The Story of Prophet Moses (AS) in the Quran

Basics of Islam: The Story of Prophet Moses (AS) in the Quran

Hazrat Moses (or Musa) is one of the most beloved Messengers of Allah. The story of Prophet Moses (AS) is one of the most oft-repeated tales in the Quran. It is a marvelous story, and it is full of wonders too. But this story also stresses a punishment for those who disbelieve and mistreat Allah’s prophets.

Why this Story?

Of all the prophets in Islam, the story of Prophet Moses (AS) is unique because he is the one who spoke to God on Mount Sinai. He went to the holy valley of Tuwa. This story is also one-of-its-own kind because, when referred to Pharaoh of Egypt and the children of Israel, it is the most frequently told story in the Quran.

Who was Prophet Moses (AS)?

Born in Egypt, Prophet Moses (AS) was one of the most beloved Messengers of Allah. The Quran mentioned his name 137 times and called him a Messenger (Rasool) and a lawgiver. The Torah (Tawrat) was the holy book revealed to him by God.

Prophet Moses (AS) was from the lineage of Levi, one of the twelve sons of Prophet Jacob (AS). His birth year was anywhere from 100 to 400 years after the death of Prophet Joseph (AS). When Prophet Joseph (AS) passed away, the children of Israel were living rather well. But that changed before the birth of Prophet Moses (AS). By then, the king of Egypt was a cruel person who had enslaved many people.

Who was Pharaoh? And How Prophet Moses (AS) Grew Up?

The story of Prophet Moses (AS) tells us that Pharaoh, who ruled Egypt, was a tyrant. He was cruel to the children of Israel, the descendants of Prophet Jacob (AS). The people had to obey him only and believe in the false gods he invented. People thus started worshipping Pharaoh himself as a god.  

Pharaoh was afraid that the children of Israel might take over the Egyptians, and he passed an executive order to kill all the Israeli baby boys. The mother of Prophet Moses (AS), fearing that Pharaoh would kill her baby too, put him in a basket and dropped it in the Nile River so he could float to safety. While his sister Miriam watched from the bank, he got picked up by Pharaoh’s daughter. She then took him to Pharaoh’s palace.

Historians say that Pharaoh’s wife, Asiya, picked Moses (AS) up and later adopted him. She knew the baby was a Jewish boy. So she started looking for an Israeli woman to breastfeed him. Miriam approached Pharaoh’s daughter and offered to find someone to breastfeed him. She found Prophet Moses’s (AS) real mother to do that. He then grew up in Pharaoh’s palace.  

How Prophet Moses (AS) Confronted the Tyrant Pharaoh?

There was a twist in the story of Prophet Moses (AS). And that twist came when Prophet Moses (AS) was on his way back to Egypt from Madyan. The Quran says:

When Prophet Moses (AS) saw a fire.

And when he came close to that fire, Allah speaks to Prophet Moses (AS):

Allah speaks to Prophet Moses (AS)

Allah asked, “And what is this in your right hand, O Moses?” Prophet Moses submitted, “This is my staff. I lean on it, and beat down leaves with it for my goats, and in it there are also many other benefits for me.” Allah said, “O Moses, cast it down (on the ground).” Prophet Moses obeyed. Suddenly, “it became a serpent slithering (here and there).” Allah said: “Catch it, and do not fear. We shall transform it to its former state just now.” And “press your hand in your armpit. It will come out radiant white without any disease. This is another sign.” “We are doing this so that we show you greater signs of Our (might)” (Taha 20: 17-23).

Prophet Moses obeyed. Everything happened as God said. Then, Allah spoke to him again:

Allah sent Prophet Moses (AS) to go to Pharaoh.

Prophet Moses (AS) prayed, “O my Lord, expand my breast for me. And make my task (as a Messenger) easy for me. And untie the knot from my tongue. That people may understand (easily) what I say. And appoint for me a minister from my family. That is Harun, my brother. Provide me strength and backup with him. And make him share my task (of Messenger-ship)” (Taha, 20: 25-32).

What Happened at the End of the Story of Prophet Moses (AS)?

Pharaoh ordered his magicians to beat Moses (AS) with the power of their magic. They met Moses (AS) on the day of the festival. Moses (AS) defeated their magic with a great miracle. And Allah made him win over them. Magicians then started believing in Allah and disbelieving in Pharaoh. Pharaoh got mad and decided to cut their hands and feet. He crucified them on the trunks of the palm trees.

Ten successive plagues started to befall them. Allah inflicted them with the invasion of locusts, lice, blood, and toads that haunted their lives. But Allah kept the believers, who believe in Moses (AS), safe.

Each time, Pharaoh promised to free the people of Israel, Egyptians protested. They complained to Pharaoh about the toughness of life without the people of Israel (aka followers of Prophet Moses), who used to serve them. Thus, Pharaoh reversed his decision every time. He even ordered his soldiers to pursue people Israel and bring them back to Egypt.  

When they reached the sea, Allah divided it into two parts and made a way for Moses and his followers to pass through it. Pharaoh with his army saw the sea splitting. But, as he and his soldiers tried to cross, the sea closed in on them. They all drowned. And Allah spared Moses and his believers.

Did You Learn Anything?

So what have you learned from the story of Prophet Moses (AS)? We’d love to have your thoughts on it. And if you want your kids to learn from such stories of prophets in the Quran, we can help as well. 🙂