فَاَلۡقٰہَا فَاِذَا ہِیَ حَیَّۃٌ تَسۡعٰی ﴿۲۱﴾
فَأَلۡقَىٰهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ حَيَّةٞ تَسۡعَىٰ
1816A. The rod did not actually turn into a serpent but was merely made to appear like one. It, therefore, contradicted or contravened no law of nature. The miracle was intended, besides providing a very powerful proof in support of Moses, to comfort him that his people would not remain permanently wedded to idolatry and other evil practices but, the instant they came under his fostering care, they would again become his good and God-fearing companion, ‘Asa signifying a community (Lane). See also 1023. (close)
حیة (serpent). The Quran has used three different words for describing the turning of the rod of Moses into a serpent, viz.حیة as in the verse under comment; جان as in 27:11 and 28:32; and ثعبانas in 7:108 and 26:33. The word حیة is of general application and is used for all categories of serpents; جان means a small serpent; and ثعبان generally means a bulky and long serpent. These words apparently seem to have been used haphazardly at various places in the Quran, but in reality there is no haphazardness, or arbitrariness since the word جان has been used from the point of view of the serpent’s quick movements and ثعبان from the point of view of its large size. Moreover, when the mere fact of the turning of the rod into a serpent is mentioned the word حیة is used, but when the rod turns into a serpent in the presence of Moses alone the word جان (a small serpent) is used. When, however, the miracle of the rod turning into a serpent is shown in public before Pharaoh, the magicians and the people, the word ثعبان (a large and bulky serpent) is used. The significance of these different words on different occasions would be different. The word حیة (root-word حیی) signifies that a dead people (عصا) as, to all intents and purposes, the Israelites were, would receive a new and vigorous life through Moses and the word جان(a small, fast moving serpent) signifies that from a small and decadent community, they would make rapid progress and would become ثعبان (a large and bulky serpent) for Pharaoh and his people i.e. they would become the means and instrument of their destruction.
The verse purports to say, and the history of the Israelites bears testimony to the fact, that whenever Moses happened to become separated from his people they became, as it were, serpents i.e. they relapsed into idol-worship and other abominable practices.
For an exhaustive explanation of the miracle of the rod turning into a serpent and its spiritual significance see 7:108. Suffice it to say here that it was a vision which Moses had seen and in which Pharaoh, his courtiers and the magicians were also made to share. The rod did not actually turn into a serpent but was merely made to appear like one. It, therefore, contradicted or contravened no law of nature. (close)
قَالَ خُذۡہَا وَ لَا تَخَفۡ ٝ سَنُعِیۡدُہَا سِیۡرَتَہَا الۡاُوۡلٰی ﴿۲۲﴾
قَالَ خُذۡهَا وَلَا تَخَفۡۖ سَنُعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا ٱلۡأُولَىٰ
Moses is here comforted that his people would not remain permanently wedded to idolatry and other evil practices but the instant they came under his fostering care, they would again become his good and God-fearing companions. See also 7:108. (close)
وَ اضۡمُمۡ یَدَکَ اِلٰی جَنَاحِکَ تَخۡرُجۡ بَیۡضَآءَ مِنۡ غَیۡرِ سُوۡٓءٍ اٰیَۃً اُخۡرٰی ﴿ۙ۲۳﴾
وَٱضۡمُمۡ يَدَكَ إِلَىٰ جَنَاحِكَ تَخۡرُجۡ بَيۡضَآءَ مِنۡ غَيۡرِ سُوٓءٍ ءَايَةً أُخۡرَىٰ
b. 7:109; 27:13; 28:33. (close)
1817. Yad means, hand or arm and figuratively signifies favour, beneficence; power, authority; help, protection; community, party (Aqrab). (close)
1818. One of the meanings of Yad (hand) being a community or people, the expression in the text contains an injunction for Moses that he should always keep his people close to him and under his fostering care. If he did so they would become highly righteous men, radiating spiritual light and would be free from all moral evils. Yade Baida’ may also signify clear and strong arguments. Moses was endowed with strong and solid arguments to prove his case. See also 7:109; and 26:34. (close)
a. 7:109; 27:13; 28:33. (close)
2254. Important Words:
یدک (thy hand). ید is derived from یدی (yada). یدی الرجل means, he hit or hurt the hand of the man; he did a good to him. یدی فلان من فلان (yadiya) means, such a one received a favour or bounty from such a one. ید means, hand or arm; and figuratively means, favour, benefit, bounty or beneficence; power, dominion, control, authority or assistance; help, protection; troop, host, army; shame, disgrace; duration, length; community, party; etc. سقط فی یدیه means, he felt ashamed; he was smitten with remorse; أعطی بیدہ means, he obeyed and submitted; ھذا فی یدی means, this is under my possession or authority. ید الطائرmeans, the wing of the bird; ید الزمان means, the length or duration of the time. یداللّٰه مع الجماعة means, the help or protection of God is with the community (Aqrab).
