The last time I went back to visit Egypt over a decade ago, I told one of my uncles, my dad’s younger brother, “Ammu, I’ve never seen the pyramids! Maybe we should go!”
He laughed. “Go where? The pyramids are the ancient ruins of Fir`awn, one of the most ruthless tyrants who ever lived. What’s there to see?
Egyptians make such a big deal of the pyramids and the ancient Egyptians, but where is our Islamic identity? Are we Muslims first or Egyptians who harken back to these mushrikeen who worshipped Fir`awn? We’ve lost our sense of self and misplaced our priorities.”
These were my uncle’s words 13 years ago. This is a sentiment that is sorely needed today.
As an Egyptian, I’m appalled and ashamed of the crazy Pharaoh Golden Parade that was set up in Cairo recently!
You had Egyptian men and women dressed up as ancient Egyptians in long sheer robes and headdresses and heavy makeup, marching to strange music (how did they even know what Fir`awn’s music sounded like??), holding odd objects like sacrificial items to the “gods.” There were all these symbols of ancient Egyptian “gods” everywhere. It was a big national event imbued with strong religious, ritualistic overtones.
Lest we have forgotten, these are just some of Allah’s words about the pharaohs these Egyptians are celebrating and commemorating:
إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
“Indeed, Pharaoh ˹arrogantly˺ elevated himself in the land and divided its people into ˹subservient˺ groups, one of which he persecuted, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women. He was truly one of the corruptors.” (Surat Al-Qasas, 4)
وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ لِي يَا هَامَانُ عَلَى الطِّينِ فَاجْعَل لِّي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَطَّلِعُ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
“And Pharaoh said (to his people,) “O chiefs, I do not recognize any god for you other than me. So kindle for me, O Hāmān, a fire on the clay (to bake bricks) and build for me a tower, so that I may look on to the God of Mūsā, though I deem him to be one of the liars.”” (Surat Al-Qasas, 38)
وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ ذَرُونِي أَقْتُلْ مُوسَىٰ وَلْيَدْعُ رَبَّهُ ۖ إِنِّي أَخَافُ أَن يُبَدِّلَ دِينَكُمْ أَوْ أَن يُظْهِرَ فِي الْأَرْضِ الْفَسَادَ
“And Pharaoh said, “Let me kill Moses, and let him call upon his Lord! I truly fear that he may change your deen and traditions or cause mischief in the land.”” (Surat Ghaafir, 26)
This is a man who killed and enslaved masses of people, who called himself God, and tried to kill Prophet Musa عليه السلام.
What are we celebrating here exactly?
May Allah grant us all adherence to His path and disassociation from all that contravenes it, ameen.