Tafseer Taha : Ayat 36-39

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • we discussed the dua of Musa a.s. in length
  • at the very end, Ayat 35, Musa a.s. says “You are constantly watching over us”
  • one very powerful means of having your dua accepted is to present some means by which it’s accepted
  • What are they?
  • the most effective of these means is to talk about the names and attributes of Allah Himself and speak about Allah’s generosity and kindness and acknowledge His blessings in a person’s life
  • this is a sunnah of all the messengers and prophets of Allah
  • in surah Maryam, when Zakaria a.s. makes dua to Allah for a son, after asking, he said,”I have never been unfortunate when making dua to You, I’ve been a loser for making dua to You, every time I make dua to You, something amazing has always happened, Ya Allah.”
  • this is also one of the best ways to adding acceptability to your dua
  • earlier in surah Taha Allah says “lahul asmaa ulhusna.”
  • in another place in Quran wa lillaahil asmaa ulhusna, fad3uu hu bihaa
  • another means :- presenting one’s deeds as a humble offering to Allah as mentioned in hadith whether 3 people were trapped in a cave and
  • and here we see Zakariya a.s. saying “I’ve constantly made dua to You ya Allah and you’ve never let me down, so please don’t let me down.”
  • Musa a.s. stated that it’s his full responsibility but at the same time he added that means of having dua accepted by saying that Allah is constantly watching over them
  • Ismail a.s. when building the Kaabah with his father Ibrahim a.s, made the dua and said “Innaka anta sami3ul aleem”
  • that’s how we should learn to make dua as well

Ayat 36

20:36
Sahih International

[ Allah ] said, “You have been granted your request, O Moses.

  • Allah immediately, without any break,connection
  • connection means transitional word at the beginning of an ayaat – absence of this should perk the curiosity of the student of Quran because it’s telling you something here
  • there is an immediate response without any delay
  • as if the response is immediately joined to and touching the request
  • قَالَ = “He said” , not, “And” He said, “Therefore” He said, “Then” he said
  • there are 2 levels of emphasis in this ayah
  • قَد in Arabic is a classical Arabic equivalent of slamming your fist on the table when you speak; it delivers emphasis and conviction
  • اُوتِيتَ – you have been granted
  • the word Allah uses here to give
  • إِيتَ = to give, grant ; a gentlern softer word than i3Taa
  • سُؤلَكَ = you have been granted what you have request [your request has been granted]
  • سُؤل is one of pattern of nouns that is used that means the passive noun/participle
  • Allah is using this word to say “whatever, however it is that you ask has been granted”
  • no change, alteration but rather, the request is granted as how you requested it
  • that right there is the ijaabah from Allah for dua of Musa a.s.
  • parallel that can be draw nto life of Prophet saw :- Prophet saw is understanding that he himself is dealing with a major challenge but at same time turns to Allah for reprieve and support and just as like dua of Musa a.s. was granted immediately, similarly dua of Prophet saw will also be granted
  • when we turn to Allah with conviction, knowing tyat Allah will answer us, that is how the dua will be answered
  • one philosophical quandary for many people :- what if my dua is not being accepted? how do I make sure it’s accepted?
  • hadith tells us that dua are accepted without any doubt but there are 3 ways:-
  1. the person is given exactly what they asked as they ask
  2. maybe what they’re asking for isn’t the best thing for them, so Allah replaces it by removing some type of harm from them in this life and in this world
  3. Allah, in lieu if their dua will grant something superior to that in the akhiarh
  • narration from Prophet saw that on the Day of Judgment when some people will be told that this is the exchange of your dua in the world and they would express regret and said that they wish none of their duas had been granted in the world and all of them had been exchanged for things in the hereafter
  • this is of the generosity of Allah
Ayat 37
20:37
Sahih International

And We had already conferred favor upon you another time,

  • this is nothing but pure mercy and kindness from Allah
  • Allah is telling Musa a.s. with emphasis that his request has already been granted as you made it
  • again we see the human side of Musa a.s.
  • he realizes the magnitude of what he is asking for
  • and he has no doubt that Allah has answered his dua
  • like what Ibrahim a.s. said “I only want my heart to be fully content in this regard”
  • 2:260
    Sahih International

    And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [ Allah ] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [2:260]

