Allaah (Ta’ala) mentions stories of past nations and individuals in His Noble Book in order that people take lessons from them. These stories describe the punishments people were inflicted with when they turned away, disbelieved, and denied the blessings of Allaah. From among such individuals of these nations was Qarun (Korah).
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “Qarun transgressed; he was evil and arrogant. He disobeyed his Lord, the Most High, and paraded through the land in a boastful manner (arrogantly), thinking that he was better than others. He showed off as he walked, so Allaah caused the earth to swallow him and his house, and he will continue sinking into it (the earth) until the Day of Resurrection.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
The story of Qarun is mentioned in the Qur’an as an admonition and a lesson to prove that everything in this world will perish save the Face of Allaah, the Owner of Majesty and Honor. Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Qasas (28:60):
وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَمَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتُهَا ۚ وَمَا عِندَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَىٰ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ
“And whatsoever you have been given is an enjoyment of the life of (this) world and its adornment, and that (Hereafter) which is with Allaah is better and will remain forever. Have you then no sense?”
The story of Qarun is a story of the Fitnah (trial), amassing of wealth with which people are occupied (and have been diverted with) and which calls its owner to transgress, be arrogant, forget the light of Allaah, and feel himself self-sufficient, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-‘Alaq (96: 6-7):
كَلَّا إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَيَطْغَىٰ
“Nay! Verily, man does transgress (in disbelief and evil deed)
أَن رَّآهُ اسْتَغْنَىٰ
because he considers himself self-sufficient.”
Al-Qurtubi said: “In Surat al-Qasas, Allaah (Ta’ala) mentions that Qarun had been given an enjoyment of the life, and was deceived by it, and it caused him to be arrogant. This world’s enjoyment and treasures did not protect him from Allaah’s torment just as it did not protect Pharaoh (before him).
This was the message to the polytheists of Quraish: ‘You are not more than Qarun and Pharaoh in number or wealth. The forces and wealth of Pharaoh availed him not, just as the kinship (close relationship) of Qarun to Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and his treasures did not avail him.’”
Qarun is mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah
Qarun is mentioned four times in three Surahs (Chapters) of the Noble Qur’an. He is mentioned twice in Surat al-Qasas, once in Surat al-‘Ankabut and once in Surat Ghaafir.
In Surat al-‘Ankabut and Surat Ghaafir, Qarun is mentioned alongside Pharaoh and Haman to emphasize him being a contemporary of them, (i.e. of the same period).
In Surat Ghaafir (40:23-24), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَىٰ بِآيَاتِنَا وَسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ
“And indeed We sent Musa (Moses) with Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and a manifest authority,
إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَقَارُونَ فَقَالُوا سَاحِرٌ كَذَّابٌ
To Fir’awn (Pharaoh), Haman and Qarun (Korah), but they called (him): ‘A sorcerer, a liar!’”
Qarun belied Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam) and disbelieved in the Hereafter.
Also, Allaah (Ta’ala) mentioned Qarun after mentioning ‘Aad and Thamud in Surat al-‘Ankabut (29:39-40):
وَقَارُونَ وَفِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مُّوسَىٰ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا كَانُوا سَابِقِينَ
“And (We destroyed also) Qarun, Fir’awn and Haman. And indeed Musa came to them with clear Ayaat, but they were arrogant in the land, yet they could not outstrip Us (escape Our punishment).”
فَكُلًّا أَخَذْنَا بِذَنبِهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِ حَاصِبًا وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَخَذَتْهُ الصَّيْحَةُ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ خَسَفْنَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ أَغْرَقْنَا ۚ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَظْلِمَهُمْ وَلَٰكِن كَانُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ يَظْلِمُونَ
“So, We punished each for his sins, of them were some on whom We sent a Hasib, and of them were some who were taken by As-Sayhah, and of them were some We caused the earth to swallow, and of them were some whom We drowned. It was not Allaah Who wronged them, but they wronged themselves.”
