The “Pharaoh” in Genesis: How the Quran and Ahadith Correct the Bible

The “Pharaoh” in Genesis: How the Quran and Ahadith Correct the Bible

Originally posted on the Quran and Bible Blog

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

“And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.”

– Genesis 12:15

            We have previously pointed out that the Biblical use of the word “pharaoh” as a title for the king of Egypt is anachronistic when used in the Genesis story of the prophet Joseph (peace be upon him), an error that the Quran does not repeat.[1] The term “pharaoh” is used throughout the Bible, and especially in Genesis and Exodus, to refer to the king of Egypt. However, as is now well known, the Egyptians themselves did not use such a term to refer to their kings until at least the reign of Tuthmose III, who reigned from 1504-1450 BCE.[2] Yet according to the book of Genesis, this word was used even as early as the time of Abraham (peace be upon him)! In this short article, we will see that when it comes to the Bible’s anachronistic usage of “pharaoh”, which is undeniable, even the ahadith do not repeat the mistake. This failure to repeat what should have been a minor detail and easily overlooked, serves as a powerful refutation of the oft-repeated claim that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) simply copied the stories of the Bible.

The “Pharaoh” in Genesis

            The word “pharaoh” first appears in the Bible in Genesis 12:15, which describes how the Egyptians “praised” the beauty of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, to the “Pharaoh”:

“And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.”[3]

The term is then used four more times in the chapter.

            The next time it is used is in Genesis 37, where the story of Joseph (peace be upon him) begins. According to John Bright, the events related from Genesis 12 to Genesis 50 can “fit best” in the period between “the twentieth and seventeenth centuries” BCE, though he admitted the uncertainty in mentioning any firm dates.[4] Nevertheless, it is doubtful that Abraham (peace be upon him) would have lived in the time of Tuthmose III, when the term “pharaoh” first began to be used to refer to the king of Egypt. Interestingly, Bright cited the 17th-century CE scholar James Ussher as placing Abraham’s birth around the year 1996 BCE and the “descent of Joseph into Egypt in 1728 [BCE]”, though again he cautioned that “it is not so simple as that”.[5]

            While there can be no certainty about the exact time period, it can be stated confidently that Abraham (peace be upon him) could not have lived in the 1400s BCE. Similarly, Joseph’s presence in Egypt is unlikely to have occurred during that time period either. The renowned historian Kenneth Kitchen places the “setting of Joseph” in the “late Middle Kingdom to Second Intermediate Period”.[6] This would mean anywhere from the 1600s BCE to the 1500s BCE,[7] and happens to coincide with the period of Hyksos rule in Egypt.[8] Since the reign of Tuthmose III began near the end of the 16th century (1504 BCE), it is unlikely that he was the pharaoh mentioned in Genesis 37. Hence, by placing a “pharaoh” in the stories of both Abraham and Joseph (peace be upon them), the Bible clearly makes an anachronistic error. This error, which would most likely have gone unnoticed for centuries, should then have appeared in the Quranic narratives and the ahadith literature. And yet astonishingly, we find this is not the case!

The “Pharaoh” King of Egypt in the Quran and Ahadith

            It has already been documented elsewhere that the Quran does not repeat the mistake of the Bible in using the term “pharaoh” in the story of Joseph.[9] In the entire surah named after the great prophet (Surah 12), the Arabic word “firaun” (pharaoh) never appears. Instead, the word used for the Egyptian monarch is simply “the king” (al-maliku).[10] Thus, if the Quranic narrative had been copied from Jewish and Christian sources, including the Bible, it somehow avoided repeating the Biblical error, even though there seems to be no reason why that would be the case.[11]   

            As for the story of Abraham (peace be upon him), the Quran does not mention his sojourn to Egypt, so there is no mention of any Egyptian king. However, there are ahadith from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim which do allude to the journey to Egypt. In Sahih Bukhari 34:164,[12] a story like the one told in Genesis 12 is related, though it does not specifically mention Egypt (see below for more on this). However, once again, the term “pharaoh” is curiously absent from the hadith, whereas Genesis 12 uses it 5 times! Instead, like the Quran, the hadith simply refers to the ruler as “a king or a tyrant”. A similar narration in Sahih Muslim also does not use the term “pharaoh”.[13] But this hadith from Sahih Muslim mentions that the “king” gave Hajar (may Allah be pleased with her) to Sarah (may Allah be pleased with her) as a “gift”.[14] Hajar/Hagar was, of course, the mother of Ishmael (peace be upon him). That she was an Egyptian is alluded to in another hadith in Sahih Muslim:

“Abu Dharr reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: You would soon conquer Egypt and that is a land which is known (as the land of al-qirat). So when you conquer it, treat its inhabitants well. For there lies upon you the responsibility because of blood-tie or relationship of marriage (with them).”[15]

According to Ibn Shihab Al-Zuhri, the reference of the “blood-tie” was to Hagar.[16] Thus, it seems that the “king” mentioned in the ahadith was the ruler of Egypt, and that Hajar was an Egyptian. So, unlike the Bible, which incorrectly refers to the king as the “pharaoh”, the authentic ahadith do not make this error. In short, both the Quran and the authentic ahadith correct the Bible for its anachronism.


