The forty-day fast of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him

I take refuge with Allaah, the Exalted, from the accursed devil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem: In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

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The forty-day fast of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him.

وَوَعَدْنَا مُوسَى ثَلَـثِينَ لَيْلَةً وَأَتْمَمْنَاهَا بِعَشْرٍ فَتَمَّ مِيقَـتُ رَبِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً وَقَالَ مُوسَى لاًّخِيهِ هَـرُونَ اخْلُفْنِى فِى قَوْمِى وَأَصْلِحْ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

(142. And We appointed for Musa thirty nights and added ten, and he completed the term, appointed by his Lord, of forty nights. And Musa said to his brother Harun: “Replace me among my people, act in the right way and follow not the way of the mischief-makers.”)

Surah 7 Al Aaf Verse 142

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah reminds the Children of Israel of the guidance that He sent to them by speaking directly to Musa and revealing the Tawrah to him. In it, was their law and the details of their legislation. Allah stated here that He appointed thirty nights for Musa. The scholars of Tafsir said that Musa fasted this period, and when they ended, Musa cleaned his teeth with a twig. Allah commanded him to complete the term adding ten more days, making the total forty. When the appointed term finished, Musa was about to return to Mount Tur, as Allah said,

(O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of the Mount) (20:80). Musa left his brother Harun with the Children of Israel and commanded him to use wisdom and refrain from mischief. This was only a reminder, for Harun was an honorable and noble Prophet who had grace and exalted standard with Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and the rest of the Prophets.

وَلَمَّا جَآءَ مُوسَى لِمِيقَـتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُ رَبُّهُ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِى أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ قَالَ لَن تَرَانِى وَلَـكِنِ انْظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِى فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّى رَبُّهُ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ موسَى صَعِقًا فَلَمَّآ

أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَـنَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

(143. And when Musa came at the time and place appointed by Us, and his Lord (Allah) spoke to him; he said: “O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me, but look upon the mountain; if it stands still in its place then you shall see Me.” So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Musa fell down unconscious. Then when he recovered his senses he said: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of the believers.”)

Surah 7 Al araf Verse 143

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Allah said that when Musa came for His appointment and spoke to Him directly, he asked to see Him,

(“O my Lord! Show me (Yourself), that I may look upon You.” Allah said: “You cannot see Me,”) `You cannot’ (Lan) by no means indicates that seeing Allah will never occur, as (the misguided sect of) Al-Mu`tazilah claimed. The Hadiths of Mutawatir grade narrated from the Messenger of Allah, affirm that the believers will see Allah in the Hereafter. We will mention these Hadiths under the explanation of Allah’s statement,

(Some faces that Day shall be radiant. Looking at their Lord.) (75:22-23) In earlier Scriptures, it was reported that Allah said to Musa, “O Musa! No living soul sees Me, but will perish, and no solid but will be demolished.” Allah said here,

(So when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He made it collapse to dust, and Musa fell down unconscious.) In his Musnad Imam Ahmad recorded from Anas bin Malik that the Prophet said about Allah’s saying;

(And when his Lord appeared to the mountain, )

(Like this) then he held out the tip of his little finger. At-Tirmidhi recorded this in the chapter of Tafsir for this Ayah, then he said; “This Hadith is Hasan Sahih Gharib.” This was also recorded by Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak through the route of Hamad bin Salamah, and he said; “This Hadith is Sahih according to the criteria of Muslim and they did not record it.” And As-Suddi reported that `Ikrimah reported from Ibn `Abbas about Allah’s saying,

(And when his Lord appeared to the mountain,) Only the extent of the little finger appeared from Him,

(He made it collapse) as dust;

(And Musa fell down unconscious) fainting from it. Ibn Jarir recorded these because of the relation to the word Al-Ghashi.

(Then when he (Musa) recovered his senses) after he lost consciousness,

(he said: “Glory be to You,”) thus, praising, glorifying and honoring Allah since no living soul could see Him in this life and remain alive. Musa’ statement,

(“I turn to You in repentance”) means, according to Mujahid, that from asking you to look at you,

(“and I am the first of the believers.”), among the Children of Israel, according to Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid, and Ibn Jarir preferred this view. Or, according to another narration from Ibn `Abbas, the meaning of,

(“and I am the first of the believers.”), is that `none shall see You (in this life).’ Allah said,

(And Musa fell down unconscious.) Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah narrated a Hadith from the Prophet that is suitable to mention here. As for the Hadith from Abu Sa`id, Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that he said: A Jew came to the Prophet after his face was smacked, and said, “O Muhammad! One of your companions from Al-Ansar smacked me on the face.” The Prophet said,

(Summon him) and he was summoned. The Prophet asked him,

(Why did you smack his face) He said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I passed by that Jew and heard him swearing, `No, by He Who has chosen Musa over mankind!’ I said, `Over Muhammad too’, and I became angry and struck his face.” The Prophet said,

(Do not prefer me above the Prophets. Verily, on the Day of Resurrection, people will be struck unconscious, and I (feel that I) am the first to wake up. Thereupon I will find that Musa is holding onto a pillar of the Throne (`Arsh of Allah). I will not know if he woke up before me or he received his due (because of his) unconsciousness on (Mount) At-Tur.) Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith in many locations of his Sahih, as did Muslim and Abu Dawud. As for the Hadith from Abu Hurayrah, Imam Ahmad and the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) collected his narration.

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