By: Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher
History is shaped by people, and inevitably some leave more of a mark than others. Amongst those standing out, the central figures of major world religions have had an impact far beyond their own followers. The three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, continue to influence world events millennia after Moses, Jesus and Muhammad walked upon the earth. Throughout their history, they have often been in competition and conflict, even at war. Their adherents often do not realize, therefore, that their key message was essentially the same.
This article is intended to briefly present their lives and works and show how they are following and adopting the same beliefs. Although this account of their history is supported by verses from the Qur’an and quotations from the Bible, it is not aimed at the believer in any specific religion. Rather, its purpose is to provide a better insight into the monotheistic world-view these three men subscribed to, and which has not lost any of its relevance in the world of today. The impact of those prophets was both religious and political. They called for belief and moral conduct, and by doing so often conflicted with the established order based on corrupt practices and oppression.
As the political realities differed from one period of time to another, so did the course of events in which the Prophets and their followers confronted the ruling elites of their time in an attempt to reform society. Yet, the underlying basis of their message, the motivating factors, and the high principles they espoused, were essentially shared by all of them. Moses (peace be upon him) Moses (Musa) lived at the time of a mighty tyrant ruler, the pharaoh, and rose from a member of the oppressed classes to a formidable antagonist, ultimately bringing down the whole edifice of arrogant power. He was ideally placed to play this role by having been brought up in the household of the pharaoh himself.
Almighty Allah says,
And the family of Pharaoh picked him up [out of the river] so that he would become to them an enemy and a [cause of] grief. Indeed, Pharaoh and Haman and their soldiers were deliberate sinners. (Al-Qasas 28:8)
Just as a Prophet’s work continues to leave an impact long after his departure from this world, his arrival is usually preceded by a period of high anticipation. Moses (peace be upon him) was not different in this respect: Tales of a savior of the oppressed Israelites were making the rounds in Egypt and grew so strong that the ruling class felt the need to take precautionary measures. To prevent the birth of this champion of the people they had enslaved, the pharaoh ordered that every newborn male child would be put to death during the year his arrival was foretold, leaving only the female babies alive.
Indeed, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into factions, oppressing a sector among them, slaughtering their [newborn] sons and keeping their females alive. Indeed, he was of the corrupters. (Al-Qasas 28:4)
Fearing for the life of her son, Moses’ mother, put him into a basket and let him drift on the river to be found by a member of pharaoh’s family, as intended by Divine Decree.
And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.” (Al-Qasas 28:7)
Not only was Moses (peace be upon him) reared and nurtured in the household of his future enemy, but to console his mother, she was even employed as a wet nurse when nobody else suitable could be found.
And We had prevented from him [all] wet nurses before, so she said, “Shall I direct you to a household that will be responsible for him for you while they are to him [for his upbringing] sincere?” So We restored him to his mother that she might be content and not grieve and that she would know that the promise of Allah is true. But most of the people do not know. (Al-Qasas 28: 12-13)