Lessons from the Cave: Part 4: Verses 18-21

In the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.

In the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.

Prologue   Part 1    Part 2    Part 3

Welcome to Lessons from the Cave: Part 4.  We had a pretty long lesson last time, but hopefully inshaAllah you are starting to reap some benefits in learning basics of how Arabic works, and starting to recognize words in your reading of Qur’an.  We’re hoping to make more advances today, but not too heavy on anything new.

We’ll also be reaching the conclusion of the main part of the story of the youth of the Cave, with some mention of them later on.

As a reminder, we wanted to learn the verb “to worship” last time and word “Master (Lord).”

Lesson 4 : Surah Al-Kahf (The Cave) Chapter 18: verses 18-21

“Thou wouldst have deemed them awake, whilst they were asleep, and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two fore-legs on the threshold: if thou hadst come up on to them, thou wouldst have certainly turned back from them in flight, and wouldst certainly have been filled with terror of them.” (18:18)

(DYNAMIC) “nuqaliboohum” = We turned them”.  This is a verb, the three letters we want to focus on are “Qaf”, “laam” and “baa” which form the root “Qalb.”  This should look familiar to the first word we learned in Lesson 3…”Qalb.”  But we learned the meaning of “Qalb” is heart and heart isn’t a verb.  And it’s certainly not a verb that means “to turn” as it appears here.  So what gives?

The beauty of the Arabic language is at play here.   “Qalb” in general is the word for “heart.”  However, it comes from the root which means something that “turns around and about.”  Isn’t it the nature of the hearts that they are constantly changing?  The heart is continously changing and adapting, from what is good to what is evil, to what is pleasing to Allah and what is pleasing to itself. Thus, it is mentioned that the Prophet (saw) used to make the dua’:

“Yaa Muqallibal Quloob Thabbit Qalbee ‘alaa Deenik”

“Oh turner of the hearts (Allah, the Most High), keep our hearts firm on your religion“

[Authenticated by al-Albanee in al-Jaam’i as-Sagheer 1323/7988]

And if you want another use of the word, look up “Maqlooba” on Google and watch how its made. 😉

“yameen” = right

“shimal” = left

(POSSESSION) “Kalb” “hum” (“kalboohum”) = “dog” “they” (“their dog”)  This is a good example of the importance of saying the letters and words of the Arabic language correctly.  “Kalb” looks similar to “Qalb”  in English, however, in Arabic “Kalb” starts with “kaf” and “Qalb” starts with “Qaf,” so they sound differently.  Thus it is important to differentiate between “kaf” and “Qaf” because the meanings of the words would change if you didn’t!

If you have trouble with some of the letters, an excellent series to follow and teacher to learn from is Hafidh Wissam Sharieff’s Arabic Letters series (L2RQ).

Anyway, the letters “ha” and “meem” are at the end of the noun “kalb,” which make this a possession rule for “they” (“hum”).

ru’baa = terror, or fear

“Such (being their state), we raised them up (from sleep), that they might question each other. Said one of them, “How long have ye stayed (here)?” They said, “We have stayed (perhaps) a day, or part of a day.” (At length) they (all) said, “Allah (alone) knows best how long ye have stayed here…. Now send ye then one of you with this money of yours to the town: let him find out which is the best food (to be had) and bring some to you, that (ye may) satisfy your hunger therewith: And let him behave with care and courtesy, and let him not inform any one about you.” (18:19)

(REPEAT) Qala and Qaloo  (from the verb “to say”) = “Said” and “They said”.  We will study how the verb is conjugated soon inshaAllah.  I hope that by know we are comfortable being able to recognize the letters that make up the verb “to say.”

minhum = “one of them”.  We saw “min” before, which means in general “from” as in “from this country.”  “Hum” we saw in the pronouns in possession, which is the pronoun for “they.”  So taken together, this word means “one from among them…” and taken with the whole verse “one of the them (from the group) said”.

(CHALLENGE) “Qaloo rabukum ‘alamoo

Qaloo” = we know this to be “say”

Rabb” = Master.  “Kum” added to the end makes it possession for “your (you all)”, so “rabukum” = “Your Master”

” ‘alamoo” = We learned the root for “knoweldge” in Lesson 1 and 2. It is formed by the root ” ‘ain”, “laam” and “meem” = ‘ilm.  So just by looking at the word in Arabic we have an idea it has something to do with knoweldge.

