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 11 contains Āyāt / Parts 11
  • Siparah/ Volume 12 & 13


وَلَمَّا فَصَلَتِ الْعِيرُ قَالَ أَبُوهُمْ إِنِّي لَأَجِدُ رِيحَ يُوسُفَ لَوْلاَ أَن تُفَنِّدُونِ

Walamma fasalati alAAeeru qala aboohum innee laajidu reeha yoosufa lawla an tufannidoon(i)

And when the caravan had departed their father said: surely I feel the breath of Yousuf-AS, if you do not think I am doting.


قَالُواْ تَاللّهِ إِنَّكَ لَفِي ضَلاَلِكَ الْقَدِيمِ

Qaloo ta(A)llahi innaka lafee dalalika alqadeem(i)

They said: by Allaah-SWT ! You are in your old-time illusion.


فَلَمَّا أَن جَاء الْبَشِيرُ أَلْقَاهُ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ فَارْتَدَّ بَصِيرًا قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مِنَ اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Falamma an jaa albasheeru alqahu AAala wajhihi fa(i)rtadda baseeran qala alam aqul lakum innee aAAlamu mina Allahi ma la taAAlamoon(a)

Then when the bringer of the glad tidings arrived, he cast it upon his face and he became clear-sighted. He said: did not I tell you, that I knew from Allaah-SWT what you knew not.


قَالُواْ يَا أَبَانَا اسْتَغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا خَاطِئِينَ

Qaloo ya abana istaghfir lana thunoobana inna kunna khatieen(a)

They said: father! Pray for us forgiveness of our sins, verily we have been sinners.


قَالَ سَوْفَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ لَكُمْ رَبِّيَ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Qala sawfa astaghfiru lakum rabbee innahu huwa alghafooru a(l)rraheem(u)

He said: presently I shall pray of my Rabb-SWT for forgiveness for you, verily He-SWT ! Only He-SWT is the Forgiving, the Merciful.


فَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَى يُوسُفَ آوَى إِلَيْهِ أَبَوَيْهِ وَقَالَ ادْخُلُواْ مِصْرَ إِن شَاء اللّهُ آمِنِينَ (12:99)

Falamma dakhaloo AAala yoosufa awa ilayhi abawayhi waqala odkhuloo misra in shaa Allahu amineen(a)

Then when they entered unto Yousuf-AS, he betook his parents to himself and said: enter Egypt, Allaah-SWT willing, in security;


وَرَفَعَ أَبَوَيْهِ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَخَرُّواْ لَهُ سُجَّدًا وَقَالَ يَا أَبَتِ هَـذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَايَ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَعَلَهَا رَبِّي حَقًّا وَقَدْ أَحْسَنَ بَي إِذْ أَخْرَجَنِي مِنَ السِّجْنِ وَجَاء بِكُم مِّنَ الْبَدْوِ مِن بَعْدِ أَن نَّزغَ الشَّيْطَانُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ إِخْوَتِي إِنَّ رَبِّي لَطِيفٌ لِّمَا يَشَاء إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ

WarafaAAa abawayhi AAala alAAarshi wakharroo lahu sujjadan waqala ya abati hatha taweelu ruyaya min qablu qad jaAAalaha rabbee haqqan waqad ahsana bee ith akhrajanee mina a(l)ssijni wajaa bikum mina albadwi min baAAdi an nazagha a(l)shshaytanu baynee wabayna ikhwatee inna rabbee lateefun lima yashao innahu huwa alAAaleemu alhakeem(u)

And he raised his parents to the throne, and they fell down before him prostrate. And he said: Father! This is the interpretation of my dream aforetime: my Rabb-SWT has now made it come true; and surely He-SWT did well by me when he took me forth from the prison, and has brought you from the desert after Satan had stirred strife between me and my brothers; verily my Rabb-SWT is Subtle to whom He-SWT will. Verily He-SWT , only He-SWT , is the Knowing, the Wise.


رَبِّ قَدْ آتَيْتَنِي مِنَ الْمُلْكِ وَعَلَّمْتَنِي مِن تَأْوِيلِ الأَحَادِيثِ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ أَنتَ وَلِيِّي فِي الدُّنُيَا وَالآخِرَةِ تَوَفَّنِي مُسْلِمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ

Rabbi qad ataytanee mina almulki waAAallamtanee min taweeli alahadeethi fatira a(l)ssamawati wa(a)lardi anta waliyyee fee a(l)ddunya wa(a)lakhirati tawaffanee musliman waalhiqnee bi(al)ssaliheen(a)

My Rabb-SWT ! You-SWT have given me of the dominion, and have taught me of the interpretation of events. Creator of the heavens and the earth! You-SWT are my Patron in the world and the Akhirah. Make me die a Muslim and join me with the righteous.


