Chapter 6: Regarding the Occultation of Prophet Musa
As regards the occultation of Prophet Musa (a.s.) it is mentioned:
1 -Narrated to us Husain bin Ahmad bin Idrees (r.a.) that he said: Narrated to us my father: Narrated to us Abu Saeed Sahl bin Ziyad Aadami ar-Razi that he said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Aadam an-Nasai from his father Aadam bin Abi Iyaas that he said: Narrated to us Mubarak bin Fadala from Saeed bin Jubair from Chief of the worshippers, Ali bin Husain from his father, the Chief of the Martyrs, Husain bin Ali from his father, the Chief of the Successors, the Leader of the Believers Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“When his death approached Yusuf (a.s.) called his followers and family members. After praise and glorification of Allah he informed them that they would be involved in hardships and calamities in which their males should be killed and the bellies of their pregnant women should be cut open and their children should be slaughtered. Till finally the Almighty Allah will give victory to truth through one who will reappear from the descendants of Laavi bin Yaqoob (a.s.). He shall be a wheat-complexioned and well-built man. And he told them about his characteristics.
Then he advised them to remain attached to him. After that both, occultation and severities befell the people of Bani Israel and they waited for the advent of the Qaim for four hundred years. Finally they were given the glad tidings of his birth and they witnessed the signs of the advent and the trials and calamities intensified upon them. They were attacked with sticks and stones. So they called for that thinker and scholar whose words used to give them comfort. At that time he had also gone into seclusion.
So they wrote to him reminding him that when they faced hard times they used to get comfort from his words. So he took them to the desert and told them about the Qaim of the time that his advent was near. It was a moonlit night. At the same time Musa (a.s.) began to move toward them. At that time he was a young man. He had emerged from the house of Firon and there was expression of his purity. So he left his companions and moved toward these people. He was riding a mule at that time and had covered himself with a green silken sheet. When the learned man saw him, he recognized him at once through the foretold signs. He arose from his place and fell down on his feet and kissed his feet as a respect and said, “Praise be to Allah Who did not give me death till I could meet you. When the followers understood that it is the same in whose anticipation they had been, they fell down in prostration to thank Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. Musa (a.s.) did not say anything other than, “I am sure the Almighty Allah will release you from your difficulties very soon,”
After that he disappeared. Later Musa (a.s.) went to Madayn and stayed with Shuaib (a.s.). Thus his second occultation was more severe upon his followers than the first and it lasted for a fifty odd years. During this time they were subjected to further severities and the learned man also remained in concealment. Again they sent a message to him that they had no peace and patience when he was away from them. So again he came out in a desert and assured and consoled them. He said that Allah has revealed to him that they shall be free from this trouble within forty years.
They all said in unison: Praise be to Allah. Allah said to him, “Tell them that Allah has decreased for them ten years from these 40 years as they had uttered ‘Praise be to Allah’. The people said: All the bounties are from Allah alone. So Allah, the Mighty and Sublime sent revelation that: “I have fixed the period of deliverance as twenty years. They said, “Goodness is from none except Allah.” Allah, the Mighty and Sublime revealed, “I have reduced it to ten years.” They said, “None but Allah can remove bad times and hardships.” So Allah sent revelation: Tell them not to wait anymore.
I have permitted that the means of your deliverance should reach you immediately. They were in the same position when Musa (a.s.) appeared to them astride a donkey. The learned man wanted to tell the followers what they were seeing. Musa (a.s.) arrived, stood before them and greeted them. The learned man asked, “What is your name?” “I am Musa (a.s.),” he replied. He asked, “Whose son are you?” Musa (a.s.) said, “I am the son of Imran.” The man asked, “Whose son was he?”
“He was the son of Qahath bin Laavi bin Yaqoob,” replied Musa (a.s.). He asked, “What have you come with?” Musa (a.s.) replied, “I have come with messengership from Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. The learned man stood up and kissed his hands with respect. Musa (a.s.) sat down among them, consoled them and after teaching them some religious commands dispersed them. Between this incident and their deliverance through the drowning of Firon there was a period of forty years.”
