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Moses (‘a), Messenger And Prophet Of Allah

He is Moses (‘a) (Hebrew::מֹשֶׁה‎, Modern Moshe Tiberian Mōšéh ISO 259-3 Moše; Greek:: Mωϋσῆς Mōüsēs; Arabic:: موسىٰ Musa) (Moses (‘a) in Latin, Moshe in Hebrew).

Allah (SwT) has said,

“And mention Moses in the Book; surely he was one of the purified, and he was a messenger, a prophet” (Qur’an, 19:51).

His name is Moses (‘a) son of ‘Imran (Amram) son of Yashir son of Qahith son of Lawi son of Jacob, and his mother was Yu-Khaeel or Jochebed. She gave birth to Aaron and Moses (‘a). At the time of the birth of his son Moses (‘a), Moses (‘a)’ father was seventy years old, and he lived to be a hundred and thirty-seven.

The Almighty describes Moses (‘a) in the above cited Qur’anic verse as”purified”. Abu Abdullah‎ Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) is quoted as saying,”Allah (SwT) inspired to Moses (‘a) son of ‘Imran, ‘Do you know, O Moses (‘a), why I selected you from among My creation and preferred you over them to hear My word?’ ‘No,’ Moses (‘a) said, ‘O Lord!’ Allah (SwT) said, ‘I cast a look at the inhabitants of the earth and found none among them more humble than you.’ It was then that Moses (‘a) prostrated on the ground, rubbed his cheeks on the dust as a sign of humility to His Lord, the most Honored, the most Exalted, so Allah (SwT) inspired him saying, ‘Raise your head, O Moses (‘a), and pass your hand over the place where you prostrated then wipe your face with it and whatever you can touch of your body, for this will be your security against any sickness or ailment, against any affliction or handicap.’1

Birth

Ancient Egyptians regarded their Pharaohs as the embodiment of the”gods”, the soul of the government, the ones responsible for the rise and fall of the Nile, the yield of the soil, the health of the commerce, the fortunes of the army and the maintenance of the peace. He was owner of the land and of the people who lived on it. The word”Pharaoh” means”the great one, the greatest in the land.” From 3100 to 341 B.C., thirty dynasties of Pharaohs ruled Egypt. The Babylonians, who also had the king worship custom, ruled Babylonia from approximately 2000 B.C. to 1000 B.C., hence, they were contemporaries of the first 21 of the 30 dynasties of Pharaohs.

The first Pharaoh to rule Egypt was Menes who united both upper and lower Egypt into one kingdom and built Memphis to be his capital. He is known in Arabic as al-Rayyan, and his name in some references is said to be Chenephres, and he was contemporary of prophet Joseph (Yousuf). Prophet Moses (‘a) was contemporary of two Pharaohs: Seti I and his son Ramses II, although some references disagree. Both ruled from 1320 to 1200 B.C.

This gives the reader an idea about the time during which Moses (‘a) was sent to the Israelites as a messenger of God; it was during the 19th dynasty of Pharaohs. These dates also give the reader an idea about the time lapse from prophet Joseph to prophet Moses (‘a), both having spent a good part of their lifespans in Egypt. Ramses II, whose reign of oppression lasted for 67 long years, built a temple for the gods at Thebes, the Hypostyle Hall at the Karnak, and a rock-cut temple at Abu Simbel.

The historic scene or, say, the encounter between Moses (‘a) and Ramses II and the magicians, according to the research I undertook, seems to have occurred at the magnificent Hypostyle Hall at the Karnak. Instead of using the name Ramses II, from now on we will refer to him only as Pharaoh.

Pharaoh was the most open enemy of Allah (SwT) and the most cruel and oppressive in speech and in action, a most hard-hearted tyrant. His reign, as indicated above, was the longest, and his treatment of the Children of Israel was indeed the very worst. He used to torture them and enslave them, and he made them servants and workers without wage in his kingdom. He classified their chores thus: some of them were to build, others were to till the land, while still others were to undertake the most menial and filthy of chores.

He required those who were unable to work to pay protection tax (jizya) as Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“They were treating you with the most cruel of treatment” (Qur’an, 2:49).

Pharaoh (Seti I) had married a woman from among them called Asiya daughter of Muzahim, may Allah (SwT) be pleased with her, who was one of few very pious women in all the history of mankind. Her full name was: Asiya daughter of Muzahim son of Ubayd son of al-Rayyan son of al-Waleed, the Pharaoh contemporary to prophet Joseph I. She embraced Moses’ faith. Muqatil ibn Hayyan says,”Only three Egyptians accepted the true faith: Asiya, Izekiel, and Mary daughter of Tamoosi who led Moses (‘a) to Joseph’s grave-site.”

When Allah (SwT) wanted to save the Israelites from their misery, He sent them Moses (‘a) who started his mission when Pharaoh saw in a vision that a fire had come from the direction of Jerusalem and set all the houses in Egypt on fire, burning the homes of the Copts, but leaving those of the Children of Israel unscathed2.

He invited all his priests, wizards, fortune tellers and star gazers and asked them about his vision. They said to him,”A boy will be born for the Children of Israel who will rob you of your kingdom and overpower you and even get you and your people out of your land and change your creed, and the time of his birth has already approached.”

So Pharaoh ordered each boy born for the Children of Israel killed. He gathered all midwives in his kingdom and said to them,”No boy born for the Children of Israel falls in your hands except that you should kill him, and no girl is born for them except that you should spare her life,” assigning men to be watchdogs over them. They did as he had ordered them. Allah Almighty has said in the Holy Qur’an,

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. a Sin Mim. These are the verses of the Book that makes (things) clear: We recite to you from the account of Moses (‘a) and Pharaoh with the truth for people who believe. Surely Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live; surely he was one of the mischief-makers. (Qur’an, 28:1-4)

The Children of Israel, too, used to talk about confirmed traditions citing Abraham (‘a) saying that a son from among his offspring would put an end to the authority of the king of Egypt, and Pharaoh came to know about these tales. Pharaoh’s main concern, therefore, became the birth of such a boy, but no precaution can ever overrule destiny.

What Allah (SwT) has decreed none can repeal. The boy whose birth Pharaoh dreaded and because of whom he killed seventy thousand boys was to receive his upbringing, nursing and residence inside the palace of Pharaoh himself so that Pharaoh and all other human beings might come to know that Allah (SwT) is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, and that He does exactly what He pleases.

Death overwhelmed the Children of Israel. The chiefs of the Copts rushed to meet with the Pharaoh; they said to him,”The elderly among the Children of Israel are dying, while you are slaughtering their children and leaving their elderly to die. Soon all tasks will have to be performed by only us...” Pharaoh, therefore, ordered to kill the sons one year and to leave them another. Aaron was born during the year when no boys were to be killed, whereas Moses (‘a) was born in the year during which they used to kill boys.

When his mother gave birth to Aaron, the news of his birth was made public. But when the year came during which the newborn males were to be killed, she was pregnant with Moses (‘a) without any signs of pregnancy appearing on her3, and when she wanted to give birth to him, she was very sad and distressed. Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired her thus,

“Nurse him, then, and when you fear for him, cast him into the river, and do not fear, nor should you grieve; surely We will bring him back to you and make him one of the prophets. And the family of Pharaoh took him up so that he might be an enemy and a grief for them; surely Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were wrongdoers. And the wife of Pharaoh said: A refreshment of the eye to me and to you! Do not slay him! Maybe he will be useful to us, or we may take him for a son, and they did not perceive” (Qur’an, 28:7-9).

Some non-Muslim references give the name of this wife of Pharoah as Merris. The mother of Moses (‘a), whose name in Hebrew is Jochebed, took a small coffin box made by Izekiel (or Kharbil, as he is known in Arabic), the first man to believe in Moses (‘a) from Pharaoh’s family. He is referred to in the Holy Qur’an as the one who came to urge Moses (‘a) to leave the town because an order had been issued to have him killed.

He had already been a believer in Abraham (‘a)’s faith. She put in it ginned cotton, then she placed Moses (‘a) in it and tied his head. Then she cast him in the Nile after having nursed him for only three months. Having done that, and after Moses (‘a) had disappeared from her sight, the devil insinuated some of his evil thoughts to her. She said to herself,”Oh! What have I done with my son?! Had he been killed in my presence, and had I shrouded and buried him myself, it would have been far better for me than casting him with my own hands in the river and yielding him to its beasts!”

But Allah (SwT) protected her, and the water took Moses (‘a) away; its waves would raise him up and lower him down. While he was in the coffin, he was sucking his thumb which, by the will of Allah (SwT), provided him with milk4. Finally he came among the trees in the garden belonging to Pharaoh; it was the watering place for his concubines.

Near it was a large river inside the mansion’s garden. Pharaoh’s concubines went out to bathe and to drink, and they found the coffin. They took it away thinking it had a treasure in it. They brought the unopened coffin to Asiya, wife of the Pharaoh. When the latter opened it and found a baby boy inside it, Allah (SwT) Almighty cast affection in her heart for him, and she loved him very much.