جناح (arm-pit) means, wing; hand; upper arm or arm from the shoulder to the elbow, edge; side; wing of an army; protection; a part or position of a thing; a community or people (Lane & Aqrab). See also 17:25.
One of the meanings of ید (hand) as stated above under "Important Words" is, a community or people. According to this meaning the expression واضمم یدک الی جناحک contains an injunction for Moses that he should always keep his people close to him and under his fostering care. If he did so they would become highly righteous men, radiating spiritual light and would be free from all evil.
ید بیضاء (white hand) may also signify clear and strong arguments. Moses was endowed with strong and solid arguments to prove his case. See also 7:109 & 26:33-34. (close)
لِنُرِیَکَ مِنۡ اٰیٰتِنَا الۡکُبۡرٰی ﴿ۚ۲۴﴾
لِنُرِيَكَ مِنۡ ءَايَٰتِنَا ٱلۡكُبۡرَى
1819. Sign of the rod was one of the greatest heavenly Signs given to Moses. When Moses was entrusted with Prophethood, the Sign of the rod appeared (20:19). When he went to preach his Message to Pharaoh it was again the miracle of the rod that was shown to him and the sorcerers (20:70- 74). When the Israelites wanted water, he was ordered to strike the rock with his rod (2:61), and when he had to cross the sea, God commanded him to strike it with his rod (26:64). (close)
The sign of the rod was one of the greatest heavenly signs given to Moses. When Moses was entrusted with prophethood, the sign of the rod appeared (20:20). When he went to preach his message to Pharaoh, it was again the miracle of the rod that was shown to him and the sorcerers (20:70-74). When the Israelites wanted water, Moses was ordered to strike the rock with his rod (2:61), and when he had to cross the sea, God commanded him to strike it with his rod (26:64).
