Ibn Kathir: Story of Prophet Musa/Moses and Haroon/Aaron (pbut)
Then Allah sent swarms of locusts which ate whatever corps they had grown. The people hurried to Moses, asking him to invoke Allah to remove this affliction and promising they would send the children of Israel with him this time. The locusts departed, but they did not fulfill their promise.
Then another sign came, the sign of lice, which spread amongst the Egyptians, carrying diseases. Their refuge to Moses and their promise to him was repeated. His prayer to Allah was repeated and so, too, their breach of promise, as usual.
A sign of frogs was revealed. The land suddenly filled with frogs. They jumped on the food of the Egyptians, shared their houses, and distressed them greatly. The Egyptians went to Moses again, promising him to release the children of Israel. He prayed to his Lord, and Allah relieved them of the problem of the frogs, but they again broke their promise.
Then the last sign was revealed, the sign of blood. The Nile water was changed into blood. When Moses and his people drank the water, it was, for them, ordinary water. However, if any Egyptian filled his cup with the water, he discovered his cup full of blood. They hurried to Moses as usual, but as soon as everything returned to normal, they turned their backs on Allah.
Almighty Allah said: And indeed We punished the people of Pharaoh with years of drought, and shortness of fruits (crops, etc.), that they mighty remember (take heed). But whenever good came to them, they said: "Ours is this." And if evil athem, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Moses and those with him. Be informed! Verily, their evil omens are with Allah but most of them know not. They said to Moses: "Whatever Ayat (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 Mujrimeen (criminals, polytheists, sinners, etc.) (Ch 7:130-133 Quran)
Almighty Allah also said: But when We removed the punishment from them to a fixed term, which they had to reach, behold! They broke their word! (Ch 7:135 Quran)
Pharaoh became ruder and more arrogant. He proclaimed to his people. "Pharaoh is the only god. Has he not the kingdom of Egypt and rivers flowing under it?" He declared that Moses was a liar, a magician, and a poor man who did not wear even one bracelet of gold.
Almighty Allah declared: And indeed We did sent Moses with Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) to Pharaoh and his chiefs (inviting them to Allah's Religion of Islam). He said: "Verily! I am a Messenger of the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).
But when he came to them with our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) behold! They laughed at them. And not an Ayah (sign, etc.) We showed them but it was greater than its fellow, and We seized them with torment in order that they might turn from their polytheism to Allah's Religion (Islamic Monotheism).
And they said to Moses: "O you sorcerer! Invoke your Lord for us according to what He has covenanted with you. Verily, we shall guide ourselves aright."
But when We removed the torment from them, behold! They broke their covenant (that they will believe if We remove the torment for them).
And Pharaoh proclaimed among his people, saying "O my people! Is not mine the dominion of Egypt, and the rivers flowing underneath me. See you not then? Am I not better than this one (Moses), and who is Mahin (has no honor nor any respect, and is weak, and despicable) and can scarcely express himself clearly? Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him, or angels sent along with him?"
Thus he (Pharaoh) befooled and misled his people, and they obeyed him. Verily, they were Fasiqeen (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
So When they angered Us, We punished them, and drowned them all. And We made them a precedent (as a lesson for those coming after them), and an example to later generations. (Ch 43:46-56 Quran).
It appeared that Pharaoh would never believe in Moses' s message, nor would he stop the torture of the children of Israel. Therefore, Moses prayed to his Lord thus: "Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Pharaoh and his chiefs splendor and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord! That they may lead men astray from Your Path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment."
Allah said: "Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted. So you both keep to the Straight Way (keep on doing good deeds, and preaching Allah's Message with patience), and follow not the path of those who know not (the truth, to believe in the Oneness of Allah, and also to believe in the Reward of Allah: Paradise etc.)." (Ch 10:88-89 Quran)
Allah inspired Moses to conduct his people of Egypt, but only a few of his people believed in his message. Allah revealed: But none believed in Moses except the offspring of his people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs lest they should persecute them; and verily, Pharaoh was an arrogant tyrant on the earth, he was indeed one of the Musrifeen (polytheists, sinners, and transgressors, those who give up the truth and follow the evil, and commit all kinds of great sins).
And Moses said: "O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims (those who submit to Allah's Will)."
They said: "In Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are zalimeen (polytheists, and wrong-doing) (do not make them overpower us). And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk." (Ch 10:83-86 Quran).
