Home Messengers The Prophet Mousa bin Imran (Moses) (a.s.)

The Prophet Mousa bin Imran (Moses) (a.s.)

He is Mousa (Moses) son of: Imran, Yasshor, Qahith, and his descent ends to Yaqoob (Jacob) son of Ishaq (Isaac), son of Ibrahim (a.s.).

His brother is Haroun (a.s.) whom Allah  has sent as a support and to assist Mousa (a.s.) when He wanted to send him to Pharaohto communicate to him the mission of Allah just as the Holy Koran said “And give to me an aide from my family: Haroun, my brother…” (20: 29-30)


The enslavement of the Children of Israel:

During the period between the era of Yusuf and the Kings of the 18th Dynasty, the numbers of the children of Israel had started to multiply. As a result, Ramsis II, the first king of the 18th Dynasty, feared that they (the children of Israel) could be an aid to the enemies of Egypt, so he employed them in servitude to weaken their strength, and went far in dispersing them sects and parties.

In addition, he began to kill the newborn Israelis fearing that the termination of their rule could be at the hands of one of their newborns as some of the Egyptian priests have claimed. Furthermore death had befallen on the elderly as a result of the hard labor that they were forced to do. Faced by the danger of the “extinction” of their slaves, the Pharaoh ordered that the boys be killed a year and be spared another so as not all the children of Israel perish.

Haroun was born in the year in which the boys are spared, on the other hand, Mousa was born in the year in which the boys were slaughtered, and his mother had to keep his birth a secret.

Mousa stayed in his mother’s bosom for a while, and when she feared that her secret might be disclosed, she put him in a box and painted the box with tar, and then threw it into the Nile River.

Allah calmed her down and brought good news to her that He will bring him back to her and make him a prophet. The box fell in the hands of the Pharaoh family, and when they opened it, and the Pharaoh’s wife saw the boy Allah threw love for him in her heart. She interfered upon Pharaoh hoping he would spare him, perhaps he can be a delight of the eye for both of them, and that they can adopt him as a son after they have been deprived from this blessing. Indeed, Pharaoh consented to her request whereby Mousa escaped a definite doom.

Mousa in Pharaoh’s palace:

Mousa’s mother sent his sister in his trace. When his sister told her mother about what had happened to her brother , she was worried and scared and almost disclosed her secret had it not been for Allah Who strengthened her heart.

Taking the opportunity of Mousa’s refusal of all wet nurses, his sister offered to bring them one, and thus, she brought him back to his mother who was so happy, and Mousa rushed upon his mother’s breast. His mother realized that the promise of Allah is true, in this context Allah  said: “And the heart of Mousa's mother was free (from anxiety) she would have almost 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 refused 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?” (28:10-13)

Mousa became a youth in Pharaoh’s palace. He had a strong build and he did not forget that he was one of the children of Israel, the oppressed people. So, he sought to soothe the pains of his people and to push Pharaoh’s evil away from them.

Mousa sneaked out of the palace and he found two men fighting each other; one is an Israeli and the other from al-Aqbat. The Israeli called for his help, and Mousa backed him up and struck his foe with his fist and killed him. Mousa regretted his deed and regarded that as a work of Satan. He asked Allah for forgiveness and supplicated to Him to forgive him and not to make him a helper for the oppressors. Allah  consented his supplication “And he went into the city at a time of unvigilance on the part of its people, so he found therein two men fighting, one being of his party and the other of his foes, and he who was of his party cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies, so Mousa struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of the Shaitan's doing; surely he is an enemy, openly leading astray. He said: My Lord! surely I have done harm to myself, so do Thou protect me. So He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. He said: My Lord! because Thou have bestowed a favor on me, I shall never be a backer of the guilty.” (28:15-17)