2 - Narrated to us my father, and Muhammad bin Hasan bin Ahmad bin Walid -may Allah be pleased with them -they said: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah: and Abdullah bin Ja’far Himyari; and Muhammad bin Yahya al-Attar and Ahmad bin Idrees that they all said: Narrated to us Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Isa from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi Nasr al-Bizanti from Aban bin Uthman from Muhammad al-Halabi from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he said:
“At the time of his death Yusuf bin Yaqoob (a.s.) assembled the descendants of Yaqoob (a.s.) who were eighty men. Then he said: These Copts will dominate you and put you to great trouble. One who will save you from them will be a descendant of Laavi bin Yaqoob, whose name will be Musa bin Imran. He shall be a tall young man and will have curly hair. He would be wheat complexioned.
Thus every man of Bani Israel began to name his child Imran. And all those who were named Imran began to name their sons Musa.”
Aban bin Uthman mentions from Abil Husain from Abi Baseer from Abi Ja’far (a.s.) that he said:
“Musa (a.s.) did not reappear till before him appeared forty false claimants from Bani Israel each of whom claimed to be Musa Ibne Imran.
Information reached Firon that people are restless for him and that they are in anticipation of the advent of this young man. The soothsayers and magicians of Firon also informed him that that boy would destroy his kingdom and his religion and that he would be born in Bani Israel that year. So Firon appointed the mid¬wives to examine the pregnant women of Bani Israel and said: Every child born this year should be killed.
A midwife was also appointed on the mother of Musa (a.s.). When the Bani Israel saw this they said: When our male children are killed and our women are left alive, we shall be destroyed and our generations would become extinct. So let us decide not to have sexual relationships with our women. But Musa’s father, Imran told them: “No, let us continue it, Allah’s command will come to pass even if the polytheists are averse to it. O Allah I am not with one who has made it unlawful and I shall not consider it unlawful.
Anyone else may abstain from it by I shall not abstain from it.” So he established relations with Musa’s mother and she became pregnant. Firon appointed a midwife to keep a watch on her with express instructions that if Musa’s mother stands up she must also stand up and if she sat down she must also sit down. Gradually the midwife became fond of her. Once she asked why she was becoming pale and thin. She said not to inquire her condition, “Because when my son is born, he will be killed.” The midwife told her not to worry. “I will keep your son hidden from others.” But Musa’s mother did not believe her. When Musa (a.s.) was born, his mother was uneasy. The midwife consoled her.
She wrapped the child in a cloth and hid him in a room and came out at the door to the sentries of Firon standing outside and asked them to go away and said that except for this bloody lump of meat nothing has come out. So the sentries went away from there. Then Musa’s mother suckled him but she was worried, what if they heard him crying and came to know the truth? Allah revealed to her to make a wooden box for a child, place him in it, close the box and cast it on the Nile. She did as Allah commanded.
When she cast the wooden casket into the water, the casket returned to her. She pushed it again but it came back. At last the wind pushed it far into the river. She became so sad for her child that she wanted to cry out aloud but Allah gave her patience.
The Imam said: Firon’s wife was a righteous lady of faith and she also belonged to the Bani Israel tribe. She said to Firon: “These are the days of spring. Put a tent for me on the bank of River Nile, so that I can enjoy sitting there.”
Firon complied with her request and that casket approached her floating on the river. She asked her maidservants, “Can you see what I see?” They said, “By Allah! We can see something floating on the water.”
When the wooden basket reached her. She stood up from her place and asked her maids to pull it out. They pulled the basket out of the water and opened it. She found a pretty, cute baby boy in it. Seeing the infant she became very anxious. She held him in her arms and said that she would adopt him as her son.
The maidservants also agreed and said, “Yes madam. By Allah, you have no children and the king is also without an heir. The child is very handsome and attractive. Adopt him.” Aasiya went to her husband and showed him the charming baby boy from the river. “I want to adopt him. So do not kill him,” she said. Firon asked her from where she got him. She said that she did not know whose child it was. “He was floating in a casket, and I pulled him out from the river.” Firon was satisfied with the explanation and accepted him.
When people heard that Firon has adopted a son, they sent their wives to suckle the child but Musa (a.s.) did not suck. Then Aasiya asked Firon to arrange for a wet-nurse for the baby. Many nurses tried but Musa (a.s.) did not suck their milk. Musa’s mother also came to know about this. She asked her daughter to ascertain this matter. The sister of Musa (a.s.) came to the door of Firon and asked whether they needed a wet nurse for a child. She said that there was a good woman staying nearby.
