Mann and Salwā
When Sayyidunā Musa (alehisalam) “Moses” (may Allah pleased with him) was living along with Six hundred thousand of Banī Isrāīl in the field of Tayaĥ; Allah (azzawjal) descended two divine feasts for them from the sky. One of which was ‘Mann’ and other named ‘Salwā’. Mann was a type of halva (sweet dish) resembling white honey or it may actually have been white honey which descended fromthe sky every day in the shape of rain. Salwā, on the otherhand, were cooked quails (bird like animals) that used to descend from the skies with the southerly wind. Whilst stating the blessings bestowed upon the BanīIsrāīl, Allah (Subhanuhuwata’ala) states in the Glorious Quran:
It was commanded by Sayyidunā Musa to eat Mann and Salwā on a daily basis and not t preserve or keep any for next day at all. But some people with weak faith became worried that if Mann and Salwā do not descend some day, then we will die of hunger and thirst in the plainsof this field where no signs of food and water exist. Therefore, they began to secretly preserve some of the food for the following day. Due to the consequences of disobeying the command of a Prophet, the food they stored rotted and the blessings of Mann and Salwā stopped. That’s why the Holy Prophet said that ‘had Banī Isrāīl not existed, neither food would get spoiled nor would meat rot’. The decay of food and meat rotting started since then. Otherwise, prior to that, neither food would spoil nor would meat rot. (Tafsīr Ruḥ-ul-Bayān; Part 1, Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ, Verse 57).
12,000 Jews turned into apes!
It is narrated that seventy thousand men from the people of Sayyidunā Dāwūd (alehisalam) ( Biblical David ) used to live in the sea-side village of Eīlaĥ, near Uqbaĥ. These people were living a luxurious and prosperous life. Allah tested them by prohibiting them from fishing on Saturday (the day of Sabbath) and permitted them to catch fish on all other days of the week. He tested their faith by making many fish appear during the day of Sabbath and making none appear during other days.
However, upon listening to the whispers of Satan, they began to dig drains from the sea to the land, resulting in the formation of ponds on the dry land. Satan further misguided them by giving them the evil idea that on Sabbath (Saturday), when fish come in the pond through these drains, close the passage of the drains and do not catch fish that day. Instead, capture them with ease the next day. They liked this satanic idea but they did not realize the fact that the day when they captured fish in ponds, that was considered to be their capturing there and then. Therefore, capturing fish turned out to be on the day of Sabbath (Saturday) which Allah had prohibited for them. On this occasion, Jews divided into three group:
i. There were some who restrained themselves from fishing according to the command of Allah, and attempted to tell others to do the same. They showed anger and hatred towards this disobedient act.
ii. Another group disliked and hated this act but remained silent. They did not restrain people from indulging in it. They instead said to those who tried to stop them that why you advice such a nation that Allah is either about to destroy or going to inflict them with His severe torment.
iii.There were also some insolent and disobedient people who openly opposed the commandment of Allah by following the evil temptation of Satan by fishing on Saturday. They ate as well as sold those fish.
When the disobedient people did not refrain from their evil act despite being forbidden from it, then those who attempted to stop them said that they would no longer keep any ties with them. Therefore, they built a wall to separate themselves from the wrongdoers. The village was divided and separate entrances and exits were made.
