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Alif. Lam. Ra´. These are the verses of a Book that clearly expounds the truth
We have revealed it as a Recitation in Arabic that you may fully understand
(O Muhammad), by revealing the Qur´an to you We narrate to you in the best manner the stories of the past although before this narration you were utterly unaware of them
Call to mind when Joseph said to his father: "My father! I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrating themselves before me."
His father said: "My son! Do not relate your dream to your brothers lest they hatch a plot to harm you. Indeed Satan is man´s open enemy
(As you have seen in the dream), so will your Lord choose you (for His task) and will impart to you the comprehension of the deeper meaning of things and will bestow the full measure of His favour upon you and upon the house of Jacob even as He earlier bestowed it in full measure upon your forefathers, Abraham and Isaac. Surely your Lord is All- Knowing, All-Wise."
Verily in the story of Joseph and his brothers there are many signs for those who inquire (about the truth)
And call to mind when the brothers of Joseph conferred together and said: "Surely Joseph and his brother are dearer to our father than we are, although we are a group of so many. Our father is clearly mistaken
So either kill Joseph or cast him into some distant land so that your father´s attention may become exclusively yours. And after so doing become righteous."
Thereupon one of them said: "Do not kill Joseph, but if you are bent upon doing something, cast him down to the bottom of some dark pit, perhaps some caravan passing by will take him out of it."
After so deciding they said to their father: "Why is it that you do not trust us regarding Joseph although we are his true well-wishers?"
Send him out with us tomorrow that he may enjoy himself and play while we will be there, standing guard over him."
Their father answered: "It grieves me indeed that you should take him with you for I fear that some wolf might eat him up while you are negligent of him."
They said: "Should a wolf eat him, despite the presence of our strong group, we would indeed be a worthless lot!"
So when they went away with Joseph and decided to cast him in the bottom of the dark pit, We revealed to Joseph: "Surely a time will come when you will remind them of their deed. They know nothing about the consequence of what they are doing."
At nightfall they came to their father weepin
and said: "Father! We went racing with one another and left Joseph behind with our things, and then a wolf came and ate him up. We know that you will not believe us howsoever truthful we might be."
And they brought Joseph´s shirt, stained with false blood. Seeing this their father exclaimed: "Nay (this is not true); rather your evil souls have made it easy for you to commit a heinous act. So I will bear this patiently, and in good grace. It is Allah´s help alone that I seek against your fabrication."
And a caravan came, and they sent their water drawer to draw water. As he let down his bucket in the well he (observed Joseph) and cried out: "This is good news. There is a boy." They concealed him, considering him as part of their merchandise, while Allah was well aware of what they did
Later they sold him for a paltry sum - just a few dirhams; they did not care to obtain a higher price
The man from Egypt who bought him said to his wife: "Take good care of him, possibly he might be of benefit to us or we might adopt him as a son." Thus We found a way for Joseph to become established in that land and in order that We might teach him to comprehend the deeper meaning of things. Allah has full power to implement His design although most people do not know that
And when Joseph reached the age of maturity, We granted him judgement and knowledge. Thus do We reward those who do good
And it so happened that the lady in whose house Joseph was living, sought to tempt him to herself, and one day bolting the doors she said: "Come on now!" Joseph answered: "May Allah grant me refuge! My Lord has provided an honourable abode for me (so how can I do something so evil)? Such wrong-doers never prosper."
And she advanced towards him, and had Joseph not perceived a sign from his Lord he too would have advanced towards her. Thus was Joseph shown a sign from his Lord that We might avert from him all evil and indecency, for indeed he was one of Our chosen servants
Then both of them rushed to the door, each seeking to get ahead of the other, and she tore Joseph´s shirt from behind. Then both of them found the husband of the lady at the door. Seeing him she said: "What should be the punishment of him who has foul designs on your wife except that he should be imprisoned or subjected to painful chastisement?"
Joseph said: "It is she who was trying to tempt me to herself." And a witness belonging to her own household testified (on grounds of circumstantial evidence): "If his shirt is torn from the front, then she is telling the truth and he is a liar
But if his shirt is torn from behind, then she has lied, and he is truthful."
So when the husband saw Joseph´s shirt torn from behind he exclaimed: "Surely, this is one of the tricks of you women; your tricks are indeed great
Joseph, disregard this. And you - woman - ask forgiveness for your sin, for indeed it is you who has been at fault."
