| 11/06/22 The Prophet Yusuf (AS)
One morning, when Yusuf (as) woke up and got out of bed, he was cheerful and happy. He went to Yaqub, his father, and said: "O my dear father! Last night I had a wonderful dream. In my dream, I saw eleven stars, the sun and the moon prostrating themselves before me." On hearing this, his father became very happy and said: "Dear son! This dream is a true vision and shows your brilliant future. Remember not to say anything about it to your brothers, as they may become jealous of you and plot something evil against you."
When Yusuf (as) was a small boy, his mother Rachel died andhe and his brother, Benjamin, became orphans. That is why Yaqub loved Yusuf so much. His father's affection caused his other brothers to hate and be jealous of him. They made a plan to separate Yusuf from his father, so that he may love them alone.
One day, his brothers went to their father and said: "Dear father, why don't you trust us with Yusuf? We want nothing but good for him. Let him come with us tomorrow to the desert, where he may play and enjoy himself. We will take good care of him." Yaqub was aware of their evil thoughts and knew that they had plotted to kill him. It was the reason why they insisted on taking Yusuf with them. Their father did not want to show them his fear and anxiety, so he said: "It makes me unhappy that he goes away from me and besides, I fear that a wolf might eat him while you are heedless of him." Yusuf's brothers replied: "We are a brave group and accept responsibility for anything that may happen to him. We are sure that everything will be all right."
Early next morning, Yusuf (as) and his brothers left Canaan gate. They had not gone very far when his brothers became angry and rough and behaved harshly towards him. When they got to the Canaan well, they stripped Yusuf of his clothing and cast him naked into the well. His wailing and his cold sighs had no affect on them. Their jealousy towards him could not stop them from doing such a crime. His merciless brothers felt relieved after throwing him into the depth of the well. They thought their father would forget him and grow to love them instead. This is what they thought, but the fate was different and Allah's (swt) will was done.
It was dark when his brothers returned to their father, weeping. They showed him Yusuf's shirt, which they had stained with the blood of a bird. They said: "O father! We are sorry to tell you, what you fearedand tred to prevent just happened. To tell you the truth, we were busy in a shooting competition and left Yusuf by himself. Suddenyl a wolf attacked him and tore him to pieces. There was nothing we could do. His blood-stained shirt and our weeping eyes are good evidence that we speak the truth. You may not believe us, though we are telling the truth."
Yaqub knew they had commited a crime, and that it was Allah's (swt) will for Yusuf (as). He then looked at his sons and said: "Your vicious souls, jealousy and hatred have tempted you to do evil. I will be patient and ask Allah's help."
While Yaqub was scolding his sons, Yusuf was sitting alone in the darkness of the bottom of the well. He was thinking about the future; his miserable father and his own innocence, and different things were passing though his mind. At this time, a caravan, going to Egypt and passing near the well, decided to stay there overnight. They sent a man to bring some water from the well. The man lowered his bucket into the well and then pulled it up. To his amazement, he saw a very handsome boy hanging from the bucket. The man was so glad that he shouted: "There came out a boy!" All the caravan people rushed to see Yusuf and looked at him in astonishment. They decided to take Yusuf with them and sell him in Egypt as a slave.
It is of course very amazing that the people in the caravan neither asked how he got there nor did they think of returning him to his family. If they had only some human feelings, they should have thought that Yusuf must have parents or some relatives, who were undoubtedly feeling anxious for him. Instead, they only thought of their own benefits. They were glad that they had found a handsome boy without any trouble, to be their slave. They only thought of selling Yusuf in Egypt and getting a good price for him. They did not think of the misery of his parents.
At last, the caravan set out for Egypt, where they stayed and opened their luggage. Theen they took Yusuf (as) to the slave market and sold him for a few pieces of silver. The Egyptian who bought him, was the second man of the country after the king, and was called Aziz. He took Yusuf home as a servant and later appointed him as head servant. Aziz treated him with kindness and respect. The servants were told to obey all Yusuf's comands.
Aziz said to his wife: "Treat this young Canaanite boy kindly. I see he is wise and gentle. He may prove to be useful to us in the future. We may even adopt him as our son."