ذَلِكَ مِنْ أَنبَاء الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهِ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا كُنتَ لَدَيْهِمْ إِذْ أَجْمَعُواْ أَمْرَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَمْكُرُونَ

Thalika min anbai alghaybi nooheehi ilayka wama kunta ladayhim ith ajmaAAoo amrahum wahum yamkuroon(a)

This is of the tidings of the unseen, which We-SWT Reveal to you-SW. Nor were you-SW with them when they resolved on their affair while they were plotting.


وَمَا أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ

Wama aktharu a(l)nnasi walaw harasta bimumineen(a)

And most of the people, though you-SW  desire ardently, are not going to be believers.


وَمَا تَسْأَلُهُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

Wama tasaluhum AAalayhi min ajrin in huwa illa thikrun lilAAalameen(a)

And you-SW do not ask of them any wage for it, it is but an admonition to the worlds.


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

Back home Prophet Ya'qub-AS was anxiously awaited the return of his sons from Egypt. But Allah-SWT manifested His-SWT Grace in a unique way.


Kashf or Intrinsic Observation

When the caravan with the person carrying Prophet Yousuf-AS‘s  shirt arrived in Can'an, Prophet Ya'qub-AS said that though it sounded crazy, he could for sure smell Yousuf-AS. The listeners conveniently dismissed it as an illusion that had haunted him for long. They said that he would probably remain hopeful forever of Yousuf-AS  being alive and returning someday. The strange thing as mentioned earlier, was that Egypt was at a journey of eight days from Can'an, yet Prophet Ya'qub-AS could smell Yousuf-AS‘s  scent. But he could not smell him when he was inside a well in Can'an, or was being taken to Egypt alongwith the caravan. Moreover, Prophet Yousuf-AS  lived for years in Egypt, and his father could not come to know of it. The simplest explanation is that Kashf or spiritual observations are rewards from Allah-SWT , gifted at His-SWT free Will. He-SWT may disclose whatever He-SWT wants and conceal whatever He-SWT wills. Without His-SWT Approval, neither did Prophet Yousuf-AS send a word to his father nor did the breeze carry the fragrance. But when He-SWT allowed. Prophet Yousuf-AS sent a messenger and the breeze carried the scent. At long last, the bearer of glad tidings arrived in Can'an. He put the shirt, as advised, on Prophet Ya’qub-AS‘s  eyes and his eyesight was restored. He exclaimed that he had always been saying that Allah-SWT had informed him over what they didn't know. That is why he had never believed Yousuf-AS to be dead. He knew for sure that one day Yousuf-AS would be the ruler and Allah-SWT ’s Prophet-AS. Although he had been unaware of his whereabouts, yet he had been sure to meet him one day.


Request to the Pious to Pray is Permissible

The secret was no longer a secret as all the brothers had already met Prophet Yousuf-AS and had sought his forgiveness. They confessed their crime to their father also and begged him to forgive them, and also to pray for their forgiveness from Allah-SWT . It shows that asking the noble and the pious souls to pray for someone is not only allowed but also desired. Prophet Ya'qub-AS promised that he would soon pray for them. Probably he wanted to first speak to Prophet Yousuf-AS and hear him as he wanted him to forgive them before he raised his hands in prayer. The law is that first the oppressor must suitably compensate the aggrieved, and then forgiveness should be sought from Allah-SWT . A mere prayer cannot replace the lost rights of the aggrieved. If the matter involves money or property, and the aggrieved cannot be found, the offender must give away alms and dedicate the reward to him. If, however, he can be approached, his belongings must obviously be returned to him. And if it is not possible to even give away alms, there is no way out except praying for the wronged. Prophet Ya'qub-AS said that Allah-SWT is the Most Clement and Merciful and it is only appropriate to seek forgiveness from Him-SWT . Hence a wrongdoer must never lose hope in Allah-SWT . Also, he must never be abandoned by the righteous, for this would reduce the possibility of reformation.


So the entire family prepared to leave for Egypt. Prophet Yousuf-AS had already sent food supplies and transport alongwith his brothers. The caravan comprising ninety to a hundred people of Prophet Y’aqub-AS  family arrived in Egypt. The Bani Israil who later left Egypt led by Prophet Musa-AS were the descendants of this caravan and were a little short of seven hundred thousand in number.


On their arrival. Prophet Yousuf-AS went out to receive his parents with great dignity and honour. He addressed his family members and said that Egypt would serve them to her best, for they shall find peace, tranquillity and security here. He escorted them all to the Royal Court and made his parents sit on his throne, but all of them knelt and prostrated before him in adoration and respect. Probably prostration-in-respect is different from the Sajdah in worship. A mere bowing of the head in respect is also sometimes termed as prostrating-in-respect, which was not forbidden in the preceding nations. It is the Sajdah of worship which must only be done before Allah-SWT . However, in the Shari'ah of the Holy Prophet-SW  , the prostration of respect has also been banned.


