Learning something new about Yusuf (as) and Musa (as)

To add to my comment in my previous post about TV programs, it is hard this year to look up programs that are good and worth watching during Ramadan. The only two I seem to be following is a series about the life of Yusuf alayhi asalaam (peace be upon him) and Amr Khaled’s show about Qur’an parables that focuses on the life of Musa alayhi asalaam (peace be upon him). I want to share the new things I learned from watching the shows till now.

لَّقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِّلسَّائِلِينَ

12:7 (Y. Ali) Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs (or symbols) for seekers (after Truth).

Yusuf (as)

Raheel, Yusuf’s mother, was going to die when she was giving birth to him in Iraq but at the time the people in the village of Fadan whose ruler was the father of Raheel were idol worshipers and all the people there were made to think by the temple priests that this is happening because Yacoub (as) and his wife were non believers in the idols. But Raheel didn’t die and when Yusuf (as) was born it rained after a long period of drought so the people of Fadan believed in Allah SWT and the temple was burned by an accident done by the priestess there who also died in the fire. Yet, Raheel died when giving birth to Benyamin before reaching the land of Kan’aan, Palestine and Jordan.

Yusuf (as) was brought up by his aunt, the sister of Yacoub (as). Once he was playing and they lost him so Yacoub (as) took him away from the aunt so she and Yusuf (as) made a ploy to stay with her by saying the belt of prophet Ishac (as), which she inherited from him, was stolen then they found it with Yusuf (as) (even though he didn’t steal it) so because the laws then said he had to become her slave for four years so she took him again. This made me understand why in the Qur’an the brothers of Yusuf said:

قَالُواْ إِن يَسْرِقْ فَقَدْ سَرَقَ أَخٌ لَّهُ مِن قَبْلُ فَأَسَرَّهَا يُوسُفُ فِي نَفْسِهِ وَلَمْ يُبْدِهَا لَهُمْ قَالَ أَنتُمْ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَاللّهُ أَعْلَمْ بِمَا تَصِفُونَ

12:77 (Y. Ali) They said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his who did steal before (him).” But these things did Joseph keep locked in his heart, revealing not the secrets to them. He (simply) said (to himself): “Ye are the worse situated; and Allah knoweth best the truth of what ye assert!”

Though they knew it was not true since their aunt confessed to what she did before she died.

What scared me the most was how the brothers of Yusuf (as) were willing to kill him just because they were envious of him because he was chosen to be the next prophet. They beat him up and one brother prevented the others from killing him but he was still thrown in the well:

إِذْ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَى أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلاَلٍ مُّبِينٍ

12:8 (Y. Ali) They said: “Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we: But we are a goodly body! really our father is obviously wandering (in his mind)!

اقْتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ اطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضًا يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُواْ مِن بَعْدِهِ قَوْمًا صَالِحِينَ

12:9 (Y. Ali) “Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown) land, that so the favour of your father may be given to you alone: (there will be time enough) for you to be righteous after that!”

قَالَ قَآئِلٌ مَّنْهُمْ لاَ تَقْتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ وَأَلْقُوهُ فِي غَيَابَةِ الْجُبِّ يَلْتَقِطْهُ بَعْضُ السَّيَّارَةِ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ

12:10 (Y. Ali) Said one of them: “Slay not Joseph, but if ye must do something, throw him down to the bottom of the well: he will be picked up by some caravan of travellers.”

All ten of them were scheming to hurt Yusuf (as) but alhamdulilah as Allah SWT wanted the plan was changed to throwing him into a well. But thinking about it this had to happen so Yusuf (as) goes to Egypt and becomes a Aziz then be able to help it and the surrounding region against the drought to come.

This makes you think about how many events you think are bad (like Yusuf (as) he was hurt by his brothers then went into slavery then prison) but it is a necessary path to lead to something good (he became a ruler). This is where I reached in the series. I’ll continue later insha’Allah.

Four hundred years after prophet Yusuf (as) prophet Musa (as) time came. I will put experts from Amr Khaled’s program about why sons of Israel were oppressed by Phar’oun even though we know from the Qur’an they came to Egypt respected when Yusuf (as) invited them there:

فَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَى يُوسُفَ آوَى إِلَيْهِ أَبَوَيْهِ وَقَالَ ادْخُلُواْ مِصْرَ إِن شَاء اللّهُ آمِنِينَ

12:99 (Y. Ali) Then when they entered the presence of Joseph, he provided a home for his parents with himself, and said: “Enter ye Egypt (all) in safety if it please Allah.”

