Surah Ta Ha Ayat 40-70

{40. “When your sister went and said: ‘Shall I show you 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 a number of years with the people of Madyan. Then you came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa! 

41. And I have chosen you for Myself.

 42. Go you and your brother with My Ayat, and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance. 

43. Go both of you to Firawn, verily, he has transgressed. 

44. And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).}

 

Choosing Musa to go to Firawn and to be Soft and Gentle in His Invitation

Allah, the Exalted, says in His address to Musa that he had lived among the people of Madyan, avoiding Firawn and his chiefs. He worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law until the appointed time for his work ended. Then he met the decree of Allah and His predetermined will, without him having any set appointment. This entire situation was under the control of Allah, Blessed be He, the Most High. He compels His servants and His creatures to whatever end He wills. This is why Allah says, “Then You came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa!” Mujahid said, “For a set appointment.” (At-Tabari 18:311) Abdur-Razzaq recorded that Mamar reported from Qatadah that he said, “Then You came here according to the fixed term which I ordained (for you), O Musa!)” For the decree of messengership and prophethood.” (Abdur Razzaq 3:17) 

Concerning Allah’s statement, “And I have chosen you for Myself.” This means, “I have chosen you and selected you to be a Messenger for Myself. This is as I wish and according to My will.” Concerning the Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Adam and Musa met, [That is before intercession on the Day of Resurrection] and Musa said, “You are the one who made things difficult for mankind and you caused them to be evicted from Paradise.” Adam said, “Are you the one whom Allah chose for His Message, and He selected you for Himself and He revealed the Tawrah to you?” Musa replied, “Yes.” Then Adam said, “Did you find that it was preordained upon me before He (Allah) created me?” Musa replied, “Yes.” Therefore, Adam defeated Musa’s argument.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:288)

Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this narration.

Concerning Allah’s statement, “Go you and your brother with My Ayat” This means with My proofs, evidences and miracles. “And do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My remembrance.” Ali bin Abi Talhah related from Ibn Abbas that he said, “This means do not be slow.” (At-Tabari 18:312) Mujahid reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This means do not be weak.” The meaning here is that they should not slacken in the remembrance of Allah. Rather, they both should remember Allah during their meeting with Firawn so that the remembrance of Allah can be an aid for them against him. The remembrance of Allah would be their strength and their power that would defeat him. Allah’s statement; “Go both of you to Firawn, Verily, he has transgressed.” means that he has rebelled and become haughty and insolent against Allah and he has disobeyed Him. “And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).” This Ayah contains a great lesson. Even though Firawn was the most insolent and arrogant of people and Musa was the friend of Allah among His creation at that time, Musa was still commanded to speak to Firawn with mildness and softness. Therefore, their invitation to him was with gentle, soft and easy speech that is used by one who is a close friend. This is so that the message may have more effect on the souls, and so it would have deeper and more beneficial results. This is as Allah, the Exalted, says, “Invite (mankind) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” (16:125) Concerning Allah’s statement, “perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).” This means that perhaps he will recant from that which he is in of misguidance and destruction, “or he will fear” meaning that he will become obedient due to fear of Allah. This is as Allah says, “For such who desires to remember or desires to show his gratitude.” (25:62) Thus, to remember means to recant from that which is dangerous, and fear means to attain obedience.

{45. Both of them said: “Our Lord! Verily, we fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress.” 

46. He (Allah) said: “Fear not, verily, I am with you both, hearing and seeing.” 

47. “So go you both to him, and say: ‘Verily, we are both 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!” 

48. ‘Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies, and turns away.”}

 

Musa’s fear of Firawn and Allah’s strengthening Him

Allah, the Exalted, informs that Musa and Harun pleaded to Allah, expressing their grievance to him: “Verily, we fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress.” They meant that Firawn might seize them unexpectedly with a punishment, or transgress against them by tormenting them, when they actually did not deserve it. Ad-Dahhak reported from Ibn Abbas that he said that transgress here means, “To exceed the bounds.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:580) “He (Allah) said: “Fear not, verily, I am with you both, hearing and seeing.” meaning; “Do not fear him (Firawn), for verily, I am with you and I hear your speech and his speech as well. I see your place and I see his place as well. Nothing is hidden from Me of your affair. Know that his forehead is in My Hand, and he does not speak, breathe, or use any force, except by My leave and after My command. I am with you by My protection, My help and My support.” “So go you both to him, and say: “Verily, we are both Messengers of your Lord…” 

Musa admonishes Firawn

Concerning his statement, “indeed, We have come with a sign from your Lord!” meaning with evidence and a miracle from your Lord. “And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance!” meaning, ‘peace be upon you if you follow the guidance.’ Because of this, when the Messenger of Allah wrote a letter to Heraclius, the emperor of Rome, beginning with,

“In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius the emperor of Rome. Peace be upon him who follows the guidance. Thus, to proceed: Verily, I invite you with the invitation of Islam. So accept Islam and you will be safe, and Allah will give you a double reward.” (Fath Al-Bari 1:42)

Due to this, Musa and Harun said to Firawn, “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, and turns away.” In His flawless revelation, Allah has revealed to us that torment is prepared exclusively for those who reject the signs of Allah and turn away from His obedience. As Allah says, “Then for him who transgressed all bounds, and preferred the life of this world, Verily, his abode will be Hellfire.” (79:37-39) Allah, the Exalted, also says, “Therefore I have warned you of a blazing Fire. None shall enter it save the most wretched. Who denies and turns away.” (92:14-16) Allah also says, “So he neither believed nor prayed! But on the contrary, he belied and turned away.” (75:31-32) This means that he denied with his heart and turned away by his actions.

{49. Firawn said: “Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two” 

50. Musa said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” 

51. Firawn  said: “What about the generations of old?” 

52. Musa said: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord, in a Record. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.”}

 

The Conversation between Musa and Firawn

Allah, the Exalted, informs about Firawn that he said to Musa, in his rejection of the existence of a Supreme Maker and Creator, Who is the God of everything and his own Lord and Owner: “Who then, O Musa, is the Lord of you two” meaning “Who is the one who called you forth and sent you For verily, I do not know him and I have not given you any god other than myself.” “(Musa) said: “Our Lord is He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn Abbas said, “He is saying that He created a mate for everything.” (At-Tabari 18:316) Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said, “He made the man a man, and the donkey a donkey and the sheep a sheep.” Layth bin Abi Sulaym reported from Mujahid that he said, “He gave everything its form.” Ibn Abi Najih said that Mujahid said, “He fashioned the creation of every moving creature.”

Said bin Jubayr said concerning His statement, “(Who) gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” “He gave each of His creatures what is suitable for its creation.” (Al-Qurtubi 11:204) Therefore, He did not give man the form of a wild beast, nor did He give wild beasts the form of the dog. Likewise, the dog’s form is not like the sheep’s. He also gave creature a suitable spouse, and He influenced everything towards that mate. There is no species of creation that is exactly like another species. They are different in their actions, their forms, their sustenance and their mating. Some of the scholars of Tafsir have said that this statement, “He gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright,” is similar to Allah’s statement, “And Who has measured; and then guided.” (87:3) This means He measured out an ordained amount (of sustenance, actions, etc.) and then guided His creatures to it. He wrote the deeds, the appointed times of death and the provisions. Then, the creatures traverse upon that and they are not able to avoid it, nor are they able to abandon it. In this Ayah Musa is saying that our Lord is the One Who created the creation, measured out its ordainment and compelled the creatures to that which He wanted. “(Firawn) said: “What about the generations of old?” The most correct opinion concerning the meaning of this, is that when Musa informed Firawn that his Lord Who sent him is the One Who creates, sustains, ordains and guides, Firawn began to argue, using the previous generations as a proof. He was referring to those people of old who did not worship Allah.