The one whom Allaah caused the earth to swallow was Qarun, and those whom Allaah drowned were Fir’awn, his minister Haman, and their troops. All were drowned in a single morning; not one of them escaped.
Ahmad (Rahimahullaah) reported on the authority of ’Abdullaah ibn ’Amr (Radia-Allaahu ’anhu) that once the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned the Salaat saying: “Whoever strictly guards them (i.e. the obligatory prayers), they will be a source of light for him, a proof, and a means of salvation on the Day of Resurrection. And as for him who does not observe them regularly, it will not be a source of light, nor a proof, nor a means of salvation for him, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be in the company of Qarun, Fir’awn (Pharaoh), Haman, and Ubayy ibn Kalaf.” [Authenticated by Shaikh Ahmad Shaakir who graded it Saheeh, also authenticated by Shaikh Ibn Baaz (Rahimahullaah)].
Therefore, it is said that whoever is occupied with wealth is with Qarun, and whoever is occupied and diverted by authority or leadership is with Fir’awn, and whoever is occupied with ministry is with Haman, and whoever is occupied with business is with Ubayy ibn Khalaf.
The Story of Qarun in Surat al-Qasas
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Qasas (28:76):
إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِن قَوْمِ مُوسَىٰ فَبَغَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ
“Verily, Qarun was of Musa’s people, but he behaved arrogantly towards them.”
Qarun was from Bani Israel (Children of Israel) who were preferred by Allaah to the ‘Alameen (Mankind and Jinn of their period, in the past), and upon whom Allaah had bestowed many blessings which necessitated their state to be close to righteousness. However, Qarun transgressed against his people and was arrogant because of what he was given of abundant wealth.
The scholars of Tafseer said he was the cousin of Musa (‘Alayhis-salaam), the son of his paternal uncle.
Al-Qasimi said: “Qarun was of Musa’s people, meaning: he was like them in their Kufr (disbelief) and transgression. The people of Musa (the Qubts) and their tyrant Pharaoh are those to whom Musa was sent. However, after admiring his adornments, Qarun behaved arrogantly and showed haughtiness over them due to his covetousness and love of this worldly life.” [Mahaasin at-Ta’weel]
Allaah (Ta’ala) mentions this same reason behind the arrogance of Qarun in verse (76):
وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ
“And We gave him of the treasures (i.e. wealth), that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men.”
i.e. A group of strong men (7-10 men) would not have been able to carry the keys to the treasures of Qarun, because they were many. If that was the case with the keys, then what about his treasures?
The righteous ones among his people advised and warned him about transgression, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in verses (76-77):
إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ قَوْمُهُ لَا تَفْرَحْ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْفَرِحِينَ
“Remember when his people said to him: ‘Do not exult. Verily, Allaah likes not those who exult.’”
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ ۖ وَلَا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَأَحْسِن كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ ۖ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
“But seek, with that which Allaah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world; and do good as Allaah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allaah likes not the mischief makers.”
By way of sincere advice and guidance, they said:
First Piece of Advice: “Do not Exult.”
i.e. Do not be arrogant and proud of your wealth.
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “This means: Do not rejoice with ungratefulness over this great worldly life, boasting of it; and do not let it divert you from the Hereafter, for Allaah does not like those who exult and excessively love it (this Dunya).” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) said: “This means, those who rejoice and gloat.”
Mujaahid said: “It means those who are insolent and reckless, and do not thank Allaah for what He has given them.” [At-Tabari]
Second Piece of Advice: “Seek with that which Allaah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter.”
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “You have been granted the means (i.e. wealth) to attain the reward in the Hereafter, which others have not been given. So with that (wealth) which Allaah has given you, seek what is with Allaah, and give in charity, and do not let your concern be to fulfill your desires and obtain worldly pleasures.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
Rather, “Use this great wealth and these immense blessings that Allaah has given you, to worship your Lord and draw closer to Him by doing many good deeds which will earn you reward in this world and the Hereafter.” [Ibn Katheer]
This verse indicates that Qarun believed in the Hereafter; therefore he was advised to spend his wealth in ways (that would cause him) to tread the path of humbleness and lead him to Paradise.
