فَلَمَّا ذَہَبُوۡا بِہٖ وَ اَجۡمَعُوۡۤا اَنۡ یَّجۡعَلُوۡہُ فِیۡ غَیٰبَتِ الۡجُبِّ ۚ وَ اَوۡحَیۡنَاۤ اِلَیۡہِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّہُمۡ بِاَمۡرِہِمۡ ہٰذَا وَ ہُمۡ لَا یَشۡعُرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶﴾
فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُواْ بِهِۦ وَأَجۡمَعُوٓاْ أَن يَجۡعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَٰبَتِ ٱلۡجُبِّۚ وَأَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمۡرِهِمۡ هَٰذَا وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
The words, they shall not know, hint that so helpless was Joseph’s condition at that time that his brothers could not even imagine that he would ever rise to any greatness afterwards.
This verse points to two more resemblances between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Joseph was cast into a deep well by his brothers and the Holy Prophet had to take shelter in a cave (which is like a well) from the persecution of his brethren, the Quraish. The confinement of the Holy Prophet along with the Muslims in شعب ابی طالب (the low-lying depressed valley which belonged to the tribe of Abu Talib), in consequence of the boycott compact agreed upon by the people of Mecca, also provides a point of resemblance with Joseph’s having been cast into a well. Secondly, just as this verse tells us that Joseph was informed through revelation that there would come a time when God would bestow upon him power and glory and he would then inform his brothers of the bad treatment they had meted out to him, similarly the Holy Prophet was informed by revelation that though his enemies would compel him to flee from Mecca, yet he would return home victorious (28:86). (close)
وَ جَآءُوۡۤ اَبَاہُمۡ عِشَآءً یَّبۡکُوۡنَ ؕ﴿۱۷﴾
وَجَآءُوٓ أَبَاهُمۡ عِشَآءٗ يَبۡكُونَ
1520. Important Words:
عشاء (in the evening). عشاء (‘isha’) means, the time of nightfall or the first or beginning of the darkness of night; also the time from the declining of the sun (from the meridian) to the rising of the dawn (Lane). (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَاۤ اِنَّا ذَہَبۡنَا نَسۡتَبِقُ وَ تَرَکۡنَا یُوۡسُفَ عِنۡدَ مَتَاعِنَا فَاَکَلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ ۚ وَ مَاۤ اَنۡتَ بِمُؤۡمِنٍ لَّنَا وَ لَوۡ کُنَّا صٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۱۸﴾
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّا ذَهَبۡنَا نَسۡتَبِقُ وَتَرَكۡنَا يُوسُفَ عِندَ مَتَٰعِنَا فَأَكَلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُۖ وَمَآ أَنتَ بِمُؤۡمِنٖ لَّنَا وَلَوۡ كُنَّا صَٰدِقِينَ
1366. The words bespoke their nervousness and betrayed their guilty minds. (close)
This verse also indicates that when Joseph was cast into a well he was a mere lad of eleven or twelve, otherwise his brothers would not have said that they made him take care of their things while they were playing. A young man of seventeen or eighteen is not entrusted with work of this kind. He himself can take part in all kinds of sports. Nor is he, when armed, likely to be attacked by a wolf, unless there be a pack of wolves, and Palestine is not a land where wolves roam in packs.
The words, thou wilt not believe us even if we speak the truth, show that Joseph’s brethren were not habitual criminals, otherwise they would not have uttered words which bespoke nervousness and betrayed their offence. (close)
وَ جَآءُوۡ عَلٰی قَمِیۡصِہٖ بِدَمٍ کَذِبٍ ؕ قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَکُمۡ اَنۡفُسُکُمۡ اَمۡرًا ؕ فَصَبۡرٌ جَمِیۡلٌ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ الۡمُسۡتَعَانُ عَلٰی مَا تَصِفُوۡنَ ﴿۱۹﴾
وَجَآءُو عَلَىٰ قَمِيصِهِۦ بِدَمٖ كَذِبٖۚ قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَكُمۡ أَنفُسُكُمۡ أَمۡرٗاۖ فَصَبۡرٞ جَمِيلٞۖ وَٱللَّهُ ٱلۡمُسۡتَعَانُ عَلَىٰ مَا تَصِفُونَ
a. 12:84. (close)
1367. These words indicate that Jacob regarded the report of his sons as a concocted story. (close)
1522. Important Words:
کذب (false) really means either a lie or a falsehood or the act of telling a lie, but here it is used in the sense of مکذوب i.e. false or that about which a lie is uttered (Lane).
