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The Story of Musa and Fira`wn

Allah said:

﴿ ثُمَّ بَعَثۡنَا

(Then after them We sent ) meaning ofter these Messengers,

﴿ مُّوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦ

(Musa and Harun to Fir`awn and his chiefs,) meaning his people

﴿ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا

(with Our Ayat.) meaning; `Our proofs and evidences.'

﴿ فَٱسۡتَكۡبَرُواْ وَكَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا مُّجۡرِمِينَ

(But they behaved arrogantly, and were a people who were criminals.) meaning they were too arrogant to follow the truth and submit to it, and they were criminals.

﴿ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمُ ٱلۡحَقُّ مِنۡ عِندِنَا قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَسِحۡرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬

(So, when came to them the truth from us, they said: "This is indeed clear magic.'') They were as if they gave an oath that what they had said was the truth. But they knew that what they were saying was a mere lie. As Allah said:

﴿ وَجَحَدُواْ بِہَا وَٱسۡتَيۡقَنَتۡهَآ أَنفُسُہُمۡ ظُلۡمً۬ا وَعُلُوًّ۬ا‌ۚ

(And they belied them wrongfully and arrogantly, though they themselves were convinced thereof.)(27:14) Musa criticized them saying:

﴿ أَتَقُولُونَ لِلۡحَقِّ لَمَّا جَآءَڪُمۡ‌ۖ أَسِحۡرٌ هَـٰذَا وَلَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلسَّـٰحِرُونَ قَالُوٓاْ أَجِئۡتَنَا لِتَلۡفِتَنَا

("Say you (this) about the truth when it has come to you Is this magic But the magicians will never be successful.'' They said: "Have you come to us to turn us away...)

﴿ عَمَّا وَجَدۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ءَابَآءَنَا

(from that we found our fathers following) their religion.

﴿ وَتَكُونَ لَكُمَا

(and that you two may have...)

﴿ ٱلۡكِبۡرِيَآءُ

(greatness) means grandeur and leadership

﴿ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَا نَحۡنُ لَكُمَا بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(...in the land, We are not going to believe you two!'')

﴿ وَقَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ ٱئۡتُونِى بِكُلِّ سَـٰحِرٍ عَلِيمٍ۬ فَلَمَّا جَآءَ ٱلسَّحَرَةُ قَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَىٰٓ أَلۡقُواْ مَآ أَنتُم مُّلۡقُونَ فَلَمَّآ أَلۡقَوۡاْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ مَا جِئۡتُم بِهِ ٱلسِّحۡرُ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَيُبۡطِلُهُ ۥۤ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُصۡلِحُ عَمَلَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ وَيُحِقُّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡحَقَّ بِكَلِمَـٰتِهِۦ وَلَوۡ ڪَرِهَ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمُونَ

(79. And Fir`awn said: "Bring me every well-versed sorcerer.'' (80. And when the sorcerers came, Musa said to them: "Cast down what you want to cast!'') (81. Then when they had cast down, Musa said: "What you have brought is sorcery, Allah will surely make it of no effect. Verily, Allah does not set right the work of the evildoers.) (82. "And Allah will establish and make apparent the truth by His Words, however much the criminals may hate (it).'')

Between Musa and the Magicians

Allah mentioned the story of the magicians and Musa in Surat Al-A`raf (there is a commentary on it in that Surah), this Surah, Surat Ta Ha, and in Surat Ash-Shu`ara'. Fir`awn, may Allah's curse be upon him, wanted to deceive the people and impress them with the tricks of the magicians in direct opposition to the plain truth that Musa brought. The result was the exact opposite and he therefore didn't attain his goal. The signs of the Lord prevailed in that public festival.

﴿ وَأُلۡقِىَ ٱلسَّحَرَةُ سَـٰجِدِينَ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ رَبِّ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ

(And the sorcerers fell down prostrate. They said: "We believe in the Lord of all that exists -- the Lord of Musa and Harun.'')(7:120-122) Fir`awn thought that he would achieve victory through the magicians over the Messenger sent by Allah, the All-Knower of all hidden things. But he failed, lost Paradise and was deserving of the Hellfire.

﴿ وَقَالَ فِرۡعَوۡنُ ٱئۡتُونِى بِكُلِّ سَـٰحِرٍ عَلِيمٍ۬ فَلَمَّا جَآءَ ٱلسَّحَرَةُ قَالَ لَهُم مُّوسَىٰٓ أَلۡقُواْ مَآ أَنتُم مُّلۡقُونَ

(And Fir`awn said: "Bring me every well-versed sorcerer.'' And when the sorcerers came, Musa said to them: "Cast down what you want to cast!'') They stood in line after they received the promise of Fir`awn to become closer to him and obtain a generous reward. Musa wanted them to begin. He wanted the people to see what the magicians had made, then he would come with the truth after that to triumph over their falsehood.

