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An account of the Bani Israel after the Exodus

Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi

‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that when The Israelites came out of the river and camped in desert they began to tell Musa that you have destroyed us by dumping in a desert after taking us out of our homes. Now there was no shade nor water so Allah sent a cloud over them. It was shaded during day and descending upon them in the night to become their food settling on grass, rock or tree. Then it was dropping toasted chicken fowls on their tablecloths. Thereby they were eating to satiation. After this the birds use to fly away by the command of Allah. Musa had a stone which he used to put in the midst of his army. Then he used to hit it with his stick thereby flew streams of water for every clan (of an Israel). They were twelve clans. After a period of time they told Musa, “O Musa. We are not content with only one type of food. Pray to Allah that He may create vegetable, cucumber, and wheat.” And some say it was lentil, others are of the opinion it was bread. Musa said, “Do you want to exchange such nice things with ordinary ones? Then go to Egypt or any other city where you will get such things.”
It is recorded in reliable sources from Imam al-Baqir that Almighty Allah commanded to Musa to lead The Israelites to the Holy Land and drive out the disbelievers from there and to reside there. The Population of The Israelites was 600000. Musa told them, “Allah had written and destined for you to go and settle in the Holy Land; do not become deniers and disobedient otherwise you would be in a loss.” They replied, “A group of tyrants lives in the Holy Land whom we cannot confront. Therefore we will never enter that city until they get out of it.” Two persons from them, that is, Yusha‘ ibn Nun and Kaalab said, “Fear Allah. Allah had guided them to obey him.” They said, “The defiant of Amaaliqah have twelve cities. So when you will enter them you will overcome them. Rely on Allah if at all you believe in him.” They replied, “O Musa! We will never enter that city so long as tyrants are living there. You along with your God may go and fight with them. We sit here.” Musa said, “My Lord! I possess power only on myself and on my brother. Separate me from the group of these sinners.” The Lord said, “Since they did not accept the admission to they holy lands I have made it unlawful for them enter it for forty years. They will wander restlessly in this land. Do not sorrowful because of the sinners.”
Imam al-Baqir said they wandered restlessly for forty years in an area of four Parasang (24 Kms), because they rejected Allah’s commandment and did not agree to enter the holy Lands. Every evening an announcer used to announce, “Load yourself.” Then they used to start singing epics and traveled until next dawn. But next morning they found themselves at the spot from where they had started walking and say, “We lost our path.” So they remained in this state for forty years. The Lord used to send Manna and salwa for them. They had a stone which Musa used to hit that stone with his staff when they halted (camped). This caused twelve springs to flow from that stone, that is, every spring flew toward every clan. When Musa wanted to take it (stone) to another place the water used to draw back to that stone. The stone was put on an animal. All except Yusha‘ ibn Nun and Kalaab bin Yuqanna died in these circumstances because these two had not rejected the Divine commandment to enter the Holy Land. Musa and Harun also expired in the desert of Tiyah.
It is recorded in many hadiths from Imam al-Baqir and Imam as-Sadiq that Allah had destined for them the entrance of the Holy land but they denied and it was made unlawful for them and it was decided that their sons should enter it. So all of them died in that very desert. Their children entered the Holy Land with Yusha‘ and Kalaab. Allah cancels whatever he wants and confirms whatever he wills. And he has the ummul kitab. (The mother scriptures). It is mentioned in other narrations that their sons too did not enter but their grandsons did.
It is mentioned in yet another reliable tradition that Imam al-Baqir said, “The land of Syria is very nice and the best but its residents are very bad and Egypt is the worst land because it is the prison of the one upon whom Allah frowns. The entry of The Israelites into Egypt was for no other reason but that Allah had been angry with them because of their sin. Allah had asked them to enter the holy land as it was destined for them, but they declined. So they kept on wandering and moving restlessly for forty years in Egypt and its deserts. They could not come out of Egypt and enter Syria but only after they repented and Allah became pleased. I abhor eating anything in a vessel made with the clay of Egypt nor do I like to wash my head with the earth of Egypt fearing that it might become cause of my disgrace and might snatch away my prestige and honor.”
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that when The Israelites told Musa, “Go with your Lord to fight; we shall sit here”, Musa held the hand of Harun and wanted to go away from their midst. The Israelites feared that if he goes away Allah’s chastisement would fall on them. So they went to Musa weeping and requested him to remain with them and to pray to Allah so that He may accept their repentance. Then Allah revealed to Musa, “I have accepted their penitence but I will keep them roaming restlessly for forty years as a punishment for their disobedience.” Then all of them except Harun entered Tiyah for repenting from the night they started for Tiyah reciting Torah towards Egypt. There was distance of four parasang between them and Egypt. When they were reaching the gate of Egypt the earth used to roll back to the point from where they had started.
Similarly there is a narration according to which when The Israelites crossed the river they reached an idol worshipping people. They said to Musa, “Make for us also a god, like the god of these people.” “You are an ignorant people,” Musa retorted. “These people are about to be destroyed due to this deed because their action is false. Should I find out any other god besides Allah though He has given you superiority over the entire world?”
Ibn Babawayh has narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that when The Israelites crossed the river they said, “O Musa! With what strength and power would we reach the Holy land when women and children and aged are also with us?” Musa said, “I do not think Allah has given to anyone more than what he has given you from worldly wealth and means as heritage from the Pharaoh. Henceforth He will manage your affairs. So remember Allah and leave every affair to Him and me as He is more kind to you then you are to yourselves.” They said, “O Musa! Pray to Allah so that now He may give us food and water and clothing and terminate our wandering and give us shade from the sun.”
Allah revealed to Musa, “I have ordered that the heavens may send Manna and Salwa to them from above, that the air may bake Salwa for them, that the stone may gush out water for them and the cloud may give them shade.” He also ordained that the dresses they were wearing should enlarge with the enlargement of their bodies. Anyway Musa turned toward the holy land along with them, which is known as Palestine in the vicinity of Syria.
It is called Holy (Muqaddas) because Ya‘qub was born there and it was the residence of Ishaq and Yusuf and all of them were shifted there after their deaths.
The Tafsir of Imam Al-Hasan al-’Askari says: Allah said, “Remember O The Israelites the time when he had made a cloud give a shade when you were in Tiyah so that it may protect you from the heat of sun and cold of the moon and we dropped on you Manna which is called Taranjadeen which used to drop under the trees and they used to collect it.” And Allah sent for them Salwa which was a bird of the sky. Its meat was better than that of all other birds and they used to catch it without any trouble and were eating it.
In short Allah told them, “eat the pure thing which We have given to you and thank Me for My bounties which I have bestowed on you and give respect to Me and My preferred slaves Muhammad and the family of Muhammad because I have made them honorable. So give them honor, because it is I who has made them great and I have taken from you the oath about their Wilayah (Holy Guardianship). and they did not do Us any harm, meaning they have not oppressed Us, that whatever oath and undertaking We had taken from them regarding those great persons has been changed by them and they did not fulfill the commitment. So the blasphemy of the infidels cannot harm Our Kingdom just as nothing is added to Our Kingdom by the faith of the faithful but they made their own souls suffer the loss means: They have oppressed themselves by becoming infidels and by altering Our commandment.
Remember the time when we ordered your ancestors that: Enter this city Areeha that is a city of the country called Shaam (Syria). This was when The Israelites were freed from the desert of Tiyah. Then eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish, means: Eat the provisions in this city from wherever you please in abundance and without any trouble. Enter this city, means: And enter the gate of the city after making a prostration.
Imam said that Allah had sketched the figures of Muhammad and ‘Ali on the gate of that city and it was ordered that they should prostrate to give respect to those sketches and to refresh their allegiance and love in their hearts and remember the promise and undertaking regarding their Wilayah (authority) and the belief of their superiority which were obtained from them. Then eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish, meaning: and Say that this Sajdah (prostration or bowing) is for Allah and is an indication of honoring the figure of Muhammad and ‘Ali and that the belief of their Wilayah will decrease our sins and scrap our errors. We will forgive you your wrongs. meaning: So that We may pardon your sins. and give more to those who do good (to others). means: And soon We will increase the reward of the righteous, that is, who will do this and who will not have sinned earlier, we will give them higher positions and stations.
