Qārūn was very proud of his wealth and property; it was more than he could stomach when his cousin, the venerable Moses, began calling his people to Allāh. Jealousy and envy prevented him from believing in the Prophethood of Allāh’s Converser. He went to a prostitute and said: “Listen to me. Tomorrow, Moses will be communicating the divine commandments. If you interrupt him with the false accusation that he once fornicated with you in a certain place, I promise to make you comfortable for the rest of your life. I shall make you so rich that your relatives and dependents will inherit a fortune from you when you die.” The prostitute immediately agreed to this proposal. The next day came and the people gathered in the temple. Moses, on him be peace, ascended the pulpit in the presence of them all. He began to read Allāh’s commandments from the tablets that had come down from Him. As he was saying: “The murderer shall be put to death! The adulterer shall be stoned to death!” Qārūn gave a signal to the prostitute. It was the moment for her false accusation to be made. Qārūn stood up and asked: “Do these commandments apply only to your community, or are you yourself subject to them also?” “Of course,” replied the venerable Moses, “I am a servant too; the commandments are universal. If I should fall into such error, I must suffer the same penalties.” Then Qārūn said: “Moses! Hear what this woman, whom we all know, has to say about you.” All eyes turned to look at that wicked woman.
They say a dog whose time has come will urinate on the mosque wall. Now Qārūn’s time had come. He wished to defile the glorious Prophet. The venerable Moses and all his people turned to listen to the woman. She rose to her feet, while Qārūn laughed up his sleeve. What a clever trick he thought he was playing. But the woman pointed her finger at Qārūn, saying: “Moses, this man came and offered me money if I would slander you.” Then she listed all the things he had promised her. Qārūn did not know what had hit him. His laughter turned to woe. His wealth and property were useless to him now. He was disgraced. The people of Moses spat in his face.
They schemed, and Allāh schemed; but Allāh is the best of schemers. [3:54]
The venerable Moses was deeply offended by the false accusation. Knowing himself to be very quick-tempered, he referred the matter to Allāh. The Lord God said to him through inspiration: “I have put the earth at your command. Do with Qārūn as you will!” Having received this divine permission, Moses, Allāh’s Converser, said to the earth: “Earth, swallow up Qārūn!” As soon as these words were spoken, Qārūn began sinking into the ground as if it had become quicksand. Sinking steadily deeper and deeper, he groaned: “I made a mistake, Moses! Pardon me!” But the Prophet Moses sternly repeated the command: “Swallow him! Swallow up this slanderer!” Qārūn finally sank beneath the earth, in which he is sinking yet…
The venerable Moses heard some mischief-makers saying that he buried Qārūn in order to get his hands on that miser’s wealth. To stop these rumors and to ensure that his people did not suspect his motives, he therefore ordered all Qārūn’s treasure to be burried also. The Prophet Moses’ orders were carried out and all Qārūn’s wealth disappeared forever into the earth. Allāh then said to the venerable Moses: “Moses! As Qārūn was sinking into the ground, he pleaded with you to pardon and save him, but you did not grant him pardon. If he had slandered Me as he slandered you, and if he had once remembered Me and called on Me in remorse: ‘O Lord, pardon me. Spare me!’ I swear by My Essence of Divinity that I would have pardoned Qārūn.”
The Nineteenth Discourse pages 389-390
Excerpt from Irshad – Wisdom of a Sufi Master
by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak Al-Jerrahi