Shared Prophets

Moses - The Familiar Story

Shared Prophets33:69 O believers, do not be like those (the Jews, Moududi) who injured (distressed, Moududi) Moses, but Allah exonerated him from what they said, and he was highly regarded in Allah’s Sight.

61:5 When Moses said to his people: “O my people, why do you injure me (maligned him and proved disloyal to him, Moududi), although you know that I am Allah’s Messenger to you?” When they swerved, Allah caused their hearts to swerve. Allah does not guide the sinful people.

Don’t be alarmed; the man who led his people out of Egypt was not physically harmed in any way in Allah’s varied accounts of the story of Moses.

A Favourite of Allah

The story of Moses is one of, if not God’s favourite. Moses gets more verses, and by a wide margin, than any other shared prophet. We get our first glimpse of the man early in the second surah, The Cow, in a series of revelations in which Allah reminds the Children of Israel of all He has done for them.

2:47 O Children of Israel, remember the grace which I bestowed on you, and that I preferred you to all nations.

2:48 And guard yourselves against the Day when no soul shall avail any other soul and no intercession will be accepted from it, nor will a ransom be taken from it; and they will not be supported.


Revelations 2:122 and 2:123 are almost exact duplicates of verses 2:47 and 2:48 respectively:

2:122 O Children of Israel, remember the grace I bestowed on you, and remember that I preferred you to all nations.

2:123 And guard against a Day when no soul shall avail any other soul, and no ransom will be accepted from it, nor any intercession will benefit it, and they will not have any support.


2:49 And [remember] how we saved you from Pharaoh’s people who tormented you cruelly, slaying your children but sparing your women. Therein was a great trial from your Lord.

2:50 And [remember] how for your sake, We split the sea, rescued you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you were watching.

The first mention of the Ten Commandments:

2:51 And [remember] how we promised Moses forty nights (at the end of which Moses received the scriptures); and you took the calf after him, thus becoming evildoers.

2:52 But We pardoned you after that, so that you might give thanks.

2:53 And when We gave Moses the Book (the Torah) and the Criterion ("Al-Furqan" which distinguishes right from wrong), so that you might be well guided.


"Al-Furqan", as a reference to the Qur'an as the decisive factor between Good and Evil, begs the question as to whether Moses was given all or part of the Koran.


For taking a calf as a god, they should kill themselves if they expect Allah to forgive them.

2:54 When Moses said to his people: “My people, you have wronged yourselves by taking the calf [as god]. Repent to your creator. Kill yourselves (let the innocent kill the evil-doers); that would be better for you in the sight of your Creator.” Then He forgave you. He is the All-Forgiving, the Merciful.

Before the calf-worshippers had time to respond to Moses' request that they commit suicide, a thunderbolt killed them all.

2:55 And when you (Moses’ people) said: “O Moses, we will not believe in you until we see Allah with our own eyes”, whereupon you were struck by a thunderbolt while you looked on.

2:56 Then We raised you up after you had died, so that you might give thanks.


In another recollection of a variation of the same event, it is much clearer as to who is killed by the thunderbolt from heaven. In this revelation, the mass immolation occurs before the golden calf incident, unless it is the first of two.

4:153 The People of the Book ask you to bring down a book from heaven for them; indeed, they asked Moses for greater than that, saying: “Show us God face to face.” Thereupon the thunderbolt struck them for their wickedness. Then, they worshipped the calf, after they had received the clear proofs. Yet we pardoned all that and we gave Moses clear authority.


God brought them back to life so that they might be thankful, after which He made sure they were fed.

2:57 And We caused the clouds to overshadow you and sent to you manna and quails [saying]: “Eat from the good things we have provided for you.” They did not wrong Us; they only wronged themselves.

Fast forward:

2:58 And when We said: “Enter this city (Jerusalem or Jericho) and eat wherever you wish from its abundant provision”, and enter the gate while bowing and say: “Forgiveness.” We will [then] forgive you your sins and increase the reward of the righteous.


It has not yet been possible to arrive at any conclusion about the identity of the locality mentioned here. The series of events in the context of which God's command to enter the city is mentioned belong to the period of the exodus of the Children of Israel in the Sinai peninsula. It is therefore probable that the place mentioned in this verse is some Sinaitic city. Another plausible suggestion is that it is Shattim, which was located opposite Jericho on the eastern bank of the river Jordan.

A plague out of nowhere for those who changed God knows what.

2:59 The evil-doers changed what was said to them into something else; and We sent down upon the evil-doers a plague from heaven as a punishment for their transgression.

Rewind to Moses in the desert praying for some desperately-needed drinking water.

2:60 And when Moses prayed for water for his people, We said: “Strike the rock with your staff.” Thereupon twelve springs gushed out from it, and each tribe recognized its water trough. [We said:] "Eat and drink from Allah’s provision and do not make mischief in the land."

Manna and quail from heaven were not enough for the Children of Israel. They wanted a varied, balanced diet with lots of vegetables, a demand that infuriated Moses and caused God to reminisce about the punishment He must inflict on an unruly lot.

2:61 And when you said: “O Moses, we will not put up with one kind of food; so pray to your Lord to bring forth for us some on what the earth produces: green herbs, cucumbers, corn, lentils and onions.” He said: “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is worse? Come down to Egypt where you will get what you asked for.” Humiliation and abasement were inflicted on them and they incurred Allah’s wrath. That was because they disbelieved in Allah’s Revelations and unjustly killed the Prophets, thus committing disobedience and aggression.

For continuity, the next revelation in this series, which has little or nothing to do with the story being told, is included here:

2:62 The believers (Muslims), the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians – whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is good, shall receive their reward from their Lord. They shall have nothing to fear and they shall not grieve.


Revelation 2:62 was later abrogated, i.e., nullified, by the following immutable fact:

3:85 Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.

See Let Me Rephrase That!, Boreal Books for the more than 240 revelations that were later abrogated by Allah.


You will be grateful for what I give you or I will drop this mountain on you!

2:63 And when We made a covenant with you and raised the mountain above you [saying]: “Take what we have given you earnestly and keep in mind what is in it so you might guard yourselves against evil.”

They were not impressed!

2:64 But after that you turned away; and had it not been for Allah’s Grace and Mercy on you, you would surely have been among the losers.

In another recollection of the lifting of Mount Sinai, God asks all Hebrews to prostrate themselves as they enter what may be an extra-large Ark of the Covenant, or else the door is simply a metaphor for acknowledging their pledge to Allah. As to why Allah would admonish the Jews for transgressing the Sabbath on such a momentous, inspiring occasion, only God knows.

4:154 And We raised the Mount [Sinai] over them, in view of their covenant, and We said to them: “Enter the door prostrate”, and We also said: “Do not transgress on the Sabbath”, taking from them a solemn pledge.

The verses about the lifting of Mount Sinai may have been inspired by a story told in a second century Jewish apocryphal book called The Abodah Sarah about God lifting Mount Sinai and holding it over the head of the Jews as a threat if they rejected His law. As can be expected, some broke the Covenant, especially by killing prophets, prompting Allah to seal their hearts so that they should never wish to enter into an agreement again.

4:155 But because they broke their covenant, disbelieved in Allah’s Revelations, killed the Prophets unjustly, and said: “Our hearts are sealed”, Allah has sealed them on account of their disbelief. So, they do not believe, except for a few!

Allah also sealed their hearts because He felt the Jews were accusing her of having committed illegal sexual intercourse when she showed up with her newborn baby (see Shared Prophets: Mary, Boreal Books).

4:156 And for their disbelief and their imputing to Mary a great falsehood;

The Golden Calf and Want of a Death Wish

The golden calf is again mentioned in another harangue of the Jews. 

2:91 And when it is said to them: "Believe in what Allah has revealed”, they say: “We believe in what was revealed to us (the Torah),” denying thereby what has been revealed thereafter (the Qur’an), although it is the Truth which confirms what they have (their scriptures). Say: “Why, then, did you kill Allah’s Prophets in the past if you are true believers?”

2:92 Surely Moses came to you with clear signs (miracles); then, in his absence you made of the calf a god, and thus you became evil-doers.

Because the Hebrews did not believe in revelations yet to be brought down by Moses, God caused them to become infatuated with a golden calf. 

2:93 And [remember] when we made a covenant with you and raised the mountain over you saying: “Take what we have given you with earnestness and obey.” They said: “We have heard. We disobeyed.” They were made to imbibe the love of the calf into their hearts because of their unbelief. Say: “Evil is what your faith bid you, if you are true believers (the implication here is that they are not believers).”

If the Jews were really the chosen people, they would have wished for death. 

2:94 Say: “If the abode of the Hereafter with Allah is for you alone to the exclusion of all other people, then wish for death if you are truthful.”

They must not be in a hurry to leave the here-and-now and join God in the Hereafter because of former evil deeds they had committed.

2:95 But they will never wish for it, because of what they did earlier. Allah knows well the evil-doers.