In other words, “If the matter is as you say, then what happened to those people? They did not worship your Lord. Instead they worshipped other gods besides Him.” Musa said to him, in response to this, that if they did not worship Allah, then Allah knows precisely what happened to them and He will give them just recompense for their deeds, as is written in Allah’s Book (of decrees). This Book is called Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet) and it is the Book of Deeds. “My Lord neither errs nor forgets.” This means that nothing eludes Him and He does not miss anything, whether it is small or great. He does not forget anything and His Most Exalted knowledge is described as encompassing everything. Blessed be He, the Exalted, the Most Holy and free of any imperfections. The knowledge that creatures have has two deficiencies. The first is that it does not completely encompass anything, and the second is that the creature is prone to forget after knowing. Therefore, Allah has declared Himself above such deficiencies.

{53. Who has made earth for you like a bed; and has opened ways for you therein, and has sent down water (rain) from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation. 

54. Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are Ayat for men of understanding. 

55. Thereof We created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again. 

56. And indeed We showed him (Firawn) all Our Ayat, but he denied and refused.}

 

The Completion of Musa’s Reply to Firawn

This is from the completion of Musa’s speech concerning the description of His Lord when Fir`awn asked him about Him. He (Musa) said, “He Who gave to each thing its form and nature, then guided it aright.” Then, Firawn attempted to present some argumentative rebuttal during Musa’s reply. Yet, Musa continued by saying, “He is the One Who made the earth as a bed for you.” Some recited the word as Mihadan and others recited it as Mahdan, which means ‘a place of rest that you settle down upon.’ It also may mean ‘that which you stand upon, sleep upon or travel upon its back.” “and has opened ways for you therein.” This means, “He made roads for you to walk upon their shoulders.” This is just as He, the Exalted, said, “And placed therein broad highways for them to pass through, that they may be guided.” (21:31) “and has sent down water from the sky. And We have brought forth with it various kinds of vegetation.” referring to the various species of plants, such as vegetation and fruits. Some are sour, some are sweet, some are bitter and there are other kinds as well. “Eat and pasture your cattle (therein)” meaning, ‘something that is food for you and a palatable fruit for you, and something that is for your cattle as fodder for them, both green and dry.“Verily, in this are Ayat.” This means proofs, signs and evidences. “for men of understanding.” meaning those who possess correct and upright intelligence realizing that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah, and there is no true Lord other than Him. “Thereof We created you, and into it we shall return you, and from it We shall bring you out once again.” meaning, ‘the earth is your beginning. For your father, Adam, was created with dirt from the surface of the earth. You also will be returned to the earth. This means that you will become dirt when you die and decay.’ The statement, “And from it We shall bring you out once again,” means, “On the Day when He will call you, and you will answer with His praise and obedience, and you will think that you have stayed (in this world) but a little while!” (17:52) This Ayah is similar to Allah’s statement, “He said: “Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out.” (7:25)

Musa showed Firawn all of the Signs but He did not believe
Concerning Allah’s statement, “And indeed We showed him (Firawn) all Our Ayat, but he denied and refused.” This means that the proofs, signs and evidences were established against Fir`awn and he saw them with his own eyes, but he still denied and rejected them due to his disbelief, abstinence and transgression. This is as Allah, the Exalted, says, “And they belied them wrongfully and arrogantly, though they themselves were convinced thereof.” (27:14)

{57. He (Firawn) said: “Have you come to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Musa?” 

58. “Then verily, 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 an open place where both shall have a just and equal chance.” 

59.(Musa) said: “Your appointed meeting is the day of the festival, and let the people assemble when the sun has risen (forenoon).”}

 

Firawn describes Musa’s Proofs as being Magic and Their Agreement to hold a Contest

