Chapter: “Or were you witnesses when death approached Ya`qub (Jacob)?”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 596 :
Narrated by Ibn Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The honorable is the son of the honorable, the son the honorable, i.e. Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “Verily, in Yusuf and his brethren there were Ayat…”
لَّقَدْ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخْوَتِهِ آيَاتٌ لِّلسَّائِلِينَ
“Certainly were there in Joseph and his brothers signs for those who ask.” [12:7]
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 597 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was asked, “Who is the most honorable amongst the people?” He replied, “The most Allah fearing.” The people said, “We do not want to ask you about this.” He said, “The most honorable person is Joseph, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil” The people said, ‘We do not want to ask you about this.” He said,” Then you want to ask me about the origins of the Arabs? People are of various origins. The best in the pre-lslamic period are the best in Islam, provided they comprehend (the religious knowledge).”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 598 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa)
That the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said (to her). “Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer.” She replied,” Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted person and when he stands at your place, he will weep (so he will not be able to lead the prayer).” The Prophet repeated the same order and she gave the same reply. The narrator, Shuba said that the Prophet said on the third or fourth time. “You are (like) the female companions of Joseph. Order Abu Bakr to lead the prayer. “
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 599 :
Narrated by Abu Musa (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) fell ill, he said, “Order Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer.” ‘Aisha said, “Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted person. The Prophet gave the same order again and she again gave the same reply. He again said, “Order Abu Bakr (to lead the prayer)! You are (like) the female companions of Joseph.” Consequently Abu Bakr led the people in prayer in the life-time of the Prophet.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 600 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “O Allah! Save Aiyyash bin Abi Rabia (from the unjust treatment of the infidels). O Allah! Save Salama bin Hisham. O Allah! Send your Punishment on (the tribe of) Mudar. O Allah! Let them suffer from years (of drought) similar to that inflicted during the life-time of Joseph.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 601 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on Lot. He wanted to have a powerful support. If I were to stay in prison (for a period equal to) the stay of Joseph (prison) and then the offer of freedom came to me, then I would have accepted it.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 602 :
Narrated by Masruq
I asked Um Ruman, ‘Aisha’s mother about the accusation forged against ‘Aisha. She said, “While I was sitting with ‘Aisha, an Ansari woman came to us and said, ‘Let Allah condemn such-and-such person.’ I asked her, ‘Why do you say so?’ She replied, ‘For he has spread the (slanderous) story.’ ‘Aisha said, ‘What story?’ The woman then told her the story. ‘Aisha asked, ‘Have Abu Bakr and Allah’s Apostle heard about it ?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Aisha fell down senseless (on hearing that), and when she came to her senses, she got fever and shaking of the body. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) came and asked, ‘What is wrong with her?’ I said, ‘She has got fever because of a story which has been rumored.’ ‘Aisha got up and said, ‘By Allah! Even if I took an oath, you would not believe me, and if I put forward an excuse, You would not excuse me. My example and your example is just like that example of Jacob and his sons. Against that which you assert, it is Allah (Alone) Whose Help can be sought.’ (12.18) The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) left and then Allah revealed the Verses (concerning the matter), and on that ‘Aisha said, ‘Thanks to Allah (only) and not to anybody else.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 603 :
Narrated by ‘Urwa
I asked ‘Aisha the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) about the meaning of the following Verse: “(Respite will be granted) ‘Until when the apostles give up hope (of their people) and thought that they were denied (by their people)…”(12.110) ‘Aisha replied, “Really, their nations did not believe them.” I said, “By Allah! They were definite that their nations treated them as liars and it was not a matter of suspecting.” ‘Aisha said, “O ‘Uraiya (i.e. ‘Urwa)! No doubt, they were quite sure about it.” I said, “May the Verse be read in such a way as to mean that the apostles thought that Allah did not help them?” Aisha said, “Allah forbid! (Impossible) The Apostles did not suspect their Lord of such a thing. But this Verse is concerned with the Apostles’ followers who had faith in their Lord and believed in their apostles and their period of trials was long and Allah’s Help was delayed till the apostles gave up hope for the conversion of the disbelievers amongst their nation and suspected that even their followers were shaken in their belief, Allah’s Help then came to them.” Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The honorable, the son of the honorable, the son of the honorable, (was) Joseph, the son of Jacob! the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.”
The Story of Prophet Yusuf [Joseph]
By Ibn Kathir
This is the most detailed and fascinating story in the Quran, involving both human weaknesses such as jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty, and terror as well as noble qualities such as patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility, and compassion.
It is related that among the reasons for its revelation is that the Jews asked the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to tell them about Joseph (pbuh) who was one of their old prophets. His story had been distorted in parts and marred in others with interpolation and exclusions. Therefore it was revealed in the Book of Allah (Quran), complete in its minute and careful details.
Allah the Almighty declared:
We relate unto you (Muhammad) the best of stories through Our Revelations unto you, of this Quran. And before this (i.e. before the coming of Divine Inspiration to you), you were among those who knew nothing about it (the Quran). ( Ch 12:3 Quran)
Almighty Allah also decreed:
thus We relate to you (O Muhammad) some information of what happened before, And indeed We have give you from Us a Reminder (this Quran). Whoever turns away from it (this Quran–i.e. does not believe in it, nor acts on its orders), verily they will bear a heavy burden (of sins) on the Day of Resurrection. They will abide in that (state in the Fire of Hell), and evil indeed will it be that load for them on the Day of Resurrection.(Ch 20:99-101)
The story of Joseph (pbuh) moves in a stream from beginning to end; its substance and form are equally coherent. It inspires you with a feeling for the depth of Allah’s power and supremacy and the execution of His rulings despite the challenge of human intervention.
And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)
This is what the story of Joseph (pbuh), confirms categorically, for it ends with comfort and marvels.
Joseph lived all his life confronting schemes made by the people closest to him. His brothers plotted to kill him, but they amended it to exiling him. This happened to him while he was a boy. He was sold into the slave market in Egypt, where he was bought for a nominal sum. Then he fell victim to the attempted seduction by a great man’s wife who, when her wish was foiled, sent him to prison, where he remained for some time. In spite of all of this, he at length approached close to the Egyptian throne and became the king’s chief minister. He then began his call to Allah from the position of the ruling authority.
Allah’s plans were carried out, and the matter ended. This is the substance (theme) of the story. As for the form (style) in which it is presented, it is a landmark of wonder.
The story is presented in a sequence of episodes. It gives you scene after scene and the transition is inspiring, informative, and stirring to the imagination. There are also artistic loopholes, which leave it to the imagination of the reader to complete the sense, as well as the depth of the picture, the like of which no human artist can bring forth.
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, Joseph (pbuh), son of the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) 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 stars 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 Joseph would be one through whom the prophecy of his grandfather, Prophet Abraham (pbuh), would be fulfilled, in that his offspring would keep the light of Abraham’s house alive and spread Allah’s message to mankind.
Therefore, it was narrated that Allah’s Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) 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 Joseph Allah’s prophet, the son of Allah’s prophet, the son of the faithful friend of Allah (Abraham).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
However, the father was well aware of the jealousy of Joseph’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! Satan is to man an open enemy! Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (an other things) and perfect His Favor on you and on the offspring of Jacob, as He perfected it on your fathers, Abraham, and Isaac aforetime! Verily! your Lord is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” (Ch 12:5-6)
Joseph heeded his father’s warning. He did not tell his brothers what he had seen. It is well known that they hatred him so much that it was difficult for him to feel secure telling them what was in his heart and in his dreams.
Joseph was eighteen years old, very handsome and robust, 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.
The scene of Jacob and his son closes. Another opens on Joseph’s brothers plotting against him.
“Truly, Joseph and his brother (Benjamin) are loved more by our father than we, but we are Usbah (a strong group). Really our father is in a plain error. Kill Joseph or cast him out to some other land, so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone, and after that you will be righteous folk (by intending repentance before committing the sin).”
One from among them said: “Kill not Joseph, but if you must do something, throw him down to the bottom of a well, he will be picked up by some caravan of travelers.”>> (Ch 12:8-10)
The pages of the Old Testament say that Joseph told them his dream, whereas the Quran does not say that happened. Had it been so, the brothers would have said so themselves. The Old Testament claims they had lost their own rights by him, and so they would kill him. Indeed Joseph kept his father’s order and did not tell his brothers about his vision.
In spite of this, his brothers sat down to conspire against him. One of them asked: “Why does our father love Joseph more than us?”
Another answered: “Perhaps because of his beauty.”
A third said: “Joseph and his brother occupied our father’s heart.”
The first complained: “Our father has gone all astray.”
One of them suggested a solution to the matter; kill Joseph.
“Where should we kill him?”
“We should banish him away from these grounds.”
“We will send him to a distant land.”
“Why should we not kill him and have rest so that the favor of your father may be give to you alone?”
However, Judah (Yahudh), the eldest and most intelligent among them, said: “There is no need to kill him when all you want is to get rid of him. Look here, let us throw him into a well and he will be picked up by a passing caravan. T hey will take him with them to a distant land. He will disappear from your father’s sight and our purpose will be served with his exile. Then after that we shall repent for our crime and become good people once again.”
The discussion continued on the idea of dropping Joseph into a well, as it was seen as the safest solution. The plan to kill him was defeated; kidnap into a distant land was approved. It was the cleverest of ideas.
Their next movement opened the scene between them and their father Jacob (pbuh): They said: “O our father! Why do you not trust us with Joseph, when we are indeed his well wishers? Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and verily we will take care of him.”
He (Jacob) said: “Truly, it saddens me that you should take him away. I fear lest a wolf should devour him, while you are careless of him.”
They said: “If a wolf devours him, while we are Usbah (a strong group) (to guard him), then surely we are the losers.”>> (Ch 12:11-14)
Jacob suggested a point, which had not occurred to them in their discussion: he feared that desert wolves would eat him! ithe wolves within them, or did he mean the wild wolves? No one but Allah knows. They coaxed their father to send Joseph with them; he agreed under their pressure.
They were excited that they could now get rid of Joseph for after this they could stand a better chance of receiving their father’s affection. On leaving home, they went directly to the well, as they had planned, on the pretext of drinking water. One of them put his arms around Joseph and held him tightly. Startled by this unusual behavior, Joseph struggled to free himself. More brothers rushed to hold him. One of them removed his shirt. Some more joined in to lift Joseph up and cast him into the deep well. Joseph’s piteous pleas made no difference to their cruel hearts.
Then Allah revealed to Joseph that he was safe and should not fear, for he would meet them again some day to remind them of what they had done.
There was water in the well, which buoyed Joseph’s body, so he was not harmed. He sat lonely in the water, then clung to a rock ledge overheard and climbed on top of it. his brothers left him in this desolate place.
Then they killed a sheep and soaked Joseph’s shirt in its blood. One brother said that they should swear to keep their deed a close secret. All of them took the oath.
And they came to their father in the early part of the night weeping. (Ch 12:16)
The scene here is dark night, broken by the crying of ten men. The father is sitting in his house when the sons enter, the darkness of night covering the darkness of their hearts and the darkness of their lies struggling to come out. Jacob wondered aloud: “Why this weeping? Has anything happened to our flock?” They answered crying: “O our father! We went racing with one another, and left Joseph by our belongings and a wolf devoured him; but you will never believe us even when we speak the truth. (Ch 12:17)
“We were surprised after returning from the race that Joseph was in the belly of the wolf.”
“We did not see him!”
“You will not believe us even though we are truthful! we are telling you what happened!”
“The wolf has eaten Joseph!”
“This is Joseph’s shirt. We foiled it soiled with blood, and did not find Joseph!”
