Surah Ta Ha Ayat 40-94

{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

{71. (Firawn) said: “Believe you in him before I give you permission? Verily, he is your chief who has 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 date palms, and you shall surely know which of us can give the severe and more lasting torment. ” 

72. They said: “We prefer you not over what have come to us of the clear signs and to Him (Allah) Who created us. So, decree whatever you desire to decree, for you can only decree (regarding) this life of the world.” 

73. “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 reward, and more lasting.”}

Firawn’s turning against the Magicians, His threatening Them and Their Reply

Allah, the Exalted, informs of Firawn’s disbelief, obstinance, transgression and haughtiness against the truth in favor of falsehood. When he saw what he saw of the magnificent miracle and the great sign, and he saw those whose help he sought accept faith in the presence of all of the people, and he was absolutely defeated, he began to behave arrogantly and cast accusations. He resorted to using his esteemed honor and might against the magicians. He warned them and threatened them saying, “Believe you in him (Musa)” This means, “Do you have faith in him” “before I give you permission” meaning, “I have not commanded you to do so, by which you have rebelled against me.” Then he said a statement that he, the magicians and all creatures knew was a forgery and an utter lie. “Verily, he is your chief who has taught you magic.” meaning “You all only took your magic from Musa and you have made an agreement with him against me and my subjects, that you would help him be victorious.” Allah says in another Ayah, “Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city to drive out its people, but you shall come to know.” (7:123) Then he began threatening them. He said to them, “So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of date palms,” meaning, “I will certainly make an example of you, I will kill you in a public execution.” Ibn Abbas said, “Thus, he was the first person to ever do this (public execution, crucifixion).” This was reported by Ibn Abi Hatim. (At-Tabari 13:34)

Concerning Allah’s statement, “And you shall surely know which of us can give the severe and more lasting torment.” This means, “You say that my people and I are astray and that you (magicians), Musa and his people are following correct guidance, but you will come to know who will be punished and remain punished.” So when he attacked with this and threatened them, their souls eased them because of their belief in Allah, the Mighty and Sublime. They exclaimed, “They said: “We prefer you not over what have come to us of the clear signs…” meaning, “We do not chose you over the guidance and conviction that we have received.” “and to Him (Allah) Who created us.” It could be that they were swearing, “By He Who has created us.” It also could be connected in meaning to the clear signs mentioned before it. In this case it would mean, “We do not prefer you over our Originator and Creator, Who produced us from a beginning that was nothing. He created us from clay (or mud). Therefore, He alone deserves worship and humility and you do not (Firawn)!” “So decree whatever you desire to decree” “Do whatever you wish and whatever your hands are able to achieve.” “for you can only decree (regarding) this life of the world.” meaning, “You only have power in this world and it is a world that will come to an end. Verily, we are hoping in the eternal abode.” “Verily, we have believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our faults,) “Whatever evils that we did.” It specifically means, ‘which we were forced to do of magic, in order to oppose the sign of Allah and the miracle of His Prophet.’

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas said concerning Allah’s statement, “and the magic to which you compelled us.” Firawn took forty boys from the Children of Israel and commanded that they be taught magic at Al-Farama [a fort at the shore of Egypt]. He said, ‘Teach them knowledge that no one in the land knows.” Ibn Abbas then said, “They were of those who believed in Musa and they were of those who said, “We have believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our faults, and the magic to which you did compel us.” (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:587) Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said the same. (At-Tabari 18:341)

Allah’s statement, “And Allah is better as regards reward in comparison to your reward, and more lasting.” means, “He is better for us than you.” “and more lasting.” More lasting in reward than what you promised us and made us aspire to. It is apparent that Firawn (may Allah curse him) was bent upon their punishment, and that what he did to them was a mercy from Allah for them. This is why Ibn Abbas and others of the Salaf said, “They woke up in that morning as magicians, but they became witnesses of faith by the evening.”

{74. Verily, whoever comes to his Lord as a criminal, then surely, for him is Hell, wherein he will neither die nor live. 

