Qur'an Contradiction:

Pharaoh's repentance in the face of death?

According to Sura 10:90-92, Pharaoh repented "in the sight of death" and was saved:

And WE brought the children of Israel across the sea; and Pharaoh and his hosts pursued them wrongfully and aggressively, till when the calamity of drowning overtook him, he cried, ‘I believe that there is no god but HE in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am of those who submit to Him.’ What! Now! while thou wast disobedient before this and wast of the mischief-makers. So this day WE will save thee IN thy body alone (nunajjeeka BIbadanika) that thou mayest be a Sign to those who come after thee. And surely many of mankind are heedless of Our Signs. S. 10:90-92 Shakir

But Sura 4:18 says that such a thing can't happen:

Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, "Now have I repented indeed;" nor of those who die rejecting Faith: for them have We prepared a punishment most grievous. S. 4:18 Y. Ali

So does this next Sura:

For when their apostles came to them with Clear Signs, they exulted in such knowledge (and skill) as they had; but that very (Wrath) at which they were wont to scoff hemmed them in. But when they saw Our Punishment, they said: "We believe in God, - the one God - and we reject the partners we used to join with Him." But their professing the Faith when they (actually) saw Our Punishment was not going to profit them. (Such has been) God's Way of dealing with His Servants (from the most ancient times). And even thus did the Rejecters of God perish (utterly)! S. 40:83-85

The Arabic text of Sura 10:92 clearly says that Allah will save Pharaoh IN his body. In fact, compare how the following translations render 10:92:

A.J. ARBERRY: So today We shall deliver thee WITH thy body ...

YUSUF ALI: This day shall We save thee IN the body ...

PICKTHALL: But this day We save thee IN thy body ...

DARYABADI: So this day We deliver you IN your body ...

SHAKIR: But We will this day deliver you WITH your body ...

SAHEEH INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION: So today We will save you IN body ...

T.B. IRVING: However today We will preserve you IN your body ...

SHER ALI: So this day WE will save thee IN thy body alone ...

E.H. PALMER: but to-day we will save thee IN thy body ...

Even Muhammad Asad, who renders the verse as "We saved only thy body", admits in a footnote:

Lit. "We saved thee IN thy body" ... (Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur'an [Dar al-Andalus Limited, 3 Library Ramp, Gibraltar 1993], p. 306, fn. 112)

It is obvious from the consensus of all these translations that the Arabic text is saying that Allah saved more than simply Pharaoh’s body.

10:100 does say that "no soul can believe, except by the Will of Allah" and verse 103 affirms that "This is it fitting on Our part that We should deliver those who believe!" And in 10:90 Pharaoh clearly confesses "I believe that there is no god except Him whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit." So, according to 100 and 103 this was a work of Allah and he will deliver him. But 4:18 says this is impossible.

But if this cannot be eternal deliverance from the judgment, then "as it seems" maybe it is deliverance from the drowning? I.e. physical deliverance? But this doesn't fit either, because Sura 17:103 makes clear that Pharaoh was indeed drowned and no repentance is indicated in this passage.

A Muslim's Response by Randy Desmond
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 05:13:58 PST

Surah 4:18

"Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil until death faces one of them and he says, "Now have I repented indeed." Nor of those who die rejecting faith; For them We have prepared a punishment most grievous."

This is certainly one of your least coherent responses so far. You only gave the text of Sura 4:18 which I refered to above, but then don't say anything to resolve the contradiction with Sura 10:90-92, where it is clear that the Pharaoh who had seen many signs and miracles at the hand of Moses, stubbornly refused to believe and indeed only recognized himself as god (Sura 28:38). But Sura 10:90-92 makes clear he is saved. It does not say "We will save your body" but Yusuf Ali translates "We shall save thee in thy body." Now, if the Pharaoh were drowned, then he could certainly not have been saved in his body. If he drowned (died) and his soul left his body what was "in his body" that was saved? And how is this even deserving the term "saved" if he drowned?

Further discussion: Response to Saifullah

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