Surah Yusuf

 

Revealed in Mecca
Number of Ayahs: 111

Themes:

  1. The subtle dynamics of love on the stage of human history, how it conquers jealousy, passion and pride.
  2. Dialectic between the Qalb (the heart), the Nafs (the Self) and Aql (the mind) in the shadows of enticements from Iblis and the ultimate triumph of Divine love.
  3. Triumph of the Qalb (the heart) over the Nafs (the Self).
  4. Allah’s compassion, mercy, forgiveness, guidance and love for humankind.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Bismi Allāhi Ar-Raĥmāni Ar-Raĥeem
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
The root word for both al Rahman and al Rahim is R-H-M (ra-ha-meem). It connotes compassion, caring, benevolence, mercy, love. The word “raham” also means the womb, alluding to life in a mother’s womb that is surrounded in multiple layers of protection and is sustained physically and spiritually by divine Grace.

Al Rahman and al Rahim are both singular, masculine, genitive (possessive) adjectives and they are among the most frequently used Asma’ ul Husna, the Most Beautiful Names of Allah of which 99 are mentioned in the Qur’an.

 


الر تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ
‘Alif-Lām-Rā Tilka ‘Āyātul Kitābil Mubeen
Alif Lam Raa
These are the Signs
From a Book illuminated.
Alif-Lam-Ra. These are Divine Letters whose meaning is shrouded in mystery.

The Qur’an is a book illuminated by Divine Grace, offering guidance to humankind. It is a Book of Signs from which the layman as well as the most sophisticated person can learn wisdom and draw closer to Divine presence. The Letters Alif-Lam-Ra are symbolic and ecstatic sounds from worlds beyond and must therefore be enjoyed as they are.

 

إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
‘Innā ‘Anzalnāhu Qur’ānāan `Arabīyāan La`allakum Ta`qiloon
Behold! We have revealed to you
The Qur’an in Arabic
So that you may understand.
The message of the Qur’an transcends time and space. It is a book for all times and for all people.The wisdom of its revelation in the Arabic language can be understood at multiple levels. When it was first revealed, it enabled the people of Mecca and Madina, who were compatriots of the Prophet, to understand it with immediacy.

However, the Qur’an is not just a book for the people of Arabia or for those who lived at the time of the Prophet. The transmission of wisdoms that appeal to men and women of all times requires a symbolic language. Arabic is such a language. Its rich vocabulary, syntax, subtle nuances, rhythm, dynamics and grammar lend themselves to an expression of the most sublime thoughts and emotions. Every word of Qur’anic Arabic is an ocean into which one can dive and find pearls of wisdom, no matter where and when one lives.

The Qur’an must be read and listened to in Arabic to appreciate its beauty, power, rhythm and its power to captivate and move the hearts of men and women. For those who do not know Arabic, there are plenty of resources available in today’s digital world. They include recitations by eminent Qura’ (reciters), transliterations in different scripts and translations in all the major languages of the world. A non-Arabic speaking person can partake of greater baraka (blessing) by slowing down, pausing on each word of the Qur’an, savoring its taste and its beauty, contemplating its inner and outer meaning and basking in its light.

 


نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ
Naĥnu Naquşşu `Alayka ‘Aĥsana Al-Qaşaşi Bimā ‘Awĥaynā ‘Ilayka Hādhā Al-Qur’āna Wa ‘In Kunta Min Qablihi Lamina Al-Ghāfileen
We will narrate to you
The most beautiful of narrations,
In what We have revealed to you
Of this Qur’an.
And indeed, you were not aware of it hitherto.
Key words: Qasasa; Ahsana
According to Mohiuddin ibn al Arabi (d 1240), Qasasa in Arabic means qassa ‘l-athar, “to go after the trace”. The narration in Surah Yusuf (pbuh) is not merely “a story”. It is a trace of a historical event with a deep moral message. Ahsana derives from the root word “ha-sa-na”. It means good, kind, upright, noble, excellent, righteous, that which comes from the presence of Allah. The hadith of the Prophet (sas) narrates that Ehsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him (and of a certainty you cannot see Him), to know that He sees you.The Ayah may therefore be interpreted as follows: We follow in the best way the traces (of Yusuf, peace be upon him) narrated for you in the Qur’an as it was never done before.
Ibn Khaldun (d 1402), the father of historiography, wrote in his Moqaddama (Introduction to History): “Know that the subject of history is a noble science that can be very beneficial if it gives us a proper understanding of the character of previous generations and the histories of the Prophets…”
Surah Yusuf (pbuh) is a historical trace of the life of a Prophet which provides deep insights into the subtle ways that Divine love operates in human affairs and transforms individuals and societies. Every human life is a trace on the canvas of history. The life of a Prophet is like a meteor; it leaves a trail for all to see and learn from.

 


إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ
‘Idh Qāla Yūsufu Li’abīhi Yā ‘Abati ‘Innī Ra’aytu ‘Aĥada `Ashara Kawkabāan Wa Ash-Shamsa Wa Al-Qamara Ra’aytuhum Lī Sājideen
When Yusuf (pbuh) (Joseph) said to his father:
“O my father! I do indeed see (in my dreams)
Eleven stars, and the sun and the moon.
I saw them prostrate (humble themselves) before me.”
Key words: “kaukab” (stars), “as Shams” (the sun), “as Qamar” (the moon), “sajideen” (humbled, prostate).

Yusuf (pbuh) relates to his father (Yaqub (Jacob), peace be upon him) that he has seen (in his vision or dreams) eleven stars, the sun and the moon humble themselves before him. Yaqub (pbuh)) was a Prophet. The sun, the heavenly body that is a means for light, warmth, comfort and sustenance of life on earth becomes a Sign for Jacob (pbuh), who is the father of Yusuf (pbuh) and the paternal authority in their family. The moon which reflects the light of the sun and provides comfort to the world with its balmy rays becomes a Sign for the wife of Jacob (pbuh), Yusuf’s step mother. The eleven stars which are dimmer in their light in the heavens become symbols for the eleven brothers of Yusuf (pbuh).

The vision of Yusuf (pbuh) connotes that his father, step mother and his brothers will one day humble themselves before him. This is a most unusual Sign in as much as it foretells that the parents are bowing down before their own son, a signal of extraordinary events to unfold.

 


قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ لَا تَقْصُصْ رُؤْيَاكَ عَلَى إِخْوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُوا لَكَ كَيْدًا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ
Qāla Yā Bunayya Lā Taqşuş Ru’uyā Ka `Alá ‘Ikhwatika Fayakīdū Laka ۖ Kaydāan ‘Inna Ash-Shayţāna Lil’insāni `Adūwun Mubeen
He said: “O my son!
Do not relate what you saw
To your brothers,
Lest they devise a plot against you.
Indeed, Satan is a declared enemy
To humankind.”
Yusuf (pbuh) was the eleventh child of Yaqub (pbuh). According to Ibn Kathir, “Jacob (Yaqub) had twelve sons who were the ancestors of the tribes of the Israelites. the most noble, the most exalted of them was Joseph (Yusuf).” Love elicits jealousy. Jacob is aware of the jealousy of Yusuf’s brothers. He warns Yusuf not to share his vision with his brothers as Shaitan, the avowed enemy of humankind, may incite them against him.Thus Shaitan makes his seductive entry into this powerful narrative as the declared adversary of all that is good and beautiful in humankind.

 


وَكَذَلِكَ يَجْتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِنْ تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى آلِ يَعْقُوبَ كَمَا أَتَمَّهَا عَلَى أَبَوَيْكَ مِنْ قَبْلُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Wa Kadhalika Yajtabīka Rabbuka Wa Yu`allimuka Min Ta’wīli Al-‘Aĥādīthi Wa Yutimmu Ni`matahu `Alayka Wa `Alá ‘Āli Ya`qūba Kamā ‘Atammahā `Alá ‘Abawayka Min Qablu ‘Ibrāhīma Wa ‘Isĥāqa ۚ ‘Inna Rabbaka `Alīmun Ĥakeem
“And in this manner,
Your Rabb will exalt you,
And bestow upon you knowledge of the inner meaning of narrations,
And complete His grace on you,
And on the house of Jacob (pbuh),
As He completed them
Upon your forefathers Abraham (pbuh) and Isaac.
Indeed, your Rabb is the Knower, the Wise!”
Key words: “ta’weel” (inner meaning, interpretation), “hadith” (narration, saying, event, happening), “al ’Aleem” (the Knower), “al Hakeem” (the Wise, attributes of Allah).

Jacob (pbuh), the Prophet, understands the import of Yusuf’s vision. He counsels his son that the Sustainer, Allah swt, will bestow upon him (something of) the ability to see the inner meaning of dreams, visions, sayings and events. Allah will exalt him through this knowledge and the family of Jacob (pbuh) as He exalted his forefathers Abraham (pbuh) and Ishaq and thus increase the honor of the house of Jacob (pbuh).

“Ta’weel” or the ability to interpret events is granted, in small measures and large, by Allah to whom He pleases. Scientists are granted the ability to observe and interpret nature. Historians interpret historical events. The Prophets are granted this ability at the highest level to comprehend and interpret the inner dimensions of what is seen and what is unseen. They see the Signs on the horizons and within the hearts of men and women. Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) was given the ability to see and interpret visions and dreams.

 


لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِلسَّائِلِينَ
Laqad Kāna Fī Yūsufa Wa ‘Ikhwatihi~ ‘Āyātun Lilssā’ileen
Behold! In (the narration of)
Joseph and his brothers,
There are Signs,
For those are seekers (of inner wisdom).
Key words: “Ayah” (Signs), “Sa’eleen” (seekers of Truth, seekers of inner knowledge and wisdom).

For the seekers of wisdom, there are Signs in the narratives about Yusuf (pbuh) and his brothers. Yusuf (pbuh) becomes a Sign for the heart, illuminated by Divine Grace, which shines like a brilliant star to dispel the darkness around him. His brothers become the archetypes for souls (Nafs) that are misguided by jealousy and are to be transformed under the gaze of the illuminated heart that is Yusuf (pbuh).

 


إِذْ قَالُوا لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَى أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ
‘Idh Qālū Layūsufu Wa ‘Akhūhu ‘Aĥabbu ‘Ilá ‘Abīnā Minnā Wa Naĥnu `Uşbatun ‘Inna ‘Abānā Lafī Đalālin Mubeen
When they said:
“Our father does indeed
Love Joseph and his brother
More than us,
Even though we are
Larger in number.
Indeed, our father
Is clearly wrong.”
Jealousy has clouded the perceptions of the brothers. They see that their father loves Yusuf (pbuh) more than the other brothers. This is unacceptable to them as each one of them craves for his father’s affection.

Jealousy opens the door for Iblis, who incites them that their father in wrong in showering his love on Yusuf (pbuh) over all the others.Yusuf (pbuh) is the hidden, illuminated heart. His gaze is on the Spirit and he receives his energy from the heavens. The brothers are like like the souls (Nafs) that are mired in the morass of the mundane world and are yet to be transformed under the gaze of the heart. Yaqub, the father, is in love with the heart that is aligned with the heavens as opposed to the Nafs that is weighed down by the gravity of the earth.

 


اقْتُلُوا يُوسُفَ أَوِ اطْرَحُوهُ أَرْضًا يَخْلُ لَكُمْ وَجْهُ أَبِيكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا مِنْ بَعْدِهِ قَوْمًا صَالِحِينَ
Aqtulū Yūsufa ‘Awi Aţraĥūhu ‘Arđāan Yakhlu Lakum Wajhu ‘Abīkum Wa Takūnū Min Ba`dihi Qawmāan Şāliĥīn
“Let us kill Joseph,
Or leave him behind in another land,
So that the attention of your father
Opens up to you;
And after it, you become righteous.”
Jealousy cannot tolerate love. The jealous brothers plot to kill Yusuf (pbuh) or banish him to another land assuming that once Yusuf (pbuh) is gone, their father’s love would turn to them. After disposing off Yusuf, they plan to mend their ways and become “righteous”. But how can be Nafs be a substitute for the heart?

 


قَالَ قَائِلٌ مِنْهُمْ لَا تَقْتُلُوا يُوسُفَ وَأَلْقُوهُ فِي غَيَابَةِ الْجُبِّ يَلْتَقِطْهُ بَعْضُ السَّيَّارَةِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ فَاعِلِينَ
Qāla Qā’ilun Minhum Lā Taqtulū Yūsufa Wa ‘Alqūhu Fī Ghayābati Al-Jubbi Yaltaqiţhu Ba`đu As-Sayyārati ‘In Kuntum Fā`ileen
One of them spoke up and said:
“Do not kill Joseph,
But if we must,
Drop him in a deep and dark well;
He will get picked up
By some travelers.”
Key Words: “Ghayabati Al-Jubbi”: dark well. Even in the thick of the darkness of night, there is some light from the depths of space. As the brothers plot, streaks of goodness filter in. One of the brothers opposes the killing of Yusuf (pbuh). Instead, he suggests that Yusuf be dropped in a deep, dark well in the desert from where he will get picked up by some travelers. With this schema they would have achieved their objective of getting rid of Yusuf (pbuh) without killing him.

Man plots but it is the Divine plan that succeeds. Overarching this plot is the subtle Divine will operating to transform the very jealous souls that are plotting to extinguish love.

The dark well in this Ayah becomes a metaphor for extrication and seclusion of Yusuf (pbuh) from the wickedness of the world so that he can be prepared for the mission of Prophethood.

 


قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأْمَنَّا عَلَى يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَنَاصِحُونَ
Qālū Yā ‘Abānā Mā Laka Lā Ta’mannā `Alá Yūsufa Wa ‘Innā Lahu Lanāşiĥoon
They said: “O our father!
What has happened to you
That you do not trust us
As regards Joseph,
When we are indeed his advisers (overseers)?”
Key words: “amanna” (faith, trust, peace); “nasihoon” (advisers, overseers).

Iblis goes to work and utters deceptive words through the brothers: “O our father! Why do you not trust us with Yusuf (pbuh)? We are his advisers for his safety and well being.”.

 


أَرْسِلْهُ مَعَنَا غَدًا يَرْتَعْ وَيَلْعَبْ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
‘Arsilhu Ma`anā Ghadāan Yarta` Wa Yal`ab Wa ‘Innā Lahu Laĥāfižoon
“Send him with us tomorrow,
(Let him) eat and play,
And assuredly,
We will be his protectors.”
Key words: “Hafiz” (protector)
“We will protect Yusuf (pbuh)”, the brothers continue. “We will watch him carefully as he eats and plays”.Iblis is projecting himself as the “hafiz” (protector) of Yusuf (pbuh). Thus does he work through human affairs. As long as human beings have been on earth, he has deceived them through his chicanery. Did he not mislead Adam and Eve telling them that he was their well wisher?

 


قَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحْزُنُنِي أَنْ تَذْهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَخَافُ أَنْ يَأْكُلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَأَنْتُمْ عَنْهُ غَافِلُونَ
Qāla ‘Innī Layaĥzununī ‘An Tadh/habū Bihi Wa ‘Akhāfu ‘An Ya’kulahu Adh-Dhi’bu Wa ‘Antum `Anhu Ghāfiloon
He said: “I feel sadness
That you will take him away,
And I am afraid
The wolf will eat him up
While you are unaware.”
Key words: “Adh-Dhi’bu” (the wolf); “Ghafil” (heedless, unaware).

Jacob (pbuh), the Prophet, sees through the seditious plots of Yousuf’s brothers. He is reluctant to let his beloved son go with the plotters. He expresses his reluctance saying that Yusuf (pbuh) may get devoured by the wolf when the brothers are unaware.

The presence of wolves is a constant danger in a desert. They attack stray animals and children. In this passage, the wolf is offered as a simile for harm. The brothers are projecting themselves are protectors of Yusuf (pbuh). But Jacob (pbuh) tells them that harm may come to his son when they are unaware and heedless, willingly or unwillingly.

The wolf is a subtle reference to Iblis in the Ayah. Just as the wolf devors the unaware in the desert, Shaitan devours the heedless with his wickedness.

Jacob knows that his sons are “ghafil” (heedless). Shaitan erects curtains of heedlessness between the hearts of men and women and their actions. He misguides them onto the wrong path and then walks away, leaving them exposed to the consequences of their misguided deeds.

 


قَالُوا لَئِنْ أَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَنَحْنُ عُصْبَةٌ إِنَّا إِذًا لَخَاسِرُونَ
Qālū La’in ‘Akalahu Adh-Dhi’bu Wa Naĥnu `Uşbatun ‘Innā ‘Idhāan Lakhāsiroon
They said: “If indeed
The wolf were to eat him up,
While we are such a large group,
We would assuredly
Have fallen short (of our responsibilities).”
Key words: “Khasara” (to fall short, to lose, to cheat)

The deception continues. “We are responsible”, the brothers tell the father, “and we are in a large group. Trust us. We will not fall short of our responsibility and defend him. We will not lose him”.

Iblis has set a trap for the brothers. They are already “losers” in as much as they are under the influence of Iblis but they realize it not.

