Archive for the ‘Pharaoh’ Category

Answers to quizzes 19-25

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

19. Noah (PBUH) to his son who remained a disbeliever and tried to escape the Great Flood by taking shelter in a high mountain. Verse 11:42.

20. Prophet Shu`ayb (Jethro)’s daughter. She recommended Moses (PBUH) to her father as a hired hand for he is “strong and trustworthy.” Verse 28:26.

21. Righteous man Luqman preaching to his son. Verse 31:18.

22. Prophet Saalih (Mesoselah), PBUH, to his destroyed people who refused to believe in his message. Verse 7:79.

23. Young Abraham (PBUH) to the idols in his city’s temple. Subsequently, he axed them all, but the biggest one, to make the point to his people that these statues they worship cannot even defend themselves. Verses 37:91-92.

24. Pharaoh’s sorcerers, impressed by the magic performed by Moses. They included his brother Aaron too, although Aaron is not mentioned performing any magic. Verse 20:63.

25. Joseph (PBUH) after the wife of the nobleman kept pursuing him for an illicit affair. Verse 12:33.

Facing up to a Pharaoh

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

I just discovered first hand that reading the Quran is a journey. Some of the passages are so powerful that I actually slept all day one day.

I know I am going through a tough time but this time reading the Quran has been a drastically different experience.

Musa (ra) (Moses) had a staff. He had his brother (ra)…What staff can I hold onto?

What did Hagar hold on to? Her husband, Abraham (PBUH), told her he’s been commanded by God to leave her and their only son, Ishmael, who was still a baby, in a desert in the middle of nowhere. Her reply was, “God ordered you? Then He will not abandon us.”

I know you may be thinking that Hagar, peace be upon her, was in a completely different league than the rest of us. True, but she reached that plateau only because of her faith. She was an ordinary woman, a maid, with no material means. Because of what she did next, God sprang the Zamzam Well and that arid, vacant desert became Mecca. Since her time, millions of people have echoed her footsteps every year (during the pilgrimage).

I sure hope that you do not have to face a pharaoh anytime soon. Also remember that Aaron was not always very helpful to his brother.

One of the ways the Prophet (PBUH) described the Quran was, “Its wonders never cease.” Indeed, if you read the Quran and you get the feeling that you’re reading it for the first time, then rejoice, for God is bringing you closer to Him by giving you new insight into His word.

Funny thing I just saw a video on Hagar. I have always admired her faith.

What I have also experienced are the immediacies of receiving blessings. I see that Allah subhana wa taala does not hold back. When we ask He gives.

I am always about the inner journey. And the section of the Path that I am walking upon demands that I spend time on the quest. In a sense I am learning that we are always exactly where He wants us to be, at any given moment. Maybe that realization is the fountain of youth. It takes the stressors and anxieties away.

I do not think I will meet a pharaoh anytime soon, Besides, it is not the meeting that is momentous. It is the gathering of the faith leading to the meeting. On a deeper level don’t we meet mini-pharoah’s every day. They may not be as powerful but the sheer arrogance of their personalities and their inability to prostrate to the Lord of the Universe and persistence in sinning ways.

(May Allah subhana wa taala reward you immensely. Your words are always a source of strength and comfort)

The journey is indeed inner more than it is outer. The outer journey is perhaps easier because it is aided by other people. We are encouraged by parents, teachers and preachers to pray, fast, be charitable, exercise good manners and say and do good. We see immediately the effect of the good we do to others and it makes us happy and fulfilled. The reward is felt right away.

But the inner journey we make alone. And it is an arduous journey. God says in the holy Quran, “O man, you are toiling toward your Lord then meeting Him!” (84:6) The journey is hard because Satan and our desire keep interfering with it.

Greetings between Muslims and non-Muslims

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Can you talk about greetings between Muslims and non-Muslims? Can Muslims initiate greetings to non-Muslims? Are they obligated to return their greetings? What do they say? What if the non-Muslim greeting was “Assalaamu Alaykum” (Peace be upon you), the traditional Islamic greeting?

Let’s start with returning a greeting from non-Muslims. The Quran makes it clear that we must return the greeting with a more beautiful one, or at least one like it,

“And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with a more beautiful one than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, God is ever, over all things, an Accountant.” (4:86)

Notice how God ends this verse with His Attribute that emphasizes that He keeps count? Every time you fail to return a greeting, it is written down against you!

