In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Most High] says in Surah Al-Qasas Ayah 38 that Fir’awn said:
[يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلۡمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمۡتُ لَڪُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرِى – O chiefs! I know not that you have an ilah (a god) other than me].
Just look at what Fir’awn said! He did not say: “You do not have a god besides me”, rather he said: “I know not that you have a god other than me’’. This is because they considered him to be a virtuous scholar and that whatever he said has to be the truth, and whatever he commands has to be followed. And after he made this statement, he then tried to prove that what he has stated is true. Allaah [The Most High] said that Fir’awn said to Haamaan:
[فَأَوۡقِدۡ لِى يَـٰهَـٰمَـٰنُ عَلَى ٱلطِّينِ فَٱجۡعَل لِّى صَرۡحً۬ا لَّعَلِّىٓ أَطَّلِعُ إِلَىٰٓ إِلَـٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّى لَأَظُنُّهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ – so kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a Sarhan (a lofty tower, or palace, etc.) in order that I may look at (or look for) the Ilah (God) of Musa (Moses); and verily, I think that he [Musa (Moses)] is one of the liars]; Meaning: We think that Moosaa is lying, but we are going to ascertain the affair and prove that he is a liar.
Look at Fir’awn’s extreme sinful boldness! He belied Moosaa [alayhis-salaam], claimed that he was a God, claimed that he is not aware of a true object of worship and asked Haamaan to build him a tower in order that he can see the god of Moosaa! These claims were nothing else but propaganda; however what is really amazing is the affair of those chiefs who considered themselves as the elders of the Kingdom, for how did they allow Fir’awn to play about with their intellects and deceive them? Indeed, that was due to their extremely sinful behaviour, which corrupted their religion and then their intellects. We ask Allaah to keep us firm upon Eemaan and that our hearts do not become deviated after we have been guided.
[An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan’ by Imaam As-Sadi (rahimahullaah)]