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


وَجَاء إِخْوَةُ يُوسُفَ فَدَخَلُواْ عَلَيْهِ فَعَرَفَهُمْ وَهُمْ لَهُ مُنكِرُونَ

Wajaa ikhwatu yoosufa fadakhaloo AAalayhi faAAarafahum wahum lahu munkiroon(a)

And the brothers of Yousuf-AS came and entered unto him, and he recognized them, while they did not recognize him.


وَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُم بِجَهَازِهِمْ قَالَ ائْتُونِي بِأَخٍ لَّكُم مِّنْ أَبِيكُمْ أَلاَ تَرَوْنَ أَنِّي أُوفِي الْكَيْلَ وَأَنَاْ خَيْرُ الْمُنزِلِينَ

Walamma jahhazahum bijahazihim qala itoonee biakhin lakum min abeekum alatarawna annee oofee alkayla waana khayru almunzileen(a)

And when he had furnished them with their furnishing, he said: bring to me a brother of yours from your father; do you not see that I give full measure and that I am the best of hosts?


فَإِن لَّمْ تَأْتُونِي بِهِ فَلاَ كَيْلَ لَكُمْ عِندِي وَلاَ تَقْرَبُونِ

Fain lam tatoonee bihi fala kayla lakum AAindee wala taqraboon(i)

But if you do not bring him to me there shall be no measuring for you from me and you shall not approach me.


قَالُواْ سَنُرَاوِدُ عَنْهُ أَبَاهُ وَإِنَّا لَفَاعِلُونَ

Qaloo sanurawidu AAanhu abahu wainna lafaAAiloon(a)

They said: we will certainly solicit him of his father and certainly we will do it.


وَقَالَ لِفِتْيَانِهِ اجْعَلُواْ بِضَاعَتَهُمْ فِي رِحَالِهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَعْرِفُونَهَا إِذَا انقَلَبُواْ إِلَى أَهْلِهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Waqala lifityanihi ijAAaloo bidaAAatahum fee rihalihim laAAallahum yaAArifoonaha itha inqalaboo ila ahlihim laAAallahum yarjiAAoon(a)

And he said to his pages: put their merchandise into their packs; they will find it when they reach back to their household; perchance they may return.


فَلَمَّا رَجِعُوا إِلَى أَبِيهِمْ قَالُواْ يَا أَبَانَا مُنِعَ مِنَّا الْكَيْلُ فَأَرْسِلْ مَعَنَا أَخَانَا نَكْتَلْ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Falamma rajaAAoo ila abeehim qaloo ya abana muniAAa minna alkaylu faarsil maAAana akhana naktal wainna lahu lahafithoon(a)

Then when they returned to their father, they said: father, the measuring has been denied us, so send you with us our brother and we shall get our measure; and certainly we shall be his guards.


قَالَ هَلْ آمَنُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ إِلاَّ كَمَا أَمِنتُكُمْ عَلَى أَخِيهِ مِن قَبْلُ فَاللّهُ خَيْرٌ حَافِظًا وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

Qala hal amanukum AAalayhi illa kama amintukum AAala akheehi min qablu fa(A)llahu khayrun hafithan wahuwa arhamu a(l)rrahimeen(a)

He said: I can trust you with him only as I trusted you with his brother before; Allaah-SWT is the best Guard. He-SWT is the Most Merciful of the merciful.


وَلَمَّا فَتَحُواْ مَتَاعَهُمْ وَجَدُواْ بِضَاعَتَهُمْ رُدَّتْ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالُواْ يَا أَبَانَا مَا نَبْغِي هَـذِهِ بِضَاعَتُنَا رُدَّتْ إِلَيْنَا وَنَمِيرُ أَهْلَنَا وَنَحْفَظُ أَخَانَا وَنَزْدَادُ كَيْلَ بَعِيرٍ ذَلِكَ كَيْلٌ يَسِيرٌ

Walamma fatahoo mataAAahum wajadoo bidaAAatahum ruddat ilayhim qaloo yaabana ma nabghee hathihi bidaAAatuna ruddat ilayna wanameeru ahlanawanahfathu akhana wanazdadu kayla baAAeerin thalika kaylun yaseer(un)

And when they opened their pack they found their merchandise returned to them; they said: father! What more can we desire? Here is our merchandise returned to us, we shall have portions for our family and shall guard our brother and shall add another measure of a camel-load; this is only an easy measure.


