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So, I recently remembered the incident in the story of Musa a.s. where Firaun was drowing and tried to say the shahada, but Jibril a.s. shoved mud into his mouth out of fear that Allah would grant him mercy, as mentioned in Tirmidhi.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ بْنُ حُمَيْدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا الْحَجَّاجُ بْنُ مِنْهَالٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ زَيْدٍ، عَنْ يُوسُفَ بْنِ مِهْرَانَ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ لَمَّا أَغْرَقَ اللَّهُ فِرْعَوْنَ قَالَ آمَنْتُ أَنَّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ فَقَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يَا مُحَمَّدُ فَلَوْ رَأَيْتَنِي وَأَنَا آخُذُ مِنْ حَالِ الْبَحْرِ فَأَدُسُّهُ فِي فِيهِ مَخَافَةَ أَنْ تُدْرِكَهُ الرَّحْمَةُ ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ ‏.‏

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "When Allah drowned Fir'awn he said: 'I believe that there is no god except the One that the children of Isra'il believe in.' So Jibrail said: 'O Muhammad! If you could only have seen me, while I was taking (the mud) from the sea, and filling his mouth out of fear that the mercy would reach him.'"

But the verses in surah Yunus say that Firaun asked to be forgiven and Allah rejected him anyway

۞ وَجَـٰوَزْنَا بِبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ ٱلْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُۥ بَغْيًۭا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَدْرَكَهُ ٱلْغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنتُ أَنَّهُۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِىٓ ءَامَنَتْ بِهِۦ بَنُوٓا۟ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ وَأَنَا۠ مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ ٩٠

We brought the Children of Israel across the sea. Then Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them unjustly and oppressively. But as Pharaoh was drowning, he cried out, “I believe that there is no god except that in whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am ˹now˺ one of those who submit.” — 10:90

ءَآلْـَٔـٰنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ ٩١

˹He was told,˺ “Now ˹you believe˺? But you always disobeyed and were one of the corruptors. — 10:91

Why would Jibril a.s. fear about Allah forgiving Firaun, if Allah wasn’t going to forgive Firaun anyways?

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The hadith is as follows:

The Prophet (SAW) said: When Allah drowned Firawn, he said, "I believe that there is no god except the one Bani Israel believes in." And Jibril said (to me): You should have seen me O Muhammad, when I was taking mud from the sea and putting it in his mouth out of fear mercy would reach him.

So, it is not that Firawn tried to say the shahadah and Jibril put mud in his mouth. Firawn did say the shahadah as the hadith mentions, and Jibril put mud in his mouth.

Whether or not Jibril heard Allah's rejection of Firawn's shahadah is unclear.

One possibility is that as soon as he heard Firawn say the shahadah, he put mud in his mouth to prevent him from saying anything more. That is because Jibril (AS) had such a large expectation of Allah's mercy that he thought it could even reach Firawn if he showed enough remorse.

Another possibility is Jibril did put mud in his mouth to prevent him from saying it even once but failed to do it in time, so Firawn was able to say what he said.

And Allah knows best.

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