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QURANIC STORIES: The Story of Moses  



From: JMD Morgan <JohnM...@email.non>

Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 02:15:31 -0500

Local: Thurs, May 28 2009 3:15 am

Subject: QURANIC STORIES: The Story of Moses



QURANIC STORIES: The Story of Moses


A hundred years after the passing away of the Prophet Joseph, the rulers

of Egypt passed a decree that a son born to an Israelite parent would be

put to death; only daughters would be spared to serve the followers of




This was a [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘dreadful torment’ inflicted

on Israelites. During this dreaded era, Moses was born; his mother was,

however, commanded by God [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘not to cast

the child into the river on birth, but to suckle it’ till such time as

she felt that there was real danger to his life. For about three months

she reared him and then she put him in a box and lay it in the river.

God promised her that her child would be safe, that he would soon be

restored to her, and that he would be made [Bismillah al-rahman

al-rahim] ‘one of our apostles’.



The box was carried by the river Nile to the banks close to the palace

of Pharaoh. A servant of Pharaoh who was passing by picked up the box

and took the child to the Queen. Pharaoh was informed, and he ordered

that the child be put to death. But the Queen, who was childless, was

enchanted by the baby, for, she said, God had made him [Bismillah

al-rahman al-rahim] ’such a lovely child that the beholder could not but

love him’. She beseeched Pharaoh to spare his life. ‘Let us adopt him.

He will be raised in our palace and would never know that he was an

Israelite. He will be one of us and will, in fact, be useful in our

fight against the Israelites.’



Pharaoh relented. The Queen took to Moses as a mother would to her own

new-born son. But the baby was restless and cried incessantly; no nurse

was able to feed him.



Moses’ mother, who felt utterly bereft without her child, had asked

ten-year-old daughter to follow the course of her brother’s journey in

the box, and to keep a watch on him. The little girl did as she was

told. She entered the palace after the baby was taken there and managed

to get close to the Queen, eventually gaining her confidence. As the

child became weak through lack of nourishment, she talked to the Queen

of a [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘particular’ nurse who might be able

to suckle the child, to feed him with great affection and to bring him

up. [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Thus’, says Allah in the Quran, ‘We

restored Moses to his mother, so that her eyes might be cooled and she

would cease to grieve and would know that Allah’s promise was fulfilled.’



Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household under the benevolent care of the

Queen. When he reached manhood, Allah [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim]

‘gave him the power of knowledge and judgement’. Once, while on a visit

to the city, he saw two men fighting; one was an Israelite, the other an

Egyptian. The Israelite asked Moses for help, so Moses came to the

rescue and struck the Egyptian forcefully. The Egyptian collapsed and

died instantly. Moses was most perturbed and asked God for forgiveness,

saying, [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘I shall never come to the help

of those committing wrong.’ The next morning, the man he had helped

again called out for assistance. Moses realized that he was a

quarrelsome person and rushed to lay his hands on him. [Bismillah

al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Do you intend to kill me as you had killed the man

yesterday?’ the man shouted. ‘Do you wish to become a tyrant in the land?’



Moses prayed to the Lord. [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Oh, my Lord,

saave me from such people who are given to wrongdoing.’ Then a man came

running and informed Moses that Pharaoh’s chiefs were planning to hang

Moses and advised him to run away.



So Moses left Egypt in the direction of Madyan, praying to the Lord to

guide him to the right path. On reaching the waters of Madyan, he saw a

number of men drawing water for their animals, while two women stood by

quietly, holding back their animals. Moses asked them why they were

waiting. They replied, [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘We cannot water

our animals until the men have left; that is our misfortune. Our father

could not come to draw water for our animals as he is too old.’ Moses

drew water for both of them, and the women were grateful for his help.

One of them went home and informed her father of what Moses had done.

The father asked her to fetch Moses so that he might pay him the wages

for the work.


Moses told the old man the circumstances under which he had had to leave

Egypt. [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Have no fear any more,’ he

assured Moses, ‘It is good you have escaped from those wicked people.’

He was impressed by Moses and offered one of his daughters in marriage,

provided Moses promised to live with them for eight years, or even

longer if he so wished. Moses agreed and started his life in Madyan.


After eight years, Moses left with his wife and family. On their journey

he saw a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He made his family halt

there, while he ran towards the fire hoping to obtain some information

about the neighborhood, or at least get a burning firebrand to keep his

family warm. When Moses reached the spot he heard a voice from above the

trees on the right side of the sacred valley.