The Realization of a Dream may take Many Years

Prophet Yousuf-AS told his father that this was the interpretation of the dream he had seen as a child, that the sun, the moon and eleven stars were prostrating before him. Indeed Allah-SWT had made it come true.


The Style of Allah-SWT ’s People and their Opinion about Events

He recounted an abridged account of his ordeal to his family in a manner that every word he spoke displayed gratitude to Allah-SWT . He briefly spoke of Zulaikhah's trap due to which he had to spend many precious years of his life in prison. He was released from the jail and placed on the royal throne by the Most Munificent. Allah-SWT . Instead of complaining over the prolonged separation, he spoke of Allah-SWT's Mercy and Grace Who had reunited them and had also brought them to the comforts of a city life from the hardships of rural living. Speaking of the unpleasant incident of his childhood, he agreed with his father that Satan had caused a strife between him and his brothers. It was indeed gracious of him that he confessed to be a party to the scuffle, despite the fact that he was a child of only seven years at that time. Yet he showed his involvement so that his brothers may not feel embarrassed. The trait standing out in Allah-SWT's people is that they consider the brighter side of everything, and since they succeed eventually, they always speak of the outcome and the results. Glorified be Allah-SWT , when He-SWT plans to do something, He-SWT creates causes out of the blue, beyond anyone's imagination. Could his brothers ever imagine that the youngster they were selling off as a slave was in fact heading towards the throne of Egypt? Yet Allah-SWT , the all Knowing, keeps on creating means for the execution of His-SWT Prudent Plans.


Etiquettes of Supplication

Prophet Yousuf-AS then raised his hands in prayer and spoke with great elegance. He first mentioned all the blessings he had been favoured with and then put forth his request: "O’ Rabb-SWT ! You-SWT have blessed me with power and kingdom, and have endowed me with immense knowledge. Your-SWT endowments are as vast as Your-SWT creativity, and You-SWT Alone are the Creator of the heavens and the earth. You-SWT Alone are my Patron in this world and in the Akhirah, and when You-SWT have blessed me so much, please bless me further and let me die as a Muslim. O' Allah-SWT , let me be raised amongst Your-SWT righteous and beloved people in the Akhirah." Although all Prophets-AS are innocent and their exalted rank cannot possibly be revoked, yet they show their gratitude by acknowledging their humility and begging for His-SWT Mercy. This is a lesson for the entire Ummah, for no one is aware of the state of his faith at death. Eternal outcome of a Wali's piety or a noble man's virtues depends entirely on the state of his faith when he dies. Therefore, it is imperative to beg Allah-SWT for a happy ending.


Prophet Y’aqub-AS died in Egypt, but was taken back to his native land for burial. Prophet Yousuf-AS  died and was buried in Egypt. At the exodus of Bani Israil from Egypt, they carried along his coffin with them.


Knowledge of the Unseen and Information over the Unseen

Allah-SWT tells His-SWT Beloved Prophet'-SW that this story is also an Information from the Unseen, given to him through Revelation. These incidents had taken place thousands of years before him. Moreover, the Holy Prophet-SW was unlettered and had never attended any school or sermon. It. therefore, proved to be a great evidence supporting his-SW ‘s Prophethood and the reality of Divine Revelation. It is obvious that Allah-SWT conveys Information on the Unseen to His-SWT chosen people, especially His-SWT Messengers-AS The Holy Prophet-SW-was by far the most informed, commensurate with his high status. However, this knowledge is conveyed through some subtle medium, for example Kashf, Ilham, Ilqa', or the most superior and the strongest source, the Revelation, which is reserved for the Prophets-AS. Moreover, the Kashf, Ilham and even the dream of a Prophet-AS is classified as Revelation. All this cannot be deemed as Knowledge of the Unseen which is only Allah-SWT ’s Domain and no one else shares it with Him-SWT . His-SWT Knowledge .is not acquired through any source. When a source or medium is there, the knowledge gained through it will be Information on the Unseen. It is only Allah-SWT ’s Attribute to know without any source or medium.


As for mankind at large, their becoming believers would depend upon their relationship with Allah-SWT , and not upon the Holy Prophet-SW ‘s longings. No matter how hard he wishes, they will not embrace faith, except a few blessed ones whose hearts have not yet turned gloomy to the point of no return. The Holy Prophet-SW   must not grieve over the behaviour of infidels, for he expects nothing from them in return for his efforts. He-SW  is only working hard in the execution of Divine Commands for which his reward lies with Allah-SWT . He-SW is only a well-wisher of mankind striving round the clock in pursuit of Allah-SWT's Pleasure. Now it is upto them to benefit from his gracious, generous and universal guidance or not. And if they fail to appreciate it indeed they are unfortunate. As asserted by the Commentators, those who had inquired about Prophet Yousuf-AS from him also failed to embrace Islam, although the Holy Prophet-SW had narrated the whole story with absolute clarity.