Priority: c, Quality: a

Haman

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Haman
Place of Residence Egypt
Era Era of Prophet Moses (a)
Known for A top and influential official of the government of Pharaoh

Hāmān (Arabic: هامان) was among top officials of the government of Pharaoh at the time of Prophet Moses (a). In the Qur'an, the name of Haman is mentioned six times, all of which are together with the name of Pharaoh. In two of the verses, the name of Qarun (Korah) is also mentioned together with them. Due to his helps to Pharaoh, Haman is considered among corrupt and sinner courtiers.

Position

In the Qur'an, the name of Haman is mentioned six times: three times in Quran 28 (Sura al-Qasas), verses 6[Note 1], 8[Note 2] and 38[Note 3], once in Quran 29 (Sura al-'Ankabut), verse 39[Note 4] and twice in Quran 40 (Sura al-Ghafir), verses 24[Note 5] and 36[Note 6]. According to verses of the Qur'an, Haman was among top and influential officials of the government of Pharaoh at the time of Prophet Moses (a). In the Qur'an, the army of Egypt is referred to as the army of Pharaoh and Haman.[1] Some Shi'a and Sunni exegetes believe that Haman was the minister and top adviser of Pharaoh;[2] but, al-Shaykh al-Tusi considered the ministry of Haman a weak theory.[3]

After the Prophet Moses (a) defeated the magicians and the government of Pharaoh was threatened, by the order of Pharaoh, Haman built a palace and a very tall tower for him to go up from it and find some news about God of Moses (a).[4] In a hadith, the Prophet (s) mentioned twelve of the worst people, one of whom is Haman.[5]

Two historical Persons named Haman

The similarity between the names of Pharaoh's minister and the minister of Xerxes (King of Iran) has made orientalists to accuse the Prophet (s) of making a historical mistake. They believe that the Prophet (s) misunderstood Jewish sources and made a mistake between Haman, the minster of Xerxes and Pharaoh's minister contemporary with the Prophet Moses (a), while the latter did not historically exist.[6]

But, Shi'a and Sunni exegetes did not consider this thought of orientalists true.[7] Many researchers considered the book of Ester in which Haman is mentioned as Xerxes's minister, a legendary book. On the other hand, the content of the Qur'an's report about Haman has no conflict with historical facts and even archaeological researches made by westerners have provided strong evidences about the historical existence of Haman and that he belonged to the court of Pharaoh at the time of Moses (a). Thus, it can be said that,

  • Orientalists, based on unproven assumptions, claimed that Haman mentioned in the Qur'an, by mistake, has come from the story of Xerxes in the Bible into the story of Moses (a) and Pharaoh.
  • Claimants about the Qur'an's adoption from the Bible thought that Haman in the Bible was a historical figure from the time of Achaemenids in Susa, while independent historical sources do not prove the existence of such a person at that time.
  • Historical sources suggest that Haman, Mordecai, and Ester in the story about Xerxes are imaginary and legendary figures, whose names are adopted from other civilizations, such as Babylon and Elam.
  • The relation between the civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, and Elam on the one hand, and the results of new findings about the name of Haman on Egyptian hieroglyph stone carvings, on the other hand, increased the possibility that the name of Haman was transferred from the civilization of Egypt to Babylon and Elam and finally, the author of the book of Ester received inspirations from these names for his stories.
  • With regards to the mentioned issues, the person who made a historical mistake, has been the author or authors of the book of Ester, not the Qur'an.[8]

Notes

  1. Qurʾān, 28:6.
  2. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 647, 686; Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 327-331; Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, vol. 3, p. 180.
  3. Ṭūsī, al-Tibyān, vol. 9, p. 78.
  4. Qurʾān, 28:38; 40:36.
  5. Ṣadūq, al-Khiṣāl, vol. 2, p. 458.
  6. Jeffries, Wāzhiha-yi Dakhīl dar Qurʾān, p. 392.
  7. Fakhr al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ al-ghayb, vol. 9, p. 516.
  8. Shākir, "Hāman wa iddiʿāy-i khatā-yi tārīkhī dar Qurʾān", p. 145-164.
  1. And to establish them (those who were abased) in the land, and to show Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts from them that of which they were apprehensive. (Quran 28:6)
  2. Then Pharaoh's kinsmen picked him (Moses) up that he might be an enemy and a cause of grief to them. Indeed Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were iniquitous. (Quran 28:8)
  3. Pharaoh said, ‘O [members of the] elite! I do not know of any god that you may have besides me. Haman, light for me a fire over clay, and build me a tower so that I may take a look at Moses’ god, and indeed I consider him to be a liar!’ (Quran 28:38)
  4. And Korah, Pharaoh, and Haman. Certainly, Moses brought them manifest proofs, but they acted arrogantly in the land; though they could not outmaneuver [Allah]. (Quran 29:39)
  5. [We sent Moses] to Pharaoh, Haman and Korah, but they said, ‘A magician and a mendacious liar.’ (Quran 40:24)
  6. Pharaoh said, ‘O Haman! Build me a tower so that I may reach the routes (Quran 40:36)

References

  • Fakhr al-Rāzī, Muḥammad b. ʿUmar al-. Mafātīḥ al-ghayb (al-Tafsīr al-kabīr). Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1417 AH.
  • Jeffries, Arthur. Wāzhiha-yi Dakhīl dar Qurʾān. Translated to Farsi by Firiydūn Badra-ī. Tehran: Nashr-i Tūs, 1372 Sh.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Al-Khiṣāl. Qom: Nashr-i Islāmī, 1362 Sh.
  • Shākir, Muḥammad Kāẓim & Fayyāḍ, Muḥammad Saʿīd. 1389 Sh. "Hāman wa Idiʿāy-i khatā-yi tārīkhī dar Qurʾān." Qurʾān Shinākht 5:145-164.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Qom: Ismāʿilīyān, 1393 AH.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan al-. Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1412 AH.
  • Ṭūsī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Al-Tibyān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Edited by Aḥmad Ḥabīb Qaṣīr al-ʿĀmilī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, [n.d].
  • Zamakhsharī, Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-. Al-Kashshāf. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, [n.d].