قَالَ مَوۡعِدُکُمۡ یَوۡمُ الزِّیۡنَۃِ وَ اَنۡ یُّحۡشَرَ النَّاسُ ضُحًی ﴿۵۹﴾ فَتَوَلّٰی فِرۡعَوۡنُ فَجَمَعَ کَیۡدَہٗ ثُمَّ اَتٰی ﴿۶۰﴾ قَالَ لَہُمۡ مُّوۡسٰی وَیۡلَکُمۡ لَا تَفۡتَرُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ کَذِبًا فَیُسۡحِتَکُمۡ بِعَذَابٍ ۚ وَ قَدۡ خَابَ مَنِ افۡتَرٰی ﴿۶۱﴾

Moses said: "With you is the promise of the day of festivity[74] and that [for this] people will gather early in the day."[75] [When this commitment was finalized], the Pharaoh withdrew from that place and gathered all his maneuvers,[76] then came for combat. [On that day, when people gathered,] Moses [warned them before the contest]: "O Wretched Ones! Do not impute falsehood to God [by associating partners with Him] that He may uproot you through a calamity.[77] [Remember] Whoever imputes falsehood to God will not succeed."[78] (59-61)

فَتَنَازَعُوۡۤا اَمۡرَہُمۡ بَیۡنَہُمۡ وَ اَسَرُّوا النَّجۡوٰی﴿۶۲﴾ قَالُوۡۤا اِنۡ ہٰذٰىنِ لَسٰحِرٰنِ یُرِیۡدٰنِ اَنۡیُّخۡرِجٰکُمۡ مِّنۡ اَرۡضِکُمۡ بِسِحۡرِہِمَا وَ یَذۡہَبَا بِطَرِیۡقَتِکُمُ الۡمُثۡلٰی﴿۶۳﴾ فَاَجۡمِعُوۡا کَیۡدَکُمۡ ثُمَّ ائۡتُوۡا صَفًّا ۚ وَ قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ الۡیَوۡمَ مَنِ اسۡتَعۡلٰی ﴿۶۴﴾

Then they[79] began mutually debating and secretly advising one another. [Finally,] they said: "Both of them are indeed very adept magicians.[80] They want to turn you out from your land through their magic and put an end to this exemplary style of your life.[81] So, bring together your schemes; then come united [against them] and [fully understand that] today only he will succeed who dominates." (62-64)

قَالُوۡا یٰمُوۡسٰۤی اِمَّاۤ اَنۡ تُلۡقِیَ وَ اِمَّاۤ اَنۡ نَّکُوۡنَ اَوَّلَ مَنۡ اَلۡقٰی ﴿۶۵﴾ قَالَ بَلۡ اَلۡقُوۡا ۚ فَاِذَا حِبَالُہُمۡ وَ عِصِیُّہُمۡ یُخَیَّلُ اِلَیۡہِ مِنۡ سِحۡرِہِمۡ اَنَّہَا تَسۡعٰی ﴿۶۶﴾ فَاَوۡجَسَ فِیۡ نَفۡسِہٖ خِیۡفَۃً مُّوۡسٰی﴿۶۷﴾ قُلۡنَا لَا تَخَفۡ اِنَّکَ اَنۡتَ الۡاَعۡلٰی ﴿۶۸﴾ وَ اَلۡقِ مَا فِیۡ یَمِیۡنِکَ تَلۡقَفۡ مَا صَنَعُوۡا ؕ اِنَّمَا صَنَعُوۡا کَیۡدُ سٰحِرٍ ؕ وَ لَا یُفۡلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَیۡثُ اَتٰی ﴿۶۹﴾ فَاُلۡقِیَ السَّحَرَۃُ سُجَّدًا قَالُوۡۤا اٰمَنَّا بِرَبِّ ہٰرُوۡنَ وَ مُوۡسٰی ﴿۷۰﴾

The magicians said: "Moses! Either you throw down or we throw down first?"[82] Moses said: "No! In fact, you throw down."[83] [They threw down;] so, all of a sudden their ropes and their staffs, because of magic, seemed as if they were running about.[84] At this, Moses felt scared in his heart.[85] We said: "Fear not! Indeed you will be dominant and that which is your hands cast it [on the ground]. Whatever they have fashioned, it will swallow it right now. [Because] whatever they have fashioned is mere deception of a magician and from wherever a magician may come, he will never succeed [against the truth]."[86] Ultimately, it transpired that the magicians fell down in prostration.[87] They instinctively said: "We have professed faith in the Lord of Moses and Aaron."[88] (65-70).

