Qaroon and Musa - Wealth and Corruption
Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…
Called Egypt where lived an Israelite man, named Qaroon, who was the proud owner of a fortune so vast and plentiful that he had to dedicate special rooms in his palace to housing said wealth. Qaroon had rooms that contained nothing but cases full of gold, other rooms housed trunks brimming with silver, and in yet more rooms were bags stuffed full of gems and precious stones. All these treasure rooms he kept locked tight with a myriad of keys that, when placed together, defied even the strongest of men to carry away.
At the end of every day, Qaroon would go home and spend hours counting and recounting his gold, silver and gems. Yet, no matter how much wealth he amassed, Qaroon was never satisfied. Every morning he woke up with an unquenchable desire to make more money to add to his already legendary hoard. He wanted nothing more than to fill every room in his palace with riches, and once he accomplished that, he wanted to build even more rooms and fill them with riches, too.
Everywhere Qaroon went, he was followed by admiring and envious eyes. It was common knowledge that Qaroon was one of the richest men in Egypt. Rumor had it that his limitless wealth rivaled that of the Pharaoh himself. Because of this, everyone always whispered and stared whenever they saw Qaroon, who preened at the attention and happily basked in the envy of those around him.
There was one person though who neither envied Qaroon, nor admired him. This man was Musa , a Prophet and Messenger of God. He couldn't help but see the contrast between Qaroon, as he gloated and greedily counted his wealth, and the majority of the Israelites, who suffered cruelly as they were forced to work as slaves toiling for hours under the relentlessly burning sun.
Musa approached Qaroon and tried speaking to him of the plight of their people and the unseemliness of his unabashed glee over his riches. He reminded Qaroon that all the wealth he had was a gift from a merciful and generous God. Musa also warned Qaroon that the prodigious fortune he had was a test from God to see if he would be grateful for it, and use it wisely, keeping some, spending some and giving some away. Or, if he would be corrupted by it, and fall victim to a blindness of the heart, never seeing or acknowledging the needs of the people around him and how much he and his wealth could help them.
Qaroon ignored Musa's passionate words and looked admiringly at the jewelry he wore and the rich furnishings of his home instead. Musa fell silent after a while, knowing full well he did not have Qaroon's attention.
When he realized Musa had ceased speaking, Qaroon looked up with a bored and indifferent expression on his face. He coldly and arrogantly stated that everything he owned he had earned with his wit and his knowledge, and he didn't have anyone to thank for it but himself.
Musa softly warned Qaroon that he was fooling himself if he thought he was on the right path. He reminded Qaroon of the terrible punishment God had doled out to others in the past who had been given great wealth - even greater than Qaroon's - and had become corrupt and selfish, turning a blind eye to the dire needs of those around them while they reveled in their wealth.
After Musa had left, Qaroon carelessly shrugged off the words of the Messenger of God and continued on his dark path. Everyday was another opportunity to amass more riches which were locked away in Qaroon's palace, never to see the light of day again. Day after day, month after month, more gold, silver and gemstones were added to Qaroon's hoard and left there to gather dust until Qaroon came to gloat over his ever growing fortune.
The people meanwhile continued to look at Qaroon with envious eyes and longing hearts. Many a man and woman said softly and wistfully, "I wish I had what Qaroon has, he's a very lucky man."
Overhearing these words, the wiser men and women replied admonishingly, "What a thing to wish for! What God offers to those who have faith and do good deeds is better than what he has, and only the patient will receive it."
Nevertheless, it was difficult for people to be patient and watch Qaroon revel in his wealth while they languished in poverty and hardship. Fortunately, Musa was there to encourage everyone and help them keep their faith and hope alive. He reminded them to be content and grateful for what they had and, sooner or later, they would realize just how much God had given them.
Then on very dark night, the slumbering town was awoken with a start. A loud indefinable rumbling sound began and grew until it became a deafening roar. The ground itself seemed to shake and turn restlessly like a sleeper suffering from some terrible nightmare. As people staggered fearfully from their beds, the roar continued and the frightful trembling of the earth increased. Just when everyone thought they would all surely die that night, the ground settled and returned to its peaceful rest.
The frightened and bewildered people carefully left their homes to see what that deafening noise and shaking had been about. The sight that met their eyes stunned them: The luxurious palace of Qaroon had been pulled apart and swallowed by the restless earth and it was now no more. Not a single piece of gold, not a solitary silver coin, nor a hint of a shining gem could be seen anywhere. Qaroon and all of his legendary wealth had been destroyed and unceremoniously buried deep within the earth.
Qaroon, the people murmured to one another in hushed voices, no doubt had been deep in the bowls of his palace counting his treasure, just as he did every night, when the disaster had struck. No one could have helped him then, they said, no one except perhaps the God he had scorned. Maybe, some mused, Qaroon hadn't had everything after all. Maybe, the people said, we are the lucky ones, not the greedy, powerless man who had fallen into the bowels of the earth along with his palace and his wealth.
Slowly, one by one, the people who had been wishing to change places with Qaroon realized something that shook them to their cores. They were all actually happy that they were not Qaroon. All the palaces and riches in the world could not have saved Qaroon from his fate, but perhaps a little prayer would have. In fervent voices, the people all whole heartedly thanked God for everything they had, no matter how humble or grand it may be.
*Written by Aisha Bilal © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?
- Names, Translations and Aliases:
- Musa (aka Moses) PBUH: موسى عليه السلام.
- Qaroon: قارون.
- Musa (aka Moses) PBUH: موسى عليه السلام.
- Qaroon: قارون.