Stories of the Prophets
Prophet Musa (Moses) & Harun (Aaron)
Part 2
Moses and Aaron (PBUT) Talk to the Pharaoh
Moses (PBUH) and Aaron (PBUH) went to Pharaoh and delivered their message. Moses
spoke to him about Allah, His mercy and His Paradise and the obligations of monotheism
and His worship.
Pharaoh listened to Moses’ speech with disdain. He thought Moses was crazy because he
dared to question his top position. Then he raised his hand and asked: “What do you want?”
Moses answered: “I want you to send the children of Israel with us.”
Pharaoh asked: “Why should I send them, as they are my slaves?”
Moses replied: “They are the slaves of Allah, Lord of the Worlds.”
Pharaoh then inquired sarcastically if his name was Moses. Moses said, “Yes.”
“Are you not the Moses whom we picked up from the Nile as a helpless baby? Are you not the
Moses whom we reared in this palace, who ate and drank from our provisions and whom our
wealth showered with charity? Are you not the Moses who is a fugitive, the killer of an Egyptian
man, if my memory does not betray me? It is said that killing is an act of disbelief. Therefore, you
were a disbeliever when you were killed. You are a fugitive from justice, and you come to speak to me!
What were you talking about, Moses? I forgot?”
Moses knew that Pharaoh’s mentioning his past, upbringing, and receiving Pharaoh’s
charity was Pharaoh’s way of threatening him. Moses ignored his sarcasm and explained that he
was not a disbeliever when he killed the Egyptian, he only went astray, and Allah the Almighty had
not yet given him the revelation at that time. He made Pharaoh understand that he fled from Egypt
because he feared their revenge upon him, even though the killing was an accident. He
informed him that Allah had granted him forgiveness and made him one messenger.
Moses and Aaron (PBUT) Talk to the Pharaoh – Quranic
Allah the Almighty revealed to us part of the dialogue between Moses (PBUH) and Pharaoh:
“Allah said: “Nay! Go you both with Our Signs, Verily! We shall be with you, listening. And
when you both come to Pharaoh, say: “We are the Messengers of the Lord of the Alamin
(mankind, jinn and all that exists), and So allow the children of Israel to go with us.”
Pharaoh said to Moses: “Did we not bring you up among us as a child? And you did dwell many
years of your life with us. And you did your deed which you did (the crime of killing a man), and
you are one of the ingrates.”
Moses said: “I did it then when I was ignorant (as regards my Lord and His Message). So I
fled from you when I feared you. But my Lord has granted me Human (religious knowledge,
right judgments of the affairs and Prophethood) and appointed me as one of the Messengers.
And this is the past favour with which you reproach me and that you have enslaved the children
of Israel.”
Pharaoh said: “And what is the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)?”
Moses replied: “Lord of the heavens, and the earth, and all that is between them if you seek to
be convinced with certainty.”
Pharaoh said to those around: “Do you not hear what he says?”
Moses said: “Your Lord and the Lord of your ancient fathers!”
Pharaoh said: “Verily, your 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 did but
Pharaoh said: “If you choose an ilah (a god) other than me, I will certainly put you among the
Moses said: “Even if I bring you something manifest (and convincing).”
Pharaoh said: “Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!” (Ch 26:16-31 Quran)
Moses Proves Himself Right
The degree of the conflict expressed in this dialogue reached its apex; thus, the tone of dialogue
changed. Moses used a convincing intellectual argument against Pharaoh. However, Pharaoh
escaped from the circle of dialogue based on logic and began a dialogue of another type, which Moses could not bear to follow; a dialogue of menacing and threatening. Pharaoh
deliberately adopted the style of the absolute ruler. He asked Moses how he dared to worship
Allah! Did he not know that Pharaoh was a god?
After declaring his divinity, Pharaoh asked Moses how he dared to worship another god. The
punishment for this crime was imprisonment. It was not permitted for anyone to worship anyone
other than the Pharaoh. Moses understood that the intellectual arguments did not succeed. The
calm dialogue was converted from sarcasm to mentioning charity, then to scorn, then to the threat
of imprisonment.
