PROPHET MUSA (MOSES)
After a colorful chain of events Yusuf was
united with his family. His father Ya'qoob, along with the rest of the family, joined Yusuf to live together in Egypt.
Years passed and the family became large.
The children matured and had many children of their own. They were called the Israelites, meaning sons of Ya'qoob. The Israelites lived in Egypt but did not travel much nor
mix with other people. The Israelites preferred living isolated and came to be looked upon as foreigners.
Egypt used to be ruled by kings called
Fir'own (Pharaohs). They were absolute
monarchs and very dictatorial. Many Fir'owns were conceited, oppressive and arrogant. Some imagined themselves to be God-like, if not Gods, just imagine!
Fir'own and his government were
tyrannical. They did not care for the welfare of the Israelites nor the general public, no matter how desperate the people's conditions were. Fir'owns were not fair to most
people, forcing them to work hard either through slave labor or with
little payment. They were even chained and
whipped if they dared to refuse to work. The general public felt miserable and were poor and ignorant. Conditions were atrocious, people died of malnutrition since they were
too poor to buy enough food, and too weak to work efficiently.
The harsh treatment was worse for the Israelites, the descendants of the family of Prophet Ya'qoob.
(Surah 28: Ayah 4.)
FIR'OWN (PHARAOH) THINKS OF A TRICK
The Fir'own of the time, powerful and
self-assured, saw that the Israelites were growing in number. Like other kings he was afraid that the Israelites might one day revolt against him. He thought that if their
number increases further they become so strong it would be difficult to defend against their rebellion. He knew their living standard was extremely low and that one day this
would lead to an uprising against him.
Fir'own then thought, if he ordered every
baby boy born to the Israelites to be killed, then the Israelites would stop multiplying so fast. He also thought if the Israelites were prevented from becoming so many, they
would be too afraid to revolt or cause his government trouble.
Killing the Israelite boys was only an
idea, but it soon became an obsession, and the more Fir'own thought of it, the more he liked it. And with time this idea grew to such an extent that Fir'own wanted it executed
right away. So Fir'own figured that the sooner he took action the better, and the longer he waited the more likely trouble could arise.
(Surah 28: Ayah 4-6.)
The following morning Fir'own (Pharaoh)
sat on his throne arrogantly, and he was surrounded by guards with shiny armor and swords. The government dignitaries were around, silently wondering what orders Fir'own was
going to give now. They were silent in anticipation, waiting to hear his proclamation.
Fir'own looked around, proud
and confident, and finally he declared, "Every boy born to any Israelite must be thrown in the river to die, the Nile River, no less. See to it that you carry out my command
The orders were ominous, the
court was taken aback. They felt for the innocent, helpless babies and their Israelite parents, but no one dared to object, since Fir'own would put them to death. The
Israelites received the news with alarm, but could not speak out or object or else they would be liquidated.
The soldiers were to carry out
the orders if they liked it or not. They went toward the slums of the Israelites looking for their boys. They grabbed the babies and yanked them from their screaming
mothers, and lent a deaf ear if the mothers cried, begged, or agonized. Heartlessly, the babies were thrown into the river to die!
The soldiers knew this was
awful but who dared to disobey Fir'own? Fir'own ruled with an iron fist and anyone who opposed him was simply killed or liquidated. Many, many babies died, and many mothers
and fathers were in absolute horror!
ALLAH'S MERCY COMES TO THEM
One Israelite was pregnant, and her mind
wondered, "Was it going to be a boy or a girl?" She was very afraid and quite apprehensive. If it was going to be a boy, could it be saved, and if so, how?
When her baby was born, it was a beautiful
boy. But what would she do, she thought, if the soldiers find out? She couldn't imagine her beautiful innocent baby thrown to the fish in the river.
Shortly after the birth Allah (swt)
revealed to her, "Be patient and fear not, your baby will be saved, and returned to you." How merciful Allah (swt) was to the helpless, the meek, the fearful mothers! (Surah
28: Ayah 7.)
The baby was named Musa (Moses). He was
handsome and appeared strong. His mother fed him for a few months and he grew nicely. He smiled and cooed, making her fill with joy. "Musa is such a dear," his mother
thought, "such a lovable baby, but how am I to save him? I must think of a plan."
SHE PUTS HIM IN A BOX
When Musa became a few months old his
mother was very afraid to be discovered, so she thought the time had come to proceed with her plan.