Putting it together we have: “say” “Your Master.”  “knowledge (or something to do with knowing)”

So we read the translation and find: “Say: Your Master knows (best)…”

(RECOMMENDED)yawm” = “day” as in saying “We were there one day ago” or “We were there for a part of the day

(MUST KNOW)rizq” = in general referring to sustenance, bounty, earnings, and wealth.  There is no single word in the translation above that will match the exact definition, however, one can find that the general meaning remains in the translation.

(Indeed) For if they should come upon you, they would stone you or force you to return to their cult, and in that case ye would never attain prosperity.” (18:20)

(REPEAT) Inna” “hum = “verily, surely, for sure” “they“.  We’ve seen this many times before, basically, we see the “ha” and the “meem” = “hum” after “Inna” – its not possession, but it looks similar and the translation reflects similarly, meaning “Indeed they…”

(RECOMMENDED) “tufliHoo” = which comes from the verb “to prosper/succeed”.  Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda explains this verb in great detail, but I don’t remember the exact lecture.  Basically, it means to “prosper” – but it has the connotation of prospering or succeeding after a lot of work and effort.

The three letters we focus on are “faa” “laam” and “Haa” which form the root for “to prosper/succeed.”

To see the word in a different place for practice, flip to Surah Al-Mu’minoon verse 1 (23:1).

(REPEAT) “abada” = “forever.”  We saw this word in Verse 3 (part 1).  The word “forever” isn’t in the translation above, but I just wanted to point out that it is a word we’ve seen before.

“Thus did We make their case known to the people, that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour of Judgment. Behold, they dispute among themselves as to their affair. (Some) said, “Construct a building over them”: Their Lord knows best about them: those who prevailed over their affair said, “Let us surely build a place of worship over them.” (18:21)

(CHALLENGE)Li ya’lamoo anna wa’dal Allah haqq” (read as “Liya’lamoo anna wa’dallahi haqq“)

What words do we know here?

ya’lamoo” = something to do with knowledge, knowing something, because ” ‘ain” “laam” and “meem” appear (after “laam” and “yaa”)

Allah” = Allah

haqq” = truth

So far we have: “knowing _____ of Allah is true”

This is an example where we can learn a new word by just examining the words we know.  The only words left are “Anna” and “wa’ad” and the only part of the translation that isn’t accounted for is “promise.”

One of the two means “promise.”  By reading more Qur’an and identifying similar words (for example, if you saw “wa’ad” in a different place in the Qur’an and compared the translation) you would be able to deduce that “wa’ad” means “promise.”

So the whole phrase taken together means: “that they might know the promise of Allah is true”

sa’aa” = literally “hour”, usually meant to mean the Hour of Judgement (the Day of Judgement)

(REPEAT)amr” “hum“(read as “amrahum“) = “their affair.”  We saw this word in Lesson 3 (verse 16).  However, there we saw it for possession for “you all” (“kaf” and “meem” = “kum”).  Here, we see “ha” and “meem” = “hum”, so possesion is for “they”.  Again, “amr” means “affair”, refer to Lesson 3 for the explanation.  Thus, the phrase means “their affair.”

(REPEAT)FaQaloo” and “Qala” = refer to previous explanations

(CHALLENGE)Rabb hum ‘alamoo bi him” (read as “Rabbuhum ‘alamoo bihim“)

Rabbuhum” = “Their Master” (possesion)

alamoo = “knows” (refer to verse 19)

bi him” = ?  We have “ha” and “meem” = “him” or “hum”.  For our purposes its easier to assume they mean the same thing, “they.”

Thus, piecing the phrase together we have: “Their Master knows them.”

Which is pretty close to the translation above: “Their Master knows best about them.”

masjid (read here as “masjida“) = place of worship.  We all know the Masjid is where we pray, but why is it called “masjid?”

“Meem” is in front.  We explained this in past lessons as someone who is actively doing something.  The last part of the word has the letters “seen” “jeem” and “daal”, taken together they make the word “sujood” or “sajda,” which means “prostration” or  “to prostate.”

Thus in Arabic, a place where people actively prostrate is called “Masjid.”

May Allah make us among those whose hearts are close to the masjid, ameen.


Week 4 List:



(REPEAT!!!): 5


Words with Possession: 4

(TOTAL – New): 10

If you only have time for 1 word: “Rizq”

NOTE: Please correct me if I made a mistake!


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