Where is the sacred "Tuwa Valley" mentioned in the Quran? Why was the first revelation sent down to Hz. Musa (Moses) in that valley?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The sacred Tuwa Valley mentioned in two places in the Quran (Taha, 20/12; an-Naziat, 79/16) is a valley in the foothill of Mount Sina near Damascus.

Tuwa is the name of that valley. Since it is first described with the adjective "muqaddas", which means clean and sacred, the verse attracts attention to the fact that divine prosperity and blessing will first come to clean hearts and hence to the necessity of cleanliness.   

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the chapter of Taha:

"Therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa." (Taha, 20/12)

Some scholars interpreted that word as "twice" stated that the phrase meant "the valley that was made blessed twice". In that case, it is “an adverbial phrase” meaning "blessed twice", reminding it with emphasis. (see Elmalılı, the interpretation of an-Naziat, verse 16)

While explaining why Hz. Musa (Moses) was asked to take off his shoes, some tafsir scholars dealt with the material of which the shoes were made but the interpretation that the reason was the feet’s touching that sacred place directly and taking their share from that blessing was preferred more than the first one. (see Tabari, the interpretation of the verse in question)

In addition, it can be said that the aim was to prepare Hz. Musa, who would receive divine revelation, spiritually and hence he was warned to tidy himself up and show special respect. Ibn Atiyya makes a similar interpretation. (see Tabari, Ibn Atiyya, the interpretation of the verse in question)

On the other hand, when divine revelation became manifest in Tuwa Valley, numerous angels that accompanied revelation filled the valley. Those angels, whose duty was to fulfill divine commands and to manage affairs and who were called "Mudabbirat", made the valley blessed. In that case, it was a necessity of good manners to take off one’s shoes on the land of the valley that attained holiness, prosperity and blessing and in the presence of the manifestation of divine revelation. Thus, the body would contact the soil and would have more opportunity to convey the divine prosperity and current there to the mind and heart.

The duty of prophethood was given to Hz. Musa in that sacred valley. His whole body listened to the sound. His attention was concentrated on one point. The incoming sound passed from the ear to the heart and surrounded the spirit. That is why circumambulation is performed barefoot in the holy Kaaba.

The Course and Cause of the Event

That the Prophet Musa took his family and set out from Madyan in a cold season was not something random or without a reason. Upon the divine inspiration Hz. Musa received, he had to leave Madyan and go to Sons of Israel in Egypt.

Hz. Musa left Egypt because of the inspiration that came to his heart since he had killed somebody by mistake there and people started to come together against him. Then, he went to Madyan and married the daughter of the Prophet Shuayb (Jethro) there. After staying in Madyan for nearly ten years and being educated very well by the Prophet Shuayb, there were more important and greater things to do for him.

First of all, it was necessary to invite Pharaoh, who went astray, treated the Israelites as if they were second and even third-class citizens, and deified himself, to the true path and to save, in particular, Sons of Israel from that cruelty and torture.

That is one of the wise reasons why the Prophet Musa left Madyan with his family and received divine address while passing through the valley of Tuwa. (see Celal Yıldırım, İlmin Işığında Asrın Kur’an Tefsiri, Taha 16. ayetin tafsiri)

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