June 23, 2024
Kings of Egypt
According to some Islamic historical accounts, including those found in works such as "Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah" by Ibn Kathir and "Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh" by Ibn al-Athir, there are narratives that attribute the early Kings of Egypt to figures of Amalekite descent.

The Muslim historians, including scholars like Ibn Kathir and Ibn al-Athir, have offered perspectives on ancient history that sometimes differ from mainstream academic views. According to some Islamic historical accounts, including those found in works such as “Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah” by Ibn Kathir and “Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh” by Ibn al-Athir, there are narratives that attribute the early Kings of Egypt to figures of Amalekite descent.

Amalikites or Amaliqah in Arabic are mentioned in Islamic tradition, particularly about their interactions with the Israelites and figures like Abraham, Joseph, and Moses (peace be upon all of them). According to these accounts, the Amalekites were a significant and ancient Semitic people who played a role in the history of the region. They were the direct descendants of Sam bin Noah.

These accounts often draw from Islamic traditions, including interpretations of Quranic verses and Hadith (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad), as well as earlier Jewish and Christian sources. In these narratives, figures such as Narmer (Menes) and other early pharaohs are sometimes identified as being of Amalekite lineage.

In the Quran, the terms “Malik” (king) and “Firawn” (Pharaoh) are used to refer to different rulers of Egypt, highlighting distinct periods and contexts in Egyptian history. The Quranic narrative presents various episodes involving interactions between prophets and the rulers of Egypt, each with its own significance and implications. Let’s explore these distinctions further:

  1. Malik (King):
  • The term “Malik” is used in the Quran to refer to certain rulers of Egypt who are depicted as just and benevolent leaders. These rulers are mentioned in contexts where they interact with prophets or righteous individuals in a positive manner.
  • For example, in the story of Prophet Joseph (Yusuf), peace be upon him, who was sold into slavery in Egypt, the Quran refers to the ruler of Egypt during his time as a “Malik” (king). This ruler is depicted as a fair and just leader who recognizes Joseph’s wisdom and appoints him to a position of authority in his court (Quran 12:54-56).
  1. Firawn (Pharaoh):
  • The term “Firawn” is specifically used in the Quran to refer to the oppressive and tyrannical ruler of Egypt during the time of Prophet Moses (Musa), peace be upon him. Firawn is depicted as a symbol of arrogance, tyranny, and disbelief.
  • The Quranic narrative portrays Firawn as the antagonist in the story of Prophet Moses, who defies the divine message and oppresses the Israelites. Despite witnessing numerous signs and miracles from God, Firawn remains obstinate in his rejection of the truth and ultimately faces divine punishment for his arrogance and injustice.

These distinctions in terminology reflect the Quran’s nuanced portrayal of different rulers and their attitudes toward divine guidance and righteousness. The Quranic narrative uses these terms to emphasize the contrast between just and oppressive leadership, highlighting the consequences of arrogance, injustice, and disobedience to God’s commandments.

By distinguishing between “Malik” and “Firawn,” the Quran underscores the importance of leadership characterized by justice, compassion, and humility while warning against the dangers of tyranny, arrogance, and disbelief. This thematic contrast serves to impart moral lessons and guidance for believers, encouraging them to uphold righteousness and resist oppression in all its forms.

Biblical Narratives

According to biblical accounts, the Amalekites are depicted as nomadic people who inhabited regions in or near the southern part of Canaan, particularly the Negev desert. They are often described as adversaries of the Israelites, with conflicts between the two groups recorded in the Hebrew Bible.

Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way, when you were faint and weary, and struck down all who lagged behind you; he did not fear God. 19Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies on every hand, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; do not forget.” [Deuteronomy 25:17–19]

Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now, therefore, listen to the words of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” [1 Samuel 15]

Amalikites or Amaliqah were originally of Arab descent and inhabited the regions near Palestine or Canaan, as the Biblical narratives indicate. One of the central themes of the Hebrew Bible is the promise made by God to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give their descendants the land of Canaan as an inheritance (Genesis 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8). Palestine is depicted as the land flowing with milk and honey, symbolizing abundance and blessing.

Egyptian Records

Indeed, evidence from ancient Egyptian records, as well as archaeological findings, supports the existence of trade networks and interactions between Egypt and neighboring regions including Palestine (Canaan) even before the beginning of the third millennium BCE. These trade relationships were crucial for the exchange of goods, resources, and ideas, contributing to the economic and cultural development of ancient Egypt.

  1. Trade Routes: Archaeological evidence indicates that trade routes linking Egypt with other regions in the Near East, such as the Levant, Mesopotamia, and the Arabian Peninsula, were established as early as the Predynastic period (circa 5500–3100 BCE). These trade routes facilitated the movement of goods such as precious metals, timber, textiles, ceramics, and luxury items like incense and spices.
  2. Cultural Exchange: Trade networks also served as conduits for cultural exchange between Egypt and its neighbors. Artifacts found in Egyptian tombs and settlements, including pottery, tools, and jewelry, often exhibit influences from neighboring regions, reflecting the interconnectedness of ancient societies.
  3. Written Records: Egyptian inscriptions and documents provide evidence of diplomatic and commercial contacts with foreign entities. For example, inscriptions from the Early Dynastic Period (circa 3100–2686 BCE) mention trade expeditions to regions such as the Sinai Peninsula and the Eastern Desert for the procurement of valuable resources like copper and turquoise.
  4. Imported Goods: Excavations at ancient Egyptian sites have uncovered imported goods from distant regions, attesting to the extent of Egypt’s trade networks. These imported items include raw materials like metals and precious stones, as well as finished products like pottery and textiles, which were highly valued in Egyptian society.
  5. Maritime Trade: Egypt’s access to the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea facilitated maritime trade with neighboring coastal regions and beyond. Evidence suggests that Egyptian seafarers navigated the waters of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, engaging in trade with maritime communities along the coasts of the Levant, Cyprus, Crete, and the Arabian Peninsula.

Overall, the evidence from Egyptian records, archaeological excavations, and material culture confirms the existence of extensive trade networks linking Egypt with other regions long before the beginning of the third millennium BCE. These trade relationships played a vital role in the economic prosperity and cultural development of ancient Egypt, contributing to its status as a significant power in the ancient world.

The existence of trade routes between Palestine and Egypt during the Predynastic period indeed suggests a relationship characterized by economic exchange and interaction. Here’s an expansion on how these trade routes indicate a friendly or at least mutually beneficial relationship between the two regions:

  1. Economic Interdependence: Trade routes facilitate the exchange of goods and resources that are in demand but may be scarce or unavailable within a particular region. The Levant and Egypt possessed complementary resources and products. For example, the Levant was rich in timber, metals such as copper and tin, as well as agricultural produce, while Egypt had access to precious stones, minerals, and agricultural surplus such as grain. This economic interdependence fostered mutually beneficial trade relationships, where each region could acquire what it lacked from the other.
  2. Cultural Exchange and Cooperation: Trade networks are not solely about the exchange of goods but also serve as conduits for the transmission of ideas, technologies, and cultural practices. Through trade interactions, people from different regions would have come into contact with each other, leading to cultural exchange and possibly cooperation in various endeavors. This could include sharing knowledge about agriculture, metallurgy, craftsmanship, and other skills.
  3. Diplomatic Relations: Trade often goes hand in hand with diplomacy and peaceful relations between societies. While conflicts and rivalries certainly existed between different groups in the ancient world, trade provided an incentive for maintaining peaceful interactions and resolving disputes through negotiation rather than violence. Diplomatic agreements and treaties might have been established to regulate trade and ensure the safety of traders traveling along trade routes.
  4. Long-Term Relationships: The existence of trade routes over an extended period, spanning centuries or even millennia, suggests that the relationship between the Levant and Egypt was not merely transient but rather built on long-term economic ties. Such enduring relationships are more likely to be founded on mutual respect, trust, and cooperation rather than hostility.
  5. Archaeological Evidence: Archaeological discoveries, such as artifacts found along trade routes or in settlements, provide tangible evidence of the interactions between the Levant and Egypt. These artifacts include items like pottery, tools, weapons, and luxury goods that were traded between the two regions. The presence of such artifacts indicates the existence of commercial links and the movement of people and goods across borders.

Overall, while the exact nature of the relationship between the Levant and Egypt during the Predynastic period may vary depending on specific historical contexts and circumstances, the existence of trade routes suggests a level of interaction characterized by economic exchange, cultural interchange, and possibly diplomatic cooperation, indicating a generally friendly or at least pragmatic relationship between the two regions.

All these historical and archeological records support the Muslim historians who claimed that Amaliqah or Amalekites extended their borders to the Nile Valley establishing the first kingdom of Egypt. The detailed analysis of the earliest kings of Egypt further solidifies the idea proposed by the Muslim historians. For instance, let’s analyze the first king of Egypt known as Narmer. Before delving into details of Narmer, you should know the ancient Egyptian writing system.

Ancient Egyptian Writing System

Hieroglyphs are a system of writing used by ancient Egyptians, consisting of a combination of logographic and alphabetic elements. The term “hieroglyph” is derived from Greek words meaning “sacred carving” or “sacred writing,” reflecting the religious and ceremonial significance of this script in ancient Egyptian culture.

Key features of hieroglyphic writing include:

  1. Logographic Characters: Hieroglyphs primarily consist of symbols representing words, concepts, or sounds. Many hieroglyphs are logograms, meaning that they represent whole words or ideas rather than individual sounds. For example, the image of an eye could represent the word “eye” or the concept of “seeing.”
  2. Alphabetic Signs: In addition to logograms, hieroglyphic writing also incorporates phonetic signs representing individual sounds or consonantal clusters. These phonetic signs, known as phonograms, allow for the spelling out of words and the representation of specific sounds within a word.
  3. Pictorial Representation: Hieroglyphs often take the form of pictorial representations of objects, animals, people, and abstract concepts. These images are stylized and highly symbolic, with individual signs often incorporating a combination of pictorial and abstract elements.
  4. Directionality: Hieroglyphic writing can be arranged in various directions, including left to right, right to left, or top to bottom, depending on the context and the orientation of the text. Directionality may also vary within a single inscription or text block.
  5. Contextual Use: Hieroglyphs are often used in combination with other types of writing systems, such as hieratic (a cursive script derived from hieroglyphs) and demotic (a simplified script used for everyday purposes). Different scripts were employed for different purposes and audiences, with hieroglyphs typically reserved for monumental inscriptions, religious texts, and ceremonial contexts.

Hieroglyphic writing was employed for thousands of years in ancient Egypt, evolving over time and undergoing changes in style and usage. It was used to record a wide range of texts, including religious hymns, royal decrees, historical records, funerary inscriptions, and administrative documents. The decipherment of hieroglyphs in the early 19th century by scholars such as Jean-François Champollion provided crucial insights into ancient Egyptian civilization and language.

Narmer is a variation of the Arabic name Numayr meaning baby leopard. Leopards are a group of large cats that often symbolize bravery and valor. The Narmer catalog is a good source of information about Narmer:

The Narmer Catalog is a comprehensive database, gathering in one convenient location all available information about archaeological objects with inscriptions related to Narmer, the first king of Ancient Egypt, and his regional predecessors from Dynasty 0. The Catalog includes 262 inscriptions, from 42 different sites in Egypt, Nubia, the Sinai, and the Southern Levant.

It should be noted that Egyptologists belong to different nations and cultures, including the Muslim Egyptologists. However, the name Narmer is described by all these Egyptologists. The most common feature inscribed in all hieroglyphs related to Narmer is a picture of a catfish with a crown.

In ancient hieroglyph systems and pictorial letters, a fish represents the sound ‘N’ (Noon in Arabic) as the beginning sound of Narmer’s name.

Narmer’s serekhs (royal seals) have been found in ten sites in Lower Egypt and nine sites in Canaan. This demonstrates the continuous presence of Narmer’s control of Egypt and Canaan.  An Egyptian presence in Canaan predates Narmer, but after about 200 years of active presence in Canaan, Egyptian presence peaked during Narmer’s reign and quickly declined afterward. The relationship between Egypt and Canaan “began around the end of the fifth millennium and came to an end sometime during the Second Dynasty when it ceased altogether.

The discovery of Narmer’s serekhs in multiple sites in both Lower Egypt and Palestine (Canaan) does indeed suggest the extent of his influence and control over these regions during his reign. It indicates that Narmer’s authority extended beyond the borders of Egypt proper, reaching into neighboring territories such as Canaan. The presence of Narmer’s royal stamps in Canaan underscores the interconnectedness of ancient Near Eastern societies and the extent of Egyptian influence in the region during this period. This indicates his strong relationship with Palestine.
The Narmer Palette is a significant artifact from ancient Egypt, dating back to the Early Dynastic Period, around 3100 BCE. It is a ceremonial palette, likely used for grinding cosmetics, with elaborate carved reliefs on both sides. The scenes depicted on the Narmer Palette are widely interpreted as commemorating the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the rule of King Narmer, also known as Menes.

Imam ibn Kathir mentioned that the Egyptian king who tried to attack Sarah, the Prophet Ibrahim’s first wife, was a descendant of Amalekites. Even he mentioned the King’s name and lineage Sinan bin Elwan bin Ubaid bin Auj bin Emlaq bin Lawiz bin Sam bin Noah.

[Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah: 1/352]

It is notable that the most important ancient city of Egypt associated with the First Egyptian Dynasty is called Abydos. We can conclude that Abedos was named after Ubaid bin Auj bin Emlaq, one of the ancestors of Amalekites.

Encyclopedia Britannica observes:
Abydos, a prominent sacred city and one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Egypt. The site, located in the low desert west of the Nile River near Al-Balyanā, was a necropolis for the earliest Egyptian royalty and later a pilgrimage center for the worship of Osiris.

The western desert embayment at Abydos, Umm al-Qaʿāb, has long been known as the royal cemetery of the 1st and 2nd dynasties. Excavations underway since the late-1970s, however, revealed a group of earlier tombs belonging to a series of kings that predate the 1st dynasty and the official unification of Egypt

Ancient city Abeydos and the existence of Ubaid bin Auj bin Emlaq among the ancestors of Amalekite Egyptian Kings is not a coincidence but a historical fact. A biased person can easily ignore the fact but researchers should take it into account to discover the truth.

Imam Ibn Kathir wrote about the king of Egypt in Yousuf’s slavery days:

“And the king of Egypt at that time was Rayyan ibn al-Walid, a man from the Amalekites.”

[Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah: 1/467]

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