﴿ قَالُواْ يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ إِمَّآ أَن تُلۡقِىَ وَإِمَّآ أَن نَّكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنۡ أَلۡقَىٰ قَالَ بَلۡ أَلۡقُواْ‌ۖ

(They said: "O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw'' )Musa( said: "Nay, throw you (first)!'') When the magicians cast their spells they bewitched the eyes of the people through their display of mighty sorcery. At that time,

﴿ فَأَوۡجَسَ فِى نَفۡسِهِۦ خِيفَةً۬ مُّوسَىٰ قُلۡنَا لَا تَخَفۡ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ وَأَلۡقِ مَا فِى يَمِينِكَ تَلۡقَفۡ مَا صَنَعُوٓاْ‌ۖ إِنَّمَا صَنَعُواْ كَيۡدُ سَـٰحِرٍ۬‌ۖ وَلَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلسَّاحِرُ حَيۡثُ أَتَىٰ

(Musa conceived fear in himself. We (Allah) said: "Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. And throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.'') (20:67-69) Upon that, Musa said:

﴿ فَلَمَّآ أَلۡقَوۡاْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ مَا جِئۡتُم بِهِ ٱلسِّحۡرُ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَيُبۡطِلُهُ ۥۤ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُصۡلِحُ عَمَلَ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ وَيُحِقُّ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡحَقَّ بِكَلِمَـٰتِهِۦ وَلَوۡ ڪَرِهَ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمُونَ

(What you have brought is sorcery, Allah will surely make it of no effect. Verily, Allah does not set right the work of the evildoers. And Allah will establish and make apparent the truth by His Words, however much the criminals may hate (it).)

﴿ فَمَآ ءَامَنَ لِمُوسَىٰٓ إِلَّا ذُرِّيَّةٌ۬ مِّن قَوۡمِهِۦ عَلَىٰ خَوۡفٍ۬ مِّن فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَهُمۡ‌ۚ وَإِنَّ فِرۡعَوۡنَ لَعَالٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَمِنَ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ

(83. But none believed in Musa except the offspring of his people, because of the fear of Fir`awn and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and verily, Fir`awn was an arrogant tyrant on the earth, he was indeed one of the transgressors.)

Only a Few Youth from Fir`awn's People believed in Musa

Allah tells us that despite all the clear signs and irrefutable evidence Musa came with, only a few offspring from Fir`awn's followers believed in him. They were even scared that Fir`awn and his followers would force them to return to Kufr (disbelief). Fir`awn was an evil tyrant and extremely arrogant. His people feared him and his power too much. Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said:

﴿ فَمَآ ءَامَنَ لِمُوسَىٰٓ إِلَّا ذُرِّيَّةٌ۬ مِّن قَوۡمِهِۦ عَلَىٰ خَوۡفٍ۬ مِّن فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِمۡ أَن يَفۡتِنَهُمۡ‌ۚ

(But none believed in Musa except the offspring of his people because of the fear of Fir `awn and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them.) "The offspring that believed in Musa from Fir`awn's people, other than Banu Israel, were few. Among them were Fir`awn's wife, the believer who was hiding his faith, Fir`awn's treasurer, and his wife.'' The Children of Israel, however, themselves believed in Musa, all of them. They were glad to see him coming. They knew of his description and the news of his advent from their previous Books. They knew that Allah was going to save them through him from the capture of Fir`awn and give them power over him. So when this knowledge reached Fir`awn he was very wary. But his caution and weariness didn't help him one bit. When Musa arrived, Fir`awn subjected them to great harm, and

﴿ قَالُوٓاْ أُوذِينَا مِن قَبۡلِ أَن تَأۡتِيَنَا وَمِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جِئۡتَنَا‌ۚ قَالَ عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمۡ أَن يُهۡلِكَ عَدُوَّڪُمۡ وَيَسۡتَخۡلِفَڪُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَيَنظُرَ ڪَيۡفَ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(They said: "We (Children of Israel) suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you have come to us.'' He said: "It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the earth, so that He may see how you act') (7:129) The fact that all of the Children Israel became believers is evidenced by the following Ayat:

﴿ وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ يَـٰقَوۡمِ إِن كُنتُمۡ ءَامَنتُم بِٱللَّهِ فَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلُوٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّسۡلِمِينَ
﴿ فَقَالُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحۡمَتِكَ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(84. And Musa said: "O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims.'') (85. They said: "In Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are wrongdoers.) (86. "And save us by Your mercy from the disbelieving folk.'')

