Death of Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and Hazrat Harun (A.S.)
Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
It is recorded in reliable sources from Imam al-Baqir that Musa prayed to Allah, “Of course I rest content on what You have decided and distributed. Do not kill an aged person, let alone a child.” The Lord replied, “O Musa! Are you not happy that I am the provider of provisions and I am the maintainer?” Musa submitted, “My Lord! I am happy; doubtlessly You are the Best Caretaker and the Best Maintainer.”
Imam as-Sadiq said that one day Musa went to Mount Toor with Harun. On the way, they saw a house. There was a tree at its door. Before that, they had neither seen that house nor the tree. Two clothes hung on that tree and there was a couch in that house. Musa asked Harun, “Remove your clothes and wear these, then enter this house and sleep on the couch.” Harun complied with the order. When he slept on the couch, Allah seized the soul of Harun, and that couch and that house went up in the sky. Musa returned to The Israelites and informed them that Almighty Allah had seized the life of Harun and called him up in the heavens. The Israelites said, “You are lying. You killed him because we loved him and because he was kind towards us.” Musa complained to Allah about the allegation made against him by The Israelites. The Almighty commanded and two angels lowered the couch with Harun from the heavens and kept it hanging between earth and heavens until The Israelites saw and were convinced that he had died and that Musa did not kill him.
According to another hadith (narration) Harun spoke up from the couch and said, I have died my death and Musa did not kill me.
It is mentioned in another hadith that the bereaved can tear off his collar while mourning one’s father or brother as Musa had torn his collar at the death of Harun.
According to a reliable tradition Imam al-Ridha said that Musa asked Allah, “My Lord! My brother has died so forgive him. Allah revealed to Musa, “O Musa! if you wish Me to forgive all those who have died and also who are yet to die I will pardon all of them except the killers of Husayn bin ‘Ali; from whom I will take revenge.”
It is mentioned in some reliable and authentic hadiths that Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that when the end of Musa’s life approached and the angel of death came and said, ‘O Kalimullah (the one with whom Allah conversed)! Assalaamo A’laikum’, Musa responded, “Wa a’laikas salaam! Who are you?” The angel replied, “I am the angel of death.” He asked, “Why have you come?” He replied, “To take your soul.” Musa asked, “From where will you seize it?” He replied, “From your mouth.” Musa asked, “How will you seize it from the mouth when I have conversed with the Almighty with it?” The angel replied, “All right! I will seize it from your hands.” Musa exclaimed, “How will you seize it from my hands when these hands have held the Torah?” The angel said, “I will seize it from your feet.” Musa said,”I have gone to Mount Toor on these very feet to talk with My Lord.” The angel said, “Then I will take it from your eyes.” Musa said, “I have always looked with these eyes hopefully towards my Lord’s Mercy.” The angel said, “Then from your ear.” Musa said, “I have heard my Lord’s Words with these very ears.” Then Almighty Allah revealed to the angel, “Do not seize his soul until he himself desires it.” So the angel of death went back and Musa lived for quite a long time thereafter. Then one day he called Yusha‘, gave his will to him, made him his legatee and asked him to keep the will a secret until the time of his (Musa’s) death. He also asked Yusha‘ to pass on the Wasiyyah (Will) at the time of his (Yusha‘’s) death to someone else as desired by Allah. Saying this Musa disappeared from his people.
During these days of his absence, he once met a man digging a grave. Musa told him that he would like to help him in digging that grave. He said, ‘That is good.’ Musa engaged himself in the digging. Soon the grave was completed by them. The man intended to go and lie in that grave to ascertain whether it was properly dug or not.