She made a leak-proof box large enough to
hold baby Musa. She lined the box with a blanket, lifted Musa and kissed him lovingly. Her heart, beating hard at the suspense of the moment, was telling her to stop, but she
was scared and in turmoil—she relied on Allah for strength. After all, Allah had promised to save the baby, but she did not know how.
It was before dawn when the mother and
daughter took Musa and the box to the river. They cautiously looked left and right, making sure no one saw them. They were scared and fearful and their hearts beating hard.
Finally, they reached the riverside and
Musa was tenderly kissed and hugged by his mother many times. The mother's tears rolled down her cheeks as she put him in the box and pushed the box into the water.
The box gently floated away. The sister was told to follow the box at a distance, while the mother,
distraught and heartbroken, returned back home. (Surah 20: Ayah 38-39.)
THE BOX IS PICKED UP
Musa's sister was hiding from place to
place along the shore of the Nile River, watching the box and praying for it not to sink.
The box moved slowly, floating safely,
until it came to the shore. Baby Musa was not crying nor making any noise. Darkness dispersed as light of dawn slowly emerged. Some of Fir'own's household were at the shore,
washing. They saw the box floating and became curious, wanting to find out what was inside.
When they ran into the water and picked up
the box, they were startled to see a beautiful baby, only a few months old, innocently smiling and looking happy. They were excited by now, and wanted to take it to Fir'own.
AT FIR'OWN'S PALACE
The atmosphere was filled with excitement,
the box was carried by one person and followed by many others. They were all noisy, talking with excitement. Musa's sister ran with them although no one knew who she was nor
did they seem to care to inquire.
Fir'own's wife stood tall and dignified,
she was surrounded by many women standing in service. The box was placed on the floor before her as all eyes were fixed upon Musa. He was captivating and beautiful, and as he
smiled they said, "See him smile? Isn't he wonderful?!"
Fir'own's wife fell in love with him
instantly, and she wouldn't give him up for anything. Not even her husband, Fir'own himself, could do anything about it. She wanted to make Musa as her own son and she did!
THE BABY IS HUNGRY
Baby Musa became very hungry, as hungry as
could be. He wanted his milk and started to cry. In those days they didn't used to have bottles; babies nursed from their mothers or someone who could nurse. So, baby Musa,
crying with hunger, was given to a nursing woman to feed him. Baby Musa would not take the breast, refusing it completely. He kept crying instead, and making so much fuss. He
was given to many nursing women but baby Musa wouldn't accept any. Everyone became desperate and didn't know what to do. It was very frustrating!
Musa's sister was standing by, and at the
proper moment she said, "I know of a woman with whom the baby will be happy, may I bring her?"
"Go ahead, go ahead and hurry!" everyone
said, "can you not see we are desperate?!"
She ran fast toward home, short of breath
and perspiring. She shouted while knocking at the door. When her mother opened the door, the girl said, "Hurry, hurry! Musa is at Fir'own's Palace. They love him. He
refused every nursing woman, he is crying incessantly! Come with me, nurse him, and they will surely keep you with him!"
The two of them quickly ran toward
Fir'own's Palace, both happy in anticipation. And while running Musa's mother remembered how Allah (swt) had promised to save Musa and return him to her. She felt so
privileged and grateful.
At Fir'own's Palace, Musa the crying baby, became Musa the happy baby, once taking his mother's milk. His
tummy became full again. On seeing that, Fir'own's wife asked Musa's mother to please, please stay with Musa and be his wet-nurse. None of them ever suspected she was Musa's
real mother. (Surah 28:Ayah 8-13.)
MUSA'S MOTHER STAYS
Musa grew up in Fir'own's Palace, and as a
baby and then a teenager he was close to his mother; he was the apple of her eye. She was so happy to be with him.
Musa learned a great deal about Fir'own
and the manner in which he governed Egypt. He noticed the luxury Fir'own lived in as well as the privileged of the government. He also noticed the common man and the misery in
which he lived.
Musa eventually learned from his mother
about the Israelites, and that he was one of them, and how Allah has saved him. His mother had plenty of time to tell him about his own people, the Israelites. He noticed how
badly they were treated, with living conditions not even fit for animals. His conscience bled for them and he was very sympathetic.
