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WHAT ISLAM SAY’S ABOUT PHAROAH

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

QUESTION:

As Salaamu Alaikum,

what is the correct opinion about this some muslim says Allah knows the best about Pharoah’s aqida they says maybe he die with the iman, is it correct to says that? They based their opinion about the following article:https://eshaykh.com/doctrine/fusus-al-hikam-2/ “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 defense 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 is 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

ANSWER:

Wa Alaikum As Salaam,

The correct position and creed of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaat is that Fir’aun (Pharooh) died as a Kafir (unbeliever). And it is not correct to say that ‘maybe he died with Iman’. In the Holy Quran, Allah Has revealed many verses which condemn Fir’awn and describes his wicked actions. For example, Allah says in Sura Al Qasas verse 4:-

 

 (Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections, weakening a small group among them: their sons he slew, but he kept alive their females: for he was indeed a maker of mischief).

This shows how Fir’awn was filled with pride and arrogance and that he ordered the killing of the male children of the Bani Israeel.

 

Allah also mentions about Fir’awn in verse 8 of Sura Qasas and states:

 (Then the people of Pharaoh picked him up (from the river): (It was intended) that (Moses) should be to them an adversary and a cause of sorrow: for Pharaoh and Haman and (all) their hosts were men of sin).

In Sura An Naziat, Allah mentions about the claim of Fir’awn and states:

 

[15] Has the story of Moses reached thee? [16] Behold, thy Lord did call to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa [17] “Go thou to Pharaoh for he has indeed transgressed all bounds [18] “And say to him, ‘Wouldst thou that thou shouldst be purified (from sin)? [19] “‘And that I guide thee to thy Lord, so thou shouldst fear Him? [20] Then did (Moses) show him the Great Sign. [21] But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed (guidance); [22] Further, he turned his back, striving hard (against Allah). [23] Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation, [24] Saying, “I am your Lord, Most High“.[25] But Allah did punish him, (and made an) example of him, – in the Hereafter, as in this life.[26] Verily in this is an instructive warning for whosoever feareth (Allah).

In the above verses, there is a clear message that Musa (A.S) was ordered by Allah to invite Fir’awn to the right path. However, Fir’awn rejected the message and denied Allah. Allah Himself said about Fir’awn, ‘But he denied and disobeyed’. Allah also mentioned that Fir’awn made a claim that he was the highest lord. He said, ‘And he proclaimed, ‘I (Fir’awn) am your lord the Highest’.

On account of these wicked and evil actions, Allah seized him with a terrible punishment. About this, verse 25 stated, ‘So Allah seized him, and made him an example for the after (life) and for the former.

All these verses of the Holy Quran regarding Fir’awn, his disbelief and punishment, were revealed to the Prophet (S.A.S) long after Fir’awn was destroyed. If there was any possibility of his acceptance of Iman, Allah would not have revealed such verses about him in the Holy Quran.

With respect to his utterance of belief at the time of drowning which is evident in the following verse of Sura Yunus verse 90:

 [90] We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: “I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam).”

This statement of belief was rejected by Allah which is evident in verse 91 of Sura Yunus, which states, ‘Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before, and you were one of the evil doers and corrupters’.

While commenting on this verse, the great scholar Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes, ‘From this verse (i.e Verse 91), it is evident that at the time of death, one’s declaration of Imaan (faith) is not accepted and considered’.

‘This is further evident from the Hadith which states that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Allah accepts the ‘Tawbah’ (repentance) of a servant as long as the soul does not reach the throat’ (Tirmidhi).

‘When, at the time of the removal of the soul, the angel appears before a person, then doing actions in this world comes to an end and the matter of the hereafter begins. Therefore, at that identical time of the departing of the soul, no statement or action will be accepted/ considered’.

‘Whoever accepts Imaan at that time, then he will not be called a believer and will not be given a Janazah (Muslim burial), just as it occurred with Fir’awn in the above mentioned incident’ (Sura Yunus verses 90, 91, 92).

‘There is Ijma (unanimity) of the scholars that Fir’awn’s death occurred upon Kufr (disbelief), and this is evident from the texts of the Quran’ (Ma’aariful Quran (urdu) Vol. 4 Pg. 564 Idaratul Ma’arif Karachi 1999).

Hafiz Ibn Katheer also, while explaining the above verses (verses 90, 91 of Sura Yunus), states, ‘So he (Fir’awn) accepted Imaan (faith) at a time when Imaan did not benefit him’. Ibn Katheer also mentioned the narration of Abdullah bin Abbas (R.A) in which he said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said, ‘Jibra’eel (A.S) said to me, ‘If you had only seen me when I took the sand of the ocean and stuffed it in the mount of Fir’awn, fearing that ‘Rahmah’ (mercy) may come to him’. (Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Hakim, Ibn Hibban).

 

Allah Has also mentioned in other verses that Imaan (faith) which is proclaimed at the time of witnessing a punishment, is not accepted by Him. In this regard, he mentioned:

 [83] For when their messengers came to them with Clear Signs, they exulted in such knowledge (and skill) as they had; but that very (Wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in. [84] But when they saw Our Punishment, they said: “We believe in Allah,- the One Allah – and we reject the partners we used to join with Him.”
[85]
 But their professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them. (Such has been) Allah’s Way of dealing with His Servants (from the most ancient times). And even thus did the Rejecters of Allah perish (utterly)!

Allah also says:

[158] Are they waiting to see if the angels come to them, or thy Lord (Himself), or certain of the signs of thy Lord! the day that certain of the signs of thy Lord do come, no good will it do to a soul to believe in them then if it believed not before nor earned righteousness through its faith. Say: “Wait ye: we too are waiting.”

The incident regarding Fir’awn’s statement of belief occurred at the time when he saw the punishment of Allah and he was on the verge of death. As such, his faith was not accepted since it was not valid, and this is the position held by the overwhelming majority of scholars.

And Allah Knows best

Mufti Waseem Khan

07/03/2019

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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