[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘What have you in your right hand?’ the

voice said. Bewildered, Moses replied: ‘It is my staff, with which I

bring down the leaves for my sheep and do many other things.’ The voice

spoke again:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] O Moses, I am the Lord of the

Universe. Cast down your staff and listen to me. [20:19]


Moses threw it down, and there before his eyes it became a writhing

serpent. The Lord spoke again:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Draw near it and fear not: now seize

the serpent and do not be afraid. It will become a staff again. [20:21]



Moses did as he was told. God then asked him to place his right hand

into his bosom and to bring it out again; it was shinging white and

without any stain. God then blessed him with supreme revelations and

commanded him to go to Pharaoh and his people and to preach to them the

Oneness of God and the glory of righteous conduct. Moses prayed to God:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Oh my Lord, enlarge my heart and

strengthen me by curing my speech so that people may understand what I

say. Also lighten my burden by assigning Aaron, my brother, to assist

me. [20:25-32]


The Lord granted his prayer and asked him to proceed with His Signs:



     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Go, you, O Moses and your brother,

with Our Signs to Pharaoh. Speak gently to him but make him see the

truth and fear Us. [20:43-44]


Moses and Aaron told the Lord that Pharaoh might subject them to

violence, as Moses was wanted by his chiefs for killing one of their

men. The Lord assured them not to have any fear in their hearts:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] I am with you; I hear and see

everything. Tell Pharaoh that you are My messengers. Ask him to let the

Israelites be with you, and to torture them no more. [20:46-47]


Armed with the divine mission and the Book that was sent down to him

which was to be the [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘means of

enlightenment to the people and a guidance and mercy to mankind’, Moses

left for Egypt with Aaron. They first went to the people and asked them

to worship the true God. Moses showed them His Signs, but the people

dismissed these as [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘nothing but false

magic’ and laughed at him. He asked them to sacrifice a cow as an

offering to God.


[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘What sort of cow?’ they asked him in

jest. Moses told them that God wanted a cow which was neither young nor

old but of middle age.


[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘What about its color?’ they asked. Moses

said it should be deep and bright yellow. There were several cows of

this color, they told Moses. He clarified that it should be a cow that

was neither yoked nor had ploughed any field; further, it was to be of

sound mind and wholesome body. The people then realized what Moses

meant; he wanted them to kill the golden cow that they and their

forefathers had been worshipping. They asked Moses first to approach

Pharaoh, their King, and if he agreed, they too would follow him. Moses

approached Pharaoh and appealed to him to give up his arrogance and high

and mighty ways and to bow before the Lord, who was indeed the ruler of

the world.


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Purify yourself, O Pharaoh, so that

I may guide you to the right path. [29:18]


Pharaoh was furious and asked Moses who was this God of his, whose

messenger he claimed to be. Moses replied:



     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Our Lord is the one who creates all

things; He gives them form and then guides them. [20:50]

Pharoah enquired about the generations that had passed away. Knowledge

of them, Moses said, was with God alone. He then asked Pharaoh to look

around and see the variety of God’s creations — the rain, the wind, the

cattle and the plants, all were the signs of His supremacy. Pharaoh

asked Moses whether he had any proof of his prophethood. Moses threw

down his staff and it became a live serpent. He then drew his hand out

of the pocket of his cloak, and it shone with dazzling brightness.


Pharaoh’s chiefs said Moses was no more than a magician; they told

Pharaoh: [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Call the best of magicians from

our cities to counter his magic’. Moses agreed to face them, and the

Festival Day was fixed for the event. Two of the best magicians

confronted Moses. They threw their ropes and staves at Moses, which

turned into serpents and coiled around him. Moses prayed to his Lord for

help. The Lord told him not to lose nerve, and commanded:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] Throw your staff down and it will

swallow everything which they have faked here; theirs are only magic

tricks, what you have is real. No magician ever thrives, whatever he may

do or wherever he may go. [20:69]


Moses threw his staff on the ground and it turned into a bigger serpent

which swallowed all the other serpents. The magicians were wonderstruck

and at once prostrated themselves, declaring that they believed in the

God of Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh thundered with rage: [Bismillah

al-rahman al-rahim] ‘How dare you do so without my leave?’ He warned

them that he would cut off their hands and feet on alternate sides and

crucify them on the trunks of palm trees if they did not desist from

following Moses. The magicians showed no fear and told Pharaoh that he

could do what he liked with them but they would not retract from the

clear path shown by Moses.


They believed that his God was superior to Pharaoh. They asked for the

forgiveness of the Lord for the sins of sorcery that Pharaoh had

compelled them to commit.


Pharaoh grew more furious, and decided to wipe out every trace of the

teachings of Moses. He issued a proclamation:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] O my people, I am the sovereign of

Egypt; even rivers flow beneath my feet. Are you to listen to a man who

cannot even speak properly? If he is really the Almighty’s messenger,

why is he not loaded with gold or attended upon by angels? [43:51-53]

Moses warned him that, if he disobeyed his call, [Bismillah al-rahman

al-rahim] ‘we have been told by Allah that a grievous punishment awaits

you.’ But Pharaoh and his men paid no heed to Moses’ warning. Thus they

were struck by the plague and other diseases; they begged Moses to save

them from the scourge. But no sooner were they cured than they went back

to the worship of Pharaoh. Two of Pharaoh’s chiefs, Qaran and Haman,

behaved particularly abominably; greed for wealth and lust for power

blinded their vision.


With the passage of time, the attitude of Pharaoh towards Moses

worsened: he denounced him publicly and tortured his followers. He

declared that there was no other god except he. He told Haman:

[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Build me a high tower, so that I may go

to the top and find out who this God of Moses is.’ He ordered his chiefs

to show no mercy to Israelites; they should be driven out of Egypt. A

reign of terror was unleashed. As a result, many of Moses’ people left

him, while only a few remained as his followers. But Moses was not

dismayed; he remained steadfast in the pursuit of his faith.


