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Story of Musa and His People

Allah says here, `Just as We sent you (O, Muhammad) and sent down to you the Book, in order that you might guide and call all people out of darkness into the light, We also sent Musa to the Children of Israel with Our Ayat (signs, or miracles).' Mujahid said that this part of the Ayah refers to the nine miracles.

﴿ أَنۡ أَخۡرِجۡ قَوۡمَكَ

(Bring out your people) he is being commanded;

﴿ أَخۡرِجۡ قَوۡمَكَ مِنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ

(Bring out your people from darkness into light,) call them to all that is good and righteous, in order that they might turn away from the darkness of ignorance and misguidance they indulged in, to the light of guidance and the enlightenment of faith,

﴿ وَذَڪِّرۡهُم بِأَيَّٮٰمِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(and remind them of the annals (or days) of Allah) remind them (O Musa) of Allah's days, meaning, favors and bounties which He bestowed on them when He delivered them from the grip of Fir`awn and his injustice, tyranny and brutality. This is when Allah delivered them from their enemy, made a passage for them through the sea, shaded them with clouds, sent down manna and quails for them, and other favors and bounties. Mujahid, Qatadah and several others said this. Allah said next,

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ۬ شَكُورٍ۬

(Truly, therein are Ayat for every patient, thankful (person).) Allah says, `Our delivering of Our loyal supporters among the Children of Israel from the grasp of Fir`awn and saving them from the disgraceful torment, provides a lesson to draw from for those who are patient in the face of affliction, and thankful in times of prosperity. Qatadah said, "Excellent is the servant who if he is tested, he observes patience, and if he is granted prosperity, he is thankful for it.'' It is recorded in the Sahih that the Messenger of Allah said,

« إِنَّ أَمْرَ الْمُؤْمِنِ كُلَّهُ عَجَبٌ، لَا يَقْضِي اللهُ لَهُ قَضَاءً إِلَّا كَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ، فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ، فَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَه »

(Verily, all of the matter of the believer is amazing, for every decision that Allah decrees for him is good for him. If an affliction strikes him, he is patient and this is good for him; if a bounty is give to him, he is thankful and this is good for him.)

﴿ وَإِذۡ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوۡمِهِ ٱذۡڪُرُواْ نِعۡمَةَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ إِذۡ أَنجَٮٰكُم مِّنۡ ءَالِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ يَسُومُونَكُمۡ سُوٓءَ ٱلۡعَذَابِ وَيُذَبِّحُونَ أَبۡنَآءَكُمۡ وَيَسۡتَحۡيُونَ نِسَآءَڪُمۡ‌ۚ وَفِى ذَٲلِڪُم بَلَآءٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّڪُمۡ عَظِيمٌ۬ وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬ وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰٓ إِن تَكۡفُرُوٓاْ أَنتُمۡ وَمَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعً۬ا فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ

(6. And (remember) when Musa said to his people: "Call to mind Allah's favor to you, when He delivered you from Fir`awn's people who were afflicting you with horrible torment, and were slaughtering your sons and letting your women live; and in it was a tremendous trial from your Lord.'') (7. And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe.'') (8. And Musa said: "If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich (free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.'')

Allah states that Musa reminded his people about Allah's annals and days and of Allah's favors and bounties that He bestowed on them, when He saved them from Fir`awn and his people and the torment and disgrace they used to exert on them.

They used to slaughter whomever they could find among their sons and let their females live. Allah delivered them from all this torment, and this is a great bounty, indeed. This is why Allah described this affliction,

﴿ وَفِى ذَٲلِكُم بَلَآءٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّكُمۡ عَظِيمٌ۬

(and in it was a tremendous trial from your Lord.) `for He granted you (O Children of Israel) a great favor for which you are unable to perfectly thank Him.' Some scholars said that this part of the Ayah means, `what Fir`awn used to do to you was a tremendous

﴿ بَلَآءً

(trial.)' Both meanings might be considered here and Allah knows best. Allah said in another Ayah ,

﴿ وَبَلَوۡنَـٰهُم بِٱلۡحَسَنَـٰتِ وَٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ

