(18:71) Then the two went forth until, when they embarked on the boat, he
made a hole in it, whereupon Moses exclaimed: "Have you made a hole in it so
as to drown the people in the boat? You have certainly done an awful thing."
فَانْطَلَقَا حَتّٰۤى اِذَا رَكِبَا فِى السَّفِيۡنَةِ خَرَقَهَا ؕ قَالَ اَخَرَقۡتَهَا
لِتُغۡرِقَ اَهۡلَهَا ۚ لَقَدۡ جِئۡتَ شَيۡــًٔـا اِمۡرًا
(18:72) He replied: "Did I not tell you that you will not be able to patiently
bear with me?"
قَالَ اَلَمۡ اَقُلۡ اِنَّكَ لَنۡ تَسۡتَطِيۡعَ مَعِىَ صَبۡرًا
(18:73) Moses said: "Do not take me to task at my forgetfulness, and do not
be hard on me."
قَالَ لَا تُؤَاخِذۡنِىۡ بِمَا نَسِيۡتُ وَلَا تُرۡهِقۡنِىۡ مِنۡ اَمۡرِىۡ عُسۡرًا
(18:74) Then the two went forth until they met a lad whom he slew, whereupon
Moses exclaimed: "What! Have you slain an innocent person without his having
slain anyone? Surely you have done a horrible thing."
فَانْطَلَقَاحَتّٰۤى اِذَا لَقِيَا غُلٰمًا فَقَتَلَهٗ ۙ قَالَ اَقَتَلۡتَ نَـفۡسًا
زَكِيَّةً ۢ بِغَيۡرِ نَـفۡسٍ ؕ لَـقَدۡ جِئۡتَ شَيۡــًٔـا نُّـكۡرًا
(18:75) He said: "Did I not tell you that you will not be able to patiently
bear with me?"
قَالَ اَ لَمۡ اَ قُلْ لَّكَ اِنَّكَ لَنۡ تَسۡتَطِيۡعَ مَعِىَ صَبۡرًا
(18:76) Moses said: "Keep me no more in your company if I question you concerning
anything after this. You will then be fully justified."
قَالَ اِنۡ سَاَ لۡـتُكَ عَنۡ شَىۡءٍۢ بَعۡدَهَا فَلَا تُصٰحِبۡنِىۡ ۚ قَدۡ
بَلَـغۡتَ مِنۡ لَّدُنِّىۡ عُذۡرًا
(18:77) Then the two went forth until when they came to a town, they asked
its people for food, but they refused to play host to them. They found in that
town a wall that was on the verge of tumbling down, and he buttressed it, whereupon
Moses said: "If you had wished, you could have received payment for it."
فَانْطَلَقَا حَتّٰۤى اِذَاۤ اَتَيَاۤ اَهۡلَ قَرۡيَةِ ۨاسۡتَطۡعَمَاۤ اَهۡلَهَا
فَاَبَوۡا اَنۡ يُّضَيِّفُوۡهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيۡهَا جِدَارًا يُّرِيۡدُ اَنۡ يَّـنۡقَضَّ
فَاَقَامَهٗ ؕ قَالَ لَوۡ شِئۡتَ لَـتَّخَذۡتَ عَلَيۡهِ اَجۡرًا
(18:78) He said: "This brings me and you to a parting of ways. Now I shall
explain to you the true meaning of things about which you could not remain patient.
قَالَ هٰذَا فِرَاقُ بَيۡنِىۡ وَبَيۡنِكَ ۚ سَاُنَـبِّئُكَ بِتَاۡوِيۡلِ مَا
لَمۡ تَسۡتَطِعْ عَّلَيۡهِ صَبۡرًا
(18:79) As for the boat it belonged to some poor people who worked on the
river, and I desired to damage it for beyond them lay the dominion of a king
who was wont to seize every boat by force.
اَمَّا السَّفِيۡنَةُ فَكَانَتۡ لِمَسٰكِيۡنَ يَعۡمَلُوۡنَ فِى الۡبَحۡرِ فَاَرَدْتُّ
اَنۡ اَعِيۡبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَآءَهُمۡ مَّلِكٌ يَّاۡخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِيۡنَةٍ غَصۡبًا
(18:80) As for the lad, his parents were people of faith, and we feared lest
he should plague them with transgression and disbelief,
وَاَمَّا الۡغُلٰمُ فَكَانَ اَبَوٰهُ مُؤۡمِنَيۡنِ فَخَشِيۡنَاۤ اَنۡ يُّرۡهِقَهُمَا
(18:81) and we desired that their Lord should grant them another in his place,
a son more upright and more tender hearted.
فَاَرَدۡنَاۤ اَنۡ يُّبۡدِلَهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا خَيۡرًا مِّنۡهُ زَكٰوةً وَّاَقۡرَبَ
(18:82) As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and
under it there was a treasure that belonged to them. Their father was a righteous
man and your Lord intended that they should come of age and then bring forth
their treasure as a mercy from your Lord; I did not do this of my own bidding.