Yusuf at the House of Aziz:
Yusuf (as), hadn't yet recovered from the miseries he suffered, found himself involved in another difficult situation. Aziz's wife found that Yusuf had a dazzling charm. She fell in love with him. As Yusuf lived in her house, anytime she looked at him, her heart skipped a beat. The more she tried to forget Yusuf, the less she found she could do so. She was always thinking of Yusuf and he became all her life. After all, she found no remedy for her suffering except asking Yusuf for his affection. Whenever she had a chance, she exposed herself to Yusuf and begged for his love. Yusuf, who was from the house of the prophethood and had grown up in a noble family, paid no attention to her request. Aziz's wife wouldn't leave Yusuf alone. The more Yusuf ignored her, the more determined she was to accomplish her intention.
One day, when Yusuf was alone in the mansion, Aziz's wife entered stealthily. She first closed all the doors and locked up Yusuf. She asked Yusuf to embrace her. yusuf, finding himself trapped, thought it was best to escape from her. He tried to get away through the locked doors, but Aziz's wife followed him. She caught Yusuf by his collar and pulled him towards her, tearing off his shirt. Just at that moment, Aziz entered the palace. He saw something that nearly made him go mad: Yusuf running in front with his shirt torn off, and his wife following him, looking very distressed.
Without any embarrassment, Aziz's wife decided to change the scene to show herself as innocent and Yusuf as guilty. She then spoke to her husband and said: "This Canaanite young man has betrayed you in your absence. He wanted to violate the chastity of your wife. Now what is the penalty for such a person but going to prison or suffering a severe torture?"
Yusuf, who was an honest young man, began to tell the truth: "O Aziz from Egypt! This woman asked me to involve myself in something immoral. She then pulled me towards her, but I hated it and tried to run away."
Then a witness from Aziz's household gave evidence in favour of Yusuf (as) and said: "If his shirt is torn from the front, sheis speaking the truth and the boy is lying, but if it is torn from behind, then he is speaking the truth and she is lying." And when her husband saw Yusuf's shirt had a tear in the back, he knew Yusuf was not guilty. He said: "O young man, forget the matter, and say no more about it, otherwise, the people may speak badly of us." He then turned to his wife and said: "This is the slyness of the women, you played a terrible trick. Go and ask forgiveness for your sin; you are a sinful woman."
Although Aziz tried to conceal his wife's secret, the wives of the grandees and the nobles of the city heard all about the affair, and the "Love Story" was of a great attraction at their parties and gatherings. Some of them even spoke ill of Aziz's wife and scolded her. Aziz's wife heard about the things they said. She got very upset and began to think of a plan to prevent bad things from being said about her.
After a lot of thinking, she invited those ladies to a banquet at her house. The party was magnificent. All the noble ladies of Egypt were resting on comfortable cushions.Some fruits which needed peeling were served. Each lady took her knife. Just at that moment, Aziz's wife ordered Yusuf (as) to enter and pass through the party. No sooner he did so, then all the women fainted and we so enchanted at seeing Yusuf that they cut their hands instead of the fruits. They did not know what they were doing. They said: "Holy Allah This is not a mortal, this is but a noble angel, sppearing as a man!"
Aziz's wife, who saw her plan had worked, was very happy and with a victorious smile, she said: "This is he about whom you blamed me. If you see him and you distinguish your hands from the orange, you can then blame Zulaikha (Aziz's wife). Would that those who blamed me, could see thy face, O, sweetheart, to cut their hands instead of theorange. Only once you saw his face and you were so enchanted by his charm that you were unaware that you had cut your hands. Think of me who sees him all the time and on different occasions. He is in my house and I see him sitting, standing, sleeping, walking, etc... I have fallen in love with him. I asked him to have me, but as he was noble and a chaste boy, he refused my immoral wishes. He does his own job and with his heavenly soul, he never passes the boundaries of purity. I will ask him again, and if he does not fulfil my demands, he will be imprisoned."