(And We tried them with good and evil in order that they might turn (to Allah).) (7:168) Allah's statement next,

﴿ وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ

(And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed) means, proclaimed and made known His promise to you. It is possible that this Ayah means, your Lord has vowed and sworn by His might, grace and exaltness. Allah said in a similar Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكَ لَيَبۡعَثَنَّ عَلَيۡهِمۡ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ

(And (remember) when your Lord declared that He would certainly keep on sending against them (i.e. the Jews), till the Day of Resurrection.) (7:167) Allah said,

﴿ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ

(If you give thanks, I will give you more;) meaning, `if you appreciate My favor on you, I will give you more of it,

﴿ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ

(but if you are thankless) if you are not thankful for My favors, covering and denying, them,

﴿ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬

(verily, My punishment is indeed severe), by depriving you of the favor and punishing you for being unappreciative of it.' A Hadith states that,

« إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيُحْرَمُ الرِّزْقَ بِالذَّنْبِ يُصِيبُه »

(A servant might be deprived of a provision (that was written for him) because of a sin that he commits.) Allah said,

﴿ وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰٓ إِن تَكۡفُرُوٓاْ أَنتُمۡ وَمَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَمِيعً۬ا فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ

(And Musa said: "If you disbelieve, you and all on earth together, then verily, Allah is Rich (free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.'') Allah does not need the gratitude of His servants, and He is worthy of all praise even if the disbelievers disbelieve in Him,

﴿ إِن تَكۡفُرُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنكُمۡ‌ۖ

(If you disbelieve, then verily, Allah is not in need of you) (39:7) and,

﴿ فَكَفَرُواْ وَتَوَلَّواْ‌ۚ وَّٱسۡتَغۡنَى ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ۬

(So they disbelieved and turned away. But Allah was not in need (of them). And Allah is Rich (free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.) (64:6) In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said that his Lord the Exalted and Most Honored said,

« يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَتْقَى قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمْ، مَا زَادَ ذَلِكَ فِي مُلْكِي شَيْئًا، يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ كَانُوا عَلَى أَفْجَرِ قَلْبِ رَجُلٍ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمْ، مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ فِي مُلْكِي شَيْئًا، يَا عِبَادِي لَوْ أَنَّ أَوَّلَكُمْ وَآخِرَكُمْ وَإِنْسَكُمْ وَجِنَّكُمْ قَامُوا فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ، فَسَأَلُونِي، فَأَعْطَيْتُ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ مَسْأَلَتَهُ، مَا نَقَصَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ مُلْكِي شَيْئًا إِلَّا كَمَا يَنْقُصُ المِخْيَطُ إِذَا أُدْخِلَ الْبَحْر »

(O My servants. If the first and the last among you, mankind and Jinns among you, had the heart of the most pious and righteous man among you, that will not increase my kingdom in the least. O My servants! If the first and the last among you, mankind and the Jinns among you, had the heart of the most wicked man among you, that will not decrease My kingdom in the least. O My servants! If the first and the last among you, the mankind and Jinns among you, stood in one flat area and each asked me (what they wish), and I gave each one of them what they asked, that will not decrease My kingdom except by that which the needle carries (of water) when inserted in the ocean.'') Verily, all praise and glory are due to Allah, the Rich)free of need(, the Worthy of all praise.

﴿ أَلَمۡ يَأۡتِكُمۡ نَبَؤُاْ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ قَوۡمِ نُوحٍ۬ وَعَادٍ۬ وَثَمُودَ‌ۛ وَٱلَّذِينَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ‌ۛ لَا يَعۡلَمُهُمۡ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَرَدُّوٓاْ أَيۡدِيَهُمۡ فِىٓ أَفۡوَٲهِهِمۡ وَقَالُوٓاْ إِنَّا كَفَرۡنَا بِمَآ أُرۡسِلۡتُم بِهِۦ وَإِنَّا لَفِى شَكٍّ۬ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُونَنَآ إِلَيۡهِ مُرِيبٍ۬

(9. Has not the news reached you, of those before you, the people of Nuh, `Ad, and Thamud And those after them None knows them but Allah. To them came their Messengers with clear proofs, but they put their hands in their mouths and said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent, and we are really in grave doubt as to that to which you invite us.'')

