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The Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt

After Musa stayed in Egypt for a long time, and the proof of Allah was established against Fir`awn and his chiefs, yet they were still arrogant and stubborn, then there was nothing left for them but punishment and vengeance. So Allah commanded Musa (peace be upon him) to take the Children of Israel out of Egypt by night, and take them wherever he would be commanded. So Musa (peace be upon him) did as he was commanded by his Lord, may He be glorified, and he led them forth after they had borrowed an abundance of jewelry from the people of Fir`awn. As more than one of the scholars of Tafsir have said, they left when the moon was rising, and Mujahid, may Allah have mercy on him, said that the moon was eclipsed that night. And Allah knows best. Musa asked about the grave of Yusuf (Prophet Joseph) (peace be upon him) and an old woman from among the Children of Israel showed him where it was, so he took the remains with them, and it was said that they were among the things that were carried by Musa himself, may peace be upon them both. It was also said that Yusuf (peace be upon him) had left instructions in his will that if the Children of Israel ever left Egypt, they should take his remains with them. The following morning, when there was nobody to be found in the Israelite quarters, Fir`awn became angry and his anger intensified since Allah had decreed that he was to be destroyed. So he quickly sent his callers to all his cities, i.e., to mobilize his troops and bring them together, and he called out to them:

﴿ إِنَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ

(Verily, these) meaning, the Children of Israel,

﴿ لَشِرۡذِمَةٌ۬ قَلِيلُونَ

(indeed are but a small band. ) meaning, a small group.

﴿ وَإِنَّہُمۡ لَنَا لَغَآٮِٕظُونَ

(And verily, they have done what has enraged us.) means, `every time we have heard anything about them, it has upset us and made us angry.'

﴿ وَإِنَّا لَجَمِيعٌ حَـٰذِرُونَ

(But we are a host all assembled, amply forewarned.) means, `we are constantly taking precautions lest they betray us.' Some of the Salaf read this with the meaning, "we are constantly forewarned and forearmed. And I want to destroy them to the last man, and destroy all their lands and property.'' So he and his troops were punished with the very things he sought to inflict upon the Children of Israel. Allah says:

﴿ فَأَخۡرَجۡنَـٰهُم مِّن جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ وَعُيُونٍ۬ وَكُنُوزٍ۬ وَمَقَامٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬

(So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, treasures, and every kind of honorable place.) meaning, they were thrown out of those blessings and into Hell, and they left behind the honorable places, gardens and rivers, wealth, provision, position and power in this world:

﴿ كَذَٲلِكَ وَأَوۡرَثۡنَـٰهَا بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ

(Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them.) This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَأَوۡرَثۡنَا ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَانُواْ يُسۡتَضۡعَفُونَ مَشَـٰرِقَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَغَـٰرِبَهَا ٱلَّتِى بَـٰرَكۡنَا فِيہَا‌ۖ

(And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed) (7: 137).

﴿ وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسۡتُضۡعِفُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَنَجۡعَلَهُمۡ أَٮِٕمَّةً۬ وَنَجۡعَلَهُمُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثِينَ

(And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors) The two Ayat thereafter: (28:5-6).

﴿ فَأَتۡبَعُوهُم مُّشۡرِقِينَ فَلَمَّا تَرَٲٓءَا ٱلۡجَمۡعَانِ قَالَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ مُوسَىٰٓ إِنَّا لَمُدۡرَكُونَ قَالَ كَلَّآ‌ۖ إِنَّ مَعِىَ رَبِّى سَيَہۡدِينِ فَأَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰٓ أَنِ ٱضۡرِب بِّعَصَاكَ ٱلۡبَحۡرَ‌ۖ فَٱنفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرۡقٍ۬ كَٱلطَّوۡدِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ وَأَزۡلَفۡنَا ثَمَّ ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ وَأَنجَيۡنَا مُوسَىٰ وَمَن مَّعَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡمَعِينَ ثُمَّ أَغۡرَقۡنَا ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَةً۬‌ۖ وَمَا كَانَ أَكۡثَرُهُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(60. So, they pursued them at sunrise.) (61. And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa said: "We are sure to be overtaken.'') (62. (Musa) said: "Nay, verily with me is my Lord. He will guide me.'') (63. Then We revealed to Musa (saying): "Strike the sea with your stick.'' And it parted, and each separate part became like huge mountain.) (64. Then We brought near the others to that place.) (65. And We saved Musa and all those with him.) (66. Then We drowned the others.) (67. Verily, in this is indeed a sign, yet most of them are not believers.) (68. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.)