            Given the evidence against the Bible’s anachronistic use of the term “pharaoh”, and the absence of the anachronism from the Quran and Ahadith, it would be silly to claim that the latter copied the Joseph story from the former. The absence of such a minor detail from the authentic Islamic sources serves as a powerful refutation of a common Christian polemic against Islam. Moreover, the presence of the anachronism serves as indisputable evidence against the Bible’s sacred status as “inspired” scripture. It most certainly is not.

And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!


[2] Louay Fatoohi and Shetha Al-Dargazelli, The Mystery of Israel in Ancient Egypt: The Exodus in the Qur’an, the Old Testament, Archaeological Finds, and Historical Sources (Birmingham: Luna Plena Publishing, 2008), p. 41.

Other scholars believe that Amenhophis IV (c. 1352–1338 BCE) was the first king to be referred to as “pharaoh” (

According to Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce, and R.K. Harrison, the word “pharaoh” was first applied to Egyptian kings “around 1500 B.C.” (Compact Bible Dictionary [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004], p. 471). Ironically, they then tell the story of how Abraham (peace be upon him) “came into contact with a pharaoh…around 2000 B.C.” (p. 472)!

[3] Ironically, the term “pharaoh” would have been used to refer to the palace of the king of Egypt, which is where Sarah was taken!

[4] John Bright, A History of Israel, 3rd Edition (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981), p. 83.

[5] Ibid.

[6] James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 98.

[7] The Middle Kingdom is dated by scholars from 2050–1640 BCE, while the Second Intermediate Period is dated from 1640–1550 BCE (


The Hyksos were foreign invaders who occupied the seat of power in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. The end of this period has been approximated to have occurred around 1550 BCE ( The Islamic-Awareness article above gives a date of 1553 BCE.



[11] A 7th-century Arab merchant with no knowledge of Egyptian history could certainly have been forgiven for making such an error, as would Jewish and Christians sources, which made the error repeatedly. But since the Quran is claimed to have come from God, it is not surprising that such an error would not have been repeated.



Thanks goes to brother stewjo004 for pointing me to this hadith.


[14] See also Sahih Bukhari, 60:38,

[15] Sahih Muslim, 44:323,



Categories: Archaeology, Bible, Christianity, Hadith, Islam, Judaism

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

87 replies

  1. This dog is out barking again?

    Not only had this been addressed:

    But we also buried Muhammad in his Haman hoax:

    FYI, God willing I’m coming out with more stuff on Q. 17:1 for this rabid dog and will once again reissue my challenge to debate me on that topic. Hopefully he will take his pants back from his wife abs give her her dress back in order to man up this tune around and debate me on his filth called the Quran.


    • O look the vermin has come out to play again.

      If you think that trash you posted is a refutation then you’re beyond pathetic.

      Lol the first few lines :
      “””The books of the Bible went through a very human process of composition, transmission, and preservation. Part of that process apparently included the updating of place names and, in this case, political titles to terms that were known to later generations. This is not an error at all. For example, a history book could say: “In the 1300’s, a certain Indian tribe occupied an area near Tucson, Arizona.” Of course, Tucson, Arizona wasn’t a city at the time, nor was Arizona a state, but readers would understand that the author did not say that it was, he or she is merely using it as a modern reference point””””

      Buahahahaha! How convenient!
      Your fifty shades of grey made another error fatty. Get over it.

      Now go back to reading your pornbook.

      Liked by 2 people

      • @ Atlas

        Is he serious with that argument? Several points:

        1. “Part of that process apparently included the updating of place names and, in this case, political titles…This is not an error at all. ”

        Keyword here “apparently” aka “I’m assuming this”.

        2. The analogy

        There is a difference between saying an “Indian tribe occupied an area near Tucson, Arizona” and saying “Squanto went back to his village of Tuscon and talked to the chief”.

        Speaking of which

        3. “…but readers would understand that the author did not say that it was, he or she is merely using it as a modern reference point”

        Hmmm… interesting that the Bible has TONS of these tourist notes so the reader will know what the area being talked about is for example:

        Genesis 26:33 ESV He called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

        Genesis 35:20 ESV and Jacob set up a pillar over her tomb. It is the pillar of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day.

        Joshua 4:9 ESV And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the covenant had stood; and they are there to this day.

        Joshua 7:26 ESV And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.

        1st Chronicles 4:43 ESV And they defeated the remnant of the Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.

        But when it comes to this anachronism, mums the word. Keeping with the style of the text a simple way for the unknown “inspired” author to write it:

        “There was a Pharoah in this day (this is before their kings were called as such) who…”

        Liked by 2 people

      • “Is he serious with that argument?”

