فَبَدَاَ بِاَوۡعِیَتِہِمۡ قَبۡلَ وِعَآءِ اَخِیۡہِ ثُمَّ اسۡتَخۡرَجَہَا مِنۡ وِّعَآءِ اَخِیۡہِ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ کِدۡنَا لِیُوۡسُفَ ؕ مَا کَانَ لِیَاۡخُذَ اَخَاہُ فِیۡ دِیۡنِ الۡمَلِکِ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّشَآءَ اللّٰہُ ؕ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجٰتٍ مَّنۡ نَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ فَوۡقَ کُلِّ ذِیۡ عِلۡمٍ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۷۷﴾
فَبَدَأَ بِأَوۡعِيَتِهِمۡ قَبۡلَ وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَخۡرَجَهَا مِن وِعَآءِ أَخِيهِۚ كَذَٰلِكَ كِدۡنَا لِيُوسُفَۖ مَا كَانَ لِيَأۡخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِي دِينِ ٱلۡمَلِكِ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُۚ نَرۡفَعُ دَرَجَٰتٖ مَّن نَّشَآءُۗ وَفَوۡقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلۡمٍ عَلِيمٞ
1396. The pronoun 'he' refers to the man who announced the loss of the measuring-vessel and who naturally himself came forward to make the search. (close)
1396A. This was due to the special consideration which Joseph had shown to Benjamin. (close)
1397. The whole thing was planned by God—Joseph having no hand in it. Quite inadvertently Joseph happened to place the King’s measuring-vessel, which he used as a drinking-cup on that occasion, in Benjamin’s luggage and his brothers themselves made the suggestion which enabled Joseph to detain Benjamin. Thus a providential combination of circumstances enabled Joseph to satisfy his heart’s desire. (close)
a. 6:84. (close)
The words, Thus did We plan for Joseph, make it clear beyond any shadow of doubt that the whole thing was planned by God Himself, Joseph having no hand in it. Quite inadvertently Joseph happened to place the King’s measuring cup in Benjamin’s luggage and his brothers happened themselves to make the suggestion which enabled Joseph to detain Benjamin.
Incidentally, the verse also shows that even a Prophet living under an alien government should abide by its laws and give it his full cooperation. Joseph desired to keep his brother with him, but the law of the land forbade him to do so. A Providential combination of circumstances, however, enabled him to satisfy his heart’s desire. The mistaken view held by some Muslims that a foreign Government is not entitled to their loyalty and cooperation finds no support in Islam. It tends adversely to affect their morals, and their whole attitude towards their rulers is calculated to become based on insincerity, even hypocrisy.
The words, then he began the search with their sacks before the sack of his brother, do not mean that Joseph made the search personally. The pronoun "he" refers to the man who announced the loss of the measuring cup and who naturally himself came forward to make the search. The reason why he searched Benjamin’s luggage last lies in the fact that, owing to Joseph’s kindly attitude towards him, the proclaimer naturally desired to show the greatest possible deference to Benjamin. (close)
قَالُوۡۤا اِنۡ یَّسۡرِقۡ فَقَدۡ سَرَقَ اَخٌ لَّہٗ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ ۚ فَاَسَرَّہَا یُوۡسُفُ فِیۡ نَفۡسِہٖ وَ لَمۡ یُبۡدِہَا لَہُمۡ ۚ قَالَ اَنۡتُمۡ شَرٌّ مَّکَانًا ۚ وَ اللّٰہُ اَعۡلَمُ بِمَا تَصِفُوۡنَ ﴿۷۸﴾
۞قَالُوٓاْ إِن يَسۡرِقۡ فَقَدۡ سَرَقَ أَخٞ لَّهُۥ مِن قَبۡلُۚ فَأَسَرَّهَا يُوسُفُ فِي نَفۡسِهِۦ وَلَمۡ يُبۡدِهَا لَهُمۡۚ قَالَ أَنتُمۡ شَرّٞ مَّكَانٗاۖ وَٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَا تَصِفُونَ
1398. One sin leads to another. Joseph’s brothers had first sought to put him to death. Now quite unashamedly they hastened to accuse him of theft. (close)
One sin leads to another. Joseph’s brothers had first sought to put him to death. Now quite unashamedly they hastened to accuse him of theft. Strangely enough, some commentators, instead of dismissing this baseless accusation as a malicious lie, start searching for some act of stealing in Joseph’s life and have gone so far as to declare that while a child he had stolen a few things from the house of his aunt.
