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wakadhālika
وَكَذَٰلِكَ
And similarly,
baʿathnāhum
بَعَثْنَٰهُمْ
We raised them
liyatasāalū
لِيَتَسَآءَلُوا۟
that they might question
baynahum
بَيْنَهُمْۚ
among them.
qāla
قَالَ
Said
qāilun
قَآئِلٌ
a speaker
min'hum
مِّنْهُمْ
among them,
kam
كَمْ
"How long
labith'tum
لَبِثْتُمْۖ
have you remained?"
qālū
قَالُوا۟
They said,
labith'nā
لَبِثْنَا
"We have remained
yawman
يَوْمًا
a day
aw
أَوْ
or
baʿḍa
بَعْضَ
a part
yawmin
يَوْمٍۚ
(of) a day."
qālū
قَالُوا۟
They said,
rabbukum
رَبُّكُمْ
"Your Lord
aʿlamu
أَعْلَمُ
knows best
bimā
بِمَا
how long
labith'tum
لَبِثْتُمْ
have you remained.
fa-ib'ʿathū
فَٱبْعَثُوٓا۟
So send
aḥadakum
أَحَدَكُم
one of you
biwariqikum
بِوَرِقِكُمْ
with this silver coin of yours
hādhihi
هَٰذِهِۦٓ
with this silver coin of yours
ilā
إِلَى
to
l-madīnati
ٱلْمَدِينَةِ
the city,
falyanẓur
فَلْيَنظُرْ
and let him see
ayyuhā
أَيُّهَآ
which is
azkā
أَزْكَىٰ
the purest
ṭaʿāman
طَعَامًا
food,
falyatikum
فَلْيَأْتِكُم
and let him bring to you
biriz'qin
بِرِزْقٍ
provision
min'hu
مِّنْهُ
from it,
walyatalaṭṭaf
وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ
and let him be cautious.
walā
وَلَا
And let not be aware
yush'ʿiranna
يُشْعِرَنَّ
And let not be aware
bikum
بِكُمْ
about you
aḥadan
أَحَدًا
anyone."

Wa kazaalika ba'asnaahum liyatasaaa'aloo bainahum; qaala qaaa'ilum minhum kam labistum qaaloo labisnaa yawman aw ba'da yawm; qaaloo Rabbukum a'almu bimaa labistum fab'asooo ahadakum biwariqikum haazihee ilal madeenati falyanzur ayyuhaaa azkaa ta'aaman falyaatikum birizqim minhu walyatalattaf wa laa yush'iranna bikum ahadaa

Sahih International:

And similarly, We awakened them that they might question one another. Said a speaker from among them, "How long have you remained [here]?" They said, "We have remained a day or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord is most knowing of how long you remained. 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.

1 A. J. Arberry

And even so We raised them up again that they might question one another. One of them said, 'How long have you tarried?' They said, 'We have tarried a day, or part of a day.' They said, 'Your Lord knows very well how long you have tarried. Now send one of you forth with this silver to the city, and let him look for which of them has purest food, and bring you provision thereof; let him be courteous, and apprise no man of you.

2 Abdul Haleem

In time We woke them, and they began to question one another. One of them asked, ‘How long have you been here?’ and [some] answered, ‘A day or part of a day,’ but then [others] said, ‘Your Lord knows best how long you have been here. One of you go to the city with your silver coins, find out where the best food is there, and bring some back. But be careful not to let anyone know about you:

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

And likewise we raised them up that they might question among themselves; there spake a speaker from amongst them: how long have ye tarried? They said we have tarried a day or part of a day. They said, your Lord knoweth best how long ye have tarried; now send one of you with this your money unto the city and let him see which food is purest there, and let him bring you a provision thereof, and let him be circumspect, and let him by no means discover you to anycne.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Such (being their state), we raised them up (from sleep), that they might question each other. Said one of them, "How long have ye stayed (here)?" They said, "We have stayed (perhaps) a day, or part of a day." (At length) they (all) said, "Allah (alone) knows best how long ye have stayed here.... Now send ye then one of you with this money of yours to the town; let him find out which is the best food (to be had) and bring some to you, that (ye may) satisfy your hunger therewith; And let him behave with care and courtesy, and let him not inform any one about you.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

Likewise, We roused them in a miraculous way that they might question one another. One of them asked: "How long did you remain (in this state)?" The others said: "We remained so for a day or part of a day." Then they said: "Your Lord knows better how long we remained in this state. Now send one of you to the city with this coin of yours and let him see who has the best food, and let him buy some provisions from there. Let him be cautious and not inform anyone of our whereabouts.