Apparently, the Israeli whom Mousa had helped was a quarrelsome figure . As Mousa went out the second day, fearing and awaiting, he found the man who asked his assistance the day before fighting with another person (of Pharaoh’s people). And once again he asked him to back him up but Mousa this time reprimanded him and interfered to disengage them. The Israeli feared that Mousa wanted to kill him and accused him that he wanted to be a tyrant “O Mousa! do you intend to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You desire nothing but that you should be a tyrant in the land, and you do not desire to be of those who act aright.” (28:19)

Mousa became unmasked and people conspired against him and went looking for him. But, a man loyal to Mousa heard the news and came to Mousa to warn him of the people’s plot against him and advised him to leave Egypt. Mousa accepted his advice and fled the city while supplicating to Allah  to save him from the oppressors: “And a man came running from the remotest part of the city. He said: O Mousa! surely the chiefs are consulting together to slay you, therefore depart (at once); surely I am of those who wish well to you.” (28:20)

Mousa’s escape and marriage:

After numerous hardships, Mousa managed to escape and reached the land of Madyan. He was tired, hungry, and thirsty, so, he headed for the town’s water and found a large crowd jostling among themselves. Near the crowd were two girls curbing their sheep lest they come close to the water. Mousa went to them and asked them about their story, and they told him that they could not let the sheep drink from the water except when the strong shepherds take away their sheep “They said: We cannot water until the shepherds take away (their sheep) from the water, and our father is a very old man.”(28:23) This prompted zeal in Mousa’s soul. So he watered the sheep for them without anyone daring to stop him due to his strength and courage. Then he went to rest under the shade after a long trip full of all the troubles and hardships, while, at the same time, thanking Allah for all the good He had bestowed upon him. Little time has passed when one of the two girls came to him “walking bashfully” and asked him to come with her to their home because her father (Shouaib) wanted to reward him for the watering of their flock.

Mousa went with her and told Shouaib his story and the hardships he had faced “he said: Fear not, you are secure from the unjust people.” (28:25) Mousa’s personality that is distinguished with nobility and courage brought forth the admiration of the father and his two daughters “Said one of them: O my father! employ him, surely the best of those that you can employ is the strong man, the faithful one.” (28:26) Thus, the father asked Mousa to serve him and shepherd his flocks for eight years in return for Mousa getting married to one of his daughters, and if Mousa would add two more years would then be of his free will “He said: I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you should serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will,” (28:27) Mousa agreed on the proposal on the condition that he has the right of option on which term he would serve.

Mousa’s prophesy:

Mousa completed the years that he and Shouaib agreed on and headed down south until he reached the Sinai Mountain and there he lost his way. In the midst of this confusion, he saw a fire and wanted to get a brand from it. As he approached the fire he heard a divine call “Surely I am your Lord, therefore put off your shoes; surely you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa” (20:12) Allah chose Mousa for prophecy and backed him up with the miracles: the staff that moved as if it were a serpent, and the hand that will come forth white without evil “He said: Cast it down, O Mousa! So he cast it down; and lo! it was a serpent running. He said: Take hold of it and fear not; We will restore it to its former state: And press your hand to your side, it shall come out white without evil: another sign.” (20:19-23) Allah  commanded Mousa to go to Pharaoh to communicate to him the mission because Pharaoh has reached a highest degree of tyranny and oppression and to cope with him requires courage and strength.

Mousa asked Allah  to back him up with his brother Haroun “He said: O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, And make my affair easy to me, And loose the knot from my tongue (That) they may understand my word.” (20:25-28)

Mousa and his brother went to Pharaoh, after Allah  gave them assurances, to call with leniency for the worship of Allah “Go both to Pharaoh, surely he has become inordinate; Then speak to him a gentle word haply he may mind or fear.” (20:42-44) Also, tell Pharaoh that he is a servant and not the higher god as he was claiming “So go you both to him and say: Surely we are two messengers of your Lord” (20:47) and that he does not have the right to capture the children of Israel.

