One day, Musa (AS) was asked if there was anyone more knowledgeable in the world than him. Believing that there wasn’t as Allah had made him a messenger and given him the Torah, he replied ‘No.’ But this was not true, as there was no one person on Earth who everything that everyone else knew, and Allah wanted to teach this to Musa (AS). So He ordered him to go the place where the two seas met, and that is where he would find the man known as Khidr.
Musa (AS) set off with a boy servant to find this place. With them, they brought a fish in a container as their lunch. They travelled for some time before stopping to rest at some place, where Musa (AS) fell asleep for some time. While he was sleeping, by a miracle of Allah the fish slipped out of the container and into the sea, where it swam away. The boy servant noticed this and intended to tell Musa (AS) about it when he woke up.
But by the time Musa (AS) had woken up, the boy had forgotten. So they set out again, until after a while Musa (AS) said, ‘Come, let us have our meal.’
The boy realised what he had forgotten, and told Musa (AS) about how the fish had slipped away. When Musa (AS) heard about this, he declared, ‘That is what we have been looking for!’ All along, that was the place where they were meant to have met Khidr. They set off back the way they came, and eventually reached the place where the two seas met once again.
There they found the man named Khidr. He was a righteous man and Allah had given to him much knowledge, but he was not a messenger. Musa (AS) asked him, ‘Can I follow you so that you can teach me some of the knowledge that Allah has given you?’
But Khidr replied, ‘Indeed, you will not be able to have patience with me! How will you be able to be patient about something that you do not know?’
Musa (AS) argued, ‘If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you at all!’
‘Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything that I do until I mention it to you.’
The two of them continued with Khidr leading the way, until they came across a river. There they went on a boat so that they would be able cross the water and get to the other side. While they were on the boat, Khidr suddenly made a hole in the bottom.
Musa (AS) was shocked. He exclaimed, ‘Have you destroyed this boat to drown the people on it? Indeed, you have done a terrible thing!’
Khidr responded, ‘Did I not tell you that you would not be able to have patience with me?’
Musa (AS) immediately realised his mistake. He was not meant to ask any questions until Khidr told him about the matter. He asked Khidr to forgive him, for he had forgotten about that.
They continued again when they reached the other side until they came across a young boy. There, Khidr killed the boy. Musa (AS) was immediately shocked, ‘Have you killed an innocent boy who has done nothing? Indeed, this is a terrible crime!’
Just as before, Khidr turned around and warned Musa (AS), ‘Did I not say that you would not have patience with me.’
Musa (AS) again realised his mistake and promised, ‘If I ask anything again, then I will leave you.’
The two of them continued again until they came to a town. There, they asked the people for food and a place to stay, but the people there were cruel and did not offer anything to the travellers. In the city, they found a wall that was falling down. Khidr then began to fix and straighten the wall so that it would not crumble. When he did this, Musa (AS) asked, ‘Why didn’t you ask the people for money in return for fixing this wall?’
At this, Khidr declared, ‘Here is where we separate. Before you go, I will tell you why I did what I did.
‘As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working honestly on the sea. There was a king nearby who was capturing all good boats, so I made a hole in it so that he would not take it from them, and they could continue to earn from it.
‘As for the boy, his parents were believers. But he would have caused great pain for his parents if he had grown up by becoming an evil disbeliever. So their Lord intended to change him for another son who would bring happiness to the parents by his righteousness.
‘And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town. Under it was a treasure that belonged to them. And their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they grow to their full strength first before they take out their treasure.
‘I did not do any of these things out of my own desire. This is the reason for those things that you could not remain patient about.’
At this, Musa (AS) realised the limitation of his own knowledge.
Only Allah knows everything. Musa (AS) did not think he knew everything, but Allah still wanted to show him how little he knew and how Allah also blessed other people with knowledge that he was not given. Never be arrogant of your knowledge.