When the men charged with killing the males of the Children of Israel came to know about it, they brought their knives and came to Asiya to kill the boy. Asiya said to them,”Go away! This boy is not going to increase the number of the Children of Israel. I shall go to Pharaoh and ask him to give it to me; so, if he agrees, you will have shared in a good deed, but if he orders you to kill him, then I will not blame you if you do so.”

She brought him to Pharaoh and said,”This is a pleasure for my eyes and yours! Do not kill him; maybe he will be of some use to us,” whereupon Pharaoh said,”He may be a pleasure to your eyes; as for me, I have no need for him.” The Messenger of Allah (S) has said,”I swear by the One in Whose Name all oaths are sworn, had Pharaoh agreed that he (Moses (‘a)) would be a pleasure to his eyes as she had done, Allah (SwT) would have led him to true guidance through him just as He led his wife to true guidance, but Allah (SwT) decreed to deprive him of it.”

Pharaoh wanted to kill him, saying,”I fear lest this should be the boy from the Children of Israel who will bring about our destruction and the disappearance of our authority,” but Asiya kept pleading to him till he agreed to grant Moses (‘a) to her.

When Asiya feared no more, she wanted to give him a name which fit his condition, so she called him Mo-Shé because, as Muqatil ibn Sulayman tells us, he was found between water and trees. In the Coptic language,”mo” means water, and”shé” means trees5; then it was Arabized to Musa.

Moses (‘a)’ mother said to his sister Maryam (Miriam),”Follow him till you hear that he is alive or that the beasts of the river have killed him.” She had forgotten what Allah (SwT) had promised her. She saw him from a distance, and people did not know that she was his sister. Asiya, Pharaoh’s wife, ordered her maids to find a nurse for Moses (‘a).

Whenever a woman took him to nurse him, he refused to suck her breast, so much so that Asiya worried he might die because of not being nursed, and she was very distressed. Then she ordered to have him taken to the market place so that people might assemble around him in the hope of finding a nurse he would accept and whose breast he would suckle, but again he did not accept the breast of any woman. To this does the Almighty and the Sublime refer when He says,

“And We ordained that he refuse to suck any foster mother before” (Qur’an, 28:12).

Moses (‘a)’ sister, having seen how her brother persisted in refusing anyone to nurse him, said, according to the Holy Qur’an,

“Shall I point out to you the people of a house who will take care of him for you, and they will be kind to him?” (Qur’an, 28:12).

They seized her and asked her,”How do you know about their taking care of him and their kindness to him? You seem to know this boy; so, take us to his family.” She said,”I do not know who they are, but I know that their desire to attain the king’s rewards will entice them to take good care of him and be kind to him,” so they let her go. She rushed to her mother and told her about what had happened, and his mother came to him, put him in her lap and his head on her breast, whereupon instantly her milk filled his mouth.

Bearers of glad tidings rushed to Asiya to tell her that a foster mother was found for him, so she ordered to have that woman brought to her. When she noticed how the baby was treating his mother, she said to her,”Stay with us and nurse my son, for there is nothing else I love more than him.”

His mother answered her saying,”I cannot leave my house and let my children wander unattended, but if it pleases you, you may give him to me and I take him to my house and children and he will be with me and I will take very good care of him; otherwise, I am not going to leave my house and my children.” Moses (‘a)’ mother now remembered the promise Allah (SwT) had made her, and she stood firmly behind her word, feeling confident that Allah (SwT) Almighty would surely fulfill His promise to her. Soon thereafter, she went home with him.

The period from the time when Moses (‘a) had parted with his mother till his return was three days. When she brought Moses (‘a) to his mother, the latter almost slipped and said that he was her son, but Allah (SwT) Almighty protected her from saying so, and this is the explanation of these verses:

“And the heart of the mother of Moses (‘a) was free (from anxiety); she would almost have disclosed it, had We not strengthened her heart so that she might be of the believers. And she said to his sister: Follow him up. So she watched him from a distance while they did not perceive, and We ordained that he refuse to suck any foster mother before, so she said: Shall I point out to you the people of a house who will take care of him for you, and they will be benevolent to him? So We returned him to his mother so that her eye might be refreshed, and so that she might not grieve, and so that she might know that Allah ‘s promise is true, but most of them do not know” (Qur’an, 28:10-13).

When he grew up, Asiya said to Moses (‘a)’ mother,”I would like you to bring my son back to me, so she promised to bring him to her on a particular day.” Asiya said to those close to her and to her housekeepers,”Each one of you should welcome him back with a present, for I am sending a trusted person who will take account of what each housekeeper will do.”

Presents and precious items started showering him as soon as he came out of his mother’s house and till he entered the residence of Pharaoh’s wife. When he came to her, she received him with generosity and was very glad to see him. She admired the good effect his mother had had on him. Then she said to her,”Take him to Pharaoh so that he may be gracious to him.”

When Moses (‘a)’ mother brought him to Pharaoh, the latter took him and put him in his lap. Moses (‘a) took hold of Pharaoh’s beard and pulled it and some of his hair came in his little hand. It is said that Pharaoh slapped him. According to other accounts, when Moses (‘a) was playing with Pharaoh, he had a small rod in his hand, and he struck Pharaoh with it on his head, whereupon Pharaoh was very angry.

He saw it as a bad omen and said,”This is most definitely the enemy I have been seeking.” He ordered those in charge of killing the sons of the Israelites to come and kill him. When Pharaoh’s wife knew about it, she rushed to Pharaoh and said to him,”What do you have against this child whom you had granted to me?” He informed her of what Moses (‘a) had done. She said,”He is only a baby and he does not know what he is doing. I will prove this fact to you, and I will put ornaments of gold and sapphires in one basin and I will put burning timbers in another.

If he stretches his hand to the sapphires, we will say that he does know, and you may then kill him, but if he takes the timber, you will then know that he is only a child.” She took two wash basins in one of which she put gold and sapphires and in the other she put burning pieces of timber. Moses (‘a) stretched his hand to take the sapphires, but Gabriel moved his hand away from that basin, so he grabbed a piece of burning timber and put it in his mouth and it burnt his tongue, causing a permanent lisp. It is to this lisp that the Almighty refers in the Holy Qur’an in this verse:

“... and untie a knot of my tongue so that they may comprehend my speech” (Qur’an, 20:27).

Asiya, therefore, turned to Pharaoh and said,”Don’t you see what he has done? He is only a child and he does not know what he is doing.” Pharaoh abstained from killing him and Allah (SwT) saved him from his evil. Moses (‘a) lived in honors and dignity at Pharaoh’s magnificent palace, and Allah (SwT) endeared him to all people.

When Moses (‘a) son of ‘Imran reached the prime of his strength, he became accustomed to riding in Pharaoh’s chariots, wearing just as Pharaoh6 used to wear, and he was called Moses (‘a) son of Pharaoh. Seti I, the then Pharaoh, was much less ruthless than his son Ramses II, so the Israelites were able to save themselves a great deal of oppression and servitude, and people did not know that all of that came as the by-product of Moses (‘a) being nursed at the Egyptian palace. Pharaoh one day rode and Moses (‘a) was not in his company, and when Moses (‘a) came, he was told that Pharaoh had already left, so Moses (‘a) went out seeking to join his company.

At noon he reached a city called Manaf which he entered at midday. Its markets, because of the hot weather, had closed down and there was nobody in its streets. It is the city to which the Almighty refers in this verse:

“And he went into the city at a time of non-vigilance on the part of its people” (Qur’an, 28:15).

While walking in it, he saw two men fighting. One of them was an Israelite and the other was a Copt, a subject of Pharaoh, as Allah (SwT) Almighty says,

“So he found therein two men fighting, one being from his party and the other from his foes” (Qur’an, 28:15).

The one who was”from his party” was a Samarian, and the one from his foes was a baker of Pharaoh called Fatun who had bought some firewood which he wanted the Samarian to carry for him without paying him, as was the custom, and the Samarian refused. When Moses (‘a) passed by them, the Samarian sought his help against the Copt. Moses (‘a) told the Copt to leave the man alone.

The baker said to Moses (‘a),”Rather, I require him to do what your father would have required him to do,” and he refused to let him go. Moses (‘a) became angry and he overpowered him and released the Samarian from his grip. The Copt argued with him, so Moses (‘a) struck him with his fist and unintentionally killed him according to the following verse:

“So Moses (‘a) struck him with his fist and killed him. He (Moses (‘a)) said: This is on account of Satan’s doing; surely he is an enemy, openly leading (mankind) astray” (Qur’an, 28:15), adding,”Lord! Surely I have done myself harm, so do protect me. So He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful” (Qur’an, 28:16).

Allah (SwT) Almighty inspired Moses (‘a) son of Imran:”By My Dignity and Greatness! Had the person whom you killed had recognized Me as the Sustaining Creator even for a twinkling of the eye, I would have made you taste of the torment, but I forgave you because he did not admit at any time that I am the Sustaining Creator.”

