یٰصَاحِبَیِ السِّجۡنِ اَمَّاۤ اَحَدُ کُمَا فَیَسۡقِیۡ رَبَّہٗ خَمۡرًا ۚ وَ اَمَّا الۡاٰخَرُ فَیُصۡلَبُ فَتَاۡکُلُ الطَّیۡرُ مِنۡ رَّاۡسِہٖ ؕ قُضِیَ الۡاَمۡرُ الَّذِیۡ فِیۡہِ تَسۡتَفۡتِیٰنِ ﴿ؕ۴۲﴾
يَٰصَٰحِبَيِ ٱلسِّجۡنِ أَمَّآ أَحَدُكُمَا فَيَسۡقِي رَبَّهُۥ خَمۡرٗاۖ وَأَمَّا ٱلۡأٓخَرُ فَيُصۡلَبُ فَتَأۡكُلُ ٱلطَّيۡرُ مِن رَّأۡسِهِۦۚ قُضِيَ ٱلۡأَمۡرُ ٱلَّذِي فِيهِ تَسۡتَفۡتِيَانِ
It may be asked why did Joseph, of whom the interpretation of the dreams was sought, say to the two prisoners that the affair about which they had inquired had already been decreed or settled. This was because the interpretation of dreams has much to do with their fulfilment. So long as a dream is not told to others, it may remain in abeyance. But when it is announced and communicated to others and its interpretation is sought, it is very generally fulfilled. This is why the Holy Prophet is reported to have said that an evil dream should not be communicated to others (Bukhari, ch. on Ar-Ru’ya min Allah). (close)
وَ قَالَ لِلَّذِیۡ ظَنَّ اَنَّہٗ نَاجٍ مِّنۡہُمَا اذۡکُرۡنِیۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکَ ۫ فَاَنۡسٰہُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ ذِکۡرَ رَبِّہٖ فَلَبِثَ فِی السِّجۡنِ بِضۡعَ سِنِیۡنَ ﴿ؕ٪۴۳﴾
وَقَالَ لِلَّذِي ظَنَّ أَنَّهُۥ نَاجٖ مِّنۡهُمَا ٱذۡكُرۡنِي عِندَ رَبِّكَ فَأَنسَىٰهُ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنُ ذِكۡرَ رَبِّهِۦ فَلَبِثَ فِي ٱلسِّجۡنِ بِضۡعَ سِنِينَ
1383. Bid‘ denotes a variety of numbers but is generally understood to mean from three to nine (Lane). (close)
1546. Important Words:
بضع (some) is derived from بضع (bad‘a). They say بضعه i.e. he cut it; or he cut it into pieces. بضع means, a part or portion of the night; a time thereof. The word denotes a variety of numbers but is generally understood to mean from three to nine. بضع رجال means, from three to nine men. The expression فلبث فی السجن بضع سنن means, and he remained in the prison from three to nine years (Lane & Aqrab).
When this prisoner busied himself with the satanic occupation of preparing wine for and offering it to his master, the purifying influence of Joseph’s holy company was gone and he forgot to speak of him to the King. (close)
وَ قَالَ الۡمَلِکُ اِنِّیۡۤ اَرٰی سَبۡعَ بَقَرٰتٍ سِمَانٍ یَّاۡکُلُہُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٌ وَّ سَبۡعَ سُنۡۢبُلٰتٍ خُضۡرٍ وَّ اُخَرَ یٰبِسٰتٍ ؕ یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمَلَاُ اَفۡتُوۡنِیۡ فِیۡ رُءۡیَایَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ لِلرُّءۡیَا تَعۡبُرُوۡنَ ﴿۴۴﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ إِنِّيٓ أَرَىٰ سَبۡعَ بَقَرَٰتٖ سِمَانٖ يَأۡكُلُهُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٞ وَسَبۡعَ سُنۢبُلَٰتٍ خُضۡرٖ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَٰتٖۖ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلۡمَلَأُ أَفۡتُونِي فِي رُءۡيَٰيَ إِن كُنتُمۡ لِلرُّءۡيَا تَعۡبُرُونَ
1547. Important Words:
عجاف (withered) of which the singular is اعجف is derived from عجف i.e. it (a beast) became lean, meagre and emaciated. اعجف means, lean, meagre or emaciated, having lost fatness or plumpness. وجه اعجف means, a face that has little flesh (Lane).
