One of the most unique surahs in the Qur’an, especially in structure. In context of revelation it is most similar to surah Taha because of the following reasons;
The Bani Isra’eel (Israelite Jews) at the time of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) asked in riddle form the following questions:
1 – Why did the Israelites (Ya’qub and his sons) leave Palestine and move to Egypt? (surah Yusuf explains this.)
2 – Why did the Israelites leave Egypt and return to the Holy Land (in Palestine?) (surah Taha explains this through the story of Moses in the most detail.)
3 – Which Prophet was blind and had many sons? (Surah Yusuf explains this, the blind Prophet referring to Ya’qub [Jacob.])
All these questions were put forwards as riddles, some of the Israelites at the time of Prophet Muhammad themselves didn’t know the answers to these questions. So if Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) is a Messenger of God, he would tell these answers.
This is one of the reasons this surah was revealed.
Place of Revelation:
This is a Makki surah, although some say it has parts which were revealed in Madinah. However the majority of scholars say it is a Madani surah in its entirety.
Time of Revelation:
‘Aam al Huzn (the Year of Sadness), when the Quraysh polytheists had boycotted the Muslims entirely, and the two beloved ones of Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) passed away; Abu Talib, and Khadijah.
The word Yusuf (although not an Arabic name) matches with the Arabic word Asaf = Extreme sorrow (i.e. Ya Asafa! means ‘O sorrow!’ (to express how sad something is).)
الر ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ
Alif-Lam-Ra – those are the signs of the Clear Book.
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
No doubt it is We who sent it down an Arabic recital so you understand.
1 – Allah is telling us that He sent it down (iNzaal) after He had spoken it in Arabic.
2 – The Qur’an can only be in Arabic. Translations are not Qur’an, but its meanings only.
Six Prophets’ were commonly known to the Arabs and Jews; Shu’aib, Ibrahim (Abraham), Saalih, Noah, and others (mentioned in tafseer Surah Hud).
Prophet Yusuf was not one of the well known Prophets’.
Furthermore, if people wanted to access such knowledge, they would have to know Hebrew (Jewish language), and Aramaic (Syrian language).
So Allah is saying He sent it down in a clear Arabic language, so the Arabs and arab-Jews could understand.
So this knowledge coming in the Arabic language was a proof that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is really a Messenger of God.
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ
We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an although you were, before it, among the unaware.
We (Nahnu), NaQuSSu (We Narrate)
Allah is emphasising twice that it is He who is narrating the best (aHsan) of stories.
QaSSa – to Trace Footsteps (i.e. Following someones footprints). So QuSSa are stories which have been footstepped/repeated and followed over and over again along the generations.
This story was passed onto the Jews by their parents. By Allah telling us that He narrates the best stories, it implies even the Jews considered it an amazing story which they read to their children. Surprisingly even the Muslims consider this the best story they narrate to each other.
‘With this Qur’an We revealed to you, and before this you were from those who were completely unaware (ghaafil)’
Ghaafil = intellectually unaware. It can also mean spiritually unaware when someone is forgetful while they are sinning.
In this context, it means that Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam) was intellectually unaware of this story before the revelation.
‘kunta min qablu la min al ghaafileen’ (you were from those who were unaware).
Meaning: the Arabs did not know the story of Prophet Yusuf.
The Best of Stories:
This story has alot of lessons from it which will directly effect you and your life. The problem is alot of people narrate this story in their own words (paraphrased) and not according to the Qur’an’s words, so alot of the beauty in meaning is lost. Ustadh Nouman will use the words of the Qur’an, their meaning and context to explain how this is the best of stories, with a secret message at the end.
Overview of Surah:
1 – Allah doesn’t tell us even the names of the characters. The only 2 names given are Yusuf, and Ya’qub.that’s because Allah wants us to focus on the most important details and lessons from the surahs. The tafaseer mention names of the people from often Isra’eeliyaat (biblical) sources.
2 – The only place mentioned is Egypt, not even Syria. Why? To answer the question of the Jews who challenged the validity of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasalam.)
BEGINNING OF THE STORY:
إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ
[Of these stories mention] when Yusuf said to his father, “O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me.”
Yusuf is a child and goes to his father and says;
Ya Abatee = O my beloved father.
Ya Abee = O my father.
This shows that Yusuf has been taught good manners from a young age.
Innee = Surely I.. (Inna is used to Remove doubt.) Yusuf has had such a strange dream that he is saying ‘No doubt I had a dream…’
Ahada ashara = 11 / eleven
Kawkaban – big stars or planets.
Najm – refers to only stars.
‘and the Sun (Shams) and the Moon (Qamar) prostrating to me’
Shams (Sun) – Feminine word (Mother)
Qamar (Father) – Masculine word (Father)
Yusuf then says;
Ra’aytu-hum lee saajideen
By him repeating the word; Ra’aytu-hum (I saw them) – it shows that he had paused, due to his shock, and it’s possible Prophet Ya’qub/his father encouraged him to continue telling his dream.
O my beloved father, I no doubt saw (Ya Abatee innee Ra’aytu..)… I saw them (Ra’aytu-hum), prostrating, especially for me.
This shows Nabi Yusuf’s shock and maturity in conveying his dream.
We afterwards will find out the stars refer to his 11 brothers, and the Sun refers to the Mother and the Moon refers to the Father Ya’qub. Allah knows best.
It’s possible Prophet/Nabi Yusuf knew what that meant, so he was shocked his brothers would prostrate to him, and even his mother, and even his father who he knew was a Prophet of Allah!
By using the ‘living’ (masculine ‘aaqil [intellect]) plural Saajideen, instead of Saajidaat (female plural used for Objects).
By Prophet Yusuf saying ‘Saajideen’ he is saying that he knows it is humans who will prostrate to him.
This is why he is even more shocked as a child.
Allah is hinting to us to listen to our children from a young age, even the dreams he tells. This is why Prophet Ya’qub is highlighted as a role model father in the Qur’an.
قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تَقْصُصْ رُؤْيَاكَ عَلَىٰ إِخْوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُوا لَكَ كَيْدًا ۖ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلْإِنسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ
He said, “O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy.
Ya Bunayya – O my beloved son.
Ya ibni – O my son.
So we see Prophet Ya’qub hugging his son in a loving way or putting him close and saying to him;
‘Don’t tell your story to your brothers, otherwise they will Kayd/plot against you’
Kayd – plot which might be for you or against you.
Makr – plot to harm
Prophet Ya’qub knows that even the younger brother BinYameen (Benjamin) who is innocent might even accidentally tell the dream to his brothers. So secrecy needs to be kept to avoid jealousy between brothers and sisters.
We also see that you have to do your best to raise children in a good Islamic way, but when they’re older, they might change their ways and become sinful in their attitudes. Just like the sons of Ya’qub and Noah. Your job is to raise them well, but in their adulthood they are responsible for themselves.
‘Surely shaytaan is to the human a clear enemy’
Prophet Ya’qub blames shaytaan for the evils, because saying you hate your children is not the main problem. Shaytaan is always the clear enemy who we clearly oppose and hate.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَجْتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ آلِ يَعْقُوبَ كَمَا أَتَمَّهَا
عَلَىٰ أَبَوَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
And thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of narratives and complete His favor upon you and upon the family of Jacob, as He completed it upon your fathers before, Abraham and Isaac. Indeed, your Lord is Knowing and Wise.”
‘That is how your Master has chosen you (ijtibaa)…’
Ijtiba – choose based on Qualifications.
-IStafa – choose based on Pureness
-Ikhtiyaar – choose someone based on their Goodness.
Ya’qub knew this child is clever, he knows dreams, he can even interpret them, and even the way he uses the right words to explain them shows he is special.
Wa Yu’allimu-ka Min ta’weeli al ahaadeeth -
‘He is teaching you from the Interpretations of dreams’
ta’weel – figure out something not clear
-iftaa (i.e. fatwa) – figure out something complicated
-ta’beer – figure out dreams and their meanings.
So Ya’qub is saying that Allah is and will continue (MuDaari’ [present-future tense]) teaching you the;
i – interpretations of dreams,
ii- interpretations/ta’weel of things which are not clear.
‘And He will complete His favour on you and the family of Ya’qub’
So Ya’qub feels positive that this child of his is part of the favour of Allah on the family of Ya’qub, who is the son of a Prophet (Isaac/Is-haaq), the son of a Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham.)
Prophet Ya’qub might even feel that this son of his will be another Prophet after him, so he loves him even more.
1 – Prophet Ya’qub is praising his son, giving him positive attention for his future, making him confident and giving him encouragement of him having a good future. All this and Yusuf has not even done anything except have a dream.
This is an excellent father who Allah is praising in the Qur’an, may Allah make us like him, ameen.
2 – Even though Prophet Ya’qub Warned his son first about not narrating the dream to his brothers, we see that he followed it with praises and Positive encouragement. So parents need to do both warn and praise to guide their children.
Inna Rabbaka ‘Aleemun Hakeem – No doubt your Master is All-Knowing, the Wise.’
We see Prophet Ya’qub extremely happy with this son of his, Yusuf, who is sitting next to him, both with big smiles on their faces.
But Prophet Ya’qub didn’t know how much trials and tests his son would go through before reaching this high status. Yet amazingly, he says true words; ‘Surely your Master is Knowing, the Wise’.
لَّقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِّلسَّائِلِينَ
Surely already; In Yusuf, and his brothers – there have been lots of miraculous signs for those who ask.
We learn that;
1 – The lessons in this surah are miraculous signs.
2 – We should focus on Yusuf AND his brothers to learn Allah’s miraculous wisdoms.
3 – There are enough signs ALREADY for those [Jews] who asked about Yusuf (and where he moved to, i.e. Egypt.) If they have heard this already, they should submit to Allah and become Muslims.
إِذْ قَالُوا لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ
When they said, “Joseph and his brother are more beloved to our father than we, while we are a clan. Indeed, our father is in clear error.
When they said, SURELY (LA) Yusuf and his brother is more beloved to our father than us…
Imagine the brothers are outside, and discussing their father and Yusuf.
1 – We see from the sayings of Ya’qub that the brothers were jealous of Yusuf.
2 – The ta’keed (emphasis) of ‘La’ (meaning: Surely) is being said by these brothers as if they are Angry and Jealous (i.e. ‘THAT (La) Yusuf! *anger*).
Wa nahnu; and we are an:
‘USbah – and we are a strong group (of between 5 to 10 strong guys). People don’t attack an ‘USbah, out of fear the ‘uSbah will unite and fight back.
[as ibn al Faaris says in his Arabic lexicon.]
‘ASabiyyah – Group Pride/Prejudice + strength (comes from ‘uSbah).
So these brothers had Pride in their Strength.
GEM: The shocking thing is that there are really 12 brothers, but these 10 are denying Yusuf and Binyamin (Benjamin) as being part of their brothers (12 in total). This is why they call themselves an ‘USbah (maximum 10 guys), while also saying: ‘Yusuf and his brother’, without saying they are our brothers.
This is partially because they’re stepbrothers, but also because of their hatred and jealousy against them and not wanting to be associated with them.
This ‘USbah attitude mixed with jealousy made them confused. ‘Why is dad so confused? We are the strength of the family, yet he loves Yusuf and his brother more?’
‘Inna abaanaa la fee Dalaalin mubeen’ -
Surely our father is no doubt clearly on the wrong way.
اقْتُلُوا يُوسُفَ أَوِ اطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضًا يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا مِن بَعْدِهِ قَوْمًا صَالِحِينَ
Kill Yusuf or cast him out to [another] land; the face of your father will [then] be only for you, and you will be after that a righteous people.”
We don’t know who said this from the brothers according to the Qur’an, but it might imply they all said it together.
Some sayings of the Sahaba suggest that:
1 – The story of Yusuf’s dream somehow leaked to the brothers of Yusuf.
2 – So when they got permission from their father to take him outside, they picked him up on their shoulders and when their dad couldn’t see him anymore, each one would slam him down.
3 – They would then say ‘ask the stars and sun and moon for help’ sarcastically.
4 – Yusuf then said to the older brother ‘You said you would keep your promise to dad’, he felt sorry for Yusuf so he said to the brothers not to kill him. They threatened to kill the older brother too. So he said they should leave him in a Well to die so the blame isn’t on them.
5 – There were scorpions and snakes there in the Well so they would kill Yusuf or someone in a Caravan would take him away.
What was the first crime committed on the Earth after Prophet Adam came on the Earth?
Answer: Murder based on Jealousy (Qabeel killed Habeel).
Aw iTrahuw-hu – or all of you Throw (Taraha) him…
Taraha = to Throw away something you consider worthless. (i.e. Trash) Throw something out of site.
This is the attitude they had against Yusuf. Throwing him away out of sight worthlessly.
arDan – arD = (in a) Earth/Land.
I.e. Just throw him away anywhere in any land out of sight.
yaKhlu lakum wajhu abee-kum – Exclusive especially for you (will be) your dads face/attention.
yaKhlu – Khalwa = to be Alone
Meaning your father will appreciate you more and recognise you as his strong sons who he loves.
‘And you guys will be a Good people (Saaliheen)’
i – Dad will see us as good because Yusuf isn’t in the way.
ii – We really will become good after this sin.
Twisted ideas of love can make people do serious crimes.
1 – The Brothers did a serious crime (attempted Murder and kidnap) out of twisted love for their father.
2 – the Wife of Azeez will do a serious crime (attempted zina/adultery and indirectly throwing Yusuf in prison) out of twisted love.
قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِّنْهُمْ لَا تَقْتُلُوا يُوسُفَ وَأَلْقُوهُ فِي غَيَابَتِ الْجُبِّ يَلْتَقِطْهُ بَعْضُ السَّيَّارَةِ إِن كُنتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ
Said a speaker among them, “Do not kill Joseph but throw him into the bottom of the well; some travelers will pick him up – if you would do [something].”
Qaala qaa’ilan min hum laa taQtul Yusuf -
Said a outspoken Sayer from them, don’t kill Yusuf.
(Some say it was the oldest brother).
Wa aLquw hu – just Throw him
Similar word which he could have said:
u-truk (taraka) – abandon / leave
By saying ‘Throw’, it shows he is still angry against Yusuf.
Fee – In
Ghayaabah (ism mubaalaghah) – a Concealer (this word is also used for Grave in arabic language.)
Jubb – Well, a hole in the ground. So it’s not used too much, not civilised, a hole in the ground.
Bi’r – a well which comes out of the ground and is built. Used in civilizations/towns.
So by him saying ‘Jubb’ – he’s implying to throw him in a Well in an uncivilized area, a hidden well in a hidden area.
‘Laqeet / Luqta – Pick up.’ [in old Arabic, also used in Fiqh language.]
LaqeeT – [In Fiqh]Laqeet – a child you Pick up off the road (a lost child)
LuqTa – i.e. Something dead you pickup, i.e. money you find on the floor, you pick it up and keep.
iLtaqaTa – something you stumble upon and pickup. I.e. People will think this child is abandoned and pick him up.
Caravans usually take popular roads in civilized places, so they usually drink from Bi’r wells. So the brothers have wishful thinking that someone will pick him up from an uncivilised Jubb, but they don’t care anyway.
Sayings of some of the Sahaba (not based explicitly in Quran):
The brothers placed Yusuf in a bucket, then lowered him. He had his hands raised, holding the rope. Then the brothers cut the rope and Prophet Yusuf fell. Before he could fall, Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) came and made him land gently.
Mufti Muhammad Shafee’ says in his tafseer:
The caravan people were going to Egypt and on their journey they got lost, while going through to find their way through the uncivilised area, they found a well to get water. Allah had planned that they would find Yusuf in this well.
قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأْمَنَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَنَاصِحُونَ
They said, “O our father, why do you not entrust us with Joseph while indeed, we are to him sincere advisors?
Qaaloo – they said
Yaa Abaa-naa – O Our father/dad!
We see they did not speak like Prophet Yusuf (he said; Yaa Abatee – O my beloved father!)
So they are still not as loving as Yusuf to Prophet Ya’qub the father. He knows this well.
‘Maa la-ka’ – What is (wrong) with you!
Laa ta’mannaa -
Tajweed. We see a Ghunna (Nasal) sound which extends the ‘N’ (like a extended ‘nnnn’ sound). This implies they are extending their pleas to their father to take Yusuf outside with them, in either of the following ways;
1 – Fi’l Nahy [Laa ta'man-naa] – ‘(Dad) Don’t trust us then.’ (Reverse psychology against their dad using sarcasm.)
2 – Laa ta’manU naa (Raf’) – You don’t trust us (dad).
Both these meanings can be implied;
‘(Dad) you don’t trust us!’
‘Why don’t you trust us!?’
‘Alaa Yusuf – upon especially Yusuf?
And no doubt we are his well-wishers, sincere to him! (NaaSiHoon – NaSaHa = Sincere].
The brothers are using blackmail, emotion, anger, and reverse psychology (just like the wife of Azeez will do in the future part of this surah) against their dad to leave him no room to get their request of taking Yusuf outside with them.
أَرْسِلْهُ مَعَنَا غَدًا يَرْتَعْ وَيَلْعَبْ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُون
Send him with us tomorrow that he may eat well and play. And indeed, we will be his guardians.
‘Send him with us tomorrow’ (this shows they have the trip already planned, so Prophet Ya’qub shouldn’t refuse their planned trip with their brother.)
‘he will enjoy it’
yaRta3 – Rata3a = when animals graze (eat).
Meaning: he will enjoy it so much, just like how animals eat when they get food after a long time.
This is how Yusuf will love tomorrow.
wa yaL3ab – and he will Play
wa innaa lahu la HaafiDhoon – and we are No doubt, for him Surely protectors.
We love him so much, we are his sincere well-wishers (NaaSihoon), this party fun day is especially for Yusuf. So let us take him, we will no doubt guard him don’t worry.
قَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحْزُنُنِي أَن تَذْهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأْكُلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَأَنتُمْ عَنْهُ غَافِلُونَ
[Ya'qub] said, “Indeed, it saddens me that you should take him, and I fear that a wolf would eat him while you are of him unaware.”
The reply of Prophet father Ya’qub is amazing, and is covered in two emotions;
‘It makes me very sad you take him’
‘And I fear that the wolf (al dhi’b) will eat him’
While you are unaware (ghaafiloon)
He knows it’s inevitable, the brothers of Yusuf have already started to plot against their younger brother Yusuf.
Sadness: He is sad, he’s a wise father. He knows the brothers havn’t ever been this kind to Yusuf before, so he knows they want to take him away and harm him.
Fear: Ya’qub knows THE wolf (AL-dhi’b) will harm Yusuf. He could have said ‘A wolf’ will harm him, but that isn’t his fear. He knows they are being like wolves to harm him. This is what he’s afraid of.
‘and you are/will be in regards to him ghaafil’ (unaware)
You will do something to harm him like wolves, but you really don’t know how special Yusuf is and will be in the future (in the sight of Allah because of his dream.) [the Present-Future (MuDaari') tense is being used.]
قَالُوا لَئِنْ أَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّا إِذًا لَّخَاسِرُونَ
‘They said if the wolf ate him, and we are a strong clan, then we are surely in that case (idhan) losers!’
The irony! The brothers don’t know the depth of what they’re saying. By being the wolf and harming Yusuf, they really do become losers!
They are the ones who have to beg Yusuf later in the story for food, and later forgiveness. This shows they really are losers by letting the wolf ‘eat’ Yusuf.
فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَجْمَعُوا أَن يَجْعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَابَتِ الْجُبِّ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
So when they took him [out] and agreed to put him into the bottom of the well… But We inspired to him, “You will surely inform them [someday] about this affair of theirs while they do not perceive [your identity].”
(the next morning they took him and they came to Consensus/united decision [yaJma3oo] that they are going to throw him in the sealed Jubb (Well).)
Ghaddan – next day. It also means ‘to come out in the Morning’
Jubb – a hidden well with Shallow water (not deep water). (This is how Yusuf survived in it.)
‘And We inspired to him (in Yusuf’s heart) [while he was being lowered into the Jubb/Well] – You will thoroughly inform (nabbi’a) them of this matter while they are totally unaware.’
Nabbi’a – naba’ = knowledge/news which is Great/Big news, and none can tell it except the one who knew it. (it’s not easy knowledge to find out yourself). [This is why Prophets are called Nabi'].
Allah is places good news in the hearts of the believers during their most difficult moments to keep them firm on faith. This happens to Yusuf, the mother of Moses, and many of the righteous people.
وَجَاءُوا أَبَاهُمْ عِشَاءً يَبْكُونَ
‘And they came to their dad in the night (3ishaa’) while they are crying.’
So they had spent all day outside (meaning Yusuf was -at minimum- in the well all day till night) and the brothers returned home crying.
قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا إِنَّا ذَهَبْنَا نَسْتَبِقُ وَتَرَكْنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَاعِنَا فَأَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَّنَا وَلَوْ كُنَّا صَادِقِي
They said, “O our father, indeed we went racing each other and left Joseph with our possessions, and a wolf ate him. But you would not believe us, even if we were truthful.”
Na-stabiq – We were Racing
And we left Yusuf with out eating stuff.
‘The wolf came and ate him’
‘You’re not believing us even if we were telling the truth’
Irony: Again, the brothers in their semi-guilt and sarcastic attitude are telling their dad Ya’qub; LAW kunnaa Saadiqeen – you wouldn’t believe us ‘EVEN IF we were Truthful.’
Ironically they are not telling the truth right now.
The brothers are on the defense while being on the offensive by accusing their dad of not believing them, when Prophet Ya’qub hasn’t even said anything to them yet!
Twisted Emotions & the 3 Shirts:
In this surah amazingly, Prophet Yusuf is surrounded by people who have twisted emotions (the brothers and the Azeez’s wife, and the women).
Also his Shirt plays a central role throughout the surah. (the shirt with the blood, the shirt which the Azeez’s wife tears, and the shirt which Prophet Ya’qub wipes on his eyes to cure his blindness.)
وَجَاءُوا عَلَىٰ قَمِيصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ ۚ قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا ۖ فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ ۖ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ
And they brought upon his shirt false blood. [Ya'qub] said, “Rather, your souls have enticed you to something, so patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.”
‘And they brought (Jaa’) his shirt with lying blood (damin kadhib)’
Jaa’ = Came with something great.
Ataa – Came with something. (not necessarily something great.)
So Allah is telling us they came with a big thing;- a big lie?
Why was it lying blood? Because;
i – It wasn’t Yusuf’s blood (it was a baby goat’s blood which they had sacrificed.)
ii – The shirt had blood on, but it had no tears in! So Yusuf couldn’t have been eaten by a wolf!
Qaala bal sawwalat lakum aNfusa-kum -
‘Ya’qub said, no rather (sawwalat) your egos (nafs) have made this not a big deal.’
sawwala – literally means; the bottom part of your stomach below the belly button to be shakey/fat/wobbly (like jelly.)
Metaphorical meaning: taking something Loosley without taking it seriously, ‘not a big deal’.
Figurative meaning: Yourselves and shaytaan made this look like not a big deal.
[This Story is extremely similar (in wording and storyline) to how Allah narrates the Story of Habeel and Qabeel (the two sons of Adam, Qabeel killed Habeel). [discussed by Ustadh Nouman in surah al A'raf.] tasweel is used in this story too.]
Fa Sabrun Jameel – so a Beautiful Patience.
Ya’qub is extremely intelligent, he knows that shouting at them will only make things worse, they will only shout back. So patience is best and the only option.
The thoughts going through Prophet Ya’qub’s mind must be shocking.
Just yesterday his son Yusuf had this beautiful dream which Ya’qub believed would give him a good promising future. Yet the next day his son is lost, the rebellious sons say he is eaten by a wolf while Ya’qub knows he’s not killed (because of the dream showing he will survive), so he can’t even ask them and search where they left him, because they will say you don’t believe us.
Imagine your favourite child or favourite thing in the world being kidnapped and left for people to enslave him and maybe even harm?
‘So a beautiful patience, and Allah’s help I seek against that which you describe.’
These brothers have so much ironies and errors in their stories, that Prophet Ya’qub can’t be bothered to argue with them. He simply seeks Allah’s help against what they’ve done. And help only comes after patience.
This surah tells people how to handle Trauma and Stress, and how to increase in emaan like Prophet Ya’qub and Yusuf.
وَجَاءَتْ سَيَّارَةٌ فَأَرْسَلُوا وَارِدَهُمْ فَأَدْلَىٰ دَلْوَهُ ۖ قَالَ يَا بُشْرَىٰ هَٰذَا غُلَامٌ ۚ وَأَسَرُّوهُ بِضَاعَةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ
And there came a company of travelers; then they sent their water drawer, and he let down his bucket. He said, “Good news! Here is a boy.” And they concealed him, [taking him] as merchandise; and Allah was knowing of what they did.
*Back in the woods*
Sayyaarah – Caravan (of camels.)
‘They sent their scout to find some water, and he lowered his bucket (dalwa-hu)’
Amazing. Allah tells us he lowered his own bucket. Why’s this important? It shows us the brothers of Yusuf had cut the bucket they had used to put him in the well.
aRsala = sent
waarida – warada = to come down (this scout was sent to look for water, and even for any bandits on the way).
dalw – to slowly and gradually pull or push (i.e. Imagine slowly pulling the bucket out of the well.) [also used in surah al A'raf where Allah tells us shaytaan misled people (inc. Adam/Eve) gradually with deception/ghuroor.]
Ya Bushraa! – ‘Wow, O my God!’
haadha ghulaam – this is a boy!
LuqTa was a word in classical Arabic, so it shows it was common practise for people of old to Pickup [LaqeeT] and kidnap children and sell them. (This is why the word is a classical/ancient word.)
It was still looked down upon, and this is why the people of this Caravan hid him secretly (asarroowhu) after taking him out of the well, as Sellable Goods/merchandise (biDaa3atan).
a-sarroow-hu – extremely fast and Secretly. (see the double ‘rr’ between the word shows they hid him quickly before someone else saw that they had kidnapped him.)
biDaa3ah = sellable goods which you carry to sell, not to use for your own self. Merchandise. They put Yusuf in the merchandise bag secretly and quickly.
وَشَرَوْهُ بِثَمَنٍ بَخْسٍ دَرَاهِمَ مَعْدُودَةٍ وَكَانُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الزَّاهِدِينَ
And they sold him for an extremely cheap price.
Bakhs – extremely cheap, almost free.
daraahim (plural of dirham [a silver coin] ma3doodah (countable).
So these caravan travellers sold Yusuf for a really cheap price because they knew they had kidnapped him illegally. They wanted to make quick money and ‘get rid of him’.
zaahideen – zuhd = not caring. I.e. Zuhd in the religious sense refers to someone who Doesn’t Care about the worldly life, if he gets richer or poorer he is the same. He is not attracted to this world, he doesn’t care.
So these caravan kidnappers;
i – Didn’t care about how much they got payed for selling Yusuf. Even if it was for a cheap price, they didn’t care (as long as they got some quick money.)
ii – Allah is being sarcastic about them, these caravan travellers are being described as Zaahideen: those who are not attached to the worldly life, in the spiritual sense – Allah is being sarcastic that they had so much Zuhd (lack of attachment i.e. really to Yusuf) that they didn’t mind selling Yusuf for a cheap price.
It’s as if their rush to sell Yusuf for a cheap price was so spiritual and benevolent (/sarcasm) that they didn’t wait to get more money off the buyer. So they were Zaahideen (not attached to worldly life in this matter.)
‘And they were in regard to him (Yusuf) from the Zaahideen (not bothered, ascetics, pious.).’
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِى ٱشۡتَرَٮٰهُ مِن مِّصۡرَ لِٱمۡرَأَتِهِۦۤ أَڪۡرِمِى مَثۡوَٮٰهُ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَنفَعَنَآ أَوۡ نَتَّخِذَهُ ۥ وَلَدً۬اۚ وَڪَذَٲلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ
فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلِنُعَلِّمَهُ ۥ مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡرِهِۦ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
Waqala allathee ishtarahu min misra limraatihi akrimee mathwahu 3asa an yanfa3ana aw nattakhithahu waladan wakathalika makkanna liyoosufa fee al-ardi walinu3allimahu minta’weeli al-ahadeethi wallahu ghalibun 3ala amrihi walakinna akthara annasi la ya3lamoon
And the one who bought him from Egypt for His wife said, “Honour his place of stay. Maybe he will bring some benefit to us or we may take him as our own child. And that it how We situated Yusuf and gave him stability in the land. And so that we may teach him from the interpretation of all kinds of speech. And Allah is dominant over his affair. However most people do not realize that.
You bring a servant so he can serve you yet he tells his wife to honour the child and not vice versa (the child honours his wife). He doesn’t tell him honour her, he tells her honour him.
Mathwa/thawa: to stay a long time. It’s from lughat al-aghdab. If you say thawa Al-rajul – it means mata al-rajul – the person died. The place where you are buried. When you stay in a home for so long you are going to die there.
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) is told lakum tathawiyan fi ahlan madiyana. You weren’t a person who lived your entire life and died in the people of Madyan that you know all of these details. How did you come across all these details except by revelation.
Akrami mathwahu – He lived nicely – Allah (swt) put him in a nice place.
Wakathalika makana … that is how the legacy of the Israelites in Egypt begins. It is mentioned here because it answers the question of how the Israelites entered Egypt – through Yusuf.
Ta’weel – Confusing matters – interpreting confusing matters.
Hadith – all kinds of speech – not just dreams. Now he is living under the politician’s house. And this politician is clearly a negotiator. He is living in an elite household so other guests which enter the house will be politicians. Conversations would consist of high level economic, political and social topics which Yusuf (a.s) would pick up on. He would have also understood corruption from the Minister’s wife and her friends. On top of the revelation and his ability to interpret dreams, he now has worldly knowledge.
Ghalib – to oversee someone – to overpower someone. In all of the situations that Yusuf is exposed to Allah (swt) is dominant and well aware of his affairs. In other words, Allah (swt) never left him.
وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۥۤ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُ حُكۡمً۬ا وَعِلۡمً۬اۚ وَكَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
Walamma balagha ashuddahu ataynahu hukman wa3ilman wakathalika najzee almuhsineen
And then when he reached his mature age, We gave him firmness and knowledge and that is how we compensate those who excel.
Ashudahu – firm age (young man)
Balagha ahudahu – the moment he became mature – reached the mature age.
Hukman – ability to make firm decisions. Usually knowledge comes before wisdom. Wisdom and the ability to make firm decisions is usually preceded by knowledge.
With Yusuf (a.s) what we are learning is the key to survival at a young age. More important than knowledge in your teen years is control over yourself. The ability to make wise decisions.
Hikmah – the ability to make the right decisions based on the right knowledge.
The Hikm and knowledge that Allah (swt) gave to Yusuf (a.s) is not limited to him. If an individual learns to control themselves and not become impulsive and you are in pursuit of knowledge, then Allah (swt) will open the doors of excellence to you too.