سولت (made a great thing appear light) is derived from سال. The verb سول (sawila) of which the aorist is یسول means, he or it was or became lax, flaccid or uncompact; or it hung down loosely; or it was or became pendent or pendulous. They say سول له الشیطان i.e. Satan led him into error; or he facilitated to him the commission of great sins; or he incited him to indulgence in lusts; or he made the commission of great sins appear small in his eyes. The Arabic expression سولت له نفسه امراmeans, his soul embellished or commended to him a thing or an affair; or his soul made it appear easy to him; or made it appear as a light matter in his eyes; or pictured to him what is foul as goodly (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse alludes to another point of difference between the Quranic account and the Biblical version. According to the Bible, Jacob believed the report of his sons to be true and declared that Joseph had really been "rent in pieces" by a wolf (Gen. 37:33); while the Quran says that he regarded their report as a concocted story. Other parts of the Bible, however, support the Quranic version. In Gen. 44:28 we have: And the one (child) went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since. If Jacob was really convinced that Joseph had been torn in pieces, the sentence, "I saw him not since" becomes quite meaningless. These words clearly show that in his heart of hearts Jacob thought Joseph to be alive, though for the time being he yielded to the inevitable.
The Talmud also agrees with the Quranic account and says that Jacob did not believe the statement of his sons to be true and that he was told in a vision that Joseph was alive (Jew. Enc.).
The verse provides another point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as Joseph’s brothers falsely declared that he had been slain, similarly, the Quraish falsely announced first at Uhud and then at Mecca that the Prophet had been killed, with the difference that whereas Joseph’s brethren spoke of Joseph as having been killed by a wolf, the Quraish asserted that they had themselves killed the Holy Prophet. This is the tenth point of resemblance between the Holy Prophet and Joseph. (close)
وَ جَآءَتۡ سَیَّارَۃٌ فَاَرۡسَلُوۡا وَارِدَہُمۡ فَاَدۡلٰی دَلۡوَہٗ ؕ قَالَ یٰبُشۡرٰی ہٰذَا غُلٰمٌ ؕ وَ اَسَرُّوۡہُ بِضَاعَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ عَلِیۡمٌۢ بِمَا یَعۡمَلُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰﴾
وَجَآءَتۡ سَيَّارَةٞ فَأَرۡسَلُواْ وَارِدَهُمۡ فَأَدۡلَىٰ دَلۡوَهُۥۖ قَالَ يَٰبُشۡرَىٰ هَٰذَا غُلَٰمٞۚ وَأَسَرُّوهُ بِضَٰعَةٗۚ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمُۢ بِمَا يَعۡمَلُونَ
1368. The members of the caravan looked upon Joseph as a precious asset. (close)
It is noteworthy how God takes care of His faithful servants. Joseph’s brothers cast him into a deep well in the wilderness but God so arranged that immediately afterwards a caravan arrived there. A man sent to fetch water from a well happened to go to the very well into which Joseph had been cast and this led to his being taken out alive.
The words, And they concealed him as a piece of merchandise, show that the members of the caravan looked upon Joseph as treasure and saw in him a youth of promise. (close)
وَ شَرَوۡہُ بِثَمَنٍۭ بَخۡسٍ دَرَاہِمَ مَعۡدُوۡدَۃٍ ۚ وَ کَانُوۡا فِیۡہِ مِنَ الزَّاہِدِیۡنَ ﴿٪۲۱﴾
وَشَرَوۡهُ بِثَمَنِۭ بَخۡسٖ دَرَٰهِمَ مَعۡدُودَةٖ وَكَانُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلزَّـٰهِدِينَ
1368A. The particle hi in the expression fihi may mean either 'him' or 'it,' standing either for Joseph or price. See also "The Larger Edition of the Commentary." (close)
It appears that when a member of the caravan took Joseph out of the well, his brethren became apprised of it and, declaring Joseph to be their slave, sold him to that very caravan for a paltry price. Thus the pronoun "they" in the clause, they sold him for a paltry price, stands for Joseph’s brethren and not for the caravan. The pronoun in the expression (of it) may mean either "him" or "it," standing either for Joseph or the price.
