The Prophet Moses (pbuh) and a Learned Man
Another story about the Prophet Moses (pbuh) is related in the Surat al-Kahf. At the beginning of the story, Allah relates a journey the Prophet Moses (pbuh) makes with his young assistant:
Remember when Moses said to his servant, "I will not give up until I reach the meeting-place of the two seas, even if I must press on for many years." But when they reached their meeting-place, they forgot their fish which quickly burrowed its way into the sea. When they had gone a distance further on, he (Moses) said to his servant, "Bring us our morning meal. Truly this journey of ours has made us tired." He (Moses' servant) said, "Do you see what has happened? When we went to find shelter at the rock, I forgot the fish. No one made me forget to remember it except satan. It found its way into the sea in an amazing way." He (Moses) said, "That is the very thing that we were looking for!" So, following their footsteps, they retraced their route. (Surat al-Kahf: 60-64)
There are important lessons to take from the verses. The statement "Bring us our morning meal, truly this journey of ours has made us tired," shows that the Prophet Moses (pbuh) takes his food at the same time as he breaks for rest, while others would probably take two separate breaks to fulfil two such needs. Essentially, this decision of his indicates that a Muslim should manage his time wisely.
Another Divine lesson these verses reveal is their forgetting their food during the journey and satan's role as their forgetting. The clear influence satan has on people, that is, that he can cause man to be forgetful, is here stressed. For instance, satan causes man to forget in order to hinder him from engaging in something good for the cause of religion and for the sake of the Muslims. His primary goal is to keep people from remembering Allah and reflecting on Him. The best thing a man of faith can do to counter satan's efforts is to keep himself occupied with the remembrance of Allah.
A third Divine lesson to be drawn from the dialogue mentioned is the Prophet Moses' (pbuh) alertness to the signs of Allah. Indeed, he immediately regards his forgetting the food as a sign, and, accordingly, changes his way. This indicates that the Prophet Moses (pbuh) is a man who constantly keeps himself occupied with the remembrance of Allah, which makes him utterly aware that all situations in life are ordained by Allah. This, as a blessing of Allah, makes him a man of wisdom, able to arrive at sound conclusions from what happens around him.
The Prophet Moses (pbuh) and his young companion saw their forgetfulness a sign and returned by following their footsteps back. Later, the Prophet Moses (pbuh) met a certain person. This person possessed a special wisdom that Allah has bestowed on him. Though the Prophet Moses (pbuh) was willing to learn of his wisdom, this person of wisdom openly told him that he would not be able to be patient. The story is as follows:
They found a servant of Ours whom We had granted mercy from Us and whom We had also given knowledge direct from Us. Moses said to him, "May I follow you on condition that you teach me some of the right guidance you have been taught?"
He said, "You will not be able to bear with me. How indeed could you bear with patience something you have not encompassed in your knowledge?"
Moses said, "You will find me patient, if Allah wills, and I will not disobey you in any matter."
He said, "Then if you follow me, do not question me about anything until I myself make mention of it to you."
They continued until they boarded a boat and he scuppered it. Then Moses said, "Did you scupper it so that those in it would be drowned? This is truly a dreadful thing that you have done!"
He said, "Did I not say that you would not be able to bear with me?" Moses said, "Do not take me to task because I forgot. Do not demand of me something which is too difficult."
So they went on until they met a youngster whom he killed. Moses said, "Have you killed a boy who has done no wrong, without it being in retaliation for someone else? This is truly an appalling thing that you have done!"
He said, "Did I not tell you that you would not be able to bear with me?"
Moses said, "If I ask you about anything after this, then you should no longer keep me company. I will have given you excuse enough." So they went on until they reached the inhabitants of a town. They asked them for food but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall about to fall down and he built it up. Moses said, "If you had wanted, you could have taken a wage for doing that."
He said, "This is where you and I part company. I will let you know the explanation of those things about which you were not able to restrain yourself. As for the boat, it belonged to some poor people who worked on the sea. I wanted to damage it because a king was coming behind them, commandeering every boat. As for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared that he would darken their days with excessive insolence and transgression. We wanted their Lord to give them in exchange a purer son than him, one more compassionate. As for the wall, it belonged to two young orphans in the town and there was a treasure underneath it, belonging to them. Their father was one of the pious and your Lord wanted them to come of age and then to unearth their treasure as a mercy from Him. I did not do it of my own volition. That is the explanation of the things about which you were not able to restrain yourself." (Surat al-Kahf: 65-82)
The lesson presented here deserves special attention: It may well be that behind what appear to be evil events, Allah may bestow certain blessings through them. The sinking of a boat for no apparent reason, or the killing of a child who has not committed any crime, may appear to be evil deeds when assessed without sufficient understanding. However, as related in the above story, there is good and wisdom behind these events ordained by Allah, which are neither obvious nor immediately comprehensible. People should think about the good inherent in everything that befalls them in their every-day lives. Behind many events considered to be evil by people in our day, there are surely Divine purposes created by Allah. If a person remains patient and strives sincerely to grasp their Divine purposes, Allah may well make him comprehend their hidden meanings.
Then when he reached it, a voice called out, "Moses! I am your Lord. Take off your sandals. You are in the holy valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you, so listen well to what is revealed. I am Allah. There is no god but Me, so workship Me and establish prayer to remember Me." (Surat Ta-Ha: 11-14)