تعبرون (you can interpret a dream) is derived from عبر. They say عبر السبیل (‘abara) i.e. he travelled or passed along the way as though he cut it. عبر النھر (‘abbara) means he conveyed him across the river. عبر الرؤیا means, he interpreted or explained the dream and told its final sequel or result. They say عبر عما فی نفسه i.e. he declared or explained what was in his mind. They say عبرت عن فلان i.e. I spoke for such a one. The Quranic expression ان کنتم للرؤیا تعبرون means, if you be the interpreters of the dream, or if you can interpret a dream (Lane & Aqrab).
It appears from this verse that the King was so fully convinced that his vision was real and true that he not only asked the learned men of his court to interpret it but also wished them to tell him what he should do to escape its evil effects, if any. The vision seemed to be so vivid that the King was deeply affected by it and his fright became the means of Joseph’s deliverance from the prison. (close)
قَالُوۡۤا اَضۡغَاثُ اَحۡلَامٍ ۚ وَ مَا نَحۡنُ بِتَاۡوِیۡلِ الۡاَحۡلَامِ بِعٰلِمِیۡنَ ﴿۴۵﴾
قَالُوٓاْ أَضۡغَٰثُ أَحۡلَٰمٖۖ وَمَا نَحۡنُ بِتَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحۡلَٰمِ بِعَٰلِمِينَ
1548. Important Words:
اضغاث (confused) of which the singular is ضغث (dighthun) is derived from ضغث (daghatha) which means, he collected together the thing. ضغث الحدیث means, he confused or confounded the tradition or story. ضغث of which the plural is اضغاثmeans, a handful of things mixed together; what is confused and without truth and reality (Lane).
احلام (dreams) is the plural of حلم (hulm) which means, a dream or vision in sleep, especially one that is evil (Lane).
By "such dreams" is here meant "the evil dreams" of the kind mentioned above, namely, dreams which cannot be interpreted by reason of their being vague and confused. In such dreams truth is often mixed with falsehood, and, not being free from the wanderings of the mind, they cannot be said to be wholly divine. But, as later events showed, the dream of the King was not of that nature. (close)
وَ قَالَ الَّذِیۡ نَجَا مِنۡہُمَا وَ ادَّکَرَ بَعۡدَ اُمَّۃٍ اَنَا اُنَبِّئُکُمۡ بِتَاۡوِیۡلِہٖ فَاَرۡسِلُوۡنِ ﴿۴۶﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِي نَجَا مِنۡهُمَا وَٱدَّكَرَ بَعۡدَ أُمَّةٍ أَنَا۠ أُنَبِّئُكُم بِتَأۡوِيلِهِۦ فَأَرۡسِلُونِ
1549. Important Words:
اذکر (remembered) which is derived from ذکر is really اذتکر and gives the same meaning as تذکر i.e. he remembered or he became reminded of (Lane).
امة (time). See 11:9.
The verse shows that the man who escaped was an ordinary person and not a court dignitary. This is why he asked the permission of the court to go to Joseph. The words, I will let you know its interpretation, show that, because of his past experience, this man was sure that Joseph would be able to interpret the vision correctly. In ancient times priests and religious divines exercised great influence in the royal courts. (close)
یُوۡسُفُ اَیُّہَا الصِّدِّیۡقُ اَفۡتِنَا فِیۡ سَبۡعِ بَقَرٰتٍ سِمَانٍ یَّاۡکُلُہُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٌ وَّ سَبۡعِ سُنۡۢبُلٰتٍ خُضۡرٍ وَّ اُخَرَ یٰبِسٰتٍ ۙ لَّعَلِّیۡۤ اَرۡجِعُ اِلَی النَّاسِ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴۷﴾
يُوسُفُ أَيُّهَا ٱلصِّدِّيقُ أَفۡتِنَا فِي سَبۡعِ بَقَرَٰتٖ سِمَانٖ يَأۡكُلُهُنَّ سَبۡعٌ عِجَافٞ وَسَبۡعِ سُنۢبُلَٰتٍ خُضۡرٖ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَٰتٖ لَّعَلِّيٓ أَرۡجِعُ إِلَى ٱلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَعۡلَمُونَ
The words, that I may return to the people so that they may know, show that the butler addressed them to Joseph with a view to inspiring hope in him that when he returned to the court with the interpretation, the people would realize that Joseph was a holy man and was innocent of the wicked charge imputed to him. The butler also meant by these words to offer an excuse for his failure so far to fulfil his promise to Joseph, which was that no favourable opportunity had yet offered itself to bring his case to the notice of the King and that it was only now that a suitable opportunity had presented itself. (close)
قَالَ تَزۡرَعُوۡنَ سَبۡعَ سِنِیۡنَ دَاَبًا ۚ فَمَا حَصَدۡتُّمۡ فَذَرُوۡہُ فِیۡ سُنۡۢبُلِہٖۤ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا مِّمَّا تَاۡکُلُوۡنَ ﴿۴۸﴾
قَالَ تَزۡرَعُونَ سَبۡعَ سِنِينَ دَأَبٗا فَمَا حَصَدتُّمۡ فَذَرُوهُ فِي سُنۢبُلِهِۦٓ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّمَّا تَأۡكُلُونَ
1551. Important Words:
دابا (working hard and continuously). See 3:12.
