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7: 146-151

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Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right – them will I turn away from My signs: Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe in them; and if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as the way; but if they see the way of error, that is the way they will adopt. For they have rejected our signs, and failed to take warning from them. (verse 146)

Those who reject Our signs and the meeting in the Hereafter,- vain are their deeds: Can they expect to be rewarded except as they have wrought? (verse 147)

The people of Moses made, in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of calf, (for worship): it seemed to low: did they not see that it could neither speak to them, nor show them the way? They took it for worship and they did wrong. (verse 148)

When they repented, and saw that they had erred, they said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall indeed be of those who perish.” (verse 149)

When Moses came back to his people, angry and grieved, he said: “Evil it is that ye have done in my place in my absence: did ye make haste to bring on the judgment of your Lord?” He put down the tablets, seized his brother by (the hair of) his head, and dragged him to him. Aaron said: “Son of my mother! the people did indeed reckon me as naught, and went near to slaying me! Make not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune, nor count thou me amongst the people of sin.” (verse 150)

Moses prayed: “O my Lord! forgive me and my brother! admit us to Thy mercy! for Thou art the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (verse 151)


Commentary
The verse 146 spoke of the arrogant people as showing arrogance
injustly. The word without truth or injustly indicates that assuming
arrogance in response to the arrogant people is a justified act, since it
is the act of arrogance in appearance, and not in reality. It is a known
9,; 8
dictum: “Showing arrogance to the arrogant is an act
of humbleness”. (Masail as-Suluk).

The effects of Arrogance
By saying, “I shall keep away from My verses those who show arrogance,” the verse implies that the people who have an offensive sense
of superiority over others are deprived of knowledge and understanding. They are rendered incapable of benefitting themselves from
the signs of Allah. The term ‘Signs of Allah’, may have a reference to
the revealed verses of the Torah, Evangel and the Qur’an, as well as to
the signs inherent in all the things of the heavens and the earth. The
false sense of superiority is, therefore, the worst habit which keeps
man away from deliberations in the signs of Allah and getting awareness of the truth.

We find it stated in Ruh-al-Bayan that arrogance is such a wicked
habitude as raises a wall between man and the knowledge from Allah.
Since divine knowledge comes only through the mercy of Allah, and
the mercy of Allah visits those who are humble. The spiritual leader
Sheikh Rumi has said:

“Water flows down towards the slope, and solution goes where
difficulty appears.”

The next verses continue to narrate the remaining part of the
story. When the prophet Musa (pbuh) did not turn up after thirty
days from the mount of Sinai where he was to be ordained by Allah
after passing ten more nights on the mount, the Israelites who were a
hasty and impatient people began to make fuss about it.

Among them there was a person named Samiri who was a prominent man, but at the same time, had beliefs in superstitions. He said to the people that the jewels and ornaments of the Egyptians
possessed by them were not permissible for them. It may be noted that the plunder or booty taken from the enemy after their defeat was also not permissible for the Israelites. The Israelites gathered all their
jewels and handed these over to him. He melted the ornaments and
forged a golden calf from it. A peculiar thing reported about him is
that he had collected some dust from under the hoofs of the horse of
the Archangel Jibra’il (Gabriel) at some occasion. Allah had made this
dust to have the effect of some kind of life. Samiri mixed this dust with
the molten metal while preparing the calf. This made the calf to emit a
sound like the mooing of a cow.

Having designed this satanic invention he invited the people to
worship the calf and said that it was god. He said that the Prophet
Musa (pbuh) had gone to speak with God to the mount of Sinai; while
god had come to them in the form of this calf. Samiri already enjoyed a
place of respect among them, this unusual demonstration increased
their trust in him and they started worshipping the calf, and took it as
their god. The verse 148 has given a short description of this event
while another verse of the Holy Qur’an has described it in detail. The verse 149 speaks of their remorse on this guilt and their repentance, while the verse 150 describes the events followed by the arrival of the Prophet Musa (pbuh) from the mount of Sinai. It described that the Prophet Musa (pbuh) was extremely angry when he saw his people in this state of ignorance. It is reported that Allah had informed him of their perversion on the mount of Sinai. Now seeing them in this state with his own eyes filled him with indignation. First, he turned to his people and said: “How bad is the thing you have done in my absence.” “How did you act in
haste against the command of your Lord?” That is, you must have
waited until the book of Allah came to you. Some of the commentators
have said that it meant that they hastily decided that the Prophet
Musa (pbuh) was dead. Then he turned to the Prophet Harun (pbuh)
whom he has left among them as his deputy. He wanted to free his
hand in order to grab him. He quickly put down the tablets of the
Torah and grabbed the head of his brother. This has been termed as
having dropped. The Arabic word used here is: ‘Ilqa’ which signifies dropping or throwing. This gives rise to a doubt that the Prophet Musa (pbuh) showed disrespect to the tablets of the Torah by throwing or dropping them down. It is obvious that throwing the tablets of the Torah was great sin, and equally obvious is the fact that all the
Prophets are innocent and free of all sins. The implication of the verse,
therefore, is that he put away the Tablets as quickly in order to free
his hands, as seemed like having been dropped. The Holy Qur’an has
described it by using this word as a gesture of warning. (Bayan al-Qur’an).

Thereafter he turned to the Prophet Harun (pbuh) and grasped the hair of his head. The Prophet Harun then gave him the true account of the events and said that it was not his fault, for he stopped them from this wicked act but they did not listen to him. They were so obstinate about it that they were about to kill him. He said that he should not count him among the ignorant people and should not let his enemies laugh at him by treating him in that way. This made the Prophet Muss (pbuh) cool down. At this occasion, he prayed to Allah, saying, ”My Lord, forgive me and my brother, and admit us to Your mercy, and You are the most merciful of all those who show mercy.” He asked forgiveness for his brother for any of his shortcoming with regard to his duties. He asked forgiveness for himself either for his putting away the tablets of the Torah in a hurry which the Holy Qur’an had described as having been ‘dropped’ to make a gesture of warning, or perhaps, for educating people that they should include themselves while asking forgiveness for others to preclude the sense of complacency on their part.

References:

Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .4 surah 7 verses 152-156)English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-4.pdf (islamicweblibrary.com)

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