اِذۡ قَالُوۡا لَیُوۡسُفُ وَ اَخُوۡہُ اَحَبُّ اِلٰۤی اَبِیۡنَا مِنَّا وَ نَحۡنُ عُصۡبَۃٌ ؕ اِنَّ اَبَانَا لَفِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنِ ۣ ۚ﴿ۖ۹﴾
إِذۡ قَالُواْ لَيُوسُفُ وَأَخُوهُ أَحَبُّ إِلَىٰٓ أَبِينَا مِنَّا وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّ أَبَانَا لَفِي ضَلَٰلٖ مُّبِينٍ
1362. Like Joseph’s brothers who were angry that instead of themselves, who, as they imagined, were superior to him in every respect, he had won the affection of their father and had become the centre of his attention, the Quraish leaders said that the Qur’an ought to have been revealed to one of the great men of Mecca or Ta’if (43:32). They looked upon the Holy Prophet as too small a person to be selected for the exalted office of a Prophet. (close)
a. 12:96. (close)
1513. Important Words:
عصبة (a strong party) is derived from عصب which means, he twisted a thing or wound it round or he folded it tightly; he bound or tied a thing. عصبة means, party or company of men who league together to defend one another, generally from ten to forty in number; a company of men absolutely. عصبیة (‘asabiyyat) means, zeal in the cause of one’s party; a strong attachment which holds several persons closely united by the same interests or the same opinion and which causes them to defend one another; partisanship or party spirit (Lane).
The verse under comment contains the fifth resemblance of the Holy Prophet with Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were annoyed that instead of them, who, as they thought, were superior to him in every respect, he had won the affection of their father and had become the centre of his attention. In the same way it is on record that when some Arab chiefs were asked what they thought of the Prophet’s claims, they answered that if God had intended to raise a Prophet it was they who deserved this honour."
The Meccans also seemed to hold the view that the Quran ought to have been revealed to one of the great men of Mecca or Ta’if (43:32). They looked upon the Holy Prophet as too small a person to be selected for the exalted office of a Prophet. (close)
اقۡتُلُوۡا یُوۡسُفَ اَوِ اطۡرَحُوۡہُ اَرۡضًا یَّخۡلُ لَکُمۡ وَجۡہُ اَبِیۡکُمۡ وَ تَکُوۡنُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِہٖ قَوۡمًا صٰلِحِیۡنَ ﴿۱۰﴾
ٱقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ أَوِ ٱطۡرَحُوهُ أَرۡضٗا يَخۡلُ لَكُمۡ وَجۡهُ أَبِيكُمۡ وَتَكُونُواْ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ قَوۡمٗا صَٰلِحِينَ
1363. Just as the brothers of Joseph plotted to kill him, the Quraish also conspired to put the Holy Prophet to death (8:31). (close)
Like the brothers of Joseph, who plotted to kill him, the Quraish of Mecca also conspired to put the Holy Prophet to death (8:31). This is the sixth point of resemblance between the two Prophets. But here again the Quran differs from the Bible. According to the Quran, Joseph’s brothers first held a secret conference and matured a plan to put Joseph out of their way, and then went in a body to their father asking him to send him with them, while according to the Bible, they came to a sudden decision to slay him as soon as they saw him approaching them in the fields, without previous consultation (Gen. 37:18-20). Of the two accounts the Quranic one is obviously nearer truth. Only an insane person or a hardened or habitual murderer or dacoit can take the life of an innocent person suddenly and without premeditation. The brothers of Joseph were members of a respectable family. They could not be expected to come to so atrocious a decision on the spur of the moment. Their decision to murder Joseph was the result of a mature and well-thought-out plan. Moreover, if the decision to kill Joseph was the outcome of a sudden impulse, the man who made the suggestion should have thought twice before doing so lest the others refused to accept his suggestion and he should be branded a potential murderer. Their words, and you can thereafter become a righteous people, also show that they were not habitual criminals and that in their heart of hearts they disliked the foul deed, though they were temporarily blinded by hatred and jealousy. (close)
قَالَ قَآئِلٌ مِّنۡہُمۡ لَا تَقۡتُلُوۡا یُوۡسُفَ وَ اَلۡقُوۡہُ فِیۡ غَیٰبَتِ الۡجُبِّ یَلۡتَقِطۡہُ بَعۡضُ السَّیَّارَۃِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فٰعِلِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱﴾
قَالَ قَآئِلٞ مِّنۡهُمۡ لَا تَقۡتُلُواْ يُوسُفَ وَأَلۡقُوهُ فِي غَيَٰبَتِ ٱلۡجُبِّ يَلۡتَقِطۡهُ بَعۡضُ ٱلسَّيَّارَةِ إِن كُنتُمۡ فَٰعِلِينَ
1364. Reuben (Gen. 37:22). (close)
1515. Important Words:
غیابة (bottom) is derived from غاب which means, he was or became absent; or distant and remote; or hidden and concealed. غیابة or غیبة means, that part of anything which veils or conceals one; the bottom of a well; covert or place of concealment of birds; a low or depressed piece of land or ground; also a grave (Lane & Aqrab).