The words, You seem to be in the worst condition, pathetically point to Joseph’s painful thought that, instead of repenting after their early lapse, his brothers had now become even more degenerate than before. (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡعَزِیۡزُ اِنَّ لَہٗۤ اَبًا شَیۡخًا کَبِیۡرًا فَخُذۡ اَحَدَنَا مَکَانَہٗ ۚ اِنَّا نَرٰٮکَ مِنَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ ﴿۷۹﴾
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلۡعَزِيزُ إِنَّ لَهُۥٓ أَبٗا شَيۡخٗا كَبِيرٗا فَخُذۡ أَحَدَنَا مَكَانَهُۥٓۖ إِنَّا نَرَىٰكَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ
1399. Not being satisfied with accusing Benjamin of theft, they proceed to disown him and even refuse to acknowledge him as their brother saying, 'he has a very aged father.' (close)
Not being satisfied with accusing Benjamin of theft, they proceed to disown him and even refuse to acknowledge him as their brother saying, he has a very aged father. (close)
قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّٰہِ اَنۡ نَّاۡخُذَ اِلَّا مَنۡ وَّجَدۡنَا مَتَاعَنَا عِنۡدَہٗۤ ۙ اِنَّاۤ اِذًا لَّظٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿٪۸۰﴾
قَالَ مَعَاذَ ٱللَّهِ أَن نَّأۡخُذَ إِلَّا مَن وَجَدۡنَا مَتَٰعَنَا عِندَهُۥٓ إِنَّآ إِذٗا لَّظَٰلِمُونَ
This verse constitutes a strong refutation of the Christian doctrine of Atonement. Joseph said that it would be an act of injustice on his part to detain an innocent person in place of a guilty one although Joseph’s brethren had voluntarily offered to suffer for Benjamin. The Bible also supports this refutation, for it says that when Benjamin’s brethren offered to be taken as servants in place of Benjamin, Joseph said, "God forbid that I do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father." (Gen. 44:17). In the face of such clear repudiation by the Bible of one person atoning for the sins of another, how could the sufferings of Jesus atone for the sins of his followers? (close)
فَلَمَّا اسۡتَیۡـَٔسُوۡا مِنۡہُ خَلَصُوۡا نَجِیًّا ؕ قَالَ کَبِیۡرُہُمۡ اَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡۤا اَنَّ اَبَاکُمۡ قَدۡ اَخَذَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ مَّوۡثِقًا مِّنَ اللّٰہِ وَ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ مَا فَرَّطۡتُّمۡ فِیۡ یُوۡسُفَ ۚ فَلَنۡ اَبۡرَحَ الۡاَرۡضَ حَتّٰی یَاۡذَنَ لِیۡۤ اَبِیۡۤ اَوۡ یَحۡکُمَ اللّٰہُ لِیۡ ۚ وَ ہُوَ خَیۡرُ الۡحٰکِمِیۡنَ ﴿۸۱﴾
فَلَمَّا ٱسۡتَيۡـَٔسُواْ مِنۡهُ خَلَصُواْ نَجِيّٗاۖ قَالَ كَبِيرُهُمۡ أَلَمۡ تَعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ أَبَاكُمۡ قَدۡ أَخَذَ عَلَيۡكُم مَّوۡثِقٗا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَمِن قَبۡلُ مَا فَرَّطتُمۡ فِي يُوسُفَۖ فَلَنۡ أَبۡرَحَ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ حَتَّىٰ يَأۡذَنَ لِيٓ أَبِيٓ أَوۡ يَحۡكُمَ ٱللَّهُ لِيۖ وَهُوَ خَيۡرُ ٱلۡحَٰكِمِينَ
1399A. Najiyy means, (1) a secret; (2) one to whom a secret is confided; one who confers with another in private; (4) the act of conferring in private (Aqrab). (close)
