It was recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu) said:
(Verily, Qarun was of Musa’s people,) “He was the son of his paternal uncle.” This was also the view of Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, `Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Nawfal, Sammak bin Harb, Qatadah, Malik bin Dinar, Ibn Jurayj and others; they all said that he was the cousin of Musa, peace be upon him. Ibn Jurayj said: “He was Qarun bin Yashar bin Qahith, and Musa was the son of `Imran bin Qahith.
(And We gave him of the treasures,) meaning, of wealth;
(that of which the keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men.) Groups of strong men would not have been able to carry them because they were so many. Al-A`mash narrated from Khaythamah, “The keys of Qarun’s treasure were made of leather, each key like a finger, and each key was for a separate storeroom. When he rode anywhere, the keys would be carried on sixty mules with white blazes on their foreheads and white feet.” Other views were also given, and Allah knows best.
(Remember when his people said to him: “Do not exult. Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.”) means, the righteous ones among his people exhorted him. By way of sincere advice and guidance, they said: “Do not exult in what you have,” meaning, `do not be arrogant and proud of your wealth.’
(Verily, Allah likes not those who exult.) Ibn Abbas (RadiyAllahu Anhu) said, “This means, those who rejoice and gloat.” Mujahid said, “It means those who are insolent and reckless, and do not thank Allah for what He has given them.” His saying:
(But seek, with that which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world;) means, `use this great wealth and immense blessing Allah has given you to worship your Lord and draw closer to Him by doing a variety of good deeds which will earn you reward in this world and the Hereafter.’
(and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world;) `That which Allah has permitted of food, drink, clothing, dwelling places and women. Your Lord has rights over you, your self has rights over you, your family has rights over you, and your visitors have rights over you. So give each of them their due.’
(and be generous as Allah has been generous to you, ) `Be generous to His creatures, as He has been generous to you.’
(and seek not mischief in the land.) meaning: `do not let your aim be to spread corruption on earth and do harm to Allah’s creation.’
(Verily, Allah likes not the mischief-makers.)
78. He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.” Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected But the criminals will not be questioned of their sins.)
Allah informs us how Qarun responded to the exhortations of his people when they sought to guide him
(He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.”) meaning, `I have no need of your advice; Allah 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 the Ayat:
(When harm touches man, he calls upon Us; then when We have changed it into a favor from Us, he says: “Only because of knowledge I obtained it.”) (39:49) An alternative interpretation of this Ayah says that the meaning is: “Only because of what Allah knows about me did I obtain this favor.” This is like His saying:
(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 from me.”) (41:50) meaning, “I deserved it.” Imam `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam explained this Ayah very well. Concerning the phrase,
(He said: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.”) He said: “Were it not for the fact that Allah is pleased with me and knows my virtue, He would not have given me this wealth.” And He said:
(Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount they had collected) This is what those who have little knowledge say when they see a person whom Allah has granted a lot of wealth; they say that if he did not deserve it, Allah would not have given it to him.
79. So, he went forth before his people in his finery. Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.”
80. But those who had been given knowledge said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds, and this none shall attain except the patient.”)
HOW QARUN WENT FORTH IN HIS FINERY, AND HIS PEOPLE’S COMMENTS:
Allah tells us how Qarun went forth one day before his people with his magnificent regalia; wearing his fine clothes, accompanied by his fine horses, his servants and retinue. When those 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, and said:
(Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.) 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:
(Woe to you! The reward of Allah is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds,) `Allah’s reward to His believing, righteous servants in the Hereafter is better than what you see,’ as is reported in the authentic Hadith:
(Allah has prepared for His righteous servants what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and the heart of a human cannot comprehend. Recite, if you wish: (No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.)) (32:17).
(and this none shall attain except the patient.) As-Suddi said: “None shall reach Paradise except for the patient” — as if this were the completion of the statement made by the people of knowledge. Ibn Jarir said, “This applies only to those who patiently forsake the love of this world, seeking the Hereafter. It is as if this is part of what the people of knowledge said, but it is made part of the Words of Allah, stating this fact.”
