Will you please give information about the life story of Hz. Moses (PBUH)?
Submitted by on Tue, 31/01/2012 - 16:37
Dear Brother / Sister,
HZ. MOSES (PBUH)
He is one of the Ulul-‘Azm prophets (major prophets) that was given one of the four major books as a revelation, the Torah, and sent by God in order to spread His religion and make it dominant on earth. He is one of the descendants of Hz. Abraham (PBUH). He was entrusted with the task of correcting the beliefs of the son of Israel and to regulate their lives according to God Almighty’s law. His struggle with unbelief is narrated in the Qur’an at length.
Many prophets came to the world from Hz. Adam to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). These prophets called their nations to have belief in God Almighty; they fought with unbelievers in this way; they were expelled from the places in which they lived; they were suppressed, despised and even killed.
Hz. Moses was an apostle that was sent to the sons of Israel by God Almighty. Just like the prophets before him, he called his nation to have belief in God. He struggled with the Pharaoh, who tortured his people and claimed deity, on the path of tawhid (the oneness of God). In this way, he came across with the difficulties which other prophets also faced. He was expelled from the place where he had been born and was chased by unbelievers with the aim of killing. God Almighty mentions about Hz. Moses (PBUH) in the Qur’an as follows:
“And mention in the Book (the Qur'an) Musa (Moses). Verily! He was chosen and he was a Messenger (and) a Prophet” (Maryam, 19/51).
The story of Hz. Moses (PBUH) with the Pharaoh is narrated in different chapters of the Qur’an and with different styles in detail. After the event of the drowning of the Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, the story of Moses with the sons of Israel is mentioned in detail.
The struggle of Hz. Moses (PBUH) with the Pharaoh does not consist of only a struggle of a person with a king, or a prophet with a cruel man. On the contrary, this is a struggle between the truth and the falsehood, the inevitable war between the army of God and evil. In fact, this war, which is between truth and falsehood, has been continuing from the time mankind was created and apostles and prophets started to appear on the stage of life.
Aberration and wrong beliefs are always represented by the evil and his army; he always opposes belief, tawhid, prophethood and the truth. But the winner is always the truth. God Almighty states the following:
“We will, without doubt, help Our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world's life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth―” (Ghafir, 40/51).
Hz. Moses (PBUH) found the nation to which he was sent to be in ignorance and aberration. He invited them to the truth but he was expelled from his native land; he fought and in the end he won with the help of God.
The Ancestry, Birth and Life of Hz. Moses (PBUH)
The father of Hz. Moses is Imran; his father is Yasshor and Yasshor’s father is Qahith. His descent reaches up to Yaqub (Jacob); son of Ishaq (Isaac) and son of Ibrahim (AS). The person whom we see as a support for Moses (AS) is His brother, Harun (Aaron). His brother is Harun (AS), whom God has sent as a support and to assist Moses (AS), when He wanted to send him to the Pharaoh to invite him to believe. Hz. Moses prayed God as follows so that his brother would become a support for him:
“And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun (Aaron), my brother.” (Taha, 20/29-30).
Hz. Moses (PBUH) was born in a period when Egypt was experiencing extremely difficult days. During this time, the Pharaoh used to transgress the limits by claiming divinity and oppressing his folk by irresistible tortures and persecute them harshly. The son of Israel were fed up with the treatments of Copt nation and high pressures of their kings. They knew that there was no fun in living in Egypt and they wished to go to the state of Canaan, which is the land of their grandfathers. However, the Pharaoh who benefited from all of their deeds did not want to let them go away. He tortured them incredibly. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Qu’an;
“We recite to you some of the news of Mûsa (Moses) and Fir'aun (Pharaoh) in truth, for a people who believe (in this Qur'an, and in the Oneness of Allah). Verily, Fir'aun (Pharaoh) exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them, killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the Mufsidun (i.e. those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants).” (al-Qasas, 28/3-4)
During his sovereignty, the Pharaoh tortured the sons of Israelites very badly; he enslaved them, employed them in the horrid and despicable works. God Almighty sent the Prophet Moses (PBUH) in order to save the sons of Israel from this discomfort and the malice, persecution and extravagance of the unruly Pharaoh.
