A THOUGHT PROVOKING INCIDENT
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Verse 175: And recite to them the story of him to whom We had given Our verses, then he shed them off, so Satan followed after him and he became one of those who went astray.
Verse 176: And if We had willed We would have raised his status by it (virtue of those verses), but he inclined towards the earth and followed his desires (lustful), so his example is the example of a dog, if you load upon it, it will hand out its tongue, if left free, it will loll its tongue out. This is the example of those people who belied Our verses; so relate the events perhaps they may reflect.
These two verses mention an admonitory incident by means of which several morals and values are taught. It involves a Scholar of the Bani Israeel who, due to worldly greed, sacrificed his lofty Spiritual Rank. The incident is quite appropriate to jolt our waning spiritual levels.
Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam is ordered to relate to the Ummah, the story of an eminent scholar of the Bani Israeel. He was a famous saint and leader. After reaching great spiritual heights he fell to the lowest of levels. After gaining guidance he went astray. Despite acquiring vast knowledge and recognition of Allah, he succumbed to the lusts of his lowly self. Thus he became disgraced and wretched and fell in the sight of Allah Ta’aala.
The Qur’aan does not mention the name of that person. The Scholars of Tafseer, the Sahaabah and Taabieen have mentioned various names. The most famous and reliable, according to the majority of the Ulama is the narration of Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbaas Radhiyallaahu Anhu who identified the person as Bal’um bin Baa’oora. He was a dweller of Kanaan which was a city near the Baitul-Muqaddas (Jerusalem). According to one report he was from amongst the Bani Israeel.
By means of the words, “him to whom We had given Our verses”, the Ulama have deduced that he had knowledge of some Divine Books. When Firaun and his army drowned and Egypt was conquered, Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam and the Bani Israeel received the order of waging Jihad against the ‘Jubbaareen’. (Details appear in Vol.6 of our Qur’aan Tafseer series: S.5: V.22). This community was aware of the victory of Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam over Firaun. Therefore, when Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam and the Bani Israeel focused their attention towards them, they became alarmed.
Therefore, they consulted with their Saint Bal’um ibn Baa’oora who knew the Grand Auspicious Name of Allah, i.e. the Ism-ul-Aa’zam. By invoking Allah Ta’aala, using that illustrious Name, his supplication used to be accepted (by Allah Ta’aala). The people pleaded to him concerning their fears about the Bani Israeel. They explained that Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam was a very hard and strong person with a huge army who wanted to remove them from their land. They requested that he supplicate to Allah and request that Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam turns away from them.
Bal’um replied, “It is sad what you people want me to do. I know that he (Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam) is a Prophet of Allah Ta’aala. He is assisted with angels. How can I pray against him when I know the stage and Rank he enjoys with Allah? If I pray against him, then I shall be destroyed both in this world and in the Hereafter”.
When the people insisted persistently Bal’um agreed initially, to make Istikhara, i.e. supplicate to Allah requesting for guidance whether he could carry out the people’s wishes, i.e. to supplicate against Hazrat Moosa Alayhis Salaam.
To be continued in the next issue…
ADAPTED FROM QUR’AAN TAFSEER
BY HUSAINIYYAH PUBLICATIONS