Almighty Allah decided to put an end to Pharaoh's crimes after He had given him several chances. Allah commanded Moses to depart, and the children of Israel received reluctant permission from the Pharaoh to go out of the city for the feast. They prepared themselves to leave Egypt. This later became known as Exodus. They carried with them their jewels and borrowed a lot of jewels from the Egyptians.
In the darkness of night, Moses led his people towards the Red Sea, and in the morning they reached the beach. By then Pharaoh was aware of their departure, so he mobilized a huge army to pursue them.
The impatient children of Israel soon became agitated and Joshua (Yusha), Ibn Nun, exclaimed: "In front of us is this impassable barrier, the sea, and behind us the enemy; surely death cannot be avoided!"
Moses replied that he would wait for further guidance from Allah. These words filled them with some hope, but man is always impatient for results: they were willing to surrender themselves back into slavery. At that moment Allah revealed to Moses: "Smite the sea with your staff!" Moses did as he was commanded. A fierce wind blew, the sun shone brightly, and in a flash the sea parted, the crests of the waves standing like mountains on each side.
Moses led his people across. This miracle proved Moses's oft-repeated claim. "Verily! My Lord is with me!" As they looked back, they saw Pharaoh and his army approaching, about to take the very path which had been opened for them. In great fear and panic, they pleaded with Moses to ask Allah to close the sea. However, Allah commanded Moses not to smite the sea with his staff again, for Allah's decree was already in action.
Pharaoh and his army had seen the miracle, how the sea had parted, but being the pretender that he was, Pharaoh turned to his men and proclaimed: "Look! The sea has opened at my command so that I may follow those rebels and arrest them!" They rushed across the parted waters, and when they were midway, Allah commanded the sea to return to its former state.
Terror-stricken Pharaoh, realizing his end had come, declared out of fear: "I believe that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah in Whom the children of Israel believe, and I am of those who surrender to Him." But Allah did not accept this declaration from the tyrant, and the waters closed over him, drowning him and his entire army.
Almighty Allah narrated: And We inspired Moses, saying: "Take away My slaves by night, verily, you will be pursued." Then 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 host all assembled, amply fore-warned."
So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, treasures, and every kind of honorable 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 people of Moses said: "We are sure to be overtaken."
Moses said: "Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me."
Then We inspired Moses saying: "Strike the sea with your stick." And it parted, and each separate (part of that sea water) became like the huge, firm mass of a mountain.
Then We brought near the others (Pharaoh's party) to that place. And We saved 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." (Ch 26:52-68 Quran)
In another surah Almighty Allah narrated: And We took the children of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh with his hosts followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he sai: "I believe that La ilaha illa huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but) He, in whom the children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allah's Will)."
Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the mufsideen (evildoers, corrupts, etc.). So this day We shall deliver your dead body out from the sea that you maybe a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless or our Ayah (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). (Ch 10:90-92 Quran)
The curtain fell on Pharaoh's tyranny, and the waves threw his corpse up to the western seashore. The Egyptians saw him and knew that their god whom they worshipped and obeyed were mere slaves who could not keep death away from their own necks.
In spite of Pharaoh's death, he left a bad influence on the souls of the children of Israel. It was difficult for the years of oppression and intense humility to pass easily. He had made them accustomed to humbling themselves and submitting to someone other than Allah. He had so suppressed their souls and spoiled their nature that they began to torture Moses (pbuh) out of ignorance and obstinacy.
The miracle of the parting of the sea was still fresh in their minds, damp sea sands were still stuck on their soles, when they passed by a people worshipping idols. Instead of manifesting their indignation at the idolaters' oppression of the intellect by celebrating the praises of Allah for His guidance, they looked to Moses for him to specify a god for them to worship as those other people did. They were jealous of the other people and their idols, and they desired the same. They missed the ancient idolatry which they had lived with during the reign of Pharaoh.
Allah the Exalted revealed: And We brought the children of Israel (with safety) across the sea, and they came upon a people devoted to some of their idols (in worship). They said: "O Moses! Make for us an ilaha (a god) as they have aliah (gods)."
He said: "Verily, you are a people who know not (the Majesty and Greatness of Allah and what is obligatory upon you, to worship none but Allah Alone, the One and the Only God of all that exists)."
Moses added: "Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in idol-worship. And all that they are doing is in vain." He said: "Shall I seek for you an ilaha (a god) other than Allah, while He has give you superiority over the Alamin (mankind, and jinn of your time)."