What do you say? Something more beautiful! Suppose a non-Muslim says to you, “Merry Christmas!” You can say back, “May you have a happy season!” If they say, “Assalaamu Alaykum”, you can say, “And may peace and guidance be with you!”

A beautiful person can think of many beautiful things to say.

Now, can a Muslim initiate greeting to a non-Muslim? You will read opinions out there that a Muslim shouldn’t. But that opinion does not square with the Quran, which tells us that Moses and Aaron were commanded by God to initiate greeting to Pharaoh! Read it, if you will in verse 20:47,

“So go (Moses and Aaron) to him (Pharaoh) and say, ‘Indeed, we are messengers of your Lord, so send with us the Children of Israel and do not torment them. We have come to you with a sign from your Lord. And peace is upon him who follows guidance.” (20:47)

If we can greet a sworn enemy, all the more reason we should greet friendly folks.

Finally, you may encounter a hadeeth, reported by Al-Bukhaari and narrated by `Aa’isha, may God have been pleased with her, in which she tells an event when a group of Jews came calling on the Prophet (PBUH). When they met him, they said, “Assaamu Alaykum”. A phonetic distortion which means “Death be upon you!” It sounds a lot like “Assalaamu Alaykum, except that it is missing an L. `Aa’isha recognized the curse and said to them, “And may God’s curse be upon you!” What did the Prophet (PBUH) say? He said, “Wa Alaykum” (Likewise)!! He followed God’s orders of returning the “greeting”. It was really a curse disguised as a greeting, but even then, the Prophet (PBUH) gives us the lofty role model of being magnanimous even when insulted. He said to `Aa’isha, “God loves gentleness in everything.”

What to tell a pantheist?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

My older brother who’s 18 years old just left Islam. Now he’s a pantheist. Would you please help me to give a beautiful explanation, so he’ll think of Islam again? What should I say to him? What would YOU say to him if you were my parent? I don’t understand his philosophy very well, except that he believes in impersonal god and everything occurs in the universe has always been a mere mechanical process (not God’s will). He’s trying to convert me, my sisters, and my mother, a few days ago older sister’s starting to believe his conversion was making sense.

Sorry to hear that. I know you must be feeling terrible.

God is not a person, but He is not impersonal either! These terms apply to creatures only. He is above and beyond everything that we can imagine or conceive of. Everything in the universe did develop in a mechanical way, but it was God who created the mechanical and physical laws, right? God says in the holy Quran,

“[Pharaoh asking Moses and Aaron] saying, “Who then is your Lord, O Moses?” He said, “My Lord is He who gave everything its form and then guided [it]” (20:49-50)

The main question that no atheist has been able to answer is: who created the laws that operate everything? They say they don’t know how any law evolved and may never know. God tells us in the Quran that it is He and no one else who created all, including the laws by which all operate.

Why do these laws operate so orderly and so consistently? Has your brother ever been wounded? Did he ever reflect on how the wound heals? What tells scar tissue to form, just above new skin cells that are too ripe still to be exposed to air?! How does scar tissue know that new skin cells are ready and thus it drops off having served its purpose?! Isn’t this a sign of God, the Healer?

Atheists may think that they are intellectuals, but they really are irrational. Their motivation, IMHO, is one or more of three things: (a) Resentment of God for His Power over them, (b) resentment of God for allowing imperfections in this world, or (c) evasion of religious obligations. All three reasons are ill conceived. God’s power over us is a good thing, because we tend to abuse our powers while God never does, so He is the Balance in the universe. Imperfections in this world is the result of the exercise of the free will. Without the free will, no atheist would have been able to reject God! Finally, religious obligations are for our own benefit. They are our connection to God and the food for our souls.

Remain a good brother to your brother, and pray for him, but educate yourself and him. I suspect that the main reason he veered from Islam is that he knew little or knew wrong about Islam. Yes, many Muslims are ignorant about their religion, I’m sad to say.

Too much attention to ancient artifacts

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

During the Egyptian revolution of January 25th, 2011, thugs invaded the Ancient Egyptian museum in Cairo and stole a number of artifacts. The mummy chamber was not invaded.

Are we giving too much attention to monuments and ancient artifacts? Don’t they belong to pagan times? As a matter of fact, I heard some Muslims call for the destruction of all ancient statues, like Taliban did with Buddha statues in Afghanistan.