وَرَٲوَدَتۡهُ ٱلَّتِى هُوَ فِى بَيۡتِهَا عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ وَغَلَّقَتِ ٱلۡأَبۡوَٲبَ وَقَالَتۡ هَيۡتَ لَكَۚ قَالَ مَعَاذَ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ رَبِّىٓ أَحۡسَنَ مَثۡوَاىَۖ
إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
Warawadat-hu allatee huwa fee baytiha 3an nafsihi waghallaqati al-abwaba waqalat hayta laka qala ma3atha Allahi innahu rabbee ahsana mathwaya innahu la yuflihu aththalimoon
And she tried to make him slip, the one in whose house he was, from himself. And she locks the doors and she says “Come here!” He said, “I seek a place of refuge from Allah. My master, he has gone out of his way in taking care of my housing. There is no doubt that the wrongdoers will not be successful.
Rada/yarudu – Mujarad form – to go back and forth looking for something.
Arada- In your mind you were going back and forth but finally you made an intention.
The mufa3ala form – Rawada/yurawidu – Riwada/murawadatan
Murawadatan – to try and get somebody to have the same intention as you have.
To make somebody slip off their motive.
In the previous ayah we learnt that he is firm in holding on to his decision and now she is trying to get him off his decision.
Instead of saying rawadathu imratil azeez – Si much easier – khairu alkalami ma kala wadala. It would have been kala but it would not have been dala. In that case it would have been kaleel not daleel. It would not have indicated what Allah (swt) wants to indicate. Allah wants to indicate that he was in a special pressure situation, because he was in her house. Allah didn’t say fi bait al-azeez, He didn’t even mention the Azeez. She is in the house all the time, the husband is not home much. Yusuf has to deal with her all the time. Ignoring her command would not be easy for him. Allah (Swt) highlights that because he is under her roof. So she tried to make him slip from himself.
Aghlaka – to lock
Ghalaka – to lock multiple locks.
Ibn Abas says Kalimat hayt yadulu a3la alsriha. It indicates yelling. Hayta lak also has sur3a in it – hurry up.
Ma3ath is not just a mastar- it is also a tharf makan.
A3tha – ya3outhu – i3yathan – i3athu billah –
Ma3aath is a tharf/mafa3l – it means not only do I seek Allah’s refuge, he is also seeking a place of refuge, a place where he can hide.
Allahi – interpreted as either Allah (swt) or his master in whose house he lives in.
At the time there was nothing wrong with using rab to refer to your master. However, the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) put an end to this practice because they lead to shirk. For example, no slave should be called A3bd anymore and no master should be called rab anymore.
Thalim – the wrongdoer – the crime here is zina – insha-allah when we get to the point where he is in prison, you will notice how he describes the people he has left behind. In other words the people who disgrace themselves in such acts are not just disloyal to their husband, their wife, they are disloyal to Allah (swt). This is an act of disregard to Allah. Thalim is not just against the master of the house.
وَلَقَدۡ هَمَّتۡ بِهِۦۖ وَهَمَّ بِہَا لَوۡلَآ أَن رَّءَا بُرۡهَـٰنَ رَبِّهِۦۚ ڪَذَٲلِكَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءَۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ
Walaqad hammat bihi wahamma biha lawla an raa burhana rabbihi kathalika linasrifa 3anhu assoo-a walfahshaa innahu min 3ibadina almukhlaseen
She really did desire him. He would have desired her too had he not seen the clear, indisputable evidence of his Master, [he would have failed]. That is how we removed from him evil and shamelessness. He certainly was from our slaves that has been made sincere.
Why did she desire him?
Yes, he was good-looking, but he was also a kind, courteous and respectable young man who was always at home unlike her husband. She was attempting to fill an emotional void – seeking attention.
وَهَمَّ بِہَا – Some say that this is one sentence. In other words, he did not desire her but he would have had he not seen the proof of his Master.
The problem with that is linguistically it would have been lahama biha. When you have لَو, the shart on it is that the jawabul shart should have a ‘la.’ It is interpreted this way in honour of Yusuf’s (a.s) character but it doesn’t meet the qa3ida – the principle of the language.
هَمَّ – want
Linguistically it is interpreted as two different things:
A want that is strong enough that you will fulfill it
A desire that you have not yet fulfilled.
The Minister’s wife had a desire and she fulfilled it. Mufti Mohamed shafi3 describes the هَمّ of Yusuf (a.s) as a desire that any man would have when he sees an attractive woman but he controls himself. The crime is acting on one’s desires not the desire itself.
Lesson – no matter how spiritual you are, you are not above temptation.
لَوۡلَآ أَن رَّءَا بُرۡهَـٰنَ رَبِّهِۦ – (He would have desired her too had he not seen the clear, indisputable evidence of his Master, [he would have failed]). He would have failed is understood – Jawab al shart is mahthouf.
The honour of Yusuf (a.s) is so high that Allah (swt) does not mention jawab al-shart as that would have belittled him.
– لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءَThis is not a context of evil as it is a context of shamelessness. Allah (swt) does not mention shamelessness first which is to be expected in this context. The context is requiring fahsha to be mentioned here first.
لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءَ Allah (swt) removed evil from him – Allah (swt) does not say He removed Yusuf (a.s) from evil. It is as though evil was trying to hold onto him like a bug and Allah (swt) removed the bug. If Allah (swt) said that He removed Yusuf (a.s) from evil it would be as though Yusuf (a.s) was holding onto evil and that would be discrediting Yusuf (a.s). The criminal here is not Yusuf, it’s the evil.
ٱلسُّوٓءَ is all forms of evil. Any evil deed is سُّوٓءَ – the plural is sayiat – from sayiah
Yusuf (a.s) has been a man of character his whole life and Allah (swt) has kept evil away from him. When the most tempting form of evil approaches him, he is able to resist it. He has built the tolerance against falling into evil because he guards himself from falling into sin.
Lesson: Some sins open the door to other sins. Saving yourself from some sins closes the door on other sins.
مُخۡلَص is from fa3il – the one who is sincere.
Mukhlas is one who has been granted sincerity.
وَٱسۡتَبَقَا ٱلۡبَابَ وَقَدَّتۡ قَمِيصَهُ ۥ مِن دُبُرٍ وَأَلۡفَيَا سَيِّدَهَا لَدَا ٱلۡبَابِۚ قَالَتۡ مَا جَزَآءُ مَنۡ أَرَادَ
بِأَهۡلِكَ سُوٓءًا إِلَّآ أَن يُسۡجَنَ أَوۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Wastabaqa albaba waqaddat qameesahu min duburin waalfaya sayyidaha lada albabi qalat ma jazao man arada bi-ahlika soo-an illa an yusjana aw 3athabun aleem
They both ran towards the door and she ripped his shirt from behind. And they stumbled upon her husband at the door. She said, “What should you reward a person who wanted evil for your family? He should be thrown in prison or give him a painful torture.”
Previous ayah -You could say walaqd hama ahaduhuma bilakhar – In Arabic you could combine the two as a verb. Allah (swt) separated the two verbs because you can’t compare their emotional states. Her intention was evil so Allah (swt) separates the two.
However, when it comes to racing to the door He put them together.
Wajada – to find – when you are looking for something.
أَلۡفَيَا /Ilfa – to find without intention (weren’t looking for it.)
By seeing Yusuf (a.s) first, the master realises that Yusuf (a.s) is trying to escape but he is confused as to why Yusuf (a.s) is attempting to run away.
قَالَ هِىَ رَٲوَدَتۡنِى عَن نَّفۡسِىۚ وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَهۡلِهَآ إِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ ۥ قُدَّ مِن قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتۡ وَهُوَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ
Qala hiya rawadatnee 3aan nafsee washahida shahidun min ahliha in kana qameesuhu qudda min qubulin fasadaqat wahuwa mina alkathibeen
He said, “She is the one who tried to get me to slip off my character.” A witness from among her family spoke and said, “If his shirt is ripped from the front, then she is obviously the one telling the truth, and he is from the liars.”
وَإِن كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ ۥ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ فَكَذَبَتۡ وَهُوَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
Wa-in kana qameesuhu qudda min duburin fakathabat wahuwa mina assadiqeen
“And if his shirt is ripped from behind, she is lying, and he is the one telling the truth.”
فَلَمَّا رَءَا قَمِيصَهُ ۥ قُدَّ مِن دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ ۥ مِن ڪَيۡدِكُنَّۖ إِنَّ كَيۡدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ
Falamma raa qameesahu qudda min duburin qala innahu min kaydikunna inna kaydakunna 3atheem
When he saw his shirt ripped from the back, He said, “All you women make great plans like this.”
Why is her husband not disturbed by her antics?
As a politician, he most certainly would have a corrupt character. He is not worried about his wife, he is worried about a scandal breaking out that may harm his reputation.
يُوسُفُ أَعۡرِضۡ عَنۡ هَـٰذَاۚ وَٱسۡتَغۡفِرِى لِذَنۢبِكِۖ إِنَّكِ ڪُنتِ مِنَ ٱلۡخَاطِـِٔينَ
Yusufu a3rid 3an hatha wastaghfiree lithanbiki innaki kunti mina alkhati-een
“Yusuf, ignore this. [To his wife] Ask forgiveness for your sin. You are from those who have made some serious mistakes.”
ذَنۢبِ – Something embarrassing or shameful.
Khata – (ghair muta3mid) The opposite of doing something on purpose.
The minister doesn’t want to offend the wife too much so he says “Indeed you made a serious mistake”
Mutammidan – Whoever kills somebody on purpose
Khataun – Whoever kills somebody – but not on purpose
Therefore the minister stopped short of saying she was inherently corrupt. Due to the nature of politics, even marriage becomes political. If he was too harsh, she would go against him – possibly ruining his career.
وَقَالَ نِسۡوَةٌ۬ فِى ٱلۡمَدِينَةِ ٱمۡرَأَتُ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ تُرَٲوِدُ فَتَٮٰهَا عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦۖ قَدۡ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّاۖ إِنَّا لَنَرَٮٰهَا فِى ضَلَـٰلٍ مُّبِينٍ
Waqala niswatun fee almadeenati imraatu al 3azeezi turawidu fataha 3annafsihi qad shaghafaha hubban inna lanaraha fee dalalin mubeen
And the women in the city said, “The wife of the minister is trying to seduce her slave, to get him off his character. Her heart is aching out of love for him. We clearly we see her as lost.”
نِسۡوَةٌ۬ is different to nisa – It is a term used when women are related to each other in a particular matter. In this case the women of the city were related to each other by:
- Agenda (to take the minister’s wife down)
وَقَالَ نِسۡوَةٌ۬ – Expected is KalaT niswatoon instead of Kala niswatoon.
KalaT – verb used for the feminine
Kala – verb used for the masculine
However as Niswa is a human plural, there is a choice available for the verb used and it doesn’t have to respect the actual biological gender
Two Rhetorical Benefits
1. KalaT Niswatoon – suggests a larger group
Kala Niswatoon – suggests a smaller group (which this was)
2. Some Ullama say that this is “Tahteer” or Belittling.
This group of women are not acting feminine and therefore not given the feminine verb
فَتَٮٰهَا – young man
شَغَفَهَا – This an interesting word for love. شَغَفَهَا literally means the inner part of the heart. Therefore this type of love lies deep inside the heart. A love that hurts from inside is called شَغَفَهَا
The women are making fun of her for having an aching love for this slave boy so they say, “We clearly see her as lost and confused.”
فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتۡ بِمَكۡرِهِنَّ أَرۡسَلَتۡ إِلَيۡہِنَّ وَأَعۡتَدَتۡ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَـًٔ۬ا وَءَاتَتۡ كُلَّ وَٲحِدَةٍ۬ مِّنۡہُنَّ سِكِّينً۬ا وَقَالَتِ ٱخۡرُجۡ عَلَيۡہِنَّۖ
فَلَمَّا رَأَيۡنَهُ ۥۤ أَكۡبَرۡنَهُ ۥ وَقَطَّعۡنَ أَيۡدِيَہُنَّ وَقُلۡنَ حَـٰشَ لِلَّهِ مَا هَـٰذَا بَشَرًا إِنۡ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا مَلَكٌ۬ كَرِيمٌ
Falamma sami3at bimakrihinna arsalat ilayhinna waa3tadat lahunna muttakaan waatat kulla wahidatin minhunna sikkeenan waqalati okhruj 3alayhinna falamma raaynahu akbarnahu waqatta3na aydiyahunna waqulna hasha lillahi ma hatha basharan in hatha illa malakun kareem
When she heard about their covert agenda, she sent for them. And she prepared for them a place to recline. And she gave every single one of them a knife. And then she said, “Yusuf come out.” And when they saw him, they declared him to be great. And they continued to cut their hands and they said, “Oh my Lord! This is not a mortal being. This is a gracious angel.”
كَيۡدَكُنَّ عَظِيم– (Previously stated in Ayah 28) كَيۡد – does not necessarily have secrecy in it.
مَكۡرِهِنَّ – when something is done covertly to hurt somebody. مَكۡر has secrecy involved and the intent to harm your enemy.
Allah (S.W.T) is saying that the mocking the women did in public was obvious. However they had a covert agenda of taking her, her family and her status down
مُتَّكَـًٔ۬ا – Everybody has a comfortable seat
From Ittaka – to lean back
When Musa (a.s) said atawakkao 3alayha when referring to his staff – “I lean on my staff sometimes”
The Ministers wife wanted to situate all the women so that they had a clear view when she brought Yusuf (a.s) out.
وَقَطَّعۡنَ أَيۡدِيَہُنَّ – This does not mean that once they saw Yusuf (a.s) they were so enraptured by his beauty that they cut their hands. Rather, one woman cut her hand and after receiving treatment from Yusuf (a.s) the other women became jealous of the fact that she had Yusuf’s attention. As a result, they continued to harm themselves until each woman had cut herself.
قَالَتۡ فَذَٲلِكُنَّ ٱلَّذِى لُمۡتُنَّنِى فِيهِۖ وَلَقَدۡ رَٲوَدتُّهُ ۥ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ فَٱسۡتَعۡصَمَۖ وَلَٮِٕن لَّمۡ يَفۡعَلۡ مَآ ءَامُرُهُ ۥ لَيُسۡجَنَنَّ وَلَيَكُونً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰغِرِينَ
Qalat fathalikunna allathee lumtunnanee feehi walaqad rawadtuhu 3an nafsihi fast3sama wala-in lam yaf3al ma amuruhu layusjananna walayakoonan mina assaghireen
She said, “That my dear friends, is the one you were blaming me about. And I did seduce him and tried to get him to slip off of his character. Then he held on tight, and if he doesn’t do what I command him to do, he will definitely be imprisoned. And he will be from those that have been humiliated.”
ذَٲلِ – is for Yusuf (a.s)
كُنّ is for the women
ٱسۡتَعۡصَمَۖ / I3tasala – to hold on
Isti3sal – struggling to hold on
يَفۡعَلۡ is used here instead of ya3mal
yaf3al is used because it refers to completing an action without thinking – if Yusuf thinks about what she is asking him to do, he will realise it is wrong.
She specifically says ٱلصَّـٰغِرِينَ because she has been humiliated.
قَالَ رَبِّ ٱلسِّجۡنُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىَّ مِمَّا يَدۡعُونَنِىٓ إِلَيۡهِۖ وَإِلَّا تَصۡرِفۡ عَنِّى كَيۡدَهُنَّ أَصۡبُ إِلَيۡہِنَّ وَأَكُن مِّنَ ٱلۡجَـٰهِلِينَ
Qala rabbi assijnu ahabbu ilayya mimma yad3oonanee ilayhi wa-illa tasrif 3annee kaydahunna asbu ilayhinna waakun mina aljahileen
He said, “Master, prison is more beloved to me from whatever they are calling me towards. And if you don’t remove me away from their plan, I will give in to them and I will be counted among those who are swayed by their emotions.”
