I used to love hearing Prophet stories when I was young. The parting of the sea, the bright white hand of Musa AS, the fire turning into a garden for Ibrahim AS, zam zam flowing with the kick of a baby’s feet, small birds defeating an army of elephants, food raining down from the skies for a nation; the miracles in Quran are endless and fascinating for a young child who wants to believe in magic. As you get older you understand that it’s the Qadr of Allah SWT and not the magic you thought it to be. You learn to appreciate these stories for what they really are, you are inspired by the strength and sabr shown by these beloved prophets of Allah SWT, the morals that Allah SWT is teaching you by sending these stories down in the Quran and if you ponder hard enough, you manage to read the lessons written between the lines.
When I was young, my favourite used to be the story of the evil pharaoh drowning in the sea with his massive army. I would ask my grandfather to tell it to me again and again. As I got older, I read Surah Ta Ha with proper translation. I have read it many a times. And I have to admit my favourite part has changed.
In verses 42-44, Allah SWT asks prophet Musa AS and his brother to go to the Pharaoh and bring to him the message of Allah SWT as he has become very evil. But how does Allah SWT ask them to convey that message?
In verse 44, Allah SWT says, “Speak to him gently so that he may take heed, or show respect.”
Firaun was a person who had exceeded all limits of human decency, that’s what verse 43, the ayah before this one confirms. He was simply put, a bad man; a murderer of baby boys, a man who was claiming to be God, the most evil person imaginable! And how does Allah SWT want Musa AS to talk to him? Gently. Why? So that he may listen. Because we tend to listen properly and pay attention when someone talks to us clearly and calmly.
In my worst moments of parenting I take a deep breath and remind myself of this ayah of the Quran. No matter how frustrated I am with my kids, I need to talk to them gently. Because if Allah ta’ala says that Musa AS had to be gentle with the worst person in the world then I definitely need to be gentle with the little humans whose care Allah ta’ala has entrusted me with. If I want to teach them the ways of the prophets, I must emulate them first. Show them, not tell them.
I have struggled with this. It’s so easy to just raise my voice while disciplining the kids but 9/10 times that never works. Infact it gets worse. Things end in tears or sulks and it just makes me feel worse afterwards. Whereas if I remain calm and keep talking gently, I do make a headway, I see progress and even though this path takes far more effort, the rewards are immense too. You will find this advice in many a psychology books, but remember, the first example of it was given to us in the Quran, surah Ta Ha, the story of Musa AS and Firaun.
How do you get to this place though? Well, the answer is also in surah Ta Ha, Allah ta’ala shows us the answers even before the question arises.
The dua of Musa AS is all you will need to make sure you manage to convey your thoughts and messages in ways that people understand you. This is the dua most scholars and speakers make before giving speeches. This is the dua I made the most when my son had a speech delay. And this is the dua I make every time I have to talk to my children. So that they may understand me and listen.
رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي
“My Lord, expand for me my breast [with assurance], ease for me my task, and untie the knot from my tongue that they may understand my speech.” (Quran, 20:25-28)
May Allah SWT guide us towards the right path and help us in guiding our children. Ameen
Written by Sarah Pervez Mohsin