قَالَ اٰمَنۡتُمۡ لَہٗ قَبۡلَ اَنۡ اٰذَنَ لَکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَکَبِیۡرُکُمُ الَّذِیۡ عَلَّمَکُمُ السِّحۡرَ ۚ فَلَاُقَطِّعَنَّ اَیۡدِیَکُمۡ وَ اَرۡجُلَکُمۡ مِّنۡ خِلَافٍ وَّ لَاُصَلِّبَنَّکُمۡ فِیۡ جُذُوۡعِ النَّخۡلِ ۫ وَ لَتَعۡلَمُنَّ اَیُّنَاۤ اَشَدُّ عَذَابًا وَّ اَبۡقٰی ﴿۷۱﴾

[At this,] the Pharaoh said: "You have attested to Him without my permission? Indeed, that person is your mentor who has taught magic to you. So, I am now going to have your hands and feet severed in opposite directions and [in front of everyone] crucify you on trunks of palm trees. You will very well know whose punishment among us is more stern and more lasting."[89] (71)

قَالُوۡا لَنۡ نُّؤۡثِرَکَ عَلٰیمَا جَآءَنَا مِنَ الۡبَیِّنٰتِوَ الَّذِیۡ فَطَرَنَا فَاقۡضِ مَاۤ اَنۡتَ قَاضٍ ؕ اِنَّمَا تَقۡضِیۡ ہٰذِہِ الۡحَیٰوۃَ الدُّنۡیَا ﴿ؕ۷۲﴾ اِنَّـاۤ اٰمَنَّا بِرَبِّنَا لِیَغۡفِرَ لَنَا خَطٰیٰنَا وَ مَاۤ اَکۡرَہۡتَنَا عَلَیۡہِ مِنَ السِّحۡرِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ خَیۡرٌ وَّ اَبۡقٰی ﴿۷۳﴾

The magicians replied: "We will certainly not give you preference to those clear signs that have come before us nor on the Being Who created us. So, do what you want to.[90] Whatever youcan do relates to this world. We have professed faith in our Lord so that He may forgive our sins and also forgive the magic to which you have compelled us.[91] God only is better and eternal.[92] (72-73)

اِنَّہٗ مَنۡ یَّاۡتِ رَبَّہٗ مُجۡرِمًا فَاِنَّ لَہٗ جَہَنَّمَ ؕ لَا یَمُوۡتُ فِیۡہَا وَ لَا یَحۡیٰی ﴿۷۴﴾ وَ مَنۡ یَّاۡتِہٖ مُؤۡمِنًا قَدۡ عَمِلَ الصّٰلِحٰتِ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ لَہُمُ الدَّرَجٰتُ الۡعُلٰی ﴿ۙ۷۵﴾ جَنّٰتُ عَدۡنٍ تَجۡرِیۡ مِنۡ تَحۡتِہَا الۡاَنۡہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ ذٰلِکَ جَزٰٓؤُا مَنۡ تَزَکّٰی ﴿۷۶﴾

Indeed,[93] whoever comes before his Lord as a wrongdoer, for him is Hell. He will neither die nor live in it.[94] Contrary to this, they who come before Him as believers, who have done righteous deeds,[95] then it is such people for whom there are high ranks, orchards of eternal residence beneath which streams flow. They will live in them forever. And this is the reward of those who adopt purity.[96] (74-76)

وَ لَقَدۡ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلٰی مُوۡسٰۤی ۬ۙاَنۡ اَسۡرِ بِعِبَادِیۡ فَاضۡرِبۡ لَہُمۡ طَرِیۡقًا فِی الۡبَحۡرِ یَبَسًا ۙلَّا تَخٰفُ دَرَکًا وَّ لَا تَخۡشٰی ﴿۷۷﴾ فَاَتۡبَعَہُمۡ فِرۡعَوۡنُ بِجُنُوۡدِہٖ فَغَشِیَہُمۡ مِّنَ الۡیَمِّ مَا غَشِیَہُمۡ ﴿ؕ۷۸﴾ وَ اَضَلَّ فِرۡعَوۡنُ قَوۡمَہٗ وَ مَا ہَدٰی ﴿۷۹﴾

[After this, some time passed until the truth was conclusively conveyed. Then] We revealed to Moses: "Set off with My servants at night.[97] Then when [you encounter] the sea make a dry path for them [with your staff;[98] you will be able to safely go across]. You will neither have any danger to get caught by anyone nor any fear of drowning."[99] [Then when they set off], the Pharaoh followed him with his armies. Then he and his armies were covered by the sea with that which covered them.[100] In reality, the Pharaoh had but led astray his nation; he did not show [it] the right path. (77-79)

یٰبَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ قَدۡ اَنۡجَیۡنٰکُمۡ مِّنۡ عَدُوِّکُمۡ وَ وٰعَدۡنٰکُمۡ جَانِبَ الطُّوۡرِ الۡاَیۡمَنَ وَ نَزَّلۡنَاعَلَیۡکُمُ الۡمَنَّ وَ السَّلۡوٰی ﴿۸۰﴾ کُلُوۡا مِنۡ طَیِّبٰتِ مَا رَزَقۡنٰکُمۡ وَ لَا تَطۡغَوۡا فِیۡہِ فَیَحِلَّ عَلَیۡکُمۡ غَضَبِیۡ ۚ وَ مَنۡ یَّحۡلِلۡ عَلَیۡہِ غَضَبِیۡ فَقَدۡ ہَوٰی ﴿۸۱﴾ وَ اِنِّیۡ لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَنۡ تَابَ وَ اٰمَنَ وَ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اہۡتَدٰی ﴿۸۲﴾

O Israelites! In this manner, We had delivered you from this enemy of yours and promised you the sacred side of Tur[101] and sent down upon you mann and salwa[102] [with the guidance:] "Eat of the pure things given by Us and do not show defiance regarding them[103] lest My wrath descends on you and [remember that] he on whom my wrath descends is certain to fall.[104] However, those who repent, accept faith and do good deeds, then adhere to guidance, for them I am very forgiving. (80-82)

وَ مَاۤ اَعۡجَلَکَ عَنۡ قَوۡمِکَ یٰمُوۡسٰی ﴿۸۳﴾ قَالَ ہُمۡ اُولَآءِ عَلٰۤی اَثَرِیۡ وَ عَجِلۡتُ اِلَیۡکَ رَبِّ لِتَرۡضٰی ﴿۸۴﴾ قَالَ فَاِنَّا قَدۡ فَتَنَّا قَوۡمَکَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِکَ وَ اَضَلَّہُمُ السَّامِرِیُّ ﴿۸۵﴾ فَرَجَعَ مُوۡسٰۤی اِلٰی قَوۡمِہٖ غَضۡبَانَ اَسِفًا ۬ۚ قَالَ یٰقَوۡمِ اَلَمۡ یَعِدۡکُمۡ رَبُّکُمۡ وَعۡدًا حَسَنًا ۬ؕ اَفَطَالَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡعَہۡدُ اَمۡ اَرَدۡتُّمۡ اَنۡ یَّحِلَّ عَلَیۡکُمۡ غَضَبٌ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ فَاَخۡلَفۡتُمۡ مَّوۡعِدِیۡ ﴿۸۶﴾

[Then it happened that Moses, in order to fulfill that promise, arrived before time. God said:] "And why have you left your people early and come over, O Moses?"[105] He replied: "Those people are also right behind me[106] and Lord! I have come early to earn your pleasure."[107] God said: "Now, if this is the case, then listen that We have put your nation in a trial behind you[108] and Samari[109] has led it astray." At this, Moses returned to his nation in great anger and sorrow. He [went and] said to them: "People of My Nation! Had not your Lord made a very good promise[110] with you. Then, has a lot of time passed on you or did you want that your Lord's wrath descend on you; for this reason, you have broken My covenant?[111] (83-86)

قَالُوۡا مَاۤ اَخۡلَفۡنَا مَوۡعِدَکَ بِمَلۡکِنَا وَ لٰکِنَّا حُمِّلۡنَاۤ اَوۡزَارًا مِّنۡ زِیۡنَۃِ الۡقَوۡمِ فَقَذَفۡنٰہَا فَکَذٰلِکَ اَلۡقَی السَّامِرِیُّ ﴿ۙ۸۷﴾

They replied: "We did not break our promise with you out of our own will. In fact, it happened that we were made to carry the burden of people's jewelry. Then [at their demand] we cast it off and in this way Samari showed this trick.[112] (87)

فَاَخۡرَجَ لَہُمۡ عِجۡلًا جَسَدًا لَّہٗ خُوَارٌ فَقَالُوۡا ہٰذَاۤ اِلٰـہُکُمۡ وَ اِلٰہُ مُوۡسٰی ۬ فَنَسِیَ ﴿ؕ۸۸﴾ اَفَلَا یَرَوۡنَ اَلَّا یَرۡجِعُ اِلَیۡہِمۡ قَوۡلًا ۬ۙ وَّ لَا یَمۡلِکُ لَہُمۡ ضَرًّا وَّ لَا نَفۡعًا ﴿۸۹﴾

So,[113] Samari extracted from [their jewelry] a calf for them, a body from which the sound of a bull would come out.[114] At this, they said: "It is this who is your god and that of Moses, but he has forgotten it."[115] [Alas!] Then did they not see that neither can he respond to any of their words nor harm or benefit them in any way. (88-89)

