“We suggested to the mother of Moses: ‘Suckle your child, but when you fear for his life cast him into the river and be not fearful nor grieve, for We shall restore him to you and make him one of the Messengers’.”

(Al Qur’ān – 28:7)

It is not explicitly stated here that a son was born to an Israeli who was to be known by the name of Moses. According to the Bible and the Talmud, the family concerned descended from Levi, son of the Prophet Jacob and that the name of Moses’ father, according to both was Amran, called ‘Imrān in the Qur’ān.

The family already had two children before Moses’ birth: a daughter named Miriam and a son called Aaron (Hārūn). Aaron was probably born before the decree to kill all the male infants of Israel had come into effect. The third child was born after the promulgation of this draconian decree.

It was not God’s command that the child be cast into the river immediately after birth. Instead, until there was a real threat to the child’s life, he was to be suckled by his mother. The Talmud says that Pharaoh’s government employed female spies who visited Israelite homes with their own small offspring. Once in the house, they would make their own babies cry so that any baby in the house would follow suit. Moses’ mother was afraid that this new means of spying would lead to the disclosure of her secret and, therefore, she cast Moses into the river three months after his birth.

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