Undoubtedly, all of us have heard more or less about the word ‘ intention ’. There is a famous English expression which says: “When there is a will, there is a way.” It has a miraculous power hidden beneath, but not if you just look at it and do nothing!
What does it mean, by the way?! Very briefly, it is as stretching or bending the mind towards a goal that makes you go ahead. Intentions occupy a vast and different portion of our everyday life. A very simple example: when a person greets you, tells you a few loving words, his intention will determine the effect of his words. If he loves you, then those words will have a good impact on you, and if not, the more he repeats these phrases, the more you get disgusted!
Now let’s start with what God says. According to the Quran: “All His command, when He wills something, is to say to it" Be," and it is” (36:82). In other words, He [God] stands upon the summit of the mountain of intention, and again, the Quran says: “Indeed we belong to Allah” (2:156). So, we can conclude that we have immense power, something similar to God. But the point is that every person can use this magic tool based on his inner self.
Imam Ali (AS) says: “having good intention arises from the pure inner self,” so when you could capture a pure soul, it brings about a healthy body for you.
When we have a great God, why don’t we set our aspirations to him? The Holy Quran says: “O Prophet! Urge on the faithful to fight: If there be twenty patient men among you, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be a hundred of you, they shall overcome a thousand of the faithless, for they are a lot who do not understand” (8:65).
Another example: “As Saul set out with the troops, he said: ‘We have no strength today against Goliath and his troops.’ Those who were certain they would encounter Allah said, ‘How many a small party has overcome a larger party by Allah's will’ (2:249). Yes, as you noticed they believed in Allah, and they won.
So, whatever your goals are, try to adapt them to God's will; this way you will make them come true. Abraham (AS) is one of the prophets who is also called the friend of God. But why?! It is a long story, in Quran Allah himself says: “Indeed I have turned my face toward Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, as a hanif, and I am not one of the polytheists” (6:79). He believed that everything in his life belonged to God, that’s why God chose him as a real friend.
Do not forget this golden rule which says: Do everything for God; then, he opens the way for you.
The mere good intention of a person even without acting upon it is praiseworthy since it will lead to getting close to God.
One of the features of a believing Muslim is that he/she always wants to grow closer to Allah and constantly seeks His satisfaction. For this reason, there are numerous narrations from the infallible Imams (A.S) indicating the right time and place for seeking closeness to Allah.It is clear that God is the Most Gracious, and his Mercy is always bestowed upon humankind wherever they are. However, there are special times and places at which God’s benevolence towards His creatures becomes even greater. One of these occasions is the Day of Arafah.
The ninth day of Dhu al-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic lunar calendar) is the day of Arafah when Hajj pilgrims stand on the plain of Arafat (a vast desert about 20 km southeast of Mecca) to pray. Arafah can be translated as knowing, understanding or theosophy .
According to historians, it was on the plain of Arafat where Adam and Eve met each other once again after their descent from heaven and long separation upon the Earth, and their sins were forgiven by Allah.
It also recalls how Gabriel taught the prophet Abraham (AS) all the Hajj rituals on the plain of Arafat.
The day of Arafah is so important that Imam Hussain (AS), the third infallible Shia Imam, recited the famous supplication of Arafah one year during his pilgrimage to Mecca on this day.
Arafah is one of the most blessed days in Islam that carries a lot of merits for the ones who are present on the plain of Arafat and other people elsewhere. This day in its blessedness and sacredness weighs the same as the Night of Qadr. It has been narrated, “People who were not able to achieve their purpose in the Night of Qadr or those who were not forgiven on that day, Arafah is the last opportunity for them” .
So, many Muslims occupy themselves with reciting the Holy Quran, prayer, and supplications hoping that there would be more opportunities for them to be forgiven by Allah on this special day. One of the best deeds performed by Shia Muslims is reciting Imam Hussain’s (AS) supplication of Arafah, which best represents the spirit of this day. Contemplation on this amazing supplication which encompasses facts about monotheism and its degrees will ultimately bring us closer to Allah.
In this supplication, we first praise God in a loving and friendly manner. Then we count the blessings God has bestowed upon us, and after confessing our misdeeds and sins, we ask Allah to forgive them. That is when we put forth our request to God. Now let’s recite and think about some of the most beautiful verses from this supplication (Dua): (You may also find the audio and the English subtitle of this supplication here.)
