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


وَلَمَّا دَخَلُواْ عَلَى يُوسُفَ آوَى إِلَيْهِ أَخَاهُ قَالَ إِنِّي أَنَاْ أَخُوكَ فَلاَ تَبْتَئِسْ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

Walamma dakhaloo AAala yoosufa awa ilayhi akhahu qala innee ana akhooka fala tabtais bima kanoo yaAAmaloon(a)

And when they entered unto Yousuf-AS, he betook his full brother to himself and said: I am your own brother Yousuf-AS, so do not grieve over what they have been doing.


فَلَمَّا جَهَّزَهُم بِجَهَازِهِمْ جَعَلَ السِّقَايَةَ فِي رَحْلِ أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ أَذَّنَ مُؤَذِّنٌ أَيَّتُهَا الْعِيرُ إِنَّكُمْ لَسَارِقُونَ

Falamma jahhazahum bijahazihim jaAAala a(l)ssiqayata fee rahli akheehi thumma aththana muaththinun ayyatuha alAAeeru innakum lasariqoon(a)

And when he had furnished them with their furnishing, he placed the drinking-cup in his brother's pack. Thereafter a crier cried: caravan men! You are thieves.


قَالُواْ وَأَقْبَلُواْ عَلَيْهِم مَّاذَا تَفْقِدُونَ

Qaloo waaqbaloo AAalayhim matha tafqidoon(a)

They said, as they turned to them: what is it that you are missing?


قَالُواْ نَفْقِدُ صُوَاعَ الْمَلِكِ وَلِمَن جَاء بِهِ حِمْلُ بَعِيرٍ وَأَنَاْ بِهِ زَعِيمٌ (12:72)

Qaloo nafqidu suwaAAa almaliki waliman jaa bihi himlu baAAeerin waana bihi zaAAeem(un)

They said: we miss the royal cup and for him who brings it shall be a camel-load, and of him I am a guarantor.


قَالُواْ تَاللّهِ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتُم مَّا جِئْنَا لِنُفْسِدَ فِي الأَرْضِ وَمَا كُنَّا سَارِقِينَ

Qaloo ta(A)llahi laqad AAalimtum ma jina linufsida fee alardi wama kunnasariqeen(a)

They said by Allaah-SWT ! Assuredly you know that we have not come to work corruption in the land, nor we have been thieves.


قَالُواْ فَمَا جَزَآؤُهُ إِن كُنتُمْ كَاذِبِينَ

Qaloo fama jazaohu in kuntum kathibeen(a)

They said: what shall be the penalty of him. if you are found ' liars?


قَالُواْ جَزَآؤُهُ مَن وُجِدَ فِي رَحْلِهِ فَهُوَ جَزَاؤُهُ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الظَّالِمِينَ

Qaloo jazaohu man wujida fee rahlihi fahuwa jazaohu kathalika najzee a(l)ththalimeen(a)

They said: his penalty is that he in whose pack it is found shall himself be the recompense thereof; thus we recompense the wrongdoers.


فَبَدَأَ بِأَوْعِيَتِهِمْ قَبْلَ وِعَاء أَخِيهِ ثُمَّ اسْتَخْرَجَهَا مِن وِعَاء أَخِيهِ كَذَلِكَ كِدْنَا لِيُوسُفَ مَا كَانَ لِيَأْخُذَ أَخَاهُ فِي دِينِ الْمَلِكِ إِلاَّ أَن يَشَاء اللّهُ نَرْفَعُ دَرَجَاتٍ مِّن نَّشَاء وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

Fabadaa biawAAiyatihim qabla wiAAai akheehi thumma istakhrajaha min wiAAai akheehi kathalika kidna liyoosufa ma kana liyakhutha akhahu fee deeni almaliki illaan yashaa Allahu narfaAAu darajatin man nashao wafawqa kulli thee AAilmin AAaleem(un)

Then he began with their sacks before the bag of his brother; then he brought it forth from the bag of his brother. Thus We-SWT contrived for Yousuf-AS. He was not to get his brother by the law of the King, except that Allaah-SWT willed. We-SWT exalt in degrees whom We-SWT will, and above every knowing one is a Knower.


