And verily We gave Moses nine manifest signs clear signs namely those of the hand the staff the flood the locusts the lice the frogs the blood and the obliteration of their possessions cf. Q. 1088 the years of dearth and scarcity of fruits cf. Q. 7130. Ask O Muhammad (s) the Children of Israel about this a rhetorical question meant as an affirmation for the idolaters of your sincerity; or it means that We said to him Muhammad (s) ‘Ask’; a variant reading has the past tense fa-sā’ala ‘and he asked’ when he came to them Pharaoh said to him ‘O Moses I truly think that you are bewitched’ duped your mind deceived.