انا لله وانا اليه راجعون نسألكم الدعاء بالرحمة والمغفرة لوالدة المشرف العام ( أبو سيف ) لوفاتها رحمها الله ... نسأل الله ان يتغمدها بواسع رحمته . اللهم آمـــين


Hor3en For Da`wah In English for those who invite to their Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching

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  #1  
قديم 08-10-2011, 07:51 PM
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افتراضي Story of Musa ( Moses ) PBUH...

 






The Birth and Upbringing of Moses

_____________________________



Prophet moses is a figure of importance in of the Bible as well as the Quran. The Torah is attributed to him by all fundamental Jews, Christians and Muslims, and he is mentioned in each of their scriptures more than any other Prophet in regards to the delivery of the message. The Psalms and Tanakh (Jewish Bible) constantly refer to the debt which the Israelites owe God for their salvation from the Pharaoh, in which moses was instrumental. It was also him through which the Law of God was given to the Children of Israel, a code which they were commanded to abide throughout life.. In the Gospels, Jesus often compares his own authority to that of moses amongst the Jews. The letters of Paul are devoted to demonstrating the replacement of the authority and Law of moses with the authority and Law of Jesus as a means to salvation. In the Quran, it not only mentions the story of moses more than any other prophet’s, but also acknowledges the Torah of moses as the earlier revelation of God, the original of which the Quran confirms and replaces (in its application).

In looking at moses as an exemplary Messenger, Muslims perceive many similarities between him and the Prophet Muhammad, may God praise them both. Both of them were guided to form a strong and abiding nation under God’s authority. Both brought with them God’s Law, albeit in different languages. Both were given their duty as a prophet well into maturity. Both were ordered to migrate for the sake of Allah. One of the major differences, however, is in the characteristics of their respective followers. The children of Israel are so characterized by their obduracy that the prize moses sought (leading his people into Jerusalem, the focal point of worship for the Children of Israel) never materialized in his lifetime. On the other hand, the followers of Muhammad were pliable and eager, so much so that a mere seven years after fleeing Mecca, the focal point of Muslim worship was retaken and made subservient to them.

In this article and the ones following, the story of moses will be told as mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah,[1] along with some discussion on the similarities and differences encountered in the Christian and Judaic traditions.

The story of His Birth and Upbringing
The epoch of the birth of moses was one fraught with severe trials on the children of Israel. The Pharaoh had consulted his seers over a dream that a fire from the north destroyed the property of his Egyptian subjects, sparing the property, however, of the Israeli bondsmen. His seers explained this to be a warning that a leader would arise among the Israelites who would bring him and his nation to ruin. His reaction was to try and prevent this from happening by killing all the male children among the Israeli bondsmen.[2] Some traditions indicate that the Pharaoh was given sincere advice not to carry out this policy completely, as it would result in a loss of man-power. Hence Aaron was born in a year when male children were allowed to live, but moses in a year when all male children were to be killed. The exact truth of this, however, is not known; perhaps the policy of male infanticide was not put into practice until after Aaron’s birth.

Moses’ mother, Jochebed[3], was fortunate in that her pregnancy was not visible until very late, so she was able to conceal his birth. After he was born, she placed him in a padded chest with air-holes and let him down into the reeds on the banks of the Nile when not feeding him,[4] so that any sudden search by the Pharaoh’s police would not discover him. This was in accordance with God’s instructions.

And We inspired the mother of Moses, (saying): ‘Suckle him, but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear nor grieve. Verily! We shall return him to you, and shall make him one of Our Messengers.’” (Quran 28:7)

When he was a little stronger, she was inspired by God to let loose the chest[5], but became so worried concerning what would happen to him, she almost disclosed that she had a son in that chest in an effort to motivate people to observe where he had floated off to. However, she managed to keep everything under cover by dispatching her daughter, Miriam, to secretly seek out what became of him. Miriam witnessed some ladies of the Pharaoh’s court discover the chest and take it into the Pharaoh’s Palace.[6] When the Pharaoh’s wife, Asiyah, opened the chest and saw the baby boy, she said:

“A comfort for the eye for me and you. Don’t kill him; he may be of benefit to us, or we could adopt him as our son.”(Quran 28:9)

As Asiyah was childless, she needed a wet nurse to feed her new-found babe.

According to Judeo-Christian traditions, Miriam witnesses her brother being found by the maids of the Pharaoh’s daughter, Merytamon, who came across moses floating in a basket amongst the reeds while walking with the Princess near the river. The basket was not taken to the palace, but brought to Merytamon there, on the bank. Miriam then took the opportunity to offer to find the baby a wet nurse straight away. This seems a little too obvious a move, one that may have led the Egyptians to suspect the offer. According to Islamic sources, however, there seems to be an interval in which the Pharaoh’s approval was sought.

When Asiyah tried to find a suitable wet nurse among her retainers, however, she discovered that he would not suckle anyone. She sent him with her midwives to the market, seeking help further afield, where his sister spotted him again. It was there that Miriam offered to take them to a trustworthy ‘nursing’ mother.

She said, ‘Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and look after him in a good manner?’” (Quran 28:12)

She brought them to her mother, from whom the baby moses at last suckled with will. On being informed of the matter, Asiyah asked Jochebed to lodge with her. She refused, but agreed to foster the baby in her home for a wage, as was the custom of that day.[7] Thus did God…

“…restore him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted and she might not grieve, and that she would know the promise[8] of God to be true.” (Quran 28:13)

When the moses was weaned, he went back to Asiyah in the Pharaoh’s palace, and was thus brought up as a member of the court with all the privileges that it implied. His supposed foster relations with the Israelites made him sympathetic to them and also, reciprocally, encouraged them to trust him, so, as he grew up and reached puberty, they were inclined to seek his help when in need. This is what catalyzed the next step in the mission of moses when he reached adulthood, as will be narrated in the next article.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] The words, actions and tacit approvals of the Prophet Muhammad as reported by his companions

[2] Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A. Azimi; Pub. Darussalam, pp. 299-300: The story of Moses

[3] Jochadebed is the name given to Miriam, Aaron and Moses’ mother by Biblical, not Muslim, scholars. The names of Moses’ sister and mother are not mentioned by authentic Islamic accounts.

[4]Tafsir Ibn Kathir: Commentary on Quran 28:7

[5] Quran 20:37-38.

[6] Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Hasan al Basri et al in Tabari 19:532, Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Quran 28:10-11.

[7] Mentioned in Tafsir Ibn Kathir citing Ibn Abbas in the commentary on Quran 28:12.

[8] In verse 7 of this chapter, God promises to Jochebed when she sent him off into the river that He would reunite them, and also that he would be a messenger.