 


فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَجْمَعُوا أَنْ يَجْعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَابَةِ الْجُبِّ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُمْ بِأَمْرِهِمْ هَذَا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
Falammā Dhahabū Bihi Wa ‘Ajma`ū ‘An Yaj`alūhu Fī Ghayābati Al-Jubbi ۚ Wa ‘Awĥaynā ‘Ilayhi Latunabbi’annahum Bi’amrihim Hādhā Wa Hum Lā Yash`uroon
So, they went away with him,
And (they agreed) together
To drop him in a deep well.
And I sent him (Joseph) the revelation:
“You will (one day) tell them
About this deed of theirs,
When they recognize you not.”
Key words: “Ghiyabti Al-Jubbi” (dark well);“Aw hayna Ilayhi” (sent upon him the Divine Words); “Amr” (energy in motion, deed).

The idea of a “dark well” or “a cave” is offered in the Qur’an in several Surahs. A dark well or a cave is a place of refuge, protected from the corruption and distractions of the world. The heart is like a cave into which one retreats to find solace in the presence of Allah. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) received his first revelation in the cave of Hira.

The “dark well” in Surah Yusuf (pbuh) is a point of departure in Surah Yusuf (pbuh). It marks the beginning of the Prophethood of Yusuf (pbuh).

The brothers drop him into a deep well in the desert. In the solitude of the well, away from the jealousy of his brothers, he is visited by the archangel Jibrael and receives a Wahi (Divine Message).

The verbal traditions of the Mashaiq attach a deeper meaning in this episode. When Yusuf (pbuh) was dropped in the well, his feet and body were bruised and hurt. When he was visited by Jibrael, the hurt disappeared and sakeena (tranquility) enveloped him. Jibrael asked him to raise his hands in prayer, “Rabbi, Qad Ataytani Min al Mulk…..” (O my Rabb! You have given me something of (the authority of) the Dominion. Yusuf (pbuh) said Ameen. Then, as the prayer was completed, it was Yusuf (pbuh) who was reciting the prayer and Jibrael was saying Ameen, meaning, Yusuf (pbuh) was elevated to the high station of Prophecy on the Third Heaven, the Heaven of Love.

Yusuf (pbuh) is foretold the events of the future. He is informed that one day he will tell his brothers how misdirected their energies were and how malicious were their deeds at a time and in a place where they would not recognize him.

 


وَجَاءُوا أَبَاهُمْ عِشَاءً يَبْكُونَ
Wa Jā’ū ‘Abāhum `Ishā’an Yabkoon
And they came to their father
In the darkness of night,
Wailing.
Key words: “isha” (nightfall).

“Isha” in this passage connotes the darkness of the physical night as well as the darkness in the hearts. The brothers broke their promise to their father and dropped Yusuf (pbuh) into a deep well. Their hearts were now enveloped in darkness.

They approach their father in darkness, feigning sorrow over the loss of their brother. They hide their faces in the darkness of the night but they cannot escape the darkness that shrouds their hearts.

 


قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا إِنَّا ذَهَبْنَا نَسْتَبِقُ وَتَرَكْنَا يُوسُفَ عِنْدَ مَتَاعِنَا فَأَكَلَهُ الذِّئْبُ وَمَا أَنْتَ بِمُؤْمِنٍ لَنَا وَلَوْ كُنَّا صَادِقِينَ
Qālū Yā ‘Abānā ‘Innā Dhahabnā Nastabiqu Wa Taraknā Yūsufa `Inda Matā`inā Fa’akalahu Adh-Dhi’bu ۖ Wa Mā ‘Anta Bimu’uminin Lanā Wa Law Kunnā Şādiqeen
They said: “O our father!
We did indeed race ahead
Leaving behind our belongings with Joseph,
So the wolf ate him up,
But you do not believe us,
When assuredly we are truthful.”
Key words: “Mu’umin” (one who believes with certainty); “Sadiqeen” (those who are truthful).

After committing their blameworthy deed, the brothers wrap themselves in a mantle of truthfulness. In dolorous voices, they relate to their father how they raced ahead leaving Yusuf (pbuh) behind to watch over their belongings and how the wolf devoured him.

The brothers are aware that their father does not believe them. So, they state the obvious: (“you do not believe us”) and confirm with their own words that their report is a farce.

 


وَجَاءُوا عَلَى قَمِيصِهِ بِدَمٍ كَذِبٍ قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنْفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَى مَا تَصِفُونَ
Wa Jā’ū `Alá Qamīşihi Bidamin Kadhibin ۚ Qāla Bal Sawwalat Lakum ‘Anfusukum ‘Amrāan ۖ Faşabrun Jamīlun Wa ۖ Allāhu Al-Musta`ānu `Alá Mā Taşifoon
And they brought his shirt
With fake blood on it.
He said: “No! Your (evil) egos have
Made this deed seem fair (honorable) for you.
So, (I shall adopt) patience with grace!
Lo! I beseech Allah for help,
About what you are saying.”
Key words: “Qamis” (shirt, an outer garment); “Sabrun Jameel” (Beautiful patience, patience with grace, patience with joy); “al-Musta’anu” (beseech for help). The brothers brought back the shirt of Yusuf (pbuh) soaked with fake blood purportedly as evidence of his being attacked by a wolf. But Jacob (pbuh) knows the “smell” of Yusuf (pbuh) and recognizes that the blood is not his. The “shirt” becomes a witness for the crime.

Even in his sorrow, Jacob (pbuh) is a loving father. He does not condemn his sons but advises them that Iblis has misguided their Nafs (selves) and has made them think that the wrong they have done is right.

At this point in the narrative, the love of Jacob (pbuh) ascends to a higher level. The object of his love, his son Yusuf (pbuh), the illuminated heart, is no longer in his sight. So his vision ascends to a higher plane, to the Source of all love, namely, Divine compassion. He declares: “Now, I will seek the help of Allah to give me patience with grace”.

The word “jameel” means beautiful and graceful. It also means “one who brings joy”. Jacob (pbuh), the Prophet, knows that these happenings are in accordance with a Divine plan. He asks for help from Allah to give him patience and accept this supreme test with joy.

 


وَجَاءَتْ سَيَّارَةٌ فَأَرْسَلُوا وَارِدَهُمْ فَأَدْلَى دَلْوَهُ قَالَ يَا بُشْرَى هَذَا غُلَامٌ وَأَسَرُّوهُ بِضَاعَةً وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ
Wa Jā’at Sayyāratun Fa’arsalū Wa Aridahum Fa’adlá Dalwahu ۖ Qāla Yā Bushrá Hādhā Ghulāmun ۚ Wa ‘Asarrūhu Biđā`atan Wa ۚ Allāhu `Alīmun Bimā Ya`maloon
There came a caravan.
They sent one to fetch water,
He lowered his pail,
And he cried out: “How wonderful!
Here is a (slave) boy!”
And they hid him as merchandise.
Lo! Allah was fully aware
Of what they were doing!
Key words: “Assaruhu” (They hid); “’Aleem” (The Knower”). A passing caravan discovered Yusuf (pbuh). “How wonderful!” cries the man who was sent to fetch the water, meaning, he was awed by the beauty of Yusuf, even the darkness of the deep well. The caravan hid Yusuf as merchandise (a slave) to be sold.

Allah is the Knower of what people hide. Nothing is hidden from the Omniscient. His sway extends over all Dominion. The events in this historical trace are in accordance with the knowledge and will of Allah.

 

وَشَرَوْهُ بِثَمَنٍ بَخْسٍ دَرَاهِمَ مَعْدُودَةٍ وَكَانُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الزَّاهِدِينَ
Wa Sharawhu Bithamanin Bakhsin Darāhima Ma`dūdatin Wa Kānū Fīhi Mina Az-Zāhideen
And they sold him for a paltry sum –
A few counted dirhams!
As they were getting tired of keeping him.
The caravan sells him for a few dirhams as he was becoming expensive to keep. A few dirhams for a Prophet! Allah has His ways of teaching humility to humankind!

 


وَقَالَ الَّذِي اشْتَرَاهُ مِنْ مِصْرَ لِامْرَأَتِهِ أَكْرِمِي مَثْوَاهُ عَسَى أَنْ يَنْفَعَنَا أَوْ نَتَّخِذَهُ وَلَدًا وَكَذَلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلِنُعَلِّمَهُ مِنْ تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَاللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَى أَمْرِهِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Wa Qāla Al-Ladhī Ashtarāhu Min Mişra Li’imra’atihi~ ‘Akrimī Mathwāhu `Asá ‘An Yanfa`anā ‘Aw Nattakhidhahu Waladāan ۚ Wa Kadhalika Makkannā Liyūsufa Fī Al-‘Arđi Wa Linu`allimahu Min Ta’wīli Al-‘Aĥādīthi Wa ۚ Allāhu Ghālibun `Alá ‘Amrihi Wa Lakinna ‘Akthara An-Nāsi Lā Ya`lamoon
And the Egyptian who bought him
Said to his wife: “Treat him with honor.
He may bring us profit,
Or we can adopt him as a son.”
Thus did We find Joseph
A home in the land,
So that We might teach him
The interpretation of dreams (the inner nature of events).
Indeed! Allah has authority over all affairs,
But most among humankind,
Know it not!
Key words: “Allāhu Ghālibun `Alá ‘Amrihi” (Allah has authority over all affairs). Yusuf (pbuh) is sold off to a nobleman in Egypt who instructs his wife to treat him with honor.

The light of Yusuf (pbuh)’s heart finds a place in an Egyptian household so that it may grow in intensity under Divine guidance. Yusuf (pbuh) is slated to be a Prophet who comprehends the inner meaning of visions and events.

At the surface level, the actors in this episode are the people of the caravan, the nobleman and his wife, and Yusuf (pbuh). The Director, the Prime Mover, is Divine Grace that is moving the events like a subterranean current pulling the surface layers. Allah is implementing His plans to teach the world lessons in the primacy of an illuminated heart and how it transforms the character of surrounding personalities.

 


وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ آتَيْنَاهُ حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا وَكَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Wa Lammā Balagha ‘Ashuddahu~ ‘Ātaynāhu Ĥukmāan Wa `Ilmāan ۚ Wa Kadhalika Najzī Al-Muĥsineen
And when he reached full maturity,
We gave him the wisdom and the knowledge.
Lo! This is how we reward those
Who excel (in their good deeds)!
Key words: “Hukma” (judgment), “Ilm”(knowledge”, “Muhsineen” (Those who are excellent in conduct). Yusuf (pbuh) grows up to full maturity in the household of the nobleman. His illuminated heart acquires greater intensity. He is given inner knowledge of the soul and outer knowledge of the affairs of the world. He learns the criterion and judgment about right and wrong.

This Ayah teaches something about the nature of knowledge. Knowledge is a gift from Allah. He gives it to whom He pleases. All men and women have a propensity to learn. It is something that we inherit with our genes from Adam and Eve. One becomes aware of this knowledge through experience, extension, intuition or infusion. Yusuf (pbuh), the Prophet, acquires his knowledge not through teachers but through infusion from the heavens. Divine guidance is his teacher.

 


. وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَنْ نَفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الْأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ
Wa Rāwadathu Allatī Huwa Fī Baytihā `An Nafsihi Wa Ghallaqati Al-‘Abwāba Wa Qālat Hayta Laka ۚ Qāla Ma`ādha Allāhi ۖ ‘Innahu Rabbī ‘Aĥsana Mathwāya ۖ ‘Innahu Lā Yufliĥu Až-Žālimoon
And the lady of the house,
Tried to seduce him
From his own soul.
She bolted all the doors,
And she said: “Come to me!”
He said: “I seek refuge with Allah,
Who is indeed my Rabb!
He has provided me an excellent abode.
Indeed, He does not bestow felicity on
Those who transgress.”
Key words: “Ghallaqati Al-Abwab” (closed the doors); “Ma’adha Allah” (I seek refuge in Allah); “Zalimoon” (Transgressors). Shaitan now makes his move. The lady of the house falls in love with the physical attributes of Yusuf (pbuh) and tries to seduce him. She locks up the doors and asks him to come to her. Yusuf (pbuh) seeks protection in Allah from the seduction of Shaitan.

Yusuf (pbuh) is a Sign for the Qalb (the heart). The lady of the house is a Sign for Naafs e Ammara, the basal self. Qalb in Arabic means that which turns. It has two facets. One is the direction of the Spirit, towards heavely love. The other is towards the deceptions of the world. The Nafs, represented by the lady of the house, tries to seduce the heart, demanding that i to turn towards her. It closes all the doors, meaning, it shuts off all sources sof light for the heart, hoping to trap the heart in her guile. The heart of Yusuf (pbuh) has seen the beauty of Divine presence that is far beyond the beauty of anything in this world. The love of the Divine triumphs over the love of the world.. The Qalb of Yusuf (pbuh) seeks protection in Allah and continues to gaze at the light that emanates from the Spirit.

 


وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلَا أَنْ رَأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاءَ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
Wa Laqad Hammat Bihi ۖ Wa Hamma Bihā Lawlā ‘An Ra’á Burhāna Rabbihi ۚ Kadhālika Linaşrifa `Anhu As-Sū’a Wa Al-Faĥshā’a ۚ ‘Innahu Min `Ibādinā Al-Mukhlaşeen
Lo! The woman was determined about it,
And he would also have been so inclined,
Had he not seen the guidance (the light) of His Rabb.
That is how We turned him away
From sin and lewdness.
He was indeed among Our sincere servants.
Key words: “Burhan” (evidence, witness, the presence). Faced with rejection, the Nafs does not give up. Shaitan is not to be frustrated that easily. The lady of the house is determined to seduce Yusuf (pbuh). In the face of such overbearing pressures, it is only the Grace of Allah that protects the heart. The Qalb of Yusuf (pbuh) has seen the heavenly Light. It is not to be distracted by the shadowy lights of this world. Its vision remains riveted towards that Light. It does not yield.

Shaitan is always on the prowl, looking for every opportunity to mislead the human and turn him away from Divine Light. It is the Grace of Allah that protects the human from the enticements of Shaitan.

Allah is Al Hadi and Al Noor. The Name of Allah provides the shield from the sharp lance of Shaitan. Divine guidance is the fortresses against the onsloguht of Iblis. That is the inner meaning of Taqwa (fortification and protection from spiritual harm),

Physically, the pristine state of the Qalb is aligned to the guidance of Allah and receives heavenly energies. Shaitan attempts to disorient this alignment so that the heart is confused and disoriented. The Qalb that was like a rope pulled up towards the heavens by divine love becomes like a stiff wire that is contorted and tied up in knots.

 

وَاسْتَبَقَا الْبَابَ وَقَدَّتْ قَمِيصَهُ مِنْ دُبُرٍ وَأَلْفَيَا سَيِّدَهَا لَدَى الْبَابِ قَالَتْ مَا جَزَاءُ مَنْ أَرَادَ بِأَهْلِكَ سُوءًا إِلَّا أَنْ يُسْجَنَ أَوْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Wa Astabaqā Al-Bāba Wa Qaddat Qamīşahu Min Duburin Wa ‘Alfayā Sayyidahā Ladá Al-Bābi ۚ Qālat Mā Jazā’u Man ‘Arāda Bi’ahlika Sū’āan ‘Illā ‘An Yusjana ‘Aw `Adhābun ‘Aleem
And both ran towards the door,
And she tore his shirt from behind.
They met her husband at the door.
She said: “What is the recompense
For one who had evil intentions
About your wife
Except imprisonment,
Or a painful chastisement?”
The lady chases Yusuf (pbuh) towards the door, grabbing his shirt and tearing it from behind. The door opens and they are accosted by the master of the house. Faced with embarrassment, the lady resorts to lies and accuses Yusuf (pbuh) of evil intentions towards her and demands appropriate punishment for this sin. The Ayah is replete with Signs. The Qalb runs to “the door” to escape the overtures of the Nafs. It is reaching out for the open space where there is light and fresh air. The Nafs does not let go of the Qalb. It attacks from behind, away from sight where the eyes cannot see it. It pursues its intended target with violent passion, clawing its nails from behind, tearing off the outer garments of the Qalb. Alerted by this struggle between the Qalb and the Nafs, the “master of the house”, namely the mind, opens the door. Confronted with its evil intentions, the Nafs fabricates a falsehood. It accuses the heart of evil intentions towards her and demands that it be imprisoned or severely chastised.

 

قَالَ هِيَ رَاوَدَتْنِي عَنْ نَفْسِي وَشَهِدَ شَاهِدٌ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِنْ قُبُلٍ فَصَدَقَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ

Qāla Hiya Rāwadatnī `An Nafsī ۚ Wa Shahida Shāhidun Min ‘Ahlihā ‘In Kāna Qamīşuhu Qudda Min Qubulin Faşadaqat Wa Huwa Mina Al-Kādhibeen
He said: “It was she who tried to seduce me
From my own soul (from my higher self).”
And one of her own household testified:
“If his shirt is torn from the front,
Then she is truthful and he is among the lying.”
Key word: “Shahid” (witness)
The Qalb speaks up in its own defense and says that it was the Nafs that was the seducer. The mind in its characteristic manner demands evidence. One of the cohorts of the Nafs becomes a witness before the mind and says what is rational: If the shirt was torn from the front, then she is truthful and he is lying.The “witness” in this case is a Sign for the conscience, that inner ability given by Allah to guard against evil. The conscience speaks up and offers the evidence.

 


وَإِنْ كَانَ قَمِيصُهُ قُدَّ مِنْ دُبُرٍ فَكَذَبَتْ وَهُوَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِين
Wa ‘In Kāna Qamīşuhu Qudda Min Duburin Fakadhabat Wa Huwa Mina Aş-Şādiqeen
“But if his shirt is torn from behind,
Then he is among the truthful.”
The witness testifies further: If the shirt is torn from behind, then she, the Nafs, is lying and he, the Qalb is truthful.Prophet Yusuf (pbuh), the lady of the house and her cohort, the witness, all become Signs in a grand schema to teach humankind the inner workings of the heart, the Nafs (the soul), the mind and the body.

 

فَلَمَّا رَأَى قَمِيصَهُ قُدَّ مِنْ دُبُرٍ قَالَ إِنَّهُ مِنْ كَيْدِكُنَّ إِنَّ كَيْدَكُنَّ عَظِيمٌ

Falammā Ra’á Qamīşahu Qudda Min Duburin Qāla ‘Innahu Min Kaydikunna ۖ ‘Inna Kaydikunna `Ažeem
When he saw his shirt torn from his back,
He said: “Indeed, this is a scheme of you women.
Enormous indeed are your schemes!”
Key words: “Kaydi” (schemes, plots). When the evidence is examined, it shows that the shirt is torn from the back. The mind comes to the rational conclusion that indeed it is a scheme of the Nafs.

The capacity of the Nafs for deviousness and scheming is emphasized here. There are no limits to how low a person falls when the Nafs is waylaid by Shaitan. “Laqad Khalaqnal Insana Fi Ahsani Taqweem. Thumma Radadnahu Asfala Safileen”(Behold! We created humankind into the most noble mold. Then, do We abase him to be the lowest of the low)

 

يُوسُفُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَذَا وَاسْتَغْفِرِي لِذَنْبِكِ إِنَّكِ كُنْتِ مِنَ الْخَاطِئِينَ

Yūsufu ‘A`riđ `An Hādhā ۚ Wa Astaghfirī Lidhanbiki ۖ ‘Innaki Kunti Mina Al-Khāţi’een
“O Joseph! Let this matter go.
And (O woman), ask forgiveness
For your wrong doing!
Indeed, you are among the wrong doers.”
Key words: ‘A’rid” (Excused); “Astaghfir” (repent, ask forgiveness from Allah). The words of the master of the house, are revealing. He assesses the situation correctly and based on empirical evidence comes up with the right decision. He asks the Qalb to excuse itself and let the matter go and he commands the Nafs to repent and seek forgiveness from Allah.

The transformation of the Nafs from Nafs e Ammara (the Self inclined towards evil) to Nafs e Lawwama (the questioning Nafs) begins with this episode. The Nafs tears out the shirt of Yusuf (pbuh) and beholds the beauty of the heart. It receives admonititon from the mind to repent and turn towards Divine Grace.

Divine love is worthy of pursuit. Passion for the love of the world is not. The Qalb, that sublime creation, is a container without boundaries. It is so vast that contains the Name of Allah. It is the reservoir of Divine love. The Nafs, when it is under the influence of Iblis, tries to contrict this love, block it and turn the Qalb towards the transitory pleasures of the world. Divine Grace intervenes and provides guidance to the illuminated heart so that it is protected from the schemes of Iblis and remains focused on the Light from the Spirit that comes from Allah.

 


وَقَالَ نِسْوَةٌ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ امْرَأَةُ الْعَزِيزِ تُرَاوِدُ فَتَاهَا عَنْ نَفْسِهِ قَدْ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّا إِنَّا لَنَرَاهَا فِي ضَلَالٍ مُبِينٍ
Wa Qāla Niswatun Fī Al-Madīnati Amra’atu Al-`Azīzi Turāwidu Fatāhā `An Nafsihi ۖ Qad Shaghafahā Ĥubbāan ۖ ‘Innā Lanarāhā Fī Đalālin Mubeen
And the women of the town said:
“The wife of the rich man is seducing her slave from his own soul.
Her love has captivated her;
And we see that she is in manifest error.”
The wife of the nobleman is slowly transformed after the event. Whereas she used to love Yousuf for his physical attraction, she now starts to love him for his noble attributes and the inner beauty of his heart. Her companions notice this transformation and are disturbed that she is getting away from her Nafs e Ammara. They gossip about it.The reference to the “women” of the town is an allusion to the attributes of Nafs such as gossip mongering. When the Nafs is not behaving in accordance with its instincts, the attributes of the Nafs whisper among themselves and plot to bring the Nafs back to its basal self (towards Nafs e Ammara).

This interpretation is consistent with the next few Ayahs. The traditional interpretation that the women of the town gossiped about the physical passion of the nobleman’s wife does not explain her slow but inexorable transformation. She has seen the true beauty of the Qalb and her vision has moved from the allurement of the world to the beauty of the heavens.

 

فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتْ بِمَكْرِهِنَّ أَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَعْتَدَتْ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَأً وَآتَتْ كُلَّ وَاحِدَةٍ مِنْهُنَّ سِكِّينًا وَقَالَتِ اخْرُجْ عَلَيْهِنَّ فَلَمَّا رَأَيْنَهُ أَكْبَرْنَهُ وَقَطَّعْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ وَقُلْنَ حَاشَ لِلَّهِ مَا هَذَا بَشَرًا إِنْ هَذَا إِلَّا مَلَكٌ كَرِيمٌ

Falammā Sami`at Bimakrihinna ‘Arsalat ‘Ilayhinna Wa ‘A`tadat Lahunna Muttaka’an Wa ‘Ātat Kulla Wāĥidatin Minhunna Sikkīnāan Wa Qālati Akhruj `Alayhinna ۖ Falammā Ra’aynahu~ ‘Akbarnahu Wa Qaţţa`na ‘Aydiyahunna Wa Qulna Ĥāsha Lillāh Mā Hādhā Basharāan ‘In Hādhā ‘Illā Malakun Kareem
When she heard of their intrigues,
She sent them invitations,
And arranged for them a party,
And gave each one of them a knife,
And said (to Joseph): “Come on out before them!”
Then when they saw him,
They were overcome by him (by his beauty),
And they cut their hands.
And they said: “We seek refuge in Allah
This is not a human,
He is not but a blessed angel!”
Key words: “sikkeena” (a knife); “Hasha Lillah” (We seek protection in Allah). The wife of the nobleman heard of the intrigues of the women of town. She wanted the women to witness the beauty of Yusuf (pbuh) and judge for themselves. She invited them to a banquet and gave them each a knife and ordered Yusuf (pbuh) to appear before them. Upon witnessing the radiant beauty of Yusuf (pbuh), the women lost their cool and cut their fingers, exclaiming, “we seek refuge in Allah. He is a blessed angel.”

The knife is used in the Ayat as an allegory for cutting. The cohorts of the Nafs are invited to dinner and are given the means to cut the food. When they are assembled, they are made to witness the beauty of the heart, illuminated by the presence of Allah. The “knife” which was the tool to cut food and consume it becomes a tool to cut their attachments to the allurements of the world. When the attributes witness the heart, they are overwhelmed and cut themselves. They exclaim: “Hasha Lillah”, We seek protection with Allah”. This is the equivalent of saying “Awoodzu Billahi Minas Shaitan ir Rajim-I seek protection in Allah from Shaitan the accursed one”. The attributes of the Nafs are transformed upon contact with the transcendent beauty of the heart represented by Yusuf (pbuh).

Subtle are the ways in which the Divine will leaves its traces on earth. His Grace shines upon all creation, transforming what is blameworthy into what is praiseworthy, melting down hearts as hard as steel and making them pliable with the love of Allah.

 


قَالَتْ فَذَلِكُنَّ الَّذِي لُمْتُنَّنِي فِيهِ وَلَقَدْ رَاوَدْتُهُ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ فَاسْتَعْصَمَ وَلَئِنْ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ مَا آمُرُهُ لَيُسْجَنَنَّ وَلَيَكُونَنْ مِنَ الصَّاغِرِينَ
Qālat Fadhālikunna Al-Ladhī Lumtunnanī Fīhi ۖ Wa Laqad Rāwadttuhu `An Nafsihi Fāsta`şama ۖ Wa La’in Lam Yaf`al Mā ‘Āmuruhu Layusjananna Wa Layakūnāan Mina Aş-Şāghireen
She said: “This is he
About whom you accuse me.
And indeed I (tried to) seduce him
From his own soul,
And he saved me,
And (he knew) if he did not do
What I commanded him to do,
He would be imprisoned,
And humbled.”
The lady of house confesses that she tried to seduce Yusuf (pbuh) from his true nature, which is to live in accordance with Divine Guidance. He did not yield even though he knew the consequences of a refusal were imprisonment and severe punishment. Indeed, he saved her, the lady, from a shameful deed.The heart is the container of the Divine Name. Its true nature is to be focused on the Spirit which comes from Allah. The Nafs tried to seduce the heart and turn it away from love of the Divine to love of the flesh. Yusuf (pbuh) has the heart of a Prophet. It is reinforced by Taqwa. It withstands the onslaught of the Nafs. In the process, the Nafs which set out to seduce the heart, is itself transformed.

 


قَالَ رَبِّ السِّجْنُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا يَدْعُونَنِي إِلَيْهِ وَإِلَّا تَصْرِفْ عَنِّي كَيْدَهُنَّ أَصْبُ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَكُنْ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ
Qāla Rabbi As-Sijnu ‘Aĥabbu ‘Ilayya Mimmā Yad`ūnanī ‘Ilayhi ۖ Wa ‘Illā Taşrif `Annī Kaydahunna ‘Aşbu ‘Ilayhinna Wa ‘Akun Mina Al-Jāhileen
He said: “O my Rabb!
Imprisonment is better for me
Than what she invites me to,
And if You do not turn me away
From the connivance (of this woman),
I may turn to her,
And I will become among the unenlightened ones.”
Key words: “Tasrif” (you turn me away), “jahil” (ignorant, one who is capable of knowing but does not know). Yusuf (pbuh) prefers imprisonment to seduction. He prays the Almighty for strength to withstand the advances of the lady of the house so that he can avoid the abyss of ignorance.

Imprisonment is a metaphor for seclusion (khilwa). The heart prefers seclusion over continuous exposure and enticements from the Nafs. It beseeches Allah to protect it and turn it away from the temptations of Shaitan.

 


فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ فَصَرَفَ عَنْهُ كَيْدَهُنَّ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
Fāstajāba Lahu Rabbuhu Faşarafa `Anhu Kaydahunna ۚ ‘Innahu Huwa As-Samī`u Al-`Aleem
So, his Rabb accepted his prayer,
And turned him away from her schemes.
Indeed, He is the Hearer, the Knower!
Key words: “Istijaba” (to respond, to succor); “Samee’’ (The all-Hearing), “Al ‘Aleem” (the Knower). Allah, the Most Compassionate, the all-Hearing and all-Knowing, responded to the prayers of Yusuf (pbuh), accepted his supplications and protected him from the lewd schemes of the lady of the house.

The heart has seen the tajalli (descent) of Divine love. Now, as the clouds of earthly passion threaten to obscure that tajalli, the heart prays to Allah for succor and the prayer is granted.

 

ثُمَّ بَدَا لَهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا رَأَوُا الْآيَاتِ لَيَسْجُنُنَّهُ حَتَّى حِينٍ

Thumma Badā Lahum Min Ba`di Mā Ra’aw Al-‘Āyāti Layasjununnahu Ĥattá Ĥeen
Then, (even) after what they had seen
Of the evidence,
They decidedly imprisoned him for a time.
Key words: “layasjunannahu” (They decidedly imprisoned him). Even after seeing the evidence, the nobleman decided to imprison Yusuf (pbuh) for a while. This, he felt, was better for Yusuf (pbuh) as well as for his wife who was madly in love with Yusuf (pbuh).

The prison is a simile for seclusion. The heart is sent into seclusion, away from the enticements of Shaitan. There, in the solitude of the “prison”, the heart is free to establish the muraqibah (closeness) with the love of the Compassionate.

The subtle play of divine intervention takes the heart away from the distractions of the world so that more of divine jajalliyat (manifestations) can be infused into the longing heart.

 


وَدَخَلَ مَعَهُ السِّجْنَ فَتَيَانِ قَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا إِنِّي أَرَانِي أَعْصِرُ خَمْرًا وَقَالَ الْآخَرُ إِنِّي أَرَانِي أَحْمِلُ فَوْقَ رَأْسِي خُبْزًا تَأْكُلُ الطَّيْرُ مِنْهُ نَبِّئْنَا بِتَأْوِيلِهِ إِنَّا نَرَاكَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Wa Dakhala Ma`ahu As-Sijna Fatayāni ۖ Qāla ‘Aĥaduhumā ‘Innī ‘Arānī ‘A`şiru Khamrāan ۖ Wa Qāla Al-‘Ākharu ‘Innī ‘Arānī ‘Aĥmilu Fawqa Ra’sī Khubzāan Ta’kulu Aţ-Ţayru Minhu ۖ Nabbi’nā Bita’wīlihi~ ۖ ‘Innā Narāka Mina Al-Muĥsineen
And there entered the prison with him
Two youths.
One of them said:
“I do indeed see (in my dreams)
That I am squeezing wine.”
The other said:
“I do indeed see (in my dreams)
That I am carrying bread on my head,
And the birds are eating from it.”
Explain to us their interpretation,
We do indeed consider you
Among the saintly.
Key words: “Khamar” (wine); “khubz” (bread), “Muhsin” (one who does a good deed, one who grants a favor, saintly). Two youths, one a wine maker, the other a baker, enter the prison with Yusuf (pbuh). The wine maker has a dream that he is squeezing wine for the king. The baker has a dream that he is carryng bread on his head and the vultures are eating the bread on his head.

The youths represent hearts that have not yet awakened. They dream but they cannot decipher the meaning of those dreams. They ask Yusuf (pbuh) to explain to them the meaning of their dreams as he is a muhsin, a man disposed to grant favors.

The wine is symbolic of love. The bread is symbolic of gluttanous appetite. The food chain for wine starts with the rain that comes down from the heavens and sustains the grape vines. When the grapes are ripe, they are harvested and the juice is fermented to extract wine. Similarly, a heart that receives the Baraka of Allah reaps the harvest of his tajalliat, grows with each tajalli and drinks of the “wine” of divine love.

Bread is also a gift from the mercy of Allah but those who eat it oftentimes devour it like gluttons and do not thank Him for it. They eat like vultures.

The two youths are archetypes of two hearts. The one is a lover of Allah. He extracts wine and serves it to the king. He is destined to become a pious man. The other bakes bread and feeds it to the vultures. He is destined to become a man seduced by the world.

 

قَالَ لَا يَأْتِيكُمَا طَعَامٌ تُرْزَقَانِهِ إِلَّا نَبَّأْتُكُمَا بِتَأْوِيلِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَأْتِيَكُمَا ذَلِكُمَا مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِي رَبِّي إِنِّي تَرَكْتُ مِلَّةَ قَوْمٍ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَهُمْ بِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ كَافِرُونَ

Qāla Lā Ya’tīkumā Ţa`āmun Turzaqānihi~ ‘Illā Nabba’tukumā Bita’wīlihi Qabla ‘An Ya’tiyakumā ۚ Dhālikumā Mimmā `Allamanī Rabbī ۚ ‘Innī Taraktu Millata Qawmin Lā Yu’uminūna Billāhi Wa Hum Bil-‘Ākhirati Hum Kāfiroon
He (Joseph) said: “Your food that is given to you
Will not even have been served
Before I give you the interpretation (of your dreams),
(So that you know it) before it transpires on you.
That is from what my Rabb has taught me.
Verily, I have deserted the community
Of a people who do not believe in Allah,
And who reject the hereafter.”
The two youths address Yusuf (pbuh) as a muhsin. Yusuf (pbuh) is not bloated by the compliments. Instead, he remembers Allah and as a Prophet teaches the youths that it is Allah who has given him the ability to understand dreams and interpret them. Herein is a lesson for scholars who become arrogant after they acquire a little knowledge and are bloated in their egos by titles, honors and false praise. They surround themselves by sycophants. The heart of Yusuf (pbuh) is with Allah. It never loses sight of the favors that Allah has granted it. When the youths praise him, Yusuf (pbuh) reminds them that it is Allah who has bestowed upon him the ability to interpet events. Knowledge belongs to Allah and to Him alone.

Yusuf (pbuh) consents to the request from the youths and goes on to elaborate that he is not one of those who disbelieve in Allah and reject the hereafter. He is serene in his servitude of Him and he has the certainty of meeting Him. His vision is riveted towards Divine love and he has himself become the personification of that love. He is not of those who disbelieve and whose egos are puffed up by the knowledge that comes to them by Divine Grace.

