These are the verses of the clear Book.
We narrate to you ˹O Prophet˺ part of the story of Moses and Pharaoh in truth for people who believe.
Indeed, Pharaoh ˹arrogantly˺ elevated himself in the land and divided its people into ˹subservient˺ groups, one of which he persecuted, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women. He was truly one of the corruptors.
But it was Our Will to favour those who were oppressed in the land, making them models ˹of faith˺ as well as successors;
and to establish them in the land; and through them show Pharaoh, Hamân,1 and their soldiers ˹the fulfilment of˺ what they feared.2
We inspired the mother of Moses: “Nurse him, but when you fear for him, put him then into the river, and do not fear or grieve. We will certainly return him to you, and make him one of the messengers.”
And ˹it so happened that˺ Pharaoh’s people picked him up, only to become their enemy and source of grief. Surely Pharaoh, Hamân, and their soldiers were sinful.
Pharaoh’s wife said ˹to him˺, “˹This baby is˺ a source of joy for me and you. Do not kill him. Perhaps he may be useful to us or we may adopt him as a son.” They were unaware ˹of what was to come˺.
And the heart of Moses’ mother ached so much that she almost gave away his identity, had We not reassured her heart in order for her to have faith ˹in Allah’s promise˺.
And she said to his sister, “Keep track of him!” So she watched him from a distance, while they were unaware.
And We had caused him to refuse all wet-nurses at first, so his sister suggested, “Shall I direct you to a family who will bring him up for you and take good care of him?”
This is how We returned him to his mother so that her heart would be put at ease, and not grieve, and that she would know that Allah’s promise is ˹always˺ true. But most people do not know.
And when he reached full strength and maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. This is how We reward the good-doers.
˹One day˺ he entered the city unnoticed by its people.1 There he found two men fighting: one of his own people, and the other of his enemies. The man from his people called to him for help against his foe. So Moses punched him, causing his death. Moses cried, “This is from Satan’s handiwork. He is certainly a sworn, misleading enemy.”
He pleaded, “My Lord! I have definitely wronged my soul, so forgive me.” So He forgave him, ˹for˺ He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Moses pledged, “My Lord! For all Your favours upon me, I will never side with the wicked.”
And so Moses became fearful, watching out in the city, when suddenly the one who sought his help the day before cried out to him again for help. Moses rebuked him, “Indeed, you are clearly a trouble-maker.”
Then when Moses was about to lay his hands on their foe,1 the enemy said, “O Moses! Do you intend to kill me as you killed a man yesterday? You only want to be a tyrant in the land. You do not intend to make peace!”
And there came a man, rushing from the farthest end of the city. He said, “O Moses! The chiefs are actually conspiring against you to put you to death, so leave ˹the city˺. I really advise you ˹to do so˺.”
So Moses left the city in a state of fear and caution, praying, “My Lord! Deliver me from the wrongdoing people.”
And as he made his way towards Midian, he said, “I trust my Lord will guide me to the right way.”
When he arrived at the well of Midian, he found a group of people watering ˹their herds˺. Apart from them, he noticed two women holding back ˹their herd˺. He asked ˹them˺, “What is the problem?” They replied, “We cannot water ˹our animals˺ until the ˹other˺ shepherds are done, for our father is a very old man.”
So he watered ˹their herd˺ for them, then withdrew to the shade and prayed, “My Lord! I am truly in ˹desperate˺ need of whatever provision You may have in store for me.”1
Then one of the two women came to him, walking bashfully. She said, “My father is inviting you so he may reward you for watering ˹our animals˺ for us.” When Moses came to him and told him his whole story, the old man said, “Have no fear! You are ˹now˺ safe from the wrongdoing people.”
One of the two daughters suggested, “O my dear father! Hire him. The best man for employment is definitely the strong and trustworthy ˹one˺.”
The old man proposed, “I wish to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you, provided that you stay in my service for eight years. If you complete ten, it will be ˹a favour˺ from you, but I do not wish to make it difficult for you. Allah willing, you will find me an agreeable man.”