A long life “will not spare them the punishment” in the end.

2:96 Indeed you will find them of all people the most attached to life, even more attached than those who associated other gods with Allah. Every one of them wishes to live for one thousand years. This long life, however, will not spare them the punishment. And Allah sees what they do.

The Fire on the Mountain

27:7 When Moses said to his family: “I have sighted a fire and will bring you news of it, or bring you a flaming spark that you might warm yourselves.”

27:8 Then, when he approached it, he was told loudly: “Blessed is he who is in the fire and those around it (Moses and the other Prophets), and glory be to the Lord of the Worlds.


Moududi, by his capitalization of the pronouns he and who in “He Who is in the fire” believes it is Allah.

27:8 When he came to it, a voice called out: "Blessed is He Who is in the fire and the one who is around it. Glorified is Allah, Lord of the worlds.”

Others, like Fakhry, will not commit themselves:

27:8 But when he came to the (fire), a voice was heard: "Blessed are those in the fire and those around: and glory to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

Yusuf Ali

27:8 But when he came to it, he was called: "Blessed is whosoever is in the fire, and whosoever is round about it! And glorified be Allâh, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists)”

Mohsin Khan


27:9 “O Moses, I am truly Allah, the All-Mighty, Wise;

27:10 “Cast your staff”; but when he saw it shaking, as though it was a serpent, he turned around not looking back. “O Moses, do not fear; the Messengers do not fear in My Presence;

27:11 “Except for him who has done wrong, then changed, doing good after evil. For I am indeed All-Forgiving, Merciful.

27:12 “Introduce your hand into your bosom and it will come out white, without blemish, as one of the nine signs to Pharaoh and his people. They are, indeed, a wicked people.”

27:13 Then, when Our Signs came to them fully visible, they said: “This is manifest sorcery.”

27:14 And they repudiated them, although their souls acknowledged them as certain, wrongfully and arrogantly. Behold, then what was the fate of the workers of corruption.

Pharaoh’s Magicians

The lack of a chronological ordering of the verses in the Koran means that we learn of Moses meeting with Pharaoh before his meeting with God where he is given his marching orders in Surah 27.

7:103 Then after them (Civilizations He has annihilated in the past), We sent Moses with Our Revelations to Pharaoh and his people, but they repudiated them. See then what was the fate of the mischief-makers.

7:104 Moses said: “O Pharaoh, I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds.

7:105 “It is only proper that I should not say about Allah anything other than the truth. I have brought you a clear sign from your Lord; so send forth the Children of Israel with me.”

7:106 He said: “If you have brought a sign, produce it if you are really truthful.”

The first sign is a snake (in the Bible, it is Aaron who casts his staff. Exodus 7:10: “Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials and it became a snake”).

7:107 So he cast his staff and, behold, it was a manifest serpent.

7:108 And he drew his hand; and, behold, it appeared white to the onlookers.

7:109 The dignitaries among Pharaoh’s people said: “This, indeed, is a shrewd magician.

7:110 “He wishes to drive you out of your land; so what do you advise?”

The dignitaries suggest to Pharaoh that he send for his own magicians.

7:111 They said: “Leave him and his brother for a while, and send forth summoners (sic) to the cities;

7:112 “To bring you every shrewd magician.”

Before performing their magic, Pharaoh’s magicians obtain a promise that they will be rewarded if they better Moses.

7:113 The magicians then came to Pharaoh and said: “We shall surely have a reward, if we are the winners.”

7:114 He said: “Yes, and you will be, indeed, among those I favour.”

After a short discussion as to who would begin, the magicians produced something we can assume is a snake, or the illusion of a snake.

7:115 They said: “O Moses, either you cast or we will be the first to cast.”

7:116 He said: “You cast”; but when they cast, they put a spell upon the eyes of the people and frightened them, producing a mighty feat of magic.

Moses would again cast his staff, which would again change into a snake which proceeded to eat whatever Pharaoh’s magicians had produced. The magicians were impressed and prostrated themselves before Moses.

7:117 We revealed to Moses: “Cast your staff”, and behold, it proceeded to devour what they faked.

7:118 So the truth was vindicated and what they were doing was nullified.

7:119 And they were vanquished there and then, and they turned away humiliated.

7:120 And the magicians fell down prostrate.

7:121 They said: “We believe now in the Lord of the Worlds;

7:122 “The Lord Of Moses and Aaron.”

Pharaoh was not pleased!

7:123 Pharaoh then said: “Do you believe in Him before I give you leave? This is indeed a plot you contrived in the city, in order to drive its people out. Now you shall know.

Pharaoh then described what he will do to his magicians for switching their allegiance to Allah.

7:124 “I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides; then I will crucify you altogether.”

7:125 They said: “Unto our Lord we surely shall return.

7:126 "You only resent from us that we have believed in the Signs of our Lord when they came to us. Lord, grant us patience and let us die as men who submit to You."

The second time around, God was more specific as to the type and condition of the trees Pharaoh suggested to crucify his magicians for changing sides.

20:71 He (Pharaoh) said: “Do you believe in him before I give you leave? It must be your chief who has taught you magic. I shall then cut your hands and feet on alternate sides, and I will crucify you upon the trunks of palm trees, and you will certainly know whose punishment is sterner and more lasting.”

20:72 They said: “We cannot prefer you to what came to us of clear proofs and to Him Who created us. So, decide what you will decide; you only decide regarding this present life.

20:73 “We have believed in our Lord, that He may forgive us our sins and what you forced us to practice of magic. Allah is best and most abiding.”

The third time around:

26:49 He (Pharaoh) said: “You have believed before I gave you leave. He (Moses) is indeed your chief, who taught you sorcery, and so you will learn. I shall cut off your hands and feet alternately and will crucify you all.”

The fourth time around Pharaoh does not crucify his magicians, and his dignitaries appear to have switched sides as well. He simply wanted his administrator, Haman, to build him a tower so that he "might behold the God of Moses". Remember, in the Koran Paradise, where Allah sits on His Throne, is just above the clouds (see "The Islamic Hereafter: Paradise, Boreal Books).

28:38 Pharaoh then said: “O my dignitaries, I did not know that you had any god but me. So kindle for me, O Haman, a fire upon the clay and build me a tower that I might behold the God of Moses. I really think he is a liar.”

The fifth time, there is no mention of crucifixion, but Pharaoh still wants his tower.

40:36 And Pharaoh said: “O Haman, build me a tower that I may perchance reach the pathways,

40:37 “The pathways of heaven; and then look upon the God of Moses. For I think he is a liar.” That is how embellished for Pharaoh was his evil deed and how he was barred from the Path. Pharaoh’s guile was only destined to fail.

Which recollection of the meeting between Moses and Pharaoh is the most accurate? In three of the five recollections, the magicians are put to death; in the other two, this is less likely. But wait—there is one more account of Moses and his encounter with Pharaoh’s magicians, or should I say, sorcerers.

Magicians as Sorcerers

This retelling begins after God makes a general statement about all the messengers He sent starting with Noah, but before Moses.  

10:71 And relate to them the story of Noah when he said to his people: “O my people, if my dwelling [among you] and my reminding you of the Revelations of Allah, is too much for you, then in Allah I have put my trust. Agree upon a course of action with your associates; then let not that course of action be a burden to you; then pass to me [your decision] and give me no respite.

10:72 “If you turn away, I have asked for no reward from you. My reward is only with Allah. I have been ordered to be one of those who submit.”

10:73 But they denounced him; so We delivered him and those with him in the Ark and made them successors, while drowning those who denied Our Signs. See then what was the fate of those who were warned!

10:74 Then We sent forth after him (Noah) Messengers to their people. They brought them clear proofs; but they would not believe in what they had denied earlier. Thus do We seal the hearts of the aggressors.

10:75 Then We sent forth after them Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his dignitaries, with Our Signs, but they were arrogant; they were sinful people.

10:76 Then when the truth came to them from Us, they said: “This indeed is manifest sorcery.”

10:77 Moses said: “Do you say to the truth, when it has come to you: ‘This is sorcery?’ Sorcerers will never prosper.”

10:78 They said: “Have you come to us to turn us away from that (the faith) in which we found our fathers so that sovereignty may be yours (Moses and his brother), in the land? We shall not believe in you both. "

10:79 Then Pharaoh said: “Bring me every skillful magician.”

10:80 Then, when the magicians came, Moses said to them: “Cast down what you intend to cast down.”

10:81 Then, when they cast down, Moses said: “What you brought forward is real sorcery. Allah will bring it to naught. Allah indeed does not uphold the work of the mischief-makers.

10:82 “Allah vindicates the truth by His Words, even if the wicked sinners dislike it.”

10:83 And so only a handful of his people believed in Moses for fear that Pharaoh and his dignitaries would persecute them. Pharaoh was truly a tyrant in the land and one of the transgressors.

10:84 And Moses said: “O my people, if you believe in Allah, then in Him put your trust, if you submit [to Him].”

