Surah Al-A’raf >> Currently viewing Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 148 (7:148)

Surah Al-A’raf Ayat 148 in Arabic Text

وَٱتَّخَذَ قَوْمُ مُوسَىٰ مِنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ مِنْ حُلِيِّهِمْ عِجْلًۭا جَسَدًۭا لَّهُۥ خُوَارٌ ۚ أَلَمْ يَرَوْا۟ أَنَّهُۥ لَا يُكَلِّمُهُمْ وَلَا يَهْدِيهِمْ سَبِيلًا ۘ ٱتَّخَذُوهُ وَكَانُوا۟ ظَـٰلِمِينَ
Wattakhaza qawmu Moosaa mim ba’dihee min huliyyihim ‘ijlan jasadal lahoo khuwaar; alam yaraw annahoo laa yukallimuhum wa laa yahdeehim sabeelaa; ittakhazoohu wa kaanoo zaalimeen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 148

Sahih International
And the people of Moses made, after [his departure], from their ornaments a calf – an image having a lowing sound. Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to a way? They took it [for worship], and they were wrongdoers.

Yusuf Ali
The people of Moses made, in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of calf, (for worship): it seemed to low: did they not see that it could neither speak to them, nor show them the way? They took it for worship and they did wrong.

Abul Ala Maududi
And in the absence of Moses his people made the image of a calf from their ornaments, which lowed. Did they not observe that it could neither speak nor give them any guidance? And still they made it an object of worship. They were indeed wrong-doing.

Muhsin Khan
And the people of Musa (Moses) made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound (as if it was mooing). Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way? They took it for worship and they were Zalimun (wrong-doers).

Pickthall
And the folk of Moses, after (he left them), chose a calf (for worship), (made) out of their ornaments, of saffron hue, which gave a lowing sound. Saw they not that it spake not unto them nor guided them to any way? They chose it, and became wrong-doers.

Dr. Ghali
And the people of Mûsa (Moses) took to themselves even after him, of their (diverse) ornaments, a corporeal Calf that had a lowing (voice). Did they not see that it did not speak to them nor did it guide them upon any way? They took it to themselves and were an unjust (people)..

Abdel Haleem
In his absence, Moses’ people took to worshipping a mere shape that made sounds like a cow- a calf made from their jewellery. Could they not see that it did not speak to them or guide them in any way? Yet they took it for worship: they were evildoers.

Quran 7 Verse 148 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Al-A’raf ayat 148, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(7:148) And in the absence of Moses[106] his people made the image of a calf from their ornaments, which lowed. Did they not observe that it could neither speak nor give them any guidance? And still they made it an object of worship. They were indeed wrong-doing. [107]


106. Here reference is made to the forty days which Moses spent on Mount Sinai in compliance with God’s command when his people remained in the plain at the foot of the mountain called Maydan al-Rahah.

107. Their cow-worship was another manifestation of the Israelites’ slavish attachment to the Egyptian traditions at the time of the Exodus. It is well-known that cow-worship was widespread in Egypt and it was during their stay there that the Israelites developed this strange infatuation. The Qur’an also refers to their inclination to cow-worship: ‘Their hearts were overflowing with love for the calf because of their unbelief’ (al-Baqarah 2: 93). What is more surprising about their turn to idolatry is that it took place just three months after their escape from Egypt. During that time they had witnessed the parting of the sea, the drowning of Pharaoh, and their own deliverance from what otherwise seemed inescapable slavery, to the Egyptians. They knew well that all those events had taken place owing to the unmistakable and direct interference of the all-powerful God. Yet they had the audacity to demand that their Prophet should make for them a false god that they might worship. Not only that, soon after Moses left them for Mount Sinai, they themselves contrived a false god. Disgusted with such conduct on the part of the Israelites, some Prophets have likened their people to a nymphomaniac who loves all save her husband and who is unfaithful to him even on their nuptial night.

Ibn-Kathir

148. And the people of Musa made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of a calf (for worship). It had a sound. Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way They took it (for worship) and they were wrongdoers. 149. And when they regretted and saw that they had gone astray, they said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we shall certainly be of the losers”


Story of worshipping the Calf

Allah describes the misguidance of those who worshipped the calf that As-Samiri made for them from the ornaments they borrowed from the Copts. He made the shape of a calf with these ornaments and threw in it a handful of dust from the trace of the horse that the Angel Jibril was riding, and the calf seemed to moo. This occurred after Musa went for the appointed term with his Lord, where Allah told him about what happened when he was on Mount Tur. Allah said about His Honorable Self,

﴿قَالَ فَإِنَّا قَدْ فَتَنَّا قَوْمَكَ مِن بَعْدِكَ وَأَضَلَّهُمُ السَّامِرِىُّ ﴾

((Allah) said: “Verily, We have tried your people in your absence, and As-Samiri has led them astray”) ﴿20:85﴾. The scholars of Tafsir have different views over the calf, whether it actually became alive and mooing, or if it remained made of gold, but the air entering it made it appear to be mooing. These are two opinions. Allah knows best. It was reported that when the statue mooed, the Jews started dancing around it and fell into misguidance because they adored it. They said that this, the calf, is your god and the god of Musa, but Musa forgot it! Allah answered them,

﴿أَفَلاَ يَرَوْنَ أَلاَّ يَرْجِعُ إِلَيْهِمْ قَوْلاً وَلاَ يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ ضَرّاً وَلاَ نَفْعاً ﴾

(Did they not see that it could not return them a word (for answer), and that it had neither power to harm them nor to do them good) ﴿20:89﴾. Allah said here,

﴿أَلَمْ يَرَوْاْ أَنَّهُ لاَ يُكَلِّمُهُمْ وَلاَ يَهْدِيهِمْ سَبِيلاً﴾

(Did they not see that it could neither speak to them nor guide them to the way) Allah condemned the Jews for falling into misguidance, worshipping the calf and ignoring the Creator of the heavens and earth, the Lord and King of all things. They worshipped besides Him a statue made in the shape of a calf, that seemed to moo, but it neither spoke to them nor brought them any benefit. Rather, their very sense of reason was blinded because of ignorance and misguidance. Allah’s statement,

﴿وَلَمَّا سُقِطَ فَى أَيْدِيهِمْ﴾

(And when they regretted), and felt sorrow for their action,

﴿وَرَأَوْاْ أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ ضَلُّواْ قَالُواْ لَئِن لَّمْ يَرْحَمْنَا رَبُّنَا وَيَغْفِرْ لَنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَـسِرِينَ﴾

(and saw that they had gone astray, they said: “If our Lord have not mercy upon us and forgive us, we will certainly become among the losers.”) or among the destroyed ones. This was their recognition of their sin and their way of seeking salvation from Allah the Most Mighty and Majestic.

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