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Verses from Surah Al-Kahf (17-22)

31. Yusuf Ali comments: “Thus: in this way, by these means, i.e., by the sending out of one of the Sleepers with the old money to the town to buy provision. His old-fashioned dress, appearance, and speech, and the old uncurrent money which he brought, at once drew the attention of people to him. When they learnt his story, they realized that Allah, Who can protect His servants thus and raise them up from sleep after such long time, has power to raise up men for the Resurrection, and that His promise of goodness and mercy to those who serve Him is true and was exemplified in this striking way. On the other hand, to the men of the Cave themselves, it became clear that Allah can change the situation before we are aware, and our hope in Him is not futile, and that even when we are on the brink of despair, a revolution is surely working in the world before the world itself realizes it.”

It is said that those very days the people of the town – who had all become believers – were hotly disputing among themselves over the nature of Resurrection: whether it will be only the soul that would be raised, or, both body and soul – seeing that the body is eaten by the earth. Allah Most High raised the youths and said, “Thus We disclosed them so that they know that Allah’s promise is true and that there is no doubt about the Hereafter” (Ibn Jarir, Kashshaf, Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

32. Yusuf Ali remarks: “The perversity of man is such that as soon as ever a glimpse of truth becomes manifest, men fall into controversies about it.”

The Qur’an does not offer any detail about the place of worship that was built, whether it was built at all or not, and if built, exactly at what spot (Au.).

In any case, in our Shari`ah it is disallowed to build a mosque that encloses a grave, or is built over it. The Prophet (saws) said during his last sickness, as in a report of the Sahihayn, “Allah cursed the Jews and Christians who took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship.” In fact, it is even prohibited – following a hadith in Tirmidhi which he rated Hasan Sahih – to plaster a grave, or that it be given a concrete hump, it be sat upon, or a tomb be built over it. At best a muddy hump may be raised by a hand, or, alternatively, as Imam Abu Hanifah has said, a stone may be placed for recognition. It is reported that Fatimah, the Prophet’s daughter used to visit Hamza’s grave every Friday and had got a stone placed over it for recognition.

On this topic, it might also be said that where the earth is very soft (and it is feared that animals will attack the corpse: Au.) it is allowed to use a coffin (Qurtubi). What about those graves that have already been raised? The answer is, if there is no fear of commotion, riots or feuds, they might be demolished (Au.).

Muslim has a report from Abul Hayaj al-Asadi. He said, “`Ali told me, ‘I would like to send you to do what the Prophet had sent me to do, viz., his instruction to the effect: “you will not find an image but obliterate it, and will not find a raised grave but level it off’” (Alusi).

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