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sayaqūlūna
سَيَقُولُونَ
They say,
thalāthatun
ثَلَٰثَةٌ
(they were) three,
rābiʿuhum
رَّابِعُهُمْ
the forth of them
kalbuhum
كَلْبُهُمْ
their dog;
wayaqūlūna
وَيَقُولُونَ
and they say
khamsatun
خَمْسَةٌ
(they were) five
sādisuhum
سَادِسُهُمْ
the sixth of them
kalbuhum
كَلْبُهُمْ
their dog-
rajman
رَجْمًۢا
guessing
bil-ghaybi
بِٱلْغَيْبِۖ
about the unseen;
wayaqūlūna
وَيَقُولُونَ
and they say,
sabʿatun
سَبْعَةٌ
(they were) seven
wathāminuhum
وَثَامِنُهُمْ
and the eight of them
kalbuhum
كَلْبُهُمْۚ
their dog.
qul
قُل
Say,
rabbī
رَّبِّىٓ
"My Lord,
aʿlamu
أَعْلَمُ
knows best
biʿiddatihim
بِعِدَّتِهِم
their number.
مَّا
None
yaʿlamuhum
يَعْلَمُهُمْ
knows them
illā
إِلَّا
except
qalīlun
قَلِيلٌۗ
a few.
falā
فَلَا
So (do) not
tumāri
تُمَارِ
argue
fīhim
فِيهِمْ
about them
illā
إِلَّا
except
mirāan
مِرَآءً
(with) an argument
ẓāhiran
ظَٰهِرًا
obvious,
walā
وَلَا
and (do) not
tastafti
تَسْتَفْتِ
inquire
fīhim
فِيهِم
about them
min'hum
مِّنْهُمْ
among them
aḥadan
أَحَدًا
(from) anyone."

Sa yaqooloona salaasatur raabi'uhum kalbuhum wa yaqooloona khamsatun saadisuhum kalbuhum rajmam bilghaib; wa yaqooloona sab'atunw wa saaminuhum kalbuhum; qur Rabbeee a'lamu bi'iddatihim maa ya'lamuhum illaa qaleel; falaa tumaari feehim illaa miraaa'an zaahiranw wa laa tastafti feehim minhum ahadaa

Sahih International:

They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog - guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], "My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone."

1 A. J. Arberry

(They will say, 'Three; and 'their dog was the fourth of them.' They will say, 'Five; and their dog was the sixth of them, guessing at the Unseen. They will say, 'Seven; and their dog was the eighth of them.' Say: 'My Lord knows very well their number, and none knows them, except a few.' So do not dispute with them, except in outward disputation, and ask not any of them for a pronouncement on them.

2 Abdul Haleem

[Some] say, ‘The sleepers were three, and their dog made four,’ others say, ‘They were five, and the dog made six’- guessing in the dark- and some say, ‘They were seven, and their dog made eight.’ Say [Prophet], ‘My Lord knows best how many they were.’ Only a few have real knowledge about them, so do not argue, but stick to what is clear, and do not ask any of these people about them;

3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi

Anon they will say: they were three the fourth of them their dog. And they will say: they were five, the sixth of them their dog- -guessing at the unknown --and they willl say: they were seven, the eighth of them their dog. Say thou: my Lord is the Best Knower of their number; there knew them only a few; so debate thou not regarding them except an cut ward debating, and ask not regarding them anyone of them.

4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth,- doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou; "My Lord knoweth best their number; It is but few that know their (real case)." Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the Sleepers.

5 Abul Ala Maududi

Some will say concerning them: "They were three and their dog, the fourth"; and some will say: "They were five, and their dog, the sixth" -- all this being merely guesswork; and still others will say: "They were seven, and their dog, the eighth." Say: "My Lord knows their number best. Only a few know their correct number. So do not dispute concerning their number, but stick to what is evident, and do not question anyone about them."

6 Ahmed Ali

Some will say: "They were three, and their dog was the fourth;" and some will also say: "They were five and their dog was the sixth," -- guessing in the dark. And some will even say: "They were seven, and their dog the eighth." Say: "My Lord alone knows best their number; none but only a few know of them." So do not argue about it with them but lightly, and do not enquire about them from any one of them.

7 Ahmed Raza Khan

So the people will now say, “They are three, their dog is the fourth”; and some will say, “They are five, their dog is the sixth” – just blind guesses; and some will say, “They are seven, and their dog is the eighth”; proclaim (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him), “My Lord well knows their number – no one knows them except a few”; therefore do not debate concerning them except what has occurred, and do not ask any of the People of the Book(s) anything concerning them.