Since then, Aziz's wife did everything to tame Yusuf (as), but she was not sucessful. At last, she was completely disappointed. Yusuf also found himself in a miserable state. He begged Allah (swt) to help him against the mischief of this sensual woman. Truly, he who has belief in Allah, will in all conditions ask Him for refuge and for help.
Yusuf (as) prayed to Allah (swt) and said: "O Allah! The situation I am involved in is worse than suffering the horrible dark prison. If you do not save me from Aziz's wife and the other Egyptian women, I may go astray and lose my dignity and be one of the sinners." The merciful Allah (swt) answered Yusuf's prayer and saved him from a great disaster.
Yusuf in Prison:
Aziz's wife, who was disappointed by Yusuf, complained to her husband, saying: "Yusuf had made me infamous among the women of Egypt, and has disgraced me. Now, if you want my fame returned and this stain removed from my reputation, you must put him in prison."
Although Aziz had seen with his eyes the pruity of Yusuf (as), and one of his household had testified to his innocence, he sent Yusuf to prison for a time, even though he was innocent.
On the day that Yusuf (as) was taken to prison, two other young men were also taken there with him. One of them was the king's butler and the other, his cook. They had been accused of intending to poison the king.
The next day, the butler came to Yusuf and said: "In my dream, I saw myself pressing grapes for the king." And the cook said: "I dreamt I was carrying bread on my head and the birds were eating it. Tell us what our dreams mean. We see that what you do it honest and your nobility is obvious."
Yusuf (as) realized that these men were ready to listen to him, so he took the chance of propogating his religion in prison and said: "Before they shall bring you food, I shall tell you its interpretation. This is what my Lord has taught me. Surely I have rejected the religion of the people who did not believe in Allah (swt) and denied the existence of life after death. I follow the religon of my forefathers; Ibrahim (as), Ishaq (as), and Yaqub (as). It is not right for us to believe there is more than one God."
"O my fellow prisoners, can anyone prefer useless and false gods to the One Mighty Allah? The false gods that you and your fathers worshipped were not true. Allah (swt) has sent down no authority for them."
After showing the right way, Yusuf (as) began to interpret their dreams, and said: "O my fellow prisoners, one of you, the one who dreamt that he was making wine, will soon be freed, and will start his work in the palace. The other will be hanged and the birds will eat from his head. This is the interpretation of your dreams."
Then Yusuf (as) said to himself: "Now that the king's butler is to be freed, and will return to the king's court, it would be better to ask him to tell the king of my innocence, perchance I may be freed from prison."
Their dreams came true, exactly as Yusuf (as) had told them - the butler was saved and the cook was executed. unfortunately, the butler forgot Yusuf after he was freed, and Yusuf remained in prison for some years.
One morning, when the king got up, he seemed distressed by a dream he had in the night. He sumoned the wise men and told them about the dream. He said: "I saw seven fat and beautiful cows coming out of the river and start grazing in the pasture. Later, seven thin and ugly cows came out of the water and ate the other seven up. Then I saw seven green ears of wheat and seven whithered ones. Now, interpret my dream." They thought for a while, looked at each other, and as they could not find any reasonable explanation, shook their heads and said: "We don't have any interpretation for your dream. What you had, must have been a nightmare."
The king's dream was Allah's (swt) way of rescuing Yusuf (as) from prison. The forgetful butler at last remembered what Yusuf had told him. He immediately went to the king and said: O king! There is a young, learned, noble, pious man in your prison who is skilful in the interpretations of dreams. Allow me to go to the prison and ask him about your dream." The king allowed the butler to go to the prison. He went to Yusuf and said: "O truthful Yusuf, tell me about the king's dream." Then he retold the king's dream to Yusuf. Yusuf, who was Allah's (swt) divine prophet, had a mission to improve the people's secular life as well as their faith. He not only interpreted the king's dream, but also gave the solution to the problem. He said: "In Egypt, there will be seven years of excellent harvest followed by seven years of famine, and people will suffer hunger. So people should grow lots of wheat, use only as much as they need, and store the rest in the storehouses, so that it can be used in the seven years of famine."