Pharaoh was surprised by Mousa’s words, his former fosterling, and started to talk about his favors having raised him in his house and therefore he should be loyal to him “(Pharaoh) said: Did we not bring you up as a child among us, and you tarried among us for (many) years of your life?” (26:18) He also reminded him about the incident when he killed one of Pharaoh’s people and that he deserved death for that.

An argument about deity:

Pharaoh stood weak before Mousa’s arguments particularly those regarding Mousa’s call for one God. “Pharaoh said: And what is the Lord of the worlds?” (26:23) then Mousa replied “The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, if you would be sure.” (26: 24) “He said: Your Lord and the Lord of your fathers of old.” (26:26) “He said: The Lord of the east and the west and what is between them, if you understand.” (26:28)

Pharaoh did not assent to Mousa’s call, so, Mousa and Haroun warned him that if he does not believe in it then torment would afflict whoever rejects it “Surely it has been revealed to us that the chastisement will surely come upon him who rejects and turns back. (Pharaoh) said: And who is your Lord, O Mousa? He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal). He said: Then what is the state of the former generations? He said: The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a book, my Lord errs not, nor does He forget; Who made the earth for you an expanse and made for you therein paths and sent down water from the cloud; then thereby We have brought forth many species of various herbs. Eat and pasture your cattle; most surely there are signs in this for those endowed with understanding.” (20:48-54)

Pharaoh felt he was in real trouble towards Mousa and his own people, so he tried to get rid of him by misleading his people and entrapping them in a state of inadvertence so that their confidence in him would not shake. He commanded his minister “Haman” to build a high palace for him “And Pharaoh said: O chiefs! I do not know of any god for you besides myself; therefore kindle a fire for me, O Haman, for brick, then prepare for me a lofty building so that I may obtain knowledge of Mousa's god, and most surely I think him to be one of the liars.” (28:38)

The argument between Mousa and Pharaoh progressed as Pharaoh asked Mousa to provide a proof that his claims were true. So, Mousa cast his staff, which turned into a serpent, and he entered his hand into the opening of his bosom, and it came forth white without evil. Yet Pharaoh did not believe and accused Mousa of lying and witchcraft. He was about to kill him but the nobles of his people advised him to bring the magicians to contest Mousa. As the magicians came, they asked Pharaoh to make them close to him in case they defeat Mousa and Pharaoh promised to fulfill their demands. After deliberation among the magicians they asked Mousa to either cast what he has or they start casting “They said: O Mousa! will you cast, or shall we be the first to cast? He said: Cast. So when they cast, they deceived the people's eyes and frightened them, and they produced a mighty enchantment.” (7:115-116) And Mousa cast his staff and it turned into a serpent that devoured their tricks and lies.

Pharaoh knew for certain that he was powerless before Mousa, so he tried to justify his failure by accusing the magicians of collusion with Mousa being their chief magician. He also reprimanded them for believing in Mousa without his permission claiming, by this, that he has the power to control their feelings and sentiments “(Pharaoh) said: You believe in him before I give you leave; most surely he is the chief of you who taught you enchantment, therefore I will certainly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will certainly crucify you on the trunks of the palm trees, and certainly you will come to know which of us is the more severe and the more abiding in chastising.” (20:71) But the truth was that the magicians, knowing that they are the most knowledgeable in their art, had totally believed, with no retreat, in Allah and asked Him to strengthen their faith and not to make them die but on Islam “Surely we believe in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and the magic to which you compelled us; and Allah is better and more abiding.” (20:73)

As a result of his nobles’ incitement ,Pharaoh started harassing Mousa and his followers and began killing of the children of Israel and enslaving their women. The children of Israel were unable to bear with Pharaoh, so they complained to Mousa “Mousa said to his people: Ask help from Allah and be patient; surely the land is Allah's; He causes such of His servants to inherit it as He pleases, and the end is for those who guard (against evil).” (7:128)