But those who were unjust changed it for a saying other than that which had been spoken to them, means: To those who had oppressed themselves changes this word. Imam said, they did not bow as Allah had ordered neither uttered the word as Allah had ordained and they entered the door with their backs towards the door: they neither bowed nor prostrated while entering and said, Why should we bow when the door is so high as it may make us bow for false and senseless things.! So while entering they uttered Hintaa Samqaanaa instead of Hittah meaning thereby that word and deed. so We sent upon those who were unjust a pestilence from heaven, because they transgressed. means: So we, due to the sinfulness of those who had oppressed themselves, sent a sort of chastisement from the heavens because they did not accept the Wilayah of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.
The said chastisement was such that within one day 120000 persons from them died of plague. They were those about whom Allah knew that they would not be alive nor will anyone be born out of their loins who will worship Allah unilaterally or believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad and recognize the Wilayah of ‘Ali. Allah said, And when Musa prayed for drink for his people, means: O The Israelites’ Remember the time when Musa requested water for his people as they had come to him weeping and crying and complaining that in the desert of Tiyah they were dying of thirst. Musa said, My Lord! Quench the thirst of these slaves of Yours for the sake of the leader of Prophets of Muhammad and the leader of the legates ‘Ali and the leader of the womenfolk Fatimah and the best Wali Hasan and the greatest martyr Husayn and their successors and the progeny who are the best among all sagacious and spotless people. We said: Strike the rock with your staff meaning: Allah revealed, “O Musa! Strike your staff on the stone (rock). When he struck the staff on the stone twelve springs flew from it. Every one of the twelve tribes of the progeny of Ya‘qub recognized their place obtaining water so that they might not dispute and quarrel. Thereafter Allah addressed them: Eat and drink from this provision. and do not act corruptly in the land, means: And do not be of those who spread corruption in the land.
And when you said: O Musa! we cannot bear with one food, therefore pray to the Lord on our behalf to bring forth for us out of what the earth grows, of its herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions. He said: Will you exchange that which is better for that which is worse? Enter a city, so you will have what you ask for.
Means: And recall the time when your forefathers who lived in the days of Musa told him: We cannot remain content with only one kind of food, that is, manna and salwa. We need other foods for variety. So pray to your Lord so that He may provide us with things He grows from earth. Vegetables, cucumber, garlic (or wheat), lentil and onions etc. Musa replied, “Do you wish that a better thing should be taken away from you and you be given which is worse?” Then get down, that is, go away from Tiyah desert to any city where whatever you desire will be made available to you.
It is written, according to reliable sources, that Imam al-Baqir has, in explanation of the verse and enter the gate making obeisance, It is written that this had taken place when Musa came out of the land of Tiyah and the entire The Israelites entered a residential area. They had sinned. So Allah desired to free them from the sin and to pardon them if if they repent. Therefore he ordered them that when they reach the gate of the city they may prostrate and utter Hittah, meaning pardon so that their errors might be forgiven and their sins be blotted out. Those among them who were pious complied and their repentance was accepted. But those who were oppressors uttered hintae humaraa (red wheat) instead so as to obtain wheat. So the divine chastisement descended on them.
Both Shi‘ahs and Sunnis have noted in recurring traditions that the Holy Prophet said, “In this Ummah the example of my family is like the Door of Repentance of the Israelites those who entered were pardoned and those who refused were destroyed. Similarly anyone from this Ummah, who will enter the love of my Ahl al-Bayt and believe in Imamate (leadership), and will abide by their knowledge and consider them as a means of their salvation will get salvation and the one who will defy their obedience and will follow the false world, as did they demanded red wheat, will be destroyed.”
It is mentioned in a reliable tradition that Imam as-Sadiq said, sleeping before sunrise is ominous, it makes your face yellowish and deprive one of his provision, because the Almighty distributes provision between dawn and sunrise. Manna and Salwa was being dropped on The Israelites at this time, and the one who was asleep at this time was not getting his ration, but was obliged to ask for it from others.
It is recorded in reliable sources from Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq that when al-Qa’im -the family of Muhammad will appear in Makkah and will intend to turn towards al-Kufah his announcer will announce to his companions that nobody should keep food and water with him. He will be having the stone of Musa with him which will form a camel load. A water spring will gush from it wherever they camp. Every hungry and thirsty person will be satisfied with that water which will be his provision until he with all others settle graciously in Najaf al-Ashraf.[1]
Thalabi has narrated from Wahab bin Munabbah that Allah revealed to Musa: to construct a mosque for his people so that they might pray in congregation and also build Jerusalem for Torah and Ark of the Covenant and also to built dome for sacrificial rites. He was asked to make curtains for the Masjid and that its front and back must be of skin of sacrificed animals. Their bands (ropes) must also have been made up of wool of sacrificed animals and that women of menses should not touch those bands nor the unclean man should make the skins impure.
The pillar of the mosque must be of copper. Each pillar must be forty yards high and that each should be divided into twelve portions to be lifted by a separate group. The curtains should be 600 yards long. They should make seven domes. Seven of them for sacrificial rites should made of gold and silver and they should be raised on silver pillars. Each pillar must be 40 yards high. Silver tables should be placed between them to put the sacrifice on and each table should be four yard long and one yard wide. The four legs of every table should be made of silver and each should be three yards high so that nobody could be able to pick up anything from it without getting up. The Jerusalem which is the seventh dome must be raised on golden pillars seventy yards high and it should be placed on golden Seebaa, which also should decorated with different jewels. Gold and silver nets must be provided beneath. Ropes should be made up of fur of the sacrificed animals and must be colored in various shades, that is red, green and yellow. All the curtains must be placed one upon another. The lowest must be made up of thick green silk the second of purple, then of fine silk and brocade of white and yellow shade and the topmost seventh of skin of sacrificed animals, which may protect the others from rain and dust. Its width must be seventy yards. The carpets of the domes should be of red fine silk and the golden box should be fixed in that dome which will contain the covenant). It must be decorated with various jewels. Its legs will be of gold, its length 9 yard, width four yards and height equal to Musa. The dome will have four doors. One will be for Angels to enter another for Musa, third Harun and the fourth for the children of Harun who will be in charge of dome. They will protect the box.
Almighty Allah ordered Musa that one mithqal (5 grams) gold should must be collected from everyone from the Israelites for Jerusalem and extra needs should be met within from what has been taken from the wealth and ornaments from the Pharaoh and his associates. Musa did the same. The total number of The Israelites was 600000 at that time. The aforesaid amount was collected from 780 of them. Allah revealed to Musa, “I am about to send down to you from the heavens a kind of fire which will not have smoke. It will neither burn anything nor will extinguish. It will burn only the sacrifices accepted by me and it will light the lamps of Jerusalem.”
Those lamps were made up of gold and were hanging by golden chains studded with rubies and pearls as well as different kinds of jewels. And Allah ordered that a big stone should be placed in the middle. A pit should be made in its midst so that the fire coming from the heavens might stay therein. Then Musa called Harun and informed him that, “The Lord had honored me through a fire from the sky so that it will burn the acceptable sacrifices as well as light the lamps of Jerusalem. And He has commanded me about it and I choose you as per that will and I authorize you. So Harun called his sons Shabbar and Shabbir and said to them, “The Lord has authorized and chosen Musa for an affair and has willed in that regard and now I will and authorize you in this matter.” So thenceforth the trusteeship of Jerusalem and protection of the Ark and the celestial fire remained with Harun.[2]

Revelation of Torah, disobedience of Bani Israel
Allah says in Surah Baqarah, O The Israelites! “….. And when we appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust.” “And when We gave Musa the book and the distinction that you might walk aright. And when Musa said to his people: O my people! You have surely been unjust to yourselves by talking the calf (as a God), therefore turn to your creator (penitently), so kill your people, that is best for you with your creator; so he turned to you (mercifully), for surely he is the oft returning (to mercy), the merciful. And when you said, O Musa! We will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you looked on. Then we raised you up after your death that you may give thanks. “And when we took a promise from you (to obey the commandments in torah) and lifted the mountain over you (saying): Take hold of the law (Torah) we have given you with firmness and bear in mind what is in it (like commands and admissions), so that you may guard (against evil). Then you turned back after that; so were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers.” Then He said, “And most certainly Musa came to you with clear arguments, then you took the calf (for a God) in his absence and you were unjust. And when we made a covenant with you and raised the mountain over you: Take hold of what we have given you with firmness and be obedient. They said, we hear and disobey. And they were made to imbibe (the love of) the calf into their hearts on account of their unbelievers.”
