The Courageous Believer
Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari
Allah Almighty states:
وَ قَالَ رَجُلٌ مُّؤۡمِنٌ ۖ مِّنۡ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ یَکۡتُمُ اِیۡمَانَہٗۤ اَتَقۡتُلُوۡنَ رَجُلًا اَنۡ یَّقُوۡلَ رَبِّیَ اللّٰہُ وَ قَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ مِنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اِنۡ یَّکُ کَاذِبًا فَعَلَیۡہِ کَذِبُہٗ ۚ وَ اِنۡ یَّکُ صَادِقًا یُّصِبۡکُمۡ بَعۡضُ الَّذِیۡ یَعِدُکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِیۡ مَنۡ ھُوَ مُسۡرِفٌ کَذَّابٌ (۲۸)
“A Muslim man from the people of Pharoah who used to conceal his faith said, 'You want to kill a man just because he says, “Allah is my Lord,” whereas, he has indeed brought clear signs to you from your Lord? If he is lying, the calamity of lying is upon him. But, if he is truthful, part of ˹the calamity of˺ what he promises you will befall you. Indeed, Allah does not guide any transgressor, excessive liar.'”
In this verse, a believer from amongst the people of Pharoah is described. According to some exegetes, this man was Pharoah’s paternal first cousin who had believed in Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام but concealed his faith for fear of his life, and he is the same person who attained salvation with Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام .
Another view is that this was a person from the Israelites who concealed his faith from Pharoah and his people. Imam Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabarī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه affirms the first view as being preponderant.
Background to the Qur'anic account
The background to this courageous believer’s faith inspiring and bold words is that when Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام came to Pharoah with miracles from Allah Almighty and invited him to Islām, Pharoah and his advisors accused Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام of sorcery and lying. They ordered the mass execution of the male children of those who believed in Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام . Regarding Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام , Pharoah in his rage said that he should be left for Pharoah to kill and he should call his Lord. Pharoah adopted the following political approach before his people upon this strategy. He said, “O people! I fear that Mūsā will change your religion or spread corruption in the land.” Hearing this, Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام supplicated to Allah Almighty, “I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of reckoning.”
When Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام sought protection from Allah Almighty and relied upon His grace and mercy, Allah Almighty raised a stranger to protect Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام and quell the turmoil; a person who believed in Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام but concealed his faith from the public. This courageous man said to the people, “Do you want to kill a person, without evidence, only because he says ‘My Lord is Allah Almighty’, whereas, upon this claim, he (Sayyidunā Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام ) has brought to you illuminated miracles from your true Lord, which you have witnessed and through which, his veracity has become manifest and his Prophethood has been established. Opposing him, and to such an extent that you would kill him, can never be correct.”
Then, to explain to the people in accordance with their understanding, he said, “If hypothetically speaking, he is false, there is no need to kill him, because he cannot escape the consequences of spreading such enormous lies. Instead, he will be destroyed without your intervention. If he is truthful, then some of the punishment that he is warning you about will actually befall you for denying it. In this scenario, if you kill him, you will bring upon yourselves a greater calamity and punishment. In the scenario of him being a liar, killing him will be pointless and in the scenario of him being truthful, there is loss upon loss for you. Anyhow, whoever exceeds the limits and is such a great liar that he attributes lies to Allah Almighty, then Allah Almighty does not guide him. (From this perspective, if hypothetically, he is a liar, then he will be humiliated. Therefore, in every scenario it is in your betterment that you do not kill him.”)
Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq is superior to the believer from the people of Pharoah
The believer from the people of Pharoah has been mentioned here. The virtue of Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ should be considered at this point. Once, Sayyidunā ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said, “O people! Tell me, who is the most courageous person?” They replied, “You ˹are the most courageous˺.” He replied, “No ˹I am not˺.” The people then asked, “Then who is it?” He replied, “Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ , for I once saw the Quraysh taking hold of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم . Each of them was inciting the others ˹to harm the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم . The Quraysh were saying to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم : ‘You are the one who made all the deities into one.’” Sayyidunā ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said, “By Allah Almighty! None of us stepped forward to help the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم at that time, except Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ who drew near to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم , striking one person and tussling with another, saying, ‘May you be destroyed. Will you kill a person because he says, “My Lord is Allah Almighty?”’” Saying this Sayyidunā ꜤAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ raised the mantle he was wearing and wept so much that his beard became drenched. Then he said, “By Allah! Is the believer of the people of Pharoah better or Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ ? ˹implying that certainly Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is superior˺. The believer of the people of Pharoah concealed his faith and Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ publicised it.”
1. The true men and women of Allah face tremendous challenges and face powerful opponents.
2. A valiant believer may conceal his faith for some time, but he will not conceal it at times of importance.
3. Allah Almighty makes the word of truth reach the transgressors, sceptics, and liars, but He does not compel them to accept it, as faith must be borne of one’s volition, not compulsion.
4. Rising to guard and protect the beloved Prophet عَلَيْهِ الـصَّلٰوةُ وَالـسَّـلَام without caring for one’s life is a hallmark of Allah’s favoured people.
5. Raising false slogans and even presenting falsehood under the veneer of truth has always been the manner of the Pharoah-like folk across history. Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام supplicated in the court of Allah Almighty, “I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of reckoning.”
6. True help and refuge against despotic tyrants and usurpers should be sought from Allah Almighty, just as Prophet Mūsā عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام did.
7. The truth should be supported with intellectual discourse and proofs before resorting to physical intervention.
8. When presenting evidence, one should take into consideration the intellectual capacity, background, and ranks of people, at the time of speaking; this is wisdom and beautiful admonition.
9. After the prophets, Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is unrivalled in bravery, worship, character, truthfulness, generosity, compassion, and knowledge.
10. In every way and circumstance, Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ supported, served, and protected the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم more than anybody else.
11. Sayyidunā ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ had immense love for Sayyidunā Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ to the extent that he mentioned his virtues on the pulpit and wept.
(To be continued.)
 [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 24, Surah Al-Mu’min, verse 28)
 Tafsīr al-Ṭabari, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 28, vol. 11, p. 54
 Tafsīr al-Madārik, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 28, p. 1057; Tafsīr ibn Kathīr, Surah Al-Mu’min, Verse 28, vol. 7, pp. 126 – 128
 Musnad al-Bazzār, vol. 3, p. 14, hadith 761