Pharaoh was not content with all the aggravation against Mousa and his followers and he even thought to get rid of him lest Mousa will allure Pharaoh’s people away from their religion “And Pharaoh said: Let me alone that I may slay Mousa and let him call upon his Lord; surely I fear that he will change your religion or that he will make mischief to appear in the land.” (40:26)

As Pharaoh and his people were exchanging opinions, a believer of Pharaoh’s people, out of chivalry, stood by Mousa and defended him after he clarified to them the truth of his mission “And a believing man of Pharaoh's people who hid his faith said: What! will you slay a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and indeed he has brought to you clear arguments from your Lord? And if he be a liar, on him will be his lie, and if he be truthful, there will befall you some of that which he threatens you (with); surely Allah does not guide him who is extravagant, a liar: O my people! yours is the kingdom this day, being masters in the land, but who will help us against the punishment of Allah if it come to us? Pharaoh said: I do not show you aught but that which I see (myself), and I do not make you follow any but the right way.” (40:28-29)

The divine punishment to Pharaoh:

Despite all the calls and advises that were given to Pharaoh, he insisted stubbornly that he was the supreme god and that he was more deserving to be followed than Mousa. Mousa, according to him, did not possess the personality that qualifies him for leadership. Pharaoh and his people met the favors of Allah with denial and disbelief. Thus, Mousa invoked Allah  to befall misfortune upon them and to increase the sternness of their hearts. So, Allah fulfilled Mousa’s invocation and punished Pharaoh and his people with barrenness, drought, and a shortage in fruits so that they would feel the weakness before Allah’s might and power. But when Allah bestowed upon them good things so they said, “this is due to us” while referring drought to Mousa “And certainly We overtook Pharaoh's people with droughts and diminution of fruits that they may be mindful. But when good befell them they said: This is due to us; and when evil afflicted them, they attributed it to the ill-luck of Mousa and those with him; surely their evil fortune is only from Allah but most of them do not know.” (7:130-131).

The reason for this objection is due to Pharaoh’s nature that is deep-rooted in evil and that refused the submission to the clear divine signs despite the calamities and setbacks his people were afflicted with. Every time a torment came upon them they went to Mousa “And they said: Whatever sign you may bring to us to charm us with it-- we will not believe in you. Therefore We sent upon them widespread death, and the locusts and the lice and the frog and the blood, clear signs; but they behaved haughtily and they were a guilty people. And when the plague fell upon them, they said: O Mousa! pray for us to your Lord as He has promised with you, if you remove the plague from us, we will certainly believe in you and we will certainly send away with you the children of Israel. But when We removed the plague from them till a term which they should attain lo! they broke (the promise).” (7:132-135)

As Pharaoh and his people went deep into disbelief and stubbornness, the divine command came to Mousa to leave Egypt. So, he moved to Palestine along with his people and Pharaoh knew about their departure. Pharaoh gathered his armies from all the provinces to pursuit them.

Mousa’s people were frightened of this pursuit, but Mousa calmed them down and relied on Allah  Who showed him the right path and revealed to him “Strike the sea with your staff. So it had cloven asunder, and each part was like a huge mound.” (26:26) Mousa and his people got away while Pharaoh and his soldiers drowned. As he was drowning amid the waves, Pharaoh announced his surrender and his Islam, but that was too late “And We made the children of Israel to pass through the sea, then Pharaoh and his hosts followed them for oppression and tyranny; until when drowning overtook him, he said: I believe that there is no god but He in Whom the children of Israel believe and I am of those who submit. What! now! and indeed you disobeyed before and you were of the mischief-makers.” (10:90-91)

Mousa vs. the children of Israel:

The children of Israel were close to Mousa whom Allah  backed him with enough miracles that salvaged them from the torment they endured from Pharaoh and his people. Yet the children of Israel, who domiciled themselves on idolatry for a long time, did not learn a lesson from Mousa’s miracles. As soon as Mousa made his people cross the sea, they asked him to bring them an idol to worship it, and Mousa reproached them for their ignorance “And We made the children of Israel to pass the sea; then they came upon a people who kept to the worship of their idols They said: O Mousa! make for us a god as they have (their) gods He said: Surely you are a people acting ignorantly: (As to) these, surely that about which they are shall be brought to naught and that which they do is vain. He said: What! shall I seek for you a god other than Allah while He has made you excel (all) created things?” (7:138-140)