75. But whoever comes to Him as a believer, and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks, 

76. Adn Gardens, under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, and such is the reward of those who purify themselves.}

The Magicians admonish Firawn

The clear intent of this is to be a completion of what the magicians admonished Firawn with. They warned him of the vengeance of Allah and His eternal and everlasting punishment. They also encouraged him to seek Allah’s eternal and endless reward. They said, “Verily, whoever comes to his Lord as a criminal” This means, whoever meets Allah on the Day of Judgment while being a criminal. “then surely, for him is Hell, wherein he will neither die nor live.” This is similar to Allah’s statement, “Neither will it have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them. Thus do We requite every disbeliever!” (35:36) Allah also said, “But it will be avoided by the wretched, who will enter the great Fire. There he will neither die nor live.” (87:11-13) “And they will cry: “O Malik (Keeper of Hell)! Let your Lord made an end of us.” He will say: “Verily, you shall abide forever.” (43:77) Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Abu Said Al-Khudri said that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“The dwellers of Hellfire, who are those who deserve it, they will not die in it, nor will they be living. Rather, they will be a people who will be punished by the Fire due to their sins. It will be gradually killing them and devouring them until they become burnt coals. Then, intercession will be allowed and they will be brought (out of Hell) group by group and they will be spread on the rivers of Paradise. It will then be said, “O people of Paradise, pour (water) over them.” Then, they will start to grow like the growing of a seed on the muddy banks of a flowing river.”

A man among the people said, “It is as if the Messenger of Allah lived in the desert.” (Ahmad 3:11)

This is how Muslim recorded this narration in his Sahih. (Muslim 1:172)

Concerning Allah’s statement, “But whoever comes to Him (Allah) as a believer, and has done righteous good deeds” whoever meets his Lord on the Day of Judgment as a believer in his heart, then verily, his intentions in his heart will be affirmed to be true by his statements and deeds. “for such are the high ranks” Paradise, which has the highest levels, the most tranquil rooms and the nicest homes. Imam Ahmad reported from Ubadah bin As-Samit that the Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,

“Paradise has one hundred levels and between each level is a distance like the distance between the sky and the earth. Al-Firdaws is the name of the highest of its levels. From it springs the four rivers and the Throne is above it. Therefore, when you ask Allah, then ask Him for Al-Firdaws.” (Ahmad 5:316)

This narration was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadi 7:238)

In the Two Sahihs it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“Verily, the people of the Illiyyin will see those who are above them just as you see the fading star in the horizon of the sky, due to the different status of virtue between them.” 

The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, these are the dwellings of the Prophets.” He replied,

“Of course. And I swear by the One Whom my soul is in His Hand, (it is for) men who had faith in Allah and they believed the Messengers.” (Fath Al-Bari 6:368)

In the Sunan collections this narration is mentioned with the additional wording, “And verily Abu Bakr and Umar are of them and they will be most favoured.” (Abu Dawud 4:287) His saying, “And Gardens” meaning established as a residence. It is merely used here in reference to the high ranks mentioned previously. “under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever” meaning that they will abide in it for eternity. “and such is the reward of those who purify themselves.” One who purifies himself from dirt, filth and associating partners with Allah. This is the person who worships Allah alone, without ascribing partners to Him, and he follows the Messengers in the good they came with all that they claim.

{77. And indeed We revealed to Musa: “Travel by night with My servants and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken nor being afraid.” 

78. Then Firawn pursued them with his hosts, but the sea [Al-Yamm] completely overwhelmed them and covered them up. 

79. And Firawn led his people astray, and he did not guide them.}

The Children of Israel leave Egypt

Allah, the Exalted, informs that He commanded Musa to journey at night with the Children of Israel, when Firawn refused to release them and send them with Musa. He was to take them away from Firawn’s captivity. Allah expounds upon this in Surahs other than this noble Surah. Musa left with the Children of Israel, and when the people of Egypt awoke in the morning they found that not a single one of them remained in Egypt. Firawn became extremely furious. He sent callers into all of the cities to gather together his army from all of his lands and provinces. He said to them, “Verily, these indeed are but a small band. And verily, they have done what has enraged us.” (26:54-55) Then when he gathered his army and organized his troops, he set out after them and they followed them at dawn when the sun began to rise. “And when the two hosts saw each other” (26:61) This means that each person of the two parties was looking at the other party. “The companions of Musa said: “We are sure to be overtaken.” (Musa) said: “Nay, verily, with me is my Lord. He will guide me.” (26:61-62) Musa stopped with the Children of Israel and the sea was in front of them and Firawn was behind them. Then, at that moment, Allah revealed to Musa, “And strike a dry path for them in the sea.” So Musa struck the sea with his stick and he said, “Split for me, by the leave of Allah.” Thus, it split, and each separate part of the water became like a huge mountain. Then, Allah sent a wind to the land of the sea and it burned the soil until it became dry like the ground that is on land. For this reason Allah said, “and strike a dry path for them in the sea, fearing neither to be overtaken…” This means being caught by Firawn. “nor being afraid.” meaning, “Do not be afraid of the sea drowning your people.” Then, Allah, the Exalted, said, “Then Firawn pursued them with his hosts, but the sea [Al-Yamm] completely overwhelmed them” Al-Yamm means the sea. “and covered them up.” meaning, covered them up with a thing that was well-familiar to them in such a situa-tion, as Allah states; “And He destroyed the overthrown cities. So there covered them that which did cover.” (53:53-54) As Firawn pursued them into the sea, misled his people and did not lead them to the path of correct guidance, likewise, he will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection, and will lead them in to the Hellfire. And evil indeed is the place to which they are led.

