Moses Meets Allah for the First Time (surah Taha 20: 9-21) -
Nouman Ali Khan
Transcript of this lecture from LinguisticMiracle.com
Allah asks us;
وَهَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ مُوسَىٰ
Wa Hal ataaka hadeethu Moosa? -
And have you heard the news of Moses?
Hadeeth - a new event (something you’ve never heard of before.)
Because you might have heard of Moses, but not in the details which Allah gives. So what you hear is as if you are hearing it in a new way you’ve never heard before.
إِذْ رَأَىٰ نَارًا فَقَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى
Moses was travelling with his family in the dark desert. They needed light, and guidance for their journey.
So Moses sees a lit fire ontop of a mountain.
The word ‘Innee aanastu’ (Surely I, I see) emphasises that only Moses himself saw it, and he is convincing his family (that is why INNee [SURELY I] is used).
So this shows that his family did not see this fire. Allah purposelly made it that only he would see it, so that only he would go to the fire by himself.
He told his family that he would get a Qabas - spark from the fire, or Hudan - Guidance for their journey.
فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِيَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
But when he reached the Mountain..
Lam-maa - this word emphasises on a ‘time gap’. To ‘Prolong’ something.
In this context, it shows that it took some time for Moses to reach the location of the fire, so he probably put in alot of effort to climb this mountain.
Moses is rushing because his family is in the dark desert, all alone. So he needs to get a quick flame and find guidance so they can get out of this difficulty they are facing.
Allah tells us ironically how Moses said he would search for Guidance (i.e. Directions in their journey) and how Allah chose to give Moses and his family Guidance from Allah Himself.
Suddenly, he heard a Voice call him out Loud! (Nidaa): Ya Musa! = Moses!
إِنِّي أَنَا رَبُّكَ فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ ۖ إِنَّكَ بِالْوَادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوًى
“No doubt I am your Lord/Master, take your shoes off. You are in the Sacred Valley of Tuwa.”
So Moses climbed the mountain, he had come to a place where he had never been before, in the darkness of the desert in the dark night.
Imagine being on top of an unknown cliff, in the middle of the night, when nobody is there, and you here someone calling you by your name out Loud.
You would be in shock and wonder; who is this? How does this voice know my name?
Moses has heard a powerful voice, he hasn’t seen anything. But he hears and obeys the command of Allah straightaway.
وَأَنَا اخْتَرْتُكَ فَاسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَىٰ
And I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed [to you].
iKhtartu Ka (from iKhtiyaar - khayr) = I chose/preferred you.
ANA I-Khtartu Ka = I, I chose/preferred you… (this double ‘I’ [1st person] emphasises that it is Especially Allah who chose/preferred you (Moses).
Allah is removing doubts of Moses who might be feeling that he came to this place mistakenly, or that someone else might be being spoken to. Allah is telling him that you (O Moses) have specially been chosen.
Moses was a baby and placed into a basket and grew up in the house of Pharoah, and then grew up and killed an oppressing man accidentally, then ran away and lived in exhile for 8 years, and walked in the dark desert with his family, and was finally destined to talk Allah on top of the holy valley of Tuwa.
In Arabic there are 3 different words for ‘choosing’ something.
Allah chose the word ‘iKthiyaar’ (iKhtaara [past tense] / yaKhtaaru [present tense] / iKhtiyaar [maSdar - tenseless.])
He could have used;
But He chose the word iKhtiyaar (from the word Khayr = Good) = to choose someone/thing for their Goodness.
The scholars explained why the word ‘Good’ was used. Because when Moses killed a man accidentally, he felt bad/repentant all the time. So Allah chose him, because Allah sees something good in you.
Fa aStami’ li maa yuW-haa -
So listen extremely carefully for what is Revealed/Inspired (wahy).
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
InnaNee Ana Allah - Surely I, I (am) Allah
Laa illaaha il-laa Ana - (there is) no god except Me.
Fa’budNee - enslave (a’bud) yourself to me / worship me.
By being a slave, you have dedicated your whole life to obeying them.
Now imagine, when you meet some person who is extremely famous. You feel extremely excited. Now imagine if Allah Himself directly starts a conversation with you and calls you by name and says ‘Moses, I have chosen you because I find something good in you’.
You would be extremely excited and never forget this moment in your life.
This is exactly what Moses felt.
Wa aQima-as-Salaata li dhikree - and Uphold the Prayer for My Remembrance.
Allah tells that even Moses – who has spoken to Allah directly – might forget Allah sometimes. And therefore Allah has commanded him to Uphold the prayers of the day, so that he remembers Allah.
إِنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا لِتُجْزَىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِمَا تَسْعَىٰ
Indeed, the Hour is coming – I almost conceal it – so that every soul may be recompensed according to that for which it strives.
Judgment Day is coming, I’m almost (akaadu) keeping it hidden, so every person can be recompensed for what they ran towards.