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  #2  
قديم 08-10-2011, 07:53 PM
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افتراضي






Moses in Midian
Moses grew to be a man of noticeable strength. This strength in fact led him to kill another man. In the Bible, Moses is portrayed as having murdered an Egyptian whom he saw beating one of his Israelite ‘foster’ brothers.
“He went out to his brethren to see how they were being burdened, and saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. So he looked this way and that, and, when he saw that nobody was around, killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.” (Exodus 2:11-12)
This account shows that his action, though provoked by what he had seen, had an element of premeditation. In the Quranic version of the same event, he is portrayed as killing the Egyptian unintentionally when he went to aid his brother Israelite in a fight.
“The one from his own people asked him to help him against his enemy, so Moses struck him with his fist, which killed him. He said, ‘This is the work of Satan, who is definitely a misleading enemy.’ He prayed, ‘O my Lord, I have wronged myself, so please forgive me!...’” (Quran 28:15-16)
His reaction to killing the Egyptian shows that it was done without having intended it, and he went on to promise never to support a wrongdoer in gratitude for God’s bounties bestowed upon him. Two things are clear from this. Moses was a believer in One God, the Lord of the worlds, even before he received revelation, just like both his mothers, and this despite being brought up at court. Furthermore, he knew he had transgressed when he killed a man, even though, as he supposed, the man was a disbeliever and he did so while supporting a believer. The next day, however, the same Israelite asked for his help again in a similar situation. In the Bible, he was fighting another Israelite, but in the Quran it was another ‘enemy to them both.’[1] This time, as he approached to break up the fight, Moses said to the man asking for help, ‘Verily, you are plainly a misleader.’[2] Thinking he was about to hit him, the Israelite said:
“O Moses! Will you slay me today as you slew a living soul yesterday? You just want to be a tyrant in the land, and shy away from being one of the righteous.” (Quran 28:19)
The Bible says almost the same, the Israelite asking:
“Who made you a Judge or a Prince over us?”[3]
In the Bible, Moses only suspected that the rumor had reached the Pharaoh, but in the Quran, a man came to warn him that the Pharaoh was going to punish him for murder, and advised him to escape. The result was that he fled Egypt and headed west, to Midian.
Moses in Midian
Upon his arrival, he came across several groups drawing water from a well to water their flocks. The Bible mentions that seven women customarily came to the well to water their father’s sheep, but were driven away from it on this occasion by some shepherds who wanted to water their sheep first. The Quran, however, mentions that only two women were present, holding back their sheep. The reason for holding back would have been twofold, practical and moral: to prevent their sheep from getting mixed up with the men’s flocks, and to modestly refrain from mixing with the men themselves. Moses asked them:

“‘…What’s the matter?’ The two women said, ‘We cannot draw water until the shepherds have gone away, and our father is a very old man.’” (Quran 28:23)
According to some reports, the shepherds would place a huge stone lid on the well when they were not using it, and this is what they did when they left. Moses removed that stone (which normally needed several men to shift) alone, watered the women’s sheep for them, and then replaced it.[4] This feat of extraordinary strength did not escape the notice of the women, who would tell their father of it later. He then prayed aloud to God:
“…My Lord! I am in need of any good that You can send me.” (Quran 28:24)
His prayer was answered when the sisters’ father sent for him in order to reward him. The Quran eloquently describes the invitation:
One of the women he had helped “came walking modestly”. That is to say, in a genteel manner that concealed, rather than revealed, her physical attractiveness. She said, “My father invites you so that he may reward you for drawing water for us.”[5] The Bible leaves the rest of the story of the encounter out, but the Quran gives an extra hint. The woman said, when they arrived at her home, “O my father, hire him! Surely he best of employable persons are those who are strong and trustworthy.”[6] The companions of the Prophet explained that when her father asked her how she knew Moses was as she described, she told him of his feat in lifting the stone lid on and off the well mouth and the fact that, when she began to lead him home, he had told her to walk behind him and throw a pebble into the path he was to follow whenever the trail forked. This meant that he did not ogle women or even desire to be attracted to their voices, which she took as a sign of trustworthiness.
So the father offered Moses an indenture of eight to ten years as his shepherd in return for room, board and clothing, and to marry him to his daughter, Ziporrah.[7] According to Ibn Abbas, Moses fulfilled ten years service, and then left with his family. The Bible, however, says he managed the father’s business for forty years, and then had to seek permission to leave after he had received his first revelation from the burning bush.[8]
God Speaks to Moses
The Quran says:

“When Moses had fulfilled the term (he contracted) and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of Mt. Toor. He said to his family, ‘Wait (here)! I have seen a fire. Perhaps I can bring you news from there, or a firebrand to warm yourselves.’ When he reached it, he was called from a tree on the right side of the valley in that blessed place…” (Quran 28:29-30)[9]
The Quran reports the words heard by Moses more fully in certain verses.
“Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is around it, and Glory be to God, the Lord of the worlds. O Moses. Verily it is I, God, the Almighty and all-Wise.” (Quran 27:8-9)
“Verily, I am your Lord, so take off your shoes; you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you, so listen to that which will be revealed. Verily, I am God, there is no God but Me; so worship Me and establish the prayer for my remembrance. Verily, the hour is coming, but My Will is to keep it hidden so that every soul may be rewarded for how it strives (Quran 20:12-15)”
This first revelation for Moses contains a very important lesson about monotheism. The first duty a believer has is to know there is only One God worthy of receiving worship from his creatures, and that there are no other gods to act as intermediaries or partners. The second is that humans must single Him out alone in worship. The third is that the regular establishment of prayer will keep the line of Divine Help open because one will be constantly reminded of God. The final duty is to make every act for the sake of God, and as if it will be the last act in our life, for upon that we will be judged when the Day of Judgment arrives. And we do not know when we will die, nor when the Day will be, because it is concealed by God from us.
It is this message that Moses was to be ordered to remind the Children of Israel, and bring to the Pharaoh and his people. This mission will be the subject of the next part.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] Quran 28:19.

[2] Quran 28:18.
[3] Exodus 2:14.
[4] Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A.Azimi; Pub. Darussalam, 2003; p. 332: The Story of Moses
[5] Quran 28:25.
[6] Quran 28:26
[7] This is the name given to her in the Bible, Exodus 2:21.
[8] Exodus 4:18.
[9] In the Bible, the address of God to Moses dwells on reminding the children of Israel of their God, and promising to replace their servitude to the Pharaoh with a land of their own ‘flowing with milk and honey’. When asked Who Moses should say had sent him to them, God told him: “I am that I am … the Lord God of your fathers, Of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob: This is my name and this is my memorial forever.” Exodus 3:14-5

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  #3  
قديم 08-10-2011, 07:55 PM
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افتراضي





The Return to Egypt



Moses is Given His Mission
When Moses stood by the bright, burning bush, he heard the voice of his Lord commanding him to go to the Pharaoh and his people, to put the fear of God into their sinning hearts.[1] One of the proofs that it was indeed God who was commanding him was the staff Moses was carrying. He was asked:

“‘What is that in your right hand, O Moses?’ He said, ‘It is my staff, which I lean on, and use to beat down leaves for my sheep to feed upon; and it has other uses, too.’ God said, ‘Cast it down, O Moses!’ So he cast it down, and it turned into a snake, slithering.’” (Quran 20:17-19)
When Moses saw his own staff turn into a quivering snake, “He turned in flight, and did not look back.” (Quran 28:31). Then God said:
“Grasp it and do not fear! We shall restore it to its former state.” (Quran 20:21)[2]
After reassuring Moses that he was safe[3], God commanded him:
“Press your (right) hand to your (left) side! It will come out shining white and stainless, as another sign.” (Quran 20:22)
“…These are two proofs from your Lord...” (Quran 28:32)
The narrative of the Bible says:
“And if they also do not believe these two signs, and still do not take you seriously, then you shall take some water from the Nile and spill it on the ground. The water that you will take from the Nile will turn into blood on the ground.” (Exodus 4:9)
Water full of blood, although its version slightly different, is also mentioned in Islamic sources as well as being “among nine signs to the Pharaoh and his people, and indeed they are rebellious people.” (Quran 20:12)
It was at this point that the command to go to the Pharaoh was given, but Moses was hesitant. He told God of his fears:
“My Lord! I have killed one of them, and I fear that they may slay me. My Lord! I fear they may reject me. And my chest will be straightened and my tongue will be tied.” (Quran 26:12-13)
So he prayed:
“O my Lord! Open my chest for me and make my task easy for me, and loosen the defect of my tongue. Give me a helper from my family, Aaron my brother,[4] to add to my strength and share my task, so we may glorify you without cease.” (Quran 20:25-35)
God, reassured him, saying:
“You are granted your request, O Moses.” (Quran 20:36)
And thus did God give Moses his first mission. He said:
“We will certainly strengthen your arm with your brother, and We shall give you both such authority that they will not be able to harm you. So by Our Signs, you, and whoever follows you, shall be the victors.” (Quran 28:34-35)
In the Bible, it says Aaron was sent out by God to meet Moses near the holy mountain and that Moses had his two sons circumcised while on the journey back,[5] but these details are absent from the Islamic narrative. The story jumps straight to the first meeting with the Pharaoh.
Meeting the Pharaoh
When Moses and Aaron came before the Pharaoh, they told him that they were messengers from the Lord of the worlds and demanded that he send the Children of Israel away with them. In the Bible, this is presented as a trick – a request to go a three day journey into the desert to make sacrifices that would, in reality, be a break for freedom. In the Quran, however, it is a straight request to free their people from bondage and oppression. They said:

“…Do not oppress them. We have come from your Lord with a sign, and peace to all those who follow guidance. Surely, it has been revealed to us that chastisement will befall him who rejects and turns away.” (Quran 20:47-48)
The Pharaoh reminded Moses:
“Did we not bring you up among us as a child and let you dwell many years of your life with us? And did you not do the deed that you did. And you are one ungrateful.” (Quran 26:18-19)
This is the proof that the Pharaoh he was sent to was the very same Pharaoh he fled from in the first place, not another, as the Judeo-Christian tradition would have it. According to Exodus 4:19, God is supposed to have said:
“All the men who seek your life have died.”
However, the seekers of his life could have been the friends and family of the man he killed who had incited the Pharaoh to sentence Moses to death, not necessarily the Pharaoh himself. Moses replied:
“I did it then, when I was in error. So I fled from you when I feared you; but my Lord has (since) invested me with wisdom and appointed me as one of His messengers. And this favor with which you reproach me is (balanced by the fact) that you have enslaved the Children of Israel.” (Quran 26:20-22)
Then the Pharaoh asked:
“‘Who, then, is the Lord of you both, O Moses?’ He was told: ‘Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.’” (Quran 20:49-50)
And when he asked what ‘the Lord of the worlds’ was, Moses told him:
“‘Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, if you seek to be convinced with certainty.’” (Quran 26:24)
The Pharaoh was not convinced, and held up the example of the traditional idol worship in his society:
“He said, ‘What about the generations of old?’ Moses said: ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord is neither unaware nor does He forget; (It is He) Who has spread the earth out for you like a bed, and opened roads for you therein, and sent down rain from the sky.’” (Quran 20:51-53)
Thus Moses reminded the Pharaoh that the malpractice of his forefathers is recorded and will be punished, and directed his attention to the reality of the manifest world – something that could not be the product of any man, let alone idols carved by men. Nevertheless, the Pharaoh remained obstinately clinging to his own supposed godhead. He began playing to his audience, seeking to keep his hold over his people:
“Pharaoh said to those around: ‘Do you not hear (what he says)?’
(Moses) said: ‘Your Lord, and the Lord of your fore-fathers.’
Pharaoh said: ‘Verily, (this) Messenger who has been sent to you is a madman!’
Moses said: ‘Lord of the east and the west, and all that is between them, if you would only understand!’
Pharaoh said: ‘If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly imprison you.’” (Quran 26:25-29)
But Moses trumped his boasting self display:
“He said: ‘Even if I showed you something clear (and) convincing?’
The Pharaoh said: ‘Produce it then, if you are truthful!’
Then (Moses) flung down his staff and it became a veritable serpent; and he drew out his hand, and behold, it was white to all beholders!” (Quran 26:30-33)
Part of this event is also reported in the Bible, as is the Pharaoh’s reaction:
“‘When Pharaoh speaks to you, he will tell you to prove yourself with a miraculous sign.’ (Exodus 7:9) ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. Let it become a viper!’
(When) Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh. They did exactly as God had said. He[6] flung his staff down before Pharaoh, and it became a viper. Pharaoh summoned his scholars and magicians.” (Exodus 7:10-1)
It is the appointment with these ‘scholars and magicians’ which eventually led to the escape of the Israelites from Egypt. And the story of the battle with the Sorcerers and the Pharaoh’s reaction to its outcome will be the subject of the next article.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] Quran 28:33, 26:10-11.

[2] The Bible also testifies to this event, “‘What is that in your hand?’ asked God. ‘A staff,’ [said Moses]. ‘Throw it on the ground.’ When he threw it on the ground, it turned into a snake, and Moses ran away from it. [Then] God said to Moses, ‘Reach out and grasp its tail.’ When he reached out and grasped [the snake], it turned back into a staff in his hand. [God said,] ‘This is so that they will believe that God appeared to you.’” (Exodus 4:2-5)
[3] Quran 28:31.
[4] In Quran 28:34, Moses says “My Brother Aaron is more eloquent in speech.”
[5] Exodus 4:25-7.
[6] In Exodus, it is Aaron, directed by Moses, who casts the staff. In the Quran the staff clearly belongs to Moses, and it is he who does the actual casting.
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  #4  
قديم 08-10-2011, 07:57 PM
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افتراضي





Moses and the Sorcerers


The Appointment
The Pharaoh was a consummate disbeliever. He had dared challenge the Lordship of God even after Moses had shown him the signs that God had told him to show. His arrogance was such that nothing would convince him that there was a Lord to Whom all would return. He imagined that his rule of Egypt and its vast treasures and riches meant that he was the provider of its bounties, a belief that would shortly be put to test. Even after he had seen the two signs of Moses’ staff and hand, he believed them to be mere magical manifestations. So he called his counselors together:
“‘Surely this man is a skilled sorcerer who wants to expel you from your land by means of magic; so what do you advise?’
They said, ‘Put him and his brother off for a while and send callers to the cities to summon every well versed sorcerer to you.’” (Quran 26:34-37)
With this advice, the Pharaoh made a proposal, which was how Moses trapped him into a very public display of relative power. The Pharaoh said:
O Moses! Have you come to drive us out from our land with your magic? We can also show you magic to match it, so set an appointment between us and you, which neither we nor you shall forget to keep, in a fair (open) place.’
Moses said, ‘Let the encounter be on the day (of the Festival) of Adornment, and let the people assemble at forenoon.’” (Quran 20:56-59)
By choosing this holiday, Moses ensured the maximum exposure of witnesses to the coming test, and therefore the maximum possible pressure to recognize the Truth that God is the only Lord, the One worthy of all worship, and there is none other than Him.
The Battle with the Sorcerers
The Bible narrates that Moses and Aaron cast down their staff first,[1] but the Quran says the sorcerers gave Moses the choice, and he forewent the first throw.
“They said, ‘O Moses. Will you cast first, or shall we?’
He said, ‘You cast first.’
So, when they cast (their staves and ropes), they bewitched the eyes of the people and struck terror into them with the tremendous magic they produced.” (Quran 7:115-117)
Like the miracle of Moses previously witnessed by the Pharaoh, their staffs seemed to appear like snakes. The effect of the magic was so potent that even Moses was taken aback. But God was there, supporting him.
“Fear not! Verily, you have the upper hand. Cast what you have in your right hand and it shall devour the works they have done. They are merely magical simulations, and the sorcerer can never succeed, whatever the level of skill he might achieve.” (Quran 20:68-69)
So Moses cast his staff and it became a serpent in reality, not mere magic, that swallowed all the simulated snakes.[2]
These sorcerers, who had, before the contest, been confident of victory, now realized that what they faced was not the mere trickery used by sorcerers. They new that this feat performed by Moses was not physically possible, and that it must have originated from the creator of existence. While earlier they had been concerned about gaining the Pharaoh’s favor, now they were concerned about gaining the favor of the True Lord.
“The sorcerers fell down prostrate, in adoration. They said, ‘We believe in the Lord of the worlds, the Lord of Moses and Aaron.’” (Quran 7:120-122)
When the Pharaoh saw their capitulation, he was furious. He raged:
“‘You have believed in him before I gave you permission; he must surely be your chief who taught you magic.[3] Therefore I will cut off your hands and legs from either side and have you crucified on palm trees. Thus you will know most certainly which of us is more severe (in punishment) and more lasting.’
They replied, ‘Never will we prefer you above what has come to us from clear signs and Him Who created us; So decree whatever you wish, for you can decree only what pertains to the life of this world. Verily, we believe (now) in our Lord, may He forgive us our sins and the magic you compelled us to perform, for God is best when it comes to rewards in comparison to your reward.’” (Quran 20:71-73)
Abdullah bin Abbas, one of the companions of the Prophet, said that these sorcerers were disbelievers at the beginning of the day, but were martyred and innocent by its end. He cites as poof the prayer they made in the face of the Pharaoh’s threat:[4]
“‘Our Lord! Pour out upon us patience and cause us to die as Muslims’” (Quran 7:126)
The important message that these verses convey is that believing in the Lord and the Final Day, and acting for His sake and in hope of His Reward, is the most sublime and fulfilling action a person can take. Doing so will ensure one dwells in the Garden of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, forever as a result of purifying oneself from sin (through repentance followed by obedience).[5] The disobedient and recalcitrant sinner, on the other hand, is promised that:
“Hell shall await him, there; he shall not die therein, nor shall he live.” (Quran 20:74)
The Pharaoh’s Counselors Advise Oppression
After this event, the advisors of the Pharaoh counseled him to come down hard on the Israelites to counter the clear victory which all had just witnessed. They said:
“‘Would you leave Moses and his people to work corruption in the land, and forsake you and your gods?’
He said, ‘We shall slay their sons and spare their women, for surely we have a strong hold over them.’” (Quran 7:127)
Indeed, the Bible also hints that the Israelites felt the oppression of the Pharaoh, but before, rather than after, the contest. It turned them against Moses, whom they blamed for making their lives more onerous.[6] Also, in the Biblical story, the killing of male offspring was limited to around the time of the birth of Moses, while such a policy is described as twice applied by the Pharaoh in Islam, this occasion being the second time. In the face of the Pharaoh’s cruelty Moses could only advise:
“Pray for help from God and be patient. Indeed the earth belongs to God.”
But his people complained:
“‘We have been harmed before you came to us and after you came to us.’[7]
He (Moses) said, ‘It may be that your lord will destroy your enemy and make you the inheritors of the land. Then He will see how you are going to act.’” (Quran 7:128-129)
Indeed, God sent down plague upon plague on the Egyptians due to their oppressive intransigence. The next article will discuss these plagues, and the events that led to the flight of the Israelites.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] Exodus 7:12
[2] Quran 26:45
[3] He also accused them of plotting the capitulation with Moses in advance while in their cities, in order to accomplish a coup d’état. (Quran 7:123)
[4] Tafsir Ibn Kathir commentary on Quran 7:126, citing at-Tabari 13:36
[5] Quran 20:75
[6] Exodus 5:21
[7] The scribes of the Torah turned this round, putting the words of complaint into the mouth of their prophet (Moses), saying, “O Lord, why do You mistreat Your people? Why did You send me? As soon as I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he made things worse for these people. You have done nothing to help Your people.” (Exodus 5:22-3)


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رد مع اقتباس
  #5  
قديم 08-10-2011, 08:06 PM
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افتراضي





The Plagues in Egypt


The Plagues and Their Effect
“Indeed We afflicted the Pharaoh and his people with years of drought and scarcity of fruit, so they might take heed. But, whenever good came to them they would say: ‘This is our due.’
And if they suffered from evil, they would consider it an omen ascribed to Moses and whoever was with him. Verily, their omens are God given, yet most of them would not know.” (Quran 7:130-131)
The first two plagues sent by God were long term, lasting years. In fact, they may have been intermittent. Drought would afflict the farmers for years, creating famine in the land because crops would scarcely grow. Then rains would come, producing the crops, but when harvest arrived, scarcely any fruit or grain would be left to gather. One of the reasons a crop does not produce fruit is the blighting of their florescence in spring, which can be brought about by many reasons, such fungal parasites, insects or hail. Whenever a fertile season occurred, the Egyptians would assume it was due to their adherence to their traditional ways, but when they felt the pinch of deprivation, they would blame it on the magical machinations of their adversaries. This continued through the five plagues that followed the two mentioned above.[1]
“And they said: ‘Whatever sign you bring to enchant us (by sorcery), we will not believe in you.’
Both the Pharaoh and his advisors were determined to stay on their path of error:
So We sent on them the flood, locusts, weevils, frogs, and blood as (a succession of) obvious signs. Yet they remained arrogant, being criminally sinful people.’” (Quran 7:132-133)
These plagues are mentioned in a different order than in the Bible, which reverses the order of the last three plagues and puts them first.[2]
The first of these signs was the flood, which was torrential rainfall that ruined all growing crops and fruit, penetrated their barns, and blighted their stores of food.[3] The second was the locusts, which ate even the ‘nails’[4] that held wooden joists together. The third was qummal (lice, termites or weevils). In fact, all three types of vermin included in the translation of qummal cause damage. The first can infest both humans and animals, spreading disease, the second destroys wooden structures and the third consumes or destroys stored grain, and this is the interpretation favored by Ibn Abbas.[5] The fourth sign was a plague of frogs, which infested every human habitation; a person would fear to open his mouth lest a frog jump into it.
Every time they were afflicted, the people of the Pharaoh would beg:
“…‘O Moses! Invoke your Lord for us because of his promise to you. If you remove the punishment from us, we shall indeed believe in you, and let the Children of Israel go with you.’ But when (God) removed the punishment from them for a fixed term, which they had to reach, behold! They broke their word.” (Quran 7:133-134)
The last of the signs was blood in every source of potable water, and this proved to be too much[6] for the advisors of the Pharaoh, who then suggested having Moses killed.
“…They said, ‘Kill him with the sons of those who believe, but let their women live.’
But the plots of the disbelievers are nothing but in vain. When the Pharaoh said: ‘Let me kill Moses, and let him call his Lord. I fear he may change your religion or cause mischief to appear in my land.’
Moses said: ‘Verily I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant disbeliever in the Day of Reckoning.’” (Quran 40:25-27)
Contrary to this, the Bible has the advisors wanting him to ‘Let the men go, and let them serve God, their Lord,’[7] for it was leading to the destruction of Egypt. In fact, the Bible says the Pharaoh also finally capitulated to the demands of the Israelites[8] to go out into the desert to sacrifice to their God when his first born son was killed, but later repented letting them when he realized that they were not coming back. Actually, Moses had prayed to God that hearts of the Pharaoh and his advisors, who had been showered with worldly wealth, glitter and power, should be hardened until their final penalty was clear to see. Then God granted that request, and told him to be steadfast, clearly signaling the end of the Pharaoh was nigh.
A Believer among the Enemy
Meanwhile, one of the Pharaoh’s relatives spoke out against the Pharaoh’s decision.
“A believer from the family of the Pharaoh who had hidden his faith said: ‘Would you kill a man because he says “my Lord is God” after coming to you with clear signs from your Lord?...’” (Quran 40:28)
He further spoke to the Pharaoh’s subjects:
“‘O my people! Yours is the kingdom today, you being dominant in the land. But who will save us from the torment God, should it befall us?’
The Pharaoh said: ‘I show you only that which I see; and I guide you to the right path.’” (Quran 40:29)
This believer showed the true spirit of struggling for the right in the path of God,[9] risking his life to aid of a fellow believer by challenging the ruling one who had made himself a god. He went on to invite his people to the true religion, and when they tried to persuade him from the path, returned:
“‘O my people! How is it I invite you to salvation while you invite me to the Fire? You call on me to disbelieve in God and ascribe as partners unto Him that whereof I have no knowledge, while I call you unto the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving. The idols and gods you call me to have no claim in this world or in the Hereafter, and our return will be unto God, and the transgressors will be inheritors of the Fire. And you will remember what I have said unto you. I entrust my affairs to God. Verily! God is the Seer of (His) slaves.’
So, God warded off the evils that they plotted against him, while a dreadful doom encompassed the followers of the Pharaoh.” (Quran 40:41-45)
The Command to Depart
When the Pharaoh had made up his mind to kill Moses, God ordered him to leave with the believers. He revealed unto Moses:
“…Depart with my slaves by night, for surely you will be pursued.” (Quran 26:52)
Indeed, this was both a difficult mission and one easier than it had been before hostilities, because God had earlier ordered the Israelites to make their dwellings in a place apart from the Egyptian dwellings, close to one another. The believer, and those who were with him, may have warned, and perhaps even moved closer to, the Israelites. The existence of a group of Egyptian believers is the opinion of some scholars, based on the verse:
“None believed in Moses, except for some of his (the Pharaoh’s) people, for fear of the Pharaoh and his chiefs...” (Quran 10:83)
But the opinion of Ibn Abbas is that apart from the sorcerers who were martyred, only three of the Pharaoh’s people believed. These included his wife, the believer in his family, and the one who warned Moses to flee after he had killed a man.[10] In the latter case, ‘his’, in the above verse, would refer to Moses, and therefore the relatively few among the Israelites themselves that really believed.
In the next article, we will tell the story of the exodus, the flight and crossing of the Red Sea, and the drowning of the Pharaoh.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] The Torah also mentions that “God made the Pharaoh obstinate” (Exodus 10:20) whenever an affliction lightened.
[2] The Bible mentions three ‘plagues’ that are not even hinted at in the Quran or the Sunnah, which are the boils, the darkness and the deaths of the first born.
[3] This could well be the hail storms mentioned in the Bible, which had much the same effect. The word used in Arabic is tuwfaan, meaning torrential rainfall. Another opinion states the floodwater spread a plague like disease that decimated animals and people – which might have been the source for the Biblical ‘epidemic’ plague.
[4] Possibly softer bindings that ‘tied’ joints of hard wood together.
[5] All three of these concepts are covered by the ‘lice’ and ‘dangerous swarms’ mentioned in the Exodus, but the first interpretation – the destroyer of stored grain, is the correct one.
[6] In the Bible, too, the Advisors had had enough by the seventh of the ten plagues mentioned therein.
[7] (Exodus 10:7)
[8] This contradicts the prayer by Moses, answered by God, to harden his heart irretrievably.
[9] “The best Jihad is to speak a just word before an unjust ruler”; Tafsir ibn Kathir commentary on Quran 40:28, citing Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 6:390.
[10] Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A. Azimi; Pub. Darussalam 2003, pp. 387: The Story of Moses.



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رد مع اقتباس
  #6  
قديم 08-10-2011, 08:11 PM
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افتراضي





The Death of the Pharaoh

None of the signs Moses was sent with to the Pharaoh proved to be



sufficient to change his blind belief in his own divinity. He had even, in the face of all these signs, pridefully dared to challenge the notion of a god higher than himself. In this regard, he said:
“Pharaoh said: ‘O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me, so kindle for me (a kiln), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and build a lofty tower for me in order that I may look upon the god of Moses; and verily, I think that he is one of the liars.’” (Quran 28:38)
Either the Pharaoh had no notion of who the True God is, or he mistook the God of the Israelites as something like what the Egyptians worshipped, or he simply intended to distract his people from the afflictions assailing them.[1]
The Exodus
At last, after the many signs God had sent Moses with to give the Egyptians every chance to repent, He finally gave the order to Moses to leave. The intervening years had served not only to give the Pharaoh every chance, but also to clearly prove the authenticity of the prophethood of Moses to the children of Israel, and his right to lead them.
They were told to sneak away at night, under the cover of darkness, so their departure would not be noticed. Some scholars say that the moon was eclipsed[2] in order to make the night of departure even darker.
They took with them the remains of the prophet Joseph, who had invited the children of Jacob to that land more than 400 years earlier. This was in accordance with instructions he had left when he died. It is said that Moses himself carried them.[3]
That the Pharaoh was not aware of the plan is evident because of the fact that he was not ready to set out immediately to round the refugees up after the Israelite ghetto was found empty. He had to send:
“Callers to every city, saying, ‘These are indeed a small band; and, verily they have enraged us.’
Even so, the Pharaoh was confident of overtaking and destroying them. In a speech designed to rouse his army to make every effort, he said:
We are a host assembled,[4] and amply forewarned.” (Quran 26:53-56)
He meant forewarned of the trouble the Israelites could make. This army was not about to bring the absconders back. He wanted every last one of them dead.
Archeological evidence points to the fact that the refugees headed south towards Succoth before turning east to Etham, right across the Sinai peninsular. At that point, they turned south into the labyrinthine Wadi Watir, which disgorged them at its delta onto a wide beach created by its seasonal flow of water.[5]

Wadi Watir and Nuweiba Beach
The Crossing
Any host pursuing would not be able to engage all its soldiers at once in such narrow confines. Nor would the pursuers be able to see them until nearly upon them. In fact, the Israelites reached the coast without being sighted, but also found themselves facing a sea which would allow no passage for people without the means to ferry such a large assembly across it. Not knowing what to do, they stood around, grumbling. Then, at sunrise, those at the Wadi mouth spotted the foremost ranks of the Pharaoh’s army winding its way towards them, and the Egyptian scouts spied the migrants sitting on the beach.
Some of the believing Egyptians must have accompanied them, as some reports tell that the believer from the Pharaoh’s family attempted to enter the sea on his horse before it was opened by Moses. The horse, however, balked.
“O Messenger of God,” he said, “Is it here that your Lord commanded you to bring us.”
Moses replied. “Yes.”[6]
“The companions of Moses said, ‘We are sure to be overtaken.’
Moses said, ‘Nay. Verily, the Lord is with me, and He will guide me.’” (Quran 26:62)
When the Pharaoh and his army were clearly visible to the people, Moses was commanded:
“…Strike a dry path for them in the sea (with your staff), fearing neither to be overtaken (by the Pharaoh), nor afraid (of being drowned)!” (Quran 20:77)
“…And it parted, each separate part becoming like a huge mountain.” (Quran 26:63)
The people, seeing the dried sea bed as the way to safety, descended onto it, led by Moses, and fled across the sea. Seeing the receding ranks of fugitives disappearing before his astonished eyes, the Pharaoh charged down to the shoreline. Looking at the towering walls of water, in suspended stasis, he was assailed by awe, but suppressed it. He paraded along the ranks of his troops, trying to turn around the events to his advantage:
‘Look how the sea has parted for me!’ He said, ‘so that I can catch these fleeing servants of mine.”[7] Thus encouraged, the whole host plunged onto the dried out sea bed in hot pursuit.
As Moses oversaw the last of his flock emerging from the sea on the other side, he raised his staff to close off the path behind them; but God commanded him to keep moving:
“Leave the sea as it is; Verily, they are a host to be drowned.” (Quran 44:24)
The End of the Pharaoh
The whole host of the army was drawn into the trap, which sprang upon them in an instant as “the sea completely overwhelmed them, and covered them up.”[8] At this stage, confronted with the quivering walls of water about to crash down on him, the Pharaoh had at last admitted:
“I believe there is no god but He in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of those who submit (to Him).”
From this, it becomes clear that Pharaoh had indeed believed Moses to be a true prophet from God, but it was his pride and haughtiness which prevented him from doing so all along. Indeed it is when one sees no fruit in their rejection of God that they finally owe up to the truth. But when one sees that death has finally arrived and is inevitable, then this admittance of the truth is of no avail.
“It was said to him, ‘What! Now (you say you submit), after your rebellion and depravity before? This day we shall save you in your (lifeless) body so that you may be a sign for those who come after you…’” (Quran 10:92)
When talking about this event, the angel Gabriel said to the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him:
“You should have seen me trying to stop his words with the mud I took from the sea and shoved into his mouth, fearing the Mercy of God would save him.” (Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi)
This action of Gabriel asserts God’s great Mercy. Even one such as the Pharaoh could have obtained forgiveness if he had repented and turned to God before his final moment of life. Once the inevitable moment of death is in progress, however, to believe is no benefit to the rejecter of faith, for God says:
“Even if they were returned to this life (to make amends) they would commit again everything they were prohibited; verily, they are liars.” (Quran 6:28)
To confirm the Pharaoh was dead, God commanded the sea to raise the lifeless body of the Pharaoh high on a wave and throw it ashore. He was carrying his distinctive shield, by which he was recognized by all.
A Lesson to be Learnt
Although there are some differences in detail, especially in the point of view held concerning Moses and the Israelites between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian accounts, the lessons we can learn from the Story of the Pharaoh when both are taken into account are various. One can see, for example, that Moses brought a message not only to the Israelites, but also to the people of the Pharaoh. Some of them believed and even left with the people of Moses. The message he brought for them was the uniqueness of God as being the only god deserving of worship. Moreover, the way the message was received shows that those who defy the right of God to be singled out in worship will never be guided to the right path, no matter what signs God sends. One has to have a clear heart in order to choose the guidance God provides, and if one trusts in God he will provide the means to escape the oppressors. He will also punish in this world, as well as the next, the oppressors who set themselves against God, claiming for themselves the sovereignty that belongs to Him in the affairs of the world. Submission to God alone provides for the true seeker the means by which one earns the guidance that will assure salvation; and such true submission is called Islam.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] It is not clear in the Bible for what construction were the bricks he had ordered made. However, the reason given for ordering bricks to be made was to increase the quota (set for the Israelites). This was in order to distract them, with the oppression of work without rest, from their duty to God, thus elevating the people as the source of his troubles, rather than God. (Exodus 5:6-9)

[2] Tafsir ibn Kathir commentary on Quran 26:52, citing at-Tabari 19:354.
[3] Ibid.
[4] It is said the Egyptian host outnumbered the trekking migrants by 3-1. Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A. Azimi; Pub. Darussalam 2003, pp. 392: The Story of Moses.
[5] (http://www.wyattarchaeology.com/red_sea.htm).
[6] Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A. Azimi; Pub. Darussalam 2003, pp. 392: The Story of Moses
[7] Ibn Kathir Qasas al-Anbiya; English translation, by R.A. Azimi; Pub. Darussalam 2003, pp. 394: The Story of Moses
[8] Quran 20:78


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رد مع اقتباس
  #7  
قديم 08-10-2011, 08:13 PM
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افتراضي





From Sea to Mountain

The Story of Moses began in Egypt, where the Children of Israel had found refuge with Joseph over 400 years before. The beginning of these events involved the struggle they had to endure under the oppression of the Pharaoh. The oppression ended, however, when Moses parted the Red Sea for them by the permission of God, and then left it for God to close over the Pharaoh and his army. From then on, the story of Moses concerned the building of a nation out of the Children of Israel, guided by God alone. However, despite being rescued from the Pharaoh and witnessing God’s punishment on him and his people, the Israelites themselves, or certain groups among them, did not show the gratitude that they should have. Instead, they became fractious and contrary, finding fault in what God provided and repeatedly turning against Him and His representatives, Moses and Aaron, in consequence by seeking deities other than Him to worship.
Manna from Heaven and Quails
After safely crossing the Red Sea, Moses led his people southeast towards the holy mountain of Tur.[1] Yet, even after witnessing the miracle of the crossing and the destruction of the Pharaoh and his army, there were many who grumbled; who preferred what they had come from because it had filled their mundane desires such as plentiful food to eat and water in abundance. Of course these are basic needs, after breathing. Still, God had saved them from death - the lack of breath - and now (safely alive) they yearned for these other basic needs. The Quran states that God sent manna and quails down upon them to fulfill these needs, and the Bible confirms this. According to the Bible, at first only manna was sent down, but the Israelites had yearned for meat. God then provided them with meat for a whole month by sending the quails. Manna would then be sent down in the morning, and quails would become abundant in the evening. Now they harked back on the plenty they had had in Egypt. Their complaints provoked God’s anger, as is reflected by the admonition:

“Eat of the good things we have provided for you, and do not exceed therein, or my Anger will alight on you, and upon whoever my anger alights, they will indeed perish.” (Quran 20:81)[2]
As they neared Tur, when the people were perishing of thirst, Moses prayed to God for water. God said:
‘…Strike the rock with your staff;’ whereupon twelve springs gushed forth, and each tribe knew its own spring.[3] ‘Eat and drink of God’s sustenance and do not act wickedly, corrupting the earth.’ (Quran 2:60)
Then the people said:
“O Moses, we cannot bear (only) one kind of food (the manna), so pray to your Lord for us to produce that which the earth grows: its herbs, cucumbers, garlic, pulses and onions.
He said, ‘Will you exchange better for worse? Go down to any town, and you will find what you demand.’
And disgrace and humiliation were stamped upon them. And they drew upon themselves the wrath of God.” (Quran 2:61)
Some Israelites Turn to Idol Worship
In the vicinity of Tur, they met a people who worshipped idols in the shape of a cow. The people were Lakhemites according to some scholars of interpretation; others say they were Edomites coming down from Canaan. The Judeo-Christian tradition states that the Israelites fought the Amilekites, who were associated with the Edomites, there and the battle swayed according to whether Moses lifted or let fall his staff.[4] In the Quran, however, some of the people merely requested:

“‘O Moses, make for us a god like the gods they have.’
He said, ‘surely you are an ignorant people. Surely what they are engaged upon shall be shattered, and what they have been doing is in vain.’”(Quran 7:138-139)
Whether the shattering was done by force of arms, as is said in the Bible, or by cataclysmic events, is not mentioned. Rather, it is suggested some Israelites may have seen these people worshipping cows and been influenced by them. Perhaps this is what encouraged the disbelievers among them who later worshipped the golden calf.[5]
“He said, ‘shall I seek for you a deity other that God, while He has given you superiority over other nations’” (Quran 7:140)
Nevertheless, when Moses was called to the side of the Mountain again, the people strayed. He told Aaron:
“…Take my place among my people, and do right; and do not follow the way of the corrupt.” (Quran 7:142)
Aaron did his best, as is testified by God himself:
“Aaron indeed had said to them beforehand, ‘O my people. You are being tried in this; and verily your Lord is the Most Gracious, so follow me and obey my order.’” (Quran 20:90)
It was not Aaron who constructed the golden calf for them, as the Torah accuses him, but a man named Samiri.
It is impossible that a prophet, knowing the truth more than others, would fall into that which God has forbidden since the dawn of His message. Indeed if that was the case, then no blame can be put on their followers if they were associate others with God as well. For God told Moses, while he was on the mount:
“Verily, we have tried your people in your absence, and Samiri has led them astray.” (Quran 20:85)
Meanwhile, the people obstinately refused to listen to Aaron. They said:
“We will not stop worshipping (the golden calf) until Moses returns to us (with guidance).” (Quran 20:91)
Moses Asks to See his Lord
Moses was away 40 days, which God had appointed him for fasting before revealing to him the Commandments and the Law. When Moses came to the time and place he was supposed be, God spoke to him. As Moses was eager to have more knowledge of Him, he asked God, as a favor, to show Himself to him.[6] God told him that man is not able see God in the mundane world. In Exodus, He explained that any vision of His essence would utterly destroy a man. In fact, nothing earthly can stand God’s actual presence. God said:

“…‘Look upon the mountain if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.’
And when God appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Moses fell down unconscious. Then, when he recovered his senses he said: ‘Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.’” (Quran 7:143)
This lesson is clear. If no man can stand the presence of God, and even mountains collapse in ruin at his presence, then how can an earthly thing be God? How can a manufactured idol be God? How can a living human being be God? They cannot. So Moses repented from asking God this favor even though God fulfilled his request to the limit of not actually killing him. He said:
“I have chosen you above men by My Messages, and by My speaking (to you). So hold that which I have given already and be of the grateful.” (Quran 7:144)
The Tablets
God gave Moses tablets upon which were written ‘a lesson drawn from all things’ and ‘the explanation of all things.’

“…Hold on to these with firmness and enjoin your people to take the better therein...” (Quran 7:145)
He then told Moses what the rebellious could look forward to. Like He had hardened the heart of the Pharaoh, He would turn those who have no right behave arrogantly on the earth as they do, away from His verses, and condemn them to disbelief, even if they were to see all the Signs. In fact, though they might see the way of righteousness, they would not adopt it; rather, they would eagerly adopt the way of clear error when they saw it. And what reward can they expect, if they refuse to obey God? Nothing but the Doom of Judgment Day and eternity that is neither death, nor life, but continual destruction.[7] This is what the calf worshippers were due, and this is what all the consistent rebels against God’s religion of strict monotheism will be due, too.
The next article will tell the story of the Golden Calf, and the event that returned the Israelites to guidance.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Footnotes:
[1] Tur is a place name, but also means ‘tree lined mountain’. In Judeo-Christian tradition, this mountain was called Mt. Horeb, which was often conflated with Mt. Sinai and considered to be Jebel al Musa where the monastery of St. Catherine was built. No mountains bearing these names today exist in the Middle East, but recent archeological evidence suggests ‘Mt. Tur’ is in Arabia, just as Paul says in Galatians 4:25 (For this Hagar is Mt. Sinai in Arabia, …). Jebel al-Lawz is the main candidate for the actual mountain of Moses’ revelation, since it is the highest mountain near the region of Midian on a direct path to Aqaba and thence to Egypt. (
http://pinkoski.com/files/index.php?id=35).
[2] The first stage of the winnowing process started soon after this event, according to the Bible (Numbers 11:33), when a disease spread quickly among those who complained and decimated them.
[3] According to Exodus 17:5-6, God answered: “Go before the people and take the elders of Israel with you. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and there shall come water out of it, so that the people may drink.”
[4] This was the second stage of the winnowing process, according to the Bible, the complainers being the ones whose lives were lost in the battle.
[5] Tafsir ibn Kathir commentary on Quran verse 7:138.
[6] Quran 7:143. Also Exodus 33:17-23.
[7] Quran 7:146-7


