Prophet Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron)
**********************************
Part 1
****
Description of the Pharaoh
The Pharaoh who ruled Egypt was a tyrant who oppressed the descendants of Jacob (PBUH),
known as the children of Israel (Bani Israel). He used every means to demean and disgrace them.
They were kept in bondage and forced to work for him for small wages or nothing. Under this
system, the people obeyed and worshipped the Pharaoh, and the ruling class carried out his orders,
thereby authorizing his tyranny and crazy whims.
The Pharaoh wanted the people to obey him only and believe in his invention’s gods.
Perhaps, during that time, many classes did not believe in or practise
polytheism; however, they kept this to themselves and outwardly did as they were expected to do,
without revolting or revealing themselves to anyone.
Thus, successive dynasties came to Egypt and assumed that they were gods or their representative
or spokesmen.
Visions of Dethroning the Pharaoh
Years passed, and a despotic king, who the Egyptians adored, ruled Egypt. His king saw
the children of Israel multiplying and prospering. He heard them talking about a vague vision that
one of Israel’s sons would dethrone the Pharaoh of Egypt. Perhaps this vision was only a
daydream that persisted within the hearts of the persecuted minority, or perhaps it was a prophecy
from their books.
Another tradition states that it was Pharaoh himself who had the vision. Ibn ‘Abbas narrated:
“Pharaoh saw in his vision a fire, which came from Jerusalem and burned the houses of the
Egyptians, and all Copts, did not harm the children of Israel. When he woke up, he was
Horrified. He then gathered his priests and magicians and asked them about this vision. They said:
“This means a boy will be born of them, and the Egyptian people will perish at his hands.’ That is
why Pharaoh commanded that all male children of the children of Israel be killed.”
Either way, this vision reached the ears of the Pharaoh. He then issued a decree to slay any male
child that would be born to the children of Israel.
The Killing of the Children of Israel
The killing of the children of Israel was carried out until the experts of economics said to Pharaoh:
“The aged of the children of Israel die, and the young are slaughtered. This will lead to their
destruction. As a result, Pharaoh will lose the manpower of those who work for him, those
he enslaves, and the women he exploits. It is better to regulate this procedure by initiating
the following policy: males should be slaughtered in one year but spared to live the next year.”
Pharaoh found that solution to be safer economically.
The Birth of Aaron and Moses (PBUT)
Moses’s mother was pregnant with Aaron (PBUH) in a year that boys were spared; thus, she gave
birth to the child publicly and safely. During a year in which boys were to be slain, she gave birth
to Moses (PBUH); thus, his birth caused her much terror. She was afraid he would be slain, so she
nursed him secretly.
Description of the Pharaoh and Birth of Moses – Quranic
Allah the Almighty revealed:
“These are Verses of the manifest Book (that clarifies Truth from falsehood, good from evil,
etc.). We recite to you some of the news of Moses and Pharaoh in Truth, for a people who believe
(those who believe in this Quran, and the Oneness of Allah). Verily, Pharaoh exalted himself
in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (children of Israel)
among them, killing their sons and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the Mufsideen
(those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants, etc.).
And we wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and to make
them rulers and to make them the inheritors, and to establish them in the land, and We let
Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts receive from them that which they feared. And We inspired
the mother of Moses, saying: “Suckle him (Moses), but when you fear for him, then cast him into
the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily! We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him
one of (Our) Messengers.” (Ch 28: 2-7 Quran).
Moses Thrown into the Nile
No sooner had the divine revelation finished that she obeyed the sacred and merciful call. She was
commanded to make a basket for Moses. She nursed him, put him into the basket, then went to
the shore of the Nile and threw it into the water. Her mother’s heart, the most merciful one in the
world, grieved as she threw her son into the Nile. However, she was aware that Allah was much
more merciful to Moses than to her, that He loved him more than her. Allah was his Lord and the
Lord of the Nile.
Hardly had the basket touched the water of the Nile than Allah issued His command to the waves
to be calm and gentle while carrying the child would one day be a prophet. She instructed her
daughter to follow the basket’s course and report back to her. As the daughter followed
the floating basket along the riverbank, she found herself right in the palace grounds and saw what
was unfolding before her eyes.
The basket came to rest at the riverbank, which skirted the king’s palace. The palace servants
found the basket with the baby and took it to the Pharaoh and his queen. When the queen beheld
the lovely infant, Allah instilled in her a strong love for this baby. Pharaoh’s wife was very
different from Pharaoh. He was a disbeliever; she was a believer. He was cruel; she was merciful.