Musa became a strong and handsome man. He
learned much about Fir'own and the intricacies of his rule, since he lived in the Palace. He did not have to earn his living like the common person. Though Musa lived in
luxury, deep in his heart he felt pain; he felt for the poor, the disadvantaged, especially the Israelites. He wondered often how it felt to live as the Israelites—in fear,
poor, and worried most of the time. He wondered and wondered, especially during his growing years.
MUSA GETS IN A TIGHT SPOT
Musa was a young man, walking by himself,
some distance from town. Suddenly, there erupted some excitement and confusion. Curious, he went to investigate to see an Israelite in a fight with one of Fir'own's servants,
they were hitting each other and shouting. The Israelite was losing, but on seeing Musa he screamed for help, "Please come and help, I need you, I need you!" he pleaded.
Musa was carrying a heavy stick and
unconsciously he hit Fir'own's servant with all his might. The stick fell on the servant's head with force and the man went in immediate shock, looked as pale as could be, and
sagged to the ground like a wet rag. Musa and the Israelite rushed to him, but alas, the man was lifeless, dead.
Musa felt guilty, for surely he didn't mean to kill the man, all that he wanted was to stop him from
beating the other and to stop the fight. Musa was a good man, he never meant to kill. Musa returned home with a heavy heart, his head was twirling, and feeling as guilty as
could be. He begged of Allah to forgive him over and over again. In a matter of a few days the news spread. People learned that Musa the gentleman had killed Fir'own's
servant. Everyone, it seemed, became mad at Musa and false rumors started to spread. They wanted to punish Musa, even to kill him! Musa was frightened and had sleepless
nights. He wanted to run for his life and flee to a far away and safer land. The more he thought about it the more he wanted to leave before anyone could catch up with him. (Surah
28: Ayah 14-21.)
MUSA in Egypt
boys killed by order of Fir'own
Baby Musa put in a box and pushed in the Nile
Box picked up by Fir'own family, they love him
Musa refuses to nurse, his sister brings mother
Musa grows up in Fir'own's Palace with mother
Aware of Israelite heritage, Musa sympathizes
To stop a fight he kills a man unintentionally
leaves Egypt to Sinai
leaves Egypt, feeling dejected, frightened, and guilty. Sinai was far away.
MUSA LEAVES EGYPT
Musa left Egypt with a camel, taking some
food and clothing. He left in the dark of the night without telling anyone.
Musa escaped cautiously before anyone
could suspect or detect him; he traveled eastward, leaving Fir'own (Pharaoh) and Egypt behind him. His mother missed him a great deal and so did his many friends since he was
well liked by many people.
Deep in the desert Musa trudged forward on
his camel. At night the desert changed into a beautiful, cool, and quiet scenery, but returned to its windy, hot, inhospitable character during daytime. Sandstorms made the
skin as if pricked by thousands of needles.
Musa was relieved now that the thought of
being chased was behind him. He had a lot of time to think, about his people, Fir'own, his mother, and the man he killed. He continued to feel very guilty, and asked Allah
(swt) to forgive him.
Musa traveled for many weeks, and at last
he arrived at a town called Median. His
clothes were sandy and he needed a bath, and was short of food. The place was strange and foreign to his eyes. He noticed a watering place and rested near it feeling like a
fugitive, strange, and dejected.
AT THE WATERING PLACE
While resting two young women caught his
attention; they were waiting at a distance. Their sheep were nearby but not at the watering place—it looked as if they needed help.
Though tired and weary Musa decided to
see if he could help the women. Musa was such a righteous man, kind at heart, and always wanting to help people.
He approached the women and asked if they needed help. The two were bashful and didn't want to impose,
but they said, "Yes," explaining that they were tending their sheep until others finished watering their sheep. Musa helped with the sheep by directing them to the watering
place. (Surah 28: Ayah 22-28.)
Musa felt happy, and the women were
thankful. They took the sheep home and Musa was left back to rest. Musa was lonely, felt very strange, had no job, was far from home, and he had never worked before. He was
accustomed to opulent living and affluence in the palace of Fir'own. He remembered pomp, wealth, power, and ease. Suddenly, he was an ordinary man like anyone else.
He became depressed and felt blue. Musa
prayed deeply for Allah's help; he knew he needed help more now than ever before.