Musa encouraged His People to put Their Trust in Allah

Allah told us that Musa said to the Children of Israel:

﴿ يَـٰقَوۡمِ إِن كُنتُمۡ ءَامَنتُم بِٱللَّهِ فَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلُوٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّسۡلِمِينَ

(O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims.) Allah is sufficient for those who put their trust in Him.

﴿ أَلَيۡسَ ٱللَّهُ بِكَافٍ عَبۡدَهُ ۥ‌ۖ

(Is not Allah sufficient for His servant) (39:36)

﴿ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ

(And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.)(65:3) Allah combines worship and reliance in many places. He said:

﴿ فَٱعۡبُدۡهُ وَتَوَڪَّلۡ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(So worship Him and put your trust in Him.) (11:123)

﴿ قُلۡ هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ وَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا‌ۖ

(Say: "He is the Most Gracious (Allah), in Him we believe, and in Him we put our trust...) (67:29) and

﴿ رَّبُّ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ فَٱتَّخِذۡهُ وَكِيلاً۬

((He alone is) the Lord of the east and the west; none has the right to be worshipped but He. So take Him (alone) as a protector.) (73:9) And Allah commanded the believers to say many times in their Salah:

﴿ إِيَّاكَ نَعۡبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسۡتَعِينُ

(You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).)(1:5) The Children of Israel complied with this command and said:

﴿ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(In Allah we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are wrongdoers.) This means don't give them victory over us so that they rule us. So they might not think that they have authority over us because they were following the truth and we were falsehood. This might be a deceiving trial for them. This meaning was reported from Abu Mijliz and Abu Ad-Duha, `Abdur-Razzaq, in a narration from Mujahid, said,

﴿ رَبَّنَا لَا تَجۡعَلۡنَا فِتۡنَةً۬ لِّلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are wrongdoers) meaning, "Do not give them authority over us so they might make us fall into Fitnah.'' Allah's statement:

﴿ وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحۡمَتِكَ

(And save us by Your mercy) means save us through Your mercy and beneficence

﴿ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(from the disbelieving folk. ) meaning, from those who denied the truth and covered it. We truly have believed in You and put our trust in You.

﴿ وَأَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ وَأَخِيهِ أَن تَبَوَّءَا لِقَوۡمِكُمَا بِمِصۡرَ بُيُوتً۬ا وَٱجۡعَلُواْ بُيُوتَڪُمۡ قِبۡلَةً۬ وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ‌ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

(87. And We revealed to Musa and his brother (saying): "Provide dwellings for your people in Egypt, and make your dwellings as places for your worship, and perform the Salah, and give glad tidings to the believers.'')

They were commanded to pray inside Their Homes

Allah tells us why He saved the Children of Israel from Fir`awn and his people. He tells us how he saved them. Allah commanded Musa and his brother Harun to take houses for their people in Egypt,

﴿ وَٱجۡعَلُواْ بُيُوتَڪُمۡ قِبۡلَةً۬

(and make your dwellings as places for your worship,) Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, while interpreting this Ayah: "The Children of Israel said to Musa, `We cannot offer our prayers in public in front of Fir`awn's people.' So Allah permitted them to pray in their houses. They were commanded to build their houses in the direction of the Qiblah.'' Mujahid commented,

﴿ وَٱجۡعَلُواْ بُيُوتَڪُمۡ قِبۡلَةً۬

(and make your dwellings as places for your worship,) When Banu Israel feared that Fir`awn might kill them in their gatherings at their temples, they were commanded to take their houses as places of worship. The houses should be facing the Qiblah and the prayer could be in secret.'' This was stated by Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak as well.

﴿ وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيۡتَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَأَهُ ۥ زِينَةً۬ وَأَمۡوَٲلاً۬ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِكَ‌ۖ رَبَّنَا ٱطۡمِسۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَٱشۡدُدۡ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ فَلَا يُؤۡمِنُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ قَالَ قَدۡ أُجِيبَت دَّعۡوَتُڪُمَا فَٱسۡتَقِيمَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعَآنِّ سَبِيلَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ

(88. And Musa said: "Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Fir`awn 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.'') (89. Allah said: "Verily, the invocation of you both is accepted. So you both keep to the straight way, and follow not the path of those who know not.'')