Aaron in Islam

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TitleIslamic prophet

In Islam, Hārūn ibn ʿImrān[2] (Arabic: هارون بن عمران), the Biblical Aaron, is a prophet and messenger of God, and the older brother of the prophet Mūsā (Moses).[3] He along with his brother (Moses) preached the Israelites to the Exodus.[4][clarification needed]

Quranic account[edit]

The Quran contains numerous references to Aaron, both by name and without name. It says that he was a descendant of Ibrāhīm (Abraham)[5][failed verification] and makes it clear that both he and Moses were sent together to warn the Pharaoh about God's punishment.[6] It further adds that Moses had earlier prayed to God to strengthen his own ministry with Aaron[7][clarification needed] and that Aaron helped Moses as he too was a prophet,[8] and very eloquent in matters of speech and discourse.[9] The Quran adds that both Moses and Aaron were entrusted to establish places of dwelling for the Israelites in Egypt, and to convert those houses into places of worship for God.[10]

The incident of the Golden Calf as it is narrated in the Quran paints Aaron in a positive light. The Quran says that Aaron was entrusted the leadership of Israel while Moses was up on Ṭūr Sīnāʼ (Mount Sinai) for a period of forty days.[11] It adds that Aaron tried his best to stop the worship of the Golden Calf, which was built not by Aaron but by a wicked man called the Samiri'.[12][failed verification]Quran 20:85–95 When Moses returned from Mount Sinai, he rebuked Aaron for allowing the worship of the idol, to which Aaron pleaded with Moses to not blame him when he had no role in its construction.[13][failed verification][14] The Quran then adds that Moses here lamented the sins of Israel, and said that he only had power over himself and Aaron.[15]

Aaron is later commemorated in the Quran as one who had a "clear authority"[16] and one who was "guided to the Right Path".[17] It further adds that Aaron's memory was left for people who came after him[18] and he is blessed by God along with his brother[19] The Quran also says that people called ‘Isa's mother Maryam (Arabic: مـريـم, Mary) a "sister of Harun"[20] Muslim scholars debated as to who exactly this "Harun" was in terms of his historical persona, with some saying that it was a reference to Aaron of the Exodus, and the term "sister" designating only a metaphorical or spiritual link between the two figures, all the more evident when Mary was a descendant of the priestly lineage of Aaron, while others held it to be another righteous man living at the time of Christ by the name of "Aaron". Most scholars have agreed to the former perspective, and have linked Mary spiritually with the actual sister of Aaron, her namesake Miryam (Arabic: مـريم, Hebrew: מִרְיָם),[21] whom she resembled in many ways. The Quran also narrates that, centuries later, when the Tabut (Arabic: تـابـوت, Ark of the Covenant) returned to Israel, it contained "relics from the family of Moses and relics from the family of Aaron".[22]

Aaron in Muhammad's time[edit]

Muhammad speaks of Aaron in many of his sayings. In the event of the Mi'raj, his miraculous ascension through the Heavens, Muhammad is said to have encountered Aaron in the fifth heaven.[23][24] According to old scholars, including Ibn Hisham, Muhammad, in particular, mentioned the beauty of Aaron when he encountered him in Heaven. Martin Lings, in his biographical Muhammad, speaks of Muhammad's wonderment at seeing fellow prophets in their heavenly glory:

Of Joseph he said that his face had the splendour of the moon at its full, and that he had been endowed with no less than the half of all existing beauty. Yet this did not diminish Muhammad's wonderment at his brethren, and he mentioned in particular the great beauty of Aaron.

[25]: 186§270 [26]

Aaron was also mentioned by Muhammad in likeness to ‘Ali. Muhammad had left ‘Ali to look after his family, but the hypocrites of the time begun to spread the rumor that the prophet found ‘Ali a burden and was relieved to be rid of his presence. ‘Ali, grieved at hearing this wicked taunt, told Muhammad what the local people were saying. In reply, the Prophet said: "They lie, I bade thee remain for the sake of what I had left behind me. So return and represent me in my family and in thine. Art thou not content, O ‘Ali, that thou should be unto me as Aaron was unto Moses, save that after me there is no prophet."[25]: 604§897 

Tomb of Aaron[edit]

A 14th-century shrine built on top of the supposed grave of Aaron on Jabal Hārūn near Petra, Jordan

According to one Islamic tradition, the tomb of Aaron is located on Jabal Harun (Arabic: جَـبـل هَـارون, Mountain of Aaron), near Petra in Jordan, with another tradition placing it in Sinai.[27][better source needed][28][clarification needed]

At 1,350.0 m (4,429.1 feet) above sea-level, Jabal Hārūn is the highest peak in the area and a place of great sanctity to the local people. A 14th-century Mamluk mosque stands there with its white dome visible from most areas in and around Petra.


  1. ^ "Aaron". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Perseus Search Results". www.perseus.tufts.edu. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  3. ^ Quran 19:41–53
  4. ^ Glasse, Cyril (1989). "Aaron". Concise Encyclopedia of Islam. Harper & Row. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-0-06-063123-9.
  5. ^ Quran 4:163
  6. ^ Quran 10:75
  7. ^ Quran 20:29–30
  8. ^ Quran 19:53
  9. ^ Quran 28:34
  10. ^ Quran 10:87
  11. ^ Quran 7:142
  12. ^ Quran 19:50
  13. ^ Quran 7:156
  14. ^ Quran 7:150
  15. ^ Quran 5:25
  16. ^ Quran 23:45
  17. ^ Quran 37:118
  18. ^ Quran 37:119
  19. ^ Quran 37:120
  20. ^ Quran 19:28
  21. ^ Unless otherwise stated, the Jewish primary sources herein were provided courtesy of Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman in honor of M.A.M. from his 3-part series on Miriam the Prophetess, posted on RabbiUllman.com. Part 1: "Miriam's Name". Part 2: "Miriam in Egypt". Part 3: "Miriam in the Wilderness".
  22. ^ Quran 2:248
  23. ^ Sahih Muslim, 1:309
  24. ^ Sahih Muslim, 1:314
  25. ^ a b Ibn Hisham, 'Abd al-Malik (1967) [1955]. The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah. Translated by A. Guillaume. Lahore, Pakistan: Pakistan Branch Oxford University Press.
  26. ^ Lings, Martin (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-04-297050-9.
  27. ^ "Aaron's Tomb, Petra". Atlas Travel and Tourist Agency. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  28. ^ Wheeler, Brannon. "Tomb of Aaron". United States Naval Academy. United States Naval Academy. Retrieved 17 December 2021.