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The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (4):
Moses Conveyed the Truth but Was Afraid When Facing the Savage, Brutal Pharaoh


The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (4):

Moses Conveyed the Truth but Was Afraid When Facing the Savage, Brutal Pharaoh

Published in December 18, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


 We pose the following questions and provide their answers.


QUESTION 1: Why have Almighty God sent Moses to Pharaoh and not to the Egyptians?

ANSWER 1: Because the Egyptians were helpless and powerless at the time; the Pharaonic despotism and tyranny turned them into lifeless body or inanimate things trodden by the military wheels of Pharaoh, his family members, his retinue members, and viziers and courtiers, etc. God has sent Moses to Pharaoh because Pharaoh was a tyrant who dominated and controlled everything, and thus, he was the one to permit, or not to permit, the Israelites to leave Egypt with Moses.  


QUESTION 2: Does this means that God has acknowledged Pharaoh the tyrant as the king of Egypt at the time?

ANSWER 2: Yes; God has acknowledged Pharaoh as the ruler of Egypt and Egyptians because the Egyptians accepted him as such and did not revolt against him. if they were to revolt, this would have meant that they changed themselves and got rid of submissiveness, weakness, and resignation, and God would have endorsed this change as per this verse: "...God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves..." (13:11). This is like guidance and misguidance; if one seeks to be (mis)guided, God increases one's (mis)guidance. This means that the Dominant Lord God endorses the will of the human being. Likewise, if people desire submissiveness or dignity, God endorses their will and choice.   


QUESTION 3: Our God is the Dominant Lord; He could have destroyed Pharaoh at once when He sent Moses and Aaron with the Truth without might to face Pharaoh who monopolized might; God has provided miracles to Moses to dazzle Pharaoh, but why He has not provided Moses with dominance, power, and might to defeat Pharaoh at once?

ANSWER 3: God says the following to refute the views of those who deify Jesus: "They disbelieve those who say, "God is the Christ, the son of Mary." Say, "Who can prevent God, if He willed, from annihilating the Christ son of Mary, and his mother, and everyone on earth?"..." (5:17). God the Omnipotent has warned the companions contemporary to Muhammad by saying the following: "Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you. " (47:38). Hence, to destroy Pharaoh and his people has been something easy for God and it did occur. God has smitten and destroyed sinners and disbelievers during the ancient eras, such as the eras of the prophets Noah, Hud, Saleh, and Shueib. Pharaoh and his people were the last people to be smitten and destroyed by God and He made them a source of moral lessons to be drawn by reasonable believers. The moral lessons entailed that there would be a role for Moses and Aaron and that God would provide both miracles and signs of warning for Pharaoh to make him choose whether to believe or to disbelieve. Miracles witnessed by Pharaoh include the following: "So he threw his staff, and it was an apparent serpent. And He pulled out his hand, and it was white to the onlookers." (7:107-108). The signs of warning came when Pharaoh and his people refused to believe: "And they said, "No matter what sign you bring us, to bewitch us with, we will not believe to you." So We let loose upon them the flood, and the locusts, and the lice, and the frogs, and blood-all explicit signs-but they were too arrogant. They were a sinful people. Whenever a plague befell them, they would say, "O Moses, pray to your Lord for us, according to the covenant He made with you. If you lift the plague from us, we will believe in you, and let the Israelites go with you." But when We lifted the plague from them, for a term they were to fulfill, they broke their promise." (7:132-135). After their breaking their promise, the last miracle was dividing the sea water and their destruction by drowning in the Red Sea: "We inspired Moses: "Strike the sea with your staff." Whereupon it parted, and each part was like a huge hill. And there We brought the others near. And We saved Moses and those with him, all together. Then We drowned the others. In that there is a sign, but most of them are not believers." (26:63-67). Thus, Pharaoh had no excuses to disbelieve after witnessing miracles and the plagues; this is why his monotheistic stance expressed upon his drowning was not accepted; God does not accept those who repent only upon dying, and this is a lesson to be heeded by all people in all eras: "And We delivered the Israelites across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops pursued them, defiantly and aggressively. Until, when he was about to drown, he said, "I believe that there is no God except the One the Israelites believe in, and I am of those who submit." Now? When you have disobeyed before, and been of the corrupters? Today We will preserve your body, so that you become a sign for those after you. But most people are heedless of Our signs." (10:90-92). In fact, 10:92 shows to us the aim and the lesson; the sea threw the lifeless body of Pharaoh and the Israelites saw it as a sign; this lesson drawn from the story of Moses' Pharaoh must be heeded by all rulers in all eras: "So God seized him with an exemplary punishment, in the last and in the first. In this is a lesson for whoever fears." (79:25-26).    


