Allah the Exalted revealed what happened further on Moses's return:
"Moses said: "O Aaron! What stopped you when you saw them going astray, that you followed me not (according to my advice to you)? Have you then disobeyed my order?" He (Aaron) said; "O my son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard, nor by my head! Verily, I feared lest you should say: 'You have caused a division among the children of Israel, and you have not respected my word!'"
(Moses) said: "And what is the matter with you, O Samiri? (why did you do so?)" Samiri said: "I saw what you saw not, so I took a handful of dust from the hoofprint of the Messenger (Gabriel's horse) and threw it (into the fire in which were put the ornaments of the Pharaoh's people, or into the calf). Thus my inner-self suggested to me." Moses said: "Then go away! And verily, your punishment in this life will be that you will say: 'Touch me not' (you will live alone exiled away from mankind); and verily (for a future torment), you have a promise that will not fail. And look at your ilah (god), to which you have been devoted. We will certainly burn it, and scatter its particles in the sea." (Ch 20:83-98 Quran)
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