The Quran

Commentaries for 28.25

Al Qasas (The narrative) - القصص

28.25 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Then there came unto him one of the two women) the youngest of the two, whose name was Zipporah (Saffurah), (walking shyly) with her hand on her face. (She said: Lo! my father biddeth thee, that he may reward thee with a payment for that thou didst water (the flock) for us. Then, when he came unto him) when Moses went to Yathron, the nephew of the Prophet Shu'ayb who had died before (and told him) told Yathron (the (whole) story) of his escape from Pharaoh and the rest of it, (he said) Yathron said to him: (Fear not! thou hast escaped from the wrong-doing folk) the people of Egypt.
28.25 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
God, exalted be He, says: Then one of the two women came to him, walking bashfully — in other words, covering her face with the sleeve of her shirt, being shy of him — and said, ‘My father invites you, that he may pay you a wage for watering [our flock] for us’. He accepted her invitation, while inwardly he disapproved of accepting any wage, for it was as though she sought to remunerate him and as though he were of those who would want it [which he was not]. She walked in front of him but when the wind began to blow off her dress and reveal her legs, he said to her, ‘Walk behind me and show me the way’, which she did. Finally he came to her father, Shu‘ayb, peace be upon him, who was sitting with some supper in front of him. He said to him, ‘Sit and have some supper’. He [Moses] said, ‘I hope that this is not [some sort of] compensation for having watered [their flock] for them? For we are People of a House and do not demand compensation for good deeds’. He [Shu‘ayb] said, ‘No. It is [simply] a custom of mine and of my forefathers to be hospitable to guests and to offer them food’. Thus, he [Moses] ate and informed him of his predicament. God, exalted be He, says: So when he came to him and recounted to him the story (al-qasas is a verbal noun with the sense of al-maqsūs, ‘that which is recounted’), of his slaying of the Egyptian and their intention to slay him and his fear of Pharaoh, he [their father] said, ‘Do not be afraid. You have escaped from the evildoing people’, as Pharaoh had no authority over Midian.
28.25-28 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Musa, the Father of the Two Women, and His Marriage to One of Them
When the two women came back quickly with the sheep, their father was surprised that they returned so soon. He asked them what had happened, and they told him what Musa, peace be upon him, had done. So he sent one of them to call him to meet her father. Allah says:
فَجَآءَتْهُ إِحْدَاهُمَا تَمْشِى عَلَى اسْتِحْيَآءٍ
(Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly.) meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the faithful, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him: "She was covering herself from them with the folds of her garment.'' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Amr bin Maymun said, `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.'' This chain of narrators is Sahih.
قَالَتْ إِنَّ أَبِى يَدْعُوكَ لِيَجْزِيَكَ أَجْرَ مَا سَقَيْتَ لَنَا
(She said: "Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.'') This is an example of good manners: she did not invite him directly lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her. Rather she said: "My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep,'' i.e., give you some payment for that.
فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُ وَقَصَّ عَلَيْهِ الْقَصَصَ
(So when he came to him and narrated the story, ) means, he told him about his story and why he had to leave his country.
قَالَ لاَ تَخَفْ نَجَوْتَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّـلِمِينَ
(he said: "Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.'') He was saying: `calm down and relax, for you have left their kingdom and they have no authority in our land.' So he said:
نَجَوْتَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الظَّـلِمِينَ
(You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.)
قَالَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ
(And said one of them: "O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.'') One of the two daughters of the man said this, and it was said that she was the one who had walked behind Musa, peace be upon him. She said to her father:
يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ
(O my father! Hire him!) as a shepherd to look after the sheep. `Umar, Ibn `Abbas, Shurayh Al-Qadi, Abu Malik, Qatadah, Muhammad bin Ishaq and others said: "When she said:
إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ
(Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.) her father said to her, `What do you know about that' She said to him, `He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.''' `Abdullah (Ibn Mas`ud) said, "The people who had the most discernment were three: Abu Bakr's intuition about `Umar; the companion of Yusuf when he said, `Make his stay comfortable'; and the companion of Musa, when she said:
يأَبَتِ اسْتَـْجِرْهُ إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ اسْتَـْجَرْتَ الْقَوِىُّ الأَمِينُ
(O my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.).''
إِنِّى أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُنكِحَكَ إِحْدَى ابْنَتَىَّ هَاتَيْنِ
