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Moses (Arabic موسى Musa ) (1526BC - 1406BC)[1] is a prophet in Islam(Quran 20:13). According to the Muslim creed, all Muslims must have faith in all Prophets and Messengers mentioned in the Qur'an, which includes Moses. Moses is often referred to by the title Kalim Allah meaning "He who spoke with God." The Qur'an mentions him more frequently than any other prophet [2]. It is traditionally believed that Moses lived to the age of 120 years.[3] [1]

Early years

According to Islamic tradition, Moses was born into a family of Israelites living in Egypt. The ruling Pharaoh, on the advice of his soothsayers, ordered the killing of all new-born Israelite males. To protect her son, Moses' mother put him in a basket and set him adrift on the Nile. He was discovered by the Pharaoh's wife, Asiya, who adopted him.

Moses grew up as a member of the Pharaoh's household. However, this changed when, in rescuing an Israelite from an abusive Egyptian, he accidentally killed the Egyptian. As a result of this incident, Moses was deemed a criminal and was to be punished, but escaped into the desert. After traveling in the desert for a long time, he arrived at a place called Midian and came into the company of a man, possibly the prophet Shoaib (Jethro, in Biblical traditions), who recognized Moses as a man of God. Shoaib arranged a marriage between Moses and his daughter Safoorah (Zipporah in Biblical and Hebrew tradition) and then Moses worked for him for either eight or ten years.

God calls Moses

Moses eventually decided to return to Egypt. On his way back, he stopped at Mount Sinai and noticed a fire upon the mountain. When he came to the fire, he heard a voice calling him by name. This voice then commanded Moses to remove his shoes, as he was standing on sacred ground. It is stated in the Qur'an: "Has the story of Moses reached thee? Behold, he saw a fire: So he said to his family, "Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; perhaps I can bring you some burning brand therefrom, or find some guidance at the fire. But when he came to the fire, a voice was heard: 'O Moses! Verily I am thy Lord! therefore (in My presence) put off thy shoes: thou art in the sacred valley Tuwa.'" (Quran 20:9)

God ordered Moses to throw his walking stick onto the ground. As a sign to Moses from God the staff was transformed into a snake. Moses became scared, but God ordered Moses to pick it up, as it would change back to its original form. He also ordered him to press his right hand to his left side and it would shine in a bright, white radiant light. Moses admitted that he was afraid of getting arrested on the previous murder charge, and also because he could not speak fluently due to a speech impediment. He prayed to God to grant him fluency of speech, and grant his brother Aaron (Harun in Arabic and Aharoun in Hebrew) the gift of prophecy so that he may help him and be a deputy to him in all his tasks ahead. God granted Moses his requests and told him that he could take his brother along with him, and told him to be gentle in his language and be patient in all his dealings.

Moses thus embarked for Egypt and faced the Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron arrived in the court of the Pharaoh and admonished the Pharaoh by informing him that his claim of godhood was false, for there is but one God who created both the pharaohs and their subjects. He controls all that is in this world and beyond. Moses warned the Pharaoh about God's punishment and told him that he had come with a clear sign and asked for the release of his people from their bondage in Egypt.

To this, the Pharaoh demanded to see the sign to clarify the truth. Moses threw his staff to the floor and it turned into a serpent. He then drew out his hand and it shined in white. The Pharaoh's counselors advised him that this was sorcery and on their advice he summoned the best sorcerers of the town. On the day of the festival of Egypt, the summoned sorcerers threw their rods on the floor on Moses' offer and it too changed into snakes. However, when Moses reacted likewise with his rod, the serpent from his rod devoured all the wriggling snakes. At once the sorcerers, who had come to compete against Moses and win a reward from the Pharaoh, realized this was not magic and believed in the message of Moses despite threats from the Pharaoh. They were then crucified by the orders of Pharaoh for their firmness in their faith.

Although the magic of the Pharaoh was beaten, he would not relent to the power of God. He defiantly refused to allow Israelites to leave Egypt. As a result, Allah decreed punishments over him and his people. These punishments came in the form of floods that demolished their dwellings, swarms of locust that destroyed the crops, pestilence of lice that made life miserable, toads that croaked and sprang everywhere, plagues, and the turning of all drinking water into blood. Each time the Pharaoh was subjected to humiliation, his defiance became greater. Finally, the first-born sons of all Egyptians started to die for no apparent cause. When the Pharaoh's own beloved son died, he finally gave up his defiance. Moses gathered together the Israelites and left Egypt.

