<< Part 2
Last week, we continued Moses’ story – from obtaining Prophethood to rescuing the Children of Israel. Read on to learn how Prophet Moses’ story is concluded in the Quran.
Journeys After Salvation
Moses’ story does not end with his escape from Pharaoh. He now has to ensure his people stay on the right path by teaching them about their lord. The Quran has a few stories regarding the disobedience of the Children of Israel. Only a few of them will be discussed here including a story where Moses is taught himself.
The Tablets and the Golden Calf
Now free from danger, Allah commands Moses to come up the mountain for a meeting. He tells his brother Aaron to watch over the people.
“We appointed for Moses thirty nights and then completed them with another ten, so the appointed time of his Lord was completed to forty nights. Moses said to his brother Aaron: ‘Take my place among my people, act rightly, and do not follow the path of the corrupting ones.'”(Quran 7:142)
Upon reaching the meeting place, Moses asks if can see his lord. Allah tells him that he can not. Moses faints as Allah attempts to reveal himself. He awakens and asks for forgiveness as that request was too far.
“When Moses came to our appointment and was spoken to by his Lord he said: ‘My Lord, enable me to see You.’ He said: ‘You shall not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it remains steady, you shall see Me.’ When his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain He turned it into dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he regained consciousness he said: ‘Glory be to You! I repent to You, and I am the first of the believers.'”(Quran 7:143)
Moses stays at the mountain for 40 days and receives tablets, which contain laws and rulings for the Children of Israel to follow.
“We wrote for him on the Tablets an admonition concerning everything and a detailing of everything. [We said to him:] ‘Take them firmly and command your people to observe their most excellent teachings. I will show you the abode of the ungodly.’”(Quran 7:145)
After meeting with Allah, he comes back to his followers to find them worshipping a calf made out of the gold that they took from Pharaoh’s people. Allah admonishes the group for worshipping something that cannot do anything for them, condemning idol worship.
“The people of Moses took to themselves [as a god] after him a lowing corporeal calf made of their ornaments. Did they not see that it did not speak to them and did not guide them in the path? They took it and were wrongdoers.”(Quran 7:148)
Moses is angry at his people for being ungrateful to Allah and his brother for not properly watching over them. In his anger, he blames his brother and goes to punish him. He later calms down and rethinks the situation.
He said: “My Lord! Forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your mercy; You are the most merciful of the merciful.”(Quran 7:151)
Moses begins to pick out the people that did not worship the calf when the earth suddenly began to quake. Moses prays to Allah to be saved from the punishment.
“He said: ‘My Lord! Had you willed, you could have killed them and me before. Would You kill us for what the fools among us have done? This is not but Your trial with which You send astray whom You will and guide whom You will. You are our guardian, so forgive us and show mercy to us, and You are the best of forgivers.”’(Quran 7:155)
Allah responds graciously to Moses’ call and forgives those who believe in his signs.
“He said: ‘I will strike with My torment whom I will, and My mercy embraces everything, so I shall write it down for those who are pious, give alms, and believe in Our signs.’”(Quran 7:156)
Here, the Quran tells the readers that one must not worship idols or another god besides him. The anger shown by Allah and Moses displays how grave this action is. Even after the disobedience, Allah shows mercy and forgives those who ask sincerely.
Failure to claim the Holy Land
On the hunt for a place to settle down, Allah reveals to Moses that the Holy land is for the Children of Israel to claim. Moses realizing that Allah is giving his people another favor, reminds his people of the many blessings that Allah had bestowed upon them.
“When Moses said to his people: ‘O my people! Remember the favor of Allah on you when He made prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He has not given to any of the other peoples. O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah has decreed for you and do not turn back, otherwise you would turn about losers.’”(Quran 5:20-21)
Although the land was theirs to claim, Allah put it as a test to see which of them had faith. The land was occupied by a powerful nation, but Allah said it’s there, so all they had to do was try. Out of fear for this nation’s power, many didn’t comply.
“They said: ‘O Moses! There is a mighty people in it; we will not enter it until they go out of it. If they go out, we will enter it.’”(Quran 5:22)
Others had faith and tried to encourage their people.
“Then two men who fear [God] whom Allah has given favor to said: ‘Enter on them by the gate. Once you have entered you will be victorious. Put your trust in Allah if you are believers.”’(Quran 5:23)
Again, his people denied and even told Moses to go fight the nation with Allah while they sit.
