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People of the Cave and Their Silver Coins

 

In January 250, an Emperor of Roman, named Decius (d. 251), issued one of the most remarkable imperial edicts which written there: “All the inhabitants of the empire were required to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community ‘for the safety of the empire’.” One day he came to Ephesus and built in the middle of this city altars for idols. He also issued an order to his people of the city to sacrifice to idols, and then he anointed their bodies with the blood of these offerings. Anyone who refused to obey this command, risked torture and execution. A number of prominent followers of Prophet Isa, in fact, refused to make this ritual slaughter and were unjustly killed in the process, including their scholars.

Maximilian, Jamblichus, Martin, John, Dionysius, Antonius, and Constantine were seven youngsters from elite families who still persisted in their faith and fled into a cave. After a while, they fell asleep overthere for 300 years in Solar Calendar and 309 years in Lunar Calendar. As time passes, times have changed from several generations and did the empire so.

When they finally woke up, they didn’t realize how long they have slept. They thought that they must have slept for a day or half a day only. And they soon feel hungry and began asking one of them for going to the city in order to buy food.

One of them said, “So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious. And let no one be aware of you. Indeed, if they come to know of you, they will stone you or return you to their religion. And never would you succeed then.” [Q. 18:19-20]

Jamblichus was selected to carry out the task, so he went to the city with the silver coins that they had brought with them to the cave earlier. Once he arrived the city, Jamblichus noticed that the city is not longer the city he remembered. People now worship Allah. He got curious, but still very careful as to not raise any suspicious, because if the Emperor found out about them, they will be killed for sure. But when he wanted to buy food, the shop owner was surprised to see old silver coins handed to him. Roman emperors always put their pictures in their official silver coins. The picture appeared in Jamblichus’ coins was the picture of Decius who had died since exactly three centuries.

His coins later were considered as valuable treasures and then he was accused to be a spy due to his long hair and nails and because of his old and strange style. He was then brought in front of the emperor to be tried. Jamblichus was surprised again to see that the emperor is no longer the emperor he knew who wanted to kill them before. This new emperor was Justinian I (d. 565) who reigned since 527, a just person and one who follows the teachings of Prophet Isa, just like him even not as pure as Jamblichus’ faith. So, he told the new king of what has happened to them and why they went to hide in the cave. Upon hearing this, the king and his men went with Jamblichus to the cave. But not long after arriving at the cave and Jamblichus met his brothers, those People of the Cave (Ashabul Kahfi) drew their last breath and died.

written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

Visit our site to see more exegesis of the verse above
https://tafsir.learn-quran.co/en/surah-18-al-kahfi/ayah-19

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