ALLAH'S HELP COMES TO MUSA
While sitting and reflecting, Musa noticed
the two women approaching him. They were too shy to come very near. Musa stood in respect and went near them. They invited him to meet their father, Shu'aib,
and to be their guest.
Musa was flattered, he knew it would be
refreshing to be in a house for a change and to talk to people. "What a nice break!" Musa thought.
Musa entered the house with the two women,
and he politely introduced himself. The warm dinner tasted delicious especially since Musa had not had a good meal since he left Egypt.
Musa told Shu'aib all about himself,
Fir'own and the Israelites. He also told him about how he unintentionally killed a man, the servant of Fir'own. The women and their father listened attentively.
Musa was asked to stay and help raise the sheep. Musa was strong, handsome, and honest, and the new
family liked him very much. After a period of time Musa married one of the women he met on his first day at Median. For that Shu'aib asked him to stay with them for eight
years, but Musa was glad, he agreed to it but extended it to ten years. The couple lived happily for the ten years farming and tending to the sheep. (Surah
28: Ayah 27-28.)
MUSA GETS READY TO GO BACK
Musa had been away from Egypt for ten
years and although he was married and comfortable, he continued to miss his real home, family, and friends. He did not want to stay in Median for the rest of his life.
As the ten year agreement came to an end,
Musa prepared a caravan of camels and he and his wife completed the chores necessary for travel. Musa hugged and kissed his father‑in‑law, an old man of superb character, and
he bid farewell to everyone around. Musa and his wife walked with the caravan, heading west toward Egypt, traveling in the desert which was foreboding and difficult.
But this time Musa was ten years older,
wiser, and with a mind of steel. He had learned how hard it was for an ordinary man to work for a living, to raise sheep, and to care for a farm. "Oh yes," he thought, "the
Israelites had worked much harder, nevertheless they were treated like slaves, no thanks to Fir'own."
They set up tents to sleep in at night,
and continued their travel early the following morning. Twenty-five miles a day was the most they could handle, due to the nature of travel.
They were near a mountain, called Mountain
of Toor when they saw a light from a distance.
MUSA BECOMES A PROPHET
It became dark and the evening was getting
cold. The caravan had stopped, and Musa had put up the tents. His wife was getting ready to make supper.
it was a fire or not, they weren't sure. Musa told his wife he was going to investigate and perhaps bring wood from where the fire was burning. Musa went toward the fire,
climbing the rugged terrain, but with stars ever so bright. The area was quiet, and Musa could hear his foot steps—thump, thump, thump, he went forward. (Surah
28: Ayah 29-30.)
Suddenly he heard a voice that ripped through the quiet of the night. The voice was commanding,
extremely dignified, and firm; it made Musa's heart beat violently.
The voice commanded: "O! Musa stop, you are in
the Blessed Valley, take off your shoes, since I am Allah your Lord!" Musa was gripped with fear and could hardly believe his ears. He looked around but couldn't see anyone.
He listened attentively, and to his surprise he learned that Allah (swt) had chosen him to be the Prophet. Musa was commanded to remember the Lord, Allah, in prayers, and to
listen to what would be revealed to him.
Musa was puzzled and apprehensive. What looked like a fire actually was not a fire, it was the
reflection of the Glory of Allah (swt) and the glory of the Angels. It was the greatest moment in Musa's life; it was a moment of the greatest honor bestowed upon a man, to be
a Nabiy, chosen as a Prophet!
Musa though needed assurance of what he heard. Allah (swt) then asked Musa to cast (throw) his stick
(Rod) on the ground. Musa obeyed, throwing the stick, and to his amazement he saw the stick transform into a ferocious looking snake, scaring him stiff. Allah then asked Musa
to pick up the snake. Musa was shaky and confused as he slowly put out his hand to touch the snake. When he touched it, the snake changed back into a stick again.
► To make
him feel more confident, Allah (swt) asked Musa to put his hand into his pocket. Musa did, and when he brought it out, his hand was shining brightly, as if it were an electric
bulb. It looked so different from before! When Musa put his hand back into his pocket, and pulled it out, he saw that it was normal again. (Surah
20: Ayah 22-23.)
► Musa was then
commanded to go to Egypt to save the Israelites. Musa was apprehensive, and asked Allah to have his brother's Haroon (Aaron)
help. Allah graciously granted the wish. (Surah 26: Ayah 10-17.)
