Ar: Harun
Heb: 'Aharown (), meaning "light bringer", "illuminator" or "mountaineer", "mountain of strength".
Gk: Aaron ()

Background Information from the Bible

Aaron is an older brother of Moses, a Levite and the first high priest. The Islamic sources have very scant details of Aaron, but from the Bible, we know that Aaron was the eldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Exodus 6:20). Aaron is three years older than Moses but younger than Miriam (Exodus 2:1,4; 7:7).

Aaron was married to Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab of the house of Judah (Exodus 6:23; 1 Chronicles. 2:10). They had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. He was sent by God to meet his brother Moses (Exodus 4:14,27-30) when the time for deliverance of Israel drew near. He was to be the "mouth" or "prophet" of Moses because he was a man of a ready utterance (Exodus 7:1,2,9,10,19). Together, they led the Israelites from Egypt to go up to the Promised Land.

When the Israelites were fighting the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene with the rod of God in his hand. Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband, helped Moses to hold up his tired hands till Joshua let the Israelites to victory. (Exodus 17:8-13).

At Mt. Sinai, when Moses went up to God to receive the commandments, Aaron, his two sons Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders accompaneed him part of the way (Exodus 19:24; 24:9-11). When Moses returned, he rebuked Aaron sternly, but Moses interceded for him before God. God forgave his sin (Deuteronomy 9:20).

Moses received instructions from God concerning the system of worship to be set up among the Israelites. Aaron and his sons were consecrated to priesthood (Leviticus 8, 9). Aaron was consecrated to be the High Priest

When the Israelites reached Hazeroth in the wilderness of Paran, Aaron and his sister Miriam complained against Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married," probably after the death of Zipporah. God punished Miriam with leprosy (Numbers 12). and Aaron acknowledged their guilt. At the intercession of Moses, God forgave them.

Twenty years later, when the children of Israel were encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram conspired against Aaron and his sons. However, God destroyed them and many thousands of people were also strucked down (Numbers 16). Further, God showed that he has chosen Aaron for the divine priestly office when the the chiefs of the tribes were required to bring to Moses a rod bearing the name of his tribe. These, together with Aaron's rod, were placed overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning, Aaron's rod was found to have budded, blossomed and yeilded almonds (Numbers 17:1-10). This rod was later to be placed in the tabernacle (Hebrews 9:4). as a memorial of his appointment to the priesthood.

At Meribah, Moses disobeyed God, and Aaron was also implicated (Numbers 20:8-13), and together with Moses, not allowed to enter the Promised Land. When the Israelites arrived at Mt. Hor near Edom, God commanded Moses to lead Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain and before the people Aaron of his priest clothes, and put them on Eleazar. Aaron died there at the age of 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Deut. 10:6; 32:50). The Israelites mourned for him thirty days. Two sons of Aaron were killed by God (Leviticus 10:1-2), for offering "strange fire" on the altar. Eleazar and Ithamar survived, the former's family holding the high priesthood till the time of Eli, and the latter's family from Eli to Solomom.


The Levites were given the general priestly duties of the Temple, but Aaron's descendents "the house of Aaron," or Aaronites, were given the high priesthood. They were very numerous during David's time (1 Chronicles 12:27). His priesthood was a "shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest" would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 6:20).

On Mt. Hor sits a mosque supposedly the grave of Aaron. Many strange and fabulous stories were written by Rabbis.

Prophethood of Aaron in Islam

The Bible does not talk about Aaron being a receiver of the commandments, but the Qur'an described him as being given, together with Moses, the Criterion of Right and Wrong (al-Anbiya' 21:48).

Sin of Aaron

In the Bible, when Moses went up to Mt. Sinai and was there for 40 days and nights, Aaron was urged by the people to craft a golden calf, who unable to resist the pressure, consented. Muslims, however, deny that such an idolatrous wrong-doing is possible for a prophet/messenger of God. The Qur'an, however, recorded that Aaron was afraid of Pharaoh (Ta Ha 20:45), and was also afraid when the people made the calf, and was seized and questioned by Moses why he held back (Ta Ha 20:92).

At Meribah, Moses disobeyed God, and Aaron was also implicated (Numbers 20:8-13), and together with Moses, were not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Sister of Aaron?

One of the unexplained things in Islam is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was given the title "Sister of Aaron" in the Qur'an, see sister of Aaron under MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

Go Back to Main Index