But Musa said, Wait! let me do it. Saying this Musa entered the grave and slept therein. Allah removed the curtain from his eyes and he saw his place in Paradise. He said, My Lord Call me back to You. So the angel of death seized his holy soul then and there. That person buried him in the same grave and closed it by filling it with earth. That man digging the grave was an angel in the shape of a man. Musa died in Tiyah. An announcer announced from the heavens that Musa Kalimullah has died and who is he who will not die? (The Imam) said, This is why Musa’s grave is not known to people and The Israelites do not know its location. People asked the Prophet of Allah about the location of the grave of Musa. He replied, “Near the highway adjacent to the red hillock.” After Musa, Yusha‘ became the leader of The Israelites. He was always busy in their affairs and was bearing all kinds of difficulties caused to him by the kings of those days. Three of those kings died. Thereafter the condition of Yusha‘ became strong and be became independent in the matter of law and order (giving orders to do or to refrain from doing things). Then two hypocrites of the community of Musa conspired and took Safra daughter of Shu‘ayb, the wife of Musa with them and revolted against Yusha‘ with 100000 men. Yusha‘ overpowered them. Many groups of them were killed and those who remained alive fled by the Divine Order and Safra daughter of Shu‘ayb became the captive of Yusha‘. Yusha‘ told her, “I am leaving you in this world so that in the other world when I meet Musa the Prophet of Allah, I may complain to him about you and your community about what I have suffered due to you.” Safra said, “By Allah! If Paradise is made open to me so that I can enter it I will feel ashamed of seeing there Musa the Prophet of Allah, as I have torn his veil and thereafter I revolted against his legatee.”
Sunnis have narrated from ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud that he said, “I asked the Prophet of Allah, ‘Who will bathe you after your demise?’ The holy Prophet replied, ‘Every Prophet is given a bath by his Wasi.’ I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who is your Wasi?’ He replied, ‘‘Ali bin Abi-Talib.’ I asked, ‘O Prophet of Allah! How long will he live after you?’ He said, ‘Thirty years as Yusha‘ ibn Nun the legatee of Musa and Safra daughter of Shu‘ayb revolted against him (Yusha‘) and had said, ‘I am more entitled than you to be ruler of The Israelites.’ Yusha‘ fought her, destroyed her army and arrested her. After capturing her he behaved nicely with her and in this way the daughter of so and so will along with thousands of men of my Ummah revolt against ‘Ali. ‘Ali will defeat her army, make her captive and will behave nicely to her after arresting her.’ This verse has come in that connection: (O Wives of the Prophet). Remain seated in your house and...... do not come out in a style of olden day ignorance. And said that olden day ignorance means coming out in the field like Safra daughter of Shu‘ayb.”
Authentic narrators mention from Imam al-Baqir that the wife of Musa had revolted against Yusha‘ ibn Nun riding on a giraffe. Wife of Musa had the upper hand on the first day but on the second day Yusha‘ subdued her. Some people said to Yusha‘, “Punish her.” But Yusha‘ said, “Since Musa had rested by her side, I have given her respect due to Musa’s honor. I leave the revenge to Allah.”
It is mentioned in reliable tradition from Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq that Angel of Death came to Musa and saluted him. Musa inquired, “Why have you come?” He said, “I have come to seize your soul but I have been ordered to do so only when you so desire.” Then the angel went away. After sometime Musa called Yusha‘, made him his legatee and disappeared from his people. During this absence, he went to some angels who were busy digging a grave. Musa asked, “For whom are you digging this grave?” They replied, “By Allah! For a slave of Allah who is very high in the sight of Allah.” Musa said, “Indeed he must be very great in the sight of Allah because I have never seen a grave better than this one.” The angels inquired, “O Slave of Allah! Do you wish to be the same fellow.” Musa said, “Of course I do.” The angels said, “Then go and sleep in it thinking about your Lord.” Musa went in it and slept and saw his place in Paradise and desired for his death from the Almighty. His soul was seized then and there and the angels buried him. It is mentioned in another reliable tradition that Musa lived for one hundred twenty six years and Harun for one hundred and thirty years. It is mentioned in yet another reliable tradition that the 21st night of the month of Ramadhan is the auspicious night in which the legatees of Prophets left this world. ‘Isa was lifted up on this night and Musa also passed away on this night.
It is authentically narrated from Imam al-Baqir that during the night in which Amir al-Mu’minin was martyred, fresh blood was gushing out of every stone that was picked up until sunrise and that Yusha‘ ibn Nun was also martyred on this night.
