Qaroon (Korah) was by today’s measure of wealth a super rich tycoon in the kingdom of the Pharaohs. He lived in Egypt in the time of the Pharaoh who claimed to be god himself when invited by Prophet Moses to accept Islam. After receiving Torah from Allah on Mount Sinai, Moses had come to the land of Pharaoh and his companions Qaroon and Haman with clear signs (miracles) but they rejected the message of Islam and remained arrogant in the land, even though they could not overtake Allah’s Will (29:39). They also accused Moses of being a false magician (40:24).
Qaroon was from the tribe of Moses but he looked down upon the Israelites and despised the followers of Islam because they were poor and dispossessed. He did not speak to the Pharaoh to protect them when Pharaoh decided to humiliate them by putting their male children to death and letting female children to live because he was unhappy that they had embraced the message of Moses and became Muslims.
Many people who loved the material life of Pharaoh and his companions admired Qaroon for his wealth. The keys of his treasure were so bulky that a group of people were employed by Qaroon to carry their weight.
When Qaroon went out in public with his chariot and fanfare, those who loved the life of this world wished if God would give them such good luck as he had given Qaroon and made them rich too. But those who were endowed with true knowledge said woe to Qaroon. The knew the reward of Allah is best for those who keep faith in Him and do good deeds. Such blissful state of contentment is attained only through patience (28:80).
One day Allah ordered the earth to swallow Qaroon and his entire household (28:81). It is a geological phenomena in which earth caves in down under due to fossilised gaps created underground by seismic movement. When this happens everything gets sucked into an unfathomable black hole. Qaroon met this fate due to arrogance. The very people who wished to be like him yesterday were now holding him in pity. They said alas we had forgotten that it is Allah who increases the provision of whosoever He wills and limits the provision of whomsoever He wills. Allah has been kind to us. He could have made the earth sack under our homes too. Alas we had forgotten that the disbelievers never prosper (28:82).
Qaroon’s story contains a number of lessons for the faithful.
Lesson 1). One should never be arrogant over wealth, knowledge or fame. Allah does not like those who exult in their wealth (28:76).
Lesson 2). Use whatever wealth Allah has given you toward earning a place in the Hereafter. This is the best investment. But also do not renounce the world. Do good deeds, speak in favour of the oppressed and do not support mischief. Allah does not love those who make mischief on earth (27:77).
Lesson 3). Do not think your status in the society is because of your knowledge or wealth although one often gets this mistaken impression as fact. Allah has the power to take this away in a second if He so wills. Therefore thank Allah for what He has given you and do not envy what others have. You do not know what fate awaits the others whom you admire for their wealth and who otherwise seem lucky to you.
Lesson 4). Allah awards heaven exclusively to those who do not seek glory on this earth, nor cause chaos. Their end is the hereafter which is the best end (28:83).
Lesson 5). Never despise the poor, for indeed they are the true inheritors of Heaven if they follow the right path and obey Allah and His Prophet Mohammed and do good deeds.