PROPHET Joseph(YUSUF) (peace be upon him)
The Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) had twelve sons and one of them was called Yusuf (Joseph) whose life is full of many interesting: happenings. He was a handsome and smart boy with polite habits and polished manners. He bore a sound character. He had an attractive personality. The Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) had a deep affection for his son, Yusuf who occupied a rank of remarkable distinction among his brothers. His brothers began to Feel jealous of him. They became united against Yusuf and hatched a plan to do away. with him.
Vision of Prophet Yusuf and its Interpretation:
When the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) became a teenager, he had a special vision. He rushed towards his father to inform him about it. He dreamt that there were eleven stars with the moon and the sun kneeling in front of him. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was much excited to see this fantastic dream. His heart was beating fast while he was breaking the news to his father. The Holy Qur'an describes:
"Yusuf said to his father: 0' my father! I have indeed seen in a dream eleven stars and the sun and moon making obeisance to me." (12: 4)
On hearing about this vision the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) whisperingly advised his son not to divulge it to his brothers lest their jealousy should be excited. He had sound reasons to Fear that they would plot against him. The Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) interpreted that Yusuf was destined to become a great personality. God would give him wisdom, grace and honour. He would enable him to read into the future. To crown all he would become a Prophet. His eleven brothers (the stars) and his father and mother (the sun and moon) would stand in need of him and bow to his dignified position. The Holy Qur'an relates:
"He (Ya'qub) said: O' my dear son! Tell not your brethren of your vision lest they should plot against you because surely Satan is the manifest enemy of man. So your Lord shall prefer you and will teach you the interpretations of dreams and will perfect His favours upon you and upon the family of Ya'qub as He perfected it upon your forefather Ibrahim and Ishaq. The Lord is Knowing, Wise." (7:5, 6)
Plot against the Prophet Yusuf:
The brothers of Prophet Yusuf did not like that he should become the only centre of their paternal love. The sentiments of jealousy burnt them inside. They decided to get rid of him. One of them suggested that he should be put to death but the others did not agree with him -because it was a terrible thing. Then another brother proposed to throw him into a pit. All of them I unanimously voted in favour of this scheme. The Holy Qur'an says:
"One said: Slay Yusuf or drive him some other land so that your father's favours may be exclusively for you and after that you shall live as upright persons. One among them said: Kill not Yusuf but cast him down into the bottom of a pit if you must do it so that some wayfarers may pick him up." (12: 7-10))
The Plan is put into Practice:
In order to put their plan into practice the mischievous brothers of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) approached their father. They persuaded the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) to allow his affectionate son, Yusuf to accompany them for tending the sheep. They insisted so much that their father became quite suspicious. He feared lest the jealous brothers should do some harm to Yusuf. The Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) was hesitant in parting with his son but his other sons went on insisting and trying to satisfy him. They assured their father that they would look after their younger brother even at the risk of their own lives. As the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) did not wish to compel Yusuf to avoid his brothers he granted his permission hesitatingly. So the brothers got an opportunity of carrying out their evil design of casting him into the pit. The Holy Qur'an says:
"They said: O' our father! Why do you not entrust us with Yusuf though we, indeed, mean him well. Send him with us tomorrow that he may enjoy himself and sport and surely we shall take good care of him. He said: It grieves me that the wolf should devour him while you are heedless of him. They said: Surely if the wolf should devour him notwithstanding we are so strong a band, then we shall be in that case justly blamed for losing him." (12: 11-15)
They proceeded towards the hills. All of them were nervous except the unsuspecting Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). When they were enjoying a trip, they pushed the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) sharply towards the waterless well He fell down with a thud and became sore all over. There was no food to eat and no water to drink. It was dark and scary. 'He screamed at the top of his voice but he could hear nothing except the echoes of his voice. He realised that a clever trick had been played upon him.