Wrathfully, Sayyidunā Dāwūd cursed the hunters. Consequently, no one among the disobeyers came outside the next day. Some people climbed up the wall to see them and saw that all of them were deformed into the shape of apes. When people entered by opening the door of wrongdoers, the apes would recognize their relatives, would come close to them and sniff their clothes and weep bitterly. But people would not recognize the ones turned into apes. Those who became apes were twelve thousand in number. They lived for three days and could not eat or drink anything in between and all of them died starving out of thirst and hunger.The group of people who restrained from fishing remained safe from annihilation. And the correct saying is that Allah also saved those from this annihilation who considered it evilin their hearts and remained silent. (Tafsīr As-Ṣāwī, Vol 1, pp 72; Part 2, Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ, Verse 65)
The Holy Quran describes this event in the following verse of Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ:
And ask them (O dear Prophet Muhammad (alehisalam) of the township that was by the sea; when they used to exceed in the matter of the Sabbath – when their fish used to come swimming a top the water in front of them on the day of Sabbath and not come on the days it was not Sabbath; this is how We used to test them, due to their disobedience. And when a group among them said, ‘Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is going to destroy or mete out a severe punishment?’ They said, ‘To have an excuse before your Rab, and that perhaps they may fear.’ And when they forgot the advices they had been given, We rescued those who forbade evil, and seized the unjust with a dreadful torment – the recompense of their disobedience. Consequently when they rebelled against the command to refrain, We said to them, ‘Be apes, despised!’ [Kanz-ul-Īmān (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Sūraĥ A’rāf, Verse 163-166)
We learn how dangerous it is to disobey the commands of Allah and fall into the trap of Satan. Furthermore, we learn how wretched those individuals are who are cursed by a Prophet of Allah. Their signs get wiped away from the face of the earth by getting caught in the punishment of Allah, they become fuel of the Hellfire and become despised in both worlds. There are many lessons and advice that every Muslim can derive from this heart trembling event of the people of Eīlaĥ. May the fear of Allah thrive in the hearts of Muslims after reading this, give them the enthusiasm to stay away from evil temptations and remain steadfast upon the straight path
and become successful in both worlds by attaining honour and respect.
The most precious cow of the world
This is a very important and a great Quranic anecdote. And it is due to this anecdote that this chapter is named Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ (The chapter of Cow). The story behind this is that there was a very pious individual in Banī Isrāīl who had one young son. He only had a single possession, a calf. Just before his death, the pious individual took the calf to the jungle and left it by a bush, proclaiming ‘O Allah, I leave this calf under Your protection until my son becomes an adult’. After this, the pious person died and the calf grew into a cow with the passage of time and his son grew up into a righteous man who was very obedient to his mother. He had divided his night into three parts; he used to sleep in one part, worship in another and serve his mother in another part. Also, he used to travel to the jungle everyday in the morning to fetch wood which he used to sell. He used to do Ṣadaqaĥ (charity) of one third of his earnings, spend one third on his personal needs and give one third to his mother!
One day, the mother said to the son ‘O my beloved son! Your father has left a calf in his inheritance that he had left near such and such. Now go to that bush and supplicate in this way! ‘O Rab of Sayyidunā Ibrāĥīm, Ismā’īl and Isḥāq! Return me the possession my father gave under your protection!’ She further said that the calf was yellow colored; and its skin would be glistening in such a way as though as rays of sun are emanating from it. After hearing this, the boy went to the jungle and supplicated by that bush. All of a sudden, the cow came to him running and stood by him. He brought it home. His mother said, ‘My son! Go to the market and sell this cow for three dinars, but do not sell it to any buyer without consulting me.’ In those days, the common price of a cow was three dinars. A buyer came in the market, who in reality was an angel. The angel said, ‘I will pay you more than three dinars based on the condition that you sell me the cow without consulting your mother.’ The boy replied that no matter how much more you offer me, I will not sell the cow without consulting my mother. Reaching home, the boy related the whole event to his mother. She said perhaps the buyer was an angel. Therefore, O son, consult with him whether we shall sell the cow or not.
Thus when the boy consulted with that buyer in the market, he replied not to sell the cow at this moment of time. He further said that in future, the people of Sayyidunā Musa will buy this cow. He further advised to fill the hide of the cow with gold at that time and to demand its value from them. They will pay the price you wish. Therefore, after a few days, a very rich person from the Banī Isrāīl, named ‘Āmīl, was killed by his two paternal cousins and they threw his body in a desolate place. The morning after, the search for the murderers began. After getting no trace, people went to Sayyidunā Musa and asked for the murderer. He ordered them to slaughter a cow and strike the dead body with its tongue or the bone of the will buy this cow. He further advised to fill the hide of the cow with gold at that time and to demand its value from them. They will pay the price you wish.