قَالَ لَنْ أُرْسِلَهُ مَعَكُمْ حَتَّى تُؤْتُونِ مَوْثِقًا مِّنَ اللّهِ لَتَأْتُنَّنِي بِهِ إِلاَّ أَن يُحَاطَ بِكُمْ فَلَمَّا آتَوْهُ مَوْثِقَهُمْ قَالَ اللّهُ عَلَى مَا نَقُولُ وَكِيلٌ

Qala lan orsilahu maAAakum hatta tutooni mawthiqan mina Allahi latatunnanee bihi illa an yuhata bikum falamma atawhu mawthiqahum qala Allahu AAala manaqoolu wakeel(un)

He said: I will by no means send him with you until you give us an assurance by Allaah-SWT that you will bring him back to me, unless it be that you are prevented. Then when they gave him their assurance, he said: Allaah-SWT is Witness over what we had said.


وَقَالَ يَا بَنِيَّ لاَ تَدْخُلُواْ مِن بَابٍ وَاحِدٍ وَادْخُلُواْ مِنْ أَبْوَابٍ مُّتَفَرِّقَةٍ وَمَا أُغْنِي عَنكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلاَّ لِلّهِ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَعَلَيْهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ

Waqala ya baniyya la tadkhuloo min babin wahidin wa(o)dkhuloo min abwabin mutafarriqatin wama oghnee AAankum mina Allahi min shayin ini alhukmu illalillahi AAalayhi tawakkaltu waAAalayhi falyatawakkali almutawakkiloon(a)

And he said: my sons! Do not enter by one gate, but enter by different gates, and I cannot avail you against Allaah-SWT at all; judgement is but Allah-SWT's. On Him-SWT I rely, and on Him-SWT let the relying rely.


وَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَهُمْ أَبُوهُم مَّا كَانَ يُغْنِي عَنْهُم مِّنَ اللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ حَاجَةً فِي نَفْسِ يَعْقُوبَ قَضَاهَا وَإِنَّهُ لَذُو عِلْمٍ لِّمَا عَلَّمْنَاهُ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

Walamma dakhaloo min haythu amarahum aboohum ma kana yughnee AAanhum mina Allahi min shayin illa hajatan fee nafsi yaAAqooba qadaha wainnahu lathoo AAilmin lima AAallamnahu walakinna akthara a(l)nnasi la yaAAlamoon(a)

And when they entered as their father had enjoined them to enter, it did not avail them against Allaah-SWT at all. It was only a craving in the heart of Ya'qub that he satisfied, verily he was endued with knowledge, for We-SWT had taught him; but most people know not.


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

In the following seven years the harvest was abundant not only in Egypt but everywhere. A rich yield both in grain as well as fruits made people wealthy. Prophet Yousuf-AS made special arrangements to purchase surplus grain from the farmers and within the first seven years the Government granaries swelled. Then the famine years set in and not a grain could be found. At this time the Government released the stocks to the market.


Control on Basic Commodities Permissible and is a Government Function

Prophet Yousuf-AS maintained a regulatory control over the quantity to be sold. For example, each household was allowed to receive a camel load of grain only. This rationing was done to guard against trading on exorbitant rates by unscrupulous businessman that is black marketing in modern terminology. It proves that items of basic necessity must be controlled and their supply regulated to ensure availability to every citizen at an affordable price. And that the protection of people from the greedy and dishonest merchants is the responsibility of the State, which reserves the right to impose appropriate control on supplies when necessary. This prudent administration carried Egypt's fame to far off lands. The city of Can'an today exists as Khali I in Israil, where four Prophets Yousuf-AS, Ya'qub-AS, lshaq-AS and Ibrahim-AS are resting in eternal peace. The city of Can'an was also hit by famine, and the brothers of Prophet Yousuf-AS decided to travel to Egypt to buy grain. Prophet Ya'qub-AS had made Binyamin the centre of his attention after losing Yousuf-AS. Therefore, he stopped Binyamin and allowed the rest to travel to Egypt. He also gave them money and valuables for trading against grain. They had heard that the King of Egypt was a benign ruler who had made excellent arrangements for supplying food to the people.


