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The Believer of Pharaoh's People

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The Believer of Pharaoh's People or Mu'min Āl Fir'awn (Arabic: مؤمِن آل فِرْعَون) was the Pharaoh's cousin and treasurer who hid his belief in God. In order to save the life of Prophet Moses (a), he revealed his faith and was then killed by the Pharaoh because of his faith. Verses 28 to 45 of Qur'an 40 are concerned with the story of the believer of Pharaoh's people. In Shiite hadiths, He is mentioned as one of the Siddiqs (truthful ones) along with Imam 'Ali (a). He is also said to return after the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a).

Life

His name was "Hizqil" (Ezekiel) or "Hizbil" or "Khirbil".[1] In some texts, he is referred to as a prophet.[2]

Hizqil was the Pharaoh's cousin and treasurer who hid his faith in God from the Pharaoh during his long life.[3] Whenever the Pharaoh became suspicious of him, he practiced taqiyya (dissimulation) and hid his faith by way of tawriya[4][Note 1], thereby saving his life. Upon Prophet Moses's (a) public call to his religion when the magicians believed in him, the believer of Pharaoh's people also expressed his faith in Moses (a), and was then killed by the Pharaoh just like the magicians. While his hands and fingers were paralyzed on the cross, he pointed, nonetheless, to his people and said: "Follow me to the path of rightness and perfection".[5]

  • Wife and Children

According to a hadith transmitted by Ibn 'Abbas[6] and according to al-'Allama al-Majlisi, Hizqil's wife was also a believer. She was known as "Sianat al-Mashita"—the hairdresser of the Pharaoh's daughter. She and her children were also burned by the Pharaoh because of their faith in God. One day, she was putting makeup for the Pharaoh's daughter when she suddenly mentioned God. The Pharaoh's daughter told her father that Siyana believed in God and did not believe in the divinity of the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh burned her children right in front of her, but she refused to abandon her faith in God. Thus, the Pharaoh burned her in a copper furnace too.[7]

The magnificence of "Siyana" and her children is described in hadiths as follows:

  • The Prophet (s) smelled a fragrant scent in his Mi'raj (Ascension). Jabra'il (Gabriel) told him that the smell had been from the ashes of "Siyana" and her children.[8]
See also: Raj'a
  • According to Ibn 'Abbas, the last child of the family was one of the four children who talked while they were in their cradles. When the Pharaoh decided to burn this last child, the child told his mother: "Mom! Be patient since you are right".[10]

The Believer of Pharaoh's People in Sura Ghafir

Verses 28 to 45 of Qur'an 40 (Sura Ghafir) give an account of the believer of Pharaoh's people. Below are points mentioned in exegesis of the Qur'an with regard to these verses:

  • The first characterization given by the Qur'an of the Believer of the Pharaoh's people was that he hid his faith in God. There is a hadith regarding the obligation of taqiyya (dissimulation): Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "،aqiyya is God's shield, just as the the believer of Pharaoh's people would be killed had he revealed his faith.[11]
  • When the Pharaoh decided to kill the Prophet Moses (a), the believer of Pharaoh's people tried to save Moses (a). He talked to the followers of the Pharaoh about the following five things.
  1. He first talked cautiously with his people, telling them that there was no need to kill Moses (a), since if he was a liar, he will soon be disrepute, and if he was truthful, then we should not kill him.[12]
  2. He reminded people of the fate of previous nations who suffered divine punishments.[13]
  3. He also reminded people of the prophethood of Joseph (a), noting that people told themselves that no prophet would come after Joseph (a) in order to shun their duties, and thus, they indulged themselves in wastage and corruptions. These remarks led the Pharaoh to postpone his decision to kill Moses (a) and to construct a tall building in order to climb it and see the God of Moses (a).[14]
  4. He noted that this mundane world was short and reminded people of the Heaven which is a reward for the believers and those who practice right actions, saying that there was no difference between men and women in this reward.[15]
  5. In the end, the believer of Pharaoh's people expressed his belief, saying that, "You invite me to disbelieve God, and

I invite you to believe in God, the All-mighty, the All-forgiver". He then added "And I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed Allah watches His servants."[16] He was crucified by the Pharaoh after these remarks.[17]

