Introduction of Yusuf
(Revealed before Hijrah)
According to most Companions of the Holy Prophet, the whole of this Surah was revealed at Mecca; but, according to Ibn ‘Abbas and Qatada, verses 2 to 4 were revealed after Hijrah.
As already pointed out, chapter 10 (Surah Yunus) deals with both aspects of God’s dealings with man—His punishment and mercy. But while chapter 11 (Surah Hud) deals with the subject of Divine punishment, the present chapter deals with that of Divine mercy. The Surah dealing with God’s punishment has been placed before that dealing with His mercy because the enemies of the Holy Prophet were shown mercy after they had been punished for their misdeeds.
The present Surah, however, possesses one peculiarity. The whole of it deals with the life story of only one Prophet—Joseph. In this it differs from any other Surah. The reason for this peculiarity is that the life of the Prophet Joseph bears a close resemblance to that of the Holy Prophet even in minor details. The entire Surah has been devoted to a somewhat detailed account of the Prophet Joseph’s life that it might serve as a forewarning of the incidents that were to occur during the life-time of the Holy Prophet.
In chapter 10 the story of the Prophet Jonah was chosen as an illustration of Divine mercy, while in the detailed account given in the present chapter the example of Joseph has been cited as an illustration. Two reasons may be given for this: (1) The lives of Jonah and the Holy Prophet resemble one another only in their closing stages, there being little resemblance between them in the intervening stages. But Joseph’s life, as already stated, resembles that of the Holy Prophet even in small details. (2) Although the case of Jonah resembles that of the Holy Prophet inasmuch as the peoples of both Jonah and the Holy Prophet were ultimately saved through God’s mercy, the resemblance between the two is only partial whereas the resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet even in the way in which God treated the former’s brethren and the latter’s tribe is very close and is almost complete. The mercy shown to Jonah’s people was directly the result of God’s grace, Jonah having no hand in it, while the declaration of pardon for Joseph’s brethren was made by Joseph himself, and so it happened with the Quraish of Mecca that the announcement of their unqualified forgiveness came directly from the Holy Prophet’s himself.
یہ مکی سورت ہے اور بسم اللہ سمیت اس کی ایک سو بارہ آیات ہیں۔
اس کا آغاز بھی الٓرٰکے مقطعات سے ہو رہا ہے اور وہی معنے رکھتا ہے جو پہلے بیان کئے جاچکے ہیں۔
اس کے معاً بعد تمام قَصَص میں سے اُس بہترین قصے کا ذکر آیا ہے جو آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کی بشاشتِ قلب کا موجب بننا تھا۔ سورۃ ہود میں مذکور واقعات سے پہنچنے والے صدمہ کا یہ بہترین ازالہ ہے۔ ضروری ہے کہ یہاں قَصَص کی وضاحت کی جائے۔ قَصَص سے مراد قِصہ کہانی نہیں بلکہ ماضی کے وہ واقعات ہیں جو کھوج لگانے پر بعینہٖ درست ثابت ہوتے ہیں۔