Moses said: “Even if I bring you something manifest and convincing.” Pharaoh said, “Bring it
forth, then, if you are of the truthful!” So Moses threw his stick, and behold, it was a serpent,
manifest. And he drew out his hand, and behold; it was white to all beholders! (Ch 26:30-33
Moses Defeats the Magicians
Pharaoh’s amazement turned to terror. Fearing that his rule was in danger, he addressed his
advisors: “These are two wizards who will strip you of your best traditions and drive you of the
country with their magic. What do you advise?” they counselled Pharaoh to detain Moses and his
brother. At the same time, they summoned the cleverest magicians in the country. Then they, too, could show
their skills of magic and change sticks into serpents. In this way, they sought to reduce the
influence of Moses’s miracles on the masses.
Pharaoh detained Moses and Aaron. He dispatched couriers all over the land to enlist the best
magicians. He offered each successful magician a big reward, including an appointment as a royal
courtier. On the typical festival day, which attracted citizens from all over the Egyptian
empire, Pharaoh arranged a public contest between Moses and the magicians. The people
came in droves as near before when they heard of the greatest contest ever between Pharaoh’s
many magicians and a single man who claimed to be a prophet. They had also heard of a baby
who had once floated down the river Nile in a basket, landed on Pharaoh’s palace grounds, been
reared as a prince, and who later had fled for killing an Egyptian with a single blow.
Everyone was eager and excited to watch this great contest. Before it began, Moses arose. There
was a hush in the huge crowd. Moses addressed the magicians. “Woe unto you if you invent a lie
against Allah by calling His miracles magic and by not being honest with the Pharaoh. Woe unto
you if you do not know the difference between the truth and falsehood. Allah will destroy you
with His punishment, for he who lies against Allah fails miserably.”
Moses had spoken sincerely and made the magicians think. But they were overwhelmed by their
greed for money and glory. They hoped to impress the people with their magic and to expose
Moses is a fraud and a cheat.
Moses asked the magicians to perform first. They threw their magical objects down on the
ground. Their staffs and ropes took the forms of wriggling serpents while the crowd watched in
amazement. Pharaoh and his men applauded loudly. Then Moses threw his staff. It began to
wriggle and became an enormous serpent. The people stood up, craning their necks for a better
view. Pharaoh and his men sat silently as, one by one, Moses’s huge serpent swallowed all the
snakes. Moses bent to pick it up, and it became a staff in his hand.
The crowd rose like a great wave, shouting and screaming with excitement. A wonder like this
had never been seen before! On witnessing the power of Moses, the magicians prostrated
themselves to Allah, declaring: “We believe in the Lord of Moses and Aaron.” Pharaoh was angry
and began plotting his next move. He charged that the demonstration had been arranged secretly
between Moses and the magicians. He demanded that the magicians confess to their scheme,
threatening them with death. They refused to denounce Allah and stuck to the sincerity of their
belief. No longer hiding his cruel nature, Pharaoh threatened to cut off their hands and feet and
crucify them on the trunks of palm trees as an example to his subjects.
Moses Defeats the Magicians – Quranic
Almighty Allah recounted this event:
“He (Pharaoh) said: “Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses?
Then surely, we can produce magic the like thereof; so appoint a meeting between us and you,
which neither we, nor you shall fail to keep, in a wide-open place where both shall have a just
and equal chance (and beholders could witness the competition).”
Moses said: “your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when
the sun has risen (forenoon).”
So Pharaoh withdrew, devised his plot and then came back. Moses said to them: “Woe unto you!
Invent not a lie against Allah, lest He should destroy you completely by a torment. And surely, he
who invents a lie (against Allah) will fail miserably.”
Then they debated what they must do with one another, and they kept their talk secret. They said:
“Verily! There are two magicians. Their object is to drive you out from your land with magic and
overcome your chiefs and nobles. So devise your plot, and then assemble in line. And whoever
overcomes this day will be indeed successful.”
They said: “O Moses! Either you throw first, or we are the first to throw?”
Moses said: “nay, throw you (first)!” Then behold, their ropes and their sticks, by their magic,
appeared to him as though they moved fast. So Moses conceived a fear in himself.
We (Allah) said: “Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. Throw that which is in your
right hand! It will swallow up that which they have made. That which they have made is only a
magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount of skill
he may attain.”
So the magicians fell prostrate. They said: “We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.”
Pharaoh said: “Believe you in him (Moses) before I permit you? Verily! He is your
chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I
will surely crucify you on the trunks of palm trees, and you shall surely know which of us (I
Pharaoh,) or the Lord of (Moses) (Allah), can give the severe and more lasting torment.”
