Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And ask them about the town that was by the sea…”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And to David We gave the Zabur…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 628 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The reciting of the Zabur (i.e. Psalms) was made easy for David. He used to order that his riding animals be saddled, and would finish reciting the Zabur before they were saddled. And he would never eat except from the earnings of his manual work.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 629 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was informed that I have said: “By Allah, I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live.” On that, Allah’s Apostle asked me. “Are you the one who says: ‘I will fast all the days and pray all the nights as long as I live?’ ” I said, “Yes, I have said it.” He said, “You cannot do that. So fast (sometimes) and do not fast (sometimes). Pray and sleep. Fast for three days a month, for the reward of a good deed is multiplied by ten time, and so the fasting of three days a month equals the fasting of a year.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I can do (fast) more than this.” He said, “Fast on every third day. I said: I can do (fast) more than that, He said: “Fast on alternate days and this was the fasting of David which is the most moderate sort of fasting.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I can do (fast) more than that.” He said, “There is nothing better than that.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 630 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to me, “I have been informed that you pray all the nights and observe fast all the days; is this true?” I replied, “Yes.” He said, “If you do so, your eyes will become weak and you will get bored. So fast three days a month, for this will be the fasting of a whole year, or equal to the fasting of a whole year.” I said, “I find myself able to fast more.” He said, “Then fast like the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days and would not flee on facing the enemy.”
Chapter: The most beloved Salat to Allah was the Salat of (the Prophet) Dawud, and the most beloved Saum was the Saum of Dawud
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 631 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to me, “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.”
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “… And remember Our slave Dawud, endued with power…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 632 :
Narrated by Mujahid
I asked Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu), “Should we perform a prostration on reciting Surat-Sad?” He recited (the Sura) including: ‘And among his progeny, David, Solomon..(up to)…so follow their guidance (6.84-91) And then he said, “Your Prophet is amongst those people who have been ordered to follow them (i.e. the preceding apostles).
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 633 :
Narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The prostration in Surah Sad is not amongst the compulsory prostrations, though I saw the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) prostrating on reciting The Statement of Allah: and to David We gave Solomon (for a son). How excellent (a) slave he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to us) (38.30) And His Statement: He said: My Lord Forgive me and grant me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me.’ (38.35) And His Statement: ‘And they followed what the Devils gave out (falsely), of magic in the life-time of Solomon.’ (2.102)
The Story of Prophet Dawud [David]
By Ibn Kathir
When the two armies faced each other, Goliath challenged any soldier from King Saul’s army to single combat, as was the custom of battle in those days. Goliath also wanted to show off his strength. The men were terrorized, and no one had enough courage to volunteer. The king offered the hand of his pretty daughter in marriage to the man who would fight Goliath, but even this tempting offer did not change the deadly silence among his soldiers.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, a youth stepped forward. A roar of laughter echoed from the enemy’s side, and even Saul’s men shook their heads.
The young man was David (Dawud), from the city of Bethlehem. His elderly father had chosen three of his sons to join Saul’s army. He had instructed the youngest one, David, not to take part in the fighting but to help the army in other ways and to report to his father daily on what was happening on the war front.
Although Saul was very impressed by the youth’s courage, he said: “I admire your courage, but you are no match for that mighty warrior. Let the strong men come forward.” David, however, had already decided and was willing to meet the challenge. Proudly, he told the king that only the day before he had killed a lion which had threatened his father’s sheep, and on another occasion he had killed a bear. He asked Saul not to judge him by his appearance, for he feared no man or wild beast. Saul, surprised by young David’s brave stance, agreed: “My brave soldier, if you are willing, then may Allah guard you and grant you strength!”
The king dressed David in battle armor and handed him a sword, but David was not used to wearing battle dress. He felt uncomfortable in it, and it obstructed his movements. He removed the armor, then collected a few pebbles and filled his leather pouch with them. He slung it over his shoulder next to his sling. With his wooden staff in hand, he began to walk towards the enemy. Saul was worried and asked him how on earth, with a sling and a couple of stones was he going to defend himself against the giant? David replied: “Allah Who protected me from the claws of the bear and the fangs of the lion will certainly protect me from this brute!”