The verse may signify that after the signs of the "rod" and the "white hand", God promises to show to Moses yet greater Signs. One of these latter signs was that Pharaoh and his mighty hosts were drowned in the sea before the very eyes of the Israelites. According to the Quran, altogether 9 Signs were shown for Moses (7:131-134) whereas the Bible gives their number as 13. For a detailed discussion about the disparity in the account of the Bible and that of the Quran see 7:134 & 17:102. Suffice it to say here that the signs were really 9 in number; the Bible has only unnecessarily enlarged their number. (close)
اِذۡہَبۡ اِلٰی فِرۡعَوۡنَ اِنَّہٗ طَغٰی ﴿٪۲۵﴾
ٱذۡهَبۡ إِلَىٰ فِرۡعَوۡنَ إِنَّهُۥ طَغَىٰ
Moses now receives his commission to go to Pharaoh as a Messenger of God. The words, he has indeed exceeded all bounds, show that by his misdeeds Pharaoh had already incurred God’s wrath and had made himself deserving of Divine punishment. But, God, out of His mercy, sent Moses to him in order to warn him of the impending punishment if he did not give up his evil ways and to give him a last opportunity to repent and reform. (close)
قَالَ رَبِّ اشۡرَحۡ لِیۡ صَدۡرِیۡ ﴿ۙ۲۶﴾
قَالَ رَبِّ ٱشۡرَحۡ لِي صَدۡرِي
The present and the following few verses show that at first Moses did not feel himself equal to the great task which was entrusted to him. They also shed some light on the necessary qualifications that a preacher should possess in order to succeed in his mission. The following are some of them:
(a) He must be inspired with zeal and enthusiasm for his mission and must possess strong arguments to support his cause (v:26); (b) his teachings must be easy of comprehension (v:27); (c) he should be a good speaker (v:28); (d) he should always be on the lookout for favourable opportunities for his discourse to be listened to with attention and respect (v:29); and (e) if possible he may have a good companion to share his responsibility and burden (v:30). (close)
وَ یَسِّرۡ لِیۡۤ اَمۡرِیۡ ﴿ۙ۲۷﴾
وَيَسِّرۡ لِيٓ أَمۡرِي
وَ احۡلُلۡ عُقۡدَۃً مِّنۡ لِّسَانِیۡ ﴿ۙ۲۸﴾
وَٱحۡلُلۡ عُقۡدَةٗ مِّن لِّسَانِي
a. 26:14. (close)
a. 26:14. (close)
Moses seems to have suffered from an impediment in his tongue. He does not appear to be an eloquent speaker. But it is not eloquence alone that makes a man a successful preacher. More than that it is conviction in the truth of one’s mission and one’s zeal for that mission and readiness to suffer for it that greatly make up for the deficiency of fluency. Moses possessed these things in full measure. This is why, in spite of the weakness of which he himself was conscious, he made a very effective and convincing speech before Pharaoh and his court. (close)
یَفۡقَہُوۡا قَوۡلِیۡ ﴿۪۲۹﴾
وَ اجۡعَلۡ لِّیۡ وَزِیۡرًا مِّنۡ اَہۡلِیۡ ﴿ۙ۳۰﴾
وَٱجۡعَل لِّي وَزِيرٗا مِّنۡ أَهۡلِي
1820. Moses did not feel himself equal to the great task entrusted to him. He asked for a helper to assist him. The Holy Prophet to whom an infinitely heavier and more onerous task was entrusted never prayed to be given an assistant. He alone, unassisted and unhelped, discharged fully and completely the responsibility of raising a people, sunk deep into the depths of moral turpitude, to the highest pinnacle of spiritual glory. (close)
2259. Important Words:
وزیر (helper) is derived from وزر (wazara). وزر الشیء means, he bore the thing. وزر الرجل means, the man carried a weight which burdened his back. وزر الرجل means, he overcame or overwhelmed the man. وزر also means, he sinned. وزیر means, helper; one who helps a person in carrying his burden; a minister who helps the king by his counsel in conducting the affairs of the State (Aqrab).
What a contrast between Moses and the Holy Prophet Muhammad! Whereas Moses here asks for a helper for the discharge of a lighter responsibility, the Holy Prophet who was entrusted with an infinitely heavier and more onerous task never prayed to be given an assistant. He, alone, unhelped and unassisted, discharged fully and completely the responsibility of raising a people, sunk deep into the depths of moral turpitude, to the highest pinnacles of spiritual glory. Even in moments of mortal danger he was never discouraged or dismayed. The brave words which he uttered on the battle-field of Hunain when he was left alone surrounded by bloodthirsty enemies and sure death stared him in the face, viz. انا النبی لا کذب انا ابن عبدالمطلب "I am the Prophet of God, there is no untruth about it, I am the son of ‘Abdil-Muttalib," (Bukhari, Kitabul-Jihad was-Siyar) have resounded through the centuries. (close)