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The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (12):
"Those who Took the Calf Will Incur Wrath from their Lord and Humiliation in this Worldly Life..." (Quran 7:152)

The Debate between the Might and the Truth within a Quranist Vision (12):

"Those who Took the Calf Will Incur Wrath from their Lord and Humiliation in this Worldly Life..." (Quran 7:152)

Published in December 30, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy


1- Moses preached the following to his people after they became successors in the land of Egypt: "Moses said to his people, "Remember God's bounties upon you, as He delivered you from the people of Pharaoh, who inflicted on you terrible suffering, slaughtering your sons while sparing your daughters. In that was a serious trial from your Lord." And when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My torment is severe." And Moses said, "Even if you are ungrateful, together with everyone on earth-God is in no need, Worthy of Praise."" (14:6-8). Moses narrated to them a summary of the history of ancient nations and their stances toward their prophets/messengers; see 14:9-14. We focus on this phrase: "... If you give thanks, I will grant you increase; but if you are ungrateful, My torment is severe." (14:7); this means that if the Israelites would be thankful and grateful for God's bounties as He delivered them from Pharaoh and made them successors in the land of Egypt, their bounties would be increased; otherwise, if they would be disbelieving sinners who transgress their limits, God would inflict severe torment on them.

2- Moses left the Israelites at the Nile River Valley to go to Mount Al-Tur, in Sinai, to receive the Torah Tablets in his second appointment with the Lord God, and during his absence, most of the Israelites took the golden calf as their deity, and we have tackled (1) the quarrel of Moses with Aaron and how Aaron apologized, (2) the stance of Moses toward the misguiding man, Al-Samiri, and his fate and terrible punishment, and (3) how Moses burned and destroyed the golden calf and threw its powder into the sea. We focus here more on the stance of Moses toward his people. 

3- We note that Moses was so furious that he commanded his people to show repentance and atonement by killing themselves: "And recall that Moses said to his people, "O my people, you have done wrong to yourselves by worshiping the calf. So repent to your Creator, and kill yourselves. That would be better for you with your Creator." So He accepted your repentance, for He is the Accepter of Repentance, the Merciful." (2:54). It seems that his command to them was about to get a favorable response from them, as they sought to purify themselves from this grave sin of polytheism they had committed and they regretted it very much, within deep remorse: "Then, when they regretted, and realized that they had erred, they said, "Unless our Lord extends His mercy to us, and forgives us, we will be among the losers."" (7:149). This is why God has accepted their repentance and they did not have to kill themselves: "...Then they took the calf for worship, even after the clear proofs had come to them. Yet We pardoned that..." (4:153).


Secondly: the preaching style within the Quranic story of the Israelites:

1- There was not a golden calf for the Israelites of Arabia when the Quran was being revealed during Muhammad's lifetime; yet, the golden calf worshipped by the people of Moses during his lifetime is frequently mentioned in the Quranic preaching addressed to the Israelites and others; this shows clearly that this golden calf is a symbol standing for the worship of Mammon (i.e., money, gold, etc.). 

2- We note that this Quranic preaching style is adopted in some Yathrebian Quranic Chapters (i.e., those revealed in Yathreb); e.g., within the Quranic Chapter 2, at the time when Muhammad dealt with the People of the Book. In contrast, within the Meccan Quranic Chapters (i.e., those revealed in Mecca), the Quranic stories of Moses, Moses' Pharaoh, and the Israelites are mentioned using the narrative/descriptive style, such as the case with the Quranic Chapters 7, 28, 20, 40, 43, and 26. Within the Quranic discourse addressed to the Israelites of Arabia within the Yathrebian Quranic Chapters, some particular stories related to the ancient Israelites are recalled to remind and preach the Israelites of Arabia; e.g., the direct preaching addressed to the Israelites in 2:49-60 and its echoes within the Quranic stories about the Israelites narrated in 7:142-162. This repetition of warning and preaching means that it is addressed to Quran-believing people as well, and not only to the Israelites.          