The Bible tells us that Joseph’s brothers sold him for twenty pieces of silver (Gen. 37:28). Their object in selling Joseph was obviously not to get money; they only did so fearing that if they did not declare Joseph to be their slave, the caravan might take him to be a free man and might send him home. So they represented him as their slave, and sold him for a small sum.
The context of the Quran also shows that those who are spoken of in this verse as selling Joseph were his brothers, and not the people of the caravan. For, in the preceding verse it has been said that when the caravan found Joseph, "they concealed him as a piece of good merchandise," whereas, in the verse under comment, we read that those who sold Joseph displayed no interest in him and "were not desirous" either of Joseph or of the price. This shows that those who are here spoken of as selling Joseph were not the members of the caravan, but, as the Bible tells us, Joseph’s own brethren.
The verse refers to another difference between the Bible and the Quran. According to the Bible, it was not a member of the caravan who drew Joseph from the well but Joseph’s own brothers (Gen. 37:28). The unreliability of the Biblical version is apparent from the fact that the passage dealing with this incident is full of contradictions. The Talmud also contradicts the Biblical account, and its description of this incident agrees with that of the Quran (Jew. Enc. under Joseph). (close)
وَ قَالَ الَّذِی اشۡتَرٰٮہُ مِنۡ مِّصۡرَ لِامۡرَاَتِہٖۤ اَکۡرِمِیۡ مَثۡوٰٮہُ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّنۡفَعَنَاۤ اَوۡ نَتَّخِذَہٗ وَلَدًا ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ مَکَّنَّا لِیُوۡسُفَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۫ وَ لِنُعَلِّمَہٗ مِنۡ تَاۡوِیۡلِ الۡاَحَادِیۡثِ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ غَالِبٌ عَلٰۤی اَمۡرِہٖ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِي ٱشۡتَرَىٰهُ مِن مِّصۡرَ لِٱمۡرَأَتِهِۦٓ أَكۡرِمِي مَثۡوَىٰهُ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَنفَعَنَآ أَوۡ نَتَّخِذَهُۥ وَلَدٗاۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلِنُعَلِّمَهُۥ مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِۚ وَٱللَّهُ غَالِبٌ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡرِهِۦ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ
1369. The Egyptian who bought Joseph is known as Potiphar in Jewish literature (Enc. Bib. & Gen. 39:1). He was captain of the royal guard, an officer of high rank in ancient times. (close)
a. 12:57. (close)
a. 12:57. (close)
1525. Important Words:
مثوی (stay) is derived from ثوی. They say ثوی بالمکان i.e. he remained, stayed or dwelt in the place; or he remained, stayed or dwelt long therein; or he alighted in the place. اثواہ means, he made him to stay, or dwell, or he made him to stay or remain long. ثوی means, a guest. مثوی means, a place where one remains, stays or dwells; it also means staying or staying long in a place (Lane & Mufradat).
The Egyptian who bought Joseph is known as Potiphar in Jewish literature (Enc. Bib. & Jew. Enc. under Potiphar; also Gen. 39:1). He was captain of the royal guard, an officer of high rank in ancient times. He seems to have been struck by the noble appearance of Joseph, and asked his wife to treat him with such honour and affection as are not ordinarily shown to a slave or servant. He expressed the hope that they might one day benefit by his ability or, if he proved to be worthy, might adopt him as their son. It appears that Potiphar had no issue. (close)
وَ لَمَّا بَلَغَ اَشُدَّہٗۤ اٰتَیۡنٰہُ حُکۡمًا وَّ عِلۡمًا ؕ وَ کَذٰلِکَ نَجۡزِی الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
وَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُۥٓ ءَاتَيۡنَٰهُ حُكۡمٗا وَعِلۡمٗاۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نَجۡزِي ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
b. 28:15. (close)
The verse does not mean that Joseph attained to prophethood as soon as he became of age. The Quran generally omits intervening details and mentions only the end. (close)
وَ رَاوَدَتۡہُ الَّتِیۡ ہُوَ فِیۡ بَیۡتِہَا عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ وَ غَلَّقَتِ الۡاَبۡوَابَ وَ قَالَتۡ ہَیۡتَ لَکَ ؕ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّٰہِ اِنَّہٗ رَبِّیۡۤ اَحۡسَنَ مَثۡوَایَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ لَا یُفۡلِحُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۴﴾
وَرَٰوَدَتۡهُ ٱلَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيۡتِهَا عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ وَغَلَّقَتِ ٱلۡأَبۡوَٰبَ وَقَالَتۡ هَيۡتَ لَكَۚ قَالَ مَعَاذَ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُۥ رَبِّيٓ أَحۡسَنَ مَثۡوَايَۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُفۡلِحُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
1370. Rawada-hu means, he endeavoured or sought to turn him to or from a thing by blandishments or deceitful arts (Lane). (close)
1371. Haita meaning, 'come or come forward' or 'hasten,' and the expression haita laka means, 'come thou' or 'now come;' also, 'come I am ready for thee or I am ready to receive thee' (Lane & Mufradat). (close)
1372. The verse shows that the woman who sought to seduce Joseph failed in her efforts and that Joseph successfully resisted her evil suggestion. The words, 'He is my Lord,' refer to God, and not to Joseph’s Egyptian master, as some Commentators have wrongly supposed. (close)
1527. Important Words:
راودته (she sought to seduce him). راود is derived from راد which means, he or it came and went; he went to and fro; he was restless; it also means, he sought or desired a thing; راوده means, he endeavoured or sought to turn him to or from a thing. راوده عن الامر means, he endeavoured to turn him by blandishment or by deceitful arts from the thing. راوده علی الامرmeans, he endeavoured to turn him by blandishment, etc., to the thing. The Quranic expression سنراود عنه اباہ means, we will endeavour to turn his father from him by blandishment or artifice and to make him yield him to us; or we will strive to obtain him of his father. So the words راودته عن نفسه would mean, she desired or sought of him a sinful act using blandishment or artifice for that purpose; she tempted him to do the sinful act; she endeavoured to entice him and to make him yield himself to her; more literally, she endeavoured to turn him by blandishment, etc., from his disdainful noncompliance or from his purpose and will. الرود really signifies going about in search of a thing. المراودة means, seeking to make a person do a thing against his will (Lane & Mufradat).
ھیت لك (now come). ھیت is a word of exclamation denoting wonder. The Arabs say ھیت للحلم i.e. what forbearing mildness or clemency! The word is used in the sense of ھلم or تعال or اقبل meaning, "come or come forward." It is also used to signify "hasten" and "set forth journeying." The words therefore mean, "come thou" or "now come." The words also signify, "come, I am ready for thee, or I am ready to receive thee" (Lane & Mufradat).
معاذ الله (I seek refuge with God). معاذ is the noun-infinitive from عاذ. They say عاذ به من کذا i.e. he sought protection by him from that or sought refuge in him from that; or he put his trust in him, or relied upon him, for protection from such a thing. معاذ means, a refuge; a place to which one has recourse for protection or preservation; also the time at which one does so. The expressions معاذ الله and عیاذ الله and عیاذا بالله are all synonymous with اعوذ بالله معاذا i.e. I seek protection or preservation by God (Lane & Aqrab).
The verse clearly shows that the woman who sought to seduce Joseph failed in her efforts and that Joseph successfully resisted her temptation. The words, "He is my Lord," refer to God, and not to Joseph’s Egyptian master, as some commentators have wrongly supposed. It is difficult to imagine that a highly spiritual man like Joseph should have abstained from sin merely out of regard for the paltry favours of a human benefactor and not for the manifold Divine boons.