Allah gave inward strength to Musa. Musa,
as the elevated one (Nabiy), needed Prophetic Wisdom and to be very strong inside, since he was going to fight for his own people. He was to argue with Fir'own (Pharaoh), his
administration, the powerful Priests, and the whole establishment. Musa was to argue with the man in whose Palace he grew since he was a baby, and he was to educate Fir'own
about Allah and convince him to free the Israelites.
AT FIR'OWN'S PALACE
Musa was now a man of a mission, he felt invigorated and powerful inside and traveled quickly with his
family to Egypt. Musa and his brother Haroon confronted Fir'own at his Palace, and argued with him in the presence of his court. They told him that Allah had chosen Musa as a
Prophet to spread His Word and also save the Israelites. Fir'own (Pharaoh) and his court listened but were not impressed, they made fun of both of them. (Surah
20: Ayah 49-54. Also Surah 26: Ayah 23-33.)
"They are so powerless!" Fir'own thought,
"so helpless! They had the nerve though!" he also reflected.
Musa and Haroon persisted but Fir'own
refused to free the Israelites, since the Israelites as a man-power were most economical to service country—it was the cheap labor. Fir'own wanted them to remain under his
domain, just as slaves.
Finally, and in desperation, Musa asked,
"Do you want me to show you how true my message is?"
"Yes, go ahead," answered Fir'own with a
cynical, sarcastic smile.
Musa threw his stick to the ground, and lo and behold it changed to a frightful snake. The audience was
amazed and taken aback. When Musa touched the snake, it became a stick again. "Wow!" everyone said in wonder, "this cannot happen. Is this real?"
To further show them he was authentic, Musa told the Court about Allah's support, and the miracles Allah
empowered him with. Then he said, "See what I am going to do." Musa put his hand in his pocket, and when he brought it out his hand shined brilliantly as if there was a light
bulb inside. Those watching rubbed their eyes in disbelief wonderment.
Many people then started to turn toward Musa for leadership. What Musa showed left everyone speechless
and dumbfounded. "Such powers and miracles! See how great Musa was!" they all thought.
Fir'own noticed that he was dwarfed since the people were very impressed by Musa and the new miracles he was
showing. People started to believe in him. Fir'own had a sinking feeling and worried that he could lose his grip on power. He worried about his kingdom, his power, and the
God-like image he lead the people to believe. Because of that, Fir'own said, "Musa must be doing some form of magic. Therefore, let us have a special day for a contest between
him and other magicians." (Surah 7: Ayah 109-110.)
MUSA (a.s) in Sinai.
Musa gets married
As agreed, stays in Median for ten years
On way to Egypt sees fire at a distance
Musa becomes a Prophet
Shown two miracles he could perform
Goes to Fir'own to free the Israelites
Argues with Fir'own, shows the miracles
The snake from a
stick, Pharaoh in a bind, Israelites believe in Musa, and they are led by him
challenge to Fir'own produced social upheaval, eventually leading the Israelites from Egypt to Sinai.
THE BIG DAY
It was a clear day with blue skies, cool
and nice. Thousands of people gathered, creating an excitement in the air, with everyone anxious to see what the magicians of Egypt were going to do. Many had already seen
what Musa had done, be it his stick or his hand, and began to believe in his message. But now they wanted to see the contest.
Fir'own walked with an air of superiority
and arrogance. He was surrounded by his guards, moving with showiness and pomp. Fir'own sat on a specially prepared seat and was dressed impressively, but looked worried and
preoccupied. The nobility were surrounding him, and the guards were at attention. The people bowed low when Fir'own presented himself, thinking of him God-like! Actually he
himself thought he was the people's God.
The people hushed waiting to see what was
to come. The magicians were actually the Priests themselves and they were close to Fir'own.
Fir'own thought to himself, "This act will
finish Musa and it will be the end of him." But in spite of this Fir'own was still worried. Then he resumed his wishful thinking, "The act will make the people believe in me
even more. I will show them!" Little did he know...
Fir'own nodded and his magicians (priests)
walked forward, dressed very elegantly. They asked Musa who to start first, and Musa requested they do first. They threw their sticks and made them move as if they were
snakes. It was not real of course, only an illusion tricking the eyes from a distance. The people watching from far away saw moving sticks and were pleased. Fir'own thought
his magicians were clever and very smart.
