Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
It is true that Allah has favoured some times and some places to others. Among these favoured times are the sacred months. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“There have been twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah, from the day He first created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are haram.” (Sura Repentance 9:36).
These sacred months are: Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. Allah says:
“So do not wrong one another during them.” (Sura Repentance 9:36).
To be unjust is forbidden at any time or place, but it is more grave if it occurs during these months. Now we are in the month of Muharram, it is one of the months that Allah has distinguished more than others by a certain wisdom.
Among the virtues of this sacred month, there is a day in which if one fasts, Allah forgives this fasting person the faults of an entire year. This day of Ashura contains innumerable favours and blessings. When the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura. He said, ‘Why are you fasting?’
They answered: ‘It is a good day: it was the day when Allah saved the Sons of Israel from their enemy (Pharaoh) and Musa fasted that day’. Then the Prophet Mohammed (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Musa belongs more to us than to you’. That is why he fasted that day and told his people to fast. This day’s fasting was obligatory until the month of Ramadan was prescribed. After that change it is still recommended to fast on the Day of Ashura.
Muslims fast on the day of Ashura because in it Allah has saved Musa and other prophets and drowned Pharaoh and the unbelievers who accompanied him. We rejoice in the triumph of truth and the vanishing of falsehood. No matter how long the falsehood lasts, it will come to an end. The battle between falsehood and truth always ends with the victory of the truth. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Say: Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Falsehood is always bound to vanish.” (Sura The Night Journey 17:81).
Among the stories mentioned in the Qur’an, which contains several lessons and examples, is the story of Musa, peace be upon him, and the tyrant Pharaoh, who ruled Egypt being unjust and haughty, beheading children and letting women live on, until Allah sent Musa (peace be upon him), who grew up in Pharao’s palace in the arms of his wife. When Allah wants a matter to happen He says “’Be!’ and it is.” Thus Musa became a symbol of truth and triumph. Pharaoh, however, is the example of the unjust who oppress the weak.
Every age has its pharaohs and its unjust, and the end of each of them will be the same as that of the first Pharaoh. Triumph and victory is the outcome of the people of truth, just like with the prophet Musa (peace be upon him). No matter how long the darkness lasts, the light of day has to appear.
The prophet Musa (peace be upon him) asked his Lord to grant him seven things at the same time: “My Lord open my breast, make my mission easy, and untie the knot of my tongue so that they may understand what I say and give me someone from my family to assist me, my brother Harun, so that we may glorify You much and remember You much. Musa asked for help in order to glorify Allah and remember Him. He did not however ask to triumph over Pharaoh since he knows beforehand that victory is in favour of truth but never in favour of falsehood. His Lord answered him: ‘your request has been granted to you, Musa.’
Among the lessons we learn from the story of Musa (peace be upon him) is that gentleness and indulgence make you get that which you don’t get by force. It is said that you get by kindness what you do not get by force. When Allah sent Musa and Harun to the Pharaoh He said to them: “Speak to him softly. Maybe he will take heed or show fear.”
It is said that a preacher came to see the caliph Al-Ma’mún and spoke to him violently saying: “you are a tyrant, you are evil…” Al-Ma’mún answered with kindness: “Allah has sent someone who is better than you to someone more evil than me and ordered him to speak softly”, reminding him of the story of Musa and Pharaoh.
Likewise, we learn from the story of Musa (peace be upon him) the submission to the orders of Allah, to believe in the good or bad decree and to be devoted to our obligations. In spite of the fact that they seem to be without benefit or might even make us fearful. For Allah sees what we do not see.
Allah ordered Musa’s mother to deliver her son to the waves of the river and that is what she did. Allah then protected him. The waves took him to the palace of Pharaoh, the palace of a man who beheaded the children. But if Allah protects someone with His mercy there is no one to harm him. Pharao took him into his house, with the intention that he would be an obedient son to them. Finally it was Musa (peace be upon him) who brought an end to Pharao’s injustice and his kingdom. Allah thus showed them how someone from among the children they beheaded would end tyranny; it was a child who would free the people from their evil.