The Wisdom and Hidden Truths behind the Three Incidents
Khadir went on to explain why he had done the 3 apparently ‘unfair’ or `unreasonable` things that he did, after taking on Prophet Musa عليه السلام as his protégé.
Lessons from making a hole in the boat:
أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَأَرَدتُّ أَنْ أَعِيبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَاءهُم مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا
“As for that boat, it belonged to some needy people who toiled upon the sea -and I desired to damage it because (I knew that) behind them was a king who wanted to seize every boat by brute force.” [Al Kahf 18: 79]
An important lesson to learn is that Allah makes us suffer a small loss in life because, through it, He intends to save us from an even bigger one. E.g. your car breaks down and you get late. You lament this, crib and curse, not knowing that Allah averted you from a major car crash that you would have been involved in, had you continued driving along that particular route at that speed.
While our knowledge of the past is so limited, but our knowledge of the future is non-existant. We don’t know what is going to happen in the next minute let alone what is going to happen tomorrow, but Allah is عالم الغيبAllah is the Knower of the Unseen. Allah knows what is going to happen in five minutes, five hours, five days, five months, five years, five centuries time and even much more further beyond that. So in the above example Allah knew of the car crash we were going to be involved in, so Allah saved us from that and instead gave us a small temporary set-back which we easily overcame but through which we just weren’t patient enough.
Another point we pick up is that needy people (مَسَاكِينَ) can own assets (such as a boat) and work for a living. It doesn’t mean that they poor only if they own absolutely nothing, or if you own certain items you cannot be regarded as poor. These people Allah calls them poor despite their ownership of a boat. Also if you have the tools and items whereby you can work and earn a decent living, than you should do so, and not just depend on others to hand you charity.
We should also harbour a good opinion of Allah when He spoils or damages any material thing or possession which we own. Instead of reacting like an ingrate, trust upon Him and remind ourselves that He intended only some hidden good by making us endure that loss.
The Ulama have written that from the damaging of the ship, one can learn that the hidden knowledge and divine secrets will not pour out onto the student until he breaks the habits of his soul and damages the ship of his desires. Just by pulling out one plank from the boat, the King would no longer be interested in the ship, in the same way by just pulling out the bad intentions from our actions, Shaytaan will feel defeated in fighting us.