  • that’s a human need and necessity
  • Allah comforts and confirms for Musa a.s. that they should remain no doubt that this request has been granted, because “think about all that has been done for you up to this point.”
  • المَنُّ – not just any blessing but a huge blessing
  • “most definitely We have showered upon you blessings many times before”
  • “If We took care of you then We’ll continue to take care of you now. You know better than anyone else that We’ll take care of you.”
  • Prophet saw made to understand the same thing
  • we need to realize before we become bitter anc cynical that what we ask is not being provided to us we need to think long and hard about how much Allah has given us up to this point
  • if Allah took care of us up till now how dare we even think Allah will not take care of us from now on
  • that is what is being emphasized to Musa a.s.
  • this could affect someone’s iman (not the prophets), so Allah elaborates what He’s talking about in the next ayah
Ayat 38
20:38
Sahih International

When We inspired to your mother what We inspired,

  • إذ = remember back when
  • اوحَينَا = We have revealed/inspired
  • it comes from wahy which means ‘to inspire, to make someone understand something’ [literal meaning]
  • Islamic technical meaning = divine inspiration from Allah that is provided for prophets and messengers of Allah
  • here it’s used for it’s literal meaning

We see this throughout the Quran :-

  • Allah when talking about the hawariyyoon [disciples of Isa a.s.] Maaidah 111
  • 5:111
    Sahih International

    And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, “Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus.” They said, “We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah ].”

  • from tafseer of that ayah => it’s very clear that Allah revealed message to Isa a.s. that is then delivered to the disciples but when
  • Allah uses the word اوحَيتُ here because Isa a.s. was the means of that inspiration
  • in Surah nahl 68
  • 16:68
    Sahih International

    And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct.

  • here it’s used in its linguistic meaning of course
  • Allah communicated with Maryam  by sending angels
  • in surah ahzab using a different word, when Allah talks about enemies of Prophet saw
  • Surah Ahzab 33:26
  • 33:26
    Sahih International

    And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast terror into their hearts [so that] a party you killed, and you took captive a party.

  • Allah put these convictions into the heart of your mother {mother of Musa a.s.}
  • مَا يُوحَى is actually an expression, a way to emphasize the statement
  • this type of an expression/addition is done to create emphasis and dignify the mention, make it understood to the reader or listener that this is a big deal
  • in another example of this same type of statement is made in Taha 78
  • 20:78
    Sahih International

    So Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers, and there covered them from the sea that which covered them,

  • where Allah talks about drowning Firawn and his people
  • if you literally translated it => He drowned them in the water however He drowned them”
  • that sound strange in English but it means “He drowned them and you have no idea how bad that was”
  • same here in Ayat 38 “When We made your mom understand, we made her completely understand; you were completely taken care of”
  • this is very different from man other places in the Quran
  • when Allah generally states something, often times He moves on from there and if there are details, it wold usually be found in hadith or tafseer or later scholars or we’re expected to read between the lines
  • very rarely does Allah state something and then explained it in detail
  • Allah has done this twice already
  • Allah states, “We were good to you other times as well. THink about that time where We told your mother what to do”
  • now Allah doesn’t leave it to the imagination and said, “Now let Us tell you what We told her to do”
  • there should be no reason no matter how challenging the circumstances or how huge a request you are making, there should be no level of a doubt whatsoever that Allah is capable of doing anything, that’s what’s being emphasized here
  • that’s why Musa a.s. had the type of conviction that he did
  • the way he would state it is very remarkable and inspirational
  • when ocean is in front of them and the army of Firawn is behind them and they said “We’re busted,” Musa a.s. said “Absolutely not! I just refuse to believe that! Most definitely my Lord is with me! That was a lesson I don’t just know, but Allah directly told me. He spoke to me and elaborated to me how He has been with me every step of the way. I know that for a fact. And He will make a way for as He always made a way for me. He will not forsake me today!”
  • we see that in Prophet saw as well
  • when Abu Bakr was scared when hiding in the cave of Thawr, Prophet saw said to him “Abu bakr, how do you think these 2 people are going to fare when their third travel partner is Allah? Are you worried?! Our travel companion is Allah! Don’t you dare act this way, there is no license to behave this way! most definitely Allah is with us!”
  • this is part of the education of Musa a.s.
  • Allah is telling him in ayat 39

Ayat 39

20:39
Sahih International

[Saying], ‘Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.’ And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.

  • put him in a box = انِ إقذِفِيهِ فِي التَّبُوت
  • قَذَفَ means to put but is more of an abrupt word than إلقَى
  • it’s still generally, classical Arabic linguists say it’s still used in meaning of إلقَى but the meaning, tone of it is more abrupt
  • why used here even though in another place, when Allah speaks about the mother of Musa a.s. putting him inside the container, Qasas 7
  • 28:7
    Sahih International

    And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers.”

