Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Towards Understanding the Quran


With kind permission: Islamic Foundation UK
English Chapter 28. Al-Qasas Intro. Verse 22-28 of 88 View Ar En Nt ▌▌ Font Email
وَلَـمَّا تَوَجَّهَ تِلۡقَآءَ مَدۡيَنَ قَالَ عَسٰى رَبِّىۡۤ اَنۡ يَّهۡدِيَنِىۡ سَوَآءَ السَّبِيۡلِ‏ ﴿28:22﴾ وَلَـمَّا وَرَدَ مَآءَ مَدۡيَنَ وَجَدَ عَلَيۡهِ اُمَّةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ يَسۡقُوۡنَ  وَوَجَدَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهِمُ امۡرَاَتَيۡنِ تَذُوۡدٰنِ‌ۚ قَالَ مَا خَطۡبُكُمَا‌ؕ قَالَـتَا لَا نَسۡقِىۡ حَتّٰى يُصۡدِرَ الرِّعَآءُ‌؄ وَاَبُوۡنَا شَيۡخٌ كَبِيۡرٌ‏ ﴿28:23﴾ فَسَقٰى لَهُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلّٰٓى اِلَى الظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّىۡ لِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلۡتَ اِلَىَّ مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ فَقِيۡرٌ‏ ﴿28:24﴾ فَجَآءَتۡهُ اِحۡدٰٮہُمَا تَمۡشِىۡ عَلَى اسۡتِحۡيَآءٍ قَالَتۡ اِنَّ اَبِىۡ يَدۡعُوۡكَ لِيَجۡزِيَكَ اَجۡرَ مَا سَقَيۡتَ لَـنَا‌ؕ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهٗ وَقَصَّ عَلَيۡهِ الۡقَصَصَۙ قَالَ لَا تَخَفۡ‌ نَجَوۡتَ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ‏ ﴿28:25﴾ قَالَتۡ اِحۡدٰٮہُمَا يٰۤاَبَتِ اسْتَاْجِرۡهُ‌ اِنَّ خَيۡرَ مَنِ اسۡتَـاْجَرۡتَ الۡقَوِىُّ الۡاَمِيۡنُ‏ ﴿28:26﴾ قَالَ اِنِّىۡۤ اُرِيۡدُ اَنۡ اُنۡكِحَكَ اِحۡدَى ابۡنَتَىَّ هٰتَيۡنِ عَلٰٓى اَنۡ تَاۡجُرَنِىۡ ثَمٰنِىَ حِجَجٍ‌ۚ فَاِنۡ اَتۡمَمۡتَ عَشۡرًا فَمِنۡ عِنۡدِكَ‌ۚ وَمَاۤ اُرِيۡدُ اَنۡ اَشُقَّ عَلَيۡكَ‌ؕ سَتَجِدُنِىۡۤ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰهُ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏ ﴿28:27﴾ قَالَ ذٰلِكَ بَيۡنِىۡ وَبَيۡنَكَ‌ؕ اَيَّمَا الۡاَجَلَيۡنِ قَضَيۡتُ فَلَا عُدۡوَانَ عَلَىَّ‌ؕ وَاللّٰهُ عَلٰى مَا نَقُوۡلُ وَكِيۡلٌ‏ ﴿28:28﴾

(28:22) When (after his departure from Egypt) Moses headed towards Midian,31 he said: "I hope my Lord will show me the right Path."32
*31 Both the Bible and the Qur'an agree that after leaving Egypt the Prophet Moses had gone to live in Madyan (Midian). But the Talmud tells the absurd story that Moses fled to Ethiopia and became a great favorite with the king there. After the king's death the people made Moses their king and leader and gave him the widow of the king for a wife, but during the 40 years of his reign there he never had intercourse with his African wife. Then the queen of Ethiopia, who was a wife to Moses in name only, said to the people, "Why should this stranger continue to rule over you '? He has never worshiped the gods of Ethiopia." At this the people of Ethiopia deposed him and made him many rich presents and dismissed him with great honors. Then he came to Midian and met with the events being mentioned below. At this time he was 67 years old.
*32 The right path: "The path that may take me to Midian safely." It should be borne in mind that Midian in those days was outside Pharaoh's empire. Egypt did not have control over the whole of the Sinai Peninsula but only on its western and southern parts. The Midianites who inhabited the eastern and western coasts of the Gulf of 'Agabah were free from Egyptian influence and authority. That is why the Prophet Moses had headed for Midian after leaving Egypt, because that was the nearest free and inhabited land. But to reach Midian he had to pass through Egyptian territories; avoiding the Egyptian police and military posts on the way. That is why he prayed to God to put him on the right track which should take him to Midian safely.

(28:23) When he arrived at the spring of Midian,33 he found there a crowd of people watering their flocks, and he found apart from them two women holding their flocks back. He asked the women: "What is it that troubles you?" They said: "We cannot water our flocks until the shepherds take their flocks away, and our father is a very old man."34
*33 This place where the Prophet Moses had arrived was situated, according to the Arab tradition, on the western coast of the Gulf of 'Agabah, a few miles to the north of Magna . Today it is called Al-Bid, and is a small habitation. I visited this place in December, 1952, when I was traveling from Tabuk to 'Agabah. The natives told me that, as they had heard from their elders, Midian was situated there. From Josephus to Burton, all ancient and modern explorers and geographers, have generally confirmed this very place as the location of ancient Midian. Nearby there is the place now called Magha`irShu'aib or Magharat Shu'aib. There are some Thamudic monuments here. A mile or so away, There are some ancient ruins, where we saw two dry wells, one of which was said to be the well where the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) had watered the goats. The same has been related by Abu Fida' (d. 732 A.H.) in Taqvim al-Buldan and Yaqut in Mu jam al-Buldan, on the authority of Abu Zaid Ansari; (d. 216 A.H.), that the natives point to the same well there as the well of Moses. This indicates that the tradition is being handed down since centuries among the people, and therefore, it can be confidently asserted that this is the same place which has been mentioned in the Qur'an. See some photographs of this on the opposite page.
*34 That is, "We are women: it is not possible for us to water our animals by resisting these shepherds. Our father is too old to perform this rigorous duty. There is no other male member in the house either. Therefore we, the womenfolk, have to come out to perform these chores, and until all the shepherds have watered their animals and left, we have to wait." This whole meaning was conveyed by the ladies in a brief sentence, which is indicative of their modesty. They did not want to have a lengthy conversation with a stranger, but at the same time, they did not like that he should form a wrong impression about their family, thinking how lethargic were the manfoIk who sat back in their homes and sent the women to perform outdoor duties.