They brought his shirt stained with false blood. (Ch 12:18)
Deep down in the heart Jacob knew that his beloved son was still alive and that his other sons were lying. He held the blood stained in his hands, spread it out and remarked: “What a merciful wolf! he ate up my beloved son without tearing his shirt!” Their faces turned red when he demanded more information, but each swore by Allah that he was telling the truth. The brokenhearted father burst into tears: “Nay! But your ownselves have made up a tale. So for me patience is more fitting. It is Allah Alone whose Help can be sought against that which you assert.” (Ch 12:18)
The father acted wisely by praying for mighty patience, which is free of doubt, and by trusting in Allah for help against what they had plotted against him and his son. This scene dims, and the scene opens in the well with which Joseph had been thrown.
In the dark well Joseph managed to find a stone ledge to hold onto. Around him was total darkness and an eerie silence. Fearful thoughts entered his mind: what would happen to him? Where would he find food? Why had his own brothers turned against him? Would his father know of his plight? His father’s smile flashed before him recalling the love and affection he had always shown him. Joseph began to pray earnestly, pleading to Allah for salvation. Gradually his fear began to subside. His Creator was testing the young man with a great misfortune in order to infuse in him a spirit of patience and courage. Joseph, surrended himself to the will of his Lord.
The next scene shows the wide desert. At the horizon is a long line of camels, horses, and men; a caravan on its way to Egypt. The caravan of merchants halted at this famous well for water. A man lowered in his bucket. Joseph was startled by the bucket hurtling down and grabbed hold of it before it could land in the water. As the man began to haul he felt the load unusually heavy, so he peeped into the well. What he saw shocked him; a man was clinging to the rope! He held the rope tightly and shouted to his friends: “Better give me a hand fellows! Looks like I found real treasure in the well!”
His companions rushed to the well and helped him to pull out the stranger holding onto the rope. Standing before them was a healthy, handsome youth, beaming with an angelic smile. They saw in him a handsome prize, for money was all that mattered to them. Immediately, they clapped iron shackles on his feet and took him along to Egypt, far away from his beloved homeland of Canaan.
All over the Egyptian city the news spread that an unusually handsome, robust young slave was on sale. People gathered by the hundreds at the slave market. some were spectators, others were bidders the elite and the rich, each one craning his neck to view the handsome specimen. the auctioneer had a field day as the bidding went wild, each buyer trying to outbid the other. Eventually, the Aziz, the chief minister of Egypt, outbid all the others and took Joseph to his mansion.
The Quran describes this scene as follows: And there came a caravan of travelers; they sent their water drawer, and he let down his bucket into the well. He said: “What a good news! Here is a boy.” So they hid him as merchandise (a slave). And Allah was the All Knower of what they did.
They sold him for a low price, for a few Dhirhams (for a few silver coins). They were of those who regarded him insignificant.
he (the man) from Egypt who bought him said to his wife: “Make his stay comfortable, may be he will profit us or we shall ado[t him as a son.
” Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. (Ch 12:19-21)
See how Allah the Almighty reveals the substance of this long story from its beginning: And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not. (Ch 12:21)
The chains of slavery have closed on Joseph. He was cast into the well, deprived of his father, picked from the well, made a slave, sold at the market, and made the property of this man, the Aziz, the chief minister. The hazards followed in quick succession, leaving Joseph helpless.
What we see as hazards and slander is the first step of the ladder on Joseph’s way to greatness. Allah is decisive in His action. His plan is carried out despite the plans of others and while theirs are still being made. So He spoils their plan, and Allah’s promise is realized. Allah has promise Joseph prophethood. Love for Joseph was thrust into the heart of the man who bought him, and he was a man of no mean position. He was an important personage, one of the ruling class of Egypt.
Therefore, Joseph was pleasantly surprised when the chief minister of Egypt ordered his men to remove the heavy shackles from his swollen feet. He was also surprised when he told Joseph not to betray his trust; he would not be ill-treated if he behaved himself. Joseph smiled at his benefactor, thanked him, and promised to be loyal.
Joseph felt at ease, for at last he was sheltered and would be well cared for. He thanked Allah over and over and wondered at the mysterious of life. Not so long ago he had been cast into a deep, dark well with no hope of ever coming out alive. Next he was rescued, then enslaved in iron shackles, and now he was moving freely in a luxurious mansion with enough food to enjoy. However, his heart ached with longing for his parents and brother Benjamin, and he shed tears daily.
Joseph was made the personal attendant of the chief minister’s wife. He was obedient and ever-obliging. With his pleasant manners and charming behavior, he won everybody’s heart.
Joseph’s handsomeness became the talk of the town. People referred to him as the most attractive man they had ever seen and wrote poetry about him. His face carried immaculate beauty. The purity of his inner soul and his heart showed in his face, increasing his beauty. People from afar came to the city to have a glimpse of him. The prettiest of maidens and the richest of ladiesnursthe to possess him, but not once did he show haughtiness or conceit. he was always humble and polite.
The days passed and Joseph grew. Almighty Allah said:
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)
He was given wisdom in affairs and knowledge of life and its conditions. He as given the art of conversation, captivating those who heard him. He was given nobility and self restraint, which made him an irresistible personality. His master soon knew that Allah had graced him with Joseph. He understood that Joseph was the most honest, straightforward and noble person he had met in his life. Therefore, he put Joseph in charge of his household, honored him, and treated him as a son.
The wife of the chief minister, Zulaikha, watched Joseph from day to day. She at with him, talked with him, listened to him, and her wonder increased over the passion of time.
Joseph was soon confronted (with his second trial). The chief minister’s wife, Zulaikha could not resist the handsome Joseph, and her obsession with him caused her sleepless nights. She fell in love with him, and it was painful for her to be so close to a man, yet be unable to hold him. Yet, she was not a wayward woman, for in her position she could get any man she desired. By all accounts, she must have been a very pretty and intelligent lady, or why would the chief minister have chosen her of all the pretty women in the kingdom? Although she bore him no child, he would not take another wife, as he loved her passionately.
The Quran raises the curtain on the scene of this fierce and devouring love on the part of the lady. Allah the Almighty told us:
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)
Commentators are unanimous about her intention of disobedience but disagree about his own intention. There are those who say that she tempted him and he tempted her to sin, although he did not follow through with his intent. Others say that she merely wanted him to kiss her, and he attempted to strike her. Yet others say that this anxiety had been there before this incident. There was a psychological disturbance in Joseph when he reached adolescence, which Almighty Allah rid him of.
The safest commentary for us is that there is temptation and resistance in the verse, for He Most High stated: And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire… (Ch 12:24)
Abu Ubaidah said that this is a temptation and resistance meaning that she had tried to seduce him; had he not seen the proof of Allah, he would have been seduced. This is in keeping with the infallibility of prophets, as it suits the words, which immediately follow: Thus it was that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves. (Ch 12:24)
This verse proves that Joseph was an upright worshipper of Allah; it also testifies to his rescue from the authority of Satan. The Almighty said to the devil (Iblis) on the Day of Creation,
“Certainly, you shall no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghawin (Mushrikeen, and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evildoers, etc)” (Ch 15:42)
Joseph’s refusal only heightened her passion. As he moved to the door to escape, she ran after him and caught hold of his shirt, like a drowning person clinging to the boat. In her tugging she tore his shirt and held the torn piece in her hand. They reached the door together. It opened suddenly, there stood her husband and a relative of hers.
Almighty Allah said:
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)
As he opened the door, he saw her husband standing in front of him. The sly woman immediately changed her tone to anger, and, showing the torn piece of the shirt in her hand, asked her husband:
“What is the recompense (punishment) for him who intended an evil design against your wife, except that he be put in prison or a painful torment?” (Ch 12:25)
She was now accusing Joseph of molesting her, to give the impression that she was innocent and a victim of Joseph’s sexual desire. Though bewildered Joseph denied it:
“it was she that sought to seduce me.” (Ch 12:26)
The shirt was passed from hand to hand, while she watched. The witness (her cousin) looked at it and found that it was torn at the back. The evidence showed that she was guilty. The disappointed husband remarked to his wife:
“Surely, it is a plot of you women! Certainly mighty is you plot!” (Ch 12:28)
The wise and just Aziz apologized to Joseph for his wife’s indecency. He also instructed her to beg Joseph’s forgiveness for accusing him falsely. Allah the Almighty narrated this incident thus:
He (Joseph) said: “It was she that sought to seduce me,” and a witness of her household bore witness saying: “If it be that his shirt is torn from the front, then her tale is true, and he is a liar! but if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then she has told a lie and he is speaking the truth!”
So when he (the husband) saw his (Joseph’s) shirt was torn at the back; (her husband) said: “Surely, it is a plot of you women! certainly mighty is your plot! O Joseph! turn away from this! (O woman)! Ask forgiveness for your sin. Verily, you were of the sinful.”(Ch 12:26-29 Quran).
An incident like this cannot remain a secret in a house filled with servants, and the story spread. Women began to see her behavior as scandalous. They remarked:
“The wife of Al-Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man, indeed she loves him violently; verily, we see her in plain error.” (Ch 12:30)
Naturally their gossip distressed Zulaikha. She honestly believed that it was not easy for any women to resist a man as handsome as Joseph. To prove her helplessness, she planned to subject the women to the same temptation she faced. She invited them to a lavish banquet. No one so invited would want to miss the honor of dining with the chief minister’s wife; besides, they secretly harbored the desire to meet the handsome Joseph face to face. Some of her close friends jokingly said they would come only if she introduced them to Joseph.
The invitation was restricted to ladies. The banquet began, laughter and mirth abounded. Etiquette dictated that the ladies not mention the topic of Joseph. They were shocked, therefore, when Zulaikha opened the topic. “I have heard of those who say I have fallen in love with the young Hebrew man, Joseph.” Silence fell upon the banquet. At once all the guests hands stopped, and all eyes fell on the chief minister’s wife. She said, while giving orders for the fruit to be served: “I admit that he is charming fellow. I do not deny that I love him. I have loved him for a long time.”
The confession of the chief minister’s wife removed the tension among the ladies. After finishing their dinner, the guests began cutting their fruit. At that very moment she summoned Joseph to make his appearance. He entered the hall gracefully, his gaze lowered. Zulaikha called him by his name and he raised his head. The guests were astonished and dumbfounded. His face was shining and full of mand angelic beauty. It reflected complete innocence, so much so that one could feel the peace of mind in the depth of his soul.
They exclaimed in astonishment while continuing to cut the fruit. All their eyes were on Joseph. So it was that the women began to cut their palms absent mindly without feeling that they had cut them.
The presence of Joseph at the scene of drama was so effective that blflowedwithouttheir feeling pain. One of the ladies gasped: “Good gracious!” Another whispered: “This is not a mortal being!” Another stammered, patting her hair: “This is but a noble angel.”
Then the chief minister’s wife stood up and announced: “This is the one for whom I have been blamed. I do not deny that I tempted him. You have been enchanted by Joseph, and see what has happened to your hands. I have tempted him, and if he does not do what I want of him he shall be imprisoned.”
Almighty Allah related the scene of the banquet in His words:
So when she heard of their accusation, she sent for them and prepared a banquet for them; she gave each one of them a knife (to cut the foodstuff with), and she said (to Joseph): “Come out before them.” Then, when they saw him, they exalted him (at his beauty) and (in their astonishment) cut their hands. They said: “how perfect is Allah (or Allah forbid)! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!”
She said: “This is he (the young man) about whom you did blame me (for his love) and I did seek to seduce him, but he refused. And now if he refuses to obey my order, he shall certainly be cast into prison, and will be one of those who are disgraced.”
He said: “O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds of the ignorants.”
So his Lord answered his inovocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily he is the All Hearer, the All Knower. (Ch 12:31-34)
That evening, Zulaikha convinced her husband that the only way to save her honor was to put Joseph in prison; otherwise she would not be able to control herself or to safeguard his prestige. The chief minister knew Joseph was absolutely innocent, that he was a young man of honor, a loyal servant, and he loved him for these reasons. It was not an easy decision for him to put an innocent man behind bars. However, he was left with no choice. He reasoned that Joseph’s honor would also be safeguarded if he was kept out of Zulaikha’s sight. That night, with a heavy heart, the chief minister sent Joseph to prison.
