The Qur’an speaks about Nabi Musa (‘a) at many places. We can construct from the Qur’an all the main events in the life of Nabi Musa (‘a).
We learn from the Qur’an about his birth, his very early childhood (as infant)in the palace of Fir’awn, the accidental killing of an Egyptian when he is a grown man, his fleeing to Midian, helping the two women in Midian to fill water at the well, his marriage to one of these two women after he meets with their father and accepts his employment, his seeing of what he perceived to be a burning bush (which was, in fact, the sacred valley of Tuwa), his communication with Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, his appointment as a Nabi with his brother Harun (‘a), his receiving the Taurat at Mt. Sinai, his appointment to deliver the Bani Isra’il (Jews) from the bondage of Fir’awn, the Signs he receives from Allah, the nine clear tokens sent to Fir’awn and his people as clear warnings and finally the deliverance of the Bani Isra’il from the bondage of Fir’awn as the sea parts itself to provide safe passage to the Bani Isra’il.
When Nabi Musa (‘a) hit an Egyptian killing him, he repented asking Allah to forgive him:
رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسي فَاغْفِرْ لِي
“O my Rabb! Certainly I have wronged myself. Therefore forgive me.” (28:16).
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, forgave him. Nabi Musa (‘a) prayed during shukr to Allah for His Favours and made a commitment that he would never support the wicked.
رَبِّ بِما أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ فَلَنْ أَكونَ ظَهيراً لِلْمُجْرِمينَ
“O my Rabb! For all your Favours upon me, I shall never be a supporter of the wicked.” (28:17).
When Nabi Musa (‘a) realized that the chiefs of his city had resolved to slay him because he had killed one of their peoples, he escaped and prayed while fleeing:
رَبِّ نَجِّني مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمينَ
“O my Rabb! Deliver me from the oppressed people.” (28:21).
After escaping successfully, Nabi Musa (‘a) came to the well of Midian where he found men watering their flock. Nabi Musa (‘a) also saw two women there. Both these women were apart from the men and were not watering their flock. Nabi Musa (‘a) helped them water their flock. Then he turned aside the shade and invoked Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala:
رَبِّ إِنِّي لِما أَنْزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقيرٌ
“O my Rabb! Truly I stand in need of whatever good You send down upon me.” (28:24).
One day Nabi Musa (‘a) asked Allah to show Himself to Nabi Musa (‘a). The Du’a he did was:
رَبِّ أَرِني أَنْظُرْ إَلَيْكَ
“O my Rabb! Show me (Yourself) so I may behold You.” (7:143).
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, told him that he would not be able to see Him, but to gaze upon the mountain. If the mountain stood still, he would see Him. When Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, revealed His Glory to the mountain, the mountain fell, totally crushed. Nabi Musa (‘a) fell down senseless. When he regained consciousness, he invoked Allah the Glorified, like this:
سُبْحانَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنا أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنينَ
“Glory be to You! Unto You I turn repentant, and I am first of the True Believers.” (7:143).
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, commissioned Nabi Musa (‘a) to go to Fir’awn who had, as the Qur’an clearly tells us, ‘transgressed all bounds”. Nabi Musa (‘a) did the Du’a:
قَالَ رَبِّ ٱشۡرَحۡ لِى صَدۡرِى
“O my Rabb! Enlarge my breast for me.” (20:25).
وَيَسِّرۡ لِىٓ أَمۡرِى
“Make my task easy for me.” (20:26).
وَٱحۡلُلۡ عُقۡدَةً۬ مِّن لِّسَانِى
“Loose a knot from my tongue.” (20:27).
وَٱجۡعَل لِّى وَزِيرً۬ا مِّنۡ أَهۡلِى
“And appoint for me a minister from my own family.” (20:29).
“Harun my brother” (20:30).
ٱشۡدُدۡ بِهِۦۤ أَزۡرِى
“Add my strength through him.” (20:31).
وَأَشۡرِكۡهُ فِىٓ أَمۡرِى
“Make him my companion in my task” (20:32).
كَىۡ نُسَبِّحَكَ كَثِيرً۬ا
“so that we may glorify You much” (20:33).
“and remember You without stint.” (20:34).
إِنَّكَ كُنتَ بِنَا بَصِيرً۬ا
“Behold, it is You who is Ever seeing us.” (20:35).
And so Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, appointed both and commissioned them both to go to Fir’awn. The interesting passage is revealed in the Qur’an like this:
ٱذۡهَبَآ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَىٰ
“Go both of you to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds” (20:43).
فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوۡلاً۬ لَّيِّنً۬ا لَّعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوۡ يَخۡشَىٰ
"But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah).” (20:44).
قَالَا رَبَّنَآ إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَن يَفۡرُطَ عَلَيۡنَآ أَوۡ أَن يَطۡغَىٰ
“They (Moses and Aaron) said: "Our Lord! We fear lest He hasten with insolence against us, or lest he transgress all bounds.” (20:45).
قَالَ لَا تَخَافَآ إِنَّنِى مَعَڪُمَآ أَسۡمَعُ وَأَرَىٰ
“He said: "Fear not: for I am with you: I hear and see (everything).” (20:46).
فَأۡتِيَاهُ فَقُولَآ إِنَّا رَسُولَا رَبِّكَ فَأَرۡسِلۡ مَعَنَا بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ وَلَا تُعَذِّبۡہُم قَدۡ جِئۡنَـٰكَ بِـَٔايَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّكَ وَٱلسَّلَـٰمُ عَلَىٰ مَنِ ٱتَّبَعَ ٱلۡهُدَىٰٓ
“So go ye both to him, and say ‘Verily we are messengers sent by thy Lord: send forth, therefore, the Children of Isra’il with us and afflict them not: with a Sign, indeed, have we come from thy Lord! And peace to all who follow Guidance!” (20:47).
