Will you explain verse 143 of the chapter of al-Araf? Did Hz. Musa (Moses) say he wanted to see Allah?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The chapter of al-Araf, verse 143:

"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: ‘O my Lord! Show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee.’ Allah said: ‘By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me.’ When his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon. When he recovered his senses he said: ‘Glory be to Thee! to Thee I turn in repentance, and I am the first to believe.’"


When Musa came to the place appointed by Us at the time We determined by leaving his brother as his deputy (...), his Lord spoke to him in return for his request. He spoke to him without an intermediary, like His speech to the angels, but behind a veil. (...) "…And made him draw near to Us, for mystic (converse)." (Maryam, 19/52) This divine statement indicates that this speech was "majwa". There is a narration that Hz. Musa heard the voice from all directions. This shows that hearing Allah's voice is not like hearing the voice of His creatures. When his Lord gladdened him by speaking to Him behind a veil, Hz. Musa wanted to see Allah as a result of the happiness caused by hearing Him and he said, (...) "O my Lord! Show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon thee." That is, he begged Allah to remove the veil and allow him to see His face. (..) His Lord said, ‘By no means canst thou see Me (direct)’ (...)But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me.’ Thereupon, (...) when his Lord manifested His glory on the Mount, which is a relative manifestation, that is, He did not become manifest with all of His magnificence and absolute power but a piece from His power appeared and hit the mountain; (...) the mountain was broken into pieces and transformed into dust. According to the qira’ah (pronunciation) of Hamza, Kisai and Khalaf al-Ashir, it means "flattened/levelled", that is, the mountain disappeared and became flat land, like a camel without a hunch.

"Dakk": In fact, "dakk" means to crush something and make it like flour; its passive noun form is "madkuk" (...) means a camel without a hunch or (...) a hill. According to the first meaning, the mountain disappeared and according to the second meaning, it became a small hill. According to the famous view, this mountain was Mount Sinai but there is another view: It is stated that it was Mount "Zabiyr" or Mount "Arriyn" in Madyan, or another mountain that was levelled and disappeared. It means it was not the mountain that Hz. Musa was standing on but the mountain that he was looking at, opposite him.

To sum up, the mountain could not put up with the manifestation of its Lord and became "dakk". (...)  Musa fainted and fell down. Two things happened with this manifestation: The first one is the mountain’s transformation into pieces and becoming levelled and the second one is Hz. Musa's fainting and falling down. That is, Musa fainted because of an indirect (relative) manifestation on the mountain; if it had been a full and absolute manifestation, the world and probably the whole universe would have been eliminated. Thus, (...) that was the wisdom behind the following statement: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct)." Otherwise, Allah did not avoid being manifest and He did not act stingily; God forbid, He is not stingy; the issue is related to putting up with the manifestation. It is not possible to bear seeing Him in this ephemeral realm. In that case, it is not appropriate to understand from this divine statement that it is not possible to see Allah in the realm of eternity, where death and ephemeral realm end, that is, in the hereafter.

(...) When he recovered his senses, (...) he said, ‘Glory be to Thee. You cannot be seen through ephemeral eyes. (...) To Thee I turn in repentance because I wanted something that was not in accordance with your permission. (...) And I am the first to believe. I am the first to believe in the manifestation (...) "By no means canst thou see Me (direct)" in this world. (see Elmalılı, Hak Dini, the interpretation of the verse in question)

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