Surah Ash-Shu’ara Ayat 29 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 29
[Pharaoh] said, “If you take a god other than me, I will surely place you among those imprisoned.”
(Pharaoh) said: “If thou dost put forward any god other than me, I will certainly put thee in prison!”
Pharaoh said: “If you take any god other than me, I will certainly make you one of those (who are rotting) in prison.”
Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said: “If you choose an ilah (god) other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.”
(Pharaoh) said: If thou choosest a god other than me, I assuredly shall place thee among the prisoners.
He said, “Indeed in case you take to yourself a god other than me, indeed I will definitely make you one of the imprisoned.”
But Pharaoh said [to him], ‘If you take any god other than me, I will throw you into prison,’
Quran 26 Verse 29 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ash-Shu’ara ayat 29, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(26:29) Pharaoh said: “If you take any god other than me, I will certainly make you one of those (who are rotting) in prison.”
24. To understated and appreciate this conversation fully, one should bear in mind the fact that as it is today, in the ancient times too, the concept of deity was confined to its religious sense only. The deity was meant to be worshiped and presented offerings and gifts, and because of its supernatural powers and authority the people were to pray to it for help and fulfillment of their desires. But a deity’s being supreme legally and politically also and his right to enjoin anything he pleased in the mundane affairs and man’s duty to submit to his commands as to superior law, has never been recognized by the so-called worldly rulers. They have always claimed that in the mundane affairs, they alone possess absolute authority and no deity has any right to interfere in the polity and law prescribed by them. This very thing has been the real cause of the conflict between the Prophets and their righteous followers, on the one hand, and the worldly kingdoms and governments on the other. The Prophets have been trying their utmost to make the worldly rulers acknowledge the sovereign and absolute rights of the Lord of the Worlds, but they in return have not only been claiming sovereign powers and rights for themselves, but have been considering every such person as a criminal and rebel, who has held someone else as a deity in the political and legal sphere. With this background one can easily understand the real significance of Pharaoh’s words. Had it been a question of mere worship and offerings, he would have least bothered that Moses (peace be upon him), forsaking all gods, regarded only Allah, the Lord of all Creation, as worthy of those rights. If Moses (peace be upon him) had invited him to serve Allah alone, he would not have felt provoked and offended. At the most he would have refused to give up the creed of his forefathers, or would have challenged Moses (peace be upon him) to have a debate with his own religious scholars. But what caused him provocation was that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) was presenting himself as the representative of the Lord of all Creation and was conveying to him a political command as if he was a subordinate ruler and the representative of the superior authority was demanding obedience from him to the command. In this sense, he was not prepared to acknowledge any other political or legal authority, nor allow any of his subjects to acknowledge anybody instead of himself as the supreme ruler. That is why he challenged the term “Lord of all Creation”, for the message sent by Him clearly reflected sovereignty in the political and not in the mere religious sense. Then, when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) explained over and over again what he meant by the Lord of all Creation, Pharaoh threatened that if he held anyone other than him as sovereign in the land of Egypt, he would be cast into prison.
29. He said: “If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.” 30. He said: “Even if I bring you something manifest” 31. He said: “Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!” 32. So he threw his stick, and behold, it was a serpent, manifest. 33. And he drew out his hand, and behold, it was white to all beholders! 34. He said to the chiefs around him: “Verily, this is indeed a well-versed sorcerer.” 35. “He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery: what is it then that you command” 36. They said: “Put him off and his brother (for a while), and send callers to the cities;” 37. “To bring up to you every well-versed sorcerer.”
When proof had been established against Fir`awn, clearly and rationally, he resorted to using force against Musa, thinking that after this there would no further room for discussion. So he said:
(If you choose a god other than me, I will certainly put you among the prisoners.) To this, Musa responded:
(Even if I bring you something manifest) meaning, clear and definitive proof.
(Fir`awn said: “Bring it forth then, if you are of the truthful!” So he threw his stick, and behold, it was a serpent, manifest.) meanig, it was very clear and obvious, with a huge body and a big mouth, terrifying in appearance.
(And he drew out his hand,) meaning, from his sleeve,
(and behold, it was white to all beholders!) It was shining like a piece of the moon. Since Fir`awn was already doomed, he hastened to stubborn denial, and said to the chiefs around him:
(Verily, this is indeed a well-versed sorcerer.) One who knows a great deal of magic or witchcraft. Fir`awn was trying to convince them that this was sorcery, not a miracle. Then he provoked them against Musa, trying to make them oppose him and disbelieve in him, and said:
(He wants to drive you out of your land by his sorcery…) meaning, `he wants to capture the people’s hearts and win them over by doing this, so that they will support him, and help him and follow him, and he will defeat you in your own land and take the land from you. So advise me, what should I do with him’
(They said: “Put him off and his brother, and send callers to the cities; to bring up to you every well-versed sorcerer.”) meaning, `delay him and his brother until you gather together all the sorcerers from every city and region of your kingdom so that they may confront him and produce something like he produces, then you will defeat him and have the victory.’ So Fir`awn did as they suggested, which is what Allah decreed would happen to them, so that all the people would gather in one place and the signs and proof of Allah would be made manifest before them all in one day.
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