Salabi narrates the following in his book Qisas al-Anbiya from Imam Suddi; the Pharaoh saw a dream and he was scared; thus, he became sad upon this. He saw a fire coming from the side of Jerusalem. This fire reached up to Egypt and burnt the houses of the Pharaoh. However, it only harmed Copts; the sons of Israel survived. When he woke up, he wanted his dream to be interpreted by oracles and astrologers. They said; “A child will come from the sons of Israel; he will cause the ruin of Egyptians and your kingdom. The time of his birth is very close.
The Pharaoh, who was alarmed upon this news, ordered the baby boys of the sons of Israel to be killed. The glorious Qur’an narrates this event as follows:
“Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections depressing a group among them: their sons he slew, but he kept alive their females: for he was indeed a maker of mischief.” (al-Qasas 28/4)
When people that could work decreased among the people of the sons of Israel, the prominent figures of Copts went to the Pharaoh and said to him, “If you continue to kill like this, we will not be able to find anyone who can do our works in the future”. Upon this, the Pharaoh ordered the baby boys to be killed every other year. Harun (AS) was born in the year when baby boys were not killed. On the other hand, the prophet Moses (AS) was born in the year that baby boys were killed.
When Moses (AS) was born, his mother became very upset. God Almighty inspired her not to become sad and relieved her. It is narrated in the Qur’an as follows:
“So We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: "Suckle (thy child) but when thou hast fears about him cast him, into the river, but fear not nor grieve: for We shall restore him to thee, and We shall make him one of Our messengers.” (al-Qasas, 28/7)
The mother of Moses (AS) did what she had been inspired to do and left her son onto the water within a vessel. She asked her sister to “trace it”. The vessel that was carrying Hz. Moses (AS) reached the palace of the Pharaoh by the waves with the help of God Almighty. The concubines who were having a bath found the vessel and brought it to the wife of Pharaoh. God Almighty put the love of this child into the heart of Asiya, who was the wife of the Pharaoh. When the Pharaoh saw the child, he wanted to kill him.
However, Asiya wanted him to give the child to her because they had no children. The glorious Qur’an narrates this as follows:
“The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) a joy of the eye for me and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived not (what they were doing)!” (al-Qasas, 28/9)
Nursing was needed, when Moses (AS) became hungry. However, he did not want to suck anybody. God Almighty states this as follows:
“And We ordained that he refused suck at first, until (his sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?"… Thus did We restore him to his mother that her eye might be comforted, that she might not grieve and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true: but most of them do not understand.” (Al-Qasas, 28/12-13)
So, Hz. Moses returned to his mother. Besides, he was brought up in the palace of the Pharaoh. He gained the love of the family of the Pharaoh. God Almighty states the following:
“When he reached full age, and was firmly established (in life), We bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge: for thus do We reward those who do good.” (al-Qasas, 28/14)
Moses (AS), who reached up to adolescence, went to the town one day. It was afternoon. The shops were closed and people were resting in their homes. The event that happened in the town is narrated as follows in the glorious Qur’an;
“And he entered the City at a time when its people were not watching: and he found there two men fighting― one of his own people, and the other, of his foes. Now the man of his own people appealed to him against his foe, and Moses struck him with his fist and made an end of him. He said: "This is a work of Evil (Satan): for he is an enemy that manifestly misleads!" He prayed: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul! Do Thou then forgive me!" So (Allah) forgave him: for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. He said: "O my Lord! For that Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace on me, never shall I be a help to those who sin!" So he saw the morning in the City, looking about, in a state of fear, when behold, the man who had, the day before, sought his help called aloud for his help (again). Moses said to him: "Thou art truly, it is clear a quarrelsome fellow!" Then, when he decided to lay hold of the man who was an enemy to both of them that man said: "O Moses! is it thy intention to slay me as thou slewest a man yesterday? Thy intention is none other than to become a powerful violent man in the land, and not to be one who sets things right!” (al-Qasas, 28/15-19).
Upon blurting out the event by the Israelite, all of the people learnt that Moses had killed the Egyptian. After that, a man came and informed Moses that they were going to kill him.