This demonstrates that merely confessing belief in the Hereafter is not enough to make one attain salvation on that Day, because man may believe in the Hereafter but not work for it, so his belief will not benefit him. [At-Tafseer al-Kabeer by Ar-Razi]
Third Piece of Advice: “Do not forget your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world.”
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said regarding Allaah’s Statement (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world’: “You are not command to give all your wealth in charity and then you remain lost. Rather, spend for the sake of your Hereafter and enjoy your life in this world in a way that will not harm your religion or your Hereafter; within the limits that Allaah made lawful and legislated.” [Tayseer al-Kareem] ‘…That which Allaah has permitted of food, drink, clothing, dwelling places and women. Your Lord has a right over you, your self has a right over you, your family has right over you, and your visitors have a right over you. So give each of them their due.’
This advice implies another aspect, which is: “Do not be excessively engrossed in seeking the Dunya to an extent that you have no chance to enjoy your wealth.”
Perhaps this indicates that Qarun was excessively busy and concerned with collecting wealth, so he did not have the chance to enjoy it. Therefore, the advisors told him: ‘Do not forget your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world‘, i.e. ‘enjoy this wealth before you leave it.’
There is a third aspect of the advice: ‘Do not forget your portion in this world’ – and that is: Spending in the way of obedience to Allaah is one portion in this world, apart from eating and drinking.” [At-Tafseer al-Kabeer by Ar-Razi]
Fourth Piece of Advice: “Be generous and do good as Allaah has been Good and Generous to you.”
i.e. Be good and generous to the servants of Allaah and to His creatures, as He (Ta’ala) has been good and generous to you by bestowing all this wealth upon you.
Qarun was commanded with Ihsaan (doing good) in all his affairs.
This includes helping others with one’s wealth and position, receiving people with a cheerful face and with good remembrance (i.e. leave them with a good impression); for if you do good and are generous, Allaah will be good to you. This is because Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat Ibraheem (14: 7):
لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ
…‘If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings).’
Fifth Piece of Advice: “Do not seek mischief in the land”
Ibn Katheer said: “’and seek not mischief in the land’ means, ‘do not let your aim be to spread corruption on earth and do harm to Allaah’s creation.’” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “Do not seek mischief in the land by showing arrogance, committing sins, and being occupied with the blessings whilst forgetting the Bestower.
‘Verily, Allaah likes not the mischief makers’; rather He punishes them for that with a severe punishment.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
The Response of Qarun to the Exhortation of his People
Despite all the aforementioned advices, Qarun refused to accept them and increased in ungratefulness to Allaah’s blessings saying [as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in (28:78)]:
“قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ عِندِي ۚ أَوَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَهْلَكَ مِن قَبْلِهِ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مَنْ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرُ جَمْعًا ۚ وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ”
“He said: ‘This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.’ Did he not know that Allaah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? But the criminals will not be questioned for their sins.”
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “The statement of Qarun ‘This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess’ means: ‘I have no need of your advice; Allaah has only given me this wealth because He knows that I deserve it and because He loves me.’
In other words: ’He has given it to me because He knows that I am fit for this.’ This is like Surat az-Zumar (39:49):
فَإِذَا مَسَّ الْإِنسَانَ ضُرٌّ دَعَانَا ثُمَّ إِذَا خَوَّلْنَاهُ نِعْمَةً مِّنَّا قَالَ إِنَّمَا أُوتِيتُهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ ۚ بَلْ هِيَ فِتْنَةٌ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“When harm touches man, he calls Us (for help); then when We have changed it (rescued him from harm) into a favor from Us, he says: ‘Only because of knowledge (that I possess) I obtained it.’”
