What Is it Said about Prophet Moses in Islam? | Prophethood

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. 


Moses in Islam: Prophethood 


Moses in Islam, Salam Islam

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 [1].


1. Moses and Pharaoh

Moses in Islam, Salam Islam, Judaism in Islam

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).


The Magicians Submitted to Moses


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. [2] “There at the magicians fell down prostrating. They said, ‘We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses!’” (20: 70) 


2. Years of Prophethood in Egypt

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) [3].


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) [4].


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 [5].


3. Signs for the People of Pharaoh


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 [6].


4. Leaving Egypt with Bani –Israel


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)

Moses in Islam


[1] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 209

[2] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 247

[3] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 309- 310

[4] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 311

[5] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 312 – 13

[6] Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 321-3