Prophets of Allah – Aaron: Brother of Moses

Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam

Aaronas, known as هارون [Harun] in the Holy Quran, was the son of Amran, (Imran in Arabic), and from the tribe of Levi. He was three years older than Prophet Mosesas (Exodus 7:7). He had an elder sister, Miriam, who is held in high esteem. (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 2, p.890)

Aaronas, in company with Mosesas, helped lead the people of Israel safely across the river away from the bondage of Pharaoh.

How did Aaronas survive Pharaoh’s order for the sons of the Israelites to be killed?

As mentioned in the article of Prophet Mosesas (Al Hakam, issue 263), Pharaoh “sought to weaken a party of them, slaying their sons, and sparing their women. Certainly, he was of the mischief-makers.” (Surah al-Qasas, Ch.28: V.5)

In light of this, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa was asked how Aaronas survived Pharaoh’s order for the sons of the Israelites to be killed. In response, Huzooraa said:

“According to the Bible, Hazrat Harunas [Aaron] was older than Hazrat Musaas. Hence, it is written therein:  

“‘And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaronas fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.’ (Exodus 7:7, KJV)

“It was at the time of the birth of Hazrat Musaas that Pharaoh ordered the killing of Hebrew boys on the advice of astrologers and soothsayers after having seen a dream. Hazrat Harunas survived because he was born before that.

“Another reason for the survival of Hazrat Harunas, as mentioned in the Bible, is that long after the passing of the times of Hazrat Yaqubas and Hazrat Yusufas, the population of the Bani Isra’il swelled to the point that the country was filled with them. Thus, the king of that time, fearing their numbers, began inflicting all kinds of hardships on them. However, the more they were persecuted, the more their numbers increased. As a result, the king of Egypt ordered the midwives to kill any sons born to the Israelite women and to keep any daughters alive. However, the midwives did not follow the king’s orders. (Exodus 1:7-17, KJV)

“Moreover, it is also written in the tafasir, the commentaries of the Holy Quran, that the Egyptians used to employ the Israelites without remuneration. Thus, to maintain a sufficient supply of labour, they would let any sons born to the Israelites live a year but would kill those born the following year to prevent the number of the Israelites from growing. Hazrat Harunas was born in the year in which the sons of the Bani Isra’il were spared. (Ma‘alim al-Tanzil [Tafsir al-Baghawi] by Abu Muhammad al-Husayn ibn Mas‘ud ibn Muhammad al-Farra‘ al-Baghawi, under verse 50 of Surah al-Baqarah)

“Thus, these are the various reasons for the survival of Hazrat Harunas which have been mentioned in the Bible and the books of tafsir.” (Al Hakam, 19 August 2022)

Eloquence in speech

Aaronas was known, as the Holy Quran states, for his eloquence in speech. When Mosesas was commissioned as a prophet of God and told to go to Pharaoh, he prayed to Allah:

“‘And grant me a helper from my family —

“‘Aaron, my brother;

“‘Increase my strength with him,

“‘And make him share my task.” (Surah TaHa, Ch.20: V.30-34)

Mosesas made this prayer and desired that Aaronas be with him, as he was more eloquent in speech than he was.

Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

“And We bestowed upon him, out of Our mercy, his brother Aaron as a Prophet.” (Surah Maryam, Ch.19: V.54)

This shows and highlights that though Aaronas was older, he held subordinate status to Mosesas. He was a follower of Mosesas and was granted to him as a helper in his task.

Appointed as a Prophet

Aaronas used to receive revelations, like other prophets and the chosen ones of Allah. The Holy Quran states:

“Then did We send, after them, Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his chiefs with Our Signs, but they behaved arrogantly. And they were a sinful people.” (Surah Yunus, Ch.10: V.76)

The Holy Quran states that Allah gave Mosesas and Aaronas “the Discrimination and a Light and a Reminder for the righteous.” (Surah al-Anbiya’, Ch.21: V.49)

Mosesas retreats to the mount and appoints Aaronas as his representative

Prophet Mosesas, the brother of Prophet Aaronas, expressed his desire to see a manifestation of God higher than that which had already been granted to him. Mosesas, here, was told, “‘O Moses, I have chosen thee above the people [of thy time] by My messages and by My word. So take hold of that which I have given thee and be of the grateful.’” (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.145)

On the mount, revealed to Mosesas were the commandments by God Almighty, which Mosesas wrote on a tablet.

