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Moses in Islam

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

category: Prophethood


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When the sorcerers believed in Allaah, Pharaoh cut off their hands and feet on opposite sides and crucified them. But they bore that with patience and paid no heed to his threats, until they met Allaah as Muslims. Then the chiefs indicated that Moosa and his people should be killed, lest they spread corruption in the land. So they killed their sons, and let their women live. Moosa urged the Children of Israel to have patience. Then Pharaoh could no longer bear to see Moosa , so he decided to kill him:

"Fir'awn (Pharaoh) said: 'Leave me to kill Moosa (Moses), and let him call his Lord (to stop me from killing him)! I fear that he may change your religion, or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!'" [Ghaafir 40:26]

Whilst they were thinking of killing Moosa, chivalry caused a believing man from among the family of Pharaoh, who was concealing his faith, to defend Moosa. He said, "If he is lying, he cannot harm us, and if he is telling the truth, then some of that of which he is warning you will befall you." This man continued to advise Pharaoh and his people, but they did not respond to him:

"…Fir'awn (Pharaoh) said: 'I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy!'" [Ghaafir 40:29]

Moosa continued to call Pharaoh and his people, preaching in a good manner, but it only made them more arrogant in the land and caused them to oppress and persecute the believers even more. So Moosa prayed against them, and Allaah punished them with drought, famine, and failure of the harvest, that they might receive admonition. But they did not submit, rather they persisted in their evil deeds and transgression. So Allaah punished them with other kinds of afflictions, so that they might return to their senses:

"They said (to Moosa (Moses)): 'Whatever Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) you may bring to us, to work therewith your sorcery on us, we shall never believe in you.' So We sent on them: the flood, the locusts, the lice, the frogs, and the blood (as a succession of) manifest signs, yet they remained arrogant, and they were of those people who were Mujrimoon (criminals, polytheists and sinners).'" [al-A'raaf 7:132-133]

When the transgression of Pharaoh intensified, there came the divine command to seek a way out. Allaah commanded Moosa to leave Egypt with the Children of Israel, in secret. When Pharaoh found out, he gathered a great army to catch up with Moosa and his people before they reached Palestine. Pharaoh and his troops set out, leaving behind them gardens and wealth. They caught up with Moosa and his people at sunrise, on the shores of the Red Sea. Allaah saved Moosa and his people, and drowned Pharaoh and his troops, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And We revealed to Moosa (Moses), saying: 'Depart by night with My slaves, verily, you will be pursued.' Then Fir'awn (Pharaoh) sent callers to (all) the cities. (Saying): 'Verily, these indeed are but a small band. And verily, they have done what has enraged us. But we are a host all assembled, amply forewarned.' So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, Treasures, and every kind of honourable place. Thus (We turned them (Pharaoh's people) out) and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them. So they pursued them at sunrise. And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Moosa (Moses) said: 'We are sure to be overtaken.'"

"(Moosa (Moses)) said: 'Nay, verily, with me is my Lord. He will guide me.' Then We revealed to Moosa (Moses) (saying): 'Strike the sea with your stick.' And it parted, and each separate part (of that sea water) became like a huge mountain. Then We brought near the others (Fir'awn's (Pharaoh's) party) to that place. And We saved Moosa (Moses) and all those with him. Then We drowned the others. Verily, in this is indeed a sign (or a proof), yet most of them are not believers. And verily, your Lord, He is truly, the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful." [al-Shu'araa' 26:52-68]

Thus Pharaoh and his troops were destroyed. When he was drowning, he believed, but that was of no benefit to him. Allaah preserved his body to be a lesson to those who came after him. The punishment of Pharaoh's family in this world was drowning in the sea, and in the Hereafter, theirs is a painful torment:

"…while an evil torment encompassed Fir'awn's (Pharaoh) people."

"The Fire, they are exposed to it, morning and afternoon. And on the Day when the Hour will be established (it will be said to the angels): 'Cause Fir'awn's (Pharaoh) people to enter the severest torment!'" [Ghaafir 40:45-46]

The Children of Israel witnessed the miracles of Moosa, the last of which was their being saved and the destruction of their enemy. These miracles were sufficient to eradicate the last traces of idolatry from their hearts, but they still returned to it sometimes, and Moosa was faced with great difficulties in bringing them back to the worship of Allaah alone. For example:

When they had crossed the sea, they passed by some people who worshipped idols. They asked Moosa to give them an idol which they could worship like those people did. Moosa said to them:

"'Verily, you are a people who know not (the Majesty and Greatness of Allaah and what is obligatory upon you, i.e. to worship none but Allaah Alone, the One and the Only God of all that exists).' (Moosa (Moses) added:) 'Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in (idols, worship). And all that they are doing is in vain.' He said: 'Shall I seek for you an ilaah (a god) other than Allaah, while He has given you superiority over the 'Aalameen (mankind and jinn of your time)?'" [al-A'raaf 7:138-140]

The Children of Israel were headed towards the Holy Land, and on the way they suffered from thirst. They complained to Moosa, who prayed to his Lord and He gave them water:

"We revealed to Moosa (Moses) when his people asked him for water (saying): 'Strike the stone with your stick', and there gushed forth out of it twelve springs, each group knew its own place for water." [al-A'raaf 7:160]

On their journey, they complained about the intense heat of the sun, and the lack of food. So Moosa prayed to his Lord and He shaded them with clouds, and provided them with good things (to eat), but they did not appreciate that, and they demanded something else.

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