Tag Archives: Prophets

Prophet Isa (Jesus)

The Birth of ‘Isa ( – Peace Be Upon Him)

The story of the birth of Isa (A.S.) as told in the Qur’an demonstrates again the power of Allah who can make happen whatever He wills. Just as Ibrahim (A.S.) and Sara (A.S.) wondered at being able to have a son at their great age, Isa’s mother, Maryam (peace be upon her) also wondered at being able to have a son when no man had touched her.

Maryam was the daughter of Imran (A.S.). When her mother became pregnant with her, she dedicated her baby to Allah for His special service. Maryam grew up pure and beautiful in the special protection of Allah. Whenever her guardian, Zakariah (A.S.), would visit her in her room, he would find that she had been provided with plentiful food and he wondered at it. It was Allah who was caring for her.

When Maryam became a young woman she was visited by a messenger from Allah. He told her that she would bear a son named Isa (A.S.). He would speak to the people as a child and as an adult. Allah would teach him the Book and the Wisdom, and he would be a prophet to his people.

Maryam was amazed at this message. She was a well-behaved young, unmarried woman, so how could she have a baby? Allah’s message was similar to that given to Ibrahim (A.S.).  Allah creates whatever he wills. All he has to do is say, “Be,” and it is.

When the time came for Maryam’s baby to be born, she withdrew from her family because she knew they wouldn’t understand. As the pains of birth began, she came to a palm tree and cried out in despair that she wished she were dead. A voice answered her, telling her not to grieve, and telling her to shake the palm tree to obtain dates. Allah also provided her with a small stream to ease her thirst and cool her face during the birth of her son, Isa .

When Isa (A.S.) had been born, Maryam returned home with him. When her family saw him they were shocked, as she knew they would be. But she merely pointed to the baby in explanation and he, the newborn infant, spoke, declaring that he was indeed a servant of Allah, a prophet, blessed by Allah, enjoined to do prayer and charity, and be kind to his mother, humble and not overbearing, and that he would eventually die and be raised to life again.

You can read about Maryam and the birth of Isa (A.S.) in the following suras of the Qur’an: 3:35-37, 3:42-49, 19:16-40.

Prophet Ismail (A.S)

Prophet Ismail (a.s) was the son of Ibrahim (a.s) and Hajar. One day Ibrahim (a.s) took his baby son and wife (Hajar) to the site where Ka’ba can be found today. He gave them some dates and water and started to leave. As Ibrahim (a.s) walked away, Hajar followed and asked why they were being left in this empty place. She understood from his silence that Allah had commanded him to do this. Finally, she asked if Allah had ordered him to do this and he replied that it was so. Upon hearing this, she accepted Allah’s will and returned to the place where Ibrahim (a.s) had left her.

As soon as Ibrahim (a.s) was out of sight, he turned and prayed to Allah to protect and provide for his family which he had left out in the wilderness:
رَّبَّنَآ إِنَّيۤ أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ ٱلْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلاَةَ فَٱجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَهْوِيۤ إِلَيْهِمْ وَٱرْزُقْهُمْ مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; In order, O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer; So fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits; So that they may give thanks.” (al-Qur’an 14:37)

Ismail (a.s) and his mother lived for some time on the water and dates Ibrahim (a.s) left them, but finally the water ran out, and Ismail’s (a.s) mother could no longer produce enough milk to feed Ismail (a.s). The mother could not bear to see her child suffering, so she ran to the top of nearby Mount Safa to see if she could find someone to help her. When she could see no one, she ran down the mountain and across the valley to Mount Marwa. She ran from one mountain to the other seven times, looking for water or help. After the seventh time she heard a voice and she called out to it for help. When she looked she saw an angel digging the earth with his heel until water flowed forth. That place was the site of Zam-zam. She carefully made a barrier around the place where the water was flowing, and filled her waterbag with her hands. Then she was able to drink water and feed her baby. The angel also told her not to be afraid, that she and her son would be provided for.

