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.

Likeness to Abu Bakr[edit]

Samiri is often seen as the Abu Bakr ibn Qhuhafah of Musa (Moses), as Ali ibn Abi Talib is paralleled to Haroun (Aaron). This is because, like Samiri, Abu Bakr also began deviating and calling on others to deviate from the religion of his Prophet. After the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr and a small group of other companions, instead of attending his funeral, began conspiring in the shed of Saqifah to invent their own Caliphate, and then claimed it was the will of Muhammad and Allah all along. As Muhammad said on several occasions, Ali was to him as Haroun (Aaron) was to Musa (Moses).

Ali is to me as Haroun is to Musa[edit]

A Sahih Long Version of the Hadith

The Most Noble Messenger (PBUH&HP) appointed 'Ali (AS) to guard the city on his behalf, and he ordered that he should remain in Madinah until he returned, administering the affairs of the Muslims. When the Hypocrites realized that their treacherous plans had been divulged, they began spreading idle rumors in the hope of weakening 'Ali's position. They hinted that the Prophet (PBUH&HP) was angry with 'Ali (AS) and that it was for this reason that he had not been permitted to accompany him on a major military expedition.
'Ali (AS) was greatly troubled and saddened by the circulation of these rumors, and he hastened to the presence of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) who had already left Madinah. He told him what had happened, and with a single historic sentence he clarified the special position of 'Ali (AS) once and for all:
"Are you not content that your relation to me shall be like the relation of Haroun to Musa, excepting only that there shall be no prophet after me?"
At the end of this hadith there is a sentence that many Sunni scholars have recorded in their books:
"It is not fitting that I should depart without your being my deputy and successor."[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

Sahih Bukhari

Narrated Sad: Allah's Apostle set out for Tabuk. appointing 'Ali as his deputy (in Medina). 'Ali said, "Do you want to leave me with the children and women?" The Prophet said, "Will you not be pleased that you will be to me like Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses)? But there will be no prophet after me."[18]

Narrated Ubaida: Ali said (to the people of 'Iraq), "Judge as you used to judge, for I hate differences (and I do my best) till the people unite as one group, or I die as my companions have died." And narrated Sad that the Prophet said to 'Ali, "Will you not be pleased from this that you are to me like Haroun (Aaron) was to Musa (Moses)?"[19]

Sahih Muslim

Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) addressing 'All said: You are in the same position with relation to me as Haroun (Aaron) was in relation to Musa (Moses) but with (this explicit difference) that there is no prophet after me. Sa'd said: I had an earnest desire to hear it directly from Sa'd, so I met him and narrated to him what (his son) Amir had narrated to me, whereupon he said: Yes, I did hear it. I said: Did you hear it yourself? Thereupon he placed his fingers upon his ears and said: Yes, and if not, let both my ears become deaf.[20]

Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) left 'Ali ibn Abi Talib behind him (as he proceeded) to the expedition of Tabuk, whereupon he ('Ali) said: Allah's Messenger, are you leaving me behind amongst women and children? Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Haroun (Aaron) was unto Musa (Moses) but with this exception that there would be no prophet after me.[21]

Muawiya b. Abi Sufyin appointed Sa'd as Governor and said: What prevents you from abusing Abu Turab (Hadrat 'Ali ibn Abi Talib), whereupon be said: It is because of three things which I remember Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) having said about him that I would not abuse him and even if I find one of those three things for me, it would be more dear to me than the red camel. I heard Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) say about 'Ali as he left behind hrin in one of his campaigns (that was Tabuk). 'All said to him: Allah's Messenger, you leave me behind along with women and children. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) said to him: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Haroun (Aaron) was unto Musa (Moses) but with this exception that there is no prophethood after me. And I (also) heard him say on the Day of Khaibar: I would certainly give this standard to a person who loves Allah and his Messenger and Allah and his Messenger love him too. He (the narrator) said: We have been anxiously waiting for it, when he (the Holy Prophet) said: Call 'Ali. He was called and his eyes were inflamed. He applied saliva to his eyes and handed over the standard to him, and Allah gave him victory. (The third occasion is this) when the (following) verse was revealed:" Let us summon our children and your children." Allah's Messenger (PBUH&HP) called 'Ali, Fitima, Hasan and Husain and said: O Allah, they are my family.[22]

