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The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (10):
The Israelites and Moses in Post-Pharaoh Egypt: The Two Appointments of Moses at Mount Al-Tur

 

The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (10):

The Israelites and Moses in Post-Pharaoh Egypt: The Two Appointments of Moses at Mount Al-Tur

Published in December 28, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction:

1- Moses had two appointments with Almighty God at Mount Al-Tur of Sinai, Egypt, as per the Quranic story of Moses. The first appointment came as a surprise to Moses when God talked to him for the first time to make him a prophet with the mission of asking Pharaoh to set the Israelites free and let them go. The second appointment was after the death of Pharaoh and making the Israelites as temporary successors in the land of Egypt. Moses was called by God to return to Mount Al-Tur to receive the Torah Tablets, and Moses went there while leaving the Israelites behind at the River Nile Valley.

2- We provide some details in the points below.

 

Firstly: the first appointment:

1- The Quran briefly asserts the following about this first appointment: "Has the story of Moses reached you? When His Lord called out to him in the Sacred Valley of Tuwa. "Go to Pharaoh - he has transgressed."" (79:15-17). This Sacred Valley of Tuwa is by Mount Al-Tur, where God talked to Moses for the very first time, and God describes Mount Al-Tur, the Valley of Tuwa, and the areas surrounding it as sanctified/holy/sacred as they witnessed the voice of the Lord God.

2- Again, the Quran briefly asserts the following about this first appointment: "And mention in the Book Moses. He was devoted. He was a messenger and a prophet. And We called him from the right side of the Mount, and brought him near in communication." (19:51-53). Within the context of praising Moses, God mentions the location where He talked to Moses; i.e., at the right side of the Mount Al-Tur.

3- We find more details in the following Quranic context: "When Moses said to his family, "I have glimpsed a fire. I will bring you some news from it; or bring you a firebrand, that you may warm yourselves." Then, when he reached it, he was called: "Blessed is He who is within the fire, and He who is around it, and glorified be God, Lord of the Worlds. O Moses, it is I, God, the Almighty, the Wise. Throw down your staff." But when he saw it quivering, as though it were a demon, he turned around not looking back. "O Moses, do not fear; the messengers do not fear in My presence. But whoever has done wrong, and then substituted goodness in place of evil. I am Forgiving and Merciful. Put your hand inside your pocket, and it will come out white, without blemish-among nine miracles to Pharaoh and his people, for they are sinful people."" (27:7-12). The word ''family'' in 27:7 indicates Moses' wife, as they left Madian to return to Egypt, and they were walking through the dark night and saw a fire at the horizon near Mount Al-Tur. Moses said to his wife to remain in her place till he would return with fire to warm them, but instead of finding people around the fire, God addressed him and blessed the place, showing him the miracle of the staff turning into a serpent and the miracle of his bright, white hand, and telling him never to have fear. 

4- The Quranic Chapter 28 begins with the story of Moses and Moses' Pharaoh, and within its context, we read about Moses getting married to one of the two daughters of the good man in Madian in return for working for him for 8 or 10 years. After fulfilling this period of time, Moses decided to return to Egypt with his wife, and as he passed through Sinai, by Mount Al-Tur, we read the following description of this first appointment of Moses with God: "When Moses had completed the term, and departed with his family, he noticed a fire by the side of the Mount. He said to his family, "Stay here, I have glimpsed a fire. Perhaps I can bring you some information from there, or an ember from the fire, that you may warm yourselves." When he reached it, he was called from the right side of the valley, at the Blessed Spot, from the bush: "O Moses, it is I, God, the Lord of the Worlds. Throw down your staff." And when he saw it wiggling, as if it were possessed, he turned his back to flee, and did not look back. "O Moses, come forward, and do not fear, you are perfectly safe. Put your hand inside your pocket, and it will come out white, without blemish. And press your arm to your side, against fear. These are two proofs from your Lord, to Pharaoh and his retinue members. They are truly sinful people."" (28:29-32). We note here that the holy place is described as (the Blessed Spot) and that Moses felt afraid by the signs/miracles he saw, as he was commanded to face Pharaoh and his retinue members.    

5- We find more details in the following Quranic context: "Has the story of Moses reached you? When he saw a fire, he said to his family, "Stay; I have noticed a fire; Perhaps I can bring you a torch therefrom, or find some guidance by the fire." Then, when he reached it, he was called, "O Moses. I - I am your Lord. Take off your shoes. You are in the Sacred Valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you, so listen to what is revealed.  I - I am God. There is no God but I. So serve Me, and practice the prayer for My remembrance. The Hour is coming - but I keep it almost hidden - so that each soul will be paid for what it endeavors. And do not let him who denies it and follows his desire turn you away from it, lest you fall. And what is that in your right-hand, O Moses?" He said, "This is my staff. I lean on it, and herd my sheep with it, and I have other uses for it." He said, "Throw it, O Moses." So he threw it-thereupon it became a moving serpent. He said, "Take hold of it, and do not fear. We will restore it to its original condition. And press your hand to your side; it will come out white, without a blemish-another sign. That We may show you some of Our greatest signs. Go to Pharaoh; He has transgressed."" (20:9-24). We note here that God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was in the Sacred Valley of Tuwa as the one chosen by God to be His messenger/prophet, who was to obey the commands of His Lord God, that the Hour is drawing near, and that Moses felt afraid of the miracles/signs. The dialogue went on between God and Moses in 20:25-36 as God answered the prayers of Moses by making his brother, Aaron, as a prophet/messenger with him and by vowing to protect them both from the cruel might and savagery of Pharaoh.

