Surah Ta-Ha Ayat 96 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 96
He said, “I saw what they did not see, so I took a handful [of dust] from the track of the messenger and threw it, and thus did my soul entice me.”
He replied: “I saw what they saw not: so I took a handful (of dust) from the footprint of the Messenger, and threw it (into the calf): thus did my soul suggest to me.”
He answered: “I saw what the people did not see. So I took a handful of dust from the trail of the Messenger, and I flung it (into the fire). Thus did my mind prompt me.”
(Samiri) said: “I saw what they saw not, so I took a handful (of dust) from the hoof print of the messenger [Jibrael’s (Gabriel) horse] and threw it [into the fire in which were put the ornaments of the Fir’aun’s (Pharaoh) people, or into the calf]. Thus my inner-self suggested to me.”
He said: I perceived what they perceive not, so I seized a handful from the footsteps of the messenger, and then threw it in. Thus my soul commended to me.
Said he, “I beheld what they did not behold; so I grasped a handful (Literally: I grasped a grasp) (of dust) from the messenger’s track; then flung it off. Thus my self instigated (that) to me.”
He replied, ‘I saw something they did not; I took in some of the teachings of the Messenger but tossed them aside: my soul prompted me to do what I did.’
Quran 20 Verse 96 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Ta-Ha ayat 96, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(20:96) He answered: “I saw what the people did not see. So I took a handful of dust from the trail of the Messenger, and I flung it (into the fire). Thus did my mind prompt me.”
73. Here it has been a good deal of divergence of opinion in regard to the interpretation of this verse. According to the majority of the early commentators and their followers, it means: The Samiri saw the Messenger (Angel Gabriel) when he was passing and took a handful of dust from his footprints. Then he sprinkled this upon the idol of the golden calf. This created life in it and it began to low like a living calf. The Quran, in fact, does not say that this actually happened but merely cites the reply given by the Samiri to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) when the latter took him to task for the great sin he had committed.
There are others who interpret the words of the Samiri like this: I saw a weakness in the Messenger (Prophet Moses) or in his creed, which others did not see. Therefore I followed in his footsteps to a certain limit but afterwards I left his way. This interpretation was most probably put forward first of all by Abu Muslim Isfahani. Then Imam Razi not only cited it in his own commentary but also approved of it. And now it is being followed by some modernistic commentators, who try to prove their own favorite theories by giving far-fetched interpretations to the obvious meaning of the words of the Quran. Such people forget that the Quran has not been sent down in the terminology of enigmas, riddles and puzzles but in clear, plain and intelligible Arabic. Therefore the Quran would have never employed the words it has used in the text to convey the meaning given by them because their usage cannot support that far-fetched interpretation. What such interpreters really mean to imply is that Allah has failed to express Himself clearly and plainly; therefore, they wish to come to His rescue by their interpretations in order to save Him from the ridicule of the learned people.
If we study the verse in the context in which it occurs, we shall be able to understand easily that the Samiri was a mischief-monger who had contrived his deceitful scheme after a good deal of consideration. As he appears to have been a good craftsman, he caused the golden calf he had made to produce a lowing sound, and successfully deluded the ignorant and simple people. He did not rest content with this but impudently invented the story that he had seen what the common people could not see and that he had taken a handful of the dust from the footprints of the Messenger and sprinkled it on the calf which made it low like a living calf. It is possible that by the Messenger, he meant Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) himself and might have cunningly tried to flatter him, saying, that the dust of his footprints was miraculous. By saying so, he was playing the most subtle trick. He wanted to offer an intellectual bait to Moses (peace be upon him) so that he might feel elated about the miraculous effect of the dust trodden by his feet and utilize his services for propagating his own miraculous acts. Anyhow, the fact is that the Quran has presented the whole thing as a trick of the Samiri and has not given the account as if it were a real event by itself. The subsequent reaction of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) to the statement of the Samiri clearly shows that he considered it as a deceitful story, and so laid the curse on him.
The tafsir of Surah Ta-Ha verse 96 by Ibn Kathir is unavailable here.
Please refer to Surah Taha ayat 95 which provides the complete commentary from verse 95 through 98.
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