Pharaoh: A Fascist Character Related in the Koran
The defining characteristic of fascist leaders is their tendency to construct regimes founded on fear and oppression. They tend to intimidate their citizenry through threats, repression and torture, and thus control them as they wish. This is the case in almost all fascist regimes. Those who go along with them are those who generally support might instead of right, easily bow their heads in the face of brutality, and are the kind of weak souls that can easily be led in any direction the authorities want. Ignorance here plays an important role.
In the Koran, God provides an example of a cruel dictator and the kind of society those loyal to him consist of: Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.
The Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the time of the prophet Moses established a system based entirely on the use of oppression. He did not hesitate using force and brutality, as all fascist leaders have done in order to fortify their authority.
When we examine what the Koran has to say about Pharaoh, we see a striking resemblance to modern fascist leaders. Like fascist leaders in our own time, Pharaoh divided the people in his country into classes, massacring some of them:
We recite to you with truth some news of Moses and Pharaoh for people who believe. Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly in the land and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group of them by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He was one of the corrupters. (Koran, 28:3-4)
Another striking feature of Pharaoh's regime is the use of military power against his own people, in the very same way as the modern fascists. For instance, he sent his army to prevent the flight of the children of Israel and the Prophet Moses. The Koran repeatedly uses the expression "Pharaoh and his troops" when speaking about his government, which indicates that it was a militarist one.
Another similarity between Pharaoh and contemporary fascists is the way they portray themselves as divine. The "deification of the leader" employed in Hitler and Mussolini's regimes were also openly employed by Pharaoh:
Pharaoh said, "Council, I do not know of any other god for you apart from Me…" (Koran, 28:38)
Pharaoh called to his people, saying, "My people, does the kingdom of Egypt not belong to me? Do not all these rivers flow under my control? Do you not then see?" (Koran, 43:51)
The verse also indicates that Pharaoh gave virulent speeches and hectored his people, a most distinctive feature of the propaganda methods employed by fascist dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini.
At a time when Pharaoh was pressuring his people to follow wherever he led them, a true prophet, the Prophet Moses, came to tell the people of Egypt the truth and lead them onto the correct path. But they were afraid to follow Moses, and stuck with Pharaoh, who appeared to them more powerful:
No one believed in Moses except for a few of his people out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Koran, 10:83)
As we have seen, some of those who might have believed in the Prophet Moses failed to do so out of fear of incurring the wrath of Pharaoh and those around him. This shows that Pharaoh's regime was one that oppressed people solely because of their beliefs, a fundamental characteristic of fascism.
Another similarity between Pharaoh and contemporary fascist leaders is their discriminatory and racist treatment of people. The racist views of modern fascists can also be seen in Pharaoh. Like the "anti-Semitic" leaders of our own time, Pharaoh also saw the people of Israel as a so-called inferior race, and belittled the prophets Moses and Aaron before their own people, the People of Israel. Here is an example of the words of Pharaoh and those around him:
They said, "What! Should we believe in two human beings like ourselves when their people are our slaves?" (Koran, 23:47)
As is clear from the examples given so far, there were important resemblances between Pharaoh's system and that of fascist regimes in our own time. These similarities are not just limited to administrative systems, but also apply to the peoples administered under those systems. Certainly, most people who abided by Pharaoh and followed his rule knew that they were doing the wrong thing, and that the Prophet Moses was in the right. But, because they saw Pharaoh as powerful, and as their ruler, they thought that they had no other alternative. They fell under the influence of brute force and power. They believed in the principle that "might is right," though the only true possessor of might and dominion is God. Because they could not comprehend this, they and Pharaoh ultimately suffered great humiliation, both in this world and in the hereafter. The Koran describes the end that awaited these people:
So We seized him and his troops and flung them into the sea. See the final fate of the wrongdoers! We made them leaders, summoning to the Fire, and on the Day of Rising they will not be helped. We pursued them with a curse in this world and on the Day of Rising they will be hideous and spurned. (Koran, 28:40-42)
The end met by fascist leaders is just as unhappy as that of Pharaoh. Hitler committed suicide, and Mussolini was condemned to death by his own people. The cruelties they committed in an attempt to elevate themselves only led to their humiliation. They became people who were remembered with disgust by those who came after. Furthermore, their humiliation in the hereafter will be much greater than that in this world. But it must be remembered that the suffering in the hereafter is not just restricted to them, it also includes their followers. This truth is again revealed in the Koran:
They will all parade before God and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, "We followed you, so can you help us at all against the punishment of God?' They will say, "If God had guided us, we would have guided you. It makes no difference whether we cannot stand it or bear it patiently. We have no way of escape."(Koran, 14:21)
Many dictators have established despotic regimes in this world, with their people bowing their heads to them, taken by the spell of brute force, violence, fear and domination, or as the Koran puts it "…followed the command of every obdurate tyrant" (Koran, 11:59). God reveals the great error these leaders and their societies have made:
Pharaoh and those before him and the Overturned Cities made a great mistake. They disobeyed the Messenger of their Lord so He seized them in an ever-tightening grip.(Koran, 69:9-10)