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Two Sides of Independence Day

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Allah said,
“And recall when Moses said to His people, ‘Remember the favor of Allah upon you when He saved you from the people of Pharaoh, who were afflicting you with the worst torment and were slaughtering your newborn sons and keeping your females alive. And in that was a great trial from your Lord.'”
[Quran 14:6]


Allah tells that Moses (d. c. 1271 BC) reminded his people about their misery under Pharaoh Ramesses II (d. c. 1280 BC) and Allah’s bless that He bestowed on them. He saved them from Pharaoh and the torment he used to exert on them. Pharaoh and his army used to slaughter whomever they could find among their sons and let their females live. Allah sent Moses to bring Islam to Egyptian and Israelites including Pharaoh himself. At the same time his mission is also to lead Israelites escape from Egypt. He confronted with Pharaoh for years then Allah saved him and Israelites from Pharaoh’s evil in one of greatest event in humankind’s history: the Exodus (c. 1280 BC).

Allah named all of these things “balaa-un ‘adzhim”. Al-Asfahani (d. 1108) explained that the word “balaa'” means both of favor and trial. Hence, the Exodus or let us call it “the Independence Day of Israelites” could be the favor from Allah with this freedom from slavery and tortures, so they must be grateful towards this mercy. On the other hand, it was also a difficul trial to see if they used this independence in noble deeds or sinful ones.

We as Indonesian people today, on 17th August, celebrate our 73th Independence Day. Similarly with Israelite’s exodus, this independence from colonialism has two sides of the same coin: favor and trial. May Allah help us to thank His favor and be success passing His trial. Congratulation and happy independence day, Indonesia!

written by Nur Fajri Romadhon

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