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Sura 10
Aya 83
فَما آمَنَ لِموسىٰ إِلّا ذُرِّيَّةٌ مِن قَومِهِ عَلىٰ خَوفٍ مِن فِرعَونَ وَمَلَئِهِم أَن يَفتِنَهُم ۚ وَإِنَّ فِرعَونَ لَعالٍ فِي الأَرضِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ المُسرِفينَ

Muhammad Asad

But none save a few of his people declared their faith in Moses,1 [while others held back] for fear of Pharaoh and their great ones, lest they persecute them:2 for, verily, Pharaoh was mighty on earth and was, verily, of those who are given to excesses.
  • Lit., "believed in Moses"; however, since the sequence shows that not belief as such but its open profession is referred to here, I have rendered the above phrase accordingly. As for the term dhurriyyah (lit., "offspring"), we have several authoritative statements to the effect that it often denotes "a small group [or "a few"] of one's people" (Ibn 'Abbas, as quoted by Tabari, Baghawi, Razi and Ibn Kathir, as well as Ad-Dahhak and Qatadah, as quoted by Tabari and Ibn Kathir); hence my rendering. Since the Qur'an mentions (e.g., in 7:120-126) that some Egyptians, too, came to believe in Moses' message and openly proclaimed their belief, it is reasonable to assume that by "his people" are meant not merely the Israelites but, more generally, the people among whom Moses was living: that is, both Israelites and Egyptians. This assumption is strengthened by the reference, in the next clause of this sentence, to "their great ones" - an expression obviously relating to the Egyptian "great ones":
  • If the expression 'ala khawf is taken to mean "despite [their] fear" (referring to those who did declare their faith openly), the above sentence would read thus: "... a few of his people declared their faith in Moses despite their fear that Pharaoh and their great ones would persecute them" - implying, as does the rendering adopted by me, that, because of their fear, the majority did not declare their faith openly.