When the butler heard the interpretation, he went to the king quickly and explained what he had heard from Yusuf (as). The explaination removed sorrow from the king's face. He found the interpretation of his dream to be logical, and realized it had come from a noble mind. The king ordered Yusuf (as) to come to the court and stay there and help him with his noble ideas. The king's men went to the prison to free Yusuf, but he refused to leave, although freedom was so important to him, as he had been suffering in prison for years, deprived of seeing the sun, the moon and the stars, having had no good food nor a sound sleep. In spite of all these past hardships, and the king's pardon, he still refused to leave. He said: "Go and say to the king that I won't leave the prison until he sorts out my past so that my innocence can be proved to the public, and say to the king to go ask the noble ladies of Egypt why they cut their fingers at the party given by Aziz's wife and why they bothered me."
The king's men inevitably returned to him and told him the case. The king recalled the ladies of Egypt (whom possibly Yusuf had introduced by name), and asked them about the story of cutting their hands at the party. All those women confessed and testified that Yusuf (as) was innocent. In the end, Aziz's wife also admitted that she had been wrong and Yusuf had been innocent. Thus Yusuf, glad to be proved truthful and honourable, left the jail.
Yusuf at the Royal Court:
The king was very eager to see Yusuf (as). As soon as Yusuf entered the palace, the king welcomed him and talked to him for a while and reassured him. Soon he found that Yusuf was clever, noble, and intelligent. He said; "O Yusuf, you have a high position among us today and you shall be entrusted with our affairs. Now choose your position." Yusuf said: "Put me in charge of production storage and consumption of the crops of Egypt, because I am able to do this job."
The king ordered his attendants to obey Yusuf's (as) commands carefully and that his words would be the same as his.
Yusuf (as) tried hard to serve the people. He knew that the Nile would be generous for some years, but suddenly it would change its "mood" and deprive the people of its water. So he ought to take advantage of the suitable opportunity and save the people from the hardship of the coming years of famine.
Yusuf (as) made a short trip around the country, t get a brief idea of how the agricultural situation was. He gave enough money to the farmers to cultivate different grains and increase the crops. He then ordered granaries built to store the extra grain.
In the first seven years, Yusuf (as) provided the food for the people, but only as much as they needed. he left the rest of the food and stored it in the granaries. As these stores were filled up, the seven famine years began to appear. The Nile began to dry up and the land didn't have enough water for the crops to grow. But with Yusuf's anticipations, no danger threatened the people, and there was more than enough corn in the granaries to feed the people on.
The famine gradually extended to the neighbouring countries and up to Palestine and Canaan. Yaqub (as) and his family also suffered from the famine. Yusuf as well as the Aziz of Egypt became well-known among the nations. Everywhere they were talking about Yusuf's good services to people and admired his work. Outside Egypt, people said there is a learned Minister in Egypt, whose wisdom has saved the people from famine. He is a very clever and wise man. He treats people equally and gives them the corn they need, and behaves fatherly towards them.
Yaqub (as) called his sons and said: "O my sons, we are under the pressure of famine which threatens our lives. Go to the commander of Egypt whose generosity has spread throughout the kingdom, and ask him to give you some grain. But leave Benjamin with me in order that your absense may not make me too depressed." Yusuf's brothers set out for Egypt on their camels to buy the necessary grain and return to Canaan.
Yusuf's Brothers in Egypt:
When Yusuf's brothers arrived in Egypt, they went to him to buy the corn they needed. As soon as Yusuf (as) looked at them, he recognized them; however, the brothers didn't know who Yusuf was, because they assumed that he was dead. Time had also changed Yusuf's face and made him look a bit different.
Yusuf (as) was very glad to see his brothers, but suddenly felt sad that his full-blood brother, Benjamin, was not among them. He received his brothers cordialy and asked them to introduce themselves. His brothers said: "We were twelve brothers, all sons of Yaqub. Ten of us are here enjoying your generosity. One of our brothers stayed with our father to help him. We had another brother who has been lost for years and we have no news of him." Yusuf becamed assured that his father and brother Benjamin were well. He ordered his men to give them corn and to put their money which they had paid, back into their sacks. By doing this, Yusuf meant for his brothers to return to Egypt sooner without spending time in Canaan. Yusuf (as) addressed them, saying: "Bring your other brother with you when you come back, so that I may know you are honest and if you don't bring him, do not come to me again, as I will give you no corn." The brothers replied: "We will talk to our father and will try to get his permission to bring our younger brother with us."