(28:24) On hearing this Moses watered their flocks for them, and then returned in a shaded place and said: "My Lord, I am truly in great need of any good that You might send down to me."
(28:25) Soon thereafter one of the two women came to him, walking bashfully,35 and said: "My father invites you that he may reward you for your having watered our flocks for us.36" When Moses came to him and narrated to him the whole of his story, he said: "Have no fear. You are now safe from the iniquitous people."
*35 Hadrat `Umar has explained this sentence, thus: "She came walking modestly, with her face covered with a part of her outer garment, unlike those immodest women, who go about wherever they like, and enter wherever they like without any hesitation." Several traditions bearing on this subject have been reported by Said bin Mansur, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim-and Ibn al-Mundhir from Hadrat 'Umar through authentic chains of authorities. This shows that the Islamic concept of modesty which the Companions of the Holy Prophet had understood from the Qur'an and the teaching and training of the Holy Prophet was absolutely opposed to keeping the face exposed to the other then and moving about immodestly. outside the house. hadrat `Umar has clearly regarded covering of the face as a symbol of modesty and exposing it to the other men as an immodesty and shamelessness.
*36 She said this also out of modesty, for she had to give a sound reason for her coming to another man all alone; otherwise it was not at all necessary that a gentleman should have been rewarded if he had rendered some service to the (helpless) women in trouble. And then, in spite of hearing of a reward, the Prophet Moses' willingness to follow her forthwith to her house indicates the state of extreme helplessness in which he found himself at that time. He had left Egypt empty-handed and might have taken at least eight days to reach Midian. He must be hungry and worn out by journey. And, above all, he must be anxious to find a shelter in the unfamiliar land and a sympathetic person to give him refuge. Under this very compulsion, in spite of hearing that he was being called to be rewarded for a small service he had rendered, the Prophet Moses felt no hesitation in going with the woman. He must have thought that the prayer he had just made to God was being answered thus by God Himself. Therefore, he did not think it was right to turn down the means of hospitality provided by his Lord by an unnecessary show of self-respect.

(28:26) One of the two women said: "Father, employ this man in your service. The best whom you might employ is he who is strong and trustworthy."37
*37 It is not necessary that the girl said this to her father in his very first meeting with Moses. Most probably her father made the traveler stay with him for a couple of days, and the girl counseled him thus during that time. What she meant by this counsel was: "Father, you are old, and therefore, we girls have to go out to perform outdoor duties. We have no brother either, who could take up these chores. You may, therefore, employ this man as a servant: he is strong and will be able to face all kind of rigors, and he is also trustworthy. He helped us only due to his noble nature when he found us standing helpless, but he never raised his eyes at us."

(28:27) Her father said to Moses:38 "I want to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you if you serve me for eight years. But if you complete ten years, that will be of your own accord (but not an obligation). I do not intend to treat you harshly. If Allah wills, you will find me an upright man."
*38 It is also not necessary that the father should have said this to Moses immediately at the daughter's counsel. One feels that he must have formed this opinion after due consideration. He must have thought: "No doubt he is a noble person, but employing a healthy and strong young man like him as a servant in a house where there are grown up daughters would not be the right thing. When he is a gentle, educated and civilized man of a noble family (as he must have come to know from the story told by Moses), why shouldn't he be kept as a son-in-law in the house?" After reaching such a decision, he might have spoken to Moses at a suitable time.
(28:28) Moses replied: "So that is agreed between me and you. Whichever of the two terms I fulfil, I trust that I shall not be wronged. Allah is a witness over the covenant we are committing ourselves to."39
*39 Some people have taken this conversation between the Prophet Moses and the girl's father for a contract of marriage, and have started the dispute whether service under the father can be looked upon as a dower of the daughters marriage, and whether such external conditions can be laid down for the marriage contract; whereas the words of the verses under discussion themselves indicate this was not the contract of marriage but the initial proposal that is generally made before the execution of the marriage contract itself. After all, how can this be taken for a contract of marriage when it had not yet been decided which of the girls was to be given away in marriage. The purport of the conversation was that the girl's father said, "I am prepared to marry one of my daughters to you provided that you promise that you will stay in my house for eight to ten years and help me in performing household chores, for I am old and have no son either, who could manage my properties. I have only daughters whom I have to send to perform outdoor duties. I want you to strengthen me as my would-be son-in-law. If you are willing to accept this responsibility, and do not intend to take away your wife soon after marriage, I will marry one of my daughters to you." The Prophet Moses himself was in search of a shelter at that time, so he accepted the proposal. Evidently, it was a sort of contract that had been agreed upon between the two parties before the marriage. After this the actual marriage must have taken place according to the law and the dower also settled. There could be no question of including the condition of service in the marriage bond itself.
English Chapter 28. Al-Qasas Intro. Verse 22-28 of 88 View Ar En Nt Recite Font Email

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