وَ لَقَدۡ قَالَ لَہُمۡ ہٰرُوۡنُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ یٰقَوۡمِ اِنَّمَا فُتِنۡتُمۡ بِہٖ ۚ وَ اِنَّ رَبَّکُمُ الرَّحۡمٰنُ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِیۡ وَ اَطِیۡعُوۡۤا اَمۡرِیۡ ﴿۹۰﴾ قَالُوۡا لَنۡ نَّبۡرَحَ عَلَیۡہِ عٰکِفِیۡنَ حَتّٰی یَرۡجِعَ اِلَیۡنَا مُوۡسٰی ﴿۹۱﴾

Aaron had already said to them: "O People of My Nation! You have been put to trial through this calf. Your Lord in reality is the Most Merciful God. Hence you should follow me and listen to me."[116] But they said: "We will keep worshipping this calf until Moses comes back to us."[117] (90-91)

قَالَ یٰہٰرُوۡنُ مَا مَنَعَکَ اِذۡ رَاَیۡتَہُمۡ ضَلُّوۡۤا ﴿ۙ۹۲﴾ اَلَّا تَتَّبِعَنِ ؕ اَفَعَصَیۡتَ اَمۡرِیۡ ﴿۹۳﴾ قَالَ یَبۡنَؤُمَّ لَا تَاۡخُذۡ بِلِحۡیَتِیۡ وَ لَا بِرَاۡسِیۡ ۚ اِنِّیۡ خَشِیۡتُ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلَ فَرَّقۡتَ بَیۡنَ بَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ وَ لَمۡ تَرۡقُبۡ قَوۡلِیۡ ﴿۹۴﴾

[So, after asking the leaders of the nation] Moses [returned to Aaron and] said: "Aaron! When you saw them going astray, what stopped you from not following me?[118] Then have you disobeyed My directive?"[119] Aaron replied: "O Son of My Mother! Grasp not my beard nor my head.[120] I feared that you [will come and] say: 'You have created a rift among the Israelites and did not give regard to what I said.'"[121] (92-94)

قَالَ فَمَا خَطۡبُکَ یٰسَامِرِیُّ ﴿۹۵﴾ قَالَ بَصُرۡتُ بِمَا لَمۡ یَبۡصُرُوۡا بِہٖ فَقَبَضۡتُ قَبۡضَۃً مِّنۡ اَثَرِ الرَّسُوۡلِ فَنَبَذۡتُہَا وَ کَذٰلِکَ سَوَّلَتۡ لِیۡ نَفۡسِیۡ﴿۹۶﴾ قَالَ فَاذۡہَبۡ فَاِنَّ لَکَ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ اَنۡ تَقُوۡلَ لَا مِسَاسَ ۪ وَ اِنَّ لَکَ مَوۡعِدًا لَّنۡ تُخۡلَفَہٗ ۚ وَ انۡظُرۡ اِلٰۤی اِلٰـہِکَ الَّذِیۡ ظَلۡتَ عَلَیۡہِ عَاکِفًاؕ لَنُحَرِّقَنَّہٗ ثُمَّ لَنَنۡسِفَنَّہٗ فِی الۡیَمِّ نَسۡفًا ﴿۹۷﴾ اِنَّمَاۤ اِلٰـہُکُمُ اللّٰہُ الَّذِیۡ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ ؕ وَسِعَ کُلَّ شَیۡءٍ عِلۡمًا ﴿۹۸﴾

Moses said: "And what is your matter, Samuri?" He replied: "I saw that which others did not; then [in accordance with it] I picked up a handful [of dust] from the footprints of God's messenger; then cast it [into the calf].[122] Thus did my soul prompt me."[123] Moses said: "If this is the case, then be off with you. Now, for life, you will continue to say: 'No one should touch me,'[124] and [after you die,] there is another promised time for you which will never be deferred from you. And look at this deity to which you strongly had attached yourself. It is our decision that we will burn it now; then scatter it while setting it adrift in the sea. [People!] Only God is your deity; there is no other deity except Him. His knowledge embraces everything."[125] (95-98)

کَذٰلِکَ نَقُصُّ عَلَیۡکَ مِنۡ اَنۡۢبَآءِ مَا قَدۡ سَبَقَ ۚ وَ قَدۡ اٰتَیۡنٰکَ مِنۡ لَّدُنَّا ذِکۡرًا ﴿ۖۚ۹۹﴾ مَنۡ اَعۡرَضَ عَنۡہُ فَاِنَّہٗ یَحۡمِلُ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ وِزۡرًا ﴿۱۰۰﴾ۙ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہِ ؕ وَ سَآءَ لَہُمۡ یَوۡمَ الۡقِیٰمَۃِ حِمۡلًا ﴿۱۰۱﴾ ۙیَّوۡمَ یُنۡفَخُ فِی الصُّوۡرِ وَ نَحۡشُرُالۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ یَوۡمَئِذٍ زُرۡقًا ﴿۱۰۲﴾ۚۖ یَّتَخَافَتُوۡنَ بَیۡنَہُمۡ اِنۡ لَّبِثۡتُمۡ اِلَّا عَشۡرًا ﴿۱۰۳﴾ نَحۡنُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ اِذۡ یَقُوۡلُ اَمۡثَلُہُمۡ طَرِیۡقَۃً اِنۡ لَّبِثۡتُمۡ اِلَّا یَوۡمًا ﴿۱۰۴﴾

