Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and Hazrat Harun (A.S.) sent as Prophets to the Pharaoh and his people
Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
According to a tradition of Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq the Pharaoh built seven cities and seven forts and was besieged inside them in fear of Musa. From one fort to another fort, there were forests with wild beasts. If anybody entered without his permission, the wild beasts attacked and killed him. Allah sent Musa with special authority towards it. When he reached to the first gate, he cast his stick and the gate opened. Musa entered. When the wild beasts saw him they all ran away. In this way when he reached every gate, it opened and all wild beasts disappeared from there. At last Prophet came to the last gate, he sat there. He was dressed up in clothes woven of hair, and held a staff. A servant of the Pharaoh came out. Musa asked him to get permission from him, to meet the Pharaoh. He didn’t take notice. Prophet asked him again. He said, “Allah has bestowed you with special authority (Prophethood) and why not any other person?”
Musa was very angry and cast his staff so all the gates between him and the Pharaoh opened. The Pharaoh saw him and called him in. Musa came and sat with a group of scholar and learned people. The Pharaoh was sitting on a throne, 80 feet high. Musa said, “I have come from the Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth and I am a Prophet.” The Pharaoh said, “If you are truthful, show us your miracle.” Musa cast his staff which had two branches. It became a large serpent and opened its mouth and raised one part of a palace up and remaining part below him. The Pharaoh noticed the flame of fire coming out from his stomach. Another head faced him. Due to fear the Pharaoh urinated in his clothes. He cried loudly and said, “O Musa stop it.” Seeing this the other people ran away. Musa picked up his staff. The Pharaoh came to senses and thought of pledging allegiance to him but his vizier, Haman said, “O my Lord! (the Pharaoh). People worship you as a God and you want to be obedient of an ordinary person?” His ministers gathered and said that Musa was a magician. They decided on a particular day to challenge him. The Pharaoh invited all the famous magicians to his court to challenge Musa. The magicians threw their ropes and staffs in front of him by their magic, Musa also cast his staff towards them, it became a giant serpent and swallowed their magical ropes and staffs. They were in all seventy-two magicians. They all bowed down and made obeisance and said, “He is not a magician. His staff is miraculous.”
Musa gathered The Israelites and moved towards Egypt. The Pharaoh pursued with his army. When Musa and his followers entered in the water it split and made a way to allow Musa to pass. The Pharaoh reached the shore with his army. They were on the horseback. The Pharaoh feared to enter the sea. By the permission of Allah, Archangel Gabriel came on a mare and entered. Seeing the mare entering into the water, the other male-horses along with their riders also entered. Allah, the Great, ordered the water to close on them. They were all drowned. Allah ordered the sea to raise the dead body of the Pharaoh on the water. So the Israelites come to know that the Pharaoh is dead and not hidden anywhere.
Allah commanded Musa to return with his people to Egypt. Then Allah bestowed them all the houses and belongings of the Pharaoh.
Then Allah ordered him to move towards Syria. When he crossed the sea, he saw another community. They all were gathered near an idol and worshipping it. The people of The Israelites saw this. They asked Musa to make an idol like that for them. Musa said, “You are ignorant. Don’t you know that Allah is one and do you want another God like this?”
Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq has stated when Musa reached the gate he was not granted the permission, he cast his staff on the ground. The gates opened and he came to the court of the Pharaoh and declared himself as a Prophet of Allah, and said, “Allah has sent me to you. Release the people of The Israelites to me. I will take them with me.” the Pharaoh said, “I looked after you, when you were a child, didn’t you kill a man and became an unbeliever for me. Do you forget, how I brought up you?” Musa said, “Yes, I forgot the real path. Then I avoided you though I was worried to do so. But Allah, the Almighty gave me knowledge and bestowed me with special authority and made me His Prophet. It is true that you cared for me and provided all comforts. You did so, because you made the people of The Israelites your slaves. You killed their sons.” Then the Pharaoh asked, “Who is your God? What are his attributes?” the Pharaoh wanted to know about Allah, how does He look liked etc. Musa said, “Allah is the Creator of the heaven and the earth. Everything between the earth and the heavens is in His commands.” the Pharaoh wa surprised to hear this and said to his companions, that he was asking about Allah and Musa is talking about the earth and the heaven.
