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The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (8):
The Test of Succession in the Land between Moses' Pharaoh and the Israelites (1 of 2)

 

The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (8):

 The Test of Succession in the Land between Moses' Pharaoh and the Israelites (1 of 2)

Published in December 26, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Firstly:succession in the land between the test of prosperity and the test of adversity:

1- God says the following in the Quran: "...We burden you with adversity and prosperity - a test. And to Us you will be returned." (21:35). Thus, God tests all human beings with ordeals/calamities and bounties/possessions and this applies to nations and countries. The life-test is ordained for each human being until s/he dies in the assigned predestined time: "But God will not delay a soul when its time has come..." (63:11); and this applies to nations/communities as well: "For every nation is an appointed time. When their time has come, they cannot delay it by one hour, nor can they advance it." (7:34). Human beings vary in their degrees of wealth, possessions, and earnings as per this life-test of prosperity and adversity: "God has favored some of you over others in livelihood..." (16:71); and this applies to nations/countries which have different degrees of power and wealth, and they may end and God makes others succeed them: "It is He who made you successors in the land, and raised some of you in ranks over others, in order to test you through what He has given you. Your Lord is Quick in retribution, and He is Forgiving and Merciful." (6:165).  

2- Quranic stories prove this idea of succession; God has made the people of Noah, the first strong human community on earth, as successors in the land, but they committed injustices, oppression, and tyranny, and the deluge was inflicted on them. God has made the people of Aad as their successors in the land, and they, in their turn, committed injustices, oppression, and tyranny; their prophet, Hud, told them the following: "...Remember how He made you successors after the people of Noah, and increased you greatly in stature. And remember God's bounties, so that you may prosper."" (7:69). After the destruction of the people of Aad, God has made the people of Thamood as their successors in the land and they, in their turn, committed injustices, oppression, and tyranny; their prophet, Saleh, told them the following: "And remember how He made you successors after Aad, and settled you in the land. You make for yourselves mansions on its plains, and carve out dwellings in the mountains. So remember God's bounties, and do not corrupt on the earth." (7:74). Hence, the succession of nations went on and was linked to total destruction of the tyrannical corrupters, until the last nation destroyed by God, which was the people of Moses' Pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea. We read in the Quran, the Last Message from God, the following verses: "We destroyed generations before you when they committed injustices. Their messengers came to them with clear signs, but they would not believe. Thus We requite the sinful people. Then We made you successors in the land after them, to see how you would behave." (10:13-14). Thus, human beings of our modern era now are successors of ancient nations within the life-test of prosperity and adversity that will go on until the end of days; sadly, most people do not draw lessons from the stories of ancient nations, though the Quran commands us to travel through the earth to see the ruins/monuments of ancient nations who were destroyed by God.      

3- Apart from Quranic stories, human history is filled with examples of states/empires that were established, flourished, and then destroyed; many states in Ancient Egypt succeeded one another, and the Pharaonic Era ended and Egypt was ruled by foreigners: the Greeks, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Romans, the Arabs, the Ottomans, and then the European colonial powers. In fact, empires used to expand and then get dwarfed and weak until their collapse, such as the Mongols and the Tartars, the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal), France, and Great Britain.    

4- Most of the early believers in Mecca with Muhammad were weak and oppressed, and the Qorayish tribe expelled them and they had to immigrate to Yathreb, where the Meccan raids attacked them many times, attempting to exterminate them. Within this fearful ordeal, God has promised them to be successors in the land if they really believed and performed good deeds: "God has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will make them successors in the land, as He made those before them successors, and He will establish for them their religion - which He has approved for them-and He will substitute security in place of their fear. They worship Me, never associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that - these are the sinners." (24:55). This divine promise has been fulfilled, and some Yathreb dwellers committed the sin of disobedience; God has warned and preached them in this verse: "And remember when you were few, oppressed in the land, fearing that people may capture you; but He sheltered you, and supported you with His victory, and provided you with good things-so that you may be thankful." (8:26). Thus, Arabs who believed at the time have fallen into three categories: (1) the forerunners in faith and good deeds, (2) those who mixed good deeds with bad ones and seek God's pardon and mercy, and (3) a vast majority of disbelieving sinners, especially when the Qorayish tribesmen and leaders feigned to convert en masse shortly before the death of Muhammad, after fighting against him and against the Yathreb city-state for about 10 years and they rejected and disbelieved in the Quran. Hence, once Muhammad died, most Arabs committed the grave crimes of Arab conquests that indicate their rejection of the Quran. God has threatened them beforehand and warned them against torment in this world before the next: "Say, "He is Able to send upon you an affliction, from above you, or from under your feet. Or He can divide you into factions, and make you taste the violence of one another. Note how We explain the revelations, so that they may understand." But your people rejected it, though it is the truth. Say, "I am not responsible for you." For every happening is a finality, and you will surely know." (6:65-67). This applies now to the Arab Muhammadans of today, as they are divided in factions who fight one another, because they have followed the footsteps of Moses' Pharaoh (see 8:52-54 and 3:11). God has made Moses' Pharaoh an imam/leader who leads to Hell those who follow his footsteps in tyranny and corruption in the land. Pious people must draw this lesson from the Quranic story of Moses' Pharaoh.           

