“We punished the people of Pharaoh with years (of drought) and shortness of crops; that they might receive admonition.” (al-Araf, 130)
So We sent (plagues) on them; wholesale Death Locusts, Lice, Frogs, and Blood: signs openly Self-explained; but they were steeped in arrogance, a people given to sin. (al-Araf, 133)
Similar verses of the Qur’an of which one is given above inform about the calamities that befell Pharaoh and his community and mention calamities that were sent to them such as draught, flood, frog and blood. It is as follows: God Almighty sent an intense rain to the community of Pharaoh, who insisted on denial. The rain continued for eight days and nights and no one could go out; floods occurred as a result of the overflowing of the river Nile and destroyed houses, crops and animals. Upon this calamity, the people of Pharaoh came to Hz. Moses (PBUH) and said: “Pray your lord. Let Him revoke this calamity so that we can believe in you.” Hz. Moses prayed and the flood ended with the blessing of his prayer.
However, they did not believe and insisted on their denial. Upon this, God Almighty gave them the calamity of locust as a sign and miracle. The flocks of locust which ate crops and the fruits reached up to the ceiling of houses as well as inside clothes. Upon this calamity, once again they came to Hz. Moses and wanted him to pray and let this calamity revoke and said to him that they would believe in him if he would do so. Upon this, Hz. Moses prayed again and with the blessing of his prayer, a strong wind came and poured the flocks of locust into the river. However, Pharaoh and his community, whose hearts were blackened, did not believe in this miracle either; and they broke their promise.
Upon this, God Almighty sent them the calamity of insects. The insects ate the crops that remained from locusts and sucked their blood by entering their clothes. Hence, they came to Hz. Moses the third time and wanted him to pray and let him revoke this calamity and said him that they would believe in him if they would do so. Hz. Moses prayed again and God Almighty destroyed the insects. However, once again, Pharaoh and his community did not believe in him and said to Hz. Moses: “You are a magician. You are doing magic.”
Upon this, God Almighty sent frogs over them. The frogs were so plentiful that their residing was full of frogs. Pharaoh and his community, who could not escape from these frogs, could not find any other way but going to Hz. Moses for the survival and wanted him to pray and let these frogs be destroyed. In return for this, they promised “This we will certainly believe in you”.
Hz. Moses prayed again and with the blessing of his prayer, a rain came and poured all of the frogs into the sea. However, they did not believe in and continued their raunchiness. Upon this, God Almighty, poured blood over them and everything was drenched in blood including their drinks.
Here the aforementioned verses of the Qur’an inform us about the calamites that befell Pharaoh and his community and give us a lesson of warning.
So, what do history books say about the events that the Qur’an informs? Now, let us listen to the historical scripts about this subject:
The Ipuwer papyrus that remained from the era of middle kingdom was founded at the beginning of 19th century. After being found in 1909, this papyrus was sent to Leiden Holland museum and translated by Gardiner. In this papyrus, calamities such as the draught, famine in Egypt are narrated as well as the escape of slaves. Besides, it is clearly understood that the author of this aforementioned papyrus, Ipuwer, is the eyewitness of these events. The following is mentioned about the calamites in Ipuwer papyruses which are also narrated in the Qur’an:
“Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere. The river is blood.”
Forsooth, that has perished which yesterday was seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax…
Lower Egypt weeps. The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong (by right) wheat and barley, geese and fish. Forsooth, grain has perished on every side. The land-to its whole extent confusion and terrible noise…
For nine days there was no exit from the palace and no one could see the face of his fellow.
Towns were destroyed by mighty tides… Upper Egypt suffered devastation… blood everywhere… pestilence throughout the country…
No one really sails north to Byblos today. What shall we do for cedar for our mummies?… Gold is lacking…
Men shrink from tasting-human beings, and thirst after water. That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin!