12. Yusuf


Alif. Lam. Ra. These are the Verses of thePerspicuous Book.


We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran, inorder that ye may learn wisdom.


We do relate unto thee the most beautiful ofstories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Quran:before this, thou too was among those who knew it not.


Behold! Joseph said to his father: “O myfather! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw themprostrate themselves to me!”


Said (the father): “My (dear) little son!relate not thy vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plotagainst thee: for Satan is to man an avowed enemy!


“Thus will thy Lord choose thee and teachthee the interpretation of stories (and events) and perfect Hisfavor to thee and to the posterity of Jacob – even as He perfectedit to thy fathers Abraham and Isaac aforetime! for Allah is full ofknowledge and wisdom.”


Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signsfor seekers (after Truth).


They said: “Truly Joseph and his brother areloved more by our father than we: But we are a goodly body! Reallyour father is obviously wandering in error!


“Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some(unknown) land, that so the favor of your father may be given to youalone: (there will be time enough) for you to be righteous afterthat!”


Said one of them: “Slay not Joseph, but if yemust do something, throw him down to the bottom of the well: he willbe picked up by some caravan of travelers.”


They said: “O our father! Why dost thou nottrust us with Joseph,- seeing we are indeed his sincerewell-wishers?


“Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himselfand play, and we shall take every care of him.”


(Jacob) said: “Really it saddens me that yeshould take him away: I fear lest the wolf should devour him whileye attend not to him.”


They said: “If the wolf were to devour himwhile we are (so large) a party, then should we be the losers!”


So they did take him away, and they allagreed to throw him down to the bottom of the well: and We put intohis heart (this Message): ‘Of a surety thou shalt (one day) tellthem the truth of this their affair while they perceive not’


Then they came to their father in the earlypart of the night, weeping.


They said: “O our father! We went racing withone another, and left Joseph with our things; and the wolf devouredhim. But thou wilt never believe us even though we tell the truth.”


They stained his shirt with false blood. Hesaid: “Nay, but your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) withyou, (for me) patience is most fitting: Against that which yeassert, it is Allah (alone) Whose help can be sought”…


Then there came a caravan of travelers: theysent their water-carrier (for water), and he let down his bucket(into the well)…He said: “Ah there! Good news! Here is a (fine)young man!” So they concealed him as a treasure! But Allah knowethwell all that they do!


The (Brethren) sold him for a miserableprice, for a few dirhams counted out: in such low estimation didthey hold him!


The man in Egypt who bought him, said to hiswife: “Make his stay ( among us) honorable: may be he will bring usmuch good, or we shall adopt him as a son.” Thus did We establishJoseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation ofstories (and events). And Allah hath full power and control over Hisaffairs; but most among mankind know it not.


When Joseph attained his full manhood, Wegave him power and knowledge: thus do We reward those who do right.


But she in whose house he was, sought toseduce him, and she fastened the doors, and said: “Now come!” Hesaid: “Allah forbid! truly (thy husband) is my lord! he made mysojourn agreeable! truly to no good come those who do wrong!”


And (with passion) did she desire him, and hewould have desired her, but that he saw the evidence of his Lord:thus (did We order) that We might turn away from him (all) evil andindecent deeds: for he was one of Our servants, chosen.


So they both raced each other to the door,and she tore his shirt from the back: they both found her lord nearthe door. She said: “What is the (fitting) punishment for one whoformed an evil design against thy wife, but prison or a grievouschastisement?”


He said: “It was she that sought to seduce me- from my (true) self.” And one of her household saw (this) and borewitness, (thus):- “If it be that his shirt is rent from the front,then is her tale true, and he is a liar!


“But if it be that his shirt is torn from theback, then is she the liar, and he is telling the truth!”


So when he saw his shirt,- that it was tornat the back,- (her husband) said: “Behold! It is a snare of youwomen! truly, mighty is your snare!


“O Joseph, pass this over! (O wife), askforgiveness for thy sin, for truly thou hast been at fault!”


Ladies said in the City: “The wife of the(great) Aziz is seeking to seduce her slave. Truly hath he inspiredher with violent love: we see she is evidently going astray.”


When she heard of their malicious talk, shesent for them and prepared a banquet for them: she gave each of thema knife: and she said (to Joseph), “Come out before them.” When theysaw him, they did extol him, and (in their amazement) cut theirhands: they said, “Allah preserve us! no mortal is this! this isnone other than a noble angel!”