Father is Informed:
The brothers of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) were feeling guilty inside because they had committed a shameful act. They walked back slowly with dejected faces. They approached their father crying and sobbing. They were shedding crocodile tears while they were informing their father that the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him)had been devoured by the wolf. They produced the blood smeared shirt of the Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) as an evidence. The Holy Qur'an says:
"And they came back weeping to their father at night fall and said: O' our father! of a truth, we went racing with one another and left Yusuf to loot after clothes and the wolf devoured him; but we art afraid you will not believe us though we speak the truth. And they brought his shirt with false blood upon it." (12: 16-18)
The Prophet Yusuf is Delivered out of Well and Sold:
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was quite vigorous. He tried many times to climb out of the deep well but he could not. Finally he sat down in utter despair beseeching Allah's help. After some time a caravan happened to pass by the well. Some men needed water to quench their thirst. One of them lowered his bucket into the well but he could not hear the splash of water. The well was dry and there was nothing except the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) who was waiting anxiously for some one to come and rescue him. When the bucket came down, it touched the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). He clung to it with his dear life. The man pulled hard at the bucket and the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) came out of the well. He felt a great pleasure and expressed a deep sense of gratitude to Allah Who had bestowed favour upon him. He dusted himself off and told the man all about what had happened to him. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was taken to Egypt where he was sold as a slave. The Holy Qur'an states:
"And there came a wayfarer and they sent down a water drawer. He let down his pail into the pit. He said: What a good luck, here is a youth. And they kept his case secret to make merchandise of him and Allah knew what they did, and they sold him for a petty price, a few dirhams and they attached little value to him." (12:1,0, 21)
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was purchased by a famous rich man. He rendered services to him and his family.
The Prophet Yusuf Overpowers Temptation:
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was a handsome and an attractive young man. He was extremely charming and irresistible. He was a perfect gentleman whom Allah had honoured with His love, grace and protection. He was held in high esteem in the house of his master. As the time passed the lady of the house put him in an awkward position. She fell in love with him. She could hardly shake him out of her mind. One day in the absence of her husband she approached him and desired to be very close to him. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) refrained from even casting a glance at her. He tried to get rid of her but she chased him. She grabbed hard at the back of his shirt and it was torn apart. Just at that time the master appeared on the scene. He saw what was going on, He flew into a rage. The master's wife was embarrassed beyond all limits. She cried out after absolute frustration in her evil designs and levelled false accusations against Yusuf, the innocent. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) clarified his position with the moral support of one of the maid-servants who bore witness by saying: Look at the shirt. If it is torn at the back, the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) will be quite innocent. He should not be blamed. In case it is rent from the front the accused will be one of the liars. When the shirt was examined it was torn at the back and the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was found truthful. The master was fully convinced of the innocence of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). He appealed to him to keep the matter in secret lest it should become a scandal. Moreover he admonished his wife to beg pardon of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him).
Banquet is Arranged:
Many people got wind of this incident. They starred to talk about the master's wife who had been deeply affected with the love of her slave. She wished to seduce him. The whole town kept on talking maliciously about her.
When the master's wife heard about it, she made a special plan. She wished to show the people that it was very hard to resist the charm of Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) and his lovely youth. She arranged a grand banquet and invited most of the women in the town. They were talking and enjoying themselves. The most delicious food and fruit were served before the guests. The master's wife gave a sharp knife to every lady to peel off the fruit. When the ladies were busy with using the knives, the master's wife asked the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) to enter the room. As the door opened with a squeak, there prevailed a pen-drop silence for a few second and the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) stood calmly. The ladies looked at him constantly and got stunned at his beauty. He was so attractive that many of them were taken by a great surprise. They forgot that they were using the knives. They cut their fingers in utter amazement. The Holy Qur'an says:
"When they saw him, they exalted him? and (in their amazement) cut their hands exclaiming: Remote is Allah from imperfection. This is not a mortal but is a noble angel. She said: It is he about whom you blamed me Certainly I wished him to yield to my desires but he stood firm." (12:31,3?)