Allah, the Exalted, informs of what Firawn said to Musa when he showed him the great proof. This great sign to Firawn was Musa casting down his stick which became a huge snake, and his pulling his hand out from under his arm while it was glowing white without any illness. At this, Firawn said, “This is magic that you have brought to us to bewitch us and conquer the people, so that they will follow you. Then you will outnumber us.” Firawn then said, “Your plan will not work. We have magic just like yours, so do not let yourself be deceived by that what you are doing.” “so appoint a meeting between us and you” Meaning, ‘a day that we can come together to present some of our magic to confront yours. It will be at a specified place and time.’ With this, Musa said to them, “Your appointed meeting is the day of festival” That was the day of their celebration and their New Year’s festivity. It was a holiday for them when they took vacation from their work and came together for a large gathering. This day was selected so that all of the people could witness the power of Allah to do whatever He wills. They would see the miracles of the prophets and the futility of magic to contest the supernatural prophetic powers. This is why Musa said, “and let the people assemble” meaning all of them. “when the sun has risen (forenoon).” meaning in the morning, just before noon. In this way the contest will be most visible, well lit, apparent and obvious in plain view. This is the way of the Prophets. Their work is always clear and apparent. It is never something hidden, or something for sale. This is why he did not say that the meeting should be at night, but rather, it was to be held during the bright part of the day. Ibn Abbas said, “The day of their festivity was the day of Ashura’.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 4:540) As-Suddi, Qatadah and Ibn Zayd said, “It was the day of their great celebration.” Said bin Jubayr said, “It was the day of their great bazzar.” These statements are not contradictory. I say that Allah destroyed Firawn and his armies on a day similar to this, just as is confirmed in the Sahih. (Fath Al-Bari 8:288)

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said, “It was a flat place where all of the people were on the same level, having an equal view of the event. There was nothing there that would obstruct the view so that some people could see what others did not.” (At-Tabari 18:323)

{60. So Firawn withdrew, devised his plot and then came back. 

61. Musa 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.” 

62. Then they debated one with another what they must do, and they kept their talk secret. 

63. They said: “Verily, these are two magicians. Their object is to drive you out from your land with magic, and to take you away from your exemplary way.” 

64. “So devise your plot, and then assemble in line. And whoever overcomes this day will be indeed successful.”}

 

The Meeting of the Two Parties, Musa’s Propagation of the Message and the Magicians

Allah, the Exalted informs that when Firawn and Musa agreed to an appointed meeting at a specified place and time, Firawn began to gather some magicians from the cities of his kingdom. Every person who had any affiliation with magic at that time was summoned, and magic was very widespread and in demand at that time. This is as Allah says, “And Firawn said: “Bring me every well-versed sorcerer.” (10:79) Then, the day came. It was the day when all of the people gathered, which was well-known, being the day of the festival. Firawn was there sitting upon his throne surrounded by the elite officials of his kingdom. The subjects were all standing on his right and his left. Then, Musa came forward leaning upon his stick accompanied by his brother Harun. The magicians were standing in front of Firawn in rows and he was prodding them, inciting them and encouraging them to do their best on this day. They wanted to please him and he was promising them and inspiring them. They said, “Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners He (Firawn) said: “Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near (to myself).” (26:41-42) “Musa said to them: “Woe unto you! Invent not a lie against Allah…” This means, “Do not make an illusion before the people of something that is not real, making it appear as if it were a creature, when it is not really a creature. If you do this, then you would be lying on Allah.” “lest He (Allah) should destroy you completely by a torment.” This means, ‘He will destroy you with a destructive punishment that will not spare anything, or anyone.’ “…And surely, he who invents a lie will fail miserably.” Then they debated one with another what they must do,) It has been said that this means that they argued among themselves. So one of them said, “This is not the speech of a magician, but it is the speech of a Prophet.” Another said, “No, he is only a magician.” There are other opinions that have been mentioned about what they discussed. And Allah knows best.

