Pharaoh’s Sorcerers: A Personal Reflection
By Quran and Bible Blog Contributor petercunliffe
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
The ayahs about the reversion and martyrdom of Pharaoh’s sorcerers hit me so hard when I read them today. The greatest heroes of the story of the Exodus were not only Moses (peace be upon him), Aaron (peace be upon him), the Israelites, and the wife of the Pharaoh, all of whom submitted to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), but also the sorcerers.
They were sorcerers, literally worshipping devils and engaging in the dark arts. Their prestige came from helping an evil man convince everyone around him of his supposed divinity. Their entire lives were spent amassing riches by serving Shaitan, the furthest people one could imagine from any possible salvation. Yet when they were defeated during the contest with Moses (peace be upon him), Allah’s prophet, instead of stupidly clinging to their ways, they fell in prostration to the Creator whom they had previously spent their whole lives ignorantly opposing. They did not try to excuse themselves; they did not try to find a loophole; they did not try to rationalize or minimize or defend their former bad habits. They submitted to God. They not only gave up their evil ways, but they also then faced the psychopathic tyrant who claimed himself to be divine, the Pharaoh.
This man’s megalomania caused him to have temples of himself to be built, and whose paranoia and cruelty caused him to order infants to be murdered. The converts probably knew very well what his reaction would be likenbut they submitted anyway. Upon hearing his verdict and aware of the torturous death that was going to be their end on this planet, they could have begged him to forgive them, told him that they made a mistake and offered to try again. Or, they could have just attempted to kill Moses and Aaron (peace be upon them) on the spot. They did none of that. They faced the psychotic Pharaoh, and they told him exactly what he hated to hear: that this wasn’t any trick to steal his land but instead that they realized who their real Lord is, and that they would turn to Him. They then made their supplication to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), their final dua. It was not for a miraculous escape. Not even for a more humane death. No. They made a dua for patience and for the gift of dying as submitters to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). They only wanted the gift of dying as Muslims. How many of us have faith like that?
Thus, the truth came to pass, and whatsoever they did was shown to be false. Then and there they were vanquished and turned back, humbled. And the sorcerers were cast down prostrate. They said, “We believe in the Lord of the worlds, The Lord of Moses and Aaron”. Pharaoh said, “You believe in him before I grant you leave! This is surely a plot you have devised in the city, that you might expel its people therefrom. Soon you shall know. I shall surely cut off your hands and feet on alternate sides; then I shall surely crucify you all!” They said, “Truly we turn to our Lord”. You take vengeance upon us only because we believed in the signs of our Lord when they came unto us. Oh Lord, shower us with patience, and let us die as submitters.” (Surah al-A’raf, 7:118-126)