Allah's Apostle (PBUH&HP) as said to 'Ali: Aren't you satisfied with being unto me what Haroun (Aaron) was unto Musa (Moses)?[23]

Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "Your position to me is like the position of Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses), except that there shall be no prophet after me."[24]

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "Your position to me is like the position of Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses), except that there shall be no prophet after me."[25]

Sunan ibn Majah

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "Your position to me is like the position of Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses), except that there shall be no prophet after me."[26]

al-Khasa’is of Al-Nasa'i

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "Your position to me is like the position of Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses), except that there shall be no prophet after me."[27]

Mushkil al-Athar of Al-Tahawi

The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "Your position to me is like the position of Haroun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses), except that there shall be no Prophet after me."[28]

Kitab Ma'ah Manqhabah

Umar ibn al-Khattab stood up to the Prophet (PBUH&HP), so he said, "You (the Prophet [PBUH&HP]) do not stop speaking about Ali ibn Abu Talib: 'You (Ali) are from me (the Prophet) at the status which Haroun (Aaron) had from Musa (Moses)," and Allah has mentioned Haroun (Aaron) as in the Qur'an and He did not mention Ali?' So the Prophet said: "O vulgar! O Bedouin! Have you not heard Allah Saying 'He said: This is a Path of Ali, Straight?' (Qur'an: Surah Al-Hijr (15), Ayah 41)"[29][30]

Kitab Al-Sunnah

Said the Prophet (PBUH&HP) to Ali: "You are from me, like the status to that of Haroun (Aaron) is to Musa (Moses), only you are not a prophet. It should not be that I leave, only when you are my Caliph, of every Momin (Faithful Muslim/Believer) after me."[31]

Other Relevant Hadiths[edit]

  • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said: Don't try to find faults with ‘Ali, he is indeed from me and I am from him, he is your leader after me. He is from me and I am from him, he is your leader after me.[32]

  • The Messenger of Allah said to ‘Ali: "Glad tiding O ‘Ali! Verily you and your companions and your Shiah (followers) will be in Paradise."[33][34][35][36][37][38][39]

  • The Messenger of Allah (PUH&HP) said: "The Shiah of ‘Ali are the real victorious in the Day of Resurrection."[40][41][42]

  • The Messenger of Allah said: "O ‘Ali! On the Day of Judgment I shall resort to Allah and you will resort to me and your children will resort to you and the Shiah will resort to them. Then you will see where they carry us (i.e. to Paradise)."[43]

  • The Messenger of Allah said: "O ‘Ali! (On the day of Judgment) you and your Shi’a will come toward Allah well-pleased and well-pleasing, and there will come to Him your enemies angry and stiff-necked (i.e., their head forced up)."[44][45]

  • Ibn Abbas narrated: When the verse "Those who believe and do righteous deeds are the best of the creation (Qur’an: Surah Al-Bayyinah [98], Ayah 7)” was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) said to ‘Ali: "They are you and your Shiah.” He continued: "O ‘Ali! (On the Day of Judgment) you and your Shiah will come toward Allah well-pleased and well-pleasing, and your enemies will come angry with their head forced up. ‘Ali said: "Who are my enemies?” The Prophet (PBUH&HP) replied: "He who disassociates himself from you and curses you. And glad tiding to those who reach first under the shadow of al-’Arsh on the Day of Resurrection.” ‘Ali asked: "Who are they, O the Messenger of Allah?” He replied: "Your Shiah, O ‘Ali, those who love you."[46][47]

  • The Messenger of Allah said: "‘Ali is with Qur’an, and Qur’an is with ‘Ali. They shall not separate from each other till they both return to me by the Pool (of Paradise)."[48][49][50][51]

  • Narrate the second Bakry Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, who, when the Muhammed established fraternal and brotherly ties between the companions, said, 'This Ali is my brother in this world and in the hereafter. Among my descendants he is my caliph; he is my successor and vicegerent in my community. He is the heir to my knowledge; he is the payer of my debt. What belongs to him belongs to me; what belongs to me belongs to him; his benefit is my benefit and his loss is my loss. He who is a friend of his is really a friend of mine and he who is an enemy of his is really an enemy of mine.'[52][53][54][55]

