THE TROUBLES WHICH AFFLICTED PHARAOH
AND THOSE AROUND HIM
Pharaoh and those people close to him were so devoted to their
polytheistic system and pagan beliefs that not even message of the
Prophet Musa (as), armed with wisdom and spectacular miracles, could
soften their hearts and thus turn them away from baseless superstitions.
They also openly stated this fact:
They said, "No matter what kind of Sign you bring
us to bewitch us, we will not believe in you." (Qur'an, 7:132)
Because of their haughty attitude, Allah sent to them afflictions,
described as "Signs, clear and distinct" in one
verse, in order to punish them for their haughtiness. (Qur'an, 7:133)
The first of these was drought. As a result, there was a fall in
production. The relevant verse of the Qur'an states:
We seized Pharaoh's people with years of drought
and scarcity of fruits so that hopefully they would pay heed.
The Egyptians' agricultural systems depended on the River Nile
and changes in natural conditions did not therefore generally affect
them. However, Pharaoh and those around him suffered greatly because
of their pride and refusal to recognise Allah's Messenger. Yet instead
of "paying heed," they regarded these events as bad luck caused
by the Prophet Musa (as) and the Tribe of Israel. Following that,
Allah sent a series of tribulations. We are told of these in the
So We sent down on them floods, locusts,
lice, frogs and blood, Signs, clear and distinct, but they
proved arrogant and were an evildoing people. (Qur'an, 7:133)
In the early 19th century a papyrus dating back to the Middle
Kingdom was discovered in Egypt. The papyrus was taken to
the Leiden Museum in Holland and translated by A.H. Gardiner
in 1909. The entire text appears in the book Admonitions of
an Egyptian from a Hieratic Papyrus in Leiden, and describes
major changes in Egypt; famine, drought, the slaves’
flight from Egypt with their assets, and death all over the
nation. The papyrus was written by an Egyptian called Ipuwer
and it appears from its contents that this individual personally
witnessed the disasters that struck Egypt. This papyrus is
a most significant hand-written description of the catastrophes,
the death of Egyptian society and the destruction of Pharaoh.
The details in the papyrus regarding the disasters that struck
the people of Egypt are just as described in the Qur'an. In the
Qur'an, we are told about these catastrophes. This Islamic account
of this period of human history has been confirmed by the discovery
in Egypt, in the early 19th century, of the Ipuwer papyruses dating
back to the Middle Kingdom. After the discovery of this papyrus,
it was sent to the Leiden Dutch Museum in 1909 and translated by
A. H. Gardiner, a prominent scholar of ancient Egypt. In the papyrus
were described such disasters in Egypt as famine, drought and the
fleeing of the slaves from Egypt. Moreover, it appears that the
writer of the papyrus, one Ipuwer, had actually witnessed these
events. This is how the Ipuwer papyrus refers to these catastrophes
described in the Qur'an:
Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.205
The river is blood.206
Forsooth, that has perished which yesterday
was seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting
Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without
its revenues. To it belong (by right) wheat and barley, geese
Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.209
The land-to its whole extent confusion and
terrible noise… For nine days there was no exit from the palace
and no one could see the face of his fellow… Towns were destroyed
by mighty tides… Upper Egypt suffered devastation… blood everywhere…
pestilence throughout the country… No one really sails north to
Byblos today. What shall we do for cedar for our mummies?… Gold
Men shrink from tasting-human beings, and thirst
That is our water! That is our happiness! What
shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin!212
The towns are destroyed. Upper Egypt has become
The residence is overturned in a minute.214
The chain of disasters which struck the people
of Egypt, according to this document, conforms perfectly with the
Qur'anic account of these matters.215
This papyrus, which closely parallels the catastrophes which struck
Egypt in the time of Pharaoh, once again demonstrates the Qur'an
to be divine in origin.
205. “The Plagues of Egypt,”
Admonitions of Ipuwer 2:5-6, www.mystae.com/restricted/streams/thera/plagues.html.
206. Admonitions of Ipuwer 2:10, www.mystae.com/restricted/streams/thera/plagues.html.
207. Admonitions of Ipuwer 5:12, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm.
208. Admonitions of Ipuwer 10:3-6, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm.
209. Admonitions of Ipuwer 6:3, www.students.itu.edu.tr/~kusak/ipuwer.htm.
210. Admonitions of Ipuwer, www.mystae.com/restricted/streams/thera/plagues.html.
211. Admonitions of Ipuwer 2:10, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm.
212. Admonitions of Ipuwer 3:10-13, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm.
213. Admonitions of Ipuwer 2:11, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm.
214. Admonitions of Ipuwer 7:4, www.geocities.com/regkeith/linkipuwer.htm
215. Rabbi Mordechai Becher, “The Ten Plagues – Live
From Egypt,” Ohr Somayach Institutions, www.ohr.org.il/special/pesach/ipuwer.htm.