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The Impact of Religion on Ghanaian Society

The importance of understanding the fundamentals of religion to dispel superstition and appreciate the true meaning of accountability.

23The Review of Religions – March 2006 York: The Ronald Press Company, 3rd ed., 1964), 253. 6. Elton Mayo, Some Notes on the Psychology of Pierre Janet (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1948); see Robert S. Woodsworth and Mary Sheehan, op.cit., 253. 7. Kurt Lewin, The Conceptual representation and the measurement of psychological forces’, Contributions to Psychological Theory, 1, (4), 2. 8. Robert S. Woodsworth and Mary Sheehan, op. cit., 241. 9. The conversion of religion is called irtidad and treated as apostasy by Maulana Maududi. 10. Hugh Nissenden, Scripture and Survival, The New York Tunes Book Review, 17 March 1985, 12. 11. The Maulana’s original Urdu word for ‘political power’ is iqtidar. 12. Haqiqat-i-Jihad, op.cit., 10. 13. ibid., 11. 14. ibid., 58. 15. ibid. 16. ibid., 16-17. 17. ibid. The original Urdu sentence is involved and the Maulana has used the Urdu word hukumat twice in the sentence in two different meanings. 18. ibid., 15. PROPHETS AND TROOPERS – A STUDY IN CONTRAST 24 The Review of Religions – March 2006 Hadhrat Musa(as) (Moses) Israelites were living in bondage in Egypt. The King had subjected them to very hard and difficult conditions. To perpetuate their control over Israelites, one of the measures taken against them was that the male children of Israelites be slain. The King had ordered the midwives to carry out this evil task quietly at the very birth of the children of Israelites (Exodus 1:16). But the Will of God prevented the midwives from such an evil act. When the King came to know of this, he gave order to his people, saying, ‘Every son that is born, ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.’ (Exodus 1:22) We have in the Holy Qur’an: … Pharaoh behaved arrogantly in the earth, and divided the people thereof into parties; he sought to weaken a party of them, slaying their sons and sparing their women… (Ch.28:V.5) Such was the scene in Egypt when Moses(as) was born there in the house of Imran during the despotic reign of, probably, Ramses II. God decided to help the weak Israelites and bring about a complete change in their position. They were to be delivered from the bondage of Pharaoh and were to become leaders and inheritors of favours and bounties of God. God PROPHETS of Part 3 By Daud A Hanif – USA A brief introduction to some of the major prophets. Last month we looked briefly at the life of Prophet Noah(as). In this issue, we look at Moses(as). 25The Review of Religions – March 2006 God’s ways are mysterious and human beings cannot perceive them. The case of the freedom of Israelites is a marvellous one. It establishes beyond doubt that Allah’s decision always comes to pass and that no power can be a hindrance in the way of its fulfillment. Let us see how the events had unfolded for the liberation of the Israelites. The Holy Qur’an says about the birth of Moses(as), that God revealed to his mother saying: … Suckle him; and when thou fearest for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve; for We shall restore him to thee, and shall make him one of the Messengers. (Ch.28:V.8) The Old Testament, although it has undergone many changes, contains the following statement: ‘And when she could no longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river- side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child; and behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him; and said, this is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 26 The Review of Religions – March 2006 and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses; and she said, because I drew him out of the water.’ (Exodus 2:3) This statement from the Bible in essence is very close to what we have in the Holy Qur’an as an accurate account of what happened to Moses(as). The mother of Moses(as) was a very sincere believer and had a living relationship with God. After the birth of Moses(as) she suckled him as God had directed her and when she felt otherwise, then without any hesitation she placed the infant Moses in the ark (Ch.28:V.8, Ch.20:V.40) and floated it in the river and directed her daughter to follow it. The daughter kept watch over the ark in such a way that no one could perceive it. The ark was picked up by a member of the family of Pharaoh who happened to be bathing in the river. The ark was brought to the palace of the Pharaoh, where his wife saw the beautiful Israelite baby. She was attracted towards the infant and pleaded with the husband saying: … He will be a joy of the eye for me and for thee. Kill him not. Haply he will be useful to us or we may adopt him as a son. (Ch.28:V.10) Then she sent for wet nurses for the baby. The baby did not accept any one of those who came. Meanwhile Moses’s(as) sister man-aged to reach there and offered a solution to the problem saying: … Shall I lead you to a household who will bring him up for you and will be his sincere well-wishers? (Ch.28:V.13) They