اس سورت کا آغاز حضرت یوسف علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کی ایک رؤیا کے ذکر سے کیا گیا ہے جس میں آپؑ کے ساتھ پیش آمدہ تمام واقعات کا ذکر موجود ہے اور جس کی تعبیر حضرت یعقوب علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام نے یہ فرمائی کہ حضرت یوسفؑ کو ان کے بھائیوں سے سخت نقصان کا خطرہ ہے۔ اس لئے آپؑ نے نصیحت فرمائی کہ یہ رؤیا اپنے بھائیوں کے سامنے بیان نہیں کرنی۔ یہ تمام سورت حضرت یوسف علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام کو جوتعبیر رؤیا کا علم دیا گیا تھا اس سے تعلق رکھتی ہے۔ مثلاً آپؑ کے ساتھ جو دو قیدی تھے ان دونوں کی رؤیا کی حضرت یوسفؑ نے ایسی تعبیر فرمائی جو بعینہٖ پوری ہوئی اور اسی وجہ سے وہ قیدی جس کے بچنے کی خوشخبری دی گئی تھی وہ ذریعہ بن گیا کہ بادشاہ کی اس رؤیا کے متعلق حضرت یوسفؑ سے تعبیر طلب کرتا جس کو درباری علماء نے محض نفس کے خیالات سے تعبیر کیا تھا۔ اور حضرت یوسفؑ کی تعبیر ہی کے نتیجہ میں یہ عظیم الشان واقعہ ہوا کہ مصر اور اس کے اردگرد ایسے غرباء جنہوں نے یقینا فاقوں سے مر جانا تھا فاقہ کشی کے عذاب سے بچائے گئے اور مسلسل سات برس تک ان کو غذا مہیا کی گئی اور اس انتظام کے نگران خود حضرت یوسف علیہ الصلوٰۃ والسلام بنائے گئے اور اسی وجہ سے بالآخر آپؑ کے والدین اور بھائیوں کو آپؑ ہی کی پناہ میں آنا پڑا اور وہ آپؑ کے لئے اللہ تعالیٰ کے حضور سجدہ ریز ہوگئے۔ یہ تاریخ کے ایسے واقعات ہیں جن کا آنحضرت صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم کو کسی صورت ذاتی علم نہیں ہوسکتا تھا۔ اس لئے فرمایا کہ تُو ان لوگوں میں موجودنہیں تھا جب یہ سب کچھ رونما ہو رہا تھا۔ یہ محض ایک علیم و خبیر اللہ ہی ہے جو تجھے ان واقعات کی حقیقت سے آگاہ فرما رہا ہے۔ اس سورت کا اختتام اس آیت کریمہ پر کیا جارہا ہے کہ ان واقعات کا بیان ایسا نہیں جیسے قصّے کہانیاں بیان کی جاتی ہیں بلکہ اہلِ عقل کے لئے ان واقعات میں بہت سی عبرتیں پوشیدہ ہیں۔ اور بلاشبہ سورۃ یوسف تمام تر اَن گنت عبرتوں کی طرف متوجہ کر رہی ہے۔
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ﴿۱﴾
بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
a. 1:1. (close)
a. 1:1. (close)
See 1:1. (close)
الٓرٰ ۟ تِلۡکَ اٰیٰتُ الۡکِتٰبِ الۡمُبِیۡنِ ۟﴿۲﴾
الٓرۚ تِلۡكَ ءَايَٰتُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ ٱلۡمُبِينِ
b. 10:2; 11:2; 13:2; 14:2; 15:2. (close)
1355. See 16. (close)
c. 15:2; 26:3; 27:2; 28:3. (close)
1356. Mubin (clear) being active participle from Abana, which is used both as transitive and intransitive, means, (1) that which itself is clear and manifest; that which makes other things clear and (3) that which cuts off one thing from another and renders it distinct and separate from it (Lane). The word as its meanings show, points to three salient features of the Qur’an, viz. (1) that it not only clearly states facts and makes prophecies and lays down laws and ordinances but also supports and substantiates what it says and claims by solid arguments and sound reasons; (2) that it is not only clear in itself but makes clear the obscurities and ambiguities that are to be found in previous revealed Scriptures; and (3) that all that is essential for the attainment of nearness to God and relates to the laws of the Shari‘ah, ethics and to matters of belief has been made quite clear in it. This is a quality which the Qur’an possesses to the entire exclusion of all other revealed Books. Other Scriptures are only Mustabin (clear in themselves) but the Qur’an is not only Mustabin but is also Mubin (makes clear the obscurities that are to be found in other Books). What adds to the beauty of the Qur’an as a "clear and perspicuous Book" is that all its teachings are in perfect harmony with human nature and also with the laws of nature. (close)
b. 10:2; 11:2; 13:2; 14:2; 15:2. (close)
c. 15:2; 26:3; 27:2; 28:3. (close)
In the words Alif Lam Ra i.e. I am Allah, the All-Seeing, the disbelievers have been called upon to make use of their power of observation, hence the reference to the Divine attribute of "Seeing." The Surah tells disbelievers that the Holy Prophet bears a close resemblance to Joseph, and that it is not right for them to call him an impostor before seeing his end.