يَدۡعُونَنِىٓ here is actually huna yad3una – The Minister’s wife was the one calling him to the evil act but all the women are mentioned here because they too are calling him towards evil.
In this ayah, Yusuf (a.s) is still in the room with the Minister’s wife and her friends. However, he does not talk about God to them. Instead, he talks to Allah (swt) as though He is with them in the room. This is ihsan. Yusuf (a.s) is amongst women who are all attracted to him and through all of this he communicates with Allah (swt) to remove him from their plan.
أَصۡبُ comes from saba – yasbu. Common word in Arabic is sabi meaning a child. Yatasaba/ Almutasaby is to act like a child (immature).
أَصۡبُ To become childish – in other words not to think of the consequences.
ٱلۡجَـٰهِلِينَ – a person who cannot control their emotions
Aql – someone in control over their emotions – they use their intellect instead.
فَٱسۡتَجَابَ لَهُ ۥ رَبُّهُ ۥ فَصَرَفَ عَنۡهُ كَيۡدَهُنَّۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ
Fastajaba lahu rabbuhu fasarafa 3anhu kaydahunna innahu huwa assamee3u al3aleem
Then his Master responded to him, And Allah turned away from him their plot. Certainly He is all hearing, all knowing.
Some scholars say that had Yusuf (a.s) asked Allah (swt) to only remove him from them, that he would not have been imprisoned. But he said prison is more beloved to me and Allah responded to his du’a.
Lesson: We must be careful in how we phrase our du’a to Allah (swt) because Allah is always listening. The way we phrase our du’a has an impact.
ٱسۡتَجَابَ and ٱجَابَ are different:
ٱسۡتَجَابَ – It takes a period of time for Allah (swt) to respond to your du’a
ٱجَابَ – Allah (swt) responds immediately to the du’a
Allah (swt) did save him from their plot but it did not happen immediately.
ثُمَّ بَدَا لَهُم مِّنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا رَأَوُاْ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَيَسۡجُنُنَّهُ ۥ حَتَّىٰ حِينٍ
Thumma bada lahum min ba3di maraawoo al-ayati layasjununnahu hatta heen
Then it appeared to them after they had looked at all the signs, they are going to imprison him until a given time.
لَهُم – Why is the masculine being used when we were talking about women (huna)?
لَهُم refers to the political leaders. All these women are the wives of these politicians. Their wives have all cut their hands and after finding out what happened they meet together because their careers are now at stake as a result of the stupidity of their women. They need to figure out a way to supress the scandal. They thought of the implications that this might have on their careers and decided that the only way
they could suppress the scandal was to imprison Yusuf (a.s) without trial until a given time.
They would soon forget about Yusuf (a.s) because he has no political significance for which there is a need to remember him.
وَدَخَلَ مَعَهُ ٱلسِّجۡنَ فَتَيَانِۖ قَالَ أَحَدُهُمَآ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰنِىٓ أَعۡصِرُ خَمۡرً۬اۖ وَقَالَ ٱلۡأَخَرُ إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰنِىٓ أَحۡمِلُ فَوۡقَ رَأۡسِى خُبۡزً۬ا
تَأۡكُلُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ مِنۡهُۖ نَبِّئۡنَا بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦۤۖ إِنَّا نَرَٮٰكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
Wadakhala ma3ahu assijna fatayani qala ahaduhuma innee aranee a3siru khamran waqala al-akharu innee aranee ahmilu fawqa ra’see khubzan ta’kulu attayru minhu nabbi’na bita’weelihi inna naraka mina almuhsineen
And two inmates entered the prison with him. One of them says to him, “I have seen that I was juicing wine.” And the other said, “I see myself carrying above my head, some bread, that birds are eating from. Can you inform us of the interpretation of these confusing dreams, we see you among those who are excellent.”
Now we are seeing the scene of him being thrown into prison.
They are not old inmates – they are new inmates. They can tell that Yusuf (a.s) does not fit the character of a criminal.
You don’t start a conversation with someone you have met for the first time and ask them to interpret your dreams. First they observed him and realised that he is very intelligent and decided to ask him for his opinion regarding their dreams.
إِنِّىٓ أَرَٮٰنِىٓ (not ini araytuni) – I see myself. This is a recurring dream.
قَالَ لَا يَأۡتِيكُمَا طَعَامٌ۬ تُرۡزَقَانِهِۦۤ إِلَّا نَبَّأۡتُكُمَا بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن يَأۡتِيَكُمَاۚ ذَٲلِكُمَا مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِى رَبِّىٓۚ إِنِّى تَرَكۡتُ مِلَّةَ
قَوۡمٍ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَهُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ كَـٰفِرُونَ
Qala la ya’teekuma ta3amun turzaqanihi illa nabba’tukuma bita’weelihi qabla an ya’tiyakuma thalikuma mimma 3allamanee rabbee innee taraktu millata qawmin layu’minoona billahi wahum bil-akhirati hum kafiroon
He said, “Your food is not going to come to either of you, by which you will be fed, except that I would have interpreted your dreams, before it even gets to you. That is from what my Master taught me. No doubt I have left the loyal legacy of a nation. These people disbelieve in Allah and especially in regards to the hereafter, they are in denial.”
Yusuf (a.s) sees this as an opportunity to give them a brief talk about Islam before answering their questions.
مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِى رَبِّىٓ – This refers not only to dream interpretation but also respecting people’s time.
Lesson: respect other people’s time
In this ayah, Yusuf (a.s) introduces himself to these inmates.
مِلَّةَ – is used when people are united by an emotional or spiritual reason.
In old Arabic مِلَّةَ was used as another word for religion.
إِنِّى تَرَكۡتُ مِلَّةَ قَوۡمٍ suggests that he did not leave the entire nation but rather a particular group that have a مِلَّةَ within that nation – a particular circle of people within that society.
وَهُم highlights their disbelief in the hereafter
هُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ كَـٰفِرُونَ – It’s should be hum kafirun bilakhirati
However, Yusuf (a.s) says هُم بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ كَـٰفِرُونَ
Here we have two mubtadahs and a muta3lid bil khabir muqadim in between and then a khabar. Their disbelief in the afterlife is highlighted here because the crimes they have committed against Yusuf (a.s) [the wife, the husband and the politicians] clearly show they have no consequences of the hereafter.
Lesson: The motivating factor that prevents an individual from the crime of fahshaa (temptation) and doing wrong by others is knowledge in the afterlife.
وَٱتَّبَعۡتُ مِلَّةَ ءَابَآءِىٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَۚ مَا كَانَ لَنَآ أَن نُّشۡرِكَ بِٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ ذَٲلِكَ مِن فَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡنَا
وَعَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَشۡكُرُونَ
Wattaba3tu millata aba-ee ibraheema wa-ishaqa wa-ya3qooba ma kanalana an nushrika billahi min shay-in thalika min fadli Allahi 3alayna wa3ala annasi walakinna akthara annasi la yashkuroon
Instead I have followed the loyal legacies of my fathers Ibrahim, Ishaq and Ya3qub. It is not becoming of us to associate anything with Allah in any way. That is the ultimate favour of Allah on us and to all people. However, most people are not grateful.
Yusuf (a.s) starts his khutba with tawheed. The reason behind this is that if you are good to Allah (swt), you will be good to everyone else.
These men are in prison not because they committed shirk, but because they did wrong to someone else. Yusuf (a.s) is highlighting that the root of crime stems from doing wrong by Allah (swt).
عَلَيۡنَا – our special family.
There is such an a contrast between shirk and shukr.
Shirk is mentioned at the beginning of the ayah and by the end of the ayah people don’t give shukr – they are not grateful.
There is such amazing contrast in this surah. Ya3qub (a.s) talks about patience and describes it as something beautiful yet to most people patience is never beautiful.
Yusuf (a.s) is currently in prison. In prison one would be more likely to talk about patience, yet he talks about gratitude. Their view of life is completely different.
يَـٰصَٮٰحِبَىِ ٱلسِّجۡنِ ءَأَرۡبَابٌ۬ مُّتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيۡرٌ أَمِ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡوَٲحِدُ ٱلۡقَهَّارُ
Ya sahibayi assijni aarbabun mutafarriqoona khayrun ami Allahu alwahidu alqahhar
“My friends of prison, do you really think different gods are better or Allah the One who dominates everything.”
مُّتَفَرِّقُونَ – The masculine plural is used here because people believed in living deities too.
The one who dominates everything
The one who is in complete charge of all things.
The one you cannot escape from
مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ مِن دُونِهِۦۤ إِلَّآ أَسۡمَآءً۬ سَمَّيۡتُمُوهَآ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُم مَّآ أَنزَلَ ٱللَّهُ بِہَا مِن سُلۡطَـٰنٍۚ إِنِ ٱلۡحُكۡمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِۚ
أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
Ma ta3budoona min doonihi illa asmaan sammaytumooha antum waabaokum ma anzala Allahu biha min sultan inini alhukmu illa lillahi amara alla ta3budoo illa iyyahu thalika addeenu alqayyimu walakinna akthara annasi laya3lamoon
“You’re not worshipping anyone other than Him except names that you have made up yourselves – you and your ancestors. Allah has not revealed any authority for those. Wisdom lies only with Allah. He commanded that you don’t enslave yourselves to anyone but He. That is the upright religion. Most people however, do not know.”
يَـٰصَٮٰحِبَىِ ٱلسِّجۡنِ أَمَّآ أَحَدُكُمَا فَيَسۡقِى رَبَّهُ ۥ خَمۡرً۬اۖ وَأَمَّا ٱلۡأَخَرُ فَيُصۡلَبُ فَتَأۡڪُلُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ مِن رَّأۡسِهِۦۚ
قُضِىَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ ٱلَّذِى فِيهِ تَسۡتَفۡتِيَانِ
Ya sahibayi assijni amma ahadukuma fayasqee rabbahu khamran waamma al-akharu fayuslabu fata’kulu attayru min ra’sihi qudiya al-amru allathee feehi tastaftiyan
“My friends of prison, as for one of you, he will be serving his master wine. As for the other, he will be crucified and birds are going to be eating off of his head. It has been decided in the matter in which you were asking me.”
The first interpretation refers to the inmate being released from prison and serving wine to his master.
Yusuf’s (a.s) interpretation of the second dream suggests that the inmate was not pleased with this explanation but Yusuf (a.s) although apologetic, was not going to change his interpretation in order to please the man.
وَقَالَ لِلَّذِى ظَنَّ أَنَّهُ ۥ نَاجٍ مِّنۡهُمَا ٱذۡڪُرۡنِى عِندَ رَبِّكَ فَأَنسَٮٰهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ ذِڪۡرَ رَبِّهِۦ فَلَبِثَ فِى ٱلسِّجۡنِ بِضۡعَ سِنِينَ
Waqala lillathee thanna annahu najin minhuma othkurnee 3inda rabbika faansahu ashshaytanu thikra rabbihi falabitha fee assijni bid3a sineen
He said to the one who was convinced now that he was going to be rescued from the two of them. “Mention me when you go to your master.” Then shaytan made him forget the mention of his master. Then he remained in the prison a number of years.
The person that he will be working for will most probably be one of the politicians who imprisoned him and that is why Yusuf asks him to make mention of his name to his master.
فَأَنسَٮٰهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ ذِڪۡرَ رَبِّهِۦ -this can be interpreted in two ways:
Shaytan made him forget to mention Yusuf (a.s) to his master.
With Yusuf (a.s) correctly interpreting the man’s dream it should have made him realise that Yusuf (a.s) was being truthful in the delivery of his message regarding the belief in Allah (swt) but shaytan made him forget.
بِضۡعَ – less than ten
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ سَبۡعَ بَقَرَٲتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأۡڪُلُهُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٌ۬ وَسَبۡعَ سُنۢبُلَـٰتٍ خُضۡرٍ۬ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَـٰتٍ۬ۖ
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡمَلَأُ أَفۡتُونِى فِى رُءۡيَـٰىَ إِن كُنتُمۡ لِلرُّءۡيَا تَعۡبُرُونَ
Waqala almaliku innee ara sab3a baqaratin simanin ya’kuluhunna sab3un 3ijafun wasab3a sunbulatin khudrin waokhara yabisatin ya ayyuha almalao aftoonee fee ru’yaya inkuntum lirru’ya ta3buroon
The king said: I continue seeing seven fat cows and they are being eaten by seven skinny cows. And seven ears of grain that are green and the others dried up. Ministers, give me an interpretation of my dream if in fact you truly have expertise in interpreting dreams.
This is now the fourth dream
The dream Yusuf (a.s) at the beginning of this surah
The dream of the prisoner
The dream of the second prisoner
The dream the king is now having
عِجَافٌ۬ – someone who refuses to eat or stops eating before their appetite is filled.
أَفۡتُونِى – highlights the difficulty of the dream.
تَعۡبُرُونَ /A3bara/ ya3burun – dream interpretation.
Three words are used for dream interpretation in this surah:
قَالُوٓاْ أَضۡغَـٰثُ أَحۡلَـٰمٍ۬ۖ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِتَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحۡلَـٰمِ بِعَـٰلِمِينَ
Qaloo adghathu ahlamin wama nahnu bita’weeli al-ahlami bi3alimeen
They said, “Pointless dreams, we’re not knowledgeable in interpreting pointless dreams.”
أَضۡغَـٰثُ – baseless, no purpose
ٱلۡأَحۡلَـٰم – bad dreams or pointless dreams.
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِى نَجَا مِنۡہُمَا وَٱدَّكَرَ بَعۡدَ أُمَّةٍ أَنَا۟ أُنَبِّئُڪُم بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦ فَأَرۡسِلُونِ
Waqala allathee naja minhuma waddakara ba3da ommatin ana onabbi-okum bita’weelihi faarsiloon
And the one who rescued from among them after some time said, “I can bring you its interpretation. Then let me go.”
يُوسُفُ أَيُّہَا ٱلصِّدِّيقُ أَفۡتِنَا فِى سَبۡعِ بَقَرَٲتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأۡڪُلُهُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٌ۬ وَسَبۡعِ سُنۢبُلَـٰتٍ خُضۡرٍ۬ وَأُخَرَ
يَابِسَـٰتٍ لَّعَلِّىٓ أَرۡجِعُ إِلَى ٱلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ
Yoosufu ayyuha assiddeequ aftina fee sab3i baqaratin simanin ya’kuluhunna sab3un 3ijafun wasab3i sunbulatin khudrin waokhara yabisatin la3allee arji3u ila annasi la3allahum ya3lamoon
“Yusuf, friend, could you help us in seven cows that are fat being eaten by seven skinny cows. And seven green ears of corn and the others are dry. Hopefully I can take what you say and go back to the people so they can come to know.”
أَفۡتِنَا not aftini is used here.
Aftini – help me.
أَفۡتِنَا – help us. In other words the nation needs your help
قَالَ تَزۡرَعُونَ سَبۡعَ سِنِينَ دَأَبً۬ا فَمَا حَصَدتُّمۡ فَذَرُوهُ فِى سُنۢبُلِهِۦۤ إِلَّا قَلِيلاً۬ مِّمَّا تَأۡكُلُونَ
Qala tazra3oona sab3a sineena daaban fama hasadtum fatharoohu fee sunbulihi illa qaleelan mimma ta’kuloon
He said, “You are going to cultivate seven years straight very well and whatever you harvest then leave it inside its ear except the little that you are going to eat.”