{80. O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount, and We sent down to you manna and quail, 

81. (Saying) eat of the Tayyibat wherewith We have provided you, and commit no transgression or oppression therein, lest My anger should justly descend on you. And he on whom My anger descends, he is indeed perished. 

82. And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous deeds, and then Ihtada.}

A Reminder for the Children of Israel of Allah’s Favors upon Them 
Allah reminds of His tremendous favors upon the Children of Israel and His numerous blessings. He saved them from their enemy, Firawn, and He relieved their eyes by drowning him and his hosts all at one time while they watched. Allah said, “And We drowned Firawn people while you were looking.” (2:50) Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn Abbas said, “When the Messenger of Allah came to Al-Madinah, he found the Jews fasting the day of Ashura. Therefore he asked them about it and they said, ‘This is the day that Allah gave Musa victory over Firawn.’ Then, the Prophet , peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“We have more right to Musa (than them), so fast it.” (Fath Al-Bari 8:288)

Muslim also recorded this narration in his Sahih. (Muslim 1:795)

Then, Allah made a covenant with Musa and the Children of Israel on the right side of the Mountain, after the destruction of Firawn. This is the Mountain upon which Allah spoke to Musa and He told Musa’s people to look at it when they requested to see Allah. It is also the same Mountain upon which Musa was given the Tawrah, while at the same time the Children of Israel began worshipping the (statue of a) calf, as Allah relates in the forth coming Ayat. The manna and quails have previously been discussed in Surah Al-Baqarah [See 2:57] and other Surahs. Manna was a sweet substance that descended upon them from the sky and the quail [Salwa] was a type of bird that would fall down to them. They would fill every pot with them as ample provisions until the following day. This was a kindness and a mercy from Allah upon them. It was a manifestation of Allah’s good treatment of them. For this reason Allah says, “Eat of the Tayyibat wherewith We have provided you, and commit no transgression or oppression therein, lest My anger should justly descend on you.” This means, “Eat from this sustenance which I have provided for you, and do not transgress against My sustenance by taking it without necessity or you will be opposing what I have commanded you.” “lest My anger should justly descend on you.” This means, “I will become angry with you.” “And he on whom My anger descends, he is indeed perished.” Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn Abbas said, “This means that he will indeed be made miserable.” (At-Tabari 18:347)

Concerning Allah’s statement, “And verily, I am indeed forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds” meaning, “Whoever turns to Me in repentance, then I will accept his repentance regardless of whatever sin he did.” Allah, the Exalted, even accepts the repentance of the Children of Israel who worshipped the calf.

Concerning Allah’s statement, “who repents” This means to turn away from what one was involved in of disbelief, associating partners with Allah, disobedience of Allah or hypocrisy. Concerning Allah’s statement, “and believes” This means the person’s belief in his heart. “and does righteous deeds” his action with his bodily limbs.

Concerning Allah’s statement, “and then Ihtada.” Ali bin Abi Talhah related that Ibn Abbas said, “This means that he then does not doubt.” (At-Tabari 18:347)  Qatadah said, “and then Ihtada.” “This means he adheres to Islam until he dies.” We see here that there is a specific order in which these things are presented. This is similar to Allah’s saying, “Then he became one of those who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience and recommended one another to pity and compassion.” (90:17)

{83. “And what made you hasten from your people, O Musa 

84. He said: “They are close on my footsteps, and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.” 

85. (Allah) said: “Verily, We have tried your people in your absence, and As-Samiri has led them astray.” 