In this way [O Prophet!], do We narrate to you anecdotes of the past[126] and for this We have given you a reminder specially from Our self.[127] Those who turn away from it will bear a heavy burden on the Day of Judgement[128] and forever shall they bear its consequences and on the Day of Judgement it will be a very nasty burden for them. On the Day the trumpet shall be blown[129] and We shall gather the wrongdoers with their eyes turning blue [because of fear]. They will secretly say to one another: "You have hardly remained [in the world] for ten days."[130] We very well know what they will say when he who [they regard] among them to be the most capable in estimating will say: "You have not remained for more than a day." (99-104)

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[74].This was perhaps a day of a funfair or the Pharaoh's birthday whose history was known at that time. It is called يُوْمُ الزِّيْنَةِ because on such occasions people dress up and also decorate their cities. Moses (sws) nominated this very day: it would be a time when people from all over the country would arrive he would break the spell weaved by the tyrannical culture of the Pharaoh.

[75].Ie., before midday. On such occasions, this is the most appropriate time to gather a large number of people.

[76].It is evident from other instances in the Qur'an that the Pharaoh consulted his nobles and finally it was decided that this matter should not be considered something trivial. Messengers should be sent to all parts of the country and the most skilled magicians should be called. These measures undertaken by him is called "gathering maneuvers" in the verse.

[77].The real message of Moses (sws) for the Pharaoh and his people was that they should give up their polytheistic concepts and beliefs and prostrate before the one and only God. Taking advantage of the gathering, he foremost presented this message before people and also reasoned before them that there is no basis of polytheism in one's intellect and rationality. It is nothing but a falsehood concocted about God.

[78].This is a reference to the history in which this failure and loss arises repeatedly after conclusive communication of the truth.

[79].Ie., all the nobles of the government and all the magicians which gathered to make a strategy for the contest.

[80].This statement was obviously given to incite professional jealousy among the magicians.

[81].Such words are generally uttered by rulers to use the masses for their purpose. Otherwise it is known that the exemplary life referred to was led only by the nobles of that time. In that culture, the masses were not more than slaves and burden-carriers.

[82].They gave this statement in accordance with professional ethics but it is evident from the style of the sentence that it is they who want to begin the proceedings in order to fully grip the audience in their spell. In such contests, the first turn carries great significance.

[83].Moses (sws) had full trust that his Lord was with him. So, he gave his opponents the first chance to display their skills. When magicians want to show their adeptness they throw something like arrows of gambling before the onlookers and then show their magic on it. The word إِلْقَاَء (to throw) is used because of this reason.

[84].Since Moses (sws) would transform a staff into a snake, the magicians too chose something similar and besides the staffs converted the ropes into snakes as well. However, the Qur'an has made it evident from the words يُتَخَيَّلُ اِلِيْهِ that a magician is not able to change the basic form of a thing. He only casts an optical allusion onto his onlookers, as a result of which they begin to see what a magician wants to show them.

[85].It was temporary fear which quite naturally arises in such a situation. Moses (sws) probably was not expecting that the magicians would present something similar to what he was going to present.

[86].This is because as soon as the truth becomes evident, everyone comes to know the difference between magic and miracle. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi,it is as if the sun shines with full splendour before some dim light. Obviously, after this there is no need to point out the difference between the two through logic and reasoning.

[87].Ie., when the staff was thrown and it made every rope and stick meandering like a serpent look the way they actually were and the woven spell was done away with, all the magicians bowed down in prostration. The passive verb أُلْقِيَ is used in the verse. It expresses the sentiments of respect of the magicians. Magic and disciplines related to it are best understood by its experts. Thus a clear distinction between magic and miracle is that those adept in magic are forced to accept defeat before miracles.

[88].This was a clear rejection of the divinity and sovereignty of the Pharaoh, which obviously he could not have easily tolerated.