Joseph, while interpreting the dream, not only advised the people to lay up corn for the years of famine but also suggested to them the way in which they could safely do so, viz. by leaving the corn in the ear, for that was the safest way of preserving it. It is quite possible that Joseph should have deduced this method of preserving corn from the words of the dream itself, for after being shown seven fat and seven lean cows, the king was shown seven green and seven dry ears, and from this repetition Joseph might have deduced the remedy for the impending calamity. (close)
ثُمَّ یَاۡتِیۡ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ سَبۡعٌ شِدَادٌ یَّاۡکُلۡنَ مَا قَدَّمۡتُمۡ لَہُنَّ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا مِّمَّا تُحۡصِنُوۡنَ ﴿۴۹﴾
ثُمَّ يَأۡتِي مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٰلِكَ سَبۡعٞ شِدَادٞ يَأۡكُلۡنَ مَا قَدَّمۡتُمۡ لَهُنَّ إِلَّا قَلِيلٗا مِّمَّا تُحۡصِنُونَ
1384. Arabia, in the Holy Prophet’s time, was visited with a terrible famine which lasted for seven long years. It was so severe that people were forced to eat carrion (Bukhari). (close)
Joseph explains that the seven years of famine would be so severe that all that the people had stored up during the first seven years of plenty would be eaten up except very little which they might have saved, for fear lest the famine should become prolonged or for the purpose of seed.
Here we have another point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as in the time of Joseph, Egypt was visited with a severe seven-year famine, so in the Holy Prophet’s time Arabia had a terrible famine which lasted for seven long years. It was so severe that some people were forced to eat carrion. At last, the Holy Prophet was requested to pray to God for the removal of the famine. He prayed to God and the famine left the land after the people had been reduced to a most pitiable plight (Bukhari and Muslim). This is the twelfth point of resemblance between these two noble Prophets. (close)
ثُمَّ یَاۡتِیۡ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ ذٰلِکَ عَامٌ فِیۡہِ یُغَاثُ النَّاسُ وَ فِیۡہِ یَعۡصِرُوۡنَ ﴿٪۵۰﴾
ثُمَّ يَأۡتِي مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ذَٰلِكَ عَامٞ فِيهِ يُغَاثُ ٱلنَّاسُ وَفِيهِ يَعۡصِرُونَ
1385. In their ignorance of the meaning of the word Yughathu which besides meaning, 'They will be rained upon' also means, 'They will be relieved of their distress' or 'They will be aided and helped,' some Christian writers have objected that as it very seldom rains in Egypt and that the fertility of its soil depends upon the flooding of the Nile, the Quranic statement is against the elementary facts of geography. Obviously, the latter two meanings quite agree with the text of the Qur’an. But if the word be taken in the first-mentioned sense, even then there is no ground for any objection, for though the fertility of the soil of Egypt depends on the flooding of the Nile, the flooding of the Nile itself depends on rain on the mountains in which lies its source. (close)
1386. Ya‘sirun is derived from ‘Asira which means, (l) he pressed or squeezed the thing so as to force out its juice, etc.; (2) he aided or succoured or saved or preserved (him); (3) he gave something to someone or did some benefit to someone (Lane). (close)
1553. Important Words:
یغاث (shall be relieved) is derived from غاث (aorist یغیث) and غاث (aorist یغوث) and اغاث. They say غاث الله البلاد (aorist یغیث) i.e. God watered the country with rain; sent down rain on the land. غاثه (aorist یغوث) or اغاثه means, he aided or helped him; he removed from him trouble or affliction. اغاثنا المطر means, the rain gave us relief. (Lane & Aqrab).
یعصرون (give presents) is derived from عصر which means: (1) he pressed or squeezed the thing so as to force out its juice, etc.; (2) he took or collected the produce of the earth; (3) he aided or succoured or saved or preserved (him); (4) he gave something to someone or did some benefit to someone (Lane).
