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 4 contains Āyāt / Parts 6
  • Siparah/ Volume 12 & 13


وَقَالَ نِسْوَةٌ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ امْرَأَةُ الْعَزِيزِ تُرَاوِدُ فَتَاهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ قَدْ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّا إِنَّا لَنَرَاهَا فِي ضَلاَلٍ مُّبِينٍ

Waqala niswatun fee almadeenati imraatu alAAazeezi turawidu fataha AAan nafsihi qad shaghafaha hubban inna lanaraha fee dalalin mubeen(in)

And women in the town said: the wife of the 'Aziz has solicited her page, he has inflamed her with love, verily we see her in error manifest.


فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتْ بِمَكْرِهِنَّ أَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَعْتَدَتْ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَأً وَآتَتْ كُلَّ وَاحِدَةٍ مِّنْهُنَّ سِكِّينًا وَقَالَتِ اخْرُجْ عَلَيْهِنَّ فَلَمَّا رَأَيْنَهُ أَكْبَرْنَهُ وَقَطَّعْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ وَقُلْنَ حَاشَ لِلّهِ مَا هَـذَا بَشَرًا إِنْ هَـذَا إِلاَّ مَلَكٌ كَرِيمٌ

Falamma samiAAat bimakrihinna arsalat ilayhinna waaAAtadat lahunna muttakaan waatat kulla wahidatin minhunna sikkeenan waqalati okhruj AAalayhinna falammaraaynahu akbarnahu waqattaAAna aydiyahunna waqulna hasha lillahi ma hathabasharan in hatha illa malakun kareem(un)

Then when she heard of their cunning talk, she sent to them a messenger and prepared for them a repose, and provided each with a knife. And she said: come forth to them. Then when they saw him, they were astonished at him, and they cut their hands, and said: how perfect is Allaah-SWT ! No man is he; he is nothing but a noble angel.


قَالَتْ فَذَلِكُنَّ الَّذِي لُمْتُنَّنِي فِيهِ وَلَقَدْ رَاوَدتُّهُ عَن نَّفْسِهِ فَاسَتَعْصَمَ وَلَئِن لَّمْ يَفْعَلْ مَا آمُرُهُ لَيُسْجَنَنَّ وَلَيَكُونًا مِّنَ الصَّاغِرِينَ

Qalat fathalikunna allathee lumtunnanee feehi walaqad rawadtuhu AAan nafsihi fa(i)stAAsama walain lam yafAAal ma amuruhu layusjananna walayakoonan mina a(l)ssaghireen(a)

She said: this is he whom you reproached me for. Assuredly I solicited him, but he abstained. Yet if he does not what I wish him to do, he is sure to be imprisoned and sure to be humbled.


قَالَ رَبِّ السِّجْنُ أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا يَدْعُونَنِي إِلَيْهِ وَإِلاَّ تَصْرِفْ عَنِّي كَيْدَهُنَّ أَصْبُ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَكُن مِّنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ

Qala rabbi a(l)ssijnu ahabbu ilayya mimma yadAAoonanee ilayhi wailla tasrif AAannee kaydahunna asbu ilayhinna waakun mina aljahileen(a)

He said: my Rabb-SWT ! Prison is dearer to me than that these women call me to; and if You-SWT do not avert their guile from me I should incline to them and become of the ignorant.


فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ فَصَرَفَ عَنْهُ كَيْدَهُنَّ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

Fa(i)stajaba lahu rabbuhu fasarafa AAanhu kaydahunna innahu huwa a(l)ssameeAAu alAAaleem(u)

Then his Rabb-SWT answered him and averted their guile from him. Verily He-SWT ! He-SWT is the Hearer, the Knower!


ثُمَّ بَدَا لَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا رَأَوُاْ الآيَاتِ لَيَسْجُنُنَّهُ حَتَّى حِينٍ

Thumma bada lahum min baAAdi ma raawoo alayati layasjununnahu hatta heen(in)

Thereafter it occurred to them, even after they had seen the Signs, to imprison him for a season.


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

A secret cannot remain a secret for long, as people do get a wind in due course of time. The wives of the high ranking officials of the Royal Court eventually came to know of the whole episode. They were astonished at how the wife of a Government Minister could have fallen so low as to be infatuated by her own slave. It was in their opinion a despicable act for the wife of such a highly placed official. But their slanderous gossip connoted an element of curiosity. They wanted to see the handsome youth who had driven the wife of the most influential person in Egypt passionately restless. Hence they began to gibe at Zulaikhah’s conduct so that the word could spread to her, and she herself allowed them to see Yousuf--AS to vindicate herself. That is why their gossip has been termed as guile. It was in fact a secret plan to behold the splendour of the youth, and it worked. When the word reached Zulaikhah, she arranged for a banquet for the ladies. The table was laden with all sorts of savoury foods and the traditional cutlery was neatly laid out. As the ladies were having meat with knives in their hands Zulaikhah summoned Yousuf-AS into the banquet hall. She had never hitherto let any lady ever lay eyes on him.


