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 10 contains Āyāt / Parts 14
  • Siparah/ Volume 12 & 13


فَلَمَّا اسْتَيْأَسُواْ مِنْهُ خَلَصُواْ نَجِيًّا قَالَ كَبِيرُهُمْ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ أَبَاكُمْ قَدْ أَخَذَ عَلَيْكُم مَّوْثِقًا مِّنَ اللّهِ وَمِن قَبْلُ مَا فَرَّطتُمْ فِي يُوسُفَ فَلَنْ أَبْرَحَ الأَرْضَ حَتَّىَ يَأْذَنَ لِي أَبِي أَوْ يَحْكُمَ اللّهُ لِي وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الْحَاكِمِينَ

Falamma istayasoo minhu khalasoo najiyyan qala kabeeruhum alam taAAlamoo anna abakum qad akhatha AAalaykum mawthiqan mina Allahi wamin qablu mafarrattum fee yoosufa falan abraha alardhatta yathana lee abee aw yahkuma Allahu lee wahuwa khayru alhakimeen(a)

Then when they despaired of him they counselled together privately. The eldest of them said: do you not remember that your father has taken an assurance from you before Allaah-SWT ? And earlier you have been remiss in your duty in respect of Yousuf; so I will by no means go forth from the land until my father gives me leave or Allaah-SWT judges for me, and He-SWT is the Best of judges.


ارْجِعُواْ إِلَى أَبِيكُمْ فَقُولُواْ يَا أَبَانَا إِنَّ ابْنَكَ سَرَقَ وَمَا شَهِدْنَا إِلاَّ بِمَا عَلِمْنَا وَمَا كُنَّا لِلْغَيْبِ حَافِظِينَ 

IrjiAAoo ila abeekum faqooloo ya abana inna ibnaka saraqa wama shahidna illabima AAalimna wama kunna lilghaybi hafitheen(a)

Return to your father and say: Father! Verily your son has stolen, and we testify not save according to what we know, and of the unseen we could not be watchers.


وَاسْأَلِ الْقَرْيَةَ الَّتِي كُنَّا فِيهَا وَالْعِيْرَ الَّتِي أَقْبَلْنَا فِيهَا وَإِنَّا لَصَادِقُونَ 

Wa(i)sali alqaryata allatee kunna feeha wa(a)lAAeera allatee aqbalna feeha wainnalasadiqoon(a)

And inquire of the people of the city where we have been and of the caravan with whom we have travelled hither; and verily we speak truth.


قَالَ بَلْ سَوَّلَتْ لَكُمْ أَنفُسُكُمْ أَمْرًا فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ عَسَى اللّهُ أَن يَأْتِيَنِي بِهِمْ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ 

Qala bal sawwalat lakum anfusukum amran fasabrun jameelun AAasa Allahu an yatiyanee bihim jameeAAan innahu huwa alAAaleemu alhakeem(u)

He said: Nay! Your minds have embellished for you an affair. So patience is agreeable. Perchance Allaah-SWT may bring them all to me; verily He-SWT ! Only He-SWT is the Knowing, the Wise.


وَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَا أَسَفَى عَلَى يُوسُفَ وَابْيَضَّتْ عَيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ فَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ 

Watawalla AAanhum waqala ya asafa AAala yoosufa waibyaddat AAaynahu mina alhuzni fahuwa katheem(un)

And he turned away from them, and said: O’ my grief for Yousuf-AS! And his eyes were whitened with grief, and he was choked with sorrow.


قَالُواْ تَالله تَفْتَأُ تَذْكُرُ يُوسُفَ حَتَّى تَكُونَ حَرَضًا أَوْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْهَالِكِينَ 

Qaloo ta(A)llahi taftao tathkuru yoosufa hatta takoona haradan aw takoona mina alhalikeen(a)

They said: by Allah-SWT, you will not cease remembering Yousuf-AS until you are wizened or you be of the dead.


قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَشْكُو بَثِّي وَحُزْنِي إِلَى اللّهِ وَأَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ 

Qala innama ashkoo baththee wahuznee ila Allahi waaAAlamu mina Allahi ma lataAAlamoon(a)

He said: I only bewail my anguish and sorrow unto Allah-SWT, and I know from Allaah-SWT what you know not.


