الآية رقم (103) - ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَى بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَظَلَمُواْ بِهَا فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

(103) - (Then We sent after them Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his establishment, but they were unjust toward them. So see how was the end of the corrupters.)

Prophet Moses (PBUH) is the most frequently mentioned Prophet in the Quranic stories. The main reason is that the people of Israel will have a significant case, which will persist and we can see its effects even today. These criminal Zionists, murderers, enemies of Prophets, are the most among humanity to have received Prophets (PBUT) because of their most vile nature. Just as when various ailments arise and a group of doctors is needed; a general practitioner, an eye specialist, a neurologist, and so on, likewise, the abundance of Prophets (PBUT) sent to the people of Israel is evidence of the multitude of their spiritual ailments.

Prophet Moses (PBUH) was sent to the most vicious tyrants on earth who claimed himself to be a god, and that was the Pharao. The title of (Pharao) is given to the tyrants who ruled Egypt a long time ago.

There is a very important point in this verse that we should stop at. We shall note that when Allah (swt) narrated the story of Prophet Moses (PBUH) in Surah Taha, Surah Al-Qasas, and other Surahs, He (swt) began the story by mentioning Prophet Moses’ (PBUH) mother. There is a claim made against the religion of Islam that it discriminates against women. The scene about Prophet Moses’ (PBUH) mother evokes this topic for us. Allah (swt) initiates the narration of the most important case, the case of Prophet Moses (PBUH), by presenting a woman.

 وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ

(And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him)

(Al-Qasas: 7)

After which, Allah (swt) comforts her:

  فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ وَلَا تَخَافِي وَلَا تَحْزَنِي

(but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve) (Al-Qasas: 7)

Allah (swt), with all His Might and Majesty, comforts a woman:

 إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ إِلَيْكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ 

(Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.”) (Al-Qasas: 7)

 Allah (swt) also presents to us the story of another woman, saying:

 وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا (16) فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا (17)

((16) And mention, [O Muhammad], in the Book [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east. (17) And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.) (Maryam: 16-17)

These verses convey to us how a Prophet learned from a girl. This Prophet was Zakariya (PBUH):

} فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ (37) هُنَالِكَ دَعَا زَكَرِيَّا رَبَّهُ ۖ قَالَ رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ (38) {

((37) So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and caused her to grow in a good manner and put her in the care of Zechariah. Every time Zechariah entered upon her in the prayer chamber, he found with her provision. He said, “O Mary, from where is this [coming] to you?” She said, “It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without account.” (38) At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.”) (Aal-Imraan)

Similarly, the Holy Quran speaks of a great woman; Balqis, the queen of Sheba, highlighting her intelligence, wisdom, and her way of managing her people, and what she did when Prophet Solomon (PBUH) wanted to test her as he (PBUH) placed her throne before her and said:

 أَهَٰكَذَا عَرْشُكِ ۖ قَالَتْ كَأَنَّهُ هُوَ

(“Is your throne like this?” She said, “[It is] as though it was it.”) (An-Naml: 42)

She neither said (yes), nor (no), but rather: (“[It is] as though it was it.”), so she neither confirmed nor denied it but her response carried both meanings, combining two answers in one wise and clever answer. Instead of saying: (I submit to Solomon (PBUH)), she said:

 وَأَسْلَمْتُ مَعَ سُلَيْمَانَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

(and I submit with Solomon to Allah, Lord of the worlds.)

