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You might have thought them awake, though they were sleeping. We turned them about to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched its paws at the entrance. Had you seen them you would surely have become filled with terror and turned your back on them in flight. 18 And similarly, We awakened them that they might question one another. Said a speaker from among them, "How long have you remained [here]?" They said, "We have remained a day or part of a day." They said, "Your Lord is most knowing of how long you remained. So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious. And let no one be aware of you. 19 If they should get knowledge of you they will stone you, or restore you to their creed, then you will not prosper ever. 20 And in like manner We disclosed them (to the people of the city) that they might know that the promise of Allah is true, and that, as for the Hour, there is no doubt concerning it. When (the people of the city) disputed of their case among themselves, they said: Build over them a building; their Lord knoweth best concerning them. Those who won their point said: We verily shall build a place of worship over them. 21 [And in times to come] some will say: "[They were] three, the fourth of them being their dog," while others will say: "Five, with their dog as the sixth of them" - idly guessing at something of which they can have no knowledge - and [so on, until] some will say: "[They were] seven, the eighth of them being their dog." Say: "My Sustainer knows best how many they were. None but a few have any [real] knowledge of them. Hence, do not argue about them otherwise than by way of an obvious argument, and do not ask any of those [story-tellers] to enlighten thee about them." 22
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