False claim to a miracle
A few Muslims claim that the body displayed at a Cairo museum is proof of a miracle claimed in the Quran.
The link http://rationalislam.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ramses-ii-andor-merneptah-and-islamic.html claims that it is not true.
The contents of the link are pasted below:
Ramses II and/or Merneptah and the Islamic miracle of the preserved Pharaoh
I've posted before on this but it seems that many Muslims and putative Western converts are still falling for this errant nonsense because of the lies (I use the word advisedly) told by the charlatan Yusuf Estes (seen in the above video) and others.
The mummy shown in this particular video is that of Ramses II. Ramses II was the mummy displayed in Dallas that Estes says he visited and saw behind the glass case with its mouth open leading to the comment, "What do you think he was saying, huh? Oh God!..." According to Estes this is the mummy of the Pharaoh that Allah saved as a sign for all mankind so we might believe in him. It is also, according to Estes, the mummy that Maurice Bucaille examined. (Actually it was the mummy of Merneptah that Bucaille writes about in his book but we'll come to that later)
In the video, Estes says that Bucaille was astounded that the Muslim scholars in the Cairo museum knew about the preserved Pharoah. He even tries to suggest that Bucaille knew nothing of the Qur'an. "They said we know (about the mummy being preserved) because it's in the Qur'an. He (Bucaille) said, ""The what?"". What a disingenuous, patronising toad you are, Yusuf Estes! Bucaille had been the Saudi royal family's physician for two years by this stage (He was employed in 1973). Are you seriously suggesting that he had never heard of the Qur'an?
In any case, let's deal with the claim that Ramses II was the Pharaoh who chased Moses and the Israelites into the Red Sea on a chariot. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Ramses II - my bolding (I've kept in the references so that those interested can follow them up):
Ramesses II was originally buried in the tomb KV7 in the Valley of the Kings but, because of looting, priests later transferred the body to a holding area, re-wrapped it, and placed it inside the tomb of queen Inhapy. 72 hours later it was again moved, to the tomb of the high priest Pinudjem II. All of this is recorded in hieroglyphics on the linen covering the body. His mummy is today in Cairo's Egyptian Museum.
The pharaoh's mummy reveals a hooked nose and strong jaw, and stands at some 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in). His ultimate successor was his thirteenth son, Merneptah.
Mummy of Ramesses II
In 1974 Egyptologists visiting his tomb noticed that the mummy's condition was rapidly deteriorating and flew it to Paris for examination. Ramesses II was issued an Egyptian passport that listed his occupation as "King (deceased)". The mummy was received at Le Bourget airport, just outside Paris, with the full military honours befitting a king.In Paris, it was found that Ramesses's mummy was being attacked by fungus, which it was treated for. During the examination, scientific analysis revealed battle wounds and old fractures, as well as the pharaoh's arthritis and poor circulation.
Egyptologists were also interested by the mummy's noticeably thin neck. An X-ray revealed that the neck had a piece of wood lodged into the upper chest, essentially keeping the head in place. It is believed that during the mummification process the head had accidentally been knocked off by those performing the mummification. In Egyptian culture if any part of the body were to come off, the soul of the body would not continue to exist in the afterlife, so those performing the mummification carefully placed the head back and lodged a wooden stick into the neck in order to keep the head in place.It is believed that Ramesses II was essentially crippled with arthritis and walked with a hunched back for the last decades of his life. A recent study excluded ankylosing spondylitis as a possible cause of the pharaoh's arthritis. A significant hole in the pharaoh's mandible was detected. Researchers observed "an abscess by his teeth (which) was serious enough to have caused death by infection, although this cannot be determined with certainty." Microscopic inspection of the roots of Ramesses II's hair proved that the king's hair was originally red, which suggests that he came from a family of redheads. This has more than just cosmetic significance: in ancient Egypt people with red hair were associated with the god Seth, the slayer of Osiris, and the name of Ramesses II's father, Seti I, means "follower of Seth." After Ramesses's mummy returned to Egypt it was visited by President Anwar Sadat and his wife.
This 90 year-old cripple, mummified in the usual way and found in the Valley of the Kings in a tomb like any other mummy, is the one that Yusuf Estes claims is the Pharaoh who chased the Israelites by chariot into the Red Sea, was drowned by Allah, whose body was miraculously preserved and which shows signs of drowning.
So what of Merneptah, the mummy that Bucaille actually writes about in his book? In a New York Times book review in 1991, Malcolm Brown, science reporter, had this to say about Bucaille's book:
It is hard for an armchair archeologist to dislike a book about mummies, particularly one that describes the mortal remains of a pharaoh supposed to have been killed while pursuing Moses during the Exodus. "Mummies of the Pharaohs," however, is so severely flawed that neither specialist nor casual reader will find much to savor.
Maurice Bucaille, a member of the French Society of Egyptology and a medical doctor, was uniquely privileged during the mid-1970's to conduct forensic examinations of the royal mummies at the Cairo Museum. His book, adequately translated by the author and Alastair D. Pannell, offers some interesting sidelights on these examinations. We learn, for example, that Merneptah, son and successor of Pharaoh Ramses II, probably had his head bashed in around 1204 B.C. while chasing the Hebrews.