And remember when We rescued you from Pharaoh's people, who were afflicted you with the worst torment, killing your sons, and letting your women live. And in that was a great trial from your Lord. (Ch 7:138-141 Quran)
The children of Israel were favored with Allah's grace and bounty. They were saved from oppression and had witnessed the drowning of their cruel ruler Pharaoh. When they needed water in the dry land, Allah commanded Moses to strike a rock, which parted and sent forth twelve springs of water for the twelve different tribes so that they need not dispute over a shortage of water. Allah also kept the skies cloudy to protect them from the scorching sun. To relieve their hunger manna (the dried exudate of certain plants) and quail were provided for them.
In spite of Allah's generosity, the mean spirited ones began to stir Moses's people to object that they were disgusted with this food; they desired onions, garlic, beans, and lentils, which were the traditional Egyptian foods. That is why the children of Israel asked Prophet Moses to pray to Allah to make the earth produce these foods. Moses again admonished them for oppressing themselves and for their desire to return to a life of humiliation in Egypt. He also pointed out that they were ungrateful for the bet and most abundant food. They wanted the worst instead of the best.
Allah the Exalted said: Remember when Moses asked for water for his people, We said: "Strike the stone with your stick." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group of people knew its own place for water. "Eat and drink of what which Allah had provided and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth."
And remember when you said: "O Moses! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us to b ring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its Fum (wheat, or garlic), its lentils and its onions." He said: "Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? Go you down to any town and you shall find what you want!" (Ch 2:60-61 Quran).
Allah had also directed Moses to lea them to the Promised Land (Palestine) which had been promised to Abraham as a land in which the pious and Allah-fearing of his offspring would live and uphold Allah's law. The children of Israel were an ungrateful people. In spite of all of Allah's favors, they could not stay away from evil and continued to reject Allah's Laws. When Moses ordered them to conquer the town of the Canaanites the Hittites (their enemies who had hounded them), the children of Israel were cowardly and made excuses: "O Moses, a great people dwell therein, We will not go in unless they leave." Ancient books tell that they were six hundred thousand men. Moses did not find among them but two men who were ready to fight. These two said to the people: "Once we enter through the door, Allah will make us victorious." However, all the children of Israel were an incarnation of cowardice and quivered from within.
Moses knew that his people were fit for nothing. Pharaoh was dead, but his effect upon their souls still remained. Their recovery needed a long period of time. Moses returned to his Lord, telling Him that he was responsible only for the actions of himself and his brother. He prayed to his Lord to judge between his people and himself.
Allah the Exalted issued His judgment against this generation whose nature was corrupted by the Egyptians: they must wander restlessly in the wilderness until this generation had died or become senile and had created another generation, a generation which had not been defeated from within and which could fight and score victory.
Almighty Allah revealed: And remember when Moses said to his people: "O my people! Remember the Favor of Allah to you, when He made Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not give to any other among the Alamin (mankind and jinn), in the past. O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you and turn not back in flight for then you will be returned as losers."
They said: "O Moses! In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength, and we shall never enter it, till they leave it; when they leave, then we will enter."
Two men of those who feared Allah and in whom Allah had His Grace said: "Assault them through the gate, for when you are in, victory will be yours, and put your trust in Allah if you are believers indeed."
They said: "O Moses! We shall never enter it as long as they are there. So go you, and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here."
He (Moses) said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother, so separate us from the people who are the Fasiqeen (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)!"
Allah said: "Therefore it (this holy land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander through the land. So be not sorrowful over the people who are the Fasiqeen (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)." (Ch 5:20-26 Quran)
The days of restless wandering began. Each day ended where it began and began where it ended. They started walking to no destination, day and night, morning and evening. They entered Sinai. Moses came to the same place where he had spoke to Allah for the first time. He appealed to Allah for guidance in judging over his people. Allah instructed him to purify himself by fasting for thirty days, after which he was to go to Mount Sinai, where he would be given the law by which he would govern his people.
The ancients said that after Moses fasted thirty days, he hated to speak to his Lord because of the odor of his mouth. He ate a plant of the earth and then his Lord said to him: "Why did you break your fast?" Moses said: "O my Lord, I disliked to speak to You with my mouth not having a pleasant smell." Allah said: "Do you not know, Moses, the odor of the faster's mouth is more fragrant to Me than the rose. Go back and fast ten days; then come back to Me." Moses did what Allah commanded.
Almighty Allah declared: And We appointed for Moses thirty nights and added to the period ten more, and he completed them term, appointed by his Lord, of forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron: "Replace me among my people, act in the Right Way (by ordering the people to obey Allah and to worship Him Alone) and follow not the way of the Mufsideen (mischief makers)."
