Qur'an Contradiction:

Moses and Pharaoh's Magicians Revisited

The following is our reply to one Shahid B. Waheed's (SBW in the following) alleged rebuttal to our recently published Qur'anic contradiction "Pharaoh's Magicians - Muslims or Rejectors of Faith?"

The author begins:

The obvious problem the team answering-islam" has is their sheer ignorance of Glorious Qur’aan, beside their desperate attempts to misrepresent the truth and twist the words of Qur’aan. That I have proved in my responses to all their claims. Let us examine the Glorious Qur’aan 10:83-86 below:


The discussion below will demonstrate, who exactly is ignorant. It is always unprofessional to personally attack and insult others who disagree but even more so to start an article that way before presenting any arguments themselves. The author is certainly trying to pull a fast one on his readers.


فَمَا آمَنَ لِمُوسَى إِلَّا ذُرِّيَّةٌ مِنْ قَوْمِهِ عَلَى خَوْفٍ مِنْ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ لَعَالٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ (83) وَقَالَ مُوسَى يَا قَوْمِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُسْلِمِينَ (84) فَقَالُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (85) وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ (86)

But none believed in Ms except the offspring of his people, because of the fear of Firaun (Pharaoh) and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and verily, Firaun (Pharaoh) was an arrogant tyrant on the earth, he was indeed one of the Musrifn (polytheists, sinners and transgressors, those who give up the truth and follow the evil, and commit all kinds of great sins). (84) And Ms said: "O my people! If you have believed in Allh, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims (those who submit to Allhs Will)." (85) They said: "In Allh we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are Zlimn (polytheists and wrong-doers) (i.e. do not make them overpower us). (86) "And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk."

But none believed in Ms except the offspring of his people,

Word for word translation from Arabic to English:

فَمَا but none

آمَنَ believed

لِمُوسَى Moses in


ذُرِّيَّةٌ the offspring

مِنْ off

قَوْمِهِ his people

عَلَى because of

خَوْفٍ the fear

مِنْ of

فِرْعَوْنَ Pharoah

وَمَلَئِهِمْ thier chiefs and

أَنْ lest

يَفْتِنَهُمْ should prosecute them he

وَإِنَّ and verily

فِرْعَوْنَ Pharoah

لَعَال an arrogant tyrant(was)

ٍ فِي on

الْأَرْضِ earth the

وَإِنَّه and he was indeed

لَمِنَ of one

الْمُسْرِفِينَ the transgressors

The claim made by web site answering-islam is incorrect as usual since they have conveniently concealed the rest of the truth. The Glorious Quraan tells is that despite of all the clear signs and irrefutable evidence Musa came with, only a few offspring from Firawns followers believed in Musa (Moses). They were even scared that Firawn and his followers would force them to return to Kufr (disbelief). Firawn was an evil tyrant with extreme arrogance. His people feared him.


Had SBW taken the time to actually read all that we wrote, he would have found this link to our more detailed discussion of the contradictory accounts which also includes several different Muslim translations of S. 10:83, one of which is the following:

No one believed in Moses except some young people OF HIS OWN TRIBE who were at the same time very afraid of the persecution of the Pharaoh and his people ... Muhammad Sarwar

SBW has simply assumed what he has yet to prove, namely that "his people" refers to Pharaoh as opposed to Moses. Asserting something is not the same as proving it. Thus far, SBW has offered no exegetical proof for his claim that "his people" refers to Pharaoh.

If the verse had stated, e.g., "none believed in Moses except a few of the people of Pharaoh", then there would have been no denying that this refers to the Egyptians as opposed to the Israelites - and we would not have raised the issue in the first place. As it stands, the phrase "his people" most likely refers to the nearest antecedent, namely Moses. It is quite unlikely that the phrase "his people" is referring to Pharaoh since the word "Pharaoh" comes right after, not before, the phrase in question.

In fact, if the phrase were referring to Pharaoh there would have been no need to insert the word Pharaoh afterwards, since this would have already been implied. For example, instead of writing "none believed in Moses except a few of His people, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs" the text should have simply said, "none believed in Moses except a few of HIS people, because of the fear of HIM and his chiefs." The pronouns "his" and "him" would have been understood to be referring to Pharaoh. Yet, the fact that the author of the Qur'an clearly inserts the word Pharaoh right after is further indication that the pronoun "his" doesn't refer to Pharaoh, but to Moses.

That Pharaoh is not the object of the pronoun "his" will become more evident below.

SBW goes on to claim:

But children of Israel, however, themselves believed in Musa, all of them. They were glad to see him coming. They knew of his description and the news of his advent from their previous Books. They knew that Allaah was going to save them through Musa (Moses) from the bondage of Firawn and will give them power over him. Therefore, when this knowledge reached Firawn he was very wary. But his caution and weariness didnt help him one bit. When Musa (Moses) arrived, Firawn subjected them to great harm, as we read in Glorious Quraan 7:129!

قَالُوا أُوذِينَا مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ تَأْتِيَنَا وَمِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جِئْتَنَا قَالَ عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَنْ يُهْلِكَ عَدُوَّكُمْ وَيَسْتَخْلِفَكُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرَ كَيْفَ تَعْمَلُونَ

They said: "We (Children of Israel) had suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you have come to us." He said: "It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors on the earth, so that He may see how you act?"

Notice: How cleverly the team answering-islam has taken out (the account of Pharoah, Magician, and Moses) of context and has used it as pretext.

The fact is that all Children of Israel became believers is evidenced by the following Ayaat (verses 84 to 86)

وَقَالَ مُوسَى يَا قَوْمِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ آمَنْتُمْ بِاللَّهِ فَعَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلُوا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُسْلِمِينَ (84) فَقَالُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْنَا رَبَّنَا لَا تَجْعَلْنَا فِتْنَةً لِلْقَوْمِ الظَّالِمِينَ (85) وَنَجِّنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ (86)

(84) And Ms said: "O my people! If you have believed in Allh, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims (those who submit to Allh’s Will)." (85) They said: "In Allh we put our trust. Our Lord! Make us not a trial for the folk who are Zlimn (polytheists and wrong-doers) (i.e. do not make them overpower us). (86) "And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk."

The above verse 10:83 is explicitly about Musa (Moses) and his people. While in chapter 7, verses quoted by the team "answering-islam" are talking about the encounter between Musa (Moses) and the Magicians. There is no contradiction or confusion in Glorious Qur’aan and none has proved by the forces of falsehood, except they have to keep manufacturing lies to show performance to their donors who donate money to this missionary site. In fact their very argument is self-defeating if one read carefully and check the references ignoring the formation they have used to sensationalized their absurdity.


For a moment we seem to fully agree: "The above verse 10:83 is explicitly about Musa (Moses) and his people". However, since that statement makes just as little sense as the Qur'an, we assume that SBW made a typo and intended to write "the above verse 10:84 ..." since up to this point he has been arguing that 10:83 refers to Pharaoh's people. Even when giving him the benefit of the doubt on this point, the rest still demonstrates that he actually hasn't read the Qur'an carefully. This becomes apparent both in reference to surah 10 and surah 7. First, SBW seems to be confused since S. 10:83 does in fact refer to Moses' encounter with Pharaoh's magicians, as any reading of the context will easily demonstrate. We had mentioned this explicitly in the introductory sentences to the two Qur'an quotation at the beginning of the shorter article that SBW responds to (and this is the whole point of comparing since it would be nonsense to claim a contradiction between reports of different events), and we have given the full quotation in context in the longer more detailed article. So, we have no clue how SBW gets the idea to claim that the report in Sura 10 is not about Moses' encounter with the magicians of Pharaoh when he writes: "The above verse 10:83 is explicitly about Musa (Moses) and his people. While in chapter 7, verses quoted by the team "answering-islam" are talking about the encounter between Musa (Moses) and the Magicians." Obviously, both passages, S. 10:75-83 AND S. 7:109-126 are about the encounter of Moses with Pharaoh's magicians.