 

وَاتَّبَعْتُ مِلَّةَ آبَائِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ مَا كَانَ لَنَا أَنْ نُشْرِكَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ ذَلِكَ مِنْ فَضْلِ اللَّهِ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ

Wa Attaba`tu Millata ‘Ābā’ī ‘Ibrāhīma Wa ‘Isĥāqa Wa Ya`qūba ۚ Mā Kāna Lanā ‘An Nushrika Billāhi Min Shay’in ۚ Dhālika Min Fađli Allāhi `Alaynā Wa `Alá An-Nāsi Wa Lakinna ‘Akthara An-Nāsi Lā Yashkuroon
Key words: “Millat” (spiritual community, followers); “Shirk” (Association of deities with Allah)
“And I follow the Millat (community)
Of my forefathers Abraham (pbuh) and Isaac and Jacob (pbuh).
We (in our Millet) associate none with Allah;
That (knowledge) is (bestowed) from the Grace of Allah
Upon us and upon humankind.
But most among humankind
Are not thankful.”
The teachings of Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) continue. He reveals to the two youths that he is from the Millat (spiritual community) of Abraham (pbuh) and Isaac (pbuh) and Jacob (pbuh) whose faith had its firm foundation in Tawhid (Unity of the Divine). Those who are in the Millet of Abraham (pbuh) avoid shirk (splitting the Truth and associating deities with Allah). They are always aware of His Grace. They are thankful to Him unlike most among humankind who receive the favors of Allah but fail to thank him. Tawhid in the context of the the questions asked by the youths in prison requires an elaboration. Tawhid does not just mean belief in Allah, as the One and Only who is worshipped. It also means the negation of all associations, however remote, with Allah (La ilaha il Allah). Most people call upon Allah when they face hard times but forget Him the moment their troubles are over. Yusuf (pbuh) foresees in the dreams of the two young men that one of them is destined to serve the king and the other is destined to be executed. He reminds the two that it is the Most Conpassionate who showers His bounties upon humankind and He it is who tests them with hardships.

Felicity and adversity are both from Allah. There is divine wisdom in both. We must be thankful to Him whether we face good fortune or misfortune.

 

يَا صَاحِبَيِ السِّجْنِ أَأَرْبَابٌ مُتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيْرٌ أَمِ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ

Yā Şāĥibayi As-Sijni ‘A’arbābun Mutafarriqūna Khayrun ‘Ami Allāhu Al-Wāĥidu Al-Qahhār
“O my companions in prison!
Are several creators and sustainers more rational,
Or Allah, the One and Only –
He who enforces His will?”
Yusuf (pbuh) asks his fellow prisoners: Is there a separate Rabb (creator and sustainer) for good fortune and another one for misfortune? Good fortune and misfortune are both from Allah. They are Signs for humankind to learn from.Allah is Ahad. He is the One and the Only. There are no separate deities for bliss and adversity.

 

مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءً سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Mā Ta`budūna Min Dūnihi~ ‘Illā ‘Asmā’an Sammaytumūhā ‘Antum Wa ‘Ābā’uukum Mā ‘Anzala Allāhu Bihā Min Sulţānin ۚ ‘Ini Al-Ĥukmu ‘Illā Lillāh ۚ ‘Amara ‘Allā Ta`budū ‘Illā ‘Īyāhu ۚ Dhālika Ad-Dīnu Al-Qayyimu Wa Lakinna ‘Akthara An-Nāsi Lā Ya`lamoon
Key words: “deen” (surrender and obedience to the all-Conpassionate, moral code, way to live, religion)
“You worship not besides Him
Except some names that you
And your forefathers have made up,
For which Allah has sent down no authority.
The Command is only with Allah.
He has ordained
That you worship none but Him!
That is the deen (the moral code) ordained.
But most among humankind
Understand it not.”
The requests from the two youths in prison elicit a comprehensive response from Yusuf (pbuh) as a preface to the explanation of their dreams. Yusuf (pbuh) continues: Worship none but Allah. Only He is worthy of worship. Surrender to Him and obey Him. That is the right way to live (deen). The deities you worship are names only that your forefathers invented. There is only one Reality, only one Truth.

 

يَا صَاحِبَيِ السِّجْنِ أَمَّا أَحَدُكُمَا فَيَسْقِي رَبَّهُ خَمْرًا وَأَمَّا الْآخَرُ فَيُصْلَبُ فَتَأْكُلُ الطَّيْرُ مِنْ رَأْسِهِ قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ الَّذِي فِيهِ تَسْتَفْتِيَانِ

Yā Şāĥibayi As-Sijni ‘Ammā ‘Aĥadukumā Fayasqī Rabbahu Khamrāan ۖ Wa ‘Ammā Al-‘Ākharu Fayuşlabu Fata’kulu Aţ-Ţayru Min Ra’sihi ۚ Quđiya Al-‘Amru Al-Ladhī Fīhi Tastaftiyān
“O my companions in prison!
The one among you
Will serve wine for his master.
And the other one will be crucified.
Then the vultures will eat from his head.
The decision has gone forth
About what you asked.”
Yusuf informs the wine maker that he will serve wine for his master and he informs the baker that he will be crucified and the vultures will eat from his head.The wine maker has purified his heart. He has cultivated the love of Allah and will be rewarded for his love with the honor of servitude. The baker has abandoned his heart to the pleasures of the world. He will be lost. His hoardings (bread) will be of no benefit to him. They will be consumed by by greed and nepotism.

Honor and dishonor are from Allah. He grants honor to whom He pleases and He abases whom He pleases. His Decree transcends through time. It “goes forth” before human beings perceive it.

 


وَقَالَ لِلَّذِي ظَنَّ أَنَّهُ نَاجٍ مِنْهُمَا اذْكُرْنِي عِنْدَ رَبِّكَ فَأَنْسَاهُ الشَّيْطَانُ ذِكْرَ رَبِّهِ فَلَبِثَ فِي السِّجْنِ بِضْعَ سِنِينَ
Wa Qāla Lilladhī Žanna ‘Annahu Nājin Minhumā Adhkurnī `Inda Rabbika Fa’ansāhu Ash-Shayţānu Dhikra Rabbihi Falabitha Fī As-Sijni Biđ`a Sineen
Key words: “Adhkurni” (Dhikr, remembrance); “Ansa” (fortgetful)
And he said to the one
Who he surmised would be released from prison:
“Inform your master about me.”
But Satan made him forget
To mention him to his master.
Therefore, he (Joseph) remained in prison
A few more years.
Yusuf asks the one he forsees will be released from prison to inform his master about him. But Shaitan makes him forget and Yusuf remains in prison for a few more years.The lesson here is that those who are fortunate and free should pray (say a dua’) for the less fortunate ones who are fettered and languish in the prisons of tyrants. Shaitan is an avowed enemy to humankind. He makes us forget the dua’s. There is blessing in a dua’ for those who supplicate and for those for whom the supplication is done.

 


وَقَالَ الْمَلِكُ إِنِّي أَرَى سَبْعَ بَقَرَاتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأْكُلُهُنَّ سَبْعٌ عِجَافٌ وَسَبْعَ سُنْبُلَاتٍ خُضْرٍ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَاتٍ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي رُؤْيَايَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ لِلرُّؤْيَا تَعْبُرُونَ
Wa Qāla Al-Maliku ‘Innī ‘Ará Sab`a Baqarātin Simānin Ya’kuluhunna Sab`un `Ijāfun Wa Sab`a Sunbulātin Khuđrin Wa ‘Ukhara Yā ۖ Bisātin Yā ‘Ayyuhā Al-Mala’u ‘Aftūnī Fī Ru’uyā Ya ‘In Kuntum Lilrru’uyā Ta`buroon
And the king said:
“I do see (in my dreams)
Seven fat cows eating up seven lean ones,
And seven green ears (of grain),
And the others dry.
O my chieftains!
Interpret for me what I saw,
If you are interpreters of dreams.”
Key words: “Malik” (the chief, the king, the amir); “Siman” (well fed); “’Ijaf” (lean); “Khudr” (green); “Yabisat” (that are dried up); “Ta’bir” (Interpretation of dreams; to render into prose the Signs from dreams and visions). The king sees in his dreams seven fat cows eating up seven lean cows and seven green ears of grain and seven without grain. He asks his astrologers to interpret the dreams.

When the Grace of Allah brings down rain from the heavens, the pastures are green, grain grows in abundance and the animals are well fed. When there is no rain and Allah tests humankind with draughts, the pastures dry up, stalks of grain turn into stubble and man and beast alike starve.

 

قَالُوا أَضْغَاثُ أَحْلَامٍ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِتَأْوِيلِ الْأَحْلَامِ بِعَالِمِينَ

Qālū ‘Ađghāthu ‘Aĥlāmin ۖ Wa Mā Naĥnu Bita’wīli Al-‘Aĥlāmi Bi`ālimīn
They said: “These are confusing dreams,
And we are not knowledgeable
About the interpretation of confusing dreams.”
The astrologers were not trained in interpreting Signs that only the heart can recognize. They expressed their inability to interpret the king’s dreams which they perceived as confused, disorderly and incoherent.The ability to comprehend the inner meaning of Signs and interpret dreams is a Divine gift. Allah bestows this ability on whom He pleases. Some Signs are understood by the mind. Others are comprehended only by the heart. It is the ‘Arifeen, those endowed with an illuminated heart, who witness, comprehend and convey not just the outer dimension of what is witnessed but the inner dimension as well.

Humankind must be alert to the Signs which appear in nature, in history and within the souls of men and women, in their sleep as well as wakeful hours. Allah loves humankind and wants it to succeed. He shows His Signs as warnings so that humankind takes heed and stays on the straight path that leads to His pleasure.

 


وَقَالَ الَّذِي نَجَا مِنْهُمَا وَادَّكَرَ بَعْدَ أُمَّةٍ أَنَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِتَأْوِيلِهِ فَأَرْسِلُونِي
Wa Qāla Al-Ladhī Najā Minhumā Wa Aiddakara Ba`da ‘Ummatin ‘Anā ‘Unabbi’ukum Bita’wīlihi Fa’arsiloon
And the one who had been discharged
From the prison spoke up,
As he remembered after a long time:
“I will give you the interpretation
If you send me (to bring Joseph).”
The one who had been discharged from the prison, the winemaker, was now in the service of the king, serving him wine. He heard what the king said and remembered Yusuf, the saintly man in prison, who read Signs and interpreted dreams. He asked permission from the king to go to the prison and fetch Yusuf.The time has now arrived for the heart to be released from seclusion so that it radiates its light to the whole world. The seclusion of prison has fortified the heart of Yusuf. Divine Grace is setting the stage for him to play on the big stage where he can influence the king and become an instrument of transformation for all those who had come in contact with him, including the lady of the house who tried to sesduce him and his brothers who dropped him in the well.

 


يُوسُفُ أَيُّهَا الصِّدِّيقُ أَفْتِنَا فِي سَبْعِ بَقَرَاتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأْكُلُهُنَّ سَبْعٌ عِجَافٌ وَسَبْعِ سُنْبُلَاتٍ خُضْرٍ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَاتٍ لَعَلِّي أَرْجِعُ إِلَى النَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
Yūsufu ‘Ayyuhā Aş-Şiddīqu ‘Aftinā Fī Sab`i Baqarātin Simānin Ya’kuluhunna Sab`un `Ijāfun Wa Sab`i Sunbulātin Khuđrin Wa ‘Ukhara Yā Bisātin La`allī ‘Arji`u ‘Ilá An-Nāsi La`allahum Ya`lamoon
“O Joseph! (said the former prisoner)
You are a truthful one!
Explain to us.
Seven fat cows
Are eating up seven lean cows,
And seven ears (of grain) are green,
The rest are dry,
So that I return to the people,
And they may know (about you).”
Key words: “As Siddiq” (truthful). The king gave his permission and the winemaker visited the prison and asked Yusuf to explain the meaning of the king’s dreams.

The winemaker addresses Yusuf as As-Siddiq, the truthful one. Those who are truthful do not distort the Signs of Allah. They comprehend the inner meaning of Signs and transmit them faithfully to the seekers of truth, the sa’eleen. The Prophets are Mohsineen as well as ‘Arifeen and As-Saleheen.

 

قَالَ تَزْرَعُونَ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ دَأَبًا فَمَا حَصَدْتُمْ فَذَرُوهُ فِي سُنْبُلِهِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِمَّا تَأْكُلُونَ

Qāla Tazra`ūna Sab`a Sinīna Da’abāan Famā Ĥaşadtum Fadharūhu Fī Sunbulihi~ ‘Illā Qalīlāan Mimmā Ta’kuloon
He (Joseph) said: “You shall farm
Continuously for seven years,
And reap the harvest,
And save the grain in the ears,
Except a small amount for your food.”
Yusuf explains the meaning of the dreams. There shall be seven years with good rains and good crops. During these seven years, the people will have enough food and there will be a surplus.

 


ثُمَّ يَأْتِي مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ سَبْعٌ شِدَادٌ يَأْكُلْنَ مَا قَدَّمْتُمْ لَهُنَّ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِمَّا تُحْصِنُونَ
Thumma Ya’tī Min Ba`di Dhālika Sab`un Shidādun Ya’kulna Mā Qaddamtum Lahunna ‘Illā Qalīlāan Mimmā Tuĥşinoon
“Then, there shall arrive
Seven years of trial,
They shall use up
What you had saved up for them (for the lean years),
Except a little that you will save.
Then, there will be seven years of draught with withered crops and little produce. The surplus of the seven good years will be used up during the years of draught.

 

ثُمَّ يَأْتِي مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ عَامٌ فِيهِ يُغَاثُ النَّاسُ وَفِيهِ يَعْصِرُونَ

Thumma Ya’tī Min Ba`di Dhālika `Āmun Fīhi Yughāthu An-Nāsu Wa Fīhi Ya`şiroon
“After that will arrive a year
In which people will have plenty,
And they will press (oil and juice).”
And then, there will be a year of plenty. Crops will be good and gardens will flourish. People will reap the harvest, enjoy the fruits and extract oil and juice.Rain is a blessing from Allah and a Sign. It provides the water we drink and it brings forth the grain we eat. The lesson here is to be thankful and manage the blessings so that when the rains fail people have food to eat and water to drink and famine is avoided.

 

وَقَالَ الْمَلِكُ ائْتُونِي بِهِ فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُ الرَّسُولُ قَالَ ارْجِعْ إِلَى رَبِّكَ فَاسْأَلْهُ مَا بَالُ النِّسْوَةِ اللَّاتِي قَطَّعْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ إِنَّ رَبِّي بِكَيْدِهِنَّ عَلِيمٌ

Wa Qāla Al-Maliku A’tūnī Bihi ۖ Falammā Jā’ahu Ar-Rasūlu Qāla Arji` ‘Ilá Rabbika Fās’alhu Mā Bālu An-Niswati Al-Lātī Qaţţa`na ‘Aydiyahunna ۚ ‘Inna Rabbī Bikaydihinna `Aleem
And the king said: “Bring him to me!”
So when the messenger came to him,
He (Joseph) said: “Return to your master
And ask what is the condition of the women
Who had cut their fingers.
Indeed, my Rabb is aware of their schemes!”
The king is impressed with the story of Yusuf and orders that he be released from prison and brought to his court. The former prisoner, the wine maker, conveys the news to Yusuf. At this point, the story takes a turn. The release of Yusuf from the prison becomes an occasion for the transformation of the ladies who had gossiped about him and upon seeing him had cut their fingers.

Yusuf is weary. He does not wish to be exposed once again to the schemes of the ladies. He enquires about their condition, whether they had changed or were still in the grips of their passions.

The inner meaning is that the heart is now set free. It sees an opportunity to transform the Nafs and its attributes. As a step in that direction, it seeks to assess the spiritual condition of the Nafs. Is the Nafs still a prisoner of love of the flesh or is it ready to embrace the higher love, the love of the Divine?

 


قَالَ مَا خَطْبُكُنَّ إِذْ رَاوَدْتُنَّ يُوسُفَ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ قُلْنَ حَاشَ لِلَّهِ مَا عَلِمْنَا عَلَيْهِ مِنْ سُوءٍ قَالَتِ امْرَأَةُ الْعَزِيزِ الْآنَ حَصْحَصَ الْحَقُّ أَنَا رَاوَدْتُهُ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
Qāla Mā Khaţbukunna ‘Idh Rāwadttunna Yūsufa `An Nafsihi ۚ Qulna Ĥāsha Lillāh Mā `Alimnā `Alayhi Min Sū’in ۚ Qālati Amra’atu Al-`Azīzi Al-‘Āna Ĥaşĥaşa Al-Ĥaqqu ‘Anā Rāwadttuhu `An Nafsihi Wa ‘Innahu Lamina Aş-Şādiqeen
He (the king) said (to the women):
“What transpired
When you tried to seduce Joseph
From his own soul?”
They said: “We seek the protection of Allah!
We saw no wrongdoing on his part.”
Said the wife of the chief:
“Now has the truth become manifest!
It was I who incited him against his own soul.
Lo! He is indeed among the righteous ones!”
Key words: “Hasha Lillah” (I seek protection in Allah)The king asked the wife of the chief what had happened when she tried to seduce Yusuf. She invoked protection in Allah and said that it was she who had tried the seduction; Yusuf was without blame. Indeed, he was righteous.

The Nafs, represented by the wife of the chief, is completely transformed. It seeks protection in Allah and confesses to the truth. It sees the beauty of Yusuf in divinely light, transcending the love of the flesh. It proclaims in the open court the innocence of the heart and its truthfulness.

