Yusef (circa 1610 BC - 1500 BC?) , (Arabic: يوسف, also Youssef, Yousuf, Yousef, Yussef, Yusuf, Yossef, Yousov, Yousif or Yosef), is a prophet in the Quran, the holy scriptures of Islam. The figure corresponds to the character from the Jewish texts and the Christian Bible as Joseph and is the Arabic variant of that name.
Although the narratives of other prophets are mentioned in various surahs, the complete narrative of Joseph is given just in one surah, Yusuf (sura). However, it is said to be the most detailed narrative in the Quran, and bears some differences from the Biblical counterpart.
Quran depicts this story as the most beautiful of stories narrated in the Quran ().The story of Yusef moves in a stream from beginning to end; its substance and form are equally coherent. It documents the execution of Allah's rulings despite the challenge of human intervention (Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not (Ch 12:21).)
This is what the story of Yusef, confirms categorically, for it ends with comfort and marvels, which is described in Quran.
The story begins with a dream and ends with its interpretation. As the sun appeared over the horizon, bathing the earth in its morning glory, Yusef, son of Yaqub awoke from his sleep, delighted by a pleasant dream he had had. Filled with excitement he ran to his father and related it.
"O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven planets and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me." (Ch 12:4)
His father's face lit up. He foresaw that Yusef would be one through whom the prophecy of his grandfather, Prophet Ibrahim, would be fulfilled, in that his offspring would keep the light of Ibrahim's House alive and spread Allah's message to mankind.
Therefore, it was narrated that Muhammad was asked: "Who is the most honorable amongst the people?" He replied: "The most God-fearing." The people said: "We do not want to ask you about this." He said: "The most honorable person is Yusef, Allah's prophet, the son of Allah's prophet, the son of the faithful friend of Allah (Ibrahim)."
However, the father was well aware of the jealousy of Yusef's brothers, so he warned him against telling his dream to his brothers. "O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Verily! Shaitan is to man an open enemy! Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Yaqub, as He perfected it on your fathers, Ibrahim, and Ishaq aforetime! Verily! your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise." (Ch 12:5-6)
Yusef heeded his father's warning. He did not tell his brothers what he had seen. It is well known that they hated him so much that it was difficult for him to feel secure telling them what was in his heart and in his dreams.
Yusef was very handsome, with a gentle temperament. He was respectful, kind and considerate. His brother Benjamin was equally pleasant. Both were from one mother, Rachel. Because of their refined qualities, the father loved the two more than his other children, and would not let them out of his sight. To protect them, he kept them busy with work in the house garden.
But one of the brothers felt sorry for him, and suggested they throw him into a well so that a caravan might pick him up and take him as a slave. One from among them said: "Kill not Yusef, but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travellers.">> (Ch 12:8-10)
They asked their father's permission to take him out to play, who granted them their request, on the condition that they would keep watch over him. The brothers proceed with their plan and dropped him in a well and left him there. They brought back Yusef’s shirt, covered with sheep's blood, to tell their father that wolves had eaten Yusef. Yaqub said " Nay, but your ownselves have made up a tale. So (for me), patience is most fitting (12:18) (see 12:7)
And when he (Joseph) attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge (the Prophethood), thus We reward the doers of good. (Ch 12:22) While working for al-Aziz, he was constantly approached by al-Aziz's wife (Imra'at al-Aziz) (Presumably Zulaikha), she intended to seduce him. Joseph continuously rejecting her because he feared his Lord, until one day, she became furious and angry to the point where she plotted on trapping him in a room. Zulaikha locked the door and pleaded him to come into her but Yusef as a man of God refuses. 'And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him (to do an evil act), she closed the doors and said: "come on, O you." He said: "I seek refuge in Allah (or Allah forbid)! Truly he (your husband) is my master! He made my stay agreeable! (So I will never betray him). Verily, the Zalimun (wrong, evildoers) will never be successful." Indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.' (Ch 12:23-24)
She then tore the back of Joseph's shirt. So they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back. They both found her lord (her husband) at the door. (Ch 12:25)