Earlier Nations disbelieved in Their Prophets

Allah narrated to this Ummah (followers of Muhammad) the stories of the people of Prophet Nuh, `Ad and Thamud, and other ancient nations that belied their Messengers. Only Allah knows the count of these nations,

﴿ جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ

(To them came their Messengers with clear proofs,) they brought them evidences and plain, tremendous proofs and signs. Ibn Ishaq reported that `Amr bin Maymun said that `Abdullah said about Allah's statement,

﴿ لَا يَعۡلَمُهُمۡ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ

(None knows them but Allah.) "The genealogists utter lies.'' This is why `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr said, "We did not find anyone who knows the forefathers of Ma`dd bin `Adnan.''

Meaning of, "They put Their Hands in Their Mouths"

Allah said next,

﴿ فَرَدُّوٓاْ أَيۡدِيَهُمۡ فِىٓ أَفۡوَٲهِهِمۡ

(but they put their hands in their mouths) It is said that they pointed to the Messengers' mouths asking them to stop calling them to Allah, the Exalted and Most Honored. It is also said that it means, they placed their hands on their mouths in denial of the Messengers. It was also said that it means that they did not answer the call of the Messengers, or they were biting their hands in rage. Mujahid, Muhammad bin Ka`b and Qatadah said that they belied the Messengers and refuted their call with their mouths. I (Ibn Kathir) say that Mujahid's Tafsir is supported by the completion of the narrative,

﴿ وَقَالُوٓاْ إِنَّا كَفَرۡنَا بِمَآ أُرۡسِلۡتُم بِهِۦ وَإِنَّا لَفِى شَكٍّ۬ مِّمَّا تَدۡعُونَنَآ إِلَيۡهِ مُرِيبٍ۬

(and said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent, and we are really in grave doubt as to that to which you invite us.'') Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When they heard Allah's Word, they were amazed and placed their hands on their mouths,''

﴿ وَقَالُوٓاْ إِنَّا كَفَرۡنَا بِمَآ أُرۡسِلۡتُم بِهِۦ

(and said: "Verily, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent.'') They said, We do not believe what you brought us, and have strong doubt in its authenticity. '

﴿ قَالَتۡ رُسُلُهُمۡ أَفِى ٱللَّهِ شَكٌّ۬ فَاطِرِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ يَدۡعُوكُمۡ لِيَغۡفِرَ لَڪُم مِّن ذُنُوبِكُمۡ وَيُؤَخِّرَڪُمۡ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى‌ۚ قَالُوٓاْ إِنۡ أَنتُمۡ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ۬ مِّثۡلُنَا تُرِيدُونَ أَن تَصُدُّونَا عَمَّا كَانَ يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَا فَأۡتُونَا بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ قَالَتۡ لَهُمۡ رُسُلُهُمۡ إِن نَّحۡنُ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ۬ مِّثۡلُڪُمۡ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَمُنُّ عَلَىٰ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ‌ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لَنَآ أَن نَّأۡتِيَكُم بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلۡيَتَوَڪَّلِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلَّا نَتَوَڪَّلَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ وَقَدۡ هَدَٮٰنَا سُبُلَنَا‌ۚ وَلَنَصۡبِرَنَّ عَلَىٰ مَآ ءَاذَيۡتُمُونَا‌ۚ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلُونَ

(10. Their Messengers said: "(What!) Can there be a doubt about Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth He calls you that He may forgive you of your sins and give you respite for a term appointed.'' They said: "You are no more than human beings like us! You wish to turn us away from what our fathers used to worship. Then bring us a clear authority.'') (11. Their Messengers said to them: "We are no more than human beings like you, but Allah bestows His grace to whom He wills of His servants. It is not ours to bring you an authority (proof) except by the permission of Allah. And in Allah (alone) let the believers put their trust.'') (12. "And why should we not put our trust in Allah while He indeed has guided us in our ways And we shall certainly bear with patience all the hurt you may cause us, and in Allah (alone) let those who trust, put their trust.'')