When Moses (‘a) killed the Copt, nobody witnessed the incident except Allah (SwT) and the Israelite. Having killed a man, he became afraid in the city expecting to hear some news. People came to Pharaoh and said that the Israelites had killed one of Pharaoh’s subjects, and they wanted him to seek revenge on their behalf and not to permit them to get away with it. Pharaoh said, ABring me the killer and a witness, for it is not fair to make a judgment without evidence, and no government can last long if it is based on iniquity; so, go and seek them. While they were looking for evidence, Moses (‘a) passed in the early morning and saw the same Israelite fighting with another subject of Pharaoh, and the Israelite once more sought his aid in fighting Pharaoh’s subject.

This happened while Moses (‘a) was regretful on account of what had happened the day before, and he did not like what he saw and felt angry; so, he stretched his hand with the intention to overpower Pharaoh’s subject and said to the Israelite,

“You are most surely one erring manifestly” (Qur’an, 28:18).

The Israelite, thinking that Moses (‘a) intended to strike him because of speaking rudely to him, ran away angrily. When Moses (‘a) came to his rescue and stretched his hand, he thought that Moses (‘a) was bent on killing him, so he said to him,

“O Moses (‘a)! Do you intend to kill me as you killed a person yesterday?” (Qur’an, 28:19).

In reality, Moses (‘a) did not intend to kill him but to overpower Pharaoh’s subject. Having thus argued, Pharaoh’s subject went and testified to what he had heard the Israelite saying, adding that it was Moses (‘a) who had killed that man the day before.

This agrees with the axiom which says that the wise enemy is more worthy of your attention than the unwise friend. When Pharaoh came to know about it, he ordered those charged with killing the males from among the Israelites to go and kill Moses (‘a). He said to them,”Go find him! He is a young man who cannot be brought to the right path.”

Moses (‘a) suddenly found himself a fugitive. All the glory of living at Pharaoh’s palace had then come to an end. He, therefore, started avoiding the beaten streets. He took the main highway where he met one of his followers who had come from the farthest end of the city to warn him. His name was Izekiel who was an adherent of the original faith of Abraham (‘a). He was the first to testify to the truth brought by Moses (‘a) and thus be the foremost in believing in his message.

The Messenger of Allah (S) is quoted as saying,”The foremost of all nations who never disbelieved in Allah (SwT) even for a twinkling of the eye are three: Izekiel the believer from the people of Pharaoh, Habib the carpenter who believed in Christ, and Ali son of Abu Talib, who is their best.”

Izekiel, the believer from the people of Pharaoh, came and informed Moses (‘a) of Pharaoh’s order to have him killed. He had chosen a short cut in the route, thus reaching Moses (‘a) before the killers could have, and he informed him of the news. It is to this meeting between both men that the Almighty refers in this verse:

“And a man came running from the remotest part of the city. He said: O Moses! Surely the chiefs are consulting together to slay you; therefore, depart (at once); surely I am of those who wish you well” (Qur’an, 28:20).

Moses (‘a) was confused and did not know where to go, so an angel came to him in the form of a man riding a horse and released a goat before him, ordering him to follow it, thus showing him the way to Midian (or Madyan). Midian (Hebrew: מִדְיָן‎), or Madyan (Arabic: مَدْيَن‎), or Madiam (Greek: Μαδιάμ, Μαδιανίτης for a Midianite) is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur’an. It is believed to be in northwest Arabia on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the northern Red Sea; this is what non-Muslim references tell us.

But let us stop here for a moment and try to further find out where this Midian is or was, and who her people were. Midian is named after the son of Abraham (‘a) and Keturah. This city and its district are situated on the Red Sea southeast of Mount Sinai, on the Syria-Hijaz highway, about two hundred miles north of the Sinai Peninsula.

Originally, it was called Midian of Abraham (‘a)’s son. According to p. 92, Vol. 5, of Yaqut al-Hamawi’s Mu’jam al-Buldan, Midian is also the name of an Arab tribe. Midianite tribesmen were the travellers who took prophet Joseph out of the well then sold him into slavery in Egypt. Midian the city parallels Tabuk, where one of the Prophet’s expeditions took place in about 628 A.D.

Scholars of classic Arabic poetry quite often come across Midian in pre-Islamic poetry. Such poetry may be a good source of information for those who seek to know more about those Midianites. The Holy Qur’an tells us in 11:94 that the people of Midian, whose prophet at the time was Shu’ayb, were wiped out from existence by an earthquake because of the way they treated Prophet Shu’ayb, father-in-law of Moses (‘a) and great-grandson of Abraham (‘a).

This kinship to Abraham (‘a) suggests that the destruction of Midian may have taken place sometime in the 18th century B.C. according to the best estimates based on anthropology as well as authenticated archeological finds.

Sa’id ibn Jubayr quotes Ibn ‘Abbas‎ as saying,”Moses (‘a) left Egypt for Midian. The journey lasted eight nights. Some say it [his trip] is about the same distance between Kufa‎ and Basra. He did not have any food other than tree leaves. When he reached it, his sandals had already been worn out, and you could have seen his stomach turning green because of the vegetation with which he had to sustain himself.

Moses (‘a) had left without taking any food provisions with him, without even wearing shoes, only light weight sandals.”

Moses (‘A) Enters Midian, Marries Shu’ayb’s Daughter

After those eight days and nights were over, Moses (‘a) reached Midian and sat under the shade of a tree underneath which there was a well and to which Allah (SwT) Almighty refers in this verse:

“And when he came to the water of Midian, he found on it a group of men watering, and he found besides them two women keeping (their flocks) back. He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water until the shepherds take (their sheep) away from the water, and our father is a very old man” (Qur’an, 28:23).

Both women were too weak to fight the shepherds over the water. Once those shepherds had watered their herds, they would water theirs. Their father, who was a very old man, was none other tha prophet Shu’ayb, one of four Arab prophets7.

The name of the eldest daughter of Shu’ayb was Liya (or Hanuna according to some sources), and the name of his younger daughter was Safra who became the wife of Moses (‘a), according to Arab references. Having said so to Moses (‘a), he felt sorry for them and there was a well on top of which there was a huge rock which required a number of men to move. Moses (‘a) lifted the rock and took their bucket and told them to bring their herds so that he would water them. Thus, they returned to their father quickly before others had reached their homes, while Moses (‘a) was still seeking shelter under the shade of that tree,

“... and said: Lord! Surely I stand in need of whatever good You may send down to me” (Qur’an, 28:24).

Ibn ‘Abbas‎ has said,”Moses (‘a) said so because he was very hungry, so he had to pray Allah (SwT) for something to eat other than the leaves of trees which by then had filled his stomach. Had anyone had the opportunity to look at his stomach, he would have seen how green it had turned.”

Abu Ja’far, namely Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a), has said,”He (Moses (‘a)) said so because he was in need for as little as half a date.” When the women returned to their father, he asked them,”You make me wonder: How quickly you have come back today!” They said,”We found a righteous man who felt sorry for us and watered our herd for us,” so he told one of them to go back and invite him over. One of them came back to him looking shy and said,”Our father invites you to reward you for having watered our flocks.”

Moses (‘a) stood up and she walked in front of him as he followed her. Wind blew and caused her robe to stick to her rump. Moses (‘a) hated to see something like that, so he said to her,”Walk behind me and lead me the way. If I take the wrong way, throw a stone before me so that I may take another route, for we descendants of Jacob do not look at women’s rumps.”

She told him the route to her father’s house and walked behind him till he entered in the presence of Shu’ayb. Shu’ayb asked Moses (‘a) about his condition and story, and Moses (‘a) told him everything, whereupon he said to him,

“Fear no more! You are secure from (the mischief of) the wrong-doing people” (Qur’an, 28:25).

He then invited him to have supper with them, whereupon Moses (‘a), despite his pangs of hunger, said,”I seek refuge with Allah (SwT) against doing that!”“Why?”, Shu’ayb asked him,”Are you not hungry?” Moses (‘a) said,”I am, but I am afraid you will regard this supper as my compensation for having watered for them, and I am from a family that does not sell any deed intended for the hereafter even if the price were the fill of the earth with gold.” Shu’ayb said to him,”No, by Allah (SwT), O young man! This is only my custom and the custom of my forefathers: We always shelter and feed our guests. It was then that Moses (‘a) sat and ate.8

The woman who was sent as messenger to Moses (‘a) said to her father,

“O father! Employ him! Surely the best of those that you can employ is a strong man, a trustworthy one” (Qur’an, 28:26).

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said,”The most unerring in veracity among all women are two both of whom discerned Moses (‘a) and were right about him. One of them was Pharaoh’s wife, who said,

‘A pleasure of the eye for me and for you; do not slay him!’ (Qur’an, 28:9).

The other was Shu’ayb’s daughter, who said,

‘O father! Employ him! Surely the best of those that you can employ is a strong man, a trustworthy one!’ (Qur’an, 28:26).

The reason why she said that he was strong and trustworthy is due to the fact that he was able to remove the huge stone which only as many as forty men could move. Her father asked her,”Let us suppose that you witnessed his strength; how did you know that he is trustworthy?” She told him how Moses (‘a) required her to walk behind him, so Shu’ayb became more eager to strengthen his ties with him. He said to him,

“I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you work for me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard on you; if Allah please, you will find me one of the righteous.’ He said: This shall be (an agreement) between me and you; whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there shall be no wrongdoing to me, and Allah is Witness to what we say’” (Qur’an, 28:27-28).