(An-Naml: 44)

In the Holy Quran, women are even honored before they were born, as Allah (swt) says:

 يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ

(He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males) (Ash-Shura: 49)

Islam acknowledges their equal role in responsibilities alongside men, in that Allah (swt) says:

 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

(O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.) (Al-Hujurat: 13)

Allah (swt) also says:

 مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

(Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.) (An-Nahl: 97)

Meaning, Allah (swt) assigned equal responsibilities to men and women. Moreover, an example was given in one of the verses by presenting one example to represent believers and another example for nonbelievers. The example of the believers was presented through a woman, when Allah (swt) says:

 وَضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا امْرَأَتَ فِرْعَوْنَ

(And Allah presents an example of those who believed: the wife of Pharaoh) (At-Tahreem: 11)

This example applies to all believers. On the other side, Allah (swt) says:

 ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا امْرَأَتَ نُوحٍ وَامْرَأَتَ لُوطٍ ۖ كَانَتَا تَحْتَ عَبْدَيْنِ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا صَالِحَيْنِ فَخَانَتَاهُمَا

(Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them) (At-Tahreem: 10)

There is a whole Surah in the Holy Quran named Surah (An-Nisaa’) which means (women).

   يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً

(O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women) (An-Nisaa’: 1)

It is commanded in the Holy Quran that women are treated well:

 وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ فَإِن كَرِهْتُمُوهُنَّ فَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَيَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

(And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.) (An-Nisaa’: 19)

Allah (swt) says:

  الطَّلَاقُ مَرَّتَانِ ۖ فَإِمْسَاكٌ بِمَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ تَسْرِيحٌ بِإِحْسَانٍ

(Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment.) (Al-Baqara: 229)

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

(And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable.) (Al-Baqara: 228)

The Holy Quran presents this entire mental framework regarding women for the believers so that they know that women are not tools of adornment and self-desires but are partners to men. This is why we said before that Islam honors women, for a woman is a mother, and this is the greatest role given to women in this worldly life, that her children are dutiful and obedient to her.

“A person came to Messenger of Allah and asked, “Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He said, “Your mother”. He again asked, ”Who next?” “Your mother”, the Prophet replied again. He asked, “Who next?”, the Prophet said again, “Your mother.” He again asked, “Then who?” Thereupon the Prophet said,” Then your father.”[1]

Women were favored three times more. It is a wonder that all these rights given to women are forgotten by society.

However, if certain customs and norms deviated matters from their true course, then it is the problem of such customs themselves and not of the religion of Islam. The Prophet (saws) said:

“Woman are counterpart of men.”[2]

In the farewell-pilgrimage, the Prophet (saws) admonished people, saying:

“You have rights over your wives and they have their rights over you. Your right is that they shall not permit anyone you dislike to enter your home, and they should not commit open indecency, but if they do, then Allah has allowed you to not share their beds and to beat them lightly, but if they return to obedience, then their right is that you should provide for them and clothe them in a reasonable manner. Treat women kindly, they are like captives in your hands; they do not owe anything for themselves. You have taken them as a trust from Allah, and intimacy with them has become permissible to you through Allah’s Word. O’ people, hear my words, for I have conveyed [the Message].”[3]

Islam does not restrict women, instead; it promotes her participation in all aspects of life. Women were not isolated from society as some people claim, or that Islam kept women away from public life. A prominent example is the mother of believers, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), used to advise the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them). The most significant advice given to the Prophet (saws) during the treaty of Al-Hudaybiyyah was from Umm Salama (may Allah be pleased with her). When the Holy Quran was collected during the time of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), and later during the era of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), it was kept in the house of Hafsa, the daughter of Umar (may Allah be pleased with them).

Whoever claims that the religion of Islam prohibits women from being partners with men in public life is entirely mistaken. The spiritual atmosphere that the Holy Quran creates for us is one of partnership and mutual responsibility in commandments and duties between men and women. Allah (swt) even made the issue of divorce to be one of the most serious matters and placed specific conditions and regulations. It also states conditions on polygamy. Likewise, conditions can be set in marriage contracts, allowing women to stipulate their terms, such as prohibiting their husbands from taking additional wives under specific marriage contract terms.

So, why do some people claim that Islam restricts women’s rights? On the contrary, Asmaa, the daughter of Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both), confronted Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafi when he threatened her to flay her son’s skin. She said to him: “The sheep does not feel the pain of being skinned when it is slaughtered.” And so, we see that women were an essential part of society.

