Now, dear ones, let's go together to the land of Egypt, the ancient Egypt. Let's go to the land of the Nile thousands of years ago.
In that land thousands of slaves spent their lives in carrying huge rocks to the island (al-Jazira) to build the graves of the pharaohs. Those pyramids, which are still the foremost of scientific monuments, are the graves of the pharaohs.
The pharaohs thought that life would return to them. For this reason they prepared all means of power and authority. They thought that if they came back to life or life rerurned to them, they would find everything prepared.
The bare-footed workers built the pyramids, and then they consider carfully the things below them. They saw boats floating on the calm waves of the Nile. They considered the date-palms about the banks of the Nile, which flowed into the Mediterranean Sea. The workers were forced to work hard day and night; nevertheless they were lashed across their backs with whips.
The Gift of the Nile
Hirodayt, the Greek historian, called Egypt the gift of the Nile. Were it not for the Nile, there would be nothing called Egypt. Ice melted and flowed into the Nile. The Nile flowed over its banks. It made the land of Egypt fertile, thus agriculture spread throughout Egypt.
Wheat was the main crop in Egypt. The Egyptians made bread from wheat. Their bread was similar to our present bread.
The farming of grapes spread in the delta of the Nile. There were big farms of grapes. At that time the Egyptians grew vegetables such as broad beans and chick-pea. They liked onions, leek, garlic, cucumber, lettuce, etc.
They also used honey to sweeten some foodstuffs. They were very fond of growing flowers. They used them as decorations on occasions and festivals.
The Means of Transport
There were yearly floods. The Nile was the main link between the Southern and Northern Egypt.
For this reason the Egyptians made boats from the wood of some trees. The boats had one rudder and sails made of woven cloth. During the floods the cities turned into small islands in the middle of a wide area of water.
At that time the Egyptians were familiar with many animals such as cats and dogs. They used dogs for hunting, oxen for plowing the land, and donkeys for carrying loads.
They grazed goats and sheep on their lands. They regarded the pig as an impure animal, for its meat rotted quickly.
The Egyptians were very fond of eating fish, which was plentiful in the Nile.
The Egyptians thought that crocodiles and river horses were dangerous animals, so they worshipped them. They worshipped lions for the same reason. They also worshipped jackals that walked about the grave-yards.
The Egyptians knew how to read and write. Their language was hieroglyphic, which was engraved signs. For example, the sign, 'O' meant the sun. It also meant the word 'day'. There were other signs meaning other words.
The History of Egypt
The history of Egypt is divided into three periods:
The first period is called the Ancient Kingdom (2600-2280 BC).
The second period is called the Middle Kingdom (2100-1800 BC).
The third period is called the Modern Kingdom (1500-1000 BC).
Our prophet Musa b. 'Umran (A.S.) was born in the third period.
In the years 1500-1200 the Egyptians had a powerful state. Their empire was so big that is extended to the countries of al-Nubia (Sudan) and Palestine.
The Egyptians knew that their enemies had many horses, thus they used as many horses as their enemies used.
In this periods of time, the pharaohs became tyrannical. They made themselves gods for people. Among them were Tahtamis and Ramsis II.
When Ramsis the Second died, his son Minfitah succeeded him. Musa appeared at the time of Minfitah.
The Children of Israel
Dear ones, in the story of our Prophet Yousuf, you have read that Yousuf was thrown into the well, and then he was taken to Egypt. You have read that he lived in Egypt for twenty years. You have also read that Ya'qub, his wife, and his children went to Egypt to meet Yousuf.
The children of Ya'qub, namely the children of Israel, remained in Egypt, and after ten years they became a great nation.
Yousuf died and hundreds of years passed, so the people forgot that Yousuf had made Egypt a favor. Again the pharaohs ruled Egypt. They persecuted the people. The children of Israel had the greatest share of torture and oppression.
The men from among the children of Israel had to work from morning to evening. They had to be satistied with a life of slavery and abasement. They had to worship the pharaoh, for he was the god of the people. For this reason, the children of Israel waited for someone to save them from the oppression of the pharaoh.
The children of Israel inherited good news from the time of Yousuf and Ya'qub(A.S.). Then waited for the birth of the person who would save them from torture.
The children of Israel faced increasing torture and oppression, so they talked very much about the savior. The Pharaoh heard the oppressed people talking of the savior. The fortune-tellers also confirmed this fact.
They told him that a baby-boy would be born, and that the baby would grow up and kill him.
The Pharaoh was afraid of this prophecy, thus he thought of a way to destroy the children of Israel.
The Pharaoh decided to kill all the baby-boys who would be born at that time. He appointed some women to spy on pregnant women.
The Holy Qur'an has described that black period, saying: "And We saved you from Pharaoh's people, who tortured you severely, killed your sons, and spared your women."
