When Musa NabiAS reached the court of Phaoroah, with the intent of conveying Allah’s risalat, he sought permission to enter. The Pharoah refused to let him in. Musa Nabi hit the door with his staff opening it miraculously and along with it every other door of the court. The ferocious lions guarding the doors came towards him tamed and submissive.
Pharaoh claimed that the miracles of Musa NabiAS were a magician’s tricks and believed that they could be undone by his own magicians.
The magicians came to Pharaoh and asked
“Will we receive a reward if we are the winners?”
He (Pharaoh) said, “Yes, and you will be among those brought near.” (Qur’an, 7: 112-114)
The most able magicians of Egypt were brought against Musa NabiAS and Harun. Musa NabiAS was asked to decide who should start:
They said, “Musa, will you throw or shall we be the first to throw?”
He said, “No, you throw!”
And suddenly their ropes and staffs appeared to him, by their magic, to be slithering about. (Qur’an, 20: 65-66)
Allah TA uses the expression “appeared to be slithering about.” This indicates that there was no actual movement, but only one perceived by those present. In another verse, the illusory nature of this incident is explained as follows:
He (Musa) said, “You throw.” And when they threw, they cast a spell on the people’s eyes and cause them to feel great fear of them. They produced an extremely powerful magic. (Qur’an, 7: 116)
The magicians were aware that Pharaoh did not possess any kind of divine power. However, they threw their staffs quite sure of their superiority over Musa NabiAS, as stated:
They threw down their ropes and staffs and said, “By the might of Pharaoh we are the winners.” (Qur’an, 26: 44)
Musa NabiAS was a little shaken at first but assured by the might and will of AllahTA, turned to the magicians and said:
“What you have brought is magic. Allah will certainly prove it false. Allah does not uphold the actions of corrupters.” (Qur’an, 10: 81)
Musa NabiAS threw down his staff which swallowed their staffs of sorcery:
We revealed to Musa, “Throw down your staff.” And it immediately swallowed up what they had forged. So the Truth took place and what they did was shown to be false. They were defeated then and there, transformed into humbled men. (Qur’an, 7: 117-119)
Unlike the illusory tricks of the magicians, Musa Nabi (AS) showed a true miracle with his staff. The staff turned into a huge snake that attacked the Pharoah with its mouth wide open threatening to swallow him along with his throne. The Pharoah was terrified and so were all his courtiers. The Pharaoh urged Musa Nabi to remember his favour as he had been brought up in his palace by his wife. Musa Nabi (AS) extended his hand towards the snake thus returning it to its original state. Musa Nabi (AS) tried to convince the Pharoah once more to submit to Allah’s will and become his subject, but due to the influence of Haaman – an evil courtier, the Pharaoh refused.