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Qasas-ul-Ambiya: Musa and Khidr

Narrated Ubai bin Ka’b:


The Prophet said, “Once  Prophet Musa (AS) stood up and addressed Bani Israel. He was asked, “Who is the most learned man amongst the people. He said, “I (am the most learned).” Allah admonished Musa (AS) as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him (Allah). So Allah inspired to him “At the junction of the two seas there is a slave amongst my slaves who is more learned than you.” Musa said, “O my Lord! How can I meet him?” Allah said: Take a fish in a large basket (and proceed) and you will find him at the place where you will lose the fish. So Musa set out along with his (servant) boy, Yusha’ bin Nuin and carried a fish in a large basket till they reached a rock, where they laid their heads (i.e. lay down) and slept. The fish came out of the basket and it took its way into the sea as in a tunnel.The fish moved vigorously in the basket, got out of it and fell into the sea and made its way as if in a tunnel. When Musa got up his companion forgot to tell him about the incident.They carried on their journey during the rest of the day and the whole night. The next day Musa asked his servant :” Bring us our morning meal, truly we have sufferred much fatigue in this, our journey.”

Musa did not get tired till he passed the place about which he was told. There the (servant) boy told Musa, “Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the rock, I indeed forgot  the fish. None but Satan made me  forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way.”

Musa remarked, “That is what we have been seeking”. So they went back retracing their foot-steps, till they reached the rock. There they saw a man covered with a garment (or covering himself with his own garment). Musa greeted him. Al-Khidr said astonishingly, “Is there such a greeting in your land?” Musa said, “I am Musa.” He asked, “The Musa of Bani Israel?” Musa replied in the affirmative and added, “May I follow you so that you teach me of that knowledge which you have been taught.” Al-Khidr replied, “Verily! You will not be able to remain patient with me, O Musa! I have some of the knowledge of Allah which He has taught me and which you do not know, while you have some knowledge which Allah has taught you which I do not know.” Musa said, “Allah willing, you will find me patient and I will not disobey you in aught.” Al-Khidr said to him,”Then if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to  you.”

So both of them set out walking along the sea-shore. In the meantime a boat passed by them and they requested the crew of the boat to take them on board. The crew recognized Al-Khidr and took them on board without fare.  Musa saw Al-Khidr pull a plank of the ship with adze.  Musa said, “These people gave us a free lift but you scuttled it so as to drown its people.” Al-Khidr replied, “Didn’t I tell you that you will not be able to remain patient with me.” Musa said, “Call me not to account for what I forgot.”The first (excuse) of Musa was that he had forgotten.Then a sparrow came and stood on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak once or twice in the sea. Al-Khidr said: “O Musa! My knowledge and your knowledge have not decreased Allah’s knowledge except as much as this sparrow has decreased the water of the sea with its beak.”

Then they got out of boat and  proceeded further and found a boy playing with other boys. Al-Khidr took hold of the boy’s head from the top and pulled it out with his hands (i.e. killed him). Musa said, “Have you killed an innocent soul who has killed none.” Al-Khidr replied, “Did I not tell you that you cannot remain patient with me?”  Musa said:”If I ask you anything after that, keep me not in your company; you have received an excuse from me.”

Then they both proceeded till when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found there a wall on the point of collapsing. Al-Khidr repaired it with his own hands. Musa said, “If you had wished, surely you could have taken wages for it.” Al-Khadir replied, “This is the parting between you and me and this is the interpretation of those over which you could not hold patience.” (The boat belonged to masakeen and was damaged  as the evil king seized  every ship perfect in condition. The parents of the boy were believers and it was feared he would oppress and rebel against them.The wall belonged to two orphan boys and a treasure was buried beneath it by their father and Khidar (AS) had done all these tasks according to Allah’s orders).The Prophet added, “We wish Musa had more patience so that Allah might have described to us more about their story.”

(Bukhari)