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.
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.