Prison was Joseph’s third test. During this period Allah blessed him with an extraordinary gift; the ability to interpret dreams. At about the same time two other men landed in the prison. One was the cupbearer of the king; the other was the king’s cook. The two men sensed that Joseph was not a common criminal, for an aura of piety glowed on his face. Both men had vivid dreams, and they were anxious to have them explained. The king’s cook dreamed that he stood in a place with bread on his head, and two birds were eating the bread. The cupbearer dreamed that he was serving the king wine. The two went to Joseph and told him their dreams, asking him to give them their meaning.
First, Joseph called them to Allah. Then he said that the cook would be crucified until he died and that the cupbearer would return to the service of the king. Joseph told the cupbearer to remember him to the king and to say that there was a wronged soul called Joseph in prison. What Joseph predicted did happen; the cook was crucified and the cupbearer returned to the palace.
After the cupbearer returned to service, Satan made him forget to mention Joseph’s name to the king. Therefore, Joseph remained in prison for a few years, but he made patience his own, praying to Allah.
Almighty Allah narrated:
And there entered with him two young men in the prison. One of them said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) pressing wine.” The other said: “Verily, I saw myself (in a dream) carrying bread on my head and birds were eating thereof.” They said: Inform us of the interpretation of this. Verily, we think you are one of those Muhsineen (doers of good).”
He said: “No food will come to you (in wakefulness or in dream) as your provision but I will inform (in wakefulness) its interpretation before it (the food) comes. This is of that which my Lord has taught me. Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people that believe not in Allah and are disbeliveers in the Hereafter. And I have followed the religion of my fathers, – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the Grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men think not (i.e. they neither believe in Allah nor worship Him).
“O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgment) is for none but Allah. He has commanded (His Monotheism), that is the true, straight religion, but most men know not.
“O two companions of the prison! As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine for his lord (King or master) to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat from his head. Thus is the case judged concerning which you both did inquire.”
And he said to the one whom he knew to be saved: “Mention me to your lord (your King, so to get me out of the prison).” But Satan made him forget to mention it to his lord (or Satan made Joseph to forget the remembrance of his Lord (Allah) as to ask for His Help, instead of others). So Joseph stayed in prison a few more years. (Ch 12:36-42).
The scene in the prison closes; a new scene opens in the bedchamber of the king. The king is asleep. He sees himself on the banks of the Nile river. The water is receding before him, becoming mere mud. The fish begin to skip and jump in the mud. Seven fat cows come out of the river followed by seven lean cows. The seven lean ones devour the seven fat ones. The king is terrified. The seven ears of green grain grow on the riverbanks and disappear in the mud. One the same spot grow seven dray ears of grain.
The king awoke frightened, shocked, and depressed, not knowing what all this meant. He sent for the sorcerers, priests and ministers, and told them his dream.
The sorcerers said: “This is a mixed up dream. How can any of that be? It is a nightmare.”
The priests said: “Perhaps his majesty had a heavy supper.”
The chief minister said: “Could it be that his majesty was exposed and did not draw the blanket up at night?”
The king’s jester said, jokingly: “His majesty is beginning to grow old, and so his dreams are confused.”
They reached an unanimous conclusion that it was only a nightmare.
The news reached the cupbearer. He recollected the dream he had in prison and compared it to the king’s dream, and, therefore Joseph came to mind. He ran to the king to tell him about Joseph, who was the only one capable to interpreting the dream. The cupbearer said : “He had asked me to remember him to you, but I forgot.” The king sent the cupbearer to ask Joseph about the dream.
Joseph interpreted it to him: “There will be seven years of abundance. If the land is properly cultivated, there will be an excess of good harvest, more than the people will need. This should be stored. Thereafter, seven years of famine will follow, during which time the excess grain could be used.”
He also advised that during the famine they should save some grain to be used for seed for the next harvest. Joseph then added; “After seven years of drought, there will be a year during which water will be plentiful. If the water is properly used, grapevines and olive trees will grow in abundance, providing plenty of grapes and olive oil.”
The cupbearer hurried back with the good news. The king was fascinated by Joseph’s interpretation. Almighty Allah narrated this incident thus:
And the king of Egypt said: “Verily, I saw in a dream seven fat cows, whom seven lean cows were devouring, and seven green ears of corn and seven others dry. O notables! Explain to me my dream if it be that you can interpret dreams.”
They said: “Mixed up false dreams and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.”
Then the man who was released (one of the two who were in prison), now at length remembered and said: “I will tell you its interpretation, so send me forth.”
(He said): “O Joseph, the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn and seven others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.” Joseph said: “For seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that the harvest which you reap you shall leave in ears, all –except a little of it which you may eat. Then will come after that seven hard years, which will devour what you have laid by in advance for them, all except a little of that which you have guarded (stored). Then thereafter will come a year in which people will have abundant rain and in which they will press wine and oil.” (Ch 12:43-49)
The king was greatly astonished. Who could this person be? He commanded that Joseph be set free from prison and presented to him at once. The king’s envoy went to fetch him immediately, but Joseph refused to leave the prison unless his innocence was proven. Perhaps they accused him of cutting the ladies hands, or trying to rape them. Perhaps any other false accusation was made.
We do not know exactly what was said to the people to justify Joseph’s sentence to prison. The envoy returned to the king. The king asked him: “Where is Joseph? Did I not command you to fetch him?”
The envoy replied: “He refused to leave until his innocence is established regarding the ladies who cut their hands.”
The king ordered: “Bring the wives of the ministers and the wife of the chief minister at once.” The king felt that Joseph had been harmed unfairly but he did not know exactly how. The wife of the chief minister came with the other ministers’ wives. The king asked: “What is the story of Joseph? What do you know about him? Is it true that…?”
One of the ladies interrupted the king exclaiming: “Allah forbid!”
A second said: “We know of no evil he has done.”
A third said: “He enjoys the innocence of angels.”
The eyes of everyone turned to the wife of the chief minister. She now wore a wrinkled face and had lost weight. She had been overwhelmed by sorrow over Joseph while he was in prison. She boldly confessed that she had lied and he had told the t. “I tempted him; but he refused.” She confirmed what she said, not out of fear of the king or the other ladies, but for Joseph to know that she had never betrayed him during his absence, for he was still in her mind and soul. Of all creation he was the only one she cared for, so she confirmed his innocence before all.
Almighty Allah said:
And the king said: “Bring him to me.” But, when the messenger came to him (Joseph) said: “Return to your lord, and ask him, ‘what happened to the women who cut their hands? Surely, my Lord (Allah) is Well Aware of their plot.””
(The king) said (to the women): “What was your affair when you did seek to seduce Joseph?” The women said: “Allah forbid! No evil know we against him!” The wife of Al Aziz said: “Now the truth is manifest to all, it was I who sought to seduce him and he is surely one of the truthful.”
(Then Joseph said: “I asked for this inquiry) in order that he (Al-Aziz) may know that I betrayed him not in secret. And, verily! Allah guides not the plot of the betrayers. And I free not myself (from the blame). Verily, the human self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (Ch 12:50-53).
Reflecting on these verses suggests that she had turned to Joseph’s religion, monotheism. His imprisonment was a great turning point in her life. After this, the Quranic style neglects the story of the chief minister’s wife completely. We do not know what happened to her after she gave her clear evidence. Yet still, there are legends about her. It has been said that after her husband died she married Joseph, and, behold she was a virgin. She confessed that her husband had been old and had never touched women. Other legends said that she lost her sight, weeping for Joseph. She abandoned her palace and wandered in the streets of the city.
However, the lady disappeared from the Quranic narrative at the suitable stage, at the climax of her trouble. Perhaps she lingers in memory longer than if we had known the ending. The king informed Joseph that his innocence was established and ordered him to come to the palace for an interview. The king recognized his noble qualities. When Joseph came, the king spoke to him in his tongue. Joseph’s replies astonished the king with his cultural refinement and wide knowledge.
Then the conversation turned to the dream. Joseph advised the king to start planning for years of famine ahead. He informed him that the famine would affect not only Egypt but the neighboring countries as well. The king offered him a high position. Joseph asked to be made controller of the granaries, so that he could guard the nation’s harvest and thereby safeguard it during the anticipated drought. By this Joseph did not mean to seize an opportunity or personal gain; he merely wanted to rescue hungry nations for a personal gain; he merely wanted to rescue hungry nations for a period of seven years. It was a sheer self-sacrifice on his part.
Almighty Allah said:
And the king said: “Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.” Then, when he spoke to him, he said: “Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and full trusted.”
Joseph said: “Set me over the store houses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.” (as a minister of finance in Egypt, in place of Al-Aziz who was dead at that time).
Thus did We give full authority to Joseph in the land, to take possession therein, as when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost the reward of Al Muhsineen (the good-doers). (Ch 12:54-57).
The wheels of time turned. During the seven good years, Joseph had full control over the cultivation, harvesting, and storage of crops. During the following seven years, drought followed and famine spread throughout the region, including Canaan, the homeland of Joseph. Joseph advised the king that as his kingdom was blessed with reserved grain, he should sell his grain to the needy nations at a fair price. The king agreed, and the good news spread all over the region.
Jacob sent ten of his sons, all except Benjamin, to Egypt to purchase provisions. Joseph heard of the ten brothers who had come from afar and who could not speak the language of the Egyptians. When they called on him to purchase their needs, Joseph immediately recognized his brothers, but they did not know him. How could they? To them Joseph no longer existed; he had been thrown into the deep, dark well many years ago!
Joseph received them warmly. After supplying them with provisions, he asked where they had come from. They explained: “We are eleven brothers, the children of a noble prophet. The youngest is at home tending to the needs of our aging father.”
On hearing this, Joseph’s eyes filled with tears; his longing for home swelled up in his heart, as well as his longing for his beloved parents and his loving brother Benjamin. “Are you truthful people?” Joseph asked them.
Perturbed they replied, “What reason should we have to sate an untruth?”
“If what you say is true then bring your brother as proof and I will reward you with double rations. But if you do not bring him to me, it would be better if you do not return,” Joseph warned them.
They assured him that they would gladly fulfill his command but that they would have to get their father’s permission. As an inducement to return with their brother, Joseph ordered his servant to secretly place the purse, with the money they had paid, into one of their grain sacks.
Allah the Almighty said:
And Joseph’s brethren came and they entered unto him, and he recognized them, but they recognized him not. And when he had furnished them forth with provisions (according to their need), he said: “Bring me a brother of yours from your father; (he meant Benjamin). See you not that I give full measure, and that I am the best of the hosts? But if you bring him onto me, there shall be no measure of corn for you with me, nor shall you come near me.”
They said: “We shall try to get permission for him from his father, and verily, we shall do it.”
And (Joseph) told his servants to put their money (with which they had bought the corn) into their bags, so that they might know it when they go back to their people, in order that they might come back. (Ch 12:58-62)
The scene dims in Egypt and lights in Canaan. The brothers returned to their father. Before they could unload the camels, they greeted him, then reproved him: “We were denied some supplies because you did not let your son go with us. They would not give us food for absentees. Why would you not entrust him with us? Please, send him with us, and we shall take care of him.”
Jacob became sad and told them: “I will not permit Benjamin to travel with you. I will not part with him, for I entrusted Joseph to you and you failed me.”
Later, when they opened their grain sacks, they were surprised to find the money purse returned intact. They rushed to their father; “Look, father! The noble official has returned our money; this is surely proof that he would not harm our brother and it can only benefit us.” But Jacob refused to send Benjamin with them.
After some time, when they had no more grain, Jacob asked them to travel to Egypt for more. They reminded him of the warning the Egyptian official had given them. They could not return without Benjamin. Jacob agreed, but not before he extracted a pledge from them. “I will not send him with you unless you give me a pledge in Allah’s name that you shall bring him back to me as safely as you take him.” They gave their solemn pledge. He reminded them: “Allah is witness to your pledge.” He then advised them to enter the city through several different gates.
