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Massive Online Encyclopedia of Islam : BAKED [BURNT] BRICKS

Sura 28:38 tells us:

And Pharaoh said: O chiefs! I know not that ye have a god other than me, so kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake the mud; and set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may survey the god of Moses; and lo! I deem him of the liars.

The Egyptians constructed their public buildings with cut stone, not bricks. The Mesopotamians, by comparison, constructed most of their public buildings with baked bricks since they lacked a good source of cut stone.

However, the Qur'an makes an historical error when it claims that the Egyptians used baked bricks. Except for some minor ruins at Nebesheh and Defenneh, baked [or burnt] bricks were not used in Egypt before the Roman period (Manual of Egyptian Archaeology, G. Maspero, H. Grevel, p. 4). The Bible tells us in Exodus 5:6-7 :

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.

Archaeologists and historians agree:

"The ordinary Egyptian brick is a mere oblong block of mud mixed with chopped straw and a little sand, and dried in the sun ... one man is told to break up the ground; others carry the clods, and pile them in a heap, while others again mix them with water, knead the clay with their feet, and reduce it to a homogeneous paste. This paste, when sufficiently worked, is pressed by the head workman in moulds made of hard wood, while an assistant carries away the bricks as fast as they are shaped, and lays them out in rows a little distance apart, to dry in the sun." (Ibid., p. 3)

This illustration is from an 18th Dynasty tomb painting, found in the Tomb of Rekhmara. It shows the process by which bricks were made in ancient Egypt.

Not a problem for Exodus. The bricks made by the Hebrews were composed of a mixture of clay and straw which were then sun dried, not baked in kilns. The straw helped hold the brick together since they contained moisture as a result of not being baked. There are ancient remains in Egypt of clay bricks, however, we do not see kiln baked bricks until the Roman era. You don't put straw in baked/burnt bricks, because the burning would also burn the straw to ashes and make that useless.

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