When Goliath set eyes on the lean young man who looked like a boy, he laughed loudly and roared: “Are you out to play war with one of your playmates, or are you tired of your life? I will simply cut off your head with one swipe of my sword!”
David shouted back: “You may have armor, shield, and sword, but I face you in the name of Allah, the Lord of the Israelites, Whose laws you have mocked. Today you will see that it is not the sword that kills but the will and power of Allah!”
So saying, he took his sling and placed in it a pebble from his pouch. He swung and aimed it at Goliath. The pebble shot from the whirling sling with the speed of an arrow and hit Goliath’s head with great force. Blood gushed out, and Goliath thumped to the ground, lifeless, before he had a chance to draw his sword. When the rest of his men saw their mighty hero slain, they took to their heels. The Israelites followed in hot pursuit, taking revenge for their years of suffering at the hands of their enemy, killing every soldier they could lay hands on. In this battle the Israelites regained the glory and honor that had been lost for a long time.
David became a hero overnight. Saul kept his word and married his daughter Michal (Miqel) to the young warrior and took him under his wing as one of his chief advisors.
Almighty Allah declared:
So they routed them by Allah’s Leave and David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him (David) the kingdom (after the death of Saul and Samuel) and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willed. And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to the Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exist). (Ch 2:251 Quran).
David became the most famous man among the Israelites. However, he was not inveigled by this; he was not a prisoner of fame or leadership but a prisoner of Allah’s love.
Therefore, after killing Goliath he went out into the desert in the company of nature, glorifying Almighty Allah and contemplating His favors. Verily, We made the mountains to glorify Our Praises with him (David) in the Ashi (after the mid-day till sunset) and Ishraq (after the sunrise till mid-day). And (so did) the birds assembled: all with him (David) did turn (to Allah, glorified His Praises). We made his kingdom strong and gave him wisdom and sound judgment in speech and decision. (Ch 38:18-20 Quran)
Creatures such as the plants, birds, beasts, and even the mountains responded to his voice glorifying Allah. Allah had chosen David to be a prophet and revealed the Psalms to him. As He the Almighty said: And to David We gave the Psalms. (Ch 17:55 Quran).
David recited his scripture and glorified Allah while the mountains joined him praise and the birds rallied around him. Almighty Allah directed: Be patient (O Muhammad) of what they say, and remember Our slave David, endured with power. Verily, he was ever oft-returning in all matters and in repentance toward Allah. (Ch 38:17 Quran).
David’s sincerity was not the only factor responsible for the birds and beasts joining with him in glorifying Allah, nor was the sweetness of his voice. IT was a miracle from Allah. This was not his only miracle, for Allah also endowed him with the faculty of understanding the languages of birds and animals.
David (pbuh) fasted every other day. Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-As narrated: Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said to me: “The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of the Prophet David, who used to fast alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David, who used to sleep the first half of the night, and pray for one third of it and again sleep for a sixth of it.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).
Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-As also narrated: “The Prophet (pbuh) said to me: ‘I have been informed that you pray all the nights and observe fast all the days; is this true?’ I replied: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘If you do so, your eyes will be weak and you will get bored. So fast three days a month, for this will be the fasting of a whole year. (Or equal to the fasting of a whole year).’ I said: ‘I find myself able to fast more.’ He said: ‘Then fast like the fasting of (the Prophet) David (pbuh) who used to fast on alternate days and would not flee on facing the enemy.'” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Allah granted David great influence. His people had a great number of wars in their time, but they had a problem in that the iron armor was too heavy for the fighter to move and fight as he wished. It is said that David was sitting one day, contemplating this problem while toying with a piece of iron. Suddenly, he found his hand sinking in the iron. Almighty Allah had made it flexible for him: And We made the iron soft for him. (Ch 34:10 Quran)
The people praised and loved David. However, the hearts of men are fickle and their memories short. Even great men can feel insecure and become petty-minded. One day David found Saul in a worried state. He sensed something strange in Saul’s attitude towards him. That night, when he shared his feeling with his wife, she started to weep bitterly and said: “O David, I will never keep any secrets from you.” She told him that her father had become jealous of his popularity and feared that he would lose his kingdom to him. She advised him to be on his guard.