A truthful heart dispels the darkness of the Nafs. It brings light where there was no light and gives inner vision to those who had no vision. Such are the subtle ways of heavenly Grace.

 


ذَلِكَ لِيَعْلَمَ أَنِّي لَمْ أَخُنْهُ بِالْغَيْبِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي كَيْدَ الْخَائِنِينَ
Dhālika Liya`lama ‘Annī Lam ‘Akhunhu Bil-Ghaybi Wa ‘Anna Allāha Lā Yahdī Kayda Al-Khā’ineen
(Continued the wife of the chief)
“So that he (Joseph) may know with certainty
That I betrayed him not in his absence.
And indeed Allah does not guide
Those who scheme and betray!”
The wife of the chief vows for the innocence of Yusuf and proclaims her loyalty to him. She wants Yusuf to know that she did not betray him in his absence.True love has dawned on the wife of the chief. She is now in love with the Yusuf of her heart. This love is eternal, unflinching, intense, loyal. It betrays not the lover or the love. It is immune to tests and trials. It is a reflection of the Divine love that animates all creation. In this state of supernal love, the lover and the beloved are completely immersed in their love. The love, the lover and the beloved become locked in an eternal embrace that transcends the material world.

 

وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

Wa Mā ‘Ubarri’u Nafsī ۚ ‘Inna An-Nafsa La’ammāratun Bis-Sū’i ‘Illā Mā Raĥima Rabbī ۚ ‘Inna Rabbī Ghafūrun Raĥeem
“And I do not absolve my own soul.
Indeed the soul has evil inclinations,
Unless my Rabb bestows His Grace.
Lo! My Rabb is the Forgiver, the Merciful!”
The transformed Nafs speaks through the wife of the chief. The Nafs is inclined towards evil. The Grace of Allah transforms the evil-leaning Nafs, lifts the curtains of darkness from it and dresses it with Divine love so that it becomes a beacon for all other souls.Allah is all-Loving, all-Compassionate. His Grace and his Love are without limits. When the erring Nafs turns to Him, He forgives and anoints it with His Grace.

 

وَقَالَ الْمَلِكُ ائْتُونِي بِهِ أَسْتَخْلِصْهُ لِنَفْسِي فَلَمَّا كَلَّمَهُ قَالَ إِنَّكَ الْيَوْمَ لَدَيْنَا مَكِينٌ أَمِينٌ

Wa Qāla Al-Maliku A’tūnī Bihi~ ‘Astakhlişhu Linafsī ۖ Falammā Kallamahu Qāla ‘Innaka Al-Yawma Ladaynā Makīnun ‘Ameen
And the king said: “Bring him to me
So that I may take him into my own service.”
When he spoke to him, he said:
“Lo! (From) this day you are established
As a person of honor and trust in our presence.”
The king is moved by the sincerity of the wife of the chief. He brings Yusuf to his court and elevates him to a position of honor and closeness to his throne. A loving heart is animated by the presence of Allah. It is showered with honors and is dressed with the tajalliat (manifestations) of His Names and their attributes. The Almighty grants such a heart the authority to command the world and hold its sway over it. Indeed, an illuminated heart holds sway over the heavens and the earth.

 


قَالَ اجْعَلْنِي عَلَى خَزَائِنِ الْأَرْضِ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ
Qāla Aj`alnī `Alá Khazā’ini Al-‘Arđi ۖ ‘Innī Ĥafīžun `Aleem
He (Joseph) said: “Appoint me
The keeper over the store houses.
I am indeed a knowledgeable custodian.”
The king is pleased with Yusuf. So, Yusuf submits a petition: Make me the custodian of your granaries. I am honest and I am knowledgeable. I will manage your granaries through the periods of abundance and insufficiency.
When the heart is close to Allah, it is elevated to a position of honor in His presence. From this closeness, the heart supplicates Allah for favors. The message is clear: Be close to Allah, earn his pleasure and ask of Him what you wish to ask. He is the Rabb, the Sustainer of all things and he bestows without limits.

 

وَكَذَلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَتَبَوَّأُ مِنْهَا حَيْثُ يَشَاءُ نُصِيبُ بِرَحْمَتِنَا مَنْ نَشَاءُ وَلَا نُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Wa Kadhalika Makkannā Liyūsufa Fī Al-‘Arđi Yatabawwa’u Minhā Ĥaythu Yashā’u ۚ Nuşību Biraĥmatinā Man Nashā’u ۖ Wa Lā Nuđī`u ‘Ajra Al-Muĥsineen
Key words: “Rahma” (compassion, mercy)
And that is how We established
Joseph in the land.
He had authority therein as he wished.
We bestow Our grace upon whom We will,
And We do not overlook the recompense
For those who do good.
Thus was Yusuf established in the land of Egypt with honor and authority. The episode concludes with a reminder: Allah does not overlook the good deeds of the Muhsineen. He showers upon them favors from the limitless oceans of His rahma (mercy, love).

 

وَلَأَجْرُ الْآخِرَةِ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ

Wa La’ajru Al-‘Ākhirati Khayrun Lilladhīna ‘Āmanū Wa Kānū Yattaqoon
But the recompense of the hereafter
Is indeed better for those who have certainty of faith,
And are conscious of the Divine.
The Mohsineen, those who perform beautiful deeds, earn their recompense in this world and in the hereaftaer. Delightful is the recomnpense of this world but the recompense of the hereafter is better. Thus the doer of a good deed earns two rewards, the first in this world and a better one in the hereafter.Humankind must constantly strive to do Ehsan and perform good deeds. The highest form of Ehsan is unfettered love. When a person loves others without preconditions and expectations, Allah rewards that person with His own love. The heart of Yusuf was illuminated by the love of Allah. He radiated that love to all the men and women who came in contact with him, removing the veils that clouded their vision and transforming them into lovers. Love transforms jealousy into trust, infatuation into true love. That is how the Grace of Allah works through human affairs.

 

وَجَاءَ إِخْوَةُ يُوسُفَ فَدَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَعَرَفَهُمْ وَهُمْ لَهُ مُنْكِرُونَ

Wa Jā’a ‘Ikhwatu Yūsufa Fadakhalū `Alayhi Fa`arafahum Wa Hum Lahu Munkiroon
And the brothers of Joseph came to him,
And entered in his presence;
He recognized them,
But they recognized him not.
Key words: “Arafahum” (Recognized him), The word A’rif derifves from the root word A’-RA-FA, A’ for Ilm (knowledge)-Ru’ya(sight or vision)-Fahima (comnprehension), to have knowledge of, to recognize and to comprehend what is witnessed.The focus of the narrative turns to the brothers of Yusuf and his father Jacob (pbuh).

The draught engulfed the entire Eastern Mediterranean region. Yusuf’s brothers and his parents lived in Palestine. The efficient management of the king’s granaries by Yusuf enabled Egypt to extend a helping hand to those who lived in neighboring countries as well.

So it was that Yusuf’s brothers came to Egypt looking for grain to take home and feed their families. He recognized them but they did not recognize him.

There is a deeper meaning to “regognized him” in this Ayah. Yusuf’s borhters had disowned him and had discarded him in a well. They had lost the recognition of brotherhood. Yusuf, on the other hand, never lost his love for his brothers and immediately recognized them.

 

وَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُمْ بِجَهَازِهِمْ قَالَ ائْتُونِي بِأَخٍ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَبِيكُمْ أَلَا تَرَوْنَ أَنِّي أُوفِي الْكَيْلَ وَأَنَا خَيْرُ الْمُنْزِلِينَ

Wa Lammā Jahhazahum Bijahāzihim Qāla A’tūnī Bi’akhin Lakum Min ‘Abīkum ۚ ‘Alā Tarawna ‘Annī ‘Ūfī Al-Kayla Wa ‘Anā Khayru Al-Munzileen
And when he had loaded up their provisions,
He said: “Bring to me your brother
Who is with your father.
Do you not see that I do indeed
Fill the measure,
And I am the best (most generous) of hosts?”
Key words: “Khair” (generous)
Yusuf provided his brothers with all the provisions they could carry. Referring to himself as the most generous of hosts, he asks them to bring to him their youngest brother (Benjamin) who is with their father Jacob (pbuh).The name Benjamin can be translated as “a child of the spirit/a child of joy/ a child of the South, meaning, Canaan/Palestine”. He was the twelfth child of Jacob (pbuh) and a full brother of Yusuf through their mother Rachel. Since Rachel had died after giving birth to Benjamin, he was very close to his aging father Jacob (pbuh) and his elder brother Yusuf (pbuh).The heart of Yusuf is the heart of love. It is illuminated by Divine Grace. Even though he is thrown into a well by his jealous brothers, the love of Yusuf continues to embrace his brothers. He is most generous to them when they appear in Egypt. He gives them all the produce they can carry, presumably on their camels.Divine will is working through the love of Yusuf to teach humanity enduring lessons in love, forgiveness and charity.

 


فَإِنْ لَمْ تَأْتُونِي بِهِ فَلَا كَيْلَ لَكُمْ عِنْدِي وَلَا تَقْرَبُونِ
Fa’in Lam Ta’tūnī Bihi Falā Kayla Lakum `Indī Wa Lā Taqraboon
But if you do not bring him to me,
Then there shall be no provisions for you from me,
Nor shall you be among those who come near me.”
Yusuf tests his brothers. He is not sure if his brothers will follow through on his instructions. He tells them that there will be no more produce for them and they will not be allowed to approach him unless they bring his brother Benjamin to him.

 


قَالُوا سَنُرَاوِدُ عَنْهُ أَبَاهُ وَإِنَّا لَفَاعِلُونَ
Qālū Sanurāwidu `Anhu ‘Abāhu Wa ‘Innā Lafā`iloon
They said: “We will make a request about this to his father,
And we will indeed get this done.”
The brothers promise to ask their father and express their confidence that they will indeed bring Benjamin to Yusuf.

 


وَقَالَ لِفِتْيَانِهِ اجْعَلُوا بِضَاعَتَهُمْ فِي رِحَالِهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَعْرِفُونَهَا إِذَا انْقَلَبُوا إِلَى أَهْلِهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
Wa Qāla Lifityānihi Aj`alū Biđā`atahum Fī Riĥālihim La`allahum Ya`rifūnahā ‘Idhā Anqalabū ‘Ilá ‘Ahlihim La`allahum Yarji`oon
He said to his servants:
“Put back their money in their saddlebags,
So that they may recognize it
When they return to their folks,
Perhaps they may return.”
Yusuf orders that the money that was paid by his brothers for buying the produce be put back in their saddlebags without their knowledge so that when they return home they are reminded about the promise they made to Yusuf and perhaps return to him.The money is returned so the produce becomes a gift from Yusuf to his parents and to his brothers. The love of Yusuf is reaching out to his family to draw them into its fold.

 

فَلَمَّا رَجَعُوا إِلَى أَبِيهِمْ قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مُنِعَ مِنَّا الْكَيْلُ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا أَخَانَا نَكْتَلْ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Falammā Raja`ū ‘Ilá ‘Abīhim Qālū Yā ‘Abānā Muni`a Minnā Al-Kaylu Fa’arsil Ma`anā ‘Akhānā Naktal Wa ‘Innā Lahu Laĥāfižoon
So when they returned to their father,
They said: “O our father!
We will be prevented from loading up our provisions.
Therefore, send our brother with us,
So that we bring the provisions,
And we will indeed be his protectors.”
The brothers plead with their father, Jacob (pbuh), to send Benjamin with them. Otherwise, they will not be allowed to buy any provisions in Egypt. In words that are reminiscent of what they had promised when they asked their father to send Joseph with them, they say, “We will indeed be his protectors”.

 


قَالَ هَلْ آمَنُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا كَمَا أَمِنْتُكُمْ عَلَى أَخِيهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَاللَّهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Qāla Hal ‘Āmanukum `Alayhi ‘Illā Kamā ‘Amintukum `Alá ‘Akhīhi Min Qablu ۖ Fa-Allāhu Khayrun Ĥāfižāan ۖ Wa Huwa ‘Arĥamu Ar-Rāĥimeen
He said: “Should I trust you regarding him,
Like I trusted you earlier regarding his brother?
Lo! Allah is the best of protectors,
And is the Most Merciful of the Merciful.”
Jacob (pbuh) is not sure if his sons have overcome their jealousy and have embraced brotherly love. He asks a rhetorical question: Should I trust you regarding Benjamin as I trusted you with Joseph? He, as a Prophet, is aware of the transformations taking shape in his sons’ hearts. The molding of hearts takes place subtly under the gaze of Divine Grace. The father wants to assess the degree to which the transformataion is complete. So, he tests them with the rhetorical question.The Ayah asserts the conspicuous, universal truth, namely, that Allah is the best of protectors. It is not the brothers who will protect Benjamin, but Allah, the Most Merciful of the Merciful whose Benevolence surrounds all creation in a cocoon of Divine Compassion and fortifies it with safety and security.

 


وَلَمَّا فَتَحُوا مَتَاعَهُمْ وَجَدُوا بِضَاعَتَهُمْ رُدَّتْ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا مَا نَبْغِي هَذِهِ بِضَاعَتُنَا رُدَّتْ إِلَيْنَا وَنَمِيرُ أَهْلَنَا وَنَحْفَظُ أَخَانَا وَنَزْدَادُ كَيْلَ بَعِيرٍ ذَلِكَ كَيْلٌ يَسِيرٌ
Wa Lammā Fataĥū Matā`ahum Wa Jadū Biđā`atahum Ruddat ‘Ilayhim ۖ Qālū Yā ‘Abānā Mā Nabghī ۖ Hadhihi Biđā`atunā Ruddat ‘Ilaynā ۖ Wa Namīru ‘Ahlanā Wa Naĥfažu ‘Akhānā Wa Nazdādu Kayla Ba`īrin ۖ Dhālika Kaylun Yaseer
And when they opened their belongings,
They found their money returned to them;
They said: “O our father! What else do we need?
Here is our money returned to us.
We will bring home the provisions,
And we will protect our brother,
And will increase (our provisions)
By a camel load;
That provision is easy (for the chief to give).”
When the brothers open their saddlebags, they are delighted to find their money returned to them. Elated, they beseech their father once again: Our money is returned to us. We can buy more provisions with this money. If our brother is with us, we can bring back an additional camel load. The additional provision is easy for the chief to give and it will make it easier for us to live on.The Ehsan of brother Yusuf is slowly working on the hearts of his brothers, healing them, transforming them.

 


قَالَ لَنْ أُرْسِلَهُ مَعَكُمْ حَتَّى تُؤْتُونِ مَوْثِقًا مِنَ اللَّهِ لَتَأْتُنَّنِي بِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ يُحَاطَ بِكُمْ فَلَمَّا آتَوْهُ مَوْثِقَهُمْ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ
Qāla Lan ‘Ursilahu Ma`akum Ĥattá Tu’utūni Mawthiqāan Mina Allāhi Lata’tunanī Bihi~ ‘Illā ‘An Yuĥāţa Bikum ۖ Falammā ‘Ātawhu Mawthiqahum Qāla Allāhu `Alá Mā Naqūlu Wakeel
He said: “I will not send him with you,
Until you take an oath by Allah
That you will indeed bring him back to me,
Unless you are surrounded (captured and helpless).”
So, when they had given him their word,
He said: “Allah is witness over what we say!”
An oath in the name of Allah is the most serious undertaking for the God-fearing. Jacob (pbuh) demands an oath from his sons in the name of Allah that they will indeed protect Binjamin with their lives and bring him back home. When they had taken their oaths, he affirms that Allah is witness for the oaths.The Qur’an enjoins humankind again and again to honor their covenants. In a civil society, a contract is affirmed through a document in the presence of witnesses. In a society that is built upon Taqwa, the most serious covenant is an oath with Allah as the witness. Jacob (pbuh) is a Prophet. He deamands an oath in the name of Allah. The sons, now transformed into God-fearing men, take the oath. Jacob (pbuh) confirms it by calling on Him to witness it.

 


وَقَالَ يَا بَنِيَّ لَا تَدْخُلُوا مِنْ بَابٍ وَاحِدٍ وَادْخُلُوا مِنْ أَبْوَابٍ مُتَفَرِّقَةٍ وَمَا أُغْنِي عَنْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَيْهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ
Wa Qāla Yā Banīya Lā Tadkhulū Min Bābin Wāĥidin Wa Adkhulū Min ‘Abwābin Mutafarriqatin ۖ Wa Mā ‘Ughnī `Ankum Mina Allāhi Min Shay’in ۖ ‘Ini Al-Ĥukmu ‘Illā Lillāh ۖ `Alayhi Tawakkaltu ۖ Wa `Alayhi Falyatawakkali Al-Mutawakkiloon
And he said: “O my children!
Do not enter through a single gate,
Enter separately through different gates.
I cannot in the least protect you from Allah.
There is no command except from Allah,
It is He that I trust,
And it is in Him
That those who seek a trustee place their trust!”
Jacob (pbuh) sends his sons off with an admonition to be circumspect and enter the king’s territory through different gates so as not to evoke suspicion. He asks them to trust in Allah as He is the Trustee for those who place their trust in Him.The Ayah speaks to all humankind through Jacob (pbuh). Allah is the Trustee for all affairs. Those who have faith place their trust in Him and He safeguards their trust. The admonition to enter the king’s domain through different doors is an allusion to diverse paths that open up to His compassion and mercy. Allah is All-Compassionatae, All-Merciful to all the worlds.