The Messenger of Allah (S) was once asked which period Moses (‘a) fulfilled. He answered,”He fulfilled the most complete of them and the best,” or, according to other narrations,”He fulfilled the most lengthy of them and married the youngest.”

As you can see, dear reader, the Holy Qur’an is not without stories of romance and true and pure love.

His Staff

Scholars have differed regarding its name, benefits, and the miracles it performed by the will of Allah (SwT). Al-Suddi says that Shu’ayb ordered his daughter to bring him a staff to give to Moses (‘a) to help him while tending to his herds, so she brought him a staff which was entrusted to him by an angel in human form. Shu’ayb gave it back to her and ordered her to bring him another staff, and she kept bringing him the same one simply because whenever she put it back where it was, and whenever she wanted to take another, it somehow fell in her hands, and she kept doing so till Shu’ayb took it and gave it to Moses (‘a).

Having given it to him, he felt regretful because it had been entrusted to him, so Shu’ayb asked him to give it back to him, but Moses (‘a) refused. They disputed till they agreed to accept the judgment of the first man who would meet them. An angel in human form came to them walking, and they sought his judgment. The angel said,”Put it on the ground; anyone who can carry it will be its owner.” Moses (‘a) put it on the ground, and the old man tried to lift it but could not, so Moses (‘a) held it in his hand and lifted it. Having seen that, Shu’ayb let him have it.

Another narration says that when Moses (‘a) stayed with Shu’ayb for as long as Allah (SwT) permitted him to, he then sought his permission to depart, and Shu’ayb granted him permission, saying,”Enter this room and take a staff that will be with you to keep wild beasts away from you and from your sheep.” The staff of prophets at that time was with Shu’ayb. When Moses (‘a) entered the room, the staff leaped and came to be in his hand, and he went out carrying it. Shu’ayb then said to him,”Put it back and take another.”

Shu’ayb had been told about that staff but did not know that Moses (‘a) was actually its rightful owner. Moses (‘a) put it back in the room to take another, but it again leaped and came to be in his hand, and it did that several times. Shu’ayb again reminded him to take another staff, so Moses (‘a) said to him,”I returned it several times, and every time I returned it, it leaped till it somehow came to be in my hand,” so Shu’ayb realized that that was something which Allah (SwT) Almighty willed; therefore, he told him to take it.

Ibn ‘Abbas‎ has said,”The ruler of Rome wrote a letter to Mu’awiyah once asking him about four things that were never conceived in a womb. When Mu’awiyah read his letter, he said, ‘May Allah (SwT) shame him! How would I know?!’ Some people suggested to him to write to Ibn ‘Abbas‎ to ask him, and so he did. I wrote him back saying, ‘The four that never stirred inside a womb are: Adam (‘a), Eve, the ram whereby Ishmael was ransomed, and the staff of Moses (‘a) which he dropped and it became a serpent.’”

Most scholars have said that Moses (‘a)’ staff was taken from a tree in Paradise. Its length was ten cubits, the height of Moses (‘a) himself. It was carried by Adam (‘a) from Paradise to earth, so people inherited it one from another till it reached Shu’ayb who gave it to Moses (‘a), and Allah (SwT) knows best.

Moses (‘A) Addressed By Allah, Becomes His Prophet And Messenger

“So when Moses (‘a) had fulfilled the term, he journeyed with his family” (Qur’an, 28:29),

that is, he left Midian on his trip back home. The time was winter, and Moses (‘a) was accompanied by his wife and cattle. His wife was big with child and she was then expecting to deliver any day or night. He set out in the Syrian desert, avoiding the major metropolises and main cities for fear of the kings who were ruling Syria then, and his main concern at that time was to see his brother Aaron and to get him out of Egypt if he could. Moses (‘a) walked in the desert without being familiar with its routes till he reached the right side of the Mount of Sinai during an extremely cold night.The sky kept thundering and lightning as it rained.

Add to all of this, his wife was overtaken by the pangs of child-birth, so Moses (‘a) took his stick of fire drill but could not ignite it. He was perplexed, so he kept standing and sitting. He was not familiar with such sort of fire-producing gadget, and he kept discerning everything near and far, annoyed and frustrated.

Then he kept listening for a long time for any sound or movement. While he was in such a condition, he was heartened to see some light on the side of the mountain, and he thought that its source was a fire. He, therefore,

“... said to his family: Wait! I have seen a fire! Maybe I will bring you from it some news or a brand of fire so that you may warm yourselves!” (Qur’an, 28:29),

that is, he hoped to see someone who could lead him the way, and he had lost his way while thus wandering.

When Moses (‘a) came close to the fire, he saw a great glow extending from the highest point in the sky and ending at a huge tree there. Scholars differ regarding what tree it was. Some say it was a boxthorn, while others say it was a vine. Moses (‘a) was bewildered, and he was overtaken by fear when he saw a huge fire which did not have a smoke burning from the belly of a green tree that kept getting greener and greener as the fire grew more intense. When Moses (‘a) came closer to it, it went back. Having seen that, he retreated in fear, then he remembered how badly he needed a fire, so he returned to it. It was then that

“... a voice came from the right side of the valley in the blessed spot of the tree saying, O Moses (‘a)!” (Qur’an, 28:30).

When he looked, he did not see anyone. He was addressed,

“... Surely I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds!” (Qur’an, 28:30).

Having heard that, he knew that it was his Exalted Lord. His Lord called him and ordered him to get closer, and when he got closer to the tree and heard the call, and when he saw the divine Grandeur, his heartbeat increased and his tongue was tied; he felt extremely feeble. He became like a dead form of life, yet life lingered within him without being able to mobilize him. Allah (SwT) sent him an angel to support him and to strengthen his heart. When he fully recovered his senses, he was addressed,

“... take your shoes off; surely you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa!” (Qur’an, 20:12).

The reason why he was ordered to take his shoes off was, as we are told by Abdullah‎ ibn Mas’ud who quotes the Prophet, due to the fact that they were made of donkey skin. He was required to take his shoes off so that his feet might touch the blessed earth and its blessing may thus touch him, for it had been blessed twice. Sa’id ibn Jubayr has said,”Allah (SwT) told him so because walking barefoot is a sign of humility and respect. He was told to tread the ground barefoot just as the Ka’ba is thus entered by one seeking the blessing of its valley.

Let us stop here for a moment and learn from what went on between Moses (‘a) and his Maker. This is not a bed-time story, nor is it written to entertain anyone but to admonish everyone.

What The Almighty Said To Moses (‘A)

Moses (‘a) occupies a sublime status in Islam. Like Prophet Muhammad (S), he is a law-giver, not a law-abider. He saved his nation from bondage after having abandoned all the riches at Pahraoh’s mansion and traded them for the simple of a shepherd. Moses (‘a) was great in all the meaning this word implies. Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“So when Moses (‘a) had fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family, he perceived on this side of the mountain a fire. He said to his family: Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I will bring you from it some news or a brand of fire so that you may warm yourselves. And when he came to it, a voice was heard from the right side of the valley in the blessed spot of the tree saying: O Moses (‘a)! Surely I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds!” (Qur’an, 28:29-30).

Allah (SwT) has said the following to His greatest prophet Muhammad (S) son of Abdullah‎ as recorded in Surah Taha (Ch. 20) of the Holy Qur’an:

Has the story of Moses come to you? When he saw a fire, he said to his family: Stop, for surely I see a fire; haply I may bring you therefrom a live coal or find a guidance at the fire. So when he came to it, a voice was uttered: O Moses! Surely I am your Lord; therefore, take your shoes off; surely you are in the sacred valley of uwa, and I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed: surely I am Allah; there is no god but I; therefore, worship Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance: Surely the Hour is coming, I am about to make it manifest, so that every soul may be rewarded as it strives: Therefore, do not let any who does not believe in it and follows his own low desires turn you away from it else you should perish. And what is this in your right hand, O Moses?! He said: This is my staff: I recline on it, and I beat the leaves with it to make them fall on my sheep, and I have other uses for it. He said: Cast it down, O Moses! So he cast it down, and Lo! It was a serpent running! He said: Take hold of it and do not be afraid; We will restore it to its former state.(Qur’an, 20:9-21)

The reason why the Almighty asked Moses (‘a) about his staff, and He knew of it better than him, ordering him to cast it down, is to calm his heart and to remove his confusion; it is as though He wanted to distract him for a short while, to calm him down, to divert his attention a little. Having cast it down, its split ends became its mouth, and its hook turned into a tail. As it shook, its fangs showed, appearing in the form in which Allah (SwT) wanted it to appear. Moses (‘a) saw in it something horrible, so he ran away without looking behind him, whereupon his Exalted Lord called on him not to run away like that but to return. He wanted him not to worry, for he was granted security, and that Allah (SwT) would return it to its former shape, i.e. a staff. It is said that the wisdom in Allah (SwT)’s order to Moses (‘a) to cast the staff down before going to Pharaoh was: so that he would not be frightened by it once he saw it like that in the presence of the Pharaoh of Egypt.

