|Nabi Musa, or the Tomb of Prophet Moses
(pbuh), lies 11 km south of Jericho and 20 km east of Jerusalem in the Judean
Although the last chapter in the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that Moses (pbuh) died and was buried on the other side of the Jordan River (Duet 34) and that no one knew where his Tomb was. Muslim tradition holds that Salah Eddin had a dream in which it had been revealed to him the site where the prophet Moses
to be respected and subsequently he built a cenotaph and on top of it a mosque.
One day, Moses
delivered such an impressive sermon that all who heard it
were deeply moved. Someone in the congregation asked: " O Messenger of
Allah, is there another man on earth more learned than you?" Moses replied:
"No!", believing so, as Allah had given him the power of miracles and
honored him with the Torah.
However, Allah revealed to Moses that no man could know all there is to know,
nor would one messenger alone be the custodian of all knowledge. There would
always be another who knew what others did not. Moses asked Allah: "O
Allah, where is this man? I would like to meet him and learn from him." He
also asked for a sign to this person's identity.
Allah instructed him to take a live fish in a water-filled vessel. The point at
which the fish disappears, he would find the man he sought. Moses set out on his journey,
accompanied by a young man who carried the vessel with the fish. They reached a
place where two rivers met and decided to rest there. Instantly, Moses fell
While he was asleep, his companion saw the fish wriggle out of the vessel into
the river and swim away. However, he forgot to relate this incident to Moses.
When he awoke, they continued their journey until they were exhausted and
hungry. Moses asked for his morning meal. Only then did his companion recall
that the fish they had brought with them had gotten away. Hearing this, Moses
exclaimed: "This is exactly what we are seeking!"
They quickly retraced their steps to the place where the rivers met and where
the fish had jumped out. There they found a man, his face partly covered with a
hood. One could tell by his aura that he was a saintly man. He was Al-Khidr, the guide.
Allah the Almighty narrates in the Quran:
And (remember) when Moses said to his
servant: "I will not give up (traveling) until I reach the junction of
the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in traveling."
But when they reached the junction of the two seas, they forgot their fish,
and it took its way thought the sea as in a tunnel. So when they had passed
further on (beyond that fixed place), Moses said to his boy-servant: "Bring
us our morning meal; truly, we have suffered much fatigue in this, our
He said: "Do you remember when we rested on the rock? I indeed
forgot the fish, none but Satan made me forget to remember it. It took its
course into the sea in a strange (way)!"
(Moses) said: "That is what we have been seeking." So they went
back retracing their footsteps.
Then they found one of Our devotees, unto whom We had bestowed mercy from Us,
and whom We had taught knowledge from Us.
Moses said to him (Khidr) "May I follow you so that you can teach me
something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught
He (Khidr) said: "Verily! You will not be able to have patience with me!
And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not?"
Moses sad: "If Allah will, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey
you in aught."
He (Khidr) said: "Then, if you follow me, ask me not about anything till I
myself mention it to you."
So the two went off, until when they embarked on a boat and the man (Khidr) made
a hole in it. Moses said: "Did you make a hole in it to drown its people? Verily,
you have done Imra - a Munkar (evil, bad, dreadful) thing."
He (Khidr) said: "Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have
patience with me?"
(Moses) said: "Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard
upon me for my affair (with you)."
Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Moses
said: "Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you
have done Nukra a great Munkar (prohibited, evil, dreadful) thing!"
(Khidr) said: "Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with
(Moses) said: "If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your
company, you have received an excuse from me."
Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they
asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein
a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. (Moses) said:
"If you had wished, surely you could have taken wages for it!"
(Khidr) said: "This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the
interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.
"As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working in the sea. So I
wished to make a defective damage in it (Lit., "to
cause a fault in it" - i.e., to make it temporarily unserviceable), as there was a king after them who
seized every ship by force.
"And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he
should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord
should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy.
"And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there
was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man,
and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and
take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own
accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not
The story of Moses and Al-Khidr is also told in a hadith.
Ka'b told us that the Prophet (Muhammad)
said: Once Moses stood up and addressed
Bani Israel. He was asked who was the most learned man amongst the people. He
said: "I." Allah admonished him as he did not attribute absolute
knowledge to Him (Allah). So, Allah said to him: "Yes, at the junction of
the two seas there is a slave of Mine who is more learned then you." Moses
said; "O my Lord! How can I meet him?" Allah said: "Take a fish
and put it in a container and you will find him at the place where you will
lose the fish."
