Surah Yusuf (Joseph) 12 : 55

قَالَ ٱجْعَلْنِى عَلَىٰ خَزَآئِنِ ٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ إِنِّى حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٌ

Translations

 
 Muhsin Khan
 Pickthall
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
[Joseph] said, "Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian."

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

He does not prostrate himself before the King in a gesture of gratitude as do courtiers who strive to win a tyrant’s pleasure. He does not say to him may you live long and I always be your obedient servant, as those who vie for a tyrant’s favour do. He only asks to be entrusted with the task he feels himself to be the best to discharge in the forthcoming period of hardship and of which he has warned the King by interpreting his dream for him. He feels that if he is entrusted with this task he will save the country from ruin and save many lives. He recognized that the situation needed his expert planning, efficiency, honesty and integrity. Hence he said to the King: “Give me charge of the store-houses of the land. I am able to look after them with wisdom.” (Verse 55)
 
The anticipated years of crisis, preceded by seven years of bumper harvests, required good management, with strict control over agriculture, managing the surplus harvest and ensuring its sound storage so that it did not decay.  Joseph mentions the two qualities he possesses which he thinks the task requires: “I am able to look after them with wisdom.” (Verse 55) It should be noted that Joseph did not ask a personal favour from the King. This was not the time to make personal gain. Instead, he  asked  for  that  which  would  help  the  country  and  its  people.  He  requests  a position of very difficult responsibilities which people would rather steer away from, because it could easily cost them their careers or their lives. Hunger encourages lawlessness. A hungry multitude could easily tear apart those in power at a moment of confusion and trouble.

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *


3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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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

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Qurtubi mentions that the Jews asked the Prophet about the story of Yusuf and hence this surah was revealed.

9. Relevant Hadith

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10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone

 

12. External Links

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