86. Then Musa returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow [Asif]. He said: “O my people! Did not your Lord promise you a fair promise? Did then the promise seem to you long in coming? Or did you desire that wrath should descend from your Lord on you, that you broke your promise to me?” 

87. They said: “We broke not the promise to you, of our own will, but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the people, then we cast them, and that was what As-Samiri suggested.” 

88. Then he took out for them a calf which was mooing. They said: “This is your god, and the god of Musa,” but he had forgotten. 

89. Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?}

Musa goes to the Appointment with Allah and the Children of Israel succumb to worship the Calf

Allah relates what happened when Musa traveled with the Children of Israel after Firawn’s destruction. “And they came upon a people devoted to some of idols. They said: “O Musa! Make for us god as they have gods.” He said: “Verily, you are a people who know not. Verily, these people will be destroyed for that which they are engaged in. And all that they are doing is in vain.” (7:138-139) Then, Allah made a covenant with Musa of thirty nights after which He added to them ten more nights. Thus, they were forty nights in all. The covenant was that he was to fast these number of days, during both the day and night. Thus, Musa made haste to go to the Mountain and he left his brother, Harun, in charge over the Children of Israel. This is why Allah says, “And what made you hasten from your people, O Musa” He said: “They are close on my footsteps.” These means that they have arrived and are settled near the Mountain. “and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.” meaning, “So You will be more pleased with me.” “(Allah) said: “Verily, We have tried your people in your absence, and As-Samiri has led them astray.” Allah informs His Prophet, Musa, of what happened to the Children of Israel after he left them, and their deification of the calf that As-Samiri had made for them.

During this time period, Allah wrote for Musa the Tablets, which contained the Tawrah. Allah said, “And We wrote for him on the Tablets the lesson to be drawn from all things and the explanation for all things (and said): “Hold unto these with firmness, and enjoin your people to take the better therein. I shall show you the home of evildoers.” (7:145) This means, “I will show you the final outcome of what will happen to those who abandon My obedience and oppose My command.”

Concerning Allah’s statement, “Then Musa returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow [Asif].” This means that after Allah informed him of what they were doing, he became extremely angry and upset with them. He was very worried for them. During this time he received the Tawrah, which contained their Shariah (Law), this was a great honor for them. For they were a people who used to worship other than Allah. Every person with sound reason and good sense could see that what they were doing was false and foolish.

This is why Allah said that he (Musa) returned to them in a state of anger and sorrow. The word for sorrow used here is Asif, which is used to emphasize to the severity of his anger. Mujahid said, “In a state of anger and sorrow means worried.” (At-Tabari 18:350) Qatadah and As-Suddi said, “Asif here means in a state of sadness because of what his people had done after him.” (At-Tabari 18:350) “He (Musa) said: “O my people! Did not your Lord promise you a fair promise…” This means, “Did He not promise you in that which I have spoken to you, every good in this life and in the Hereafter, and the good end in the final outcome of things You have already witnessed how He helped you defeat your enemy (Firawn) and He made you victorious over him and He blessed you with other bounties as well through His help.” “Did then the promise seem to you long in coming?” meaning, ‘in waiting for what Allah had promised you and forgetting His previous favors and the covenant that He made with you before.’ “Or did you desire that wrath should descend from your Lord on you,” The word ‘Or’ here means `Nay, but.’ It is used here to separate between a previous item and a coming item. It is as if it is saying, “Nay, but you want to make permissible the anger of your Lord upon you by what you have done. Therefore, you have broken your promise to me.” The Children of Israel said in reply to Musa’s blame and rebuke, “We broke not our promise to you of our own will” Meaning by our power and our choice. Then, they began making lame excuses and they told him how they got rid of that which they were carrying of Coptic jewelry that they had borrowed from them [the Egyptian Copts] when they left Egypt. Therefore they cast it, meaning that they threw it away. Thus, it became a calf that made a moaning sound that would gradually rise in pitch. This calf was an ordeal, a hindrance and test. This is why Allah said, “…that was what As-Samiri suggested.” Then he took out (of the fire) for them (a statue of) a calf which was mooing.” (Tarikh At-Tabari 1:422)