By Amr Khaled, Translated by: The English Convoy – Dar al-Tarjama

Now, we’re telling the story of Musa (AS) (Moses). Allah teaches us the value of justice and how distorting oppression could be to a man’s soul. In this story we’re introduced to a mighty pharaoh who put up a new law allowing the killing of male infants born of Israelis in his kingdom. After killing one thousand babies, the Israelites were still too scared to complain! There must have been a reason for the pharaoh’s decision and for their meek reaction; there must have been someone they’ve oppressed one day for the cycle of oppression to turn back on them like so… I’d like to start with a historical background on Musa (AS). Musa (AS) was the third son of Ukabed and Imran son of Levi brother of Yusuf (AS) (Joseph).

Both Levi and Yusuf were the sons of old Ya’qub (AS) (Jacob). Musa (AS) and the Israelites of Egypt were believers; however, Egypt was never their hometown. The story of how the Israelites settled in Egypt dates back 400 years from the time of Musa (AS). It all started with Yusuf (AS), the first Israeli to reach Egypt as a toddler and be brought up in the king’s palace. Yusuf was born with the gift of interpretation of dreams; he foresaw in one of the king’s dreams the seven-year famine and thus the country was able to take precautions for the drought beforehand.

Afterwards, Yusuf’s insight and wisdom were appreciated all over the palace. They were also desperately needed through the world financial crisis that troubled the pharaoh of Egypt at that time. The pharaoh was in fact a Hyksos king who was desperate to find a talented financial minister to guide Egypt through the crisis; however, no help was to be hoped for from an Egyptian because the Egyptians hated the unjust Hyksos and their cruel reign. Therefore, Yusuf (AS) stepped up and the pharaoh was anxious to help a non-Egyptian attain social rank. The Hyksos were very prejudiced and very cruel and unjust to the Egyptians.

It may seem that Yusuf (AS) joined the oppressor’s side, but actually Yusuf (AS) used his power to proclaim all people equals and ease the hatred between the Hyksos and the Egyptians. He set up a single trade law that the two parties had to abide by. Justice was finally being delivered and Egypt survived the financial crisis under Yusuf’s guidance.

Yusuf was known as the greatest financial minister who ever lived and was beloved by both the Egyptians and the Hyksos; thus, the king was more than willing to grant him his wish to have his family over as guests in Egypt. Yusuf’s family of 60 Israelis were offered a land that belonged to the Egyptian people at the heart of the fertile planes of River Nile, but the ever-just Yusuf (AS) refused to accept the king’s offer so as not to rip the Egyptians of their land. He rather preferred an un-inhabited land in the desert for him and his people, the land of Gassan.

Yusuf’s family lived for years as respected guests out of love and gratitude for the great Yusuf. However, Yusuf (AS) knew that his brothers would not adopt his attitude towards the Egyptians after him. Before his death, Yusuf (AS) predicted that some day along the Israeli line would come a man who would bring justice about again and save the Israeli people from degradation which would be the inevitable outcome of their unjustness. And so Yusuf (AS) died leaving a growing family of Israelis; his prediction came to pass and his brothers started siding with the Hyksos and lending a deaf ear to the Egyptian rights. Years after, no trace of Yusuf’s justness was left in the Israelis; the Hyksos and the Israelis took turns sucking the blood of the people of Egypt.

This continued until salvation came for the Egyptians at the hands of Ahmos, an Egyptian military leader who banished the Hyksos from Egypt and chased them off into the deserts and literally cut them into pieces until they existed no longer. Then, the eternal cycle began and the oppressors became oppressed; Ahmos turned to the Hyksos allies, the Israelis. Their punishment involved six cruel phases through which they were degraded to almost nothing. First, a new law was issued stating that no Israeli was free and they were enslaved just like they allowed the Hyksos to enslave the Egyptians before. Second, they were banished from the land Gassan. Third, they were forced to inhabit mud houses on the banks of River Nile. Fourth, they were torn apart into two communities in the north and south of the country. Fifth, they were prohibited from getting education whatsoever and finally, they were put to hard work around the clock for no pay.

