During the time of Prophet Musa (A.S.) [Moses], the practice of Magic was at its peak. Everyone is familiar with the atrocities committed by the Pharaoh of that time on his people, specially the followers of Musa (A.S.).
The Pharaoh called the greatest of magicians of that time to confront Musa (A.S.). Musa’s (A.S.) brother, Harun (A.S.), was also with him in the Pharaoh’s court. All magicians threw pieces of rope on the ground which turned into snakes and started crawling towards Musa (A.S.).
Musa (A.S.) was frightened by these snakes and stepped back but Allah sent his orders to throw his Asa (stick) on the ground. The Asa turned into a python and ate all the snakes.
On watching this, the Pharaoh ran into the women’s quarters screaming.Â All magicians threw themselves into prostration and pronounced their faith in Musa’s (A.S.) Allah.
The Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) [Abraham] had been blessed by Allah with the Knowledge of the Stars. Wherever he went, he used to teach it to the people but in the end he would always say that these stars are not Gods but only His creation. A magician named Hari used to follow him everywhere. Silently, he accumulated all taught by Ibrahim (A.S.) and used it in enhancing his magic skills.
After becoming a great magician, Hari traveled to Egypt and taught magic to the people there. Later on, he moved to India and did the same there. He died in India.
During the days of Imam Musa-e-Kazim (A.S.), Magic was again at it’s peak. Egypt and India were the centers of Magic at that time, with the people having conquered magic skills beyond thought.
Knowing this and with bad intentions in his mind, Harun Rashid (L.A.) called the greatest magicians from India to face Imam Musa-e-Kazim (A.S.). He arranged for a lavish dinner with two of Imam’s (A.S.) followers, the magicians and also had the imprisoned Imam (A.S.) invited.
Harun (L.A.) was seated on his throne with a huge carpet on the wall behind him. Embroidered into the carpet was a gigantic and magnificent lion. The dinner was set out. Imam (A.S.) motioned for his followers not to touch the rotis (breads) on the dastarkhwan (dinner cloth).
Ignoring Imam’s (A.S.) orders, one follower reached out to pick a roti. Harun (L.A.) at once motioned to his magicians, one of whom made the roti fly away from the follower. The follower reached out again and the magician repeated it. This happened a third time.
On seeing the humiliation faced by his follower, Imam (A.S.) beckoned to the lion on the carpet:
O Creature of Allah, come to life and swallow this magician!
At once, the lion came to life and jumped out of the carpet with a thunderous roar. Harun fainted with fear as did the rest of those present.
It is the nature of lions that they bite and chew their food. But this time, contrary to its nature and in accordance with the Imam’s (A.S.) orders, it swallowed the magician whole.
Imam (A.S.) ordered it to go back into the carpet and it obliged, becoming lifeless once again.
When Harun (L.A.) came back to his senses, he refused to look behind him at the carpet from fear of the lion. He meekly asked Imam (A.S.) to ask the lion to return his magician.
“Had Prophet Musa’s (A.S.) Asa returned the snakes, I would have returned your magician!”
After the martyrdom of Imam Ja’far-e-Sadiq (A.S.), the world was plunged again into the darkness of Magic. Therefore to fight the forces of Magic, another “Musa” was needed to negate its powers. But this time, Magic was more powerful.
So Allah sent the Pride of all Prophets, an Imam by the name of Musa, titled Kazim, to fight off this darkness and humiliate it. But fighting magic was the least of Imam’s (A.S.) worries. He had to rebuff the Pharoah of that time, Harun Rashid (L.A.), and establish the Supremacy of Allah, alongwith the rest of the teachings of the Prophet (S.A.W.W.) and his Progeny (A.S.), while spending half of his life in prison.