 

Secondly: Moses' Pharaoh and the Israelites as two examples of succession in the land:

1-God has tested Pharaoh by the kingdom of Egypt and its rivers (i.e., the River Nile had many distributaries/branches in the Delta, east and west) and its water wells in the desert that brought prosperity and flourishing. The self-deified Pharaoh disbelieved and was never thankful to the Lord God for the bounties bestowed on him; he was a savage, brutal, oppressive tyrant who inflicted a severe persecution on the weak Israelites. Because he was never grateful for God's bounties and because of his oppression of the weak ones, God has punished him by making the Israelites as his successors in Egypt after his destruction; i.e., the soul of the tormented Pharaoh in a Barsakh level saw and lamented the fact that his kingdom was inherited by the Israelites, as they dominated the land of Egypt for a while before heading to the Promised Land. God says the following in the Quran: "Pharaoh exalted himself in the land, and divided its people into factions. He persecuted a group of them, slaughtering their sons, while sparing their daughters. He was truly a corrupter. But We desired to favor those who were oppressed in the land, and to make them leaders, and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the land; and to show Pharaoh, Haman, and their troops, the very thing they feared." (28:4-6); "...a terrible torment besieged Pharaoh's people. The Fire. They will be exposed to it morning and evening. And on the Day the Hour takes place: "Admit the people of Pharaoh to the most intense torment."" (40:45-46).   

2- God has given Pharaoh many bounties: possessions, assets, money, ornaments, etc. as a test. Moses in his prayers invoked God's wrath against Pharaoh: "Moses said, "Our Lord, you have given Pharaoh and his retinue members splendor and wealth in the worldly life. Our Lord, for them to lead away from Your Path. Our Lord, obliterate their wealth, and harden their hearts, they will not believe until they see the painful torment."" (10:88). Thus, God has made His bounties to Pharaoh vanish, and He has caused the edifices built by Pharaoh to be destroyed: "...And We destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had built, and what they had harvested." (7:137). God has given Quaroon treasures and when he sinned, God punished him by causing the ground to cave in on him along with such treasures: "...We had given him treasures, the keys of which would weigh down a group of strong men..." (28:76); "So We caused the earth to cave in on him and his mansion..." (28:81). Before these events, Moses allayed the fears of his people by saying the following: "...Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy, and make you successors in the land; then He will see how you behave." (7:129). This means that their being successors in Egypt was the test of prosperity, after they were tested by adversity within the severe persecution inflicted on them by Pharaoh. Thus, Moses' Pharaoh failed the test of prosperity; he was granted power, wealth, treasures, and kingship, but he was a sinful tyrant. The Israelites passed the test of adversity, and their turn came to undergo the test of prosperity when God has made them successors in the land after the death of Pharaoh. Did they pass or fail this test? We tackle this point in detail later on.          

3- Pharaoh and his family and retinue members felt they owned the land of Egypt and feared to lose it after they saw the signs/miracles of Moses and accused him of being a magician/sorcerer; we notice the two expressions "our land" and "your land" in these Quranic contexts quoting words of Moses' Pharaoh: "...Did you come to us to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses?" (20:57); "He said to the courtiers around him, "This is a skilled magician. He intends to drive you out of your land with his magic, so what do you recommend?"" (26:34-35). Pharaoh thus made them feel afraid lest they lose their land. We notice the same in the words of the retinue members who deemed Pharaoh's political regime as the best and most ideal one for them, as they felt they owned the land of Egypt: "They disagreed among themselves over their affair, and conferred secretly. They said, "These two are magicians who want to drive you out of your land with their magic, and to abolish your exemplary way of life." (20:62-63); "The retinue members among Pharaoh's people said, "This is really a skilled magician." "He wants to evict you from your land, so what do you recommend?"" (7:109-110). The believing prince among the courtiers in the palace of Moses' Pharaoh preached his people in a way that has addressed their mentality and culture: "O my people! Yours is the kingdom today, supreme in the land; but who will help us against God's might, should it fall upon us?..." (40:29). Pharaoh feared very much that he would lose the kingdom of Egypt, and he forgot that God has made him a successor there as a test. The self-deified Pharaoh used bounties bestowed on him to propagate disbelief and tyranny, as he announced, in one of his conferences where all his people were gathered, that he owned Egypt and its rivers, within the context of his ridiculing Moses: "...O my people, do I not own the Kingdom of Egypt, and these rivers flow beneath me? Do you not see? Am I not better than this miserable wretch, who can barely express himself? Why are bracelets of gold not dropped on him, or they angels came with him in procession?"" (43:51-53).    

4- Pharaoh and his people were punished and destroyed as they were drowned in the Red Sea; they were buried and turned into dust inside the land they assumed to own. Quaroon who grew very arrogant and sinful because of his treasures was punished by the ground caving in on him along with his mansion and treasures. When the Israelites inherited the land as successors in it, they were tested by the prosperity after they were tested first by the adversity, as they suffered and bore patiently with the fearful ordeal of severe persecution inflicted on them by Pharaoh.    

5- This is a great moral lesson to be drawn and on which people should contemplate – if people really take heed of it.


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