Inspite of all pre-cautions taken, Prophet Musa (Moses) was born to an attendant of Pharoah himself, who was known as Imran. When Moses was born, Quran says: Allah revealed it to his mother to put him into a wooden box and cast it into the river (Taha, 20:38-39).
When the box was cast into the river, Musa’s sister followed it along the shore. When Pharoah’s own wife picked up the box and seemed to love the child, the sister came forward like a stranger and said: shall 1 search out a good wet-nurse for the child so that she may rear the child. She agreed and the sister brought the mother and she openly fed the child (Taha, 20:40).
Musa thus grew up in the house of Pharoah himself. One day Musa went to the Israili Colony and saw all the oppressions under which the Bani Israil laboured. He saw an Egyptian smiting an Israili, so he struck the Egyptian with a blow and the Egyptian died (Swad, 38:4o). He then fled out of Egypt and went to the land of the Midianites. The Midianite Chief Prophet Shoaib welcomed Musa and married one of his daughters to him (Qasas, 28:28).
After living there for several years with his father-in-law, Musa left Midian with his family. In the valley of “Tuwa” underneath the famous mountain of Syria called the “Tur” he saw the Fire at some distance, and when he went nearer, Allah the Almighty addressed him saying: 0 Musa, verily I am God, the Lord of the worlds (Qasas, 28:30). I have designated thee for Myself (for sevice). Go thou and thy brother with My Signs, and slacken not, either of you, in keeping Me in remembrance. Go both of you to Pharoah, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds (Taha. 20:41-45).
As to the Signs, Quran tells us that Allah asked Musa to cast his staff. When he saw it in motion as if it were a serpent, he turned away retreating, and looked not back. Allah said: 0 Musa, come forward and fear not; surely thou art of those who are secure. Allah also asked Musa to insert his hand under his armpit; it came forth white (shining), without disease. Allah said: remain calm in fear. These are the two Signs from thy Lord to Pharoah, and his chiefs. (Qasas, 28:31-32). Musa said: my Lord. I killed one of them, so I fear lest they slay me. And my brother, Haroon (Aaron), he is more eloquent in speech than I, so send him with me as a helper to confirm me. Surely I fear that they would reject me (Qasas, 28:33-34).
Allah said: We will strengthen thine hand with thy brother, and We will give you both an authority so that they shall not reach you. With Our Signs, you two and those who follow you will triumph (Qasas 28:35).
But speak to him mildly per chance he may mind or fear (Taha, 20:44). So they went to him and said: surely we are two Messengers of God: so send forth the children of Israel with us: and torment them not. Indeed we have brought to thee a Message from thy Lord, and peace to him who follows the guidance. It has indeed been revealed to us that punishment will overtake him who rejects and turns away (Taha, 20:47-48).
Pharoah said: who is your Lord? Musa said: our Lord is He who gives to everything its creation, then guides it. What is then the state of the former generation? said Pharoah. Musa said: the Knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a Book; my Lord neither errs nor forgets. He made the earth for you an expanse and made for you therein paths and sent down water from the clouds. Then thereby We bring forth pairs of various herbs. Eat and pasture your cattle. Surely there are signs in this for men of understanding (Taha, 20:49-^4).
Allah says: and truly We showed him all Our Signs but he (i.e. Pharoah) rejected and refused. He said: have you come to us to turn us out of our land by the enchantment, O Musa? We too can bring to thee enchantment like it, so make an appointment between us and thee which we break not—neither we nor thou, in a central place (Taha, 20:56-58).
Musa said: your appointment is the day of the Festival, and let the people be gathered in the early forenoon (Taha, 20:59).
When they all gathered, the enchanters said: O Musa, will you cast, or shall we be the first to cast down? Musa said: nay, cast you down first. Then lo! Their cords and their rods—it appeared to him by their enchantment as if they were running (like snakes) (Taha, 20:65-66).