Fir`awn's Pursuit and Expulsion of the Children of Israel, and how He and His People were drowned

More than one of the scholars of Tafsir said that Fir`awn set out with a huge group, a group containing the leaders and entire government of Egypt at that time, i.e., the decision-makers and influential figures, princes, ministers, nobles, leaders and soldiers.

﴿ فَأَتۡبَعُوهُم مُّشۡرِقِينَ

(So, they pursued them at sunrise.) means, they caught up with the Children of Israel at sunrise.

﴿ فَلَمَّا تَرَٲٓءَا ٱلۡجَمۡعَانِ

(And when the two hosts saw each other,) means, each group saw the other. At that point,

﴿ قَالَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ مُوسَىٰٓ إِنَّا لَمُدۡرَكُونَ

(the companions of Musa said: "We are sure to be overtaken.'') This was because Fir`awn and his people caught up with them on the shores of the Red Sea, so the sea was ahead of them and Fir`awn and his troops were behind them. Hence they said:

﴿ فَلَمَّا تَرَٲٓءَا ٱلۡجَمۡعَانِ قَالَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ مُوسَىٰٓ إِنَّا لَمُدۡرَكُونَ قَالَ كَلَّآ‌ۖ إِنَّ مَعِىَ رَبِّى سَيَہۡدِينِ

("We are sure to be overtaken.'' (Musa) said: "Nay, verily with me is my Lord. He will guide me.'') meaning, `nothing of what you fear will happen to you, for Allah is the One Who commanded me to bring you here, and He does not go back on His promise.' Harun (peace be upon him) was in the front, with Yusha` bin Nun and a believer from the family of Fir`awn, and Musa (peace be upon him) was in the rear. More than one of the scholars of Tafsir said that they stood there not knowing what to do, and Yusha` bin Nun or the believer from the family of Fir`awn said to Musa (peace be upon him) "O Prophet of Allah, is it here that your Lord commanded you to bring us'' He said: "Yes.'' Then Fir`awn and his troops drew near and were very close indeed. At that point Allah commanded his Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) to strike the sea with his staff, so he struck it, and it parted, by the will of Allah. Allah says:

﴿ فَٱنفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرۡقٍ۬ كَٱلطَّوۡدِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ

(And it parted, and each separate part became like huge mountain.) meaning, like mighty mountains. This was the view of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Abbas, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah and others. `Ata' Al-Khurasani said, "It refers to a pass between two mountains.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "The sea divided into twelve paths, one for each of the tribes.'' As-Suddi added, "And in it there were windows through which they could see one another, and the water was erected like walls.'' Allah sent the wind to the sea bed to make it solid like the land. Allah says:

﴿ فَٱضۡرِبۡ لَهُمۡ طَرِيقً۬ا فِى ٱلۡبَحۡرِ يَبَسً۬ا لَّا تَخَـٰفُ دَرَكً۬ا وَلَا تَخۡشَىٰ

(and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken nor being afraid) (20:77). And here He says:

﴿ وَأَزۡلَفۡنَا ثَمَّ ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ

(Then We brought near the others to that place.) Ibn `Abbas, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Qatadah and As-Suddi said:

﴿ وَأَزۡلَفۡنَا

(Then We brought near) means, "We brought Fir`awn and his troops near to the sea.''

﴿ وَأَنجَيۡنَا مُوسَىٰ وَمَن مَّعَهُ ۥۤ أَجۡمَعِينَ ثُمَّ أَغۡرَقۡنَا ٱلۡأَخَرِينَ

(And We saved Musa and all those with him. Then We drowned the others.) meaning: `We saved Musa and the Children of Israel and whoever followed their religion, and none of them were destroyed, but Fir`awn and his troops were drowned and not one of them remained alive, but was destroyed.' Then Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَةً۬‌ۖ

(Verily, in this is indeed a sign,) meaning, this story with its wonders and tales of aid to the believing servants of Allah is definitive proof and evidence of Allah's wisdom.

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَةً۬‌ۖ وَمَا كَانَ أَكۡثَرُهُم مُّؤۡمِنِينَ وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

(yet most of them are not believers. And verily your Lord, He is truly the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. ) The explanation of this phrase has already been discussed above.

