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(Pharaoh) said: “What then is the condition of previous generations?”

But Pharaoh was not the man to accept teaching
from the despised Israelite- one, too, who in his eyes
was a renegade from the higher Egyptian civilisation.
“If,” he says in effect, “there is only one God, to Whom
all things are referred, this is a new religion.
What of the religion of our ancestors?
Were they wrong in worshipping the Egyptian gods?
And if they were wrong, are they in misery now?
He wanted to trap Moses into a scathing denunciation of
his ancestors, which would at once have deprived him of
the sympathy or the hearing of the Egyptian crowd.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 20 verse 51)Quran Arabic with English Translation & Commentary (Tafsir) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Free Download (quran4u.com)

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