قَالَ قَدْ أُوتِيتَ سُؤْلَكَ يَامُوسَى (طه: 36).
وَلَقَدْ مَنَنَّا عَلَيْكَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى (طه: 37).
إِذْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى أُمِّكَ مَا يُوحَى (طه: 38).
أَنْ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِي وَعَدُوٌّ لَهُ وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِنِّي وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَى عَيْنِي (طه: 39).
إِذْ تَمْشِي أُخْتُكَ فَتَقُولُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى مَنْ يَكْفُلُهُ فَرَجَعْنَاكَ إِلَى أُمِّكَ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلاَ تَحْزَنَ وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنْ الْغَمِّ وَفَتَنَّاكَ فُتُونًا فَلَبِثْتَ سِنِينَ فِي أَهْلِ مَدْيَنَ ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَى قَدَرٍ يَامُوسَى (طه: 40).
وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي (طه: 41).
اذْهَبْ أَنْتَ وَأَخُوكَ بِآيَاتِي وَلاَ تَنِيَا فِي ذِكْرِي (طه: 42).
اذْهَبَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ إِنَّهُ طَغَى (طه: 43).
فَقُولاَ لَهُ قَوْلاً لَيِّنًا لَعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى (طه: 44).
قَالاَ رَبَّنَا إِنَّنَا نَخَافُ أَنْ يَفْرُطَ عَلَيْنَا أَوْ أَنْ يَطْغَى (طه: 45).
قَالَ لاَ تَخَافَا إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَى (طه: 46).
فَأْتِيَاهُ فَقُولاَ إِنَّا رَسُولاَ رَبِّكَ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلاَ تُعَذِّبْهُمْ قَدْ جِئْنَاكَ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَى مَنْ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى (طه: 47).
إِنَّا قَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْنَا أَنَّ الْعَذَابَ عَلَى مَنْ كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّى (طه: 48).
قَالَ فَمَنْ رَبُّكُمَا يَامُوسَى (طه: 49).
قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَى كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَى (طه: 50).
قَالَ فَمَا بَالُ الْقُرُونِ الأُولَى (طه: 51).
قَالَ عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي فِي كِتَابٍ لاَ يَضِلُّ رَبِّي وَلاَ يَنسَى (طه: 52).
الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمْ الأَرْضَ مَهْدًا وَسَلَكَ لَكُمْ فِيهَا سُبُلاً وَأَنزَلَ مِنْ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْ نَبَاتٍ شَتَّى (طه: 53).
كُلُوا وَارْعَوْا أَنْعَامَكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لآياتٍ ِلأَوْلِي النُّهَى (طه: 54).
مِنْهَا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ وَفِيهَا نُعِيدُكُمْ وَمِنْهَا نُخْرِجُكُمْ تَارَةً أُخْرَى (طه: 55).
وَلَقَدْ أَرَيْنَاهُ آيَاتِنَا كُلَّهَا فَكَذَّبَ وَأَبَى (طه: 56).
قَالَ أَجِئْتَنَا لِتُخْرِجَنَا مِنْ أَرْضِنَا بِسِحْرِكَ يَامُوسَى (طه: 57).
فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّكَ بِسِحْرٍ مِثْلِهِ فَاجْعَلْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكَ مَوْعِدًا لاَ نُخْلِفُهُ نَحْنُ وَلاَ أَنْتَ مَكَانًا سُوًى (طه: 58).
قَالَ مَوْعِدُكُمْ يَوْمُ الزِّينَةِ وَأَنْ يُحْشَرَ النَّاسُ ضُحًى (طه: 59).
فَتَوَلَّى فِرْعَوْنُ فَجَمَعَ كَيْدَهُ ثُمَّ أَتَى (طه: 60).
قَالَ لَهُمْ مُوسَى وَيْلَكُمْ لاَ تَفْتَرُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ كَذِبًا فَيُسْحِتَكُمْ بِعَذَابٍ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ افْتَرَى (طه: 61).
فَتَنَازَعُوا أَمْرَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّجْوَى (طه: 62).
قَالُوا إِنْ هَذَانِ لَسَاحِرَانِ يُرِيدَانِ أَنْ يُخْرِجَاكُمْ مِنْ أَرْضِكُمْ بِسِحْرِهِمَا وَيَذْهَبَا بِطَرِيقَتِكُمْ الْمُثْلَى (طه: 63).