She said: “There before you is the man aboutwhom ye did blame me! I did seek to seduce him from his (true) selfbut he did firmly save himself guiltless! …and now, if he doth notmy bidding, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and (what ismore) be of the company of the vilest!”


He said: “O my Lord! the prison is dearer tomy liking than that to which they invite me: unless Thou turn awaytheir snare from me, I should feel inclined towards them and jointhe ranks of the ignorant.”


So his Lord hearkened to him (in his prayer),and turned away from him their snare: Verily He heareth and knoweth(all things).


Then it occurred to them, after they had seenthe Signs, (that it was best) to imprison him for a time.


Now with him there came into the prison twoyoung men. Said one of them: “I see myself (in a dream) pressingwine.” Said the other: “I see myself (in a dream) carrying bread onmy head, and birds are eating, thereof.” “Tell us” (they said) “Thetruth and meaning thereof: for we see thou art one that doth good(to all).”


He said: “Before any food comes (in duecourse) to feed either of you, I will surely reveal to you the truthand meaning of this ere it befall you: that is part of the (duty)which my Lord hath taught me. I have (I assure you) abandoned theways of a people that believe not in Allah and that (even) deny theHereafter.


“And I follow the ways of my fathers,-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and never could we attribute any partnerswhatever to Allah: that (comes) of the grace of Allah to us and tomankind: yet most men are not grateful.


“O my two companions of the prison! (I askyou): are many lords differing among themselves better, or Allah heOne, Supreme and Irresistible?


“Whatever ye worship apart from Him isnothing but names which ye have named,- ye and your fathers,- forwhich Allah hath sent down no authority: the Command is for none butAllah. He hath commanded that ye worship none but Him: that is theright religion, but most men understand not…


“O my two companions of the prison! As to oneof you, he will pour out the wine for his lord to drink: as for theother, he will hang from the cross, and the birds will eat from offhis head. (So) hath been decreed that matter whereof ye twain doinquire”…


And of the two, to that one whom heconsidered about to be saved, he said: “Mention me to thy lord.” ButSatan made him forget to mention him to his lord: and (Joseph)lingered in prison a few (more) years.


The king (of Egypt) said: “I do see (in avision) seven fat kine, whom seven lean ones devour, and seven greenears of corn, and seven (others) withered. O ye chiefs! Expound tome my vision if it be that ye can interpret visions.”


They said: “A confused medley of dreams: andwe are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.”


But the man who had been released, one of thetwo (who had been in prison) and who now remembered him after (solong) a space of time, said: “I will tell you the truth of itsinterpretation: send ye me (therefore).”


“O Joseph!” (he said) “O man of truth!Expound to us (the dream) of seven fat kine whom seven lean onesdevour, and of seven green ears of corn and (seven) others withered:that I may return to the people, and that they may know.”


(Joseph) said: “For seven years shall yediligently sow as is your wont: and the harvests that ye reap, yeshall leave them in the ear,- except a little, of which ye shalleat.


“Then will come after that (period) sevendreadful (years), which will devour what ye shall have laid by inadvance for them,- (all) except a little which ye shall have(specially) guarded.


“Then will come after that (period) a year inwhich the people will have abundant water, and in which they willpress (wine and oil).”


So the king said: “Bring ye him unto me.” Butwhen the messenger came to him, (Joseph) said: “Go thou back to thylord, and ask him, ‘What was the matter with the ladies who cuttheir hands’? For my Lord is certainly well aware of their snare.”


(The king) said (to the ladies): “What wasyour affair when ye did seek to seduce Joseph?” The ladies said:”Allah preserve us! no evil know we against him!” Said the Aziz’swife: “Now is the truth manifest (to all): it was I who sought toseduce him. He is indeed of those who are (ever) true (andvirtuous).


“This (say I), in order that he may know thatI have never been false to him in his absence, and that Allah willnever guide the snare of the false ones.


“Yet I do not absolve myself (of blame): the(human) soul is certainly incites to evil, unless my Lord do bestowHis Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.”


So the king said: “Bring him unto me; I willtake him specially to serve about my own person.” Therefore when hehad spoken to him, he said: “Be assured this day, thou art, of highstanding with us, invested with all trust!