And it is mentioned in Surah Maidah that “and certainly Allah made a covenant with the children of Israel, and we raised up among them twelve chieftains; and then Allah said, surely I am with you; if you keep up prayer. Pay the poor rate and believe in My apostles and assists them and offer to Allah a goodly gift certainly cause you to enter into grand beneath which rivers flow, out but whoever disbelieves from among you after that, he indeed shall lose the right way.”
And in Surah Al-A‘raf it is stated: “And we appointed with Musa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more), so the appointed time of his Lord was completed forty nights, and Musa said to his brother Harun; Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief makers. And when Musa came at our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said my Lord! Show me (thyself), so that I may look upon thee. He said you cannot bear to see me, But look at the mountain if it remains firm in its place, then will you see me; But when his Lord manifested his Glory to the mountain he made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon; then when he recovered he said, Glory be to Thee (You are above visibility) and I am the first believers (in believing that no one can ever see you).
Then Allah said, O Musa! Surely I haven chosen you the people with my message and my words, therefore take hold of what (Torah) I give you and be of the grateful ones. And we ordained for him for the tablets admonition of every kind and clear explanation of all things; so take hold of them with firmness and enjoin your people to take hold of what is best thereof; I will show you the abode of the transgressors (in Egypt or Syria) and he said, And Musa’s people (after he went to tour) made of their ornament of gold a calf after him, a (mere) body, which gave a mooning sound. What! They could not see that it did not speak to them nor guide them in the way? They took it (for worship) and they were unjust. And when they repented and saw that they have gone astray, they said, if our Lord show no mercy to us and forgive us, we shall certainly be of the losers. And when Musa returned to his people, wrathful (and) in violent grief, he said, Evil is it that you have done after me; did you turn away from the bidding of your lord? And he threw down the tablets (of Torah) and seized his brother by the head dragging him towards him. He (Harun) said, Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well nigh slain, therefore make not the enemies to rejoice over me and count me not among the unjust people.
Musa said, My lord! Forgive me and my brothers and cause us to enter into Thy Mercy, and Thou art the most Merciful of all the Merciful ones. (As for) those who took the calf (for a gold), surely wrath from their lord and disgrace from this world’s life shall overtake them, and thus do we recompense the devisers of lies. And (as to) those who do evil deeds, then repent after that and believe your Lord after that is most surely forgiving, merciful. And when Musa’s anger calmed down he took up the tablets, and in the writing thereof was guidance and mercy for those who fear for the sake of their lord. And Musa chose out of his people seventy men for our appointment: so when the earthquake overtook them, he said, My Lord! If Thou hadst pleased, Thou hadst destroyed them before myself (too): will Thou destroy us for what the fools among us have done? It is naught but Thy trail, Thou makest err with it whom you pleases: Thou art our guardian, therefore forgive us and have mercy on us, Thou art the best of the forgivers. And ordain for us good in this world’s life and in hereafter, for surely we turned to Thee. He said (as for) my chastisement, I will afflict with it whom I please, and my mercy encompasses all things; so I will ordain it (specially) for those who guard (against evil) and pay the poor-rate, and those who believe in our communications.
By those who guard is meant the Prophet of the last age and his legatees and pious people from his Ummah.
They said, “And when we shook the mountain over them as if it were a covering overhead, and they thought it was going to fall upon them: Take hold of what we have given you with firmness, and be mindful of what is in it, so that you may guard (against evil).
And he has said in Surah Taha that; O children of Israel! Indeed we delivered you from your enemy, and we made a covenant with you on the blessed side of the mountain, and we sent you the manna and the quails. Eat of the good things we have given you for sustenance, and be not inordinate with respect to them, lest my wrath should be due to you, and whomsoever my wrath is due will perish indeed. And most surely I am most forgiving to him who repents and is guided by the Wilayah of the true Imams.
And Allah said, “and caused you to hasten you from your people, O Musa? He said, they are here on my track and I hastened on to Thee, My lord, that Thou mightest be pleased. The lord said, So surely have tried your people after you, and the Samiri has led them astray. So Musa returned to his people wrathful, sorrowing. Said he: O my people! Did not your lord promise you a goodly promise: did then the time seem long to you, or did you wish that displeasure from your lord should be due to you, so that you broke (our) promise to you of our own accord, but we were made to bear the burdens of the ornaments of the people, then we made the casting of them, and thus did the Samiri suggest. Samiri also mixed with it what was with him. Then he brought forth for them a calf a (mere) body, which had a mooing sound, so they said, This is your God and the God of Musa, but he forgot (as he had to tour to meet God). What! Could they not see that it did return to them reply, and (that) it did not control any harm or benefit for them? And certainly Harun had said to them before: O my people! You are only tried but by it, and surely your lord is beneficent God, therefore follow me and obey my order. They said, we will by no means cease to keep to its worship until Musa return to us. Musa said, O Harun! What prevented you, when you saw them going astray, so that you did not follow me? Did you then disobey my orders? He said, O son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You had caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my lord. Then Musa said, What was then your object, O Samiri? He said, I saw (Archangel Gabriel) what they did not see, so took a handful (of the dust) from the footsteps of the messenger, then I threw it in the casting: thus did my soul command to me. (When Archangel Gabriel came so that they may drown the Pharaoh, I saw that the dust of the place where the foot of his horse falls remains moving so I took up a handful of that dust and threw it into this calf and it began to make noise. Musa said, be gone then, surely for you it will be in this life to say, touch (me) not; and surely there is a threat for you, which shall not be made to fail you, and look at your God to whose worship you kept (so long); we will certainly burn it, then we will certainly scatter it a (wide) scattering in the sea. Your God is only Allah, there is no God but he; He comprehends all things in his knowledge.
There is a difference of opinion about Samiri. Some have said that Musa had ordered all not to sit near him nor to talk with him, nor to give him anything to eat nor should he approach anyone. Some have said it was the divine order according to which whenever anyone sat near him both of them become ill. Therefore he was not allowing anybody to come near him and this effect still continues in his progeny. Whenever anybody touches them both of them become ill with fever. Some have said that he ran away for fear of hell and continued to wander with uncivilized people until he entered hell.
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that Allah promised Musa that the Torah and the tablets will be sent to him within thirty days. He gave this information to The Israelites and went towards the mountain of Toor and made is brother Harun his caliph in his community. When thirty days passed and Musa did not return they discontinued obeying Harun and intended to kill him and said that Musa lied and ran away from us. Satan came to them in the form of a man and told them, “Musa has ran away from you and he will not return. So collect your ornaments so that I may make a God out of it for you.” Samiri was the chief of Musa’s vanguard army.
The day on which Allah drowned the Pharaoh and his companions he saw that Archangel Gabriel was leading a mare and at the spot where the mare puts its hoof begins to move. So Samiri took some dust from under the hoof the mare of Archangel Gabriel and saw it moving. He put it into a bag and began to boast among the Israelites that “I have such a dust.” When Satan deceived them they made a calf. Then Shaitan came to Samiri and told him, “Bring the dust, which is with you.” He put it into the belly of the calf. At once that calf moved and also mooed and developed hair and tail. The Israelites bowed before it. They were 70,000 people. Harun admonished them but they paid no need and said, “We will not stop worshipping the calf until Musa returns.” They intended to kill Harun. Harun did not resist. Anyway, they remained on this disastrous path until 40 days passed since the departure of Musa.