And when Moses came the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord spoke to him, he said: "O my Lord! Show me (yourself), that I may look upon You."
Allah said: "You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me." So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Moses fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: "Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers."
Allah said: "O Moses, I have chosen you above men by My Messages, and by My speaking to you. So hold that which I have given you and be of the grateful."
And We wrote for him on the Tablets the lesson to be drawn from all things and the explanation of all things (and said): "hold unto these with firmness, and enjoin your people to take the better therein, I shall show you the home of Al Fasiqeen (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). I shall turn away from My Ayat (verses from the Quran), those who behave arrogantly on the earth, in a wrongful manner, and even if they see all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) they will not believe in them. And if they see the way of righteousness (monotheism, piety, and good deeds), they will not adopt it as the Way, but if they see the way of error (polytheism, crimes, and evil deeds), they will adopt that way, that is because they have rejected Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and were heedless to learn a lesson from them. Those who deny Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and the Meeting in the Hereafter (Day of Resurrection), vain are their deeds. Do they expect to be rewarded with anything except what they used to do?" (Ch 7:142-147 Quran)
Earlier scholars said that The Ten Commandments of the Torah are included in two verses of the Quran. Say: "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty- We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to shameful sins (illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly; and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand. And come not near to the orphan's property, except to improve it, until he or she attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (judge between men or give evidences, etc.) , say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah. This He commands you, that you may remember." (Ch 6:151-152 Quran).
Moses (pbuh) had been gone for forty days and his people were becoming restless, for they did not know that Allah had extended his time by a further ten days. Samiri, a man who was inclined towards evil, suggested that they find themselves another guide, as Moses had broken his promise. He said to them: "In order to find true guidance, you need a god, and I shall provide one for you."
So he collected all their gold jewelry, dug a hole in which he placed the lot, and lit a huge fire to melt it down. During the casting, he threw a handful of dust, making actions like a magician's to impress the ignorant. From the molten metal he fashioned a golden calf. It was hollow, and the wind passing through it produced a sound. Since superstition was imbedded in their past, they quickly linked the strange sound to something supernatural, as if it were a living god. Some of them accept the golden calf as their god.
Moses's brother Aaron (pbuh), who acted as their leader in Moses' s absence, was grieved and spoke up: "O my people! You have been deceived. Your Lord is the Most Beneficent. Follow and obey me."
They replied: "We shall stop worshipping this god only if Moses returns."
Those who had remained steadfast in belief separated themselves from the pagans.
On his return Moses saw his people singing and dancing around the calf statue. Furious at their paganistic ritual, he flung down the Tablet of the Law he was carrying for them. He tugged Aaron's beard and his hair, crying: "What held you back when you saw them going astray? Whey did you not fight this corruption?"
Aaron replied: "O son of my mother, let go of my beard! The fold considered me weak and were about to kill me. So make not the enemies rejoice over me, nor put me among the people who are wrong-doers."
Moses' s anger began to subside when he understood Aaron's helplessness, and he began to handle the situation calmly and wisely.
Almighty Allah narrated: They said: "We broke not the promise to you, of our own will, but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the Pharaoh's people, then we cast them into the fire, and that was what As-Samiri suggested."
Then he took out of the fire, for them a statue of a calf which seemed to low. They said: "This is your ilah (god), and the ilah (god) of Moses, but Moses has forgotten (his god)."
Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?
And Aaron indeed had said to them beforehand: "O my people! You are being tried in this, and verily, your Lord is Allah the Most Beneficent, so follow me and obey my order."
They said: "We will not stop worshipping it (the calf) until Moses returns to us." (Ch 20:87-91 Quran)
Allah the Exalted revealed some of the dialogue that took place between Him and Moses on Mount Sinai: "And what made you hasten from your people, O Moses?"
He said: "They are close on my footsteps, and I hastened to You, O my Lord! That you might be pleased."
Allah said: "Verily! We have tried your people in your absence, and As-Samiri has led them astray."
Then Moses returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow. He said: "O my people! Did not your Lord promise you a fair promise? Did then the promise seem to you long in coming? Or did you desire the Wrath should descend from your Lord on you, so you broke your promise to me (disbelieving in Allah and worshipping the calf)?" (Ch 20: 83-86 Quran)
Allah the Exalted revealed what happened further on Moses's return. Moses said: "O Aaron! What stopped you when you saw them going astray, that you followed me not (according to my advice to you)? Have you then disobeyed my order?"
He (Aaron) said; "O my son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard, nor by my head! Verily, I feared lest you should say: 'You have caused a division among the children of Israel, and you have not respected my word!'"
