Lessons from the Stories of the Quran— The Mother of Musa

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By Raiiq Ridwan

The Quran is the spring of our lives. If we are to take from this spring like the companions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam took from the spring, then we are promised to have a life that is better and more fulfilling and a hereafter that is safe and secure. A third of this spring from Allah is stories. Stories, which are meant to give us life through learning the lessons contained within them. So, we start off a series of articles deriving lessons from the stories of the Quran. As this is Muharram, the month in which Allah gave Musa alayhi salam and the children of Israel freedom from Firawn, we will start off with lessons from that story. However, it needs to be pointed out that the story of Musa alayhi salam is the most mentioned story in the Quran, and thus it would not do justice to the story through just one or two articles. This article will look at the story of the Mother of Musa alayha salam as she strove to save her child from almost imminent death, and derive lessons from that. We will only focus on the ayaat in Surah Qasas in the Quran, even though the story is mentioned in other places in the Quran as well.

7 We inspired Moses’ mother, saying, ‘Suckle him, and then, when you fear for his safety, put him in the river: do not be afraid, and do not grieve, for We shall return him to you and make him a messenger.’ 8 Pharaoh’s household picked him up––later to become an enemy and a source of grief for them: Pharaoh, Haman, and their armies were wrongdoers––9 and Pharaoh’s wife said, ‘Here is a joy to behold for me and for you! Do not kill him: he may be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son.’ They did not realize what they were doing. 10 Soon after, Moses’ mother felt a void in her heart––if We had not strengthened it to make her one of those who believe, she would have revealed everything about him––11 and she said to his sister, ‘Follow him.’ So she watched him from a distance, without them knowing. 12 We had ordained that he would refuse to feed from wet nurses. His sister approached them and said, ‘Shall I tell you about a household which could bring him up for you and take good care of him?’ 13 We restored him to his mother in this way, so that she might be comforted, not grieve, and know that God’s promise is true, though most of them do not know. [Quran 28:7-13]

Firawn saw a dream wherein he saw that a child from the slave class- the Children of Israel- would rise up and overthrow him. And after that, he started to murder every male child that was born to the Children of Israel. It was at a time like this that Musa alayhi salam was born. And in the midst of all of it, Allah chose this boy over all others to be miraculously saved. Thus, Allah sent His divine instructions to the mother of Musa alayhi salam.

Lesson One: Obey Allah, Put your heart at ease and Trust in His Promise

Allah gives two commands- breastfeed him and throw him into a basket and into the river, two pieces of counsel for the heart- do not be afraid and do not be sad, and two promises- that he will be returned and that he will be a Messenger. Allah gave two commands, one which made sense (breastfeeding), and one which apparently made no sense (throwing a child into the river!!?). The mother of Musa alayhi salam didn’t pick and choose. She obeyed her Lord regardless, and she was feeling apprehensive, which was normal, and thus Allah gave her two pieces of counsel, and two promises. The lesson we learn here is that despite what it might look like, in the hardest of times obeying Allah even if it looks and sounds “weird” is the way forward. Take the right decision based on what Allah says, and know that if you obey Allah there is nothing to be fearful about and nothing to be sad about, and that the promise of Allah is true, even if you do not see it at the moment. Did the mother of Musa have any idea that her son would even survive? Let alone becoming a Messenger and being returned to her?

Lesson Two: From the depths of darkness Allah can bring out light

Thousands of mothers would have cried because of the actions of Firawn. They must have made dua that Allah destroy this tyrant (they were believers of that time). And yet, Allah placed the boy who would wipe out the tyrant in the house of the tyrant itself. From the deepest darkest pits of kufr, the palace of Firawn, Allah brought out the light- Musa alayhi salam. The man who killed thousands of babies, couldn’t kill the one baby that was supposed to destroy him. When Allah protects someone, none can harm him, even if the world may try. In fact, Allah made it in such a way, that the wife of Firawn, Asiyah alayha salam was the one who fell in love with the child, and adopted him as a son. Allah answered the dua of thousands of mothers, of millions of Israelites trapped in slavery through this. His plans are unique, His plans are beyond our comprehension, but He is the best of planners. When in the depths of darkness, remember that Allah can bring out light even from there, and that He has a plan

Lesson Three: When doubt creeps in, keep a plan B but still trust in Allah

The heart of the mother of Musa had gone cold, as the heart of any mother would. She was about to reveal everything just so that she might be able to see her child once more. This is an example of illogical feelings. Yes she may be able to see her child but that would mean death for sure! So, she chooses the next possible plan, which was logical and yet would soothe her heart. She sends her daughter to look after her brother- to follow the basket through the river. The sister of Musa alayhi salam, Myriam, watched almost in horror as the basket was taken downstream and right into the lion’s den, to the palace of Firawn! She went near to find out what the situation was like, and found out that Musa alayhi salam was crying his life out as he was hungry but refused all of the wet nurses. She went in and offered the services of her mother. Trusting in Allah, and with the plan B, the mother of Musa made sure that her child would remain safe

Lesson Four: Allah not only keeps His Promise, but gives more

Allah promised the mother of Musa that she would be reunited with her son. She was given two commands and she fulfilled them. And then, Allah out of His Mercy and Benevolence, reunited the mother with her child. Instead of a life trying to keep her son from being killed, now she was protected by the same people who were supposed to kill her. Moreover, she was now an employee in the Royal Palace, and was being paid to do what she would have done anyway- take care of her son! Allah promised her the return of her child, but Allah not only fulfilled His promise, but gave her even more. As Allah says in the Quran, “Whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make a way for him from every difficulty, and provide for Him from sources He could never have imagined. Whoever puts their trust in Allah, then He is sufficient for them.” [Quran 65:2-3]

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