Musa advanced, invoked Allah's help, and
by Allah's command, he cast his stick to the ground. By Allah's power and wish the stick changed into a terrifying snake. The snake wiggled and moved like a dart. Musa's was
real, it was not a trick. Musa's snake swallowed and gobbled every moving stick in a terrifying way, every stick the magicians threw.
The audience was dumbfounded, stood
unexpectedly in fear, in an uproar. "Look, wow! What is it we see?" they shouted in wonderment. The people were amazed and scared, could hardly believe their eyes; it was
The priests, dressed up as magicians, were
even more astonished. They knew that Musa was not bluffing and that he and his brother Haroon were for real. They knew that such a miracle could be done only by the Supreme
One, Allah, and it must have been the same Allah that Musa was talking about.
The priests didn't care about Fir'own by
now, and they wanted to be on Musa's side. They wanted to be with the truth, with Musa and his Lord.
They rushed to Musa, all wide-eyed in wonderment, hearts beating violently, and they bowed to him. Pleading,
the priests said, "Ah! We have witnessed the truth, and we believe in the Lord, the Lord of Musa and Haroon." The priests have acknowledged, they have submitted, since they
saw no tricks, only the real thing! (Surah 7: Ayah 109-124.)
Diminished, Fir'own became red in the
face—knowing he was defeated. His kingdom was at stake, he was very worried that his people follow Prophet Musa and his new religion. He was worried that his powers as Fir'own
were going to be weak and perhaps worthless.
Fir'own's conclusion was right. Many,
many people began to listen and learn from Musa and they became believers. This was more true of the Israelites since Musa was one of them. They were awakened to their senses,
wanted to uphold and stand up for their rights, and hated Fir'own for his terrible rule.
Fir'own did not change and he became more
brutal and oppressive toward the Israelites. Inwardly though, he was scared of Musa and his followers. Musa's followers were the believers, the corner stone of the new
religion, theirs was an ever enlarging number.
Musa the Prophet, along with the believers,
began to worship and glorify Allah the Almighty in their homes. They prayed to Allah for strength, for His help, and to save them. The corner stone for the religion was being
laid, and it was rapidly growing. (Surah 7: Ayah 127-129. Also Surah 20: Ayah
ALLAH SAVES THEM: THE ESCAPE
Fir'own continued in his ruthless,
dictatorial rule, and the Israelites suffered. It was near impossible to stand it any longer.
Allah then commanded Musa to lead the
community out of Egypt, promising them safety. Musa secretly told the community of the plans and, most importantly, Fir'own was not to find out at any cost. (Surah 20: Ayah 77. Also Surah 26: Ayah 52-66.)
The escape occurred in the dark of night.
The Israelites bundled their belongings and carried them on their backs or heads. Only a few animals were available to carry the load since most of the Israelites could not
afford them. The huge crowd moved cautiously and as fast as they could—eastward. They were very scared and worried about what would happen if and when Fir'own finds out about
They moved as fast as they could, hardly
resting, or taking the time to eat. It was true that Musa had said they would be saved by the Almighty, but no one knew how.
The town was unusually quiet the next
morning. Somehow there was something missing. Then it was noticed that the slums of the Israelites were empty! No more noise nor people! It was an eerie feeling with the
Excitedly, the guards rushed to tell
Fir'own. He became as mad as could be. "How dare they!" he thought, "How dare they leave without taking my permission!" He wanted to teach them a harsh lesson to remember the
rest of their lives, to be the example in the future. "No one defies me. No one!"
Immediately, Fir'own called for a council;
they decided to chase the Israelites and bring them back. Fir'own was very angry, and intended to punish Musa and his community most severely.
Fir'own and his soldiers rode their
horses, galloping as fast as they could. They headed east to catch up with the Israelites, the sooner the better.
THEY ARE AT THE SEA
Fearful, scared, worried, and hungry, the
Israelites marched forward. A whole community walked forward, the children and elderly, men and women, the sick and healthy. After many days, with hardly any rest, Musa and
the community were exhausted and weary. Finally, they approached the sea.
Suddenly the Israelites heard clamor and
noise from far away. Fir'own was closing in!! Oh, how scary, how frightening! The Israelites were alarmed, Fir'own was catching up, and they knew very well the severe
consequences. Fear, alarm, and mixed emotions occupied the minds of everyone.
