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Section 9: Moses Takes Away the Children of Israel

Surah Yunus – Verse 83

فَمَآ ءَامَنَ لِمُوسَي إِلاَّ ذُرّيَّةٌ مِن قَوْمِهِ عَلَي خَوْفٍ مِن فِرْعَوْنَ وَملإِيْهِمْ أَن يَفْتِنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ لَعَالٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

83. “But none believed in Moses save some children of his people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, that they would torment them; and verily, Pharaoh was mighty on the earth, and verily, he was of the extravagant.”

In the beginning, the Qur’an describes the situation of the first group of those who believed in Moses, saying that after this (event) no one believed in Moses except a group of his own offspring. This tiny group, which becomes apparent by use of the Qur’anic word /ŏurriyah/ (children), was formed mostly from among the youth and young adolescents.

They were under tremendous pressure from the side of Pharaoh and his associates, and feared the Pharaohnic system which, by putting pressure upon the believers tried to dissuade them, and make them quit the religion of Moses.

The verse says:

“But none believed in Moses save some children of his people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, that they would torment them;...”

Pharaoh was an arrogant man in that land, indulgent and violent, and he recognized no boundaries and limits.

The verse continues saying:

“…and verily, Pharaoh was mighty on the earth, and verily, he was of the extravagant.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 84

وَقَالَ مُوسَي يَاقَوْمِ إِن كُنتُمْ ءَامَنتُم بِاللَّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِن كُنتُم مُسْلِمِينَ

84. “And Moses said: “O my people! If you have (really) believed in Allah, then put trust in Him (alone) if you have surrendered (unto Him).”

To comfort them and alleviate their pain in their souls, Moses, soothingly and affectionately said to them, that if they believed in Allah they should staunchly stand by their words, have faith, and submit to Him by putting all their hopes and trust in Him.

They ought not to be fearful of the waves and the storm of afflictions, for Faith cannot be separated from trust in Allah (s.w.t.).

The real meaning of “trust”, here, is leaving one’s tasks in His hands and selecting Him as one’s only true help in the times of adversity.

The significance of trust does not imply abandoning one’s struggle, rather, it means that once man has done his utmost in struggling and has not been able to solve his difficulty, he must not be upset. He must rely upon Allah’s favor, support, and seek help from His pure Essence. He must have fortitude and continue on in his everlasting struggle.

The above holy verse says:

“And Moses said: “O my people! If you have (really) believed in Allah, then put trust in Him (alone) if you have surrendered (unto Him).”

Surah Yunus – Verse 85

فَقَالُوا عَلَي اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

85. “Then they said: ‘In Allah (alone) we have put our trust. ‘Our Lord! Make us not (subject) to a trial for the unjust people’.”

These truthful believers accepted Moses’ call to trust in Allah. They said that only in Allah they put their hopes and trust.

The verse says:

“Then they said: ‘In Allah (alone) we have put our trust….”

Then, they supplicated Him to relieve them from the wickedness and vices of their enemies as well as the pressure they were imposing upon them. They invocated Him not to set them to become rebellious like the oppressors nor put them under their control and influence.

The above holy verse continues saying:

“…‘Our Lord! Make us not (subject) to a trial for the unjust people’.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 86

وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ

86. “And deliver us by your Mercy from the disbelieving people.”

They supplicated that Allah (s.w.t.) might relieve them, by His Own Grace, from the grips of the infidels, i.e. Pharaonic nation who had been enslaving them, allocating hard work and imposing mean jobs upon them.

The verse says:

“And deliver us by your Mercy from the disbelieving people.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 87

وَأَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَي مُوسَي وَأَخِيهِ أَن تَبَوَّءَا لِقَوْمِكُمَا بِمِصْرَ بُيُوتاً وَاجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ وَبَشّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

87. “And We revealed to Moses and his brother, saying: ‘Provide houses for your people in Egypt, make your houses into places of worship, and keep up prayer: and give glad tidings to the believers’.”

Another stage of the uprising and revolution of Moses (as), Harun (as), and the Children of Israel against the Pharaonids is portrayed here.

First, Allah says that He revealed to Moses and his brother that his nation should build houses in the land of Egypt. Particularly, they were to build these houses next to one another and facing them.

The verse says:

“And We revealed to Moses and his brother, saying: ‘Provide houses for your people in Egypt, make your houses into places of worship...”

Then, they were to pay proper attention to spiritual self-actualization through regular prayers, thus purifying and strengthening themselves.

The verse says:

“…and keep up prayer:...”

In order to remove the effects of fear and terror from their hearts, and thus regain their spiritual and revolutionary power, He orders them to give these tidings to the faithful, as to their eventual victory, and the bestowal of Allah’s favour and grace upon them.

The verse continues saying:

“…and give glad tidings to the believers’.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 88

وَقَالَ مُوسَي رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلأَهُ زِينَةً وَأَمْوَالاً فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّوا عَن سَبِيلِكَ رَبَّنَا اطْمِسْ عَلَي أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَي قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلا يُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّي يَرَوُا الْعَذَابَ الاَلِيمَ

88. “And Moses said: ‘Our Lord! Verily You have given to Pharaoh and his chiefs adornment and wealth in the life of this world, Our Lord! so that they mislead (men) from Your Path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so they will not believe until they see the painful penalty’.”

