I See A Fire in Far Distant
 

VERSE NO.916

Here the spiritual and physical story of Moses begins, and continues through some eighty verses. It was used as a consolation for our prophet, and his disciples, who lived then under a great pressure and persecution of the pagan Arabs. Moses was travelling with his family and his flocks. It was very cold, and he tried to kindle a fire, but his flint failed. Then he saw a fire in far distant. He went towards the fire to get a brand, or to look for some guidance. When he went near the fire things were different! There was not a real fire as we know it. Instead; a tree was glowing with a brilliant red light! Then Moses heard a voice calling him from amid the glowing fire! The voice said: ``O, Moses! I am your Lord! Then take off your sandals because you are in the sacred valley of Towa". And I have chosen you for the position of prophethood, and conveying My Message. Therefore, listen well to what you shall be inspired with.''

Moses who was by now chosen for a great mission by Allah the Most High, had to do away with all the worldly interests and catering, a sample of which can be the shoes, which he had to take off as a mark of respect and piety. TOWA", is a valley below Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Message of God, and his religious Law. The first inspiration that Moses had to listen to carefully was:

``Verily I am Allah, your Lord. There is no god except Me, so worship Me alone.'' First of all, he was to know God in Oneness, and to worship Him alone. The next instruction was not to forget his Lord, and to perform the prayer, so as to help remembering Him. The third phase of the inspiration was about the Dooms Day: ``That the hour will come. I would like to hide it, in order to reward everyone according to his try and endeavour.'' [ 95 ]

Therefore he had to be careful about Hour of Resurrection and Final Judgement of God. The exact time of the great incident is hidden from Man, though its happening is sure. And finally in receiving his commission, Moses was warned so as to hold fast to the light that had come to him, lest the unbelievers should bar him from it, causing him to perish. We all should know that the temptation of Satans, and that of our own fancies and caprices, is dangerous to our life and to our relations with God. It may bar us from the way of prosperity and lead us to ruin and destruction.

(( 17 ))

17- AND WHAT IS THAT IN YOUR RIGHT HAND, O, MOSES?

(( 18 ))

18- HE SAID: ``IT IS MY STICK ON WHICH I LEAN, AND WITH IT I BEAT DOWN THE LEAVES FOR MY SHEEP, AND FOR ME IT HAS OTHER USES TOO.''

(( 19 ))

19- HE SAID; THROW IT DOWN O, MOSES!

(( 20 ))

20- HE CAST IT DOWN, THEN IT BECAME A SERPENT MOVING FAST!

(( 21 ))

21- HE SAID: ``TAKE IT, AND DO NOT BE AFRAID. SOON SHALL WE RESTORE IT TO ITS FIRST STATE. [ 96 ]

(( 22 ))

22- AND THRUST YOUR HAND INTO YOUR ARM-PIT, IT SHALL COME OUT WHITE (SHINING) WITHOUT ANY FAULT, AS ANOTHER SIGN.

(( 23 ))

23- WE WOULD LIKE TO SHOW YOU SOME OF OUR GREAT SIGNS.


THE COMMENTARY
THE STICK AND SHINING HAND OF MOSES

VERSE NO.1723

The prophets have to have some sorts of miracles to prove their relation of prophethood with God, or else everyone could claim that high Divine Position by way of imposture. Therefore in the same time that his commission was explained to Moses, two great miracles too, were given him. The first one was his stick that when he threw it down it turned to a long fast creeping serpent who twisted violently!!

The second miracle was his hand that when he thrust it into his arm-pit, and then pulled it out, it shone white with a Glorious Divine light, a miracle that was beyond the skill of any human magic.

Indeed, nothing in this world should be considered simple, or useless. When Moses for the first time took a piece of wood as his rod to lean upon it, and to beat down leaves of trees with it to feed his sheep, he could never think that it could in future become a means or a weapon to overthrow Pharaoh of Egypt, bringing him down from his throne of power! In the above verse (NO.22) it was said to Moses: ``Thrust your hand into your arm-pit, and it shall come out white without any FAULT.'' [ 97 ]

The word, ``FAULT'' in this verse is to negate the verse in the EXODUS4:6 that has translated the, ``SHINING WHITE'' to something which may mean the disease of leprosy as follows: ``Once again YAHOVAH spoke to Moses and said; put your hand inside your robe. Moses did so; and when he took his hand out, it was covered with white spots like snow.''