10:85 Whereupon they said: “In Allah we have put our trust. Our Lord, do not let us be tried by the wrongdoing people.

10:86 “And deliver us by Your Mercy from the unbelieving people.”

The Hidden Believer at Pharaoh’s Court

Of all the strange stories told by Allah about the meeting between Moses and Pharaoh, none is stranger than that of the hidden believer at Pharaoh’s Court.

40:23 We have indeed sent Moses forth with Our Signs and a manifest authority,

What Korah, a Hebrew, is doing here is anyone’s guess (see Chapter Moses 2: Moses vs. Karoon a.k.a. Korah).

40:24 Unto Pharaoh, Haman and Korah* but they said: “A lying sorcerer.”

40:25 When he brought them the Truth from Us, they said: “Slay the sons of those who have believed with him, but spare their women.” However, the cunning of the unbelievers is in error.

The hidden believer revealed himself by coming to the defence of Moses after Pharaoh threatened to kill him.

40:26 And Pharaoh said: “Let me kill Moses, and let him call upon his Lord. I fear that he may change your religion and cause corruption to spread in the land.”

40:27 Moses said: “I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant one who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.”

40:28 Then a believing man of Pharaoh’s folk, who kept hidden his belief, said: “Will you kill a man for saying: ‘My Lord is Allah’, and he has brought you the clear proofs from your Lord? If he is a liar, his lying will recoil upon him, but if he is truthful, you will be smitten with some of what he is promising you. Allah will not guide one who is an extravagant imposter.

This defence of Moses is followed with the old scare tactic of God being quick to anger when His Messengers are denied. Pharaoh tells the hidden believer that he does not accept his idea of a bogeymen and that he is a righteous ruler.

40:29 “O my people, yours is the dominion today, supreme in the land; but who will protect us against Allah’s Might, if it should smite us?” Pharaoh said: “I do not show you except what I see, and I do not guide except in the path of rectitude.”

The hidden believer reminds the assembled of the fate of the Confederates, desert tribes that joined the Meccans in the siege of Medina in 627 AD, more than two thousand years into the future, and whom God would burn in Hell.

40:30 Then the one who had believed said: “O my people, I fear for you the like of the day of the Confederates.

He reminds them of the people and cities Allah has destroyed, including Thamud, whose existence was known from “the 1st millennium BC to near the time of Muhammad,” therefore may not have even existed—let alone been destroyed—when Moses met Pharaoh.

40:31 “Like the wont of the people of Noah, ‘Ad, Thamud and those who came after them. Allah does not intend wronging the servants.

The threat is escalated with mention of the Day of Altercation, a day of destruction like that visited on the people mentioned in the previous revelation.

40:32 “And, O my people, I fear for you the Day of Altercation.

40:33 “The Day you will turn away in flight, having no defender against Allah. Whomever Allah leads astray will have no one to guide him.

They are reminded of Joseph, who some considered the last Messenger because that is what God wanted them to believe.

40:34 “Joseph brought you the clear proofs before, but you continued to doubt what he brought you. Then, when he perished you said: ‘Allah will never send forth a Messenger after him.’ This is how Allah leads astray whoever is extravagant and suspicious.

40:35 “Those who dispute concerning Allah’s Signs without any authority given to them – how hateful is that in the sight of Allah and the believers. That is how Allah places a seal on the heart of every arrogant bully.”

The hidden believer's long-winded, messenger-like exhortation was interrupted by Pharaoh (revelations quoted earlier in section Moses and Pharaoh’s Magicians), who asked Haman to build him that tower.

40:36 And Pharaoh said: “O Haman, build me a tower that I may perchance reach the pathways,

40:37 “The pathways of heaven; and then look upon the God of Moses. For I think he is a liar.” That is how embellished for Pharaoh was his evil deed and how he was barred from the Path. Pharaoh’s guile was only destined to fail.

Moses takes up the refrain of the hidden believer, ending his exhortation with the familiar reminder of Allah’s Fire.

40:38 Then he who had believed said: “O my people, follow me and I will guide you to the path of rectitude.

40:39 “O my people, this present life is a fleeting pleasure, but the world to come is the abode of permanence.

40:40 “Whoever does an evil deed will only be rewarded its like; but whoever does a righteous deed, whether male or female, being a believer – those shall enter Paradise receiving therein provision without measure.

40:41 “And, O my people, do I call you unto salvation, while you call me unto the Fire?

40:42 “You call me to disbelieve in Allah and associate with Him that whereof I have no knowledge, while I call you unto the All-Mighty, the All-Pardoner.

40:43 “No wonder that what you call me unto has no callers in this world, nor in the Hereafter; and that our ultimate return is unto Allah; and that the extravagant are the true companions of the Fire.

40:44 “You will remember what I am saying to you. I entrust my fate to Allah. Allah is surely Well Aware of the servants.”

God cleverly followed the story of the hidden believer with one about Hell and the fate of "Pharaoh’s folk," explaining why the weak would not be forgiven for believing in their leaders instead of His Messengers.

40:45 Then, Allah guarded him against the evils of their scheming; and the evil punishment encompassed Pharaoh’s folk;

40:46 The Fire to which they shall be exposed morning and evening. And the Day the Hour shall come to pass, it will be said (to the angels): “Admit Pharaoh’s folk to the worst punishment.”

40:47 And while they dispute in the Fire, and the weak will say to those who waxes proud: "We were followers of yours. Will you, then, withhold from us part of the Fire?”

40:48 Those who waxed proud will say: “We are truly all in it. Allah has judged between the servants.”

40:49 Those in the Fire will say to the keepers of Hell: “Call on your Lord that He may remit a day of punishment for us.”

40:50 They will reply: “Did not your Messengers bring you clear proofs?” They will say: “Yes indeed.” They will reply: “Call then, although the call of the unbelievers is in vain.”

40:51 We shall support Our Messengers and the believers in the present life and on the Day the witnesses shall arise;

40:52 The Day when their excuses will not profit the wrongdoers, and the curse will be upon them and they will have the worst dwelling.

In case you missed it:

40:53 We have indeed given Moses the guidance and bequeathed to the Children of Israel the Book,

40:54 As a guidance and a reminder to people of understanding.

40:55 So stand fast; Allah’s Promise is true. Seek the forgiveness of your sin and proclaim the praise of your Lord evenings and mornings.

Pharaoh would never attain ‘grandeur’.

40:56 As for those who dispute regarding Allah’s Signs without any authority given to them, there is nothing in their breasts but the desire for grandeur, which they will never attain. So, seek refuge with Allah; for He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

The Tenth Plague

In the first version of the competition between Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians, the dignitaries want to know what he will do about Moses and the Hebrews.

7:127 And the dignitaries among Pharaoh’s people said: “Will you leave Moses and his people to make mischief in the land and to abandon you and your gods?” He said: “We will massacre their sons, but spare their women, and over them we shall surely triumph.”

The massacre referenced in the above revelation may have already occurred during the reign of Pharaoh Seti I when Moses was just a baby. Whatever, Moses tells his people to be patient and put their trust in Allah.

7:128 Moses said to his people: "Seek Allah's assistance and be patient; the earth is Allah's and He gives it to whomever of His servants he pleases; and for the righteous is the happy end."

7:129 They said: "We were persecuted before you came to us and after you came to us." He said: "Perchance your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land and, then, observe what you will do."

Bring on the plagues! Except for perhaps the deluge and the slaughter of the Egyptian firstborn males, the Koran and the Bible are in basic agreement on the Plagues of Egypt, including that they were all God’s doing.

7:130 And We made Pharaoh and his people suffer from drought and shortage of fruits that perchance they may take heed.

7:131 So, when a good fortune came to them they said: “This is ours”, but if a misfortune befell them, they ascribed the evil omen to Moses and his companions. In fact, their omen is with Allah; but most of them do not know.

7:132 And they said: “Whatever sign you may bring us in order to cast a spell upon us, we will not believe in you.”

7:133 So, we let loose upon them the deluge, locust, lice, frogs and blood, as explicit signs; but they grew arrogant and were a sinful people.

Pharaoh agreed to let the Hebrews leave if Moses could get his god to stop the scourge.

7:134 And when the scourge descended on them, they said: “O Moses, call upon your Lord for us in virtue of the covenant He made with you. If you lift the scourge from us, we will surely believe you and send forth the Children of Israel with you.”

They never learn!

7:135 But when We lifted the scourge from them for a period We accorded them, behold, their broke their pledge.

7:136 Then We exacted retribution from them and drowned them in the sea, because they denounced Our Signs and failed to pay heed to them.

Allah’s Gift to the Jews

7:137 And We bequeathed to the people who were held to be weak the eastern and western parts of the land which we had blessed (the Holy Land); and the fairest Word of your Lord in regard to the Children of Israel was fulfilled, because of their endurance; and We destroyed the houses and towers which Pharaoh and his people were building.