“He therefore got away therefrom, looking about, in a state of fear. He prayed: "O my Lord! Save me from people given to wrongdoing. Then when he turned his face towards (the land of) Madyan, he said: "I do hope that my Lord will show me the smooth and straight Path.” (al-Qasas, 28/21-22).
Thus, Moses (AS) moved away from his native land. He did not take any food while departing. He traveled a total of eight days by eating leafs. The distance between Egypt and Madyan is eight days. This prominent slave of God covered this long distance in a weary and hungry state and finally reached Madyan. The story continues as follows in the Qur’an:
“And when he arrived at the watering (place) in Madyan, he found there a group of men watering (their flocks) and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: "What is the matter with you?" They said: "We cannot water (our flocks), until the shepherds take back (their flocks): and our father is a very old man." So he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: "O my Lord! Truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that thou dost send me!"… (al-Qasas, 28/21-22).
This event is narrated in al-Bidayah wa-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir as follows:
“In the water of Madyan, shepherds used to put a stone on the top of wells after watering their flocks. These two women were trying to give water to their sheep with the remaining water. Hz. Moses (AS) lifted the stone from the top of the well by himself, got water and watered the flocks of these women. After that, he put the stone back to its place. And only ten people could lift this stone. Hz. Moses (AS) performed the task which ten people could do by himself alone. The women went to their father and told him the favor that Hz. Moses (AS) did them.”
The story continues in the Qur’an as follows:
“Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: "My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story he said: "Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people." Said one of the (damsels): "O my (dear) father! Engage him on wages: truly the best of men for thee to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty"… He said: "I intended to wed one of these my daughters to thee on condition that thou serve me for eight years; but if thou complete ten years, it will be (grace) from thee. But I intend not to place thee under a difficulty: thou wilt find me, indeed, if Allah wills one of the righteous." He said: "Be that (the agreement) between me and thee: whichever of the two terms I fulfil, let there be no injustice to me. Be Allah a witness to what we say." (al-Qasas, 28/25-28)
Ibn Kathir states the following: “There is difference of opinion about the identity of the father of these women. There are opinions that this person is Shuayb (Jethro) (AS). The majority of scholars agree on that view. Hasan Basri says by giving a riwayah as a proof from Malik b. Anas: “Hz. Shuayb (AS) lived a long life after his nation had been destroyed until Hz. Moses (AS) came to him and let her daughter marry him.”
Hz. Moses (AS) started to reside in Madyan and herded sheep for ten years as a bride price after getting married with the daughter of Hz. Shuayb (AS). According to a riwayah, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked how many years Hz. Moses had worked; he answered as ten years. As it can be understood from the sentences above, he worked as a shepherd for ten years.
Hz. Moses (AS) is informed that he has been chosen as a prophet
Hz. Moses (AS) decided to return to Egypt after staying in Madyan for ten years and having completed to pay the bride price. He set off with his family. He got lost in a dark and cold night and could not find the mountain pass. He tried to make a fire with tinderbox but failed. The cold became stronger. His wife was pregnant and she was going to give birth soon. Hz. Moses (AS) and his family really needed help. This is narrated in the Qur’an as follows:
“Now when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said to his family: "Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that ye may warm yourselves." But when he came to the (Fire), a voice was heard from the right bank of the valley, from a tree in hallowed ground: "O Moses! verily I am Allah the Lord of the Worlds… "Now do thou throw thy rod!" But when he saw it moving (of its own accord) as if it had been a snake he turned back in retreat, and retraced not his steps: "O Moses!" (It was said) " Draw near, and fear not: for thou art of those who are secure. "Move thy hand into thy bosom, and it will come forth white without stain (or harm), and draw thy hand close to thy side (to guard) against fear. Those are the two credentials from thy Lord to Pharaoh and his Chiefs: for truly they are a people rebellious and wicked." He said: "O my Lord! I have slain a man among them, and I fear lest they slay me. "And my brother Aaron― he is more eloquent in speech than I: so send him with me as a helper, to confirm (and strengthen) me; for I fear that they may accuse me of falsehood." He said: "We will certainly strengthen thy arm through thy brother and invest you both with authority, so they shall not be able to touch you: with Our Signs shall ye triumph― you two as well as those who follow you."” (al-Qasas, 28/29-35)
In the first verses of the chapter of Taha, the talk between Allah and Moses is given in detail. The following verses help us understand the time when Allah appointed Moses as an apostle:
"I have chosen thee: listen then, to the inspiration (sent to thee). Verily I am Allah: there is no god but I: so serve thou Me, (only) and establish regular prayer for celebrating My praise!" (Taha, 20/13 and 14).
