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The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land


The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (14):

The Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt into the Promised Land


Published in January 3, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy




1- When he became the Potiphar of Egypt, Joseph brought into Egypt his father Jacob/Israel and his brothers, and they settled in Egypt for the rest of their lives (see 12:93-100). The twelve Israelite tribes begot several generations for some time, as they flourished during the era of the invading Hyksos kings who occupied and ruled Egypt at the time. We conclude from the Quranic story of Joseph in the Quranic Chapter 12 that Joseph was a contemporary of a Hyksos king, and not an Egyptian Pharaoh, as the context of the story includes a king whose character differs a great deal from the Egyptian Pharaoh in the story of Moses (presumably from the Ramses dynasty). Not only was this difference in titles (king as opposed to Pharaoh), but also in the fact that the tyranny of the Hyksos king was of 'milder' type in comparison with Moses' Pharaoh's tyranny. Hence, Moses' Pharaoh did not like the fact that the Israelites were followers of the Hyksos and that they had their own religion (i.e., the religion of Abraham). Of course, the Israelites practiced the Ancient Egyptian religion, but they remained influenced by the religion of Abraham that made them never deify Pharaoh. This drove Moses' Pharaoh to cast doubt on their loyalty to him and to inflict severe persecution on them. Moses' message to Pharaoh was to allow the Israelites to go away with him to leave Egypt, as they were destined to settle in the Promised Land. Eventually, Moses' Pharaoh drowned in the Red Sea along with his troops, regime, and deep-state men, and the Israelites were made successors in the land of Egypt temporarily, and this period of time is mentioned only in the Quran and not in history books written by men. After a while, Moses passed the Red Sea again with his people and through Sinai so as to head for Palestine.       

2- Thus, as per the Quran, the Israelites passed the sea twice; the first time was when Moses' Pharaoh chased them; God says in the Quran: "And We delivered the Israelites across the sea. Pharaoh and his troops pursued them, defiantly and aggressively. Until, when he was about to drown, he said, "I believe that there is no God except the One the Israelites believe in, and I am of those who submit."" (10:90). After this first passage, they returned back to the River Nile Valley as successors in the land of Egypt for a while, and then, God commanded them to move to the Promised Land. This led to their second passage of the sea into Sinai to head to what has come to be known now as Palestine. God says in the Quran: "And We delivered the Israelites across the sea. And when they came upon a people who were devoted to some statues of theirs, they said, "O Moses, make for us a god, as they have gods." He said, "You are truly an ignorant people." "What these people are concerned with is perdition, and their deeds are based on falsehoods." He said, "Shall I seek for you a god other than Allah, when He has favored you over all other people?" Remember how We saved you from Pharaoh's people, who subjected you to the worst of torments - killing your sons and sparing your women. In that was a tremendous trial from your Lord." (7:138-141).

3- From 7:138-141, we conclude that the vast majority of the Israelites had been influenced by the Pharaonic Ancient Egyptian religion; once they passed the Red Sea with Moses for the second time, they came across a Pharaonic temple that made them feel a certain nostalgia for the religion on which they were brought up and which  they have practiced all their lives. This drove them to ask Moses to carve a god for them! Moses refused, of course, and he reminded them of God's bounties and favors bestowed on them and how He delivered them from the severe persecution of Pharaoh. 

4- This wretched beginning of the exodus was a harbinger of more troubles that the Israelites would cause to Moses during their passage through Sinai, despite the fact that God gave them many signs and bounties when they were accompanied by Moses at the time. We provide some details about this in the points below.


Firstly: in Sinai:

1- In Sinai, the Israelites asked Moses to be allowed to see God and God punished them with thunderbolts that struck them unconscious, and then they were revived to be allowed to repent, and God pardoned them, so that they may be appreciative. God says in the Quran: "And recall that you said, "O Moses, we will not believe to you unless we see God plainly." Thereupon the thunderbolt struck you, as you looked on. Then We revived you after your death, so that you may be appreciative." (2:55-56).

2- During their passage through Sinai, God provided them with water, clouds to protect them against the hot sun, and with quail and manna honey. God says in the Quran: "And recall when Moses prayed for water for his people. We said, "Strike the rock with your staff." Thereupon twelve springs gushed out from it, and each tribe recognized its drinking-place. "Eat and drink from God's provision, and do not corrupt the earth with disobedience."" (2:60); "And We shaded you with clouds, and We sent down to you manna and quails: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you." They did not wrong Us, but they used to wrong their own souls." (2:57); "We divided them into twelve tribal communities. And We inspired Moses, when his people asked him for something to drink: "Strike the rock with your staff." Whereupon twelve springs gushed from it. Each group recognized its drinking-place. And We shaded them with clouds, and We sent down upon them manna and quails: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you." They did not wrong Us, but they used to wrong their own selves." (7:160).

3- It seems that the Israelites did not like, or got bored with, manna and quail; they longed for the beans, seeds, and veggies of Egypt, contained in the Egyptian dish named (Koshary), now a popular dish in restaurants of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, and its ingredients are lentils, rice, onions, garlic, and beans. Moses expressed wonder at their request to have food items other than manna and quail bestowed to them by God. God says in the Quran: "And recall when you said, "O Moses, we cannot endure one kind of food, so call to your Lord to produce for us of what the earth grows: of its beans, and its cucumbers, and its garlic, and its lentils, and its onions." He said, "Would you substitute worse for better? Go down to Egypt, where you will have what you asked for."..." (2:61). We tend to think that the Egyptian word (Koshary) is the origin of the Jewish term (Kosher).