 

وَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَهُمْ أَبُوهُمْ مَا كَانَ يُغْنِي عَنْهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِلَّا حَاجَةً فِي نَفْسِ يَعْقُوبَ قَضَاهَا وَإِنَّهُ لَذُو عِلْمٍ لِمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Wa Lammā Dakhalū Min Ĥaythu ‘Amarahum ‘Abūhum Mmā Kāna Yughnī `Anhum Mmina Allāhi Min Shay’in ‘Illā Ĥājatan Fī Nafsi Ya`qūba Qađāhā ۚ Wa ‘Innahu Ladhū `Ilmin Limā `Allamnāhu Wa Lakinna ‘Akthara An-Nāsi Lā Ya`lamoon
And when they entered as their father had advised,
It could not in the least protect them from Allah,
Except that it fulfilled a desire from the soul (heart) of Jacob (pbuh).
Lo! He was the possessor of
(Inner) knowledge that We had taught him,
But most among humankind understand it not.
Key words: “Ladhu Ilm” (heavenly knowledge that is infused into the hearts of Prophets)Knowledge can be broadly classified into three categories: ilm ul ibara, ilm ul ishara and ilm al ladhuni.
Ilm ul ibara is descriptive, empirical knowledge that one can acquire through books and lectures. This is the knowledge of the mind. Ilm ul ishara is knowledge of the heart such as love, compassion and mercy. Most men and women have the capability to aquire ilm ul ibara and perceive ilm ul ishara. The third, ilm al ladhuni is knowledge that is infused into the hearts of the Prophets by Divine Grace. Only the Prophets receive this knowledge; ordinary humans do not.Jacob (pbuh) is a Prophet. He knows that his admonition to his children to enter Egypt through multiple doors would not protect them from the plan of Allah. It would merely reduce the suspicion of the Egyptians. He also knew that it was Allah’s plan that was working through the historical events surrounding Yusuf.The words of Prophets have an inner meaning and an outer meaning. There is wisdom in both. The outer meaning addresses the immediate context. The inner meaning is universal and is applicable for all times.The Qur’an speaks to men and women at multiple levels. A vast majority of people do not comprehend the inner meaning of the admonititons given by Prophets. Some do and these are the Awliyah (those who are surrounded by the Grace of Allah).

 


وَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا عَلَى يُوسُفَ آوَى إِلَيْهِ أَخَاهُ قَالَ إِنِّي أَنَا أَخُوكَ فَلَا تَبْتَئِسْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
Wa Lammā Dakhalū `Alá Yūsufa ‘Āwá ‘Ilayhi ‘Akhāhu ۖ Qāla ‘Innī ‘Anā ‘Akhūka Falā Tabta’is Bimā Kānū Ya`maloon
And when they entered in the presence of Joseph,
He gave his brother a place (of honor) next to him;
He said: “I am indeed your brother,
Therefore, do not be saddened
With what they have been doing.”
When the brothers were ushered into his presesnce, Yusuf revealed himself to his brother Benjamin and gave him a place of honor. He consoled his young brother and asked him not to grieve over what the other brothers had done.There are two levels of recognition here. Outwaradly, it is the recognition of Joseph as a man. The inner sense, it is the recognition of Yusuf as a Prophet, who was honored by Allah with the ability to read and interpret Signs and whose heart Allah had anointed with the radiance of Divine love. By revealing himself, Yusuf revealed his inner self as a Prophet to Benjamin. The other brothers had not yet seen the light of prophecy in Joseph. They were as yet, unaware. They did not regonize him.

 


فَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُمْ بِجَهَازِهِمْ جَعَلَ السِّقَايَةَ فِي رَحْلِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ أَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ أَيَّتُهَا الْعِيرُ إِنَّكُمْ لَسَارِقُونَ
Falammā Jahhazahum Bijahāzihim Ja`ala As-Siqāyata Fī Raĥli ‘Akhīhi Thumma ‘Adhdhana Mu’uadhdhinun ‘Ayyatuhā Al-`Īru ‘Innakum Lasāriqoon
When their goods were loaded up,
He placed a goblet in his brother’s belongings,
Then a herald proclaimed:
“O people of the caravan!
You are indeed thieves!”
Yusuf devises a grand plan to bring his parents and his brothers to Egypt and reconcile the entire family. Without anyone noticing it, he leaves a goblet from the royal household in Banjamin’s saddlebag. Then he orders a herald to proclaim that the goblet is missing. The heralds are unaware of the grand schema. They proclaim that a cup belonging to the king has been stolen and somepone in the caravan must be a thief.Subtle are the ways in which Allah’s plan works. It is slowly, inexorably unfolding towards the fulfillment of the dream seen by Yusuf in his youth and the consummation of Divine love that embraces Jacob (pbuh) and his family. Yusuf is the instrument in the fulfillment of this plan.

 


قَالُوا وَأَقْبَلُوا عَلَيْهِمْ مَاذَا تَفْقِدُونَ
Qālū Wa ‘Aqbalū `Alayhim Mādhā Tafqidoon
They turned towards him, and asked:
“What is it that you have lost?”
The brothers are alarmed at the accusation. They turn towards the herald and ask what it is that has been lost.

 


قَالُوا نَفْقِدُ صُوَاعَ الْمَلِكِ وَلِمَنْ جَاءَ بِهِ حِمْلُ بَعِيرٍ وَأَنَا بِهِ زَعِيمٌ
Qālū Nafqidu Şuwā`a Al-Maliki Wa Liman Jā’a Bihi Ĥimlu Ba`īrin Wa ‘Anā Bihi Za`eem
They said: “We have lost a goblet belonging to the king.
And whoever finds it
Will get a camel load as a reward,
And I am the security for it.”
Yusuf’s aides answer that they had lost a globlet belonging to the king. They announce a reward of a camel load of produce for whoever finds the globlet. To emphasize the seriousness of the offer, the herald offers his personal guaranatee for the reward.

 

قَالُوا تَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتُمْ مَا جِئْنَا لِنُفْسِدَ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا كُنَّا سَارِقِينَ

Qālū Ta-Allāhi Laqad `Alimtum Mā Ji’nā Linufsida Fī Al-‘Arđi Wa Mā Kunnā Sāriqeen
They said: “We swear by Allah,
You know for sure,
We did not come to this land
To cause mischief,
And we are not thieves.”
Key words: “Ta-Allahi” (Swear by Allah)The brothers took an oath by Allah that they were not thieves. They had come to Egypt to procure grain and not to cause mischief. They looked at Yusuf and said, “You know for sure that we came with good intentions and not to steal”.

The swearing by Allah is the most serious witness a pious person who is conscious of Allah can produce.
The brothers of Yusuf are now God-fearing men. They hearts look to Allah for guidance. They are aghast at the accusation and invoke the witness of Allah.

 

قَالُوا فَمَا جَزَاؤُهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ كَاذِبِينَ

Qālū Famā Jazā’uuhu~ ‘In Kuntum Kādhibeen
They said: “Then what should be the punishment
If you are liars?”
Yusuf’s aides ask of the brothers: “What should be the penalty be if it is proven that you are thieves?”

 


قَالُوا جَزَاؤُهُ مَنْ وُجِدَ فِي رَحْلِهِ فَهُوَ جَزَاؤُهُ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الظَّالِمِينَ
Qālū Jazā’uuhu Man Wujida Fī Raĥlihi Fahuwa Jazā’uuhu ۚ Kadhālika Najzī Až-Žālimeen
“The punishment for him
In whose belongings it is found
Is that he himself (is to be taken as a slave);
Thus do we reward the transgressors.
The brothers said that the punishment for the one in whose saddlebag the king’s cup was found would stay behind as a slave. That was the punishment according to the law of Prophet Ibrahim which was practised by the Jacob (pbuh) household.

 


فَبَدَأَ بِأَوْعِيَتِهِمْ قَبْلَ وِعَاءِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ اسْتَخْرَجَهَا مِنْ وِعَاءِ أَخِيهِ كَذَلِكَ كِدْنَا لِيُوسُفَ مَا كَانَ لِيَأْخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِي دِينِ الْمَلِكِ إِلَّا أَنْ يَشَاءَ اللَّهُ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مَنْ نَشَاءُ وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ
Fabada’a Bi’aw`iyatihim Qabla Wi`ā’i ‘Akhīhi Thumma Astakhrajahā Min Wi`ā’i ‘Akhīhi ۚ Kadhālika Kidnā Liyūsufa ۖ Mā Kāna Liya’khudha ‘Akhāhu Fī Dīni Al-Maliki ‘Illā ‘An Yashā’a Allāhu ۚ Narfa`u Darajātin Man Nashā’u ۗ Wa Fawqa Kulli Dhī `Ilmin `Aleem
Then he started searching
Their saddlebags
Before searching the saddlebag of his brother,
Then he brought out (the goblet)
From the saddlebag of his brother.
That was the plan We laid out for Joseph.
He could not have kept his brother
According to the laws of the king,
Except as Allah willed it.
We elevate on high whom We will,
And for every master of knowledge there is
A master who knows more.
Yusuf searched the saddlebags of his brothers before searching the saddlebag of Benjamin. The goblet was discovered in Benjamin’s saddlebag. He could now be held back according to the law of Ibrahim observed by the Jacob (pbuh) household.This is how the subtle way the plan of Allah works. Yusuf could not have kept Benjamin according to the laws of Egypt. But according to the Abrahamic laws, a thief could be held back as a captive as punishment for his theft. The brothers had agreed to the judgment beforehand. Therefore, they were bound by it.

Yusuf could have revealed himself to his brothers but the brothers were not ready for it as yet. They had to rise higher in spiritual rank before they could see the reality of Yusuf. The All-Compassionate elevated Yusuf to a high rank because He followed the Abrahamic law and did not break the law of Egypt. He was gifted with knowledge but he was always thankful to Allah for what he knew.

The Ayah concludes with a universal lesson: Knowledge is a gift from Allah. He gives it to whom He pleases. For every knower there is one who knows more. And above all is Allah, the exalted who is the Source of all knowledge and is All-knowing. Even the most knowledgeable person must bow down before Him. Humility is the hallmark of true scholarship just as arrogance is the hallmark of ignorance.

 


قَالُوا إِنْ يَسْرِقْ فَقَدْ سَرَقَ أَخٌ لَهُ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَأَسَرَّهَا يُوسُفُ فِي نَفْسِهِ وَلَمْ يُبْدِهَا لَهُمْ قَالَ أَنْتُمْ شَرٌّ مَكَانًا وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا تَصِفُونَ
Qālū ‘In Yasriq Faqad Saraqa ‘Akhun Lahu Min Qablu ۚ Fa’asarrahā Yūsufu Fī Nafsihi Wa Lam Yubdihā Lahum ۚ Qāla ‘Antum Sharrun Makānāan Wa ۖ Allāhu ‘A`lamu Bimā Taşifoon
They said: “If he did steal it,
It was his brother who stole before him.
Joseph kept this secret within his own soul
And did not reveal to them.
He said: “You are in dire straits.
And Allah has knowledge of what you say.”
The brothers are now in a quandry. They have given their oath to their father that they will protect Benjamin with their own lives. They seek to protect Benhamin by shifting the blame upon themselves. They declare that a brother of Benjamin had stolen the goblet and had then placed it in his saddlebag.Some commentators have rendered this passage to mean that the brothers accused Yusuf. This reasoning is not supported by the Ayahs that follow wherein one of the brothers offers himself as ransom for Benjamin. Furthermore, there is no reference either in the Qur’an or the earlier revelations in the Old Testament that Yusuf had ever stolen anything. The tafseer we have offered appears to be consistent with the spirit of the entire narrative.

Yusuf was aware of what was going on but he kept that knowledge to himself. At a deeper level, Yusuf had kept the secrets of his heart to himself and had not yet shown them to his brothers.
He said to the brothers: “You are indeed in a very difficult situation. Allah is aware of what you know and what you say” The All-Compassionate elevated Yusuf to a high rank because He followed the Abraham (pbuh)ic law and did not break the law of the land. He was gifted with knowledge but he was always thankful to Allah for what he knew.

 


قَالُوا يَا أَيُّهَا الْعَزِيزُ إِنَّ لَهُ أَبًا شَيْخًا كَبِيرًا فَخُذْ أَحَدَنَا مَكَانَهُ إِنَّا نَرَاكَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Qālū Yā ‘Ayyuhā Al-`Azīzu ‘Inna Lahu~ ‘Abāan Shaykhāan Kabīrāan Fakhudh ‘Aĥadanā Makānahu~ ۖ ‘Innā Narāka Mina Al-Muĥsineen
They said: “O chief!
His father is assuredly a very old man,
Therefore, hold one of us (as ransom) in his place,
We do indeed see that you are
A person who is very kind.”
Key words: “Muhsineen” (kind, generous, compassionate, beautiful in deeds)The brothers plead with Yusuf and appeal to his sympathy and compassion. They tell him that Benjamin’s father is indeed a very old man and losing a young son to servitude in Egypt would break his heart. They offer one among themselves as ransom in place of Benjaim.

The brothers have been transformed. The generosity of Yusuf has lifted the dark curtain from their hearts and the jealousy that used to cloud their inner vision has departed. They are willing to sacrifice themselves for protect Benjamin and take him back to their father.

This Ayah is an elaboration of the previous Ayah. When the brothers say, “If he did steal it,
It was his brother who stole before him”, the reference is to one among themselves, not Yusuf.
Just as Yusuf represents a Sign for the illuminated Qalb, the brothers are a Sign for the Sadr, the outer layeres of the heart which is open to inputs from the world. It expands with what is good and contracts with what is bad. Shaitan had misled the brothers. Jealousy had clouded their actions. Now that jealousy is gone. The love of Yusuf has brought them into its fold. Thus does Divine Compassion work through human affairs overcoming evil with the good.

 

قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللَّهِ أَنْ نَأْخُذَ إِلَّا مَنْ وَجَدْنَا مَتَاعَنَا عِنْدَهُ إِنَّا إِذًا لَظَالِمُونَ
Qāla Ma`ādha Allāhi ‘An Na’khudha ‘Illā Man Wajadnā Matā`anā `Indahu~ ‘Innā ‘Idhāan Lažālimoon
He (Joseph) said: “May Allah protect us
If we hold anyone other than
The one with whom we found our belonging,
(If we did it) we would indeed be wrong doers.”
There is a higher purpose at work here. Yusuf is moved by the thought of his father but to bring them to Egypt, he must hold his brother Benjamin. He tells his brothers that according to the laws of Allah, only the man who was culpabale could be held. Holding any other person would be against the Divine laws.

 

فَلَمَّا اسْتَيْأَسُوا مِنْهُ خَلَصُوا نَجِيًّا قَالَ كَبِيرُهُمْ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ أَبَاكُمْ قَدْ أَخَذَ عَلَيْكُمْ مَوْثِقًا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَمِنْ قَبْلُ مَا فَرَّطْتُمْ فِي يُوسُفَ فَلَنْ أَبْرَحَ الْأَرْضَ حَتَّى يَأْذَنَ لِي أَبِي أَوْ يَحْكُمَ اللَّهُ لِي وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْحَاكِمِينَ
Falammā Astay’asū Minhu Khalaşū Najīyāan ۖ Qāla Kabīruhum ‘Alam Ta`lamū ‘Anna ‘Abākum Qad ‘Akhadha `Alaykum Mawthiqāan Mina Allāhi Wa Min Qablu Mā Farraţtum Fī Yūsufa ۖ Falan ‘Abraĥa Al-‘Arđa Ĥattá Ya’dhana Lī ‘Abī ‘Aw Yaĥkuma Allāhu Lī ۖ Wa Huwa Khayru Al-Ĥākimeen
When they were disappointed with him,
They assembled and held consultations,
Said the eldest one among them:
“Do you not know that
Your father has taken a solemn oath from you
With Allah as witness,
And before this you erred with Joseph.
Therefore, I shall not move from this land,
Until my father permits me,
Or Allah commands me;
Lo! He is the best of judges.”
The brothers parley and the eldest reminds them of the solemn oath they have taken as Allah as their witness that they will bring back Benjamin. He also reminds them of what they did to Yusuf. He declares that he will stay behind to guard over Benjamin until his father permits him to return or Allah commands him otherwise.There is Tawba (repentance) at work here. The brothers have repented. The eldest one speaks with the voice of a saint. He has surrendered himself to Allah and His judgment and declares that henceforth his actions will strictly be in accordance with Divine commands. Verily, Allah loves those who repent and return to Him.

 

ارْجِعُوا إِلَى أَبِيكُمْ فَقُولُوا يَا أَبَانَا إِنَّ ابْنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَهِدْنَا إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمْنَا وَمَا شَهِدْنَا إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمْنَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِلْغَيْبِ حَافِظِينَ
Arji`ū ‘Ilá ‘Abīkum Faqūlū Yā ‘Abānā ‘Inna Abnaka Saraqa Wa Mā Shahidnā ‘Illā Bimā `Alimnā Wa Mā Kunnā Lilghaybi Ĥāfižeen
“So return to your father
And tell him: ‘O our father!
Your son committed theft,
And we bore witness about what we knew
But we are not overseers of what is concealed.’
Key words: “Saraqa” (steal, take without permission); “Shadina” (we bear witness)The eldest asks the others to return home and inform their father that Benjamin had committed thievery and was therefore held back. They can vouchsafe only for what they saw but could not oversee what was concealed.