  • There is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) in which it is recommended that the verse, "And I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed Allah watches His servants.", be recited when one fears their enemy. The next verse describes the outcome of such an entrustment: God protected them from the evils plotted by the enemy.[18] 'Allama Tabataba'i maintains, by appealing to hadiths, that the outcome of the entrustment was that the believer of Pharaoh's people preserved his faith and belief, rather than his life. Some people appeal to hadiths from Sunni sources to show that God saved his life too.[19] Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "The body of the believer of Pharaoh's people was mutilated and God protected him from uncertainty in his belief".[20]

The Status of the Believer of Pharaoh's People in Hadiths

  • According to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the believer of Pharaoh's people is one of the 17 people who will return upon the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a).[22]
  • When Zuhayr b. Qayn talked, and preached to his people in Karbala, Imam al-Husayn (a) analogized him to the believer of Pharaoh's people who was benevolence towards his people and tried his best to propagate the truth.[23]

Notes

  1. Ṣadūq, Amālī, p. 476; Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 75, p. 402.
  2. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 2, p. 604.
  3. Maḥallātī, Rayāḥīn al-sharīʿa, vol. 5, p. 153.
  4. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 75, p. 402.
  5. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 13, p. 162; Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 258.
  6. Jazāʾirī, al-Nūr al-mubīn, p. 260.
  7. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 13, p. 163; Majlisī, Ḥayāt al-qulūb, vol. 1, p. 243.
  8. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 13, p. 163.
  9. Maḥallātī, Rayāḥīn al-sharīʿa, vol. 5, p. 41.
  10. Thaʿlabī, Qiṣaṣ al-anbīyāʾ, p. 188.
  11. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, vol. 8, p. 521.
  12. Qurʾān, 40:28.
  13. Qurʾān, 40: 30-33.
  14. Qurʾān, 40:34, 36
  15. Qurʾān, 40:39-40
  16. Qurʾān, 40:44.
  17. Makārim Shīrāzī, Tafsīr-i nimūna, vol. 20, p. 97.
  18. Qurʾān, 40:45.
  19. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 513.
  20. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 13, p. 162; Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 2, p. 258.
  21. Muttaqī al-Hindī, Kanz al-ʿummāl, p. 601; Ṣadūq, Amālī, p. 476.
  22. Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Ithbāt al-hudāt, vol. 3, p. 550.
  23. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 242.
  1. Or half-truth is based on the fact that the statement is said in a way that the hearer misunderstands the reality. Tawriya is regarded as one way by which telling lie is avoided.

References

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  • Ḥurr al-ʿĀmilī, Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-. Ithbāt al-hudāt bi-l-nuṣūṣ wa l-muʿjizāt. Beirut: Muʾassisat al-Aʿlamī li-l-Maṭbūʿāt, 1425 AH.
  • Jazāʾirī, Niʿmat Allāh. Al-Nūr al-mubīn fī qiṣaṣ al-anbīyāʾ wa l-mursalīn. Qom: Maktabat Āyatollāh Marʿashī al-Najafī, 1404 AH.
  • Maḥallātī, Dhabīḥ Allāh. Rayāḥīn al-sharīʿa. Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, [n.d].
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Biḥār al-anwār. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1362 Sh.
  • Majlisī, Muḥammad Bāqir al-. Ḥayāt al-qulūb. Qom: Surūr, 1384 Sh.
  • Makārim Shīrāzī, Nāṣir. Tafsīr-i nimūna. Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmīyya, 1378 Sh.
  • Qummī, Shaykh ʿAbbās. Nafas al-mahmūm. Qom: Manshūrāt Dhawī l-Qurbā, 1379 Sh.
  • Qummī, Alī b. Ibrāhīm al-. Tafsīr al-Qummī. Qom: Dār al-Kitāb, 1363 Sh.
  • Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-. Amālī. Tehran: Kitābchī, 1376 Sh.
  • Ṭabāṭabāyī, Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-. Al-Mīzān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān. Translated to Farsi by Mūsawī Hamidānī. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, 1382 Sh.
  • Ṭabrisī, Faḍl b. al-Ḥasan. Majmaʿ al-bayān. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ al-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 1379 AH.
  • Thaʿlabī, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad al-. Qiṣaṣ al-anbīyāʾ. Beirut: [n.p], 1414 AH.