012 : Joseph
A.L.R. These are the symbols (or Verses) of the perspicuous
We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an, in order that ye may
We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that
We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too was
among those who knew it not.
Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see
eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to
Said (the father): "My (dear) little son! relate not thy
vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for Satan is
to man an avowed enemy!
"Thus will thy Lord choose thee and teach thee the
interpretation of stories (and events) and perfect His favour to thee and
to the posterity of Jacob - even as He perfected it to thy fathers Abraham
and Isaac aforetime! for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."
Verily in Joseph and his brethren are signs (or symbols) for
seekers (after Truth).
They said: "Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our
father than we: But we are a goodly body! really our father is obviously
wandering (in his mind)!
"Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown) land, that
so the favour of your father may be given to you alone: (there will be time
enough) for you to be righteous after that!"
Said one of them: "Slay not Joseph, but if ye must do
something, throw him down to the bottom of the well: he will be picked up
by some caravan of travellers."
They said: "O our father! why dost thou not trust us with
Joseph,- seeing we are indeed his sincere well-wishers?
"Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and we
shall take every care of him."
(Jacob) said: "Really it saddens me that ye should take him
away: I fear lest the wolf should devour him while ye attend not to him."
They said: "If the wolf were to devour him while we are (so
large) a party, then should we indeed (first) have perished ourselves!"
So they did take him away, and they all agreed to throw him
down to the bottom of the well: and We put into his heart (this Message):
'Of a surety thou shalt (one day) tell them the truth of this their affair
while they know (thee) not'
Then they came to their father in the early part of the night,
They said: "O our father! We went racing with one another, and
left Joseph with our things; and the wolf devoured him.... But thou wilt
never believe us even though we tell the truth."
They stained his shirt with false blood. He said: "Nay, but
your minds have made up a tale (that may pass) with you, (for me) patience
is most fitting: Against that which ye assert, it is Allah (alone) Whose help
can be sought"..
Then there came a caravan of travellers: they sent 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 knoweth well all that they do!
The (Brethren) sold him for a miserable price, for a few
dirhams counted out: in such low estimation did they hold him!
The man in Egypt who bought him, said to his wife: "Make his
stay (among us) honourable: may be he will bring us much good, or we shall
adopt him as a son." Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We
might teach him the interpretation of stories (and events). And Allah hath
full power and control over His affairs; but most among mankind know it
When Joseph attained His full manhood, We gave him power and
knowledge: thus do We reward those who do right.
But she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his
(true) self: she fastened the doors, and said: "Now come, thou (dear one)!"
He said: "Allah forbid! truly (thy husband) is my lord! he made my sojourn
agreeable! truly to no good come those who do wrong!"
And (with passion) did she desire him, and he would 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 and shameful deeds: for he was
one of Our servants, sincere and purified.
So they both raced each other to the door, and she tore his
shirt from the back: they both found her lord near the door. She said:
"What is the (fitting) punishment for one who formed an evil design against
thy wife, but prison or a grievous chastisement?"
He said: "It was she that sought to seduce me - from my (true)
self." And one of her household saw (this) and bore witness, (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 the back, then is
she the liar, and he is telling the truth!"
So when he saw his shirt,- that it was torn at the back,- (her
husband) said: "Behold! It is a snare of you women! truly, mighty is your
"O Joseph, pass this over! (O wife), ask forgiveness 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 from his (true) self: Truly hath he inspired
her with violent love: we see she is evidently going astray."
When she heard of their malicious talk, she sent for them and
prepared a banquet for them: she gave each of them a knife: and she said
(to Joseph), "Come out before them." When they saw him, they did extol him,
and (in their amazement) cut their hands: they said, "Allah preserve us! no
mortal is this! this is none other than a noble angel!"
She said: "There before you is the man about whom ye did blame
me! I did seek to seduce him from his (true) self but he did firmly save
himself guiltless!....and now, if he doth not my bidding, he shall
certainly be cast into prison, and (what is more) be of the company of the
He said: "O my Lord! the prison is more to my liking than that
to which they invite me: Unless Thou turn away their snare from me, I
should (in my youthful folly) feel inclined towards them and join the 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 the men, after they had seen the signs,
(that it was best) to imprison him for a time.
Now with him there came into the prison two young men. Said
one of them: "I see myself (in a dream) pressing wine." said the other: "I
see myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head, and birds are eating,
thereof." "Tell us" (they said) "The truth and meaning thereof: for we see
thou art one that doth good (to all)."
He said: "Before any food comes (in due course) to feed either
of you, I will surely reveal to you the truth and 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 the ways of a people that believe not in Allah and
that (even) deny the Hereafter.
"And I follow the ways of my fathers,- Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob; and never could we attribute any partners whatever to Allah: that
(comes) of the grace of Allah to us and to mankind: yet most men are not
"O my two companions of the prison! (I ask you): are many
lords differing among themselves better, or the One Allah, Supreme and
"If not Him, ye worship nothing but names which ye have
named,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah hath sent down no authority:
the command is for none but Allah: He hath commanded that ye worship none
but Him: that is the right religion, but most men understand not...