(Moses) said: "And what is the matter with you, O Samiri? (why did you do so?)"
Samiri said: "I saw what you saw not, so I took a handful of dust from the hoof print of the Messenger (Gabriel's horse) and threw it (into the fire in which were put the ornaments of the Pharaoh's people, or into the calf). Thus my inner-self suggested to me."
Moses said: "Then go away! And verily, your punishment in this life will be that you will say: 'Touch me not' (you will live alone exiled away from mankind); and verily (for a future torment), you have a promise that will not fail. And look at your ilah (god), to which you have been devoted. We will certainly burn it, and scatter its particles in the sea." (Ch 20:83-98 Quran)
However, the punishment which was imposed upon the calf worshippers was severe, death. Remember when Moses said to his people: "O my people! Verily, you have wronged yourselves by worshipping the calf. So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves (the innocent kill the wrong doers among you), that will be better for you in the Sight of your Creator." Then He accepted your repentance. Truly, He is the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. (Ch 2:54 Quran)
Therefore, the crime of worshipping the calf did not pass unpunished. Moses commanded the elite of the children of Israel to pray to Allah for forgiveness and demonstrate their repentanc. He chose seventy en out of them and ordered them: "Rush towards Allah and repent for what you did and ask His forgiveness for what you left."
Moses returned to Mount Sinai with the seventy elders and there he communicated with Allah. The elders heard Moses speaking with his Lord. (Allah spoke to Moses directly.) This was, perhaps, the last miracle that they would see, and it was hoped that it would be sufficient enough to convey the religion to their hearts forever. However, the seventy elite who heard the miracles were dissatisfied. They said to Moses: "O Moses! We shall never believe in you till we see Allah plainly." (Ch 2:35 Quran)
This was a tragedy that amazes one. It was a tragedy that indicated those who were hard-hearted and who continued to hold onto sensual and material concerns. Their stubborn demand was rewarded with punishing lightning bolts and a violent quaking that stupefied their souls and bodies at once, leaving them dead.
Moses knew what had happened to the seventy elite and was filled with sorrow. He prayed to his Lord, entreating Him to forgive them, for they were fools. Foolishness is only expiated by death. Allah forgave the elders and revived them after their death.
Allah the Exalted declared: Moses chose out of his people seventy of the best men for Our appointed time and place of meeting, and when they were seized with a violent earthquake, he said: "O my Lord, if it had been Your Will, You could have destroyed them and me before; would You destroy us for the deeds of the foolish ones among us? It is only Your Trial by which You lead astray whom You will, and keep guided whom You will. You are our Wali (Protector), so forgive us and have Mercy on us, for You are the Best of Those who forgive. And ordain for us good in this world, and in the Hereafter. Certainly we have turned unto You."
He said (as to ) My Punishment I afflict therewith whom I will and My Mercy embraces all things. That (Mercy) I shall ordain for those who are the Muttaqun and give Zakat; and those who believe in our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.); Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (Muhammad) whom they find written with them in the Torah and the Gospel, (Ch 7:155-157 Quran , Deut. 18:18; Psl. 118:22-23; Isa 42:1-13; Hab, 3:3-4, Matt 21:42-43, Jn 14:16-17, 26-28, 16:7-14) he commands them for Al Ma'ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al Munkar (disbelief, polytheism, of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At Tayyibat (all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds beliefs, persons, food, etc. and prohibits them as unlawful Al Khabaith (all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, food, etc.), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allah's Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honor him, help him, and follow the light (the Quran) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful. (Ch 7:155-157 Quran)
Moses (pbuh) stayed among his people calling them to Allah. It seems their souls were uneasy in a way that the observant eye could not mistake. Their obstinacy and chattering about what has become known as "The Story of the Cow" was unwarranted. This topic did not need so many negotiations between Moses and the people, nor did it need all their bias.
It was said that among the children of Israel there lived a pious man. He was poor but very careful about how he earned the living; it had to be honestly earned. Everything that he did was done for the sake of Allah, never for selfish gain. On his deathbed his last words were: "O Allah, I place my wife, my little son, and my only possession, a calf, in Your care." Strangely, he asked his wife to lead the calf to the forest and leave it there. He did this because he did not trust the children of Israel, for they were a selfish and greedy folk.
After a few years when the boy had grown up, his mother told him: "Your father has left you a calf in the trust of Allah. It must have grown into a cow by now." The son was surprised. He did not know of any calf all these years and asked his mother where it was. She replied: "Be like your father and say: 'I trust in Allah,' then go look for it."
