. Then there will be the little black trial which will leave none of this community without giving him a slap, and when people say that it is finished, it will be extended. During it a man will be a believer in the morning and an infidel in the evening, so that the people will be in two camps: the camp of faith which will contain no hypocrisy, and the camp of hypocrisy which will contain no faith. When that happens, expect the Antichrist (Dajjal) that day or the next.
Dawud :: Book 35 : Hadith 4232
Narrated Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman:
Subay’ ibn Khalid said: I came to Kufah at the time when Tustar was conquered. I took some mules from it. When I entered the mosque (of Kufah), I found there some people of moderate stature, and among them was a man whom you could recognize when you saw him that he was from the people of Hijaz.
I asked: Who is he? The people frowned at me and said: Do you not recognize him? This is Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, the companion of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).
Then Hudhayfah said: People used to ask the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) about good, and I used to ask him about evil. Then the people stared hard at him.
He said: I know the reason why you dislike it. I then asked: Apostle of Allah, will there be evil as there was before, after this good which Allah has bestowed on us?
He replied: Yes. I asked: Wherein does the protection from it lie? He replied: In the sword. I asked: Apostle of Allah, what will then happen?
He replied: If Allah has on Earth a caliph who flays your back and takes your property, obey him, otherwise die holding onto the stump of a tree.
I asked: What will come next? He replied: Then the Antichrist (Dajjal) will come forth accompanied by a river and fire. He who falls into his fire will certainly receive his reward, and have his load taken off him, but he who falls into his river will have his load retained and his reward taken off him.
I then asked: What will come next? He said: The Last Hour will come.
Dawud :: Book 35 : Hadith 4234
The tradition mentioned above (No. 4232) has also been transmitted through a different chain of narrators by Nasr ibn Asim al-Laythi who said: We came to al-Yashkuri with a group of the people of Banu Layth.
He asked: Who are these people? We replied: Banu Layth. We have come to you to ask you about the tradition of Hudhayfah. He then mentioned the tradition and said: I asked: Apostle of Allah, will there be evil after this good?
He replied: There will be trial (fitnah) and evil. I asked: Apostle of Allah, will there be good after this evil? He replied: Learn the Book of Allah, Hudhayfah, and adhere to its contents. He said it three times.
I asked: Apostle of Allah, will there be good after this evil? He replied: An illusory truce and a community with specks in its eye. I asked: Apostle of Allah, what do you mean by an illusory community?
He replied: The hearts of the people will not return to their former condition. I asked: Apostle of Allah, will there be evil after this good? He replied: There will be wrong belief which will blind and deafen men to the truth in which there will be summoners at the gates of Hell. If you, Hudhayfah, die adhering to a stump, it will be better for you than following any of them.
Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 88 :: Hadith 206
Narrated Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman:
The people used to ask Allah’s Apostle about the good but I used to ask him about the evil lest I should be overtaken by them. So I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We were living in ignorance and in an (extremely) worst atmosphere, then Allah brought to us this good (i.e., Islam); will there be any evil after this good?” He said, “Yes.” I said, ‘Will there be any good after that evil?” He replied, “Yes, but it will be tainted (not pure.)” I asked, “What will be its taint?” He replied, “(There will be) some people who will guide others not according to my tradition? You will approve of some of their deeds and disapprove of some others.” I asked, “Will there be any evil after that good?” He replied, “Yes, (there will be) some people calling at the gates of the (Hell) Fire, and whoever will respond to their call, will be thrown by them into the (Hell) Fire.” I said, “O Allah s Apostle! Will you describe them to us?” He said, “They will be from our own people and will speak our language.” I said, “What do you order me to do if such a state should take place in my life?” He said, “Stick to the group of Muslims and their Imam (ruler).” I said, “If there is neither a group of Muslims nor an Imam (ruler)?” He said, “Then turn away from all those sects even if you were to bite (eat) the roots of a tree till death overtakes you while you are in that state.”
Dawud :: Book 35 : Hadith 4251
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: There will be civil strife (fitnah) which will render people deaf, dumb and blind regarding what is right. Those who contemplate it will be drawn by it, and giving rein to the tongue during it will be like smiting with the sword.
Dawud :: Book 35 : Hadith 4265
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: This people of mine is one to which mercy is shown. It will have no punishment in the next world, but its punishment in this world will be trials, earthquakes and being killed.
Dawud :: Book 37 : Hadith 4284
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent, and Allah will take fear of you from the breasts of your enemy and last enervation into your hearts. Someone asked: What is wahn (enervation). Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him): He replied: Love of the world and dislike of death.