Almighty Allah narrated:
So 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, and we shall get our measure and truly we will guard him.”
He said: “Can I entrust him to you except as I entrust his brother (Joseph) to you aforetime? But Allah is the best to guard, and He is the Most Merciful of those Who show mercy.”
And when thopened their bags, they found their money had been returned to them. They said: “O our father! What more can we desire? This, our money has been returned to us, so we shall get more food for our family, and we shall guard our brother and add one more measure of a camel’s load. This quantity is easy (for the king to give).”
He (Jacob) said: “I will not send him with you until you swear a solemn oath to me in Allah’s Name, that you will bring him back to me unless you are yourselves surrounded (by enemies, etc). And when they had sworn their solemn oath, he said: “Allah is the Witness over what we have said.”
And he said: “O my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allah at all. Verily! The decision rests only with Allah. In Him, I put my trust and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.” (Ch 12:63-67 Quran).
Jacob blessed them on their departure and prayed to Allah for their protection. The brothers undertook the long journey to Egypt, taking good care of Benjamin.
Joseph welcomed them heartily, although, with difficulty, he suppressed the desire to embrace Benjamin that arose within him. He prepared a feast for them and seated them in pairs. Joseph arranged to sit next to his beloved brother Benjamin, who began to weep. Joseph asked him why he was crying. He replied: “If my brother Joseph had been here, I would have sat next to him.”
That night, when Joseph and Benjamin were alone in a room, Joseph asked whether he would have him for a brother. Benjamin respectfully answered that he regarded his host as a wonderful person, but he could never take the place of his brother. Joseph broke down, and amidst flowing tears said; “My loving brother, I am the brother who was lost and whose name you are constantly repeating. Fate has brought us together after many years of separation. This is Allah’s favor. But let it be a secret between us for the time being.” Benjamin flung his arms around Joseph and both brothers shed tears of joy.
The next day, while their bags were being filled with grains to load onto the camels, Joseph ordered one of his attendants to place the king’s gold cup which was used for measuring the grain into Benjamin’s saddlebag. When the brothers were ready to set out, the gates were locked, and the court crier shouted: “O you travelers, you are thieves!” The accusation was most unusual, and the people gathered around Joseph’s brothers.
“What have you lost?” his brothers inquired.
A soldier said: “The king’s golden cup. Whoever can trace it we will give a beast load of grain.”
Joseph’s brothers said with all innocence: “We have not come here to corrupt the land and steal.”
Joseph’s officers said (as he had instructed them): What punishment should you choose for the thief?” The brothers answered: “According to our law, whoever steals becomes a slave to the owner of the property.”
The officers agreed: “We shall apply your law instead of the Egyptian law, which provides for imprisonment.”
The chief officer ordered his soldiers to start searching the caravan. Joseph was watching the incident from high upon his throne. He had given instructions for Benjamin’s bag to be the last to be searched. When they did not find the cup in the bags of the ten older brothers, the brothers sighed in relief. There remained only the bag of their youngest brother. Joseph said, intervening for the first time, that there was no need to search his saddle as he did not look like a thief.
His brothers affirmed: “We will not move an inch unless his saddle is searched as well. We are the sons of a noble man, not thieves.”
The soldiers reached in their hands and pulled out the king’s cup. The brothers exclaimed: “If he steals now, a brother of his has stolen before.” They strayed from the present issue in order to blame a particular group of the children of Jacob.
Joseph heard their resentment with his own ears and was filled with regret. Yet, he swallowed his own resentment, keeping it within. He said to himself, “you went further and fared worse; it shall go bad with you and worse hereafter, and Allah knows your intention.”
Silence fell upon them after these remarks by the brothers. Then they forgot their secret satisfaction and thought of Jacob; they had taken an oath with him that they would not betray his son. They began to beg Joseph for mercy. “Joseph, O minister! Take one of us instead. He is the son of a good man, and we can see you are a good man.”
Joseph answered calmly: “How can you want to set free the man who has stolen the king’s cup? It would be sinful.”
The brothers went on pleading for mercy. However, the guards said that the king had spoke and his word was law. Judah, the eldest, was much worried and told the others: “We promised our father in the name of Allah not to fail him. I will, therefore, stay behind and will only return if my father permits me to do so.”
Regarding this scene, Almighty Allah said:
And when they entered according to their father’s advice, it did not avail them in the least against (the Will of ) Allah, it was but a need of Jacob’s inner self which he discharged. And verily, he was endowed with knowledge because We had taught him, but most men know not. And when they went in before Joseph, he betook his brother (Benjamin) to himself and said: “Verily! I am your brother, so grieve not for what they used to do.”
So when he had furnished them forth with their provisions, he put the golden bowl in his brother’s bag. Then a crier cried: “O you in the caravan! Surely, you are thieves!”
They, turning towards them said: “What is that you have missed?”
They said: “We have missed the golden bowl of the king and for him who produces it is the reward of a camel load; I will be bound by it.”
They said: “By Allah! Indeed you know that we came not to make mischief in the land, and we are no thieves!”
They (Joseph’s brothers) said: “The penalty should be that he, in whose bag it is found, should be held for the punishment of the crime. Thus we punish the Zalimeen (wrongdoers, etc)!”
So he (Joseph) began the search in their bags before the bag of his brother. Then he brought it out of his brother’s bag. Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king (as a slave), except that Allah willed it. So Allah made the brothers to bind themselves with their way of ‘punishment, i.e. enslaving of a thief.’ We raise to degrees whom We please, but over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allah).
They (Joseph’s brothers) said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his (Joseph) who did steal before him.” But these things did Joseph keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in the worst case, and Allah knows best the truth of what you assert!”
They said : “O ruler of the land! Verily, he has an old father who will grieve for him, so take one of us in his place. Indeed we think that you are one of the good doers.”
He said: “Allah forbid! That we should take anyone but him with whom we found our property. Indeed if we did so, we shall be Zalimun (wrongdoers).”
So, when they despaired of him, they held a conference in private. The eldest among them said: “Know you not that your father did take an oath from you in Allah’s name, and before this did fail in your duty with Joseph? Therefore, I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or Allah decides my case (by releasing Benjamin) and He is the Best of the judges.” (Ch 12:68-80 Quran).
The brothers left enough provisions behind for Judah, who stayed at a tavern awaiting the fate of Benjamin. In the meantime, Joseph kept Benjamin in his house as his personal guest and told him how he had devised the plot to put the king’s cup in his bag, in order to keep him behind, so as to protect him. He was also glad that Judah had stayed behind, as he was a good hearted brother. Joseph secretly arranged to watch over Judah’s well being.
Joseph’s plan in sending the others back was to test their sincerity, to see if they would come back for the two brothers they had left behind. When they arrived home, theyentered upon their father calling: “O our father! Your son has stolen!”
He was puzzled, scarcely believing the news. He was overwhelmed with sorrow and his eyes wept tears. “Patience be with me; perhaps Allah will return all of them to me. He is Most Knowing, Most Wise.” A pal of lonesomeness closed over him, yet he found consolation in patience and trusted in Allah.
Allah revealed to us what happened at their meeting with their father: (Judah said) “Return to your father and say: ‘O our father! Verily, your son (Benjamin) has stolen, and we testify not except according to what we know, and we could not known the unseen! And ask the people of the town where we have been, and the caravan in which we returned and indeed we are telling the truth.””
He (Jacob) said: “Nay, but your ownselves have beguiled you into something. So patience is most fitting for me. Maybe Allah will bring them back all to me. Truly He! Only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
And he turned away from them and said: “Alas, my grief for Joseph!” And he lost his sight because of the sorrow that he was suppressing. (Ch 12:81-84)
The father was deeply hurt. Only prayer could comfort him and strengthen his faith and patience. Weeping all those years for his beloved son Joseph – and now one more of his best sons had been snatched from him – Jacob almost lost his sight.
The other sons pleaded with him: “O father, you are a noble prophet and a great messenger of Allah. Unto you descended revelation and people received guidance and faith from you. Why are you destroying yourself in this way?”
Jacob replied: “Rebuking me will not lessen my grief. Only the return of my sons will comfort me. My sons, go in search of Joseph and his brother; do not despair of Allah’s mercy.”
Allah, the Almighty told us:
They said: “By Allah! You will never cease remembering Joseph until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.”
He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not. O my sons! Go you and inquire about Joseph and his brother and never give up hope of Allah’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” (Ch 12:85-87 Quran).
The caravan set out for Egypt. The brothers – on their way to see the chief minister (Joseph) – were poor and depressed.
On reaching Egypt they collected Judah and called on Joseph, to whom they pleaded:
“O ruler of the land! A hard time has hit us and our family, and we have brought but poor capital, so pay us full measure and be charitable to us. Truly, Allah does reward the charitable.” (Ch 12:88).
At the end, they begged Joseph. They asked alms of him, appealing to his heart, reminding him that Allah rewards alms givers. At this moment, in the midst of their plight, Joseph spoke to them in their native tongue saying: “Do you know what you did with Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?”
They said: “Are you indeed Joseph?”
He said: “I am Joseph, and his is my brother (Benjamin). Allah has indeed been Gracious to us. Verily, he who fears Allah with obedience to Him (by abstaining from sins and evil deeds, and by performing righteous good deeds), and is patient, then surely, Allah makes not the reward of the good doers to be lost.”
They said: “By Allah! Indeed Allah has preferred you above us, and we certainly have been sinners.” (Ch 12:89-91)
The brothers began to tremble with fear, but Joseph comforted them:
“No reproach on you this day, may Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (Ch 12:92)
Joseph embraced them, and together they wept with joy. It was not possible for Joseph to leave his responsible office without proper replacement, so he advised his brothers:
“Go with this shirt of mine, and cast it over the face of my father, he will become clear-sighted, and bring to me all your family.” (ch 12:93)
And so the caravan headed back for Palestine. We lave the scene in Egypt and return to Palestine and the house of Jacob. The old man is sitting in his room; tears have been flowing down his cheeks. He stands up all of a sudden, dresses and goes out to his son’s wives. Then he lifts up his face to Heaven and sniffs the air.
The wife of the eldest son remarked: “Jacob has come out of his room today.” The women inquired about what was amiss. There was a hint of a smile on his face. The others asked him: “How do you feel today?”
He answered: “I can smell Joseph in the air.”
The wives left him alone, saying to one another that there was no hope for the old man. ‘he will die of weeping over Joseph.’
“Did he talk about Joseph’s shirt?”
“I do not know. He said he could smell him; perhaps he has gone mad.”
That day the old man wanted a cup of milk to break his fast, for he had been fasting. At night he changed his clothes. The caravan was traveling in the desert with Joseph’s shirt hidden among the grain. It neared the old man’s estate. He gesticulated in his room, and then he prayed a long time, lifting his hands to heaven and sniffing the air. He was weeping as the shirt was nearing him.
And when the caravan departed, their father said: “I do indeed feel the smell of Joseph, if only you think me not a dotard (a person who has weakness of mind because of old age).”
They said: “By Allah! Certainly, you are in your old error.”
Then, when the bearer of the glad tidings arrived, he cast the shirt over his face, and he became clear sighted. He said: “Did I not say to you, I know from Allah that which you know not.””
They said: “O our father! Ask Forgiveness from Allah for our sins, indeed we have been sinners.” (Ch 12:94-97)
The story began with a dream and it ends with the interpretation of the dream. Almighty Allah narrated:
He said: “I will ask my Lord for forgiveness for you, verily, He! Only He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
Then, when they entered unto Joseph, he betook his parents to himself and said: “Enter Egypt, if Allah will, in security.”
And he raised his parents to the throne and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: “O my father! This is the interpretation of my dream of old! My Lord has 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 Bedouin life, after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Certainly, my Lord is the Most Courteous and Kind unto whom He will. Truly He! Only He is the All Knowing, the All-Wise.” (Ch 12:98-100)
Consider his feelings now that his dream has come true. He prays to Allah:
“My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of my dreams; The only Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian etc). in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will), and join me with the righteous.” (Ch 12:101)
Joseph arranged an audience with the king for himself and his family, to ask the king’s permission for them to settle in Egypt. Joseph was an assert to the kingdom, and the king was happy to have him remain with his household. Joseph prostrated to Allah in gratitude.