Aatiyah - Coming [in Faa'il form = it is Actively doing it i.e. like someone is Running. I.e. Like Judgment Day is quickly Coming.]
So the 2nd reason why Allah commands him to pray is because;
Judgment Day is almost coming – so we need to do as much good in preparation for that Day.
Allah says that He has almost (akaadu) – kept Judgment Day hidden. So He has given some signs – which include the Prophecies of future events leading upto Judgment Day – which He has given to His Messengers’.
‘so every person can be rewarded for what they ran towards (ta-s’aa)’
This is amazing – because the word Sa’ee is the root word of ta-s’aa. It means; walking fast. And we have seen in this story that Moses walked fast towards the fire where Allah called him.
So Allah is telling us that He gives people the result of what they ran towards. And Moses ran for sincere Guidance, so Allah rewarded him with true Guidance from Himself.
فَلَا يَصُدَّنَّكَ عَنْهَا مَن لَّا يُؤْمِنُ بِهَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ فَتَرْدَىٰ
So don’t let the one who doesn’t believe in it (Judgment Day) but follows his own lusts divert you from it, lest you be be destroyed.
This conversation was really serious between Allah and Moses.
وَمَا تِلْكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ
So what is in your right hand O Moses?
Allah knows that Moses has a stick in his right hand, but He is easing Moses down.
- when you say someone’s name at the Beginning of a sentence – it implies Toughness. (i.e. Moses! Take off your shoes!)
- when you say someone’s name at the End of a sentence – it implies Softness and care. (i.e. What is in your hand, Moses?)
Allah mentioned Moses with Toughness at the beginning to tell him the importance of what He mentioned (Allah is his Master, that he needs to pray to remember Allah, Judgment Day is coming etc.)
Moses is extremely afraid and in awe of what Allah is saying. he is extremely scared. So now that Moses has understood, Allah shows him kindness and support.
قَالَ هِيَ عَصَايَ أَتَوَكَّأُ عَلَيْهَا وَأَهُشُّ بِهَا عَلَىٰ غَنَمِي وَلِيَ فِيهَا مَآرِبُ أُخْرَىٰ
This is my Staff*, I lean on it sometimes, and I beat on bushes with it so my sheep can eat. And I’ve got other things I can do with it too.
(Cane is for weak people, *Staff ['aSaa] is for respected and strong people.) (a big stick which represented a man’s respect and strength in the ancient days).
Moses for the first time would speak, and to Allah – who Moses would pray to throughout his life (i.e. when he ran away from Pharoah etc. [see the different examples in surah Qasas 28:21 etc])
So he had known Allah before, and now he would talk to Him directly was an unimaginable experience. So he wanted to talk to Him as much as possible.
So he said; ‘this is my Staff.’ and he told the things he does with it, even though Allah never asked him Why he has it. But his extreme love for Allah made him lengthen the conversation – to the extent that he even had to say; ‘and I have other benefits in it too’!
Now you can imagine Moses stretching his imagination as much as possible on what to say to Allah about one simple Staff stick! Just so that he could make the conversation longer with his Beloved. It also shows his nervousness when talking to Allah, that he says anything which comes to his mind.
قَالَ أَلْقِهَا يَا مُوسَىٰ
(Allah) said; Throw it, O Moses.
The name of Moses is mentioned at the end of sentence, showing that Allah is still being gentle with him.
فَأَلْقَاهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ حَيَّةٌ تَسْعَىٰ
So he threw it, then immediately it turned into a Python/snake, moving around quickly (ta-s’aa).
This shows us the speed at which;
1 – Moses followed Allah’s command – straightaway.
2 – Just when he threw the Staff/stick he knew so much – it suddenly transformed into a big moving snake.
Also imagine this Scene:
We see that Moses had just calmed down after experiencing the most shocking experience in his life.
Then Allah tells him to throw the Staff he has known for years. And when he has thrown – it has become a Massive Python Snake which is moving and ‘running’ around really quickly. Which suddenly again – makes him extremely fearful.
All that calm is again, gone. A snake is scary and horrific, and if it is big, and running around – in the dark of the night in the desert – you will be scared.
قَالَ خُذْهَا وَلَا تَخَفْ ۖ سَنُعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا الْأُولَىٰ
Qaala - He [Allah] said
(Khudh haa) - Grab it!
(Wa laa taKhaf) - And don’t be afraid.
We will return it to its original state.
Allah is amazing in His speech!
When you tell someone to do something which seems scary, you tell them first; ‘Don’t be afraid, grab it’. But because Allah is our Master; 1 – He orders the command first, 2 – then tells us the wisdom of the command after. He expects obedience first.
‘We will return it to its original state.’ - now imagine Allah commanding you to pick up a big scary, moving Python serpent snake, and when you do grab it – everything will be fine.
Now we would think; Why doesn’t Allah just turn it into a stick and then i’ll pick it up.
But Allah wants us to have full trust in Him, even when everything in the world seems decieving - it is Allah’s promise which is undoubtedly true.