The Pharaoh was wicked. He wanted to impose his authority on the people of Egypt, so he spared no effort to divide them. He made them quarrel with each other in order to control them.
The Egyptains regarded the children of Israel as strangers and slaves. They punished them severely. When they heard that one of the children of Israel would kill the Pharaoh, they treated them as prisoners of war of another state.
On the account of this, the children of Israel witnessed the worst period in their life. The police of the Pharaoh took male babies. They killed them or threw them into the Nile. Thus, mothers wept for their babies.
The Pharaoh killed those babies who were as pretty as flowers. He showed no mercy towards them. He was tyrannical and self-conceited.
The Promised Baby-Boy
Allah wanted Musa to be born. Yokabid, the righteous woman, was sad because she was about to give birth to a baby.Meanwhile, the Egyptian tribe visited her frequently to know the gender of her baby.
In those critical conditions Yokabid gave birth to a boy-baby. The baby was very lovely. Those who saw him adored him.
Allah, the Glorified, made people love Musa. For this reason the midwife said its mother: "Yokabid, don't be anxious. I will never say anything."
Allah inspired Yokabid to suckle Musa.The mother's heart was full of love for this baby whose face was bright and innocent. She asked herself: "Is Musa the promised boy?"
Days passed. The Pharaoh's spies looked for boy-babies. The Pharaoh thought in a wicked way. He wanted some agents to work for him without any wage. Thus, he decided: "I will kill boy-babies year by year!"
In the year before the birth of Musa, Yokabid gave birth to a -baby-boy called Harun.
Harun was still a baby when Musa was born. Harun and Musa had a sister some years older than them. The sister was good and clever. She loved her brothers, was kind to them, and took care of them.
Some days passed and Yokabid was still suckling her baby. However, she was anxious. She thought that the spies would know that she had given birth to a baby-boy.
Thus, she asked herself: "What will I do? How can I protect Musa from the danger of the Pharaoh? How can I save him from being killed? How can I rescue him from the daggers that have killed tens of innocent children and pained their mothers?"
Allah, the Glorified, inspired Musa's mother to make a small box to put Musa into it. He also inspired her to put the box on the water of the Nile. The brave mother did this and her daughter helped her.
One night Musa's mother felt danger. She knew that the spies were looking for suckling babies. So Yokabid and her daughter went to the Nile in the dark.
The sad mother looked at the waves of the Nile. She looked at her little baby. Musa was asleep. She wanted to return home, but the inspiration urged her to hand the box to the waves of the Nile.
Yokabid looked at the sky full of stars, so she felt peace. Yokabid believed in Allah. She was confident that Allah would protect her baby from all dangers such as crocodiles and river horses.
She was confident thatAllah would return her baby to her. In that moment, full of fear, faith, and love, Yokabid put the box on the water of the Nile.
The waves were bright because of the moonlight. They had mercy on the innocent, lonely baby. So the carried him far away.
Yokabid was looking at the box till it disappeared in the darkness. She was about to cry, but she looked at the stars, the moon, and the wide sky. She glorified Allah. She felt peace, so she and her daughter returned home. She felt that she would embrace her little baby again.
The Pharaoh's Palace
Yokabid did not sleep even a wink that night. She thought of Musa. She thought of that box tossed about by the waves of the Nile.
The sun rose. The people woke up. The fishermen went to the Nile. The farmers went to their fields. The shepherds went to the meadows.
The box was tottering among the waves of the Nile. A babyish voice came out of the box. The voice of the innocent baby who looked for a warm lap.
Asiya, the Pharaoh's wife, was a good woman. She, unlike her husband, a humble woman. She loved people. She loved good and hated oppressoin.
She was displeased with her husband's wicked deeds. In that lovely morning, Asiya was sitting by the Nile looking at the boats. Suddenly, she saw a small box heading for the green bank. The small box anchored as a beautiful boat did. Asya heard a babyish voice. She rose and ordered her guard to bring her the box. There were slave girls with her. The guard brought the box. He greeted Asiya, put the box in front of her, and then he walked backwards. In the meantime the Pharaoh came. He was walking haughtily. In his hand was a rod made of ebony, set with pearls and gold.
When he pointed to something with his rod, his men should carry out his orders.
The Pharaoh was frightened to see a baby-boy in the box. He looked at the baby with malice. He said to himself: "I myself will kill this baby! Perhaps, he'll be the one who will kill me and destroy my kingdom!"
The Phararoh pointed to the neck of the innocent baby with his black rod. The soldiers obeyed his order. They took the baby to kill him.
Asiya was a good woman. She had no children. When she saw the baby, she became attached to it. At that terrrible moment, she walked quickly to her husband, the Phararoh, and said to him: "A refreshment of the eye to me and to you; do not slay him; maybe he will be useful to us, of we may take him for a son."