Moses responded, “˹Then˺ it is ˹settled˺ between you and I. Whichever term I fulfill, there will be no ˹further˺ obligation on me. And Allah is a Witness to what we say.”
When Moses had completed the term and was travelling with his family, he spotted a fire on the side of Mount Ṭûr. He said to his family, “Stay here, ˹for˺ I have spotted a fire. Perhaps from there I can bring you some directions1 or a torch from the fire so you may warm yourselves.”
But when he came to it, he was called from the bush in the sacred ground to the right side of the valley: “O Moses! It is truly I. I am Allah—the Lord of all worlds.
Now, throw down your staff!” But when he saw it slithering like a snake, he ran away without looking back. ˹Allah reassured him,˺ “O Moses! Draw near, and have no fear. You are perfectly secure.
Now put your hand through ˹the opening of˺ your collar, it will come out ˹shining˺ white, unblemished.1 And cross your arms tightly to calm your fears.2 These are two proofs from your Lord to Pharaoh and his chiefs. They have truly been a rebellious people.”
Moses appealed, “My Lord! I have indeed killed a man from them, so I fear they may kill me.
And my brother Aaron is more eloquent than I, so send him with me as a helper to support what I say, for I truly fear they may reject me.”
Allah responded, “We will assist you with your brother and grant you both authority, so they cannot harm you. With Our signs, you and those who follow you will ˹certainly˺ prevail.”
But when Moses came to them with Our clear signs, they said ˹arrogantly˺, “This is nothing but conjured magic ˹tricks˺. We have never heard of this in ˹the history of˺ our forefathers.”
Moses responded, “My Lord knows best who has come with ˹true˺ guidance from Him and will fare best in the end. Indeed, the wrongdoers will never succeed.”
Pharaoh declared, “O chiefs! I know of no other god for you but myself. So bake bricks out of clay for me, O Hamân, and build a high tower so I may look at the God of Moses, although I am sure he is a liar.”
And so he and his soldiers behaved arrogantly in the land with no right, thinking they would never be returned to Us.
So We seized him and his soldiers, casting them into the sea. See then what was the end of the wrongdoers!
We made them leaders inviting ˹others˺ to the Fire. And on the Day of Judgment they will not be helped.
We caused a curse to follow them in this world. And on the Day of Judgment they will be among the outcasts.
Indeed, We gave Moses the Scripture—after destroying earlier nations—as an insight for the people, a guide, and mercy so perhaps they would be mindful.
You were not there ˹O Prophet˺ on the western side of the mountain when We entrusted the Commandments to Moses, nor were you present ˹in his time˺.1
But We ˹later˺ raised ˹several˺ generations, and the ages took their toll on them.1 Nor were you living among the people of Midian, rehearsing Our revelations with them. But it is We Who have sent ˹this revelation to you˺.
And you were not at the side of Mount Ṭûr when We called out ˹to Moses˺. But ˹you have been sent˺ as a mercy from your Lord to warn a people to whom no warner has come before you, so perhaps they may be mindful.
Also so they would not say, if struck by an affliction for what their hands have done: “Our Lord! If only You had sent us a messenger, we would have followed Your revelations and become believers.”
But when the truth came to them from Us, they said, “If only he was given the like of what Moses had been given.”1 Did they not deny what had been given to Moses earlier? They claimed, “Both ˹Scriptures˺ are works of magic, supporting each other!”2 Adding, “We truly deny both.”
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Bring then a scripture from Allah which is a better guide than these two so I may follow it, if your claim is true.”
So if they fail to respond to you, then know that they only follow their desires. And who could be more astray than those who follow their desires with no guidance from Allah? Surely Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.
Indeed, We have steadily delivered the Word ˹of Allah˺ to the people so they may be mindful.
˹As for˺ those ˹faithful˺ to whom We had given the Scripture before this ˹Quran˺, they do believe in it.
When it is recited to them, they declare, “We believe in it. This is definitely the truth from our Lord. We had already submitted1 ˹even˺ before this.”
These ˹believers˺ will be given a double reward for their perseverance, responding to evil with good, and for donating from what We have provided for them.
