The Story of Musa AS and Khidr
by Hana Khan
Today we are going to tell a story from the life of Musa*, or Moses, that holds many morals that we can take away and learn from. This story takes place after the Children of Israel have been left to wander around the Sinai Desert, and after the death of Musa*’s brother Aaron*.
It was narrated by the Prophet that, ‘while Musa* was sitting in the company of some Israelites, a man came and asked him. “Do you know anyone who is more learned than you?” Musa* replied: “No.” So Allah sent the Divine Inspiration to Musa*: “Yes, Our slave Khidr.” Musa* asked Allah how to meet him. So Allah made the fish as a sign for him and he was told that when the fish was lost, he should return and there he would meet Khidr. So Musa* went on looking for the sign of the fish in the sea.
When Musa* and his companion got tired and stopped for a meal the companion said “do you remember when were at the rock, I forgot the fish there.” On that Moses said: “that is what we have been seeking.” So they went back retracing their foot-steps, and found Khidr.’ [narrated Ubai bin Ka’b]
Musa* asked Khidr if he would be allowed to follow him in order to increase his knowledge. Khidr replied that Musa* would not have the patience to watch quietly when he did not understand Khidr’s motives. Musa* protested that if it was the will of God he would be patient, so Khidr allowed Musa* to accompany him on the conditions that Musa* asked no questions.
Eventually they came to a boat, which Khidr made a hole in. Musa* did not understand this and asked Khidr ‘have you made a hole in it so as to drown those in it? You have indeed done a grievous thing.’ [18:71] Khidr replied that this was exactly what he had predicted; Musa* apologised and they continued.
As they were walking they came upon a boy and Khidr killed him. Musa* was confused at Khidr’s doings and accused him ‘have you killed an innocent child? You have indeed done an evil thing.’ [18:74] Khidr replied that this was exactly what he had predicted; Musa* apologised and said to him ‘if I ever question you about anything after this then keep me no more in your company.’ [18:76]. And they continued.
The two men came to a village and requested nourishment, but were refused. There they found a crumbling wall and Khidr rebuilt it, Musa* asked why Khidr had done this for people who had denied them food. Khidr said ‘this is the parting between me and you, now I will tell you the interpretation of that which you could not bear patiently.’ [18:78] He said that he had made a hole in the boat because the King was taking all the boats by force, but would reject ones which were damaged, the people who the boat belonged to would easily be able to repair the damage caused to the boat, and be able to continue making a living with the boat.
As an explanation for the murder of the boy Khidr said that he would have grown to be an evil man and a disappointment to his righteous parents; instead God would give his parents a better son. As for the wall, buried under it was treasure belonging to two orphan brothers, and if the wall had broken any further, the inhospitable villagers would have taken it before the brothers had a chance to claim it as theirs.
The morals behind this story are relevant even today. Humility and patience are two things could have benefited prophet Musa* greatly.
*peace be upon him
Written by Hana Khan in 2014