فَأَجْمِعُوا كَيْدَكُمْ ثُمَّ ائْتُوا صَفًّا وَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْيَوْمَ مَنْ اسْتَعْلَى (طه: 64).
قَالُوا يَامُوسَى إِمَّا أَنْ تُلْقِيَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ نَكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَلْقَى (طه: 65).
قَالَ بَلْ أَلْقُوا فَإِذَا حِبَالُهُمْ وَعِصِيُّهُمْ يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَى (طه: 66).
فَأَوْجَسَ فِي نَفْسِهِ خِيفَةً مُوسَى (طه: 67).
قُلْنَا لاَ تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الأَعْلَى (طه: 68).
وَأَلْقِ مَا فِي يَمِينِكَ تَلْقَفْ مَا صَنَعُوا إِنَّمَا صَنَعُوا كَيْدُ سَاحِرٍ وَلاَ يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ أَتَى (طه: 69).
فَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سُجَّدًا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ هَارُونَ وَمُوسَى (طه: 70).
قَالَ آمَنْتُمْ لَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ آذَنَ لَكُمْ إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمْ الَّذِي عَلَّمَكُمْ السِّحْرَ فَلَأُقَطِّعَنَّ أَيْدِيَكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ مِنْ خِلاَفٍ وَلَأُصَلِّبَنَّكُمْ فِي جُذُوعِ النَّخْلِ وَلَتَعْلَمُنَّ أَيُّنَا أَشَدُّ عَذَابًا وَأَبْقَى (طه: 71).
قَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْثِرَكَ عَلَى مَا جَاءَنَا مِنْ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالَّذِي فَطَرَنَا فَاقْضِ مَا أَنْتَ قَاضٍ إِنَّمَا تَقْضِي هَذِهِ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا (طه: 72).
إِنَّا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّنَا لِيَغْفِرَ لَنَا خَطَايَانَا وَمَا أَكْرَهْتَنَا عَلَيْهِ مِنْ السِّحْرِ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى (طه: 73).
إِنَّهُ مَنْ يَأْتِ رَبَّهُ مُجْرِمًا فَإِنَّ لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ لاَ يَمُوتُ فِيهَا وَلاَ يَحْيَا (طه: 74).
وَمَنْ يَأْتِهِ مُؤْمِنًا قَدْ عَمِلَ الصَّالِحَاتِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ لَهُمْ الدَّرَجَاتُ الْعُلاَ (طه: 75).
جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ مَنْ تَزَكَّى (طه: 76).
وَلَقَدْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي فَاضْرِبْ لَهُمْ طَرِيقًا فِي الْبَحْرِ يَبَسًا لاَ تَخَافُ دَرَكًا وَلاَ تَخْشَى (طه: 77).
فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ فَغَشِيَهُمْ مِنْ الْيَمِّ مَا غَشِيَهُمْ (طه: 78).
وَأَضَلَّ فِرْعَوْنُ قَوْمَهُ وَمَا هَدَى (طه: 79).
يَابَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ قَدْ أَنجَيْنَاكُمْ مِنْ عَدُوِّكُمْ وَوَاعَدْنَاكُمْ جَانِبَ الطُّورِ الأَيْمَنَ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمْ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى (طه: 80).
SURAH TA HA AYAH NO 36 TO 80
(20:36) He said: “Moses, your petition is granted.
(20:37) We have again bestowed Our favor upon you.
17. Allah recounts the favors He had shown to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) since his birth in order to impress upon him the fact that he had been brought up under divine care right from his birth for the purpose of appointing him as a Messenger. Here mere references
have been made but in Surah Al-Qasas details of the favors have been given.
(20:38) Recall, when We indicated to your mother through inspiration:
(20:39) ‘Put the baby into a chest and then throw him in the river. The river will throw him up on the shore, and then an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his will take him.’ And I spread My love over you in that you might be reared in My sight.
(20:40) Recall, when your sister went along, saying: ‘Shall I direct you to one who will take charge of him?’ Thus We brought you back to your mother so that her heart might be gladdened and she might not grieve. Moses, recall when you slew a person. We delivered you from distress and made you go through several trials. Then you stayed for several years among the people of Midian, and now you have come at the right moment as ordained.