Then, Allah said the following to Moses:
"Go both of you to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah)." (Taha, 20/43 and 44).
After Allah gave that order to Moses, a relentless struggle started between Moses (pbuh) and the Pharaoh: the struggle of the truth and the wrong: the struggle of oneness that all prophets left as inheritance to one another...
Hazrat Moses went to the Pharaoh with that order of Allah. He called the Pharaoh to believe in Allah leniently:
"Moses said: ‘O Pharaoh! I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds.― One for whom it is right to say nothing but truth about Allah. Now have I come unto you (people) from your Lord with a clear (sign): so let the children of Israel depart along with me.’" (al-A'raf, 7/104 and 105).
"(When this message was delivered), (Pharaoh) said: ‘Who then, O Moses, is the Lord of you two?’ He said: ‘Our Lord is He Who gave to each (created) thing its form and nature, and further gave (it) guidance.’" (Taha 20/49 and 50).
The Pharaoh did not accept that call and resisted. He threatened Moses to send him to dungeon. Moses wanted to show some evidence to the Pharaoh to prove so that the Pharaoh might believe. He threw his rod onto the ground and it became a snake. Moses put his hand into his bosom and took it out; it became a dazzling piece of the sun. The Pharaoh really feared when he saw the miracles of Moses. Thereupon, the Pharaoh decided to bring all of the magicians together and defeat Moses. He summoned all of the magicians in his country and asked them to perform some magic greater than that of Moses. They made their preparations and decided a day to compete. When that day came, they started to compete in front of the people.
"They said: ‘O Moses! wilt thou throw (first), or shall we have the (first) throw?’ Said Moses: ‘Throw ye (first).’ So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people and struck terror into them: and they showed a great (feat of) magic. We put it into Moses's mind by inspiration: ‘throw (now) thy rod’: and behold! it swallows up straightway all the falsehoods which they fake! Thus truth was confirmed and all that they did was made of no effect. So they were vanquished there and then, and were made to look small. But the sorcerers fell down prostrate in adoration. Saying: ‘we believe in the Lord of the worlds. The Lord of Moses and Aaron.’" (al-A'raf, 7/115-122).
The Pharaoh got very angry when the magicians believed. He threatened to kill them. Thus, unbelief showed its weakness with this incident.
Those incidents inflamed the Pharaoh instead of guiding him. He had the view that he would not be able to feel comfortable unless he liquidated Moses and his nation. Moses continued to call the Pharaoh and his nation to believe in Allah. As the Pharaoh continued to deny, Allah sent various disasters like flood, locusts, insects, frogs and blood to his nation. However, none of them was able to guide the Pharaoh and his nation.
The Pharaoh insisted on his unbelief and obstinacy and refused the call of Moses (pbuh). Allah sent a revelation to Moses telling him to take Sons of Israel out of Egypt one night and lead them to Palestine. One night, Moses and his nation left the city and walked toward the Red Sea along the estuary of Suez. When the Pharaoh did not see any traces of the Sons of Israel in the city, he realized that they had escaped; he summoned his army and started to follow them. It was reported that the army of the Pharaoh was very crowded. The Pharaoh caught up with the Sons of Israel two days later. There was a sea in front of the Sons of Israel which was impossible to pass and there was a huge army behind them. They started to say, “O Moses! We have been trapped.” The Quran describes the incident as follows:
"(Moses said: ‘By no means! my Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me!’ Then We told Moses by inspiration: ‘Strike the sea with thy rod.’ So it divided, and each separate part become like the huge, firm mass of a mountain. And We made the other party approach thither. We delivered Moses and all who were with him." (ash-Shuara, 26/62-65).
"Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up!" (Taha, 20/78).