After this long tiresome journey, the children of Israel arrived at the eastern coast tired, exhausted, and hungry. So they complained to Mousa whom Allah  told to “Strike the rock with your staff, so out flowed from it twelve springs” and thus every tribe had its own drinking fountain. Allah  also cast shadow over them while marching in Sinai where there was no water, plants, or a place to lodge at “and We made the clouds to give shade over them”. As for food, Allah  brought down “manna and quails: Eat of the good things We have given you.”. But the children of Israel instead of thanking Allah for all the graves He bestowed upon them, they were ungrateful “And they did not do Us any harm, but they did injustice to their own souls.” (7:160).

In Egypt, Mousa had told the children of Israel that Allah  will destroy Pharaoh and that He will bring down upon them a book that includes the commands and prohibitions that they should follow. Thus, after Allah  destroyed Pharaoh, He commanded Mousa to come near the mountain and stay for thirty days fasting and worshiping Allah. As soon as Mousa completed the specified period, Allah also commanded him to stay for ten more days to complete his worship “And We appointed with Mousa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more), so the appointed time of his Lord was complete forty nights”. During this period Mousa appointed his brother Haroun to succeed him in looking after his people “and Mousa said to his brother Haroun: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.” (7:142)

Mousa devoted himself totally to worship Allah, and thus acquired a rank never achieved before. And because of his longing he wanted Allah  to reveal Himself so that Mousa could see Him. However, Allah replied to Mousa that he couldn’t see Him because this is beyond one’s ability. It is something that even mountains cannot bear to. “And when Mousa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. 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.” And Allah, after clarifying to Mousa that he couldn’t bear what he was going to see, manifested to the mountain and the mountain was crumbled and leveled to the ground and Mousa fell unconscious and horrified “but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Mousa fell down in a swoon”. When Mousa recovered consciousness, he turned to Allahin repentance and admitted that he is the first believer in his time “then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers.” (7:143) Then Allah picked Mousa out for His mission and commanded him to tell his people to adopt it and not disobey it, lest torment befalls upon them.

The children of Israel (worshiping the calf):

The children of Israel did not believe in Mousa because idolatry was deep-rooted in their souls due to their long accompaniment with the Pharaohs. One of its manifestations was the worshiping of the calf which was exploited by a Samiri who claimed that he was the god of the children of Israel and Mousa as well.

Haroun, who was appointed by his brother to stay with the children of Israel during his absence, told the people that the Samiri had tempted them away from their religion but they insisted on worshiping the calf until Mousa came back. “He said: So surely We have tried your people after you, and the Samiri has led them astray. So Mousa returned to his people wrathful, sorrowing. Said he: O my people! did not your Lord promise you a goodly promise: did then the time seem long to you, or did you wish that displeasure from your Lord should be due to you, so that you broke (your) promise to me? They said: We did not break (our) promise to you of our own accord, but we were made to bear the burdens of the ornaments of the people, then we made a casting of them, and thus did the Samiri suggest.” (20:85-87) When Mousa asked his people about their breaching they attributed that to the Samiri who lured them to collect all the gold they have and throw it into the fire He made a statue for a calf from this gold and led them to believe that it is the god they should worship.