Further, his claim that all of the Israelites believed is erroneous in light of the following passages:

Said Moses to HIS PEOPLE: "Pray for help from God, and (wait) in patience and constancy: for the earth is God's, to give as a heritage to such of His servants as He pleaseth; and the end is (best) for the righteous. THEY SAID: "WE HAVE HAD (NOTHING BUT) TROUBLE, both before AND AFTER thou camest to us." He said: "It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you inheritors in the earth; that so He may try you by your deeds"... And We made a people, considered weak (and of no account), inheritors of lands in both east and west, - lands whereon We sent down Our blessings. The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy, and We levelled to the ground the great works and fine buildings which Pharaoh and his people erected (with such pride). We took the Children of Israel (with safety) across the sea. They came upon a people devoted entirely to some idols they had. THEY SAID: "O Moses! fashion for us a god like unto the gods they have." He said: "Surely ye are a people without knowledge. As to these folk,- the cult they are in is (but) a fragment of a ruin, and vain is the (worship) which they practise." He said: "Shall I seek for you a god other than the (true) God, when it is God Who hath endowed you with gifts above the nations?" And remember We rescued you from Pharaoh's people, who afflicted you with the worst of penalties, who slew your male children and saved alive your females: in that was a momentous trial from your Lord. S. 7:128-129, 137-141


Those who reject Our signs and the meeting in the Hereafter,- vain are their deeds: Can they expect to be rewarded except as they have wrought? THE PEOPLE OF MOSES made, in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of calf, (for worship): it seemed to low: did THEY not see that it could neither speak to THEM, nor show THEM the way? THEY took it for worship and THEY did wrong. When THEY repented, and saw that THEY had erred, THEY said: "If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall indeed be of those who perish." When Moses came back to HIS PEOPLE (qawmihi), angry and grieved, he said: "Evil it is that ye have done in my place in my absence: did ye make haste to bring on the judgment of your Lord?" He put down the tablets, seized his brother by the hair of) his head, and dragged him to him. Aaron said: "Son of my mother! THE PEOPLE did indeed reckon me as naught, and went near to slaying me! Make not THE ENEMIES rejoice over my misfortune, nor count thou me amongst THE PEOPLE OF SIN." Moses prayed: "O my Lord! forgive me and my brother! admit us to Thy mercy! for Thou art the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!" Those who took the calf (for worship) will indeed be overwhelmed with wrath from their Lord, and with shame in this life: thus do We recompense those who invent (falsehoods). But those who do wrong but repent thereafter and (truly) believe,- verily thy Lord is thereafter Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. When the anger of Moses was appeased, he took up the tablets: in the writing thereon was guidance and Mercy for such as fear their Lord. S. 7:147-154

These passages which immediately precede and follow S. 7:129 actually compound the problem since it introduces an additional contradiction.This shows that at first ALL of the people complained against Moses, and that later on the entire nation lapsed into idolatry! Now, SBW may claim that the phrase "His people" doesn't necessarily imply that every single individual fell into idolatry, since Aaron obviously didn't worship the calf. Yet, this would only prove our assertion that S. 10:83 does in fact imply that only some of Moses' people truly believed since most of them remained unbelievers and idolators at heart. Amazingly, SBW does the very thing which he accuses us of, namely failing to quote S. 7:128 which shows Israel's initial hostile reaction to Moses after his showdown with the magicians. Could it be that he was aware that this passage would end up exposing how shallow his response truly is?

Other passages which affirm that - according to the Qur'an - most of Moses' people remained unbelievers at heart include:

O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favor which I bestowed upon you, and that I preferred you to all others (for My Message). Then guard yourselves against a day when one soul shall not avail another nor shall intercession be accepted for her, nor shall compensation be taken from her, nor shall anyone be helped (from outside). And remember, We delivered you from the people of Pharaoh: They set you hard tasks and punishments, slaughtered your sons and let your women-folk live; therein was a tremendous trial from your Lord. And remember We divided the sea for you and saved you and drowned Pharaoh's people within your very sight. And remember We appointed forty nights for Moses, and in his absence ye took the calf (for worship), and ye did grievous wrong. Even then We did forgive you; there was a chance for you to be grateful. And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (Between right and wrong): There was a chance for you to be guided aright. And remember Moses said to HIS PEOPLE (liqawmihi): "O MY PEOPLE! Ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf: So turn (in repentance) to your Maker, and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker." Then He turned towards you (in forgiveness): For He is Oft- Returning, Most Merciful. And remember ye said: "O Moses! WE SHALL NEVER BELIEVE IN THEE UNTIL WE SEE ALLAH MANIFESTLY," Thereupon ye were dazed with thunderbolt even as ye looked on. Then We raised you up after your death; ye had the chance to be grateful. And We gave you the shade of clouds and sent down to you Manna and quails, saying: "Eat of the good things We have provided for you:" (But they rebelled); to Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls. And remember We said: "Enter this town, and eat of the plenty therein as ye wish; and enter the gate prostrating (with humility), and say: "Forgive (us)"; We shall forgive you your faults and increase (the portion of) those who do good." But the transgressors changed the word from that which had been given them; so We sent on the transgressors a plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly. And remember Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: "Strike the rock with thy staff." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth. And remember ye said: "O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions." He said: "Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!" They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing... Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: They became like a rock and even worse in hardness. For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth; others there are which when split asunder send forth water; and others which sink for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unmindful of what ye do. S. 2:47-61, 74

"There came to you Moses with clear (Signs); yet ye worshipped the calf (even) after that, and ye did behave wrongfully. And remember We took your covenant and We raised above you them Mount (Sinai): (Saying): "Hold firmly to what We have given you, and hearken (to the Law)": They said:" We hear, and we disobey:" And their hearts were filled (with the love) of the calf BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITHLESSNESS. Say: "Vile indeed are the behests of your Faith if ye have any faith!" S. 2:92-93

Remember Moses said to his people: "O MY PEOPLE! Call in remembrance the favor of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. O MY PEOPLE! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin." They said: "O Moses! In this land are a people of exceeding strength: Never shall we enter it until they leave it: if (once) they leave, then shall we enter." (But) among (their) God-fearing men were two on whom Allah had bestowed His grace: They said: "Assault them at the (proper) Gate: when once ye are in, victory will be yours; But on Allah put your trust if ye have faith." They said: "O Moses! while they remain there, never shall we be able to enter, to the end of time. Go thou, and thy Lord, and fight ye two, while we sit here (and watch)." He said: "O my Lord! I have power only over myself and my brother: so separate us from this rebellious people!" Allah said: "Therefore will the land be out of their reach for forty years: In distraction will they wander through the land: But sorrow thou not over these rebellious people." S. 5:20-26

We sent an inspiration to Moses: "Travel by night with My servants, and strike a dry path for them through the sea, without fear of being overtaken (by Pharaoh) and withoutn (any other) fear." Then Pharaoh pursued them with his forces, but the waters completely overwhelmed them and covered them up. Pharaoh led his people astray instead of leading them aright. O ye Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a Covenant with you on the right side of Mount (Sinai), and We sent down to you Manna and quails: (Saying): "Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein, lest My wrath should justly descend on you: and those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed! But, without doubt, I am (also) He that forgives again and again, to those who repent, believe, and do right, who,- in fine, are ready to receive true guidance." (When Moses was up on the Mount, God said:) "What made thee hasten in advance of THY PEOPLE, O Moses?" He replied: "Behold, they are close on my footsteps: I hastened to thee, O my Lord, to please thee." (God) said: "We have tested thy people in thy absence: the Samiri has led them astray." So Moses returned to HIS PEOPLE in a state of indignation and sorrow. He said: "O MY PEOPLE! did not your Lord make a handsome promise to you? Did then the promise seem to you long (in coming)? Or did ye desire that Wrath should descend from your Lord on you, and so ye broke your promise to me?" They said: "We broke not the promise to thee, as far as lay in our power: but we were made to carry the weight of the ornaments of the (whole) people, and we threw them (into the fire), and that was what the Samiri suggested. Then he brought out (of the fire) before the (people) the image of a calf: It seemed to low: so THEY SAID: This is your god, and the god of Moses, but (Moses) has forgotten!" Could THEY not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had no power either to harm them or to do them good? Aaron had already, before this said to them: "O MY PEOPLE! ye are being tested in this: for verily your Lord is (God Most Gracious; so follow me and obey my command." THEY HAD SAID: "We will not abandon this cult, but we will devote ourselves to it until Moses returns to us." (Moses) said: "O Aaron! what kept thee back, when thou sawest THEM going wrong, From following me? Didst thou then disobey my order?" (Aaron) replied: "O son of my mother! Seize (me) not by my beard nor by (the hair of) my head! Truly I feared lest thou shouldst say, 'Thou has caused a division among the children of Israel, and thou didst not respect my word!'" (Moses) said: "What then is thy case, O Samiri?" He replied: "I saw what they saw not: so I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the Apostle, and threw it (into the calf): thus did my soul suggest to me." (Moses) said: "Get thee gone! but thy (punishment) in this life will be that thou wilt say, 'touch me not'; and moreover (for a future penalty) thou hast a promise that will not fail: Now look at thy god, of whom thou hast become a devoted wor shipper: We will certainly (melt) it in a blazing fire and scatter it broadcast in the sea!" But the god of you all is the One God: there is no god but He: all things He comprehends in His knowledge. S. 20:77-98