ثُمَّ يَأۡتِى مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٲلِكَ سَبۡعٌ شِدَادٌ۬ يَأۡكُلۡنَ مَا قَدَّمۡتُمۡ لَهُنَّ إِلَّا قَلِيلاً۬ مِّمَّا تُحۡصِنُونَ
Thumma ya’tee min ba3di thalika sab3un shidadun ya’kulna ma qaddamtum lahunna illa qaleelan mimma tuhsinoon
“Then seven tough years are going to come at you. They will consume whatever you have stored except the little that you are going to keep secure.”
تُحۡصِنُونَ /Ihsaan – to keep secure
ثُمَّ يَأۡتِى مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٲلِكَ عَامٌ۬ فِيهِ يُغَاثُ ٱلنَّاسُ وَفِيهِ يَعۡصِرُونَ
Thumma ya’tee min ba3di thalika 3amun feehi yughathu annasu wafeehi ya3siroon
“Then a year will come after that in it people are going to be drenched in rain and in it they will squeeze (fruit to make juice.)”
يُغَاثُ /Ghaith – abundant rain
The dream interpretation resulted in explaining the events of the next fifteen years.
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱئۡتُونِى بِهِۦۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُ ٱلرَّسُولُ قَالَ ٱرۡجِعۡ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَسۡـَٔلۡهُ مَا بَالُ ٱلنِّسۡوَةِ ٱلَّـٰتِى قَطَّعۡنَ
أَيۡدِيَہُنَّۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى بِكَيۡدِهِنَّ عَلِيمٌ۬
Waqala almaliku I’toonee bihi falamma jaahu arrasoolu qala irji3 ila rabbika fas’alhu ma balu anniswati allatee qatta3na aydiyahunna inna rabbee bikaydihinna 3aleem
And the King said, “Bring him to me.” When the [king’s] messenger came to him he said, “Go back to your master and ask him what was the whole affair regarding those women who cut their hands. My master is very well aware of their plot.”
إِنَّ رَبِّى بِكَيۡدِهِنَّ عَلِيمٌ۬ – Two interpretations here:
My Master (Allah swt) is aware of their plot
The minister is aware of the events that occurred pertaining to Yusuf’s imprisonment.
Yusuf (a.s) refuses to walk out of prison until he has been absolved of any wrongdoing.
قَالَ مَا خَطۡبُكُنَّ إِذۡ رَٲوَدتُّنَّ يُوسُفَ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦۚ قُلۡنَ حَـٰشَ لِلَّهِ مَا عَلِمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ مِن سُوٓءٍ۬ۚ قَالَتِ ٱمۡرَأَتُ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ
ٱلۡـَٔـٰنَ حَصۡحَصَ ٱلۡحَقُّ أَنَا۟ رَٲوَدتُّهُ ۥ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
Qala ma khatbukunna ith rawadtunna yusufa 3an nafsihi qulna hasha lillahi ma 3alimna 3alayhi min soo-in qalati imraatu al3azeezi al-ana hashasa alhaqqu ana rawadtuhu 3an nafsihi wa-innahu lamina assadiqeen
He [the King] said, “So what is your affair when you tried to seduce Yusuf and get him to slip off his character.” They said, “Oh my Lord! We don’t know of any evil that came from him.” The Minister’s wife said, “The truth has finally surfaced. I tried to get him to slip off of his character and he in fact is from the truthful.”
The Minister’s wife has been exposed and she has no other option but to tell the truth as Yusuf (a.s) has been exonerated by the other women.
حَصۡحَصَ – to climb up to the top, to surface
ذَٲلِكَ لِيَعۡلَمَ أَنِّى لَمۡ أَخُنۡهُ بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَہۡدِى كَيۡدَ ٱلۡخَآٮِٕنِينَ
Thalika liya3lama annee lam akhunhu bilghaybi waanna Allaha la yahdee kayda alkha-ineen
“Could you let him know that I did not cheat on him in the unseen and know that Allah does not guide the plot of those who cheat.”
وَمَآ أُبَرِّئُ نَفۡسِىٓۚ إِنَّ ٱلنَّفۡسَ لَأَمَّارَةُۢ بِٱلسُّوٓءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّىٓۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
Wama obarri-o nafsee inna annafsa laammaratun bissoo-i illa ma rahima rabbee inna rabbee ghafoorun raheem
I don’t absolve myself of guilt. My nafs keeps compelling me to do evil. Except whatever mercy my Master would show. Certainly my Master is Extremely Forgiving and Always Merciful.”
If it was not for the mercy of Allah (swt) she would continue to commit acts of evil.
In this ayah the minister’s wife has a spiritual re-awakening. However, we are uncertain as to whether this speech of hers is sincere.
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱئۡتُونِى بِهِۦۤ أَسۡتَخۡلِصۡهُ لِنَفۡسِىۖ فَلَمَّا كَلَّمَهُ ۥ قَالَ إِنَّكَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ لَدَيۡنَا مَكِينٌ أَمِينٌ۬
Waqala almaliku I’toonee bihi astakhlishu linafsee falamma kallamahu qala innaka alyawma ladayna makeenun ameen
The king said, “Bring him to me. I will try to keep him purely to myself.” And when he engaged him in conversation he said, “And from today on you will be especially in our company with us. You will have a permanent and secure position here.”
The king sees that Yusuf (a.s) is not only truthful but also willing to help (interprets his dream). In the king’s eyes he is special and he therefore, decides to keep him as an advisor for himself.
لَدَيۡنَا مَكِينٌ أَمِينٌ۬ – Yusuf (a.s) has enemies among the politicians so the King provides him with both job security and physical safety.
ٱجۡعَلۡنِى عَلَىٰ خَزَآٮِٕنِ ٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ إِنِّى حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ۬
Qala ij3alnee 3ala khaza-ini al-ardi innee hafeethun 3aleem
“Put me in charge of the treasures of the land. I will watch over the trust [and] I have the knowledge.”
Yusuf (a.s) is incredible. When he knows that he has a stable position and he is in a position to speak, he realises that his dream requires a lot of fiscal responsibility. It’s already clear that a number of ministers are corrupt. He knows that this dream – though interpreted correctly will not be executed correctly because the first kind of corruption is fiscal corruption. People will die of starvation if Yusuf (a.s) does not step forward and take control. This is not the time to be humble. Yusuf (a.s) declines the offer of the King’s personal secretary and instead asks the King for the position of treasurer.
This ayah is a beautiful transition from the beginnings of Yusuf (a.s). Yusuf (a.s) is now a different person. Previously, he was a shy boy in the company of his father but now he has confidence and realises that this is not the time to be humble because the nation needs him otherwise they will die of starvation.
Lesson – balance between humility and confidence. Too much humility becomes complacency and too much confidence becomes arrogance.
وَكَذَٲلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَتَبَوَّأُ مِنۡہَا حَيۡثُ يَشَآءُۚ نُصِيبُ بِرَحۡمَتِنَا مَن نَّشَآءُۖ وَلَا نُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
Wakathalika makanna liyusufa fee al-ardi yatabawwao minha haythu yashao nuseebu birahmatina man nashao wala nudee3u ajra almuhsineen
We settled down for the sake of Yusuf in the land. We target with our mercy whoever We want. And We do not waste the compensation of those who excel.
يَتَبَوَّأُ – to search for a property
This is important because up until this point in timeYusuf (a.s) never had a choice in choosing where he lived.
His first home was the well
نُصِيبُ /Asaba/ yuseebu/ isaba – comes from calamity.
Al-museeba – usually referred to as calamity but it can also be a mercy
Asaba – when you target somebody
وَلَا نُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ – This is an interesting observation. Yusuf (a.s) informs the King that he is the right person for the job. You would think that he is highlighting himself. Even in that context Allah (swt) refers to him as a مُحۡسِن. A مُحۡسِن is one who is aware of the presence of Allah (swt). It is his awareness of Allah’s presence that compels him to tell the king that he needs to be in charge. Allah (swt) will ask him of the ability he was given and that he did not execute. It is his taqwa and humility to Allah (swt) that makes him confident and not arrogant.
وَلَأَجۡرُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ
Walaajru al-akhirati khayrun lillatheena amanoo wakanoo yattaqoon
The compensation of the afterlife is better for the people who truly believe and are God conscious.
This section resolves the latest problem which was the imprisonment of Yusuf (a.s) Yusuf is absolved of any wrongdoing and is released and has now been put in charge of land.
Yusuf (a.s) is reunited with his brothers.
Context – Egypt has experienced seven good years of prosperity and they area now enduring seven years of famine. The only produce they have is what the ministry has saved in its vault. Those who live in nearby towns are entering the city to sell whatever little they may have for subsidised goods. They too are experiencing hardship as a result of the drought and are seeking produce so they may survive the year.
For every individual that arrives, they are given the load of one camel. The brothers of Yusuf (a.s) are also suffering from the famine and have travelled to Egypt to sell their goods in order to get some produce. However, their father did not trust them to travel with their younger brother Benjamin and as a result they are short one camel’s load worth of goods. When the brothers arrive, they ask whether they can take a camel load on behalf of their brother and this is the background for how the following conversation ensues.
وَجَآءَ إِخۡوَةُ يُوسُفَ فَدَخَلُواْ عَلَيۡهِ فَعَرَفَهُمۡ وَهُمۡ لَهُ ۥ مُنكِرُونَ
Wajaa ikhwatu yusufa fadakhaloo 3alayhi fa3arafahum wahum lahu munkiroon
Then the brothers of Yusuf came and they entered upon him. Then he recognised them but they did not recognise him at all.
مُنكِرُونَ /Munkar – to not recognise something.
Reasons for this:
He has grown (his brothers were already adults and therefore their physical transformation would not have been great. However, Yusuf was only a child when they left him in the well.
Personality has changed. Originally he was shy and meek and now he is a confident ruler.
وَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُم بِجَهَازِهِمۡ قَالَ ٱئۡتُونِى بِأَخٍ لَّكُم مِّنۡ أَبِيكُمۡۚ أَلَا تَرَوۡنَ أَنِّىٓ أُوفِى ٱلۡكَيۡلَ وَأَنَا۟ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡمُنزِلِينَ
Walamma jahhazahum bijahazihim qala I’toonee bi-akhin lakum min abeekum ala tarawna annee oofee alkayla waana khayru almunzileen
When he had loaded them up with more than their fill, he said, “Bring your brother from your father. Don’t you see that I fulfil the weight. And I am the best gift-giver that you will find.”
جَهَّزَ – to load up the camels with goods that can be consumed.
نزل – Introductory gift
مُنزِل – Not just the one who sends down gifts but the one who gives gifts.
فَإِن لَّمۡ تَأۡتُونِى بِهِۦ فَلَا كَيۡلَ لَكُمۡ عِندِى وَلَا تَقۡرَبُونِ
Fa-in lam ta’toonee bihi fala kayla lakum 3indee wala taqraboon
“If you do not bring him to me, you will get nothing from me and don’t ever come near me.”
فَإِن لَّمۡ تَأۡتُونِى بِهِۦ If the brothers do not bring Benjamin with them the following year, Yusuf (a.s) claims that they have lies to him. In reality, Yusuf (a.s) really wants to see Benjamin but he also has a good cover-up for them to come.
وَلَا تَقۡرَبُونِ – You are banned from this land.
قَالُواْ سَنُرَٲوِدُ عَنۡهُ أَبَاهُ وَإِنَّا لَفَـٰعِلُونَ
Qaloo sanurawidu 3anhu abahu wa-inna lafa3iloon
They said, “We will try to make our dad slip away from him and we promise we will do this.”
وَقَالَ لِفِتۡيَـٰنِهِ ٱجۡعَلُواْ بِضَـٰعَتَہُمۡ فِى رِحَالِهِمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَعۡرِفُونَہَآ إِذَا ٱنقَلَبُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ
Waqala lifityanihi ij3aloo bida3atahum fee rihalihim la3allahum ya3rifoonaha itha inqalaboo ila ahlihim la3allahum yarji3oon
And he said to his young slave, “Take their products and sneak them back into their bags so that they recognise it when they go back to their families. So hopefully they will return.”
رِحَالِهِمۡ /Rihal – bags loaded for the rihla
Rihla – a journey
What does this all mean?
Gesture of good will
What they brought was so little that Yusuf (a.s) was smart enough to know that they won’t have anything to bring back next year. He therefore returns their products so they have goods which they can exchange for produce the following year. If they had something significant to give, he would not have returned their things back because there would be hope that they could bring more.
فَلَمَّا رَجَعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِيهِمۡ قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا مُنِعَ مِنَّا ٱلۡكَيۡلُ فَأَرۡسِلۡ مَعَنَآ أَخَانَا نَڪۡتَلۡ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ
Falamma raja3oo ila abeehim qaloo ya abana muni3a minna alkaylu faarsil ma3ana akhana naktal wa-inna lahu lahafithoon
When they returned to their father, they said, “Father, [next year’s] weight was forbidden on us so send our brother with us so we will receive the goods in full. And we will guard him really well.”
نَڪۡتَلۡ – Iktala/yaktalu/iktiyal – full weight (madjzoum)
Kala – to give weight
Iktala – to receive weight
قَالَ هَلۡ ءَامَنُكُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ إِلَّا ڪَمَآ أَمِنتُكُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَخِيهِ مِن قَبۡلُۖ فَٱللَّهُ خَيۡرٌ حَـٰفِظً۬اۖ وَهُوَ أَرۡحَمُ ٱلرَّٲحِمِينَ
Qala hal amanukum 3alayhi illa kama amintukum 3ala akheehi min qablu fallahu khayrun hafithan wahuwa arhamu arrahimeen
He said, “Am I going to trust you with him just as I trusted you with his brother from much before. Allah is the best of guardians and He is Extremely Merciful.”
The nature of Ya3qub (a.s) is that when he loses his temper, he immediately turns back to Allah (swt).
وَلَمَّا فَتَحُواْ مَتَـٰعَهُمۡ وَجَدُواْ بِضَـٰعَتَهُمۡ رُدَّتۡ إِلَيۡہِمۡۖ قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا مَا نَبۡغِىۖ هَـٰذِهِۦ بِضَـٰعَتُنَا رُدَّتۡ إِلَيۡنَاۖ وَنَمِيرُ أَهۡلَنَا
وَنَحۡفَظُ أَخَانَا وَنَزۡدَادُ كَيۡلَ بَعِيرٍ۬ۖ ذَٲلِكَ ڪَيۡلٌ۬ يَسِيرٌ۬
Walamma fatahoo mata3ahum wajadoo bida3atahum ruddat ilayhim qaloo yaabana ma nabghee hathihi bida3atuna ruddat ilayna wanameeru ahlana wanahfathu akhana wanazdadu kayla ba3eerin thalika kaylun yaseer
And when they opened their bags, they found all their goods. They had been returned to them. They said. “Father, what more could we ask for? This is all of our goods being returned back to us. We will feed our family and we will guard our brother. And we are going to be increased in the weight of an entire camel. That is an easy weight.”
نَمِيرُ – Mara/yameeru/mayran – to feed your family.
When you say نَمِيرُ, you don’t have to say أَهۡلَنَا because the maf3ul bihi is understood – the verb only comes from feeding your family. They added أَهۡلَنَا because they know that their father does not trust them. They do this in an attempt to convince their father that they are doing this for the sake of the family.