Musa conceived fear in his mind. God said: fear not, surely thou art the upper-most. And cast down what is in thy right hand— it will eat up what they have wrought. What they have wrought is only the trick of an enchanter, and the enchanter succeeds not wheresoever he comes from (Taha, 20:67-69).
So the enchanters fell down prostrate, saying: we believe in the Lord of Haroon and Musa (Taha, 20:70).
Pharoah said (to the enchanters): you believe in him (i.e. Moses) before I give you leave. Surely he is your chief who taught you enchantment. So I shall cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides and I shall crucify you on the trunks of palm trees, and you shall certainly know which of us can give the severer and the more abiding chastisement (Taha, 20:71).
They said: we cannot prefer thee to what has come to us of clear arguments and to Him Who made us, so decide as thou wilt decide. Thou can only decide about this world’s life. Surely we believe in our Lord that He may forgive us our faults and the magic to which thou did compel us. And Allah is Best and Ever-Abiding (Taha, 20: 72-73). Whose comes guilty to his Lord, for him is surely Hell. He will neither die therein, nor live. And whose comas to Him a believer, having done good deeds, for them are high ranks, Gardens of perpetuity, wherein flow rivers, to abide therein. And such is the reward for him who purifies himself (Taha, 20:74-76).
Pharoah and his people, however, continued to inflict all possible torture to the followers of Musa. As a punishment they were firstly subjected to droughts and diminution of fruits. But when they did not repent and refused to accept any sign that Musa could bring to them, they were further subjected to wide spread deaths, and the locust, and the lice, and the frogs, and the blood. Although these were clear signs, but they still behaved haughtily and they were a guilty people. When plague fell upon them. they said: 0 Musa! pray for us to thy Lord as He has promised with thee. If thou remove the plague from us, we will certainly believe in thee and will let the children of Israil go with thee. But when the plague was removed, they broke their promise (Aaraf, 7: 127-135).
After some time Musa was commanded to leave Egypt with his people by night. They were to cross the Red Sea into the Sinai Peninsula. They were told to have no fear of the sea or the unknown desert-country of Sinai into which they were going. They crossed dry-shod, while Pharoah came in persuit with his troops. Musa then, as Commanded by Allah, struck the sea with his staff and the sea split into wide passage for Musa and his followers to cross and they passed through safely. Following them when Pharoah and his troops come into the sea, the water covered them and they were all drowned (Shu’ara, 26:66). When drowning overtook them. Pharoah said: I believe that there is no god but He in whom the children 01″ Bani Israel believe, and I am of those who submit. Allah said: What! Now! and indeed before this thou did not obey and thou were of the mischief-makers. But this day We shall preserve thee in thy body so that there may be a sign to those after thee. And surely most of the people are heedless of Our Signs (Yunus, 10:90-92). Thus Pharoah and his followers reached their pitiable end. Quran says, “how many the gardens and springs they left behind, and cornfields and noble palaces, and goodly things wherein they rejoiced. Thus (it was). And We made other people inherit them. So the heaven and the earth wept not for them, nor were they respited” (Dukhan, 44:25-29).
So far we have seen what Pharoah and his people did to Musa and Bani Israil as well as the enchanters who accepted the faith in Musa. We have also seen that in this struggle the enemies of Allah i.e. Pharoah and his followers were ultimately defeated and destroyed once for all, and Musa and Bani Israil were saved, and Musa succeeded in bringing Bani Israil out of the Egyptian territories to the Sinai Peninsula. Henceforth we will see how Bani Israil themselves behaved towards Musa—their saviour and benefactor.
After the rescue from Pharoah. Musa and Bani Israil came to Sinai. When Bani Israil mixed up there with the idolaters, they also forgot the One God of Musa and said: O Musa, make for us a god as they have. Musa said to them: Surely you are a people without knowledge. Shall I sheek for you a god other than Allah, while He had made you excel (all) created things? and has rescued you from Pharoah’s people who afflicted you with the worst of penalties, killed your male children, and spared your women, and in that there was great trial from your Lord (Aaraf, 7:138-141).
