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
All praise be to Allah with full gratitude for all His bounties. … All praise be to Allah: the master of the sovereignty, Who allows arks to flow [on seas], Who controls the winds, Who causes the day to break, Who administers the authority, and Who is the Lord of the worlds. All praise be to Allah for His forbearance despite His full knowledge. All praise be to Allah for His amnesty despite His full power. All praise be to Allah for the length of His respite during His wrath, while He is able to do whatever 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
We bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is one and has no partners. We bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He may make it prevail over all religions, though the polytheists should be averse.
اوصیکم عبادالله و نفسی بتقوی الله و اتباع امره و نهیه، و اخوفکم من عقابه
I enjoin you, servants of Allah and myself, to have fear of God and comply with His commands and forbiddances, and warn you against His retribution.
The Fifth Period
The Heresy of the Israelites
When Moses and his companions were saved by crossing the sea, they continued their journey towards the land of Palestine. On the way, they came across people who were prostrating themselves before their idols in submission.
The ignorant Israelites were impressed by this sight and asked Moses to make an object of worship for them, similar to what those idolaters worshiped.
Moses, God’s confidant, reproached the ignorant Israelites and admonished them about the futility of idol worship and the ultimate destruction of the idolaters. The noble Quran says:
وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتَوْا عَلَى قَوْمٍ يَعْكُفُونَ عَلَى أَصْنَامٍ لَهُمْ، قَالُوا يَا مُوسَى اجْعَلْ لَنَا إِلَهًا كَمَا لَهُمْ آلِهَةٌ، قَالَ إِنَّكُمْ قَوْمٌ تَجْهَلُونَ؛ إِنَّ هَؤُلَاءِ مُتَبَّرٌ مَا هُمْ فِيهِ وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ؛ قَالَ أَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْغِيكُمْ إِلَهًا وَهُوَ فَضَّلَكُمْ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ
We carried the Children of Israel across the sea, whereat they came upon a people cleaving to certain idols that they had. They said, ‘O Moses, make for us a god like the gods that they have.’ He said, ‘You are indeed an ignorant lot. What they are engaged in is indeed bound to perish, and what they have been doing shall come to naught.’ He said, ‘Shall I find you a god other than Allah, while He has graced you over all the nations?’ (Al-Aʿraf, 138-140)
Due to the ingratitude of the Children of Israel and their rapid forgetfulness of the blessing of emancipation from Pharaoh and his oppression, God reminded them:
وَإِذْ أَنْجَيْنَاكُمْ مِنْ آلِ فِرْعَوْنَ يَسُومُونَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ يُقَتِّلُونَ أَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيُونَ نِسَاءَكُمْ، وَفِي ذَلِكُمْ بَلَاءٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ عَظِيمٌ
And when We delivered you from Pharaoh’s clan who inflicted on you a terrible torment, slaughtering your sons and sparing your women, and there was a great test in that from your Lord. (Al-Aʿraf, 141)
On their journey to Palestine, the Children of Israel went through a fatal thirst in the arid desert and turned to Prophet Moses for help. In response to their request for water, God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his staff. As a result, twelve water springs, corresponding to twelve tribes of Israel, gushed out from the rock:
وَقَطَّعْنَاهُمُ اثْنَتَيْ عَشْرَةَ أَسْبَاطًا أُمَمًا، وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى إِذِ اسْتَسْقَاهُ قَوْمُهُ أَنِ اضْرِبْ بِعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ فَانْبَجَسَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَشْرَبَهُمْ
We split them up into twelve tribal communities, and We revealed to Moses, when his people asked him for water, [saying], ‘Strike the rock with your staff,’ whereat twelve fountains gushed forth from it. Every tribe came to know its drinking-place. (Al-Aʿraf, 160)
When the Israelites arrived in the Sinai Desert, they faced extreme heat with no place to take refuge or trees to use for shade. They complained to Moses, and God sent a cloud to protect them from the scorching sun:
وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الْغَمَامَ
And We shaded them with clouds. (Al-Aʿraf, 160)
On another occasion, when their provisions and foods were depleted, they raised their complaints to Moses once more. Here is how the Bible narrates the story:
The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:1-3)
Moses asked God for food, and God sent manna and quails to them:
وَأَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى، كُلُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ، وَمَا ظَلَمُونَا وَلَكِنْ كَانُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
and We sent down to them manna and salwā: ‘Eat of the good things We have provided you.’ And they did not wrong Us, but they used to wrong [only] themselves. (Al-Aʿraf, 160)
“Manna” (al-mann) is believed to be a kind of honey that was naturally produced in the nearby mountains, or possibly a type of sap that came from trees in the area. Salwā was the flesh of a bird similar to a pigeon, and is sometimes translated as “quail” in the Bible (Exodus 16:13).
The divine sustenance that the Israelites received can be considered the ultimate divine favor for people who appreciate divine grace.
The Quran describes the inhabitants of heaven as being sustained by God:
وَسَقَاهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ شَرَابًا طَهُورًا
Their Lord will give them to drink a pure drink. (Al-Insan, 21)
As Rūmī says,”
“Their Lord will give them to drink” – a promise so divine,
But sometimes, those who serve the drink make reason lose its shine.
Despite this divine blessing, the Children of Israel were not satisfied and asked God for a variety of foods. The prophet rebuked them for exchanging heavenly favor for worthless things and told them to leave the Sinai Desert and head towards a city to satisfy their desires:
وَإِذْ قُلْتُمْ يَا مُوسَى لَنْ نَصْبِرَ عَلَى طَعَامٍ وَاحِدٍ، فَادْعُ لَنَا رَبَّكَ يُخْرِجْ لَنَا مِمَّا تُنْبِتُ الْأَرْضُ مِنْ بَقْلِهَا وَقِثَّائِهَا وَفُومِهَا وَعَدَسِهَا وَبَصَلِهَا. قَالَ: أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ؟ اهْبِطُوا مِصْرًا فَإِنَّ لَكُمْ مَا سَأَلْتُمْ؛ وَضُرِبَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ الذِّلَّةُ وَالْمَسْكَنَةُ وَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ
And when you said, ‘O Moses, ‘We will not put up with one kind of food. So invoke your Lord for us, so that He may bring forth for us of that which the earth grows—its greens and cucumbers, its garlic, lentils, and onions.’ He said, ‘Do you seek to replace what is superior with that which is inferior? Go down to any town and you will indeed get what you ask for!’ So they were struck with abasement and poverty, and they earned Allah’s wrath. That, because they would deny the signs of Allah and kill the prophets unjustly. That, because they would disobey and commit transgressions. (Al-Baqara, 61)