  •   then put him into the water = فَاَلقِيهِ فِي اليَمّ
  • there are no contradictions here because in this instance, Allah is telling her to put the box in the river
  • nevertheless, even here in surah Taha when Allah talking about putting the box in the water,
  • Allah says أَنِ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ
  • some mufasiroon says that the dhameer(pronoun) is still going back to Musa a.s. [put him in the water]
  • it can be understood either way, meaning still the same [put him in the box and put the box in the water]
  • but Allah uses the word قَذَفَ
  • but in surah Qasas Allah uses القَى
  • in here, in Taha, Allah is kind of saying “Drop it in the water” (more abrupt)
  • it’s symbolic of the emotional condition of Mother of Musa a.s., expressing the fear in her heart
  • the reason why Allah uses a more subtle word in Qasas, because later on there, Allah says “When Mother of Musa a.s. freaked out, her heart became very burdened that she was close to exposing the secret even We had not tied her heart (gave her emotional fortitude)” – so here Allah uses a more controlled word to show that she as under control
  • she was fearful and controlled both
  • after all this was a mother putting her child in the river
  • only a mother can tell you how painful that would be
  • think how profound the love of a mother for her child is that in hadith of Sahih Muslim, when Prophet saw wanted to compare and give us an idea how profound Allah’s love is for us, he (saw) compared it to the love a mother has for her child (the only thing he (saw) found suitable to compare it to)
  • Mother of Musa a.s. is putting her child into the river
  • even though yes, in Surah Qasas, Allah tells us that Allah fortified her heart and that she is in control, here in this surah, Allah doesn’t allow us to forget that this is a mother putting her child in the water and how difficult that must have been
  • so we see both sides
  • Allah told mother of Musa a.s. to put him in the box and then put the box in the water
  • اليَمّ = refers to a huge body of water
  • through hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas in sunan An Nasa2i we know that this is the river Nile
  • the word used here is unique (اليَمّ)
  • some Quranic scholars argue that it is used when talking about large bodies of water and they tried to make observations on this word but what is interesting is that later in Taha, Allah uses both word بَحر and اليَمّ in consecutive ayaat
  • 20:77
    Sahih International

    And We had inspired to Moses, “Travel by night with My servants and strike for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning].” [Taha 77]

  •  common word for ocean = الْبَحْرِ
  • 20:78
    Sahih International

    So Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers, and there covered them from the sea that which covered them, [Taha 78]