(Joseph) said: “Set me over the store-housesof the land: I am a good keeper, knowledgeable.”


Thus did We give established power to Josephin the land, to take possession therein as, when, or where hepleased. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We suffernot, to be lost, the reward of those who do good.


But verily the reward of the Hereafter is thebest, for those who believe, and are constant in righteousness.


Then came Joseph’s brethren: they entered hispresence, and he knew them, but they knew him not.


And when he had furnished them forth withprovisions (suitable) for them, he said: “Bring unto me a brother yehave, of the same father as yourselves, (but a different mother):see ye not that I pay out full measure, and that I do provide thebest hospitality?


“Now if ye bring him not to me, ye shall haveno measure (of corn) from me, nor shall ye (even) come near me.”


They said: “We shall try to win him from hisfather: indeed we shall do it.”


And (Joseph) told his servants to put theirstock-in-trade (with which they had bartered) into theirsaddle-bags, so they should know it only when they returned to theirpeople, in order that they might come back.


Now when they returned to their father, theysaid: “O our father! No more measure of grain shall we get (unlesswe take our brother): So send our brother with us, that we may getour measure; and we will indeed take every care of him.”


He said: “Shall I trust you with him with anyresult other than when I trusted you with his brother aforetime? ButAllah is the best to take care (of him), and He is the Most Mercifulof those who show mercy!”


Then when they opened their baggage, theyfound their stock-in-trade had been returned to them. They said: “Oour father! What (more) can we desire? this our stock-in-trade hasbeen returned to us: so we shall get (more) food for our family; Weshall take care of our brother; and add (at the same time) a fullcamel’s load (of grain to our provisions). This is but a smallquantity.


(Jacob) said: “Never will I send him with youuntil ye swear a solemn oath to me, in Allah’s name, that ye will besure to bring him back to me unless ye are yourselves hemmed in (andmade powerless). And when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said:”Over all that we say, be Allah the Witness and Guardian!”


Further he said: “O my sons! enter not all byone gate: enter ye by different gates. Not that I can profit youaught against Allah (with my advice): None can command except Allah.On Him do I put my trust: and let all that trust put their trust onHim.”


And when they entered in the manner theirfather had enjoined, it did not profit them in the least against(the plan of) Allah. It served only to satisfy Jacob’s heartfeltdesire. For he was, by Our instruction, full of knowledge (andexperience): but most men know not.


Now when they came into Joseph’s presence, hereceived his (full) brother to stay with him. He said (to him):”Behold! I am thy (own) brother; so grieve not at aught of theirdoings.”


At length when he had furnished them forthwith provisions (suitable) for them, he put the drinking cup intohis brother’s saddle-bag. Then shouted out a crier: “O ye (in) thecaravan! behold! ye are thieves, without doubt!”


They said, turning towards them: “What is itthat ye miss?”


They said: “We miss the great beaker of theking; for him who produces it, is (the reward of) a camel load; Iwill be bound by it.”


(The brothers) said: “By Allah! Well ye knowthat we came not to make mischief in the land, and we are nothieves!”


(The Egyptians) said: “What then shall be thepenalty of this, if ye are (proved) to have lied?”


They said: “The penalty should be that he inwhose saddle-bag it is found, should be held (as bondman) to atonefor the (crime). Thus it is we punish the wrong- doers!”


So he began (the search) with their baggage,before (he came to) the baggage of his brother: at length he broughtit out of his brother’s baggage. Thus did We plan for Joseph. Hecould not take his brother by the law of the king except that Allahwilled it (so). We raise to degrees (of wisdom) whom We please: butover all endued with knowledge is One, the All-Knowing.


They said: “If he steals, there was a brotherof his who did steal before (him).” But these things did Joseph keeplocked in his heart, revealing not the secrets to them. He (simply)said (to himself): “Ye are the worse situated; and Allah knowethbest the truth of what ye assert!”


They said: “O exalted one! Behold! he has afather, aged and venerable, (who will grieve for him); so take oneof us in his place; for we see that thou art (gracious) in doinggood.”


He said: “Allah forbid that we take otherthan him with whom we found our property: indeed (if we did so), weshould be acting wrongfully.


Now when they saw no hope of his (yielding),they held a conference in private. The leader among them said: “Knowye not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s name,and how, before this, ye did fail in your duty with Joseph?Therefore will I not leave this land until my father permits me, orAllah judges for me; and He is the best to judge.


