This Man Challenged Moses on His Knowledge

There is a beautiful story in the Quran about Moses and a wise man called Al-Khidr.

Who was this man? What is special in him to be sent to teach one of the best five Prophets? And what’s the wisdom behind meeting Moses?

A Servant Of God

There are many opinions of scholars whether Al-Khidr was a prophet or not. But the Quran mentions him being a servant of God who was sent to teach Moses. He appeared in one incident when Moses (peace be upon him) was asked about the most knowledgeable among the people and Moses said:

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“I am the most knowledgeable.”

At that time God revealed to him that there was a person who was more knowledgeable than him and asked him to go and meet him.

Then found they one of Our slaves, unto whom We had given mercy from Us, and had taught him knowledge from Our presence. (18:65)

He Was Given the Unseen Knowledge

God gave Al-Khidr some of His knowledge to teach Moses that his knowledge is always lacking something and that there are more in life that is hidden from him.

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In following Al-Khidr, Moses discovered that there are wisdoms that he couldn’t understand. But at the end of the journey, when Al-Khidr told him the answers of the many questions he had in mind, he was amazed; what appeared to him evil deeds turned to be blessings in disguise. That was Moses’ journey of lessons.

Listen to chapter the Cave:

3 Lessons For Moses

Al Khidr was sent to teach Moses three lessons:

1- Al Khidr deliberately made a hole in the ship. He had caused damage to the ship to protect it from greater harm, i.e. to be taken by the king. 

2- He killed a young boy. The reason was that to not overburden his pious parents with his sins and disbelief.

3- He rebuilt a collapsing wall for a town that was unfriendly and refused to feed them. The reason was that beneath the wall lay a treasure that belonged to two orphans. 

A lesson here is that Moses couldn’t bear patience with the unseen. What appears to be evil for him becomes clear to be a blessing in disguise afterwards.

Some Lessons For Us

This story is a lesson for us to acknowledge our weakness and neediness to Him. This teaches us that we can never reach a stage where we claim that we know everything; we are dependent on God and we’re always in the process of learning and seeking knowledge. We have to keep on pursuing, asking, and learning.

Also, we should attribute our humble knowledge to God alone not to our own efforts. Our efforts can’t be complete except by the will and the help of God. He gave us brains to think and opens our minds to understanding; He gave us the gift of knowledge and skills of learning. How can we attribute all these to ourselves? We are nothing without His guidance and help.

The story also teaches us that we should think well of God and trust in His decree. Whatever happens to us is good for us. What appears to us to be a worst problem, it turns to have a good result; and we only realize this reality when we see the results happen. We can’t know what’s in the next few seconds, the future is only known to Him and He knows what is best for us.

God has all keys of the unseen, but most of us lack patience.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)