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Musa, the Father of the Two Women, and His Marriage to One of Them Print E-mail

When the two women came back quickly with the sheep, their father was surprised that they returned so soon. He asked them what had happened, and they told him what Musa, peace be upon him, had done. So he sent one of them to call him to meet her father. Allah says:

﴿فَجَآءَتْهُ إِحْدَاهُمَا تَمْشِى عَلَى اسْتِحْيَآءٍ﴾

(Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly.) meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the faithful, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him: "She was covering herself from them with the folds of her garment.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Amr bin Maymun said, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.'' This chain of narrators is Sahih.

﴿قَالَتْ إِنَّ أَبِى يَدْعُوكَ لِيَجْزِيَكَ أَجْرَ مَا سَقَيْتَ لَنَا﴾

(She said: "Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.'') This is an example of good manners: she did not invite him directly lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her. Rather she said: "My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep,'' i.e., give you some payment for that.

﴿فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُ وَقَصَّ عَلَيْهِ الْقَصَصَ﴾

(So when he came to him and narrated the story, ) means, he told him about his story and why he had to leave his country.

﴿قَالَ لاَ تَخَفْ نَجَوْتَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّـلِمِينَ﴾

(he said: "Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.'') He was saying: `calm down and relax, for you have left their kingdom and they have no authority in our land.' So he said:

﴿نَجَوْتَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّـلِمِينَ﴾

(You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.)

﴿قَالَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ ﴾

(And said one of them: "O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.'') One of the two daughters of the man said this, and it was said that she was the one who had walked behind Musa, peace be upon him. She said to her father:

﴿يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ﴾

(O my father! Hire him!) as a shepherd to look after the sheep. `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Abu Malik, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said: "When she said:

﴿إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ﴾

(Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.) her father said to her, `What do you know about that' She said to him, `He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.''' `Abdullah (Ibn Mas`ud) said, "The people who had the most discernment were three: Abu Bakr's intuition about `Umar; the companion of Yusuf when he said, `Make his stay comfortable'; and the companion of Musa, when she said:

﴿يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ﴾

(O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.).''

﴿إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُنكِحَكَ إِحْدَى ابْنَتَىَّ هَاتَيْنِ﴾

(I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you,) means, this old man asked him to take care of his flocks, then he would marry one of his two daughters to him.

﴿عَلَى أَن تَأْجُرَنِى ثَمَانِىَ حِجَجٍ فَإِنْ أَتْمَمْتَ عَشْراً فَمِنْ عِندِكَ﴾

(on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you.) meaning, `on the condition that you tend my flocks for eight years, and if you want to give me two extra years, that is up to you, but if you do not want to, then eight years is enough.'

﴿وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَيْكَ سَتَجِدُنِى إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّـلِحِينَ﴾

(But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.) means, `I do not want to put pressure on you or cause you any inconvenience or argue with you.' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Rabah Al-Lakhmi said, "I heard `Utbah bin An-Nadar As-Sulami, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah narrating that the Messenger of Allah said:

«إِنَّ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ آجَرَ نَفْسَهُ بِعِفَّةِ فَرْجِهِ وَطُعْمَةِ بَطْنِه»

(Musa, peace be upon him, hired himself out for the purpose of keeping chaste and to feed himself.) And Allah tells us about Musa, peace be upon him:

﴿قَالَ ذَلِكَ بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَكَ أَيَّمَا الاٌّجَلَيْنِ قَضَيْتُ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ عَلَىَّ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ ﴾

(He said: "That (is settled) between me and you: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.'') Musa said to his father-in-law, "The matter is as you say. You have hired me for eight years, and if I complete ten years, that is my choice, but if I do the lesser amount, I will still have fulfilled the covenant and met the conditions.'' So he said:

﴿أَيَّمَا الاٌّجَلَيْنِ قَضَيْتُ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ عَلَىَّ﴾

(whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me,) meaning, `there will be no blame on me. The complete term is permissible but it is still regarded as something extra.' This is like the Ayah,

﴿فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ﴾

(But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him) (2:203). And the Messenger of Allah said to Hamzah bin `Amr Al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him, who used to fast a great deal and who asked him about fasting while traveling:

«إِنْ شِئْتَ فَصُمْ، وَإِنْ شِئْتَ فَأَفْطِر»

(If you wish, then fast, and if you wish, do not fast.) even though it is better to fast, according to the evidence of other reports. And there is evidence which indicates that Musa, peace be upon him, fulfilled the longer of the two terms. Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "A Jew from the people of Hirah asked me; `Which of the two terms did Musa fulfill' I said, `I do not know until I go to the scholar of the Arabs and ask him.' So I went to Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and asked him. He said: `He fulfilled the longer and better of them, for when a Messenger of Allah said he would do a thing, he did it.''' This is how it was recorded by Al-Bukhari.

﴿فَلَمَّا قَضَى مُوسَى الاٌّجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِهِ ءَانَسَ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ نَاراً قَالَ لاًّهْلِهِ امْكُثُواْ إِنِّى ءَانَسْتُ نَاراً لَّعَلِّى ءَاتِيكُمْ مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ - فَلَمَّآ أَتَـهَا نُودِىَ مِن شَاطِىءِ الْوَادِى الأَيْمَنِ فِى الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يمُوسَى إِنِّى أَنَا اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَـلَمِينَ - وَأَنْ أَلْقِ عَصَاكَ فَلَمَّا رَءَاهَا تَهْتَزُّ كَأَنَّهَا جَآنٌّ وَلَّى مُدْبِراً وَلَمْ يُعَقِّبْ يمُوسَى أَقْبِلْ وَلاَ تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ مِنَ الاٌّمِنِينَ- اسْلُكْ يَدَكَ فِى جَيْبِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَآءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ وَاضْمُمْ إِلَيْكَ جَنَاحَكَ مِنَ الرَّهْبِ فَذَانِكَ بُرْهَانَـنِ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِلَى فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ قَوْماً فَاسِقِينَ ﴾

(29. Then, when Musa had fulfilled the term, and was traveling with his family, he saw a fire in the direction of At-Tur. He said to his family: "Wait, I have seen a fire; perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a burning firebrand that you may warm yourselves.'') (30. So when he reached it, he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place, from the tree: "O Musa! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord of all that exists!'') (31. "And throw your stick!'' But when he saw it moving as if it were a snake, he turned in flight, and looked not back. (It was said:) "O Musa! Draw near, and fear not. Verily, you are of those who are secure.'') (32. "Put your hand into the opening of your garment, it will come forth white without a disease; and draw your hand close to your side to be free from the fear. These are two proofs from your Lord to Fir`awn and his chiefs. Verily, they are the people who are rebellious.'')

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