He knew that his wife was firm in her attitude. He said to himself: She has no baby. Why don't I overlook this baby? Haven't I killed tens of babies? Wasn't the promised baby among them?" The Pharaoh turned his back and went away.
Asiya hastened to embrace the innocent baby, Musa.
Musa's bright face was looking for love in the hearts. Its clear eyes were searching for a familiar face. However, the baby did not fine that bright face. It was looking for a warm chest to have milk peacefully, but it did not find that.
Musa wept loudly, so Asiya sent for some women to suckle him.
One woman came. The woman put Musa on her lap, but the baby went on weeping. The baby was hungry, but refused to suck at the breast of any woman.
Musa wept loudly, so Asiya sent for some women to suckle him. One woman came. The woman put Musa on her lap, but the baby went on weeping. The baby was hungry, but it refused to suck at the breast of any woman.
Musa went on weeping. Though he was very hungry, an astonishing ability prevented him from sucking.
The Divine Promise
Yokabid had faith in Allah. Her heart told her that Musa would come to her. What did that miserable mother do?
She said to her daughter: "Go and look for your brother. Let's know what has happened to him."
The sister went to the Nile looking for the box. She did not find it. She did not ask anybody about it, for no one knew its secret except her, her mother, and Allah. The sister saw everything.
In that moving morning, she saw what was happening on the green bank in front of the Pharaoh's house surrounded by trees.
From behind a tree, she was looking at what was occurring. She listened with pain to the crying of her brother, who was looking for the breast of its mother.
Many women came to suckle Musa. Musa's sister came with them. She pretended she was a stranger.
When she saw Musa, she wanted to embrace him. However, she pretended she did not know the baby.
Asiya was looking for a woman to nurse the lovely baby. For this reason, Musa's sister said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house who will take care of him for you, and they will be benevolent to him?"
Asiya rejoiced at that, and then she said: "Yes, bring her soon! The baby will die of crying!"
The young girl ran very quickly. She was very happy. She went to her mother to give her good news about what had happened.
Yokabid came. She pretended she did not know the baby. She was a little late, for she did not want the people to doubt her.
When Yokabid came, she waw Asiya waiting for her eagerly. She took Musa, and did her best to hide her feelings. She pretended she was not his mother. Suddenly, Musa kept silent on the lap of his mother. Asiya was happy when she saw him sucking milk.
Asiya thought that she had to hire Yokabid to suckle the baby. Yokabid did not want the people to doubt her, so she said: "I'm nursing my son, Harun."
Asiya said: "You're a strong woman. You've the ability to suckle two babies at one time. I will reward you well."
Yokabid pretended she would agree to nurse Musa for the reward. Thus, Musa came back to his mother, and Allah's promise became true.
The faith of Musa's mother in Allah doubled. She understood that Allah had power over all things, and that no one had the ability to change his decree.
Mumfis was the capital of the Pharaohs at that time. It was on the bank of the Nile. The Pharaoh ordered his palace to be built to the north of this city.
The Pharaoh's palace was on the left bank of the Nile. In a desert area, to the west of the city, the Pharaohs ordered their graves to be built. Their graves are called pyramids. They are still standing in the area of al-Jazira.
Musa finished the period of nursing on his mother lap. He was then moved to live in the Pharaoh's palace, which was outside the city to the north.
Musa grew up. He was a wise young man. He wore a uniform similar to that of the Eygptian noblemen. All the people looked at him and regarded him as the Pharaoh's son.
However, Musa was not as they imagined. He was a good young man. He loved the weak and had mercy on them. He hated the Pharaoh's manners.
Musa grew up and his intellect grew, also. He was a young man with srtong muscles, so all the people respected him.
However, Musa was not deceived by his strength. Rather he increased in humbleness. He did not believe in the Pharaoh as the god of the people.He thought that the Pharaoh was a false, tyrannical god. That is because he thought that it was impossible for man to be a god.
During that period, which lasted for eighteen years, Musa knew many facts: He knew that he was not the son of the Pharaoh, that he was not an Egyptian, that he was the son of 'Umran, who belonged to the children of Israel.
Musa knew that the children of Ya'qub (Israel) emigrated from Palestine to Egypt. He knew that they came to Egypt after Yousuf, son of Ya'qub, had become a great leader there.
Moreover, he knew that Yousuf had saved Egypt from famine hundreds of years before. Now the children of Israel or of Ya'qub became the slaves of the Pharaoh. Thus, the Pharaoh punished them severely. He killed their babies and enslaved their men. He ordered all the people to worship him only.
Musa went to the city frequently. He sometimes did not go the Pharaoh's palace. He hated his soft linen clotes. So he wore coarse woollen clothes.
Musa thought of the final result of the children of Ya'qub (Israel), for they became a great nation. However, the children of Ya'qub led a life full of fear and abasement. They were afraid of the Pharaoh, so they waited for someone to save them. They had nothing to do except wait.