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Did Firawn Die on Iman or Kufr?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham

Answered by: Alimah Siddiqa al-Farsiyyah


As salamu alaykum,

What is the opinion of the Salaf about the belief of Pharoah? Did he die on Iman or Kufr? Can you provide references, please? Some people follow the following article and claim there is ikhtilaf on this. Is that correct?

The Belief of Pharoah?

Posted on February 6, 2012 by Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad


Was ‘The Seal of the Wisdom of Sublimity in the Word of Musa’ truly written by Ibn Arabi? If so, is his position concerning Pharaoh valid?


– Imams Jalal al-Din al-Dawwani (d. 907) and `Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha`rani (d. 973) took that position as authentic from Ibn `Arabi and followed it; after which

– Mulla `Ali al-Qari (d. 1014) wrote a book against it which he entitled Farr al-`Awn Mimman Yadda`i Iman Fir`awn (The Desertion of Help from Any Who Claim the Belief of Pharaoh), after which Qari was counter-refuted by

-Shaykh `Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulusi (d. 1143) and

– the Iraqi hafiz Muhammad b. `Abd al-Rasul al-Barzanji who wrote al-Ta’yid wal-`Awn li-Mudda`i Iman Fir`awn (Support and Help for the One Who Claims the Belief of Pharaoh).

– Shaykh Ahmad al-Ghumari said of Barzanji, “He brought up material that dazzles the minds, just as he did regarding the two parents of the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace)…. As for whoever said that the proof of Fir`awn’s kufr was ‘decisive’ (qat`i), he probably does not understand the meaning of decisive. Allah Most High Himself relates that he believed at the time his soul came out or when he saw his impending destruction, for which Allah Most High rebuked him because he had delayed his belief to that time, and He did not say after that that He had not accepted his belief. Where then is the decisive proof which the Shaykh supposedly violated? Besides, what would be the wisdom in His saying {and on the Day the Hour rises (it will be said): Admit the folk of Pharaoh into the most terrible punishment!} (40:46) rather than ‘admit Pharaoh’? And what need is there for those figurative interpretations the commentators mention? So the issue is a matter of ijtihad and there is no qat`i in it whatsoever.” (al-Jawab al-Mufid lil-Sa’il al-Mustafid)

– His younger brother Shaykh `Abd Allah al-Ghumari counter-refuted his defence of Ibn `Arabi with proofs from Qur’an and hadith conveying that (i) Fir`awn expressed his faith under coercion, but faith is accepted only if expressed freely; (ii) Ibn `Arabi misconstrued his expression of faith as a supplication whereas he never supplicated Allah; and (iii) there is scholarly consensus from the Companions and Successors to our time that he died as a disbeliever and the enemy of Allah and His Prophet, upon him blessings and peace. (Bida` al-Tafasir and Istimdad al-`Awn li-Ithbat Kufr Fir`awn).

The latter mentioned that Ibn `Arabi based himself on the view that “among the Sufis, faith benefits even at the time one eyes damnation” which he says was mentioned, “in the Tafsir of Qadi `Abd al-Samad al-Hanafi who was alive in 430.” He means Abu al-Fath `Abd al-Samad b. Mahmud b. Yunus al-Ghaznawi the author of Tafsir al-Fuqaha’ wa-Takdhib al-Sufaha’ which was transmitted by his son to Mahmud b. Ahmad b. `Abd al-Rahman al-Ghaznawi (d. 563) the student of Imam Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Ghazzali (brother of Hujjat al-Islam).

Others said this issue is not the province of general debate but rather one of the arcane secondary questions that distract people for no benefit here and hereafter, and Allah knows best.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most-Merciful


It is not wrong to say some scholars may have a different opinion on the matter as there doesn’t seem to be any decisive statement regarding his belief, rather only allusive. However, by looking into the Qur’anic verses as well as the Hadith, we can conclude that the overwhelming amount of evidence indicates towards his disbelief. Pharaoh pronounced the shahadah at the time of his death and due to the hope that he’ll be saved if he claims to have believed, which is not acceptable.[1]

Only Allah knows best

Written by Alimah Siddiqa al-Farsiyyah

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham


[1] Anwarul Bayan 4/363, Ta’lifaat Ashrafiyyah

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.

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