        He is just here to throw out bullshit statements and links and then moonwalk out. This neither impresses or intemidates anyone. The fact this blob thinks we consider him anything else than a laughing stock is just straight up sad.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @ Atlas

        I know but he said it with such confidence though.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “But when it comes to this anachronism, mums the word. Keeping with the style of the text a simple way for the unknown “inspired” author to write it:

        “There was a Pharoah in this day (this is before their kings were called as such) who…””

        I made a similar argument when I first read that pathetic article years ago. I was having a discussion with a friend, who converted to Islam a couple of years ago (alhamdulillah). Here is what I wrote:

        “Next, Vargo makes another argument. According to him, when the Bible refers to the king of Egypt in Joseph’s time as “Pharaoh” (as part of its “updating”), it was for the benefit of people in later times, based on their understanding. To support this theory, he gives the example of referring to Tucson, Arizona as the place an Indian tribe occupied in the 1300s, centuries before there was a Tucson, Arizona. But this theory suffers from a serious flaw. Usually, when making such a comparison, historians normally use phrases like “present-day” to make it clear that the name of the place was not what we refer to it today. Therefore, when making the statement (using Vargo’s example) ‘In the 1300’s, a certain Indian tribe occupied an area near Tucson, Arizona…’ historians would normally say something like “In the 1300’s, a certain Indian tribe occupied an area near present-day Tucson, Arizona.” This would explain to lay people that the area the Indian tribe occupied was not known as “Tucson, Arizona” at the time. With regard to the use of the title “Pharaoh”, does the Bible make a similar statement? The answer is clearly ‘no’. Undoubtedly, Vargo and the “Answering-Islam” team have not explained the error, but rather, have made it worse.”


    • @ QB

      I guess great minds think alike. My point is the Bible all the time gives editorial notes for later readers’ benefit. Can the Answering Islam give us another example from the Bible where this has occurred?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello 3 god worshipping Silly Sammy, you have lost your mind lol… the ‘refutation’ you wrote in 2002 was in response to an article that has since been completely re-written in 2006 totally demolishing your baseless… and QB has further expose your foolishness… Seek help Sammy..really…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Claiming that the anachronism concerning the title “Pharaoh” in the book of Genesis occurred due to updating/editing by later hand creates more problem than it solves.

    First, the claim is nothing but pure assumption which is not backed by a single manuscript evidence. Until the claimant proved that this anachronism is only found in later manuscripts not in the oldest manuscripts, the claim remains pure assumption. Without such a proof, one is forced to face the reality that these anachronistic passages were written by the original writer of the book.

    Second, claiming that later hand edited the Bible to make it contain anachronistic statements only proved that later hands edited, corrupted, the Bible.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. No evidence offered that the bible is incorrect in any of its assertions. The usual bluff, conjecture and “scholar” quoting. Move on, nothing to see here.


    • You are an idiot, Iggy. You clearly don’t know how “evidence” works.

      It is a fact that the Egyptians did not use the term pharaoh for their kings until a certain time in their history. Therefore, the Bible is wrong. Get over it.

      If you think the Bible should get the benefit of the doubt, then you need to prove it dummy. Now go worship your mangod like a good pagan.


      • Evidence.


      • It is just how the story was written because the intended audience was familiar with the Pharaoh though taken literally it is anachronistic. It’s just like the Dirhams in the Quran´s Joseph story sura 12, 20. Whether it refers to coins or to a weight/measure it is anachronistic as it came to Arabic from the Greek Drachma only much later than Joseph. The texts simply use contemporary equivalents that if taken literally are anachronistic but they just used a term the audience knew.


      • Hello Proevidence. Thanks for your comment. I have to disagree with you though. The appeal to prolepsis does not explain the use of “pharaoh” in Genesis. More likely, it was the result of a confusion about the history of the term.

        As for the use of dirham in the Quran, this polemic was suggested by Jay Smith, who is known for his inaccurate and biased claims. The website Islamic-Awareness wrote a detailed refutation of this argument. Here is what they concluded:

        “It was shown that pre-Islamic Arabs were aware of the dirham. The evidence comes from the pre-Islamic romance poetry of ‘Antara. The Arabs from pre-Islamic Arabia handled Persian currency and called it dirham which came from the Persian drahm. Both Muslim and non-Muslim philologists agree that this is a word of foreign origin borrowed into Arabic. It is clear that the use of the dirham in the Qur’an is not an anachronism, as the Arabs from pre-Islamic times were already aware of it.

        Moreover, during the advent of Islam, any silver coin was called a dirham; it was also a unit of weight and coinage, and represented a monetary unit that might or might not be represented by a circulating coin. Given the multifarious nature of dirham, the use of this word in the story of Joseph represents silver “coinage”; the silver used as deben or sh‘t in ancient Egypt. A study of “coinage” in ancient Egypt clearly shows that precious metals, especially silver, were used as money in the form of deben and sh‘t. During trade, the numbers of deben or sh‘t were specified, clearly suggesting that they were counted and were of a standard metal quality as well as of a standard weight. The texts do not say that either deben or sh‘t were weighed or tested for quality during commercial transactions. Although very common from Ramesside times onward, the evidence of such transactions extend all the way down to the mid-5th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom Period, where, in one particular market scene, a particular length of cloth is valued at 6 sh‘t.”

        Liked by 2 people

      • You have to prove that that bible is wrong and you can’t. You are making the claims and still offering no evidence.


      • Moron, you know full well that any evidence given to you will not matter. You will still deny it. Also, if you think the Bible is right, then you need to show that the term was used by the Egyptians in Abraham’s time. You won’t be able to do that because no such evidence exists. The word is certainly found in Egyptian sources from that time, but in a completely different context. That’s why the Bible is wrong.