In his celebrated book Al-Amali, al-Saduq‎ quotes Imam Ali al-Hadi, grandfather of the Awaited Saviour, Imam al-Mahdi, saying that when prophet Moses (‘a) was addressed by Allah (SwT), the most Honored and the most Great, Moses (‘a) asked Him,”O Lord! What is the reward of one who testifies that I am Your prophet and messenger, and that You spoke to me?” The Almighty said,”O Moses (‘a)! My angels shall visit him to convey to him the glad tidings that he is included among the residents of My Paradise.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What then is the reward of one who stands before You to pray to You?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall brag about him before My angels whenever he bows down, or prostrates, or stands, or sits, and anyone about whom I brag before My angels I shall not torment.”

Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who feeds an indigent person seeking Your Pleasure?” He said,”O Moses ! I shall order a caller on the Day of Judgment to call before all creation and say that so-and-so is one of those who are freed from the fire.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who joins his ties of kinship?”

He said,”O Moses! I shall delay his death, and I shall decrease his agony at the time of death, and the keepers of Paradise shall then call on him saying, ‘Hurry and come to us, and enter from any gate you choose!’” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who mentions You by his tongue and by his heart?”

He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall shade him on the Day of Judgment under the shade of My ‘Arsh, and I shall include him in My protection.” Moses (‘a) again said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who recites Your moral lessons audibly and inaudibly?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! He shall pass on the Sirt9 as fast as lightning.

Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who tolerates people’s harm and taunting, seeking Your Pleasure? He said,”I shall assist him against the perils of the Day of Judgment.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What then is the reward of one who sheds his tears out of fear of You?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall protect his face from the heat of the fire, and I shall grant him security on the Day of the Greatest Consternation.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord!

What then is the reward of one who abandons treachery because of being shy of You?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall grant him security on the Day of Judgment.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What then is the reward of one who loves those who are obedient to You?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall prohibit My fire from touching him.”

Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What then is the penalty of one who kills a believer deliberately?” He said,”I shall not look at him on the Day of Judgment, nor shall I bring him back to the right course.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who invites a disbeliever to Islam?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall accept from him to intercede on the Day of Judgment on behalf of whoever he wants.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What then is the reward of one who performs the prayers on time?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall grant him whatever he asks for, and I shall permit him to enter My Paradise.”

Moses (‘a) then asked his Lord again saying,”Lord! What is the reward of one who perfects his ablution fearing You?” He said,”I shall resurrect him on the Day of Judgment with light shining between his eyes.” Moses (‘a) said,”Lord! What is the reward of one who fasts during the month of Ramadan hopeful of Your rewards?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! I shall grant him on the Day of Judgment a status wherein no fear shall touch him.” Moses (‘a) then asked his Lord saying,”Lord! How will You reward one who fasts during the month of Ramadan seeking to show off before people?” He said,”O Moses (‘a)! His reward will be similar to that of one who never fasted it at all.”10

Citing a chain of narrators, al-Saduq‎ tells us that the Almighty said the following to Moses (‘a):

O Moses (‘a)! I created you, selected you, empowered you, and ordered you to obey Me and forbade you from being disobedient to Me; so, if you do obey Me, I shall help you when you seek to do so, but if you disobey Me, I shall not assist you in your disobedience, and the favor is Mine if you choose to obey me, while I shall have a proof against you should you opt to disobey Me.11

Moses (‘a) asked his Lord saying,”Lord! Who shall reside in the sacred precinct?” Allah (SwT) said,”It is those whose eyes never witnessed adultery, nor did usury ever taint their wealth, nor did they ever accept bribes when they judged among the people.” He also admonished Moses (‘a) saying,”O Moses (‘a)! Do not humiliate the indigent person, nor should you envy a rich man on account of the abundance of his wealth.”12 Al-Majlisi quotes Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) stating that the following text was among the admonishments whereby Allah (SwT) admonished Moses (‘a):

O son of ‘Imran! Liar is one who claims that he loves Me and when the night approaches, he sleeps without remembering Me. Is not every lover likes to spend some time of seclusion with the one he loves? Here I am, O son of ‘Imran, discerning the ones who Love me, those whom I shall distract from what they like to do when the night approaches, and I show them My torment as though they see it with their own eyes! They address me when they thus see it, and they speak to Me as if I am present with them! O son of ‘Imran! Grant me of your heart submission, of your body obedience, and of your eyes their tears in the darkness of the night, and call on Me, for you shall find Me near to you, answering your call.13

Abu Ja’far, Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir, says that Moses (‘a) pleaded to his Lord to admonish him. Allah (SwT) said,”I admonish you to always be mindful of Me.” Moses (‘a) repeated his request, whereupon the Almighty repeated the same, and this recurred thrice.

Moses (‘a) again pleaded to his Lord to admonish him, whereupon the Almighty said,”I admonish you with regard to your mother,” and this was also repeated thrice. Then the Almighty said,”I admonish you with regard to your father.” It is, hence, said that two thirds of kindness are the share of the mother, while the father’s is the remaining third.14

Abdullah‎ ibn Sinan15 was one of the companions and disciples of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a). He quotes the Imam saying,”Among what Allah (SwT), the most Exalted One, the most Great, inspired to Moses (‘a) son of ‘Imran was this: ‘O Moses (‘a)! Be like an old robe, a pure heart, and be confined to your home, vigilant during the night, so that those in the heavens may be acquainted with you, while you remain obscure to those on earth.

O Moses (‘a)! Beware of obstinacy, and do not go to any place unless necessity takes you there, and do not laugh without having seen something out of the ordinary, and do weep over your sin, O son of ‘Imran!”16

During the forty days’ communion between Moses (‘a) and his Lord, the Almighty admonished Moses (‘a) with the following beautiful admonishment:

O Moses (‘a)! Do not have high hopes about the life of this world else your heart should harden, and one whose heart is hard is distant from Me. Cause your heart to die17 through fear of Me. Wear old clothes and a new heart so you may be unknown to the people of the earth, well known to the people of the heavens.

Cry out to Me on account of the abundance of sins like one fleeing from his foe, and seek My assistance in doing so, for I am the best of those who assist. O Moses (‘a)! I am Allah (SwT) above the servants, and the servants are under my control, and they shall all be gathered (to Me); so, indict your own self, and do not feel secure from your offspring with regard to your creed except when your offspring love the righteous just as much as you love them.

O Moses (‘a)! I admonish you like One Who is most concerned about your well-being with regard to the son of the virtuous one, Jesus (‘a) son of Mary, the man who rides the she-ass, who wears the burnoose, who loves oil, olives, and the prayer place!

And after him I admonish you with regard to the one who rides the red camel, the good one, the pure and the purified, for his description in your Book is a believer who fully controls all Books, who bows down, who prostrates, whose brethren are the indigent, whose supporters are those who are not his own people18, and during his time there will be hardships, trials, tribulations, and bloodshed.

His name is Amed, Muhammad (S), the trusted one, from the foremost remnant; he shall believe in all the Books and testify to the truth of all the messengers. His nation shall receive mercy and blessings. They shall have fixed times during which they call for the prayers. In him should you believe, for he is your Brother!

O Moses (‘a)! He is My trust, and he is a truthful servant of Mine; blessed is everything he touches and so is everything he blesses; such is he in My knowledge, such is the way I created him.

Through him shall I start the Hour, and through his nation shall I seal the world. Order, therefore, the oppressors from among the Children of Israel not to obliterate his name nor to betray him, and they shall do just that. Loving him I regard as good as the giving of charity, and I am with him and with his party, and he is in My party, and My party are the winners.

O Moses (‘a)! You are My servant, and I am your Lord! Do not look on the insignificant poor person with humiliation, nor should you envy the rich person for the plenty that he has, and be submissive whenever My Name is mentioned. Worship Me and do not associate anything with Me. I am the Great Master; I created you from a drop of an abased water, from a piece of mud which I took from a land rubbed with humility, so you became a human.

I am the One Who created it, so Blessed is My Countenance, and Sanctified is My undertaking; there is nothing like Me! I am the ever-lasting One Who never dies. Through My Torah should you bring life to the days of the world and teach My Praise to those who are ignorant thereof; remind them of My Signs and bounties, and tell them not to go to extremes in their error, for when I take someone, I take him with extreme torment.

O Moses (‘a)! Should you ever be deprived of My love, none else will ever love you; so, worship Me, and stand before Me as an insignificant slave; censure your own soul, for it ought to be, and do not use My Book to seek the upper hand over the Children of Israel. This should suffice as an admonishment for your heart, and as a light, and it is the speech of the Lord of the World, Glorified and Exalted is He, O Moses (‘a)!

O Moses (‘a)! Whenever you call on Me, you shall find Me, for I shall forgive what you will forgive. The heavens glorifies Me in fright, and the angels are fearful of Me. My earth glorifies Me in anticipation, and all beings praise Me even against their own will. Uphold prayers, for it enjoys a great status with Me, and it has with Me a sure covenant, and I shall join to it whatever zakat is offered from good wealth and food, for I accept only what is good whereby My Pleasure is sought.