Qrn was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: "Exult not, for Allah loveth not those who exult (in riches). But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief." He said: "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have." Did he not know that Allah had destroyed, before him, (whole) generations,- which were superior to him in strength and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? But the wicked are not called (immediately) to account for their sins. So he went forth among his people in the (pride of his worldly) glitter. Said those whose aim is the life of this world: "Oh! that we had the like of what Qrn has got! for he is truly a lord of mighty good fortune!" But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: "Alas for you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)." Then We caused the earth to swallow up him and his house; and he had not (the least little) party to help him against Allah, nor could he defend himself. And those who had envied his position the day before began to say on the morrow: "Ah! It is indeed Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His servants He pleases! Had it not been that Allah was gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Ah! Those who reject Allah will assuredly never prosper." S. 28:76-82

(Remember also) Qrn, Pharaoh, and Hmn: there came to them Moses with Clear Signs, but they behaved with insolence on the earth; yet they could not overreach (Us). Each one of them We seized for his crime: of them, against some We sent a violent tornado (with showers of stones); some were caught by a (mighty) Blast; some We caused the earth to swallow up; and some We drowned (in the waters): It was not Allah Who wronged them: they wronged themselves. S. 29:39-40

And remember, Moses said to HIS PEOPLE: "O my people! why do ye vex and insult me, though ye know that I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you?" Then when they went wrong, Allah let their hearts go wrong. For Allah guides not those who are rebellious transgressors. S. 61:5

This implies that S. 10:83 refers to Moses' people since the reports about the desert wandering demonstrated that not all of Israel had truly come to believe in either Moses or his God.

In fact, note the following comments of A. Yusuf Ali regarding S. 10:83:

1466. The pronoun "his" in "his People" is taken by SOME Commentators to refer to Pharaoh. The majority of Pharaoh's people refused to believe at the time, but the sorcerors believed (7:120-122), and so did Pharaoh's wife (66:11), and ultimately Pharaoh himself, though too late (10:90). If we took "his" to refer to Moses, it would mean that the Israelites were hardened and grumbled (7:129) even when they were being delivered from Egypt, AND ONLY A FEW OF THEM HAD ANY REAL FAITH IN ALLAH'S PROVIDENCE AND THE WORKING OF HIS LAW, and they feared Pharaoh even more than they feared Allah. (Ali, The Holy Qur'an, New Revised Edition with Revised Translation, Commentary and Newly Compiled Comprehensive Index [Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland USA, 2001], p. 501; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Yusuf Ali is clearly torn and doesn't want to commit himself to any of the two given interpretations. He has recognized the problem that the natural reading of the verse results in a contradiction to other Qur'anic accounts. That is why he starts with a statement about a different interpretation. However, he was honest enough to admit that among the (classical) commentaries on the Qur'an there were only SOME commentators who took the pronoun "his" as a reference to Pharaoh, which implies that there were many others (the majority) who believed that the pronoun actually referred to Moses! He seems to be hesitant to contradict the majority even though seeing the contradiction, so he remains apparently undecided. Furthermore, Ali also agrees with our assesmment that not all the Israelites truly believed in Moses or his God. Therefore, SBW's claim that S. 10:83 cannot be referring to Israel since all Israel believed is an unsubstantiated assertion that finds no warrant in the text.

Also, the context of S. 10:83-86 itself shows that "His people" can only be referring to Moses' people:

"But none believed in Moses except some children of his People, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs, lest they should persecute them; and certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds. Moses said: "O MY PEOPLE! If ye do (really) believe in Allah, then in Him put your trust if ye submit (your will to His)." They said: "In Allah do we put out trust. Our Lord! make us not a trial for those who practice oppression; And deliver us by Thy Mercy from those who reject (Thee)."

It is quite evident that the phrase "His people" is parallel with the words of Moses, i.e. "My people", namely the Israelites. Furthermore, in light of the preceding passages, it is quite clear that Israel's claim here that they trusted God was nothing more than a lie as their desert sojourn clearly showed. It is therefore quite conceivable that in this passage the author of the Qur'an is highlighting the fact that although the nation of Israel claimed to have believed in God, in reality only a few of them truly did.

Finally, even if we assume that "His people" does refer to Pharaoh, we are left with yet another contradiction. According to the following surah only one person from Pharaoh's people believed, with the rest perishing:

A believer, A MAN from among THE PEOPLE OF PHARAOH, who had concealed his faith, said: "Will ye slay a man because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’?- when he has indeed come to you with Clear (Signs) from your Lord? And if he be a liar, on him is (the sin of) his lie: but, if he is telling the Truth, then will fall on you something of the (calamity) of which he warns you: truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies! O MY PEOPLE! Yours is the dominion this day: Ye have the upper hand in the land: but who will help us from the Punishment of Allah, should it befall us?" Pharaoh said: "I but point out to you that which I see (myself); Nor do I guide you but to the Path of Right!" Then said the man who believed: "O MY PEOPLE! Truly I do fear for you something like the Day (of disaster) of the Confederates (in sin)!- Something like the fate of the People of Noah, the d, and the Thamd, and those who came after them: but Allah never wishes injustice to His Servants. And O MY PEOPLE! I fear for you a Day when there will be Mutual calling (and wailing),- A Day when ye shall turn your backs and flee: no defender shall ye have from Allah: any whom Allah leaves to stray, there is none to guide. And to you there came Joseph in times gone by, with Clear Signs, but ye ceased not to doubt of the (Mission) for which he had come: at length, when he died, ye said: 'No messenger will Allah send after him.' Thus doth Allah leave to stray such as transgress and live in doubt,- (Such) as dispute about the Signs of Allah, without any authority that hath reached them, very hateful (is such conduct) in the sight of Allah and of the Believers. Thus doth Allah seal up every heart - of arrogant tyranical"... The man who believed said further: "O MY PEOPLE! Follow me: I will lead you to the Path of Right. "O MY PEOPLE! This life of the present is nothing but (temporary) enjoyment: it is the Hereafter that is the Home that will last. "He that works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof: and he that works a righteous deed - whether man or woman - and is a Believer- such will enter the Garden (of Bliss): therein will they have abundance without measure. And O MY PEOPLE! How (strange) it is for me to call you to Salvation while ye call me to the Fire! Ye do call upon me to blaspheme against Allah, and to join with Him partners of whom I have no knowledge; and I call you to the Exalted in Power, Who forgives again and again! Without doubt ye do call me to one who has no claim be called to, whether in this world, or in the Hereafter; our return will be to Allah: and the Transgressors will be Companions of the Fire! Soon will ye remember what I say to you (now), My (own) affair I commit to Allah: for Allah (ever) watches over His Servants." Then Allah SAVED HIM from (every) evil that they plotted (against him), but the brunt of the Chastisement encompassed on all sides THE PEOPLE OF PHARAOH. In front of the Fire will THEY be brought, morning and evening: and (the sentence will be) on the Day when the Hour comes to pass: "Cast ye THE PEOPLE OF PHARAOH into the severest Penalty!" S. 40:28-35, 38-46

Hence, instead of some or a only few of Pharaoh's people believing in Moses, this surah only refers to one Egyptian who had come to faith! Do note that the surah clearly says that Allah SAVED HIM, not them, giving the impression that the rest of Pharaoh's people were cast into the fire. This strongly implies that only one person from among Pharaoh's people believed in the God of Moses.

So what is it? Did a few of Pharaoh's people believe, including the magicians? Or was it only one believer from amongst Pharaoh's people, with all the others perishing?

