Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Haman Hoax

Jochen Katz

[This article is part of a series. The reader is advised to start with the Introduction.]


The impact of the Muslim Haman argument and the development of further derivatives

On a Muslim discussion forum, a convert to Islam wrote the following:

Haman in the Qur’an

Posted by Abul Layth on Jul 31, 2007 in Comparative Religion, Qur’an

A site I found many years ago in my early years after accepting Islaam that helped me on my travels in refuting the ignorant American theologians that I encountered was I stumbled, while searching through some of the more recently updated articles, upon a refutation of the orientalists, that in my view is one of the best researched articles they have on their site. It is regarding Haman in the Qur’an. Who was he in relationship to Fir’awn? I will sum up their rather lengthy article, that I hope you all take your time in reading, … (Source; underline emphasis mine)

After excerpting and summarizing this article, Abul Layth concludes:

In other words, the Qur’an hits the nail right on the head. The pagan orientalist man-worshippers were to weak minded to even research this issue correctly! It should be noted however that the authors of this paper state at the end of their research:

“However, it is unclear whether Haman mentioned in the hieroglyphs is actually the Haman mentioned in the Qur’an. More research would throw some light on this issue.”

Even if that can not be proven in our times due to the lost records, it is very clear that the name Haman was an Egyptian name known to the egyptians. For me, it was an aayah! A true sign of the magnificence of the Qur’anic revelation. That the Qur’an is quoting a dead language that was forbidden by the Christian empire, is remarkable! That Dr. Maurice saw this and asked regarding it is even more remarkable!


As stated in the introduction, these claims about Haman are found on close to a thousand Muslim web pages. It is a major argument for the divine origin of the Qur’an and the truth of Islam, used to draw outsiders into conversion to Islam and to establish Muslims more firmly in their convictions and confidence in Islam.

The above quotation is just one illustration of how the writings of Islamic Awareness, and specifically this article on the person of Haman in the Qur’an, have misled people, and this is reason enough to spend the several hundred hours that went into researching this issue carefully and writing a detailed rebuttal. My hope and prayer is that Abul Layth and others like him will reconsider and re-evaluate the matter and draw the right conclusions.

Da’wah Training Course

This argument is included into various training courses for Muslim missionaries. To give but one example (IIU means “International Islamic University”):

Da'wah Course DP206 at IIU
M. Amir Ali, Ph.D.

Outline Lecture 9: September 9, 2003.

Authenticity of the Qur'an. "Muhammad wrote the Bible!" How to respond to this allegation?

1. External evidence. ...

2. Internal evidence. …

f. Historical accuracies.

(i) Haman was perhaps a minister of Pharaoh of Egypt during the time of Moses. Haman is also mentioned in the Bible as a prime minister of a Babylonian king. Christians attacked Prophet Muhammad for this "inaccuracy." During the 20th century excavation the name of Haman was found on the tablets in Egypt as an official of Pharaoh.

Evidently Prophet had no knowledge of these matters but Allah gave it to him. (Source; underline emphasis mine)

Which 20th century excavation is he referring to? What tablets is he talking about? No references are given. Most probably Amir Ali was inspired by Harun Yahya’s first edition. We have already shown that all of this is false (see our detailed discussion of the claims made by Maurice Bucaille, Islamic Awareness and Harun Yahya). Here we see an educated Muslim simply believing these claims without checking them and then spreading them further by teaching them to others.

This course outline is found on a website dedicated to the writings of Dr. M. Amir Ali and, somewhat ironically, the entry page has this statement:

Dr. Amir Ali passed away November 19, 2005. He was dedicated to the cause of Islam in North America through striving to elevate the image of Islam and Muslims by providing the correct information about Islamic beliefs, history and civilization from the authentic sources. (Source; underline emphasis mine)

A tool for mockery

Some Muslims have taken these claims and made them the source of great mockery of anyone who would dare to question the Qur’an. Under the title “The Literal Word and the Last Laugh” the Haman argument by Islamic Awareness was used and “further developed” by a Muslim writing under the penname of “Mithridates” in order to mock those who questioned the figure of Haman in the Qur’an. Seemingly, he is continually developing this posting further and some others have also picked up this approach (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.). [In his later postings, Mithridates usually connects the “Miracle of Haman” and the “Miracle of Iron” which is answered here.]

Wikipedia – a platform for Islamic propaganda?

The Muslim missionaries even managed to insert these false claims into Wikipedia in a prominent way!1

Virtually the whole time I was researching and writing this article series on the Muslim Haman Hoax, the Wikipedia entry on Haman in Islam was dominated by the false claims fabricated Bucaille, Islamic Awareness and Harun Yahya.2 Who knows how long this “information” can be kept out from this page? I am sure zealous Muslims will not give this one up without a struggle.

Also the second Muslim theory, claiming that Khufu’s vizier Hemiunu is the quranic Haman (cf. Appendix 5), was subtly inserted into Wikipedia on 14 November 2008 and remained unchallenged until the publication of this rebuttal series on 9 November 2009. The entry on Hemiunu begins with these words:

Hemiunu or (Haman) (fl. 2570 BC) is believed to be the architect of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt. ... (Source, 9 November 2009)

Similar observations can be made regarding many other articles on Wikipedia that touch on matters of Islam. But this is not the place to discuss them in detail.

Conclusion: Wikipedia has to be used very judiciously! On factual issues they are usually reasonably reliable, but on contentious matters, there is a lot of propaganda in their articles. Whoever has the most time to edit and re-edit these articles will have great influence. Zeal and bias, and not necessarily objectivity, play a great role there, despite guidelines and efforts by some administrators.



1 This is not only a problem of Muslim propaganda. Wikipedia has become an important source of information, and therefore people try to get their views on all kinds of contentious issues placed in its pages. This concerns the public opinion regarding large corporations, issues of politics, and also religion. The reason is easy: Wikipedia is still seen by many as more objective than the company website, or the site of a political party, or a Muslim webpage. Nevertheless, one simply needs to be aware that also Wikipedia is oftentimes edited by people with an agenda that is less than objective. And this observation definitely holds true for Wikipedia pages on Islam.

2 The history page still shows how the entry looked between 9 May 2009 and 28 October 2009.

The Haman Hoax
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