The word مبین (i.e. clear, for the full meaning of which see 2:169) signifies that the Quran not only states facts and makes predictions and lays down laws and ordinances but also supports and substantiates what it says by solid arguments and sound reasons. The word also means that the Quran is not only clear in itself but also lifts the veil of obscurity from some previous Scriptures. It also implies an answer to the objection that Quranic accounts differ from those of previous Scriptures. Being مبین which means not only "clear" but also "that which makes clear or manifest," it is one of the functions of the Quran to point out errors that have found their way into former Scriptures. It is, therefore, inevitable that it should differ from them.
The word مبین also points to the Quran being complete in itself. It needs no external evidence to demonstrate the truth of its claims but contains adequate internal proofs to substantiate them. It not only puts forth claims but also supplies proofs and arguments in support of them.
The word مبین also contains a beautiful hint that all that is essential for the attainment of nearness to God and all that relates to the laws of Shari‘ah, to ethics, and to matters of belief has been made clear and manifest in the Quran. (close)
اِنَّاۤ اَنۡزَلۡنٰہُ قُرۡءٰنًا عَرَبِیًّا لَّعَلَّکُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ﴿۳﴾
إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَٰهُ قُرۡءَٰنًا عَرَبِيّٗا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ
d. 42:8; 43:4; 46:13. (close)
1357. ‘Arabiyy is derived from ‘Ariba or ‘Aruba. ‘Aribatul-Bi’ru means, the well contained much water. ‘Arubar-Rajulu means, the man spoke clearly, plainly or distinctly after being barbarous in speech; he was or became brisk or lively. The expression, Qur’anan ‘Arabiyyan, therefore would mean, (1) a Book which is most extensively and regularly read and (2) which can express its meanings in a clear, eloquent and comprehensive language (Lane). The word ‘Arabiyy conveys the sense of fullness, abundance and clearness, and the Arabic language is so called because its roots are innumerable and are full of meanings and because it is most expressive, eloquent and comprehensive. It possesses suitable words and phrases for the full expression of all sorts of ideas and shades of meaning. Any topic can be discussed in this language with a precision and thoroughness unmatched in any other. European scholars have had to admit that Arabic language is complete in respect of its roots. It consists of hundreds of thousands of roots which are pregnant with a vast variety of meanings. Ibn-e-Jinni, an eminent linguist has claimed, on the authority of another very eminent linguist, Abu ‘Ali, that even the letters of the Arabic language possess clear and definite meanings. For instance, he declared that the letters Mim, Lam and Kaf, in whatever combination they occur, express the idea of 'power,' which is more or less common to all the words that are formed with these letters or are derived from this root. In the preceding verse the Qur’an was called 'the Book,' which implied a prophecy that it would always continue to be preserved in the form of a book. In the present verse it has been called 'the Qur’an,' which constitutes a prophecy that it will be very widely read and studied. It is a fact, which no opponent of Islam can justifiably deny that no other book is so widely and frequently read as the Qur’an. Professor Noldeke says, 'since the use of the Koran in public worship, in schools and otherwise, is much more extensive than, for example, the reading of the Bible in most Christian countries, it has been truly described as the most widely read book in existence' (Enc. Brit. 9th Edition). (close)
1507. Important Words:
عربیا (in Arabic) is derived from عرب (‘ariba) or عرب (‘aruba). They say عربت البئر (‘aribat) i.e. the water of the well became abundant; or the well contained much water. عربت معدته means, his stomach became in a corrupt or disordered state from being burdened (owing to fulness). عرب الرجل (‘aruba) means, the man spoke clearly, plainly or distinctly after being barbarous in speech; he was or became brisk, lively or sprightly. عرب means, he spoke clearly, plainly or distinctly without incorrectness. عرب لسانه means, his tongue or speech was or became chaste Arabic, اعراب الکلام means, he spoke clearly, plainly, distinctly or intelligibly in Arabic; or he made the speech clear, plain, distinct or perspicuous; or he made his speech free from error or incorrectness. عربی means, pertaining to Arabic; clear, eloquent and chaste in speech; of established Arabic lineage. So the expression قرانا عربیا would mean, a book which is (1) most extensively and regularly read and (2) which can express its meanings in a clear, eloquent and comprehensive language (Lane & Aqrab).
