Surah Yusuf (Joseph) 12 : 21
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the one who
to his wife
(he) will benefit us
we will take him
(as) a son
that We might teach him
(the) interpretation of
(of) the people
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
“Be kind to him.” (Verse 21) This is how most translators of the Qur’ān render the first statement said by the man who bought Joseph. Literally the man says: “Be generous in his place of abode.” Although this is meant to be an instruction to treat him kindly, the expression signifies greater kindness to be contrasted with his stay in the well and all the fears that were associated with that experience.
But the man goes further and tells his wife of what he hopes for the boy’s future: “He may well be of use to us, or we may adopt him as our son.” (Verse 21) Perhaps they did not have any children, as some reports suggest. Hence, the man started thinking that should the boy prove himself to be up to his master’s expectations, with regard to intelligence, character and good looks, he might adopt him as his own.
At this point in the narrative, the sūrah pauses a little to state that all this was God’s arrangement. It was through His design that Joseph was established in the land. This began with him occupying a firm position in the man’s heart and in his home. The sūrah then says that Joseph would continue along the same road, and that God would give him the faculty to interpret statements properly and accurately. It comments on the early steps in consolidating Joseph’s position by saying that God’s will shall always be done. Nothing can impede or stop it. He is in full control of everything in the universe. “Thus We established Joseph in the land, and We imparted to him some understanding of the real meaning of statements. God always prevails in whatever be His purpose.” (Verse 21)
2. Linguistic Analysis[ edit ]
4. Miscellaneous Information[ edit ]
5. Connected/Related Ayat[ edit ]
6. Frequency of the word[ edit ]
7. Period of Revelation[ edit ]
The subject matter of this Surah indicates that it was revealed during the last stage of the Prophet’s residence at Makkah when the Quraysh were considering the question of killing, exiling or imprisoning him. At that time, some of the disbelievers asked a question to test his claim to prophethood: “Why did the Israelites go to Egypt?” They knew that the story was not known to the Arabs, since there was no mention of it in their traditions, and the Prophet had never referred to any knowledge of it in the past. Therefore they expected that he would not be able to give a satisfactory answer or would evade it and enquire about it from the Jews, which would expose him as a fraud. Contrary to their expectations, God revealed the whole story of Prophet Joseph and the Prophet recited it on the spot. This put the Quraysh in a very awkward position because it not only foiled their scheme but also cautioned them to consider their behaviour and compare it to the treachery displayed by the brothers of Prophet Joseph.
The fact is that by applying this story to the conflict, the Qur’an had made a bold and clear prophecy which was fulfilled literally by the events that happened in the succeeding ten years. Hardly two years had passed after its revelation when the Quraysh conspired to kill the Prophet like the brothers of Prophet Joseph and he had to emigrate from Makkah to Madinah where he gained the same kind of power as Prophet Joseph had gained in Egypt. Again in the end the Quraysh had to humble themselves before him just like the brothers of Prophet Joseph when they humbly requested ‘Show mercy to us for God rewards richly those who show mercy’ (v. 88) and Prophet Joseph generously forgave them (even though he had complete power to wreak vengeance on them) saying ‘today no penalty shall be inflicted on you. May God forgive you: He is the greatest of all those who forgive’ (v. 92). The same story of mercy was repeated when after the conquest of Makkah the fallen Quraysh stood meekly before the Prophet who had the power to inflict vengeance on them for their cruelty towards him. But instead he merely asked them ‘What treatment do you expect from me now?’ They replied ‘You are a generous brother and the son of a generous brother’. At this he very generously forgave them, saying ‘I will give the same answer to your request that Joseph gave to his brothers: ‘. . . 'today no penalty shall be inflicted on you, you are forgiven.’
8. Reasons for Revelation[ edit ]
Qurtubi mentions that the Jews asked the Prophet about the story of Yusuf and hence this surah was revealed.