Before he died, Jacob (pbuh) advised his children to adhere to the teachings of Islam, the religion of all of Allah’s prophets. Allah the Almighty revealed;
Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob? When he said unto his sons: “What will you worship after me?” they said: “We shall worship your Ilah (God-Allah) the Ilah (God) of your father. Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit in Islam.” (Ch 12:133 Quran).
Joseph (pbuh), at the moment of his death, asked his brothers to bury him beside his forefathers if they were to leave Egypt. So when Joseph (pbuh) passed away, he was mummified and placed in a coffin until such a time as he could be taken out of Egypt and buried beside his forefathers, as he had requested. It was said that he died at the age of one hundred ten.
Chapter: “And (remember) Lout (Lot)!”
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “May Allah forgive Lot: He wanted to have a powerful support.”
Chapter: “Then when the messengers came unto the family of Lout…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 595 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) recited: ‘Hal-min-Muddakir’ (54.15) (Is there any that will remember) (and avoid evil).
The Story of Prophet Lut [Lot]
By Ibn Kathir
Prophet Abraham peace be upon him left Egypt accompanied by his nephew Lut peace be upon him, who then went to the city of Sodom (Sadum), which was on the western shore of the Dead Sea.
This city was filled with evil. Its residents waylaid, robbed and killed travelers. Another common evil among them was that men had sex with men instead of with women. This unnatural act later became known as sodomy (after the city of Sodom). It was practiced openly and unashamedly.
It was at the height of these crimes and sins that Allah revealed to Prophet Lut peace be upon him that he should summon the people to give up their indecent behavior, but they were so deeply sunk in their immoral habits that they were deaf to Lot’s preaching. Swamped in their unnatural desires, they refused to listen, even when Lot warned them of Allah’s punishment. Instead, they threatened to drive him out of the city if he kept on preaching.
Allah the Almighty revealed:
“The people of Lot (those dwelt in the towns of Sodom in Palestine) belied the Messengers when their brother Lot said to them, ‘Will you not fear Allah and obey Him? Verily! I am a trustworthy Messenger to you. So fear Allah, keep your duty to Him, and obey me. No reward do I ask of you for it (my Message of Islamic Monotheism) my reward is only from the Lord of the ‘alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Go you in unto the males of the ‘alamin (mankind), and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your wives? Nay, you are a trespassing people!’
“They said, ‘If you cease not, O Lot! Verily, you will be one of those who are driven out!’
“He said, ‘I am indeed, of those who disapprove with severe anger and fury your (this evil) action (of sodomy). My Lord! Save me and my family from what they do.’
“So We saved him and his family, all except an old woman (this wife) among those who remained behind.”
The doings of Lot’s people saddened his heart. Their unwholesome reputation spread throughout the land, while he struggled against them. As the years passed, he persisted in his mission but to no avail. No one responded to his call and believed except for the members of his family, and even in his household, not all the members believed. Lot’s wife, like Noah’s wife, a disbeliever.
Allah the Almighty declared:
“Allah set forth an example for those who disbelieve, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous slaves, but they both betrayed their (husbands, by rejecting their doctrines) so they (Noah & Lut) benefited them (their respective wives) not, against Allah, and it was said, ‘Enter the Fire along with those who enter!’ “
If home is the place of comfort and rest, then Lut found none, for he was tormented both inside and outside his home. His life was continuous torture and he suffered greatly, but he remained patient and steadfast with his people. The years rolled by, and still not one believed in him. Instead, they belittled his message and mockingly challenged him:
“Bring Allah’s Torment upon us if you are one of the truthful!”
Overwhelmed with despair, Lot prayed to Allah to grant him victory and destroy the corrupt. Therefore, the angels left Abraham peace be upon him and headed for Sodom the town of Lut peace be upon him. They reached the walls of the town in the afternoon. The first person who caught sight of them was Lot’s daughter, who was sitting beside the river, filling her jug with water. When she lifted her face and saw them, she was stunned that there could be men of such magnificent beauty on earth.
One of the tree men (angels) asked her, “O maiden, is there a place to rest?”
Remembering the character of her people she replied, “Stay here and do not enter until I inform my father and return.” Leaving her jug by the river, she swiftly ran home.
“O father,” she cried, “you are wanted by young men at the town gate and I have never before seen the like of their faces!”
Lot felt distressed as he quickly ran to his guests. He asked them where they came from and where they were going.
They did not answer his questions. Instead they asked if he could host them. He started talking with them and impressed upon them the subject of his people’s nature. Lot was filled with turmoil; he wanted to convince his guests without offending them, not to spend the night there, yet at the same time he wanted to extend to them the expected hospitality normally accorded to guests. In vain he tried to make them understand the perilous situation. At last, therefore, he requested them to wait until the night fell, for then no one would see them.
When darkness fell on the town, Lot escorted his guest to his home. No one was aware of their presence. However, as soon as Lot’s wife saw them, she slipped out of the house quietly so that no one noticed her. Quickly, she ran to her people with the news and it spread to all the inhabitants like wildfire. The people rushed towards Lot quickly and excitedly. Lot was surprised by their discovery of his guests. and he wondered who could have informed them. The matter became clear, however, when he could not find his wife, anywhere, thus adding grief to his sorrow.
When Lot saw the mob approaching his house, he shut the door, but they kept on banging on it. He pleaded with them to leave the visitors alone and fear Allah’s punishment. He urged them to seek sexual fulfillment with their wives, for that is what Allah had made lawful.
Lot’s people waited until he had finished his short sermon, and then they roared with laughter. Blinded by passion, they broke down the door. Lot became very angry, but he stood powerless before these violent people. He was unable to prevent the abuse of his guests, but he firmly stood his ground and continued to plead with the mob.
At that terrible moment, he wished he had the power to push them away from his guests. Seeing him in a state of helplessness, and grief the guests said, “Do not be anxious or frightened, Lot for we are angels, and these people will not harm you.”
On hearing this, the mob was terrified and fled from Lot’s house, hurling threats at him as they left. The angels warned Prophet Lut peace be upon him to leave his house before sunrise, taking with him all his family except his wife.
Allah had decreed that the city of Sodom should perish. An earthquake rocked the town. It was as if a mighty power had lifted the entire city and flung it down in one jolt. A storm of stones rained on the city. Everyone and everything was destroyed, including Lot’s wife.
Allah the Almighty recounted this story:
“And tell them about the guests (angels) of Abraham. When they entered unto him, and said, ‘Salaman (peace)!’ Abraham said, ‘Indeed! We are afraid of you.’
“They (the angels) said, ‘Do not be afraid! We give you glad tidings of a boy (son) possessing much knowledge and wisdom.’ (Abraham) said, ‘Do you give me glad tidings (of a son) when old age has overtaken me? Of what then is your news?’ They (the angels) said, ‘We give you glad tidings in truth. So be not of the despairing.’
“Abraham said, ‘And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord except those who are astray?’ (Abraham again) said, ‘What then is the business on which you have come, O Messengers?’
“They (the angels) said, ‘We have been sent to a people who are mujrimin (criminals, disbelivers, polytheists, sinners). (All) except the family of Lot. Them all we are surely going to save (from destruction).’
“Except his wife, of whom We have decreed that she shall be of the those who remain behind (she will be destroyed).
“Then when the Messengers (the angels) came unto the family of Lot, he said, ‘Verily! You are people unknown to me.’ They said, ‘Nay! we have come to you with that (torment) which they have been doubting. And we have brought to you the truth (the news of the destruction of your nation) and certainly, we tell the truth. Then travel in a part of the night with your family, and you go behind them in the rear, and let no one amongst you look back, but go on to where you are ordered.’
“And We made known this decree to him, that the root of those (sinners) was to be cut off in the early morning.
“The inhabitants of the city came rejoicing (at the news of the young men’s arrival). Lot said, ‘Verily! These are my guests, so shame me not. And fear Allah and disgrace me not.’ They (people of the city) said, ‘Did we not forbid you to entertain (or protect) any of the ‘alamin (people, foreigners strangers etc) from us?’ Lot said, ‘These (the girls of the nation) are my daughters to marry lawfully if you must act so.’
“Verily, by your life (O Muhammad), in their wild intoxication they were wandering blindly. So as-salihah (torment, awful cry, etc.) overtook them at the time of sunrise; and We turned (the towns of Sodom in Palestine) upside down and rained down on them stones of baked clay. Surely! In this are signs for those who see (or understand or learn the lessons from the Signs of Allah). And verily! They (the cities) are right on the highroad (from Makkah to Syria, i.e. the place where the Dead Sea is now). Surely! Therein is indeed a sign for the believers.”
Allah the Exalted also declared:
“So we saved him and his family, all, except an old woman (his wife) among those who remained behind. Then afterward We destroyed the others. We rained on them a rain of torment. How evil was the rain of those who had been warned. Verily, in this is indeed a sign yet most of them are not believers. Verily! Your Lord, He is indeed the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.“
The book was closed on the people of Lot peace be upon him. Their towns and names have been erased from the face of the earth. Gone are they from memory. One book was closed of the books of corruption.
Lot peace be upon him proceeded towards Abraham peace be upon him. He visited him, and when he recounted the story of his people, he was surprised to learn that Abraham peace be upon him already knew. So Lut peace be upon him continued to invite people to Allah, as did Abraham peace be upon him, the patient one who turned to Allah repentantly, and the two held firm to their mission.
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And mention in the Book Isma’il…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 592 :
Narrated by Salama bin Al-Akwa (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) passed by some persons of the tribe of Aslam practicing archery (i.e. the throwing of arrows) Allah’s Apostle said, “O offspring of Ishmael! Practice archery (i.e. arrow throwing) as your father was a great archer (i.e. arrow-thrower). I am with (on the side of) the son of so-and-so-.” Hearing that, one of the two teams stopped throwing. Allah’s Apostle asked them, “Why are you not throwing?” They replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! How shall we throw when you are with the opposite team?” He said, “Throw, for I am with you all.”
Ibn Kathir writes:
One day, Abraham woke up and asked his wife Hajar to get her son and prepare for a long journey. In a few days Abraham started out with his wife Hajar and their son Ishmael. The child was still nursing and not yet weaned.
Abraham walked through cultivated land, desert, and mountains until he reached the desert of the Arabian Peninsula and came to an uncultivated valley having no fruit, no trees, no food, no water. The valley had no sign of life. After Abraham had helped his wife and child to dismount, he left them with a small amount of food and water which was hardly enough for 2 days. He turned around and walked away. He wife hurried after him asking: “Where are you going Abraham, leaving us in this barren valley?”
Abraham did not answer her, but continued walking. She repeated what she had said, but he remained silent. Finally she understood that he was not acting on his own initiative. she realized that Allah had commanded him to do this. She asked him : “Did Allah command you to do so?” He replied: “Yes.” Then his great wife said: “We are not going to be lost, since Allah Who has commanded you is with us.”
Abraham invoked Almighty Allah thus:
“‘O Our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayers perfectly (iqamat us-salah) so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. O our Lord! Certainly, You know what we conceal and what we reveal. Nothing on the earth or in the heavens is hidden from Allah.’ “
Ibn ‘Abbas narrated:
“The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sara (by dragging it). Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water so he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates and a small water skin containing some water and set out homeward. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, ‘O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything to enjoy?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, ‘Has Allah ordered you to do so?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ She then said, ‘Then He will not neglect us,’ and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards. On reaching the thaniyah where they could not see him, he faced the Ka’bah and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:
“‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Ka’bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and O Allah provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.’ [Al-Qur’an 14:37]
“Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water skin had been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (Ishmael) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She climbed on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended for As-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble till she crossed the valley and reached the mountain of Al-Marwa. There she stood and started looking expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that running between As-Safa and Al-Marwa seven times.”