Zulaikha convinced her husband that the only way to save her honor was to put Yousuf in prison; otherwise she would not be able to control herself or to safeguard his prestige. She then said (What penalty it is for those who want to harm your family except for jail or heavy torture?) Yusef said: (she came on to me), a witness of the wife's family said: (if his shirt was torn from the front , then she is telling the truth and he is from the liars, and if the hole was from behind then she lied and he is from the truthful), then when they saw the hole being in the rear he said (this is of your schemes, indeed your (you women) scheming is grand). Yusef leave this matter, and you (Al-Aziz's wife) beg forgiveness, for you have been of the sinners. A few women in town said: (Al-Aziz's wife is coming on to her boy, her love for him has blinded her, we find her in complete illusion). As when she heard of their plot, she invited them, preparing a place for each of them to sit, and gave them knives to cut the fruit. She then ordered Yusef to go out in front of them. As soon as they saw him they thought of how beautiful and great he is, distracted by his beauty and gracefulness they repeatedly cut their hands. They, then said: (impossible it is, this is not a human, this is but a graceful Angel!). Al-Aziz's wife soon after replied: (that is the reason for which you blamed me, and if he doesn't do what I ordered him, he will be prisoned, or be pettily humiliated) Yusef said: (O Lord, prison is a better choice than what they (Al-Aziz's wife and the women) want me to do, and if you don't save me from it, I'll turn to their blasphemy and be from the none-believers (illiterates). His Lord then saved him from the depths of their scheme. The male authorities and master therefore thought it would be best to send Yusef to prison for a time. (12:23)
After being imprisoned for a few years, God granted him with the ability to interpret dreams, a power in which he became popular amongst the prisoners using. In one occasion two less fortunate royal servants were thrown into the dungeon prior to Yusef's imprisonment. They were haunted by two ambiguous dreams and remained unaware of the dream due to the inability to interpret it until they heard about Yusef's popularity among the citizens. They went to Yusef to seek for his opinion and ask him if he could help them in solving the problems. Yusef asked them about the dreams they had, and one of them described that he saw himself in the vineyard plucking grapes and pressed it into wine. The other said to have seen himself holding a basket of bread on his head but then a bird came and snatched it from him. Yusef smiled to the first man and said he will be released from the prison and he would serve the King but warned the other one that he will soon die. One day, under the order of the King of Egypt soldiers came to take the two cooks away, the King said one would be forgiven, the other will be executed. The forgiven servant then served the King. (see 12:36)(see 12:37)
As Days pass and everything went back to normal one night the King was echoed by a mysterious dream. He was said to have seen seven fat cows being devoured by seven skinny cows, and seven green spikes, and others shriveled. This dream haunted him every night and day turning him anxious and disoriented. When the butler heard about it he persuaded the king to seek for Yusef. The King immediately called him, and demanded him to interpret the dream.
Yusef went forth to tell the King that his dream mean that Egypt would suffer famine, and that the King should be ready for it to avoid the Egyptian from great suffering. The king followed the instruction and the land was saved from the great famine.
After the great success, Yusef eventually turned out to become a prominent advisor to the King of Egypt. The King elected him as His Royal Treasurer due to his good record.
Later on, he would once again run into his brothers whom he would forgive. He also found that his father (Yaqub) became blind after crying so much over the disappearance his son (Yusef). However, Yusef restored his fathers vision and returned to his family. Yusef eventually died in Egypt. Tradition holds that when Moussa (English: Moses) left Egypt, he took Yusef's coffin with him so that he would be buried alongside his ancestors in Palestine.
Joseph was said to have exceptional beauty and by that was the most handsome man on earth. This claim is reflected in the Quran as Zulaikha tempted him with evil intention because she could not resist his outstanding beauty.(12:23-33) and even women in the city became stunned upon seeing Joseph ().
The Quranic initials constitute a major component of a great miracle (see ) and the question "Why was the [Quran] revealed in Arabic?" and God has given the answer ().
We learn from Yusef's dream that he was destined for a bright future. Thus, while his brothers met to decide his fate, his fate was already decided by God. Everything is done by God (see 8:17), and is already recorded (see 57:22).
In Chapter Yusef worded this statement in such a way that the governor's wife thought that he was talking about her husband, when in fact he was talking about God.
Chapter marks the beginning of the Children of Israel in Egypt. Moussa led them out of Egypt a few centuries later.
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