• Raya Shokatfard

THE STORY OF MOSES AND AL-KHIDR (PART 2)

Updated: Dec 24, 2020


By: Raya Shokatfard


Part 1 , Part 3


And so Moses asked Al-Khidr for permission to continue to travel with him.

{Then they both proceeded until they met a boy and (Al-Khidr) killed him.}


The Prophet went on to explain:


“When they had left the sea, they passed by a (beautiful disbelieving) boy playing with his friends. Al-Khidr (grabbed the boy and pinned him down on the ground then) took hold of the boy’s head, (severed it with a knife) and plucked it with his hand like this. (Sufyan, the sub-narrator, motioned with his fingertips as if he was plucking some fruit.)”


{(Moses) exclaimed, “Have you killed an innocent person who has killed no one?”}

The Prophet went on to say, “Moses (was shocked). He exclaimed, ‘Have you killed an innocent person who has not killed anyone?’”


In Islam, a young boy cannot be executed even if he killed someone, as the age of accountability starts from puberty. Some scholars assert that the fact that he was called Ghulam (young man, boy), may indicate that he was close to puberty.


So, Moses wondered why this boy is killed this way without any evidence to any crime, thus defending his innocence.


{You have done something really prohibited!} (74)


Moses was more shocked at this act than the previous one in verse 71 when Al-Khidr made a hole in the boat and thus rebuked him even with much stronger words here.


{(Al-Khidr) said: “Didn’t I tell you that you wouldn’t be able to have patience with me?} (75)

But Moses replied, ‘But this act was more grievous than the first one.’ The Prophet further added here:


“May Allah have mercy upon us and upon Moses! Had he shown patience, he would have seen wonderful things, but fear of blame due to what his companion did seized him.”


{(Moses) replied, “If I ask you about anything after this, don’t keep me in your company for you have heard enough excuses from me.} (76)


Moses’ statement, “don’t keep me in your company,” indicates that he considered Al-Khidr on a higher level than himself, otherwise he would have said, “If I ask you about anything after this, I will not accompany you further.”


Free Repair of a Collapsing Wall


“I wished that Moses could have remained patient so that Allah could have told us more about their story.”


{Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to show them hospitality. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Al-Khidr) set it up straight. (Moses) said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!} (77)


{(Al-Khidr) said: “This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.} (78)


{Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to show them hospitality.}


The Prophet said: “Then both of them went on till they came to a village. They went to the place where the villagers congregated and asked them for food but they refused to entertain them as guests.”


{Then they found a wall in the town that was about to collapse and (Al-Khidr) rebuilt it.


(Moses) suggested, “If you wished, you could surely have taken some payment for it!}

The Prophet said: “Then they saw in the town a wall which was just going to collapse and Al-Khidr repaired it by merely wiping it with his hands. Moses said, ‘These are people whom we called on, but they neither gave us food, nor entertained us as guests, yet you have repaired their wall. Had you wished, you could have taken for it wages (that we might have eaten with.)”


Moses did not rebuke Al-Khidr for repairing the collapsed wall nor did he question why he did it, inspite of the people’s lack of hospitality. He merely suggested that they take some compensation for repairing the wall in order to obtain some food and drink and a place to rest. The Prophet added: “Moses’ first excuse was that he had forgotten, his second excuse caused him to be bound by a stipulation, and the third was done intentionally.”


{(Al-Khidr) replied, “This is where our ways must part. Now I will let you know the meaning of those things that you were unable to patiently bear.} (78)


The Prophet added: “I wished that Moses could have remained patient so that Allah could have told us more about their story.”


{As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king behind them who seized every ship by force.} (79)

So, it happened that the king did come to seize the ship and when he found it defective he left it. The owners of the ship later repaired and continued using it.


How do Muslims react in similar situations?


The Prophet was reported by Suhayb ibn Sinan as saying:


“The affair of the believer is amazing! His entire life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him.”


(Muslim) Continue on the story, we see here, Al-Khidr was doing what seems evil, but for greater good. Medical doctors utilize this principle when they remove skin from someone’s thigh to correct a defect in his face or head.


The seemingly evil from God has wisdom behind it, but evil done by humans, in most cases, has evil intentions.


The Machiavellian principle of “the ends justify the means” is being applied here. However, not knowing the outcome at the beginning, one does not know why this evil thing is taking place.


“I wanted to damage it,” This is in order to avoid attributing evil directly to God.


So, it is important for a Muslim not to attribute any apparent evil to God, instead he should check his own actions. As mentioned above the seemingly evil from God has wisdom behind it, but evil done by humans, in most cases, has evil intentions unless it is performed for good reasons.


The Prophet is reported to have taught Muslims to supplicate God in this way:


“Here I am, I hear your call happy to serve You. All good is in Your Hands, and evil does not stem from You.” (Muslim)


{And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.} (80)


{So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and nearer to mercy.} (81)


“And as for the boy, his parents were believers,” implies that their son was a disbeliever. (Ibn Abbas)


“And we feared that he would cause them grief by his rebellion and disbelief.”


The Prophet quoted Al-Khidr as saying, “So far as the boy is concerned, he was by his very nature an unbeliever, whereas his parents loved him very much. Had he grown up he would have involved them in wrongdoing and disbelief.” Their next child was said to be a girl.

{So we wanted their Lord to replace him with a more righteous and merciful (child).}

The Prophet had said: “Allah does not destine for a believer a portion of destiny, except that there is good in it for him. Not knowing the future, the boy’s parents grieved over his death, but if the boy had stayed with them then he would have caused their destruction. So, a human being should be pleased with what Allah has destined for him.”


The principle of patience in times of difficulty is also applicable in this instance as the Almighty stated:


{It may be that you dislike something which is good for you.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 216)

The difference between this incident and the previous one is that the result of Al-Khidr’s action was quickly manifested once the King showed up. However, the second case does not have an immediate answer. It may be that only on the Day of Judgment, the parents would know the wisdom for this tragedy.


{And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did them not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience.} (82)


Al-Khidr gave the reason for intervening on behalf of the orphans: {And their father was a righteous man.}


{And I did them not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience.}


Many of actions and sayings of Al-Khidr point to the fact that he was in fact a prophet and he did not do anything on his own will, but received revelation and divine inspiration. The last verse further verifies this point…


To be continued…

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Published on: Sunday, 20 January 2013

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    About Me

    Raya Shokatfard is an international speaker, film maker, and writer with a focus on women’s issues, Islam, and cultural issues. She holds BA and MBS degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication as well as a BA in Islamic Studies and an MD in TV Journalism.

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