They said: “We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him (Allah) Who
created us. So decree (regarding) this life of the world. Verily! We have believed in our Lord,
that He may forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us. And Allah is better
as regards reward in comparison to your (Pharaoh’s) reward and more lasting (as regards
punishment in comparison to you punishment).”
Allah’s Description of Believers and Non-Believers – Quranic
Verily! Whoever comes to his Lord as a Mujrim (criminal, polytheist, disbeliever, in the Oneness
of Allah and His Messengers, sinner, etc.), then surely, for him is Hell, therein he will neither die
nor live.
But whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer (in the Oneness of Allah, etc.) and has done
righteous good deeds, for such, are the high ranks (in the Hereafter), – Everlasting Gardens (And
Paradise), under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever; such is the reward of those
who purify themselves (by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has
forbidden and by doing all that Allah has ordained). (Ch 20:58-76 Quran).
The People’s Non – Reaction to the defeat of the magicians
The magicians represented the elite of Egyptian society. They were its scholars. They
prostrated before righteousness, but the people abandoned them and left them to their fate. The
path of righteousness was plain, but the people did nothing but stand by and
watch despite this.
If every one of the Egyptians had stopped to pick up a piece of brick and had thrown it at
Pharaoh would have fallen dead, and the history of Egypt would have been changed.
This did not happen. None of the people moved. Each one stood motionless in his
place. The people did nothing but watch, and they paid the price of this inactivity: they were
drowned later as the price for the cowardice of one day.
The Pharaoh’s Reaction to Moses Victory
Moses and Aaron left, and Pharaoh returned to his palace. Pharaoh entered his palace. Pharaoh
was completely stupefied when he faced the two miracles. When Moses went out of his presence,
his emotions changed from amazement and fear to violent rage. He quarrelled with his ministers
and men, reviled them bitterly for no reason, and commanded them to get out of his presence.
When he was left alone, he tried to think more calmly. He drank several cups of wine, but his
anger did not abate.
Then he summoned all the ministers, leaders, and responsible men for a serious meeting. Pharaoh
entered the meeting with a stern face. It was obvious that he would never surrender easily. He had
established a kingdom based on being a god worshipped by the Egyptian people. Now
Moses came to destroy what he had built. Moses said that there was no Lord other than Allah in
existence. This meant that Pharaoh was a liar.
Pharaoh opened the session by throwing a sudden question at Haman: “Am I a liar, O Haman?”
In amazement, Haman fell to his knees and asked: “Who dared to accuse Pharaoh of lying?”
Pharaoh said: “Has he (Moses) not said that there is a Lord in the heaven?”
Haman answered: “Moses is lying.”
Turning his face to the other side, Pharaoh asserted impatiently: “I know he is a liar.” Then he
looked towards Haman (and cried):
“O, Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways – the ways of the heavens, and I may
look upon the Ilah (God) of Moses, but certainly, I think him to be a liar.”
Thus it was made fair-seeming, in Pharaoh’s eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered
from the Right Path, and the plot of Pharaoh led to nothing but loss and destruction for him. (Ch
40:36-37 Quran).
Pharaoh issued his royal command to erect a lofty tower, its height to reach the heavens.
Pharaoh’s command depended fundamentally upon Egyptian civilization and its fondness for
building what Pharaoh wanted. However, he ignored the rules of engineering. Despite this,
Haman assented (hypocritically), knowing that it was impossible to erect such a tower. He said
that he would issue a command to build it immediately. “However, your majesty, let me object to
Pharaoh for the first time. You will never find anyone in the heavens. There is no god but you.”
Pharaoh listened to a settled fact. Then he declared in the famous meeting his historic line:
“O chiefs! I know not that you an ilah (a god) other than me.” (Ch 28:38 Quran).
Pharaoh’s Men Spread Rumors
Pharaoh was absorbed in his new problem. A series of serious meetings began in his palace. He
summoned those responsible for the army, the police and, what we call today his director of
intelligence. He also summoned the ministers, princes, and priests. He called whoever had a
powerful effect on the direction of events.
Pharaoh asked his director of intelligence: “What do people say?”
He said: “My men have spread among them that Moses won the contest because of a plot and that
a major magician had joined with him in this plan. The plot had been disclosed, and we believe an
unknown authority financed it.”
Pharaoh asked his director of police: “What about the magicians’ corpses?”
He said: “My men hung them in public squares and markets to terrify the people. We will spread a
rumour that Pharaoh will kill whoever had anything to do with the plot.”