قَالُواْ إِن يَسْرِقْ فَقَدْ سَرَقَ أَخٌ لَّهُ مِن قَبْلُ فَأَسَرَّهَا يُوسُفُ فِي نَفْسِهِ وَلَمْ يُبْدِهَا لَهُمْ قَالَ أَنتُمْ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَاللّهُ أَعْلَمْ بِمَا تَصِفُونَ

Qaloo in yasriq faqad saraqa akhun lahu min qablu faasarraha yoosufu fee nafsihi walam yubdiha lahum qala antum sharrun makanan wa(A)llahu aAAlamu bimatasifoon(a)

They said: if he steals, then a brother of his has stolen afore. But Yousuf-AS

concealed it in himself, and disclose it not to them. He said; you are in evil plight, and Allaah-SWT is the Best Knower of what you ascribe.


قَالُواْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْعَزِيزُ إِنَّ لَهُ أَبًا شَيْخًا كَبِيرًا فَخُذْ أَحَدَنَا مَكَانَهُ إِنَّا نَرَاكَ مِنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

Qaloo ya ayyuha alAAazeezu inna lahu aban shaykhan kabeeran fakhuth ahadanamakanahu inna naraka mina almuhsineen(a)

They said: O ‘Aziz verily he has a father, an old man very aged: so take one of us in his stead; verily we perceive you to be of well-doers.


قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّهِ أَن نَّأْخُذَ إِلاَّ مَن وَجَدْنَا مَتَاعَنَا عِندَهُ إِنَّـآ إِذًا لَّظَالِمُونَ

Qala maAAatha Allahi an nakhutha illa man wajadna mataAAana AAindahu innaithan lathalimoon(a)

He said: Allaah-SWT forbid that we should take anyone but him with whom we found our stuff; verily we then should be the wrongdoers.


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

On their arrival, Prophet Yousuf-AS arranged an honourable lodging for them. He quietly confided to Binyamin that he need not worry any more because he was his brother Yousuf-AS. He told him that although his separation from the family had been extremely painful yet the forthcoming time of reunion would make up for all troubles. Soon, the good news would be conveyed to their noble father. "For the time being", he said, "Allah-SWT plans to detain you in Egypt for yet another trial of our father".


The Grooming of Qulub

This proves that whatever Prophet Yousuf-AS  did was by Allah-SWT's Will. Indeed Allah-SWT , the Merciful, purifies the hearts of His-SWT servants through trials to make them absolutely marvellous. Every Messenger-AS goes through such ordeals in a befitting manner. Also, the hardships Aulia'-RUA face are for their spiritual progress. Upheavals push a seeker of the mundane further into ingratitude and disobedience, while the same hardships take the devoted closer to Allah-SWT . The real greatness develops in a person only after the heart is burnished through trials.


In order to detain Binyamin in Egypt Prophet Yousuf-AS directed his attendants to hide a precious drinking cup inside Binyamin's bag of grain. Everyone was allocated a camel-load and had to get his share personally loaded, hence each one had his own camel.


When the caravan left, royal courier was sent, who soon caught up with it. The travellers were told that they were suspected of theft. They were astonished and very annoyed, for they were the Prophets-AS progeny and had the honour of being royal guests. Such an accusation seemed preposterous because an act of ingratitude could,by no stretch of imagination, be expected of them. They said that they were not there to create any mischief, nor were they thieves. Praise be to Allah-SWT ! How vehemently they claimed to be innocent, whereas they were the same people who had wronged their brother, and had aggrieved their father, both Allah-SWT's Prophets-AS! This is human temperament and people often forget their past offences. If only Allah-SWT blessed us with a realization the real goal of life would be achieved. They enquired from the courier what was missing, and were told that it was a very precious royal cup which had been stolen. It was imperative to search them, they were told, for it was possible that the cup had been packed in their stuff due to an oversight.