With a rope in his hand, he went to the forest and prostrated himself before Allah: "O Allah, Lord of Abraham and Jacob and Job, return to me my father's trust. " As he raised his head, he saw a cow coming towards him. It stopped submissively beside him. He tied the rope around its neck and led it to his house. The cow would not allow anyone else come near it except the young man.
The youth was as pious as his father. He earned his living by cutting wood. Whatever he earned he divided into three equal portions; one he gave to his mother, one he used for his needs, and the last he gave as charity. His nights, too, were divided into three parts; during the early part of the night he helped his mother, the middle part he devoted to the worship of Allah, and during the last part he rested.
About this a wealthy man died, leaving behind an only son, who inherited his father's wealth. His cousins envied his good fortune, and secretly killed him so that they could inherit it.
The dead boy's other relatives came to the Prophet Moses (pbuh) and asked his help in tracing the boy's murderer. Moses instructed them to slaughter a cow, remove its tongue and place it on the corpse. This would reveal the murderer, he told them. They accused Moses of joking. He replied: "Allah forbid that I be foolish!" They questioned him about the type of cow they should slaughter, and he said: "This cow is neither young nor mature, but in between the two conditions, so do as you have been commanded."
Instead of following his direction, they asked him more questions. "What color must it be?"
He replied: "Verily, it is yellow in color."
They still were not satisfied with his answer and asked for more details. Moses replied: "It is an unyoked cow; it does not plow the soil nor water the tilth, and is entirely without marks."
They went out in search of such a cow. The only one that matched the description was the one owned by the orphaned youth. They met him on the way and asked the price for which he would sell his cow. He told them he would have to consult his mother first, so they accompanied him to his house and offered her three gold coins. She refused their offer, saying that the cow was worth much more.
They were on increasing their offer and the mother kept on refusing. Finally the urged the son to speak to his mother to be reasonable. He told them: "I will not sell the cow without my mother's approval, even if you offered me its skin filled with gold!" On hearing this, his mother smiled and said: "Let that be the price: its skin filled with gold." They realized that no other cow would do; they had to have it at any price. They agreed to buy the cow and paid with its skin filled with gold.
Allah the Almighty narrated: And remember when Moses said to his people: "Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow."
They said: "Do you make fun of us?"
He said: "I take Allah's Refuge from being among Al Jahileen (the ignorants or the foolish)."
They said: "Call upon your Lord for us that He may make plain to us what it is!"
He said: "He says, 'Verily, it is a cow neither too old nor too young, but it is between the two conditions, so do what you are commanded."
They said; "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us its color."
He said: "He says, 'It is a yellow cow bright in its color, pleasing to the beholders.'"
They said: "Call upon your Lord for us to make plain to us what it is. Verily to us all cows are alike, and surely, if Allah wills, we will be guided."
He (Moses) said: "He says, 'It is a cow neither trained to till the soil nor water the fields, sound, having no other color except bright yellow.'"
They said: "Now you have brought the truth." So they slaughtered it though they were near to not doing it.
Aremember when you killed a man and fell into dispute among yourselves to the crime. But Allah brought forth that which you were hiding. So We said: "Strike him (the dead man) with a piece of it (the cow)." Thus Allah brings the dead to life and shows you His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) so that you may understand.
Then after that your hearts were hardened and became as stone or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them stones which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (Ch 2:67-74 Quran).
One day Moses (pbuh) delivered such an impressive sermon that all who heard it was deeply moved. Someone in the congregation asked: "O Messenger of Allah, is there another man on earth more learned than you?" Moses replied: "No!", believing so, as Allah had given him the power of miracles and honored him with the Torah.
However, Allah revealed to Moses that no man could know all there is to know, nor would one messenger alone be the custodian of all knowledge. There would always be another who knew what others did not. Moses asked Allah: "O Allah, where is this man? I would like to meet him and learn from him." He also asked for a sign to this person's identity.
Allah instructed him to take a live fish in a water filled vessel. When the fish disappeared, he would find the man he sought. Moses set out on his journey, accompanied by a young man who carried the vessel with the fish. They reached a place where two rivers met and decided to rest there. Instantly, Moses fell asleep.
While he was asleep, his companion saw the fish wriggle out of the vessel into the river and swim away. However, he forgot to relate the incident to Moses. When he awoke, they continued their journey until they were exhausted and hungry. Moses asked for his morning meal. Only then did his companion recall that the fish they had brought with them had gotten away. Hearing this, Moses exclaimed: "This is exactly what we are seeking!"