قَالَ لَنۡ أُرۡسِلَهُ ۥ مَعَڪُمۡ حَتَّىٰ تُؤۡتُونِ مَوۡثِقً۬ا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ لَتَأۡتُنَّنِى بِهِۦۤ إِلَّآ أَن يُحَاطَ بِكُمۡۖ فَلَمَّآ ءَاتَوۡهُ مَوۡثِقَهُمۡ قَالَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ
Qala lan orsilahu ma3akum hatta tu’tooni mawthiqan mina Allahi lata’tunnanee bihi illaan yuhata bikum falamma atawhu mawthiqahum qala Allahu 3ala ma naqoolu wakeel
He said, “I will not send him with you until you give me the strongest possible bond with Allah [as a witness]. That you will definitely bring him back to me except if you are surrounded.” Then when they gave him their strongest covenant. He said, “Allah is over whatever we have said today, he is the disposer of it.
إِلَّآ أَن يُحَاطَ بِكُمۡۖ – Ya3coub mentions this because people are facing economic hardship and therefore there is a greater risk of looting and robbery. He is worried that they may be robbed along the way.
مَوۡثِق (from the mubalagh form of mithac) it is stronger than mithac – Both parties agree and understand the seriousness of the agreement.
وَقَالَ يَـٰبَنِىَّ لَا تَدۡخُلُواْ مِنۢ بَابٍ وَٲحِدٍ وَٱدۡخُلُواْ مِنۡ أَبۡوَٲبٍ مُّتَفَرِّقَةٍۖ وَمَآ أُغۡنِى عَنكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍۖ
إِنِ ٱلۡحُكۡمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِۖ عَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡتُۖ وَعَلَيۡهِ فَلۡيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلۡمُتَوَڪِّلُونَ
Waqala ya baniyya latadkhuloo min babin wahidin wadkhuloo minabwabin mutafarriqatin wama oghnee 3ankum mina Allahi min shay-in ini alhukmu illa lillahi 3alayhi tawakkaltu wa3alayhi falyatawakkali almutawakkiloon
And he said, “My sons, don’t enter the city from one door, and enter from different, multiple doors that are apart from each other. And I am not able to free you of the need for security from Allah in any way. The final verdict belongs with no-one but Allah. Upon him alone I have placed my trust. Then anyone that is going to place their trust, they should put their trust in Allah.”
Although Ya3coub is still angry with them about the events that occurred with Yusuf (a.s) he is also worried about their safety. This demonstrates his love towards his children.
لَا تَدۡخُلُواْ مِنۢ بَابٍ وَٲحِدٍ
There are two explanations for this:
People will see that they are one group and may try to rob them. It is safer for them to separate as they won’t catch the eyes of criminals.
People may give them the evil eye – family of ten children
However, the former is more probable
Mukhtalifa – different
مُّتَفَرِّقَةٍۖ – apart from each other.
دَخَلُواْ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ أَمَرَهُمۡ أَبُوهُم مَّا ڪَانَ يُغۡنِى عَنۡهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ إِلَّا حَاجَةً۬ فِى نَفۡسِ يَعۡقُوبَ قَضَٮٰهَاۚ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ
لَذُو عِلۡمٍ۬ لِّمَا عَلَّمۡنَـٰهُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
Walamma dakhaloo min haythu amarahum aboohum ma kana yughnee 3anhum mina Allahi min shay-in illa hajatan fee nafsi ya3qooba qadaha wa-innahu lathoo 3ilmin lima 3allamnahu walakinna akthara annasi la ya3lamoon
Then when they entered from where their father had commanded them, they weren’t going to benefit from that in any way. Except this was a need in the heart of Ya3qoub so he executed it. He was a great possessor of knowledge from what we have taught him. However, most people do not know.
مَّا ڪَانَ يُغۡنِى عَنۡهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ
In other words, if Allah (swt) had planned something for them, entering from different doors would not have made a difference.
Allah (swt) does not say that this was just an empty need that Ya3coub (a.s) felt – he was a possessor of knowledge. In other words he had basis for the advice he gave his sons. Allah (a.s) is validating his concerns in that they should take extra precautions but that will still not be a substitute for trusting in Allah (swt).
وَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ ءَاوَىٰٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَخَاهُۖ قَالَ إِنِّىٓ أَنَا۟ أَخُوكَ فَلَا تَبۡتَٮِٕسۡ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ
Walamma dakhaloo 3ala yusufa awa ilayhi akhahu qala innee ana akhooka fala tabta-is bima kanoo ya3maloon
And when they came upon Yusuf, he pulled his brother towards himself to give him refuge. “It’s really me, your brother. Do not grieve over the things they have been doing.”
ءَاوَىٰٓ – to give someone refuge from danger
Yusuf (a.s) feels the urge to protect his younger brother so that no harm befalls him as it did him previously.
فَلَا تَبۡتَٮِٕسۡ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَعۡمَلُونَ
This indicates that Yusuf’s brothers have been harming Benjamin too. He therefore tries to calm him down and let him know that he will be taken care of.
فَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُم بِجَهَازِهِمۡ جَعَلَ ٱلسِّقَايَةَ فِى رَحۡلِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ أَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ أَيَّتُهَا ٱلۡعِيرُ إِنَّكُمۡ لَسَـٰرِقُونَ
Falamma jahhazahum bijahazihim ja3ala assiqayata fee rahli akheehi thumma aththana mu-aththinun ayyatuha al3eeru innakum lasariqoon
And when he loaded them with their goods he put the cup in his brother’s bag. Then the announcer called out, “All of you who are travelling with that caravan there, you people are thieves.”
ٱلسِّقَايَةَ (comes from saqi/yasqa) – to give water.
An expensive drinking vessel that belongs to the elite – like a goblet. A cup that is held by its owner and filled by someone else.
قَالُواْ وَأَقۡبَلُواْ عَلَيۡهِم مَّاذَا تَفۡقِدُونَ
Qaloo waaqbaloo 3alayhim matha tafqidoon
They said, while they turned back against them, “What are you missing?”
قَالُواْ نَفۡقِدُ صُوَاعَ ٱلۡمَلِكِ وَلِمَن جَآءَ بِهِۦ حِمۡلُ بَعِيرٍ وَأَنَا۟ بِهِۦ زَعِيمٌ
Qaloo nafqidu suwa3 aalmaliki waliman jaa bihi himlu ba3eerin waana bihi za3eem
They said, “We are missing the king’s cup and whoever comes forward with it will be the load of an extra camel. I am completely confident [that you will get your camel load.]”
The cup is no longer referred to as ٱلسِّقَايَةَ.
ٱلسِّقَايَةَ is held amongst the elite but is still a general term.
We now know that Yusuf (a.s) has taken the King’s cup. This is referred to asصُوَاعَ ٱلۡمَلِكِ.
صُوَاعَ is either made of silver or gold.
وَأَنَا۟ بِهِۦ زَعِيم – This also means that the announcer is completely confident that the thief is one of the brothers.
قَالُواْ تَٱللَّهِ لَقَدۡ عَلِمۡتُم مَّا جِئۡنَا لِنُفۡسِدَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَمَا كُنَّا سَـٰرِقِينَ
Qaloo tallahi laqad 3alimtum ma ji’na linufsida fee al-ardi wama kunna sariqeen
They said, “We swear by Allah, you people already know we did not come here to cause mischief in the land. And we are not thieves.”
When we swear by Allah – we use wallahi
When you are in shock you use تَٱللَّهِ
قَالُواْ فَمَا جَزَٲٓؤُهُ ۥۤ إِن كُنتُمۡ ڪَـٰذِبِينَ
Qaloo fama jazaohu inkuntum kathibeen
They said, “What should be your retribution if in fact you are found to be liars.”
قَالُواْ جَزَٲٓؤُهُ ۥ مَن وُجِدَ فِى رَحۡلِهِۦ فَهُوَ جَزَٲٓؤُهُ ۥۚ كَذَٲلِكَ نَجۡزِى ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ
Qaloo jazaohu man wujida fee rahlihi fahuwa jazaohu kathalika najzee aththalimeen
They said, “The compensation will be in whoever’s bag it is found he will be the compensation. That is how we deal with the wrongdoers.”
It is said that in the shariah that was given to Ya3qub (the teachings given to Ya3qub) if you steal and you are caught stealing you become the servant of the one you stole from. In other words you become the compensation.
فَبَدَأَ بِأَوۡعِيَتِهِمۡ قَبۡلَ وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَخۡرَجَهَا مِن وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِۚ كَذَٲلِكَ كِدۡنَا لِيُوسُفَۖ مَا كَانَ لِيَأۡخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِى دِينِ
ٱلۡمَلِكِ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُۚ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجَـٰتٍ مَّن نَّشَآءُۗ وَفَوۡقَ ڪُلِّ ذِى عِلۡمٍ عَلِيمٌ
Fabadaa bi-aw3iyatihim qabla wi3a-iakheehi thumma istakhrajaha min wi3a-i akheehi kathalika kidna liyoosufa ma kana liya’khutha akhahu fee deeni almaliki illa an yashaa Allahu narfa3u darajatin man nashao wafawqa kulli thee 3ilmin 3aaleem
So he started with their bags before opening his own brother’s bag. He searched through his brother’s bag. We planned that out for Yusuf. He could not have taken his brother under the King’s constitution except if Allah wanted. We raise the ranks of who we want and above everyone who possesses knowledge there is someone who is All-knowledgable.
عِيَتِهِمۡ /Aw3iya comes from wi3a’ – it is the plural of وِعَآءِ. When you pack a bag and tie it at the top that is called وِعَآءِ. That is the ancient travel bag.
ٱۡخۡرَجَ – take out/pull out – immediate
ٱسۡتَخۡرَجَ – to look around/to rummage – takes time
People may think that stealing the cup and putting it in his brother’s bag is wrong. However, Allah (swt) says that He planned it out – it was not Yusuf’s idea – it was Allah’s plan and He did this by revelation.
This is similar to what happened with Ibrahim (a.s). When Ibrahim destroyed the idols and blamed the big idol, it was Allah who taught him to do that.
دِينِ – Constitution
Yusuf did not serve the religion of the king however, he did serve the King’s constitution. From this we can interpret that our deen is not just a religion, it is also a constitution. It is possible that there may be a distinction between religion and constitution because on the one hand Yusuf follows the religion of Islam and on the other he is following the deen of the King. Individually he is a Muslim but collectively he is under the deen of the King.
نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجَـٰتٍ – When a false accusation is made, it is usually humiliating. Yusuf (a.s) already has experience with false accusations and it was humiliating for him too. Now his brother has been falsely accused but Allah (swt) says the same situation will produce different results. Even if you believe it to be humiliating, Allah (swt) can raise the ranks of whoever He wants.
وَفَوۡقَ ڪُلِّ ذِى عِلۡمٍ عَلِيم
As knowledgeable as Yusuf (a.s) is Allah (swt) revealed to him a plan that he could not have thought out himself. Though he is the most knowledgeable in the land, Yusuf (a.s) should know that there is always one who is more knowledgeable. This is a beautiful axiom in the Quran.
قَالُوٓاْ إِن يَسۡرِقۡ فَقَدۡ سَرَقَ أَخٌ۬ لَّهُ ۥ مِن قَبۡلُۚ فَأَسَرَّهَا يُوسُفُ فِى نَفۡسِهِۦ
وَلَمۡ يُبۡدِهَا لَهُمۡۚ قَالَ أَنتُمۡ شَرٌّ۬ مَّڪَانً۬اۖ وَٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَا تَصِفُونَ
Qaloo in yasriq faqad saraqa akhun lahu min qablu faasarraha yusufu fee nafsihi walam yubdiha lahum qala antum sharrun makanan wallahua 3lamu bima tasifoon
They said, “If he stole, a brother that he had, he stole too.” Yusuf hid it inside himself and he didn’t show it to them. And he said to himself, “You are worse from where you stand. And Allah knows best the kinds of descriptions you make.”
فَقَدۡ سَرَقَ أَخٌ۬ لَّهُ ۥ مِن قَبۡلُۚ
Akhoohu saraqa – Akhoohu becomes ma3rifa – proper – but they don’t want to acknowledge Yusuf (a.s) that way. They keep him nakira in order to distance themselves from him.
There is a narration that his babysitter made the accusation that Yusuf (a.s) stole so that she could keep him because she loved him so much and that when she passed away he was taken in by Ya3qub (a.s).
Yusuf (a.s) holds back all the anger and rage that is brewing inside of him and does not confront them regarding their accusations.
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡعَزِيزُ إِنَّ لَهُ ۥۤ أَبً۬ا شَيۡخً۬ا كَبِيرً۬ا فَخُذۡ أَحَدَنَا مَڪَانَهُ ۥۤۖ إِنَّا نَرَٮٰكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
Qaloo ya ayyuha al3azeezu inna lahu aban shaykhan kabeeran fakhuth ahadana makanahu inna naraka mina almuhsineen
They said, “Minister, Sir, He has a really old father, just take one of us in his place. We see you as someone who does many favours.”
شَيۡخً۬ا – old (It becomes mubalagha by adding كَبِيرً۬ا)
قَالَ مَعَاذَ ٱللَّهِ أَن نَّأۡخُذَ إِلَّا مَن وَجَدۡنَا مَتَـٰعَنَا عِندَهُ ۥۤ إِنَّآ إِذً۬ا لَّظَـٰلِمُونَ
Qala ma3atha Allahi anna’khutha illa man wajadna mata3ana 3indahu inna ithan lathalimoon
He said, “God forbid we would take anyone except the one we found the goods with. If we did that, we would be wrongdoers.”
فَلَمَّا ٱسۡتَيۡـَٔسُواْ مِنۡهُ خَلَصُواْ نَجِيًّ۬اۖ قَالَ ڪَبِيرُهُمۡ أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ أَبَاكُمۡ قَدۡ أَخَذَ عَلَيۡكُم مَّوۡثِقً۬ا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمِن قَبۡلُ
مَا فَرَّطتُمۡ فِى يُوسُفَۖ فَلَنۡ أَبۡرَحَ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡذَنَ لِىٓ أَبِىٓ أَوۡ يَحۡكُمَ ٱللَّهُ لِىۖ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡحَـٰكِمِينَ
Falamma istay-asoo minhu khalasoo najiyyan qala kabeeruhum alam ta3lamoo anna abakum qad akhatha 3alaykum mawthiqan mina Allahi wamin qablu ma farrattum fee yusufa falan abrahaal-arda hatta ya’thana lee abee aw yahkuma Allahu lee wahuwa khayru alhakimeen
Then when they almost lost hope, they moved away from the crowd and began a private counsel. Then the elder one said, “Did you not realise that our father has already taken a contract with Allah as a witness before us. And how can you forget what you have done in the matter of Yusuf. Haven’t we fallen short of our father’s expectations. Then I will not move forward in this land until my father gives me permission and Allah gives a verdict in my case. And Allah is the best of rulers.
خَلَصُواْ /Khalas/ikhlas – to be pure
In this context it refers to being pure of other people’s company. They withdrew themselves from the crowd and found a private meeting area.
وَمِن قَبۡلُ مَا فَرَّطتُمۡ فِى يُوسُفَۖ
The eldest brother removes himself from their plot through the word فَرَّطتُمۡ. By using the pronoun ‘you’ and not ‘we’ he portions the blame solely on his brothers. In other words, he is saying that his brothers wanted to kill him while he attempted to save him.
Afrata – When you go beyond the appropriate limits
فَرَّط – When you fall short of expectation.
What they did with Yusuf was beyond limits – they transgressed against Yusuf. The expected word here is afrata. However, they are not thinking about their transgression from Yusuf’s perspective. They are analysing it from their father’s point of view. They disappointed their father’s expectations.
