The Cave of Safety.
Once there was a ruler who was very cruel. His name was Decius the Emperor and he ruled the vast Roman Empire which stretched from Spain to the Persian Gulf. The people who lived in this empire were forced to believe in many gods and goddesses. There was the god of war, the goddess of love, the sun-god, the god of the oceans, and many others. Some of these gods were symbolized by statues and the people were forced to pay special tribute to them or face the possibility of losing their lives.
Within the Roman Empire there was a city called Ephesus located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a bustling city with a great seaport where merchants from all over the Empire came to buy and sell their goods. In the heart of this city lived a few youths that believed in the one true God, Allah. They formed a small group and prayed to Allah for guidance in this land of oppression and injustice. Allah heard their prayers and gave strength to their hearts so that they would not be afraid to proclaim their belief to the people of Ephesus.
One day these youths went to the bazaar where many people gathered to do their shopping. The youths stood up on a platform so that all the people in the bazaar could see and hear them. They said, "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. We shall never call upon any god other than Him because if we did, it would surely be a lie!"
The crowd suddenly stopped what they were doing and looked up at the youths that had so boldly proclaimed their faith. There were people in the crowd who agreed with the youths but were too afraid to say it. Whenever someone talked about the one true God, Allah, they were tortured and executed. Other people in the crowd shouted at the youths on the platform. "Get out of there before we kill you," they said with gnarled teeth and clenched fists.
The youths were not afraid and continued, "If our people worship other gods besides Allah, why don't they bring forward an authority clear and convincing for what they do? Who does more harm than the person who invents a lie about Allah?" As soon as they finished, the pagans started to rush to the platform. The youths quickly jumped down and ran to a cave high up on a mountainside a few miles away. The pagans grew tired trying to catch the nimble youths and decided to search for them the next day. After reaching safety in the cave, the youths were tired from running and decided to sleep there for a few hours.
In order to protect these brave youths, Allah performed a miracle and kept them asleep for more than three hundred years. When they awoke they thought they were only asleep for a couple hours. The youths were hungry so one of them went down to the city to buy some food. Before he left the cave his friends warned him not to tell the pagans where they were. So the youth went down to the city of Ephesus with some money in his pocket. When he approached the city, he noticed something strange. He didn't recognize any of the people. Also, all of the clothes the people wore were different from his own. He couldn't believe the city had changed so much in just a few hours.
He went to the bazaar and found a man baking bread. When the youth brought out his money the baker looked at it very closely. "Where did you get this from?" he asked, peering out the corner of his eye. "I saved it from my earnings, sir," said the youth. "This money has been out of date for 300 years!!," exclaimed the baker.
The youth was shocked and the people of the bazaar began to gather around him. He now realized that Allah had save him and his friends from the persecution of the pagans by making them sleep for a long, long time. When he explained his story to the people that had gathered around him, they were overjoyed. They informed the youth that he was now living at a time when he will no longer be persecuted.
The wicked ruler of the Roman Empire, Decius, had died long ago and now a new tolerant Emperor reigned over the land. The whole city came out of their houses and marched toward the cave where the other youths were. They took the youths and lifted them up onto their shoulders and carried them back down to the city of Ephesus.
Their story became famous throughout the Roman Empire as one of the true and beautiful miracles of Allah mentioned in the Glorious Quran.