The names of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
61. But when they reached
The Junction, 1 they forgot
(About) their Fish, 2 which took
Its course through the sea
(Straight) as in a tunnel.
62. When they had passed on
(Some distance), Moses said
To his attendant: “Bring us
Our early meal; truly
We have suffered much fatigue 3
At this (stage of) our journey.”
1. Literally, ‘the Junction of (the space) between the two,’ i.e., the point at which the two seas were united.
2. Moses was to go and find a servant of Allah, who would instruct him in such knowledge as he had not already got. He was to take a fish with him. The place where he was to meet his mysterious Teacher would be indicated by the fact that the fish would disappear when he got to that place. The fish is the emblem of the fruit of secular knowledge, which merges itself in divine knowledge at the point where human intelligence is ready for the junction of the two. But the mere merge of secular knowledge does not in itself produce divine knowledge. The latter has to be sought patiently.
3. When they came to the Junction of the Seas, Moses forgot about the fish, and his attendant forgot to tell him of the fact that he had seen the fish escaping into the sea in a marvelous way. They passed on, but the stages now became heavier and heavier, and more fatiguing to Moses. So when our old knowledge is exhausted. And we come to the brink of new knowledge, we have a feeling of strangeness, heaviness, and difficulty, especially when we want to pass the new knowledge by and do not make it our own. Some refreshment, even if it be in our old traditional way, is required to sustain us. But we must retrace our steps, and seek the accredited repository of the knowledge which is our quest. It is our business to seek him out. We shall not find him without effort.
(Source: The Meaning of the Glorious Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)