Tafseer Taha : Ayat 57-68

Link to video on Muslimmatters

Recap:

  • Musa and Harun a.s. side by side presented their initial presentation to Firawn and Firawn responded
  • Firawn tried a couple of things, he tried to mock, disrespected Harun a.s. by ignoring his presence and he belittled Musa a.s.
  • Musa a.s. replied in a wise non confrontational manner and kept himself composed
  • Firawn became more conniving and started to stir up emotional issues “What about our forefathers?”
  • If Musa a.s. gives positive response then he’s moving from his own position and if he responds with negative response then everybody would be upset
  • so Musa a.s. responded with a dignified and intelligent response
  • then in Ayat 53-56, Allah lays out and explains the meaning of what Musa a.s. presented to Firawn in which are lessons for all of us
  • Firawn was given every opportunity but he kept refusing, so he practically made his own bed and has to lie in it now
  • we were almost shown the end of the story and what happened
  • now Allah comes back to where story left off
  • now in Ayat 57, Firawn’s gloves complete come off and he resorts to 2 tactics that are not new at time of Firawn nor are they old since that time
  • these tactics still used by people who want to deny message of messengers

 

Ayat 57

20:57
Sahih International

He said, “Have you come to us to drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses?

  • interesting how he is using the pronouns “have you come here to cast US out of OUR land?”
  • if someone is actually justified in that statement, imagine how emotional that is
  • but Firawn is just coming out with a dirty tactic now, he’s realizing that he might be losing the crowd
  • the mufasiroon said that in context of the ayah, this was already a concern for the elite class that was ruling over the oppressed majority
  • they had enslaved Bani Israel and ruling over them, but as they were slaughtering the babies of Bani Israel and oppressing the women, the numbers of Bani Israel was increasing
  • no matter what they try, Allah is just, the numbers of Bani Israel was increasing
  • so the elite were concerned about this
  • FIrawn knows that this conversation was going on between him and his elite chiefs
  • he knew that this was the best move for him at this point, to latch on to what has been an ongoing issue, and trying to pin it on to Musa a.s.
  • Now Firawn was not talking about himself anymore
  • before, he was personally offended
  • but now that he realized what was at stake, he changed tactics and says “you came to US, to kick US  out of OUR land?!”
  • then the second tactic “You’re not even speaking the truth or have anything valid to present, it’s just by means of your MAGIC!”
  • when there is something that has no human explanation, the divine miracles that Musa a.s. was sharing with the people, so you sum it all up as magic
  • Prophet saw dealt with similar responses during his time
  • we see a close parallel drawn here between Prophet saw and Musa a.s.
  • lesson for us :when we as believers are presenting our lifestyle, this will be the type of rhetoric to try to undermine
  • there is an ayah coming up, part of rhetoric of Firawn and his people will really ring a bell with us and we’ll talk about it when it comes up
  • Ibn Abbas says that even when Allah talks about the disbelievers and hypocrites, there is still a lesson from that for people of Islam ;that our behavior can be like theirs so we have to gauge our responses and behavior
  • when people bring the message of Islam to us, what is our reaction?
  • do we try to vilify the person or brush it off as fantasy, fairy tale, fiction?
  • so Firawn slanders Musa a.s. by calling him a magician
  • he’s still only talking to Musa a.s. when there are 2 men standing there
  • wrap your hear around the overall arrogance of Firawn
  • he could talk right through a person as if he doesn’t exist – that takes an extreme level of arrogance and rudeness to be able to do this
  • Firawn, without giving Musa a.s. a chance to say anything, just plows right on

Ayat 58

20:58
Sahih International

Then we will surely bring you magic like it, so make between us and you an appointment, which we will not fail to keep and neither will you, in a place assigned.”

  • فَلَنَأْتِيَنَّكَ بِسِحْرٍ مِّثْلِهِ = most definitely [with emphasis] we will bring magic just like the one that you got!
  • فَاجْعَلْ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكَ مَوْعِدًا = so you fix for you and us a مَوْعِدًا
  • مَوْعِدًا is a zharf and both for makaan and zamaan
  • “fix a time and place for all of us and for you
  • look at the tone
  • he’s addressing Musa a.s. alone “all of us against you (alone)”
  • لَّا نُخْلِفُهُ – we will stick to it, no one will chicken out
  • نَحْنُ وَلَا أَنتَ – not us and not you
  • he’s singling out Musa a.s. => it’s all of us versus you
  • in other places in the Quran even more explicitly he states this
  • implying “who are you going to listen to, all of us, or him, he can’t even speak clearly, he’s a shepherd!”
  • مَكَانًا سُوًى – it’s gotta be a place that is equal to the both of us
  • not only is he trying to set the term of this confrontation
  • the place is fair to both side => when did he suddenly become so concerned with being fair
  • there are subtleties here
  • this is deep down inside Firawn, he realizes that he’s playing with fire, there is something here that way beyond him, that’s why he’s so aggressive
  • “there is something here I can’t handle” so he wants to make sure it’s a level playing field
  • because when Musa a.s. came in, and the staff turned into a snake and his hand was glowing, firawn was intimidated
  • he was worrying about himself in this situation
  • “that if I give this guy sometime and let him pick a place, I won’t even know what he would show up with”
  • this show the concern and worry of Firawn
  • musa a.s. responds in next ayah

