By Aisha Stacey
On a dark night, in the shadow of Mount Tur, God conferred Prophethood on Moses. His first command to him was go to Pharaoh.
Go To Pharaoh! Verily! He has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience, and has behaved as an arrogant tyrant). (Ta-Ha 20:24)
Moses fled Egypt in fear for his life; he had spent 10 years in a country outside the jurisdiction of Pharaoh. Now God was telling him that he must face his biggest fear. He must face the corrupt Pharaoh; the man Moses was sure would want to see him executed. Moses once again felt the fear that had sustained him during his long journey across the desert. He responded to God’s words.
My Lord! I have killed a man among them, and I fear that they will kill me. (Al-Qasas 28:33)
Moses was afraid but understood that God was completely able to provide him with all the support he needed for a mission that appeared to be virtually impossible. Moses made supplication; he begged for strength and ease in this most difficult mission. He asked God to open his chest, and grant him eloquence, self-confidence, and contentment. He also called upon God to strengthen him with a trusted and capable companion in prophethood, his brother Aaron.
The dialogue between God and Moses is one of the most amazing conversations contained in the pages of Qur’an. The words of God are delivered with eloquence and clarity. They paint a portrait of a strong yet humble man, enthralled by his encounter with God. They deliver the ethereal sense that God is All-Powerful, Omnipotent, yet filled with mercy and love towards His slaves.
Moses said, “O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness). And ease my task for me; and make loose the knot (the defect) from my tongue, (remove the incorrectness of my speech) that they understand my speech, and appoint for me a helper from my family, Aaron, my brother; increase my strength with him, and let him share my task (of conveying God’s Message and Prophethood), and we may glorify You much, and remember You much, Verily! You are of us ever a Well-Seer.
God said, “You are granted your request, O Moses! And indeed, We conferred a favor on you another time before. When We inspired your mother with that which We inspired, saying, “Put him (the child) into a box or a case or a chest and put him into the river (Nile), and then the river shall cast it up on the bank, and there, an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his shall take him.’ And I endured you with love from Me, in order that you may be brought up under My Eye, when your sister went and said; “Shall I show you one who will nurse him?’ So We restored you to your mother that she might cool her eyes and she should not grieve. Then you did kill a man, but We saved you from a great distress and tried you with a heavy trial. Then you stayed a number of years with the people of Midian. Then you came here according to the term which I ordained (for you), O Moses!
And I have chosen you for My Inspiration and My Message for Myself. Go you and your brother with My proofs, lessons, verses, evidences, signs, revelations, and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My Remembrance.
Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, verily, he has transgressed all bounds in disbelief and disobedience and behaved as an arrogant tyrant. And speak to him kindly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear God.”
They said, “Our Lord! Verily! We fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress all bounds against us.
He (God) said: “Fear not, Verily! I am with you both, Hearing and Seeing. So go you both to him, and say, “Verily, we are Messengers of your Lord, so let the children of Israel go with us, and torment them not; indeed, we have come with a sign from your Lord! And peace will be upon him who follows the guidance! Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies (believes not in the Oneness of God, and in His Messengers, etc.) and turns away’ (from the truth and obedience of God). (Ta-Ha 20:25-48)
This short astonishing conversation changed Moses’ life. It taught him lessons about himself, about his world, about the nature of humankind and most importantly of all, about the nature of God. To this day it continues to teach important lessons to humankind. On a daily basis, the words of Qur’an change lives. The lessons learned in the story of Moses are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.
By reading the story of Moses so far, we have learned the importance of trusting God; we have learned that human beings plan and scheme, but God’s plan can overcome any triumph, test, or trial. The story of Moses has taught us that there is no relief from the torments of this world accept with remembrance and closeness to God.
The story of Moses teaches us that God can replace weakness with strength and failure with victory; and that God supports the righteous from sources unimaginable. Now as God confers prophethood on Moses and his brother Aaron we learn the true meaning of brotherhood and the true meaning of why choosing righteous companions can be the key to Paradise.
Moses wanted his brother to be his companion in prophethood and on this dangerous mission to confront Pharaoh because Aaron was strong and trustworthy, he was also an articulate, persuasive speaker. Whenever a person stands with his brother united in a common sense of purpose, united in their worship of God, united in righteousness they are unbeatable against even the most formidable enemy.
Ibn Kathir narrates that Moses and Aaron went together to Pharaoh and delivered their message. Moses spoke to Pharaoh about God, His mercy and His Paradise and about the obligation of humankind to worship God Alone.
Aisha Stacey is an Australian revert to Islam. She currently spends her time between Australia and Qatar. Aisha works as a writer at the Fanar Cultural Islamic Centre in Doha, Qatar while studying for an Arts/Psychology degree.