Kashf is Valid, but Timings of its Manifestation cannot be Determined

After so many years, finally the time had come for the materialization of what had been inspired unto Prophet Yousuf-AS’s heart in the well. Similarly, the Aulia'-RUA also have visions of some forthcoming events but the determination of the exact time of occurrence is very difficult. When Prophet Yousuf-AS saw his brothers he instantly recognized them, though they could not identify him at all. He was sold as a little boy, and now he was nearly fifty years old. Moreover, he was sold off as a slave while they now stood in the court of a mighty ruler where no one could even dare to look up. They stood in awe and respect in the Royal Court. Because of the fact that Prophet Yousuf-AS had recognized his brothers, he made them stay as his guests. He asked their whereabouts adding that they did not look like the Egyptians. They told him that his fame had motivated them to undertake this journey from Palestine. Their father was Allah-SWT's Prophet-AS and a very noble man, who had sent them after having heard much about the king's piety. Thus he came to know about his father and treated them with great respect. When their share of grain was given to them, they disclosed that they also had a younger brother who had stayed back with their father to take care of him. They also told him that previously one of their brothers had been lost in the wilderness and their father in his grief had wept away his eyesight. They requested that the share of their youngest brother may also be given but the request was turned down being against the regulations.


Prophet Yousuf-AS Planned Secretly by Allah-SWT's Command to Meet His Brother

Prophet Yousuf-AS told his brothers that if they were to revisit Egypt they should bring their younger brother along. They had seen his hospitality and he would also be given his share. However, if they failed to bring him along, they needed not come for the grain, as they would not be entertained. This was probably because he thought that they were taletellers and may sell the grain in the market. They promised to try their best to bring him along so that the doubts could be cleared and they may be given the grain again.


This plan was made and the warning given to them by Allah-SWT's Permission. Prophet Yousuf-AS quietly ordered his servants to place the payment made by them in the grain to further ensure their return to Egypt. This was done for two reasons; firstly to be generous and honour the Prophet-AS household, for which they would certainly return to express their gratitude. Secondly, they had traded ornaments and jewellery for food, which indicated that the family was short of money and had stretched its resources. Therefore, they might not be able to afford a second trip. However, inspite of all the anxiety, he did not send any news about himself to his father, as it was not Allah's Will. His father could also not know anything through Kashf, although a Prophet-AS's Kashf is commensurate with his status. Of course, Allah-SWT is all-Powerful. When He-SWT plans to disclose He-SWT can unveil the reality even through Kashf, and on the contrary. He-SWT may seal the obvious means of information. When his brothers returned to Palestine, they spoke very highly of the justice and generosity of the King of Egypt. They admired his management skills as well as his pleasing demeanour before their father and mentioned that inspite of all the hospitality they had faced a problem; when they had asked for the share of # Binyamin, their request had not only been turned down, but they had been directed to bring him along in order to prove their credibility and receive bonus of an extra camel load of grain. However, the worst part was that if they failed to comply they would be considered liars and shall not be entertained again. In that case they needed not go back for more grain. Therefore, they requested their father to send Binyamin along and also pledged to protect him.


Prophet Ya'qub-AS could not help reminding them of the fallibility of their safety measures, like they had demonstrated in the case of Prophet Yousuf-AS. He added that he did not trust them, yet he did have faith in Allah-SWT , Who was the Most Gracious and the best Protector. He-SWT relied on His-SWT Mercy and Grace that He-SWT would save him from another tragedy at this old age.