They hurriedly retraced their steps to the place where the rivers met and where the fish had jumped out. There they found a man, his face partly covered with a hood. His bearing showed he was a saintly man. He was Al-Khidr, the guide.
Allah the Almighty narrated: And remember when Moses said to his boy servant: "I will not give up (traveling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or until I spend years and years in traveling."
But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish, and it took its way through the sea as in a tunnel. So when they had passed further on (beyond that fixed place), Moses said to his boy servant: "Bring us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our journey."
He said: "Do you remember when we betook ourselves to the dock? I indeed forgot the fish, none but Satan made me forget to remember it. It took its course into the sea in a strange way!"
Moses said: "That is what we have been seeking." So they went back retracing their footsteps.
Then they found one of Our slaves, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us, and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.
Moses said to him (Khidr) "May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance, and true path) which you have been taught by Allah?"
He (Khidr) said: "Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me! And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?"
Moses said; "If Allah will, you will find me patience, and I will not disobey you in aught."
He (Khidr) said: "Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I myself mention it to you."
So they both proceeded, till, when they were in the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Moses said: "Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have done Imra- a Munkar (evil, bad, dreadful) thing."
He (Khidr) said: "Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?"
Moses said: "Cal me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair with you."
Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Moses said: "Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have done Nukra a great Munkar (prohibited, evil dreadful) thing!"
Khidr said: "Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?"
Moses said: "If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me."
Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. Moses said: "If you had wished, surely you could have taken wages for it!"
Khidr said: "This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience.
"As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them, who seized every ship by force.
"And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy.
"And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which could not hold patience. (Ch 18:60-82 Quran)
The story of Moses and Al-Khidr is also told in a hadith. Said Ibn Jubair said: "I said to Ibn' Abbas, Nauf Al Bukah claims that Moses, the companion of Al Khidr, was not Moses (the Prophet) of the children of Israel, but some other Moses.' Ibn Abbas said: 'Allah's enemy (Nauf) has told a lie. Ubai Ibn Kab told us that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Once Moses stood up and addressed Bani Israel. He was asked who was the most learned man amongst the people. He said: "I." Allah admonished him as he did not attribute absolute knowledge to Him (Allah). So, Allah said to him: "Yes, at the junction of the two seas there is a slave of Mine who is more learned than you." Moses said; "O my Lord! How can I meet him?" Allah said: "Take a fish and put it in a large basket and you will find him at the place where you will lose the fish."
Moses took a fish and put it in a basket and proceeded along with his servant boy, Joshua (Yusha Ibn Nun), till they reached the rock where they laid their heads (lay down). Moses slept, and the fish, moving out of the basket, fell into the sea. It took its way into the sea straight as in a tunnel. Allah stopped the flow of water over the fish and it became like an arch (the Prophet pointed out this arch with his hands). They traveled the rest of the night, and the next day Moses said to his boy servant: "Give us our food, for indeed, we have suffered much fatigue in this journey of ours." Moses did not feel tired till he crossed that place which Allah had ordered him to seek after. His boy said to him: "Do you know that when we were sitting near that rock, I forgot the fish, and none but Satan caused me to forget to tell you about it, and it took its course into the sea in an amazing way?" So there was a path for the fish and that astonished them. Moses said: "That was what we were seeking after."
So both of them retraced their footsteps till they reached the rock. There they saw a man lying covering with a garment. Moses greeted him, and he replied saying: "How do people greet each other in your land?" Moses said: "I am Moses."
The man asked: "Moses of Bani Israel?" Moses said: "yes, I have come to you so that you may teach me from those things which Allah has taught you." He said: "O Moses! I have some of the knowledge of Allah which Allah has taught me and which you do not know, wyou have some of the knowledge of Allah which Allah has taught you and which I do not know." Moses asked: "May I follow you?" He said: "But you will not be able to remain patient with me, for how can you be patient about things which you will not be able to understand?" Moses said: "You will find me, if Allah so will, truly patient, and I will not disobey you in aught."
So both of them set out walking along the seashore. A boat passed by them, and they asked the crew of the boat to take them on board. The crew recognized Al-Khidr, so they took them on board without fare. When they were on board the boat, a sparrow came and stood on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak once or twice into the sea. Al Khidr said to Moses: "O Moses! My knowledge and your knowledge have not decreased Allah's knowledge except as much as this sparrow has decreased the water of the sea with its beak." Then suddenly Al Khidr took an adz and pulled up a plank, and Moses did not notice it till he had pulled up a plank with the adz. Moses said to him: "What have you done? They took us on board charging us nothing; yet you have intentionally made a hole in their boat as to drown its passengers. Verily, you have done a dreadful thing." Al Khidr replied: "Did I not tell you that you would not be able to remain patient with me?" Moses replied: "Do not blame me for what I have forgotten, and do not be hard upon me for my fault." So the first excuse of Moses was that he had forgotten.
