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)
قَالَ مَا خَطۡبُکُنَّ اِذۡ رَاوَدۡتُّنَّ یُوۡسُفَ عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ ؕ قُلۡنَ حَاشَ لِلّٰہِ مَا عَلِمۡنَا عَلَیۡہِ مِنۡ سُوۡٓءٍ ؕ قَالَتِ امۡرَاَتُ الۡعَزِیۡزِ الۡـٰٔنَ حَصۡحَصَ الۡحَقُّ ۫ اَنَا رَاوَدۡتُّہٗ عَنۡ نَّفۡسِہٖ وَ اِنَّہٗ لَمِنَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۵۲﴾
قَالَ مَا خَطۡبُكُنَّ إِذۡ رَٰوَدتُّنَّ يُوسُفَ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦۚ قُلۡنَ حَٰشَ لِلَّهِ مَا عَلِمۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ مِن سُوٓءٖۚ قَالَتِ ٱمۡرَأَتُ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡـَٰٔنَ حَصۡحَصَ ٱلۡحَقُّ أَنَا۠ رَٰوَدتُّهُۥ عَن نَّفۡسِهِۦ وَإِنَّهُۥ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
1388. The words seem to show that the incident of the cutting of their hands by the women did actually take place; otherwise Joseph could not have referred to it. Either in amazement or being absorbed in conversation, some of them did inadvertently cut their hands. Or the words might mean that by bringing a false accusation against Joseph the women had cut their own hands, i.e. they had landed themselves into a false position. But if nothing actual had happened, Joseph could not have referred to 'the cutting of the hands.' Hasha Lillahi also means, God forbid; or how far is Allah from every imperfection (Lane). (close)
1555. Important Words:
ماخطبکن (what was the matter with you) خطب (khatbun) is the noun-infinitive from خطب (khataba). They say خطب القوم i.e. he addressed the people and delivered to them an exhortation or admonition. خطب المرأة means, he asked or demanded the woman in marriage. خطب means, a thing, an affair, or a business, small or great, that one seeks or desires to do or that may be a subject of discourse; a great thing or affair; or the cause or occasion of a thing or an event; or an affliction or calamity. They say ماخطبك i.e. what is the thing or affair or business that thou seekest or desirest to do; or, what is the cause of thy coming? (Lane).
This verse shows that the King had become so convinced of the righteousness of Joseph that, on hearing of the accusation against him, he at once believed it to be false. This is why the women, judging from the way in which the King questioned them, realized that he looked upon Joseph as a righteous man, and so they confessed the truth. But by so doing they only bore witness to the innocence of Joseph, without in any way accusing Potiphar’s wife. The latter, however, fearing lest after exonerating Joseph of all blame the women might proceed to testify to her misconduct, hastened to confess her guilt, although she had not yet been questioned by the King. She did this to escape the greater shame of being condemned out of the mouth of others and perhaps also to win some credit for speaking the truth without being questioned. (close)
ذٰلِکَ لِیَعۡلَمَ اَنِّیۡ لَمۡ اَخُنۡہُ بِالۡغَیۡبِ وَ اَنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا یَہۡدِیۡ کَیۡدَ الۡخَآئِنِیۡنَ ﴿۵۳﴾
ذَٰلِكَ لِيَعۡلَمَ أَنِّي لَمۡ أَخُنۡهُ بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهۡدِي كَيۡدَ ٱلۡخَآئِنِينَ
The words of this and the following verses were uttered by Joseph and not by the seducing woman as supposed by some commentators. The pronoun "him" in the clause لم اخنه (I was not unfaithful to him) refers to Potiphar. The verse shows Joseph as stating the object for which he had caused this enquiry to be held, which was to clear himself of the possible charge that he had behaved faithlessly towards his master, Potiphar.
