Belam : A portrait of a sycophant character from Quran

In the following sura an example of a character is given to us:

Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our signs, but he passed them by: so Satan followed him up, and he went astray.

If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the story; perchance they may reflect.

(Al-Araf 7/175-176)

Mufassirs tell us that this character is named as Belam, who was a respected scholar and believer during the times of Prophet Moses(as). His full name is rumored to be Belam ibn Baura or Belam ibn Eber. He is considered as a prime example of “corrupt scholar” who alters and distorts “divine scriptures” in order to gain personal and mundane advantage, be it financial or having superior public authority given by the administrators.

As usual, in the deep, philosophical style of Holy Quran, the name Belam is not mentioned since such an emphasize is made over the mentality of such character, rather than the individual himself, probably because Quran warns us that such a character is like a universal plague that can emerge without boundaries, regardless of culture and geography and is exempt of historical narrations.

Government officers, kings and sultans or any kind of ruler like this kind of persona. Ottomans even had a specific idiom for it, called this kind of person as “palace molla”, the kind of alim, scholar who serves for the palace, rather than serving for Allah(j.j)

In fact, a scholars receives his “ilm”, knowledge directly from Allah(j.j) according to Islamic aqeedah. In many suras we are reminded that Allah(j.j) is the one who teaches us what we don’t know. Therefore, it is very ungrateful for a scholar to “exploit” his knowledge for mundane gains.

If the ruler has a bit of “fear of Allah(j.j)” then this corrupt scholar is not very harmful to the society he is living in, other than ruining his “akhirat”, life after death. However, like we have seen myriad examples in the history of mankind, rulers tend to be tyrannical. In such cases, when they have the backing of “corrupt scholars” like Belam, they can rationalize and find many probable causes for their oppression and injustice, even from a “divine” point of view.

Scientific knowledge should be free from every kind of “judicial” or systemic thought. Toady characters like Belam, supports and protects every kind of corrupt system more than the designers of such evil system because they feed on it. These kind of people would never feel ashamed of transforming religion into something “institutional wheel of fortune” without any fear of Allah(j.j),such characters’ mentality is strongly condemned in Holy Quran in the above ayats.


You must be logged in to post a comment Login