A Preparation For Leadership

By Shaykh Ali Hammuda18/05/2022

There is a particular prophet to whom the Qur’an has given a noticeable amount of attention. His name is repeated more than any other prophet: around 183 times across 25 different contexts. Not only is his adulthood expounded upon, but so too is his birth, the events that led up to it, his years as a baby, his youth, and onto manhood. In fact, we are even told about his mother, sister, his marriage, and many of the details connected to it such as the dowry that he paid. He is none other than Prophet Mūsā (ʿalayhī al-Salām). 

Allah ﷻ said three things about Mūsā (ʿalayhī al-Salām) that were not said about any other prophet:

The first: 

وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِنِّي

“I cast the garment of love over you”[1] Thus everyone who saw Mūsā loved him. 

The second:  

وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَى عَيْنِي

“…in order that you may be brought up under My Eye.”

The third:

 وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي

“And I have prepared you for Myself.”

Indeed, there is a category of human beings, the allies of Allah, whom Allah selects, nurtures, guides, defends and prepares for Himself, and Mūsā was one of them. No aspect of Mūsā was for the dunyā (this world). His heart, soul, hopes and aspirations, his very essence were all entirely for Allah. 

Speaking about the verse “and I have prepared you for Myself”, Shaykh al-Saʿdī said:

وإذا كان الحبيب إذا أراد اصطناع حبيبه من المخلوقين، وأراد أن يبلغ من الكمال المطلوب له ما يبلغ، يبذل غاية جهده، ويسعى نهاية ما يمكنه في إيصاله لذلك، فما ظنك بصنائع الرب القادر الكريم، وما تحسبه يفعل بمن أراده لنفسه، واصطفاه من خلقه؟

“When a person wishes to nurture his beloved one from human mortals, wanting to raise him to the levels of perfection, he exerts every effort to help him attain it. So, what then of Allah’s doings – The Most Able, The Most Generous – for a person whom He wants for Himself and has selected from all of creation?”[2]

Prophet Mūsā; by Allah and for Allah

“And I have prepared you for myself” – These words fell onto the ears of Prophet Mūsā when he needed them the most. With hardly any provisions, he and his wife fled Egypt, when during the journey a glimmer of light in the distance caught their attention. He said to her: 

امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَعَلِّي آتِيكُمْ مِنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى

“Stay here; I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.” [3]

Unbeknown to him, Mūsā was in fact making his way towards an appointment with Allah. No sooner did he arrive than he heard his name being announced; “O Mūsā, Indeed I am Allah”. The Prophet Mūsā was tasked with prophethood, hearing the words of his Lord directly. During that perfect night and magnificent hour, answers were finally revealed to Mūsā relating to his life-long suffering.

The Prophet Mūsā was born with a death warrant to his name, for in the law of Egypt, every new-born baby boy was to be executed. This left his mother with no option but to place him in a cot, with him in it, on to the river Nile. Nevertheless, it found its way to the doorstep of  Pharaoh’s palace, whose wife fell in love with the baby Mūsā, and so Mūsā grew up within the Pharaoh’s quarters and at his expense. Years later, Prophet Mūsā accidently claimed the life of an Egyptian, forcing him to flee Egypt to escape  yet another death warrant. During his travels, Mūsā faced starvation and was pushed to his physical limits. Eventually, he found refuge and even marriage, though at the price of 10 years’ worth of labour, to then set off to another unknown future. 

Up until this conversation with Allah, Mūsā had no idea why he had endured all this hardship. Now, however, it all made sense. None of it was accidental and none of it was in vain. There, in the sacred valley of Ṭuwa, as Mūsā stared into the heavens, absorbed by the majestic voice of Allah, the puzzle of his life was finally solved, as he was told: “And I have prepared you for myself”

During this glorious conversation, Prophet Mūsā’s ordeals were recounted to him, to make manifest how each and every phase of His life was divinely planned, even the ones which he was far too young to remember, to bring him to this predestined moment. He heard:

قَدْ أُوتِيتَ سُؤْلَكَ يَا مُوسَى (36) وَلَقَدْ مَنَنَّا عَلَيْكَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَىٰ (37) إِذْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ مَا يُوحَىٰ (38) أَنِ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّي وَعَدُوٌّ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّي وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَىٰ عَيْنِي (39) إِذْ تَمْشِي أُخْتُكَ فَتَقُولُ هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَىٰ مَن يَكْفُلُهُ ۖ فَرَجَعْنَاكَ إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ ۚ وَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا فَنَجَّيْنَاكَ مِنَ الْغَمِّ وَفَتَنَّاكَ فُتُونًا ۚ فَلَبِثْتَ سِنِينَ فِي أَهْلِ مَدْيَنَ ثُمَّ جِئْتَ عَلَىٰ قَدَرٍ يَا مُوسَىٰ (40) وَاصْطَنَعْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي

“Your request has been granted O Mūsā. And we have shown our favour upon you yet another time. When we inspired your mother with what we inspired, saying ‘Put him inside the casket and place it onto the river and the river will throw it on the bank, and there, an enemy to Me and an enemy to him will take him.’ And I cast the garment of love over you in order that you may be brought up under My eye. When your sister went and said, ‘Shall I direct you to someone who can nurse him?’ So, We restored you to your mother so that her eye may cool and not grieve. And you killed someone, but We saved you from retaliation and we tested you with a severe test. And you remained for some years among the people of Madyan. Then you came here at the decreed time, O Moses. And I have prepared you for Myself.”[4]

It turns out that Mūsā was being prepared all along by Allah to be for Allah. As a result, Allah was aided him, navigating him through every hardship, guided his every decision, supported him against his enemies, and will – on the Day of Reckoning – give him security, before granting him entry into the uppermost stations in paradise. 

What about us? 

Naturally, a Muslim who reads this will ask: Can I, too, receive a portion of this? Can I, too, become amongst those who are prepared by Allah to be exclusively for Him, and thus guided in the confusing times of today, and given security and Jannah tomorrow? This is a perfectly valid question to ask, as those who suffer in Allah’s cause want assurances that their suffering is not in vain. Such signs do exist, and what better way to discover them than to peruse  some of the features of Prophet Mūsā that qualified Him for this station of “I have prepared you for Myself.”

1: An unquenchable thirst for knowledge

So intense was Mūsā’s yearning for knowledge that when he came to learn of a righteous man who was based at “the junction of the two seas” who has new knowledge, he wasted no time, packed his bags and set out on a quest to find him, saying: 

لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّى أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا

“I will not give up travelling until I reach the junction of the two seas, even if it takes me years.”[5]

After tracking him down following an arduous journey, Mūsā asked the wise man:

هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَى أَنْ تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا

“May I follow you so that you can teach me some of the right guidance you have been taught?’[6]

So, a person who is being prepared by Allah to be for Allah searches for this sign within himself; the levels of eagerness to learn, as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: 

مَنْ يُرِدِ اللهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ في الدِّينِ

“When Allah wants good for a person, He gives him understanding of the religion.”[7]

2: A commitment to worship (ʿibādah) in all circumstances and it all of its forms 

The very first instruction given by Allah to Prophet Mūsā was: 

فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي 

“…so worship me and establish the prayer for my remembrance.”[8]

That he did, never forgetting this instruction even during the darkest moments in his life. In fact, on the eve of their escape from the Pharaoh, Mūsā and Hārūn were instructed by Allah to:

 تَبَوَّأَا لِقَوْمِكُمَا بِمِصْرَ بُيُوتًا وَاجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“Provide homes for your people in Egypt, and make your homes into places of worship, and establish the prayer, and give good news to the believers.”[9]

So, one who is being prepared by Allah to be for Allah is an exemplary worshipper, remembering Allah when others forget, fasting when people feast, and praying when others are asleep. 

3: A fearless acknowledgement of personal error 

Never did Mūsā shy away from confessing his faults nor did he ever delay making amends. Having underestimated his own strength, Mūsā accidently killed an Egyptian in his attempt to break up a fight. At once he said: 

هَذَا مِنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ مُضِلٌّ مُبِينٌ (15) قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِي فَاغْفِرْ لِي فَغَفَرَ لَهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

“This is from the work of shayṭān; surely he is an enemy, openly leading astray. He said, ‘My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me’ and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [10]

Similarly, when Mūsā returned to his community from a short journey and saw that they had fallen to idolatry in his absence, he erupted in rage, threw down the scrolls of revelation, and gripped his older brother, Hārūn, by his hair and beard for not preventing this. Hārūn, however, explained that they had oppressed him and were on the verge of killing him. At once, Mūsā settled, picked up the scrolls, acknowledged his fault and made amends by saying: 

رَبِّ اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِأَخِي وَأَدْخِلْنَا فِي رَحْمَتِكَ وَأَنْتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

“My Lord, forgive me and my brother and admit us into Your mercy, for You are the Most merciful of those who show mercy.”[11]

So, a sign to look out for within yourself is your reaction upon learning of an Islamic ruling that clashes with your comforts, or upon receiving advice. Those who are being prepared by Allah to be for Allah willingly submit to Islam’s guidelines, accept advice gratefully, and amend their conduct whatever the cost.   