This information shocked David very much. He prayed and hoped that Saul’s good nature would overcome the darker side of his character. The following day, Saul summoned David to inform him that Canaan had gathered its forces and would march on the kingdom. He ordered David to advance on them with the army and not to return unless victory was gained.
David sensed that this was an excuse to get rid of him; either the enemy would kill him, or in the thick of battle, Saul’s henchmen might stab him in the back. Yet he hastened with his troops to meet the army of Canaan. They fought the Canaanites brav, without thinking of their own safety. Allah granted them victory, and David lived to return to Saul.
Unfortunately, this only increased Saul’s fear, so he plotted to kill David. Such is jealousy that not even a daughter’s well-being mattered. Michal learned of her father’s plan and hurried to warn her husband. David gathered some food and things, mounted his camel and fled. He found a cave in which he remained hidden for many days. After a time, David’s brothers and some citizens joined forces with him. Saul’s position became very weak, for he began to rule with a heavy hand. He ill-treated the learned, tortured the reciters of the Talmud, and terrorized his soldiers. This worsened his position, and his subjects began to turn against him. He decided to go war against David. Hearing this news, David marched to confront Saul’s army.
The king’s army had traveled a great distance and was overcome by fatigue, so they decided to rest in a valley, where they fell asleep. Quietly, David crept up to the sleeping Saul, removed his spear, and cut off a piece of his garment with the sword. David then awakened the king and told him: “Oh king, you come out seeking me, but I do not hate you, and I do not want to kill you. If I did, I would have killed you when you were asleep. Here is a piece of your garment. I could have hacked your neck instead, but I did not. My mission is that of love, not malice.” The king realized his mistake and begged for forgiveness.
Time passed and Saul was killed in a battle in which David did not take part. David succeeded Saul, for the people remembered what he had done for them and elected him king. So it was that David the Prophet was also a king. Allah strengthened the dominion of David and made him victorious. His kingdom was strong and great; his enemies feared him without engaging in war with him.
David had a son named Solomon (Sulaiman), who was intelligent and wise from childhood. When the following story took place, Solomon was eleven years old.
One day David, was sitting, as usual, solving the problems of his people when two men, one of whom had a field, came to him. The owner of the field said: “O dear Prophet! This man’s sheep came to my field at night and ate up the grapes and I have come to ask for compensation.” David asked the owner of the sheep: “Is this true?” He said: “Yes, sir.” David said: “I have decided that you give him your sheep in exchange for the field.” Solomon, to whom Allah had given wisdom in addition to what he had inherited from his father, spoke up: “I have another opinion. The owner of the sheep should take the field to cultivate until the grapes grow, while the other man should take the sheep and make use of their wool and milk until his field is repaired. If the grapes grow, and the field returns to its former state, then the field owner should take his field and give back the sheep to their owner.”
David responded: “This is a sound judgment. Praise be to Allah for gifting you with wisdom. You are truly Solomon the Wise.”
Prophet David was a just and righteous ruler who brought peace and prosperity to his people, and whom Allah honored as a messenger. He delivered Allah’s message to the people through the precious gift of his melodious voice. When he recited the Psalms (Zaboor), it was as if the rest of creation chanted with him; people listened as if in a trance. The messages David delivered are famous and well remembered. They are known in the Bible as the Psalms or Songs of David.
