I found the following verses in the Quran (the holy book of Islam):

Quran 79:24 And said (the king pharaoh), "I am your most exalted lord."

Quran 28:38 And king Pharaoh said, "O eminent ones, I have not known you to have a god other than me. Then ignite for me, O Hāmān, [a fire] upon the clay1 and make for me a tower that I may look at the God of Moses. And indeed, I do think he is among the liars."

According to the verse some unknown pharaoh (claimed to be the pharaoh of the exodus), was taken as the only god by Egyptians and he even threatened those who refused to take him as god to be punished

Quran 26:29 [Pharaoh] said, "If you (Moses) take a god other than me, I will surely place you among those imprisoned."

My historical question is:

Was there any time in the history of ancient Egypt as understood by modern historians that there was any Egyptian Pharaoh that was considered the most exalted god, the one and only god that ancient Egyptians worshiped, and that the Egyptians never took a god other than him during his life?

  • 2
    This is possibly Akhenaton speaking as the (sole) intermediary between Aten and the people. As such, the use of the first person may just be Akhenaton (supposedly) directly reporting Aten's words (i.e. 'I' refers to Aten, not Akhenaton). Dec 4, 2021 at 1:25
  • Would Muhammed (or any educated person living in the Arabian Peninsula during his life) have known anything of actual Egyptian history, or would he have just been drawing on mythological accounts such as Exodus?
    – jamesqf
    Dec 4, 2021 at 4:49
  • @jamesqf Muhammad couldn't have borrowed from the narrative of the exodus in the torah ,because there is no mention there that the king was deified..still people outside Egypt knew from ancient times that ancient Egyptians worshiped their kings. Dec 4, 2021 at 13:43
  • @ميخائيل مينا: Perhaps not copied directly, but it's certainly possible to infer something of the sort, if not from Exodus (which I think the most likely source to be available), then from Greeks such as Herodotus & Diodorus Siculus.
    – jamesqf
    Dec 4, 2021 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


... there was any Egyptian Pharaoh that was considered the most exalted god

I think you look at it from a wrong perspective. The Egyptians were polytheists, not monotheists. A supreme deity did exist, but that god was much more a primus inter pares; or first among equals. Like in the Greek pantheon where Zeus was the supreme god, but rather limited in what he could order the other gods.

Being a god (not necessarily an Egyptian god) was the ultimate possible. There was no supreme god. The concept simply didn't exist in the Egyptian religion. Compare it with a gold medal in the Olympics. Plenty of gold medallists, but not a single "over-all" winner.

Perhaps the only exception was the Akhenaten religion, which very likely (not sure) was the first monotheistic religion. However, as this religion didn't last more than a couple of decades and was almost completely eradicated from society, I exclude that one. It didn't have any lasting influence on Egypt.

There is another reason not to focus on Akhenaten. An important point in any monotheistic religion is that humans can't possibly be god. This pharaoh was more devout than others, and would have been highly offended when people would worship him as god. There is only one god, Aten, and he wasn't it!

Egyptian pharaohs considered themselves gods. As far as I know, not the supreme god, and also not the primus inter pares. You can see that clearly in pictures where pharaohs are together with gods. They are larger than ordinary humans, but always smaller than gods. The Pharaoh is depicted always above ordinary humans, but never at the same height or higher than other gods.

Your source is not quoting from history, but from a very different religious perspective.

  • 1
    with the exception of akhenaten ,did any king pharaoh ever considered himself the first among equals of other gods? Dec 5, 2021 at 0:26


"The pharaoh Akhenaton (reigned 1353–36 BCE) returned to supremacy of the sun god, with the startling innovation that the Aton was to be the only god (see Re)."


  • 3
    I think the question requires that the pharaoh is the god. Did Akhenaton consider himself to be Aton (or an aspect of Aton)?
    – Steve Bird
    Dec 3, 2021 at 23:39
  • 1
    thank you. Aten was addressed by Akhenaten in prayers, such as the Great Hymn to the Aten: "O sole God beside whom there is none". compare that with, Quran 79:24 And said (the king pharaoh), "I am your most exalted lord." so remains the question of Steve Bird. Dec 3, 2021 at 23:49
  • 2
    It looks like Akhenaton supported monotheism, but did not equate the One True God with himself. The question is about a Pharaoh who considered himself to be the One True God.
    – Robert Columbia
    Dec 4, 2021 at 0:43
  • 1
    The relationship between what is stated by Akhenaton and the interpretation held by the writer of the Quran is something to he considered. The comments here seem to be assuming a literal interpretation, which I do not believe to be necessarily held by the Quranic author. Dec 4, 2021 at 3:23
  • 2
    @Robert Columbia,I found interesting quote:Akhenaten did call himself the literal son of the sole god: in the hymn of amarna 'Thine only son that came forth from thy body'. If he believed that he literally came forth from the body of Aten,then he may have considered himself as god. Dec 4, 2021 at 4:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.