        Notice also that none of the other posters are denying that the term is out of place in the Bible. They just are trying to excuse it. You’re the only one claiming that it is just fine. That shows your ignorance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Persians also got it from the Greek long after the time of Joseph.
        The page you refer to make a lot of writing, but do not give the evidence, so I get a little suspicious. They never show that the term Dirham was used for a coin or measure. When is the first reference to Dirham as a coin or monetary measure?


      • I think you missed the point. The article argued persuasively that the word “dirham” was the Arab word for any silver coin or weight that could be counted. It would be like saying “money”, i.e., Joseph was purchased for some money counted out. The article then shows that such transactions were made in Egypt. There are surviving Egyptian documents demonstrating this.

        Liked by 2 people

      • See Lane’s lexicon. It clearly states that “darahim” means “money, cash or coin in an absolute sense”.


      • They knew the title Pharaoh was only relevant to Egypt maybe like Shah is only relevant for Iran. So pharaoh became just a king of Egypt. TThe article I read said that pre-islam Dirham was a stable value (i accept it for now). My Arabic is not so good 😕 but when does the dictionary you refer to say that Dirham was used as money for the first time? I mean if we bracket the Quran for the moment?


      • Lane’s Lexicon does not say when it was first used. But it was in used before Islam.

        The authors of the Bible did not know that “pharaoh” meant two things in different context. Before the New Kingdom period, it meant the palace of the king. Later on, it became a title for the king himself. Those are two different meanings. If I used the term “president” to refer to the “caliph”, that would be an incorrect usage.


      • But please give something that is relevant from the Arabic sources and their time that supports what you say. If you are right you are right. But if you dont give something we can check it is only your word.


      • What exactly are you looking for? A direct Arabic dictionary from that time that says that darahim meant money?


      • I am asking for the Arabic earliest clear text that uses Dirham for money, not the coin or the measure, as before bracketing the Quran for the moment.


      • The only pre-Islamic source that mentions dirhams is the poetry from Antara. The IA article also mentioned this. However, there it is in the singular and seems to be mentioning a coin. So the pre-Islamic record is sparse. Nevertheless, as I showed, the authoritative Lane’s Lexicon defines darahim as money or cash. I see no reason to question this.

        It’s also interesting that the Quran, surah 18:19 specifically uses a word for “silver coin” that is different from dirham. That word is wariq (وَرِق), which Lane’s lexicon definesj as “silver, whether coined or not…or coined dirhems; coined silver”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The context of Surah 18:19 is the sleepers story, which is thought to have occurred during Roman times. So the Quran clearly differentiates between wariq and darahim. One literally refers to silver currency (usually coins) whereas darahim refers to any kind of silver currency, whether coins or bullion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So what is the answer to the question I posed, that is when dates the earliest Arabic text where Dirham is used unambiguously for money? But would you agree that even if a dictionary such as Lane gives a meaning it must be able to demonstrate it from a text that has a historical time? If it isnot found in a text it is just someones word. So until now we have had no reason to consider Dirham as other than a specific name of a coin/measure from a time much after Joseph. Wariq you say means both coined and uncoined so in that regard alone there is not necessarily a distinction. But Dirham is the name of a specific coin or measure. And I even understand that some Muslim tradition interprets 18:19 as a Dirham in the story. So we still need to show that Dirham means money from a text and its place in history.


      • So having no evidence yourself, you think that you can simply reject an authoritative source? That does not seem reasonable at all. Lexicons are based on the detailed analysis of the language. Lane used many sources to write his lexicon.


      • I did not reject it. I said I want to know the reference so I can see for myself it is the meaning money and when it took on this meaning, from when it was known in the 7 century bce, that is long after Joseph. You said it meant money so I just asked you show the text pre or post islamic era. If you give us only words it is jut words, not evidence.


      • How will see for yourself when you don’t speak or read Arabic? I gave you “words” from an authoritative source. They are not my words but the words of an authority on the Arabic language.


      • I can perhaps get a translation or find someone to help me. But I simply ask you to give the evidence and translate it if needed. If you do not give evidence what you say is just word. Just because my Arabic is shall we say less than perfect ☹️ does not mean I am stupid. I assume you do not read Egyptian or Hebrew, but you can still learn about Pharaoh and Joseph.


      • I learn about pharaoh and Joseph from authoritative sources. I don’t have to question every detail of said sources. You can either accept what an authoritative source says about the subject or you can remain skeptical. It’s your decision. But I think if you follow that methodology, you won’t be able to get answers to many questions in life and everything will be inconclusive. 🙂


      • If historians say Drachma was a coin and a measure that is known from 7 century bce long after Joseph and someone comes and says it refers to something else, that nay be so. But it is surely not unreasonable to ask for their evidence. Since you cannot give some you do not prove your point. Saying I cannot check myself is simply avoiding a fair question in the discussion.


      • No, that’s not what I said. I said you have no reason to be so skeptical of an authoritative source like Lane’s lexicon. To give a definition from such a source IS evidence. I don’t think you are being “fair”. You are just moving the goalpost. And no one denied that it was a coin. The lexicon says that as well, but it also says that the plural meaning (darahim) in Arabic can mean money as well.


      • @ QB

        He wants you to quote a lexicon’s source? Like an evidence…inception?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did not move the goalpost. I asked for the earliest text where Dirham is used for money, bracketing for the moment the Quran, from the beginning. But you seem not to answer my question.


