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)
قَالَ اجۡعَلۡنِیۡ عَلٰی خَزَآئِنِ الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ اِنِّیۡ حَفِیۡظٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۶﴾
قَالَ ٱجۡعَلۡنِي عَلَىٰ خَزَآئِنِ ٱلۡأَرۡضِۖ إِنِّي حَفِيظٌ عَلِيمٞ
1390. Joseph preferred charge of the finance department. His choice seems to have been dictated by the desire to give his single-minded attention to the successful running of the department which so deeply concerned the fulfilment of the King’s dream. (close)
Most probably the King offered Joseph the post of Prime Minister, but Joseph preferred charge of the finance department. His choice seems to have been dictated by the desire to enjoy comparative freedom from the material cares and court intrigues which are incidental to premiership and also to give his single-minded attention to the successful running of the department with which the fulfilment of the King’s dream was so deeply concerned. (close)
وَ کَذٰلِکَ مَکَّنَّا لِیُوۡسُفَ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ یَتَبَوَّاُ مِنۡہَا حَیۡثُ یَشَآءُ ؕ نُصِیۡبُ بِرَحۡمَتِنَا مَنۡ نَّشَآءُ وَ لَا نُضِیۡعُ اَجۡرَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۵۷﴾
وَكَذَٰلِكَ مَكَّنَّا لِيُوسُفَ فِي ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَتَبَوَّأُ مِنۡهَا حَيۡثُ يَشَآءُۚ نُصِيبُ بِرَحۡمَتِنَا مَن نَّشَآءُۖ وَلَا نُضِيعُ أَجۡرَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
a. 12:22. (close)
b. 2:106; 3:75. (close)
a. 12:22. (close)
The words, And thus did We establish Joseph in the land, also occur in 12:22, where they are followed by the expression, that We might also teach him the interpretation of things, while in the verse under comment they are succeeded by the sentence, We bestow Our mercy upon whomsoever We please. This is because in the former case Joseph’s mettle was yet to be tried. But now that he had emerged triumphant from the ordeal, he was henceforward to enjoy uniform honour and prosperity.
This verse contains the thirteenth point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as the brethren of Joseph, being jealous of his father’s regard for him, sought to remove him from their way and bring him to grief and dishonour, similarly, the Holy Prophet was compelled to leave his native city by his own kith and kin; but God conferred on him, as on Joseph, honour and distinction; with the difference that, whereas Joseph received his authority and honour from a king, the Holy
Prophet was indebted to no earthly potentate for all the power and glory that came to him. Indeed, the difference in the way in which these two Prophets rose to power and eminence is symbolic of the difference in their spiritual status. (close)
وَ لَاَجۡرُ الۡاٰخِرَۃِ خَیۡرٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ کَانُوۡا یَتَّقُوۡنَ ﴿٪۵۸﴾
وَلَأَجۡرُ ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِ خَيۡرٞ لِّلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ
وَ جَآءَ اِخۡوَۃُ یُوۡسُفَ فَدَخَلُوۡا عَلَیۡہِ فَعَرَفَہُمۡ وَ ہُمۡ لَہٗ مُنۡکِرُوۡنَ ﴿۵۹﴾
وَجَآءَ إِخۡوَةُ يُوسُفَ فَدَخَلُواْ عَلَيۡهِ فَعَرَفَهُمۡ وَهُمۡ لَهُۥ مُنكِرُونَ
a. 12:16. (close)
The incident related in this verse pertains to the time when there was famine in the country and Joseph was at the height of his power.
The verse also provides the fourteenth point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Joseph had risen to such eminence that his brothers could not recognize him because they could not imagine that he whom they had cast into a well and who was sold as a slave could rise to so eminent a position. Much in the same way, the Meccans marvelled at the power and prestige that the Holy Prophet had gained. This is apparent from the spontaneous expression of amazement and surprise by Abu Sufyan, a Meccan chief, at the remarks which Heraclius, the Christian Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, made when he received the Prophet’s epistle inviting him to accept Islam. Heraclius, after making some enquiries about the Holy Prophet from Abu Sufyan who then happened to be in Syria, said that if what AbuSufyan had said regarding the Prophet was true, the latter would one day become master of the land under his feet. This remark about the Prophet spontaneously uttered by a mighty monarch filled Abu Sufyan with surprise and he exclaimed, 'The affair of the son of AbuKabshah has indeed become great' (Bukhari, ch. on Jihad). Ibn Abi Kabshah was a term of contempt applied to the Holy Prophet by the Meccans. (close)
وَ لَمَّا جَہَّزَہُمۡ بِجَہَازِہِمۡ قَالَ ائۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِاَخٍ لَّکُمۡ مِّنۡ اَبِیۡکُمۡ ۚ اَلَا تَرَوۡنَ اَنِّیۡۤ اُوۡفِی الۡکَیۡلَ وَ اَنَا خَیۡرُ الۡمُنۡزِلِیۡنَ ﴿۶۰﴾
وَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُم بِجَهَازِهِمۡ قَالَ ٱئۡتُونِي بِأَخٖ لَّكُم مِّنۡ أَبِيكُمۡۚ أَلَا تَرَوۡنَ أَنِّيٓ أُوفِي ٱلۡكَيۡلَ وَأَنَا۠ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡمُنزِلِينَ
1390A. Jacob had twelve sons, two sons––Joseph and Benjamin, from his wife, Rachel, and ten other sons from other wives. (close)
1562. Important Words:
جھزھم (he provided them) and جھازھم (their provision) are both derived from جھز which means, he fitted out, equipped, furnished or supplied (a bride, a traveller, a corps or an army) with requisites. جھاز means, requisites or equipment, etc. It also means, excellent goods that are conveyed to another (Lane).
