Were they utterly destroyed?

Surah al-Furqan 25:35-38 (Shakir's translation):

And certainly We gave Musa the Book and We appointed with him his brother Haroun an aider.

Then We said: Go you both to the people who rejected Our communications; so We destroyed them with utter destruction.

And the people of Nuh, when they rejected the apostles, We drowned them, and made them a sign for men, and We have prepared a painful punishment for the unjust;

And Ad and Samood and the dwellers of the Rass and many generations between them.

Pickthall Yusufali Shakir Sher Ali Rashad Khalifa
25:39 Each (of them) We warned by examples, and each (of them) We brought to utter ruin. To each one We set forth Parables and examples; and each one We broke to utter annihilation (for their sins). And to every one We gave examples and every one did We destroy with utter destruction. And to each one WE set forth examples; and each one WE utterly destroyed. To each of these groups, we delivered sufficient examples, before we annihilated them.

It is generally agreed between Muslims and Christians that the people of Noah were completely destroyed by a flood. We know very little about Ad and Samood (Thammud) or "the dwellers of the Rass" but I will not contest that they completely disappeared, since we don't know today of any who are their descendents. Often it is not even clear who they even were.

However, both Muslims and Christians agree that Moses and Aaron were sent to Israel and to the Egyptians with their message.

The Qur'an summarizes the section 25:35-39 in ayah 39 with the statement that all those mentioned were completely destroyed.

But neither Israel nor the people of Egypt were completely destroyed. It seems the writer of the Qur'an got carried a way with his doomsday warnings and made this point by far too strong when we look at history and to the people of Israel and the Egyptians. They have continued to exist from the time of Moses to this day. The Egyptians were not utterly destroyed. They lost one or more army units which were chasing after the Israelites under the command of Pharaoh, and which were drowned by a miracle from God as reported in both the Bible and the Qur'an. But most of the Egyptian people were not touched, nor even most of the leaders of Egypt, since it is unlikely that they all went with the army that went after the Israelites.

This is a plain historical error. Should we think it was God who overlooked the continued existence of the Egyptians when formulating those verses? Hardly! Even Muhammad should not have overlooked it, but he got to carried away in his attempt to scare the Meccans into accepting his message (see the punchline of this section in Surah 25:41-42).

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