David divided his working day into four parts: one to earn a living and to rest, one to pray to his Lord, one to listen to the complaints of his people, and the last part to deliver his sermons. He also appointed deputies to listen to his subjects’ complaints so that in his absence people’s problems might not be neglected.
Although a king, he did not live on the income of his kingdom. Being well-experienced in the craft of weapon-making, he made and sold weapons and lived on that income.
One day, as David was praying in his prayer niche, he ordered his guards not to allow anyone to interrupt him, but two men managed to enter and disturb him. “Who are you?” he asked. One of the men said: “Do not be frightened. We have a dispute and have come for your judgment.” David said: “What is it?” The first man said: “This is my brother, has ninety nine sheep, and I have one. He gave it to me but took it back.” David, without hearing from the other party said: “He did you wrong by taking the sheep back, and many partners oppress one another, except for those who are believers.”
The two men vanished like a cloud, and David realized that they were two angels sent to him to teach him a lesson. He should not have passed a judgment without hearing from the opposing party.
Almighty Allah told us of this incident:
And has the news of the litigants reached you? When they climbed over the wall into (his) Mihrab (a praying place or a private room). When they entered in upon David, he was terrified of them, they said: Fear not! (We are) two litigants, one of whom has wronged the other; therefore judge between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, and guide us to the Right Way.”
“Verily, this is my brother (in religion) has ninety nine ewes, while I have only one ewe, and he says: ‘Hand it over to me,’ and he overpowered me in speech.”
David said immediately without listening to the opponent: “He has wronged you in demanding your ewe in addition to his ewes. And, verily, many partners oppress one another, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and they are few.”
And David guessed that We have tried him and he sought Forgiveness of his Lord, and he fell down prostrate and turned to Allah in repentance. So We forgave him that, and verily, for him is a near access to Us, and as good place of final return Paradise.
O David! Verily! We have placed you as a successor on earth, so judge you between men in truth and justice. And follow not your desire for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah. Verily! Those who wander astray from the Path of Allah shall have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning. (Ch 38:21-26 Quran).
David worshipped Allah, glorified Him and sang His praise until he died. According to traditions, David died suddenly and was mourned by four thousand priests as well as thousands of people. It was so hot that people suffered from the intensity of the sun. Solomon called the birds to protect David and the people from the sun, and they did so until he was buried. This was the first sign of his dominion to be witnessed by the people.
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And verily, Yunus was one of the Messengers…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 624 :
Narrated by ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “None of you should say that I am better than Yunus (i.e. Jonah).” Musadded added, “Jonah bin Matta.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 625 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “No slave (of Allah) should say that I am better than Yunus bin Matta.” So the Prophet mentioned his father’s name with his name.
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 626 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Once while a Jew was selling something, he was offered a price that he was not pleased with. So, he said, “No, by Him Who gave Moses superiority over all human beings!” Hearing him, an Ansari man got up and slapped him on the face and said, “You say: By Him Who Gave Moses superiority over all human beings although the Prophet (Muhammad) is present amongst us!” The Jew went to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and said, “O Abu-l-Qasim! I am under the assurance and contract of security, so what right does so-and-so have to slap me?” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked the other, “Why have you slapped”. He told him the whole story. The Prophet became angry, till anger appeared on his face, and said, “Don’t give superiority to any prophet amongst Allah’s Prophets, for when the trumpet will be blown, everyone on the earth and in the heavens will become unconscious except those whom Allah will exempt. The trumpet will be blown for the second time and I will be the first to be resurrected to see Moses holding Allah’s Throne. I will not know whether the unconsciousness which Moses received on the Day of Tur has been sufficient for him, or has he got up before me. And I do not say that there is anybody who is better than Yunus bin Matta.”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 627 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “None should say that I am better than Yunus bin Matta.”
