Meaning of ‘Pharaoh, owner of stakes’ in verse 89:10
Fatwa No: 350695

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I was just wondering: does 89:8 mean what they used to do, like that Pharaoh killed people on stakes? Or does it mean what they have done, like the pyramids.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allah says (what means): {And [with] Pharaoh, owner of the stakes?} [Quran 89:10]

There were several interpretations of the word ‘stakes’; Ibn Al-Jawzi said in Zaad Al-Maseer about the interpretation of Soorah Sad [as the same verse is mentioned in Soorah 38:12]:

“There are six views about the meaning of the verse {And [with] Pharaoh, owner of the stakes?}:

1- He used to torture the people with four stakes to which he would tie them up, then he would lift up a rock and throw it on the person, and it would injure him in his head. This is reported from Ibn Mas’ood and Ibn ‘Abbaas. Al-Hasan and Mujaahid said: ‘He used to torture people with stakes which he put in their hands and feet.’

2- He had well-built structures. This was also reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas. Adh-Dhahhaak and Al-Qurathi said the same thing. Ibn Qutaybah chose the same view, as he said: ‘The Arabs say: They have an honor with firm stakes, and a rule with firm stakes; meaning that it is permanent and strong.’

3- What is meant by stakes are the soldiers; this was reported by ‘Atiyyah from Ibn ‘Abbaas, because the soldiers supported his rule and strengthened him in the same manner that the stakes strengthen something.

4- He used to build a signpost on which he would slaughter the people.

5- He had four cylinders; he would take a man by his arms and legs and tie each limb to a cylinder and torture him in this manner. The fourth and this fifth views were narrated by Sa’eed ibn Jubayr.

6- He had structures and playgrounds where people would play for him; this was said by ‘Ataa’ and Qataadah.” 

Allah knows best.

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