When they had left the sea, they passed by a boy playing with other boys. Al Khidr took a hold of the boy's head and plucked it with his fingertips as if he were plucking some fruit. Moses said to him: "Have you killed an innocent person who has not killed any person? You have really done a horrible thing." Al Khidr said: "Did I not tell you that you could not remain patient with me?" Moses said: "If I ask you about anything after this, don't accompany me. You have received an excuse from me."
Then both of them went on till they came to some people of a village, and they asked its inhabitants for food but they refused to entertain them as guests. Then they saw therein a wall which was just going to collapse and Al Khidr repaired it just by touching it with his hands. (Sufyan, the sub-narrator, gestured with his hands, illustrating how Al Khidr passed his hands over the wall upwards.) Moses said: "These are the people whom we have called on, but they neither gave us food, nor entertained us as guests, yet you have repaired their wall. If you had wished, you could have taken wages for it."
Al Khidr said: "This is the parting between you and me, and I shall tell you the explanation of those things on which you could not remain patient."
The Prophet (pbuh) added: "We wish that Moses could have remained patient by virtue of which Allah might have told us more about their story." (Sufyan, the sub-narrator, said that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "May Allah bestow His Mercy on Moses! If he had remained patient, we would have been told further about their case." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Moses (pbuh) suffered terribly from his people and endured much for the sake of Allah. Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated: "Once the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) distributed something (among his companions). A man said: "This distribution has not been done (with justice) seeking Allah's Countenance.' I went to the Prophet (pbuh) and told him of that. He became so angry that I saw the signs of anger on his face. Then he said: 'May Allah bestow His Mercy on Moses, for he was harmed more (in a worse manner) than this; yet he endured patiently.'" (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
The children of Israel mistreated Moses (pbuh) a lot. His agony was not limited to mutiny, stupidity, chattering, ignorance, and idolatry; it exceeded this and went as far as inflicting personal harm on him.
Almighty Allah commanded: O you who believe! Be not like those who annoyed Moses, but Allah cleared him of that which they alleged, and he was honorable in Allah's sight! (Ch 33:69 Quran).
Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah's Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Prophet Moses was a shy person and used to cover his body completely because of his extensive shyness. One of the children of Israel hurt him by saying: 'He covers his body in this way only because of some defect in his skin, either leprosy or scrotal hernia, or he has some other defect.'
Allah wished to clear Moses of what they said about him, so one day while Moses was in seclusion, he took his clothes and put them on a s tone and started taking a bath. When he had finished the bath, he moved towards his clothes so as to take them, but the stone took his clothes and fled. Moses picked up his stick and ran after the stone saying: 'O stone! Give me my garment!' till he reached a group of children of Israel who saw him naked then, and found him in the best shape of what Allah had created, and Allah cleared him of what they had accused him of. The stone stopped there, and Moses took and put on his garment and started hitting the stone with his stick. By Allah, the stone still has some traces of the hitting, three, four, or five marks. This was what Allah the Almighty refers to in His saying: O you who believe! Be not like those who annoyed Moses, but Allah cleared him of that which they alleged, and he was honorable in Allah's sight!" (Ch 33:69 Quran) (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Aaron (pbuh) died shortly before Moses (pbuh). His people were still wandering in the wilderness when he died.
Abu Hurairah narrated: "The Angel of Death was sent to Moses (pbuh). When he came to Moses, Moses slapped him on the eye. The Angel returned to his Lord and said: 'You have sent me to a slave who does not want to die.' Allah said: 'Return to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox and for every hair that will come under it, he will be granted one year of life.' Moses said: 'O Lord! What will happen after that?' Allah replied: 'then death.' Moses said: 'Let it come now!' Moses then requested Allah to let him die close to the Holy Land so that he would be at a distance of a stone's throw from it." Abu Hurairah added: "Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: 'If I were there, I would show you his grave below the red sandhill on the side of the road.'" (Sahih Al Bukhari)
Moses (pbuh), Prophet of Allah and the one to whom Allah spoke to directly, met his death with a contented soul and a faithful heart that looked forward to righteousness and made haste to meet with Him Who bore tidings of peace.
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