Story of Prophet Yunus [Jonah]
By Ibn Kathir
Prophet Jonah (Yunus) (pbuh) also known as Dhan-Nun. About his people Almighty Allah said:
Was there any town community that believed after seeing the punishment, and its Faith at that moment, saved it from the punishment? (the answer is none)–except the people of Jonah; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the present world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while. (Ch 10:98 Quran)
The inhabitants of the town of Nineveh were idolaters who lived a shameless life. Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was sent to teach them the worship of Allah. The people disliked his interference in their way of worship, so they argued. “We and our forefathers have worshipped these gods for many years and no harm has come to us.”
Try as he might to convince them of the foolishness of idolatry and of the goodness of Allah’s laws, the ignored him. He warned them that if they kept on with their foolishness, Allah’s punishment would soon follow. Instead of fearing Allah, they told Jonah that they were not afraid of his threats. “Let it happen,” they told him. Jonah was disheartened. “in that case, I will leave you to your misery!” so saying, he left Nineveh, fearing that Allah’s anger would soon follow. Remember Dhan Nun (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (the calamities which had befallen him)! (ch 21:87)
Hardly had he left the city when the skies began to change color and looked as if they were on fire. The people were filled with fear by this sight. They recalled the destruction of the people of ‘Ad, Thamud and Noah. Was theirs to be a similar fate? Slowly faith penetrated their hearts. They all gathered on the mountain and started to beseech Allah for His mercy and forgiveness. The mountains echoed with their cries. It was a momentous hour, filled with sincere repentance.
Allah removed His wrath and showered His blessings upon them once again. When the threatening storm was lifted, they prayed for the return of Jonah so that he could guide them.
Meanwhile, Jonah had boarded a small ship in the company of other passengers. It sailed all day in calm waters with a good wind blowing at the sails. When night came, the sea suddenly changed. A horrible storm blew as if it were going to split the ship into pieces. The waves looked wild. They rose up as high as mountains then plunged down like valleys, tossing the ship and sweeping over the deck.
Behind the ship, a large whale was splitting the water and opening its mouth. A command had been issued from Almighty Allah to one of the greatest whales of the sea to surface. It obeyed. The whale hurried to the surface of the sea and followed the ship as it had been commanded.
The tempest continued and the chief crewman asked the crew to lighten the ship’s heavy load. They threw their baggage overboard, but this was not enough. Their safety lay in reducing the weight further, so they decided among themselves to lighten their load by removing at least one person.
The captain directed: We will make lots with all of the travelers’ names. The one whose name is drawn will be thrown into the sea.” Jonah knew this was one of the seamen’s traditions when facing a tempest. It was a strange polytheistic tradition, but it was practiced at that time. Jonah’s affliction and crisis began.
Here was the prophet, subjected to polytheistic rules that considered the sea and the wind to have gods that riot. The captain had to please these gods. Jonah reluctantly participated in the lot, and his name was added to the other travelers’ names. The lot was drawn and “Jonah” appeared.
Since they knew him to be the most honorable among them, they did not wish to throw him into the angry sea. Therefore, they decided to draw a second lot. Again Jonah’s name was drawn. They gave him a final chance and drew a third lot. Unfortunately for Jonah, his name came up again.
Jonah realized that Allah’s hand was in all this, for he had abandoned his mission without Allah’s consent. The matter was over, and it was decided that Jonah should throw himself into the water. Jonah stood at the edge of the ship looking at the furious sea. It was night and there was no moon. The stars were hidden behind a black fog. But before he could be thrown overboard, Jonah kept mentioning Allah’s name as he jumped into the raging sea and disappeared beneath the huge waves.
The whale found Jonah floating on the waves before it. It swallowed Jonah into its furious stomach and shut its ivory teeth on him as if they were white bolts locking the door of his prison. The whale dived to the bottom of the sea, the sea that runs in the abyss of darkness.
