“When he saw a fire and said to his family, “Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.” (20:10)
With this beautiful ayah, Allah (SWT) begins to narrate the story of Musa (AS). The story begins when Musa (AS) was travelling with his family. During this long journey, they got lost and as darkness was approaching, they did not know which direction to take next. It was at this point when Musa (AS) saw a fire in the distance and told his family to stay put. He uses the imperative verb ‘imkothoo’ which is derived from the word “mukuth” meaning to be relaxed. This shows us that the Qur’an does not encourage the father to put any unnecessary pressure on his family when he is with them, as well as away from them. Musa (AS) cared about his family’s safety, but was not overpowering and oppressing. As a result, he had a good level of control and trust from his family and gave them a sense of calmness and security.
Another great example of trust and understanding can be taken from the example of Prophet (SAW) and Khadijah (RA). He used to seclude himself for worship and Khadijah (RA) trusted him and understood that he needed time in seclusion.
“Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance.: (20:14)
As Musa (AS) approaches the fire, Allah (SWT) instructs him to remove his sandals and listen to what will be revealed to him. He is friendly with Musa (AS) but also shows his authority. In the above ayah. the Divine is speaking to him (AS) and introduces Himself personally with His name, “Allah”, one of the most intimate moments.
Musa (AS) is told about Allah (SWT)’s expectations from him. It also serves as an important lesson for each and every one of us. We were created for Allah (SWT). He (SWT) is the reason we exist. Allah tells him to “establish salaah” for his “dikr”. Here, the word “dikr” has three meanings:
- ensure Allah’s reputation is known
- mention Him
- truly remember Him
“Indeed, the Hour is coming – I almost conceal it – so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.” (20:15)
Allah (SWT) says in this ayah “Indeed, the Hour is coming”. He (SWT) wants us to prepare for it – by striving. Striving to please Allah (SWT). Striving to live the life that He (SWT) wants from us. Every time we check the time for prayer, we are preparing ourselves for the final hour.
“And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?” (20:17)
In the Arabic language, the noun demonstrative (this/that) in a question is always masculine, i.e. dhalika (that) as the noun is unknown. However, when it is known, it is matched with the noun. In this case, Musa (AS)’s staff (the object that Allah is asking him about) is a feminine noun and the gender of the demonstrative pronoun in this question matches the noun. This confirms that Allah (SWT) already knew what was in Musa (AS)’s hand but still asks him… to calm him down and give him an opportunity to speak about his staff.
“[Allah] said, “Throw it down, O Moses. So he threw it down, and thereupon it was a snake, moving swiftly.” (20:19-20)
“[Allah] said, “Seize it and fear not; We will return it to its former condition.” (20:21)
Musa (AS)’s staff turns into a snake and Allah (SWT) tells him to grab it, a live and terrifying snake. Then on top of all that he (AS is being told to not be afraid. Not only does Musa (AS) have to have to conquer his fear and approach this terrifying creature, he has to remove his fear of the snake from his heart. He is, in essence, being trained to deal with a bigger snake, Fir’oun. Musa (AS) is being trained to have complete trust in Allah and have the conviction that His creation cannot do anything without His will.
“[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance]” (20:25)
Now Musa (AS) had been told what he had to do – go to the court of Fir’oun, the tyrant of Egypt.
Musa (AS) asks Allah (SWT) to expand his breast. There are several meanings of this. Firstly, Musa (AS) is asking Allah (SWT) to give him courage and steadfastness, as he knows that this is what he needs to face Fir’oun. Secondly, Musa (AS) is asking Allah (SWT) to bring him (AS) closer to Him (SWT). This is a good reminder for us. We will productive members of the Muslim community when we do something with passion. We need to carve out a path and Allah (SWT) takes care of the rest. He “opens our chests”. We are asking for confidence from Allah (SWT).
“And appoint for me a minister from my family.” (20:29)
Now Musa (AS) asks for help from Allah (SWT) – to give him his brother so that he has his support during his mission. The Arabic word “wazeer” has a deeper meaning than simply “helper” or “assistant”. It means the one who shares a burden, a pillar of support and also a place of refuge.
“[Saying], ‘Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.’ And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.” (20:39)
One of the miracles of the Qu’ran is how the narrative can change so seamlessly without the reader or the listener ever noticing. So for example in one ayah we could be in one scene of the story, and in the next we could be in a completely different one. Allah (SWT) had responded to the dua of Musa (AS) and had given him everything he had asked for. This shows the love that He (SWT) has for Musa (AS). He then switched to show another example of His love.
Musa (AS) was ordered to be thrown into the river by his mum. He then faced Fir’oun, but Allah put love in his heart towards Musa (AS) and consoled his mother that he was in safe hands. Only because He (SWT) loved Musa to such a great extent.
To be continued in the coming months, inshaAllah…