(( 24 ))

24- GO TO PHARAOH, THAT HE HAS REBELLED.

(( 25 ))

25- HE SAID: ``MY LORD! EXPAND ME MY BREAST,

(( 26 ))

26- AND MAKE MY TASK EASY FOR ME,

(( 27 ))

27- AND LOOSEN THE KNOT FROM MY TONGUE, (i.e SPEECH IMPEDEMENT)

(( 28 ))

28- THAT THEY MAY UNDERSTAND WHAT I SAY;

(( 29 ))

29- AND APPOINT FOR ME A MINISTER FROM MY FAMILY,

(( 30 ))

30- AARON MY BROTHER,

(( 31 ))

31- BY HIM BACK ME UP. (INCREASE MY POWER) [ 98 ]

(( 32 ))

32- AND LET HIM SHARE MY TASK.

(( 33 ))

33- THAT WE MAY GLORIFY YOU MUCH,

(( 34 ))

34- AND WE REMEMBER YOU MUCH,

(( 35 ))

35- THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS SEEN US.

(( 36 ))

36- HE SAID:``VERILY YOUR REQUESTS ARE GRANTED, O, MOSES.


THE COMMENTARY
THE CONSIDERED REQUESTS OF MOSES


VERSE NO.2436 At last Moses was chosen a prophet by his Lord, Allah, (YAHOVAH), and was spiritually prepared to attend his commission, but he knew enough of Pharaoh, and that how unrestrained and immoderate the tyrant was. He therefore prayed to our Lord for some means of confronting with the dictator of Egypt. First of all he prayed to Allah to grant him more spiritual insight, by the expansion of his breast, which we may take it as a broad mind. He asked for God's help in removing the hardship and difficulties of his mission and tasks.

He also asked for the power of eloquence and the removal of any impediment from his speech. Some commentators have narrated that the tongue of Moses had [ 99 ] been burned when he was a child, and the verse (NO.27) has been sent down to this effect that: ``My Lord! Loosen the knot from my tongue.'' But the next verse (NO.28), implies that he has prayed for eloquence, so as to be able to express his feelings, or what was inspired to him with a more moving force and fluency:

``That they may easily understand what I say to them.'' In the next verse (NO.29) Moses prays to his Lord to assign his brother, Aaron, as his VAZIR, or a minister by our translation. The Arabic, ``VAZIR'' is taken from the root word, ``VEZR'' which means a heavy load. We have translated it to, ``MINISTER'' who usually carries a part of the heavy loads of his sovereign, or the executive head of a government. He helps and does things needful and helpful.

Minister is also a religious title denoting one who is duly authorized to conduct Christian worship, preach the Gospel, or administer the sacraments. So Moses asked for his brother's Ministry to back him up, and to increase his power saying: ``Strengthen my back with him.''

Besides the spiritual help that Aaron could afford, Man's physical strength mostly lies in his backbone by which he can stand up firmly. There are many useful lessons that we may take from the above discussed verses, some of which are as undermentioned: 1Without any doubt, Pharaoh had many faults and weak points, such as having no faith in God, being an idolater, ruling as a very cruel tyrant, and a selfish dictator. Among all these evil qualifications, Qura"n puts a finger on his rebellion, that he renounced and resisted obstinately the authority of his Creator by uprising against all the natural rules and regulations that were contrary to his wishes, fancies, and caprices. The challenge of Moses and all the righteous men throughout the history have been against such kinds of rebels.

2For every task, there must be a prepared programme, and also the necessary means and equipments should be provided. Even the [ 100 ] prophets, in spite of having so much supernatural power, used the ordinary and natural means and ways of reaching their aims. In other word, the primeval Muslims would not sit down hand on hand, and out of work, waiting for things to come down to them in a basket from the skies and miraculously. They were always up and doing, and meanwhile had their trusts on God.

3Here Moses has declared his final goal to be celebrating the praise of God: ``That we may glorify you much, and that we may remember you much.'' Moses meant to show his gratitude and thankfulness to God, by remembering Him and celebrating His praise, because all his prayers were answered, and all his requests were granted him.

(( 37 ))

37- AND VERILY WE HAVE OBLIGED YOU ANOTHER TIME. (BEFORE)

(( 38 ))

38- WHEN WE INSPIRED YOUR MOTHER WITH WHAT WE INSPIRED.