After the freeing the Israelites, the Pharaoh was angry because of his son's death, and followed them to kill them in revenge. Upon seeing the Pharaoh and his army approaching the Israelites started to run but stopped at the seafront where they could not go any further. Here Moses used his staff to part the ocean that allowed the Israelites to pass through, then the Pharaoh also followed but the sea closed on him drowning and killing Pharaoh and his entire army.

The journey through the desert

Moses led his people on the Exodus to Mount Sinai. Moses told the people that Aaron was his deputy and was to be the leader while he was gone. Moses then climbed the mountain.

Moses returned to the spot where he had first received his miracles from God. He took off his shoes as before and went down into subjugation to The Creator. He prayed to God for guidance. He was given the Ten Commandments at this session. Before leaving, he begged God to be revealed to him. God told him that it would not be possible for him to see God, but that God will reveal himself to the mountain stating " Look at the mountain, if it will be still in its place when I reveal myself to it then you will be able to see me". When God revealed himself to the mountain it instantaneously turned into ashes. Moses lost consciousness. When he recovered, he went down in total submission and asked forgiveness of God.

Having thus received the scriptures for his people, Moses came down from the mountain and returned to his people. However, he was shocked to find that the Israelites had revolted against his brother Aaron and started worshipping a golden calf fashioned by a person named Alsamiri. The Qur'anic account here differs sharply from the Biblical narrative in which Aaron joined in to mould the calf and joined in its worship.

Shortly thereafter, the elders asked to see the God of Moses, so he took them up the mountain. While climbing, a white bolt of lightning struck their path, and they all bowed in submission. Moses prayed for their forgiveness, and they returned to camp and set up a tent dedicated to worshipping God as Aaron taught them from the Torah.

They resumed their journey towards the promised land, but ran out of food. God gave them a gift of food and sweets called Manna, but eventually the people became restless and asked for a variety of foods such as vegetables. Moses became angry with them and admonished them for their lack of gratitude.

Arrival at Can'aan

They eventually reached Can'aan, the promised land, but the children of Israel were too scared to fight the giant, pagan inhabitants. Moses told them that if they did not make war against the inhabitants, they would spend the next 40 years wandering in the desert. But they still refused saying "Go, you and your Lord and fight, indeed here [sitting] we are [waiting]." (Quran 5:24) Since they refused to make an effort to win the land that God had promised, they were punished.


Moses was born in the fifth year of Pharaoh Ramses II. He was miraculously saved from Pharaoh's edict of death, to become the adopted son of the Pharaoh. He became a powerful statesman second only to the Pharaoh. He was encouraged by his mother to take the throne with the help of his Hebrew tribe, but Moses declined because of his extensive moral teachings. Instead, he had to turn away where he met Shoaib where he learned more about life and morality, then he went in a large tour accompanied by his young assistant Joshua. Moses managed to see remarkable sightseeings not available if he stayed in Egypt such as the meeting of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean (a place Egyptians always fantasized about from the time of Queen Hatshepsut). He spent the rest of his life content as a son-in-law of Jethro in the desert. However, when he was 70 years old he had an expected meeting with the angel of God (Gabriel) in the Holy valley "Tua" where he received the command to go back to Egypt and invite the Pharaoh to belief because the Pharaoh had become a tyrant according to God's words. Moses appeared in the court of Egypt's Pharaoh after 40 years of absence and scared the Egyptians who saw in him a man of the fabled past of Rameses the Great ( Moses was his grandson by secret adoption). The Pharaoh refused to change his tyranny and instead declared himself to be a Living God for the first time in Egyptian History. According to some Muslim scholars, Pharaoh did not declare himself as god like the gods the Egyptians worshiped but having similar capabilities as god, such as authority over the life and death of his subjects, over the water of the river Nile and to grant wealth to who ever he wished, thus declaring his powers similar to the God of Moses. Temples and statues were built for him while he was still alive and his subjects were ordered to go to these temples and worship him like other Gods' temples in Egypt. He also increased the servitude on the Hebrew tribe as mud-brick makers. In the few months after Moses' meetings with the Pharaoh, in a series of challenges, ten plagues hit Egypt and brought a severe depression on the country until finally Pharaoh allowed Moses to take the Hebrew tribe and go from Egypt for good. However, news came to the Pharaoh that Moses had lost his way in the Sinai and Pharaoh changed his mind, thinking that God's favor had left Moses. He ordered the best of the Egyptian army to pursue the Hebrews to the dead end of the sea shore. God split the sea in answer to Moses' prayers, and the Israelites crossed the sea in what looked like two great mountains of water on each side. The Pharaoh used the miracle to deceive his soldiers into thinking that it was his god, Amon, who had opened the sea for him so that he could follow the Hebrews and exterminate them. All of the Egyptian army drowned. Moses died while the Israelites were still wandering in the desert.

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