Surah Yusuf (Joseph) 12 : 51
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(was) your affair
you sought to seduce
sought to seduce him
1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems[ edit ]
The Qur’ān quotes Joseph using the term, Rabb, or Lord, in its full meaning with regard to himself and to the King’s messenger. The King is the messenger’s lord, because he is his master whom he obeys, while God is Joseph’s Lord whom Joseph obeys and submits to.
The messenger went back to the King and reported Joseph’s reply. The King called in the women and interrogated them. The sūrah leaves this out, allowing us to know its conclusion: “The King asked [the women]: ‘What was the matter with you when you tried to seduce Joseph?” (Verse 51)
The Qur’ānic text uses a term much stronger than that expressed by the phrase,
‘What was the matter with you.’ It is much more like ‘what calamity came over you.’ It appears that the King asked for full information about the matter before he called them in. This the King did so that he would be appraised of the circumstances before he spoke to them. When they are brought before him, his question points an accusing finger, saying that something really serious must have happened: “What was the matter with you when you tried to seduce Joseph?” (Verse 51)
When faced with such an accusation in the presence of the King, the women felt that they could no longer deny the facts: “The women said. God save us! We did not perceive the least evil on his part.” (Verse 51) That is the truth that could not be denied, even by them. Joseph was so innocent that no one could realistically accuse him of any misdeed.
At this point, the woman who loved Joseph and could not rid herself of such love, despite her despair of him ever succumbing to her guile, comes forward to confess all in a very frank statement: “The Chief Minister’s wife said: Now has the truth come to light. It was I who tried to seduce him. He has indeed told the truth.’“ (Verse 51) It is a full confession admitting her guilt and his commitment to telling the truth.
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.