3- Regarding the topic of worshipping the golden calf or taking it as a deity, we quote the following verses from the preaching style found in the Quranic Chapter 2. "Moses came to you with clear proofs, yet you adopted the calf in his absence, and you were unjust ones. And We made a covenant with you, and raised the Mount above you: "Take what We have given you firmly, and listen." They said, "We hear and disobey." And their hearts became filled with the love of the calf because of their disbelief. Say, "Wretched is what your faith commands you to do, if you are believers."" (2:92-93). The phrase (And their hearts became filled with the love of the calf because of their disbelief) indicates that it is impossible that the belief in God could be combined with the worship of the golden calf (i.e., the worship of Mammon or money) within one soul/mind/heart. This means that the worship of the golden calf made them lose their belief in God. This great indication serves as a warning heeded by real monotheists, but the Muhammadans never take heed of it because they are polytheists.  

4- Thus, we are compellingly reminded with the Quranic verses about the clergymen of the People of the Book who worshipped Mammon or money/gold/silver (i.e., symbolized by the golden calf). "O you who believe! Many of the rabbis and priests consume people's wealth illicitly, and hinder others from God's Path. Those who hoard gold and silver, and do not spend them in God's cause, inform them of a painful torment. On the Day when they will be heated in the Fire of Hell, then their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs will be branded with them: "This is what you hoarded for yourselves; so taste what you used to hoard."" (9:34-35). We note here that many of the rabbis and priests amass and confiscate to themselves the golden calf (i.e., money/gold/silver) paid to them by people who assume that such money will be spent for God's sake (e.g., by donating for the poor). Thus, many clergymen are thieves who consume ill-gotten money; God says the following about them: "You see many of them competing with one another in sin and hostility, and their consuming of ill-gotten money. What they have been doing is truly evil." (5:62). This great indication serves as a generalized statement about all types of clergymen (not only those of the People of the Book). Thus, the verse 5:62 applies to clergymen of Sunnites, Sufis, Shiites, Catholics, Orthodox, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. as all of them worship the golden calf (i.e., the worship of Mammon or money).


Thirdly: the verse 7:152 and its unique preaching:

 God says in the Quran: "Those who took the calf will incur wrath from their Lord and humiliation in this worldly life. We thus requite the fabricators. As for those who commit sins, and then repent afterwards and believe - your Lord, thereafter, is Forgiving and Merciful." (7:152-153). This is a unique preaching style, and its uniqueness is manifested in the points below.

1- Generalization: God does not mention the term "Israelites" in 7:152, and this means that 7:152 applies to all worshippers of Mammon/money symbolized by the golden calf.

2- Brevity by omission: the phrase (those who took the calf) means those who took it as a deity, and the word (deity) is not mentioned here but understood from the context, as they did not take the calf as an animal for consumption as food, but as their god. The Quranic verb (to take...) is often used within the contexts of those who worship mortal creatures (e.g., gods/deities, saints, and allies) instead of, or alongside with, the Lord God. This is exemplified in these verses: "Or have they taken to themselves gods from the earth who resurrect?" (21:21); "Or have they taken, besides Him, other gods? Say, "Bring your proof..." (21:24); ""These people, our people, have taken to themselves gods other than Him. Why do they not bring a clear proof concerning them? Who, then, commits greater injustice than he who invents lies and attributes them to God?"" (18:15); "Do those who disbelieve think that they can take My servants for allies instead of Me? We have prepared Hell for the hospitality of the disbelievers." (18:102).

