People at the time of Moses (AS) were easily influenced by magic. Allah (SWT) gave Moses (AS) nine miracles to convince these people of Allah’s (SWT) existence and power. Two of these miracles are well known; the other seven are often forgotten.
Before describing these interesting events, we should describe the difference between miracles and magic?
A miracle is an extraordinary and unique act, which an ordinary person cannot perform. Allah (SWT) lets these events take place through His chosen prophets. Other features of miracles are:
Persons performing the miracles are always of high moral character and do not use the miracles to “play games” with the people.
Prophets can show only those miracles, which Allah (SWT) has chosen for them. The authority for the miracles rests with Allah (SWT) alone.
Miracles bring out clearly that there is a higher power who permits these things.
The chosen persons do not claim that these miracles are due to their personal super skills. They believe that Allah (SWT) has allowed this to happen in order to display His existence and power, and to build faith in Him.
It is not a physical deception which appears to be extraordinary to the audience.
Miracles are observed by all the observers and not by only one section of the audience, as is often the case with magic.
Prophets do not show off or boast about their God-given skills.
Prophets do not ask for rewards, monetary gain, or personal popularity.
On the other hand, magic is a physical trick practiced and presented by the people who have poor or no character at all. Their lives are very sinful. On the contrary, even the opponents of the prophets believed that they were good people.
Since magic is only a physical deception, it can be fouled up easily. On the other hand, a miracle is totally God’s act. For example, Surah Al-Anfal # 17
Allah (SWT) said to Prophet Mohammad (SAS), “You did not throw the handful of pebbles toward the enemy during the battle of Badr. Allah did it.”
These few pebbles became a large dust storm by Allah’s act, and upset the rank and file of the enemy. This disruption resulted in a crushing defeat of the non-Muslims by a much smaller contingent of Muslims.
Magic is often for monetary gain or to increase popularity.
Magic can be used to create problems between people, even between husband and wife. It appears entertaining, but can be very destructive when misused.
Now let us return to the miracles of Moses (AS).
Whenever Moses (AS) brought his hand out from under his cloak, it appeared a brilliant white to observers. This was not due to any disease.
Pharaoh, the ruler at the time, gathered his master magicians and arranged a public contest with Moses (AS). The magicians asked Moses (AS), “Should we show our magic first, or would you like to show yours first?” Moses said, “You go first.”
The magicians threw their ropes on the ground, which appeared to the audience, like snakes. Moses (AS) then threw his staff on the ground. Not only did the staff of Moses (AS) become a snake, but it proceeded to swallow the staffs and ropes of the magicians, resulting in a crushing defeat of the Pharaoh.
Inspired by these two miracles, many lifelong disbelievers accepted Islam. The Pharaoh said to these Muslims, Surah Al- Araf # 124-125
I will cut your hand and feet on the opposite sides to punish you. The new Muslims said, “It does not matter. We have to die in any case, and meet Allah (SWT.
These new Muslims made a beautiful dua at this time Surah Al- Araf # 126
O Allah increase our patience and make us die as muslims.
Moses (AS) preached to the disbelievers for twenty years in Egypt. The disbelievers broke their promises one after another, and troubled and tortured the believers. Allah (SWT) sent many clear signs to guide Pharaoh and his people. These are briefly described below:
Pharaoh’s people experienced famine and there was a shortage of fruit for several years. Pharaoh and his followers promised Moses (AS) that if his Lord removed this hardship, they would follow the way of Allah (SWT). Moses (AS) prayed, and the famine and shortage of fruit disappeared. But the disbelievers broke their promises saying, “It had to go away after a while.”
Allah (SWT) sent a flood to punish them. The disbelievers promised that if this stopped, they would accept Islam. Moses (AS) prayed, and Allah (SWT) stopped the rain. The abundance of water resulted in very rich crops. The sight of the rich crops made the disbelievers feel safe and secure, and indifferent to the promises they had made to Moses (AS).
Allah (SWT) sent locusts to eat the standing crop. In this way, the crop, which had gladdened the disbelievers now, disappeared before their eyes, and they again asked Moses (AS) to pray to Allah (SWT) to relieve them of their misfortune. They said, “This time, we will not break the promise.” Moses (AS) prayed to Allah (SWT). No more locusts were seen, and the crops recovered. As soon as the people had the grain stored in their homes, they forgot their promises once again.
Next, Allah (SWT) sent vermin to eat the stored grain. Again, the disbelievers rushed to Moses (AS) with the usual promises. Moses (AS) had patience and prayed again. This punishment was lifted, and the disbelievers returned to their old ways. They felt that they had plenty to cook, and could eat and enjoy life. They did not need Allah (SWT) at all.
Allah punished them by sending frogs to the land. There were frogs everywhere, in the houses, in the cooking pots, stored food, and their drinking water. The disbelievers cried helplessly, and requested Moses (AS) to pray, and promised to become Muslims as soon as they were out of trouble. Kindhearted Moses (AS) prayed, and Allah removed the frogs. Again, the disbelievers broke their promises and became even more arrogant. They said, “Moses is certainly a knowledgeable magician.
Allah (SWT) sent another punishment in the form of blood. When the disbelievers got drinking water from the well, it turned into blood. Their eatables were filled with blood. If they tried to cook food, it turned to blood. Miraculously, the followers of Moses (AS) were spared from this. It took place only in the homes of the disbelievers. Further, if a disbeliever borrowed water from the believers, it turned into blood as soon as the disbelievers tried to use it.
Again, Pharaoh’s men rushed to Moses (AS) with more promises that were broken when the punishment was removed. That is why Allah (SWT) says, “They were haughty and seasoned criminals.”
Now the disbelievers were met with diseases such as plague and smallpox. Approximately 70,000 people died. They again requested Moses (AS) to pray for them. Definitely, this time they would follow the guidance of Allah (SWT) once they were relieved of their misery.
But not only did they break their promise, again they also blamed their misfortunes on the presence of Moses among them. They turned Moses and his followers out of their homes, and followed them to kill them. The Muslims reached the bank of a sea. Allah (SWT) split the sea for them, and they crossed it safely. Pharaoh and his people angrily followed, and were drowned.
Scholars have related that the famine and shortage of fruit lasted for seven years. Other punishments lasted one week each. They had three weeks relief in between. None of these reminders helped them to come out of the darkness of disbelief.
This is mentioned in Surah Al-Araf # 130-133
And indeed We punished the people of pharaoh with years of drought and shortness of fruit (crops etc) that they might remember (take head).
But whenever good came to them, they said: “Ours is this.” And if evil afflicted them, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Moses and those with him. Be informed! Verily, their evil omens are with Allah but most of them know not.
So we sent on them: the flood, the locusts, the lice,the frogs, and the blood (as a succession of) manifest signs, yet they remained arrogant, and they were of those people who were Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners).
We can draw several conclusions from this discussion:
People very easily forget Allah (SWT) when they are affluent, although comfort should mean more thankfulness. Unfortunately, for many of us., it is the other way round. For example, in spite of good facilities and amenities, very few of us come to the masjid for prayers on a regular basis.
Allah (SWT) wants to show guidance even to the seasoned criminals.
Allah forgives again and again.
Prophets have unbelievable patience and sincerity, this is why they are chosen by Allah (SWT).
Those who have guidance should consider themselves fortunate and be thankful to Allah (SWT).
We have a living miracle amongst us — The Quran. We should follow the guidance provided in the Quran to enjoy success in this life and in hereafter.
I pray to Allah (SWT) to increase His blessings on us.