And some ladies in the city began to say: "The chief´s wife, violently in love with her houseboy, is out to tempt him. We think she is clearly mistaken."
Hearing of their sly talk the chief´s wife sent for those ladies, and arranged for them a banquet, and got ready couches, and gave each guest a knife. Then, while they were cutting and eating the fruit, she signalled Joseph: "Come out to them." When the ladies saw him they were so struck with admiration that they cut their hands, exclaiming: "Allah preserve us. This is no mortal human. This is nothing but a noble angel!"
She said: "So now you see! This is the one regarding whom you reproached me. Indeed I tried to tempt him to myself but he held back, although if he were not to follow my order, he would certainly be imprisoned and humiliated."
Joseph said: "My Lord! I prefer imprisonment to what they ask me to do. And if You do not avert from me the guile of these women, I will succumb to their attraction and lapse into ignorance."
Thereupon his Lord granted his prayer, and averted their guile from him. Surely He alone is All-Hearing, All-Knowing
Then it occurred to them to cast Joseph into prison for a while even though they had seen clear signs (of Joseph´s innocence and of the evil ways of their ladies)
And with Joseph two other slaves entered the prison. One of them said: "I saw myself pressing wine in a dream"; and the other said: "I saw myself carrying bread on my head of which the birds were eating." Both said: "Tell us what is its interpretation; for we consider you to be one of those who do good."
Joseph said: "I will inform you about the interpretation of the dreams before the arrival of the food that is sent to you. This knowledge is part of what I have been taught by my Lord. I have renounced the way of those who do not believe in Allah, and who deny the Hereafter
and I have adopted the way of my forefathers - Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It is not for us to associate any with Allah in His Divinity. It is out of Allah´s grace upon us and upon mankind (that He did not require of us to serve any other than Allah), and yet most people do not give thanks
Fellow-prisoners! Is it better that there be diverse lords, or just Allah, the One, the Irresistible
Those whom you serve beside Him are merely idle names that you and your fathers have fabricated, without Allah sending down any sanction for them. All authority to govern rests only with Allah. He has commanded that you serve none but Him. This is the Right Way of life, though most people are altogether unaware
Fellow-prisoners! (This is the interpretation of your dreams): one of you will serve wine to his lord (the king of Egypt). As for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat of his head. The question concerning what you asked has thus been decided."
And Joseph said to the one of the two prisoners who he knew would be set free: "Mention me in your lord´s presence." But Satan caused him to forget mentioning this to his lord (the ruler of Egypt) and so Joseph languished in prison for several years
And once the king said: "I have dreamt that there are seven fat cows and seven lean cows are devouring them, and there are seven fresh green ears of corn and seven others dry and withered. My nobles! Tell me what is the interpretation of this dream, if you are well-versed in interpretation of dreams."
They said: "These are confused dreams, and we do not know the interpretation of such dreams."
Then of the two prisoners, the one who had been set free, now remembered, after the lapse of a long period, what Joseph had said. He said: "I will tell you the interpretation of this dream; just send me (to Joseph in prison)."
Then he went to Joseph and said to him: "Joseph, O truthfulness incarnate, tell the true meaning of the dream in which seven fat cows are devoured by seven lean ones; and there are seven green ears of corn and seven others dry and withered so that I may return to the people and they may learn."
Joseph said: "You will cultivate consecutively for seven years. Leave in the ears all that you have harvested except the little out of which you may eat
Then there will follow seven years of great hardship in which you will eat up all you have stored earlier, except the little that you may set aside
Then there will come a year when people will be helped by plenty of rain and they will press (grapes)."
The king said: "Bring this man to me." But when the royal messenger came to Joseph he said: "Go back to your master and ask him about the case of the women who had cut their hands. Surely my Lord has full knowledge of their guile."
Thereupon the king asked the women: "What happened when you sought to tempt Joseph?" They said: "Allah forbid! We found no evil in him." The chief´s wife said: "Now the truth has come to light. It was I who sought to tempt him. He is indeed truthful."
Joseph said: "I did this so that he [i.e. the chief) may know that I did not betray him in his absence, and that Allah does not allow the design of the treacherous to succeed
I do not seek to acquit myself; for surely one´s self prompts one to evil except him to whom my Lord may show mercy. Verily my Lord is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful."
The king said: "Bring him to me. I will select him exclusively for my own service." So when Joseph spoke to him the king said: "You are now one of established position, fully-trusted by us."