Then Musa was called to Mount Sinai, and forty days were fixed for his stay over there during which he fasted and prayed. While leaving for the Mount, Musa left the Bani Israil in Sinai and appointed his brother Haroon to act for him in his absence, asking him to act rightly and not to follow the mischief-makers (Aaraf, 7:142).
When Musa went to Mount Sinai at the appointed time, and Allah spoke to him, he said: My Lord, show me (Thyself) so that I may look at Thee. Allah said: thou cannot see Me but look towards the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will thou see Me. So when his Lord manifested His Glory to the mountain. He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon. When he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee! I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers (Aaraf, 7:143).
Allah said: 0 Musa, surely I have chosen thee above the people for My Messages and My Words. So take hold of what I give thee and be of the grateful. And We ordained for him in the Tablets injunctions of every kind and clear exposition of all things. So take hold of them with firmness and enjoin thy people to take hold of what is best thereof.
I shall show you the abode of the transgressors (Aaraf, 7:144-145).
Thus the Law of Lord was given to Musa written on the Tablets. It was the First Law of ‘Shariat’ for the mankind. It contained, as the Law of Shariat does, the matters absolutely prohibited, matters not prohibited but disapproved, matters about which there was no prohibition or injunction but conduct was to be regulated by circumstances, matters of positive and universal duty, matters recommended for those whose zeal was sufficient to enable them to work on higher than minimum standards, and matters which were sought by persons of the highest spiritual eminence. (Yusuf Ali, V.I, Note 1107).
While Musa was busy at Mount Sinai, the Bani Israil made an image of a calf out of their ornaments and took it for worship (Aaraf, 7:148). The man who prepared the calf, as Quran tells us, was Samri (Taha, 20:85-87). He was an Egyptian from the people who worshipped the cow. Prophet Haroon objected to the calf—worship and said: O my people, you are only tried by it, and surely your Lord is the Beneficent God, so follow me and obey my order (Taha, 20:99). But they said: we shall not cease to keep to its worship until Musa returns to us (Taha, 20:91).
When Musa returned, he was angry and grieved, and said: evil is that which you have done after me. Did you hasten on the Judgment of your Lord? And he threw down the Tablets and seized his brother Haroon by his beard, dragging him towards him (Aaraf 7:150), and said: 0 Haroon, what prevented thee, when thou saw them going astray, that thou dist not follow me? Have you then disobeyed my order? (Taha, 20:92-93). Haroon said: O son of my mother, the people reckoned me weak and had well nigh slain me. So make not the enemies laugh at me and count me not among the unjust people (Aaraf, 7:150). And, surely I was afraid lest thou should say: “you have caused division among the children of Israil and not waited for my word” (Taha. 20:94). Musa prayed: my Lord, forgive me and my brother, and admit us to Thy Mercy and Thou art the most Merciful of those who show mercy (Aaraf, 7:151).
Musa then turned to Samri and, after knowing from him how he had made the calf, said to him: begone then. It is for thee in this life to say, “touch me not”, and for thee is a promise (of penalty in the future) which shall not fail, and look at thy god to whose worship you had kept. We will burn it and scatter it in the sea (Taha, 20:96-97).
Then Musa said to his people: O my people, you have indeed wronged yourselves by your worshipping of the calf, so return in repentance to your Maker, and slay yourselves the wrong doers,
that will be for your good in the sight of your Maker. Then Allah turned towards them in forgiveness (Baqara, 2:54). Thus they were forgiven once again.
When Musa’s anger calmed down, he took up the Tablets and in the writing thereof there was guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord (Aaraf, 7:154).