      • You just don’t like the evidence you have been given. An authoritative Arabic Lexicon settled the matter. But you seem unable to accept such evidence. Lane’s lexicon is not the Quran. So yeah, you’re simply moving the goalpost.


      • I got some help to find two articles in the Ecncyclopaedia of the Quran. And they give a different interpretation. One takes it to refer to coins and not to a standard silver weight. The Dirham was I think also a weight but it is not known in the time of Joseph.

        The other opinion is that it refers to a weight/measure. But again the weight Dirham is not from the time of Joseph and none of them say that Dirham in the Quran means money. The texts is copied after this post.


      • Thanks for the replies. I see your point. Maybe in Persian it meant money, but not in Arabic as is hinted at in quote you gave. I understand Lane’s Lexicon is a superb resource. But in the lexicon on the root for Dirham he does not include the sura 12, 20 (page 876-877) all references are from sources later than the Quran, in line with the scholar I quoute that the meaning money in Arabic was later than the Quran. In Lane’s book Selections from the Kur-an page 79 sura 12, 20 is given as “and they sold him for a mean price, [for] some dirhems, counted” (its on google books). So it is a name of a specific unit wether coin or measure, not money in general. The coin or measure called Dirham was not known in the time of Joseph.
        Even if Penrice may take it as money from Persian in 12, 20 this view was not accepted by Lane, the two modern academics in teo different articles from the Encyclopadia of the Quran I gave as well as the academic dictionary on Quranic usage, all discussing specifically Sura 12, 20. It is for them a specific unit, not money and Dirham is a unit later than Joseph so one scholar explicitly stated it was anachronistic.


    • That is the point. They say that in the Islamic period it could be any coin. Not before that. But that is like saying that by the time of Moses or whoever wrote it any Pharaoh was also the king of Egypt. To show it is not out of time they have to give us the first time you find Dirham used as a money unit. I suspect that they could not find a suitable source, so they had to write a lot on other stuff.


      • Again, the argument was that it is the standard Arabic word for “money”. This is supported by Arabic lexicons. So the Quran was simply saying that Joseph was purchased for some silver money. There is nothing”anachronistic” about that. I suspect that you just don’t want to read the detailed discussion they give.

        In contrast, the term “pharaoh” does not mean anything other than the ruler of Egypt. The Hebrew version of it is only used in that context in the Bible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Think of it this way. Suppose the word “dollar” became ingrained into Arabic and over time took on the meaning of “money”. To use it in Arabic in that context would not be anachronistic because it simply would mean “money”, and not a specific reference to American currency. The same thing happened with the word darahim. It meant silver “money”.


      • If “pharaoh” had been adopted into Hebrew like that, where it became synonymous with any “king” regardless of nationality, then you would have a point. But we know that is not the case.


      • From encyclopaedia of the Quran

        Measure of value or medium of exchange. Money as such is barely attested in the Qur?an. A small number of terms refer to coins of indistinct weight and fineness. Some other words denote vague units of weight (see weights and measures ) or have no monetary significance, though they often appear as monetary terms in later classical Arabic (see arabic language ). Words or phrases identifying definite units of value are absent.

        The phrase darahim ma?duda, “a counted number of silver coins,” in q 12 (Surat Yusuf, “ Joseph”; q 12:20) indicates silver coins of no particular weight and fineness. Al-Zamakhshari (d. 538/1144; Kashshaf, ad loc.) emphasizes here that the term darahim means “not gold (q.v.) coins” (ay la dananir). Most early commentators speculate on the number of coins implied, suggesting numbers from twenty to forty. The verse agrees generally with the Hebrew Bible where Joseph (q.v.) is sold for twenty shekels (see scripture and the qur?an ). The qur?anic reference, however, is anachronistic since it refers specifically to coins and not standard weights of silver. Modern scholarship places the historical figure of Joseph in the early second millenium b.c.e., long before the invention of coinage in the seventh century b.c.e.

        Liked by 1 person

      • From encyclopaedia of the Quran:

        Weights and Measures

        Some terms of measure in the Qur?an signify simultaneously weight and value (see also trade and commerce; markets; money; numismatics).

        Dirham denotes the early Arabic silver coin, and, at the same time, a weight as a coin was understood to be of a particular weight. It appears only once, in the plural darahim ( q 12:20). From there, it simply follows that it is a measure for a small value: “They sold him [Joseph (q.v.)] for a low price, a certain number of dirhams, for they thought little of him.” At the time of the prophet Mu?ammad, one dirham was supposed to have the value of a tenth or a twelfth of a dinar (Miles, Dirham).


      • What you don’t seem to understand is that a word can have multiple meanings depending on the context. This is the case for dirham in Arabic, which is why even the source you mentioned gives contradictory views. In the plural, it can mean just money. But that is definitely not the case for “pharaoh” in Arabic.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Correction: not the case with “pharaoh” in Hebrew.


      • @ proevidence

        Yeah none of that overrules a lexicon. This is literally what they are created for.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, and they also show that there is disagreement among scholars anyway. Plus, most of these issues were discussed in the IA article I cited previously.

