When Allah commanded him to go to Fir`awn, the one who he had run away from and whose vengeance he feared,
( Musa said: My Lord! I have killed a man among them,) meaning, that Coptic,
(and I fear that they will kill me.) i.e., `when they see me.'
(And my brother Harun -- he is more eloquent in speech than me,) Musa, (peace be upon him) had a speech defect, because when he had been given the choice between a date and a pearl, he mistakenly picked up a coal and placed it on his tongue, so he found it difficult to speak clearly. Musa said:
("And loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue. That they understand my speech. And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother. Increase my strength with him, And let him share my task.'') (20:27-32) meaning, `give me someone to keep me company in this immense task of prophethood and conveying the Message to this arrogant, tyrannical and stubborn king. ' Hence Musa said:
(And my brother Harun -- he is more eloquent in speech than me: so send him with me as a helper) meaning, as a support to give strength to my cause and confirm what I say and convey from Allah, because the word of two carries more weight in people's minds than the word of one. So he said:
(Verily, I fear that they will deny me.) Muhammad bin Ishaq said:
(as a helper to confirm me.) means, `to explain to them what I say, for he can understand me where they may not.' When Musa asked for this, Allah said to him:
(We will strengthen your arm through your brother,) meaning, `We will add strength to your cause and give you help through your brother, who you have asked to be made a Prophet alongside you.' This is like the Ayat;
(You are granted your request, O Musa!) (20:36)
(And We granted him his brother Harun, (also) a Prophet, out of Our mercy) (19:53). One of the Salaf said, "There is no one who has ever done a greater favor to his brother than Musa did for Harun, may peace be upon them both, for he interceded for him until Allah made him a Prophet and Messenger with him to Fir`awn and his chiefs. Allah said concerning Musa:
(he was honorable before Allah) (33:69).
(and (We will) give you both power) means, overwhelming evidence.
(so they shall not be able to harm you, with Our Ayat;) means, `they will have no way or means of harming you because you are conveying the signs of Allah.' This is like the Ayat:
(O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord.) until His saying:
(Allah will protect you from mankind) (5:67).
(Those who convey the Message of Allah) until His saying:
(And sufficient is Allah as a Reckoner) (33:39). And sufficient is Allah as a Helper and Supporter. And Allah told them the consequences in this world and the next, for them and for those who followed them,
(you two as well as those who follow you will be the victors.) This is like the Ayat:
(Allah has decreed: "Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.'' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.) (58:21)
(Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world's life) (40:51) to the end of the Ayah.
(36. Then when Musa came to them with Our Clear Ayat, they said: "This is nothing but invented magic. Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.'') (37. Musa said: "My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him, and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter. Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.'')
Allah tells us how Musa and his brother Harun came before Fir`awn and his chiefs, and showed them the clear miracles and overwhelming proof that Allah had given them to confirm the truth of what they were saying about Allah being One and that His commandments were to be followed. Fir`awn and his chiefs saw that with their own eyes and realized that it was certainly from Allah, but because of their disbelief and sin they resorted to stubbornness and false arguments. This was because they were too evil and arrogant to follow the truth. They said:
(This is nothing but invented magic.) meaning, fabricated and made up. They wanted to oppose him by means of their own tricks and their position and power, but this did not work.
(Never did we hear of this among our fathers of old.) They were referring worshipping Allah Alone, with no partner or associate. They said: "We have never seen anyone among our forefathers following this religion; we have only ever seen people associating other gods in worship with Allah. Musa said in response to them:
(My Lord knows best him who came with guidance from Him,) meaning, `of me and you, and He will decide between me and you.' So he said:
(and whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter. ) meaning, who will be supported and will prevail.
(Verily, the wrongdoers will not be successful.) refers to the idolaters who associate others in worship with Allah.
(38. Fir`awn said: "O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me. So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa; and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.'') (39. And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.) (40. So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea. So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers.) (41. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire: and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.) (42. And We made a curse to follow them in this world, and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.)
Allah tells us of Fir`awn's disbelief and wrongdoing, and how he falsely claimed divinity for his evil self, may Allah curse him.
(Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him.) (43:54) He called on his people to recognize his divinity, and they responded, because of their weak and foolish minds. So, he said:
(O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.) Allah tells us about Fir`awn:
(Then he gathered (his people) and cried aloud, saying: "I am your lord, most high.'' So Allah, seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression. Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allah.) (79:23-26) meaning: he brought his people together and called to them in a loud voice, shouting that, and they responded to him obediently. So Allah took revenge on him, and made him a lesson to others in this world and the Hereafter. He even confronted Musa with that, and said:
(If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners) (26:29).
(So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarh in order that I may look at the God of Musa;) He commanded his minister and adviser Haman to bake bricks for him, i.e., to make bricks in order to build a Sarh, an exalted towering palace. This is like the Ayah,
(And Fir`awn said: "O Haman! Build me a Sarh that I may arrive at the ways -- the ways of the heavens, and I may look upon the God of Musa, but verily, I think him to be a liar.'' Thus it was made fair seeming, in Fir`awn's eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered from the path; and the plot of Fir`awn led to nothing but loss and destruction) (40:36-37). Fir`awn built this tower, which was the highest structure ever seen on earth, because he wanted to show his people that Musa was lying when he claimed that there was a God other than Fir`awn. Fir`awn said:
(and verily, I think that he (Musa) is one of the liars.) meaning, `when he says that there is a lord other than me.' The issue was not whether Allah had sent Musa, because he did not acknowledge the existence of the Creator in the first place. On the contrary, he said:
(And what is the Lord of Al-`Alamin) (26:23) and:
(If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.) (26:29) and he said:
(O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me.) This was the view of Ibn Jarir.
(And he and his armies were arrogant in the land, without right, and they thought that they would never return to Us.) means, they were arrogant oppressors who spread much mischief in the land, and they believed that there would be no Resurrection.
(So, your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment. Verily, your Lord is Ever Watchful (over them).) (89:13-14). Allah says here:
(So, We seized him and his armies, and We threw them all into the sea.) meaning, `We drowned them in the sea in a single morning, and not one of them was left.'
(So, behold what was the end of the wrongdoers. And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire) for those who followed them and took the same path as they did, rejecting the Messengers and denying the Creator.
(and on the Day of Resurrection, they will not be helped.) their humiliation in this world is combined with and connected to their humiliation in the Hereafter, as Allah says:
(We have destroyed them. And there was none to help them) (47:13).
(And We made a curse to follow them in this world,) Allah decreed that they and their king Fir`awn should be cursed by the believers among His servants who follow His Messengers, just as in this world they were cursed by the Prophets and their followers.
(and on the Day of Resurrection, they will be among disgraced.) Qatadah said, "This Ayah is like the Ayah,
(They were pursued by a curse in this (life) and on the Day of Resurrection. Evil indeed is the gift given.) (11:99).''
(43. And indeed We gave Musa -- after We had destroyed the generations of old -- the Scripture as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that they might remember.)