4: An unbreakable ethic of patience 

Both before and after his exit from Egypt, Mūsā faced harm at every level but was only every seen behaving patiently. In fact, so exemplary was it that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, in the face of harm, often remembered Mūsā’s patience, saying:

رحِمَ الله موسى، قد أوذي بأكثر من هذا فصبر

“May Allah have mercy on Mūsā. He was harmed more than this but was patient.”[12]

5: A longing to be of service to others

Mūsā saw a fight and immediately endeavoured to settle it. He saw two women amongst a crowd who wanted to water their flock, and so he fought the crowds and watered their flock on their behalf. In fact, even during his quest for knowledge, he witnessed behaviour from his mentor which he perceived to be unjust, and so he vocalised his objection. 

If you are in the process of being prepared by Allah to be exclusively for Allah, you will find yourself committed to an ethic of excellence and of service to others, just as Allah said about Mūsā:

وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَاسْتَوَى آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“And when he reached full strength and maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. This is how We reward those who do good.”[13]

A paradigm shift in perspective 

The Prophet ﷺ said:

أَنْتُمْ مُوفُونَ سَبْعِينَ أُمَّةً أَنْتُمْ خَيْرُهَا وَأَكْرَمُهَا عَلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

“You are the last of 70 nations. You are however, in Allah’s sight, the greatest and most honourable of them all.”[14]

Nevertheless, this favoured nation finds itself bleeding profusely from every one of its limbs; the ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims in China; the on-going plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar; a seemingly impending genocide of Muslims in India; abandoned scholars within the dungeons of Saudi Arabia; Yemen’s existential famine crisis; the decade long war on Syria’s people; the occupation of Palestine with the siege on Gaza; and al-Masjid al-Aqsa that is being desecrated before the eyes of the world. Above this all, however, is a Wise and Able Lord who controls the affairs of life and allows events to unfold the way they do. As for those who ask why, the response is the same as that which was given to Mūsā: “And I have prepared you for Myself”.

The God who said to Mūsā “I cast the garment of love over you” is the same God who said to him “and we tested you with a severe test”. So, Allah’s love and tests are twins; one calls for the other, for “if Allah loves a people, he tests them.”[15]

Just as Mūsā’s suffering was not due to hatred or abandonment, but preparation to lead the children of Israel, this Ummah is to see its trials in the exact same light; preparatory events for our leadership of humanity. That process of preparation will be no different to that of Mūsā who was separated from his mother and loved ones for a period of time, and likewise we, too, will be separated from people we love, whether scholars or their likes, and places we love, whether al-Aqsa or its likes. Mūsā, however, was reunited with his loved ones, and we, too, will be reunited with our loved ones and loved places. The peril of the Nile that baby Mūsā floated away on is no less than the perils we face from the Islamophobia today. However, the shores of the Nile were nearby for Mūsā, and our shores, as promised by Allah, are also nearby.

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَآدُّونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ فِى ٱلْأَذَلِّينَ 

“Those who oppose Allah and His Messenger will be among the most humiliated.”[16]

كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا۠ وَرُسُلِىٓ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌۭ

“Allah has decreed, ‘I and My messengers will certainly prevail.’ Surely Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty.”[17]


[1] Al-Qur’an, 20:39

[2] Tafsīr al-Saʿdī

[3] Al-Qur’an, 20:10

[4] Al-Qur’an, 20:41

[5] Al-Qur’an, 18:60

[6] Al-Qur’an, 18:66

[7] Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, on the authority of Muʿāwiyah

[8] Al-Qur’an, 20:14

[9] Al-Qur’an, 10:87

[10] Al-Qur’an, 28:15-16

[11] Al-Qur’an, 7:151

[12] Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, on the authority of Ibn Masʿūd

[13] Al-Qur’an, 28:14

[14] Ibn Mājah, on the authority of Muʿāwiyah 

[15] Al-Tirmidhī, on the authority of Anas

[16] Al-Qur’an, 58:20

[17] Al-Qur’an, 58:21

Shaykh Ali Hammuda

Shaykh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is Islam21c’s Tarbiya Editor. A UK national of Palestinian origin, he gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari’ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Shaykh Ali is the author of several books including ‘The Daily Revivals’, ‘The Ten Lanterns’ and ‘The Friday Reminder’. He delivers sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.

THE ELITE BLESSED BY ALLAH

As-Salaam alaikum,
Sayyada A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that Allah’s Messenger, Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam, once said:–

“Musa (alaihi salaam) once asked Allah Ta’ala, ‘My Lord, tell me about Your
Most Exalted people.’ Allah Ta’ala responded:-
‘They are the ones who hasten to do what I want first, just like an eagle glides
with precision towards what it desires. They are the servants of My creation who
hasten to serve the guests like a young servant does in the house of his master.
They feel offended if any of My injunctions are violated, just like an angry tiger
does, for an angry tiger attacks with impunity no matter how many people it
faces.’

