Musa (prophet)

From Academic Kids

Musa (Arabic موسى) is the Arabic name for the Biblical prophet Moses. According to the Qur'an, Musa is one of the prophets of Islam.


Early Years

In Islamic belief, Musa was born into a family of Israelites living in Egypt. The ruling Pharaoh, on the advice of his soothsayers, ordered the killing of all new-born Israelite males. To protect her son, Musa's mother put him in a basket and set him adrift on the Nile. He was later discovered by the Pharaoh's wife, Asiya, who adopted him.

Musa grew up as a member of the Pharaoh's household. However, this changed when in rescuing an Israelite from an abusive Egyptian, he accidentally killed the Egyptian. Due to this incident, Musa was deemed a criminal and was to be punished, but escaped into the desert. After traveling the desert for a long time, he arrived at a place called Midian and came into the company of the prophet Shoaib (Jethro, in Biblical traditions), who recognized Musa as a man of God. Shoaib arranged a marriage between his daughter and Musa. The relationship between Musa and Shoaib proved beneficial to Musa spiritually.

Allah calls Musa

Musa eventually decided to return to Egypt. On his way back, he stopped at Mount Sinai and noticed a fire upon the mountain. After climbing the mountain, he found not fire, but a brilliant light that revealed itself as Allah, God. Musa was told to remove his shoes, as he was in the presence of his creator. Allah gave Musa a bright light in his hand and told him to return to Egypt to free his people. Musa admitted that he was afraid of getting arrested on the previous murder charge, and also because he could not speak fluently due to a speech impediment. He prayed to Allah to grant him fluency of speech, and have his brother Harun (Aaron in biblical texts) help him and be a deputy to him in all his tasks ahead. Allah granted Musa his requests and told him that he could take his brother along with him, and told him to be gentle in his language and be patient in all his dealings.

Musa thus embarked for Egypt and faced the Pharaoh. Musa and Harun arrived in the court of the Pharaoh and told him that his claim of godhood was false, for there is but one God who created both the king and the subject. He controls all that is in this world and beyond. Musa told Pharaoh that the only reason for his return was to obtain the release of his people from their bondage in Egypt.

Musa produced the miracle of the light that God had given him, and showed how, with the Will of Allah, his hand could produce blinding brilliance. The Pharaoh laughed and said that was nothing but an act of magic. To impress Musa, his magicians threw strings on the floor which turned into snakes. Musa threw his staff to the floor. It became a serpent and devoured all the wriggling snakes.

Although the magic of the Pharaoh was beaten, he would not relent to the power of God. As he defiantly refused to allow Israelites to leave Egypt, Musa had to unleash the punishment of Allah over him and his people. These punishments came in the form of floods that demolished their dwellings, swarms of locust that destroyed the crops, pestilence of lice that made life miserable, toads that croaked and sprang everywhere, and the turning of all drinking water into blood. Each time the Pharaoh was subjected to humiliation, his defiance became greater. Finally, the first-born sons of all Egyptians started to die for no apparent cause. When the Pharaoh's own beloved son died, he finally gave up his defiance.

The Journey through the Desert

Musa gathered his people and left Egypt. At the last second, the Pharaoh had a change of heart and began to pursue them. However, he was swallowed by the Red Sea which parted long enough for Musa and his people to cross, but which closed on the Pharaoh. From here, Musa led his people on the Exodus. They eventually reached Mount Sinai. Musa told the people that Harun was his deputy and was to be the leader while he was gone. Musa then went to climb Mount Sinai.

Musa climbed the mountain, and returned to the spot where he had first received his miracles from God. He took off his shoes as before and went down into subjugation to The Creator. He prayed to Allah for His guidance. He was given the Ten Commandments at this session. Before leaving, he begged Allah to be revealed to him. Allah told him that it would not be possible for him to set his eye on His Divine Radiance, but He would shower just a little of this over the mighty mountain so that Musa might derive some satisfaction. No sooner had the communication ended than a blinding pure white radiance struck the mighty mountain and instantaneously turned it into ashes. Musa lost consciousness from the roar that accompanied the lightning. When he recovered, he went down in total submission and asked forgiveness of Allah.

Having thus received the Torah for his people, Musa came down from the mountain and returned to his people. However, he was shocked to find his people had returned to idolatry, and had ignored Harun. Shortly thereafter, the elders asked to see the God of Musa, so he took them up the mountain. While climbing, a white bolt of lightning struck their path, and they all bowed in submission. Musa prayed for their forgiveness, and they returned to camp and set up a tent dedicated to worshipping God as Harun taught them from the Torah.

They began to travel for the promised land again, but ran out of food. God gave them a gift of food and sweets, but eventually the people tired, and asked for more. Musa got angry with them and admonished them for their thanklessness.

The Promised Land, and Death

They eventually reached Canaan, the promised land, but Musa's people were too scared to fight the inhabitants. He told them that if they did not fight, they would spend 40 years wandering the desert. At this, the people carried out the battle, but they were defeated, so they turned south. Harun died on this trip, yet Musa continued. Musa and his people were so forced to wander the desert for forty years. During this time, many of the older generation died. In their place, the younger generation grew up with an understanding of the Torah and with a willingness to do God's work.

Eventually they would return north, and Musa would show the new generation the land that their elders were not able to take. He told them to return to it, and that he would no longer escort them.

There is no single verse in the Qur'an that states that Musa went to a mountain and never returned. The Qur'an doesn't mention his death, but according to Hadith tradition, Mussa was confronted by the angel of death. In those times, the angel of death appeared when he was about to take people's souls. Since Musa was strong, he overcame the angel of death, and the angel went without taking Musa's soul. Then God told Musa to put his hand on a goat's skin, and that the number of goat hairs his hand covered would be the number of years he would live, but then Musa chose to be near god, and so chose to die. Since that time, the Angel of death has been invisble.

See also: Moses, Haman (Islam), Qarun



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