 

 

Ayat 59

20:59
Sahih International

[Moses] said, “Your appointment is on the day of the festival when the people assemble at mid-morning.”

  • in his rhetoric and language, Musa a.s. is also very specific
  • مَوْعِدُكُمْ = YOUR fixed appointment
  • implying => “this is on you, You’re the one asking for this. I’m not interested, I don’t need this, but you’re asking for it”
  • يَوْمُ الزِّينَةِ – day of adornment
  • there are some fringe interpretations that aren’t backed by evidence saying that this is Day of Ashoora
  • generally, mufassiron have alluded that this was a national holiday in Firawn’s kingdom
  • Musa a.s. wanted the maximum number of people present, that’s why he chose that day
  • banks, post office closed, everybody come on down => full house
  • يَوْمُ الزِّينَةِ comes from حَشر

حَشر comes from 2 things :-

  1. when people come from all different places to one place
  2. wide open place

مَيدَان الحَشر = place of gathering on Day of Judgement

  • so Musa a.s. is picking a central location where everyone can make it
  • hashr implies that they gather in a big wide open field
  • on Day of Resurrection then imagine what that’s going to be like
  • mass of people where they can all line up
  • how huge that field has to be
  • it’s a central place and very very open
  • So Musa a.s. picks the day and the place
  • bring your grandmother, uncles, neighbors, everybody
  • then lastly Musa a.s. says ضُحًى
  • ضُحًى is late morning
  • اضحَى is late morning when sun climbs higher and heat begins to intensify, before noon like 10 am
  • according to Islamic schedule of the day, it’s the midday
  • day starts from break of dawn, not from sunrise
  • Musa a.s. picked that time because it’s th perfect time
  • before that it might be dark or foggy
  • after that it might be too hot
  • at اضحَى it’s not too hot and it’s bright and it’s not dark or foggy etc
  • there is that confidence on the part of Musa a.s.
  • why that confidence? he drew it from Allah saying He is with them
  • Firawn now goes “Oh Snap! I have to go get ready!”

 

Ayat 60

20:60
Sahih International

So Pharaoh went away, put together his plan, and then came [to Moses].

  • Firawn turned back “Ok, let’s go get ready”
  • and he starts to gather all his tricks to bring out
  • some of the tricks he resorted to :- Allah talks about this in Shuaraa 26:34-42
  • 26:34
    Sahih International

    [Pharaoh] said to the eminent ones around him, “Indeed, this is a learned magician.

  • “he’s an expert magician!”
  • 26:35
    Sahih International

    He wants to drive you out of your land by his magic, so what do you advise?”

  • “He wants to kick you out of YOUR land..” [he wants to make sure they’re on his side, so he sucks up to them now]
  • “What do you guys think I should do?” [interesting open council]
  • 26:36
    Sahih International

    They said, “Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers

  • “delay him and his brother, and send recruiters out into different cities..”
  • 26:37
    Sahih International

    Who will bring you every learned, skilled magician.”

  • “and bring you every expert magician they can find”
  • 26:38
    Sahih International

    So the magicians were assembled for the appointment of a well-known day.

    26:39
    Sahih International

    And it was said to the people, “Will you congregate

    26:40
    Sahih International

    That we might follow the magicians if they are the predominant?”

    “we’re going to enter that field in a parade, to intimidate Musa!”
    26:41
    Sahih International

    And when the magicians arrived, they said to Pharaoh, “Is there indeed for us a reward if we are the predominant?”

    “What do we get if we defeat Musa?”
    26:42
    Sahih International

    He said, “Yes, and indeed, you will then be of those near [to me].”

