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 5 (Verses 28:43–28:50): A Prophet like Moses


وَ لَقَدۡ اٰتَیۡنَا مُوۡسَی الۡکِتٰبَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَاۤ اَہۡلَکۡنَا الۡقُرُوۡنَ الۡاُوۡلٰی بَصَآئِرَ لِلنَّاسِ وَ ہُدًی وَّ رَحۡمَۃً لَّعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۳﴾

28:43 And certainly We gave Moses the Book after We had destroyed the former generations — clear arguments for people and a guidance and a mercy, that they may be mindful.

وَ مَا کُنۡتَ بِجَانِبِ الۡغَرۡبِیِّ اِذۡ قَضَیۡنَاۤ اِلٰی مُوۡسَی الۡاَمۡرَ وَ مَا کُنۡتَ مِنَ الشّٰہِدِیۡنَ ﴿ۙ۴۴﴾

28:44 And you were not on the western side when We revealed to Moses the commandment, nor were you among those present;1

وَ لٰکِنَّاۤ اَنۡشَاۡنَا قُرُوۡنًا فَتَطَاوَلَ عَلَیۡہِمُ الۡعُمُرُ ۚ وَ مَا کُنۡتَ ثَاوِیًا فِیۡۤ اَہۡلِ مَدۡیَنَ تَتۡلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتِنَا ۙ وَ لٰکِنَّا کُنَّا مُرۡسِلِیۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾

28:45 but We raised up generations, then life became prolonged to them. And you were not dwelling among the people of Midian,2 reciting to them Our messages, but We are the Sender (of messengers).

وَ مَا کُنۡتَ بِجَانِبِ الطُّوۡرِ اِذۡ نَادَیۡنَا وَ لٰکِنۡ رَّحۡمَۃً مِّنۡ رَّبِّکَ لِتُنۡذِرَ قَوۡمًا مَّاۤ اَتٰىہُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّذِیۡرٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَتَذَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۶﴾

28:46 And you were not at the side of the mountain when We called, but a mercy from your Lord that you may warn a people to whom no warner came before you, that they may be mindful.3

وَ لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ تُصِیۡبَہُمۡ مُّصِیۡبَۃٌۢ بِمَا قَدَّمَتۡ اَیۡدِیۡہِمۡ فَیَقُوۡلُوۡا رَبَّنَا لَوۡ لَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡتَ اِلَیۡنَا رَسُوۡلًا فَنَتَّبِعَ اٰیٰتِکَ وَ نَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾

28:47 And in case, if a disaster should befall them for what their hands have already done, they should say: Our Lord, why did You not send to us a messenger so that we might have followed Your messages and been from among the believers?

فَلَمَّا جَآءَہُمُ الۡحَقُّ مِنۡ عِنۡدِنَا قَالُوۡا لَوۡ لَاۤ اُوۡتِیَ مِثۡلَ مَاۤ اُوۡتِیَ مُوۡسٰی ؕ اَوَ لَمۡ یَکۡفُرُوۡا بِمَاۤ اُوۡتِیَ مُوۡسٰی مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ۚ قَالُوۡا سِحۡرٰنِ تَظٰہَرَا ۟ٝ وَ قَالُوۡۤا اِنَّا بِکُلٍّ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾

28:48 But (now) when the Truth has come to them from Us, they say: Why is he not given the like of what was given to Moses? Did they not disbelieve in what was given to Moses before? They say: Two enchantments backing up each other! And they say: Surely we are disbelievers in both.4

قُلۡ فَاۡتُوۡا بِکِتٰبٍ مِّنۡ عِنۡدِ اللّٰہِ ہُوَ اَہۡدٰی مِنۡہُمَاۤ اَتَّبِعۡہُ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۴۹﴾

28:49 Say: Then bring some (other) Book from Allah which is a better guide than these two, I will follow it — if you are truthful.5

فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ یَسۡتَجِیۡبُوۡا لَکَ فَاعۡلَمۡ اَنَّمَا یَتَّبِعُوۡنَ اَہۡوَآءَہُمۡ ؕ وَ مَنۡ اَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ ہَوٰىہُ بِغَیۡرِ ہُدًی مِّنَ اللّٰہِ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿٪۵۰﴾

28:50 But if they do not answer you, know that they only follow their low desires. And who is more in error than he who follows his low desires without any guidance from Allah? Surely Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.


  1. Moses’ prophecy about the advent of the Prophet — of a prophet like him from among the Ishmaelites, the brethren of the Israelites — was so clear that one would think that the Prophet was there at the side of the mountain and Moses saw him with his own eyes. The opening words of the next verse show that a very long time had elapsed between these two prophets. The prophecy of Moses of the advent of a prophet like him was fulfilled after about two thou­sand years, and yet none of the prophets who followed Moses had ever claimed to be a prophet like Moses, not even Jesus Christ, the last of the line of the Israelite prophets.
  2. See v. 27. Moses lived in Midian for ten years, just as the Prophet passed ten years of his life at Madinah, yet what a transformation was wrought in the course of these ten years! This very fact was a clear proof of his truth.
  3. The meaning of v. 44–46 is: You were not there, but it was Divine mercy that put a prophecy into the mouth of Moses regarding you. This is made clear by the words a mercy from your Lord that you may warn…. The people to whom no warner had come before were the Arabs. Compare 32:3, 36:6.
  4. The disbelievers did not adopt any one firm position against the Holy Prophet, and whenever one objection was shown to be erroneous, they took refuge in another. At the advent of the Prophet they said that he should have received a revelation like the revelation of Moses, but when the likeness was pointed out to them, they said that both Moses and Muhammad were deceivers who enchanted people by their eloquence, the one helping the other, and therefore they believed neither in the one nor in the other.
  5. The meaning is that, if you do not admit the truth of either revelation, you should show some other revelation existing in the world, which should offer better guidance. This statement only draws attention to the fact that the revelation granted to Moses and that granted to the Holy Prophet both occupy a higher posi­tion than any other revelation. And this is in fact true, for among all the sacred books of the world the Bible occupies a position second only to the Quran.