6 Ahmed Ali

Even so We roused them that they may question one another. One of them asked: "How long have you stayed here?" They said: "A day or less than a day." "Your Lord knows best," they said, "how long you have stayed. So send one of you to the town with this money of yours to look for wholesome food and bring it for you; but he should be careful not to let your presence known.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

And similarly We awakened them so that they may enquire about each other; a speaker among them said, “How long have you stayed here?” Some among them said, “We have stayed a day or part of a day”; the others said, “Your Lord well knows how long you have stayed; therefore send one of you to the city with this silver coin – he may then check which food available there is purer, in order to bring some of it for you to eat – and he must be courteous and not inform anyone about you.”

8 Ali Quli Qarai

So it was that We aroused them [from sleep] so that they might question one another. One of them said, ‘How long have you stayed [here]?’ They said, ‘We have stayed a day, or part of a day.’ They said, ‘Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed. Send one of you to the city with this money. Let him observe which of them has the purest food, and bring you provisions from there. Let him be attentive, and let him not make anyone aware of you.

9 Ali Ünal

Such being their state, We raised them up so they began to ask one another. One who spoke said: "How long have you stayed?" They (some among them) answered: "We have stayed a day, or part of a day." The others said: "Your Lord knows better how long you have stayed. Now (we must deal with our hunger. So) send one of you to the city with this coin of yours: let him see what food is most pure there (and so lawful), and bring a supply from it. But let him behave with utmost care and guarded courtesy and by no means make anyone aware of you.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

And (just as We made them dormant) We raised them (to life from the state of lethargy). So that they questioned one another. One of them asked, `How long have you remained (dormant)?´ (Some of them) said, `We have remained (in this state of inactivity) a day or a part of a day.´ (Others) said, `Only your Lord knows best (the time) you have remained so. Now send one of you with these silver coins of yours to the city, he should see which of its (inhabitants) has the best and purest food and let him bring for you provisions from it. And let him be courteous and let him not at all apprise anyone about you.

11 English Literal

And as/like that We sent/resurrected/revived them to ask/question each other between them, a speaker from them said: "How much (have) you stayed/remained ?" They said: "We stayed/remained a day or part of a day." They said: "Your Lord (is) more knowledgeable with what you stayed/remained , so send one of you with this your paper/money to the city/town so he looks/watches/waits (E) which/what (is a) more pure/correct food, so he comes to you with a provision/means of livelihood from it, and (he) should be courteous/polite , and do not make anyone feel/know/sense with (about) you."

12 Faridul Haque

And similarly We awakened them so that they may enquire about each other; a speaker among them said, "How long have you stayed here?" Some among them said, "We have stayed a day or part of a day"; the others said, "Your Lord well knows how long you have stayed; therefore send one of you to the city with this silver coin - he may then check which food available there is purer, in order to bring some of it for you to eat - and he must be courteous and not inform anyone about you."

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Had you come suddenly upon them you would surely have turned and fled away from them, and would surely have been filled by them with terror.

14 Hilali & Khan

Likewise, We awakened them (from their long deep sleep) that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: "How long have you stayed (here)?" They said: "We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day." They said: "Your Lord (Alone) knows best how long you have stayed (here). So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town, and let him find out which is the good lawful food, and bring some of that to you. And let him be careful and let no man know of you.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

And thou mightest think them awake while they were asleep, and We turned them about to the right and to the left, with their dog outstretching its paws at the entrance. If thou didst look at them, thou wouldst turn back from them in flight, and thou wouldst be filled with awe because of them.

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

And thus did We rouse them that they might question each other. A speaker among them said: How long have you tarried? They said: We have tarried for a day or a part of a day. (Others) said: Your Lord knows best how long you have tarried. Now send one of you with this silver (coin) of yours to the city, then let him see which of them has purest food, so let him bring you provision from it, and let him behave with gentleness, and by no means make your case known to any one:

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

And in like manner We awakened them that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: How long have ye tarried? They said: We have tarried a day or some part of a day, (Others) said: Your Lord best knoweth what ye have tarried. Now send one of you with this your silver coin unto the city, and let him see what food is purest there and bring you a supply thereof. Let him be courteous and let no man know of you.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

We roused them from their sleep so that they would question each other about their stay in the cave. One of them said, "How long do you think we have stayed here?" They replied, "A day or part of a day." They added, " Your Lord knows better how long we have stayed here. Let us send one of us with this money to the city to get some pure food so that we might eat. He should be careful so that no one will know about us. If they were to recognize us,

