((Musa) said: "O my Lord! Open for me my chest, and ease my task for me.'') Musa requested his Lord to expand his chest for his mission. For verily, He was commanding him with a great task and a weighty affair. He was sending him to the mightiest king on the face of the earth at that time. He was the most arrogant and severe of all people in his disbelief, and He had the largest army and the most powerful kingdom. He was the most tyrannical and the most obstinate of rulers. His case was such that he claimed not to know Allah at all, and that he knew of no god for his subjects other than himself. Along with this, Musa lived in his home for a period of time as a child. He stayed in Fir`awn's own room and slept on his bed. Then, after this, he killed one of their people and feared that they would retaliate by killing him in return. Thus, he fled from them and remained an outlaw during this entire time. Then, after all of this, His Lord sent him to them as a warner calling them to worship Allah alone, without associating partners with Him. This is why he said,
(O my Lord! Open for me my chest, and ease my task for me.) This means, "I cannot perform this task if You do not help me, aid me and support me.''
(And loosen the knot from my tongue, that they understand my speech.) This is referring to the lisp that he had. This lisp was a result of an incident when he was presented a date and a hot coal stone and he placed the coal on his tongue instead of the date. A detailed explanation of this story is forthcoming in the following chapters. However, he did not ask Allah to remove this affliction all together. Rather, he asked for removal of his stammering so the people would understand what he intended in his speech. He was only asking for what was necessary to deliver his message. If he had asked for the removal of his affliction in its entirety, it would have been cured for him. However, the Prophets do not ask for any more than what is required. Therefore, he was left with the remnants of this accident that took place with his tongue. Allah informed of what Fir`awn said concerning him,
(Am I not better than this one who is despicable and can scarcely express himself clearly) (43:52) This means that he is not eloquent in speech. Concerning Allah's statement,
(And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother.) This was also a request from Musa concerning something not pertaining to himself. That was his request for the assistance of his brother, Harun. Ath-Thawri reported from Abu Sa`id, from `Ikrimah, who said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Harun was made a Prophet at the same moment that Musa was made a Prophet.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `A'ishah went out intending to perform `Umrah and stopped to camp among some bedouins. While she was among them she heard a man say, "Which brother in this life was the most beneficial to his brother'' The people said, "We do not know.'' The man said, "By Allah, I know.'' `A'ishah said, "I said to myself about his swearing, that he should not swear such an oath, singling himself out as knowing what person was of most benefit to his brother.'' The man said, "It is Musa, when he asked for prophethood to be bestowed upon his brother.'' Then `A'ishah said, "By Allah, he has spoken truthfully.'' This is why Allah commended Musa by saying,
(And he was honorable before Allah.) (33:69) Concerning Musa's statement,
(Increase my strength with him.) Mujahid said, "This means to make my back strong.''
(And let him share my task.) make him my consultant in this matter.
(That we may glorify You much, and remember You much.) Mujahid said, "A servant of Allah is not considered of those who remember Allah much until he remembers Allah while standing, sitting and lying down.'' Concerning his statement,
(Verily, You are ever seeing us.) This means in Your choosing us, giving us the prophethood and sending us to Your enemy, Fir`awn. So unto You is all praise for this.
(36. (Allah) said: "You are granted your request, O Musa!'') (37. "And indeed We conferred a favor on you another time (before).'') (38. "When We inspired your mother with that which We inspired.'') (39. "Saying: `Put him (the child) into the Tabut and put it into the river; then the river shall cast it up on the bank, and there, an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his shall take him.' And I endued you with love from Me, in order that you may be brought up under My Eye.'') (40. "When your sister went and said: `Shall I show you one who will nurse him' So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve. Then you did kill a man, but We saved you from great distress and tried you with a heavy trial.'')
