Prophet Musa (PBUH)
of the Phiraon
Phiraon who ruled Egypt was a tyrant who oppressed the
descendants of Jacob , known as the children of Israel
(Bani Israel). He used every means to demean and disgrace
them. They were kept in bondage and forced to work for
him for small wages or nothing. Under this system the
people obeyed and worshipped the Phiraon, and the ruling
class carried out his orders, thereby authorizing his
tyranny and crazy whims.
Phiraon wanted the people to obey him only, and to believe
in the gods of his invention. Perhaps, during that time,
there were many classes of people who did not believe
in or practice polytheism; however, they kept this to
themselves and outwardly did as they were expected to
do, without revolting or revealing themselves to anyone.
successive dynasties came to Egypt and assumed that
they were gods or their representatives or spokesmen.
of Dethroning the Phiraon
passed, and a despotic king, who was adored by the Egyptians,
ruled Egypt. This king saw the children of Israel multiplying
and prospering. He heard them talking about a vague
vision that one of Israel's sons would dethrone the
Phiraon of Egypt. Perhaps this vision was only a daydream
that persisted within the hearts of the persecuted minority,
or perhaps it was a prophecy from their books.
tradition states that it was Phiraon himself who had
the vision. Ibn Abbas narrated: "Phiraon saw in his
vision a fire which came from Jerusalem and burned the
houses of the Egyptians, and all Copts, and did not
do harm to the children of Israel. When he woke up,
he was horrified. He then gathered his priests and magicians
and asked them about this vision. They said: 'This means
a boy will be born of them and the Egyptian people will
perish at his hands.' That is why Phiraon commanded
that all male children of the children of Israel be
way, this vision reached the ears of the Phiraon. He
then issued a decree to slay any male child that would
be born to the children of Israel.
Killing of the Children of Israel
(the killing of the children of Israel) was carried
out until the experts of economics said to Phiraon:
"The aged of the children of Israel die and the young
are slaughtered. This will lead to their annihilation.
As a result, Phiraon will lose the manpower of those
who work for him, those whom he enslaves, and their
women whom he exploits. It is better to regulate this
procedure by initiating the following policy: males
should be slaughtered in one year and spared to live
the next year." Phiraon found that solution to be safer
Birth of Aaron and Moses (PBUT)
mother was pregnant with Aaron in a year that boys were
to be spared; thus she gave birth to the child publicly
and safely. During a year in which boys were to be slain,
she gave birth to Moses ; thus his birth caused her
much terror. She was afraid he would be slain, so she
nursed him secretly.
of the Phiraon - Qur'anic
the Almighty revealed: These are Verses of the manifest
Book (that makes clear truth from falsehood, good from
evil, etc.). We recite to you some of the news of Moses
and Phiraon in truth, for a people who believe (those
who believe in this Qur'an, and in the Oneness of Allah).
Verily, Phiraon exalted himself in the land and made
its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e.
children of Israel) among them, killing their sons,
and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the
Mufsideen (i.e., those who commit great sins and crimes,
oppressors, tyrants, etc.).
Birth of Moses - Qur'anic
We wished to do a favor to those who were weak (and
oppressed) in the land, and to make them rulers and
to make them the inheritors, and to establish them in
the land, and We let Phiraon and Haman and their hosts
receive from them that which they feared. And We inspired
the mother of Moses, (saying): "Suckle him (Moses),
but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river
and fear not, nor grieve. Verily! We shall bring him
back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers."
Surah 28: 2-7
Thrown into the Nile
sooner had the divine revelation finished than she obeyed
the sacred and merciful call. She was commanded to make
a basket for Moses. She nursed him, put him into the
basket, then went to the shore of the Nile and threw
it into the water. Her mother's heart, the most merciful
one in the world, grieved as she threw her son into
the Nile. However, she was aware that Allah was much
more merciful to Moses than to her, that He loved him
more than her. Allah was his Lord and the Lord of the
had the basket touched the water of the Nile than Allah
issued His command to the waves to be calm and gentle
while carrying the child would one day be a prophet.
instructed her daughter to follow the course of the
basket and to report back to her. As the daughter followed
the floating basket along the river bank, she found
herself right in the palace grounds and saw what was
unfolding before her eyes.