    “Oh, you’ll be set for life, you’ll never have to work in your life ever again.”
    • that was the context
    • so now Firawn comes with his magicians
    • Ibn Abbas says “there were 70 some odd magicians
    • but there are other narrations that here 10 and thousands of magician
    • Allah knows best but there were many magicians
    • ulama talk about this – that the miracles of a messenger is often reflective of what people of that time were obsessed about
    • miracle of Isa a.s. was because the people at that time were obsessed with medicine
    • at Musa a.s.’s time, magic was all the rage, it was the hottest industry at that time
    • so there might have been 10 and thousands expert magicians at that time
    • they gather in the middle of field, Musa and Harun a.s. and these magicians
    • a lot of magicians, so much that it shows how lopsided he fight is
    • so now that they face off, Musa a.s. addresses them
    • this is the sign of nabi and rasul, this is the khayr and concern, love and compassion in hearts of all of Messengers of Allah
    • they sympathize, empathize, care
    • he’s not there to humiliate people
    • but their foremost concern is guidance of mankind

     

Ayat 61

20:61
Sahih International

Moses said to the magicians summoned by Pharaoh, “Woe to you! Do not invent a lie against Allah or He will exterminate you with a punishment; and he has failed who invents [such falsehood].”

  • وَيْلَكُمْ= I feel sorry for you, what are you doing with your talents and ability
  • وَيل is used to express pity upon someone
  • some mufasiroon mention it’s also a name of a valley in hellfire
  • but it can be used in different context in different meanings
  • it can be used to condemn someone but that’s now how Musa a.s. is using it because look at how he talked to Firawn (with care and compassion)
  • Prophet saw used this word when talking about Abu Basiid who was a sahabah who was captured by Makkan and escaped but Prophet saw couldn’t give shelter to him due to treaty of Hudaybiyyah, so Abu Baseed hid with a few others and raided the caravans of the Makkans
  • Prophet saw used it “wayl, he’s inciting war, that’s not good.”
  • he’s (saw) not condemning the sahabi but he was expressing regret that the sahabi is doing that
  • as a nabi and rasul there is a certain firaasah that a prophet conducts himself with, he can see the good in people
  • that’s the greatest trait in our Prophet saw too
  • so Musa a.s. sees the good in these magicians
  • “What are you doing here? You all are good people, how did you get caught in this net? Look some sincere advice from me to yu….
  • لَا تَفْتَرُوا = Don’t engage in these practice
  • إفتَرَى means to not only make up lies, but it means to make up major  lies and to scheme and connive and plot . it has a negative connotation and never used in positive connotation
  • عَلَى اللَّهِ = against Allah
  • very profound message here
  • “I might just seem like any ordinary man of Bani Israel. So if I don’t have any regard in your eyes, that’s fine, but what you’re doing here, it’s not to me, it’s against Allah. Think about the implication of your actions.”
  • سَحَتَ means something very bad and evil
  • Allah uses سُحت  when talking about lying, cheating people, bribes, riba, cheating people out of their money, it’s something very debased in its essence
  • إسحَات means, because of someone evil actions, to completely exterminate them, pull them out by their roots (like weed)
  • so فَيُسْحِتَكُم بِعَذَابٍ => He could rip you out by your roots through punishment
  • وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنِ افْتَرَىٰ = and definitely the one who has made these lies, that person has fallen from grace
  • wonderful naseehah from Musa a.s. at the battlefield, sharing the message first
  • his words so powerful
  • at the same time, these magicians had some good in them, they’re able to reflect on what Musa a.s. was saying

 

 

Ayat 62

20:62
Sahih International

So they disputed over their affair among themselves and concealed their private conversation.

  • تَنَازُع – like playing tug of war, trying to pull from the other, trying to pull the other’s argument out from under them
  • they started arguing and debating with each other
  • أَمْرَهُم => they were arguing about the task at hand “Should we go forward with this or not? What Musa said sounds serious.”
  • بَيْنَهُمْ  = they were not even fighting with Musa of Firawn, but they were debating with each other
  • Allah is giving us an appreciation of the position of these magicians bec of what is about to happen
  • firawn is so dangerous and intimidating, he’s got ears everywhere, everyone knows his wrath, he’s violated women and children
  • these magicians were hired by him and negotiated with him a bit, but  know exactly what Firawn is capable of , so they don’t want any trouble
  • تَنَازُع is a very serious debate and argument where voices are being raised, people storming out of the room and having to ve held back, people are shoving and pushing each other
  • that gets your attention “Hey, whats going on over there?”
  • as soon as people start to notice, they start to hush down  = وَأَسَرُّوا النَّجْوَىٰ
  • the Quran implies this linguistically very beautifully in a very concise fashion
  • وَأَسَرُّوا = they lowered their voices and then
    النَّجوَى
  • النَّجوَى – when you whisper and quietly speak to each other
  • like when you word out mouths to each other without voicing it
  • “we got to work this out, we can’t let the big dog knows what’s going on.”
  • they’re terrified, imagine how terrified they must be to suddenly hush up and whisper to each other

 

Ayat 63

20:63
Sahih International

They said, “Indeed, these are two magicians who want to drive you out of your land with their magic and do away with your most exemplary way.