Ismail (a.s) and his mother continued to live at this place all by themselves for some time. One day some people of the Jurhum tribe were passing through the valley. They didn’t intend to stop, because they knew that there had never been any water in that valley. But they saw a kind of bird which was known to frequent wet spots, so they followed it to the spring of Zam-zam. There they found Ismail’s (a.s) mother sitting by the water.

Ismail’s mother agreed they could settle there for a while, as long as they did not claim possession to the water. Some of the people of the tribe settled by the water permanently and Ismail grew up amongst them.

Prophet Ismail and his Mother

When Ismail (alayhis salam) was still a small baby, his father Ibrahim (alayhis salam) took him and his mother, Hajra, to the site of the Ka’ba. He gave them some dates and a goat skin full of water and left them there. At that time no one lived at the Ka’ba, and there was no water nearby. As Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was walking away, Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother followed him, asking why she and her son were being left in such a desolate place. She asked several times but he would not answer her. Finally, she asked if Allah had ordered him to do this and he replied that it was so. Upon hearing this, she accepted Allah’s will and returned to the site where Ibrahim (alayhis salam) had left her.

As soon as Ibrahim (alayhis salam) was out of sight, he turned and prayed to Allah to protect and provide for his family which he had left out in the wilderness:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; In order, O our Lord that they may establish regular prayer; So fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits; So that they may give thanks.” (al-Qur’an 14:37)

Ismail (alayhis salam) and his mother lived for some time on the supply of water and dates, but finally the water began to give out, and Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother could no longer produce sufficient milk to nurse her baby. The baby became agitated and near to death because of his thirst. The mother could not bear to see her child suffering, so she ran to the top of nearby Mt. Safa to see if she could find someone to help her. When she could see no one, she ran down the mountain and across the valley to Mt. Marwa. Seven times she ran from one mountain to the other, looking in vain for assistance. After the seventh time she heard a voice and she called out to it for help. When she looked she saw an angel digging the earth with his heel until water flowed forth. That place was the site of Zam-zam. She carefully made a depression around the place where the water was flowing, and filled her waterbag with her hands. Then she was able to drink water and nurse her baby. The angel told her not to be afraid, that she and her son would be provided for.

Ismail (alayhis salam) and his mother continued to live at the Ka’ba all by themselves for some time. One day some people of the Jurhum tribe were passing through the valley. They didn’t intend to stop, because they knew that there had never been any water in that valley. But they saw a kind of bird which was known to frequent wet spots, so they followed it to the spring of Zam-zam. There they found Ismail’s mother sitting by the water.

Ismail’s (alayhis salam) mother was a very sociable person who loved the company of others, so she readily agreed to their request to stop there for a while, provided that they did not claim possession of the water. Some of the people of Jurhum decided to settle permanently by Zam-zam and sent for their families. Ismail (alayhis salam) grew up with these people and learned to speak Arabic from them. When he grew up, they urged him to marry one of their women.

You can read about Ismail and his mother in Sahih al-Bukhari IV:582-584.

Prophet Musa and the Bani Israel

When Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and his people fled from the Egyptians, their trials were far from over. After they had safely crossed the sea, they came upon some people who were worshiping idols. The children of Israel asked Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) to make an idol for them, and he had to remind them of all that Allah had done for them. How could he make another god for them when their Allah was the only true god?

Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was summoned by Allah to Mount Sinai and he put his brother Harun(alayhis salam) in charge while he was gone. When he arrived at the appointed site, he asked to see Allah. Allah said He could not show Himself directly to Prophet Musa (alayhis salam), but Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) should look towards the mountain, and if the mountain remained in one piece, then Musa would see Allah. When Allah showed His glory on the mountain, it became like dust, and Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) fell down in a faint. When he had recovered his senses, he asked Allah’s forgiveness and declared his unquestioning belief in Allah. Then Allah spoke with Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and gave him tablets containing His commands and explaining all things. Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) was to carry the tablets back to his people and convey to them the words of Allah. He spent forty days on the mount, communing with his Lord.

