You may have heard this very famous story of the three men trapped in the cave. This is a hadith which narrates the story. When I first heard this story from my grandmother, I was really small and I did not took the lesson from the story. Subhan Allah! This story is a true miracle of Allah. Let us read the story first.
Hadith on 3 Men Trapped in a Cave
Abdullah ibn Umar reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Three men of a people before you, were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm and therefore they took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the exit from cave. One of them said:
“The only way for deliverance left is to beseech Allah in the name of some virtuous deed.”
Thereupon one of them supplicated:
Story of 3 Men Trapped in a Cave
“O Lord, my parents were very old, and I used to offer them their nightly drink of milk before my children and the other members of the family.
One day I went astray far away in search of green trees and could return only after my parent had gone to sleep. When I had milked the animals and brought their nightly drink to them. They were fast asleep, but I did not like to disturb them, nor would give any part of the milk to my children and other members of the family till after my parents had their drink.
Thus, with the vessel in hand, I awaited their awakening till the flush of dawn, while the children cried out of hunger at my feet. When they woke up, they had their drink. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do relieve us of the distress wrought upon us by this rock.”
Thereupon, the rock moved a little but not enough to let them pass out.
Then the second man supplicated:
“O Lord, I had a cousin that I loved more passionately than any man could love a woman. I tried to seduce her but she would refuse, till in a season of great hardship due to famine, she approached me (for help) and I gave her one hundred and twenty Dinars on the condition that she would have sexual intercourse with me. She agreed, and when we got together and I was just going to have intercourse with her, she pleaded, ‘Fear Allah, and do not break the seal unlawfully’, whereupon I moved away from her, despite the fact that I desired her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her.
O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do move the distress in which we find ourselves.” Again the rock moved a little but not enough to let them pass out.
Then the third supplicated:
“O Lord, I hired some laborers and paid them their dues, but one of them left leaving behind what was due to him. I invested it in business and the business prospered greatly.
After a while, the laborer came back and said: ‘O servant of Allah, hand over to me my wages.’ I said to him: ‘All that you see is yours; camels, cattle, goats and slaves.” He said: ‘Don’t play joke with me, O servant of Allah.’ I assured him: ‘I am not joking.’ So he took all of it sparing nothing. O Lord, if I did this seeking only for your pleasure, do relieve us of our distress.”
The rock then moved away, and all the three came out of the cave safe and sound.
Riyaad as-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous) (Abridged)
By Imam An Nawawi Vol. (1)
Publisher: Dar Al-Manarah
Chapter 1, Page 77, Number 12
Lessons from the Story of 3 men trapped in a cave
Let me ask you what lessons do you learn from this story?
Well, the first and foremost lesson we love from the story is directing all our hopes and expectations towards Allah and having a tawakkul on Allah.
The three men in the story relied on the help of Allah. They were not great men and they were sinners like you and me. They were in in trouble but they did not lose hope in the Mercy of Allah. And they knew that if they prayed to Allah, Allah’s help would definitely come.
This is the most important part of Iman an act that is loved by Allah. Iman is not just affirmation of “La illaha Ilallah”, it is to believe that Allah is all watching. He is capable to do all things and he is our master.
The second lesson we learn from the story is the importance of good deed and abstaining from sin.
We should pause here and ask ourselves – What good deeds have we done that we can relate to Allah and ask mercy from Him.
The third and most important lesson we learn from the story is if Allah can move the big rock away from the cave, if Allah can bring out Yunus from the belly of large fish, our troubles are nothing compared to them.
Unfortunately, we get hopeless even in small difficulty and we begin to curse our fate our destiny. We ask questions like, “Why me?” and do so many things that Allah dislikes. Shouldn’t we turn to Allah?
May Allah increase us in our Iman and tawakkul and pull us out of the difficult situations we are facing in our life.