Trust and the “Yes, Buts”Qur’an (18:65-82)

Here is a story about trust:


Moses met Khidr, whom God had taught knowledge in God’s own Presence. Moses said to Khidr, “May I follow you so that I may learn something of the Higher Truth that you have been taught?”


Khidr said, “You will not be able to have patience with me! How can anyone have patience concerning things they do not understand?”


Moses said: “If God so wills it, you will find me patient and I will not disobey you.”


Khidr said, “If you wish to follow me, ask me no questions about anything until I speak concerning that thing.”


So off they went.


First, they took sail in a boat. While they were underway, Khidr beat a hole in the bottom of the boat.


Moses shouted, “Have you done this to drown everyone on the boat? This is strange!”


Khidr answered, “Didn’t I tell you that you would have no patience with me?”


Moses answered, “Rebuke me not for forgetting, nor grieve me by raising  difficulties.”


So off they went.


Next, they met a young man. Khidr killed him.


Moses said, “Have you slain an innocent person who has killed no one? This is a truly terrible thing to do!”


Khidr said, “Didn’t I tell you that you would have no patience with me?”


Moses said, “If ever I ask you about anything after this, keep me not in your company. No more excuses.”


And so off they went.


Next, they came into a town and asked the people there for some food. The people of the town refused them hospitality.


The two walked by a wall that was about to fall down.  Khidr set it straight.


Moses said, “Is this how to repay the people of this town?”


Khidr answered, “This is the parting between me and you. And so I tell you why I did the things I did and for which you could not keep your patience. As to the boat, it belonged to certain men in desperate need. Their king was about to seize the boat, so I rendered it unserviceable to the king. As for the youth, his parents were people of Faith, and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinate rebellion and ingratitude to both God and humanity. Thus, we ended his life and will replace him with a son who will not be so rebellious.  As for the wall, it belonged to two youths, orphans, in the town. Beneath the wall is a buried treasure to which they are entitled. They will now be at their full age and strength when the treasure is found, and so will be able to defend it. This is a mercy to them, granted by God. I did none of these things of my own choosing. This is why I did the things I did for which you would not hold your patience.”



Khidr is a “green man,” a folk tradition that predates the Koran. As a fertility deity, Khidr knows the ultimate mystery—the magic intersection of life and death, of the material realm and that of spirit.  Dwelling on that border, Khidr has learned to trust. Trust, even when things don’t appear to be going well.


A hard lesson!


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