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Section 4: Moses Commissioned with Apostleship

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 29

فَلَمَّا قَضَي مُوسَي الأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بأَهْلِهِ ءَانَسَ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ نَاراً قَالَ لاَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنّـِي ءَانَسْتُ نَاراً لَعَلّـِي ءَاتِيكُم مِنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ

29. “So when Moses had fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family, he observed a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: ‘Tarry you here; verily I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you news of it, or a brand of the fire, so that you may warm yourselves’.”

The Arabic term /’anastu/ means to observe something in which there is intimacy and peace. The word /jaŏwah/ means ‘a piece’, and the Qur’anic phrase /tastalun/ is derived from /saly/ which means ‘to be heated by fire’.

Hadrat Musa had addressed his wife with plural form of Arabic pronoun, in terms such as /’umkuu/, /’atikum/, /la‘allakum/ and /tastalun/. It is perhaps for the reason that during the ten years that Moses was living with his wife he got a child or children.

It is understood from the sentences:

he journeyed with his family’,
I shall bring you news of it’,

and

so that you may warm yourselves’,

and also the sentence which says:

“…or may find some guidance at the fire”,1

that Moses (as) has traveled by night. It was a cold and dark night during the time when Moses lost his way, too.

Here we reach the seventh scene of the story life of Moses (as).

No one exactly knows how Moses spent that term of ten years, but certainly that term was among the best years of Moses’ lifetime. It was some wholesome, sweet and peaceful years when he became prepared for a great mission.

Indeed, it was necessary for Moses (as) to pass a ten-year-term in strangerhood and beside a great prophet. He had to be a shepherd so that if the habit of living in a castle had left any effect on his thought and spirit, it would have been washed off entirely. Moses must be among some poor people in order to understand their pain and be prepared for struggling against rich tyrants.

On the other hand, Moses ought to have a long time for contemplation upon the secrets of creation and for self- improvement. Where was it for him better than the desert of Madyan? And where was it better than the house of Shu‘ayb for him to remain?

The mission of an arch-prophet is not so simple that it can be easily undertaken. It can be said that, next to the Prophet of Islam (S), from one point of view, the mission of Moses (as) among the Divine prophets on the earth put an end to the captivity of a large nation, and he wiped out the traces of the culture of slavery from their spirit, all of which were not so easy.

It is written in Torah, as well as the Islamic narrations, that Shu‘ayb had promised Moses to give him the lambs which were born with a special colour, in order to appreciate Moses’ troubles.

By chance, in the last year, when Moses intended to say good-by with Shu‘ayb and return to Egypt, all or most of the lambs were born with the same specialty and Shu‘ayb willingly gave all of them to Moses, too.2

It is obvious that Moses did not suffice to be a shepherd until the end of his life, though being at the presence of Shu‘ayb was very enjoying for him. He ought to hasten to help his people who were captured in the chains of captivity and ignorance.

He ought to put an end to the injustices in Egypt, to break the idols, to abase the despots, and to elevate the oppressed by the help of Allah. An innate feeling encouraged Moses for this journey.

At last, Moses gathered his furniture, provision, and sheep and set out for the journey.

However, the application of the Arabic word /’ahl/ (family) mentioned in numerous verses of the Qur’an, shows that, besides his wife, Moses had a child (or children) with him in that journey. Some Islamic narrations verify this meaning, and in Torah, Exodus, it has been stipulated. Moreover his wife was pregnant at that time.

When he was coming back, he lost the way, and perhaps it was for the reason that he went a by-way so that he might not be seized by the grips of the Syrian oppressors.

However, the Qur’an says:

“So when Moses had fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family, he observed a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: ‘Tarry you here; verily I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you news of it, or a brand of the fire, so that you may warm yourselves’.”

There is not anything mentioned in the verse about the situation of Moses’ wife, but it is generally accepted by the commentaries and narrations that she was pregnant and at that time she felt the pain of delivery, and Moses was also anxious from this point of view.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 30

فَلَمَّآ أَتَاهَا نُودِيَ مِن شَاطِئِ الْوَادِ الاَيْمَنِ فِي الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يَامُوسَي إِنّـِي أَنَا اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

30. “Then when he came to it (he) was called (by a voice) from the right side of the valley, in the blessed spot, from the tree, saying: ‘O Moses! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds’.”