He was a tyrant; she was delicate and goodhearted. She was sad because she was infertile and had
hoped to have a son. Hardly had she held the baby than she kissed him.
Pharaoh was amazed when he saw his wife hugging this baby to her breast. He was much
astonished because his wife was weeping with joy, something he had never seen her do before.
She requested her husband: “Let me keep the baby and let him be a son to us.”
Moses Finds a Home – Quranic
Almighty Allah said:
“Then the household of Pharaoh picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a
cause of grief. Verily! Pharaoh, Haman, and their hosts were sinners. And the wife of Pharaoh
said, “A comfort of the eye for me and you. Kill him not; perhaps he may be of a benefit to us,
or we may adopt him as a son.” And they perceived not (the result of that). (Ch 28:9 Quran)
Moses and His Mother Reunited
The queen summoned a few wet nurses to suckle the baby Moses, but he would not take any of
their breasts. The queen was distressed and sent for more wet nurses. Moses’s sister was also
worried, as her baby brother was without milk for a long time. Seeing the queen’s anxiety, she
exclaimed that she knew just the mother who would suckle the child affectionately.
They asked her why she was following the floating basket. She said she did so out of curiosity.
Her excuse sounded reasonable, so they believed her. They ordered her to rush and fetch the
woman she was talking about. Her mother also was waiting with a heavy heart, worried about the
fate of her baby. Just then, her daughter rushed in with the good news. Her heart lifted, and she lost
no time in reaching the palace. As the child was put to her breast, he immediately started suckling.
Pharaoh was astonished and asked: “Who are you? This child has refused to take any other breast
but yours.”
Had she told the Truth, PTruthh would have known that the child was an Israelite and would have
killed Moses instantly. However, Allah gave her inner strength, and she replied: “I am a woman of
sweet milk and sweet smell, and no child refuses me.” This answer satisfied Pharaoh.
From that day onward, she was appointed as Moses’s wet nurse. She continued to breastfeed him
for a long time. When he was bigger and was weaned, she was allowed the privilege of visiting
him. Moses was raised in the palace as a prince.
Moses and His Mother Reunited – Quranic
“And the heart of the mother of Mûsa (Moses) became empty [from every thought, except the
thought of Mûsa (Moses)]. She was very near to disclose his (case, i.e. the child is her son), had
We do not strengthen her heart (with Faith) to remain one of the believers.
And she said to his [Musa’s (Moses)] sister: “Follow him.” So she (his sister) watched him from
a distant place secretly, while they perceived not.
And We had already forbidden (other) foster suckling mothers for him until she (his sister came
up and) said: “Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and sincerely they
will look after him in a good manner?”
So did We restore him to his mother, that she might be delighted, and that she might not grieve,
and that she might know that the Promise of Allâh is true. But most of them know not.” (Ch. 28:
10-13)
The Qualities of Moses – Quranic
And when he attained his full strength and was perfect (in manhood), We bestowed on him
Human (Prophethood, right judgment of the affairs) and religious knowledge (of the religion of
his forefathers, Islamic Monotheism). And thus do We reward the Muhsineen (good-doers).” (Ch
28:14 Quran)
Moses Kills an Egyptian
Allah had granted Moses (PBUH) good health, strength, knowledge, and wisdom. The weak and
oppressed turned to him for protection and justice.
One day in the main city, he saw two men fighting. One was an Israelite, beaten by
the other, an Egyptian. On seeing Moses, the Israelites begged him for help. In a state of anger, Moses became
involved in the dispute and struck a heavy blow on the Egyptian, who died on
the spot. Upon realizing that he had killed a human being, Moses’s heart was filled with deep
sorrow, and immediately he begged Allah for forgiveness.
He had not intended to kill the man. He pleaded with Almighty Allah to forgive him, and he felt a
sense of peace filling his whole being. After that, Moses began to show more patience and
sympathy towards people.
The next day he saw the same Israelite involved in another fight. Moses went to him and said:
“You seem to be a quarrelsome fellow. You have a new quarrel with one person or another each
day.” Fearing that Moses might strike him, the Israelite warned Moses: “Would you kill me as you
killed the wretch yesterday?”
The Egyptians, the Israelites, was fighting, overheard this remark and reported Moses to
the authorities. Soon after that, as Moses was passing through the city, a man approached and
alerted him: “O Moses, the chiefs have taken counsel against you. You are to be tried and killed. I
would advise you to escape.”
