Islamic Web Library

An Islamic Resource Center

(2:61) Go back in shame to Egypt

2 min read

And remember ye said: “O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions.” He said: “Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!” They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing.

Asad writes:

“i.e., “Would you exchange your freedom for the paltry comforts which you enjoyed in
your Egyptian captivity?” In the course of their wanderings in the desert of Sinai, many
Jews looked back with longing to the comparative security of their life in Egypt, as has
been explicitly stated in the Bible (Numbers xi), and is, moreover, evident from Moses’
allusion to it in the next sentence of the above Qur’anic passage.” (p. 27)

“The verb habata means, literally, “he went down a declivity”; it is also used figuratively
in the sense of falling from dignity and becoming mean and abject (cf. Lane VIII, 2876).
Since the bitter exclamation of Moses cannot be taken literally, both of the above meanings
of the verb may be combined in this context and agreeably translated as “go back in shame
to Egypt” ” (Ibid, p. 27


Asad, Muhammad (1980). The Message of the Quran.

About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *