Pharaoh (Firoun) – a testimony of punishment
Pharaohs ruled Egypt for a long time through many dynasties. They kept ‘Banoo Israel’ as if slaves and burdened them with hard jobs. Pharaohs though adorned Egypt with some wonderful constructions had done a grave mistake by worshipping other than Allah. Allah had given them provisions and powers to establish great kingdom but they refused to obey his commands.
Prophet Moosa Alihisslam came with message from Allah to Pharaoh to obey Allah and free Banoo Israel from the severity. The Pharaoh who confronted Prophet Moosa Alihisslam is known to be Ramses II. He heard from fortune tellers that a boy from Banoo Israel will topple his empire. So he ordered to kill all boys born in Banu Israel house hold and accordingly as much as 70,000 newborn boys were brutally murdered by Pharaoh’s militia.
But eventually it was Allah who won the trick. When Prophet Moosa Alihisslam was born Allah informed his mother to put the baby in a box and float it in the river Nile. Pharaoh’s wife spotted the floating box and retrieved it. When she opened it, she was amazed to see the cheerful baby and wanted to bring him up under her custody. So Allah made Pharaoh look after his enemy Moosa Alihisslam in his childhood!
Later Moosa Alihisslam got divine message and called Pharaoh to eternal truth that ‘There is no god other than Allah’. But Pharaoh refused to obey and maintained his false theories. He even told his people that ‘I can’t visualize any god other than me for you’!
Pharaoh’s wife ‘Asiya Raliya Allahu anha’ believed in Moosa Alihisslam and she was cruelly killed. Pharaoh’s atrocities didn’t stop there and he massacred a group of men who believed in Moosa Alihisslam. Those men were wizards summoned by Pharaoh to display their magic to defeat Moosa Alihisslam’s stick which becomes a snake upon putting on earth. The wizards were beaten by Muejizah (Miracle) of Moosa Alihisslam which prompted them to believe in religion taught by Him.
Allah had sent many tiny punishments to test the Pharaoh and his men. Blood stains used to appear in water they use. They reached Moosa Alihisslam to ask Allah to clear this penalty. It was cleared upon Dua of Moosa Alihisslam. Once it was cleared they returned to their old habits. In another occasion lice appeared all over their bodies. Yet in another occasion frogs used to jump all around them. With all these sample punishments those stupid people didn’t believe in Allah and His Messenger Moosa Alihisslam. Instead they added up their crimes against Banu Israel.
Finally, Allah ordered Moosa Alihisslam to take his tribe away from Egypt and they walked towards Red Sea. Hearing this news Pharaoh set up his troops and chased Moosa Alihisslam and Banu Israel. They met at bank of Red Sea and the people with Moosa Alihisslam were frightened down to earth. They were expecting sudden death by any means and started complaining Moosa Alihisslam.
Allah is glorious and he never let down His righteous believers. Allah ordered Moosa Alihisslam to beat the sea with his stick! Soon the sea opened up to 12 path ways and the water stilled as if an ice mountain in both sides. Moosa Alihisslam and His men scurried through these paths to other side of the sea.
Seeing this Pharaoh followed suite. But Allah ordered the sea the merge back and Pharaoh and his cavalry were drowned. When he was sure of death Pharaoh proclaimed that he do believe in Allah, the God taught by Moosa Alihisslam. But it was too late. So story of Pharaoh and his atrocities ended there.
Yet Allah wanted to keep future generations aware of what will the fate of disbelief and arrogance. So he maintained Pharaoh’s body without decay. Allah has mentioned it in holy Quran.
فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ
(سورة يونس – 92)
“This day we shall save your body, so that you may be a sign to those who come after you but verily, many among mankind are heedless of our signs”
Great Mufassir Imam Qurtuby (R.A) has given following explanation for this verse
قوله تعالى: “فاليوم ننجيك ببدنك” أي نلقيك على نجوة من الأرض. وذلك أن بني إسرائيل لم يصدقوا أن فرعون غرق، وقالوا: هو أعظم شأناً من ذلك، فألقاه الله على نجوة من الأرض، أي مكان مرتفع من البحر حتى شاهدوه
And Imam Ibn Katheer’s (R.A) explanation is as follows
وقوله “فاليوم ننجيك ببدنك لتكون لمن خلفك آية” قال ابن عباس وغيره من السلف إن بعض بني إسرائيل شكوا في موت فرعون فأمر الله تعالى البحر أن يلقيه بجسده سويا بلا روح وعليه درعه المعروفة على نجوة من الأرض وهو المكان المرتفع ليتحققوا موته وهلاكه
From both explanations it is understood that Banoo Israel was in doubt on whether Pharaoh is really drowned. So Allah ordered the sea to throw his body out so that they can witness and confirm his death.
Cairo Museum has a royal mummies section where some recovered bodies of Pharaohs are preserved. The first one among them is captioned as “Ramses II” which is widely accepted as the body of Pharaoh drowned in Red Sea. There is some conflicting material available in internet about Pharaohs. One thing is sure that Allah has preserved body of a Pharaoh as a confirmation for future generations.
A study headed by Professor Maurice Bucaille done at France on this particular mummy reveals some interesting facts. Scientists concluded that remaining salt in the mummy is an overt evidence that it was drawn in the sea, and the body was rescued very shortly where it was immediately embalmed to be save. An amazing thing was still confusing Professor Maurice is that how could this body possibly be safer than any other mummy despite being taken out of the sea up until this time.
The professor was given a hint that Qura’n has mentioned something on Pharaoh who chased Moosa Alihissalam and ultimately drowned in sea. His study on this subject led way to embrace Islam.
As per many verses from Quran, Pharaoh’s palace was some where near the river Nile. During 19th and 20th century excavations some remains are found in bank of Nile in Luxor (some 500 KM away from Cairo). Red Sea lies east to Nile and there is historic evidence that Banoo Israel lived in Sinai Peninsula after they were saved from Pharaoh.
Cairo Museum is located in a busy area in the City. There is a metro train station only two stops away from our hotel (I stayed in Doki area almost near Nail delta). There wasn’t much rush in the ticket counter. As usual there are different ticket rates for Foreigners, Egyptians and Students. To enter Royal mummies room another 100 pound is charged per head.