Therefore, after a few days, a very rich person from the Banī Isrāīl, named ‘Āmīl, was killed by his two paternal cousins and they threw his body in a desolate place. The morning after, the search for the murderers began. After getting no trace, people went to Sayyidunā Musa and asked for the murderer. He ordered them to slaughter a cow and strike the dead body with its tongue or the bone of the tail. The murdered ‘Āmīl will resurrect and will tell you the name of his killer. Hearing this, Banī Isrāīl started to question and argue about the age etc. of the cow. When they finally understood the type of the cow that was required, they then began the search for it. After they reached the cowof the boy, they realized that this was exactly the same cow as they required. Therefore, they filled the hide of the cow with gold, paid its price and slaughtered the cow. After doingso, they hit the corpse with the tongue or bone of the tail and the dead ‘Āmīl came back to life. He said that my killers are the two sons of my uncle who killed me due to the greed of my wealth. After telling this, he died again. Therefore, both of those killers were killed in return and the child of the pious person who was very obedient to his mother became very rich by earning loads of wealth. (Part 1, Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ, Verse 71, Tafsīr As-Ṣāwī, Vol 1, pp 75)
Whole of this incident has been described in the Holy verses of the Glorious Quran in the following words:
‘And (remember) when Musa said to his people, ‘Allah commands you to sacrifice a cow’; they said, ‘Are you making fun of us?’ He answered, ‘Allah forbid that I should be of the ignorant!’ They said, ‘Pray to your Rab that He maydescribe the cow’; said Musa, ‘He says that it is a cow neither old nor very young but between the two conditions; so do what you are commanded.’ They said, ‘Pray to your Rab that He may reveal its color to us’; answered Musa, ‘Indeed He says it isa yellow cow, of bright color, pleasing to the beholders.’ They said, ‘Pray to your Rab that he may clearly describe the cow to us, we are really in a doubt as to which cow it is; and if Allah wills, we will attain guidance.’ Said Musa, ‘He says, ‘She is a cow not made to work, neither ploughing the soil nor watering the fields; flawless and spotless’; they said, ‘You have now conveyed the proper fact’; so they sacrificed it, but seemed not to be sacrificing it (with sincerity). And (remember) when you slew a man and were therefore accusing each other concerning it; and Allah wanted to expose what you were hiding. We therefore said, ‘Strike the dead man with a part of the sacrificed cow’; this is how Allah will bring the dead to life, and shows you his signs so that you may understand!’ [Kanz-ul-Īmān (Translation of Quran)] (Part 1, Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ, Verse 67-83).
We have come to know many moral lessons and advice from this anecdote as well as certain rulings. A few among these are as following and are worthwhile to be remembered.
1. The possessions left over by the esteemed servants of Allah have a lot of blessings in them. You see, the pious man only left one calf behind him but Allah put so much blessings in it that his heirs received abundant wealth due to that calf.
2. The pious man left the calf under the protection of Allah whilst being compassionate towards his child. So we also come to know that being compassionate towards children and leaving them some heritage is the practice of the chosen people of Allah.
3. Allah provides abundant sustenance from the unseen to those who are obedient and serve their parents. We can see how Allah blessed an orphan with prosperity and wealth due to being obedient to his mother.
4. One of the reasons for calamities to descend is to show a critical attitude towards the commands of Allah. Banī Isrāīl were ordered to slaughter a cow. They could have slaughtered any cow and the order would have been fulfilled. However, they began to argue and started raising questions such as what kind of cow? What kind of color? How old shall it be? As a result, it became very difficult for them as they had to slaughter such a cow that was very unique. That’s why they had to pay such a huge price for it that no other cow has ever been priced as much and there is no hope either for it to ever be.
5.The one who gives his wealth under the protection of Allah, Allah protects it and puts endless blessings in it.
6.The one who leaves his kinfolk under the custody of Allah, He nourishes them in such a way that is beyond one’s expectation.
7. Sayyidunā Ali (radiAllahuanhu) said that the one who wears yellow shoes will always remain happy and will have very few sorrows. Because Allah said for the yellow calf that ‘it excites the ones that look at it.’(Tafsīr Ruḥ-ul- Bayān Vol 1, pp 160, Part 2,Sūraĥ Baqaraĥ , Verse 69)
8. We also come to know about the animals used for ritual sacrifice that the more beautiful, non-defective and precious an animal is; the better it is.
End : Insha-Allah azawajal more will be updated soon….