The Quran

Commentaries for 28.4

Al Qasas (The narrative) - القصص

28.4 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Lo! Pharaoh exalted himself) Pharaoh rebelled and became arrogant and tyrannical (in the earth) in the land of Egypt (and made its people castes) different groups. (A tribe among them) from among the Children of Israel (he suppressed) he oppressed, (killing their sons) young (and sparing their women) and use their grown up women as servants. (Lo! he was of those who work corruption) in his state of disbelief, by killing people and calling for the worship of other than Allah.
28.4 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
Truly Pharaoh had exalted himself in the land, the land of Egypt, and reduced its people into sects, groups, to serve him, oppressing a group of them, namely, the Children of Israel, slaughtering their sons, the new-born, and sparing their women, keeping them alive — for some of the [Egyptian] priests had told him, ‘A new-born of the Children of Israel shall bring about the end of your kingdom’. Indeed he was of those who cause corruption, through [the use of] slaughter and otherwise.
28.1-6 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Story of Musa and Fir`awn, and what Allah intended for Their People
We have already discussed the significance of the separate letters.
تِلْكَ ءَايَـتُ الْكِتَـبِ الْمُبِينِ
(These are the Ayat of the manifest Book.) means the Book which is clear and makes plain the true reality of things, and tells us about what happened and what will happen.
نَتْلُواْ عَلَيْكَ مِن نَّبَإِ مُوسَى وَفِرْعَوْنَ بِالْحَقِّ
(We recite to you some of the news of Musa and Fir`awn in truth,) This is like the Ayah,
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ
(We relate unto you the best of stories) (12:3). which means, `We tell you about things as they really were, as if you are there and are seeing them yourself.' Then Allah says:
إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلاَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
(Verily, Fir`awn exalted himself in the land) means, he was an arrogant oppressor and tyrant.
وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعاً
(and made its people Shiya`) means, he made them into different classes, each of which he used to do whatever he wanted of the affairs of his state.
يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَآئِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ
(weakening a group among them. ) This refers to the Children of Israel, who at that time were the best of people, even though this tyrant king overpowered them, using them to do the most menial work and forcing them to hard labor night and day for him and his people. At the same time, he was killing their sons and letting their daughters live, to humiliate them and because he feared that there might appear among them the boy who would be the cause of his destruction and the downfall of his kingdom. So Fir`awn took precautions against that happening, by ordering that all boys born to the Children of Israel should be killed, but this precaution did not protect him against the divine decree, because when the term of Allah comes, it cannot be delayed, and for each and every matter there is a decree from Allah. Allah says:
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُواْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
(And We wished to do a favor to those who were weak in the land,) until His saying;
(which they feared.) And Allah did indeed do this to them, as He says:
وَأَوْرَثْنَا الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ كَانُواْ يُسْتَضْعَفُونَ
(And We made the people who were considered weak) until His saying;
(they erected) (7:137). And Allah said:
كَذَلِكَ وَأَوْرَثْنَـهَا بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ
(Thus and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit them) (26: 59). Fir`awn hoped that by his strength and power he would be saved from Musa, but that did not help him in the slightest. Despite his great power as a king he could not oppose the decree of Allah, which can never be overcome. On the contrary, Allah's ruling was carried out, for it had been written and decreed from past eternity that Fir`awn would meet his doom at the hands of Musa.
28.4-6 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The words ala fil-ard in the Text are comprehensive and mean that he adopted a rebellious attitude in the land, assumed independence and godhead and superiority instead of behaving like a servant and a subordinate, and started oppressing his subjects like a tyrannical and haughty ruler.
That is, "He did not rule his subjects with an even hand giving equal rights to all of them, but he had adopted the polity of dividing them into groups. He bestowed privileges and preferential rights on some to be made the ruling class and reduced others to serfs to be oppressed and exploited."
Here, nobody should think that an Islamic government also discriminates between its Muslim and dhimmi subjects, and does not allow them equal rights and privileges in every way This doubt is misplaced because this distinction, contrary to Pharaonic discrimination, is not based on any distinction owing to race, color, language or class, but on the distinction of ideology and way of life. In the Islamic system there is absolutely no difference between the legal rights of the Muslims and the dhimmis. The only difference is in their political rights, for the simple reason that in an ideological state the ruling class can only be the one which believes in its basic ideology. Every person who accepts this ideology can enter that class, and anyone who rejects it quits it. Thus, there can be no element of resemblance between this discrimination and the Pharaonic discrimination according to which no member of the oppressed race can ever enter the ruling class, under which the people of the oppressed race do not even enjoy the basic human rights, not to speak of their political and economic rights; so much so that they are even deprived of their right to live and survive, and denied security of any right whatever, all special privileges and benefits and high of offices and good things of life being reserved for the ruling class and for every such person who happens to have been born in it.
The Bible elucidates this as follows:
"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them: lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them task masters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Ra`amses....And the Egyptians trade the children of Israel to serve with rigour; And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.... And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives.... And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live." (Exod. 1: 8-16).
This shows that after the passing away of the Prophet Joseph a nationalist revolution took place in Egypt, and when the Copts regained power the new nationalist government employed every means to subdue the Israelites. They did not _ only humiliate and disgrace them and took mean services from them, but, over and above this, they adopted the policy of reducing their population, by killing their sons and allowing their daughters to live so that their women should gradually pass into the Copts' hands and produce the Coptic instead of the Israelite race. The Talmud adds that this revolution had taken place a little over a hundred years after the death of the Prophet Joseph. According to it, the new government, in the first instance, deprived the Israelites of their fertile lands and houses and possessions, and then removed them from the government jobs and offices. Even after this whenever the Coptic rulers felt that the Israelites and their Egyptian coreligionists were becoming formidable they would disgrace them and employ them in rigorous jobs on little or no wages at all. This is the explanation of the Qur'anic verse: "He debased a section of the Egyptian population", and of verse 49 of Al Baqarah: "They had inflicted a dreadful torment on you. "
However, neither the Bible nor the Qur'an mentions that the Pharaoh was told by an astrologer that a boy would be born among the Israelites, who would become a cause of his deposition from power and to meet this danger he had issued orders to kill the male children born in the Israelite homes, or that Pharaoh himself had seen a dreadful dream and the explanation given was that a son would be born among the Israelites, who would cause his downfall. Our commentators have taken this ¦`legend from the Talmud and other Israelite traditions. (See Jewish Encyclopedia, under ;"Moses", and The Talmud Selections, pp. 123-24).
That is, "Make them leaders and guides of the people in the world."
That is, "Bestow on them inheritance of the land so that they should be rulers over it.
The Western orientalists have been very critical of this. They say that Haman was a courtier of the Persian King Xerxes, who reigned hundreds of years after the Prophet Moses, from 486 to 465 B.C., but the Qur'an has made him a minister of Pharaoh in Egypt. This is nothing but an instance of sheer prejudice. After all, what historical evidence have these orientalists got to prove that there never lived any other person called Haman before Xerxes' courtier Haman? If an orientalist has been able to discover, through authentic means, a complete list of all the ministers and chiefs and courtiers of the Pharaoh under discussion which dues not contain the name of Haman he should make it public, or publish a photostat of it, because there could be no better or more effective instrument than this c f the refutation of the Our'an.