A Qur’anic Historical Miracle: Pharaoh’s Strange Claim


When Moses told Pharaoh that Allah wanted him to let the Israelites leave Egypt with them, Pharoah rejected the demand. But then the Qur’an reports an intriguing claim that Pharaoh and his courtiers made about why Moses wanted to take the Israelites out of Egypt. They claimed that Moses wanted to lead his people out of Egypt in order to expel the Egyptians from their land. This baffling claim, which is not found in the Bible, can be understood only by knowing certain episodes in the history of ancient Egypt. Yet this information was unknown until the last one and a half-century ago, so Muḥammad (PBUH) could not have known about it.

For more details, check out our book The Mystery of Israel in Ancient Egypt: The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Old Testament, Archaeological Finds, and Historical Sources.





5 thoughts on “A Qur’anic Historical Miracle: Pharaoh’s Strange Claim

  1. Why would you believe the testimony of firaun when he said “they are a small band” when firaun is cursed in the Quran(10:92, 40:46) also have u taken into consideration that him being portrayed as being arrogant(26:29) may imply he was belittling and mocking the Israelites?

    1. That Pharaoh is cursed in the Qur’an has nothing to do with assessing the accuracy of his statement about the Israelites. He also boasted that he controlled Egypt (43:51); was he lying? Of course, not!

      Also, at least two observations confirm the accuracy and seriousness of his statement.

      First, he was addressing his chiefs, so he could not have said something that they knew to be untrue. This would have been useless, to say the least.

      Second, he had been killing the male newborns of the Israelites, which could have only reduced their numbers.

  2. You do realize him making the statement that he rule’s Egypt doesn’t support u because the Quran itself calls him firaun so it’s a self explanatory statement about him claiming rule over Egypt also you haven’t addressed why it’s not plausible for firaun to be simply belittling the Israelites by describing them as a small band after all this is an egotistical man who called himself God:
    “Pharaoh said, “If you put forward any god other than me, I will surely put you in prison” (26:29)

    1. I cited verse (43:51) because you claimed that Pharaoh’s statement cannot be trusted. The fact that what Pharaoh’s statement is confirmed in the Qur’an is irrelevant to your claim about the accuracy of Pharaoh’s statements.

      I have also given you other pieces of evidence that you failed to comment on.

      You seem to be making a big issue the Israelites being a small group for an unclear reason. Given that you claim that any conclusion should be drawn from a statement made by Allah in the Qur’an, what is the Qur’anic basis of your difficulty with accepting that the Israelites were small in number?

  3. Assalamu alaikum ya sayyid Louay,

    You have pointed out and discussed a usually missed phenomenon and blind spot in Quranic narrations (qasas) regarding Musa a.s. and the pharaoh. And I think you have very fair point. I agree with you that the fear of hyksos was still much alive during the new kingdom (so in 19th dynasty). As you pointed out, the demography of lower egypt (the nile delta) was cosmopolite one and retaking back by native egyptians does not necessarily change this nature save sacking only hyskos royals and elites. Your reference to remembrance of Yusuf a.s. in surah al-mu’min is very on spot. And indeed seth which worshipped by hyksos as sole god also continued to be worshipped by the egyptians after disposal of hyksos rule even though seth has conflict with horus (but later seth was demonized somehow, see 400 year stela).
    All also have few points that may support your proposal. You have already mentioned egyptian historian manetho probably lived around 4th or 3rd century BCE. He records a legendary figure named Osarseph. You must probably heard of it. When you look at the story of osarseph, it seems that certain various events which may related to each other somehow have traumatized egyptians and they have combined these events. It seems to me it is a mix or blend of real stories of Yusuf as, Musa as and Akhenaton which span about 400 years. Since they are combined through centuries in memories in an unknown way, some parts of the story are hardly comprehensible, meaningful or consistent. In fact, Josephus when quoting Manetho, who unfriendly make allegations over asiatic/semitic tribes, tries to respond his claims. But the story itself still reveals prolonged trauma of hyksos rule and fear of potantial comeback of them. It somehow relates exodus-like egyptian story to the hyksos or canaanites/semites. Another egyptian history who lives around 1st century AD, Chaeremon also recounts similar story but with some variation. What is also interesting in Manetho’s version, it starts with the pharaoh’s desire to see gods and communicating this desire to his famous seer. I think this event is reference to Quranic verses which mentions pharaoh’s order to haman to build a tower in order to see Musa’s a.s. God, Allah Subhan wa Taala.
    One last point on the subject is that, on top of your argument, additional factor leading pharaoh to claim that Musa a.s. is trying to drive out Egyptians from the Delta, could be that narrations placed in some exegesis (attributed to Abdullah ibn Masud) which mentions pharaoh’s dream in one night where he saw where a fire that rose from al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, burned down the houses of the Copts but left those of the Israelites untouched. This dream interpretted by his seers or magicians as a child will hail from the Israelites and destroy your kingdom. So as Musa a.s. grow up and his actions disturb pharaoh and finally cause Musa a.s. to escape Madian, he must realize that the dream is becoming clearer and clearer. Even though, when Musa a.s. come back and invited Pharaoh to true religion or at least leave Israelites with him and make no hint to overtake and occupy their land, Pharaoh due to effect and fear of prophecies made even before Musa as was born did not the idea letting them go and became suspicious of naivity of Musa’s a.s. offer. Even Musa a.s. might have been surprised by Pharaoh’s strange claim. But anyway, Pharaoh helped even led to a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e. trapped in Allah’s trap with his own hand and ultimately Israelites became occupant of their land for some time under the reign of Suleiman a.s.
    JazakAllah khayr for your works and enlightening us.

Leave a Reply