Thinking in their ignorance that the verb is used only in the sense "they shall be rained upon," some Christian critics of the Quran have objected that as it very seldom rains in Egypt and the fertility of its soil depends entirely on the flooding of the Nile, therefore the statement that "the people shall be rained upon" betrays the ignorance of the Revealer of the Quran of even the elementary facts of geography. But these critics, instead of exposing the ignorance of the Quran, have betrayed their own ignorance of the Arabic language. The verb as shown under Important Words is used in three different senses, i.e. (1) sending down rain; (2) helping and aiding; and (3) relieving and removing trouble. Of these the latter two quite agree with the text of the Quran. But even if the word be taken in the first-mentioned sense there is no ground for objection, for though it is true that the fertility of the soil in Egypt depends on the flooding of the Nile, the flooding of the Nile itself depends on the rain on the mountains where lies its source. So if Joseph is represented here as saying that after seven years of famine, rains would fall, he obviously meant to say that rains would fall in such parts of the land as would cause the swelling of the Nile, which would bring relief to the famine-stricken people of Egypt.
The objection that the Quran has used an ambiguous and equivocal word is also devoid of all substance. The ambiguity lies in the critics’ own minds. The Quran has every right to use any word in the sense in which it is used in the Arabic language. If the critics of the Quran are not conversant with the particular use of a certain word, they should blame their own ignorance and not the Quran. In fact, the beauty of the Quranic style lies in the fact that it has used a word which applies with equal appropriateness to the times both of Joseph and the Holy Prophet, whose respective peoples were visited with a severe seven-year famine. Of the three meanings of the word یغاث given under Important Words, the first applied to the time of the Holy Prophet and the latter two to that of Joseph. Thus instead of exposing any weakness in the diction of the Quran, the use of this word emphasizes its excellence. (close)
وَ قَالَ الۡمَلِکُ ائۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِہٖ ۚ فَلَمَّا جَآءَہُ الرَّسُوۡلُ قَالَ ارۡجِعۡ اِلٰی رَبِّکَ فَسۡـَٔلۡہُ مَا بَالُ النِّسۡوَۃِ الّٰتِیۡ قَطَّعۡنَ اَیۡدِیَہُنَّ ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ بِکَیۡدِہِنَّ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۱﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱئۡتُونِي بِهِۦۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُ ٱلرَّسُولُ قَالَ ٱرۡجِعۡ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ فَسۡـَٔلۡهُ مَا بَالُ ٱلنِّسۡوَةِ ٱلَّـٰتِي قَطَّعۡنَ أَيۡدِيَهُنَّۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي بِكَيۡدِهِنَّ عَلِيمٞ
a. 12:32. (close)
1387. Realizing that Joseph was no ordinary person the King wanted to release him from the prison forthwith. But Joseph refused to be released until a full inquiry was made into his case and he was proved to be innocent of the charge laid against him. His object in demanding an inquiry seems to be two- fold: First, that the King might know that he was innocent so that on no future occasion his mind might be poisoned against him by evilly-disposed persons on the basis of the alleged cause of his imprisonment. Secondly, that Potiphar, his benefactor, might not remain under the impression that Joseph had proved faithless to him. (close)
When the King saw that the wise men of his court had failed to interpret his dream and that Joseph had not only interpreted it rightly but had also suggested a remedy for the impending affliction, and when he learnt from his butler that Joseph’s previous interpretation of two dreams had also turned out to be true, he realized that Joseph was no ordinary man and desired to release him from the prison forthwith. But Joseph refused to be released until a full inquiry was made into his case and he was proved to be innocent of the charge laid against him. His object in demanding an inquiry seems to be twofold: firstly, that the King might know that he was innocent so that on no future occasion might his mind be poisoned against him by evilly-disposed persons on the basis of the alleged cause of his imprisonment; secondly, that Potiphar, his benefactor, might not remain under the impression that he had proved faithless to him.
The Holy Prophet is reported to have once said that if he had remained in prison for so long a time as Joseph did and, like Joseph, had received the orders of his release, he would at once have left the prison (Bukhari & Muslim). This readiness of the Holy Prophet to leave the prison in contrast to the hesitancy of Joseph to do so shows the former to be spiritually superior to the latter. It is true that the vindication of one’s honour is an act of virtue, but to welcome the opportunity for discharging one’s duties as a Prophet of God, as the Holy Prophet’s reported readiness implied, leaving one’s honour to take care of itself, is certainly an act of much higher spiritual eminence.
The words, how fare the women who cut their hands, spoken by Joseph show that the incident of the cutting by the women of their hands did actually take place; otherwise Joseph could not have referred to it in these words. Either the women, while absorbed in conversation, had inadvertently cut their hands, or they might have declared that, by bringing a false accusation against Joseph, they had cut their own hands i.e. had landed themselves in a false position. If these words had only expressed the women’s state of mind and nothing actual had happened, Joseph could not have referred to "the cutting of the hands." (close)