Finds a Home in the Palace
basket came to rest at the river bank which skirted
the king's palace. The palace servants found the basket
with the baby and took it to the Phiraon and his queen.
When the queen beheld the lovely infant, Allah instilled
in her a strong love for this baby. Phiraon's wife was
very different from Phiraon. He was a disbeliever; she
was a believer. He was cruel; she was merciful. He was
a tyrant; she was delicate and goodhearted. She was
sad because she was infertile and had hoped to have
a son. Hardly had she held the baby than she kissed
was much amazed when he saw his wife hugging this baby
to her breast. He was much astonished because his wife
was weeping with joy, something he had never seen her
do before. She requested her husband: "Let me keep the
baby and let him be a son to us."
Finds a Home - Qur'anic
Allah said: Then the household of Phiraon picked him
up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause
of) grief Verily! Phiraon, Haman and their hosts were
sinners. And the wife of Phiraon said: "A comfort of
the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he
may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son."
And they perceived not (the result of that). Surah 28:
and His Mother Reunited
queen summoned a few wet nurses to suckle the baby Moses,
but he would not take any of their breasts. The queen
was distressed and sent for more wet nurses. Moses's
sister was also worried, as her baby brother was without
milk for a long time. Seeing the queen's anxiety, she
blurted that she knew just the mother who would suckle
the child affectionately.
asked her why she was following the floating basket.
She said she did so out of curiosity. Her excuse sounded
reasonable, so they believed her. They ordered her to
rush and fetch the woman she was talking about. Her
mother also was waiting with a heavy heart, worried
about the fate of her baby. Just then her daughter rushed
in with the good news. Her heart lifted and she lost
no time in reaching the palace. As the child was put
to her breast, he immediately started suckling. Phiraon
was astonished and asked: "Who are you? This child has
refused to take any other breast but yours."
she told the truth, Phiraon would have known that the
child was an Israelite and would have killed Moses instantly.
However, Allah gave her inner strength and she replied:
"I am a woman of sweet milk and sweet smell, and no
child refuses me." This answer satisfied Phiraon.
that day onward, she was appointed as Moses's wet nurse.
She continued to breast-feed him for a long time. When
he was bigger and was weaned, she was allowed the privilege
of visiting him. Moses was raised in the palace as a
and His Mother Reunited - Qur'anic
the Almighty narrated: And the heart of the mother of
Moses became empty (from every thought, except the thought
of Moses). She was very near to disclose his (case,
i.e. the child is her son), had We not strengthened
her hearth (with Faith), so that she might remain as
one of the believers. And she said to his (Moses's)
sister: "Follow him." So she (his sister) watched him
from a far place secretly, while they perceived not.
We had already forbidden (other) foster suckling mothers
for him, until she (his sister came up and) said: "Shall
I direct you to a household who will rear him for you,
and sincerely they will look after him in a good manner?"
did We restore him to his mother, that she might be
delighted, and that she might not grieve, and that she
might know that the promise of Allah is true. But most
of them know not. Surah 28: 10-13
Qualities of Moses - Qur'anic
when he attained his full strength, and was perfect
(in manhood), We bestowed on him Hukman (Prophethood,
right judgment of the affairs) and religious knowledge
of the religion of his forefathers i.e., Islamic Monotheism.
And thus do We reward the Muhsineen (i.e., good-doers).
" Surah 28: 14
Kills an Egyptian
had granted Moses good health, strength, knowledge,
and wisdom. The weak and oppressed turned to him for
protection and justice.
day in the main city, he saw two men fighting. One was
an Israelite, who was being beaten by the other, an
Egyptian. On seeing Moses, the Israelite begged him
for help. Moses became involved in the dispute and,
in a state of anger, struck a heavy blow on the Egyptian,
who died on the spot. Upon realizing that he had killed
a human being, Moses's heart was filled with deep sorrow,
and immediately he begged Allah for forgiveness.
had not intended to kill the man. He pleaded with Almighty
Allah to forgive him, and he felt a sense of peace filling
his whole being. Thereafter Moses began to show more
patience and sympathy towards people.
next day he saw the same Israelite involved in another
fight. Moses went to him and said: 'You seem to be a
quarrelsome fellow. You have a new quarrel with one
person or another each day." Fearing that Moses might
strike him, the Israelite warned Moses: "Would you kill
me as you killed that wretch yesterday?"
