The Ayah: 'The magic to which you did compel us'

Q: What is the meaning of the saying of the sorcerers of Fir`aun (Pharaoh) as Allah (Exalted be He) related about them: The magic to which you did compel us. ?

A: The apparent meaning of the Ayah (Qur'anic verse): ...and the magic to which you did compel us. Is that Fir`aun compelled the magicians to do their black magic. However, there are other Ayahs which indicate that the sorcerers did it willingly. For example, Allah (Praised be He) says: ...they said to Fir‘aun (Pharaoh): "Will there surely be a reward for us if we are the winners?" He said: "Yes, and you shall then verily be of those brought near (to myself)." This is in addition to other Ayahs to the same effect.To reconcile between these Ayahs, the scholars had three interpretations. The first of which is that compulsion happened in respect of attendance of the magicians to challenge Musa (Moses) with their magic and when Pharaoh commanded them to perform their magic they performed it by their free will. Thus, compulsion happened at first then they did their magic willingly after that. By this, the meaning of the Ayahs becomes clear and the contradiction is removed. (Part No. 3; Page No. 173) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.