Suratul Kahf: Kahf is from kaaf haa fa, it means a cave that is in a mountain, and it is very wide and open. There is also the word ghaar for cave (like ghaar hira, cave hira) and this is a cave that is a tight and small space.
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave the Book (the Quran), and has not placed therein any crookedness.
Allah azza wa jal begins this surah with Hamd, praise of Himself. Hamd is from ha meem daal. Hamd is to mention the good attribute of a person, such an attribute that is the at the level of perfection. Hamd is based on mahabbah (love) and ta’dheem (greatness). It is not a fake praise, i.e. not done to please the person or with no significance, fake praise is known as madh in Arabic. Hamd implies admiration, love and magnifying the praise of mahmood (one who is praised). Hamd is sincere, true praise, the mahmood deserves it.
The one doing hamd is doing submission to the one being praised–out of humility. Hamd also includes sincere gratitude and mentioning the kamaal (perfect, best) traits of someone. Alhamdulillah appears 38 times in the Qur’an, 5 of them at the beginning of surahs. When a surah begins with hamd, it implies three interpretations:
- Firstly, to tell, to make it known that: alhamdulillah, all praise and thanks is for Allah. like to announce it.
- Secondly, when we open something we begin with hamd (like a khutbah).
- Thirdly, it teaches us how we should praise Allah, and that we must praise Him.
A side note: Allah ta’ala is Al-Hameed, how is this different from mahmood? Mahmood is one who is praised only when they are praised by someone. Hameed is One who is ALWAYS deserving of praise, NO MATTER if He is praised or not. Allah ta’ala is the Most Praiseworthy, whether we do hamd of Him or not. Allahu Akbar!
So Allah ta’ala begins with Alhamdulillah, why is hamd for Him? Because He is: <<الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ الْكِتَابَ>> , the One who sent down upon His servant the Book. Notice that Allah ta’ala doesn’t call the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam His Messenger, or His Prophet, or a warner, but He calls him: servant. Therefore, the most honorable name that one can be called is Abdullah or Amatullah, servant of Allah.
Moreover, Allah ta’ala is calling him His slave out of love. Remember that this surah was revealed in the Makkan period, when the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was facing such opposition, being called an abd brings comfort. Abdihi, His slave, has been used in the Qur’an for three instances:
- In reference to sending down the Qur’an. For example: (25:1), (18:1)
- In defense of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam (2:23)
- When referring to a great favor that Allah gave Him. (17:1) The Prophet’s rank has been raised with the Israa (ascension to the heavens) and the Qur’an, and he is still an ‘abd–not a king or a ruler.
Al-Kitaab is from kaaf ta ba, and it literally means to collect and combine something. So a kitaab is a collection of messages. Al-Kitaab refers to the Qur’an.
Then Allah continues, <<وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ عِوَجًا>> , and He did not make therein any crookedness. The word for crookedness is عِوَجًا, ewajaa, from ayn wow jeem and this is an amazing word. It means crookedness or deviance in something. Ewaj is used for something that has been bent. There are two words from this root of ayn wow jeem:
- 1st one is ‘ewaj, which is conceptual or intangible crookedness. It’s the type of crookedness that someone has in their character, when they are not behaving “straight” or “normal”.
- 2nd word is ‘awaj. And this means something that was straight, but became crooked. This type of crookedness is very easy and obvious to notice.
Allah azza wa jal uses the first word in the ayah, ‘ewaj, not ‘awaj. This means that the Qur’an has no crooked information, not even the slightest form. Subhan Allah, this first ayah is negating ANY fault whatsoever in the Qu’ran.
How is the Qur’an not crooked? There is no distortion amongst the verses, the words are just as Allah revealed them. The Qur’an has been preserved by writing, by memorization to the point that we even know HOW the Prophet [SAWS] recited the Qur’an…each word, each letter, even each syllable! There is no deviation in the teachings or the information, there is no contradiction in it, and there is nothing in the Qur’an contrary to the truth.
WAllahu alam – And Allah knows best.