  • مِّنَ الْيَمِّ
  • in this surah, الْيَمِّ occurs more than in any other places in Quran, unique to story of Musa a.s.
  • Allah is talking about the same ocean so why usage of 2 different words?
  • when Allah uses الْيَمِّ, there is a negative connotation
  • there is more positive connotation with the word الْبَحْرِ
  • so when talking about mother of Musa a.s. putting Musa a.s. in water, Allah uses الْيَمِّ, because that is terrifying for her, the fear is being expressed here
  • فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ = then the river will drop/bring him up to the shore/bank of the river
  • scholars say that now there is a bit of a transition
  • Allah already finished instruction to mother of Musa a.s. now,either Allah is  giving instructions to the river
  • how can Allah speak to the river? All creation of Allah have a level of intelligence, understand and communicate with Allah and obey Allah
  • Allah speaks about sun, moon, mountains, everything has been put to the service of the human being
  • they all praise Allah but we just don’t understand their glorification of Allah
  • يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّي وَعَدُوٌّ لَّهُ = My enemy will take a hold of him, and also his (Musa a.s.) enemy
  • look at the entire process that has been laid out
  • look how generous and kind Allah is. Allah could have just told mother of Musa a.s. to do it and that He will take care of it from there, but Allah lays out for her the entire course of events, understanding that this is a mother and with regards to a child
  • we get to  appreciate how thorough and well laid out Allah’s plan is and how miraculously Allah took care of Musa a.s.
  • what is interesting is that Allah says “My enemy”
  • “He will raise him for Me”
  • we see the power and greatness of Allah, how it is manifesting itself
  • we’re talking about baby Musa a.s. right now, so how is Firawn the enemy of Musa a.s.?
  • why did Musa a.s. even need to be put in that box and then in the river? Because Firawn was out to kill the sons of Bani Israel
  • Firawn and some of narrations said that Firawn had ruled for hundreds of years without a headache, he was a king of great power, unquestioned authority in the earth in his kingdom. THen he was told a prophecy that a child will be born from Bani Israel that will lead to his demise. So he became paranoid and ordered for sons of Bani Israel to be killed
  • Allah telling Bani Israel to remember those times :-
  • Al BAqarah
  • thousands of babies being killed
  • when Musa a.s. was born, his mother became fearful and worried, so Allah gave her these instructions
  • Firawn is the enemy of Baby Musa a.s. because he wanted that baby dead
  • OR
  • Allah is foretelling mother or Musa a.s. “He is My enemy and he will also be enemy of this child”
  • Allah is letting mother of Musa a.s. know that firawn will also be the enemy of her child and that he will not be corrupted by FIrawn, and that he is connected to Allah, and Allah will protect him physically and spiritually
  • I poured love from Me to you = وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّي
  • so much so that anyone who laid eyes on baby Musa a.s. fell in love with him
  • mufasiroon say that children generally speaking are cute
  • so imagine when Allah says this, think about how irresistible Musa a.s. was
  • going back to hadith in Nasai – when Musa a.s. washed up on the bank…
  • some narrations say that the girl servants found him and took him in
  • other narrations say that FIrawn and his wife Aasiya were taking a stroll and found him
  • Quran alludes to the fact that Aasiya, whom Allah praises (Allah present her as an example f what it means to believe for men and women due to her faith and convictions)
  • when she saw baby Musa a.s.,
  • in Surah Qasas 28:9
  • it also refers to the stability of the eyes
  • it’s an expression Arabic that when someone is worried, or have difficulty, that when they settle down emotionally, that’s expressed through the eyes (that they become stable)
  • the person is calm now
  • He will bring great joy to me and to you
  • then she said, “Don’t kill him”
  • that’s strange because from that we understand that Firawn probably went, “Uh uh, sure he’s a cute baby, but he’s going away like all the others.”
  • in some other narrations, it was mentioned that Firawn was convinced that this baby belonged to Bani Israel who sent them down the river hoping that someone else would save them and not have to see it slaughtered by Firawn’s army
  • she says, “it’s very hopeful that he will benefit us”
  • the iman of Firawn’s wife is literally clawing out, it’s speaking very subtly inside of her heart
  • benefit us = as nabi of Allah
  • nobody benefited more from message, miracles, prophethood of Musa a.s. than Aasiya herself
  • so we see her alluding to this
  • “I just got a feeling he will be good for us”
  • he was good for her but not for Firawn
  • and to make it practical she said “We can adopt him as a son”
  • Allah says “They had no idea what they were getting into”
  • when Aasiya said “let’s keep this child” and Firawn immediately reacted negatively and she said “Don’t kill him”, she was able to convince him
  • a man who is responsible for the slaughter of thousands of babies, how can he just change his mind like that? don’t you think those mothers cried when their babies were slaughtered?
  • this goes to show you, the effect of personal relationships,how powerful they are, so much so that a bloodthirsty and heartless tyrant like Firawn can be convinced not to kill a baby just because his wife asked him not to
  • the Quran acknowledges and emphasizes personal relationships in a number of ways often times through very admirable means when He mentions prophets
  • here we see how powerful spousal relationship, marriage, is
  • thousands of crying mothers are not able to change his mind but his wife was able to change his mind
  • “that We poured on to you love from Us” – this is something Allah elaborates in other places
  • Anfaal 24
  • 8:24
    Sahih International

    O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life. And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered.

  • Allah can change a person’s heart
  • no matter what was originally in a person’s heart, Allah can change it
  • why was all of this(arrangement) done   ?
  • so that you would be crafted, designed [an expression in Arabic “trained”]
  • صَنَعتُ فَرَصِي – i trained my horse
  • عَلى عَينِي ) فِي حِفظِي) = under My supervision [I’m going to watch you work]
  • in classical Arabic, when you tell a craftsman to make something and you say ‘ala aynee’ that means, you will watch him make it
  • to make sure everything done properly
  • this is something Allah expresses in many different places
  • Tur 48
  • 52:48
    Sahih International

    And be patient, [O Muhammad], for the decision of your Lord, for indeed, you are in Our eyes. And exalt [ Allah ] with praise of your Lord when you arise.

  • فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا
  • when Allah commanded Nuh a.s. to built the ark in Hud 11:37
  • 11:37
    Sahih International

    And construct the ship under Our observation and Our inspiration and do not address Me concerning those who have wronged; indeed, they are [to be] drowned.”

  • بِأَعْيُنِنَا
  • Isn’t everything under watch of Allah? Yes, but when Allah states it like it shows extra care and consideration much like when you tell someone “I’m keeping an eye on you, I got your back.”
  • Allah is basically saying to Musa a.s., “I personally arrange for your training, upbringing under My supervision and protection.”
  • just like Allah took care of Musa a.s., we can also understand that we need to put our trust in Allah that we are put through a process and that we are also trained by Allah

 

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