After the death of pharaoh, the Bani Israel got freedom from his subjugation and they embraced faith in Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام . Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام was then ordered by Allah to observe I’tikaf (ritual seclusion) on Mount Sinai [Kauh-e-Toor] for forty nights. After this, he علیہ السلام was to be blessed with the holy book, Tawrah. Therefore, in order to fulfil this Divine commandment, Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام went to Mount Sinai and handed over the control of the Bani Israel to his brother Sayyiduna Haroon علیہ السلام . Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام observed fasts during the day and performed worship during the whole night for consecutive forty days.
There was a person in the Bani Israel called Saamri who was bastard i.e. born of an illegitimate birth. He was a very sinful person. Due to the fear of disgrace within her community, his mother deserted him in a cave of some mountain just after his birth. Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام raised him by feeding him milk with his finger. Therefore, he was acquainted with Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام . His full name is ‘Musa Saamri’ and Sayyiduna Musa’s name is ‘Musa’ too.
Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام brought up Musa Saamri whereas Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام was brought up in the home of pharaoh. How strange and mysterious the glory of Allah is that Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام who was brought up in the home of pharaoh became Prophet of Allah and Musa Saamri who was brought up by Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام >6′ ? became an unbeliever (Kafir). He enticed the Bani Israel to worship the calf. Regarding this, some mystic has said:
فَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ رَبّٰی وَخَابَ الْمُؤَمِّل
فَمُوْسَی الَّذِیْ رَبَّاہُ جِبْرِیْلُ کَافِرُ
وَمُوْسَی الَّذِیْ رَبَّاہُ فِرْعَوْنُ مُرْسَل
Meaning, when a person has been destined with wretched fate eternally, he can never attain piety and he remains unlucky. Even the efforts of those who raise him go futile. You see that Musa Saamri who was brought up by Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام became pagan and Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام who was brought up by pharaoh became Prophet of Allah .
The secret behind this is that Musa Saamri was destined to be illfated so his tending and nursing by Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام did not benefit him and he remained an infidel. On the other hand, Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام was destined to be pious and fortunate eternally. That’s why even the nursing by an unbeliever like pharaoh could not harm him.
(Tafseer As-Saawi, vol. 1, pp. 63; part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 51)
When Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام was staying [doing I’tikaf] on Mount Sinai, Saamri took advantage of his absence for producing heresy. He asked for gold and silver jewellery from the Bani Israel, melted it to mould a calf. After this, he put the dust of the hoofs of the horse of Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام into the mouth of the calf that he had kept safe. By virtue of it, the calf started to speak. Then, Saamri said to the Bani Israel, ‘O my people! (Sayyiduna) Musa (علیہ السلام ) has gone to the Mount Sinai to see the vision of the Rab ( ) whereas this calf is your lord. Therefore, you should worship this calf.’ The Bani Israel got misguided from this speech of Saamri and except for twelve thousand people, rest of them admitted the calf to be the god after witnessing it speaking. They started prostrating and worshipping before it. Therefore, Allah has said:
And behind Musa, his people molded a calf from their ornaments – a lifeless body making sounds like a cow.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 148)
After forty days, when Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام returned to his town after talking to Allah and bringing the holy Tawrah with him, he علیہ السلام flew into fury to see his people worshipping the calf. Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام placed the Tawrah on the ground out of anger and started dragging his brother Haroon علیہ السلام by holding him from his beard, snatched his hair and started beating him saying that why he (علیہ السلام ) did not prevent them from committing that evil act. Sayyiduna Haroon علیہ السلام apologized as mentioned in Holy Quran:
O son of my mother! The people thought I was weak and would have probably killed me; so do not make my enemies laugh at me and do not link me amongst the oppressors.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 150)
After hearing this apology of Sayyiduna Haroon علیہ السلام , the anger of Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام faded away. He علیہ السلام supplicated for his brother Sayyiduna Haroon’s forgiveness and for mercy upon him. Then, he علیہ السلام broke the calf into small pieces, burnt it and dispersed its ash into the river.
Moral: From this event, we get two important lessons:
- This event provides guidelines to religious scholars that they should never be negligent towards their people. They should always keep imparting the religious knowledge to their people. You saw that Saamri took the advantage of 40 days absence of Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام . He misguided the people away from the right path. Similarly, if the religious scholars of Ahl-usSunnah will remain heedless and negligent in the affairs of their people, then the sects bearing corrupt beliefs will get a chance to misguide the people away from the right path.
- When the dust of the hoofs of the horse of Sayyiduna Jibra`eel علیہ السلام can make the statue of the calf speak, we may deduce that the dust of the feet of the chosen people of Allah can also bring benefits and blessings. Therefore, it is not a useless act to sprinkle the water in homes that is obtained from washing the feet of the chosen people of Allah. It has been the good practice of devoted disciples. We can hope for mercy and blessings by virtue of it and it is not contrary to the Islamic Shari’ah.
(واللہ تعالٰی اعلم)