In the Old Testament, the Egyptian ruler during the period of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Yusuf (as) are named “Pharaoh.” However, this title was actually employed after the eras in which these two Prophets lived.
While addressing the Egyptian ruler at the time of Prophet Yusuf (as), the word “Al-Malik” in Arabic is used in the Qur’an: It refers to a ruler, king or sultan:
The ruler of Egypt in the time of the Prophet Musa (as) is referred to as “Pharaoh.” This distinction in the Qur’an is not made in the Old and New Testaments nor by Jewish historians. In the Bible, the word “Pharaoh” is used, in every reference to an Egyptian monarch. On the other hand, the Qur’an is far more concise and accurate in the terminology it employs.
The use of the word “Pharaoh” in Egyptian history belongs only to the late period. This particular title began to be employed in the 14th century B.C., during the reign of Amenhotep IV. The Prophet Yusuf (as) lived at least 200 years before that time
1. Prophet Yousaf (Pbuh) & The King Of Egypt
A few examples of the usage of the word King during the time of Prophet Yousaf are stated below:-
(One day) the king said, “ I saw in a dream
Seven fed cows (are there), and seven lean cows are eating them
Likewise seven green corn ears (appeared)
With seven withered
My Councillors pronounce to me upon my dreams
If you are able to interpret dreams (12:43)
They (herald) said, “The king’s cup we are missing
Whosoever brings it, shall receive a camel’s load
That is a pledge I hold” (12:72)
More information about the usage of the word King during the time of Prophet Yousaf (Pbuh) can be found in the Surah Yusuf.
A few examples of the usage of the word Pharaoh during the time of Prophet Moosa (Pbuh) underlined in red in Arabic text.
Moosa said, “Fir’own, I am a messenger
From all-worlds’ sustainer (7:104)
Then We send forth, after them Moosa and Haroon to Fir’own and his council
With our signs but they waxed proud, and were a sinful people (10:75)
And there are more examples of the usage of Pharaoh during the time of Prophet moosa (Pbuh) can be found in many other verses.
3. Egyptology At Our Rescue
(from Egyptian per ‘aa, “great house”) , originally, the royal palace in ancient Egypt; the word came to be used as a synonym for the Egyptian king under the New Kingdom (starting in the 18th dynasty, 1539-1292 BC), and by the 22nd dynasty (c. 945-c. 730 BC) it had been adopted as an epithet of respect. The term has since evolved into a generic name for all ancient Egyptian kings, although it was never formally the king’s title.
Most of us are unaware of this minor but very important point that the rulers of Egypt were called Pharaohs only in the New Kingdom period. Loosely speaking, in layman terms, all the Egyptian rulers are addressed as Pharaohs which is, of course, incorrect.
As we have seen, the use of the word “Fir’own” dates from a specific period in history. For that reason, the fact that the Qur’an distinguishes between the different Egyptian titles in different Egyptian eras is yet another proof that the Qur’an is Allah’s Word.