(20:41) I have chosen you for My service
(20:42) So go forth, both you and your brother, with My Signs, and do not slacken in remembering Me.
(20:43) Go both of you to Pharaoh, for he has transgressed all bounds,
(20:44) and speak to him gently, perhaps he may take heed or fear (Allah).”18
18. The only two ways of bringing a man to the right way are: (1) To convince him by argument and admonition, or (2) To warn him of the consequences of deviation.
(20:45) The two said:”!8 Lord! We fear he may commit excesses against us or transgress all bounds.”
18a. It appears that they implored Allah thus before going before Pharaoh when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had reached Egypt and Aaron had joined him in the propagation of the mission.
(20:46) He said: “Have no fear I am with you, hearing and seeing all.
(20:47) So, go to him, and say: ‘Behold, both of us are the Messengers of your Lord. Let the Children of Israel go with us, and do not chastise them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord, and peace shall be for him who follows the true guidance.
(20:48) It has been revealed to us that chastisement awaits those who called the lie to the truth and turned away from it.’ 19
19. A comparative study of this incident as given in the Bible and the Talmud will show that the Quran does not copy the stories from these books, but gives its own version in order to portray the Messengers in their true glory and dignity. According to the Bible, when God said to Moses (peace be upon him) that He would send him to Pharaoh, Moses (peace be upon him) replied: Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3: 11). God persuaded and encouraged Moses (peace be upon him) by giving him signs but he was still reluctant and said: O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. (Exodus 4: 13). And the Talmud goes even further than this and says that there was an argument between God and Moses (peace be upon him) for seven days that he should become a Prophet but Moses (peace be upon him) did not accept the offer. At this, God was angry with him and so made his brother Aaron (peace be upon him) a partner in his Prophethood. Moreover, He deprived the descendants of Moses (peace be upon him) of the office of the priesthood and bestowed it on the descendants of Aaron (peace be upon him). These two versions depict Allah to be suffering from human weaknesses and Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) from an inferiority complex.
20. Here the details have been omitted. These have been given in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats: 103-108); (Surah Ash- Shuara, Ayats 10-33); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayats 28-40); (Surah An-Naziat Ayats 15-25) . As regards to the necessary information about Pharaoh, see (E.N. 85 of Surah Al-Aaraf).
21. Pharaoh addressed Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) because he was, in regard to Prophethood, the senior of the two. It is also possible that he deliberately addressed him in order to exploit his impediment in speech, and ignored Prophet Aaron (peace be upon him), who was more fluent.
As regards to the implication of this question of Pharaoh, he meant to say: You say that you have brought a message from my Lord to me. Who is that Lord? You should know that I am the Lord of Egypt and the people of Egypt. In regards to this claim of his, see (Surah An- Naziat, Ayat 24); (Surah Az-Zukhruf, Ayat 51); (Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 38) and (Surah Ash- Shuara, Ayat 29).
It may also be noted that by this claim Pharaoh did not mean to say that he was the sole deity of his people nor did it mean that none other was worshiped in Egypt. As a matter of fact, he himself based his right of sovereignty on his claim of being the incarnation of the sun god. And we also learn from the history of Egypt that there were many other gods and goddesses. In fact, what he claimed was that he was politically the Lord of not only Egypt but also of the whole of mankind theoretically. Therefore, he would not acknowledge that there was any supreme sovereign over him whose delegate might bring order to him and demand its obedience from him.
(20:50) He said: “Our Lord is He 22 Who gave everything its form and then guided it.”23
22. That is, we acknowledge Him alone as our Lord in every sense. He is our Sustainer, our Maker, our Master, our Sovereign and is Supreme in everything, and there is no other lord in any sense but Him.
23. This concise sentence needs serious attention. It means that it is Allah alone Who has created everything and given it its distinctive structure, form, capabilities, characteristics, etc.
(1) For instance, man has been given the hands and feet which are given the most appropriate structure that was needed for their right functioning.
(2) A human being, an animal, a plant, mineral and the like, air, water and light, everything has been given that particular form which was needed for its right functioning in the universe.