The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:
“This is the source of the tradition of the sa’i (rituals of the hajj, pilgrimage) the going of people between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwa). When she reached Al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O whoever you maybe! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?’ And behold, she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing) till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water skin with water with her hands and the water was flowing out water she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet peace be upon him added:
“May Allah bestow mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam flow without trying to control it, or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water skin, Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the Earth.”
The Prophet peace be upon him continued:
“Then she drank water and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’ The House (Ka’bah) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left.
“She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child as they (the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Ka’bah. They landed in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water and returned to inform them of the water. So they all came towards the water. Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that. Ishmael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation, as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people, so they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (Ishmael) grew up and learned Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.”
The Prophet peace be upon him continued:
“After Ishmael’s mother had died, Abraham came after Ishmael’s marriage in order to see his family that he had left before but he did not find Ishmael there. When he asked Ishmael’s wife about him, she replied, ‘He has gone in search of livelihood.’ Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, ‘We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,’ complaining to him. He said, ‘When your husband returns, convey my salutations to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).’
“When Ishmael came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, ‘Has anyone visited you?’ she replied, ‘Yes, an old man of such and such description came and asked me about you and I informed him and he asked about our state of living and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘Did he advise you anything?’ She said, ‘Yes he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.’ Ishmael said, ‘It was my father and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.’ So, Ishmael divorced her and married another woman from among them (Jurhum).
“Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them again but did not find Ishmael. So he came to Ishmael’s wife and asked her about Ishmael. She said, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Abraham asked her, ‘How are you getting on?’ asking her about their sustenance and living. She replied, ‘We are prosperous and well off (we have everything in abundance).’ Then she thanked Allah. Abraham said, ‘What kind of food do you eat?’ she said, ‘Meat.’ He said, ‘What do you drink?’ She said, ‘Water.’ He said, ‘O Allah! Bless their meat and water.’ “
The Prophet peace be upon him added:
“At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain he would have also invoked Allah to bless it. If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected unless he lives in Makkah.”
The Prophet peace be upon him continued:
“Then Abraham said to Ishmael’s wife, ‘When your husband comes give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.’ When Ishmael came back he asked his wife, ‘Did anyone call on you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, a good looking old man came to me.’ So she praised him and added, ‘He asked about you and I informed him that we were in a good condition.’ Ishmael asked her, ‘Did he give you any piece of advice?’ She said, ‘Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and you are the threshold of the gate. He has ordered me to keep you with me.’
“Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said, ‘O Ishmael! Allah has give me an order.’ Ishmael said, ‘Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.’ Abraham asked, ‘Will you help me?’ Ishmael said, ‘I will help you.’ Abraham said, ‘Allah has ordered me to build a house here,’ pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.
“Then they raised the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah). Ishmael brought the stones while Abraham built and when the walls became high Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building. While Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying:
“‘Our Lord! Accept this service from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.‘ [Al-Qur’an 2:127]“
Ibn ‘Abbas narrated a slightly different version:
“When Abraham had differences with his wife (because of her jealousy of Hajar, Ishmael’s mother), he took Ishmael and his mother and went away. They had a water skin with them containing some water. Ishmael’s mother used to drink water from the water skin so that her milk would increase for her child. When Abraham reached Makkah, he made her sit under a tree and afterwards returned home. Ishmael’s mother followed him and when they reached Kada, she called him from behind, ‘O Abraham! To whom are you leaving us?’ He replied, ‘(I am leaving you) to Allah’s care.’ She said, ‘I am satisfied to be with Allah.’ She returned to her place and started drinking water from the water skin and her milk increased for her child.
“When the water had all been used up, she said to herself, ‘I had better go and look so that I may see somebody.’ She ascended As-Safa mountain and looked hoping to see somebody but in vain. When she came down to the valley, she ran till she reached Al-Marwa. She ran to and for (between the two mountains) many times. Then she said to herself; ‘I had better go and see the state of the child.’ She went and found it in a state of one on the point of dying. She could not endure to watch it dying and said to herself, ‘If I go and look I may find somebody.’ She went and ascended As-Safa mountain and looked for a long while but could not find anybody. Thus she completed seven rounds of running between As-Safa and Al-Marwa. Again she said to herself, ‘I had better go back and see the state of the child.’ But suddenly she heard a voice, and she said to that strange voice. ‘Help us if you can offer any help.’ Lo! It was Gabriel (who had made the voice). Gabriel hit the earth with his heel like this [Ibn Abbas hit the earth with his heel to illustrate it], and so the water gushed out. Ishmael’s mother was astonished and started digging.”
Abu’l-Qasim, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If she had left the water, (flow naturally, without her intervention) it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”
Ibn ‘Abbas continued narrating:
“Ishmael’s mother started drinking from the water, and her milk increased for her child. Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum saw some birds while passing through the bottom of the valley and that astonished them. They said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water.’ They sent a messenger who searched the place and found the water and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to her and said, ‘O Ishmael’s mother! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)?’ Then they stayed there.
“Later on her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them. Then an idea occurred to Abraham, which he disclosed to his wife (Sara), ‘I want to call on my dependants I left at Makkah.’ When he went there he greeted Ishmael’s wife and said, ‘Where is Ishmael?’ She replied, ‘He has gone out hunting.’ Abraham said to her, ‘When he comes, tell him to change the threshold of his gate.’ When Ishmael came she told him the same and whereupon Ishmael said to her, ‘You are the threshold so go to your family (you are divorced).’
“Again Abraham thought of visiting his dependents whom he had left at Makkah, and told his wife (Sara) of his intentions. Abraham came to Ishmael’s house and asked, ‘Where is Ishmael?’ Ishmael’s wife replied, ‘He has gone out hunting,’ and added, ‘Will you stay for some time and have something to eat and drink?’ Abraham said, ‘What is your food and what is your drink?’ She replied, ‘Our food is meat and our drink is water.’ He replied, ‘O Allah! Bless their meals and their drink.’ “
Abu’l-Qasim (the Prophet) peace be upon him said, “Because of Abraham’s invocation there are blessings in Makkah.”
Ibn ‘Abbas continued:
“Once more Abraham thought of visiting his family he had left at Makkah and he told his wife (Sara) of his decision. He went and found Ishmael behind the Zamzam well, mending his arrows. He said, ‘O Ishmael, your Lord has ordered me to build a house for Him.’ Ishmael said, ‘Obey the order of your Lord.’ Abraham said, ‘Allah has also ordered me that you should help me therein.’ Ishmael said, ‘Then I will do so.’ So both of them were saying:
“‘O our Lord! Accept this service of us. Verily, You are the All Hearer, the All Knower.‘ [Al-Qur’an 2:127]
“When the building became high and the old man (Abraham) could no longer lift the stones to such a high position, he stood over the stone of Al-Maqam and Ishmael carried on handing him the stones and both of them were saying:
“‘O our Lord! Accept this service of us, verily You are the All Hearer, the All Knower.’ “
Allah the Almighty told us of Abraham’s affliction with his beloved son:
“And he said after his rescue from the fire, “Verily! I am going to my Lord. He will guide me! My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.’ So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said, ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what do you think?’ His son said, ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded insha’Allah (if Allah wills), you shall find me of the patient.’
“Then when they had both submitted themselves to the Will of Allah and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering) and We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream.’ Verily! Thus do We reward those who perform good deeds, totally for Allah’s sake only. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (a ram) and We left for him a goodly remembrance among generations (to come) in later times. Salamun (peace) be upon Abraham! Thus indeed do We reward the muhsinin (good-doers). Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.”
Time passed. One day Abraham was sitting outside his tent thinking of his son Ishmael and Allah’s sacrifice. His heart was filled with awe and love for Allah for His countless blessings. A big tear dropped from his eyes and reminded him of Ishmael.
In the meantime, three angels descended to the earth; Gabriel, Israfil, and Michael. They came in human shapes and saluted Abraham. Abraham arose and welcomed them. He took them inside his tent thinking they were strangers and guests. He seated them and made sure that they were comfortable, then excused himself to go to his people.
His wife Sara arose when he entered. She had become old and white haired. Abraham said to her, “We have three strangers in the house.” “Who are they?” she asked. “I do not know any of them,” he answered. “What food have we got?” He asked. “Half a sheep,” she replied, “Half a sheep! Slaughter a fat calf for them; they are strangers and guests,” he ordered while leaving.
The servants roasted and served a calf. Abraham invited the angels to eat and he started eating so as to encourage them. He continued, but when he glanced at his guests to assure they were eating, he noticed that none of them had touched the food. He said to the them, “Are you not going to eat?” He resumed eating, but when he glanced at them again he found that they were still not eating. Their hands did not reach out for the food. He began to fear them.
Abraham’s fears increased. The angels, however were reading his inner thoughts and one of them said, “Do not fear.” Abraham raised his head and replied, “Indeed I am in fear. I have asked you to eat food but you do not stretch out your hands to eat. Do you intend me evil?”
One of the angels smiled and said, “We do not eat. We are Allah’s angels.” One of them then turned towards his wife and conveyed the glad tidings about Isaac (Ishaq).
Almighty Allah revealed:
“Verily! There came Our Messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, ‘Salam (greetings or peace)!’ He answered: ‘Salam (greetings or peace)!’ And he hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But, when he saw their hands went not towards it (the meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said, ‘Fear not, we have been sent against the people of Lot.’ And his wife was standing there and she laughed (either, because the Messengers did not eat their food or for being glad for the destruction of the people of Lot). But We gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him of Jacob.