When Moses approached the fire he saw that it was a fire not alike other fires; it was not hot and not burning. It was entirely light and serenity. Meanwhile, Moses was seriously wondered, suddenly from the right side of the valley in that blessed high land, from inside of the tree, a voice was heard, addressing Moses, saying that He was Allah, the Lord of the worlds.

Here is the verse:

“Then when he came to it (he) was called (by a voice) from the right side of the valley, in the blessed spot, from the tree, saying: ‘O Moses! Verily I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds’.”

The Arabic word /šati’/ means ‘bank’; and the term /wadi/ means ‘valley’ or ‘the pass way of a torrent’; and the Qur’anic word /’ayman/ means ‘right’ which is a modifier for the Qur’anic word /šati’/; and the Arabic word/ /buq‘ah/ means a piece of land which is usually distinguished with respect to the lands around it.

No doubt Allah is able to create the sound waves inside whatever He desires. Here He created it inside a tree for He wanted to speak with Moses, and Moses was a body and he had ears and needed the sound waves.

Many of the divine prophets, of course, received the revelation by their inward inspiration, and sometimes by dream, but sometimes by means of hearing the sound waves. However, there is no room for this delusion that we consider a physical being for Allah.

Some narrations indicate that when Moses went near the fire, he noticed that the fire glittered from inside of a green branch and every moment it became brighter and more beautiful. He bent to take some of it with the small piece of wood he had in his hand, but the fire came toward him.

He terrified and came back. Sometimes he went toward the fire and sometimes the fire came towards him. Then, all of a sudden, a voice gave him the glad tidings of revelation. Thus, by the undeniable frame of references it became clear for Moses that this call was the call of Allah (s.w.t.), not other than Him.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 31

وَأَنْ أَلْقِ عَصَاكَ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهَا تَهْتَزُّ كَأَنَّهَا جَآنٌّ وَلَّي مُدْبِراً وَلَمْ يُعَقّـِبْ يَامُوسَي أَقْبِلْ وَلاَ تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ مِنَ الأَمِنِينَ

31. “And saying: ‘Cast down your staff.’ So when he saw it in motion as if it were a serpent, he turned back retreating, and did not return. (Then it was said to him): ‘O Moses! Come you forward and fear you not! For surely you are in security!’”

Regarding the heavy and great responsibilities that Moses had, there should have been bestowed on him some great miracles proportionate to them from the side of Allah that two important parts of which are referred to in this verse.

The first thing was that Moses was called to cast down his staff and Moses did. When he looked at it he saw that it was a serpent which was moving swiftly. Moses returned back because of fear so that he did not look at his behind.

The verse says:

“And saying: ‘Cast down your staff.’ So when he saw it in motion as if it were a serpent, he turned back retreating, and did not return…”

The day when Moses chose this staff for him to lean on it, and to beat down leaves with it for his sheep3, he did not believe that there was such a great power in it by the command of Allah.

This simple staff of a shepherd caused the castles of the tyrants to shake, and thus are the beings of this world that they seem small in our view but there are great potentialities in them which can be revealed by the command of Allah.

At this time, Moses heard the voice again as a command.

The verse continues saying:

“…(Then it was said to him): ‘O Moses! Come you forward and fear you not! For surely you are in security!’”

The Arabic word /jann/ originally means ‘an unseen being’, and it is also applied for small snakes, because they pass through grasses and furrows of the land in an unseen way. Of course, in some other verses of the Qur’an, it has been referred to as /u‘ban un mubin/ (a clear serpent).4

Formerly we have said that these differences of meaning may state the different shapes of that snake which at first was small and then appeared as a great serpent. This is also probable that when Moses saw it for the first time in Tur land, it was in its smallest size, and in later stages it became bigger and bigger.

However, Moses should become acquainted with this fact that at the presence of Allah there is an absolute security, and in that rank there is no room for any fear and scare.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verses 32-33

اسْلُكْ يَدَكَ فِي جَيْبِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَآءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ وَاضْمُمْ إِلَيْكَ جَنَاحَكَ مِنَ الرَّهْبِ فَذَانِكَ بُرْهَانَان مِن رَّبّـِكَ إِلَي فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا قَوْماً فَاسِقِينَ

قَالَ رَبّ‌ِ إِنّـِي قَتَلْتُ مِنْهُمْ نَفْساً فَاَخَافُ أَن يَقْتُلُونِ

32. “(Now) enter your hand into the your bosom, and it will come forth white (radiant) without evil, and draw your arm to yourself to ward off fear; and these (two miracles) be two proofs from your Lord unto Pharaoh and his chiefs, verily they have been a transgressing people.”
33. “He said: ‘My Lord! Verily I have killed one of them, so I fear that they would slay me’.”

