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Qarun and His People's exhortation

It was recorded that Ibn `Abbas said:

﴿ إِنَّ قَـٰرُونَ ڪَانَ مِن قَوۡمِ مُوسَىٰ

(Verily, Qarun was of Musa's people,) "He was the son of his paternal uncle.'' This was also the view of Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, `Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Nawfal, Sammak bin Harb, Qatadah, Malik bin Dinar, Ibn Jurayj and others; they all said that he was the cousin of Musa, peace be upon him. Ibn Jurayj said: "He was Qarun bin Yashar bin Qahith, and Musa was the son of `Imran bin Qahith.

﴿ وَءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ مِنَ ٱلۡكُنُوزِ

(And We gave him of the treasures,) meaning, of wealth;

﴿ مَآ إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ ۥ لَتَنُوٓأُ بِٱلۡعُصۡبَةِ أُوْلِى ٱلۡقُوَّةِ

(that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men.) Groups of strong men would not have been able to carry them because they were so many. Al-A`mash narrated from Khaythamah, "The keys of Qarun's treasure were made of leather, each key like a finger, and each key was for a separate storeroom. When he rode anywhere, the keys would be carried on sixty mules with white blazes on their foreheads and white feet.'' Other views were also given, and Allah knows best.

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ قَوۡمُهُ ۥ لَا تَفۡرَحۡ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡفَرِحِينَ

(Remember when his people said to him: "Do not exult. Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.'') means, the righteous ones among his people exhorted him. By way of sincere advice and guidance, they said: "Do not exult in what you have,'' meaning, `do not be arrogant and proud of your wealth.'

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡفَرِحِينَ

(Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.) Ibn `Abbas said, "This means, those who rejoice and gloat.'' Mujahid said, "It means those who are insolent and reckless, and do not thank Allah for what He has given them.'' His saying:

﴿ وَٱبۡتَغِ فِيمَآ ءَاتَٮٰكَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلدَّارَ ٱلۡأَخِرَةَ‌ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ

(But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world;) means, `use this great wealth and immense blessing Allah has given you to worship your Lord and draw closer to Him by doing a variety of good deeds which will earn you reward in this world and the Hereafter.'

﴿ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ

(and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world;) `That which Allah has permitted of food, drink, clothing, dwelling places and women. Your Lord has rights over you, your self has rights over you, your family has rights over you, and your visitors have rights over you. So give each of them their due.'

﴿ وَأَحۡسِن ڪَمَآ أَحۡسَنَ ٱللَّهُ إِلَيۡكَ‌ۖ

(and be generous as Allah has been generous to you, ) `Be generous to His creatures, as He has been generous to you.'

﴿ وَلَا تَبۡغِ ٱلۡفَسَادَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ

(and seek not mischief in the land.) meaning: `do not let your aim be to spread corruption on earth and do harm to Allah's creation.'

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ

(Verily, Allah likes not the mischief-makers.)

﴿ قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أُوتِيتُهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ عِندِىٓ‌ۚ أَوَلَمۡ يَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدۡ أَهۡلَكَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرُونِ مَنۡ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنۡهُ قُوَّةً۬ وَأَڪۡثَرُ جَمۡعً۬ا‌ۚ وَلَا يُسۡـَٔلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمُونَ

(78. He said: "This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.'' Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected But the criminals will not be questioned of their sins.)

Allah informs us how Qarun responded to the exhortations of his people when they sought to guide him to what is good.
﴿ قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أُوتِيتُهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ عِندِىٓ‌ۚ

(He said: "This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.'') meaning, `I have no need of your advice; Allah has only given me this wealth because He knows that I deserve it and because He loves me. 'In other words: `He has given it to me because He knows that I am fit for this.' This is like the Ayat:

﴿ فَإِذَا مَسَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ ضُرٌّ۬ دَعَانَا ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلۡنَـٰهُ نِعۡمَةً۬ مِّنَّا قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أُوتِيتُهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمِۭ‌ۚ

(When harm touches man, he calls upon Us; then when We have changed it into a favor from Us, he says: "Only because of knowledge I obtained it.'') (39:49) An alternative interpretation of this Ayah says that the meaning is: "Only because of what Allah knows about me did I obtain this favor.'' This is like His saying:

