The Christian missionaries have accused the Qur’an of making a “contradiction” on the issue of who was responsible for the worship of the Golden Calf.
It is further interesting to note, however, that the New Testament contradicts the Old Testament on the matter of blaming Aaron(P) solely for the fashioning of the Golden Calf. Exodus 32:4 squarely puts the responsibility of making the calf upon Aaron himself:
“He [Aaron] took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf.” (Exodus 32:4)
Clearly in this verse above, it is Aaron who is blamed here. This is also made clearer when we read in the subseqent verses (Q 32: 5-6) how Aaron was responsible for building an altar to the statue he had just created and made burnt offerings to it.
However, when we compare this with Stephen’s speech in the Acts of the Apostles, the blame of fashioning the Calf clearly shifts upon the Israelite people themselves, by employing the blame in plural:
“At that time they [the Israelites] made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands.” (Acts 7:41)
Subsequent verses also suggests the same if it were read further (7:42-43). So who was responsible for the fashioning of the Golden Calf, Aaron or the Israelites? That is a question which behooves for the Christian missionaries to answer!
And only God knows best.