The People of the Cave
This is a true story about a group of men
who slept in the cave for 309 years.
It was a day of celebration for the whole town.
The king sat proud and pleased on a lofty throne as he overlooked his people dancing, singing and presenting food to the hundreds of colorful idols.
However, there was one group of young men who sat far away under a shady green tree, hidden from the sight of the king and the people.
They had left the noise and bustle of the celebration and gathered there one by one, each a stranger to another.
How can these statues that could not even move by themselves be their gods?
They thought and thought about who they should worship and finally realized that the one who created them and created everything else is their God.
Even though each of them thought this to be true, they did not say it out loud out of fear of the king.
As they sat watching their friends and families serving the stone statues with hazy eyes and troublesome thoughts, one of them spoke up,
“I think that the king and our people are wrong, idols are just helpless stones. True God is Allah, who has created all of the world”, the other one answered, breaking the ice.
And so, these brave young men decided amongst themselves to build a separate house of worship where they would gather to pray to Allah.
“Who are they prostrating to? I don’t see any idol in there”, a bald man grumbled aloud as he peeked in through the window.
“New fashion is alright but new God, new place of worship? That’s too much!” said someone else.
Some of the foolish people of the town reported them to the king who immediately got them arrested.
And they were dragged to the royal court.
“Explain yourselves!” the king boomed angrily at them.
The young friends were terrified.
But Allah made their hearts strong with courage and they stood up to the cruel king and declared,
“Our God is the one who created the sky and the earth, we will NOT worship anyone besides Allah”
Another of his friends also stood up bravely, “The people of our town who worship idols are senseless! They don’t have any proof that what they do is right!”
The King was enraged at what they said.
“What nonsense?! How dare you?! I will NOT tolerate this rebellious and bold tone!” The king huffed, his cheeks turning purple with rage.
“Take away their robes and seize all their belongings!” the king ordered the guards.
The king watched as the guards roughly pulled away their lavish robes, breathing heavily as he thought over how else to punish them.
“You all are young and stubborn, I will give you one chance to think over what you have done and return back to the worship of my idols. But if you still persist to disobey me then I WILL KILL EACH ONE OF YOU!”, he bellowed the last words threateningly.
But these men, even though young and powerless, did not give up.
Even though they were fearful for their lives, they did not bend down to the king’s false orders.
They knew Allah would help them and so they ran away and hid in a cave outside the town…
“The rebellions have escaped! The rebellious young men have escaped!”
“Anyone who has seen them should report immediately else they will face severe punishment!”
The king’s guards searched for them high and low, but it seemed as if they had vanished!
“They can hide but they can’t run. They’ll have to come out for food or other necessities soon” grumbled the chief guard.
The young friends did not know if the cave was safe or not.
How long could they hide in it without food and water?
All the running, hiding and havoc had made them very tired..
So they called out to Allah for help,
“Our God, help us with a very special blessing from you”
So Allah answered their call in a very special way.
They fell into a very deep sleep in the darkness of the cave.
And when the sun rose in the morning and when it set in the evening, Allah protected their cave from its bright rays.
They slept through the day, they slept through the night.
Days turned into weeks and they didn’t get up!
Not even to eat, to have a sip of water and not even to go to the bathroom!
And if anyone was to come across the cave, they would see ferocious paws of a dog at the opening of the cave.
Their hearts would fill with terror and they would flee.
Finally came the day when they stirred from their sleep and woke up one by one, yawning and stretching their limbs.
“How long did we sleep for?’’, one of them mumbled while rubbing his eyes.
“I think we slept the whole day!”, said his friend.
“Nah! I think we slept for an hour or so”, said another.
“Hey, only Allah knows best how long we slept. I am starving, one of us needs to go get food from the town”, said another of them.
So they collected whatever money they had and sent one of their companions to buy food.
“Be careful, don’t let anyone recognise you else they’ll kill you on the spot!”
They warned their friend before he left.
The young man reached the town and as much as he tried to go unnoticed, he couldn’t!
The people nudged and they pointed, they snickered and they stared.
“So old-fashioned. Is he playing a prank?”
“What an odd dress sense! Must be from a far off land.”
When he handed over a silver coin to the shopkeeper for the food, the shopkeeper was taken aback.
“This coin is centuries old!”
exclaimed the shopkeeper.
The people detained the young man because of his ancient clothes and ways.
And took him to the king.
The young man was surprised to see a new king instead of the cruel king he knew!
This new king was a righteous man of Allah.
When the young man narrated his story to the king, the king was shocked.
“You have woken up after 309 years! The cruel king you are talking about is long dead!” exclaimed the new king.
The new king honored these young men for their strong faith.
It is said that after meeting the new king, these young men went back to lie down in their cave.
And it was then that Allah took away their souls and they reached the gardens of paradise.