(20:67-69) Musa’s Fear

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فَأَوۡجَسَ فِي نَفۡسِهِۦ خِيفَةٗ مُّوسَىٰ
So Moses concealed fear within himself.

(20:67)

It’s easy to understand why anyone would be scared. A massive display of snakes appeared to move before him, a great display of magic by the country’s finest.

But Prophet Musa (as) wasn’t anybody. He had spoken to Allah ﷻ directly and had witnessed a true and even greater miracle before this. So what we he fearful of?

Ibn Kathir explains: “He was fearful that people would be deceived by this magic before he could display his miracle (i.e. the one Allah ﷻ gave him)”

You see, Musa (as) knew his people, and he knew the power great crowds can have. Scholars estimated anywhere between 15,000 – 70,000 magicians each with their own “snakes”. When the illusion is that great, people have a tendency to follow the crowd. Whilst he was sure his miracle would surpass their trick, he could not have known if the people would see it the same way. After all, he did not know what was yet to happen.

قُلۡنَا لَا تَخَفۡ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡأَعۡلَىٰ
We reassured ˹him˺, “Do not fear! It is certainly you who will prevail.

وَأَلۡقِ مَا فِي يَمِينِكَ تَلۡقَفۡ مَا صَنَعُوٓاْۖ إِنَّمَا صَنَعُواْ كَيۡدُ سَٰحِرٖۖ وَلَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلسَّاحِرُ حَيۡثُ أَتَىٰ
Cast what is in your right hand, and it will swallow up what they have made, for what they have made is no more than a magic trick. And magicians can never succeed wherever they go.”

(20:67-68)

Allah ﷻ reassured him, calling upon him to throw his staff. This time, an even greater miracle came to play, one he could never have foreseen. His staff not only transformed to a snake as it had on the mountain, but it ate the “snakes” of each of the other magicians; a clear victory before all the crowds! Then, perhaps an even greater miracle occurred; every one of the magicians fell in prostration before Allah ﷻ from what they had witnessed, baring testimony to the truth of Prophet Musa’s (as) claim.

In Prophet Musa, we learn a powerful lesson; if we are certain of Allah ﷻ, that certainty will transfer to those around us. If we are prepared with the truth, Allah ﷻ will help will help with the rest.

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