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18:13 We recount to thee their story in truth. Surely they were chevaliers who had faith in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.

Here we have great eminence, complete honor, and infinite caresses placed on these Companions of the Cave by the Lord of the Worlds, for He called them “chevaliers.” He said, “Surely they were chevaliers.” He bestowed on them the same honor that He gave to His bosom friend Abraham, whom He called a chevalier: “They said, ‘We heard a chevalier mention them; he is called Abraham’” [21:60]. And concerning Yūshaʿ ibn Nūn He said, “When Moses said to his chevalier” [18:60]. About Joseph, the sincerely truthful He said, “The governor’s wife has been trying to seduce her chevalier” [12:30]. The conduct and Tariqah of the chevaliers is what Muṣṭafā said to ʿAlī: “O ʿAlī, the chevalier is straight-speaking, loyal, discharger of trusts, ever-merciful in the heart, protector of the poor, full of bestowal, caresser of guests.”

It has been said that the chief of all the chevaliers was Joseph the sincerely truthful, who saw from his brothers the various trials that he saw, but, when he had them in his own hand, he said to them, “No reproof is upon you today” [12:92]. It has been reported that the Messenger was seated when someone got up and asked for help. The Messenger turned toward his companions and said, “Be a chevalier toward him.” ʿAlī got up and went. When he returned, he had one dinar, five dirhams, and a loaf of bread. The Messenger said, “O ʿAlī, what is this state?” He said, “O Messenger of God! When the questioner asked, it occurred to my heart to give him a loaf. Then it came into my heart that I should give him five dirhams. Then it passed through my mind that I should give him one dinar. Now I do not consider it permissible not to do what has come into my mind and passed into my heart.”

The Messenger said, “There is no chevalier but ʿAlī!”

And We increased them in guidance. When there is a robe of honor built on the perfect good fortune of love, within which is the explication of beginningless solicitude, it should not be less than what was said about those chevaliers: “And We increased them in guidance.”

18:14 And We placed a tie on their hearts when they stood up and said, “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth.”

“We bound them with the tie of sinlessness, kept them on the carpet of recognition, and firmed them up with the cord of love. We lit the candle of a kind favor for them in the streambed of solicitude. We taught them the courtesy of companionship in the grammar school of the Beginningless and they set forth in Holiness itself, busying themselves in the cave with the mystery of the Haqiqah.” 

Whenever something has an exaltedness, it is masked by the veils of exaltedness so that not just any non-privy may gaze upon it and not just any drudge may reach it. Those chevaliers were precious in the Threshold of Unity, for they were lit up by the light of faith and the limpidness of tawḥīd, but the eyes of the folk of those days were tainted with the ooze of unbelief and associationism.

The jealousy of the religion took them into the veil of the cave so that those eyes tainted by ooze would not see them. The command came from the side of all-compellingness,

18:16 Take refuge in the cave. Your Lord will unfold for you of His mercy and furnish you with kindliness in your affair.

“Go into this cave in the shade of solicitude, the embrace of friendship, and the world of protection. Your Lord will unfold for you of His mercy and keep you in the curtain of sinlessness, clothing you in the garment of mercy, giving you a place in the embrace of exaltedness.” What a lovely day when someone is walking on a road and all at once the one entrusted with this talk comes down and throws the lasso of seeking around his neck and pulls! He fastened to them the word of Godwariness [48:26]. “You are Mine and I am yours: ‘Be for Me as you always were, and I will be for you as I always have been.’”

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