“Verily, Fir’oun exalted himself (with arrogance and oppression) in the land (Egypt), and he classified its population into different groups (high and low classes).
He had suppressed one group (Bani Israaeel) of the population,
slaughtering their sons and leaving their daughters alive. Verily, he was among the anarchists.”
(Surah Qasas, aayat 4)
ir’oun, the Pharoah of Egypt, the self-proclaimed ‘almighty god’, was forewarned by his astrologers and magicians that a boy would be born in Bani Israaeel, who would eliminate his kingdom. The astrologers had predicted the exact moment of a certain night when a lady from Bani Israaeel would conceive the boy. Despite the most elaborate measures instituted by the Pharoah to prevent this conception, by the Qudrat and Decree of Allah Azza Wa Jal, Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) was conceived in the womb of his mother that very night and at the precise moment predicted by the astrologers. And this momentous episode took place right in the palace of Fir’oun.
The next morning, the astrologers and magicians informed Fir’oun that all his measures to prevent the conception of the child had failed and that the event had already occurred as they had predicted. Despite his rage, his fear was overwhelming. He assembled his advisors and officers to plan the next move for eliminating the threat which faced him. It was decided that every boy born to the women of Bani Israaeel henceforth would be put to death.
Fir’oun enlisted the services of thousands of midwives who were called in from all parts of the land. A midwife was appointed to every household of Bani Israaeel, and soldiers were permanently stationed in all areas where Bani Israaeel resided. As soon as a boy was born, the midwife wrote her report. Soldiers were called in to take away the baby who was then slaughtered. The aforementioned aayat of the Qur’aan Shareef refers to this brutality of Fir’oun. 90,000 male infants were slaughtered in Fir’oun’s plan of horror to thwart the Decree of Allah Ta’ala. Not a single male infant of Bani Israaeel was spared.
Nine months after conception, the wife of Imraan gave birth to the baby boy who was destined to bring the downfall of Fir’oun. Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) was born and as the midwife appointed by Fir’oun took the infant in her hands she was overwhelmed by love for this beautiful baby. She had never set eyes on such a beautiful infant before. She told the baby’s mother not to be worried and scared. She would inform the soldiers that a dead girl was born and buried by her.
When the midwife left, she informed the guards outside that she had buried the dead girl baby. After the midwife left, the guards entered the house to confirm her report. When Hadhrat Musa’s sister saw the soldiers entering the house, fear drove her into a state of panic. She rushed to her mother’s room, grabbed the infant and blindly, not knowing what she was doing, cast him into the kitchen stove which was at that time blazing with fire.
After searching the place and questioning Nabi Musa’s mother, the soldiers were satisfied and left. By Allah’s fadhl, it never occurred to the soldiers to seek the ‘grave’ where the ‘dead baby girl’ was allegedly buried. The mother asked her daughter: ‘Where did you conceal your brother?’ She replied: ‘O my mother, I panicked and cast the baby into the blazing oven.’ The mother almost lost her senses. She rushed to the fire. When mother and daughter reached the oven, the fire was blazing. Both wailed and cried profusely. While they were grieving, they heard from inside the oven the pleasant gurgling sound of a baby. In sheer elation, the mother reciting Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem thrust her hand into the fire and retrieved her baby. Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) was unscathed. The fire had no effect on him. The baby was full of smiles.
Now commenced the dangerous task of caring for her infant in utmost secrecy. She knew that the danger was ever present. The slaughter of babies meanwhile continued unabated. Day by day Hadhrat Musa’s mother became more fearful and apprehensive. She always feared that her secret would be somehow revealed. Then Allah Ta’ala inspired her with the assurance:
“And We revealed to the mother of Musa: ‘Suckle him. When you are overwhelmed by fear for his safety, then cast him into the river. Fear not! Grieve not! Verily, We shall return him to you, and We shall make him among the Messengers.”
(Surah Qassas, Aayat 7)
This inspiration brought peace and tranquillity to Nabi Musa’s mother. Meanwhile the brutality of Fir’oun increased. A systematic search of the homes of Bani Israaeel was underway and Hadhrat Musa’s mother now feared detection and the slaughter of her baby. She asked a carpenter to make a small wooden box for her. The carpenter immediately made the box and handed it to Imraan, the father of Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam). Imraan, trusting the carpenter, told him that the box was for concealing his baby from Fir’oun. The baby would be concealed in the box and sent to a safe place.
When the carpenter left Imraan, he set off straight to the palace to inform Fir’oun of his discovery. He knew that he would be munificently rewarded by Fir’oun for this revelation. On reaching the palace, he was ushered into the presence of Fir’oun.