As they talked, they were unloading and unpacking their luggage. They suddenly discovered the payment they had made from one of the sacks. They were delighted and spoke highly of the graciousness of the King of Egypt, who had returned their wealth without even making them feel indebted. They said to their father that it would be highly unbecoming of them if they failed to return and show gratitude for his extreme generosity. Moreover they needed more grain for the family and it would only be possible if Binyamin went along. They would certainly protect him and because of him will be able to augment their supply.


Parents / Shaikhs must Upbring their Children / Seekers, and not Drive them Away

Prophet Y’aqub-AS permitted his sons to take Binyamin along but only under the condition that they would bring him safely back, unless some unavoidable situation developed beyond their control. But they must promise him to do their best to protect him. They pledged in the name of Allah-SWT to protect their brother to the best of their ability and acknowledge that Allah-SWT is the all Knowing and the Powerful. Here it is proven that parents must not disown their children if they err or sin. Similarly a Shaikh must not shun away his disciples but patiently and persistently bring them up. Breaking up does not help anyone; it rather deteriorates their condition further and makes them vulnerable to deeper indulgence in sin. It is, however, imperative for parents and the Shaikhs to make their children and students realize their mistakes and to guide them appropriately to make amends. After taking all these measures, they must rely upon Allah-SWT for best results.


Planning is Essential but Hopes for Desired Outcome must be Focused on Allah-SWT

When Prophet Ya'qub-AS was bidding farewell to his sons including Binyamin he advised them not to enter the city through one door. This was because they were eleven handsome, robust men who had been honoured by the King. It was possible that someone might cast an evil eye upon them.


The Effects of an Evil Eye

The Ahl-e-Sunnah scholars agree on the effects of an evil eye. It is a fact proved by Hadith, and a later chapter of the Quran. It suffices here to say that it is the effect of a person's thinking. Just as the climate or diet can harm people making them sick, so can human thought. The Holy Prophet-SW  said that an evil eye can put a man in his grave and a camel in a casserole. Prophet Ya'qub-AS said that the honour conferred upon them in the King's Court could arouse jealousy among people. And their entry together would be eye catching. Hence they must enter the city from different gates. It was, however, certain that only destiny would prevail, as it is Allah-SWT Alone Who Controls everything and makes all means effective. It is upon Him-SWT that he relied just like all his servants do. It is imperative to adopt some means only because He-SWT has enjoined so. Hence his advice was based on Allah-SWT's obedience.


So when they arrived in Egypt they stepped into the city from different gates. Though this measure did not help them against the impending distress, yet Prophet Ya'qub-AS had no regrets later that he had not employed any means. It is mandatory to do whatever is permissible and within one's power for one's protection.


Knowledge from His-SWT Presence (Ilm-e-Luduni)

Ya'qub-AS was Allah-SWT's Prophet and the Prophets"-AS are blessed with inherent wisdom as well as knowledge directly form Him-SWT .Their knowledge is not ' attained through any effort or means. There always remains a chance of error in the knowledge so acquired, whereas there is no possibility of error in the inherent and directly inspired knowledge (Ilm Luduni). The only difference between the knowledge so granted to a Prophet-AS and a Wali is that a Prophet-AS never errs in discerning what is inspired while a Wali can. Besides, a Prophet-AS receives it directly from Allah while Wali acquires it by virtue of his adherence to the Prophet-AS. Also, he is dependant on the Prophet-AS for its' interpretation. If it conforms the teachings of the Prophet-AS. it is correct Otherwise he has certainly misunderstood it. Prophet Ya'qub-AS had envisioned through his Prophetic foresight his plummeting troubles and the separation of Binyamin. Still he did employ a preventive strategy1 and at the same time declared that the efficacy of his plan was entirely dependant on Allah-SWT and destiny would prevail, notwithstanding the means.


Unfortunately people are unaware of the excellence of the knowledge granted directly from His-SWT Presence. If only they knew they would dedicate their entire lives in its pursuit.