        And finally, I checked the Hans-Weir Arabic dictionary which agrees with Lane’s lexicon that darahim also means money or cash in general. I will try to post an image of it later.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I also checked John Penrose’s Dictionary of the Koran and he also defined darahim as “money; a silver coin, the value of which has varied considerably at different times and in different places…”

        So, that’s 3 Arabic dictionaries/lexicons that define darahim as “money” in general or silver coins.

        You can check all sources here:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the replies. Yes, but the other scholars I cited say that is not correct because in the only place in the Quran where Dirham, in the plural Darahim is found 12,20, the phrase used refers only to the coin or the measure. They stated that very clearly. And one of the scholars stated clearly that the units used in the Quran only later take on the meaning money, after the Quran. If you see other modern academic Quranic dictionaries they do not mention money either only measure or coins, for example the Arabic-English Dictionary of Quranic Usage from 2008. I am not denying the other lexicons you mention are useful. Weir’s however I understand is for modern Arabic not Quran and also Lane’s Lexicon uses meanings from later usage as well.
        I understand that Penrice’s view at the time that Dirham means from Persian money is not accepted by contemporary accademic scholars.


      • Again, the points raised in the encyclopedia source were explained in the IA article. In fact, it quotes the Encyclopedia of Islam as indicating that a dirham represented any weight, and not just coins:

        “DIRHAM. I. The name of a weight derived from Greek dracmn… II. The silver unit of Arab monetary system from the rise of Islam down to Mongol period.”

        It also quotes the Encyclopedia Iranica, Iran being the origin of the word dirham from the Greek drachm:

        “DIRHAM (< Gk. drakhmé "drachma"; Mid. Pers. drahm, Pers. derham), a unit of silver coinage and of weight…"

        So, it's not necessarily a coin. End of story. So even if the meaning wasn't "money" in the context of Surah 12:20, which you haven't demonstrated, it is still not a problem as weights were used in Egypt.

        Finally, it quotes another source which clearly states that dirham meant coins OR MONEY in pre-Islamic times:

        "The pre-Islamic Arabs were either Persian subjects (in Mesopotamia) or allies (in Arabia). They also handled Persian currency and had a word for it – dirham. The Persian drahm was called dirham in Arabic;[9] and in the former it also meant a silver coin or money."

        The following is the citation for this: . F. J. Junker (Ed.), The Frahang I Pahlavīk, 1912, Carl Winter's Universitatsbuchhandlung: Heidelberg, p. 78 (in the glossary section).

        So all of these issues have already been explained. Darahim could mean coins, weights or money in general.


      • @ Proevidence

        I don’t think you know what a lexicon is for you to keep arguing this. The best way I can give an analogy in English of what is happening is someone just pulled up Merriam Websters about a word’s definition and you are basically saying:

        “No, no this random ‘scholar,’ said that’s wrong”

        You are basically putting a person’s opinion over what 2 lexicons (aka things that specifically focus on Classical Arabic usage in antiquity) and a dictionary say. You can quote whoever you want but the things DESIGNED for these moments are telling you this is what the word means.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ” it can be stated confidently that Abraham (peace be upon him) could not have lived in the 1400s BCE. Similarly, Joseph’s presence in Egypt is unlikely to have occurred during that time period either. ”

    These are tell tale phrases that you are just begging the question. Your post is peppered with them.


    • Lol, so are you claiming that Abraham lived during the New Kingdom period? Any evidence for that or are you just being a witless troll? Seriously, were you always a blithering idiot or did it take years of brainwashing?

      Liked by 1 person

      • He learnt it from the years of “training” on Priest Agnostic’s lap. Their Bible Study reach around sessions taught them well.

        Iggy is the type of dude who would trip over air and fall flat on his face

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “Moron, you know full well that any evidence given to you will not matter. You will still deny it.”

    Still waiting for evidence that the bible is wrong to use the word Pharoah for the king of Egypt at the time of Moses or Joseph. None forthcoming as yet. Only your biased assumptions and claims on view so far.


    • LOL, you clearly didn’t even read the article! I didn’t say it was wrong to use at the time of Moses, dummy! I said it was wrong to use it in the Abraham and Joseph. Try to keep up.

      We all know that your idea of “evidence” is “well, show me that the term was NOT used for the king of Egypt in Joseph’s time”. By the way, did you find a rabbit that chews the cud yet? 😉

      The earliest record where the term is used for a ruler is Tuthmose III. There is an inscription which states:

      “The plunder by Pharaoh of the lands of the miserable Kush 2. ” on (his) first victorious expedition, when he was alone, 3. ” (relying) upon his strong arm, none other being with him. If each item were to be enumerated in tum…”

      Before this, every time the term is mentioned in Egyptian sources, it meant the palace of the king, not the king himself.

      Give it uo Iggy. Your skepticism is laughable. It’s funny how christians become super-skeptics when the Bible is the target but will believe all the nonsense in the Bible without evidence.


      • “The earliest record where the term is used for a ruler is Tuthmose III. There is an inscription which states:”

        The bible goes back earlier and is inspired so there you have it.

        Other records may have been lost or the records we have may not give a true reflection of what the situation was at the time.


      • Amazing! So Iggy uses circular argumentation to defend his Bible! No, Iggy, we don’t “have it”. Your Bible is not “earlier” and even if it was, that would not matter.

        You keep exposing your ignorance and bias. First of all, both Jews and Christians believe that Genesis was written by Moses (pbuh). Moses didn’t live a few hundred years after Tuthmoses! Again I ask, were you always a blithering idiot?