I shall join to it the maintaining of the ties of kinship, for I am the most Gracious, the most Merciful, and such ties I created out of My mercy so that My servants may thereby love one another, and it has with Me a special status on the Day of Resurrection; I shall sever my ties from those who sever them and join those who join them, and thus do I do with those who suffer My commandments to loss.

O Moses (‘a)! Be gracious to the beggar when he comes to you either by answering his plea in a beautiful way or by giving him generously, for there will come to you those who are neither humans nor jinns, the angels of the most Merciful One, to try you to see how you fare with regard to what I have commanded you to do, and how you safeguard the trust with which I have entrusted you.

Humble yourself to Me, therefore, through pleading to Me, and weep and wail when you recite the Book, and be advised that I call on you as a Master calls on his slave so that he may raise his status to an honorable station, and such is My favor unto you and unto your forefathers.

O Moses (‘a)! Never should you forget Me no matter what, for forgetting Me renders the hearts hard, and with the abundance of wealth comes an abundance of sins. The earth is obedient; the sky is obedient; the seas are obedient; whoever disobeys Me will be a wretch, for I am the most Merciful One at all times.

I bring hardship after ease and ease after hardship, and I let kings succeed kings, while My domain stands and never disappears. Nothing is hidden from Me on earth or in the sky, and how can anything be hidden from Me while from Me it started?! And how can you help asking Me for what I have while to Me you will inevitably return?!

O Moses (‘a)! Make Me your security, and leave with Me your treasure of good deeds; be fearful of Me, and fear none but Me; surely to Me is the ultimate return.

O Moses (‘a)! Never should you put off your repentance, and postpone the sin, and take your time when you stand before Me for the prayers; do not plead to anyone but to Me; make Me your protection against hardships, and the surety against hard times.

O Moses (‘a)! Compete with the doers of good, for goodness is like its own name, and let evil be the concern of every afflicted one.

O Moses (‘a)! Let your tongue reflect what is on your mind so you will be safe, and mention Me a great deal during the night and the day so you will be successful, and do not commit sins so you will be regretful, for the sinners are promised the fire.

O Moses (‘a)! Speak beautifully to those who abandon sins, and keep them company, and take them as brethren even when they are absent from your sight, and strive hard to be with them so that they may strive hard to be with you.

O Moses (‘a)! Anything intended to please Me is much though it may be little, and what is sought to please others is a little though it may be much. The best of your days is the one ahead of you, so see what day it is and prepare for it the answer, for it shall be made to stand to testify (either for you or against you).

Seek your admonishment from time and its people, for what is lengthy of time is in fact short, and what is short thereof is lengthy, and everything shall (in the end) come to naught. Act as though you see the reward of your deeds so that it will be in the hereafter even more so, there should be no doubt about it.

What is left of the life of the world is like what has already passed, and every doer does according to his mind and in the following of the footsteps of someone else. Be your own guide, O son of ‘Imran, perhaps you will be a winner tomorrow when you are asked, and it is there that the followers of falsehood shall lose!

O Moses (‘a)! Be satisfied with forsaking the world, and stay aloof from it, for it is not for you, nor are you for it; why should you be concerned about the abode of the oppressors except for the doing of goodness, for it will only then be a good one?

O Moses (‘a)! The life of this world and its people are trials to one another. Anything decorated contains what it contains, and for the believer, it is the hereafter that is decorated: he always looks at it incessantly. His desire for it acts as a barrier between him and life’s pleasures, so it carries him even during the night just as a rider is swiftly carried to his destination! He remains forlorn, and he welcomes the night grieved; so, congratulations to him; had the curtain been removed from his eyes, he would have witnessed what pleasure awaits him!

O Moses (‘a)! Whenever you see riches coming your way, you should say,”A sin for which the punishment comes hastily!” And if poverty comes your way, you should say,”Welcome to the distinctive mark of the righteous!” Do not be an oppressive tyrant, nor should you be a friend of the oppressors.

O Moses (‘a)! What good is there in a lengthy life-span if its end is abhorred?! And what harm should it be in what is hidden from you if its end is praiseworthy?!

O Moses (‘a)! The Book has cried out to you with regard to what you are undertaking, so how can the eyes sleep despite that, or how can anyone enjoy the pleasure of life except when he goes to extremes in being heedless and in enjoying one pleasure after another, and even the foremost among the truthful could not bear much less than that?!

O Moses (‘a)! Enjoin My servants to call on Me with regard to what has already passed after recognizing Me as the most Merciful of those who are merciful. I shall then respond to the call of the ones in need, and I shall remove evil from them. I shall then change their times and bring them ease and thank them for the little and reward them for it with much. I shall then enrich the poor, and I am the Everlasting One, the Honored, the Omnipotent. Anyone who comes to you after having committed a sin, you should welcome him saying, Welcome! Welcome! To the most spacious of courtyards have you come, the courtyard of the Lord of the Worlds! And seek My forgiveness for them, and behave as though you were one of them.

Do not see yourself as being better than them because of what I have bestowed on you of My favor, and tell them to ask Me for My favor and mercy, for none has them besides Me, and I am the One with the great favor. I am the haven of the sinners, the companion of the destitute, the One Who forgives the sinners. You enjoy with Me a favorable status, so supplicate to Me with a pure heart and a truthful tongue, and be as I have commanded you:

Obey My commandment; do not seek the upper hand over My servants with something the start of which is not in your hands; seek nearness to Me, for I surely am near to you. I never asked you for anything the weight of which hurts you or overburdens you; rather, I asked you to call on Me so I may respond to you, to ask Me so I may give you, and to seek nearness to Me through that the meaning thereof you took from Me, and I am to complete its revelation.

O Moses (‘a)! Look at the earth, for it shall soon be your grave; raise your eyes to the sky, for above you there is a great angel; weep over your soul as long as you are in the life of this world; beware of perdition and annihilation, and do not let the decoration of the life of this world and its beauty deceive you; do not accept injustice, and do not be unjust to others, for I lie in ambush to the oppressor till I take out of him what he had taken away from those whom he oppressed.

O Moses (‘a)! A good deed earns ten times its reward, and the penalty of one sin is perdition.19 Do not associate any with Me; it is not lawful for you to associate anything with Me. Take to moderation and watch your steps; supplicate like one hopeful for what I have, regretful about what he has committed, for the darkness of the night is dispelled by the light of the day, and so is the bad deed: it wipes out the good one. The darkness of the night overtakes the light of the day, and so is the sin: it overtakes the good deed and blackens it.20

I find it hard to imagine anyone reading these beautiful words and is not impressed by them unless he has no heart at all, nor a tint of reason, nor an iota of belief in God. I cannot imagine the rich coming across such jewels of wisdom and not spending some of the wealth given to them by the Almighty to promote it, to make it available to others, to disseminate it especially here in America where every day old sins are committed and new ones are invented, where the Almighty is forgotten or is associated with.

I cannot imagine any reader who reads these beautiful words of wisdom and not desire to share them with someone else he loves; sharing, caring and giving are the marks of true love.

Had I had more resources at hand, I, author of this book, would have provided the reader with three volumes of this book, not just with two. But book publishing is very expensive, and there are restrictions imposed on me as an author.

Compared to the non-Muslims, the Muslims of the world spend very little on the promotion of their creed, the best creed ever revealed to mankind. The love for this world has taken control of their hearts, so they prefer to spend on what will bring them nothing but loss, barring few. Only a small number of them are the exception to this rule.

May Allah (SwT) Ta’ala include us among these select few... I remember one dialogue that will take place on the Day of Judgment. Allah (SwT) will on that Day order our father Adam (‘a) to pick from among his offspring the fuel for the fire of hell.”How many, O Lord?” he will ask Him, and the answer will come,”From each hundred, ninety-nine.”

This is included in a documented hadith the discussion of which will Insha-Allah (SwT) be included in another book I hope Allah (SwT) will help and enable me to write. I sincerely solicit the reader’s du’a to make this wish come true. A believer’s supplication for another believer is always accepted, Insha-Allah (SwT).

Indeed, there are many Pharaohs these days, including many who claim to be Muslims...

How The Staff Benefitted Moses (‘A)

Let us now find out what other benefits that staff had for Moses (‘a), since it was one of his prophetic miracles. It had two split ends. At the bottom of both ends there was a hook and iron spearheads. If Moses (‘a) had to enter a cave at night, and there was no moon, its split ends would light for him as far as his eyes could see. And when he needed water, he used to dip it in a well; it would then extend up to the bottom of the well and its head would become like a bucket, so he would drink. If he needed food, he would strike the ground with it and food enough for one day would come out for him. If he desired to eat a particular type of fruit, he would plant it in the ground, so the branches of the tree he desired would come out and instantly provide him with that fruit. It is also said that the staff was of an almonds tree.