7:138 And We caused the Children of Israel to cross the sea, and they came upon a people devoted to idols of their own. They said: “O Moses, make us a god as they have gods of their own.” He said: “You are indeed an ignorant people.

7:139 “Surely what those [people] are engaged in is doomed to destruction, and what they are doing is a vanity.”

Moses reminded the Israelites that they were God’s preferred people, followed by a reminder from Allah that He brought them out of Egypt.

7:140 And he said: “Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah, Who has preferred you to all mankind?”

7:141 And [remember] how We delivered you from Pharaoh’s people who inflicted the worst punishment on you, killing your sons and sparing your women. In that was a grievous trial from your Lord.

The Death of Pharaoh

God, if He doesn’t like you, will make sure you never believe in Him. This is to ensure that you end up in His Hell where He can torture you at His leisure. He will do this for His own benefit or as a favour; in this instance, as a gift to Moses who wants Pharaoh Rameses II to burn in Hell.

The archaeological record—the Egyptians were real sticklers in accurately documenting the life and death of their Kings—is clear: Rameses II died in his bed of natural causes. God would beg to differ, maybe? In Revelation 10:92, Allah appears to save Pharaoh from drowning as he is chasing Moses and the Israelites across the Red Sea, but not before advising Moses to invest in some Egyptian real estate.

10:87 And we revealed to Moses and his brother: “Take for your people dwellings in Egypt and make your dwellings places of worship, perform the prayer and announce the good news to the believers.”


Moududi is not helpful in ascertaining why Allah would leave the impression that He wanted Moses and his people to settle in Egypt after making space for them by drowning Pharaoh and his people. He ignores the inconsistency, only speculating that the message was a warning for the “mushriks” (a derogatory term for those who associate other gods with Allah) of Mecca.

This part of the story of Pharaoh has been related here because it applied exactly to the mushriks of Makkah who were doing their worst to uproot the Holy Prophet and the Believers from the land of Arabia. This story, so to say, tells them, "Pharaoh resolved to uproot Moses and the Israelites but was himself completely annihilated along with his followers and Moses and his followers settled down in the land. Likewise, if you persist on the same way, you will surely meet with the same end."


Moses, like all the other Messengers, asked his Patron to do serious harm to his detractors; and like for all His Messengers—with the possible exception of Muhammad—Allah was happy to answer what He considered a prayer.

10:88 Moses then said: “Lord, you have given Pharaoh and his dignitaries adornment and wealth in the present life, with which they lead people away from Your Path. O Lord, obliterate their wealth and harden their hearts so that they will not believe, till they see the very painful punishment.”

10:89 He said: “Your prayer is answered; carry on both with your call and go straight, and do not follow the path of those who do not know.”

10:90 And We brought the Children of Israel across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops followed them insolently and aggressively; but when he was about to drown, he said: “I believe that there is no god but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of those who submit [to Allah].”

Did God really save Pharaoh from drowning and accept his late conversion after His promise to Moses? The answer is in another surah. First, the intriguing end to this account of Moses and Pharaoh: in this reiteration, the Hebrews don’t appear to have spent much time in the Sinai desert.

10:91 [It was said to him]: “Now [you believe]! But you disobeyed earlier and you were one of the mischief-makers.

10:92 “Today, then, We shall save you bodily, so you may become a sign to those who come after you. Indeed, many people are heedless of Our Signs.”

Did God really save Pharaoh from drowning and accept his late conversion after His promise to Moses? The answer is in another surah. First, the intriguing end to this account of Moses and Pharaoh: in this reiteration, the Hebrews don’t appear to have spent much time in the Sinai desert.

10:93 And We have established the Children of Israel in a dignified domain (Palestine after their exodus from Egypt, and provided them with good things. Thus they did not differ among themselves until the certain knowledge came to them. Surely, your Lord shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection regarding that about which they differed.

God tells Muhammad to ask those who recite the Torah in his presence, i.e., the Jews, to confirm the veracity of His recollection of these events if he has doubts.

10:94 So, if you (the person addressed here, according to some commentators, is Muhammad) are in doubt concerning what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book (the Torah) before you. Indeed, the truth has come to you from your Lord; so do not be one of the doubters.

10:95 And do not be one of those who deny Allah’s revelations and thus become one of the losers.

So, did Allah drown Pharaoh? According to Revelation 17:103, He surely did!

17:101 And We gave Moses nine clear signs. Ask the Children of Israel, then, how, when he came to them and Pharaoh said to him: “I really think you are bewitched, O Moses.”

17:102 He (Moses) said: “You know that these [signs] have not been sent down by any one other than the Lord of the heavens and the earth as clear proofs, and I think that you, Pharaoh, are doomed.”

17:103 So, he wanted to scare them out of the land, but We drowned him, together with all those who were with him.

17:104 And after him, We said to the Children of Israel: “Dwell in the land, and when the promise of the Hereafter comes, We shall bring you all together.”

Drowned or not, they are still cursed in this life!

11:99 And they are followed in this life with a curse and on the Day of Resurrection too. Wretched is the support they shall be given!

Allah’s punishment may be “painful and hard,” (Revelation 11:102), but the men, and women and children He indiscriminately murders in numbers unimaginable have only themselves to blame.

11:100 That is part of the tidings of the towns We recount to you; some of them are still standing and some We have reduced to rubble.

11:101 And We have not wronged them, but they have wronged themselves. Their deities, upon whom they called, apart from Allah, did not avail them anything when the Decree of your Lord came; but they only added to their destruction.

11:102 And such is your Lord’s punishment when He punishes the cities which are unjust. His punishment is indeed very painful, very hard.

11:103 There is surely in this a sign for him who fears the punishment of the Hereafter. That is a Day on which men will be gathered together, and that is a Day to be witnessed.

11:104 And We shall not delay it, but for an appointed term.

One final observation about Moses and Pharaoh. According to Allah, Pharaoh’s wife abandoned her husband for Him.

66:11 Allah has given as an instance of believers the wife of Pharaoh, when she said: “Lord, build for me, with You, a house in Paradise and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work, and deliver me from the wrong-doing people.”

Egypt Changes Ownership

From God’s revisionist, historical perspective, the Egyptians mentioned after the departure of the Hebrews may not be the same people: Revelation 44:28.

44:17 In fact, We have tried the people of Pharaoh before them, and a noble Messenger (Moses) came to them [saying]:

44:18 “Deliver to me Allah’s servants (the Children of Israel), for I am unto you a faithful Messenger.

44:19 “Do not rise arrogantly against Allah; for I come to you with manifest authority.

44:20 “I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you stone me.

44:21 “And if you do not believe me, then leave me alone.”

44:22 Then he called out to his Lord: “These are indeed a criminal people.”

44:23 (Allah said): “Set out then, with My servants at night; for you are being followed.

44:24 “Leave the sea behind as still as ever; for they are a drowning host.”

44:25 How many gardens and well-springs did they leave behind?

44:26 And plantations and a noble station;

44:27 And prosperity which they thoroughly enjoyed.

44:28 So it was, and We bequeathed them to another people.

44:29 Neither the heavens nor the earth cried for them and they were given no respite.

44:30 And thus We saved the Children of Israel from the demeaning punishment;

44:31 From Pharaoh; for he was haughty and extravagant.

Allah actually used the word “chosen” when referring to the Children of Israel.

44:32 We have indeed chosen them knowingly, above all other peoples;

44:33 And given them many Signs wherein there was a manifest trial.

Why Forty Years in the Wilderness

5:20 And when Moses said to his people: “O my people, remember Allah’s grace upon you, how He raised up Prophets among you, made you kings and gave you what He has not given any other nations.

5:21 “My people, enter the Holy Land which Allah ordained for you (that you should enter), and do not turn back, lest you become losers.”

5:22 They said: “O Moses, there is in it a mighty people; we shall not enter it until they leave it. If they leave it, then we shall enter.”

5:23 Two men of those who feared [Allah] and whom Allah favoured said: “Enter the gate and [fall] upon them; if you enter it, you will be victorious. In Allah put your trust, if you are true believers.”

5:24 They said: “O Moses, we shall never enter it, so long as they are in it. So, go forth, you and your Lord, and fight; we are staying put here.”

5:25 He said: “Lord, I have no power over anybody other than myself and my brother; so separate us from the ungodly people."

5:26 Allah said: “It shall be forbidden them (the Promised Land) for forty years, during which they shall wonder aimlessly in the land; so do not grieve for the ungodly people!”

Forty years in the desert is Moududi’s best explanation for the following mystifying verse.

2:243 Have you not considered those (the Israelites) who fled their homes in thousands for fear of death? Allah said to them: “Die.” Then He brought them back to life. Surely Allah is gracious to mankind, but most people do not give thanks.


This refers to the exodus of the Israelites. The Israelites had left Egypt in large numbers and were wandering in the desert, eager to find a home. But when at God's command Moses ordered them to drive the Canaanites out of Palestine and conquer that land, they showed cowardice and refused to proceed. Eventually God let them wander about for forty years till one full generation of Israelites had died and been replaced by a new one reared in the tough conditions of desert life. It was only, then that God enabled the Israelites to overcome the Canaanites. Their former condition is described as death, whereas the later development is seen as their restoration to life.