Allah gave him Torah on the 10th of Dhu’l-hijjah. It was inscribed on tablets. In them were all things like commandments, admonitions and stories that were required for them. Allah revealed to Musa, “We have taken the test of your community behind you; that Samiri cheated them and misguided them and now they are worshipping a golden calf that speaks.” Musa said, “My Lord! Samiri molded the calf but who made it speak? Allah said, “I, O Musa! When I saw that they have turned their face from Me and have inclined toward the calf and then I also made their trial more difficult.” So Musa returned in anger towards his people. When he saw them in this condition he threw down the tablets dragged Harun by his beard and told him, “What prevented you from coming to me when you saw that they are going astray?” Harun said, “My brother! Do not pull my beard and head. I was afraid that you may say that I have created dissension among The Israelites and did not obey your word.”
Then The Israelites said, “We did not breach your promise willfully. But we had unfathomable wealth belonging to the Pharaoh and his people, (their ornaments etc.) So we melted all of it and it began to speak. Therefore we worshipped it.” Musa scolded Samiri, “Why did you do so?” He said, “I took up a handful of mud from beneath the hoof Archangel Gabriel’s animal. I threw it into the belly of the calf and it began to make noise and my heart made this attractive to me.” Hearing this Musa burned the calf and scattered it in the sea and said to Samiri, “Go away; it will be your routine throughout your life to say, “Don’t Touch!” meaning none should touch you. So it continues until today in his progeny that people may recognize him and not be deceived. People call them Laa Misaa in Egypt and Syria. Musa desired to kill Samiri but Allah revealed not to kill him as he was generous.
According to a reliable narration Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that Allah did not send any messenger but there were always two devils (Shaitans) to harass them. They (devils) used to spread corruption and trouble among their people and were misguiding people after the departure of the messengers. In the time of Nuh there were Fanteghoos and Hizaam, in the days of Musa were Samiri and Maraqbaa and during the days of ‘Isa were Molos and Marisaan.
It is also narrated that Allah revealed to Musa, “I will send Torah on you within forty days, that is, during the ten days of the months of Dhu’l-Qa’dah and Dhu’l-hijjah and it will contain commandments.” Musa told his companions that Allah had promised to send Torah in thirty days. Allah had commanded him to tell thirty days to the Israelites so that they might not be disappointed. Musa made Harun his vicegerent and proceeded to Mount Toor. When thirty days passed and Musa did not return, The Israelites became angry and intended to kill Harun. They said, “Musa told us a lie or he has fled from us.” They made a calf and began to worship it. Allah sent tablets of Torah to Musa on 10th of the month of Dhu’l-hijjah containing commandments, news, stories and traditions everything, which they needed.
When Allah sent down Torah upon Musa and spoke with him he said, “My Lord! Show me Your Self to me. Allah said, “I am invisible and no one has the power of looking at My grandeur. But look at this mountain. If it remains at its place you can see Me.” So the Lord raised up the curtain and descended one of the sings of His greatness on the mountain. The mountain was drowned in the ocean and will continue to drown until day of the Resurrection Day (the Resurrection Day). Angels came down and doors of the heavens opened up. Allah revealed to the angels to see that Musa does not run away. So the angels came down and surrounding Musa said, “O son of ‘Imran! You have asked a great thing from Allah.” When Musa saw that the mountain had drowned and observed the position of the angels he fell face down and his soul departed from his body. Allah made his soul return to his body. He lifted up his head and said, “I consider You greater than that can be seen, I seek forgiveness and I am the first person to believe that no one can ever see you.” Allah sent a revelation, “O Musa! I have given you distinction over people by making you My messenger and through a discourse with you and I have selected you. So take whatever I have given to you and be of those who are thankful.” Then Archangel Gabriel told him, “I am your brother.”
Explaining the word of Allah, And We appointed with Musa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more), so the appointed time of his Lord was complete forty nights, and Musa said to his brother Harun: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers. (7:142)
It is said in the commentary of Imam Al-Hasan al-’Askari that Imam said, Musa told The Israelites that Allah will give you salvation. A Book of commandments and admonitions and examples will be sent by Allah (SWT). When Allah delivered them from their troubles, He ordered Musa to arrive at the promised spot, and to fast for thirty days at the foot of the mountain. Musa thought that Allah would give him the Book after thirty days.
So he fasted for thirty days at the foot of the mountain. Musa brushed his teeth before breaking the fast. Allah revealed, “O Musa! Perhaps you are not aware that the smell of the mouth of the one who has fasted (for me) is, to me, dearer than the fragrance of musk. So fast for ten more days and do not brush your teeth at the time of breaking the fast.” Musa complied. Allah had promised that He would give him the Book after forty days. So he revealed the book after forty days. On the other hand, Samiri misguided those who had weak faith making them think that Musa had promised to them to return after forty days; that 20 days and 20 nights have already passed (purporting to say that the total was 40) and the promise of Musa had ended; that Musa did not see his Lord; that he has come back to you and intends to show himself to you as He (Allah) is able to call you to him without the intervention of Musa; so understand that Musa has not been sent by Allah and He did not need him.
Then Samiri presented to them the calf that he had molded. The Israelites said, “How can a calf be our God?” Samiri replied, “Your Lord will talk with you through this calf as he had conversed with Musa through a tree.” Then when they heard the voice coming out of the calf they said, “Verily God has arrived in this calf as he had entered the tree.” When Musa returned and saw this situation he asked the calf, “Was your lord in you as these people say?”
The calf began to talk and said, “My Lord is above the possibility of being within a calf or a tree or a house. By Allah! O Musa! This is not possible. But Samiri made my hind part rest with the wall and he made a hole in the ground from the other side and then made one of his misguided men to hide there who was speaking by placing his mouth from the direction of my tail. Then The Israelites showed laziness in sending Salawaat on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and they denied his love and deviated from the faith in the Prophethood of the last Prophet and the Imamate of his selected legatee. So they became dishonored and thought that I was their god. Because of this error, Allah’s guidance disappeared from them so much that they forgot the command of their Lord. Almighty Allah said when people became disgraced due to their refusal to send Salawaat on Muhammad and his Legatee, that is, they began to worship calf, then, O The Israelites! How is it that you do not fear making enmity against Muhammad and ‘Ali while you do observe the signs and miracles.”
I forgave your forefathers’ calf-worship earlier, perhaps O The Israelites of the age of Muhammad! Maybe you be thankful for the bounties bestowed upon you and your grandfathers. Imam said, Allah did not forgive them but they prayed through the intercession of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad and accepted their affection. Then Allah said His mercy was on them and pardoned their error.
Remember the time when we gave the book to Musa that is, Torah, when we took promise from The Israelites to believe and to obey every command written obligatory from them. And We gave the Criterion which distinguishes between truth and falsehood and it is also a command which makes the true people distinct from untrue people, because when Allah gave order to The Israelites due to their faith in the book (Torah) and obeying its command, thereafter Allah revealed, “O Musa! Those people did put faith in the book but still separates the believers and the true from disbeliever and falsehood. So renew the oath in this regard because I have sworn by My Holy Self that the oath is true in which Allah does not accept anyone’s word and deed until he does not believe in it. (Furqan)” Musa asked, “What is Furqan?” Came the reply, “It is that of The Israelites that Muhammad is best of the creation and the greatest of all the Prophets and their leader ‘Ali is the best of all the successors of the Prophets and that their Legatees will be appointed as their Imams and that those holy personalities are the best of creation and that their Shi‘ahs (partisans) who will follow their commands will be the stars of the grand Firdaus in the heaven and the kings of the Eden gardens.” So Musa took from them the covenant. Some accepted it orally and by heart; some did not believe in their hearts. So they did not gain the light of faith. This was the Furqan given to Musa by Allah. The Almighty said, perhaps you may be guided, that is, you may understand that, in the sight of Allah, a slave’s honor is connected with his belief in Wilayah just as your predecessors were honored.