"O my two companions of the prison! As to one of you, he will
pour out the wine for his lord to drink: as for the other, he will hang
from the cross, and the birds will eat from off his head. (so) hath been
decreed that matter whereof ye twain do enquire"...
And of the two, to that one whom he consider about to be
saved, he said: "Mention me to thy lord." But Satan made him forget to
mention him to his lord: and (Joseph) lingered in prison a few (more)
The king (of Egypt) said: "I do see (in a vision) seven fat
kine, whom seven lean ones devour, and seven green ears of corn, and seven
(others) withered. O ye chiefs! Expound to me my vision if it be that ye
can interpret visions."
They said: "A confused medley of dreams: and we are not
skilled in the interpretation of dreams."
But the man who had been released, one of the two (who had
been in prison) and who now bethought him after (so long) a space of time,
said: "I will tell you the truth of its interpretation: send ye me
"O Joseph!" (he said) "O man of truth! Expound to us (the
dream) of seven fat kine whom seven lean ones devour, and of seven green
ears of corn and (seven) others withered: that I may return to the people,
and that they may understand."
(Joseph) said: "For seven years shall ye diligently sow as is
your wont: and the harvests that ye reap, ye shall leave them in the ear,-
except a little, of which ye shall eat.
"Then will come after that (period) seven dreadful (years),
which will devour what ye shall have laid by in advance for them,- (all)
except a little which ye shall have (specially) guarded.
"Then will come after that (period) a year in which the people
will have abundant water, and in which they will press (wine and oil)."
So the king said: "Bring ye him unto me." But when the
messenger came to him, (Joseph) said: "Go thou back to thy lord, and ask
him, 'What is the state of mind of the ladies who cut their hands'? For my
Lord is certainly well aware of their snare."
(The king) said (to the ladies): "What was your affair when ye
did seek to seduce Joseph from his (true) self?" The ladies said: "Allah
preserve us! no evil know we against him!" Said the 'Aziz's wife: "Now is
the truth manifest (to all): it was I who sought to seduce him from his
(true) self: He is indeed of those who are (ever) true (and virtuous).
"This (say I), in order that He may know that I have never
been false to him in his absence, and that Allah will never guide the snare
of the false ones.
"Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is
certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my
Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."
So the king said: "Bring him unto me; I will take him
specially to serve about my own person." Therefore when he had spoken to
him, he said: "Be assured this day, thou art, before our own presence, with
rank firmly established, and fidelity fully proved!
(Joseph) said: "Set me over the store-houses of the land: I
will indeed guard them, as one that knows (their importance)."
Thus did We give established power to Joseph in the land, to
take possession therein as, when, or where he pleased. We bestow of our
Mercy on whom We please, and We suffer not, to be lost, the reward of those
who do good.
But verily the reward of the Hereafter is the best, for those
who believe, and are constant in righteousness.
Then came Joseph's brethren: they entered his presence, and he
knew them, but they knew him not.
And when he had furnished them forth with provisions
(suitable) for them, he said: "Bring unto me a brother ye have, of the same
father as yourselves, (but a different mother): see ye not that I pay out
full measure, and that I do provide the best hospitality?
"Now if ye bring him not to me, ye shall have no measure (of
corn) from me, nor shall ye (even) come near me."
They said: "We shall certainly seek to get our wish about him
from his father: Indeed we shall do it."
And (Joseph) told his servants to put their stock-in-trade
(with which they had bartered) into their saddle-bags, so they should know
it only when they returned to their people, in order that they might come
Now when they returned to their father, they said: "O our
father! No more measure of grain shall we get (unless we take our brother):
So send our brother with us, that we may get our measure; and we will
indeed take every care of him."
He said: "Shall I trust you with him with any result other
than when I trusted you with his brother aforetime? But Allah is the best to
take care (of him), and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!"
Then when they opened their baggage, they found their
stock-in-trade had been returned to them. They said: "O our father! What
(more) can we desire? this our stock-in-trade has been returned to us: so
we shall get (more) food for our family; We shall take care of our brother;
and add (at the same time) a full camel's load (of grain to our
provisions). This is but a small quantity.
(Jacob) said: "Never will I send him with you until ye swear a
solemn oath to me, in Allah's name, that ye will be sure to bring him back to
me unless ye are yourselves hemmed in (and made 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 by one gate: enter
ye by different gates. Not that I can profit you aught 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 on Him."
And when they entered in the manner their father had enjoined,
it did not profit them in the least against (the plan of) Allah: It was but a
necessity of Jacob's soul, which he discharged. For he was, by our
instruction, full of knowledge (and experience): but most men know not.
Now when they came into Joseph's presence, he received his
(full) brother to stay with him. He said (to him): "Behold! I am thy (own)
brother; so grieve not at aught of their doings."