Egyptian with whom the Israelite was fighting overheard
this remark and reported Moses to the authorities. Soon
thereafter, as Moses was passing through the city, a
man approached and alerted him: "0 Moses, the chiefs
have taken counsel against you. You are to be tried
and killed. I would advise you to escape."
Kills an Egyptian - Qur'anic
knew that the penalty for killing an Egyptian was death.
Allah the Exalted recounted: And he entered the city
at a time of unawareness of its people, and he found
there two men fighting, - one of his party (his religion
- from the children of Israel), and the other of his
foes. The man of his (own) party asked him for help
against his foe, so Moses struck him with his fist and
killed him. He said: "This is of Satan's doing, verily,
he is a plain misleading enemy."
said: 'My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so foorgive
me." Then He forgave him. Verily, He is the OftForgiving,
the Most Merciful.
said: 'My Lord! For that with which You have favored
me, I will never more be a helper for the Mujrimeen
(criminals, disobedient to Allah, polytheists, sinners,
he became afraid, looking about in the city (waiting
as to what will be the result of his crime of killing),
when behold, the man who had sought his help the day
before, called for his help (again). Moses said to him:
"Verily, you are a plain misleader!" Then when he decided
to seize the man who was an enemy to both of them, the
man said: "0 Moses! Is it your intention to kill me
as you killed a man yesterday? Your aim is nothing but
to become a tyrant in the land, and not to be one of
those who do right."
there came a man running, from the farthest end of the
city. He said: "0 Moses! Verily, the chiefs are taking
counsel together about you, to kill you, so escape.
Truly, I am to you of those who give sincere advice."
he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear.
He said: 'My Lord! Save me from the people who are Zalimeen
(polytheists and wrong-doers)!" Surah 28: 15-21
left Egypt in a hurry without going to Phiraon's palace
or changing his clothes. Nor was he prepared for traveling.
He did not have a beast of burden upon which to ride,
and he was not in a caravan. Instead, he left as soon
as the believer came and warned him of Phiraon's plans.
traveled in the direction of the country of Midian,
which was the nearest inhabited land between Syria and
Egypt. His only companion in this hot desert was Allah,
and his only provision was piety. There was not a single
root to pick to lessen his hunger. The hot sand burned
the soles of his feet. However, fearing pursuit by Phiraon's
men, he forced himself to continue on.
Helps Women ShepherdsHe
traveled for eight nights, hiding during the day. After
crossing the main desert, he reached a watering hole
outside Midian where shepherds were watering their flocks.
sooner had Moses reached Midian than he threw himself
under a tree to rest. He suffered from hunger and fatigue.
The soles of his feet felt as if they were worn out
from hard walking on sand and rocks and from the dust.
He did not have any money to buy a new pair of sandals,
nor to buy food or drink. Moses noticed a band of shepherds
watering their sheep. He went to the spring, where he
saw two young women preventing their sheep from mixing
with the others.
sensed that the women were in need of help. Forgetting
his thirst, he drew nearer to them and asked if he could
help them in any way.
older sister said: "We are waiting until the shepherds
finish watering their sheep, then we will water ours."
asked again: "Why are you waiting?"
younger one said: "We cannot push men."
was surprised that women were shepherding, as only men
were supposed to do it. It is hard and tiresome work,
and one needs to be on the alert. Moses asked: "Why
are you shepherding?"
younger sister said: "Our father is an old man; his
health is too poor for him to go outdoors for pasturing
said: "I will water the sheep for you."
Moses approached the water, he saw that the shepherds
had put over the mouth of the spring an immense rock
that could only be moved by ten men. Moses embraced
the rock and lifted it out of the spring's mouth, the
veins of his neck and hands standing out as he did so.
Moses was certainly strong. He watered their sheep and
put the rock back in its place.
returned to sit in the shade of the tree. At this moment
he realized that he had forgotten to drink. His stomach
was sunken because of hunger.
Helps Women Shepherds - Qur'anic
Allah described this event: And when he arrived at the
water of Midian (Midyan) he found there a group of men
watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two
women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said:
"What is the matter with you ?" They said: "We cannot
water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks).