She would feed the baby and look after him. The servants informed Aasiya. She ordered them to bring the girl to her. Musa’s sister came to her. She asked that girl which community she belonged to? She said, “She belonged to the family of Bani Israel.” Aasiya told her to go away. The maidservants insisted upon her to call that woman and see if the child sucks from her or not. Aasiya said, “Even if the child accepts, Firon might be unhappy. She said the child and the nurse both belong to Bani Israel; Firon will not allow her. Her maidservants said, “Let us first see if the child sucks.”
Aasiya told the girl to call the wet-nurse; Musa’s sister ran to her mother. She came and took the child and he began to suck. Aasiya told Firon that she has found a wet-nurse for a child. Firon asked which community she belonged to? His wife said that she was from Bani Israel. Firon said, “How can it be? The child and the nurse both belong to Bani Israel.” Aasiya asked him why he was afraid of the child? “Now he is our son,” she said. “He will grow up in our care.” By arguing and discussing she convinced him.
In this way Musa grew among the dynasty of Firon. Musa’s mother, sister and the mid-wife kept it secret till the time his mother expired and the midwife also passed away. Thus he continued to grow and the people of Bani Israel didn’t know about it. The Imam says: The people of Bani Israel used to search and inquire about him and automatically the information about him used to be concealed.
Firon learnt that those people were looking for Musa (a.s.) and seeking information regarding him. So he dispatched his agents to them and subjected them to further torture and separated them. Then he prohibited them to ask about Musa (a.s.). Once the people of Bani Israel gathered on a moonlit night and went to a learned man. They said: “We used to obtain solace from some things but how long can we bear these troubles?” He said, “By Allah, you will remain in this condition till Allah sents a young man from the descendants of Laavi bin Yaqoob (a.s.).
His name will be Musa bin Imran (a.s.). He will be strong, tall, brave and curly haired.” While they sat discussing this, all of a sudden Musa (a.s.) came to them on a mule and stopped before them. This old man raised his head and recognized him through the signs and characteristics. He asked, “May Allah bless you, what is your name?” “Musa,” replied Musa (a.s.). He asked, “Who is your father?” Musa (a.s.) said, “I am the son of Imran.” The learned man arose and kissed Musa’s hands. People fell at the feet of Musa (a.s.) and began to kiss them. Musa (a.s.) and the people recognized each other and Musa made them his followers.
Musa (a.s.) stayed there for a few days and moved to another city. There he saw two men quarrelling. One was the believer of Allah and other was a Copt from Firon’s community. The believer screamed for help. Musa (a.s.) hit the Copt on his chest and he fell down dead. Allah gave him the natural power of strength and terror. The news spread that Musa (a.s.) has killed an Egyptian.
Musa (a.s.) passed the night in fear. In the morning a believer of Musa (a.s.) came running and asked for help as he had some dispute with another man. Musa (a.s.) said, “Indeed, he is on the wrong.” Musa (a.s.) was angry on this man. He said, “O, Musa (a.s.) if you want to kill me. Kill me as you killed a man yesterday.” He said, “Musa (a.s.) you are supposed to be a superior being on the earth, but you can’t rectify the people?” Another man came running and informed that the Egyptians were talking about him and wanted to kill him. “O, Musa! I am your true believer and request you to go away from this city.”
So Musa (a.s.) left the city without any support. He passed through the desert and reached Madayn. He rested under a tree. There was a well and the people came there to draw water. Suddenly he saw two girls with their animals who had came to draw water for their animals and they stood aside. Musa (a.s.) asked them for the reason for coming there. They said, “Our father is an old man and we are weaker.
We cannot oppose them so we are waiting until they draw water and go away. Then we will water our animals.” Musa (a.s.) felt pity on them. He took their bucket and asked them to bring their animals near the well. He drew water for them. The girls returned home early. Musa (a.s.) again sat under a tree and prayed to Allah. He had nothing to eat and was very hungry.
When the girls reached home, their father Shuaib (a.s.) asked them how they returned early. The girls said that a nice man drew water for them. Shuaib (a.s.) asked one of his daughters to call him. She came to Musa (a.s.) modestly and said that her father has called him to reward him for the favor he has done to them by pulling out water for their animals.
