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Alif. Lam. Ra. These are the signs of the lucid Book.
Truly, We have bestowed it as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand.
We tell you the most beautiful stories in what We reveal to you in this Qur’an. Before this, you were among those who did not know them.
Joseph said to his father, “O my father, I truly saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon. I saw them bowing to me.”
(The father) said, “O my son, do not tell your brothers about your vision. Otherwise, they may plot against you. Satan is truly an avowed enemy to humanity.
“Your Lord will choose you and teach you the interpretation of events. He will perfect His favor to you and to the family of Jacob. It will be like He perfected it to your fathers Abraham and Isaac before you. Truly, your Lord is the All-knowing, the Perfectly Wise.”
Truly, in the story of Joseph and his brothers are signs for seekers [of truth].
(His brothers) said, “Certainly, Joseph and his brother [Benjamin] are loved more by our father than we are, but we are a tough group, and our father is clearly mistaken.”
“Kill Joseph or exile him to some [foreign] land so that your father’s favor will be reserved for you. You may become righteous after that.”
One of them said, “Let’s not kill Joseph. If you are going to do something, throw him to the bottom of the well. He will be retrieved by a caravan of travelers.”
They said, “O our father, why do you not trust us with Joseph. Indeed, we have his best interest in mind.
Send him with us tomorrow to have fun and play. We will certainly take good care of him.”
(Jacob) said, “It really upsets me that you want to take him away. I worry that a wolf will eat him while you are not watching him.”
They said, “If a wolf were to eat him with all of us around, we should certainly die ourselves.”
So they took (Joseph) away, and they agreed to throw him to the bottom of a well. We inspired (Joseph), “Certainly, you will someday confront them with the truth of this situation, when they are unaware.”
As night came, (the brothers) came to their father. They were crying.
They claimed, “O our father, we went racing with one another and left Joseph with our things. A wolf devoured him, but you will never believe us, even though we are telling the truth.”
They had stained his shirt with blood. (Their father) said, “No, your minds have concocted this tale, but there is grace in patience. I will seek Allah’s help against your plot.”
A caravan dispatched its water-bearer, and he let down his bucket. He said, “What luck! A young man!” (The caravan) secretly kept (Joseph) as a fortune, but Allah was well aware of what was happening.
(The caravan) sold him for a pitiful price –a few silver coins. That is how much they underestimated him.
A man in Egypt bought (Joseph). He said to his wife, “Make his stay comfortable. Maybe he will bring us a blessing, or maybe we will adopt him as a son.” That is how We established Joseph in that land. We began to teach him the interpretation of dreams. Allah has complete power over His affairs. Most people among humanity do not even realize it.
When (Joseph) became mature, We gave him wisdom and knowledge. That is how We reward those who live righteously.
The woman of the house tried to seduce him against his will. She latched the doors and said, “Come to me.” He said, “I seek refuge in Allah! Truly, He is my Lord. He made my stay successful. Truly, no good comes to those who sin.”
She wanted him. He would have wanted her, but he had seen proof of his Lord. We turned him from evil and immorality. Truly, he was one of Our sincere servants.
They raced to the door. [She grabbed him,] and she tore his shirt from the back. They met her husband at the door. (The wife) said, “What should be the punishment for someone who had bad intentions toward your wife? Should it be prison or another horrible punishment?”
(Joseph) said, “She tried to seduce me against my will.” A member of the household saw what was happening and suggested, “If his shirt is torn from the front, then her version is true, and he is the liar.
“If his shirt is torn from the back, then she is the liar, and he is telling the truth.”
When (the husband) saw that the shirt was torn from the back, he said, “This is truly your female doing. Truly, your plot is strong.
“O Joseph, forget about this.” [To the wife:] “Ask forgiveness for your sin. Truly, you are to blame.”
Ladies in the city said, “The wife of Aziz is trying to seduce her slave against his will. He has indeed caused her to feel passionate love. We certainly see her making an obvious mistake.”
When she heard of their gossip, she invited them to a banquet. She gave each of them a knife [to cut their food]. She called for (Joseph), “Present yourself to them.” When they saw him, they were so amazed [at his good looks] that they [accidentally] cut their hands. They said, “God help us! This is not a mere man. He is a noble angel!”
She said, “This is the man about whom you blamed me. I did try to seduce him against his will, but he saved himself. Now, if he doesn’t do what I want, I will have him cast into prison to be among the criminals.”
(Joseph) said, “O my Lord, I would prefer prison to that to which (these women) invite me. If You do not get me away from their plans, I may give in to them and become like the ignorant.”
His Lord heard him and got him away from their plans. Truly, He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing.
After they had seen the signs [of their wives lusting after Joseph], the men decided to imprison him for a while.
Two young men came into prison the same time as (Joseph). One of them said, “I saw myself [in a dream], pressing [grapes for] wine.” The other said, “I saw myself [in a dream] carrying bread on my head. Birds were eating it. Tell us the true meaning of these dreams. We see you are one who does goodness.”
He said, “Before any food comes to feed either of you, I will certainly reveal to you the true meaning of this before it happens. That is part of that which my Lord has taught me. I truly have abandoned the ways of a people who do not believe in Allah and who deny the life hereafter.
“I follow the ways of my fathers –Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We would never attribute partners to Allah. That is the grace of Allah to us and to humanity. Yet, most people are not grateful.
“O my two companions of prison, are many different lords better than Allah, the Only One, the Prevailing Force?
“If you don’t worship Him, then you worship nothing but names you have made up –you and your fathers. Allah did not provide such authority. The command is only for Allah. He has commanded that you worship none except Him. That is the true religion, but most people do not understand.
“O my two companions of prison, as for one of you, he will pour wine for his lord to drink. As for the other, he will hang from the cross, and birds will eat his head. So has been decreed the matters about which you inquired.”
Of the two, one was considered about to be saved. (Joseph) said to him, “Mention me to your master.” Satan, however, caused him to forget to mention (Joseph) to his master, and (Joseph) stayed in prison a few years.
The king [of Egypt] said, “I saw [in a dream] seven fat cows devoured by seven lean ones, and seven green ears of corn and another [seven] withered. O Chiefs, explain my dream if you are able to interpret dreams.”
They said, “It is a confused medley of dreams, and we are not skilled in such interpretation.”
The man who had been released as one of the two [in prison with Joseph] finally remembered after so long a time. He said, “I will tell you its true interpretation. Allow me to go.”
[He went to Joseph and said,] “O Joseph, O man of truth, explain to us about seven fat cows devouring seven lean ones and about seven green ears of corn and another [seven] withered. I will return to the people so they may understand.”
(Joseph) explained, “For seven years you should plant diligently. At harvest time, you should preserve the ears except the least amount for eating.
Then there will be seven harsh years in which you will devour what you have stored except a little to remain preserved.
“After that there will be a year in which the people will have abundant rain and during which they may press [grapes and olives].”
The king said, “Bring him to me.” When the messenger went to (Joseph), however, (Joseph) said, “Return to your master and ask him, ‘What is the case of the ladies who cut their hands?’ Truly, my Lord the All-knowing is above their plots.”
(The king) questioned (the ladies), “What was going on when you were trying to seduce Joseph against his will?” The ladies answered, “God save us! We have nothing against him.” Aziz’s wife said, “Now the truth is out. It was I who tried to seduce him against his will. He is truly among those who are virtuous.
I say this so that he may know that I have never lied about him behind his back. God will never guide the plan of liars.
“I do not free myself from blame. The self is certainly prone to evil unless my Lord bestows His mercy. Surely my Lord is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.”
So the king said, “Bring him to me, and I will put him directly under my service.” After he had spoken to Joseph, he said, “Certainly on this day you are, before the court’s presence, established with rank and reliability fully proven.”
(Joseph) said, “Set me over the storehouses of the land. I will guard them as one with knowledge.”
This is how We established power to Joseph in the land, to exercise authority and do as he pleased. We bestow Our mercy on whom We please, and We do not allow the reward of those who do good to be lost.