“They said: ‘O Moses! We will never enter it as long as they are in it. Go you and your Lord and fight. We will sit here.””(Quran 5:24)
Due to the stubbornness of his people, Allah forbade them from entering the land and now had to wander without a place to settle.
“He said: ‘My Lord! I do not control other than myself and my brother, so separate between us and the rebellious people”. He said: “It shall then be forbidden for them for forty years in which they shall wander in the earth, so do not grieve for the rebellious people.’”(Quran 5:26)
The Quran shows the benefit of one who puts faith in Allah, like Moses and his mother. Likewise, in this story, it shows that losing trust in Allah only hurts the person as the person loses the assistance that he or she would have gotten.
Moses the Student
Sometime during Moses’ prophethood, Allah wanted to teach Moses, although he was a prophet, that knowledge is something Allah can bestow to anyone. Allah tells Moses that there is a person more knowledgeable, so Moses goes to learn from him.
“Moses said to him, ‘May I follow you, provided that you teach me some of the right guidance you have been taught?’”(Quran 18:66)
This servant warns Moses that he will not have patience with him because he does not have the knowledge to understand his actions.
“He said, ‘You certainly cannot be patient ˹enough˺ with me.And how can you be patient with what is beyond your [realm of] knowledge?'”(Quran 18:67-68)
Moses, keen to learn, assures him that he will be patient if Allah wills it.
“Moses assured [him], ‘You will find me patient, Allah willing, and I will not disobey any of your orders.’”(Quran 18:69)
Three events happen and understandably Moses becomes angry. The servant bores a hole on the ship of the people that gives them a ride. He kills a child and he repairs a wall in a town in which the dwellers did not provide any assistance. Moses reacts to each event, while the servant reiterates that Moses could not keep his patience with him.
“So they set out, but after they had boarded a ship, the man made a hole in it. Moses protested, “Have you done this to drown its people? You have certainly done a terrible thing!'”(Quran 18:71)
“So they proceeded until they came across a boy, and the man killed him. Moses protested, ‘Have you killed an innocent soul, who killed no one? You have certainly done a horrible thing.’”(Quran 18:74)
“So they moved on until they came to the people of a town. They asked them for food, but the people refused to give them hospitality. There they found a wall ready to collapse, so the man set it right. Moses protested, ‘If you wanted, you could have demanded a fee for this.’”(Quran 18:77)
The servant after giving Moses a few chances, tells him that they will part from each other. The servant decides to tell Moses the reasoning behind his abnormal actions. After finding out the reasoning, the servant was surely not causing corruption, but rather the opposite.
‘As for the ship, it belonged to some poor people, working at sea. So I intended to damage it, for there was a [tyrant] king ahead of them who seizes every ˹good˺ ship by force. ‘And as for the boy, his parents were true’ believers, and we feared that he would pressure them into defiance and disbelief.‘(Quran 18:79-80)
‘And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and under the wall was a treasure that belonged to them, and their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord willed that these children should come of age and retrieve their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. I did not do it ˹all˺ on my own. This is the explanation of what you could not bear patiently.‘(Quran 18:82)
This story from the Quran demonstrates to the believers that misfortune can fall upon them, yet it may be good for them. Even a prophet could not see the benefits of these actions, which shows that the knowledge of Allah is unfathomable. It teaches one to have patience in times of hardship as Allah knows best.
The Quran contains many experiences of Moses, in which a majority of them were described in this piece. The Quran contains more information about the Children of Israel and Moses as well. Each piece of history contains a lesson for the reader, so always look further into it!
What do you think? Share your reflections below!
Want to be able to read and understand the Quran without translations?
<< Read ‘The Story of Jesus in the Quran’
- The Noble Quran. Available at: https://quran.com/
- Prophet Moses in the Qur’an: Qur’anic Studies. Available at: http://www.quranicstudies.com/prophet-moses/prophet-moses-in-the quran/
It says that those who worshipped the calf was still forgiven but I thought shirk is a sin which Allah SWT will not forgive? (Within the takeaway paragraph)
Please correct me if I’m wrong
Salaam! Allah (swt) will forgive any sin, no matter how big or small, if somebody repents with sincerity. However, if a person dies in the state of shirk, then that is something that cannot be forgiven on the Day of Judgement. Hope that helps!