اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ بِجَمِیعِ مَحَامِدِه کُلِّهَا عَلَی جَمِیعِ نِعَمِهِ کُلِّهَا… اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ مالِکِ الْمُلْکِ مُجْرِی الْفُلْکِ مُسَخِّرِ الرِّیاحِ فالِقِ الاْصْباحِ دَیّانِ الدّینِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمینَ اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی حِلْمِهِ بَعْدَ عِلمِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی عَفْوِهِ بَعْدَ قُدْرَتِهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی طُولِ اَناتِهِ فی غَضَبِهِ وَهُوَ قادِرٌ عَلی ما یُریدُ
Praise is to God with all his praises, for all his blessings. . . Praise is to God, the owner of the property, the operator of the orbit, the bender of the wind, the glory of the morning, the religion of the beliefs, lord of the worlds; praise is to God for his dream after his knowledge and thank God for forgiveness after his power, and praise be to God for his long patience in his wrath and he is capable to do what he wills
و نشهد أن لا اله الا الله وحده لا شریک له، و أَنَّ محمداً عبده و رسوله ارسله بالهدی و دین الحق لیظهره علی الدین کله و لو کره المشرکون اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
And we bear witness that there is no god but God alone, without partner, and that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, he sent him with guidance and the religion of truth, that he might proclaim it over all religion, even if the polytheists hated it.
Musa Kalim and his brother Aaron face Pharaoh
God said to Musa, go to Pharaoh with your brother Aaron, because he has rebelled. Then he ordered them: فَقُولَا لَهُ قَوْلًا لَيِّنًا لَعَلَّهُ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوْ يَخْشَى Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear.’ (Taha: 44)
Musa and Aaron said to God, “We are afraid of Pharaoh’s power and violence to convey this message to him, maybe he will get angry and attack us.” God said to them: لَا تَخَافَا إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَى He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for I will be with the two of you, hearing and seeing [whatever happens]. (Taha: 46)
The divine message of Musa to Pharaoh, and his answer
The message that Musa brought to Pharaoh by God’s command was several things:
- Declaration of his own mission and prophethood from God;
- Request to release the Israelites and allow them to return to Palestine;
- Avoiding oppression towards Israelites;
- Presenting a miracle to prove the truth of his divine mission;
- Announcing the heavy punishment of denying this divine message, after seeing miracles;
فَأْتِيَاهُ فَقُولَا إِنَّا رَسُولَا رَبِّكَ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَلَا تُعَذِّبْهُمْ قَدْ جِئْنَاكَ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى؛ إِنَّا قَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْنَا أَنَّ الْعَذَابَ عَلَى مَنْ كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّى
So approach him and say, ‘‘We are the apostles of your Lord. Let the Children of Israel go with us, and do not torture them! We certainly bring you a sign from your Lord, and may peace be upon him who follows guidance! Indeed it has been revealed to us that punishment shall befall those who impugn us and turn their backs [on us].’’ ’ (Taha: 47-48)
Musa and Aaron went to Pharaoh on God’s command and conveyed the divine message to him. Pharaoh was surprised by Musa’s words. However, he was Musa’s former tutor and Musa had brought up in his home, so blessed him and expressed his favor and superiority over him. And then he remembered his man’s murder by his hand and said: Whoever commits the sin of murder is considered a sinner and is far from the mercy of his God:
قَالَ أَلَمْ نُرَبِّكَ فِينَا وَلِيدًا وَلَبِثْتَ فِينَا مِنْ عُمُرِكَ سِنِينَ؟؛ وَفَعَلْتَ فَعْلَتَكَ الَّتِي فَعَلْتَ وَأَنْتَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ؛
He [i.e. Pharaoh] said, ‘Did we not rear you as a child among us, and did you not stay with us for years of your life? Then you committed that deed of yours, and you are an ingrate.’ (Sho’ara: 18-19)
Musa replied: I did not intend to kill the pharaoh’s man, but I only slapped him and did not know that he would die as a result of this slap.
Musa’s mission surprised Pharaoh and he started arguing with Musa in the Lordship of God. The conversation and arguments of Musa before Pharaoh is a course of theology and monotheism that will be a path-breaker for every human being who has wisdom and awareness:
قَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ وَمَا رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ؟
He said, ‘And what is ‘‘the Lord of all the worlds?’’ ’ (Sha’ara: 23)
قَالَ رَبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُوقِنِينَ؛
He said, ‘The Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them,—should you have conviction.’ (Sho’ara: 24)
To make fun of Musa, Pharaoh addressed the people who were present in the assembly, and admitted that Musa’s words were unacceptable!
قَالَ لِمَنْ حَوْلَهُ أَلَا تَسْتَمِعُونَ!
He said to those who were around him, ‘Don’t you hear?!’ (Sho’ara: 25)
قَالَ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ؛
He said, ‘Your Lord, and the Lord of your forefathers!’ (Sho’ara: 26)
Again Pharaoh mocked Musa, and this time he officially called him crazy!
قَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَكُمُ الَّذِي أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ لَمَجْنُونٌ!
He said, ‘Indeed your messenger, who has been sent to you, is surely crazy!’ (Sho’ara: 27)
قَالَ رَبُّ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ؛
He said, ‘The Lord of the east and the west and whatever is between them—should you exercise your reason.’ (Sho’ara: 28)
Pharaoh wanted to change the discussion, or to dissuade Musa from the purpose for which he had come, or to learn about some unseen affairs, so he asked him: What happened to the past generations and nations?
قَالَ فَمَا بَالُ الْقُرُونِ الْأُولَى؟
He said, ‘What about the former generations?’ (Taha: 51)
قَالَ عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي فِي كِتَابٍ لَا يَضِلُّ رَبِّي وَلَا يَنْسَى؛ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ مَهْدًا وَسَلَكَ لَكُمْ فِيهَا سُبُلًا وَأَنْزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِنْ نَبَاتٍ شَتَّى؛ كُلُوا وَارْعَوْا أَنْعَامَكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي النُّهَى؛
He said, ‘Their knowledge is with my Lord, in a Book. My Lord neither makes any error nor forgets.’ He, who made the earth for you a cradle, and in it threaded for you ways, and sent down water from the sky, and with it We brought forth various kinds of vegetation. ‘Eat and pasture your cattle.’ There are indeed signs in that for those who have sense. (Taha: 52-54)
Pharaoh considered that Musa’s invitation and the arguments were weakening his greatness and reducing his power, so he ordered his minister “Haman” to build a palace and a very high tower for him, so he could climb on top of it and talk to Musa’s God. He continued that “I imagine that Musa is lying”:
وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا هَامَانُ ابْنِ لِي صَرْحًا لَعَلِّي أَبْلُغُ الْأَسْبَابَ؛ أَسْبَابَ السَّمَاوَاتِ فَأَطَّلِعَ إِلَى إِلَهِ مُوسَى وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ كَاذِبًا وَكَذَلِكَ زُيِّنَ لِفِرْعَوْنَ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ وَصُدَّ عَنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا كَيْدُ فِرْعَوْنَ إِلَّا فِي تَبَابٍ؛
Pharaoh said, ‘O Haman! Build me a tower so that I may reach the routes—the routes of the heavens—and take a look at the God of Moses, and indeed I consider him a liar.’ The evil of his conduct was thus presented as decorous to Pharaoh, and he was kept from the way [of Allah]. Pharaoh’s stratagems only led him into ruin. (Ghafer: 36-37)