[89].Ie., the Pharaoh's or that of Moses (sws), their mentor. This is a reference to the punishment which experts of psychic disciplines give to their disobedient students. Such students generally think that if they do something against the desire of their mentor, they will be inflicted by some great calamity by him through magic. The Pharaoh pronounced punishment for the magicians to dispel his humiliation and that of his courtiers and to set right affairs when he saw how deeply the audience was affected by the confession of truth of the magicians. He blamed them of conspiring with Moses (sws). He contended that it was Moses (sws) who had threatened them so much that they joined hands with him and now they want to rebel against the Pharaoh. He reckoned that they had done this because if they accepted defeat before their mentor in the open field, this would strike awe in the hearts of the masses and their conspiracy against their rule would succeed. He fancied that it was because of this reason that they did not wait for his permission and declared their faith in Moses (sws). Hence, he thought that he would pronounce the same punishment for them which is meted out to rebels of the state, and this punishment would be much more grave and exemplary than the one of which the fear made them fashion this drama of victory and defeat. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

.. Obviously, this contention of the Pharaoh was illogical. This is because the Pharaoh lost to his own army in the field he himself had chosen. However, to do away with the effects of this loss he had to make up some excuse or the other. So he fashioned one and he must be lauded that he showed great political acumen in this and it may well be that he was able to fool many, but the truth cannot be vanquished by such deceptive measures. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 5, 57)

[90].It can be seen from this how true faith can in a moment take a person to such a height. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, these magicians were the same people about whom it is stated at another instance in the Qur'an that when they were called for this contest they pleadingly requested the Pharaoh for a prize in case they won. Now the radiance of faith lit up their hearts in such a way that nothing except God and the Hereafter had any weight in their eyes. So much so, they were even prepared to sacrifice their lives to preserve their faith.

[91].It is evident from this that before coming to the contest, the magicians had understood to some extent that they would not be facing a peer from their own profession; in fact, their opponent belonged to another class. Thus it was only under compulsion that they got ready for the duel.

[92].This is a rejoinder to the Pharaoh. He had said that they will come to know: اَیُّنَاۤ اَشَدُّ عَذَابًا وَّ اَبۡقٰی (whose punishment is more stern and more lasting). The magicians responded to this statement in a very profound way by saying that if he was threatening them, then he should listen up that they have directed their attention to God while cutting themselves off from all others and that اللّٰہُ خَیۡرٌ وَّ اَبۡقٰی (God only is better and eternal).

[93].From here till verse 76 occurs a tadmin (insertion). The style of the discourse clearly tells us that it cannot be part of the utterance of the magicians. In fact, the Almighty has inserted His words here and by this addition completed the discourse and also brought it in accordance with the situation.

[94].This is such an expression of the intensity, permanence and profundity of the punishment of Hell that words are unable to explain it. The picture which comes forth as a result makes the body and soul tremble with fear.

[95].It is evident from this that faith is only of significance to God if it is accompanied by good deeds. The words مُؤۡمِنًا قَدۡ عَمِلَ الصّٰلِحٰتِ bear evidence to this inference. In the religion to which the Qur'an calls people, faith and righteous deeds necessitate one another. Thus without faith just as deeds have no consequence, in a similar way, without righteous deeds faith has no significance. In the words of Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, such faith is like a barren tree which bears neither leaves nor fruit. How can a tree which has not produced in this world bear fruit in the Hereafter?

[96].This is a summary of the message of religion and the purpose of its revelation. The doors of God's paradise will be open to only those people who will try to purify their inner and outer selves.

[97].This is a directive for migration. Moses (sws) had made this demand of the Pharaoh at the very beginning that he should allow him to take the Israelites with him. The reason was that he was sent as a messenger to not only conclusively communicate the truth to the Pharaoh and his people but also to make the Israelites inhabit the promised land in order to organize them as a nation to discharge the responsibility of delivering the truth. This promised land was meant to be made into a centre of monotheism. Thus, this directive of migration was primarily for him but subsumed in it were those people also who had accepted faith among the Egyptians.

[98].The actual words are: فَاضۡرِبۡ لَہُمۡ طَرِیۡقًا. According to the Arabic idiom, the expression means "to make way," but there is a subtle insinuation in it to the staff of Moses (sws). It was was through the striking of this staff that the path was made in the southern gulf of the Red Sea. The alif lam on الْبَحْر is a clear evidence where God had instructed Moses (sws) to go. It is written in the Book of Exodus:

Then the Lordsaid to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground … Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.(14:15-22)

[99].The actual words are: لَا تَخٰفُ دَرَکًا وَّ لَا تَخۡشٰی. The object of the verb تَخْشی is suppressed in accordance with parallelism ie. تَخْشی غَرَقًا. The translation keeps this in view.

