It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allaah, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "(The Prophet) Moosa (i.e. Moses), may Allaah exalt his mention, was a shy person and used to cover his body completely because of his extensive shyness. One of the children of Israel hurt him by saying, 'He covers his body in this way only because of some defect in his skin, either leprosy or scrotal hernia, or he has some other defect.' Allaah wished to clear Moosa, may Allaah exalt his mention, of what they said about him, so one day while Moosa, may Allaah exalt his mention, was in seclusion, he took off his clothes and put them on a stone and started taking a bath. When he had finished the bath, he moved towards his clothes so as to take them, but the stone took his clothes and fled; Moosa picked up his stick and ran after the stone saying, 'O stone! Give me my garment!' Till he reached a group of Bani Israa'eel who saw him naked then, and found him the best of what Allaah The Almighty had created, and Allaah cleared him of what they had accused him of. The stone stopped there and Moosa took and put his garment on and started hitting the stone with his stick. By Allaah, the stone still has some traces of the hitting, three, four or five marks. This was what Allaah The Almighty refers to in His Exalted saying (what means): "O you who believe! Be you not like those Who annoyed Moses, But Allaah proved his innocence of that which they alleged, And he was honorable In Allaah's Sight." [Quran 33.69]. (1).
Explanation of the Hadeeth:
Ibn Al-Jawzi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "When Moosa, may Allaah exalt his mention, was in seclusion and get out of water and did not find his clothes, he followed the stone, believing that he will not meet anyone while he is naked. He meet such a group of people by chance. It is well known that the banks of the river often free of people and even one cannot find people nearby them. Thus, he depended on this idea i.e. that no one will see him for the place is free from people. However, some people saw him accidently. It is apparent that he went on following the stone according to the words of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, until stopped before a group of the children of Israel that included the one who told lie about him. In this way, the aim has been reached because had he stopped at any other group of them in general, this would have been no effect like that." (2).
Amongst the lessons drawn from the above-mentioned Hadeeth:
1- Permissibility of walking naked whenever there is a necessity.
2- It implies the permissibility of looking at ‘Awrah(3) whenever there is a necessity such as medical purposes and being free of defects, for example, one of the spouse may claim that the other suffer from leprosy to cancel the contact of marriage while the other denied that.
3- It refers that all Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, were created in the best and perfect shape and that whoever attributes any defect or shortcoming to anyone of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt his mention, about his shape then he has harmed him and we fear that the one who does so be a Kaafir (i.e. disbeliever).
4- It implies a demonstrating miracle for Moosa, may Allaah exalt his mention, especially, the traces of hitting the stone while he is certain that it have never fled with his clothes except with the Command of Allaah The Almighty.
5- It also points out the great patience of the Prophets, may Allaah exalt their mention, towards the ignorant people and the harm they caused to them, and that Allaah The Almighty made them victorious over those who harmed them. (4).
(1) Reported by Saheeh Al-Bukhaari No. (3404) and Saheeh Muslim No. (393).
(2) Fat-h Al-Baari (6/438).
(3) Parts of the body that must not be revealed. They vary depending on the relationship between the concerned individuals. [Translator]
(4) Ibid (6/438).