Whenever he felt hungry, he would plant it in the ground, so it would shoot leaves and produce its fruit, and he would eat almonds from it. If he met an enemy, on both of its split ends would appear two dragons. He used to strike with it the rough terrain of a mountain, or stones and thorny bushes, and it would make a path for him. If he wanted to cross a river without a boat, he would strike it with it: it would split open and a path would appear for him. Thus did he make a path in the sea for the Israelites to pass over, while the pursuing army of Pharaoh perished.

He used to drink honey out of one of its ends and milk out of the other. When he was tired of walking, he would ride it, and it would take him to wherever he wanted to go without having to run or to move. And it used to lead him to the way and fight his foes for him. If he wanted it to provide him with perfume, it would emit a fragrance, so he would perfume himself and his clothes.

If the highway had fearsome robbers, the staff would speak to him and instruct him to take one route rather than the other. He used to use it to tend to his sheep, and to defend them and himself against wild beasts, harmful insects and snakes. Whenever he went on a journey, he would put it on his shoulder and hang his luggage and belongings on it, including his nosebag, slingshot, clothes, food, water, etc.

Ibn Haban has said,”Shu’ayb said to Moses (‘a) on marrying him to his daughter and giving him his sheep to herd, ‘Take these sheep, and when you reach a crossroad, turn to your left and not to your right even if the pasture looks greener, for there is a huge beast there because of which I fear for your safety and that of your sheep.’ When the sheep reached the crossroad, the sheep took to their right. Moses (‘a) tried very hard to make them change their direction but they did not heed him, so he had to leave them do what they willed, then he slept while they were grazing. The beast came, and the staff fought it and killed it, then it came and lay down beside Moses (‘a) stained with blood.

When Moses (‘a) woke up, he saw the blood-stained staff and the slain beast. He thus came to know that it was not an ordinary staff. This is what the staff could do when it was in his hand. If he laid it down, he could see that it would turn into a snake greater than anyone can see, black in color, looking as though it had four legs. Its split ends would turn into a mouth in which there were twelve fangs. It would make a terrible noise, and fire would come out of it.

Its hook would turn into a tail looking like a flame of fire; its eyes would shine like lightning emanating wind that would burn everything in its way. It would pass by a rock and swallow it as though it had been a small she-camel, and rocks would crack inside its belly21. It would pass by a tree and cut it with its fangs, crushing then swallowing it. Then it would look around, agitated, as though it was looking for something else to eat, and it would appear as a huge serpent, as swift as a jinn, and as smooth as a snake. To this does the Almighty refer in the Holy Qur’an when He describes it:

“... a clear serpent” (Qur’an, 7:107),

“... as if it had been a snake” (Qur’an, 27:10),

“... it was a serpent running” (Qur’an, 20:20).

Allah (SwT) Almighty has said,

“He said: Take hold of it and fear not; We will restore it to its former state. And put your hand in your side-pocket; it shall come out white without evil: another sign. Go to Pharaoh; surely he has exceeded all limits” (Qur’an, 20:21-24).

The reason why the Almighty ordered him to press his hand to his side-pocket is due to the fact that his garment had tight sleeves; when he placed his hand into his side-pocket and took it out, it was glowing with light which almost blinded the eyes of the beholder. When he put it back into it and took it out again, it came out just as it used to look before.

Time came for Moses (‘a) to fulfil the mission for which Allah (SwT) created him: to warn Pharaoh and to save the Israelites from their yoke of bondage. Moses (‘a) remembered that he was still a fugitive, so he said,

“Lord! Surely I killed one of them; therefore, I fear lest they should slay me. And my brother Aaron is more eloquent than me; therefore, send him with me as an aide to testify to my truthfulness; surely I fear lest they should reject me. He 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 both and those who follow you shall have the upper hand” (Qur’an, 28:33-35).

Moses (‘a) at that time was wearing a shirt of wool which he had pierced with pegs, and an outer garment, also of woven wool. All his clothes and head-dresses were woven of coarse wool as Allah (SwT) Almighty was speaking to him and giving him His support and commandments.

The Almighty said to him,”O Moses (‘a)! Set out with My Message, and you are being observed by My vision and hearing, and My power and vision are with you. I have commissioned you to a weak being of what I have created who has underestimated My blessings on him, felt secure against My designs, worshipped others besides Me. The life of this world caused him to be so arrogant that he forgot My right and might and denied My being his Lord, claiming that he does not know Me.

I swear by My Dignity and Greatness, had it not been for the argument and might which I placed between Me and My creation, I would have ruined him like a Mighty One for Whose Wrath the heavens and the earth, the oceans, the mountains, the trees, and the animals would also be terrified.

Had I permitted the sky, it would have crushed him, or the earth, it would have swallowed him, or the mountains, they would have smashed him, or the oceans, they would have drowned him. But he became too insignificant in My eyes, and his affair seemed too easy (for any of that), and he dwarfed before My might, yet even My mercy included him, while I am the One Who has no need for him, nor for any, nor for all of My creation, and this is one of My own rights. I am the Creator of the rich and the poor, and there is nobody who is wealthy except one whom I have granted, nor is there anyone who is poor except one whom I have impoverished.

So convey My message to him and invite him to worship Me and believe in My unity, and be sincere in worshipping Me, and warn him against My wrath and might, and remind him of My signs, and inform him that nothing at all can stand in the way of My wrath. Speak to him, even as you do so, from time to time, a kind word, maybe he will remember or fear, and respect him as you address him, and do not let the ornaments of the life of this world which I have bestowed on him cause you to be in awe of him, for his forelock is in My hand: he does not see, nor speak, nor breathe, except with My knowledge.

Tell him that I am swifter to forgive and overlook than to be angry and inflict retribution. Tell him: Respond to your Lord, for His mercy is quite spacious, and He has granted you a respite this entire period during which you claim to be the god rather than Him, turning away from worshipping Him.

Yet during this entire period, He permits the heavens to pour its rain over your land and the earth to bring forth its vegetation, while keeping you in good health so that you may not get very old nor sick nor become impoverished nor vanquished. Had He willed, He would have, a long time ago, inflicted His wrath on you and took away everything He had given you, but He surely is Most Munificent.”

The Almighty ceased addressing Moses (‘a) for seven days and nights, then He ordered him to respond to what He had spoken to him, so he said,

“Lord! Expand my chest for me, make my affair easy for me, loosen the knot from my tongue so that they may understand my speech, and give me an aide from my family, Aaron, my brother. Strengthen my back through him, and associate him (with me) in my affair, so that we should glorify You much, and remember You oft. Surely You are seeing us” (Qur’an, 20:24-35).

The response of the Almighty came thus:

“You are indeed granted your petition, O Moses!” (Qur’an, 20:36).

The Almighty thus continued his instructions to Moses (‘a), admonishing him and his brother to strive and persevere. Moses (‘a) thought that Pharaoh was quite powerful with his huge army, while he himself had nobody except his brother, so the Almighty said to him: Do not overestimate his might, for his forelock is in My hand, nor should you admire what I have permitted him to enjoy of the decoration of the life of this world and of the ornaments of the extravagant.

Had I willed, I would have decorated you in such a way that if Pharaoh were to see it, he would realize his inability to attain it, but I do not want you to be like that, so I shall keep the enticements of this life away from you, and thus do I do to My friends: I keep them away from its riches as the shepherd keeps his herd away from the places of perdition.22

Having provided this brief narration of the story of prophet Moses (‘a), we have to stop here, since the goal is not to narrate his biography but to deal with his prophetic mission as conveyed by himself and his brother Aaron and the supplication whereby they both invoked the Almighty. Also, this book is becoming increasingly larger and larger, and not many publishers will be able to afford the expense of publishing it...

Abu Umer Muhammad (S) al-Faryani quotes a series of narrators that ends with Ibn ‘Abbas‎ saying,”The Messenger of Allah (S) has said, ‘When Moses (‘a) was given the Tablets, he looked at them and said: ‘Lord! You have granted me a grace which You have not granted any other among all people.’ This is what is meant by the verse saying,

‘He said: O Moses! Surely I have chosen you above the people with My messages and with My words, therefore take hold of what I give you and be one of the grateful ones’ (Qur’an, 7:144),

that is, strongly, diligently, and consistently do so, and you shall love Muhammad (S), My peace and blessings with him and his progeny.” Moses (‘a) said, ‘Lord! Who is Muhammad (S)?’ He said, ‘He is Ahmed whose name I have inscribed on My Throne two thousand years before I created the heavens and the earth. He is My prophet, the one I have chosen for Myself, and the very best of all of My creation. He is dearer to Me than all My creation and angels.’ Moses (‘a) said, ‘Lord! If Muhammad (S) is dearer to You than all your creation, then have You created a nation more gracious in Your regard than mine?’ Allah (SwT) Almighty said, ‘The favor of the nation of Muhammad (S) over all other nations is like My favor over all My creation.’

He said, ‘Lord! How I wish to see him and them!’ He said, ‘O Moses (‘a)! You shall not see them, but if you desire to hear their speech, I shall let you hear it.’ He said, ‘Lord! I do wish to hear their speech!’ The Almighty said, ‘O nation of Muhammad (S)!’ The Messenger continued,”It was then that we responded to His call from the loins of our fathers and the wombs of our mothers saying, ‘Labbayka Allah (SwT) omma! Here we are, Lord, ever at Your service, Lord! All Praise is due to You, all bliss, and all authority! Yours, they are; there is no partner unto You in Your domain!’ Whereupon Allah (SwT) Almighty said, ‘O nation of Muhammad (S)! My mercy has preceded My wrath, and My forgiveness has preceded My punishment!

