HEAVENLY STAFF ‘Asaa-e-Musa’
It was the holy staff of Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام which is commonly known as ‘Asaa-e-Musa’. Several miracles exhibited by Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام were by virtue of this holy staff. These miracles have been mentioned by the Holy Quran under different topics repeatedly.
The history of this holy staff is very ancient and it comprises of hundreds of historical events that impart thousands of moral lessons.
Those who possess the spiritual insight can avail the light of guidance from these events.
The staff was as tall as Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام i.e. ten arms-length [approx. 15ft]. Its head was split into two branches that would emit the light at night like a lamp. It was made from the heavenly tree of Salvadora Persica [Peelu] and Sayyiduna Aadam عليه السلام عليه السلام had brought it with him from the Paradise.
After Sayyiduna Aadam عليه السلام عليه السلام, the holy staff was passed on as a prophetic heritage to several distinguished Prophets عليهم الصلوة والسلام one after the other. Then finally, it reached Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عليه السلام, who was a Prophet sent to the people of Madyan. When Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام migrated from Egypt to Madyan, Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عليه السلام got his daughter, Sayyidatuna Saffura married with Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام. Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام served Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عليه السلام for ten years. He would herd the goats of Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عليه السلام during that period. At that time, upon receiving the command of Allah ﷻ, Sayyiduna Shu’ayb عليه السلام gave the holy staff to Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام.
When Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام left Madyan for his homeland [Egypt] with his blessed wife and reached in the sacred valley of ‘Tuwa’, Allah ﷻ blessed him with the glimpse of His Divine Light and raised his rank by bestowing him with the Prophethood.
The Holy Quran describes how Allah ﷻ addressed Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام at that time in the following words:
وَمَا تِلْكَ بِيَمِينِكَ يَا مُوسَىٰ – 20:17
قَالَ هِيَ عَصَايَ أَتَوَكَّأُ عَلَيْهَا وَأَهُشُّ بِهَا عَلَىٰ غَنَمِي وَلِيَ فِيهَا مَآرِبُ أُخْرَىٰ – 20:18
‘And what is this in your right hand, O Musa?’ He said, ‘It is my staff; I lean on it, I knock down leaves for my sheep with it, and there are my other works in it.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 16, Surah Taahaa, verse 17-18)
In the context of مَآرِبُ أُخْرَىٰ’ i.e. other works that were accomplished through that staff; Sayyiduna ‘Allamah Abul Barakaat ‘Abdullah Bin Ahmad Nasfi رحمة اللہ تعالٰی علیہ has mentioned following things in Tafseer of this part of the Quranic verse:
1. Holding it and walking taking its support.
2. Talking to it as a pastime.
3. The staff becoming a tree and providing shade during the daytime.
4. In the night time, the two forked branches of the staff would glow and provide light.
5. Using it as a protection against enemies, wild beasts, snakes and scorpions.
6. At the time of drawing out water from a well, the staff would turn into a rope and its two forked branches would turn into a bucket.
7. As and when required the staff would turn into a tree and would bear desired fruits.
8. Water would emerge upon pegging the staff into the ground.
(Madarik-ut-Tanzeel, vol. 3, pp. 251; part 16, Surah Taahaa, verse 18)
Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام above mentioned things with the holy staff. When Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام went to the court of pharaoh to guide him towards the right path, pharaoh denied Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام and blamed him to be a magician. Thereafter wonderful miracles were exhibited through the blessed staff.
The Holy Quran has mentioned three of those miracles repeatedly:
Staff became a serpent
Once pharaoh arranged a huge carnival and gathered all of the magicians of his kingdom in order to defeat Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام. In the midst of this carnival which was crowded with hundreds and thousands of people, at one side stood a large number of magicians holding their magic devices in their hands and on the other side, there stood Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام all alone yet determined against all of them. The magicians swore by the grace of pharaoh and threw their sticks and ropes onto the ground. Suddenly, those sticks and ropes became hissing snakes slithering all over the field. The whole crowd lost senses out of fear and a stampede broke out. Pharaoh and all of his magicians swelled with arrogance upon demonstrating their show and began to clap arrogantly considering it their victory.
Meanwhile, upon receiving the command of Allah ﷻ Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام placed his holy staff among the snakes. The blessed staff turned into a big and horrifying serpent that swallowed all of the snakes of the magicians. Upon witnessing this miracle, all of the magicians admitted their defeat and fell prostrate while proclaiming ‘We believe in Him Who is the Lord of Haroon and Musa’.