“Turn ye back to your father, and say, ‘O ourfather! behold! thy son committed theft! We bear witness only towhat we know, and we could not well guard against the unseen!


“‘Ask at the town where we have been and thecaravan in which we returned, and (you will find) we are indeedtelling the truth.'”


Jacob said: “Nay, but ye have yourselvescontrived a story (good enough) for you. So patience is most fitting(for me). Maybe Allah will bring them (back) all to me (in the end).For He is indeed full of knowledge and wisdom.”


And he turned away from them, and said: “Howgreat is my grief for Joseph!” And his eyes became white withsorrow, and he was suppressed with silent sorrow.


They said: “By Allah. (never) wilt thou ceaseto remember Joseph until thou reach the last extremity of illness,or until thou die!”


He said: “I only complain of my distractionand anguish to Allah, and I know from Allah that which ye knownot…


“O my sons! go ye and inquire about Josephand his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Soothing Mercy:truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those whohave no faith.”


Then, when they came (back) into (Joseph’s)presence they said: “O exalted one! distress has seized us and ourfamily: we have (now) brought but scanty capital: so pay us fullmeasure, (we pray thee), and treat it as charity to us: for Allahdoth reward the charitable.”


He said: “Know ye how ye dealt with Josephand his brother, not knowing (what ye were doing)?”


They said: “Art thou indeed Joseph?” He said,”I am Joseph, and this is my brother: Allah has indeed been graciousto us (all): behold , he that is righteous and patient,- never willAllah suffer the reward to be lost, of those who do right.”


They said: “By Allah! Indeed has Allahpreferred thee above us, and we certainly have been guilty of sin!”


He said: “This day let no reproach be (cast)on you: Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of thosewho show mercy!


“Go with this my shirt, and cast it over theface of my father: he will come to see (clearly). Then come ye(here) to me together with all your family.”


When the caravan left (Egypt), their fathersaid: “I do indeed scent the presence of Joseph: Nay, think me not adotard.”


They said: “By Allah! Truly thou art in thineold wandering illusion.”


Then when the bearer of the good news came,He cast (the shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clearsight. He said: “Did I not say to you, ‘I know from Allah that whichye know not?'”


They said: “O our father! ask for usforgiveness for our sins, for we were truly at fault.”


He said: “Soon will I ask my Lord forforgiveness for you: for He is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”


Then when they entered the presence ofJoseph, he provided a home for his parents with himself, and said:”Enter ye Egypt (all) in safety if it please Allah.”


And he raised his parents high on the throne,and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said: “O myfather! this is the fulfillment of my vision of old! Allah hath madeit come true! He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prisonand brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan hadsown enmity between me and my brothers. Verily my Lord is Graciousto whom He wills, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom.


“O my Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on mesome power, and taught me something of the interpretation of dreamsand events,- O Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou artmy Protector in this world and in the Hereafter. Take Thou my soul(at death) as one submitting to Thy Will (as a Muslim), and unite mewith the righteous.”


Such is one of the stories of what happenedunseen, which We reveal by inspiration unto thee; nor wast thou(present) with them then when they concerted their plans together inthe process of weaving their plots.


Yet no faith will the greater part of mankindhave, however ardently thou dost desire it.


And no reward dost thou ask of them for this:it is no less than a Message for all creatures.


And how many Signs in the heavens and theearth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!


And most of them believe not in Allah withoutassociating (other as partners) with Him!


Do they then feel secure from the comingagainst them of the covering veil of the wrath of Allah,- or of thecoming against them of the (final) Hour all of a sudden while theyperceive not?


Say thou: “This is my Way: I do invite untoAllah,- with certain knowledge, – I and whoever follows me. Glory toAllah, and never will I join gods with Allah!”


Nor did We send before thee messengers anybut men, whom We did inspire,- (men) from the people of the towns.Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end ofthose before them? But the home of the Hereafter is best, for thosewho do right. Will ye not then understand?


(Respite will be granted) until, when themessengers give up hope (of their people) and (com 289 e to) thinkthat they were treated as liars, there reaches them Our help, andthose whom We will are delivered into safety. But never will bewarded off our punishment from those who are in sin.


There is, in their stories, instruction formen endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but aconfirmation of what went before it,- a detailed exposition of allthings, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe.