English Translation and Commentary of the Holy Quran (2010)

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

Chapter 28: Al-Qasas — The Narrative (Revealed at Makkah: 9 sections, 88 verses)

Section 2 (Verses 28:14–28:21): History of Moses — Flees Egypt


وَ لَمَّا بَلَغَ اَشُدَّہٗ وَ اسۡتَوٰۤی اٰتَیۡنٰہُ حُکۡمًا وَّ عِلۡمًا ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾

28:14 And when he attained his maturity and became full-grown, We granted him wisdom and knowledge. And thus do We reward those who do good (to others).

وَ دَخَلَ الۡمَدِیۡنَۃَ عَلٰی حِیۡنِ غَفۡلَۃٍ مِّنۡ اَہۡلِہَا فَوَجَدَ فِیۡہَا رَجُلَیۡنِ یَقۡتَتِلٰنِ ٭۫ ہٰذَا مِنۡ شِیۡعَتِہٖ وَ ہٰذَا مِنۡ عَدُوِّہٖ ۚ فَاسۡتَغَاثَہُ الَّذِیۡ مِنۡ شِیۡعَتِہٖ عَلَی الَّذِیۡ مِنۡ عَدُوِّہٖ ۙ فَوَکَزَہٗ مُوۡسٰی فَقَضٰی عَلَیۡہِ ٭۫ قَالَ ہٰذَا مِنۡ عَمَلِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ ؕ اِنَّہٗ عَدُوٌّ مُّضِلٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۱۵﴾

28:15 And he went into the city at a time of carelessness on the part of its people, so he found in it two men fighting — one being of his community and the other of his enemies; and he who was of his community cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies, so Moses struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of the devil’s doing; surely he is an enemy, openly leading astray.1

قَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡ ظَلَمۡتُ نَفۡسِیۡ فَاغۡفِرۡ لِیۡ فَغَفَرَ لَہٗ ؕ اِنَّہٗ ہُوَ الۡغَفُوۡرُ الرَّحِیۡمُ ﴿۱۶﴾

28:16 He said: My Lord, surely I have done harm to myself,2 so protect me; so He protected him. Surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.

قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَاۤ اَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَیَّ فَلَنۡ اَکُوۡنَ ظَہِیۡرًا لِّلۡمُجۡرِمِیۡنَ ﴿۱۷﴾

28:17 He said: My Lord, because You have bestowed a favour on me, I shall never be a backer of the guilty.

فَاَصۡبَحَ فِی الۡمَدِیۡنَۃِ خَآئِفًا یَّتَرَقَّبُ فَاِذَا الَّذِی اسۡتَنۡصَرَہٗ بِالۡاَمۡسِ یَسۡتَصۡرِخُہٗ ؕ قَالَ لَہٗ مُوۡسٰۤی اِنَّکَ لَغَوِیٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۱۸﴾

28:18 And (the next day) he was in the city, fearing, awaiting, when suddenly, he who had asked his assistance the day before was crying out to him for help. Moses said to him: You are surely clearly doing wrong.3

فَلَمَّاۤ اَنۡ اَرَادَ اَنۡ یَّبۡطِشَ بِالَّذِیۡ ہُوَ عَدُوٌّ لَّہُمَا ۙ قَالَ یٰمُوۡسٰۤی اَتُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ تَقۡتُلَنِیۡ کَمَا قَتَلۡتَ نَفۡسًۢا بِالۡاَمۡسِ ٭ۖ اِنۡ تُرِیۡدُ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ جَبَّارًا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ وَ مَا تُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ تَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُصۡلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾

28:19 So when he desired to seize him who was an enemy to them both, he said: Moses, do you intend to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You only desire to be a tyrant in the land, and you do not intend to be of those who act aright.

وَ جَآءَ رَجُلٌ مِّنۡ اَقۡصَا الۡمَدِیۡنَۃِ یَسۡعٰی ۫ قَالَ یٰمُوۡسٰۤی اِنَّ الۡمَلَاَ یَاۡتَمِرُوۡنَ بِکَ لِیَقۡتُلُوۡکَ فَاخۡرُجۡ اِنِّیۡ لَکَ مِنَ النّٰصِحِیۡنَ ﴿۲۰﴾

28:20 And a man came running from the remotest part of the city. He said: Moses, the chiefs are consulting together to kill you, so depart (at once); surely I am one of your well-wishers.

فَخَرَجَ مِنۡہَا خَآئِفًا یَّتَرَقَّبُ ۫ قَالَ رَبِّ نَجِّنِیۡ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۱﴾

28:21 So he went forth from it, fearing, awaiting. He said: My Lord, deliver me from the unjust people.


  1. The word “this”, in Moses’ statement, refers to the punishment which he had given to the Egyptian, the meaning being that it was on account of his devilish deed that the Egyptian had been so punished. The Rabbinical explanation of Exodus 2:12 is that the Egyptian merited death “because he had forced an Israelitish woman to commit adultery with him” (Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. ix, p. 48). The Quran does not name the offence, but there is no doubt that it calls his offence a devilish deed. V. 17 shows clearly that Moses did not consider himself as one who had done an unjust deed or helped a guilty person. See also 26:14.
  2. Moses’ prayer is not evidence of his being guilty, for the word ẓulm used here indicates making to suffer harm, loss, detriment or failure, and this is the meaning of ẓulm adopted in 7:160 and 18:33. The meaning here is that he had risked his own life in giving help to another.
  3. Moses helped the man on the first occasion because he was opp­ressed, but now this very man was oppressing another. Therefore he refused to help him.