O The Israelites! Recall that time when Musa told his people; who had worshipped the calf: you have oppressed your own souls and harmed yourselves by making the calf your god. So return and seek pardon of the Lord who created you and set right your figures and kill yourselves, that is, those who did not worship calf should kill those who had worshipped it. This killing of yours is better in the sight of your Lord than your remaining alive in the world and not to be pardoned and the worldly bounties may reach you but you have to enter hell. And when you will get killed and will repent, Allah will make your killing expiation for your sins and will grant you the bounties of the eternal paradise. Allah accepted your repentance and kept you alive for His worship and surely he is the greatest acceptors of repentance and very Kind. It was a fact that when the falsehood of the calf was exposed by Musa and when the calf exposed the cheating of the Samiri, Musa ordered those who had not worshipped the calf to kill those who worshipped it. So Allah ordered Musa to break that calf (statue) into pieces and to throw them in the river and make all of them drink that water. The lips and noses of those who had the worshipped the calf will turn black and thus they will be identified. Those who did not worship the calf numbered twelve thousand. Musa ordered them to come out with their swords and to kill the sinners. The announcer announced that curse of Allah be on those who move their hands and feet. They should get themselves killed silently and from among the killers one who thinks about the person who is being killed and the one who makes distinction between himself and others will also be cursed. Hearing this, the sinners did not rebel and bowed down to be killed. Innocent people came to Musa complaining that we did not worship the calf and yet our punishment is harsher than the sinners (calf worshippers) as we are being asked to kill with our hands our own fathers and mothers and brothers and relatives.
The Almighty revealed to Musa, “I have put these people in this severe trail because they did not separate themselves from those who had worshipped the calf, nor denied them or became angry with them. Well, now tell them to pray to Allah through the right of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad so that I may make the massacre easy for them.” So they prayed to Allah and sought the intercession of the Prophet of Allah and the guiding of Imams. Then Allah made the affairs easy for them so that they did not experience any grief and sorrow due to that killing. When the massacre began Allah guided some of them and so one told the other that: when the intercession of Muhammad and his progeny in such a thing that the one who resort to it never get disappointed and that none of his prayers remain unanswered by Allah and when all the messenger have sought their intercession, why we should not do so? After making joint consultation on this point all of them gathered and complained to Allah, “O Lord! For the sake of Muhammad who is the best and the greatest of creation and for the sake of ‘Ali who, after Muhammad is the best and the greatest of creation and for the sake of their pious progeny we request you to forgive our sins and to overlook our errors and to remove this state of being killed from us.”
Allah revealed to Musa to tell them to put down their hands because some of them has given him an oath. “Had they done so in the beginning I would have given them good guidance and would have saved them from calf-worship. And even if the devil had given me such an oath I would have certainly guided him and even if the Pharaoh and Nimrod too would have done so I would have given them salvation.” So the punishment of killing was withdrawn. They said, “Alas! If we had not been unmindful of the intercession of Muhammad and his progeny in the beginning the Lord of the worlds would have protected us from this trail.
Remember the time when your predecessors said, O Musa! We will not put faith in you until we see Allah with our own eyes. Lightening took them. Then we made your predecessors alive after their death. Perhaps they may be thankful for that life span due to which they could repent before Allah and to turn towards Him and “we made them die”, and it was not a permanent death, which might take them to hell forever. Imam said, “The cause of that lightening was that when Musa intended to take the oath of Furqan from the Prophethood of Muhammad and the Imamate of ‘Ali bin Abi-Talib and all the pious Imams, they said, “We do not believe that this is the order of your Lord. We shall not put faith in it until we see Allah with our own eyes and He may give us the order.” Then the lightning fell on them and they saw that the lightning was falling on them. Allah said, “O Musa! I give honor of those of my friends who testify to my selected salves and in this matter I care for no one.” Then Musa told the remaining people who were not harmed by lightning, “Do you accept and confess? If not, you will meet the same fate.” They said, “O Musa we do not know for what reason the lightning fell on them. If you are true in your word that it fell for not accepting the Wilayah of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad then pray to Allah for the sake of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad so that he may make them alive and so that we may ask them about the reason.” Musa prayed to Allah and they became alive.
The Israelites asked them and they replied that the chastisement overtook them because they had denied the Prophethood of Muhammad and the Imamate of ‘Ali and his progeny. “Then after death we saw the kingdom of our lord in the heavens. We observed curtains, Chair, Throne and hell and we saw that no ones kingdom and rules is greater and more effective than that of Muhammad and ‘Ali and Fatimah and Hasan and Husayn. When we died due to the lightning and when angels began to drive our souls towards hell, Muhammad and ‘Ali called out to the angels to postpone chastisement group saying that these people will become alive again by the prayer of one who will pray for it for the sake of us and our pious progeny.” This voice reached us when we were about to be thrown out in the Haawiya. But hearing it the angels stopped pushing us until we became alive due to your prayer.” So the Almighty said to the Prophet of time: “When our elders became alive through the intercession of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad you too do not deny their right and do not invite the divine punishment by yourselves and be worthy of the divine punishment yourselves.”
Believe for sure of the time when We took a covenant from your forefathers to do as We had ordered them to do through Torah and with that particular message which was sent about Muhammad and the family of Muhammad that they are the best of creation and that they are to rise up in the world with truth, it is incumbent upon you to confess this and also to make your children aware of this command of this Allah and to appoint them on the job of conveying this to their offspring’s. This should continue until the end of the world, that they should put faith in Allah’s Prophet, Muhammad and to accept all that he may say about his legatee ‘Ali bin Abi-Talib and which ‘Ali may say regarding the Imams who are to rise with truth after ‘Ali. So O The Israelites! Your predecessors refused to accept them.
So we ordered Archangel Gabriel to lift from the mountain, a piece equal to the size of the army camp of Musa (one square parasang) and Archangel Gabriel made it hang over their heads. Then Musa asked them, “Do you believe or this will be thrown on you.” They sought shelter and believed for fear to their lives. Allah protected them from their enemies those who believed sincerely. So when they accepted they fell downs in prostration and put their cheeks on the earth. But many of them placed their cheeks on the earth only to see whether or not the mountain falls on them. Very few of them placed their heads on ground sincerely before their Lord.
Take and accept whatever we have given to you from the duties, which we have imposed on you with the strength that we have granted to you. We have given you enough power to obey our commands and we have lifted conditions from you.
We heard your word and we denied, that is, disobeyed thereafter or made up mind at that time not to obey the command. They were commanded to drink the water where the pieces of the calf were thrown so that it may become clear as to who is calf-worshipper and who did not worship it.
They were ordered to do so due to their disbelief. O Muhammad! Tell them that if you have faith in Torah then realized that what they ordered you was a bad thing, that is not to put faith in Musa so that you deny Muhammad and ‘Ali and their progeny but he commands you to believe in those great persons. ‘Ali said that when Musa returned to The Israelites and when those who had worshipped the calf came to him repenting Musa asked, “Tell me who has worshipped the calf so that I may carry out Allah’s command.” All denied and everyone of them said, “I did not do it, others did.” Musa told Samiri “Look at the God which you worshipped as I am breaking it into pieces and throwing it into the river.”
Allah commanded Musa and he broke it into pieces with a hammer and threw it the river, and ordered The Israelites to drink that water. So the one who had worshipped it and who was fair complexioned got his lips and nose black and if he was black colored these parts of his body became white. Then Divine commands were issued to them.
Amir al-Mu’minin says that Musa had promised to The Israelites that when they will be freed from the Pharaoh, Allah would send a Book for them containing commands (orders and prohibitions) and there will be, in it, punishments and duties. When they got freedom and approached Musa he brought the Book for them. It was written in that “I do not accept the deed of the one who does not respect Muhammad and his progeny, and who does not honor their friends and companions as they should truly do. O slaves of Allah! Understand and be witness that Muhammad is the best in My creation and his brother ‘Ali is, in his Ummah (followers) his legatee and the inheritor of his knowledge and his deputy and the best of creation after him (the Prophet). The progeny of the Prophet are the best of the progenies of all Prophets and his companions are the best among the Prophet’s companions and his (Muhammad’s) Ummah is the best of the Ummahs of all the Prophets. The Israelites said, “We do not accept it.” They said, “O Musa! This is very hard to accept. But we accept its conditions as rules as it is easy and how can we accept it when we believe that our Prophet is better than all other Prophets and that his Progeny is better than that of all others and we, who are in his community, are better than the communities of all other Prophets. So we do not accept the grace of that group whom we have never seen nor do we know them.”