This is the true meaning of things with which you could not keep your patience."60 وَاَمَّا الۡجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلٰمَيۡنِ يَتِيۡمَيۡنِ فِى الۡمَدِيۡنَةِ وَكَانَ
تَحۡتَهٗ كَنۡزٌ لَّهُمَا وَكَانَ اَبُوۡهُمَا صَالِحًـا ۚ فَاَرَادَ رَبُّكَ اَنۡ
يَّبۡلُغَاۤ اَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسۡتَخۡرِجَا كَنۡزَهُمَا ۖ رَحۡمَةً مِّنۡ رَّبِّكَ
ۚ وَمَا فَعَلۡتُهٗ عَنۡ اَمۡرِىۡ ؕ ذٰ لِكَ تَاۡوِيۡلُ مَا لَمۡ تَسۡطِعْ عَّلَيۡهِ
60. In connection with this story, a very hard problem arises to which an
answer must be found. Two of the three things done by Khidr are obviously against
those commandments of the law which have always been in force since the creation
of man. No law allows anyone the right to damage the property of another and
kill an innocent person. So much so that if a man were to know by inspiration
that some usurper would illegally seize a certain boat, and that a certain boy
would be involved in a rebellion and unbelief, even then no law, sent down by
Allah, makes it lawful that one should bore a hole in the boat and kill the
innocent boy by virtue of his inspiration. If in answer to this, one were to
say that Khidr committed these two acts by the commands of Allah, this does
not solve the problem, for the question is not this: “By whose command did Khidr
commit these acts”, but it is this: “What was the nature of these commands”?
This is important because Khidr did these acts in accordance with divine command,
for he himself says that these acts of his were not done by his own authority,
but were moved by the mercy of Allah, and Allah Himself has testified this by
saying: “We gave him a special knowledge from Ourselves”. Thus it is beyond
any doubt that these acts were done by the command of Allah, but the question
about the nature of the command remains there, for it is obvious that these
commands were not legal because it is not allowed by any divine law, and the
fundamental principles of the Quran also do not allow that a person should kill
another person without any proof of his guilt. Therefore we shall have to admit
that these commands belonged to one of those decrees of Allah in accordance
with which one sick person recovers, while another dies: one becomes prosperous
and the other is ruined. If the commands given to Khidr were of this nature,
then one must come to the conclusion that Khidr was an angel (or some other
kind of Allah’s creation) who is not bound by the divine law prescribed for
human beings, for such commands as have no legal aspect, can be addressed to
angels only. This is because the question of the lawful or the unlawful cannot
arise about them: they obey the commands of Allah without having any personal
power. In contrast to them, a man shall be guilty of a sin whether he does any
such thing inadvertently by intuition or by some inspiration, if his act goes
against some divine commandment. This is because a man is bound to abide by
divine commandments as a man, and there is no room whatsoever in the divine
law that an act may become lawful for a man merely because he had received an
instruction by inspiration and had been informed in a secret way of the wisdom
of that unlawful act.
The above mentioned principle has been unanimously accepted by scholars of
the divine law and the leaders of Sufism, Allamah Alusi has cited in detail
the sayings of Abdul Wahhab Shiirani, Muhy-ud-Din ibn-Arabi, Mujaddid Alf Thani,
Shaikh Abdul-Qadir Jilani, Junaid Baghdadi, Sirri Saqti, Abul-Hussain An-nuri,
Abu Said-al- Kharraz, Ahmad ud-Dainauri and Imam Ghazzali to this effect that
it is not lawful even for a sufi to act in accordance with that inspiration
of his own which goes against a fundamental of law. (Ruh-ul-Maani, Vol. XVI,
pp. 16-18). That is why we have come to the conclusion that Khidr must be an
angel, or some other kind of Allah’s creation, exempted from human law, for
he could not be the only exception to the above mentioned formula. Therefore
we inevitably come to the conclusion that he was one of those servants of Allah
who act in accordance with the will of Allah and not in accordance with the
divine law prescribed for human beings.
We would have accepted the theory that Khidr was a human being, if the Quran
had plainly asserted that the servant to whom Prophet Moses (peace be upon him)
was sent for training, was a man. But the Quran does not specifically say that
he was a human being but says that he was one of Our servants which does not
show that he was necessarily a human being. Besides this, there is no tradition
which specifically says that Khidr was a human being. In the authentic traditions
related by Said bin Jubair, Ibn Abbas, Ubayy bin Kaab from the Prophet (peace
be upon him), the Arabic word rajul has been used for Khidr, which though generally
used for human beings, is not exclusively used for human beings. In the Quran
itself, this word has been used for Jinns also (Surah Al-Jin, Ayat 6). It is
also obvious that when a jinn or an angel or an invisible being will come before
a human being, he will surely come in human shape and, in that form; he will
be called a bashar (man), just like the angel who came before Mary in the shape
of a human being (Surah Maryam, Ayat 17). Thus the word rajul, used for Khidr
in the above mentioned tradition by the Prophet (peace be upon him), does not
necessarily mean that he was a human being. Therefore we are quite justified
in the light of the above discussion to believe that Khidr was one of the angels
or some other kind of Allah’s creation who is not bound by the divine law prescribed
for human beings. Some of the former scholars of the Quran have also expressed
the same opinion which has been cited by lbn Kathir in his commentary on the
authority of Mawardi.