It is recorded in reliable sources that Imam as-Sadiq said, “Musa willed to Yusha‘ ibn Nun and made him his successor, then Yusha‘ made the son of Harun his Successor and Khalifah. He did not make his or Musa’s son his caliph because Khalifah or Imam is appointed by Allah and no one else has any authority in this matter.”
It is mentioned in some reliable traditions that when Musa and Harun were appointed by Divine Mercy in Tiyah, Yusha‘ ibn Nun prepared The Israelites for war and marched towards Syria for the battle of Alqalama. He conquered every town on his way towards Syria until he reached Balgaa. The king of that place was called Baalaq. There were several battles between him and Yusha‘ but neither was killed. People asked for its reason. It was replied that as neither of them possessed a flag neither got killed. Then they made a treaty and marched forward to another city. When the king of that place knew that he did not have enough strength to confront Yusha‘ he sent someone for Bal-am Baoor so that he may pray with The Grand Name so that they may win. Bal-am thought of going to the king riding his donkey. The donkey became so overjoyed that he fell down. When he asked the ass the reason of doing so, the animal by the power given to it by Allah replied, “How can I not become overjoyed when this Archangel Gabriel, holding a weapon in hand prevents you from going to fight with him?” This did not impress him and he went further.
When he reached the king the latter asked him to recite the Grand Name and to curse the people of Yusha‘. Bal-am said Allah’s Prophet is with him and therefore no curse will affect them but I am planning differently for your sake. Decorate many beautiful women, send them to their army under pretext of sale, and purchase so that when presented to men they may indulge in adultery because Allah sends the disease of plague to those people who make excess in adultery. When he did so the community of Yusha‘ indulged in much adultery. Allah revealed to Yusha‘, “These people have angered Me much by doing such a heinous deed. Now if you desire I will have them subdued by the enemy or if you like I will have them killed through famine and if you so desire I may destroy them with a hard and quick death.” Yusha‘ said, “My Lord! They are the children of Ya‘qub and therefore I would not like the enemy to control them nor would I like them to be killed by famine. So if you so desire you may punish them with instant death. Then seventy thousand of those people died within three hours of the plague.”
It is mentioned in the narrations of Shi‘ahs and Sunnis that, thereafter when Yusha‘ fought with them and was about to overpower them the sun set. Yusha‘ prayed to Allah and He made the sun reappear by His Might and kept it shining until they won the war. Only then did the sun set. Likewise the sun reappeared for the successor of the last Prophet, Amir al-Mu’minin.
It is recorded in reliable sources from Imam al-Ridha that Allah had given Bal-am Baoor the Grand Name. Every supplication made by him was accepted because of it. At last, he inclined towards Pharaoh. When the Pharaoh intended to follow Musa and his people, he requested Bal-am to pray to Allah so that he may detain Musa and his men thus enabling him to reach them. Bal-am rode his ass to lead the Pharaoh following Musa’s army but his donkey stopped and did not budge thought he kicked it much. Allah made the animal talk and it asked: Woe unto you! Why are you hitting me? Do you want me to be with you so that you may curse the Prophet of Allah and the faithful? Then he beat the donkey so much that it died and went away from him. It was wiped out from his heart as has been mentioned by Allah in Qur’an, “(O Prophet
Tell your people the tale of the one whom We had given our signs, that is Our evidences or arguments, then he came out of those signs and sciences and was taken back from him, then he obeyed the devil and became misguided. Had We wished, We would have raised him high with the same signs but he leaned down towards the earth, preferred the world, and followed his desires), his example is like a dog. It brings out its tongue if you attack it and also if you leave it unhurt. It is mentioned in narrations that the tongue of Bal-am was hanging out of his mouth like the tongue of a dog reaching up to his chest. Imam al-Ridha said, No animal will enter Paradise except three-the donkey of Bal-am, the dog of the people of the cave and the wolf (the story of which is that a tyrant king sent his cattleman to fetch a group of the faithful with an intention to punish them. The cattleman had a son whom he loved very much. The said wolf came and ate up the boy which made the cattleman very sorry. Therefore Allah will admit that wolf in Paradise as it made that wicked cattleman sorrowful).