Meanwhile, the people of Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) gathered together all their jewelry and gold which they had carried from Egypt. They melted it down and made it into the form of a calf, which they wished to worship. When Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) returned from the mountain with his tablets, he was angry and grieved to see the golden calf. Thinking that Harun (alayhis salam) had approved the actions of the Israelites, an angry Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) grabbed his brother by the hair and dragged Harun towards him. Harun hastily explained that the people had not listened to him and had even threatened to kill him when he opposed their activities. At this Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) prayed to Allah for forgiveness for both himself and his brother. He also prayed for mercy for those who repented of their evil deed in making the golden idol.

The ultimate destination of the people of Israel was the land of Canaan. Continuously they rebelled against Allah, and continuously Allah forgave them. When they were thirsty, Allah commanded Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) to strike a rock and from it sprang twelve springs of water, one for each of the tribes of Israel. When they were hot, Allah provided clouds to cover the sun. When they were hungry, Allah provided manna and salwa. Yet they were never grateful. They even complained about the sameness of the diet and asked for more variety.

At last they came to the land of Canaan. But because the people of Canaan were very strong-looking, the Israelites were afraid to invade their land. There were only two men who were willing to join Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and Harun (alayhis salam) in an attempt to drive the Canaanites out. They counseled that if the proper gates were attacked, they could easily gain entrance. And once they were inside, they would easily be victorious if only they would put their trust in Allah. But the people of Israel would not budge. They told Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and Harun (alayhis salam) to go with their Lord and fight, while they, the people, would sit and watch. At this Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) gave up trying to persuade his rebellious people. And Allah decreed that because of their behavior, the children of Israel would be condemned to wander in the wilderness for forty more years, before they would be allowed to enter the land of Canaan.

You can read about the story of Prophet Musa (alayhis salam) and his people in the wilderness in al-Quran 2: 51-61; 5: 23-29; 7: 138-162; and 20: 80-98.

Prophet Musa and Fir’awn

Prophet Musa and his brother Harun had been called upon by Allah to deliver a message to the leader of the Egyptians, Fir’awn (Pharaoh), who considered himself a god and insisted that his subjects worship him.

Prophet Musa told Fir’awn that he, Musa, was a messenger of the Lord of the Worlds and that he had clear proof of it. Therefore, Fir’awn should let the people of Israel go with him. Prophet Musa showed Fir’awn the staff that turned into a serpent and the hand which turned shining white when placed under his arm. Fir’awn consulted with all his chiefs and they decided that perhaps Musa was just a very good magician. They called together all their best magicians to compete with Prophet Musa. The magicians were promised a reward if they won.

The magicians went first in the contest and they were good, really good. They made their ropes and sticks appear to run in front of their audience. Prophet Musa was afraid that he couldn’t surpass their skills, but Allah told him not to be afraid. When Prophet Musa threw down his staff, it ate up all that the magicians had made. When the magicians saw this, they bowed down and proclaimed their belief in the Lord of Prophet Musa and Harun.

Fir’awn was not very happy about this turn of events. He threatened to cut off the hands and feet of the magicians and to crucify them. But the magicians would not change their opinion. They were convinced by the clear proofs which Prophet Musa had shown to them and they told Fir’awn that he could only end for them their life in this world. For those who believe there would be another life after death, in gardens beneath which rivers flow.

Following this there began another period of persecution against the followers of Allah. Fir’awn had all of their sons killed. Prophet Musa had to encourage the children of Israel to continue strong in their belief in Allah and to pray to Allah faithfully.

Whenever good fortune befell the Egyptians, they took credit for it. When misfortune came, they blamed Prophet Musa and his people. They failed to see that everything, both good and bad, comes from Allah. Allah sent all kinds of hardships against the Egyptians- famine, loss of fruits, floods, locusts, pests, frogs, and blood- as signs to them. They would promise to free the people of Israel if Musa would pray to his God for deliverance from the pestilence. But as soon as the hardship had been removed, they would go back on their promise.

Finally Prophet Musa was instructed by Allah to lead the followers of Allah away by night. When they came to the sea, the waters parted so that they could pass to the other side without getting wet. However, when Fir’awn and his armies pursued them, the waters of the sea closed in on them and they were all drowned. In this way did Allah punish Fir’awn for leading his people away from Allah.