Yusuf (as) said good-bye to his brothers and they happily left Canaan. They went to their father and said, "O father! As we had heard, we found the Minister of Egypt to be noble and generous. He received us, and gave us lots of corn, but we promised him that the next time we would take our brother, Benjamin, with us in order that he may be sure that we are telling the truth and that we have gone to Egypt for no other purpose than buying corn."
Yaqub said: "I shall never let Benjamin go with you. Would you like him to have the same fate as Yusuf? Mind your own business and leave me alone."
Yusuf's brothers unloaded their camels. They found that the money they paid for the crops had been returned to them. "Father!" they said, "Look at the generosity of the Minister of Sgypt, who didn't accept our money and secretly gave it back to us, so there is nothing to worry about. Let Benjamin come with us to Egypt. We promise to take good care of him and bring him back safely."
Yaqub knew that they were in need of provisions and that they had promised to the minister to take their brother with them. So he unwillingly let them take their brother, but made an agreement with them: He asked them to take good care of him and bring him back safely, unless something happened that they were unable to save him from. They promised on Allah's (swt) name and all together set out for Egypt. Yaqub suggested, "O my sons! Do not enter all by the same gate." By this, perhaps the ecperienced father meant to keep people's evil eyes away from them, or not to draw people's attention. As a group, they might think they were spies ot thieves who had come to Egypt.
Yusuf's brothers met him for the second time and introduced him to their brother Benjamin.
Yusuf (as), seeing his brother, became very glad and ordered his servants to provide extra food for them all, so that they could have lunch together.
At lunch-time, Yusuf (as) took his brothers home and each brother paired up to sit together. Benjamin, who had no companion, began to cry. "If my brother were alive, I wouldn't be alone." Yusuf sat beside him and they ate together. When the night came, Yusuf let each pair of brothers sleep together in a separate room and kept Benjamin with him. He said to Benjamin, "Would you like to have a brother like me instead of Yusuf?" Benjamin replied: "How can I find a brother better than you? But I am sorry, you are not from the loins of Yaqub and not from the womb of Rachel." Tears appeared in Yusuf's eyes. He hugged Benjamin and whispered to him: "I am your lost brother that you longed to meet. I have also suffered hardship from my brothers, but I have endured it. Allah (swt), by His grace and mercy, has solved my problems and has raised me to a high position. Keep this secret from your brothers and we will wait for nature to take its course."
Yusuf plans to keep Benjamin with him
The banquet days were over. Yusuf's (as) brothers prepared themselves to return to Canaan, after getting their share of corn. Yusuf made a plan to keep Benjamin with him. He ordered his servants to hide the golden measure, by which they measured corn, in Benjamin's baggage. The servants did as they were ordered to. The caravan had not gone very far when a servant of Yusuf shouted, "O you Canaanites stop! You are not respectable people. You do evil for the good done to you. You have forgotten th hospitality and have stolen the king's golden measure." On hearing this, Yaqub's sons were astonished and said, "By Allah (swt), you know well that we have come not to act corruptly in this land, neither are we theives."
The Egyptian said: "What shall be the punishment for the one who has stolen the cup? Yusuf's brothers, who were sure about themselves, said: "As for his punishment in anyone's sack it may be found, let him become a bondsman and your slave." Saying these words, they got down from the camels and Yusuf's servants began searching the brother's loads. They first searched the older brothers', and in the end they found the cup in Banjamin's bag. They were all very upset and returned to the city and went to Yusuf (as). Yusuf scolded them and said: "On the agreement made by yourselves, we will keep Benjamin here." Yusuf's brothers begged him and said, "O Aziz, he has an old and weak father, who loves this boy very much. It is really difficult for him to live without his son. Take any of us instead and set him free."