4- God commanded the Israelites to settle for a while within one village of Sinai where there were plentiful food and luxuries, and He commanded them to enter it while prostrating humbly before the Lord God while feeling grateful and thankful for His bounties and asking Him to forgive them for their sins. The believing ones among them obeyed the divine commands, but the unjust, disobedient ones changed the words in defiance and arrogance and demanded to have the Egyptian (Koshary). God punished those defiant sinners by one of the torments inflicted on Pharaoh and his people before; namely, the plague that filled their skins with painful pus-filled boils. God says in the Quran: "And recall that We said, "Enter this village, and eat plentifully from it whatever you wish; but enter the gate humbly, and say, 'Pardon.' We will forgive your sins, and give increase to the virtuous." But the unjust ones among them substituted words other than those given to them, so We sent down on the unjust ones a plague from heaven, because of their wicked behavior." (2:58-59); "And it was said to them, "Settle this village, and eat therein whatever you wish, and speak modestly, and enter the gate in humility - We will forgive your sins, and will promote the righteous." But the unjust ones among them substituted other words for the words given to them; so We sent down upon them a plague from the sky, because of their injustice." (7:161-162).  

5- During such events, there was some people within the Israelites during Moses' lifetime who adhered to the Truth and are guided by it and judged fairly and equitably with it: "Among the people of Moses is a community that guides by the Truth, and thereby does justice." (7:159).



1- When the time came to enter into the Promised Land, the Israelites were reluctant to obey the command of the Lord God, and Moses preached them while reminding them of God's bounties bestowed on them, unlike any bounties granted to anyone else before them, and how they ruled Egypt for a while as successors in the land and had prophets from amongst them; i.e., Joseph, Moses, and Aaron. God says in the Quran: "When Moses said to his people, "O my people, remember God's bounties upon you, when He placed prophets among you, and made you kings, and gave you what He never gave any other people."" (5:20).

2- These words of Moses constituted a preliminary introduction to God's command that they enter into the Promised Land and not to be among the losers. God says in the Quran: ""O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned for you, and do not turn back, lest you return as losers."" (5:21).  

3- Because the Israelites were used to depending on Moses and his staff and because they lived within the terror and intimidation of Moses' Pharaoh, they were cowards who reluctantly and stubbornly refused to enter into Palestine as they feared its tyrannical inhabitants. God says in the Quran: "They said, "O Moses, there are tyrannical people in it; we will not enter it until they leave it. If they leave it, we will be entering."" (5:22).

4- Not all of the Israelites were cowards, though; some believing persons were courageous enough like these two men mentioned in this verse: "Two men of those who feared in piety, but whom God had blessed, said, "Go at them by the gate; and when you have entered it, you will prevail. And put your trust in God, if you are believers."" (5:23).

5- Yet, the vast majority of the Israelites took the decision not to enter into the Holy Land, as they feared its tyrannical inhabitants, and they asked Moses and God to fight instead of them as they would stay where they were and would not move at all. God says in the Quran: "They said, "O Moses, we will not enter it, ever, as long as they are in it. So go ahead, you and your Lord, and fight. We are staying right here."" (5:24).

6- We notice in 5:24 how their cowardice was mixed with insulting God; when Moses despaired of them, he complained to the Lord God while imploring Him not to make himself and his brother, Aaron, among the unjust sinners. God says in the Quran: "He said, "My Lord! I have control only over myself and my brother, so separate between us and between the wicked people."" (5:25).

7- Hence, there was a separation between Moses, Aaron, and the believing people among the Israelites on the one hand and the vast majority of the Israelites, on the other hand, who had been defiant, disobedient sinners. Those unjust sinners were punished by God by never allowing them to enter into the Promised Land and to wander on the earth for 40 years until the death of this wicked, hopeless generation whose members would not repent at all. God says in the Quran: "He said, "It is forbidden for them for forty years. They will wander aimlessly on earth. So do not grieve over the sinning people."" (5:26).

8- During this 40-year period of wandering on earth, Moses and Aaron performed pilgrimage at the Kaaba, in Mecca, as pilgrimage rituals came down from the religion of their forefather Abraham. The Qorayish tribesmen at the time never believed in God's message conveyed by Moses and Aaron and accused them both of being magicians/sorcerers. Later on, The Qorayish tribesmen used to swear by God's Name that if a prophet/messenger would be sent to them, they would be more guided than the Israelites and any other people. God says in the Quran: "And they swore by God with their solemn oaths, that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than any other people. Yet when a warner came to them, it only increased them in aversion." (35:42). Yet, the Qorayish tribesmen rejected the message of Muhammad when he was sent to them, and this is why God has reminded the Qorayish tribesmen of their rejection of the message of Moses and Aaron in this verse: "But when the Truth came to them from Us, they said, "If only he was given the like of what was given to Moses." Did they not disbelieve in what was given to Moses in the past? They said, "Two works of magic backing one another." And they said, "We are disbelieving in both."" (28:48).

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