(3) Then He has guided everything aright to function properly. It is He Who has taught everything the way to fulfill that object for which it has been created. He has taught the ear to hear and the eye to see, the fish to swim and the bird to fly; the earth to grow vegetation and the tree to blossom and bear fruit. In short, He is not only the Creator of everything but also its Guide and Teacher.
Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) employed this concise and meaningful sentence to convey the message to Pharaoh and his people. He not only gave a suitable reply to Pharaoh as to who his Lord was, but also told him why He was his Lord, and how there was no other lord but God. The argument implied in it was this: As Pharaoh and every one of his subjects was obliged to Allah for his human form and could not live even for a moment without the functioning of the different parts of his body which were performing their functions in
accordance with the guidance of Allah, so Pharaoh’s claim that he was the lord of the people was absurd, and its acknowledgment by his people that he was their lord, a folly.
Besides this, Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also hinted at the need for Prophethood which was denied by Pharaoh. When Allah guides everything in the universe, He has also to fulfill the need for the guidance of mankind. Whereas the guidance of the animals and birds has been provided by instinct, and the guidance of rational human beings has been provided by sending Messengers who appealed to them by rational arguments.
(20:51) Pharaoh asked: “Then, what is the state of the former generations?
24. The question posed by Pharaoh was very subtle. He meant to say: If there is no other lord than the One Who has given a distinctive form to everyone, then what will be the position of our forefathers who had been worshiping other deities for centuries? Were all those people in error? Did all of them deserve torment? Did they all lack common sense? Thus Pharaoh perhaps wanted to give vent his anger against Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) for showing disrespect to his forefathers. At the same time, he also wanted to incite his courtiers and the common people of Egypt against the message of Prophet Moses
(peace be upon him). And this trick has always been used against the people who propagate the truth and has always proved very effective to incite those people who lack common sense. This same trick has been mentioned here for it was being employed at the very time
against the Prophet (peace be upon him) by the people of Makkah.
(20:52) Moses said: “Its knowledge is with my Lord, recorded in the Book. My Lord does not err, nor does He forget.”25
25. This answer is full of wisdom. If Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had said: Yes, they all lacked common sense and had gone astray and would become the fuel of Hell, this answer, though true, would have served the very purpose Pharaoh had in mind in putting the question. But the answer given by the Prophet was true and it frustrated the trick of Pharaoh as well. His answer was to this effect: Well, those people have now gone before their Lord, and I have no means of judging their deeds and intentions. However, their whole
record is safe and secure with Allah, and nothing can escape Him. Allah alone knows how to deal with them. What concerns you and me is our own position and attitude to life. We should be more concerned about our own end than of those who have already passed away into Allah’s presence.
(20:53) He2 it is Who spread the earth for you, and made in it paths for you, and sent down water from the sky, and then through it, We brought forth many species of diverse plants.
26. It is quite obvious that (Ayats 53-55 )are added by Allah to the foregoing answer by Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). There are other instances of this in the Quran that Allah added a few sentences to the speech of someone by way of admonition. Moreover, it is
connected not only with the preceding verse but also with the whole reply of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). (Ayats 50-52).
(20:54) So eat yourself and pasture your cattle. Surely there are many Signs in this for people of understanding.27
27. That is, those who use their common sense in their search for the truth, find a way to reality by the help of these signs, which clearly show that the universe has One Lord Who alone is sustaining it, and there is no room here for any other lord.
(20:55) From this very earth We created you and to the same earth We shall cause you to return, and from it, We shall bring you forth to life again.28
28. That is, every man has to pass through three stages: (1) From birth to death. (2) From death to Resurrection, and (3) From the Day of Resurrection to Eternity. According to this verse, all three stages will take place on this earth.
(20:56) Indeed We showed Pharaoh Our Signs, all of them, but he declared them to be false and rejected them.
29. “Signs” comprised those arguments which were based on natural phenomena and human life and those miracles which were given to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him).
These arguments are contained in the speeches of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) which he delivered before Pharaoh and the miracles which he showed and are mentioned at several places in the Quran.
(20:57) He said: “Have you come to us to drive us out of our land by your sorcery? 30
30. Here by sorcery are meant the miracles of the staff and the shining hand, which according to the details given in Surahs Al-Aaraf and Ash-Shuara, were shown to Pharaoh by Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) in his first visit to his court. On seeing these miracles Pharaoh was so upset that he cried out: Have you come to drive us out of our country by the power of your sorcery? Although he knew that it had never happened in history that a magician had conquered a country by the power of sorcery. Moreover, there were hundreds of magicians in his own country, who used to show their feats to earn rewards and prizes.