Mousa then went to his brother and blamed him for not following him after seeing his people worship the calf “He said: O son of my mother! seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You have caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my word.” (20:94) Haroun replied that his stay was for fear that division my fall among the children of Israel “They said: We will by no means cease to keep to its worship until Mousa returns to us. (Mousa) said: O Haroun! what prevented you, when you saw them going astray, So that you did not follow me? Did you then disobey my order?” (20:91-93)

By a command from Allah, Mousa punished the Samiri . Then Mousa took the calf and burned it. The children of Israel regretted their sins and asked Allah  for forgiveness. But Allah revealed to Mousa that their repentance could not be without killing themselves (meaning by ridding themselves of desires and purifying them from sins). For this, Mousa chose a team from his people to offer obedience to Allah and to regret their sins. Then a thunder struck them and killed them but Allah resurrected them after Mousa implored earnestly to Allah and solicited forgiveness to them.

Mousa did not spare an effort to guide his people. However, in view of their insistence and stubbornness he threatened to raise a mountain over them “And when We took a promise from you and lifted the mountain over you: Take hold of the law (Tawrat) We have given you with firmness and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard (against evil). Then you turned back after that; so were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers.” (2:63-64).

Mousa versus the righteous servant:

Mousa had claimed that he is more knowledgeable than others when one of his companions asked him about who is the most knowledgeable. Allah  blamed Mousa for this claim and told him that there is a righteous servant who knows more and Mousa asked Allah to let him meet this person. Allah fulfilled his request and made him meet this person “Mousa said to him: Shall I follow you on condition that you should teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught?” (18:66) The righteous person allowed Mousa to accompany him but told him “Surely you cannot have patience with me. And how can you have patience in that of which you have not got a comprehensive knowledge?” (18: 67-68) But Mousa told him that he would be patient “He said: If Allah pleases, you will find me patient and I shall not disobey you in any matter.” (18:69) And the righteous person told him not to ask him about anything if he wanted to follow him “He said: If you would follow me, then do not question me about anything until I myself speak to you about it.” (18:70)

After this, the journey (of practical testing of the prophet Mousa) began “So they went (their way) until when they embarked in the boat he made a hole in it.” Mousa turned to the righteous person because he figured he was trying to sink its people “(Mousa) said: Have you made a hole in it to drown its inmates? Certainly you have done a grievous thing.” (18:71) But the righteous person reminded him of their agreement “He said: Did I not say that you will not be able to have patience with me?” (18:72). Here Mousa remembered that he violated what he had taken upon himself to stay silent and be patient and said to the righteous person “He said: Blame me not for what I forgot, and do not constrain me to a difficult thing in my affair.” (18:73)

The second test came and it was more astonishing than the first because it involved killing of an innocent person “So they went on until, when they met a boy, he slew him. (Mousa) said: Have you slain an innocent person otherwise than for manslaughter? Certainly you have done an evil thing.” (18:74) The righteous person replied calmly to remind Mousa of the promise he undertook “He said: Did I not say to you that you will not be able to have patience with me?” (18: 75) Mousa felt embarrassed and again asked to excuse him “If I ask you about anything after this, keep me not in your company; indeed you shall have (then) found an excuse in my case.” (18:76)

And the third test came as they arrived in a village and they were hungry but the people of the village refused to host them. as they were in this situation “So they went on until when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them as guests. Then they found in it a wall which was on the point of falling, so he put it into a right state. (Mousa) said: If you had pleased, you might certainly have taken a recompense for it. “ (18: 77) At this point the righteous person ran out of patience and Mousa could not provide an excuse to go on with him “He said: This shall be separation between me and you; now I will inform you of the significance of that with which you could not have patience.” (18:78)

Indeed, the righteous person answered all the question marks that were drawn in Mousa’s imagination “As for the boat, it belonged to (some) poor men who worked on the river and I wished that I should damage it, and there was behind them a king who seized every boat by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should make disobedience and ingratitude to come upon them: So we desired that their Lord might give them in his place one better than him in purity and nearer to having compassion. And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure belonging to them, and their father was a righteous man; so your Lord desired that they should attain their maturity and take out their treasure, a mercy from your Lord, and I did not do it of my own accord. This is the significance of that with which you could not have patience.” (18:79-82)