        Second, the records are not lost. We have extensive records from Egypt. The term “pharaoh” was not used by them for the king until Tuthmose III.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Usshers conservative biblical chronology puts the date of the death of Terah, the father of Abraham, at 1921 BC and the year of the Exodus at 1491 BC. The creation of the world at 4004 BC. To be more precise at 6 pm, October 23 4004 BC. Muslims can only turn green with envy when they look at their own sources which are so vague in comparison because they are written so far after the events they relate and are obviously dependant on hearsay and legend.


    • 😂🤣😂 Lol, am I supposed to be impressed by your Bible’s young earth nonsense? Here, look Iggy, I can make up some silly myth too: And the Lord said, “I created the world while partying with my roommate Jeff. It was 6pm on February 14, 10000 BC. Happy Valentine’s day!”

      You see how stupid you sound, Iggy?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I havent read this article in its entirety yet, but I intend to. I had to stop after the opening paragraphs because, although I agree that Genesis is most definitely anachronistic (whether we date it to the time of the Babylonian exilic era as secular historians do, or if we choose to believe the Pentateuch/Torah to be authored by Moses in the dessert as religious tradition teaches) – the fact is, either way, no one claims Genesis NOT to be anachronistic. Having said that, I must say I find it interesting and very telling that the exegetical approach used by the article writer here is one that is clearly impartial as he fails to apply the same critical standard on the Qur’an as he does on the Bible. His critique and argument is one that can neither verify nor falsify his all-too-apparent polemic on Jewish and Christian scripture, because of its straw man framework. All he does here is mimic the same-tired rhetoric we here from other Muslim pathos-polemicists whose whole epistemology is severely lacking.

    If his complaint is that terms were used in a context (Pharoah) prior to the concept having been introduced into history (around 1st millinium BCE), then we can pick apart the Qur’an all day for the many anachronisms that permeate it’s muddled narrative and absence of contextual chronology….. but such an endeavour would be as counterproductive as it is intellectually dishonest for me to do so while parading Bible superiority merely because of my proclamation of quranic incredulity, rather than appeal to the Bible’s ‘superiority’ on its own merit

    Of course, what’s the point in carrying out such a self-defeating, pointless, and divisive undertaking. Much better to build upon commonalities and concordance, rather than using our precious time to seek out that which has kept Muslims, Jews and Christians divided ever since the days of Isaac and Ishmael squabbling over their claims to who’s Abraham’s favourite son.


    • @ Melchizedek

      I’ll let QB respond to the rest of your post but we do NOT believe in an Issac/Ishmael rivalry. Its very clear in the Quran both were prophets who Abraham (as) prayed for and loved.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So your response is “well, the Quran does it too”? Well go ahead, give some examples of any anachronisms. But thank you for admitting that my article is accurate! 😄

      And you might want to tell Watson that the use of “pharaoh” in Genesis is an anachronism because he seems to be the only one who doesn’t get it.

      And yes, my intent is to show that the Bible is false. I have no qualms against admitting that. That is what I have come to believe after studying and comparing it to the Quran. It is the inevitable result of studying and reflecting on the two books.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And the squabbling you refer to is from the Bible, not from the Quran, as Stew pointed out.

      I have nothing against Jews and Christians, and there is certainly much we have in common. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to correct the mistakes they have made in practicising the divine-revealed religion. That is why Islam is here, to guide all people back to the worship of the one true God and remove all falsehoods.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. “Moses didn’t live a few hundred years after Tuthmoses! Again I ask, were you always a blithering idiot?”

    How do you know when this Thutmose guy lived? How is it dated? And why does Moses have to live in the time of the things he writes about? He obviously had information about things well before his time.


    • 🤦‍♂️ Look, why don’t you just throw in the towel and admit that you have no idea what you are talking about? Stop embarrassing yourself.

      You said the Bible is older than the earliest Egyptian source to mention “pharoah” for the king of Egypt. This is complete nonsense as Jews and Christians believe the first 5 books were written by Moses, so the Bible is actually younger. Get it?

      And no, the author(s) of the Pentateuch obviously didn’t have information about things well before their time. That’s what we have been talking about! They didn’t know the history of the word “pharaoh”!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. All Faiz can dig up is an argument from silence. And his dates for the kings of Egypt are just guesses. Nothing for the bible narrative to fear.

    The “miraculous” Quran can’t even give us one historical detail that no one else knows. On the other hand it abounds with fables that everyone knew about, except apparently the writer of the Quran.


    • 😂 Why are you so insistent on embarrassing yourself? So now, you are en expert on Egyptian chronologies? Go ahead, educate us then about the actual dating of Egyptian history.

      And no idiot, as I already showed, the Quran corrected your Bible for it’s mistake, which you have been desperately trying to deny.

      Also, I don’t think you understand what an “argument from silence” is. Again, stop embarrassing yourself.


      • Everyone knows that ancient documents were lost by natural causes, embellished, destroyed or otherwise falsified by the rulers of the time. So where is your certainty coming from? Let us into your secret.


      • So I take it you have no actual facts about the chronology of Egyptian history and are just a mindless troll?

