Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) had not yet been appointed the Nabi. In the community he was regarded with honour and respect. Everyone thought of him as the son of Fir’oun. One day, at the time of Qailoolah (the midday siesta) when all the people were having their nap. Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) happened to be in the marketplace. Referring to this episode, the Qur’aan Majeed says: “He entered the city when its people were taking a nap…..” He found two persons fighting with each other. One was a member of Bani Israeel, and the other one was a Qibti (the nation of Fir’oun). The Bani Israaeli implored Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) to assist him. Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) stepped forward and delivered one devastating punch to the Qibti who forthwith fell down dead.
When Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) realized what had happened, he was smitten by profound regret. He lamented his hastiness. The Qur’aan recording the regret and repentance of Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) says: “He said: ‘O my Rabb! Verily I have committed an injustice to myself. Forgive me.’ Then He (Allah) forgave him. Verily, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The Qibti who had died was the chief chef of Fir’oun. This chef had always oppressed the Bani Israaeli whose duty it was to collect firewood for the chef. On this particular occasion, the Bani Isaaeli had collected some wood and was trying to sell it in the market place to enable him to buy some food for his family. The chef had appeared on the scene and tried to apprehend the Bani Israaeli. As a result, the Bani Israaeli resisted. Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) went to the aid of his oppressed kinsman. The Qibti’s oppression had angered Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam), hence he struck him in anger without the intention of killing him.
Both Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) and his kinsman left the scene in haste. There was no one who had witnessed what had transpired. Nevertheless, Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) was fearful. Perhaps someone had witnessed and had reported to Fir’oun. The next day, he again went to the marketplace full of fear and apprehension. When he arrived at the marketplace, he was surprised and annoyed to see the very same Bani Israaeli quarrelling and fighting with another person. Once again he called on Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) for aid. In response, Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) severely rebuking him, advanced to separate the two. However, the Israaeli misunderstood Musaa’s intentions. He thought that Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) was going to beat and kill him as he had killed the Qibti yesterday. In fear, the Israaeli exclaimed: “O Musaa, will you now kill me as you had killed the Qibti yesterday? It appears that you are determined to kill people.” Thus, the Israaeli, under a misapprehension, revealed yesterday’s secret. Meanwhile the Qibti adversary heard what had been said.
The Qibti hastily set off to the court of Fir’oun and reported that it was Musaa who had killed the chef. A search was already underway to trace the person who had killed the chef. Fir’oun immediately convened a special session of his court officials. Haamaan, the chief minister said: “I had my suspicions from the very beginning that Musaa is the boy whom the astrologers had predicted would be the cause of your destruction. Now here is the opportunity for executing him. He is guilty of having killed a man. Musaa should be immediately put to death.”
A unanimous decision to execute Musaa (alayhis salaam) the following day was taken. Among the officials of the court was a sympathizer of Musaa (alayhis salaam). He swiftly conveyed Fir’oun’s verdict to Musaa (alayhis salaam). He urged Musaa (alayhis salaam) to flee during the night time. Musaa (alayhis salaam) understanding the gravity of the situation bid farewell to Egypt that same night. As he departed, he supplicated: “O my Rabb, save me from the people of oppression.”
On the command of Allah Ta’ala, unknown to Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam), Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) was sent to accompany Musaa (alayhis salaam). This was prior to Nubuwwat. Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) appeared in human form as if he was a traveller. Musaa (alayhis salaam), lonely and fearful was pleased to meet the ‘traveller’ along the journey. Whilst walking, the ‘traveller’ broached the subject of the City of Madyan. He spoke highly of Madyan and that it would take eight days to reach it. Soon thereafter, the ‘traveller’ (i.e. Hadhrat Jibraeel – alayhis salaam) disappeared, and Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) followed the road leading to the City of Madyan, supplicating to Allah Ta’ala. Mentioning his dua, the Qur’aan Majeed says: “Soon will my Rabb guide me to the right road.”
After a gruelling walk of eight days, he reached the fields outside the City of Madyan. Here was a well where many people had gathered to water their animals. While he was sitting under a tree, in contemplation, he observed two young ladies with covered faces holding back their goats. Musaa (alayhis salaam) enquired from them the reason for standing aloof with their goats. One of them responded that they were waiting for the others to complete their tasks of watering their animals, and that they would water their goats after the others had left. Their father was very old and sickly, hence they had to tend to the goats.
Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) went to the shepherds and reprimanded them for their inconsideration, and for not assisting the young ladies with their animals to enable them to leave for their home early. Offended by the Musaa’s reproach, the men spitefully lifted a huge slab of stone and covered the mouth of the well. Several men had to lift the slab of stone. They mockingly said to Musaa (alayhis salaam): “If you are so kind and chivalrous, let us now see how you will assist them.” Then they stood at a distance to see the ‘fun’.
Musaa (alayhis salaam) despite the tiresome journey of eight days, with hardly anything to eat besides whatever he could acquire from trees, went to the well and reciting ‘Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem,’ removed the huge slab effortlessly. He lowered the huge water-container into the well. Several men would retrieve the filled container from the well. But, Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) alone managed to draw it from the well. He continued drawing water until all the goats were fully satisfied. The two young ladies then departed with their goats.
The young ladies were the daughters of Hadhrat Nabi Shuaib (alayhis salaam). He had reached a very old age and was also blind. On this day, the ladies had arrived home with their goats well before their expected time. Surprised at their early return, Hadhrat Shuaib (alayhis salaam) queried the reason. They narrated the episode which had transpired, and the kindness of the musaafir (Musaa – alayhis salaam). Meanwhile Hadhrat Musaa (alayhis salaam) dejected and lonely sat down under a tree pondering his fate.
Having been apprized by Wahi of Hadhrat Musaa’s arrival and condition, Nabi Shuaib (alayhis salaam) said: “Alas! He is in dire straits. He is sitting all alone under a tree imploring Allah Ta’ala for some food. Go! Make haste! It appears to me that he has not eaten for eight days. Bring him here. Make haste! I fear that if we do not feed that Musaafir, a calamity will descend on this city.”