The Ardh-e-Muqad-dasah (The Holy Land) which Allah Ta’ala had promised, was forbidden to Bani Israaeel for forty years as a punishment for their flagrant transgression and insolence to their Nabi. After Allah Ta’ala had released them from the bondage and persecution of Fir’oun, and gave them victory in Egypt, they were ordered to wage Jihaad against the Amaaliqah race who were occupying the Holy Land. This was the Land of Shaam (Syria and Baitul Maqdis).
The Land of Shaam (Syria and its environs) was the ancestral land of Bani Israaeel. During the time of Nabi Yusuf (alayhis salaam), Bani Israaeel had migrated from Shaam to Misr (Egypt). The Amaaliqah had taken control of the Land of Shaam. The Amaaliqah were the descendents of the Nation of Aad who were a race of giants. Allah Ta’ala had ordered Bani Israaeel to wage war against the Amaaliqah. Bani Israaeel was also assured of victory. Despite being divinely assured of victory, the people of Bani Israaeel were overwhelmed with fear by the physical stature and power of the Amaaliqah, hence they flatly declined to engage in Jihaad. They insolently said to Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam): “You and your Rabb go fight (the Amaaliqah). We shall sit just here (waiting for you).”
Punishment is commensurate with the crime. Since they said that they would “sit just there”, Allah Ta’ala entrapped them in the Valley of Teeh where they happened to be, for forty years. The Valley of Teeh is a small area approximately 19 square miles between Egypt and Shaam. They wandered aimlessly for 40 years in circles in the Valley of Teeh without finding their way to Egypt where they had intended to go. Many wonderful and miraculous incidents occurred to Bani Israaeel during their 40 year sojourn in the Valley of Teeh. Teeh was a barren wilderness. The heat and cold were extreme. There was no shade, no water and provisions whatsoever. However, by virtue of Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam), Nabi Haaroon (alayhis salaam), Hadhrat Yusha’ Bin Noon (alayhis salaam) and Hadhrat Kaalib (alayhis salaam) who were also with their people in Teeh, Allah Ta’ala fulfilled all the needs of Bani Israaeel miraculously.
For food, Mann and Salwaa was miraculously made available. There are many narrations describing Mann variously. It is quite possible that Mann which would daily descend from the skies consisted of different varieties of food which was known by the common name, Mann. This food would descend like snowflakes. It was white and sweet. It would descend daily, except on Saturdays, from Subh Saadiq until sunrise, and then stop. They gathered sufficient to suffice for the whole day.
Salwaa was a bird about the size of a pigeon. These birds would miraculously appear from the south with a soft breeze blowing. The southerly breeze would herald the arrival of the flocks of Salwaa. The birds were extremely tame. The people would simply take hold of these birds without them (the birds) making any attempt to escape. They would thabah (slaughter) the birds. Salwaa was provided after Bani Israaeel complained to Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam). They were tired of consuming only the sweet food, Mann. Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) supplicated to Allah Ta’ala, and the provision of Salwaa was made available for them. Like Mann, these birds would also daily appear.
On Fridays they gathered double the amount for use on Saturday as well. With the exception of Fridays when they were permitted to gather sufficient Mann and Salwaa for two days in view of the prohibition of engaging in mundane affairs on the Sabbath (Saturday), they were not allowed to gather more than one day’s provision. However, greed constrained many to gather more than a day’s provision. When they did so, the Mann would become mouldy, and the Salwaa decayed. Thus, they were unable to consume what they had gathered by greed.
When they complained of the extreme heat, Musa (alayhis salaam) supplicated to Allah Ta’ala. A special white cloud unlike normal clouds was created to shade them on their journey. As they trudged on, the beautiful cloud would move along, shading them.
Their clothing too was miraculous. Neither did their garments become dirty nor worn and torn. Their garments retained their original form. The garments of children would grow along with them.
Whenever they required water, Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) would strike a rock with his Staff, and twelve fountains would gush out. Since there were twelve tribes in Bani Israaeel, each tribe had its own stream of water. This rock was transported on a buffalo and sometimes on an ass. There are different narrations describing this miraculous stone which was square in shape, the size of a buffalo’s head. However, according to Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh), it was not a particular stone. Whenever water was required in the wilderness, Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) would strike any rock, according to Hadhrat Hasan’s narration, and twelve fountains would gush out.