Moses Kills an Egyptian – Quranic
Moses knew that the penalty for killing an Egyptian was death. Allah the Exalted recounted:
“And he entered the city at a time of unawareness of its people, and he found there two men
fighting, one of his party (his religion, from the children of Israel), and the other of his foes. The
man of his party asked him for help against his foe, so Moses struck him with his fist and
killed him. He said, “This is of Satan’s doing, verily; he is a plain misleading enemy.”
He said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him. Verily,
He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
He said: “My Lord! For that with which You have favoured me, I will nevermore be a helper for
the Mujrimeen (criminals, disobedient to Allah, polytheists, sinners, etc.)!”
So he became afraid, looking about in the city (waiting as to what will be the result of his crime
of killing) when behold, the man who had sought his help the day before, called for his help
again. Moses said to him: “Verily, you are a plain misleader!” Then when he decided to seize the
man who was an enemy to both of them, the man said: “O Moses! Is it your intention to kill me
as you killed a man yesterday? Your aim is nothing but to become a tyrant in the land and not to
be one of those who do right.”
And there came a man running from the farthest end of the city. He said: “O Moses! Verily, the
chiefs are taking counsel together about you, to kill you, so escape. Truly, I am to you of those
who give sincere advice.”
So he escaped from there, looking about in a state of fear. He said: “My Lord! Save me from the
people who are Zalimeen (polytheists, and wrong-doers)!” (Ch 28:15-21 Quran)
Moses Leaves Egypt
Moses left Egypt in a hurry without going to Pharaoh’s palace or changing his clothes. Nor was he
prepared for travelling. He did not have a beast of burden upon which to ride, and he was not in a
caravan. Instead, he left as soon as the believer came and warned him of Pharaoh’s plans.
He travelled in the direction of the country of Midian, which was the nearest inhabited land
between Syria and Egypt. His only companion in this hot desert was Allah, and his only provision
was piety. There was not a single root to pick to lessen his hunger. The hot sand burned the soles
of his feet. However, fearing pursuit by Pharaoh’s men, he forced himself to continue.
Moses Helps Women Shepherds
He travelled for eight nights, hiding during the day. After crossing the main desert, he reached a
watering hole outside Midian where shepherds were watering their flocks.
Moses reached the Midian no sooner than throwing himself under a tree to rest. He suffered
from hunger and fatigue. The soles of his feet felt as if they were worn out from hard walking on
sand and rocks and from the dust. He did not have any money to buy a new pair of sandals, nor to
buy food or drink. Moses noticed a band of shepherds watering their sheep. He went to the
spring, where he saw two young women preventing their sheep from mixing with the others.
Moses sensed that the women needed help. Forgetting his thirst, he drew nearer to them
and asked if he could help them in any way.
The older sister said: “We are waiting until the shepherds finish watering their sheep, then we will
water ours.”
Moses asked again: “Why are you waiting?”
The younger one: “We cannot push men.”
Moses was surprised that women were shepherding, as only men were supposed to do it. It is
hard and tiresome work, and one needs to be on the alert. Moses asked: “Why are you
shepherding?”
The younger sister said: “Our father is an old man; his health is too poor for him to go outdoors
for pasturing sheep.”
Moses (PBUH) said: “I will water the sheep for you.”
When Moses approached the water, he saw that the shepherds had put over the mouth of the
spring a huge rock that ten men could only move. Moses embraced the rock and
lifted it out of the spring’s mouth, the veins of his neck and hands standing out as he did so. Moses
was certainly strong. He watered their sheep and put the rock back in its place.
He returned to sit in the shade of the tree. At this moment, he realized that he had forgotten to
drink. His stomach was sunken because of hunger.
Moses Helps Women Shepherds – Quranic
Almighty Allah described this event:
“And when he arrived at the water of Midian (Midyan), he found there a group of men watering
Besides their flocks, he found two women keeping back their flocks. He said:
“What is the matter with you?” They said: “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take
their flocks. And our father is a very old man.”
So he watered their flocks for them, then he turned back to shade, and said: “My Lord! Truly, I
require whatever good that You bestow on me!” (Ch 28:22-24 Quran)
Moses Finds a Home Among Shepherds
The young ladies returned home earlier than usual, which surprised their father. They related the
incident at the spring, which was why they were back early. Their father sent one of his
daughters to invite the stranger to his home. Bashfully, the woman approached Moses and
delivered the message. “My father is grateful for what you have done for us. He invites you to our
home so that he may thank you personally.”