When they hear slanderous talk, they turn away from it, saying, “We are accountable for our deeds and you for yours. Peace ˹is our only response˺ to you! We want nothing to do with those who act ignorantly.”
You surely cannot guide whoever you like ˹O Prophet˺, but it is Allah Who guides whoever He wills, and He knows best who are ˹fit to be˺ guided.
They say ˹to the Prophet˺, “If we were to follow ˹true˺ guidance with you, we would certainly be snatched away from our land.” Have We not established for them a safe haven ˹in Mecca˺ to which fruits of all kinds are brought as a provision from Us? But most of them do not know ˹this favour˺.
˹Imagine˺ how many societies We have destroyed that had been spoiled by their ˹comfortable˺ living! Those are their residences, never inhabited after them except passingly.1 And We ˹alone˺ were the Successor.
Your Lord would never destroy a society until He had sent to its capital a messenger, reciting Our revelations to them. Nor would We ever destroy a society unless its people persisted in wrongdoing.
Whatever ˹pleasure˺ you have been given is no more than ˹a fleeting˺ enjoyment and adornment of this worldly life. But what is with Allah is far better and more lasting. Will you not then understand?
Can those to whom We have made a fine promise—which they will see fulfilled—be like those who We have allowed to enjoy the pleasures of this worldly life, but on the Day of Judgment will be brought ˹for punishment˺?
˹Watch for˺ the Day He will call to them, “Where are those you claimed were My associate-gods?”
Those ˹misleaders˺ against whom the decree ˹of torment˺ is justified will cry, “Our Lord! These ˹followers˺ are the ones we caused to deviate. We led them into deviance, for we ourselves were deviant. We disassociate ourselves ˹from them˺ before You. It was not us that they used to worship.”
It will be said ˹to the disbelievers˺, “Call upon your associate-gods ˹for help˺.” So they will call them, but will receive no response. And they will face the punishment, wishing they had been ˹rightly˺ guided!
And ˹watch for˺ the Day He will call to them, asking, “What response did you give to the messengers?”
They will be too dumbstruck on that Day to ask one another ˹for answers˺.
As for those who repent, believe, and do good ˹in this world˺, it is right to hope that they will be among the successful.
Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills—the choice is not theirs. Glorified and Exalted is Allah above what they associate ˹with Him˺!
And your Lord knows what their hearts conceal and what they reveal.
He is Allah. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him. All praise belongs to Him in this life and the next. All authority is His. And to Him you will ˹all˺ be returned.
Ask ˹them, O Prophet˺, “Imagine if Allah were to make the night perpetual for you until the Day of Judgment, which god other than Allah could bring you sunlight? Will you not then listen?”
Ask ˹them also˺, “Imagine if Allah were to make the day perpetual for you until the Day of Judgment, which god other than Allah could bring you night to rest in? Will you not then see?”
It is out of His mercy that He has made for you the day and night so that you may rest ˹in the latter˺ and seek His bounty ˹in the former˺, and perhaps you will be grateful.
And ˹watch for˺ the Day He will call to them, “Where are those you claimed were My associate-gods?”
And We will bring forth a witness1 from every faith-community and ask ˹the polytheists˺, “Show ˹Us˺ your proof.” Then they will ˹come to˺ know that the truth is with Allah ˹alone˺. And whatever ˹gods˺ they fabricated will fail them.
Indeed, Korah1 was from the people of Moses, but he behaved arrogantly towards them. We had granted him such treasures that even their keys would burden a group of strong men. ˹Some of˺ his people advised him, “Do not be prideful! Surely Allah does not like the prideful.
Rather, seek the ˹reward˺ of the Hereafter by means of what Allah has granted you, without forgetting your share of this world. And be good ˹to others˺ as Allah has been good to you. Do not seek to spread corruption in the land, for Allah certainly does not like the corruptors.”
He replied, “I have been granted all this because of some knowledge I have.”1 Did he not know that Allah had already destroyed some from the generations before him who were far superior to him in power and greater in accumulating ˹wealth˺? There will be no need for the wicked to be asked about their sins.2
Then he came out before his people in all his glamour. Those who desired the life of this world wished, “If only we could have something like what Korah has been given. He is truly a man of great fortune!”