And our father is a very old man."
he watered their flocks for them, then he turned back
to shade, and said: 'My Lord! Truly, I am in need of
whatever good that You bestow on me!" Surah 28: 22-24
Finds a Home Among Shepherds
young ladies returned home earlier than usual, which
surprised their father. They related the incident at
the spring which was the reason that they were back
early. Their father sent one of his daughters to invite
the stranger to his home. Bashfully, the woman approached
Moses and delivered the message. "My father is grateful
for what you have done for us. He invites you to our
home so that he may thank you personally."
welcomed this invitation and accompanied the maiden
to her father. Moses could see that they lived comfortably
as a happy and peaceful household. He introduced himself
and told the old man about the misfortune that had befallen
him and had compelled him to flee from Egypt. The old
man comforted him: "Fear not, you have escaped from
gentle behavior was noticed by the father and his daughters.
The kind man invited him to stay with them. Moses felt
at home with this happy household, for they were friendly
and feared Allah.
Becomes a Shepherd
of the daughters suggested to her father that he employ
Moses, as he was strong and trustworthy. They needed
someone like him, especially at the water hole, which
was visited by ruffians.
father asked her how she could be sure of his trustworthiness
in such a short time. She replied: "When I bade him
to follow me to our home, he insisted that I walk behind
him so he would not observe my form (to avoid sexual
old man was pleased to hear this. He approached Moses
and said: "I wish to marry you to one of my daughters
on condition that you agree to work for me for a period
of eight years."
offer suited Moses well, for being a stranger in this
country he would soon have to search for shelter and
work. Moses married the Midianite's daughter and looked
after the old man's animals for ten long years.
Becomes a Shepherd - Qur'anic
Allah recounted: Then there came to him one of the two
women, walking shyly. She said: "Verily, my father calls
you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks)
for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story,
he said: "Fear you not. You have escaped from the people
who are Zalimeen (polyt heists, disbelievers, and wrong-doers)."
And said one of them (the two women): "0 my father!
Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is
the strong, the trustworthy." He said: "I intend to
wed one of these two daughters of mine to you, on condition
that you serve me for eight years, but if you complete
ten years, it will be (a favor) from you. But I intend
not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills,
you will find me one of the righteous." He (Moses) said:
"That (is settled) between me and you whichever of the
two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me,
and Allah is Surety over what we say." Surah 28: 25-28
Ten Years of Preparation
passed, and he lived in seclusion far from his family
and his people. This period of ten years was of importance
in his life. It was a period of major preparation. Certainly
Moses's mind was absorbed in the stars every night.
He followed the sunrise and the sunset every day. He
pondered on the plant and how it splits the soil and
appears thereafter. He contemplated water and how the
earth is revived by it and flourishes after its death.
course, he was immersed in the Glorious Book of Allah,
open to the insight and heart. He was immersed in the
existence of Allah. All these became latent within him.
The religion of Moses was the same as that of Jacob
, which was Islamic monotheism. His forefather was Jacob
the grandson of Abraham . Moses , therefore, was one
of the descendants of Abraham and every prophet who
came after Abraham was one of Abraham's successors.
addition to physical preparation, there was a similar
spiritual preparation. It was made in complete seclusion,
in the middle of the desert and in the places of pasture.
Silence was his way of life, and seclusion was his vehicle.
Allah the Almighty prepared for His prophet the tools
he would need later on to righteously bear the commands
of Allah the Exalted.
Decides to Return to Egypt
day after the end of this period, a vague homesickness
arose in Moses's heart. He wanted to return to Egypt.
He was fast and firm in making his decision, telling
his wife: 'Tomorrow we shall leave for Egypt." His wife
said to herself: 'There are a thousand dangers in departing
that have not yet been revealed." However, she obeyed
himself did not know the secret of the quick and sudden
decision to return to Egypt. After all, he had fled
from there ten years ago with a price on his head. Why
should he go back now? Did he look forward to seeing
his mother and brother? Did he think of visiting Phiraon's
wife who had raised him and who loved him as if she
were his mother?
one knows what went through Moses's mind when he returned
to Egypt. All we know is that a mute obedience to Allah's
destinies impelled him to make a decision and he did.