Allah’s statement, “and they kept their talk secret.” means, they held secret counsel among themselves about this matter. “They said: “Verily, these are two [Hadhan] magicians…” This is a way of speaking with some of the Arabs and this Ayah has been recited according to the grammar of their dialect. There are also others who recite it as, Which carries the same meaning, “Verily, these are two [Hadhayn] magicians.” This is the popular style of language in Arabic grammar. The grammarians have extensive discussions in reply to the first recitation and its grammatical explanation, but this is not the place for such a discussion. The main point is that the magicians said among themselves, “You all know that this man and his brother (Musa and Harun) are two knowledgeable magicians who are quite aware of the skill of magic. They want to defeat you and your people today and conquer the people, causing the masses to follow them. They want to fight against Firawn and his armies, and they are seeking victory over him. And their ultimate goal is to expel you from your land.” Concerning Allah’s statement, “and to take you away from your exemplary way.” This means, ‘they want to expose this way (of yours) openly, which is magic.’ For verily, they were considered great because of their magic. They had wealth and sustenance because of this magic. They were actually saying, “If these two (Musa and Harun) are victorious, they will destroy you and expel you from your land. In doing so, they will be the first individuals to do so, and they will be given great power of leadership without you.” Ibn Abbas mentioned concerning Allah’s statement, “and to take you away from your exemplary way.” “This means their kingdom, which they were in, and their livelihood.” (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:396) Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd said, “This superior way means that which they were upon.” “So devise your plot, and assemble in line.” This means, “All of you come together in one row, and throw that which is in your hands at one time in order to dazzle the eyes (of the people) and defeat this man and his brother.” “And whoever overcomes this day will be indeed successful.” meaning “Between you and us. As for us (the magicians), we have been promised to be given an abundance of power and sovereignty. And in reference to him (Musa), He will gain great leadership.”

{65. They said: “O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw” 

66. [Musa] said: “Nay, throw you (first)!” Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast. 

67. So Musa conceived fear in himself. 

68. We (Allah) said: “Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand.” 

69. “And 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, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.” 

70. So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: “We believe in the Lord of Harun and Musa.”} 

 

The Competition, Musa’s Victory, and the Magician’s Faith

Allah, the Exalted, informs about the magicians when they met Musa, that they said to Musa, “Either you throw first…” meaning, “you go first.” “…or we be the first to throw” (Musa) said: “Nay, throw you (first)!” This means, ‘you magicians should go first so that we can see what magic you are going to perform and so that the true state of their affair will become obvious to the people.’ “Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.” In another Ayah it says that when they threw, “Then said: “By the might of Fir`awn, it is we who will certainly win!” (26:44) And Allah, the Exalted, says, “They bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic.” (7:116) Here, He says in this Surah, “Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.” They were a large numbered group and each one of them threw a stick and a rope until the valley became full of snakes piled on top of each other.

Concerning Allah’s statement, “So Musa conceived fear in himself.” This means that he feared for the people that they would be tested and deceived by their magic before he could even have a chance to throw what was in his right hand. Thus, Allah revealed to him at the right moment, to throw what was in his right hand, which was the stick. When he did so, it swallowed what they had made. It became a huge, monstrous creature with legs, a neck, a head and fangs. It went after these ropes and sticks until none of them remained, except that it was devoured and swallowed by this beast. At the same time, the magicians and all of the people were watching with their own eyes, seeing this amazing event in broad daylight. Thus, the miracle was performed and the evidence was clear. The truth prevailed and the magic was proven to be falsehood. This is why Allah said, “That which they have made is only a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, to whatever amount (of skill) he may attain.” So when the magicians saw the event and witnessed it with their own eyes, while they were knowledgeable of the various tricks and methods in the sciences of magic, they knew with conviction that what Musa had done was not magic or illusionary tricks. They recognized that it was the truth without any doubt. They knew that no one had any power to do this except for One Who says for a thing “Be,” and it is. Therefore, when this happened, they fell down into prostration to Allah. They said, “We believe in the Lord of all that exists, the Lord of Musa and Harun!” This is why Ibn Abbas and Ubayd bin Umayr both said, “At the beginning of the day they were magicians and at the end of the day they were outstanding witnesses of faith.” (At-Tabari 18:340)

The Number of Magicians

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “The magicians were seventy men who were magicians in the morning, but witnesses of faith by the time evening came.” (Ibn Abi Hatim 7:2428) Ibn Abi Hatim also reported that Al-Awzai said, “When the magicians fell down in prostration, Paradise was raised up before them until they were looking at it.” (At-Tabari 18:334) It is reported from Said bin Jubayr that he said concerning Allah’s statement, “So the magicians fell down prostrate.” “They saw their places (in Paradise) made clear before them while they were in their prostration.” Ikrimah and Al-Qasim bin Abi Bizzah both said the same. (At-Tabari 18:334)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 6 Pages 341-360

 

 

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