The Iran nuclear deal has started political posturing from both sides as congressional members begin assessing the deal in the next few weeks. The GOP sees Iran nuke deal as a chance to cultivate Jewish voters. Various American Jewish organizations are arming themselves for multi-million dollar campaigns “targeting lawmakers still undecided about this agreement”. Behind the scenes of this political drama there is a stereotype of perceived Jewish-Muslim animosity. Jews, who are the followers of Moses, consider Israel to be their “promised land” and this deal according to them threatens their existence because Iran, which is a Muslim country, wants to “wipe Israel of the map.” Keeping politics aside for a moment, I will present a perspective about Moses from the Quran. This is not an effort to justify the Iran nuclear deal, nor is it an endorsement of Israel’s concerns. It is simply an expression of love for Moses that I find in the Quran. And I find it very difficult for someone who loves Moses to hate his true followers or keep an ill intent for them.
The Quran mentions Moses over 120 times, more than any other Prophet mentioned by name. The Quran has captured fine details of Moses’ childhood, youth, marriage, mission, miracles and his candid and innocent dialog with God. Let me illustrate it with few examples.
Moses birth took place at a time when the Israelites were oppressed under Pharaoh’s tyrannical rule. Pharaoh’s vicious plan was to kill all newborn males of Israel so no one would grow up to challenge him. In these circumstances it was but natural for Moses’ mother to be deeply concerned and fearful. On this occasion, God’s way of consoling her is heartwarming, “And We revealed to the mother of Moses saying, ‘Suckle him; and when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve; for We shall restore him to you, and shall make him one of the Messengers.” Therefore according to God’s plan Moses got to Pharaoh’s household as an adopted child and Moses’ mother became his nurse. (28:8-14)
Thereafter Moses grew up to be “a strong and a mature man”, who was given “wisdom and knowledge.” The Quran captures an incident when Moses accidently killed a person while helping one of his fellow Israelite. He later had to flee Egypt and take refuge in Median for a few years. (28:16-23) When he was headed to Median in desperation, he made an earnest supplication to God that is captured in the Quran. Moses said, “My Lord, I am in need of whatever good Thou may send down to me.” (28:25) It became apparent from the chain of events that unfolded afterwards that God answered Moses’ prayer. God gave him a wife, a home and an occupation. Moses stayed in Median for about eight to ten years. (28:26-30)
Then came the time for Moses’ appointment as the Messenger of God. The Quran describes Moses’ conversations with God in way that is candid and innocent. One such example is when God asked Moses, “What is in your right hand.” His response was simple and straightforward like someone who wants to carry a conversation with his Beloved. He replied, ‘This is my rod, I lean on it, and beat down therewith leaves for my sheep, and I have also other uses for it.” (20:19)
God chose Moses for His mission and the Quran proclaims that “surely, We sent Moses with Our Signs and manifest authority.” (11:97) “And We gave Moses the Book, and We made it a guidance for the children of Israel, saying, ‘Take no guardian beside Me.’” (17:3)
This is just a glimpse of how beautiful the Quranic expression is about Moses. As a Muslim its part of my faith to believe in the truthfulness of Moses and the guidance he brought to the Israelites. When I read in the Quran that “Surely, the Believers, and the Jews, and the Christians and the Sabians — whichever party from among these truly believes in God and the Last Day and does good deeds — shall have their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve,” (2:63) I am assured that the true believers of Muhammad and Moses have much more in common than what is perceived. Both groups can build a relationship of trust and mutual respect on the basis of these common grounds. As per the politics, I will only say what Benjamin Disraeli famously observed, “nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”