6- From the above, it is clear that this is the last mention of Moses' wife in the Quran; she and her husband were having a herd of sheep (to consume meat and milk) with them during their passage through Sinai, and Moses had his staff for many uses as he had not horses or camels in this journey. Moses was wearing shoes to protect his feet as he traveled on foot. We notice how Moses was granted miracles/signs to show them to Pharaoh. After the destruction of Pharaoh and his people, who drowned in the Red Sea, the rise of the Israelites as successors in the land of Egypt, for a while before heading to the Promised Land, and the destruction of Quaroon as the ground caved in on him, Moses was commanded by God to return to Mount Al-Tur in Sinai again for the second appointment to receive the Torah Tablets.  

 

Secondly: the second appointment:

1- God says the following about this second appointment: "And We appointed to Moses thirty nights, and completed them with ten; and thus the time appointed by his Lord was forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron: "Take my place among my people, and be upright, and do not follow the way of the corrupters." And when Moses came to Our appointment, and his Lord spoke to him, he said, "My Lord, allow me to look and see You." He said, "You will not see Me, but look at the Mount; if it stays in its place, you will see Me." But when his Lord manifested Himself to the Mount, He turned it into dust, and Moses fell down unconscious. Then, when he recovered, he said, "Glory be to you, I repent to you, and I am the first of the believers." He said, "O Moses, I have chosen you over all people for My messages and for My Words. So take what I have given you, and be one of the thankful." And We inscribed for him in the Tablets all kinds of enlightenments, and decisive explanation of all things." Hold fast to them, and exhort your people to adopt the best of them. I will show you the fate of the sinners." I will turn away from My Verses those who behave proudly in the land without justification. Even if they see every sign, they will not believe in it; and if they see the path of guidance, they will not adopt it for a path; and if they see the path of misguidance, they will adopt it for a path. That is because they denied Our Verses, and paid no attention to them. Those who deny Our verses and the meeting of the Hereafter - their deeds will come to nothing. Will they be repaid except according to what they used to do?" (7:142-147).

2- We note that the duration of the second appointment was 40 nights and NOT 40 days; this indicates that God talked to Moses only by night and not within daylight.

3- Before Moses' leaving the Israelites in the River Nile Valley to head for Mount Al-Tur, he deputized his brother Aaron to lead them during his absence, while advising him not to follow the way of the corrupters. We infer that after the destruction of Quaroon, Moses became the leader of the Israelites and he deputized his brother to fill in his place until his return from Mount Al-Tur in Sinai. We note that there were corrupters or sinners among the Israelites who wealth, authority, and power, maybe they were the followers of Quaroon, and Moses warned Aaron against obeying such corrupters.     

4- When Moses reached Mount Al-Tur for the second appointment, he was very eager to see God after he experienced God's talking to him at the same holy site: "...And God spoke to Moses directly." (4:164). Moses felt he had the 'right' to see God after all the signs/miracles he witnessed, but God refused his request; Moses (and all human beings of course) will NEVER see God in this world nor in the Hereafter: "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision. He is the Subtle, the Expert." (6:103). When God manifested Himself to the Mount and Moses was struck and fell unconscious, and he apologized for daring to make such a request. God told him to be thankful for being chosen by Him to receive His message and to listen to His Voice directly. God's inspiration to Moses to guide him as a prophet in Egypt as he faced Pharaoh differed – in our own view – from God's talking to him directly at Mount Al-Tur. The guiding inspiration is exemplified in instances within these verses: "And We inspired Moses: "Throw your staff." And at once, it swallowed what they were faking." (7:117); "So Moses felt apprehensive within himself. We said, "Do not be afraid, you are the uppermost. Now throw down what is in your right hand - it will swallow what they have crafted. What they have crafted is only a magician's trickery. But the magician will not succeed, no matter what he does."" (20:67-69); "And We inspired Moses and his brother, "Settle your people in Egypt, and make your homes places of worship, and perform the prayer, and give good news to the believers."" (10:87); "And We inspired Moses: "Travel with My servants by night. You will be followed."" (26:52); "We inspired Moses: "Strike the sea with your staff." Whereupon it parted, and each part was like a huge hill." (26:63).

5- Moses received the Torah Tablets at Mount Al-Tur, and God commanded him (and the Israelites) to adhere to its better details and explanations as best as they can. The pious ones among all human beings are of two types (in Paradise) as per the Quranic Chapter 56: the Forerunners and those on the Right; the formers are pious ones who have not confined themselves to daily prayers as they have performed additional prayers, especially by night, and they have been altruists who preferred others to themselves even if they themselves were needy, whereas the latters are pious ones of a lower rank, who have been repentant ones who endeavored to perform as many good deeds as possible to atone for their sins.

6- Both types of the pious people will see the fate and destruction of sinners who have been arrogant, haughty, tyrannical, aggressive, and unjust; i.e., those who have chosen misguidance/disbelief intentionally, rejected God's Word, and denied the Last Day, and God has made them – as per choices made by them – be distracted away from the Righteous Path of the Truth and He rendered their good deeds null and void.  

7- God said to Moses and the Israelites: "...I will show you the fate of the sinners." (7:145). Who were those sinners? Where were their houses? Did the Israelites see those sinners and enter into their houses? We later on provide possible answers to all these questions.


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