﴿ وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ إِذۡ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦ مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ قَالُواْ نَعۡبُدُ أَصۡنَامً۬ا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَـٰكِفِينَ قَالَ هَلۡ يَسۡمَعُونَكُمۡ إِذۡ تَدۡعُونَ أَوۡ يَنفَعُونَكُمۡ أَوۡ يَضُرُّونَ قَالُواْ بَلۡ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا كَذَٲلِكَ يَفۡعَلُونَ قَالَ أَفَرَءَيۡتُم مَّا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡبُدُونَ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُمُ ٱلۡأَقۡدَمُونَ فَإِنَّہُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ لِّىٓ إِلَّا رَبَّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(69. And recite to them the story of Ibrahim.) (70. When he said to his father and his people: "What do you worship'') (71. They said: "We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.'') (72. He said: "Do they hear you when you call'') (73. "Or do they benefit you or do they cause harm'') (74. They said: "(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.'') (75. He said: "Do you observe that which you have been worshipping --'') (76. "You and your ancient fathers'') (77. "Verily, they are enemies to me, save the Lord of Al-`Alamin,'')

How the Close Friend of Allah, Ibrahim spoke out against Shirk

Here Allah tells us about His servant, Messenger and Close Friend, Ibrahim, upon him be peace, the leader of the pure monotheists. Allah commanded His Messenger Muhammad to recite this story to his Ummah so that they could follow this example of sincerity towards Allah, putting one's trust in Him, worshipping Him Alone with no partner or associate, and renouncing Shirk and its people. Allah granted guidance to Ibrahim before, i.e., from a very early age he had denounced his people's practice of worshipping idols with Allah, may He be exalted.

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦ مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ

(When he said to his father and his people: "What do you worship'') meaning: what are these statues to which you are so devoted

﴿ قَالُواْ نَعۡبُدُ أَصۡنَامً۬ا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَـٰكِفِينَ

(They said: "We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted.'') meaning: we are devoted to worshipping them and praying to them.

﴿ قَالَ هَلۡ يَسۡمَعُونَكُمۡ إِذۡ تَدۡعُونَ أَوۡ يَنفَعُونَكُمۡ أَوۡ يَضُرُّونَ قَالُواْ بَلۡ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا كَذَٲلِكَ يَفۡعَلُونَ

(He said: "Do they hear you when you call Or do they benefit you or do they cause harm'' They said: "(Nay) but we found our fathers doing so.'') They knew that their idols could not do anything, but they had seen their fathers doing this, so they made haste to follow in their footsteps. So Ibrahim said to them:

﴿ قَالَ أَفَرَءَيۡتُم مَّا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡبُدُونَ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُمُ ٱلۡأَقۡدَمُونَ فَإِنَّہُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ لِّىٓ إِلَّا رَبَّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(Do you observe that which you have been worshipping --you and your ancient fathers Verily, they are enemies to me, save the Lord of Al-`Alamin.) meaning, `if these idols mean anything and have any influence, then let them do me any kind of harm, for I am an enemy to them and I do not care about them or think anything of them.' This is akin to the way Allah described Nuh:

﴿ فَأَجۡمِعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَكُمۡ وَشُرَكَآءَكُمۡ

(So devise your plot, you and your partners) (10:71). And Hud, upon him be peace, said:

﴿ إِن نَّقُولُ إِلَّا ٱعۡتَرَٮٰكَ بَعۡضُ ءَالِهَتِنَا بِسُوٓءٍ۬‌ۗ قَالَ إِنِّىٓ أُشۡہِدُ ٱللَّهَ وَٱشۡہَدُوٓاْ أَنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ۬ مِّمَّا تُشۡرِكُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦ‌ۖ فَكِيدُونِى جَمِيعً۬ا ثُمَّ لَا تُنظِرُونِ إِنِّى تَوَكَّلۡتُ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ رَبِّى وَرَبِّكُم‌ۚ مَّا مِن دَآبَّةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ ءَاخِذُۢ بِنَاصِيَتِہَآ‌ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى عَلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬

("I call Allah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as partners in worship. So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path) (11:54-56). Similarly, Ibrahim denounced their gods and idols and said:

﴿ وَڪَيۡفَ أَخَافُ مَآ أَشۡرَڪۡتُمۡ وَلَا تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمۡ أَشۡرَكۡتُم بِٱللَّهِ

(And how should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah, while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah) (6:81). And Allah said:

﴿ قَدۡ كَانَتۡ لَكُمۡ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ فِىٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ

(Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim) until His saying;

﴿ حَتَّىٰ تُؤۡمِنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَحۡدَهُ ۥۤ

(until you believe in Allah Alone) (60:4).