THE ROD AND THE SEA
At that moment, the Israelites had reached
the shore of the sea. Allah (swt) ordered Musa to strike the sea with his rod (stick). Musa, not knowing why, did just that. And lo and behold, the most extraordinary
With a great uproar that shook the area,
the water of the sea swelled up, high on one side, and high on the other. The water solidly stood still, as if it were a mountain, one on each side. The bottom of the sea
became a hard land. A miracle from Allah it was, to save Musa and his community. Just imagine, the sea water holding still, looking like two mountains, with a dry path in
between. It was not a fantasy, it was true.
Musa and his community desperate only a
moment ago, felt relieved. They ran between the two solidified waters as fast as they could, having no time to think and wonder. Run, run, run, for Fir'own and his mighty army
were closing in, approaching.
Musa and his community finished crossing
the sea and were on the other side. Fir'own and the bulk of his forces were in the chase between the two mountains of solidified waters.
It was precisely at that moment, that with
a deafening roar the mountain of waters collapsed. The solidified waters suddenly liquefied, fusing the two sides of water together. Musa and his people watched in sheer awe
and wonderment, what a scene!
The waters drowned Fir'own immediately,
and his forces were completely destroyed. As he was drowning, Fir'own said to himself, "Now I believe in the Lord of Musa and Haroon!" Such witnessing though is not and was
not accepted by Allah, since it was under duress and the pressure of dying.
Musa and his community were saved! What a
great scene to see, the water rushing, engulfing Fir'own and his mighty soldiers. Ah, Allah works miracles, glory be to Him! (Surah
26: Ayah 52-66. Also Surah 20: Ayah 90-92.)
FREE AT LAST
Prophet Musa and the believers were
stunned, standing silently, and gratefully, looking at the sea. They had witnessed yet another remarkable miracle. Afterwards, the sea looked the same as it was before the
miracle. The water was deep blue with large waves chasing each other. Musa and his community were free, free at last.
There would be no Fir'own any more,
demanding, ordering, or dictating. They could now do and say anything they wished. At the same time, it felt strange to be that way, since they were enslaved for so long. To
be free was wonderful, but they were not accustomed to managing their own affairs, the sudden responsibility was scary since that could lead to failure or success.
MUSA RECEIVES THE LAW
Allah commanded Musa to go to a nearby
mountain. Prophet Musa prepared everything and informed the people that his brother Haroon would temporarily be their leader.
During those forty days Allah (swt)
revealed great religious knowledge to Musa, as well as much wisdom. Allah gave Musa the tablets which contained the ten commandments. (Surah 7: Ayah 142-145)
When the forty days were over, Musa
returned to his people to teach them some of what he had learned. He became angry when he noticed that the Israelites, led by the Saamiri, had made a golden calf
and began to worship it, as if the cow was their God!
Haroon told Musa, that in his absence, the Israelites almost killed him when He tried to stop them from
praying to the golden calf. Haroon said there was a great deal of commotion and arguments, and many people became mad at him.
After learning what had taken place Musa gave a speech, telling them how foolish and senseless it was to
pray to a cow. He reminded them of Allah and the miracles of the sea, stick, glowing hand, and the righteousness Allah wants for them. He reminded them of how Allah had saved
them from slavery and of Allah's many favors upon them.
Musa then ordered the golden calf to be destroyed, and he began teaching the Israelites what he learned
from Allah during the forty days' experience. (Surah 7: Ayah 148-151. Also
Surah 20: Ayah 85-98.)
THEY LIVE IN THE DESERT
Living in the desert was new to the
Israelites, however, Musa and his community had no other choice. The desert was a spacious vast land. The air was fresh and pure, and the terrain was rugged, with sand
everywhere. There was hardly any vegetation and the people had to live in tents.
Because there was no established city, the
Israelites roamed from one area to the other, looking for water and a few plants. There was little food and the conditions were harsh.
Musa tirelessly taught Allah's new Law.
The people listened and learned while adjusting to their new life of freedom.
The Israelites now depended on themselves
for a change, finding grazing areas for their sheep and work for their own living.
QUAILS AND MUN
One time there was little food to eat and
the people were almost starving as they faced more suffering than before. They kept looking for water and food, but there was little to be found. Then Allah, through His
mercy, sent flocks of birds called Salwa
(quails). They flew in the thousands, and the
Israelites used them for food, and gathered a large supply for the future. In the area they also found sweet plants called Mun
which produced sweet juice. The Mun plants were sweet and juicy, they also provided much nourishment. (Surah
20: Ayah 57.)