8 Ali Quli Qarai

They will say, ‘[They are] three; their dog is the fourth of them,’ and say, ‘[They are] five, their dog is the sixth of them,’ taking a shot at the invisible. They will say, ‘[They are] seven, their dog is the eighth of them.’ Say, ‘My Lord knows best their number, and none knows them except a few.’ So do not dispute concerning them, except for a seeming dispute, and do not question about them any of them.

9 Ali Ünal

(Instead of reflecting on the lesson to be learnt from the People of the Cave, people concentrate their interest on the details of the event.) Some will say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; and some will say they were five, the dog being the sixth – all guessing at random at (something related to) the Unseen. Still others will say: "They were seven, the dog being the eighth." Say (O Messenger): "My Lord knows their number better; it is but few that know (the truth about) them." So do not argue about them, being content with what is obvious (to you through Revelation), nor ask any of them (who argue even among themselves) to give you an opinion about them.

10 Amatul Rahman Omar

Guessing at random (- about them) some say, `(They were) three, their dog being the fourth,´ while others say, `(They were) five and their dog being the sixth.´ Yet there are others who say, `(They were) seven and their dog being the eighth.´ Say, `My Lord knows best their real number. None knows them except a few.´ So do not argue about them save with arguing on known premise (which is) overpowering and seek no legal order concerning them from anyone of them, (from those who make random guesses).

11 English Literal

They will say: "Three, their fourth (is) their dog." And they say: "Five, their sixth (is) their dog." An unsubstantiated guess with the unseen/absent , and they say: "Seven and their eighth (is) their dog." Say: "My Lord (is) more knowledgeable with (of) their number, none knows them except few/little , so do not argue/discuss in (about) them, except apparent/visible argument/discussion, and do not take (an) opinion/a clarification (of)anyone from them in (about) them."

12 Faridul Haque

So the people will now say, "They are three, their dog is the fourth"; and some will say, "They are five, their dog is the sixth" - just blind guesses; and some will say, "They are seven, and their dog is the eighth"; proclaim (O dear Prophet Mohammed - peace and blessings be upon him), "My Lord well knows their number - no one knows them except a few"; therefore do not debate concerning them except what has occurred, and do not ask any of the People of the Book(s) anything concerning them.

13 Hamid S. Aziz

Thus did We make their people acquainted with their story, that they might know that Allah´s promise is true; and that the Hour, there is no doubt concerning it. When they (the people of the city) disputed amongst themselves concerning their affair, and said, "Build a building over them, their Lord knows best about them;" and those who prevailed in this affair said, "We will surely build a place of worship over them."

14 Hilali & Khan

(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say (O Muhammad SAW): "My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few." So debate not (about their number, etc.) except with the clear proof (which We have revealed to you). And consult not any of them (people of the Scripture, Jews and Christians) about (the affair of) the people of the Cave.

15 Maulana Mohammad Ali

And thus did We make (men) to get knowledge of them, that they might know that Allah’s promise is true and that the Hour -- there is no doubt about it. When they disputed among themselves about their affair and said: Erect an edifice over them. Their Lord knows best about them. Those who prevailed in their affair said: We shall certainly build a place of worship over them.

16 Mohammad Habib Shakir

(Some) say: (They are) three, the fourth of them being their dog; and (others) say: Five, the sixth of them being their dog, making conjectures at what is unknown; and (others yet) say: Seven, and the eighth of them is their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number, none knows them but a few; therefore contend not in the matter of them but with an outward contention, and do not question concerning them any of them.

17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall

(Some) will say: They were three, their dog the fourth, and (some) say: Five, their dog the sixth, guessing at random; and (some) say: Seven, and their dog the eighth. Say (O Muhammad): My Lord is Best Aware of their number. None knoweth them save a few. So contend not concerning them except with an outward contending, and ask not any of them to pronounce concerning them.

18 Muhammad Sarwar

(With regard to the number of the youths) some say, "There were three and the dog was the fourth one," Others say, "There were five and the dog was the sixth one." In reality, they are just feeling around in the dark. Still some of them say, "There were seven and the dog was the eighth one." (Muhammad), say, "My Lord has the best knowledge of their number. You know very little about it." Do not insist on arguing with them, but merely tell them the story as it has been revealed to you and do not ask anyone about them.

19 Qaribullah & Darwish

Some will say: 'They were three; their dog was the fourth' Others, guessing at the Unseen, will say: 'They were five and their dog was the sixth' And yet others: 'Seven; their dog was the eighth' Say: 'My Lord knows best their number. Except for a few none know their number' Therefore, do not dispute with them except in outward disputation, and do not ask any of them concerning them.