There are subtle tones in the language of this Ayat. The reference to “your son” could mean either Benjamin or Yusuf. The word “saraqa” means to steal or take without permission. The goblet was taken without the permission of its owner, the king. The brothers have no knowledge of what is hidden from the outer eye. Yusuf (pbuh), as a Prophet, does. He is given the gift of seeing what is incomprehensible to others. He is a gifted by Allah to comprehend and interprent dreams and events. He sees with his inner eye as well as his outer eye. So, the brothers assume that the goblet was stolen whereas in fact there has been no theft. It has merely been “placed” in Benjamin’s saddleback. Only Yusuf knows this.

The eldest of the brothers asks the brothers to tell their father that they had kept their covenant to be the overseers of Benjamin. But he (Benjamin) had concealed his actions for which they could not be held accountable.

 


وَاسْأَلِ الْقَرْيَةَ الَّتِي كُنَّا فِيهَا وَالْعِيرَ الَّتِي أَقْبَلْنَا فِيهَا وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ
Wa As’ali Al-Qaryata Allatī Kunnā Fīhā Wa Al-`Īra Allatī ‘Aqbalnā Fīhā ۖ Wa ‘Innā Laşādiqoon
Key words: “Sadiqoon” (truthful)
‘Enquire in the city where we were,
Or the caravan with which we returned;
Indeed, we are telling the truth.’”
The eldest instructs his brothers: “Tell our father to question the caravan we came back with or the city we were visiting. We are indeed telling the truth.”

 


قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنْفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ عَسَى اللَّهُ أَنْ يَأْتِيَنِي بِهِمْ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
Qāla Bal Sawwalat Lakum ‘Anfusukum ‘Amrāan ۖ Faşabrun Jamīlun ۖ `Asá Allāhu ‘An Ya’tiyanī Bihim Jamī`āan ۚ ‘Innahu Huwa Al-`Alīmu Al-Ĥakeem
He (Jacob (pbuh)) said: “No! You have fabricated these yourselves.
However, I shall be patient with Grace.
Perhaps Allah will bring them all back to me.
Indeed, He is the Knower, the Wise!”
Key words; “Sabran Jameel” (Patience with grace); “’Aleem” (The Knower); “Hakeen” (The wise)Jacob (pbuh) does not believe the story as narrated by his sons. He knows that the truth is hidden and will reveal itself in time. He has placed his trust in Allah and is confident that He will bring back his sons. Indeed, Allah is the Knower, the Wise.

The Qur’an is teaching universal lessons through the words spoken by Jacob (pbuh). Humankind is tested with difficulties. We must trust in Allah and use every difficultiy as a Sign and an opportunity for learning and spiritual growth. Indeed, Allah loves those who patiently persevere. “Innal Allaha Ma’as Sabireen”.

 

وَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا أَسَفَى عَلَى يُوسُفَ وَابْيَضَّتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
Wa Tawallá `Anhum Wa Qāla Yā ‘Asafá `Alá Yūsufa Wa Abyađđat `Aynāhu Mina Al-Ĥuzni Fahuwa Kažeem
And he turned away from them,
As he cried: “I wail for Joseph!
His eyes turned white from sorrow,
And he was overcome by it.”
The father wails for the love of Yusuf and turns away from the other sons. His eyes “turn white” (go blind) from sorrow.The heart of Yusuf is the magnet that pulls all the others together. It is the heart that is illuminated by the presence of Allah and it radiates that Light to those who come in contact with it. Allah is Al-Wadud, the Source of Love. He infuses that love into whom He will. Jacob (pbuh) wails for that Divine Love that radiates from the heart of Yusuf. He turns away from the other sons, meaning, he shunts himself off from the tribulations of the world. His outer eyes go blind so that his inner vision is riveted only towards the heart of Yusuf.

 

قَالُوا تَاللَّهِ تَفْتَأُ تَذْكُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّى تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْهَالِكِينَ
Qālū Ta-Allāhi Tafta’u Tadhkuru Yūsufa Ĥattá Takūna Ĥarađān ‘Aw Takūna Mina Al-Hālikeen
They said: “You will keep remembering Joseph,
Until you become sick,
Or you are among the dead.”
Key words: “Haradan” (become sick); “Al-Halikeen” (the dead)
The sons are concerned for their father’s health and his life. They express this concern to their father.The address of the sons to the father does not connote jealousy in this context. In the Eastern cultures, sons and daughters express their love for their parents remonstrating them for their neglect of their health and welfare but in reality expressing their concern and love for their well being.There is a subtle meaning to becoming sick and dying in this passage. Jacob (pbuh) is so overcome by the grief of separation from his love that he may be “dead” to the world, meaning, he may severe all relations with the world and withdraw unto himself. A person who is dead to the world becomes alive to the presence of Allah. “Upon everything there shall be annihilation except the existence of your Rabb, the Owner of majesty and bounty”.

 

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللَّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Qāla ‘Innamā ‘Ashkū Baththī Wa Ĥuznī ‘Ilá Allāhi Wa ‘A`lamu Mina Allāhi Mā Lā Ta`lamoon
He said: “I only express my agony
And my sorrow to Allah.
And I have been taught by Allah
What you know not.”
Joseph, the Prophet, has been taught patience and forbearance by Allah. He has surrendered his affairs to Him and expresses his agony and sorrow only to Him.

 

يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُوا فَتَحَسَّسُوا مِنْ يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلَا تَيْأَسُوا مِنْ رَوْحِ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْئَسُ مِنْ رَوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

Yā Banīya Adh/habū Fataĥassasū Min Yūsufa Wa ‘Akhīhi Wa Lā Tay’asū Min Rawĥi Allāhi ۖ ‘Innahu Lā Yay’asu Min Rawĥi Allāhi ‘Illā Al-Qawmu Al-Kāfiroon
“O my sons! Go forth and search
For Joseph and his brother,
And do not despair
Of the Spirit (Grace) of Allah.
They do not despair
Of the Spirit (Grace) of Allah
Except a people who reject faith.”
Jacob instructs his sons to go forth and search for Joseph and Benjamin and not give up hope for the mercy of Allah.The admonition not to despair of the Grace of Allah throws light on the inner meaning of the Ayah. Yusuf is the archetype of the love in the heart which is a sublime gift from the heavens. Jacob tells his sons to become Saeleen (seekers) of the love that they had lost. In this quest for love the Grace of Allah is always a guide. Humankind should never despair of Divine Grace that infuses love in the hearts of those who seek it. Love is the binding force that holds the world together. Allah loves those who love Him.

 

فَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ قَالُوا يَا أَيُّهَا الْعَزِيزُ مَسَّنَا وَأَهْلَنَا الضُّرُّ وَجِئْنَا بِبِضَاعَةٍ مُزْجَاةٍ فَأَوْفِ لَنَا الْكَيْلَ وَتَصَدَّقْ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَجْزِي الْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ
Falammā Dakhalū `Alayhi Qālū Yā ‘Ayyuhā Al-`Azīzu Massanā Wa ‘Ahlanā Ađ-Đurru Wa Ji’nā Bibiđā`atin Muzjāatin Fa’awfi Lanā Al-Kayla Wa Taşaddaq `Alaynā ۖ ‘Inna Allāha Yajzī Al-Mutaşaddiqeen
Thereafter, when they appeared before him,
They said: “O you with authority!
Misfortune has befallen us and our household,
We have come but with a paltry sum,
So grant us provisions,
And show us charity;
Indeed, Allah rewards
Those who are charitable.”
The brothers enter Egypt and beseech Yusuf for charity as they are now almost destitute.The charity that the brothers are asking for is the charity of Yusuf’s heart. Outwardly they are asking for provisions. Inwardly, they are seekers of the love of Yusuf. They are begging for it. They are unknowingly asking their brother to give them something of his heart which they had abandoned in the well many years ago. It is their act of atonement.

 

قَالَ هَلْ عَلِمْتُمْ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ بِيُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ إِذْ أَنْتُمْ جَاهِلُونَ
Qāla Hal `Alimtum Mā Fa`altum Biyūsufa Wa ‘Akhīhi ‘Idh ‘Antum Jāhiloon
He said: “Do you not know
What you did with Joseph and his brother
When you were unenlightened?”
Key words: “Jahiloon” (Ignorant; those who have the capability to know but chose not to know)Yusuf is moved by the plight of his brothers. It is time for him to reveal himself. The brothers are ready to receive the love of Yusuf. He asks if they realized what they doing when they plotted to get rid of Yusuf and and when they left Benjamin in Egypt.

The heart melts at the sight of the seekers of love, the brothers of Yusuf. The tone of the question is compassionate. Yusuf does not accuse his brothers but absolves them by saying that they were ignorant. They did not know what they were doing and they acted in their ignorance. Shaitan was the real culprit.

 


قَالُوا أَئِنَّكَ لَأَنْتَ يُوسُفُ قَالَ أَنَا يُوسُفُ وَهَذَا أَخِي قَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّهُ مَنْ يَتَّقِ وَيَصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Qālū ‘A’innaka La’anta Yūsufu ۖ Qāla ‘Anā Yūsufu Wa Hadhā ‘Akhī ۖ Qad Manna Allāhu `Alaynā ۖ ‘Innahu Man Yattaqi Wa Yaşbir Fa’inna Allāha Lā Yuđī`u ‘Ajra Al-Muĥsineen
They said: Are you indeed Joseph?”
He said: “I am Joseph and this is my brother.
Behold! Allah has shown kindness to us;
Indeed, he who is conscious of Him,
And is patient,
Verily, Allah will not overlook,
The recompense of those who do good.”.
Yusuf reveals himself. The heart appears in its purity before the seekers of truth. It is a moment of thankfulness. Yusuf thanks Allah for His kindness in that he brought him and his brothers together.The lesson in this episode is the triumph of love over jealousy. A heart that is animated by Taqwa impels a person to become a Mohsin and do good deeds. Allah does not overlook the deeds of those who do good. He rewards them and illuminates their hearts with love.

 

قَالُوا تَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ آثَرَكَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَإِنْ كُنَّا لَخَاطِئِينَ

Qālū Ta-Allāhi Laqad ‘Ātharaka Allāhu `Alaynā Wa ‘In Kunnā Lakhāţi’een
They said: “By Allah!
Behold! Allah has given you ascendancy over us
And indeed we were wrong-doers.”
Key words: “Khatieen” (wrong doers)In wonderment, the brothers cry out that indeed Allah has given Yusuf dominance over them. The brothers repent and ask for the forgiveness of Yusuf.

This is the moment of triumph for the heart. The loving heart has triumphed over the jealousy of the Nafs and the Nafs recognizes it. It then does tawba (repentance) and asks forgiveness of the heart.

 

قَالَ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Qāla Lā Tathrība `Alaykumu Al-Yawma ۖ Yaghfiru Allāhu Lakum ۖ Wa Huwa ‘Arĥamu Ar-Rāĥimeen
He said: “There is no blame on you this day
May Allah forgive you,
Indeed, He is the Most Merciful of the Merciful.”
It is time for forgiveness. Yusuf invokes the forgiveness of Allah for his brothers.An illuminated heart is the abode of Allah. It does not seek revenge. It shows compassion and mercy. When those that have done it wrong repent, the heart offers a dua for the forgivness of the wrong doers. This is the sublime characteristic of the heart. Love, forgiveness, charity are characteristics that give the heart ascendancy over all the worlds.

 

اذْهَبُوا بِقَمِيصِي هَذَا فَأَلْقُوهُ عَلَى وَجْهِ أَبِي يَأْتِ بَصِيرًا وَأْتُونِي بِأَهْلِكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

Adh/habū Biqamīşī Hādhā Fa’alqūhu `Alá Wajhi ‘Abī Ya’ti Başīrāan Wa ‘Tūnī Bi’ahlikum ‘Ajma`een
“Go with this shirt of mine,
And place it over his face,
My father will recover his sight,
And bring him to me with all of your household.”
The shirt of Yusuf is a Sign for the “libas” or the covering or garments of the heart. A loving heart radiates its love to its adornments and it imparts to the garments the “smell” and “taste” of love.“Breath”, “smell” and “taste” are used as similes for deeper experiences than mere sight and hearing. The shirt carries the “smell” of Yusuf. It is the “smell” of love. Jocob, the Prophet, holds in his heart a mystic love for Allah which he sees reflected in the heart of Yusuf. Hence, his love for Yusuf. Divine love is the bond, the cement, which holds the hearts of Yusuf and Jacob together and explains the preference of Jacob for Yusuf over his other sons.

Joseph has lost his outer vision but his inner vision is alive and acute. His outer vision has turned away from the exterior aspects of things but he continues to see with his inner vision the beauty of Yusuf which is a reflection of the beauty of Divine love. When the inner vision perceives the closeness of Yusuf through his shirt, it reverts to seeing both the inner and the outer aspects of things. His outer vision returns.

Yusuf gives his shirt to his brothers asking them to place it over their father’s face so that he recovers his vision and then to bring back the entire Jacob household to Egypt where they can be cared for.

 

وَلَمَّا فَصَلَتِ الْعِيرُ قَالَ أَبُوهُمْ إِنِّي لَأَجِدُ رِيحَ يُوسُفَ لَوْلَا أَنْ تُفَنِّدُونِ
Wa Lammā Faşalati Al-`Īru Qāla ‘Abūhum ‘Innī La’ajidu Rīĥa Yūsufa ۖ Lawlā ‘An Tufannidoon
And when the caravan was leaving (Egypt),
His father said: “I sense the breath of Joseph,
Although you consider me delirious.”
Jacob sensed the “breath of Joseph” even as his sons were returning from Egypt. People thought he was delirious when he revealed his sensations.The reference to the breath of Yusuf is a reference to the spirit that is infused into human beings. This breath is independent of time and space. When two hearts are in sync, they transmit their energies breaking down the space-time barriers. The hearts of Jacob and Yusuf are both in sync with the love of Allah and it is through this love that they communicate. Jacob senses the approach of Yusuf even as the Caravan leaves Egypt carrying his shirt.

Love transcends space-time. It is the timeless, ageless gift of Allah to humankind. It has its own modes of communication that are immediate, certain.

 

قَالُوا تَاللَّهِ إِنَّكَ لَفِي ضَلَالِكَ الْقَدِيمِ

Qālū Ta-Allāhi ‘Innaka Lafī Đalālika Al-Qadeem
They (those who heard it) said: “By Allah!
You are indeed back to your old illusions.”
People thought that Jacob was delirious.Those whose hearts are blocked do not comprehend the power, the glory and majesty of the illuminataed heart.

 

فَلَمَّا أَنْ جَاءَ الْبَشِيرُ أَلْقَاهُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فَارْتَدَّ بَصِيرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Falammā ‘An Jā’a Al-Bashīru ‘Alqāhu `Alá Wajhihi Fārtadda Başīrāan Qāla ۖ ‘Alam ‘Aqul Lakum ‘Innī ‘A`lamu Mina Allāhi Mā Lā Ta`lamoon
Key words: “Wadhihi” (His existence; his face); “Basira” (Vision; inner vision)
Then, when the messenger of good news came,
He placed upon his face (the shirt of Joseph),
And his vision returned.
He said: “Did I not tell you?
I did indeed know from Allah
What you did not know.”
The literal meaning of the first part of the Ayah is this: “When the messenger of good news came, he shrouded his existence with the garment of Yusuf”. The mystic love of Joseph for the Divine is now clotheed with the garments from the mystic love of Yusuf for Allah. The connection is established and the vision of Jacob which was focused on the inner reality of Yusuf now returns to see his outer existence as well.Jacob informs those around him that Allah had indeed given him knowledge that was not accessible to others. The implication is that he was given the overarching view of events by Divine Grace and he could perceive the plan of Allah unfolding through the events surrounding Yusuf and his brothers.

 

قَالُوا يَا أَبَانَا اسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا خَاطِئِينَ
Qālū Yā ‘Abānā Astaghfir Lanā Dhunūbanā ‘Innā Kunnā Khāţi’een
They said: O our father!
Ask for forgiveness for our sins,
We were indeed among the wrong doers
Key words: “Astaghfir” (ask for forgiveness)The Nafs that was under the influence of Iblis has now repented. Nafs e Ammara has been transformed into Naf e Mutmaenna. The brothers ask their father to pray for them and beseech Allah for to forgive them.

 

قَالَ سَوْفَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكُمْ رَبِّي إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Qāla Sawfa ‘Astaghfiru Lakum Rabbī ۖ ‘Innahu Huwa Al-Ghafūru Ar-Raĥeem
He said: “I shall forthwith ask forgiveness for you from my Rabb,
Indeed, He is the Forgiver, the Merciful.”
Key words: “Al Ghafoor” (The Forgiving); “Ar-Rahim” (The Merciful)Allsh’s mercy is boundless. He forgives again and again. Jacob (pbuh) prays for his sons and asks for Divine forgiveness.