agreed and Pharaoh approached the mother of Moses(as) for the nursing and upbringing of the child. She readily agreed to their proposal and the baby was given to her for upbringing and training at the expense of Pharaoh. The mother PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 27The Review of Religions – March 2006 of Moses(as) was so delighted at the return of her child according to Allah’s promise that she could hardly control her emotions. Her faith in Allah became even more solid. She was fully convinced that this child would be a prophet of Allah in due course as Allah had informed her earlier. So she spared no efforts in bringing him up in the best manner. Moses(as) had such a holy mother for benevolent care and guidance and a mighty monarch as guardian until his manhood. He had the healthy and wholesome effect of his mother, overriding the evil ways and manner of his guardian monarch. He developed manly qualities of might and power and valour from the palace on the one hand, and learned good manners and self-control over them from the pious mother on the other. As Moses(as) advanced toward maturity his observation of daily life of the people of Egypt became intense. He was able to see very clearly the cruel treatment meted out to the Israelites. The whole atmosphere of Egypt had developed totally against the Israelites and even ordinary Egyptians carried out atrocities against them. Moses(as) had a great aversion to oppression and was very helpful to the weak. An incident for illustration may be of interest. The Holy Qur’an says: And he entered the town while people were still asleep and he found therein two men fighting—one of his own people and the other of his enemies. And he who was of his people sought his help against him who was of his enemies. So Moses punched him with his fist; and thereby caused his death. He said, ‘This is of Satan’s doing, he is indeed an enemy, a manifest deceiver.’ (Ch.28:V.16) Moses(as) had no intention of killing the Egyptian but his single punch had caused the death of the Egyptian. At this Moses(as) became very upset and implored God for forgiveness and made a solemn promise to PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 28 The Review of Religions – March 2006 Him saying, ‘I will never be a helper of the guilty.’ The next morning he left his home being watchful of the situation. Suddenly he heard the call of help from the same Israelite, who was again engaged in some dispute with another Egyptian. Moses(as) said to him, ‘You are definitely a misguided person.’ And when Moses(as) made up his mind to take hold of the man, who was an enemy of both, the Israelite thought that Moses(as) was about to hold him, and cried out loudly, ‘O Moses(as) dost thou intend to kill me as thou didst kill a man yesterday?’ (Ch.28:V.20) This cry disclosed the incident, which had taken place a day earlier. The Egyptians were already in search of the killer of the Egyptian. So the condition of Moses(as) became very vulner- able. He, therefore, confined himself to his home. A well- wisher of Moses(as) who happened to know the evil design of the authorities came to him with the news that the chiefs were counselling together to kill him and advised him to depart from the area immediately. Moses(as) Departs for Midian Moses(as) secretly left home praying and moving watchfully. After travelling for a while, he decided to go to Midian. After a few days’ journey Moses(as) arrived in the vicinity of Midian. On the outskirts of Midian he found shepherds watering their animals. Among them were two young ladies who were holding back their flocks. Moses(as) asked them what their problem was? They replied: We cannot water our flocks until the shepherds take away their flocks, and our father is a very old man. (Ch.28:V.24) Moses(as) watered their flocks and returned to the shade of the tree while praying to God for help and guidance. When the two ladies came back and narrated the story to their father, he sent one of them back to Moses(as). She came and bashfully approaching Moses(as) said: ‘My father calls thee that he may reward thee for thy having watered our flocks for us.’ On his PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 29The Review of Religions – March 2006 arrival at their home Moses(as) narrated the incident, which had happened in Egypt. The old man replied, ‘Fear not; thou hast escaped from the unjust people’ (Ch.28:V.26). It seems that the household was already in search of some good servant. So his daughters suggested employing Moses(as) as he had proved himself to be a strong and honest man. The father was fully convinced of the nobility of Moses(as); he, therefore, offered him one of his daughters in marriage. In due course a marriage contract was made. The old man, Shuaib, was a holy man and perhaps knew through revelation that his son- in-law would be a prophet of God. So he wanted him to remain with him for a long time and benefit from his company. He made eight to ten years of service an essential condition for marriage. Moses(as) accepted the condition of service and remained with Hadhrat Shuaib for this time. Moses(as) Commissioned to Prophethood After completing the term of service, Moses(as) set forth from Midian with his family. On the way, he saw a manifestation of God. He told his family to wait for him while he went up the mountain, where he had seen the light and was expecting great communication from God. On arrival at the spot, he was called by a voice from the right side of the valley, in the blessed spot, out of the tree: …O Moses, surely I, none but I, am Allah, the Lord of the worlds;….. Throw down thy rod. And when he saw it move as though it were a serpent, he turned back retreating and did not wait.’