Because of the nature of science as a sceptical discipline that is supposed to be fair and unbiased, it sometimes ignores – at its own peril – spiritual explanation of phenomena it cannot explain. Meaning, the spiritual and the esoteric are necessarily anti- or, at best, para-science. At most times, therefore, Science refuses to bring God, Allah, into the equation to explain phenomena that are plainly inexplicable – giving to Nature all that is X.
But those who believe in religion also believe all what science says about causes and effects of pandemics such as COVID-19 but, higher than the ‘purists’, also believe in the ‘Hidden Hand’, or the divine interpretation of things.
Last week, we discussed the Story of Yunus (Jonah) who was cast into the sea and into the belly of the whale. As a Prophet of God, the Almighty decided to use Jonah’s case for Mankind to learn a lesson, or two.
Now, it is not only Prophets that Allah chooses to make examples of. Allah, the Almighty and Wise, is always Oft-forgiving (Afuw, Ghafur, Tawwab, Rahman, Rahim, ad infinitum). Therefore, today, we narrate “The Story of Moses and the Sinner” (as retold at www.islamicstories.com/story/82 and www.islamweb.net/en/fatwa/339025/story-about-moses-and-repentant-man-probably-from-israaeeliyyaat).
“It has been related that during the time when Musa (Moses, upon whom be peace) and the Children of Israel wandered in the desert, an intense drought befell them and were afflicted with a severe thirst. The people went to Musa and said, ‘O one who has spoken to Allah, invoke your Lord to provide us with rain.’
“The Prophet and the people, numbering 70,000 or more, raised their hands towards the heavens, supplicating for rain and Allah’s mercy. However, nothing happened, except that the sky seemed to be even drier and the sun seemed even more oppressive with its heat. In fact, to the astonishment of all those watching, the few scattered clouds that were in the sky vanished. Musa was surprised and asked his Lord for the reason behind that.
“Allah Exalted be His Name, revealed to Musa that there was a sinner amongst the people who had disobeyed Allah for more than forty years. ‘Let him separate himself from the congregation, for because of him you were denied. Only then shall I shower you with rain.’ Musa said, ‘My Lord, I am weak and my voice is weak. How can my voice reach 70,000 and more?’ Allah revealed to him, ‘From you is the call and from Us is its conveyance.’
“Musa then called out to the people, ‘There is a person amongst us who has disobeyed Allah for forty years. Let him separate himself from the congregation, and only then shall we be rescued from this drought.’
“The sinner turned to the left and to the right, hoping that someone else would step forward, but no one did. Sweat poured forth from his brow, and he trembled as he stood among the multitude. He then said to himself, ‘If I go forth, I will expose myself and be humiliated for all eternity. But if I stay, all would die of thirst.’
“The man put his head in his garment, and cried out to God, regretting his evil deeds with a sincerity and humility he had never known before. As tears poured down on his cheeks, he prayed, ‘O God! Have mercy on me! Hide my sins! Forgive me!’ No sooner than the sinner finished his istighfar (repentance), while the people were still waiting for someone to step forward, than white clouds appeared, hugged the sky and the rain came down in abundance.
“Musa then asked his Lord, “O Allah, You blessed us with rain even though the sinner did not come forward?’ And he was told, ‘O Musa, I have given you rain because of the repentance of the same person I had forbidden it to you.’ Then Musa asked his Lord to reveal the person to him, saying, ‘My Lord, let me see this obedient slave for whom we were denied and for whom we are now saved.’
“But Allah told His Prophet, “O Musa, I did not expose him when he was disobeying Me, and had covered him when he was a sinner; how then do you expect Me to expose him when he is back to Me as sincere repentant?”
As for the source of this story in Islamic books, Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) reported it in his book Kitaab At-Tawwaabeen without stating any chain of narrators. He narrated it in the passive form, saying, “It was reported.” Then both Al-Ghazaali in Ihyaa’ ‘Uloom Ad-Deen and Al-Qurtubi in his Tafseer (exegesis) reported a similar story reported by Ka’b Al-Ahbar, which might indicate it is from the Isra’iliyyat (stories from Jewish sources).
In spite of that, from this story we learn multiple benefits, one being that sins can prevent you from receiving your sustenance from Allah, just as the sinners had prevented the entire people from receiving rain. We also learn that when we do something for Allah’s sake, then Allah will help us, just like how He helped Prophet Musa (upon whom be peace) speak to all seventy thousand followers.
Another important point is regarding the exposing of sins. In recent times we see Muslims exposing their sins on social media. Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) said: “All of my nation may be forgiven except those who commit sin openly. It is a kind of committing sin openly if a man does something at night, then morning comes and Allah has concealed his sin, but he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when his Lord has concealed him (his action) all night but in the morning he reveals that which Allah had concealed for him.” Narrated by Bukhari, 5721; Muslim, 2990.
O Allah! Conceal our shortcomings! We hide our heads in Your Mercy and pray MUN TUBA! Lift away Coronavirus from the Earth.