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* The event of worship of the golden calf: The Israelites repented about worshipping the golden calf BEFORE Moses returned from the mountain [7:149], yet they refused to repent but rather continued to worship the calf it until Moses came back [20:91]. Does Aaron share in their guilt? No [20:85-90], yes [20:92, 7:151].
The Israelites did not repent until Moses came back. The verse uses the term "falamma suqita fi aydeehim" which is a construct used in cases when people are openly exposed and faced with utter ruination. They did not listen to Aaron when he rebuked them, they claimed that Moses had lost his way up into the mountain and that God had come down to them in the form of the calf. This error was only exposed when Moses returned, rebuking them and exposing their error. Even Arabic grammar supports this fact. The verse describing the return of Moses does not use the words "Fa" or "Thumma" which imply that he returned after this happened, rather, it uses the conjunction "wa" implying concurrence of action. In other words, the use of the conjunction "wa" implies that the return of Moses and the repentance of the Jews happened concurrently. This is basic grammar.
Further, how anyone could read into the verses a claim that Aaron
'shared in the guilt' is truly intriguing. 20:92 only says that Moses rebuked Aaron for
not coming to fetch him when the Israelites refused to obey him. Aaron explained that he
only did this out of fear that Moses would accuse him of being unfaithful to his charge,
so he stayed behind and tried to reason with them. The verse of 7:151 only says that Moses
asked God for forgiveness for himself and his brother Aaron out of fear that there might
have been some deficiency on their part in exhausting all possible avenues to prevent this
occurrence. If Moses' asking God for forgiveness for his brother means that Aaron 'shared
in their guilt' then does Moses' inclusion of himself in this same request mean that he
too 'shares in this guilt' even though he was not even present but was in the mountain
speaking to God at the time? A complete study of this issue would require a study of the
Islamic concept of God's unlimited and continuous blessings towards mankind and our
inability to repay God for even a small portion of these blessings through our own works
or worship. This issue is dealt with for example in the hadeeth of the man who's deeds are
weighed against the single blessing of 'eye-sight' on the Day of Judgment. But that is a
topic for another day.
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