This is a response from Allah to His Messenger, Musa, for what he requested from His Lord. It also contains a reminder of Allah's previous favors upon him. The first was inspiring his mother when she was breastfeeding him and she feared that Fir`awn and his chiefs would kill him. Musa was born during a year in which they (Fir`awn's people) were killing all of the male children. So she placed him in a case and cast him into the river. The river carried him away and she became grieved and distressed, as Allah mentioned about her when He said,
(And the heart of the mother of Musa became empty. She was very near to disclose his (case) had We not strengthened her heart.) (28:10) So the river carried him to the home of Fir`awn.
(Then the people of Fir`awn picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief.) (28:8) Means that this was a destined matter, decreed by Allah. They were killing the male children of the Israelites for fear of Musa's arrival. Therefore, with Allah having the great authority and the most perfect power, He determined that Musa would not be raised except upon Fir`awn's own bed. He would be sustained by Fir`awn's food and drink, while receiving the love of Fir`awn and his wife. This is why Allah said,
(and there, an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his shall take him. And I endued you with love from Me,) This means that I made your enemy love you. Salamah bin Kuhayl said,
(And I endued you with love from Me,) "This means, `I made My creatures love you.' ''
(in order that you may be brought up under My Eye.) Abu `Imran Al-Jawni said, "This means, `You will be raised under Allah's Eye.' '' Concerning Allah's statement,
(When your sister went and said: `Shall I show you one who will nurse him' So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes) When he was accepted into the house of Fir`awn, women were brought in attempts to find someone who might be able to nurse him. But he refused to breast feed from any of them. Allah, the Exalted, says,
(And We had already forbidden (other) foster suckling mothers for him) (28:12) Then, his sister came and said,
(Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and look after him in a good manner) (28:12) She meant, "Shall I guide you to someone who can nurse him for you for a fee'' So she took him and they went with her to his real mother. When her breast was presented to him, he took it and they (Fir`awn's family) were extremely happy for this. Thus, they hired her to nurse him and she achieved great happiness and comfort because of him, in this life and even more so in the Hereafter. Allah, the Exalted, says here,
(So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve.) This means that she should not grieve over you.
(Then you killed man,) This means that he killed a Coptic person (the people of Egypt, Fir`awn's people).
(but We saved you from great distress) This is what he was feeling due to Fir`awn's family intending to kill him. So he fled from them until he came to the water of the people of Madyan. This is when the righteous man said to him,
(Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.) (28:25)
(40. "When your sister went and said: `Shall I show you one who will nurse him' So We restored you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve. Then you did kill a man, but We saved you from great distress and tried you with a heavy trial.'',Then you stayed a number of years with the people of Madyan. Then you came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa!) (41. And I have chosen you for Myself.) (42. Go you and your brother with My Ayat, and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance.) (43. Go both of you to Fir`awn, verily, he has transgressed.) (44. And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).)
Allah, the Exalted, says in His address to Musa that he had lived among the people of Madyan, avoiding Fir`awn and his chiefs. He worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law until the appointed time for his work ended. Then he met the decree of Allah and His predetermined will, without him having any set appointment. This entire situation was under the control of Allah, Blessed be He, the Most High. He compels His servants and His creatures to whatever end He wills. This is why Allah says,
(Then You came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa!) Mujahid said, "For a set appointment.'' `Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Ma`mar reported from Qatadah that he said,
(Then You came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa!) "For the decree of messengership and prophethood.'' Concerning Allah's statement,
(And I have chosen you for Myself.) This means, "I have chosen you and selected you to be a Messenger for Myself. This is as I wish and according to My will.'' Concerning the Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Adam and Musa met, and Musa said, "You are the one who made things difficult for mankind and you caused them to be evicted from Paradise.'' Adam said, "Are you the one whom Allah chose for His Message, and He selected you for Himself and He revealed the Tawrah to you'' Musa replied, "Yes.'' Then Adam said, "Did you find that it was preordained upon me before He (Allah) created me'' Musa replied, "Yes.'' Therefore, Adam defeated Musa's argument.) Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this narration. Concerning Allah's statement,
(Go you and your brother with My Ayat,) This means with My proofs, evidences and miracles.