The Qur’an then refers to one of the reasons for the rebellion of the Pharaoh and his adherents, by mentioning the statement of Moses to his Lord where he talks about the wealth and luxury that Pharaoh and his followers had in the world. This wealth and luxury had the effect of seducing the people away from the true Path.

The verse says:

“And Moses said: ‘Our Lord! Verily You have given to Pharaoh and his chiefs adornment and wealth in the life of this world, Our Lord! so that they mislead (men) from Your Path...”

Thus Moses (as) asked Allah to destroy their belongings so that they could not benefit from them, and to take their power away from them that they might be able to reflect and meditate upon the reality of existence.

The verse says:

“…Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts...”

By losing these two capitals, they would quickly degenerate and move a step closer to annihilation, thus making it more possible for the Children of Israel to inflict the last blow upon them. This prayer was not because of revenge or retaliation but it was because they did not have the slightest preparedness for accepting faith.

The verse says:

“…so they will not believe until they see the painful penalty’.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 89

قَالَ قَدْ اُجِيبَتْ دَعْوَتُكُمَا فَاسْتَقِيمَا وَلاَ تَتَّبِعَآنِّ سَبِيلَ الَّذِينَ لا يَعْلَمُونَ

89. “He (Allah) said: ‘The prayer of you both has been accepted, so stand straight and follow not the path of those who know not’.”

Allah said to Moses and his brother that now that they were ready to educate and shape the people of Israel, their prayers regarding their enemies were accepted.

The verse says:

“He (Allah) said: ‘The prayer of you both has been accepted…”

Then they should finally stand, resist, be decisive and do not be afraid of the difficulties on the way. Never should they submit to the suggestions of the unwise and the ignorant and nor follow the way of those who do not know.

The verse continues saying:

“…so stand straight and follow not the path of those who know not’.”

Surah Yunus – Verse 90

وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَآئِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَاَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْياً وَعَدْواً حَتَّي إِذَآ أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لآ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الَّذِي ءَامَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُوا إِسْرَآئِيلَ وَأَنَاْ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

90. “And We made the Children of Israel to pass through the sea; then Pharaoh and his hosts chased them in insolence and hostility, until when the drowning overtook him, he said: ‘I believe that there is no Allah but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of those that surrender’.”

The last phase of the struggle of the Children of Israel with the followers of Pharaoh and their destiny has been depicted in a concise yet accurate and transparent manner here.

The verse implies that Allah let the Children of Israel pass through the sea when confronted with the army of Pharaoh while were being pressured and chased by them.

The verse says:

“And We made the Children of Israel to pass through the sea;...”

Pharaoh and his army chased them there in order to oppress and eliminate them though they were soon drowned in the midst of the stormy waves of the sea.

The verse continues saying:

“…then Pharaoh and his hosts chased them in insolence and hostility, until when the drowning overtook him...”

This course went on until the abyss surrounded Pharaoh who started floating on the waves and it was then that his blindness, arrogance and unconsciousness came to an end and the innate light of monotheism started shining.

He shouted he believed in Him Whom the Children of Israel believed in, and he confessed that there is no one to be worshipped except Him and he resigned himself to Him.

The verse says:

“…he said: ‘I believe that there is no Allah but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of those that surrender’.”

In fact when the prophecies of Moses proved to be true one after another, and Pharaoh realized the truthfulness of the words of this great prophet over and again, on witnessing this final power, he had no excuse but to believe, maybe hoping that the Lord of the Children of Israel would save him the same way He had saved the Children of Israel from the mountainous waves.

Obviously, such a faith which is attained in the face of calamities, when one is caught in the jaws of death, is in fact a kind of “faith for emergencies”, which every criminal claims when he is captured, and is of no value.

Surah Yunus – Verse 91

ءَآلاَنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

91. “What! Now! (when facing death?) while hitherto you have rebelled and been of the mischief-makers?”

It was for this reason that Allah, addressing him, informed him that he did become a believer, while before that he used to rebel, disobey and used to commit sin; lining up alongside villains and those who were corrupt on the earth.

The verse says:

“What! Now! (when facing death?) while hitherto you have rebelled and been of the mischief-makers?”

At any rate, repenting while one is dying is of no benefit. One must repent while there is still a chance of life and of being saved.

Surah Yunus – Verse 92

فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ ءَايَةً وَإِنَّ كَثِيراً مِنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ ءَايَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ

92. “So this day We shall save you in your body, that you may be a Sign to those after you! But verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs.”

Allah through the Qur’an announces that He saves Pharaoh’s body from being lost in the sea today so that we can provide an instructive lesson for future generations for arrogant rulers, and for all oppressors and those enticing others into corruption as well as for the oppressed.

The verse says:

“So this day We shall save you in your body, that you may be a Sign to those after you!...”

At the end of the verse, the Qur’an indicates that many people still remain ignorant of our verses and symbols and of all those instructive lessons which have been recorded over and over again in the history of man, and despite those clues which prove Our omnipotence?

The verse continues saying:

“…But verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs.”

It is narrated from Imam Rida (as) in the commentary, Nur-uth-Thaqalayn and As-Safi that Pharaoh was armoured from head to toe which must have pulled him down deep under the sea drowning him but the waves drove the heavy body ashore atop a lofty rock. This itself was a divine miracle.

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