Story of 3 men in a cave – Hadith of Tawassul Story of Beseeching Allah in the name of good deeds

You may have heard this Very famous Story of the 3 Men trapped in the Cave. 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 swt. Let us read the story first .

This story is mentioned in Bukhari sharif, Muslim Shareef, Abu dawud and by Ibn Hibban and Ibn Bazzar

3 men trapped in a cave
3 men in a cave

These 3 men in a cave who were trapped were the people of Raqeem.

It is mentioned in Musnad Bazzar and tabarani with hasan riwayat that Nauman ibn Bashir heard nabi SAW mention the hadith of Raqeem. In Tabarani riwayat, it is stated that rock fell from mountain from the fear of Allah and covered the enterance of the cave in the mountain. It is mentioned that it is mustahabb/ recommended that if a person has done good amal then do dua with the good amal.

Hadeeth on 3 Men in a Cave

Abdullaah ibn Umar reported that the Messenger (may the peace and blessings of Allah 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,

“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 labourers 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 labourer 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.

Reference :

Riyaad as-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous) (Abridged) By Imam An Nawawi Vol. (1)

Chapter 1, Page 77, Number 12

Interpretation of hadith of Tawassul/ 3 men in a cave

Many taweelat and tawjeehat are mentioned why the man waited for the family while the children were crying.

Allama ubbi rahmatullah say that the nafqa and spending on parents on their sharia was more emphasised than our sharia. Allama ubbi say that necessary amount of nafaqa was already given to them it was the optional need of the children. The necessary amt of food to children was given it was the optional amount that the children were asking more. Mufti Taqi sahab says he did it ijtihadan to give priority to hios parents to seek closeness to Allah. Basically his niyah was good and Allah swt rewarded him

2. Amalu saleh- Mutlaq amal saleh is mentioned. if it is for sake of Allah , It is beloved to Allah

3. If anyone does anything for fear of Allah, it is considered to be eligible for tawassul. It is said that first she didnt agree to protect herself from sin. when they were afflicted with draught she came to his help and he refused and agreed only if she agree to sin with him. In tabarani it is mentioned that she was already married. when she went to her cousin for help and he put the condition, she went to her husband and said about it.

The husband out of majburi agave the permission . In muslim sharif it says she was unmrried. We can combine the tawjeeh that the first time he expressed his intention sshe was unmarried. when she gave herself to him she was married.

In tabarani it is mentioned that she began to shake and tremble when he approached her. He asked what happened to you? She said it is fear of Allah. He realised that it was fear of Allah even she doesn’t has a penny and is majbur and he left her alone. The fear of Allah in good time and in bad time is something that is beloved to Allah

4. The 4th story says that the man didnt take his haqq and the other man invested it and made profit but when the man came back to demand his haqq, he gave all of it including the profit. This giviong away for the sake of Allah is beloved to Allah.

Lessons from the Story of 3 men 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 swt and having a tawakkul on Allah. The three Man in the Story relied on the help of Allah swt . They were not great Men  .They were sinners like you and Me.

They were in in trouble but they did not lose hope in the Mercy of Allah swt . They Knew that If they Prayed to Allah swt, Allah’s help would definitely come . This is the most important part of Iman an act that is loved by Allah swt . Imaan 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 ourself – What good deeds have we done that We can relate to Allah swt 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 AS 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 dislike .Shouldn’t we turn to Allah swt .

May Allah increase us in our Imaan and tawakkul and pull us out of the difficult situations we are facing in our life .

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