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 3 (Verses 28:22–28:28): History of Moses — In Midian


وَ لَمَّا تَوَجَّہَ تِلۡقَآءَ مَدۡیَنَ قَالَ عَسٰی رَبِّیۡۤ اَنۡ یَّہۡدِیَنِیۡ سَوَآءَ السَّبِیۡلِ ﴿۲۲﴾

28:22 And when he turned his face towards Midian, he said: Maybe my Lord will guide me in the right path.

وَ لَمَّا وَرَدَ مَآءَ مَدۡیَنَ وَجَدَ عَلَیۡہِ اُمَّۃً مِّنَ النَّاسِ یَسۡقُوۡنَ ۬۫ وَ وَجَدَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِہِمُ امۡرَاَتَیۡنِ تَذُوۡدٰنِ ۚ قَالَ مَا خَطۡبُکُمَا ؕ قَالَتَا لَا نَسۡقِیۡ حَتّٰی یُصۡدِرَ الرِّعَآءُ ٜ وَ اَبُوۡنَا شَیۡخٌ کَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۳﴾

28:23 And when he came to the water of Midian, he found there a group of men watering, and he found besides them two women keeping back (their flocks). He said: What is the matter with you two? They said: We cannot water until the shepherds take away (their sheep) from the water; and our father is a very old man.

فَسَقٰی لَہُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلّٰۤی اِلَی الظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ اِنِّیۡ لِمَاۤ اَنۡزَلۡتَ اِلَیَّ مِنۡ خَیۡرٍ فَقِیۡرٌ ﴿۲۴﴾

28:24 So he watered (their sheep) for them, then went back to the shade, and said: My Lord, I stand in need of whatever good You may send to me.

فَجَآءَتۡہُ اِحۡدٰىہُمَا تَمۡشِیۡ عَلَی اسۡتِحۡیَآءٍ ۫ قَالَتۡ اِنَّ اَبِیۡ یَدۡعُوۡکَ لِیَجۡزِیَکَ اَجۡرَ مَا سَقَیۡتَ لَنَا ؕ فَلَمَّا جَآءَہٗ وَ قَصَّ عَلَیۡہِ الۡقَصَصَ ۙ قَالَ لَا تَخَفۡ ٝ۟ نَجَوۡتَ مِنَ الۡقَوۡمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾

28:25 Then one of the two women came to him walking bashfully. She said: My father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us.1 So when he came to him and related to him the story, he said: Do not fear, you are secure from the unjust people.

قَالَتۡ اِحۡدٰىہُمَا یٰۤاَبَتِ اسۡتَاۡجِرۡہُ ۫ اِنَّ خَیۡرَ مَنِ اسۡتَاۡجَرۡتَ الۡقَوِیُّ الۡاَمِیۡنُ ﴿۲۶﴾

28:26 One of them said: Father, employ him; surely the best one you can employ is the strong, the faithful one.

قَالَ اِنِّیۡۤ اُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ اُنۡکِحَکَ اِحۡدَی ابۡنَتَیَّ ہٰتَیۡنِ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ تَاۡجُرَنِیۡ ثَمٰنِیَ حِجَجٍ ۚ فَاِنۡ اَتۡمَمۡتَ عَشۡرًا فَمِنۡ عِنۡدِکَ ۚ وَ مَاۤ اُرِیۡدُ اَنۡ اَشُقَّ عَلَیۡکَ ؕ سَتَجِدُنِیۡۤ اِنۡ شَآءَ اللّٰہُ مِنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۲۷﴾

28:27 He said: I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you serve me for eight years; but, if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard on you. If Allah please, you will find me (to be) one of the righteous.2

قَالَ ذٰلِکَ بَیۡنِیۡ وَ بَیۡنَکَ ؕ اَیَّمَا الۡاَجَلَیۡنِ قَضَیۡتُ فَلَا عُدۡوَانَ عَلَیَّ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلٰی مَا نَقُوۡلُ وَکِیۡلٌ ﴿٪۲۸﴾

28:28 He said: That is (agreed) between me and you; whichever of the two terms I fulfil, there will be no injustice to me; and Allah is surety over what we say.


  1. The commentators say this man was Shuaib, and Shuaib is men­tioned by the name of Jethro in the Bible.
  2. In Moses’ stay at Midian for ten years, there is a prophetical reference to the ten years of the Prophet’s life at Madinah. The mention of eight years has another underlying significance, for it was after eight years that the Prophet came back to Makkah as a conqueror, a clear reference to which is contained further on in v. 85: He Who has made the Quran binding on you will surely bring you back to the Place of Return. This occurred exactly eight years after his Flight. That such is the real significance of relating this narrative is made clear in v. 45, where the Prophet is thus addressed: And you were not dwelling among the people of Midian, reciting to them Our messages. It is, as it were, to say that it was Moses who lived among the people of Midian, but his episode really conveys the news of what will happen to you. It may be added here that Moses was paid his wages, and the condition of his staying in Midian for eight or ten years was as much in his own interest as in the interest of Jethro, for as the Bible narrative shows, Pharaoh had died by the time that Moses’ stay in Midian had come to an end.