An extraordinary example of the Qur’an correcting a significant falsehood in the Bible.

Here is a powerful demonstration that the Qur’an is far from endorsing the Bible we have today.

The story concerns the time Moses went up the mountain to receive the commandments of God. In his absence many Israelites committed a great sin by making an idol and worshiping it. Upon the return of Moses it becomes clear that Aaron (who was appointed by Allah to assist Moses as Allah’s Messenger) was nearly killed by the wrongdoers for resisting them and Aaron states in the clearest terms that the idolatry neither originated with him nor had his consent.

Qur’an 7:148-150 reads:

‘And in the absence of Moses his people made the image of a calf from their ornaments, which lowed. Did they not observe that it could neither speak nor give them any guidance? And still they made it an object of worship. They were indeed wrong-doing.’

‘And when they were afflicted with remorse and realised that they had fallen into error, they said: ‘If our Lord does not have mercy on us and does not pardon us, we shall be among the losers.’

‘And when Moses returned to his people, full of wrath and sorrow, he said: ‘Vile is the course you have followed in my absence. Could you not patiently wait for the decree of your Lord?’ And he threw down the Tablets of the Law and took hold of his brother’s head, dragging him to himself. Aaron said: ‘My mother’s son, the people overpowered me and almost killed me. So let not my enemies gloat over me, and do not number me among the wrong-doing folk.’

However, according to the Biblical version of the story of idol-worship, it was Aaron (!) who had made the golden calf for the people of Israel.

To quote:

‘When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” 6 They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.’ Exodus 32:1-6 (NRSV)

The Qur’an, as we have seen, refutes the above account and points out that it was Samiri the rebel of God rather than Aaron the Prophet who committed that heinous sin.

For details see (Ta Ha 20: 90 ff.)

We cannot believe that Aaron, who was appointed by Allah to assist Moses as Allah’s Messenger, could descend so low as to seduce the people into idolatry, whatever his human weakness might be.

Clearly the Qur’an is corrective of the stories of the prophets told in the Bible. Contrary to the views of some polemicists the Qur’an is far from endorsing the Bible we have today.

Categories: Bible, History, Judaism, Qur'an

6 replies

  1. Also as a note with the Biblical story it also basically accuses Moses(as) of committing an injustice because he killed all the people who worshipped the Calf but let the leader go free. One could easily argue this was because he is his brother and thus didn’t establish justice.

  2. Thought provoking article. What would be quite interesting is if there are any old manuscripts that confirm the Quranic narrative.

    • unlikely. Even extant OT manuscripts are dated to more than 1000 years after the events they claim to describe. Which is pretty dire when you think about it.

      • What would you’re response be of the typical Jewish counter to the claim that the Jews do not need a written manuscript (despite the HUGE 1,100+yr gap between their earliest manuscripts & the time of Moses) because they have “Oral Tradition”? I mean have Muslim Hadith scholars looked at the methodology of their “Isnad” (Chain of Narrators)? Do they even have biographies of those within the chain?

      • @ Mukeet Khan

        I talked to a Rabbi:

        1. No, they don’t have bios and barely any chains. (Especially in the Talmud they will quote a Rabbi in the 3rd century of the Common Era like how we would quote Abu Huraira(ra))

        2. He basically got uncomfortable and tried the emotional argument:
        “We have the understanding of the collective Jewish nation”

        3. We know they altered the text hence why they have different versions.


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