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Musa, the Father of the Two Women, and His Marriage to One of Them

When the two women came back quickly with the sheep, their father was surprised that they returned so soon. He asked them what had happened, and they told him what Musa, (peace be upon him) had done. So he sent one of them to call him to meet her father. Allah says:

﴿ فَجَآءَتۡهُ إِحۡدَٮٰهُمَا تَمۡشِى عَلَى ٱسۡتِحۡيَآءٍ۬

(Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly.) meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the faithful, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him: "She was covering herself from them with the folds of her garment.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Amr bin Maymun said, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.'' This chain of narrators is Sahih.

﴿ قَالَتۡ إِنَّ أَبِى يَدۡعُوكَ لِيَجۡزِيَكَ أَجۡرَ مَا سَقَيۡتَ لَنَا‌ۚ

(She said: "Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.'') This is an example of good manners: she did not invite him directly lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her. Rather she said: "My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep,'' i.e., give you some payment for that.

﴿ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُ ۥ وَقَصَّ عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡقَصَصَ

(So when he came to him and narrated the story,) means, he told him about his story and why he had to leave his country.

﴿ قَالَ لَا تَخَفۡ‌ۖ نَجَوۡتَ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(he said: "Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.'') He was saying: `calm down and relax, for you have left their kingdom and they have no authority in our land.' So he said:

﴿ نَجَوۡتَ مِنَ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

(You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.)

﴿ قَالَتۡ إِحۡدَٮٰهُمَا يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجِرۡهُ‌ۖ إِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجَرۡتَ ٱلۡقَوِىُّ ٱلۡأَمِينُ

(And said one of them: "O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.'') One of the two daughters of the man said this, and it was said that she was the one who had walked behind Musa, peace be upon him. She said to her father:

﴿ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجِرۡهُ‌ۖ

(O my father! Hire him!) as a shepherd to look after the sheep. `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Abu Malik, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said: "When she said:

﴿ إِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجَرۡتَ ٱلۡقَوِىُّ ٱلۡأَمِينُ

(Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.) her father said to her, `What do you know about that' She said to him, `He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.''' `Abdullah (Ibn Mas`ud) said, "The people who had the most discernment were three: Abu Bakr's intuition about `Umar; the companion of Yusuf when he said, `Make his stay comfortable'; and the companion of Musa, when she said:

﴿ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجِرۡهُ‌ۖ إِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ ٱسۡتَـٔۡجَرۡتَ ٱلۡقَوِىُّ ٱلۡأَمِينُ

(O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.).''

﴿ إِنِّىٓ أُرِيدُ أَنۡ أُنكِحَكَ إِحۡدَى ٱبۡنَتَىَّ هَـٰتَيۡنِ

(I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you,) means, this old man asked him to take care of his flocks, then he would marry one of his two daughters to him.

﴿ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تَأۡجُرَنِى ثَمَـٰنِىَ حِجَجٍ۬‌ۖ فَإِنۡ أَتۡمَمۡتَ عَشۡرً۬ا فَمِنۡ عِندِكَ‌ۖ

(on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you.) meaning, `on the condition that you tend my flocks for eight years, and if you want to give me two extra years, that is up to you, but if you do not want to, then eight years is enough.'

﴿ وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنۡ أَشُقَّ عَلَيۡكَ‌ۚ سَتَجِدُنِىٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

(But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.) means, `I do not want to put pressure on you or cause you any inconvenience or argue with you.' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Rabah Al-Lakhmi said, "I heard `Utbah bin An-Nadar As-Sulami, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah narrating that the Messenger of Allah said:

« إِنَّ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ آجَرَ نَفْسَهُ بِعِفَّةِ فَرْجِهِ وَطُعْمَةِ بَطْنِه »

(Musa, (peace be upon him) hired himself out for the purpose of keeping chaste and to feed himself.) And Allah tells us about Musa, peace be upon him:

﴿ قَالَ ذَٲلِكَ بَيۡنِى وَبَيۡنَكَ‌ۖ أَيَّمَا ٱلۡأَجَلَيۡنِ قَضَيۡتُ فَلَا عُدۡوَٲنَ عَلَىَّ‌ۖ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ مَا نَقُولُ وَڪِيلٌ۬

(He said: "That (is settled) between me and you: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.'') Musa said to his father-in-law, "The matter is as you say. You have hired me for eight years, and if I complete ten years, that is my choice, but if I do the lesser amount, I will still have fulfilled the covenant and met the conditions.'' So he said:

﴿ أَيَّمَا ٱلۡأَجَلَيۡنِ قَضَيۡتُ فَلَا عُدۡوَٲنَ عَلَىَّ‌ۖ

(whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me,) meaning, `there will be no blame on me. The complete term is permissible but it is still regarded as something extra.' This is like the Ayah,

﴿ فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِى يَوۡمَيۡنِ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلَآ إِثۡمَ عَلَيۡهِ‌ۚ

(But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him) (2:203). And the Messenger of Allah said to Hamzah bin `Amr Al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him, who used to fast a great deal and who asked him about fasting while traveling:

« إِنْ شِئْتَ فَصُمْ، وَإِنْ شِئْتَ فَأَفْطِر »

(If you wish, then fast, and if you wish, do not fast.) even though it is better to fast, according to the evidence of other reports. And there is evidence which indicates that Musa, (peace be upon him) fulfilled the longer of the two terms. Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "A Jew from the people of Hirah asked me; `Which of the two terms did Musa fulfill' I said, `I do not know until I go to the scholar of the Arabs and ask him.' So I went to Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and asked him. He said: `He fulfilled the longer and better of them, for when a Messenger of Allah said he would do a thing, he did it.''' This is how it was recorded by Al-Bukhari.

