View Full Version : The Story of Qarun

11-23-2006, 07:39 PM

The Arrogance Of Qarun And His Punishment

Along with Pharaoh, Qarun is mentioned among those who were destroyed at the time of Musa.

The Qur'an informs us that Qarun was the owner of great possessions in Egypt despite being a descendant of the Israelite tribe.

The following verse indicates that Qarun opposed Musa together with Pharaoh:

We sent Musa with Our Signs and clear authority to Pharaoh, Haman and Qarun. But they said, "A lying magician." (Qur'an, 40: 23-24)

It is noteworthy that Qarun, who was with Pharaoh, was also in charge of a great treasure:

Qarun was one of the people of Musa but he lorded it over them. We gave him treasures, the keys alone to which were a heavy weight for a party of strong men… (Qur'an, 28: 76)

The great fortune and status Qarun possessed in Egypt, due to his closeness to Pharaoh, made him arrogant and insolent towards his own people. He refused to accept Musa's message, and boasted about his possessions to make the children of Israel feel attachment to the life of this world. In fact, his great fortune and status became the envy of some of the people from Musa's tribe. God relates the arrogance of Qarun and the envy those of poor faith among the children of Israel felt for him:

He went out among his people in his finery. Those who desired the life of the world said, "Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses." (Qur'an, 28: 79)

The true believers among the children of Israel never felt inclined towards Qarun. On the contrary, they comprehended the pitiful situation he was in, and warned him:

…When his people said to him, "Do not gloat. God does not love people who gloat. Seek the abode of the hereafter with what God has given you, without forgetting your portion of the world. And do good as God has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. God does not love corrupters." (Qur'an, 28: 76-77)

These same people of faith gave advise to the members of their own tribe who were inclined to Qarun, and warned them to retain the nobility of a believer in their conduct, and never to prefer the temporary pleasures of this world over the mercy of God:

...Those who desired the life of the world said, "Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses." But those who had been given knowledge said, "Woe to you! God's reward is better for those who believe and act rightly. But only the steadfast will obtain it." (Qur'an, 28: 79-80)

Qarun was one of the people of Musa but he lorded it over them. We gave him treasures, the keys alone to which were a heavy weight for a party of strong men… (Qur'an, 28: 76)


The main reason why Qarun went astray was his belief that he was possessed with "knowledge." In other words, he had the boastful attitude that he was superior to other people.

He said, "I have only been given it because of knowledge I have." Did he not know that before him God had destroyed generations with far greater strength than his and far more possessions? The evildoers will not be questioned about their sins. (Qur'an, 28: 78)

Nevertheless, in the end, Qarun's arrogance brought him nothing but harm. He brought great torment upon himself by being ungrateful to God, and arrogantly believing that all his possessions were earned of his own accord. Qarun finally came to realize that he was a feeble and helpless servant of God, when his possessions, which had made him so boastful, were completely destroyed by God:

We caused the earth to swallow up both him and his house. There was no group to come to his aid against God, and he was not someone who is helped. (Qur'an, 28: 81)

What befell Qarun was a warning, and an event from which those around him, as well as succeeding generations, were to draw lessons from. Those who sympathized with him immediately realized that what they had desired so dearly was actually temporary and ultimately worthless. They recognized that those who boast of their possessions and wealth can never attain salvation, and that they will eventually have to give account for their deeds:

Those who had longed to take his place the day before woke up saying, "God expands the provision of any of His servants He wills or restricts it. If God had not shown great kindness to us, we would have been swallowed up as well. Ah! Truly the unbelievers are not successful." (Qur'an, 28: 82)

Ultimately, the prepared end for Pharaoh and Haman, was the same met by Qarun:

And Qarun and Pharaoh and Haman-Musa came with the Clear Signs to them, but they were arrogant on the earth. They could not outstrip Us. (Qur'an, 29: 39)

The story of Qarun clearly illustrates for us that God does not bestow his mercy on those who are arrogant because of their wealth and possessions, and who consider themselves to be wiser or more knowledgeable than others. In the Qur'an, God also gives us examples from other peoples of the past. Many civilizations of the past had attained great success and material wealth. Yet, all these civilizations were obliterated from the face of the earth. God took back the souls of these people, who had thought themselves to be the rulers of the earth, and reduced their glorious palaces to ruins:

How many wrongdoing cities We destroyed, and now all their roofs and walls are fallen in; how many abandoned wells and stuccoed palaces! (Qur'an, 22: 45)

There is another lesson the story of Qarun teaches us: not to be taken by the allure of the temporary riches of this world and of those who possess them. The ones a believer should be inclined to are hose who withstand hardships in the way of God, those who spend their possessions, and live for the cause of God, and those men of faith and wisdom, whose hearts are full of love for God. As the Prophet Muhammad (saas) said "God does not look at your forms and possessions, but He looks at your hearts and your deeds." (Muslim) Those who appear to lead a luxuriant and prosperous life, actually live in spiritual deprivation. Each day drift these people into eternal torment in hell. God indicates this situation as follows:

Do not let their wealth and children impress you. God merely wants to punish them by them during their life in the world and for them to expire while they are unbelievers. (Qur'an, 9: 55)

Possessions should not be desired for pleasure and ostentation only. We need to keep in mind that God puts humans to test by their possessions as well. These possessions bring enjoyment to people as long as they are used to earn the good pleasure of God. Qarun, for instance, ended up in misery, despite his measureless wealth. The case of Qarun is indeed a warning for all generations, both past and present.

As can be understood from the verses, Qarun and those who envied him were representative of a typical society of ignorance. They failed to comprehend that Allah is the owner of everything and that Allah bestows possessions upon whoever He wishes. Qarun thought that the wealth he possessed had been given to him because of his superiority. But this was not so.

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11-23-2006, 08:03 PM
nice story
jazakaAllah kahyr


11-24-2006, 12:46 AM

thank you..

jazakallah khayr...

that is why in malay we say it 'harta qarun' = treasure (or to be specific qarun's treasure)

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