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Thou wouldst have thought them awake, as they lay sleeping, while We turned them now to the right, now to the left,' and their dog 'stretching its paws on the threshold. Hadst thou observed them surely thou wouldst have turned thy back on them in flight, and been filled with terror of them. 18 And so, [in the course of time,] We awakened them; and they began to ask one another [as to what had happened to them]. One of them asked: "How long have you remained thus?" [The others] answered: "We have remained thus a day, or part of a day." Said they [who were endowed with deeper insight]: "Your Sustainer knows best how long you have thus remained. Let, then, one of you go with these silver coins to the town, and let him find out what food is purest there, and bring you thereof [some] provisions. But let him behave with great care and by no means make anyone aware of you: 19 Verily they, if they come to know of you, would stone you or make you revert to their faith, and lo! then ye will never fare well. 20 And similarly, We caused them to be found that they [who found them] would know that the promise of Allah is truth and that of the Hour there is no doubt. [That was] when they disputed among themselves about their affair and [then] said, "Construct over them a structure. Their Lord is most knowing about them." Said those who prevailed in the matter, "We will surely take [for ourselves] over them a masjid." 21 They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog - guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], "My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone." 22
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