The words "the unfaithful" here refer to those who had plotted against Joseph. As Joseph was a Prophet of God, the plotters against him could not succeed, and hence God caused their plot to be exposed and defeated. (close)
وَ مَاۤ اُبَرِّیٴُ نَفۡسِیۡ ۚ اِنَّ النَّفۡسَ لَاَمَّارَۃٌۢ بِالسُّوۡٓءِ اِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّیۡ ؕ اِنَّ رَبِّیۡ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۴﴾
۞وَمَآ أُبَرِّئُ نَفۡسِيٓۚ إِنَّ ٱلنَّفۡسَ لَأَمَّارَةُۢ بِٱلسُّوٓءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّيٓۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٞ رَّحِيمٞ
1389. The clause Illa ma Rahima Rabbi (save that whereon my Lord has mercy) may have three different interpretations: (a) Save the Nafs (soul) whereupon my Lord has mercy, the particle ma standing for Nafs. (b) Save him upon whom my Lord has mercy; ma here meaning, man. (c) Yes, but it is God’s mercy which saves whom it chooses. These three meanings refer to the three stages in the spiritual development of man. The first meaning refers to the stage when man has attained the stage of spiritual perfection—the stage of Nafs-e-Mutma’innah (the soul at rest—89:28). The second meaning applies to man when he is yet in the stage of Nafs-e-Lawwamah (self-accusing soul— 75:3) when man is struggling against sin and his evil propensities, sometimes overcoming them and at others being vanquished by them. The third meaning applies to man when the animal in him predominates. This stage is called Nafs-e-Ammarah (the soul prone to evil). (close)
As stated in the preceding verse, the words I do not hold my own self etc., were uttered by Joseph. The verse thus constitutes a striking commentary on the purity and nobility of mind of God’s Prophets and His Elect. Joseph, as stated above, had demanded an enquiry to be held about the imputation made against him. In this verse he disclaims any intention to establish his own purity or attribute any good to himself by that enquiry. His object, he says, is to show by this means that God does not allow the machinations of dishonest people to succeed against His Prophets and also that no one can tempt into sin those to whom God gives His protection. Joseph declares that he had caused this inquiry to be made, not to make a show of his own purity but to indicate that nobody can lead astray the man whom God Himself protects from evil. As for himself, he admits in the verse that human nature alone—unaided by Divine mercy, which manifests itself through revelation, religious law and Divine grace—cannot protect itself from evil. Man, by nature, is apt to fall into evil and it is God’s connection alone which can lead him to the right path.
The clause الا ما رحم ربی (save that whereon my Lord has mercy) is capable of three different interpretations: (a) save the نفس (soul or spirit) whereupon my Lord has mercy; in this case the particle ما stands for; نفس (b) save that man upon whom my Lord has mercy; in this case ما will be taken as meaning من i.e. that person; and (c) yes, but it is God’s mercy which saves whom it chooses; in this case the particle will be taken as مصدریة and the expression ما رحم would mean رحمة (mercy). These three meanings refer to the three stages in the spiritual growth of man. The first meaning refers to the stage when man has attained the stage of spiritual perfection. At this stage he is known by the name نفس مطمئنة (i.e. the soul at rest or the soul in peace). The second meaning is applied to man when he is yet in the stage of نفس لوامة (i.e. self-accusing soul) viz. when a man is struggling against sin and
his evil propensities, sometimes overcoming him and at others being vanquished. The third meaning applies to a man when his evil inclinations have the better of him. At this stage he is described by the term; نفس امارة (i.e. the soul prone to evil). All these kinds of نفس(soul) have been mentioned in the Quran (89:28; 75:3; 12:54) and have been fully discussed in the Teachings of Islam by Ahmad, the Promised Messiah. (close)
وَ قَالَ الۡمَلِکُ ائۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِہٖۤ اَسۡتَخۡلِصۡہُ لِنَفۡسِیۡ ۚ فَلَمَّا کَلَّمَہٗ قَالَ اِنَّکَ الۡیَوۡمَ لَدَیۡنَا مَکِیۡنٌ اَمِیۡنٌ ﴿۵۵﴾
وَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلِكُ ٱئۡتُونِي بِهِۦٓ أَسۡتَخۡلِصۡهُ لِنَفۡسِيۖ فَلَمَّا كَلَّمَهُۥ قَالَ إِنَّكَ ٱلۡيَوۡمَ لَدَيۡنَا مَكِينٌ أَمِينٞ
In the words, I may take him specially for myself, the King seems to administer a veiled rebuke to Potiphar, hinting that, whereas he (Potiphar) had failed to treat with honour a man like Joseph, he himself would now bestow on him the honour he deserved by admitting him to his special favour. This was the attitude of the King before he had spoken to Joseph. But when he had talked with him, he became still more enamoured of him and hastened to confer high rank upon him. In the Bible we read: And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "According unto thy word shall all people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou"… "and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had" (Gen. 41:40-43). (close)