Whatever honour Joseph had received from his Egyptian master was really in fulfilment of God’s promises. So it was for the sake of his True Lord and Master that he followed the path of rectitude and refused to be seduced into sin, which would have amounted to an act of ingratitude far more towards God than to any human benefactor.
Joseph not only himself abstained from the heinous sin, but also warned his master’s wife against its evil consequences by saying that the wrongdoers never prosper. The expression راودته translated as "she sought to seduce him against his will," literally means, as shown under Important Words, "she endeavoured to turn him from his purpose or will by blandishment and artifice and make him yield to her against his disdainful noncompliance." This meaning shows that Joseph abhorred the evil deed to which she invited him and was determined not to yield. (close)
وَ لَقَدۡ ہَمَّتۡ بِہٖ ۚ وَ ہَمَّ بِہَا لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ رَّاٰ بُرۡہَانَ رَبِّہٖ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡہُ السُّوۡٓءَ وَ الۡفَحۡشَآءَ ؕ اِنَّہٗ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا الۡمُخۡلَصِیۡنَ ﴿۲۵﴾
وَلَقَدۡ هَمَّتۡ بِهِۦۖ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوۡلَآ أَن رَّءَا بُرۡهَٰنَ رَبِّهِۦۚ كَذَٰلِكَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ ٱلسُّوٓءَ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءَۚ إِنَّهُۥ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا ٱلۡمُخۡلَصِينَ
1373. The wife of Joseph’s master intended a thing about Joseph (i.e. copulation). Similarly, Joseph intended a thing about her, i.e. resisting her evil intention. That Joseph did not intend anything evil is clear from the previous verse. His only object was to dissuade her from her evil purpose. (close)
1374. By 'manifest Sign' are meant the heavenly Signs which Joseph had already witnessed, e.g. the wonderful dream which foretold his future greatness (v. 5), the revelation he had received when cast into the well, which also pointed to his later eminence and glory (v. 16) and also his being taken out alive from the well. (close)
1375. Just as an attempt was made to tempt Joseph away from the path of piety and rectitude, similarly, the idolaters of Mecca made an unsuccessful attempt to make the Holy Prophet give up preaching the Unity of God by offering to make him their king or to collect great wealth for him or to give him in marriage the most beautiful girl in Arabia. The offer was of course contemptuously rejected by the Holy Prophet with the historic words, 'If you place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left hand, even then I will not give up preaching God’s Unity (Hisham). (close)
This verse tells us that the wife of Joseph’s master intended a thing about Joseph (i.e. copulation) in which she did not succeed. Similarly, Joseph intended a thing about her (i.e. turning her to pure thoughts), but he too did not succeed in his endeavour. That Joseph did not intend anything evil is clear from the previous verse. His only purpose was to dissuade her from her evil course.
By "manifest sign" is meant the heavenly signs which Joseph had already witnessed, e.g. the wonderful dream which foretold his future greatness (v. 5) and the revelation he had received when cast into the well, which also pointed to his later eminence and glory (v. 16). Surely, the person who was being prepared for the exalted office of a Prophet could not debase himself before an idolatrous woman.
The words, that We might turn away from him evil and indecency, signify that a person who had witnessed such signs could not stoop to evil. They may also mean that God brought about these circumstances so that Joseph should no longer live in the evil company of his master’s wicked wife and her evil companions which might have exercised a pernicious influence on him.
Here there is another point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as an attempt was made to tempt Joseph away from the path of piety and rectitude, similarly, the idolaters of Mecca made an unsuccessful attempt to make the Holy Prophet give up preaching the Unity of God by offering to make him their king or amass great wealth for him or give him in marriage the most beautiful girl in Arabia. The offer was of course disdainfully rejected by the Prophet with the historic words, "If you place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left hand, I will not give up preaching the Oneness of God." (Zurqani & Hisham). This constitutes the eleventh resemblance between these two great Prophets. (close)