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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 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: 19 For surely if they prevail against you they would stone you to death or force you back to their religion, and then you will never succeed. 20 Thus did We inform the people about them that they may know the promise of God is true, and there is no doubt that the Hour will come. As they were arguing among themselves as to what should be done with them, (some) said: "Erect a monument over them. Their Lord is best cognisant of them." Those who prevailed, said: "We shall build a place of worship over their (sepulchre)." 21 (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. 22
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