By Raiiq Ridwan
Today we will talk about one of the greatest conversations in the history of humanity, when God spoke directly to Moses, peace be upon him, in the mountain! We will focus on one of the passages in the Qur’an even though it is mentioned in other passages. We will pick Surah Taha (Chapter 20) to be our topic of discussion!
“Has the story of Moses come to you? He saw a fire and said to his family, ‘Stay here—I can see a fire. Maybe I can bring you a light from it or find some guidance there.’ When he came to the fire, he was summoned, ‘Moses! I am your Lord. Take off your shoes: you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you, so listen to what is being revealed. I am God; there is no god but Me. So worship Me and keep up the prayer so that you remember Me. The Hour is coming—though I choose to keep it hidden—for each soul to be rewarded for its labor. Do not let anyone who does not believe in it and follows his own desires distract you from it, and so bring you to ruin.’” (Taha 20:9-16)
Moses was with his family and traveling in the desert when he suddenly saw a fire in the distance. He asked his family to wait so that he may get some light from the fire or get some guidance from the people there.
Lesson One: God gives us signs
Just like Moses was given the sign of the burning fire, God gives all of us signs in this life. Sometimes it is a verse of the Qur’an that may touch our heart, or a heart penetrating reminder. Sometimes it is just a person we meet who teaches us a lot or just life circumstances. When God shows us signs, it is up to us to take them.
Lesson Two: God’s words are a light and guidance
Ironically Moses said that he would go and see if he could get a light or some guidance. God through this conversation will give him the ultimate light of His words and ultimate guidance being the guidance from God! God has given us a light and guidance through the Qur’an, how much of it have we kept?
Lesson Three: God chooses whom He wills
God tells Moses that he was chosen to be God’s Prophet, and chosen among the thousands of babies killed to be saved. God chooses whoever He wills. He chose that you would be reading this article at this moment, while most people are not. He chose that you would have a computer with an internet connection. He chose that I would be a Muslim while many are not. It is all from the blessings of God. The question is, how do you and I utilize the blessings?
Lesson Four: Prayer, prayer, prayer!
Remember the time you met someone you honored, admired or someone who was a celebrity. Would you ever forget that? Hardly doubt so! Yet, God reminds Moses to establish the prayer so that he may remember God. And yet, Moses has just heard God speak. Would he ever have forgotten? How important then is our prayers and turning to God?
Lesson Five: Even the best of people require sincere counsel
God went on to remind Moses that if he was to turn away, then he might be punished as well. The best of people also need to be reminded of the judgment and of hellfire. The best of people also need to be reminded that other people might turn them away from God, so do not let that happen! If Moses can be reminded about Judgement Day, who are we to act arrogant whenever we are reminded of retribution? Who are we to think we are safe by our petty deeds when this mighty Messenger of God listens silently to the warning?
Lesson Six: This is Islam summarized
God first mentions that none is worthy of worship except Him alone. He then made it clear to Moses to establish the prayer for God’s remembrance and then made mention of the Day of Judgement. This is what we need to enter Paradise! Worship God alone, establish the prayers, remember God and be mindful of the hereafter, and Paradise will be ours insha’ Allah (God willing).
“‘Moses, what is that in your right hand?’ ‘It is my staff,’ he said, ‘I lean on it; restrain my sheep with it; I also have other uses for it.’ God said, ‘Throw it down, Moses.’ He threw it down and—lo and behold!—it became a fast-moving snake. He said, ‘Pick it up without fear: We shall turn it back into its former state. Now place your hand under your armpit and it will come out white, though unharmed: that is another sign. We do this to show you some of Our greatest signs.” (Taha 20:17-23)
After mentioning the main message of Islam to the Prophet Moses, God now moves on to give him an important training.
Lesson Seven: Talk to God as much as you can
Once God gives an opportunity to Moses to talk, he takes it with both hands! He keeps going on and on about his staff! How much do we talk to God when given the opportunity? Do we like to “finish off the prayer” or are actually trying to make time to talk to God?
Lesson Eight: Everything in life can be a double-edged sword
Moses mentioned all the blessings of his staff. Then God asked him to throw it down, and it became a snake—something very harmful! Everything in this world can be such. The proverbial example of the knife which can cut vegetables versus the same knife which can kill people is one to ponder upon. All the blessings in life are blessings which can be for us or against us, depending on how we use it!
Lesson Nine: Trust in God
Another place in the Qur’an, it is mentioned that Moses ran when he saw the snake! And yet God asks him to pick it up. An order from God, and just like his mother many years ago, Moses listens to the order of God and the snake turns back to a staff! God just taught Moses and by extension all of us to trust in the command of God. Whatever He commands is good for us, even if we may not know it, and if we truly trust Him, miracles will happen!