Monday, June 5, 2006

Pharaoh as a Model for Arrogance(1/2).


By Harun Yahya

Pharaoh is often referred to in the Qur’an as one of those who grew arrogant towards Allah. However, regarding Pharaoh as merely a unique example is to fail to recognize the broader significance of the subject. It is important to recognize that the story of Pharaoh in the Qur’an, aside from merely providing information about his life, defines the "Pharaonic" character that has become prevalent in our time.

Whether recognized or not, history has seen many people possessed of the Pharaonic character. As a matter of fact, most are familiar with this character. Those who are known for their arrogance are often likened to Pharaoh. The Qur’an refers to Pharaoh and his people as follows:

[Such was the case with Pharaoh’s people and those before them. They denied their Lord’s Signs so We destroyed them for their wrong actions. We drowned Pharaoh’s people. All of them were wrongdoers.] (Al-Anfal 8:54)

The character trait common to Pharaoh and other nations that perished before him, is arrogance. The arrogance they harbored in their hearts prevented them from accepting Allah’s messenger and obeying him. Their rejection only led them to torment — both in this world and beyond. Furthermore, exploring the nature of the arrogance of Pharaoh, and considering the nations referred to in the Qur’an as those that have gone down in history for their arrogance, and their relevance to our day, will help us better understand the importance of the subject.

The attitude of Pharaoh and his people towards Allah’s messenger was common to all corrupt nations. Their arrogance reached to such an extent that they even dared to make a mockery of Allah’ s messengers and the book he was sent with. This is related in the following verses:

[We sent Musa with Our Signs to Pharaoh and his nobles. He said, "I am the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds." But when he came to them with Our Signs, they merely laughed at them.] (Az-Zukhruf 43:46-47)

One of Pharaoh’s distinguishing traits was — as is the case with his leader, Satan — his immoderate attachment to worldly things. Due to this distorted mindset, he failed to make a rational assessment of the events that confronted him, and thus, could not grasp Musa’s superiority. According to him, worldly values such as wealth, power, and money were the criteria that established one’s superiority. This poor reasoning of Pharaoh is described in the Qur’an as follows:

[Pharaoh called to his people, saying, "My people, does the kingdom of Egypt not belong to me? Do not all these rivers flow under my control? Do you not then see? Am I not better than this man who is contemptible and can scarcely make anything clear? Why have gold bracelets not been put upon his arms and why is there not a train of angels accompanying him?"] (Az-Zukhruf 43:51-53)

The issues Allah draws our attention to in the verses above are as follows:

1. According to Pharaoh, the measure of one’s superiority was not fear of Allah, but possessions and wealth. Nobility was also considered important.

2. Pharaoh failed to grasp that the decision rested with Allah alone; thus Musa’s stature as Allah’s messenger was hurtful to his pride.

3. He despised Musa (peace and blessings be upon him), found him contemptible, and mentioned his manner of speaking as a mark of inferiority. Focusing on people’ s imperfections is evidently the behavior of an arrogant person.

4. Pharaoh thought the messenger should have been accompanied by angels or should have possessed wealth and power since, in his opinion, these were the symbols of authority.


Harun Yahya was born in Ankara in 1956. He studied arts at Istanbul's Mimar Sinan University, and philosophy at Istanbul University. Since the 1980s, he has published many books on political, faith-related, and scientific issues.

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