A map of ancient Egypt shows River Nile flowing through the country’s heart, starting way up in the north and ending deep down in the south. Extending on its bank were the Jewish communities in the north and south of the country and on the same bank at the center of the country was the royal palace in the country’s capital Bra’aa mafiis. Bra’aa in the ancient Egyptian tongue stands for the home of Ra, the god whose earthly incarnation is the pharaoh Ramses.

Ramses ruled during the darkest times for the Israeli people. He was the pharaoh who ordered to kill the male infants of the Israelis; he allowed his men to have their way with Israeli women and to burn down the Israeli house. Their souls were weakened and wounded so deep that they trembled to the sound of Ramses’ name. Their oppression was really beyond imagination that they stood watching all that being done to them and were too scared to even ask why.

However, Musa’s mother managed to escape the king’s men with Musa (AS) on her hands and ran to the Nile bank. She put her baby in a wooden box and let it go with the flow. The water carried the box from the southern quarter to the royal quarter where our story begins.

I hope the concept of the never-ending cycle is clear; today’s oppressor is tomorrows oppressed. Nothing distorts the human spirits and extinguishes human pride like fear and degradation. Musa (AS) had a tough mission at hand trying to pump life into the hearts of a nation that the pharaohs took turns at sucking life out of for ages. Supported by Allah, he succeeded, and the meek prayers of the Israeli mothers were eventually answered. Finally: never be the oppressor and never perform an act of unjustness.

Musa’s (AS) Birth

Do everything you can + Tawakkul = Victory and protection from Allah (SWT).

“Ta, Sîn, Mîm (These are the names of letters of the Arabic alphabet and only Allah knows their meaning here). Those (Literally: that) are the ayat (Verses, signs) of the Evident Book. We recite to you (something) of the tiding of Mûsa (Moses) and Firaawn (Pharaoh) with the Truth, for a people who believe. Surely Firaawn had exalted himself in the land and made its population into sects, deeming a section of them weak, constantly slaying their sons and (sparing) alive their women. Surely he was one of the corruptors.” (TMQ[4], 28:1-4)

Firaawn saw in a dream that a boy was born who would snatch away his kingdom from him, so he felt threatened and started killing all the new born boys to the extent that he killed a thousand boys before Musa (AS) was born. Firaawn had a strict plan in place to ensure that no new born baby boy survived. He kept track of all the pregnant women in the city and secretly marked their houses so that when the mother gives birth, he would send his soldiers to surprise the mother by brutally killing the baby and throwing him in the Nile River as soon as he is born. (No wonder why Firaawn died from drowning in the sea himself). Also, random house searches and spies were used to uncover hiding mothers and baby boys. So what was Musa’s (AS) mother going to do in these tough circumstances? She practically followed the tawakkul formula we mentioned earlier. She thought of a plan with her brave daughter Maryam, who would stand by her brother and mother courageously. They also involved their neighbor who would exchange places with Musa’s mother just before the random checks were made in their houses, since Maryam was always monitoring the soldiers to be prepared before they came by rushing her mother into the bushes. This was a very tiring and tense exercise since they had to be on alert for nine straight months, 24 hours a day to ensure the protection of Musa’s (AS) birth. This was the first part of the formula, where they did everything they could and now the remaining part of the formula was also needed, which was tawakkul on Allah (SWT). After nine months, Musa (AS) was born with a very special gift from Allah (SWT) which was that anyone who would see him would immediately love him. “And I cast on you belovedness from Me” (TMQ, 20:39) This shows us how much Allah (SWT) loved him and how much we should love him as well. Can you imagine that Musa’s (AS) mother had to give birth in silence with all the pains of delivery a woman goes through, and they had to cover Musa’s (AS) mouth to prevent his crying from being heard by Firaawn’s people. “And We revealed to Mûsa’s mother, (saying), “Suckle him; so, when you fear for him, then cast him in the main; and do not fear, nor grieve. Surely We will turn him back to you, and will make him one of the Emissaries.” (TMQ, 28:7)