81. So, We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place. Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.
82. And those who desired his position the day before, began to say: “Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants. Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up! Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.”
HOW QARUN AND HIS DWELLING PLACE WERE SWALLOWED UP BY THE EARTH:
After telling us about Qarun’s conceit and pride in his adornments, and how he was arrogant towards his people and transgressed against them, Allah then tells us how he and his dwelling place were swallowed up by the earth. This was also reported in the Sahih by Al-Bukhari from Salim, who said that his father told him that the Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alaihi 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.”
He also recorded something similar from Salim from Abu Hurayrah (RadiyAllahu Anhu) from the Prophet, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id said, “The Messenger of Allah, SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam, said:
“When a man among the people who came before you went out wearing two green garments, walking proudly and arrogantly, Allah commanded the earth to swallow him up, and he will remain sinking down into it until the Day of Resurrection.”
This version was recorded only by Ahmad, and its chain of narration is Hasan (sound).
(Then he had no group to help him against Allah, nor was he one of those who could save themselves.) means, his wealth, group, servants and retinue were of no avail to him; they could not protect him from the wrath and vengeance of Allah. Nor could he help himself or save himself. There was no one to help him, neither himself nor anybody else.
HIS PEOPLE LEARNED A LESSON FROM HIM BEING SWALLOWED UP:
(And those who had desired his position the day before,) means, those witnessed him with his finery and said:
(Those who were desirous of the life of the world, said: “Ah, would that we had the like of what Qarun has been given! Verily, he is the owner of a great fortune.”) When he was swallowed up in the earth, they began to say:
(Know you not that it is Allah Who expands the provision or restricts it to whomsoever He pleases of His servants.) Wealth does not indicate that Allah is pleased with its owner, for Allah gives and withholds, allows times of difficulty and times of ease, raises and lowers, His is the most complete wisdom and most convincing proof. According to a Hadith narrated by Ibn Mas’ud (RadiyAllahu Anhu),
(Allah has alloted character among you just as He has alloted your provision. Allah gives wealth to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He gives Faith only to those whom He loves.)
(Had it not been that Allah was Gracious to us, He could have caused the earth to swallow us up!) meaning, `were it not for the kindness and grace of Allah towards us, we could have been swallowed up by the earth just as he was swallowed up, because we wanted to be like him.’
(Know you not that the disbelievers will never be successful.) He was a disbeliever, and the disbelievers will never be successful before Allah in this world or in the Hereafter.
83. 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.
84. 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.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE HEREAFTER FOR THE HUMBLE BELIEVERS:
Allah tells us that He has made the home of the Hereafter, and its eternal delights which will never 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 Allah, arrogantly oppressing them and spreading corruption among them. `Ikrimah said that this phrase referred to haughtiness and arrogance. Ibn Jurayj said:
(those who do not want to exalt themselves in the land) “Arrogance and tyranny,
(nor cause corruption) committing sins.” Ibn Jarir recorded that Ali (RadiyAllahu 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 the Ayah,
(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.) 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 Sahih that the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“It has been revealed to me that you should be humble to the extent that none of you boasts to others or mistreats others.”
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 Allah, I like to have my garment looking good and my shoes looking good — is this a kind of arrogance”
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said:
“No, for Allah is beautiful and loves beauty…”
And Allah says:
(Whosoever brings good,) meaning, on the Day of Resurrection,
“he shall have the better thereof;” meaning, the reward of Allah is better than the good deeds of His servant — how can it not be, when Allah has multiplied it many times over This is the position of generosity. Then Allah says:
“and whosoever brings evil, then those who do evil deeds will only be requited for what they used to do.”
This is like the Ayah,
“And whoever brings an evil deed, they will be cast down on their faces in the Fire. (And it will be said to them) “Are you being recompensed anything except what you used to do”
This is the position of generosity and justice.