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Lessons from Bani Isra'eel


Alhamdulillahi Rabbil-'aalameen. Wassalaati wassalaam 'aala Rasul il-Kareem. Ash-shadu an laa illaha il Allah, wa ash-shadu anna Muhammad ar-Rasulullah.

All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. And may peace and blessings be on His Noble Messenger. I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. And I testify that Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, is His Final Messenger.

The most mentioned people in the Qur'an are Bani Isra'eel, the Children of Israel. Of the prophets ('alayhum salaam) mentioned in the Qur'an and ahadeeth, most are those who were sent to Bani Isra'eel. The point of this series is to examine some of the lessons we should gain from their history, their mistakes, and the manner in which their prophets ('alayhum salaam) and Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'aala dealt with them.

Musa (alayhi salaam)

Musa ('alayhi salaam) is the most frequently mentioned prophet in the Qur'an. He is mentioned in more than 30 places and his name appears more than 130 times. When looking at the story of Musa, it is often beneficial to mentally divide his story into two - (1)Musa and Fir'aun and (2) Musa and Bani Isra'eel. Those lessons in the first part, regarding Fir'aun, are of tremendous benefit to us as the conditions which Bani Isra'eel faced during that time are strikingly similar to the present state of the Muslim Ummah. Also, there are many parallels to draw between Fir'aun and ad-Dajjal, the AntiChrist.

As for the portions which relate to Musa ('alayhi salaam) and Bani Isra'eel, there is great lesson in learning from their mistakes and the response of their Nabi' Musa ('alayhi salaam).

Bani Isra'eel

It is reported that Hudhaifa bin Yamaan heard some of the tabi'een speaking about some of the ayaat pertaining to the mistakes and punishment of Bani Isra'eel when for their refusal to rule by the Book of Allah. Hudhaifa (raheemahullah) said, "Are there better cousins to you than the Children of Israel!? Whenever you hear something bad in Qur'an you say it is speaking of the Children of Israel. And whenever you read something good in Qur'an you say it is speaking about you (the Ummah of Muhammad - alayhi salaat wassalaam)!" This continues today. Many of the Muslims seem to feel as though they are immune to the punishments and errors which befell Bani Isra'eel. Many of us seem to think that their stories are mentioned in Qur'an for our amusement or simply to curse them on our tongues.

This, however, is not the case. We all know the hadeeth in which the Prophet ('alayhi salaat wassalaam) is reported to have said:

"You will follow the nations before you step by step, inch by inch, so much so that were they to crawl into the hole of a lizard, you would follow them." When he ('alayhi salaat wassalaam) was asked, "Who do you mean? The Jews and the Christians?" He replied, "Who else?"

So, we must learn their stories. We must learn from their mistakes. Or, may Allah forbid, we are doomed to repeat them. Furthermore, the experience of Bani Isra'eel with Fir'aun parallels our experiences under oppression and ultimately under ad-Dajjal. From the manner in which Musa faced oppression and oppressors, we can gain guidance for our own situation. We should also learn about them in detail as they were the enemies of the Prophet ('alayhi salaat wassalaam) in his day and they will be the supporters of ad-Dajjal.

Allah knows best.

This series, then, is an attempt to pass on some of these lessons. I pray that Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'aala benefits us all through this commentary. And I pray that He rewards all those believers whose sources I consulted. Ameen. And, one source in particular, I suggest that all of you purchase for yourselves and your families is the audio series by Anwar al-Awlaki entitled The Lives of the Prophets, produced by Al-Basheer. Coming Soon:

  • The Mother of Musa (Moses, 'alayhi salaam)
  • Aasiya, the wife of Fir'aun
  • Musa ('alayhi salaam) in his Youth
  • Musa ('alayhi salaam) and Fir'aun
  • Parallels between Fir'aun and ad-Dajjal
  • Musa ('alayhi salaam) and Bani Isra'eel after Egypt
  • Yusha' bin Noon (Joshua, 'alayhi salaam)

    Sources and References

  • Noble Qur'an, Arabic
  • Noble Qur'an, English Translation of Meanings
  • Tafseer Ibn Kathir
  • al-Awlaki, Anwar, The Lives of the Prophets CD Audio Series from

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