يَا بَنِيَّ اذْهَبُواْ فَتَحَسَّسُواْ مِن يُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ وَلاَ تَيْأَسُواْ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ 

Ya baniyya ithhaboo fatahassasoo min yoosufa waakheehi wala tayasoo min rawhi Allahi innahu la yayasu min rawhi Allahi illa alqawmu alkafiroon(a)

My sons! Go and ascertain about Yousuf-AS and his brother, and despair not of the Mercy of Allah-SWT; none despair of the Mercy of Allaah-SWT except a people disbelieving.


فَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَيْهِ قَالُواْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْعَزِيزُ مَسَّنَا وَأَهْلَنَا الضُّرُّ وَجِئْنَا بِبِضَاعَةٍ مُّزْجَاةٍ فَأَوْفِ لَنَا الْكَيْلَ وَتَصَدَّقْ عَلَيْنَآ إِنَّ اللّهَ يَجْزِي الْمُتَصَدِّقِينَ 

Falamma dakhaloo AAalayhi qaloo ya ayyuha alAAazeezu massana waahlanaa(l)ddurru wajina bibidaAAatin muzjatin faawfi lana alkayla watasaddaq AAalaynainna Allaha yajzee almutasaddiqeen(a)

And when they entered unto him, they said: O 'Aziz distress has seized us and our family and we have brought scant goods, so give us full measure and be charitable to us; verily Allaah-SWT rewards the charitable.


قَالَ هَلْ عَلِمْتُم مَّا فَعَلْتُم بِيُوسُفَ وَأَخِيهِ إِذْ أَنتُمْ جَاهِلُونَ 

Qala hal AAalimtum ma faAAaltum biyoosufa waakheehi ith antum jahiloon(a)

He said: remember what you did to Yousuf-AS and his brother while you were ignorant.


قَالُواْ أَإِنَّكَ لَأَنتَ يُوسُفُ قَالَ أَنَاْ يُوسُفُ وَهَـذَا أَخِي قَدْ مَنَّ اللّهُ عَلَيْنَا إِنَّهُ مَن يَتَّقِ وَيِصْبِرْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُضِيعُ أَجْرَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Qaloo ainnaka laanta yoosufa qala ana yoosufu wahatha akhee qad manna Allahu AAalayna innahu man yattaqi wayasbir fainna Allaha la yudeeAAu ajra almuhsineen(a)

They said: are you Yousuf-AS? He said: I am Yousuf-AS and this is my brother; Allaah-SWT has surely been gracious to us; verily he who fears Allaah-SWT and endures affliction, then Allaah-SWT leaves not the wage of well doers to waste.


قَالُواْ تَاللّهِ لَقَدْ آثَرَكَ اللّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَإِن كُنَّا لَخَاطِئِينَ 

Qaloo ta(A)llahi laqad atharaka Allahu AAalayna wain kunna lakhatieen(a)

They said: verily Allaah-SWT has chosen you above us  and we have been sinners indeed.


قَالَ لاَ تَثْرَيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ 

Qala la tathreeba AAalaykumu alyawma yaghfiru Allahu lakum wahuwa arhamu a(l)rrahimeen(a)

He said; no reproach on you today; may Allaah-SWT forgive you, and He-SWT is the Most Merciful of the merciful.


اذْهَبُواْ بِقَمِيصِي هَـذَا فَأَلْقُوهُ عَلَى وَجْهِ أَبِي يَأْتِ بَصِيرًا وَأْتُونِي بِأَهْلِكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ 

Ithhaboo biqameesee hatha faalqoohu AAala wajhi abee yati baseeran watoonee biahlikum ajmaAAeen(a)

Go with this shirt of mine and cast it upon my father's face; he shall become clear-sighted; and bring to me all your family.


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

After all efforts to get Binyamin released failed, they decided to return to their homeland. The grain had run out back home and prolonging their stay in Egypt was no longer possible. The eldest brother reminded them of the word they had given to their father and of the transgression they had previously committed in Yousuf-AS  ‘s case. He said that their father was already frail and grief stricken in Yousuf-AS ‘s separation. Therefore, he wished to stay back, or else at least one of them should stay back in Egypt, until permitted by their father to return back; or else Allah-SWT may pave the way for Binyamin's acquittal because all the matters rest with Him-SWT and it is He-SWT Who takes all decisions.