Joseph said: "Place me in charge of the treasures of the land. I am a good keeper and know my task well."
Thus did We establish Joseph in the land so that he could settle wherever he pleased. We bestow favour, out of Our Mercy, on whomsoever We please, and We do not cause the reward of those who do good to go to waste
Surely the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and act in a God-fearing way
And Joseph´s brothers came to Egypt and presented themselves before him. He recognized them, but they did not know him
And when he had prepared for them their provisions, Joseph said: "Bring to me your other brother from your father. Do you not see that I give full measure and am most hospitable
If you do not bring him to me, you shall have no corn from me; and do not even attempt to come close to me."
They said: "We will surely try to prevail over our father to send him. Be sure we shall do so."
And Joseph said to his servants: "Put surreptitiously in their packs the goods they had given in exchange for corn." Joseph did so expecting that they would find it when they returned home. Feeling grateful for this generosity, they might be inclined to return to him
When they returned to their father they said: "Father! We have been denied further supply of corn. So send with us our brother that we may bring the supplies. We shall be responsible for his protection."
The father said: "Shall I trust you with regard to him as I had trusted you earlier with regard to his brother? Allah is the Best Protector and is the Most Merciful."
And when they opened their things they found that their goods had been given back to them. Thereupon they cried: "Father! What else would we desire? Look, even our goods have been given back to us, so we shall go now and bring supplies for our family, we shall protect our brother, and bring another camel-load of corn. That additional supply will be easily secured."
Their father said: "I shall never send him with you until you give me a solemn promise in the name of Allah that you will bring him back to me, unless you yourselves are surrounded." Then after they had given him their solemn promise, he said. "Allah watches over what we have said."
And he enjoined them: "My sons! Do not enter the city by one gate; rather enter it by different gates. I can be of no help to you against Allah. Allah´s command alone prevails. In Him have I put my trust and in Him should all those who have faith put their trust."
And it so happened that when they entered the city (by many gates) as their father had directed them, this precautionary measure proved ineffective against Allah´s will. There was an uneasiness in Jacob´s soul which he so tried to remove. Surely he was possessed of knowledge owing to the knowledge that We bestowed upon him. But most people do not know the truth of the matter
When they presented themselves before Joseph, he took his brother aside to himself and said: "Verily I am your own brother Joseph; so do not grieve over the manner they have treated you."
Then, while Joseph was having their provisions loaded, he put his drinking-cup in his brother´s saddlebag. And then a herald cried: "Travellers, you are thieves."
Turning back they asked: "What have you lost?"
The officials said: "We have lost the king´s cup." (And their chief added): "He who brings it shall have a camel-load of provisions, I guarantee that."
They said: "By Allah, you certainly know that we did not come to act corruptly in this land, nor are we those who steal."
The officials said: "If you are lying, what will be the penalty for him who has stolen?"
They replied: "He in whose saddlebag the cup is found, he himself shall be its recompense." Thus do we punish the wrong-doers
Then Joseph began searching their bags before searching his own brother´s bag. Then he brought forth the drinking-cup from his brother´s bag. Thus did We contrive to support Joseph. He had no right, according to the religion of the king (i.e. the law of Egypt), to take his brother, unless Allah so willed. We exalt whomsoever We will over others by several degrees. And above all those who know is the One Who truly knows
They said: "No wonder that he steals for a brother of his stole before." But Joseph kept his reaction to himself without disclosing the truth to them. He merely said to himself: "You are an evil lot. Allah knows well the truth of the accusation that you are making against me (to my face)."
They said: "O powerful chief (al-aziz)! His father is an age-stricken man, (and in order that he may not suffer) seize one of us in his stead. We indeed consider you an excellent person."
Joseph said: "Allah forbid that we should seize any except him with whom we found our good. Were we to do so, we would surely be one of the wrong-doers."
Then, when they had despaired of Joseph they went to a corner and counselled together. The eldest of them said: "Do you not know that your father has taken a solemn promise from you in the name of Allah, and you failed in your duty towards Joseph? So I will not depart from this land until my father permits me, or Allah pronounces His judgement in my favour. He is the best of those who judge."
So go back to your father and tell him: "Father! Your son has certainly been guilty of stealing. We did not see him stealing but testify according to what we know, and obviously we had no power to keep watch over that what is altogether hidden from us
You may inquire of the dwellers of the city where we were, and of the people of the caravan with whom we travelled. We are altogether truthful in what we say."
