سورة يوسف   

Surah Name: Yousuf-AS Meaning: Joseph

  • Revealed at Makkah
  • • Surah Yousuf-AS is a Makkan Surah. It is one of those historical facts, which the Quran has revealed for the guidance of mankind. The incident this Surah describes is the only one revealed in a single go. Selected segments of other historical events have been quoted where needed in order to illustrate the character of various people and the consequences drawn thereupon. Since the main aim of the Quran is character-building and not merely recounting history, the historical events have also been referred to in the same context. It has also been clarified that knowledge of these events is not required merely for its own sake. Rather, they should be remembered as well as conveyed to others so as to warn people for their reformation. With this aim, recording of history becomes a preferred art. The style should be the same as that of Surah Yousuf-AS. It should neither be so lengthy as to exhaust the reader, nor so short as to mar comprehension. This Surah was revealed when the Jews demanded of the Holy Prophet-SW to answer them as to why the Ban! Israil had shifted from Syria to Egypt, and what the story of Prophet Yousuf-AS was. These answers were given in the Torah also, but the Holy Prophet-SW had never attended any school nor had listened to any rabbi. It was intended to be a test for him-SW. But Allah-SWT , the Most Gracious, revealed the entire event to His-SWT Beloved Prophet-SW, unveiling even those facts that were not mentioned in the Torah. It contains history, admonition, counselling, and describes the results borne on actions. Above all, it endorsed the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet-SW in a miraculous manner.
  • Total Number of Rukū / Sections 12
  • Total Number of Āyāt / Parts 111
  • Sūrah / Chapter number 12
  • Rukū / Section 1 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 12 & 13


الر تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ 

Aliflamra tilka ayatu alkitabi almubeen(u)

Alif. Lam. Ra. These are the verses of a Book luminous.


إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ 

Inna anzalnahu quranan AAarabiyyan laAAallakum taAAqiloon(a)

Verily We-SWT ! We-SWT have sent it down, an Arabic Recitation that perchance you may reflect.


نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَـذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ 

Nahnu naqussu AAalayka ahsana alqasasi bima awhayna ilayka hatha alqurana wain kunta min qablihi lamina alghafileen(a)

We-SWT ! We-SWT recount to you-SW the best of stories, by Revealing to you-SW  this Quran, though you have been hitherto among the unaware ones.


إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ 

Ith qala yoosufu liabeehi ya abati innee raaytu ahada AAashara kawkaban wa(al)shshamsa wa(a)lqamara raaytuhum lee sajideen(a)

Recall when Yousuf-AS said to his father: O’ my father! I have seen eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I have seen them prostrating themselves before me.


قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ لاَ تَقْصُصْ رُؤْيَاكَ عَلَى إِخْوَتِكَ فَيَكِيدُواْ لَكَ كَيْدًا إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لِلإِنسَانِ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ 

Qala ya bunayya la taqsus ruyaka AAala ikhwatika fayakeedoo laka kaydan inna a(l)shshaytana lilinsani AAaduwwun mubeen(un)

He said: O’ my son! Do not recount your vision to your brothers, lest they may scheme a plot against you; verily Satan is to men a manifest enemy.


وَكَذَلِكَ يَجْتَبِيكَ رَبُّكَ وَيُعَلِّمُكَ مِن تَأْوِيلِ الأَحَادِيثِ وَيُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى آلِ يَعْقُوبَ كَمَا أَتَمَّهَا عَلَى أَبَوَيْكَ مِن قَبْلُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْحَقَ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ 

Wakathalika yajtabeeka rabbuka wayuAAallimuka min taweeli alahadeethi wayutimmu niAAmatahu AAalayka waAAala ali yaAAqooba kama atammahaAAala abawayka min qablu ibraheema waishaqa inna rabbaka AAaleemunhakeem(un)

And thus will your Rabb-SWT choose you and teach you of the interpretation of events, and will fulfill His-SWT Favour upon you and upon the house of Y'aqub-AS, as He-SWT has fulfilled it upon your fathers, Ibrahim-AS and Ishaq-AS formerly, verily your Rabb-SWT is Knowing, Wise.