The decision people take are mere facades, while these are His-SWT decisions that are actually enforced. According to the majority of Commentators, the eldest brother was Yahuda who had earlier opposed the killing of Yousuf-AS and was the most sound in judgement amongst all of them, he advised his brothers to go back and reassure their father that they had not neglected their responsibility but had to face exceptional circumstances. It was his son who had committed the theft without their knowledge. His action had indeed caused them a great deal of embarrassment before the King who had honoured them so much. Moreover, the hope of getting grain in the future also seemed bleak because of loss of trust after that incident. They said that they were bound by their pledge to protect only under normal circumstances. The sudden trouble from the unseen had taken them totally by surprise.


Status of an Agreement and Testimony

The jurists assert that an agreement is binding only under the normal circumstances. If an abnormal situation develops, which could not possibly have been foreseen, the terms of agreement are suspended. The second point that comes to light here is about testimony. To testify, one must have knowledge of the event and has to disclose his source, that is. If he is not an eye witness he must tell who gave him the information. Such a testimony is considered valid. The eldest brother advised others to tell their father to personally probe into the whole matter if he desired. He could enquire from other fellow-travellers, or could go to Egypt and see things for himself. What they were reporting to him was nothing but the truth, they asserted.


When Prophet Ya'qub-AS heard the story, he repeated the same words: it was a fabrication of their soul. Could it be expected of Binyamin to steal and did they expect him to buy their story? However, he said that patience was the best option which he had already been practising. He cautioned them that since there is a limit to everything, and now that his turmoils were crossing the limit, he expected a relief from Allah-SWT very soon. Not only Binyamin but all his children would return to him. as Yousuf-AS ‘s dream had predicted the reunion of the entire family. This was in his knowledge, but despite knowing he said that the real knowledge is with Allah-SWT , Who is the Wisest. All that was happening was the execution of His-SWT prudent plan.


Further Gratitude on His-SWT Blessings

It is evident here that a person must attribute all his outstanding qualities to Divine Blessing and thank Him-SWT more. The best way is to consider oneself as a humble servant of Allah-SWT and ascribe all his distinctions to His-SWT Favour.


Therefore, Prophet Ya'qub-AS turned his face away from his sons and sighed in pain: "O' Yousuf-AS! Where could I find you?" With the passage of time, he had lost his eyesight crying for Yousuf-AS Now that Binyamin was detained in  Egypt he resorted to silence. Grief and sorrow nearly choked him from inside.


Love and Allah-SWT's Prophets-AS

Some critics ask why a Prophet-AS loved someone other than Allah so intensely that he lost his eyesight crying, whereas for a fact the Prophets love only Allah-SWT . The Commentators have given various answers but the simplest explanation is that Prophets-AS are also human, rather the finest of human beings. They are adorned with human traits par excellence, and their love indeed is far superior. Love influences every living being, and it is perfected inside the human heart. Love for the world is different from the love one has for the fellow beings. The question is whether one forsakes his human relationships for the love of material world, or sacrifices the worldly desires despite being dear to him, and honours and nurtures the love for fellow beings. In the absence of any natural or instinctive love for the world, sacrificing it would not denote any excellence. Similarly the love for Allah-SWT is totally different from the love for human beings, who belong to the same species sharing the bonds of blood, family and friendship. But a human being has nothing in common with the Almighty, Who-SWT is Unique in His-SWT Powers. His-SWT creation simply has no comparison with Him-SWT . But He-SWT blessed man with such consciousness that he can become crazy after His-SWT Splendour. The strength of one's love for Allah-SWT can be validated by seeing how much he loves his fellow beings, and how far he can sacrifice this love. In this context, we see the intensity of Prophet Y’aqub-AS’s love for Yousuf-AS touching the heights of helplessness and the way he is sacrificing it over the Will of Allah-SWT . He confessed that Yousuf-AS ‘s memories had tormented him unceasingly, but he was too shy to complain to Allah-SWT .Moreover, he had no one save Allah-SWT , Who is capable of doing everything. He-SWT was well Aware of his condition and the separation spreading over half a century. Everything was a part of His-SWT Wise Plan and whatever may happen he could not ever think of annoying Him-SWT . Here indeed lies the beauty of the entire story, and this indeed is the excellence of one's faith, as expressed by the Quran: "Believers love Allah-SWT the most." They may love other too, but that love always stays subservient to the love of Allah-SWT .


