Is it true that the destruction of Qarun took place due to the request of Hz. Musa?

Details of the Question
Is it true that the destruction of Qarun took place due to the request of Hz. Musa?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is possible to see this information in the Tafsir of Tabari. (al-Qasas, the interpretation of verse 28/81). According to this narration, which is based on Ibn Abbas, when Hz. Musa informed Children of Israel about the order to give zakah, Qarun could not accept it and gathered Children of Israel. He addressed them as follows: “O Children of Israel! You have obeyed Musa no matter what he ordered so far. He wants to grab your property now.” They said, “You are superior to us. We will do whatever you order us. Thereupon, Qarun said, “Call me such and such a woman (who was a prostitute); give her as much money as she wants and tell her to say that she committed adultery with Musa.” They did so.

Qarun went to Musa in order to carry out his plan. He said to Musa, “Come and preach Children of Israel who gathered in order to listen to your advice. Thereupon, Hz. Musa proceeded toward them and said, “O Children of Israel! We will cut off the hand of a person who steals. We will beat a person who slanders that someone has committed adultery. If a person commits adultery, we will beat him a hundred times with a lash if he is not married and beat/stone him until he dies if he is married. Qarun did not want to miss this opportunity and asked, "Is it valid for you too?" Hz. Musa said, "Yes, it is.”

Thereupon, Qarun said, Children of Israelsay you committed adultery with such and such a woman.” Hz. Musa said, “Call that woman here. If she says so, it is true.” They called the woman and she came. Hz. Musa asked her, “Did you commit adultery with me as they claim?” The woman said,“No. They are lying. They gave me a lot of money so that I will slander you.” Thereupon, Hz. Musa prostrated immediately.

Allah Almighty sent a revelation to Hz. Musa and said, “Today, I have put the earth under your command; you can order it as you wish.” Thereupon, Hz. Musa ordered the earth, “Swallow them!” The earth started to swallow them. As he gave each order, the earth swallowed more and more. First, the earth swallowed them up to their knees, then to their wastes and then to their necks. Meanwhile, they started to beg Hz. Musa.

However, Hz. Musa was a hot-blooded man and continued giving orders. Finally, they disappeared into the earth. Thereupon, Allah Almighty sent a revelation to Hz. Musa and said, “You did not show any mercy to My slaves though they begged you so much. If they had begged and prayed Me, they would have seen that I would answer their prayers.” (Tabari, the interpretation of the relevant verse)

- The aspersion cast upon Hz. Musa would have tarnished not only Hz. Musa but also the revelation that he represented. Therefore, Hz. Musa did not forgive such a big crime.

- As for the forgiveness of Allah, they might have begged him at the beginning and they might not have lost their hope. The phrase “they would have seen that I would answer their prayers” does not necessarily mean that He would have forgiven them. For, answering does not necessarily mean doing whatever they want. Accordingly, Allah would have answered their call and asked them what they had wanted when Hz. Musa ignored what they said. However, answering them does not necessarily mean forgiving them.

- Razi, who quoted the same narration, explained it as follows:

What is meant by Allah’s word “if they had begged me” is "if they had given up and repented for their slander and then had begged.” For, the punishment given to them by Hz. Musa could not have taken place without the permission of Allah. (Razi, the interpretation of the relevant verse). We should also say that Razi indicated that this narration could be weak by adding the phrase, “if this narration is sound”. (ibid)

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