The Bani Israil, however, said: O Musa, we shall not believe in thee until we see God manifestly (Baqara, 2:55). Musa chose seventy of their elders and took them to Mount Sinai and left them at a distance to watch silently when God spoke to Musa. There they were overtaken with violent quaking. Musa prayed to God: My Lord, if Thou were pleased, Thou would have destroyed them before and myself (too). Wilt Thou destroy us for that which the foolish among us have done (i.e. calf worship)? It is not but Thy trial. Thou causes to perish thereby whom Thou pleasest and guidest whom Thou pleasest. Thou art our Protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us, and Thou art the Best who forgives. And ordain for us good in this world’s life and in the Hereafter, for surely we turn to Thee. Allah said: I afflict with My chastisement whom I please, and My Mercy encompasses all things. So I ordain it for those who keep their duty and pay the poor-rate, and those who believe in Our Messages (Aaraf, 7:156). God accepted the prayer of Musa and the people taken by the quaking were saved. Allah said: We raised you up after your stupur so that you might give thanks (Baqara, 2:56).
During the days when the Bani Israil enjoyed the Divine Pleasure, side by side with the need for shelter and food, there was also the necessity of water. Since there was no water in the Sinai desert where the Bani Israil had settled, Musa prayed fur water for his people. Allah said: strike the rock with thy staff. Then twelve springs gushed out of the rock—one for each of the twelve tribes of Bani Israil. Then Allah said: eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah and do no evil nor mischief on earth (Baqara, 2:60).
But the Bani Israil said: 0 Musa we cannot endure one food, so pray thy Lord on our behalf to bring forth for us out of what the earth grows, of its herbs and its cucumbers, and its garlic, and its lentils and its onions. Musa said: would you exchange that which is better for that which is worse? Enter the city so that you will have what you ask for (Baqara, 2:61).
When Musa said to his people: Surely Allah commands you to sacrifice a cow, they said: dost thou ridicule us? He said: I seek refuge with Allah from being one of the ignorant. They said: call on thy Lord for our safle to make it plain to us what she is. (Musa) said: He says: surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young—of middle age between these (two) ; so do what you are commanded. They said: call on thy Lord for our sake to make if: clear to us what her colour is. (Musa) said: He says: she is a yellow cow; her colour is intensely yellow delighting the beholders. They said: call on thy Lord for our sake to make it clear to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah pleases, we shall surely be guided aright. (Musa) side: He says: she is a cow not made submissive to plough the land, nor does she water the tilth, sound without a blemish in her. They said: now thou hast brought the truth. So they slaughtered her, though they had not the mind to do (it) (Baqara, 2:67-71).
Musa said to Bani Israil: O my people, enter the Holy Land (i.e. Baitul Maqdis) which Allah has ordained for you and turn not your backs for then you will turn back losers. They said: O Musa, therein are a powerful people, and we shall not enter it until they go out from it; if they go out from it, then surely we will enter. Two men of those who feared, (and on whom Allah had bestowed a favour, said: enter upon them by the gate, for when you enter it, you will surely be the victorious; and put your trust in Allah, if you are believers. They said: O Musa, we will never enter it so long as they arc in it, go therefore thou and thy Lord. and fight; surely here we sit. Musa said: My Lord, I have control of none but my own self and my brother; so distinguish between us and the transgressing people. Allah said: it (i.e. the Holy Land) will surely be forbidden to them for forty years. They will winder about in the land. So grieve not for the transgressing people (Maida, 5-: 21-26).
Musa. during his life time, also met the famous personality of the human kind namely the Khizr (Khidr), the symbol of knowledge and guidance. For this purpose under the Command of God, Musa undertook the journey to Khartum situated at the junction of the two great branches of the Nile River near the northern border of Ethiopia. Quran speaks of this journey and the gain of knowledge by Musa from Khizr in a bit detail in verses 60 to 82 of Chapter 18. During this journey Musa’s pupil Joshua (Yusha), the son of Nun, was also with him. Josua afterwards appears very prominent in the history of Bani Israil.
Thereafter, according to Qasasul Ambia, first Haroon died, and after him Musa also passed away at the age of 150 years. Musa served his people for about 40 years. Before his death Musa made Joshua son of Nun as his successor amongst the Bani Israil. Joshua was in fact the son of Musa’s sister Mariyam and was made Prophet after Musa.