Five Consecutive Punishments upon the followers of Pharaoh
When the blessed staff of Syadiuna Musa علیہ السلام turned into a serpent and swallowed the snakes of magicians, then they (the magicians) fell into prostration and embraced the true faith. But Pharaoh and his followers still did not embrace the true faith. And instead, his disbelief and stubbornness increased even more and he started to strive even harder to hurt the feelings and torture the Momineen of Bani Israil and Sayiduna Musa. Pharaoh started to use different means to increase his cruelties. Aggrieved from the cruelties of Pharaoh, Prophet Moses supplicated in the court of Allah.
O my Rabb! Pharaoh has become very ignorant and cruel and his followers breached their promises. Therefore, trail them with such curses that may be a punishment for them which becomes in admonition for my people and future generation. (Ruh-ul-Bayan, vol3, pp22: Part 9 Surah al-Ara’af verse 133)
After the supplication of Prophet Moses, Allah sent five consecutive punishments on the followers of Pharaoh. Those five punishments are as following:
1) The Storm: All of sudden, a cloud appeared which prevailed darkness everywhere. Then it started to rain heavily. In the midst of the rain, there was a storm, resulting in the rain water to enter the houses of the followers of Pharaoh. They were clogged in the water and water mounted up to their necks. Those who sat down drowned and killed. Neither they could move nor do anything. The waves of the storm destroyed their crops and gardens. They stayed under this preilous state from one Sabbath (Saturday) to next Saturday. Though the houses of Bani Israil were adjacent with the houses of the followers of Pharaoh, the water of the flood did not enter the houses of Bani Israil and they were living in their houses with peace and serenity. When Pharaoh’s followers could no longer tolerate the punishment and became helpless, they came to Syaduna Mosa and requested him to pray for them so that this calamity is taken away from them. They also announced that they will embrace faith and will send Bani Israil to him (To Hazrat Moosa). Thus Moses supplicated and the punishment of storm was taken away. The earth yielded such greenery that was never seen before. Crops flourished. Fruits and wheat grew abundantly. After seeing this, the Pharaoh’s followers started saying that this storm was a source of great blessings unto us. Then again they deviated from their committed promise and did not embrace the faith. Once again they started their atrocities and ignorant activities.
The pharaoh’s followers enjoyed peace and tranquillity for one month but when their infidelity (Kufr), arrogance and cruelties started to increase, Almighty Allah, sent his wrath and punishment in the shape of locusts. Thus swarms of locusts emerged from all nooks and corners which ate all their crops and gardens. They even ate the woods of their houses. The houses of Pharaoh’s followers were full with locusts and it made their life miserable, but the fields and gardens of the believers of Banu Israil were safe and sound from the invasion of these locusts. Upon seeing this, pharaoh’s followers learnt a great lesson and after getting fed up of this punishment, they again reported Moses and promised him that if he supplicates for the removal of this punishment, we will surely embrace the true faith and will not execute tyrannies and cruelties on Bani Israil. Therefore, on the seventh day, the punishment was removed from them dure to the prayers of syyiduna Musa. Again, these people lived in a state of luxury and peace for a month. Once again these people broke their promises and did not embrace the true faith again. Their practices of disbelief and sins started to increase again. They started torturing Moses and believers and said that the residual vegetations are sufficient for us. Therefore, we will not leave our religion and will not embrace the faith.
After a passage of another month, there was a new torment hailed upon them in form of weevils. Some interpreters say that these weevils entered in their wheat and cash crops and ate away all their food reserves. Some interpreters are of the opinion that it was a tiney vermin that eroded the ripen crops and also entered in their dresses and started bruising and biting their skin and this incessant stinging to their bodies made them convulsive like a slaughtered cock. Their conditions worsened so much that these vermins bruised and scratched the hair of heads, beards, moustaches, eyebrows and eyelashes and they had an appearance as that of a small pox victim. These vermins also entered in their foods, waters and utensils and due to the presense of these insects, the Pharaoh’s followers were unable to eat and drink and were unable to have even a nap for a moment. This punishment remained for a time span of one week and made them very miserable. These people were compelled to howl and cry and once again they reported Moses and requested him to pray for their redemption and assured that they will accept the faith. Feeling pity on their state of anxiety and melanchly, Syaduna Musa supplicated for them and consequently, the punishment was shunned away. As per there habit, these isolent followers of Pharaoh once again breached their promise and once again started their acts of persecutions and cruelties which a new vigour and more intensity. After one month, there was another punishment upon them in the form of frogs.