I have granted you even before you ask Me, and I have answered you even before you call on Me, and I have forgiven you even before you transgress: whoever comes on the Day of Judgment bearing witness that There is no god except Allah (SwT), and that Muhammad (S) is My servant and messenger, shall enter Paradise even if his sins were as many as the sea’s meerschaum.’” This is a reference to the verse saying,

“And you were not on the western side (of Mount Sinai) when We revealed to Moses the commandment, and you were not among the witnesses” (Qur’an, 28:44)

and also,

“… and you were not on the side of the mountain (of Sinai) when We called” (Qur’an, 28:46).

Demise of Moses (‘a)

Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (‘a) was asked by one of his disciples about how Moses (‘a) died. This is what the Imam said:

When the time for his departure drew nigh, when his term came to an end, and when his life was to terminate, the angel of death came to him and said,”Assalamo Alaikom, O one who spoke to Allah (SwT)!” Moses (‘a) said,”Alakomis-Salam; who are you?”“I am the angel of death,” came the answer. Moses (‘a) asked him,”What brought you here?” The angel said,”I have come to take your soul away.” Moses (‘a) asked him,”Where are you going to take it out from?”

The angel said,”From your mouth.” Moses (‘a) said,”How so since I spoke from it to my Lord, the Great One, the most Exalted One?” The angel said,”Then from your hands.” Moses (‘a) said,”How so since with them did I carry the Torah?” The angel said,”Then from your feet.” Moses (‘a) said,”How so since they trod Mount Sinai?”“Then from your eyes,” said the angel. Moses (‘a) said,”How so since they have always been looking to my Lord with hope?”

The angel said,”Then from your ears.” Moses (‘a) said,”How so since through them did I hear the words of my Lord, the Great, the most Exalted One?” It was then that Allah (SwT) inspired to the angel of death saying,”Do not take his soul away till he is the one who asks you to do so.” Moses (‘a) remained in this world for some time thereafter. He then called on Joshua son of Nun, his wasi, and asked him to keep the news of his death to himself. He also told him who he should choose as his own wasi after him. Then Moses (‘a) disappeared from his people. He happened once to pass by a man digging a grave.”Shall I help you dig this grave?” Moses (‘a) asked him.

The man responded in the affirmative. Moses (‘a) helped him dig it till the work was completed. Moses (‘a) lied down in it to see how it felt to be inside a grave. It was then that the veil was removed from his eyes, and he saw his place in Paradise.”Lord!”, said Moses (‘a),”Do take my soul away to You!” The angel of death took his soul right there and then and buried him in that same grave, healing the soil on him. The man whom Moses (‘a) had helped dig the grave was the same angel of death who had assumed a human form. On his death, a voice coming from heavens was heard saying,”Moses (‘a) has died! Who does not?!”23

Moses (‘a) was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. He is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an by name as many as one hundred and thirty-six times. It is narrated that Joshua (Yousha’) son of Nun, his wasi, saw Moses (‘a) once in a vision after he had died and asked him,”O prophet of Allah (SwT)! How did you find death?”“It is like the skinning of a she-camel while it is still alive,” said Moses (‘a).

Supplication By Prophet Moses (‘A)

The following quotations are excerpted from the Holy Qur’an:

Moses said to his people: O my people! Remember the favor of Allah on you when He raised prophets from among you and made you kings and gave you what He had not given any other nation of the world. O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and do not turn your backs, for you will then turn back losers. They said: O Moses! Surely there is a strong race in it, and we will on no account enter it until they get out of it; so, if they get out of it, surely we will then enter. Two men of those who feared, on both of whom Allah had bestowed a favor, said: Enter on them by the gate, for once you have entered, you shall surely be victorious, and on Allah should you rely if you are believers (in Him). They said: O Moses! We shall never enter it so long as they are in it; go therefore you and your Lord and you both fight; surely we will sit down here. He said: Lord! Surely I have no control (over any) but my own self and my brother; therefore, make a separation between us and the nation of transgressors. He said: So shall it be forbidden to them for forty years. They shall wander about in the land; therefore, do not grieve for the nation of transgressors. (Qur’an, 5:20-26)

[Moses said:] O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the fire? You call on me that I should disbelieve in Allah and associate with Him that of which I have no knowledge, while I call you to the Almighty, the Most Forgiving? (Qur’an, 40:41-42)

And when Moses came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: Lord! Show me (Yourself), so that I may look at You. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me, but look at the mountain; if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain, He made it crumble and Moses fell down in a swoon; when he recovered, he said: Glory to You! I turn to You, and I am the first of the believers. (Qur’an, 7:143)

Moses (‘a) has also said, as the Holy Qur’an records,

Lord! Surely You have given Pharaoh and his chiefs finery and riches in the life of this world, to this end, Lord, so that they may lead (people) astray from Your way. Lord! Destroy their riches and harden their hearts so that they may not believe until they see the painful punishment. He said: The prayer of you both has indeed been accepted; therefore, continue in the right way and do not follow the path of those who do not know. (Qur’an, 10:88-89)

The Messenger of Allah (S) asked his companions once,”Shall I inform you of the words which Moses (‘a) spoke when he crossed the sea with the Children of Israel?” They said,”O Messenger of Allah (S)! Please do!” He said,”Say: Lord! All Praise is due to You; to You is our complaint, and from You do we seek help, and on You do we rely. There is no power nor might except in Allah (SwT), the Exalted, the Great.”

  • 1. al-Tusi, Amali, p. 103.
  • 2. Ibid., Vol. 13, p. 75.
  • 3. Ibid.., Vol. 13, p. 15.
  • 4. Ibid.., Vol. 13, p. 55.
  • 5. Ibid., pp. 7-8.
  • 6. This Pharaoh was Seti I, also known as Sethos I. He ruled from 1310 to 1304 B.C.
  • 7. The other three are: Hud (‘a), Salih, and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah with them all.
  • 8. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 13, p. 21.
  • 9. For a description of this Sirat, that is, as-Sirat al-Mustaqeem, refer to pp. 105 - 112 of my book Fast of the Month of Ramadan: Philosophy and Ahkam. More details are provided in the Glossary at the end of my most recently published book titled Kerbala and Beyond: An Epic of Immortal Heroism (U.S. edition published by AuthorHouse of Indiana, U.S.A.). Still more details will be included in my next book, Volume One of my Dictionary of Islamic Terms which will Insha-Allah soon be published in the U.S. Most Muslims do not have a clear and thorough idea about this Sirat although they mention it daily in their prayers and will all have to pass over it, each and every one of them, including prophets and messengers of Allah.
  • 10. al-Saduq‎, Al-Amali, pp. 185-186. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 13, pp. 327-328.
  • 11. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 13, p. 329.
  • 12. Ibid., p. 329.
  • 13. Ibid., pp. 329-330.
  • 14. al-Saduq‎, Al-Amali, pp. 305-306.
  • 15. His full name is: (Prince) Abu Muhammad Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn al-Husain ibn Mahmud ibn al-Rabee’, famous as”Ibn Sinan” al-Khafaji al-Halabi (of Aleppo where he is buried) (d. 466 A.H./1074 A.D.). He was appointed wali (provincial governor) of Qal’at I’zaz by Mahmoud ibn Salih. He was a famous poet who tried to emulate al-Sharif al-Radi, the man who is credited with the compilation of Nahjul Balagha. Hundreds of lines of his poetry are compiled in Vol. 8 of A’yan al-Shi’ah. Ibn Sinan was a scholar, a theologian, a traditionist whose knowledge was so vast, he was called during his time”al-Majlisi II”. He was also a philosopher who contemplated on morals and wisdom. He is author of more than fifty-two books (many of which are still in manuscript form), including his Diwan of poetry and Sirr al-Fasaha (secrets of oratory) which deals with literary criticism. He once started writing a book after the evening prayers and finished it by midnight…
  • 16. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 13, p. 331.
  • 17. This is an idiom meaning:”Do not follow your own whims and desires, and do not yield to temptation.”
  • 18. When Prophet Muhammad (S) brought the message of Islam, his folks, the tribesmen of Quraysh, were most antagonistic towards him. Non-Arabs have responded to the Islamic message better than the Arabs. Nowadays, Arab governments are among the most bitter enemies of the Islamic message, and Arab rulers are among the worst hypocrites.
  • 19. This statement is truly awesome. One sin can dynamite all what one built through good deeds. It is much easier and faster to demolish than to build. Reflect on this statement, dear reader, and be on your guard, perhaps Allah will have mercy on you and not cause your feet to slip away from His path.
  • 20. al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 13, pp. 332-338.
  • 21. Ibid., Vol. 13, p. 61.
  • 22. Ibid., Vol. 13, p. 49.
  • 23. Ibid., Vol. 13, pp. 365-366.