But those gifted with knowledge said, “Shame on you! Allah’s reward is far better for those who believe and do good. But none will attain this except the steadfast.”
Then We caused the earth to swallow him up, along with his home. There was no one to help him against Allah, nor could he even help himself.
And those who had craved his position the previous day began to say, “Ah! It is certainly Allah Who gives abundant or limited provisions to whoever He wills of His servants. Had it not been for the grace of Allah, He could have surely caused the earth to swallow us up! Oh, indeed! The disbelievers will never succeed.”
That ˹eternal˺ Home in the Hereafter We reserve ˹only˺ for those who seek neither tyranny nor corruption on the earth. The ultimate outcome belongs ˹only˺ to the righteous.
Whoever comes with a good deed will be rewarded with what is better. And whoever comes with an evil deed, then the evildoers will only be rewarded for what they used to do.
Most certainly, the One Who has ordained the Quran for you will ˹ultimately˺ bring you back home ˹to Mecca˺.1 Say, “My Lord knows best who has come with ˹true˺ guidance and who is clearly astray.”
You never expected this Book to be revealed to you, but ˹it came˺ only ˹as˺ a mercy from your Lord. So never side with the disbelievers ˹in their disbelief˺.
Do not let them turn you away from the revelations of Allah after they have been sent down to you. Rather, invite ˹all˺ to ˹the Way of˺ your Lord, and never be one of the polytheists.
And do not invoke any other god with Allah. There is no god ˹worthy of worship˺ except Him. Everything is bound to perish except He Himself.1 All authority belongs to Him. And to Him you will ˹all˺ be returned.
It is commonly believed that Hamân was in charge of architecture during the reign of Pharaoh at the time of Moses (ﷺ).
The fulfilment of the Pharaoh’s old dream that his reign would come to an end at the hands of a boy from the Children of Israel.
In his adulthood, Moses and Pharaoh’s people were not on good terms because he started to question their evil practices.
The man assumed that Moses was going to hit him.
Moses left Egypt with no food, money, or even shoes. He was completely worn out by the time he arrived in Midian. After he prayed for help, Allah gave him a wife, a job, and a home on the same day.
lit., information. Moses and his family lost their way in the dark while they were travelling from Midian to Egypt.
See footnote for 20:22.
When Moses put his arm through the opening in his collar again, his hand returned to its original colour.
The pagans are reminded repeatedly in the Quran that the Prophet (ﷺ) did not witness any of these events that happened centuries before he was born. For example, the conspiracies that were made against Joseph (12:102), the dispute on who should be the guardian of young Mary (3:44), and the drowning of Noah’s son in the Flood (11:49). These details were not known to Arabs before the revelation of the Quran. So the only logical way that the Prophet (ﷺ) knew about these stories is through divine revelation.
So they neglected the Commandments over time.
The pagans of Mecca demanded that the Quran should have been revealed all at once like the Torah, and the Prophet (ﷺ) should have had some tangible signs like the staff of Moses.
Some Meccan pagans approached some Jewish authorities to inquire about the Prophet’s message and they were told that there are references of him in the Torah. So the pagans immediately rejected both the Torah and the Quran as two works of magic.
lit., ‘We had already been Muslims.’
By travellers such as the Meccan pagans.
Korah was the cousin of Moses. Because of Korah’s close association with Pharaoh, he became very rich and started to behave arrogantly towards his own people. When he was asked repeatedly by Moses (ﷺ) to pay his alms-tax to help poor Israelites, Korah refused and eventually conspired with a prostitute to damage the reputation of Moses, but Moses was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Or: “I have been granted all this because I know that Allah knows I deserve it.”
Since their sins are already known to Allah and written in perfect records, they will only be interrogated as a form of punishment.
This verse was revealed while the Prophet (ﷺ) was on the way to Medina, emigrating from Mecca after years of persecution. Eventually the Prophet (ﷺ) returned to Mecca and the majority of its people accepted Islam.
lit., except His Face.