After the incident of the red sea Nile where the entire army of Pharaoh was destroyed, Nabi Moosa alaihis Salaam once asked the Almighty azza wa jall, “Who is the most beloved servant of Yours?” The Almighty azza wa jall replied, “He who makes My zikr and never forgets me.” He then asked about the best of servants. The Almighty azza wa jall replied, “He who makes a decision based on truth and never follows his carnal desires.” He then asked about the most learned of servants, “That servant of mine who is always teaching others through his knowledge and through which he can save them through one single word of his.” He then asked about someone who had a special type of knowledge and the Almighty azza wa jall replied that his name was “Khidr”. The Almighty azza wa jall also informed him that he could be found on the bank of an ocean. Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam asked as to how he would approach him, the Almighty azza wa jall replied, “Carry a fish in your bag and when it disappears, that is where you will meet him.”
Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam then started to travel in the company Nabi Yusha bin Nun alaihis salaam and travelled to the place where the two oceans meet. As he travelled, there came a place where he decided to sleep for a while. While he was asleep, the fish inside his bag escaped and swam towards the sea. The place where it swam into the water, a hole developed at that spot. As he travelled a little further, it was midday and he then asked Nabi Yusha bin Nun alaihis salaam to prepare the fish for lunch. However, Hadrat Yusha alaihis salaam replied that he had forgotten to mention that the fish had escaped into the ocean while he slept and that he had forgotten to inform him about it. He then began to retrace his steps and waited to meet Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam. When he arrived, he found a very pious looking person who was covered in a shawl and sitting at the same spot. Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam then made salaam to him and he asked, “who is the one that greets on this part of the earth?” Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam then informed him who he was and he declared, “O Moosa! the Almighty azza wa jall has blessed me with a branch of knowledge which you do not possess and has blessed you with a branch of knowledge which I do not possess”. In other words, this was indicating to both spiritual and knowledge of shariah which were unique to each other. Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam then asked him whether it would be possible for him to walk behind as they travelled so that he could gain a little of this knowledge. However, Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam informed him that he would never be able to display patience with him.
Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam however informed him that he will find him most patient. He also informed Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam never to question him until he had revealed the secret of each action, which Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam promised to adhere to as well. The three of them then began to walk on the sea shore. They then saw a small boat, the sailor of which allowed all of them to enter the ship and did not even ask them for any fare. However, while they sat in the boat, Hadrat Khdir alaihis salaam took out an axe and chopped off one part of the timber which was a part of the floor area. When Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam saw this, he could not refrain his anger and asked as is found in verse 71 of Surah Kahaf:
فَانۡطَلَقَا ٝ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا رَکِبَا فِی السَّفِیۡنَۃِ خَرَقَہَا ؕ قَالَ اَخَرَقْتَہَا لِتُغْرِقَ اَہۡلَہَا ۚ لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَیْـًٔا اِمْرًا ﴿۷۱﴾
Now both of them set out, until when they embarked in a boat, he cleaved it. Moosa told, ‘have you cleaved it in order to drown its passengers, undoubtedly you have done a wrong thing.’
Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam then informed him, “Did I not say that you will never be able to display patience with me?” However, Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam then asked to be pardoned for this and mentioned that he will not do so in future. As they travelled further, Hadrat Khidir alaihis salaam saw a small child who was the only child of his parents and without any mercy, he throttled this child to death. When he saw this, Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam could not restrain his anger and in a stern voice he asked:
فَانۡطَلَقَا ٝحَتّٰۤی اِذَا لَقِیَا غُلٰمًا فَقَتَلَہٗ ۙ قَالَ اَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا زَکِیَّۃًۢ بِغَیۡرِ نَفْسٍ ؕ لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَیْـًٔا نُّکْرًا ﴿۷۴﴾
“Again, both of them set out, until when they met a boy he killed him, Moosa said. ‘Have you killed an innocent soul without his having killed another? Undoubtedly you have done a hideous thing’. Surah Kahaf 74.
Hadrat Khdir again informed him about his promise not to question him. Again Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam mentioned that if he did this again, he could request Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam to leave his company. They continued to travel until they reached a village. The people were so bad in this village that they refused to even entertain these eminent souls. However, before they could leave this village, Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam noticed a wall which was about to collapse and reading the Ism-e-Azam, he made sure that the wall was straightened and could not fall. Again, Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam could not restrain his anger and declared:
لَوْ شِئْتَ لَتَّخَذْتَ عَلَیۡہِ اَجْرًا ﴿۷۷﴾
‘if you had wished, you could have taken a wage for it’.
(Surah Kahaf 77).
Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam then replied, “Now the time has come for me and you to choose our separate paths. However, I will reveal to you before you leave the wisdom behind my actions. He then explained, “Listen! the boat which I had damaged with my axe, was a boat which belonged to a few orphans and this was the only manner of them earning a livelihood and it was travelling to an area which was controlled by a very oppressive person who stole boats that were in very good condition. Hence, I had created some damage on this boat so that he could not capture it when he saw that it was damaged. As for the child who I had killed, his parents were very pious and good people, however this child was to become a disbeliever and they also liked this child a lot and pampered his every need. However, I feared that perchance this child as he grew older would mislead his parents, hence I had him killed and saved the parents from certain Kufr. With the patience displayed by these parents, they will give birth to a girl, who will eventually marry a Prophet and this same girl will also give birth to a Prophet and who will enable a certain community towards guidance. As for the wall which I had rectified, this also belonged to two orphans and below this wall, the wealth which was hidden for them was also buried. The father of these children was also very pious and noble. If this wall had collapsed, then the people of the village would have taken away this wealth from these children. It was also the Divine Wish of the Almighty azza wa jall that these children as they grew older would be able to find this wealth themselves. This is the Divine Mercy of the Almighty and O Moosa, whatever I have done, I have not done except with the strict Divine Permission of the Almighty azza wa jall”. After this, Nabi Moosa alaihis salaam returned to his community.
(Jalalain, Tafseer Saawi, Madaarik etc)
Who is Hadrat Khidr alaihis salaam?
His title is Abul Abbas, his name is Balya and his father’s name is Malkaan. The name Balya is a syriac word and in Arabic the meaning is Ahmed. The word Khidr is also one of his titles. It can be read in three ways, “Hidr, Khidr and Khadar.” The meaning of Khidr is green or greenery. It is said that wherever he sat, green grass used to appear from that spot. This is the reason why people started to call him “Khidr”.
It is reported that he belonged to a very eminent royal family and his forefathers were kings of their times. The Ulama have also stated that whoever remembers his name, his father’s name and his title, they will pass away in a state of Imaan.
Some Ulama have considered him to be a Prophet, however the majority of Ulama consider him to be a saint.
The majority of Ulama also believe that he is still alive and will remain alive until the day of judgement.
It is also said that he has drunk from the well of eternal life. There are many Awliyah who remain in his company all the time and many of them receive spiritual benefit from him. In his praise, Hadrat Shaikh Sayed Bikri, May Allah have mercy on him, writes in his Qasidah, “I swear by Your Truth that Hadrat Khidr is alive and the only person that will believe that he had died who has not met seen spiritual beauty. Therefore, I continue to greet him as long as the wind reaches him.”
It is said that he used to also attend the gatherings of the Holy Prophet peace be upon him and in this regard, he can also be considered as a Sahaabi.