Sunday, 29 June 2008

Rasul Ulul Azmi


Last Friday sermon was about the prophets who were accorded with the title of Ulul 'azmi by Allah (Al-Ahqaaf, 35) . Literally, Ulul 'azmi means the chiefs, or people who have stout/strong hearts. The meaning in our context is the five prophets who are accorded the highest reverence for their perseverance and unusually strong commitment to God in the face of great suffering. These five are Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad S.A.W.

Each of these prophet has many stories told in the Quran. The khatib however chose to tell us the story of only one of them, Musa a.s.

Musa was born in a Bani Israel (Jewish) family in Egypt during the the reign of a cruel Pharoah of Egypt (Fir'aun).
Note: The Jewish population in Egypt in those years originated from Palestine who came during and/or after the 7 years drought in Egypt (or in the whole Middle East?). Egypt was in abundance during and after the drought because Prophet Yusuf interpreted the King of Egypt dream and advised him to prepare for the drought. (for complete story about this, refer to Suratul Yusuf, 43-51). Many people then flocked to Egypt including the people of Bani Israel who later became slaves to the Egyptian King.

Before Musa was born, the Pharaoh was advised by one of his soothsayers that a boy from the the people of Bani Israel would be born and would become the enemy of and destroy the government of the Pharaoh. So, the Pharoah ordered the killings of male newborn Israelites in alternate years, after again receiving advice from his adviser that if he killed all male newborns every year, there would be no more young men to be his slaves in the future. The brother of Musa, Harun (a.s) was born in the year of forgiveness, while Musa was born in the year of killing. His mother put him in a river and he was found by tha Pharoah's wife and was adopted and brought up in the Pharoah's palace. (This story was told in the Quran, Suratul Qasas, 3-13).

We rehearse to thee some of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in Truth, for people who believe. (3) Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections depressing a group among them: their sons he slew, but he kept alive their females: for he was indeed a maker of mischief. (4) And We wished to be gracious to those who were being depressed in the land to make them leaders (in faith) and make them heirs (5) To establish a firm place for them in the land and to show Pharaoh, Haman, and their hosts, at their hands, the very things against which they were taking precautions. (6) So We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: "Suckle (thy child) but when thou hast fears about him cast him, into the river, but fear not nor grieve: for We shall restore him to thee, and We shall make him one of Our messengers." (7) Then the people of Pharaoh picked him up (from the river): (it was intended) that (Moses) should be to them an adversary and a cause of sorrow: for Pharaoh and Haman and (all) their hosts were men of sin. (8) The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) a joy of the eye for me and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived not (what they were doing)! (9) But there came to be a void in the heart of the mother of Moses: she was going almost to disclose his (case) had We not strengthened her heart (with faith) so that she might remain a (firm) believer. (10) And she said to the sister of (Moses) "Follow him." So she (the sister) watched him in the character of a stranger and they knew not. (11) And We ordained that he refused suck at first, until (his sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?"… (12) Thus did We restore him to his mother that her eye might be comforted, that she might not grieve and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true: but most of them do not understand. (13)

Musa grew up to be a very able and strong man. One day he saw an Egyptian (Fatun) and a Jew (Samiri) were fighting, and knowing of his descent, he wanted to help the Jew, and punched the Egyption. To his surprise, the Egyption fell dead. After an advise from a man, he escaped from Egypt. (Refer to Quran, Suratul Qasas, 14-21, for the whole story).

When he reached full age, and was firmly established (in life), We bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge: for thus do We reward those who do good. (14) And he entered the City at a time when its people were not watching: and he found there two men fighting― one of his own people, and the other, of his foes. Now the man of his own people appealed to him against his foe, and Moses struck him with his fist and made an end of him. He said: "This is a work of Evil (Satan): for he is an enemy that manifestly misleads!" (15) He prayed: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul! Do Thou then forgive me!" So (Allah) forgave him: for He is the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (16) He said: "O my Lord! For that Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace on me, never shall I be a help to those who sin!" (17) So he saw the morning in the City, looking about, in a state of fear, when behold, the man who had, the day before, sought his help called aloud for his help (again). Moses said to him: "Thou art truly, it is clear a quarrelsome fellow!" (18) Then, when he decided to lay hold of the man who was an enemy to both of them that man said: "O Moses! is it thy intention to slay me as thou slewest a man yesterday? Thy intention is none other than to become a powerful violent man in the land, and not to be one who sets things right!" (19) And there came a man, running, from the furthest end of the City. He said: "O Moses! the Chiefs are taking counsel together about thee, to slay thee: so get thee away for I do give thee sincere advice." (20) He therefore got away therefrom, looking about, in a state of fear. He prayed: "O my Lord! save me from people given to wrongdoing." (21)

He then walked towards Madyan (East of Sinai Peninsula, and near the Aqabah, south of Palestine) without shoes, and survived on grass and leaves. Finally he reached the suburb of Madyan city where he saw two sisters who were waiting to give water to their sheeps. He helped them, and was invited to their house by their father. Their father was reportedly to be Syuaib (a.s). In another narration, their father was a nephew of Syuaib (a.s.), wallahu'alam.
(This story is detailed in the Quran, Suratul Qasas, 22-28)

Then when he turned his face towards (the land of) Madyan, he said: "I do hope that my Lord will show me the smooth and straight Path." (22) And when he arrived at the watering (place) in Madyan, he found there a group of men watering (their flocks) and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: "What is the matter with you?" They said: "We cannot water (our flocks), until the shepherds take back (their flocks): and our father is a very old man." (23) So he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: "O my Lord! Truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that thou dost send me!"… (24) Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: "My father invites thee that he may reward thee for having watered (our flocks) for us." So when he came to him and narrated the story he said: "Fear thou not: (well) hast thou escaped from unjust people." (25) Said one of the (damsels): "O my (dear) father! Engage him on wages: truly the best of men for thee to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty"… (26) He said: "I intended to wed one of these my daughters to thee on condition that thou serve me for eight years; but if thou complete ten years, it will be (grace) from thee. But I intend not to place thee under a difficulty: thou wilt find me, indeed, if Allah wills one of the righteous." (27) He said: "Be that (the agreement) between me and thee: whichever of the two terms I fulfil, let there be no injustice to me. Be Allah a witness to what we say." (28)

The story about Musa travelling back and receiving his first revelation at Mount Sinai continues in the Quran in Suratul Taha, 9-23, and Suratul Qasas, 29-35, but the khatib chose to stop here. The khatib then gave many lessons that we should learn from this story and the Quranic verses.

Lessons that we can learn from this story;
1) Our lives can change without warnings (as Allah wills) from good to bad or even bad to good.
2) Immediately seek forgiveness from Allah if mistakenly did something wrong.
3) There will always be help from Allah in any situation (refer to Musa story when a man advised him to escape from the city
4) Always pray to and rely on Allah (when Musa was walking towards Madyan)
5) Always help people in needs
6) Etiquette of a woman when meaating and talking to a man. Only speak the important messages (refer to the word bashfully in the verse above. It may contain more meanings in Arabic)
6) Emulate Musa when dealing with women. Not mentioned above, when Musa was walking behind one of the sisters towards their home, the wind blew and Musa could see the leg of the girl. He then asked the girl to walk behind him, and asked the girl to show the directions to the house by only throwing small stones.
7) Advice for the fathers - if we find a suitable man to marry our daughter/s, we should offer the maariage to the man. It is not in our culture now, but this is the correct way to do it.

There are many more lessons we can take from the above story. May Allah gives us light in our hearts to gain insight into his knowledge and blessings. Amiin.

Wallahu 'alam.

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