Accordingly, Pharaoh’s statement that “you are a sorcerer” on the one hand, and his apprehension that “you want to snatch my kingdom” on the other, was a clear indication of his perturbed mind. In fact, Pharaoh had come to understand that the well-reasoned speech of Moses and his miracles were bound to influence not only his courtiers but also the
common people, and accordingly he tried to play upon their prejudices through falsehood and treachery. He did not admit that it was a miracle but called it sorcery. He wanted to create an impression that any sorcerer of his empire could turn a staff into a serpent. He also incited the people, saying: Look, he says that your forefathers were on the wrong way and deserved perdition. So beware of him, he is not a Prophet. He simply aspires for power. He wants that the Israelites should again capture power here like in the times of Joseph and wrest the reigns of government from the Copts. Pharaoh, in fact, wanted to suppress the invitation to the truth through such devices. (For details please see (E.Ns 87-89 of Surah Al-Aaraf); (E.N. 75 of Surah Younus).
(20:58) We shall confront you with sorcery like your own. So appoint a day when both of us might meet face to face in an open space; an appointment which neither we nor you shall fail to keep.”
(20:59) Moses said: “The appointment to meet you is on the Day of the Feast and let all people come together before noon.”31
31. The object of Pharaoh was this: Once the sorcerers are able to transform the staffs and ropes into serpents, the entire effect of the miracle performed by Moses (peace be upon him) would disappear from the people’s minds. That was exactly to Moses’ (peace be upon him) advantage, who suggested that it was no good fixing an ordinary day or place for the purpose. The Day of the Feast was at hand. People would flock on that occasion from all comers of the empire. Therefore, the encounter should be held in the open so that all might witness it, and in the daytime so that everyone should be able to see it clearly.
(20:60) Pharaoh went back and concerted all his stratagem and returned for the encounter.32
32. Pharaoh and his courtiers considered the coming encounter as a decisive one as far as their own future was concerned and, therefore, they attached the utmost importance to it.
Courtiers were sent throughout the country to muster around all the magicians wherever available. People were especially encouraged to come in the largest numbers to witness the magic skills so as to keep them immune from the awe inspired by the staff of Moses (peace
be upon him). It was openly said that the fate of their religion hinged on the skill of their magicians. Their religion could survive only if they won, otherwise the religion of Moses (peace be upon him) would have its sway see (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayat 34-51).
Here one should bear in mind the fact that the religion of the royal family and the elite of Egypt was much different from that of the common people. They had separate gods and temples and different creeds and concepts about life after death. They also differed in
the practice of religion as well as in their ideologies. (Toynbee: A Study of History:
Somervell’s Abridgment Vols. I-VI, pp. 31-32). Moreover, there were sufficiently strong pockets of the population, who under the influence of various religious upheavals, were prone to prefer Monotheism to a creed of polytheism. Besides this, there was also a fairly large element of the worshipers of One God for the Israelites and their fellow believers were at least ten percent of the total population. Pharaoh also remembered that about 150 years earlier a religious revolution had been brought about by Pharaoh Amenophis IV or Akhenaton (1377-1360 B.C.) by military force, which had abolished all deities except Aton, a single, universal god, which was worshiped by the king and his family. Though this religious revolution had been reversed later by another king, yet its influence retrained, and Pharaoh dreaded that Moses (peace be upon him) might bring about yet another revolution.
(20:61) (At the time of the encounter) Moses said to them:%3 “Woe to you! Do not invent falsehoods against Allah lest He destroys you with a scourge. Surely those who invent lies shall come to grief.33
33. The adversaries whom Prophet Moses addressed were Pharaoh and his courtiers who had dubbed him as a sorcerer, and not the common people, who had yet to see the encounter between him and the magicians.
34. The invention of the lie was that they had dubbed Allah’s Messenger as a sorcerer and his miracles as a piece of sorcery.
(20:62) Thereupon they wrangled among themselves about the matter and conferred in secret.35
35. This shows that those people felt in their hearts that their position was weak and knew that the miracle shown by Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was not a piece of magic.
