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7:128-132 We punished the people of Pharaoh with years (of droughts) and shortness of crops; that they might receive admonition

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Said Moses to his people: “Pray for help from Allah, and (wait) in patience and constancy: for the earth is Allah’s, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleaseth; and the end is (best) for the righteous. (verse 128)

They said: “We have had (nothing but) trouble, both before and after thou camest to us.” He said: “It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you inheritors in the earth; that so He may try you by your deeds.” (verse 129)

We punished the people of Pharaoh with years (of droughts) and shortness of crops; that they might receive admonition. (verse 130)

But when good (times) came, they said, “This is due to us;” When gripped by calamity, they ascribed it to evil omens connected with Moses and those with him! Behold! in truth the omens of evil are theirs in Allah’s sight, but most of them do not understand! (verse 131)

They said (to Moses): “Whatever be the Signs thou bringest, to work therewith thy sorcery on us, we shall never believe in thee. (verse 132)

After being defeated by the prophet Musa (peace be upon him), Pharaoh
enforced the law of killing the male children of the Israelites. They
were greatly alarmed of the punishment they had experienced before – – the coming of the prophet Musa (pbuh). The prophet Musa (pbuh) was also mindful of this fact. Out of his kindness, he offered two wise
solutions to the Israelites. He said to them that only way of getting out
of this trial was, firstly, to seek help from Allah and, secondly, to
remain patient until the things change into their favour. He also
promised them that they shall inherit the whole land if they faithfully
observed the two instructions. This is what the verse said: ‘Seek help from Allah and be
patient; surely, the land belongs to Allah, He lets whomsoever He wills
inherit it, from among his servants.” This implies that all the lands
belong to Allah, and He lets whomsoever He wills inherit the land.
And decidedly the end result is for the God-fearing. So, if they observe
‘Taqwa (keep away from disobedience) by acting upon the two instruction offered above they shall ultimately rule the whole country.

The Only Way To Success
A little reflection over the above two teachings of the prophet Musa
(peace be upon him) will show that it is the sovereign remedy which never fails
against any difficulty. The first ingredient of this recipe is seeking
help from Allah which is the essence of the remedy. It is for the
obvious reason that if the Creator of the universe comes to one’s help who is there to stop Him? Maulana Rum said in a couplet:

“The earth, the air, the water and the fire, all are servants of
Allah. To me and to You they are dead, but to Allah they are
full of life.”

It is reported in a Hadith: When Allah wills to do something everything turns in favour of that purpose. Therefore, nothing is more powerful against an enemy than seeking Allah’s help with all the sincerity of one’s heart, Simply uttering out some formula words for seeking help are not enough.

The second important ingredient of the recipe is being patient. The
Arabic word ‘Sabr’ rendered as patience literally signifies to keep
oneself under one’s control against unfavorable happenings. It is
common knowledge that nothing significant can be achieved without
undergoing difficulties and hardships. One who readily prepares
himself to face hardships is generally successful in most of his objectives. The Holy Prophet said in a Tradition, “No greater blessing has been given to any one other than patience.” (Abu Dawud)

The Israelites who seemed to have no conception of such matters
could not understand how patience alone could free them from
Pharaoh’s punishment and bring them success against him. They
blamed the prophet Musa (pbuh) saying

‘We have been persecuted before you came to us as well as
after you came to us.”

What they meant, perhaps, was that they were looking for a
prophet to deliver them from the oppression of the Pharaoh, but their
fate remained unchanged even after he came to them. The prophet
Musa (peace be upon him) answered to them:

‘It is likely that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make
you successors in the earth that He may see how then, you

Sovereignty is a test
The last phrase of the verse has provided with a wise observation
that sovereignty or dominion is not in itself an aim or objective but a
means to achieve the objective of making peace and justice prevail in
the land. Sovereignty or dominion is a sacred trust bestowed upon by
Allah for making good prevail over evil. The verse has warned them
that, in case they are bestowed this trust, they should not forget the
ill fate of those who were before them.

Though the direct addressee of the verse are the Israelites, but
indirectly the verse has thrown a warning to all those trusted with
rule or dominion. Sovereignty or power, in fact, belongs to Allah alone.
Allah has made man his deputy on the earth. He is the One who designates man with power and takes it away when He so wills. This is what the following verse means:

“You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power
from whom You please.” (3:26)

The power and rule, therefore, is a test for the rulers to see how
far they have fulfilled their duty of establishing peace and justice and
making good prevail over evil.

Abu Hayyan in his Tafsir Al-Bahr al Muhit has included the
following event under the comments on this verse: ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid
once visited Mansur, the second caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, prior
to his designation to caliphate and recited this verse: ‘It is likely that
Allah will destroy your enemy and make you successor in the earth.’
This was a sort of prediction by ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid of his succession to
the throne. Soon after Mansur succeeded to the throne and became the
Caliph. ‘Amr ibn ‘Ubaid came to the Caliph again. Mansur reminded
him of the prediction made by him. Amr ibn ‘Ubaid instantly
answered, “Well, the first part of the prediction has come true and you
have become the Caliph, but the second part of it still remains unfulfilled. The verse also contains this phrase, then, He will see how you act.” Amr ibn ‘Ubaid suggested that gaining power is not
a matter of pride because thereafter, Allah judges the acts of those in
authority and sees how they make use of this trust.

The next verses speak of the events that led Pharaoh and his
people to a number of calamities sent to them as punishment and
finally led them to their death. The first heavenly punishment came
to them in the form of famine. According to historical reports this
famine lasted for seven years.

“And We seized the people of the Pharaoh with years of famine and
loss of fruits, so that they may take lesson. So when something good
came to them they said, ‘This is our right.’ And if they suffered from something evil, they ascribed it as an ill omen to Musa (pbuh) and those with him. Listen, their omen lies with Allah only, but most of
them do not know.”

The first verse has described the famine with two phrases: ‘years of famine and ‘loss of fruits.’ The respected Companion ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and the commentator Qatadah have said that the punishment
of drought was for the people of the rural areas, while people living in
cities and towns were punished by the loss of fruits. When a people are
stamped with the wrath of Allah they lose their faculty of distinguishing right from wrong. Pharaoh and his people too, had lost their understanding. They did not take lesson from this warning. On the
contrary, they ascribed the calamity to be a bad presage from the prophet Musa (pbuh) and his people. The verse said, ‘So when something good came to them they said, ‘This is our right.’ And if they suffered from something evil, they ascribed it as an ill omen to Musa (peace be upon him) and those with him. Listen, their omen lies with Allah only,
but most of them do not know.

The Arabic word: Ta’ir’ used for omen signifies a bird. The
Arabs had a superstition that a bird coming down to their right or left
meant a good or bad fate. The verse implies that good or bad fate
comes from Allah. Everything in this world happens under the will of
Allah. No one is there to bring good or bad fate to any one. It is sheer
ignorance to believe in such things and base their activities on such
baseless assumptions. The last verse describes their rejection of the
truth in these words:

And they said, ‘Whatever sign you bring to us in order to enchant us therewith, we are not going to believe in you.”


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .4 surah 7 verses 128-132)English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-4.pdf (

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