Musa ‘alaihissalam or Moses in biblical term both Jews and Christianity has been depicted as an important figure. The conflict between him and the Pharaoh has always been an inspiring story to be told. Truth and False. Light and Dark, and so on.
In the Qur’an sura 28, the beginning of it opens with how The Pharaoh empire tearing apart the Israelites, killing the boys and left the girls behind. By introducing this narration, we are led to the disjointed Israelites and enslavement of them by the Pharaoh.
إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
Indeed, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into factions, oppressing a sector among them, slaughtering their [newborn] sons and keeping their females alive. Indeed, he was of the corrupters [QS 28:4].
But then interestingly enough the next ayah telling us about how Israelites will be throned by ﷲ and overcome the Tyrannical Pharaoh empire. After that, then we are led to “newly born” baby Musa. In case you are wondering what Musa means, it is newly born or child (وَلَدًا) as the ayah 9 translates, and Ramses, The Son of Ra, Thutmose, The Son of Thot, and so on. Note that Musa is Egyptian word not Jewish .
If you are familiar with how movie narrates its story, sometimes they tend to go similarly. They introduce the problem like a tyrannical empire in the beginning and then showing us “Protagonists” in which will bring hope and overthrown the tyrannical empire. Cliche for the movies.
It is just as the movie narrates its story, so does the Qur’an in a magnificent way while maintaining the history on its track.
Interestingly enough, the next scene is the mother of the baby, put the baby Musa onto the flowing of Nile River as she gets “whispering” message (أَوْحَيْنَا).
وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ ۖ فَإِذَا خِفْتِ عَلَيْهِ فَأَلْقِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ وَلَا تَخَافِي وَلَا تَحْزَنِي ۖ إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ إِلَيْكِ وَجَاعِلُوهُ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
And We inspired to the mother of Moses, “Suckle him; but when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear and do not grieve. Indeed, We will return him to you and will make him [one] of the messengers. [QS 28 : 7]”
The story goes until the baby goes inside the Pharaoh Palace. The wife of the Pharaoh found him and convinced The Pharaoh to nurture the Israelite boy and keep him inside The Palace.
وَقَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ فِرْعَوْنَ قُرَّتُ عَيْنٍ لِّي وَلَكَ ۖ لَا تَقْتُلُوهُ عَسَىٰ أَن يَنفَعَنَا أَوْ نَتَّخِذَهُ وَلَدًا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
And the wife of Pharaoh said, “[He will be] a comfort of the eye for me and for you. Do not kill him; perhaps he may benefit us, or we may adopt him as a son.” And they perceived not [QS 28:9].
The next scene, Musa mother feels empty and then ﷲ gave her strength to overcome the burden.
وَأَصْبَحَ فُؤَادُ أُمِّ مُوسَىٰ فَارِغًا ۖ إِن كَادَتْ لَتُبْدِي بِهِ لَوْلَا أَن رَّبَطْنَا عَلَىٰ قَلْبِهَا لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
And the heart of the mother of Musa (Moses) became empty. She was very near to disclose his (case, i.e. the child is her son), had We not strengthened her heart (with Faith) so that she might remain as one of the believers [QS 28:10].
The ayah goes by as “ﷲ strengthened her heart”. In the Hebrew and biblical literature, the name of Musa mother was Jochebed יוֹכָבֶד . Many historians translate the name as “the God/YHWH of Glory” or “YHWH is Glory”. But if we analyze from its root, the core meaning of יו (Jo) is for YHWH/God and ֹכָבֶד (Kabed) can be perceived as impressive.
Sometimes the impressing is done by sheer merit of weight or we can say worthy of being noticed. The secondary nuance from this root-verb is that of immobility, immovable . Thus, one translation of Kabed suggests the words “hard of heart” in which amazingly also translated by the Qur’an, “Had We not strengthened/fortified/hardened…”
Aside from how old sacred book narrates its story and impacted the society up until now, the depiction conflict between the Dark Tyrannical Empire and messenger of peace/hope/truth has always been inside our historical “DNA”.
From this first chapter of Musa life, we have implored that it was his mother who take action. The very first educational program that the children can get. The step-mother (Asiyah) added and make a contribution for the baby to grow and develop as well (Asiyah is secretly a believer in The Palace).
The Revolution started by the very first education newly baby born can get. It is the mother. Always the mother.
1. Dimont, Max I. Jews, God, and History. 2004. Signet Classic. 2nd edition.