The father heard the narration and said: "(All that is untrue). But your souls have made it easy for you to engage in a heinous act. So, I will be graciously patient even at this. Allah may well bring them all back to me. He is All-Knowing, All-Wise."
Then he turned his back to them, and said: "O my grief for Joseph!" His eyes whitened with grief and he was choked up with sorrow trying to suppress his grief
The sons said: "By Allah! You will continue to remember Joseph until you will either consume yourself with grief, or will die."
He said: "I will address my sorrow and grief only to Allah, and I know from Allah what you do not know
My sons! Go and try to find out about Joseph and his brother and do not despair of Allah´s mercy. Verily only the unbelievers despair of Allah´s mercy."
On going to Egypt they presented themselves to Joseph and said to him: "O chief! We and our family are struck with distress and have brought only a paltry sum. So give us corn in full measure, and give it to us in charity. Allah rewards those who are charitable."
When Joseph heard this (he could not hold himself and said): "Do you remember what you did to Joseph and his brother when you were ignorant?"
They exclaimed: "Are you indeed Joseph?" He said: "Yes, I am Joseph and this is my brother. Allah has surely been gracious to us. Indeed whoever fears Allah and remains patient, Allah does not allow the reward of such people to go to waste."
They said: "We swear by Allah! Indeed Allah has chosen you in preference to us and we were truly guilty."
He replied: "No blame lies with you today. May Allah forgive you. He is the Most Merciful of all those that are merciful
Take this shirt of mine and throw it over my father´s face. He will regain his sight. And bring to me all your family."
And as the caravan set out (from Egypt), their father said (in Canaan): "Indeed I smell the fragrance of Joseph. I say so although you may think that I am doting."
They said: "Surely you are still in your same old craze."
And when the bearer of good news came he threw Joseph´s shirt over Jacob´s face, whereupon he regained his sight, and said: "Did I not tell you that I know from Allah what you do not know?"
They said: "Father! Pray for the forgiveness of our sins; we were truly guilty."
He said: "I shall pray to my Lord for your forgiveness, for He, and indeed He alone, is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful."
And when they went to Joseph, he took his parents aside and said (to the members of his family): "Enter the city now, and if Allah wills, you shall be secure."
And after they had entered the city, Joseph raised his parents to the throne beside himself, and they (involuntarily) bowed in prostration before him. Joseph said: "Father! This is the fulfilment of the vision I had before - one that My Lord has caused to come true. He was kind to me when He rescued me from the prison, and brought you from the desert after Satan had stirred discord between me and my brothers. Certainly my Lord is Subtle in the fulfilment of His will; He is All-Knowing, All-Wise
My Lord! You have bestowed dominion upon me and have taught me to comprehend the depths of things. O Creator of heavens and earth! You are my Guardian in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die in submission to You, and join me, in the end, with the righteous."
(O Muhammad), this is part of news from the Unseen that We reveal to you for you were not present with them when Joseph´s brothers jointly resolved on a plot
And most of the people, howsoever you might so desire, are not going to believe
You do not seek from them any recompense for your service. This is merely an admonition to all mankind
How many are the signs in the heavens and the earth which people pass by without giving any heed
And most of them believe in Allah only when they associate others with Him in His Divinity
Do they, then, feel secure that an overwhelming chastisement shall not visit them, and the Hour shall not suddenly come upon them without their even perceiving it
Tell them plainly: "This is my way: I call you to Allah, on the basis of clear perception - both I and those who follow me. Allah - Glory be to Him - is free of every imperfection. I have nothing to do with those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity."
The Messengers whom We raised before you, (O Muhammad), and to whom We sent down revelations, were only human beings, and were from among those living in earthly habitations. Have these people not travelled in the earth that they may observe the end of their predecessors? Certainly the abode of the Hereafter is much better for those (who accepted the call of the Messengers and) acted in a God-fearing manner. Will you still not act with good sense
(It also happened with the earlier Messengers that for long they preached and people paid no heed) until the Messengers despaired of their people, and the people also fancied that they had been told lies (by the Messengers), then suddenly Our help came to the Messengers. And when such an occasion comes We rescue whom We will; as for the guilty, Our chastisement cannot be averted from them
Certainly in the stories of the bygone people there is a lesson for people of understanding. What is being narrated in the Qur´an is no fabrication; it is rather confirmation of the Books that preceded it, and a detailed exposition of everything, and a guidance and mercy for people of faith