These supreme destinies steered his steps towards a
matter of great importance.
Begins His Prophethood
left Midian with his family and traveled through the
desert until he reached Mount Sinai. There Moses discovered
that he had lost his way. He sought Allah's direction
and was shown the right course. At nightfall they reached
Mount Tur. Moses noticed a fire in the distance. "I
shall fetch a firebrand to warm us."
he neared the fire, he heard a sonorous voice calling
him: "0 Moses, I am Allah, the Lord of the Universe."
Moses was bewildered and looked around. He again heard
the strange voice. "And what is in your right hand,
Moses answered: 'This is my staff on which I lean, and
with which I beat down branches for my sheep, and for
which I find other uses." (This question was asked so
that Moses's attention would focus on the staff and
to prepare him for the miracle which was to happen.
This was the beginning of Moses's mission as a prophet
same voice commanded him: 'Throw down your staff'."
He did so, and at once the staff became a wriggling
snake. Moses turned to run, but the voice again addressed
him: "Fear not and grasp it; We shall return it to its
former state." The snake changed back into his staff.
Moses's fear subsided and was replaced by peace, for
he realized that he was witnessing the Truth.
Allah commanded him to thrust his hand into his robe
at the armpit. When he pulled it out, the hand had a
brilliant shine. Allah then commanded Moses: 'You have
two signs from your Lord; go to Phiraon and his chiefs,
for they are an evil gang and have transgressed all
Moses feared that he would be arrested by Phiraon, so
he turned to Allah saying: "My Lord! I have killed a
man among them and I fear that they will kill me."
assured him of his safety and set his heart at rest.
Begins His Prophethood - Qur'anic Almighty Allah narrated
this event: And has there come to you the story of Moses?
When he saw a fire, he said to his family: "Wait! Verily,
I have seen a fire, perhaps I can bring you some burning
brand therefrom, or find some guidance at the fire."
when he came to it (the fire), he was called by name:
"0 Moses! Verily! I am your Lord! So take off your shoes,
you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa, And I have chosen
you. So listen to that which is inspired to you. Verily!
I am Allah! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to
be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and offer prayers
perfectly, for My Remembrance. Verily, the Hour is coming
- and My Will is to keep it hidden - that every person
may be rewarded for that which he strives. Therefore,
let the one who believes not therein (i.e. in the Day
of Resurrection, Reckoning, Paradise and Hell, etc.),
but follows his own lusts, divert you therefrom lest
you perish. And what is that in your right hand, 0 Moses?"
said: "This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith
I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find
said: "Cast it down, 0 Moses!"
cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly.
said: "Grasp it, and fear not, We shall return it to
its former state, - and press your (right) hand to your
(left) side, it will come forth white (and shining),
without any disease as another sign, - that We may show
you (some) of Our Greater Signs.
to Pharoah! Verily, he has transgressed (all bounds
in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved as an
arrogant, and as a tyrant)." Surah 9-24
and Aaron (PBUT) Given Their Duties
said: "0 my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence,
contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me;
and make loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue,
(i.e. remove the incorrectness of my speech) that they
understand my speech, and appoint for me a helper from
my family, Aaron, my brother; increase my strength with
him, and let him share my task (of conveying Allah's
Message and Prophethood), that we may glorify You much,
and remember You much, Verily! You are of us Ever a
said: "You are granted your request, 0 Moses! And indeed
We conferred a favor on you another time (before). When
We inspired your mother with that which We inspired,
saying: 'Put him (the child) into the Tabut (a box or
case or a chest) and put him into the river (Nile),
then the river shall cast it up on the bank, and there,
an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his shall take him.'
And I endued you with love from Me, in order that you
may be brought up under My Eye, when your sister went
and said: 'Shall I show you one who will nurse him?'
So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool
her eyes and she should not grieve. Then you did kill
a man, but We saved you from great distress and tried
you with a heavy trial. Then you stayed a number of
years with the people of Madyan (Midian). Then you came
here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for
you), 0 Moses!