Seeing his state, his sons said that although time was the greatest healer of wounds yet the case of their father was different. He had not forgotten Yousuf-AS and if his sorrow persisted, it could cost him his life. He told them that they knew nothing about his grief, as he expressed it only before Allah-SWT, Whose Prophet-AS he was and Who had blessed him with immense knowledge. He knew that someday Yousuf-AS would come back to him. He also knew that Allaah-SWT would bless Yousuf-AS with glory, power and Prophethood. Inspite of all this, if he was still out of his sight it was only by Allah-SWT's Will. But unfortunately, his sons would not understand this. He bade them to go forth and search for Yousuf-AS and Binyamin and not to despair of Allah-SWT's Mercy. It was possible that the King of Egypt of whom they spoke so highly, might be the lost Yousuf-AS. Anything is possible with Allaah-SWT and to despair is the lot of the infidels. He told them to leave him alone and set off for Egypt immediately. But now they had no valuables left to trade in for grain and the family needed the provisions. Hence they loaded the utensils and other household items on the camels to barter for the grain, and left.


They arrived in Egypt and presented themselves in the Royal Court where Binyamin was already present. They implored the King that their family was in distress, and having nothing to offer in return for the grain, they had brought with them some used household items of very little value. They requested him to accept whatever they had in barter against grain as a special gesture of benevolence and also to release their brother for whom their old father was grief stricken. He had already lost his eyesight and this son was his only consolation, whose detention had made him awfully miserable. They said that words failed them to express his anguish and it would sadden the King to hear about the extreme grief of a Prophet-AS whose father and grand father were also Allaah-SWT ’s Prophets-AS. They begged him to show clemency for which Allaah-SWT shall reward him.


Now the time had come to unveil the truth. The long separation was about to be transformed into a joyous reunion. After listening to them Yousuf-AS said that they seemed very concerned about their father's grief, but did they not remember who had given this pain to him in the first place? Had they forgotten the treatment they had given to his beloved son Yousuf-AS by selling him off for a few Dirhams? He added that it was beyond measure how much their ignorance and foolishness had wronged their noble father, and their brothers Yousuf-AS and Binyamin. They were flabbergasted. How could the King of Egypt know all this? They looked up and inquired if he was Yousuf-AS probably recalling the dream and seeing familiarity in his face. Besides, this secret was only known to them or Yousuf-AS and, of course, to Allaah-SWT . Prophet Yousuf-AS replied that he was Yousuf-AS indeed and Binyamin was his real brother.


He asked them to realize how much Allah-SWT had favoured them; for their distress was a prelude of a superior plan. He said that whatever hardships they had faced were indeed blessings, because the final outcome was so favourable. He advised them to remember that Allah-SWT rewards His-SWT servants generously, those who acquire Taqwa and remain patient. There was no option for them but to confess their sin. So they said that Allah-SWT had indeed been very generous to Yousuf-AS and had granted him a status exalted. He had power over them while they stood guilty before him for having wronged him immensely. However, all they could offer was tears of repentance and remorse. That was when Prophet Yousuf-AS forgave them and said that on that day they would not be reproached nor questioned, and that he would also pray Allah-SWT to forgive them. Who indeed is the Most Merciful.


The Blessings of Relics

He gave his shirt to them to take it to their father, for a touch would restore his vision and convey the glad tidings to him of their reunion. As the garment touched his eyes, his eyesight was restored. This was the blessing of a relic and also a miracle of Prophet Yousuf-AS. The analysis of the effects is not possible through science as the blessings associated with these are far above human understanding.


He also invited his brothers to bring all their relations to Egypt where Allah-SWT had blessed him with power. There they could live in tranquility, and they no longer needed to live in the wilderness. That, he said, was the time to rejoice and cherish their reunion as the dismal years of separation were over.