THE GUSHING WATER
At one time there was little water in the
desert and the Israelites requested Musa to pray to Allah for a Miracle. Musa prayed very hard and Allah directed him to hit with his stick a nearby cliff.
Prophet Musa stood by the cliff with the
people waiting to see what would happen. Everyone waited silently hoping for a miracle to save them from their thirst. Their tongues were dry and the sun was hot. Musa
touched the cliff with his stick, saying, "By the name of our Lord, Allah, Almighty." With that, the cliff gushed with water. The water flowed from twelve places, each gushing
cool clear water.
The Israelites were of twelve branches,
each a descendant of a son of Prophet Ya'qoob. Consequently, each branch drank from one of the springs. They drank and drank until their thirst was quenched. They didn't have
to shove and push, since abundance of water gushed from twelve springs, one for each of their branches. What a marvelous experience; the quail, the Mun, and now the gushing
water! (Surah 20: Ayah 60.)
TO THE BLESSED LAND
Having lived earlier in the desert Musa
felt that it was time to reach the blessed land of Palestine. After all, Allah (swt) had promised Musa this land.
Musa sent twelve men to investigate the
area, the blessed land. Many days passed and the people grew anxious to hear from the twelve men. Finally, the men returned, exhausted but excited. They went directly to Musa
and his followers to share with them their experience.
They described the blessed land as very
plush with many farms and abundance of greenery. There were many rivers and plenty of water. The weather was pleasant and the land attractive. Everyone became anxious and
eager to go.
"But wait!" the twelve men warned, "The
people in the blessed land are powerful. They have large armies and many guards. You will have to fight to live there since they won't just let you go and take over. You will
have to force your way through."
YOU GO FIGHT, YOU AND YOUR LORD
The Israelites worried and argued about
whether or not they should fight. Musa and a small group from the community preferred to go and fight. Most Israelites, however, didn't have the courage and were too afraid to
chance a fight. They said to Musa, "You and your Lord go fight. We will stay here and wait." Musa was disappointed, and rightfully so—his people were still of the slave
mentality, still cowardly.
As a result, the Israelites did not fight,
at least not at that time. They chose to live in the desert for forty long and hard years.
During the forty years, a good many
children were born, and the children were raised in the rugged ways of the desert. They were different from their parents, tough, daring, and ready to die for the right cause.
They were well trenched in Musa's teachings and the Divine Guidance. This evolved into a completely different community from the previous one.
The new generation learned much about the
slave life of their parents under Fir'own. They had an idea of it but without experiencing or tasting it. "Life without freedom is sick," they would say, and imagined how bad
life was without their liberties. They heard how Allah (swt) had saved them by choosing Musa for a Prophet and they learned of the past and its miracles.
The Israelites who left Egypt grew old, and eventually died. The new Israelites who replaced them were
different, with stronger minds and hearts, thanks to Allah's planning and the desert.
Above all, the preaching of Musa influenced them the most. They all worshiped Allah and prayed to Him.
They became good people, Allah fearing, and lived decent lives.
Allah's Directives were obeyed well and the Israelites became a truly new people, righteous, strong,
tough, with good hearts, people of goodness. They were ready to go to the blessed land, far more ready than their parents. The time seemed ripe for the great move.
FINALLY, TO THE BLESSED LAND
Finally, the Israelites formed their own
army. They crossed the desert to the blessed land. With the desert behind them and faith filling their hearts, the Israelites marched to the rich, blessed land.
It was not easy but they fought hard and
won many battles. It made them confident in themselves gaining self-respect and control of their own destiny. Later, the Israelites became the rulers of Palestine with the
faith of Musa and Allah's Directives. The people of the land lived in peace and harmony with the ruling Israelites.
MUSA LEAVING EGYPT: in Sinai
Musa leads the
Israelites out of Egypt
Fir'own chasing, almost overtaking them
Allah Commands to touch the sea with the Rod
Sea solidifies, Musa goes through, Fir'own drown
Musa receives the Ten Tablets
Israelites roam in the desert for forty years
Mun, Salwa (Quail), and gushing water
Palestine, rule well and prosper
|Musa's challenge to Fir'own produced
social upheaval, eventually leading the Israelites from Egypt to Sinai.