﴿ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلۡأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهۡلِهِۦۤ ءَانَسَ مِن جَانِبِ ٱلطُّورِ نَارً۬ا قَالَ لِأَهۡلِهِ ٱمۡكُثُوٓاْ إِنِّىٓ ءَانَسۡتُ نَارً۬ا لَّعَلِّىٓ ءَاتِيكُم مِّنۡهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوۡ جَذۡوَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَصۡطَلُونَ فَلَمَّآ أَتَٮٰهَا نُودِىَ مِن شَـٰطِىِٕ ٱلۡوَادِ ٱلۡأَيۡمَنِ فِى ٱلۡبُقۡعَةِ ٱلۡمُبَـٰرَڪَةِ مِنَ ٱلشَّجَرَةِ أَن يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ إِنِّىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ وَأَنۡ أَلۡقِ عَصَاكَ‌ۖ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهَا تَہۡتَزُّ كَأَنَّہَا جَآنٌّ۬ وَلَّىٰ مُدۡبِرً۬ا وَلَمۡ يُعَقِّبۡ‌ۚ يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ أَقۡبِلۡ وَلَا تَخَفۡ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلۡأَمِنِينَ ٱسۡلُكۡ يَدَكَ فِى جَيۡبِكَ تَخۡرُجۡ بَيۡضَآءَ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ سُوٓءٍ۬ وَٱضۡمُمۡ إِلَيۡكَ جَنَاحَكَ مِنَ ٱلرَّهۡبِ‌ۖ فَذَٲنِكَ بُرۡهَـٰنَانِ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦۤ‌ۚ إِنَّهُمۡ ڪَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ

(29. Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term, and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur. He said to his family: "Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.'') (30. So when he reached it, he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree: "O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exists!'') (31. "And throw your stick!'' But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and looked not back. (It was said:) "O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.'') (32. "Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease; and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear. These are two proofs from your Lord to Fir`awn and his chiefs. Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.'')

Musa's Return to Egypt and how he was honored with the Mission and Miracles on the Way

In the explanation of the previous Ayah, we have already seen that Musa completed the longer and better of the two terms, which may also be understood from the Ayah where Allah says:

﴿ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلۡأَجَلَ

(Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term,) meaning, the longer of the two; and Allah knows best.

﴿ وَسَارَ بِأَهۡلِهِۦۤ

(and was traveling with his family,) They said: "Musa missed his country and his relatives, so he resolved to visit them in secret, without Fir`awn and his people knowing. So he gathered up his family and the flocks which his father-in-law had given to him, and set out on a cold, dark, rainy night. They stopped to camp, and whenever he tried to start a fire, he did not succeed. He was surprised by this, and while he was in this state,

﴿ ءَانَسَ مِن جَانِبِ ٱلطُّورِ نَارً۬ا

(he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur) he saw a fire burning from a far.

﴿ فَقَالَ لِأَهۡلِهِ ٱمۡكُثُوٓاْ إِنِّىٓ ءَانَسۡتُ نَارً۬ا

(He said to his family: "Wait, I have seen a fire...'') meaning, `wait while I go there, '

﴿ لَّعَلِّىٓ ءَاتِيكُم مِّنۡهَا بِخَبَرٍ

(perhaps I may bring to you from there some information,) This was because they lost their way.

﴿ أَوۡ جَذۡوَةٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَصۡطَلُونَ

(or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.) so that they could get warm and find relief from the cold.

﴿ فَلَمَّآ أَتَٮٰهَا نُودِىَ مِن شَـٰطِىِٕ ٱلۡوَادِ ٱلۡأَيۡمَنِ

(So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley,) From the side of the valley that adjoined the mountain on his right, to the west. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ ٱلۡغَرۡبِىِّ إِذۡ قَضَيۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مُوسَى ٱلۡأَمۡرَ

(And you were not on the western side, when We made clear to Musa the commandment) (20:44). This indicates that when Musa headed for the fire, he headed in the direction of the Qiblah with the western mountain on his right. He found the fire burning in a green bush on the side of the mountain adjoining the valley, and he stood there amazed at what he was seeing. Then his Lord called him:

﴿ مِن شَـٰطِىِٕ ٱلۡوَادِ ٱلۡأَيۡمَنِ فِى ٱلۡبُقۡعَةِ ٱلۡمُبَـٰرَڪَةِ مِنَ ٱلشَّجَرَةِ

(from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree.)

