Cave of Ashab-e-Kahaf
This cave located in Jordan has been referenced in Surah Kahf in the Quran, and can be equated with the Christian story of “The Sleepers of Ephesus.” The Cave of Ashab-e-Kahaf was the one in which a group of pious youths sought refuge from a tyrannical pagan king. They prayed to Allah for protection, and He did so by making them sleep for 300 years.
Here is the full story:
In around 250 CE there ruled a Roman king called Daqyanoos (Decius) who would annually hold a gathering dedicated to the worshipping of idols. Many people would attend, dressed in their best clothing. However, one youth believed in the oneness of Allah (swt), the teachings of Isa (Jesus) and shunned pagan worship. He rebelled against the practices of the pagan king and his beliefs were strong enough for him to attract fellow youths to his cause. They became a group of six.
When the king heard of their rebellion he became very angry and issued a command for them to be killed. In order to save their faith, they went into hiding. On their escape route they met a young farmer who owned a dog; they invited the farmer to the cause of Allah and he accepted and decided to join them. Eventually they came to the Cave of Ashab-e-Kahf, in which they made prayed to Allah for protection. They decided to take rest there for a while, leaving the dog (named Qitmir) near the entrance as a guard. By Allah’s mercy, the 7 sleepers and the dog were able to sleep peacefully for 300 years.
This is the translation of the passage from Surah Kahf in the Quran, that references the sleepers and the cave :
“And thou wouldst have deemed them waking though they were asleep, and we caused them to turn over to the right and the left, and their dog stretching out his paws on the threshold. If thou hadst observed them closely thou hadst assuredly turned away from them in flight, and hadst been filled with awe of them.” [18:18]
The Quran further states that the period of time these sleepers spent in the cave was 300 years during which the calendar of their people was changed from solar to lunar and, as a result, the period of their sleep was 309 years. When they woke up, they had no idea they slept for centuries and thought they had only slept a few hours.
When they sent one of them to buy food, the shopkeeper was amazed to see such old coins and the reality of the time they had spent in the cave gradually came to light. The present ruling king, whom some scholars have identified as Tandoosees, was a believer who came on foot to see them and seek their blessings. When these young men died they were buried in the cave along with their dog. The bones of these youth and the dog are visible to see inside.
Apart from Amman in Jordan, the location of the cave is also claimed to be in Turkey.