musa, peace be upon him, is a prophet to whom allah frequently refers in the qur'an. allah revealed to musa the torah. but today, the torah of the jews and the old testament of the christian bible have lost their original authenticity, since the words and interpolations of man have been incorporated into them. but jews and christians today read these distorted books assuming them to be from the original book revealed by allah. the jews have turned from the right path because the book in which they believe is no longer the revealed book brought by the prophet musa, peace be upon him.
we know everything about the life and good character of musa from the qur'an. as the qur'an informs us, the kings of ancient egypt were called "pharaoh." the majority of the pharaohs were very arrogant people who did not believe in allah and who considered themselves divine. allah sent musa to one of the cruellest of these rulers.
one important point we need to dwell on while reading the verses about the life of musa is "destiny." the following events led him to the palace of pharaoh: at the time musa was born, pharaoh ordered his soldiers to kill every male baby born in his land. musa, peace be upon him, was one of those who were in danger. allah told his mother to leave musa in a chest in the river and assured her that he would finally return to her as a prophet. his mother placed musa in a chest and left him in the water. this chest floated randomly on the water and some time later reached the shore at pharaoh's palace, where pharaoh's wife found him. she took the baby and decided to bring him up in the palace. thus, unaware, the pharaoh undertook to look after the person who would later communicate allah's revelation to him and oppose his flawed views. allah encompasses everything with his knowledge, and he also knew that pharaoh would find musa, peace be upon him, and bring him up in his palace.
when musa was born, allah knew that he would be left in the river, that pharaoh would find him and that musa would ultimately become a prophet. this was how allah predetermined musa's destiny and he communicated this to his mother. at this point, we must pay attention to the fact that every detail in his life happened according to the destiny allah had predetermined.
when he grew into a young man, musa left egypt. after some time, allah made him a prophet and messenger and supported him with his brother, harun, peace be upon them both.
both of them went to pharaoh and communicated allah's message to him. this was really a difficult task since without any hesitation they called on a cruel ruler to believe in allah and to worship him. this call of the messenger musa, peace be upon him, is related as follows:
and then, after them, we sent musa with our signs to pharaoh and his ruling circle but they wrongfully rejected them. see the final fate of the corrupters! musa said, "pharaoh! i am truly a messenger from the lord of all the worlds, duty bound to say nothing about allah except the truth. i have come to you with a clear sign from your lord. so send the tribe of israel away with me." (surat al-a'raf: 103- 105)
pharaoh was an arrogant and proud man. assuming that he held everything under his control, he rebelled against allah. allah had granted all his possessions, his strength and his lands to him, but because pharaoh was unwise, he failed to understand this. pharaoh opposed musa and had no faith in allah, and he was, as mentioned earlier, a very cruel man. he made the children of israel his slaves. when it became clear that pharaoh was intending to exterminate
musa and all the believers, they fled from egypt under the leadership of musa. musa, peace be upon him, and the children of israel were caught between the sea and the soldiers of pharaoh who were pursuing them. but even in such a desperate situation, musa never despaired or lost his trust in allah. allah miraculously divided the sea in two and opened a path in the sea for the children of israel to cross. this was one of the great miracles allah gave to musa. once the children of israel had reached the other shore, the parted sea returned, drowning pharaoh and his soldiers. allah relates this miraculous event in the qur'an as follows:
such was the case with pharaoh's people and those before them. they denied their lord's signs so we destroyed them for their wrong actions. we drowned pharaoh's people. all of them were wrongdoers. (surat al-anfal: 54)
at the moment pharaoh realised he would die, he stated that he believed in allah and thus tried to save himself. we do not know whether this regret he felt at the last moment was of any use, since allah only forgives us when our regret is sincere and when it is before the moment of death itself. allah is the all-merciful. if regret is only felt at the moment of death and, of course, if is not sincere, such repentance will not save a person. this may have been the case with pharaoh. but only allah knows. as this story reveals, we must live to please allah throughout our lives and avoid falling into pharaoh's error. if we fail in that, feeling sorry at the moment of death may be of no avail.