(( 39 ))

39- TO PUT (THE CHILD) IN A COFFIN, AND PUT IT ON THE RIVER, THEN THE RIVER SHALL THROW HIM ON THE SHORE. THERE SHALL SEIZE HIM (FROM THE WATER) AN ENEMY OF MINE AN HIS. AND I CAST UPON YOU A LOVE FROM ME, SO THAT YOU COULD HAVE FLOURISHED UNDER MY EYE. [ 101 ]

(( 40 )) 40- WHEN YOUR SISTER WALKED ABOUT (THE PALACE OF PHARAOH) AND WAS SAYING: ``SHALL I LEAD YOU TO ONE WHO MAY NURSE HIM?''

THEN WE TURNED YOU BACK TO YOUR MOTHER, IN ORDER TO COOL HER EYE, AND NOT TO GRIEVE. THEN YOU KILLED A PERSON AND WE SAVED YOU FROM SORROW; AND WE TESTED YOU MANY A TIME. THEN YOU STAYED FOR YEARS AMONG THE PEOPLE OF MEDIAN. AFTER THAT YOU CAME (HERE) AS I ORDAINED. (( 41 )) 41- AND I CHERISHED YOU FOR MYSELF.


THE COMMENTARY
WHAT A KIND GOD!


VERSE NO.3741 Here God points at another phase of the life of Moses, which includes his childhood, and his being miraculously saved from the dreadful paws of Pharaoh:

``O, Moses! We have also obliged you in the past, when We inspired your mother to put you as a child in a coffin, and to put the coffin in the river, to seize you an enemy of me and yours....'' [ 102 ] Pharaoh had killed thousands of male child to prevent the birth of Moses; foretold by the diviners, who would overthrow his throne. But the child was born, and strangely brought up in Pharaoh's palace in the best possible way of living. There in the Court of Pharaoh, he was trained in all the learning of Egypt.

His mother found herself forced to get rid of the child somehow.
Not knowing what was to be done with the child, condemned to death innocently, God inspired her, saying:
``Put your baby in a coffin-like chest, then put it upon the river.''
She did so and floated the coffin on the Nile river, meanwhile she had all her trust in God.

Pharaoh's palace was built at the river side, and a stream from the river flowed beneath his palace, through the surrounding gardens. Then Pharaoh and his wife who were sitting on their resting platform, saw the chest carring a baby and sailing towards them. Pharaoh took the chest out of the water, and found an astonishing beautiful baby in it! Pharaoh guessed the baby to be an Israelite one, who was thrown into river for fear of being slayed as his per order. He therefore decided to kill the baby. But his wife, ``ASIYEH'' who was a barren queen felt a tender love for the child in her heart, and entreated Pharaoh to spare the life of the baby and let her to adopt him as her child.

Pharaoh agreed with the request of his queen. Now the baby seemed to be very hungry, and there should be a foster mother to suckle the baby, and to look after him: ``When your sister walked about the palace of Pharaoh, and was saying; Shall I lead you to one who may nurse him?'' And thus it was God's plan to give him back to his mother to suckle her baby, who was nourished on his own mother's milk. Moses was grown under the eye and care of God, and was prepared for his two fold great tasks, to admonish and warn Pharaoh and Egyptians, and to free the Israelites from the bondage of Egyptians. [ 103 ]

Moses had many adventures and trials throughout his life.

Once he went to separate an Israelite grappled with his Egyptian assailant, where the Egyptian was killed in the quarrel, and Moses was grieved for the unintentional murder. Being in danger of retaliation, Moses escaped and lived among the people of Medians for several years. There he married one of the daughters of the Medianite apostle (Shoaib).

Now Moses, a grown man with many kinds of experiences, educated by Egyptian learning in the court of the king, and with the inner soul and sympathy of a real Israelite, and trained by his private tutor and father in Law, Shoaib who was an apostle of God; was travelling in the desert of Sinai with his family and flocks. He came at the foot of the great Mountain Sinai which is known in Arabic as, ``TOOR''. There he saw a fire glowing in the distance, and when he went there to see what was what, he was addressed by God and chosen as his Arch Prophet. That place in which his commission was explained to him was named TOWA".