Moses welcomed this invitation and accompanied the maiden to her father. Moses could see that
they lived comfortably as a happy and peaceful household. He introduced himself and told the older man about the misfortune that befallen him and compelled him to flee Egypt. The
old man comforted him: “Fear not, you have escaped from the wrong-doers.”
The father and his daughters noticed Moses’s gentle behaviour. The kind man invited him to
stay with them. Moses felt at home with this happy household, for they were friendly and feared
Allah.
Moses Becomes a Shepherd
One of the daughters suggested that he employ Moses, as he was strong and
trustworthy. They needed someone like him, especially at the water hole, visited by
ruffians.
The father asked her how she could be sure of his trustworthiness in such a short time. She
replied: “When I bade him follow me to our home, he insisted that I walk behind him so he
would not observe my form (to avoid sexual attraction).”
The older man was pleased to hear this. He approached Moses and said: “I wish to marry you to
one of my daughters on condition that you agree to work for me for eight years.”
This offer suited Moses well, for being a stranger in this country, he would soon have to search
for shelter and work. Moses married the Midianite’s daughter and looked after the older man’s
animals for ten years.
Moses Becomes a Shepherd – Quranic
Almighty Allah recounted:
“Then there came to him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said: “Verily, my father calls
you that he may reward you for having watered our flocks for us.” So when he came to him and
narrated the story, he said, “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are Zalimeen
(polytheists, disbelievers, and wrong-doers).” And said one of them (the two women): “O my
Father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” He said:
“I intend to wed one of these two daughters of Mine to you on condition that you serve me for
eight years, but if you complete ten years, it will be a favour from you. But I intend not to place
You are under difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.” He (Moses) said:
“That is settled between you whichever of the two terms I fulfil and me, there will be no injustice
to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.” ( Ch 28:25-28 Quran)
The Ten Years of Preparation
Time passed, and he lived in seclusion, far from his family and people. This period of ten years
was of importance in his life. It was a period of major preparation. Certainly, Moses’s mind was
absorbed in the stars every night. He followed the sunrise and the sunset every day. He pondered
the plant and how it splits and soil and appears after that. He contemplated water and how the
earth is revived by it and flourishes after its death.
Of course, he was immersed in the Glorious Book of Allah, open to the insight and heart. He was
immersed in the existence of Allah. All these became latent within him. The religion of Moses
(PBUH) was the same as Jacob’s (PBUH), Islamic monotheism. His forefather was
Jacob (PBUH) is the grandson of Abraham (PBUH). Moses (PBUH), therefore, was one of the
descendants of Abraham (PBUH) and every prophet who came after Abraham was one of
Abraham’s successors. In addition to physical preparation, there was a similar spiritual
preparation. It was made in complete seclusion, in the middle of the desert, and the places of
pasture. The silence was his way of life, and seclusion was his vehicle. Allah the Almighty prepared
for His prophet the tools he would need later on to bear the commands of Allah the righteously
Exalted.
Moses Decides to Return to Egypt
One day after the end of this period, a vague homesickness arose in Moses’s heart. He wanted to
return to Egypt. He was fast and firm in making his decision, telling his wife: “Tomorrow, we shall
leave for Egypt.” His wife said to herself. “There are a thousand dangers in departing that have
not yet been revealed.” However, she obeyed her husband.
Moses himself did not know the secret of the quick and sudden decision to return to Egypt. After
all, he had fled from there ten years ago with a price on his head. Why should he go back now?
Did he look forward to seeing his mother and brother? Did he think of visiting Pharaoh’s wife, who
had raised him and who loved him as if she were his mother?
No one knows what went through Moses’s mind when he returned to Egypt. All we know is that
a mute obedience to Allah’s destinies urged him to make a decision, and he did. These supreme
destinies steered his steps towards a matter of great importance.
Moses Begins His Prophethood
Moses left Midian with his family and travelled through the desert until he reached Mount Sinai.
There Moses discovered that he had lost his way. He sought Allah’s direction and was shown the
right course. At nightfall, they reached Mount Tur. Moses noticed a fire in the distance. “I shall
fetch a firebrand to warm us.”
As he neared the fire, he heard a sonorous voice calling him: “O Moses, I am Allah, the Lord of
the Universe.” Moses was bewildered and looked around. He again heard the strange voice. “And
what is in your right hand, O Moses?”