The first miracle of Moses, that his staff became a serpent, was a sign of terror. After that, he was ordered to apply his second miracle, which was a sign of light and hope. Then both of them are a combination of ‘warning’ and ‘glad tidings’.

Moses was ordered:

“(Now) enter your hand into the your bosom, and it will come forth white (radiant) without evil…”

This whiteness and radiance was not because of the disease of leprosy, and the like; it was a Divine light for him which was completely new.

The observation of those wonderful supernatural events, in that dark night and in that empty desert, caused Moses (as) to shake vigorously. In order that he could regain his peace and calmness, he was ordered another commandment.

It was as follows:

“…and draw your arm to yourself to ward off fear…”

Some commentators have said that this sentence ironically means the necessity of decisiveness and firm decision in fulfilment of the responsibility of prophethood, and the lack of any fear and horror from any rank and any power.

Some other commentators have also thought that when the staff was changed into a snake, Moses (as) stretched his arms to defend himself, but Allah ordered him to draw back his arms and he should not fear, because he did not need to defend himself.

The application of /janah/ (wing) instead of ‘hand’ is a beautiful meaning that, perhaps, its purpose is to liken the state of man’s tranquility and calmness to the state of a bird that when it observes a frightening thing, it flies, but when it regains its calmness, it gathers its wings.

Again, Moses heard the same voice, saying:

“…and these (two miracles) be two proofs from your Lord unto Pharaoh and his chiefs, verily they have been a transgressing people.”

Yes, these people have gone out from the obedience of Allah, and they have disobeyed Him very violently. It is upon you that you advise them, but if it is of no avail, you must struggle against them.

Here Moses remembered the important event of his life in Egypt, the event of killing that Coptic man and mobilization of the forces of Pharaoh to avenge his blood. Although Moses had combated with that oppressor, these things had no meaning in the logic of Pharaoh. He is still decided to kill Moses without dispute if he finds him.

That is why here Moses speaks to Allah: as follows:

“He said: ‘My Lord! Verily I have killed one of them, so I fear that they would slay me’.”

Surah Al-Qasas - Verses 34-35

وَأَخِي هَارُونَ هُوَ أَفْصَحُ مِنّـِي لِسَاناً فَاَرْسِلْهُ مَعِيَ رِدْءاً يُصَدّ‌ِقُنِي إِنّـِي أَخَافُ أَن يُكَذّ‌ِبُونِ

قَالَ سَنَشُدُّ عَضُدَكَ بِاَخِيكَ وَنَجْعَلُ لَكُمَا سُلْطَاناً فَلاَ يَصِلُونَ إِلَيْكُمَا بِاَيَاتِنَآ أَنتُمَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَكُمَا الْغَالِبُونَ

34. “And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent in speech than I, so send him with me as an assistant, to testify me, surely I fear that they would reject me.”
35. “(Allah) said: ‘We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and We will give you both an authority, so that they shall not reach you; (go) with Our signs; you two and those who follow you two shall be the triumphant’.”

In giving heavy responsibilities to someone, all dimensions of the concerning person must be regarded. Although Hadrat Harun (Aaron) was older and more eloquent than Hadrat Moses (as), but for other good qualities and competencies that Moses had, he became responsible of this mission, while Aaron was a Divine prophet, too.

In the way of propagation, guidance, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, sometimes two or more persons must take an action.

“…so send him with me…”

That is why in the verse Moses (as) implicitly utters that he is alone and his tongue is not eloquent.

The verse says:

“And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent in speech than I, so send him with me as an assistant, to testify me, surely I fear that they would reject me.”

The Arabic term /’afsah/ is derived from /fasih/ which originally refers to ‘the purity of something’; and it is used for a pure, expressive speech which is free from any redundancy and unnecessary words. The Qur’anic word /rid’/ means: ‘Assistant’.

However, in view of the fact that this mission was very great and heavy, and Moses wanted not to fail in it, he asked Allah for it.

By the way, confessing the accomplishments of others is a virtue and a value. Therefore, though Moses (as) was an arch prophet he confessed the virtue of his brother, because an eloquent speech is one of the factors of attracting people and that of a successful propagation.

