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You would have thought they were awake, though they lay asleep. We turned them over, to the right and the left, while their dog lay at the cave's entrance with legs outstretched. Had you looked down and seen them, you would have surely turned your back and fled in terror. 18 And so, [in the course of time,] We awakened them; and they began to ask one another [as to what had happened to them]. One of them asked: "How long have you remained thus?" [The others] answered: "We have remained thus a day, or part of a day." Said they [who were endowed with deeper insight]: "Your Sustainer knows best how long you have thus remained. Let, then, one of you go with these silver coins to the town, and let him find out what food is purest there, and bring you thereof [some] provisions. But let him behave with great care and by no means make anyone aware of you: 19 "For if they should come upon you, they would stone you or force you to return to their cult, and in that case ye would never attain prosperity." 20 And likewise We caused their affair to be lit upon that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that the Hour - there is no doubt thereof, Recall what time they were disputing among themselves regarding their affair, and then they said: build over them a building - their Lord is the Best Knower about them - then those who prevailed in their affair said: surely we will raise over them a place of worship. 21 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. 22
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