The Ten Commandments

An account of the life and times of Moses such as this would not be complete without mention of the Ten Commandments. Yes, they are referenced in the Koran. In the Bible, Moses spent forty days and forty nights with God on Mount Sinai; in the Koran, in a revelation that seems intent on proving that the narrator can count, it was thirty nights plus ten more at an unspecified location.

7:142 And We appointed to Moses thirty nights to which We added ten, and thus the term appointed by His Lord was forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron: “Succeed me at the head of my people, set matters right and do not follow the path of the mischief-makers.”

In response to a request from Moses that He show himself, Allah revealed his presence by crushing a mountain.

7:143 And when Moses came on Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: “Lord, show me [Yourself] so that I may look at You.” He said: “You will not see Me; but look at the mountain. If it stays in its place, You shall see Me.” But when his Lord revealed Himself to the mountain, He levelled it to the ground, and Moses fell down unconscious. When he woke up, he said: “Glory be to You, I repent unto You and I am the first of the believers.”

7:144 Then He said: “O Moses, I have chosen you above all men for My Messages and My words; so take what I have given you and be one of the thankful.”

This is unlike in the Bible where God offered no specifics as to what was written on the tablets given to Moses. Allah did, however, take the time to give Moses a glimpse of what appears to be Hell, “the abode of the wicked.”

7:145 And We wrote for him in the Tablets (this is a reference to the tablets of the Torah) about everything, providing exhortation and a clear exposition of everything: “So [We said] take it resolutely and bid your people to take the best part of it. I will show you the abode of the wicked.

God also confided to Moses, during the delivery of the Commandments, that He deliberately leads astray the “unjustifiably arrogant” who deny “the truth of Our Signs” and that whatever they do will be nullified on the day He never fails to mention on occasions of any significance: Judgement Day.

7:146 “I will turn away from My Signs those who are unjustifiably arrogant on earth, and who, if they see each sign, will not believe in it; and if they see the path of rectitude will not follow it, but if they see the path of error, will follow it as their path. That is because they denied the truth of Our Signs and failed to pay heed.

7:147 “Those who deny Our Signs and the Meeting of the Hereafter – their works are nullified. Will they be rewarded except according to what they do?”

Like in the Bible, when Moses returned with the Tablets, he found his people worshipping a calf made with jewelry that actually produces cow-like sounds, and cast down the Tablets.

7:148 And the people of Moses took, after he went away, a calf made of their jewellery – a mere body which lowed. Did they not see that it did not speak to them and could not guide them to any path? They took it [for worship] and were wrongdoers.

7:149 And when they felt deep regret, and saw that they had gone astray, they said: “If our Lord will not have mercy on us and will not forgive us, we will certainly be among the losers.”

Aaron’s justification for letting them build the calf is that they would have killed him otherwise.

7:150 And when Moses returned to his people, angry and very sad, he said: “Evil is what you did following my departure. Were you in a hurry regarding your Lord’s Commandment?” He cast the Tablets down and took hold of his brother’s head, dragging him towards him. He (Aaron) said: “Son of my mother, the people deemed me weak and were about to kill me, so do not let the enemy rejoice at my plight, and do not reckon me one of the unjust people.”

Moses asked Allah’s forgiveness for himself and his brother along with a humiliating punishment for his people, though perhaps not for those who repented.

7:151 He (Moses) said: “Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your Mercy; for you are the Most Merciful of all.”

7:152 Surely, those who worshipped the calf will be visited by wrath from their Lord and humiliation in the present life; and thus We recompense those who invent lies.

7:153 And those who perpetrated the evil deeds and repented thereafter and believed – surely your Lord is thereafter All-Forgiving and Merciful.

In the Bible, Moses smashed the Tablets in anger and had to make another trek up Mount Sinai to receive a new; this does not occur in the Koran.

7:154 And when the anger of Moses abated, he took up the Tablets, in the text of which are guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord.

In the Bible, the delivery of the Commandments was followed by another visit with God so that Moses could get final instructions as to how He is to be worshipped, including the specifications for the accompanying paraphernalia, e.g., the size of the altar, what priests should wear, etc. On this visit, Moses was accompanied by seventy elders who are told to stay at a discreet distance (Exodus 24:1). In the Koran, this story is just one more opportunity for Allah to remind the believers of His Might and that He does as He pleases.

7:155 And Moses chose from his people seventy men for Our appointed time. When the earthquake overtook them, he said: “Lord, had you pleased, You would have destroyed them, together with me, before this time. Will you destroy us for what the fools among us have done? This is only Your Trial, with which You lead astray whomever You will and guide whomever You will. You are our Protector; so forgive us and have mercy on us. You are the Best Forgiver of all.

Forgive, yes, but first you must believe in ‘Our Signs’.

7:156 “And ordain for us good in this world and in the Hereafter; we turn repentant to You.” He said: “I smite with my punishment whomsoever I please, and My Mercy encompasses all things; and I will ordain it to those who are pious and give the alms, and to those who believe in Our Signs.

The delivery of the Ten Commandments was a watershed event for both Christians and Jews. This may explain God inserting Muhammad—the unlettered Prophet in Revelation 7:157 and 7:158, His greatest and ultimate spokesman—into the proceedings.

7:157 “And to those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet whom they find mentioned in the Torah and Gospel. He enjoins them to do good and to forbid evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and unlawful to them the impure things. And He relieves them of their heavy burden and the shackles that were upon them. Thus those who believe in him and who honour and support him and follow the light which has been sent down with him – those are the prosperous.”

7:158 Say: “O people, I am Allah’s Messenger to you all; He to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no god but He. He gives life and causes to die; so believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet who believes in Allah and His Words; and follow him, that perchance you may be well guided.”

Back to Moses and his people:

7:159 And of the people of Moses, there is a group who guide by the truth, and by it act justly.

7:160 And We divided them into twelve nation-tribes; and We revealed to Moses, when his people asked him for water: “Strike the rock with you staff”; whereupon twelve springs gushed forth from it, with each tribe recognizing its drinking place. And We spread the clouds over them to shade them and sent down upon them the manna and quails [saying to them]: “Eat from the good things We have provided for you.” They did not wrong us, but they wronged themselves.

The Torah, from the beginning, according to God, was a subject of controversy.

41:45 We have given Moses the Book, but it was the subject of controversy. Had it not been for a Word that preceded from your Lord, a decision between them would have been made. Yet they are, with respect to it, in disquieting doubt.

Moududi’s comments (partial):

It has two meanings' (1) If Allah had not already decreed that the people would be given enough respite for consideration the disputants would have long been destroyed; (2) if Allah had not already decreed that the disputes would finally be decided on the Day of Judgement, the reality would have been made plain as to who is in the right and who is in the wrong.

The Never-Ending Punishment of the Jews

If only Allah had deigned to give us the time and place associated with the events He describes in the Koran, this would have made it a lot easier to make sense of many of His Revelations. When Jerusalem was rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity, a “Fish Gate” was built into its wall (Nehemiah 3:3). While Jerusalem is not near any sea, this may be the gate and city God had in mind in the following revelation.

7:161 And it was said to them: “Dwell in this city and eat from it whatever you please. Seek forgiveness and enter the gate prostrate, so that We may forgive your sins. We shall give more to the beneficent.”

One reason why the Torah and the Koran are not identical:

7:162 But the evildoers among them replaced what was said to them with other words; and so We sent upon them a punishment from heaven, on account of their wrongdoing.

Allah put an end to a miraculous fishery on the Sabbath because of an unsubstantiated claim that the Jews violated their day of rest and worship.

7:163 And ask them about the city which stood close to the sea, when they violated the Sabbath. Their fish which used to come floating on the sea on the Sabbath did not appear when they violated the Sabbath. Thus We tried them because they transgressed.

God gives His reasons for persecuting so many Jews until “the Day of Resurrection.”

7:164 And when one group of them said: “Why do you exhort a people whom Allah has doomed to destruction or to a terrible punishment?”, they replied: “As an excuse for your Lord, and that perchance they may fear God.”

7:165 Then, when they neglected what they were reminded of, We saved those who were forbidding evil and inflicted upon the wrongdoers a terrible punishment, on account of their sinfulness.

7:166 Then, when they disdained arrogantly what they were forbidden, We said to them: “Be miserable monkeys.”

7:167 Thereupon your Lord made it known that He would send against them one who would inflict on them the worst punishment until the Day of Resurrection. Your Lord is Quick in Retribution, and He is indeed All-Forgiving, Merciful.


Since the 8th century B.C. the Israelites were warned consistently. This is borne out by the contents of the Books of the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and their successors. Jesus too administered the same warning which is borne out by many of his orations in the New Testament, This was also later confirmed by the Qur'an. History bears out the veracity of the statement made both in the Qur'an and the earlier scriptures. For throughout history, since the time the Jews were warned, they have continually been subjected to abject persecution in one part of the world or another.