The word عرب conveys the sense of fullness, abundance and clearness, and the Arabic language is so called because its roots are innumerable and are full of meaning and because it is most expressive, eloquent and comprehensive. It possesses suitable words and phrases for the full expression of all sorts of ideas and shades of meaning. Any topic can be discussed in this language with a precision and thoroughness unmatched in any other. European scholars have had to testify to the fact that the Arabic language is complete in respect of its roots. It consists of hundreds of thousands of roots which are pregnant with a vast variety of meanings. Ibn Jinni, an eminent linguist, has advanced the claim in the name of his teacher, Abu ‘Ali, that even the letters of the Arabic language possess clear and definite meanings. For instance, he declared that the letters Mim, Lam and Kaf, in whatever combination they may occur, express the idea of "power," which is more or less common to all the words that are formed with these letters or are derived from this root.
In the previous verse the Quran was called "the Book" which implied a prophecy that it would ever continue to be preserved in the form of a book. In the present verse it has been called "the Quran," meaning, "a book that is read," which constitutes a prophecy that it will be very widely read and studied. It is a fact which no opponent of Islam can deny that no other book is so widely and frequently read as the Quran. Professor Nöldeke says, "Since the use of the Koran in public worship, in schools and otherwise, is much more extensive than, for example, the reading of the Bible in most Christian countries it has been truly described as the most widely read book in existence" (Enc. Bri. 9th edition, vol. 16, p. 597).
Thus, the giving of these two names to the Word of God revealed to the Holy Prophet, viz. the "Book" and the "Quran" signifies that this final Law of God would be preserved both by means of the pen and the tongue.
The verse also hints that if the Quran had not been revealed in a tongue which possessed the quality of expressing all ideas with perfect ease and clearness, as the Arabic language does, or if it had not been widely and constantly read (as the Quran is, in accordance with the prophecy implied in its name), people would not have benefited by it as much as they have done and still do.
It may also be incidentally noted here that Arabic, as its very name implies, is the mother of all languages (ام الالسنة). This great revelation was made and emphasized by Ahmad, the Promised Messiah, who wrote a treatise on this subject entitled, "Minan-ur-Rahman". See also 14:5. (close)
نَحۡنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَیۡکَ اَحۡسَنَ الۡقَصَصِ بِمَاۤ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡکَ ہٰذَا الۡقُرۡاٰنَ ٭ۖ وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتَ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہٖ لَمِنَ الۡغٰفِلِیۡنَ ﴿۴﴾
نَحۡنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيۡكَ أَحۡسَنَ ٱلۡقَصَصِ بِمَآ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ هَٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ لَمِنَ ٱلۡغَٰفِلِينَ
1358. The reason why the story of Joseph was revealed to the Holy Prophet in such detail is that it contains many prophetic allusions to his own life. The whole story was to be, as it were, re-enacted in the person of the Holy Prophet himself and his brethren, the Quraish. (close)
1508. Important Words:
نقص (We narrate). They say قص اثرہ i.e. he followed his tracks or footsteps in pursuit. قص علیه الحدیث means, he related to him the story in its proper manner i.e. rightly, as though he followed its traces in pursuit and related it accordingly (Lane). See also 7:177.
As the expression نقص (which literally means, we narrate rightly or properly) indicates, the verse shows that some differences existed about the life story of Joseph. The Quran here claims to act as judge between the upholders of different views and to lift the veil of obscurity from the face of the true story. This is why it says, We relate to thee the narration rightly or properly as though following its very traces (see Important Words). It is strange that some European critics of the Quran have not taken into consideration the existence of differences about the life of Joseph, but have only thought fit to take exception to the narrative of the Quran, merely because it differs from that of the Bible in certain details. In fact, the very objection has established the truth of the Quran, inasmuch as the claim that it relates the incidents rightly shows that the Revealer of the Quran knew that at some future time people would object to the Quranic version. Brinckman is one of these critics. In his "Notes on Islam" he says, "In the Koran a beautiful and touching tale is mangled and spoiled." The following pages will show whether it is in the Quran or the Bible, that a "beautiful and touching tale" has been "mangled and spoiled."
One of the reasons why the story of Joseph was revealed to the Holy Prophet in such detail is that it contains many prophetic allusions to his own life. The whole story was to be, as it were, re-enacted in the person of the Holy Prophethimself and his brethren, the Quraish, and was thus to serve as evidence of his truth. Another reason is that, as the Holy Prophet was the like of Joseph it was necessary that he himself should know the latter’s life history.