But wait, it isn't over quite yet. The following surah says that Pharaoh's people were fooled into believing Pharaoh:

We did send Moses aforetime, with Our Signs, to Pharaoh and his Chiefs: He said, "I am a messenger of the Lord of the Worlds." But when he came to them with Our Signs, behold, they laughed at them. We showed them Sign after Sign, each greater than its fellow, and We seized them with Punishment, in order that they might turn (to Us). And they said, "O thou sorcerer! Invoke thy Lord for us according to His covenant with thee; for we shall truly accept guidance." But when We removed the Chastisement from them, behold, they broke their word. And Pharaoh proclaimed among HIS PEOPLE, saying: "O MY PEOPLE! Does not the dominion of Egypt belong to me, (witness) these streams flowing underneath my (palace)? What! see ye not then? Am I not better than this (Moses), who is a contemptible wretch and can scarcely express himself clearly? Then why are not gold bracelets bestowed on him, or (why) come (not) with him angels accompanying him in procession?" THUS DID HE MAKE FOOLS OF HIS PEOPLE, AND THEY OBEYED HIM: truly were they A PEOPLE REBELLIOUS (against Allah). When at length THEY provoked Us, We exacted retribution from THEM, and We drowned THEM ALL. And We made THEM (a people) of the Past and an Example to later ages. S. 43:46-56


Let us summarize the contradictions:

  1. S. 7, 20 and 26 all claim that some (plural) of Pharaoh's magicians came to faith.
  2. S. 10 says only some of Moses' people believed in him, implying that none of the Egyptians did, contradicting the above passages.
  3. S. 40 only mentions one believer from amongst the Egyptians, giving the impression that the rest of Pharaoh's people did not believe and therefore perished. This contradicts the claim that some of the magicians believed in Moses' God.
  4. S. 43 gives the impression that all of Pharaoh's people disbelieved in Moses, being fooled into believing Pharaoh and perishing as a result of it. This surah doesn't even mention any Egyptian believers at all. This not only contradicts S. 7, 20 and 26 but also S. 40!

We will let SBW resolve this muddle of contradictory statements. We do appreciate his ‘rebuttal’ since it forced us to dig around the Qur'an in more detail with the consequence that the Qur'an ended up being in an even deeper hole.

A final remark: IF we were to accept the grammatically very akward interpretation that "his people" in S. 10:83 refers to Pharaoh's people instead of Moses' people [and all the other problems mentioned in our three articles (1, 2, 3) were to be solved somehow], one would have to face the consequence that all these problems about S. 10:83 could easily have been avoided by choosing a clearer and unambiguous formulation. In this case, S. 10:83 becomes one of many examples where the Qur'an is far from being perfect in eloquence and use of proper grammar.


After our above rebuttal was published, SBW added at this point another section to his ‘rebuttal’ attempt, but without changing what he had written earlier. In this part (between the above and the next horizontal line) we respond to his section of additional arguments. Since some of the below arguments are very long and somewhat tedious when considering all the details, I have designed a "fast track" jumping from one to the next of the main points, skipping a couple of very involved arguments. This "fast track" should be taken when reading the Addendum the first time, and it may be sufficient for most readers to establish our rebuttal of SBW's claims. Some may later want to re-read it with all the details.

SBW now claims also the following:

"his people" in verse 10:83 has double implication, meaning Musa's and Pharaoh's people. Though translators have chosen different words for the Arabic word قَوْمِه as we see in the following six different translations.


SBW now admits that S. 10:83 DOES refer to Moses' people, as well as the people of Pharaoh. This contradicts his earlier interpretation in these statements:

The claim made by web site "answering-islam" is incorrect as usual since they have conveniently concealed the rest of the truth. The Glorious Qur'aan tells is that despite of all the clear signs and irrefutable evidence Musa came with, ONLY A FEW OFFSPRING FROM "FIR'AWN'S FOLLOWERS BELIEVED IN MUSA (Moses). They were even scared that Fir'awn and his followers would force them to return to Kufr (disbelief). Fir'awn was an evil tyrant with extreme arrogance. His people feared him.

But children of Israel, however, themselves believed in Musa, ALL OF THEM. They were glad to see him coming. They knew of his description and the news of his advent from their previous Books. They knew that Allaah was going to save them through Musa (Moses) from the bondage of Fir'awn and will give them power over him. Therefore, when this knowledge reached Fir'awn he was very wary. But his caution and weariness didn't help him one bit. When Musa (Moses) arrived, Fir'awn subjected them to great harm, as we read in Glorious Qur'aan 7:129!


The fact is that ALL CHILDREN OF ISRAEL BECAME BELIEVERS is evidenced by the following Ayaat (verses 84 to 86)

There is nothing dishonorable in admitting one was wrong and changing an opinion based on good evidence. However, SBW seems to no longer know what he himself wants to believe and defend. He now states both, that 10:83 refers only to Pharaoh's people (the original and still current claim) and that it also refers to the people of Moses (in the newly added section)! Total confusion. Nevertheless, he boldly and loudly continues to claim that he has clearly refuted our article. The only thing he has done so far is to produce contradictions of his own, in addition to the contradictions in the Qur'an.

Even though it is obvious from SBW's writings that the English language is not his strongest point, the following explanation demands only elementary knowledge of the English language. Therefore, it should not be too difficult to comprehend that "his people" can only refer to one person's nation, not to two nations. Moses and Pharaoh are not the same person, so if it should refer to both, the pronoun in English would need to be "their" not "his", i.e. "their people" (when talking about the Israelites as being Moses' and Aaron's people, who are two different individuals from the same people group). Furthermore, since the Israelites are not the Egyptians, the word would need to be "peoples" not "people", i.e. "their peoples" (two individuals from two different nations). Thus, instead of "his people" the text would have to be "their peoples" for SBW's interpretation to be correct. Furthermore, all arguments about the Arabic Qur'an need to be based on the text of the Arabic original, not just on translations. In Arabic the situation is even clearer because Arabic distinguishes not only singular and plural but also has a separate grammatical form for the dual (two of something). In this case: "his people" is qawm-i-hi (qawm: people) (i: short vowel, called "kasra") (hi: pronoun for one person: "his"), "their people" would have to be qawm-i-hima (hima: pronoun for two persons: "their"), and "their peoples" would have to be qawmay-hima (ay: mark of a noun in the dual form, i.e. two peoples).

English   Transliterated Arabic     Arabic  
  his people qawm-i-hi قَوْمِهِ  
  their people qawm-i-hima قَوْمِهِما  
  their peoples   qawmay-hima قَوْمَيْهِما  

In the Arabic text of Surah 10:83 we clearly find the singular qawm-i-hi (his people) not the dual form qawmay-hima (their peoples). [The transliteration qawm-i-hi is more accurate than the version qawm-hi chosen by SBW.] Even though the classical commentators of the Qur'an are not in agreement, most arguing that "his people" refers to Moses and some arguing that "his people" refers to Pharaoh, we are not aware that any of them has ever argued the ridiculous claim that it refers to both simultaneously. The ‘honor’ of this bid'ah (innovation) belongs to SBW alone.

SBW then proceeds to quote several translations of 10:83, none of which helps to resolve the contradiction. In fact, most of these translations were already quoted in our longer and more detailed article. It doesn't matter whether some translators translate qawm-i-hi as "his people" or as "the offspring of his people", since the implication is the same. Note also: Not one of these translations cited by SBW writes "their peoples" instead of "his people" as the Muslim author would like us to understand it.

Before we follow SBW on a detour, we summarize the current conclusion:

  1. SBW's new "double implication" theory contradicts his earlier arguments in the same article.
  2. The existence of this "double implication" has so far only been claimed by SBW, but he has not provided any evidence for it. It remains merely an assumption on his part. We do not agree that it exists.

[Fast track: Save time by skipping this rather irrelevant part.]

[Begin of detour.]


Many words that have been derived from the root letters ق و م   have been used in Glorious Qur'aan, including the word قَوْمِهِ, for example it is used in 2:54!


And recall what time Musa said unto his people: my people! verily ye have wronged your souls by your taking the calf, wherefore repent unto your Maker, and slay yourselves: that were best for you with your Maker. Then He relented toward you; verily He! He is the Relentant, the Merciful

Mohammed Asad
and when Moses said unto his people: "O my people! ...

Muhsin Khan
And (remember) when Musa (Moses) said to his people: "O my people! ...

And when Moses said unto his people: O my people! ...

And when Musa said to his people: O my people! ...

Yusuf Ali
And remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! ...

