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The Miracle | Who FIRAUN (Pharaoh Ramesses)?

Fir'awn (فرعون) is Arabic for "pharaoh". The Qur'an tells the story of Musa and the Pharaoh also known as Fir'aw.

Qur'anic narrative

Musa and Harun went to the Firaun, and when they arrive he is told about their divine mission and that he should let the Israelites go. Firaun rebukes him by saying that the Egyptians looked after him, and he reminds Musa that he has killed an Egyptian. Musa acknowledges this, and says that he did that before he received his message from God. Firaun enquires as to who this god of Musa is. It is Allah (God), he is told, the Creator of everything. At one point Firaun threatens him with prison, as he says there can be no gods other than himself, but he eventually asks Musa for a sign to see if he is telling the truth. Musa throws down his rod and it turns into a huge snake. He then draws forth his hand and it shines with brilliant white light. Pharaoh, however, rejects these signs as 'evident/manifest sorcery'. Firaun's chiefs wonder why they should believe in two men like themselves, and Israelite men at that. Musa is outraged at their reaction to the truth. He warns them to accept God or face the consequences. Firaun discusses the issue with his chiefs. They tell him that Musa's plan is to overthrow the Firaun by turning the people away from their established religion. Firaun tells them to stall Musa and Harun whilst well-versed sorcerers are found. These sorcerers are promised rewards and power. Firaun then arranges with Musa for him to come to the Day of the Festival.

The sorcerers and Musa

The day of the Festival arrives, and all the people are there along with the sorcerers and Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron), Musa's (Moses') brother. The sorcerers ask Musa who is to go first, and Musa tells them that they are. They throw down some rods and ropes and they appear to move of their own accord, like a snake. Even Musa is slightly scared by this, but he has God's help. He throws down his rod and it 'swallowed up straight away all the falsehoods which they fake'. The sorcerers are stunned, and they bow, proclaiming their belief in their Allah (God). Firaun is angered at their belief without his permission. He threatens to cut off their hands and feet and crucify them on a palm-tree cross. The sorcerers are unperturbed, saying that they will only forgiveness. They rebuke Firaun for threatening them just because they believe in Musa's signs.

Later, Firaun is with his chiefs. They ask him if he is to let Musa and the Israelites continue to spread mischief in Egypt, turning people away from the Egyptian religion. He decides to slay all the male Israelites but keep the females in order to keep power. Despite Musa's message few believe except the Israelites and a small number of Egyptians, as many are fearful of Firaun.

Musa again speaks out against Firaun, asking who will protect him from God's punishment when it comes. Nevertheless they refuse to recognise God, with Firaun expressly stating that whatever signs Musa brings he will never believe in him. In his arrogance he asks one of his chiefs, Haman, to make bricks from baked clay in order to build a 'lofty palace' that will reach up to Musa's god. This is despite the fact that Firaun tells Haman that he thinks Musa is a liar. (Holy Quran:- Chapter-07, Verses:103-126)

Plagues unleashed

God punishes Firaun and the Egyptians with years of drought and crop shortages. During these bad times the Egyptians ask Musa to pray to God to help them and they say that they will release the Israelites, but when times are better they claim that it is due to themselves and they negate on their promises. God also sends down various plagues – 'wholesale death,' locusts, lice, frogs and blood (these are the rest of the nine signs that Musa was told about on Mount Tur). Despite all of this, the Egyptians still refuse to believe. Firaun reminds them that Egypt belongs to him. He is better than Musa, he says. Musa cannot even speak clearly and he doesn't own gold, he adds. (Holy Qur'an:- Chapter-07, Verses:130-135)

Sea and Pharaoh Drowning Then Preserved As A Sign

Musa prays once more to God. He is told to depart with the Israelites at night-time towards the sea. Meanwhile the Egyptians hear of this, and Firaun sends heralds to all the cities telling them about the insurrection. Finally, the Egyptians, led by Firaun, appear near the sea bent on destroying the Israelites. Musa strikes the sea with his rod and it parts. He and the Israelites pass through safely, but the Egyptians follow them 'in insolence and spite,' which scares some of the Israelites. However, with them safely across, the sea overwhelms the Egyptians. As he is drowning, Firaun calls out that he believes in the Israelites' god and that he submits himself to God. But it was too late. He is reminded of his evil acts, and God allows his body to be later picked up as a sign for those who do evil. God also levels some of the Egyptian's works and buildings.


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