20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri

They say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; and they say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; and they say they were seven, and the dog being the eighth. Say: "My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few." So debate not except with the clear proof. And consult not any of them (about the people of the Cave).

21 Wahiduddin Khan

Some will say, "They were three, the fourth was their dog," and others will say, "They were five, the sixth was their dog," guessing at random. And yet others say, "They were seven, the eighth was their dog." Say, "My Lord knows best their number." Only a few know anything about them. Therefore, do not enter into controversies over them, nor seek information about them from any of them;

22 Talal Itani

They will say, “Three, and their fourth being their dog.” And they will say, “Five, and their sixth being their dog,” guessing at the unknown. And they will say, “Seven, and their eighth being their dog.” Say, “My Lord knows best their number.” None knows them except a few. So do not argue concerning them except with an obvious argument, and do not consult any of them about them.

23 Tafsir jalalayn

They will say, that is, [some of] those disputing the number of the youths [of the cave] at the time of the Prophet (s), in other words, some of these will say that they [the youths] were; `Three; their dog the fourth of them'; and they, some [others] among them, will say, `Five; their dog the sixth of them' -- both of these sayings were those of the Christians of Najrn -- guessing at random, in other words, out of supposition, not having been present with them [at the time], and this [statement `guessing at random'] refers back to both sayings, and is in the accusative because it is an object denoting reason, in other words, [they said this] for the reason that they were [merely] supposing it. And they, that is, the believers, will say, `Seven; and their dog the eighth of them' (the sentence is [part of] the subject clause, the predicate of which is the adjectival qualification of sab`a, `seven' [namely, thminuhum, `the eighth of them'] with the additional ww [wa- thminuhum], which is said to be for emphasis, or an indication that the adjective is [semantically] attached to that which it is qualifying). The qualification of the first two sayings as being `random', but not the third, is proof that [the latter] is the satisfactory and correct [number]. Say; `My Lord knows best their number, and none knows them except a few'; Ibn `Abbs said, `I am [one] of these "few" [described]', and he mentioned that they were seven. So do not contend concerning them except with an outward manner [of contention], [except] with that which has been revealed to you, and do not question concerning them, do not ask for opinions [from], any of them, [from] the People of the Scripture, the Jews. The people of Mecca asked him [the Prophet] about the story of the People of the Cave, and so he said to them, `I will tell you about it tomorrow', but without adding [the words], `If God wills' (insh'a' Llhu) and so the following was revealed;

24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir

Their Number

Allah tells;

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُم

They say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; and they say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; and they say they were seven, and the dog being the eighth.

Allah tells us that people disputed over the number of the people of the Cave. The Ayah mentions three views, proving that there was no fourth suggestion. Allah indicates that the first two opinions are invalid, by saying,
رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ
(guessing at the unseen), meaning that they spoke without knowledge, like a person who aims at an unknown target -- he is hardly likely to hit it, and if he does, it was not on purpose.

Then Allah mentions the third opinion, and does not comment on it, or He affirms it by saying,
وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ
(and the dog being the eighth), indicating that this is correct and this is what happened.

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ

قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم

Say;"My Lord knows best their number..."

indicating that the best thing to do in matters like this is to refer knowledge to Allah, because there is no need to indulge in discussing such matters without knowledge. If we are given knowledge of a matter, then we may talk about it, otherwise we should refrain.

مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّا قَلِيلٌ

none knows them but a few.

of mankind.

Qatadah said that Ibn Abbas said;

"I am one of the few mentioned in this Ayah; they were seven."

Ibn Jurayj also narrated that Ata' Al-Khurasani narrated from him,

"I am one of those referred to in this Ayah,"

and he would say;"Their number was seven."

Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Abbas said;
مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّا قَلِيلٌ
(none knows them but a few),

"I am one of the few, and they were seven."

The chains of these reports narrated from Ibn Abbas, which say that they were seven, are Sahih, and this is in accordance with what we have stated above.

فَلَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَاء ظَاهِرًا

So debate not except with the clear proof.

meaning, gently and politely, for there is not a great deal to be gained from knowing about that.

وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا



And consult not any of them (about the people of the Cave).

meaning, `They do not have any knowledge about it except what they make up, guessing at the unseen; they have no evidence from an infallible source. But Allah has sent you, O Muhammad, with the truth in which there is no doubt or confusion, which is to be given priority over all previous books and sayings.