Let us go to the Nile River to live the moment and to really understand the circumstances Musa’s (AS) mother went through. Note that Musa’s (AS) mother was not a Prophet and that she was a simple mother with strong faith, and yet Allah (SWT) revealed to her two commands, two prohibitions and two glad tidings. The first command was to “suckle him” so that he may recognize her milk later and to show us the lovely relationship between a mother and her child. The second was to “cast him in the main”. The two prohibitions were: “do not fear, nor grieve”. The two glad tidings were: “Surely We will turn him back to you, and will make him one of the Emissaries.” This revelation was not like the revelations of Prophets; rather it was a feeling that filled her heart with conviction and tawakkul. One would imagine that Allah (SWT) would ask the mother to hug or hide the child in protection from the enemy, however, when you are dealing with Al-Wakeel )the Ultimate Trustee( you should do what He tells you without questioning and with full submission.

Can you put yourself in her shoes?

Musa’s (AS) mother made a basket and put Musa (AS) in it and cast him in the river. For those of you who are unemployed and for the mothers who are suffering with the upbringing of their children, where is your tawakkul? We are at the Nile River spot to really understand the situation with the strong water currents and the big risk Musa’s (AS) mother took, since the basket would never come back to her and there was always a chance of Musa (AS) falling in the river and being eaten by fish. Thousands of mothers lost their children due to Firaawn’s injustice, but Musa’s (AS) mother had true tawakkul and that is what made all the difference. We must however know that there is a big difference between theory and actual practice.

Musa’s (AS) mother showed some hesitance and so a second revelation came to her to deal with the state of emergency since Firaawn’s people were coming. Allah (SWT) says in Surat Ta-Ha what can be translated as, “As We revealed what was revealed to your mother: (Saying), ‘“Hurl him in the coffer, then hurl it in the main; so let the main cast it on the shore.” (TMQ, 20:38-39)

Musa’s (AS) sister was then appointed by the mother to follow-up on the task by tracking the basket. “And she said to his sister, “Trail him,” and so she beheld him from afar, and they were not aware.” (TMQ, 28:11) It was Allah’s (SWT) will that the basket would end up in Firaawn’s palace, and so Maryam went back to her mother to give her the bad news. “And the heart-sight of Mûsa’s mother became empty, (and) decidedly she indeed almost declared him, had We not braced her heart, that she might be of the believers.” (TMQ, 28:10)

So what was the wisdom behind Musa ending up in Firaawn’s palace? It could be that this was the best protection for Musa (AS). Musa’s (AS) duty later would be to free Bani Israel from the injustice of Firaawn and so he had to set an example by freeing himself first, which could only be possible by being in Firaawn’s palace. The other reason could be that Musa (AS) had to be educated to bring reform and the best source of education was no other than the house of Firaawn.

“Then the house of Firaawn picked him out to be an enemy to them and (a source of) grief. Surely Firaawn and Haman and their hosts were sinners.” (TMQ, 28:8) It was the will of Al-Wakeel that Firaawn’s wife Asia’s timing to take the baby before the soldiers was perfect timing. “And the wife of Firaawn said, “He is comfort (Literally: for the eye to get steady and settle down, to be refreshed) to the eye for me and for you. Do not kill him, (for) he may profit us, and we may take him to ourselves as a child.” And they were not aware.” (TMQ, 28:9)

Asia defended Musa (AS), and Allah (SWT) protected him with the weapon of love. As soon as Asia announced that Musa (AS) was not going to be killed and that he would be taken by them as a child, the baby started crying and now needed to be suckled. “And We had prohibited to him earlier wet-nurses. So she said, “Shall I indicate to you the family of a house who will sponsor him for you and advisably look after him?” (TMQ, 28:12)

Musa’s (AS) sister entered the palace with courage, and told them that she knew who would be able to suckle Musa (AS). Therefore, Musa’s (AS) mother was eventually brought into the palace to suckle the child, who is her own, and so she was appointed as the official foster mother of Musa (AS), which wwould earn her a decent salary. “So We turned him back to his mother so that she might comfort her eye and not grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true; but most of them do not know.” (TMQ, 28:13).

Musa’s (AS) story could be divided into four stages:

The first preparation stage: (Childhood and youth) it lasted until he was 30 years old, and it took place in Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt.

The second preparation stage: It lasted for ten years and it took place in Madian.
The first accomplishment stage: It lasted fifteen years as he was facing Pharaoh in Egypt.
The second accomplishment stage: It lasted about ten or fifteen years and it took place in Sinai, Jordan, and at the Palestinian borders.