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, through Nabi Musa (‘a), saved the children of Isra’il from the bondage of Fir’awn. On the way to the Promised Land, the children of Isra’il continued to show their ingratitude in spite of all the favours Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, had bestowed upon them.
When Nabi Musa (‘a) went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Taurat from Allah, the Bani Isra’il began to worship the image of a calf. Nabi Musa (‘a) feeling very grieved at what the Bani Isra’il had done behind his back, prayed thus:
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَ لِأَخي وَأَدْخِلْنا فِي رَحْمَتِكَ وَأَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرّاحِمينَ
“O my Rabb! Forgive me and my brother. Receive us unto Your Mercy, for You are the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy.” (7:151).
Fir’awn and his people continued persecuting the children of Isra’il. Nabi Musa (‘a) the did the Du’a to Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, like this:
رَبَّنا إِنَّكَ ءاتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَأَهُ زِينَةً وَأَمْوالاً في الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيا رَبَّنا لِيُضِلُّوا عَنْ سَبيلِكَ رَبَّنا اطْمِسْ عَلَى أَمْوالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلا يُؤْمِنوا حَتَّى يَرَوا الْعَذابَ الأَليمَ
“O our Rabb! Behold! You have given Firawn and his chiefs splendour and riches in their worldly life. O our Rabb! (on account of all the splendour and riches) they turn people from (pursuing) Your Way. Our Rabb! Confound their riches and harden their hearts, because they will not believe until they see a painful punishment.” (10:88).
Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, answered Nabi Musa (‘a)’s prayers and delivered the children of Isra’il. As already observed before, the children of Isra’il continuously remained ungrateful. Nabi Musa (‘a) chose seventy men from his people and took them to Mount Sinai to show them the place where Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, spoke to him. But Allah surely knows these men had disbelief in their hearts. He sent thunder and lightning against them. Nabi Musa (‘a) at that point shows in this Du’a his disappointment at their arrogance and says that his refuge is only with Allah.
... رَبِّ لَوۡ شِئۡتَ أَهۡلَكۡتَهُم مِّن قَبۡلُ وَإِيَّـٰىَ أَتُہۡلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ ٱلسُّفَهَآءُ مِنَّآ إِنۡ هِىَ إِلَّا فِتۡنَتُكَ تُضِلُّ بِہَا مَن تَشَآءُ وَتَہۡدِى مَن تَشَآءُ أَنتَ وَلِيُّنَا فَٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَٱرۡحَمۡنَا وَأَنتَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡغَـٰفِرِينَ
“…O our Rabb! If You had willed You would have destroyed them and me before. Will you destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? This is no more than Your trial: by it You will mislead whom You will and guide whom You will. (Only) You are our Guardian; therefore Forgive us, and have Mercy upon us, for You are the best of those who forgive.” (7:155).
وَٱڪۡتُبۡ لَنَا فِى هَـٰذِهِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا حَسَنَةً۬ وَفِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ إِنَّا هُدۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ…
“And write down for us what is good in this world and also in the Hereafter. Behold! Unto You we are directed…” (7:156).
Allah commanded the Children of Isra’il, on their way to the Promised Land, to sacrifice a cow. In their arrogance, they sarcastically asked Nabi Musa (‘a), if he was making a laughing stock of them. Nabi Musa (‘a) at that point shows in his Du’a his disappointment with their arrogance and says that his refuge is only with Allah.
أَعوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ أَكونَ مِنَ الْجاهِلينَ
“I seek refuge in Allah lest I should be from among those who are the jahilin (the arrogant ones).” (2:67)
After all the favours that Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, bestowed upon them and brought them safely to the gates of the Promised Land, the ingratitude of the Children of Isra’il was at the zenith when they refused to fight the gate-keepers and enter the Promised Land. Nabi Musa (‘a) asked Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, to separate him from the wicked people.
رَبِّ إنِّي لا أَمْلِكُ إِلاَّ نَفْسي وَأَخي فَافْرُقْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَ الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقينَ
“O my Rabb! Behold, I have no control over anyone except my brother and myself. Therefore, do Thou distinguish between the wicked people and us.” (5:25).
The Qur’an describes the wonderful triumph of Nabi Musa (‘a) over the renowned magicians in the kingdom of Fir’awn.
When the magicians recognized that the power of Nabi Musa (‘a) was not the magic but true Power and Sign of Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, they fell prostrating themselves to Allah. On seeing this, Fir’awn threatened to crucify them and cut off their limbs. At this point, the magicians did this Du’a
رَبَّنا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنا صَبْراً وَ تَوَفَّنا مُسْلِمينَ
“O our Rabb! Pour over us patience and cause us to die only as Muslims.” (7:126).
Those who had believed in Nabi Musa (‘a) prayed like this:
عَلى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنا رَبَّنا لا تَجْعَلْنا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَومِ الظَّالِمينَ
“(Only) in Allah do we put our trust. O our Rabb! Make us not a temptation to the people of the evildoers.” (10:85).
وَ نَجِّنا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكافِرين
“And deliver us by Your Mercy from the people of unbelievers.” (10:86).
- 1. This is a wonderful Du’a at any occasion and is also recommended for those who stutter.