Then God came to Moses’ rescue. He was told to gather his followers and

take them through the midst of the seas, on a path that would be

specially carved for them by God. Pharaoh and his men, fully armed,

attempted to pursue them along the same path. As soon as Pharaoh and his

men set foot on the path, however, it vanished, and they were drowned in

the raging seas.


Israelites then settled in a secure habitation provided with all

amenities and comforts. After some time, Moses, accompanied by seventy

of his followers, ascended to the heavens to see God, leaving his people

in the charge of his brother, Aaron. He bade Aaron to have no dealings

with evil-doers and to perform his task with [Bismillah al-rahman

al-rahim] ‘an honest heart’. Moses had what the Quran describes as

[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘a communion with God for thirty nights’.

Subsequently, ten more nights were added, to make forty nights in all,

which was the appointed time of communication with the Lord.


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] When Moses came to the appointed

place, the Lord blessed him. Moses prayed: ‘O my Lord, let me look at

You.’ The Lord said, ‘You cannot see Me when I manifest My glory. But

look upon the mountain; if it stays firm in its place, then you shall

see Me. Now turn towards it.’ And in an instant the mountain crumbled

and became dust. Seeing this, Moses fell down in a swoon. [7:143]


When Moses recovered, God enquired: [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Why

have you come in such haste to Us?’ ‘My people have taken to the path

shown by You, my Lord,’ he replied. ‘I have come to seek Your

blessings.’ ‘In your absence your people have gone astray,’ God told

him. ‘They have been misled by a person calaled al-Samiri.’


Moses was grief-stricken. He begged God to forgive his followers and not

to destroy them for their betrayal. God granted his wish and gave him

tablets of stone bearing precepts that his people were to follow in

order to achievet he best, both on earth and in the hereafter.


Moses returned to earth with a heavy heart and found that, under the

guidance of al-Samiri, his followers had begin to worship the image of a

calf made out of their ornaments. More in sorrow than in anger, he

chided them and asked why they had broken their pledge to him. They said

that al-Samiri had asked them to throw their ornaments into a fire, out

of which had an effigy of a golden calf which made a lowing sound. They

were misled by this and began to worship the calf, believing that it was

the God of Moses. Moses asked them if they were so naive to think that

the calf had life? It could neither hear nor speak, nor do any good or

harm to them. Aaron had warned them of the wrong they were doing, but

they had insisted that until Moses returned they would continue to

worship the calf.


Moses threw down the tablets, telling his people that they were not

worthy of them. He dragged Aaron by the hair and asked him why he had

flouted his command and not prevented his people from being misled.

Aaron replied that the people had become so rebellious that they would

have killed him had he tried to restrain them. Besides, he did not want

to create a division in their ranks.


Moses asked God to forgive Aaron, and then turned to al-Samiri.

[Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘Begone,’ said Moses. ‘You will remain an

untouchable all your life, and hell shall be your destination.’


Taking the effigy of the calf in his hands, Moses consigned it to the

fire, which soon reduced it to ashes. He told the Israelites that he had

been chosen as the messenger; God had said to him:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] O Moses! I have chosen you in

preferrence to others, and entrusted you with the mission to convey My

words as contained in My revelations to all the people around, and to

join the ranks of these who are grateful to Me. [7:144]



God imparted knowledge to Moses for the good of Israelites, and

inscribed on the tablets [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] ‘detailed

precepts’ of faith in His oneness and the code of righteous conduct.


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] In the tablets We have ordained laws

concerning all matters, and We command you to hold to them firmly and be

among those who are faithful to the best of the precepts they contain.  [7:145]



Moses warned his people that those who repudiated God’s Signs and the

Judgement to come were bound to meet their doom; no one would be able to

save them then. He also asked them to remember the grace of God, because

of which prophets were raised among them and were made rulers. No other

people in the world had had such benevolence from the Lord. God had

assigned Palestine to them, and so Moses called on his followers to

enter this holy land. They hesitated and told Moses: [Bismillah

al-rahman al-rahim] ‘How can we? The land is inhabited by a mighty

people. Until they leave, we cannot possibly enter it.’ However, two

among them, who were brave and God-fearing, volunteered. Moses asked God

for his direction. He answered:


     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] To those who have defied your

command, O Moses! this land is proscribed for forty years. They will

wander around the world but will have no home of their own. You need not

sorrow over them, for that is the fate of rebellious people. [5:29]



The Israelites were divided into twelve tribes:



     [Bismillah al-rahman al-rahim] The Lord commanded Moses to strike

the rock with his staff. No sooner was this done than twelve springs

gushed forth. Each group then took its own spring to drink, and to each

the Lord gave shades of cloud as cover and manna and quail to eat, and

all other good things. But the unbelievers rebelled and did not follow

the command; they only harmed themselves. The Lord is, indeed, above all

harm. [7:160]


[Sadaqa allahu alazim]

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