3- Symbolism: the golden calf stands for the god worshipped, in all eras, by the vast majority of all human beings who are misguided; namely, Mammon/money. Most human beings fight and struggle against one another, in all eras, because of wealth/gold/possessions. The gold remains as it is, while human beings kill one another and die and turn into dust because of it, from one generation to another. This is the trap into which most people fall on all levels: families, societies, villages, cities, states/countries, and nations. Most human beings worship the golden calf and struggle/fight against one another because of it. This is fighting for the sake of Satan and devils who tempted those misguided human beings; this is NOT self-defense fighting for God's sake to eliminate (religious) persecution. The worst type of fighting for money is committed by those who raise the banners of religious fighting/jihad for God's sake; in fact, this is evil fighting for the sake of Satan (i.e., for the sake of possessions, wealth, power, etc.); i.e., for the sake of the golden calf worshipped by them. This is the grave sin/crime committed by Qorayish and its sinful, immoral caliphs once Muhammad died. Thus, 7:152 applies to all worshippers of the golden calf in all eras (not only to the Qorayish tribe) who mix politics with religion. 

4- Continuity: the punishment in 7:152 is mentioned in the future simple tense to indicate the continuous penalty inflicted on them in this world because they have incurred God's wrath on themselves. This continuity means that the verses 7:152-153 are not confined to the Israelites during Moses lifetime, but to all worshippers of Mammon/money (symbolized by the golden calf) in all eras who will be punished in the same manner if they do not repent in ways acceptable by God to become repentant monotheists who deserve God's pardon and mercy.   



1- The worship of the golden calf now (i.e., the worship of Mammon or money) is still popular and spreading in Arab tyrannical countries in particular, whether they are oil-rich ones or impoverished ones. Arab tyrants and their retinue members are as much talented in stealing as they are in committing crimes of torture against their nations. Arab tyrants in impoverished countries outdo those in oil-rich monarchies in hoarding and amassing of as much ill-gotten money and wealth as possible, even if they have to wage wars that cause the death and destruction of their nations.

2- The chief example is Yemen, ruled for long decades by tyrannical traitors who have made Yemen, that has glorious past and civilization, the most impoverished Arab country. The former Yemeni president (who got killed eventually), Ali Abdullah Saleh, stole US$ 60 billion and massacred hundreds of thousands of Yemeni citizens. Another example is Sudan. In fat, Sudan is the richest Arab country in terms of natural resources; yet, it is a very impoverished country because of corruption and tyranny, and its president, the wanted war-criminal Omar Al-Bashir, has stolen US$ billions and his hands are stained with blood. The country of South Sudan has emerged as he has failed to maintain the unity of Sudan, and his military troops are mercenaries employed by those who pay more money. This president of Sudan, who seeks the golden calf (i.e., to amass as much wealth as possible) all the time, changes his alliances as easily as he changes his underwear. This war-criminal (after losing nearly half of the Sudanese land) demands the Egyptian city of Halayeb (near the Egyptian-Sudanese borders) to be annexed to Sudan, as he seizes the chance of the deterioration of the conditions of Egypt within the current military rule, whose Egyptian generals are engaged into the worship of the golden calf (i.e., Mammon or money) within an unprecedented manner, as they control trade and economy inside Egypt and as they steal as much money and wealth as possible, instead of protecting the national security and the Egyptian borders.   

3- Eventually, the golden calf (i.e., the worship of Mammon or money) ends into being destroyed, just like the one destroyed by Moses and thrown into the sea, and its worshippers will suffer shame, disgrace, and humiliation in this worldly life, as occurred to Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, Ben Ali, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Mubarak. The same terrible fate is waiting for tyrants of Egypt, the KSA, the Gulf monarchies, and the North African Arab countries. Arab tyrants of today never take heed of the fate of their predecessors or pay attention to the ruin and destruction that occur, and thus, they never repent, reflect, or remember God at all.  

4- Strangely, Arab tyrants can see that the worship of the golden calf (i.e., the worship of Mammon or money) is prohibited in modern Israel by law; no senior or junior officials can steal money, and any corruption cases incur interrogation, as what happened with prime ministers Sharon and Netanyahu. In contrast, the big thieves in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank make an appearance of nationalism and piety in the media (i.e., only before cameras!), though they amass and consume ill-gotten money and follow the footsteps of other Arab tyrants. 

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