Allah describes the end of an unbeliever and how he saved a nation like that in the Quran. Thus, the truth eliminates the wrong.
The army of the Pharaoh was completely destroyed. When the Pharaoh realized that he was about to die, he stated that he believed:
"At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, the Pharaoh said: ‘I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam).’ (It was said to him): ‘Ah now!― but a little while before, wast thou in rebellion!― and thou didst mischief (and violence)!’" (Yunus, 10/90, 91).
After this incident, Allah ordered Moses to go to Bayt al-Maqdis together with his nation. They set off. They could not find water in the desert and got very thirsty. They complained to Moses about their thirst. Allah ordered Moses (pbuh) to hit the rock with his rod. When he hit the rock, water gushed forth from twelve places out of the rock. There was one spring for each tribe. They drank water from those springs. Allah sent down manna and quail from the sky for the Sons of Israel. However, the hypocrisy of the Sons of Israel became evident despite those bounties. They said one kind of food was not enough for them:
"…O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth-its pot-herbs and cucumbers its garlic lentils and onions.’ He said: ‘will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town and ye shall find what ye want.’" (al-Baqara, 2/61).
Then, Allah ordered Hazrat Moses to go to Palestine. They confronted the remains of Haysanis and a group of cruel people from Canaan. Moses ordered his nation to go and fight those cruel people and to expel them from that holy land. However, the Sons of Israel did not dare to do it:
"They said: ‘O Moses! while they remain there, never shall we be able to enter, to the end of time. Go thou, and thy Lord and fight ye two, while we sit here (and watch).’" (al-Maida, 5/24).
The Sons of Israel used to live in despise, meanness and abasement. To fight in order to attain some values did not mean anything to them. Allah sent them to the Tih Desert and misled them. Allah said to Moses, who complained that his nation did not obey him,
"Therefore will the land be out of their reach for forty years; in distraction will they wander through the land: but sorrow thou not over these rebellious people." (al-Maida, 5/26).
In the course of time, this generation that lived in abasement was replaced by a generation that lived in freedom and honor. After a while, they managed to enter the Holy Land.
During this forty-year period, the Sons of Israel committed several deviant acts. When Hazrat Moses spent forty days on Mount Sina, they started to worship a golden calf that was made by Samiri, who said, “This is your god and Moses’ god.” When Moses saw that they were worshipping the calf, he got very depressed. He scolded Aaron. He tried to dissuade his nation from worshipping the calf. The Sons of Israel showed their hypocrisy in any occasion. Moses (pbuh) struggled in the way of oneness during his life. He suffered many kinds of torture for his cause. He was expelled from his land, was threatened to be killed; he found very few people that believed him.
Moses (pbuh) died in the Tih Desert after Aaron (pbuh). He could not take the Sons of Israel to the Holy Land. He was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. Bukhari narrates the following about his death:
“When the angel of death came, Moses stared at him. Azrael, who came to take the soul of Moses, was afraid and his eye blackened. Then, he said, ”O Lord! You sent me to a slave who does not want to die." Allah restored his eye and said, "Go back and tell him, “he will be allowed to live for a number of counted years.“ Then Moses asked, "O my Lord! What will be then?" He said, "You will die." He said, "(Let it be) now." He asked Allah that He bring him near the Holy Land at a distance of a stone's throw. Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of Allah said,
‘Were I there, I would show you the grave of Moses by the way near the red sand hill.’”(see Şamil İslam Ansiklopedisi)
Questions on Islam
- Does the Quran say anything about the ethnic origin of the Pharaoh?
- Will you give some information about Qarun?
- What is the wisdom behind the fact that Moses and Aaron were sent to the same nation and at the same time? Why were two different prophets were sent to the same nation?
- Surah 20. Ta Ha (Ta-ha)
- Surah 26. Ash-Shu'ara'(The Poets)
- What is the state of sorcery in Judaism? Do they not regard sorcery haram today according to their religion?
- Prophet Musa [Moses] & Harun [Aaron] (Peace be upon them)
- Surah 10. Yunus (Jonah)
- Surah 28. Al-Qasas (The Story, Stories)
- Surah 7. Al-A'raf (The Heights)