Sacred stories: Tell me about the Prophet
History & Classics  
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My Lord Is With Me
 
Firawn was intransigent. And, as his efforts to crush the Israelites reached a fever pitch, the Prophet Musa was finally commanded by Allah to lead His followers out of Egypt. Musa told the children of Israel to prepare for the difficult journey in secrecy, so as not to provoke suspicion.

 

On the appointed night they set out under cover of darkness. It was exactly 430 years after their forefather Yusuf had brought them to Egypt to start a new life away from the crippling famines then taking place in Israel.
 
A colossal caravan formed as family after family came pouring out of their homes — thousands and thousands of men, with their wives and children, with their flocks and herds, and their jugs and blankets, and all the possessions they could easily carry. There was tremendous excitement in the air. At last they seemed to be freed from Firawn, who had worked them so hard and treated them so harshly. By day and night, they moved slowly but steadily through the desert like a moving city.
 
They did not take the usual northern route from the city of Ramseses, but proceeded through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Musa had received assurance from the Lord that they would be protected on their journey. Allah told Musa: “Travel by night with My servants, and strike a dry path for them through the sea, without fear of being overtaken (by Firawn) and without (any other) fear.” (20:77)
 
When news of the Israelites’ exodus reached Firawn, he was livid.“They are but a puny band, who have provoked us much. But we have numerous fighting men and are well prepared,” he shouted. Firawn himself led the huge army, with many chariots, horsemen and soldiers, in pursuit of Musa and his followers.
 
The Israelites had almost reached the sea when someone spotted a cloud of dust on the horizon to their back. Terror rippled through the caravan. With the sea in front of them and Firawn’s soldiers advancing from behind, they saw no escape. “Oh, we are besieged! We are surely undone!”
 
And The Sea Splits
 
In panic and fear, the Israelites accused Musa of betrayal.“Have you led us out of Egypt for nothing? It would have been better to be slaves to the Egyptians than to die out here in the wilderness as is certainly our fate,” they wailed.
 
But Musa remained calm and patient and tried to comfort them saying, “By no means! My Lord is with me! Soon will He guide me! ” (26:62) As the troops and chariots of Firawn drew nearer, hemming them in, Allah told Musa to strike the sea with his staff. And He comforted the children of Israel, saying: “Have no fear of being overtaken, nor let anything dismay you.”(20:77)
 
No sooner did Musa lift his staff and strike the sea then an unusual thing began to happen — a miracle such as had never been seen before. In front of their very eyes, the waves of the sea began to split into two halves with a thunderous uproar. Each side rose as high as a mountain. What an astounding scene!
 
Everyone was struck dumb at Allah’s amazing power! A safe path across the seabed had opened up. The Israelites all thanked their Lord while crossing the sea by the dry path made especially by Allah at this moment of great peril. While the caravan moved across the sea, the water stood stationary on each side, like huge walls of coastal, foaming at the top. Musa and his followers were barely across when Firawn and his army reached the banks behind them. Unmoved by Allah’s miracle, Firawn decided to pursue Musa and the children of Israel further. He ordered his soldiers forward, and they galloped triumphantly down the banks and plunged on into the seabed.
 
Firawn Is Drowned
 
No sooner did Firawn and his whole army reach the middle of the sea, when the waves standing obediently on either side like huge walls were returned to their original form by Allah’s order and fell on them. Firawn and all his army were crushed and drowned in the raging seas. Seeing his tragic end, Firawn realized that he had been wrong about Musa and his message.
 
At the last moment, Firawn turned to Allah and cried out: “Now, I believe that no god exists except Allah in whom the children of Israel believe. To Him I give up myself.” But Allah rejected his last-minute confession, “Only now! But before this you were a rebel and a wrongdoer.” (10:90-91) 
 
 

 

After Firawn drowned, his dead body was apparently taken out of the sea and, according to the old Egyptian custom, was mummified.
 
As the people looked on at the destruction of the Egyptians from the safety of the Sinai Peninsula, Musa encouraged them not to forget this day. “Remember Allah’s goodness to you when He delivered you from Firawn’s nation, who had oppressed you cruelly, putting your sons to death and sparing only your daughters. Surely that was a great trial from your Lord. For He had declared: ‘If you give thanks, I will bestow abundance upon you: but if you deny My favours, My punishment shall be terrible indeed.’ ”
 
Musa warned the children of Israel: “If you and all mankind prove thankless, He does not need your thanks, though He deserves your praise.” (14:6-8).

 
 


 
 


 
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Thought of the day

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