History 7 – The Islamic Story of Moses (Musa in Arabic)

The Islamic story of Moses states that he was born around in 1393 BCE in Egypt during a time when the Israelites were slaves of the Pharaoh (the Coptic culture is derived from Pharonic times). The Pharaoh didn’t let the Israelites worship God. They made the Israelites worship idols like them.

The Pharaoh at the time was told that a prophet would be born from the Israelites and that this prophet would be his downfall. Not wanting that to happen, the Pharaoh made a rule that every other year, all newborn Israelite boys would be killed.

Moses was born in a year where newborn Israelite boys were killed so his mother put him in a basket, and sent him down a river, praying that God would protect him. Ofcourse, Moses would always be protected by God, and was guided to the Egyptian queen who was bathing in the river. She picked up Moses and convinced the Pharaoh to let her raise Moses as her own.

Moses’s mother was in despair that she had lost her son but God would not let her stay in that state for long.  God made sure that Moses would not suckle on any other woman’s breast making the queen look for someone who could breastfeed him.  When Moses’s sister, Miriam, heard that her brother was safe and needed a wet nurse, she suggested a woman to the queen who happened to be her mother.   Baby Moses knew that this was his mother, and latched on.  The queen saw that Moses liked this “strange woman”, and made her his nanny.

Moses grew up in the palace with his mother as his caretaker. He learned  to read and write, everything a prince would need to know. By the time he was a young man, he was exceptionally strong and educated but he had a stutter which made him very self-conscious.

When Moses became a young man, he saw an Israelite in a fight with an Egyptian. The Israelite called on Moses for help. Moses went over and punched the Egyptian, killing him.  Moses was scared for his life, and fled Egypt.

Moses had no idea where he was going. He just ran away from Egypt.  His aimless escape led him to Madyan (or Midian in English). It is supposed to be located on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.  When he reached Madyan, he saw two women trying to lift a boulder that was blocking a well.  When Moses saw that, he offered to help lift the boulder and get water for them. The women expressed their gratitude to Moses, and then hurried home to tell their elderly father about him.  Their father told them to go find Moses and invite him to dinner.  Moses, who was tired and hungry, accepted the invitation and joined the women and their father for dinner.

At dinner, the women’s father told Moses that he planned to wed his daughters soon, and that if Moses worked for him for 8 years, he could marry one of his daughters. If he worked for 10 years, Moses could choose which daughter he wanted to marry. Moses, who wasn’t planning to go back to Egypt anytime soon, chose 10 years of work, and claimed one of the daughters, Zipporah, as his wife.

Moses started to miss his family, and since nothing stopped him from going to Egypt, he left with Zipporah.  On the way, they got lost in the middle of the night and saw a fire in the distance. Thinking that there would be people there to help them, they rode in the direction of the fire. The fire turned out to be God calling out to Moses. God told Moses to throw down his staff, and when Moses did, God turned the staff into a giant snake to prove that He was God.  Moses got scared and started to run away from the snake but God told him to come back, and not to be afraid of the snake.  Another miracle that God showed Moses to convince him that He was God was to turn his hand into a shining bright light when he touched his heart inside his shirt. God then told Moses to go talk to the Pharaoh, and convince him to free the Israelites, and remind him of the Sovereignty of God. Moses thought that this would never work because he had a stutter but God reassured him and said that he could ask his brother Aaron to help him.

When Moses arrived in Egypt, he called on Aaron to help him convince the Pharaoh to free the Israelites. Aaron agreed and headed to the palace with Moses.  Aaron told the Pharaoh to free the Israelites, and if he didn’t, he would be disobeying a command of God.  The Pharaoh was greatly angered with Moses.  The Pharaoh declared that he was god, and that he would never free the Israelites. To prove that God was more powerful than the Pharaoh, Moses challenged the Pharaoh and his court.  The Pharaoh declared that there would be a public duel between his magicians and Moses.

The Pharaoh’s magicians went first, casting down their staffs and ropes, and making it look like they were moving like snakes. When it was Moses’s turn, he threw down his staff which turned  into a snake larger than before and ate the magicians’ snakes on the items on the ground. The magicians, as well as all the onlookers, saw that God’s power was far superior. The magicians accepted Moses’s God as the One True God. The magicians repented, and God, being All Forgiving, forgave them.   The Pharaoh was infuriated that his magicians had been defeated in the duel in front of the public.

Moses and Aaron realized that the Pharaoh wasn’t going to free the Israelites anytime soon. So, they devised a plan to sneak the Israelites out of Egypt. In the dark of night, Aaron and Moses collected the Israelites and snuck out.

The next morning the guards discovered that the Israelites were gone and informed the Pharaoh. He was furious that Moses and Aaron had taken the Israelites. The Pharaoh created a search team, including himself, and set off in the direction the people went.

The Israelites were trapped at the edge of the Red Sea with the Pharaoh closing in behind them. God told Moses to hit his staff on the ground. When the staff hit the ground, the Red Sea parted in two, and Moses and the Israelites  were able to pass through.  The Pharaoh and his men also tried to pass through but the water closed on the Pharaoh and his men, drowning them.  It is said that the Pharaoh accepted Moses’s God before drowning.

After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites continued on to their Promised Land with Moses and Aaron.  They hadn’t brought much food when they escaped so God made sure that every morning when they woke up, there would be food on the ground for them. God also provided fresh springs of water for them to drinks.

But the Israelites were not grateful. Aaron and Moses kept trying to remind the people how much God had given them but were unsuccessful.  When the time came to take their Promised Land from the disbelievers, they refused.  The Israelites insisted that it was impossible. They claimed they wouldn’t succeed  because the disbelievers had a larger army.   Moses and Aaron reminded them that they would be protected by God like always. But they still refused.

As punishment for not obeying Him, God “cursed” the Israelites to wander the desert for forty years without a determined home.

While travelling across the desert, Moses saw a burning bush at the top of a hill called Mount Toor (now known as Mount Sinai). Moses recognized it as God wanting to talk to him, and left the Israelites with Aaron.  When Moses got to the top of the hill, God told him to write down what He dictated, which was the Torah (i.e. The Law). Moses finished inscribing the Torah on tablets after forty days and nights.

Moses was very happy that he had the Torah for the people. When he reached the bottom of the hill, he saw what the people were doing while he was away.  They had melted gold and constructed a golden calf to worship.  Moses was greatly angered that the people had slipped back into idol worship, and that Aaron had let them do this.  Aaron claimed that the people threatened him if he didn’t let them make the calf.

After wandering across the Sinai desert (in the Sinai Peninsula)for forty years with the Israelites, Moses finally died at the age of 120 years-old.  Before his death, he asked God if he could live for a little longer to lead the Israelites but God said no, and that it was his time.  Who can argue with God?

As you can see, Moses spent almost all of his life leading and helping the Israelites. In my opinion his biggest achievement in life was delivering the Torah, or the Law, to the Israelites. The fact that Moses asked God for more years to live to lead the Israelites just shows how dedicated he was to them.

Author: sophiaelahirpc

Part-time 9th Grade student in the Ron Paul Curriculum. Full-time teen writer living in Singapore.

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