[100].To express the extraordinary horror or extraordinary splendour of something, this style has been adopted in the Qur'an at several instances. This style is used when words are unable to express the purport. In the book of Exodus, this incident is recorded in the following words:

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!"So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him.He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them … Then the Lordsaid to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen." Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. (14:5-28)

[101].This is a reference to the promise which the Almighty made with the Israelites to give them the shari'ah after they had crossed the sea. The Qur'an has explained it another instance. The Israelites wre called for this purpose to the same side of Tur where Moses (sws) was given prophethood. It is recorded in the book of Exodus:

The Lord said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction."Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them."(24:12-14)

[102].What was this Mann andSalwa? They have been explained under verse 57 of Surah al-Baqarah.

[103]. Ie., they should not be defiant in fulfilling their obligations towards these favours; in fact, they should be grateful to God because He has given them these things in abundance in these circumstances.

[104].Ie., fell from the status granted to him by God.

[105].The actual words are: وَ مَاۤ اَعۡجَلَکَ عَنۡ قَوۡمِکَ. The preposition عَنْafter اَعۡجَلَکَ indicates that it encompasses the meaning of "to come forth after leaving someone behind." The translation keeps this aspect in consideration.

[106].Ie., they are coming towards God to acquire His shari'ah. This is an expression of Moses' (sws) trust on his nation that they will not go anywhere and reach the place where they have been directed.

[107].Ie., "My zeal has propelled me to come early so that I can talk to you and you are happy that My servant has come before time because of his love for you and for your shari'ah."

[108].The implication is that God in accordance with His established practice has left it to go astray. Through it, it should have become evident that even God's love and the zeal to meet Him should not have made Moses (sws) indifferent to his nation. His real responsibility was educating and instructing it so that it got ready for the task for which he had brought them out of Egypt. He very well knew that the masses of had been inflicted by a trial resolving which would not be easy.

[109].This is not the name of that person. It is a reference to a tribe or a race or to some place. It has been mentioned earlier that from among his nation were influenced by polytheistic beliefs and he knew that Aaron (sws) would not be able to control those deviant people. In spite, of this he made haste and went over there before fully organizing and disciplining them. This was a mistake and its consequence was that among the Egyptians too some people had professed faith in Moses (sws) and had migrated with the Israelites. It seems that this person was a clever and cunning mystic from among them. Taking advantage of Moses' (sws) absence, he tried to gather the simpletons of the Israelites around him and played a trick the way such people do.

[110].Ie., the promise of granting His shari'ah and guidance.

[111].Though this address is general, it is directed to the chiefs of the nation. Hence it is a reference to the covenant that we have cited earlier: while going to the mount Tur, Moses (sws) had taken this promise from the chiefs of his nation that until he came back to them with God's shari'ah they would keep their people under control and follow the directives of Aaron (sws) in all matters.

[112].The actual words are: اَلۡقَی السَّامِرِیُّ. The verb اَلۡقَی here is in exactly the same meaning as it occured in verse 65 of this surah, ie. "to throw dice and show a trick or stunt." The implication of these words of the chiefs was that people deposited their jewelry with them so that they could keep it secure in the discomforting circumstances of the journey. They bore them as a burden. When people came to them and demanded their jewellery back, they cast off this burden. It was a big responsibility that had been taken away from them but the people gathered all the jewellery and took it to Samiri and he played this trick. They further contended that it was not their mistake that this happened for they did not even know what people were going to do with their jewelry. So, Moses (sws) was not to think that if they returned the jewellery, then they too had a role in this mischief worked by Samiri.

[113].The answer of the chiefs ended earlier. The style of the discourse from here onwards clearly shows that the Almighty Himself is narrating the details of the incident.

[114].It was not difficult for anyone skilled with the craft of making idols in the Egypt of those times to extract such a calf from which a bellowing sound would come out– considering the height this craft had reached in that period. Thus the statue of the calf was made in such a way that when air would pass through it, a sound simlilar to the sound of the bellowing of calfs would come out of it. It is the misfortune of the Jews that just as they concocted the story that they had looted the jewelry from the Copts by deceiving them and the directive was given to them by God's prophet and to the prophet by God Himself, they also blamed their prophet Aaron (sws) for making the calf. (See: Exodus, 3:14-22; 11:2-3; 12:35-36; 32:1-5). The Qur'an has refuted both these.

[115].Ie., after going to Tur he has forgotten it otherwise he also knows that this is in fact his god.

[116].Here the Qur'an has further clarified that Aaron (sws) had absolutely no role in the great sin of making the calf; on the contrary, he had tried to stop them in the very beginning. Thus it is a fact that the Bible itself has exposed its misstatements in this matter. It itself says that the directive of God about all those guilty of this sin was to execute them and their names would be deleted from the Book of God but we can see that when people were punished for this sin neither the name of Aaron (sws) was deleted from the Book nor was he executed. On the contrary, according to biblical narratives he and his children were given the most noble status among the Israelites ie., leadership of the levites and ministering before the tent of the covenant of law. (See: Exodus, 32:27-33; Numbers, 18:1-7)

[117].It is evident from this sentence that Aaron's (sws) words of counsel had made them realize their foolishness to some extent but as is the case of every foolishness it was not not easy for them to forsake it.