From Towa" as per order of his Lord, the only one true God, whom he used to call by the name, ``YAHOVAH'', he and his brother Aaron went and preached Pharaoh the king of Egypt, but the tyrant rejected God and his signs, and appointed a trial of strength between his magicians and Moses, because he had accused Moses of sorcery.

(( 42 ))

42- GO YOU AND YOUR BROTHER WITH MY SIGNS, AND BE NOT FEEBLE IN REMEMBERING ME.

(( 43 ))

43- BOTH OF YOU GO TO PHARAOH, THAT HE HAS REBELLED. [ 104 ]

(( 44 ))

44- BUT SPEAK GENTLY TO HIM, PERHAPS HE MIGHT BE MINDFUL OR HE MAY FEAR.

(( 45 ))

45- THEY SAID: ``OUR LORD! WE FEAR HIM TO EXCEED AGAINST US OR BE INSOLENT.''

(( 46 ))

46- DO NOT BE AFRAID, I AM WITH YOU, I HEAR AND I SEE.

(( 47 ))

47- GO YOU TO HIM AND SAY; ``WE ARE THE MESSENGERS OF YOUR LORD. SO SEND FORTH WITH US THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND TORTURE THEM NOT.

VERILY WE HAVE COME TO YOU WITH A SIGN FROM YOUR LORD, AND PEACE ON HIM WHO FOLLOWED THE GUIDANCE.

(( 48 ))

48- IT HAS BEEN INSPIRED TO US THAT, TORMENT WILL FALL UPON HIM WHO BELIES (THE SIGNS OF GOD) AND, TURNS AWAY. [ 105 ]


THE COMMENTARY
THE FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH PHARAOH, THE TYRANT


VERSE NO.4248 Moses was physically and spiritually prepared for his great adventure and encountering of risks. He had the great signs of God with him, including the two main miracles of the rod, and the white hand. When he was honoured with his mission and was granted his requests, including the ministry of his brother Aaron, he met with the brothers to whom had also God been revealed, and they took their simultaneous decision of cooperation to pursue the same object.

Now their object was clear enough to both of them. The two brother had to go to Pharaoh, and preach him. To warn him, and also ask him the release of the Israelites. Then, the children of Israel were subjected to all sorts of oppression and disgrace. All the hard tasks in the kingdom had to be done by them. They worked hard day and night, and without any due reward. An instance of that is stated in EXODUS 5:10: *****

``The slave driver said to the Israelites: The king has said that he will not supply you with any more straw. He says that you must go and get it yourselves wherever you can find it; but you must still make the same number of bricks. So the people went all over the Egypt looking for straw. The slave-driver kept trying to force them to make the same number of bricks everyday, as they had made when they were given straw. The Egyptian slave drivers beat the Israelite foremen whom they had put in charge of the work.''

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

[ 106 ]

Pharaoh was the cause of all the troubles and misfortunes that afflicted the Israelites as well as the Egyptians. This is the case with all the nations, that are ruled by evil and selfish dictators, and proud and arrogant leaders, who neither believe in God, nor in a day of judgement. Pharaoh too, was so puffed up with vanity and arrogance, that he could not recollect that there was, at all, a Creator for him! He had transgressed all bounds of logic and wisdom, and there was no hope that he would repent or return to God.

The expectation of him now only revolved around making him to fear the bad social consequences of his conducts, which could still be counted a step on. Such matters were under the consideration of Moses and Aaron and made them anxious about their adventure. Besides all, they were only two shepherds, and their enemy a dictator king who claimed to be a god himself, knowing himself to deserve to be worshipped by his subjects.

But in realities, there was nothing to be worried of, because God Himself was with the two brothers: ``Go you and your brother with My signs to Pharaoh perhaps he might be mindful or may fear.... And don't be afraid of him because I am with you, I can see and I can hear.''

(( 49 ))

49- HE SAID: ``WHO IS THEN YOUR LORD, O, MOSES?''

(( 50 ))

50- HE SAID: ``OUR LORD IS HE WHO GAVE EVERYTHING ITS CREATION, THEN HE GUIDED. [ 107 ]

(( 51 ))

51- HE SAID: ``WHAT ABOUT THE PAST GENERATIONS THEN?''

(( 52 ))

52- HE SAID: ``ITS KNOWLEDGE IS WITH MY LORD, (RECORDED) IN A BOOK. MY LORD DOES NOT MISTAKE, NOR FORGETS.''