Therefore, they had come for the encounter with hesitation and fear. But when the time, sudden warning of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) shook them to the core, they began to debate the wisdom of holding the encounter on the Feast Day in an open place in the broad daylight. For they thought that if they were defeated in the presence of the common people, all would come to know of the difference between magic and a miracle and they would lose the battle once and for all.
(20:63) Some of them said: “These two are magicians, who want to drive you out of your land with their magic and to destroy your excellent way of life.36
36. Those who were of this view must have been a few fanatics of Pharaoh’s party who were prepared to go to any extent to oppose Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). Those people must have been preparing the public for a determined encounter, while the reasonable
people among them must have been advising caution and restraint.
37. Probably those people based their argument on two things:
(1) If their magicians would be able to turn their staffs into serpents, it would be clear proof that Moses (peace be upon him) was a sorcerer.
(2) If, on the other hand, Moses (peace be upon him) won, the rulers would lose their country, and their ideal way of life, which reflected their culture, their arts, their civilization, their recreations, etc. would automatically come to an end. Therefore they should do all they could to defeat Moses (peace be upon him).
(20:64) So muster all your stratagem and come forth in a row.3s Whoever prevails today shall triumph.”
38. They also urged them to present a united front and not to show their differences on the very occasion of the encounter. For, they argued, any hesitation and secret consultation before the very eyes of the public would show that they did not consider themselves to be in
(20:65) The magicians said: “Moses, will you throw down or shall we be the first to throw?39
39. That confidence was subsequently restored among Pharaoh’s party by the speech of the head-strong people, and the magicians were asked to come into the field for the encounter.
(20:66) Moses replied: “No, let it be you to throw first.” Then suddenly it appeared to Moses, owing to their magic, “as if their ropes and staffs were running.
40. In (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 116), it was stated: When they threw down their devices they bewitched the eyes of the people and filled their hearts with terror. Here it is stated that it was not the common people alone who were terrified by their magic but Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) also suffered from its effect. He not only seemed to see that the staff and cords were running about like serpents but he also felt a dread of them.
(20:67) So Moses’ heart was filled with fear.41
41. It appears that no sooner did Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) say: Cast down, the magicians immediately cast their staffs and cords and it seemed as if hundreds of serpents were running towards him, and he instinctively felt a dread of them. And there is nothing
strange in this because a Prophet is after all a human being. Besides this, it is also possible that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) apprehended that the demonstration of the magic might create a misunderstanding among the people about his miracle. This is also proof that a Prophet too can be influenced by magic to a certain extent like the common people, though magicians have no power to produce any effect on his Prophethood or interfere with revelation, or misguide him. Therefore there is no reason why one should consider as false those traditions in which it has been stated that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) suffered temporarily from the effect of magic.
(20:68) We said to him: “Have no fear; for it is you who will prevail.
(20:69) And throw down what is in your right hand; it will swallow up all that they have wrought. They have wrought only a magician’s stratagem.42 A magician cannot come to any good, come whence he may.”
42. This is capable of two interpretations:
(1) The staff, which was turned into a dragon by a miracle, actually swallowed up all the staffs and cords which had been made to appear as serpents.
(2) The dragon of the staff did not actually swallow up the serpents of the magicians but wiped out the effect of their magic from these things and they again became ordinary cords and staffs.
We prefer the second interpretation because the wording of (Surahs Al-Aaraf, Ayat 117) and (Ash-Shuara, Ayat 45) is this: It swallowed up their false magic. And here the wording is: It will swallow up what they have crafted. Obviously, the staffs and cords were not their creation but the magic which had made them appear like serpents.
(20:70) Eventually the magicians were impelled to fall down prostrate® and said: “We believe in the Lord of Moses and Aaron.”43
43. When they saw the power of the staff of Moses (peace be upon him), they involuntarily fell prostrate as if someone had made them do so because they were convinced that it was a miracle and not a feat of magic.
44. This profession of faith by the magicians shows that everyone was aware of the basic object of the encounter. It was not an encounter between the feats of the magicians and those of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), but it was to decide whether the claim of Prophet
Moses (peace be upon him) that he was a Messenger of Allah was true or not. If this staff was actually turned into a dragon, it was by means of a miracle. On the other hand, Pharaoh intended to prove by the feats of his magicians that it was not a miracle but a feat of magic.