1400. According to the Bible it was Judah, the fourth among the brothers, and not Reuben, the eldest of them, who refused to go back to his father without Benjamin. The word which the Qur’an has used is Kabir which means, 'big' or 'elder' and not Akbar which means, 'the eldest.' Judah, being the fourth son of Jacob, was indeed one of the bigger or elder brothers of Joseph. Moreover, Kabir does not only mean 'big' or 'elder' but also means 'leader' and 'great in estimation, rank or dignity,' and it is in this sense that the word has been used here and so applies to Judah and not to Reuben. Judah was more important than Reuben in the eyes of Jacob (Gen. 43:8-10). (close)
1580. Important Words:
خلصوا (they retired) is derived from خلص which means: (1) it was or became clear or pure or unmixed. They say خلص من القومi.e. he retired or withdrew or went away from the people. The Quranic expression خلصوا نجیا means, they retired, conferring privately together (Lane).
نجیا (conferring together in private). نجى is derived from نجا and means: (1) a secret; (2) one to whom a secret is confided; (3) one who confers with another in private; (4) the act of conferring in private (Aqrab).
کبیر (leader) means, great in body or rank or nobility; big or full-grown; learned or most knowing; teacher or master; lord or chief; old or advanced in age, etc. (Lane). See also 11:4.
Christian critics of the Quran accuse it of being ignorant of even well-known facts of history, basing their criticism on the fact that it was Judah, the fourth among the brothers, and not Reuben, the eldest of them—as they take the word کبیر(leader) to mean—who declared that he would not go back to his father without Benjamin. It is strange that, whenever these self-styled judges of the Quran happen to come across any difference between the narrative of the Quran and that of the Bible, they complacently assume the Bible to be right, as if it is altogether free from anachronism and misstatements, while the fact is that it has been shown even by Christian writers themselves to occupy a very low place among reliable books of history. To doubt the authenticity of an historical fact related by the Quran merely on the basis that it does not agree with the Bible is, to say the least, simply capricious. But even assuming the present Biblical account to be correct, the Quranic account cannot be found fault with. The word which the Quran has used with respect to the brother who refused to go is کبیر which means, "big" or "elder" and not اکبر which means "the eldest." Judah, being the fourth son of Jacob, was indeed one of the big or elder brothers of Joseph.
Again, کبیر does not always mean "big" or "elder" but, as shown under Important Words, it also means "leader" and "great in estimation, rank or dignity," and it is in this sense that the word has been used here and applies to Judah and not to Reuben. For, according to the Bible, the misconduct of Judah’s three elder brothers had resulted in his taking precedence over them (Gen. 49:3-8). Of him Jacob said, "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise…thy father’s children shall bow down before thee." (Gen. 49:8). That Judah was greater than Reuben in the eyes of Jacob is also apparent from the fact that, when Reuben offered his two sons as hostages for Benjamin, Jacob refused to send Benjamin (Gen. 42:37, 38), but when Judah said, "I will be surety for him," Jacob gave his consent (Gen. 43:9-10).