Hence, among Allah’s creation, there is an elite He blessed…. they are servants who take off the shoes of comfort, and dislike honor and status in this world. The admonitions and warnings of the Glorious Qur’an deprive their eyes from resting at night; understanding the words of the Benevolent King humbles to submission their body, mind and gaze.”

Culled from: ‘HILYATUL AWLIYA WA TABAQAT AL-ASFIYA’, by
Abu Nu’aim al-Isfahani

Āshūra and Remembering the Real Legacy of Mūsā

The virtues of fasting the Day of `Āshūra. or the 10th day of Muḥarram are widely known to many, as millions of Muslims all over the world fast this day in the hope that it will atone for their sins for the previous year. As the Prophet (saw) said:

It will expiate the sins of the past year. [1]

In light of this, the story of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)’s interactions with the Jews in Madinah comes to mind, as it is similarly well known and quoted alongside other hādith that they would also fast on this day. Hence the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) commanded us to fast an additional day in order to distinguish the Muslims from other religions.

Ibn Abbas (raḍī Allāhu anhu) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, came to Medina and he found the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. The Prophet said, “What is this day you are fasting?” They said, “This is a great day in which Allāh saved Moses and his people, and he drowned Pharaoh and his people. Moses fasted on it due to gratitude, so we also fast on it.” The Prophet said, “We have more of a right to Moses and are closer to him than you.” The Prophet fasted the day of Āshūra and he commanded fasting on it.” [2]

The Jews of Madinah were following the tradition of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) to fast the day on which Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) saved him and his people from Firaun. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is telling us that we as Muslims have more of a right to Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) than them, and thus commanded us to fast on this day. He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is informing us that the legacy of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) belongs to this ummah.

However, is this magnificent legacy that we have inherited limited to following a single tradition of his in fasting the day of `Āshūra? Or does our right to Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) extend beyond such a limited understanding?

If we truly wish to commemorate the vanquishing of Firaun and his army, and the salvation of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) and his people, we must remember the background to this glorious day and the events that preceded it. Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)’s miraculous intervention did not occur in a vacuum but was the pinnacle of a series of interactions between Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) and Firaun.

In doing so, we can take away at least three powerful characteristics of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) that we should strive to implement in our daily lives.

1. Speaking Truth to Power
Firstly, we must recognize the courage of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) in speaking truth to power. The only reason that Firaun and his army were chasing Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) and the Bani Israil on the day of `Āshūra was because Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) had challenged his claim to lordship, his tyranny, and his enslavement of the Bani Israil. Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) did all this despite the incredible natural fear that festered inside him from standing up to such a tyrant. That anxiety of confronting this powerful king who ruled with a god-complex could only have been immeasurably magnified by Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām)’s speech impediment, his status as a second class citizen, and his having an arrest warrant issued against him for murder. Yet, he was able to overcome all of this to boldly walk into the court of Firaun and warn him of his wrongdoing. Remarkably, this was not an isolated incident, and Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) persisted in speaking truth to power over a significant period of time regardless of the taunts and threats that Firaun threw his way.

The legacy we have inherited mandates that we make it part of our character to have this type of courage, to speak truth to power, and to not shy away from it out of fear for our personal safety or potential difficulties we may face as a result of doing so. As the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) advised us, “the best jihad is a word of truth before a tyrant ruler.” [3]

2. Exert your maximum effort
Secondly, we learn that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)’s miraculous intervention occurs after Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) has exhausted his absolute maximum efforts to fulfill Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)’s commands. It comes after a period of time during which he has advised the Bani Israil, spoken out against Firaun’s tyranny on numerous occasions, competed with the magicians, and taken his people out from Egypt. It is at the point where they are between death by drowning and death by the sword that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) fulfills His promise and causes the sea to part to enable their escape. Even at this point as if to emphasise the point, Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) commands Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) to strike the sea with his staff so there is literally nothing more he can do after this except wait for Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)’s help.

When we witness injustice and oppression around us, whether from the state and its machinations or from elements within our societies, it is not from the legacy of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) to silently condemn it and to simply pray for Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)’s help.

3. Having trust and certainty in Allāh
Finally, and most importantly, the legacy of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) requires us to have unwavering trust and certainty in the promise of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). Even when Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) was trapped between the sea and Firaun and his army, with thousands of men, women, and children on the verge of being slaughtered, and with the naysayers amidst his people complaining that they were doomed, his faith in Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) remained as strong as ever. He vision was not limited to the tangible things his eyes could see but was guided by his heart which was attached to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and His promise.

No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me. [4]

As believers and inheritors of the legacy of one of the greatest prophets to walk the face of this earth, we must continue this great tradition of speaking truth to power which entails devoting ourselves to the cause and maximizing our efforts and always having a firm, resolute faith that Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) will give us victory. This is the real legacy of Mūsā (ʿalayhi al-Salām) that we should be striving to replicate in our lives.

Source: http://www.islam21c.com