The Pharaoh warned him if he worshipped any god except him, he would punish him and send him to prison. Musa asked, “If I show you an open miracle will you not trust me?” the Pharaoh said, “Show me if you are a true Prophet.” Musa cast down his staff and it became a serpent. Seeing this the Pharaoh’s followers ran away from there. The Pharaoh cried loudly and swore at him, Musa picked up his staff and took out his hand from his pocket, the whole palace was illuminated. When the Pharaoh came to his sense, he thought of becoming a follower of Musa. Haman, his vizier said, “You are the God of these people and they worship you. And you want to believe him? Then all the members of the Pharaoh court said that Musa was a great magician. “He is very clever and wants to evict you from the city by his magic.” the Pharaoh asked what their opinion was about this. They said, “Send your people around the city in search of great magicians.” It is must be remembered that the Pharaoh and Haman both were magicians and hypnotized the people. One thousand magicians were collected. The Pharaoh selected a hundred and eighty were the greatest among them. They asked what reward would they get? the Pharaoh said they would be rewarded from his kingdom. They said if Musa could subdue our magic, we shall become the followers and believers of Musa the Pharaoh said, he would also do the same. “But now you try your best to bring Musa under your control.” They gathered in an open space. Musa was called. A throne was erected for the Pharaoh 50 feet high. It was made of steel and shone brightly in the sun. The Pharaoh and Haman came and sat on a dome-like throne. It was so high so that they could see clearly.
Musa raised his head and was waiting for Allah’s revelation. The magicians saw him watching the sky. They said, “We can’t use our magical power on the sky. We can use our power on the earth only.” Then they asked who would start first. Prophet asked them to begin. They threw their magical ropes and staves towards Musa swore by the name of the Pharaoh that they succeed. The ropes and staves moved like snakes and serpents towards him. Allah revealed, “Musa don’t fear, you will be successful over them. Cast down your staff, it will swallow all the magic and magical things. It is their evil-deed but yours is a Divine miracle.”
When Musa cast down his staff, it became a huge serpent. It raised its head and opened its mouth. It raised its upper side up to eighty feet high where the Pharaoh and Haman were sitting and again bent down his head and swallowed their magic. Seeing this all men and women started running. About ten thousand people including their children were crushed in the stampede. Then the serpent moved towards the Pharaoh and Haman. Their clothes spoilt in fear and hair turned gray. Seeing their condition, Musa started running. Allah revealed to him to pick up the staff and not to be afraid. Allah promised him that He would improve their condition as they were before. Musa wrapped his hand in his shawl and put his hand in serpent’s mouth and held its tongue. The serpent turned into a staff. Seeing this all the magicians made obeisance to him and said, “We believe in you and Allah.” the Pharaoh was very angry and said, “You believe him and accept his religion but I do not allow you to do that. Tell me, is Musa your leader? Has he taught you magic? You will come to know, how, I will punish you. I will cut off your hands and legs and hang you on the date palm.” They said, “We are not afraid of you and your punishment as we have turned to Allah and He, the Great, will help us and forgive us as we have accepted His Prophet ’s faith.”
The Pharaoh ordered his men to arrest them. Allah sent his chastisement on the Pharaoh’s community and revealed to Musa to leave the city along with his followers that night. Musa and The Israelites came to the bank of the river Nile. The water of river split and made a way to cross the river. Musa and his people stepped into the river.
When the Pharaoh came to know Musa’s activity, he also collected his army of sixty thousand people and went ahead and he also came along with his people. In the early morning at the time of sunrise, the Pharaoh and his armies had come near. Musa ordered the river to split. The river said, “I never disobeyed Allah and His commands. You have so many people with you, who were disobeying Allah before.” Musa said, “O, river beware of Allah’s wrath and you know it very well when Prophet Adam disobeyed Allah, Allah removed him from Heaven.” The river said, “My Lord is great. I obey his commands if He orders me.”
Yusha‘ ibn Nun came to Musa and said, “O, Prophet! What is the order of Allah?” Musa said, “To Cross the river.” Then Yusha‘ stepped into the river with his horse and crossed the river safely. He and his horse did not even get wet. The people of The Israelites were afraid to cross the river. Allah revealed to Musa to cast his staff on the river. When he did so, the river split and made twelve ways in it. The sun dried the watery ground. There were twelve tribes in Musa’s army. The people of twelve tribes stepped into the river by twelve ways. A tribe, which was with Musa cried loudly and asked about the other people. Musa said they are crossing the river. The water of river stopped its movement like a mountain on their head and the people were crossing the river. When Musa said they are crossing the river, they did not believe. so Allah ordered the river to make holes in water so that they can see each other and talk.
