Al-Khidr and the boy
Fatwa No: 329350

Question

Assalaamu alaykum, Shaykh. You referred me to a fatwa, but it did not answer this question in any way. Please, can you answer it again? May Allaah reward you. There is a verse that I read in English in surah 18. And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief. 18:81 to top 18:81. So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy. Who is this verse refering to? If it is refering to Allaah, then what does it mean by feared?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Many scholars of Tafseer are of the view that the pronoun in the expression {we feared} in the verse in which Allaah says (what means): {…and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief} [Quran 18:80] refers to Al-Khidr  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. Therefore, there is no confusion as regards the meaning. Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him chose this meaning.

However, some scholars are of the view that the pronoun refers to Allaah and that it means ‘we knew’. Al-Qurtubi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Al-Jaami’ li-Ahkaam Al-Quran, "The saying of Allaah: {…and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief}; it was said that these are the words of Al-Khidr  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention; the context proves this, and this is the view of many scholars of Tafseer ... Allaah permitted him to make Ijtihaad (personal reasoning) to kill a soul for such a reason. It was also said that they are the words of Allaah and that Al-Khidr expressed this on behalf of Allaah."

At-Tabari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "Its meaning is ‘we knew’, and this is also what Ibn ‘Abbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, i.e. ‘we knew’. This is like the metaphor that is used for knowledge with the word fear in the saying of Allaah (which means): {…unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allaah.} [Quran 2:229]"

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 314002.

Allaah knows best.

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