In The Name of Allah-SWT the Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Alif Lam Ra, are the Isolated Letters, as explained earlier, the knowledge thereof is confined to Allah-SWT or His-SWT Prophet-SW or the erudites whom Allaah-SWT may choose to enlighten. However, the recitation of these Letters is enjoined upon all Muslims, yielding their benefits to the reader.


These are the Ayat of a Book which explains everything clearly without leaving any ambiguity. Since the very first people addressed by the Quran were Arabs, it was revealed in their mother tongue, though, Allah-SWT is beyond the limitations of languages.


The Sanctity Of Languages

Although Allah-SWT is above the linguistic limitations, yet He-SWT chose Arabic as the medium of His-SWT Revelations, so as to invite the intellectuals of Arabia, proud of their eloquence, to ponder over the truth. This was also the language of the Holy Prophet-SW .According to the scholars of Quran and Hadith, Allah-SWT has chosen this language for conveying His-SWT Message, for conducting the proceedings on the Day of Judgement and for the dwellers of Jannah. Apart from this, there is no other discrimination among other languages, for they are only means of expression. To acquire the knowledge of as many languages as possible is desirable because a multi lingual person can propagate Din at a larger scale. Although Salat, Azan, and the specified sermons are mandatory in Arabic yet it is very important to teach Quran, Hadith and Fiqh to masses in as many languages as possible. It is also highlighted here that the Quran comprises only the Arabic text as revealed by Allah-SWT . Even if it is explained in Arabic using different words, such explanation will be called a Commentary of the Quran. Its translation into any language will merely be a translation for easy understanding of the Quran but reading it shall not win the merits peculiar to the recitation of the Quran. It is not correct to go through English or Urdu translations and assume that one is reciting the Quran.


Beauty of the Temporal Events

Allah-SWT Almighty chose to tell a beautiful story to His-SWT Prophet-SW through His-SWT Personal Word, the Quran, thus ensuring its repeated recitation in Salat and worship, in lectures and sermons, and in commentary forever. It is indeed astonishing how two dear Prophets-AS of Allah-SWT, namely Y'aqub-AS and Yousuf-AS had to endure hardships for a long period. The former lost his eyesight while the latter was dumped into a well, sold as a slave and imprisoned after being wrongly indicted. He suffered the pangs of solitude away from his dear ones and his home. Moreover, his brothers, who should have been a source of strength and pride for him proved to be the cause of affliction. Inspite of all this Allah-SWT refers to this account as a beautiful story and reveals it as a part of the Quran, whereby it is constantly repeated in Salat both individual and collective. Let us see what is so beautiful about it? The story illustrates the nature and levels of the relationship Allah-SWT‘s servants have with Him-SWT . It demonstrates the validity of Allah-SWT's Words, when he said to the angels that only He-SWT Knew how passionately man would seek Him-SWT . They are welcome to witness how distressed His-SWT beloved people are, yet the one who is suffering inside his home or the one confined to the well, both remember and cry only to Him-SWT .


Not only happiness but also each forthcoming moment of distress boosts their adoration for Allah-SWT . It has been mentioned earlier how Allah-SWT appreciated Hadhrat Hajirah-RAU, and made the seven trips between Safa and Marwa mandatory for every pilgrim. Hence the beauty of every event lies in its outcome. If it yields Allah-SWT's Nearness, it is indeed marvellous.


The Holy Prophet-SW was unaware of all these events. He-SW had never read any book nor availed the company of a storyteller nor attended any academic gatherings. His recounting of these events with such details itself endorsed the fact that he was blessed with Divine Revelation. The story begins when Prophet Yousuf-AS had reported his dream to his father that he had seen eleven stars, the sun and the moon, prostrating before him. What are dreams and what is their reality? It is indeed a vast field of know ledge. The knowledge of their interpretation is revealed by Allah-SWT to the Prophets-AS and it has a number of facets.