Abu Sa’eed (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

“The women asked the Messenger to dedicate a day for them, he preached them and said: ‘Any women whose three children of hers die, they are a partition to keep her from hellfire’. A woman asked: “and two?”, he answered: ‘and two’. Then they asked him to dedicate a day for them to be preached on without the men, so that they ask about matters of religion.”[4]

A woman also stood while Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was giving a sermon and questioned him about a legal matter, and he admitted his mistake by saying: “A woman is correct, and Umar is mistaken”. Therefore, women’s rights, non-discrimination against women, and all matters related to women’s work and education are all integral parts of the teachings of our noble religion of Islam. The Islamic legacy comes from the Book of Allah (swt), the actions of the Prophet (saws), the actions of the Companions, the actions of the Mothers of believers, and the actions of the honorable female Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and from the women who were set as an example by Allah (swt) in His (swt) Book. We stated this explanation along with the story of Prophet Moses (PBUH) because his story begins with a woman.

Allah (swt) begins narrating to us the events related to Prophet Moses (PBUH) and the Pharaoh at that time. As previously mentioned, Quranic stories differ from those narrated by human beings. Allah (swt) does not chronicle history for us so that we would say, “It will begin with the story of Prophet Moses (PBUH) from his birth and being cast into the sea by his mother, then his journey to Midian, and his encounter with Shu’ayb (PBUH)”. We understand that the Quran does not present a historical account or narrate a story. Instead, it provides lessons and admonitions for every time and place. In this verse, Allah (swt) presents this dialogue between Prophet Moses (PBUH) and Pharaoh. We find ourselves here before this profound scene:

( ( ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَا مِن بَعْدِهِم مُّوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَظَلَمُوا بِهَا ۖ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُفْسِدِينَ )

(Then We sent after them Moses with Our signs to Pharaoh and his establishment, but they were unjust toward them. So see how was the end of the corrupters.)

 (after them): After Prophets Noah, Hud, Salih, Shu’ayb, and Lot (PBUT). A while later, Allah (swt) sent Prophet Moses (PBUH).

(Moses with Our signs): They are nine clear signs, including the staff, the hand, the years, and other miraculous signs or miracles. The term (sign) can refer to both universal signs and Quranic signs, as in:

  تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ

(These are the verses of the clear Book.) (Yusuf: 1)

It can also denote a miraculous sign, as in:

 فَأْتِ بِآيَةٍ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ

(so bring a sign, if you should be of the truthful.)

(Ash-Shu’araa: 154)

They challenged the Prophet (PBUH) to bring forth a miracle. Allah (swt) says: (Then We sent after them Moses with Our signs). Among these multiple signs are the verses of the Book and the miraculous signs that Prophet Moses (PBUH) demonstrated before the Pharaoh and his people.

In fact, Prophet Moses (PBUH) came to free the people of Israel from the clutches of the pharaohs and their tyranny. In this call, there is also dismantling of the Pharaoh’s claim to divinity, who said:

 أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ

(“I am your most exalted lord.”) (An-Naazi’aat: 24)

 (but they were unjust toward them): In other words, they rejected these signs. By denying the clear sings that were presented to them by Prophet Moses (PBUH), they have wronged themselves and oppressed the people of Israel.

 (So see how was the end of the corrupters): Allah (swt) shows us the outcome directly. Prophet Muhammad (saws), Muslims, and all of mankind should observe how was the result. Regardless of the sequence of events, consider the ultimate fate of the corrupt on Earth, like the Pharaoh and his people, as well as others like them.

[1] Sahih Bukhari, the Book of Manners, no. 5626.

[2] Sunan At-Tirmidhi, the Book of Purification, no. 113.

[3] Sirah Ibn-Hisham, part 2, p. 603-605.

[4] Sahih Al-Bukhari: the Book of Funerals, no. 1192.