When the Pharaoh saw the miracle, he said to his people, “He has split the water for you.” But no one dared to enter the river. Even their horses were afraid of water and running when the Pharaoh moved ahead to enter into it. His astrologer came to him and said not to go into the water but he didn’t heed. His horse stopped for a while. All his people were on the horseback. At once Archangel Gabriel approached on a mare and entered the river and the last man of the Pharaoh entered into the river. Allah ordered the wind to move the water and the mountain of water fell on them. This was the great chastisement from Allah. The Pharaoh said, “I believe in Allah. No one is like Him.” Archangel Gabriel took a handful of dirty mud and threw on his face and said, “Now seeing the Divine chastisement, you believe in Allah. Before this you were creating mischief on the earth.”
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has stated about the Penitential Verse of the Holy Qur’an, But on account of mercy from your Lord — surely His grace to you is abundant.. The Pharaoh said His community believed him to be their God. There is no God but he. Then he ordered his chief vizier Haman to prepare a high tower made of bricks so that he can search for Musa’s Allah. Haman prepared a high tower. It was very high that no one can climb or sit due to strong wind. He said, he couldn’t make it higher than this. When it was ready Allah, sent a strong wind on it. The wind demolished it and it fell down into pieces.
Then the Pharaoh prepared a large trunk. He towed four young ones of vulture. When they grew up, he fixed some sticks in each side of a trunk. He tied loaves of meat on each of the sticks. He kept them hungry for many days. He tied their legs with the wooden sticks. Then the Pharaoh and Haman both sat in it. The vultures flew high in the sky. The whole day they flew in the sky. The Pharaoh asked his vizier to look at the sky whether they reached to the sky or not, Haman said, still the sky seemed far. Then he asked him to look down. Haman said, he couldn’t see anything except the sea. They flew until sunset. The sea disappeared from their sight. It was darkness everywhere. Haman looked at the sky but it seems very far as before. Again the Pharaoh asked him whether they reached the sky or not. Haman said the stars look very far away from there as if he was seeing them from the earth.
So again both of them came down to the earth.
Shaykh Tabarsi and al-Qutb al-Rawandi have quoted from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir and Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq and many other scholars that Musa’s miracle made all the magicians and astrologers his believers but the Pharaoh was one of the unbelievers. That day about sixty thousand Israelites accepted Islam. Haman, the Vizier of the Pharaoh advised him to arrest those who believed in Musa. Allah sent famine upon the Egyptians. Al-Qutb al-Rawandi has said, when the community of the Pharaoh decided to harm him the Pharaoh ordered his men to build a tall tower so that he would go up and fight with Musa’s God. Haman prepared it with the help of fifty thousand workers.
They built a tower of bricks, wooden sticks and iron nails. It was the highest building of that time. Its foundation rested on a high mountain. When it was prepared, Allah sent an earthquake and the buildings was demolished with all the workers. They, all were destroyed. The Pharaoh said to Musa, “Your Allah is Just and Kind to all. Was this the judgment of your God? Now you get out from here along with your followers and keep up preaching them.” Allah sent revelation to his apostle that he separate from him and leave him to Allah. As he wanted to collect an army to fight you. And decide a particular time with him. Keep your followers separate from him, build houses for the, join with one another. Musa fixed the period of forty days with the Pharaoh. Allah, the Great ordered them for prayer. Allah sent revelation that he was collecting his army for the battle but not to fear him. Musa left with his miraculous staff, which was still a serpent. Musa was walking behind him and the people were surprised to see him running away. Musa came to his army and picked it up. It turned to its original shape. Prophet collected his people and built a mosque for prayer. When the period of forty days was over, Allah revealed to him to cast his staff on the river Nile. When he cast his staff on water it became red like blood.
‘Ali Ibn Ibrahim has stated that when The Israelites became the believers of Musa, the rich people of the community of the Pharaoh asked him, “If you leave them without punishing them, they will create a great trouble. As they do not believe in you and your idols.” The Pharaoh was an idol-worshipper at first. The Pharaoh said, “We would kill their boys and arrest their girls as we are ruling over them.” When the Pharaoh arrested people of The Israelites, they said, “He killed our sons and subjected them to torture.” Musa consoled them and urged them to have faith in Allah. “He would destroy them soon. You will be owner of his land. Remember Him and be grateful to Him.”
Allah, the Most High, sent different kinds of chastisements on them. When they got something good, they said it was due to their good deeds and if they faced any trouble, they said it was due to Musa and his people. Musa went to the Pharaoh and said, “Release the Israelites but he did not obey. Prophet hated them.