Three layers of darkness enveloped him, one above the other; the darkness of the whale’s stomach, the darkness of the bottom of the sea, the darkness of the night. Jonah imaged himself to be dead, but his senses became alert when he found he could move. He knew that he was alive and imprisoned in the midst of three layers of darkness. His heart was moved by remembering Allah. His tongue released soon after saying: La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that evil they associate with You), Truly, I have been of the wrong doers.” (Ch 21:87 Quran)
Jonah continued praying to Allah, repeating this invocation. Fishes, whales, seaweeds, and all the creatures that lived in the sea heard the voice of Jonah praying, heard the celebration of Allah’s praises issuing from the whale’s stomach. All these creatures gathered around the whale and began to celebrate the praises of Allah in their turn, each in its own way and in its own language.
The whale also participated in celebrating the praises of Allah and understood that it had swallowed a prophet. Therefore it felt afraid; however, it said to itself; “Why should I be afraid? Allah commanded me to swallow him.”
Allah Almighty saw the sincere repentance of Jonah and heard his invocation in the whale’s stomach. Allah commanded the whale to surface and eject Jonah onto an island. The whale obeyed and swam to the farthest side of the ocean. Allah commanded it to rise towards the warm, refreshing sun and the pleasant earth.
The whale ejected Jonah onto a remote island. His body was inflamed because of the acids inside the whale’s stomach. He was ill, and when the sun rose, its ray burned his inflamed body so that he was on the verge of screaming for the pain. However, he endured the pain and continued to repeat his invocation to Allah.
Almighty Allah caused a vine to grow to considerable length over him for protection. Then Allah Exalted caused Jonah to recover and forgave him. Allah told Jonah that if it had not been for his praying to Him, he would have stayed in the whale’s stomach till the Day of Judgment.
Almighty Allah recounted:
And, verily, Jonah was one of the Messengers. When he ran to the laden ship, he agreed to cast lots and he was among the losers, Then a big fish swallowed him and he had done an act worthy of blame. Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection. But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick and We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him. And We sent him to a hundred thousand people or even more, and they believed; so We gave them enjoyment for a while. (Ch 37:139-148 Quran).
Gradually he regained his strength and found his way to his hometown, Nineveh. He was pleasantly surprised to notice the change that had taken place there. The entire population turned out to welcome him. They informed him that they had turned to believe in Allah. Together they led a prayer of thanksgiving to their Merciful Lord.
Ibn Abbas narrated: “The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘One should not say I am better than Jonah Ibn Matta.'” (Sahih Bukhari).
Chapter: The Statement of Allah Taa’la: “And Ayyub, when he cried to his Lord…”
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 604 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “While Job was naked, taking a bath, a swarm of gold locusts fell on him and he started collecting them in his garment. His Lord called him, ‘O Job! Have I not made you rich enough to need what you see? He said, ‘Yes, O Lord! But I cannot dispense with your Blessing.”‘
The Story of Prophet Ayyub [Job]
Ibn Ishaaq stated that he was a man of Rum. His names was Job Ibn Mose Ibn Razeh Ibn Esau Ibn Isaac Ibn Abraham. Someone else said he was Job Ibn Mose, Ibn Rimil Ibn Esau Ibn Isaac Ibn Jacob. There have also been other statements in his lineage. Ibn Asaker narrated that his mother was a daughter of Prophet Lot.It was said, also, that his father was one who believed in Abraham when he was cast into the fire.
The first opinion is the most plausible as he was a descendant of Abraham’s offspring as Allah Almighty declared:
“That was the reasoning about Us which We gave to Abraham (to use) against his people: We raise whom We will degree after degree: for thy Lord is full of wisdom and knowledge. We gave him Isaac and Jacob: all (three) We guided: and before him We guided Noah and before him We guided Noah and among his progeny David Solomon Job Joseph Moses and Aaron: thus do We reward those who do good” Quran 6:83-84
Allah the Almighty praised His worshipper Job in His Glorious Quran:
“Truly! We found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance to Us” Quran 38:44
Job was repentant, remembering Allah with thankfulness, patience and steadfastness. This was the cause of his rescue and the secret of Allah’s praising him.
