The Victory of Moses and the Destruction of Pharaoh on the Day of Ashura

When the Egyptians became more fanatical about their kufr. Their enmity and denial of the Prophet Musa fueled the desire to kill and oppress Allah’s messenger and those who followed him. They followed their unjust king, Pharaoh. That’s when Allah established His proof and destroyed them all. They have witnessed signs and events that are beyond comprehension. An event that comes out of its natural process. And make the mind astonished. But they still don’t want to stop, don’t want to understand, and don’t want to return to Allah .

With his power and arbitrariness, Pharaoh succeeded in pressuring his people to deny the truth brought by the Prophet Moses.

فَمَا آمَنَ لِمُوسَى إِلاَّ ذُرِّيَّةٌ مِّن قَوْمِهِ عَلَى خَوْفٍ مِّن فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِمْ أَن يَفْتِنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ لَعَالٍ فِي الأَرْضِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

“So no one believed in Moses, except the youths of his people (Moses) in a state of fear that Pharaoh and the leaders of his people would torture them. Verily, Pharaoh was tyrannical on earth. And verily he is of those who transgress.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 83).

At its peak, Pharaoh claimed to be a God who deserved to be worshiped. When injustice has peaked, that’s when God’s help comes. Prophet Musa gathered his followers. Advise them, strengthen their hearts, and give them direction.

وَقَالَ مُوسَى يَا قَوْمِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُم بِاللّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُواْ إِن كُنتُم مُّسْلِمِينَ

Musa said: “O my people, if you believe in Allah, then put your trust in Him alone, if you are truly surrendered”. (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 84).

They answered the words of Prophet Musa with an answer that calmed him down.

فَقَالُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لاَ تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِّلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ

Then they said: “In Allah we put our trust! O our Lord; Do not make us targets of fitnah for the wrongdoers.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 85).

Prophet Musa ordered them to put their trust in Allah alone. Ask for help and hope in Him. And Allah also provided a way out for all of them. Then Moses gave good news from Allah to his people,

وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى وَأَخِيهِ أَن تَبَوَّءَا لِقَوْمِكُمَا بِمِصْرَ بُيُوتًا وَاجْعَلُواْ بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And We revealed to Moses and his brother: “Take by the two of you several houses in Egypt for your people to live in and make your houses a place of prayer and establish prayer for yourselves and make those who believe happy.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 87).

Allah revealed to Prophet Musa and his brother, Harun –’alaihimassalam- that he and his people build a house that is different from the house of the Egyptians in general. The reason is, when the order to leave Egypt came, they were easier to tell one another. Pay attention! In addition to God’s help in the form of miracles, Prophet Musa also took real efforts like this.

Then came the command of Allah ,

وَاجْعَلُواْ بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“And make your houses a place of prayer and establish for yourself prayer and make those who believe happy.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 87).

Mujahid said, “The meaning is that this is Allah’s help to those who are afflicted with danger, difficulty, and hardship with a lot of prayer.

وَاسْتَعِينُواْ بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلاَةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلاَّ عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

“Make patience and prayer your helpers. And verily, that is very hard, except for those who are humble.” (Surat: Al-Baqarah | Verse: 45).

And the Messenger of Allah, if there was a problem, he hastened to pray. Prayer has a major impact on the life of the world and the hereafter (al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah Juz: 2 Hal: 105).

Over the years, Prophet Musa and his followers were patient and comforted themselves with faith in Allah and tawakkul. They are constantly improving their relationship with God. ask Him for help with their prayers. On the other hand, Pharaoh and his followers were increasingly opposed and hostile to the truth.

Prophet Musa always prayed to Allah ,

وَقَالَ مُوسَى رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ آتَيْتَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلأهُ زِينَةً وَأَمْوَالاً فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِكَ رَبَّنَا اطْمِسْ عَلَى أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَاشْدُدْ عَلَى قُلُوبِهِمْ فَلاَ يُؤْمِنُواْ حَتَّى يَرَوُاْ الْعَذَابَ الأَلِيمَ

Moses said: “Our Lord, indeed You have given Pharaoh and the leaders of his people adornments and wealth in the life of this world, O Our Lord – as a result they lead (people) astray from Your path. O our Lord, destroy their wealth and lock their hearts, so they will not believe until they see a painful torment.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 88).

Ibn Jurayj said, “Pharaoh remained alive for 40 years after Prophet Musa said this prayer.” (Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim by Imam Ibn Kastir). Look at Prophet Musa, besides being patient with his own people, how patient he was with Pharaoh’s cruelty, preaching to him, and praying to Allah. No wonder Allah placed him as an  ulul azhmi .

Allah said,

فَاسْتَقِيمَا وَلاَ تَتَّبِعَانِّ سَبِيلَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

“Therefore keep both of you on the straight path and do not follow the path of those who do not know.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 89).

Allah allowed Moses and his followers to leave Egypt for Syria.

Knowing Moses’ departure, Pharaoh’s anger grew even more. He prepared his troops to pursue Prophet Musa and his followers. This incident is enshrined by Allah in the Qur’an.

وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنْ أَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي إِنَّكُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ * فَأَرْسَلَ فِرْعَوْنُ فِي الْمَدَائِنِ حَاشِرِينَ * إِنَّ هَؤُلاَء لَشِرْذِمَةٌ قَلِيلُونَ * وَإِنَّهُمْ لَنَا لَغَائِظُونَ * وَإِنَّا لَجَمِيعٌ حَاذِرُونَ * فَأَخْرَجْنَاهُم مِّن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ * وَكُنُوزٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ * كَذَلِكَ وَأَوْرَثْنَاهَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ * فَأَتْبَعُوهُم مُّشْرِقِينَ

“And We revealed (ordered) to Moses: “Go at night with My servants (the Children of Israel), because indeed you all will be overtaken.” Then Pharaoh sent people who gathered (his army) to the cities. (Pharaoh said): “Indeed they (the Children of Israel) are really a small group, and indeed they make things that infuriate us, and indeed we are really a group who are always on guard”. So We brought out Pharaoh and his people from gardens and springs, and (from) the treasury and a noble position, that’s the case and We gave them all (that) to the Children of Israel. So Pharaoh and his army can follow them at sunrise.” (Surat: Ash-Syu’araa | Verses: 52-60).

When Pharaoh and his army caught up with Moses and his followers, Moses’ followers said,

إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ

“Indeed we are really going to be overtaken.” (Surat: Ash-Syu’araa | Verse: 61).

They say so because they see before them the road is blocked by the sea. They complained to Moses. Then he replied,

قَالَ كَلاَّ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ

Moses replied: “Never will be overtaken; Verily, my Lord is with me, and one day He will guide me.” (Surat: Ash-Syu’araa | Verse: 62).

Prophet Musa uttered a strong sentence with a clear meaning. Shows the depth of knowledge and belief in God’s grace. The words of a  leader  who calms his people when facing the crush of problems. The situation at that time was really precarious. There is no passable path. There’s no one to turn to for help. And Pharaoh was a cruel man who could not forgive. Meanwhile time continued to make Pharaoh’s distance closer. In such circumstances, Prophet Musa remained calm and believed that Allah would help him. We should emulate this attitude as a Muslim who believes in Allah . The revelation came down to Moses,

فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى مُوسَى أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ

Then We revealed to Moses: “Strike the sea with your stick”. So the sea was divided and each part was like a great mountain. (Surat: Ash-Syu’araa | Verse: 63).

Seeing the sea split open, Prophet Musa and his followers rushed across the split road. After crossing it, and the last of his followers to pass out of the sea, did the initial line of Pharaoh’s army enter the sea. Moses wanted to immediately hit the sea so that the water returned to its original state. So that Pharaoh and his army could not pass. But Allah commanded,

وَاتْرُكْ الْبَحْرَ رَهْوًا إِنَّهُمْ جُندٌ مُّغْرَقُونَ

“And let the sea remain divided. Verily they are soldiers who will be drowned.” (Surat: Ad-Dukhaan | Verse: 24).

Seeing the sign of God’s greatness and Moses’ miracle with the parting of the sea, Pharaoh realized that it was God’s power . Not Moses’ magic. However, he brought to death his arrogance, in such a state he still said, “Look! How the sea recedes, submits to me. I will arrest two of my servants (Moses and Aaron) who have rebelled against me.”

Pharaoh and his army rushed in, across the part of the sea that would destroy them. when they all had entered the sea, Allah commanded Moses to strike the sea with his stick. Moses did what his Lord ordered. The sea that was parted was back to how it was. Allah said,

وَأَنجَيْنَا مُوسَى وَمَن مَّعَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ * ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا الآخَرِينَ * إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَةً وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

“And We saved Moses and all those who were with him. And We drowned the other group. Verily in this it is a great sign (miracle) and yet most of them do not believe.” (Surat: Ash-Syu’araa | Verses: 65-67).

No one from among the believers drowned. And none of Pharaoh and his followers survived.

After fully conscious and sure of drowning Pharaoh said:

وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا حَتَّى إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلِهَ إِلاَّ الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَاْ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

“And We allowed the Children of Israel to cross the sea, then Pharaoh and his army followed them, because they wanted to persecute and oppress (them); until when the Pharaoh had almost drowned he said: “I believe that there is no God but God in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of those who have surrendered (to Allah).” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 90).

Allah rebuked him and taught us all a lesson. Is it when life is in the throat and destruction is truly visible, only then will someone realize?

آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنْتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

“Do you now believe, when in fact you have been disobedient long ago, and you are among those who do mischief.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 91).

God has established the law. And destroy those who do wrong.

فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ

“So today We have saved your body so that you may be a lesson to those who come after you and indeed most of the people are unaware of Our signs.” (Surat: Yunus | Verse: 92).

Gone is the incident. But the lessons are never lost throughout the ages.

From Ibn Abbas radhiallahu ‘anhuma, Rasulullah came to Medina. He found the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura (10 Muharram). Then he asked them,

« مَا هَذَا الْيَوْمُ الَّذِى تَصُومُونَهُ ». فَقَالُوا هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَظِيمٌ أَنْجَى اللَّهُ فِيهِ مُوسَى وَقَوْمَهُ وَغَرَّقَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَقَوْمَهُ فَصَامَهُ مُوسَى شُكْرًا فَنَحْنُ نَصُومُهُ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « فَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ وَأَوْلَى بِمُوسَى مِنْكُمْ ». فَصَامَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وَأَمَرَ بِصِيَامِهِ.

“What day are you fasting today?” The Jews replied, “This is a very glorious day. This is the day that Allah saved Moses and his people. At that time Pharaoh and his people were drowned. Moses fasted today in gratitude, so we follow him fasting today.”

Rasulullah then said, “We should be more entitled and more important to follow Moses than you.”. Then after that the Prophet ordered the Muslims to fast.” (HR. Muslim no. 1130).

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