An alternative interpretation of this Ayah is: “Only because of what Allaah knows about me did I obtain this favor.” This is like His saying:
وَلَئِنْ أَذَقْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا مِن بَعْدِ ضَرَّاءَ مَسَّتْهُ لَيَقُولَنَّ هَٰذَا لِي
“And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity has touched him, he is sure to say: ‘This is for me (due to my merit).’” [Surat Fussilat (41:50)]
Meaning: “I deserved it.”
Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Zayd ibn Aslam explained that the statement of Qarun, ‘This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess’ means: ‘Were it not for the fact that Allaah is pleased with me and knows my virtue, He would not have given me this wealth.’” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
When those who have little knowledge see a person to whom Allaah has granted a lot of wealth, they say that if he did not deserve it Allaah would not have given it to him.
Allaah (Ta’ala) replies, showing clearly that His gift is not an evidence or a proof of the good state of the person who is given the blessing:
أَوَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَهْلَكَ مِن قَبْلِهِ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مَنْ هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُ قُوَّةً وَأَكْثَرُ جَمْعًا ۚ
“Did he not know that Allaah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected?” [28:78]
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “What would prevent Us (i.e. Allaah) from destroying Qarun if he commits what entails destruction? And this is in accordance to Our Way and Sunnah in destroying those who are like him and those who are even greater than him.
وَلَا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذُنُوبِهِمُ الْمُجْرِمُونَ
“But the criminals will not be questioned of their sins” [28:76]
Rather, Allaah will punish and torment them for what He (Ta’ala) knows about them. For their statement is not accepted nor will it repel torment from them, even if they affirm a good state to themselves and testify salvation for themselves. This is because their sins are not hidden, so their denial is not acceptable.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
The Admiration of the People of Qarun with His Adornment
Qarun continued in his transgression and stubbornness despite the advice of his people; admiring himself and showing arrogance and ungratefulness to Allaah, deceived with what Allaah had granted him of abundant wealth.
فَخَرَجَ عَلَىٰ قَوْمِهِ فِي زِينَتِهِ ۖ
“So, he went forth before his people in his finery.” [28:79]
Allaah tells us how Qarun went forth before his people wearing his magnificent regalia and fine clothes, accompanied by his fine horses, his servants and retinue. When they, whose desires and inclinations were for the world, saw his adornments and splendor, they wished that they could have the same as he had been given:
قَالَ الَّذِينَ يُرِيدُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا يَا لَيْتَ لَنَا مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ قَارُونُ إِنَّهُ لَذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ
“Those who were desirous of the life of this world, said: ‘Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.’” [28:79]
Meaning: ‘He is very lucky and has a great share in this world.’
When the people of beneficial knowledge heard this, they said to them:
وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ وَيْلَكُمْ ثَوَابُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِّمَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَلَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الصَّابِرُونَ
“But those who had been given knowledge said: ‘Woe to you! The reward of Allaah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds, and this none shall attain except the patient.’” [28:80]
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “When Qarun went forth in the utmost state of worldly beauty and adornment, all eyes saw him in that state and their hearts were filled with the beauty of his clothes. Those who were looking at him divided into two groups, each group speaking about that which they desired and were concerned about.
A group of them said: ‘Would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given’ and they were those whose wishes and desires were attached to the life of this world, and had no other hopes. They desired to have the beauty and enjoyment of this worldly life, like Qarun did. They believed that he was truly the owner of a great fortune.
The other group were those who had been given knowledge and who knew the reality of everything and looked into the depth of this world, while the first group merely looked at its outward appearance.
They said: ‘Woe to you’ with pain in their hearts from what the first group wished for themselves, pitying them and denying their statement saying: ‘The reward of Allaah is better’, i.e. the immediate reward of the enjoyment and love of worshipping Allaah, turning to Him in all of one’s affairs and the later reward of Paradise and all what is therein of what the selves desire and all that eyes could delight in, are better than that which you wish for.
