Qaroon and Musa (a.s.)
Prophet Musa (a.s.), in the course of propagating his religion, had to face severe adversity and hardship from the likes of Firo’un, Bala’m, Bao’ora and even his cousin Qaroon. Qaroon was immensely rich and possessed so much wealth that several strong youths were required to carry just the keys of his treasury. He was one of the high ranking and influential nobles, who used to oppress his inferiors.
Musa (a.s.), in compliance with God’s orders, sought zakaat from him, but Qaroon used to say:
“I too possess knowledge of the Torah and am not inferior to Musa in any way; why should Ipay zakaat to him?”
Eventually, his arrogance forced him to resort to dirty tactics to try to demean Prophet Musa. He approached a woman who was of bad character but was also extremely beautiful and attractive.
He said to her, “I shall pay you a hundred thousand dirhams provided that tomorrow, when Musa (a.s.) is delivering a sermon to Bani Israel, you shout out in front of the people that Musa has committed adultery with you.”
The woman accepted the offer. The next day Bani Israel had gathered and Musa (a.s.), with the Torah in hand, was engaged in preaching to them. Qaroon, in all his finery, was also present in the crowd along with his attendants. Suddenly, the woman stood up, but as she looked at the saintly face of Musa (a.s.), she experienced a change of heart and cried out aloud:
“O’ Musa! Do know that Qaroon has promised me a hundred thousand dirhams if I accuse you, in front of Bani Israel, of having committing adultery with me; but (I declare that) you have never committed such an act and God has protected your holy personality from such uncleanness.”
When he heard this, Musa (a.s.) was devastated and heartbroken, and he cursed Qaroon by saying, “O’ Earth! Seize Qaroon and take him within you.”
Upon Divine orders, the ground underneath split apart and Qaroon and all his wealth fell in.
According to another report, Musa had been preaching the people about his Sharia’h when, in the course of his lecture, he said:
“A person who does not have a spouse and indulges in adultery shall be punished with one hundred lashes and a person who possesses a spouse and (yet) commits adultery, shall be stoned to death.”
At that moment, Qaroon stood up and remarked, “(Would this be true) even if you were to commit such an offense?”
“Yes,” replied Musa.
“The Bani Israel are under the impression that you have committed adultery withsuch and such woman.”
“Bring the lady here,” demanded Musa. “If she testifies to this claim, you are at liberty to act according to the law.”
The woman was brought before Musa (a.s.) who, placing her under oath to speak the truth, asked her:
“Have I committed adultery with you?”
The woman suddenly began to experience a change in her thinking and gave an answer which was opposite to what she had intended.
“No! They lie”, she said. “Qaroon paid me such and such amount in order that I level this accusation at you.”
Qaroon stood humiliated while Musa (a.s.) began weeping, fell down in prostration and supplicated:
“O’ God! Your enemy has hurt me and sought to disgrace me by means of calumny. If I am Your Prophet, grant me ascendancy over him.”
Then he cursed Qaroon whereupon Divine punishment overtook him and the earth consumed him
Hikaayat-ha-e-Shanidani, vol. 5, pg. 122; Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 13, pg. 253.