Commentary on the Story of the Cave and Permissible means of Waseela

Praise be to Allah,


Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them) narrated that: He heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as saying: “Three men, amongst those who came before you, set out until night came and they reached a cave, so they entered it. A rock fell down from the mountain and blocked the entrance of the cave. They said: `Nothing will save you from this unless you supplicate to Allah by virtue of a righteous deed you have done.’ Thereupon, one of them said: `O Allah! I had parents who were old, and I used to offer them milk before any of my children or slaves. One day, I went far away in search of grazing and could not come back until they had slept. When I milked as usual and brought the drink I found them both asleep. I hated to disturb them and also disliked giving milk to my children before them. My children were crying out of hunger at my feet but I awaited with the bowl in my hand for them to wake up. When they awoke at dawn, they drank milk. O, Allah! If I did so to seek Your Pleasure, then deliver us from the distress caused by the rock’. The rock moved slightly but they were unable to escape. The next said: `O Allah! I had a cousin whom I loved more than anyone else (in another version he said: as a man can love a woman). I wanted to have sexual intercourse with her but she refused. Hard-pressed in a year of famine, she approached me. I gave her one hundred and twenty dinars on condition that she would yield herself to me. She agreed and when we got together (for sexual intercourse), she said: Fear Allah and do not break the seal unlawfully. I moved away from her in spite of the fact that I loved her most passionately, and I let her keep the money I had given her. O, Allah! If I did that to seek Your Pleasure, then, remove the distress in which we are.’ The rock moved aside a bit further but they were still unable to get out. The third one said: `O Allah! I hired some laborers and paid them their wages except one of them departed without taking his due. I invested his money in business and the business prospered greatly. After a long time, he came to me and said: O slave of Allah! Pay me my dues. I said: All that you see is yours – camels, cattle, goats, and slaves. He said: O slave of Allah! Do not mock me. I assured him that I was not joking. So he took all the things and went away. He spared nothing. O, Allah! If I did so seeking Your Pleasure, then relieve us of our distress.’ The rock slipped aside and they got out walking freely”.

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


1. It is permissible to pray through our virtuous deeds. But to make someone a medium for it is an innovation in Deen that should be avoided for two major reasons. Firstly, there is no evidence in Shari`ah to support this.

Secondly, it is against the practice of Khair-ul-Quran, the best of generations. (This term is used for the first three generations of Muslims, the one in which the Prophet (PBUH) lived and the two following).
2. Preference should be given to the service of parents, even over the service of one’s own wife and children.
3. To abstain from sins out of fear of Allah is a highly meritorious act.

4. Labourers should always be treated fairly. If someone has paid a laborer less than his due, it should be paid to him in a decent manner.
5. Any supplication which is made sincerely, and with a real sense of humbleness is granted by Allah.
6. Allah sometimes helps His pious men even in an unusual manner, which is termed as Karamat (wonder or marvel). Thus, like the miracles of the Prophets, wonders of the righteous people are also true. But miracles and wonders both appear with the Will of Allah.


This tradition incorporates numerous benefits and lessons:


The excellence of conducting oneself in a righteous manner towards one’s parents, for this is amongst those virtuous deeds which provide a means of deliverance from affliction, and relief from oppression.

In addition: The excellence of chastity and abstinence from fornication. The action of abstinence from fornication, despite assuming the ability and opportunity to do so is affirmed to be amongst the most excellent of actions. It has been authentically narrated from the Prophet (PBUH) that from amongst the seven whom Allah shall shade in His Shade, on a day wherein there is no shade save His.

This second individual was in a position whereby he had the opportunity to commit the act of fornication with this woman. However, he desisted from doing so by virtue of his fear of Allah, yearning to be placed amongst those whom Allah shall shade in His Shade, on a day wherein there is no shade save His. Indeed I fear Allah.

In addition: This tradition is indicative of the excellence of honesty, and faithfulness in action for others. This third individual could have returned the original payment to the laborer and kept the remainder of the wealth for himself. However, by virtue of his integrity, dependability, sincerity, and sincere counsel towards his brother, he decided to confer upon him the sum total of his investment.

To Conclude: Sincerity is of paramount importance, do not place any portion of your worship for other than Him, perform it all for the sake of Allah the Exalted, the Majestic. Thus enabling it to be accepted by Allah, for it has been authentically narrated by the Prophet (PBUH) , in that which he related from Allah:

“I am in no need of the associationists and their deeds. Whosoever performs an action, associating in it other than Me, I have abandoned him and his deeds”.

for more evidence on intention and sincerity, click here


1.RYADUSSALIHEEN, Compiled by Imam Abu Zakaruya Yahya Bin Sharaf An-Nawawi with commentary on Ahadith Sheikh Safiur Rahman Mubarpuri. Chapter 1,  Sincerity and Significance of Intentions and all Actions, Apparent and Hidden

2.An Explanation of Riyadh al-Saliheen. from the words of the Master of the Messengers ‘Part 1
Explanation and Completion of His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad bn Salih Uthaymeen.

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