أَبۡرَحَ /Bariha/yabrahu – is from the af3al of constancy (like ma dama, ma bariha, man faka)
Bariha is the opposite of baraza which means to come out into the field
Bariha – to not step into the field
Ma bariha – not continue in the field. I will hold my ground.
In other words, he refuses to leave until his father forgives him himself. He convinced his father to let Yusuf (a.s) go out and he also convinced him to let Benjamin travel with him. He is therefore taking responsibility for his actions.
ٱرۡجِعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِيكُمۡ فَقُولُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّ ٱبۡنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَہِدۡنَآ إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَمَا ڪُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَـٰفِظِينَ
Irji3oo ila abeekum faqooloo yaabana inna ibnaka saraqa wama shahidna illa bima 3alimna wama kunna lilghaybi hafitheen
Go back to your father and tell him “Father, your son has stolen and we are not testifying to anything except that which we came to know. And we could not have been guardians of the unseen.”
يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّ ٱبۡنَكَ سَرَقَ
Jumla ismiya – إِنَّ (referring to Benjamin) Meaning you may not believe that he stole but trust us, your son is a thief.
وَمَا ڪُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَـٰفِظِينَ – The brothers are attempting to absolve themselves from any blame by telling their father that they promised they would guard him but that they had no way of knowing that he was going to steal.
If they were aware that someone from among their family was going to steal they would not have suggested such compensation.
وَسۡـَٔلِ ٱلۡقَرۡيَةَ ٱلَّتِى ڪُنَّا فِيہَا وَٱلۡعِيرَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَقۡبَلۡنَا فِيہَاۖ وَإِنَّا لَصَـٰدِقُونَ
Was-ali alqaryata allatee kunna feeha wal3eera allatee aqbalna feeha wa-inna lasadiqoon
“Ask the town that we were at or the caravan that we came in. We are telling the truth.”
When they left Sham it wasn’t only them on the caravan there were other people on that caravan from their neighborhood.
قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَكُمۡ أَنفُسُكُمۡ أَمۡرً۬اۖ فَصَبۡرٌ۬ جَمِيلٌۖ عَسَى ٱللَّهُ أَن يَأۡتِيَنِى بِهِمۡ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَڪِيمُ
Qala bal sawwalat lakum anfusukum amran fasabrun jameelun 3asa Allahu anya’tiyanee bihim jamee3an innahu huwa al3aleemu alhakeem
He said, “You just made this easy on your conscious. I shall find beauty in patience. Maybe there is hope that Allah will bring them back to me altogether. He is the All-Knowing, All Wise.
فَصَبۡرٌ۬ جَمِيلٌۖ – This is not even a sentence. He is so hurt by the fact that he has now lost two sons that he cannot even complete the sentence.
وَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنۡہُمۡ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَسَفَىٰ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَٱبۡيَضَّتۡ عَيۡنَاهُ مِنَ ٱلۡحُزۡنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
Watawalla 3anhum waqala yaasafa 3ala yusufa wabyaddat 3aynahu mina alhuzni fahuwa katheem
And he turned away from them. And he said, “Oh Yusuf.” And his eyes turned white from grief. And he was drowning in sorrow.
He has just been informed that his son Benjamin has been detained and that his older son has not returned however Ya3coub (a.s) is still upset over the loss of Yusuf (a.s).
أَسَفَىٰ – is used when you have anger and grief together over a situation that you have no control over and can’t change.
وَٱبۡيَضَّتۡ عَيۡنَاهُ – This is used as a figure of speech. It refers to Ya3coub losing his sight.
كَظِيمٌ comes from the word ‘katham’
Katham is the nasal passage
In this context – Feelings of anger, frustration and grief has consumed him so much that it has made its way to his nostrils. He is drowning in grief and anger.
Katheem also means to swallow/ to take in. He has so many horrible emotions bottled up inside that it has finally taken a toll on his body and caused him to lose his eyesight.
قَالُواْ تَٱللَّهِ تَفۡتَؤُاْ تَذۡڪُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّىٰ تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوۡ تَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡهَـٰلِكِينَ
Qaloo tallahi taftao tathkuru yusufa hatta takoona haradan aw takoona mina alhalikeen
They said, “We swear to God! You are going to keep remembering Yusuf until you become fatally sick or you will die.
When they saw the state he was in they were shocked because it has been years since Yusuf (a.s) disappeared.
تَفۡتَؤُاْ is very rarely used (means to continue – the common word more frequently used is ma zala)
It is used here because all the words mentioned in this ayah are rare (تَفۡتَؤُاْ, حَرَضًا, ٱلۡهَـٰلِكِينَ . The usage of rare words signifies their shock. Everything about this situation is strange so all the words used in this ayah are strange.
حَرَضًا – to be so sick that you are close to death.
قَالَ إِنَّمَآ أَشۡكُواْ بَثِّى وَحُزۡنِىٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَأَعۡلَمُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
Qala innama ashkoo baththee wahuznee ila Allahi waa3lamu mina Allahi ma la ta3lamoon
He said, “I am complaining about my prolonged grief and my sadness to Allah. And I know from Allah what you do not know.”
بَثِّى is a prolonged sorrow – a grief that eats away inside you
حُزۡنِىٓ is a relatively new sadness compared to بَث
بَثِّى is used to refer to his prolonged grief regarding Yusuf (a.s) while حُزۡن is used for Benjamin and the eldest brother.
يَـٰبَنِىَّ ٱذۡهَبُواْ فَتَحَسَّسُواْ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَاْيۡـَٔسُواْ مِن رَّوۡحِ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يَاْيۡـَٔسُ مِن
رَّوۡحِ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرُونَ
Ya baniyya ithhaboo fatahassasoo min yusufa waakheehi wala tay-asoo min rawhi Allahi innahu la yay-asu min rawhi Allahi illa alqawmu alkafiroon
“My sons, go look for Yusuf and his brother and don’t lose hope from Allah’s mercy. No-one despairs in Allah’s mercy except the disbelieving nation.”
فَتَحَسَّسُواْ – to be on the lookout. To keep a careful eye out for someone.
When the brothers first approached their father regarding the false announcement of Yusuf’s (a.s) death, Ya3coub (a.s) knew they were lying but he did not request them to go out and ‘تَحَسَّسُواْ مِن يُوسُفَ’. However, their father now notices that they have guilt in them. Before there was no guilt so there was no point in talking to them at that time. Now that they are demonstrating some guilt over their actions he has the ability to ask them to do some good and to search for their brother.
رَّوۡحِ – One of the words for mercy in the Quran. It is a mercy that calms you down by taking away your grief and sadness.
Words related to رَّوۡحِ is reeh – a cool breeze
دَخَلُواْ عَلَيۡهِ قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡعَزِيزُ مَسَّنَا وَأَهۡلَنَا ٱلضُّرُّ وَجِئۡنَا بِبِضَـٰعَةٍ مُّزۡجَٮٰةٍ فَأَوۡفِ
لَنَا ٱلۡكَيۡلَ وَتَصَدَّقۡ عَلَيۡنَآۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡزِى ٱلۡمُتَصَدِّقِينَ
Falamma dakhaloo 3alayhi qaloo ya ayyuha al3azeezu massana waahlana addurru waji’na bibida3atin muzjatin faawfi lana alkayla watasaddaq 3alayna inna Allaha yajzee almutasaddiqeen
And when they entered upon him, they said, “Minister, Sir, us and our families have been afflicted with pain. And we have come with insignificant goods. Can you still fill our weight and give us some charity? Verily Allah compensates those who give charity.”
مُّزۡجَٮٰةٍ – goods that have no use/insignificant.
قَالَ هَلۡ عَلِمۡتُم مَّا فَعَلۡتُم بِيُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ إِذۡ أَنتُمۡ جَـٰهِلُونَ
Qala hal 3alimtum ma fa3altum biyusufa waakheehi ith antum jahiloon
He said, “Have you come to know what you did with Yusuf and his brother when you were all so ignorant.”
We know what they did with Yusuf but what did they do to his brother?
Unspoken things that have only been captured in a hint that Allah (swt) knows what they have been doing.
قَالُوٓاْ أَءِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ يُوسُفُۖ قَالَ أَنَا۟ يُوسُفُ وَهَـٰذَآ أَخِىۖ قَدۡ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ
عَلَيۡنَآۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ مَن يَتَّقِ وَيَصۡبِرۡ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
Qaloo a-innaka laanta yusufa qala ana yusufu wahatha akhee qad manna Allahu 3alayna innahu man yattaqi wayasbir fa-inna Allaha la yudee3u ajra almuhsineen
They said, “Are you indeed Yusuf?” He said, “I am Yusuf and this is my brother. Allah has favoured upon us. No doubt whoever protects themselves and can remain patient, then certainly Allah does not waste the compensation of those who excel.”
The moment Yusuf (a.s) is in a position of power he mentions Allah (swt) first.
فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
This is repeated throughout the surah because Allah (swt) wants us to know that dealing with calamity patiently will lead to ihsan.
قَالُواْ تَٱللَّهِ لَقَدۡ ءَاثَرَكَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡنَا وَإِن ڪُنَّا لَخَـٰطِـِٔينَ
Qaloo tallahi laqad atharakaAllahu AAalayna wa-in kunna lakhati-een
They said, “Swear by Allah! Allah has given you preference over us. And certainly we have made some serious errors.”
وَإِن – short for inna
قَالَ لَا تَثۡرِيبَ عَلَيۡكُمُ ٱلۡيَوۡمَۖ يَغۡفِرُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمۡۖ وَهُوَ أَرۡحَمُ ٱلرَّٲحِمِينَ
Qala la tathreeba 3alaykumu alyawma yaghfiru Allahu lakum wahuwa arhamu arrahimeen
He said, “There is no harm that will come upon you today. May Allah forgive you and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
تَثۡرِيبَ /Tharaba/yutharibu/ tathriban – to scold somebody who has done something wrong.
ٱذۡهَبُواْ بِقَمِيصِى هَـٰذَا فَأَلۡقُوهُ عَلَىٰ وَجۡهِ أَبِى
يَأۡتِ بَصِيرً۬ا وَأۡتُونِى بِأَهۡلِڪُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ
Ithhaboo biqameesee hatha faalqoohu 3ala wajhi abee ya’ti baseeran wa’toonee bi-ahlikum ajma3een
“Take this shirt of mine and throw it upon the face of my father. He will come viewing. And bring your families.”
يَأۡتِ بَصِيرً۬ا – This has two interpretations
He will regain his sight
As he comes to Yusuf (a.s) he will have the joy of seeing him.
وَلَمَّا فَصَلَتِ ٱلۡعِيرُ قَالَ أَبُوهُمۡ إِنِّى لَأَجِدُ رِيحَ يُوسُفَۖ لَوۡلَآ أَن تُفَنِّدُونِ
Walamma fasalati al3eeru qala aboohum innee laajidu reeha yusufa lawla an tufannidoon
And when the caravan parted, their father said, “I can sense Yusuf in the wind even if you are going to call me senile and insane.”
One of the most beautiful ayat in this surah
فَصَلَتِ means to part
When the journey begins (فَصَلَت) you would think that the ayah would say – as the caravan approached Sham Ya3coub sensed something about Yusuf. However, it was as soon as the caravan left Egypt that Ya3coub’s heart felt something.
Previously the shirt that was given to his father was the shirt of lies. The shirt that is now on its way to him is the shirt of truth
تُفَنِّدُونِ – to make fun of someone because they are too old and what they say makes no sense.
قَالُواْ تَٱللَّهِ إِنَّكَ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلِكَ ٱلۡقَدِيمِ
Qaloo tallahi innaka lafee dalalika alqadeem
They said, “Swear by Allah! You are still in that old confused state.”
فَلَمَّآ أَن جَآءَ ٱلۡبَشِيرُ أَلۡقَٮٰهُ عَلَىٰ وَجۡهِهِۦ فَٱرۡتَدَّ بَصِيرً۬اۖ قَالَ أَلَمۡ أَقُل لَّڪُمۡ إِنِّىٓ أَعۡلَمُ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ
Falamma an jaa albasheeru alqahu 3ala wajhihi fartadda baseeran qala alam aqul lakum innee a3lamu mina Allahi ma la ta3lamoon
And when the giver of good news came, he threw it on his [father’s] face and he came back to seeing. He said, “Did I not tell you, I know from Allah for sure what you have no knowledge of.”
Contrast in this story:
The first time they came with the shirt they came crying but now they come with good news.
فَٱرۡتَدَّ /Irtada/irtida’a – to come back to what you were.
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا ٱسۡتَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَآ إِنَّا كُنَّا خَـٰطِـِٔينَ
Qaloo ya abana istaghfir lana thunoobana inna kunna khati-een
They said, “Father, ask [Allah] to forgive our wrongdoing certainly we made a lot of mistakes.”
قَالَ سَوۡفَ أَسۡتَغۡفِرُ لَكُمۡ رَبِّىٓۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
Qala sawfa astaghfiru lakum rabbeeinnahu huwa alghafooru arraheem
He said, Soon I will ask forgiveness from your master. He is ultimately the one who is extremely forgiving all merciful.
سَوۡفَ – not immediately/sometime in the future
فَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ ءَاوَىٰٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَبَوَيۡهِ وَقَالَ ٱدۡخُلُواْ مِصۡرَ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ءَامِنِينَ
Falamma dakhaloo 3ala yusufa awa ilayhi abawayhi waqala odkhuloo misra in shaa Allahu amineen
And when they entered upon Yusuf, he pulled his father towards him and he said, “Enter Egypt by the will of Allah in peace.”
وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيۡهِ عَلَى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ ۥ سُجَّدً۬اۖ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ هَـٰذَا تَأۡوِيلُ رُءۡيَـٰىَ مِن
قَبۡلُ قَدۡ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّى حَقًّ۬اۖ وَقَدۡ أَحۡسَنَ بِىٓ إِذۡ أَخۡرَجَنِى مِنَ ٱلسِّجۡنِ
وَجَآءَ بِكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡبَدۡوِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ أَن نَّزَغَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ بَيۡنِى وَبَيۡنَ
إِخۡوَتِىٓۚ إِنَّ رَبِّى لَطِيفٌ۬ لِّمَا يَشَآءُۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ
Warafa3a abawayhi 3ala al3arshi wakharroo lahu sujjadan waqala ya abati hatha ta’weelu ru’yaya min qablu qad ja3alaha rabbee haqqan waqad ahsana bee ith akhrajanee mina assijni wajaa bikum mina albadwi min ba3di an nazagha ashshaytanu baynee wabayna ikhwatee inna rabbee lateefun limayashao innahu huwa al3aleemu alhakeem
And he elevated his two parents on the throne and they all fell into prostration to him. And he said, “My beloved father, this is the interpretation of my dream from much before. Allah had made it true. Allah had done so much good to me when He got me out of prison. And He brought all of you from the Bedouin lands, even after shaytan had caused dissent between me and my brothers. No doubt, my Master is extremely subtle in whatever He wants. Certainly He is the All Knowledgeable, All Wise.
Sajda takreemiya – prostration made out of honour. At that time it was not yet prohibited.
At the beginning and the end of the surah father and son have the same conversation. It may be a lifetime later but it is still the same conversation – the dream.
He does not inform his father of all the hardships he has come upon because he understands that his father has grieved greatly.
لَطِيفٌ۬ – subtle
In other words Allah (swt) is very covert in his plan.
By Ayah 101 the story has come to a conclusion.