کیل (measure) is derived from کال. They say کال له الطعام or کاله الطعام i.e. he measured out the food to him. اکتال علیه الطعام means, he measured for himself the food from him. This is why the Arabs say کال المعطی و اکتال الآخذ i.e. for the giver the word used is کالand for him who receives the word used is اکتال. کیل means, a measure with which corn etc., is measured, whether of wood or iron. Sometimes the word کیل is used in the sense of weighing also, as they say کال الدراھم i.e. he weighed the dirhams (Aqrab & Taj).
According to the Bible, Joseph said to his brethren, "And bring your youngest brother unto me; then shall I know that ye are no spies" (Gen. 42:34). This shows that Joseph declared his brothers to be spies and threatened to take action against them. The Quran, on the other hand, represents Joseph as showing kindness to them. It is possible that, from the way in which Joseph put so many searching questions to his brothers regarding their family and parents, they might have themselves thought that he had taken them for spies. Otherwise, a Prophet of God such as Joseph could not condemn them as spies, when he knew they were his brothers. Such a statement on his part would have amounted to a lie. The Bible seems only to have reported what Joseph’s brothers thought and has not described the facts as they actually happened. Joseph could not possibly accuse his brothers of espionage simply because they failed to bring Benjamin with them. (close)
فَاِنۡ لَّمۡ تَاۡتُوۡنِیۡ بِہٖ فَلَا کَیۡلَ لَکُمۡ عِنۡدِیۡ وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡنِ ﴿۶۱﴾
فَإِن لَّمۡ تَأۡتُونِي بِهِۦ فَلَا كَيۡلَ لَكُمۡ عِندِي وَلَا تَقۡرَبُونِ
قَالُوۡا سَنُرَاوِدُ عَنۡہُ اَبَاہُ وَ اِنَّا لَفٰعِلُوۡنَ ﴿۶۲﴾
قَالُواْ سَنُرَٰوِدُ عَنۡهُ أَبَاهُ وَإِنَّا لَفَٰعِلُونَ
The expression سنراودعنه اباه literally means, we will endeavour to turn his father from him by blandishment or artifice or we will endeavour to beguile his father (Lane). One sin leads to another. They committed one sin by their evil treatment of Joseph. Now they stoop to another. They declare insolently—and that to none other than Joseph himself—that they will beguile his (Benjamin’s) father. First, they speak of the Prophet Jacob not as our father, but as his (Benjamin’s) father and, secondly, they express their intention of making a fool of him. (close)
وَ قَالَ لِفِتۡیٰنِہِ اجۡعَلُوۡا بِضَاعَتَہُمۡ فِیۡ رِحَالِہِمۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَعۡرِفُوۡنَہَاۤ اِذَا انۡقَلَبُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَہۡلِہِمۡ لَعَلَّہُمۡ یَرۡجِعُوۡنَ ﴿۶۳﴾
وَقَالَ لِفِتۡيَٰنِهِ ٱجۡعَلُواْ بِضَٰعَتَهُمۡ فِي رِحَالِهِمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَعۡرِفُونَهَآ إِذَا ٱنقَلَبُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَهۡلِهِمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ
Although Joseph exercised great patience and self-control and did not exhibit any such feeling or emotion as must have risen in his compassionate heart on seeing his brothers, his natural affection for them did make him return to them the money they had paid as the price of the grain. This does not mean that by doing so he defrauded the public treasury, for he could easily pay so small an amount to the treasury from his own pocket.
The words, that they may recognize it, mean that his brothers might appreciate the favour that was shown to them and might thereby be induced to return.
Here we have another point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as these verses throw light on the great love of Joseph for his brothers so that, notwithstanding their cruel treatment of him, he was kind to them and desired their return, so the Holy Prophet, notwithstanding the deep-rooted enmity of the Meccans against him, always wished them well. How great was the Prophet’s love for his people and how great his anxiety that they might see the truth and accept it, it may be judged from the following words of the Quran: Haply, thou wilt kill thyself by over exertion in thy work because they believe not (26:4). (close)