‘ O Moses, come forward and fear not; surely thou art of those who are safe. Insert thy hand into thy bosom; it will come forth white without evil effect, and draw back thy arm toward thyself to be free from fear. So these shall be two proofs from thy Lord to Pharaoh and his chiefs. Surely, they are a PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 30 The Review of Religions – March 2006 rebellious people. (Ch.28:Vs.31-33) With these words Moses(as) was commissioned to return to Pharaoh and his people for their guidance and reformation. Moses(as) had lived among them and was aware of their arrogance, cruelty and inhumane behaviour. The responsibility of guiding them seemed to him very heavy and the task extremely difficult. No doubt the responsibilities of prophethood are indeed very heavy, and Moses(as), it appears, felt that he was not equal to the great task with which he was being entrusted. That is why he said: And my breast is straitened and my tongue is not fluent; therefore send word to Aaron (Ch.26:V.14) He also recalled the incident in which an Egyptian had died at his fist and the blame of killing him was placed on him. Allah, the Wise, granting the request of Moses(as), said: We will strengthen thy arm with thy brother, and We will give power to you both so that they shall not be able to reach you. Go with Our signs. You two and those who follow you will be the winners. (Ch.28:V.36) Allah said again: So go to Pharaoh and say, ‘We are the Messengers of the Lord of the worlds, to tell thee to send the children of Israel with us. (Ch.26:Vs.17-18) The Bible also mentions this in Exodus, chapter 5 but in a different way. The name of Pharaoh to whom Moses(as) gave the message of God, has not been mentioned in the Holy Bible or the Holy Qur’an. Some historians say it was Ramses II while more recent ones say it was Merneptah, the son of Ramses II. However, it does not make much difference, as both were despotic and most cruel to the Israelites. PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 31The Review of Religions – March 2006 Moses(as) in the Court of Pharaoh Moses(as) and Aaron(as), with a mighty message and full assurance of victory from God, reached the capital of Egypt. On arrival they first contacted the Israelites and gave them the glad tiding of achieving freedom from the bondage of Pharaoh and persuaded them to prepare for the impending departure. Then they went to Pharaoh. Moses(as) conveyed to him the message of God in a very plain and polite manner saying: O Pharaoh truly, I am a Messenger from the Lord of worlds. It is not meet that I should say anything of Allah except the truth. I have come to you with a clear sign from your Lord; therefore, let the children of Israel go with me. (Ch.7:Vs.105-106) … and afflict them not. We have indeed, brought thee a Sign from thy Lord; and peace shall be on him who follows the guidance. It has, indeed, been revealed to us that punishment shall come on him who rejects and turns away. (Ch.20:Vs.48-49) On hearing this message, the following dialogue took place between Moses(as) and Pharaoh. Pharaoh said, ‘Who then is the Lord of you two, O Moses?’ He said ‘Our Lord is He who gave unto everything its proper form and then guided it to its proper function’. Pharaoh said,’ What then will be the fate of the former generations’? He said, ‘The knowledge thereof is with my Lord recorded in a Book. My Lord neither errs nor forgets.’ It is He Who has made the earth for you a cradle and has caused pathways for you to run through it; and Who sends down rain from the sky and thereby We bring forth various kinds of vegetation. Eat ye and pasture your cattle. Verily, in this are Signs for those who are endued with reason. PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 32 The Review of Religions – March 2006 From it have We created you, and into it shall We cause you to return, and from it shall we bring you forth once more. And We did show him (Pharaoh) Our signs, all of them; but he rejected them and refused to believe. (Ch.20:Vs.50-57) Miracles of Moses(as) Pharaoh then demanded some miracle saying, … ‘If thou hast indeed come with a Sign, then produce it, if thou art of the truthful.” So he flung down his rod and behold! It was a serpent plainly visible. And he drew forth his hand, and lo! it was white to beholders.’ (Ch.7:Vs.107-109) These miracles were so impre- ssive and imposing that Pharaoh was dumbfounded but his courtiers, the chiefs of his people, came to his aid saying that Moses(as) was most surely a skillful sorcerer and desired to turn the people out of their land. The other chiefs joined in and advised Pharaoh to put off Moses(as) and his brother for a while and call all the skillful sorcerers from all over the country for combating Moses(as). Then they asked Moses(as) for the appointment of a date for the final contest. Moses(as) said: Your appointment shall be for the day of the Festival and let the people be assembled when the sun is risen high. (Ch.20:V.60) The discussion ended there and the people dispersed. Moses(as) and his brother returned to the Israelites and continually conveyed the message of God to them and kept assuring them of the impending victory. Moses(as) returned to the appointed place on the fixed date and time. Pharaoh and the chiefs had already gathered all the people and their skillful sor- cerers. The record of the contest that ensued between them according to the Holy Qur’an is given below: They said, O Moses, either do thou throw first, or we shall PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 33The Review of Religions – March 2006 be the first to throw’. He said, ‘Nay, throw ye. Then lo! their cords and their staves appeared to him, by their magic, as though they ran about. And Moses conceived a fear in his mind. We said, ‘Fear not, for thou wilt have the upper hand; And throw that which is in thy right hand; it will swallow that which they have wrought, for that which they have wrought is only a magician’s trick. And a magician shall not thrive, come where he may’. (Ch.20:Vs.66-70) This contest did establish the truth of Moses(as) but Pharaoh and his people did not pay heed to it, rather, advancing in their transgression said: ‘Wilt thou leave Moses and his people to create disorder in the land and forsake thee and thy gods?’ He answered, ‘We will ruthlessly slay their sons and let their women live. And surely we are dominant over them. (Ch.7:V.128) Thereafter Pharaoh and his chiefs intensified their brutal treatment of Israelites while Moses(as) intensified his exhortation to the Israelites for becoming more steadfast in their faith and seeking help from God. The Israelites complained about the evil treatment, while Moses(as) encouraged them to bear it with patience: They replied, ‘We were persecuted before thou camest to us and even after thou camest to us.’ He said, ‘Your Lord is about to destroy your enemy and make you rulers in the land, that He may then see how you act.’ (Ch.7:V.130) Other Signs Shown to Pharaoh and His People God Almighty afflicted the people of Pharaoh with drought, scarcity of fruits and by sending upon them storms, locusts, lice, frogs and blood as clear Signs. PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 34 The Review of Religions – March 2006 But they behaved proudly and were a sinful people. When a punishment fell upon them , they said: O Moses, pray for us to thy Lord according to that which He has promised to thee. If thou remove from us the punishment, we will surely send with thee the children of Israel. (Ch.7:V.135) Nine miracles were shown to Pharaoh and his people through Moses(as) but they did not benefit from them. Due to the fear of persecution by Pharaoh and the chiefs, only a few youths from among them believed in Moses(as) (Ch.10:V.84). After the defeat of his sorcerers Pharaoh became more furious. At this critical hour God revealed to Moses(as) and his brother: Build houses for your people in the city and make your houses facing in the same direction and observe Prayer. And give glad tidings to the believers. (Ch.10:V.88) Under this direction of God, Moses(as) convinced the Israelites to dwell very close together so as to be able to help one another in time of need. This is only achievable when people build their houses near or facing each other. It also indicated that they should have a common goal or ideal and remain focused on it. Thus Moses(as) and Aaron(as) concentrated on having the Israelites united and prepared fully for migration on the one hand and implored God against Pharaoh on the other hand in the following way: Our Lord, You have bestowed upon Pharaoh and his chiefs ornaments and wealth in this life. Our Lord, it results only in their leading people astray from Your path. Our Lord, obliterate their riches and be severe on their hearts because it seems they would not believe until they see the grievous punishment. (Ch.10:V.89) God heard their prayers and gave them final orders for departure PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 35The Review of Religions – March 2006 from Egypt saying: Take away My servants by night, and strike for them a dry path through the sea. Thou wilt not be afraid of being overtaken, nor wilt thou have any other fear. (Ch.20:V.78) In order to fully understand the nature and significance of this incident which indeed con- stituted a great divine sign, it is necessary to read this verse along with other relevant verses such as Ch.2:V.51, Ch.26:Vs.62-64 and Ch.44:V.25. The Bible mentions the crossing of the sea in the following words: ‘And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued and went in after them to the midst of the sea. And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Stretch out thine hand over the sea.’ And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea and the sea returned to its strength. And the waters returned and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.’ (Exodus 14:21-28) The Holy Qur’an says: And remember the time when We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh’s people while you looked on. (Ch.2:V.51) And when the two hosts came in sight of each other the companions of Moses said, ‘We are surely overtaken’ …. Then We revealed to Moses saying, ‘Strike the sea with thy rod.’ Thereupon it parted PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 36 The Review of Religions – March 2006 and every part looked like a huge mountain. (Ch.26:Vs.62 and 64) Along with it read also: And leave thou the sea at a time when it is motionless. Surely, they are a host that are doomed to be drowned. (Ch.44:V.25) When Moses(as) and the Israelites arrived at the northern extremity of the Red Sea, the ebb of the tide had begun. As the water receded, it left behind dunes, the tops of which were gradually uncovered, leaving the intervening depres- sions full of water. The Israelites crossed over at that moment. On arrival at the spot, the Egyptian forces saw a bare stretch of the shore and pursued the fugitives. Their chariot wheels stuck fast in the wet soil and the water returned upon them when the wind shifted. They were thus destroyed by God. Historians differ as to the exact place from where Moses(as) crossed the Red Sea. Keeping all views in sight, “What is most probable is the fact that from Tal Abi Sulaiman which was the capital of the Pharaohs in the time of Moses(as), the Israelites at first went to north east to the gulf of Timsah but finding that a net of gulfs barred their way, they turned south and crossed the Red Sea near the town of Suez where it is hardly more than 2/3 mile wide and started for Qadas.” (Enc. Bible Col 1437) In short, Moses(as) and Aaron(as) ‘led the Israelites out of Egypt into Canaan. The Israelites left secretly by night, and when Pharaoh learnt of their flight, he pursued them with his hosts and was drowned in the Red Sea.’ As Pharaoh was drowning, he proclaimed belief in the God of the children of Israelites. Acknowledging his belief God said: What! Now! while you have been disobedient before and were of those who do mischief. PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 37The Review of Religions – March 2006 So this day We will save thee in thy body alone that thou mayest be a Sign to those who come after thee. And surely many of mankind are heedless of Our Signs. (Ch.10:Vs.92-93) According to one research: It is remarkable that the Qur’an alone, of all religious scriptures and books of history, mentions this fact. The Bible makes no mention of it, nor does any book of history. But in what wonderful manner the word of God has proved true! After the lapse of more than 3,000 years the body of Pharaoh has been discovered and it now lies in a preserved state in the museum at Cairo. The body shows Pharaoh to have been a lean, short-bodied man, with a countenance expressive of anger and stupidity. Moses(as) was born in the time of Rameses II and was brought up by him (Exodus 2:2-10), but it was in the reign of his son, Merneptah (Meneptah) that he was entrusted with the mission of a Prophet (Jew Enc., vol 9, p.500 & Enc. Bib., under “Pharaoh” and under “Egypt”).” (Large Commentary, Vol 1, Page 448). Moses(as) and the Israelites in Sinai After having crossed the sea safely, Israelites saw the destruction of the powerful enemy with their own eyes and thanked God. God called Moses(as) for thirty nights on Mount Sinai and then this period was extended for another ten nights. Before leaving for the meeting with God, Moses(as) said to his brother Aaron(as), ‘Act for me among my people in my absence and manage them well, and follow not the way those who came disorder’ (Ch.7 V.143). Moses(as) was blessed with special communication from God. It made him bold, and he requested God to show him that perfect manifestation which He promised the prophet prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18. Upon PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 38 The Review of Religions – March 2006 this God manifested himself on the mountain, and it broke into pieces and Moses(as) fell unconscious. On recovery he thanked God and said, ‘Holy art Thou, I turn towards Thee and I am the first to believe’ (Ch.7:V.144). He was then given the Ten Commandments for Israelites. The words of those command- ments were not preserved. However, they are found in the current Bible in the following words. The Ten Commandments And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my com- mandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honor thy father and thy mother: PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 39The Review of Religions – March 2006 that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:1-17) Besides these commandments, the law of retaliation, which was vigorously followed by the Israelites, is mentioned in the following words: ‘And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth or his maidservant’s tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.’ (Exodus 21:23-27) The Holy Qur’an describe this law as follow: And therein We prescribed for them: a life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and for other injuries equitable retaliation. And whoso waives the right thereto, it shall be an expiation for his sins; and whoso judges not by what Allah has sent down, these it is who are wrongdoers. (Ch.5:V.46) During the absence of Moses(as) the Israelites due to their weak faith, returned to the worship of the calf, which Samiri prepared with their ornaments. They did not heed the polite admonition of PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 40 The Review of Religions – March 2006 Aaron(as). On his return from Mount Sinai, Moses(as) rebuked them and was hard on his brother. He excommunicated Samiri and frightened the followers a great deal, then picked up seventy leading men and went back to the mountain for repentance. An earthquake took place, which struck terror among the Israelites. They joined in repentance with Moses(as) and were forgiven by God. Moses(as) introduced the Divine Commandments on the tablets and advised them that their progress and prosperity lay in obedience to them. Israelites were to be trained in Sinai for the victory of Canaan. Having lived for a long time in bondage and in a state of dependence, the Israelites had become cowardly and indolent. So God intended them to stay in the desert for some time and to live on game and wild herbs in order that they might shed their cowardice and laziness by living an independent life in the desert. Thus revitalised, they were to be led to the Promised Land and made rulers of it. The Israelites, however, failed to understand the real purpose of God or, having understood it, failed to appreciate it and foolishly insisted upon living in a town. God wanted to prepare them to rule over the Promised Land but those unfortunate people hun- gered after husbandry. So they were told to go down to a town where they would get the desired things. Promised Land and the Israelites Reference to the Promised Land has been made in the Holy Qur’an in the following verse: And already have We written in the Psalms of David, after the exhortation, that My righteous servants shall inherit the land. (Ch.21:V.106) Moses(as) and Aaron(as) encour- aged Israelites to march forward from Sinai to conquer Canaan, the Promised Land, and assured PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 41The Review of Religions – March 2006 them of victory, provided that they strove to enter the gates thereof. But they replied saying, O Moses , there is, in that land a haughty and powerful people, and we shall not enter it until they go forth from it. … Go thou and thy Lord and fight, and here we sit. (Ch.5:Vs.23, 25) When the Israelites behaved in a cowardly manner, God decreed that they should continue to wander in the wilderness for forty years in order that the life of the desert should invigorate them and infuse in them new life and should strengthen their morals. Moses(as) had succeeded in bringing the Israelites out of Pharaoh’s bondage and brought them freedom, but could not convince them to conquer Canaan. He died in Sinai. Future Disclosed to Moses(as) Allah alone possesses the knowledge of the future. He imparts it through His chosen ones. We mention a few prophecies of Moses(as). ‘And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The Lord came from Sinai and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.’ (Deuteronomy 33:2) In this passage three prophecies have been mentioned: Manifestation of God on Moses(as) in Sinai. God’s manifestation on Jesus(as) in Seir, the area in which many miracles of Jesus(as) took place. God’s manifestation on Muhammad(saw) which was to take place at Mount Paran. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) con- quered Makkah at the head of ten thousand companions. Paran in Arabic is called Faran, the name of the hill that lies between Makkah and Madinah. The fiery PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3 42 The Review of Religions – March 2006 law mentioned is the Holy Qur’an – a permanent law for mankind. God spoke to Moses(as) and said: ‘I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put My words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.’ (Deuteronomy 20:18-19) In this prophecy Moses(as) was told that God would raise a Prophet from among their brethren, that is, the Ishmaelites, who would be a law-bearing Prophet like Moses(as). This was fulfilled in the person of Muhammad(saw). The word of the prophecy ‘and will put My words in his mouth’ are very significant as the Holy Qur’an introduced by Muhammad(saw) claims to be the very Word of God. There is no other religious book, which claims to be the exact Word of God. Moses(as) was a law-bearing Prophet and all those appeared after him including David, Solomon and Jesus(as) followed his law. His dispensation came to an end with the death of Jesus(as) in Kashmir, India. PROPHETS OF GOD – PART 3