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.’[56]

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.'"[57]

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!’[58]
1 He was one of the Sahabah (Companions) of the Prophet Musa (AS)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Ta Ha, Ayah 85
  2. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Cyril Glasse, As-Samiri
  3. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Ta Ha, Ayah 92-23
  4. ^ al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, Vol. III, Pg. 63
  5. ^ al-Hamawini, Fara'id al-simtayn, Vol. I, Pg. 328
  6. ^ al-Dhahabi, Talkhis al-Mustadrak, Vol. III, Pg. 132
  7. ^ Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, Vol. I, Pg. 331
  8. ^ al-Khwarazmi, al-Manaqib, Pg. 59
  9. ^ al-Khwarazmi, al-Manaqib, Pg. 72
  10. ^ al-Khwarazmi, al-Manaqib, Pg. 76
  11. ^ al-Khwarazmi, al-Manaqib, Pg. 86
  12. ^ al-Nasa'i, al-Khasa'is, Pg. 63
  13. ^ al-Ganji, Kifayat al-Talib, Pg. 116
  14. ^ Ibn Asakir, al-Tarikh al-Kabir, Vol. I, Pg. 203
  15. ^ al-Biladhuri, Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. II, Pg. 106
  16. ^ Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, Vol. VII, Pg. 338
  17. ^ al-'Asqalani, al-Isabah, Vol. II, Pg. 509
  18. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book #59, Hadith #700
  19. ^ Sahih Bukhari, Book #57, Hadith #56
  20. ^ Sahih Muslim, Book #31, Hadith #5913
  21. ^ Sahih Muslim, Book #31, Hadith #5914
  22. ^ Sahih Muslim, Book #31, Hadith #5915
  23. ^ Sahih Muslim, Book #31, Hadith #5916
  24. ^ Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. I, Pg. 174
  25. ^ Also Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. I, Pg. 174
  26. ^ Sunan Ibn Majah, Pg. 12
  27. ^ al-Khasa’is, by al-Nisa’i, Pg. 15-16
  28. ^ Mushkil al-Athar, by al-Tahawi, Vol. II, Pg. 309
  29. ^ Kitab Ma'ah Manqhabah 36/361
  30. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Al-Hijr, Ayah 41
  31. ^ Ibn Abi Asem, Kitab Al-Sunnah, graded Sahih by Al-Albani
  32. ^ Msunad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. V, Pg. 356, Matba‘ah al-Maymaniyyah
  33. ^ Fadha’il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Vol. 2, Pg. 655
  34. ^ Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, Vol. 4, Pg. 329
  35. ^ Tarikh, by al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Vol. 12, Pg. 289
  36. ^ al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani
  37. ^ Majma’ al-Zawa’id, by al-Haythami, Vol. 10, Pg. 21-22
  38. ^ al-Darqunti, who said this tradition has been transmitted via numerous chains of narrators
  39. ^ al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar Haythami, Ch. 11, section 1, Pg. 247
  40. ^ al-Manaqib Ahmad
  41. ^ Yanabi al-Mawaddah, by al-Qundoozi al-Hanafi, Pg. 62
  42. ^ Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor, by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti
  43. ^ Rabi al-Abrar, by al-Zamakhshari
  44. ^ al-Tabarani, on the authority of Imam ‘Ali
  45. ^ al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 11, Section 1, Pg. 236
  46. ^ al-Hafidh Jamaluddin al-Dharandi
  47. ^ al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 11, Section 1, Pg. 246-247
  48. ^ al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, Vol. 3, Pg. 124
  49. ^ al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar, Ch. 9, Section 2, pg. 191, 194
  50. ^ al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani; also in al-Saghir
  51. ^ Tarikh al-Khulafa, by Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, Pg. 173
  52. ^ Manaqib Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha'labi
  53. ^ Tafsir Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tha'labi
  54. ^ Mawaddatu'l-Qurba Mir Seyyed Ali Hamadani
  55. ^ Manaqib Ibn Maghazili Faqih Shafi'i
  56. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Al-Araf, Ayah 142
  57. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Al-Qasas, Ayah 34-35
  58. ^ The Qur'an, Surah Ta Ha, Ayah 85-90