Said Pharaoh: “Believe ye in Him before I give you permission? Surely this is a trick which ye have planned in the city to drive out its people: but soon shall ye know (the consequences). (verse 123)
Be sure I will cut off your hands and your feet on apposite sides, and I will cause you all to die on the cross.” (verse 124)
They said: “For us, We are but sent back unto our Lord: (verse 125)
“But thou dost wreak thy vengeance on us simply because we believed in the Signs of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto thee as Muslims (who bow to thy will)! (verse 126)
Said the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people: “Wilt thou leave Moses and his people, to spread mischief in the land, and to abandon thee and thy gods?” He said: “Their male children will we slay; (only) their females will we save alive; and we have over them (power) irresistible.” (verse 127)
The foregoing verses had a detailed account of the contest between
the prophet Musa (pbuh) and the sorcerers and that after their defeat
the sorcerers declared their faith in Allah. Some historical reports say
that subsequent to their declaration of faith in Allah, six hundred
thousand more people followed suit and declared their belief in Allah.
Before this open contest there were only two individuals believing in
Allah. Now a great army of people became Muslims. It was, obviously
an embarrassing situation for the Pharaoh. Like a clever politician he
managed to conceal his state of mind before the people, and changed
the situation by putting the blame of conspiracy and rebellion on the – –
sorcerers. He claimed that they had joined hands with Musa (pbuh)
and Harun in order to create disorder in the country. Then he said to
the sorcerers, “You have believed in him before I permitted you.” This
was a threat to the sorcerers on the one hand, and on the other, he
tried to convince his people that the sorcerers made a hasty decision in accepting their faith and fell prey to the trap of Musa and Harun. Otherwise, he would have also believed in him in case Musa (pbuh) and Harun proved truthful in their claim.
It was a clever design of Pharaoh. He tried to keep his people stay
in their former ignorance and make people believe that the contest
was pre-plotted between the prophet Musa (pbuh) and the sorcerers.
He cleverly twisted the fact that the miracle of Musa (pbuh) and the
open conversion of the sorcerers to the true Faith was purely to expose
the ignorance and falsehood of the Pharaoh. He turned it into a political issue by saying, “So that you may expel it’s people from there.” He wanted to make his people believe that they planned the whole matter
to gain power over the country and expel the people from there.
After making all these strategic statements he threatened the
sorcerers, first, with an indefinite remark saying, “Now you shall know
(your end)”. Further specifying the threat, He said, shall surely, cut your hands and legs from the
opposite sides. Then I shall crucify you all together.” By cutting from
the opposite sides he meant the right hand and the left foot so that
they are made completely disabled and invalid.
The Pharaoh made all the efforts that he could to control his people. The belief in Allah, or “Iman’ as it is called by the Qur’an, is a great power. When it finds it’s way into one’s heart, one finds himself as powerful as to face the whole world and all the forces gathered together against him. This was a great change. Only a few hours ago, the sorcerers were the worshippers of Pharaoh, but having faith in Allah they demonstrated such a great power and courage that in response to all the threats to their lives by the Pharaoh, they only said with perfect satisfaction that, in that case, “To our Lord we are sure to return.”
The sorcerers were fully aware of Pharaoh’s power and authority
over them. They did not say that Pharaoh will not be able to kill them
because of their new faith. Their answer was to suggest that the whole
life of this temporary world had no value in their eyes. Their satisfaction was due to the fact that they were sure of meeting the Lord of the worlds after passing away from this world. There they shall get an
everlasting life of peace and comfort.
Another interpretation of their answer is that though the Pharaoh had all the power to finish their life, but soon he will be presented before the Lord of the worlds where he shall be taken to account for his despotism. In another verse, the following statement is also included in the answer of the sorcerers, “You may pass any judgement you can against us, but your judgement will be restricted to this worldly life.” (72:20) This also shows their total indifference towards the temporary life of this world. This great change in their thought and action was the result of their true faith in Allah. In addition to this, their faith opened the door of knowledge and wisdom upon them which is manifest from their invocation to Allah at this occasion. They prayed, ”O Allah! Shower upon us patience and let death take us while we are Muslims.” This prayer is not only a manifestation of knowledge and wisdom, but also the best means of getting out of the difficulty they were in. It is because perseverance and patience are the only keys to success over one’s enemy.
The report of the commission formed for investigating the causes
and effects of the World War has remarked that the Muslims who
observe faith in Allah and in the Hereafter are the most valiant and
brave people in the battle field, and the most patient in the times of
difficulty because they have faith in Allah and in the Hereafter. This is
why the German military officials, expert in military sciences, emphatically suggested that they should create honesty and sense of accountability in the Hereafter among their soldiers, as they are the great
source of strength and courage. (Tafsir al-Manar)
It Was A Miracle
The instant perfect change of mind of the sorcerers was, in no way, a lesser miracle than the other miracles of the prophet Musa (pbuh). Those who led a life of infidelity and ignorance for their whole life
were instantly changed into the most cognizant, knowledgeable and
true Muslims, as faithful as to readily sacrifice their life for their faith.
It is a pity that the Muslims and the Muslim states are trying all other
ways and means to make themselves powerful and strong, but have
become neglectful of the real source of power and strength. That is
faith, perseverance and patience.
Pharaoh was frightened
It is to be noted that the Pharaoh was in some degree successful in keeping his ignorant people in their former ignorance through his clever and false statements, but at the same time, they strangely noted that all the fury and rage of Pharaoh was limited to the sorcerers only. He did not dare say a word against the prophets Musa and Harun (peace be upon them) who were his real opponents. This is obvious from the following statement of his people: “Do you leave Musa (peace be upon them) and his people alone to spread disorder in the land, even when he abandons you and your gods?”
“We shall slaughter their sons and let their women live, and we have full power over them.”
According to the commentators of the Holy Qur’an, Pharaoh tried
to satisfy his people saying that by killing their males and leaving
their women alive, he shall totally eliminate them within a period of
time. Their women shall be spared to serve his people as maid
servants. In fact, Pharaoh was so frightened by the miracle of the
prophet Musa (pbuh), that even at this occasion when he was threatening to kill all the men of Israelites, he could not utter a single word of threat against Musa and Harun (peace be upon them), Maulana Rhmi said :
“Whoever adopts ‘Taqwa’ and fears Allah is feared by all
human beings and spirits”.
The above statement of Pharaoh’s people, ‘Even when he abandons
you and your gods’ makes us understand that Pharaoh himself used to
worship other gods, even though he claimed to be the god of his people.
The law about killing of the males of the Israelites and leaving their
women alive was now promulgated the second time. The first time it
was put into force prior to the birth of the prophet Musa (peace be upon him). He
was witnessing the failure of this law up to this day which was evident
from the huge crowd of the Israelites present at this occasion. When Allah intends to bring disgrace to a people, all they contrive leads to nothing but disaster. We shall soon see that this tyranny and oppression, at last, led him and his people to an ignominious end.
Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .4 surah 7 verses 123-127). English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-4.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)