Entrance Into the Country of Midian and
His Settlement There
The Prophet Moses (pbuh) left behind Pharaoh and his people, and set off to Midian. (Midian is a region beyond the Sinai desert to the east of Egypt, corresponding to the southern end of Jordan today.)
At the water of Midian, the Prophet Moses (pbuh) encountered two women who could not water their flocks out of wanting to avoid other shepherds. But, as the verses of the Qur'an relate, outwardly, the Prophet Moses (pbuh) appeared as a highly decent and trustworthy person. Thus, the women did not hesitate to approach him. They explained that they had to graze their father's flocks for him since he was an old man, but that they couldn't because of the shepherds. Then, the Prophet Moses (pbuh) helped the women by leading their flock to the water:
When he arrived at the water of Midian, he found a crowd of people drawing water there. Standing apart from them, he found two women, holding back their sheep. He said, "What are you two doing here?" They said, "We cannot draw water until the shepherds have driven off their sheep. You see our father is a very old man." So he drew water for them... (Surat al-Qasas: 23-24)
The verses provide an example of the courteous and benevolent character of the Prophet Moses (pbuh); he approaches two strangers, helped them, and earned their respect. On the other hand, it is to be understood that the men, mentioned as "shepherds," effected an attitude entirely opposite to the manners of the Prophet Moses (pbuh). This is evident from the fact that the women apparently avoided them though they chose to talk to the Prophet Moses (pbuh). These men might have been untrustworthy in appearance. (Allah knows the truth.)
We may continue to conclude that a Muslim must carefully avoid the manners peculiar to the people mentioned here as "shepherds." Muslims should look to role models like the Prophet Moses (pbuh), who conducted himself kindly, decently and forthrightly. As the example of the Prophet Moses (pbuh) suggests, a Muslim must develop highly cultivated manners, and be trustworthy, qualities that should be immediately discernible in him.
We need also make note of the fact that the Prophet Moses (pbuh) is always of a temperament that exemplifies that wholehearted submission to Allah. Leaving everything dear to him in the land of Egypt where he had grown up, he had no idea whatsoever of what the future would hold for him. Though it was not known to him, Allah already predestined certain events for him. The Prophet Moses (pbuh) prayed the following:
…and then withdrew into the shade and said, "My Lord, I am truly in need of any good You have in store for me." (Surat al-Qasas: 24)
One's sincerity in one's prayer is evidence in one's grasp of the fact that Allah has the power to do anything, that all blessings and adversities come only from Him, and that one has no other helper or protector other than Allah. The Prophet Moses' (pbuh) prayer quoted in the above verse is the kind made in complete submission to Allah, by someone who has a full comprehension of this truth. Indeed, Allah answered the Prophet Moses' (pbuh) sincere prayer and opened His mercy to him.
The kindness the Prophet Moses (pbuh) had shown to the two women resulted in the start of a completely new life for him. While the Prophet Moses (pbuh) was resting, one of the women approached him to convey her father's invitation in appreciation for his help. Allah relates in the Qur'an as follows:
Then there came unto him one of the two women, walking shyly and said, "My father invites you so that he can reward you with a payment for drawing water for us." When he came to him and told him the whole story he said, "Have no fear, you have escaped from wrongdoing people." (Surat al-Qasas: 25)
The Prophet Moses (pbuh) prayed to our Lord sincerely, pleading for any good He would bestow on him. Allah answered his prayer and, following a threat against his life, guided him to the people who would help him and offer him security. The Prophet Moses (pbuh) was of a strong character, and person who was trusted because of his manners. Indeed, the women, despite being cautious against the shepherds, trusted the Prophet Moses (pbuh) and spoke to him. Furthermore one of the women asked her father to hire the Prophet Moses (pbuh) seeing as he was strong and trustworthy. This offer is related in the verses as follows
One of them said, "Hire him, father. The best person to hire is someone strong and trustworthy." (Surat al-Qasas: 26)
With these words, the woman explicitly expressed to her father that she found the Prophet Moses (pbuh) to be a reliable person. Convinced of his trustworthiness, the old man decided to wed his daughter to the Prophet Moses (pbuh). The recognizable decency of the Prophet Moses (pbuh) was instrumental in his decision. Allah relates in the verses the proposal of the father of the women to the Prophet Moses (pbuh) as follows:
He said, "I would like to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine on condition that you work for me for eight full years. If you complete ten, that is up to you. I do not want to be hard on you. You will find me, Allah willing, to be one of the righteous." He (Moses) said, "That is agreed between me and you. Whichever of the two terms I fulfil, there will be no injustice done to me. Allah is Guardian over what we say." (Surat al-Qasas: 27-28)
The Prophet Moses (pbuh) accepted this proposal and began leading the rest of his life in Midian. Hence, Allah first delivered the Prophet Moses (pbuh) to safety, making the waters of the Nile carry him to the Palace of Pharaoh without drowning. Then, while his life was in danger in Egypt, He saved him a second time and led him to a peaceful life in Midian.