[118].Ie., what stopped Aaron (sws) from following the way of Moses (sws) which he adopted on such occasions and which he also had been directing Aaron (sws) to? This question was not based on any evil estimation but to find out if Aaron (sws) had any excuse. The word used for this in verse is اَلَّا تَتَّبِعَنِ. The letter لَاis not redundant here but occurs to emphasize the verb in accordance with common linguistic principles. This style is found in Urdu as well.

[119].This is a reference to the directive Moses (sws) gave to Aaron (sws) when he was going to mount Tur. It is mentioned in verse 142 of Surah al-A'raf that he had directed Aaron to lead the nation in his absence and to keep reforming people and not follow those who created disorder.

[120].It is mentioned at another place that at that instance Moses (sws) was overwhelmed with emotion and he threw down the tablets of the Torah and took hold of Aaron's (sws) hair and started to shake him. He rebuked him for letting mischief raise its head when he was responsible for everyone. It is at this instance that Aaron (sws) said these words.

[121].It is specified in verse 150 of Surah al-A'raf that Aaron (sws) tried his utmost to stop people from becoming entangled in this trial but they created a great commotion against him and even threatened to kill him. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... Now only two options remained: either Aaron (sws) was to separate himself with his followers from others or wait for some days for Moses' (sws) return. The first option would have resulted in divisions among people and bloodshed. In the second option, it could have been expected that Moses (sws) would set right the affairs because of the awe and respect he commanded and because of his acumen. For this reason, Aaron (sws) did not adopt the first option because it would have created disorder rather than any improvement in the state of affairs and he wanted to save his nation from this disorder as much as possible. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 5, 80)

[122].Samiri made this excuse to absolve himself. He said that whatever Moses (sws) saw was done as a result of a vision that Samiri had seen; he saw something which others did not; he saw in his vision that Gabriel had come and that he (Samuri) had picked up a handful of dust and put it inside the model of a calf that he had made. As a result of this, it started to speak. Thus from wherever he had picked up dust in his vision, he later picked it up and put it in the model of the calf. He contended that he had not done this himself or because he wanted to play a trick.

[123].This is Samuri's confession of his crime. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi writes:

... He fully knew that it would not be easy for him to be released from the grasp of Moses (sws) and whatever bluff he was playing would not succeed before him. He thus confessed that whatever happened was because of a misconception: he regarded the prompting of his soul to be a vision and hence committed this crime. (Amin Ahsan Islahi,Tadabbur-i Qur'an, vol. 5, 81)

[124].The moral leprosy with which Samiri was afflicted warranted that he be punished with physical leprosy. This is precisely what happened. The protocol that was prescribed within the Israelites to remain secure from the touch of lepers was implemented on him: he would forever declare to people that he was unclean and that no one should touch him. This of course was ultimate disgrace and humiliation beyond which nothing could be imagined. In the book of Leviticus of the Bible, this protocol has been mentioned thus:

Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,cover the lower part of their face and cry out, 'Unclean! Unclean! As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.(13:45-46)

[125].This is an argument in favour of monotheism: when God's knowledge is all-embracing why would He need to make anyone His associate?

[126].Ie., the way the story of Moses (sws) has been related to him earlier.

[127].Ie., the Qur'an.

[128].Because it would be the burden of their misguidance and the burden of those also who were led astray by them

[129].The actual words are: يُوْمَ يُنْفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ. The passive tense in it expresses horror of the situation. The implication is that the horrible sound of the trumpet will create a great commotion everywhere yet people would be asking about the origin of the sound. They will not know from where it is coming. The word الصُّورِ refers to a "trumpet," "clarion" or "bugle." Yet it is not possible to find out its actual reality and is from among the matters of the mutashabihat. However, we can have some idea of what it may be like from the word used for it. In order to make us understand the governance of this universe, God uses similar words and terms that are found in our languages. The purpose is to bring us closer to an object and is not meant to be taken literally. In ancient times, a trumpet would be blown at the time of royal processions and declarations of war. It is evident from the Qur'an that something similar would be blown to herald the Day of Judgement. It will create great horror and consternation among people; they will not even care for their dearest of possessions; wild beasts will gather together in a state of utter fright. So much so, all living creatures will become unconcious because of this horrible sound.

[130].Ie., what they regard as something farfetched and consider as حديث خرافة, at that time they will be presenting these conjectures about it.

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