Stories of the Pious: Hazrat Musa (as), Hazrat Shoaib (as)
Before narrating the legend of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) and Bani Israil, we would like to narrate about Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) and his nation.
Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.), the prophet of Allah, was approximately 250 years old. The holy Quran mentions about Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) thus:
"And to Madyan (We sent) their brother Shoaib. He said, O my people! Serve Allah, you have no god other than Him. Clear proof has indeed come to you from your Lord. Therefore give full measure and weight. And do not diminish to men their things and do not make mischief in the land after its reform. This is better for you if you are believers."
Madyan is located in present day Palestine. Its inhabitants were mostly traders. They led a very happy and a prosperous life. Due to Allah’s grace and endowments, they were very wealthy. But instead of thanking Allah for His bounties, they turned greedy and started cheating and betraying people in business. They used to cheat in weighing goods i.e. when they sold goods they weighed less whereas while buying they asked for more. Fraud and deceit were commonplace and the one who was more expert in this field was considered more intelligent and wise.
It is not a coincidence, that even today the person who is more deceitful and fraudulent is considered to be wise while honest and forthright people are deemed as foolish.
Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) prohibited the people from committing such contemptible deeds, and also reminded them about Allah’s chastisement. But people mocked at him and said, "You want us to worship as you worship? You expect us to leave the religion of our forefathers? You expect us to employ some other method in our trade? You want us to deal honestly and suffer losses? Never! Certainly we will never heed you! Since you have become old and also have children, we pardon you. Else we would certainly have stoned you to death’!
However, Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) continued propagating, notwithstanding the severe opposition. Finally they drove him out of the city. When Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) was convinced that people were not willing to listen to his exhortations and only wanted to continue in their oppressive and mischievous ways, he raised his hands and beseeched, ‘O Allah! Send your chastisement upon them’.
Even today, we see people innovate new customs and traditions, which lead them towards sin. They are deviated from religion and when a religious scholar tells them to avoid such customs and rituals, they retort, ‘Should we abandon the customs of our forefathers?!’
In any case, Allah answered the prayers of Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) and an earthquake destroyed the inhabitants of Madyan. After the destruction, he (a.s.) was appointed for guidance in another region near Madyan. These people were also like those of Madyan, and would say, "You are human like us, and you are a liar! Indeed if you are true, then tell your Allah that a part of the sky should fall on us and destroy us."
After tremendous efforts and propagation, when these people did not discard their evil ways, Allah produced intense heat in that area and consequently, wherever there was water, it began boiling. This (form of punishment) continued for seven days. At last a piece of cloud was seen in the sky and people gathered under its shadow, as it was very cool. But soon by the order of Allah, the cloud started raining fire at the disobedient nation, and everything turned into ashes.
BIRTH OF HAZRAT MOOSA (A.S.)
After the expiry of Hazrat Yaqoob (a.s.) and Hazrat Yusuf (a.s.), the Egyptian kingdom fell in the hands of other rulers who were called as Firaun (the Rameses dynasty).
The Israelites were very large in number, and their population multiplied by the day. This made the Firaun very apprehensive, and he sensed danger from the increasing number of Israelites. So he began persecuting and killing them in order to decrease their numbers. His oppression and tyranny knew no bounds.
One day, an astrologer prophesied to Firaun that a child would be born in his kingdom who would destroy his government. Firaun was terrified, ordered his spies and agents to slay without hesitation every newborn male infant in his kingdom. All female infants were spared. But who dare destroy him whom God saves! Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) was indeed born. The details are known that his mother put him in a basket and disposed it in the river Nile. But lo and behold Allah’s Power! Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) reached the palace of Firaun and was brought up over there itself! The most amazing thing is that not only was he raised in the royal environs, he even had his mother invited to feed and suckle him. The story goes that any wet nurse who was invited to suckle him, was rejected by the child (Hazrat Moosa (a.s.)) himself as he refused to be fed by them. Ultimately, his sister who had followed him right from the banks of the Nile to the palace, requested Janab-e-Aasiya that she would get a nurse who could feed the child and thus, the mother of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) gained entry into the palace of Firaun.
THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT
One day Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) was proceeding to the palace of Firaun, when he saw two people engaged in physical assault and fighting. One was an Egyptian and the other an Israeli. The latter sought help from Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) who duly responded by punching the Egyptian in the face. Consequently, the Egyptian fell flat on his face and died. The next day when Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) was passing again from the same path, he saw the same Israeli fighting with another man. On spotting Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), again he sought help from the latter. Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) reprimanded him saying, ‘You look like a chronic combatant.’ Yet, Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) stepped forward to help him but he misunderstood that he (a.s.) was going to attack him (Israeli). On seeing this advancement, he remarked, ‘O Moosa! Will you kill me today like you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ On hearing this, the Egyptian realised instantly that it was Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) who had killed the Egyptian the other day. When the word spread, Firaun’s police set out to arrest him. But divine mercy once again engulfed Hazrat Moosa (a.s.). The treasurer of Firaun, who already believed in Allah’s Prophet, albeit in a concealed manner, immediately went to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) and informed him that ‘this nation (Egyptians) will slay you. I advise you to leave this country immediately.’
THE MARRIAGE OF HAZRAT MOOSA (A.S.)
Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) secretively escaped from Egypt and away from the eyes of the people. When he turned towards Madyan, and was not knowing its route, he said to himself, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me.’ (After a journey of a few days), when he reached (while he was hungry and thirsty) the city of Madyan at its well (which was outside the city), he saw a crowd of people who were making their animals drink from the well water. Behind them were two young girls who were with their herd, waiting for their turn. Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) enquired, ‘Why are you standing over here?’ They replied, ‘Till all the shepherds don’t finish with quenching their herds, we cannot give water to our animals and our father (Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.)) is a very old man. On this, Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) came near the well and took their bucket from them. Everyone moved aside. He drew water from the well, gave water to their animals and then went and sat on in the shade of a tree. (For details, refer to Surah Qasas, verse 22 onwards).
THE METHOD OF PROPHETS’ SUPPLICATION IN THE STATE OF HUNGER
As Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) was starving for quite a few days, the intensity of hunger pangs made him listless. He supplicated,
"O Lord! I am in need of the goodness that You have sent on me."
Hardly a few moments had lapsed when one of the two girls who had gone to their house, returned, her gaze down on account of modesty, and said to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), "My father has called you to reward you for the trouble that you took for us." Finally, when Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) came to him (Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.)) and related his condition for him, the latter pacified him, saying, "Don’t worry. You have gained reprieve from the clutches of the oppressors (because Firaon’s regime did not extend to the city of Madyan."
One of the daughters of Hazrat Shoaib suggested, "Father, employ him for he is strong as well as trustworthy." Hazrat Shoaib (a.s.) asked surprisingly, "You have witnessed his strength at the well. But how can you vouch for his honesty and trustworthiness?" The daughter replied, "When he started coming towards our house, he said: ‘I am walking ahead and you walk behind me and you guide me towards your home. We are from that household where the males do not look at the females."
What has happened to our sense of honour that we do not consider as unlawful to look at Na-mehram women and over and above this, we set free our female members to be viewed by others!! On the contrary we claim: Our intention is pure. There is no need for any veil (hijab). After committing such sins, can we really call ourselves as followers of Prophets (a.s.)?
Hazrat Shoaib said to Hazrat Moosa (a.s.), ‘It is my desire that I get you married with one of my daughters (Safura) on the condition that for eight years you will tend my cattle. If you wish you can stay with me for ten years’. Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) accepted the offer and married Safura. For eight years, he tended Hazrat Shoaib’s (a.s.) cattle, as per the latter’s condition.