A group of angels were discussing Allah’s other human creatures, how those who were humble earned Allah’s displease, while those who were arrogant incurred His displeasure. One of the angels remarked:
“The best creature on earth today is Job, a man of noble character who displays excellent patience and always remembers his Generous Lord. He is an excellent model for the worshippers of Allah. In return, his Lord has blessed him with a long life and plenty of riches, yet he is never haughty or selfish. His family, his servants, as well as the needy and the poor share in his good fortune; he feeds and clothes the poor and buys slaves to set them free. He makes those who receive his charity feel as if they are favoring him, so kind and gentle is he.”
Iblis, overhearing all this, became annoyed. He planned to tempt Job to corruption and disbelief, so he hastened to him. He tried to distract Job from his prayers by whispering to him about the good things in life, but Job was a true believer and would not let evil thoughts tempt him. This disturbed Iblis more; thus he began to hate Job even more.
Iblis complained to Allah about Job. He said that although he was continuously glorifying Allah, he was not doing so out of his sincerity but to satisfy Allah so that his wealth should not be taken away. It was all a show, all out of greed. “If You remove his wealth then You will find that his tongue will no longer mention Your name and his praying will stop.”
Allah told Iblis that Job was one of His most sincere devotees. He did not worship Him because of the favors; his worship stemmed from his heart and had nothing to do with material things. But to prove Iblis the depth of Job’ s sincerity and patience, Allah allowed him to do whatever he and his helpers wished with Job’s wealth.
Iblis was very happy. He gathered his helpers and set about destroying Job’s cattle, servants, and farms until he was left with no possessions. Rubbing his hands in glee, Iblis appeared before Job in the guise of a wise old man and said to him:
“All your wealth is lost. Some people say that it is because you gave too much charity and that you are wasting your time with your continuous prayers to Allah. Others say that Allah has bought this upon you in order to please your enemies. If Allah had the capacity to prevent harm, then He would have protected your wealth”
True to his belief, Job replied:
“What Allah has taken away from me belongs to Him. I was only its trustee for a while. He gives to whom He wills and withholds from whom He wills”
With these words, Job again prostrated to his Lord.
When Iblis saw this, he felt frustrated, so he again addressed Allah:
“I have stripped Job of all his possessions, but he still remains grateful to You. However, he is only hiding his disapointment, for he places great store by his many children. The real test of a parent is through him children. You will then see how Job will reject You”
Allah granted Iblis authority, but warned him that it would not reduce Job’s faith in his Lord nor his patience.
Iblis again gathered his helpers and set about his evil deeds. He shook the foundation of the house in which Job’s children were living and sent the building crashing, killing all of them. Then he went to Job disguised as a man who had come to sympathize with him. In a comforting tone he said to Job:
“The circumstances under which your children died were sad. Surely, your Lord is not rewarding you properly for all your prayers?”
Having said this Iblis waited anxiously, hoping Job was now ready to reject Allah. But again Job disapointed him by replying:
“Allah sometimes gives and sometimes takes. He is sometimes pleased and sometimes displeased with our deeds. Whether a thing is beneficial or harmful to me, I will remain firm in my belief and remain thankful to my Creator”
Then Job prostrated to his Lord. At this Iblis was extremely vexed. Iblis again called on Allah:
“O my Lord, Job’s wealth is gone, his children are dead, but he is still healthy in body, and as long as he enjoys good health he will continue to worship You in the hope of regaining his wealth and producing more children. Grant me authority over his body so that I may weaken it. He will surely neglect worshipping You and with thus becomes disobedient”
Allah wanted to teach Iblis a lesson that Job was a devoted servant of his Lord, so He granted Iblis his third request but placed a condition:
“I give you authority over his body but not over his soul, intellect, or heart, for in these places reside the knowledge of Me and My religion”
Armed with this new authority, Iblis began to take revenge on Job’s body and filled it with disease until it was reduced to mere skin and bone and he suffered severe pain. But through all the suffering Job remained string in his faith, patiently bearing all the hardships without complaining. Allah’s righteous servant did not despair or turn to others for help but remained hopeful of Allah’s Mercy. Even close relatives and friends deserted him. Only his kind loving wife stayed with him. In his hour of need, she showered her kindness on him and cared for him. She remained his sole companion and comforter through many years of his suffering.
