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The Story of Prophet Musa : A Story of Optimism

The Birth of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)

The Prophet Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is the most commonly mentioned prophet in the Qur’an. His story is repeated numerous times and his names appears from the very first juz’[part] to the very last juz’ of the Qur’an. In fact, his name is mentioned from the very beginning of the prophethood of the Messenger Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). After the first interaction with Jibrīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in the Cave of Ḥirā’, Khadījah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) took him to her cousin, a learned man by the name of Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Upon hearing the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) story, he immediately recognised what had happened and said, ‘This is the same angel that came to Mūsā.” Notice how it is the name of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)mentioned, not Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who is an ancestor to the Arabs and known to them or ‘Īsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who is the closest prophet to our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) chronologically.

From that moment onwards, it is this mighty prophet whose name and story keeps reappearing throughout our early tradition. During the Night Journey and ascension to the heavens, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) met many prophets. He also received the greatest of commandments in the obligation of the prayer which was initially enjoined as fifty prayers every day and night. It is the Prophet Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who encourages the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to keep returning to Allah and seeking a lessening of the number of prayers.

Even on the Day of Judgement, when all of creation will fall unconscious with the blowing of the trumpet, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) will be the first to awake and he will see Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) already clinging to the Throne of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). All of this is due to the many benefits and lessons we can derive from the story of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his nation.

happinessOne of the greatest lessons is how the story of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is a story of optimism in the midst of the harshest of trials and difficulties. In this and the coming couple of articles, we will look at three instances from the life of this mighty messenger of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and how in the most difficult of circumstances, he was optimistic of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) help and aid.

In this article we will look at the birth of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Before the birth of Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), Pharaoh issued an edict calling for the massacre of all male newborn children from the Children of Israel. Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was born into this context. The soldiers of Pharaoh would periodically search the houses of the Israelites so as to carry out Pharaoh’s orders. Mūsā’s mother had formulated a plan. She would, upon hearing the approach of the soldiers, take Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)out in his basket and place him in the river Nile at the rear of her house. She would tie the basket to a post and then retrieve him after the soldiers had left. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says,

“And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.”[1]

The plan was simple and made sense. However, when the time came to put it into effect, through her sheer terror and panic she carried out most of her plan but forgot to tie the basket to the post. Oblivious of her oversight, once the soldiers left her house, satisfied there is no child to be found, she raced out to retrieve her son. Only her is no longer there. He has been carried by the current of the river. Rather than panicking and screaming for help, she remains calm and collected, trusting in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes her emotional state in the Qur’an with the beautiful use of the Arabic language. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says,

“And the heart of Moses’ mother became empty [of all else]. She was about to disclose [the matter concerning] him had We not bound fast her heart that she would be of the believers.[2]

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) describes the heart of Mūsā’s mother using two different Arabic words. The first is ‘fu’ād’ and the second is ‘qalb’. Both words refer to the heart but there is a subtle difference between the two. The word ‘fu’ād’ refers to a heart overcome by emotion and not thinking rationally. When Mūsā’s mother first discovered her son being carried downriver, she is described as having her heart emptied. Despite her best efforts to protect her son, he has still been lost. Such was her sense of loss that she was almost about to scream for help.

This is where the ‘qalb’ comes in. This heart is one tempered by rational thought and understanding. Mūsā’s mother realised that if she were to call out for help, the commotion would attract the attention of the departing soldiers who would come back. Even if Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was rescued, the soldiers would take him and he would end up dead at their hands. Instead, she understood that she should trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His plans.

Imagine how difficult this must have been for a mother with her newborn son. Imagine her panic and terror. And then, look at the strength of her faith and trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). In the most heart wrenching and trying of situations, she is calm and collected. The next time you find yourself in difficulty, remember this amazing woman whom all Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions in the Qur’an due to her faith, and then read on to see how Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) helped her overcome this situation.

Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is carried downriver and his basket stops at the very palace of Pharaoh. From all the places it could have ended up, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) decreed for it to come to this house. Not only this, but Pharaoh and his wife would end up adopting Mūsā 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). This despite Pharaoh knowing his demise would be at the hands of an Israelite boy. After all, this was the whole reason behind massacring all of their newborn sons. Yet, he was powerless to do anything to this baby.

This is an amazing story. Not only does it show us Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) powers and abilities, and the wisdom of His divine decree in all affairs, it also shows us the power of optimism in trusting Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Such is Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) power and might, the strongest of people on earth at that time could not harm a helpless baby who is in his grasp. Mūsā’s mother in the middle of an extreme set of circumstances placed her reliance upon Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), knowing that He would always do what is best for her and her son. Furthermore, as we know, mother and son are reunited as he will only accept milk from her.

We often find ourselves in difficult situations, not knowing which decision to take or how to resolve an issue. We need to find the path that is most pleasing to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), ask Him for guidance and trust in His divine decree. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will then always do whatever is best for us, even if we cannot see it.

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