The Holy Prophet has been referred to here as of those not possessed of requisite knowledge. His lack of requisite knowledge about Joseph was intended to hint that, firstly, the whole truth about Joseph was to be found neither in the Bible nor in the Talmud; and, secondly, that the Holy Prophet was not aware that events similar to those which happened to Joseph were to occur in his own life. The account of the Quran differs from that of the Bible in many respects but, as will appear from the following pages, wherever the two accounts differ, it is the Bible that has erred. (close)
اِذۡ قَالَ یُوۡسُفُ لِاَبِیۡہِ یٰۤاَبَتِ اِنِّیۡ رَاَیۡتُ اَحَدَعَشَرَ کَوۡکَبًا وَّ الشَّمۡسَ وَ الۡقَمَرَ رَاَیۡتُہُمۡ لِیۡ سٰجِدِیۡنَ ﴿۵﴾
إِذۡ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيۡتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوۡكَبٗا وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ رَأَيۡتُهُمۡ لِي سَٰجِدِينَ
a. 12:101. (close)
1359. Joseph was the twelfth son of Prophet Jacob, otherwise known as Israel. He was the elder of the two sons of Rachel. The meaning given to the name is 'shall add,' i.e. 'The Lord shall add to me another son' (Gen. 30:24). (close)
1360. The Bible mentions the sun and the moon first and the eleven stars afterwards, as making obeisance to Joseph (Gen. 37:9), but the Qur’an reverses the order; and the actual facts of history support the order followed by the Qur’an, for it was the brethren of Joseph (the eleven stars) who met him first and made obeisance to him, and his parents came afterwards. The verse signifies that the parents and brethren of Joseph would submit to his authority. (close)
1509. Important Words:
یوسف (Joseph) was the eleventh son of the Prophet Jacob, otherwise known as Israel, and the elder of the two sons of Rachel. The meaning given to the name is "shall add" i.e. "The Lord shall add to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). A somewhat detailed account of his life is given in the present Surah. It should, however, be added that Joseph possesses the unique characteristic among all Prophets of God that not only was he himself a Prophet of God but his father, Jacob, his grandfather, Isaac, and his great-grandfather, Abraham, were all God’s chosen Messengers. The Holy Prophetreferred to this characteristic of Joseph in one of his well-known sayings when, on being asked by some of his Companions as to who was the noblest of men, he is reported to have replied, "Truly the noblest of men is the Prophet Joseph who was the son, grandson and great-grandson of a Prophet of God" (Bukhari, Kitab Bad’ul-Khalq). It may also be noted here that, though Joseph was buried in Egypt, his remains were later removed by Moses to Palestine when the Israelites were commanded by God to leave Egypt (Enc. Bib.).
کوکبا (stars) is derived from کوکب (kaukaba) which means, it (iron) glistened; was lustrous, or bright. کوکب (kaukabun) of which the plural is کواکب means, a star; an asterism; a constellation; the source or spring of a well; the lustre or brightness of iron, etc.; a sword; a whiteness in the eye; a tract which differs in colour from the land in which it lies; a youth nearly of the age of puberty; also a youth who has attained the period of adolescence and whose face has become beautiful; the chief or lord, or prince and horseman, or cavalier of a people; an armed man; a mountain; a troop of horses; the greater or chief part of a thing; the flower or flowers of a garden, etc. (Lane).
With this verse begins the story of Joseph, and in this very verse two important differences in the accounts of the Bible and the Quran and in the manner of their narration have been brought to light. Firstly, the Biblical account begins with a description of the pedigree of Joseph, while the Quran leaves this unimportant detail to be filled up by historians and begins the actual narration with the dream of Joseph, which constitutes its pivot. The whole life of Joseph revolves round this dream. Thus the Quran has opened the narrative with a much better and more appropriate beginning than the Bible. Secondly, while describing the dream of Joseph, the Bible mentions the sun and the moon first and the eleven stars afterwards, as making obeisance to Joseph (Gen. 37:9), but the Quran reverses the order; and actual facts of history support the order followed by the Quran, for it was the brethren of Joseph (the eleven stars) who met him first and made obeisance to him and his parents came afterwards. The vision as given in the Quran was literally fulfilled in actual life.
The word ساجدین (making obeisance) in the verse does not mean that the brothers and parents of Joseph actually fell prostrate before him. The root-meaning of this word being "obedience" and "submission" (for which see 2:35), the expression signified only that they would become obedient to the authority of Joseph and so it actually came to pass, for the parents and brothers of Joseph came to reside in the land where Joseph held sway as a Minister of State. Thus it was that they became ساجد or obedient to him. The names of the eleven brothers of Joseph, as given in the Bible, are:Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
The incident of the vision related by Joseph to his father furnishes two points of resemblance between him and the Holy Prophet. Just as Joseph’s vision, which was his first revelation, foretold his future greatness; so the first revelation of the Holy Prophet in the Cave of Hira predicted that he was to become the most honoured man of the human race. In 96:2-5, containing the first revelation which the Holy Prophet received, he was told that God would make him the most honoured among mankind and through him would teach men things which they did not know before, and that he would be the most honoured man not only among his contemporaries but also among those who had gone before him as well as those who would come after him. In this way, he would not only be the chief among his own brethren or followers, but also among his spiritual forefathers, the Prophets of yore. This is why the Holy Prophet is reported to have said لوکان موسی و عیسی حیین لما وسعھما الااتباعی i.e. even if Moses and Jesus had been living, they could not have helped tendering their allegiance to me (Kathir. vol. 2, p. 246). He also said انا سید ولد آدم i.e. I am the chief of all the children of Adam (Tirmidhi, ch. on Manaqib).
The second point of resemblance between the Holy Prophet and Joseph mentioned in this verse is that, whereas Joseph related his vision to his father, the Holy Prophet, at the instance of his wife, Khadijah, related his first revelation to Waraqah bin Naufal, who was one of the elders of the family (Bukhari). (close)
قَالَ یٰبُنَیَّ لَا تَقۡصُصۡ رُءۡیَاکَ عَلٰۤی اِخۡوَتِکَ فَیَکِیۡدُوۡا لَکَ کَیۡدًا ؕ اِنَّ الشَّیۡطٰنَ لِلۡاِنۡسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِیۡنٌ ﴿۶﴾
قَالَ يَٰبُنَيَّ لَا تَقۡصُصۡ رُءۡيَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ إِخۡوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُواْ لَكَ كَيۡدًاۖ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنَ لِلۡإِنسَٰنِ عَدُوّٞ مُّبِينٞ
a. 2:169; 18:51; 35:7. (close)
a. 2:169; 18:51; 35:7. (close)
1510. Important Words
رؤیا (dream) is derived from رأی which means, (1) he saw with the eye; (2) he saw mentally; (3) he saw in a dream or vision; (4) he held the opinion; (5) he thought or considered, etc. The Arabs say رأیته رأی العین i.e. I saw him where the eye or sight fell upon him, i.e. I saw him actually with the eye. رؤیا means, a dream or vision seen in sleep. According to most lexicologists رؤیا is synonymous with حلم (hulm) but according to others the former is such as is good and the latter is the contrary (Lane).
Here again the Quran differs from the Bible and again the Quranic version is decidedly more reasonable and correct. According to the Quran, Joseph told his dream to his father first, while according to the Bible he first related it to his brothers (Gen. 37:9). But the Bible itself says that Joseph had seen another dream, even before this dream which the Quran relates and, on listening to this first dream, his brethren had said to him: "Shalt thou indeed reign over us or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us?" And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words (Gen. 37:5-8). Now, after the rebuke he had received from his brothers on telling them his first dream, it is highly unreasonable and improbable that Joseph should have related his second and similar dream to them before acquainting his father with it. So the Quranic account is clearly nearer truth and reason than the Biblical account.
The Quran represents Jacob, the father of Joseph, as having forbidden him to mention his dream to his brethren. It also gives the reason why he forbade him to do so. The reason was that the dream would excite their envy and they would be tempted to plot against him. That this fear of Jacob was only too well-founded is borne out by the Bible itself, for it says that Joseph’s brethren hated him yet the more for his dreams. This also goes to support the Quranic version.