Allah ordered Archangel Gabriel to lift a mountain from Palestine having the area of one square parasang, that is the size of the camp of Musa and raised it over their heads and said, “Accept whatever Musa has brought for you otherwise I am about to drop this mountain on you whereby all of you will be crushed and vanished.” Then they became restless and cried, “O Musa what should we do?” Musa said, “Prostrate for Allah and rub your forehead and both cheeks on dust and say, ‘O Lord! We have heard and we have accepted, confessed and submitted and have become satisfied.’”
They did as told by Musa. But most of them did not do it with sincerity and they were saying in their heart we heard but we opposed. Though they put their right cheek on the dust (earth) their intention was not to express humility before Allah and to repent for their past sins. Rather they had done so just to see if the mountain falls on them or not. Then they also put down their left cheek but that too with the same intention. Archangel Gabriel told Musa, “I will destroy most of these people because they have confessed only apparently and since the Lord also deals with people in this world only according to their apparent deeds their bloods is protected and they will live here in safety but, in the hereafter, their affair is with the Lord who will punish them on the ground of their false belief and incorrect intention.”
The Israelites saw that the mountain broke into two, one pieces of white pearl and went toward the sky and, piercing the clouds, disappeared from sight and the other piece became fire, tore through the earth and disappeared from their eyes. They asked the reason from Musa who said, “The piece which went towards sky went up, got appended to paradise and the Lord multiplied it unlimitedly, so much that no one knows its extent except the Lord himself and He ordered that it should be utilized for building mansions, palaces and stations for those who believed truthfully (from heart); that those building will have all kinds of bounties such as gardens, good-natured houries and slaves having permanent beauty who would be like scattered pearls.
They will get all the bounties as promised by Allah to His righteous slaves. And another piece which pierced the earth has got annexed to hell and the Lord added innumerable piece to it and ordered that they should be used for building houses and stations full of calamities like rivers of fire and Ghisleen (the water oozing from wounds) and the tanks of Ghassak (a dirty thing like pus etc.) and canals of foul water and thorny trees and poisonous grass and snakes, scorpions and bullets and pallet bows and chains and all sorts of chastisement and calamities having the angels in charge of hell with clubs in their hands for punishing the disbelievers who denied the orders of this Book. The Lord has provided all these things for the dwellers of hell. The Prophet asked The Israelites, “Don’t you fear chastisement of Allah? While denying the distinctions for which Allah had selected me and my pious progeny?”
According to reliable narrations Tawus Yamani, who is one of the Ulama (scholars) of the Sunnis asked Imam al-Baqir which is that bird which flew only once and will never fly thereafter? Imam said, “It is the Toor mountain. Allah Almighty had raised it up over the heads of The Israelites. There were different kind of chastisement in it until people accepted the word of Allah, And when We took a promise from you and lifted the mountain over you: Take hold of the law (Torah) We have given you with firmness and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard (against evil). (2:63)
In another hadith Imam has said, while explaining the same verse, “When the Almighty sent Torah for The Israelites and they did not accept it he raised mount Toor over their heads.” Musa told them, “If you do not accept the mountain will be made to fall on you.” Then they accepted and put down their heads in prostration.
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that when Musa told The Israelites that Allah speaks to him, they did not believe him. He said, “Select a group from your people to accompany me to hear the talk of Allah with me. They selected 70 righteous people from their community and sent them to Musa to hear the divine speech. When Musa went near the place and when Allah conversed to him by creating vibration in the air, Musa asked them to hear and be witness before The Israelites. They said we will not believe that this voice is of Allah until we see him with our own eyes. Then a lightening fell on them and all of them were burnt down into ashes. Musa became sorrowful on seeing this and appealed, “My Lord! Do you kill us all because of what some of our fools did?” Musa has imagined that those people were destroyed because of the sins of The Israelites.
It is recorded in reliable sources that Imam al-Baqir and Imam as-Sadiq said that when Musa requested Allah to show Himself, He revealed to him, “You will never be able to see Me.” But He promised, “I will send My might on this mountain so that Musa might understand that He is beyond visibility (vision).” Musa went up the Toor mountain. The gates of heavens were open, the army of angels came down and began to pass by Musa holding radiant clubs in the big columns along with lightening roars and stormy winds. Every column was saying, “O son of ‘Imran! You have asked a great thing from your Lord.” And Musa was trembling on seeing each and every column. Fire encircled him by the command of Allah due to which he was not able to move out of out of it in any direction until the Allah shed a particle of his radiant grandeur on that mountain. The mountain went down the earth and Musa fell unconscious.[3]
It is recorded in reliable sources that Al-Ma’mun asked this question to Imam al-Ridha. He replied that Kaleemullah (the one who conversed with Allah), that is Musa knew that the lord is above vision. Yet since the Lord conversed with him and made him His confidant and when he informed his community about this fact they said we will not believe in what you say unless and until we hear Allah’s words just as you heard them. They were 700000 people in all. Musa selected 7000 out of them, then 700 therefrom and thereafter 70 and took them to Mount Toor with him which was the venue of his worship. He made them wait at the foot of the hill and went up and prayed to Allah to speak with him in a way that it could be heard by those 70 at the foothill.
The Lord conversed with him and all of them heard His words simultaneously from above their heads and from below their feet and from their right and left and front and behind because Allah had created sound in the tree, which spread in all directions. Thus they heard it from every direction so that they may realize that it was the word of Allah, because, had it been the voice of anyone else it would have reached them from only one direction. Those seventy men said we do not believe it until we see Allah with our own eyes. As this demand was made by them was a very unbecoming outrage and harsh rebellion Allah made lightening to fall on them that killed them due to their injustice.
Then Musa said, “My lord! What shall I say after returning to my people, as they will say to me, ‘O Musa! You took our brothers with you since you were not true in your claim of having conversed with Allah you killed them.’” The Lord made them alive as requested by Musa. When they became alive they said, “O Musa all this happened because you had asked for it to show it to us. So now ask Allah to show himself to you so that you may look at him as He will accept your wish. Then you see Him and tell us about it so that we will recognize Him as He should be recognized.” Musa said, “My Lord! You hear the words of The Israelites and also know what is better for them.” The Lord then revealed to Musa, “Ask Me as they ask I will not question you for their ignorance and folly.” Musa said, “My Lord! Show yourself to me.” The Lord said, “You can never see me, however look at the mountain. If it remains at its place you will be able to see me.” Then the Lord shed one of his sign of grandeur on the mountain, which leveled the mountain to the ground and Musa fainted. When he gained consciousness he said, “My Lord! I Praise your inviolability and, O Lord’ I repent before You, that is, I turn my back to my peoples’ nonsense and ignorance and return to Your recognition which was with me earlier. And I am the first person from The Israelites to have faith in You with the belief that you are beyond visibility.”
It is recorded in authentic traditions that Imam as-Sadiq asked the people, “Do you know why Harun said ‘O son of my mother!’ do not pull my beard and head why did he not say: ‘ O son of my father! Then he clarified that jealously takes place among brothers when they are from one father and different mother. When they are from one mother, enmity remains less among them unless Satan creates corruption between them and when they obey Satan.. So Harun said to Musa: O my brother born from one and the same mother! (not from a different mother) Do not hold my head and bread. He did not say: “O son of my father!” because enmity is not uncommon between sons of one father and different mothers, except those protected by Allah.
Then the questioners ask the Imam why Musa held the head and beard of Harun and pulled when he did not take part in calf worship? Imam replied, “Because when The Israelites indulge in calf worship and thus became infidels he did not distance himself from them and joined Musa. Had he separated himself from them joined Musa the anger would not have fallen on him. Do you not see that Musa said to Harun, ‘When you saw them go astray what prevented you from coming up to me?’ Harun said, ‘Had I done so The Israelites would have divided themselves into groups and I was afraid that you would say that I created discord among The Israelites and did not care for you in the matter of their reform.’”[4]
It is recorded in reliable traditions that Imam al-Ridha said, “People asked Amir al-Mu’minin what is the reason behind that fact that a cow cannot raise her eyes up towards the sky? He replied, ‘As the community of Musa had worshipped calf she keeps her head down being ashamed and does not looks up towards the sky.’” It is reported that the Holy Prophet said, “Love the cow as she is the best among the four footed animals and she does not look towards the sky because she is ashamed of being worshipped (by the misguided).”