جب (deep well) is derived from جب (jabba). They say جبه i.e. he cut it; or cut it off. جب (jubb) means, a well; or a well not cased with stone or the like; or a well containing much water; or a deep well; or a well that people have found, not one that they have dug; or a well that is wide or ample (Lane & Aqrab).
سیارة (travellers) is derived from سار which means, he went or passed along; or he marched, journeyed or departed by night or by day. سیارة means, one who travels or journeys much; a caravan; a company of persons journeying. السیارة is the name of the five planets viz. Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (Lane & Aqrab).
This verse embodies yet one more point of resemblance between Joseph and the Holy Prophet. Just as one of the brothers of Joseph opposed the proposal to slay him and suggested instead that he should be disposed of in some other manner, so when the plot to kill the Holy Prophet was mooted and hatched at Mecca, some of the plotters objected. Similarly, when the Meccans made a compact to boycott and starve the Holy Prophet and his followers to death, some of the citizens opposed this compact and finally broke it. (close)
قَالُوۡا یٰۤاَبَانَا مَا لَکَ لَا تَاۡمَنَّا عَلٰی یُوۡسُفَ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَنٰصِحُوۡنَ ﴿۱۲﴾
قَالُواْ يَـٰٓأَبَانَا مَا لَكَ لَا تَأۡمَ۬نَّا عَلَىٰ يُوسُفَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَنَٰصِحُونَ
This verse points to another difference with the Biblical version; for, whereas in this verse we are told that the brothers of Joseph asked their father to send him with them, the Bible tells us that Jacob himself sent Joseph to his brothers (Gen. 37:13, 14). But the Bible seems to contradict itself in this respect for in Gen. 37:4 we are told that Joseph was hated by his brothers because Jacob loved him more than he loved them and that Jacob was aware of this hatred. How could Jacob, knowing that his brothers hated him, send Joseph to them?
Moreover, Joseph appears to be only eleven or twelve years old at the time when this incident took place, because it is only for a boy of this tender age that the language used by Joseph’s brothers about him can be used. The Bible, however, places Joseph’s age at that time at seventeen or eighteen, which is evidently wrong. (close)
اَرۡسِلۡہُ مَعَنَا غَدًا یَّرۡتَعۡ وَ یَلۡعَبۡ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَحٰفِظُوۡنَ ﴿۱۳﴾
أَرۡسِلۡهُ مَعَنَا غَدٗا يَرۡتَعۡ وَيَلۡعَبۡ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ
1517. Important Words:
یرتع (he may enjoy himself) is derived from رتع which means, he (a beast) pastured at pleasure, eating and drinking plentifully and pleasantly; he (a man) enjoyed himself, going about cheerfully (Lane).
The words, we shall surely keep guard over him, also show that Joseph at that time was a mere lad of eleven or twelve years of age who required to be looked after and not a grown-up young man of seventeen who could easily take care of himself. See also the preceding verse. (close)
قَالَ اِنِّیۡ لَیَحۡزُنُنِیۡۤ اَنۡ تَذۡہَبُوۡا بِہٖ وَ اَخَافُ اَنۡ یَّاۡکُلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ عَنۡہُ غٰفِلُوۡنَ ﴿۱۴﴾
قَالَ إِنِّي لَيَحۡزُنُنِيٓ أَن تَذۡهَبُواْ بِهِۦ وَأَخَافُ أَن يَأۡكُلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَأَنتُمۡ عَنۡهُ غَٰفِلُونَ
1365. It appears from this verse that Jacob had already been informed by God in a general way of the plot of Joseph’s brothers to kill him. So, as if pre-arraigning them, he used the same words which they were to use later in extenuation of their heinous crime. (close)
This verse lends further support to the view that Joseph was not seventeen or eighteen but much younger (v. 12); otherwise there was no occasion for Jacob to fear his being devoured by a wolf. It also appears from this verse that Jacob had already been informed by God in a general way of the plot of Joseph’s brothers to kill him. So, as if pre-arraigning them, Jacob used the same words which they were to use later in extenuation of their heinous crime. (close)
قَالُوۡا لَئِنۡ اَکَلَہُ الذِّئۡبُ وَ نَحۡنُ عُصۡبَۃٌ اِنَّاۤ اِذًا لَّخٰسِرُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵﴾
قَالُواْ لَئِنۡ أَكَلَهُ ٱلذِّئۡبُ وَنَحۡنُ عُصۡبَةٌ إِنَّآ إِذٗا لَّخَٰسِرُونَ
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)