Truly, however, the reward of the hereafter is better for those who believe and are loyal in righteousness.
Finally Joseph’s brothers came before him [seeking provisions because of the drought]. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him.
After he had supplied them with their provisions, (Joseph) said, “Bring before me a brother of yours who has the same father as all of you. Do you not see that I supply in full measure and that I provide the best hospitality?
“If you do not bring him to me [next time], you will not have a measure [of grain] from me. You will not be allowed near me.”
They said, “We will certainly try to get permission for him from his father. Indeed, we will do it.”
(Joseph) told his servants to put what they had traded [for the grain] back into their saddlebags. They would realize it only after they had returned to their people. That would make them likely to return [to Egypt for more grain].
Upon returning to their father, (the brothers) said, “O our father, we cannot get any more grain. Send our brother with us so we may get our measure. We will certainly take good care of him.”
(Jacob their father) said, “Shall I trust you with him like I trusted you with his brother before? Allah is the best caregiver. He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
When (the brothers) opened their baggage, they found what they had traded [for the grain]. They saw that it had been returned to them. They said, “O our father, what more could we want? Our trade-in has been returned to us. We can get more food for our family. We will take care of our brother. We can add a full camel’s load [of grain]. This is only a small quantity.”
(Jacob) said, “I will never let him go with you until you make a promise, in Allah’s name, that you will be sure to bring him back to me unless you are completely powerless.” When they had made the promise, he said, “Over all that we say, may Allah be a witness.”
Further, he said, “O my sons, do not enter by the same gate; enter by different gates. Of course, I cannot protect you from [the plan of] Allah. No one can command except Allah. I put my trust in Him. May all who have faith put their trust in Him.”
When they entered the way their father had instructed, it did not benefit them at all from Allah. Jacob had said that only to ease his soul. He truly was, because of our instruction, filled with knowledge. Most people do not know it.
When (the brothers) came into Joseph’s presence, (Joseph) took his brother [Benjamin] aside. He said, “Look; I am your brother. Do not worry about what they have done.”
Finally, after he had provided them with their supplies, he put a goblet into his brother’s saddlebag. [As they were leaving, and at the direction of Joseph,] a herald called out, “O caravan, you are undoubtedly thieves.”
They turned to ask, “What are you missing?”
(The soldiers) said, “We are missing the king’s goblet.” [The herald said,] “I will give a camel’s load [of grain] to whoever produces it. I guarantee it.”
(The brothers) said, “Consider Allah! You know that we did not come to this land to cause trouble. We are not thieves.”
(The soldiers) said, “What should be your punishment if you are shown to be liars?”
They said, “The punishment should be for the one in whose saddlebag (the goblet) is found. He should be its recompense. Thus we punish criminals.”
The brothers’ saddlebags were searched first, before the saddlebag of (Benjamin). Finally, (the goblet) was found in (Benjamin’s) saddlebag. That is what We planned for Joseph’s sake. By law of the king, (Joseph) could not detain his brother except by Allah’s will. We elevate those whom We please, but over all those with knowledge is the All-knowing.
(The brothers) said, “If he steals, his brother before him also stole.” Joseph kept things to himself and did not reveal the secret to them. He said, “You are in worse condition. Allah knows best about what you say.”
They said, “O exalted one, his father is certainly quite old, so detain one of us in his place. Truly, we see that you are kind.”
(Joseph) said, “Allah, preserve us from detaining anyone besides the one with whom we found our property. We would indeed be wrong to do so.”
After they had given up hope of his changing his mind, (the brothers) met privately. The eldest among them said, “Don’t you recall that your father took a promise from you in Allah’s name? Do you recall how, before this, you failed your duty with Joseph? Therefore, I will not leave this land until my father lets me, or until Allah commands me, and He is the best to command.
“Return to your father and say, ‘O our father, your son committed theft. We testify only to what we know, and we could not guard against the unseen.
“Ask at the town where we were and within the caravan in which we returned. Indeed, we are telling the truth.’”