QUESTION 4: This is about Pharaoh and his people, but what about Moses and Aaron?

ANSWER 4: God has promised to protect Moses and Aaron; He made Aaron as a supporter to Moses. Let us quote Quranic verses about this.

1- God has promised Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh the savage, brutal tyrant would never be able to harm them: "He said, "My Lord, I have killed one of them, and I fear they will kill me. And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent than me, so send him with me, to help me, and to confirm my words, for I fear they will reject me." He said, "We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and We will give you authority, so they will not touch you. By virtue of Our signs, you and those who follow you will be the triumphant."" (28:33-35).

2- Within other Quranic verses, we read that the Dominant Lord God has asserted to Moses and Aaron that He is with them in all situations when they face Pharaoh: "They said, "Lord, we fear he may persecute us, or become violent." He said, "Do not fear, I am with you, I hear and I see." (20:45-46); "He said, "No. Go, both of you, with Our proofs. We will be with you, listening." (26:15). God has assured Moses of protection against Pharaoh when he chased the fleeing Israelites: "And We inspired Moses: "Travel by night with My servants, and strike for them a dry path across the sea, not fearing being overtaken, nor worrying."" (20:77). This is why when Pharaoh and his troops were about to overtake the Israelites who were by the Red Sea, the Israelites said to Moses: "...We are being overtaken." (26:61), but Moses said to them: "...No; my Lord is with me, He will guide me." (26:62).

3- This provides an answer to this big question: why did not Pharaoh kill Moses inside his kingdom of Egypt that he owned and dominated with his might? Pharaoh could have killed Moses easily and he threatened to do this; why he did not do it? The answer is that the Dominant Lord God has protected Moses and prevented Pharaoh from executing his threat to kill Moses. Moses sought refuge in the Lord God: "Pharaoh said, "Allow me to kill Moses, and let him appeal to his Lord. I fear he may change your religion, or spread corruption on earth." Moses said, "I have sought the protection of my Lord and your Lord, from every tyrant who does not believe in the Day of Judgment."" (40:26-27); the believing prince of the family of Pharaoh protested against this threat of Pharaoh to kill Moses: " A believing man from Pharaoh's family, who had concealed his faith, said, "Are you going to kill a man for saying, 'My Lord is God,' and he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? If he is a liar, his lying will rebound upon him; but if he is truthful, then some of what he promises you will befall you. God does not guide the extravagant imposter." (40:28).


QUESTION 5: Was Moses very courageous since he faced the tyrant, savage, brutal Pharaoh inside his palace?

ANSWER 5: No; on the contrary, Moses was very much afraid. The Quranic story of Moses links his name to fear in many verses; this does not apply to other Quranic stories of other prophets/messengers. Moses was a human being whose character was influenced by certain events and conditions he witnessed. In fact, Moses was breastfed by the milk of fear of his mother, as she reared and nourished him inside the palace of the savage, brutal Pharaoh. Moses grew up while knowing that he belonged to the Israelite people who were persecuted by Pharaoh; this means he grew up in the atmosphere of terror, intimidation, and anticipation, as he expected danger anytime. This is why it is natural that he was in the defensive mode and he got furious easily, and then he would calm down and implore God for forgiveness. Let us quote Quranic verses about this.   

1- When Moses entered the city, he saw an Egyptian man fighting with an Israelite man of his people, and as Moses knew his people and they knew him, the Israelite man sought the help of Moses; the Egyptian man was inadvertently killed by Moses, and he implored God for forgiveness while he was seized by fear: "The next morning, he went about in the city, fearful and vigilant..." (28:18). A man warned Moses that the Egyptian Pharaonic security men conspired to have him killed and that he must take flight; he fled the city in fear: "So he left, fearful and vigilant. He said, "My Lord, deliver me from the unjust people."" (28:21).

2- The good man of Madian who listened to the story of Moses, by Moses himself, sensed that Moses was still afraid and he allayed his fears by saying the following: "...Do not fear, you have escaped from the unjust people." (28:25).

3- When God has talked to Moses at Mount Al-Tur, in Sinai, God has told him to throw his staff to see a miracle of its being turned into a writhing serpent; Moses ran away in fear and never looked back; God has reassured him of being protected and that he did not have to fear anything: "Throw down your staff." And when he saw it wiggling, as if it were possessed, he turned his back to flee, and did not look back. "O Moses, come forward, and do not fear, you are perfectly safe." (28:31); "Throw down your staff." But when he saw it quivering, as though it were a demon, he turned around not looking back. "O Moses, do not fear; the messengers do not fear in My presence." (27:10). 