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

As such We revived them so that they might question one another. 'How long have you stayed here' asked one of them. 'We have been here a day, or part of it' they replied. They said: 'Your Lord knows best how long we have stayed here. Let one of you go to the city with this silver (coin) and let him search for one who has the purest food and bring provision from it. Let him be courteous, but let no one sense it is you.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

Likewise, We woke them that they might question one another. A speaker among them said: "How long have you stayed (here)" They said: "We have stayed a day or part of a day." They said: "Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed (here). So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town, and let him find out which is the Azka food, and bring some of that to you. And let him be careful and let no man know of you."

21 Wahiduddin Khan

In the course of time, We raised them up again so that they might question one another. One of them asked, "How long have you stayed [here]?" They said, "We have stayed a day, or part of a day." But others said, "Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed here. Let one of you go then with these silver coins to the town, and let him find out what food is purest there, and bring you back a supply of it. Let him conduct himself with caution and not disclose your whereabouts to anyone:

22 Talal Itani

Even so, We awakened them, so that they may ask one another. A speaker among them said, “How long have you stayed?” They said, “We have stayed a day, or part of a day.” They said, “Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed.” “Send one of you to the city, with this money of yours, and let him see which food is most suitable, and let him bring you some provision thereof. And let him be gentle, and let no one become aware of you.”

23 Tafsir jalalayn

And so, just as We did with them that which We have mentioned, it was that We aroused them, We awakened them, that they might question one another, concerning their state and the length of their stay [in the cave]. One of them said, `How long have you tarried?' They said, `We have tarried a day, or part of a day'; [he said this] because they had entered the cave at sunrise and were awakened at sunset, and so they thought that it was [the time of] sunset on the day of their entry. Then, they said, unsure about this [fact], `Your Lord knows best how long you have tarried. Now send one of you with this silver coin of yours (read bi-warqikum or bi-wariqikum) to the city -- which is said to be the one now called Tarsus (Tarass) -- and let him see which is the purest food, that is, which of the foods of the city is the purest, and [let him] bring you a supply thereof. Let him be careful and not make anyone aware of you.

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

Their awakening and sending One of Themselves to buy Food

Allah says;

وَكَذَلِكَ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِيَتَسَاءلُوا بَيْنَهُمْ قَالَ قَايِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ

Likewise, We woke them that they might question one another. A speaker among them said;

Allah says;`just as We caused them to sleep, We resurrected them with their bodies, hair and skin intact, and nothing lacking in their form and appearance.' This was after three hundred and nine years. This is why they asked each other,

كَمْ لَبِثْتُمْ

How long have you stayed (here),

meaning, `how long have you slept!'

قَالُوا لَبِثْنَا يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ

They said;"We have stayed a day or part of a day."

because they entered the cave at the beginning of the day, and they woke up at the end of the day, which is why they then said,

أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ

قَالُوا رَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا لَبِثْتُمْ

"...or a part of a day." They said;"Your Lord knows best how long you have stayed..."

meaning, `Allah knows best about your situation.'

It seems that they were not sure about how long they had slept, and Allah knows best.

Then they turned their attention to more pressing matters, like their need for food and drink, so they said;

فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُم بِوَرِقِكُمْ

So send one of you with this silver coin of yours,

They had brought with them some Dirhams (silver coins) from their homes, to buy whatever they might need, and they had given some in charity and kept some, so they said;

فَابْعَثُوا أَحَدَكُم بِوَرِقِكُمْ هَذِهِ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ

So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town,

meaning to their city, which they had left. The definite article indicates that they were referring to a known city.

فَلْيَنظُرْ أَيُّهَا أَزْكَى طَعَامًا

and let him find out which is the Azka food.
Azka means "purest", as Allah says elsewhere,

وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكَى مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَداً

And had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure (Zaka) from sins. (24;21)

and

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّى


Indeed whosoever purifies himself (Tazakka) shall achieve success. (87;14)

From the same root also comes the word Zakah, which makes one's wealth good and purifies it.

فَلْيَأْتِكُم بِرِزْقٍ مِّنْهُ

and bring some of that to you.

وَلْيَتَلَطَّفْ

And let him be careful,

meaning when he goes out buying food and coming back.

They were telling him to conceal himself as much as he could,

وَلَا يُشْعِرَنَّ بِكُمْ أَحَدًا