7:168 And We split them up throughout the land into groups, some of them righteous and some otherwise. Then We tried them with prosperity and adversity that perchance that they might desist [from sinning].

7:169 Then there succeeded them [an evil] posterity who inherited the Book (the Torah), but chose the vanities of this world saying: “We shall be forgiven.” And should similar vanities come their way, whey would again seize them. Are they not bound by them. Are they not bound by the covenant of the Book, that they should not say about Allah except the truth? They studied what is in it and the world to come is better for those who fear God. Do they not understand?

7:170 As for those who hold fast to the Book and perform the prayer – surely We do not dissipate the reward of the righteous.

Allah ends this series of revelations ostensibly, about the creation of the first “Jewish State” and the aftermath, with a recollection of His mountain-lifting exploit.

7:171 And [remember] when We raised the mountain over them, as though it was a canopy; and they thought that it was about to fall down on them. Hold on firmly to what We have given you, and remember what is in it, that perchance you may be God-fearing.

(See Allah’s Covenant with Adam’s Progeny for Verses 7:172-174.)

We return to the story of the post-Moses Israelites in Surah 7, which tells the story of Balaam and the lesson to be learned. The Jews consider Balaam to have been a gentile prophet sent by the King of Moab to curse (which he later reconsidered) the Israelites shortly before the death of Moses.

7:175 And tell them [O Muhammad] about the man (Balaam) to whom We gave our revelations, but he renounced them and was followed by the Devil. Thus he became one of those condemned to perdition.

7:176 And had We pleased, We would have elevated him through them (the revelations), but he clung to earth and followed his fancy. His case is similar to that of a dog; if you attack it, it will pant, and if you leave it, it will pant too. Such are those who deny our Revelations. So relate to them these narratives, that per chance they may reflect.

7:177 How evil is the example of the people who deny Our Revelations. They only wrong themselves.

7:178 Whomever Allah guides is well-guided; and whomever He leads astray – those are the losers.

Fear My Presence and My Threats

14:19 Do you not see that Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth? If He pleases He will destroy you and bring forth a new creation.

14:20 And that is not a difficult matter for Allah.


14:6 And when Moses said to his people: “Remember Allah’s favour to you, when He delivered you from Pharaoh’s people who were inflicting upon you the worst punishment, slaughtering your sons and sparing your women. In that, there was truly a great trial from your Lord.”

14:7 [Remember] when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will increase you; but if you disbelieve, My punishment is certainly severe.”

14:8 And Moses said: “If you are thankless, together with everyone on earth, surely Allah is all sufficient, Praiseworthy.

14:9 “Have you not heard the story of those who preceded you – the People of Noah, of ‘Ad and Thamud, and those who came after them, whom none but Allah knows? Their Messengers came to them with the clear proofs, but they put their hands in their mouths saying: “We disbelieve in what you have been sent forth with, and we are certainly in disturbing doubt regarding what you are calling to us.”

14:10 Their Messengers said: “Is there any doubt about Allah, Maker of the heavens and the earth? He calls you that He may forgive you some of your sins and reprieve you until an appointed term.” They said: “You are only humans like ourselves; you want to turn us away from what our fathers worshipped. Bring us then a manifest authority.”

14:11 Their Messengers said to them: “We are only humans like yourselves. However, Allah bestows His Grace on whom He pleases of His servants. It is not in our power to bring you an authority, save by Allah’s Leave; and in Allah let the believers put their trust.

14:12 “And why should we not put our trust in Allah, when He has guided us on our ways? We will surely endure patiently the harm you cause us; and in Allah let those who trust put their trust.”

14:13 The unbelievers said to their Messengers: “We will certainly expel you from our land, unless you return to our religion.” Then their Lord revealed to them: “We shall destroy the wrongdoers.

14:14 “And We will make you dwell in the land after them. That is for him who fears My presence and fears My threats.”

14:15 And they called [on their Lord] for help, and every stubborn tyrant was disappointed.

Moses and Pharaoh from Beginning to End

The most complete retelling of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in one surah.


28 Al-Qasas

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

28:1 Tah – Sin – Mim (the significance of these letters is not clear).

28:2 Those are the verses of the Manifest Book,

28:3 We recite to you part of the news of Moses and Pharaoh truthfully, for a people who believe.

28:4 Pharaoh waxed proud in the land and reduced its habitants into factions, subduing a group of them, slaughtering their sons and sparing their women. He was truly a corruption-worker.

The meek may inherit the earth after all.

28:5 We wish to favour the downtrodden in the land and make them leaders and make them the inheritors;

28:6 And establish them firmly in the land and show Pharaoh and Haman and their troops what they used to fear.

28:7 We revealed to Moses’ mother: “Suckle him; but if you fear for him, cast him into the water and do not fear or grieve. We shall return him to you and make him one of the Messengers.”

28:8 Then the folk of Pharaoh picked him up, to become an enemy and a source of sorrow for them. Pharaoh, Haman (the minister of Pharaoh), and their troops were surely sinful.

28:9 Pharaoh’s wife said: “He is a comfort to you and me. Do not kill him; perhaps he will profit us or we will take him for a son.” Yet they were not well aware.

28:10 The heart of Moses’ mother became vacant; she almost exposed him, but for Our fortifying her heart, so that she might be one of the believers.

28:11 She said to his sister: “Follow his tracks”, and so she observed him from a distance, while they were unaware.

28:12 And We forbade him earlier from being nursed by foster-mothers; so she (Moses’ sister) said: “Shall I lead you to a household who will take charge of him for you and will take good care of him?”

28:13 Then We returned him to his mother, so that she might be comforted and not grieve, and that she might know that Allah’s Promise is true; but most of them do not know.

Growing up Moses may not have been that bright.

28:14 When he was fully grown, and became an adult, We conferred on him judgement and knowledge. That is how We reward the beneficent.

28:15 And he entered the city at a time when its inhabitants were unheeding; and so he found in it two men fighting, one of his own sect, the other from his enemies. Whereupon the one of his sect solicited his assistance against the one from his enemies; so Moses struck him and killed him. He said: “This is the work of Satan; he is a manifestly misleading enemy.”

28:16 He said: “Lord, I have wronged myself, so forgive me.” Then He forgave him. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, the Merciful.

28:17 He said: “Lord, in as much as you have favoured me, I will not be a supporter of the criminals.”

The man from his sect is now his enemy. Go figure!

28:18 The next morning, He became fearful and vigilant; and lo and behold, the man who had sought his assistance on the previous day was calling out to him. Moses said to him: “You are clearly in error.”

28:19 So, when he (Moses) was about to kill the one who was their enemy, he said: “O Moses, do you wish to kill me as you killed another living soul yesterday? Do you only wish to become a tyrant in the land and do not wish to be one of the righteous.”

28:20 And a man came from the farthest part of the city running. He said: “O Moses, the dignitaries are conspiring to kill you. Depart then, I am one of your sincere advisors.”

28:21 So, he departed from it fearful and vigilant. He said: “Lord, deliver me from the wrongdoing people.”

28:22 And when he headed towards Midian, he said: “Perhaps, my Lord will guide me unto the Right Path.”

28:23 And when he arrived at the water of Midian, he found there a company of men watering their cattle, and he found, apart from them, two women holding back. He said: “What is the matter with you both?” They said: “We will not water our flock until the cattle-herders leave off, and our father is a very old man.”

28:24 So, he watered their flock for them, and then moved towards the shade and said: “Lord, I am in dire need of whatever good You might send down to me.”

28:25 Then, one of the two women came to him walking coyly. She said: “My father is calling you in order to reward you for watering our flock.” So, when he came to him and told him the story, he said: “Do not fear, you have escaped from the wrongdoing people.”

28:26 One of the two women said: “Father, hire him. Surely, the best one you can hire is the strong and faithful one.”

28:27 He said: “I want to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine, provided you serve me for eight years. If you complete ten years, that will be of your own accord; and I do not wish to make things hard for you. You will find me, if Allah wishes, one of the righteous.”

28:28 He said: “This is a compact between you and me; whichever term I complete, my action will not be impugned, and Allah shall vouchsafe what we are saying.”

28:29 So, when Moses completed the term and set out with his family, he observed a fire on the side of the Tur Mountain (Sinai). He said to his family: “Stay here, I have observed a fire. Perhaps, I can bring you some news of it or a brand of fire that you might warm yourselves.”

28:30 When he approached it, he was summoned from the right side of the valley, on the sacred spot by the tree: “O Moses, it is I, Allah, the Lord of the Worlds;

28:31 “Cast your staff”, but when he saw it shaking like a snake, he turned away running not looking back. “O Moses, come forward and do not fear, you are certainly safe.

28:32 “Slip your hand into your bosom and it will come out white, without blemish; then press [your arm] to your side so as not to fear. Those, then, are two proofs to Pharaoh and his dignitaries from your Lord. Indeed, they have been a sinful people.”