God draws our attention to ancient artifacts as a sign of how He punishes people who disbelieve in Him and fight His Messengers. He addresses Pharaoh as the man was drowning and says to him,

“So, today We rescue you with your body [only], so that you will be for those after you a sign.” (10:92)

God frequently asks people this question in the Quran, “Did they not travel the land and see what was the end of those before them? They were stronger than them…” (30:9)

Losing, neglecting or destroying ancient artifacts is losing, neglecting and destroying signs of God that He intended for us to keep and learn from.

Consider the long Islamic history in Egypt during which no Muslim ruler of Egypt has ever even contemplated destroying the Pyramids, the Sphinx or any ancient statue. Not Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (RA) who sent a mission to Egypt to call its people to Islam, nor Amr ibn Al-Aas (RA) who lead that mission, nor the hundreds of righteous Muslim leaders who ruled Egypt for some 1000 years!

How come? Did they not see that the Sphinx was an idol that should be smashed? Ironically, the only one who tried to blow up the Sphinx was a non-Muslim: Napoleon Bonaparte. He succeeded in severing the Sphinx’s beard only

And this not unique to Egypt. Muslim rulers of Afghanistan never thought of destroying the Buddhist statues, but Taliban did. That’s what happens when unqualified people take charge.

OK, but we need to find a balance and not wish to possess those treasures.

I’m sure the British Museum will love you for suggesting that! Ancient monuments are the property of the countries they are in. It was no coincidence that God left those particular monuments where they are.

“And they (the remnants of Sodom and Gomorrah) are not far from the wrongdoers.” (11:83)

“And you pass by them (the site of Sodom and Gomorrah) by morning. And by night; do you not use your minds?” (37:137-138)

It is one of my great lifetime wishes to travel to Egypt and see all its ancient sites and museums they are so fascinating especially the mummies. I hope they remain safe. May God protect Egypt and its people

May you get your wish, and amen to your supplication. When you visit the museum of antiquities, go see the mummy of Pharaoh. You are going to feel the verses of the Quran that spoke about him. You will no doubt reflect on what happens to disbelievers, tyrants and conceited people! Here lies before you a man who claimed to be a god, and fought God’s Messenger, Moses, peace be upon him. He ended up in a box shown to all, his name is not even known for sure and his followers are no more, while Moses ended up honored by the followers of all three Abrahamic religions.

I don’t agree with those who call for the destruction of ancient statues. Instead, we should be learning from them, and appreciating them as beautiful art, regardless of their original purpose. As a good friend of mine said, you can appreciate something without worshiping it.

Nice way to put it. I lived in Egypt many years and not once did I ever see or hear of anybody prostrating to the Sphinx!

Is this a contradiction in the Quran?

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The Quran states that the family of Pharaoh has been cursed and are going to Hell. But it also says that Pharaoh’s wife, Asia, was a role model for believing women. Is that a contradiction, or an exception?

The Quran does not condemn the family of Pharaoh, it condemns “Aal” of Pharaoh. The difference is that the word Aal, which is often translated as “family of” or “house of”, actually means “followers of”. Asia was not one of those. She was a believer and a follower of Moses, not of Pharaoh. Thus, while she was from the family of Pharaoh, she was not from his Aal.

In each prayer, we Muslims acknowledge that God has blessed Aal of Abraham. We do that a minimum of nine times everyday! But we know that Abraham’s father is declared in the Quran as “an enemy to God!” (9:114) Therefore, he cannot be from Aal of Abraham! Sarah, Haajar, Isaac, Ishmael, etc. are.

This is further confirmed by the story of Noah (PBUH) and his son. Noah thought that his son would be saved from the Flood, but God explained to him that Noah’s son “is not from his family!” See verses 11:40-49.

I read this poem on another forum and thought it articulated this concept quite well,
The Aal of the Prophet are the followers of his religion,
Be they foreign or Arab.
If his Aal were only his kinsmen,
We would be praying for his tyrant uncle Abu-Lahab!

Was the body of Pharaoh saved?

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Next time you are in Cairo, Egypt, go visit the Antiquities museum downtown and see for yourself the sign God is speaking of in 10:92,

“Today, We save you in your body so that you will be, for those who will come after you, a sign” (10:82)

It’s in the mummies wing for all to see and reflect.

The irony is that Pharaoh said about himself “I’m your highest lord” (79:24) and called Moses (PBUH), “Who is this one who is lowly and can hardly talk?” (43:52). Now, see where both ended! Pharaoh was defeated and drowned and no one really knows what his name was. The Jews say it’s Ramses, but Egyptologists say it was Menphetah. As for Moses, he was victorious, lived a long life, had millions of followers and is highly revered by billions of people for thousands of years.