Haman (Islam)

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Cause of deathDrowned
OccupationVizier and High priest
Known forThe vizier of the Pharaoh at the time of prophet Moses

Haman (Arabic: هامان, romanizedHāmān) is a character of the Qur'an where he appears as court official and high priest of the pharaoh,and associated with him in his court at the time of the Israelite prophet, Moses. The high priest is not to be confused with Haman the main antagonist in the Book of Esther, which takes place hundreds of years later in Persia.

Qur'anic Narrative[edit]

The name Haman appears six times throughout the Qur'an,[1] four times with Pharaoh and twice by himself,[2] where God sends Moses to invite Pharaoh, Haman and their people to monotheism, and to seek protection of the Israelites Haman and Pharaoh were tormenting.

Indeed, Pharaoh arrogantly elevated himself in the land and divided its people into subservient groups, one of which he persecuted, slaughtering their sons and keeping their women. He was truly one of the corruptors. But it was Our Will to favor those who were oppressed in the land, making them models of faith as well as successors;and to establish them in the land; and through them show Pharaoh, Hamân, and their soldiers the fulfillment of what they feared.

— Quran 28:4-6[3]

Referring to Moses as a sorcerer and a liar the Pharaoh rejected Moses' call to worship the God of Moses and refused to set the children of Israel free. The Pharaoh commissioned Haman to build a tall tower using fire-cast bricks so that the Pharaoh could climb far up and see the God of Moses. The Pharaoh, Haman, and their army in chariots pursuing the fleeing children of Israel drowned in the Red Sea as the parted water closed up on them. The Pharaoh's submission to God at the moment of death and total destruction was rejected but his dead body was saved as a lesson for posterity.[4]

High Priest of Amun[edit]

Some have proposed that the name Haman, like Pharaoh in the Qur'an and Old Testament is not a proper name, but a title. The description of Haman in the Qur'an serving in both a priestly religious role and that of one who's in charge of building projects answerable to the Pharaoh himself draws parallels with the High Priest of Amun. [5][6]

McAuliffe's Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān among other sources relates "Haman" to be the Arabized form of "Ha-Amana,"[7] a title which roughly translates to incarnate of (the God) Amun or King of Amun and was utilized by the high priest.


  1. ^ A-Z of Prophets in Islam and Judaism, Wheeler, Haman
  2. ^ [1], Qur'an 28:6, 28:8, 28:38, 29:39, 40:24, 40:36.
  3. ^ "Surah Al-Qasas - 1-88".
  4. ^ "Quran, Surah 10:92, note: the phrases 'we will save you' (nunajjīka نُنَجِّيكَ) & 'that you may be' (litakūna لِتَكُونَ) are all written (addressed to) in the second person singular, thus grammatically speaking there is one person addressed, namely Pharaoh, as evident in the preceding verses (Surah 10:90-91)". So today We will save you in body that you may be to those who succeed you a sign. And indeed, many among the people, of Our signs, are heedless.
  5. ^ S. Mohammad Syed "Historicity of Haman as Mentioned in the Qur'an" (Islamic Quarterly, 1980, Volume XXIV, pp. 48-59)
  6. ^ Pharaoh, Haman and Korah in the Quran http://globaltab.net/Articles/ArticleDetail/10123
  7. ^ A. H. Jones, "Hāmān", in J. D. McAuliffe (Ed.), Encyclopaedia Of The Qur'an, 2002, Volume II, op. cit., p. 399.