Haman and Pharaoh
The Qur'an relates the life of the Prophet Musa (as) with great clarity. As it tells of the conflict with the Pharaoh and his dealings with the Children of Israel,
the Qur'an reveals a wealth of information about ancient Egypt. The significance of many of these historical points has only recently come to the attention of the learned people of the world. If one considers these points with reason, it quickly becomes clear that the Qur'an, and the fountain of information contained within it, has been revealed by the All-Wise Allah for it correlates directly with all major scientific, historic and archaeological finds in recent times.
One such example of this wisdom can be found in the Qur'anic references to Haman: a character whose name is mentioned in the Qur'an, along with the Pharaoh. He is mentioned in six different places in the Qur'an, in which it informs us that he was one of Pharaoh's closest allies.
The name "Haman" was not known until the decoding of Egyptian hieroglyphics in the 19th century. When the hieroglyphics were decoded, it was understood that Haman was a close helper of the Pharaoh and was "the head of the stone quarries." (Above are shown ancient Egyptian construction workers). The most important point here is that Haman is mentioned in the Qur'an as the person who directed construction work under the command of the Pharaoh. This means that information that could not have been known by anybody else at that time was given in the Qur'an, a point most worthy of note.
Surprisingly, the name "Haman" is never mentioned in those sections of the Torah pertaining to the life of the Prophet Musa (as). However, the mention of Haman can be found in the last chapters of the Old Testament as the helper of a Babylonian king who inflicted many cruelties on the Israelites approximately 1,100 years after the Prophet Musa (as).The Qur'an, far more in tune with recent archaeological discoveries, does indeed contain the word "Haman" in reference to the life of the Prophet Musa (as).
The criticisms thrown at the book of Islam by some non-Muslims have disappeared by the wayside as an Egyptian hieroglyphic script had been deciphered, approximately 200 years ago, and the name "Haman" discovered in the ancient scripts. Until the 18th century, the writings and inscriptions of ancient Egypt could not be understood. The language of ancient Egypt was made up of symbols rather than words: hieroglyphics. These pictures, which tell stories and keep records of important events in the same way that modern words do, was usually engraved on rock or stone and many examples survived through the ages. With the spread of Christianity and other cultural influences in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, Egypt forsook its ancient beliefs along with the hieroglyphic writing which was synonymous with that now defunct belief system. The last known example of the use of hieroglyphic writing was an inscription dated 394. The language of pictures and symbols was forgotten, leaving nobody who could read and understand it. Naturally, this made historical and archaeological study virtually impossible. This situation remained-until just over two centuries ago.
In 1799, much to the delight of historians and other learned people, the mystery of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics was solved by the discovery of a tablet called the "Rosetta Stone." This amazing find dated back to 196 B.C. The importance of this inscription was that it was written in three different forms of writing: hieroglyphics, demotic (a simplified form of ancient Egyptian hieratic writing) and Greek. With the help of the Greek script, the ancient Egyptian writings were decoded. The translation of the inscription was completed by a Frenchman named Jean-Françoise Champollion. Hence, a forgotten language and the events related in it were brought to light. In this way, a great deal of knowledge about the civilization, religion and social life of ancient Egypt became available to mankind and this opened the way to greater knowledge about this important era in human history.
Through the decoding of hieroglyph, an important piece of knowledge was revealed: The name "Haman" was indeed mentioned in Egyptian inscriptions. This name was referred to in a monument in the Hof Museum in Vienna. This same inscription also indicated the close relationship between Haman and the Pharaoh.
In the dictionary of People in the New Kingdom, that was prepared based on the entire collection of inscriptions, Haman is said to be "the head of stone quarry workers."
The result revealed a very important truth: Unlike the false assertion of the opponents of the Qur'an, Haman was a person who lived in Egypt at the time of the Prophet Musa (as). He had been close to the Pharaoh and had been involved in construction work, just as imparted in the Qur'an.
(Pharaoh said, "Council, I do not know of any other god for you apart from Me. Haman, kindle a fire for me over the clay and build me a lofty tower so that perhaps I may be able to climb up to Musa's god! I consider him a blatant liar.") (Qur'an, 28:38)
The verse in the Qur'an describing the event where the Pharaoh asked Haman to build a tower is in perfect agreement with this archaeological finding. Through this brilliant discovery, the irrational claims of the opponents of the Qur'an were demonstrated to be false and intellectually worthless.
In a miraculous way, the Qur'an conveys to us historical information that could not have been possessed or understood at the time of the Prophet (saas). Hieroglyphics could not be deciphered until the late 1700s so the information could not have been ascertained from Egyptian sources. When the name "Haman" was discovered in the ancient scripts, it was further proof of the infallibility of Allah's Word.
1. Walter Wreszinski, Aegyptische Inschriften aus dem K.K. Hof Museum in Wien (Egyptian Inscriptions from the K.K. Hof Museum in Vienna) (Leipzig: J C Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung: 1906).
2. Hermann Ranke, Die Ägyptischen Personennamen, Verzeichnis der Namen (The Egyptian Family Names, Listing of the Names), Verlag Von J J Augustin in Glückstadt, Band I,1935, Band II, 1952.