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  #8  
قديم 08-10-2011, 08:14 PM
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People Turn away from God


The Golden Calf
When Moses arrived at the Camp with the tablets in his hand, he was confronted with a sight he never hoped to see. A large portion of the Israelites were singing and dancing around, and prostrating to, a statue of a calf made out of precious ****ls. Although he had been warned by God that this was the case, the actual sight was more than he could bear. Furious, he threw down the tablets he was carrying, upon which the scripture and criterion had been written.[1]

The statue, perhaps due to some instrumental property which utilized any breeze that swept it, made a lowing sound. Not that this was an excuse for taking it to be miraculously alive, God said:
“…Could they not see that it was able neither to speak nor to guide them to a way? They took it for worship, and they were wrongdoers.” (Quran 7:148)
He stormed into the middle of the crowd, aggrieved at the impatience of the people. Did the promise God gave them seem too long in coming? Did they want God to bring His wrath down on them? Was that why they broke their promise to him?
“They said: ‘We didn’t break our promise of our own free will. But we have been made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the people, so we cast them into the fire as Samiri suggested.’” (Quran 20:87)
Samiri had a reason for inciting the people to throw the ornaments that had taken from the Egyptians as loot. When Moses asked him what it was, Samiri said that he had seen what no other had, the angel Gabriel at the crossing, and had taken some dust from his horse’s hoof print. His inner soul had prompted him, he said, to throw that dust into the kiln along with the precious ****ls and jewelry. Then he had taken the cast out and suggested that it was their God, except that Moses had forgotten it.[2]
So Moses made his judgment:
“Then you are exiled! And verily, your (punishment) in this life is that you must say: “Touch me not!” and verily, you have a promise (of torment in the Hereafter) that will not fail…” (Quran 20:97)
Then he tuned on his brother, grabbing him by the head: ‘What stopped you from coming after me, as I instructed, when you saw the people going astray?’[3]
Aaron answered with conciliating words: ‘O son of my mother,’ he said, reminding him of his fraternal relationship, ‘Verily, I feared lest you should say: “You have caused a division among the Children of Israel, and you have not respected my word!”’ (Quran 20:94)
He further told him that the people had been threatening to kill him.[4]
Moved, Moses prayed:
“O Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us unto Your Mercy; for You are the most Merciful of the merciful.” (Quran 7:151)
After that, he destroyed the statue and scattered its particles. His next job was to deal with the hardcore of the miscreants. Some of the participants in the misdeed repented that they had weakly gone astray, and then staunchly returned to obedience. The ones, however, who had stopped hypocritically because they were forced had to be dealt with. Moses said:
“O my people, you have indeed wronged yourself by taking the golden calf for worship. So [those who believe] repent to your Creator and [let the righteous among you] kill [the unrighteous souls among you].[5] That is the best for all of you in the sight of your Creator.” (Quran 2:54)
The Elders Refuse to Obey Moses

When Moses recovered his temper, he picked up the tablets.[6] He then called out seventy men from the tribes.[7] They were to go with him to the mountain and make their repentance to God there. He told them that the tablets had God’s Book written on them informing His people what He commands and what he forbids, ‘as a Guidance and a Mercy’.[8]

They wanted more from Moses than just hearsay. They asked God to give them a Book to which they would adhere, openly in person, and claimed they would not believe what he told them until they saw God himself. In one narration, they asked ‘Why does he not talk to us as He talks to you, Moses?’[9]
So the Wrath of God fell upon them and a thunderbolt struck them, and they all died.[10]
When they fell down dead, Moses prayed to God. He asked God what he should say to the rest of Israelites about the destruction of ‘the best of them’[11]. He said:
“…Would you destroy us (all) for what the foolish among us have done? This is not but your trial by which You will send astray whom You will and guide whom You will. You are our protector, so forgive us and have mercy on us. And You are the best of forgivers. And decree for us in this world that which is good, and also in the Hereafter; indeed we have turned back to You…” (Quran 7:155-156)
In Moses observing that their deaths were a trial, he recognized that God did not mean to kill the elders permanently, but to teach them a lesson they would never forget. When he asked God for good, this was his hope and real request. Some scholars say that God accepted the repentance[12] they would manifest on returning to life, as the words, “Indeed He is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Quran 2:54) and “We raised you up after your death so you may be grateful.” (Quran 2:56) indicate. For if ‘raising up’ meant on the Day of Judgment, they would not be grateful for what they would be due, having died in a state of rebellion without having repented. And so He brought them back to life.
It may be that among these elders were those who would help Moses and Aaron in he future to guide the people to doing good and shunning evil. Their resurrection would then be of benefit, not only to themselves, but to the people of Israel. This might also be why they had been excluded from the killing of the unrighteous mentioned earlier, as they would have returned to righteousness after this experience.
Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that Gods Mercy extends even to the stubborn who try to make conditions on God. For, if they can be guided, God will guide them, even if not by the means originally sought by them. The concomitant reality is that those who do not desire to be guided will not be guided by any means. So, whether they die sooner or later, or even if they died and then were returned to the world, they would still be disbelievers on the Day of Judgment and therefore never gain the reward of Paradise in the Hereafter. Rather, their promised destination would be Hell.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Footnotes:
[1] The Bible reports that they were shattered into pieces, so he had to go up the mountain again for another 40 days and nights to get another set. The Quran, however, mentions only one occasion.

[2] It is said in the records of the Jews that a man named Hur tried to stop the people from doing this, but had been killed by them. Aaron was given the role of Samiri, allowing the statue to be cast in order to be conciliating. However, in the Quran and Prophetic Narrations it is clear that Aaron tried to stop the event, and was near to being killed because of his opposition.
[3] Quran 7:150
[4] Ibid.
[5] In the Bible, Moses calls for ‘those who are with me’ to rally to his side. It is said the Levites were the first to do so, and they were commanded to kill even their relatives, neighbors and friends if they belonged to the idol worshipping faction. Some Jewish scholars state that this is where their ‘special’ privileged status was earned and that 3,000 of the people were put to the sword as a result. (Exodus 32:28)
[6] He did not need to go up the mountain again for a new set.
[7] Seventy men are mentioned in Quran 7:155 and Exodus 24.9, but in Exodus, though it is in the con**** of ‘the first’40 day absence, they are called for a different sin – that of complaining about manna. The Bible mentions the seventy were respected elders and captains, (Numbers 11).
[8] Quran 7:154
[9] In Numbers 12:2, the words ‘Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Does he not also speak by us?’ are attributed to Aaron and Miriam.
[10] Ibn Kathir Tafsir on verse Quran 2:55
[11] Commentary by As-Suddi on Quran 2:55 & 7:155 in both Ibn Hatim and At Tabari
[12] Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Qaatadah mention this

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قديم 03-11-2012, 07:25 PM
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