By the next verse, Allah accepted Moses’ invocation, too, and gave him enough confidence, as it says:

“(Allah) said: ‘We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and We will give you both an authority, so that they shall not reach you; (go) with Our signs; you two and those who follow you two shall be the triumphant’.”

What a great glad tidings! It was a glad tidings that not only encouraged the heart of Moses, but also caused his decision to become firm, and made his will very strong, the clear sequels of which will be explained later through some other topics of this story.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 36

فَلَمَّا جَآءهُم مُّوسَي بِاَيَاتِنَا بَيّـِنَاتٍ قَالُوا مَا هَذَا إِلاَّ سِحْرٌ مُفْتَرًي وَمَا سَمِعْنَا بِهَذَا فِي ءَابَآئِنَا الاَوَّلِينَ

36. “So when Moses came to them with Our clear signs, they said: ‘This is nothing but a forged sorcery, and we never heard of it amongst our fathers of old’.”

Accusation and slander is one of the greatest weapons of the tyrants against the reformers.

In accepting beliefs, the criterion is logic and reasoning, not the habit of the fathers,

“…and we never heard of it…”.

The teachings of the divine prophets are not to follow the old customs.

However, at that dark night and in that holy land Moses (as) received the command of prophethood from Allah. He came into Egypt and informed his brother, Aaron, of this important mission and conveyed the message of the great prophecy to him.

Both of them went toward Pharaoh, and after tolerating many difficulties, they could meet him. While his entourages and the elect ones were around him, Moses communicated the invitation of Allah to them. Now we are going to see what was their reaction in the face of this divine message.

The Qur’an says:

“So when Moses came to them with Our clear signs, they said: ‘This is nothing but a forged sorcery, and we never heard of it amongst our fathers of old’.”

Alongside of the great miracles of Moses, they betook the same weapon that in the length of history all tyrants and misguided ones used to betake in the face of Divine prophets’ miracles, that is, the weapon of sorcery, because that was extraordinary and this was also a supernatural event, but how one can reconcile these two?

Sorcerers are some deviated and mostly mammonist persons whose foundation of work is an alteration of facts and by this sign they can be recognized, while the invitation of Divine prophets, as well as its content, is a witness upon their miracles.

Moreover, since sorcerers rely on the power of man, their acts are always limited, but the divine prophets, who enjoy of the Power of Allah, have great and unlimited miracles.

The Qur’anic phrase /’ayatin bayyinat/ (clear signs), which points to the miracles of Moses (as), is in plural form because besides these two miracles Moses might have shown them other miracles, too, that with the combination of each of these two there would have been many miracles.

The change of his staff into a great snake is a miracle, and its return to the first state is another miracle. Again the brightness of Moses’ hand in a moment is a miracle, and its return to the first state is another miracle.

The usage of the Qur’anic term /muftaran/ (forged), derived from /faryah/ in the sense of accusation and slander, is for the sake that they wanted to say that Moses had falsely attributed it to Allah.

They said:

“…we never heard of it amongst our fathers of old,”

though before Moses the invitation of Noah, Abraham, and Yusuf had been heard in that land. It is either because of the long length of time, or for the sake that they wanted to say that their ancestors did not submit to such invitations, too.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 37

وَقَالَ مُوسَي رَبّـِي أَعْلَمُ بِمَن جَآءَ بِالْهُدَي مِنْ عِندِهِ وَمَن تَكُونُ لَهُ عَاقِبَةُ الدَّارِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الْظَّالِمُونَ

37. “And Moses said: ‘My Lord knows best who comes with guidance from unto Him, and whose end will be best in the Hereafter, verily the unjust will not prosper’.”

In the previous verse, the entourages of Pharaoh boldly introduced the Divine miracles as sorcery and implicitly said that they had not heard such words in the history of their ancestors.

In this verse, Moses in allusion says that they told lie, because before him there were persons, like Hadrat Yusuf, who had the torch of guidance of their ancestors in hand and had been circulating the religion of Abraham.

And also, with a threatening tone, in answer to them, Moses started speaking, as the verse says:

“And Moses said: ‘My Lord knows best who comes with guidance from unto Him, and whose end will be best in the Hereafter…”

It indicates that Allah is well aware of his situation, though they accuse him of telling lie. How is it possible that Allah gives such a supernatural event to a liar who was the cause of His servants’ aberration? The best proof of the legitimacy of his invitation is that Allah knows his intention and He has given him this position.

