Moses (pbuh) is well-known in modern society as a religious figure within the Abrahamic faiths. Likewise, his story is detailed within the Quran bearing similarities, yet with a few differences and new information. This piece dives into the Quran to see what Allah says about his messenger.
The Quran relives Moses’ early life to showcase his morals and how mindful he was of Allah even before obtaining prophethood.
The Mother of Moses
The Quran venerates parents and tells the believers to respect them.
“And We have commanded people to ‘honour’ their parents. Their mothers bore them through hardship upon hardship, and their weaning takes two years. So be grateful to Me and your parents. To Me is the final return.”(Quran 31:14)
The story of Moses starts with the experience of his mother and how it inevitably shaped the course of his life.The setting is in Egypt, at a time when the Children of Israel were suffering at the hands of the Pharaoh. Pharaoh tyranny is pointed out multiple times in the Quran.
“Indeed, Pharaoh [arrogantly] elevated himself in the land and divided its people into [subservient] groups, one of which he persecuted, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women. He was truly one of the corruptors.” [28:4](Quran 28:4)
During this time, Pharaoh was killing the newborn sons of the Children of Israel. Since the mother of Moses was of them, in her mind it was inevitable that her son would experience the same fate. Until Allah inspired her to commit an action many mothers would find hard to do.
“We inspired the mother of Moses: “Nurse him, but when you fear for him, put him then into the river, and do not fear or grieve. We will certainly return him to you, and make him one of the messengers.””(Quran 28:7)
The mother of Moses, with this inspiration, placed him into the river and let the currents carry him until the wife of the Pharaoh found him. To protect him from the Pharaoh, he was sent to him!
“And it so happened that Pharaoh’s people picked him up, only to become their enemy and source of grief. Surely Pharaoh, Hamân, and their soldiers were sinful. Pharaoh’s wife said [to him], “This baby is a source of joy for me and you. Do not kill him. Perhaps he may be useful to us or we may adopt him as a son.” They were unaware [of what was to come].”(Quran 28:8-9)
Pharaoh’s wife feeling sympathy for the child wanted to adopt him. The Pharaoh ended up complying, but Moses’ mother was at a loss at losing her child. Allah strengthened her heart so that she did not reveal the truth.
“And the heart of Moses’ mother ached so much that she almost gave away his identity, had We not reassured her heart in order for her to have faith [in Allah’s promise].”(Quran 28:10)
Allah returned Moses to his mother by preventing him from drinking milk from anyone else but her, thus fulfilling his promise. Showing that if one puts trust in Allah, he will deliver.
“And We had caused him to refuse all wet-nurses at first, so his sister suggested, “Shall I direct you to a family who will bring him up for you and take good care of him?” This is how We returned him to his mother so that her heart would be put at ease, and not grieve, and that she would know that Allah’s promise is [always] true. But most people do not know.”(Quran 28:12-13)
The Accidental Killing
After his nursing period, Moses was raised in the household of the tyrant that was inflicting harm to his people. Now as an adult, Moses went to visit the city and arrived at a conflict. He found one of his people from Children of Israel, fighting with one of Pharaoh’s kin. Out of anger and to protect the one from his tribe, he threw a punch at the other, which accidentally killed the man.
“So Moses struck and killed him. He said: “This is of Satan’s doing; he is a manifest misleading enemy.” He said: “My Lord! I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him; He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. He said: “My Lord! Forasmuch as You have favored me, I will nevermore be a supporter of the guilty.””(Quran 28:15-17)
Moses, realizing what he had done, immediately asks Allah for forgiveness and repents. Moses does not blame himself, but blames Satan as he is always trying to mislead mankind. The next morning the same man he helped asked him for assistance again. Moses understandably displayed displeasure, but went to help him again. When Moses went to punch the man’s enemy, the man thought that Moses was going to punch him due to the displeasure shown from before.
“When he was to assault the man who was an enemy to them both, he said: “O Moses! Is it your intention to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? Your intention is none other than to become a powerful tyrant in the land, and not to be one of the reformers.””(Quran 28:19)
This led to the man revealing that Moses had killed Pharoah’s kin and everyone else heard. Now, since the secret came out, news spread of Moses’ crime, and the hunt for his body began. A warner comes and advises Moses to leave the city, lest he be punished at the hands of the Pharaoh. With this warning, Moses leaves and heads towards Midian and asks Allah for guidance, turning to Allah in his time of need.
“When he turned his face toward Midian, he said: ‘May my Lord guide me to the right way.’”(Quran 28:22)
Moses, in his escape, comes across two women having trouble getting water to their flocks. He decides to help them out of goodwill.
“When he came to the water of Midian he found at it a group of people watering [their flocks], and he found apart from them two women keeping back [their flocks]; he said: ‘What is the matter with you?’ They said: ‘We cannot water [our flocks] till the shepherds return from the water, and our father is a very old man.'”(Quran 28:23)
After fulfilling this kind gesture, he asks Allah for help. as he does not have shelter or food.
“So he watered [their flocks] for them; then he turned aside into the shade, and said: ‘My Lord! I stand in need of whatever good You would send down to me.’“(Quran 28:24)
With the grace of Allah, one of the women he helped brings him back to her house at the command of her father. Her father hires him for eight years in return for shelter from Pharaoh. He also gives his daughter’s hand in marriage, as he sees that Moses is trustworthy.
“He said: ‘I would like to marry you to one of my two daughters and in return you hire yourself to me for eight years, and it is up to you if would make it ten, for I do not want to make it hard for you; Allah willing, you will find me one of the righteous.‘”(Quran 28:27)
Allah reveals in the Quran, Moses’ early life to show how mindful his servant is of him in every situation. His mother also kept her faith in a circumstance that is difficult for any parent. Having trust and faith in Allah are attributes the Quran encourages mankind to establish in their day-to-day activities.
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