The Prophet Yusuf in the Prison:
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) found himself in a great trouble. As the time passed by, the Problems became more complicated. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) prayed to Almighty Allah to grant him protection from those ladies. He wished to be in prison rather than being indecent. He desired to escape from the temptations of sexual instinct. The Holy Qur'an says:
"He said: MY Lord! I Prefer the Prison to compliance with their bidding: and if you turn not away their snares from me, I may perchance yearn towards them (out of youthful folly) and become one of the unwise." (7: 33)
Allah accepted his prayer to shield him from evil temptations. The elite of the town noticed that their females were becoming ardent lovers of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). Although they knew that he had committed no crime yet they decided to imprison the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) to avoid disturbance in their society. He remained in the prison for several years and developed friendly relations with many prisoners. There he preached the religion of Allah and tried to reform the prisoners who were greatly impressed by his personality. One day two prisoners saw strange dreams. They came to the Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) for asking the Interpretations of those dreams. One of them said: I saw in a dream that I was pressing wine. The other prisoner said: I saw in my dream that I was carrying a basket of bread on my head and the birds were eating from it. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) asked them to wait until lunch time so that they might become anxious and listen to him attentively. At the appointed time the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) said: The one who was pressing wine, will be set at liberty and he will serve wine to his master. The other will be crucified for the crime, he had committed. The Holy Qur'an affirms:
"O' my two fellow prisoners! As for one of you he shall Pour out wine for his lord to drink and as for the other, he shall be executed and the birds shall eat from off his head. The matter is decreed concerning which you inquired." (11:40)
Soon after the interpretations of those dreams turned out to be true. When the first man was about to leave the prison, the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) asked to remember him to the master. He did so as a self-respecting man without adopting a supplicative attitude. The man who found deliverance forgot mentioning all about the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) to his lord. So he had to linger in the prison for a few more years. He continued praying and teaching goodness in the prison. One day, the king of Egypt dreamt that seven fat cows were eaten by seven thin cows and he also saw seven preen ears of corn and seven others that withered. The king wished to know the interpretation of that strange dream. Every one was puzzled because no one could really say what it meant. Some of them thought that it was a passing dream. The ex-prisoner informed the king about the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) who was well versed in the art of explaining the dreams accurately. The king became quite curious and sent the man to see the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) in the prison. The man rushed towards him and tendered an apology for not speaking to the master about him. Then he asked him about the fantastic dream of the king. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) said: You will sow for seven years diligently. There will be seven years of rich harvest in the country. It is better to store as much of the food stuff as possible because there will be a famine lasting for seven years. During this period of hardships the preserved stores of grain shall be consumed except a little quantity. Afterwards there will be a year in which the people shall have heavy rains and bumper crops. They shall press grapes.
The Prophet Yusuf's Innocence is Established:
The man sought permission of leave from the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) and proceeded towards the king. He told him the interpretation of his dream in the presence of many courtiers. They were much surprised. The king was greatly impressed and expressed a keen desire to see him in person. He issued an immediate order to release the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) from the prison but he refused to leave it until he had his innocence established beyond all doubts. He told the king about the cruelty and injustice inflicted upon him without any fault. He wished to clear the blot of crime on his fair name. The king summoned the women who put the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) to inconvenience. They all confessed that he was quite innocent. The Holy Qur'an affirms: "They (women) said: Allah Blameless! We knew of no evil on his part. Thereupon the Chief's wife said: Now the truth has become established. I asked of him an evil act and he is surely of the truthful." (7: 50)
The Prophet Yusuf as Director of Stores:
The king was much impressed with his nobility and intelligence. He therefore, offered him an important position in the Government. He was appointed as the Director of Stores. The Holy Qur'an says:
"He (the king) said: Surely from this day you shall be with us invested with rank and trust. Then he (Yusuf) said: Set me over the store houses of the land. Surely I am a skilled custodian (knowing well my duties). (1:54, 55)
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) worked efficiently and managed the affairs. he won a good name as an officer and became powerful in the land.
The Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him)was awfully unhappy. He missed the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) very much. He was assured by Almighty Allah that he would see his son again. The brothers of the Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) grew in age and kept remembering the mischievous trick which they had played upon him. It was highly shameful act. Now Palestine was also in the grip of dreadful famine. There was an acute dearth of food. The family of the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) was passing through the most straitened circumstances. They heard that Egyptians had huge stock of food stuff. They sold it at reasonable rates. The sons of the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) prepared a caravan and went to Egypt to purchase grain.
The Prophet Yusuf's Brothers go to Egypt and buy Food Conditionally:
When they reached Egypt the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) recognised his brothers immediately and his heart was beating violently. He did not remind them of the cruelty inflicted upon him. He did not disclose his identity. He showed kindness to them and furnished them with provision at a very fair price. They felt highly obliged because of his noble behaviour. Before their departure the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) said: If you come back, bring with you a younger brother of yours from your father's side. If my request is not complied with, I shall sell you no more grain.