However, not everyone who knows these facts would prefer the most superior matter over the most inferior; only those who are patient would be guided to that and attain it.
They are those who patiently keep themselves upon obedience to Allaah, and keep themselves away from disobedience to Allaah, and are patient when painful decrees befall them. They are those who patiently forsake the love of this world, lest it occupies them from their Lord and comes between them and the purpose for which they were created. These are those who prefer the reward of Allaah over this perishable world (seeking the Hereafter).” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
The Destruction of Qarun
When Qarun reached the state of conceit and pride in his self and his adornments, and was arrogant towards his people, and transgressed against them, then the torment came upon him suddenly. He and his dwelling place were swallowed up by the earth.
Allaah (Ta’ala) says in (28:81):
فَخَسَفْنَا بِهِ وَبِدَارِهِ الْأَرْضَ فَمَا كَانَ لَهُ مِن فِئَةٍ يَنصُرُونَهُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُنتَصِرِينَ
“So, We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group to help him against Allaah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.”
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “’So, We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place’ (i.e.) the recompense being of the same nature as his deed. Just as he elevated himself over the servants of Allaah, Allaah brought him down to the lowest of the low; he and all what he was proud of, the dwellings, furniture and chattels (worldly enjoyment).” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
Al-Bukhaari reported from Salim, who said that his father told him that the Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “While a man was dragging his lower garment, he was swallowed up and he will remain sinking down into the earth until the Day of Resurrection.”
Abu Sa’id said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “When a man amongst the people who came before you went out wearing two green garments, walking proudly and arrogantly, Allaah commanded the earth to swallow him up, and he will remain sinking down into it until the Day of Resurrection.” [Authenticated by Al-Albaani in Saheeh At-Targheeb, no. 2914]
His people learned a lesson from his being swallowed up. After those who were desirous of this worldly life (said): ‘would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given!’ saw Qarun swallowed up by the earth, they said with pain in their hearts and fear that a similar punishment could befall them:
وَأَصْبَحَ الَّذِينَ تَمَنَّوْا مَكَانَهُ بِالْأَمْسِ يَقُولُونَ وَيْكَأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ ۖ لَوْلَا أَن مَّنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا لَخَسَفَ بِنَا ۖ
“And those who desired his position the day before began to say: ‘Know you not that it is Allaah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants. Had it not been that Allaah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us!’” [28:82]
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “(Their statement means) Allaah constricts (straitens) the provision for whomever He wills and we know now that the expanse of provision to Qarun was not a proof or indication that he was good. And we were wrong when we said that he is the owner of a great fortune. Had it not been that Allaah was gracious to us; He could have punished us for what we had said or He could have caused the earth to swallow us up.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said regarding the statement of those who wished to have what Qarun had: “Were it not for the kindness and grace of Allaah towards us, we could have been swallowed up by the earth just as he was swallowed up, because we wanted to be like him.”
The destruction of Qarun was a punishment for him and an admonition and a lesson for others, such that even those who envied him felt regret and their first thought changed.
وَيْكَأَنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ
“Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.” [28:82]
Ibn Katheer said: “He (Qarun) was a disbeliever, and the disbelievers will never be successful before Allaah in this world or in the Hereafter.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
The Blessing of the Hereafter and the Means to attain it
After Allaah (Ta’ala) mentioned Qarun and what he was given of worldly pleasures, what it amounted to, and what the people of knowledge said (interpretation of meaning): “The reward of Allaah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds”, Allaah (Ta’ala) exhorts the people to the abode of the Hereafter, mentioning the means of attaining it. He (Ta’ala) says in verses (28:83-84):
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
“That is the home of the Hereafter, We shall assign to those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land nor cause corruption. And the good end is for those who have Taqwa.”
مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا ۖ وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَى الَّذِينَ عَمِلُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ إِلَّا مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“Whoever brings good, he shall have the better thereof; and whoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.”