Incidentally, this also shows that Pharaoh and his magicians and the common people fully understood the distinction between a miracle and a feat of magic. , That is why when the magicians saw that it was a miracle shown by the power of Allah which had exposed their magic, they did not say that Moses (peace be upon him) was a more skillful magician, but straightway fell prostrate, saying: We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.
It is obvious that the defeat turned the tables on Pharaoh who had himself arranged the encounter to expose Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). He had mustered all his magicians with a view to demonstrating before the public that there was nothing extraordinary in turning a staff into a serpent for this could be done by any magician. But the defeat of the magicians and their acknowledgment testified that Moses (peace be upon him) was really a Messenger of Allah and the transformation of the staff was not a feat of magic but a miracle.
(20:71) Pharaoh said: “What! Did you believe in Him even before I permitted you to do so? Surely, he must be your chief who taught you magic. Now I will certainly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides,45 and will crucify you on the trunks of palm trees,47 and then you will come to know which of us can inflict sterner and more lasting torment.”48
45. In( Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat, 123), it has been stated: Indeed it was a plot you conspired in the city to deprive the rightful owners of their power. Here the same thing has been further explained as if to say: It is not merely a plot between you and him but it appears that Moses is your master and leader. You conspired beforehand that you would be defeated by your master in the encounter to prove that he was a Messenger who had shown the miracle of the staff to frustrate your magic and bring about a political revolution in the country.
46. That is, right hand and left foot or vice versa.
47. This was a very cruel way of punishment in ancient times. They fixed a long pole in the ground or used the trunk of a tree for this purpose. Then a piece of wood was tied across it at the top. Then the hands of the criminal were nailed onto it and he was left hanging there
for hours to die a slow, painful death.
48. This was the last trick played by Pharaoh to win the losing game. He held out the threat of cruel punishment in order to coerce them to admit that there really was a conspiracy between Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and them against the kingdom. But the fortitude and determination of the magicians turned the tables on him. The very fact that they were ready to endure the terrible punishment and proved to the world that they had sincerely believed in the Prophethood of Moses (peace be upon him) and that the charge of
the conspiracy was an impudent trick that had been invented as a device.
(20:72) The magicians answered: “By Him Who has created us, we shall never prefer you to the Truth after manifest Signs have come to us.‘49 So decree whatever you will. Your decree will pertain, at the most, to the present life of the world.
49. It may also be interpreted like this: It cannot be that we should prefer you to these plain signs which have come before us and to that Being Who has created us.
(20:73) We believe in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and also forgive us the practice of magic to which you had compelled us. Allah is the Best and He alone will abide.”
(20:74) The truth is 50 that Hell awaits him who comes to his Lord laden with sin; he shall neither die in it nor live.
50. This is a saying of Allah, which has been added to the foregoing words of the magicians.
51. This is the most terrible of all the punishments that have been mentioned in the Quran. The criminal will prefer death to the horrible life in Hell, but death will not come to him. He will remain in that state of agony without any hope of relief from it.
(20:75) But he who comes to Him with faith and righteous works shall be exalted to high ranks,
(20:76) and shall live forever in everlasting Gardens beneath which rivers flow. Such will be the reward of those who purify themselves.
(20:77) Most certainly We revealed to Moses: “Proceed with My servants in the night and strike for them a dry path in the sea. 52 Have no fear of being overtaken, nor be afraid of treading through the sea.”
52. Here are the details of the events which happened during the long period of the ProphetMoses’ (peace be upon him) stay in Egypt have been omitted. For these please see (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 130-147), (Surah Younus, Ayats 83-92); (Surah Al-Momin, Ayats 23-50) and
(Surah Az-Zukhuruf 46-56).
53. This happened when God at last appointed a night for the exodus of the Israelites and the other Muslims from Egypt. They were asked to gather at a fixed place and set forth as a caravan. Just at the time when they reached the coast of the Red Sea from where they had to cross to the Sinai Peninsula, Pharaoh arrived there with a large army in their pursuit. We learn from (Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 61-63) that when they were literally between the army and the deep sea, Allah commanded Moses (peace be upon him) to smite the sea with his staff and according to this verse the sea split and stood like two high walls on both sides, leaving a dry path between them for the caravan to pass. Thus, it is quite clear and plain that it was a miracle, and not the result of a wind storm or tide, for when the water rises in this way it does not remain standing like two high walls, leaving a dry path between them. (For details see (E.N. 47 of Surah Ash-Shuara).