Moreover, a liar can continue his job only for a short time, and at last the curtain will be removed from his deeds. You may wait to see that whose good end and victory will be, and who is the failing one.

This meaning is similar to what has come in Surah TaHa, No. 20, verse 69 which says:

“…and the sorcerer will not be successful wherever he goes’.”

This sentence may refer to the situation of the obstinate and arrogant people of Pharaoh, meaning that you have found out the situation of my miracles and the legitimacy of my invitation, but you oppose me unjustly. You should know that you will not win and at last the prosperity will belong to me, not to you.

The application of the Qur’anic phrase /‘aqibat-ud-dar/ in the verse may refer to their end in this world, or in the next world, or both of them. The third meaning, of course, seems more comprehensive and more fitting.

The verse continues saying:

“…verily the unjust will not prosper’.”

By this polite logical statement, Moses reported them their failure both in this world and the Hereafter.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 38

وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَآ أَيُّهَا الْمَلأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِنْ إِلَهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ لِي يَا هامَانُ عَلَي الطّـِينِ فَاجْعَل لِي صَرْحاً لَعَلّـِي أَطَّلِعُ إِلَي إِلَهِ مُوسَي وإِنّـِي لأَظُنُّهُ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ

38. “And Pharaoh said: ‘O Chiefs! No god do I know for you but myself; therefore, O’ Haman, light me a fire upon the clay, and build for me a tower, so that I may obtain knowledge of Moses’ God, and verily I think him to be one of the liars’.”

The existence of an arrogant mentality usually hinders the acceptance of the truth. As the verse indicates, Pharaoh said that he knew no god for his people but himself. The arrogant persons impose their beliefs and thoughts upon others and their slogan is that: whatever thing they do not know, then it does not exist.

In this noble verse, we are faced with the ninth scene from this adventurous and instructive story, and it is the scene of making a tower by the command of Pharaoh in order to knock out Moses (as).

We know that one of the customs of the skilful politicians is that whenever an important event occurs which is against their desire, they immediately begin to create a new scene so that it can attract, the attention of people to itself and dissuade their thought from that undesirable event.

It seems that the story of building a great tower had happened after the event of Moses’ struggle against sorcerers, since it is understood from Surah Mu’min in the Qur’an that this action was done at the time when the people of Pharaoh were planning to kill Moses (as) and the believer of the people of Pharaoh attempted to defend him; and we know that there was not such a thing existed before the struggle of Moses (as) with the sorcerers, but they were searching about Moses and that how they could beat him by means of the sorcerers.

Since the Qur’an has explained the event of the struggle of Moses against sorcerers in Suras: TaHa, ’A‘raf, Yunus, and Ash-Shu‘ara’, it has relinquished speaking about it again here and it has only referred to the subject of building the tower. This subject has been mentioned merely in this Surah and Surah Mu’min.

However, the news of Moses’ victory against sorcerers spread throughout Egypt. The subject of sorcerers’ belief in Moses (as) strengthened the matter, too. The stability of the government of Pharaoh was going to be in danger seriously, and it was very probable that the captured people might awake.

In any rate, the common thought and attention should be deviated from this issue, and there must be provided some mental engagements which, in the meantime, were accompanied with the munificence of the governmental organizations so that it could beguile people.

In this regard, Pharaoh started consulting and, consequently, his thought reached to the thing which is mentioned in the above verse.

It says:

“And Pharaoh said: ‘O Chiefs! No god do I know for you but myself…”

Pharaoh implicitly says that it is certain that he is the only god on the earth but, as for the god of heaven, there is no proof available for its existence. Yet, he does not miss caution and begins to search about it.

Then he turned to his minister, Haman, and, addressing him, said:

“…therefore, O’ Haman, light me a fire upon the clay…”

He ordered Haman to build a very high tower for him to climb it and get some information about the God of Moses, though it did not seem to him that Moses could be truthful.

The verse says:

“…and build for me a tower, so that I may obtain knowledge of Moses’ God, and verily I think him to be one of the liars’.”

When the building of the tower was finished, and they were not able to make it higher than that, one day Pharaoh went there with some ceremonies to climb that great tower personally. When he reached the top of the tower, he looked at the sky and observed its scenery like the same form that he used to see it on the level land and he found no change and variation in it.