Allah taught Moses through this series of commands;
1 - Obey Allah (Pick up the Snake)
2 - Courage (being brave enough to do it.)
3 - Trust (in Allah that the snake will not bite him.)
Why are these skills important?
Because Moses will have to go to Pharoah; by: Obeying Allah, being Courageous and Brave in doing that (whilst he knows that the authorities/police are after him because they accuse him of murder), and having Trust in Allah’s promise of success and victory and safety.
This whole Training process is by one test: ‘Grab it! [the snake' (Khudh haa!)]
Ayah 37 – Ayah 40:
Allah later on tells Moses that you should trust in Allah, because Allah saved you (O Moses) even when you were a baby, and your sister was following you when your mother placed you in the river Nile.
Then you were brought up in Egypt, then you punched a man and he died.
Then you ran away and came here, in this meeting, on this mountain.
[Ustadh Nouman said he would one day, inshaa' Allah - discuss the entire discussion of Moses with Allah, (but now he does not have enough time to do so.)]
Comment on Stories of the Quran:
Apart from Surah Yusuf (12) [which is mentioned all at once in its entirety] - the rest of the stories of the Quran are discussed in separate parts throughout the Quran. I.e. The story of Moses is in many different surahs and told from many different Perspectives.
The same can be said about the stories of; Bani Isra’eel, Prophet Adam etc.
In response to the Critic of the Qur’an who might say that the stories in the Qur’an are disjointed and scattered, then we say;
Surahs’ are Placed/situated in the Qur’an;
So imagine, every surah is like a Thesis/course of discussion. It has a passage of a story/narrative from the life of another person (Prophet or otherwise).
This passage will combine with and support the Theme and message of the surah as a whole.
The Quran does not mention any unneeded detail. Rather – it mentions only that which is important and needed. I.e. Even in surah Yusuf, only 2 names are mentioned! Yusuf (Joseph) and Ya’qub (Jacob).
Even in the discussion of Prophet Yusuf’s lifestory, the purpose isn’t to merely to tell a story of Prophet Yusuf. Rather, it is a Parallel and lesson for the Life of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhiwasalam).
Comparisons of the narrative of Prophet Yusuf and Prophet Muhammad;
1 – It is the Year of Grief (‘Aam al Huzn) for Prophet Muhammad, when this surah is revealed – just like the narrative of Prophet Yusuf is about him and his father (Ya’qub’s) grief/sadness.
- Yusuf’s brothers persecuted him.
- Prophet Muhammad’s brothers (the Quraysh) persecuted him.
- the brothers put Prophet Yusuf in a dark well and forced him to leave his home place.
- the brothers (Quraysh tribe) put Prophet Muhammad (saws) in a dark cave [because they forced him to leave his home place due to extreme torture.]
4 – Yusuf eventually reunites with his repentant brothers and establishes the Legacy of his father - Ya’qub.
Prophet Muhammad (saws) eventually comes back to Makkah and reunites with his repentant brothers and establishes the Legacy of his forefather - Ibraheem (Abraham.)
5 – Yusuf said to his brothers on this day of victory – ‘there is no blame on you this day’. (laa tathreeba alaykum al yawm?)
Prophet Muhammad (saws) said to his brothers after his victory; ‘I will say like Yusuf said to his brothers, there is no blame on you this day.’
In the beginning of surah Yusuf, Allah says:
Innaa anzalnaahu Qur’aanan ‘arabiyyan la’allakum ta’qiloon - We have revealed it an arabic Quran so you become people of intellect/understanding.(Yusuf 12:2)
Then Allah ends the surah with; Surely in their story is a lesson for those with a Clear mind (ulul albaab) (Yusuf 12:111)
Surah al Baqarah has many subjects from the Quran:
Near the end of the surah Allah mentions the story of Taloot and Jaaloot (David and Goliath).
Dawud/David is a young man who kills Jaaloot/Goliath, who is the Leader of an Army of Giants/big men who wear armour which covers everything except the eyes.
Yet Allah tells us how Dawud’s certainty in Allah’s promise – makes Dawud kill the Giant Jaloot (and due to this, Allah chose Dawud as a Messenger afterwards.)
The aayaat in surah al Baqarah before these aayaat on David vs Goliath are encouraging Muslims to be strong in belief because they are going to have an upcoming battle for the first time (Battle of Badr.)
Then immediately the surah switches to; ‘How does a small group defeat a big group by the will of Allah?’ (surah al Baqarah)
Ufrigh ‘alayna sabran wa thabbit aQdaamanaa wa aNSurnaa ‘ala-al Qawmi al kaafireen - pour upon us patience and firmen our footsteps/feet, and support us over the disbelieving nation.
So when the Sahaba heard these aayaat - they realised Allah was giving them these aayaat as tips and advice – that you are going to soon face battle, so pray these for yourselves and I (Allah) will help you. Allah is so kind that He even tells us what and how to pray to Him, so that He will answer us!
This is how our relationship should be with the Qur’an.
Taken from LinguisticMiracle.com