(And do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance.) `Ali bin Abi Talhah related from Ibn `Abbas that he said, "This means do not be slow.'' Mujahid reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "This means do not be weak.'' The meaning here is that they should not slacken in the remembrance of Allah. Rather, they both should remember Allah during their meeting with Fir`awn so that the remembrance of Allah can be an aid for them against him. The remembrance of Allah would be their strength and their power that would defeat him. Allah's statement;
(Go both of you to Fir`awn, Verily, he has transgressed.) means that he has rebelled and become haughty and insolent against Allah and he has disobeyed Him.
(And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).) This Ayah contains a great lesson. Even though Fir`awn was the most insolent and arrogant of people and Musa was the friend of Allah among His creation at that time, Musa was still commanded to speak to Fir`awn with mildness and softness. Therefore, their invitation to him was with gentle, soft and easy speech that is used by one who is a close friend. This is so that the message may have more effect on the souls, and so it would have deeper and more beneficial results. This is as Allah, the Exalted, says,
(Invite (mankind) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.) (16:125) Concerning Allah's statement,
(perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah). ) This means that perhaps he will recant from that which he is in of misguidance and destruction,
(or he will fear) meaning that he will become obedient due to fear of Allah. This is as Allah says,
(For such who desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.) (25:62) Thus, to remember means to recant from that which is dangerous, and fear means to attain obedience.
(45. Both of them said: "Our Lord! Verily, we fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress.'') (46. He (Allah) said: "Fear not, verily, I am with you both, hearing and seeing.'') (47. "So go you both to him, and say: 'Verily, we are both Messengers of your Lord, so let the Children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!'') (48. `Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies, and turns away.`'')
Allah, the Exalted, informs that Musa and Harun pleaded to Allah, expressing their grievance to him:
(Verily, we fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress.) They meant that Fir`awn might seize them unexpectedly with a punishment, or transgress against them by tormenting them, when they actually did not deserve it. Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn `Abbas that he said that transgress here means, "To exceed the bounds.''
(He (Allah) said: "Fear not, verily, I am with you both, hearing and seeing.'') meaning; "Do not fear him (Fir`awn), for verily, I am with you and I hear your speech and his speech as well. I see your place and I see his place as well. Nothing is hidden from Me of your affair. Know that his forehead is in My Hand, and he does not speak, breathe, or use any force, except by My leave and after My command. I am with you by My protection, My help and My support.''
(So go you both to him, and say: "Verily, we are both Messengers of your Lord...'')
Concerning his statement,
(indeed, We have come with a sign from your Lord!) meaning with evidence and a miracle from your Lord.
(And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!) meaning, `peace be upon you if you follow the guidance.' Because of this, when the Messenger of Allah wrote a letter to Heraclius, the emperor of Rome, beginning with,
(In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius the emperor of Rome. Peace be upon him who follows the guidance. Thus, to proceed: Verily, I invite you with the invitation of Islam. So accept Islam and you will be safe, and Allah will give you a double reward.) Due to this, Musa and Harun said to Fir`awn,
(And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance! Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies, and turns away.) In His flawless revelation, Allah has revealed to us that torment is prepared exclusively for those who reject the signs of Allah and turn away from His obedience. As Allah says,
(Then for him who transgressed all bounds, and preferred the life of this world, Verily, his abode will be Hellfire.) (79:37-39) Allah, the Exalted, also says,
(Therefore I have warned you of a blazing Fire. None shall enter it save the most wretched. Who denies and turns away.) (92:14-16) Allah also says,
(So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turned away.) (75:31-32) This means that he denied with his heart and turned away by his actions.
(49. Fir`awn said: "Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two'') (50. Musa ﴾said: "Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.'') (51. Fir`awn ﴾said: "What about the generations of old'') (52. Musa said: "The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.'')