It is said that he put an arrow in the bow and threw it toward the sky. The arrow struck a bird, or by his own aforetime plot, it returned back while it was bloody.

Pharaoh came down from that tower and told people:

“Go home, and have no anxiety, for I killed Moses’ God.”5

Surely, some of the contemporary simple-minded people of the government believed it and spread its news everywhere. They made a new amusement out of it for deluding people of Egypt.

It is notable that in this saying:

“…No god do I know for you but myself…”

Pharaoh did his utmost satanic deed. He counted his divinity certain and continued that whether there was any god other than him. Then, because of the lack of any proof, he negated it either.

In the third stage, in order to bring forth a proof for the absence of the existence of any other god, he designed the subject of the great tower.

All of these affairs show that he knew the matter well, but in order to beguile the people of Egypt and protecting his own position, he said those words.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 39

وَاسْتَكْبَرَ هُوَ وَجُنُودُهُ فِي الاَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقّ‌ِ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْنَا لاَ يُرْجَعُونَ

39. “And he and his hosts prided in the land without any right, and they thought that they would not be returned unto Us.”

The lack of belief in Resurrection and Reckoning is the ground for formation of arrogance.

In this verse, the Qur’an refers to the arrogance of Pharaoh and his people as well as the lack of their submission in the face of ‘Origin’ and ‘End’. Their crimes originated from the denial of these two principles.

The verse says:

“And he and his hosts prided in the land without any right, and they thought that they would not be returned unto Us.”

A feeble human being who sometimes is not able to send away a mosquito from him, and sometimes an atomic being called microbe may send the strongest man of his members under the ground, how can he introduce himself grand and claim divinity?

A divine tradition indicates that Allah says:

“Majesty is My mantle, and Greatness in My wrapper. Then whoever disputes with Me about each of these two, I will send him into (Hell) Fire.”6

Surah Al-Qasas - Verse 40

فَأَخَذْنَاهُ وَجُنُودَهُ فَنَبَذْنَاهُمْ فِي الْيَمّ‌ِ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الظَّالِمِينَ

40. “So We seized him and his hosts, and We cast them into the sea; behold then how was the end of the unjust.”

In this verse, Pharaoh and his hosts have been likened to a worthless thing which is taken from the ground and is thrown into the sea. This despise is for the sake that all powers are insignificant before the Might and Wrath of Allah.

The Qur’anic word /nabaŏa/ means: ‘to throw away’, or ‘to discard, something which is worthless’.

And, finally, we may see where the end of pride and arrogance reached. The Qur’an says:

“So We seized him and his hosts, and We cast them into the sea…”

Yes, Allah caused their death by means of what was the essence of their life, and changed Nile, which was the secret of their greatness and power, into a graveyard for them.

Yes, Allah warded off these worthless beings from the society of human beings and wiped out the face of the earth from the dirt of their existence.

At the end of the verse, the Qur’an addresses the Prophet of Islam (S) and says:

“…behold then how was the end of the unjust.”

This look is not done with the apparent eyes, it is done by the eye of the heart; and this meaning does not belong to the yesterday oppressors, because the tyrants of today will have the same fate, too.

Surah Al-Qasas - Verses 41-42

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَدْعُونَ إِلَي النَّارِ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لاَ يُنصَرُونَ

وَأَتْبَعْنَاهُمْ فِي هَذِهِ الدُّنْيَا لَعْنَةً وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ هُم مِنَ الْمَقْبُوحِينَ

41. “And We appointed them leaders who invite unto the (Hell) Fire and on the Day of Judgment they shall not be helped.”
42. “And in this world, we made a curse to follow them; and on the Day of Judgment they will be of those made to appear hideous.”

This holy verse indicates that Allah set the people of Pharaoh as leaders who invited others to the Hell, and on the Hereafter Day no one will help them.

The verse says:

“And We appointed them leaders who invite unto the (Hell) Fire and on the Day of Judgment they shall not be helped.”

This meaning is a question for some commentators that how it is possible that Allah appoints some people as leaders of falsehood, since His job is to invite to goodness and appointing leaders of the truth, not falsehood.

But this is not a very complicated matter, because: firstly, they are the leading members of the hellish people and when some groups of these people are going towards Hell Fire, they walk in front of them.

It will be in the same manner that they were the leaders of misguidance here in this world, then, they will be also the leaders of hellish people there, because next world is the place of embodiment of this world.