Ibn Katheer (Rahimahullaah) said: “Allaah tells us that He made the home of the Hereafter and its eternal delights, which will not change or fade away, for His believing, humble servants who do not rebel against the truth with pride and oppression in the land. They do not exalt themselves above the creatures of Allaah, arrogantly oppressing them and spreading corruption among them. ‘Ikrimah said that this phrase refers to haughtiness and arrogance.” [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
Shaikh As-Sa’dee (Rahimahullaah) said: “Not intending haughtiness in the land, nor corruption, nor committing sins of any kind entails:
- Directing one’s intentions and desires to Allaah,
- Making it one’s goal to attain the Home of the Hereafter,
- Being humble towards the servants of Allaah,
- Submitting to the truth and performing righteous deeds.
Those are the Muttaqun (the pious) whose end will be good, i.e. the success which will remain and continue is for those who fear Allaah. As for those other than them (the Muttaqun), even if they attain some rest and success, it will not be for long, for soon it will be removed from them and fade away. This noble verse signifies that those who seek haughtiness and exaltedness in the land or cause corruption by committing sins will have no share (portion) of the home of the Hereafter.” [Tayseer al-Kareem]
‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “If a man wants the straps of his sandals to be better than the straps of his companion’s sandals, then he is one of those referred to in this Ayah.”
This is understood to mean that if his intention is to show off and appear better than others, then that is to be condemned, as it was reported in the Saheeh that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “It has been revealed to me that you should be humble to the extent that none of you boasts or mistreats others.” [Muslim]
But if a person simply likes to look good, then there is nothing wrong with that. It was recorded that a man said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I like to have my garment looking good and my shoes looking good, is this a kind of arrogance?” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “No, for Allaah is Beautiful and loves beauty….”
Then Allaah (Ta’ala) mentions His multiplied Grace (favor) and perfect Justice. He (Ta’ala) says in (28:84):
مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهَا ۖ
“Whoever brings good (i.e. on the Day of Resurrection), he shall have the better thereof.”
Meaning: the reward of Allaah is better than the good deeds of His servant.
‘Hasanah’ includes all what Allaah and His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) have commanded with of statements and actions, the hidden and the manifest, which pertain to Allaah’s right and the right of His servants. The person will have a greater and more sublime reward.
Also, in Surat al-An’aam (6:160), Allaah (Ta’ala) says:
مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا
“Whosoever brings a good deed shall have ten times the like thereof to his credit.”
The multiplication is something that surely will happen, and it can be connected to certain means which increase the multiplication, as Allaah (Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Baqarah (2:261):
وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“Allaah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures needs, All-Knower.”
This is in accordance with the state of the doer, his action, its benefit, its place, and position. This is the position of generosity.
Then Allaah (Ta’ala) says in (28:84):
وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ
“And whoever brings evil,”
And that is every matter the Lawmaker has prohibited and made unlawful.
فَلَا يُجْزَى الَّذِينَ عَمِلُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ إِلَّا مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.”
This is the position of Generosity and Justice, (stated by Ibn Katheer).
Lessons from the Story of Qarun
- The prohibition of arrogance, haughtiness, and transgression against the creation. Oppression causes destruction of population and homes.
- Abundant wealth is an affliction and trial; and it causes transgression and mischief in the land.
- The disbelievers and those who are ungrateful to Allaah are deceived with worldly enjoyment (allurements); because of it they boast, show arrogance, and misuse the blessings without fulfilling its rights, i.e. by continuously being grateful to Allaah for it. This behavior entails the removal of the blessing and causes loss and destruction in this worldly life and torment in the Hereafter.
- The mindful person is the one who receives admonition and takes lessons from others. He does not wait until he becomes a lesson for others.
- Islam does not prohibit the rich to enjoy that which Allaah has granted them of worldly riches as long as they are giving its due right (of Zakaat, Sadaqaat, etc.) and spending out of it moderately without using it as a means to humiliate people or show haughtiness. Moreover, they acknowledge the grace (bounty) of the True Bestower upon them.