Notice that how strangely the same Arabic word قَوْمِهِ QAWM -HI is translated in 10:83 different than 2:54. Please read my article titled: "Translation Myths" @http://www.geocities.com/sbwus/Translation_Myth.htm


SBW is correct. Often translators of the Qur'an are inconsistent. That is the topic of our section on different Versions of the Qur'an. In fact, sometimes this inconsistency is not accidental, but clearly serves to hide in the English translation a problem that is present in the Arabic text (see, e.g., the article Good News of Painful Torture).

It is, however, beyond us why SBW seems to think that citing all these different translation of S. 2:54 will somehow resolve the contradiction between Surah 10:83 and Surah 7:120-126. Apart from using the same expression qawm-i-hi (his people), the above verse has no relationship to our discussion. SBW has not even claimed that this verse helps us to interpret Surah 10:83, let alone shown us how it does so. The whole detour was completely irrelevant and unnecessary, nothing but a waste of time. Simply stating that the Arabic expression for "his people" is "qawm-i-hi" and showing that various translators have for currently unknown reasons translated it slightly differently has not helped in any way to determine who this group of people is: The people of Moses or the people of Pharaoh.

Nor does SBW's article on "Translation Myths" provide any help. In it he claims, correctly, that sometimes the translation of certain words is difficult, and that sometimes translations are even wrong. However, so far not even SBW has claimed that the translation of Surah 10:83 is wrong, nor has he proposed what he would consider to be a more accurate translation (and why). The issue has not been translation at all, but whether "his people" refers to Moses or Pharaoh and the observation that the natural interpretation of "his people" as "Moses' people" results in a contradiction to other Qur'anic passages. Why was "qawm-i-hi" translated sometimes as "his people" or "offspring of his people" or "children of his people" or "scions of his people" or any other way? That is a question SBW would have to address to those (Muslim) translators, but these variations in translation do not contribute anything to solve the contradiction under discussion. It remains a contradiction with each of those choices.

Furthermore, the reason why these translations read differently is because of the Arabic word, dhurriyatun ("offspring), a word which is not found in S. 2:54. Muhammad Asad, although believing that qawm-i-hi refers to all the people Moses lived with in general (i.e. both the Israelites and Egyptians), makes the following statement:

"... As for the term dhurriyyah [lit., "offspring"], we have several authoritative statements to the effect that it often denotes, "a small group [or "a few"] of one's people" (Ibn Abbas, as quoted by Tabari, Baghawi, Razi, and Ibn Kathir, as well as Ad-Dahak and Qatadah, as quoted by Tabari and Kathir); hence my rendering ..." (Asad, Message of the Qur'an [Dar Al-Andalus Limited 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar rpt. 1993], p. 304, f. 104)

This means that Shahid has erroneously assumed that the translators were translating the word qawm-i-hi differently, when in fact that word had nothing to do with their specific renderings, at least in the case of Asad!

Though making a lot of words, SBW has so far not even begun to address our argument, let alone refuted it. All SBW has managed to do by his lengthy sixfold quotations of 10:83 and 2:54 is to send his readers on a rabbit trail.

[End of detour.]


"his people" Fir'awn's wife who was a believer and she was hiding her faith, the magicians and Fir'awn's treasurer. [Also see Qur'aan 20:71; 43:54; 79:24 * At-Tabari 15:164] Thus, when we read in Glorious Qur'aan 10:83, we must remember the double implication of word "his" and "none" excludes those who already believed. Please keep this in mind the use of word "his" in 10:83 is similar to the use of same word in 4:159. Reasons why no one else believed in Moses are mentioned in 7:124 explicitly.


At first glance, these few lines look like they could be the most interesting paragraph in the whole paper, promising an actual argument. Therefore we will give these statements our full attention and examine them carefully. The discussion will be somewhat lengthy, but bear with us.

Sadly, SBW only repeated his assumption that S. 10:83 contains a double meaning or implication, but he has failed to provide any exegetical reasons to understand the passage in the manner he proposes. "His people" either refers to Moses or to Pharaoh. It cannot refer to both. We have given clear evidence to support that "his people" refers to Moses. SBW has yet to present even one logical reason for his (various and contradictory) interpretation(s). Not satisfied with claiming that the word "his" means actually "their", he now adds the claim that the word "none" also has a double meaning or implication, but fails to explain what those two meanings are supposed to be. Instead of helping to clarify the situation SBW produces mystery after mystery.

The reader who agrees that SBW has not made a valid argument about ‘double implications that effect exclusions’, and thinks there is no point in discussing various possible interpretations of this claim, including our refutation of each of them, may at this point follow our "fast track" and jump immediately to the next issue: SBW's appeal to Surah 4:159 Recommendation: Do indeed skip this part at your first reading, because the next couple of pages will lead through a rather complex discussion demanding a lot of perseverance.

Even though the sentence "we must remember the double implication of word "his" and "none" excludes those who already believed" is mere gibberish according to the rules of English language, we will try to understand what SBW may have meant by it. Our best guess is: The (not yet proven) double meaning of these two words implies the exclusion of those who already believed.

This means, we have to deal not only with the mystery of the existence of these double meanings but also with the mystery of their effect. How exactly does the mysterious double meaning of "none" and "his" which means actually "their" exclude those who already believed? Exclude them from what group? From those who believed? Does SBW want us to conclude that those who believed are excluded from those who believed? The meaning of Surah 10:83 was pretty straight forward before SBW started to ‘explain’ it. Let us remember what the verse actually said: But NONE believed in Moses except some of HIS people ... I am not sure how the word "his" whether in single or double implication excludes anyone, but in normal usage of language, the word "none" excludes everyone. SBW wants to exclude not only everyone, but he wants to exclude also those who already believed? SBW is just talking nonsense. Or maybe he meant something else? Did he want to exclude them from the "none" or from the "except"? Since the word "except" already designates an exclusion, in this case the exclusion (exception) from the "none" (the universal exclusion), it is actually a partial exclusion from the total exclusion (a negation of the negation) and this would then mean that SBW wants to actually include those who already believed into the exception to the universal exclusion? Now, why does he not say so, but instead makes sentences that nobody can understand? If the reader got lost, let me try to say it again in different words: Maybe SBW meant that those of Pharaoh's people who believed (already?) should also be included into those who believed in him of his (i.e. Moses') people even though they are not from his people? But in that case, he hasn't said anything else here than what he said before, i.e. that "his people" refers to (includes) both Israelites and Egyptians. However, a repetition of the same claim is not an acceptable substitute for providing evidence for the claim.

[If you understood the last paragraph, wonderful! You can skip this part. It is just a reformulation of the above paragraph because I received the complaint that the formulation of my argument was too complicated to grasp. I am a mathematician, if that explains anything, and discussions about logic tend to be complex, because the language needs to be very precise and the smallest details matter. Let me try to express my thoughts in a different structure which may be easier to digest for some:

So far my second attempt to explain again in a different way the problems in SBW's statement. He may want to submit his statement to the "Guinness Book of World Records" committee for consideration as history's most unclear statement, leaving open the greatest number of questions ever. Seriously: Until SBW has answered all these questions, he has not made a valid argument. ]

There is one more option how we can understand the suggested exclusion: Though still lacking an explanation what the ‘double implication’ actually is, it somehow justifies a request to remove these particular Egyptian believers from the universe for the time of our discussion. [ In the above language of equations: We define a new universe U without "those who already believed", i.e. U = A - E. ] In other words, SBW requests by reference to some mysterious ‘double implication of the words "his" and "none"’ that we ignore the existence of Pharaoh's believing wife, magicians and treasurer when talking about Surah 10:83. And since, apart from these Egyptians, only some of Moses' people believed in him, there is no contradiction!

Rewriting S. 10:83 according to this interpretation of SBW's proposition:

But, disregarding Pharaoh's wife, magicians and treasurer, NONE believed in Moses except some of HIS people, ...

Truly the solution of a genius: Ignore those people who would cause a contradiction, and voil, there is none.

[ SBW's expectation regarding the intellectual abilities of his readership to see through his smokescreen seems to be rather low. Even worse: Does this not look like SBW is willing to rather corrupt his own scripture by adding a clause that is not there in the original, than to admit a contradiction in the text? SBW will immediately protest: We should certainly not write it that way, we should only interpret the verse as if it were written that way, without actually writing it as such! So, we have arrived at an argument from ‘invisible text’ ... very convincing.]