28:33 He said: “Lord, I have killed from them a living soul, and I fear that they might kill me.

28:34 “My brother Aaron is more eloquent than I; so send him with me as a supporter to vouch for me. I fear that they will denounce me as a liar.”

28:35 He (Allah) said: “We will strengthen your arm with your brother and We will give you authority; so that they will not touch you. By Our Signs, you and those who follow you will be the victors.”

28:36 But when Moses came to them with Our Clear Signs, they said: “This is only faked sorcery and we never heard of this among our forefathers.”

28:37 Moses then said: “My Lord knows better him who brings the guidance from Him, and him who will have the reward of the ultimate abode. The wrongdoers shall never prosper.”

A verse previously identified as perhaps referring to the Tower of Babel.

28:38 Pharaoh then said: “O my dignitaries, I did not know that you had any god but me. So kindle for me, O Haman, a fire upon the clay and build me a tower that I might behold the God of Moses. I really think he is a liar.”

28:39 And he and his troops waxed proud in the land unjustly, and thought that they will not be returned to Us.

28:40 Then We seized him and his troops and cast them into the sea; so behold what was the end of the wrongdoers!

Adding insult to injury:

28:41 And We made them leaders calling to the Fire; and on the Day of Resurrection (Judgement Day), they will not be supported.

28:42 And We pursued them in this world with a curse, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be among the despised.

Why God gave Moses “the Book”:

28:43 We have given Moses the Book, after We had destroyed the former generations, to serve as examples to mankind and as guidance and mercy, in order that they may remember well.

Moses Uninterrupted I

This long variation of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in Surah Taha, a word for which there is no translation, is a long meandering mishmash of what has already appeared, with a few additional oddities to keep things interesting. One of these peculiarities is Revelation 20:59 where Moses sets “the Day of the Feast” as the time and place he will challenge Pharaoh’s magicians. It all starts with God asking Muhammad if he has heard the story of Moses.

20:9 Has the story of Moses reached you?

20:10 When he saw a fire, he said to his people: “Stay. I see a fire. Perhaps I can bring you a lighted torch therefrom or find guidance by the fire.”

20:11 Then, when he came to it, a voice called out: “O Moses,

20:12 “I am truly your Lord; so take off your shoes, you are in the holy valley, Tuwa.

20:13 “And I have chosen you; so listen to what is being revealed.

20:14 “I am truly Allah; there is no god but I; so worship Me and perform the prayer for my Remembrance.

20:15 “Surely, the Hour is coming – but I keep it almost hidden – so that each soul may be rewarded for its work.

20:16 “Let no one who does not believe and follows his own desires, bar you from it lest you perish.

20:17 “And what is that in your right hand, O Moses?”

20:18 He said: “It is my staff. I lean on it and I beat leaves for my sheep with it and I have other uses for it.”

20:19 He (Allah) said: “Cast it down, O Moses.”

20:20 So he cast it down, and lo and behold, it was a serpent, sliding.

20:21 He (Allah) said: “Pick it up and do not fear; We shall restore it to its original condition.

20:22 “And press your hand to your side; it will come out white, without blemish, as another sign,

20:23 “That We may show you some of our Greatest Signs.

20:24 “Go to Pharaoh; for he has transgressed.”

20:25 He said: “Lord, open (literally, expand) my breast for me,

20:26 “And make my task easy for me.

20:27 “And unravel the knot of my tongue.

20:28 “That they may understand my words.

20:29 “And give me, from my own family, a supporter (literally, a minister),

20:30 “Aaron, my brother.

20:31 “And increase through him my strength.

20:32 “And associate him with me in my task.

20:33 “So that we may glorify you;

20:34 “And remember you often.

20:35 “You have surely been observant of us.”

20:36 He (Allah) said: “You have been granted your request, O Moses.

20:37 “And We have favoured you another time.

20:38 “When We revealed to your mother a revelation [saying]:

20:39 “’Put him in a chest and cast him into the river. The river will then cast him off on the shore, and he will be taken by an enemy of Mine and an enemy of his. And I bestowed upon you a love from Me, so that you may be reared before My Eyes.’

20:40 “When your sister went and said: ‘Shall I tell you about one who will take charge of him (that is, will nurse him)?’ So We turned you over to your mother, that she may rejoice and not grieve. Then you killed a living soul, but We delivered you from anguish; and We tried you repeatedly; so you stayed years among the people of Midian. Then you came, as decreed, O Moses.

20:41 “And I chose you for myself.

20:42 “Go, then, you and your brother, with My Signs, and do not tire of remembering Me.

20:43 “Go forth to Pharaoh; for he has surely transgressed.

20:44 “Speak to him gently, that perchance he may take heed or fear.”

20:45 They said: “Our Lord, we fear that he may hasten to do us harm, or transgress.”

20:46 He (Allah) said: “Do not fear. Surely I am with you hearing and seeing.

20:47 “So go forth to him and say: ‘We are your Lord’s Messengers; so send the Children of Israel along with us and do not torture them. We have brought you a sign from your Lord. Peace be upon him who follows the guidance.’”

20:48 “It has been revealed to us [Moses and Aaron] that punishment shall afflict who disbelieves and turns back.”

20:49 He (Pharaoh) said: “Who, then, is your Lord, O Moses?”

20:50 He (Moses) said: “Our Lord is He who gave everything its nature, then guided it.”

20:51 (Pharaoh) said: “What about the former generations?”

20:52 (Moses) said: “The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a Book. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.”

20:53 He who made the earth a bed for you, and opened routes for you in it, and sent down water from the sky; from it we bring forth diverse pairs of plants.

20:54 Eat and pasture your cattle. In that there are signs for people of understanding.

20:55 From it We have created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall raise you a second time.

20:56 And We have shown him (Pharaoh) all Our Signs, but he denied them and refused [to believe].

20:57 He (Pharaoh) said: “Have you come, Moses, to drive us out of our land by means of your sorcery?

20:58 “We shall bring you similar sorcery; so make an appointment between us and you, which neither we nor you shall break, in a central place.”

20:59 He (Moses) said: “Your appointment is set for the day of the Feast, so let the people be gathered together before noon.”


The object of Pharaoh was this: ‘Once the sorcerers are able to transform the staffs and ropes into serpents, the entire effect of the miracle performed by Moses would disappear from the people's minds. That was exactly to Moses' advantage, who suggested that it was no good fixing an ordinary day or place for the purpose. The Day of the Feast was at hand. People would flock on that occasion from all corners of the empire. Therefore, the encounter should be held in the open so that all might witness it, and in the day time so that everyone should be able to see it clearly.’

20:60 Pharaoh turned away and gathered [his men] of guile, then came along.

20:61 Moses said to them: “Woe to you. Do not lie about Allah lest He should destroy you with punishment. Indeed, he who lies shall fail.”

20:62 So, they disagreed among themselves with respect to their affairs and conferred secretly.

20:63 They said: “Those are the two sorcerers who want to drive you out of your land with their sorcery and put an end to your ideal tradition.

20:64 “So gather your guile and then come forward in your battle array; for today he who has the upper hand shall prosper.”

20:65 They said: “O Moses, either you cast down, or we will be the first to cast down.”

20:66 He said: “You had better cast down”; and behold, their ropes and staff appeared to him, by reason of their sorcery, to glide.

20:67 So, Moses felt apprehensive within himself.

20:68 We (Allah) said: “Do not be afraid, you certainly have the upper hand.

20:69 “Cast down what is in your right hand and it will swallow what they have faked. They have only faked the guile of a magician, and the magician will never prosper wherever he goes.”

20:70 Then the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: “We believe [now] in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.”

Revelations 20:71-73 was quoted earlier in Moses and Pharaoh’s Magicians

20:74 For him who comes to his Lord, as a wicked sinner, is Hell, where he neither dies nor lives.

20:75 But those who come to him as believers, who have done good works will have the highest ranks;

20:76 Gardens of Eden, beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. That is the reward of him who purifies himself.

20:77 And We revealed to Moses (saying): “Set out at night with My servants and strike for them a dry path in the sea, not fearing to be overtaken nor dreading anything.”

20:78 Then Pharaoh pursued them with his troops and so they (Pharaoh’s troops) were overwhelmed by the water.

20:79 Pharaoh thus led his people astray and did not guide them rightly.

20:80 O Children of Israel, We have delivered you from your enemy and We made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount, and sent down to you the manna and quails.

20:81 Eat of the good things We have provided you with, but do not be excessive therein, lest My Wrath descent upon you. Those upon whom my wrath descends shall be ruined.

20:82 I am, indeed, All-Forgiving unto him who repents, does the righteous deed and is well-guided.

