The Story of Sarah and the King of Egypt

Question and answer details
Reema Khalid Alnizami
Can you please tell me in which surah of the Quran do we find the story of Abraham's wife Sarah? Where is it mentioned that when the king of Egypt tried to touch her, Allah paralyzed the king for trying to do so? I need to know this for a paper for my school. Thank you.
Shahul Hameed

Salam Dear Reema,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

The story of Abraham (peace be upon him) is narrated in different surahs (chapters) of the Noble Quran; but we do not find any reference there to the incident you are mentioning in relation to his wife Sarah.

On the other hand, we can read this story in Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir. He does mention a hadith about the incident. Here is the relevant part of it: 

"Abu Hurairah narrated that Abraham (peace be upon him) did not tell a lie except on three occasions, twice for the sake of Allah, Exalted and Almighty.

The first time was when he said: "I am sick." When his people were holding a festival in honor of their gods, Abraham excused himself by saying he was sick.

The second time was when he said: "I have not done this but the big idol has done it."

The third was while Abraham and Sarah, his wife, were going on a journey. They passed by the territory of a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant: "This man (Abraham) is accompanied by a very charming lady."

So the tyrant sent for Abraham and asked him about Sarah asking, "Who is this lady?" Abraham said: "She is my sister." Abraham went to Sarah said "O Sarah! There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and me. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister. Do not contradict my statement." The tyrant then called Sarah.

When she went to him, he tried to take a hold of her with his hand, but his hand got stiff and he was confounded. He asked Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me and I shall not harm you." Then, Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he got cured.

He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but his hand got as stiff as — or stiffer — than before, and he was once more confounded.

He again requested Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm you." Sarah asked Allah again to cure him, and he became all right. He then called one of his guards who had brought her and said: "You have not brought me a human being but have brought me a devil." The tyrant then gave Hajar as a maid servant to Sarah.

Abraham, gesturing with his hand, asked: "What has happened?" She replied: "Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel or immoral person and gave me Hajar for service."

As for the Quranic text, the details of this story were never mentioned in the Quran itself.

And Allah knows best. I hope this answers your question.

If you have any other inquiries, don't hesitate to send us again.

Salam and please stay in touch. 

Useful Links:

Prophet Abraham's Wives

Abraham's Sons and Other Questions

A Unique Role Model for Women