(20:78) Pharaoh pursued them with his hosts, but they were fully overwhelmed by the sea.54
54. According to( Surah Ash-Shuara, Ayats 64-66), Pharaoh with his hosts followed the caravan on the dry path and they all drowned. In Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 50, it has been stated that the Israelites had reached the other shore and saw them drowning in the sea.
From (Surah Younus, Ayats 90-92), we learn that Pharaoh professed to believe in God while he was drowning but this was rejected by God and he was told that his dead body would he preserved for the coming generations to serve as a lesson for them.
(20:79) Pharaoh led his people astray; he did not guide them aright.
55. This was a subtle warning to the disbelievers of Makkah as if to say: Your chiefs and leaders are leading you in the same way in which Pharaoh led his people. Now you can see yourselves that he did not guide them aright.
In conclusion, it will be worthwhile to consider the version as given in the Bible, for this will make it plain that it is absolutely false and ridiculous to say that the Quran has copied these stories from the Israelite traditions. We learn from Exodus the following:
(1) According to 4: 2-5, the miracle of the staff was given to Prophet Moses, and in 4:17 he was instructed: And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs, but according to 7: 9, the same rod was transferred to Prophet Aaron and then it remained
with him to work miracles.
(2) The first dialogue between Prophet Moses and Pharaoh has been given in Chapter 5, but there is no mention in it which of the doctrine of Tauhid was presented by Moses. In answer to Pharaoh’s question: Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, Moses, and Aaron merely said: The God of the Hebrews hath met with us. (5: 2-3).
(3) The encounter with the magicians has been summed up in a few sentences thus: And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. (7: 8-12).
When we compare this with the version of it in the Quran, it becomes obvious that the description in the Bible lacks the real essence of the whole encounter, for it does not mention that the encounter took place on the Day of the Feast in the open as a result of a regular
challenge, and there is no mention at all that the magicians became believers in the Lord of Moses and Aaron and remained steadfast in their faith even in face of terrible threats.
(4) According to the Quran, Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) demanded full freedom and liberty for the Israelites, but according to the Bible his demand was only this: Let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God. (5:3).
(5) In Chapters 11 to 14, the details of the events concerning the exodus from Egypt to the drowning of Pharaoh have been given. Though these contain some useful information and details about the events which have been briefly described in the Quran, they contain some strange contradictions as well. For instance, in 14:15-16 the staff (rod) again comes into the hands of Prophet Moses, who is commanded: Lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it, and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. But in vv. 21-22, it is said: And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground. And the waters were a wall unto them, on their right hand, and on their left. It is not clear whether the sea was divided by a miracle or by a strong east wind which incidentally has never been known to divide the sea into two parts leaving a dry path between them.
It will also be worthwhile to make a study of these events as given in the Talmud. The Talmudic account differs from the Biblical version but is nearer to the one given in the Quran. A comparative study of the two clearly shows that the one is based on direct revelation from Allah and the other on centuries-old oral traditions which have been handed
down from one generation to the other and thus considerably tampered with. (See H. Polano: The Talmud Selections, pp. 150-154).
(20:80) Children of Israel!5s We saved you from your enemy and made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount%Z 58 and sent down on you manna and quails,56
56. The part of the story relating to their journey from the Red Sea to the foot of Mount Toor has been omitted. This has already been given in (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayats 138-147). It has also been stated there that the Israelites said to Moses: O Moses, make a god for us like the gods these people have. See (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 138 and its E.N. 98).
57. That is, on the eastern side of Toor.
58. According to (Surah Al-Bagarah, Ayat 51) and (Surah Al-Aaraf, Ayat 142), Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and the chiefs of the Israelites were summoned to Mount Toor for receiving the divine commandments on stone tablets for the guidance of the people. See (E.N. 71 of Surah Al-Bagqarah).
59. For details please see (E.N. 73 of Surah Al-Bagarah )and (E.N. 119 of Surah Al-Aaraf). According to the Bible, manna and Salva started being provided to the Israelites when they were passing through the wilderness between Elim and Sinai. According to Exodus, manna
and Salva were sent down thus. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold
upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. (16: 13-15, 31).
In Numbers, the following details have been given:
And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. (11: 8-9).