Before striking the stone, Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) would instruct the twelve chiefs of the tribes to take up positions around the rock. When he struck the rock with his Staff, twelve fountains would gush forth, and twelve streams would form. A stream would flow in the direction of each chief. In this manner every tribe had its own stream of water.
It is also narrated that this stone was brought down from Jannat by Hadhrat Aadam (alayhis salaam). It passed from Nabi to Nabi until it reached Hadhrat Shuaib (alayhis salaam) who presented it and the Staff to Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam). Allah knows best.
In the intense darkness of the wilderness, Allah Ta’ala created a marvelous pillar of light in their midst. This pillar of celestial light would brighten up the entire area for Bani Israaeel.
Among the miraculous bestowals to Bani Israaeel during their sojourn in the Valley of Teeh was that neither their hair nor nails would increase, but would remain in their original state.
One day in the Valley of Teeh, Allah Ta’ala informed Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) that the time for the Maut of Haroon (alayhis salaam) had approached. The eyes of Musa (alayhis salaam) welled up with tears. However, he did not inform Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam) of this Wahi (revelation). Allah Ta’ala informed Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) of the time and place where Malakul Maut would be meeting Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam). He set off with Haroon (alayhis salaam) and his sons to the appointed place which is known as Mount Shuwaiq. As they neared the appointed place, they perceived a wonderful fragrant breeze. They were amazed to see a beautiful mansion. The mansion was luxuriously furnished. Huge, beautiful trees emitting a wondrous fragrance were casting their shade over the mansion.
This was Hadhrat Haroon’s abode of Maut. He was therefore irresistibly attracted to the mansion, However, he hesitated to enter as the owner was unknown and they had no permission. By means of Wahi he was instructed to enter. He was struck by the beauty and comfort of the interior. He went to lie down on a beautiful throne-like bed. As he laid down to sleep, his Rooh departed from this earthly abode.
When Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) returned with Nabi Haroon’s sons to Bani Israeel, the insolent and rebellious people accused him of having murdered Haroon (alayhis salaam) and dumping his body in some remote place in the wilderness. They claimed that Musa (alayhis salaam) perpetrated such a heinous deed out of envy because of the affection which Haroon (alayhis salaam) had for the people. Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) was naturally grieved by these slanders. He supplicated to Allah Ta’ala. He was commanded to take members of the nation to the location where Nabi Haroon’s body was. When they reached the spot, the people were amazed to see Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam) as if he was in a deep peaceful sleep. Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) said to Haroon (alayhis salaam): “Stand up with the permission of Allah!”. Instantaneously Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam) came to life, stood up and recited the Kalimah. Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) ordered Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam) to explain the circumstances of his demise. Haroon (alayhis salaam) said: “Allah Ta’ala has taken me with His Qudrat and has allowed me to remain sleeping here in peace and comfort until the Day of Qiyaamah.” Immediately thereafter he lapsed into his everlasting tranquil sleep of comfort.
When the time of Hadhrat Musa’s demise approached, he called his two companions, Hadhrat Yusha’ Bin Noon and Hadhrat Kalib Bin Yuqana (alayhimas salaam). He instructed them to prepare a number of copies of the Tauraah for distribution among his people. The work was immediately initiated. Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) himself wrote one complete copy of the Tauraah. The checking and proof-reading of this copy was done by Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam). This special copy was entrusted to the offspring of Nabi Haroon (alayhis salaam). On the occasion of handing them his copy of the Tauraah, Hadhrat Musa (alayhis salaam) said: “My age is now three hundred years. The time is near for me to depart from this earthly abode. I desire to appoint the ablest among you to be my vicegerent (Khalifah) after me. The best among you for this position is Yusha whom I am appointing to be my Khalifah.” The nation of Bani Israeel happily and wholeheartedly accepted the appointment of Hadhrat Yusha’ (alayhis salaam). Everyone pledged obedience to him.
Nabi Musa (alayhis salaam) thereafter became more engrossed in Thikrullaah. He set off to Mount Tur for the last time. Here he engaged in conversation with Allah Ta’ala. After he returned to his people from Mount Tur, he engaged in counselling Bani Israaeel, giving them many farewell advices and admonition.