All of a sudden, there was an abrupt and haphazard breeding of numerous frogs in the houses of the followers of Pharaoh and the conditions of these atrocious and tyrants was as that were so ever these people would have sitting, their gatherings were filled with thousands of frogs. If anyone opened his mouth to talk or eat, frogs would jump in his mouth. Frogs would be in their cook pots and would sit over their bodies in hundreds. they were having no relieve from these frogs while walking, sitting, and sleeping. The followers of Pharaoh started to cry due to this punishment and again in this whining state, they reported Syaduna Musa and begged him to invoke for them and administered many oaths and promised him that we will surely embrace the faith and will never coerce the believers in future. Therefore, on the seventh day, due to the supplication of Syaduna Musa, this punishment was also lifted but these condemned and cursed people again, engaged themselves in their devilish activities upon acquiring peace. They once again started presecution of believers and again began to disrespect Syaduna Moses. Once again they stimulated the severe punishment for them and again the torment hailed upon themin form of blood.
5) The Blood:
All of a sudden, the water of all wells and rivers of Pharaoh’s followers were filled with blood and they beseeched Pharaoh about it. The ignorant Pharaoh said that this is sorcery of Syaduna Musa. Upon hearing his comments, his followers said that what kin dof sorcery is this that our crockery and kitchenware are filled with blood and believers have no impact on them.
Then Pharaoh ordered them to draw out water with believers from the same bucked, but it was strange and miraculous expression of the Power of the Most Powerful Almighty Allah that when believers drew out water, it was crystal clear, pure and sweet water; but on contrary, when the followers of Pharaoh used to draw out water, it was pure blood. When the severe thirst humiliated the followers of Pharaoh, they came to believers and said that we will drink water with you in the same pot and at the same time, But there was a strange and miraculous display of Power of Most Powerful Almighty Allah that in a single pot at the same time, when believers and non believers used to collectively drink water, at the side of believers, there was a crystal clear water but on the other side of non-believers, the water that used to go in to the mouths of pharaoh’s followers used to alter in blood..
In state fo helplessness, the Pharaoh and his followers quenched their thirst by chewing grass and extracting water from it but even the liquid that was extracted from it would turn into blood when it reached in their mouths. Fed up from these miserable conditions, the followers of Pharaoh again requested Moses for the removal of the punishment from them. Again due to prophetic kindness and compassion, Moses prayed for them. Thus on the seventh day, the torment of this curse of blood was removed from them.
There were consecutive five punishments on the followers of Pharaoh and every punishment was removed on the seventh day. There used to be an interval of one month between two punishments, but the hearts of these tyrants and transgressors were so sternly sealed and they were wretched to such an extent that they would not embrace the faith. They remained stubborn over their disbelief and every time they broke their promises. Finally, there was an ultimate punishment upon them. Pharaoh and his followers were drowned and destroyed in the River Nile. Thus the world was prepetually sanctified from the evil presense of these damned people. No signs of their existence were left on the surface of the earth and furthermore, no sing of their graves was left to exist on the surface of earth. (Tafsir as-Sawi, Vol 2, pp 803, part 7 Surah al-Araf verse 133-136)
We get many moral lessons from these anecdotes; the one is that how heinous a crime is to break promises and falsifying the Prophets of Allah and showing offensive attitudes towards them. Such attitudes are always protent of the severe chastisements from Almighty Allah as it happened with the followers of the Pharaoh and thus finally, they were drowned and desolated. Therefore, it is mandatory and obligatory for every Muslim to avoid breaching the promises and should avoid insolent attitudes and moreover, we should also be warned and cautious as well that due to such misdeeds, the divine chastisement amy not fall upon us.
Of course, Moses علیٰ نبیینا وعلیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام was on heights and distinctions of mercies and compassions and was so kind that even after so many breaches of the promises by his foes, he used to pray for shunning away the divine chastisement from them, we have come to know from this anecdote that it is essential for the leaders to show patience and steadfastness and should promote the good traits of forgiving the people. All those religious scholars who are successors of the Prophets it is also essential for them that they should not fuel the passion of the revenge form their opponents but should practice patience and should keep on forgiving their enemies as it is a Sunnah of Syaduna Musa as well as of our loving Prophet Muhammad , that he never revenged anyone due to any personal bias but on the contrary he always forgave the people and it is a glittering pearl of advice for us that, i-e anyone who may break ties with you; you should develop relations with him and anyone who may persecute tyranny unto you, forgive him and anyone who misbehaves with you; show a good conduct with him.
In presenting the same Hadith, Syiduna Shaikh Saadi has said:
It is very easy to take evil revenge of an evil act but if you are bold enough then do good with the person who has done wrong with you.