Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
5 June 2020 / 13 Syawal 1441H
The Story of Prophet Musa a.s.:
Gratitude in the Face of Trials
Let us instil in ourselves the truest form of taqwa, by fulfilling all of His commands and abstaining from all of His prohibitions. We pray that our faith strengthens our identity as Allah’s grateful servants. Amin.
Throughout the past month of Ramadan, we have all worked hard to increase our Qur’anic recitations and reflections upon its verses and meanings. We have come across many lessons while reading the Qur’an. Therefore, in an effort to maintain our close relationship with the Qur’an, let us ponder upon one of the many stories about the prophets that are mentioned in the Qur’an. Let us take this opportunity to reflect upon Allah’s words in Surah Toha, verse 77:
Meaning: “And We revealed to Moses, ‘Go out at night with My servants and strike a dry path for them across the sea. Have no fear of being overtaken and do not be dismayed.’”
In this verse, Allah s.w.t. tells us the story of Prophet Musa a.s., when he was commanded by Allah s.w.t. to lead his followers out of Egypt. This command was given when Pharaoh intensified his oppression of Prophet Musa a.s. and his followers. When Prophet Musa a.s. and his people reached the shore, his people started to feel frightened, because they were unable to continue their escape, as Pharaoh and his army were closing in on them. In a situation filled with fear, apprehension and anxiety, Prophet Musa a.s. reminded his people to remain calm and believe that Allah s.w.t. would provide His assistance. True enough, Allah s.w.t. did show them a way out by splitting the sea, hence enabling them to safely cross over.
My dear Muslims,
After Allah s.w.t. saved Prophet Musa a.s. and his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh and his army, they faced a new situation filled with uncertainties, in a different country. They were in fact in a desert, without homes and proper shelter for themselves and their families. In such a situation, let us recall what Prophet Musa a.s. had said to them. It was not a reminder to continue being patient – instead, it was a reminder to his people to remain grateful. Allah mentioned in the Qur’an:
Meaning: “And remember that your Lord promised, ‘If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.’” [Surah Ibrahim, verse 7]
Although Prophet Musa a.s. and his followers were in a harsh and unpleasant situation, he reminded them to be thankful for all the blessings and provisions that God had set for them. God had saved them from being further oppressed or persecuted by the Pharaoh. Their children are now safe, and their families have been freed from any torment.
Why did Prophet Musa a.s. remind them as such? Isn’t gratitude meant for the good things in life? How are we supposed to be grateful when being tested?
Each believer should strive to develop a sense of gratitude in the face of trials. It drives us to reflect upon ourselves and focus on the good things we are blessed with, despite being tested by God with certain hardship. It makes us realize that with every ordeal, there are also ease and comfort. While we are tested with having to work from home, we are being given the opportunity to perform our acts of worship in a more comfortable manner. While we are tested with having to balance the demands of our work and the needs of our family members, we also get the opportunity to embrace these precious moments with our spouses and children. Every test that befalls us is for our own good, because Allah s.w.t. looks at our sense of gratitude and patience and our hopes of His Love and Mercy.
Let us observe the examples portrayed by the Prophet s.a.w. Look at how he was constantly thankful towards Allah s.w.t. in every situation – be it ease or difficulty, joy or sorrow, pleasure or grief. He often uttered:
Meaning: “All praises to Allah in every circumstance.” [Hadith reported by Ibn Majah]
After weeks of being tested with having to stay home in our collective effort to curb the spread of the pandemic in our society, we thank Allah that the circuit breaker period is finally over. Some activities can be resumed, and we can now visit our parents and grandparents even though only a limited number of visitors is allowed per visit. In fact, our beloved mosques are also being reopened in gradual phases.
Nonetheless, our struggles and attempts in preventing the viral spread of the pandemic are far from over. Preventive measures such as maintaining good personal hygiene, keeping healthy, ensuring safe distancing and other practices must continue to be observed. We must not take these measures lightly because we do not want to cause any more harm and danger to our society.
Let us work together and play our respective roles to keep ourselves, our families and our society safe. May Allah s.w.t. grant us peace and well-being. Amin ya Rabbal ‘alamin.