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23 May 2019 CE | 19 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Musa and the Stone

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Musa was a very modest person who kept himself covered. None of his body could be seen because of his extreme modesty. Some of the Bani Isra’il annoyed him by saying, ‘He conceals himself to this extent only because of a defect in his skin, either leprosy or scrotal hernia, or some other defect,’ but Allah wished to clear him. So one day while he was alone, he took off his clothes and put them under a stone and took a bath. When he had finished taking the bath he turned towards his clothes but the stone took them and fled. Musa picked up his staff and ran after the stone, saying, ‘My garment, stone! My garment, stone.’ (He raced) till he reached a company of the Bani Isra’il who saw him naked in the most beautiful form Allah had created so they cleared him of what they used to accuse him. The stone stopped there and Musa took his garment. He began to beat the stone with his staff.”

“By Allah, the stone still has some traces of the effect of beating, three, four, or five scars. This is what Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) refers to when He says: ‘O you who believe! Be not like those who annoyed Musa, but Allah cleared him of what they said, and he was honoured in Allah’s sight. [Surah Ahzab: 69]’” [Sahih Bukhari]

Another hadith elucidates that “the Bani Isra’il used to bathe in the nude (all together) looking at one another (shamelessly).” [Sahih Bukhari] Musa (alaihis salam) would not bathe with them because of his modesty. This hadith is very relevant to Muslims today who dress and behave modestly. They can empathize with how Musa (alaihis salam) must have felt when his modesty was ridiculed. People are accused of having either physical defects or intellectual or psychological shortcomings for dressing or behaving modestly. But modesty is from eeman while indecency and flirtatiousness are from hypocrisy.

Foolish people do not hold themselves back from causing suffering even to prophets. However, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) does not tolerate His prophets being falsely accused or annoyed. In fact, the ayat referring to this incident follows Allah’s instructions to believers regarding how they should conduct themselves with regard to Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) since some of their actions were difficult on the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam).

It is not known for a stone to pick up clothes and run with them or for a wooden stick to be able to leave scars on rock. However, everything is subject to the command of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Fire burns but when Allah ordered it, the fire turned cool for Ibraheem (alaihis salam). Poison kills man but it was panacea for Khalid bin Waleed (radi Allahu anhu) when he drank a bowl of it. It is the characteristic of water that it drowns, but a whole army of the Sahabah marched over the Dajlah (Tigris) on horseback and reached the other side.

The peculiarities of all things are subject to the commands of Allah. He created the laws that govern them and thus He, and only He, can suspend or alter these laws, which accounts for miracles. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) sometimes demonstrates the extraordinary to remind us of His power, since people get used to the miracles of existence they see around them and thus take them for granted.

From this hadith we also learn to show patience with the foolish. When they do not abstain from bothering prophets they will certainly cause distress to ordinary Muslims engaged in religious teaching. The ranks of those who show patience will be raised on account of it.

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