In the previous article we spoke of the optimism contained in the story of the Prophet Mūsā . In particular, we looked at the verses of the Qur’an in which Allah relays the story of his birth and the actions of this mother. The story of Mūsā is one which is filled with oppression, slavery, and injustice. Yet, despite all of this, there is optimism to be found in this story.
Looking at the world around us today, from the situations in Syria and Yemen, to the many injustices we see in our own societies, there is much cause to be sad. Yet the believer must see optimism too, knowing that this is how Allah’s decree and universal law always work. There is always a reason to be happy, and in this way we maintain a healthy balance.
Often we must see difficulty before we find ease. Through trial and tribulation we become stronger, better, and closer to Allah just like the next part of this story. Mūsā [alahyhis] grew up in the household of Pharaoh. As an adopted son he enjoyed the many trappings of luxury that would have been afforded to someone of his status.
One day Mūsā went into town at a time when most people would have been resting, either in the evening or during the noon siesta. As he was walking he found two men fighting. One was from the Children of Israel and, therefore, from Mūsā’s tribe and the other a Coptic Egyptian. His fellow tribesman sought his help, and Mūsā struck the Coptic, inadvertently killing him. Allah says,
“And he entered the city at a time of inattention by its people and found therein two men fighting: one from his faction and one from among his enemy. And the one from his faction called for help to him against the one from his enemy, so Moses struck him and [unintentionally] killed him. [Moses] said, “This is from the work of Satan. Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy.”
Mūsā immediately recognized his error, ascribed it to Satan, and sought Allah’s forgiveness. Yet this turn of events changed the world of Mūsā . He went from being a pampered and wealthy prince to being a man on the run, wanted for murder. Allah says,
“And he became inside the city fearful and anticipating [exposure], when suddenly the one who sought his help the previous day cried out to him [once again]. Moses said to him, ‘Indeed, you are an evident, [persistent] deviator.’”
Mūsā now had to leave for fear of his life. This was his test. He traveled as far as he could, carrying little to no possessions or provisions. According to some exegetes, he traveled for around eight days until he came to a place called Madyan. Mūsā was a refugee in our parlance, he was alone with no family, no protection, and no prospect of where to go. However, when he randomly arrived at Madyan, he saw hope. Allah says,
“And when he directed himself toward Madyan, he said, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me to the sound way.’”
Tired and hungry, he stopped at a well. Mūsā saw a group of men watering their livestock and away from them two women waiting their turn patiently, not wanting to mix and jostle with the men. He offered to help the women by watering their livestock for them. Mūsā did not ignore them like the other men, thinking that it is none of his business. Instead he saw the need of these women and the ill treatment that others had towards them and offered to help. Despite his own personal circumstances, Mūsā did what he could in the manner he could.
Mūsā saw hope and optimism. He trusted in Allah and he supplicated to Him,
“So he watered [their flocks] for them; then he went back to the shade and said, ‘My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.’”
As a result of his chivalry and kindness, Mūsā was invited by the father of the two women, who wanted to repay him for his actions. After hearing Mūsā’s story, he offered one of his daughters to him in marriage in return for a decade of service. Mūsā accepted.
It was after these years in Madyan that Mūsā decided to leave. According to some scholars of tafsīr, he intended to return to Egypt to secretly visit his family. On his journey home, it became dark and Mūsā was lost. He saw a fire atop the Mount of Ṭūr and decided to seek help from the people he thought would be by the fire. It is when he arrived there that Allah spoke to him and bestowed upon him prophethood.
As we know, Mūsā went on to become one of the greatest messengers of Allah . Yet the start of that mission was through strife and hardship. It came from patience and sacrifice. It required strong faith and an optimism in Allah’s promise. It is all too easy and a convenient trick of Satan to make us despair and feel helpless. However, there is always something we can do to improve things. It may be small and seem insignificant such as offering help to those who need it, yet from a single sincere action, Allah blesses its fruits and a whole new path can open before us.
In the next and final installment of this story, we will see how Mūsā saw optimism in his encounters with Pharaoh.
 Qur’an, 28:15.
 Qur’an, 28:18.
 Qur’an, 28:22.
 Qur’an, 28:24.