Ibn Asaker narrated:
“Job was a man having much wealth of all kinds: beasts, slaves, sheep, vast lands of Haran and many children. All those favors were taken from him and he was physically afflicted as well. Never a single organ was sound except his heart and tongue, with both of which he glorified Allah, the Almighty all the time day and night. His disease lasted for a long time until his visitors felt disgusted with him. His friend kept away from him, and people abstained from visiting him. No one felt sympathy for him except his wife. She took good care of him, knowing his former charity and pity for her”
Therefore, Iblis became desperate. He consulted his helpers but they could not advise him. They asked:
“How is it that your cleverness cannot work against Job, yet you succeeded in misleading Adam, the father of man, out of paradise?”
Iblis went to Job’s wife in the form of a man. “Where is your husband?” he asked her.
She pointed to an almost lifeless form crumpled on the bed and said: “There he is, suspended between life and death.”
Iblis reminded her of the days when Job had good health, wealth and children. Suddenly, the painful memory of yeas of hardship overcame her, and she burst into tears. She said to Job:
“How long are you going to bear this torture from our Lord? Are we to remain without wealth, children or friends forever? Why don’t you call upon Allah to remove this suffering?”
Job sighed, and in a soft voice replied:
“Iblis must have whispered to you and made you dissatisfied. Tell me, how long did I enjoy good health and riches?”
She replied, “For eighty years”
Then Job asked, “How long am I suffering like this?”
She said, “for seven years”
Then Job told her:
“In that case I am ashamed to call on my Lord to remove the hardship, for I have not suffered longer than the years of good health and plenty. It seems your faith has weakened and you are dissatisfied with the fate of Allah. If I ever regain health, I swear I will punish you with a hundred strokes! From this day onward, I forbid myself to eat or drink anything from your hand. Leave me alone and let my Lord do with me as He pleases.”
Crying bitterly and with a heavy heart, she had no choice but to leave him and seek shelter elsewhere. In his helpless state, Job turned to Allah, not to complain but to seek His mercy:
“Verily, distress has seized me, and You and the Most Merciful of all those who show Mercy. So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost) and the like thereof along with them – as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us”
Almighty Allah also instructed:
“Commemorate Our servant Job behold he cried to his Lord: “The Evil One has afflicted me with distress and suffering”! (The command was given:) “Strike with thy foot: here is (water) wherein to wash cool and refreshing and (water) to drink.” And We gave him (back) his people and doubled their number as a Grace from Ourselves and a thing for commemoration for all who have Understanding.” Quran 38:41-43
Job obeyed, and almost immediately his good health was restored. Meanwhile, his faithful wife could no longer bear to be parted from her husband and returned to beg his forgiveness, desiring to serve him. On entering he house, she was amazed at the sudden change: Job was again healthy! She embraced him and thanked Allah for His mercy.
Job was now worried, for he had taken an oath to punish her with a hundred strokes if he regained health, but he had no desire to hurt her. He knew if he did not fulfill the oath, he would be guilty of breaking a promise to Allah. Therefore, in His wisdom and mercy, Allah came to the assistance of His faithful servant, and advised him:
“And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath. Truly we found him patient. How excellent a slave! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance to Us” Quran 38:44
Abu Huraira (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said: “While Job was naked, taking a bath, a swarm of locusts fell on him, and he started collecting them in his garment. His Lord called him: ‘O Job! Have I not made you too rich to need what you see?’ He said: ‘Yes, O Lord! But I cannot shun Your Blessings” (Bukhari).
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.