‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from reliable reporters that Yunus and Husham bin Ibrahim disputed in their opinion about the learned man to whom Musa had gone. Did he know more than Musa? Is it permissible (and believable) that someone can be a hujjah or Imam above Musa who himself was the hujjah of Allah over the creation. Finally they wrote about this dispute to Imam al-Ridha who replied: When Musa went in search of the A’alim and found him on the island, he was sometimes sitting, sometimes sleeping and sometimes reclining. When Musa said Salaam to him that man felt it strange because he was in a land where ‘Salaam’ did not exist. He asked, “Who are you?” Musa said that he was Musa. He asked, “Are you the same Musa bin ‘Imran with whom Allah had conversed with?” “Yes,” replied Musa. Then that person asked what he wanted. Musa said “I have come so that you may teach me from god-given knowledge.” He replied, “Allah has appointed me for jobs which are beyond your power nor do I have the strength for the works entrusted to you.”
Then that A’alim described the calamities that would befall the family of Muhammad. Both of them wept profusely. Thereafter he described the greatness of the family of Muhammad to Musa that the latter repeatedly expressed his desire to be from the household. Then he described the appointment of the Prophet of Allah on their community and how they would deny him and oppress him and gave the explanation of this ayah, meaning: We will overturn the hearts and eyes of those who do not believe on the first occasion. He said, What was meant by the first occasion was the Day of Covenant when Almighty Allah had taken an oath from all the souls before creating their bodies. Anyway, Musa requested the A’alim to let him stay with him. He refused saying, “You have no patience to observe my deeds.”
But when Musa insisted he took a promise from him that he would not object to his work nor create any hindrance to anything he did until he himself explained the cause. Musa agreed. So Musa, Yusha‘ and that A’alim proceeded together and reached the bank of a river. There they saw a ship full of men and goods, which was about to sail when the ship owners said, “Let us take these three persons also with us as they look like gentlemen.
So they also rode the ship. When it reached midstream al-Khidhr rose, went to a corner of that ship, made a hole in it and filled it with old cloth and mud. Seeing this Musa became angry and said, You made a hole in this ship to drown the inmates; you have done a strange deed indeed. al-Khidhr said, “Did I not tell you that you will not be able to bear with me and that you do not have the patience to observe my jobs?” Musa said, “Please pardon this breach of oath and do not put me in difficulty.” Then when they alighted from the ship, al-Khidhr saw a boy playing with other boys. He was handsome lad. There were two earrings of pearls in his ears. al-Khidhr looked at him for a while then caught him and killed him. Seeing this Musa rushed to al-Khidhr and flung him to the ground saying, “How did you kill an innocent child though he had not murdered anyone? You have done a very bad deed indeed.” al-Khidhr said, “Did I not tell you that you would not be able to have patience with my actions.”
Musa ashamedly asserted, “If I ask you henceforth about anything you may separate me from you because then you shall have a cause.” Anyhow, they went further and by the evening reached a village called Naasirah and the people of that village were called Nasaaraa. These people had never before entertained anyone as a guest nor had they ever fed the hungry. The three asked for food but they neither came out of their homes nor fed them. Then al-Khidhr saw a wall nearby, which had become dilapidated. He approached it, put his hand on it and said, “Be repaired by the command of Allah.” It was repaired instantly. Musa said, “It was not proper on your part to repair the wall unless they had fed us and allowed us to lodge in their houses.”
This is the meaning of Musa’s words, “You might certainly have taken a recompense.” al-Khidhr said, “This is the time of parting. Now I will inform you of the significance of that with which you could not have patience. As for the boat, it belonged to some poor men who worked on the river. I damaged it as there was behind them in another boat a king who seized every (good) boat by force. I damaged it so that he may not usurp it and it may remain with these poor people.” This verse is like one in the Qur’an of the Ahl al-Bayt meaning. He said, It was descended like this. It means regarding that boy, his parents were Mu’min (faithful) and he was inclined towards unbelief. al-Khidhr said, “When I saw him I saw the words meaning: It is in the knowledge of Allah that if he remains alive he will be a disbeliever. I feared that his blasphemy might engulf his parents therefore I wished that Allah may give them in place of this boy a child who may be spiritually better and nearer to his parents.” Allah gave them a daughter in place of that boy who later gave birth to a Prophet.