Then Pharaoh asked the army commander: “What does the army say?”
He said: “The army hopes that commands will be issued to move in whatever direction Pharaoh
Pharaoh said: “The role of the army has not come yet. Its role will come.”
Pharaoh’s Men Harm the Believers
Pharaoh fell silent. Haman, the Prime Minister, moved and raised his hand to speak. Pharaoh
permitted him and Haman asked: “Will we leave Moses and his people to corrupt the rest of the
people on the earth so that they leave your worship?”
Pharaoh said: “You read my thoughts, O Haman. We will kill their sons, rape their women, and
conquer them.” He issued commands, and Pharaoh’s men rushed to slay the sons, rape the
women, and imprison whoever objected to these acts.
Moses stood watching what was happening. He could not interfere, nor did he have the power to
forbid these acts. All he could do was to advise his people to be patient. He ordered them to ask
Allah the Almighty for a calamity on the Egyptians. He pointed out to them the model of the
Egyptian magicians endured for Allah’s sake without complaint. He helped them
understand that Pharaoh’s soldiers behaved on earth as if they were its private owners.
Pharaoh’s terrorism infused the children of Israel with a spirit of defeat. They complained to
“We (children of Israel) had suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you have come to
us.” He said: “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the
earth, so that He may see how you act.” (Ch 7:129 Quran).
Korah – His Actions and Destruction
Moses began to face a difficult situation. He had to confront Pharaoh’s anger and his plots, while
at the same time, he had to deal with the mutiny of his people. In the midst of all this, Korah
(Qaroun) moved.
Korah was one of Moses’s people. He was very rich and lived in a magnificent mansion. He wore
only the most expensive clothes. Numerous enslaved people waited on him, and he indulged in every known
luxury. His enormous wealth made him arrogant. Korah treated the poor with contempt and told
them that their poverty was due to their lack of intelligence. He believed that what he owned was
due to his cleverness and business ability.
Moses reminded Korah to pay alms (zakat) on his wealth, a portion of which was rightfully due to
the poor. Alms are compulsory upon all believers. Korah was annoyed by this advice and told
Moses that his wealth was proof that he was favoured by Allah, Who approved of his
lifestyle and increased his wealth daily. Moses argued with him and warned him of the result of
his wicked thoughts.
When Korah did calculate the alms due to his wealth, he was shocked at the large amount he had
to part with. He not only refused to give alms but spread a rumour that Moses had invented the
law of zakat for his gain. He even bribed the people to oppose Moses and to spread wicked
rumours about him. Allah warned Moses of Korah’s plot. Moses appealed to Allah to punish him for
his stinginess and defy His laws. Allah’s anger fell on Korah. The earth opened up and
swallowed him, his mansion and all his wealth, as if he had never existed.
Korah – His Actions and Destruction – Quranic
Almighty Allah revealed:
“Verily, Korah was of Moses’s people, but he behaved arrogantly towards them. And We gave
him of the treasures, that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men.
When his people said to him: “Do not be glad about ungratefulness to Allah’s Favors). Verily!
Allah likes not those who are glad (with wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of
the Hereafter, and forget nor your portion of legal enjoyment in this world, and do good as
Allah has been good to you and seeks not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the
Mufsideen (those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, and mischief-makers,
He said: “This has been given to me only because of knowledge I possess.” Did he not know that
Allah had destroyed before him generations men who were stronger than him in might and
greater in the number of riches they had collected. But the Murimun (criminals, disbelievers,
polytheists, sinners, etc.) will not be questioned of their sins (because Allah knows them well, so
they will be punished without account). So he went forth before his people in his pomp. Those
who were desirous of the life of the world said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Korah
has been given! Verily! He is the owner of a great fortune.”
But those who had been given religious knowledge said: “Woe to you! The Reward of Allah (in
the Hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and this none shall
attain except those who are patient (in following the truth).”
So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group or party to
help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves. And those who had
desired (for a position like) his position, the day before, began to say; “Know you not that it is
Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases His slaves? Had it
not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up also!”
Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful? (Ch 28:76-82 Quran).
The Pharaohs Relative Defends Moses
When the Egyptians and children of Israel examined the miracle, the conflict between Moses and
Pharaoh again reached a crisis because Pharaoh believed that Moses was threatening his kingdom.