Therefore, while mentioning this incident, the Holy Quran says:
قَالُوا يَا مُوسَىٰ إِمَّا أَن تُلْقِيَ وَإِمَّا أَن نَّكُونَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ أَلْقَىٰ – 20:65
قَالَ بَلْ أَلْقُوا ۖ فَإِذَا حِبَالُهُمْ وَعِصِيُّهُمْ يُخَيَّلُ إِلَيْهِ مِن سِحْرِهِمْ أَنَّهَا تَسْعَىٰ – 20:66
فَأَوْجَسَ فِي نَفْسِهِ خِيفَةً مُّوسَىٰ – 20:67
قُلْنَا لَا تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْأَعْلَىٰ – 20:68
وَأَلْقِ مَا فِي يَمِينِكَ تَلْقَفْ مَا صَنَعُوا ۖ إِنَّمَا صَنَعُوا كَيْدُ سَاحِرٍ ۖ وَلَا يُفْلِحُ السَّاحِرُ حَيْثُ أَتَىٰ – 20:69
فَأُلْقِيَ السَّحَرَةُ سُجَّدًا قَالُوا آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ هَارُونَ وَمُوسَىٰ – 20:70
They said, ‘O Musa, either you throw first – or shall we throw first?’ He said, ‘Rather, you may throw’; there upon their ropes and their sticks, by the strength of their magic, appeared to him as if they were fast running. And Musa sensed fear in his heart. We said, ‘Do not fear – it is you who is dominant.’ And cast down what is in your right hand – it will swallow their fabrications; what they have made is the trick of the magician; and a magician does not prosper, anywhere he comes.’ Therefore all the magicians were put down to prostrate – they said, ‘We believe in Him Who is the Lord of Haroon and Musa.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 16, Surah Taahaa, verse 65-70)
Springs emerged by virtue of staff’s stroke
Syria was the native country of Israelites (the Bani Israel) – but these people settled in Egypt during the reign of Sayyiduna Yusuf عليه السلام and the people of ‘Amaliqah, the worst of the unbelievers, dominated Syria. When pharaoh drowned in the River Nile and Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام was secured from the tyrannies of pharaoh, Allah ﷻ commanded Musa to do Jihad (holy war) against the people of ‘Amaliqah and free Syria from their domination. Therefore, Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام mobilized an army of six hundred thousand Israelites and moved for Jihad. However, when the Israelites reached within the borders of Syria, they became so terrified of the people of ‘Amaliqah that they gave up and fled from Jihad.
As a consequence of disobeying the command of Allah ﷻ, the Israelites were punished in such a way that they went wandering in the plains of Teeh for forty years and could not get out of it. Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام also stayed with them in that field. When those people became restless due to the thirst and hunger in the plains where no signs of food and water existed, Allah ﷻ descended ‘Mann-o-Salwa’ for them from the skies by virtue of the supplication made by Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام.
Mann was a type of sweet confectionary similar to honey and Salwa was roasted quails. After eating, when they became restless due to extreme thirst, Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام struck a stone with his staff. Immediately, twelve springs emerged from the stone. The twelve tribes of the Bani Israel began drinking water from their individual springs, and also served this water to their cattle. It continued for forty years. It was a miracle of Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام that occurred with the help of the holy staff and stone.
The Holy Quran describes this miracle as under:
وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ
And when Musa asked for water for his people, We said, ‘Strike this rock with your staff’; straight away twelve springs gushed forth from it; each group recognised its drinking-place.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 60)
Stroke of staff split the Niles
Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام preached pharaoh for a long time and showed him heavenly signs and miracles. However, he did not embrace the truth and grew even further in his mischief and stubbornness. The Israelites did not accept pharaoh as their Lord; therefore, he tortured them severely. During this persecution, a Divine revelation was revealed upon Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام directing him to migrate from Egypt along with the Bani Israel overnight. Therefore, Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام left Egypt overnight along with the Israelites. When pharaoh came to know about it, he mobilized his army to arrest the Israelites. When the two armies became close to each other, the Israelites shrieked out of the fear of pharaoh and thought they would now be arrested by pharaoh. The prevailing situation for the Israelites was very serious because, at one side, they were confronted by the river with big tidal waves in front of them and the bloodthirsty army of pharaoh on the other side.
Under this alarming situation, Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام was relaxed and was consoling the Israelites. When they approached the river, Allah ﷻ commanded Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام to strike the river with his staff. Therefore, the moment he struck the river with his blessed staff, twelve clear roads developed across the river. The Israelites walked over these twelve paths and crossed the river safely.
When pharaoh reached the river and saw the twelve roads, he went onto the roads along with his army. However, when he and his army reached the middle of the river, suddenly the huge waves rose and engulfed the roads. Consequently, pharaoh drowned into the river, along with his army.
The Holy Quran mentions the incident in these words:
فَلَمَّا تَرَاءَى الْجَمْعَانِ قَالَ أَصْحَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِنَّا لَمُدْرَكُونَ – 26:61
قَالَ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ – 26:62
فَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ مُوسَىٰ أَنِ اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْبَحْرَ ۖ فَانفَلَقَ فَكَانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطَّوْدِ الْعَظِيمِ – 26:63
وَأَزْلَفْنَا ثَمَّ الْآخَرِينَ – 26:64
وَأَنجَيْنَا مُوسَىٰ وَمَن مَّعَهُ أَجْمَعِينَ – 26:65
ثُمَّ أَغْرَقْنَا الْآخَرِينَ – 26:66
إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً ۖ وَمَا كَانَ أَكْثَرُهُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ – 26:67
And when the two groups saw each other, those with Musa said, ‘They have captured us.’ Said Musa, ‘Not so, indeed my Lord is with me, He will now show me the way.’ So We sent the Divine revelation to Musa that, ‘Strike the sea with your staff’; there upon the sea parted; so each part became like a huge mountain. And We brought the others close to that place. And We saved Musa and all those with him, then drowned the others. Indeed in this is necessarily a sign, and most of them were not Muslims.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 19, Surah Ash-Shu’ara, verse 61-67)
These are the three wonderful miracles that occurred through the blessed staff of Sayyiduna Musa عليه السلام, that have been mentioned in the Holy Quran repeatedly in different contexts to provide moral
lessons for the people. ”
وَاللّٰه تَعَالٰى اَعلَم
صَلُّوا عَلَی الْحَبِيْب! صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلٰی مُحَمَّد صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