Muhammad bin Ishaq reported that Ibn Abbas said, “This is your god, and the god of Musa.” “So they became religiously devoted to it (the calf) and they loved it with a love that they had never loved anything else with before.” Allah then says, “but he had forgotten.” This means that he abandoned what he was following of the religion of Islam. This is referring to As-Samiri. (Tarikh At-Tabari 1:422) Allah says in refuting them and rebuking them, and also explaining to them their folly and foolishness in that which they had done, “Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good?” This is about the calf. ‘Do they not see that it does not respond to them when they ask it and when they speak to it?’ “and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good” Meaning in their worldly affairs and matters of the Hereafter. Ibn Abbas said, “Nay, by Allah, the moaning sound of the calf was nothing but wind that would enter into its behind and come out of its mouth, thus causing it to make a sound.”(An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:396)

In a Hadith of Al-Fitun recorded from Al-Hasan Al-Basri, it is mentioned that this calf’s name was Bahmut. (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 6:396) In reference to the excuse of these ignorant people, they claimed that they were merely ridding themselves of the jewelry of the Copts. In the process of doing so, they cast the jewelry (into the pit of fire) and ended up worshipping the calf. Thus, they were seeking to rid themselves of something detestable, but wound up doing something even worse. This is similar to an authentic narration reported from Abdullah bin Umar. A man from Iraq asked him about the ruling of mosquitoes’ blood if it get on one’s garment. The man wanted to know if it is permissible to pray in such a garment or not. Ibn Umar replied by saying, “Look at the people of Iraq. They killed the grandson of the Messenger of Allah , Al-Husayn, and yet they’re asking about the blood of the mosquito.” (Fath Al-Bari 10:440)

{90. And Harun indeed had said to them beforehand: “O my people! You are being tried in this, and verily, your Lord is (Allah) the Most Gracious, so follow me and obey my order.” 

91. They said: “We will not stop worshipping it, until Musa returns to us.”} 

Harun prohibits them from worship of Calf and the Persistence of the Children of Israel in doing so

Allah, the Exalted, informs of Harun’s attempt to prohibit them from worshipping the calf and his telling them that this was only a test for them. He told them that their Lord was the Most Beneficent, Who created everything and decreed for everything its just measure. He is the Owner of the Mighty Throne, the One Who does whatever He wants. “so follow me and obey my order.” Meaning, “Follow me in that which I am commanding you with and leave that which I forbid you from.” “They said: “We will not stop worshipping it, until Musa returns to us.” meaning, “We will not cease in our worship of this calf until we hear what Musa has to say about it.” So they opposed Harun in this matter and they fought against him, nearly killing him.

{92. (Musa) said: “O Harun! What prevented you when you saw them going astray;” 

93. “That you followed me not (according to my advice to you) Have you then disobeyed my order?” 

94. He (Harun) said: “O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head! Verily, I feared lest you should say: ‘You have caused a division among the Children of Israel, and you have not respected my word!”}

What happened between Musa and Harun after Musa returned

Allah informs of what happened when Musa returned to his people and saw the great matter that had taken place among them. With this he became filled with anger and he threw down the Divine Tablets that he had in his hand. Then, he grabbed his brother Harun by his head and pulled him towards himself. We expounded upon this previously in Surat Al-Araf, where we mentioned the Hadith, “Information is not the same as observation.” (Ahmad 1:271)

Then, he began to blame his brother, Harun, by saying, “What prevented you when you saw them going astray; that you followed me not?” meaning, “You should have informed me of this matter as soon as it happened.” “Have you then disobeyed my order?” “In that which I entrusted to you,” referring to Musa’s statement, “Replace me among my people, act in the right way and follow not the way of the mischief-makers.” (7:142) “He (Harun) said: “O son of my mother!” This mentioning of the mother was Harun’s attempt to soften Musa’s anger, because he was Musa’s biological brother and they had the same parents. The mentioning of the mother here is more delicate and profound in bringing about gentleness and mildness. This is why he said,

“O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard, nor by my head!”

This was Harun’s excuse to Musa for being delayed from coming to him and informing him of the great mishap that took place. He said, “Verily, I feared” meaning, “I was afraid to come after you and inform you of this, because I thought you might accuse me of leaving them alone and causing division between them.” “and you have not respected my word!” This means, “And you did not take care of what I commanded you to do when I left you in charge of them.” Ibn Abbas said, “Harun was respectful and obedient to Musa.” (At-Tabari 18:359)

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Vol 6 Pages 361-381

 

 

Advertisements