﴿ وَلَٮِٕنۡ أَذَقۡنَـٰهُ رَحۡمَةً۬ مِّنَّا مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ضَرَّآءَ مَسَّتۡهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ هَـٰذَا لِى

(And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say: "This is from me.'') (41:50) meaning, "I deserved it.'' Imam `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam explained this Ayah very well. Concerning the phrase,

﴿ قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أُوتِيتُهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ عِندِىٓ‌ۚ

(He said: "This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.'') He said: "Were it not for the fact that Allah is pleased with me and knows my virtue, He would not have given me this wealth.'' And He said:

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَعۡلَمۡ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَدۡ أَهۡلَكَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرُونِ مَنۡ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنۡهُ قُوَّةً۬ وَأَڪۡثَرُ جَمۡعً۬ا‌ۚ

(Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected) This is what those who have little knowledge say when they see a person whom Allah has granted a lot of wealth; they say that if he did not deserve it, Allah would not have given it to him.

﴿ فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ فِى زِينَتِهِۦ‌ۖ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا يَـٰلَيۡتَ لَنَا مِثۡلَ مَآ أُوتِىَ قَـٰرُونُ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ۬ وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمَ وَيۡلَڪُمۡ ثَوَابُ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّمَنۡ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا وَلَا يُلَقَّٮٰهَآ إِلَّا ٱلصَّـٰبِرُونَ

(79. So, he went forth before his people in his finery. Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: "Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.'') (80. But those who had been given knowledge said: "Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds, and this none shall attain except the patient.'')

How Qarun went forth in His Finery, and His People's Comments

Allah tells us how Qarun went forth one day before his people with his magnificent regalia; wearing his fine clothes, accompanied by his fine horses, his servants and retinue. When those whose desires and inclinations were for the world saw his adornments and splendor, they wished that they could have the same as he had been given, and said:

﴿ يَـٰلَيۡتَ لَنَا مِثۡلَ مَآ أُوتِىَ قَـٰرُونُ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ۬

(Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.) meaning, `he is very lucky and has a great share in this world.' When the people of beneficial knowledge heard this, they said to them:

﴿ وَيۡلَڪُمۡ ثَوَابُ ٱللَّهِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّمَنۡ ءَامَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا

(Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds,) `Allah's reward to His believing, righteous servants in the Hereafter is better than what you see,' as is reported in the authentic Hadith:

« يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: أَعْدَدْتُ لِعِبَادِي الصَّالِحِينَ مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَلَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَلَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ وَاقْرَءُوا إِنْ شِئْتُمْ:
﴿ فَلَا تَعۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ۬ مَّآ أُخۡفِىَ لَهُم مِّن قُرَّةِ أَعۡيُنٍ۬ جَزَآءَۢ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ

(Allah has prepared for His righteous servants what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the heart of a human cannot comprehend. Recite, if you wish: (No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.)) (32:17).

﴿ وَلَا يُلَقَّٮٰهَآ إِلَّا ٱلصَّـٰبِرُونَ

(and this none shall attain except the patient.) As-Suddi said: "None shall reach Paradise except for the patient'' -- as if this were the completion of the statement made by the people of knowledge. Ibn Jarir said, "This applies only to those who patiently forsake the love of this world, seeking the Hereafter. It is as if this is part of what the people of knowledge said, but it is made part of the Words of Allah, stating this fact.''

﴿ فَخَسَفۡنَا بِهِۦ وَبِدَارِهِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ فَمَا ڪَانَ لَهُ ۥ مِن فِئَةٍ۬ يَنصُرُونَهُ ۥ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنتَصِرِينَ وَأَصۡبَحَ ٱلَّذِينَ تَمَنَّوۡاْ مَكَانَهُ ۥ بِٱلۡأَمۡسِ يَقُولُونَ وَيۡكَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَقۡدِرُ‌ۖ لَوۡلَآ أَن مَّنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡنَا لَخَسَفَ بِنَا‌ۖ وَيۡكَأَنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرُونَ

(81. So, We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.) (82. And those who desired his position the day before, began to say: "Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants. Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.'')

How Qarun and His Dwelling Place were swallowed up by the Earth

After telling us about Qarun's conceit and pride in his adornments, and how he was arrogant towards his people and transgressed against them, Allah then tells us how he and his dwelling place were swallowed up by the earth. This was also reported in the Sahih by Al-Bukhari from Salim, who said that his father told him that the Messenger of Allah said:

« بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ يَجُرُّ إِزَارَهُ إِذْ خُسِفَ بِهِ، فَهُوَ يَتَجَلْجَلُ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَة »

(While a man was dragging his lower garment, he was swallowed up and he will remain sinking down into the earth until the Day of Resurrection.) He also recorded something similar from Salim from Abu Hurayrah from the Prophet. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« بَيْنَمَا رَجُلٌ فِيمَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ خَرَجَ فِي بُرْدَيْنِ أَخْضَرَيْنِ يَخْتَالُ فِيهِمَا، أَمَرَ اللهُ الْأَرْضَ فَأَخَذَتْهُ، فَإِنَّهُ لَيَتَجَلْجَلُ فِيهَا إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَة »

(When a man among the people who came before you went out wearing two green garments, walking proudly and arrogantly, Allah commanded the earth to swallow him up, and he will remain sinking down into it until the Day of Resurrection.) This version was recorded only by Ahmad, and its chain of narration is Hasan (sound).

﴿ فَمَا ڪَانَ لَهُ ۥ مِن فِئَةٍ۬ يَنصُرُونَهُ ۥ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُنتَصِرِينَ

(Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.) means, his wealth, group, servants and retinue were of no avail to him; they could not protect him from the wrath and vengeance of Allah. Nor could he help himself or save himself. There was no one to help him, neither himself nor anybody else.

His People learned a Lesson from Him being swallowed up

Allah's saying:

﴿ وَأَصۡبَحَ ٱلَّذِينَ تَمَنَّوۡاْ مَكَانَهُ ۥ بِٱلۡأَمۡسِ

(And those who had desired his position the day before,) means, those witnessed him with his finery and said:

﴿ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا يَـٰلَيۡتَ لَنَا مِثۡلَ مَآ أُوتِىَ قَـٰرُونُ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ۬

(Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: "Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.'') When he was swallowed up in the earth, they began to say:

﴿ وَيۡكَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَقۡدِرُ‌ۖ

(Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants.) Wealth does not indicate that Allah is pleased with its owner, for Allah gives and withholds, allows times of difficulty and times of ease, raises and lowers, His is the most complete wisdom and most convincing proof. According to a Hadith narrated by Ibn Mas`ud,

« إِنَّ اللهَ قَسَمَ بَيْنَكُمْ أَخْلَاقَكُمْ كَمَا قَسَمَ أَرْزَاقَكُمْ، وَإِنَّ اللهَ يُعْطِي الْمَالَ مَنْ يُحِبُّ وَمَنْ لَا يُحِبُّ، وَلَا يُعْطِي الْإِيمَانَ إِلَّا مَنْ يُحِب »

(Allah has allotted character among you just as He has allotted your provision. Allah gives wealth to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He gives Faith only to those whom He loves.)

﴿ لَوۡلَآ أَن مَّنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡنَا لَخَسَفَ بِنَا‌ۖ

(Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up!) meaning, `were it not for the kindness and grace of Allah towards us, we could have been swallowed up by the earth just as he was swallowed up, because we wanted to be like him.'

﴿ وَيۡكَأَنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرُونَ

(Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.) He was a disbeliever, and the disbelievers will never be successful before Allah in this world or in the Hereafter.

﴿ تِلۡكَ ٱلدَّارُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةُ نَجۡعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّ۬ا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فَسَادً۬ا‌ۚ وَٱلۡعَـٰقِبَةُ لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ
﴿ مَن جَآءَ بِٱلۡحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ ۥ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡہَا‌ۖ وَمَن جَآءَ بِٱلسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجۡزَى ٱلَّذِينَ عَمِلُواْ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ إِلَّا مَا كَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ

(83. That is the home of the Hereafter, We shall assign to those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land nor cause corruption. And the good end is for those who have Taqwa.) (84. Whosoever brings good, he shall have the better thereof; and whosoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.)