(( 53 ))

53- HE WHO TURNED THE EARTH FOR YOU TO CRADLE, (FOR YOUR REST) AND MADE FOR YOU ROADS IN IT, AND SENT DOWN WATER FROM THE SKY; BY WHICH, WE BROUGHT OUT VARIOUS PAIRS OF PLANTS.

(( 54 ))

54- EAT YOU, AND GRAZE YOUR CATTLE. VERILY IN THAT THERE ARE SIGNS FOR THOSE WHO APPREHEND.

(( 55 ))

55- FROM IT (i.e. THE EARTH) WE CREATED YOU, AND TO IT WE WILL RETURN YOU, AND WE SHALL BRING YOU OUT OF IT ONCE AGAIN. [ 108 ]

THE COMMENTARY
WHO IS YOUR LORD?


VERSE NO.4955 Here, Qura"n applies directly to the conversation of Moses with Pharaoh: Moses and his brother went to Egypt, and with much difficulty found their way in the court of Pharaoh. They could say to the obstinate king that they were the Messengers of Pharaoh's Lord, to him; and that they had come with clear signs and evidences. They also said that their Lord had ordered that Pharaoh should release the Israelites, and harm them not. To show his rejecting the suggestion that the Lord of Moses was also his Lord, Pharaoh did not ask them: ``Who is my Lord!'' he rather asked them: ``Who is your Lord, o, Moses?''

The answer of Moses to the king was frank and honest. He did not mention of the Lord of Abraham or Israel and Joseph. He introduced his Lord as the Creator of all beings who gives to every being its creation, and whatever is needed for that, and then guides them to the object of their creation.

In their dispute with Pharaoh, Moses said: ``It has been revealed to me that torment will fall upon him who belies the signs of God, and turns away in disbelief.'' Pharaoh who wished to catch Moses in his acts, bypassed the matter of Godhead; and grasped the last word of Moses who said: ``Torment will fall upon disbelievers.'' He therefore said to the brothers:

``What about the past generations? Were our ancestors damned for worshipping the Egyptian gods!?'' Thus he tried to entrap Moses in the sight of his courtiers.

``God knows all'' was the brief answer of Moses. ``My Lord keeps a record of everything as if in a Book! He never ignores nor He forgets, and neither He mistakes'' continued Moses. ``His knowledge is perfect. You may apprehend that by studying the nature, [ 109 ]

the earth which is made as comfort as a cradle in spite of its various movement. You may look at the sky and study how it rains, and how man uses the water to bring out various pairs of plants. Who has taught Man to do that?''

(( 56 ))

56- AND WE SHOWED HIM (i.e. PHARAOH) ALL OUR SIGNS, THEN HE BELIED AND REFUSED.

(( 57 ))

57- HE SAID HAVE YOU COME TO DRIVE US OUT OF OUR LAND BY YOUR SORCERY, O, MOSES?

(( 58 ))

58- WE TOO, WILL BRING YOU A MAGIC THE LIKE OF IT. THEN MAKE AN APPOINTMENT BETWEEN US AND YOU; SO THAT NEITHER WE SHALL FAIL IT NOR YOU IN A PLACE WITH AN EVEN CHANCE (FOR BOTH PARTIES).

(( 59 ))

59- HE SAID; LET YOUR APPOINTMENT BE ON THE DAY OF FEAST, AND THAT, PEOPLE BE MUSTERED WHEN THE SUN IS HIGH UP.

(( 60 ))[ 110 ]

(( 61 ))

61- MOSES SAID TO THEM: ``WOE TO YOU! DO NOT FORGE LIE AGAINST ALLAH, LEST HE DESTROY YOU BY A TORMENT, THAT, VERILY HE WHO FORGED FAILED (TO REACH HIS GOAL)

(( 62 ))

62- AND THEY DISPUTED ABOUT THEIR PLAN AMONG THEMSELVES AND WHISPERED.

(( 63 ))

63- THEY SAID: ``THESE ARE TWO (SKILLED) MAGICIANS WHO WANT TO DRIVE YOU OUT OF YOUR LAND BY THEIR MAGIC, AND DO AWAY WITH YOUR EXCELLENT CREED.''

(( 64 ))

64- THEREFORE CONCERT YOUR PLAN, AND COME UNITED (IN THE FIELD), AND (KNOW) THAT HE WILL PROSPER TO-DAY WHO OVERCOMES.