It is mentioned in another tradition that when Musa asked and the Almighty shed His radiance on the mountain range seven of them broke up from it and flew away and fell towards hijaz and Yemen. The one who came to Medina was Uhad and Ruqaan and one, which came to Makkah, was Sabeer and Harraa and one, which came to Yemen, were Sabr and Hasoor.
It is mentioned in reliable tradition that Amir al-Mu’minin said, “When you take my bier towards Najaf Ashraf, a wind will confront you and it will throw you down on a ground. So bury on that spot as it is the first mount Sinai.”
According to authentic narration Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said, Najaf Ashraf is the piece of the mountain on which Allah had spoken to Musa.
It is mentioned in another reliable tradition that when the Almighty rained His radiance on mount Toor it began to drown in the sea and will continue to go down until the Resurrection Day.
It is mentioned in yet another reliable tradition that Karroobiyaan is a group of our Shi‘ahs (companions) whom Allah created first and he has placed them on the back of the throne. If he distributes a radiance of anyone of them between all the residents of the earth surely it would suffice for all. And when the Musa asked for seeing the Lord, He ordered one of those Karroobiyaan to shed its radiance on the mount. It complied. The mountain could not bear it and was drowned in the sea.[5]
‘Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated that when The Israelites repented and when Musa told them to kill one another (by way of punishment) they asked how it should be done? He said, “You come at Jerusalem next morning and bring with you knives, sword or other arms and keeping your face hidden (covered) so that you may not recognize one another. Start killing when I climb the pulpit.” Next morning the 70000 People who had worshipped the calf gathered near Jerusalem. Musa offered prayers and ascended the pulpit. Massacre started. When 10000 of them were killed Archangel Gabriel came down and said, “O Musa! Ask them to stop killing as Almighty Allah has accepted their repentance by His Grace.”
It is mentioned in a reliable tradition that Imam as-Sadiq said, “Musa has selected 70 person from his community and took them to mount Toor with him. When they asked to see Allah, a lightening feel on them and all were burnt to death.” Musa prayed, “My Lord these were my companions.” Came the divine revelation, “O Musa! I will give you better companions.” Musa said, “My Lord! I am attached to them. I know all of them with their names.” He prayed thrice like this. So Allah made them alive and made all of them messengers.[6]
It is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that when the Almighty Allah sent down Torah on Musa which contained information about everything that to be seen until the Resurrection Day and when Musa reached his age (life span) Allah asked him to entrust the tablets to the mountain. Those tablets were made of Heaven’s Emerald. Musa brought them to the mountain. The gap closed in and the tablets disappeared until the last Prophet of Allah arrived. Once a caravan of Yemeni people came to him. When it reached that mountain, it split up and the tablets reappeared. They (caravan) took them up and brought them to the Holy Prophet. “From that time they are all with us until today.”
In another reliable tradition it is mentioned that Imam al-Baqir said when Musa threw the tablets some of them broke and went down that ground (rock) and became preserved there until the holy Prophet Muhammad came. Then that rock sent them to him. There are several hadiths that Allah did not send any book to any Prophet nor gave any miracle to any messenger but that all of them (Books and Miracles) are with the progeny of the holy Prophet. InshaAllah these hadiths will be quoted at their appropriate place.
It is narrated from Imam as-Sadiq that when Musa cursed the Israelites in June, 300000 persons of them died within twenty-four hours.
It is narrated from the Holy Prophet that Qur’an is called Furqan because its chapters and verses came separately without being inscribed on a tablet while Torah and Injeel and Zabur had been sent down inscribed on tablets and written on pages.
According to reliable sources Imam Ja‘far as-Sadiq said that Torah was sent down on the 6th of Ramadhan.[7]
[1] Commentators have differed in their opinion about the Holy Land as to what place is it. Some have said it is Jerusalem (Jerusalem), Some have said it is Damascus and Palestine. According to some it is Syria and some say it is the land between Toor and the land around it. Traditions regarding this have been quoted earlier. Similarly there is difference of opinion as to whether Musa had entered the Holy Land or not. But reliable traditions mentioned that Musa expired in Tiyah and that his Legatee Yusha‘ ibn Nun took out The Israelites from Tiyah. It is also not unanimous weather or not the Bab al-Hitta was in the desert they faced it after getting out of it. Most of the people are of Tiyah desert The Israelites were ordered that they should enter the gate of Jerusalem or of Areehah in the aforesaid manner. According to this belief Musa should not have been with them at that time. Some have said that Musa had made a Qubbah (cupola=dome) in Tiyah and he was praying Salat facing it. The Israelites were commanded to enter the gate bowing and requesting Divine pardon for their sins in a state of humanity. It might have meant Ruku (Bowing). Some have said, prostrating after entering means seeking pardon. The earlier hadiths make these two reasons preferable) Saalaba has narrated in Araais that Lord Almighty had given a promise to Musa that He will grant him and his community the Holy land of Syria as their place of residence and will destroy the community of Amaalaqah who were then ruling over Syria. When The Israelites entered Egypt after the Pharaoh was drowned, the Lord Almighty ordered them to turn toward the city of Areeha in Syria because “I have decided that it should be your residence. So go, fight with Amaalaqah and occupy Areeha. And He ordered Musa to appoint twelve Naqueeb (chiefs); that every Sabt (tribe) should have one Naqueeb who should be their chief. The Israelites said, We will not proceed to fight with them until we know more about them. Musa sent those Nauqeebs to ascertain about Amaaliqah. When they arrived near the city of Areehaa they met with a rebellious man Auj bin Unnaaq. It is narrated that he was 23330 hands tall and that he used to catch fish himself from the bottom of the sea and to bake it high in his hand and then eat it. Water had reached only his thighs during the flood of Noah. His age was 30000 years and his mother khunnaaq was the daughter of Adam. It is said that he fetched a mountain rock equal in size to the camp of Musa so as to throw it on them. Allah Almighty sent the bird The hoopoe, which made a hole in that rock which turned into a yoke for his neck and felled him down. Musa came to him. His height was ten yards and his stick was also 10 yards long. He (Musa) jumped to the height of ten yards and struck Auj with that stick. It hit his ankle and killed him. When Auj saw the Naqueebs he lifted up them and placing them in his lap took them to his mother. He told her that this group had come to fight me. He intended to crush them under his feet but his mother told her to free them so that they would tell his story to others. They returned from there and roaming around the city collected information. A bunch of their grapes were so huge that five men from The Israelites were required to lift it with its branches. Their pomegranate was so big that four man could sit on half of its skin. When the Nauqeebs started for their people they consulted among themselves as they were of the opinion that if they said all that they had observe to The Israelites they (latter) would doubt the word of Musa and would become infidels. So it was to keep this information secret and to inform Musa and Harun privately so that they may do as they think. They agreed and made a covenant among themselves on this point. They went to Musa after 40 days and narrated to him whatever they had seen. Then every Naqeeb went back to his tribe and, breaking the aforesaid covenant, told their clans everything about the Amaaliqah and made them fearful of jihad with them. But Yusha‘ and Kaalab remained firm on their promise. Musa’s sister Maryam was wife of Kalab. When this information went around The Israelites they began to cry loudly and began to scream that: It would have better had we died in Egypt or in the desert without entering this city so that our wealth and wives and children would not have been caught by the fierce Amaaliqah. Then they talked among themselves: Let us make one of our chief and return to Egypt. Musa repeatedly advised them saying that the only one Allah Who made you win over the Pharaoh will also enable you to overpower the Amaaliqah as He has promised victory and as He never breaks his word. But they did not need and intended to return to Egypt. Seeing this Yusha‘ and Kaalab tore up the collars of their shirts and said to them: Fear Allah Almighty and come along with us to the city of these rebellious people Amaaliqah and come along with the help of Allah. We have tried them. Though their bodies are strong their hearts are very weak. So do not be afraid of them and rely on the Lord. The Israelites did not pay attention to their words and intended to stone them to death. They told Musa: We will never enter that city. You may go their with your God and fight with them. We will not budge from our place. Musa became very angry and cursing them said, My Lord! I am the owner of only myself and of my brother. My Lord! Discount me from the sinners.
