Samiri (Islamic figure)

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Samiri (Arabic: السامريtranslit.: Sāmirī, Hebrew: זִמְרִ֖י‎ / Zimri son of Salu, prince of the patriarchal house of the Simeonites, in Numbers, 24:14) is the name given in the Qur'an to the creator of the Golden Calf. He was the man who tempted the Israelites to forsake the worship of Allah while Musa (Moses) was away for 40 days on Mount Sinai while he and the other Sahabah (companions) believed Musa (Moses) had died.[1] The Qur'an narrates that Samiri gave the illusion that the idol was making a 'lowing' sound, and later exegesis embellishes upon this, narrating that Samiri did this by casting the calf into the dust upon which archangel Gabriel had tread.[2] In sharp contrast to account given in the Hebrew Bible, the Qur'an does not blame Aaron (Haroun) for the creation of the calf and instead praises him for trying to stop the worship of the calf.[3]

The Hebrew Bible mentions Zimri as a chief instigator of the later Heresy of Peor, and does not mention him in connection with the Golden Calf. However, his sinful character as depicted in the Bible makes plausible the role attributed to him by Islam.[citation needed]

In the Quran[edit]

Surah Al-Araaf (7):

{142} And We made an appointment with Musa (Moses) for thirty nights, and completed them with ten [more]; thus the tryst of his Lord was completed in forty nights. And Musa (Moses) said to Haroun (Aaron), his brother, ‘Be my successor among my people, do right and do not follow the way of the agents of corruption.’[4]

Surah Al-Qasas (28):

{34} "Haroun, my brother —he is more eloquent than me in speech. So send him with me as a helper to confirm me, for I fear that they will impugn me.'" {35} "He said, 'We will strengthen your arm by means of your brother, and invest both of you with such authority that they will not touch you. With the help of Our signs, you two, and those who follow the two of you, shall be the victors.'"[5]

Surah Ta Ha (20):

{85} He said, ‘Indeed We tried your people in your absence, and Samiri1 has led them astray.’ {86} Thereupon Musa (Moses) returned to his people, indignant and grieved. He said, ‘O my people! Did not your Lord give you a true promise? Did the period [of my absence] seem too long to you? Or did you desire that your Lord’s wrath should descend on you and so you failed your tryst with me?’ {87} They said, ‘We did not fail our tryst with you of our own accord, but we were laden with the weight of the people’s ornaments, and we cast them [into the fire] and so did the Samiri throw.’ {88} Then he produced for them a calf —a [lifeless] body with a low— and they said, This is your god and the god of Musa (Moses), so he forgot! {89} Did they not see that it did not answer them, nor could it bring them any benefit or harm? {90} Haroun (Aaron) had certainly told them earlier, ‘O my people! You are only being tested by it. Indeed your Lord is the All-beneficent. So follow me and obey my command!’[6]
1 He was one of the Sahabah (Companions) of the Prophet Musa (AS)

In the Baha'i Faith[edit]

The Bahá'í Faith sees Samiri as a magician who led people away from the "knowledge and justice" of Moses to ignorance. He is mentioned in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, the primary theological work of the Baha'i religion.

See also[edit]

References[edit]