Shared Prophets

Moses II

Moses and Khidr

Shared ProphetsMoses and Khidr is about an expedition to the Red Sea during which Moses would be joined by a mysterious fellow by the name of Khidr. During their time together, they encounter a boy whom Khidr was to kill without any hesitation or apparent provocation. The story of Moses and Khidr begins with Moses determined to find where out the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez meet. Why Moses would want to do this is not mentioned. 

18:60 And [remember] when Moses said to his servant (he is believed to be Joshua): “I will not give up until I reach the confluence of the two seas (the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez in the Red Sea), or else walk on for years.”

18:61 Then, when they reached their confluence, they forgot their fish, and thus it slipped into the sea unhindered.

18:62 But when they had passed on, he said to his servant: “Bring us our food; we have been exposed in our travels to a lot of fatigue.”

18:63 He (the servant) said: “Do you see; when we repaired to the rock, I forgot the fish. It was only the Devil who made me forget to mention it; and so it slipped away into the sea in a strange way.”

18:64 He (Moses) said: “This is what we were seeking”; and so they turned back retracing their steps.

On their way back they encountered Khidr, a servant of Allah with the ability to know God’s mind.

18:65 And so, they found one of Our servants whom We had accorded a mercy of our Own and had imparted to him knowledge from Ourselves.

What happened next requires little or no explanation.

18:66 Moses said to him (Khidr): “Shall I follow you so that you may teach me of the good you have been taught.”

18:67 He (Khidr) said: “You will not be able to bear with me.”

18:68 “And how will you bear with what you have no knowledge of?”

18:69 He (Moses) said: “You will find me, Allah willing, patient and I will not disobey any orders of yours.”

18:70 He said: “If you follow me, do not ask me about anything, until I make mention of it.”

18:71 So, they set out; but no sooner had they boarded the ship that he made a hole in it. He (Moses) said: “Have you made a hole in it so as to drown its passengers? You have indeed done a grievous thing.”

18:72 He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you that you will not be able to bear with me?”

18:73 He (Moses) said: “Do not reproach me for what I have forgotten, and do not overburden me with hardship.”

18:74 Then they departed; but when they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Moses said: “Have you killed an innocent person who has not killed another? You have surely committed a horrible deed.”

18:75 He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you that you will not be able to bear with me?”

18:76 He (Moses) said: “If I ask about anything after this, do not keep company with me. You have received an excuse from me.”

18:77 So, they went on, until they reached the inhabitants of a town. Whereupon they asked its inhabitants for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. Then, they found in it a wall about to fall down, and so he (Khidr) straightened it. He (Moses) said: “Had you wished, you could have been paid for that.”

After they reached the town mentioned in Revelation 18:77, Khidr explained why he sunk a ship, drowning everyone on board, and why he killed a seemingly innocent boy.

18:78 He (Khidr) said: “This is where we part company. [Now] I will tell you the interpretation of that which you could not bear patiently with.

The reason Khidr gave for sinking the ship appears, on the surface (no pun intended), to justify taking the lives of the innocent if it means denying your enemy a sought-after prize.

18:79 “As for the ship, it belonged to some poor fellows who worked upon the sea. I wanted to damage it, because, on their trail, there was a king, who was seizing every ship by force.

As for the killing of the boy.

18:80 “As for the boy, his parents were believers; so we feared that he might overwhelm them with oppression and unbelief.

18:81 “So we wanted that their Lord might replace him with someone better in purity and closer to mercy.

To paraphrase Khidr or to paraphrase God: the boy was killed because we feared he would convince his believing parents to abandon Islam. We killed him so his parents might have another child who would not abandon the path of Allah and condemn his parents to the torments of hell by association.

For Allah, protecting the believers by killing unbelievers with whom they might come into contact and who might inadvertently lead them astray, even their own children, is an act of mercy. The boy that Khidr murdered may not have been actively trying to convert his parents, but his normal familial contact meant his parents were regularly exposed to other beliefs and points of view. For an insecure god, this was a dangerous thing and ample justification for murder.

During his time with Moses, Khidr did what most of us would consider a good deed. Remember the verse about fixing a wall but not requesting payment? Below is the reason Khidr did not request compensation:

18:82 “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphaned boys in the town; and beneath it was a treasure for both of them. Their father was a righteous man; so your Lord wanted them to come of age and dig up the treasure, as a mercy from the Lord. What I did was not of my own will. This is the interpretation of what you could not bear with patiently.”