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The Story of the Blocked Cave
Three friends were travelling together. Suddenly they were caught in a thunderstorm. They hastened to shelter in a rocky cave. The heavy downpour loosened a huge boulder which rolled down and blocked the mouth of the cave. As soon as the storm quietened down they tried to push the boulder but they could not, not even ten times their number would have moved it. They were trapped in total darkness. There was no way out. Soon they would die of hunger and thirst.

They discussed their problem and thought of digging into both sides of the cave but the entire cave was encased in solid rock. They knew their fate was sealed and only Allah could save them. Before starting to pray in earnest, they thought the best way to approach Allah was through the best deed they had performed in their lives.

The first one started his prayer: 0 Allah, I used to have two aged parents. I never fed my wife or children until I had fed them. One day I worked longer and came home later. I milked my goats and brought the milk for my family. I found my parents fast asleep. I did not want to disturb their peaceful sleep so I stood with the bucket in my hands, waiting for them to wake up. My children were crying to be fed but I refused to feed them first. My parents woke up only at dawn, and I offered them the milk. Only after they had had their fill did I feed my wife and children. 0 Allah, if I did this only for Thy sake, then move the boulder which blocks the entrance.

They heard a rumble and the next thing they saw was a little light piercing through the one side of the cave. The boulder had moved a little but not enough for a person to squeeze through the opening.

It was now the turn of the second one to start with his prayer: O Allah, I had a beautiful cousin who was an orphan. I loved her very much. I repeatedly urged her to give herself to me but she refused. Years passed by and she fell on hard times. She had no food to eat and was forced to seek my help. I offered her 120 gold dinars but on condition that she agreed to sloop with me. She had no choice but to agree to my lustful desire. I hold her tightly against me and was about to commit the evil act when she reminded me:'For the sake of Allah, I beg you not to destroy my honour'. I was bewildered with passion but immediately pulled back and gave her the money she needed. 0 Allah, if I did this only f or Thy sake, then please move the boulder. Again a rumble was heard. More light shone into the cave. The boulder moved a little, but still not enough for a person to leave the cave.

Then the third one started with his prayer: 0 Allah, I used to employ many people on my farm on a monthly wage. One of my workers left before pay-day. I invested his wages in stocks and made business. Its profit kept on growing. After many years he returned as a down and out poor man. He reminded me that he had once worked for me but left before pay-day. He asked for his unpaid wages. He could not believe his eyes when I pointed out to a stretch of land, and said: What you see yonder, of slaves,camels,cattle and sheep are all yours. He thought l was fooling with him. He said to me: 'O servant of Allah, please do not mock me'. I explained to him what I had done with his unpaid wages. He burst out crying in happiness, fell on his knees and prayed for me. He then took possession of all his belongings. 0 Allah, if I did this only for Thy sake, then deliver us from our doomed fate and remove the boulder from the entrance. A loud rumble was heard, they saw a big gap and the bright sunlight outside. The boulder had moved, making enough opening for them to leave the cave. (Hadith)

In return for any good dead done for the sake of Allah, whether out of love or Fear for Him, or without expectation of personal gain, Allah will surely remove our difficulties. Good deeds are the ' Waseelah ' (means of approach) to Allah. ((Qur'an: 5.38)

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