Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beware of the sin of Qarun

by S N Smith -- April 6, 2014

I just finished reading Surah Al-Qasas, the 28th chapter of the Quran. It was the story of Qarun, close to the end of the Surah, which caught my attention this time. You can read about Qarun in verses 76-82, which I produce below in English translation:
Qarun was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: "Exult not, for Allah loveth not those who exult (in riches). 
"But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief." 
He said: "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have." Did he not know that Allah had destroyed, before him, (whole) generations,- which were superior to him in strength and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? but the wicked are not called (immediately) to account for their sins. 
So he went forth among his people in the (pride of his wordly) glitter. Said those whose aim is the Life of this World: "Oh! that we had the like of what Qarun has got! for he is truly a lord of mighty good fortune!" 
But those who had been granted (true) knowledge said: "Alas for you! The reward of Allah (in the Hereafter) is best for those who believe and work righteousness: but this none shall attain, save those who steadfastly persevere (in good)." 
Then We caused the earth to swallow up him and his house; and he had not (the least little) party to help him against Allah, nor could he defend himself. 
And those who had envied his position the day before began to say on the morrow: "Ah! it is indeed Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His servants He pleases! had it not been that Allah was gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Ah! those who reject Allah will assuredly never prosper."

I want to concentrate on Qarun's attitude concerning his immense wealth when he said, "This has been given to me because of a certain knowledge which I have." This belief that Qarun held is important to note because it lead him to behave in a certain way. He acted insolently towards his own people, even though he lived in their midst, and he became filled with pride. As a result of this belief, Qarun felt that he was superior to those around him, and despite the many people admonishing him to use his wealth to seek Allah's favour and do good and not use it to commit mischief, he refused to listen.  Qarun's wealth had deluded him and he failed to see the reality of the true source of all of his material possessions. He had the opportunity to do good with that which Allah had given him. He instead squandered the opportunity and that which he loved most lead to his destruction because he used the gifts of Allah for his own self-aggrandizement insteading of seeking the pleasure of Allah. Even those who were previously envious of his great wealth were forced to admit that, "Ah! it is indeed Allah Who enlarges the provision or restricts it, to any of His servants He pleases! 

Believers, especially those who have achieved great worldly gain, should read the story of Qarun on a regular basis in order to avoid falling into the same trap as he did. They should be continually reminded that all things come from Allah, and that if  Allah bestows on someone a particular set of favours, it is an opportunity to do good to others and not an excuse to look down on those who are less fortunate. 

Qarun's story should also be a reminder to those who are less fortunate that wealth can be deceptive as it can lead to one possessing it to fall into a trap. There are many people who possess great wealth, or other abilities, but squander it by committing evil acts instead of acts of goodness. They also feel invincible and hold the belief that their wealth can protect them from any calamity. Believers should not be envious of such people, but rather should ask Allah to protect them from falling into the same trap as those who looked upon Qarun with envy. 

The above passage also reminds us that, "those who reject Allah will assuredly never prosper," and this is exactly what happened to Qarun. By attributing his wealth to his own abilities and not using it for the common good, he not only rejected Allah, but lost his wealth and gained eternal perdition. 

S N Smith writes from Ottawa, Ontario