Questions and Answers > Qur'an > Contradictions Qur'an 1-15

Qur’an 7:151 - Has Aaron guilt about the golden calf?

There are different answers to the question in the Qur’an:

1. Yes, Aaron shared in the guilt about worshipping the golden calf - Qur’an 7:151, 20:92

“He said: My Lord! Have mercy on me and on my brother; bring us into Thy mercy, Thou the Most Merciful of all who show mercy.” (Qur’an 7:151 )“[Moses] said, "O Aaron, what prevented you, when you saw them going astray” (Qur’an 20:92)

2. No, Aaron didn’t share in the guilt of the Israelites - Qur’an 20:90

“And Aaron had already told them before [the return of Moses], "O my people, you are only being tested by it, and indeed, your Lord is the Most Merciful, so follow me and obey my order. ” (Qur’an 20:90)From the context is it clear that Aaron made a mistake and had shortcomings, “Obey my order” (Qur’an 20:90), “devoted to the calf” (Qur’an 20:91) and “And do not seize me” (Qur’an 20:94).

3. Muslim response

Some Muslims say that the Qur’an does not accuse Aaron of having actually participated in making or worshipping the golden calf. His guilt consisted in having remained passive in the face of his people’s idolatry, because he was afraid for their countermeasures in Qur’an 7:150 and 20:92. But Aaron acutally participated in worshipping the golden calf, because he did not lauch an action to stop the creation of the golden calf, while it was his role as leader of the Israelites and therefore a clear sin. Why did Moses accuse Aaron? "O Aaron! What kept thee back, when thou sawest them going wrong, from following me? Didst thou then disobey my order?" (Qur’an 20:92). And why did he drag him by the hair: "And he threw down the tablets and seized his brother by [the hair of] his head, pulling him toward him" (Qur’an 7:150)? Therfore the verses contradict. According to Qur’an 7:151, Aaron was partly responsible for the sins of his people because Moses prayed for Aaron’s forgiveness. And this time (contrary to his other confession), Aaron admits to idol making/idol worshipping in Qur’an 7:150 "because of the people who nearly killed him when he tried to resist it". But when a prophet acts according to God’s Will (even when he suffers) the result will be that he will remove any doubt in his ability to show God’s Will. Therefore Moses was very disappointed in the behavior of Aaron after the worship practices of the golden calf. Moses should act in a different way than Aaron did.

4. Conclusion

We can see that in some verses, Aaron was guilty about worshipping the golden calf. But some other verses say the opposite, that Aaron was not guilty.  With two different answers there is a contrast about the same question. Therefore we have a difficulty in the Qur’an. The mentioned verses show a contradiction in the Qur’an.