Insha Allah in the next issue we shall relate the conclusion of the story of Musa , when we tell what befell the children of Israel after they left Egypt. You can read about Musa and Fir’awn in al-Quran 7:103-137; 20:49-79; 26:16-67; and 43:46-56.

Prophet Musa – 2

The story continues, some time after Prophet Musa had completed his contract with his father-in-law. He was traveling somewhere with his family when he saw a fire in the distance. He went to explore in the hope that he might get information or be able to bring back a firebrand for his family to use.

When Prophet Musa approached the bush that was burning, he heard a voice coming from it. The voice commanded Prophet Musa to remove his shoes because he was in a sacred valley. The voice identified itself as Allah, and reminded Prophet Musa to serve Him and to keep up his prayers. The voice told Prophet Musa that Allah had made him one of the chosen ones.

Allah then ordered Prophet Musa to throw down his staff, which he used as a walking stick and to beat down branches for his flocks. When the staff was flung down, it turned into a serpent. Allah instructed Prophet Musa to pick the serpent up, and it again turned into a stick. The voice commanded Prophet Musa to thrust his hand under his armpit, and when he removed it the hand was glowing white, yet it did not hurt Prophet Musa . Allah informed Prophet Musa that these two signs, the staff and the hand, would be signs for the Pharoah, to show that Prophet Musa had truly been sent from Allah. Allah wanted Prophet Musa to go to the Pharoah because the Pharoah and his people had strayed far from the acceptable ways of Allah. He also wanted Prophet Musa to lead the children of Israel away from the Pharoah’s influence.

Prophet Musa pointed out that he had killed an Egyptian and that he himself would be killed if he returned to Egypt. He was also unsure of his ability to communicate with the Pharoah. He was not a good speaker and asked for the help of his brother, Harun , who was much more eloquent. Allah reassured Prophet Musa on both counts. He promised that Prophet Musa would come to no harm at the hands of the Egyptians. And He agreed both to aid Prophet Musa in addressing the Pharoah and to send along Harun to help out.

In this manner Prophet Musa was called to prophethood, and set out to free the people of Israel from their bondage under the people of Egypt. Insha Allah in the next issue we shall tell of his meetings with the Pharoah.

You can read about this part of the story of Musa in the Quran 20:9-36, 42-48; 26:10-17; and 28:29-35.

Prophet Musa

The Early Years of Prophet Musa

The ruler of Egypt, the pharoah, discriminated against the people of Israel. He oppressed them and killed all their sons. When Musa (alayhis Salam) was born, his mother feared that he too would be killed. Allah sent a message to her to nurse him as long as she could, until she feared for his safety. Then she was to throw him into the river. Allah promised that He would bring Musa (alayhis Salam) back to her and that Musa would become a messenger of Allah.

It was the family of the pharoah who found Musa (alayhis Salam) in the river. The pharoah’s wife wanted to keep him and ordered that he not be killed. She thought he might be useful to them or that they might adopt him.

Meanwhile, Musa’s mother had sent his sister to keep watch over him from a distance. When the pharoah’s wife was looking for a nurse to feed and care for him until he grew older, the sister approached and offered the services of her mother, without, of course, revealing her mother’s real connection to the child. In this way he was restored to his mother, as Allah had promised. And when Musa (alayhis Salam) grew up, he was given wisdom and knowledge by Allah.

One day, when Musa (alayhis Salam) had grown up, he went into the city and found two men fighting, one of whom was an Egyptian, and the other an Israelite. The Israelite asked Musa (alayhis Salam) for help and Musa (alayhis Salam) struck the other man with his fist, thus killing him. Musa (alayhis Salam) was horrified that he had killed a man, and asked Allah for forgiveness, which Allah granted.

The following day Musa (alayhis Salam) again was in the city, when he saw the same man as on the day before, involved in a fight with an Egyptian. Musa (alayhis Salam) was angry at the hotheadedness of this man, but was once again ready to take his side against the Egyptian, who was the enemy of them both. But the Egyptian cried out to Musa (alayhis Salam) that murder was not the way to settle and reform matters. At that moment another man brought news that the authorities were searching for Musa (alayhis Salam) in connection with the murder of the previous day. And so Musa (alayhis Salam) was forced to flee.