Reality of Dreams and their Classification

According to the scholars, dreams are experienced when human Ruh detaches itself from physical body during sleep and its imaginative powers turn to its origin in the Realm of Command. As a result it may observe certain scenes, for all that is manifested on earth identically exists in the World of Realities. Such observation again has three aspects. Firstly, a person's imaginative power may remain confined to what he had experienced or thought in the day, that is, his soul puts up a show. Secondly, the Satanic forces may cause a person to hallucinate. Both these situations are ungodly. However, the third aspect is when the imaginative power of the Ruh actually captures some realities. This observation is based on truth provided it is not tainted by the effects of the previous two states; otherwise it is likely to jumble up everything.


Even if the dream belongs to the last category, sometimes its visions call for an interpretation. For this purpose a specialized, 'Knowledge for Interpreting Dreams' was revealed to the Prophets-AS. However, these dreams also vary with individual temperament. Whatever is shown in a dream from Allah-SWT is often polluted with evil thoughts due to a weak character, rendering the interpretation difficult. The Prophets-AS are inherently innocent. They have incorruptible character and firm resolution. Therefore, their dreams have the status of Revelation and are always true. Yet they need to be interpreted. For instance, the Holy Prophet-SW had dreamt that he was performing ‘Umrah with his Companions-RAU, but when they actually undertook the journey they had to return from Hudaibiyia. Allah-SWT had endorsed his dream as true, yet the time for its realization had not come. Hence he performed ‘Umrah the next year, followed closely by the Conquest of Makkah.


Sometimes Allah-SWT shows true dreams even to the non believers or the wrongdoing believers. However, except a Prophet-AS no one's dream can be taken as an authority. And if a nightmare is seen one must seek Allah-SWT's refuge and forget about it. If it is a good dream, Allah-SWT must be thanked. However, one must act according to the prevailing circumstances.


When Prophet Yousuf-AS discussed his dream with Prophet Y’aqub-AS, he interpreted it as a glad tiding. He told his son that Allah-SWT would shower His-SWT Favours unto him and would bless him immensely. In terms of Din, Prophethood is the highest status, while in the worldly sense rule over a kingdom is the greatest position. He said that Allah-SWT would bless him with Prophethood just as He-SWT had blessed his forefathers Prophets Ibrahim-AS and Ishaq-AS. And the prostration of the sun, the moon and the stars before him denoted power and sovereignty, which he would also be blessed with, adding to the glory of Bani Israil. Moreover, he would also be granted the knowledge of interpretations of dreams, a presumption supported by the fact that Prophets Ibrahim-AS, Ishaq-AS and he himself had been given this knowledge together with the honour of Prophethood. In other words, he thought that this knowledge would also be transferred to his lineage, for Allah-SWT is All Knowing and the Wisest.


A Blessing must not be Disclosed to Everyone

Prophet Y'aqub-AS forbade his son from disclosing his dream to his brothers, lest Iblis should mislead them to jealousy and they cause him harm. Two aspects stand out here. Firstly, the brothers of Prophet Yousuf-AS were not Prophets-AS as believed by many, because Prophets-AS are innocent of such misdeeds. Secondly, a blessing must not be disclosed before hand. This is a lesson for the students of Tasawwuf that they must not tell everyone about the spiritual stations they are blessed with.


Amongst the eleven brothers of Prophet Yousuf-AS only one was real. The others were stepbrothers from another wife. Such relations often turn hostile Hence Prophet Y’aqub-AS forbade the disclosure. The dream had highlighted the exalted status of Prophet Yousuf-AS. His father feared that Satan, the enemy of mankind, may make some mischief as he does not hesitate even to conspire against the Prophets-AS.


It also becomes clear that to forewarn someone of another person's evil nature in order to save him does not tantamount backbiting but is permissible.