I have Istanatuka chosen you for My Inspiration and
My Message for Myself Go you and your brother with My
Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations,
etc.), and do not, you both, slacken and become weak
in My Remembrance.
both of you, to Phiraon, verily, he has transgressed
(all bounds in disbelief and disobedience and behaved
as an arrogant and as a tyrant). And speak to him mildly,
perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah."
said. "Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten
to punish us or lest he should transgress (all bounds
(Allah) said. "Fear not, Verily! I am with you both,
Hearing and Seeing. So go you both to him, and say:
'Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, so let the
children of Israel go with us, and torment them not;
indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And
peace will be upon him who follows the guidance! Truly,
it has been revealed to us that the torment will be
for him who denies believes not in the Oneness of Allah,
and in His Messengers, etc., and turns away' (from the
truth and obedience of Allah)." Surah 20: 25-48
and Aaron (PBUT) Talk to the Phiraon
and Aaron went together to Phiraon and delivered their
message. Moses spoke to him about Allah, His mercy and
His Paradise and about the obligations of monotheism
and His worship. Phiraon listened to Moses's speech
with disdain. He thought that Moses was crazy because
he dared to question his supreme position. Then he raised
his hand and asked. "What do you want?"
answered: "I want you to send the children of Israel
asked: "Why should I send them, as they are my slaves?"
replied: 'They are the slaves of Allah, Lord of the
then inquired sarcastically if his name was Moses. Moses
you not the Moses whom we picked up from the Nile as
a helpless baby? Are you not the Moses whom we reared
in this palace, who ate and drank from our provisions
and whom our wealth showered with charity? Are you not
the Moses who is a fugitive, the killer of an Egyptian
man, if my memory does not betray me? It is said that
killing is an act of disbelief. Therefore, you were
a disbeliever when you killed. You are a fugitive from
justice and you come to speak to me! What were you talking
about Moses, I forgot?"
knew that Phiraon's mentioning his past, his upbringing,
and his receiving Phiraon's charity was Phiraon's way
of threatening him. Moses ignored his sarcasm and explained
that he was not a disbeliever when he killed the Egyptian;
he only went astray and Allah the Almighty had not yet
given him the revelation at that time.
made Phiraon understand that he fled from Egypt because
he was afraid of their revenge upon him, even though
the killing was an accident. He informed him that Allah
had granted him forgiveness and made him one of the
and Aaron (PBUT) Talk to the Phiraon - Qur'anic
the Almighty revealed to us part of the dialogue between
Moses and Phiraon: Allah said. "Nay! Go you both with
Our Signs. Verily! We shall be with you, listening.
And when you both come to Phiraon, say: 'We are the
Messengers of the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn
and all that exists), - So allow the children of Israel
to go with us.
said (to Moses): "Did we not bring you up among us as
a child? And you did dwell many years of you life with
us. And you did your deed which you did (i.e. the crime
of killing a man). And you are one of the ingrates."
said: "I did it then, when I was an ignorant (as regards
my Lord and His Message). So I fled from you when I
feared you. But my Lord has granted me Hukman (i.e.,
religious knowledge, right judgments of the affairs
and Prop het hood), and appointed me as one of the Messengers.
And this is the past favor with which you reproach me,
- that you have enslaved the children of Israel."
said: "And what is the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind,
jinn and all that exists)?"
replied: "Lord of the heavens and the earth, and all
that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with
said to those around: "Do you not hear (what he says)?"
said: "Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!"
said: "Verily, your Messenger who has been sent to you
is a madman!"
said: "Lord of the east and the west, and all that is
between them, if you did but understand!"
said: "If you choose an ilah (a god) other than me,
I will certainly put you among the prisoners."
said: "Even if I bring you something manifest (and convincing)."
said: "Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!"
Surah 26: 16-31
Proves Himself Right
degree of the conflict expressed in this dialogue reached
its apex; thus, the tone of dialogue changed. Moses
used a convincing intellectual argument against Phiraon.
However, Phiraon escaped from the circle of this dialogue
based on logic and began a dialogue of another type,
a type which Moses could not bear to follow: a dialogue
of menacing and threatening. Phiraon deliberately adopted
the style of the absolute ruler. He asked Moses how
he dared to worship Allah! Did he not know that Phiraon
was a god?
declaring his divinity, Phiraon asked Moses how he dared
to worship another god. The punishment for this crime
was imprisonment. It was not permitted for anyone to
worship anyone other than Phiraon.
understood that the intellectual arguments did not succeed.
The calm dialogue was converted from sarcasm to mentioning
charity, then to scorn, then to the threat of imprisonment.
said: "Even if I bring you something manifest (and convincing)."
Phiraon said: "Bring it forth then, if you are of the
truthful!" So Moses threw his stick, and behold, it
was a serpent, manifest. And he drew out his hand, and
behold, it was white to all beholders! Surah 26: 30-33
Defeats the Magicians
amazement turned to terror. Fearing that his rule was
in danger, he addressed his advisors: 'These are two
wizards who will strip you of your best traditions and
drive you out of the country with their magic. What
do you advise?" They counseled Phiraon to detain Moses
and his brother while they summoned the cleverest magicians
in the country. Then they too, could show their skills
of magic and change sticks into serpents. In this way
they sought to reduce the influence of Moses's miracles
on the masses.
detained Moses and Aaron. He dispatched couriers all
over the land to enlist the best magicians. He offered
each successful magician a big reward, including appointment
as a royal courtier.
the customary festival day, which attracted citizens
from all over the Egyptian empire, Phiraon arranged
for a public contest between Moses and the magicians.
The people came in droves as never before when they
heard of the greatest contest ever between Phiraon's
many magicians and a single man who claimed to be a
prophet. They had also heard of a baby who had once
floated down the river Nile in a basket, landed on Phiraon's
palace grounds, been reared as a prince, and who later
had fled for killing an Egyptian with a single blow.
was eager and excited to watch this great contest. Before
it began, Moses arose. There was a hush in the huge
crowd. Moses addressed the magicians. "Woe unto you,
if you invent a lie against Allah by calling His miracles
magic and by not being honest with the Phiraon. Woe
unto you, if you do not know the difference between
the truth and falsehood. Allah will destroy you with
His punishment, for he who lies against Allah fails
had spoken sincerely and made the magicians think. But
they were overwhelmed by their greed for money and glory.
They hoped to impress the people with their magic and
to expose Moses as a fraud and a cheat.
asked the magicians to perform first. They threw their
magical objects down on the ground. Their staffs and
ropes took the forms of wriggling serpents while the
crowd watched in amazement. Phiraon and his men applauded
loudly. Then Moses threw his staff. It began to wriggle
vigorously and became an enormous serpent. The people
stood up, craning their necks for a better view.
and his men sat silently as, one by one, Moses's huge
serpent swallowed all the snakes. Moses bent to pick
it up, and it became a staff in his hand.
crowd rose like a great wave, shouting and screaming
with excitement. A wonder like this had never been seen
before! On witnessing the power of Moses, the magicians
prostrated themselves to Allah, declaring: "We believe
in the Lord of Moses and Aaron." Phiraon was angry and
began plotting his next move. He charged that the demonstration
had been arranged secretly between Moses and the magicians.
He demanded that the magicians confess to their scheme,
threatening them with death. They refused to denounce
Allah and stuck to the sincerity of their belief. No
longer hiding his cruel nature, Phiraon threatened to
cut off their hands and feet and to crucify them on
the trunks of palm trees as an example to his subjects.
Defeats the Magicians - Qur'anic
Allah recounted this event: He (Phiraon) said: "Have
you come to drive us out of our land with your magic,
0 Moses? Then verily, we can produce magic the like
thereof, so appoint a meeting between us and you, which
neither we, nor you shall fail to keep, in an open wide
place where both shall have a just and equal chance
(and beholders could witness the competition)."
said: "Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival,
and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon)."
Phiraon withdrew, devised his plot and then came back.
said to them: "Woe unto you! Invent not a lie against
Allah, lest He should destroy you completely by a torment.