[2] Though the narration of Thalabi is not quite reliable. We have quoted it as it talks about some strange events and so that the wise can understand that it was on the basis of the traditions of the Shi‘ah scholars. The Holy Prophet had told Amir al-Mu’minin that: your relation with me is the same, which was of Harun with Musa. But there will be no Prophet after me. Likewise what has been narrated through the Shi‘ah scholars and the Sunni is that the holy Prophet named Imam al-Husayn and Imam al-Husayn in the Arabic language like the name of the names of the sons of Harun because, just as the trusteeship of Jerusalem, which was the Kiblah and an honored place of The Israelites and the protection of the Chest, which was the treasure of their spiritual knowledge and the celestial fire, which was the criteria of the acceptance or rejection of their deeds was according to Thalabi who is one of their great commentators and hadith scholar was related to Amir al-Mu’minin and his progeny pious; that these personalities should be the centre point of the raining of divine Radiances and the treasures of the spiritual knowledge and secrets and that the acceptance or rejection of the deeds of the creation ought to be in their hands and that their obedience and prayers of this Ummah must be connected with their radiant Wilayah. Rather the Jerusalem of this Ummah is the Wilayah of these great personalities.
[3] It should be remembered that it is the part of the religious beliefs of the Shi‘ahs that Allah is invisible: that His holiness cannot be viewed with an eye, rather the inward eyes of the heart and mind too are unable to comprehend the self and attributions of the lord. How can He be seen when He does not posses either a body on an environment or a place (space) nor can he be in any direction. Then how did Musa despite being greatest messenger put such a question before Him? This doubtful question can be answered in two ways. First: the asking of Musa was not for seeing with the eye and that he wanted to comprehend Him and His attributes through understanding and that at the same time he may also attain the maximum limit of the human understanding. Since the first wish was prohibited and the second was above his status, the lord, by shedding the particle of His greatness on the mount and by making Musa unconscious, made it clear that no one has the strength to comprehend his grandeur and that no one has ability to of reaching the maximum of state of understanding because it is only for the Prophet of the last era (Muhammad saw). Second the asking by Musa was on behalf of his community and he was appointed to take care and to cater the needs of their including to declare whatever they asked for, he made this question on the demand of his people even though he know that it was impossible thing and a prohibited affair. But he wished his people should also understand this truth. And this second cause is clearer as will be seen from the following hadith of Imam al-Ri¤a
[4] This story is one of those which concern those who are in doubt about the sin or error of Messengers because both Musa and Harun were great messengers. If Harun had done a thing which angered Musa so much that he held his head and bread and pulled toward himself and made him talk very harshly with him then Harun had committed a sin. And if he did not commit a sin then it was a sin or an error on the part of Musa to insult his brother who too was a Prophet, especially the former’s gesture of throwing the tablets of Torah. Some reasons can be given for this: First: which is most clear is that this was a dispute between two Prophets for reforming their people and to make them repentant because when The Israelites indulged in such a heinous sin and considered it is a light one it was necessary for Musa to expose the evil of that deed perfectly and no way was more perfect than to deal harshly with his great brother who besides having a blood relation with him was a great messenger and to throw the tablets on the ground thus hinting that he had abandoned the work of reforming them and that bringing the Book to them was of no avail so that they too might realize that they had surely done a gruesome deed which became the cause of such strange happenings and which ended the patience of Musa and verily Musa did not err nor he intended to harm Harun. It is a common diplomacy of rulers when the near ones are being punished so that others may be warned. Allah Almighty too has, on a number occasion in Holy Qur’an, used angry words for the Holy Prophet but the main aim was to discipline the Ummah as will be described hereafter in the events of the Holy Prophet-Inshallah. The second reason is that these gestures of Musa were due to his extreme anger against the Ummah. Just as a man bites his lips or pulls his beard when very angry Musa did so to Harun who was near to him like his own life. And Harun requested Musa not to do so because, he thought that The Israelites might not understand the main reason and mistake them for enmity and its blame might fall on him Musa. The third reason is that he pulled the head and beard of Harun by way of love and affection so that the community would draw some other meaning out of it. So he requested him to stop doing so, so that somebody may not think bad about Musa. The fourth cause is that what Musa did to Harun or the deeds of both of them were a sort of Tark al-Awla (giving up the desirable), which did not amount to a sin or disobedience, which could be contrary to Prophethood. Other reason also have been mentioned besides these but the first one is the clearest and as regards throwing of tablets it is possible that they might have dropped from his hands due to extreme anger and hence unintentionally or perhaps they were thrown to show Divine worth or toughness in religion or a refutation of the opponents and that such throwing cannot be regarded as a disrespect. It should be borne in mind that there are various and varying hadiths about Musa’s promise to his people. Most of them mention that Musa had promised that he would remain absent for thirty days but that the Almighty, due to some contingency, by way of Badaa (novel gesture) turned that promise into that of forty days. The 30-days promise had a condition attached to it and that condition was not fulfilled and this appears from some verse and also some hadiths that Musa had given them a promise of 40 days and it was merely due to the length of time those people did like that until Satan misguided them so they made a count of days and nights separately and at the end of 20 days they said that 40 had passed away. It is easy to connect the verse, as the Ayat is not specific that the promise was definitely of 30 days. Even if it had been specific the connecting is possible because it was told Musa that the promise would be of 40 days and it was due to some strategy that he was asked to give them a promise of 30 days. Thus it is possible for yet another cause too that Musa’s promise to his people might have been for 40 days in this way that he might have told them: I will not be present among you until 30 days and it is possible that some of the hadiths might have been based on Taqiyyah.
[5] Maybe that mountain range was divided into several pieces and part might have gone down in the earth and some pieces have been flown onto various directions in the world and some might have turned into sand grain. Hence it is also mentioned and it requires lengthy discussion in the matter of raining of Radiance on the mountain for which this book is too short.
[6] According to Shi‘ah belief it is difficult to believe them as messengers because apparently they were sinners and their asking was the sin due to which they were chastised. How can then they be messengers despite committing such a sin? Its reply is possible with such causes: first: The description of their becoming messengers might have been by way of Taqiyyah because most of the Sunni (non-Shi‘ahs) have related like that. Second: when they died their first (earlier) life with sin had ended and they might have been innocent in their second life, which is sufficient for their Messengership. There is scope for discussion in this cause. Third: Their asking might also have been behalf of their community and the chastisement might have been by way of disciplining the community. This also appears difficult to believe. Fourth: The word ‘messenger’ might have been used figuratively, that is to convey the sense that after being alive they turned pious like Prophets. But the first cause is clearer. It must be understood that this event is to give witness the truth in the belief of Raj‘ah (resurrection); that as it is in this event, in the time of the al-Qa’im (al-Mahdi). Some have said that what has happened in The Israelites will happen in this Ummah also, which will be mentioned in a following chapter-Inshallah. It should be remembered that it was according to these repeated hadiths about the repetition of what had happened in The Israelites, that the holy Prophet had told Amir al-Mu’minin that you are for me as Harun was for Musa. And in this Ummah the story of the first oppressor, like that of Samiri and the calf and he was worse than the calf and the second was more cunning than Samiri and as they did not obey Harun, these did not obey the last Prophet’s rightful Legatee and when they dragged the Emir forcibly to mosque so that allegiance may be obtained from him. ‘Ali facing the grave of the holy Prophet addressed him as Harun had addressed Musa. And when the era of caliphate passed away which was like that of the calf and Samiri and Qarun and when people gave allegiance to Amir al-Mu’minin, swords came out of their sheets like The Israelites and they began to kill one another. Just as The Israelites remained restless in the desert of Tiyah for apparently forty years, this Ummah also will, by the command of Allah, due to their own selection, remain restless in their worldly and otherworldly affairs until the time of al-Qa’im aale Muhammad Many things have been narrated about each of these affairs through Shi‘ah and non-Shi‘ah sources which will, Inshallah, be mentioned henceforth in their appropriate place.
[7] Possibly Torah began to come down in Rama¤an and was concluded in the month of Dhu’l-hijjah or may be the tablets had, after being broken, sent (down again).

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