It is recorded with many evidences that in the night wherein Amir al-Mu’minin was martyred, Imam Al-Hasan went up the pulpit and said, “O People! That night was also like this one when ‘Isa son of Maryam went up the heavens. That night was also like this one when Yusha‘ ibn Nun was killed. That is the 21st of Ramadham.”
It is mentioned with authentic evidences that Imam al-Ridha said, “A companion of the holy Prophet got a letter, which was brought to the holy Prophet. The holy Prophet had an announcement made that all should be present in the mosque. Then he went up to the pulpit and said, ‘This letter has been written by Yusha‘ ibn Nun the legatee of Musa. The subject matter is like this
: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surely your Lord and your Friend is kind to you. Verily the best among all the slaves of Allah is the unknown pious and the worst among the creation of Allah is the one who is conspicuous with his wrongful power (state). So whosoever wants to get full reward and wants to be thankful to Allah should recite this supplication daily: Subhaan Allah kama yambghi allaaho laa ilaaha illa kamaa yambaghi allaaho wal h’amdo lillaahe kamaa yambaghi allaaho wa laa h’awla walaa quwwata illa billaahe wa s’allallaaho a’laa jamee’il mursaleena wan nabeeyeena h’atta yarz”allaaho.
It is mentioned in another reliable tradition that among The Israelites were four faithful persons who were connected with one another. One day three of them gathered in a house for some work. The fourth one also arrived and knocked on the door which was opened by a slave. He asked him, “Where is your master?” He replied, “He is not in the house.” So that person went back. The slave returned to his master who asked him, “Who knocked the door?” He replied, “He was so and so and I told him that the owner of the house is not at home.” The owner of the house and his friends did not say anything about this and kept quiet. They did not care about the going back of the faithful. They resumed their talks. Next morning he returned and saw them coming out of the house. He observed that they intended to go to the farm of one of them. He saluted them and asked whether he too could accompany them.
They said, ‘All right! Come along.’ But they did not express any sorrow for the previous day’s incident when he had returned. He was a poor man among them. On the way, a cloud appeared in the sky and came over their heads. Thinking that it would start raining they started to run. Suddenly a voice was heard from the cloud
: O Fire! Burn them away. I am Archangel Gabriel, the Messenger of Allah. All of a sudden, fire separated from that cloud and fell on those three men. The fourth became astonished and also fearful. He could not understand the reason of what had happened. He came back to the town and went to Yusha‘ ibn Nun and narrated the whole happening to him. Yusha‘ said, “Allah punished them due to you, despite being pleased with them.” Then Yusha‘ told him the previous day’s incident. The man said, “I condone their deed.” Yusha‘ said, “Had this happened before the Divine chastisement fell on them this pardoning by you would have benefited them. Now it is of no use in the worldly life. Perhaps it may give them some benefit in the Hereafter.” It is mentioned in a narration that Yusha‘ lived for 133 years and he made Kaalab bin Yuqanna his successor and caliph.
 If pondered over it will be seen how similar the state of this Ummah is to that of Musa, as the holy Prophet has (according to narration of both the Shi‘ah and the Sunni written that whatever has happened in The Israelites will happen to this Ummah. Just as Yusha‘ was apparently overpowered by three kings so Amir al-Mu’minin was also apparently overpowered. Thereafter when those people proceeded towards the Hereafter he came to caliphate. Then two persons of this Ummah viz Talha and Zubair revolted against the along with the holy Prophet’s wife himyarah It was just like the deed of two hypocrites of that Ummah who had revolted against the legatee of Musa along with Safra wife of Musa. Likewise as they were defeated and Safra was made captive and Yusha‘ did not take revenge from her in this world, similarly Amir al-Mu’minin also won the war and when he caught himyarah he gave respect to her and postponed the revenge until the Day of Judgment.