“She said (in astonishment), ‘Woe unto me! Shall I bear a child while I am an old woman, and here is my husband an old man? Verily! This is a strange thing!’ They said, ‘Do you wonder at the Decree of Allah? The Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be on you, O the family (of Abraham). Surely, He (Allah) is All-Praiseworthy, All-Glorious.‘ “
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “…And Allah did take Ibrahim as a Khalil.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 568 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “You will be gathered (on the Day of Judgment), bare-footed, naked and not circumcised.” He then recited:- ‘As We began the first creation, We shall repeat it: A Promise We have undertaken: Truly we shall do it.’ (21.104) He added, “The first to be dressed on the Day of Resurrection, will be Abraham, and some of my companions will be taken towards the left side (i.e. to the (Hell) Fire), and I will say: ‘My companions! My companions!’ It will be said: ‘They renegade from Islam after you left them.’ Then I will say as the Pious slave of Allah (i.e. Jesus) said. ‘And I was a witness Over them while I dwelt amongst them. When You took me up You were the Watcher over them, And You are a witness to all things. If You punish them. They are Your slaves And if You forgive them, Verily you, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (5.120-121)
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 569 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “On the Day of Resurrection Abraham will meet his father Azar whose face will be dark and covered with dust.(The Prophet Abraham will say to him): ‘Didn’t I tell you not to disobey me?’ His father will reply: ‘Today I will not disobey you.’ ‘Abraham will say: ‘O Lord! You promised me not to disgrace me on the Day of Resurrection; and what will be more disgraceful to me than cursing and dishonoring my father?’ Then Allah will say (to him):’ ‘I have forbidden Paradise for the disbelievers.” Then he will be addressed, ‘O Abraham! Look! What is underneath your feet?’ He will look and there he will see a Dhabh (an animal,) blood-stained, which will be caught by the legs and thrown in the (Hell) Fire.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 570 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) entered the Ka’ba and found in it the pictures of (Prophet) Abraham and Mary. On that he said’ “What is the matter with them ( i.e. Quraish)? They have already heard that angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures; yet this is the picture of Abraham. And why is he depicted as practicing divination by arrows?”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 571 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saw pictures in the Ka’ba, he did not enter it till he ordered them to be erased. When he saw (the pictures of Abraham and Ishmael carrying the arrows of divination, he said, “May Allah curse them (i.e. the Quraish)! By Allah, neither Abraham nor Ishmael practiced divination by arrows.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 572 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is the most honorable amongst the people (in Allah’s Sight)?” He said, “The most righteous amongst them.” They said, “We do not ask you, about this. ” He said, “Then Joseph, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, The son of Allah’s Prophet the son of Allah’s Khalil (i.e. Abraham).” They said, “We do not want to ask about this,” He said’ “Then you want to ask about the descent of the Arabs. Those who were the best in the pre-lslamic period of ignorance will be the best in Islam provided they comprehend the religious knowledge.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 573 :
Narrated by Samura (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Two persons came to me at night (in dream) (and took me along with them). We passed by a tall man who was so tall that I was not able to see his head and that person was Abraham.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 574 :
Narrated by Mujahid
That when the people mentioned before Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) that the Dajjal would have the word Kafir, (i.e. unbeliever) or the letters Kafir (the root of the Arabic verb ‘disbelieve’) written on his forehead, I heard Ibn ‘Abbas saying, “I did not hear this, but the Prophet said, ‘If you want to see Abraham, then look at your companion (i.e. the Prophet) but Moses was a curly-haired, brown man (who used to ride) a red camel, the reins of which was made of fires of date-palms. As if I were now looking down a valley.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 575 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Abraham did his circumcision with an adze at the age of eighty.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 576 :
Narrated by Abu Az-Zinad (radiallaahu `anhu)
(as above in Hadith No. 575) With an adze.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 577 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Abraham did not tell a lie except on three occasions.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 578 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Abraham did not tell a lie except on three occasion. Twice for the Sake of Allah when he said, “I am sick,” and he said, “(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it.” The (third was) that while Abraham and Sarah (his wife) were going (on a journey) they passed by (the territory of) a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant, “This man (i.e. Abraham) is accompanied by a very charming lady.” So, he sent for Abraham and asked him about Sarah saying, “Who is this lady?” Abraham said, “She is my sister.” Abraham went to Sarah and said, “O Sarah! There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and I. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister, so don’t contradict my statement.” The tyrant then called Sarah and when she went to him, he tried to take hold of her with his hand, but (his hand got stiff and) he was confounded. He asked Sarah. “Pray to Allah for me, and I shall not harm you.” So Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he got cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but (his hand got as stiff as or stiffer than before and) was more confounded. He again requested Sarah, “Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm you.” Sarah asked Allah again and he became alright. He then called one of his guards (who had brought her) and said, “You have not brought me a human being but have brought me a devil.” The tyrant then gave Hajar as a girl-servant to Sarah. Sarah came back (to Abraham) while he was praying. Abraham, gesturing with his hand, asked, “What has happened?” She replied, “Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel (or immoral person) and gave me Hajar for service.” (Abu Huraira then addressed his listeners saying, “That (Hajar) was your mother, O Bani Ma-is-Sama (i.e. the Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael, Hajar’s son).”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 579 :
Narrated by Um Sharik (radiallaahu `anhaa)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) ordered that the salamander should be killed and said, “It (i.e. the salamander) blew (the fire) on Abraham.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 580 :
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Verse: “It is those who believe and do not confuse their belief with wrong ( i.e. joining others in worship with Allah” (6.83) was revealed, we said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Who is there amongst us who has not done wrong to himself?” He replied, “It is not as you say, for ‘wrong’ in the Verse and ‘do not confuse their belief, with wrong means ‘SHIRK’ (i.e. joining others in worship with Allah). Haven’t you heard Luqman’s saying to his son, ‘O my son! Join not others in worship with Allah, verily joining others in worship with Allah is a great wrong indeed.” (31.13)
Chapter: And Allah’s Statement: “… hastening.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 581 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
One day some meat was given to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and he said, “On the Day of Resurrection Allah will gather all the first and the last (people) in one plain, and the voice of the announcer will reach all of them, and one will be able to see them all, and the sun will come closer to them.” (The narrator then mentioned the narration of intercession): “The people will go to Abraham and say: ‘You are Allah’s Prophet and His Khalil on the earth. Will you intercede for us with your Lord?’ Abraham will then remember his lies and say: ‘Myself! Myself! Go to Moses.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 582 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “May Allah bestow His Mercy on the mother of Ishmael! Had she not hastened (to fill her water-skin with water from the Zam-zam well). Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” Ibn ‘Abbas further added, “(The Prophet) Abraham brought Ishmael and his mother (to Mecca) and she was suckling Ishmael and she had a water-skin with her.’
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka’ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, “O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not neglect us,” and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka’ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers: ‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.’ (14.37) Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.” The Prophet said, “This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.” The Prophet added, “May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” The Prophet further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’ The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada’. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water).” The Prophet added, “Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied, ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet further said, “Ishmael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them. After Ishmael’s mother had died, Abraham came after Ishmael’s marriage in order to see his family that he had left before, but he did not find Ishmael there. When he asked Ishmael’s wife about him, she replied, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, ‘We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,’ complaining to him. He said, ‘When your husband returns, convey my salutation to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).’ When Ishmael came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, ‘Has anyone visited you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, an old man of so-and-so description came and asked me about you and I informed him, and he asked about our state of living, and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘Did he advise you anything?’ She replied, ‘Yes, he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.’ Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.’ So, Ishmael divorced her and married another woman from amongst them (i.e. Jurhum). Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them again but did not find Ishmael. So he came to Ishmael’s wife and asked her about Ishmael. She said, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Abraham asked her, ‘How are you getting on?’ asking her about their sustenance and living. She replied, ‘We are prosperous and well-off (i.e. we have everything in abundance).’ Then she thanked Allah’ Abraham said, ‘What kind of food do you eat?’ She said. ‘Meat.’ He said, ‘What do you drink?’ She said, ‘Water.” He said, “O Allah! Bless their meat and water.” The Prophet added, “At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain, he would have also invoked Allah to bless it.” The Prophet added, “If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected, unless he lives in Mecca.” The Prophet added,” Then Abraham said Ishmael’s wife, “When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.’ When Ishmael came back, he asked his wife, ‘Did anyone call on you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, a good-looking old man came to me,’ so she praised him and added. ‘He asked about you, and I informed him, and he asked about our livelihood and I told him that we were in a good condition.’ Ishmael asked her, ‘Did he give you any piece of advice?’ She said, ‘Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and you are the threshold (of the gate). He has ordered me to keep you with me.’ Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said, ‘O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.’ Ishmael said, ‘Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.’ Abraham asked, ‘Will you help me?’ Ishmael said, ‘I will help you.’ Abraham said, Allah has ordered me to build a house here,’ pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.” The Prophet added, “Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka’ba). Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham was building, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’ The Prophet added, “Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka’ba saying: O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (2.127)
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 584 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
When Abraham had differences with his wife), (because of her jealousy of Hajar, Ishmael’s mother), he took Ishmael and his mother and went away. They had a water-skin with them containing some water, Ishmael’s mother used to drink water from the water-skin so that her milk would increase for her child. When Abraham reached Mecca, he made her sit under a tree and afterwards returned home. Ishmael’s mother followed him, and when they reached Kada’, she called him from behind, ‘O Abraham! To whom are you leaving us?’ He replied, ‘(I am leaving you) to Allah’s (Care).’ She said, ‘I am satisfied to be with Allah.’ She returned to her place and started drinking water from the water-skin, and her milk increased for her child. When the water had all been used up, she said to herself, ‘I’d better go and look so that I may see somebody.’ She ascended the Safa mountain and looked, hoping to see somebody, but in vain. When she came down to the valley, she ran till she reached the Marwa mountain. She ran to and fro (between the two mountains) many times. They she said to herself, ‘i’d better go and see the state of the child,’ she went and found it in a state of one on the point of dying. She could not endure to watch it dying and said (to herself), ‘If I go and look, I may find somebody.’ She went and ascended the Safa mountain and looked for a long while but could not find anybody. Thus she completed seven rounds (of running) between Safa and Marwa. Again she said (to herself), ‘I’d better go back and see the state of the child.’ But suddenly she heard a voice, and she said to that strange voice, ‘Help us if you can offer any help.’ Lo! It was Gabriel (who had made the voice). Gabriel hit the earth with his heel like this (Ibn ‘Abbas hit the earth with his heel to Illustrate it), and so the water gushed out. Ishmael’s mother was astonished and started digging. (Abu Al-Qasim) (i.e. the Prophet) said, “If she had left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”) Ishmael’s mother started drinking from the water and her milk increased for her child . Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, while passing through the bottom of the valley, saw some birds, and that astonished them, and they said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water.’ They sent a messenger who searched the place and found the water, and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to her and said, ‘O ishmael’s mother! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)?’ (And thus they stayed there.) Later on her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them. Then an idea occurred to Abraham which he disclosed to his wife (Sarah), ‘I want to call on my dependents I left (at Mecca).’ When he went there, he greeted (Ishmael’s wife) and said, ‘Where is Ishmael?’ She replied, ‘He has gone out hunting.’ Abraham said (to her), ‘When he comes, tell him to change the threshold of his gate.’ When he came, she told him the same whereupon Ishmael said to her, ‘You are the threshold, so go to your family (i.e. you are divorced).’ Again Abraham thought of visiting his dependents whom he had left (at Mecca), and he told his wife (Sarah) of his intentions. Abraham came to Ishmael’s house and asked. “Where is Ishmael?” Ishmael’s wife replied, “He has gone out hunting,” and added, “Will you stay (for some time) and have something to eat and drink?’ Abraham asked, ‘What is your food and what is your drink?’ She replied, ‘Our food is meat and our drink is water.’ He said, ‘O Allah! Bless their meals and their drink.” Abu Al-Qa-sim (i.e. Prophet) said, “Because of Abraham’s invocation there are blessings (in Mecca).” Once more Abraham thought of visiting his family he had left (at Mecca), so he told his wife (Sarah) of his decision. He went and found Ishmael behind the Zam-zam well, mending his arrows. He said, “O Ishmael, Your Lord has ordered me to build a house for Him.” Ishmael said, “Obey (the order of) your Lord.” Abraham said, “Allah has also ordered me that you should help me therein.” Ishmael said, “Then I will do.” So, both of them rose and Abraham started building (the Ka’ba) while Ishmael went on handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, “O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (2.127). When the building became high and the old man (i.e. Abraham) could no longer lift the stones (to such a high position), he stood over the stone of Al-Maqam and Ishmael carried on handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily You are All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (2.127)
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 585 :
Narrated by Abu Dhar (radiallaahu `anhu)
I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Which mosque was first built on the surface of the earth?” He said, “Al-Masjid-ul-Haram (in Mecca).” I said, “Which was built next?” He replied “The mosque of Al-Aqsa ( in Jerusalem) .” I said, “What was the period of construction between the two?” He said, “Forty years.” He added, “Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer time becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the best thing is to do so (i.e. to offer the prayers in time).”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 586 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the mountain of Uhud came in the sight of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), he said. “This is a mountain that loves us and is loved by us. O Allah! Abraham made Mecca a sanctuary, and I make (the area) in between these two mountains (of Medina) a sanctuary.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 587 :
Narrated by ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa) (the wife of the Prophet)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said (to her). “Don’t you see that when your folk built the Ka’ba, they did not build it on all the foundations built by Abraham?” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why don’t we rebuild it on the foundations of Abraham?” He said. “But for the fact that your folk have recently given up infidelity (I would have done so).” Narrated Ibn Umar: Aisha must have heard this from Allah’s Apostle for I see that Allah’s Apostle used not to touch the two corners facing Al-Hijr only because the House had not been built on the foundations of Abraham”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 588 :
Narrated by Abu Humaid As-Sa’idi (radiallaahu `anhu)
The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! How shall we (ask Allah to) send blessings on you?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “Say: O Allah! Send Your Mercy on Muhammad and on his wives and on his off spring, as You sent Your Mercy on Abraham’s family; and send Your Blessings on Muhammad and on his offspring, as You sent Your Blessings on Abraham’s family, for You are the Most Praise-worthy, the Most Glorious.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 589 :
Narrated by Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Laila
Ka’b bin Ujrah (radiallaahu `anhu) met me and said, “Shall I not give you a present I got from the Prophet?” ‘Abdur-Rahman said, “Yes, give it to me.” I said, “We asked Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! How should one (ask Allah to) send blessings on you, the members of the family, for Allah has taught us how to salute you (in the prayer)?’ He said, ‘Say: O Allah! Send Your Mercy on Muhammad and on the family of Muhammad, as You sent Your Mercy on Abraham and on the family of Abraham, for You are the Most Praise-worthy, the Most Glorious. O Allah! Send Your Blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You sent your Blessings on Abraham and on the family of Abraham, for You are the Most Praise-worthy, the Most Glorious.’ “
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 590 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) used to seek Refuge with Allah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husain and say: “Your forefather (i.e. Abraham) used to seek Refuge with Allah for Ishmael and Isaac by reciting the following: ‘O Allah! I seek Refuge with Your Perfect Words from every devil and from poisonous pests and from every evil, harmful, envious eye.’ “
Chapter: Allah’s Statement: “And tell them about the guests of Ibrahim.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 591 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “We are more liable to be in doubt than Abraham when he said, ‘My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” . He (i.e. Allah) said: ‘Don’t you believe then?’ He (i.e. Abraham) said: “Yes, but (I ask) in order to be stronger in Faith.” (2.260) And may Allah send His Mercy on Lot! He wished to have a powerful support. If I were to stay in prison for such a long time as Joseph did I would have accepted the offer (of freedom without insisting on having my guiltless less declared).”