- Amongst people are those who are deceived by the appearance of matters and dazzled with the aspects of welfare. These are like the ones who admired the state of Qarun when he went forth in his adornment, such that they wished to have wealth like him and considered him a lucky (fortunate) person. However, soon after the infliction of punishment, they became mindful of Allaah’s favor upon them in saving them from a destiny like Qarun and his followers. The wise men amongst the sons of Adam are those who realize that the reward of Allaah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds.
- Wealth does not indicate that Allaah is pleased with its owner, for Allaah gives and withholds, allows times of difficulty and times of ease, and raises and lowers (the status); His is the most complete wisdom and most convincing proof. According to a Hadeeth narrated by Ibn Mas’ud (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu): “Allaah has allotted character to you just as He has allotted your provision. Allaah gives wealth to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He gives Faith only to those whom He loves.” [Authenticated by Al-Albaani in Saheeh Al-Adab al-Mufrad, no. 209]
- Arrogance, haughtiness, and making mischief in the land are of the destructive sins in this world and the Hereafter. And in the Hereafter, the punishment is even more severe.
- The good end is for the pious and the followers of Truth.
- It is a must for the believer to dispose what Allaah has granted him of Dunya (worldly blessings) to seek the Home of the Hereafter i.e. Paradise. He should not use it in arrogance or transgression. This does not mean he should neglect his worldly affairs. It is lawful to enjoy the wealth Allaah has granted as long as one is not extravagant, gives Allaah’s rights, and spends it in the right way without miserliness, loss or waste.
- One should not waste his life without doing righteous deeds in this world; rather, one should work for the Hereafter.
- The mindful person knows the reality of his existence in this world, which is that he is a slave of a Great Creator Who defined for him His Message, which consists of:
First: Worshipping Allaah with what He has commanded.
Second: Establishing the Shar’ (Law) of Allaah on earth.
One should exert his utmost to accomplish these two duties in order to attain an honorable and exalted position with his Lord. This will not be attained except with full submission to Allaah; to His Commands, and full recognition of Allaah’s blessings upon him such that no arrogance or haughtiness overtakes him, nor does authority and power deceive him and cause him to make mischief in the land and transgress against the people. This is because one’s deeds are counted for him and he will be recompensed abundantly for the good that he has done, and with evil as a recompense for his evil actions. Therefore, Allaah (Ta’ala) ended the story of Qarun with verse (28:84):
من جاء بالحسنة فله خير منها ومن جاء بالسيئة فلا يجزى الذين عملوا السيئات إلا ما كانوا يعملون
“Whosoever brings good, he shall have the better thereof, and whosoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.”
- Throughout history, human beings have been divided into believers and disbelievers, into monotheists and polytheists, into upright people on the Path of Allaah and the rebellious. Those whom Allaah has honored with knowledge should be diligent in advising those who are lost and misguided among the sons of Adam.
- The outcome of rebellion against Allaah’s Way is ruin in the Dunya and torment in the Hereafter.
- Making mischief in the land is one of the sins which displeases Allaah and Allaah will ask them about all what they did.
- The life of this world is the abode of tests and trials, and the eternal Hereafter is the abode of recompense and reward for the pious who do not seek haughtiness in this land nor seek to do mischief.
- Out of Allaah’s Generosity and Justice towards the slave who believes (in the Oneness of Allaah) and does righteous deeds, He will reward him with abundant multiplied rewards. And whoever brings an evil deed of disbelief, Shirk, or disobedience to Allaah and His Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) shall have only the recompense of the like thereof.
- Tayseer al-Kareem by Shaikh As-Sa’dee
- Tafseer Ibn Katheer
- Muntada Ansaar as-Sunnah
- Tafseer al-Qurtubi
- Tafseer al-Qasimi-Mahaasin at-Ta’weel
- At-Tafseer al-Mawdao’i Li Sowar al-Qur’an