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Aaron (a)

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Aaron (a)
مقبره هارون.jpg
Mausoleum attributed to Aaron on the top of Mount Hor in western Jordan
Name in
the Qur'an:
Name in
the Bible:
Burial place: Mount Hor in western Jordan
After: Moses (a)
Well known
Moses (a), Jochebed
Prophet Moses (a)
Followers: Banu Israel
Religion: Judaism
Age: 123
Repeat in
the Qur'an:
19 or 20
Calling Pharaoh to monotheism, The story of the Samiri's Calf

Harun b. 'Imran (Arabic: هارون بن عمران), or Aaron the son of Amran, was the brother, successor, and companion of Moses (a) to whose eloquence Moses (a) refers as quoted in the Qur'an. According to a hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (s), the place of Imam 'Ali (a) to him was like that of Aaron (a) to Moses (a). The hadith is cited in Shiite and Sunni sources, and came to be known as Hadith al-Manzila.

When Moses (a) went to Mount Sinai to receive Tablets from God, he appointed Aaron (a) as his successor. In the meanwhile, a person called Samiri made a golden calf and invited the Children of Israel to worship it, and Aaron (a) failed to stop them. The Torah attributes the making of the calf to Aaron (a).

Aaron died in Mount Sinai. There is a mausoleum in Mount Hor in Jordan, which is known as Jabal Harun (Mount Aaron), and is attributed to Aaron (a).


Aaron (a) was Moses's brother. His father was Amran and his mother was Jochebed. The lineage of Safiyya the daughter of Huyayy b. Akhtab, one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad (s), who was a Jew from Banu Nadir, goes back to Aaron (a).


Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in the prophethood of Aaron (a). According to a hadith from the Prophet (s), prophethood continued in Aaron's offspring. Elijah (a) was an offspring of Aaron (a).

According to Quranic verses, when Moses (a) was appointed as a prophet, he asked God to appoint Aaron (a) as his assistant and companion, because he talked more eloquently that he did. Moreover, Quranic verses mention Aaron's company of Moses (a) in the invitation to monotheism. Imam 'Ali (a) is quoted as saying of Moses (a) and Aaron (a) that when Moses (a) and Aaron (a) went to the Pharaoh they had put on woolen clothes and wooden staffs.

The Qur'an points to the prophethood of Aaron (a). In Sura al-Saffat, Moses (a) and Aaron (a) are introduced as partners in having divine scriptures, guiding to the right path, and good deeds.

In a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the Prophet (s) is quoted as saying that, during his Mi'raj (Ascension), when the Prophet (s) ascended to the fifth sky, he saw a sturdy man with big eyes who was surrounded by a group of followers. The Prophet (a) was surprised about the number of his followers and asked Gabriel who that person was. Gabriel introduced him as Aaron (a) the son of Amran. The Prophet (s) greeted him and asked God for his forgiveness, and he greeted him back and asked God for his forgiveness.

Succession of Moses and the Story of the Samiri's Calf

When Moses (a) went to Mount Sinai to receive tablets, he introduced Aaron (a) as his successor among the Children of Israel. In the meanwhile, Samiri made a golden calf with pieces of gold gained by the people of Moses (a) from the Pharaoh, and invited people to worship the calf. Aaron's attempts to prevent people from worshiping the calf was to no avail. Upon his return, Moses (a) harshly talked to Aaron (a) for failing to prevent people. Aaron (a) said that people were about to kill him and asked Moses (a) not to treat him in the same way as he treated the transgressors. Thus, Moses (a) asked God to forgive him and his brother.

According to Quranic verses, the calf-worshiping of the Children of Israel was initiated by Samiri and resisted by Aaron (a), whereas the Torah, the scripture of the Jews, attributes the making of the calf and the invitation of people to worship it to Aaron (a). However, some Jewish exegetes have sought to justify and interpret away this part of the Torah.

Analogizing the Place of Imam 'Ali to Aaron

Main article: Hadith al-Manzila

According to a hadith from the Prophet (s), Imam 'Ali's place to the Prophet Muhammad (s) is like that of Aaron (a) to Moses (a). The hadith is cited in Shiite and Sunni sources, and is known as Hadith al-Manzila. In this hadith, the Prophet (s) addresses Imam 'Ali (a) and says: "You are to me like Aaron to Moses except that there is no prophet after me."

Demise and Mausoleum

The grave attributed to Aaron (a) in village of Kathrine, Jordan

According to al-Ya'qubi, Aaron (a) died at the age of 123 during the lifetime of Prophet Moses (a). On other accounts, he lived for 133 years. According to a hadith, Moses (a) took Aaron (a) to Mount Sinai, where his life was taken by the angel of death. On this hadith, Moses (a) and Aaron (a) went to Mount Sinai where they saw a chamber in which two clothes were hung on a tree. Moses (a) told Aaron (a): "take off your clothes and put on these two clothes, and lay on the bed in the chamber." When Aaron (a) lied on the bed, the time of his death arrived. Moses (a) went back to the Children of Israel and gave them the news of Aaron's death. The Children of Israel denied the news and told Moses (a) that he had killed Aaron (a). God commanded angels to present Aaron's corpse on a bed up in the air. Thus, the Children of Israel learned that he had died. According to al-Ya'qubi, Lazarus, the son of Aaron (a), accompanied Moses (a) during the death of his father.

In western Jordan, there is a mausoleum on top of Mount Hor which is attributed to Aaron (a). It is also known as Mount Petra and Jabal Haroun (Mount Aaron). The construction of the mausoleum dates back to the eighth/fourteenth century. There is also another mausoleum attributed to Aaron (a) in the tourist village of St. Catherine in Jordan—on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba—on a small hill.