Aashoora and Ten Sparkling Gems That Normally Go Unnoticed!
‘Aashoora comes, ‘Aashoora goes. Some observe fast, many don’t.
Some know the reason why they fast on the 10th of Muharram, some hardly know it.
Some of us are satisfied with the little info we have: We fast because Allah saved Moosa alaihis salam and his followers from the tyranny of Fir’awn (Pharaoh) That Moosa and his followers observed fast to show their gratitude to Allah and that Prophet Muhammad sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, following Moosa’s footsteps, not only fasted saying we have greater rights on Moosa than his followers but he also commanded his own followers to fast on this day. So we fast.
Or some of us know the hadeeth that the fast of ‘Aashura expiates one’s sins of the past year.’ So we fast to get our sins forgiven. Alhamdulillah. All is fine.
In this post, I would like to bring out some sparkling gems from the Story of Prophet Moosa and the drowning of Fir’awn.
First and foremost, let us read some relevant verses to understand the story.
Background: Allah orders Prophet Moosa alaihis salam to take all his people, the Bani Israelites, out of Egypt and proceed to the Promised Land. The journey takes place during night time.
“And We had inspired to Moses, “Travel by night with My servants and strike for them a dry path through the sea; you will not fear being overtaken [by Pharaoh] nor be afraid [of drowning].”
So Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers, and there covered them from the sea that which covered them,
And Pharaoh led his people astray and did not guide [them]” Surah Taha 20: 77 – 79
“So they pursued them at sunrise.
And when the two groups saw one another, the companions of Moses said, “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!”
[Moses] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.”
Then We inspired to Moses, “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain.
And We advanced thereto the pursuers.
And We saved Moses and those with him, all together.
Then We drowned the others.
Indeed in that is a sign, but most of them were not to be believers.
And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful. Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26: 60 – 68)
“And [recall] when We parted the sea for you and saved you and drowned the people of Pharaoh while you were looking on.” Surah al Baqarah 2:50: Also Read Tafseer Ibn kathir
The drowning of Fir’awn and his gang happened in the Red Sea.
And finally Allah said, “So today We will save you in body that you may be to those who succeed you a sign. And indeed, many among the people, of Our signs, are heedless” Surah Yunus 10: 92
From the above mentioned textual references from the glorious Qur’an we learn that:
1. Allah removed fear from the mind of his Messenger. You will neither fear being overtaken by the cruel Pharaoh nor have the fear of getting drowned.
A Muslim must be courageous, not a coward.
Showing courage in times of danger can only come from he who fears none but Allah.
2. Moosa alaihis salam had in him a never-giving-up spirit.
Indeed a Muslim leader is the one who guides his community and stands by their side come what may.
In contrast, an evil leader is the one who not only misguides his people but also ditches them at the last moment.
3. A Muslim leader must have Tawakkul, firm reliance on Allah.
The declaration of Moosa كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me”, standing in front of the mighty Red Sea, with a chasing army behind him, knowing that Allah will get him through is true Tawakkul indeed.
Another beautiful example of Tawakkul is the consoling reminder our Prophet sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam gave his friend-companion in the Cave of Thawr when hosts of people came near the cave: لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ مَعَنَا “Don’t worry, surely Allah is with us”
Having an unflinching reliance on Allah especially in times of danger is the hallmark of a true believer in Islam.
4. Allah is always there with you. Don’t ever have even an iota of doubt questioning this reality. Allah helps you even in the midst of the ocean!
There is nothing in human history of any sort to quote that someone trusted Allah and that He didn’t come to his rescue. In fact, His help comes down from the seventh heaven in lightening speed – much faster than your du’aa could reach Him! Subhanallaah.
If you and me could understand this reality that would be a great service we could do to ourselves, especially when we are fasting on the day of Aashoora, the day when Allah’s help was literally in the hand of Moosa. The ‘Asaa’, the stick – that miraculous masterpiece with which Allah blessed His noble Messenger.
5. Trusting and having confidence in one’s leader is extremely important in Islam.
We should not be like the followers of Moosa who blamed him in the hour of distress: “Indeed, we are to be overtaken!”
Life presents different leaders at different levels. For example: Your leader could be your parent or your teacher. Your leaders are also those who have authority over you. Trust them, obey them and take them as your ideal. Imbibe their good qualities and try to live by them.
6. The incident at the Red Sea is the clear case of One Sea, Two Tales.
Moosa and his followers got life in the midst of the Sea whereas Fir’awn and his people got death in the midst of the same Sea!
At times we blame situations and circumstances when we face problems in our life, right?
The story of Moosa and Fir’awn teaches us the great lesson that a seemingly bad situation may turn out to be good for you. What you hate may instead be a blessing for you.
So have faith in His might and mercy: وَإِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ – “And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.”
7. Allah said, “So today We will save you in body that you may be to those who succeed you a sign. And indeed, many among the people, of Our signs, are heedless”.
Death of Fir’awn is indeed a sign for the people to draw lessons from. Here is the man who claimed to be ‘god’ once upon a time. He is lying lifeless now. Once a king, now a log. Arrogance brings nothing but failure.
Disobedience to the Creator, His will and His legislation, would lead man to death and destruction. So heed to the lesson of the story and change your attitude. Worship the Creator, Follow His Messenger!
8. Allah is the Controller of natural resources. The Sea water rose and became standstill with His permission. Subhanallaah!
At the command of Allah, Prophet Moosa struck the sea with his staff and lo! the sea water parted and each portion became like a towering mountain. “Strike with your staff the sea,” and it parted, and each portion was like a great towering mountain”.
Allah paved a way out for His true believers by changing the very nature of water. The Sea was no more a Sea. It became a walking path for Moosa and his followers to enjoy the cake walk.
The same water took another dimension. It drowned Fir’awn and his gang!
Water indeed is a miraculous creation of Allah. Appreciate this natural resource, conserve it and do not waste water. Water is life! Worship the Giver of Water, the Giver of Life.
9. Everything happens with the Will of Allah. وَمَا تَشَاءُونَ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ “And you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.”
The ‘Asaa’, Moosa’s staff, was just a staff, an ordinary stick. It started doing wonders and miracles for Moosa only because Allah permitted it to do so.
And it performed different jobs at different times. Moosa used to graze his sheep with this staff, then Allah permitted it to take the shape of a mighty snake should he throw it, and finally the same staff performed the miracle of splitting the waters of the Red Sea.
Man should not become a slave to a reason or a cause. He must recognize and appreciate the One Who Causes things to happen.
10. Being grateful to one’s Lord at all times is very important. Especially when you are saved from danger and are feeling safe and secure, you need to show your gratitude to Allah by remembering Him very often.
The fast of ‘Aashoora is a typical example of Muslims’ gratitude to Almighty Allah for relieving Prophet Moosa and his followers from the tyranny of the cruel king.
By corollary the message for the modern day Muslim is: When Allah helps you and opens a way out for you, show your gratitude to Him by observing a voluntary fast and offering sincere worship in the form of salah, dhikr, tawbah and istighfaar.
لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” Surah Ibraheem 14:7
Sal-lal-laahu ‘Ala Muhammad, Sal-lal-laahu-Alaihi-wa-Sallam.