﴿ وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦۤ إِنَّنِى بَرَآءٌ۬ مِّمَّا تَعۡبُدُونَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِى فَطَرَنِى فَإِنَّهُ ۥ سَيَہۡدِينِ وَجَعَلَهَا كَلِمَةَۢ بَاقِيَةً۬ فِى عَقِبِهِۦ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ

(And (remember) when Ibrahim said to his father and his people: "Verily, I am innocent of what you worship, except Him Who created me; and verily, He will guide me.'' And he made it a Word lasting among his offspring, that they may turn back) (43:26-28). meaning: "La Ilaha Illallah.''

﴿ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَنِى فَهُوَ يَہۡدِينِ وَٱلَّذِى هُوَ يُطۡعِمُنِى وَيَسۡقِينِ وَإِذَا مَرِضۡتُ فَهُوَ يَشۡفِينِ وَٱلَّذِى يُمِيتُنِى ثُمَّ يُحۡيِينِ وَٱلَّذِىٓ أَطۡمَعُ أَن يَغۡفِرَ لِى خَطِيٓـَٔتِى يَوۡمَ ٱلدِّينِ

(78. Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me.) (79. And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink.) (80. And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me.) (81. And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life.) (82. And Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.)

Ibrahim mentions Allah's Kindness towards Him

Ibrahim said, "I will not worship any but the One Who does these things:

﴿ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَنِى فَهُوَ يَہۡدِينِ

(Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me.) He is the Creator Who has decreed certain things to which He guides His creation, so each person follows the path which is decreed for him. Allah is the One Who guides whomsoever He wills and leaves astray whomsoever He wills.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِى هُوَ يُطۡعِمُنِى وَيَسۡقِينِ

(And it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink.) He is my Creator Who provides for me from that which He has made available in the heavens and on earth. He drives the clouds and causes water to fall with which He revives the earth and brings forth its fruits as provision for mankind. He sends down the water fresh and sweet so that many of those whom He has created, animals and men alike, may drink from it.

﴿ وَإِذَا مَرِضۡتُ فَهُوَ يَشۡفِينِ

(And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me.) Here he attributed sickness to himself, even though it is Allah Who decrees it, out of respect towards Allah. By the same token, Allah commands us to say in the prayer,

﴿ ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ

(Guide us to the straight way) (1:6) to the end of the Surah. Grace and guidance are attributed to Allah, may He be exalted, but the subject of the verb with reference to anger is omitted, and going astray is attributed to the people. This is like when the Jinn said:

﴿ وَأَنَّا لَا نَدۡرِىٓ أَشَرٌّ أُرِيدَ بِمَن فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمۡ أَرَادَ بِہِمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ رَشَدً۬ا

(And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them a right path) (72:10) Similarly, Ibrahim said:

﴿ وَإِذَا مَرِضۡتُ فَهُوَ يَشۡفِينِ

(And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me.) meaning, `when I fall sick, no one is able to heal me but Him, Who heals me with the means that may lead to recovery'.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِى يُمِيتُنِى ثُمَّ يُحۡيِينِ

(And Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life.) He is the One Who gives life and causes death, and no one besides Him is able to do that, for He is the One Who originates and repeats.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِىٓ أَطۡمَعُ أَن يَغۡفِرَ لِى خَطِيٓـَٔتِى يَوۡمَ ٱلدِّينِ

(And Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Recompense.) means, no one is able to forgive sins in this world or the Hereafter except Him. Who can forgive sins except Allah For He is the One Who does whatever He wills.

﴿ رَبِّ هَبۡ لِى حُڪۡمً۬ا وَأَلۡحِقۡنِى بِٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ وَٱجۡعَل لِّى لِسَانَ صِدۡقٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرِينَ وَٱجۡعَلۡنِى مِن وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ وَٱغۡفِرۡ لِأَبِىٓ إِنَّهُ ۥ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلضَّآلِّينَ وَلَا تُخۡزِنِى يَوۡمَ يُبۡعَثُونَ يَوۡمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ۬ وَلَا بَنُونَ إِلَّا مَنۡ أَتَى ٱللَّهَ بِقَلۡبٍ۬ سَلِيمٍ۬

(83. My Lord! Bestow Hukm on me, and join me with the righteous.) (84. And grant me an honorable mention in later generations.) (85. And make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.) (86. And forgive my father, verily, he is of the erring.) (87. And disgrace me not on the Day when they will be resurrected.) (88. The Day whereon neither wealth nor sons will avail,) (89. Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart.)