History bore ample testimony to the arrogance and pride of the pharaoh of Prophet Musa (Moses)(may peace be upon him). He denied the existence and Lordship of the Almighty Allah and instead claimed divinity for himself. He compelled the Israelites to recognize him as the lord of the worlds after subjecting them to indescribable punishment. He proclaimed as said by Allah the almighty in the Glorious Qur’an:
فَأَرَاهُ الْآيَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ
ثُمَّ أَدْبَرَ يَسْعَىٰ
فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ
(Translation of meaning):
“Then did (Moses) show him the Great Sign But (Pharaoh) rejected it and disobeyed (guidance); Further, he turned his back, striving hard (against Allah). Then he collected (his men) and made a proclamation, Saying, "I am your Lord, Most High".”(Q: An-Naazi’aat: 20-24).
Allah punished Pharaoh for his denial of His Oneness and Lordship and made him a sign for all such arrogant people who shall come after Pharaoh. Allah says:
فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الْآخِرَةِ وَالْأُولَىٰ
“But Allah did punish him, (and made an) example of him, - in the Hereafter, as in this life.”(Q: An-Naazi’aat: 25).
Pharaoh was subjected with different kinds of punishment before he was finally destroyed in the Red Sea . The first of these was drought and scarcity of crops. In relation to the subject, it is written in the Qur’an:
وَلَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ بِالسِّنِينَ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
"We punished the people of Fir’awn with years (of droughts) and shortness of crops; that they might receive admonition."(Surat al-A‘raf: 130).
However, instead of "taking heed" as they should have, they held all that had happened was because of ill fortune brought by Musa and the Children of Israel. They were overcome by such conviction because of their superstitions, disobedience and devotion to the religion of their ancestors and, as a result, they suffered great distress for years. Allah sent to them a series of disasters, and warned them. These disasters are described as follows in the Qur’an:
فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمُ الطُّوفَانَ وَالْجَرَادَ وَالْقُمَّلَ وَالضَّفَادِعَ وَالدَّمَ آيَاتٍ مُّفَصَّلَاتٍ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا مُّجْرِمِينَ
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.(Surat al-A‘raf: 133)
Allah finally destroys Pharaoh when he gathered his well-armed in pursuance of Prophet Musa and his followers and after he arrogantly refused to pay heed to all the above detailed signs. Allah says:
فَانتَقَمْنَا مِنْهُمْ فَأَغْرَقْنَاهُمْ فِي الْيَمِّ بِأَنَّهُمْ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا عَنْهَا غَافِلِينَ
“So We exacted retribution from them: We drowned them in the sea, because they rejected Our Signs and failed to take warning from them.”(Al-A’raaf:136).
Such was the awful end of the world most troublesome disbeliever who transcends of all bounds in the denial of Allah’s Oneness and Lordship. Allah kept his remnants from decomposition so it will be a physical representation of his arrogance and a sign for all those who shall thread upon his disbelieving path, and how many are they in the world. Quite interestingly, when Pharaoh was faced with a terrible death scene in the depth of the Red Sea, he hypocritically pronounced the testimony of the recognition of Allah’s unity, but that availed him not, Allah says:
وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
الْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ
“We took the Children of Israel across the sea: Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: "I believe that there is no god except Him Whom the Children of Israel believe in: I am of those who submit (to Allah in Islam)." (It was said to him): "Ah now!- But a little while before, wast thou in rebellion!- and thou didst mischief (and violence)! "This day shall We save thee in the body, that thou mayest be a sign to those who come after thee! but verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Signs!"(Q: Yunus: 90-92)