Understanding Islam

Friday, Feb 12th

Last update03:39:08 PM GMT

You are here: Discussions Islamic Beliefs Follow up on Who is Samiri Mentioned in the Qur'an in Taha 20:97?

Follow up on Who is Samiri Mentioned in the Qur'an in Taha 20:97?

Topic Under Discussion
Clarification of Al Baqarah 2:54

QuestionfromSaudi Arabia

Thank you for your reply. I feel I still need a bit of more clarification here.

From your reply,It seems that you would prefer to propose that SAMIRI is an non-israelite.

But still I am confused because Ibn Kathir claims that he is an israelite and gives his own opinion on this matter is his Qasas Al-Anbiyah: A man from the among the Israelites, whose name was Aaron Samiri, came forth and took all the jewellery which had been borrowed from the Egyptians, and moulded it into a calf after he had melted them. (Stories of the Prophets:Israelites and the worshipping of the calf, Ibn Kathir)

And moreover it is also corroborated by an article found at The "Samaritan" Error In The Qur'an? where it confirms that Samiri is an israelite.

"Until the middle of the 20th century it was commonly believed that the Samaritans originated from a mixed race people living in Samaria at the time of the Assyrian conquest (722 BCE). In recent years, research based on a more careful study of the Chronicles of the Samaritans has led to a re-evaluation of their origins. Specifically, with the publication of the Samaritan Chronicle II (Sefer ha-Yamim), the fullest Samaritan version of their own history became available. A historical analysis of this chronicle reveals that the Samaritans are the direct descendants of the Joseph tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, and until the 17th century C.E. they possessed a high priesthood descending directly from Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas. The common ancestry of both the Jews and Samaritans was also established by recent genetic studies, going back to cohen or the Jewish priestly family".

The above articles claims that he is an israelite. would you pls comment on it.

Jazzak Allah Khair


In my previous reply I stated:

The Qur'an, while thoroughly referring to the events of the Golden Calf, does not expound on the person of al-Samiri. A description of who he was is irrelevant to the overall message. As such, we cannot definitively say where he was from or why he was among the Israelites or if he was the only one of his kind. The indication that he did not have a covenant is that he was singled out separately from the Israelites and the covenant was established with the Children of Israel. The Old Testament mentions that there were some who escaped with the Israelites and stayed with them until the events under discussion occurred (see Exodus 12:38). So, because he was not one of them he did not suffer the divine punishment.
It should be clear that I was offering an explanation for why al-Samiri was not punished with death. I have corroborated my reasoning with the best sources we have available on the matter: the Qur'an and the Old Testament. However, I have not asserted any identity to al-Samiri. In fact, I state that we cannot possibly know his true identity with any amount of certitude.

You wrote:

But still I am confused because Ibn Kathir claims that he is an israelite

The following is an excerpt from Ibn Kathir:

The Story of Golden Calf - Moses' People Turn to Idolatry

Moses (pbuh) had been gone for forty days and his people were becoming restless, for they did not know that Allah had extended his time by a further ten days. Samiri, a man who was inclined towards evil, suggested that they find themselves another guide, as Moses had broken his promise. He said to them: "In order to find true guidance, you need a god, and I shall provide one for you." So he collected all their gold jewelry, dug a hole in which he placed the lot, and lit a huge fire to melt it down. During the casting, he threw a handful of dust, making actions like a magician's to impress the ignorant. From the molten metal he fashioned a golden calf. It was hollow, and the wind passing through it produced a sound. Since superstition was imbedded in their past, they quickly linked the strange sound to something supernatural, as if it were a living god. Some of them accept the golden calf as their god. - Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir
Nothing in the entire story written by Ibn Kathir mentions that al-Samiri was an Israelite or that his name was Aaron. It seems the facts have been conflated causing the misunderstanding. The excerpt cited directly speaks to what you have mentioned in regards to this matter and we can conclude, at least from this source, that Ibn Kathir made no such statement.

The article you cited from Islamic-Awareness.com is not about proving the identity of al-Simiri. Its purpose is to refute whether the word Samaritan is anachronistically used in the Qur'an. Whether they ascribe to the idea that he was a Samaritan, an Israelite or anything else is beyond the scope of that article. In their introduction they write:

Relying heavily on a single (prolific) Christian orientalist, the missionaries also state that the Qur'an, according to Surah 20, says the Israelites were led astray by a "Samaritan" - yet the Samaritan people did not exist until many centuries later. What evidence is presented to support these claims? Can the presuppositions of the Christian missionaries be taken seriously in the light of contemporary Samaritan scholarship? This paper proposes to examine the origin of the Samaritans as suggested by the Christian missionaries.
The last sentence underscores the goal of the article.

As mentioned in the previous response, we may never be able to know the true identity of al-Samiri. Again, had that been remotely important the Qur'an would have mentioned it.

I hope this helps.

God knows best.

Answer published by Ronnie Hassan

Other Discussion(s) related to the Question
Who is Samiri Mentioned in the Qur'an in Taha 20:97?

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 May 2011 12:55