(I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you,) means, this old man asked him to take care of his flocks, then he would marry one of his two daughters to him.
عَلَى أَن تَأْجُرَنِى ثَمَانِىَ حِجَجٍ فَإِنْ أَتْمَمْتَ عَشْراً فَمِنْ عِندِكَ
(on condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you.) meaning, `on the condition that you tend my flocks for eight years, and if you want to give me two extra years, that is up to you, but if you do not want to, then eight years is enough.'
وَمَآ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَيْكَ سَتَجِدُنِى إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّـلِحِينَ
(But I intend not to place you under a difficulty. If Allah wills, you will find me one of the righteous.) means, `I do not want to put pressure on you or cause you any inconvenience or argue with you.' Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Ali bin Rabah Al-Lakhmi said, "I heard `Utbah bin An-Nadar As-Sulami, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah narrating that the Messenger of Allah said:
«إِنَّ مُوسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ آجَرَ نَفْسَهُ بِعِفَّةِ فَرْجِهِ وَطُعْمَةِ بَطْنِه»
(Musa, peace be upon him, hired himself out for the purpose of keeping chaste and to feed himself.) And Allah tells us about Musa, peace be upon him:
قَالَ ذَلِكَ بَيْنِى وَبَيْنَكَ أَيَّمَا الاٌّجَلَيْنِ قَضَيْتُ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ عَلَىَّ وَاللَّهُ عَلَى مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ
(He said: "That (is settled) between me and you: whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me, and Allah is Surety over what we say.'') Musa said to his father-in-law, "The matter is as you say. You have hired me for eight years, and if I complete ten years, that is my choice, but if I do the lesser amount, I will still have fulfilled the covenant and met the conditions.'' So he said:
أَيَّمَا الاٌّجَلَيْنِ قَضَيْتُ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ عَلَىَّ
(whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there will be no injustice to me,) meaning, `there will be no blame on me. The complete term is permissible but it is still regarded as something extra.' This is like the Ayah,
فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ فَلاَ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ
(But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him) (2:203). And the Messenger of Allah said to Hamzah bin `Amr Al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him, who used to fast a great deal and who asked him about fasting while traveling:
«إِنْ شِئْتَ فَصُمْ، وَإِنْ شِئْتَ فَأَفْطِر»
(If you wish, then fast, and if you wish, do not fast.) even though it is better to fast, according to the evidence of other reports. And there is evidence which indicates that Musa, peace be upon him, fulfilled the longer of the two terms. Al-Bukhari recorded that Sa`id bin Jubayr said: "A Jew from the people of Hirah asked me; `Which of the two terms did Musa fulfill' I said, `I do not know until I go to the scholar of the Arabs and ask him.' So I went to Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, and asked him. He said: `He fulfilled the longer and better of them, for when a Messenger of Allah said he would do a thing, he did it.''' This is how it was recorded by Al-Bukhari.
28.24-25 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Hadrat `Umar has explained this sentence, thus: "She came walking modestly, with her face covered with a part of her outer garment, unlike those immodest women, who go about wherever they like, and enter wherever they like without any hesitation." Several traditions bearing on this subject have been reported by Said bin Mansur, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim-and Ibn al-Mundhir from Hadrat 'Umar through authentic chains of authorities. This shows that the Islamic concept of modesty which the Companions of the Holy Prophet had understood from the Qur'an and the teaching and training of the Holy Prophet was absolutely opposed to keeping the face exposed to the other then and moving about immodestly. outside the house. hadrat `Umar has clearly regarded covering of the face as a symbol of modesty and exposing it to the other men as an immodesty and shamelessness.
She said this also out of modesty, for she had to give a sound reason for her coming to another man all alone; otherwise it was not at all necessary that a gentleman should have been rewarded if he had rendered some service to the (helpless) women in trouble. And then, in spite of hearing of a reward, the Prophet Moses' willingness to follow her forthwith to her house indicates the state of extreme helplessness in which he found himself at that time. He had left Egypt empty-handed and might have taken at least eight days to reach Midian. He must be hungry and worn out by journey. And, above all, he must be anxious to find a shelter in the unfamiliar land and a sympathetic person to give him refuge. Under this very compulsion, in spite of hearing that he was being called to be rewarded for a small service he had rendered, the Prophet Moses felt no hesitation in going with the woman. He must have thought that the prayer he had just made to God was being answered thus by God Himself. Therefore, he did not think it was right to turn down the means of hospitality provided by his Lord by an unnecessary show of self-respect.