Jacob’s prediction of Judah’s superiority started the long feud which later separated Judah and Israel. (close)
اِرۡجِعُوۡۤا اِلٰۤی اَبِیۡکُمۡ فَقُوۡلُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَاۤ اِنَّ ابۡنَکَ سَرَقَ ۚ وَ مَا شَہِدۡنَاۤ اِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَ مَا کُنَّا لِلۡغَیۡبِ حٰفِظِیۡنَ ﴿۸۲﴾
ٱرۡجِعُوٓاْ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِيكُمۡ فَقُولُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَآ إِنَّ ٱبۡنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَهِدۡنَآ إِلَّا بِمَا عَلِمۡنَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِلۡغَيۡبِ حَٰفِظِينَ
This and the following verses are in continuation of what Judah said to his brothers in the previous verse. The words, we could not be guardians over the unseen, may mean, we have related what we saw but we do not know what is the reality of the matter concerning the charge of stealing against Benjamin. Or they may mean, we had given thee our plighted word that we would bring Benjamin back with us but we did not know that matters would come to such a pass. We had given thee our pledge quite honestly. (close)
وَ سۡـَٔلِ الۡقَرۡیَۃَ الَّتِیۡ کُنَّا فِیۡہَا وَ الۡعِیۡرَ الَّتِیۡۤ اَقۡبَلۡنَا فِیۡہَا ؕ وَ اِنَّا لَصٰدِقُوۡنَ ﴿۸۳﴾
وَسۡـَٔلِ ٱلۡقَرۡيَةَ ٱلَّتِي كُنَّا فِيهَا وَٱلۡعِيرَ ٱلَّتِيٓ أَقۡبَلۡنَا فِيهَاۖ وَإِنَّا لَصَٰدِقُونَ
1401. In the verse Qaryah (town) is in reality Ahlul-Qaryah (people of the town) and ‘Ir (caravan) is Ashabul-‘Ir (members of the caravan). The words Ahl and Ashab have been omitted to lend emphasis to the statement. (close)
In the verse قریة (city) is in reality اھل قریة (people of the city) and عیر (caravan) is اصحاب العیر (members of the caravan). The words اھلand اصحاب have been omitted to lend emphasis to the statement. The construction "inquire of the caravan" would signify "if you inquire of any member of the caravan he would testify to the truth of our statement." (close)
قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَکُمۡ اَنۡفُسُکُمۡ اَمۡرًا ؕ فَصَبۡرٌ جَمِیۡلٌ ؕ عَسَی اللّٰہُ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِـیَنِیۡ بِہِمۡ جَمِیۡعًا ؕ اِنَّہٗ ہُوَ الۡعَلِیۡمُ الۡحَکِیۡمُ ﴿۸۴﴾
قَالَ بَلۡ سَوَّلَتۡ لَكُمۡ أَنفُسُكُمۡ أَمۡرٗاۖ فَصَبۡرٞ جَمِيلٌۖ عَسَى ٱللَّهُ أَن يَأۡتِيَنِي بِهِمۡ جَمِيعًاۚ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ
a. 12:19. (close)
1402. Joseph, Benjamin and Judah. (close)
The verse does not mean that Jacob accused his sons of making a false report about the detention of Benjamin. What he is represented here as saying is that, owing to their enmity with Benjamin, the idea that he could not be guilty of theft did not occur to them, but there must certainly have been some misunderstanding in the matter. The verse shows that Jacob had been foretold by God that Joseph was living and that all three brothers would come back safe.
The pronoun ھم (them) used in the words, Maybe, Allah will bring them all to me, is in the plural which, according to the rules of Arabic grammar applies to more than two. The persons referred to here thus are Joseph, Benjamin, and Judah. Judah’s regard for his promise seems to have made a good impression on Jacob’s mind and therefore he began to feel pain at his absence also and did not forget him in his prayer.