Some may ask why this surah is not solely dedicated to the story of Yusuf (a.s). One needs to understand that this surah is a means of answering the question of how the Jews came to be in Egypt. However, it was also sent down as a source of counsel to the Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam). The Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) was going through a difficult time. He had lost some key family members who were also a source of support for him. The Prophet (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) is on a mission to deliver the message but that does not mean he will be free of personal hardships.
Allah (swt) is counselling the Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam). He is helping him deal with his grief and also giving him good news of the victory that is coming.
Like Yusuf (a.s) the Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) will be given rule and he was also taught by Allah (swt). When victory arrives to a messenger it means his worldly task is finished. The only thing left in front of him is to meet Allah (swt). When Yusuf (a.s) says to Allah (swt) تَوَفَّنِى مُسۡلِمً۬ا (take me as a Muslim) – this exact sentiment is taught to the Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam). The only two things left before death are tasbeeh and seeking forgiveness.
When Yusuf (a.s) asks Allah (swt) to reunite him with the righteous, it is an indication that victory is coming to the Prophet (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam). Now that he has been given counsel, he must continue on with his mission.
رَبِّ قَدۡ ءَاتَيۡتَنِى مِنَ ٱلۡمُلۡكِ وَعَلَّمۡتَنِى مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِۚ فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَنتَ وَلِىِّۦ
فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأَخِرَةِۖ تَوَفَّنِى مُسۡلِمً۬ا وَأَلۡحِقۡنِى بِٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
Rabbi qad ataytanee mina almulki wa3allamtanee min ta’weeli al-ahadeethi fatira assamawati wal-ardi anta waliyyee fee addunya wal-akhirati tawaffanee musliman waalhiqnee bissaliheen
“My Master, you have granted me from the dominion and you taught me the interpretation of speech, the creator of the skies and the Earth. You are my protective friend in this world and the next. Give me death as one who has submitted before you and join me with the righteous.”
Yusuf (a.s) has just been reunited with his family but he does not credit any of that to himself. In a situation of great difficulty – he turned to Allah (swt) and he does the same in a situation of great joy.
وَأَلۡحِقۡنِى بِٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ – These words are so beautiful. Yusuf (a.s) says that you have just reunited me with my family, but more important than that is to be reunited with the righteous in the hereafter.
ذَٲلِكَ مِنۡ أَنۢبَآءِ ٱلۡغَيۡبِ نُوحِيهِ إِلَيۡكَۖ وَمَا كُنتَ لَدَيۡہِمۡ إِذۡ أَجۡمَعُوٓاْ أَمۡرَهُمۡ وَهُمۡ يَمۡكُرُونَ
Thalika min anba-i alghaybi nooheehi ilayka wama kunta ladayhim ith ajma3oo amrahum wahum yamkuroon
That is from the news of the unseen that we are revealing to you. You were not with them when they came to a consensus about their plan and while they were plotting.
These brothers thought they were harming Yusuf (a.s). However so much good arose from it – the legacy of a nation arises through their plan. It’s not just one family – it is Bani Israel and their history and the history of all their Prophets. This arises as a result of their initial plot against Yusuf (a.s). They did not know but Allah (swt) was planning something else.
وَمَآ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَوۡ حَرَصۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنِينَ
Wama aktharu annasi walaw harasta bimu’mineen
Most people, no matter how much you want it they will not believe.
Bi – mu’mineen – Mumineen with ba as za’idah
Walow harasat is isti’laf – it is presented in the middle
وَمَآ أَڪۡثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ – Allah did not even complete the sentence. Allah (swt) revealed the best of stories to mankind and even that will not cause them to believe.
وَمَا تَسۡـَٔلُهُمۡ عَلَيۡهِ مِنۡ أَجۡرٍۚ إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِڪۡرٌ۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
Wama tas-aluhum 3alayhi min ajrinin huwa illa thikrun lil3alameen
And you are not asking them for any form of compensation for this at all. It is nothing but a reminder for all people.
Allah (swt) counters their allegation – the way to undermine the character of any Messenger is to say they are after money. Even today the allegations against religions are that they are a means of manipulating people in to getting them to donate to religious causes.
وَڪَأَيِّن مِّنۡ ءَايَةٍ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَمُرُّونَ عَلَيۡہَا وَهُمۡ عَنۡہَا مُعۡرِضُونَ
Wakaayyin min ayatin fee assamawati wal-ardi yamurroona 3alayha wahum 3anhamu 3ridoon
How many miraculous signs in the skies and the Earth have they passed over? And even then they are still oblivious to them.
Bimuruna – to pass by
يَمُرُّونَ /Mara – to stumble over something
In other words these signs do not just pass them by they literally stumble over them but pay no heed to them.
وَمَا يُؤۡمِنُ أَڪۡثَرُهُم بِٱللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشۡرِكُونَ
Wama yu’minu aktharuhum billah iilla wahum mushrikoon
And most of them don’t even believe in Allah except that at the same time they are committing shirk.
Allah (swt) is saying that most people though they may believe in Allah (swt) they are committing shirk.
In this surah, Allah (swt) highlights the shirk of not trusting Allah – of losing hope in Allah and of relying on yourself.
أَن تَأۡتِيَہُمۡ غَـٰشِيَةٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَذَابِ ٱللَّهِ أَوۡ تَأۡتِيَہُمُ ٱلسَّاعَةُ بَغۡتَةً۬ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
Afaaminoo an ta’tiyahum ghashiyatun min 3athabi Allahi aw ta’tiyahumu assa3atu baghtatan wahum la yash3uroon
Have they felt safe that a covering punishment from Allah will arrive or the hour will come at them without warning while they won’t even realise what is happening.
قُلۡ هَـٰذِهِۦ سَبِيلِىٓ أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا۟ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِىۖ وَسُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أَنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ
Qul hathihi sabeelee ad3oo ila Allahi 3ala baseeratin ana wamani ittaba3anee wasubhana Allahi wama ana mina almushrikeen
Tell them, “This is my path. I call to Allah with clear insight – I and whoever follows me. How perfect is Allah! And I am not from those who associate others [with Allah].”
This is one of the most beautiful ayat in the Quran in which the Prophet (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) declares the Message with such confidence to the rest of humanity.
بَصِيرَةٍ – very powerful word. I call to this religion with eyes open – when you ask for evidences I furnish them when you ask for. When you ask for intellectual proofs I provide them to you – this is not a blind faith. It is based on clear proof and clear evidence.
Our religion is unique in that we ask believers to have clear insight into the religion. In other words they must have both spiritual and intellectual conviction in this faith. Islam is not purely a rational faith. It is also based on intuition and ilham. We are not Muslims solely based on proof and the evidence. It is the proofs and evidences combined with the ilham. Real faith is a result of real knowledge.
بَصِيرَ – play on words. Even though Ya3coub had become blind he had not lost his بَصِيرَ – his insight. He could see, though blind, things that no-one else could see – that Yusuf was alright.
Some scholars say that the word بَصِيرَةٍ say refers to the Prophet’s (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) journey of Isra’a and Mi3raj. During his journey the Messenger (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) was able to see Allah (swt). It also implies that he sees the angels coming and thought we are unaware of them it is not unseen to him. Thus when he calls people he does so through clear insight.
Others have stated that the word indicates that the proofs of this religion are so clear they can’t be missed.
وَمَآ أَنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ – Although in this ayah the Prophet (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) mentions himself and the believers he did not say “wa ma nahnu min al mushrikeen.” When it comes to the belief in the oneness of Allah, he stands alone as you can’t have collective faith in this statement. We can call people to Allah (swt) together but as for Iman and shirk, each person is responsible for themselves.
Lesson: Having a direct relation with Quran is extremely important as it brings you closer to Iman. It is a means of one renewing or refreshing one’s faith.
When the Prophet (salallahu 3alayhi wasalam) listens to this legacy of Yusuf (a.s). It becomes easy on him to deal with his problems. Allah (swt) makes him think of the Messenger Yusuf (a.s) as he is going through his struggles.
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالاً۬ نُّوحِىٓ إِلَيۡہِم مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓۗ أَفَلَمۡ يَسِيرُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
فَيَنظُرُواْ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِهِمۡۗ وَلَدَارُ ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ خَيۡرٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوۡاْۗ أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
Wama arsalna min qablika illa rijalan noohee ilayhim min ahli alqura afalam yaseeroo fee al-ardi fayanthuroo kayfa kana 3aqibatu allatheena min qablihim waladaru al-akhirati khayrun lillatheena ittaqaw afala ta3qiloon
We never sent before you except men who were from the people of the towns. Haven’t they gone around in the land? Didn’t they see the outcome of those who came much before them? And the home of the afterlife is better for those who are able to protect themselves. Why then do you not apply your intellect?
There is both a linguistic and sociological phenomenon in sending a Messenger who was from among the people.
Wama arsalna min rasulin illah bilisani qawmihi – we didn’t send a messenger except in the language of his people.
To be a Messenger you must not only be fluent in the language, but you need to have an understanding of the nation’s culture, their way of life, their history and their beliefs.
You must also understand the lingo of that society.
At the beginning of the surah Allah (swt) addresses the linguistic issue:
إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ قُرۡءَٲنًا عَرَبِيًّ۬ا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ
No doubt it is We who sent it down an Arabic recital so you understand
At the end of the surah Allah (swt) solves the social problem by stating:
وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالاً۬ نُّوحِىٓ إِلَيۡہِم مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓۗ
We never sent before you except men who were from the people of the towns.
In other words, the messenger is from among you so there is no reason for you to consider this an alien message.
أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ -You expect afala ya3qilun here but Allah (swt) says أَفَلَا تَعۡقِلُونَ
It is rare in Makkan Quran to find a passage where Allah (swt) addresses the disbelievers directly.
حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا ٱسۡتَيۡـَٔسَ ٱلرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوٓاْ أَنَّہُمۡ قَدۡ ڪُذِبُواْ جَآءَهُمۡ نَصۡرُنَا فَنُجِّىَ
مَن نَّشَآءُۖ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأۡسُنَا عَنِ ٱلۡقَوۡمِ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ
Hatta itha istay-asa arrusulu wathannoo annahum qad kuthiboo jaahum nasruna fanujjiya man nashao wala yuraddu ba’suna 3ani alqawmi almujrimeen
Until the point where the Messengers almost lost all hope and they were completely convinced that they had been lied against. Then our aid came and we rescue who we want. And our war is not going to be turned away from the criminal nation.
نَصۡر – A form of aid against an enemy
Allah (swt) does not just say war – He said our war “بَأۡسُنَا”. This will be an attack that only Allah (swt) can wage in.
لَقَدۡ كَانَ فِى قَصَصِہِمۡ عِبۡرَةٌ۬ لِّأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثً۬ا يُفۡتَرَىٰ وَلَـٰڪِن تَصۡدِيقَ
ٱلَّذِى بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ وَتَفۡصِيلَ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ وَهُدً۬ى وَرَحۡمَةً۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ يُؤۡمِنُونَ
Laqad kana fee qasasihim 3ibratun li-olee al-albabi ma kana hadeethan yuftara walakin tasdeeqa allathee bayna yadayhi watafseela kulli shay-in wahudan warahmatan liqawmin yu’minoon
No doubt in their narratives there is a lesson for the purest of minds. It is not a speech that has been made up. However it is a confirmation of what was in front of him and it is an explanation of all things. And it has come as a guidance and a mercy for a nation that seeks to believe.
لَقَدۡ كَانَ فِى قَصَصِہِمۡ – Refers to the narratives of all the Prophets that came previously. It also refers to the story of Yusuf and his family.
عِبۡرَةٌ۬ – A lesson that moves you to tears.
لِّأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ – Allah (swt) narrates to us the best possible story. The only people who will appreciate the lessons and the warnings of the stories in the Quran are those who are looking for guidance. For those who do not have pure minds they will refer to them as the stories of old.
تَصۡدِيقَ ٱلَّذِى بَيۡنَ يَدَيۡهِ – Revers to previous revelation.
وَتَفۡصِيلَ ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ – This does not mean that Allah (swt) has explained every imaginable scientific, literary or historical concept in the Quran. It is specifically referring to all knowledge that confirms this is a revelation from Allah (swt).
Literary Qualities of Surah Yusuf
Note: Literary qualities of Surah Yusuf– wonderful paper written on this in English by Professor Mustansir Mir
How the narration of the Surah is divided:
Yusuf’s (a.s) dream
Brothers plot against Yusuf (a.s)
Attempted seduction by the Minister’s wife
Attempt by the Egyptian women to encourage Yusuf (a.s) to fall into sin
Thrown into prison
The King’s dream
These are all unsolved issues. Each issue is resolved in the next half of the surah in reverse order of when they appeared.
The King’s dream is interpreted
Yusuf (a.s) is released from prison
The Egyptian women testify
The Minister’s wife confesses to her crime
Yusuf’s (a.s) brothers are brought to justice
Yusuf’s (a.s) dream is interpreted
Comparisons and contrasts:
Dark parallels – Yusuf (a.s) ends up in a dark place twice.
Yusuf (a.s) ends up in the well as a result of hate
He comes out as a slave
He ends up in prison as a result of love
He leaves prison as a ruler
Lesson: Although the situation may be similar the outcome belongs to Allah (swt).
Good and Evil intent
The brothers leave home and come back without Yusuf (a.s)
The intention was to harm Yusuf (a.s) and return home without him.
The brothers huddle together to plan how they can bring harm to Yusuf (a.s). Their rationale for this is that their father will love them more.
Years later they travel with their brother Benjamin and come home without him.
They had the intention to bring their brother back but by the will of Allah (swt) they were unable to do so.
The brothers huddle together in a bid to save their lives. Their rationale for this is how are we going to get our father not to hate us. How are we going to face our father? This is done out of fear.
Sons love for their father
Scheming and planning is used
Yusuf’s (a.s) shirt is torn and is covered in fake blood
The shirt is the evidence that destroys the plot
The Minister’s wife’s love for Yusuf (a.s)
Scheming and planning is used
Yusuf’s (a.s) shirt is torn and his honour is attacked
Again the shirt is used as evidence to uncover the truth
The narration of the story moves at a rapid pace. (If you read the biblical version, you will find it has greater detail).
The listener is left guessing.
The moment the story begins we are unaware of who Yusuf (a.s) is. It begins withإِذۡ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ (Yusuf said to his dad).
We are provided with the conclusion at the beginning of the story and are left to interpret what this dream means. The father could interpret the dream as he is aware that this may be problematic if Yusuf’s brothers find out. But the story does not allow for this.
All of these techniques are modern mechanisms used in story-telling.
The use of foreshadowing
Dream – Yusuf (a.s) is told not to convey his dream to his brothers – hint trouble is coming.
Ya3coub (a.s) fears that if they take Yusuf out he may be attacked by a wolf. When the brothers return home, they use the same reason.
When they leave Yusuf in the well the brothers assume that he may be picked up by a caravan. Again this event is foreshadowed and is played out in the narrative.
One of the dominant themes in this surah is that of Allah’s (swt) names
His name is not used anywhere else in this manner in the Quran as it is used in Surah Yusuf
وَٱللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡرِهِۦ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
Allah is dominant (in complete control) over his affair however most people have no knowledge.
Ghalib / غَالِبٌ– one who overshadows you and is dominant over you.
When an individual is Ghalib they are usually not invisible – they are present every time something is happening.
We don’t see Allah (swt) intervening in our affairs. We don’t see it because there is another attribute of Allah that is a means through which His Ghalaba is manifest.
إِنَّ رَبِّى لَطِيفٌ۬ لِّمَا يَشَآءُۚ