4- Moses was so frightened when God has commanded him to go to Pharaoh to demand from him the release of the Israelites to get them out of Egypt and to stop persecuting and tormenting them; this was the response of Moses: "He said, "My Lord, I fear they will reject me. And I become stressed, and my tongue is not fluent, so send Aaron too. And they have a charge against me, so I fear they will kill me."" (26:12-14); "He said, "My Lord, I have killed one of them, and I fear they will kill me. And my brother Aaron, he is more eloquent than me, so send him with me, to help me, and to confirm my words, for I fear they will reject me."" (28:33-34). When God has made Aaron as a prophet with Moses, fearing Egypt's Pharaoh was doubled (i.e., both prophets feared Pharaoh): "They said, "Lord, we fear he may persecute us, or become violent." He said, "Do not fear, I am with you, I hear and I see." (20:45-46).

5- Moses was influenced by the Egyptian environment in which he was raised and reared; people believed very much in magic at the time, and Moses felt afraid by the magic wrought by the Egyptians magicians inside the palace of Pharaoh, though magic is merely optical illusions. The Egyptians magicians made others feel awe by their magic when their canes and ropes made to appear as serpents. Moses was negatively influenced as he felt very much afraid but God the Merciful assured him of safety and victory: "He said, "You throw!" And when they threw, they beguiled the eyes of the people, and intimidated them, and produced a mighty magic." (7:116); "He said, "You throw." And suddenly, their ropes and sticks appeared to him, because of their magic, to be crawling swiftly.  So Moses felt apprehensive within himself. We said, "Do not be afraid, you are the uppermost. Now throw down what is in your right hand-it will swallow what they have crafted. What they have crafted is only a magician's trickery. But the magician will not succeed, no matter what he does."" (20:66-69).

6- The fact that Moses got infuriated easily in certain situations shows the other side of his deep-seated fear: "...I fear they will reject me. And I become stressed, and my tongue is not fluent..." (26:12-13). This means that Moses used to lose his temper easily; he got infuriated by the misdeeds of the Israelites; e.g., when hey worshipped the golden calf when he left them temporarily to go to Mount Al-Tur to receive the Torah Tablets. Upon his return, he found them rejecting Aaron and worshiping the golden calf. Moses was so furious and mad that he physically attacked Aaron: "And when Moses returned to his people, angry and disappointed, he said, "What an awful thing you did in my absence. Did you forsake the commandments of your Lord so hastily?" And he threw down the tablets; and he took hold of his brother's head, dragging him towards himself. He said, "Son of my mother, the people have overpowered me, and were about to kill me; so do not allow the enemies to gloat over me, and do not count me among the unjust people."" (7:150); "He said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray. From following my example? Did you disobey my command?" He said, "Son of my mother, do not seize me by my beard or my head. I feared you would say, 'You have caused division among the Israelites and did not regard my word.'"" (20:92-94).   


QUESTION 6: How does the fear of Moses match with this verse: "And when he reached his maturity, and became established, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus do We reward the virtuous." (28:14)?

ANSWER 6: Wisdom and knowledge are divine teaching related to the ministry or prophethood of each of God's messengers and prophets. This is manifested in Moses as per the points below.

1- Moses repented when he accidentally killed an Egyptian man: "He said, "My Lord, I have wronged myself, so forgive me." So He forgave him. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful. He said, "My Lord, in as much as you have favored me, I will never be a supporter of the criminals."" (28:16-17).

2- Moses calmed down after his got furious because his people worshipped the golden calf and Aaron could not prevent them: "When the anger abated in Moses, he took up the tablets. In their transcript is guidance and mercy for those in awe of their Lord." (7:154); "He said, "My Lord, forgive me and my brother, and admit us into Your mercy; for you are the Most Merciful of the merciful."" (7:151).

3- Moses learned to keep calm by his encounter with the prophet whose story, but not his name, is mentioned in the Quranic Chapter 18.

4- Moses, apart from the above points, performed his mission perfectly as a messenger/prophet of God and God praises him in the Quran: "...And I have bestowed upon you love from Me, so that you may be reared before My eye." (20:39); "And I made you for Myself." (20:41); "And mention in the Book Moses. He was dedicated. He was a messenger and a prophet. And We called him from the right side of Mount Al-Tur, and brought him nearer to Us. And We granted him, out of Our mercy, his brother Aaron, a prophet." (19:51-53).

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