Moses Uninterrupted II

Surah 26, The Poets, contains the second-longest uninterrupted story of Moses’ meeting with Pharaoh and the aftermath. It is mostly, to quote Yogi Berra, déja vu all over again. What follows include perplexing revelations about driving people out of gardens and springs, treasures and such. Most notable is the disclosure that Moses and Pharaoh matter-of-factly discussed who had committed the greater crime: Moses by slaying an Egyptian or Pharaoh by enslaving the Hebrews.

26:10 When Your Lord called Moses: “Go forth to the wrongdoing people;

26:11 “The people of Pharaoh; will they not fear God?”

26:12 He said: “Lord, I fear that they will denounce me as a liar;

26:13 “And my chest would be constricted and my tongue will not be loosed. So, send for Aaron.

26:14 “And they accuse me of guilt (slaying the Egyptian, whom Moses saw smite an Israelite); so I fear they might kill me.”

26:15 He said: “Never; so go both of you with Our Signs; We are with you listening.

26:16 “So go both of you to Pharaoh and tell him: ‘We are the Messengers of the Lord of the Worlds’;

26:17 “So send with us the Children of Israel.’ “

26:18 He (Pharaoh) said: “Did we not raise you (Moses) among us as a child, and you lingered among us for many years of your life?

26:19 “And you committed the crime you committed, being one of the thankless?”

26:20 He said: “Indeed, I did it then while I was one of the perverse.

26:21 “So I fled from you when I feared you. Then my Lord granted me wisdom and made me one of the Messengers.

26:22 “And this is a grace you reproach me with, having enslaved the Children of Israel.”

26:23 Pharaoh said: “And what is the Lord of the Worlds?”

26:24 He (Moses) said: “The Lord of the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, if you have any kind of certainty.”

26:25 He (Pharaoh) said to those around him: “Do you not hear?”

26:26 He (Moses) said: “Your Lord and the Lord of your Fathers.”

26:27 He (Pharaoh) said: “Surely your Messenger who has been sent forth to you is truly mad.”

26:28 He (Moses) said: “The Lord of the East and the West and what is between them, if only you understand.”

26:29 He said: “If you take a god other than me (Pharaoh), I will certainly make you a prisoner.”

26:30 He (Moses) said: “Even if I should bring you something manifest?”

26:31 He (Pharaoh) said: “Bring it, then, if you are truthful.”

26:32 Then he cast his staff down, and behold, it was a manifest serpent.

26:33 And he held out his hand, and, behold, it appeared white to the onlookers.

26:34 He (Pharaoh) said to the dignitaries around him: “This man is, indeed, a cunning sorcerer,

26:35 “He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery; so what do you command?”

26:36 They said: “Leave him and his brother alone for a while and send out to the cities summoning agents,

26:37 “To bring you every cunning sorcerer.”

26:38 And so the sorcerers were gathered together for an appointment on a fixed day.

26:39 And it was said to the people: “Will you come together?

26:40 “So that we might watch the sorcerers, if they should be the winners.”

26:41 So when the sorcerers came they said to Pharaoh: “Will we have a wage, if we are the winners?”

26:42 He said: “Yes, and you shall be, then, among those favoured.”

26:43 Moses said to them: “Cast down what you wish to cast down.”

26:44 So, they cast their ropes and staff and said: “By the might of Pharaoh, we shall be the winners.”

26:45 Then, Moses cast down his staff and, behold, it swallowed forthwith what they had simulated.

26:46 Then the sorcerers fell on their faces prostrate.

26:47 They said: “We believe now in the Lord of the Worlds;

26:48 “The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”

Revelation 26:49 quoted earlier in Moses and Pharaoh’s Magicians.

26:49 He (Pharaoh) said: “You have believed before I gave you leave. He (Moses) is indeed your chief, who taught you sorcery, and so you will learn. I shall cut off your hands and feet alternately and will crucify you all.”

26:50 They said: “No harm; we are returning unto our Lord.

26:51 “We hope that our Lord will forgive our sins, as we are the first believers.”

26:52 And We revealed to Moses: “Go forth with My servants at night; for you are being followed.”

26:53 Then Pharaoh sent out summoning agents to all the cities;

26:54 “These, indeed, are a small band;

26:55 “And they are enraging us;

26:56 “And we are all on our guard.”

26:57 Then, We drove them out of gardens and springs;

26:58 And treasures and a noble abode.

26:59 That is how We bequeathed them to the Children of Israel.

26:60 So they followed them at sunrise.

26:61 Then when the two hosts (armies) sighted each other, the companions of Moses said: “We shall be overtaken.”

26:62 He said: “Never; my Lord is with me, He will guide me.”

26:63 So, We revealed to Moses: “Strike the sea with your staff;” whereupon it split, so that each part was like a huge mountain.

26:64 And there We brought the others closer.

26:65 And We delivered Moses and those with him, all together.

26:66 Then, We drowned the others.

26:67 Surely, in that is a sign; yet most of them were not believers.

26:68 Your Lord is surely the All-Mighty, the Merciful.

Moses Uninterrupted – Six Short Variations

43:46 We have in fact sent Moses with Our Signs to Pharaoh and his dignitaries. He said: “I am the messenger of the Lord of the Worlds.”

43:47 But when he brought them Our Signs, lo they laughed at them.

I assume the big snake of Moses which ate the little snake of Pharaoh’s magician is the “sign” that was “greater than” in the following revelation:

43:48 Yet, We did not show them a sign but it was greater than its counterpart. Then We seized them with punishment, that perchance they might retract.

43:49 And they said (to Moses): “O Sorcerer, call upon your Lord for us, by the pledge He made with you. We shall, then, be well guided.”

43:50 But when We lifted the punishment from them, behold, they broke their pledge.

43:51 And Pharaoh called out to his people: “O my people, do I not have the kingdom of Egypt, and these rivers flow beneath me? Do you not see, then?

43:52 “Or, am I not better than this weakling who cannot speak clearly?

43:53 “Why, then, no bracelets of gold were cast down upon him or angels came with him in company?”

43:54 Thus, he incited his people and so they obeyed him. They were, indeed, a sinful people.

43:55 Then when they roused Our anger, We wrecked a vengeance upon them and drowned them all.

43:56 And so, We made them a people gone by, and an example to the others.


37:114 And We have favoured Moses and Aaron;

37:115 And delivered them and their people from the great calamity.

37:116 And We supported them, and so they were the victors.

37:117 And We gave them both the clarifying Book.

37:118 And We guided them unto the Straight Path.

37:119 And We left with them both for later generations;

37:120 “Peace be upon Moses and Aaron.”

37:121 Thus We reward the beneficent.

37:122 They are indeed among our believing servants.

It is a wonder that the Egyptian people survive to this day.

44:17 In fact, We have tried the people of Pharaoh before them, and a noble Messenger came to them [saying]:

44:18 “Deliver to me Allah’s servants (the Israelites), for I am unto you a faithful Messenger.

44:19 “Do not rise arrogantly against Allah; for I come to you with manifest authority.

44:20 “I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you stone me.

44:21 “And if you do not believe me, then leave me alone."

44:22 Then he called out to his Lord: “These are indeed a criminal people”.

44:23 (Allah said): “Set out then, with My servants at night; for you are being followed.

44:24 “Leave the sea behind as still as ever; for they are a drowning host.”


79:15 Have you heard Moses’ story?

79:16 When His Lord called out to him in the sacred valley, Tuwa?

79:17 Go forth to Pharaoh; indeed, he has waxed arrogant.

79:18 Say: “Do you wish to be cleansed?

79:19 “And that I might lead you to your Lord, so that you might fear [Him]?"

79:20 Thereupon he (Moses) showed him the great sign (turning of the staff into a serpent, Moududi);

79:21 But he (Pharaoh) denounced and disobeyed.

79:22 Then, he turned back striving.

79:23 He summoned (his people) and proclaimed.

79:24 He said: “I am truly your supreme Lord.”

79:25 Then Allah seized him with the punishment of the last world and the first.

79:26 Surely, there is in that a lesson in that to him who fears.

The full story as told in five revelations:

23:45 Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron with Our Signs and a decisive authority;

23:46 To Pharaoh and his dignitaries; but they were an arrogant people.

23:47 And so they said: “Shall we believe in two mortals like ourselves, while their own people are serving us?”

23:48 Then they denounced them both as liars, and so they were destroyed.

23:49 And We gave Moses the Book, that perchance they may be guided.

The full story in only three revelations:

51:38 And in Moses [is a sign], when We sent him forth to Pharaoh with the manifest authority.

51:39 He (Pharaoh) turned away with his retinue and said: “A sorcerer and a madman.”

51:40 So, We seized him and his hosts (armies) and cast them into the sea; for he was blameworthy.

The full story summarized in two revelations:

25:35 We have indeed brought Moses the Book and appointed his brother Aaron with him as minister.

25:36 Then We said: “Go forth to the people who denounced our signs as lies”; and so We destroyed them fully.

As I said before, it is a wonder that we find so many Egyptians alive today.

Moses II

Moses and the Bad Samaritan

Moses vs. Karoon a.k.a. Korah

Moses and Khidr