Dawud :: Book 37 : Hadith 4327
Narrated AbuTha’labah al-Khushani:
AbuUmayyah ash-Sha’bani said: I asked AbuTha’labah al-Khushani: What is your opinion about the verse “Care for yourselves”.
He said: I swear by Allah, I asked the one who was well informed about it; I asked the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) about it.
He said: No, enjoin one another to do what is good and forbid one another to do what is evil.
But when you see niggardliness being obeyed, passion being followed, worldly interests being preferred, everyone being charmed with his opinion, then care for yourself, and leave alone what people in general are doing; for ahead of you are days which will require endurance, in which showing endurance will be like grasping live coals. The one who acts rightly during that period will have the reward of fifty men who act as he does.
Another version has: He said (The hearers asked:) Apostle of Allah, the reward of fifty of them?
He replied: The reward of fifty of you.
Dawud :: Book 37 : Hadith 4328
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: How will you do when that time will come? Or he said: A time will soon come when the people are sifted and only dregs of mankind survive and their covenants and guarantees have been impaired and they have disagreed among themselves and become thus, interwining his fingers. They asked: What do you order us to do, Apostle of Allah? He replied: Accept what you approve, abandon what you disapprove, attend to your own affairs and leave alone the affairs of the generality.
Dawud :: Book 37 : Hadith 4329
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:
When we were around the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him), he mentioned the period of commotion (fitnah) saying: When you see the people that their covenants have been impaired, (the fulfilling of) the guarantees becomes rare, and they become thus (interwining his fingers). I then got up and said: What should I do at that time, may Allah make me ransom for you? He replied: Keep to your house, control your tongue, accept what you approve, abandon what you disapprove, attend to your own affairs, and leave alone the affairs of the generality.
Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 88 :: Hadith 228
Narrated Abu Al-Minhal:
When Ibn Ziyad and Marwan were in Sham and Ibn Az-Zubair took over the authority in Mecca and Qurra’ (the Kharijites) revolted in Basra, I went out with my father to Abu Barza Al-Aslami till we entered upon him in his house while he was sitting in the shade of a room built of cane. So we sat with him and my father started talking to him saying, “O Abu Barza! Don’t you see in what dilemma the people has fallen?” The first thing heard him saying “I seek reward from Allah for myself because of being angry and scornful at the Quraish tribe. O you Arabs! You know very well that you were in misery and were few in number and misguided, and that Allah has brought you out of all that with Islam and with Muhammad till He brought you to this state (of prosperity and happiness) which you see now; and it is this worldly wealth and pleasures which has caused mischief to appear among you. The one who is in Sham (i.e., Marwan), by Allah, is not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain: and those who are among you, by Allah, are not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain; and that one who is in Mecca (i.e., Ibn Az-Zubair) by Allah, is not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain.”
Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 88 :: Hadith 230
Narrated Abi Asha’sha:
Hudhaifa said, ‘In fact, it was hypocrisy that existed in the lifetime of the Prophet but today it is Kufr (disbelief) after belief.’
Bukhari :: Book 5 :: Volume 57 :: Hadith 2
Narrated Imran bin Husain:
“Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The best of my followers are those living in my generation (i.e. my contemporaries). and then those who will follow the latter” ‘Imran added, “I do not remember whether he mentioned two or three generations after his generation, then the Prophet added, ‘There will come after you, people who will bear witness without being asked to do so, and will be treacherous and untrustworthy, and they will vow and never fulfill their vows, and fatness will appear among them.”
The Prophet (saw) also said, “The knots of Islam will be undone one by one until every one of them is undone, and the first one to be undone is the ruling by the Book of Allah (swt) and the last one is the prayer.” (Ahmad)
Abdullah b. Amr b. As stated: “There will come a time, people will gather in the masjid and perform salah, but among them there will not be any mu’min.” (Hakim, Ibni Sayba reported in Iman and stated the sanad of Hakim was sahih according to the conditions of Bukhari and Muslim. Zahabi accepted this. Because these types of statements of the sahaba contain hukm of gayb and they are in the hukm of hadith.)
“At-Tabaraanee reported with a weak chain of narration on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood (ra), that RasulAllah (saw) said: “And verily from its signs (i.e. the Hour) is that the believer will be in the sight of his tribe, more lower (in status) than the young sheep.”
And it is recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad that ‘Ubadah Ibn As- Saamat, ra, said to one of his companions: “It is imminent that should your life be prolonged for you, you will see a man who recites the Qur’an upon the tongue of Muhammad repeating it and displaying it, allowing its halal and forbidding its haram. He will then be lowered in his status and his position will be neglected amongst you and considered just as the position of a dead donkey.” (Hafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali; Kashfu’l-Kurbah fi wasfi Haali Ahlil-Ghurbah)