The Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt

After Musa stayed in Egypt for a long time, and the proof of Allah was established against Fir`awn and his chiefs, yet they were still arrogant and stubborn, then there was nothing left for them but punishment and vengeance. So Allah commanded Musa, peace be upon him, to take the Children of Israel out of Egypt by night, and take them wherever he would be commanded. So Musa, peace be upon him, did as he was commanded by his Lord, may He be glorified, and he led them forth after they had borrowed an abundance of jewelry from the people of Fir`awn. As more than one of the scholars of Tafsir have said, they left when the moon was rising, and Mujahid, may Allah have mercy on him, said that the moon was eclipsed that night. And Allah knows best. Musa asked about the grave of Yusuf (Prophet Joseph), peace be upon him, and an old woman from among the Children of Israel showed him where it was, so he took the remains with them, and it was said that they were among the things that were carried by Musa himself, may peace be upon them both. It was also said that Yusuf, peace be upon him, had left instructions in his will that if the Children of Israel ever left Egypt, they should take his remains with them. The following morning, when there was nobody to be found in the Israelite quarters, Fir`awn became angry and his anger intensified since Allah had decreed that he was to be destroyed. So he quickly sent his callers to all his cities, i.e., to mobilize his troops and bring them together, and he called out to them:

إِنَّ هَـؤُلآءِ

(Verily, these) meaning, the Children of Israel,

لَشِرْذِمَةٌ قَلِيلُونَ

(indeed are but a small band. ) meaning, a small group.

وَإِنَّهُمْ لَنَا لَغَآئِظُونَ

(And verily, they have done what has enraged us.) means, `every time we have heard anything about them, it has upset us and made us angry.’

وَإِنَّا لَجَمِيعٌ حَـذِرُونَ

(But we are a host all assembled, amply forewarned.) means, `we are constantly taking precautions lest they betray us.’ Some of the Salaf read this with the meaning, “we are constantly forewarned and forearmed. And I want to destroy them to the last man, and destroy all their lands and property.” So he and his troops were punished with the very things he sought to inflict upon the Children of Israel. Allah says:

فَأَخْرَجْنَـهُمْ مِّن جَنَّـتٍ وَعُيُونٍ – وَكُنُوزٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ

(So, We expelled them from gardens and springs, treasures, and every kind of honorable place.) meaning, they were thrown out of those blessings and into Hell, and they left behind the honorable places, gardens and rivers, wealth, provision, position and power in this world:

كَذَلِكَ وَأَوْرَثْنَـهَا بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ

(Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them.) This is like the Ayat:

وَأَوْرَثْنَا الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ كَانُواْ يُسْتَضْعَفُونَ مَشَـرِقَ الاٌّرْضِ وَمَغَـرِبَهَا الَّتِى بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا

(And We made the people who were considered weak to inherit the eastern parts of the land and the western parts thereof which We have blessed) (7: 137).

وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ

(And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land, and to make them rulers and to make them the inheritors) The two Ayat thereafter: 28:5-6.

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