The well-known view is that this believing man was a Coptic (Egyptian) from the family of Fir`awn. As-Suddi said, he was a cousin son of the paternal uncle of Fir`awn. And it was said that he was the one who was saved along with Musa, peace be upon him. Ibn Jurayj reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said "No one from among the family of Fir`awn believed apart from this man, the wife of Fir`awn, and the one who said,
يمُوسَى إِنَّ الْمَلاّ يَأْتَمِرُونَ بِكَ لِيَقْتُلُوكَ
("O Musa! Verily, the chiefs are taking counsel together about you, to kill you.")" (28:20) This was narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim. This man concealed his Faith from his people, the Egyptians, and did not reveal it except on this day when Fir`awn said,
ذَرُونِى أَقْتُلْ مُوسَى
(Leave me to kill Musa,) The man was seized with anger for the sake of Allah, and the best of Jihad is to speak a just word before an unjust ruler, as is stated in the Hadith. There is no greater example of this than the words that this man said to Fir`awn:
أَتَقْتُلُونَ رَجُلاً أَن يَقُولَ رَبِّىَ اللَّهُ
(Would you kill a man because he says: `My Lord is Allah,) Al-Bukhari narrated a similar story in his Sahih from `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: "I said to `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As, may Allah be pleased with him: `Tell me, what was the worst thing the idolators did to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ ' He said, `While the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was praying in the courtyard of the Ka`bah, `Uqbah bin Abi Mu`it came and grabbed the shoulder of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and started twisting his garment so that it strangled him. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, came and grabbed `Uqbah's shoulder and pushed him away from the Prophet , then he said,
أَتَقْتُلُونَ رَجُلاً أَن يَقُولَ رَبِّىَ اللَّهُ وَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ
(Would you kill a man because he says: `My Lord is Allah,' and he has come to you with clear signs from your Lord)."' This was recorded by Al-Bukhari. Allah's saying;
وَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ
(and he has come to you with clear signs from your Lord) means, "how can you kill a man just because he says, `My Lord is Allah,' and he brings proof that what he is saying is the truth" Then, for the sake of argument, he went along with them and said,
وَإِن يَكُ كَـذِباً فَعَلَيْهِ كَذِبُهُ وَإِن يَكُ صَـدِقاً يُصِبْكُمْ بَعْضُ الَّذِى يَعِدُكُمْ
(And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you. ) meaning, `if you do not believe in what he is saying, then it is only common sense to leave him alone and not harm him; if he is lying, then Allah will punish him for his lies in this world and in the Hereafter. If he is telling the truth and you harm him, then some of what he is warning about will happen to you too, because he is threatening you with punishment in this world and in the Hereafter if you go against him. It is possible that he is telling the truth in your case, so you should leave him and his people alone, and not harm them.' Allah tells us that Musa asked Fir`awn and his people to leave them in peace, as Allah says:
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَجَآءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ كَرِيمٌ - أَنْ أَدُّواْ إِلَىَّ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ إِنِّى لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ
وَأَن لاَّ تَعْلُواْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنِّى ءَاتِيكُمْ بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ - وَإِنِّى عُذْتُ بِرَبِّى وَرَبِّكُمْ أَن تَرْجُمُونِ - وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُواْ لِى فَاعْتَزِلُونِ
(And indeed We tried before them Fir`awn's people, when there came to them a noble Messenger, saying: "Deliver to me the servants of Allah. Verily, I am to you a Messenger worthy of all trust. And exalt not yourselves against Allah. Truly, I have come to you with a manifest authority. And truly, I seek refuge with my Lord and your Lord, lest you should stone me. But if you believe me not, then keep away from me and leave me alone.") (44:17-21). Similarly, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ told the Quraysh to leave him alone and let him call the servants of Allah to Allah; he asked them not to harm him, and to uphold the ties of kinship that existed between him and them, by not harming him. Allah says:
قُل لاَّ أَسْـَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْراً إِلاَّ الْمَوَدَّةَ فِى الْقُرْبَى
(Say: "No reward do I ask of you for this except to be kind to me for my kinship with you.") (42:23), meaning, `do not harm me, because of the ties of kinship that exist between me and you; so do not harm me, and let me address my call to the people.' This was the basis of the truce agreed upon on the day of Al-Hudaybiyah, which was a manifest victory.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَهْدِى مَنْ هُوَ مُسْرِفٌ كَذَّابٌ
(Verily, Allah guides not one who is a transgressor, a liar!) means, `if the one who claims to have been sent by Allah is a liar, as you say, this would be obvious to everyone from his words and deeds, for they would be inconsistent and self-contradictory. But we can see that this man is upright and what he says is consistent. If he was a sinner and a liar, Allah would not have guided him and made his words and actions rational and consistent as you see them.' Then this believer warned his people that they would lose the blessings Allah bestowed upon them and that the vengeance of Allah would befall them:
يقَومِ لَكُمُ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ ظَـهِرِينَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ
(O my people! Yours is the kingdom today, you being dominant in the land.) means, `Allah has blessed you with this kingdom, dominance in the land, power and authority, so take care of this blessing by giving thanks to Allah and believing in his Messenger, and beware of the punishment of Allah if you reject His Messenger.'
فَمَن يَنصُرُنَا مِن بَأْسِ اللَّهِ إِن جَآءَنَا
(But who will save us from the torment of Allah, should it befall us) means, `these soldiers and troops will not avail you anything and will not ward off the punishment of Allah, if He decides to punish us.' Fir`awn said to his people, in response to the advice of this righteous man who was more deserving of kingship than Fir`awn:
مَآ أُرِيكُمْ إِلاَّ مَآ أَرَى
(I show you only that which I see,) meaning, `I only tell you and advise you to do that which I think is good for myself, too.' But Fir`awn lied, because he knew that Musa was telling the truth concerning the Message which he brought.
قَالَ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتَ مَآ أَنزَلَ هَـؤُلاءِ إِلاَّ رَبُّ السَّمَـوَتِ وَالاٌّرْضِ بَصَآئِرَ
(Musa said: "Verily, you know that these signs have been sent down by none but the Lord of the heavens and the earth.") (17:102)
وَجَحَدُواْ بِهَا وَاسْتَيْقَنَتْهَآ أَنفُسُهُمْ ظُلْماً وَعُلُوّاً
(And they belied them (those Ayat) wrongfully and arrogantly, though they were themselves convinced thereof) (27:14)
مَآ أُرِيكُمْ إِلاَّ مَآ أَرَى
(I show you only that which I see,) -- Fir`awn uttered a lie and a fabrication; he betrayed Allah and His Messenger, and cheated his people by not advising them sincerely.
وَمَآ أَهْدِيكُمْ إِلاَّ سَبِيلَ الرَّشَادِ
(and I guide you only to the path of right policy!) means, `and I am only calling you to the path of truth, sincerity and guidance.' This was also a lie, but his people obeyed him and followed him. Allah says:
فَاتَّبَعُواْ أَمْرَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَآ أَمْرُ فِرْعَوْنَ بِرَشِيدٍ
(they followed the command of Fir`awn, and the command of Fir`awn was no right guide) (11:97).
وَأَضَلَّ فِرْعَوْنُ قَوْمَهُ وَمَا هَدَى
(And Fir`awn led his people astray, and he did not guide them.) (20:79) According to a Hadith:
«مَا مِنْ إِمَام يَمُوتُ يَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَهُوَ غَاشٌّ لِرَعِيَّتِهِ، إِلَّا لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا لَيُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ خَمْسِمِائَةِ عَام»
(There is no leader who dies having cheated his people, but he will never smell the fragrance of Paradise, and its fragrance can be detected from a distance of a five-hundred year journey.)" And Allah is the Guide to the straight path.