And surely, he who invents a lie (against Allah) will
they debated with one another what they must do, and
they kept their talk secret. They said: "Verily! These
are two magicians. Their object is to drive you out
from your land with magic, and overcome your chiefs
and nobles. So devise your plot, and then assemble in
line. And whoever overcomes this day will be indeed
said: "0 Moses! Either you throw first or we be the
first to throw?"
said: "Nay, throw you (first)!" Then behold, their ropes
and their sticks, - by their magic, - appeared to him
as though they moved fast. So Moses conceived a fear
(Allah) said: "Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper
hand. And throw that which is in your right hand! It
will swallow up that which they have made. That which
they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician
will never be successful, no matter whatever amount
(of skill) he may attain."
the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: "We believe
in the Lord of Aaron and Moses."
said: "Believe you in him (Moses) before I give you
permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you
magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet
on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on
the trunks of palm-trees, and you shall surely know
which of us I (Phiraon) or the Lord of Moses (Allah)
can give the severe and more lasting torment."
said: "We prefer you not over the clear signs that have
come to us, and to Him (Allah) Who created us. So decree
(regarding) this life of the world. Verily! We have
believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our faults,
and the magic to which you did compel us. And Allah
is better as regards reward in comparison to your (Phiraon's)
reward, and more lasting (as regards punishment in comparison
to your punishment)." Surah 20: 58-73
Description of Believers and Non-Believers
Whoever comes to his Lord as a Mujrim (criminal, polytheist,
disbeliever in the Oneness of Allah and His Messengers,
sinner, etc.), then surely, for him is Hell, therein
he will neither die nor live.
whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer (in the Oneness
of Allah, etc.), and has done righteous good deeds,
for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter), - Everlasting
Gardens (Adn Paradise), under which rivers flow, wherein
they will abide forever: such is the reward of those
who purify themselves by abstaining from all kinds of
sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden and by
doing all that which Allah has ordained. Surah 20: 74-76
People's Non-Reaction to the defeat of the magicians
magicians represented the elite of the Egyptian society.
They were its scholars. They prostrated before righteousness,
but the people abandoned them and left them to their
fate. The path of righteousness was plain, but in spite
of this, the people did nothing but stand by and watch.
every one of the Egyptians had stooped to pick up a
piece of brick and had thrown it at Phiraon, he would
have fallen dead and the history of Egypt would have
obviously did not happen. None of the people moved.
Each one stood motionless in his place. The people did
nothing but watch, and they paid the price for this
inactivity: they were drowned later as the price for
their cowardice of one day.
Phiraon's Reaction to Moses's Victory
and Aaron left, and Phiraon returned to his palace.
Phiraon was completely stupefied when he faced the two
miracles. When Moses went out of his presence, his emotions
changed from amazement and fear to violent rage. He
quarreled with his ministers and men, reviled them bitterly
for no reason, and commanded them to get out of his
presence. When he was left alone, he tried to think
more calmly. He drank several cups of wine, but his
anger did not abate.
he summoned all the ministers, leaders, and responsible
men for a serious meeting. Phiraon entered the meeting
with a rigid face. It was obvious that he would never
surrender easily. He had established a kingdom on the
basis of his being a god worshipped by the Egyptian
people. Now Moses came to destroy what he had built.
Moses said that there was no Lord other than Allah in
existence. This meant that Phiraon was a liar.
opened the session by throwing a sudden question at
Haman: "Am I a liar, 0 Haman?"
fell to his knees in amazement and asked: "Who dared
to accuse Phiraon of lying?"
said: "Has he (Moses) not said that there is a Lord
in the heaven?"
answered: "Moses is lying."
his face to the other side, Phiraon asserted impatiently:
"I know he is a liar." Then he looked towards Haman
(and cried): "0 Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive
at the ways, - the ways of the heavens, and I may look
upon the Ilah (God) of Moses but verily, I think him
to be a liar."
it was made fair-seeming, in Phiraon's eyes, the evil
of his deeds, and he was hindered from the (Right) Path,
and the plot of Phiraon led to nothing but loss and
destruction (for him). Surah 40: 36-37
issued his royal command to erect a lofty tower, its
height to reach the heavens. Phiraon's command depended
fundamentally upon Egyptian civilization and its fondness
for building what Phiraon wanted. However, he ignored
the rules of engineering. In spite of this, Haman assented
(hypocritically), knowing that it was impossible to
erect such a tower. He said that he would issue a command
to build it immediately. "However, your majesty, let
me object to Phiraon for the first time. You will never
find anyone in the heavens. There is no god but you."
listened to a settled fact. Then he declared in the
famous meeting his historic line: "0 chiefs! I know
not that you have an ilah (a god) other than me." Surah