Samiri (Islamic figure)

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Samiri (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 is believed to have been the man who tempted the Israelites to forsake the worship of God while Moses was up on Mount Sinai.[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 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 connexion with the Golden Calf. However, his sinful character as depicted in the Bible makes plausible the role attributed to him by Islam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Qur'an 20:85
  2. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril Glasse, As-Samiri
  3. ^ Qur'an 20: 92-93