  • based on context, some of the magicians who wanted to take control of the situation (those more terrified of Firawn than others) said “إِنْ هَٰذَانِ لَسَاحِرَانِ..”
  • kind of like motivating other magicians by saying “No, no, whatever they just say, don’t let them get in your heads, these two are just magicians, that’s all they are!”

Linguistic nuance in this ayat :-

  • grammatical construction :- إِنْ => is it نَافِيَه or  مُخَفَّفَه
  • majority grammarians say this is إنَّ  for emphasis but it’s  مُخَفَّفَه(lightened)
  • normally after نَّ , the word after it is مَنصُوب, so it should be هَاذَينِ
  • some scholars say that this is a qiraah (recitation ) but it’s not backed up by any recitation that goes back to Prophet saw
  • when إنَّ made light, and becomes إِنْ,  it loses its grammatical function
  • at same time, there’s also evidence   that some qiraat still preserve the heavy إنَّ
  • there is a lot very explicit linguistic precedent that إنَّ is something used as حُرف إجَابَه (a response like “yes, most definitely”)
  • after that, the sentence coming after is mostly omitted and so it’s being used as just “YES”
  • so it’s being used as s slogan (like “YES WE CAN!”)
  • the general qiraah that is mostly recited is إِنْ, and the reason why that fits perfectly is because it has a ل in
    لَسَاحِرَانِ
  • when you make the إنَّ light it has to have a ل to show that this was made light
  • يُرِيدَانِ = they both want [their agenda/motive/goal]
  • أَن يُخْرِجَاكُم مِّنْ أَرْضِكُم بِسِحْرِهِمَا = that they both will kick you all out from your lands using their magic
  • the fact that they’re quoting exactly what Firawn had said shows you that this was becoming a campaign and propaganda , like slogan used against Musa a.s.
  • everybody was backing this propaganda, on Firawn’s side
  • they present that same mantra and rhetoric that Firawn had used
  • وَيَذْهَبَا بِطَرِيقَتِكُمُ الْمُثْلَىٰ – and they would do away with your exemplary path (lifestyle)
  • they’re against your way of life (sounds familiar?)
  • this is slogan, agendas, propaganda that has been used since beginning of time
  • Prophet saw is listening to this, this was revealed to him
  • sahabah 1400 ago was reading this and we can learn a lot from this, how this was dealt with

Ayat 64

20:64
Sahih International

So resolve upon your plan and then come [forward] in line. And he has succeeded today who overcomes.”

  • in their closer circles they’re very honest
  • “we got a game plan here, let’s stick to our game plan”
  • كَيد – elaborate game plan that is based on lies, tricking deceiving people
  • فَأَجْمِعُوا كَيْدَكُمْ = “Come on! Gather your plan together! Be firm on your plan!”
  • ثُمَّ ائْتُوا صَفًّا  = “Let’s go out there and show some pride! Let’s line up in rows and show them who they’re messing with !”
  • وَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْيَوْمَ مَنِ اسْتَعْلَىٰ = most definitely success will be achieved today by the person who is able to overcome
  • the word used is  = to rise very very high
  • “Let’s go out there and completely obliterate the opposition
  • to draw a parallel to Prophet saw,=> Quraysh had elaborate planning and many times more people and everything was being brought together, and so Prophet saw and his few humble followers look very insignificant
  • so Prophet saw was being consoled here:- “No need to worry about this situation, it will come to pass.”
  • a lot of times it will seem like all odds are against us, but knowing how to live our lives as Allah and Prophet saw want us to and stay firm that’s all we should do
  • now that they come back into battle field and ready to go…
  • at this point in time, they say to Musa a.s.

 

Ayat 65

20:65
Sahih International

They said, “O Moses, either you throw or we will be the first to throw.”

