“Pharaoh said: ‘O nobles, I do not know that you have any god besides myself. Hāmān, bake bricks out of clay and build a lofty palace for me so that I may mount up and be able to observe the god of Moses, even though I believe that Moses is a liar’.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 28:38)

By saying so Pharaoh obviously did not mean that he was their creator and the creator of the heavens and the earth. For obviously only a lunatic would make such a claim. Nor did it mean that they worshipped no other God beside Pharaoh because it is well known that the Egyptians worshipped many gods and that Pharaoh, himself, had been raised to the status of godhead in his capacity as the incarnation of Ra, the sun-god. The Qur’ān, itself, mentions that Pharaoh worshipped many gods.

Hence the word “god” used by Pharaoh for himself was not so as to claim that he was their creator and their sole object of worship. He rather used this word in the sense that he was the lord and master of Egypt where his command was executed, where he was considered to have full authority, and where people considered themselves bound to obey him, where he was the absolute sovereign whose orders were carried out, and where he was in a position to decide what was good and what was evil, and where no one else had the authority to issue any command. In this context, Pharaoh wondered what the locus standi of Moses was.

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