TONGUE HUNG OVER THE CHEST

Bal’am Bin Ba’oora

This man was a scholarly dignitary of his times. He was a very pious and devout person. He also had the information about Ism-e-A’zam. He was so spiritual that he could see ‘Arsh-e-A’zam [the Divine Throne] whilst sitting at his place on the earth. Moreover, he was also Mustajaab-ud-Da’waat as his supplications were always accepted. He also had a large number of students. It is famous that the number of inkpots of his students was twelve thousand in his seminary.

When Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  mobilized his army of the Bani Israel for Jihad (holy war) against ‘the people of Jabbareen’, the people of Bal’am Bin Ba’oora became panicked. They came to him and said that Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  is about to attack with a very huge and a powerful army. They want to evict us from our land and intend to handover it to their people, the Bani Israel. Therefore, invoke supplication against Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  for his defeat. Your supplication will definitely be accepted as you are Mustajaab-udDa’waat [the one whose Du’as are always accepted].

Listening to what they said, Bal’am Bin Ba’oora trembled. He cursed them and said, ‘Allah forbid! Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  is a Prophet of Allah and his army consists of groups of angels and faithful believers. How can I invoke harmful supplication against him?’ But his people were over insistent, they begged tearfully and compelled him to such an extent that he ended up saying to them that let him first do an Istikharah. If he would get indication, then he will supplicate against him. However, after the Istikharah, when he was not permitted to supplicate against Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  , he told them in clear words that if he invoke curse upon him, then he will be ruined in the worldly life as well as the afterlife.

After this, his people approached him with numerous priceless gifts and re-insisted him to such an extent that Bal’am Bin Ba’oora agreed out of greed and lust of money. Therefore, he rode on his she-donkey and went to supplicate against Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  . His donkey would stop going forward again and again and would turn to run back but he kept on pushing her forwards by beating her. Then Allah blessed the donkey with the power of speaking. She said, ‘O Bal’am Bin Ba’oora! Where are you going and heading towards? See there are angels in front of me who are blocking my way and pushing my face backwards. O Bal’am! May you be ruined! Would you invoke evil words unto the Prophet of Allah ( ) and the believers?’ Despite listening to her words, Bal’am Bin Ba’oora did not return.

Finally, he climbed over a mountain known as ‘Hasbaan’. He looked at the army of Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  from some height and started invoking evil words to Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  out of greed of wealth. Glory be to Allah that when he was supplicating against Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  , his tongue would utter words against his own people. Upon witnessing this, his people interrupted him many a time and reminded him, ‘O Bal’am, you are supplicating in opposite words.’ He said to his people, ‘What can I do? I am intending something else but my tongue is uttering different.’ All of a sudden, the Divine torment struck him in such a way that his tongue stretched and hung over his chest. At that time, Bal’am Bin Ba’oora said to his people with grief and tears, ‘My life and afterlife both have been ruined. My faith has been lost and I have become a victim of the Divine torment. None of my supplications can be accepted now. However, let me tell you a trick. If you act upon it, perhaps the army of Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  can be defeated. Send thousands of the beautiful girls dressed up in elegant attire and adorned with beautiful jewellery into the army of the Bani Israel. Even if only one of them would commit fornication, the whole army will be defeated.’

Therefore, the people laid the trap of the evil trick told by Bal’am Bin Ba’oora and sent many young girls after adorning them well with jewellery to the army of the Bani Israel. Eventually, a wealthy person of the Bani Israel got inspired by the beauty and glamour of a girl and took her to Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  . He sought verdict and asked: ‘O Prophet of Allah, is this woman legitimate (Halal) for me or not?’

Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  said, ‘Beware! She is unlawful for you. Separate her from you straight away and fear of the Divine torment.’ But that wealthy person was so badly trapped in lust that he rejected the commandment of his Prophet and took her in his tent and committed fornication. The outcome of that sin appeared in such a way that all of a sudden, plague spread among the army of the Bani Israel and within an hour; seventy thousand people passed away. The whole army dispersed and returned defeated and unsuccessful. This retreat of army grieved Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام
very much. (Tafseer As-Saawi, vol. 2, pp. 727; part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 175)

After returning from the mountain, Bal’am Bin Ba’oora remained cursed in the court of Allah . Until his last breath, his tongue remained hanging over his chest and he died a faithless death. The Holy Quran has mentioned this incident in the following words:

وَاتْلُ عَلَیۡہِمْ نَبَاَ الَّذِیۡۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہُ اٰیٰتِنَا فَانۡسَلَخَ مِنْہَا فَاَتْبَعَہُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ فَکَانَ مِنَ الْغٰوِیۡنَ ﴿175﴾وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَرَفَعْنٰہُ بِہَا وَلٰکِنَّہٗۤ اَخْلَدَ اِلَی الۡاَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ ہَوٰىہُ ۚ فَمَثَلُہٗ کَمَثَلِ الْکَلْبِ ۚ اِنۡ تَحْمِلْ عَلَیۡہِ یَلْہَثْ اَوْ تَتْرُکْہُ یَلْہَثۡ ؕ ذٰلِکَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِیۡنَ کَذَّبُوۡا بِاٰیٰتِنَا ۚ فَاقْصُصِ الْقَصَصَ لَعَلَّہُمْ یَتَفَکَّرُوۡنَ ﴿176﴾ (پ9،الاعراف:175،176)

And O dear Prophet (Muhammad) tell them the state of the one to whom We showed Our signs, and in response he departed from them clearly – so Satan went after him – he therefore became of the astray ones. And had We willed We could have raised him because of the signs, but he clung to the earth and followed his own desires; his condition therefore is like that of a dog; if you attack him he hangs out his tongue and if you leave him he hangs out his tongue; this is the state of the people who have denied Our signs; therefore you should expound, so that they may give thought.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 9, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 175-176)

Why was Bal’am Bin Ba’oora accursed?

It has been reported that some of the Prophets علیہم السلام  asked Allah that after blessing Bal’am Bin Ba’oora with so many bounties, why did He hurl him down in condemnation? Allah replied that he was never thankful towards His bounties. If he had been grateful to Him, then He would have never suspended him and would not have destined him with such a
disastrous end. (Tafseer As-Saawi, vol. 3, pp. 139; part 8, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 10)
Moral: We get following moral lessons from the chronicle of Bal’am Bin Ba’oora:

  • All those scholars and politicians who are paid and funded by governments or wealthy people to talk against Shari’ah and thus they intentionally sell their faith should learn lesson from this event. You can see how high status of Bal’am Bin Ba’oora was and how disastrous was his ending! Why did all that happen? The only reason is that he was captivated by the greed of wealth and agreed upon invoking curse intentionally against the Prophet of Allah.
    Consequently, he was accursed in this world as well as in the Hereafter in such a way that for rest of his life, he had his tongue hanging like that of a dog and he was destined for Hell in the Hereafter. Therefore, every Muslim and especially Islamic scholars should observe abstinence from the webs of the greed and should never interfere unjustly into the religious matters while stirred with the lust and greed for wealth. Otherwise, keep in mind that the sword of the Divine torment is always ready to strike with.
  • From this tragic event, we may learn lesson. The army of Sayyiduna Musa علیہ السلام  that comprised of angels and faithful believers, though there were no apparent signs for their defeat because it was such a Divine and spiritual army of angels that even the mountains would frighten by the tapping sound of the hoofs of their horses but just due to the sin committed by one wretched person, angels left the army and the torment of plague brought such a calamity within the army that the whole army scattered. Thus this victorious army was defeated and retreated.
    Therefore, it is essential for the Muslims that if they want to be successful and victorious against infidels, they should never commit sins. Otherwise, the help of angels will be withdrawn. The pressure of the Muslims will shun away from the hearts of the unbelievers and the Muslims will not only have to face defeat but their all military power will also be finished. Consequently, whole of the nation will be obliterated from the face of the
    earth. :(نعوذباللہ منہ)