The verse under comment mentions another important resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as Jacob, on hearing the dream of Joseph, told him that when his brothers heard of it, they would plot against him and seek to do him harm, similarly, when Waraqah bin Naufal heard of the first revelation from the Holy Prophet, he told him that a time would come when his people would plot against him and turn him out of their town. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ یَجۡتَبِیۡکَ رَبُّکَ وَ یُعَلِّمُکَ مِنۡ تَاۡوِیۡلِ الۡاَحَادِیۡثِ وَ یُتِمُّ نِعۡمَتَہٗ عَلَیۡکَ وَ عَلٰۤی اٰلِ یَعۡقُوۡبَ کَمَاۤ اَتَمَّہَا عَلٰۤی اَبَوَیۡکَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ ؕ اِنَّ رَبَّکَ عَلِیۡمٌ حَکِیۡمٌ ٪﴿۷﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَجۡتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعۡمَتَهُۥ عَلَيۡكَ وَعَلَىٰٓ ءَالِ يَعۡقُوبَ كَمَآ أَتَمَّهَا عَلَىٰٓ أَبَوَيۡكَ مِن قَبۡلُ إِبۡرَٰهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَٰقَۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٞ
b. 12:22, 102. (close)
1361. The name is explained in the Bible as 'the supplanter' (Gen. 27:36). It is the prevalent critical opinion that Ya‘qub (Jacob) is really a shortened form of Ya‘akobel admitting several meanings such as 'God follows' or 'God rewards.' Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah and the grandson of Abraham and the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel and known as the Third Patriarch (Enc. Bib. & Jew. Enc.). (close)
a. 12:22, 102. (close)
1511. Important Words:
یعقوب (Jacob) may, be said to have been derived from عقب. They say عقبه i.e. he struck his heel; he came after him as though at his heel. The Bible says, "And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob," (Gen. 25:26) as if "one who takes hold by the heel." The name is also explained in the Bible as "the supplanter" (Gen. 27:36). It is the prevalent critical opinion that Ya‘akob (Jacob) is really a shortened form of Ya‘akob-el, admitting several explanations such as "God follows" or "God rewards." Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah and the grandson of Abraham and the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel (another name of Jacob) and known as the third Patriarch (Enc. Bib. & Jew. Enc.). See also 2:41.
The words, thy Lord shall choose thee, mean that God will deal with you (Joseph) according to your dream, and you will attain to the greatness which has been promised to you in the vision.
The expression, shall teach you the interpretation of things, is capable of two meanings: (a) what you have seen in the dream will come to pass (b) God will teach you how to interpret dreams.
By the word "favour" occurring in this verse is meant the boon of prophethood, which means that Joseph received the promise that God would bestow prophethood on him, and through him He would bestow distinction on Jacob’s family also. God would make them believe in Joseph and thus they would share with him the favours and blessings of God.
This verse also embodies a divergence from the Bible. According to the Quran, Jacob was pleased to hear of the dream of Joseph and held it as true. But the Bible says: "His father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?" (Gen. 37:10). Evidently there was no reason or occasion for Jacob to become angry with his son for having seen a dream in which he had no hand. No reasonable person, much less a Prophet of God, would act so unreasonably. Neither can it be said that Jacob thought Joseph was telling a lie and that really he had dreamt no dream, for the words which Jacob uttered when he heard of the dream i.e. "What is this dream that thou hast dreamed?" show that Jacob did believe that Joseph had really seen a dream. It is curious that the Bible contradicts itself in this very passage, for it says, "His brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying" (Gen. 37:11). The fact that Jacob "observed the saying" i.e. remembered it and bore it in mind, shows that he believed it to be a true dream and a genuine heavenly vision.
This incident furnishes a fourth point of similarity between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as Jacob believed in the truth of Joseph’s dream, similarly, when Waraqah heard of the first revelation of the Holy Prophet, he accepted it as the true Word of God and even likened it to the revelation of Moses. (close)
لَقَدۡ کَانَ فِیۡ یُوۡسُفَ وَ اِخۡوَتِہٖۤ اٰیٰتٌ لِّلسَّآئِلِیۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
۞لَّقَدۡ كَانَ فِي يُوسُفَ وَإِخۡوَتِهِۦٓ ءَايَٰتٞ لِّلسَّآئِلِينَ
By "inquirers" is here meant those who inquire about the truth of the Holy Prophet.
This verse also shows that the life history of Joseph as given in this Surah was not meant as a mere narrative, but provided solid proof of the truth of the Holy Prophet. In fact, the incidents in the life of Joseph were so many signs or prophecies which were later to be fulfilled in the life of the Holy Prophet. (close)
اِذۡ قَالُوۡا لَیُوۡسُفُ وَ اَخُوۡہُ اَحَبُّ اِلٰۤی اَبِیۡنَا مِنَّا وَ نَحۡنُ عُصۡبَۃٌ ؕ اِنَّ اَبَانَا لَفِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنِ ۣ ۚ﴿ۖ۹﴾
إِذۡ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلَٰلٖ مُّبِينٍ
1362. Like Joseph’s brothers who were angry that instead of themselves, who, as they imagined, were superior to him in every respect, he had won the affection of their father and had become the centre of his attention, the Quraish leaders said that the Qur’an ought to have been revealed to one of the great men of Mecca or Ta’if (43:32). They looked upon the Holy Prophet as too small a person to be selected for the exalted office of a Prophet. (close)
a. 12:96. (close)
1513. Important Words:
عصبة (a strong party) is derived from عصب which means, he twisted a thing or wound it round or he folded it tightly; he bound or tied a thing. عصبة means, party or company of men who league together to defend one another, generally from ten to forty in number; a company of men absolutely. عصبیة (‘asabiyyat) means, zeal in the cause of one’s party; a strong attachment which holds several persons closely united by the same interests or the same opinion and which causes them to defend one another; partisanship or party spirit (Lane).
The verse under comment contains the fifth resemblance of the Holy Prophet with Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were annoyed that instead of them, who, as they thought, were superior to him in every respect, he had won the affection of their father and had become the centre of his attention. In the same way it is on record that when some Arab chiefs were asked what they thought of the Prophet’s claims, they answered that if God had intended to raise a Prophet it was they who deserved this honour."
The Meccans also seemed to hold the view that the Quran ought to have been revealed to one of the great men of Mecca or Ta’if (43:32). They looked upon the Holy Prophet as too small a person to be selected for the exalted office of a Prophet. (close)
اقۡتُلُوۡا یُوۡسُفَ اَوِ اطۡرَحُوۡہُ اَرۡضًا یَّخۡلُ لَکُمۡ وَجۡہُ اَبِیۡکُمۡ وَ تَکُوۡنُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہٖ قَوۡمًا صٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾
ٱقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ ٱطۡرَحُوهُ أَرۡضٗا يَخۡلُ لَكُمۡ وَجۡهُ أَبِيكُمۡ وَتَكُونُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ قَوۡمٗا صَٰلِحِينَ
1363. Just as the brothers of Joseph plotted to kill him, the Quraish also conspired to put the Holy Prophet to death (8:31). (close)
Like the brothers of Joseph, who plotted to kill him, the Quraish of Mecca also conspired to put the Holy Prophet to death (8:31). This is the sixth point of resemblance between the two Prophets. But here again the Quran differs from the Bible. According to the Quran, Joseph’s brothers first held a secret conference and matured a plan to put Joseph out of their way, and then went in a body to their father asking him to send him with them, while according to the Bible, they came to a sudden decision to slay him as soon as they saw him approaching them in the fields, without previous consultation (Gen. 37:18-20). Of the two accounts the Quranic one is obviously nearer truth. Only an insane person or a hardened or habitual murderer or dacoit can take the life of an innocent person suddenly and without premeditation. The brothers of Joseph were members of a respectable family. They could not be expected to come to so atrocious a decision on the spur of the moment. Their decision to murder Joseph was the result of a mature and well-thought-out plan. Moreover, if the decision to kill Joseph was the outcome of a sudden impulse, the man who made the suggestion should have thought twice before doing so lest the others refused to accept his suggestion and he should be branded a potential murderer. Their words, and you can thereafter become a righteous people, also show that they were not habitual criminals and that in their heart of hearts they disliked the foul deed, though they were temporarily blinded by hatred and jealousy. (close)