Between Musa, peace be upon him, and the Sorcerers Allah describes the actual encounter between Musa, peace be upon him,and the Egyptians in Surat Al-A` raf, Surah Ta Ha, and in this Surah

The Egyptians wanted to extinguish the Light of Allah with their words, but Allah insisted that His Light should prevail even though the disbelievers disliked that. This is the issue of disbelief and faith; they never confront one another but faith always prevails:

بَلْ نَقْذِفُ بِالْحَقِّ عَلَى الْبَـطِلِ فَيَدْمَغُهُ فَإِذَا هُوَ زَاهِقٌ وَلَكُمُ الْوَيْلُ مِمَّا تَصِفُونَ

(Nay, We fling the truth against the falsehood, so it destroys it, and behold, it disappears. And woe to you for that which you ascribe.) (21:18)

وَقُلْ جَآءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَـطِلُ

(And say: “Truth has come and falsehood has vanished.”) (17:81) The sorcerers of Egypt were the most skilled in the art of illusion, but when a huge group of them gathered from all corners of the land, and the people came together on that day whose exact numbers are known to Allah Alone, one of them said:

لَعَلَّنَا نَتَّبِعُ السَّحَرَةَ إِن كَانُواْ هُمُ الْغَـلِبِينَ

(That we may follow the sorcerers if they are the winners.) They did not say: `we will follow the truth, whether it rests with the sorcerers or with Musa;’ the people were followers of the religion of their king.

فَلَمَّا جَآءَ السَّحَرَةُ

(So, when the sorcerers arrived,) means, when they reached the court of Fir`awn, and a pavilion had been erected for him. There he gathered his servants, followers, administrators, and provincial leaders, and the soldiers of his kingdom. The sorcerers stood before Fir`awn, asking him to treat them well and bring them closer to him if they prevailed in this matter which he had brought them together for. They said:

فَلَمَّا جَآءَ السَّحَرَةُ قَالُواْ لِفِرْعَوْنَ أَإِنَّ لَنَا لاّجْراً إِن كُنَّا نَحْنُ الْغَـلِبِينَ – قَالَ نَعَمْ وَإِنَّكُمْ إِذاً لَّمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ

(“Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners” He said: “Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near.”) meaning, `and you will be given more than what you are asking for; I will make you among those who are close to me, those who sit with me.’ So they went back to their places:

قَالُواْ يمُوسَى إِمَّآ أَن تُلْقِىَ وَإِمَّآ أَن نَّكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَلْقَى قَالَ بَلْ أَلْقُواْ

(They said: “O Musa! Either you throw first or we be the first to throw” (Musa) said: “Nay, throw you (first)!”) (20:65-66). Here the incident is described more briefly. Musa said to them:

أَلْقُواْ مَآ أَنتُمْ مُّلْقُونَفَأَلْقَوْاْ حِبَـلَهُمْ وَعِصِيَّهُمْ وَقَالُواْ بِعِزَّةِ فِرْعَونَ إِنَّا لَنَحْنُ الْغَـلِبُونَ

(“Throw what you are going to throw!” So, they threw their ropes and their sticks, and said: “By the might of Fir`awn, it is we who will certainly win!”) This is what the ignorant masses say when they do something: `this is by the virtue of So-and-so!’ In Surat Al-A`raf Allah mentioned that they:

سَحَرُواْ أَعْيُنَ النَّاسِ وَاسْتَرْهَبُوهُمْ وَجَآءُو بِسِحْرٍ عَظِيمٍ

(They bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them, and they displayed a great magic) (7:116). And in Surah Ta Ha He said:

فَإِذَا حِبَالُهُمْ وَعِصِيُّهُمْ يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ مِن سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَى

(Then behold! their ropes and their sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved fast.) until Allah saying:

وَلاَ يُفْلِحُ السَّـحِرُ حَيْثُ أَتَى

(and the magician will never be successful, whatever the amount (of skill) he may attain) (20:69). And here Allah says:

فَأَلْقَى مُوسَى عَصَـهُ فَإِذَا هِىَ تَلْقَفُ مَا يَأْفِكُونَ

(Then Musa threw his stick, and behold, it swallowed up all that they falsely showed!) by snatching up and catching them from every corner and swallowing them up, and it did not leave any of them untouched. Allah says:

فَوَقَعَ الْحَقُّ وَبَطَلَ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

(Thus truth was confirmed, and all that they did was made of no effect.) until

رَبِّ مُوسَى وَهَـرُونَ

(The Lord of Musa and Harun.) (7:118-122) This was a very serious matter, furnishing decisive proof leaving no room for any excuse. Fir`awn’s supporters, who sought and hoped that they would prevail over Musa, were themselves defeated. At that moment they believed in Musa and prostrated to Allah, the Lord of Al-`Alamin Who sent Musa and Harun with the truth and an obvious miracle. Fir`awn was defeated in a manner the likes of which the world had never seen, but he remained arrogant and stubborn despite the clear evidence, may the curse of Allah and the angels and all of mankind be upon him. He resorted to arrogance and stubbornness and propagating falsehood. He began to issue threats against them, saying:

إِنَّهُ لَكَبِيرُكُمُ الَّذِى عَلَّمَكُمُ السِّحْرَ

(Verily, he is your chief who has taught you magic) (20:71).

إِنَّ هَـذَا لَمَكْرٌ مَّكَرْتُمُوهُ فِى الْمَدِينَةِ

(Surely, this is a plot which you have plotted in the city) (7:123).

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