“Praise be to Allah Whose determination cannot be repelled by anything, whose gifts cannot be stopped by anything, and Whose making cannot be resembled by the making of anyone. He is the All-magnanimous, the All-liberal.”
“Even before that (before you showed me the right path), You had compassion on me, through Your excellent conferral and Your affluent bestowals. So, You fashioned my creation from semen that gushed forth and put me up in triple darkness among flesh, blood, and skin. You have not made me witness my creation, and You have not referred any part of my creation to me.”
“So, Exalted be You, O All-merciful, O All-beneficent. When I commenced (my life) by pronouncing words, You perfected for me the affluent bestowals and brought me up to an increase every year. When my creation was accomplished, and my power became straight, You put me under the obligation of Your Claim, which is that You inspired me with recognition of You and alarmed me by the wonders of Your wisdom.”
“As You created me from the best of soil, You, my God, have not wanted for me to have a certain favor (and to be deprived of another) and You, therefore, provided me with the various kinds of living and types of wealth, out of Your great and grand conferral upon me, and Your eternal kindness to me.”
“And I bear witness, O my God, with my true belief, and the fortitude of the determinations of my conviction and the purity of my open belief in Your Oneness and the essence of the secret of my conscience, and the ties of the canals of the light of my sight, and the lines of my forehead and the hallows of the courses of my breath, and the (nasal) cavities of my nose, and the courses of the meatus of my hearing, and whatever my two lips hide and cover up, …”
“I bear witness) that if I try my best and strive throughout all ages and at all times, if I live them, to thank properly only one of Your favors, I will not be able to do that, except through a favor of You, which also requires me to thank You for it, once again with new thanking and with praise that is newly acquired and newly prepared.”
“It is I who did wrong. It is I who had evil intention…I now acknowledge of my sins; so, (please) forgive them to me.”
Arafah is one of the best days to turn to God with sincere repentance. Allah, on this day, accepts the repentance of His servants and grant them forgiveness if they are truly regretful and determined to give up their sins.
“O Allah, (please) make me fear You as if I can see You. Make me happy by fearing You. Do not make me unhappy by disobeying You. Choose for me through Your decree. so that I will not long for hastening that which You have delayed or delaying that which You would hasten.”
Eventually, you will find yourself immersed in the ocean of Allah’s mercy, which is what a true believer always seeks.
“O Allah, Verily, You are the nearest of those who are prayed, You are the promptest of those who may respond, the most generous of those who may pardon, and the most responding of those who are asked. O All-beneficent of the world and the Hereafter, and All-merciful!”
In the first part of the story, we went through Prophet Moses in Islam and his childhood events, his youth and his journey to Midian (Madyan), where he met Prophet Shu’ayb (PBUH) and married his daughter, and after a few years, he decided to return to Egypt to help his people.
On the way to Egypt Moses and his family got lost in the desert. Suddenly “he descried a fire on the side of the mountain. He said to his family, ‘Wait! Indeed, I descry a fire! Maybe I will bring you some news from it, or a brand of fire so that you may warm yourselves’” (28: 29).
When Moses reached the fire, he was called, “‘O Moses! Indeed, I am your Lord! So take off your sandals. You are indeed in the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you; so listen to what is revealed” (20: 11-3).
So he became a messenger and was given certain miracles. Then he was ordered to “Go to Pharaoh” as “He has indeed rebelled” (20:24). Moses asked God to appoint a minister for him from his family; his brother, Aaron from his biological mother. And God accepted (20: 29-36).
Still, Moses and Aaron were afraid to go Pharaoh as they knew him and his power very well. It sounded impossible for both of them to go to Pharaoh and try to guide him to the right path and to ask him not to torture Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) anymore. But as God was aware of their fear, so He revealed to Moses: “We will strengthen your arm by means of your brother, and invest both of you with such authority that they will not touch you. With the help of Our signs, you two, and those who follow the two of you, shall be the victors” (28: 35).
One crucial point that the Quran emphasizes is that God even tells Moses and Aaron about how to speak to Pharaoh to make their words effective. God said to them: “Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear” (20: 44). From this verse and the depiction of Moses in Islam, one can learn that if he/she wants to have an influential chat or speech with others, he/she should speak softly and with kindness so that the listener can hear and think in peace of mind .
Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh and Aaron turns his rod into a snake. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said: “We are the apostles of your Lord. Let the Children of Israel go with us, and do not torture them! We certainly bring you a sign from your Lord, and may peace be upon him who follows guidance!” (20: 47)
As mentioned in the verses of chapter Taha, Moses started a discussion with Pharaoh, mostly based on issues about the unity of God and believing in the hereafter (20: 48 -55). And God “showed him all Our signs. But he denied [them] and refused [to believe them]. He said, ‘Moses, have you come to us to expel us from our land with your magic?” (20: 56-7)
Pharaoh decides to compete with Moses’ miracles with magic. So they set a date to compete (20: 58 -9).
On the day of competition, the magicians said: “O Moses! Will you throw first, or shall we? He said, ‘No, you throw first’” (20: 65 -6). “So they threw down their sticks and ropes, and said, ‘By the might of Pharaoh, we shall surely be victorious!” (26: 44) “Thereat Moses threw down his staff, and behold; it was swallowing what they had faked” (26: 45).
Since the magicians were the best magicians from around Egypt that Pharaoh had gathered, and they had complete magic trainings, as soon as they saw the act of Moses, they realized that it could, by no means, be magic.  “There at the magicians fell down prostrating. They said, ‘We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses!’” (20: 70)
After the magicians believed in God of Moses and other people also became believers, the elite of Pharaoh’s people said: “Will you leave Moses and his people to cause corruption in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” (7: 127)
It can be driven from the above verse that after Moses’ victory against magicians, Pharaoh might have given Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) some sort of freedom in which they had the chance to spread the religion of Moses. Therefore, the elites of Pharaoh’s people warned him about this issue, and Pharaoh replied: “…We will kill their sons and spare their women, and indeed we are dominant over them” (7: 127) .
As Pharaoh threatened Children of Israel (Bani-Israel), Moses advised his people that in case they wished to overcome the enemy they should “Turn to Allah for help and be patient” and to make sure that “the outcome will be in favor of the Godwary” (7: 128) .
As followers of Moses complained to him about Pharaoh’s torments, he said: “Maybe your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land, and then He will see how you act” (7: 129). It seems that they wished by the arrival of their savior, everything would be changed at a glance and they would have no hardship anymore, while Moses informed them that for reaching the success they had to go through hard times, and have patience and piety.
And in the latter verse it mentions that “maybe” your Lord will help you by destroying your enemy, and if He does so, He will do it to test you and see what you will do if you come to power .
During the years that Moses and his people were living in Egypt, God tested People of Pharaoh by many different challenges [ii], so that they might return to God. But they never believed.
They kept saying that all the signs were magic
As the first wave of incidents did not bring about a change in the heart of People of Pharaoh, and they said to Moses “Whatever sign you may bring us to bewitch us, we are not going to believe you” (7: 132), God sent down to them harder challenges such as “a flood and locusts, lice, frogs and blood, as distinct signs. But they acted arrogantly, and they were a guilty lot” (7: 133).
It is said in the exegesis of the above verse that People of Pharaoh kept denying Moses and kept calling his miracles as magic. Therefore, God sent them a flood. They went to Moses and said if he stopped it, they would believe in him. But when the flood stopped, they turned their back on Moses. The same happened by sending locusts, lice, frogs, and blood and they kept denying .
After many years that Moses tried to convey God’s messages to Pharaoh and his people, they still kept denying him.
So, Allah Ordered Moses to take his people out of Pharaoh’s land; “We revealed to Moses, [saying], ‘Set out with My servants at night, and strike out for them a dry path through the sea. Do not be afraid of being overtaken, and have no fear [of getting drowned]” (20: 77).
In the next part of this article, we will follow the story of Moses in Islam from the time they were saved from Pharaoh.
[i] Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) were the generation of Prophet Jacob or Israel (PBUH), who at the time of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), migrated to Egypt and settled there for years. (12: 93-9)
[ii] “Certainly We afflicted Pharaoh’s clan with droughts and loss of produce, so that they may take admonition. But whenever any good came to them, they would say, ‘This is our due.’ And if any ill visited them, they took it for ill omens attending Moses and those who were with him. (Look! Indeed the cause of their ill omens is from Allah, but most of them do not know)” (7: 130-1)
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 209
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 247
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 309- 310
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 311
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 312 – 13
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 321-3