By Dr A Q Khan
December 19, 2016
If one goes through all the volumes of the Masnavi by Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, one
notices that he has discussed every imaginable topic – the Almighty, the
prophets, djinns, human beings, animals and many more. Of the many prophets, he only discussed
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Hazrat Musa (AS), Hazrat Isa (AS) and Hazrat Ibrahim
(AS) – peace be upon them. In my last column, I discussed what was written
about Hazrat Ibrahim (AS). In this
column, I would like to write about Hazrat Musa (AS).
Since very few Pakistanis read the Quran translated
into a language they understand, most of them don’t have true knowledge about
what is written about Islam, the prophets and divine edicts. In these columns I
try to write about our religious heritage and the golden principles that have
been laid out.
Maulana Rumi has discussed the birth of
Hazrat Musa (AS), his upbringing in the Pharaoh’s palace, his being taken care
of by his own mother, his prophethood, dialogues with the Pharoah, the tryst
between him and the Pharaoh, the defeat of Pharaoh’s magicians and many other
incidents. Rumi has frequently referred to Quranic verses, especially Surah
Taha, which contains the story of Hazrat Musa (AS) and the Pharaoh. Sura Taha
also mentions the journey of Hazrat Musa (AS) and his clan and seeing fire far
away on the mountain.
In this verse, the Almighty addresses
Hazrat Musa (AS) in these words: “Has the story of Musa reached you? When he
saw a fire he said to his family, ‘Hold
on! I have just perceived a fire; perhaps I will bring a brand from it for you
or I will find some guidance at the fire about the way to follow’.” (Explanation: This happened when Musa
(AS), after years of exile in Midain, was on his way back to Egypt accompanied
by his wife whom he had married there. It appears that this occurred on a
winter night. Hazrat Musa (AS) was crossing the southern part of the Sinai
Peninsula when he saw a fire at some distance. He decided to venture there in
the hope that he would either be able to obtain some fire that would keep his
family warm during the night, or at least gain directions for the journey
ahead. Ironically, he went to that spot expecting to find something ordinary
and commonplace – the way to his destination in this world – only to find a way
that was far more valuable – the way of success and felicity in the Hereafter.)
“When he came to it, a voice called out:
‘Musa! Verily I am your Lord! Take off your shoes. You are in the sacred
valley, Tuwa! I Myself have chosen you; therefore, give ear to what is
revealed. Verily I am Allah. There is no god beside Me. So serve Me and
establish prayers to remember Me. The hour of resurrection is coming. I have
willed to keep the time of its coming hidden so that everyone may be
recompensed in accordance with his effort. Let him who does not believe in it
and follows his lust not turn your thought away from it, lest you are ruined.
And what is in your right hand, O Musa?’
“Musa answered, ‘This is my staff. I lean
on it (when I walk) and with it I beat down leaves for my flock, and I have
many other uses for it.’ He said, ‘Musa, throw it down.’ So he threw it down,
and lo! It was a rapidly moving snake. Then He said, ‘Seize it and have no
fear. We shall restore it to its former state. And place your hand in your
armpit, it will come forth shining white without blemish. This is another Sign of Allah, for We
shall show you some of Our greatest Signs. And go to [the] Pharaoh now for he
has transgressed all bounds’.” (20:9-24) (Explanation: although Hazrat Musa
(AS)’s hand would become as bright as the sun, this would happen without
causing him any harm.)
After the above-mentioned verses, Maulana
Rumi mentions the divine edict: “Indeed, there is ease (comfort) after
hardship. Most certainly there is ease after hardship.” (94:5,6)
Rumi further points out that “when Musa
advanced towards the burning bush, the bush said, I am the water of Kausar.
Take off thy shoes and come. (20:12) Fear not my fire for I am sweet water.
Good fortune and the seat of honour are yours. You are a lustrous pearl, a ruby
of the mine, the soul of place and placelessness, you are without equal in this
age, how can other beings compare with you?” (Divan 45: A 1:6)
Rumi mentions another Quranic account of
the life of Hazrat Musa (AS) and often refers to it as the epiphany on Mount Sinai.
“The Quran relates that when Musa came to the place appointed by Allah, he
asked Allah to reveal Himself so that he could see Him face to face. Allah
replied, ‘Thou shalt not see Me but look upon the mountain, if it remains firm
in its place, then thou shalt see Me. And when Allah revealed himself to the
mountain, He crushed it to dust.’ Musa fell down unconscious and when he
recovered his senses, he said, ‘Glory to the Almighty Allah – To Him I turn in
repentance and I am the first of believers’.” (7:144-145)
Maulana Rumi says that in the revelations
of Allah, hidden things are revealed by means of their opposites. Allah
certainly has no opposite and He remains hidden. ‘The light of Allah (Nur)
has no opposite within existence by means of which it might be made manifest.
Therefore, our eyes cannot see Him but He sees everything’ (6:104). He asks us
to understand this from Hazrat Musa (AS) at Mount Sinai.
Rumi also describes the arguments between
Musa and the Pharaoh, interspersed with his own explanations. However, the
whole episode has been explained in such simple and eloquent terms in the Quran
that further explanations are hardly necessary.