Allah sent heavy rainfall and many houses were demolished and many people destroyed. The rest of them went to the forest and built tents for themselves. But the people of The Israelites were safe. The water collected in and around their houses, so the Pharaoh asked Musa to pray to Allah to relieve them from wrath, we will believe in your God and the people of The Israelites who are the prisoners will be released. Musa prayed to Allah, and the rainstorm stopped. But they were the liars. Again Haman said to the Pharaoh if you released them and send them to Musa he will overcome you. The Pharaoh did not keep his promise and did not release them. In the same year, Allah made them prosperous, so they said, this was the blessing for them. They transgressed more.
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from some other books that Allah sent revelation on Musa and he indicated towards East and West with his staff. Locust gathered from both the directions and the crops and fruits were devastated. Their clothes, doors and other belongings were also spoilt but the people of The Israelites were safe. Then the locusts attacked their bodies and ate their hair and beards. So the Egyptian’s came to him but the Pharaoh sent them to Musa. They requested him to pray for them and said if he released them from this trouble, they will become his followers and the people of The Israelites also will be free from their prison.
Musa went towards the forest and indicated towards East and west by his staff, at once the locust disappeared. Again Haman asked the Pharaoh, not to release them. ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that in the third month of the same year, Allah sent louses and some says they were tiny locusts without wings, they spoilt their fields and uprooted their crops.
According to another tradition, Musa went to a high mountain of Egypt by the permission of Allah. It is known as ‘Ain-ul-Shams’, and cast down his staff. By the permission of Allah numerous louses came out from the ground and entered their clothes and food. Whatever they ate they found louses in it and they hurt their bodies. Some said that they were tiny worms and spoilt their things. Ever the flour was contaminated with them. In every ten kilograms of flour there were three kilogram worms. This was the severe punishment for them. The worms ate their hair, eyelashes and their beard. Each part of their bodies was filled with it. They could not sleep at night. But people of The Israelites were safe. Again people complained to the Pharaoh. He sent them back to Musa and requested him to release them from this trouble. The trouble was removed, but they did not release the people of The Israelites from the prison. Musa stayed with them for a week but they did not believe him and did not release them. Then in the fourth year or fourth month, Musa came to the bank of the river Nile and pointed to water by the order of Allah. May frogs came out and moved towards the houses of unbelievers and entered their food. Their houses were full of frogs. They entered their vessels and spoilt their food. They hid in their clothes and vessels. All the people were in trouble-all the time.
Whenever they wanted to talk or open their mouth to eat, the frogs entered their mouth. At last they came to Musa and requested him to save them from this trouble. They promised him, they will accept his religion and release the people from prison. After seven days Musa went to the river and pointed with his staff, all the frogs disappeared into the sea. Again they did not keep their promise. Again in the fifth year or in the fifth month Musa came to the river Nile and by the permission of Allah, cast his staff on the water. The water of Nile and canals became red like blood. When they drank, the water to blood. But for the people of The Israelites it was clean. The Egyptians told The Israelites to drop water from their mouths into their mouths. The people of The Israelites did when water was dropped into their mouth it changed into blood. The Pharaoh and his people were very thirsty. They ate the leaves and suck juices of vegetables instead of water, but juice also became blood in their mouth.
al-Qutb al-Rawandi has narrated that the water became salty. Seven days or forty days passed. They were eating and drinking blood only. At last they requested Musa for this and were released but their pride and infidelity increased.
‘Ali Ibn Ibrahim narrates from Imam as-Sadiq that Allah rained red ice on them. They had never seen it before. Many people died in this calamity. Again they went to Musa to pray for them remove this profanity from them. “We will believe in you and release your people,” they said. Again Musa prayed for them and the wrath was dispelled but again their infidelity increased.
Musa prayed, “O Allah. You have given them all comforts. Due to this they make their people tread the wrong path and people follow them. So make their money and all belongings useless.” Allah turned all their belongings into stones. All things became useless but they did not improve their conduct. Allah revealed to him that He would send the chastisement of plague on the Pharaoh’s daughters and all females whether human beings or beasts. They would all be destroyed. Musa conveyed the good news to his community. The spies conveyed this news to the Pharaoh at once. The Pharaoh ordered his men to bring all the women of The Israelites. We shall keep them with our females. “When chastisement will come, they will die and our females will be saved.”
It is obvious that sensible people cannot claim to be God. Allah sent the chastisement of plague on the female species at night. The females of every species perished except the females of The Israelites. In the same night eighty thousand female animals also died. The females of the Pharaoh’s community had so much of precious jewels. After that Allah sent His revelation to Musa that He desires to give all the properties of the Pharaoh’s family to the women of The Israelites as a
Ask all the women of The Israelites to demand for all their properties to give them as a gift. “Due to the divine chastisement, they all are in grief and they will not refuse to give away their women’s
belongings.” When they obtained the things, Allah ordered Musa to leave the city with his people.
