Saturday, February 4, 2012

Life is all about perception

 While reading Surah Kahf (the Chapter of the Cave) of the Glorious Quraan yesterday it occurred to me that life is all about perception, we perceive things in a certain way, based on our very limited knowledge and we begin to regard our perception as the truth, when actually most times we don’t even know the full story in situations.

Just to recap...

In Surah Kahf we learn this lesson through the story of Moosa / Moses (Peace be upon Him) and Khidr (PBUH). Moosa (PBUH) is given a lesson in humility when he is told to go on a journey with Khidr (PBUH). Khidr gives Moosa a warning that Moosa (PBUH) should not question any of his actions as they go on their journey. Firstly they get a lift with some people in a boat and before they leave, Khidr (PBUH) makes a hole in the boat. Moosa (PBUH) gets upset and asks why he did that to those people who were good enough to give them a lift, but Khidr (PBUH) reminds him that he should not question, so they go along on their way. Then they come across a boy and Khidr (PBUH) kills the boy and once again Moosa (PBUH) becomes very angry, but he is again reminded not to question. Then they come to a town and the people there don’t want them to enter and stay for a while, but as they are leaving they see a broken wall and Khidr (PBUH) builds the wall up. Now Moosa (PBUH) really can’t be silent anymore. So he questions Khidr (PBUH) telling him that those people were not hospitable at all but he rebuilt their wall. This is where they part ways because Moosa (PBUH) did not stick to their agreement that he would not ask questions. But before they part, Khidr (PBUH) explains his actions to Moosa (PBUH).

â  The people in the boat were poor people and there was a tyrant King who was seizing all the boats. I made a hole because then the King would not want their boat. He would overlook it because of the default and they would still have their boat.

â  I killed the boy because his parents were pious people and he would grow up to be a non-believer and he would also bring his parents to disbelief. With the will of Allah they will be granted another child who will bring them good.  

â  I built the wall up again because underneath was a treasure left by a pious man for his two young sons. If the wall had not been built up again then others would find the treasure. Now when the boys reach the right age they will receive their treasure.

And Khidr (PBUH) added that he only acted according to what Allah had willed for him to do.

Interesting, isn’t it...

When Moosa (PBUH) first saw these actions he thought that they were bad actions, but after the explanation we see that in fact they were good actions.


How many times does this happen to us? We see something happening and we think that it’s bad, and only afterwards we understand that in fact it was a good thing. Or, we go through difficulties and wonder why we have to go through it and only long afterwards we see that what we thought was difficulty or something negative was in fact something positive, or it had positive effects for us.

This is the very reason why we are taught to endure everything patiently, because our perception is limited and we cannot see and understand the full picture of things.

This is also why there is so much conflict in the world, because everyone thinks that their perception of things is the truth or the way they see things is the right way, but when we take the time to consider things from the other person’s perception then it becomes easier for us to deal with conflict, because we are able to open our minds and see things differently.  

In any situation if we are given more information and if we increase our knowledge about things, then we will most probably end up changing our perception, and just like Moosa (PBUH) we may find that what we thought was bad was in fact done with good intention.

The world would be a better place if we tried to understand different perceptions instead of holding fast to our own. As we’ve learnt in Surah Kahf, things are not always what we think they are.

May Almighty Allah grant us with insight to always understand the truth in all situations instead of stubbornly hold on to our own limited perceptions.


  1. Brilliant Zarina! Believe it or not I read this Surah this week and your thoughts are enlightening, they help me understand it even better. Thank you so much.
    May Allah guides us on the road and may we start to look at things and people from a different perspective. It definitely would change many things.
    Stay blessed always my dear friend.

  2. Marie

    Seems like this post was meant to be ;-) I'm glad you found it interesting, it's amazing what difference it makes when we just start to look at things from different points of view. Sometimes it's hard to do that, but Inshaa-Allah we will be guided to practise doing this more often.

    You stay blessed as well and may Allah give you peace.

  3. My husband reads this surah every friday - it has a special place in his heart! Karima

  4. Karima

    Masha'Allah, indeed this is a very special surah. May Allah ALmighty give your husband and yourself the full benefits of this beautiful surah, Inshaa-Allah.