Yusuf (as) said, "It is impossible to take an innocent man instead of a sinner. If we do this, we have done injustice to an oppressed." The brothers who were very angry on account of this incident, looked at Benjamin angrily and turned to Yusuf and said: "No wonder he has stolen the cup, as his brother also had stolen something before." By this, they meant the story in which they accused Yusuf of being a thief, a short accound of which is as follows: When Yusuf was a small boy, his mother, Rachel died. His aunt took him to her house and took care of him. Yusuf's aunt loved Yusuf very much and did not want to lose him. She had a belt, ad fastened it around Yusuf's waist and sent him to Yaqub's house. She then claimed that Yusuf had stolen the belt. They searched Yusuf's clothes and found the belt under his shirt. Then according to the rules of their religion, she took Yusuf back to her house as a punishment for the theft, and demanded his labour for a certain period of time. The brothers were referring to this story. Yusuf knew what they meant, but he didn't take any notice, and said to himself, "Your brothers are worse than him, and Allah (swt) is aware of what you say."
Yusuf's brothers were disappointed, because Benjamin was not freed, and decided to go home. Their elder brother, Judah, said, "Have you forgotten your pledge that you should return Benjamin to your father? I shall not leave from this land until my father gives me permission or Allah (swt) makes known to me His Judgement. He is the best of judges. Return to your father and say to him: "Our brother commited a theft and Aziz arrested and kept him as a slave. Everybody witnessed this and we are not guilty." Benjamin and Judah, therefore, stayed in Egypt and the other brothers returned to Canaan. Yaqub was very glad to see his sons, but when he didn't find Benjamin with them, he asked about him. The brothers told him the whole story. On hearing this, Yaqub fainted. When he recovered his senses, he wept much and called them liars and perjurers. He thought they might have killed him; like they did to Yusuf. He became sick with grief and his eyes lost their sight. Being in such a condition, Yaqub said to his sons: "Go, my sons, and seek news of Yusuf and Benjamin and so not despair Allah's (swt) mercy." The brothers, for the third time, went to Egypt and went to Yusuf. They said with desperation: "Aziz of Egypt, we are going through very bad times. We have brought little money. Give us some corn, and kindly free our brother. Allah (swt) will not forget kindnedd and rewards the good people a lot."
Yusuf (as) reminded them of their past: "Do you remember such a cruelty you commited to your brother Yusuf? You separated him from his father and brother and burned the old man's heart. You threw him down into a well." Perhaps Yusuf uttered these words in Canaanite language so that his brothers could realise it was him, Yusuf. They asked him, "Are you Yusuf?" He replied, "Yes, I am Yusuf and this is my full-blood brother. Allah (swt) has been gracious to us. Those who keep away from evil and bear with patience, Allah (swt) will not withold from them their reward."
Yusuf's brothers lowered their heads in shame. They appologized and asked Yusuf for pardon. Yusuf said: "You are forgiven and may Allah (swt) forgive you - He is the Merciful. Take this shirt of mine and spread it over my father's face: he will recover his sight. Then return to me with all of your family."
Yusuf's brothers took his shirt and quickly returned to Canaan. Their caravan had just set out when Yaqub, addressing his attendants, said: "I smell the breath of Yusuf." The old father who had suffered for years crying for Yusuf, now felt the breath of his son and told that to all who were around him. They said, "By Allah (swt), you are repeating your mistakes. Forget it. There is no Yusuf that you may smell his breath." The caravan, after some time, finally reached Canaan. When the bearer of good news entered, he looked for Yaqub and spread Yusuf's shirt over the old prophet's face. Yaqub's sight was returned andhis weak body and soul were revived. Yaqub and his family then left for Egypt with excitement at the thought of seeing Yusuf.
As soon as Yusuf (as) saw his father, he beheld him, and tears of joy filled his eyes. He helped his father to sit in his own couch, and they all kneeled before Allah (swt) as a sign of gratitude. Then Yusuf said, "O father, all this is the interpretation of my dream, which my Lord has fulfilled. He has been gracious to me. He released me from prison; gave me the key to all the granaries and brought you out of the desert to unite our family. All this is His Mercy for us."