Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Pharaoh as a Model for Arrogance (2/2).

By Harun Yahya

In part one, Harun Yahya presents the "Pharaonic character," which is marked by arrogance and attachment to the world. The author argues that regarding Pharaoh as merely a unique example is to fail to recognize the broader significance of the subject. The story of Pharaoh in the Qur'an defines the "Pharaonic" character that has become prevalent in our time.

In this part, the author goes on to show some manifestations of such Pharaonic character in the life of Pharaoh himself.

Pharaoh Tried To Exalt Himself Before Musa

A conversation between Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) and Pharaoh is mentioned in the Qur'an. Allah commanded Musa and his brother to [go to Pharaoh and say, "We are the Messengers of the Lord of all the worlds to tell you to send the tribe of Israel away with us." He (Pharaoh) said (to Musa), "Did we not bring you up among us as a child and did you not spend (many) years of your life among us? Yet you did the deed you did and were ungrateful." He (Musa) said, "At the time I did it I was one of the ignorant] (Ash-Shu`ara' 26: 16-20).

In the verses above, a different form of Pharaoh's arrogance is made apparent. When summoned to comply with Allah's commands, he immediately resorted to foolish methods. Verbal abuse was one such ruse. By reminding Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) that he had been brought up in the palace, Pharaoh attempted to remind him of the loyalty he owed him. Furthermore, Pharaoh tried to coerce him by mentioning the Egyptian man whom Musa had unintentionally killed when he was ignorant of the religion. In this way, he foolishly intended to abase Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) and to exalt himself before him and his people.

Pharaoh's Attempt To Kill Musa Out of Arrogance

[Pharaoh said, "Let me kill Musa and let him call upon his Lord! I am afraid that he may change your religion and bring about corruption in the land." Musa said, "I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant man who does not have faith in the Day of Reckoning.] (Ghafir 40: 26-27)

Pharaoh was so arrogant that, only by murdering Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) could he find relief. His belligerent attitude was also a revolt against Allah. Aware of Musa's finer qualities, he felt jealous of him, and saw killing him as the only way to maintain his authority over the people of Egypt. When faced with Pharaoh's insolence, Musa maintained a composure that was truly exemplary, he would continually seek refuge in Allah.

The above mentioned verse also draws our attention to Pharaoh's disbelief in the Day of Reckoning. One's disbelief in the books sent by Allah and of the Day of Reckoning, which has been proclaimed by Allah's messengers, is another sign of a person's insolence and arrogance. However, such arrogant people will only suffer greatly in the hereafter, just as Pharaoh did.

Pharaoh's Claim of Divinity

[Pharaoh said, "Haman, build me a tower so that perhaps I may gain means of access, access to the heavens, so that I can look on Musa's God. Truly I think he is a liar." That is how Pharaoh's evil actions were made attractive to him and he was debarred from the Path. Pharaoh's scheming ended but in ruin.] (Ghafir 40: 36-37)

[Pharaoh said, "O chiefs, I do not know of any other god for you apart from Me.] (Al-Qasas 28: 38)

What Pharaoh stated in the verses above, in addition to the manner of his struggle with Allah, exemplifies his audacity. Moreover, he even resorted to force and threatened his own people, as well as Musa (peace and blessings be upon him), to submit to his claim as follows:

[Pharaoh said, "What is the Lord of all the worlds?" He (Musa) said, "The Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between them if you knew for sure." He said to those around him, "Are you listening?" He (Musa) said, "Your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers, the previous peoples." He (Pharaoh) said, "This Messenger, who has been sent to you, is mad." He (Musa) said, "The Lord of the East and the West and everything between them if you used your intellect." He (Pharaoh) said, "If you take any god other than me, I will certainly throw you into prison.] (Ash-Shu`ara' 26: 23-29)

These verses make light of Pharaoh's claim of divinity and his struggle with Allah. Pharaoh first posed a question about Allah, whose basis was evil. His arrogance was so overwhelming that he was determined to refuse Musa's answer, no matter what. He was insistent on denying Allah's might, despite all the signs he witnessed. Pharaoh responded to the message of Allah, communicated to him by Musa, with threats and abuse; he was angered to hear that Allah was the Lord of all humanity, both of the past and present.

Pharaoh's insolence led him to accuse the messenger of insanity. Because he lacked wisdom, a quality that only believers have, he engaged himself in a struggle with Musa, yet, failed to remember one important fact — that Allah was the protector of Musa (peace and blessings be upon him), the sole possessor of everything, including Pharaoh himself, as well as that entire he possessed.

Arrogance Made Pharaoh Deny Miracles

After first listening to the message of Allah that had been communicated through the Prophet Musa, Pharaoh asked him to perform a miracle. Pharaoh trusted in the skills of his magicians and wanted Musa (peace and blessings be upon him) to confront his magicians. Pharaoh was certain that he would gain the ultimate victory. In his opinion, a successful confrontation would secure his authority. However, the magicians' performance was mere sorcery, which the miracle performed by the Prophet Musa rendered void. Thus, Pharaoh was defeated. Yet, instead of acquiescing and accepting to be rightly guided, he became still more arrogant.

Witnessing the miracle performed by Musa (peace and blessings be upon him), the magicians embraced faith and came to believe in the God of Musa. Nevertheless, their choice had no impact whatsoever on the hardened heart of Pharaoh. Rather, as we see in the following verses, he decided to use force:

[The magicians threw themselves down in prostration. They said, "We believe in the Lord of all the worlds, the Lord of Musa and Harun." Pharaoh said, "Have you believed in him before I authorized you to do so? This is just some plot you have concocted in the city to drive its people from it, but you shall know. I will certainly cut off your alternate hands and feet and then I will crucify every one of you.] (Al-A` raf 7: 120-124)

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