To Fix Reward for a Task and Offer a Guarantee is Permissible

The courier told the travellers that the King had announced the reward of a camel-load of grain on recovery' of the cup. He also undertook to ensure that the reward would go to the one who returns the cup. Thus fixing a reward for something and offering guarantee is permissible. The claimant has the right to demand the guaranteed goods from the guarantor. The caravan members displayed their annoyance over the accusation. In order to appease them they were given the choice to settle the matter in accordance with the rules of their land. A search was however, inevitable. If at all the cup was not recovered from their baggage, the inconvenience would be duly apologized. They answered that according to the laws of their land a thief was to be handed over to the owner of the stolen goods as a slave, to be treated as the owner desired. This was the punishment for theft, a grave crime according to the Shari'ah of Prophet Ya'qub-AS while in Egyptian law a thief was reprimanded and beaten.


Allah-SWT had planned to make Binyamin stay back and his brothers themselves paved the way for it. When the search was conducted the cup was recovered from Binyamin's sack, searched at the end. The brothers were deeply perturbed and scolded Binyamin for putting them to shame. However, it was not Binyamin's or Prophet Yousuf-AS‘s fault, for all was done in accordance with Divine Revelations: "Thus We-SWT contrived for Yousuf-AS. He was not to get his brother by the law of the King except that Allah-SWT willed. We exalt in degrees whom We-SWT will," Prophet Y’aqub-AS was progressing in exultation by bearing the pangs of separation, and Yousuf-AS  by obeying Allah-SWT's Command. Inspite of being aware of his old father's condition he did not send him the news of his own well being. Now he was deprived of even Binyamin, his sole support after the separation of Yousuf-AS. It is indeed the passion for Allah-SWT which severs all other ties except with Him-SWT and is the base of spiritual elevation. Besides, the ultimate source of knowledge is Allah-SWT while the creation varies in the level and kind of the knowledge it possesses.


The brothers of Binyamin were infuriated by what he had done and said: "If Binyamin has stolen the cup it is not surprising, for long ago his brother Yousuf-AS had done the same." The story goes that after Prophet Yousuf-AS’s mother died he was sent to live with his paternal aunt, who was extremely fond of him. When he was a little older, his father wanted him back, but his aunt could not bear his separation. So she contrived a plan by wrapping Prophet Ishaq-AS’s  turban, kept as a relic, around his waist under his attire. After he had gone, she announced its theft and later recovered it from him. Prophet Y’aqub-AS was so moved by the intensity of her love that he allowed Yousuf-AS to stay with her for as long as she lived. This incident was known to the brothers who were annoyed at Binyamin, and not knowing how to react, resorted to sarcasm. Prophet Yousuf-AS  was hurt but did not express his feeling. He only wished that man could analyze his own conduct! His brothers were accusing him of theft while being the worst criminals themselves. Whether man remembers or forgets, it is Allah-SWT Who surely Knows all.


Now the brothers began to plead their case. They said that their father was not in good health back home and they had promised him the safe return of Binyamin. After mutual consultations, they said: ‘O King of Egypt;  Our father is an old man who had barely gotten over the loss of a son earlier. He may not be able to survive this blow. Have Mercy on that noble soul. You may detain anyone of us in lieu of Binyamin, but do let him go." Prophet Yousuf"-AS answered: "Allah-SWT forbid! We are not transgressors to punish an innocent instead of the one from whom the stolen goods are recovered. This is impossible". In short, they tried their best but to no avail. The King did not yield to their request nor did he want to. This moment was far more tormenting for Prophet Yousuf"-AS himself than his brothers, he had been separated for years from his beloved father and was now fully aware of his sorry state, yet he had to follow and obey Allah-SWT's Command having no other choice.