Shivering, Moses answered: “This is my staff on which I lean, and with which I beat down
branches for my sheep, and for which I find other uses.” (This question was asked so that Moses.’
attention would focus on the staff and prepare him for the miracle which was to happen. This
was the beginning of Moses’s mission as a prophet -PBUH).
The same voice commanded him: “Throw down your staff!” He did so, and the staff
became a wriggling snake at once. Moses turned to run, but the voice again addressed him: “Fear not and
grasp it; We shall return it to its former state.” The snake changed back into his staff. Moses’s fear
subsided and was replaced by peace, for he realized that he was witnessing the Truth.
NTruthAllah commanded him to thrust his hand into his robe at the armpit. When he pulled it out,
the hand had a brilliant shine. Allah then commanded Moses; “You have two signs from Your
Lord, go to Pharaoh and his chiefs, for they are an evil gang and have transgressed all bounds.”
However, Moses feared that Pharaoh would arrest him, so he turned to Allah, saying: “My
Lord! I have killed a man among them, and I fear that they will kill me.”
Allah assured him of his safety and set his heart at rest.
Moses Begins His Prophethood – Quranic
Almighty Allah narrated this event:
“And has there come to you the story of Moses? When he saw a fire, he told his family: “Wait!
Verily, I have seen a fire; perhaps I can bring you some burning brand from that place or find some
guidance at the fire.”
And when he came to it the fire, he was called by name: “O Moses! Verily! I am your Lord! So
take off your shoes; you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa. And I have chosen you. So listen to that
which is inspired to you. Verily! I am Allah! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be
worshipped but I), so worship Me and offer prayers perfectly, for My Remembrance. Verily, the
Hour is coming – and My Will is to keep it hidden – that every person may be rewarded for that
he strives. Therefore, let the one who believes not therein (in the Day of Resurrection,
Reckoning, Paradise and Hell etc.) but follows his lusts, divert you from that place lest you
perish. And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?”
He said: “This is my stick, whereon I lean, and wherewith I beat down branches for my sheep
and wherein I find other uses.”
Allah said: “Cast it down, O Moses!”
He cast it down, and behold! It was a snake, moving quickly.
Allah said: “Grasp it, and fear not, We shall return it to its former state, and press your right
hand to your left side, it will come forth white and shining, and without any disease as another
sign that We may show you some of Our Greater Signs.
“Go To Pharaoh! Verily! He has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has
behaved as an arrogant, and as a tyrant).” (Ch. 20: 9-24)
Moses and Aaron (PBUT) Given Their Duties – Quranic
Moses said: “O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and
boldness). And ease my task for me; and make loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue,
(remove the incorrectness of my speech) that they understand my speech, and appoint for me a
helper from my family, Aaron, my brother; increase my strength with him, and let him share my
task (of conveying Allah’s Message and Prophethood), and we may glorify You much, and
remember You much, Verily! You are of us Ever a Well-Seer.”
Allah said: “You are granted your request, O Moses! And indeed, We conferred a favour on you
another time before. When We inspired your mother with that which We inspired, saying: “Put
him (the child) into the Tabut (a box or a case or a chest) and put him into the river (Nile), and
then the river shall cast it up on the bank, and there, an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his shall
take him.’ And I endured you with love from Me, so that you may be brought up under My
Eye, when your sister went and said, “Shall I show you the one who will nurse him?’ So We restored
you to your mother, that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve. Then you did kill a
man, but We saved you from great distress and tried you with a heavy trial. Then you stayed several years with people of Midian. Then you came here according to the term I
ordained (for you), O Moses!
“And I have Istana’tuka (chosen you for My Inspiration and My Message) for Myself. Go you
and your brother with My Ayat (proofs, lessons, verses, evidence, signs, revelations, etc.), and
do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My Remembrance.
“Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, certainly; he has transgressed all bounds in disbelief and
disobedience and behaved as an arrogant and as a tyrant. And speak to him mildly; perhaps he
may accept admonition or fear Allah.”
They said: “Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should
transgress all bounds against us.”
He (Allah) said: “Fear not, Verily! I am with you both, Hearing and Seeing. So go you both to
him, and say: “Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, so let the children of Israel go with us,
and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon
him who follows the guidance! Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him
who denies (beliefs not in the Oneness of Allah, and His Messengers, etc.), and turns away.’
(from the Truth, aTruthedience of Allah).” (Ch 20:9-48 Quran).
Moses and