  • “Oh Musa, either you go first or we go first!”
  • What exactly is the scenario here?
  • there are different lines of thinking presented by mufasiroon
  1. some say it’s actually a desirable position to be able to gauge your opponent and then counter the attack
  2. some say no, it’s better to be able to strike first and take out legs of enemy from under him
  • which one was it?
  • you can look at it either way
  • if we look at #1, that’s why they offer Musa a.s. to go first
  • the Prophet saw alluded to something when talking about wife of Firawn
  • in Qasas, when she saw baby Musa a.s. and fell in love with him, she said, “قُرَّة عَينِ لِي وَ لَك[you’ll be a source of happiness for me and for you(firawn)]
  • a narration in tafseer of this ayah :- Prophet saw said, “Firawn responded with ‘he might be a source and happiness for yu but he will never be a source of comfort for me”
  • tat’s why he jumped at first opportunity to kill Musa a.s.
  • like when Baby Musa a.s. was disrespectful to him he immediately put him to the test and when he found out that Musa a.s. had killed the Coptic
  • Prophet saw said “Allah granted such a high level of iman to the wife of FIrawn because of the love and respect and affection she showed to a messenger of Allah even if it was before prophethood and nubuwwah and if Firawn had responded ‘Yes he would be a source of comfort for me too’ Allah would have granted Firawn iman as well.”
  • but he showed disrespect to a messenger from the very beginning
  • we know how this end and how noble the magician’s end is
  • this shows that the little bit of courtesy they showed to Musa a.s. is a sign of deep iman in them
  • what Musa a.s. said impacted them
  • this shows iman deep inside
  • so at the battle field, they have this etiquette and they remembered what he said and they felt the need to be respectful to him, they are impressed by him, so they said “You go first or we go.”
  • it shows the good in them and solidifies their case in sight of Allah that they were worthy of the iman they would be granted
  • this shows that confidence in Musa a.s.
  • there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence
  • Prophet saw was that beacon of not having arrogance but he was very confident
  • we as believers have to learn that
  • we can learn that from the seerah, from seeing how he (saw) lived his life and dealt with these situations and scenarios

Ayat 66

20:66
Sahih International

He said, “Rather, you throw.” And suddenly their ropes and staffs seemed to him from their magic that they were moving [like snakes].

  • “You guys go first!”
  • حِبَالُهُمْ= their ropes
  • وَعِصِيُّهُمْ = and their staff
  • they centered their game plan on what Musa a.s. had (staff and snake)
  • يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ = it seemed as if
  • then Allah uses a very interesting word :-
  • Allah used تَخيِيل = almost like an illusion
  • in another place in Quran, Allah explicitly uses word in Surah Araaf => سَحَرُوَ اعيُنَ النَّاس (they did magic on the eyes of the people)
  • so it was an optical illusion
  • أَنَّهَا تَسْعَىٰ = that these ropes and staff were moving
  • it took Musa a.s. back a little bit

 

Ayat 67

20:67
Sahih International

And he sensed within himself apprehension, did Moses.

  • أَوْجَسَ in Arabic it means to feel a little bit of fear and apprehension inside but to be able to conceal it
  • really deep inside he felt a moment of apprehension
  • that confidence,being able to put on a brave front
  • the construction of this ayah is very interesting, there is a lot of switching of order (taqdeem and ta2kheer)
  • He felt  inside of himself a little bit fear
  • this is in contrast to when Allah said  “وَاسَرَّهَا يُسُوفُ فِي نَفسِهِ” [Yusuf hid it inside of him]
  • this indicates that Musa a.s. did a very good job of hiding and no one knew except Alah
  • he pretty much hid it completely
  • is there anything reprehensible about Musa a.s. feeling a bit of fear or shock? No
  • the night before Badr, Prophet saw made dua all night long and Abu Bakr entered camp of Prophet saw and he (saw) had put his arms so high that his shawl had come off his shoulders
  • Abu bakr put the shawl back on and embraced him (saw) and he was in tears seeing Prophet saw in this condition and said “Allah has already answered your dua”
  • The dua :-
  • الّلَهُمَّ إنِّي اسأَلُكَ نُصرَك وَ وَعدَكَ الّلَّهُمَّ إنشِئتَ لَم تُؤبَد فِي الأَرض
  • Oh Allah, I ask you for your help and Your promise, Oh Allah if You want then You will not be worshiped on the earth
  • even Prophet saw felt apprehension about the approach of Badr

 

 

Ayat 68

20:68
Sahih International

Allah said, “Fear not. Indeed, it is you who are superior.

  • Allah tells Musa a.s., “Don’t be afraid! You will defeat them!”
  • like Allah tells us as ummah of Muhammad saw “وَ انتُم الأَعلَون إن كُنتُم مُؤمِنِين”[You will rise above if you are true believers]

 

as soon as people start to notive they start to hush down

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