        Yes, documents can be lost. We know this best from your Bible. But you seem to be pretty sure of the Bible and transform into a hyper-skeptic when other sources are considered. Your double standards are typical of brainwashed Christians.

        Isn’t it ironic that it’s you who is using an argument from silence? 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  10. “However, there are ahadith from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim which do allude to the journey to Egypt. In Sahih Bukhari 34:164,[12] a story like the one told in Genesis 12 is related, though it does not specifically mention Egypt (see below for more on this). ”

    The islamic sources actually manage to “allude” to Abrahams journey to Egypt. Well we are impressed.


  11. @ Providence

    Several poonts:

    1. Pre Islamic poetry
    Article QB quoted lists poetry using dirham in the generic sense before the Quran

    2. Dirham etymology
    Dirham comes from persian Drahm which came from Greek drakhmé and both uses are generic for weight and this is also how it was used in antiquity

    3. Multiple lexicons agree

    4. What does any of this have to do with the anarchorism in the Bible?


    • Hi
      1. Yes QB listed pre-islamic poetry above. But he said it seems there to be a coin.
      2. I have not seen that Dirham was a generic word for weight – it was a specific name for a unit which had different weight at different times. Or it was coin. Coins did not exist in the time of Joseph. Nor was there a coin or a weight/measure called Dirham.
      3. Agree on which part do you mean.
      4. It was an analogy see above. I said Dirham was just used because people knew what it was.


      • @ Proevidence

        1. You haven’t seen it because you haven’t read it (Emphasis mine)

        DIRHAM (< Gk. drakhmé "drachma"; Mid. Pers. drahm, Pers. derham), a unit of silver coinage and of WEIGHT… For Muslims in the classical period, ANY SILVER COIN was a dirham, and a dirham was also a monetary unit that might or might not be represented by a circulating coin. A dirham was ALSO A SMALL WEIGHT UNIT, usually not the same as the weight of a monetary dirham…

        DIRHAM. I. The name of a WEIGHT derived from Greek dracmn…

        2. Commentary

        From Islamic scholarship (i.e. people using dirhams as their currency):


        "{sharawhu} They sold him…for…so few they were countable and were NOT WEIGHED. Indeed, they would not weigh amounts less than an uqiyyah which is equal to 40 dirhams and would count any amount below that (limit). Moreover, small amounts are qualified as maʿdūdah, since large amounts cannot be (easily) counted..


        "The correct stance about this is to say that: God Almighty mentioned that they sold him for a few dirhams, counted not weighed, without disclosing the exact amount neither in WEIGHT nor in count. Neither did He provide any indication in this regard whether in the Book or in an account through the Messenger – peace be upon him…Whatever that amount was, it was counted NOT WEIGHED. Neither does the knowledge of the exact amount bring any benefit, nor does the lack thereof bring about any harm religionwise. We are ordered to believe in the apparent intent of the revelation, while we are not required to pursue any knowledge beyond that."

        So this shows people using this currency understand it to be a weight or coin.

        3. Poor reading comprehension of the Quran
        After reviewing the passage even though the above is correct about dirham it is STILL not an anarchorism because God is mentioning this note in passing not a character of the time speaking let's read:

        12:19. Some travelers came by and they sent someone to draw water, when he let down his bucket he exclaimed: "Good news! Here’s a boy!" So they hid him like a piece of merchandise, and God was well aware of what they did,
        12:20. and then sold him for a small price, for a few pieces of silver, so little did they value him.
        12:21. The Egyptian who bought him said to his wife: "Make him comfortable! He might be useful to us, or we might adopt him as our own child…" And so it’s in this way I settled Joseph in that land and later taught him how to interpret all kinds of speech and dreams. God always prevails in His purpose, even though most people don’t realize it.
        12:22. When he reached his years as a young man, I gave him wisdom and knowledge, and this is how I reward those who do good.

        So God is making the note not saying this is what the men selling him said. This is completely different to what the Bible is doing nor does its author make their general notes for later readers.

        4. Smith's argument
        Smith was arguing that the word dirham was an anarchorism by attempting to argue dirhams did not exist until the time of the 2nd Caliph Umar(ra) NOT that a dirham is not a weight (as has been shown it can depending on the transaction).

        5. Doesn't appear to be an analogy but a deflection

        Liked by 1 person

      • The fact that it could be either a coin or weight, and when a coin then any coin, proves that it was considered money in general.

        Also, since it came from Persian, where it meant both coin/weight and money, there is no reason why the meaning would not have transferred into Arabic later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi again
        coins were not around in the time of Joseph and nor was a weight called Dirham because there was no such weight in the time of Joseph either. I dont know about Smith’s argument. The scholars discussed understood it to be a coin or a weight called Dirham.


      • No one said the weight was called a dirham. In the context of the verse, it just means pieces of silver that was not weighed because it was so small.

        Liked by 1 person

    • @ Proevidence

      As I have proven my point that dirham are weight and its clear you’re just arguing for arguing sake as you didn’t address any of my point as a note coins were used in ancient egypt. (Again mentioned in the origina article QB posted)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. @ Proevidence

    “The scholars did not say what you say.”

    Other than the plethora quoted in the article you refused to read. And yes I would suggest you do and live with the fact that the “inspired” editors of the Bible made a multitude of mistakes.

    Liked by 3 people

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