According to Tafsir-e-Mazhari, just as the sunshines on the walls, the splendour of Prophet Yousuf-AS‘s countenance lit the interiors of the hall. The ladies were astounded and dazzled, and in their bewilderment cut their fingers instead of the meat. They exclaimed, "By Allah-SWT ! He cannot be a human being nor can any human have such an illuminated face. Certainly he is an angel." The Egyptians believed in the existence of Allah-SWT and the angels in their own way.


Chastity Of Prophethood

Zulaikhah reproached the ladies for scandalizing her for being infatuated by this man, whose single glimpse they had not been able to withstand. She confessed that she had tried her level best in making advances at him, but to no avail. The Quranic text reads: "Fast asam. The expression emphasizes the chastity of Prophethood, and asserts that he remained pure. Zulaikhah herself did not claim that the thought of sin had crossed his mind but his courage had failed him. Rather, the accuser herself confessed her guilt and pronounced his innocence.


Zulaikhah's Condition

It is strange how some people assume that Prophet Yousuf-AS also felt inclined towards her. Zulaikhah still insisted on her evil designs. She reiterated her desire before all the ladies at the banquet. She also vowed to have her desire satisfied or else he would have to live the rest of his life in jail, disgraced and humiliated. The scholars have objected upon Zulaikhah's character, suggesting that she never loved Allah-SWT's Prophet-AS but was only ensnared by the vain desires of her soul. Failing to fulfill her desires, she was ready to harm him and that ultimately she did. A woman of such vicious character can never be a Prophet-AS's wife. The Quran recounts the disbelief of the wives of Prophets Nuh-AS and Lut-AS, which is a dissension. It is a malignance of beliefs of a person and is an extrinsic sin, but a person with degenerated morals and character cannot remain annexed with a Prophet-AS. Hence Zulaikhah could never get married to Prophet Yousuf-AS and by the time he was released from the prison she was an old lady.


Zulaikhah no longer was the only woman coveting him. They all began to seduce him under the cover of Zulaikhah. They stressed upon him to fulfill her desire, reminding him of her favours. They portrayed how gently she had brought him up, and how much she was in love with him. They even cautioned him against the hardships of the formidable prison of Egypt wherefrom very few people emerged alive. In their opinion, he atleast for his own sake should submit to her desire. They knew that once he indulged in sin, he might plunge deeper into it and they too might have a chance. But they were completely oblivious of the strength of Prophethood.



Prophet Yousuf-AS begged Allah-SWT ,the Provider and the Protector, to take care of him. He said that he considered disobedience far worse than life in prison. He implored that if Allah-SWT did not protect him, he was only a human surrounded by the beautiful women of Egypt alluring him to sin. His only refuge was Divine Protection guaranteed by his Prophetic innocence. He knew that the very inclination towards these women would be sheer ignorance. The scholars interpret that a believer s sin is pure ignorance. Prophet Yousuf-AS was not fond of going to the prison. But he considered the greatest of worldly hardships little in comparison to Allah-SWT's disobedience. According to the Holy Prophet-SW : "May Allah-SWT have Mercy on my brother Yousuf-AS! He should have asked for safety and peace from Allah-SWT rather than imprisonment." It is, therefore, advisable that one should not pray for a smaller trouble to avert a bigger one but should seek peace from Allah-SWT . Hadhrat 'AbbasRAU once asked the Holy Prophet-SW what should he ask of Allah-SWT ? He-SW replied, "peace". After a few days he repeated his question and received the same answer. The Holy Prophet--SW once heard a person praying for perseverance. The Holy Prophet-SW enquired of him if he was asking for trouble, whereby he would be patient. He advised him to seek peace from Allah-SWT instead.


So Allah-SWT protected Prophet Yousuf-AS against the evil designs of the women. The Minister despite being convinced of his innocence and chastity thought that if he was not formally convicted it would cause great embarrassment for his wife. Everyone would indulge in humiliating gossip. So he decided in his best interest and for face saving to imprison him. The Minister thought that once he was in prison people would forget about him. Even if someone did discuss the issue, he would do so with the impression that the guilty had been punished.