I've always really liked Moses (peace be upon him) referred to as Musa in Arabic. The man, the prophet, the one referred to on so many occasions in the Quran, the Muslim holy scripture. Complex, dynamic, fierce, stubborn and humble, all at the same time. A prophet sent with a message and a man referred to more times in the Quran than any other.
Today Muslims, Jews and Christians will remember him for his leadership and the status that he holds within the Abrahamic faiths. One that serves to unite so many around the world. Muslims, Jews and Christians believe it was on this day Moses attained victory over Pharaoh and crossed through the opening of the Red Sea, thanking God for that victory, he kept a fast.
It's why I'm fasting today, it's why many members of my family are fasting today and many more members of the extending Muslim community as well as their Jewish brothers.
In prophetic narrations Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) the messenger of Islam asked Muslims to fast on this day, he said, "Moses fasted on this day in thanksgiving to God, so we fast on this day."
Now, there are a number of passages referring to Moses in the Quran and we travel with him on his journey throughout, but there are a few for me which stand out and upon this day every year I think of them, as I ponder about the journeys he undertook.
He was relatable, humble and inquisitive figure and the following two passages I've placed below from the Quran display elements of those qualities.
The first is when Moses meets a man he has been told by God has knowledge that he the prophet of a nation did not have. Inquisitive about what knowledge this man might hold as opposed to behaving arrogantly, Moses asks for the man to teach him.
"Moses said to him (Khidr) "May I follow you so that you may teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by God)?"
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 said: "If Allah wills, you will find me patient, and I will not disobey you in aught."
18: 66-69 The Holy Quran
As beautiful and humbling as the story that follows is, it's that introductory passage that I love most. This was a man who was a prophet leading others, a man to whom God spoke to whilst on earth, yet in this passage of the Quran just by the way he goes about his conversation he displays a humbleness so few people are able to acquire.
Another passage I'll mention is the second of my two favourites it's one that refers to Moses' speech impediment. It's a passage that comes much earlier in the life of Moses and one that presents vulnerability and trust.
Moses was fearful of the tasks he was set and the difficulties he may have in accomplishing them, so he asked God to heal his speech impediment in order to be able to convey his message.
"Moses said: "O my Lord! Open for me my chest; And ease my task for me; And make loose the knot from my tongue, That they understand my speech"
20: 25-28 The Holy Quran
We're all asked to do daunting things on occasion, often needing help. Moses identified a difficulty in the task that was set and sought support, again presenting a humble persona but also one that was courageous and trusting. Being able to identify problems and how we may be able to solve them can sometimes be a greater difficulty than many tasks. The prayer made by Moses was a presentation of his faith and dedication to his task.
Today is a day to remember the great prophet for many around the world and for Muslims also a day of forgiveness. To those who don't believe in the prophetic teachings to realise the enormity of a history so many have faith in, can only encourage mutual understanding.
There's a new movie set to grace the cinema screen re-telling a version of Moses' story, the Welsh thespian depicting the African prophet called him a "likely schizophrenic" and "barbaric" when asked about the title character.
Whatever this portrayal of Moses is like, the fact that billions around the world herald the man, a leader who presented courage, humbleness and a message, speaks volumes for his effect on society. Millions around the world are remembering Moses, remembering him without any need for any drama.Suggest a correction