Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meaning of the verse “So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea)”


What is the meaning of the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea)” [Yoonus 10:92]?.

Praise be to Allaah.

This verse
in Soorat Yoonus comes in the context of describing the attitude of the
tyrant Pharaoh towards the Prophet of Allaah Moosa (peace be upon him) and
those of the Children of Israel who believed with him. That was when Moosa
(peace be upon him) set out with the believers to migrate to the blessed
land, and Pharaoh and his troops pursued them in order to bring them back
and punish them. During their lengthy travels, they came to the sea and
could not go any further, but Allaah honoured His Prophet Moosa and the
believers who were with him by making the sea dry for them so that they
could walk across it, so they crossed over in the sight of their enemies,
whilst they were looking on. The enemy of Allaah Pharaoh, in his arrogance
and foolishness, set out in a ship behind Moosa and the people who were with
him, but he and those who were with him drowned in the same sea that Moosa
and the believers with him had crossed. 

When death
was surrounding the tyrant on all sides, and the waves of the sea were
tossing him around, and he was sure that drowning was to be his unavoidable
fate, he said: “I believe that none has the right
to be worshipped but He (Allaah) in Whom the Children of Israel believe, and
I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allaah’s Will)” [Yoonus 10:90].
But it was too late, the time for repentance had passed and the time for
believing ended once death approached, and the evildoer lost all strength
and wiles. 

the death of this extreme tyrant in such a manner is one of the greatest
signs which demonstrate the consequences of stubbornness, wrongdoing and
arrogance. Hence Allaah wanted to establish and confirm this sign, so as to
dispel any doubt or confusion. So He decreed that the body of the Pharaoh
should appear motionless and dead on the shore, so that his people and those
who used to worship him could see him, and that would be the most eloquent
lesson to them. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“So this
day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a
sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are
heedless of Our Ayaat”


Ibn Katheer
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Ibn ‘Abbaas and others of the salaf
said that some of the Children of Israel doubted the death of Pharaoh, so
Allaah commanded the sea to throw out his body, whole but lifeless, wearing
his well known armour, onto a raised portion of land, so that they might see
that he was indeed dead. Hence Allaah says “So this
day We shall deliver your (dead) body” i.e., we will raise you onto a
prominent part of the land. “your (dead) body” –
Mujaahid said: your body. Al-Hasan said: a body in which there is no soul.
‘Abd-Allaah ibn Shaddaad said: whole and complete, i.e., not decomposed, so
that they may recognize him and be certain that it is him. Abu Sakhr said:
with your armour. There is no contradiction between any of these opinions,
as we shall see below in sha Allaah. 

The words “that
you may be a sign to those who come after you”
means, so that this will be proof of your death for the Children of Israel,
and will show that Allaah is the One who is All-Powerful, and the forelock
of every living being is in His hand, and nothing can resist His wrath. 

Ibn Katheer (2/565) 

And this is
what happened. The Children of Israel saw Pharaoh lying dead with their own
eyes, so he was a sign for those who saw him then, and he is a sign for all
those who come after him and hear the story of his death. 

There is
nothing in this sign to indicate that his body would be preserved until the
Day of Resurrection, as some people imagine. That is interpreting the
Qur’aan in a manner that is farfetched. If the purpose had been to preserve
the body of the Pharaoh for all those people who came after him, so that
they could see his dead body for themselves, then his body would have
remained well known to all those who came after him and those who heard his
story, so that the lesson could be learned and the sign made manifest and
the promise fulfilled. What happened to his story so that people forgot it
and for so many centuries no one remember it, until the archaeologists
claimed that they had found the body of the Pharaoh who was drowned? 

Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said: The meaning of Allaah’s
words, “that
you may be a sign to those who come after you”
is: so that there would be evidence for the Children of Israel that you were
indeed dead, and that Allaah is the All-Powerful, and the forelock of every
living being is in His hand, and no one can escape His punishment, even if
he is in a position of authority and power among people. This does not imply
that the body of the Pharaoh would remain preserved until our times, as the
ignorant think, because the purpose of his body being thrown from the sea
was so that it would be known that he had died and to confirm that for those
among the Children of Israel who doubted it. This purpose was fulfilled, and
the body of Pharaoh is like any other body, it is bound to disintegrate and
nothing will be left of it but that which is left of any other body, which
is the end of the tailbone, from which each person’s body will be created
anew on the Day of Resurrection, as it says in the hadeeth. So the body of
Pharaoh is no different from the body of anyone else. And Allaah knows

Al-Muntaqa min Fataawa al-Fawzaan (1/question no.

But it may
be said here that if it were to so happen that the Pharaoh’s body appeared
again, and the experts in history and archaeology were to confirm that this
is the body of the Pharaoh who is mentioned by Allaah in His Book, that
would be an indication of the truth of what the Qur’aan says about the body
of Pharaoh being delivered (from the sea). 

The scholar
Taahir ibn ‘Ashoor (may Allaah have mercy on him) says: One of the
subtleties of the Qur’aan is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the
meaning): “So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the
sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you”. This is
something the like of which was not mentioned by anyone who wrote about
Pharaoh; it is one of the scientific miracles of the Qur’aan, as the verse
is in accordance with historical facts.” 

Al-Tahreer wa’l-Tanweer (1/2065) 

The body of Pharaoh was delivered from the sea that day and protected from
decomposition, but that does not necessarily mean that it will be preserved
until the Day of Resurrection. If it is proven by the archaeologists and
historians that the body of Pharaoh is still preserved today, and it is what
is displayed in some museums, it is not permissible to claim that this
preservation is a miracle from Allaah for all people, rather it is just
historical confirmation that is in accordance with what is in the Qur’aan,
and that is the miracle. 

And Allaah
knows best.


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