At length when he had furnished them forth with provisions
(suitable) for them, he put the drinking cup into his brother's saddle-bag.
Then shouted out a crier: "O ye (in) the caravan! behold! ye are thieves,
They said, turning towards them: "What is it that ye miss?"
They said: "We miss the great beaker of the king; for him who
produces it, is (the reward of) a camel load; I will be bound by it."
(The brothers) said: "By Allah! well ye know that we came not to
make mischief in the land, and we are no thieves!"
(The Egyptians) said: "What then shall be the penalty of this,
if ye are (proved) to have lied?"
They said: "The penalty should be that he in whose saddle-bag
it is found, should be held (as bondman) to atone for 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 brought it out of his
brother's baggage. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his
brother by the law of the king except that Allah willed it (so). We raise to
degrees (of wisdom) whom We please: but over all endued with knowledge is
one, the All-Knowing.
They said: "If he steals, there was a brother of his who did
steal before (him)." But these things did Joseph keep locked in his heart,
revealing not the secrets to them. He (simply) said (to himself): "Ye are
the worse situated; and Allah knoweth best the truth of what ye assert!"
They said: "O exalted one! Behold! he has a father, aged and
venerable, (who will grieve for him); so take one of us in his place; for
we see that thou art (gracious) in doing good."
He said: "Allah forbid that we take other than him with whom we
found our property: indeed (if we did so), we should be acting wrongfully.
Now when they saw no hope of his (yielding), they held a
conference in private. The leader among them said: "Know ye 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, or Allah commands me; and He is the best to
"Turn ye back to your father, and say, 'O our father! behold!
thy son committed theft! we bear witness only to what we know, and we could
not well guard against the unseen!
"'Ask at the town where we have been and the caravan in which
we returned, and (you will find) we are indeed telling the truth.'"
Jacob said: "Nay, but ye have yourselves contrived 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: "How great is my grief
for Joseph!" And his eyes became white with sorrow, and he fell into
They said: "By Allah! (never) wilt thou cease to remember Joseph
until thou reach the last extremity of illness, or until thou die!"
He said: "I only complain of my distraction and anguish to
Allah, and I know from Allah that which ye know not...
"O my sons! go ye and enquire about Joseph and his brother,
and never give up hope of Allah's Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of
Allah's Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith."
Then, when they came (back) into (Joseph's) presence they
said: "O exalted one! distress has seized us and our family: we have (now)
brought but scanty capital: so pay us full measure, (we pray thee), and
treat it as charity to us: for Allah doth reward the charitable."
He said: "Know ye how ye dealt with Joseph and 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 gracious to us (all): behold,
he that is righteous and patient,- never will Allah suffer the reward to be
lost, of those who do right."
They said: "By Allah! indeed has Allah preferred 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 those who show mercy!
"Go with this my shirt, and cast it over the face 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 father said: "I do indeed
scent the presence of Joseph: Nay, think me not a dotard."
They said: "By Allah! truly thou art in thine old wandering
Then when the bearer of the good news came, He cast (the
shirt) over his face, and he forthwith regained clear sight. He said: "Did
I not say to you, 'I know from Allah that which ye know not?'"
They said: "O our father! ask for us forgiveness for our
sins, for we were truly at fault."
He said: "Soon will I ask my Lord for forgiveness for you: for
he is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
Then when they entered the presence of Joseph, 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 (of dignity), and
they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said: "O my father!
this is the fulfilment of my vision of old! Allah hath made it come true! He
was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all
here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and
my brothers. Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He
planneth to do, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom.
"O my Lord! Thou hast indeed bestowed on me some power, and
taught me something of the interpretation of dreams and events,- O Thou
Creator of the heavens and the earth! Thou art my 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 me with the righteous."
Such is one of the stories of what happened unseen, which We
reveal by inspiration unto thee; nor wast thou (present) with them then
when they concerted their plans together in the process of weaving their
Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, 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 the earth do they pass
by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!
And most of them believe not in Allah without associating (other
as partners) with Him!
Do they then feel secure from the coming against them of the
covering veil of the wrath of Allah,- or of the coming against them of the
(final) Hour all of a sudden while they perceive not?
Say thou: "This is my way: I do invite unto Allah,- on evidence
clear as the seeing with one's eyes,- I and whoever follows me. Glory to
Allah! and never will I join gods with Allah!"
Nor did We send before thee (as messengers) any but men, whom we
did inspire,- (men) living in human habitations. Do they not travel
through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them? But the
home of the hereafter is best, for those who do right. Will ye not then
(Respite will be granted) until, when the messengers give up
hope (of their people) and (come to) think that they were treated as liars,
there reaches them Our help, and those whom We will are delivered into
safety. But never will be warded off our punishment from those who are in
There is, in their stories, instruction for men endued with
understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went
before it,- a detailed exposition of all things, and a guide and a mercy to
any such as believe.
012 : Joseph