The only problem is that this solution indirectly confirms, that "his people" referred to Moses' people all along, the interpretation SBW originally tried to deny. And since he has not given any reason yet why these Egyptian believers should be ignored, their factual existence (in the visible text of Surah 7) brings back the contradiction in full force.

Unraveling the deep secrets of the first of SBW's enigmatic statements needed nearly three full pages. The second one, "Please keep this in mind the use of word "his" in 10:83 is similar to the use of same word in 4:159" is sadly not much better.

It is only another claim lacking both explanation and evidence. The word "his" is used hundreds of times in the Qur'an. Maybe SBW wants to list them all for his next reply? We certainly fail to see how 4:159 will change anything in the interpretation of 10:83. Furthermore, the sound principle of exegesis is always that clear verses are used to explain ambiguous ones, not the other way around. The meaning of 10:83 is very plain (but wrong) and SBW now tries to appeal to an unclear verse to confuse the meaning of a clear one. His arguments go from bad to worse.

Since SBW neither quotes the passage, nor explains in what way 10:83 and 4:159 are parallel, nor explains how from this alleged parallel structure follows any support for his theories about 10:83, all these things are left to us to explore.

Even if it were true that the word "his" is used elsewhere to refer to more than one group this doesn't prove that it carries this same meaning here. It is the context which determines the precise meaning of a specific term. However, we do not agree that S. 4:159 is parallel to S. 10:83, as a clear reading of the verse in its context will show. First we quote the verse in question:

And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in HIM before HIS death;
and on the Day of Judgment HE will be a witness against THEM;- S. 4:159

There have been different opinions amongst Muslims regarding the exact interpretation of this verse. [If you are not interested in another tedious discussion on this verse, you may jump directly to the conclusion (fast track)] Note the comments of the following Muslim author in response to the claims set forth by another Muslim:

First, it should be known that this is not a simple translation of the verse. It includes some interpretive additions. The exact translation of the verse, as Mr. Adib will agree, is:

"And there is no one among the people of the book but shall believe in him [or this] before his death."

Now, this sentence can mean:

Every Ahl-e-Kitaab shall believe in Jesus before his [i.e. Jesus'] death; or
Every Ahl-e-Kitaab shall believe in Jesus before his [i.e. his own] death; or
Every Ahl-e-Kitaab shall believe the fact that the Jews did not kill Jesus, before his [i.e. his own] death.

Mr. Adib, as is obvious from his brief writing has preferred the first of the three possible implications of this verse, mentioned above. However, Mr. Adib has unfortunately overlooked the fact that there are commentators of the Qur'an who have preferred the second meaning - for instance see Zamukhsharee's, Abu Hayyaan's and Aaloosee's commentary.

However, because Mr. Adib has specially quoted Ibn Kathir in his writing, it is therefore even stranger how Mr. Adib missed the opening sentence of Ibn Kahir's comments on the verse, in which even Ibn Kathir has acknowledged the fact that interpreters have differed in the interpretation of the verse while explaining it. Ibn Kathir writes:

"Ibn Jarir says: Interpreters have a difference of opinion regarding the meaning of this verse."

According to Ibn Jarir - as quoted by Ibn Kathir - both of the first two opinions are ascribed to Ibn Abbaas (ra) and Hasan (ra).

It is obvious from the above explanation that there has been a significant difference of opinion among Muslim scholars regarding the implication of the cited verse. Mr. Adib has based his opinion on one of the interpretations of this verse. In my opinion, even though it gives one of the possible implications of the verse, yet this implication is not the preferred interpretation of the verse. The cited verse of the Qur'an, therefore, does not provide any evidence to hold the belief that Jesus (pbuh) is not dead. Till such time that any verse of the Qur'an can be cited which clearly directs Muslims to believe that Jesus (pbuh) is still alive, there seems to be no ground of believing anything to that effect. (Source; bold emphasis ours)

The explanation that we feel best fits the context is to take the pronouns HIS, HIM and HE as references to Christ. This is based on the fact that the pronouns clearly refer to someone other than the THEM, i.e. that the subject of the singular pronouns is going to be a witness against the THEM. This obviously means that the plural pronoun THEM refers to the People of the Book, which makes it quite unlikely that the singular pronoun refers to them also.

The position that takes Jesus as the subject of the singular pronouns is partially reflected in the following translation:

And there is none of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), but must believe in HIM ['IESA (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), as only a Messenger of Allh and a human being], before HIS ['IESA (JESUS) >> or a Jew's or a Christian's] death (at the time of the appearance of the angel of death). And on the Day of Resurrection, HE ['IESA (JESUS)] will be a witness against them. Rough Translation of the Meaning of The Noble Qur'an, In the English Language A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari, by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan)

Ibn Kathir notes:

Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn 'Abbas commented...

<And there is none of the People of the Scripture, but must believe in him, before his death.>
before the death of 'Isa, on of Maryam, peace be upon him. Al-'Awfi reported similar from Ibn 'Abbas. Abu Malik commented...

<but must believe in him, before his death.>
"This occurs after 'Isa returns and before he dies, as then, all of the People of the Scriptures will believe in him"...

Abu Hurayrah then said...

<before his death> refers to the death of 'Isa, son of Maryam...

Hanzalah said, "Abu Hurayrah added, ‘Will believe in 'Isa before 'Isa dies,’ but I do not know if this was part of the Prophet's Hadith or if it was something that Abu Hurayrah said on his own." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8 (Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 t the end of Surat Al-An'am), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], pp. 29-31)

First, we observe that just as before, not one of the scholars maintains that the passage has a double meaning as SBW wants to make us believe. They all argue for one meaning or the other. Both meanings seem to be possible and there is disagreement which meaning is correct. All agree that only one meaning is correct and the others are wrong, but we do not have enough knowledge to make a final and definite decision which of them is the correct one.

Therefore, the appeal to 4:159 actually supports our position, stating that we have to decide for one option or the other, not SBW's claim that there is a double meaning in the verse.

Second, there are several reasons why 4:159 is not even parallel to 10:83, but has a different syntax structure, but since SBW's appeal has already failed, we do not need to enter a technical discussion about the grammar of these two verses.

SBW's final statement in the above quoted paragraph is: Reasons why no one else believed in Moses are mentioned in 7:124 explicitly. Amazingly, we can fully agree with SBW on this one, at least on the factual content of his statement, though not on the conclusion to be drawn from it. 7:124 reports the threats of torture against anyone who would believe in Moses. No wonder most people are afraid and decide to rather not believe in him. However, the point is not those who did not believe (refered to by SBW as "no one else"), but those Egyptians who did believe, i.e. the magicians, the treasurer and the wife of Pharaoh, in contradiction to S. 10:83 that states, But NONE believed in Moses except some of HIS people ... Even though SBW tirelessly applies the method of "persuasion by repetition", Surah 10:83 still does NOT say: But NO ONE ELSE believed in Moses ... More about S. 7:124 in the discussion of SBW's next statements.


Another important point must be observed here that the verse 10:83 begins with word فَمَا, which has been translated as "then none" or "But none". This is another proof that after Pharaoh's threats of cutting hands and feet off and crucifying people (see 7:124) then none believed in Musa (Moses). See, how Glorious Qur'aan recaps all the facts.


With these couple of sentences SBW proposes yet another theory since seemingly there was not enough confusion yet. He claims that even though there were some (Egyptians) who believed in Moses initially, but after Pharaoh made his terrible threats in S. 7:124, then none (of them) believed in Moses anymore.

[We assume SBW talks here only about the Egyptians, though he has formulated his statement as if after Pharaoh's threat there were no believers in Moses left at all, not even some of his own people which would be again in contradiction to 10:83 which explicitly states that there were some among his people who believed in him.]

It is quite interesting to watch the metamorphosis of SBW's beliefs. He starts out with the claim that "his people" in S. 10:83 refers only to Pharaoh. Then he changes his mind and states it refers to both, Moses and Pharaoh, and finally he now seems to agree with us, that "his people" refers to Moses only, but there is nevertheless no contradiction because (a) we should exclude those believers from the discussion because of some mysterious "double implication" [requiring the assumption that they continue to believe, because otherwise, why should they be excluded at all] and (b) [contradicting (a)] those who believed in Moses before, no longer believe so after the threats of Pharaoh.

[Note: SBW has no problem to argue for all of these four mutually contradictory interpretations in the same paper! Since SBW has now claimed all these theories including our own to be true, he obviously ends up arguing against himself and works hard to refute himself without realizing it. It seems that SBW is far too excited while trying to refute us, and every thought that enters his desperate mind is written up without checking whether it agrees with his other thoughts or actually makes any sense at all.]