That means that Musa (AS) had lived seventy years into delivering his message.

Today’s episode will show how Allah (SWT) had prepared Musa (AS) to be a leader by adding ten traits to his personality. Anyone who wants to be a leader has to make sure that he has these ten traits.

Musa (AS) has spent his childhood in Egypt on the banks of the Nile. He spent it between the luxury of Pharaoh’s palace and the simplicity of Israelite houses. Musa’s (AS) mother had insisted that he should be raised in her home. Although Asia has tried to let him be raised in Pharaoh’s palace. She had to accept Musa’s mother’s wish especially since she was the only who could breast feed him. Musa (AS) had a lot of memories of his early life on the Nile banks. The name Musa in the ancient Egyptian language means someone who is saved from water; it also has another meaning which is the son of water. Asia was the one who gave him this name. Musa (AS) had spent his early childhood among the care and love of two mothers (his real mother and Asia). Allah (SWT) wanted him to be subjected to the kind of intensive love to build a stable character. From this point we could notice the first trait of a leader which is mercy. A leader without mercy would be a tyrant like Hitler, but Musa (AS) was a leader raised by Allah (SWT).

After weaning Musa (AS) moved to live in Pharaoh’s house as he was his father by adoption. His life in Pharaoh’s palace had helped in developing three traits of his personality as a leader. The first trait is the high educational background that he could not ever gain except in Pharaoh’s house. The second trait is the strong muscular body as the Egyptian took good care of sports and body health. The third trait is dignity and free spirit that made him not to fear Pharaoh or anybody.

When Musa (AS) was about eight years old, Asia decided to tell him that she was not his mother and she did not know who his real mother was.

Asia allowed Musa (AS) to visit his foster mother who was his unknown real mother; that made a strong relationship grow between him and his brother Harun (AS) (Aaron) and sister Maryam (AS) “Mary”. Despite the simplicity of Israelites houses, Musa (AS) found warmth among them, he felt that he did not belong to Pharaoh’s palace. His mother began to tell him about one of the most important figures in Israelite history which was Yusuf. Yusuf was popular for both Israelites and Pharaoh as he saved the Egyptian economy.

For that reason, Musa’s (AS) smart mother has chosen to tell him about Yusuf who became Musa’s (AS) ideal. She also mentioned to Musa (AS) that Yusuf was from her ancestors to make Musa (AS) wonder what made them reach such level of humiliation. She made all the preparations to tell her son that she was his mother. Could you imagine how he as a kid had to tolerate such kinds of secrets? Eventually she revealed to him the whole secret with all of its details. Musa’s (AS) personality could tolerate such kinds of shocks because Allah (SWT) has given him a strong spirit that could face all the circumstances.

His mother convinced him to stay at Pharaoh’s palace to avoid Pharaoh’s outrage and to receive a good education. His mother helped in shaping his stable personality. She was a smart and extraordinary woman that is why three of her children’s names were mentioned in Qur’an.

His life in Pharaoh’s palace and Israelite homes had added flexibility to his character. It helped him to be aware of the culture and the life of the Pharaoh and the Israelites as well. That created an open minded character who could deal with different cultures and social background.

Allah (SWT) had gathered the eight traits of the leader that we have mentioned in our episode in only one Ayah. Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as:” And as soon as he reached full age and matured, (Literally: leveled himself in body and mind) We brought him judgment and knowledge; and thus We recompense the fair-doers. “ (TMQ[4], 24:14).

The last two traits that have to be found in a leader are that he should have a goal and aim in life. Musa’s (AS) aim was to save Israelites. People think Musa (AS) had become Israelites savior because Allah (SWT) had charged Musa (AS) to that mission, but the fact is that Allah (SWT) had charged Musa (AS) to that mission because Musa (AS) had chosen that to be his aim in life.

The last trait that should be in a leader is having good companions. Musa’s (AS) companion was his brother Harun (AS), he was his supporter in accomplishing his mission and in worshipping Allah (SWT). He was his companion in worldly life and in the hereafter.

In a nut shell the traits of a leader can be summarized to be: Mercy, strong muscular body, refined education, flexibility, good companionship, free spirit, having an ideal, ability to coexist, to have a goal in life and courage.

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