Domestic strife is sometimes more dangerous than external aggression. When a family or community is involved in internecine feuds it affects the hearts and minds of the people and it becomes more difficult to fence it in than to fence out an external aggressor. What was the stand of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) in respect of his own people, Bani Isra’il?
The Fourfold Stand of Moses
It is pertinent to ask here: what was the stand of the Prophet Moses as one who called to the way of Allah and as a reformer, in respect of Bani Isra’il?
The answer which the Qur’an gives is that he did take a stand vis-a-vis Bani Isra’il. We can draw useful conclusions by that study and gain knowledge of the principles of inviting to the way of Allah; how we should address members of our family or community and what should be our mode of address if we have occasion to address’ an enemy.
It will also be clear from this study that one who calls to the way of Allah is such first and last; whether he is addressing close relations or an enemy, the idea of inviting to the way of Allah is uppermost in his mind – whatever the conditions and whoever he addresses. The purpose of inviting to the way of Allah will always be before him and whatever he may say, the aim will be how he can convince the addressee and prepare him to accept the truth? He will not touch any point which would jeopardize his mission.
The mission which was entrusted to Moses (peace be upon him) was of a special nature because of the peculiar conditions prevailing at that time and the circumstances in which he was born and brought up.
Difference Between Prophethood & Political Leadership
There are chances of misunderstanding the second mission of the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) i.e. to free Bani Isra’il. It is desirable that the reader should have a clear idea about it. Whoever in our time would have taken up this mission, political considerations would have dominated his mind and he would have spoken in political language.
He would have been full of patriotic fervor and talked about rights and demands and argued about them.
It is, no doubt, correct that Fir`awn had enslaved Bani Isra’il and oppressed them. The Glorious Qur’an has vividly described, with its matchless eloquence, the sea of troubles in which they were placed:
And (remember) when We delivered you from Fir`awn’s folk, who were afflicting you with dreadful torment, slaying your sons and sparing your women. That was a tremendous trial from your Lord. (Al-Baqarah 2:49)
Truly, Fir`awn exalted himself in the earth and made its people castes. A tribe among them he oppressed, killing their sons and sparing their women. Lot he was of those who work corruption. (Al-Qasas 28:4)
Moses and Bani lsra’il
Anybody who had come forward to defend the people who were being victimized and tried to free them from the clutches of a tyrant, surely would have been full of patriotic zeal and national pride and he would have talked about rights and demands. It is common knowledge that the language of rights and demands is different from the language of the Prophets, as are its implications.
But the point towards which I want to draw your particular attention is that the Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, like other prophets was a Messenger with whom “Allah spoke directly” (An-Nisaa’ 4:164) and was first and foremost one who called to the way of Allah. His mission was to call people to the true way, beliefs and faith.
Think over these verses and see how Moses kept to his position of inviting to the way of Allah, from beginning to end, with the guidance of Allah. He did not allow national pride, patriotism or the will to protest (against repression and denial of rights) to interfere in his chief mission.
He was in a position in which an ordinary person would forget everything, and his zeal for national pride would get the upper hand and he would start speaking in the language of political leaders. But the call which the Prophet Moses gave to Fira`wn was for belief in Allah.
He explained to him the religious truths and reminded rum of the dispensation of Allah in regard to former communities.
The article is excerpted from the book “Inviting to the Way of Allah”, by Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, Translated by Qazi Abdul Hamid, published by Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. and UK Islamic Academy, 1996/1416 H.