Musa (AS) versus the Magicians
The date was set, and the competition approached. Firown sent for every magician he could find in Egypt and planned to humiliate Musa (AS) in front of the entire nation. Criers were sent out to alert the people of this competition and to build excitement for the event. This was the first time that someone had dared to challenge Firown, and people wanted to see what would happen.
On the day of the festival, a huge crowd gathered to watch the incident. Before it began, Musa (AS) gave a warning, ‘Woe to you! Do not invent a lie against Allah by claiming his miracles to be magic. Otherwise, He may destroy with a great punishment. And indeed, the one who invents a lie against Allah will fail miserably.’
The magicians heard this powerful speech and began to talk among themselves. Then they replied, ‘Indeed, these are nothing other than two magicians (talking about Musa and Haroon (AS)! They want to drive you out of your land with magic and destroy your chiefs and nobles! So come up with your plan, and then get in line. Whoever wins this day will be successful.’ Then they asked, ‘Will you throw first, or will we?’
‘No, you throw first,’ replied Musa (AS). So the magicians cast down their sticks and ropes and, by magic, these began to appear as if they were moving.
When this happened, Musa (AS) felt a fear in his heart, but Allah then said to him, ‘Do not fear! Indeed, you will have the upper hand. Throw that which is in your right hand! It will swallow up what they have made. What they have made is nothing more than a magician’s trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter how much knowledge he may have.’
So Musa (AS) threw his stick as Allah commanded. Just as he had been promised, the stick became a living, moving snake, and began to eat the magician’s fake snakes. When the magicians saw this they realised that what Musa (AS) had done was no magic trick, but instead a miracle from Allah. They saw the true power that Musa (AS) had come with, and immediate fell into a bow with their foreheads to the floor and declared, ‘We believe in the Lord of Haroon and Musa.’
When Firown saw this he became enraged. This was a clear loss for him and a victory for Musa (AS), and just as he had wanted to humiliate Musa (AS), now he was getting humiliated. He screamed, ‘You dare believe in him before I give you permission? Indeed, he must be you leader who taught you magic! I will cut off your feet and hands on opposite sides and I will crucify you to the trunks of palm trees, and then you will know whether I or the Lord of Haroon and Musa can give the worse punishment!’
But the magicians had completely recognised a power greater than them and submitted fully to it. The replied, ‘We prefer the clear signs that have come to us and the One Who has Created Us over you. Indeed, we have believed in our Lord so that He may forgive our faults and the magic that you told us to do. And Allah’s reward is better than yours and longer lasting.’
Firown suffered a massive public loss and humiliation on the day of the festival. His power and position as a god were now threatened, and because of this he was furious. Now he began to treat the Banu Israel even worse than before. All of his power was based on making people scared of him, and so to try and keep himself as powerful as possible Firown began terrorising the Banu Israel even more. He did not want them thinking he was weak because he had been beaten by Musa (AS), because then they might rebel against him.
But this was not enough for Firown. He wanted to kill Musa (AS) to stop him from being a threat to his kingdom anymore. He gathered his advisors and chiefs and asked their opinion on the issue. All of them agreed to this, as who would argue with Firown? That was, except for one man. This man was a member of Firown’s own family, but secretly he had believed in Musa’s (AS) message. He argued, ‘Would you kill a man just because he says his Lord is Allah? And he has come with clear signs from his Lord. If he is a liar, then he will suffer the punishment of being a liar, but if he is telling the truth then the punishment that he is threatening you with will come and destroy you. Indeed, Allah does not guide a big sinner! O my people, right now you have the most powerful kingdom in the land. But who will save us from the punishment of Allah if it falls on us?’
Firown did not like that this member of his family was arguing with him, and the other chiefs did not listen to his warnings. The man continued to give a powerful speech warning the people not to go against Allah and advising them to do the right thing, but Firown only continued to get more and more angry.
At one point in the meeting, Firown gave an order of huge arrogance to his chief advisor, Haman, ‘O Haman, build me a tower so that I may reach the heavens and look at this God of Musa. But indeed, I think he is a liar.’ The fact that Firown thought he could see Allah if he built a tower shows how little he really knew and how arrogant he was. Haman, always trying to please the Pharaoh, agreed to this even though it was completely impossible to build a tower that high.
After this, the believing man carried on calling the advisors and chiefs to the truth, but it was a hopeless cause. They began to even threaten him with death or imprisonment, but Allah protected his believer and kept him from coming to harm.