After the death of pharaoh, the Bani Israel got freedom from his subjugation and they embraced faith in Sayyiduna Musa . Sayyiduna Musa was then ordered by Allah to observe I’tikaf (ritual seclusion) on Mount Sinai [Kauh-e-Toor] for forty nights. After this, he was to be blessed with the Holy Book, Torah. Therefore, in order to fulfil this Divine commandment, Sayyiduna Musa went to Mount Sinai and handed over the control of the Bani Israel to his brother Sayyiduna Haroon . Sayyiduna Musa observed fasts during the day and performed worship during the whole night for forty days consecutively.
There was a person in the Bani Israel called Saamri who was bastard
i.e. born of an illegitimate birth. He was a very
sinful person. Due
to the fear of disgrace within her community, his
mother deserted him
some mountain just
after his birth.
Sayyiduna Jibra‘eel raised him by feeding him milk with his
finger. Therefore, he
was acquainted with
Sayyiduna Jibra‘eel His full
‘Musa Saamri’ and Sayyiduna Musa‘s
Sayyiduna Jibra ‘eel brought up Musa Saamri whereas Sayyiduna Musa was brought up in the home of pharaoh. How strange and mysterious the glory of Allah is that Sayyiduna Musa who was brought up in the home of pharaoh was Rasool of Allah and Musa Saamri
who was brought up by Sayyiduna Jibra ‘eel became an unbeliever (Kafir). He enticed the Bani Israel to worship the calf. Regarding this, some
mystic has said:
اِذَاالْمَرْءُ لَمْ یُخْلَقْ سَعِیْدًا مِّنَ الْاَزَل
فَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ رَبّٰی وَخَابَ الْمُؤَمِّل
فَمُوْسَی الَّذِیْ رَبَّاہُ جِبْرِیْلُ کَافِرُ
وَمُوْسَی الَّذِیْ رَبَّاہُ فِرْعَوْنُ مُرْسَل
Meaning, when a person has been destined with wretched fate eternally, he can never attain piety and he remains unlucky. Even the efforts of those who raise him go futile. You see that Musa Saamri who was brought up by Sayyiduna Jibra’eel became pagan and Sayyiduna Musa who was brought up by pharaoh became Rasool of Allah .
The secret behind this is that Musa Saamri was destined to be ill-fated so his tending and nursing by Sayyiduna Jibra ‘eel did not benefit him and he remained an infidel. On the other hand, Sayyiduna Musa was destined to be pious and fortunate eternally. That’s why even the nursing by an unbeliever like pharaoh could not harm him.
(Iafseer As-Saawi, vol. 1, pp. 63; part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 51)
When Sayyiduna Musa was staying [ doing l’tikaf] on Mount Sinai, Saamri took advantage of his absence for producing heresy. He asked for gold and silver jewellery from the Bani Israel, melted it to mould a calf. After this, he put the dust of the hoofs of the horse of Sayyiduna Jibra’eel into the mouth of the calf that he had kept safe. By virtue of it, the calf started to speak. Then, Saamri said to the Bani Israel, ‘O my people! (Sayyiduna) Musa has gone to the Mount Sinai to see the vision of the Rab whereas this calf is your lord. Therefore, you should worship this calf.’ The Bani Israel got misguided from this speech of Saamri and except for twelve thousand people, rest of them admitted the calf to be the god after witnessing it speaking. They started worshipping and prostrating it. Therefore, Allah has said:
وَ اتَّخَذَ قَوْمُ مُوۡسٰی مِنۡۢ بَعْدِہٖ مِنْ حُلِیِّہِمْ عِجْلًا جَسَدًا لَّہٗ خُوَارٌ ؕ
And in the absence of Musa, his people moulded a calf from their ornaments; a lifeless body making sounds like a cow.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, Ayah 148)
After forty days, when Sayyiduna Musa returned to his town after been privileged of having conversation with Allah and bringing the holy Torah with him, he flew into fury to see his people worshipping the calf. Sayyiduna Musa placed the Torah on the ground out of anger and started dragging his brother Haroon by holding him from his beard and hair , and started beating him saying that why he did not prevent them from committing that evil act. Sayyiduna Haroon apologized as mentioned in Holy Quran:
قَالَ ابْنَ اُمَّ اِنَّ الْقَوْمَ اسْتَضْعَفُوۡنِیۡ وَکَادُوۡا یَقْتُلُوۡنَنِیۡ ۫ۖ فَلَا تُشْمِتْ بِیَ الۡاَعْدَآءَ وَلَا تَجْعَلْنِیۡ مَعَ الْقَوْمِ الظّٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿150﴾
O son of my mother! The people thought I was weak and were about to kill me; so make not the enemies laugh at me and include me not amongst the oppressors.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)J (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, Ayah 150)
After hearing this apology of Sayyiduna Haroon , the anger of Sayyiduna Musa faded away. He supplicated for his brother Sayyiduna Haroon’s forgiveness and for mercy upon him. Then, he broke the calf into small pieces, burnt it and dispersed it into the river.
From this event, we get two important lessons:
1. This event provides guidelines to religious scholars that they should never be negligent towards their people. They should always keep imparting the religious knowledge to their people. You saw that Saamri took the advantage of 40 days absence of Sayyiduna Musa rll;.J1 - He misguided the people away from the right path. Similarly, if the religious scholars of Ahl-us-Sunnah will remain heedless and negligent in the affairs of their people, then the sects bearing corrupt beliefs will get a chance to misguide the people away from the right path.
2. When the dust of the hoofs of the horse of Sayyiduna Jibra ‘eel can make the statue of the calf speak, we may deduce that the dust of the feet of the chosen people of Allah can also bring benefits and blessings. Therefore, it is not a useless act to sprinkle the water in homes that is obtained from washing the feet of the chosen people of Allah. It has been the good practice of devoted disciples. We can hope for mercy and blessings by virtue of it and it is not contrary to the Islamic Shari’ah.