﴿ أَن يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ إِنِّىٓ أَنَا ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ

(O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exits!) meaning, `the One Who is addressing you and speaking to you is the Lord of all that exits, the One Who does what He wills, the One apart from Whom there is no other god or lord, may He be exalted and sanctified, the One Who by His very nature, attributes, words and deeds is far above any resemblance to His creation, may He be glorified.

﴿ وَأَنۡ أَلۡقِ عَصَاكَ‌ۖ

(And throw your stick!) `the stick that is in your hand' -- as was stated in the Ayah,

﴿ وَمَا تِلۡكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَـٰمُوسَىٰ قَالَ هِىَ عَصَاىَ أَتَوَڪَّؤُاْ عَلَيۡہَا وَأَهُشُّ بِہَا عَلَىٰ غَنَمِى وَلِىَ فِيہَا مَـَٔارِبُ أُخۡرَىٰ

("And what is that in your right hand, O Musa'' He said: "This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep, and wherein I find other uses.'') (20:17-18). The meaning is: `this stick, which you know so well;'

﴿ قَالَ أَلۡقِهَا يَـٰمُوسَىٰ فَأَلۡقَٮٰهَا فَإِذَا هِىَ حَيَّةٌ۬ تَسۡعَىٰ

("Cast it down, O Musa!'' He cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly.) (20:19-20). Musa knew that the One Who was speaking to him was the One Who merely says to a thing, "Be!'' and it is, as we have already stated in (the explanation of) Surah Ta Ha. And here Allah says:

﴿ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهَا تَہۡتَزُّ كَأَنَّہَا جَآنٌّ۬ وَلَّىٰ مُدۡبِرً۬ا

(But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight,) It moved so quickly, even though it was so big, and its mouth was so huge, with its jaws snapping. It swallowed every rock it passed, and every rock that fell into its mouth fell with a sound like a rock falling into a valley. When he saw that:

﴿ وَلَّىٰ مُدۡبِرً۬ا وَلَمۡ يُعَقِّبۡ‌ۚ

(he turned in flight, and looked not back.) he did not turn around, because it is human nature to flee from such a thing. But when Allah said to him:

﴿ يَـٰمُوسَىٰٓ أَقۡبِلۡ وَلَا تَخَفۡ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلۡأَمِنِينَ

(O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.) he came back to his original position. Then Allah said:

﴿ ٱسۡلُكۡ يَدَكَ فِى جَيۡبِكَ تَخۡرُجۡ بَيۡضَآءَ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ سُوٓءٍ۬

(Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease;) meaning, `when you put your hand in your garment and then draw it out, it will be shining white as if it were a piece of the moon or a flash of lightning.' Allah said:

﴿ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ سُوٓءٍ۬

(without a disease) i.e., with no trace of leukoderma.

﴿ وَٱضۡمُمۡ إِلَيۡكَ جَنَاحَكَ مِنَ ٱلرَّهۡبِ‌ۖ

(and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear.) Mujahid said, "To be free from terror.'' Qatadah said, "To be free from fear.'' Musa was commanded, when he felt afraid of anything, to draw his hand close to his side to be free from the fear. If he did that, whatever fear he felt would be gone. Perhaps if a person does this, following the example of Musa, and puts his hand over his heart, his fear will disappear or be lessened, if Allah wills; in Allah we place our trust.

﴿ فَذَٲنِكَ بُرۡهَـٰنَانِ مِن رَّبِّكَ

(These are two proofs from your Lord) This refers to the throwing down of his stick, whereupon it turned into a moving snake, and his putting his hand into his garment and bringing it forth white without a disease. These were two clear and definitive proofs of the power of the One Who does as He chooses, and of the truth of the prophethood of the one at whose hands these miracles occurred. Allah said:

﴿ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَإِيْهِۦۤ‌ۚ

(to Fir`awn and his chiefs.) meaning his leaders and prominent followers.

﴿ إِنَّهُمۡ كَانُواْ قَوۡمً۬ا فَـٰسِقِينَ

(Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.) means, who are disobedient towards Allah and who go against His commands and His religion.

﴿ قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّى قَتَلۡتُ مِنۡهُمۡ نَفۡسً۬ا فَأَخَافُ أَن يَقۡتُلُونِ وَأَخِى هَـٰرُونُ هُوَ أَفۡصَحُ مِنِّى لِسَانً۬ا فَأَرۡسِلۡهُ مَعِىَ رِدۡءً۬ا يُصَدِّقُنِىٓ‌ۖ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ أَن يُكَذِّبُونِ قَالَ سَنَشُدُّ عَضُدَكَ بِأَخِيكَ وَنَجۡعَلُ لَكُمَا سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا فَلَا يَصِلُونَ إِلَيۡكُمَا‌ۚ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ أَنتُمَا وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكُمَا ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ

(33. He said: "My Lord! I have killed a man among them, and I fear that they will kill me.'') (34. "And my brother Harun -- he is more eloquent in speech than me, so send him with me as a helper to confirm me. Verily, I fear that they will deny me.'') (35. Allah said: "We will strengthen your arm through your brother, and give you both power, so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat; you two as well as those who follow you, will be the victors.'')