In the words, He is the All-Knowing, the Wise, Jacob seems to hint that God had revealed to him the reality of the matter, and that whatever had happened, had happened in pursuance of a divine plan for the welfare of the family and that their past sufferings would serve as a prelude to future prosperity. (close)
وَ تَوَلّٰی عَنۡہُمۡ وَ قَالَ یٰۤاَسَفٰی عَلٰی یُوۡسُفَ وَ ابۡیَضَّتۡ عَیۡنٰہُ مِنَ الۡحُزۡنِ فَہُوَ کَظِیۡمٌ ﴿۸۵﴾
وَتَوَلَّىٰ عَنۡهُمۡ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَسَفَىٰ عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَٱبۡيَضَّتۡ عَيۡنَاهُ مِنَ ٱلۡحُزۡنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٞ
1403. Bayyadas-Siqa means, he filled the skin with water or milk. The expression Ibyaddat ‘Aina-hu is used regarding a person who is stricken with grief and his eyes become filled with tears. The verse thus only signifies that the world became dark for Jacob and his eyes became filled with tears on account of grief (Lane, Razi & Bihar). (close)
1584. Important Words:
ابیضت (became white) is derived from بیض which again is derived from باض. They say باضه i.e. he surpassed him in whiteness. بیض means, he whitened a thing or made it white. بیض السقاء means, he filled the skin with water or milk; or, contrarily, he emptied it. ابیض means, it was or became white. The expression ابیضت عیناه من الحزن is used regarding a person who is stricken with grief and means, the world became dark for him or his eyes became white with grief. (Lane & Bihar).
In view of the meaning of the word ابیضت given under Important Words the verse cannot mean that Jacob became blind on account of excessive weeping. The expression ابیضت عیناه من الحزن only means that his eyes became white because of grief; or (according to one meaning of the word) his eyes became filled with tears on account of grief. The interpretation of these words that Jacob’s eyes became blind is evidently wrong for the following reasons: (1) Arabic idiom does not bear it out, for the becoming white of eyes never means their becoming blind. (2) The Quran represents Jacob as displaying extraordinary patience, hinted at in his words when told that Joseph had been devoured by a wolf and also when Benjamin and Judah failed to return to him (vv. 19 & 84). Now, it is a strange sort of patience if he became blind on account of weeping for his sons. (3) It does not at all become a Prophet of God that he should go on bewailing and weeping for any worldly thing, however great, till he becomes blind. (4) The present verse itself tells us that Jacob was کـظیم i.e. he had succeeded in repressing his grief. This shows that he neither wept excessively nor became blind on account of it. (5) The expression ابیضت عیناه is used in Arabic only to express a person’s great grief and sorrow, and is never used about a person’s becoming blind through weeping and wailing. (close)
قَالُوۡا تَاللّٰہِ تَفۡتَؤُا تَذۡکُرُ یُوۡسُفَ حَتّٰی تَکُوۡنَ حَرَضًا اَوۡ تَکُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡہٰلِکِیۡنَ ﴿۸۶﴾
قَالُواْ تَٱللَّهِ تَفۡتَؤُاْ تَذۡكُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّىٰ تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوۡ تَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلۡهَٰلِكِينَ
1404. Harad means, a man corrupt in body and intellect; sick or diseased; suffering from protracted disquietude of mind and disease; weary or fatigued and at the point of death; emaciated or dissolved by excessive grief or love, etc. (Lane). (close)
1585. Important Words:
حرضا (art wasted away) is the noun-infinitive from حرض which means, he became in a corrupt or disordered state, being sick and diseased; or he became heavily oppressed by disease; or he became emaciated by grief or by excessive love; or he became constantly affected by grief so as to be at the point of death; or he suffered protracted disquietude of mind and disease; he was unable to rise from or quit his place; he was or became low, or sordid or bad, possessing no good; he was neglected or forsaken. حرض means, a man corrupt in body and in intellect; a man in a corrupt or disordered state; sick or diseased; having a corrupt or disordered stomach; suffering from protracted disquietude of mind and disease; weary or fatigued and at the point of death; emaciated or dissolved by excessive grief or love, etc. (Lane & Aqrab).
This allegation of the brothers of Joseph is repudiated by the Prophet Jacob in the reply given in the next verse. (close)