Moses took a fish and put it in a container and proceeded along with his (servant)
boy, Joshua (Yusha Ibn Nun), till they reached the rock where they laid their
heads (i.e. lay down). Moses slept, and the fish, moving out of the container, fell
into the sea. It took its way into the sea (straight) as in a tunnel. Allah
stopped the flow of water over the fish and it became like an arch (the Prophet
pointed out his arch with his hands). They traveled the rest of the night, and
the next day Moses said to his boy (servant): "Give us our food, for
indeed, we have suffered much fatigue in this journey of ours." Moses did
not feel tired till he crossed that place which Allah had ordered him to seek
after. His boy (servant) said to him: "Do you know that when we were
sitting near that rock, I forgot the fish, and none but Satan caused me to
forget to tell (you) about it, and it took its course into the sea in an amazing
way?" So there was a path for the fish and that astonished them. Moses
said: "That was what we were seeking after."
So both of them retraced their footsteps till they reached the rock. There they
saw a man lying covered with a garment. Moses greeted him, and he replied
saying: "How do people greet each other in your land?" Moses said:
"I am Moses."
The man asked: "Moses of Bani Israel? " Moses said: "Yes, I have
come to you so that you may teach me from those things which Allah has taught
you." He said: "O Moses! I
have some of the knowledge of Allah which Allah has taught me and which you do
not know, while you have some of the knowledge of Allah which Allah has taught
you and which I do not know." Moses asked: "May I follow
you?" He said: "But you will not be able to remain patient with me,
for how can you be patient about things which you will not be able to
understand?" Moses said: "You will find me, if Allah so will, truly
patient, and I will not disobey you in aught."
So both of them set out walking along the sea-shore. A boat passed by them, and
they asked the crew of the boat to take them on board. The crew recognized Al-Khidr,
so they took them on board without fare. When they were on board the boat, a
sparrow came and stood on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak once or twice
into the sea. Al-Khidr said to Moses: "O Moses! My knowledge and your
knowledge have not decreased Allah's knowledge except as much as this sparrow
has decreased the water of the sea with its beak. " Then suddenly Al-Khidr
took and adze and pulled up a plank, and Moses did not notice it till he had
pulled up a plank with the adze. Moses said to him: "What have you done?
They took us on board charging us nothing; yet you have intentionally made a
hole in their boat so as to drown its passengers. Verily, you have done a
dreadful thing." Al-Khidr replied: "Did I not tell you that you would
not be able to remain patient with me?' Moses replied : "Do not blame me
for what I have forgotten, and do not be hard upon me for my fault." So the
first excuse of Moses was that he had forgotten.
When they had left the sea, they passed by a boy playing with other boys. Al-Khidr
took hold of the boy's head and plucked it with his hand like this. (Sufyan, the
sub-narrator gestured with his fingertips as if he were plucking some fruit.)
Moses said to him: "Have you killed an innocent person who has not killed
any person? You have really done a horrible thing." Al-Khidr said:
"Did I not tell you that you could not remain patient with me?" Moses
said: "If I ask you abut anything after this, don't accompany me, You have
received an excuse from me."
Then both of them went on till they came to some people of a village, and they
asked its inhabitants for food but they refused to entertain them as guests.
Then they saw therein a wall which was just going to collapse and Al Khidr
repaired it just by touching it with his hands. (Sufyan, the sub-narrator,
gestured with his hands, illustrating how Al-Khidr passed his hands over the
wall upwards.) Moses said: "These are the people whom we have called on,
but they neither gave us food, nor entertained us as guests, yet you have
repaired their wall. If you had wished, you could have taken wages for it."
Al-Khidr said: "This is the parting between you and me, and I shell tell
you the explanation of those things on which you could not remain patient."
added: "We wish that Moses could have remained patient
by virtue of which Allah might have told us more about their story." (Sufyan,
the sub-narrator, said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: "May Allah bestow His
Mercy on Moses! If he had remained patient, we would have been told further
about their case.")2
1. Quran 18:60-82
2. Sahih Al-Bukhari
From the book: Stories of the
Prophets by Imam Ibn Kathir, translated by Muhammad Mustafa Gemeiah and edited
by Aelfwine Acelas Mischler.
|The lesson contained in this story is this "You should have full faith in the wisdom of what is happening in the Divine Factory in accordance with the will of Allah. As the reality is hidden from you, you are at a loss to understand the wisdom of what is happening, and sometimes if it appears that things are going against you, you cry out, 'How and why has this happened'. The fact is that if the curtain be removed from the "unseen", you would yourselves come to know that what is happening here is for the best. Even if some times it appears that something is going against you, you will see that in the end it also produces some good results for you.
Syed Abu-Ala' Maududi's Chapter Introductions to the Qur'an