When the forgiveness and mercy is invoked, the transformation of the brothers is complete. They are now clothed in the mercy and forgiveness from Allah. They are ready to meet Yusuf and bask in the full ebullience of his love.

 

فَلَمَّا دَخَلُوا عَلَى يُوسُفَ آوَى إِلَيْهِ أَبَوَيْهِ وَقَالَ ادْخُلُوا مِصْرَ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ آمِنِينَ
Falammā Dakhalū `Alá Yūsufa ‘Āwá ‘Ilayhi ‘Abawayhi Wa Qāla Adkhulū Mişra ‘In Shā’a Allāhu ‘Āmineen
Then, when they appeared before Joseph,
He accommodated his parents with him,
And said: “Enter Egypt in peace,
If Allah wills it.”
Key words: “Inshallah” (If Allah wills it)
Yusuf accompanies his father and his step mother to a place of honor and welcomes them to Egypt in peace, as Allah wills it.Honor to parents is an injunction of the Qur’an. Yusuf is the embodiment of a loving son who honors his parents. The utterance of “inshallah” connotes that the will of Allah works through human affairs and modulates them. The Qur’an admonishes humankind: Do not say I will do it without qualifying it by “Inshallah”. Man plans; the Will of Allah prevails.

 

وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّوا لَهُ سُجَّدًا وَقَالَ يَا أَبَتِ هَذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَايَ مِنْ قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّي حَقًّا وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بِي إِذْ أَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ السِّجْنِ وَجَاءَ بِكُمْ مِنَ الْبَدْوِ مِنْ بَعْدِ أَنْ نَزَغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي إِنَّ رَبِّي لَطِيفٌ لِمَا يَشَاءُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ
Wa Rafa`a ‘Abawayhi `Alá Al-`Arshi Wa Kharrū Lahu Sujjadāan ۖ Wa Qāla Yā ‘Abati Hādhā Ta’wīlu Ru’uyā Y Min Qablu Qad Ja`alahā Rabbī ۖ Ĥaqqāan Wa Qad ‘Aĥsana Bī ‘Idh ‘Akhrajanī Mina As-Sijni Wa Jā’a Bikum Mina Al-Badwi Min Ba`di ‘An Nazagha Ash-Shayţānu Baynī Wa Bayna ۚ ‘Ikhwatī ‘Inna Rabbī Laţīfun Limā ۚ Yashā’u ‘Innahu Huwa Al-`Alīmu Al-Ĥakeem
And he raised up his parents on the seat (high in honor),
And they lay down before him prostrate,
And he said: “O my father!
This is the realization of my dream long ago;
My Rabb has made it come true.
And He bestowed on me His grace
When he took me out of the well,
And brought you all from our town,
Even after Satan had sowed dissension
Between me and my brothers.
Indeed, my Rabb is subtle as He wills!
Lo! He is the Knower, the Wise!
Subtle are the ways in which Divine Will works through human history! Satan misleads humankind but he also plays an essential role in helping to separate the good from the evil. He misled Yusuf’s brothers and made them abandon Yusuf in a dark well. Allah honored Yusuf with inspiration in the darkness of the well. Before he was thrown into the well, he was the son of the Jacob. When he came out of the well he was a Prophet himself. That was the Divine grace that anointed Yusuf in the depths of a deep well.Divine Grace protected Yusuf from the overtures of Zulaikha, the nobleman’s wife, and made him come out triumphant In his battles with earthly love which vanishes like a mirage when Divine Love makes its appearance.

Yusuf placed his parents in a position of high honor. They, along with his brothers, humbled themselves before him and fell prostrate. The prostration is symbolic of the ultimate victory of Divine love over the distractions of Iblis.

The Ayah affirms the subtlety of Allah’s will, His Knowledge, His Wisdom and His Grace.

 

رَبِّ قَدْ آتَيْتَنِي مِنَ الْمُلْكِ وَعَلَّمْتَنِي مِنْ تَأْوِيلِ الْأَحَادِيثِ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَنْتَ وَلِيِّي فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ
Rabbi Qad ‘Ātaytanī Mina Al-Mulki Wa `Allamtanī Min Ta’wīli Al-‘Aĥādīthi ۚ Fāţira As-Samāwāti Wa Al-‘Arđi ‘Anta Wa Līyi Fī Ad-Dunyā Wa Al-‘Ākhirati ۖ Tawaffanī Muslimāan Wa ‘Alĥiqnī Biş-Şāliĥeen
Key words: “Mulk” (Dominion); “’Ilm” (Knowledge); “Ta’weel” (Interpretation); “Ahadith” (Narrations); “Fatir” (Primal originator); “Samawat” (the skies, what surrounds us); “Wali” (protector); “Saliheen” (truthful ones)“O my Rabb!
You have granted me something of authority,
And taught me how to look into the inner nature of things,
(To You is due) the primal origin of the heavens and the earth,
You are the protector of this world and the hereafter,
Take my life as one who surrenders,
And place me in the company of the righteous.”
This is the du’a of Prophet Yusuf and it is recited in the dhikr of Awliyah. It is a powerful invocation with deep wisdom and oceans of blessings.“O our creator, sustainer and cherisher”, begins the Du’a, “you have given me something of the authority over Your dominion”

The pronoun “min” is important in this context. Yusuf supplicates with humility that Allah has given a little of the authority over His dominion. Knowledge comes from Allah. It is His gift to humankind. The true scholars are humble. They know the limits of their knowledge. The arrogant ones are puffed up with what little they know. They fall into the abyss of conceit and condescending self-importance.

Ta’weel is the ability to interpret narrations. A scientist interprets data from nature. A philosopher interprets concepts and ideas. A historian interprets traces of the struggle of man on earth. A sociologist interprets human relationships. The Prophets are endowed with knowledge of the inner nature of things. They read the Signs and warn humankind about events to come, the most certain of which is the Judgment Day. These are the gifts from Allah. He honors whom He will with knowledge and insight.

To Allah is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth. “Samawat” means the skies. The earth is a speck of dust floating in the vast expanse of space and “sky” is what surrounds it in every direction. “Al Ard” is symbolic of the earth from which we emerge and of which our bodies are made of.

Allah is the primal creator of what is outside and what is inside. This marvelous creation, the Dominion, did not emerge by chance. It was created for a purpose and that was to know, serve and worship Him.

Allah is Rabbul Alameen, the Creator, Sustainer and Cherisher of all the universes, seen and unseen. He is the cherisher of the hereafter.

Yusuf was a Prophet, one who had surrendered his Self to Allah. The All-Compassionate illuminated the heart of Yusuf and through the light of his heart, dispelled the darkness that surrounded the hearts of Zulaikha and of the brothers.

Shaitan is always active, working through the Nafs, taking men and women away from the honor of servitude and surrender to Allah. Those who have conquered their Nafs are not swayed by Shaitan. Their hearts stay focused on the Spirit that comes from Allah. Such a heart becomes a platform for the manifestation of Allah’s attributes as was the heart of Yusuf.

The du’a concludes beseeching Allah to keep us in the company of the truthful ones in this life and in the hereafter. The truthful ones are those who have conquered their Nafs and have surrendered themselves to Divine Will. They see through the eyes of heavenly grace, hear the voices of the denizens of the unseen and work in consonance with Divine command. Allah is Truth. The truthful ones love Him, serve Him, obey Him, worship Him.

 

ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَنْبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهِ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا كُنْتَ لَدَيْهِمْ إِذْ أَجْمَعُوا أَمْرَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَمْكُرُونَ
Dhālika Min ‘Anbā’i Al-Ghaybi Nūĥīhi ‘Ilayka ۖ Wa Mā Kunta Ladayhim ‘Idh ‘Ajma`ū ‘Amrahum Wa Hum Yamkuroon
That is a narration from beyond (the world of) perception
That has been revealed to you (O Muhammad),
And you were not with them,
When they firmed up their plans,
And were plotting.
Key words: “Al-Ghaib” (beyond the world of perception); “Nuhihi” (We have revealed it by inspiration);
“’Amrahum” (Their affairs, their plans, their deeds, their directed energies)The narration about Yusuf is from Ilm ul Ghaib, the knowledge from beyond the world of perception. Ilm ul Ghaib is also called Ilm al Laduni. It is infused into the hearts of Prophets and through the Prophets it becomes accessible to all humankind. The historical traces of Yusuf are Signs for the guidance of humankind. Joseph is a symbol of the mystical love of a Prophet that rises up to the throne of Allah and reaches down In compassion to a loving son. Yusuf is a Sign of the loving heart that is illuminated by the Reality of Divine love (Ishaq e haqeeqi). Zulaikha is a Sign of the Nafs that is transformed under the gaze of the loving heart. The brothers of Yusuf are symbols of the Sadr that becomes cloudy under the devious plots of Shaitan but is ultimately rescued by the Reality of true love.

 

وَمَا أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
Wa Mā ‘Aktharu An-Nāsi Wa Law Ĥaraşta Bimu’umineen
But most among humankind
Will not believe (this narration),
Even if it was your (ardent) desire.
Allah is well aware of the nature of disbelievers. They will not believe even when they are offered incontrivertable proofs for faith. Whom Allah leaves in darkness, none can guide!Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) loves humankind. It is his ardent desire that people believe in Allah and get close to Him but disbelief has deep roots. It is not so easily extirpated.

 

وَمَا تَسْأَلُهُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِلْعَالَمِينَ

Wa Mā Tas’aluhum `Alayhi Min ‘Ajrin ۚ ‘In Huwa ‘Illā Dhikrun Lil`ālameen
And you do not ask from them any compensation;
This is not but an admonition for all the worlds.
The Qur’an is a gift of love from Allah. It shows the way for humankind to Divine presence. The Prophet, as a Messenger of Allah, received the Qur’an and communicated it to the world, seeking no gain from this heavely service.

 

وَكَأَيِّنْ مِنْ آيَةٍ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَمُرُّونَ عَلَيْهَا وَهُمْ عَنْهَا مُعْرِضُونَ
Wa Ka’ayyin Min ‘Āyatin Fī As-Samāwāti Wa Al-‘Arđi Yamurrūna `Alayhā Wa Hum `Anhā Mu`riđoon
And however many Signs in the heavens and the earth
Pass by them, they disregard them.
There are Signs in far away galaxies as there are Signs in atoms, electrons, protons, neurons and strings. There are Signs in the historical traces of generations that have gone before us as there are Signs within our own Selves. However, most people are heedless. They have eyes but they cannot see. They have ears but they cannot hear. They have hearts but they do not feel. They have entombed themselves in layered cocoons of darkness. They are blind, deft and sick in their hearts. They have no faith.

 

وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ بِاللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُمْ مُشْرِكُونَ

Wa Mā Yu’uminu ‘Aktharuhum Billāhi~ ‘Illā Wa Hum Mushrikoon
And most of them have no certainty of faith in Allah,
And they associate partners with Him.
The central theme of the Qur’an, as it is of Surah Yusuf, is Tawhid. Allah is One and there is none like unto Him. Tawhid does not stop with the idea of Oneness of Allah. It embraces all aspects of life.
Some people invoke Allah when they are in trouble but as soon as their troubles are over, they forget Him and go back to the pleasures of the world as if they worship two deities, a deity of adversity and a deity of felicity. Humankind is prone to disbelief. It divides up the Truth into pieces and asspcoates false gods with the one and only God.There are no separate deities for felicity and adversity. They are both gifts from Allah so that He can test human beings.Shirk is the association of any deity with Allah or ascribing divinity to anything that is created. Shirk leads to a fossilized image of the Truth. It destroys the basis of universal justice. How can there be justice when the God of the oppressor is different from the God of the oppressed? Ultimately, shirk destroys civilizations. Shirk is the greatest of sins. All Prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them) have warned against it and have asserted the fundamental doctrine of Tawhid.

 

أَفَأَمِنُوا أَنْ تَأْتِيَهُمْ غَاشِيَةٌ مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ أَوْ تَأْتِيَهُمُ السَّاعَةُ بَغْتَةً وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ
‘Afa’aminū ‘An Ta’tiyahum Ghāshiyatun Min `Adhābi Allāhi ‘Aw Ta’tiyahumu As-Sā`atu Baghtatan Wa Hum Lā Yash`uroon
Have they lost their fear
That an avalanche of a terrible punishment from Allah
May overtake them,
Or that the Last Day may seize them suddenly,
And they anticipate it not?
The Compassionate reminds humankind about the perils of disbelief. Allah is Merciful. He is the Source of love. Human existence on planet earth is perilous and could end abruptly by a direct hit by a large meteor or a blast from space. Indeed, life is a gift of Divine love for a limited time and a determined purpose, to know, serve and worship Him, and Him alone.

 

قُلْ هَذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ عَلَى بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Qul Hadhihi Sabīlī ‘Ad`ū ‘Ilá Allāhi ۚ `Alá Başīratin ‘Anā Wa Mani Attaba`anī ۖ Wa Subĥāna Allāhi Wa Mā ‘Anā Mina Al-Mushrikeen
Say: “This is my path:
I invite towards Allah
In accordance with what I see (outside) and perceive (inside) –
I and those who follow me.
Lo! Glorified is Allah!
And I am not among those
Who associate partners with Him.”
The Signs on the horizon and the Signs in our own Selves point to the All-Compassionate. Surah Yusuf offers many such Signs.Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is commanded to draw the attention of humankind to these Signs, invite them to faith, to glorify Allah and avoid associating others with Him.

 

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَدَارُ الْآخِرَةِ خَيْرٌ لِلَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ

Wa Mā ‘Arsalnā Min Qablika ‘Illā Rijālāan Nūĥī ‘Ilayhim Min ‘Ahli Al-Qurá ۗ ‘Afalam Yasīrū Fī Al-‘Arđi Fayanžurū Kayfa Kāna `Āqibatu Al-Ladhīna Min Qablihim ۗ Wa Ladāru Al-‘Ākhirati Khayrun Lilladhīna Attaqaw ۗ ‘Afalā Ta`qiloon
And We did not but send before you,
Men from their own communities,
Who received revelation from Us.
So, have they not travelled through the earth,
And observed what was the fate of those before them?
And indeed the abode of the hereafter
Is better for those who are conscious of the Divine.
Will they not therefore reason?
The ruins of past civilization speak in quiet eloquence about the deeds of generations past. The Qur’an invites humankind to travel through the earth, visit the ruins of civilizations that have gone before us and learn from them. When these civilizations followed the balance and justice prescribed by Divine decree, they prospered. When they violated justice, they destroyed themselves.The life of this world is alluring. It is fleeting. It corrupts. It is a deception and a trap. Humankind is in utter need of Divine grace to escape the trap and find a place with Him in the hereafter.

 

حَتَّى إِذَا اسْتَيْئَسَ الرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ كُذِبُوا جَاءَهُمْ نَصْرُنَا فَنُجِّيَ مَنْ نَشَاءُ وَلَا يُرَدُّ بَأْسُنَا عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
Ĥattá ‘Idhā Astay’asa Ar-Rusulu Wa Žannū ‘Annahum Qad Kudhibū Jā’ahum Naşrunā Fanujjiya Man Nashā’u ۖ Wa Lā Yuraddu Ba’sunā `Ani Al-Qawmi Al-Mujrimeen
(Inequity in the world prevailed)
So much so that the Messengers were in despair,
And were suspected of being liars.
There came Our help.
Then, We saved whom We will.
But Our punishment was not retracted
From a people who were guilty.
When the commands of Allah are violated and the earth goes through convulsions under the oppressive darkness of injustice, the Mercy of Allah intervenes and sends a Messenger. The appearance of Prophets are benchmarks in human history. They mark the swing of pendulum from an extreme of injustice back towards the center wherein justice is re-established.Throughout history, the task of the Messengers has never been easy. They are called liars and are rejected. Many are slain. But they endure and persevere. They teach afresh the virtues of righteousness, forgiveness and love. There is renewal. And a new civilization is born.

When a people are so obstinate that they persist in their folly, the wrath of Allah visits them and makes them destroy themselves with their own inequities.

 

لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَى وَلَكِنْ تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Laqad Kāna Fī Qaşaşihim `Ibratun Li’wlī Al-‘Albābi ۗ Mā Kāna Ĥadīthāan Yuftará Wa Lakin Taşdīqa Al-Ladhī Bayna Yadayhi Wa Tafşīla Kulli Shay’in Wa Hudan Wa Raĥmatan Liqawmin Yu’uminoon
Behold! In these narrations
Are lessons for a people of intellect!
These are not stories made up,
But a confirmation of what (was revealed) before you,
Providing details about all things,
And a guidance,
And a Mercy
Upon a people
Who have certainty of faith.
Key words: “’Ibrat” (moral lesson), “Albab” (People who are endowed with subtlety and baraka from Allah, people of intellect).These narrations are a Mercy from Allah for those who have faith. There is guidance in the Signs that are offered for a people of wisdom.

Truth is one. It is eternal and is independent of space-time. It has been affirmed by all Messengers throughout history. The historical narration of Yusuf is an affirmation of that universal Truth. It is a Sign of Divine love working in subtle ways through human affairs, transforming hearts and leading them from the depths of darkness towards Divine light.

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