They came back home after a tiresome journey. They told their father that the custodian of the food stores in Egypt had expressed a keen desire to see their younger brother. On hearing this the Prophet Ya'qub's face became tense and worried. He did not like the same thing happen to his other son. He hesitated to allow Yusuf's brother to accompany them. Because of his previous bitter experience he could not trust them. They in the long run convinced him after giving him a firm covenant in Allah's name that they would bring back the brother of Yusuf. When they opened the sacks of grain and were much surprised to find their money in it.
After many weeks their second caravan reached Egypt and went directly to the main store-house. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) greeted them with open arms. Every one was much pleased. There was a lot of hustle and bustle. The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) took his younger brother aside and told him that he was Yusuf who was thrown into the well. His brother was much surprised and his joy knew no bounds. The Holy Qur'an says:
"And when they came into Yusuf's presence, he took his own brother aside with him saying: LO I am your brother. Therefore grieve not at what they do." (7:69)
Younger Brother is Detained:
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) had certain plans in his mind. He furnished them with their provisions and asked one of his servants to put a drinking cup in their bag. As the caravan was about to depart, some one shouted! The king's silver drinking cup is missing. Every one got puzzled. The brother of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) said: We are not thieves and we have not come here to make mischief. One of the Egyptians said: He who is found guilty, shall be detained here as penalty. All of them agreed upon the awarding of this punishment. They began to search out the sacks of the customers. They found the missing drinking cup in the sack of the younger brother of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him). It followed a great deal of excitement. The brothers tried very hard to convince the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) not to detain their brother but he flatly refused. He asked them not to back out of their promise. They became upset. Their eldest brother decided not to go back to the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him) again and face him with heart breaking news. He stayed there and sent back his other brothers to inform the care-worn father of the whole situation. They went back and conveyed the most shocking news to their father. He displayed unshakeable patience and said:
"So patience is most fitting for me. May Allah restore them all to me. Surely, He is the Knowing, the Wise." (12: 83)
Any how he directed his sons to go and seek tidings of the Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) and his younger brother for whom he used to yearn day and night. They went to Egypt again after a few weeks. This time they had scanty money. They requested the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) to help them in charity. They were dressed in rags. They looked pathetic due to poverty. The Holy Qur'an states:
"And when they came back into the presence of Yusuf, they said: O' chief! Misfortune has afflicted us and our family and we have brought a small amount, so give us full measure and be charitable to us; Surely Allah will requite charitable." (12: 88)
The Prophet Yusuf Helps his Brothers and Discloses his Identity:
The Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was well known for his generosity. He had a tender and sympathetic heart. He took pity on them. He helped them from the core of his heart. They had also sinking feelings inside. Soon after he disclosed his identity to his brothers. The Holy Qur'an affirms:
"He (Yusuf) said: I am Yusuf and this is my brother. Allah has shown us favour. Surely who fears Allah and endures, is rewarded for surely Allah does not waste the reward of those who do good." (12:90)
Now every one wished to go immediately to their father to inform him of the happy news that the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) was alive. At the time of departure the Prophet Yusuf(peace be upon him) gave them his shirt and said:
"Cast it on my father's face and he will recover his sight and come to me with all your family." (12: 93)
The brothers came home with happy spirit. They put the shirt of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) on the face of the Prophet Ya'qub (peace be upon him). He regained his eye sight in the twinkling of an eye. He took a sigh of relief when he smelt the sweet perfume of the Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) from his shirt. The brothers of Prophet Yusuf (peace be upon him) begged pardon of their father and he forgave them with an open heart.
The Prophet Ya'qub Meets the Prophet Yusuf:
They decided to settle in Egypt. They took their bag and baggage and set out on a long journey. They were given a warm reception when they reached Egypt. The father, Ya'qub, met his son Yusuf after a long separation. He said:
"O' my father! This is the interpretation of my old vision. My Lord has indeed made it to be true and He has shown me kindness. When He brought me forth from prison and brought you all from the desert even after Satan has sown (seeds of) dissension between me and my brothers. Surely my Lord is tender to whom He wills. Surely He is the Knowing, the Wise. O' my Lord! You have indeed given me (something) of the sovereignty and taught me of the interpretation of dreams--Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Protecting friend in this world and the Hereafter. Make me die submissive (unto You) and join me with the righteous". (12: 100, 101)