Qur'an Contradiction:

Pharaoh's Magicians - Muslims or Rejectors of Faith?

In the Qur'an there exist two fundamentally different conclusions to the story of Moses' contest with the magicians of the Pharaoh. After the power of Moses (given to him by God) was seen to be stronger than the power of Egyptian magic, we read:

"... 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 apposite 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. 7:120-126

According to this passage, the Egyptian magicians have become believers, they confessed faith in the Lord of Moses and Aaron. They are even called Muslims in verse 126. In Sura 10, however, after recounting the same event we find this conclusion:

"But NONE believed in Moses except some of the 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).’" S. 10:83-86

The report of Sura 7 that some Egyptian sorcerers become believers is contradicted by the categorical statement of Sura 10:83 that none but some of Moses' own people (the Israelites) believed in him.

Because of this rather apparent contradiction some commentaters of the Qur'an have suggested that the pronoun "his" in "his people" does not refer to Moses which would be the natural understanding but instead refers to Pharaoh, and "his people" are the Egyptians.

Had the statement in 10:83 been "only a few of his people believed in Moses", then such an interpretation would still be forced and unnatural, against the common use of language, but on a formal level it may have solved the problem. The Qur'an, however, states that "none believed in Moses" (an absolute and universal statement) before it gives the only exception to the rule: "except some of his people".

We seem to have only this alternative:

This longer and more detailed article quotes all four Quranic accounts of this incident (found in suras 7, 10, 20, and 26) in full, and indicates further discrepancies.

>> Rebuttal to Shahid Waheed's response to the above.

Contradictions in the Qur'an
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