Dr. Bucaille asserts that results of a forensic examination of Merneptah's mummy are consistent with the biblical account of the pharaoh's death, in which the Red Sea, miraculously parted for the Hebrews, closes over the Egyptians. The author does not make it quite clear how a surge of water would produce the massive cranial trauma evident in the mummy, but never mind. This is but one of many questions the author leaves hanging.
Because Dr. Bucaille's patients included members of the family of President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, he was given considerable freedom to inspect the royal mummies.
The doctor's major conclusion was that fungus was causing them to decay rapidly in the moist heat of the Cairo Museum, where they had lain devoid of protective wrappings since their discovery at the end of the 19th century.While Dr. Bucaille makes a good case that the royal mummies have been persistently ill used ever since their discovery, too much of his book is devoted to petulant criticism of Egyptologists and museum officials, notably Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, director of Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre. Dr. Bucaille's feuds leave little room for the mummies; his book badly needs rehabilitation by a professional writer or editor.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Merneptah (again, links left in):
Merneptah suffered from arthritis and arteriosclerosis in old age and died after a reign which lasted for nearly a decade. Merneptah was originally buried within tomb KV8 in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was not found there. In 1898 it was located along with eighteen other mummies in the mummy cache found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) by Victor Loret. Merneptah's mummy was taken to Cairo and eventually unwrapped by Dr. G. Elliott Smith on July 8, 1907. Dr Smith notes that:The body is that of an old man and is 1 meter 714 millimeters in height. Merenptah was almost completely bald, only a narrow fringe of white hair (now cut so close as to be seen only with difficulty) remaining on the temples and occiput. A few short (about 2 mill) black hairs were found on the upper lip and scattered, closely clipped hairs on the cheeks and chin. The general aspect of the face recalls that of Ramesses II, but the form of the cranium and the measurements of the face much more nearly agree with those of his [grand]father, Seti the Great.
So once again there is no suggestion of miraculous preservation. The Merneptah mummy is unremarkable. It was preserved using the normal mummification techniques. Experts suggest Merneptah was an arthritic cripple aged around 70 when he died.
Apart from Bucaille - who at the time of his examination of the mummy was employed as the family physician to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia and was also treating President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, as well as being well into his infamous treatise on Islam and science - no one has ever suggested that either mummy showed signs of drowning or even a violent death.
The other Egyptologists who who studied the mummies with Bucaille disagreed profoundly with his conclusions and appear to have been a little frustrated with his obsession.
En avril 1976, Maurice Bucaille remis ses conclusions. Il constata que Mérenptah dût mourir de traumatismes multiples très importants. En effet des traces de chocs violents reçus de son vivant étaient visibles sur plusieurs parties du corps : Arrière de l'abdomen, thorax enfoncé, idem pour la voûte crânienne qui indique une mort quasi instantanée et de nombreuses lésions sur le côté droit du corps. Cette interprétation des blessures est remise en question par Salima Ikram et Aidan Marc Dodson qui voient dans les nombreuses traces de violence dont a souffert la momie du souverain, l'intervention brutale des voleurs de sépultures.
It is also to be noted that Bucaille's official report at the time apparently made no mention of his conviction that Merneptah had drowned.
So what are we to make of this miracle claim?
It seems clear that Bucaille saw a chance to enhance his reputation among his powerful new Muslim friends by making the outrageous claim that Merneptah was the Pharaoh of the (in all likelihood, mythological) Exodus. This was then picked up and exaggerated beyond parody by various Muslim dawah sites and miracle seekers.
And let's be clear why this is so important. As Yusuf Estes says, this is considered "the most important and impressive miracle of the prophet Muhammad" by a huge number of followers and has convinced innumerable people of the divine nature of the Qur'an.
And there is NO EVIDENCE FOR IT WHATSOEVER.
PS In case any miracle seeker reading this wants to mention salt in the body cavity as evidence of drowning...natron (a mixture of salt and baking soda) was used as part of the preservation technique on all mummies). It's presence is indicative of mummification. NO MIRACLE.
Think I'm making this up about poor gullible miracle seekers? This is typical:
One more sign that proves God exists and powerful is was the discovery of the pharaoh's body in the red sea. The Qur'an tells of the prophet Moses and his followers were chased by the pharaoh and his army. By His power, God splits the sea and drowned Pharaoh and his followers.
All creatures including sea was submissive and obedient to God. How about we as human beings much more perfect?his body (Pharaoh's body) was only discovered in 1898 but the Quran existed nearly 1400 years ago. That is the dead body of Ramses II, The Egyptian King in the era of Prophet Moses (PBUH), it's age is approximately 3000 years old and it was found by the Red Sea at the place called Jabalain. Now in the Royal Mummies Chamber of Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
What is the secret of such good preservation of this body?Dr. Maurice Bucaille was a head and the leader of a group of physicians concern on rebuilding in France. That was in 1981. The result has shown that the residue of salt inside his body was evidence that he died by drowning.
Morris was preparing on final report on what was believed to be a "new discovery" in a Pharaoh's body. Till he was told that Muslims talk about drowning of this mummy he was very surprised!! after he read the story of Pharaoh's drowning in the Quran. Source : Ahmad Deedat Channel
There you have another ill informed claim.