“It was indeed Moses, and not God, who wrote on the tablets the commandments that were revealed to him on the Mount; but as the commandments were revealed by God, the act of writing has been ascribed to Him.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 1038)

When Mosesas went to Mount Sinai, his people began worshipping a calf. The Five Volume Commentary states:

“The Israelites had lived in Egypt under bondage for a long time and during their bondage, they had acquired many of the customs, ways of life and religious rites of their rulers, the Egyptians, who worshipped the cow (Enc. Rel. & Ethics, Vol. 1, p. 507). In this way, they had also developed a great liking for the cow, and taking advantage of Moses’ absence, Samiri led them into cow worship.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2040)

Samiri is remembered as the one who led the Israelites into calf-worship. In the Five Volume Commentary, we read: “السامري (Samiri) is derived from سمر. They say سمرہ i.e. he nailed it, i.e. he made it fast, firm or strong with a nail or nails, a nail being called سمار. Hence سامر is one who makes things fast with nails, i.e. one belonging to the profession of blacksmiths, carpenters, etc. Thus سامرة means, a people who carry on the profession of blacksmiths, carpenters etc. i.e. artisans. Samiri, the mischief-maker, seems to belong to this class. So سامري may be a descriptive or attributive name. Or it may be a relative noun from سامرة (the Samaritans), a people said to be one of the tribes of the Children of Israel; or a sect of the Jews, differing from them in many of their institutions. Properly speaking they were inhabitants of Samaria. The name is now restricted to a small tribe of people living in Nablus and calling themselves ‘Bene Yisrael’. Their history as a distinct community began with the taking of Samaria by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. (Lane & Jew. Enc.).” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol.4, p. 2038)

When they were smitten with remorse for taking a calf for worship, a group of them repented before Mosesas returned from the Mount. (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.150)

The case with Aaronas and the altar

The Bible states that Aaronas built an altar for the worshipping of the calf (Exodus, 32:4); however, the Holy Quran completely rejects this. Aaronas, being a prophet of God, could not be framed to do such a thing. The Quran records Aaronas to have said to his people that the “‘Gracious God is your Lord’.” (Surah TaHa, Ch.20: V.91)

It was not Aaronas who fashioned the calf but Samiri who made it for them; the Holy Quran states, “God said, ‘We have tried thy people in thy absence, and the Samiri has led them astray.’” (Surah TaHa, Ch.20: V.86)

Moses’as return

When Mosesas returned, he said, “‘Evil is that which you did in my place in my absence. Did you hasten to devise a way for yourselves without waiting for the command of your Lord?’” (Surah al-A‘raf, Ch.7: V.151)

Mosesas held Aaronas by the head and beard and said, “‘O Aaron, what hindered thee, when thou didst see them gone astray, ‘From following me? Hast thou then disobeyed my command?’” (Surah TaHa, Ch.20: V.94)

The anger expressed by Mosesas was because Aaronas, whom he appointed as his representative, was given the duty to look after the people.

Then, Mosesas, seeing that Aaronas was innocent in the matter, prayed for forgiveness for himself and his brother.

Mosesas and Aaronas order Bani Isra’il to enter the Holy Land

Mosesas and Aaronas addressed the people and told them to enter the Holy Land which Allah ordained for them. Mosesas told them to not turn back lest they become among the losers. They responded that there were arrogant and proud people in the land. They said, “‘We shall not enter it until they go forth from it. But if they go forth from it, then we will enter it.’” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.23)

Upon this, the Holy Quran states that two men from among them said “‘Enter the gate, advancing against them; when once you have entered it, then surely you will be victorious.’” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.24) Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, in Tafsir-e-Saghir, has explained that, though the names are not mentioned here, it seems, considering the context, that the two men were either Mosesas and Aaronas or, according to the Bible, Joshua and Caleb (Numbers, 14:6). (Tafsir-e-Saghir, p. 145)

The children of Israel replied, “‘O Moses, we will never enter it so long as they remain in it. Therefore, go thou and thy Lord and fight, and here we sit.’” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.25)

When they behaved and responded in such a way, God decreed that entering the land had been forbidden (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.27) for them for 40 years so that the time spent in the wilderness of the desert should strengthen them and enhance their morals. In this way, the young generation grew older to be strong and brave.

“Welcome, O Pious Brother and Pious Prophet.”

During the night of mi‘raj, the night of the spiritual ascension to heaven, the Holy Prophetsa said that he was greeted by various prophets.

The Holy Prophetsa said that when he reached the fifth Heaven, he met Prophet Aaronas. Addressing the Holy Prophetsa, Angel Gabriel said, “This is Aaron.”

The Holy Prophetsa said, “Gabriel greeted and so did I, and he returned the greeting saying, ‘Welcome, O Pious Brother and Pious Prophet.’” (Sahih al Bukhari, kitab al-anbiya, Hadith 3393)

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