Surah al-A`raf (The Elevated Places) 7 : 143

وَلَمَّا جَآءَ مُوسَىٰ لِمِيقَٰتِنَا وَكَلَّمَهُۥ رَبُّهُۥ قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِىٓ أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ ۚ قَالَ لَن تَرَىٰنِى وَلَٰكِنِ ٱنظُرْ إِلَى ٱلْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ ٱسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُۥ فَسَوْفَ تَرَىٰنِى ۚ فَلَمَّا تَجَلَّىٰ رَبُّهُۥ لِلْجَبَلِ جَعَلَهُۥ دَكًّا وَخَرَّ مُوسَىٰ صَعِقًا ۚ فَلَمَّآ أَفَاقَ قَالَ سُبْحَٰنَكَ تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَأَنَا۠ أَوَّلُ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, "My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You." [Allāh] said, "You will not see Me, but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me." But when his Lord appeared to the mountain, He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious. And when he awoke, he said, "Exalted are You! I have repented to You, and I am the first of the Believers."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

We need to concentrate all our mental ability into visualizing this great and unique scene in order to begin to understand what Moses must have felt: “When Moses came for Our appointment and his Lord spoke to him, he said: ‘My Lord, show Yourself to me, so that I may look at You.’” (Verse 143) In that awesome scene when Moses was receiving his Lord’s commandments, his soul was looking up to something greater, eager to reach out to what is most desirable. He forgets himself and his nature, and requests what no one can have or can tolerate while on earth. He requests to see the Lord Himself, prompted by his hope, genuine love and keenness to have the greatest prize of all. But he is brought back to reality by a decisive word: “Said [God]: ‘You shall not see Me.’” (Verse 143)
 
But then the great Lord is kind to him, so He explains to him why he cannot see Him. His constitution cannot tolerate it: “But look upon the mountain; if it remains firm in its place, then, only then, you shall see Me.” (Verse 143) A mountain is certainly much firmer and less affected by outside powers than a human being. But what happened? “When his Lord revealed His glory to the mountain, He sent it crashing down.” (Verse 143) How did God reveal His glory to the mountain? We simply cannot describe or understand this. We can only have a feeling of it when we use that secret aspect of our constitution which holds a bond between us and God, when our souls are purified, with all filth purged away, and we concentrate all our thinking and understanding on God and His power. Simple words cannot express it at all. Therefore, we will not try to describe with words how God revealed His glory to the mountain. We prefer to discount all the reports that try to explain it, because none of them is authentically attributed to the Prophet himself, while the Qur’ān has said nothing on it.
 
“When the Lord revealed His glory to the mountain, He sent it crashing down.” (Verse 143) The whole mountain was thus levelled down with no obtrusions on the surface of the earth. Moses was overawed and “Moses fell down senseless.” (Verse 143) He was completely unconscious. “When he came to himself” realizing the limits of his ability, and recognizing that he overstepped his limits when he made his request, “he said: ‘Limitless You are in Your glory.’” He thus realized that God is too glorious to be seen by the naked human eye. “To You I turn in repentance,” for having overstepped my limit in making such a request. “I am the first to truly believe in You.” (Verse 143) God’s messengers are always the first to believe in the greatness of their Lord and in His revelations. God commands them to declare that they are the first to believe. The Qur’ān reports in several instances that they comply and make that declaration.
 
Once more God’s grace was bestowed on Moses in abundance. He soon received the happy news of his being chosen to carry God’s message to his people after they had been saved.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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A study of its contents clearly shows that the period of its revelation is about the same as that of Surah 6: al-An’am (The Grazing Livestock), i.e. the last year of the Prophet's life at Makkah, but it cannot be asserted with certainty which of these two were sent down earlier. The manner of its admonition clearly indicates that it belongs to the same period. [Ref: Mawdudi]

It is considered the longest surah revealed during the Makkan period. Some consider this surah to have been revealed after Surah 38: Sad. [Ref: Tafsir al-Maudheei, Dr. Mustafah Muslim, vol. 3, p. 2]

8. Reasons for Revelation

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