[On hearing this,] Jacob said, “No, you have concocted [a story] for yourselves. Patience is best. Maybe Allah will return them both [Joseph and Benjamin] to me. He is indeed the All-knowing, the Perfectly Wise.”
He turned away from them and said, “So great is my grief for Joseph!” His eyes became dim with sorrow, and he became solemn.
They said, “Consider Allah! Will you never stop thinking of Joseph until you make yourself sick or until you die?”
He said, “I complain of my suffering and grief only to Allah. I know from Allah what you do not know.
“O my sons, go and inquire about Joseph and his brother. Never lose hope in Allah’s mercy. Truly, no one loses hope in Allah’s mercy except those who have no faith.”
When they came before (Joseph), they said to him, “O mighty ruler, hardship has come upon our family, and we now have little to offer in trade. We ask that you give us a full measure [of grain] and consider it charity. Allah rewards the charitable.”
(Joseph) said, “Do you remember how you treated Joseph and his [younger] brother [Benjamin] without realizing your ignorance?”
They said, “Are you indeed Joseph?” He answered, “I am Joseph, and this is my brother [Benjamin]. Allah has indeed been gracious to us. For one who is righteous and patient, Allah will not allow the reward to be lost from those who do right.”
(Joseph’s brothers) said, “Indeed Allah has preferred you over us, and we certainly have been guilty of sin.”
He said, “This day, may there be no accusation against you. Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful among those who show mercy.
“Go with this my shirt and cast it over the face of my father. He will regain his sight. After that, all of you and your family come to me.”
After the caravan had left [Egypt], their father said, “I truly sense the smell of Joseph. Do not think I have lost my mind.”
(Members of the household) said, “Consider Allah! You are truly confused in your old age.”
When the bearer of the good news came, he cast [Joseph’s] shirt over (Jacob’s) face, and (Jacob) regained his sight. (Jacob) said [to the brothers], “Did I not say to you that I know from Allah that which you do not know?”
They said, “O our father, ask for forgiveness for us because of our sins, for we were truly at fault.”
He said, “I will ask my Lord to forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.”
[Later] they presented themselves before Joseph. He extended his home to his parents, and he invited, “Enter Egypt in safety, if it pleases Allah.”
He placed his parents at a high place of honor, and they bowed prostrate before him. He said, “O my father, this is the meaning of my vision of long ago. Truly, my Lord has made it come true. He was certainly good to me when He released me from prison and brought you from the desert. This was after Satan had sown discord between me and my brothers. Truly, my Lord is the Most Subtle over all that He plans to do. Truly, He is the All-knowing, the Perfectly Wise.”
[Joseph’s prayer:] “My Lord, You have indeed bestowed on me some power and taught me something of the interpretations of dreams. Creator of Heaven and Earth, You are my protector in this world and in the hereafter. Accept my soul as one in complete submission to Your will, and unite me with the righteous.”
[The story of Joseph] is one [of the stories] that happened unseen [by you], which We convey to you. You were not with them as (Joseph’s brothers) unanimously agreed to their conniving plan.
Yet most people will have no faith no matter how passionately you desire it.
You ask no reward of them for this; it is no less than a message to benefit all creatures.
How many signs of the skies and Earth do they pass? Yet, they ignore them.
Most of them do not believe in Allah without making associations.
Do they then feel secure from the coming disaster of the wrath of Allah, or from the hour [of the final end]. It will come all of a sudden while they are not expecting it.
Say, “This is my way. I and my followers invite to Allah on the basis of undeniable evidence. Glory to Allah! I am not one of the idolaters.”
We never sent anyone before you except people whom We inspired, who were of the common people. Do they not travel throughout the land and wonder what became of those before them? The home of the hereafter is best for those who live righteously. Will you not understand?
As the messengers lost hope and considered themselves treated as liars, Our help came to them. Those whom We chose were safely delivered. Our punishment will never be repelled from the lost sinners.
Truly, in their stories is a lesson for people with understanding. It is not an invented tale, but a confirmation of (the Scriptures) that came before it. It is a detailed explanation of all things. It is a guide and a mercy for the believers.