This is the body of Fir’awn (Rameses II), believed to be the Pharoah in the time of Musa (upon him be peace). His mummy is preserved and is currently on display in the Royal Mummies Chamber in Cairo Museum, Egypt.
- Fir’awn was a mighty tyrannical ruler who greatly persecuted the Bani Israil (Children of Israel). Musa (upon him be peace) was sent to invite him towards the truth but he rejected his teachings, considering himself to be God. Musa (upon him be peace), accompanied by his brother Harun (upon him be peace) and Yusha (upon him be peace) led the Bani Israil out of Egypt, Fir’awn and his army pursued them but were drowned in the Red Sea.
- There is great debate as to the identity of the Pharoah in the time of Musa (upon him be peace) with some identifying him as Merneptah. However, most of the evidence backed up by verses of the Holy Quran point towards him being Rameses II. The Quran and the Bible [Exodus 14:21-30 and Exodus 15:19-21] state that the Pharaoh was drowned in the sea. However, the Qur’an differs from the Bible and it makes a very unique statement that the body of the drowned Pharaoh was saved as a sign for future generations. The Quranic statement about rescuing Pharaoh’s body would be in total agreement with the fact that the body of Rameses II has survived in a mummified form. It was discovered in 1881 among a group of royal mummies that had been removed from their original tombs for fear of theft. Priests of the 21st Dynasty had reburied them in a cache at Deir al-Bahari on Luxor’s west bank. Nothing whatsoever was known at the time of the revelation of the Quran about the mummy of Rameses II.
- With regards the end point of his life, Allah (ﷻ) makes mention in the Holy Quran in Surah Yunus:“We brought the tribe of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his troops pursued them out of tyranny and enmity. Then, when he was on the point of drowning, he [Pharaoh] said: “I believe that there is no god but Him in Whom the tribe of Israel believes. I am one of the Muslims.” [10:90]
- However, this last-minute conversion was not accepted, for it was not sincere. According to the Quran, Allah (ﷻ) further exclaimed: “What, now! When previously you rebelled and were one of the corrupters? Today we will preserve your body so you can be a Sign for people who come after you. Surely many people are heedless of Our Signs.” [10:91-92]