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrates from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir that The Israelites called out for help to Musa and asked him to pray to Allah to release them from the Pharaoh’s harassment. At that time Allah sent His revelation to Musa. “O, Musa collect all these believers and leave the city at night.” Musa said there is a river in between. How shall we cross it? Allah said, “I shall order it to split for you.”
Musa collected his people and moved towards the river. When the Pharaoh came to know, he also collected his army and pursued them. When Musa reached the shore, he asked it to split for him.
The water asked the reason and said it would not be split without the permission of Allah. In the meantime the army chief of the Pharaoh came to them. The people of The Israelites were afraid and said “O, Musa. you have cheated us and brought us here. It was better to be a slave of the Pharaoh than to die.” Musa consoled them and said, “Allah is Great. He is a good Guide. He gives us guidance to follow to the right path.” Musa did not like them talking senselessly. They said, “O, Musa! You promised us that the water, would split and let us cross. Now the Pharaoh’s army is upon us.”
Musa raised his hands and prayed to Allah. Allah revealed to him to cast the staff on water. When he cast his staff the water split and Musa along with his people entered the sea. At that the Pharaoh’s army approached there and saw the sea split. The Pharaoh said that he has split the sea by his order. “Now enter the sea and follow them.” the Pharaoh and his army entered the sea. When they were half way, Allah ordered the water to immerse them. They all drowned. When the Pharaoh was drowning, he cried, “O, Musa! I believe in God. There is not other God except He. I have become a Muslim.” Allah said, “First you were disobedient and created trouble on the land. Now today I will free you from the world.” Imam said, “the Pharaoh and his whole community drowned no one survived. They all were all consigned to the fire (Hell).”
But the Pharaoh’s dead body was left at the seashore. So that the other people of the city can see and recognize him and understand that he is dead because they all believed him to be their God. So that other people derive a lesson and knowledge from it.
It is stated that when Musa gave the news to his people that Allah has drowned the Pharaoh the people had doubted it. They said, “He cannot die.” So Allah ordered the sea to throw his dead body out to the seashore that people can see him.
Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that Archangel Gabriel was visiting the Holy Prophet in sorrowful condition. Allah sent a magnificent verse of Holy Qur’an to the Holy Prophet. This verse is indicated in the following ayah. What is the verse??
Archangel Gabriel brought this Verse to the Holy Prophet in a happy mood. Prophet asked him why he looked so happy. Archangel Gabriel said, “O Prophet when the Pharaoh was drowning and said he believed that there is no God but He is whom the people of Israel believe and he is one of them. But I threw a handful mud and filled his mouth with it and recited this above Verse. And I recited this verse without the permission of Allah. I was worried Allah will dislike it. But when Allah ordered me to bring this verse to you, I was assured that Allah was pleased with me.”
Imam al-Ridha has stated that when the Pharaoh pursued Musa there were six lakh people in his army and one lakh people in another army. When both the armies reached the seashore the Pharaoh’s horse reared and did not step into the sea. In the meanwhile Archangel Gabriel approached on a mare and passed by the horse and stepped into the sea. The Pharaoh’s horse also followed the mare and then the whole army behind them.
According to a tradition of Imam al-Ridha Allah revealed to Musa, “When the moon appears in the heavens, you should all enter the sea and also take with you Yusuf ’s body from Egypt. So that He can send Chastisement on the Pharaoh. That day the moon appeared late so Musa thought Allah delays to send chastisement because Yusuf ’s body was not taken out as nobody knew the place where Yusuf was buried. The people said that an old woman knew it. When she was brought to Musa. She was very old, weak and blind. Musa asked the old lady about Yusuf ’s grave. She said she knew the place but will not show it until he grants her four wishes. According to another tradition she asked Musa to guarantee a good place in Heaven. Musa was confused.
But Allah revealed, “Give her whatever she wants, I will accept it Whatever you grant her.” Musa prayed and Allah granted her wishes. She indicated the grave of Yusuf on the banks of river Nile. Yusuf ’s body was placed in a marble coffin. Musa took it out and at once the moon appeared in the sky. Yusuf ’s body was taken to Syria and buried there. That is why the people of the book like to go to Syria. Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq has narrated that when Musa called that old woman and asked her to show the place of Yusuf ’s grave she said, “By Allah, unless and until you promise me to grant my wishes I will not show you the place. Allah sent him revelation, “What is the difficulty?” Musa told her to ask whatever she wanted. She said that her desire...