Nevertheless, we are glad that at the end of his paper he agrees with us that "his people" are Moses' people, and therefore the only issue left to discuss is whether SBW is correct to claim that "but/then none (among the Egyptians) believed in Moses" refers only to the time after Pharaoh's threat and this resolves the contradiction.

With this latest proposal, however, SBW completely ignored the sequence of events in Surah 7 that he appealed to. Even though we had quoted the full text of S. 7:103-126 from the beginning, we seemingly have to requote the relevant section here and color it beautiful so that SBW may understand it too:

"They [the magicians] said: ‘O Moses! wilt thou throw (first), or shall we have the (first) throw?’ Said Moses: ‘Throw ye (first).’ So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them: for they showed a great (feat of) magic. We revealed to Moses: ‘Throw (now) thy rod’:and behold! it swallows up all the falsehoods which they fake! Thus truth was confirmed, and all that they did was made of no effect. So they were vanquished there and then, and turned about humiliated. But the sorcerers fell down prostrate in adoration. Saying: ‘We believe in the Lord of the Worlds,- The Lord of Moses and Aaron.’ Said Pharaoh: ‘Believe ye in Him before I give you permission? Surely this is a trick which ye have planned in the city to drive out its people: but soon shall ye know (the consequences). Be sure I will cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, and I will crucify you all.’ They said: ‘For us, We are but sent back unto our Lord: But thou dost wreak thy vengeance on us simply because we believed in the Signs of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto Thee as Muslims (who bow to Thy Will)!’" S. 7:115-126

Let us summarize the section using the same color code:

  1. The magicians throw their rods (v. 116).
  2. Moses throws down his rod before Pharaoh and the magicians and his rod swallows up theirs (v. 117).
  3. The magicians prostrate and confess their faith (vv. 120-22).
  4. The Pharaoh threatens them with cruel punishment (vv. 123-24).
  5. Nevertheless, the magicians remain steadfast in their faith (vv. 125-26).

SBW's new theory is refuted by the very text he appeals to. The contradiction remains:

After having had to make the effort to understand SBW's at least four contradictory theories to explain away the contradiction of S. 10:83 vs. Surah 7:115-126, it seems the following is a sad but accurate summary of his whole paper:

Surah 10:83 can mean whatever you want. I am able to argue multiple contradictory meanings of it at the same time. Actually, it doesn't even matter at all what it means. The conclusion remains the same: Glorious Qur'an has no contradictions, because I say so.

SBW has put himself into a very difficult corner, a pitiful situation. Since by now he has argued so many different and contradictory theories, whatever else he will say in the future, he has no choice but to contradict himself again. He may not like to take any advice from us, but our suggestion would be that he should submit his future responses to this or any other topic to at least three people for review before publishing them online. In order to save himself and the Islamic community a lot of embarrassment he should have his writings reviewed by an Islamic scholar, by someone who knows logic, and by somebody who speaks English properly.

The rest of SBW's additional text does not make any attempt of explaining the problem at hand, so that we can safely omit part of it and comment on the rest with only a few words. First, he again quotes the same six translations of 10:83 that he had already quoted above, which haven't changed in the meantime and still don't help him. Then he continues with these words:


Another dilemma that the team "answering-islam has that have not told us that how they come to this conclusion of so-called contradiction based on verses in two chapters, which are chapter 7 and 10 of Glorious Qur'aan? The accounts of Pharoah and Musa (Moses) are scattered over forty (40) chapters in Glorious Qur'aan. To be exact following are the verses in Glorious Qur'aan that talks about Moses and Pharoah:

All of these verses have different reasons for revelations with different dates/timings. The claimant failed to shine some light on that including explaining their argument with full context. Nevertheless, we know that their attempt is not to understand Glorious Qur'aan from Islaamic and linguistic point of view; they rather like to change it according to their understanding of English translation. As I have pointed out above that the same six translators have translated the same Arabic word differently for verse 10:83, whereas for verse 2:54 they are unanimous. However, this so-called claim of contradiction in Glorious Qur'aan by looking only at two verses from two chapters is highly questionable to me. The evidence submitted above proves that there is no contradiction in Glorious Qur'aan. Beside that the team "answering-islam" is not reading the Glorious Qur'aan; they are reading translation-of-the-meanings of the Qur'aan. Thus, if the team "answering-islam" thinks there is any discrepancy in the translations, they need to take their complaint to the translators rather falsely accusing Glorious Qur'aan for contradictions.

The Qur'aan only exists in the Arabic language and is preserved in the form it was revealed in, consequently a translation into another language is only referred to as a translation-of-the-meanings of the Qur'aan, the translation loses some of the meanings and most of the rhyme and style.


[ Since a lesson in English language cannot really be called a first point, we start with comment zero: SBW does not know the meaning of the word "dilemma". He thought that word sounds great, so he accuses us of one. Another free advice: One should never use a word without properly understanding its meaning. A person is in a dilemma if he/she is forced to decide between two choices which are both undesirable. Which are the two undesirable alternative choices for us? Would SBW bother to explain? So far it is only one of his many claims without explanation or evidence. Furthermore, the word "another" placed before "dilemma" means that we are facing at least two dilemmas. We have discovered not even one. On the contrary, we had summarized our observations in the form of a dilemma for all who believe in the Qur'an at the end of our original short article. Let us quote it again for illustration:

We seem to have only this alternative:

That is a dilemma, because there are only two possible alternative choices, and both result in an error in the Qur'an. ]

First, more accounts usually do not clarify and simplify but make the situation more complex and the likelihood of contradictions increases drastically. There is no duty on us to quote and discuss every single verse of the Qur'an which mentions Pharaoh and Moses. There are many stories in which these persons appear which have nothing to do with the incident of Moses' confrontation of the magicians and the resulting faith or lack of faith which concerns us here. If SBW feels that we have left out a relevant passage which does indeed solve the contradiction let him present it. Until he does so the above complaint is only a smokescreen revealing his desperation. Anyone reading our longer paper would have discovered our reasons for believing that S. 10 not only contradicts S. 7, but S. 20 and 26 as well.

Second, SBW's listing all the verses where Moses and Pharaoh are mentioned does nothing to resolve the issue for him. In fact, it only serves to further hinder his case as the following passages show:

"(Deeds) after the manner of the People of Pharaoh and of those before them: THEY rejected the Signs of Allah, and Allah punished THEM for their crimes: for Allah is Strong, and Strict in punishment ... (Deeds) after the manner of the People of Pharaoh and those before them: They treated as false the Signs of their Lord, so We destroyed them for their crimes, AND WE DROWNED THE PEOPLE OF PHARAOH: FOR THEY WERE ALL OPRESSORS AND WRONG-DOERS. S. 8:52, 54

We did, before them, try the people of Pharaoh: there came to THEM a messenger most honorable, Saying: "Restore to me the Servants of Allah. I am to you a messenger worthy of all trust; And be not arrogant as against Allah: for I come to you with authority manifest. For me, I have sought safety with my Lord and your Lord, against your injuring me. If ye believe me not, at least keep yourselves away from me." Then he cried to his Lord: "These are indeed A PEOPLE given to sin." (The reply came:) "March forth with My Servants by night: for ye are sure to be pursued. And leave the sea as a furrow (divided): for they are a host (destined) to be drowned." How many were the gardens and springs THEY left behind, And corn-fields and noble buildings, And pleasant things, wherein THEY had taken such delight! Thus (was their end)! AND WE MADE OTHER PEOPLE TO INHERIT (THOSE THINGS)! And neither heaven nor earth shed a tear over THEM: nor were THEY given a respite (again). We did deliver aforetime the Children of Israel from humiliating Punishment, Inflicted by Pharaoh, for he was arrogant (even) among inordinate transgressors. And We chose them aforetime above the nations, knowingly, And granted them Signs in which there was a manifest trial." S. 44:17-33

These passages again imply that none of Pharaoh's people came to faith. Note that Surah 8 does not say that only some amongst Pharaoh's people were evildoers, but that ALL of them were OPPRESSORS AND WRONG-DOERS. Surah 44 claims that the inheritance of the people of Pharaoh, which included their property, was given to another people. Yet, this could only happen if there had been no Egyptian survivors. If there were any Egyptians that survived then the inheritance would have gone to them, not to someone else.

SBW's attempt to resolve the contradiction only managed to introduce additional problems with the Qur'anic account of Moses' showdown with Pharaoh!

Third, SBW's appeal that the Qur'an is the Qur'an only in Arabic and the claim that we cannot establish a contradiction in the Qur'an by looking at English translations is completely silly. The contradictions are not a matter of the package (i.e. the language in which the meaning is expressed) but of the content (the meaning) which is independent of the language. We are always willing to listen to arguments explaining the true meaning based on the Arabic original text. However, SBW has done nothing of that sort. He has not shown that any of the translations are wrong and what a correct translation would be. Therefore, his claim that contradictions observed in English translations do not establish contradictions in the Arabic Qur'an is ridiculous.

Just assume one of our Christian Arab friends will translate this contradictions page regarding Moses and the magicians of the Pharaoh into Arabic. Then both, the text of the Qur'an and the discussion about it, will be in the Arabic language. Does SBW really believe that this translation will not be possible because the contradiction only exists in the English version but not in the Arabic original? Would he be willing to make the effort of translating his own article into Arabic (if he is even able to) and would he really be expecting that it will make more sense in Arabic than it did in English? All his contradictory theories will no longer be contradictory in Arabic? Not at all. It was nonsense in English and it will become even worse in Arabic.

If anything, the Arabic text will only reinforce the problem since the pronoun "His" in S. 10:83 comes after Moses, while preceding Pharaoh. Why else would the majority of Muslim commentators of the Qur'an have agreed with us? (See our discussion of Yusuf Ali's commentary above.) Sound rules of interpretation would lead one to take the pronoun "his" as referring to the nearest antecedent in the verse, in this case Moses, unless weightier contextual reasons lead us to abandon this rule. Thus far, SBW has failed to present these weightier reasons which would support the claim that "his people" doesn't refer to the nearest antecedent (Moses) but to Pharaoh instead, even though the latter follows the pronoun.

Mr. Shahid B. Waheed, to claim that by this utterly incoherent and self-contradictory article you have "refuted us" is an insult not only to our intelligence, but to that of all your readership. If you want, call us unbelievers or even blasphemers for daring to question the Qur'an; consider us ignorant (we happily leave the judgment on that to our readers), but never assume we are dim-witted.

Jochen Katz


After examining SBW's response, we have come to discover that he is guilty of plagiarism. In his alleged rebuttal he actually plagiarizes Ibn Kathir. SBW writes:

But children of Israel, however, themselves believed in Musa, all of them. They were glad to see him coming. They knew of his description and the news of his advent from their previous Books. They knew that Allaah was going to save them through Musa (Moses) from the bondage of Fir'awn and will give them power over him. Therefore, when this knowledge reached Fir'awn he was very wary. But his caution and weariness didn't help him one bit.

Now compare this to Ibn Kathir's commentary on S. 10:83:

The children of Israel, however, themselves believed in Musa, all of them. They were glad to see him coming. They knew of his description and the news of his advent from their previous Books. They knew that Allah was going to save them through him from the capture of Fir'awn and give them power over him. So when this knowledge reached Fir'awn he was very wary. But his caution and weariness didn't help him one bit ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 4 (Surat Al-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus), First Edition: May 2000, pp. 644-645)


"his people" Fir'awn's wife who was a believer and she was hiding her faith, the magicians and Fir'awn's treasurer. [Also see Qur'aan 20:71; 43:54; 79:24 * At-Tabari 15:164]

Compare the bold italicized parts with the above:

"The offspring that believed in Musa from Firawn's people, other than Banu Israel, were few. Among them were Firawn's wife, the believer who was hiding his faith, Firawn's treasurer and his wife." [1]

[1] Al-Tabari 15:164. (Ibid., p. 644)

By failing to inform his readers that he is actually quoting Ibn Kathir, SBW gives the misleading impression that most of what he is written comes from him. It is one thing to take citations from authors and reword them in order to adopt them into one's argument. It is quite another thing altogether to simply quote verbatim and give the misleading impression that the arguments are one's own. There is nothing wrong with quoting certain authorities, as long as one acknowledges the authority being cited.

The rest of SBW's ‘rebuttal’ had absolutely nothing to do with the discussed topic, so we want to clearly separate this from the rest.


The funny part is that each time when I refute their claims and prove their lies, I have been sending them the link of their claim (their web site) with the link to my responses. They have never answered me or have proved me wrong. They rather sends me emails full of name calling, insults and attacks to Islaam, Glorious Qur’aan, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and everything that is held in esteem among Muslims. After reading their emails I believe that the difference between the team "answering-islam" and the crusaders is only "opportunity."

Readers must understand the tricks and boldfaced lies of the team "answering-islam" since they always twist the facts and conceal the truth, as it is evidence above. Please also read the following responses in which I have exposed the lies and ignorance of the team "answering-islam" showing that their presence is for making money and deceive nave and ignorant people for two reasons:

(1) Attempt to win converts with lies and deceits.
(2) To prevent seekers of the truth from converting to Islaam mainly Christians.

Please also read the following responses exposing the lies and deception of the team "answering-islam." Instead of admitting that these responses are correct and they lied on purpose, the team "answering-islam" is using threats, insults, and intimidation via E-mails, especially Mr. Sam Shamoun of "answering-islam."

The Divine Verdict on the Bible

Response: Two Young Men?

Response: Abraham and his Progeny

Response: All Truth is God’s Truth

Response: Gabriel, the Holy Spirit, Confirmation and Pure Arabic

How many messengers were sent to Noah's people?

Response: Is the Qur’aan miraculous?

Response: The Old Age of Jesus

Response: The Place of Sunrise and Sunset

Response: Wine Good or Bad?

Response to: Did the Golden Calf say, "Moo"?

Response: The Qur’aanic Witness to Biblical Authority

The Strong Eats The Weak in Bible

The Myth of Original Sin

The Myth of Promised Land

The Second Coming of Jesus

Response The Prophet Like Moses

Response: Conscience Mountains?

Response: Moses in the Injeel

Response: Textual Variants of the Qur’aan

Response: Can Angels Disobey?

Top Ten List

Faith and Works


[ What SBW forgot to mention is that all the above links were sent to our feedback address in the ten day period between December 25, 2002 and January 3, 2003. The time between Christmas and New Year is vacation time for most of the Western world, certainly in the parts where our team members live. There was so far no opportunity for most of us to even read these articles. And what does make him assume that he only has to write something and we are obligated to respond within a couple of days? We have dozens of requests every day from Muslims and Christians. There are plenty of Muslims asking sincere questions. And there are many Muslims who write anti-Christian polemics in general or in specific attack on Answering Islam. Sometimes we are able to answer quickly, sometimes our answer comes a year later; sometimes it takes a while because we need time to carefully research a topic for our answer, sometimes it takes time just because we are overwhelmed with work and we have a limited number of people each of which is restricted by having available only 24 hours in a day. To some articles we never respond because they are so ridiculous that there is no response necessary, others just repeat what we have answered already many times in response to articles on other Muslim websites and we are not about to repeat the same thing yet another time. But nobody, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, has a right that we devote our time to him immediately and give up all other work just because he wrote something he thinks is a rebuttal to one of our articles. However, we have given attention to this one now, because it refered to a very recent publication. -- The Answering Islam director, January 6, 2003. ]

The above rebuttal is clear evidence that SBW is rather incapable of refuting anything, since he has failed to actually interact with any of our arguments. Yet, since SBW keeps flooding us with ‘rebuttals’ and accusations, we felt it necessary to respond at least once and hopefully silence his lies and false accusations once and for all. We doubt that we will acknowledge his alleged rebuttals very much in the future due to the rather poor and unscholarly nature of SBW's material. Besides a severe lack of mutual respect that is necessary for a civilized discussion it is obvious that his materials are brimming with logical fallacies and gross exegetical errors. In fact, most of his alleged respones have already been refuted elsewhere. Hence, instead of reinventing the wheel we will simply link to articles which thoroughly adress and refute SBW's weak responses since he is not the first one to throw them at us or the general public.

On Answering Islam: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

Offsite: 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

Even though we could produce more links, these are sufficient to demonstrate that SBW hasn't even begun addressing the real issues. In the service of our risen Lord and eternal Savior Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come. We will always love you.

Sam Shamoun

Contradictions in the Qur'an
Answering Islam Home Page