Pharaoh (Pharaoh) was absorbed in his new problem - the loss of the magic contest with Moosaa (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention, which led to the submission of the magicians to Moosaa's call. A series of serious meetings began in his palace. He summoned those responsible for the army, the police and, what we call today his director of intelligence. He also summoned the ministers, princes, and priests. He called whoever had a powerful effect on the direction of events.
Pharaoh asked his director of intelligence: "What are the people saying?" He said: "My men have spread among them that Moosaa won the contest because of a plot and that a major magician had joined with him in this plan. The plot had been disclosed, and we believe an unknown authority financed it." Pharaoh asked his director of police: "What about the magicians' corpses?" He said: "My men hung them in public squares and markets to terrify the people. We will spread a rumour that Pharaoh will kill whoever had anything to do with the plot." Then Pharaoh asked the commander of the army: "What does the army say?" He said: "The army hopes that commands will be issued to move in whatever direction Pharaoh desires." Pharaoh said: "The role of the army has not come yet. Its role will come."
Pharaoh fell silent. Haamaan, the Prime Minister, moved and raised his hand to speak. Pharaoh permitted him and Haamaan asked: "Will we leave Moosaa and his people to corrupt the rest of the people on the earth so that they leave your worship?" Pharaoh said: "You read my thoughts, O Haamaan. We will kill their sons, rape their women, and conquer them." He issued commands, and Pharaoh’s men rushed to slay the sons, rape the women, and imprison whoever objected to these acts.
Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, stood watching what was happening. He could not interfere, nor did he have the power to forbid these acts. All he could do was to advise his people to be patient. He ordered them to ask Allah the Almighty for a calamity on the Egyptians. He pointed out to them the model of the Egyptian magicians who endured for Allah's sake without complaint. He helped them to understand that Pharaoh’s soldiers behaved on earth as if they were its private owners. Pharaoh’s terrorism infused the Children of Israel with a spirit of defeat. They complained to Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, saying (what means): "…‘We have been harmed before you came to us and after you have come to us.’ He [Moosaa] said: ‘Perhaps your Lord will destroy your enemy and grant you succession in the land and see how you will do.’" [Quran: 7:129]
Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, began to face a difficult situation. He had to confront Pharaoh’s anger and plots, while, at the same time, he had to deal with the mutiny of his people. In the midst of all this, Qaaroon (Korah) moved. Qaaroon was one of Moosaa's people. He was very rich and lived in a magnificent mansion. He wore only the most expensive clothes. Numerous slaves waited on him and he indulged in every known luxury. His enormous wealth made him arrogant. Qaaroon treated the poor with contempt and told them that their poverty was due to their lack of intelligence. He believed that what he owned was due to his cleverness and business acumen.
Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, reminded Qaaroon to pay Zakah (alms) from his wealth, a portion of which was rightfully due to the poor. Alms are compulsory upon all the believers. Qaaroon was annoyed by this advice and told Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention that his being wealthy was proof that he was favoured by Allah, Who approved of his lifestyle and increased his wealth daily. Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, argued with him and warned him of the result of his wicked thoughts.
When Qaaroon did calculate the alms due on his wealth, he was shocked at the large amount he had to part with. He not only refused to give alms, but spread a rumour that Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, had invented the law of Zakah for his own gain. He even bribed the people to oppose Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, and to spread wicked rumours about him.
Allah warned Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, of the plot of Qaaroon. Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, appealed to Allah to punish him for his stinginess and for defying His laws. Allah's wrath fell on Qaaroon. The earth opened up and swallowed him, his mansion and all his wealth, as if he had never existed. Almighty Allah revealed (what means):
"Indeed, Qaaroon was from the people of Moosaa, but he tyrannised them. And We gave him of treasures whose keys would burden a band of strong men; thereupon his people said to him: ‘Do not exult. Indeed Allah does not like the exultant. But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.’ He said: ‘I was only given it because of knowledge I have.’ Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of generations those who were greater than him in power and greater in accumulation [of wealth]? But the criminals, about their sins, will not be asked. So he came out before his people in his adornment. Those who desired the worldly life said: ‘Oh, would that we had like what was given to Qaaroon. Indeed, he is one of great fortune.'”[Quran: 28:76-79] “And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves." [Quran: 28: 81]
When the Egyptians and Children of Israel examined the miracle, the conflict between Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, and Pharaoh again reached a crisis because Pharaoh believed that Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, was threatening his kingdom.
Pharaoh was afraid that the people would be misled by Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention. He suggested to his ministers and notable men that Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, be killed. It was on the verge of approval, except for the vote of one of the notable men of the state, whose name is not mentioned in the Quran. The Quran simply states that this man was a believer.
This believer spoke in the assembly where the idea of killing Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, had been introduced. He proved that it was not a good idea: "Moosaa did not say more than that Allah is his Lord. Later, he came with clear evidence that he is a Messenger. There are two possibilities; either Moosaa is righteous or a liar. If he lies, he will be responsible for his lie. If he is righteous and we slay him, where is the guarantee that we will be rescued from the torment of Allah? Either way, he neither says nor does anything that merits our killing him."
This angered Pharaoh and his counsellors and they threatened to harm the man, but he refused to budge from his stance. Then they tried to woo him back, but he still warned them that they were inviting their doom. This further angered Pharaoh, and he now threatened to kill the man. However, Allah protected His believer.
Almighty Allah revealed their dialogue in the following verses (which mean): "And Pharaoh said: ‘Let me kill Moosaa and let him call upon his Lord. Indeed, I fear that he will change your religion or that he will cause corruption [i.e., dissention] in the land.’ But Moosaa said: ‘Indeed I have sought refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant one who does not believe in the Day of Account.’ And a believing man from the family of Pharaoh who concealed his faith said: ‘Do you kill a man [merely] because he says: ‘My Lord is Allah’ while he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? And if he should be lying, then upon him is [the consequence of] his lie; but if he should be truthful, there will strike you some of what he promises you. Indeed, Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar. O my people! Sovereignty is yours today, [your being] dominant in the land. But who would protect us from the punishment of Allah if it came to us?’ Pharaoh said: ‘I do not show you except what I see, and I do not guide you except to the way of right conduct.’ And he who believed said: ‘O my people! Indeed I fear for you [a fate] like the day of the companies – like the custom of the People of Nooh [Noah] and of ‘Aad and Thamood and those after them. And Allah wants no injustice for [His] servants. And O my people! Indeed I fear for you the Day of Calling – The Day you will turn your backs fleeing; there is not for you from Allah any protector. And whoever Allah leaves astray – there is not for him any guide.’”[Quran: 40:26-33]
Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, repeated his demand that Pharaoh release the Children of Israel from slavery. In response, Pharaoh called his subjects, including the Children of Israel, to a huge gathering where he reminded them that he was their lord and provided all their needs. He said: "Moosaa has no gold amulets or angels following him; he is just a poor man." Being a people who had been oppressed for a very long time, they lacked vision. Their judgment was limited to what they could see in the material world. They regarded their ruler to be wealthy and able to provide all their worldly needs. In ignorance, they obeyed Pharaoh and ignored Moosaa's call. Allah commanded Moosaa, may Allah exalt his mention, to warn Pharaoh of a punishment in this world for his faithlessness and his persecution of the Children of Israel.
[To be continued…]