Word by Word
And she said
to his sister
So she watched
And she said
to his sister
So she watched
And she said to the sister of (Moses), "Follow him" so she (the sister) watched him in the character of a stranger. And they knew not.
And she said to his sister, Mary, 'Follow him', in other words, follow where he goes in order to find out his news. So she watched him from afar, from a distance, secretly, while they were not aware, that she was his sister, or that she was [even] watching him.
How Musa's Mother was inspired and shown what to do
It was mentioned that when Fir`awn killed so many of the males of the Children of Israel, the Copts were scared that the Children of Israel would die out, and they themselves would have to do the heavy labor that the Children of Israel used to do. So they said to Fir`awn, If this continues, and their old men die and the young men are killed, their women will not be able to do the work that the men are doing, and we will end up having to do it. So Fir`awn issued orders that the boys should be killed one year, and left alone the following year.
Harun, peace be upon him, was born in a year when the boys were not killed, and Musa was born in a year when the boys were being killed.
Fir`awn had people who were entrusted with this task. There were midwives who would go around and check on the women, and if they noticed that any woman was pregnant, they would write her name down. When the time came for her to give birth, no one was allowed to attend her except for Coptic women. If the woman gave birth to a girl, they would leave her alone and go away, but if she gave birth to a boy, the killers would come in with their sharp knives and kill the child, then they would go away; may Allah curse them.
When the mother of Musa became pregnant with him, she did not show any signs of pregnancy as other women did, and none of the midwives noticed. But when she gave birth to a boy, she became very distressed and did not know what to do with him. She was extremely scared for him, because she loved him very much.
No one ever saw Musa, peace be upon him, but they loved him, and the blessed ones were those who loved him both as a natural feeling and because he was a Prophet.
وَأَلۡقَيۡتُ عَلَيۡكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّى
And I endued you with love from Me. (20:39)
Musa, peace be upon him, in the House of Fir`awn
When Musa's mother became so worried and confused, it was inspired into her heart and mind what she should do, as Allah says:
وَأَوۡحَيۡنَا إِلَى أُمِّ مُوسَى أَنۡ أَرۡضِعِيهِ فَإِذَا خِفۡتِ عَلَيۡهِ فَأَلۡقِيهِ فِي الۡيَمِّ وَلَاأ تَخَافِي وَلَاأ تَحۡزَنِي إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ إِلَيۡكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الۡمُرۡسَلِينَ
And We inspired the mother of Musa (telling):
Suckle him, but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily, We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers.
Her house was on the banks of the Nile, so she took a box and made it into a cradle, and started to nurse her child. When someone came to her that she was afraid of, she would go and put him in that box and put it in the river, and she would tie it with a rope. One day someone that she was afraid of came to the house, so she went and put the child in that box and put it in the river, but she forgot to tie it. The water carried him away, past the house of Fir`awn, where some servant women picked the box up and took it to Fir`awn's wife. They did not know what was inside, and they were afraid that they would be in trouble if they opened it without her. When the box was opened, they saw it was a child with the most beautiful features. Allah filled her heart with love for him when she saw him; this was because she was blessed and because Allah wanted to honor her and cause her husband's doom.
فَالۡتَقَطَهُ الُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمۡ عَدُوًّا وَحَزَنًا
Then the household of Fir`awn picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief.
إِنَّ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا كَانُوا خَاطِيِينَ
Verily, Fir`awn, Haman and their armies were sinners.
وَقَالَتِ امۡرَأَتُ فِرۡعَوۡنَ قُرَّتُ عَيۡنٍ لِّي وَلَكَ
And the wife of Fir`awn said:A comfort of the eye for me and for you...
means, when Fir`awn saw him, he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was one of the Children of Israel. But his wife Asiyah bint Muzahim came to the child's defence and tried to endear him to Fir`awn, saying,
قُرَّتُ عَيۡنٍ لِّي وَلَكَ
(A comfort of the eye for me and for you).
Fir`awn said:For you he may be, but not for me.
And this was indeed the case:Allah guided her because of him, and destroyed him at his hands.
Kill him not,
عَسَى أَن يَنفَعَنَا
perhaps he may be of benefit to us,
This is indeed what happened in her case, for Allah guided her through him and caused her to dwell in Paradise because of him.
أَوۡ نَتَّخِذَهُ وَلَدًا
or we may adopt him as a son.
She wanted to take him and adopt him as a son, because she had no children from Fir`awn.
وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
And they perceived not.
means, they did not know what Allah planned for them when they picked him up, by His great wisdom and definitive proof
The intense Grief of Musa's Mother, and how He was returned to Her
وَأَصۡبَحَ فُوَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَى فَارِغًا
And the heart of the mother of Musa became empty.
Allah tells us how, when her child was lost in the river, the heart of Musa's mother became empty, i.e., she could not think of any matter in this world except Musa.
This was the view of Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Abu Ubaydah, Ad-Dahhak, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Qatadah and others.
إِن كَادَتۡ لَتُبۡدِي بِهِ
She was very near to disclose his (case),
means, because of the intensity of her grief, she almost told people that she had lost a son. She would have disclosed her situation, if Allah had not given her strength and patience.
لَوۡلَا أَن رَّبَطۡنَا عَلَى قَلۡبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الۡمُوۡمِنِينَ
وَقَالَتۡ لاُِخۡتِهِ قُصِّيهِ
had We not strengthened her heart, so that she might remain as one of the believers. And she said to his sister:Follow him.
means, she told her daughter, who was older and was of an age to understand things,
means, follow his traces and look for information about him, try to find out about him around the city. So she went out to do that.
فَبَصُرَتۡ بِهِ عَن جُنُبٍ
So she watched him from a far place (secretly),
Ibn Abbas said, Off to the side.
Mujahid said, It means she looked from afar.
Qatadah said:She started to look at him as if she was not really interested.
وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
while they perceived not.
When Musa had settled into the house of Fir`awn, after the king's wife had begun to love him and asked Fir`awn not to kill him, they brought to him the wet nurses who were to be found in their household, and he did not accept any of them, refusing to take milk from them. So they took him out to the marketplace, hoping to find a woman who would be suitable to nurse him. When (his sister) saw him in their arms, she recognized him, but she did not give any indication nor did they suspect her.
وَحَرَّمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ الۡمَرَاضِعَ مِن قَبۡلُ
And We had already forbidden foster suckling mothers for him,
Because of his honored status with Allah, it was forbidden by divine decree. It was decreed that no one should nurse him except his own mother, and Allah caused this to be the means reuniting him with his mother so that she could nurse him and feel safe after having felt such fear. When (his sister) saw that they were confused over who should nurse the child,
فَقَالَتۡ هَلۡ أَدُلُّكُمۡ عَلَى أَهۡلِ بَيۡتٍ يَكۡفُلُونَهُ لَكُمۡ وَهُمۡ لَهُ نَاصِحُونَ
she said:Shall I direct you to a household who will rear him for you, and look after him in a good manner'!'
Ibn Abbas said:
When she said that, they had some doubts about her, so they seized her and asked her, How do you know these people will be sincere and will care for him?
She said to them, They will be sincere and will care for him because they want the king to be happy and because they hope for some reward.
So they let her go. After what she said, being safe from their harm, they took her to their house and brought the baby to his mother. She gave him her breast and he accepted it, so they rejoiced and sent the glad tidings to the wife of Fir`awn.
She called for Musa's mother, treating her kindly and rewarding her generously. She did not realize that she was his real mother, but she saw that the baby accepted her breast. Then Asiyah asked her to stay with her and nurse the baby, but she refused, saying, I have a husband and children, and I cannot stay with you, but if you would like me to nurse him in my own home, I will do that.
The wife of Fir`awn agreed to that, and paid her a regular salary and gave her extra gifts and clothing and treated her kindly. The mother of Musa came back with her child, happy that after a time of fear Allah granted her security, prestige, and ongoing provision.
There was only a short time between the distress and the way out, a day and night, or thereabouts -- and Allah knows best.
Glory be to the One in Whose hands are all things; what He wills happens and what He does not will does not happen. He is the One Who grants those who fear Him, a way out from every worry and distress,
فَرَدَدۡنَاهُ إِلَى أُمِّهِ كَيۡ تَقَرَّ عَيۡنُهَا
So We restored him to his mother, that her eye might be comforted,
means, by him,
and that she might not grieve, (means, for him).
وَلِتَعۡلَمَ أَنَّ وَعۡدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ
and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true.
meaning, `We had promised her to return him to her and to make him one of the Messengers.'
When he was returned to her, she realized that he was one of the Messengers, so as she brought him up, she treated him both as a child (with kindness) and as a Messenger (with respect).
وَلَكِنَّ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
But most of them know not.
means, they do not know the wisdom of Allah in His actions and their good consequences, for which He is to be praised in this world and the Hereafter.
For a thing may happen that people do not like, but its consequences are good, as Allah says:
وَعَسَى أَن تَكۡرَهُواۡ شَيۡيًا وَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ لَّكُمۡ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواۡ شَيۡيًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمۡ
and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. (2:216)
فَعَسَى أَن تَكۡرَهُواۡ شَيۡياً وَيَجۡعَلَ اللَّهُ فِيهِ خَيۡراً كَثِيراً
it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. (4:19)
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