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The Muslim identity

By: Abdel Aziz Dimapunong

Imam, Masjid Al Khairi,
Manila, Philippines

When I open an account for my blog, I was asked about my favorite movie. So I placed
“The Ten Commandments”. I have seen this movie way back my grade school days. I
don’t remember much of it but this is my favorite episode. Moses (Charleston Heston in
the movie) was freed from jail and was thrown into the vast desert (for the lions to decide
on his faith?). Ramses, (Yul Bryner) son of the emperor, bade farewell in soliloquy:
“Goodbye my one time brother” and then pointed a finger to Moses and said with a
resounding voice: “Come to me no more Moses. From the day you see my face again,
you will surely die.” In the palace, Emperor Pharaoh decreed a punishment much more
than death “let the name of Moses perish from the memory of man”

Today, more than two thousands years later, the name of Moses (Musa in Islam and
Moshe in Jewish) is much more alive than it was in the time of Moses. The name of Musa
resounds aloud probably everyday or even every hour in many parts of the world. This is
because Muslims regularly read the Holy Qur’an where Musa is mentioned so many

How can the identity of Moses be cast into oblivion? He was the recipient of the Torah,
one of four books of God-Alone. He is honored in the Qur’an and the Bible. He led the
Jews out of slavery from Egypt and guided them for forty years in the wilderness. He
lived a long life of 120 years.

What was the identity of Moses? Was he Jewish? According to Kevin Kluetz (Was
Moses Jewish? www.geocities.com/athens/), Moses was not Jewish. “The Jews’ he said
“…came into being several centuries after Moses’”. We have no comments on this. We
do not argue. Was Moses Christian? Kluetz said no. We also have no comments on this.

Was Moses a Muslim? Yes, we are sure. Moses, or Musa, or Moshe is a Muslim identity.
But the Jews may claim Moshe to be a Jewish identity, or the Christians may claim it to
be a Christian identity. Even the late Cecile B. D. Miles, producer of the Ten
Commandments, may have a patent claim of the name Moses for the company that
produced the movie, Metro Goldwyn Meyer Productions.

Why should we quarrel about individual identities?

Why should there be a problem about a Muslim identity? Must there be a debate about a
Jewish identity? Would there be an issue about a Christian identity?

What was the nationality of Musa (Peace be on him.)? What country (nation) did he

To be continued…