بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Human beings do not have full picture of the implications of things happening around them. With no knowledge of future, we can not be sure of what happens to us, is actually good or bad for us in the long term. For example, a young man who desires so much for his first fancy sports car, when he gets it believes it to be the best thing that could ever have happened to him. Then shortly afterwards gets into an unfortunate car accident and looses his limbs. Looking back retrospectively, the guy would think that getting this car after all, was not the best thing that happened to him, and he would be better off without his dearest wish fulfilled.
People, without full picture of working of the universe and the future which is in store for them, cannot comprehend implications of things happening around them. There is a story mentioned in Al-Quran about prophet Moosa (a.s) and a servant of God, which can be related to answer questions like ‘Why God allows terrible things to happen to innocent people in the world’. These ayahs indicate that there could be truly worse things (from the perspective of having future knowledge from God) that could have happened, but were prevented from happening by divine intervention, however, people don’t realize that. We can not comprehend these happenings because we have a very limited view of the complete picture of the grand scheme of the universe.
18:65-68 فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَىٰ هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا
So they both (Moosa and his companion) found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our nearness. Moosa said to him. “May I follow you, in that you teach me something of the wisdom which has been taught to you?”. He said. “Verily you will not be able to bear with me”. “And how can you have patience about which your understanding is not complete?”
People cannot comprehend the logic of things whose understanding they haven’t grasped. So in order for them not to despair in adverse situations, they can take solace from the fact that God will help them in the long term if they persevere and keep faith. If they are prevented from a dear thing and put in difficult circumstances at some time in life, this situation could actually be beneficial for them in the long run.
18:69-70 قَالَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعْصِي لَكَ أَمْرًا قَالَ فَإِنِ اتَّبَعْتَنِي فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِي عَن شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ أُحْدِثَ لَكَ مِنْهُ ذِكْرًا
Moosa said. “You will find me, if Allah so wills, patient, and I shall not disobey you in orders. He said. “If then you would follow me, then don’t ask me about anything until I myself speak to you about it.”
The below ayahs have certain interpretations. They should be related in terms of the message they convey:
18:71-73 فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَكِبَا فِي السَّفِينَةِ خَرَقَهَا ۖ قَالَ أَخَرَقْتَهَا لِتُغْرِقَ أَهْلَهَا لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا إِمْرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا قَالَ لَا تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَا تُرْهِقْنِي مِنْ أَمْرِي عُسْرًا
So they both proceeded, until, when they boarded in the boat, he made a hole in it. (Moosa) said, “Have you made a hole in it in order to drown those in it? Truly you did a strange thing!” He answered. “Did I not (already) tell you that you can’t have patience with me?”. (Moosa) said. “Please don’t hold me for forgetting, nor overwhelm me with difficulty in my case.”
18:74-76 فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا لَقِيَا غُلَامًا فَقَتَلَهُ قَالَ أَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا زَكِيَّةً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ لَّقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا نُّكْرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا قَالَ إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَيْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلَا تُصَاحِبْنِي ۖ قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّي عُذْرًا
Then they both proceeded, until, when they met a boy, he slew him. (Moosa) said. “Did you slay an innocent nafs without a nafs? Truly you came up with a repugnant thing”. He answered. “Did I not tell you that you can not have patience with me?”. (Moosa) said. “If I ask you about anything after this, don’t keep company with me. Verily, you have received (full) excuse from my side.”
18:77-78 فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهْلَ قَرْيَةٍ اسْتَطْعَمَا أَهْلَهَا فَأَبَوْا أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ ۖ قَالَ لَوْ شِئْتَ لَاتَّخَذْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا قَالَ هَٰذَا فِرَاقُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنِكَ ۚ سَأُنَبِّئُكَ بِتَأْوِيلِ مَا لَمْ تَسْتَطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا
Then they both proceeded, until when they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point of falling down, but he set it up straight. (Moosa) said. “If you had wished, surely you could have got some compensation for it!” He answered. “This is the parting between me and you. Now, I will tell you the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.
The incidences mentioned above have interpretations attached to them which are explained below:
18:79 أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَأَرَدتُّ أَنْ أَعِيبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَاءَهُم مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا
“As for the boat, it belonged to some poor people who worked in the sea. Thus I planned to put some blemish on it, for there was after them a king who seized on every boat by force.”
The interpretation of him making a hole in the boat was to protect the interests of the poor people whose boat if found unblemished would have been seized by the king. Earlier without knowing, it had appeared to Moosa (a.s) that his action was intended to harm the people riding in the boat.
18:80-81 وَأَمَّا الْغُلَامُ فَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ فَخَشِينَا أَن يُرْهِقَهُمَا طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا فَأَرَدْنَا أَن يُبْدِلَهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُ زَكَاةً وَأَقْرَبَ رُحْمًا
“As for the boy, his parents were believers, and We feared that he should make disobedience and ingratitude to come upon them, So We desired that their Lord would give them in exchange better in purity and closer in grace”.
Some people are born with limited and less than normal mental capability. Their parents some times question God, why they are burdened with this life time task of taking care of them. The interpretation of the above ayahs point out that it is possible that if God had not changed the original nafs/psychology of the child with that of an innocent and pure psychology, there was a possibility that this offspring would have caused them to transgress and rebel.
18:82 وَأَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلَامَيْنِ يَتِيمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنزٌ لَّهُمَا وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا فَأَرَادَ رَبُّكَ أَن يَبْلُغَا أَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسْتَخْرِجَا كَنزَهُمَا رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا فَعَلْتُهُ عَنْ أَمْرِي ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَأْوِيلُ مَا لَمْ تَسْطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا
“As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan youths, in the town; there was, beneath it, a buried treasure, to which they were entitled. Their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure – a mercy (and favour) from your Lord. I did it not of my own accord. This is the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.”
God keeps on helping righteous people in divine ways, who keep their patience and their trust in God.
The name khidr is not mentioned in Quran. Quran mentions him as ‘servant of God’. Quran does not give further details about him to be a bashar/human or an angel.