Secondly, it is in fact, the result of their own deeds that they are the leaders of misguidance, and we know that the effect of any cause is under the command of Allah. They paved a way that ended to being the leaders of the misguided ones. This is their position in Hereafter, too.

Again, for more emphasis, the Qur’an illustrates their feature in this world and the next, as follows.

“And in this world, we made a curse to follow them; and on the Day of Judgment they will be of those made to appear hideous.”

The curse of Allah is the same as exclusion from His Mercy, and the curse of angels and believers is the curse that they send for them every morning and evening, and every now and then. Sometimes all the unjust and oppressors are involved in a general curse, and sometimes they are cursed particularly, because whoever studies history about their lives will curse them.

However, those who have ugly way of life in this world will have ugly face in the next world.

Here, the Qur’an has divided the leaders into two groups: the leaders of ‘light’, and the leaders of Fire. In the logic of the Qur’an, we have two kinds of leader.

The leaders who are in front of the pious ones on the path of guidance, as Surah Al-’Anbiya’, No. 21, verse 73, concerning some divine prophets, says:

“And We made them leaders guiding (the people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, and the establishing of prayer, and the giving of alms, and they were worshippers of Us (alone).”

These are the leaders with clear bright programs, because pure Monotheism, invitation to goodness, truth and justice have formed the content of their program. These are the leaders of Light whose manner has been continued by all prophets and their vicegerents up to the Seal of the Prophets (S) and his vicegerents (as).

The second group are the leaders of misguidance, and as the Qur’an introduces them in the verses under discussion, they are the leaders of Fire.

A tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) about the qualities of these two groups of leaders indicates that the first group give priority to the command of Allah rather than the command of people and their own will,7 and consider His Commandment as the highest ordinances, while the second group give priority to their own command before the command of Allah (s.w.t.) and consider their own command before His commandment.8

Thus, by this criterion, the recognition of these two groups of leaders will be very clear.

On the Day of Resurrection when the rows of people will be specified, every group will be at the back of their leader.

The hellish people follow the hellish ones, and the people of light follow the people of light, as the Qur’an says:

“On the Day We shall call every people with their Imam (leader)…”9

We have repeatedly said that Resurrection is a great embodiment from this small world, and those who have loved a leader and practically followed his way of treatment here, in Hereafter will be on his line, too.

Bushr-ibn-Qalib says that once he asked Hadrat Imam Abu-‘Abdillah-il-Husayn (as) about the commentary of the Qur’anic sentence:

“On the Day We shall call every people with their Imam (leader)…”10,

and he (as) answered:

“A leader invites to guidance and a group accept him, and a leader invites to misguidance and a group accept him, too.

The former are in Heaven and the latter are in Hell Fire, and this is the meaning of the word of Allah Who says:

“…(When) some will be in the Paradise and some in the blazing Fire11.”12

It is interesting that Pharaoh who moved in front of his followers and caused them to be drowned in the waves of Nile, on the Hereafter Day he will walk in front of them and will make them enter into the sea of Hell Fire.13

We put an end to this discussion with a statement narrated from Hadrat Amir-ul-Mu’minin Ali (as) who said about a group of hypocrites:

“…they have continued after the holy Prophet. They gained positions with the leaders of misguidance and callers towards Hell through falsehood and slandering. So, they put them in high posts and made them officers over the heads of the people…”14

  • 1. Surah Taha, No. 20, verse 10
  • 2. ’A‘lam-i-Qur’an, P. 409
  • 3. Surah Taha, No. 20, verse 18
  • 4. Surah Al-’A‘raf, No. 7, verse 107, and Surah Ash-Shu‘ara, No. 26, verse 32
  • 5. The Commentary of ’Abul-Futuh-i-Razi, Vol. 8, P. 462
  • 6. The Commentary of Ruh-ul-Ma‘ani, Tafsir-i-Kabir, and Tafsir-i-Al-Mizan, following the verse.
  • 7. The Commentary by Safi, following the verse
  • 8. Ibid
  • 9. Surah ’Isra’, No. 17, verse 71
  • 10. Ibid
  • 11. Surah Ash-Shura, No. 42, verse 7
  • 12. ’Amali by Saduq, narrated by Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, Vol. 3, P. 192
  • 13. Surah Hud, No. 11, verse 98
  • 14. Nahj-ul-Balaqah, Sermon 210

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