Read Ibn Kathir’s narrative of Prophet Ibrahim’s story here.
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And to Thamud (people, We sent) their brother Salih…”
Narrated by Abdullah bin Zam’a (radiallaahu `anhu)
I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) while referring to the person who had cut the legs of the she-camel (of the Prophet Salih), saying, “The man who was appointed for doing this job, was a man of honor and power in his nation like Abu Zam’a.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 561 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
When Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) landed at Al-Hijr during the Ghazwa of Tabuk, he ordered his companions not to drink water from its well or reserve water from it. They said, “We have already kneaded the dough with its water. and also filled our bags with its water.” On that, the Prophet ordered them to throw away the dough and pour out the water.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 562 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
The people landed at the land of Thamud called Al-Hijr along with Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and they took water from its well for drinking and kneading the dough with it as well. (When Allah’s Apostle heard about it,) he ordered them to pour out the water they had taken from its wells and feed the camels with the dough, and ordered them to take water from the well whence the she-camel (of Prophet Salih) used to drink.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 563 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) passed by (a place called) Al Hijr, he said, “Do not enter the house of those who were unjust to themselves, unless (you enter) weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.” After that he covered his face with his sheet cloth while he was on the camel-saddle.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 564 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not enter the ruined dwellings of those who were unjust to themselves unless (you enter) weeping, lest you should suffer the same punishment as was inflicted upon them.”
The Story of Salih
By Ibn Kathir
After the destruction of the ‘Ad, the tribe of Thamud succeeded them in power and glory. They also fell to idol-worshipping. As their material wealth increased so, too, did their evil ways while their virtue decreased. Like the people of ‘Ad, they erected huge buildings on the plains and hewed beautiful homes out of the hills. Tyranny and oppression became prevalent as evil men ruled the land.
So Allah sent unto them His Prophet Salih peace be upon him, a man from among them. His name was Salih ibn Ubayd ibn Maseh ibn Ubayd ibn Hader ibn Thamud ibn Ather ibn Eram ibn Noah. He called his people to worship Allah alone, and to not associate partners with Him. While some of them believed him, the majority of them disbelieved and harmed him by both words and deeds. Salih directed them:
“O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other ilah (god) but Him.” [Al-Qur’an 11:61]
Salih was known for his wisdom, purity and goodness and had been greatly respected by his people before Allah’s revelation came to him. Salih’s people said to him:
“‘O Salih! You have been among us as a figure of good hope and we wished for you to be our chief, till this, new thing which you have brought that we leave our gods and worship your God (Allah) alone! Do you now forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped? But we are really in grave doubt as to that which you invite us to monotheism.’ “ [Al-Qur’an 11:62]
They merely wanted to worship the same gods as their fathers had, with no reason, no proof, no thought. The proof of Salih’s peace be upon him message was evident, but despite this it was obvious that most of his people did not believe him. They doubted his words, thinking he was charmed, and they saw that he would not stop preaching. Fearing that his followers would increase, they tried to put him off by assigning him an important task; to prove that he was a messenger of Allah by performing a miracle. Let a unique she camel issue from the mountains.
Allah granted Salih this miracle and a huge, unique, she camel appeared from the direction of the mountain. The Qur’anic commentators said that the people of Thamud gathered on a certain day at their meeting place, and the prophet Salih peace be upon him came and addressed them to believe in Allah, reminding them of the favors Allah had granted them.
Then pointing at a rock, they demanded: “Ask your Lord to make a she camel, which must be 10 months pregnant, tall and attractive, issue from the rock for us.”
Salih replied: “Look now! If Allah sends you what you have requested, just as you have described, will you believe in that which I have come to you with and have faith in the message I have been sent with?”
They answered: “Yes.”
So he took a vow from them on this, then prayed to Allah the Almighty to grant their request. Allah ordered the distant rock to split asunder, to bringing forth a great ten month pregnant she camel. When their eyes set on it, they were amazed. They saw a great thing, a wonderful sight, a dazzling power and clear evidence!
A number of Salih’s people believed, yet most of them continued in their disbelief, stubbornness, and going astray. Allah the Almighty said:
“We sent the she camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong.” [Al-Qur’an 17:59]
“Verily the dwellers of al-hijr (the rocky tract) denied the Messengers. We gave them Our Signs, but they were averse to them.” [Al-Qur’an 15:80-81]
There are a number of ancient accounts of this camel and its miraculous nature. It was said that the she camel was miraculous because a rock in the mountain split open and it came forth from it, followed by its young offspring. Other accounts said that the she camel used to drink all the water in the wells in one day, and no other animals could approach the water. Still others claimed that the she camel produced milk sufficient for all the people to drink, on the same day that it drank all the water, leaving none for them.
At first, the people of Thamud were greatly surprised when the she camel issued from the mountain rocks. It was a blessed camel, and its milk sufficient for thousands of men, women and children. If it slept in a place that place was abandoned by other animals. Thus it was obvious that is was not an ordinary camel, but one of Allah’s signs. It lived among Salih’s people, some of whom believed in Allah while the majority continued in their obstinacy and disbelief.
Their hatred of Salih turned towards the blessed she camel and became centered on it. A conspiracy started to be hatched against the camel by the disbeliveers, and they secretly plotted against it.
Salih feared that they might kill the camel, so he warned them:
“O my people! This she camel of Allah is a sign to you, leave her to feed on Allah’s earth, and touch her not with evil lest a near torment will seize you.” [Al-Qur’an 11:64]
For awhile, Salih’s people let the camel graze and drink freely, but in their hearts they hated it. However, the miraculous appearance of the unique camel caused many to become Salih’s followers, and they clung to their belief in Allah.
The disbeliveers now began complaining that this huge she camel with its unusual qualities drank most of the water and frightened their cattle.
They laid a plot to kill the camel, and sought the help of their women folk to tempt the men to carry out their commands. Saduq bint Mahya, who was from a rich and noble family, offered herself to a young man named Masrai ibn Mahraj on condition that he hamstring the camel. Anizah, an old woman, offered one of her daughters to a young man, Qudar ibn Saluf, in return for killing the camel. Naturally these young men were tempted and set about finding seven others to assist them.
They watched the camel closely, observing all its movements. As the she camel came to drink at the well, Masrai shot it in the leg with an arrow. It tried to escape but was hampered by the arrow. Qudar followed the camel and struck it with a sword in the other leg. As it fell to the ground, he pierced it with his sword.
The killers were given a hero’s welcome, cheered with songs and poetry composed in their praise. In their arrogance they mocked Salih, but he warned them: “Enjoy life for 3 more days then the punishment will descend upon you.” Salih was hoping that they would see the folly of their ways and change their attitude before the 3 days went out.
“Why 3 days?” they asked. “Let the punishment come as quickly as possible.”
He pleaded with them: “My people, why do you hasten to evil rather than good? Why do not you ask pardon of Allah so that you may receive mercy?”
They replied: “We see your presence and that of your followers as bringing evil on us.”
Almighty Allah related their story:
“And indeed We sent to Thamud their brother Salih, saying, ‘Worship Allah Alone and none else.’ Then look! They became two parties (believers and disbeliveers) quarreling with each other.
“He said, ‘O my people! Why do you seek to hasten the evil (torment) before the good (Allah’s Mercy)? Why seek you not the Forgiveness of Allah, that you may receive mercy?’ They said, ‘We augur ill omen from you and those with you.’ He said, ‘Your ill omen is with Allah; nay, but you are a people that are being tested.’
“And there were in the city nine men (from the sons of their chiefs), who made mischief in the land, and would not reform. They said, ‘Swear to another by Allah that we shall make a secret night attack on him and his household, and afterwards we will surely say to his near relatives, ‘We witnessed not the destruction of his household, and verily! We are telling the truth.’ ‘
“So they plotted a plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not. Then see how was the end of their plot! Verily! We destroyed them and their nation, all together. These are their houses in utter ruin, for they did wrong. Verily, in this is indeed an ayah (a lesson or a sign) for people who know. We saved those who believed, and used to fear and obey Allah.” [Al-Qur’an 27:45-53]
They also plotted to kill Salih and his household as Almighty Allah stated:
“So they plot, and We planned a plan, while they perceived not.” [Al-Qur’an 27:50]
Allah saved Salih and his followers from their wicked plans. Heavy hearted, they left the evil doers and moved to another place.
Three days after Salih’s warning, thunderbolts filled the air, followed by severe earthquakes which destroyed the entire tribe and its homeland. The land was violently shaken, destroying all living creatures in it. There was one terrific cry which had hardly ended when the disbeliveers of Salih’s people were struck dead, one and all, at the same time. Neither their strong buildings nor their rock hewn homes could protect them.
Allah the Exalted said:
“To Thamud people We sent their brother Salih. He said, ‘O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other ilah (god) but Him (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign ( the miracle of the coming out of a huge she camel from the midst of a rock) from your Lord. This she camel of Allah is a sign unto you so you leave her to graze in Allah’s earth, and touch her not with harm, lest a painful torment should size you. Remember when He made you successors after Ad people and gave you habitations in the land, you build for yourselves palaces in plains and carve out homes in the mountains. So remember the graces bestowed upon you from Allah, and do not go about making mischief on the earth.’
“The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people said to those who were counted weak to such of them as believed, ‘Know you that Salih is one sent from his Lord.’ They said, ‘We indeed believe in that with which he has been sent.’ Those who were arrogant said, ‘Verily, we disbelieve in that which you believe in.’
“So they killed the she camel and insolently defied the Commandment of their Lord, and said, ‘O Salih! Bring about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah).’ So the earthquakes seized them and they lay dead, prostrate in their homes. Then he (Salih) turned from them, and said, ‘O my people! I have indeed conveyed to you the Message of my Lord, and have give you good advise but you like not good advisers.’ “ [Al-Qur’an 7:73-79]
All were destroyed before they realized what was happening. As for the people who believed in the message of Salih peace be upon him, they were saved because they had left the place.
Ibn ‘Umar narrated that while the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was passing by Thamud’s houses on his way to the battle of Tabuk, he stopped together with the people there. The people fetched water from the wells from which the people of Thamud used to drink. They prepared their dough (for baking) and filled their water skins from it (the water from the wells). The Prophet of Allah peace be upon him ordered them to empty the water skins and give the prepared dough to the camels. Then he went away with them until they stopped at the well from which the she camel (of Salih) used to drink. He warned them against entering upon the people that had been punished, saying “I fear that you may be affected by what afflicted them; so do no enter upon them.”