The story of Bal’am ibn Ba’ura and his dreadful end

Ibn Abbas has said that Bal’am bin Ba’ura had known Al-Ism Al-A’zam. If a . supplication is made on reference to it, it is granted. His people compelled him to curse the Banu Isra’il by invoking Al-Ism Al A’zam. So, he mounted his donkey and set towards the camps of the Banu Isra’il. As he approached them, his donkey refused to walk any further. No amount of beating could move it and the donkey spoke when Balam beat it severely, “Do you want to curse the Prophet of Allah? Do you not see the angels turning me back?” This did not soften him and he forced the donkey to the top of the mountain. Hisban from where he could overlook the camps of Banu Isra’il . Now, his tongue refused to say what he tried to say. Instead of ir voking the curse on the Banu Isra’il, his tongue cursed his own people and called for mercy on Musa este and his people. He explained to his people that he had lost control over his tongue which hung down upto his chest. He lamented that with it he had messed up his life of the world as well as of the Hereafter.

But he did not give up mischief and conspiracy. So, he contrived to get the Banu Isra’il to commit adultery. He advised his people to send their women as sales women, to Banu Isra’il. He advised them to adorn themselves with intention to attract the men of Banu Isra’il and cause them to commit adultery. He told them that even if one of the Banu Isra’il

committed adultery that would be enough to destroy all of them. He succeeded in tempting one of their chiefs to be immoral with a sales-woman. When he did that, the Banu Isra’il were afflicted with plague. When Fanhas bin Al-‘Ayzar bin Harun learnt of it he killed both the adulterers with his spear and prayed to Allah that they dealt with the transgressors in that manner. The plague was removed from them.

There was a man by the name al Bal’am ibn Ba’ur in the time of prophet Musa As. He was one whose prayers were answered very often. Because he knew the great name of Allah (ism a’zam). At one juncture. Prophet Musa AS advanced with a large army to fight the jabbarun and encamped at a place of Banu kiran in shaam.

The tribe of Bal’ am came to him and request him, “Musa has come here with a huge army to kill us and drive us out of this place. So, do curse him so that he goes away from here.” Bal’ am said,”You do not know what I know. How may I curse a Prophet of Allah and his followers. If I do that, I will be mined in. both the worlds.” But, they persisted and pleaded with him
unceasingly to curse prophet Musa AS.

Finally Bal’ am conceded, ‘I shall seek Allah’s guidance in this regard and wait for his command. Then I shall decide.”

Bal’ am never did anything without making istikharah (which is to seek Allah’s guidance). So,when he did that, he dreamt that he should never pray against the Prophet and the believers with him. So, Bal’ am informed his tribe that he was not prepared to oblige them. But, they,did not give in. They brought to him precious gifts, pleaded with him and wept bitterly and in the end, managed to compel him .. He was trapped. He mounted his donkey and set out to the mount Jistan to curse Prophet Musa AS whose army was pitched near to it.

His donkey stumbled many times on the way but he beat it to resume the journey. This things prolonged and Bal’ am too was exhausted picking up the donkey every time it fell. down.Then Allah enable the donkey to speak. It said, “0 Bal’ am, silly man! Do you not see where you are going? You push me forward but the angels drive me back!” Bal’ am heard. the donkey but instead of paying heed, he alighted from it and leaving it there walked aheadon foot. He climbed the mountain and began to curse. However, whenever he intended to name Prophet Musa As and his tribe, his tongue uttered the name of his own tribe instead of Banu Isra’il.

His people protested and he convinced them that he called the name of Banu Isra’il but his tongue took their name. In spite of that Bal’ am did not desist. He tried to curse till he faced punishment and his tongue emerged to rest on his chest. Then he was nonplussed and lamented that he was ruined in both the worlds, yet he persisted, “We must now think of some way to eliminate the Banu ‘Isra’il.”

Then he suggested to his people. “Adorn your women superbly. Let them carry some things in their hands and pretend to sell them. They should go to the army of Banu Isra’il as saleswomen.Advise them to lure the Banu Isra’il and submit to anyone who invites them. Even if one of them commit fornication,· then you will gain success.They did that, when the women went to the Banu Isra’il, one of them captivated one of their chiefs zamzam ibn Shalum. He took her by her hands to prophet Musa AS and
asked, “Do you say that she is forbidden to me?” He said, “Yes!” But, zamzam said, “I shall not obey you concerning her” and he took her concerning her” and he took her to his tent here he committed the evil deed.


That did it! Allah wrath descended on them. In no time, seventy thousand of their men died. Fahas the grandson of Prophet Harun AS and a giant of a man who was also the guard of Prophet Musa AS took his weapon and rushed to the tent of zamzam and, in the twinkling of an eye, he consigned both zamzam and his mistress to death, saying,”Allah has destroyed us because of this man!”As soon as they were killed, the punishment was withdrawn from them.

Some ulema say that the following verse of Quran has come in reference to him.But there is difference in opinion among the scholars on who actually this verse of Quran is about.

And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away; so Shaytan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray.And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith, but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his parable is the parable of a dog: if you drive him away, he pants, or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants. Such is the parable of the people who reject Our Ayat. So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect.Evil is the parable of the people who rejected Our Ayat, and used to wrong themselves. (Qur’an Al-A’raf 07, Verses 175-177)

Abdur-Razzaq recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said that Allah’s statement,(And recite to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat, but he threw them away) “Is about Bal`am bin Ba`ura’ a man from the Children of Israel.”

Shu`bah and several other narrators narrated this statement from Mansur who got it from Ibn Mas`ud. Sa`id bin Abi `Arubah narrated that Qatadah said that Ibn `Abbas said, “He is Sayfi, son of Ar-Rahib.

Qatadah commented that Ka`b said, “He was a man from Al-Balqla’ (a province of Jordan) who knew Allah’s Greatest Name. He used to live in Bayt Al-Maqdis with the tyrants.”

Al-`Awfi reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “He is Bal`am bin Ba`ura’, a man from Yemen whom Allah had given the knowledge of His Ayat, but he abandoned them.”

Reference:Riyadh as Saliheen Hadith 70 , Mishkat Shareef-3086,Mazahir al Haq vol3, pg 223

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