Pharaoh was afraid that Moses would mislead the people. He suggested to his ministers and
notable men that Moses be killed. We believe that Haman supported the idea along with a front of
disbelievers. It was on the verge of approval, except for the vote of one of the notable men of the
state, whose name is not mentioned in the Quran. The Quran says only that this man was a
This believer spoke in the assembly where killing Moses had been introduced. He
proved it was not a good idea: “Moses did not say more than that Allah is his Lord. Later, he
came with clear evidence that he was a messenger. There are two possibilities; either Moses is
righteous or a liar. If he lies, he will be responsible for his lie. If he is righteous and we slay him,
where is the guarantee that we will be rescued from the torment of Allah? Either way, he neither
says nor does anything that merits our killing him.”
This angered Pharaoh and his counsellors, and they threatened to harm the man, but he refused to
budge from his stance. Then they tried to woo him back, but he still warned them that they were
inviting their doom. This angered Pharaoh more, and he now threatened to kill the man. However,
Allah protected His believer.
The Pharaoh’s Relative Defends Moses – Quranic
Almighty Allah revealed their dialogue:
Pharaoh said: “Leave me to kill Moses, and let him call his Lord (to stop me from killing him)! I
fear that he may change your religion or that he may cause mischief to appear in the land!”
Moses said: “Verily, I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant who believes
not in the Day of Reckoning!”
And a believing man of Pharaoh’s family, who hid his faith, said: “Would you kill a man because
he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs (proofs) from your Lord?
And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of
that calamity wherewith he threatens you will befall on you. Verily, Allah guides not one who is a
Music (a polytheist, a murderer who shed blood without a right, or those who commit great
sins, oppressor, transgressor, or a liar! Oh, my people! Yours is the kingdom this DDay you are
uppermost in the land. But, who will save us from the Torment of Allah, should it occur us?”
Pharaoh said: “I show you only that which I see correct, and I guide you only to the path of right
And he who believed said: “O my people! Verily, I fear for you a fate like that day of the disaster of
the confederate of old! Like the fate of the people of Noah, and ‘Ad, and Thamud, and those who
came after them. And Allah wills no injustice for His slaves. And, O my people! Verily! I fear for
you the day when there will be mutual calling between the people of Hell and Paradise.”
A Day when you will turn your backs and flee having no protector from Allah, and whomsoever
Allah sends astray; for him, there is no guide. And indeed Joseph did come to you, in times gone
by, with clear signs, but you ceased not to doubt in that which he did bring to you, till when he
died, you said: “No Messenger will Allah send after him.” Thus Allah leaves astray him who is a
Music (a polytheist, oppressor, criminal, sinner who commits great sins) and a Murtab (one
who doubts Allah’s Warning and His Oneness). Those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs,
evidence, verses, lessons, revelations and signs, etc.) of Allah, without any authority that has
come to them, are greatly hateful in the Sight of Allah and in the sight of those who believe. Thus
does Allah seal up the heart of every arrogant tyrant. (So they cannot guide themselves to the
Right Path).
And Pharaoh said: “O Haman! Build me a tower that I may arrive at the ways – the ways of the
heavens, and I may look upon the Ilah (God ) of Moses, but certainly, I think him to be a liar.”
Thus it was made fair-seeming, in Pharaoh’s eyes, the evil of his deeds, and he was hindered
from the Right Path, and the plot of Pharaoh led to nothing but loss and destruction for him.
And the man who believed said: “O my people! Follow me; I will guide you to the way of right
conduct (guide you to Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism with which Moses has been sent).
Oh, my people! Truly, this world’s life is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and certainly,
the Hereafter is the home that will remain forever. Whosoever does an evil deed, will not be
reimbursed except the like thereof, and whosoever does a righteous deed, whether male or female
and is a true believer (in the Oneness of Allah), such will enter Paradise, where they will be
provided therein (with all things in abundance) without limit.”
“And O my people! How am I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire! You invite
me to disbelieve in Allah (and in His Oneness) and to join partners in worship with Him, of
which I have no knowledge, and I invite you to the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving! No doubt you
call me to worship one who cannot grant me my request or respond to my invocation in this
world or the Hereafter. And our return will be to Allah and Al-Musrifeen (polytheists and
arrogant, those who commit great sins, the transgressors of Allah’s set limits)! They shall be the
dwellers of the Fire! And you will remember what I am telling you, and I leave my affair to
Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of His slaves.”
So Allah saved him from the evils they plotted (against him), while an evil torment
encompassed Pharaoh’s people. (Ch 40:26-45 Quran)