Musa (a.s.) told her to walk behind and give him directions because the sons of Yaqoob (a.s.) never glance at the back of ladies. Musa (a.s.) came to Shuaib (a.s.) greeted him and then explained his condition. Shuaib (a.s.) consoled him and said that he was now safe from the unjust people. Then one of the daughters asked her father: Employ him, because if you do it you would have employed a strong and an honest worker. Shuaib (a.s.) said to Musa: I want to marry one of my daughters to you with the condition that you work for me for eight years and if you complete ten it would be favor from you.
According to traditions, Musa (a.s.) completed ten years in his employment because apostles of Allah do not take anything without favor. After completing the period Musa (a.s.) took his family and set out towards Jerusalem. One night he lost his way. At that time he saw a fire at a distance. He told his wife: Wait here. I have seen fire at a distance. I’ll go and see if I can get some of it for you or get some direction to find the way. When he reached the fire, he saw a green tree lit up as on fire.
When he neared, it moved away from its place. Musa (a.s.) turned in fear but the tree moved near Musa (a.s.) and he heard a voice from the right side of the valley. “O, Musa! I am Allah, the Creator of the worlds. Cast your staff on the ground.” Musa (a.s.) cast his staff down. When he saw that the staff was undulating like a python he was shocked and he began to run away without looking behind. It changed into a serpent whose fangs were calling and flames were leaping out of its mouth.
So Musa (a.s.) fled from there but his Lord asked him to return. Musa (a.s.) came back and was shivering all over. Musa (a.s.) asked, “O Allah! Is it Your voice that I hear?” “Yes, do not be afraid,” replied the Lord. Musa (a.s.) came back. He stepped on the tail of the serpent and put his hand into his mouth, it changed into its original form. Allah told him: Remove your shoes as you are in the sacred valley.
It is narrated that he was ordered to remove them, as they were from the carrion of a donkey.
According to another tradition ‘take off your shoes’ means give up your two fears: One that your family members will be lost and another of Firon.
After that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime sent him to Firon and his people with two signs: The first was a luminous hand and second his staff. It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he told his companions: You should be such that you are more hopeful for something about which you don’t have hope. Musa (a.s.) went to get fire for his wife and he returned as a Messenger Prophet.
Thus Allah reformed the condition of His servant and Prophet in a single night. He shall do the same in the case of His second Qaim; that is the twelfth of the Imams. And He shall reform his affairs in a single night as He reformed the affair of His Prophet Musa (a.s.) and brought him out from confusion and occultation into the light of deliverance and reappearance.
3 - Narrated to us my father (r.a.) that: Narrated to us Saad bin Abdullah: Narrated to us Moalla bin Muhammad al-Basri from Muhammad bin Jumhur and others from Abdullah bin Sinan from Abi Abdullah (a.s.) that he said:
“In the Qaim there is resemblance to Musa bin Imran. I asked: What is the resemblance to Musa bin Imran? He replied: Secret birth and occultation from his people. I asked: How long was Musa in occultation from his family and followers? He replied: For twenty-eight years.”
4 - And narrated to us Abul Abbas Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Ishaq al-Mukattaib (r.a.) that he said: Narrated to us Husain bin Ibrahim bin Abdullah bin Mansur that he said: Narrated to us Muhammad bin Harun al-Hashmi that he said: Narrated to us Ahmad bin Isa that: Narrated to us Abul Husain Ahmad bin Sulaiman Ruhawi that: Narrated to us Muawiyah bin Hisham from Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Hanifiyyah from his father Muhammad from his father Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said:
“The Mahdi is from us, Ahlul Bayt. Allah will reform his affair on a single night. And in another version: Allah will bring reform for him in a single night.”
5 - Narrated to us my father; and Muhammad bin Hasan - may Allah be pleased with them - they said: Narrated to us Abdullah bin Ja’far al-Himyari from Muhammad bin Isa from Sulaiman bin Dawood from Abi Baseer that he said: I heard Abu Ja’far (a.s.) say:
“In the master of this affair there are four points of similarity with four prophets. Resemblance with Musa, resemblance with Isa, resemblance with Yusuf and resemblance with Muhammad (peace be on them all). The resemblance with Musa is that he shall be fearing and awaiting, the resemblance with Yusuf is imprisonment, the resemblance with Isa is that it would be said regarding him that he has died while he would not be so and the resemblance with Muhammad is armed uprising.”