Musa (alayhis Salam) escaped to the land of Madyan. There he came to a watering hole where a whole tribe of men were watering their flocks. There were two women there also whose father was too old to care for his flocks himself. But the women were holding their sheep back and could not get close to the water until the men had finished. Musa watered their flocks for them, then settled down in the shade, praying that Allah would send him assistance.

One of the two women whom Musa (alayhis Salam) had helped approached him shyly, for her father had sent for Musa (alayhis Salam) to reward him for helping his daughters. When Musa (alayhis Salam) had told the old man his story, the old man sympathized with him. The old man offered to marry Musa (alayhis Salam) to one of his daughters if Musa would work for him a minimum of eight years. An agreement was reached and Musa (alayhis Salam) stayed in the land of Madyan for the agreed-upon time.

This part of the story of Musa can be found in al-Qur’an 28:1-28.

Prophet Yusuf

Prophet Yusuf meets his brothers

As Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) had predicted, seven years of famine followed seven years of good harvest, but the storehouses of Egypt were full because of Prophet Yusuf’s skillful management. People from all over flocked to Egypt to buy grain during the famine. Among them were Prophet Yusuf’s (alayhis salam) brothers.

Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) knew his brothers at once but they did not recognize him. He gave them the grain which they had come to buy but warned them that they would get no more unless they brought a brother of theirs to him from their father. They agreed that they would try to convince their father to let them take their younger brother with them the next time they came. Then Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) had his servants put their money which they had used to purchase the grain back into the saddlebags of their camels so that they would find it when they returned home and would be sure to return for more grain when they saw how generously Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) had treated them.

Ya’qub (alayhis salam), who still felt deeply the loss of his son Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam), was reluctant to let the brothers take his other young son. He made them pledge in the name of Allah that they would bring him back home unless they were made physically powerless to do so. He also cautioned them to enter the city in Egypt by different gates, perhaps so they wouldn’t look like a gang of troublemakers. However, he knew that their fate depended on Allah’s will and no precautions could go against what was willed by Allah.

When the brothers had returned to Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) for more provisions, Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) lodged his younger brother with himself, and revealed his identity to him. But he had to think of a way in which to keep his younger brother with him when the others returned home. Allah inspired him with the following plan.

When the brothers’ camels had been loaded with grain, Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) had a cup placed in his younger brother’s saddlebag. Then a cry was raised that someone had stolen the king’s cup. The brothers denied that they had stolen anything. When asked what should happen if it were to prove otherwise, they said that they would hand over the person in whose possession the cup was found. A search of the saddlebags revealed the cup in the younger brother’s bag. Then the big brothers said that it wasn’t really surprising, because the boy’s brother (i.e. Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam)) had also been a thief. But still Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) did not reveal his identity to them. The brothers asked that one of them be allowed to stay in the younger brother’s place, so that their father would not grieve, but Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) replied that it would be unjust to keep back anyone except him in whose possession the cup had been.

The brothers returned to their father with the story of the theft, and his eyes turned white with grief from suppressing his sorrow. He sent them away to search for Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) and his brother, so they returned to Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) and asked for more grain, although they had but little money left. Then Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) revealed his identity to them and forgave them and asked Allah’s forgiveness for all the wrong they had done to him and his brother. Then he gave them his shirt to place over his father’s face to recover his sight. He told them to go home and return to Egypt with all of their families.

Prophet Yusuf reunited with his family

As their caravan was leaving Egypt, Ya’qub (alayhis salam), still at home, smelled the perfume of Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam), but his household said he was getting senile. When the caravan arrived home with the shirt, Ya’qub’s (alayhis salam) sight was restored. Then the entire family moved to Egypt. Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) raised his parents up on the throne to sit with him and they all bowed down in obedience to him. In this way, Prophet Yusuf’s (alayhis salam) childhood vision of the eleven planets and the sun and the moon prostrating themselves before him came true. This is how the Israelites came to settle in Egypt and lived there for many generations. The entire story of Prophet Yusuf (alayhis salam) can be found in Surah 12 of the Qur’an.

Prophet Yusuf